If Ramayana wasn’t a heroic tale of Rama, but Ravana instead…

Valmiki says, “O devotees, we begin from the scene when the most beautiful of them all, with her skin as radiant as thousand blooming sunflowers, was captivated by the wisest, the most impetuous Lord of Our Age, Shri Ravana himself. Reluctance may be on her part as her initial reaction, but the wisdom of our Lord forgave her, as it only stemmed from her ignorance, which had somehow found its way into her soul owing to a long period of stay with somebody as intellectually invalid as Rama. Blessed are your souls, for you are going to hear the last skanda of Ravanayana, the grand tale of our Lord.”

Tulsidas continues, “So when Sita was taken to Lanka on the Pushpak Viman, she struggled to free herself, but Shiva knows that Lord Ravana held her close to his bosom only for his fear lest she fell down from the craft; it was never in his upbringing to hold a lady intimately against her wish, married or a maiden. At Lanka, Sita was given all the comforts of life which any noble princess of the province could only dream of, yet strong was her resolve not to yield to consistent pleas from Ravana to marry him. But our Lord could be weaker in resolve to none but Shiva, so he persisted. Friends, may this be a lesson to those of you who have failed in love; never give up, keep up that strength and pursue her till you get what you want. We are the Ravan-vanshi, the heirs of Lord Ravana!”

Valmiki carries on, “As our Lord was busy seeing to the issues pertaining to a comfortable stay of Sita at Lanka, there was a commotion in the enemy camp. Rama was worried beyond measure. Absurd was it on his part to seek the help of a herd of monkeys; the Lord with the might of Chandrahaas, the sword of the moon, the very sword wielded by Shiva; could only be but defeated at the hands of such an enemy. Rama’s intellect was rendered even more incapable; for he furiously rejected the treaty of “Wife and Kingdom Exchange” which our Lord offered, owing to his benevolence. So, a battle ensued, a historic war, the account of which you all shall hear now.”

Tulsidas speaks, “Sita had a belief that her husband, mighty in her eyes, could never be defeated. So, in order to deter Ravana from his matrimonial advances, she promised to marry him if he defeated Rama in the ensuing battle. The battlefield was dipped in red, moans and cries of fell soldiers and beasts rended the hearts of every living soul which could hear. And our armies marched ahead, marched with vigor, marched with a constant zeal which could culminate only when the swords had wiped the earth clean of every single head of the enemy. Rama’s army dwindled in number with time, and coward that he was, he took shelter in a tent while the poor monkeys fought to their deaths. Kind that our Lord was, it aggrieved him to be the cause of death of animals by nature innocent, but only gullible to be ensnared by the cunning Lakshman to be used for his selfish motives. On one hand the doctrines of Battle compelled him to go on with slayings, but on the other, the conscience of a noble didn’t go whole-heartedly with him. Praise be upon His Wisdom, he found a way out through the predicament: he sent Bibhishena, his brother, for a treaty with the monkeys, at the evening when the battle ceased for the day. Bibhishena had parley with Hanumana, and thus they agreed to this: on the next day of war, monkeys would fight from Ravana’s side; and in exchange, they would be given unlimited access to all the orchards which Lanka had, and also to those in India in the event that the battle was won. Also, they were promised unbridled entry and exit in the marriage feast of Lord Ravana. This was quite lucrative for the monkeys as they had their havens limited to dark forests and were promptly kicked out if they as much as dared to enter any orchard, and food, for them, was always a welcome commodity.”

“So on the next day, O friends,” Valmiki continues, “The sun rose to the zeal of our Lord and much to the horror of the enemy! Moments after sunrise, Laxman was fell by a mortal blow from Sugriba’s cutlass, and caused Rama much grief and fury alike. As he aimed his arrow right on the temple of Sugriba, a flying arrow came from nowhere and hit him flat in the chest: Hanuman stood with a spent crossbow. Incredulous was the expression on the face of our greatest enemy, as he said with a grimace,” Et Tu, Hanuman!”, and fell to his death. Thus, the Great Battle ended to the victory of our Lord, which the world shall remember for eons and eons after.”

“With a victorious smile, Ravana returned to his palace, and went straight to the abode of Sita to claim her hand. As the mightiest of them all bent upon his knees and said,” O lady of my dreams, conquered I have my biggest enemy, rival in love, but failed to conquer your heart, O lady! You enlighten me: thus failed I have, for love of yours is too beyond all the wisdom and strength that I have. Therefore I have come to beg: grant me your heart, grant me the love that I yearn for, you make me complete!”. Abashedly, Sita says, “Love if it was that I had preserved so far, then it has failed my faith. And leaning by a failed faith is like leaning on a burnt staff, it crumples sooner or later. So, O Ravana, I will stand by my word: I shall marry you. I promise you all of me but my love.” Ravana said, “And I trust my love, Sita, that someday it would find its way to your heart, however inexplicable the paths seem now.”

“Thus with a grand pomp and show, Ravana married Sita . The whole Lanka was beautifully lighted with earthen lamps, splendid fireworks set the night sky ablaze, and the monkeys dined to their heart’s content. As a token of care, gratitude and respect for Sita, Hanuman gifted her a ring of Rama, that happened to be left with him. People made merry and fun, it was the most wonderful night the people ever had in their lives. And ever since, we annually celebrate that day as ‘Diwali’.”

Lord Ravana ascended the throne of Ayodhya a few months later, and Bharat was made a steward. Ayodhya saw a golden reign under him. Love for Sita, particularly his marriage to her, eradicated the streak of cruelty in in him, and he was a just and benevolent ruler, kind to all but firm in justice. The monkeys were given the duty of bridge construction over all the major rivers in the kingdom. Proud we are to be the heirs of such a Lord, just to all living being, unabashed to recognize quality even in races traditionally considered inferior to humans.”

Valmiki poured some milk over the Shiva Lingam, and bent prostrate to the idol of Ravana. With reverence he turned to the Hanuman statue and prayed,” O the Monkey Lord, most beloved of Lankesh, the Slayer of The Great Enemy, I bow to thee. Praise be upon you, and upon all of us, and may we be granted the strength to carry on the legacy of our wise Lord Ravanal!”

NB: Not to fiddle with your sentiments, but to tickle your humor.