Sriramodantam- Day 2
Meaning of the sloka
Long ago there was a Rakshasa (Demonical being) named Ravana who was the son of sage Visrava. Ravana’s younger brothers were Kumbhakarna and Vibheeshana.
The grammatical usage in the second line of the verse is for two people(Dwivachanam)
The first question that came to my mind while reading this sloka was how can a sage (who would be a brahmin) have rakshasas as sons.
To understand this let us go back to the history of Sage Vishrava
Sage Vishrava was the son of Sage Pulatsya, who in turn was the brother of celebrated Sage Agastya and the grandson of Brahma, the Creator, and a powerful Rishi.
Sage Bharadwaja, was so impressed with Vishrava that he gave him his daughter, Ilavida, in marriage. Ilavida bore Vishrava a son, Kubera (also known as Vaishravana), the Lord of Wealth, and the original ruler of Lanka.
The accounts of Vishrava’s far-reaching Yogic powers reached the ears of the Asura, Sumali, and his wife, Ketumati. Both sought to increase their powers through alliances with mighty Kings and Rishis. They decided that their daughter, Kaikesi would make a worthy wife for Sage Vishravas and orchestrated her chance encounter with the Rishi. Vishrava fell in love with the beautiful-appearing (magically) Kaikesi and fathered four children with her. The oldest was Ravana who would eventually oust his half-brother, Kubera, as King of Lanka and usurp his throne.
In addition to Ravana, Vishrava fathered Vibhishana, Kumbakarna, and a daughter, Shurpanakha, through Kaikesi. He is said to have disowned his demonic family after witnessing Ravana’s disrespectful treatment of his older brother, Kubera, and returned to his first wife, Ilavida.
An alternate explanation of the lineage of Ravana and his siblings
According to the Mahabharata, however, Vishrava’s younger children were born as a result of a falling-out with his eldest: Kubera tried to placate his father by giving him three Rakshasis (two of whom, Rakha and Pushpotkata/Pushpotata, seem to be Kaikesi’s paternal half-sisters) and in due course, Vishrava impregnated all three of them. Pushpotata gave birth to Ravana and later to Kumbhakarna, Malini bore Vibhishana, and Rakha had the unpleasant and unsociable twins Khara and Dushana and also Shurpanakha.
In some versions of Ramayana, Vishrava and Kaikesi are parents of Ravana, Kumbhakarna, Vibheeshana, Shurpanakha, Khara, Dhushana, and Ahiravana (also known as Mahiravana).
In my opinion, I would like to go with the Mahabharata version as Khara and Dushana were also killed by Lord Rama and Ravana was very angry about their deaths along with what was done with Shurpanakha, which normally arises from a sibling bond, so at least a half brother /cousin relationship sounds highly likely.
Another thing I love about Sriramodantam is the introduction of the antagonist first and the protagonist later, building up the suspense!
Source : Wikipedia and E-book published by http://hinduebooks.blogspot.com
Om Namoh Narayanaya