Ravana (from the causal of the Sanscrit ru, cry, alarm; hence literally he who causes alarm) is the name of the Rakshasha (q.v.) who, at the time of Rama, ruled over Sri Lanka or Ceylon, and, having carried off Sita, the wife of Rama, to his residence, was ultimately conquered and slain by the latter. Ravana is described as having been a giant with ten faces, and, in consequence of austerities and devotion, as having obtained from Siva a promise which bestowed upon him unlimited power, even over the gods. As the promise of Siva could not be revoked, Vishnu evaded its efficacy in becoming incarnate as Rima, and hence killed the daemon-giant. — Chambers's Encyclop. s.v. SEE VISHNU.

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