Ravana was born to a great sage Vishrava (or Vesamuni), and his wife, the daitya princess Kaikesi. He was born in the Devagana, as his grandfather, the sage Pulastya, was one of the ten Prajapatis or mind-born sons of Brahma and one of the Saptarishi (Seven Great Sages Rishi) in the first Manvantara. Kaikesi’s father, Sumali (or Sumalaya), king of the Daityas, wished her to marry the most powerful being in the mortal world, so as to produce an exceptional heir. He rejected the kings of the world, as they were less powerful than him. Kaikesi searched among the sages and finally chose Vishrava, the father of Kubera. Ravana was a Daitya or Rakshasa and he belonged to the caste of Brahmins. Ravana later usurped Sri Lanka from his half brother Kubera and became the King of Lanka.
Ravana is described as a devout follower of the god Shiva in addition to his tribe’s religious beliefs, a great scholar, a capable ruler and a maestro of the Veena. He has his apologists and staunch devotees within the Hindu traditions, some of whom believe that his description as a ten-headed person (Daśamukha or Daśagrīva) is a reference to him possessing a very thorough knowledge over the 4 Vedas and 6 Upanishads, which made him as powerful as 10 scholars. However, there is mention in Atharvaveda of demonic Brahmans calledDasagva (ten-headed) and Navagva (nine-headed) and the metaphor of a supernatural number of bodyparts to symbolize powers is an ancient one in Indian mythic depictions. Yet another interpretation of the ten-headed Ravana describe him to be a complete man with nine of his heads representing nine emotions that a man may possess (viz.anger, pride, jealousy, happiness, sadness, fear, selfishness, passion, ambition) and one representing the intellect.
The Great Ravana also authored Ravana Sanhita, a powerful book on the Hindu astrology. Ravana possessed a thorough knowledge ofAyurveda and political science.(Kumara tantram of Ravana is one of Ayurvedic book of him) He is said to have possessed the nectar of immortality, which was stored under his navel, thanks to a celestial boon by Brahma. According to some theories, he was a historical emperor who reigned over Sri Lanka from 2554 BC to 2517 BC. The lake Rakshastaal, a salt water formation in Tibet, high up inHimalayas located right next to fresh-water lake Manasarovar is considered to be the place of severe penance tapasya by Ravana.