Three Cities of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, Part Three


BY: SUN STAFF - 26.9 2018

Ruins of Ravana's Palace in Lanka


 A three-part adaptation of a summary of cities corresponding to the three gunas, from Anudinam.


The City of lanka was planned and fashioned by Vishwakarma, the divine architect, and among all his creations this city was the most inspired. In Valmiki's words, Lanka was richer, lovelier and grander than even Ayodhya. But it was also less noble, less righteous, and less spiritual; in fact, the city was tamasic.

Lanka was built on a three-crested mountain called Trikuta. Even the approaches to the city were as beautiful as the city itself. Valmiki described its fragrant trees, huge granite blocks, and swards of green grass vied for space among the hilly slopes. Inhabited by birds of various hues and sizes and surrounded by water bodies of every shape, the outskirts of Lanka seemed to invite passersby to deport themselves to its cool surroundings.

Hanuman watches a morose Sita in Ravana's domain 
16th Century

The city itself which surrounded by deep moats on three sides, and bordered the ocean on the fourth. Much of the city was on high elevation. The high rise buildings, painted white in coats of shining mortar, resembled the clouds. Each building had vantage points which provided uninterrupted views of the surrounding area, so that enemies could not creep into the city. Sage Valmiki compares Lanka to a fair damsel, the encircling global wall as her waist, the moat around as a gridle, the countless weapons of war ranged on the walls as her tresses and ornaments. Despite these many protective measures, Ravana captured the from Kubera, for whom it was originally built.

The Bridge to Lanka

Although Ravana's war-like mood is reminiscent of a raja-guna mentality, Lanka is described as a tamasic city due to his demoniac mentality. While all the other great mansions in Lanka were constructed by Viswakarma, Ravana's palace was designed by Ravana himself. It was zealously guarded by rakshasas of immense stature. As a devout worshipper of Shiva, Ravana was proficient in Vedic knowledge, and particularly in the art of warcraft. He had knowledge of every type of weapon, and every method of warfare, whether on the ground or in the skies.

Ravana's palace was filled with every tool of war – vehicles, weapons and accoutrement. Stables running several miles long housed his war elephants, horses and camels, and at regular intervals, encampments of his rakshasha forces displayed themselves, ever ready for battle.