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In the Krittivasi Ramayan, Ahiravan(a) (in Sanskrit), Ahiravanan in Tamil, Ahiravanudu in Telugu, Ahiravan in Hindi and Mahiravanan in Malayalam other Sanskrit derived languages, was the son of sage Vishrava and a brother of Ravana; he was a rakshasa who secretly carried away Rama and his brother Lakshmana to the nether-world, consulted his friends and decided to sacrifice the life of the two divine brothers at the altar of his chosen deity, goddess Mahamaya. However, Hanuman saved their life by killing Ahiravan and his army.[1]

Ahiravan
Ahiravana
Ahiravan and Mahiravana crushed by Hanuman, sometimes Ahiravan and Mahiravan are described a brother duo.

In the Ramayana, during the battle between Rama and Ravana, when Ravana’s son Indrajit is killed, Ravana calls his brother Ahiravan for help, upon the advice of his father-in-law. Mahiravana, the king of Patala (the Underworld), promises to help. Saint Agastya comes and informs everybody in Rama's army about some mishap can take place to Rama and Laxmana during the night. Hanuman is put on guard and told not to let anyone into the room where Rama and Lakshmana are. Ahiravan makes many attempts at entering the room but all of them are thwarted by Hanuman. Finally, Mahiravana takes the form of Vibhishana and Hanuman lets him enter. Ahiravan quickly enters and takes the “sleeping Rama and Lakshmana” away.

When Hanuman realizes what has happened, he goes to Vibhishana. Vibhishana says, "Alas! They have been abducted by Ahiravan. If Hanuman does not rescue them fairly quickly, Mahiravana will sacrifice both Rama and Lakshman to Chandi." Hanuman goes to Patala, the door to which is guarded by a creature, who is half Vanara and half reptile. Hanuman asks who he is and the creature says, "I am Makardhwaja, your son!" Hanuman is confused since he did not have any child, being an adept Brahmachari. The creature explains, "While you were jumping over the ocean, a drop of your sweat fell to the ocean and into the mouth of a mighty crocodile. This is the origin of my birth."

After defeating his son, Hanuman enters Patala and encounters Ahiravan . He has a strong army and Hanuman is told by Chandrasena that the only way to vanquish him is by blowing out five different candles located in five different directions, all at the same time in return for a promise to be Lord Rama's consort. Hanuman assumes his five-headed form (Panchamukhi Hanuman) and he quickly blows out the five different candles and thus kills Ahiravan. Throughout the saga, both Rama and Lakshmana are rendered unconscious by a spell by the demons.

Popular cultureEdit

Mairavan charitra was written in Telugu in Kavya style in the 16th century by Adithya kavi.[2]

The story of Ahiravan was made into a Telugu film in 1940 by Ghantasala Balaramaiah entitled Mahiravana. The veteran actor Vemuri Gaggaiah played the role of Ahiravan.[3]

FilmographyEdit

Year Name Language Channel Country Played by
1940 Mahiravana Telugu
2006 Raavan (TV series) Zee TV India Shahbaz Khan (actor)
2018 Hanuman vs Mahiravana (3D Movie) Hindi India

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit