Sacred India Tarot Archive – Creation of Staves 5 and 6: Ravana Falls

Continuing the Sacred India Tarot Archive by Jane Adams and Rohit Arya:

In thy valorous strength - rosicrucean emblem 2

In thy valorous strength – rosicrucean emblem 2

We all have our interior demons and resistances to fight:  and in the world out there, they are plain to see.  In the present era of Pluto (upheaval and transformation) moving through Capricorn (established institutions), nothing can be hidden any longer – all is visible, each shadow is upturned to the light.  Every hoary Karmic poison along the centuries erupts into a birth-bed for the new Dharma – a changed order of human values.  Pluto went into Capricorn in 2008 with a financial crash, and will enter Aquarius in 2023/24.


It is interesting to note that in the Indian mythology, demons are rarely evil per se.  They are gifted forces of the mind and spirit.  They have a tendency to overrun their citadels and cause the chaos and self-doubt that every creative artist must navigate.  The Yoga Vasishta is filled with stories of powerful demons who attained enlightenment, humility and liberation through the intensity of their concentrated tapas – spiritual practice over the aeons.  Brahma the creator-god could refuse them nothing:  the demonic force has this potential for purity.  Therefore there was always a respectful interaction between the gods and the demons – see card 6 (above) in the Sacred India Tarot: the story of Kaccha and Devyani.   For the gods, the demonic energy is at source divine, and they cannot live without it.  The Greek word “daemon” is a creative spirit.

Rohit’s writing below, throws an interesting slant onto the demonic “bhakti” – the constant focus in the demon’s mind, on God as the foe, in due course liberates.

In the Ramayana, Ravana the demon King overreached himself by kidnapping Rama’s wife Sita;  in so doing, he put the cosmic balance out of order, and faced defeat.


Visual reference for Kumbhakarna

Visual reference for Kumbhakarana

Rohit Arya’s Notes – 2003

Card Five – Kumbhakarana Falls.  Kumbhakarana is to be depicted as an enormous armoured giant, holding a huge club towering over Ravana and the rest of the battlefield.  He has four fiery arrows stuck in him which will lop off his legs from the knees and the arms from the elbows, while the fifth arrow fired by Rama is about to cut off his head.  The five wands could be depicted as five fiery arrows that Rama uses to kill the giant brother of Ravana.

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck:

Kumbhakarana, middle brother to Ravana and Vibheeshana, takes the field against Rama.  It is an action born of desperation, for the Rakshasa (demon) forces have been decimated in the preceding days … Kumbhakarana is the most gigantic warrior in the universe, a great intellectual and highly spiritually developed.  He shares Vibheeshana’s opinion that Ravana’s incompetent blundering has brought them to disaster, but war is upon them and he selflessly agrees to do his duty. 

He knows that Rama is God, but in his estimation nothing could be more honourable than to die for his country.  Death at Rama’s hands is guaranteed liberation, and Kumbhakarana is disgruntled with his unlucky life.  He has been tricked by the Devas into sleeping for six months at a stretch, awakening for only a day.  Ravana has untimely roused him, and his strength is not at its peak.  Nevertheless he unleashes carnage of a ghastly and terrifying nature that forces Rama himself to fight. 

This is a unique and startling form of Bhakti – devotion to God – called ‘vipareetha karani’, the path of opposition.  You literally fight with God, as the foe is ever present in the enemy’s mind.  This is a tamasic (inertia-inducing) form of meditation and constant awareness of the Divine.  It guarantees liberation, but at the cost of your life!  It is the rocket route to the Divine.  Kumbhakarana chooses this conflict-path to achieve what would otherwise take many lifetimes. 

Rama understands this, and is also pleased with his heroic loyalty to his people. 

This card signifies inner and outer growth:  a struggle and challenge confidently taken up – perhaps a group effort or sharing of creative endeavour.  Lessons that life teaches in battle.  Place spiritual priorities above mundane ones.  Patience is well rewarded, but lots of it is required.  Martial arts.  Focus on one thing and see it through.

Shadow:  Trying to take on more than you can handle – an inflated sense of power.  Blindly supporting and following the leader.  Confusion in thinking leads to flailing about:  quarrels and disputes, vainglorious boasting.  Overwork and strain impacts health – the card of the moonlighter!  Irritation with incompetence.  Wishful thinking and writers block.  Young children act up.

Your expectations are getting in the way of what is actually possible.  Are you competing or getting into an impossible situation?


Jane’s Notes

There are parallels here with the Eight and the Nine of Arrows, where the great warrior king surrenders his life to Krishna, understanding that he will at last be liberated from his duty.

This great demon – Kumbhakarana – also had a duty: his loyalty to the Lord Ravana and the realm of the rakshasas.  His willingness to disable his own magnificence, to be Ravana’s fore-runner in defeat, and to agree to fight when not at the peak of his powers, is an astonishing and moving sight.  His hands holding weapons, appear to be raised in surrender.  The deep intelligence is in his eyes;  the out-thrust tongue is demonic like a gargoyle, yet also giving his all.

I painted Rama lightly armed, as befits a young David to this Goliath.  Accuracy of aim takes priority over displays of martial magnificence.  He shoots the demon in five places. The outline of Kumbhakarana’s human pentagram begins to collapse.

Rama aims at the third eye – the coup de grace.   I found it difficult to arrange the scenes in these long narrow cards compositionally:  yet the great demon on his mountain range suggests a different dimension of space and time.

Psychologically it is an extraordinary event to meet and engage with these forces in the soul.


Sacred India Tarot - Five of Staves/Wands

Sacred India Tarot – Five of Staves/Wands




Rohit Arya’s Notes – 2003

Card Six: Victory – Ravana Falls. This should be easy to depict, though one arrow should be clearly penetrating the navel of Ravana which was where he stored the elixir that renewed him each time he was wounded or had a head cut off. We need only Rama and Ravana in the card, though celebrating monkeys in the background might bring out the ‘Victory’ aspect of the card meaning.

visual reference for the fall of ravana

visual reference for the fall of ravana


(respect for demons – yoga vasishta – tifareth 6 – danda – dharma – guru mantra)

From Rohit’s Book with the Deck
Ravana has destroyed the resources of his kingdom and sent all his generals and relatives to their death, but he is still intransigent about releasing Sita.  He is in thrall to his rapidly fraying reputation, still manifesting aplomb and insouciance in a cataclysmic situation.  He has assumed his most fearful form, convinced that the fame of his exploits combined with his horrible shape will dazzle and intimidate Rama – the yokel from the forests.

He has rested on his laurels so much that he cannot, dare not, recognise his slide into delusional ineptitude.

Rama is called the image or embodiment of Dharma.  Rama is beyond form so everybody projects their own ideal upon him.  Hence his chameleon-like appearance in the suit.  For Ravana, he is a meek, forest dwelling hermit – hence he appears so.

For all Ravana’s strength of belief, danda has descended upon him in the form of Rama’s astras.  Rama uses the Brahmastra – the deadliest arrow (speculated to be a nuclear weapon) created by Brahma.  Ravana wasn’t totally wrong in feeling invulnerable.  Only the final never-to-be-used weapon could vanquish him;  it was a small validation.

Rama sends Laxmana to hear the dying words of what was the Age’s mightiest king: “Do not put off till tomorrow the good you could do today.  I could have turned the oceans into sweet water and been hailed as a benefactor of humanity.  Now I die with tarnished glory as a kidnapper of the wives of others.”

It is an astonishing summation of wasted potential and opportunity.

In a card reading:  victory and success.  Triumph and recognition of one’s work;  public acclaim.  Vindication of one’s course of action – freedom from fears and anxieties.  Very good for students and intellectuals.  Period of unusual resilience and recuperative powers. Reaching the next level of skill or qualifications.  Aggressively seeking the limelight.

Shadow:  resting on past laurels – a legend in one’s own mind.  A conclusive victory eludes you.  Too proud to acknowledge one is losing it – “remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.”

Don’t let all this acclaim inflate you to absurd levels of self aggrandisement.  What new challenges do you need to take up?


Sacred India Tarot - six of Staves/wands

Sacred India Tarot – six of Staves/wands

Jane’s Notes
The missile enters the dantien – the source of all Ravana’s delusional heads.  The dantien (below the navel) is our body’s gravitational and subtle centre:  through yoga and t’ai ch’i, it  can earth and quieten the mind’s electricity.  This card is like the Tower – to collapse walls of falsehood or belief.

The danda (see Rohit’s description above) is a sacred staff.  It is traditionally used by hermits and aryas, and placed in temples.  Throughout the suit of Staves/Wands, the danda plays a significant role, as conduit of power and authority.  Rohit mentions also the astra – the weapon by which Ravana was slain.  Astras are intense aerial vibrations:  a focused mantra is an astra – it commands the elements by force of sound and concentration.

See the Guru Mantra Bhashya in this blog, and Part 2 of the same, for the rich symbolism of danda and astra.

The danda lends its name to a game played in India:


Correspondence – Rohit’s feedback on cards 5 and 6 of Staves

Wand 5 – The energy and power in this card is great, and the Kumbhakarana is perfect.  Rama needs some golden body armour and the moustache needs to go.  As a composition it perfectly conveys the sense of the card.  The monkey’s vantage point of the events on the card is a nice touch.

Wand 6 – Rama needs to be depicted in accordance with the rest of the suit, he has suddenly taken to wearing a dhoti, he has a moustache and no helmet or armour.  But the composition is fine, and the Ravana is a superb example of unrepentant defiance.

Correspondence – Jane: 
Re Rama – all the examples you sent me had him moustachio’d, and so do books here, so I thought that was the way he is traditionally represented;  with the possibility he might sometimes shave for Sita!  Or the fact that an epic such as this covers much spacetime – note that the buddha series also changes the physical features somewhat, according to his states of wisdom.  Anyway, we can adjust this detail if required.  I shall also add some body armour to the shooting of Ravana’s brother.


The fall of Ravana and his brother remind me of another great bowman in our Sacred India Tarot Archive:

Sacred India Tarot card 16 - Siva Tripurantaka - the Tower.  With his arrow or astra, Siva pulverised three demon cities which were aligned for just a second, once every thousand years.

Sacred India Tarot card 16 – Siva Tripurantaka – the Tower. With his arrow or astra, Siva pulverised three demon cities which ravaged the universe but were aligned for just a second, once every thousand years.




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Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

Earlier posts about the deck, including the first 15 Major Arcana archives are in   The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.


Jane Adams

My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

All original art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address