Ramayana: History or Myth?

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by Daredevil, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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  3. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Ramayana

    The Ramayana belongs to a class of literature known in Sanskrit as kavya (poetry), though in the West it is considered to belong to the category of literature familiar to readers of Homer, namely the epic. It is one of two epics, the other being the Mahabharata, which have had a decisive influence in shaping the nature of Indian civilization. The Ramayana existed in the oral tradition perhaps as far back as 1,500 BCE, but the fourth century BCE is generally accepted as the date of its composition in Sanskrit by Valmiki. Though some right-wing ideologues in recent years, eager that the Ramayana should have the same kind of historicity attached to it as do the scriptures of Christianity and the Koran, have sought to date the Ramayana back to at least 6,000 years and even furnish an exact date for its composition, it by no means diminishes the importance of the text to suggest that the historicity of the Ramayana is the least interesting of the questions that can be raised about it and its characters. Whether in fact its hero Rama, who in Hindu mythology is an avatar of Vishnu but a principal deity in his own right, and who is also worshipped in parts of north India as a king, existed or not is scarcely of any importance. The other kind of excess is to view him merely as a trope — as a sign of patriarchy, for example, or as an insignia of valiant and militant kshatriyahood, which is what the present generation of militant Hindutvavadis have turned him into.

    The main frame of the story of the Ramayana is exceedingly well-known in India, imbibed by every Indian with, so to speak, mother’s milk. The Koysala country, with Ayodhya as its capital, is presided over by Dasaratha. Though his eldest son Rama, son of his queen Kausalya, is entitled to the throne, and Dasaratha is himself keen that Rama should ascend to the kingship, Dasaratha’s other queen Kaikeyi contrives to have Rama sent into exile for fourteen years, as well as have her own son, Bharatha, installed as king. Though Bharatha is not a party to the plot, and is devoted to his elder brother, Rama nonetheless proceeds to the forest, accompanied by his brother Lakshmana, who is one of two sons of Dasaratha’s third queen, Sumithra, as well as by his wife, Sita, renowned for her beauty and matchless virtue. In the forest, Rama and his party have numerous adventures, but it is the abduction of Sita by Ravana, the demon-king of Lanka, which sets the stage for the epic battle between Rama and Ravana. In his efforts to find Sita, whose whereabouts are unknown, Rama is aided by Hanuman, the monkey god or god of wind. In Indian literature and mythology, there is no greater exemplar of the perfect devotee than Hanuman. Eventually, Ravana, his kin, and his entire force is defeated by Rama and his military allies, and in triumph Rama returns to Ayodhya with Lakshmana and Sita and is crowned king.

    It is important to recognize that there is not one Ramayana in India. Indeed, the original composition in Sanskrit by Valmiki is seldom read these days, and the most common Ramayanas are in the ‘vernacular’ Indian languages. In south India, for instance, the Ramayana of Kamban, written in Tamil in the eleventh century, prevails; in north India, the Ramayana of Tulsidas, called the Ramacaritmanas, has become legendary. Even among the Hindus living in far-flung places of the Indian diaspora, such as Fiji and Trinidad, the Ramacaritmanas is the devotional text of Hinduism par excellence. There are Ramayanas in virtually all the major Indian languages, and a few dozen translations, mainly abridged, and "transcreations" in English. In the Bengali version of the story, Ravana is turned into the hero; and this narrative was again taken up by the nineteenth century Bengali writer, Michael Madhusudan Dutt (1824-73), whose own epic retelling of the Ramayana portrays Rama as a weak and effeminate figure representing an earlier stage of political naivete and parochialism. It is no surprise that one American scholar, Paula Richman, has written of the "many Ramayanas" in a book by the same title.


    Though the main story of the Ramayana may appear to be without much complexity, the epic presents numerous problems of interpretation, as has already been suggested. True, Rama appears in popular Indian representations (especially in the north) as the very model of the monogamous husband and just and good king; similarly, Sita has been seen as the supreme model of the virtuous, self-sacrificing, and obedient wife, the supreme embodiment of femininity as much as womanhood. But even a superficial reading of the Ramayana puts this interpretation at some risk. One problem is that the Ramayana appears in many versions, and the variant endings illustrate the nature of the diverse readings. In the commonly accepted version of the story, after Rama had rescued Sita and brought her back to Ayodhya, numerous rumors arose about the questionable fidelity of Sita that had the effect of unsettling Rama. Though Rama realized that his wife was the very paragon of virtue untainted, and that she would not have submitted to the sexual advances of Ravana, in whose captivity she had remained for many years, some doubts began to creep into his own mind; besides, as a king, it was his duty to put to rest the anxieties expressed by his subjects. Consequently, he subjected Sita to a public test: if she could emerge from the flames of the fire unscathed, that would be the touchstone of her unimpeachable moral character. Sita passes the test (agnipariksha) with flying colors, and henceforth takes her place besides Rama, and together they preside over Ayodhya. In a variant ending, Sita is sent to pass the rest of her life at the hermitage of Valmiki, where she gives birth to the twins Lava and Kusa; and eventually, pleading with the earth, from which she is descended, to be her witness, Sita [the word means "furrow"] returns to the earth from where she had come forth. This can be seen as a reprimand to Rama, as a reaffirmation of the feminine principle against the masculinity of realpolitik. One recent and moving reinterpretation of the Ramayana by Ramachandra Gandhi suggests that the portion about the agnipariksha is not part of the story as it appeared in the oral tradition, being added at the instance of patriarchal men who came to exercise increasing influence in Indian society.

    Even the character of Rama is not without its blemishes [see Rama]. Contrariwise, even Tulsidas’s Ramacaritmanas, which is the most patriarchal of the widely read versions, recognizes that Ravana was not without certain admirable qualities. Indeed, the tales about the Ramayana suggest a wonderful self-reflexivity. When Rama agrees to go into exile, he attempts to dissuade Sita from following him; she is advised that as a princess, accustomed to all the luxuries that life has to offer, the hardships of a meager and hard existence in the forest are not for her. But, as a Hindu wife, Sita suggests that she will willingly share her husband’s life, and that at this critical moment she cannot abandon him. The Indian writer Ananthamurthy has written about one version of the Ramayana, where Rama pleads with Sita to remain behind in Ayodhya; finally, exasperated by his presumption that women must not undergo the hardships of life, Sita says to Rama: "If in all other Ramayanas I accompany you, how can I not do so in this Ramayana."

    THE TEXT: The Valmiki or Sanskrit Ramayana contains nearly 50,000 lines of verse, and is much longer than both the Iliad and the Odyssey. The narrative is broken up into seven books, as follows:

    Bala-kanda: the boyhood and adolescence of Rama;

    Ayodhya-kanda: the court of Dasaratha, and the scenes that set the stage for the unfolding of the story, including the exchange between Dasaratha and Kaikeyi, and the exile of Rama;

    Aranya-kanda: life in the forest and the abduction of Sita by Ravana;

    Kishkindhya-kanda: Rama’s residence in Kishkindhya, the quest for Sita, and the slaying of Bali;

    Sundara-kanda: description of the landscapes over which Rama roams, and the arrival of Rama and his allies in Lanka; sundara means beautiful, and this portion of the book has passages of lyrical beauty;

    Yuddha-kanda, also known as the Lanka-kanda: the book of war: the defeat of Ravana, the recovery of Sita, the return to Ayodhya, and the coronation of Rama; and Uttara-kanda: the "later section", detailing Rama’s life in Ayodhya, the banishment of Sita, the birth of Lava and Kusa, the reconciliation of Rama and Sita, her death or return to the earth, and Rama’s ascent into heaven.

    There are numerous translations of the Ramayana available in English. One popular, but extremely condensed, version — based on the Tamil of Kamban — is by R. K. Narayan (Penguin Books); in India, just as popular is the version, also in prose but longer, by C. Rajagopalachari (Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan). Another easily available abridged version in verse is by William Buck. The most scholarly, and complete, English translation of the Ramayana, is the multi-volume version by Robert Goldman, Sheldon Pollock, and others, published by Princeton University Press.

    Manas: Religious texts of India, Ramayana
     
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  4. Mariner HK

    Mariner HK Tihar Jail Banned

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    Rama - Mind Boggling History behind the Legend
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    Aum Namah Raghukul-shiromani Kaushalya-nandan Dashrath-putra Shri Raam {I bow to Lord Rama, The Son-of Dashrath, Born-of-Kaushalya, Scion-of-the-Raghu clan} Since the auspicious home-coming of Shri Raam (Deepawali) is nigh, I thought of writing a post on my favorite Lord. As recognized by the Supreme Court of India, the existence of Shri Raam can not be decided only by historical or scientific evidence, it is a matter of faith to millions of people. Yet, it is my effort in this post to analyze the historical and literary evidence pertaining to Lord Raam just as we did in the post on Lord Krishna {Krishna - The Historical Enigma}. The primary source of life and journey of Shri Raam is the epic Ramayana composed by Maharishi Valmiki. The learned sage wanted to write an epic that would serve as an inspiration for generations to come, and highlight the ideals of human behavior in various roles assigned by the society. Devarishi Narad, the spiritual mendicant of the Heavens, suggested to him to write about the life and times of Shri Raam, the doyen of the Suryavanshi clan and the most beneficient ruler the land had ever seen. This acknowledgement is mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayan itself and is our first suggestion that the story was based on an actual historical figure.

    Check out the man on the left as reference for the size of the pillars​

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    Ramayan itself declares that it belongs to the genre of Itihasa (History) and the only other two sacred books in that genre are the Mahabharat and the Harivamsha. Other Literary Evidence for Rama Besides Valmiki Ramayan (4th century BCE), many other scriptures also attest to Shri Raam's existence. Vishnu Puraan declares Rama as Lord Vishnu's seventh incarnation, and the Bhagavat Puraan, recounts the story of Lord Rama in the 9th Skanda and counts him amongst the 24 major incarnations of the Vishnu Tattva. The Epic Battle between Forces of Good and Evil {Image courtesy - Grant Morrison's 18 Days} Mahabharat also mentions the story of Rama in the Aranyak Parva, Dron Parva and the Raam-opakhyan where its is narrated to the eldest Pandav, Yuddhishthir. Shri Raam Avatar also finds place in the Harivansh and the Agni Puraan. Not only these scriptures from Hindu literature, but Buddhist and Jain texts also record the story of Rama and mention it in their own respective styles: In Buddhism, Ramayan is present in the form of Dasarath Jatak, Dasrath Kathanak and Anamak Jatak, the first of which was composed in the 2nd century BCE. This version talks of Rama and Sita as siblings (which is a common symbolic imagery in early Buddhist literature to denote purity of a dynasty). I

    Hari-Vishnu Inscription from Babri Masjid excavation​

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    n Jain literature, Ramayan exists as the Padma Charita, Charitra Puran, Padmachariyam etc. where, Rama, Lakshman and Ravan represent the Baladev, Vasudev and Prati-vasudev concepts of Jain mythology respectively. Keepin with the Jain tradition of non-violence, it is Lakshman who kills Ravan and due to the use of violence, both go to hell while Lord Rama (known as Padma) goes back to heaven. All these unrelated sources chronicling the life of Rama can not be false or fake.. There has to be SOME reason that ALL these diverse traditions decided to write about Shri Raam and share His life story! However, even with all this literary evidence, we do not have much archaeologically to help us in our endeavor like we did for Krishna in the post {Krishna - The Historical Enigma}, and the reason for that will be clear soon enough! To illustrate my point, I share the following excerpts declaring the time of arrival of the 7th Avatar of lord Vishnu on our Planet: Treta yuge chaturvinshe ravane tapseh shakshyat | Ram dashrtathi prapiye sagane shakyamiyeewan || [Vayu Puraan 70.88] Chaturvinshe yuge chapi vishwamitra pure sare | Loke ram iti khyate tejsah bhaskaropam || [Harivansh 22.104] Chaturvinshe yuge vats tretayaam raghuvanshaje | Ramo naam bhavishyami chaturvhayu sanatane || [Brahmand Puraan 2.2.36.30] On the basis of the given references it can be inferred that Shri Raam lived in the 24th Treta Yug. The Mahabharat further elaborates the exact timeline to the juncture of the Treta and the Dvapar Yugs: Sandho tu samanupraptre tretayaam dwaparisya cha | Ramo daasrathirbhutva bhavishami jagatpati || [Mahabharat 348.19]

    Excavations at Ram Janmabhoomi Sthal​

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    Now this is ground-breaking information people and I will tell you why! We are currently in the Kaliyuga of the 28th YUGA CYCLE of the 51 st Day of Brahma. Hence Lord Rama was born not just Two Yugs ago but TWO YUGS plus THREE CHATUR-YUGS before present!! THIS is why digging for archaeological data to corroborate the existence of Shri Raam would be futile. There is no way we could find any man-made artifacts after millenia as the scriptures put Shri Raam's period to be 18 million years ago! Even if we consider this duration to be in Deva Years, it comes to more than 40,000 years. {For relation between Deva and Human Years, check the page Kalchakra of this blog} For the same reason, 7323 BCE or 5114 BCE as the birth years of Shri Raam can not be correct. Even though the dates were arrived at through a thorough analysis of Lord Rama's birth charts and have a very sound basis but based on what scriptures say, we have to make a correction in them. These analyses done by Prof. Vartak and Pushkar Bhatnagar show that at a certain point in time, the planetary configuration mentioned at the time of Lord Rama's birth DID indeed exist and thus, the numerous astrological references in the Ramayan are not imaginary but refer to ACTUAL points in time. Alignment of Stars at the time of Lord Rama's birth A solution to the apparent mismatch of dates can be found if we realize that because of a phenomenon known as the 'Precession of Equinoxes', stars as visualized from Earth, regain the same positions every 26,000 years! Hence, this particular permutation of stars could belong to 5114 BCE + 26,000 or 26,000 years before that or the similar period before that or the one before and so on and so forth.. What is amazing is that even today the places related to Lord Rama, the stories, the Geographical co-ordinates of the cities mentioned etc. are still remembered in the Hindu tradition!

    Four-tusked elephants mentioned in Valmiki Ramayan lived millions of years ago!​

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    Therefore, what we can still do is track and analyze this GEOGRAPHICAL evidence in the literary masterpiece of Ramayan and find out if they help us in our cause. Ramayan - The Adi-kavya Numerous versions of Ramayan exist throughout the length and the breadth of the country and even outside its boundaries but the oldest of these is the Valmiki Ramayan and for our analysis, we will stick to the original as it is the most ancient and accurate one. Let me begin with a very interesting anachronism mentioned in this version of the Ramayan. Sundar Kanda [4.27.12] states that Hanuman, on entering Lanka, sees FOUR-TUSKED elephants guarding the palaces of Ravan. These elephants are tall and imposing and have been trained to protect Lanka from invaders. A similar account is given by Trijata, the ogress guarding Sita ji in Chapter 27 of the same Kanda when she dreams of Lord Rama coming to Sita's rescue riding an elephant high as a hill and bearing four-tusks. So what is so special about these accounts?? Well, fossil remains show that there were many steps in the evolution of the 'Modern Elephant' and there DID exist four-tusked ancestors of elephants in various shapes and sizes such as Trilophodon, Tetralophodon, Gomphotherium etc around 20 million years ago! How in the world could Rishi Valmiki have known about the four-tusked ancestors of the modern elephant unless he had seen them himself or was told about them by Narad??? Four-tusked elephants mentioned in Valmiki Ramayan lived millions of years ago! This apparent anachronism, though not rock-solid evidence, is yet another point that puts us in a time frame closer to what the scriptures say. Let us now see what geographical evidence we can glean out of the masterpiece of Valmiki Ramayan that forms the foundation of cultural traditions right from India to the Far East and check whether the Ramayan contains accurate information or describes a make-believe land. Geographical Evidence from Valmiki Ramayan Ramayan (Travels of Rama) itself indicates a Geographical journey. The story begins in Ayodhya (The-Unconquerable-City), the center of power for the ruling Suryavanshi/Solar Dynasty kings. Shri Raam's mother Kaushalya was from the kingdom called Koshala, which corresponds to the state of Chattisgarh of today. Sumitra was from Magadh (Bihar) while Kaikeyi was from above Gandhar, the kingdom called Kaikeya which is today's Waziristan. The journey of Lord Rama to recover Sita ji covers the length and breadth of the country and Valmiki Ramayan is extremely correct Geographically. Major Kingdoms of the sub-continent in Ramayan Times The authenticity of Geography right from Gandhar to Sri Lanka can not be the result of imagination!

    Major Kingdoms of the sub-continent in Ramayan Times​

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    Before being judgmental, we should remember that this was in a time when the modern means of transport/communication/internet etc. were not available. It has to be based on actual witnessing of these places by either the author or the one narrating the story to him, who in this case was Devarishi Narad. Sites within India Let us begin with Shri Raam's birthplace Ayodhya which although in dispute because of the political battle centered around it, can still yield a lot of information. To begin with, we have to answer the million dollar question - did an ancient temple exist at the disputed site in Ayodhya? Indeed, before the demolition of Babri Masjid, there had been excavations around the temple precinct which gave indications of not one but many older temple foundations existing there. The Imperial Gazetteer of Faizabad (1881) confirms the construction of three Moghul mosques at Ayodhya on the site of three celebrated shrines: Janmasthan, Swargadwar and Treta-ka-Thakur. Archaeological Survey of India tells us that Mir Khan (on Babar's orders) built the mosque at Janmasthan using many of its columns. The other two mosques were built later by Aurangzeb who was one step ahead of Babar in his zealotry. From 1975 to 1980, the Archaeological Survey of India had under the guidance of Prof. B.B. Lal, unearthed (literally) as many as 20 black stone pillars, 16 of which formed the base of the 'Janmasthan Masjid' as it was called colloquially even then. The pillars were much bigger in size than those of the mosque and clearly belonged to a much more grand structure. Check out the man on the left as reference for the size of the pillars On further stratigraphic and other evidence, Prof. Lal also found a door-jamb carved with Hindu icons and decorative motifs of yakshas, yakshis, kirtimukhas, purnaghattas, double lotus flowers etc. Excavation was resumed on July 2, 1992 by S.P. Gupta, Y.D. Sharma, K.M. Srivastava and other senior archaeologists barely six months before the demolition. Prof. Lal's southern trenches had missed a huge pit with 40 and odd sculptures just by 10 to 12 feet discovered by the team even though he DID get the pillar bases which others did not get later.

    Indonesian Ramayan Ballet​

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    Excavations at Ram Janmabhoomi Sthal The team found artifacts ranging from the 1st through the 12th century CE! These findings included religious sculpture, terracotta images from the Kushan period (100-300 CE) and a statue of Lord Vishnu. They concluded that these and other fragments such as the amakalas, or the cogged-wheel crown of the spire belonged to a temple of the North Indian Nagara style of Temple architecture (900-1200 CE). The most important finding is what is known as the Hari-Vishnu Inscription written in 12th century CE Devanagari script. Line 15 of this inscription clearly tells us that - A beautiful temple of Vishnu-Hari, was built with heaps of stones and beautified with a golden spire unparalleled by any other temple built by earlier kings... This wonderful temple was built in the temple-city of Ayodhya situated in Saketamandala. Line 19 describes god Vishnu as destroying king Bali and the ten headed Dashanan, i.e., Ravan. Hari-Vishnu Inscription from Babri Masjid excavation Archaeology records at least two destructions: the FIRST in the 12th-13th century; the SECOND in the 16th. This agrees well with history and tradition that temple destructions followed the Ghori invasions (after 1192 AD) and again in 1528 by Babar who replaced temples at major Hindu pilgrimage sites with mosques. Moving on, Sita ji was discovered by Janak in Mithila which now lies in Nepal. It forms a region shared by both India and Nepal and gives birth to the language known as Maithili. The place where the Goddess was found by Raja Janak in a furrow is known as Sitamarhi, and is still revered along with the nearby pond called the Janaki kund. After their wedding, Shri Raam and Sita ji left for Ayodhya via Lumbini where we have an Ashoka Pillar from 249 BCE, with an inscription referring to the visits by both Rama and Buddha to Lumbini. When they were exiled, Lord Rama, Lakshman and Sita went to Shringverpur in Uttar Pradesh where they crossed the River Ganga. They lived on the Chitrakut hill where Bharat met and pleaded for their return. Thereafter, the three wandered through Dandakaranya in Central India, described as a land of Rakshasas and tribals.


    Ramayana depictions from Angkor Wat, Cambodia​

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    The Journey of Lord Rama After spending some time there, they reached Nashik, near river Godavari, and the region throbs with sites related to the three Ayodhya-vasis. There is the place where they built their cottage known as Tapovan; Ramkund where Rama and Sita used to bathe, Lakshmankund, for the younger brother's bathing area, and several other caves associated with their lives in the forest. Shri Raam, Lakshman and Sita ji inTapovan The three then moved to Panchavati, from where Ravan, with the help of his uncle Mareech, was successful in abducting Sita ji. On the way to Lanka from Panchvati, Ravan was attacked by Jatayu but died a martyr's death. Sita ji dropped her valuables all along the way that were gathered by the Vanars below. Shri Raam and Lakshman then reached Kishkindha, near modern Hampi, where they first met Hanuman and then Sugriv, the exiled King of the Vanars. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and Sugriv is described to have lived at Mount Rishyamukha on the banks of river Pampa (Tungabhadra). Anjanadri, near Hospet, is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman (Anjaneya). Kishkindha, modern Hampi The Vanar army led by Shri Raam, Sugreev, and Jambvant then reached Rameshwaram, where they built a bridge to Lanka from Dhanushkodi on the Rameshwaram Island to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. While parts of the RAMA-SETU are still visible, NASA had in the early part of this millenium photographed an underwater man-made bridge of shoals in the Palk Straits, connecting India to Lanka. Shri Rama Setu connecting Shri Lanka to the Indian mainland The existence of Rama Setu had already been confirmed by several foreign travelers including the Venetian traveller Marco Polo (1254-1324), and British cartographers who prepared maps of the area in 1747, 1788 and 1804.

    Ramayan sites in Sri Lanka​

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    The then Manual of the Administration of Madras Presidency mentions both the names Adam’s Bridge and Rama Setu. It also says that the Setu was used for pedestrian traffic between India and Sri Lanka right until 1480 when a major cyclone destroyed it!! The Bridge of Rama Accurate dating of this bridge can help us in finding an answer but since different studies have come up with different dates, I prefer not to mention them here. Let us now shift our focus to Lanka and try to find out whether there is any geographical location matching with the descriptions in Valmiki Ramayan. Sites in Sri Lanka Once Ravan had captured Sita ji, he brought her to the place today known as Weragantota in Lanka close to Mahiyangana town; and surprise surprise the meaning of this name in the Sinhalese language is a 'landing place for aircrafts'!! According to the depiction of Pushpak Viman (which Ravan had snatched from his half-brother Kuber), it resembled a huge peacock. In Sinhala it is called the Dhandu Monara (flying peacock) and it is believed that Ravan had an aircraft repair center at Gurulupotha where Sita ji was first brought and quite fittingly, the name means "parts of birds". Right next to it is the Sita Kottuwa jungle in which once stood the city of Lankapura. Ramayan sites in Sri Lanka Ashok Vatika is the garden where Ravan is supposed to have held Sita ji captive and this is in the area of Sita Eliya, close to the popular hill station Nuwara Eliya. The Sita Pokuna is a barren area atop the Hakgala Rock Jungle where Sita ji was kept captive and the Sita Amman Kovil (Temple) is located here and I was fortunate enough to have paid it a visit last year :eek:) The Sita Amman Temple near Nuwara Eliya About 50 Km from here is the Divrumpola Temple which is thought to be the place where Sita ji performed her ‘Agni Pariksha’. the name means 'a place for making a vow' and is seen inscribed in the moonstone guarding the Temple. The summit of the mountain next to the Frotoft Tea Estate in Pussallawa is the place where Hanuman is believed to have first set his foot on Lanka! This mountain known as Pawala Malai stands between Ravan’s capital city and the Ashok Vatika. The Sita tear pond is found en route by the chariot route, and is believed to have been formed by the tears of Sita devi. The forest is also colored with the famed Sita Flowers which are endemic to this area. The peculiarity of these flowers is the configuration of the petal’s, stamen and pistils, which resemble a human figure carrying a bow, and is said to represent Lord Rama. Sita flowers Ella, a small mountain near Bandarawela, boasts of three locations linked to the Ramayan where, local legend dictates, Ravana hid Sita.


    First there is the Ravana Ella Cave situated in the massive Ella Rock. Then there is Ravana Ella Falls and a nearby pool bored out of the rock by the gushing waters. The tunnels in the Ravan cave believed to have served as a quick means of transport through the hills and also as secret passages. Ravana Falls in Lanka The Kelani River is mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayan and Vibhishan’s palace was said to be on the banks of this river. Vibhishan is still considered one of the four guardian deities of Sri Lanka, and temples for Vibishan are found throughout Sri Lanka unlike that of Ravan. There are many more spots connected to the Legend of Shri Raam and a complete list can be found at the following link - {Ramayana_sites_in_sri_lanka}. Ravan, the Lord of Lanka, a mighty warrior, a learned pandit, the master of Three Worlds, the posessor of Amrit, was ultimately defeated by the hands of Shri Raam because in his hubris, he desired what belonged to the Supreme Lord Vishnu Himself. He sacrificed the lives of his brother, his sons and his entire army just to pander to his ego. Despite all his knowledge and erudition, he was not able to get a grip on his desires and lust which ultimately led to his downfall. Lord Rama ready to unleash the final arrow on Ravan {Image courtesy - Ramayana 3392 A.D.} Outside India, the millenia old story of Rama is still sung by people all over Asia. While traveling to different countries in this part of the world, I have come across versions that are even older than the regional ones in India!! In China, collection of Jatak stories relating to various events of Ramayana, belonging to 251 AD were compiled by Kang Seng Hua based on the Buddhist texts mentioned earlier. Kumardasa, who ruled Srilanka in 617 BCE wrote the text called ‘Janakiharan’ which is the oldest Sanskrit literature available in Sri lanka.


    Oldest written version of Ramayana, in Nepal is from 1075 BCE. Yama Zatdaw in Myanmar is considered the National epic and is a Burmese version of the story of Rama which has again given theme to dance and art forms including tapestries and puppets.(In fact my Burmese friends even stressed that it is the true history of their land). The retelling of Ramayana in Myanmar's National Epic Hikayat Seri Rama in Malaysia makes Dashrath the great-grandson of Adam, the first man! (which is not too far from the truth as both Dashrath and Manu, the First Man were from the Suryavanshi/Solar dynasty!), In the Phra Lak Phra Lam of Laos, Buddha is regarded as an incarnation of Rama (again not completely false as both are incarnations of Lord Vishnu!). Reamker, is the most famous story of Khmer Literature of Cambodia and is the source of classical dance, theater, poetry and of course the famous sculptures of Angkor Wat. Various rock inscriptions belonging to about 700 CE are also found in the Khmer region of Cambodia. Ramayana depictions from Angkor Wat, Cambodia Maradia Lawana in the Phillipines is based on the Ramayana, Ramakavaca in Bali is a major source of moral and spiritual guidance for the island and forms the basic story line of Balinese traditional dance, Kakawin Ramayana in Java, Indonesia (9th century CE) is a mixture of Sanskrit and Kawi languages and is the basis of traditional Indonesian ballet and performances that are famous the world over. Indonesian Ramayan Ballet Ramakien in Thailand is again considered the National epic and adds an element of incest to the story by making Sita the daughter of Ravan and Mandodari who is thrown away in the Sea as she is prophesied to bring destruction to Ravan's Kingdom!! However, the abandoned baby Sita is found by Janak and grows up as his daughter only to be later abducted by Ravan and ultimately lead to the end of Ravan and his supremacy. Thai Khon Dance based on the Ramayana Notably, the capital of the Thai kings was also referred to as Ayutthaya the Thai version of Ayodhya! Even the current king in Thailand has the title of Rama IX.. never imagined travel to these parts of the world would open my eyes to the richness of our own heritage. This Diwali, let us once again remember the story of the great personality that has influenced generations of humans and has survived over millions of years. I conclude this Deepawali post with the closing lines of the poetic rendition of Ramayan by Romesh C. Dutta: "Mark my love," Rama told Sita, on the Pushpak car, As the home-bound couple, left behind the field of war, "Watch Lanka's proud city below on the triple crest, Like peaks of Kailash mansions where Immortals rest.


    Mark the gory fields, where Vanars in their might, Fought the charging Rakshasas, in the gory fight, Where Indrajit and Kumbha-karna, Ravan and chieftains, Fell down in battle with their blood soaking the plains. See my love, around the island how the oceans roar, Hiding pearls among corals, strewing shells upon the shore, And the causeway mighty, monument of our fame, 'Rama's Bridge' to distant ages shall our deeds proclaim! See the rocky Kishkindha and her mountain-girdled town, Where I slayed Vali, and placed Sugriv on the throne, Watch the hill of Rishyamukh, where the Vanars first I met, Gave them word - Sugriv will be king ere the Sun had set. Watch the sacred Pampa by whose wild and echoing shore, I poured lamentations, when I saw my wife no more, And the woods of Janasthan where Jatayu fought and bled, From where the deceitful Ravan, with my trusting Sita fled. Dost thou mark, doe-eyed Sita, the cottage on river bank, Where in righteous penance, we laid down every plank, And the mighty Godavari, with Saint Agastya's home of love, Where holy men through holy duties sanctify the grove. Dost thou, o'er the Dandak forest, view the Chitrakut hill. Where the deathless bard Valmiki, lives in the crystal rill, Thither came the righteous Bharat and my army came, Longing to take us back to Suryavanshi's town of fame, Dost thou, devoted Sita, see the Yamuna in her might, Where in Bharadwaj's ashram passed we, a happy night, And the broad and ruddy Ganga sweeping in regal pride, Where forest-dweller Guha crossed us to the southern side. Joy! joy! gentle Sita! Fair Ayodhya looms above, Ancient seat of Raghuvansh, Our Hope and our Love, Bow, bow, to bright Ayodhya! Dark did our exile roam, But tonight our weary toil ends, in Suryavansh's ancient home!" Jai Shri Raam
     
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  5. Mariner HK

    Mariner HK Tihar Jail Banned

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    Re: Rama - Mind Boggling History behind the Legend

    Ravana Falls in Lanka
    [​IMG]

    Kishkindha, modern Hampi
    [​IMG]

    The Sita Amman Temple near Nuwara Eliya
    [​IMG]

    Alignment of Stars at the time of Lord Rama's birth
    [​IMG]

    Thai Khon Dance based on the Ramayana
    [​IMG]

    Aum Namah Raghukul-shiromani Kaushalya-nandan Dashrath-putra Shri Raam
    {I bow to Lord Rama, The Son-of Dashrath, Born-of-Kaushalya, Scion-of-the-Raghu clan}
    [​IMG]

    The Bridge of Rama
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Mariner HK

    Mariner HK Tihar Jail Banned

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    Why are u posting in your post which has no reply its because ur stupid Google Copied heading... Let me post my own and dont modify it delete it
     
  7. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    I will place the time of Lord Rama to about 25k-35K yrs before present. We have scientific proof that Modern man and Neanderthal man lived together till about 30k yrs ago and than neanderthals vanished. If we go by the account of Ramayana, The so called monkies were probably Neanderthal men who supported Lord Raam. Neanderthals were also known to use only stone weapons while the modern man used copper weapons. If you study ramayana in detail you will find that the army of monkies carried Gada and stones as their weapons. Also while the modern man lived in houses the neanderthals lived in caves.
     
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  8. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

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    Lord Rama’s date of birth scientifically calculated
    Last Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012, 18:01


    New Delhi: New findings have once again proven the existence of Lord Rama, with his exact date of birth getting a scientific credence.

    As per the Institute for Scientific Research on Vedas (I-SERVE), planetarium software has ascertained the birth of Lord Rama as 10th January 5114 BC in Ayodhya. As per the Indian calendar the time of the birth is in-between 12 noon and 1pm, Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month.

    According to Zee News exclusive, the institute has also claimed success in substantiating many other ancient events in Indian mythology that supposedly took place before 2000 BC by using the planetarium software.

    The planetarium software is also used by NASA and Nehru planetarium to find out the position of various planets and stars in the universe.

    The scientist of I-SERVE claimed that they zeroed down on Lord Rama's birth date by studying planetary positions as described by Valmiki in the Ramayana.

    The scientists also said that new scientific tools and techniques like planetarium software, computers, space imagery, underwater explorations, and radio carbon dating can clearly validate the existence of characters and events which are described in Ramayana.

    It is just not about the date of birth of Lord Rama, scientists have also proofs which can substantiate not only the existence of Lord Rama as described in Ramayana but also of the incident of the clash of Lord Rama and ‘khardushan’ during the 13th year of Rama’s exile.
    Lord Rama’s date of birth scientifically calculated
     
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  9. tramp

    tramp Senior Member Senior Member

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    Was the earlier Ramayan folklore? If so, during which period did the first written text appear?

    The answer to the question will depend on whether the text is being interpreted in the light of known anthropological facts about the Indian subcontinent or whether the attempt is to assume contemporary anthropology on the basis of the text of Ramayana.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
  10. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Apparently it remained as folklore for thousands of years and written around 1800-2500 years ago but there is no clarity on this as well.
     
  11. Mariner HK

    Mariner HK Tihar Jail Banned

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    DUDE u r misleading man.That why i don t want my thread to be merged with urs.Its a insult .That u dont have own brain and copied from mine..GREAT
     
  12. Mariner HK

    Mariner HK Tihar Jail Banned

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    Please delete ur first two post.Its not what i want to debate and share about.Change the title to Rama - Mind Boggling History behind the Legend not history or myth please..
     
  13. Razor

    Razor CIDs from Tamilnadu Senior Member

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    Neanderthal fossils haven't been found anywhere in South Asia. Just saying.
     
  14. tramp

    tramp Senior Member Senior Member

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    If it was passed from generation to generation for a few hundred years which means so many generations, the original must have got changed quite a bit. Narrators add or omit details either because they cannot recall all of it or deliberately to suit his own personal preferences. And until it became a written text, it would have been evolving very rapidly.
     
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  15. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    As per a famous swami Yuketshwar Giri (of the Giri Branch of the Swami order)

    24000 years completes one yuga cycle.

    4800 years Satyuga. 3600 years Tretayuga. 2400 years Dwapar Yuga. 1200 years Kalyuga. Followed by 1200 years Kalyuga, 2400 years Dwapar Yuga, 3600 years Treta Yuga, 4800 years Satyuga. Effectively 9600 years of Satyuga together, and 2400 years of Kalyuga together.

    1699 AD signaled the start of Dwaparyuga. And 4901BC was the peak of last Tretayuga.

    So we can say that Rama existed around 7000 years ago.

    Frawley who is much loved by many right-wingers also subscribes to this theory.
     
  16. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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  17. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Why don't you ask whether jesus and his life is MYTH?

    Stop is anti-HINDU propaganda. You don't have the right to question the authenticity of my GOD.........
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
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  18. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Paji, I kindly request you to not to encourage these kind of debates which are hurting my believes and others too. Why don't people ask the same to christians faith about the life of Jesus?
    This is simply anti-HINDU debate.

    I personally feel this is showing the hatred towards my faith and believes. No one has the right to question my faith or spread my belief as a MYTH or CONSPIRACY THEORY.
     
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  19. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    I won't debate on the approximate DOB but the Yuga cycles posted here need to be understood differently.
    Yugas are all of same duration. There are 2 halves in the 24,000 years durationof the Yuga cycle.
    First is the ascending half of 12,000 years where each Yuga of 3000 years ends at a positive high for the other Yuga to take over.
    At the end of this half civilizational virtues are at peak.
    Second is descending half of another 12,000 years which is the waning phase obviously.

    Cross posting from - http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/religion-culture/43444-ancient-astronomy-kaliyuga.html
    :whoa: One of the implications from all this, is that we've already hit rock bottom between 976 B.C. and 676 B.C. and we'll be entering another transitional phase of 300 years from 2025 A.D.
    Sorry if all this was too OT.

    David Frawley aka Vamadeva Shastri :D
    He changed his name after adopting Hinduism.
    I don't know why people have this urge to change names when the religion/faith or whatever is changed. :rolleyes:
    I mean you can be a Hindu and still call yourself David Frawley. No offense in that.

    Regards,
    Virendra
     
  20. Razor

    Razor CIDs from Tamilnadu Senior Member

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    The reason why Neanderthal fossils were not found in South Asia or East Asia or SE Asia is because their body structure (short and Stocky) is ideal for cold climates. That is why Neanderthal fossils were found mostly in Europe, Turkey, Syria, Siberia, Central Asia etc. Also it is speculated that one of the reasons for Neanderthal extinction is warming of the Earth, in general.

    The link you provided says that Homo floresiensis were found in Indonesia. They are not Neanderthals.
     
  21. Razor

    Razor CIDs from Tamilnadu Senior Member

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    Many already have questioned Jesus ? Have you read the "Da Vinci Code" ?

    I think everybody has the right to question every God. Otherwise society will not move forward.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2013
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