'The Ramayana was real'
#1
Big Grin 
Hi people! Biggrin

This is my first post here.I discovered Nirmukta through the article listing out misogyny in the Manusmriti, and a few days back, came across this unbelievably ridiculous news article.

The gist of it is that Valmiki accurately described the plants found along Ram's route taken during his exile - therefore the Ramayana must be real. What I find sad is the number of sheep that agree with this view. Someone else pointed out in the comments there that by this logic Harry Potter is a real account of a magical boy and his school because it accurately describes London - and was set upon with the usual ad hominems and allegations of being a Pakistani.

The Ramayana and Mahabharata are important epics and their cultural value is beyond doubt. They are perfectly capable of standing on their own as important contributions to world literature alongside other works such as Beowulf , the Iliad and others. The fact that they are myths does not in any way diminish their value or importance.
Yet why do people continue to make themselves look like fools by trying to prove that these were real? I'd love to hear an explanation for airborne sentient monkeys capable of carrying mountains in their hands, for starters.
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#2
A legitimate finding like this would actually be interesting in that it would show that the author(s) of the Ramayana had some familiarity with the geography of the South. According to John Brockington, the epic as we understand it now shows very little understanding of the South.

I can't say how legitimate the study is though because the authors clearly had an agenda.
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#3
(09-Oct-2013, 04:16 AM)Sachin2 Wrote: A legitimate finding like this would actually be interesting in that it would show that the author(s) of the Ramayana had some familiarity with the geography of the South. According to John Brockington, the epic as we understand it now shows very little understanding of the South.

I can't say how legitimate the study is though because the authors clearly had an agenda.

The question is not whether the findings about local flora are true, it is just that how does one logically conclude that the epic was based on real events just based on a description of plants along the way?
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#4
(09-Oct-2013, 04:16 AM)Sachin2 Wrote: According to John Brockington, the epic as we understand it now shows very little understanding of the South.

Another request for you. Can you please elaborate on the geographical inaccuracies?
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#5
Big Grin very nice discussions smile
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#6
If Ramayana was Valmiki's imagination, I must say he was really knowledgeable or a scientist in those days ;), Modern science/Nasa says that Ramsethu was created naturally. And stones with which it formed can float on water. If ever the bridge was above the sea-level when valmiki wrote this epic and hence he metion that in his story. He would have gone there and investigated the properties of stone and then he would have wote that ram sena used floating stones to build bridge…. Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin
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#7
Captain Mandrake,

Off the top of my head, I don't know enough to go into a lot of detail. But one inaccuracy I remember is the location of some important mountains in Lanka-- the said mountains are in reality in a completely different location from where the epic said they are.

Mostly, however, the stated problems are that southern geography is very vaguely described-- not necessarily inaccurately-- when compared to the Ayodhya Kanda's description of the janapadas. It is also populated with exotic creatures like the vanaras and rakshasas when the north is not (remember that the Bala Kanda is a later addition). This has led some to surmise that the Ramayana could allow people to suspend their disbelief simply because the south was so unknown.
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#8
The problem is what I call the Star Wars Fallacy. Suppose our current civilization on Earth is instantly wiped out by a gamma ray burst. The artefacts of our civilization remain perfectly preserved a la Pompeii, and say a couple of millennia later, a xenoarchaeologist digs up the remains of Hollywood..and finds a hard bound copy of The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels - which is a book that describes in great detail the working of the fictional ships and other vehicles in the Starwars universe.

Would it be correct for him to now conclude that this book was an accurate depiction of space technology on 21st century Earth (barring no other evidence of hyperspace drives, turbolasers and everything else that it describes)? As opposed to say, finding hard evidence of NASA rockets and guidance systems which would give him a clearer picture of what actual space travel was like for us?

Yet the same exact logic is used to make big claims about the Ramayana, or the Vaimanika Shastra.

I mean heaven forbid our ancestors had imagination and creativity and thought of embellishing an epic about good vs evil! Laugh
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#9
I am waiting for Nasa to invent Time travel machine ;-) So that we could actually travel back in the time and see Ramayana happening or talk to Valmiki if its imaginary, he was a gr8 writer, he gave business to Bollywood and TV serials which became really popular and good source of entertainment Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin
It is nice to see people getting curious to know if it was actually happened... Please keep posting evidences smile
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#10
Sri Ramachandra
I give a title ‘Sri Ramachandra’ for this essay instead of ‘Rama’ because there were many Ramas in Indian History. Ramachandra was the hero of Ramayana. In Rig Veda (1500 BCE) there is a reference of a lord named Rama who was called a ‘Maghavan’ meaning wealthy person who gave rich funds for Vedic sacrifices. He is not described as god but only as a human being. There are other “Ramas” in other puranas such as Balarama and Parasurama. I had indicated in Annexure B about the Indo Aryan tribes coming into Afghanistan area who composed Rig Veda. Some of the ancestors of this tribe who migrated from Central Asia had gone to Egypt and replaced the pre-historic tribes there. They started the dynastic rule in Egypt. The kings of these dynasties were called “Ramesses”. We can see the similarity of names of Rama the Indo Aryan king and Ramesses the Egyptian king who were contemporary in history.
By the way the name Rama means one who charms our mind. The famous Vishnu Sahasranama dhyana sloka attributed to Siva saying “Sri Rama Rama Ramethi rame raame manorame...” means “the name Rama is pleasing to our mind”. The root word for pleasant feeling is “Ramyata”.
Historicity of Ramayana
Rama concept is primarily based on the epic poetry Ramayana originally composed by Valmiki sometime in the 6th century BCE. This was a consciously created poetry in classical Sanskrit, using the folklore of the times. The epic was built on the theme of early Indo-Aryan tribes occupying new areas of Vidhyan region and the resistance they encountered by the Dravidian tribes of Dandakaranya forests in the process. Just like Mahabharata, Ramayana also was revised by the later descendents of the original author, in this case of the Valmiki family. They extended the story to the southern parts of India including present Sri Lanka as the theatre of the Rama-Ravana battle. In the original Ramayana theme the battle metaphorically described could have been only a local conflict between a prince of Ayodya and a tribal chief (of Gond tribe) ruling an area in the present Odisha-Andhra border. This is what is inferred by the historians like Romila Thaper, P.T.Srinivsa Ayangar and Sesha Ayangar.
In the process of expanding the imagery of the story the new editors described the forest tribes in grotesque descriptions. Historians infer from the Kui language (of Gonds) that the phrase “Dasagiva” meaning tormenter was misread by the later editors of Ramayana. While rewriting the epic by a later Valmiki the word “Dasagiva” was misspelt as “Dasagriva” that gave rise to the idea of ten headed Ravana.
It was customary for the purana composers to depict the non-Aryan people as asuras with grotesque descriptions. The name ‘Ravana’ itself is considered to be a morphed version of the Dravidian word “Iraivan” meaning chief. Another example in Ramayana is the name of Surpanaka the sister of Ravana. The name literally means a woman with ‘nose like Surpa, a broad shallow basket used for de-husking grain from chaff’ (Muram in Tamil). Non-Aryan tribes of India had wide nose compared to Indo Aryan speakers who had long sharp nose like Greeks who belonged to the Indo-European line. Another name in Ramayana that is depicted in this way is Kumbakarna the brother of Ravana. ‘Kumbakarna’ means a person with crooked ears. [In the TV serials demons are depicted with crooked ears].
Lanka of Ramayana
Was Lanka of Ramayana the present Sri Lanka? Mahavamsa was a Buddhist chronicle written in Pali language which gives the following account:-
“According to the Mahavamsa, the Sinhalese are descended from the exiled Prince Vijaya and his party of seven hundred followers who arrived on the island in 543 BCE. Vijaya and his followers were said to have arrived in Sri Lanka after being exiled from the city of Sinhapura in West Bengal, East India. Buddhism is then said to have been introduced to the Sinhalese from India by Mahinda, son of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka the Great, during the 3rd century BCE”
The migrants from Bengal named the island “Sinhala”. In British India Sinhala became Ceylon. Earlier Dravidians who lived on the northern part of the island called the island “Eezham”. Another Dravidian name for the island was “Kozhumbu” meaning an island of fat conical shape (in Tamil Kozhu means fat and coombu means cone. Kozhucoombu would get morphed to Kozhumbhu in due course). This name became “Colombo” in English. The island was called “Tambapani” by the Mauryan kings in 3rd century BCE. Alexander’s men called the island as “Taprobana”. Hence the name Sri Lanka is a recent one and the Lanka of Ramayana was different. In many places like Malaysia, Andhra Pradesh, Assam some river islands are called Langkaa. [Langkaa: Name of an island in Sonepur in the Balangir District of Orissa. Also means a distant land in Oriya language (Dr. Subrat Kalyan Pattanayak, Sociolinguist from Orissa)] In Sanskrit river islands are called “Ranga” or Rangam; hence the name Srirangam on the river Cauvery. Ramayana’s Lanka could have been a fortified forest village (distant land) in Andhra Odisha border of a Gond chief (Iraivan). As the author’s imagination expanded, Lanka became Sri Lanka and Iraivan became the ten headed Ravana; Hanuman could leap over the sea in one jump. Present Sri Lanka was named such in 20th century only. Recently there was a news item that the Sri Lanka government wanted to declare some places as connected to Ramayana episodes and develop them for religious tourism from India. The Sri Lankan Archaeological scientists raised a strong protest against such a move and called it artificial move.
Why was Ramayana composed?
What made Valmiki to think of composing Ramayana? I can make some guess work on it. At the time of the original Valmiki in the middle of the first millennium BCE the North Indian society had certain norms. Most of the kings at that time had many wives. Therefore the husband–wife mutual love was not emphasised. Wives were treated as a property of the husband and not as equals. Most kings concentrated on their own preference for amassing wealth not much bothering about the welfare of their subjects. Hence there could have been a popular desire for a change of the social system. The theme of Ramayana satisfied that desire by making Rama the hero as an example of the change by his sticking to one beloved wife and bending down to the needs of his subjects as a monarch for public welfare. Rama’s inherent qualities as “Mariyada purusha” meaning “man of social ethics” made the epic so popular. It can be safely said that whereas Vedas were the confine of the learned pundits, Ramayana attracted the masses in different forms. Ramayana was not only recited in discourses but was used for drama, music and for teaching morels to children by mothers at home. In modern time Ramayana became a popular theme for the television programmes and cinema. In such rendering the story by different people (upanyasakas) at different times subjective interpretations emerge.
The bow of Rama as depicted in the pictures of Raja Ravi Varma indicates some interesting clues even though it is only an imagery of the artist. The bow “Kodanda” used by Rama has a shape with multiple curves whereas the hunter’s bow has a single curve. Historians tell us that the multiple curved composite bow was invented and used in Central Asia that spread to Egypt and other southern areas. This composite bow had lesser backlash when fired from horseback or the chariot in motion. Early India did not have such bows. This idea if true shows the origin of the Indo Aryan speakers as the Steppes of Central Asia. Composite bow goes with the horse and chariot that are indicative of the Indo Aryan migration into India. Rama belonged to the Aryan clan.
In this essay I have treated Ramayana epic as an excellent literature that underwent many changes. Since Ramayana that started as beautiful literary poetry was inducted as a vehicle for religious dissemination, we were unable to question and analyse it rationally. In modern time, many apolitical historians have tried to do this analysis. I have only compiled those ideas in this essay. Nevertheless Ramayana is considered as sacred religious scripture and many Hindus are devoted to the theme emotionally.
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MKV
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#11
I am real,but that does not mean i can fly without wings or machines i am not red bull(soft drink (pun intended))
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#12
How do you explain the following verse if Ramayana is only imaginary?

Rämayana (Visvamitra Muni enquires from King Dasaratha)

aihistam yat tat punar-janma-jayäya

aihistam—desired; yat—which; tat—that; punar—again; janma—birth; jayäya—
conquering.
Is everything going well in your endeavour to conquer the repetition of birth and
death?
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