Ramayan Story: Myth or History

An Excellent Article Read Last Week:


Nanditha Krishna, a historian, author and environmentalist, and director of the CPR Institute of Indological Research in Chennai has published a wonderful article, ‘How Did Indian History Become Myth?’, about the historicity of Ramayana in The Open Magazine 31st March 2020. It is wonderfully written and with very rational logics and conclusions:

  1. It is based on Valmiki’s Ramayana, the ancient epic, the first one from among our seers.
  2. “..as the trio are about to enter Dandakaranya, Sage Bharadwaja warned them to beware of lions and tigers. Lions and tigers don’t share forest space had also been taught to us; so that was yet another myth in the epic. Till I went to Bhimbetka and saw a 10,000-year-old painting of a lion and tiger sitting together. If one fact was so wrongly presented by my good teachers, could the others be equally wrong?”
  3. “the Ramayana was damned for all time as a myth.The epics are known to us as itihasa—thus it happened. And to Hindus, there is no doubt that the events of the epic did happen.”
  4. “the original story of Rama, a historical biography, as narrated by Narada, which Valmiki uses as a prologue to his epic. Narada is very clear that Rama is a man, descended in the line of Ikshvaku. The pushpaka is the only extraordinary part of it.”
  5. Creativity distinguishes Valmiki’s poetic epic from Narada’s factual report. Rama is not a god, either to Narada or to Valmiki. But Valmiki is a poet. He goes on to elaborate the story in poetry, partially deifying Rama and creating the Ramayana. We have contemporary examples of people deified in their lifetime, such as the Shirdi and Sathya Sai Babas. Valmiki’s epic is filled with supernatural beings and events—flying monkeys, a ten-headed demon and so on. But why not? After all, his work had to be readable.
  6. “I deputed two of my botanists to study the plants and animals in the four forests of Chitrakuta, Dandaka, Panchavati and Kishkinda. Amazingly, the same plants and animals described by Valmiki still exist in these places. Nothing was fictitious. They went on to publish a book on Plant and Animal Diversity in Valmiki’s Ramayana (By M Amirthalingam and P Sudhakar), which I believe is a confirmation of the epic.“
  7. “Rama meets Sabari (of the Sabara/Saora/Saura/Savara/Sora tribe), a Munda ethnic tribe found in southern Odisha, north coastal Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Even Megasthenes mentions the Saoras in his Indica…The Nishadas and Saoras still maintain that Rama visited them.”..”Several places maintain memories of Valmiki’s description of Rama’s visit.”
  8. “Vanaras headed by Nala built a bridge to Lanka from Dhanushkodi on Rameshwaram Island to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. Parts of the bridge—the Nala sethu, as named by Rama—are still visible: NASA’s satellite has photographed an underwater bridge in the Palk Straits connecting Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar. The Mahabharata says it was protected out of respect for Rama, while several Chola and other rulers mention it. Several scientific bodies, including the National Remote Sensing Agency, have suggested that it was man-made. It lasted as a footbridge between India and Sri Lanka till 1480 CE when a major storm washed away parts of the bridge (according to CD Maclean, Manual of Madras Presidency, 1902).”
    You yourself read it and you will get convinced about the historicity of Ramayana.https://openthemagazine.com/columns/guest-column/indian-history-became-myth/
    I wish her to enlarge the subject that she has raised in this article. When I went through Ramayana myself years ago as well as when I visited Hampi, and then Rameshwaram by road, I was amazed about the geographical details of the travel route of Rama. I heard about the Ramayana-related places in Sri Lanka by one engineer friend, Shri Gehlot who had visited them. Why are our famous historians on ancient India so much biased? Can some one throw light on the geographical truth of the description that Valmiki provides when in Ramayana he describes the regions that the monkeys would find when their groups would go to the north, west and east too?
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