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The search for a historical “Rama”

22 September 2007 727 views 17 Comments

Amidst esteemed leader Karunanidhi’s latest remarks questioning “the historical basis” of Ramayana and Shri Rama, comes this news-report from The Hindu (Thanks, Anirban).

Excerpts (emphasis mine) from Ramayana is not a myth: S.R. Rao”:

“President of the Society for Marine Archaeology in India S.R. Rao said that Ramayana cannot be dismissed as a myth, just as it was done earlier in the case of Mahabharata.

…In the case of Ramayana, he said strong tradition depicts Hampi in Karnataka as Kishkindha, which was visited by Rama. The culture of Kishkindha at that time was of Neolithic levels, it said.

Prof. Rao, who undertook deep-sea excavations near Dwaraka, discovered the submerged parts of the town where Krishna lived when he was director of National Institute of Oceanography.

He said that the culture (seen in Kishkindha) has several Neolithic sites spread over Patapadu and Pusalpadu in Bellary district. Another important site is Bandi Pushala Chenu in Bellary-Kurnool area where excavations of the Harappan steatite wheel-like beads are found.

These beads occur in all Harappan sites as early as 3000 BC.

Bithur near Kanpur, a traditional Ramayana site, had yielded weapons of the culture, archeologically designated as ochre-coloured pottery, ranging from 1500 to 2000 BC or even 3000 BC near Ghaneswar in Rajasthan.

Excavations at the Neolithic culture site at Mahagara in the Belan valley of Uttar Pradesh yielded rice dated around 4000 BC.

Further north-west in Pakistan, the cotton growing Neolithic culture is 7,000 years old (5000 BC). When Rama came to Kishkindha, the Vanaras were the same Neolithic people, whose help he took, said Prof. Rao.

Ramayana is built on a core of truth depicting the life of a particular people and period, Prof. Rao added.”

Ravi Varma Rama breaking bow

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia

I am hoping to do some more background research on this over the next few days but if any of you have additional information and/or links, please email me or leave a comment.  DhanyawAd.

Related Post: A Search for the Historical Krishna

Recommended Reading: The Historical Rama; Varnam’s series on Dwarka and finally: Scientific questions to ASI on Ram Sethu

Peripheral post: Of Vimanas and Time-Travel

UPDATE: Came across this article yesterday Ram Setu: historicity of Ramayana

Will try and post a summary here.

UPDATE II: Highly Recommended: http://arvindneela.blogspot.com/2007/09/romila-thapars-double-standards-and.html. Summary to follow.

Also read:  “Who is this Ram?” – Will Thiru Karunanidhi look at this evidence?

17 Comments »

  • 1. Patriot said:

    This is such a storm in a tea cup:

    1. The BJP led NDA government agreed to the “Ram Setu” project. Now, suddenly they and their monkeys are against it? Can you say cynical exploitation of sentiment ….. this is truly not the BJP that I respected

    2. You believe Ram existed. Good for you. You believe that he was an avatar of Vishnu. Still good for you.

    3. I believe Ram was a mythological figure, probably based on some prince who lived 2000 years ago. Good for me. I don’t understand why I can not hold the view that the Ramayana and especially the Mahabharata were terrific stories, without calls for my head to be taken off.

    And, I don’t know whether Ram was a drunkard or not (as claimed by Karunanidhi) but he was certainly a Chanakya brain, as witnessed by his killing of Bali. And, I don’t see why I can not say this ……..

    Just because some muslims behave in a thoroughly backward manner, does that mean we have to follow their example?

    Really pathetic, the whole issue.

  • 2. B Shantanu said:

    Patriot: Agree with your points #1, 2 and 3.

    But I do not think it is merely “a storm in a tea cup”.

    Indian “Secularists” often have a tendency to under-estimate the sentiments and feelings associated with faith – and this is another example.

    By the way, of course you can hold your views without calls for your head to be taken off. Pl. see the Post Script to this post:

    http://satyameva-jayate.org/2007/09/23/bangaldesh-karunanidhi-and-faith/

    where I have made my position clear.

  • 3. Patriot said:

    Yes, I do read where you say that the Vedanti’s, etc are wrong ….. I just wish it was not a post script for you.

    Reading many of your posts I get the feeling (maybe completely wrong) that you hold up the example of the theocretical and radical muslims and what they do and imply that we should do the same (just my feeling, again).

    OTOH, I believe that we should hold up these people up to ridicule, like you do, but at the same we must do the same with our vanar senas ….. the savages of VHP and Bajrang Dal. We must ridicule them even more, because the damage they can cause is even greater.

    I want to live in a liberal, secular (the correct definition) and progressive India …… not one that is fighting about stones in the sea. Faith should be a personal matter, do not foist your (generic) faith upon me (generic).

  • 4. B Shantanu said:

    Patriot: Thanks for asking me to make myself clearer on these issues.

    I shall do so soon – perhaps in a future post.

    But let there be no doubt…There is no place for violence and death threats against someone who does not agree with you – not in a civilised society, at least.

  • 5. Nandan said:

    I came across this while browsing the internet.

    http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/nov/20inter.htm

    Bharath Gyan, a Chennai-based NGO engaged in research on India’s traditions and culture, has produced a report which states that Lord Ram did indeed exist, and even put a date on his birth: January 10, 5114 BCE (Before the Christian Era).

  • 6. B Shantanu said:

    Nandan: Thanks..

    Does anyone know more about Shri Hari’s background?

    Is his research available on the internet? I think it should be…

    Has anyone else attempted to verify it?

    I am not doubting his research but such claims need to be validated and tested otherwise they do not appear credible.

  • 7. v.c.krishnan said:

    Dear Sir,
    The moot point that arises to my mind is the significance of the thought process of many who question RAM as a GOD.
    As per the analysis of Mr. Hari, related to the link provided, he was human and his date of birth has been ascertained as per certain Scientific norms as apprx. 7000 years ago.
    Please, I am not going into the aspect of Current era or otherwise, as this kind of time perspective is very juvenile in thinking and has no relation to what we are discussing now!
    Assuming that he was born 7000 years ago then the question arises as to whether he is an incarnation of “GOD” ? I am not going into the question as to question his drinking habits, as by modern times “He needs to be given his space!!!
    Everything is a belief. Jesus was supposed to be “Son of GOD” and Muhammed the “Interpolator” for GOD’s thoughts.
    It now arises as to whether we are looking at a “GOD” per se or are we looking at the concept of Brahman. These two are are not two sides of a coin. They are entirely different. One is ever existing and the other a concept given to Birth and Death.
    What are we looking at all! It is very relevant for us to understand that we give our respects to our teachers and Gurus, as you have rightly pointed out.
    In the same manner it is a matter of belief for us to take cognisance of the fact that “RAM’ per se was an embodiment of what our scriptures define as a “MahaPurusha”. He is then a part of the “Brahman” and because of him being a “Mahapurusha” we took him to be a benefactor and endowed him with special qualities.
    I do not know about “GOD” but there is something which keeps all this moving and existing. Call it “GOD” or what you may.
    My belief in any way has not diminished knowing the Birthday of “LORD RAM”. It has only reinforced the fact that the RAMAYANA did happen. at that age and the RAMA SETHU is a man made construction!
    The question is do you destroy a belief? If it be so for the “SECULAR MEDIA” let that that “MAFIA” also destroy the myths of Jesus and Mohammed and let us face the truth of “Sanatana Dharma” if they are willing to face the challenge!
    There should not be any challenge to “Da Vinci Code” the “Last temptation of Christ” or the “Cartoons of the Prophet” from the “Seculars”.
    The debate shall continue. Wish you all the best.
    Regards,
    vck

  • 8. Bharat said:

    1. Sri Krishna, Saraswati River too were mythologies, that is what we were taught in the schools (from the books of Nehruvian leftist historians). Now scholars, both Bharatiya and western, has accepted the historiocity of Sri Krishna and the existence of Saraswati River. Sri Krishna is a historical personality, so as Sri Ram. As research on Vedic culture, civilization, archeology and ancient sastras progressing fast, it is just a matter of time to exactly pin-point the date and time of Sri Ram.

    2. Unless one is completely pervert (like Ram does not exist affidavit type), there is no reason to say so much of historiocity of Sri Ram and his dynasty as mythologies. Lahore (a major city in present day Pakistan) city’s name is after Lavpur (Lav, the son of Sri Ram). Even Pakistanis believe the city was founded by Lav. But for secualrists of Bharat , it is another Hindutva propaganda. Truth is all-power, it unfolds itself. That is why Upanishad boldly declared: Satyameva Jayate nanritam (Truth alone triumphs, not untruth).

    3. Today, our enemies are within, not outside. Western countries (colonizers) have no real interest to play with Bharat/India’s history. They did when it was needed. Now it is anti-hindu secular fundamentalist brigades inside Bharat (Congress, Commies, Jihadis, christian missionaries…) are playing the games, to fulfil their own self-interests. Secularists are groups of self-seekers, they had nothing to do with the nation, and its culture and heritage.

    4. Following articles might be interesting to understand the time of Sri Rama. We don’t need to agree with the date; it will take sometime to reach to a standard date and time.

    Astronomical Dating of the Ramayan By Dr.P.V.Vartak http://www.hindunet.org/hindu_history/ancient/ramayan/rama_vartak.html
    Ref. Dr.P.V.Vartak, Vastav Ramayan in Marathi, Vedvidnyana Mandal, Pune.

    Lord Ram was born in 5114 BC
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?msid=273107
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rama

    There is a book by:
    Pushkar Bhatnagar Dating the Era of Lord Ram published by Rupa & Co.

    And here is a blog.
    The historical Rama
    http://varnam.org/blog/archives/2007/09/the_historical_rama.php

    Of Monkeys, Men, and Cataclysms
    http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/science/sc-moff2.htm

    Also read.
    The Indus Heritage Center will be established (in Gujarat) as a museum and research center and will take people back in time to experience the cities of Dholavira, Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. Their goal is to build a Smithsonian style museum…

    http://varnam.org/blog/archives/2007/11/coming_soon_to_gujarat.php

    Indian Americans Spearhead $15M Indus Valley Museum
    http://www.indiawest.com/view.php?subaction=showfull&id=1194549345&archive=&start_from=&ucat=1

    Enjoy.
    Bharat

  • 9. B Shantanu said:

    Bharat: Thanks. I will have a look at the links.

  • 11. v.c.krishnan said:

    Dear Shantanu,
    Congratulations on providing a forum for reading on my “TRUE HISTORY”.
    Regards,
    vck

  • 12. dr n m sudhir (author) said:

    archeological evidence is not conclusive upon the historicity of rama and the validity of events as narrated in ramayan,historicity of valmiki,availability of original manscripts of ramayan are also subject to doubt and mystery,emotional based conclusions are bound to be fallacious,also the mere existence of an entity of rama is not proof that he is god or incarnation of god whatever. it is well known that archeological evidence interpretation is subject to u turns through history.to give a foolproof verdict you need all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle.there is a long way to go ,more research is needed,more investigation into originalsources is required,furher archaeological exploration needs to be carried out,to get the facts.
    \

  • 13. Harsh said:

    Here’s one more article that discusses the numerous available evidences (in countries like Thailand, China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, etc.) regarding the existence of Rama: http://agniveer.com/2164/rama-myth-or-hero/

  • 14. B Shantanu said:

    Placing this here for the record. Excellent paper on the historicity of Ramayana, Shri RamChandra and places/events described in the epic titled, Vindicating traditional historiography: Ramayana accurate portrayal of ancient India by Come Carpentier de Gourdon. Do read.

  • 15. Madhu said:

    Shantanu ji,

    As we all know we have been told Shri Rama was born in Thretha Yuga.And we know Kaliyuga is 4,32,000 years,Dwapara is two times of Kaliyuga 8,64,000 years and Thretha Yuga is triple the years of Kalyuga 12,96,000 years.

    According to known texts Valmiki recorded the date of birth of Shri Rama according to the Thithi’s and Nakshatra’s.

    Dr.Vartak has done a great calculating Shri Rama’s birth at 7323 B.C.
    Others calculated 5114 BC and 5044 BC as Shri Rama’s with other software.

    Most of the astronomers and astrologers know that if I’m not wrong Constellation comes to its original position every 25,600 years.That means the alignment ones happened in 25,600 years cycle might have happened in other 25,600years cycles.

    So the date of birth of Shri Rama proposed by Dr.Vartak and others falls flat.

    Shri Rama’s birth took place in latter part of Thretha Yuga then we can assume that he wasn’t born before atleast 1.2 million years ago.

    I might be making a tall claim but thats what numbers and logic says.

  • 17. B Shantanu said:

    Pl do watch this short 7-min video..

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