Lord Rama – Fact or Fiction? Part-II
By Stephen Knapp
This article is second and last in series of articles establishing the historicity of Ramayana
People from many other regions of the world have also accepted the Ramayana as worthy of attention, devotion, and historical evidence. For example, the effects of the Ramayana tradition can be seen in Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam. The continent of Africa was once known as Kushadvipa for having been ruled by Kush, one of Lord Rama’s sons.
There have also been astronomers who have identified the approximate time of the Ramayana by the descriptions of the stars and constellations as given in the Ramayana, and other texts. Pushkar Bhatnagar, author of the book ‘Dating the Era of Lord Rama’, claims that by using recent planetary software, it has been possible to verify that these planetarypositions actually took place precisely as specified in the Ramayana.”These were not just stray events”, explains Bhatnagar, “since these configurations do not repeat for lakhs of years and cannot be manipulated or imagined so accurately, without the help of sophisticated software. The inference that one can draw is that someone was present there to witness the actual happening of these configurations, which got recorded in the story of Rama.”
There is further reason why we should accept that Lord Rama appeared millions of years ago. The Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara-Kanda (or Book 5), Chapter 4, verse 27, [Gita Press, Gorakhpur, India] explains that when Hanuman first approached Ravana’s palace, he saw the doorways surrounded by four-tusked elephants. Elsewhere, an ogress named Trijata describes to the other demoniac ogresses, her vision (5.27.12). She seesRama, united again with Sita. Sri Rama was mounted on a huge elephant, with four tusks. A quick search on the Encarta Encyclopedia will let us know that these four-tusked elephants were known as Mastodontoidea, which are said to have evolved around 38 million years ago and became extinct about 15 million years ago when the two tusked Mastodons increased in population.
There will always be those for whom no matter what you present for verification, it will not be enough. But many in the world already accept theauthority of the Ramayana and the other Vedic texts for the verification of the existence of Lord Rama. Epics, unlike mythologies, are historical narratives and the events depicted in them are actual occurrences in history. Dismissing the contention that Ramayana is only a literary piece or an allegory woven out of the imagination of a poet, Griffith asks, ” How could an Epic so dear in India to the memory of the people, so deeply rooted for many centuries in the minds of all, so propagated and diffused through all the dialects and languages of those regions, which had become the source of many dramas, which are still represented in India, which is itself represented with such magnificence year after year, how I ask, could such an Epic have been purely allegorical?”. Pargitter says that ‘the geographical knowledge revealed in the Epic could hardly have been obtained except by actual visit to these places by some persons.’ Monnier Williams among his many tributes he pays to the Epic, ranks the Ramayana as the most beautiful composition that has ever appeared at any period or any country. Macdonall says, “Probably no work of world literature, secular in its origin has ever produced so profound an influence on the life and thought of a people as the Ramayana.”
Besides, millions of people feel the reciprocation from Lord Rama whenever they engage in devotion to Him, or read the Ramayana, or hear the Ramayana in a katha, or watch a television show or movie about Him, or go to one of the temples dedicated to Him. This cannot be denied or neglected. Just because we have insensitive politicians who cannot perceive this reciprocation does not mean that Indians are spiritually undeveloped. This dedication and reciprocation is now spread throughout the world, and I am one of the many thousands of foreigners, whose hearts have been charmed by Lord Rama and Lord Krishna.
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