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Rama Timeline



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Hellboy is a fictional character created by writer-artist Mike Mignola. The character first appeared in San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2 (August 1993), and has since appeared in various eponymous miniseries, one-shots and intercompany crossovers. The character has been adapted into three live-action feature films. Two starring Ron Perlman in 2004 and 2008 in the title role, and one in 2019 which starred David Harbour, as well as two straight-to-DVD animated films, and three video games – Asylum Seeker, The Science of Evil, and as a playable character in Injustice 2.

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    , stamina, durability, and longevity
  • Accelerated healing
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  • Innate capability to comprehend magical languages
  • Immunity to fire and lightning

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Contents

Rāma is a Vedic Sanskrit word with two contextual meanings. In one context as found in Atharva Veda, as stated by Monier Monier-Williams, means "dark, dark-colored, black" and is related to the term ratri which means night. In another context as found in other Vedic texts, the word means "pleasing, delightful, charming, beautiful, lovely". [23] [24] The word is sometimes used as a suffix in different Indian languages and religions, such as Pali in Buddhist texts, where -rama adds the sense of "pleasing to the mind, lovely" to the composite word. [25]

Rama as a first name appears in the Vedic literature, associated with two patronymic names – Margaveya and Aupatasvini – representing different individuals. A third individual named Rama Jamadagnya is the purported author of hymn 10.110 of the Rigveda in the Hindu tradition. [23] The word Rama appears in ancient literature in reverential terms for three individuals: [23]

    , as the sixth avatar of Vishnu. He is linked to the Rama Jamadagnya of the Rigveda fame.
  1. Rama-chandra, as the seventh avatar of Vishnu and of the ancient Ramayana fame. , also called Halayudha, as the elder brother of Krishna both of whom appear in the legends of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

The name Rama appears repeatedly in Hindu texts, for many different scholars and kings in mythical stories. [23] The word also appears in ancient Upanishads and Aranyakas layer of Vedic literature, as well as music and other post-Vedic literature, but in qualifying context of something or someone who is "charming, beautiful, lovely" or "darkness, night". [23]

The Vishnu avatar named Rama is also known by other names. He is called Ramachandra (beautiful, lovely moon), [24] or Dasarathi (son of Dasaratha), or Raghava (descendant of Raghu, solar dynasty in Hindu cosmology). [23] [26] He is also known as Ram Lalla (Infant form of Rama). [27]

Additional names of Rama include Ramavijaya (Javanese), Phreah Ream (Khmer), Phra Ram (Lao and Thai), Megat Seri Rama (Malay), Raja Bantugan (Maranao), Ramudu (Telugu), Ramar (Tamil). [28] In the Vishnu sahasranama, Rama is the 394th name of Vishnu. In some Advaita Vedanta inspired texts, Rama connotes the metaphysical concept of Supreme Brahman who is the eternally blissful spiritual Self (Atman, soul) in whom yogis delight nondualistically. [29]

The root of the word Rama is ram- which means "stop, stand still, rest, rejoice, be pleased". [24]

According to Douglas Q. Adams, the Sanskrit word Rama is also found in other Indo-European languages such as Tocharian ram, reme, *romo- where it means "support, make still", "witness, make evident". [24] [30] The sense of "dark, black, soot" also appears in other Indo European languages, such as *remos or Old English romig. [31] [β]

This summary is a traditional legendary account, based on literary details from the Ramayana and other historic mythology-containing texts of Buddhism and Jainism. According to Sheldon Pollock, the figure of Rama incorporates more ancient "morphemes of Indian myths", such as the mythical legends of Bali and Namuci. The ancient sage Valmiki used these morphemes in his Ramayana similes as in sections 3.27, 3.59, 3.73, 5.19 and 29.28. [33]

Birth

Rama was born on the ninth day of the lunar month Chaitra (March–April), a day celebrated across India as Ram Navami. This coincides with one of the four Navaratri on the Hindu calendar, in the spring season, namely the Vasantha Navaratri. [34]

The ancient epic Ramayana states in the Balakhanda that Rama and his brothers were born to Kaushalya and Dasharatha in Ayodhya, a city on the banks of Sarayu River. [35] [36] The Jain versions of the Ramayana, such as the Paumacariya (literally deeds of Padma) by Vimalasuri, also mention the details of the early life of Rama. The Jain texts are dated variously, but generally pre-500 CE, most likely sometime within the first five centuries of the common era. [37] Moriz Winternitz states that the Valmiki Ramayana was already famous before it was recast in the Jain Paumacariya poem, dated to the second half of the 1st century, which pre-dates a similar retelling found in the Buddha-carita of Asvagosa, dated to the beginning of the 2 : nd century or prior. [38]

Dasharatha was the king of Kosala, and a part of the solar dynasty of Iksvakus. His mother's name Kaushalya literally implies that she was from Kosala. The kingdom of Kosala is also mentioned in Buddhist and Jain texts, as one of the sixteen Maha janapadas of ancient India, and as an important center of pilgrimage for Jains and Buddhists. [35] [39] However, there is a scholarly dispute whether the modern Ayodhya is indeed the same as the Ayodhya and Kosala mentioned in the Ramayana and other ancient Indian texts. [40] [γ]

Youth, family and friends

Rama had three brothers, according to the Balakhanda section of the Ramayana. These were Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. [3] The extant manuscripts of the text describes their education and training as young princes, but this is brief. Rama is portrayed as a polite, self-controlled, virtuous youth always ready to help others. His education included the Vedas, the Vedangas as well as the martial arts. [43]

The years when Rama grew up are described in much greater detail by later Hindu texts, such as the Ramavali by Tulsidas. The template is similar to those found for Krishna, but in the poems of Tulsidas, Rama is milder and reserved introvert, rather than the prank-playing extrovert personality of Krishna. [3]

The Ramayana mentions an archery contest organised by King Janaka, where Sita and Rama meet. Rama wins the contest, whereby Janaka agrees to the marriage of Sita and Rama. Sita moves with Rama to his father Dashratha's capital. [3] Sita introduces Rama's brothers to her sister and her two cousins, and they all get married. [43]

While Rama and his brothers were away, Kaikeyi, the mother of Bharata and the second wife of King Dasharatha, reminds the king that he had promised long ago to comply with one thing she asks, anything. Dasharatha remembers and agrees to do so. She demands that Rama be exiled for fourteen years to Dandaka forest. [43] Dasharatha grieves at her request. Her son Bharata, and other family members become upset at her demand. Rama states that his father should keep his word, adds that he does not crave for earthly or heavenly material pleasures, neither seeks power nor anything else. He talks about his decision with his wife and tells everyone that time passes quickly. Sita leaves with him to live in the forest, the brother Lakshmana joins them in their exile as the caring close brother. [43]

Exile and war

Rama, along with his younger brother Lakshmana and wife Sita, exiled to the forest.

Ravana's sister Suparnakha attempts to seduce Rama and cheat on Sita. He refuses and spurns her (above).

Ravana kidnapping Sita while Jatayu on the left tried to help her. 9th-century Prambanan bas-relief, Java, Indonesia.

Rama heads outside the Kosala kingdom, crosses Yamuna river and initially stays at Chitrakuta, on the banks of river Mandakini, in the hermitage of sage Vasishtha. [44] During the exile, Rama meets one of his devotee, Shabari who happened to love him so much that when Rama asked something to eat she offered her ber, a fruit. But every time she gave it to him she first tasted it to ensure, it was sweet and tasty. Such was the level of her devotion. Rama also understood her devotion and ate all the half-eaten bers given by her. Such was the reciprocation of love and compassion he had for his people. This place is believed in the Hindu tradition to be the same as Chitrakoot on the border of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The region has numerous Rama temples and is an important Vaishnava pilgrimage site. [44] The texts describe nearby hermitages of Vedic rishis (sages) such as Atri, and that Rama roamed through forests, lived a humble simple life, provided protection and relief to ascetics in the forest being harassed and persecuted by demons, as they stayed at different ashrams. [44] [45]

After ten years of wandering and struggles, Rama arrives at Panchavati, on the banks of river Godavari. This region had numerous demons (rakshashas). One day, a demoness called Shurpanakha saw Rama, became enamored of him, and tried to seduce him. [43] Rama refused her. Shurpanakha retaliated by threatening Sita. Lakshmana, the younger brother protective of his family, in turn retaliated by cutting off the nose and ears of Shurpanakha. The cycle of violence escalated, ultimately reaching demon king Ravana, who was the brother of Shurpanakha. Ravana comes to Panchavati to take revenge on behalf of his family, sees Sita, gets attracted, and kidnaps her to his kingdom of Lanka (believed to be modern Sri Lanka). [43] [45]

Rama and Lakshmana discover the kidnapping, worry about Sita's safety, despair at the loss and their lack of resources to take on Ravana. Their struggles now reach new heights. They travel south, meet Sugriva, marshall an army of monkeys, and attract dedicated commanders such as Hanuman who was a minister of Sugriva. [46] Meanwhile, Ravana harasses Sita to be his wife, queen or goddess. [47] Sita refuses him. Ravana gets enraged and ultimately reaches Lanka, fights in a war that has many ups and downs, but ultimately Rama prevails, kills Ravana and forces of evil, and rescues his wife Sita. They return to Ayodhya. [43] [48]

Post-war rule and death

The return of Rama to Ayodhya was celebrated with his coronation. It is called Rama pattabhisheka, and his rule itself as Rama rajya described to be a just and fair rule. [49] [50] It is believed by many that when Rama returned people celebrated their happiness with diyas (lamps), and the festival of Diwali is connected with Rama's return. [51]

Upon Rama's accession as king, rumors emerge that Sita may have gone willingly when she was with Ravana Sita protests that her capture was forced. Rama responds to public gossip by renouncing his wife and asking her to undergo a test before Agni (fire). She does and passes the test. Rama and Sita live happily together in Ayodhya, have twin sons named Luv and Kush, in the Ramayana and other major texts. [45] However, in some revisions, the story is different and tragic, with Sita dying of sorrow for her husband not trusting her, making Sita a moral heroine and leaving the reader with moral questions about Rama. [52] [53] In these revisions, the death of Sita leads Rama to drown himself. Through death, he joins her in afterlife. [54] Rama dying by drowning himself is found in the Myanmar version of Rama's life story called Thiri Rama. [55]

Inconsistencies

Rama's legends vary significantly by the region and across manuscripts. While there is a common foundation, plot, grammar and an essential core of values associated with a battle between good and evil, there is neither a correct version nor a single verifiable ancient one. According to Paula Richman, there are hundreds of versions of "the story of Rama in India, Southeast Asia and beyond". [56] [57] The versions vary by region reflecting local preoccupations and histories, and these cannot be called "divergences or different tellings" from the "real" version, rather all the versions of Rama story are real and true in their own meanings to the local cultural tradition, according to scholars such as Richman and Ramanujan. [56]

The stories vary in details, particularly where the moral question is clear, but the appropriate ethical response is unclear or disputed. [58] [59] For example, when demoness Shurpanakha disguises as a woman to seduce Rama, then stalks and harasses Rama's wife Sita after Rama refuses her, Lakshmana is faced with the question of appropriate ethical response. In the Indian tradition, states Richman, the social value is that "a warrior must never harm a woman". [58] The details of the response by Rama and Lakshmana, and justifications for it, has numerous versions. Similarly, there are numerous and very different versions to how Rama deals with rumours against Sita when they return victorious to Ayodhya, given that the rumours can neither be objectively investigated nor summarily ignored. [60] Similarly the versions vary on many other specific situations and closure such as how Rama, Sita and Lakshmana die. [58] [61]

The variation and inconsistencies are not limited to the texts found in the Hinduism traditions. The Rama story in the Jainism tradition also show variation by author and region, in details, in implied ethical prescriptions and even in names – the older versions using the name Padma instead of Rama, while the later Jain texts just use Rama. [62]

In some Hindu texts, Rama is stated to have lived in the Treta Yuga [64] that their authors estimate existed before about 5,000 BCE. A few other researchers place Rama to have more plausibly lived around 1250 BCE, [65] based on regnal lists of Kuru and Vrishni leaders which if given more realistic reign lengths would place Bharat and Satwata, contemporaries of Rama, around that period. According to Hasmukh Dhirajlal Sankalia, an Indian archaeologist, who specialised in Proto- and Ancient Indian history, this is all "pure speculation". [66]

The composition of Rama's epic story, the Ramayana, in its current form is usually dated between 7th and 4th century BCE. [67] [68] According to John Brockington, a professor of Sanskrit at Oxford known for his publications on the Ramayana, the original text was likely composed and transmitted orally in more ancient times, and modern scholars have suggested various centuries in the 1st millennium BCE. In Brockington's view, "based on the language, style and content of the work, a date of roughly the fifth century BCE is the most reasonable estimate". [69]

Valmiki in Ramayana describes Rama as a charming, well built person of a dark complexion (varṇam śyāmam) and long arms (ājānabāhu, meaning a person who's middle finger reaches beyond their knee). [70] In the Sundara Kanda section of the epic, Hanuman describes Rama to Sita when she is held captive in Lanka to prove to her that he is indeed a messenger from Rama:

He has broad shoulders, mighty arms, a conch-shaped neck, a charming countenance, and coppery eyes

he has his clavicle concealed and is known by the people as Rama. He has a voice (deep) like the sound of a kettledrum and glossy skin,

is full of glory, square-built, and of well-proportioned limbs and is endowed with a dark-brown complexion. [71]

Rama iconography shares elements of Vishnu avatars, but has several distinctive elements. It never has more than two hands, he holds (or has nearby) a bana (arrow) in his right hand, while he holds the dhanus (bow) in his left. [72] The most recommended icon for him is that he be shown standing in tribhanga pose (thrice bent "S" shape). He is shown black, blue or dark color, typically wearing reddish color clothes. If his wife and brother are a part of the iconography, Lakshamana is on his left side while Sita always on the right of Rama, both of golden-yellow complexion. [72]

Rama's life story is imbued with symbolism. According to Sheldon Pollock, the life of Rama as told in the Indian texts is a masterpiece that offers a framework to represent, conceptualise and comprehend the world and the nature of life. Like major epics and religious stories around the world, it has been of vital relevance because it "tells the culture what it is". Rama's life is more complex than the Western template for the battle between the good and the evil, where there is a clear distinction between immortal powerful gods or heroes and mortal struggling humans. In the Indian traditions, particularly Rama, the story is about a divine human, a mortal god, incorporating both into the exemplar who transcends both humans and gods. [73]

A superior being does not render evil for evil,
this is the maxim one should observe
the ornament of virtuous persons is their conduct.
(. )
A noble soul will ever exercise compassion
even towards those who enjoy injuring others.

Ramayana 6.115, Valmiki
(Abridged, Translator: Roderick Hindery) [74]

As a person, Rama personifies the characteristics of an ideal person (purushottama). [53] He had within him all the desirable virtues that any individual would seek to aspire, and he fulfils all his moral obligations. Rama is considered a maryada purushottama or the best of upholders of Dharma. [75]

According to Rodrick Hindery, Book 2, 6 and 7 are notable for ethical studies. [76] [59] The views of Rama combine "reason with emotions" to create a "thinking hearts" approach. Second, he emphasises through what he says and what he does a union of "self-consciousness and action" to create an "ethics of character". Third, Rama's life combines the ethics with the aesthetics of living. [76] The story of Rama and people in his life raises questions such as "is it appropriate to use evil to respond to evil?", and then provides a spectrum of views within the framework of Indian beliefs such as on karma and dharma. [74]

Rama's life and comments emphasise that one must pursue and live life fully, that all three life aims are equally important: virtue (dharma), desires (kama), and legitimate acquisition of wealth (artha). Rama also adds, such as in section 4.38 of the Ramayana, that one must also introspect and never neglect what one's proper duties, appropriate responsibilities, true interests, and legitimate pleasures are. [42]

Ramayana

The primary source of the life of Rama is the Sanskrit epic Ramayana composed by Rishi Valmiki. [77]

The epic had many versions across India's regions. The followers of Madhvacharya believe that an older version of the Ramayana, the Mula-Ramayana, previously existed. [78] The Madhva tradition considers it to have been more authoritative than the version by Valmiki. [79]

Versions of the Ramayana exist in most major Indian languages examples that elaborate on the life, deeds and divine philosophies of Rama include the epic poem Ramavataram, and the following vernacular versions of Rama's life story: [80]

  • Ramavataram or Kamba-Ramayanam in Tamil by the poet Kambar in Tamil. (12th century) in Assamese by poet Madhava Kandali. (14th century)
  • Krittivasi Ramayan in Bengali by poet Krittibas Ojha. (15th century)
  • Ramcharitmanas in Hindi by sant Tulsidas. (16th-century)
  • Pampa Ramayana, Torave Ramayana by Kumara Valmiki and Sri Ramayana Darshanam by Kuvempu in Kannada
  • Ramayana Kalpavruksham by Viswanatha Satyanarayana and Ramayana by Ranganatha in Telugu
  • Vilanka Ramayana in Odia
  • Eluttachan in Malayalam (this text is closer to the Advaita Vedanta-inspired rendition Adhyatma Ramayana). [81]

The epic is found across India, in different languages and cultural traditions. [82]

Adhyatma Ramayana

Adhyatma Ramayana is a late medieval Sanskrit text extolling the spiritualism in the story of Ramayana. It is embedded in the latter portion of Brahmānda Purana, and constitutes about a third of it. [83] The text philosophically attempts to reconcile Bhakti in god Rama and Shaktism with Advaita Vedanta, over 65 chapters and 4,500 verses. [84] [85]

The text represents Rama as the Brahman (metaphysical reality), mapping all attributes and aspects of Rama to abstract virtues and spiritual ideals. [85] Adhyatma Ramayana transposes Ramayana into symbolism of self study of one's own soul, with metaphors described in Advaita terminology. [85] The text is notable because it influenced the popular Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas, [83] [85] and inspired the most popular version of Nepali Ramayana by Bhanubhakta Acharya. [86] This was also translated by Thunchath Ezhuthachan to Malayalam, which lead the foundation of Malayalam literature itself. [87]

Ramacharitmanas

The Ramayana is a Sanskrit text, while Ramacharitamanasa retells the Ramayana in a vernacular dialect of Hindi language, [88] commonly understood in northern India. [89] [90] [91] Ramacharitamanasa was composed in the 16th century by Tulsidas. [92] [93] [88] The popular text is notable for synthesising the epic story in a Bhakti movement framework, wherein the original legends and ideas morph in an expression of spiritual bhakti (devotional love) for a personal god. [88] [94] [δ]

Tulsidas was inspired by Adhyatma Ramayana, where Rama and other characters of the Valmiki Ramayana along with their attributes (saguna narrative) were transposed into spiritual terms and abstract rendering of an Atma (soul, self, Brahman) without attributes (nirguna reality). [83] [85] [96] According to Kapoor, Rama's life story in the Ramacharitamanasa combines mythology, philosophy, and religious beliefs into a story of life, a code of ethics, a treatise on universal human values. [97] It debates in its dialogues the human dilemmas, the ideal standards of behaviour, duties to those one loves, and mutual responsibilities. It inspires the audience to view their own lives from a spiritual plane, encouraging the virtuous to keep going, and comforting those oppressed with a healing balm. [97]

The Ramacharitmanas is notable for being the Rama-based play commonly performed every year in autumn, during the weeklong performance arts festival of Ramlila. [20] The "staging of the Ramayana based on the Ramacharitmanas" was inscribed in 2008 by UNESCO as one of the Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity. [98]

Yoga Vasistha

Yoga Vasistha (Vasistha teaching Rama)
Tr: Christopher Chapple [99]

Yoga Vasistha is a Sanskrit text structured as a conversation between young Prince Rama and sage Vasistha who was called as the first sage of the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy by Adi Shankara. The complete text contains over 29,000 verses. [100] The short version of the text is called Laghu Yogavasistha and contains 6,000 verses. [101] The exact century of its completion is unknown, but has been estimated to be somewhere between the 6 : th century to as late as the 14 : th century, but it is likely that a version of the text existed in the 1 : st millennium. [102]

The Yoga Vasistha text consists of six books. The first book presents Rama's frustration with the nature of life, human suffering and disdain for the world. The second describes, through the character of Rama, the desire for liberation and the nature of those who seek such liberation. The third and fourth books assert that liberation comes through a spiritual life, one that requires self-effort, and present cosmology and metaphysical theories of existence embedded in stories. [103] These two books are known for emphasising free will and human creative power. [103] [104] The fifth book discusses meditation and its powers in liberating the individual, while the last book describes the state of an enlightened and blissful Rama. [103] [105]

Yoga Vasistha is considered one of the most important texts of the Vedantic philosophy. [106] The text, states David Gordon White, served as a reference on Yoga for medieval era Advaita Vedanta scholars. [107] The Yoga Vasistha, according to White, was one of the popular texts on Yoga that dominated the Indian Yoga culture scene before the 12th century. [107]

Other texts

Other important historic Hindu texts on Rama include Bhusundi Ramanaya, Prasanna raghava, and Ramavali by Tulsidas. [3] [108] The Sanskrit poem Bhaṭṭikāvya of Bhatti, who lived in Gujarat in the seventh century CE, is a retelling of the epic that simultaneously illustrates the grammatical examples for Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī as well as the major figures of speech and the Prakrit language. [109]

Another historically and chronologically important text is Raghuvamsa authored by Kalidasa. [110] Its story confirms many details of the Ramayana, but has novel and different elements. It mentions that Ayodhya was not the capital in the time of Rama's son named Kusha, but that he later returned to it and made it the capital again. This text is notable because the poetry in the text is exquisite and called a Mahakavya in the Indian tradition, and has attracted many scholarly commentaries. It is also significant because Kalidasa has been dated to between the 4th and 5th century CE, suggesting that the Ramayana legend was well established by the time of Kalidasa. [110]

The Mahabharata has a summary of the Ramayana. The Jainism tradition has extensive literature of Rama as well, but generally refers to him as Padma, such as in the Paumacariya by Vimalasuri. [37] Rama and Sita legend is mentioned in the Jataka tales of Buddhism, as Dasaratha-Jataka (Tale no. 461), but with slightly different spellings such as Lakkhana for Lakshmana and Rama-pandita for Rama. [111] [112] [113]

The chapter 4 of Vishnu Purana, chapter 112 of Padma Purana, chapter 143 of Garuda Purana and chapters 5 through 11 of Agni Purana also summarise the life story of Rama. [114] Additionally, the Rama story is included in the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata, which has been a part of evidence that the Ramayana is likely more ancient, and it was summarised in the Mahabharata epic in ancient times. [115]

Rama's story has had a major socio-cultural and inspirational influence across South Asia and Southeast Asia. [14] [116]

Few works of literature produced in any place at any time have been as popular, influential, imitated and successful as the great and ancient Sanskrit epic poem, the Valmiki Ramayana.

– Robert Goldman, Professor of Sanskrit, University of California at Berkeley. [14]

According to Arthur Anthony Macdonell, a professor at Oxford and Boden scholar of Sanskrit, Rama's ideas as told in the Indian texts are secular in origin, their influence on the life and thought of people having been profound over at least two and a half millennia. [117] [118] Their influence has ranged from being a framework for personal introspection to cultural festivals and community entertainment. [14] His life stories, states Goldman, have inspired "painting, film, sculpture, puppet shows, shadow plays, novels, poems, TV serials and plays." [117]

Hinduism

Rama Navami

Rama Navami is a spring festival that celebrates the birthday of Rama. The festival is a part of the spring Navratri, and falls on the ninth day of the bright half of Chaitra month in the traditional Hindu calendar. This typically occurs in the Gregorian months of March or April every year. [119] [120]

The day is marked by recital of Rama legends in temples, or reading of Rama stories at home. Some Vaishnava Hindus visit a temple, others pray within their home, and some participate in a bhajan or kirtan with music as a part of puja and aarti. [121] The community organises charitable events and volunteer meals. The festival is an occasion for moral reflection for many Hindus. [122] [123] Some mark this day by vrata (fasting) or a visit to a river for a dip. [122] [124] [125]

The important celebrations on this day take place at Ayodhya, Sitamarhi, [126] Janakpurdham (Nepal), Bhadrachalam, Kodandarama Temple, Vontimitta and Rameswaram. Rathayatras, the chariot processions, also known as Shobha yatras of Rama, Sita, his brother Lakshmana and Hanuman, are taken out at several places. [122] [127] [128] In Ayodhya, many take a dip in the sacred river Sarayu and then visit the Rama temple. [125]

Rama Navami day also marks the end of the nine-day spring festival celebrated in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh called Vasanthothsavam (Festival of Spring), that starts with Ugadi. Some highlights of this day are Kalyanam (ceremonial wedding performed by temple priests) at Bhadrachalam on the banks of the river Godavari in Bhadradri Kothagudem district of Telangana, preparing and sharing Panakam which is a sweet drink prepared with jaggery and pepper, a procession and Rama temple decorations. [129]

Ramlila and Dussehra

Rama's life is remembered and celebrated every year with dramatic plays and fireworks in autumn. This is called Ramlila, and the play follows Ramayana or more commonly the Ramcharitmanas. [130] It is observed through thousands [18] of Rama-related performance arts and dance events, that are staged during the festival of Navratri in India. [131] After the enactment of the legendary war between Good and Evil, the Ramlila celebrations climax in the Dussehra (Dasara, Vijayadashami) night festivities where the giant grotesque effigies of Evil such as of demon Ravana are burnt, typically with fireworks. [98] [132]

The Ramlila festivities were declared by UNESCO as one of the "Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity" in 2008. Ramlila is particularly notable in historically important Hindu cities of Ayodhya, Varanasi, Vrindavan, Almora, Satna and Madhubani – cities in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. [98] [133] The epic and its dramatic play migrated into southeast Asia in the 1st millennium CE, and Ramayana based Ramlila is a part of performance arts culture of Indonesia, particularly the Hindu society of Bali, Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand. [134]

Diwali

In some parts of India, Rama's return to Ayodhya and his coronation is the main reason for celebrating Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights. [135]

In Guyana, Diwali is marked as a special occasion and celebrated with a lot of fanfare. It is observed as a national holiday in this part of the world and some ministers of the Government also take part in the celebrations publicly. Just like Vijayadashmi, Diwali is celebrated by different communities across India to commemorate different events in addition to Rama's return to Ayodhya. For example, many communities celebrate one day of Diwali to celebrate the Victory of Krishna over the demon Narakasur. [ε]

Hindu arts in Southeast Asia

Rama's life story, both in the written form of Sanskrit Ramayana and the oral tradition arrived in southeast Asia in the 1st millennium CE. [138] Rama was one of many ideas and cultural themes adopted, others being the Buddha, the Shiva and host of other Brahmanic and Buddhist ideas and stories. [139] In particular, the influence of Rama and other cultural ideas grew in Java, Bali, Malaya, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. [139]

The Ramayana was translated from Sanskrit into old Javanese around 860 CE, while the performance arts culture most likely developed from the oral tradition inspired by the Tamil and Bengali versions of Rama-based dance and plays. [138] The earliest evidence of these performance arts are from 243 CE according to Chinese records. Other than the celebration of Rama's life with dance and music, Hindu temples built in southeast Asia such as the Prambanan near Yogyakarta (Java), and at the Panataran near Blitar (East Java), show extensive reliefs depicting Rama's life. [138] [140] The story of Rama's life has been popular in Southeast Asia. [141]

In the 14th century, the Ayutthaya Kingdom and its capital Ayuttaya was named after the Hindu holy city of Ayodhya, with the official religion of the state being Theravada Buddhism. [142] [143] Thai kings, continuing into the contemporary era, have been called Rama, a name inspired by Rama of Ramakien – the local version of Sanskrit Ramayana, according to Constance Jones and James Ryan. For example, King Chulalongkorn (1853-1910) is also known as Rama V, while King Vajiralongkorn who succeeded to the throne in 2016 is called Rama X. [144]

Jainism

In Jainism, the earliest known version of Rama story is variously dated from the 1st to 5th century CE. This Jaina text credited to Vimalasuri shows no signs of distinction between Digambara-Svetambara (sects of Jainism), and is in a combination of Marathi and Sauraseni languages. These features suggest that this text has ancient roots. [145]

In Jain cosmology, characters continue to be reborn as they evolve in their spiritual qualities, until they reach the Jina state and complete enlightenment. This idea is explained as cyclically reborn triads in its Puranas, called the Baladeva, Vasudeva and evil Prati-vasudeva. [146] [147] Rama, Lakshmana and evil Ravana are the eighth triad, with Rama being the reborn Baladeva, and Lakshmana as the reborn Vasudeva. [61] Rama is described to have lived long before the 22nd Jain Tirthankara called Neminatha. In the Jain tradition, Neminatha is believed to have been born 84,000 years before the 9th-century BCE Parshvanatha. [148]

Jain texts tell a very different version of the Rama legend than the Hindu texts such as by Valmiki. According to the Jain version, Lakshmana (Vasudeva) is the one who kills Ravana (Prativasudeva). [61] Rama, after all his participation in the rescue of Sita and preparation for war, he actually does not kill, thus remains a non-violent person. The Rama of Jainism has numerous wives as does Lakshmana, unlike the virtue of monogamy given to Rama in the Hindu texts. Towards the end of his life, Rama becomes a Jaina monk then successfully attains siddha followed by moksha. [61] His first wife Sita becomes a Jaina nun at the end of the story. In the Jain version, Lakshmana and Ravana both go to the hell of Jain cosmology, because Ravana killed many, while Lakshmana killed Ravana to stop Ravana's violence. [61] Padmapurana mentions Rama as a contemporary of Munisuvrata, 20th tirthankara of Jainism. [149]

Buddhism

The Dasaratha-Jataka (Tale no. 461) provides a version of the Rama story. It calls Rama as Rama-pandita. [111] [112]

At the end of this Dasaratha-Jataka discourse, the Buddhist text declares that the Buddha in his prior rebirth was Rama:

The Master having ended this discourse, declared the Truths, and identified the Birth (. ): 'At that time, the king Suddhodana was king Dasaratha, Mahamaya was the mother, Rahula's mother was Sita, Ananda was Bharata, and I myself was Rama-Pandita.

While the Buddhist Jataka texts co-opt Rama and make him an incarnation of Buddha in a previous life, [112] the Hindu texts co-opt the Buddha and make him an avatar of Vishnu. [150] [151] The Jataka literature of Buddhism is generally dated to be from the second half of the 1st millennium BCE, based on the carvings in caves and Buddhist monuments such as the Bharhut stupa. [152] [ζ] The 2nd-century BCE stone relief carvings on Bharhut stupa, as told in the Dasaratha-Jataka, is the earliest known non-textual evidence of Rama story being prevalent in ancient India. [154]

Sikhism

Rama is mentioned as one of twenty four divine incarnations of Vishnu in the Chaubis Avtar, a composition in Dasam Granth traditionally and historically attributed to Guru Gobind Singh. [10] [η] The discussion of Rama and Krishna avatars is the most extensive in this section of the secondary Sikh scripture. [10] [156] The name of Rama is mentioned more than 2,500 times in the Guru Granth Sahib [157] and is considered as avatar along with the Krishna. [η]

Among people

In Assam, Boro people call themselves Ramsa, which means Children of Ram. [158]

In Chhattisgarh, Ramnami people tattooed their whole body with name of Ram. [159]

Worship

Rama is a revered Vaishanava deity, one who is worshipped privately at home or in temples. He was a part of the Bhakti movement focus, particularly because of efforts of 14th century North Indian poet-saint Ramananda who created the Ramanandi Sampradaya, a sannyasi community. This community has grown to become the largest Hindu monastic community in modern times. [162] [163] This Rama-inspired movement has championed social reforms, accepting members without discriminating anyone by gender, class, caste or religion since the time of Ramananda who accepted Muslims wishing to leave Islam. [164] [165] Traditional scholarship holds that his disciples included later Bhakti movement poet-saints such as Kabir, Ravidas, Bhagat Pipa and others. [165] [166]

Temples

Temples dedicated to Rama are found all over India and in places where Indian migrant communities have resided. In most temples, the iconography of Rama is accompanied by that of his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana. [167] In some instances, Hanuman is also included either near them or in the temple premises. [168]

Hindu temples dedicated to Rama were built by early 5th century, according to copper plate inscription evidence, but these have not survived. The oldest surviving Rama temple is near Raipur (Chhattisgarh), called the Rajiva-locana temple at Rajim near the Mahanadi river. It is in a temple complex dedicated to Vishnu and dates back to the 7th-century with some restoration work done around 1145 CE based on epigraphical evidence. [169] [170] The temple remains important to Rama devotees in the contemporary times, with devotees and monks gathering there on dates such as Rama Navami. [171]

Important Rama temples include:

Rama has been considered as a source of inspiration and has been described as Maryāda Puruṣottama Rāma (transl. The Ideal Man ). [θ] He has been depicted in many films, television shows and plays. [172]


Astronomical Dating of the Ramayan

It has been believed that there is no evidence to determine the dates of events in the Ramayanic era. Some historians of the past even refuse to acknowledge that Rama and other characters from the Ramayana even existed. However, Sage Valmiki has recorded the dates if events in detail, albeit by describing the positions of stars and planets. To decipher the astronomical encodings has not been a trivial task, and not many have attempted to do so. It should be noted that the ancient Indians had a prefect method of time measurement. They recorded the ' tithis ', days according to the nakshatra on which the moon prevailed, the months, the seasons and even the different Solstices. By therefore noting a particular arrangement of the astronomical bodies, which occur once in many thousand years, the dates of the events can be calculated. Dr. P.V. Vartak has thus attempted to calculate the dates of important incidents that occured during the Ramayanic Era. The correct astronomical records goes to show that Valmiki's has chronicled an account of a true story and also, that the an advanced time measurement system was known to the Hindus (Indians) atleast 9000 years ago. Please refer to Dr. Vartak's celebrated book " Vastav Ramayan " for further reading.

Before coming to the astronomical method, it should be noted that the Mahabharat has recorded a number of facts about Ramayan (and not otherwise). The precedence of the Ramayanic era to that of the Mahabharat can therefore be inferred. An attempt to fix the dates of the events in the Mahabharat era, mainly based on internal astronomical records. The Mahabharat Era has already been dated by Dr. Vartak to 5561 B.C. [Reference: Dr. Vartak's book " Swayambhu "].

Genealogical links available from the Mahabharat and Puranas, Yuga calculations and some archaelogical findings also provide clues to the dating of the Ramayanic era. Also, literary references to the characters from the Ramayanic Era provide limits after which the Ramayan could not have occured. For example, Guru Valmiki (the author of Ramayana) is refered to in the Taittiriya Brahmana (dated to 4600 B.C) and therefore Ramayana must have before the Brahmana was composed. However, archaeological and literary methods can only provide approximate datelines and for determining the precise time of the Ramayanic events, astronomical calculations may alone be useful.

Mahabharat states that Sage Vishwamitra started counting nakshatras from Shravana (Aadiparva A.71 and Ashwamedha A.44) and a new reference to time measurement thus initiated. According to the old tradition, the first place was assigned to the nakshatra prevelant on the Vernal Equinox. Vishwamitra modified this and started measuring from the nakshatra at the Autumnal Equinox. Sharvan was at this juncture at about 7500 B.C, which is therefore the probable period when Vishwamitra existed and also that of the Ramayanic Era.

Formerly, the year initiated with the Varsha-Rutu (season) and therefore was termed " Varsha ". Ramayan shows that the flag was being hoisted to celebrate the new year on Ashwin Paurnima (Kishkindha 16/37, Ayodhya 74/36). Ayodhya 77 mentions that the flags were defaced and damaged due to heat and showers. These descriptions point to the fact that their new year started on the Summer Solstice when heat and rain simultaneously exist. The Summer Solstice fell on Ashwin Full Moon, so the Sun was diagonally opposite at Swati nakshatra. This astral configuration can be calculated to have occured around 7400 B.C.

Kishkindha 26-13 describes the commencement of the rainy season. In shloka 14, refers to Shravan as " Varshika Poorva Masa ". Kishkindha 28/2 clearly shows that the rainy season began in Bhadrapada Masa. Further description " Heated by the Sun and showered by new waters, the earth is expelling vapours " (Kish.26/7) points to Bhadrapada as premonsoon. Kish.28/17 tells that there was alternate sun-shine and shadowing by the clouds. Kish.28/14 describes the on-coming rainy season. Thus Bhadrapada was the month of pre-monsoon, that is before 21st June or Summer Solstice. Naturally, months of Ashwin and Kartika formed the rainy season. It is therefore concluded that Ashwin Full Moon coincided with Summer Solstice, that year being 7400 B.C.

Rama started forest-exile in Chaitra and ended it in Chaitra. He was coronated in the same month and one month later, proceeded to Ashokavan with Seeta (Uttar 41/18) when the Shishira Rutu terminated. So it seems that Vaishakha Masa coincided with Shishira. So the Winter Solstice was at Vaishakha with the Sun at Ashwini. At present, the Winter Solstice takes place at Moola. Thus a shift of 10 nakshatras has occured since the Ramayanic Era. Precession has a rate of 960 years per nakshatra. Therefore, Ramayan must have occured 9600 years ago, which is 7600 B.C approximately.

Now we shall proceed with the astral route. Valmiki records the birth of Rama as Chaitra Shuddha Navami (9th), on Punarvasu Nakshatra and five plants were exalted then Sun in Mesha upto 10 deg., Mars in Capricorn at 28 deg., Jupiter in Cancer at 5 deg., Venus in Pisces at 27 deg. and Saturn in Libra at 20 deg. (Bala Kanda.18/Shloka 8,9).

Ayodhya 4/18 states that Sun, Mars and Rahu were at Dasharatha's nakshatra. It was the month of Chaitra, so the Sun was in Revati, Ashwini or Bharani. Naturally, either Rahu and Ketu was in any one of these nakshatra (Rahu and Ketu are diagonally opposite).

The planetary positions on 16th October 5561 B.C., the date of commencement of the Mahabharat War, have been calculated and known [Dating of the Mahabharat, by Dr. P.V. Vartak]. Therefore, calculating further backwards for the astral combination noted above, the date concludes to be 4th December 7323 B.C. On this date, Saturn was at 205 deg., Jupiter at 94 deg., Mars between 283 and 298 deg., Rahu at 179 deg. and Sun at 2 degrees. 4th Dec. 7323 therefore is the date of birth of Rama, when the aforementioned 4 planets exalted. Venus is always within 47 degrees from the Sun, and might be in Pisces in an exalted state. Thus Rama's date is confirmed.

Rama completed 17 years of age (Ayodhya 20/45) and his coronation was fixed on Chaitra Shuddha 9th on Pushya day. However, he had to proceed to the forest on the same day, at the behest of Kaikeyi. At this time, Dasharatha states that Rahu, Mars and Sun were disturbing his nakshatra (Ayodhya 4/18). Calculating 17 years from Rama's birth date, the location of Mars can be determined at 303 degrees in Dhanishta nakshatra. From here, Mars casts its fourth-sight on Krittika. Rahu, after 17 years had been at 211 degrees in Vishakha, and so was in opposition to Krittika. Being Chaitra masa, the Sun was at Mesha and so it could be at Krittika. This the planetary positions agree with Valmiki's statement. Dasharatha's nakshatra appears to be Krittika.

Valmiki has beautifully described the sky (Ayodhya 41/10), when Rama left for forest exile. He states, "Crux (Trishankhu), Mars, Jupiter and Mercury have cornered the Moon. Vaishakha and Milky Way are shining in the sky". Crux is on line with Hasta (Corvus) on the southern side. On the eastern side of Hasta, there are Chitra, Swati and Vishakha. As seen earlier, Mars was at 303 deg. in Dhanishta. Calculations show that Jupiter was in Poorvashadha at 251 deg. Pushya was at the western horizon with the setting Moon. On the southern side, from the west to the east, all the other planets were situated. So poetically Valmiki describes the sketch as if the Moon was cornered by the planets. The description of the sky, 17 years after the birth-date of Rama, is perfect astronomically.

After 14 years of Rama's stay in the forest, Valmiki tells that Rohini was imprisoned (6-24-7, 6-93-60, 6-92-60), Mars marched on Rohini (6- 93-46 or 6-92-45) and mars was torturing Rohini (5-17-24 or 5-15-22, 5-19-9, 6-113 or 116-2). The bracketed seven statements show the vicinity of Mars with Rohini. Calculations reveal that 14 years later, Mars was at Ardra and was retrograde. Mars therefore moved in the reverse direction (from Ardra) to Rohini, resided at the "gate" of Rohini, thus in a way imprisoning the latter. It is to be noted that the constellation of Rohini is V-shaped. The apex of the angle points to the west and the two limbs towards east, and therefore appears like a "gate". Mars was situated in between the two limbs (or two doors) of the gate and appeared like a guard. Thus can the simile be explained.

Amavasya (No Moon Day)comes 10.883 days earlier each successive year. 25th November 7323 B.C., 9 days before Rama's birth, was a Amavasya. In 17 years, the Amavasya shifted by 185.011 days backwards. It means that 6 Amavasyas (each 29.53 days) were completed and a shift of 7.8 deg. was noticed. The original Amavasya before Rama's birth took place at 353 deg. Deducting 7.8 deg. from it, we obtain 345 deg. as the position of this Amavasya which falls in the Uttara Bhadrapada nakshatra. Naturally, the next month was Chaitra, when the coronation was arranged on Pushya day at 104 degrees. One 'tithi' contains 12 degrees. So the moon was in Pushya on 29th November 7306 B.C., when Rama proceeded to the forest. Calculations show that this day was a Thursday, so said by Seeta as well(Ayodhya 26/9).

Rama left for the forest on a Thursday, the 29th Nov. 7306 B.C. He completed the required 14 year period in the forest and returned on 5th Shuddha 9th was over, and the 5th tithi refered to must have been Chaitra Krishna 5th. Amavasya recedes by 10.883 days each successive year. So in 14 years it must have receded by 152.3 days. Deducting 5 Amavasya periods (29.53 days each), 4.7 days remain which implies that Amavasya came 4 days days earlier on 15th November 7292 B.C. Calculating backwards for 14 years from 29th November 7306 B.C, when the Amavasya was at 345 deg., the Amavasya falls at 340 deg. (receded by 4.7 days in 14 years). This is Uttara Bhadrapada, the month being Phalguna. Since the next month was Chaitra, Krishna 5th tithi happens to be 5th December 7292 B.C. when Rama entered Bharadwaja Ashram.

Hanuman set out to Lanka in the hopes and mission to search for the kidnapped Seeta. He reached this destination at night, roamed around a little until he located Seeta the next morning. While describing Hanuman's return in Sunder Kanda (S.56 or 57 /1/2), Valmiki states using a simile of sea to the sky:

" The Moon was attractive like a lotus, Sun like a good crane and a span from Pushya to Shravana was seen. Punarvasu appeared like a big fish, Mars like a crocodile, Airavata like an island and Swati like a swan."

Even though a poetic simile, Valmiki provides a plot of the nakshatras from the west to the east. When Hanuman started from Lanka it was early morning, because Seeta tells him to rest for a day in some hiding place (Sunder 56/3,11 57/18). Since it was morning, the Sun was rising and appeared like a crane and the moon like a lotus. As both the moon and the sun were present simultaneously in the sky, it probably was a Paurnima (Full Moon Day) with the moon on the western horizon and sun on the eastern. The span of nakshatras streched from Pushya to Shravan, that is from 104 deg. to 281 deg. Punarvasu was also seen. Aairavat connotes an elephant, and it is possible that Scorpio was seen like an elephant showing its trunk. The span of nakshatra's from Punarvasu to Sharavan is seen early in the morning of Krishna paksha of Pushya Lunar month. Sun-rise could also be seen. Hence, most probably, Hanuman returned from Lanka of Pushya Paurnima or Pushya Vadya paksha.

Hanuman had set out for Seeta's search after Ashwin masa as he himself says in Kishkindha 53/21,22. So he must have started the campaign in Kartika masa. One month, that of Margashirsha was spent in the cave of Swayamprabha. Some more time was spent in the search upto the South sea, after which Hanuman entered Lanka, possibly on Pushya Shuddha 14th. Thus it highly probably that he returned on Pushya Paurnima or Pushya Krishna 1st.

Ravana had abducted Seeta in the season of Hemant (Aranya 16/1) and had given a period of 1 year, that is upto the next Hemant to consider marrying Ravana (Aranya 56/24, Yudh 12/19). Had Seeta not accepted this offer, Ravana would have killed her in Hemant. Hemant is composed of 2 months. Sunder 58/106 or 108 state that Seeta told Hanuman that only 2 months of her life remain, after which she will die. Seeta therefore must have conveyed this to Hanuman before Hemant began, that is, in the season of Sharad. Thus Pushya lunar month coincided with the season of Sharad.

According to the above description, Mars was near Punarvasu and Pushya. It was noted that during the (Lanka) war, Mars was at 102 deg. in Pushya. Naturally, since Mars many a time becomes stagnant, Mars would have been near Punarvasu and Pushya two months earlier.


Rama's Bridge: Where Modern Science And Ancient Myths Collide

Historians, archeologists and researchers in our distant past insist that civilized life began on the Earth about 5,000 years ago. They point to the fact that there is no hard evidence to support the existence of a preexisting culture prior to the rise of the Sumerians and the Egyptians. When alternative historians such as John Anthony West, Robert Schoch and Graham Hancock, proposed that structures on the Giza plateau in Egypt may be far older than currently accepted, their claims were quickly dismissed. Unfortunately for us, no written record exists which documents the date of their construction so these complex masterpieces are placed in the generally accepted timeline of human development and culture.

But what if there was evidence? What if a structure that was clearly identified in our written and oral traditions were to be found? And what if the stories associated with that site put it unmistakably outside the generally accepted timeline? If an analysis of both the structure and the associated myths were done and they were both supported by modern science, could it change the face of history, a history we held so dearly?

This just might be what has happened at a discovered site in India. Located in the Palk Strait off the Southeastern edge of India is a chain of limestone shoals. A shoal or sandbar is characterized by a long and narrow strip of land typically composed of sand, silt and small pebbles that have been deposited over time. This strip of land was once believed to be a natural formation, however, images taken by a NASA satellite has shown this land formation to be a long broken bridge under the ocean's surface. Now called "Adam's Bridge", it extends 18 miles from mainland India to modern day Sri Lanka.

The location of Adam's Bridge between India and Sri Lanka

Hindu tradition has long held the belief that this strip of land was a bridge built by their beloved deity Rama as described in the Hindu epic the Ramayana. It has been referred to since antiquity as "Rama's Bridge" or Rama Setu. Rama is a popular figure in Hindu mythology. The book that chronicles his life, the Ramayana, is a time honored classic. It tells of a time when the gods flew on ships through the air and of giants and monsters that walked the earth. Researchers who have analyzed the Ramayana state that it is an overambitious work of fiction. Is that true? Or is it possible that Adam's Bridge is actually the structure described in this Indian classic?

A number of pieces of evidence support the claim that Adam's Bridge is the same one described in literature.

Rama, according to the Ramayana, was sent into exile because of a promise his father had made many years before. Rama was joined by his brother Lakshmana and his wife Sita. Through the course of a number of unfolding events, Sita is kidnapped by the 10-headed demon-king Ravana. Rama, in an attempt to rescue Seta, assembles an army which includes a large group of ape men, the Vanara.

It is discovered that Sita is being held captive on the island of Lanka. Rama, unable to move his massive forces of ape men across the ocean, is advised by the sea god to build a bridge across the water. Rama enlists the help of the Vanara for its construction. The Vanara build a causeway between the mainland to Lanka, constructing it of rocks and boulders, which are described as resembling mountains. The building project is said to have lasted for five days and to have been 100 leagues in length. The bridge, once completed, allowed Rama to transport his army of Vanara across the ocean to Lanka. Once there, Ravana is killed and Sita, Rama's wife, is returned.

According to Hindu tradition, Rama lived during the Treta Yuga, a period of time that began 2,165,000 years ago and extended until about 869,000 years ago. On the surface, this claim seems absurd. One assumption that is often made is that Rama and the many characters that fill the Ramayana are men and women as we currently know them. This however does not explain individuals like the 10-headed demon-king Ravana and other strange individuals who inhabit the Ramayana's pages. If you let go of the belief, just for one moment, that the figures described in this epic tale were human as we currently know them to exist, you will see how only in this light will all of this make sense.

To begin our assessment as to the validity of the claim that Adam's Bridge is the same one talked about in myth, let us first look at the bridge itself. Dr. Badrinarayanan, the former director of the Geological Survey of India performed a survey of this structure and concluded that it was man-made. Dr. Badrinarayanan and his team drilled 10 bore holes along the alignment of Adam's Bridge. What he discovered was startling. About 6 meters below the surface he found a consistent layer of calcareous sand stone, corals and boulder like materials. His team was surprised when they discovered a layer of loose sand, some 4-5 meters further down and then hard rock formations below that.

A team of divers went down to physically examine the bridge. The boulders that they observed were not composed of a typical marine formation. They were identified as having come from either side of the causeway. Dr. Badrinarayanan also indicates that there is evidence of ancient quarrying in these areas. His team concluded that materials from either shore were placed upon the sandy bottom of the water to form the causeway.

With the creation of this engineering marvel revealed, we will turn our attention to additional evidence that supports its connection to the Ramayana, in particular its claim to have been constructed during the Treta Yuga. Earlier we asked you to suspend your belief about the nature of the individuals portrayed in the Ramayana. And it is not to the gods, the monster nor the main character Rama that we would like to draw your attention, but instead to the Vanara, the ape men, who constructed the bridge for Rama.

The Vanara, according to the Ramayana, were the children of the gods, who were born in the form of the ape. The gods sired the Vanara just after Rama's birth in order to help Rama in his war against Ravana.

Who were these ape men? Could the stories of the Vanara we find in myth be describing our earliest ancestors? Are they talking about us, mankind? It is entirely possible.

Around 2.5 million years ago (just prior to the opening of the Treta Yuga), human evolution took a major leap with the introduction of the genis "Homo". Homo habilis were the first group of primates that were able to utilize tools. By about 1.8 million years ago, Homo erectus and Homo ergaster made their debut. Homo ergaster was found primarily in Africa, while Homo erectus was located in Eurasia. Studies of these two species suggest that Homo ergaster had a smaller cranial capacity while its cousin Homo erectus a larger one. Studies of Homo erectus' skeletal structure indicate that Homo erectus was robust, which suggests that they were stronger than contemporary man.

In addition to these physical changes, sites were the bones of Homo erectus have been discovered show evidence that these early men lived in small communities, living in huts as temporary shelters, wore clothes and created stone tools. In a nutshell, they began to display early signs of civilization, a trait that had not been seen before in any other primate group. These "ape men" literally did live during the Treta Yuga. Are the Vanara of myth our ancestors?

It is interesting to note that the name Adam's Bridge came from an Islamic legend which maintains that Adam, the first man on earth, traveled across this bridge when he was expelled from paradise. Could Adam, the "first man" and our distant relative also have been a Homo erectus?

Even though the earliest known written copy of the Ramayana only dates back to 1500 BCE this epic tale is believed to be much older. Is Adam's Bridge the same one described in literature? I think so. What do you think?

© Copyright Body, Mind & SoulHealer – www.soulhealer.com 2012. All rights reserved.

About The Author:

Bestselling author, Dr. Rita Louise, Ph D is the founder of the Institute Of Applied Energetics and the host of Just Energy Radio. She is the author of the books "Dark Angels", "Avoiding the Cosmic 2x4", "The Power Within" and her most recent title "Man-Made: The Chronicles Of Our Extraterrestrial Gods". She has appeared on radio and television and has spoken at conferences covering topics such as health and healing, ghosts, intuition, ancient mysteries and the paranormal. Visit http://www.soulhealer.com or listen to Dr. Rita live online on http://www.JustEnergyRadio.com.

Griffith, R. T. (1870). Ramayan Of Valmiki. London: Benares: E. J. Lazarus and Co.

Kalyanaraman. (2008, March 15). Rama Setu: a man-made structure . Retrieved from Hinducivilization: http://kalyan97.wordpress.com/2007/08/01/492/

Lanka Library. (2010, December 2). NASA Images Find 1,750,000 Year Old Man-Made Bridge between India and Sri Lanka . Retrieved from Sri Lanka: http://www.lankalibrary.com/geo/ancient/nasa.htm

Louise, R., & Laliberte, W. (2012). Man-Made: The Chronicles Of Our Extraterrestrial Gods. Dallas: Soulhealer Press.


A Look at the Origin and Roots of Meditation

Although meditation as a practice today is pretty common and widespread, it’s good to understand that the origins and roots of meditation go back a long way. Today, meditation has been and continues to be adapted to suit our lives and going back to its roots can help you to develop a strong appreciation for how broad the practice is, as well as how it developed across different countries at different points in time.

Below I’ve given a brief writeup of these origins and roots:

India, Vendatism, and Yogis

The oldest documented images of meditation are from India and date back to 5000 to 3500 BCE. Wall art paintings depict people sitting in meditative-like seated postures with their eyes half closed, presumed to be deep in meditation.

The oldest documented text of meditation is also from India, from the Hindu traditions of Vendatism, from around 1500 BCE. Although the Vedas created texts describing meditative practices it’s important to know that these had previously been passed down orally through storytelling practices for centuries.

Alongside the Vedic practice, Hindu traditions also describe the Yogi practice of meditating in caves. It is believed that many modern practices of meditation stem from this lineage, including the modern yoga movement whose techniques are predominantly based on the Hatha Yoga practice.

Although it’s good to understand that the origin of these techniques is based in meditation for spiritual development, not the common practice of stretches and movement many Western schools teach today.

Buddhism in India

Meditation is often most closely attached to Buddhism, even though the image of the Buddha meditating on a lotus didn’t come until much later, a long time after Buddhism itself began. In the classical language of Buddhism, meditation is referred to as bhāvanā, meaning mental development, or dhyāna, meaning a mental calmness.

The various techniques and practices for meditation are many. Around the same time that Buddhism was growing, three other practices were also developing, each with their own way of approaching meditation. Although these are not as popular globally as Buddhism, they’re worth knowing about:

    Mahavira and Jainism in India – Tirthankara Mahavira, also known as Vardhamāna, is credited with reviving Jainism. Tirthankara means ‘Ford Maker’ and the word indicates a founder of a ‘tirtha’ – a passage across the sea of births and deaths. Mahavira was the twenty-fourth Tirthankara. He put forward the spiritual, and ethical teachings of the Tirthankaras from the pre-Vedic era that led to the revival of Jainism in India. As a practice, Jainism places a strong emphasis on self-discipline and contemplation, as well as non-violence. The meditative techniques in Jainism specifically focus on mantras, visualizations, and breathing.

Sufism and Meditation Practice

Sufism is an ancient Islamic tradition that dates back as far as 1400 years. It is a practice in which Muslims seek to connect with Allah (God) through self-reflection and contemplation, and through shunning material goods. It is thought that through some Indian influence, Sufism developed its particular practice of meditation that includes a focus on breathing and the use of mantras.

Judaism and Meditation Practice

As well as what is believed to be descriptions of meditation practice in the Torah, the Jewish esoteric method and school of thought of Kabbalah, also includes some of its own forms of meditation. These are generally based around deep thought on philosophical topics and prayer.


Dating the Era of Lord Rama | Information on Birth Date of Lord Rama

Before we work on Age of Lord Rama we need to understand the Vedic division of the time which measures time in Kalpa, Mahayuga and Yuga.

For this discussion we assume that a Kalpa, the half day of Lord Brahma, is the greatest Vedic division of the time. It consists of 1000 Mahayugas. A Mahayuga is composed of four Yugas of different lengths, named as Krita or Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali. The Kali Yuga consists of 432,000 solar years. The Dvapara Yuga is double of the Kali Yuga. The Treta Yuga is triple and the Krita Yuga is quadruple of the Kali Yuga.

A Mahayuga therefore contains 10 times the years of a Kali Yuga i.e. 4,320,000 solar years. According to Hindu belief a Kalpa is the half day (excluding night) of Brahma, the god of creation.

If we take 'x' as the duration of one Kali Yuga then x = 432,000 solar years. Hence,

1 Kalpa = 1000 Mahayugas = 1 half day of Brahma = 10,000x
1 Mahayuga = 4,320,000 solar years = 10x

Satya Yuga = 1,728,000 solar years = 4x
Treta Yuga = 1,296,000 solar years = 3x
Dvapara Yuga = 864,000 solar years = 2x
Kali Yuga = 432,000 solar years = x

As per various Puranas Lord Rama was born in Treta Yuga and 5114 Kali Yugas are over as on April 17, 2013. Even if we assume that Lord Rama was born at the end of Treta Yuga, a total 869,114 (864,000+5114) solar years have passed. According to some scholars, the war between Rama and Ravana is supposed to have happened 880,155 solar years ago as of April 17, 2013.

Epic Ramayana has many references to astronomical events which occurred during the life time of Lord Rama. Based on those astronomical events, many scholars try to plot planetary positions in the sky to ascertain the birth time of Lord Rama. Such calculations need software which can perform astronomical calculations in the past up to 1,000,000 solar years (or about 1 million solar years in the past).

Pushkar Bhatnagar has done some work to date the birth time of Lord Rama. According to him "By using a powerful planetarium software, I found that the planetary positions mentioned in Ramayana for the date of birth of Lord Ram had occurred in the sky at around 12.30 p.m. of 10th January 5114 BC."

To prove his theory Pushkar Bhatnagar has considered the duration of one Kali Yuga as 1200 solar years.
If we take 'y' as the duration of one Kali Yuga then y = 1200 solar years. Hence,

1 Mahayuga = 12,000 solar years = 12y

Satya Yuga = 4800 solar years = 4y
Treta Yuga = 3600 solar years = 3y
Dvapara Yuga = 2400 solar years = 2y
Kali Yuga = 1200 solar years = y

After considering above time durations for various Yugas, which is already against various Puranas, Pushkar Bhatnagar further assumes that 1 Mahayuga should have been 10,000 solar years long rather than 12,000 solar years to fix 5114 BC as the birth date of Lord Rama.

Pushkar Bhatnagar doesn't explain if Kali Yuga spans for just 1200/1000 solar years then we all should be living in Satya Yuga. According to Vedic wisdom all Yugas are cyclic and Pushkar has taken 3012 BC as the starting year of the Kali Yuga. It is well known that all planetary positions are cyclic and keep repeating in similar patterns including solar and lunar eclipses. There is no work to prove that the similar astronomical events as described in Ramayana didn't occur before 5114 BC.

One needs to look back up to 1 million solar years in the past to ascertain birth time of Lord Rama. As per Pushkar Bhatnagar, his software was capable to look back 99,999 BC in the past which is only 10% of the needed time span. Any such studies should consider all instances of similar astronomical events during last 1 million solar years.

Till we don't have any concrete historical and astronomical proofs, it would be more appropriate and accurate to say that Lord Rama was born much earlier than 869,114 solar years in the past and according to Hindu calendar it was Navami of Chaitra Shukla Paksha.


Yoga in the 1960s

Swami Vishnu-devananda Opens One of the Largest Networks of Yoga Schools

In 1958, Indian-born Swami Vishnu-devananda, a disciple of Swami Sivananda Saraswati, arrived in San Francisco, sponsored by the artist Peter Max.

His 1960 book, The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, became an essential guidebook for many practitioners. Dubbed by a colleague as “a man with a push,” he founded the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers, headquartered in Montreal, one of the largest networks of yoga schools in the world.

Transcendental Meditation Spread Across America

Meditation and yoga exploded across America in the early 󈨀s, when an unassuming-looking yogi “came out of the Himalayas to spiritually regenerate the world.” Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation empire now claims 40,000 teachers and more than four million practitioners, with 1,200 centers in 108 countries.

B.K.S. Iyengar Influences How We View Anatomy

In 1966 B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga was published in the United States, a book that is still considered to be the Bible of serious asana practice. In 1973, Iyengar was invited to Ann Arbor, Michigan to teach by Mary Palmer (mother of Mary Dunn). Nearly every Western teacher has been influenced by his emphasis on anatomical precision, many without even knowing it.

America Removed Indian Immigration Ban

A 1965 revision of U.S. law removed the 1924 quota on Indian immigration, opening our shores to a new wave of Eastern teachers.

Kirpalu Opens its Doors

In 1966 Amrit Desai founded the Yoga Society of Pennsylvania, and later Kripalu Yoga Ashram.

Swami Rama Breaks Medical Ground

Swami Rama amazed researchers at the prestigious Menninger Foundation in 1970 when tests showed he could control his autonomic nervous system functions including heartbeat, pulse, and skin temperature.

Swami Satchidananda Opens Woodstock Festival

In 1966, Swami Satchidananda, another of Swami Sivananda’s disciples, arrived in New York for a couple of days and ended up staying permanently. His Integral Yoga Institute now includes an ashram in rural Virginia and over 40 branches worldwide.

Satchidananda opened the Woodstock festival in 1969, echoing Vivekananda’s greeting of 75 years earlier: “My beloved sisters and brothers.” Looking like an aging hippie himself, with flowing hair and beard, he provided a living example of a life dedicated to spirit. It was just what many young people were hungering for.

Ram Dass Starts a Spiritual Quest

Ram Dass became another pied piper for American youth. The former Harvard professor left on a pilgrimage to India in the late 󈨀s as Richard Alpert he returned with a guru and a new identity. His 1970 tour of college campuses and his book Be Here Now established the spiritual quest as a lifestyle for a new generation of seekers.


Timeline

The island is inhabited by Veddahs (Wanniyala-aetto), a group of hunter-gatherers who anthropologists believe were descendants of a society that existed on Sri Lanka since 32,000 BC.

Vijaya, a shamed North Indian prince, is cast adrift, but makes landfall on Sri Lanka’s west coast. He settles around Anuradhapura and establishes the island’s first recorded kingdom.

India’s first poet pens the Hindu epic the Ramayana, in which the god Rama conquers Lanka and its demon-god Rawana. The sandbars off Mannar Island are described as Rama’s Bridge.

Indian emperor Ashoka sends his son and daughter to spread the Buddha’s teachings. Anuradhapuran King Devanampiya Tissa accepts them, beginning Sri Lanka’s ties between government and religion.

Reign of Chola King Elara, described in the Mahavamsa as a just leader. Although Tamil and Hindu, he offers alms to Buddhist monks and employs both Sinhalese and Tamils.

Five Tamil kings from India invade Anuradhapura and rule for 14 years. King Valagamba is forced to flee and shelters in the caves around Dambulla.

The Fourth Buddhist council is held in Aluvihara. The Buddha’s teachings, previously preserved by oral tradition, are written down for the first time.

Buddhism is further popularised with the arrival in Anuradhapura of the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha. It becomes a symbol of both religion and sovereignty over the island.

After engineering his father’s death and expelling his older brother Mugalan, King Kasyapa constructs the rock fortress at Sigiriya. With the assistance of Indian mercenaries, Mugalan finally retakes the throne.

The Mahavamsa (Great Chronicle) epic poem is written by Buddhist monks. It recounts the Buddhist and royal history of the island, interwoven with supernatural tales.

Indian scholar-monk Buddhaghosa arrives in Sri Lanka and writes the Visuddhimagga, a manual for the Buddha’s teachings. His explications become part of the Theravada canon and are still studied today.

Arab traders settle in Sri Lanka, marrying locally and establishing Islam on the island. They maintain trade with the Middle East and coexist peacefully with both Tamils and Sinhalese.

Weary of continued conflict with Tamil neighbours, King Vijayabahu I defeats the Cholas and moves the Sinhalese capital southeast to Polonnaruwa a brief golden age follows.

As Polonnaruwa declines, the Tamil kingdom of Jaffna is established and briefly becomes a feudatory of South India’s Pandya kingdom before gaining independence. It survives for four centuries.

Following Polonnaruwa’s decline, Sinhalese power is with the Kotte in the southwest and Kandy. The Portuguese arrive and conquer the entire west coast, but Kandy defeats their advances.

Following a treaty with the Kandyan kingdom, the Dutch, who arrived in 1602, establish a monopoly on the spice market and wrest control of coastal Sri Lanka from the Portuguese.

The Netherlands, under French control, surrenders Ceylon to the British. The shift is initially thought to be temporary, and the British administer the island from Madras, India.

After the decline of the Dutch, Sri Lanka becomes a British colony. The island is viewed as a strategic bulwark against French expansion, but its commercial potential is soon recognised.

Determined to rule the entire island, the British finally conquer the Kandyan kingdom. It’s the first (and only) time all of Sri Lanka is ruled by a European power.

Sweeping changes in property laws open the door to British settlers. English becomes the official language, state monopolies are abolished and capital flows in, funding the establishment of coffee plantations.

Unable to persuade the Sinhalese to labour on plantations, the British bring in almost one million Tamil labourers from South India. Today ‘Plantation Tamils’ are 4% of the population.

The coffee industry drives the development of roads, ports and railways, but leaf blight decimates the industry and plantations are converted to growing tea or rubber.

The Arwi language, a combination of Tamil and Arabic that evolved among Sri Lankan Moors, is at its peak, with the publication of several important religious works.

Following the British arrest in 1915 of Sinhalese leaders for minor offences, the Ceylon National Congress unifies Sinhalese and Tamil groups to further nationalist and pro-independence goals.

A new constitution introduces power sharing with a Sinhalese-run government. Universal suffrage is introduced as the country is the first Asian colony to give women the right to vote.

Ceylon becomes an independent member of the Commonwealth six months after neighbouring India. The United National Party (UNP) consolidates power by depriving Plantation Tamils of citizenship.

The Sri Lankan Freedom party (SLFP) defeats the UNP on a socialist and nationalist platform. Protests, ethnic riots and conflict break out after a ‘Sinhala only’ language law is passed.

The country sees its first island-wide anti-Tamil riot. It lasts for days, leaves more than 200 people dead in violent attacks (and some revenge attacks) and displaces thousands of Tamils.

Despite coming to power in 1956 with a Sinhalese-nationalist manifesto, SWRD Bandaranaike begins negotiating with Tamil leaders for a federation, resulting in his assassination by a Buddhist monk.

Widow Sirimavo Bandaranaike assumes her late husband’s SLFP post, becoming the world’s first female prime minister. She is appointed prime minister several more times before her death in 2000.

A new constitution is created. It changes Ceylon’s name to Sri Lanka, declares, once again, Sinhalese to be the official language and gives Buddhism ‘foremost place’ among the island’s religions.

Young Tamils begin fighting for an independent Tamil state called Eelam (Precious Land) in Sri Lanka’s north. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) emerge as the strongest group.

Sri Lanka enacts the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Police may detain for up to 18 months anyone thought to be connected with unlawful activities. The Act is still in effect.

Jaffna’s Public Library, home to many ancient Tamil works and a symbol of Tamil culture and learning, is burnt down by Sinhalese mobs, galvanising the Tamil separatist movement.

The ambush of an army patrol near Jaffna ignites widespread ethnic violence. Up to 3000 Tamils are estimated killed by Sinhalese rioters in what is now known as Black July.

An accord is signed, with India’s involvement, granting Tamils an autonomous province in the country’s north, but disagreements over its implementation prevent it from going into effect.

Government forces push the LTTE back into Jaffna. An Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) attempts to establish stability, but is also dragged into conflict with the LTTE.

The JVP launches a second Marxist insurrection, and attempts a Khmer Rouge–style peasant rebellion in the countryside. When the uprising is finally crushed, up to 60,000 people have died.

A Black Tiger (an LTTE fighter trained in suicide missions) kills former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, presumably to protest the IPKF, in the world’s first female suicide bombing.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga comes to power pledging to end the war with the LTTE. Peace talks are opened, but hostilities continue. In 1999 she survives a suicide-bomb attack.

Hostilities between the Sri Lanka military and the LTTE intensify following more failed attempts at negotiation, the LTTE bombs Kandy’s Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in 1998.

After two years of negotiation, a Norwegian peace mission secures a ceasefire. Sri Lankans, especially in the North and East, return to a new normal many émigrés return.

A tsunami devastates coastal Sri Lanka, leaving 30,000 people dead. It’s thought the disaster will bring unity, but the government and LTTE are soon wrangling over aid distribution and reconstruction.

Sinhalese nationalist Mahinda Rajapaksa wins presidential elections. Before the election Rajapaksa signs a deal with the Marxist JVP party, rejects Tamil autonomy outright and denies tsunami aid to the LTTE.

The government pulls out of the 2002 ceasefire agreement, signalling a single-minded focus on a military solution. From 1983 to 2008, an estimated 70,000 people have died in the conflict.

In the war’s final months, up to 40,000 civilians are killed, according to a later report by a UN special panel. The Sri Lankan government denies any civilian deaths.

After almost 30 years, Asia’s longest-running war ends in May when the LTTE concedes defeat after a bloody last battle at Mullaitivu. Tamil aspirations and grievances remain.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is meant to showcase the nation under the rule of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, it galvanises protests over human rights abuses and three nations refuse to attend.

In a shock, political strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa loses his bid for reelection after his own party abandons him to protest his autocratic rule. His former lieutenant Maithripala Sirisena is elected president.

The UN releases a report detailing continued human rights abuses of the Tamil population. It cites murky quasi-military groups that continue to settle scores dating back to the war.


Bangkok

Taksin was succeeded by General Chakri, who would adopt the name Rama I at his coronation. This would be the start of the Chakri dynasty on the Thai throne.

King Chakri moved the capital across the Chao Phraya River bank to Rattanakosin modern day Bangkok. He also commissioned the building of the Grand Palace, now one of Bangkok’s most popular tourist attractions. His heirs did what they could to modernize the country and keep it going forward. They built trade relations with important countries such as France, England, and China. This led to a more self-relying and strong economy, which is one of the reasons cited for Thailand being the only South-East Asian country to have escaped colonization.


Watch the video: Timeline of the Rulers of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1573 - 1795. Timeline TV (August 2022).