Sunday, September 30, 2007

Historicity of Ram, Ramayana, Rama Setu - I

A Sri Ram Chronology : Astronomical details left by Valmiki clinches the issue
By Arabinda Ghose in

The day Ram was born, it was the lunar month of Chaitra, and it was the Navami Tithi of the Shukla Paksha, the moon was near the Punarvasu Nakshatra (the star Pollux in the Gemini or the Mithun Rashi), Cancer was the lagna (it was rising at that time in the east), and Jupiter was above the horizon.

The ill-advised affidavit filed by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) on September 14, 2007 in the Supreme Court claiming that there was no scientific and archeological evidence about the existence of Lord Ram has boomeranged on the Union Government, which was spurred into action the next day to deny the ASI stance and asserting that Lord Ram was the very spirit of Indian culture or words to that effect.

We should go into the scientific aspect of this issue. In doing so, we will extensively quote from the book, Dating the Era of Lord Ram (Rupa and Co) written by Shri Pushkar Bhatnagar, an Indian Revenue Service Officer who lives in New Delhi.

Instead of looking for archaeological remains of era of Lord Rama, which has not been found anywhere (except one place, to be mentioned later) Shri Bhatnagar employed an entirely unconventional procedure in order to prove the existence of Lord Rama and hence the truth of the epic Ramayana.

He found that sage Valmiki, who was a contemporary of King Dasaratha and his sons including Lord Ram had recorded various incidents in the life of Lord Ram including his birth by referring to the astronomical details at the precise moments. One must stress here that at the time of the Ramayana (and even Mahabharata), there was no such thing as calendar. names of days, weeks, months and years were not yet in vogue. However, computing of time was being done by reference to astronomical details at the time of occurrence of events.

For example, when Lord Ram was born, Valmiki was apparently present in the palace and he had recorded the astronomical details of that moment. We would like, however to discuss certain aspects of astronomy without knowing which it will be difficult to comprehend the logic behind the astronomical details record by the Valmiki.(One might add here that only the Sanskrit Ramayana written by Valmiki consisting of about 24,000 “shlokas” should be treated as the authentic Ramayana. All other Ramayans written in regional languages in the last four to five hundred years need not be referred to in this connection).

If one looks at the night sky, one will feel that the sky is like a huge sphere at the center of which lies the earth. All heavenly bodies seen at night (except probably the moon) appear to be equidistant from the earth. This, of course is not true, as anyone with elementary knowledge of astronomy will tell you. But this assumption helps understand the astronomical phenomena. Secondly, when we say that a particular heavy body—the sun, the moon and planets is “in” a particular sign of the zodiac (“Raashi”), it would only mean that the “rashi” mentioned from the background of the heavenly body concerned. The stars constituting the “rashis” are millions of light years away from the earth while the heavenly bodies referred here are comparatively “very near” the earth. Secondly, when we say “Nakshatras, it means the 27 stars or star groups which fall in the path of the moon while passing through the heavens. (The Surya Siddhanta described as the text book of Hindu astronomy, describes these “nakshatras” as “Asterisms” (and not constellations). The moon is supposed to rest for the night at each of the “Nakshatras” from Ashwini to Revati, all the names being in the feminine gender. The moon takes 27 days to complete journey from the first star to the twenty seventh. So, a lunar month should be of 27 days’ duration. However, since the earth in the meantime moves forward, it takes the moon two and a half days more to complete the journey. That is why the duration of the lunar month is taken to be 29 and a half days.

Upon being presented with the Hindi translation of the Valmiki Ramayana (not the Tulsi Ramayana), Mr. Bhatnagar noticed that the sage had appended the names of heavenly bodies visible (or computed from deep knowledge about the movements of the planets, stars and Rashis) at the time of the birth of Ram. That generated a strong desire in Mr. Bhatnagar’s mind to verify these descriptions of planetary positions with relation to certain events, in this case the timing and date of Lord Ram.s birth.

Mr. Bhatnagar found that on the day Lord Rama was born, the sun was in Aries (Mesh Rashi), Saturn was in Libra (Tula Rashi), Jupiter was in Cancer (Karka Rashi), Venus was in Pisces (Meen Rashi), Mars was in Capricorn (Makar Rashi), it was the lunar month of Chaitra, and it was the Navami Tithi of the Shukla Paksha, the moon was near the Punarvasu Nakshatra (the star Pollux in the Gemini or the Mithun Rashi), Cancer was the lagna (it was rising at that time in the east), and Jupiter was above the horizon.

He found that in the description of the life and time of Lord Ram, there are mention of three eclipses, two solar and one lunar. While it was easy to verify the occurrence of the solar eclipse, which had taken place when Lord Ram and Lakshman had fought the demons Khar and Dushan near Panchavati, and the day the King of Kishkindha, Bali was killed, he could not initially succeed in verifying the occurrence of the lunar eclipse at the time Hanuman had met Sita, Lord Ram’s consort, at the Ashok Vatika in Lanka.

This verification took five years of Mr. Bhatnagar’s life but a lunar eclipse on November 9, 2003 had guided him to confirm the occurrence of lunar eclipse when Hanuman had met Sita.

With this, all the nine or ten parameters were successfully verified and the conclusion was that Lord Rama was born in 5114 BC, about 7000 years ago at Ayodhya. The computer was oriented towards Ayodhya by entering the latitude and longitude of Ayodhya. It was then Chaitra Shukla Navami.

Some of this writer’s friend had asked me how could Chaitra Shukla Navami occur in January? The answer is simple. There is an astronomical phenomenon called “precision” of the sun as also of the equinoxes. According to the latter, the star which is now taken to be the Pole Star (Dhruv Tara), would yield the place to the Star Abhijit (Vega, alpha Lyrae), 14,000 years from now. So when the lunar month of Chaitra occurred seven thousand years ago in the month of January, 7000 years later, it occurs in the month of (generally) April.

This, in short is the scientific verification of the existence of Lord Ram. About the assertion of the ASI that there is no scientific or historical evidence about the existence of Lord Ram, Mr. Bhatnagar had asked the question in his book: “If the ASI cannot verify if there was a temple at Ayodhya dedicated to Lord Ram which existed only 500 years ago, how could they express an opinion on an event that had taken place 7000 years ago?” Let ASI answer this question..

However, Mr. Bhatnagar asserts that the remains of the Setu can be seen at a place called “Chedu Karai” near the sea in southern Tamil Nadu, about 10 feet below the surface of the sea. Because of global warning, the level of the sea had risen by 10 feet in the 7,000 years and the sea has devoured about two kilometers of land from the tip of Tamil Nadu.

also read:
Historicity of Ram, Ramayana, Rama Setu - II

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