Indus Valley Cities in Ramayana

Ramayana Wonders Part 5

Indus Valley Cities in Ramayana

The “destruction of Indus Valley cities” was debated by scholars at one time. The latest theory is that the civilisation declined not because of attacks by foreigners but by natural catastrophes. The changing course of Sarasvati river and the resultant drought may be one of the causes. Ramayana gives valuable information about Indus valley. It was ruled by the Gandharvas and Rama sent  Bharata to conquer the cities. The description of the Indus cities by Valmiki matches very well with Harappa and Mohanjo Daro. Gargya says these words:

“There is a country of Gandharvas, rich in fruits and roots, situated on the banks of Sindhu river; that the country is extremely fertile. The Gandharvas, armed and skilful warriors , defend it. When you have conquered them and destroyed their magnificent CITADELS, take possession of their CITIES, which are WELL CONSTRUCTED , none other can achieve this; the country is extremely beautiful.(Uttara Kanda, chapter 100)

Rajavalia, Sri Lankan history book, puts Rama’s date as 1844 years before the Buddha. This means Rama lived in2500 BC which coincides with the Indus Valley Civilization. Since information given by Rajavalia and Valmiki coincides we may consider it authentic.

Mahabharata war took place after Ram’s time. Mahabharata also has lot of references to Indus Kingdom. Jayadratha was called Sindhuraja and Saindharva. He was the husband of Duryodhana’s sister Dushala. He was one of the eleven commanders of Kaurava army. He fought valiantly, but killed by Arjuna. Jayadratha’s father was Vridhakshetra. He ruled Indus valley area.

Legendary Lovers

Laila and Majnu, Anarkali and Salim, Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Ambikapathy and Amaravathy, Shah Jahan and Mumtaj, Adhimanthi and Attnathi (Tamil), Kovalan and Madhavi, Radha and Krishna

We know a list of popular legendary lovers or couples. But Valmiki gives another list of ideal couples (Sundara Kanda ,chapter 24):

Sita told the Rakshasa women, “I will follow Rama

As Suvarchala follows the Sun (Surya)

Sachi  follows Indra

Arundhati follows Vashista

Rohini follows Sachin (Moon)

Lopamudra follows Agastya

Sukanya follows  Syavana

Savitri follows Satyavan

Shrimati follows Kapila

Madayanti follows Sandasa

Keshini follows Sagara

Damayanti follows Nishada (Nalan)

Swaha follows  Agni”.


This stanza throws light on ancient Indian society. Women were very intelligent and well informed. The way Sita argued in Ramayana and Draupadi argued in Mahabharata showed that they were well educated. They believed in values such as chastity and husband is god like.

Diplomatic Immunity

In the modern world embassies are given special rights. The embassy building is considered part of that particular country. No one can enter it without the country’s permission. Diplomatic staff have immunity. Unless it is a serious criminal offence they can’t be detained, they can only be deported. This was applicable to messengers in the olden days. We have more information about the rules governing ambassadors in Mahabharata and Arthashastra. Krishna has acted like messenger several times. In the Ramayana, when Ravana passed death sentence on Hanuman, Vibhishana pointed out to him how an ambassador should be treated. After listening to him, Ravana changed his mind and commuted death sentence to the punishment of setting fire to his tail.

Vibhishana pointed out:

1.No envoy is put to death 2.Mutilation of the body, the whip, the stripes, shaving of the head, branding ,one or all of these can be inflicted on a messenger. 3.The virtuous do not give way to wrath 4. It is on those who sent him must be punished, not the messenger. Whether he be honest or not, the responsibility lies with them.


Big, Big Numbers

Some Tamils have been circulating big numbers as Tamil numbers. They are not. They are Sanskrit numbers. We have been reading about them from the beginning of Vedic literature. They are not found in Sangam Tamil literature, but in early Sanskrit literature.  Commentators on Tamil work Paripatal refers to big numbers, but gives only Sanskrit words such as Sangam, Padmam, Samudram etc. Valmiki also speaks of big numbers Yuddha Kanda chapter 28:


“O King, a hundred thousand multiplied by a hundred is called a Koti

Hundred thousand such Kotis  make one Shanku

A hundred thousand such shankus  make one Maha Shanku

A hundred thousand such Maha Shankus make one Vrinda

A hundred thousand such Vrindas make one Maha Vrinda

A hundred thousand such Maha Vrindas make one Padma

A hundred thousand such Padmas make one  Maha Padma

A hundred thousand such Maha Padmas make one  Kharva

A hundred thousand such Kharvas make one Samudra

A hundred thousand such Samudras make one Ogna

A hundred thousand such Ognas make one Maha Ogna

When we read the number of monkeys that marched to Lanka, it may sound a big exaggeration. What Valmiki wanted to emphasize is that they knew huge numbers and huge army of monkeys took part in the war.

Earlier Vedic literature also speaks about huge numbers which is a proof for mathematical genius of Indians. Other cultures could speak only in 40s or multiple of 40s at the time.

Contd. ……………….. in Ramayana Wonders part 6


Please read other posts by Santanam Swaminathan : 1. Ram –the Best PR Man 2. தியாகராஜ சுவாமிகளுடன் 60 வினாடி பேட்டி 3.நாமும் அனுமார் ஆகலாம் 4.கம்பனுடன் 60 வினாடி பேட்டி 5.ராமாயண வினா-விடை (க்விஸ்) 5.Where is Rama Setu (Rama’s Bridge) ? 6.Did Sita Devi Die in Earth Quake? 7. Ramayana Wonders Part1 (8) . Ramayana Wonders Part2 :How many miles did Rama walk? (9) Ramayana Wonders Part 3: Rama and Sanskrit G’ramma’r 10) Part 4: Who can read all 300 Ramayanas?



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