Four Gold Rings in Ramayana and Kalidasa’s Works

museum ring 1

Roman cameo ring

Research paper written by London Swaminathan

Research article No.1520; Dated  26th   December 2014.

Gold Rings play an important part in Valmiki Ramayana and three of Kalidasa’s works in addition to Vishaka Datta’s Mudra Rakshasa.

Valmiki, the great Adi Kavi, inspired Kalidasa and Vishaka datta. All these are Sanskrit works. In Sangam Tamil literature we have one reference to a gold ring with shark picture on it. Such rings are found in Rome and Greece. Apart from their literary merits, there are lot of things for researchers.

1.Gold rings were used as seals. They were like government seals and emblems.

2.Gold rings have personal names inscribed on it. Rama’s name was there on his ring. Dushyanata’s name was inscribed on it.

3.Sita was able to recognise the letters RAMA and Shakuntala was able to read the letters. So women were literates and highly educated. Kalidasa tells us how many letters were in Dushyanta’s name and asked Shakuntala to count them so that she would know many days she had to wait.


Tiberius ring

4.Tamil had rings with shark picture on them. They might have been imported from Rome. Roman gold coins are found in nook corner of Tamil Nadu and the vaults of Ananta Padmanabha Swami Temple of Tiruvanathapuram, Kerala.

5.Kalidasa gives information about  gem studded rings (Ratna Angukiyam) in Raghu Vamsa (6-18, 12-62, 12-65). In the Sakuntalam, he mentioned about giving engagement rings. Now it has become a big custom and big business in Western countries. Actually Hindus taught the world about giving Engagement Rings. Giving flowers is in Tamil literature.

6.Kalidasa also gives information about ring with a snake picture on it in his drama Malavika Agnimitram.

7.In Kalidasa’s Abinjana Sakuntalam and in Vishaka Datta’s Mudra Rakshasa, the ring  plays an important part. Sanskrit scholar Chandra Rajan compared it with Shakespeare’s Othello (hand kerchief instead of ring in Othello).

snake ring

Snake ring

  1. Tamil Poet Maruthan Ilanakan used (Kali- 84) the ring in his Kalitokai verse. It is a gold ring given by a prostitute to the hero. It shows that prostitutes were very rich and they may even give rings to their customers if they fall in love with them. In other parts of the world, it is other way round; they only received, never donated.

9.Since Tamil ring has a Makara/shark, Romans might have brought them. Sailors used to visit prostitutes  the counties they visit and the VD or STD are called Sailor’s diseases. But the heroine actually said that it was Manmatha’s flag emblem, meaning that the prostitute wanted to rule over his heart for ever. Manamatha  is God of Love. Mudra Rakshasa, it is the signet ring of a minister. So, all the top government officials used their rings as signatures. Each one must have a different picture or personal name on it.

11.It is unfortunate that we have such rings only in the vaults of Maharajas now, which slowly find their way to auction houses in London and New York.


12.When I visited Stockholm I was able to see all the jewellery in the museums. In my city London, people queue to see the Royal jewellery including India’s Kohinoor diamond. I paid to enter Metropolitan Museum in New York. India can mint money by displaying her treasures properly. Government should set up a panel for this purpose with historians and archaeologists.

13.Indian government must ban legal or illegal “export” of all Indian jewellery to foreign auction houses. They must also make arrangements to display all the jewellery of temples such as Tirupati, Tiruvananthapuram and palaces of Maharajas. There are many more hidden gems lying in the dark rooms of India. I have written about our treasures in Tehran museum.

(Please Read my articles on “India needs an Indian Jones” and the Diamond studded Rs 1000 crore Globe in Tehran Museum)


Gold Ring in Valmiki Ramayana (Sundara Kanda, Canto 36)

Sangam Tamil book Purananuru says that the monkeys did not know how to wear Sita’s jewellery! Sita threw them down from Ravana’s air plane. Hanuman took Sita’s jewellery back to Rama . Hanuman won Sita’s confidence when he gave her Rama’s ring. When she saw the ring with Rama’s name on it she believed that Hanuman was a real messenger from Lord Rama.

Here is the verse from Sundara Kanda

“O, Fortunate One, I am a monkey, the messenger of the sagacious Rama; behold this precious ring on which his name is engraved! O, Goddess, it was given to me by that magnanimous hero so that thou shouldst have faith in me”

“Janaki taking the jewel that had adorned her lord, was overcome with joy, as if he himself were present her gentle countenance with its large eyes sparkle with delight resembling the moon released from Rahu’s hold. Blushing with pleasure on receiving this token from her lord, that youthful woman, in her satisfaction, began to look on that great monkey as on a friend and paid tribute to him”.

From The Ramayana of Valmiki, Volume II, Translated by Hari Prasad Shastri

Here is the Gold Ring from Abhinjana sakuntalam:-

King : Then putting the ring on her finger, I said to her;

Madhavya: What did you say?

King: Count off each day one letter of my name

On the Ring; and when you come to the last,

An escort will present himself, my love,

To lead you to my Royal Apartments.

But in blank confusion I acted cruelly.

Mitrakesi: A charming arrangement, no doubt; only fate slipped in and broke it

Madhavya: How on earth did the ring enter the (fish) carp’s mouth as if it were a hook?

King: It slipped off your friend’s finger when she was worshipping the waters at Sasi’s pool (Soma Tirtha).

Act 6 of Sakuntalam (Chandra Rajan’s Translation in “Kalidasa-The Loom of Time”).


Chandra Rajan compared it with Othello of Shakespeare:

“In Othello, proof of the heroine’s chastity and love is demanded. Desdemona’s chastity hangs on a hand kerchief; Sakuntala’s on a ring. Both heroines are blissfully unaware of the importance of the token. To them love is its own proof and a witness to their charity”

Snake ring in Malavikagnimitram

Act 4 of Malavikagnimitram says that the queen parted with her signet ring bearing a serpent seal, as it was required by the poison-doctor to effect a magical cure. He thus procures the freedom of Malavika.

Mudra Rakshasa

The meaning of the drama is “The Signet Ring of Rakshasa”, the Chief Minister of last Nanda King. Chanakya, installed Chandragupta Maurya as king, and dethroned the last Nanda king. Nanda king’s chief minister Rakshasa was made to switch sides through the clever plans of Chanakya.

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