DATE OF RAMAYANA 5100 BCE (Post No.5100)

Written by London swaminathan

Date: 11 JUNE 2018

Time uploaded in London –  18-16 (British Summer Time)

Post No. 5100

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I was reading the book ‘Dating the Era of Lord Ram’ by Pushkar Bhatnagar, 2004, Rs.395

He has concluded that Rama lived around 5100 BCE on the astronomical evidence in the Valmiki Ramayana. First let me give his conclusions and then his introduction. It is a book with sixty colour star maps.  His conclusions are

 

The archaeological evidence suggesting the date of Saraswati Sindhu region sites up to 8000 BCE,

astronomical dating of some of the verses of the Rig Veda to 6500 BCE,

the Astronomical dating of Ramayana at around  5100 BCE,

date of composition of the last Mandala of the Rig Veda around 5000 BCE,

strong evidences suggesting the traditional date of 3137 BCE as the date of Mahabharata,

probable date of Puranas well after the beginning of the Kaliyuga and the drying up of the Saraswati River around 1900 BCE

makes highly agreeable and logically acceptable timeline of our civilization.

 

His introduction in the book gives the following interesting details:

“The Ramayana clearly mentions that a lunar eclipse had occurred on the day Hanuman visited Lanka in search of Sita. On examination of the sequence of events narrated in the book

(Ramayana) I had concluded that it was the full moon day of either the month of Margasirsh (Maarkazi in Tamil) or Paush (Thai in Tamil)of the last year of exile (5076 BCE). However, I had no means to verify whether a lunar eclipse had actually occurred about 7000 years or not.

 

My belief and understanding was that the software I was using  did not have the capability of  showing the occurrence of lunar eclipse. I browsed the web for any other software. These efforts bore no fruit. For almost five years I had desperately wished and prayed that somehow I could verify and demonstrate the occurrence of Lunar eclipse so that my findings become complete in all respects.

 

Since no solution could be found to this puzzle and being completely helpless in this regard, I submitted my manuscript to the publishers for publication in the month of October 2003. (He just mentioned that he could not verify the lunar eclipse in the manuscript).

After a few days, I read in the newspapers that a lunar eclipse was to occur on the morning of 9 November 2003 and it would be visible from India. Late in the evening of 8th, without any specific hope of finding a solution, intuitively I felt like examining the position of the sun and the moon during the eclipse due to occur the next day, though the software. My intention was to compare the positions of the sun and the moon during the eclipse of 9 th. However as soon as I entered the time of the occurrence of the eclipse in the software I was surprised to find that the software was displaying the occurrence of the eclipse very precisely. Without wasting a moment, I entered the date 12 September 5076 BCE. (full moon day of lunar month Margasirsh, which according to me the day Hanuman visited Lanka.

 

With a pounding heart, I started examining the position of the moon. And then came the stamp of Divine confirmation! The software demonstrated that a lunar eclipse had indeed occurred that evening – exactly at the time when it had been described in the Ramayana. I could not believe five year long hopelessness was transformed into triumph in just a matter of five minutes! “

-Pushkar Bhatnagar10 May 2004

pushkarbhatnagar@hotmail.com

This shows the author’s long and sincere research into the date of Ramayana.

–Subham–

 

304 Ramayana sculptures in two Thai temples alone! (Post No.5040)

WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 

Date: 23 May 2018

Time uploaded in London –21-45 (British Summer Time)

Post No. 5040

PICTURES ARE FROM BHARAT KALYAN; THANKS
Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.

HINDU GODS IN THAILAND-1

Thailand has got lot of Hindu sculptures from Ganesh to Kubera. Vedic gods Indra, Yama, Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma are also found in different places. Ramayana scenes are in the panels in many temples. We see them more from the Khmer period.

 

Art in Thailand is divided  seven different periods:

Dvaravati period – 6th to 11th century CE

Srivijaya period – 8th to 13 th century

Lobpuri period – 11th to 13th century CE

Sukothai period 13th to 14th century CE

Ayuththaya period 17th to 18th century CE

Thonburi – 1767 to 1782

Bangkok  1782-  to date

It is from the Lobpuri period Rama story begins to appear. It was the period when Khmer influence spread from Cambodia.

The best Ramayana sculptures and paintings are in

1.Prasad Panom Rung temple

2.Pimai temple

3.Emerald Buddha- Wat Phra Keao

4.Wat Phra Jetubon

5.Vihata of Wat Nang Phya

 

 

During the Lobpuri period small figures of bronze Hanuman idols used as standards on top of wooden poles.

Sukhothai period provides very few Ramayana sculptures

Since the Burmese burnt down the libraries, temples etc. in 1767, a lot of sculptures were destroyed in Ayuththaya (Ayodhya) period.

In the Thonburi and Bangkok periods kings themselves were great scholars , we have very good paintings in the temple of Emerald Buddha- Wat Phra Keao.

The bas reliefs  as many as 152 in number, found in Wat Phra Jetubon, the funerary temple of the present ruling dynasty, depicts the central episodes of the Ramayana story.

The mural paintings in the Vihara of Wat Nang Phya in Phitsnulok in Nothern Thailand and the 152 marble panels give the complete story of Ramayana. Apart from these there are wooden panels depicting scenes from Ramayana.

Wat Po Vihara also has some Ramayana sculptures. The significance of these Thai sculptures is showing the unknown characters of original Valmiki Ramayana.

 

‘Ramayana is song of human heart, it has a romantic kind of charm for the people of Thailand and gives them unbounded joy and happiness even in the present times when the glory of the east is being fast shadowed by the glamour of the west’ – Sathya Vrata Shastri

 

The National Museum of Thailand in Bangkok has a couple of interesting pieces of art connected with the story of Rama. just in front of it in the open stands a majestic figure of Rama with a  bow in hand symbolising  as it does the love of Thais  for that great hero. Inside the building the most noteworthy object, among others is a wooden screen painted in gold and lacquer, a relic of the period of the first king of the present dynasty. On one side of it is depicted the scene of Indrajit  who transforms himself  into Indra and shoots arrows that turn out to be Nagas/ snakes and on the other Ravana’s death (From Sathya Vrata Shastri’s  book)

 

 

In the second part, I will give the details of the sculptures of other Hindu gods.

-to be continued

–Subham-

STRANGE STORIES ABOUT RAMA’S SONS -THAI RAMAYANA-3 (Post No.5023)

STRANGE STORIES ABOUT RAMA’S SONS KUSA AND LAVA-THAI  RAMAYANA-3 (Post No.5023)

 

WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 18 May 2018

 

Time uploaded in London – 11-54 am (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 5023

 

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Thai Ramayana ‘Ramakien’ differs with Valmiki Ramayana in the birth story of Kusa and Lava. They were the twin sons of Rama and Sita according to Valamiki. But ‘Ramakien’ of Thailand and Ananda Ramayana of India differ very much. It is an interesting animal story.

 

A son was born to Sita and he was named Mongkut. But her second son was created by a miracle by sage Vajmrga (Valmiki). One day Sita went into the forest to gather fruits after leaving her son Mongkut with the sage. She was enjoying nature and saw a family of monkeys. She told the monkey mothers to be careful with their babies otherwise they may fall from the trees. Monkey mothers laughed at her and said to her that they were better than Sita who left her child with the sage who closed his eyes for meditation. Sita was shocked to hear this and rushed back to the sage’s ashram and brought back her child.

 

In the meantime, sage opened his eyes after meditation and found the child was missing. Thinking that Sita would feel sad, he created another child by miracle. When Sita came back he explained what happened and advised her that the second son will be the playmate of her first son. He gave it the name Lava.

This Thai versions is somewhat similar to Ananda Ramayana:

It is in the Janmakanda section (Canto 4, verses 21-86).

Sita had only one son and he was named Kusa because sage Valmii sprinkled holy water on the baby with Kusa grass.  Rama came by Pushpaka Vimana (aeroplane) and did the birth rites with some brahmins and went back to Ayodhya by the Vimana. He told them not to reveal the news to anyone. Sita’s father Janaka also came but he stayed even after Rama left.

 

One day she went to the river to take bath and saw a monkey mother with five baby monkeys. She left her baby with the sage Valmiki. When she saw the mother monkey carrying five of its litter, she felt very guilty for not taking her baby. Sita rushed back to the hermitage of Valmiki and took her baby. At that time, Valmiki with his disciples went to the riverside. When Valmiki came back to his hermitage, he was surprised to see Sita’s son missing. So he created a double of her first son. He gave the second son to Sita and named him Lava, because he was created with Lava/wool. Both the children grew up together at the hermitage and their parents showered love and affection on them.

 

Kathasarit sagara, slightly differed from this version and said Lava was her first son and Kusa was the second son who was created by Valmiki’s miraculous power.

 

One can understand the deep impact of Ramayana  on a vast geographical area and long span of  time. Valmiki’s original version was distorted here and there in course of 2000 or 3000 years. Ramayana is in Buddhist and Jain literature as well.

 

Sita’s ‘infidelity’!

Hindus never like one woman staying with another man who is not her brother or father. So there are lot of stories about the infidelity of Sita.

 

In Thai Ramayana Adul, a demoness daughter of Surpanakha wanted to take revenge upon Rama, because his brother Lakshmana cut off Surpankaha’s nose. Adul was working as a servant maid in the palace of Rama under a different disguise. She asked  Sita to draw the figure of Ravana and when she drew the picture out of fun, Rama saw that. The demoness used that opportunity to betray Sita and Rama wanted to kill his wife Sita. He assigned the task of killing Sita deep inside the forest to Lakshmana. And Lakshmana took her to the jungle, but his mind didn’t allow him to commit the ghostly act. So he showed her the hermitage of Valmiki and took back the heart of a deer and showed it to Rama as a proof of killing Sita. Rama came to know that Sita was alive after a very long time. In the original Ramayana of Valmiki she was simply banished from the country because a washer man suspected her chastity.

 

Tribal Folk song!

Ramayana is the only epic in the world which has penetrated the deepest parts on earth in the oldest time. Even tribal communities have different versions of Ramayana episodes in their folk songs. That shows Ramayana might have happened several thousand years ago.  The folk song in the tribal Bundelghund region says when Sita visited the forest she drew a portrait of Ravana at the behest of her friends. They insisted her to draw the figure to see How Ravana looked like. This happened long after the death of Ravana and Sita’s joining her husband. Sita did it with the cowdung.  As she was making the figure up to waist, there appeared Rama and suspected Sita’s fidelity. Then he ordered her expulsion.

 

There are over 3000 versions or more of Ramayana. Every time I go to British Library in London, I see a new Ramayana episode or many episodes in very old Tamil Books. In 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature there are two episodes which are not found anywhere else in the world. In the Alvar/ Tamil Vaishnavite saints’ poems we see new episodes about squirrels helping in the bridge work. In the Pali and Prakirit language literature we see newer versions.

 

The most attractive story of Rama and Sita stand for the purest qualities and virtues on earth. No other literature of the ancient world has made such an impact anywhere on earth. After the founding of ISKCON and other organisations, story of Rama and Krishna and the Mantra ‘Hare Rama’ have been echoing in the nook and corner of the world.

Please read also my articles on Vivekananda’s lecture on Sita and Sangam literature poems on Rama and Sita.

Long Live Rama’s Name!

–Subham–

RAVANA’S SOUL IN A RECEPTACLE; STRANGE THAI RAMAYANA -2 (Post No.5020)

RAVANA’S SOUL IN A RECEPTACLE; STRANGE THAI RAMAYANA -2 (Post No.5020)

WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 17 May 2018

 

Time uploaded in London – 16-14 (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 5020

 

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I posted the first part yesterday under the title

SITA DAUGHTER OF RAVANA! STRANGE THAI RAMAYANA-1

 

Episode of Ravana’s Soul/Heart

Ramakien repeats one strange thing in more than one place- that is the soul of a person is kept away from his body. Ravana’s soul was also kept in a receptacle separately and was left with Goputra. When Rama’s weapons did not work with Ravana Vibhishana revealed the secret of Ravana’s soul.

Goputra was his preceptor. Hanuman was given the task of finding Ravana’s soul or heart and crush it. So he went with Angada to the ASHRAMA of Goputra and told him that he was fed up with Rama and so he wanted to join the army of Ravana.  Goputra believed the words of Hanuman like a simpleton. Taking both of them, Goputra went to Ravana’s place with the receptacle. Hanuman and Angada accompanied with some secret plan. When they reached the palace gate Goputra remembered if they went inside the palace the soul will fly back to Ravana. So he left it with Angada. Hanauman suddenly came back to Angada under the excuse of giving him some safety first instructions. At that time Hanuman created a fake heart/ soul and took the real soul and asked Angada to bury it under the sea. Then Rama easily killed Ravana.

Episode of Mahipala Debasura

Mahipala Debasura was Ravana’s best friend. Without knowing Ravana’s death, he came to Ravana’s palace to see him. Having heard about Ravana’s death, he became angry and laid a siege around Lanka. At that time, Vibhishana was ruling Lanka. Rama realising that Vibishana may not have enough strength to tackle all the troubles, sent an arrow to Vibhisana every week. Using that arrow Vibhishana sent an SOS message to Rama. He sent Hanuman to help Vibishana. Since Hanuman was ruling nearby kingdom Nabapuri with the name Phya Anujit came to Lanka and fought with Mahipala. When Hanuman tore the body of Mahipala it united into one. Then Vibishana revealed him the secret of killing him. At his behest Hanuman tore the chest of Mahipala and he died.

Episode of Insurrection in Lanka

After Ravana’s death Mandodari became one of the queens of Vibishana. At that time she was already pregnant and gave birth to a son. He was named Varanisura. His governor told him the story of his father Ravana and Varanisura decided to take revenge upon Vibhishana. His governor gave him the new name Bainasuri vangsh. With the intention of taking revenge he sought the help of Chakravarti, the ruler of Malivan. He was Ravana’s friend. They invaded Lanka and put Vibishana behind the bars. Hanuman with his son Ashurapad came to Kishkinda and got the help of Sugreeva. They went to Ayodhya to get the help of Rama. All of them marched to Lanka, killed Baina surivangsh and released Vibhishana.

 

If we compare other episodes of Valmiki Ramayana with Ramakiyan, there are only minor differences in the Thai Ramakiyan.

Who is Sita?

Sita was the daughter of Mandodari and Ravana, but abandoned in a forest as soon as she was born. King of Mithila found her and raised her. Ravana came and abducted her without knowing it was his daughter. When he tried to touch her his skin burnt and then couldn’t touch her. So there are so many versions of Ramayana in Ramakien as well as palatial murals in Bangkok and other places in Thailand.

 

There are some differences in the birth of Rama’s sons and Sita’s infidelity etc. It is an unending story. Beautiful sculptures and murals of Ramayana are in Bangkok and other places. We will look at them separately.

to be continued……………

–Subham–

 

SITA DAUGHTER OF RAVANA! STRANGE THAI RAMAYANA-1 (Post No.5017)

SITA DAUGHTER OF RAVANA! STRANGE THAI RAMAYANA-1 (Post No.5017)

WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 16 May 2018

 

Time uploaded in London – 16-37 (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 5017

 

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Ramayana has influenced Thailand in its culture, language and arts. But the Thai Ramayana has got many strange things in it. It may look funny for some and blasphemous for others. It may be due to the fact that the original Thai Ramayana was destroyed in a fire accident in the 18th century and then several hands added new materials to it little by little. Three versions are available now.

 

In India every temple has got some story behind the Murtis/idols of the temple which is nothing but a mixture of local legends and the original epics. Names of Rishis and saints belonging to different periods are freely used, but all with the good intention of increasing the greatness of the temple.

 

In Thailand also Rama and Sita are greatly respected but with the distortion of the original Ramayana which is over 2000 years old. Two facts will startle any Hindu in India who has read Ramayana:

1.Sita is the daughter of Ravana and Mandothari and Ravana abducted and married her without knowing the fact.

  1. Hanuman is not a chaste god but married many women and had children. In Valmiki Ramayana he is a Brahmachari; a celibate.
  2. Apart from Ravana, there was another demon with 1000 more heads.

4.The names of the Ramayana characters are distorted beyond recognition.

5.Thais believed Ramayana happened in Thai soil.

6.Thais don’t know Valmiki or the word Ramayana. They know only Ramakien (may be Ramakirti or Rama Khyana).

Manich Jumsai, an authority on Ramakien says, “The Thai version was adapted to Thai sentiments. The story is so made and adapted to that Thai character that no Thai thinks of it a thing originated from foreign origin. It is impossible to convince an average Thai that the incidents connected with Rama story did not take place in Thailand.

Strange names

Kucchi= Manthara (Kubja=Kubji=Kuchi)

Svaahaa= Anjanaa

Kallaacanaa= Ahalyaa

Kaakanaasuraa= Tadakaa

Khukhan= Guhan

Mongkut= Kusa (Rama’s son)

Vajmrga=Vaalmiiki

Satrud= Satrughna

Khrut= Garuda

Lak= Lakshmana

Pulastya= Lastian

Bibhek= Vibhishana

Chiuha= Vidyukkja

Monto=Mandodari

Totskan= Ravana (Dasa kantha)

 

The following have distorted spelling but easily recognisable:

Siidaa (Sita Devi),Phaali (Vaali), Sukrip= Sugreevan, Intharachit (Indrajit), Kumphakhan (Kumbakarna)

 

New names which are not identifiable:

Benchakai, Maiyaraab, Maalivaggabrahmaa, Suvannamachchaaa, Machchaanu, Mahaapaal, Debaasura and Unraaj

 

Here is the story:-

It is not divided into cantos but divided into three parts .

The Benchaki episode, the Maiyaraab episode and several other episodes are new; not found in the Valmiki Ramayana

Benchakaai Episode; Hanuman had a son!

Ravana ordered Banshakaai, a demoness to take  the form of Sita, feign dead and float down the river near Rama to dupe him. After Hanuman and Sugreeva captured her she revealed her identity. Rama forgave her when he came to know it was Vibhishana’s daughter and asked Hanuman to take her out of Lanka. Hanuman made love to her and she bore him a son called Asuraphad.

 

Hanuman’s Second Son

When building the bridge and Hanuman and civil engineer Nilan had a fight and so Rama punished both. Nilan was sent to Sugreevan as servant and Hanuman was ordered to finish the bridge work in seven days. When all stones he put disappeared he went down the sea and met a beauty Suvannamachchaa (Suvarna Matsya= Gold Fish); Hanuman fell in love with her and they had a son;  his name was Machchaanu (Fish).

 

Maiyaraab episode

Ravana asked his friend Maiyaraab, King of Patala (under water world). Maiyaraab went to Rama’s camp, sprinkled sleeping powder and brought unconscious Rama to Patala. Sugreevan found it and sent Hanuman to rescue him. He sought his son Macchaanu help him.

 

 

Episode of Maalivaggabrahmaa

 

When demons fell one after another at Rama’s arrow, Ravana got worried and asked his grandfather Maalivaraja Brahma to pronounce an impartial judgement in the case. He accused Rama of great many things. Brahma listened to both the sides in the no man’s land (battle field) in the presence of Devas and found Ravana guilty. Thus Ravana’s plan got totally misfired.

 

–to be continued………………

 

SANSKRIT WONDERS IN THAILAND! (Post No.4987)

Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 7 May 2018

 

Time uploaded in London – 21-23 (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 4987

 

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There are lot of Sanskrit words in Thai language. It is a linguistic wonder. The language resembles Chines in structure with mono syllables and intonation. But vocabulary wise it is under the influence of Sanskrit. No one knows how and why!

Tamil words and Sanskrit words change when it goes to foreign lands.  A Sri Lankan Tamil write Thurkai for Goddess Durga. Malaysian Tamils write Tamayanti for Damayanti. When Sanskrit migrated to Turkey and Syria 3400 years ago the Mitanni civilization wrote Tushratta for Dasaratha, Pratartana for Pratardhana. Mauritian Tamils write Murde mootoo for Maruthamuthu. Further they go from the mainland India, stranger becomes the spellings of names and words.

 

A lot of place names in Thailand ends in Buri. It is the corrupted form of Puri, Pura. Ramayana characters took strange names in Thai vocabulary.

I give below just 12 place names for comparison—

Lop Buri- Lavapuri

Ayutthaya – Ayodhya

Nakhon Raatchasiimaa- Nagara Raja simha

Nakhon Patham- Nagara Prathama

Nakhon si Thammaraat- Nagara Sri Dharma raja

(look Nagara comes first unlike in Indian languages. Those who do research in Indus Valley Script must know all these peculiarities. In Middle eastern languages also such changes are common)

Pishtnulok- Vishnuloka

U Bon -Utpala

Sawankhalok – Swarga Loka

Surin-Surendrapuri

Yasothorn- Yasodhara

Prathet- Pradesa

Chonnabod- Janapada

Not only place names plant names, animal names, Ramayana characters – all are distorted beyond recognition.

If anyone wants to decipher languages like Indus script one should study languages like Thai.

In Tamil, Sanskrit and English the ‘Day’ comes as suffix (Sun Day, Mon Day etc.) In Thai Day will come first i.e prefix!

Van adit – Aditya Vara- Sun Day- jnayitru Kizamai

Van Can – Candra/soma Vara- Mon Day- Thingat Kizamai etc.

 

But the month names look like Malayala/Sanskrit months

Mesayon- Mesa Masa – Mesaayana

Praphaakhom- Vrshabaagama- Rishaba masa

mithunayon -mithuna masa

karkadaakhom- karkada masa

simhaakhom  etc.

 

Caste Names take strange shapes!

Brahmana- phraam

Kshatriya – Kasat

Vaisya – phait

Sudra- suud

Deva and Devi becomes Theva and Thevi like Sri Lankan, Malaysian and South African Tamil!

So far we saw only the difference in spellings or the sounds. Even meanings change.

Once I had some argument with my in laws who are from Kerala. When I mentioned a plant name he recognised something else. He described it differently. When we differed in two three plant names I googled and found out both are right. In Tamil what I said has a different name in malayalam and that word is used for a different plant in Tamil

 

Like the plant names other words also have different meanings unlike Sanskrit. So one must be very careful in deriving the meaning. Foreigners who studied Vedas did big blunders in translating them into English. For the word ASURA in the Rig Veda 40 different scholars have given forty different explanations.

44 Sanskrit Inscriptions!

Sanskrit inscriptions are the longest in the world! Rudradaman’s (130 CE) Junagad (Gujarat) inscription is one of the oldest and longest inscriptions in beautiful Sanskrit.

In Thailand over 40 Sanskrit inscriptions are found. They are dated from sixth century CE. There is a one word inscription ‘Lingesvaram’

in one place. But the longest one at Pranchinburi has 128 stanzas with 412 lines. Majority of the inscriptions are in between the two extremes.

A few of them are in beautiful Sanskrit poetry format with a good number of similes.   Most of them are about building shrines or stupas.

 

Dr Satyavrat Sastri of Delhi University went and stayed there for two years. He did detailed research on these inscriptions; he has explained the metres, the grammar, similes and style found in the inscriptions.

 

Source Book: Sanskrit and Indian culture in Thailand by Satya Vrat Shastri,Delhi,1982

I have taken some of the points from his book and presented here with my inputs.

My old article:-

Hindu Wonders in a Muslim Country! | Tamil and Vedas

https://tamilandvedas.com/2012/05/12/hindu-wonders-in-a-muslim-country/

12 May 2012 – Many of us know that Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, but many of us do not know the fourth largest Hindu population is in Indonesia! This is the country which has highest number of Hindus outside Indian subcontinent (next to Nepal and Bangladesh). It is a countrywith 17000 islands…

 

–Subham–

 

RAMA IS GREEN, LAKSHMANA IS GOLDEN & HANUMAN IS PURPLE! (Post No.4984)

RAMA IS GREEN, LAKSHMANA IS GOLDEN & HANUMAN IS  PURPLE! (Post No.4984)

 

Compiled by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 6 May 2018

 

Time uploaded in London – 15-39 (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 4984

 

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French historian Michelet described Ramayana as “ a great poem, as vast as the Indian Ocean, a book of divine harmony. A serene peace reigns in it, in the midst of conflict, an infinite sweetness, a boundless fraternity which spreads over all living beings, an ocean of love, of pity, of clemency” (from Jawaharlal Nehru’s Discovery of India)

 

Ramayana is very popular in Thailand. It is called Ramkien. Scholars believe that is the changed form of Ramakiirti or Ramaakhyaana.

 

During a particular period, Kings called themselves Rama and their capital was Ayuththaya (Ayodhya of Ramayana)

The original name of Siam is Shyama desa. During the commercial contacts, Indian business men called this region Swarnabhumi (Land of Gold).

 

We know for sure the Indo-Thai contact began at least 2300 years ago when Emperor Asoka sent two Buddhist emissaries to spread the message of Buddha. The reason he sent those people to Thailand was that  the people of the country are known to India.

 

Ramayana was introduced in art forms in the thirteenth century.

Though Ramayana was known to Thais for a very long period, King Rama I only gave it a shape. Takshin the Great , King of Thonburi wrote some verses of Ramakien and Rama I (1782-1880) produced a voluminous work of 10,000 stanzas. King Rama II (1809-1820) developed it into a drama.

 

Before this literary master piece was composed the firs Ramayana literature for the mask came about in 1349 CE. Only solitary evens from Ramayana were used. But long before the stage drama, certain kind of play known as Hnang (hide or skin) was shown. Ramayana characters were painted in different colours. Rama is green, Lakshmana is golden, Hanuman is in purple and Ravana is in dark colours.  When they were staged, they were similar to marionettes, but instead of strings, characters were controlled by hands. Hnang was introduced from Java (Indonesia) and it is an adaptation of the Sanskrit Chayanataka.

 

The Thai version was adapted to reflect Thai sentiments. Thai dressing, colouring was used. Even the story was changed from Valmiki’s original Sanskrit version. Here is a strange story which is not found in Indian versions of Ramayana.

 

Hanuman Ruled from Lavapuri in Thailand!

After the victory over Ravana Rama decided to reward all his allies who had helped him. He gave the Kingdom of Lanka to Vibhisana, Kishkinda to Sugreeva, Paatalaa to Jhambavat, Buriram (Rama Puri) to Guha and so on.  Last came the turn of Hanuman. He told Hanuman that he would shoot an arrow and hanuman should follow it. Wherever it falls that area would be his. Hanuman also faithfully followed Rama’s arrow. The arrow fell at Lopburi.

 

(Lava Puri= Lop Buri; Lava was one of the two sons of Rama. it is 150 kilometres from Bangkok) .

A lot of towns will have Buri suffix; it is the changed form of Puri which means a town or city in Sanskrit.

Lopburi was very uneven and Hanuman levelled it with his tail to make it habitable. Visvakarma helped Hanuman to build a beautiful city and Hanuman ruled from there.

 

An account of the story made the people to pick up mementoes from that place and ultimately government has to declare it a protected monument. The story was that the land was scorched by the falling arrow of Rama but a green patch was left where Rama’s arrow touched the ground. This account made the people to take everything from the green patch area as sacred objects. Then government introduced measures to protect it. In fact, Lopburi is abound in chalk and it is exported.

A lot of places in Thailand are associated with Ramayana as if Ramayana episodes took place in that country. The people have absorbed the story completely and believed Rama walked the length and breadth of Thailand!!

Source book: Studies in Sanskrit and Indian Culture in Thailand with my inputs.

–Subham–

 

 

TRAVEL IN VEDIC LITERATURE (Post No.4945)

TRAVEL IN VEDIC LITERATURE (Post No.4945)

 

RESEARCH ARTICLE WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 24 April 2018

 

Time uploaded in London –  14-29 (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 4945

 

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Hindus know very well the benefits of travel. They have been doing the longest pilgrimages. It is a wonder of the world that they travel from one of the country to the other. Though we hear about pilgrimages to Mecca, Jerusalem, Lourdes etc for followers of other religions, Hindus started thousands of years before them. Balarama did want to be part of Mahabharata war and so he went on a long journey. Before him,  Rama travelled on foot from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh to Sri Lanka in the south sea. The pilgrimage is mentioned in the Tamil epic Silappadikaram as well.

 

Another unique feature of Hindusim is they have thousands of pilgrimage centres. Every family fas a family deity and they visit the shrine from different parts of the world. Though Kasi/Varanasi/Benares is the holiest shrine for Hindus, they don’t stop there; they visit hundreds of other centres. There are 108 Vishnu shrines, 51 Goddess centres and 12 most famous Shiva shrines venerated by the Hindus for thousands of years.

Five Pandavas, particularly Arjuna travelled to far south and married a Pandya princess (Alli Rani) and he made inter galactic travel in Matari’s shuttle, according to Mahabharata.

 

From the Vedic days, we come across some statements in support of travel:

Vedas refer to the sea travel and Aswins rescue of Bhuj and others from the middle of the sea. It also mentioned 1000 oars ships.

 

Adi Shankara who lived 2000 years ago (See Kanchi Paramacharya’s dating) walked through the length and breadth of India several times and established Mutts (Religious Centres)  at five places in five different directions. Guru Nanak, Ramanuja and several saints also walked from one end of the land to the other.

 

Tamil devotional literature has several stories of kings and poets visiting Kailash in the Himalayas. Even before the foundation of Islam, Mecca has been a centre of pilgrimage to Hindus. Ancient travel records show that they boarded ships from Sri Lanka and Kerala.

 

Here are some quotations on Travel from the Vedic literature:

When Rohita, son of Harischandra left the forest and went to a village, Indra came to him in human disguise and said to him,

“There is no happiness for him who does not travel, Rohita! thus we have heard. Living in the society of men, the best man often becomes a sinner by seduction, which is best avoided by wandering (travel) to places void of human dwellings; for Indra is surely the friend of the traveller. Therefore , wander”

Rohita thinking, ‘A Brahmin told me to wander’ wandered for a second year in the forest.

Again Indra met Rohita and said, The feet of the wanderer are like the flower, his soul is growing and reaping the fruit; and all his sins are destroyed by his fatigues in wandering. Therefore, wander!

–Aitareya Brahmana 7-3-15

The fortune of him who is sitting sits; it rises when he rises; it sleeps when he sleeps; it moves when he moves. Therefore, wander!

 

The Kali (Yuga) is lying on the ground; the Dvapara (yuga) is hovering there; the Treta (Yuga) is getting up; but the Krita (yuga) happens to walk. Therefore, wander!

 

In another translation of the same verse we find,

“ A man who sleeps is like the Kali age ( iron age); a man who awakes is like the Dvapara age (Bronze age); a man who rises is like the Treta age (silver age) and a man who travels is like the Krita age (Golden age).

 

It is interesting to note that the same terms are used in the throws of gambling dice: Krita- throw of four, being reckoned the best, Treta-  the throw of three, Dvapara – throw of two and Kali- the throw of one, worst of all.

This corresponds to the golden sayings in Tamil Proverbs

It advises Tamils to beyond the seas and bring treasures. Another proverb says If you sit and eat, even a hill of treasure will melt away. Oldest Tamil book says that a person can be separated from his wife for traveling to study, business or war.

Hindu Ascetics are advised to travel without stopping in a place for more than 24 hours. They can stay in a place for Four Months (Chatur Masya Vrata) only during rainy season.

Kalidasa’s Meghaduta is the oldest Travel Guide in the world. It describes each and every place from the centre of India to the Himalayas.

Aitareya Brahmana continues,

“The wanderer finds honey and the sweet Udumbara fruit (fig); behold the beauty of the sun, who is not wearied by his wanderings. Therefore, wander, wander!

–Aitareya Brahmana 7-3-15

 

Mahabharata on Travel,

The union with brother, mother, father and friend is like that of travellers in an inn

-Vyasa in Mbh. Shanti parva 28(41)

 

Without travelling to a foreign land, one does not obtain glory, fame, knowledge of accomplishments or anything – Kathakosa

The self-respecting person finds his own worth that he is able, worthy and can attempt and know by journeying in alien lands.

-Vishnusharma, Panchatantra, Book 1.

 

BAN ON BRAHMINS AND WOMEN!

Very interesting thing about travel is overseas  travel for Brahmins is banned by Manu Smrti and for women by the oldest Tamil book Tolkappiam.

 

So Brahmins and women should not go abroad (from India)

 

–SUBHAM–

 

TAMIL POET VALLUVAR AND WESTERN THINKERS ON RIGHT CONDUCT (Post.4914)

TAMIL POET VALLUVAR AND WESTERN THINKERS ON RIGHT CONDUCT (Post.4914)

 

WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 14 April 2018

 

Time uploaded in London –  20-31 (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 4914

 

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The greatest of the ancient Tamil poets, Tiruvalluvar had composed ten verses on right conduct or discipline. As it is the main topic in religious scriptures, we have lot of verses in religious books. But by comparing the verses with other western poets we learn that great men think alike irrespective of the race, religion and geographical location.

 

Let us compare a few verses: –

Right conduct makes one great; hence right conduct is greater than life (Tirukkural 131).

Mathew Arnold said,

Conduct is three fourths of life and its largest concern.

Dr S M Diaz, I G of Police in Tamil Nadu says,

“And that is precisely why in the National Police Academy at Hyderabad where officers of the Indian Police Service at all levels are trained, I had prominently placed the following inscription: –

No Niagara is ever turned into light and power

Until it is tunnelled and confined

No life ever grows great until It is Focussed,

Dedicated and Disciplined

According to Plato, what is to be feared in life is disgrace and not death.

 

Tiruvalluvar, author of Tirukkural says elsewhere,

Hair lost, the yak lives not.

Honour lost, noble men leave their life (Kural 969)

 

Noble men do not outlive loss of honour. The world hails their glory (970).

 

xxx

 

In another couplet, Valluvar says

Right conduct is true nobility;

The absence of it is just ignoble (Kural 133)

 

The great French dramatist Moliere said that ‘Virtue is the first title of Nobility’, while Benson and Forster would rate ‘sincerity’ and considerateness’ as the determinants of true aristocracy.

 

In Kural/couplet 134, Valluvar says,

The Brahmin who has forgotten his scriptures could read them up again;

But if he neglects right conduct he will lose his birth-right.

 

This couplet in fact is an amplification of the previous Kural 133, Moliere’s statement that ‘Birth is nothing where virtues is not” is relevant here.

S M Diaz, has given lot of comparisons from The Bible (Proverbs) for every couplet in this chapter.

 

In the couplet 140, Valluvar says

Even men of learning will be as ignorant as men,

If they do not live in tune with the world.

 

The following passage from Lord Chesterfield could be considered a felicitous alternative translation of this Kural:

“A man of the best parts and the greatest learning, if he does not know the world by his own experience and obligation, will be very absurd and consequently very unwelcome in company”.

What Indian Scholars say about conduct?

It may be sandal paste, incense or water lily or jasmine. The fragrance of good conduct has nothing superior to such perfumes – Dhammapada 4-12

 

As one acts according to one’s conduct. so does he become.

The doer of good becomes good; of evil, evil.

One become virtuous by virtuous acts.

-Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad 4.4.4

 

Do nothing to others which, if done to you , would cause you pain;  this is the sum of polity.

–Mahabharata, 5-1517

 

Forget not the good done to you;

Despise evil friends

Give not false evidence

And depart not from the truth.

Fail not to join the assembly of the learned,

Strive always to escape from the company of the lawless;

Abstain from others’ wives

Help the dying.

-Tamil Epic Silappadikaram

Conduct renders a man virtuous, a coward or her, transmuting purity into purity.

Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kanda, Chapter 108

 

Source books: Tirukkural Translation by S M Diaz

The Golden Treasury of Indian Quotations R N Saletore

–Subham–

Three curses on Ravana! (Post No.4869)

WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 31 MARCH 2018

 

Time uploaded in London –  20-24 (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 4869

 

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Ravana, the king of Lanka and the villain in the Ramayana did lot of penance ruled as an unconquerable man. But his inherent weakness was that he thought men can never kill him. He was suffering from superiority complex and so he ignored human beings from the list of potential threats. He always ridiculed men He thought he was a big mountain and the human beings are mosquitoes.

 

Apart from this wrong notion he had three big curses on him:

Curse 1

 

At one time Ravana waged a war against Anaranya. He did lot of atrocities against him and received a curse from him. From my  race of Ikshwaku kings, a man will  be born named Rama and he will kill you in battle. Ravana remembers the curse as he does many other curses he reived in his life (Vi-60-8/10)

 

Curse 2

I once ravished  a woman, Vedavati, and she said, “some how I am going to be your end. I think  she has been born as Sita and I have brought this danger into my palace and all this trouble upon me in consequence.@ Then he recalls some of the other curses he had received. VI-60-10-11

 

Curse 3

Uma nad Nandi cursed him as well. Once he went to Kailasa and tried to lift the sacred Hill and displeased Mahadeva himself. At that time he was stopped by Nandi when he went in. Ravana turned round, and looking at his oddface he laughed loudly. Nandi was very angry, but not liking to do battle in the palace of Shiva, that too without his permission. So Nandhi cursed Ravana.

 

“As you have set up this laughter as loud as thunder, there will born in the world, a race of monkeys having my look and also having my strength, in order to kill you and your whole family. As big as hills they will be, and they will fight with nails and teeth.”

 

–subham-