Facts about the Ramayana you never knew

Amazing facts about India.

“Uncanny visions arise in my mind:
of timeless evil, and a battle older than the earth,
which has been fought before on countless worlds, in forgotten ages.
Even after this battle of Lanka, the war shall be fought again and again;
until time ends, and dharma and adharma with it.”

Having arrived on the shores of Lanka, Rama speaks these words to Lakshmana as if in a trance. Rama is alluding to his great destiny: to eradicate the evil of the age. This passage also emphasizes the deep and cyclical nature of time in Hindu cosmology; over long ages, events tend to repeat themselves.

Ramayana is indeed an ancient epic which is alive even today. The text is a richly-layered one, with well-etched personalities, and the breathless victory of good over evil. The many facts are wrapped within one another. Perhaps our modern lives find it difficult to even contemplate a time like that. Yet, it happened and like all great stories, there is much to re-live, again and again.

Even while the questions continue to amaze us, the answers will dazzle us even more.

1. Was Rama born on Ram Navami? when was ram born

The date and time of Rama’s birth is determined as 12:30 pm on January 10, 5114 BCE. The date of Rama’s birth can be accurately calculated using a planetarium software.

If Rama was born on that date, why do we celebrate Rama Navami around March end-April mid? The reason for this is the concept of precision of equinox where one day is adjusted for every 72 years. Thus over a 7,200-year-period, it works to around 100 days between January 10 and April 15.

2. Did Rama rule for 11,000 years?

Some say Rama ruled for 11,000 years.

Rama went in exile when He was 25 years old. He returned to Ayodhya and was coronated when 39. After ruling for 30 years and 6 months post his coronation, when He was about 70 years old, Rama relinquished the kingdom.

dasha varsha sahasraani dasha varsha shataani ca |
raamo raajyam upaasitvaa brahma lokam prayaasyati ||

Ramayana – 1-1-97 1

How did lord Rama die

It translates into: “After being in service of His kingdom for ten thousand years and another one thousand years, (i.e. 11000 years in total), Rama undertook His journey to the abode of Brahma… “

But Rama was said to have existed only 7,100 years ago in 5100 BCE. How do we reconcile the two?

This answer comes from the other epic, the Mahabharata.
“ahorātraṃ mahārāja tulyaṃ saṃvatsareṃa hi”
Mahabharata, verse 3-49-21

Meaning, for a Maharaja, a person who lives in accordance with dharma, a day is equivalent to a year. Taking the year to consist of 360 days and 12 months of 30 days each, 11,000 years in poetic form, gives us 30 years and 6 months as the number of actual years that Rama ruled over Ayodhya.

3. Was the Pushpak Vimana real?

The Pushpak Vimana of Ravana, in which Rama returned to Ayodhya from Lanka, after his victory over Ravana, was just one among the many vimanas.

The word vimana comprises vi, ‘the sky’ and mana, meaning, ‘measure’. Vimana is one that measures the sky as it traverses through it.

Facts about Ram

There are many stories in the Purana and in the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata that speak about vimana. There is a separate, technical literature available such as the Vaimanika Sastra by Maharishi Bharadwaja, which discuss the vimana from a technical perspective. It explains the Pushpak Vimana’s special capacity to contract (sankocha) or expand (vistrita) in size.

Maharishi Bharadwaj mentions about 120 different vimanas that were present in different times in different lands. He also gives glimpses of fuels used, aeronautics, avionics, metallurgy and other maneuvers that were deployed in flying these vimanas.

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