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Giradhara Ramayana
Giradhara Ramayana
Description
From the Jacket

The Ramayana or the story of Rama, has been dominating the Indian religious scene from the time immemorial. Before composition of the work of poetic excellence by the sage Valmiki, who is considered to be the pioneer of the same, the story was available in fragments in different parts of the country. Though the sage Valmiki was inspired by the sage Narada for composing the Ramayana but Valmiki had to collect several fragments of the story from various regions of the country. Once the story was composed in poetic form, there was a great boost in the popularity of the theme and soon there arose the urge with the people to listen or to recite the Ramayanas in the languages they spoke. As a result of this, several Ramayana in the regional languages were brought out from time to time in the past particularly in the medieval period. The Giradhara Ramayana in Gujarati comes under such types of works, which was composed by Giradhara, a great son of soil, in Gujarati language. The most astonishing aspect of this work has been that it provides occasionally the study of the selected events as discussed in other works, which highlights its unique nature. The English version of the text now produced, will surely interest the readers in country and abroad.

Shri Shanti Lal Nagar a graduate of the Punjab University served in a curatorial capacity in the Central Asian Antiquities Museum, New Delhi, Archaeological section of the Indian Museum, Kolkata and the Nalanda Museum, for a number of years. He has to his credit the scientific documentation of over fifty thousand antiquities in these museums. He was awarded a fellowship in 1987, by the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi for his monograph, The Temples of Himachal Pradesh. He has already published over forty works on ancient Indian art; culture and literature, while over twenty more are in the press.

Smt. Tripta Nagar is B.Sc. (Home Science), B.Ed., with P.G. Diploma in Dietetics P.H and Nutrition, and is in the teaching profession for the last over fifteen years.

Preface

THE Ramayana which is known as adikavya or the first ornate poem “according to the indigenous estimation is ascribed by tradition to Valmiki, the adikavi or the first author of the ornate poetry.” The Ramayana deserves to be called as adikavya because the characteristics of the later Sanskrit ornate poetry such as the description of nature and the presence of the figures of speech both of word and sense are quite conspicuous. It differs even in its present form even from the Mahabharata not only in the external appearance but even in spirit. Whereas the Mahabharata has lost its epic form to some extent, the Ramayana still retains the original character. Though the metres are almost alike, in the Ramayana, they are more appealing and polished. In spirit, on the other hand, the Mahabharata reflects the genuine feelings of its characters without any artistic embellishment, whereas in the Ramayana they seem to bend under the pen of the poet and therefore less natural and more self-conscious. The sacred character of the Mahabharata is not so much due to his heroes as to the dedicate sections added to it at some stage; but in the case of the Ramayana the sanctity attached to it, is due: the inherent purity of its hero and heroine who in their deified character ever represent the ideals of Indian conjugal love and faithfulness. Both the epics have influenced the thoughts and actions of the Indian people forever two thousand years or so. Their universal popularity is evidenced with the fact that not only the dramatists of the classical period, but also the writers m the medieval Indian languages from the beginning to the present day, in parts of the country, borrow their plots from them. Even the audio-visual media like the cinemas borrow freely from this source and various popular festivals celebrate the victory of Rama over the demon RAvai3a with the aid of his monkey allies and Hanuman.

The epic created by Valmiki, in its present form consists of seven books or kandas, enshrining therein nearly twenty-four thousand verses. The principal contents of the epic, too, have already been highlighted in the introductory chapter in this work. As in the case of the Mahabharata the Ramayana too has not come down to us in its original form. The scholars believe that the whole of the book VII and part of book I. are the later additions to the main Rama epic, for these two books contain a number of topics which have no, or slight links with the main story. This view has been contested by others like Svami Karpãtri, who represents the indigenous views on the subject. It is again, only here, with a few interpolated exceptions in books II-VI that Rama appears as an incarnation of Visnu (according to a school of thought) whereas elsewhere, he is only a mortal hero and in the genuine sections the Vedic god Indra, and not Visnu is given the highest place in mythology. The language and the style of the two later books also betray the hand of a different author. The text of this epic has come down to us in three different recensions, one current in the northern and southern India, the other in eastern India and the third in the north-western India. These three recensions vary amongst themselves very widely and as such it is quite difficult to speak definitely of the original form of the Ramayana. Obviously the differences must have been mainly due to the oral transmission of the text for many centuries, during which the scholars might have taken some liberty in adding or deleting certain passage to cater to the taste of the audience. It was only when the epic was written down that it must have assumed a definite form to which there were no substantial additions and alterations. From the numerous references to the Ramayana and its author Valmiki, in the Mahabharata, and its original version in the same epic of Rama’s story, as is found in the present Ramayana, and also from a mention in the Harivamsa Purana its present form must have existed at least a few centuries before the start of the tendency in the Indian literary traditions for making interpolations in the various Ramayana texts, at some stage or the other and these interpolations sometimes were so complete and comprehensive that sometimes it would be difficult to trace them out.

The Place of Origin

The available evidence indicates that the Ramayana was composed in the country of which Ayodhya was the capital the royal residence of the race of Iksvaku. This is stated in book I, that the Ramayana arose in the family of the Iksvakus; the hermitage of Valmiki is described in book VII, as having been situated on the south bank of the Ganga and the poet must have been connected with Ayodhya, for Sita, the spouse of Rama, sought refuge in his forest retreat, when her twin sons were born, brought up and taught of reciting the epic by the poet. In or near Ayodhya, therefore Valmiki may be expected to have worked a homogeneous whole the various epic tales current among the court bards of Ayodhya, about the life of the Iksvaku hero, Rama. This poem was then carried by the bards who wandered about reciting it in different parts of the country.

The Period

The question of the Ramayana has been a matter of controversy, because the arguments bearing on it are rather inconclusive. There is no evidence to show that the Ramayana and the Mahabharata existed even in the earliest beginnings before the end of the Vedic period taken to be 800 ac by the western scholars. As to the relative age of the two epics, it is probable, that (tie original form of the Ramayana was finished before the epic nucleus of die Mahabharata had assumed definite stage for, while the leading characters of the latter are not referred to in the Ramayana, the story of Rama is often mentioned in the sister epic. Again two of the Valmiki’s lines (V1.21.28) ire quoted in a passage of the Mahabharata (VIJ.143.68) in which there is IIII reason to regard as a later addition. There is an episode of Rama (Ramopakhyana) in the Mahabharata that presupposes this existence of the extended Ramayana in which Rama was already considered as Visnu. The Ramayana was already along with its later parts a complete work by about the beginning of the Christian era and was treated as an ancient book by the (hue the other epic had more or less attained its final shape by about the fourth century AD with this divergence in dates when their growth was completed the presentation of all the old parts of the Mahabharata with new matter is in keeping, while in the Ramayana such permeation hardly extends beyond the first and the last books. Both the epic have not only, in their hooks, many phrases, proverbial idioms, and whole lines in command, but, also betray a far reaching general agreement in language, style and metre. Thus it may safely be stated that the period of the growth of the Ramayana coincides with both of the Mahabharata though it came sooner to an end.

Expect in the two passages, which have been considered to be later additions, the Ramayana contains no reference to the Greek who first came into direct contact with India during the time of Alexander’s expedition in 327 Bc. The foreign view on the antiquity of the Ramayana has been, that the r1ih was composed into writing before the fourth century BC which has been contested by the Indian scholars. Even otherwise the foreign views could hardly amid the test of the time because in case the Ramayana is considered to be iii.’ work of fourth century then the date of the Mahabharata has to be shifted at least by a century or so and that could bring it to close to the advent of the Christian era, which does not present a workable solution. It may be recalled hint the Mauryan period succeeded the Nandas, who were overthrown by Chandragupta, under the able guidance of his so strong a minister called “makya Visnugupta, Both of them are the historical figures and their period Pin been taken to be around 800 ac. Now the Nandas too are mentioned in the Mahabharata and as such, the antiquity of the Mahabharata in that case cannot possibly be later than the 60sc and the Ramayana has to be still earlier, but the exact period of its origin cannot be defined with confidence, though it could be earlier to the Mahabharata According to the another point of view, the age of Rama has been determined on the basis of the Puranic evidence, the royal time established by Dasaratha, consists of the following kings: (I) Rama, (2) Kusa, (3) Atithi, (4) Nisadha, (5) Nala, (6) Nabha, (7) Pundarika (8) Ksemadhanvan, Ksamadhritavan (9) Devanika, (10) Ahinaga (11) Sahasrasva, (12) Candravalika (I3) Tarapida, (14) Candragiri (15) Bhanuscandra, and (16) Srutayus. This Srutayus was possibly killed by Arjuna in the Mahabharata battle} In case this chronology of Pradhan is accepted, it would show that there was a difference or interval of sixteen generations between Rama and Krsna or a distance of about 400 years between them, which seems to have been based on factual justifications.

In case the date of the Bharata battle is taken to be 1450 BC then the date of Rama on the basis of twenty-five years for each generations, between Rama and Srutayus as mentioned above, would be 1850 BC or so, which records more or less well with the date 1950 BC ascribed to Rama by A.D. Pusalker.2 Pusalker has taken 3102 as the date of Manu. He takes eighteen years for each generations and the age of Rama according to his calculations is 3100- 65> In this connection it may be pointed out that an eminent scholar Saurabh Kwatra has expressed his opinion on the date of the Ramayana, in a newspaper recently as follows. Placing the Ramayana in the historical context is yet an unfinished task, as witness the endless debates among archaeologists, historians and literary pundits. The present analysis is a modest attempt to use astronomy, astrology and the science of time together in elevating the status of Ramayana from an epic to a chronological reality.

Astonishingly, the ancient Indians had an accurate method of time measurement. They regularly and systematically recorded the tithis days marked according to the phases of the Moon, the months, the seasons, solstices, equinoxes and the positions of astrologically relevant luminaries like the Sun, the jupiter, the Venus, and so on. In other words, the timings of events were recorded in the astronomical format. To convert this coded information on heavenly positions into a simple calendrical timeline, all that is needed is a database of ephemeris.

Sage Valmiki, the celebrated composer of the Ramayana records the birth of Rama in Uttarayana (the Divine Half-year), in the Chaitra month, in the bright fortnight, on the ninth day, in the Punarvasu nakshatra, on a Monday, and under Karka logna. Valmiki further details the birth with various planetary positions in the zodiac: Sun in Mesha at 10 deg., Mars in Capricorn at 28 deg., Jupiter in Cancer at 5 deg., Venus in Pisces at 27 deg. These starry configurations are so unique that they have occurred only once so far in measurable history and this helps us to fix the important date, the birthday of Rama, as the 4th of December 7323 Bc. Due to the slow yet continuous precession of the Earth, Rama’s birthday g anniversary, celebrated as Ramanavami, has since shifted by about four months over a period of about 9,300 years.

Valmiki has also beautifully described the sky at the moment when Rama left 2 Ayodhya on his l4-year exile. He states, “Crux (Trishanku), Mars, jupiter and Mercury have cornered the Moon. Vaishakha and Milky way are shining in the sky. ” Using this additional input, astronomical rules help us to fix Rama’s exile to a time when he turned I7 years of age. Another event, Hanuman’s return from Lanka after discovering Sita (in Sunderkanda, one of the most evocative chapters of Ramayana) can be similarly pinpointed as occurring on a Pushya Poornima. Using the above techniques, the following pivotal events of the Ramayana can be fixed at the following dates. Rama’s birth: 4th December 7323 Bc; Rama’s marriage with Sita: 7th April 7307 no; Rama’s exile: 29th November 7306 Bc; Hanuman’s entry into Lanka: lst September 7292 Bc; Hanuman`s meeting with Sita: 2nd September 7292 Bc; construction of Setu (bridge): 26-30th October 7292 Bc; the beginning of the great war: 3rd November 7292 Bc; Kumbhakarna’s death; 7th November 7292 sc; Ravana’s killing by Rama: 15th November 7292 Bc; and Rama’s return to Ayodhya: 6th December 7292 Bc. The last event, celebrated as Deepawali, should also have advanced by about four months, but strangely the festival of light now falls in October—November each year. Complicated explanations have been put forth by many researchers to explain this anomaly, but I find none of them satisfactory.

Astrological interpretations of Rama’s birth chart provide us further insights. In fact the matching and the mapping between his natal chart and the course of his life is so precise that it can be used as a case study in support of the science of astrology itself. The natal chart of Ramachandra indicates a yogic Ramajayoga, a rare planetary pattern, wherein the native rises to be a king in the materialistic sense even while renouncing all worldly pleasures. It is an established fact that Rama during his reign over the kingdom of Ayodhya lived a simple hermit’s life. Mars being exalted in the 7th house of marriage indicates a bold and courageous spouse, but at the same time this made her sharp-tongued. It is this latter maleficent effect of Mars that led Laksmana to leave Sita alone in the cottage in search of Rama. Venus’s exalted position in the 9th house of travel and destiny gives a public life with spouse. Sita followed Rama during his exile, while in contrast, Laksmana left his consort behind in Ayodhya. The jupiter-Moon conjunction in Cancer forms the well-known Gajakesari yoga; it blesses the native with simplicity, honesty and religiosity and confers fame due to these qualities. Sun, the significator of soul in deep exaltation (in Aries) in the 10th house of Karma suggests that Rama was a higher, perhaps a dual soul: he was the king of Ayodhya, and the Divine Incarnate of Lord Visnu simultaneously.

Content

Preface xv
1 – Balakanda 1
1. Prayer 1
2. Composing of Ramayana 2
3. Birth of Ravana, Kubera and others 4
4. Getting of boons by Ravana and others 6
5. Conquests of Ravana; his defeats and victories 8
6. Dasaratha married Kausalaya 10
7. The gods lead by Brahma, offer prayers to Visnu with the goddess Earth in the ocean of milk 12
8. Advice of Sri Narayana to all the gods 14
9. Killing of Sravana 15
10. Dasaratha grants boons to Kaikeyi 18
11. Arrival of Rsyasrnga in Ayodhya 19
12. Performing of Putresthi yajna by Dasaratha 21
13. Birth of Hanuman 23
14. Birth of Sri Rama and others 25
15. Brahma and other gods pray Rama in the womb 28
16. Birth of Sri Rama 29
17. Ravana is terrified 32
18. Childhood of Rama 34
19. Thread ceremony of Rama and his education 36
20. Pilgrimage of Sri Rama 37
21. Dasaratha approached by Visvamitra, for taking Rama and Laksmana with him 38
22. Conversation between Rama and Vasistha: the story of Maya 41
23. Story of maya 43
24. Origin of the universe and dissolution 46
25. Birth of the Ganga 48
26. Bhagiratha brings Ganga on the earth 50
27. Killing of Tadaka 52
28. Killing of Subahu and others 54
29. Ahalya relieved of the curse 56
30. Story of the birth of Ahalya (raga Dhanasri) 58
31. The story of Padmasri 61
32. Birth of Sita and her childhood plays 63
33. Sita felt impressed at the sight of Rama 64
34. Entry of Rama and Laksmana in Janakapura 67
35. Sri Rama arrived in the svayamvara mandapa 68
36. Sita felt gloomy at the vow of Janaka 70
37. Shattering of the pride of Ravana 71
38. Rama breaks the bow 72
39. Invitation of Dasaratha 74
40. Arrival of the marriage party in Mithila 76
41. Rama reaches the mandopa with his brothers 78
42. Marriage of Rama and others 80
43. Arrival of Parasurama 81
44. Talk between and Parasurama 83
45. Parasurama’s prayer for Rama 84
46. Rama centers Ayodhya with Sita 86
2- Ayodhyakanda 88
1. Adoration of the Guru 88
2. Bharata and Satrughna go to the abode of his maternal uncle 89
3. Preparations for the coronation 90
4. Kali enters Manthara 92
5. Kaikeyi influenced by the words of Manthara 93
6. Sumantra reached the palace of Rama 95
7. Grief of Kausalya 96
8. Conversation between Kausalya and Rama 98
9. Rama assures Kausalya 99
10. Discussion among Rama, Sita and Vasistha 101
11. Rama’s departure for the forest 103
12. Crossing of Tamasa and Ganga by Rama 105
13. Rama reaches Citrakuta 108
14. Sumantra’s arrival in Ayodhya and the death of Dasaratha 110
15. Return of Bharata and Satrughna to Ayodhya 111
16. Cremation of Dasaratha 112
17. Discussion between Bharata and Vasistha114
18. The people of Ayodhya march towards Citrakuta 116
19. Meeting between Rama and Bharata 117
20. Rama performs last rites of Dasaratha 119
21. Discussion between Bharata and Rama 20
22. Rama consoled Bharata 122
23. Bharata’s return to Ayodhya 124
24. Return of Bharata and Satrughna to Ayodhya 126
25. Discussion between Rama and Valmiki 127
3- Aranyakanda 130
1. Arrival or Rama in the hermitage of Arti 130
2. Anusuya’s ad vice to Sita, Rama bows to Renuka and proceeds further south 131
3. Killing of Viradha by Rama and their arrival in hermitage of Sarabhanga 133
4. Rama’s meeting with Sutiksna; story of the sage Agastya; Rama reached the asrama of the sage Agastya 135
5. Sutiksna narrates to Rama, the story of the birth of Agastya 137
6. Killing of the demons by Agastya and drinking of the waters of the ocean139
7. Rama welcomed by Agastya and Rama’s meeting Jatayu 140
8. Daily routine of Rama, Laksmana and sita in Pancavati 142
9. Killing of Sambara and arrival of Surpanakha in Pancavati 143
10. Surpanakha disfugured 145
11. Killing of Khara and Dusana 147
12. Sita got fascinated at the sight of the golden deer by Sita 149
13. Request to Rama, at the sight of the golden deer by Sita 152
14. Killing of golden deer by Rama and Janaki’s harsh words to Laksmana 152
15. Sita’s abduction by Ravana 155
16. Ravana injures Jatayu and Sita lodged in Asokavana 156
17. Rama laments on separation from Sita 158
18. Rama’s departure from Pancavati 159
19. Meeting of Rama, Jatayu and death of Jatayu 161
20. Kabandha is relieved of the curse 163
21. Rama meets Sabari 164
22. Rama pronounces curse on birds and animals 165
4 – Kiskindhakanda 168
1. Spotting of Rama and Laksmana by Sugriva and other monkeys; Hanuman approaches Rama 168
2. Hanuman examined Rama and meeting between Rama and Hanuman 169
3. Story of birth of Bali and Sugriva; battle between Bali and Dundubhi 171
4. The cause of enmity between Bali and Sugriva and the pledge between Ram and Sugriva 173
5. Rama pierces through the seven tala trees, Sugriva challenges Bali, conversation between Tara and Bali 175
6. Battle between Bali and Sugriva; Bali Killed by Rama 176
7. Lamenting of Tara; crowning of Sugriva 178
8. Description of the rainy season and the winter season 180
9. Laksman reminds Sugriva of his pledge; Sugriva deputes monkeys in search of Sita 182
10. Meeting with brahmaraksasa and monkey’s entry into the cave 184
11. Story of Mayasura narrated by Suprabha, and her achieving salvation 186
12. Monkey’s meeting with Sampati 187
13. Sampati’s advice to the monkeys; Jambavan and Hanuman spell out their prowess 189
14. Curse pronounced on Hanuman 190
15. Hanuman gets ready to cross the ocean; glory of the story of Rama 191
5 – Sundarakanda 194
1. Introductory verse of the poet 194
2. Crossing of the ocean by Hanuman 195
3. Hanuman while searching for Sita, visits the places of Indrajit, Vibhisana and Kumbhakarna197
4. Hanuman reaches the bedroom of Ravana 198
5. Sita laments on the receipt of the ring of Rama 200
6. Hanuman recites the story of Rama in Asokavana and anxiety of Sita 201
7. Meeting between Sit and Hanuman; eating of fruits by Hanuman 202
8. Hanuman kills demonts in Asokavana 204
9. Flight of Indrajit at the hands of Hnauman; Hanuman produced in the court of Ravana bound with brahmapasa 206
10. Burning of Lanka by Hanuman; meeting between Hanuman and Brahma 207
11. Return of Hanuman to Rama, after meeting Sita 209
12. Monkeys covey the news to Rama 210
13. Laksmana reads out the letter of Brahma 211
14. Description of Lanka by Hanuman213
15. Jambavan narrates the story of the birth of Lanka 214
16. Arrival of Rama at the seashore; Ravana’s consultations216
17. Vibhisana goes to Rama after his humiliation at the hand of Ravana 217
18. Meeting between Rama and Vibhisana 219
19. Prayer of Vibhisana 221
20. Ocean prays for the refuge of Rama 222
21. Building of the bridge 224
22. Consecration of Ramesvera; crossing of the bridge by Rama 226
23. Description of Rama’s army by Sukasarana 227
24. Laksmana removed the crowns of Ravana seated over gopura 230
6 – Yuddhakanda 232
7 – Uttarakanda 326
Index 490

Giradhara Ramayana

Item Code:
NAC437
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2003
Publisher:
Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN:
8121510309
Language:
(English Translation)
Size:
9.5 Inch X 6.3 Inch
Pages:
515
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 960 gms
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From the Jacket

The Ramayana or the story of Rama, has been dominating the Indian religious scene from the time immemorial. Before composition of the work of poetic excellence by the sage Valmiki, who is considered to be the pioneer of the same, the story was available in fragments in different parts of the country. Though the sage Valmiki was inspired by the sage Narada for composing the Ramayana but Valmiki had to collect several fragments of the story from various regions of the country. Once the story was composed in poetic form, there was a great boost in the popularity of the theme and soon there arose the urge with the people to listen or to recite the Ramayanas in the languages they spoke. As a result of this, several Ramayana in the regional languages were brought out from time to time in the past particularly in the medieval period. The Giradhara Ramayana in Gujarati comes under such types of works, which was composed by Giradhara, a great son of soil, in Gujarati language. The most astonishing aspect of this work has been that it provides occasionally the study of the selected events as discussed in other works, which highlights its unique nature. The English version of the text now produced, will surely interest the readers in country and abroad.

Shri Shanti Lal Nagar a graduate of the Punjab University served in a curatorial capacity in the Central Asian Antiquities Museum, New Delhi, Archaeological section of the Indian Museum, Kolkata and the Nalanda Museum, for a number of years. He has to his credit the scientific documentation of over fifty thousand antiquities in these museums. He was awarded a fellowship in 1987, by the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi for his monograph, The Temples of Himachal Pradesh. He has already published over forty works on ancient Indian art; culture and literature, while over twenty more are in the press.

Smt. Tripta Nagar is B.Sc. (Home Science), B.Ed., with P.G. Diploma in Dietetics P.H and Nutrition, and is in the teaching profession for the last over fifteen years.

Preface

THE Ramayana which is known as adikavya or the first ornate poem “according to the indigenous estimation is ascribed by tradition to Valmiki, the adikavi or the first author of the ornate poetry.” The Ramayana deserves to be called as adikavya because the characteristics of the later Sanskrit ornate poetry such as the description of nature and the presence of the figures of speech both of word and sense are quite conspicuous. It differs even in its present form even from the Mahabharata not only in the external appearance but even in spirit. Whereas the Mahabharata has lost its epic form to some extent, the Ramayana still retains the original character. Though the metres are almost alike, in the Ramayana, they are more appealing and polished. In spirit, on the other hand, the Mahabharata reflects the genuine feelings of its characters without any artistic embellishment, whereas in the Ramayana they seem to bend under the pen of the poet and therefore less natural and more self-conscious. The sacred character of the Mahabharata is not so much due to his heroes as to the dedicate sections added to it at some stage; but in the case of the Ramayana the sanctity attached to it, is due: the inherent purity of its hero and heroine who in their deified character ever represent the ideals of Indian conjugal love and faithfulness. Both the epics have influenced the thoughts and actions of the Indian people forever two thousand years or so. Their universal popularity is evidenced with the fact that not only the dramatists of the classical period, but also the writers m the medieval Indian languages from the beginning to the present day, in parts of the country, borrow their plots from them. Even the audio-visual media like the cinemas borrow freely from this source and various popular festivals celebrate the victory of Rama over the demon RAvai3a with the aid of his monkey allies and Hanuman.

The epic created by Valmiki, in its present form consists of seven books or kandas, enshrining therein nearly twenty-four thousand verses. The principal contents of the epic, too, have already been highlighted in the introductory chapter in this work. As in the case of the Mahabharata the Ramayana too has not come down to us in its original form. The scholars believe that the whole of the book VII and part of book I. are the later additions to the main Rama epic, for these two books contain a number of topics which have no, or slight links with the main story. This view has been contested by others like Svami Karpãtri, who represents the indigenous views on the subject. It is again, only here, with a few interpolated exceptions in books II-VI that Rama appears as an incarnation of Visnu (according to a school of thought) whereas elsewhere, he is only a mortal hero and in the genuine sections the Vedic god Indra, and not Visnu is given the highest place in mythology. The language and the style of the two later books also betray the hand of a different author. The text of this epic has come down to us in three different recensions, one current in the northern and southern India, the other in eastern India and the third in the north-western India. These three recensions vary amongst themselves very widely and as such it is quite difficult to speak definitely of the original form of the Ramayana. Obviously the differences must have been mainly due to the oral transmission of the text for many centuries, during which the scholars might have taken some liberty in adding or deleting certain passage to cater to the taste of the audience. It was only when the epic was written down that it must have assumed a definite form to which there were no substantial additions and alterations. From the numerous references to the Ramayana and its author Valmiki, in the Mahabharata, and its original version in the same epic of Rama’s story, as is found in the present Ramayana, and also from a mention in the Harivamsa Purana its present form must have existed at least a few centuries before the start of the tendency in the Indian literary traditions for making interpolations in the various Ramayana texts, at some stage or the other and these interpolations sometimes were so complete and comprehensive that sometimes it would be difficult to trace them out.

The Place of Origin

The available evidence indicates that the Ramayana was composed in the country of which Ayodhya was the capital the royal residence of the race of Iksvaku. This is stated in book I, that the Ramayana arose in the family of the Iksvakus; the hermitage of Valmiki is described in book VII, as having been situated on the south bank of the Ganga and the poet must have been connected with Ayodhya, for Sita, the spouse of Rama, sought refuge in his forest retreat, when her twin sons were born, brought up and taught of reciting the epic by the poet. In or near Ayodhya, therefore Valmiki may be expected to have worked a homogeneous whole the various epic tales current among the court bards of Ayodhya, about the life of the Iksvaku hero, Rama. This poem was then carried by the bards who wandered about reciting it in different parts of the country.

The Period

The question of the Ramayana has been a matter of controversy, because the arguments bearing on it are rather inconclusive. There is no evidence to show that the Ramayana and the Mahabharata existed even in the earliest beginnings before the end of the Vedic period taken to be 800 ac by the western scholars. As to the relative age of the two epics, it is probable, that (tie original form of the Ramayana was finished before the epic nucleus of die Mahabharata had assumed definite stage for, while the leading characters of the latter are not referred to in the Ramayana, the story of Rama is often mentioned in the sister epic. Again two of the Valmiki’s lines (V1.21.28) ire quoted in a passage of the Mahabharata (VIJ.143.68) in which there is IIII reason to regard as a later addition. There is an episode of Rama (Ramopakhyana) in the Mahabharata that presupposes this existence of the extended Ramayana in which Rama was already considered as Visnu. The Ramayana was already along with its later parts a complete work by about the beginning of the Christian era and was treated as an ancient book by the (hue the other epic had more or less attained its final shape by about the fourth century AD with this divergence in dates when their growth was completed the presentation of all the old parts of the Mahabharata with new matter is in keeping, while in the Ramayana such permeation hardly extends beyond the first and the last books. Both the epic have not only, in their hooks, many phrases, proverbial idioms, and whole lines in command, but, also betray a far reaching general agreement in language, style and metre. Thus it may safely be stated that the period of the growth of the Ramayana coincides with both of the Mahabharata though it came sooner to an end.

Expect in the two passages, which have been considered to be later additions, the Ramayana contains no reference to the Greek who first came into direct contact with India during the time of Alexander’s expedition in 327 Bc. The foreign view on the antiquity of the Ramayana has been, that the r1ih was composed into writing before the fourth century BC which has been contested by the Indian scholars. Even otherwise the foreign views could hardly amid the test of the time because in case the Ramayana is considered to be iii.’ work of fourth century then the date of the Mahabharata has to be shifted at least by a century or so and that could bring it to close to the advent of the Christian era, which does not present a workable solution. It may be recalled hint the Mauryan period succeeded the Nandas, who were overthrown by Chandragupta, under the able guidance of his so strong a minister called “makya Visnugupta, Both of them are the historical figures and their period Pin been taken to be around 800 ac. Now the Nandas too are mentioned in the Mahabharata and as such, the antiquity of the Mahabharata in that case cannot possibly be later than the 60sc and the Ramayana has to be still earlier, but the exact period of its origin cannot be defined with confidence, though it could be earlier to the Mahabharata According to the another point of view, the age of Rama has been determined on the basis of the Puranic evidence, the royal time established by Dasaratha, consists of the following kings: (I) Rama, (2) Kusa, (3) Atithi, (4) Nisadha, (5) Nala, (6) Nabha, (7) Pundarika (8) Ksemadhanvan, Ksamadhritavan (9) Devanika, (10) Ahinaga (11) Sahasrasva, (12) Candravalika (I3) Tarapida, (14) Candragiri (15) Bhanuscandra, and (16) Srutayus. This Srutayus was possibly killed by Arjuna in the Mahabharata battle} In case this chronology of Pradhan is accepted, it would show that there was a difference or interval of sixteen generations between Rama and Krsna or a distance of about 400 years between them, which seems to have been based on factual justifications.

In case the date of the Bharata battle is taken to be 1450 BC then the date of Rama on the basis of twenty-five years for each generations, between Rama and Srutayus as mentioned above, would be 1850 BC or so, which records more or less well with the date 1950 BC ascribed to Rama by A.D. Pusalker.2 Pusalker has taken 3102 as the date of Manu. He takes eighteen years for each generations and the age of Rama according to his calculations is 3100- 65> In this connection it may be pointed out that an eminent scholar Saurabh Kwatra has expressed his opinion on the date of the Ramayana, in a newspaper recently as follows. Placing the Ramayana in the historical context is yet an unfinished task, as witness the endless debates among archaeologists, historians and literary pundits. The present analysis is a modest attempt to use astronomy, astrology and the science of time together in elevating the status of Ramayana from an epic to a chronological reality.

Astonishingly, the ancient Indians had an accurate method of time measurement. They regularly and systematically recorded the tithis days marked according to the phases of the Moon, the months, the seasons, solstices, equinoxes and the positions of astrologically relevant luminaries like the Sun, the jupiter, the Venus, and so on. In other words, the timings of events were recorded in the astronomical format. To convert this coded information on heavenly positions into a simple calendrical timeline, all that is needed is a database of ephemeris.

Sage Valmiki, the celebrated composer of the Ramayana records the birth of Rama in Uttarayana (the Divine Half-year), in the Chaitra month, in the bright fortnight, on the ninth day, in the Punarvasu nakshatra, on a Monday, and under Karka logna. Valmiki further details the birth with various planetary positions in the zodiac: Sun in Mesha at 10 deg., Mars in Capricorn at 28 deg., Jupiter in Cancer at 5 deg., Venus in Pisces at 27 deg. These starry configurations are so unique that they have occurred only once so far in measurable history and this helps us to fix the important date, the birthday of Rama, as the 4th of December 7323 Bc. Due to the slow yet continuous precession of the Earth, Rama’s birthday g anniversary, celebrated as Ramanavami, has since shifted by about four months over a period of about 9,300 years.

Valmiki has also beautifully described the sky at the moment when Rama left 2 Ayodhya on his l4-year exile. He states, “Crux (Trishanku), Mars, jupiter and Mercury have cornered the Moon. Vaishakha and Milky way are shining in the sky. ” Using this additional input, astronomical rules help us to fix Rama’s exile to a time when he turned I7 years of age. Another event, Hanuman’s return from Lanka after discovering Sita (in Sunderkanda, one of the most evocative chapters of Ramayana) can be similarly pinpointed as occurring on a Pushya Poornima. Using the above techniques, the following pivotal events of the Ramayana can be fixed at the following dates. Rama’s birth: 4th December 7323 Bc; Rama’s marriage with Sita: 7th April 7307 no; Rama’s exile: 29th November 7306 Bc; Hanuman’s entry into Lanka: lst September 7292 Bc; Hanuman`s meeting with Sita: 2nd September 7292 Bc; construction of Setu (bridge): 26-30th October 7292 Bc; the beginning of the great war: 3rd November 7292 Bc; Kumbhakarna’s death; 7th November 7292 sc; Ravana’s killing by Rama: 15th November 7292 Bc; and Rama’s return to Ayodhya: 6th December 7292 Bc. The last event, celebrated as Deepawali, should also have advanced by about four months, but strangely the festival of light now falls in October—November each year. Complicated explanations have been put forth by many researchers to explain this anomaly, but I find none of them satisfactory.

Astrological interpretations of Rama’s birth chart provide us further insights. In fact the matching and the mapping between his natal chart and the course of his life is so precise that it can be used as a case study in support of the science of astrology itself. The natal chart of Ramachandra indicates a yogic Ramajayoga, a rare planetary pattern, wherein the native rises to be a king in the materialistic sense even while renouncing all worldly pleasures. It is an established fact that Rama during his reign over the kingdom of Ayodhya lived a simple hermit’s life. Mars being exalted in the 7th house of marriage indicates a bold and courageous spouse, but at the same time this made her sharp-tongued. It is this latter maleficent effect of Mars that led Laksmana to leave Sita alone in the cottage in search of Rama. Venus’s exalted position in the 9th house of travel and destiny gives a public life with spouse. Sita followed Rama during his exile, while in contrast, Laksmana left his consort behind in Ayodhya. The jupiter-Moon conjunction in Cancer forms the well-known Gajakesari yoga; it blesses the native with simplicity, honesty and religiosity and confers fame due to these qualities. Sun, the significator of soul in deep exaltation (in Aries) in the 10th house of Karma suggests that Rama was a higher, perhaps a dual soul: he was the king of Ayodhya, and the Divine Incarnate of Lord Visnu simultaneously.

Content

Preface xv
1 – Balakanda 1
1. Prayer 1
2. Composing of Ramayana 2
3. Birth of Ravana, Kubera and others 4
4. Getting of boons by Ravana and others 6
5. Conquests of Ravana; his defeats and victories 8
6. Dasaratha married Kausalaya 10
7. The gods lead by Brahma, offer prayers to Visnu with the goddess Earth in the ocean of milk 12
8. Advice of Sri Narayana to all the gods 14
9. Killing of Sravana 15
10. Dasaratha grants boons to Kaikeyi 18
11. Arrival of Rsyasrnga in Ayodhya 19
12. Performing of Putresthi yajna by Dasaratha 21
13. Birth of Hanuman 23
14. Birth of Sri Rama and others 25
15. Brahma and other gods pray Rama in the womb 28
16. Birth of Sri Rama 29
17. Ravana is terrified 32
18. Childhood of Rama 34
19. Thread ceremony of Rama and his education 36
20. Pilgrimage of Sri Rama 37
21. Dasaratha approached by Visvamitra, for taking Rama and Laksmana with him 38
22. Conversation between Rama and Vasistha: the story of Maya 41
23. Story of maya 43
24. Origin of the universe and dissolution 46
25. Birth of the Ganga 48
26. Bhagiratha brings Ganga on the earth 50
27. Killing of Tadaka 52
28. Killing of Subahu and others 54
29. Ahalya relieved of the curse 56
30. Story of the birth of Ahalya (raga Dhanasri) 58
31. The story of Padmasri 61
32. Birth of Sita and her childhood plays 63
33. Sita felt impressed at the sight of Rama 64
34. Entry of Rama and Laksmana in Janakapura 67
35. Sri Rama arrived in the svayamvara mandapa 68
36. Sita felt gloomy at the vow of Janaka 70
37. Shattering of the pride of Ravana 71
38. Rama breaks the bow 72
39. Invitation of Dasaratha 74
40. Arrival of the marriage party in Mithila 76
41. Rama reaches the mandopa with his brothers 78
42. Marriage of Rama and others 80
43. Arrival of Parasurama 81
44. Talk between and Parasurama 83
45. Parasurama’s prayer for Rama 84
46. Rama centers Ayodhya with Sita 86
2- Ayodhyakanda 88
1. Adoration of the Guru 88
2. Bharata and Satrughna go to the abode of his maternal uncle 89
3. Preparations for the coronation 90
4. Kali enters Manthara 92
5. Kaikeyi influenced by the words of Manthara 93
6. Sumantra reached the palace of Rama 95
7. Grief of Kausalya 96
8. Conversation between Kausalya and Rama 98
9. Rama assures Kausalya 99
10. Discussion among Rama, Sita and Vasistha 101
11. Rama’s departure for the forest 103
12. Crossing of Tamasa and Ganga by Rama 105
13. Rama reaches Citrakuta 108
14. Sumantra’s arrival in Ayodhya and the death of Dasaratha 110
15. Return of Bharata and Satrughna to Ayodhya 111
16. Cremation of Dasaratha 112
17. Discussion between Bharata and Vasistha114
18. The people of Ayodhya march towards Citrakuta 116
19. Meeting between Rama and Bharata 117
20. Rama performs last rites of Dasaratha 119
21. Discussion between Bharata and Rama 20
22. Rama consoled Bharata 122
23. Bharata’s return to Ayodhya 124
24. Return of Bharata and Satrughna to Ayodhya 126
25. Discussion between Rama and Valmiki 127
3- Aranyakanda 130
1. Arrival or Rama in the hermitage of Arti 130
2. Anusuya’s ad vice to Sita, Rama bows to Renuka and proceeds further south 131
3. Killing of Viradha by Rama and their arrival in hermitage of Sarabhanga 133
4. Rama’s meeting with Sutiksna; story of the sage Agastya; Rama reached the asrama of the sage Agastya 135
5. Sutiksna narrates to Rama, the story of the birth of Agastya 137
6. Killing of the demons by Agastya and drinking of the waters of the ocean139
7. Rama welcomed by Agastya and Rama’s meeting Jatayu 140
8. Daily routine of Rama, Laksmana and sita in Pancavati 142
9. Killing of Sambara and arrival of Surpanakha in Pancavati 143
10. Surpanakha disfugured 145
11. Killing of Khara and Dusana 147
12. Sita got fascinated at the sight of the golden deer by Sita 149
13. Request to Rama, at the sight of the golden deer by Sita 152
14. Killing of golden deer by Rama and Janaki’s harsh words to Laksmana 152
15. Sita’s abduction by Ravana 155
16. Ravana injures Jatayu and Sita lodged in Asokavana 156
17. Rama laments on separation from Sita 158
18. Rama’s departure from Pancavati 159
19. Meeting of Rama, Jatayu and death of Jatayu 161
20. Kabandha is relieved of the curse 163
21. Rama meets Sabari 164
22. Rama pronounces curse on birds and animals 165
4 – Kiskindhakanda 168
1. Spotting of Rama and Laksmana by Sugriva and other monkeys; Hanuman approaches Rama 168
2. Hanuman examined Rama and meeting between Rama and Hanuman 169
3. Story of birth of Bali and Sugriva; battle between Bali and Dundubhi 171
4. The cause of enmity between Bali and Sugriva and the pledge between Ram and Sugriva 173
5. Rama pierces through the seven tala trees, Sugriva challenges Bali, conversation between Tara and Bali 175
6. Battle between Bali and Sugriva; Bali Killed by Rama 176
7. Lamenting of Tara; crowning of Sugriva 178
8. Description of the rainy season and the winter season 180
9. Laksman reminds Sugriva of his pledge; Sugriva deputes monkeys in search of Sita 182
10. Meeting with brahmaraksasa and monkey’s entry into the cave 184
11. Story of Mayasura narrated by Suprabha, and her achieving salvation 186
12. Monkey’s meeting with Sampati 187
13. Sampati’s advice to the monkeys; Jambavan and Hanuman spell out their prowess 189
14. Curse pronounced on Hanuman 190
15. Hanuman gets ready to cross the ocean; glory of the story of Rama 191
5 – Sundarakanda 194
1. Introductory verse of the poet 194
2. Crossing of the ocean by Hanuman 195
3. Hanuman while searching for Sita, visits the places of Indrajit, Vibhisana and Kumbhakarna197
4. Hanuman reaches the bedroom of Ravana 198
5. Sita laments on the receipt of the ring of Rama 200
6. Hanuman recites the story of Rama in Asokavana and anxiety of Sita 201
7. Meeting between Sit and Hanuman; eating of fruits by Hanuman 202
8. Hanuman kills demonts in Asokavana 204
9. Flight of Indrajit at the hands of Hnauman; Hanuman produced in the court of Ravana bound with brahmapasa 206
10. Burning of Lanka by Hanuman; meeting between Hanuman and Brahma 207
11. Return of Hanuman to Rama, after meeting Sita 209
12. Monkeys covey the news to Rama 210
13. Laksmana reads out the letter of Brahma 211
14. Description of Lanka by Hanuman213
15. Jambavan narrates the story of the birth of Lanka 214
16. Arrival of Rama at the seashore; Ravana’s consultations216
17. Vibhisana goes to Rama after his humiliation at the hand of Ravana 217
18. Meeting between Rama and Vibhisana 219
19. Prayer of Vibhisana 221
20. Ocean prays for the refuge of Rama 222
21. Building of the bridge 224
22. Consecration of Ramesvera; crossing of the bridge by Rama 226
23. Description of Rama’s army by Sukasarana 227
24. Laksmana removed the crowns of Ravana seated over gopura 230
6 – Yuddhakanda 232
7 – Uttarakanda 326
Index 490
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