The Controversial Dating Of The Ramayana Epic (It Could Be Over 9000 Years Old!) Dating the Ramayana varies from 5000 years ago to about 9000 years ago. One of the problems with dating the Ramayana is that in Indian epics parts are often added to it at later times so if all information is considered to be completely accurate then you ignore how these scriptures were put together and if you ignore all the dates altogether then you may be erring too far on the side of caution. I intend to explore all possibilities till I have more evidence, so that's what I'm doing.
Following are the dates of few events from the Ramayana with approximate years:
Rama's Birth Date: 4th December 7323 B.C
Rama-Seeta Married: 7th April 7307 B.C
Rama Exiled: 29th November 7306 B.C.
Hanuman enters Lanka: 1st September 7292 B.C
Hanuman meets Seeta: 2nd September 7292 B.C.
Seetu (Bridge) built on the ocean: 26-30th Oct. 7292 B.C
The War begins: 3rd November 7292 B.C
Kumbhakarna is killed: 7th November 7292 B.C.
Ravana is killed by Rama: 15th November 7292 B.C.
Rama returns to Ayodhya: 6th December 7292 B.C.
It has been believed that there is no evidence to determine the dates of events in the Ramayanic era. Some historians of the past even refuse to acknowledge that Rama and other characters from the Ramayana even existed. However, Sage Valmiki has recorded the dates if events in detail, albeit by describing the positions of stars and planets. To decipher the astronomical encodings has not been a trivial task, and not many have attempted to do so. It should be noted that the ancient Indians had a prefect method of time measurement. They recorded the 'tithis', days according to the nakshatra on which the moon prevailed, the months, the seasons and even the different Solstices. By therefore noting a particular arrangement of the astronomical bodies, which occur once in many thousand years, the dates of the events can be calculated. Dr. P.V. Vartak has thus attempted to calculate the dates of important incidents that occured during the Ramayanic Era. The correct astronomical records goes to show that Valmiki's has chronicled an account of a true story and also, that the an advanced time measurement system was known to the Hindus (Indians) atleast 9000 years ago. Please refer to Dr. Vartak's celebrated book "Vastav Ramayan" for further reading.
In the translated epic itself, on the first page, is this little tidbit: His strong arms reach below his knee; This is explained in the notes as: Long arms were regarded as a sign of heroic strength.
I have 3 thoughts on this. 1. The first is WHY are longer arms regarded as a sign of heroic strength? Because they are. As you could pull a bowstring further and have more leverage for forceful acts, 2. The second is that maybe this is a remnant of everyday cultural wisdom from a time when long arms were not uncommon and thereby indicating an earlier time and doesn't really apply to Rama except figuratively. 3. When was the last time a human had arms that literally reached below their knees? The answer to that is a, very uncomfortable, millions of years. An easier explanation, and something that could have some geographical backing, was that Rama just had longer arms from genetic mixing with Denisovans or some other race, or it was just an honorific applied to mythical figures derived from an earlier era when long arms were a reality, in which case the older conventional date of approximately 7000 BC maybe the correct one. One can keep the same geographical location, add to that the fact that the earth goes through repetitive cycles, both astronomically and ice age wise, and then we could go back to a time when monkey like men really did exist (with tails!). Just keeping an open mind here. I would also like to add this little tidbit about the Ramayana from this same first chapter A hideous giantess who came Burning for him with lawless flame. Their sister's cries the giants heard. And vengeance in each bosom stirred: The monster of the triple head. And Dúshan to the contest sped. But they and myriad fiends beside Beneath the might of Ráma died. When Rávan, dreaded warrior, knew The slaughter of his giant crew: In reference to this I would like to leave my reader with this talk about the evidence of giants (probably Denisovans or another lost race of humans) that fills the ancient world and the emerging evidence that this wasn't just story telling but based in actual life experiences; Giantology Worldwide | Prehistory's Biggest Secret | Hugh Newman | Megalithomania Hugh Newman is the co-author of 'Giants on Record' with Jim Vieira, and in this talk, he investigates hoaxes, legends, obscure accounts, and academic excavations of giant bones, skulls and skeletons found globally going back thousands of years. Is there a missing chapter of human history that requires more attention?
So how is astronomical dating done? Historian Dr P.V. Vartak says: “Sage Valmiki has recorded the dates of events in detail, albeit by describing the positions of stars and planets. To decipher the astronomical encodings has not been a trivial task, and not many have attempted to do so. It should be noted that the ancient Indians had a perfect method of time measurement. They recorded the ‘tithis’ (days) according to the nakshatra (star) on which the moon prevailed, the months, the seasons and even the different solstices. By noting a particular arrangement of the astronomical bodies, which occurs once in many thousand years, the dates of the events can be calculated.”
Dr Vartak has taken hundreds of illustrated passages from the epic to establish dates. He writes: “Valmiki records the birth of Rama as Chaitra Shuddha Navami (9th), on Punarvasu Nakshatra and five planets were exalted then; Sun in Mesha up to 10 deg; Mars in Capricorn at 28 deg; Jupiter in Cancer at 5 deg; Venus in Pisces at 27 degrees and Saturn in Libra at 20 degrees. (Bala Kanda 18, Shloka 8.9). December 4, 7323 BCE, therefore, is the date of birth of Rama, when the four planets exalted. Ramayana occurred over 9300 years ago.”
Says Professor Achar on email, 'Different scholars have strong opinions and believe their own results are correct. Deeper study of the original texts would help.'
The problem of dating the Ramayana and Mahabharata is a difficult one, as the texts are syncretic and accretive. The dates recreated by astronomy software cannot be taken as definitive since we do not know whether the verse being dated was part the original core or if it was added later, says Subhash Kak, who teaches at the department of electric and computer engineering at Louisiana State University, and has worked on the history of Indian science. 'Furthermore, we have dates that are sometimes mutually contradictory. The way a poetic description of an astral event in the verses is interpreted is subjective and it lacks scholarly agreement.'
The quest to prove the historicity of the epics by dating them affirmatively is an old pursuit. It is also a politically fraught subject that has been making recurrent headlines. There was a fair amount of opposition when Y Sudershan Rao, a little- known Mahabharata researcher, took over last year as chairperson of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), and stated soon after that the Ramayana and Mahabharata are not 'myths' but true accounts of the period. It led to fear among historians that the ICHR would henceforth expend all its energy dating the epics, a field that many historians dub 'unhistorical'. According to a recent news report, the ICHR will soon be taking up research projects on new approaches to writing ancient Indian history based on Sanskrit texts, and revisiting the theme of Aryan immigration into India. It is clear that the epic dating enterprise will be getting a fillip in times to come.
Contemporary dialogue on India's ancient past often resembles the battlefield of Kurukshetra, cleaved into two factions, the Left and the Right, mythology versus history, truth versus bunkum. Beyond the political battleground, if you take a popular vote on this subject, it will show up the duality that the Indian mind is so at ease with: most believe that the truth of our past lies somewhere in between received history and mythology.