Dr. S. R. Rao knows a bit about religious archaeology. As the former director of of National Institute of Oceanography he undertook under water excavations near Dwaraka and the island of Bet Dwaraka and it has revealed a great deal of information about the antiquity of the site.
Dr. Rao believes that the site of Hampi in Karnataka is the Kishkindha of Ramayana.
He said that the culture (seen in Kishkindha) has several Neolithic sites spread over Patapadu and Pusalpadu in Bellary district. Another important site is Bandi Pushala Chenu in Bellary-Kurnool area where excavations of the typical Harappan steatite wheel-like beads are found. These beads occur in all Harappan sites as early as 3000 BC. Bithur near Kanpur, a traditional Ramayana site, had yielded weapons of the culture, archeologically designated as ochre-coloured pottery (OCP), ranging from 1500 to 2000 BC or even 3000 BC near Ghaneswar in Rajasthan.
Excavations at the Neolithic culture site at Mahagara in the Belan valley of Uttar Pradesh yielded rice dated around 4000 BC. Further north-west in Pakistan, the cotton growing Neolithic culture is 7,000 years old (5000 BC). When Rama came to Kishkindha, the Vanaras were the same Neolithic people, whose help he took, said Prof. Rao.
The archaeological dating of Neolotihic culture ranged from 4000 BC in Uttar Pradesh to 7600 BC. in pre-Harappan sites of Pakistan. On this basis, Ramayana should be dated at least to 3000 BC, if not earlier. The Mahabharata, he said, mentioned Ramayana, while the Ramayana did not mention Mahabharata. There is no negative evidence to say that Ramayana was a myth. Ramayana is built on a core of truth depicting the life of a particular people and period, Prof. Rao added. [Ramayana is not a myth, says S.R. Rao]
3 thoughts on “Ramayana not a myth”
@”There is no negative evidence to say that Ramayana was a myth”
JK, most people would not have a problem believing that the Ramayana is “built on a core of truth depicting the life of a particular people and period”, much like Beowulf.
However, the historical evidence about the period of the Ramayana is used by some to bolster their thinking that Rama was an incarnation of Vishnu and all that’s contained in the Ramayana is gospel truth (not to mention sundry political controversies about the divinity of his birthplace). It is these extraordinary claims, to channel Richard Dawkins, that require extraordinary proof. “No negative evidence” isn’t sufficient.
“It is these extraordinary claims”
Prasenjeet, I really doubt Dawkins read or knows much about Hinduism, at least the way Hindus think – and not the way westerns tell other westerns how Hindus think.
Having said that, there is really nothing extraordinary claims about Sri Rama. Hindus consider Sri Rama to be a complete person – sampurna purusha ie his truthfulness, his willing to keep his word not matter what, his dedication to family and people under his protection, his willing to take up arms to fight and destroy evil. Because of these attributes, Sri Rama is considered Vishnu’s (one who control the universe) avatar. And there is not just one avatar of Vishnu.
If you accept that about Sri Rama, then you want to find out more – when and where he lived, where he traveled and such like. Our dumb ASI doesn’t accept it, so it writes off every aspect of Sri Rama and Ramayana. Because we are socialists country and ASI (and hence ultra-secular, when it comes to Hindus at least, GOI) has monopoly power over archeology, no ones else can do the work it takes to unravel Sri Rama story (or stories in Bharatiya itihasa).
The Hindu view point of God and religion is distinctly different from major western religions – again, I doubt Dawkins or others (including plenty of Indians) who extrapolate what happens in the west and Islamic lands to Hinduism.
A valid question for Dawkins and other atheists is proof of Vishnu’s existence, not so much of Sri Rama.
I suggest you read the book called “GOD IS NOT GREAT: RELIGION POISONS EVERYTHING” by CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS.
He is the one who says this.
Anyway, I am of the opinion that Ramayana, Mahbharatha & all other literatures are mythologies. There might have been some person by name Rama, etc who might have been a local hero & over a vast period of time and countless number of exaggerations the folklores must have become the mythologies & people with their inherent solipsism like to brand the mythologies as ITIHASA.
Hindus would be readily willing to call Ramayana, etc as history & the Bible. etc as mere stories but ask the Christians or muslims. To each, one’s own scriptures are the gospel truth while all else is mythology!