Bridge of Ram
Source: Google photo of NASA satellite image of the Ram Causeway between India and Sri Lanka that is now under water
Synopsis : We have learned that many myths around the world contain a grain of truth in them that get obscured over a long period of time but do not diminish the value of the myth. One such myth was the bridge that Ram built to reach Lanka to rescue Sita from the clutches of Ravana but now a satellite photo taken by NASA has revealed that there is such causeway between India and Sri Lanka mentioned in Ramayan thousands of years ago. It is under water but clearly seen.
People say that the myths are not entirely made up and fictitious but are real based on some truth. Over a period of thousands of years and poor record keeping, some of the facts and truths get obscure and take on the mantle of myth that is repeated through generations to keep it alive in the minds of people. Time also embellishes the myth often with supernatural aura that tends to bury the truth within.
In every religion and culture there are such myths that are passed on as a matter of faith with less regard for its historical veracity because faith seems stronger than historical discoveries.
I have written about the case of Jesus and Mary Magdalene in my blog that shows that Jesus did not die on the cross as the popular belief goes but escaped out of the Roman empire to die somewhere else of old age. But his wife Mary Magdalene was spirited out of Palestine and arrived in the region of Rennes le chateau in southern France where she gave birth to a son who continued the blood line of Jesus in the Merovingian kings who ruled France for a period. There are ample evidences of this blood line and the grave of Mary Magdalene. ( read my blog Jesus and Mary Magdalene of history)
Jesus reportedly died in Kashmir and is buried there in Sri Nagar and has left behind his blood line through nearly 400 generations there that is still traceable. He is known there as Issa Masiha meaning Jesus the Mesiah.
Today I will write about another myth called the story of Ram, the Hindu deity who lived thousands of years ago. Here is the summary of Ramayana or the story of Ram as written by Valmiki long ago that the Hindus read and believe. Later Tulsidas wrote the story in Avadhi which is a dialect of Hindi and still spoken in north India that made RamCharitmanas ( The story of Ram ) wildly popular in India because it is in a language millions of devotees of Ram in rural India understand. The story of Ram is a long one so I will just print a summary of his story here to tell you the gist of it.
The story of Ramayana :
“Dasharatha was the king of Ayodhya who had three wives and four sons. Ram was the eldest and his mother was Kaushalya. Bharata was the son of Dasharatha’s second and favorite wife Kaikeyi, The other two were twins , Lakshmana and Shatrughna whose mother was Sumithra.
In the neighboring kingdom, the ruler’s daughter was named Sita. When it was time for Sita to choose her bridegroom at a ceremony called Swayamvara, princes from all over the land were asked to string a giant bow which no one could lift. However, as Ram picked it up, he not only strung the bow, he broke it. Seeing this, Sita indicated that she had chosen Ram as her husband by putting a garland around his neck. Their love became the model for the entire kingdom as they looked over the kingdom under the watchful eyes of his father the king.
A few years later, King Dasharatha decided it was time to give his throne to his eldest son Ram and retire to the forest. Everyone seemed pleased, save Queen Kaikeyi since she wanted her son Bharata to rule. Because of an oath Dasharatha had made to her years before, she got the king to agree to banish Ram for fourteen years and to crown Bharata, even though the king pleaded with her not to demand such a request. The devastated King could not face Ram and it was Queen Kaikeyi who told Ram the King’s decree. Ram, always obedient, was content to go into banishment in the forest. Sita and Lakshmana accompanied him on his exile.
One day Ram and Lakhsmana wounded a demon princess who tried to seduce Ram. She returned to her brother Ravana, the ten headed ruler of Lanka. In retaliation Ravana devised a plan to abduct Sita after hearing about her incomparable beauty. He sent one of his demons disguised as a magical golden deer to entice Sita. To please her, Ram and Lakhsmana went to hunt the deer down. Before they did though, they drew a protective circle around Sita and told her that she would be safe for as long as she did not step outside the circle.
After Ram and Lakhsmana left, Ravana appeared as a holy man begging alms. The moment Sita stepped outside the circle to give him food, Ravana grabbed her and carried her to his kingdom in Lanka.
Ram then sought the help of a band of monkeys offer to help him find Sita. Hanuman , the general of the monkey band could fly because his father was the wind. He flew to Lanka and finding Sita in the grove, comforted her and told her that Ram would come to save her soon. Ravana’s guards captured Hanuman and Ravana ordered them to wrap Hanuman’s tail in cloth and to set it on fire.
With his tail burning, Hanuman escaped and hopped from house to house top and set the city on fire. He then flew back to Ram to tell him where Sita was. Ram, Lakhsmana and the monkey army built a causeway from the tip of India to Lanka and crossed over to Lanka where a cosmic battle ensued. Ram killed several of Ravana’s brothers and eventually Ravana himself and freed Sita.
They returned to Ayodhya in triumph and his way was lighted by millions of clay lamps by his people who called it Deepavali that is still celebrated in India as Divali. An effigy of Ravana is also burned at this time.” The story of Ram is epic in proportions and runs into hundreds of pages.
Now a clear photograph taken from a NASA satellite shows that Ram’s causeway was not a myth but real giving credence to Ram’s story and proving that Ram was a real person who went to Lanka to defeat Ravana and rescue Sita.
The causeway that was built by the so called army of monkeys was at the shortest point between the two countries but still several kilometers long where the sea was shallow thousands of years ago. Now the causeway is under water but can still be seen from the NASA photo. The rising sea level has swallowed up many cities like Dwaraka of Krishna and Alexandria of Cleopatra but underwater photography there proves that they existed.
The story of monkey army building a very long causeway is still quite incredible so the historians who are familiar with the tribes still living in South India called Todas say that Valmiki called these people monkeys because they were tribals therefore not to be compared with the civilized Aryans that Ram represented.
The author of Ramayana also denigrated forest dwelling tribals as demons with horns and black in color but the tribals were peaceful people who helped Ram with food when he and his wife and brother were in exile in the forest for 14 years.
The Todas who are essentially cattle herders say that their ancestors built the causeway debunking the myth that the monkeys built it. The king of Lanka and his people were dark in skin color so they were also called demons but Lanka at that time was a prosperous country and Ravana was a very educated person albeit a very nasty character who kidnapped Sita and brought about his defeat in the hands of Ram and his army.
It reminds me of the Helen of Troy story that has some similarities here although Helen was not kidnapped but ran away with her lover because she was promiscuous that caused the war and the destruction of Troy. That is where the similarity ends because Sita remained chaste and loyal to Ram through her ordeal .
A German archaeologist and anthropologist who did extensive diggings on the shores of present day Turkey found the ruins of Troy and the blackened walls because Troy was burned to the ground proving that the story of Helen was not a myth.
Another myth that is still being repeated shows Ravana as a ten headed monster whose effigy is burned during Divali throughout India as a proper rebuke for his misdeeds but it is simply a metaphor meaning Ravana had the wisdom of ten men or could fight like ten men in battle.
It is the same metaphor used to describe the Deity Durga who has ten arms but actually was a great fighter who slayed the demon. Her strength was like five men in battle but this metaphor has become a part of the Hindu belief system so no one can argue with them unless you are looking for a fight.
Faith and reality are often at odds with each other that ends up glorifying the faith in a very old religion like Hinduism the same way the Christians still adhere to the Biblical stories of Jesus and ignore the recent gospels found in Egypt that suggests that Mary Magdalene was the wife of Jesus.
This blog does not discuss the matter of faith of the Hindus but looks at some recent evidence that the causeway of Ram is very real so his story holds true except some literary and biased renditions of Valmiki about the demons and monkeys.
Now I come to the part where the story of Ram is being appropriated by others outside India namely the Thais who say that Ram was their God as well which does not seem so far-fetched as the Thais were Hindus long before they were Buddhists. What is interesting is that the Thais built a city full of temples of Ram and Sita in a place they call Ayuthaya that is some 100 kms East North East of Bangkok and is a big tourist attraction where all manners of thieves and scammers abound.
For a long period the Thai kings called Ayuthaya their capital. Their descent from divinity also has common grounds with many others like the ancient pharaohs and Cambodian kings.
We all know how a word taken from one language ends up in another with some modification so I do not blame the Thais for changing Ayodhya to Ayuthaya. They also celebrate Ramayana in classic drama telling the story of Ram albeit with a bit of Thai twist that tends to tweak the story a bit here and there to suit the Thai culture. There was a time long ago when most of South East Asia and Indonesia was Hindu so you will find various versions of Ramayana in different countries that they have adapted to suit their fancy and culture.
What got the Hindus so excited was the proof that the Ram causeway is real that proves that Ram is not a myth. He was as real as you and me but he and his brother suffered deprivations, exile for 14 years in a forest because of his wily step mother and Sita suffered as a prisoner of Ravana.
Now Ayodhya has become a very hot issue in India because they want to build a massive temple there to honor Ram and Sita. They have destroyed a mosque built during the rule of Babur who set up the Moghul dynasty ruling India for centuries and destroyed a Hindu temple of Ram to build a mosque there.
Moghul rulers like Babur and later Aurangjeb were known to destroy Hindu temples and forced Islam on hapless citizens that still causes problems there after so many centuries. Now the matter of Ayodhya is being litigated in the Supreme Court of India that is taking its time to come to a conclusion that will placate all contesting parties in Ayodhya.
The temple mount in Jerusalem is another hot issue just like Ayodhya where the Jews want to rebuild their original temple but a mosque stands in the way just like in Ayodhya.
I have visited many South India temples including the famous temple of Rameshwaram where Sita established the Shiva linga after her rescue and am always reminded that all myths have in them a kernel of truth that people always believe.
No one took seriously the myth that a monster half human and half bull called Minotaur lived in the labyrinth of a king’s palace in Greece until they discovered the ruins and the labyrinth beneath it.
No one believed that people in India used aircrafts thousands of years ago until they found something hidden in a cave in Afghanistan that looked like an alien craft emitting radiation and could not be touched.
So the story of Ram turns out to be not totally a myth but based on some evidences that are now being discovered. I am sure more such evidences will be found in the excavations that are going on in Sri Lanka and India that will make the story more believable.
We are living in the age of discovery .
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