Thursday, May 10, 2007

#010, Ramayana's fantasies

Valmiki Ramayana has all the elements of a fantasy. Many Indians believe that Ramayana has actually taken place. Viewed from the angle of history, it is difficult to accept Ramayana as 'Itihaasa' (Itihi Aasit = Thus happened i.e. history).

The ten features which make Ramayana a fantasy:

1. Pushpaka Plane used by Ravana to abduct Sita. Used by Shri Rama to fly from Lanka to Ayodhya. Its capacity to accommodate any number of people. Its carpet-like open nature.

2. Depicting Vanaras as monkeys. Monkeys speaking human language is nothing but a fantasy. Their being human tribals cannot be ruled out.

3. Pushing the cart of the bow S`iva by Sita, failure of Ravana to lift it, and Rama just breaking it in an attempt to use it. Just to eulogise the protagonists Sita and Rama.

4. The divine demi-God emerging from the sacrificial fire and handing over the pot of the milky potion for begetting children to Dasaratha.

5. The monkey-counsellor Hanuman crossing the Sea of about 800 km. (approx. equivalent of 100 'yojanas') to reach Lanka and trace out Sita.

6. Rama building an eight hundred km. long bridge using no tools and then walking over to Lanka.

7. Hanuman bringing the hill containing herbs (Sanjiiva Parvat) from Vindhyas in Central India to Lanka to enable Vanara physician Susheen`a select the right herb and treat Lakshmana.

8. Ravana's brother Kumbha Karna sleeping for six months, for every day of wakefulness.

9. Bird Jat`aayu fighting with Ravana to prevent the abduction Sita. Birds cannot behave like humans. Jat`aayu meeting Rama and narrating his encounter with Ravana.

10. Indrajit S/o Ravana appearing in "invisible form" and using magic throwing a serpentine net and making Rama and Lakshmana captive.

Viewing Ramayana as history, we can accept the following 10 events as having scope of 100% possibility and probability.

1. Internecine quarrels for succession to throne in Ayodhya.
2. Rama leaving for forest.
3. Ravana abducting Sita.
4. Sugriiva deserting Vali and joining Rama.
5. Tribals (Vanaras)helping Rama in tracing Sita and getting her released.
6. Vibhiishan`a deserting Ravana and joining Rama.
7. War between Rama and Ravana.
8. Rama killing Ravana using bow and arrows.
9. Rama returning back victorious with Sita.
10. Rama's succession to throne

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