We celebrate Rama Navami, the Birthday of Rama in the month of March-April every year.
When we say, we celebrate His birthday, does it mean that He was born on this earth?
If He was born on this earth, can we specifically say on what date in the English Calendar He was born?
To answer this question we need to look at the source text, namely Valmiki Ramayana. This text Valmiki Ramayan is called Itihasa. What is the meaning of the word Itihasa?
Itihasa comes from ‘Iti+ha+asa’ meaning ‘it thus happened’. Thusthe very terminology Itihasa means it is a Historical Text.
Why is Ramayana called an Itihasa?
While a historical text may be written by a Chronicler in a period, many years later, the distinguishing factor in the case of Valmiki Ramayana is that Valmiki, the author of Ramayana, lived during the times of Rama Himself and was a care-taker of Sita, Rama’s wife and Rama’s twin sons Lava & Kusa. Hence Valmiki Ramayana is also a first hand biographical report. It is for this reason only Valmiki Ramayana is called Itihasa while the other Ramayana texts such as Goswami Tulasidas’ Ramacharitramanas, Kalidas’ Raghuvamsa, Kambar’s Ramayanam etc. are only referred to as Kavya-meaning great poetical works.
In Valmiki Ramayana the star position of the birth of Rama is clearly given by Valmiki in Ramayana Verse No. 1.18.8, 9th.
The Sloka being:
Rama was born on the Navami tithi of Shukla Paksha of Chaitra masa (9th day of the increasing phase of the moon in the lunar month of Chaitra). At that time, the Nakshatra or star was Punarvasu and Sun, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus were in Aries, Capricorn, Libra, Cancer and Pisces respectively. The Lagna was Cancer and Jupiter and moon were shining together.
This stanza has been used by many astrologers to chart out the horoscope of Rama. While this Sloka has been used by many for astrological predictions about the life of Rama, the same Sloka can also be used to get to the actual date of Rama. How is this possible?
While many have had to resort to a lot of manual calculations, the availability of a new software called the Planetarium Software in recent times has made this arduous task a little less tedious. This software helps to search the skies of the past, to locate when a given star configuration was really present in the sky.
By searching the skies of the past for the configuration of planets as indicated by the sloka, one can arrive at the date in the English calendar for that configuration.
While it appears to be an easy task, even with the aid of the software, it is a rather daunting task as not only the configuration should match with that in the sky for that event, it should match for an entire sequence of events in the lifetime of Rama, as outlined in the Ramayana text.
Shri Pushkar Bhatnagar- Income tax Commissioner in Delhi, took up this daunting task of searching the skies and identifying such a star position and the date when that occurred. For this purpose the above sloka was written down for clarity and the conditions summarised as follows:
1. Sun in Aries
2. Saturn in Libra
3. Jupiter in Cancer
4. Venus in Pisces
5. Mars in Capricorn
6. Lunar month of Chaitra
7. 9th day after New moon (Navami tithi, Shukla Paksh)
8. Moon near Punarvasu nakshatra
9. Cancer as lagna
Cancer constellation rising in the east
10. Jupiter above the horizon
With this clear data of the star positions in the sky, it has been possible to pinpoint, using the Planetarium software, the exact time and date of birth of our historical king Rama – Son of Kausalya & Dasaratha.
The date and time of Rama’s birth has been arrived as 12:30 in the afternoon on 10th January 5114 BCE.
If Rama was born on 10th January in 5114 BCE, you may wonder as to why we usually celebrate Rama Navami around March end- April mid.
The reason for this is the concept of precision of equinox where 1 day is to adjusted for every 72 years. Thus over a 7200 year period, it works to around 100 days between January 10th and April 15th..
This scientifically precise and repeatedly validatable information thus helps us to celebrate the 7131st birthday of Sri Rama this year on April 5th 2017.
Having learnt of the date of birth of Rama many other questions will pop up in one’s mind such as, similar to this, can we arrive at dates for the other key events in Ramayana like :
Date of vanavas, exile of Rama
The Surpanaka Episode at Panchavati-Nasik
Slaying of Vali by Rama
Hanuman meeting Seeta in Lanka
Date when the Bridge to Lanka was constructed etc.
Another major question that would arise next, is, whether this bridge is really man-made? Is there any proof for it?
All these questions and more have been addressed in detail and answered in our book and film Historical Rama, using an interdisciplinary and integrated, logical, rational and scientific approach.
Armed with all this data, facts and understanding, let us relish the true historical nature of Rama and be amazed by the antiquity of this land.
“Ram Naam Satya Hai” – the name of Rama is true, the historicity of Rama is true.