Image of The Other

The word “other” in English language means “second”, “that which is not the self”. It comes from the old English word oder. The very concept of ‘other’ has been expressed in different civilizations starting from the very moment of creation.

In Assyrian civilization

In the Assyrian civilization of east Mediterranean, the two primary forces that brought about creation of the universe are Apsu and Thiamat. Apsu means “the primordial waters” and Thiamat means the other one, the one other than Apsu.

In Babylonian civilization

In the Babylonian Mesopotamian civilization, the two forces that engage in the process of creation of this universe are Marduk and Thiamat.

In Indian civilization

Even in ancient Indian language, the word “thia” stood for ‘other’, be it in Samskrt or in the South Indian Malayalam language.

In the Indian Knowledge System, the Veda, the process of Creation is described as a duel between Indra and his ‘other’, Vrtra. Indra denotes the collective consciousness that spreads forth and Vrtra, the holding back force.

The principle of the Other, Thia has existed in Nature even before the Creation of the Universe takes place. The existence of this Other has been recognized and been accorded a name that is phonetically and semantically similar across many ancient civilizations and their languages. Herein lies the beauty in the Other.

The concept of Creation

We see here that the concept of ‘other’ existed in reality and in thought right from the moment of creation of the Universe.  We are a part of this Universe and a part of the “Other” as well.

Even the perspective of how the Creation came to be is not one but two.

The one which describes Creation as the handiwork of a God external to the Created Universe, where God first created the Earth, then the Sun, Moon and the stars.

The “other”, which describes Creation as a natural order where the Divine becomes the Created Universe and is intrinsic to the Creation, where Creation happened from a cosmic egg with the Big Bang and everything spewed out from this. i.e the Earth appears later, much later, after the galaxies, the sun and all are  created in the process of Creation. This view is held forth in the Veda as Hiranyagarbha for the Cosmic Egg and Brahmanda Visfotak for the Big Bang. This view is similar to that held by modern science too.

Which is the Other?

Right from the explanation of this basic event in the Universe, there has been the “other”, in thought which got carried forward in religion as well.

The view that is the “other view” usually is adverse. But, which is “the other” view, depends on the viewer.

An example can best be seen with the word Asura in Indian thought, which today is loosely translated in English as demon.

Deva Vs Asura

In early Vedic language, the term Asura meant that which is spirited, full of life, vigour and was applied for all divine forces in the Universe starting from the process of Creation.

In later thought, this word Asura picked up a negative connotation in Indian legends and came to denote that which is opposite of divine. Hence the Deva, divine forces of Nature came to be adversaries of the Asura. Since in Samskrt the syllable “a” usually signifies an antithesis, the word Asura was split as “a” and “Sura” and a new term Sura came into usage to denote the opposite of Asura. Hence the Deva or all that is divine came to be called Sura.

But the same idea of Asura appears to have stayed positive in Persian thought and morphed into the word Ahura for their main divinity and the Vedic Deva came to be seen as adversaries.


Respect for the Other

In India, across the land, through the times, there has always been a respect for the other.

The Veda welcome new thoughts and ideas from every direction apart from what is espoused in it.

Aa na bhadra katavo yanto vishwatah

Let noble thoughts come to us from every direction.

– Rig Veda

Nammazhavar, the saint from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, expresses in his poem that “every man worships God the way he perceives it in his situation and that is the right thought for him at that moment”.


That That person with His and His varied level of understanding,

His and His Divinity’s abode shall he attain.

That That person’s Divinity is no lesser.

His and His Destiny will lead to such a Divinity.

–          A literal translation of the poem

Isn’t this a beautiful way of recognizing the plurality in the universe, in matter and in thought and respecting the same?

The thoughts of great people

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi in his prayer song “Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram” has the next line as “Ishwar Allah Tero Nam”, where the divine in different names is equally acceptable.


Kabir, the weaver saint of medieval India in his doha, couplets praised both Ram and Rahim.

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda in his now famous speech at Chicago conference of world religion in 1893 spoke eloquently of the existence of the ‘other’ thought, the plurality and how we innately need to respect the ‘other’ and accept the ‘other’ as our innate ethos.

“As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so O Lord, the different paths which men take through their different tendencies, various though they appear crroked or straight, all lead to thee.”


From Tolerance to Tolerate

120 years ago, in his speech, he brought in the concept of “tolerance” among religions. It was a 458 word speech that lasted just 6 minutes but ushered in a fresh breath of air then.

In the last 100 years, this tolerance has now come down from tolerance to tolerate.

Call to Respect

With this effort of The Other, we should now bring back into dialogue, the need to respect the other.


The idea of other is brought forth in a succulent manner by an incident from the Mahabharata, the epic of India.

When the 5 Pandava brothers were in exile in the forest. Duryodhana, their cousin and antagonist comes to the same forest to watch their sufferings during exile. Duryodhana and his Kaurava brothers were then captured by a third party. Yudhishtra, the eldest of the Pandava along with his brothers, secured the release of their cousins led by Duryodhana.

He explains that, “We are 5, they are hundred. But when a third person captures them, then we are 105 to unite against ‘the other’.

Vayam Pancha The Shatham

Vayam Panchotaram Shatham

–          Mahabharata, Vana Parva

Other Not Permanent

Through this episode Yudhishtra brings out the fact that the notion of ‘the other’ is not permanent, but variable based on the situation. Let us understand this through a simple example

From Student to Class to School

When in a class, two students are fighting, each is ‘the other’ to the other.


But when another class is against them, then these two students unite, to jointly defend themselves against the ‘new other, i.e the other class’.


When someone from an ‘other’ school pits against this school, then the different classes unite to compete against the ‘new other’, i.e the other school.


The concept of mine thus keeps changing, expanding with every situation.

In the face of a common goal, we find commonality with our other.

When the mine expands, ‘the other’ starts shrinking gradually.

This should ideally and eventually lead to Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam, One World Family.


Path and Goal – Distinguishing as well Binding

The path and the goal are the distinguishing factor.

It is the same path and the goal that are the binding factor too.

Recognizing, accepting and respecting the other is in itself the binding factor.

Inclusive and Not Exclusive

It is the approach that one takes of being inclusive or exclusive that decides what “the other” is.

Respecting the other and using that respect as the binding factor is the inclusive approach.

In contrast is the exclusive approach which looks at mine alone as the better path and goal.

It is pertinent here to take note of the concept of Dharma in the Indian thought. Dharma is not religion in the limited sense but instead is about the innate characteristic of a human, animal, plant, living being or even the inanimate. Dharma is also about the varying character and actions to be adopted in varying roles performed by all of these under different conditions of space, time and environ i.e in sync with Nature, science and society.

Seeing the “image of the other” with respect, in sync with Nature and science and being inclusive with love and peace is the common path that has stood the test of time across civilizations.

A Note On Ayodhya From Bharath Gyan

Not Meant To Be Warred With, But At War Today

While the name Ayodhya has symbolized “No war (Yuddha), “a place that cannot be won in war”, the city of Ayodhya has been embroiled in a war of faiths since the last 500 odd years.

Time Line of Indian History

In our work on the Indian civilization, as part of tracing the historical timeline of ancient India, we have been able to place and corroborate the historicity of personages such as Rama, Krishna and many other legendary figures of ancient India, according to modern methods of tracking time and history.

Events Historical, People Historical

This not only establishes these personages to be historical but also implies that their descendants would also have been historical and flesh and blood.

Where did the descendants of Rama live? Did they all continue to live in Ayodhya or did they move elsewhere? If so, where all did they go?

Spread of Rama’s Lineage

Tracing the history of Ayodhya and its descendants, we find traces of this dynasty all over India as well as the world, stretching from Far East in Korea, to Southeast Asia in Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia and going west upto Russia, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey and many more lands.

The ancestry of King Shuddhodana, the father of Buddha, has been traced in Buddhist works, to the Ikshvaku lineage, the same Surya Vamsa, Solar dynasty as Rama.

The Sikhs of the Sodi and Vedi clan are descendants of Luva and Kusha, the twin sons of Rama respectively. The 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh was a Sodi and thus a descendant of Luva. Guru Nanak Dev Himself, a Vedi, also traces His lineage to Kusha. This makes the Sikhs also a joint stakeholder of Ayodha, Rama and the temple at Rama Janmabhoomi.

Infact, Guru Nanak Dev was a contemporary of Babar. Guru Nanak Dev is probably the last Indian saint to have visited the temple at Ayodhya before it was demolished. As narrated to Bhai Mardana, his disciple, he was visiting Ayodhya and the birth place of Rama, because it was his ancestral home, as a descendant of Kusha.

When the kings of Thailand get anointed as Rama I, II to Rama X for the latest king living today, it also shows how the Thai kings consider themselves to be a part of the Rama lineage.

When the Indonesian King signs any proclamation, he signs it with the words “at the feet of Sri Rama”, showing how they are bound with Rama and His Ayodhya.

When the princess from Ayodhya went to Korea and married the Korean King, she gave rise to the Kim dynasty of Korea which is many million strong today. They all openly acknowledge and owe their descent to Ayodhya and Rama’s lineage.

When Egyptian Pharaohs took on the name Ramses, i.e. RMS (Ra Ma Sa) in the local language, they were openly claiming their link with Rama and Ayodhya.

When the Mittani and Hittite kings in the region of Anatolia (Turkey), Sumeria and Mesopotamia signed treaties, they signed under the names such as Dashratha and other names which can be found in the lineage of Rama.

When the cliffs in Iraq bear carvings of figures like Rama and name like Rama, they show the movement of those connected with Rama and Ayodhya through those regions.

There are many more such links, across the world including those in Ancient America who bond with Rama through their ancient, traditional festival called Rama-Sitva.

All these data and corroborations are available in detail, in the book, “Ayodhya – War and Peace” authored by D.K.Hari and D.K.Hema Hari published by Art of Living – Bharath Gyan.

Stakeholders of Rama’s Legacy

People in all these regions did not belong to the Hindu religion then and now.

Yet they all are stakeholders of Ayodhya, the place of birth of their forefather / ancestor / leader called Rama.

Knowledge of these facts, shifts the Ayodhya issue from the ambit of a Hindu – Muslim 500 year old war of faiths alone, to the realm of an issue that has world ramifications, even if many across the world, in today’s generation, are unaware of this history. India is also answerable to the future generations of the world when they wake up to lay a claim on a legacy that is their roots too.

A Way Out, With a Way In

English language has 2 very expressive words – exclusive and inclusive. The Ex and In in these 2 words convey the sentiment behind these words. Exclusive keeps everyone outside, except for oneself and Inclusive brings everyone inside, together to share and enjoy.

Out of the many kings in the entire Surya Vamsa lineage, the dynasty to which Rama belonged, if the ancient world had chosen to venerate Rama, it shows that Rama had something very special, something due to which they had held Rama near and dear. We find that to be the 16 noble qualities of which Rama was an epitome.

For the world, then, Ayodhya was also the cradle of nobility and all that Rama stood for.

India, as the birthplace of such a haloed personage has a greater role to play as the preserver of this world history and also as a custodian of the 16 values that Rama exhibited. In all of world literature and history, Rama is the unique person to have exhibited all 16 qualities that a human is capable of. Many of these values are fast disappearing in the modern world of today, making the need to highlight this role model a dire need for today. These 16 qualities and what they mean are discussed in the book in detail.

Juxtaposing Today

While Rama and Ayodhya share an inseparable link going back by more than 7 Millennia, the Babar – Ayodhya  link is just 500 odd years old.

While the temple at Ram’s birthplace was built by His descendants few thousand years ago to commemorate His nobility and divinity, as evidenced by the archaeological finds of atleast 2000 years’ antiquity, the temple at Ram’s birthplace was demolished and the mosque named after Babar as Babri Masjid was built there only by Mir Baki, Babar’s general, to gain favour with his king, Babar.

While the temple for Rama was built for His time immemorial qualities, the mosque was built there by Mir Baki for currying temporary gains.

India will have to elevate itself to look beyond faiths to secure the faith of the world that it will preserve the heritage of the world and reminiscences of a personage who has influenced the growth of many world citizens – some biologically and some morally.

Need for a Monument

If Lincoln can have a memorial in Washington, to symbolize abolition of slavery, if Buddha can have monuments dedicated to Him at Lumbini, his birthplace and at BodhGaya where He attained enlightenment, for world Buddhists as well as others to visit, pay respects and pray to their leader, it is but natural for India to have a monument for Rama and His values at His birthplace for His descendants, followers and others world over, to visit, pay respects and pray.

That, some of those who come to pray there, will be people of the Hindu faith is purely incidental. They are world citizens too and are entitled to it as progeny of King Rama, since in Indian ethos, a king is also seen as the father of his subjects, an attitude which Rama had very openly adopted.

A Rightful Act For a Righteous Reason

A Heritage Site – Root for Many Global Citizens

Towards securing this heritage for the future world progeny, India will not be wronging if it sets up a monument at the birthplace of Rama to preserve his global identity, his historicity, his memory and the values he stood for. Each world citizen has a right to this world legacy irrespective of his/her faith.

On the contrary, by not acting to preserve this legacy that its own forefathers themselves had safeguarded for millennia, India will be failing in its duty towards the world and all the stakeholders of Ayodhya.

A Heritage City – A 7200 Year Old Continuously Lived In City

With the placing of Rama’s birth, historically at 10th January, 5114 BCE, we have an antiquity going back to 7130 years. This places the city of Ayodhya to be over 7200 years and more. Probably making it one of the oldest, continuously lived cities, anywhere in the world, with the site of Ram Janmabhoomi, being the epicenter of this 7 millennia old city.

It is not just a heritage site but a heritage city of the world at large too.

A Heritage Temple – A Living Monument of Values

While a temple is a place to pray, a temple is also a monument – a living monument. It is also a living museum, for it embodies that which is eternal – Principles of Creation, Divine, Nature, Life, Goodness and the Orderliness in the Principles itself, i.e. the Cosmic Rhythm.

The temples of India are a showcase for the cosmic order. They serve to create a conducive environment for aligning oneself with this rhythm. A temple, as a living museum, has hence been used to reinforce messages needed for good living.

A temple at Rama’s birthplace too, as a living museum, should bring out the 16 qualities that Rama stood for – the 16 qualities for which He was venerated as Purusha UttamaPurushottama, the highest level of perfection that a human can attain, physically and through action.

Rama had reached such heights of perfection, for which he was held in such high esteem, not just for His lifetime nor in His kingdom of Kosala alone, of which Ayodhya was the capital. But as we can see here, He has been held at such high esteem, continuously for the last 7100 years, across continents, across civilizations, across peoples, across generations. It is these 16 qualities that need to be listed, showcased, venerated and followed – as many qualities possible, by as many people possible, in as many lands possible.

Bharath Gyan Work on Historicity of Rama and Ayodhya

Rama Trilogy- Books
Historical Rama

To ratify the historicity of King Rama and the timelines for the rule of Rama and the building of the Nala Setu / Rama Setu, the bridge between India & Sri Lanka using a rational and  interdisciplinary approach spanning Literature, Geography, Archaeology and Archaeo-Astronomy.

Ramayana In Lanka

To ratify the historicity of Ravana and the incidents of Ramayana and thus Rama too, from a Lankan perspective

Ayodhya – War and Peace

To trace the history of Ayodhya, the capital city of Rama’s kingdom as well as the lineage of Rama from after His times to present day


Documentary titled Historical Rama in 4 Languages

Short Film On the Antiquity of Ayodhya and Spread of Rama’s Influence

Short Film On Ram Setu an Engineering Marvel  of 5076 BCE