Did Rama Walk This Earth Only 7000 Years Ago?

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As per the Puranic literature, Rama was born in Treta Yuga.

Now, does not the Yuga period run into lakhs and millions of years?

Then how do we say that Rama lived only 7000 years ago and was born in 5114 BCE? What is the time span of a Yuga and how long ago was Treta Yuga?

Let us now look at what the word Yuga means.

The word Yuga is etymologically similar to the word Yoga.

Both the word Yoga and Yuga mean “to join” and come from the root Yug or Jug. The English words yoke, join, have all come from the same etymological root.

Yoga is the union of body and mind.

Yuga is the alignment or conjunction in the sky, of the various stellar and planetary bodies.

So Yuga is not a particular time span that runs into lakhs of years but a generic term for the measure of time period between different alignments.

Yuga is a term that denotes only a scale of measure of time. There are many types of Yuga to measure various time spans. There are at least 7 types of Yuga periods of time that have been mentioned in ancient treatises.

We have Yuga time spans ranging from 1 year to 5 years and extending all the way upto 4,320,000 years.

Every year when the Sun, Earth and Moon come in alignment with the Aries Zodiac, it is a Yuga and denotes the time span of a year and is celebrated as Yugadi or Ugadi i.e., New Year in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. This means that, every year, when Sun, Earth and Moon come in alignment with a Zodiac, it is considered to be start of a new Yuga that is why it is called Yuga-adi or Ugadi. Adi means start or beginning.

Every 12 years when the Sun, Earth and Jupiter come in alignment it is a Yuga.

Every 60 years when the Sun, Earth and Jupiter, Saturn come in alignment it is a Yuga.

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Different types of alignment, conjunction, Yuga calculation

 Similarly, about 5100 years ago, on Friday, 18th February, 3102 BCE, at 02 hours, 30 minutes, 23 seconds to be precise, all the planets of the solar system were in alignment and this marked the start of the Kali Yuga which was an astronomical alignment.

There are seven prominent types of Yuga.

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Various Types of Yuga

 So the span of Yuga starts all the way from one year period going all the way upto 43,20,000 years which is an astronomical Yuga.

Each variety of Yuga is used as a measure for various purposes.

The type of Yuga running into lakhs or millions of years is used to measure time periods for astronomical alignments at Solar System or Galactic levels. Lakh is a popular unit of measure in India.

1 Lakh = 100,000 and 10 Lakhs = 1 Million.

Similar is the case with the term Yojana. There are many varieties of Yojana for measuring different types of distances, such as Bhu Yojana for measuring distances on Earth scale, Bha Yojana for measuring distances with respect to the Sun, Nara Yojana for distances with respect to man etc.

Thus the term Yojana was more a generic unit of measure rather than a fixed measure. Also, these units varied from region to region as they were also based on local references. Hence with just the term Yojana, cannot always calculate absolute values for those measures.

Thus out of all these varieties of Yuga and their subdivisions, which Yuga span and which variety of Treta Yuga has been used in connection with Rama in the Ramayana text is unclear.

Moreover, the reference to Treta Yuga in the Ramayana text is only in the Uttara Khanda, the additional section and there too mentioned only indirectly. Many literary scholars consider this section to have been a later day inclusion in one of the editions, rather than from the original.

Given all this, we on our own, cannot imagine what Valmiki may have intended in his Itihasa and take for our calculation, only the Solar System Yuga span, of the seventh variety i.e., the astronomical Yuga period of 4,32,000 years and conclude that Rama must have lived several lakh or million years ago.

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 Treta Yuga of Ramayana – Which of these?

Given this state of affairs, if we look for a corroborative data in the various Purana, then we do find a description in the Vayu Purana which seems to fit into the 7000 year period for the lifetime of Rama.

The division of Yuga, as per Vayu Purana, is shown here.

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Chathur Yuga Cycle as per Vayu Purana – 32.58 – 64

 As per Vayu Purana, the Yuga cycle is of 10000 years with

  • 4000 years for Krta Yuga,
  • 3000 years for Treta Yuga,
  • 2000 years for Dwapara Yuga and
  • 1000 years for Kali Yuga.

 At a finer level, it also specifies intermediate periods or Sandhi periods as shown in the chart, taking the whole cycle to be 12000 years.

There is also a mention in the Vayu Purana of an elapsed time gap of 2000 years between the end of Treta Yuga and the end of Dwapara Yuga.

Rama is inferred to have been born towards the end of Treta Yuga.

With 3102 BCE calculated as the end of Dwapara Yuga and the start of Kali Yuga, the calculation of year 5114 BCE or 7000 years ago, as the period for Rama and Ramayana using Treta Yuga from this scale, seems to fit in well with the other corroborating data from various other fields, that we have seen through this work.

The medieval western concept of time was linear. The Indian concept of time is cyclical. All the scales of time are concurrent. Therefore at the same moment, we can be described to be in different Yuga, as per different Yuga scales. It depends upon the context we are relating to and the scale of measurement. This is the key thought and distinction we have to realize.

More on this can be found in our book “The Indian concept of Time”, in the Bharath Gyan Series.

It is also to be borne in mind that millions of years ago, the sky configurations, as well as Earth’s geology and geography would have been very different from what it is now and what has been described in the text. Also mankind’s history and memory cannot carry tales, legends, practices and tradition across millions of years, with such clarity and geographical details that seem to be valid even today.

All the above clearly bring forth a high degree of possibility for the events of Ramayana to have occurred around 5100 BCE.

Historical Krishna – Kindle Edition

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THE NEED TO ESTABLISH HISTORICITY OF KRISHNA

There have been many great men born in different parts of the world, in different civilizations, across ages. Of all these, the personage of Krishna is unique. He has not just been eulogized during His lifetime itself as a Divinity, but has also been an inspiration for a whole civilization across millennia, as a historical personage. Krishna is the central character of the Mahabharata.

But while people accept the divinity of Krishna, there are doubts surrounding the historicity of Krishna as the time period when He lived has been described astronomically by the texts, rather than dated using a Gregorian calendar. Citing this unavailability of a date, the way we are used to specifying dates today, for Krishna, He has been relegated to the realm of myths.

Hence, in establishing the historicity of Krishna, it has become paramount to first establish a date in the Gregorian calendar for His lifetime, which overlaps with many events of the Mahabharata period. At the same time, it is equally important to understand and demolish fallacies which stand in the way of accepting His historicity.

Significance of Historicity of Krishna

Establishing the historicity and timeline of Krishna, as well as of Rama, the other heroic cum Divine personage of India, are very significant for India. For, as the central characters of the 2 Itihasa, historical woks – Ramayana and Mahabharata, Rama and Krishna, respectively, define the corner stones to pegging the timelines and history of this civilization, besides being the fulcrum of faith and devotion, Bhakti in India.

While Divinity is a matter of Faith, Historicity is a matter of Existence.

A POINT TO PONDER

The memories of Krishna are enshrined in commemorative temples in each of the places associated with Him.

  • Mathura, the place where Krishna was born
  • Vrindavan, by the banks of the Yamuna river, where He played pranks with His childhood friends and the Gopi
  • Dwaraka, the place He made His capital
  • Jyotisar in Kurukshetra, the place where Krishna gave Bhagavad Gita, His Upadesha on life and its purpose
  • Mul Dwaraka near Somanath, the place where He decided to leave His mortal coils, are all real, historical places in the geography of India.

The geography of these respective places tallies with the legends too.

What is interesting to note is that, till about 200 years ago, no Indian doubted the historicity of Krishna.

Krishna had always been a Historical Hero of this land.

Brand Bharat – Unique To India – Kindle Edition

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It was around 334 BCE. Alexander the Great, from Macedonia was embarking on his campaign of conquering the world – Turkey, Central Asia and Persia.

At this juncture, Alexander was advised by his tutor, Aristotle, the celebrated thinker of Greece, to go all the way upto India in his expeditions, if he could.

Aristotle told Alexander stories of India’s prosperity, culture and wisdom. He also advised Alexander that there were many wise men in India and if at all Alexander were to meet any of them, he should treat them with respect. He requested Alexander to bring back some of them, so that he could interact with them to exchange knowledge.

Alexander had also heard about the river Ganges and the peacocks of India and so cherished a desire to see them.

Hence, after conquering Persia, Alexander started his march towards India, to conquer India and fulfill his desire of seeing the famed sights of India – the Ganges flowing, the Peacocks dancing and the wise Scholars.

A desire, that ironically remained a wishlist forever, for he could not cross into India and go upto the flowing Ganges, nor see the peacocks dance. He was wounded in his battle with Porus, an Indian regional chieftain, and lost his life on his way back to Greece.

But, this wishlist of Alexander goes to show the name and fame that the Ganges, peacocks and the scholars of India have enjoyed since more than 2500 years.

They are the true signs and unique marks of India indeed!

But are these the only signs of India? What are the signs that conjure up a picture of India for the world today?

With the world having gained familiarity with India, Indians and the Indian way of living, there are many visible facets of India which bring to recall the land called India.

Of these, the visible facets that set apart India from the rest of the world has been highlighted and showcased in this volume “Unique to India”.

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Everyone has an innate interest to trace one’s roots. One’s surname is in a way, a way of anchoring oneself to one’s roots. One’s mother tongue is a way of anchoring oneself to one’s roots.

In the case of a civilization too, an anchor to its roots is a strong need.

Contra to its purpose of weighing down, an anchor in the case of a civilization, helps it soar high. For, without this anchor, the roots, who is to keep the multitude of people that make up the civilization, soaring in the same direction without going adrift?

Whenever a civilization flourishes or even starts to flourish, this search for an anchor, the expression of the anchor, the directional guidance from its roots, becomes innate to it.

In the 1970s, in the United States of America, there was a popular book by the name Roots which traced the ancestry of the author to an African slave who had been imported into America, from where, the idea of each one searching for one’s ancestry became a fond pass time.

In the Christian thought, one day in a year, is set aside as All Souls Days, for going to the cemetery to recall the good deeds of their forefathers.

In the Hindu thought too, this practice exists in the form of Mahalaya Amavasya, which comes around the Autumnal equinox, where everyone recalls their ancestry, prays for their ancestors and reminisces on the good deeds of their forefathers.

It is not just an occasion for recalling the genealogy alone, but also for recalling the various facets of these people that are worthy of recollection. While this is so for individuals and families, it is true at a civilizational level too.

A land and its people are respected by the depth of knowledge evident in their day to day activities, their character. Such a depth of knowledge can only come about, when it has been handed down from generation to generation as a legacy. For, knowledge has to be honed and whetted over time and experience.

Knowledge is a continuum. There is no end to it. And who knows what was there before it began spreading? The only way it continues to live is by spreading.

A living civilization is a reservoir of knowledge with many worthy aspects, as otherwise the civilization would not have survived. This is why people of a living civilization give importance to their heritage.

The very word heritage comes from the root, “to inherit”. It denotes that, which has come to someone from their earlier generation / generations. The concept of legacy is also similar, wherein, it is not just the tangible but intangible too, which legally comes down to them.

Today the world has a name for this intangible legacy that can be handed down – IP, intellectual property.

This volume, “Roots in India”, tries to list out some of the noteworthy, intangible assets that took root in India and which India has shared happily with the world at large.