Historical Rama

We celebrate Rama Navami, the Birthday of Rama in the month of March-April every year.

Rama_Colourful_to_get_from_divine

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.

LordRama_sky_position_birthday_planetarium_software

The date and time of Rama’s birth has been arrived as 12:30 in the afternoon on 10th January 5114 BCE.

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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 :

  1. Date of vanavas, exile of Rama

  2. The Surpanaka  Episode at Panchavati-Nasik

  3. Slaying of Vali by Rama

  4. Hanuman meeting Seeta in Lanka

  5. 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.

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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.

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Paying Tributes to a Maratha Hero

February ushers in Shivaji Jayanthi on the 19th of this month. It is a day observed by the state Government of Maharashtra to mark the birthday of a boy born about 400 years ago.

Birth Place of Shivaji Maharaj and his cradle

Two storeyed wooden temple of Lord Vinayaka, called Kasba Ganapati temple, built by Shivaji’s mother Jijabai in November 1630, when Shivaji Maharaj was only 8 months old. This deity is today the Gram Devata of Pune

A boy, who would grow up to establish the Maratha empire and become its ruler as Chatrapathi Shivaji.

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 Chatrapathi Shivaji

Born Shivaji Raje Bhosle, Shivaji made significant contributions not only to the Maratha Empire, but also to the destiny of the rest of India.

Born Shivaji Raje Bhosle, Shivaji made significant contributions not only to the Maratha empire but also to the destiny of the rest of India.

Named Shivaji after the deity Shivaidevi, a form of Goddess Durga, an embodiment of courage, strength and fearlessness, Shivaji, true to his name, fearlessly strode the path that would eventually liberate the land from the oppressive rule of the Mughals and their vassals in different parts of India.

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Sculpture of Shivaji Maharaj from his life time

The legends of Shivaji, his conquests, the Guerilla warfare that he popularized, the ploys he adopted to outwit the Mughals, are all well known and well documented.

An old painting, dated c.1668 CE, of Shivaji Maharaj with soldiers setting out for war

Shivaji, the humanist

Apart from his conquests, Shivaji is known for his respect for every human being, He honoured every women even if they belonged to the enemy ranks.

Jadunath Sarkar in his book ‘Shivaji and His Times’ speaks of an incident that shows the high upbringing of Shivaji. He writes,

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Built a robust administration

We all know Shivaji as a great warrior, but how many know he built up a very robust administration too. And this when he had no formal education and spent most of his life in battle. Some of his achievements

1) Ashta Pradhan a council of 8 ministers who advised him on all matters

2) Recognized the importance of a navy to protect Konkan coast and built one.

3) Built sea forts at Sindhudurg, Jaigad to protect from pirates.

4) Did away with Jagirs and paid army in cash, this eliminated corruption.

5) Built up a very professional army.

6) Disallowed dancing girls, to maintain discipline in army.

7) State looked after families of dead soldiers.

8) All enemy property seized during a campaign belonged to Treasury, none was allowed to use for personal purpose.

9) Robust revenue collection system.

10) Maintained a large network of forts and garrisons.

A Wrong perception

A popular statement made by many is that,

the British took over the political control of India from the Mughals”.

Little known to many is the ground reality, corroborated by British Maps themselves.

Ground reality

After Shivaji and his forces had dealt a decisive blow to the Mughal forces, the Mughal empire, along with many of their vassals had disintegrated. In their place, the Maratha rule and the Maratha confederacy of Peshwa, local kings and heads of principalities, started ruling different parts of India.

A Portrait of Shivaji Maharaj

It was a confederacy because while there were many Peshwa ruling in their respective localities, they shared the ideals, principals, goals and the rule of law of the Marathas.

All this is borne out as a fact when we see the British map of 1780, during the times of Robert Clive, where it shows the Maratha Empire covering pretty much, most portions of present day India – Central, North and South India.

It stretched from Tamil Nadu in South India to Peshawar in the north, in modern day Pakistan and upto Bengal in the east.

BritishMapOfIndia1780

British Map of India, 1780 – Maratha Empire is the Region in Yellow

The Naval force that the Marathas created under the able leadership of Kanhoji Angre, helped guard the Konkan coast for nearly a century and kept the colonial powers at bay. The colonial powers could only function as minor trading posts in the Konkan coast and become colonial powers in this region only after they managed to defeat the Naval forces of the Marathas.

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Statue of Kanhoji Angre in Alibag, Maharashtra

A rare gold coin of Shivaji prob. issued on the occasion of his coronation.- Devnagari Legend on the coin reads Shri Raja Shiv Chatrapati.

The Maratha Power

Shivaji had personally marched through much of Karnataka, central parts of Andhraand visited even Madras, which was a fledgling town then, primarily a British trading post operating out of Fort St.George.

During this visit to Madras, the British sent him gifts, honorariums, which in the local language  is called “Kappam”, twice within a month, to his camping site near the Kalikambal temple, which formed the entry point to Madras then. They did this as a good will gesture requesting him not attack their trading post saying that they were only peaceful traders.

Fort_St._George,_Chennai

Fort St. George, Old Madras

This corroborates the point that it was indeed the Marathas, who were in power when the British arrived in India.

If Shivaji had then gone ahead, attacked and decimated this fledgling trading post, then the history of India would have taken on a different turn.

The only live sketch of Shivaji Maharaj , discovered by historian V S Bendrey

The Maratha Effect

Many years later, Anqetil DuPerron, a French orientalist and linguist, who had visited India and stayed here for 7 years between 1755 and 1761, quotes a traveller as,

“When I entered the country of the Maharattas, I thought myself in the midst of simplicity and happiness of the golden age … misery was unknown … the people were cheerful, vigorous and in high health.”

Anqetil du Perron

Anqetil DuPerron

This statement of DuPerron highlights to us that not only had Shivaji and his lineage of Marathas, conquered the lands they did, but were administering them in a sustainable manner with the welfare of the people in mind.

Barring a few parts of India, it was the Maratha Confederacy which was in power after the Mughals. It was a campaign, initiated and given a form by Chatrapathi Shivaji, that brought India together as a cohesive unit after the Mughals and before the British.

Then how could the British have taken over India from such a powerful empire?

While it was a period of resurgence in India, which applied a healing balm to many a wounds that had been inflicted by the various foreign invasions and their oppressive rule, sadly this period of resurgence was shortlived.

The defeated Mughals started joining hands with the Afghans and the Nawabs to counter the expansion of the Maratha empire and started pushing the Marathas back.

Also, the individual rulers in the Maratha Confederacy, whose autonomy had grown over the years, soon started fighting amongst themselves due to jealousy and thirst for power.

It was by dethroning these individual, infighting rulers in the Maratha Confederacy in the 1800s, through bribe, deception, trade, threat, treachery and force, that the comparatively smaller in size, but devious British force, weakened the confederacy and gained monopoly over India – literally every inch of it.

All the unification brought about by Shivaji and his followers, had gone to vain. This is an excellent lesson on how,

“United we stand, divided we fall.”

The word “Maratha” today conjures up an image of present day Maharashtra alone, for the present generations. It invokes a picture of pleasant, simple, sincere and hardworking locals, popularly termed as “Marathi Manus” these days.

The contribution of Shivaji and the Marathas, towards the unification of India before the British and in the development of a spirit of fearlessness in the Indians, which helped them later to resist the British and eventually gain Independence, cannot be acknowledged enough. Anything said will only be an understatement!

Ethos Valour of Rana Pratap Reached Far & Wide

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These are a few excerpts from our book titled “Ayodhya War and Peace”.

Cover

Table of Contents from the book.

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