By Arabinda Ghose
Most of the Hindus of India and Nepal as also of countries where emigrant Hindus live in sizeable numbers celebrate Ram Navami, which falls on the ninth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Chaitra, corresponding to March-April of the Georgian calendar. Countries of South-East Asia such as Thailand too revere Lord Rama and the predominantly Muslim nation of Indonesia celebrates Ramayana as a ballet.
The Valmiki Ramayana in Sanskrit as also the Tulsi Ramayana by Saint Tulsidas in Hindi are extremely popular volumes throughout India and abroad. But is Ramayana a description of the lives and times of Lord Rama and the Raghukul (the descendants of King Raghu) and the times during an unknown period of India'sancient ?history? or is it nothing but an epic which, Hindus believe to be a true account of the events in ancient India?
Shri Pushkar Bhatnagar, who is a computer expert, claims that he has not only calculated the exact date and time of Lord Rama'sbirth, but all happenings in his life till his age of 39 years, when he had returned to Ayodhya after slaying Ravana. According to him Lord Rama was born at 12.30 p.m. on January 10, 5114 b.c. Shri Bhatnagar has relied entirely on the positions of the sun, the moon and the planets, visible to the naked eye those days, described by Sage Valmiki in his Ramayana for calculating the day and even time of many of the events in the life of Lord Rama.
This article is merely a rewriting of the letter of Shri Bhatnagar published by Asian Agri History, dated October-December, 2004, a magazine which is devoted to discovering and writing about the ancient systems of agriculture that was in vogue in the Asian region in ancient times.
A computer specialist claims firm dates of Ramayana, says Lord Rama was born in 5114 b.c.
The following is the extract of the letter:
?Moving forward, it has been stated that on the Amavasya (new moon day) of the 10th month of the 13th year of his exile he (had) fought Khar and Dushan and on that day, a solar eclipse was seen from Panchawati. Not only had a solar eclipse occurred that day, but the planets too were arranged in the sky in a particular manner (that day). Six months later, when Rama (had) killed Bali on the Amavasya of Ashadh (June-July) of the 14th year of (his) exile, another solar eclipse was visible in the morning sky and after five months, when Hanuman went to meet Sita in Lanka, a lunar eclipse was witnessed in the evening. Besides these, several other planetary positions have been mentioned at different other places.
?It is important to know that planetary positions keep (on) changing every day in the sky and they do not repeat (the same positions) for lakhs of years. Moreover, if we know the position of all the planets in the sky, they refer to one and only one date in history.
?The effort to provide dates to the planetary positions mentioned in (the) Ramayana and other Vedic literature began with (the) legendary Bal Gangadhar Tilak in his well-known book The Orion. However, the efforts made so far were based on manual computations. Since one revolution of these planets is completed in a highly complex fractional number (apparently the author refers to the period of the revolution of these planets around the sun and of the rotations on their axes), it is difficult to arrive at the accurate day and time in history (when these events had taken place). But in the late 1990s, many (computer) software were developed (in order) to track the positions of the planets in the sky and with these software, (the) planets? position at any given point of time in the sky can be known.
?By using a powerful planetarium software, I found that the planetary positions mentioned in the Ramayana for the date of the birth of Lord Rama had occurred in the sky at 12.30 p.m. on January 10, 5114 b.c. It was the ninth day of the Shukla Paksha of Chaitra (March-April) month too. Moving forward, after 25 years of the birth of Lord Rama, the position of (the) planets in the sky tallies with their description in the Ramayana. Again, on the Amavasya of the 10th month of the 13th year of exile, the solar eclipse had indeed occurred and the particular arrangement of (the) planets in the sky was visible. (Date comes to October 7, 5077 b.c.). Even the occurrence of the subsequent two eclipses also tally with the respective descriptions in (the) Valmiki Ramayana. Date of Hanuman'smeeting (with) Sita in Lanka was September 12, 5076, b.c. In this manner, the entire sequence of the planetary positions gets verified and all the dates can be precisely determined.?
Is Ramayana a description of the lives and times of Lord Rama and the Raghukul (the descendants of King Raghu) and the times during an unknown period of India'sancient ?history? or is it nothing but an epic which, Hindus believe to be a true account of the events in ancient India?
Shri Bhatnagar adds that the entire dating had been conducted objectively because the software does not permit any manipulation and the verses of the Ramayana were also free of any doubts. Leading scientists and those in the field have appreciated this work. Since the entire sequence tallies, it proves that all the observations in the Ramayana were actual recordings and not conjectures.
Indologists suggest, Shri Bhatnagar says, that he should produce some archaeological evidences in support of these dates because for western historians, these dates are too old to be accepted. ?By God'sgrace? he says, ?I came across an interesting archaeological evidence also?. He describes that evidence in the following paragraphs.
?About a few months ago, NASA (National Aeronautical and Space Administration of the United States) had photographed an ancient bridge like structure between India and Sri Lanka and stated that it appeared to be man-made. Most of our historians and theologists jumped at the story and said that it was related to Lord Rama. NASA denied having made any statement regarding how the bridge got built, etc. The enthusiasm died soon and nothing could be concluded since we were trying to prove that it was built millions of years ago.
?Just analyse the situation?, said Shri Bhatnagar, ?Suppose you build your house with stones which are millions of years old. Does your house also become millions of years old? The answer is a clear No?.
?This was the mistake we were making while trying to claim the ancient bridge and the antiquity of Lord Rama to millions of years ago. Actually, the remains of the bridge, which Lord Rama had built, are still available at a place called ?Chedu Karai?in Tamil Nadu. Chedu means setu (bridge) and karai means corner. Interestingly, the remains of the bridge are available at the depth of ten feet below the water and these are about 1.5 kilometres inside the sea.
Valmiki mentions that six months later, when Rama (had) killed Bali on the Amavasya of Ashadh (June-July) of the 14th year of (his) exile, another solar eclipse was visible in the morning sky and after five months, when Hanuman went to meet Sita in Lanka, a lunar eclipse was witnessed in the evening. Besides these, several other planetary positions have been mentioned at different other places.
?We are all aware that the rise of sea level, ever since the end of the last ice age (about 16,000 b.c.) is a continuous phenomenon. Countries like the USA and Australia which are having large coast lines and large cities on the coasts are making emergency plans to deal with the constant and accelerated rise in sea level which threatens the cities like New York.
?So, with the intention of studying the subject I went through a number of research papers and tried to find the scientific data available on the rise of sea-level over a period of time. I, accordingly, sent a mail to one of the research scholars for data on the rise of sea level over the last 7,000 years. And the rate of rise of sea suggests that about 7,000 years ago, the sea level was exactly about 10 feet below the present level.
Hence one can prove that the ?remains of the bridge? which are about ten feet below the present sea level, are part of the bridge which was built around 7,000 years ago. This is what works out to be the date of era of Lord Rama astronomically.?
?One can imagine that at the time when Hanuman crossed the sea and again the army crossed it, the sea level was about ten feet below what we see today and at that time the sea was behind by about 1.5 to 2 km. In about 7,000 years, it has encroached the land by about two km. All these findings, in a comprehensive manner have been published in a book called Dating the Era of Lord Rama.?