Just a few years ago, there were those who contended with great conviction that Sri Ram never existed and that Ramayana was but a figment of imagination, hence pure mythology. Today it is proved beyond doubt that Ramayana is not only a part of Bharat’s history but also a significant chapter in world history.
Let’s explore the evidence supporting the historical occurrence of all that is narrated by Maharishi Valmiki in the Ramayana. For this purpose, we quote from Pushkar Bhatnagar’s book ‘Dating the Era of Lord Ram: Discover the Actual Dates of the Lifetime of Lord Ram’ (Rupa publication) wherein the author explains at length how scientific advancement of the West has proved the antiquity of the East. Excerpts:
A US-based software that helps predict solar/lunar eclipses plus distance and location of other planets was used to convincingly corroborate the dates and planetary positions as narrated by Maharishi Valmiki in Ramayana
The story of Sri Ram’s life was first narrated by Maharishi Valmiki in the Ramayana, which was written after Sri Ram was crowned as the king of Ayodhya. Maharishi Valmiki was a great astronomer as he has made sequential astronomical references on important dates related to the life of Sri Ram indicating the location of planets vis-à-vis zodiac constellations and the other stars (nakshatras). Here it’s relevant to note that similar position of planets and nakshatras is not repeated in thousands of years. By entering the precise details of the planetary configuration of the important events in the life of Sri Ram in the software named “Planetarium” corresponding exact dates of these events according to the English calendar can be known.
Pushkar Bhatnagar of the Indian Revenue Service had acquired this software from the US. It is used to predict the solar/lunar eclipses and distance and location of other planets from earth. He entered the relevant details about the planetary positions narrated by Maharishi Valmiki and obtained very interesting and convincing results.
Sri Ram’s Birth
Maharishi Valmiki has recorded in Bal Kaand sarga 19 and shloka eight and nine (1/18/8,9) that Sri Ram was born on ninth tithi of Chaitra month when the position of different planets vis-à-vis zodiac constellations and nakshatras (visible stars) were: i) Sun in Aries; ii) Saturn in Libra; iii) Jupiter in Cancer; iv) Venus in Pisces; v) Mars in Capricorn; vi) Lunar month of Chaitra; vii) Ninth day after no moon; viii) Lagna as Cancer (cancer was rising in the east); ix) Moon on the Punarvasu (Gemini constellation & Pllux star); x) Day time (around noon).
This data was fed into the software. The results indicated that this was exactly the location of planets/stars in the noon of January 10, 5114 BC. Thus Sri Ram was born on January 10, 5114 BC (7123 years back). As per the Indian calendar it was the ninth day of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month and the time was around 12 to 1 noontime. This is exactly the time and date when Ram Navmi is celebrated all over India.
Sri Ram went out of Ayodhya in his childhood (13th year as per Valmiki Ramayan) with Rishi Vishwamitra who lived in Tapovan (Sidhhashram). From there he went to Mithila, King Janak’s kingdom. Here he married Sita after breaking the Shiv Dhanusha. Researchers have gone along this route and found 23 places which have memorials that commemorate the events related to the life of Sri Ram. These include Shringi Ashram, Ramghat, Tadka Van, Sidhhashram, Gautamashram, Janakpur (now in Nepal), Sita Kund, etc. Memorials are built for great men and not for fictitious characters.
Date of Exile
It is mentioned in Valmiki Ramayan’s Ayodhya Kand (2/4/18) that Dashratha wanted to make Sri Ram the king because Sun, Mars and Rahu had surrounded his nakshatra and normally under such planetary configuration the king dies or becomes a victim of conspiracies. Dashratha’s zodiac sign was Pisces and his nakshatra was Rewati. This planetary configuration was prevailing on January 5, 5089 BC, and it was on this day that Sri Ram left Ayodhya for 14 years of exile. Thus, he was 25 years old at that time (5114-5089). There are several shlokas in Valmiki Ramayan which indicate that Sri Ram was 25-years-old when he left for exile.
Valmiki Ramayan refers to the solar eclipse at the time of war with Khardushan in later half of 13th year of Sri Ram’s exile. He also mentioned it was amavasya day and other planetary configurations. When this data was entered, the software indicated that there was a solar eclipse on October 7, 5077 BC, which could be seen from Panchvati.
On the basis of planetary configurations described in various other chapters, the date on which Ravana was killed works out to be December 4, 5076 BC, and Sri Ram completed 14 years of exile on January 2, 5075 BC, and that day was also Navami of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month. Thus Sri Ram had come back to Ayodhya at the age of 39 (5114-5075).
A colleague, Dr Ram Avtar, researched on places visited by Sri Ram during his exile. He found 195 places which still have the memorials connected to the events narrated.
In Valmiki Ramayan it is mentioned that Sri Ram’s army constructed a bridge over the sea between Rameshwaram and Lanka. Recently, NASA put pictures on the Internet of a man-made bridge, the ruins of which are lying submerged in Palk Strait between Rameshwaram and Sri Lanka.
Sri Ram’s Lineage
Indian history has recorded that Sri Ram belonged to the Suryavansh and he was the 64th ruler of this dynasty. The names and other relevant particulars of previous 63 kings are listed in ‘Ayodhya Ka Itihas’ written about 80 years ago by Rai Bahadur Sita Ram. Professor Subhash Kak of Lousiana University, in his book, ‘The Astronomical Code of the Rig Veda’, has also listed 63 ancestors of Sri Ram who ruled over Ayodhya. Sri Ram’s ancestors have been traced out as: Sri Ram, King Dashratha, King Aja, King Raghu, King Dilip and so on.
People across Bharat have always believed in the reality of Sri Ram’s existence, particularly in the tribal areas of Himachal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and the North-East. Most of the festivals celebrated in these areas revolve around the events in the life of Sri Ram and Sri Krishna.
Shabari is stated to be belonging to the Bheel tribe. Sri Ram’s army was formed by various tribals from Central and South India. The facts, events and all other details relating to the life of Sri Ram are the common heritage of all Bharatiyas, regardless of their present-day caste or religion.
Maharishi Valmiki was perhaps the first great astronomer and his study of planetary configurations has stood the test of times. Even the latest computer softwares have corroborated his astronomical calculations.