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Maharaja Ram Bhkati club (Page 6)

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Posted: 09 December 2006 at 9:46am | IP Logged
Textual history
Traditionally the epic belongs to the Treta Yuga, one of the four eons of Hindu chronology and is attributed to Valmiki, is an active participant in the story.

It is composed in Epic Sanskrit, an early variant of Classical Sanskrit, so that in principle the core of the work may date to as early as the 5th century BCE. Since in its current form, after hundreds of years of transmission through recitations and in manuscript form, the epic has gone thorough numerous variations, it cannot be dated by linguistic analysis as a whole, and should be considered to have emerged over a long process, spanning from the 5th to 1st centuries BC.

The core events told in the epic may well be of even greater age, the names of the characters, Rama, Sita, Dasharata, Janaka, Vasishta and Vishwamitra are all known in the Vedic literature such as the Brahmanas which are older than the Valmiki Ramayana. However, nowhere in the surviving Vedic poetry is a story similar to the Ramayana of Valmiki.Brahma, one of the main characters of Ramayana, and Vishnu, who according to Bala Kanda was incarnated as Rama are not Vedic deities, and come first into prominence with the epics themselves (and further during the 'Puranic' period of the later 1st millennium AD).

There is general consensus that books two to six form the oldest portion of the epic while the first book Bala Kanda and the last the Uttara Kanda are later additions. The author or authors of Bala Kanda and Ayodhya Kanda appear to be familiar with the eastern Gangetic basin region of northern India and the Kosala and Magadha region during the period of the sixteen janapadas as the geographical and geopolitical data is in keeping with what is known about the region. However, when the story moves to the Aranya Kanda and beyond, it seems to turn abruptly into fantasy with its demon-slaying hero and fantastic creatures. The geography of central and south India is increasingly vaguely described. The knowledge of the location of the island of Sri Lanka also lacks detail. Basing his assumption on these features, the historian H.D. Sankalia has proposed a date of the 4th century BC for the composition of the text. A. L. Basham, however, is of the opinion that Rama may have been a minor chief who lived in the 8th or the 7th century BC.

The events of the epic have also been dated to as early as 6000 BC by adherents of archaeoastronomy.

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Variant versions

The epic story of Ramayana was adopted by several cultures across Asia. As in many oral epics, multiple versions of the Ramayana survive. In particular, the Ramayana related in north India differs in important respects from that preserved in South India and the rest of South-East Asia. There is an extensive tradition of oral storytelling based on the Ramayana in Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

In many Malay versions, Lakshmana is given greater importance than Rama, whose character is considered somewhat weak.


Within India
There are diverse regional versions of the Ramayana written by various authors in India. Some of them differ significantly from each other. During the twelfth century AD, Kamban wrote Ramavatharam, known popularly as Kambaramayanam in Tamil. Although based on Valmiki Ramayana , Kambaramayanam is a true classic and unique in that Kamban has modified and reinterpreted many anecdotes in Valmiki Ramayana to suit the Tamil culture and his own ideas. Valmiki's Ramayana inspired the Sri Ramacharit Manas by Tulasidas in 1576 , an epic Awadhi (a dialect of Hindi) version with a slant more grounded in a different realm of Hindu literature, that of bhakti. It is an acknowledged masterpiece of India. It is popularly known as Tulsi-krita Ramayana. Gujarati poet Premanand wrote a version of Ramayana in the 17th century. Other versions include, a Bengali version by Krittivas in the 14th century, in Oriya by Balarama Das in the 16th century, in Marathi by Sridhara in the 18th century, a Telugu version by Ranganatha in the 15th century, a Kannada Ramayana by the 16th century poet Narahari, Kotha Ramayana in Assamese by the 14th century poet Madhava Kandali and Adhyathma Ramayanam Kilippattu, a Malayalam version by Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan in the 16th century.

There is a sub-plot to Ramayana, prevalent in some parts of India relates to the adventures of Ahi Ravana and Mahi Ravana, the evil brother of Ravana, which enhances the role of Hanuman in the story. Hanuman rescues Rama and Lakshmana after they are kidnapped by the Ahi-mahi Ravana at the behest of Ravana and held prisoner in a subterranean cave, ready to be sacrificed to the goddess Kali.

There have been reports of a version of the Ramayana story prevalent amongst the Mappilas of Kerala. This version, known as Mappila Ramayana, forms a part of the Mappillapattu. Mappillapattu is a genre of folk singing popular amonst the musims of Kerala and Lakshadweep. Being of Muslim origin, the hero of this story is a sultan. There are no major changes in the names of characters except for that of Rama's which is changed to 'Laman'. The language and the imagery projected in the Mappilapattu are in accordance with the social fabric of the earlier Muslim community.

Southeast Asian versions
Many other Asian cultures have adapted the Ramayana, resulting in other national epics. Aspects of the Chinese epic Journey to the West were inspired by the Ramayana, particularly the character Sun Wukong, who is believed to have been based on Hanuman. Kakawin Ramya?a is an old Javanese rendering of the Sanskrit Ramayana from the ninth century Indonesia. It is a faithful rendering of the Hindu epic with very little variation. Phra Lak Phra Lam is a Lao language version, whose title comes from Lakshmana and Rama. The story of Lakshmana and Rama is told as the previous life of the Buddha. In Hikayat Seri Rama of Malaysia, Dasharatha is the great-grandson of the Prophet Adam. Ravana receives boons from Allah instead of Brahma.

Thailand's popular national epic Ramakien is derived from the Hindu epic. In Ramakien, Sita is the daughter of Ravana and Mandodari (T'os'akanth (=Dasakand) and Mont'o). Vibhisana (P'ip'ek), the astrologer brother of Ravana, predicts calamity from the horoscope of Sita. So Ravana has her thrown into the waters, who, later, is picked by Janaka (Janok). While the main story is identical to that of the Ramayana, many other aspects were transposed into a Thai context, such as the clothes, weapons, topography, and elements of nature, which are described as being Thai in style. It has an expanded role for Hanuman and he is portrayed as a lascivious character. Ramakien can be seen in an elaborate illustration at the Wat Phra Kaew temple in Bangkok.

Other Southeast Asian adaptations include Ramakavaca of Bali, Maradia Lawana of the Philippines, the Reamker of Cambodia and the Yama Zatdaw of Myanmar.

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Contemporary versions
Contemporary versions of the Ramayana include Sri Ramayana Darshanam by Dr. K. V. Puttappa (Kuvempu) in Kannada and Ramayana Kalpavrikshamu by Viswanatha Satyanarayana in Telugu, both of which have been awarded the Jnanpith Award. The modern Indian author Ashok Banker has so far written a series of six English language novels based on the Ramayana. In September 2006, the first issue of Ramayan 3392 A.D. was published by Virgin Comics, featuring the Ramayana as reinvisioned by author Deepak Chopra and filmmaker Shekhar Kapur.

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Ramayana landmarks
Amongst the ruins of the Vijayanagara empire near Hampi, is a cave known as Sugriva's Cave. The cave is marked by coloured markings. The place holds its similarity to the descriptions of 'kishkinda' in Sundarakanda. Rama is said to have met Hanuman here. The place is also home to the famous Hazararama temple (Temple of a thousand Ramas).

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Posted: 10 December 2006 at 9:26am | IP Logged

 

NASA satellite photo of Rama's Bridge—oblique, Sri Lanka to the left



Edited by tyagivinayak - 10 December 2006 at 9:26am
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Rama's Bridge
Rama's Bridge, also called Nala's Bridge and Adam's Bridge is a chain of limestone shoals, between the islands of Mannar, near northwestern Sri Lanka, and Rameswaram, off the southeastern coast of India. The bridge is 30 miles (48 km) long and separates the Gulf of Mannar (southwest) from the Palk Strait (northeast). Some of the sandbanks are dry and the sea in the area is very shallow, being only 3 ft to 30 ft (1 m to 10 m) deep. This seriously hinders navigation. It was reportedly passable on foot as late as the 15th century until storms deepened the channel. (citation required). A ferry service linking the island and port of Rameswaram in India with Talaimannar in Sri Lanka has been suspended for some time due to the fighting between Sri Lankan government forces and the separatist LTTE; the Pamban Bridge links Rameswaram island with mainland India.



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Mythology
The names Rama's Bridge and Nala's Bridge originate in Hindu mythology. According to the Hindu epic Ramayana (Chapter 66, The Great Causeway ), the bridge was constructed at Rama's request by his allies. The bridge was supported on floating sand rocks but the gods were said to have later anchored the rocks to the sea bed, thus creating the present chain of rocky shoals. It was said to have helped Rama to reach Sri Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king (Asura) called Ravana, who was then the ruler of Lanka.

Some Hindu groups claim that the bridge is evidence that events narrated in the Ramayana epic actually took place and cite NASA's imagery of it as proof of their claims. NASA has distanced itself from such claims:

"The images [...] may be ours, but their interpretation is certainly not ours. [...] Remote sensing images or photographs from orbit cannot provide direct information about the origin or age of a chain of islands, and certainly cannot determine whether humans were involved in producing any of the patterns seen."
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Posted: 10 December 2006 at 10:16am | IP Logged
[edit] Archaeology
Archaeological studies of the bridge are ongoing, and some archaeologists claim to have found evidence suggesting that the bridge is man-made. For instance, some researchers from Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli, announced that the "bridge" is only 3,500 years old.

Sea levels rose about 10 or 20 metres in the 6th millennium BCE to reach levels similar to today, so in 6000 BCE the bridge would have been an isthmus situated above sea level. As such, it almost certainly would have been a viable route for humans to have reached Sri Lanka by dry land..


Infrastructure development
Recently the Government of India has approved a multi-million dollar Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project that aims to create a ship channel across the Palk Strait. The plan is to dredge the shallow ocean floor near the Dhanushkodi end of the Rama's bridge to create enough leeway allowing ships to pass through the channel instead of having to go around the island of Sri Lanka. It is expected to save nearly 30 hours' shipping time by cutting over 400 km off the voyage. However, efforts to conserve the heritage of the bridge has been initiated under the Ram Karmabhoomi movement.


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