History! not Mythology – Part 1 – Ram’s Journey

I have always been an a-spiritual and atheist person who has visited most religious places more for their aesthetic value and calming atmosphere and that doesn’t include places just related to my parents’ religion ‘Hinduism’ but also to many other religions.

What prompted me to write this post was a question a friend asked me a few months back.

I had posted on my WhatsApp status about collecting donation for Ramajanambhoomi Temple construction. She asked me if I was atheist and a-spiritual , then why was I supporting this drive?

I answered, this is not for the religion but for our history. So, here is my belief and my thoughts on this confusion which has been created by English and some of our historians.

Let’s first talk about the difference between mythology and history:

Mythology is what is more in folklore about extra human happenings, characters which are larger than life and for which there is no physical evidence to relate to

History on the other hand, even though it may have been distorted and presented in a luscious , eloquent way for it to sound like mythology, but you can always find a connect between Physical, real world places, happenings and timelines and the events described in the folklore.

As an example today, I take the case of King Ram, Lord Ram. His life and times have been presented by many a poets, writers and filmmakers , each presenting his thoughts, his teachings, his life from their stand point, but, what is common in all these narratives is their connect to something which is actually on ground, real!

In this series of blogs, I am going to be talking about some of the places, happenings and powers which have been treated as mythology and have been part of our folklore, but, I would like to shed a light on how this is a part of our history which we need to respect, understand and preserve.

Let’s start with Lord Ram’s epic journey from Ayodhya to Srilanka and return. Though our books and folklore, we are pretty much aware of the journey that Lord Ram took after his exile from Ayodhya to the jungles of Chitrakoot, then onwards to Kishkindha, Rameswaram and then, onto Lanka through the Ram Setu.

Now if this was a mythology , we probably wouldn’t find any current and physical evidences of the places he visited,, assuming that science and technology was not as developed in the times when these epic poems and books about Lord Rama were written ( 4 to 5 centuries ago), as, no poet would have a drone or remote sensing technology to tell us the exact path that Lord Rama in his lifetime 5000 to 10000 years ago.

So, just to identify whether I am right or wrong in my assumption, I turned to that vast ocean of knowledge called Google and simply asked it to give me a trace of a walking route from Ayodhya to Rameswaram. And here is what the map looks like:

Ayodhya to Rameswaram, Walking route

But I was not convinced if I had the correct route that is being explained in Ramayana, Ramcharitmanas and other epics, so, I tried to identify other places associated with this journey like Chitrakoot, Ramtek, Kishikindha (Part of Dandakaryana forest), Tirupati (Supposed to be the birth place of Hanuman and first Rendezvous point of Lord Ram and Hanuman) and here is what I discovered:

Places associated with Lord Ram’s journey to Lanka

Yes , as you see it correctly, they all fall on that same line that was traced in the first map.

So, as it comes out, this was not a dummy mythological route but this was a route on which the cities/ towns/ places with same names still exist even though it was mentioned in the so called ‘mythological’ books written centuries ago.

The only missing place of puzzle was Kishkindha, supposed be part of Dandakaranya and kingdom of King Sugreev and King Vali. So, where was Dandaka forest and Rishymuk mountain that is mentioned in the Kishkindha Kand (chapter)?, Surprise, surprise.. or rather no surprise, they are part of the forest areas near the present day Hampi and part of the same range of forests and mountain ranges which include most of the forest areas south of Vindhyas and upto the Nilgiris.

This is one of the examples which tell us what we have been doing wrong. What we have been treating as mythology is pure history, distorted and presented to us as mythology so we worship it but don’t consider it real.

So, we need to recognize our rich culture, science and history in a different light than we usually do.

To prove this point further In the next episodes, I will talk about more stories from Lord Ram’s life and also about Lord Krishna and their history….

Till then , keep exploring by not believing what you read and see, but believe by knowing what you ought to know.

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