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HINDUISM - THE RAMAYANA


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Author Topic: HINDUISM - THE RAMAYANA  (Read 1115 times)
Bianca
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« on: July 05, 2007, 01:42:43 pm »








IV




In World Literature




Before we go over to explain the esotericism of the Ramayana, let me say a few words about the prevailing criticism about the veracity of various events mentioned in the epic.

First, there is no doubt that early Indians had an approach to history which was rather different from the present day attitude. The word for literature in India is Sahitya, i.e. which will help in the progress and welfare of mankind. While writing history, maybe they kept the objective of human welfare uppermost.

Secondly there may have been some intermingling of history and mythology. Although mythology is said to be based on what C.G. Jung has called the ‘race-unconscious’ and therefore projects the innate inhibited aspirations of a race; they did not draw any definite line of demarcation between mythology and history. It is, therefore, possible that either some events were exaggerated or new material interpolated which cannot pass the portals of history as is understood today.

Thirdly, some recent trends in Western thought had a great influence on the thinking of the world, particularly on India which was a colony of the British for almost two centuries. In this trend, the most important influence in recent times has been of Herbert Spencer who formulated the theory of evolution much before Charles Darwin and Wallace. Spencer’s evolution has a wider sweep and covers all physical and biological phenomena. According to him, the world is evolving from worse to better. Conversely, as we go back in time, the civilisation would have been worse and worse. As such, the state of affairs in India at present should be definitely better than they were a few hundred or a few thousand years ago. Therefore it is just not possible that the people of ancient India—or for that matter, of any country—could be more prosperous, more intelligent and more advanced than at present. This philosophy cuts at the root of all ancient civilisations and treats the facts of ancient world as fiction. India’s philosophy, on the other hand has an exactly opposite approach than the evolutionary progressivism of Spencer. According to it, the world is going from bad to worse—not necessarily in the material sense but in moral essence. The cycle of the universe begins with Satyayuga the age of truth, benevolence and moral rectitude, but gradually degenerates into Treta, Dwapara and the age of Kali, during which moral values gradually go down. After the worst comes to pass and only little morality is left in the world, one cycle of creation is completed and the whole world is dissolved into nothingness, rising again with Satyayuga.

This approach is nothing unusual to India. There are references in the literature of other countries which speak of high civilisation in the past for which scientific explanations have yet to be formulated. There are two courses open to us, either to reject them as fantasies or to undertake research on modern lines to evaluate their truth.

Let me refer to the Babylonian Etana epic deciphered from clay-tablet library of the Assyrian king, Assurbanipal (669-662 BC). The actual origin of the epic is unknown but parts of it are included in the much older epic of Gilgamesh written in the Akkadian language.

The Sumerians began to write down their past in 2300 B.C. Just as Enkidu, the hero of the epic of Gilgamesh was carried up above the Earth by a god, Etana also floats high in the air. Here are the essential passages as quoted by Erich Von Daniken in his “In Search of Ancient Gods”. The passages from the Etana epic say:

The Eagle said to him, to Etana:

‘My friend, I will carry thee to heaven—Anus,
Lay thy breast on my breast,
Lay thy eyes on the pinion of my wings,
Lay thy sides on my sides.....’
When he had carried aloft for a while,
The Eagle spoke to him, to Etana:
‘Look my friend, how the land has changed,
Look at the sea at the side of the world mountain!
The Land there looks like a mountain,
The sea has become like water course ....’
When he had carried him aloft a little longer,
The eagle said to him, to Etana:
‘Look my friend, how the land has changed.
The earth looks like a plantation of trees...’

Daniken comments, “I am firmly convinced that ‘gods’ in mythology can only be a synonym for space travellers, for lack of a more accurate name for flying phenomena.” Daniken gives many photographs from ancient scriptures found in different parts of the world which appear to be not only strange but bizarre as they do not conform to anything the like of which we know today. He quotes from a translation of Enoch published in Thubingjm in 1900.

It is said in chapter 14 of the Book of Enoch:

“They bore me up into the heavens. I entered and walked until I came to a building of crystal stones and surrounded by tongues of fire, and it began to strike terror into me. I went into the tongues of fire and came to a large house built of crystal stones. The walls of that house were like unto a floor paved with crystal stones and its floor was of crystal. Its roof was like the paths of the stars and lightning, with fiery cherubs in between. A sea of fire was round its walls, and its doors burnt with fire.”

It is said in chapter 15.

“And when I heard the voice of the most high: Fear thou not, Enoch, the righteous man and scribe of righteousness—go thou and speak to the guardians of heaven who have sent thee in order to intercede for them.”

According to Daniken there is little doubt that a ferry ship took Enoch from earth to the command module which was orbiting around the earth. “The gleaming metal hull of the spaceship seemed to him to be built of crystal stones. Through a heat-rejecting fortified roof he could see the stars and meteorites and also observe the flashes from the steering jets of small spaceships.”

There are references of strange happenings in Mayan literature and stone reliefs. One Mayan legend says that there was a civilisation in full boom 10,000 years ago, although archaeologists question this early dating in their meagre ‘revelations’. It has however been proved that Mayan cities were not destroyed by wars or natural catastrophes, they were simply abandoned by their inhabitants. The Maya disappeared without a trace. Why did they leave their magnificent cities which were built to last with massive blocks of stones? Only three Maya manuscripts, the so-called Codices, were spared in the burning of the books.

Maya calendar was of an incredibly high calibre starting in the year 3117 B.C. South American experts claim that the mysterious year has no connection with the actual history of Maya, having only a pure symbolic value like the Jewish phrase ‘since the creation of the world’. The Maya calendar operates with cycles of years that were only supposed to have repeated themselves over 374,000 years—so similar to the four yugas of India.

If we follow the Aztec calendar, the present age is ripe for the destruction of the earth by an earthquake. During construction work in Mexico in 1700, a round stone disc 3 feet thick and 12 feet in diameter was found. A bass relief of faces, arrows and circles were carved on the stone. It was discovered that these motifs were data for the secret Aztec calendar. But Aztecs, it is said, took over the essential parts of the calendar from their forefathers, the Mayas.

We should, therefore, not be surprised when we hear of Vimanas or the aerial cars, in the epic of Ramayana. These should have been the flying machines, navigated at great heights with the aid of quicksilver with a great propulsive wind. These Vimanas could cover vast distances and travel forward, upward and downwards—a maneuverability which may be envied even today. Here is a quotation from the translation of Ramayana by M.N. Dutt done in 1801:

‘At Rama’s behest the magnificent chariot rose upto a mountain of cloud with a tremendous din...’

We cannot help noticing that not only a flying machine is mentioned, but the chronicler talks of a tremendous din. Here is another passage from the Mahabharata:

“Bhima flew with his Vimana on an enormous ray which was as brilliant as the sun, and made a noise like the thunder of a storm.”

If it is all imaginary and mythological, then even imagination needs something to start it off, says Daniken. “How can the chronicler give description that presupposes at least some idea of rockets and the knowledge that such a vehicle could ride on a ray and cause a terrifying thunder?” he asks. In another ancient treatise, a clear distinction is drawn between chariots that fly and those that cannot.

The first book of the Mahabharata reveals the intimate story of the unmarried Kunti, who not only received a visit from the Sun-god but also had a son by him who is supposed to have been as radiant as the Sun himself. As Kunti was afraid of falling into disgrace she laid her child in a basket and put it in a river. Adhiratha, a worthy man of the Suta caste, found the basket and the child and he brought up the infant. It is indeed a story so remarkably like the story of Moses.

Like Gilgamesh, Arjuna, the hero of the Mahabharata, undertakes a long journey in order to see the gods and ask for weapons. There are numerical data in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, which are so precise that one gets the impression that they were written from first-hand knowledge.

Be that as it may, at this point of time it is difficult for us to state with certainty how far the events described in the Ramayana are factually correct and to what extent there is a mixture of mythology. We thought it appropriate to invite the attention of the readers to the literature and art-work in other parts of the world which speak of events on similar lines. These at least do indicate that in the ancient world things might have not always been worse.
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