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Legend of Ram (Antiquity to Janmabhumi Debate)
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Legend of Ram (Antiquity to Janmabhumi Debate)
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About The Book

In this succinct book, Sanujit Ghose draws on a wide array of primary and secondary sources to examine the legend of Ram, Variations of the story can be found in the Veda, the early Iranian and Babylonian epics. Myths relating to Ram travelled round the continents over many centuries until they reached India with the ascent of the pastoral civilisation. There are more than two hundred Ramayanas spread over the whole of South and Southeast Asia, beside tens of thousands of folktales associated with the Ram story. From esclating Muslim invasions around the eleventh century AD unto the appearance of Tulasidas in the sixteenth, century, the process of defication of Ram moved on.

The birthplace of Ram and a movements for the construction of a temple there dedicated to him are now at the center stage of India impaling far reaching changes in the very fabric of society. This fascinating study of the Ram legend dispassionately looks at all the available sources from mythological and oral accounts to historical and archaelogicla evidence and debates to make a clear picture out of this dilemma.

Convincingly argued and eminently readable, this study will attract scholars and students of Indian religions, comparative doctrines, Indian history and civilisation as well as general readers interested in this topical and perennially ambiguous subject...

About The Author

Sanujit Ghose born in 1940 in Kolkata graduated from the Calcutta University and did his Master's from the University of Delhi. An Indian Administrative Service officer of 1964 batch, he had a distiguished career in the government. His educative journey took him to various archaelogical sites, religious institutions and mythological habitations in Indian and abroad. His enquiring mind took in what he saw, imbibed what interested him most intensively since his essential curiousity was in ancient history of Greece, Rome, Egypt, China and, of Course, India. During his extensive travels, he had a chance encounter with a new sub discipline of archaeo –ethno –astronomy, a direct interaction between astronomy, ethnology, engineering, and archaeology. His gleanings of facts and figures for more than a decade culminated into the publication of this fascinating work on the legend of Ram.

Preface

Many books have been written by both the Indian and the foreign authors about the Ramayana of Valmiki. There is a great deal of critical essays published by a number of research institutions, mostly devoted to the religious and social side of the epic.

I have been an avid reader of the subject for more than a decade now. In the course of reading I have come across mythological stories, archaelogical records and other related reviews wherein the story of Ram is dealt with in varying enviroments. In undertaking my task I have quoted extensively from various authors on the subject and have made use of primary and secondary sources. I claim no originality in putting together such views. However, a few points germane to the story of Ram came to my mind; I have written the book the with cross –reference to ancient history, geography, archaelogy, research papers on the migration patterns of the Aryans across the continents, philogical variations and so on.

In the renowned book The Ancient Geography of India, Alexander Cunningham talks about a place by the name Rambakia at the time of Alexander, It is a small village in Afganistan. Cunningham cities it while taking up the visit of the Chinese pilgrim Hwen Tsang during 629 to 645 AD. The local people there knew about Ram at that distant date but not the one narrated in the Ramayana of Valmiki.

A terracotta statuette has been found at Kausambi that dates back to the Sunga period (2nd -1st centuriees BC). In this Ravana is shown as having two arms, wearing a tight, short cloth reaching down to the knee, and a band of thick cord with tassels hanging from it in loops. R. Sengupta writing in the Journal of the Andhra Historical Research Society says that this is the earliest trace of a scene from the Ramayana. M.N. Dutta, a scholar of the Ramayana, quores the relevant texts to show that Ravana had only two but awfully huge arms.

In the setting I refer to, it is important to look at the following questions: how did the names of Dasaratha, Ram Lakshman and Sita turn up in the Rig Veda? How and when Timidhvaja, Rig Vedic Daitya king, fought Dasratha and wounded him grievously, Kaikeyi rescued him and drove away in a chariot from the battleground? This daring act earned her two boons from her husband, recounted in the Ramayana.

There are various other related inquires; why the Zend Avesta mentions Ram but offers prayers to him as Vayu? Was Valmiki a Rig Vedin, a sage –scholar of the Veda, and of the Avesta? And finally, how the Babylonian, Assyrian and Mitannian myths relating to their gods of fertility, agriculture and rains got associated with Ramman, coming down to the northwestern borders of India? The import of Vishnu as a god in the Hindu religion and his incarnations (avatar) is another enthralling toic to brood over.

None of the Rig Vedic Gods like Indra and Varuna carries bow and arrow nor do Vishnu and Shiva in the later Indian myths. However, Ram is shown as an expert archer who overpowers the entire armies single-handedly. Such dexterity with bow and arrow was first noticed with the Assyrians. To envision Ram's skill in war I have looked for the evolution of bow and arrow over the centuries in revalent documents.

Without doubt, Ram is a symbol of Aryan advancement towards the east carrying along the Rig Vedic rituals, the luminous green hue, is not surely the colour complexion of an Aryan. One suggestion is that Ram embodies the pastoral culture while Ravana is the symbol of the ensuing Iron Age, an all –powerful image with ten heads and twenty hands. He tries to belittle Sita, the goddess of agriculture. Ravana represents the opulent life, the life of trade and commerce trying to overrun the society based on agriculture. In the end, the pastoral culture triumphs. The ideal kingdom Ramrajya appears on earth.

I could not lay my hands on Das Ramayana written in German by Professor Jacobi at the last part of the 19th century as no English translation is available. This is a scholarly work of unique merit. The Critical Edition of the Ramayana, brought out by the Oriental Institute at Baroda a few decades ago, is a wide –ranging effort but it is available only in Sanskrit. Of late, Princeton University of the U.S.A has begun taking out editions of the Ramayana with all possible annotations. The English translation of the epic by M.N. Dutta brought out some time during the 1890s is out of print. The other one in English by Makhan Lal Sen is now on hand in reprint.

There are just a few reliable books on Indian history in which ancient times are discussed relating to archaeological excavations, myths, legends, folklore and so on. The Rig Veda gives glimpses of the culture and traditions of the people on move from Central Asia to India a few thousand years ago. This is an excellent opus that offers a clear impression of a new civilization evolving and in its wake replacing the tibal, group and clannish life spread over a large area from somewhere in northern Europe to the Asian soil. Though the language is rather archaic, the introduction to each of the six volumes of the Rig Veda and the main text, translated by H.H Wilson, is illuminating, I have quoted the relvant portions at suitable places in the text.

Another incredible book I glanced at is The Wandoer That Was India by A.L. Basham. Many instance are citied here to religious account, legends and myths as Well as to travelogues with discrete analyses of the maturity of art and literature since olden times.

It has been my good fortune to pick up the reprinted book, Lectures on the Ramayana by the Rt. Hon. V.S Srinivasa Sastri. These lecture were delivered during the year mythological and the historical aspect of the epic and its main character mights perhaps be rewarding.

I have drawn attention to the rare incident of the inception of poetry in literature through this epic. Leaving aside the hymns in the Rig Veda, no ancient civilization reveals poetical compositions Whether Babylon, Egypt, China or any other ancient civilization reveals peotical compositions. Whether cuneiform script in stone tablets located in the library of the Assyrian King Asurbanipal, papyrus texts discovered in the Pyraminds or a few hundred pictographs in the seals found at the excavanted sites of Harappa, Mohenjo Daro should be taken as literary writings I cannot say. My perception of literary writing means not only an alphabet but also use of grammer in that language. The Ramayana of Valmiki ushers in the distinct poetical meter called anustubha. This is indeed a unique event in the history of world literature.

 

Contents

Content Page No.
Preface 11
1. Valmiki : The Story of the Ramayana 17
2. Who are the Asures, Rakshasas and Vanaras in the Ramayana 44
3. Identification and Event of Bharatvarsha -Its Narration in the Veda and in the Ramyana 64
4. Chronology of Events According to the Legend of Ram 84
5. Ram: An Aryan Legend 116
6. Eventful Years in India Prior to the Christian Era 131
7. Ram: Image of a Goldy Man on Earth 158
8. Epilogue 201
Appendix I. Prayer to Ram in the Zend Avesta 219
Appendix II. The Recent Debate on the Birthplace of Ram 232
Appendix III. Saraswati River: Scientific Research on Its Location 245
Biblography 248
Index 251
Maps  
Map 1. Indus Country Meluha 54
Map 2. India of Antiquity 67
Map 3. Map of Gandhara 152
Sample Pages








Legend of Ram (Antiquity to Janmabhumi Debate)

Item Code:
NAO891
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2004
ISBN:
9788185002330
Language:
English
Size:
9.0 inch X 6.0 inch
Pages:
262
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 485 gms
Price:
$30.00   Shipping Free
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About The Book

In this succinct book, Sanujit Ghose draws on a wide array of primary and secondary sources to examine the legend of Ram, Variations of the story can be found in the Veda, the early Iranian and Babylonian epics. Myths relating to Ram travelled round the continents over many centuries until they reached India with the ascent of the pastoral civilisation. There are more than two hundred Ramayanas spread over the whole of South and Southeast Asia, beside tens of thousands of folktales associated with the Ram story. From esclating Muslim invasions around the eleventh century AD unto the appearance of Tulasidas in the sixteenth, century, the process of defication of Ram moved on.

The birthplace of Ram and a movements for the construction of a temple there dedicated to him are now at the center stage of India impaling far reaching changes in the very fabric of society. This fascinating study of the Ram legend dispassionately looks at all the available sources from mythological and oral accounts to historical and archaelogicla evidence and debates to make a clear picture out of this dilemma.

Convincingly argued and eminently readable, this study will attract scholars and students of Indian religions, comparative doctrines, Indian history and civilisation as well as general readers interested in this topical and perennially ambiguous subject...

About The Author

Sanujit Ghose born in 1940 in Kolkata graduated from the Calcutta University and did his Master's from the University of Delhi. An Indian Administrative Service officer of 1964 batch, he had a distiguished career in the government. His educative journey took him to various archaelogical sites, religious institutions and mythological habitations in Indian and abroad. His enquiring mind took in what he saw, imbibed what interested him most intensively since his essential curiousity was in ancient history of Greece, Rome, Egypt, China and, of Course, India. During his extensive travels, he had a chance encounter with a new sub discipline of archaeo –ethno –astronomy, a direct interaction between astronomy, ethnology, engineering, and archaeology. His gleanings of facts and figures for more than a decade culminated into the publication of this fascinating work on the legend of Ram.

Preface

Many books have been written by both the Indian and the foreign authors about the Ramayana of Valmiki. There is a great deal of critical essays published by a number of research institutions, mostly devoted to the religious and social side of the epic.

I have been an avid reader of the subject for more than a decade now. In the course of reading I have come across mythological stories, archaelogical records and other related reviews wherein the story of Ram is dealt with in varying enviroments. In undertaking my task I have quoted extensively from various authors on the subject and have made use of primary and secondary sources. I claim no originality in putting together such views. However, a few points germane to the story of Ram came to my mind; I have written the book the with cross –reference to ancient history, geography, archaelogy, research papers on the migration patterns of the Aryans across the continents, philogical variations and so on.

In the renowned book The Ancient Geography of India, Alexander Cunningham talks about a place by the name Rambakia at the time of Alexander, It is a small village in Afganistan. Cunningham cities it while taking up the visit of the Chinese pilgrim Hwen Tsang during 629 to 645 AD. The local people there knew about Ram at that distant date but not the one narrated in the Ramayana of Valmiki.

A terracotta statuette has been found at Kausambi that dates back to the Sunga period (2nd -1st centuriees BC). In this Ravana is shown as having two arms, wearing a tight, short cloth reaching down to the knee, and a band of thick cord with tassels hanging from it in loops. R. Sengupta writing in the Journal of the Andhra Historical Research Society says that this is the earliest trace of a scene from the Ramayana. M.N. Dutta, a scholar of the Ramayana, quores the relevant texts to show that Ravana had only two but awfully huge arms.

In the setting I refer to, it is important to look at the following questions: how did the names of Dasaratha, Ram Lakshman and Sita turn up in the Rig Veda? How and when Timidhvaja, Rig Vedic Daitya king, fought Dasratha and wounded him grievously, Kaikeyi rescued him and drove away in a chariot from the battleground? This daring act earned her two boons from her husband, recounted in the Ramayana.

There are various other related inquires; why the Zend Avesta mentions Ram but offers prayers to him as Vayu? Was Valmiki a Rig Vedin, a sage –scholar of the Veda, and of the Avesta? And finally, how the Babylonian, Assyrian and Mitannian myths relating to their gods of fertility, agriculture and rains got associated with Ramman, coming down to the northwestern borders of India? The import of Vishnu as a god in the Hindu religion and his incarnations (avatar) is another enthralling toic to brood over.

None of the Rig Vedic Gods like Indra and Varuna carries bow and arrow nor do Vishnu and Shiva in the later Indian myths. However, Ram is shown as an expert archer who overpowers the entire armies single-handedly. Such dexterity with bow and arrow was first noticed with the Assyrians. To envision Ram's skill in war I have looked for the evolution of bow and arrow over the centuries in revalent documents.

Without doubt, Ram is a symbol of Aryan advancement towards the east carrying along the Rig Vedic rituals, the luminous green hue, is not surely the colour complexion of an Aryan. One suggestion is that Ram embodies the pastoral culture while Ravana is the symbol of the ensuing Iron Age, an all –powerful image with ten heads and twenty hands. He tries to belittle Sita, the goddess of agriculture. Ravana represents the opulent life, the life of trade and commerce trying to overrun the society based on agriculture. In the end, the pastoral culture triumphs. The ideal kingdom Ramrajya appears on earth.

I could not lay my hands on Das Ramayana written in German by Professor Jacobi at the last part of the 19th century as no English translation is available. This is a scholarly work of unique merit. The Critical Edition of the Ramayana, brought out by the Oriental Institute at Baroda a few decades ago, is a wide –ranging effort but it is available only in Sanskrit. Of late, Princeton University of the U.S.A has begun taking out editions of the Ramayana with all possible annotations. The English translation of the epic by M.N. Dutta brought out some time during the 1890s is out of print. The other one in English by Makhan Lal Sen is now on hand in reprint.

There are just a few reliable books on Indian history in which ancient times are discussed relating to archaeological excavations, myths, legends, folklore and so on. The Rig Veda gives glimpses of the culture and traditions of the people on move from Central Asia to India a few thousand years ago. This is an excellent opus that offers a clear impression of a new civilization evolving and in its wake replacing the tibal, group and clannish life spread over a large area from somewhere in northern Europe to the Asian soil. Though the language is rather archaic, the introduction to each of the six volumes of the Rig Veda and the main text, translated by H.H Wilson, is illuminating, I have quoted the relvant portions at suitable places in the text.

Another incredible book I glanced at is The Wandoer That Was India by A.L. Basham. Many instance are citied here to religious account, legends and myths as Well as to travelogues with discrete analyses of the maturity of art and literature since olden times.

It has been my good fortune to pick up the reprinted book, Lectures on the Ramayana by the Rt. Hon. V.S Srinivasa Sastri. These lecture were delivered during the year mythological and the historical aspect of the epic and its main character mights perhaps be rewarding.

I have drawn attention to the rare incident of the inception of poetry in literature through this epic. Leaving aside the hymns in the Rig Veda, no ancient civilization reveals poetical compositions Whether Babylon, Egypt, China or any other ancient civilization reveals peotical compositions. Whether cuneiform script in stone tablets located in the library of the Assyrian King Asurbanipal, papyrus texts discovered in the Pyraminds or a few hundred pictographs in the seals found at the excavanted sites of Harappa, Mohenjo Daro should be taken as literary writings I cannot say. My perception of literary writing means not only an alphabet but also use of grammer in that language. The Ramayana of Valmiki ushers in the distinct poetical meter called anustubha. This is indeed a unique event in the history of world literature.

 

Contents

Content Page No.
Preface 11
1. Valmiki : The Story of the Ramayana 17
2. Who are the Asures, Rakshasas and Vanaras in the Ramayana 44
3. Identification and Event of Bharatvarsha -Its Narration in the Veda and in the Ramyana 64
4. Chronology of Events According to the Legend of Ram 84
5. Ram: An Aryan Legend 116
6. Eventful Years in India Prior to the Christian Era 131
7. Ram: Image of a Goldy Man on Earth 158
8. Epilogue 201
Appendix I. Prayer to Ram in the Zend Avesta 219
Appendix II. The Recent Debate on the Birthplace of Ram 232
Appendix III. Saraswati River: Scientific Research on Its Location 245
Biblography 248
Index 251
Maps  
Map 1. Indus Country Meluha 54
Map 2. India of Antiquity 67
Map 3. Map of Gandhara 152
Sample Pages








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