Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ramayana -- a mythology or history? -- K. Gopalakrishnan (July 2013)


The cultural memory of Ramayana narrative is abiding and intense in many parts of the globe.

śrāddham -- homage to pitṛs, ancestors -- is performed by pilgrims at Dhanushkodi. They draw a dhanush (bow) on the sands, offer samkalpam, create a śivalinga from the wet sands, perform puja and immerse the linga in the sacred waters of Setusamudram.

śankha is a shell unique to Indian Ocean rim and is sacred in Hindu traditions. Sacred śankha lives on the Ramasetu. śankha can live only on hard surfaces like boulder conglomerates and not on shifting sands. The boreholes drillings by NIOT revealed boulder conglomerates as one layer, conclusively proving that boulders obtained from land were used for the construction of the Setubandha causeway linking Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar.

This is a world heritage monument and a celebration of protection of dharma by rescuing Sita devi. Valmiki calls Sri Rama vigrahavān dharmah'embodiment of dharma'.

Valmiki ramayana, Sarga 21, Yuddhakandam describes Rama's victory over the ocean; he releases the arrow which makes a volcano erupt. This episode is rendered as a painting by Ravi Varma.


Similar Boulder Conglomerate Beds are recorded in
Mannar on Sri Lankan side

Director (Retired), Geological Survey,
Government of India

Rama Janma Bhoomi issue.
Rama Sethu issue.
Both cases are pending with the Supreme  Court of India.
One, concerning the Demolition of an existing  Mogul structure-Babri Masjid by Hindu activists.
The Other, regarding the Attempt at the Destruction of an existing  Hindu Structure-Rama Sethu by the secularist Government of India.

      (i)            As per Yuga Cycles
    (ii)            As per Vishnu Purana
   (iii)            As per Manu Samhita
  (iv)            As per Srimad Bhagavatham
    (v)            As per Swami Yukteshwar Giri

      (i)            By Vedic Astronomy –by Dr. P.V.Vartak
    (ii)            By modern Astronomy – by Pushkar Bhatnagar

      (i)            Sea Level Changes
    (ii)            Fossil Evidences of Early man's Migration
   (iii)            Botanical Evidences
  (iv)            Zoological Evidences

Lineage of Rama
      (i)            Rama's Ancestors  (ii) Rama's Descendants

B. References in Ancient Literature
      (i)            Puranas
    (ii)            Tamil Sangam Literatures
   (iii)            Other 5th – 6th Century Literatures
  (iv)            References Later Ramayanas in Other Languages
    (v)            Moghul Time Ramayana and Mahabharata
  (vi)            Ramayana in Southeast Asia
 (vii)            References in Historical Paintings


From Excavations
Inscriptions on Pillars, Plaques and Copper Plates
References in Ancient Coinages
References in Ancient Temple Sculptures

Rama's Trip with Maharishi VISHWAMITRA
Rama's route during Vanavas and to Sri Lanka

9. GEOLOGICAL EVIDENCES IN SRI LANKA                                                                                    

From the present-Day Active zone in South Pacific to the Present-Day apparently Inactive Rama Sethu Zone
Earth Movements, and Rise of Hill form the Ocean and corresponding subsidence on Sri Lankan side
 Valmiki's Description of the Gulf of Mannar site with Rama's arrow piercing the ocean, producing Earquakes, Volcanic Eruption and Tsunami generation
Drying up of far away ocean and island called Markandhara in the north by Rama's Brahmaastra – the present-day Taar Desrt in Rajasthan with trillions of tons of Rock Salt below sand.


The research article as outlined above can be read in the following link:-


Nanda said...

Dear Madam,

I am silent reader of your blog for long time.I am having a doubt,staying nearby Maduravoyil,Chennai.
There is a very old siva & Rama temple in Maduravoyil (1000 yrs old).
My doubts are:
1.In rama temple it says as Valmiki ashram is here and both Lava & Kusa brought up.Is it true?
2.Does Maduravoyil name as any linkage with history? Since if we split Maduravoyil (Madura + Voyil (Entrance)


Jayasree Saranathan said...

Dear Mr Nandhaa,

Thanks for reading my blogs.

Let me answer your 2nd question first.

As far as I know, there is an epigraphic evidence on the name of Maduravayil found in the temple of Markandeya Sahaya Eswara temple situated behind the govt office. Belonging to the years 1255 and 1257 AD, the two inscriptions mention the name as "Madurai Vaayil" meaning 'entrance of Madurai'.

The lord of this temple at that time was known as "Thiru ageeswaram udaiya naayanaar" (திருவக்கீஸ்வரமுடைய நாயனார்) Aggi means agni. So this deity was perhaps similar in concept to Shiva whose crown and pada could not be found.

In those days Madurai Sundaresa was the leading deity among shiva temples in Tamilnadu. Sangam text Madurai-k-kanchi describes a festival of Shiva that went on for 7 days (this was later transformed into Chitrai festival that is celebrated today). 16th century poem called "Chokkar ula" says that Shiva of Madurai was taken out on procession everyday during the 7 day festival, whereas in other temples, Shiva went on procession for only one day. By this the per-eminence of Madurai shiva temple (identification with Meenakshi was a later phenomenon, till 2000 years ago, only Shiva was accorded per-eminence)can be known. Perhaps the Maduravayil Shiva temple was consecrated with an idea to identify this place as another Madurai.So far no other evidence has been found out.

On your 1st question, so far I have not come across any info on this Ramar temple. My opinion is that Valmiki ashram could have existed here. Valmiki spent his last days in Tamilnadu at Ettikkudi. According to "Bhogar 7000" Valmiki lived for 700 years. This was possible for siddhas and therefore true. Read

I would not agree with the idea that Lava and Kusha were brought up here. Sita was left on the other side of the river Bhageerathi. She did not come this far to Tamilnadu. The stories of Lava- Kusha being brought up here could be an added idea as was the practice to add ideas like this in Sthala puranas. Valmiki ashrama could have existed and not necessarily occupied by Valmiki. His disciples could have set up the ashrama and built Ram temple. In course of time Ramayana related stories would have been developed around the temple and entered into sthala puranas and lores.

I say this with some conviction as I have read an account by Dr U.Ve. swaminatha Iyer who as a student was a copy writer for a sthala purana composed by his teacher. The older versions of the sthala puranas were of course followed. But the teacher added his imaginative ideas and descriptions to the existing sthala purana. Like this later versions of the sthala purana of this temple could have added lava- kusha. The more convincing fact from this is that a Valmiki ashrama could have existed here - where followers of Valmiki or learners of Valmiki Ramayana could have stayed.

Jayasree Saranathan said...

Maduravayil was under the Cholas in the above said period of temple inscriptions. A Telugu Chola by name Vijaya Kanda Gopalan was ruling this place which was under the tutelage of Rajaraja Chola III.

Maduravayil was a part of "KulOtthunga Chola VaLanaadu" which was part of "puliyur kOttam" which was part of "Jayam koNda Chola Mangalam". Earlier this could have been under Pallavas. The earliest inhabitants were migrants from Dwaraka after the deluge in 1500 BC. The stone workers called as "AruvaLar" settled in this belt.

In Sangam age (before 2000 year ago)this place could have been under Velir King Nalliyak kOdan. The expanse of his country starts from sea shore in the east and passes through Vellore and Ambur. This comes under Bangalore - Chennai Highway today. Based on this I guess that Maduravayil could have been under him. But these regions were sparsely populated then.

But the term Jayam koNda Chola Mangalam in which Madura vayil was located makes it known that this was a well developed town in chola period. Mangalam refers to Brahmin settlements and township around / dependent on a temple.

Jayasree Saranathan said...

The Mangalam region of this place (maduravayil) makes me think that the Shiva temple was consecrated as a parallel to Madurai Sundaresar. And this place could have been regarded as an entrance to Madurai of Sundaresar. Those going on pilgrimage to Madurai Sundaresa from telugu Chola- Chalukya countries that were upto Orissa, would have passed through this place. After worshiping Shiva here, they would proceed to Madurai. Perhaps that gave the name Madurai Vaayil - as an entrance to Madurai.

Nanda said...

Dear Madam,

Thanks for your reply.

I also had a similar thought of Maduravoyil would be an entrance to Madurai.Thanks for the clarification.
Similiarly there is a Siva temple in Thiruverkadu "Vedapureeswarar Temple" where it contains two sthala purana,
one-Agasthiayar worshipped siva here and saw the thirumana kolam.
Second - Muruga formed pond and worhsipped Siva here.
This temple is also 1000 years old and came well before amman temple in thiruverkadu.
Some interesting facts is also there in siva temple is it is surrounded by astha lingam similar to thiruvanamalai.
Please through some light if you know muchmore about this.
2.Ramar temple which is also 1000 years old,you will have lava-kusha statue here.Thanks for the clarification.
I am in thirst of learning more about Ramayana,i am learning a lot from your both tamil and English blogs,but interestingly I landed in your website for astrology :-)

Nanda said...

Dear Madam,

Did you have copy of sthalapuranas of Dr U.Ve. swaminatha Iyer and can it be shared.

One more thing,K.Gopalakrishnan shared updated facts and evidences with 159 pages compared with previuos one 139 pages.Just for your info

Jayasree Saranathan said...

Thanks for the information Mr Nandhaa.
I have to search for the U.Ve.Sa account. He did not author the stahla purana but wrote down as his teacher composed the verses.

On Madura vayil, there is inscriptional evidence published by the archeological dept. On Thiruverkadu temples, I dont know if any search for epigraphy was done or anything has been documented. But I would say for sure that most of the accounts of these temples are not historic. Particularly in Lord Muruga's case, most regions of his historic connect are lost in Indian ocean. Lanka, Thiruchendur are certainly, historic and goes to 10,000 yrs BP when Muruga as a person lived.

Nanda said...

Thanks Madam

Jayasree Saranathan said...

Dear Mr nandhaa,

Here is the link to Dr U.Ve.Saminatha Iyer's auto biography called "En sarithiram".

In that from page 316 onwards there is description of how he wrote down the Thiru-p-perum thurai sthala puranam composed by Maha vidwan Meenakshi sundaram pillai.

On page 333 comes this description

புராணம் இயற்றும் இடங்கள்
பிற்பகல் வேளைகளில் பிள்ளையவர்கள் மேலைப் பழையாறை,
பட்டீச்சுரம் ஆலயம், திருச்சத்திமுற்றம் கோயில் முதலிய இடங்களுக்குச்
சென்று சில நேரம் தங்கியிருப்பார். நான் எப்போதும் ஏடும் எழுத்தாணியும்
கையில் வைத்துக்கொண்டே இருப்பேன். குளிர்ந்த வேளைகளில்
அக்கவிஞருக்கு ஊக்கம் உண்டாகும்போது புராணச் செய்யுட்கள் வெகு
வேகமாக நடைபெறும். இயற்கைக் காட்சிகள் அமைந்த இடமாக இருந்தால்
அவருக்கு உத்ஸாகம் பின்னும் அதிகமாகும். பட்டீச்சுரத்தில் உள்ள
திருமலைராயனாற்றங்கரையில் ஓர் அரசமரம் உண்டு. அதன் கீழே ஒரு
மேடை இருந்தது. ஆற்றை நோக்கியபடி அம்மேடையில் சில வேளைகளில்
அவர் உட்கார்ந்து கொண்டு பிற்பகலில் செய்யுட்களைச் சொல்லுவார்.
அப்போது அவரிடமிருந்து வெளிப்படும் கற்பனா சக்தியே தனிச்
பெரும்பாலும் காலை வேளைகளிலும் பிற்பகல் நேரங்களிலுமே புராணச்
செய்யுட்களைச் சொல்லுவார். பகற் போசனம் ஆனவுடன் சிறிது நேரம்
அவருக்கு அயர்ச்சியாக இருக்கும். அக்காலங்களில் நான் பாடல்களை ஏட்டில்
பிரதி செய்வேன்.

Like this there are narrations in this book.

At one place he has written about how some residents of the street in which procession of the Lord was taken, were angry with pillai because he had written that the 7 types of womenfolk (based on their age classification) were attracted by the Lord. That was not there in previous sthala puranas, but a reference suggestive of that exists in Madurai kanchi, a sangam work. He had added pep to that suggestive idea and written.

This text is very useful in understanding the education, social and marriage system of those times. It shows that our culture continued unaltered until 150 years ago. It also shows that Brahmins were not leeches as Periyarites and Muka had been saying. It also shows how people had been pious, simple and helpful to others. This is a wonderful narration that needs to be read by all.

Nanda said...

Thanks for your reply madam.

Did I am missing the link.Its not appearing.

Jayasree Saranathan said...

Here is the link

Nanda said...

Thank you very much

Nanda said...

Dear Madam,

Yesterday I saw the hoarding board on the temple of Markendaya Sahaya eswara temple in Maduravoyil.
I wrongly mentioned old siva temple & Ramar temple in Maduravoyil,but it is located in Koyembedu.It is miscommunication from my side.

Jayasree Saranathan said...

The 2 inscriptions mentioning "Madurai Vaayil" is found in Markandeya Sahaya Eswara temple. You may look for these two inscriptions in stone, one in the southern 'muppadai-k kumudham' and the other in the northern "muppadai-k kumudham". Kumudham is a figure of horse or elephant or a soldier who is part of Muppadai. Look for such figures in the north and south sides of the temple.

I can think of another connection too. Rajaraja chola III was a contemporary of Sundara Pandyan popularly known as "maduraiyai meetta Sundara Pandyan." He was dead against Cholas and captured Uraiyur and destroyed it by fire, poisoning the water sources and spoiling the fields by ploughing with asses. The cause was Valangai- Idangai conflict that had its genesis in Kulotthungan having favoured Idangai to the displeasure of Valangai.

Idangai or Vamachara people have their origins in Indus region and Chalukyas were Idangai. Kulotthunga with paternal lineage coming from Idangai favoured them which irritated the existing valangai. The result was when Sundara Pandya gained upper hand he thrashed Cholan lands and wealth including Idangai temples. There is inscriptional evidence for the kind of the revenge that Sundara Pandyan waged on the Cholan lands.

Read this wiki link on how Rajaraja III was reinstated.

An inscription of Sundara Pandya says that Rajaraja III begged Sundara Pandya to give back his country and Pandya obliged. This gave him the title "ShONaadu vazhangu aruLiya Sundara Pandiyan" (சோணாடு வழங்கி அருளிய சுந்தர பாண்டியன்)

The inscriptions in Maduravayil temple has come after the death of Sundara Pandiyan. So there may have been a connection to Sundara Pandiyan's capture of these regions and establishment of this Vedic Mangalam, thereby getting a name "madurai vaayil".


Jayasree Saranathan said...

Main obsession with these military expeditions is resistance to Vamachara (idangai sect of worship). The Indus people were Idangai. They used tantric way of worship which was not followed in Tamil lands. Their Shiva was KAbalika and Kalamukha which Tamil Saivite parampara rejected. Only Tamil saivite parampara of Chidambaram was the oldest and original shiva worship culture.

The Idangai people came during Silappadhikaram times when Satakarni sent 96 sects of Idnagai to Cheran senguttuvan along with gifts with a plea that the Chearn king need not come to the North with army and that he (Satakarni) would get him the stone from Himalayas. But Cheran refused and went to the North and took help from Satakarni and in turn joined him in the war against Yavanas near Amarnath region.

So at that time itself, the Idangai (Vamachara) form of worship of Shiva had entered Tamil lands. Their temples and mode of worship were different. They and native Tamils following Valangai had regular skirmishes. The so-called caste conflicts in Kodgu belt had its origins here. Here only, entry to temple of the other sect (idangai or valangai) was forbidden. Here only, one sect destroyed the temple of other sect. One sect ill-treated the other sect. Madurai meenakshi temple also came under the Idangai people and the worship method was controlled by Kali worshipers

The grand father of Sundara PAndya, restored the MAdurai Meenakshi temple to original saivite type of worship. Sundara PAndya in a bid to restore the Valangai method, annexed the region of Cholas, I think. He set on fire to temples that were following Idangai.

The Idangai got a filip after Kulotthuga whose paternal lineage is Chalukyas (who were idanagai) came to throne. He was known as "Sungam thavirttha CHolan" (சுங்கம் தவிர்த்த சோழன்) a title which he got for removing excise duties for the Idnagai goods coming from Chalukyas and Indus region (Indus people followed Idangai - it is my opinion that the first pair of Jews Abraham and Sara were Idangai and hence expelled from India. The Jewish "Kabbalah" is one of the proof for this.) Thus there was trade / economic angle also to the irritation. Sundara PAndya's military expedition was to snub the Idangai domination.

Seen in this backdrop, I think the Madurai Vaayil temple, if it had existed previous to Sundara pandyan times, must have followed Idangai / tantric agama. Under Sundara PAndyan's orders this could have been changed to Mantra agama.

Another scenario is that to please Sundara PAndiyan a shiva temple was consecrated here in Valanagai agama and the place to be called as Madurai vaayil - similar to how Madurai was restored to original saivite traditions.

In all these Vishnu temples were not touched. The struggle was in retaining olden tradition of shiva worship as was followed by early Pandyas. The Saiva siddhanta tradition was a tantirc tradition that was Idangai. It was not originally native to Tamil saiva tradition of early Pandyans. But it has come to stay in tamil nadu.

Nanda said...

Dear Madam,

Will definitely try to go weekend to the Temple and see this.
Thanks for sharing this.