Friday, January 26, 2024

The Nyaya / Vaisheshika Darshanas (Guest post by R. Ramanathan)

The Nyaya & Vaisheshika darshanas are astika  darshanas (That agree with Vedic authority) that used “Realism” to explain worldly phenomenon and also provided solution as to how does one attain Moksha (known as Apavarga) from worldly life. Other darshanas like Sankhya Yoga etc used “idealism” to explain worldly phenomenon.  Sage Gautama wrote the Nyaya sutras on which the Nyaya darshana or what is called as “Prachina Nyaya” or “Ancient Nyaya”, was formalized. The Vaisheshika darshana was established on the Vaisheshika sutras were written by Sage Kaanatha.

Nyaya darshana 

This is more concerned with epistemological analysis (Sources of right knowledge), or “Pramana Shashtra”. There are 4 pramanas or valid sources of knowledge as per Nyaya

1.     Pratyaksha (Direct perception)

2.     Anumana inference

3.     Upamana(Comparision)

4.     Oral testimony (Shruti or statements of trustworthy people)

Moksha according Nyaya was attained via correct knowledge and removal of delusion. This resulted in acquiring the correct knowledge of the “Atman “or self.  Gautama also in the Nyaya sutras recommends Yogic practices to attain self-knowledge or Atma saakshatkaara (Nyaya sutras 4.2.46). Nyaya does not accept of the existence of a bliss in Moksha. Naiyayikas accept god and have tried to use logic to prove the existence of god.

The main contribution of Nyaya is the 5-part Syllogism called “Pancha Avayava Nyaya”. They are,

1.     The Pratijna (Proposition) Nyaya Sutr. 1.1.33

2.     The Hetu (Reason or middle term) Nyaya Sutr. 1.1.34 and 35

3.     Udaharanam (Example) Nyaya Sutr. 1.1.36 and 37

4.     Upanayah (Application) Nyaya Sutr. 1.1.38

5.     Nigamanam (Conclusion) Nyaya Sutr. 1.1.39

We will see this in detail in the subsequent article.

 Vaisheshika darshana 

This deals more with the physical world and can be called “Pada Shastra” or the science of categories.  The Vaisheshika school postulates one of the most ancient “Atomic theory”. This school accepts that matter especially, the first 4 pancha bhootas, air, fire, water and earth are composed of atoms. The smallest indivisible atom being called a paramaanu which is eternal. This paramaanu combines to form “Dvyanu” or a diad of atoms, “Tryanu” or triad and so on. Also, it deals with many physical phenomena like the absorption of water in the stem of a plant and so on. Vaisheshika accepts only 2 pramanas

1.     Pratyaksha (Direct perception)

2.     Anumana(Inference)

Vaisheshika too accepts and Ishvara, who is the arranger of atoms (Note, not the creator of atoms). Moksha in Vaisheshika as per the Vaisheshika sutras is atma sakshakaara through correct knowledge and removal of delusion.  The difference between Moksha in Nyaya and Vaisheshika’s is that Vaisheshikas accept an experience Bliss” in Moksha

Similarities between Nyaya and Vaisheshika

1.     Both accept and logically prove god as creator of world

2.     Both accept Vedic authority but argue that the Veda is not eternal but have an author

3.     Both accept ignorance as cause of all suffering

4.     Both believe the individual self is eternal, pervasive and infinite

5.     Both believe in plurality of Jivatmas

6.     Both believe in moksha for the Atman

Differences between Nyaya and Vaisheshika

1.     Nyaya accepts 4 pramanas, Vaisheshika accepts 2 pramanas

2.     Nyaya deals with pramana shastra and logic. Vaisheshika with ontology or Padaarthas

Prachina Nyaya is very abstruse and difficult to understand an apply. Thus, In the 13th century Gangesha in his work “Tathva Chintamani”, fused both Nyaaya and Vaisheshika to originate what was called “Navya Nyaya”. 

Later Raghunatha Shiromani, Gadhadhara Bhattacharya, Vasudeva Sarvabhauma etc all formalized this school. Navya Nyaya was really a versatile tool and it could be used to solve problems using inference and logic.  No wonder many other fields were affected by this. This approached spawned of a “Navya Vyaakarana” and a “Navya Mimamsa”.  This even spread to Kavya, alankara shastra etc.

The Dvaita vedanta school of Madhvacharya started adopting navya nyaya to formalize their schools. Vyasatheerta an acharya of the Madhva sampradaya, wrote Nayaymruta that condemned Advaita. It was almost shaken to its roots until Madhusudhana Saraswati of Bengal, using the same Navya Nyaya gave a rebuttal to the Nayamrutaa, with his work “Advaitasiddhi”.

So, for the purpose of this article we will be discussing Navya Nyaya only as the praachina Nyaya sutras and Vaisheshika sutras are too abstruse and complex to understand now.

Annam Bhatta around the 17th century composed a work called “Tarka Sangraha”, a very simple book based on Navya Nyaya, intended as per his Mangala shloka, “To teach Nyaya very comfortably to children”. “Tarka” is another synonym for Nyaya. Generally, the word means “Debate”, “logic”, “Inference” etc.  This is the book that is currently taught as a beginner’s text and so the concepts referenced in this article are from that book.

To be continued…

 (PS: Click the tag 'R. Ramanathan' in the side bar to read other articles by Sri. R. Ramanathan)


Ramar sannidhi existed in Chidambaram Natarajar temple (My talk in Galatta channel)

 In an interview to Galatta Channel, I spoke about Rama and his temples in Tamilnadu. In that context I quoted the Prabhandam verse of Kulashekara Alwar on Rama referring to the presence of Rama with Maruti (Hanuman) in that temple. This Prabhandam of ten verses enshrine the entire Valmiki Ramayana including the Uttara Kanda. The temple and its location was known as Chitrakootam in these verses and also in the inscriptions. 

Today there is the sannidhi of Govindaraja Swamy having the Moolavar on the bed of Adisesha and the Utsavar in standing position. Readers may recall the information about my book Ramanuja Itihasa in which the 12th chapter is about the removal of Govindaraja Swamy Sannidhi by Kulottunga -II and the transfer of the Utsava Murti to Tirupati. The Moolavar was thrown into the sea and not recovered till date. But the Utsavar was brought back by Achyuta Raya who built the sannidhi for Govindaraja in the same place in the Natarajar temple and re-consecrated the deity which can be read in this blog

A sannidhi for Rama also had existed when the Alwar visited the temple. It must have been removed by Kulottunga-II. I am talking these details in this interview and also about how the kshetra was Chitrakootam, in memory of Rama and how the Deekshitars arrived at that kshetra with Nataraja Swamy. I am putting forth a suggestion to consecrate Rama in Pattabhisheka appearance within this shrine as a way to get relief from the problems the Deekshitars are facing.

Rama was genetically related to Cholas (My talk in Galatta Channel)

In connection with the Prana Pratistha of Shri Rama in the Janmasthan, I gave an interview to Galatta channel covering the following topics:

* Why so much fuss about Ram? * Is there really a Janmasthan of Ram in Ayodhya? * Why consecrate baby Ram? * Did Ram come to Tamilnadu? * Why should we take the chola claim of lineage from Rama as a historical fact? How were they genetically connected with Rama?

Thursday, January 25, 2024

My talk in Sun News TV as a guest on live coverage of Prana Pratishtha

I was invited by Sun News TV channel to be a guest in their live coverage of Prana Pratistha of Bhagawan Shri Rama in his Janmasthan in Ayodhya on 22nd January 2024. They asked me a few questions for which some of my answers were muted - you can guess why. What was telecast is given in two videos below.

In this recorded version, I have spoken in the beginning and from 29 minutes onwards. I have spoken on Rama's connection to Tamilnadu, his temples in Tamilnadu right from his time, how Ravana was hated by Tamils and on Valmiki's knowledge of Tamil. 

In the next video you can hear me from 1.39 minutes onwards answering a question on what I think about the image of Rama. I started stating that I can see the image in three ways.

1. It fulfils the Saamudrika lakshana described for Rama by Hanuman to Sita in Ashoka Vana.

2. It signifies the home coming of Rama - that Rama is back in his birth place.

3. I quoted the version of the other guest in the programme that Rama lived lakhs of years ago in Treta Yuga which makes Rama a mythical and imagined character. So I talked about the two types of Yugas- namely Divya Yuga and Dharma Yuga in which Divya Yuga measured by planetary conjunction is not applicable to human life.

By then my voice was muted and we were not allowed to talk further and there was no proper closure of the talk either. After waiting for 45 minutes or so, we left the studio on being told that the programme involving us was over. I expected this but accepted their invitation to make my point. I did talk about how Ravana was hated by Tamils. I did talk about Rama as the ancestor of the Cholas and the like which this TV group could not have stomached. 

After I spoke about Ravana factor, my next answer about Skanda and how the Supreme court accepted the evidence from Skanda Purana in determining the location of Janmasthan which had actually pointed to the location of the Babri masjid was muted even before I could start giving the details. Facts cannot be hidden always. 

Now coming to the third point which I wanted to tell but couldn't tell was this:
In Dharma Yuga measurement, the amount of Dharma decides the Yuga.
If 3/4th of the Dharma is present, it is Treta Yuga. Rama lived in that kind of period. 
If 1/2 of Dharma is present, it is Dwapara Yuga.
If 1/4th of Dharma is present, it is Kali Yuga.
Now we are in Kali Yuga both in terms of amount of Dharma and in planetary measures. 

However, in Valmiki Ramayana, Maalyavaan, the maternal grandfather of Ravana had given a different point. He scolded Ravana that he was adharmic. In that context he said that when Dharma is high, there is Krita yuga. If Adharma is high, that is Kali Yuga. Maalyavaan said that Ravana was Adharmic and therefore there was Kali yuga then. In other words, in the so-called Treta yuga of Rama, the adharmic activities of Ravana brought Kali Yuga wherever he went. But wherever Rama went, there was Treta Yuga with 3/4th of Dharma.

Today Rama has come back to Ayodhya to his own palace. This means we now have Treta yuga in Kali Yuga. This beautiful idea of hope and positivity could not be told in this TV. 

However the listeners to All India Radio the opportunity to listen to me speak about this as I also got a call to talk in the live coverage of Prana Pratistha in AIR on that day. I answered two questions - one about this yuga issue and Rama's birth year. The audio clippings of my talk are available but I have no idea of how to make them public. Those wanting to listen to it can drop a mail to jayasreebooks@gmail.come. I will share them. 

Did Rama eat meat? (My talk in Tamil / Thanglishin Chanakya English Channel)

 Did Rama eat?

This question has blown up in the wake of the film Annapoorani and was hotly debated in Tamilnadu asserting that Rama did eat meat. Mr. Karti Chidambaram also tweeted certain verses from both Valmiki and Kamban that Rama ate meat.

In response to these views I gave an interview in Tamil that Rama didn't eat meat anytime during his vanavas. The only verse interpreted to mean that he ate before his vanvaas was also not true. The verses on cooking a black antelope before Rama entered the newly built parnashaala in Chitrakoot was to satisfy Bhuta ganas. I have cited Cheraman Perumal inscription to show why animal sacrifice is done to Bhuta gana-s. I also responded to Mr. Karti's version.

Requesting interested persons to share this video to dispel the wrong notion about Rama.

I will soon make this in English too. This topic will form a separate chapter in my upcoming book on the Date of Rama covering all contentious verses quoted by others to say that Rama ate meat.

Did Rama suspect Sita's fidelity? (My talk in Thamarai TV)

This video was recorded and uploaded a year ago but not documented by me in my blog. Hence doing it now.

In this interview I am replying questions on

* protection of Ram Setu from destruction

* age of Setu built by Rama

* the events leading to Agni pariksha of Sita probing the question whether Rama suspected Sita's fidelity.

* the circumstances leading to the exile of pregnant Sita.

* Was Rama right in abandoning her?

* How Rama became a prisoner of circumstances and Sita, a victim of circumsatnces.

History of Ayodhya, Ram Janmasthan and the struggle to reclaim it (My talk in Thamarai TV)

In connection with the Prana Pratistha of Rama in his Janmasthan, I gave an interview to Thamari TV channel on the day before Prana Pratistha in which I spoke about the following:

* The history of Ayodhya right from the time it was founded by Manu * The destruction of Ram Janmasthan and subsequent developments. * Prana Pratistha of Ram Lalla * Why Modiji is the best choice to inaugurate the temple

ராமனைப் போற்றும் தமிழ்நாடு (My talk in Twitter spaces #Dharmic Indians)

On 20th January, 2024, just a day before the Prana Pratistha, I spoke in Twitter spaces hosted by Dharmic Indians. The topic was ராமனைப் போற்றும் தமிழ் நாடு.

Before I started the talk, I recalled the sacrifices done by countless unknown people in the last 500 years for the sake of reclaiming Janmasthan. We observed silence for a few seconds for their sake. 

In continuation of that I was given the honour to release a video on the sacrifices of those people.

Then I started speaking on Rama's connection to Tamilnadu particularly through temples. 

I spoke about three groups with 5 temples each. They are the 5 temples on Rama among the Vaishnava Divya Desams and Pancha Rama kshetras around Thiruvarur and Thiruvannamalai.

Additionally, I spoke about the importance of Madhurantakam temple and how Rama and Lakshmana appeared to the British Collector, Lionel Blaze.

Another temple was Thiruchitrakootam also known as Chidambaram and how Kulashekara Alwar's verses show the existence of Rama's shrine within the temple of Natarajar in Chidambaram. Today it is not there. In the 12th century, the Chola king Kulottunga-II removed the Vishnu shrine, popularly known as Lord Govindaraja which was depicted in the film, Dasavatara. The Alwar's verses show that there did exist a sannidhi for Rama with Hanuman in Pattabhisheka set up. The temple's original history was linked with Rama and the Deekshitars brought Lord Nataraja 3500 years ago due to loss of land. Further explanations and question- answer session that went on till 11 pm can be heard in the following link.

Evidences of Ramayana - My talk in #Teams News Hour (twitter spaces)

On the 19th January, 2024, a few days before the Prana Pratistha, I was a speaker in the spaces hosted by Mr. Amit Bhatia. The event that started at 9 pm IST went on till 1 am and had to be closed due to time constraint. 

I began with just two issues to establish that Ramayana was not myth.

* about Vanaras as human beings in disguise and 

* the interaction between Rama and Samudra Raja when Rama was waiting to cross the sea occurred in Rama's dream, as per the description in the Mahabharata.

After nearly 40 minutes of my talk on these two issues, I started answering a volley of questions on Ramayana, Ravana, Lanka, Setu and many more. The entire talk can be heard in this link on twitter.

Rama's date and the rationale of 11,000 year-rule of Rama (My talk in Pesu Thamizha Pesu)

 In the 3rd and last part of the series on Ram Janma Bhumi given to Pesu Thamizha Pesu I answered questions on the following issues:

* Evidence for Rama as a true character

* Rama's birth year in 5114 BCE

* Rama's Tamilnadu connection

* The age of Rama and Sita when they married and also when they went on exile

* Tamil as Manushya bhasha (Human tongue) spoken by Sita and Hanuman

* Why Ravana was known as 'Dasaananan" (ten-headed)

* Tamil proverb in Valmiki Ramayana.

* The rationale of Rama's rule for 11,000 years.

* Rama's fame outside Bharata Desam.

* Sita's Agni pravesha.

Was Ram temple issue politicised? (My talk in Pesu Thamizha Pesu)

In the 2nd part of the interview on Ram Janma Bhumi issue given to Pesu Thamizha Pesu, I focused on the following features:

BJP or congress or both - who politicised the temple issue?

* Boycott of the Prana Pratistha function by political parties

* Criticism by Shankaracharyas on prana Pratistha being done before the completion of the temple.

The history of struggle to reclaim Ram Janma Bhumi (My talk in Pesu Thamizha Pesu)

 In connection with the Prana Pratishtha of Bhagawan Shri Ram, I gave a series of interviews on various topics in Pesu Thamizha Pesu Channel days before the Prana Pratishtha.

In this 1st part, I have given the details of the 500 years of struggle to reclaim the Janmasthan.

In what way Bhagawan Shri Rama is connected with Tamilnadu (my talk-series in Mediyaan)

In connection with the Prana Pratistha of Bhagavan Shri Rama in his Janma Bhumi, I have given a series of short interviews to Mediyaan channel days before the Prana Pratistha. The links to all of them are given here along with a brief note on what I have spoken in each video. 

Part 1: The connection between Rama and Tamilnadu is highlighted by citing the inscription of Veera Rajendra Chola which claims that the Cholas were the descendants of Rama. Literary sources stating the same are also given besides explaining how this connection existed. 

Part 2: 

* The 'Kula dhanam' given by Rama to Vibhishana is identified * The epigraphic evidence of Rama having made Setu to cross the ocean. * Chola connection to Rama * 'Sangrama Raghava' and 'Kodandarama' in Chola dynasty.

Part 3:

* Rama guarded the tank in Madhurantakam * Did Rama appear in person to the British collector in Madhurantakam? * Evidence on how the ancient Tamils had known Valmiki Ramayana.

Part 4:

* Significance of Pattabhisheka Raman. * Rare temples of Pattabhisheka Rama in TN. * Dakshina Ayodhya at Vaduvur & Injimedu. * Why Madhurantakam Ram temple is special. * Pancha Rama kshetras in TN.

Part 5:

* the proof for Ayodhya as the birth place of Rama.
* Rama's presence widespread in TN with examples of Naga kudaiyaan & Semponsei koyil * central govt's involvement in the temple

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Did Rama suspect Sita's fidelity? (My talk in Thamarai TV)

This interview in Thamarai TV was taken last year at the height of Ram Setu issue.

I noticed it only recently posted in the Thamarai website and hence reproducing it now.

The interview covers two topics: 

1) the feasibility of cutting across the Ram Setu for navigation purpose.

2) the controversial issue of Agni Pariksha of Sita and the exile of pregnant Sita. In both these cases, Rama is accused as having Sita. Is it so? If not, why did he allow her to do enter fire and later send her to the forest when she was pregnant.

At this time of Rama's home-coming in Ayodhya in a grand temple, I thought we can go through these questions and get logical and correct answers.

I believe I have given the most correct answer for the second issue in which I find the divine couple as ideal couple who stood for family honour. In the final analysis, Rama is found to be a prisoner of circumstances and Sita, a victim of circumstances. 

The video can be watched here. Comments are welcome.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

பாண்டியர்களைக் கண்டு பயந்த இராவணன்.

  Published in Geethacharyan monthly Magazine.


இராவணன் ஆண்ட இலங்காபுரியை, தென்னிலங்கையின் மலைப் பகுதியில் அடையாளம் கண்டோம். இராவணனுக்குப் பக்க பலமாக இருந்தவர்கள் இலங்கையின் பூர்வ குடிகளான யக்ஷர்கள் (பலாங்கொடை மனிதன்) என்றும் காட்டினோம். இராமாயணம் என்னும் சரித்திரம் சில ஆயிரம் வருடங்களுக்கு முன் நிகழ்ந்ததாக இருந்தால்தான் இப்படிப்பட்ட அடையாளங்கள் ஏற்கக் கூடியதாக இருக்கும். ஆனால் இராமாயணம் பல லக்ஷம் வருடங்களுக்கு முன்னால், த்ரேதா யுகத்தில் நிகழ்ந்தது என்று சொல்லப்படுகிறதே, அப்படிப்பட்ட தொன்மையான காலத்தில் நிகழ்ந்த விவரங்களை உண்மை என்று எப்படிச் சொல்ல முடியும்? இந்தக் கேள்வியை வெளிநாட்டவர்கள் மட்டுமல்ல, நம் நாட்டவர்களும் அடிக்கடி கேட்கிறார்கள்.

கேட்பவர்கள் கேட்கட்டும் என்று நாம் அலட்சியப்படுத்திவிடக் கூடாது. நம் தெய்வங்களும், தெய்வ சரிதைகளும் ஆய்வுக்கு உட்படுத்தப்படும் இந்தக் காலக் கட்டத்தில், நாம் அத்தகைய கேள்விகளையும் எதிர் கொண்டு இதிஹாசத்தின் உண்மைத்தன்மையை நிலைநாட்ட வேண்டும். எந்த ஆய்விலும், கல்வெட்டுகளும், தொல்லியல் ஆய்வுகளும் முக்கியப் பங்கு வகிக்கின்றன. அதனால், முதலில் இந்த வழிகளில், இராமன் அல்லது இராவணனைப் பற்றி  ஏதேனும் விவரங்கள் இருக்கின்றனவா என்று பார்த்து விட்டு த்ரேதா யுகக் கணக்கை ஆராய்வோம்.

பாண்டியர்களுடன் சமரசம் செய்துகொண்ட இராவணன்.

இலங்காபுரி அமைந்துள்ள ஸ்ரீலங்கை, தென்னிந்தியாவை ஒட்டியுள்ள பகுதியாக இருக்கவே, முற்கால சேர, சோழ, பாண்டியர்களில் எவரேனும் இராவணன் காலத்தில் இருந்திருக்கலாம் என்ற சாத்தியக் கூறு இருக்கிறது. அதை மெய்ப்பிக்கும் வகையில், பாண்டியர்களது செப்பேட்டில் இராவணனைப் பற்றிய குறிப்பு ஒன்று வருகிறது. மதுரையில் உள்ள பெரியகுளம் பகுதியில் சின்னமனூர் என்னும் இடத்தில் உள்ள விஷ்ணு கோயில் திருப்பணியின்  போது பாண்டியர்களது செப்பேடுகள் கிடைத்தன. அவற்றில் பாண்டிய வம்சத்தின் பெருமை எழுதப்பட்டுள்ளது.

செப்பேட்டின் சம்ஸ்க்ருதப் பகுதியில் முற்காலப் பாண்டிய மன்னர்கள் செய்த செயல்கள் குறிப்பிடப்பட்டுள்ளன. ஆனால் அவர்கள் ஒவ்வொருவரது பெயரும் இடம் பெறவில்லை. முற்காலப் பாண்டியர்கள் செய்த சாஹசங்களைப் பற்றிச் சொல்லிக் கொண்டு வரும் போது, ஒரு பாண்டிய அரசன் இருந்தான், அவன் பத்துத் தலை கொண்டவனை அடக்கி, அவனுடன் சமரம் செய்து, அமைதியை நிலை நாட்டினான் என்று எழுதப்பட்டுள்ளது. செப்பேட்டின் ஐந்தாவது வரியில் இவ்வாறு எழுதப்பட்டுள்ளது.

“தசானனன் சந்திப ரக்ஷகார நரேஷ்ஸ்வர: கக்ஷிதர கண்டிதாக்ஞா: “

(பக்: 451, South Indian Inscriptions, Vol IV, copper plates from Sinnamanur, Tirukkalur and Thiruchengodu, 1929)

பத்து முகங்களைக் கொண்ட தசானனன் என்று சொல்லப்படுபவன் இலங்கையை ஆண்ட இராவணன் ஒருவனே.. உண்மையில் அவனுக்குப் பத்து முகங்கள் அல்லது தலைகள் இருந்திருக்காது. அது ஒரு சிறப்பு அடையாளமாக இருந்திருக்கக் கூடும். பத்துத் தலைகள் கொடுக்கக்கூடிய அறிவினை ஒருங்கே உடையவனாக இருந்திருக்கலாம். அல்லது தர்மம் தலை காக்கும் என்பார்களே, அவன் செய்த புண்ணிய காரியங்களும், தருமமும், பத்து மடங்கு அதிகமாக இருந்திருக்கும். பத்து முறை அவன் தலையைக் காக்கும் வண்ணம், அதாவது மரணத்திலிருந்து பத்து முறை அவனைக் காப்பாற்றக்கூடிய அளவுக்கு அவன் புண்ணியம் செய்திருப்பான். அப்படிப்பட்ட ராவணனை ஒரு பாண்டிய மன்னன் அடக்கி, நாட்டில் அமைதியை நிலை நாட்டினான் என்று சின்னமனூர் செப்பேடுகள் தெரிவிக்கின்றன.

அந்தப் பாண்டிய மன்னனது பெயர் குறிப்பிடப்படவில்லை. சங்கப் பாடல்களிலோ அல்லது பிற்காலப் பாடல்களிலோ, அப்படி ஒரு பாண்டியன் ராவணை வெற்றி கொண்டான் என்றும் சொல்லப்படவில்லை. ஆனால் அந்தச் செய்தி வட மொழி இலக்கியத்தில் காணப்படுகிறது!

ரகுவம்சத்தில் பாண்டியனும், இராவணனும்.

விக்ரமாதித்தன் என்னும்  மன்னனது  சபையில் இருந்த காளிதாசர் என்பவர் இரகு வம்சம் என்னும் பாடல் தொகுப்பை எழுதி உள்ளார். அதில் இராமனது  மூதாதையரான இரகு என்னும் மன்னனின் வரலாற்றைப் பற்றியும், அந்த மன்னனுக்குப் பிறகு வந்த அரசர்களைப் பற்றியும், இராமன் மற்றும் அவனுக்குப் பின் வந்த சந்ததியரைப் பற்றியும் எழுதியுள்ளார். இரகுவின் வம்சத்தில் வந்ததால் இராமனுக்கு இராகவன் என்று ஒரு பெயரும் உண்டு. அந்த இராமனின் தாத்தா பெயர் அஜன். பாட்டியின் பெயர் இந்துமதி. அவர்கள் திருமணம் பற்றிச் சொல்லுமிடத்தில் ஒரு பாண்டிய மன்னனைப் பற்றிய விவரம் வருகிறது. (ரகு வம்சம், 6 -ஆவது அத்தியாயம்)

இளவரசி இந்துமதியை, சுயம்வரத்தின் மூலம் அஜன் மணம் புரிகிறான். அந்த சுயம்வரத்தில் போட்டியிட வந்த பல மன்னர்களுள்   பாண்டிய மன்னனும்  ஒருவன். அவன் எப்படிபட்டவன் என்று இந்துமதியின் தோழி சுநந்தா விவரிக்கிறாள்.

"மலையிலிருந்து கொட்டும் அருவிகளைப் போல, சிவந்த சந்தனம் பூசப்பட்ட மலை போன்ற மார்பில் தொங்கும் முத்துச் சரங்கள் பல உடையவன் இந்தப் பாண்டிய மன்னன். அகத்திய முனிவர் வழி நடத்த, அஸ்வமேத யாகங்கள் பல செய்ததால் அபிஷேக நீர் அவன் உடலில் இன்னும் ஒட்டிக் கொண்டிருக்கிறது.

இந்தப் பாண்டிய அரசனது வலிமை எப்படிப்பட்டதென்றால், இலங்கையை ஆண்ட இராவணன் பாண்டியர்களிடம் சமரசம் செய்து கொண்டவன். அப்படி அவன் சமரசம் கொள்ளவில்லை என்றால் பாண்டியர்கள் சிவ பெருமானிடமிருந்து பெற்ற 'பிரம்ம சிரோ அஸ்திரத்தினால்' இராவணனுக்கு என்றோ அழிவு நேர்ந்திருக்கும்.

தக்ஷிண திசை என்று சொல்லப்படும் தென் திசையிலிருந்து வரும் இந்தப் பாண்டிய மன்னனை  மணந்து  கொண்டால் உனக்கு ஒரே ஒரு சக்களத்திதான் இருப்பாள்.  அவள் தென் திசையில் உள்ள பாண்டிய நாடு என்னும் நாடுதான்." என்று சுநந்தா விவரிக்கிறாள்.

இதில் சில விஷயங்கள் தெரிய வருகின்றன.

இராமனது தாத்தா காலத்துக்கு முன்பே, தென் தமிழ் நாட்டில் பாண்டிய வம்சம் சிறப்பாக இருந்து வந்திருக்கிறது. இராமனை ஏக பத்தினி விரதன் என்பார்கள். ஒருவனுக்கு ஒருத்தி என்று வாழ்ந்தவன் இராமன். அவனைப் போலவே பாண்டிய மன்னும் ஏக பத்தினி விரதம் கொண்டவனாக வாழக் கூடியவன். அவனுக்கு ஒரு காதலி இருக்கக்கூடும் என்றால் அது அவன் ஆளும் நாடே ஆகும்.

பூகோள ரீதியாக பாண்டிய நாடும், இலங்கையும் அருகருகே உள்ளன. அதனால் அவர்களுக்குள் சண்டை வந்திருக்க வாய்ப்பு இருந்திருக்கின்றது. செப்பேடுகளிலும், இராவணன் தொந்திரவு கொடுத்தான் என்று சொல்லும் வண்ணம் எழுதப்பட்டிருக்கிறது. பிரம்ம சிரோ அஸ்திரம் என்னும், தலை கொய்யும் அஸ்திரம் பாண்டியர்களிடம் இருக்கவே, இராவணனால் அவர்களிடம் வாலாட்ட முடியவில்லை. எனவே சமரசம் செய்து கொண்டிருக்கிறான். இதையே செப்பேடுகளில், அமைதியை நிலை நாட்ட பத்துத் தலைக் கொண்டவனை அடக்கினான் ஒரு பாண்டியன் என்று சொல்லப்பட்டுள்ளது.

இங்கே ஒரு கேள்வி எழுகிறது. இராவணன் வாழ்ந்தது இராமனது காலக்கட்டத்தில். இந்த சுயம்வரம் நடந்ததோ இராமனது தாத்தா காலத்தில். அப்பொழுதே இராவணன் எப்படி இருந்திருக்க முடியும்?

இராமனது தாத்தா மணம் முடிந்து, அவனுக்கு தசரதன் பிறந்து, அவனுக்கும் வயதான பிறகுதான் இராமன் பிறந்ததாக இராமாயணம் கூறுகிறது. எனவே, அஜன் காலத்திலோ அல்லது அதற்கு முற்பட்டோ இராவணன் இருந்திருக்க முடியாது. அதனால் இராவணனைப் பற்றிய விவரம் பொய் என்று சொல்ல முடியாது. இராவணன் பற்றிய  விவரம், சின்னமனூர் செப்ப்டுகளிலும் எழுதப் பட்டுள்ளது. அதனால் இந்த விவரம் உண்மையாகத்தான் இருந்திருக்க வேண்டும். மக்கள் மத்தியில் பரவலாகப் பேசப்பட்டு இருந்திருக்க வேண்டும். அதன் அடிப்படையில், காளிதாசர் அவர்கள் இரகு வம்சம் எழுதிய போது, பாண்டியர்கள் குலப் பெருமையை எழுதும் போது, கால வித்தியாசம் பாராமல், இராவணனை அடக்கிய கதையைக் குறிப்பிட்டுள்ளார் என்று தெரிகிறது. காளிதாசர் காலம் வரையிலும், அதாவது இரண்டாயிரம் ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்வரை, இந்த விவரம் மக்களுக்கிடையே பேசப்பட்டிருக்க வேண்டும்.

இங்கும் ஒரு கேள்வி எழலாம். கடவுளே அவதாரம் எடுத்து இராவணனை வெல்ல வேண்டியதாயிற்று. அப்படி இருக்க பாண்டியர்களிடம் அந்த இராவணன் அடங்கி இருந்த செய்தியை ஏன் எந்தப் புலவரும் பாடவில்லை. சிபியைப் பற்றியும், தூங்கெயில் எறிந்தவனைப் பற்றியும் பாடிய புலவர்கள், இராவணனை ஒரு பாண்டியன் அடக்கிய தீரச் செயலை ஏன் பாடாமல் விட்டார்கள்?

இதற்கு ஒரு காரணம் சொல்லலாம். பாண்டிய மன்னர்களும் சிவ பக்தர்கள். இராவணனும் சிவ பக்தன். ஆனால் அவன் அசுரப் பண்புகளைப் பெற்றிருந்ததால், அருகில் உள்ள மன்னர்களைச் சீண்டியிருப்பான். பாண்டியர்களையும் சீண்டியிருப்பான். சிவ பக்தியால் பாண்டியர்கள் பெற்ற அஸ்திரத்தைப் ஒரு சக- சிவ பக்தன் மீது பிரயோகிக்க பாண்டியர்கள் யோசித்திருக்கலாம். ஆனாலும், நாட்டு நன்மைக்காக அவனை ஒரு தட்டு தட்டி அடக்கி இருக்கலாம். இராவணன் ஒரு சிவ பக்தனாக இருக்கவே, அவனை வென்றதை அவர்கள் பெருமையாகப் பேசிக் கொள்ள விரும்பியிருக்க மாட்டார்கள்.

இதற்கு ஆதாரமாக, பெரிய புராணம் கூறும் மெய்ப் பொருள்நாயனார் சரித்திரத்தில் சிவ வேடம் தாங்கிய போலி சிவனடியார் ஒருவர் நாயனாரைக் கொன்ற போதிலும், அவர் உடுத்திய சிவ வேடத்துக்கு மதிப்பு கொடுத்து, அவருக்கு எந்தத் தீங்கும் ஏற்படாமல் காப்பாற்றிய உண்மைக் கதை இருக்கிறது. இது பாண்டியர்களுக்கும் பொருந்தும். இராவணன் சிவ பக்தனாக இருக்கவே, அவனை வென்றதை அவர்கள் பெருமையாகக் கூறிக்கொள்ளவில்லை எனலாம். அதனாலேயே, இராவணனை எதிர்க்க இராமனுக்கு உதவவும் பாண்டியர்கள் முன் வரவில்லை போலிருக்கிறது.

ஆனால், இராவணனை பாண்டியர்கள் அடக்கிய செய்தி செப்பேடுகளிலும், இரகுவம்சத்திலும் காணப்படவே, இராவணன் என்ற ஒருவன் வாழ்ந்தது உண்மை என்று தெரிகிறது. அவன் வாழ்ந்தபோது, பாண்டியர்களும் தமிழ் மண்ணை ஆண்டிருக்கின்றனர் என்று தெரிகிறது. அவர்கள் இருப்பிடம் தக்ஷிண பகுதியில் என்று அழுத்தம் திருத்தமாகக் காளிதாசர் கூறி இருக்கிறார்.

இராமாயணத்தில் பாண்டியர் தலைநகரம்

அடுத்த முக்கியச் சான்றாக, பாண்டியர்கள் தலைநகரம், இராமாயணத்திலேயே உள்ளுறைச் சான்றாகக் காணப்படுகிறது. சீதையைத் தேடி வானரர்கள் நான்கு திசைகளுக்கும் சென்ற போது, சுக்ரீவன், நான்கு திசைகளிலும் தென்படக்கூடிய நாடுகளையும், பூகோள அமைப்பையும் விவரிக்கிறான். தென் திசையை விவரிக்கும் போது, அகஸ்தியர் அப்பொழுது தங்கியிருந்த, காவிரி உற்பத்தி ஸ்தானத்தைச் சொல்லி, அதைக் கடந்து சென்றால், தாமிரபரணி ஆறு வரும் என்று சொல்லி, அதன் பின், பாண்டியர்கள் நாடான ‘கவாடம்’ வரும் என்கிறான்.

“பாண்டியானாம் கவாடம் ததா த்ரக்ஷயதா வானரா:” (வா.இரா: 4 -41- 19)

வானரர்களே, அங்கு பாண்டியர்களது கவாடத்தைக் காண்பீர்கள், என்றான் சுக்கீவன்.

 அதி முக்கியத்துவம் வாய்ந்த இந்த ஸ்லோகத்தை, இதுவரை சம்ஸ்க்ருத பண்டிதர்கள் பாண்டியர்களது வாயில் என்றே பொருள் கொண்டனர். ஏனென்றால், கவாடம் என்றால் நுழை வாயில் என்று சம்ஸ்க்ருதத்தில் அர்த்தம். ஆனால், கவாடம் என்பது, பாண்டியர்களது, இரண்டாம் சங்க காலத்தின் தலைநகரின் பெயரும் ஆகும் என்பதை, இறையனார் களவியல் உரை மூலம் அறிகிறோம்.

இதன் மூலம். இராமாயணம் நடந்த காலத்தின் உச்ச வரம்பு,  இரண்டாம் சங்க காலம் ஆரம்பித்த நேரம் எனலாம். இராமாயண காலத்தில் பாண்டியர்களே சக்தி வாய்ந்த அரசர்களாக இருந்து வந்தார்கள் என்பதற்கு, இரகு வம்சம் மட்டுமல்லாமல், இராமாயணமும் ஒரு சான்றாக இருக்கிறது என்பதை மறுக்க முடியாது. இறையனார் களவியல் உரையில் புலவர் நக்கீரர், சங்க காலங்களுக்குக் கால வரம்புகளைத் தருகிறார். அதன் படி, கவாடத்தைத் தலை நகரமாகக் கொண்ட இரண்டாம் சங்க காலம், பொ.முன். 5550 (BCE) இல் ஆரம்பிக்கிறது. இது இன்றைக்கு 7000 வருடங்களுக்கு முன் என்று சொல்லலாம். இந்த இராமாயணச் சான்றால். இராமாயணம் நடந்த காலம் 7000 ஆண்டுகளுக்குள்தான் இருந்திருக்க வேண்டும். அதற்கு அப்பால் இருக்க சாத்தியமில்லை என்று புலனாகிறது.

இதில் ஆச்சரியப்படத்தக்க தகவல் என்னவென்றால், பகவானின் இரு கண்களில் ஒன்றான தமிழ் இல்லாமல், சம்ஸ்க்ருத மொழியில் இருக்கும் இராம சரிதத்தின் காலத்தைக் கணக்கிட இயலாது என்னும் அற்புத விவரம்தான். அதுமட்டுமல்ல, பாரதத்தாயின் திருவடி போல விளங்கும் தமிழ் மண்ணிலிருந்துதான் இராமாயணத்துக்கான தொல்லியல் சான்றும் நமக்குக் கிடைக்கிறது. அதைப் பற்றி அடுத்த கட்டுரையில் காண்போம்.


Friday, January 12, 2024

Locating Ravana's Lanka - 2

Published in Vijayvaani

The entire landmass of Sri Lanka was called Lanka in the inscriptions of the Cholas written thousand years ago, but in the book ‘Brihat Samhita', written by Varahamihira a thousand and five hundred years ago, a separate country called Sinhala is mentioned along with the name of Lanka (14: 11-16). As far as we know, the people in Sri Lanka are the Sinhalese and therefore the whole of Sri Lanka is also known as Sinhala. This is supported by the verse of poet Bharathiyaar that he would prefer a bridge to the ‘Sinhala’ island.

Apart from these two names, Sri Lanka is also known as Ceylon. There is another name appearing in the inscriptions of King Ashoka, as 'Tambapanni'.  Greek historians, such as Megasthenes, have mentioned Sri Lanka as 'Taprobane', which appears to be a distortion of the name 'Tambapanni'. For these reasons, scholars are of the opinion that Ravana's Lanka could not have existed in Sri Lanka. Such views question the authenticity of the Ramayana itself that we need to establish the location of Ravana’s Lanka without doubt.

Lanka in inscriptions

To find out the original name, let us go back from present to past. The name Sri Lanka came into force in official records from 1972 onwards. Before that the country was known as Ceylon, a name coined by the Portuguese in the 16th century when they came in search of a country called 'Seylan' in their language in the maps. When they landed in Sri Lanka, they thought that that they had found out the land they were looking for and started calling it as Seylan which ultimately became Ceylon.

The entire island of Sri Lanka was known as Lanka by the people of our country as we look for the name in the inscriptions of Tamil kings. To quote the Tiruvalangadu copper plates issued by Rajendra Chola a thousand years ago, the name Lanka appears for the entire Sri Lanka in the context of mentioning Rajaraja Chola crossing the sea with his naval force. This deed of Rajaraja Chola was compared with Rama who crossed the sea with his army of Vanaras. It says,

“The lord of the Raghavas (i.e., Rama) constructing a bridge across the water of the ocean with (the assistance of) able monkeys, killed with great difficulty the king of Lanka (i.e., Ravana) with sharp-edged arrows; (but) this terrible General of that (king Arunmolivarman alias Rajaraja Chola) crossed the ocean by ships and burnt the Lord of Lanka.  Hence Rama is (surely) surpassed by this (Chola General).” (verse 80)

Though the intent of this verse is to eulogise Rajaraja as being superior to Rama, these lines offer valuable evidence for Ravana’s Lanka in Sri Lanka. This is the only copper plate that states the construction of a bridge by the Vanaras across the sea between the Chola country and Sri Lanka.

Sinhala and Tambappani in Sri Lanka

The names Sinhala and Thambapanni appeared much earlier according to 'Mahavamsa', which describes the royal dynasties of the then Sri Lanka and the way Buddhism spread. On the day Gautama Buddha left this world, Vijaya landed at the northern part of Sri Lanka by a ship from Bengal. On seeing the sand on the shore in copper colour he called the place 'Thamravarni'. When Buddhism spread, Pali was also spoken there, and it became known as Thambappani in Pali. This area is Jaffna in the northern part of Sri Lanka and the whole of Sri Lanka is not given this name.

The origin of the name Sinhala is traced to Vijaya's story. His father's name was Simhabahu or Sihabaahu – a name he got for restraining a lion. The city where he lived was also called Simhapura. His son Vijaya was named Vijayasimha. For these reasons, the region of Sri Lanka where Vijaya landed got the name Sinhala. The people who came with him were called Sinhalese. The northern Sri Lanka occupied by them was named after them as Sinhala. The name didn’t apply to the entire island.

These names arose when Vijaya arrived around 500 B.C., but Sri Lanka was referred to as Lanka only in the Mahavamsa. At the time of Vijaya’s arrival, only two cities existed in Lanka: one was 'Sirisavattu' (a Pali variant of Shirishavastu) in northern Lanka, and the other was Lankapuri in the South.

The Mahavamsa states that Lankapuri existed in the hilly region of southern Lanka where Yakshas lived. This is reiterated in the hymns of Alwars too. For example, Tirumangai Alwar says that Surpanakha, after getting humiliated, reached the mountain of Lanka (Periya Tirumozhi: 3-9-4). Similarly, Ravana also told to Sita the location of his city on a mountain (V.R: 3-47-29). 

Mountainous region of the South

Ravana's capital

Only southern Lanka (we shall start referring to Sri Lanka as Lanka) is dotted with a group of mountains. To the east of Colombo and in the central part of the south, there are mountain peaks, where Lankapuri was situated. A Buddhist text called, Mahayana Lankavatara Sutra states that Gautama Buddha preached on the hill of Lanka, the abode of Ravana. It describes Ravana as the king of Lanka and the chief of Yakshas who came to meet Gautama Buddha to listen to his preachings. This abode of Lanka mentioned in this text is known as Adam’s Peak today.

The entire first chapter of this text is about Buddha’s presence on the hill of Lanka and Ravana arriving in a flowery chariot to receive him to pay his respects. This can be easily dismissed as imagination, but what cannot be ignored as imagination is the reference to the hill as Lanka, the city of Ravana. The setting of this text is about two thousand five hundred years ago when Vijaya had not yet arrived. The author had obviously wanted to use Ravana’s name to promote Buddhism in Lanka and created an imaginary conversation of the Buddha imparting wisdom to Ravana. The choice of the location, that is the Hill of Lanka was meant to make the story of Ravana meeting the Buddha appear real. So, one cannot doubt the identity of the hill - the Adam’s peak as the location of Ravana’s Lanka.

It is said that the account of Ravana's arrival was not there in an earlier version of this book. However, there is no difference of opinion that the place where the teaching took place was the city of Ravana's Lanka. This story might have helped to spread Buddhism in Lanka, but it is a moot question why the knowledge about Ravana’s Lanka in that mountain remained unknown to the people of Lanka. The probable answer lies in the fact that this text was not popular as Mahayana was replaced by Theravada Buddhism long ago in Lanka.

However, the hill remained in memory as an important location where Buddha stayed. Ravana was forgotten, and the hill is remembered for Buddha’s association. Lanka's Buddhism has made the Ramayana forgotten. Buddhism, which took root in Lanka 2,500 years ago, has destroyed the links to the Ramayana that happened many years ago. The city of Ravana, which refers to the main peak of the hilly south, was used to take advantage of the old history.

The description given in Valmiki Ramayana applies to this peak. Lanka was like Amaravati; yes, it is. For most times, the pinnacle of the hill is obscured by clouds and mist looking as though it is hanging from the sky. This mountain is referred to as Swarga, and named Swargarohana, which corrupted into 'Rohana' mountain in course of time.  This mountain is also known as Malaya and Lanka. It is a place of natural beauty that almost every religious community claimed ownership of this mountain whenever they gained an upper hand over others.

Adam's Peak 

The Ramayana refers to Ravana's Lanka as 'Trikuta' peak (V. R. 5-2-1). Trikuta means three peaks or three humps. There is no mountain with three peaks in southern Lanka, but with three facades, Adam’s peak fulfils the meaning of Trikuta. The Ramayana says that Ravana's Trikuta mountain resembles Mount Kailash (V.R: 5-2-23). Amazingly, the peaks of Kailash and Trikuta appear similar.

Mount Kailash and Ravana's Trikuta Mountain

Perhaps that is why Kubera, who had built the city of Lanka moved to Mt. Kailash when Ravana took away Lanka from him. Protection by Lord Shiva residing in Kailash was another reason for his choice of Kaliash.  

Since Ravana was a devotee of Lord Shiva, the Trikuta hill in which he lived came to be known as 'Sivanolipaada Malai' (Mountain of the Light of Shiva’s Feet). In course of time this changed into 'Samanoli Malai' (Mountain of the Light of Saman) It is said in Manimekalai (twin epic of Silappadhikaram) that Buddhist pilgrims used to circumambulate the Samanoli Hill in Lanka before visiting the Buddhist Viharas of Kanchi (Manimekalai: Ch- 28: line 107). Saman refers to Saman Deva, a Buddhist who lived on this hill who became the guardian deity of this mountain after his death. It is said that when Gautama Buddha came to Lanka, he met Saman and imparted knowledge to him. The worship of Saman on this hill also paved the way for completely erasing the memory of Ravana long ago when Lanka was less populated.

Saman Deva in the Temple of Kelaniya

Standing on top of this hill, Hanuman observed the surroundings and thought about how to enter the city of Lanka (V.R.: 5-2-32). From the structure of the hill, this version of the Ramayana looks plausible, as the peak is tapering on a raised mountainous area. Ravana’s city must have been widespread on the entire hill region with the peak uniquely rising as a cone, often hidden by clouds. It must have been bound by a triangular wall, which the Tamil Sangam texts say was broken by Rama.

Adam’s peak (Mount of Lanka)

On top of the hill there are two caves called 'Bhagava Cave' and 'Dheeva Cave'. Sita could have been imprisoned in the forest on the slopes of the hill. From the top of the hill, the sea is visible on the west, and whoever comes through the sea can be seen from the mountain itself. The fact that gems are found around the hill also concurs with the Ramayana version of abundance of gems (ratna) in Lanka. For thousands of years, people have climbed the hill from a place called Ratnapura at the foothills.

The hill was claimed by many from the time Buddhism spread in Lanka until the recent British rule, however, for most part in the last two thousand years, the hill was associated with Buddhism only.  The image of a foot carved on a boulder found on the summit is venerated as the footprint of Gautama Buddha commemorating his visit to the mountain. The sacredness attached to this footprint has made this mountain a pilgrim spot for the Buddhists besides lending its name ‘Sripada’ to the mountain.  Today no one recognises this mountain by its olden name as Lanka but only as Sripada.


Although it is believed that the engraved foot represents Gautama Buddha, there is no evidence in support of it. The carving had existed since before the Common Era and no one knew about it until king Valagambha discovered it in 104 B.C.E. The king was on a hunting spree chasing a deer that climbed this peak when he accidentally discovered this footprint. In course of time, people began to believe that it was the foot of the Buddha.

In the absence of knowledge of who created it and for whose memory, its location on the Mountain of Lanka raises a question on whether it was a pre-historic carving created to represent Rama’s victory over Ravana. Knowledge about Ramayana did not disappear in Lanka before Buddhism entered – a fact confirmed by the existence of folk stories on Ramayana that were said to have been enacted during the reign of Panduvasadeva, the second Sinhalese king who succeeded Vijaya. Though the folk versions differ from the original Ramayana, the prevalence of those stories among the local people before Buddhism got rooted in Lanka is proof of historicity of Ravana and hence the Ramayana. This must be borne in mind while analysing the pre-historic carving of Sripada.   

In the long history of more than two thousand years of Buddhism in Lanka, only for a short period of a couple of centuries, i.e., the 16th and the 17th century, this hill became sacred for the Hindus when the nearby Kandy region was ruled by the Hindu kings. At all other times it remained sacred to the Buddhists as Sripada Mountain. As a result, the history of Ramayana has been forgotten and distorted in Lanka. Until recently, Sri Lankans did not believe that the Ramayana was a true history, one reason being Ravana was a negative character; another reason was the sway of Buddhism over the masses. Only archaeological excavations in the Sripada peak and surrounding mountainous region can bring out the secrets buried in this mountain.  

Vibhishana remembered in Lanka.

Vibhishana, however, is remembered and venerated throughout Lanka since time immemorial. The kings of different regions of Lanka have not forgotten Vibhishana, even though Ravana was forgotten. After the death of Ravana and the burning of his capital by Rama, Vibhishana did not seem to have lived on the hill. Based on the Sandesha Kaavyas of Lanka, we deduce that Vibhishana lived in a place called ‘Kalyana’ which is known as Kelaniya in Pali (or Kalani in Tamil). This place is close to the western shore near Colombo. Vibhishana is mentioned as ‘Utpalavarna’ (lotus coloured) in these texts.

Many literary works of Lanka written in different periods in different kingdoms speak about the temple of Vibhishana at Kelaniya. Many kings have worshipped Vibhishana, seeking his blessings to get back or retain their kingdoms, like how he was given the kingdom by Rama. Some texts refer to him housed in the temple of Kelaniya as Rama and some others as Vishnu. However, the text Hamsa-Sandeshaya (the Swan message) tells in clear terms that Vibhishana was anointed as the king of Lanka by Rama.

This temple also is converted into a Buddhist shrine and Vibhishana’s memory is confined only to the outer walls of this temple. Murals depicting the crowning of Vibhishana are the only reminder of Ramayana connection to this place. The existence of this temple of Vibhishana and the literary works of Lanka connecting this place to Vibhishana stand as testimony to the fact that Lanka of Ravana was in Sri Lanka only.


The identity of Ravana

The Mahavamsa says that the Yakshas were the original inhabitants of Lanka. Kubera was a Yaksha, and Ravana himself told Sita that he had taken away Lanka from Kubera (V.R: 3-48-5). Kubera must have looked like his Yaksha mother, 'Ilavila'.  Visravas, the father of Kubera, was born to Pulastya who must have belonged to the Maanava clan (Manu’s lineage).  He fathered Ravana by his marriage with Kaikasi, born in the Rakshasa clan.  

Ravana must have resembled his mother in appearance. In a couple of places, Valmiki says that Ravana was big like mount Mandara, and dark as a black cloud and had a good neck structure (V.R: 5-22-24). Earlier we pointed out that Sumali, the maternal grandfather of Ravana might have lived in Somalia in East Africa. If this is true, the description of Ravana’s appearance appears to be of African descent. He controlled Yakshas, the natives of Lanka who must have appeared like Kubera that we see in paintings and statues in temples.

His younger brother Vibhishana was not like Ravana, either in character, or in appearance.  His name as “Utpalavarna” shows that he was not dark like his brother, Ravana. Perhaps he resembled his father in colour, like a Manava. He didn’t seem to have ruled the Yakshas who were under the control of Ravana. (Even Lankavatara Sutra refers to Ravana as the Lord of Yakshas). They were left to fend themselves after Ravana’s death it seems. Perhaps the migration of Vibhishana from Lanka to Kelaniya indicates that he cut off any connection with the Yakshas having allegiance to Ravana.

As we search for the location of Yakshas and what happened to them later, we come across some amazing inputs in the caves around Ravana's mountain. There are many caves at the foothills of the hills of south-central Lanka where archaeological studies have been conducted.

The caves where the Yakshas lived at the foothills of Trikuta Hill

Early human skeletons are found in these caves. It is now established that a different kind of human beings – though anatomically similar to homo sapiens – were living in these caves since 35,000 years ago. Based on the location, they were named as 'Balangoda Man'.  

From the skeletal remains it is known that they had large body, short neck (neckless appearance), chubby nose, protruding eyebrows and conspicuously large teeth. By these descriptions, they almost resembled what we see as the figure of Kubera, the Yaksha. Such figures are seen in South Indian temple walls as weight bearers. Throughout Southeast Asia, such kind of images are found. He was the primordial man of Lanka.

Balangoda Man

Ravana, the son of Kaikasi, made these Yakshas obey him.  Ravana's neck was well-structured (V-R: 5-22-24). For the Yakshas who did not have a prominent neck, Ravana must have looked like a man with ten necks! Perhaps that made them address Ravana as 'Dasagriva' – the one with ten necks! In course of time, it gave rise to the name ‘Dasanana’ – the ten faced.

The Yakshas (Balangoda man) and the Rakshasas (black people from Ravana’s maternal home) must have been controlled by Ravana. He maintained an army consisting of these people. Those who could not be controlled or satisfied were sent to Dandakaranya to trouble the hapless sages living there. Rama came and destroyed them all. Many of the Yakshas in Lanka would have survived by the grace of Rama and Sita.

There is evidence of Yakshas living in Lanka up to 6500 years B.C. They continued to live but their identity seemed to have undergone changes after that. Today, the aborigines of Lanka known as Veddas (Veduvar or hunter) are found to resemble the Balangoda Man genetically. It appears that they had mingled with Manavas and started looking like modern man. King Vijaya married a Yaksha woman only. Mahavamsa gives her name as Kuveni who hailed from Lankapuri in the southern mountainous region. According to this Buddhist text, Yakshas were confined to the hills of the south and led a secluded life. They were fierce and didn’t mingle with others. In fact, Lanka was not occupied by outsiders until Vijaya landed around the 5th century BCE. The Yakshas resented the marriage of Kuveni with Vijaya whom they killed later – so says Mahavamsa. 

There is no evidence of the Rakshasa clan living in Lanka after Ravana’s demise. With no roots in Lanka, those who migrated along with Ravana’s maternal relatives might have gone back. Only the Yakshas remained in Lanka.

The above inputs give rise to an opinion that Ravana’s time was only a few thousand years ago. Can it be so, given the fact that Rama lived in Treta Yuga, many lakhs of years ago?  Let's examine that part too in an upcoming article.



Adam’s Peak / Sripada :

Mahayana Lankavatara Sutra:

Saman Deva: