Did Rama exist?
There is no historical evidence to suggest Rama existed. That does not mean he did not exist. He may have. He may not have. For example, it is much easier to believe that Narasimha avatar of Lord Vishnu may not have existed in real life, mainly because it is hard to believe that a man actually took the shape of a lion. Also, it is much easier to dismiss that Vamana avatar existed because it is hard to believe a story where a man could step on a planet to cover it entirely with a foot. In the same vein, nobody actually asserts that Asuras and Devas really churned the sea using a mountain and a snake with a tortoise as the base. Such stories sound fantastical to be assumed real. However, many people do believe that Lord Krishna and Lord Rama existed and that they actually lived. Also, most people believe that Buddha existed and that he actually lived. Most people in the world believe that Mohammed Prophet, Alexander, Asoka existed and lived on this planet, in flesh and blood and not as mere fantasy of a book writer.
While some of the above characters have actually lived and existed, some may not have. How do we know who existed and who did not?
For example, coming to Alexander, there is lot of evidence to suggest he existed. The books describing him written during his life time have discussed events and places that have been recorded by others elsewhere. His conquests that describe his exploits in
There is no such evidence to suggest Rama existed. There is no historical evidence of Ayodhya- there are no ruins, or city walls dating to that period of time. There is no general agreement on the exact time of his existence either. The books that we find are not the original texts of those times, and hence we cannot even date them. They might as well be written much later. And there is no other visitor or another author from another society who has described Rama’s rule in any other book.
That does not mean he did not exist. He may very well have existed. But we cannot say for sure whether he existed or not. Hence, the conclusion, there is no evidence to suggest Rama existed.
Is Ram Sethu/Adam’s Bridge a natural formation?
It is a much easier explanation to suggest that it is indeed a natural formation. A
But if it were indeed man-made, what are the signs one should look for?
Usually most of the construction sites of such large scale, such as Pyramids or Great Wall of China, leave behind traces of human presence- traces of coins, traces of bones, traces of human artifacts, like man-made shovels, etc. None of such evidence is found in
Also, constructions of such grand scale leave behind many other traces coming from similar times. Such constructions could be made only by large societies and hence such large societies tend to leave traces of cities, dwellings, utensils, bones, skeletons, jewelry, etc. But no such traces have been found.
Therefore, one has to conclude that Adam’s Bridge/Ram Sethu is indeed a natural formation.
Did Humans live 1.75 Millions ago in
The petitioners protesting the dredging of Adam’s Bridge/Ram Sethu have suggested that Rama has built this bridge 1.75 Million (1,750,000) years ago. That is a long time ago. The Homo Sapiens Sapiens (Humans) did not appear on this planet then.
At that time, there were proto-humans whose brain size was much smaller than ours, and if you had a chance to look at them you would pass them as apes. Our lineage got separated from other apes around 6 million years ago. But for most part of the journey we were not very human as we find ourselves now. Back then, we did not speak, we did not write, we did not have societies, we did not build cities- we were not even human then. But around 250,000 years ago (this date hovers between 130,000 and 300,000 years), proto-humans became humans, originated in
And why do these idiots come up with the number 1.75 Million years? What is so magical about it?
Let me explain. Some Hindus believe that their scriptures are actual science. And according to some of these scriptures our time is divided into 4 Yugas. The first one is Satya Yuga which lasted 1.728 Million years. The second one is Treta Yuga which lasted 1.296 Million Years. The third one is Dvapara Yuga, which lasted 864,000 years. And the last is Kali Yuga which spans 432,000 years.
Lord Rama was born in Treta Yuga. He supposedly lived around early part of Treta Yuga.
And we are in Kali Yuga which started at 3102 BC.
So, if you add backwards, 2007 + 3102 + 864,000 + (2/3) of 1,296,000, you get 1.733 Million years. Voila! There it is- your magic figure! One has to understand that this number is not scientific and has no practical basis whatsoever. No other historical event was calculated using these numbers and hence could be discarded as another mythological byproduct (except for a pat on the back for coming up with such an astronomical figure for calculating age of Universe while some Abrahamic religions believed we are only 6,000 years old).
However, there are other interpretations to this date. Some smart ones have used a different calculation to arrive at 7323 BC or 5114 BC for Rama's existence making it more palatable to people who actually paid attention to their Science class instead of learning it by rote.
Isn’t literary evidence good enough?
Is Ramayan written by Valmiki good enough evidence to prove that Adam’s Bridge/Ram Sethu is a man-made construction? One should quickly ask oneself, Is Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings a good enough evidence to prove that Middle Earth exists?
Just because Ramayana is a religious book, it does not make historical evidence.
What do we make of the same literary evidence (Ramayana) which suggests that monkeys actually built this bridge? If monkeys’ construction is to be considered a site of heritage, shouldn’t all ant-hills (which we seem to destroy so easily) be considered sites of heritage?
To suggest that Rama existed is a matter of belief. Whether he existed or not is irrelevant to dredging of Ram Sethu. What is important is to know if Adam’s Bridge/Ram Sethu is a man-made construction or not. All evidences suggest that it is not, expect certain quotations from mythology and some blind beliefs.
It’s like an aunt waking up in the morning and suggesting she saw Lord Krishna in her dream telling us to stop sending PSLV rockets into space because that rocket would shoot right through his heavenly abode. It’s a matter of belief. It’s a good story to tell the kids, cousins and other family members. However, a State or Government of India should not go ahead and stop sending rockets into space because it hurts an aunt’s sentiments.
Update [15 September 2007]:
Please read this article from a Geologist.