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Sri Rama's times

From: sadagopan iyengar (sadagopaniyengar_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Sat Apr 07 2001 - 22:38:42 PDT

    Srimate SrivanSatakopa Sri Vedanta Desika Yatindra
Maha Desikaya Nama:
                             Sri Rama's Times
                          ------------------------
  There are any number of opinions on the historic
period to which Sri Ramayana relates. As everybody is
aware, no historian worth his salt agrees with
another, on any matter of significance, and in the
matter of determining Sri Rama's times too ,there are
several divergent  schools of thought. There is
divergence to the extent  that some historians even
place the Ramayana in the A.D. 
Based on  the widespread references to the usage of
iron articles in the great epic, some say that the
Ramayana belongs to the Iron Age ,viz., the period
between 200b.c. to 200 a.d.  Another evidence cited in
support of this view is the reference to "KousEyam"(
Chinese silk) in Sri   Valmiki's magnum opus.   The
opponents of these views point out that even PANini ,
whose period is determined to be around the 20th
century b.c., uses the words "ayasthooNa:"(iron
pillar). Similarly, Sri Apasthamba Mahrshi, who is
said to have belonged to the 28th centuryb.c.., refers
to the practice of presenting newly-weds with Chinese
silk, using the very term "KousEya".
  Since Amara Simha, the author of Amara Kosa, does
not mention  Sri Rama's name ( while referring to
other devatas like Sri Krishna),some Indian historians
place the Ramayana period after 200 a.d ,which is
roughly the lifetime of Amarasimha. This too is not
conclusive because AmaraSimha was a Jain, and had no
compulsion to mention things and people not connected
with his religion. A similar argument, referring to
the absence of any references to Sri Rama in the
accounts of Fahien, the Chinese traveler who visited
Ayodhya around 400 a.d., ascribe still later time
slots to the epic.
 Coming to astrological pointers, based on the timing
of the summer and winter equinoxes now and then, some
scientists place the Ramayana around 9000 years ago,
roughly in the 7th century b.c.
While it is difficult to pinpoint the relevant period
of history with any degree of certainty, for us,
belonging to the Sri Ramanuja Sampradaya, it matters
very little whether Sri Rama was an inhabitant of 
10th century b.c. or 8th century a.d.. In fact, trying
to measure  lifetimes of this AdipurushA in terms of
b.c. or a.d. itself would be anathema to us. What
matters is that from time immemorial, Sri Rama's name
and fame have been household words in the entire
Bharata Varsha, not to speak of the far eastern
countries. And the epic continues, for thousands of
years,  to be the subject of innumerable discourses.
Can you imagine any other story being told, retold and
listened-to, from time immemorial , with such
devotional fervour, and still not palling on either
the recounter or the listener, for,after all,
theme-wise, it is a very simple tale, which could be
told in a few sentences. In Sri valmiki's own words,
"Yavat sttAsyanti giraya:saritascha maheetalE
 Tavat Ramayana katha lOkEshu pracharishyati"
(As long as there are mountains and rivers in this
world, Rama's name and fame will continue to prevail.)
   
  dasan, sadagopan.
Srimate SriLakshmiNrsimha Divyapaduka sevaka
Srivansatakopa Sri Narayana Yatindra Maha Desikaya
Nama:


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