The central figure of the Hindu Epic Ramayana, Shri Rama, is said to be the seventh avatar of Vishnu. He is venerated throughout India and many other places across the world. Historians doubt that he is a real person. But there are arguments that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that Lord Rama could have been real and that he was a legend whose stories were real and were only embellished and written in a fancy way.
Let’s look into these “premises” as they proclaim and see how they lead to the reality we have been searching for.
Across India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, tons of old temples are dedicated to him. There are countless in India; in Sri Lanka, at least thirty locations are associated with Lord Rama.
In Nepal, the famous Janaki temple is dedicated to Rama’s wife, Goddess Sita. Legend has claimed that King Janak performed the worship of Shiva-Dhanush on this site.
There is evidence that King Janak existed in Janakpur in ancient times, and the places Rama visited, such as Ayodhya, exist too. This has led to the belief that the stories were based on real places and historical figures and were only inflated so much that they don’t seem practical in this modern age.
Ancient stories may not be all myths.
Previously considered unreliable texts have been proven to have real historical foundations, all done by scholars. For instance, Iliad, considered to be only imaginative before, accurately depicts the geography surrounding the ancient city of Troy during the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age. Also, religious texts such as the Bible are being re-evaluated because they have found evidence that the stories and descriptions are very accurate to the customs during that time.
Also, if you look at the evidence of Socrates or Confucius, there were only textual evidence. So, we cannot say that just because Rama’s existence has been seen only in the text means that he did not exist.
Speculation that Shri Rama lived before monumental architecture
There are questions that if Rama was the king, as mentioned in Ramayana, then he had the power to commission monumental inscriptions with his images inscribed on them. If that was the case, there should have been coins with his symbols and images. But there is speculation that he lived before such an era when monumental architecture had not hit India.
That’s only speculation.
However, it could also be the case that such inscriptions have not been discovered yet by archaeologists since it dates back thousands of years. Many scholars doubted that King David existed until Tel Dan discovered an inscription that proved he existed as an Israelite king or chieftain. The same may be the case of Rama, that an inscription might be somewhere waiting to be discovered.
So, these pieces of evidence are only “speculations” at most. The historical places and monuments do not necessarily prove that he existed. But it also does not completely prove that he did not exist too. For now, it is inconclusive from an archeological point of view.
However, if you look at Sanskrit scriptures, Mahabharata and Ramayana are categorized as “Itihasa,” – which means “History” in English.
Last Updated on December 20, 2022