Vraja Bihari Das
The Worldwide influence of Ramayana – Part 1

“India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of
European languages. India is the mother of our philosophy, of our
mathematics, of the ideals embodied in Christianity- of
self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways, the
mother of us all.”

– William Durant (author of the renowned ten-volume ‘Story of

When Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia was gifted with a
Ramayana by an Indian sannyasi, he smiled, and said they were all
descendants of Lord Rama. He explained how the Ethiopians are called
as Cushites, or coming down from Kusha, a son of Rama. The country is
called Kushadwip, or the land of the son of Rama.

Ethiopians admit their ancestor as Kush, and they quote the Biblical
story of Cush being a son of Ham (a phonetic misnomer of Ram). This
only confirms to the widespread influence of Ramayana, even in a land
that is 3000 miles away from the mainland of India.

Phonetic describes the way spoken words sound or are pronounced. When
we closely examine the names of various places across the world, we
can logically deduce how the culture of Ramayana must have influenced
these lands, even thousands of years ago.

Egypt derives its name from Ajpati, a name of one of Rama’s
forefathers. Even the various legends in Egypt contain references to
Dasharatha, the father of Rama, and thus even five thousand kilometres
away, Ramayana had an influence. One of the famous Egyptian queens is
of the name Sitamen.

Rome, the capital of Italy was founded on 21st April, 753 BC. This
exact date is the date of Ramanavami in 753 BC. Besides, Rome is a
misnomer for Rama. Etruscans founded Rome and excavations from the
Etruscan civilization have repeatedly revealed paintings of two men
with bows and arrows on their shoulders, while a lady is next to them.
There are numerous paintings of peculiar beings with tails- alluding
to monkey soldiers of Rama. Another Italian city Ravenna is named
after Ravana and is situated diametrically and dramatically opposite
of Rome, on the Western side.

The traces of Vedic age can be seen even today. Iranians have the
culture of reverence to fire, an essential sacrificial tool in Vedic
process. Armenia has an ancient structure, called the ‘temple of the
little blue boy’-referring to Krishna. A French historian even claimed
that the original Armenians were worshippers of Radha and Krishna.

This is explained in the Vedic scriptures: Parashuram was a great
warrior who destroyed warrior class many times. As a result many kings
ran to faraway lands and settled there. Over a period of time, due to
the far distance from the main land of India, the culture of Rama and
Krishna worship deteriorated.

Nearer home, in the South East Asian regions, Ramayana’s influence can
be seen even today. Thailand’s national epic is called ‘Ramakien’-
glory of Rama. Until the late 18th century, the capital of Thailand
was Ayutthaya, derived from Ayodhya- the capital of Lord Rama. Most of
the kings of Thailand are called as Rama-I or Rama-II and so on.

To be continued…

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