06
Apr
Vraja Bihari Das
The Worldwide influence of Ramayana – Part 2

“I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of
the river Ganges.”

– Voltaire (famous French Philosopher of the seventeenth century)

When Lord Rama shot an arrow at demon Maricha and disposed him off to
the middle of an ocean, he settled in an island there. That place was
called Mauricha or later evolved as Mauritius.

These instances prove that story of Ramayana is not simply a story
that belongs to India; this is one of the most powerful stories in the
history of the world.

Just as Bible has played a pivotal role in shaping the history of the
Western world- you can read novels, appreciate art and history, and
you will find some Biblical references there- similarly Ramayana has
shaped all of Asian civilization. China, Japan and Korea have their
own version of Ramayana story telling. Indonesia- the world’s largest
Muslim country- even today has a popular puppet show on Ramayana.

Japan created an animated Ramayana made for the Japanese market by the
Japanese; they too love to narrate the Ramayana. Over three hundred
different versions- from South Indian to Urdu- Ramayana has captured
the imagination of the people all over Asia for millennia.

In recent times, lands outside of Asia-like Africa and Europe- have
revealed Ramayana’s/Vedic influence. In the Swabian alb, Germany, a
40,000 year old deity of half-man and half-lion (of Narasimhadev) was
discovered. An ancient Vishnu deity was found in an old village in
Russia’s Volga region. There is a river named Sita in Khabarvosk
territory of Russia and a lake called Rama and Moksha as well. Sir
Willam Jones wrote in detail, over two hundred years ago about the
widespread influence of Ramayana in the South American regions of
Peru, Coloumbia and Mexico. A wikepedia page on Ranya shows an ancient
carving of Rama and Hanuman found in Iraq. Even today Iraq has a place
called Ramadi and Israel has Ram-allah.

The Warner bros in US made a movie, ‘A little Princess’; the heart of
the movie is the rendition of Ramayana by a young girl Sara.

The Ramayana story thus has a universal appeal. And that’s because it
has all the ingredients of a good story: there is a hero, the
princess, the damsel in distress. Adventure, romance, action, it’s all
there. Yet, there is something more in Ramayana. It is the
‘adi-kavya’- the first poem. And the poetic masterpiece of Ramayana is
known to humans for thousands of years.

Unfortunately modern scholars declare Ramayana to be a fiction; in
most book stores, Ramayana is classified as ‘mythology’. However we
need to remember that Ramayana is not a fairy tale born out of the
fertile brains of some creative writers. Ramayana is a product of
divine inspiration, revealed in the heart of a devotee by the Lord
himself.

Even when Lord Krishna was personally present on this planet-5000
years ago- Ramayana was well known. That’s the reason the speaker of
Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Sukadeva Goswami devotes only two chapters to
the Ramayana. The epic was sung in the courts of kings even in those
days.

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