Ramayana and Ravana - The Sri Lankan version:
The talk delivered by N.C.K Kiriella – Chairman Ramayana Trail Executive Committee of The Sri Lankan Tourism Ministry at The Indian Cultural Centre of The Indian High Commission on July 16th 2009.
Venerable Sir, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I sincerely and respectfully welcome all who are present here today to share and encourage all of us who are making an endeavour to bring proof to our accepted history which at best passed down as folk lore.
As the Chairman Ramayana Trail Executive Committee please let me bring in my committee to you. They are Dr Suriya Gunasekera an authority on Sri Lankan pre history. Dr Subash Chawla an authority on International Ramayana Mr B.M.U.D Basnayake Additional Secretary Ministry of Tourism who is of immense support to make all efforts a success and Mr S. Kalaiselvam Director General, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority who gathered in the Ramayana affectionate to Ramayana Working Committee.
My topic for the day is Historical Evidence of Ramayana & Rawana in Sri Lanka. My boundaries for the deliverance are limited but I may move away a fragment to explain a point that I have forwarded.
This story of Sri Rama by the great sage Valmiki is referred as "Aadi Kavya" .It’s the contemporary epic of Homer in the West. It is one of two great epics of India, the other being the Mahabharata; these epics had a decisive influence in shaping the nature of Indian civilization. Ramayana existed in the oral tradition perhaps as far back as 1,500 BCE; however, fourth century BCE is generally accepted as the date of its composition in Sanskrit by Valmiki. Some right-wing theoreticians in recent years, eager that Ramayana should have the same kind of historicity attached to it as the Bible and the Holy Koran, have sought to date Ramayana back to at least 6,000 years and even furnished an exact date for its composition.
The West as usual has a culturally biased view and tends to label non-western scriptures as mythical while they swear to the literal truth of the Bible. In fairness, it subjects its own ancient books to independent verification by acceptable standards, but they devote more time, intellectual effort and talent to the biased purpose. The archaeological efforts by Schliemann at Troy and Rawlinson at Beheshtun lend credibility to parts of the Iliad epic and the biblical story of the Assyrian destruction of Israel respectively. There are other ways to test the truthfulness than archaeology, for example human nature, the parallels of selective memory and its fading with time and social bearing and geography and common horizons that can be used to analyze ancient stories.
All these attempts by no means diminish the importance of the Ramayana, as its historicity is the least tempting question that can be raised about it and its characters. Whether in fact its hero Rama, who in Hindu mythology is an avatar of Vishnu a principal deity in his own right, and who is also worshipped in parts of north India as a king, existed or not is scarcely of any importance. The other is to view him merely as a as a sign of rightful king or as a symbol of courageous and militant Khastriya.
Indian pre history is based on Ramayana and Mahabharata. Though the origin of Ramayana is India, it mainly accounts of an invasion of Lanka.
Rawana was the grandson of Rishi Pulasthi and the son of Sage Visravas. He was the younger brother of Vaisrawana Kuvera (Kubera) and the elder brother of Vibishana, Kumbhakarna, Mahi Rawana (Luxhman), Hema, Khara, Dushana, and Suparnika. His mother was the Daitya princess Kaikashi daughter of Sumalin, King of the Daityas, who wished his daughter to marry the most powerful being in the mortal world to produce an exceptional heir. He rejected the kings of the world, as they were less powerful than him. Kaikashi searched among the sages, and finally chose Visravasmuni. However Visravasmuni warned her, as she approached him at an inappropriate time, their children would tend towards evil, but accepted her nevertheless.