Book Launching of “Ancient Ravana”
Posted on September 16th, 2012

Sri Lanka News

Legend of Ramayana has a different version in Lanka. (Sri Lanka).As In the Bengali version of the story, Sri Lankan version depicts Ravana as the hero; and this narrative was again taken up by the nineteenth century Bengali writer, Michael Madhusudan Dutt (1824-73), whose own epic retelling of the Ramayana portrays Rama as a weak and effeminate figure representing an earlier stage of political naivete and parochialism

There are more than Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation, finds itself at the centre of a fresh controversy. It has been dropped from the history syllabus of Delhi University after protests from hardline Hindu groups and a number of teachers. They believe the many versions recounted in the essay offend Hindu beliefs. The Ramayana existed in the oral tradition perhaps as far back as 1,500 BCE, but the fourth century BCE is generally accepted as the date of its composition in Sanskrit by Valmiki.

This is how the great epic of narrates the ancient Sri Lanka

Hanuma saw Ravana’s house like heaven thrown upon earth, effulgent with glory, embedded with variety of diamonds covered by flowers of various trees, like the summit of a mountain covered by pollen. Thereafter that Hanuma nearing that city of Lanka worshipped by Rakshasas, ruled by arms of ten-headed Ravana, ( Hindus in India still believe that Ravana had ten heads, but this is how ancient epic narrates someone’s extremely high IQ) moving thereabout became very gloomy on not seeing that Seetha well worshipped by all and greatly conquered by the virtues of Her husband Sri Rama.

The leader of Vanaras saw those wives of Ravana with faces with radiance of moon, adorned with beautiful earrings, wearing jewellery and flower garlands which were not worn out. Hanuma saw wives of Ravana with skill in dance and musical instruments, who obtained the shoulders of Ravana wearing the best jewellery and being in sleep. He saw earrings of those women at the end of ears with embedded diamonds and cats eye gems and having golden colour. On hearing the words of Sugreeva, Rama requests Hanuma to describe Lanka in detail. Hanuma gives a detailed description of Lanka as he saw it. “I am competent of crossing this ocean by all means, either by way of austerity or by forming a bridge or by drying up the ocean.”

“Tell me how many citadels in Lanka are difficult of access, Oh, Hanuma! I desire to know all that, as though viewed with an eye.” “You had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the size of the army, the fortification-details of the gates and citadels, the way in which Lanka was guarded and the various mansions of ogres. Describe everything in accordance with facts, for you are skilled in all ways.” “Listen to me! I shall tell you everything””…”how the city of Lanka has been defended by the various methods of fortification and how it has been guarded by the troops.”

“I shall tell you the details of how the ogres are attached to their king, the excellent prosperity of Lanka generated by the glory of Ravana, the awfulness of the ocean, the division of the body of his forces and of animals like horses and elephants carrying his forces other than the infantry.” Saying so, Hanuma the foremost among monkeys, who knew the truth narrated as follows. “The great Lanka was rejoiced and gayful, full of elephants in rut, abounding in chariots and inhabited by gangs of ogres.”

“Four fairly big and extensive gates are fitted with strong doors along with huge beams for locking those gates.” “Strong and mighty ballista capable of hurling darts and stones have been attached to them. The enemy troops which arrive there are warded off by those catapults at the very gates.” “Dangerous and sharp edged Sataghnis made of iron, forged by hordes of ogres, have been kept in readiness in hundreds at the gates. “A great rampart made of gold, which is difficult to assail with violence and is inlaid at intervals with gems, corals, cat’s eyes and pearls, encircle that Lanka.” “Most awe-inspiring and fathomless moats (deep trenches) of great splendor, filled with cold water, infested with alligators and inhabited by fishes are there all round the city.”

“Anterior to the gateways, there are four very extensive draw-bridges, equipped with numerous engines and furnished with many rows of buildings (built on the rampart and meant for those entrusted with the duty of guarding the entrances).” “Against the approach of the enemy forces there, the draw-bridges are protected by the aforesaid engines and the enemy-battalions are flung into the moats on every side.” “The most important draw-bridge which is unshakable, firmly fastened very well and strong, is dazzling with numerous gold pillars and pedestals.”

“Ravana, inclined to war and endowed with powers of the state, himself remains alert and in readiness to review the forces, Oh, Rama!” “Lanka therefore is impregnable, it is a celestial citadel, that inspires terror. Surrounded by water and built on a mountain, it has four fold defenses including forest and artificial fortification.” “Lanka is situated on the other side of the ocean, which is difficult of access, Oh Rama! It offers no passage for vehicles either and there is no proper communication from all sides.” “That city of Lanka, resembling the city of Gods, is built on a mountain peak and is inaccessible. That Lanka is abound with horses and elephants and is extremely difficult to conquer.” Deep trenches and Sataghnis too as well as engines of war of every kind adorn Lanka the city of wicked Ravana.”

“Ten thousand ogres all carrying darts in their hands and warriors contending with swords, who are difficult to assail, are positioned at the eastern gate.” “One hundred thousand of ogres, with an army of four limbs (viz. horses, foot soldiers, elephants and chariots) are positioned at the southern gate of the city. Warriors unsurpassed by others constitute that army.” One million troops arrived with shields and swords as well as proficient in the use of all mystic missiles, are positioned at the western gate.” “A hundred millions of ogres, who are mounted in chariots or who ride on hoses, sons of distinguished families and greatly honored, are positioned there at the northern gate.” “Moreover, ogres hundreds of thousands in number, difficult to attack, aggregating to one and quarter of a crore of ogres are positioned at the central division.” “Those bridges were broken by me and the moats were filled up (with the wreckage).

The city of Lanka was burnt by me and the defensive walls were pulled down. A part of the army of the gigantic ogres was destroyed.” “By some way or other, let us cross the ocean. The city of Lanka should be assumed then as destroyed by the monkeys.” “Oh, Rama! What is the use for the rest of the forces to you? Angada, Divida, Mainda, Jambavan, Panasa, Anala and Nila the commander-in-chief alone, by reaching that great city of Ravana leaping and storming Lanka with its mountains and woods, moats and archways, protective walls and buildings, will recover Seetha.” “Order quickly to get all the forces accumulated accordingly. Let us set out at the appropriate moment.”

 

2 Responses to “Book Launching of “Ancient Ravana””

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    I am not learned on the Ramayana Great Story. Just attempting a point of view here …

    One wonders how much of the Great Story is allegorical. The story teller of that time may have used the Great Story to illustrate the Eternal Battle between the human Heart (Rama) vs the human Mind (Ravana of the 10 heads). The Eternal Battle between Spiritual purity vs Material splendor/comforts, is amply illustrated in this epic story. Sita chooses to remain loyal to Spiritual purity, and the Great Battle (Enlightenment) is eventually won by Rama, as it should be.

    The second great Indian epic written later, The Bhagavad Gita, is similar, illustrating the Great Battle Arjuna the warrior fights to free himself to gain Enlightenment, guided by Krishna, the Lord (the “Divine Spark” within) and Arjuna’s Charioteer. “Kill them,” says Krishna of the Negativities to be overcome to gain Enlightenment, “they are dead anyway” ! The Negativities (krode, lob, Moh, etc. or Anger, Greed, Lust, etc), are Arjuna’s ‘relatives’ all arrayed against him to do battle, that time the story being set in Kurukshethra, India, and not in Sri Lanka.

    Is it possible that simple village people or less thinking people anywhere consider Ravana’s Lanka a ‘bad place’ and Rama’s India a ‘good place’ ? Isn’t it time that the stories were told together with the intent of the story teller, i.e. that they represent the Eternal Great Spiritual battles within each human being ?

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    Please read the article below (from ColomboPage of Sept 19) :

    It talks of a “DEVIL King Ravana fought the forces of Indian king Rama …. ”

    See what I mean. O Tempora ! O Mores !

    ————-

    ” Ancient tunnel discovered in Sri Lanka’s Nuwara Eliya district
    Wed, Sep 19, 2012, 11:09 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Sept 19, Nuwara Eliya: Sri Lanka Department of Archaeology has commenced studies on an ancient tunnel recently discovered in the central hill country.

    The entrance to the tunnel was discovered accidentally as the earth was being removed using earth moving machinery for a construction.

    The tunnel is situated near Bearwell Estate in the Lindula police area of Talawakelle in Nuwara Eliya district.

    Nuwara Eliya District Secretary D.P.G. Kumarasiri has visited the site. The tunnel is 10 feet tall and expands to three sides from the middle according to the official.

    The area has been declared as a restricted entry area and the studies have been started.

    There are several archaeological protected sites in the Nuwara Eliya district. According to legend, the devil King Ravana has fought the forces of Indian king Rama in the Ramboda area of the district”.

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