Skip to comments.Hanuman bridge is myth: Experts
Posted on 10/19/2002 4:25:58 PM PDT by jimtorr
NEW DELHI: After Nasa, it's the turn of Indian experts to declare that there is no evidence linking the mythical Lanka bridge built by Hanuman to the chain of sandbanks captured by the US space agency's cameras across the Palk Strait.
Eminent astrophysicist J V Narlikar, when contacted in Pune, said he had seen reports claiming about the mythical bridge, but there was no evidence to suggest that what had been located had links with the bridge mentioned in the Ramayana.
"There is no archaeological or literary evidence to support this claim," eminent historian R S Sharma told The Times of India in Patna.
"The Ramayana itself is not that old. Nor had human habitation occurred 1.75 million years ago," Sharma, an acknowledged authority on ancient Indian history, said.
The oldest evidence of the Ramayana is around 400 BC and running across five strata, its shloka multiplying from 6,000 to 24,000, it comes up to 1200 AD. "Even if you want to rely on literary evidence, the oldest literary evidence available is only from 1500 BC."
Sharma said that even the location of the bridge and of ancient Lanka had yet to be conclusively established.
Indolink.com, Vaishnava News Network and some other US-based news services have claimed that NASA had "discovered" the remains of the mythical bridge, popular in folklore as Hanuman Setu - because of the role of Hanuman and his monkey brigade in laying it - across Palk Strait linking India with Sri Lanka. This bridge was supposed to have been captured by NASA's spaceborne cameras.
However, NASA has officially debunked this claim, saying the agency could not provide specific information about the origin or the age of the chain of islands, "and certainly cannot determine whether humans were involved in producing any of the patterns seen".
The American agency said what had been captured was no more than a 30-km-long naturally-formed chain of sandbanks called Adam's Bridge.
D N Jha, professor of history at Delhi University, said what had been captured by NASA's cameras was a geological formation. The issue had "more to do with geology than history", since the claim was 1.75 million years old. "To link that with Rama or Ramayana is ridiculous."
"Linking just anything found with Ramayana or Mahabharata may be mythology, but it certainly isn't history," said Jha.
"Linking just anything found with Ramayana or Mahabharata may be mythology, but it certainly isn't history," said Jha.
About 14,700 years ago the Antarctic ice cap began melting rapidly. It didn't all melt, but something like 90% of it did. This raised world ocean levels several hundred feet.
The Adams Bridge, or Ramayana Bridge, was open to the surface at that time.
Any literary knowledge of that structure would have had to have been handed down over that entire period of time until "writing" was invented. Although the gentleman who seeks to debunk the whole story says the oldest known "Ramayana" is only 1500 years old, he is referring ONLY to the oldest known copy! (He knows it too, but he also knows how we are expected to understand what he said. This is a very misleading statement). Other analysts have demonstrated conclusively that there are elements in the story that are much older.
Some people would like to date the Ramayana and the Mahabarata as being older than the Uppanishads, and maybe parts are, but that only takes you back to early Classical times, shortly after the worldwide destruction that occurred about 1875BC (or 2001BC, depending on your dating techniques).
As old as these stories are, you don't have to be a genius to have noted that when Moses "edited" the ancient scriptures in his possession he left out all the animal stories except those that concerned the snake (his political emblem). The Ramayana has most of those stories available for edification and entertainment.
I know that's not terribly sophisticated, but it does take the animal stories back to Moses time, which is roughly in the time period when most of it would seem to have taken place. Now, about the Great Flood? Was that 14700 years ago, or only 7,000 years ago, or maybe 9100 years ago when, in fact, we know certain great floods did happen.
Perhaps this bridge was really a causeway, linking islands like jewels in a necklace to Sri Lanka. Either way, it would have been a great civil engineering feat. And that, civil engineering, has been what I've always thought among the finest achievements of Indian Civilisation.
It is unfortunate that many in America and Europe are ignorant of India's great structures.
The oldest evidence of the Ramayana is around 400 BC ........ "Even if you want to rely on literary evidence, the oldest literary evidence available is only from 1500 BC."
D N Jha, professor of history at Delhi University, ......... The issue had "more to do with geology than history", since the claim was 1.75 million years old....... Linking just anything found with Ramayana or Mahabharata may be mythology, but it certainly isn't history," said Jha.""
Here we have two people who disagree with you, not just one person who "delights in debunking." We also see that Sharma said that the earliest evidence was from 1500 BC, not 1500 years ago, as you said. We also are reminded that the claim is that the bridge was built 1,750,000 years ago. Is this reasonable?
The Hoax Of The NASA Bridge
THE recent story of NASA discovering a mysterious 1.75 million year ancient bridge is now clearly exposed as a deliberate fraud by Hindu fundamentalists. It was initially propagated by Vaishnava News Network an ISKON web site and was promptly hailed as a scientific proof of Ramayana by Hindutva internet sites. Not much notice would have been taken of such claims, which are after all periodic in the Hindutva sites, if PTI and television channels had not picked up the story. Finally, the fraud was exposed: NASA clarified that its pictures were neither mysterious nor new. These pictures, taken from space borne cameras of the 30 kms long sandbanks, have been around for more than six years and most certainly NASA did not certify them as man-made.
Before we examine this case of the Hanuman Bridge of Ramayana and the NASA pictures, we need to delve into the mindset of the Hindu fundamentalists who are currently attempting to use science in their claims of scriptural correctness. This mindset believes that there is a deep-seated western conspiracy to deny Hindus the rightful place as the most ancient civilisation. The "proof" of this conspiracy is that there are a few western men David Frawley (initiated name Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) and Michel Cremo (initiated name Drutakarma Dasa) -- who are themselves saying that there is a western conspiracy to deny Hindus their rightful place. Interestingly, in the eyes of Hindu fundamentalists, who are puffed up with pride of their ancient past, no Indian really counts. Only the white man, proclaiming the antiquity of Hindu civilisation is to be taken seriously. All Indians who do not agree with such white men, are followers of Marx and Macauly and are part of this western and leftist conspiracy.
The Ramayana controversy has all these elements. Old NASA photographs that have been put in the public domain recently were used for this deliberate fraud. The so-called Hanuman Bridge are sandbanks that extend from the island of Manaar, near the NW coast of Sri Lanka to the island of Rameswaram. Some of these are dry and no part of it has depth greater than 3 or 4 feet at high water, except for three navigational channels. Some of these efforts for deepening and widening channels were begun as long back as 1838. That NASAs pictures should show underwater sand bars connecting Sri Lanka and India is therefore not surprising: that such structures exist is known from geologists to the humble fisher folk of the area. We do not need NASA to tell us what is visible to the naked eye.
NASA has debunked that it had identified the structure as man-made. It is difficult for a space agency from kilometres out in space taking photographs to identify a structure as man-made. As if this absurdity is not enough, the original news report also talked about NASA not only declaring the structure as man-made but also precisely dating this to be 1.75 million years of age. And to cap it all, NASA was even supposed to have declared human habitation in Sri Lanka to date approximately to this time. All of this from outer space! In the eyes of Hindu fundamentalists, NASA scientists must seem really super human: they can do from outer space what their own archaeologists such as B B Lal cannot do on the ground.
FOR THE EXERCISE
The need for such fraudulent exercise comes from the Hindu fundamentalists need to manufacture evidence for the Ramayana. Like all fundamentalists, they are not happy unless the epic is proved to be true in every detail. If Rama was in the treta yuga, this must then be an event that took place 1.2 to 2.4 million years back the supposed age of this yuga. We give below the supposed age of the various yugas as per the scriptures.
Sat Yuga 1,728,000 years
Treta Yuga 1,296,000 years
Dwapara Yuga - 864,000 years
Kali Yuga - 432,000 years
The problem with the age of the yugas is that it then suggests that human beings were around from Sat Yuga and therefore for millions of years. Yet the fossil record is very clear. The Homo sapiens have been around for about 150,000 to 180,000 years. Homo erectus emigrated out of Africa about 750,000 years back and even the hand axe had not been discovered 1.7 million years ago, the supposed time of occurrence of Ramayana.
The need of fundamentalists all over the world is similar: all of them find evolution supported by the fossil record runs counter to what is written in the scriptures. In the case of the Christian fundamentalists, the age of all living beings cannot be older than 6,000 years and of course God created the first man and woman. The Muslim fundamentalists also support the Adam and Eve myth and therefore deny evolution. The Hindu fundamentalist dates are different from that of the other fundamentalists: They consider humankind to be around for at least 3-4 million years. All of them therefore share the need to demolish the scientific evidence of the fossil records and human evolution.
The creationists in the USA have been trying for the last hundred years to stop the teaching of evolution in schools. Failing this, their attempt has been to give equal time to creationism as another theory on par with the theory of evolution. The battle between Christian fundamentalist creationism and scientists in the USA has been a long drawn out one. The famous Scopes monkey trial in early 20th century where a biology teacher was charged with blasphemy for teaching evolution is by no means over. Kansas and Ohio, amongst others, have been trying to get another theory called Intelligent Design (God as the Intelligent Designer) as a counter to the theory of evolution.
It is the same debate that is now reaching India. Just as the fundamentalists there tried to get various parts of scriptures enter the schools, the fundamentalists here have attacked the school curriculum. The Ramayana epic and its historicity is obviously a major issue. After the Ramjanmabhoomi movement, it is necessary to focus Ramayana as more than just an epic, which may or may not have historical basis. The method here is also similar: the Ramajanmabhoomi as per the VHP is a matter of faith and not of proof. Similarly, the chronology of Ramayana must also be a matter of faith. If science is an obstacle to such claims, then science must be demolished. And if it can be done using science itself, then so much the better.
It is this method that Michael Cremo uses to try and establish that Hindu scriptures are fully accurate in their chronology. This comes up against the current fossil and record of human evolution. There is not only the fossil record, but also the record of human development: their tools. All this has to be dismissed, for Hindu fundamentalists to push back the date of human evolution and for the Christians to push it up. Interestingly, both have borrowed extensively from each other in their attempted demolition of science. For example, Dr Dennis Bonnette at the University of Niagra, authored a creationist book titled "Origin of the Human Species": the paleo-anthropology chapter was based on and drawn from "Forbidden Archaeology" of Michael Cremo.
Who is Michael Cremo, who is the most likely originator of the current NASA hoax? He is a member of the Bhaktivedanta Institute that has been set up by ISKON. His objective is to fuse religion (Hindu religion) and science to produce a new type of consciousness. However, if we read his writings, it is clear that his use of science is pre-determined. He already knows what he has set out to prove and only looks for evidence, however outrageous it may be, to prove his case. Thus, oddly shaped stones found in any gravel bed become ancient stone tools. Argon and radio carbon dating is attacked: the list is tiresome and long. With this method we can prove that humans came from outer space remember von Deniken and Chariot of the Gods or any other conclusion we want to come to. Once we know what we have to prove, we can always find the evidence. And if such evidence is not available, a willing Rajaram will be quite happy to manufacture one. After all a small matter of missing horses was not going to stop the Rajaram (his collaborator and co-author is David Frawley) and his ilk from discovering one in Harappan seals and claiming the Harappan civilisation as Vedic!
Interestingly enough, the American converts to Hinduism are immediately considered exalted. Frawley, who by his own admission is close to VHP and has met with the senior RSS leaders gets all the RSS luminaries in attendance when he visits and lectures here. For the information of the readers, David Frawley runs an Institute called American Institute of Vedic Studies and provides astrological consultations and runs correspondence courses on astrology. Similarly, Michael Cremo is equally exalted. He has met with Murli Manohar Joshi to discuss the Drwarka marine archaeology attempt to date an alleged sunken ancient city off the Gujarat coast. This is in spite of having no expertise in archaeology of any variety.
The scientific community in India is not aware of the kind of attack that the Hindu fundamentalists are planning on the entire educational system. The current changes in the NCERT textbooks are only symptomatic of this mindset. The aim here is to subvert the method of science and substitute instead with belief in myth and prejudice. It is this mindset that proclaimed that sun revolved around the earth and punished Galileo. It is the same mindset that suggests that the scriptures must be correct and science wrong if human beings as we know them today have arisen only 150,000 -180,000 years back. And it is the same belief in scriptures that leads a Giriraj Kishore to claim that the life of a cow is much more important than the life of five dalits. And unless the scientists are willing to join the fight against this distortion of education, and knowledge we are likely to lose the battle for a better future.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
Gods, Graves, Glyphs PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)
|Catastrophism ping list|
|· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic ·|
NASA digital images discover ancient “Ramayana” bridge between India, Lanka
PTI | Washington, October 09 2002 | Editorial Staff
Posted on 10/09/2002 11:35:38 AM EDT by vannrox
No archaeological studies to support existence of Ram Sethu
Zee News | Wednesday, March 7, 2007 | Bureau Report
Posted on 03/07/2007 12:16:43 PM EST by SunkenCiv
Can the monkey god save Rama’s underwater bridge?
Times Online | March 27, 2007 | Ruth Gledhill and Jeremy Page
Posted on 03/27/2007 9:43:20 AM EDT by Alex Murphy
Interview [with Iravatham Mahadevan,] the Madras Indus scholar
Himal | April 2007 | interviewed by Sundar Ganesan
Posted on 03/31/2007 10:44:03 AM EDT by SunkenCiv
Ram Sethu: Scientific Evidence Of Ancient Human Activity (Ramas Bridge)
Organizer | 4-29-2007 | S. Kalyanaraman
Posted on 04/23/2007 6:35:24 PM EDT by blam
History stands still in seabed off Sri Lanka
Asian Tribune | Sunday, July 8, 2007 | Janaka Perera
Posted on 07/09/2007 2:01:39 AM EDT by SunkenCiv
Funny I know a DBA (database admin) named Hanuman at one of my customers offices, he has an inflatable monkey in his cubicle.
Next time I see him I’ll ask if its a member of his monkey brigades.
Otherwise it’s pretty hard to explain. ;’)
Some of the mystery might be simply the totally mysterious terminology.
Cool thing about GGG is that even old threads come back from the grave. :)
BTW the fiancee unit is in Tamil Nadu, India right now, she’ll have some nifty photos of a bunch of ancient sites when she returns. She was just in Kanniyakumari, but the photo I posted on the other thread of the giant statue offshore isn’t her picture. She did visit it the other day though.
She’s there doing medical volunteer stuff - going to a leper clinic tomorrow, otherwise working in an ER in a very rural hospital, traveling on the weekends.
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.
· Mirabilis · Texas AM Anthropology News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo ·
· History or Science & Nature Podcasts · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·
Well if it is proven that this legend was cooked up on a certain date , then the legend can be dismissed. Now coming back to 1.75 million years, let us see what hindu teachers claimed to be the period of ramayana. It is well known that this belief was certainly hundreds of years ago long before scientists dated the bridge.
Hindus say that the bridge was built in treta yuga. Now lets compute when treta yuga took place. 5000 years back dwapara yuga ended. No of years in dwapara yuga was 864000 years. So treata yuga ended 864000 +5000 = 869000 years ago. Now treta yuga spans for 1296000 years. That is by this date treta yuga begins at 2165000. This means the span of treta yuga was beteen 2.165 to .864 million years ago. scientists have claimed that the bridge was formed 1.76 million years back. 1.76 million years is a small period on the timescale of earth. A formation could easily have not been 1.76 , it could have been 2.76 million years ago. If it had been later ,the hindu beliefs would have been falsified by all accounts. But the former clearly vindicates hindu belief whether one likes it or not. I first suggest the scientists to investiage the adams bridge and make sure that they date it to 10 million years earlier , thus making sure that hindus cannot lay claim to that date.
I accept that one has to be scientific. I have been to this place in the sea. Went there by boat. If you were to see it you will accept that parts and sections of it does look like a sunken “structure”. There is more to it than academic musings. Science is about collecting data. There definitely appears to be something that warrants funding and study. regards.