The Ramayan and the Mahabharata are two such epic tales that have exercised a profound influence on the Indian mind for millenniums.
So much so that both Ramayan and Mahabharata are still a living force in the life of every Indian.
Still, the time period of Ramayan and Mahabharata is debated and questioned. Largely because there is no organic evidence relating to the period of either Ramayana or Mahabharata.
However, since the last thirty or forty year’s scientists, archeologists, and historians have done much to uncover the mysteries surrounding the time period of Ramayan and Mahabharata.
How old are Ramayan and Mahabharata?
It is a question that still lingers on in the minds of a large number of Indians.
Are they real historical events, or just imaginary tales?
To begin with, we would like to categorically state that both Ramayan and Mahabharata are not mere religious texts of Hindu mythology. In fact, they are an important and integral part of the Indian culture.
Now, there are several scientific tools and techniques that go on to determine the exact dates of these ancient events in scientific and precise manner.
Some of the popular scientific techniques used to determine the dates of occurrences of Ramayan and Mahabharata are as follows:
- Radiocarbon dating
- Geospatial Technologies
- Remote Sensing Techniques
- Computer aided extraction of planetary references from ancient books
- Underwater explorations
- Planetarium software for astronomical dating of such references
- Palaeobotanical, Palaeozoological and Palaeoclimatic studies
- Human Genome Studies, Biological and Cultural Anthropology
These scientific tools and techniques have proved beyond doubt that the Ramayan and Mahabharata do not merely belong to the domain of mythology. They belong to true history and are in fact historical events that occurred on Earth.
How old is Ramayan?
Maharishi Valmiki narrated the story of Shri Ram’s life in the epic tale of ‘Ramayan.’ Most of us would be astonished to know that Sage Valmiki has made many sequential astronomical references relating to the events in the life of Ram which he has put together in Ramayan.
It goes on to show the planetary positions vis-à-vis the zodiac constellations and other visible stars (Nakshatra) that prevailed during the times of Ramayan. It should be noted that such planetary and zodiac combinations have not been repeated till date.
If we enter the precise details of planetary configurations (as mentioned by Sage Valmiki) in the software named ‘Planetarium Gold,’ we can come to know the exact dates of the events that occurred during Ramayan. It helps us to figure out when Ramayan occurred.
Sh. Pushkar Bhatnagar is a leading scholar on Ramayan and has published a book titled ‘Dating the Era of Lord Ram’ where he goes on to show the exact dates of the events that occurred during the Ramayan period.
He used the ‘Planetarium Gold’ Software to enter details about planetary positions and zodiac constellations to calculate the birth of Shri Lord Ram and other important events of Ramayan.
It revealed the important dates coinciding with the birth of Shri Ram to the date of his return to Ayodhya after completing 14 years of exile.
Date of Birth of Lord Shri Ram
Sage Valmiki has given an exact account of Lord Ram’s birth in his epic tale of ‘Ramayan.’ He had put down that Shri Ram was born on 9th tithi of Chaitra month during day time when the planetary positions vis-à-vis zodiac constellations and Nakshatra were as under:
- Sun in Aries
- Jupiter in Cancer
- Saturn in Libra
- Venus in Pisces
- Mars in Capricorn
- Lagna as Cancer
- Moon near the star Punar Vasu in Gemini Constellation
When these details were entered into the ‘Planetarium Gold’ Software, it revealed that the event of Shri Ram’s birth happened on the 10th January noon time in the year 5114 BC when viewed from the latitudinal and longitudinal position of Ayodhya (25 N, 81 E).
When the date was converted from Solar Calendar into Lunar Calendar, it was found to coincide with the 9th day of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month at around 12 to 1 noontime. It is exactly the time and date when Ram Navami is celebrated all throughout India.
So, Shri Ram’s date of birth according to these calculations come to be as 10th January in 5114 BC. (About 7100+ years)
Date of Exile of Shri Ram
Sage Valmiki has described in the Ayodhya Kaand of Ramayan that Dasharatha wanted to crown Shri Ram as the King of Ayodhya. He had stated the planetary positions prevailing at the time when Shri Ram was sentenced 14 years exile from Ayodhya.
He had also mentioned that Shri Ram was 25 years old when he left Ayodhya for his 14 years of exile along with Sita and Laxman.
When we enter these details in the ‘Planetarium God’ Software, it revealed that these planetary positions were prevailing on the 5th of January 5089 BC when Shri Ram had to leave Ayodhya for his 14 years of exile.
As it can seen from this deduction that Shri Ram was 25 years of age when he left for exile (5114 – 5089). So, this observation matches with the text described in Valmiki Ramayan.
Other Important Dates
Based on the planetary configurations described in various other chapters of Valmiki Ramayan, the date when Ram killed Ravana works out to be 4th December 5076 BC.
Shri Ram completed 14 years of exile on 2nd January 5075 BC. Shri Ram came back to Ayodhya when he was 39 years of age (5114 – 5075).
How old is Mahabharata?
Mahabharata is one of those epic tales that has had long lasting impressions on the minds of every Indian. It describes the great battle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Lord Krishna emerges as a central figure in the epic tale of Mahabharata.
Also, Mahabharata is known for the famous dialogue between Arjun and Lord Krishna at the battlefields of Kurukshetra which is inscribed in the form of Shrimad Bhagwat Gita.
Mahabharata was written by Sage Vyasa in Sanskrit and contains thousands of slokas. Time and again various researchers, historians, and scientists have conducted studies so as to deduce the exact period of Mahabharata.
Here, we have described the date of Mahabharata as found out by different research studies at different periods. It is estimated that the Mahabharata War is likely to be around 2800 BC.
Date of Mahabharata War as per NASA
Dr. S. Balakrishna (NASA, USA) had analyzed and studied the two eclipses that happened 13 days before the Mahabharata War and deduced that the Mahabharata War occurred on 2559 BC. So, according to NASA, the date of Mahabharata War is 2559 BC.
Mahabharata War According to Greek Records
The great Greek Ambassador Megasthenes recorded that 138 generations had passed between Lord Krishna and Chandra Gupta Maurya (300 BC). If 20 years is taken per generation, it means that 2760 years have elapsed between the Mahabharata War and Chandra Gupta Maurya.
So, according to Greek Records, the date of Mahabharata War is 3360 BC.
Date of Mahabharata War as per the Archeological Evidences
The Archeological evidence found from onshore and offshore excavations conducted in Dwarka, Gujarat and the Kurukshetra region go on to show that Mahabharata War happened between 1900-1700 BC. Dr. S. R. Rao has been a pioneer in the study of archeological evidence related to the Mahabharata period.
Date of Mahabharata War as per Software
A number of astronomical references were taken into considerations (that were cited in the Mahabharata) for deducing the era of Mahabharata War.
Ramesh Panchwagh used the Planetarium Software and found out that the Mahabharata War happened in 3126 BC. One of the astronomical references used was seven planets lining up together and solar eclipse.
Date of Mahabharata War as per Indus Valley Seals
The Indus Valley Seals and other geological evidence go on to show that the date of Mahabharata War is between 3500 BC to 2500 BC.
So, we see that there is no consensus on the date of Mahabharata War. However, based on different studies and research conducted by scientists, and archeologists it can be safely said that Mahabharata War is likely to be around 2800 BC.
Now, there is ample evidence to show that both Ramayan and Mahabharata were actual historical events rather than being just mythological stories of the Hindus. These epics have had a profound effect on the Indian mindset. They continue to influence every Indian.
Our cultural, social and religious beliefs stand on the principles advocated in these religious texts. Both Ramayan and Mahabharata have been a source of inspiration for millions of Indians.
Now, there is evidence that goes on to prove that Ramayana and Mahabharata happened. They are still standing tall as we move ahead in the twenty-first century. Without Ramayan and Mahabharata, Indian History is incomplete.