When exactly was the Ramayana written – before, during or after the pastimes of Lord Rama?

by Chaitanya Charan dasApril 18, 2012

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Chaitanya Charan das
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  • Mukul
    April 16, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    SUMMARY: Valmiki was contemporaneous with Lord Ram. At same time he wrote the Ramayana through the revelation that he got by the grace of Brahma. And through the outline narration that he got from Narada muni. So it is not like an ordinary history book which is based on historical research and references. It is a direct revelation. But that revelation happened at the time of the Ramayana itself. That is while the Ramayana was being enacted because the pastimes of the lord are eternal. Whenever Lord descents in the world, He performs his pastimes. So therefore these pastimes which are eternal, their prototype is revealed in the heart of Valmiki rishi and he spoke this out and wrote it. He then taught it to Luv Kush. So Luv Kush were able to narrate to the Lord even the future of His pastimes. So basically Ramayana was written at the time of Lord Ram when He was there and was not written from the point of view of “author doing research and writing”. It is a result of a revelation from higher sources.

    FULL ANSWER: The Valmiki Ramayana itself describes how it was written. In the start there is a description that the sage Valmiki meet narad muni and asks him for the description of a perfect person who is endowed with various cherished virtues that make the person wonderful. Narada muni tells him that this is a very glorious question, and that there is a person living right now on the planet who actually possess all these qualities. That is Lord Ramchandra. Of course in Valmiki Ramayan Lord Ramchandra is not explicitly depicted as the supreme lord; although He is repeatedly referred to by the various devatas as the Supreme Lord. But the focus of the Valmiki Ramayan is to offer a “model for an ideal behaviour”. So with this purpose in mind – that one is looking for a model for ideal behaviour – then if we know that Ram is God then it will seem that an ideal behaviour is impossible. That it is (such a behaviour) possible for God but not possible for the human being.

    So therefore although the Valmiki Ramayan never denies the divine identity of God, but it never explicitly emphasises it. Of course there are several references to it which can’t be explained away. But the starting question of the book indicates the essential mood it focuses in the book. The starting question “who is it that can be an ideal model for behaviour” and that is the person about whom Narada muni tells about. that is Lord Ram.

    So after Narad muni gives a brief outline about the life of Lord Ram, then, Valmiki rishi then starts meditating. He goes for taking a bath in the Tamsa river. At that time when he sees two birds mating and a hunter killing the birds right in the act of mating, in his distress, agony and anger he speaks out a verse in a very beautiful meter. So it is said that “from shoka comes a shloka”. Then brahma ji comes and meet him. He tells that actually it is by my arrangement that this verse came out of our mouth. Please compose the full Ramayana in this meter. Then he composes it. He then teaches this to his students Luv and Kush.

    Then Luv and Kush go to the city of Ayodhya. Where they recite the full Ramayana – upto that point where Lord Ram is right now in the Ramayana – to Lord Ram. On hearing this Lord Ram’s heart changes. He says please call Sita back. She shouldn’t be exiled like this. If She makes a public statement that She is chaste, I will immediately accept Her. At that time Sita returns. But She feels that because of Her Lord Ram is being defamed. But She says what Lord Ram wants Her to say. That “I’m completely chaste”. But then She says that if I’m truly completely chaste then let the earth accept me back. Then the earth emerges on the throne and accepts Sita back. At this point Lord Ram is very agonised and even angered. He challenges the earth, “give me back Sita or I’ll rip you apart.” At that time devatas come in the sky and say that you are the Supreme Lord and by your own arrangement this has happened. Please stay calm. And please hear the future of the pastimes that you are going to perform. After that, Lord retires for the night and next morning Luv and Kush recite the remaining Ramayana.

    So what this means is that Valmiki was contemporaneous with Lord Ram. At same time he wrote the Ramayana through the revelation that he got by the grace of Brahma. And through the outline narration that he got from Narada muni. So it is not like an ordinary history book which is based on historical research and references. It is a direct revelation. But that revelation happened at the time of the Ramayana itself. That is while the Ramayana was being enacted because the pastimes of the lord are eternal. Whenever Lord descents in the world, He performs his pastimes. So therefore these pastimes which are eternal, their prototype is revealed in the heart of Valmiki rishi and he spoke this out and wrote it. He then taught it to Luv Kush. So Luv Kush were able to narrate to the Lord even the future of His pastimes. So basically Ramayana was written at the time of Lord Ram when He was there and was not written from the point of view of “author doing research and writing”. It is a result of a revelation from higher sources. Thank you.

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