Is the Lanka in the south of India the same as Ravana’s Lanka?

by Chaitanya Charan dasNovember 27, 2013

From Pancha Pandava P

Answer Podcast

Transcriptions by: SuarabhGupt

Edited by : Sudha Mehta Mataji

Question by PanchaPandavaPrabhu

Is the Sri Lanka that is present in the south of India same as Ravana’s Lanka?

ANSWER: Not necessarily so, for several reasons.

That place was earlier known as Ceylon not as Sri Lanka. If we look at the travelaccounts of Marko Polo, who was a famous explorer who went to different places, he called that place as Ceylon not as Sri Lanka.

In the Vedic cosmology Sri Lanka is described as the abode of Kubera. Kubera is the treasurer of the gods and he is extremely opulent and powerful person;in fact, he along with Varuna, Indra and Yama are the four Lokpals whoare primary among the various gods. His abode won’t be just one small island within earth. Moreover if we look at the dimensions and the distance between Lanka and the southern coast of India as described in the Ramayana, that distance is much greater than the distance between Lanka, as it is today, and India. Hence we can say that certainly it’s not identical.Sri Lanka as it is exists today in the south of India and Kuvera’s Sri Lankais different.At the same time we don’t have to make a campaign, trying to counter the widely heldidea, that the present day Sri Lanka and that Lanka are the same. The important point to recognize is thatthe connections within the Vedic universe are complex.There are areas within this universe where people on the earth can be connected from one level of the universe to another, that means we have the earthly Vrindavan and we have Goloka Vrindavan and they are connected in inconceivable ways.Similarly we have the earthly Himalayas and we have the celestial Himalayas, we have the Ganga in the heavenly planets and we have the Ganga or the Ganges here. The point is there are subtle counterparts and the connection between them is mystical. So, it is possible that the Sri Lanka that we have over here is in some subtler way connected to Lanka which was Kuvera’s abode and which was later seized by Ravana.

Thereforethe important point to recognisewhen we are discussing pastimes like the Ramayana, which describe their own cosmology and their own geography, isto recognize that the focus of these books is not on cosmology or geography but the focus of these books is on spirituality, helping us to learn values and to becomepurified by which we can make devotional and spiritual advancement and ultimately attain eternal happiness in devotion to Krishna. So, that should be thrust of our study of pastimes.

There can be specialist devotees who with scientific training or specialized scientific inclinations who may do research and for that research to be done one has to do research on the history of the nomenclature of Sri Lanka, history of the water aroundSri Lanka and look elaborately at the references which are given for Lanka in the Ramayana, in associate literature and try to map out the connection between them;this is the domain of specialist. There are specialist scholars who may do it and there are specialist devotees also who may do it.

We as sadhkasmust primarily focus on the practice of bhakti so that we can purify our heart. So we don’t have to take a strong position for or against this. We understand that from variousperspectives, it is definitely not exactly identical to the Lanka. But are the two entirely different? We don’t necessarily have to take that position; we understand that it is not easily comprehensible for us and therefore we focus on the mainstream practice of sadhnafor our own purification and eventually liberation.

Thank you.

Hare Krishna.

About The Author
Chaitanya Charan das
2 Comments
  • Sudha Mehta
    May 13, 2014 at 2:32 am

    Hare Krsna Prabhu,
    Please accept my humble Obeisance. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. W.R.T the answer above I have some doubts. I will be obliged if you can clarify….

    – Sri Rangam Temple of Lord Ranganathar in South India where the Lord in reclining pose faces the south. The legend says that when Vibhishan was taking the deity of Lord Ranganatha, which was gifted by him to Lord Ram for his help and support in the war, he accidentally put the deity on ground while performing his evening Sandhya Vandanam and then Lord chose to remain there for ever. When Vibhishna was getting upset and sad that Lord will not come with him to Lanka the deity consoled him saying that though he prefer to be installed and worshipped in Sri Rangam but he will cast his glance on Lanka always and thus his blessing will flow into Lanka always and uninterruptedly. Then how can we say that Lanka need not necessarily be the same
    – Off late scientist has also found the underwater bridge connecting India and Lanka which can be the bridge build by Vanar sena to cross over to Lanka. This also proves that Lanka is the same. Adam’s bridge
    – Ravana after abducting Mata Sita flew south ward. Even Sampati indicates that at the other side of Ocean is abode of Ravana who abducted Sita
    – Hanumanji also jumped over the Sethu samudram to reach Lanka.

    Will all these data we can safely conclude that the present day Lanka is the same as Ravana’s Lanka. May be it could have been very vast and wide spread and then over a millennium it must have disintegrated and has been reduced to the present size.

    I shall be obliged if you can clear my doubts

    Sudha Mehta Mataji

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