Mythos 30 – Kingdom of Lanka


Whatever the Rakshasa were, whether something from space or simply a fantastical description of an enemy nation, they were described as having technology one would not expect either 8,800 years ago, or later when Valmiki’s Rāmāyaṇa was written. In the Rāmāyaṇa, Rāvaṇa was the king of the island state of Lanka somewhere in the Indian Ocean. This was not the modern island nation of Sri Lanka, as the island nation was described as being 100 yojanas, or around 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) away from mainland India. Prince Rama did not know where Ravana had taken Sita, also translated as Site, and therefore his general Sugriva sent out Vanaras to search the known world. They were first told to search the known regions of India, such as Andhra and Kerala, and then to go to the Malaya Mountains, and then on to other lands generally considered mythical today:

To search for Site in the southern region, Sugriva hand-picked the best of the vanaras. Nila son of Agni, Hanumān the son of Vayu, the supremely mighty Jambavan (son of the grandfather), and many other mighty vanaras were chosen to constitute this party. He appointed Angada, the son of Vali, and the prince regent himself as the commander of the vanara forces that constituted this search party.

In his briefing, Sugriva specially mentioned those places which were difficult of access. He said: “Start with the Vindhya mountains, and the plains of the rivers Narmada, Krishna Godavari, and Varada. Thoroughly search the regions of Mekhala, Utkala, Vidarbha, Vanga, Kalinga, Andhra, Cola, Pandya, and Kerala. Then proceed to the Malaya mountains, with the blessings of the sage Agastya whom you will see there.

Proceed from there to the golden gate city of the Pandyas whose city walls are studded with precious stones. Between the city and the hermitage of Agastya is the Mahendra mountain which is full of gold, and which Agastya sank into the ocean. Indra himself visits this mountain every fortnight.

Beyond this is the inaccessible island which is eight hundred miles wide: it is inaccessible to human beings. Search this island carefully. Surely that is the territory of the powerful Rāvaṇa who deserves to be killed. Before you leave that territory make sure that Site is not there: do not leave anything in doubt.

Eight hundred miles beyond that island in the ocean is the partly submerged island Puspitaka with its high mountains resembling gold and silver. One hundred and twelve miles beyond Puspitaka is the mountain Suryavan, beyond that Vaidytua, and beyond that the mountain Kunjara where the sage Agastya has a hermitage which is eighty miles broad, and eighty miles high, made of gold and precious gems. There exists the abode of serpents known as Bhogavati. Search this dreadful place carefully. Search the mountain beyond this, known as Risabha.

Beyond that is the world of the Manes: do not go there. Wherever you go search for Site carefully. Whoever returns first in a month and says Sita has been discovered will enjoy luxuries equal to mine, for he will be most dear to me.- Vālmīki (1)Swami Venkatesananda (1988) The Concise Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki, Kiskindha 41, Page 208

References   [ + ]

1. Swami Venkatesananda (1988) The Concise Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki, Kiskindha 41, Page 208