Is the Ramayana true?
The Ramayana and the Mahabharatha are masterly pieces of literature that make Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey look somewhat amateur and the Old Testament or the Quran seem crude and barbaric.. They revolve around real characters and portray the culture and ambience of the times very well. And many incidents are pivotal aberrations that created horrific wars or ruptures of harmony by violating Dharma. BUT, History they are not..But then, is there any History?
A distinction must be drawn between characters, historical events and the embroidery of romance. Shakespeare’s “Julius Ceasar” is a play. It draws on Plutarch for facts of History which cannot themselves be truly verified. But the characters are real and the principal events are drawn from History. Yet, Antony’s peroration flows entirely from the genius of Shakespeare. As does Polonius’ advise to his son in Hamlet which is as sagacious as bits of Vidura Neethis. Vidura Neethi and Sanath Sujatheeyam by the way are far more worthy of study than the Kitsch Bhagavad Geeta that was popularized to fill the vacuum that was created when the British began to exterminate Brahmins in 1857 and thereafter, put their stooges of the “Justice Party” (the so called “Dravid” movement and parties) on the job in 1921. This also discredited and erased the oral traditional Shroutha Smartha Ithihasa, the real History of Bharatha Varsha, Raghu Vamsha and Kurukshetra allowing mythology to bloom.