Sunday, 12 May 2013


In the Ramayana, four 'vanara'* brigades are commissioned to be sent out in four different directions for the search of Sita, the wife of the God-King Sri Rama (who ruled the 'world' from the city of Ayodhya), after she is abducted by Ravana, the king of the mighty Lanka kingdom. At a point in time when it was not yet established where Sita was being held captive by Ravana, the search party headed from Jambhudwipa (India) towards the East following directions given in a route-map by Sugreev (the 'vanara' leader), which would lead the 'vanaras' right up to Shalmali-Dvipa (Australia) and from there on to the Andes in South America.

The Paracas Trident etched on the Andes
in Peru is described in the Ramayana
The Ramayana refers to the Andes as the 'Udaya' Mountains. 'Udaya' (उदय) is Sanskrit for 'Sunrise' and its account in the Ramayana establishes that the ancients were aware that if they travelled far enough east from India, they would reach the Udaya (Andes) after crossing the 'soft-water ocean' which is the 'Pacific'. (The Pacific is referred to as the 'Svadu' (स्वादु) in the Ramayana. 'Svadu' is Sanskrit for 'sweet', 'pleasant' and 'agreeable' indicating that there might be a reason why Ferdinand Magellan too, though much later in time, named the till then unnamed ocean 'Pacific, after his comparatively smooth sailing experience through this ocean during his voyage around the world. 

(Though travelling east from Australia to South America through the South Pacific Ocean is not at all a popular route for maritime travel as it involves long passage at sea.. It does have its advantages if one travels on the 'roaring forties' -  which is the band of westerlies that runs in the 40 - 50 degrees south latitude. These westerlies run the entire width of the South Pacific Ocean, and can be used to gain enough westing to take one to any point in South America.)

The details of the route that Sugreev chalks out for the 'vanaras' headed east from India to 'Shalmali-dvipa' (Australia) is detailed here.

From Shalmali Dwipa, Sugreev instructs the 'vanaras' to proceed to the Milky Ocean where he states they would come across the 'excellent' Rishabha Mountain. The 'Rishabha' (ऋषभ) is described as a 'White cloud with a pearly necklace of waves rippling on the shores below'. Close-by they would spot the Sudharshana Lake with 'silvery lotuses which have fibrils of gold' and where 'kingly swans scamper around'.

Sage Valmiki may here be referring to Mount Cook of New Zealand, and the Milky Ocean may be the Tasman Sea which falls in the path from Brisbane to South Island in New Zealand. Mount Cook, which is easily identifiable for it is the highest mountain in the region, is surrounded by many a
mazingly beautiful lakes, of which the largest today is Lake 'Pukaki'. Valmiki could be referring to one of them when he mentions the 'Sudarshana' Lake. In Sanskrit 'Sudarshan' (सुदर्शनmeans 'beautiful to look at'. 

Lake Pukaki, with Mt. Cook in the background.
These may well be Lake Sudarshana and Mt. Rishabh of the Ramayana. 
The Ramayana traces the path from India to New Zealand, & to the Andes in Peru

After passing Mt. Rishabha and Lake Sudarshana the 'vanaras' are told they would then arrive at the 'Soft-Water Ocean'. This of course is the Pacific Ocean. Thereafter Valmiki describes what appear to be a mighty, continuous ring of volcanic eruptions. He describes the inferno as 'a Fantastic refulgent fire in the form of a Horse's face'.
As one travels from New Zealand to South America by sea, one would cross the Pacific Ring of Fire just off the shores of New Zealand and then once again before landing ashore in South America. The Ring of Fire is an area where a large number of volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In the next verse Valmiki describes the magnitude of this 'fantastic fire'. He writes that at the end of each epoch or era, that fire emerges forth with even more energy till all things, mobile or immobile, and the entire Creation becomes the fuel of this fire.

To the right of Australia is a part of the 'Pacific Ring of Fire' that one would have to navigate past en-route from New Zealand to South America. Valmiki describes it in the Ramayana as the 'Fantastic Refulgent Fire in the form of a Horse Face'.

Valmiki also describes the oceanic sounds of this fire that have the power to 'incapacitate the most capable ones'. In the verses that follow Valmiki writes about the final destination of the vanaras, the 'Andes' in South America, more specifically the Paracas Trident etched on a mountain of the Paracas Peninsula. 

However, the closest point from New Zealand to South America is if one heads to the southern tip of South America somewhere in Chile. And the fact that this is where the 'vanaras' are directed to head before the move northward to Peru is clear from one of the verses in chapter 40 of Kishkindakand of the Ramayana. Valmiki writes, "There you shall see then, oh, vanaras, the lotus-petal broad-eyed thousand-hooded serpent god in black clothing, namely Ananta, sitting on the top of that mountain and sustaining the earth on his head, who will be like moon in his brilliance and whom all beings hold in reverence." [4-40-51, 52].

In ancient Indian texts the southern tip of South America (Chile) is 'the head of the serpent called Ananta', on which the earth rests. (See map above).

The 'vanaras' are told that from there when they travel northwards  they would see the Jaat-shila-rupa (which translates as the Golden Rock Peak), etched on which is a 'golden pylon resembling a palm tree with three branches'. Sugreev continues, "That pylon of palm tree is constructed as the easterly compass by celestial gods." This is the Paracas Trident or Candelabra of Peru.

The Paracas Trident of Peru is described in the Ramayana 
as the 'easterly compass of the celestial gods'.

The Bhagwat Purana mentions that Vishnu (in his Vamana Avatar) strode over the universe in three giants steps, which some have interpreted  as three stops on his way in his journey around the world and the heavens. It is said that one step was at the Udaya peak (where the Paracas Trident is etched). In the Ramayana the Vanaras are told that when they reach Udaya they will see the what is called the shining Vajra of Indra. In the Peruvian folklore the Paracas Candelabra or Trident is identified with the  'Lightening Rod of the Mayan God Viracocha'. Click here to read about the Sanskrit Connection to the word 'Paracas'. 

In the Bhagwat Purana there is a very interesting link between Lord Indra and an 'asura' by the name Viro-chana, the son of Prahalad and the father of Bali. In short, both Indra and Virochana vie with each other to impress Brahma with their knowledge about 'Atman' or the 'Supreme Consciousness'. Bramha promises to grant control of the universe to the one who proves his knowledge about 'Atman'. Could 'Viro-chana' the son of Prahalad mentioned in the Bhagwat Purana be the 'Vira-cocha' of the Peruvians. Could the lightening rod of the Peruvian 'Vira-cocha' be the 'Vajra' of Indra. Indra is known to have 'brought down mountains as they flew by' with his Vajra. Who finally wins control depends on which version one reads. But in Indian texts it is Indra who establishes control which is passed on to him by Brahma. He later 'wields the  Vajra to subjugate the mountains'.

The 'Vajra' of Indra
The journey of the 'vanaras' in the East ends at the Sau-manasa peak, located just beyond the Udaya. The Ramayana says that beyond this point is where east ends and west begins. It also states that beyond the Saumanasa peak is the land where 'the celestials frequent'. The occurrence of extra-terrestrial activity in this part of the world is supported by the fact that  South America is the site of some of the most magnificent, yet unexplained, ancient megalithic structures anywhere in the world. 

To find the relevant verses, check out Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkinda Kand, Chapter 40. In this chapter Sugreev instructs his 'vanaras' travelling east about the route they are to follow and the associated landmarks that will help them keep on track in their search for Sita.
* 'Vanara' translates as 'monkey' but from the descriptions in Valmiki Ramayana they were 'trained commandos'. The Ramayana describes the 'vanaras' as acclaimed for undertaking impossible deeds, renowned for their confrontation skills, and noteworthy in their manoeuvers. They dwelt in the mountains and were known to travel on earth, on water and fly through the sky.
** In the South American texts the legend of Viracocha resembles both the legend of Indra and God Vishnu.

Suggested Link:
Astronomical Dating of the Ramayana

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