Ram Setu - Rama Prepares to Invade Lanka
Hanuman flew by aerial route and reached his friends Angad, Jambuwanta, Sugreeva and others who were eagerly waiting for his return. The news of Sita was received with jubilation. Immediately they all started off to inform Rama and Laxmana about their discovery so that future plans could be drawn to seek her release.
In Southern India at the base camp, Rama, Laxmana, Hanuman, Sugreeva, Jambuwanta, Angad and others met to chalk out their plan of action to seek release of Sita, now that the whereabouts of Sita were known. It was sure that Ravana was adamant and would not release Sita without force. It was imperative wage the war against mighty army of Ravana to achieve their goal.
But Rama and Laxmana had no army of their own, hence Hanuman appealed to all monkey leaders to rally behind Rama in this noble war of righteousness. A huge army of monkeys and bears was thus formed and Angad was chosen its leader. Rama and Laxmana had divine and supernatural powers. They could have easily defeated Ravana and his army, but the lord Rama wanted to unite various clans into one unified people. The division of society into lower and higher caste and superior and inferior races was a taboo that Rama wanted to erase from the face of Bharata -ancient India. Therefore, he sought help of monkeys and bears (lower clans) in his mission.
All the well-wishers, full of enthusiasm, participated in the noble cause lead by Rama. The monkey brigade marched on towards Lanka. They once again reached the southern tip of India and faced the mighty sea ahead! It stood as a mighty obstacle in their march ahead. Only Hanuman was able to cross it, but it was not possible for others to do the same. How could the whole army reach the shores of Lankan kingdom.
This almost impossible task forced Rama to over the solution, but none was in sight! Everyone became depressed and despondent. The enthusiasm of having found the whereabouts of Sita was lost in their inability to rescue her.
Bridge Over The Sea
Hanuman was restless. Constantly thinking of Rama and Sita, his mind was immersed in the depths of contemplation. He was sure that solution to this problem must be available as Rama was with them. But what would be the solution! He did not yet know. Can they all swim across the sea, no. Can they all fly over the sea, no. Engrossed in such deep thoughts and constantly taking the holy name of Rama, he threw a stone in the water in front of him. To his utter disbelief he saw that the stone was floating over the water!!!
He threw another stone and was puzzled that it sank down in the water, it did not float. He could not fathom the secret of this peculiarity: One stone staying afloat and the other sinking! He tried many times but in vain, all the stones subsequently sank down to the bottom of sea. He brought this peculiarity to the notice of his associates. But nobody could explain why one particular stone was floating when it should also have sunk. Angad, Sugreeva, Jambuwanta all tried but no stone remained afloat.
Then Hanuman took the name of Rama and also threw a stone, unintentionally though. And it stayed afloat! The mystery opened up its secret in the intelligent mind of Hanuman. "Oh, I see" shouted Hanuman in ecstasy, "Look brothers, when I throw a stone after taking the name of Rama it floats, and when I throw it without taking his holy name it sinks."
Everyone tried the same thing. And to their joy they all found stones remaining afloat when thrown in the name of Rama. Soon they decided to construct a floating bridge over the sea from Indian coast to the shore of Lanka. Rama also decided to contribute his share of labor. Therefore he threw a stone after taking his own name, but to his amazement the stone he threw did not float. Hanuman was watching this mysterious play of the Lord with great amusement. He came to Rama, bowed down in reverence, and said,
"O Rama, how can the one survive whom you reject? You are throwing this stone away, how can it float! it is surely doomed and would sink down and down. There is no liberation for any person (as well as non-living thing) who is denied your grace. Without your support nobody becomes fit to cross this ocean of worldliness! Taking your name is, However, sufficient to prevent drowning of mortals like us"
Story of Tiny Squirrel
A tiny squirrel was watching this divine play from a nearby tree. She also came down, rolled over the sand of sea shore, and then went over the bridge of stones. There she released the particles of sand in the name of Rama. This she continued for days together, oblivious to hunger and thirst. This was the most sincere contribution of a small animal for the noble cause. Thus every Indian takes pride in contributing, in whatever small way he/she can, in the noble spiritual mission.
Text by Dr. CS Shah http://www.boloji.com/ramayana/
Worldwide petition against destruction of Ram Setu in 2007/2008
The historical Ram Setu bridge is being dredged to reduce travel time for ships going from the west to the east coast of India.
The bridge, recently rediscovered, has huge cultural and environmental significance for India.
Archaeologists believe the bridge, now underwater, was built thousands of years ago, during the time of the legendary Lord Rama. According to the Ramayana, one of India's most well known spiritual texts, the bridge was built to connect Sri Lanka and India, an area spanning 30km.
The dredging project began two years ago and Indian media reports state that up to 20% of the bridge has been removed. But fierce criticism of the dredging stalled the project in 2007 and it has not been restarted. Various groups world wide, concerned with the cultural and environmental devastation that they say the bridge's dredging will cause, are putting pressure on the Indian government to preserve the bridge. Critics of the project point to the cultural significance of the bridge, saying it is not only the world's oldest man made structure, but also a significant place of pilgrimage for Hindus.
The international archaeological community is throwing their support behind the bid to save the Ram Setu bridge, and calling for UNESCO to list the bridge as an intangible heritage site. Professor Snjezana Karinja, curator of archaeology for the Sergej Masera maritime museum in Piran, Slovenia, who is currently visiting Melbourne, says that the question of whether or not the bridge is man-made is irrelevant: "under UNESCO guidelines for heritage listing, the Ram Setu bridge should be allocated heritage status for it's cultural significance", she said.
In 2005, UNESCO named the legend of the Ramayana, and it's related oral and cultural tradition, on its list of 90 outstanding examples of the world's intangible cultural heritage. Various cultural and political groups around the world want to see the Ram Setu bridge preserved under this heritage listing. Groups like Yoga in Daily Life are actively collecting signatures to petition against the destruction of the bridge.
Commenting this week on the Ram Setu bridge dredging, the founder of Yoga in Daily Life, His Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda, said, "When the bridge was constructed at the time of Rama, the present-day religions were not in existence and the term 'Hindu' had not yet been coined. This bridge should not be understood as Hindu heritage or a Hindu bridge but actually it belongs to all humankind because it is the heritage of mankind's ancestors. Therefore I want all humans around the world, regardless of denomination and culture, to please support the preservation of the bridge". His Holiness compared the dredging of the Ram Setu bridge to the destruction of the pyramids in Egypt saying, "the pyramids predate Islam. If someone wanted to destroy the pyramids to build a highway, would anyone allow this? If it happens that this bridge is destroyed, it would be the biggest mistake that mankind could make, and lead to bloodshed and civil war".
Environmental scientists are also supporting the bid to save Ram Setu, claiming that during the last Tsunami the bridge acted as a natural barrier preventing the devastation of a large section of coastline around Kerala in South India.
Additional support for the preservation of the bridge is coming from shipping specialists who question the usefulness of dredging the bridge when the ensuing canal will only be 12 metres deep, and only small and medium sized vessels will be able to make use of the new passage.
In 2007 His Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandaji initiates a worldwide petition against destruction of Ram Setu (Rama's Bridge). In public lectures and international meetings in Vienna (Austria), Szeged (Hungary) and Zagreb (Croatia) His Holiness Vishwaguruji appealed to the public to sign a petition to the Government of India and UNESCO and protest against the destruction of the divine monument and world heritage of RAM SETU (Rama’s bridge) between India and Sri Lanka. Vishwaguruji said: "The preservation of the historical and archaeological monument of Ram Setu isn't only a national concern, it is a World's heritage comparable to the Egypt Pyramids – and who of us would agree if the Pyramids would be demolished to build, let's say, a highway? Therefore we all should express our horror and strong opposition to the Indian Government’s plan to destroy the world heritage site of Ram Setu – the ancient bridge that links India and Sri Lanka. The bridge is an epic monument that demonstrates the tremendous skill and craftsmanship of an ancient civilization; it provides historical evidence of the sacred Hindu legend, put down in the spiritual scriptures of Sri Ramayan and Sri Ramcharit Mansa. It is a living testimony of the power of human faith, thus the destruction of this priceless human treasure for the sake of creating a shipping passage would be a most tragic and ignorant act. We therefore implore the Indian Government to immediately cease the Setu Samudram Shipping Canal Project and to protect this unique architectural legacy of India, as was left to us by our forefathers."
Original 2007 Petition
PETITION TO THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA AND TO UNESCO AGAINST DESTRUCTION OF THE UNIQUE WORLD HERITAGE OF RAM SETU
THE LEGENDARY BRIDGE OF GOD RAMA
BETWEEN INDIA & SRI LANKA !
We, the undersigned express our horror and disagreement to the plan of Indian Government to destroy Ram Setu - the bridge between India and Sri Lanka, that we consider World's historical, spiritual and craftsmanship heritage.
It not only provides the historical evidence to the sacred legend of Sri Ramayan and Sri Ramcharit Manasa that is one of the most inspiring books of Hindus, but it also stands for very significant monument of power of human belief and skills of our predecessors.
We therefore ask you to stop the Setu Samudram Project, which is aimed at destruction of this invaluable heritage of ancient India for the sake of shipping savings.
Original 2007 Petition Text
I join the petition for saving Ram Setu
We, the undersigned from throughout the globe, oppose the destruction of the Holy and revered Ram Setu or Rama Bridge or Adam’s bridge by the Setu Samudram Ship Channel Project or any other project.
We, the undersigned from throughout the globe, request the Government of India to order an immediate stop and reconsideration of the project keeping in view the historical and religious importance of Shri Ram Setu, the sentiments of the people and the alternative method suggested for a shorter sea route.
We, the undersigned from throughout the globe, support the repair of the destroyed sections of the Holy and revered Ram Setu or Rama Bridge or Adam’s Bridge and reconstruction of the underwater cities as a pilgrimage site for all Hindus, Muslims and Christians from all over the world.
We, the undersigned from throughout the globe, support the inclusion of the Holy and revered Ram Setu or Rama Bridge or Adam’s Bridge as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s listed monument.