Just a question that I wanted to ask out of curiosity - Are the tales in Ramayan true or mostly symbolic? My brother refuses to believe in the epic, for which I replied that most of the stories might have been symbolic ones created by saints in the past to explain Man's battle with evil. But he needed an answer, so I decided to ask the very question to my most favourite website!
—Kailash, Saudi Arabia
While researching and writing the book, The Yugas, I arrived at the conviction that much of the Ramayana, and other ancient epics, is probably true.
According to the cycle of the yugas, as expounded by Sri Yukteswar, Yogananda’s guru and author of The Holy Science, the Ramayana was likely composed during the last Treta Yuga. During Treta Yuga, mankind as a whole possesses mental powers that are only hinted at today. Sri Yukteswar said that mental telepathy was the normal means of communication during Treta Yuga and that mankind as a whole would comprehend the “Divine magnetism.”
In another work, Yogananda refers to Divine magnetism as the “power of all powers.” I believe attunement to such power would lead to individuals becoming themselves vastly powerful. Telekinesis, mantric weapons (i.e. elemental vibration harnessed to the control of the mind), drawing on astral beings (i.e. the devas) would all fit with Sri Yukteswar’s description of Treta Yuga.
Woven into the ancient epics such as the Ramayana are spiritual teachings that are today their great gift to mankind, but it would not surprise me if many of the battles and feats described are much closer to being literally true than is popularly believed.
One example. Satelite photos have revealed an underwater formation (averaging about 100 feet below sea level) between the southern tip of India and Sri Lanka. Geologists are at a loss to explain how it could have formed. Seasonal currents, such ones that create barrier islands near coastlines, cannot explain it because the currents reverse themselves during the year and would carry off any deposits left behind earlier in the year. A general sea bed uplift cannot explain it because the formation is very narrow.
If you see a satelite picture of it, and you are familiar with the Ramayana, you can’t help but think of Rama’s bridge!
Puru (Joseph) Selbie
P.S. If you are interested in the yugas, you can find the book at Crystal Clarity.