The Ramayan story overview in brief:
Lord RAma's appearance day - Ramanavami
Ramanavami in brief
The Story of Lord Ramachandra in brief from Iskcon Auckland 2006
Rama's qualities from Valmiki Ramyana trans by Karnamrita dasa ACBSP
The Ramayana - the epic story
of the life of Lord RAmachandra
The Ramayan in RealAudio Story form
The Untold Stories From the Ramayana - The Killing of Ravana - Atmatattwa dasa
Vijaya Dasami page - the victory of Lord RAma
View Scientific Proof on the "man made bridge to Lanka" made by Rama and His army
The date of the appearance of Lord Rama and subsequent pastimes
Read how Sri Lanka is not the Lanka of Ravan
Read the Valmiki Ramayan in sections on-line:
108 Names of Rama used in the Ramayam
Mother Sita's page:
The Story of Vamiki Muni and the condensed version of the Ramayana:
Balah kanda of the Valmiki Ramayan:
View Scientific Proof on the "man made bridge to Lanka" made by Rama and His army
TheUntold Stories From the Ramayana - The Killing of Ravana - by Atma Tattwa dasa.
Vijaya Dasami page - the victory of Lord RAma
Prabhupäda: (chants maìgaläcaraëa prayers)
nänävatäram akarod bhuvaneñu kintu
kåñëaù svayaà samabhavat paramaù pumän yo
govindam ädi-puruñaà tam ahaà bhajämi
This is a verse from Brahma-saàhitä in which the incarnation of Lord Rämacandra is described. Rämädi. Not only Räma, but there are many other, innumerable incarnations. They are compared with the waves of a river. As the waves of the river or the waves of the ocean cannot be counted, similarly, how many incarnations are there of the Supreme Lord it is not possible to count. But out of them, the principal names are mentioned in the çästras. Therefore it is said rämädi. Rämädi means Räma and also other, many incarnations. And they are existing. Not that one incarnation appeared and it is finished. No. Not like that. Just like Lord Rämacandra appeared on this planet, say millions of years before. He appeared in the Treta-yuga. Treta-yuga means... We have passed only five thousand years of this age, Kali-yuga. Before that, there was Dväpara-yuga. Dväpara-yuga means 800,000 years. And before that, there was Tretä-yuga, which continued for twelve hundred thousands of years. That means at least two million years before Lord Rämacandra appeared on this planet.
So now Lord Rämacandra appeared in Ayodhyä. There is a place in Ayodhyä, in northern India. There He appeared. As Kåñëa appeared in Mathurä... That is also northern India. And Mathurä is about ninety miles down southward from New Delhi. You have heard the name of New Delhi, the capital of India. So Ayodhyä is also situated about five hundred miles northeast of New Delhi. So Lord Rämacandra appeared on this day. Today is called Çré Räma Naumi. On the ninth day of the moon Lord Rämacandra appeared. His father was the king of Ayodhyä, and he had three wives. So out of... No. He had two wives. So out of two wives he got four sons. Rämacandra is the eldest son. The life and activities of Lord Rämacandra is... [break] ...in a book which is called Rämäyaëa. You have heard the name of Rämäyaëa. Rämäyaëa is also accepted as history. Vedic literatures are histories also. The Puräëas, the Çrémad-Bhägavatam, Mahäbhärata, and Rämäyaëa, they are counted amongst the history. The history of Rämacandra is that His father wanted to retire. Daçaratha, Mahäräja Daçaratha. And he decided to enthrone Lord Rämacandra and retire. So everything was settled, but just one day before, his youngest wife turned the whole thing into different way. Sometimes Mahäräja Daçaratha was suffering from what is called whitlow, some trouble in the finger? And this queen served him very nicely, and he was pleased. And he said, “My dear Çarmiñöhä, if you want some benediction from me, I can give you.” And she replied that “I shall ask you for the benediction when I require it. Not now.” So just one day before Lord Rämacandra’s coronation, she approached her husband Mahäräja Daçaratha and reminded him, “My dear husband, you promised to give me some benediction, and I told you that I shall ask you when I require it.” Mahäräja Daçaratha said, “Yes, I remember. You want some benediction just now?” She said, “Yes.” “And what is that?” She said that “Rämacandra cannot be seated on the throne. My son should be coronated, Bhärata.” He was surprised. It is a big demand. So he said, “All right. That will be done. Your son.” Because formerly, the kings... Not only formerly, even up to date, there are many kñatriya kings in India. They have more than one wife. And they are, naturally, there is rivalry between different wives. So the same thing. Human psychology is the same. Even two million years ago the same mentality was there, and she asked that “My son should be the king, not Rämacandra.” Rämacandra happened to be the son of Kauçalyä, the elder queen.
So Mahäräja Daçaratha agreed and called for Rämacandra. “My dear boy, your...” She asked also that... She was very diplomatic. She wanted that Rämacandra go to forest for fourteen years. The idea was political, that “The king may agree to install my son just now. Now, after a few days, this Rämacandra may come with His army, and there may be some difficulty to continue the kingdom.” So she wanted that Rämacandra should go to the forest and He should not come back till the end of fourteen years from this day. So Mahäräja Daçaratha agreed. Because he was kñatriya. Just see the promise. A kñatriya never goes back from the promise, never refuses any challenge. If a kñatriya is challenged by somebody, that “I want to fight with you,” oh, he cannot refuse. This is kñatriya spirit. He cannot say that “I am now busy.” Suppose somebody comes to you, that “I want to fight with you.” You may say, “What nonsense fight? I have no time. We are in the temple.” But a kñatriya cannot deny that. A kñatriya at once must accept. “Oh, yes. Come on.” And the weapon should be, if he has no sword or weapon, he should be supplied weapon and fight. This is kñatriya spirit. They were highly charitable and chivalrous and keeping promise and with a great tendency for ruling over. They shall rule over. Administrators. Their business is...
There are different prescription for different classes of men for their livelihood. The brähmaëas, they can pull on their livelihood by six ways. Paöhana paöhana yäjana yäjana däna pratigraha. Six. And they must be qualified with twelve high qualities. We have many times discussed. Out of that qualification, truthfulness is the first item for a brähmaëa. A kñatriya may speak lies. That is allowed, because he has to be diplomat, politician. But a brähmaëa, oh, he’s not allowed to speak lie. This is the system, caste system or varëäçrama system. Everyone was trained. Because these four classes of men are required in a society. For proper upkeep of society, one class of men must be very intelligent, highly qualified, with all good qualities. They must be trained in that way, ideal character so that people can see and follow them. Therefore brähmaëas were taken to so much respect because they’re ideal character, learned, and godly, knows the science, spiritual science. Therefore they’re held in high estimation and topmost of the society. The next, the administrator, administrative class, kñatriyas. They are trained how to kill. The kñatriyas were allowed to hunt in the forest to learn the art of killing because that was necessity for the kñatriyas. Kñatriya, if he... If the king, if he finds somebody is doing wrong, he can immediately chop off his head if he likes. The king was so powerful. And it is not that if there was some war, it is not that the president or the king shall sit down comfortably at home and ordinary soldiers will go and lay down their life. No. Formerly, the king or the head of the state, he should first of all go there in the fight. You see in the picture, the chief men of the fighting in the Kurukñetra, both sides, they were arrayed, this side, that side, with their chariot. Not that the head man, the chief man, or the commander is taking shelter back side, protecting himself, and poor soldiers are (chuckles) thrown into the fighting. No. These were kñatriya spirit. And it is necessary that a class of men should be trained up in that way, kñatriya, fighting men. In India, because this training was there since a very long time, so there is no difficulty in recruiting soldiers there. There is a class of men, they are very much forward in fighting still. They are called... Just like the Gurkhas, the Nepalese. You have heard the name of Nepal. Still a small state, independent state. They are not within India. Between China and India. The whole Nepal population, they are kñatriyas. Oh, they are very good fighters. Similarly, the Sikhs, the Jätas. There are classes. So they’re always forward for fighting. And you’ll be surprised that the British Empire was voluntarily liquidated because they lost India. The Britishers, they understood that because we are now losing India, there is no more possibility to keep our eastern empire. Therefore they liquidated. Why? Actually, the whole British Empire were being administered or managed by Indian soldiers, these Sikhs and Gurkhas. They extended their empire. After taking their position with India, they extended British Empire in the Middle East and Far East simply by these Sikhs and Gurkha soldiers. They got supremacy on the Burma and everywhere.
So there is necessity of a class
of fighting men. You are finding in your country difficulty in recruiting
because the recruiting process is wrong. You are recruiting from persons...
You are training persons just like çüdras, and you want them
to fight. How they can fight? It is not possible. So as it is stated in
the Bhagavad-gétä, that cätur-varëyaà mayä
såñöaà guëa karma vibhägaçaù...
[Bg. 4.13]. Lord Kåñëa said that “The four classes or
orders of the society, brähmaëa, kñatriya, vaiçya,
çüdra, is planned by Me according to work and quality.” So
this kñatriya quality men is also required, the brähmaëa
quality of men is also required, the mercantile community, they are also
required, and the laborer class, they are also required. Of course, laborer
class, they do not require any training. Laborer class means one who cannot
do anything, neither become brähmaëa, nor become kñatriya,
nor become vaiçya. That means the last balance of the population,
they are called laborer class, çüdra. Çüdra means
one who has no training. Çüdra has no saàskära.
Saàskära means training. Everyone is accepted as çüdra
by birth. Janmana jayate çüdra. Janmana means by birth. By
birth, everyone is born a çüdra, a fourth-class man. It is
to be accepted, and actually so. Just like a child, innocent child, what
does he know? He has to be trained. Either you train him as a brähmaëa
or train him as a kñatriya or train him as a vaiçya. Or otherwise,
he is çüdra already, born çüdra. Çüdra
has no training. Everyone, the basic principle, basic foreground, everyone,
it is accepted çüdra. Now, if you train him as a brähmaëa,
then he becomes a brähmaëa. If you train him as a kñatriya,
then he becomes a kñatriya. If you train him as a vaiçya...
So I think this is, this system is very scientific so that if you want
help of a really intelligent man or God realized man, it is ready, the
brähmaëa class. Just like if you require the help of a lawyer,
we have got so many lawyers. If you require the help of medical man...
Because there are trained men. Similarly, the society requires to train
a certain class of men to become brähmaëas. Just like we are
training the Kåñëa conscious. The Kåñëa
consciousness is meant for the brähmaëas. They are not meant
for fighting because they are not being trained for fighting. They have
been trained for becoming brähmaëas. Who is brähmaëa?
Brahma jänäti iti brähmaëa. The four divisions are
described like this. Janmanä jäyate çüdraù,
everyone is born çüdra. That is accepted. Saàskäräd
bhaved dvijaù. Now if you train him, never mind in which family
he’s born, you have to train him. Just like boys are sent to school for
being trained. So everyone is accepted as çüdra, but you now
train him. He goes to the guru-gåha.
Guru-gåha means teacher’s house. Formerly, for being trained, there was no such big scale school and colleges. Every village... Still, fifty years before in India, in every village there was a small school conducted by the brähmaëa, and the village children would be trained up there. So he was sent for training. And there was no school fee. The boys will go there, and on behalf of the teacher or spiritual master, they will go, brahmacäré, door to door, and beg and bring forth alms, rice, dahl, grains, and everything. That was the system. There was no school fee. There was no problem how to send a boy to the school. Saàskära. Now he’s trained up. The teacher sees the psychology of the boy, in which way he should be trained. Either he should be trained as a vaiçya or he should be trained as a kñatriya. So everyone was trained like that, but generally, the son of a kñatriya... Just like Mahäräja Rämacandra or Arjuna, from the very beginning they were trained as kñatriya. Naturally, if somebody is the son of a medical man his father trains him to become a medical man in future. That is the natural tendency. If the boy is different altogether that is another question, but naturally, that is the tendency. So a kñatriya’s son was trained as kñatriya. A brähmaëa’s son was trained as a brähmaëa and a vaiçya’s son was trained as a vaiçya, and çüdra had no training. So gradually this became a caste system. Brähmaëa’s son became brähmaëa. Because formerly, the training was there. But when it is vitiated, although a person born in the family of a brähmaëa, he is doing the work of a çüdra. So according to Vedic scripture, one is classified according to his work and quality, not by birth. That is the classification of çästra. Just like in the Bhagavad-gétä the Lord says cätur-varëyaà mayä såñöaà guëa-karma-vibhägaçaù [Bg. 4.13]. Guëa means quality and karma means work. One must be qualified for the work and he must actually work. Then he is counted classified into that, I mean to say, category. Just like if you are simply trained or educated as a lawyer, and if you are not practicing in the court, nobody comes to you to consult as a lawyer. Nobody cares for you. You must be practicing also. Similarly, to become a brähmaëa means first of all, he must know what is Brahman and he must be actually situated in the activities of Brahman. So devotional service are activities of Brahman. Activities in Kåñëa consciousness means activities in Brahman. Brähme carati iti brahmä brahmacäré. Carati means acts. Actually, he acts in life, applies the principles of brähmaëa in his life, he is called brahmacäré. So these were the trainings.
So just see how the training was, that a kñatriya cannot refuse his promise. So Mahäräja Daçaratha, he fulfilled the promise of his youngest wife and asked his son, eldest son Rämacandra, “My dear boy, You’ll have to go to forest for fourteen years. That is the desire of Your youngest mother. And I promised that I shall fulfill her promise, uh, request. So please accept.” Rämacandra said, “Yes father, I am ready.” Just see. This is the quality. Out of the six opulences of God, this is one quality.
véryasya yaçasaù çriyaù
ñaëëäà bhägam itéìganä
(Viñëu Puräëa 6.5.47)
How one becomes God? God is not manufactured by vote. There are definition who is God. God must be the proprietor of all the riches. Aiçvaryasya samägrasya. Samägra means all. Nobody can compete with Him. Here, in this world, material world, I am rich man, and there is another rich man who can compete with me. There is another rich man who can compete with him. But nobody can compete with God in richness. That is one qualification of God. Nobody can say that “I am richer than God.” You can say “I am richer than Ford or Rockefeller” or this or that. You can say. But nobody can say that “I am richer than God.” Therefore in the Bhagavad-gétä it is said mattaù parataraà nänyat asti kiïcid dhanaïjaya. Mattaù parataraà nänyat kiïcid asti dhanaïjaya [Bg. 7.7]. Dhanaïjaya is a name of Arjuna, and Kåñëa said that, “My dear Arjuna, there is nobody greater than Me.” So if anyone claims that he is God, he must prove by practical example that nobody is richer than him. That is the first. But unfortunately, we are accepting so many Gods. A rascal in the street, he also claims that “I am God.”
So similarly, the other qualification, nobody can be stronger than God, nobody can be wiser than God, nobody can be more beautiful than God, and nobody can be more renouncer than God. So here Rämacandra, Lord Rämacandra exhibited the quality how He renounced the whole kingdom simply on the order of His father, His obedience to father. He could have argued with His father, “My dear father, you, simply for keeping your promise and actuated by the dictation of a woman, you are doing this. Let us stop it. Everyone is expecting that tomorrow My coronation will be there, and they love Me so much.” Because He... Just like Kåñëa was so much loved, similarly, Lord Rämacandra was the life of the people. They were very much expecting that Rämacandra was going to be enthroned tomorrow. So how they were celebrating, how they were decorating the whole city. Everything. He never argued. He accepted immediately: “Yes, father. I am ready.”
So then one of the brothers, Lakñmaëa, He also requested Rämacandra, “My dear brother, You also take Me. I am Your constant companion. I must go with You.” So He said, “That’s Your wish. Voluntarily, if You want to come, You can come with Me.” Then Sétä, His wife, young wife, She also said, “I’ll go with You.” Rämacandra requested His wife, “Oh, you cannot go with Me. It is very difficult. You are a king’s daughter, and you are brought up in so nice way, and you are so beautiful. You cannot go. You cannot take the trouble of living in the forest.” So she said, “Oh, I am Your wife. Married wife. So I must go even if You go to hell.” This is ideal wife. She could have refused: “Oh, Your father has ordered to go to forest. You can go. I shall go to my father’s house or I shall remain here.” No. This is ideal wife. She must be prepared to accept any circumstances of the husband. Not that when the husband is rich the wife is very faithful, and when he has come down to be poor or he’s going to forest the wife gives up his company. No. Wife means better half. She must abide. Just like, it is said, just like a shadow follows the reality, similarly, the wife is the shadow of the husband. Wherever the husband goes, she must go. Whatever the husband wants, she must carry out. Of course, in this country this interpretation is taken differently, that wife is made a slave. But actually, it is not so. When Sétä was kidnapped in the jungle, Rämacandra expected that, that she was beautiful, she was young, and “We shall be in open jungle. It may be some demons may come,” and actually it so happened. So for Sétä, Lord Rämacandra massacred the whole family of Rävaëa. Only for Sétä. So as the husband, so the wife. The wife was so faithful that she could not remain alone. She must accompany the husband even in the forest. And the husband was so faithful that, “Oh, my wife has been kidnapped.” So He massacred the whole family of Rävaëa.
So these are ideal history how... Rämacandra, Lord Rämacandra appeared on this world to educate or to place ideal example of a king. How the king should be. Therefore when there is good government... The example is given, Räma-räjya. Räma- räjya. It is the kingdom of Lord Räma. Because everyone was happy, everyone. There are so many instances in the life of Rämacandra. One brähmaëa... Not brähmaëa exactly. Somebody came to Rämacandra. Because at that time there was no court like this, that you have to go to a court and apply with stamp fee. Then your judgment will be delivered after six years. It is not like that. Anyone who has got some complaint, he should... The king used to sit in the open audience, and the citizens were allowed to approach the king and place their complaints. Because there was no complaint practically. Everyone was happy. Very minor complaint. So somebody came to Rämacandra, and he charged Rämacandra, “My dear king, my son has died. How is that, in the presence of his father, son can die? There must be something wrong in Your government.” Just see. The charge is “Why my son has died before my death? This is unnatural.” So there was nothing unnatural. The king was responsible even for severe cold, severe heat. That we get from history of Çrémad-Bhägavatam. That is stated. So the kings were so much responsible. They were always thinking of the happiness of the citizens, and the citizens were also so nice. One citizen approached Lord Rämacandra and His next assistant, His brother, Lakñmaëa, informed Him that “He is a brähmaëa. You were absent on Your tour for, I think for a fortnight or a month, and this brähmaëa has not eaten even a drop of water during Your absence.” Why? “Because he comes here to see You, darçana.” Just like we come here in the temple to see the Deity. So Lord Rämacandra was present personally. So he used to come. After seeing Rämacandra, offering his obeisances, then he would go home and take something, his breakfast. That was his vow. And because he could not see for a fortnight or a month Lord Rämacandra because He was out on political tour, he did not eat even. Just see. The citizens were similar to the king. So at that time, there was a statue of Rämacandra which was being worshiped in the family from Mahäräja Ikñväku. Mahäräja Ikñväku, the son of Manu, happens to be the forefather of the family in which Rämacandra appeared. So he was devotee of Lord Räma, and he was worshiping the statue of Lord Räma. So that statue was being worshiped by the family one after another. But when Rämacandra was actually present He kept that statue in the closet of the room, and when this brähmaëa approached and Rämacandra was informed by Lakñmaëa that he is so steady and strong in his vow, so Rämacandra ordered that he may be delivered that statue so that in My absence he can offer respect to the statue and do with this. That form, I mean to say, statue, or arca of Rämacandra is still existing in South India. It is being worshiped from that time.
So these were the dealings of Rämacandra. Then He, His younger brother Lakñmaëa and His wife went to the forest, and His wife was kidnapped by the diplomacy of the demon Rävaëa, and there was fight between Räma and Rävaëa. Rävaëa was very, materialistically, he was very strong. But the thing is for fighting with Rävaëa, Rämacandra did not come back to His kingdom and take His army. No. He did not come back because He was ordered to live in the forest. So He organized army with the jungle animals, the monkeys. The monkeys. He fought with Rävaëa, an organized materialist, with the monkeys. You have seen the picture. And He constructed a bridge between India’s last point to the other side. Ceylon is considered to be the kingdom of Rävaëa. So there was a bridge, and the stones were floating.
So there are so many historical incidences
in the life of Rämacandra, and we should remember, because if we remember
why we are observing today fasting for Rämacandra... There were many
kings like Rämacandra. Because the kings were trained in that way.
Mahäräja Yudhiñöhira was also as good as Rämacandra,
and Mahäräja Parikñit was as good. There were many such
kings. But we are not concerned because He was a king. He is the King of
all kings, parameçvara. Because He is God, therefore we are observing
today. Rämädi-mürtiñu kalä-niyamena tiñöhan
[Bs. 5.39]. So He is not original form of God. The original form of God
is Kåñëa, and Kåñëa expands Himself
in various other forms. Advaitam acyutam anädim ananta-rüpam
[Bs. 5.33]. Ananta-rüpam means millions and millions. The Manu is
also incarnation of Kåñëa. So in one day of Brahmä
there are fourteen Manus. So Brahmä lives for one hundred years. Just
see how many incarnation of Manus are there even for one Brahmä, and
there are innumerable Brahmäs also. So, as stated in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam
that nobody can count how many incarnations are there, but some of the
chief incarnations are mentioned, and Lord Rämacandra is one of them.
So Lord Rämacandra, He killed Rävaëa
and He installed his brother. His brother was devotee, Vibhéñaëa.
So He did not go to conquer Ceylon, because He was emperor. He went to
punish that culprit Rävaëa, and He installed his younger brother
Vibhéñaëa in that... And He came back with Sétä,
and again He was installed after fourteen years, and His brother was so
faithful that so long His eldest brother was away, Rämacandra requested
Him that “Your mother wants that You should be king, and I also wish that
in My absence You should be king.” Bharata, He was so faithful brother,
He replied, “No. You are king. So long You are living, nobody can be king.
So I cannot be king.” Then He requested, “At least You administer.” Because
after the departure of Lord Rämacandra, Mahäräja Daçaratha
died out of the shock because Rämacandra was very pet son, eldest
son. He was going to be king, and by his order He was sent to the forest.
The father could not tolerate the shock. He died.
So Rämacandra’s life, God’s activities, pastimes, if we hear, that means we are associating with Rämacandra. There is no difference between His form, His name, His pastimes, and Himself. He’s absolute. Therefore either you chant the holy name of Räma or you see the statue of Räma or you talk of His pastimes, transcendental pastimes, everything, that means you are associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So we take advantage of these days when the incarnation of God appears or disappears, and we try to associate with Him. By His association we become purified. Our process is purification. Kåñëa consciousness means simply we are purifying our consciousness. From the birth, as I have explained, everyone is çüdra. Çüdra means one who laments. That is called çüdra. For a slight loss or slight inconvenience, one who laments, he is called çüdra. And brähmaëa means one who tolerates. A çüdra has no toleration. So kalau çüdra sambhava. Kalau means... This age is called Kali. So it is the statement of the çästras that in this age the whole population is çüdra. And formerly also, by his birth, everyone was considered çüdra, but there was training, saàskära. At the present moment, there is no saàskära, there is no training. The training is only for earning livelihood. No other training. How one can earn money and enjoy senses—that is the training at the present moment. But actually, to make successful the human life or the mission of human life, the Vedic culture is very nice. And by spreading Kåñëa consciousness, by adopting the process of Kåñëa consciousness, you can revive that cultural life, sublime life. If not wholesale, if there are a few people trained up in this line, and they become ideal examples to the society, immense benefit can be derived from their examples of life. What is time? [break] (kértana) (end)
(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada 27th March 1969. The Appearance day of Lord Rama - Ramanavami, Hawaii, USA.) http://vedabase.com
On this website http://www.skyimagelab.com/hanmonbrid.html there is the assertion that Ceylon was Lanka of the Ramayana. The assertion is also made using typical offensive language of mundane scholars regarding Sastras.
Today is Ramanavami on this date last year I started reading the Ramayana (full edition). In the Ramayana we learn that Lanka was 100 yojanas from the mainland. Since a yojana is about 8 miles that would mean that it was about 800 miles from the mainland. Much further than current Sri Lanka aka Ceylon. Also the Suryasiddhanta mentions that the meridian which passes through Ujjain also passes through Lanka. (The Suryasiddhanta and all of the Jyotish literature uses the meridian passing through Ujjain as the reference point just as today the meridian of Greenwich is used for astronomical calculations and time keeping.) Ujjain is 75 degrees 47 minutes east of Greenwich if you look south in the Indian Ocean the closest land would be the Maldive Islands in the Lakshadvip Sea (100,000 Islands sea). So I would suggest that is the actual area of the original Lanka not Ceylon which only recently (1972) renamed itself as Sri Lanka. The actual Lanka is submerged and only some of its highest points are above the ocean. In any case the real Lanka was several hundred miles to the South West of current Ceylon-Sri Lanka.
Ceylon has been known by that name for at least 2500 years. It was the name that the Romans, Greeks and Persians knew it by (Greek traders in the Ptolomiac and Roman empires regularly went to South India and even onto China via the well known trade route starting from Alexandria, down the Nile, portage across to the Red Sea, down the Red Sea and then straight across the Arabian Sea to modern Kerala. This is how Saint Thomas, disciple of Christ, got to South India and why Kerela has 20% Christians since that time. The many hordes of Roman dinari (gold coins) that have been excavated in the extreme south of India also attest to this fact.
In ancient times it was also called Taprobane (especially by the Greeks) and Serendip, which was derived from Sanskrit for Sinhala Dvipa, the island of Singhalese. The Singalese were originally from the Kalinga region (Orissa) and invaded the island some time before 500 BC. It morphed into Ceylon from Serendip.
The English word Serendipity--which is finding something unexpected and useful while searching for something else entirely. For instance, the discovery of the antibacterial properties of penicillin by Alexander Fleming is said to have been a serendipitous discovery--is etymologically derived from its possession by the heroes of the Persian fairy tale "The Three Princes of Serendip"
In any case by what ever name you call it modern Sri Lanka-Ceylon is not the Lanka of the Ramayana because it is much too far to the North East by several hundreds of miles from the location of Lanka indicated in the Ramayana and the astronomical Siddhantas and other Jyotish literature.
The Ramayan in RealAudio Story form - by Amala Bhakta dasa:
The Stories From the Ramayana:
Valmiki Ramayan Amar Chitra-katha Comic on-line:
Valmiki Ramayana with Sanskrit verses and English trans:
...the Ramayana - an enduring tradition:
Bala kanda of the Valmiki Ramayana - sanskrit verses and English
Ramayana - A Picture Gallery:
Sri Nama Ramayana Index:
Valmiki Rishi's Ramayana part 1a - Radio Story Format:
The Valmiki Ramayana Audio Cassettes:
Ramayana page - links to Adhyatma Ramayana - Tulasidas Ramayana -
Adhyatma Ramayana overview:
Valmiki Muni's page: