The story of Shri Rams' life was first narrated by Maharishi Valmiki in the Ramayana, written after Shri Ram was crowned as the King of Ayodhya. Maharishi Valmiki was a great astronomer as he had made sequential astronomical references on important dates related to the life of Shri Ram indicating the location of planets vis-a-vis zodiac constellations and the other stars (nakshatras).
Needless to add that similar position of planets and nakshatras is not repeated in thousands of years.
Mr Pushkar Bhatnagar, of the Indian Revenue Service, had acquired a software, Planetarium from the US. It is used to predict the solar/lunar eclipses and distance and location of other planets from earth. He entered the relevant details about the planetary positions narrated by Maharishi Valmiki and obtained very interesting and convincing results, which almost determined the important dates starting from the birth of Shri Ram to the date of his coming back to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.
Maharishi Valmiki had recorded in Bal Kaand, sarga 19 and shloka eight and nine (1/18/8,9), that
Shri Ram was born on ninth tithi of Chaitra month when the position of different planets vis-a-vis zodiac constellations and nakshatras (visible stars) were:
i) Sun in Aries; ii) Saturn in Libra; iii) Jupiter in Cancer; iv) Venus in Pisces; v) Mars in Capricorn; vi) Lunar month of Chaitra; vii) Ninth day after no moon; viii) Lagna as Cancer (cancer was rising in the east); ix) Moon on the Punarvasu (Gemini constellation & Pllux star); x) Day time (around noon).
This data was fed into the software. The results indicated that this was exactly the location of planets/stars in the noon of January 10, 5114 BC. Thus, Shri Ram was born on January 10, 5114 BC (7121 years back). As per the Indian calendar, it was the ninth day of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month and the time was around 12 to 1 noontime. This is exactly the time and date when Ram Navmi is celebrated all over India.
Shri Ram was born in Ayodhya. This fact can be ascertained from several books written by Indian and foreign authors Valmiki Ramayan, Tulsi Ramayan, Kalidasa's Raghuvamsam, Baudh and Jain literature, etc. These books have narrated in great detail the location, rich architecture and beauty of Ayodhya which had many palaces and temples built all over the kingdom. Ayodhya was located on the banks of the Saryu river with Ganga and Panchal Pradesh on one side and Mithila on the other side.
Tracing history dating back to 7,000 years is a monumental task as ravages of nature and foreign invasion change the course of rivers, destroy towns/buildings and alter the territories. Researchers have gone along the route adopted by Shri Ram as narrated in the Valmiki Ramayan and found 23 places which have memorials that commemorate the events related to the life of Shri Ram. These include : Shringi Ashram, Ramghat, Tadka Van, Sidhhashram, Gautamashram, Janakpur (now in Nepal), Sita Kund, etc. Memorials are built for great men and not for fictitious characters.
It is mentioned in Valmiki Ramayans' Ayodhya Kand (2/4/18) that Dashratha wanted to make Shri Ram the king because Sun, Mars and Rahu had surrounded his nakshatra and normally under such planetary configuration the king dies or becomes a victim of conspiracies. Dashrathas' zodiac sign was Pisces and his nakshatra was Rewati.
This planetary configuration was prevailing on the January 5, 5089 BC, and it was on this day that Shri Ram left Ayodhya for 14 years of exile. Thus, he was 25 years old at that time (5114-5089).
There are several shlokas in Valmiki Ramayan which indicate that Shri Ram was 25-years-old when he left Ayodhya for exile. Valmiki Ramayan refers to the solar eclipse at the time of war with Khardushan in later half of 13th year of Shri Rams' exile. It is also mentioned it was amavasya day and Mars was in the middle. When this data was entered, the software indicated that there was a solar eclipse on October 7, 5077 BC, (amavasya day) which could be seen from Panchvati.
On the basis of planetary configurations described in various other chapters, the date on which Ravana was killed works out to be December 4, 5076 BC, and Shri Ram completed 14 years of exile on January 2, 5075 BC, and that day was also Navami of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month. Thus Shri
Ram had come back to Ayodhya at the age of 39 (5114-5075).
A colleague, Dr Ram Avtar, researched on places visited by Shri Ram during his exile, and sequentially moved to the places stated as visited by Shri Ram in the Valmiki Ramayan, starting from Ayodhya he went right upto Rameshwaram.
He found 195 places which still have the memorials connected to the events narrated in the Ramayana relating to the life of Shri Ram and Sita In Valmiki Ramayan it is mentioned that Shri Rams' army constructed a bridge over the sea between Rameshwaram and Lanka. After crossing this bridge, Shri Rams' army had defeated Ravana. Recently, NASA put pictures on the Internet of a man-made bridge, the ruins of which are lying submerged in Palk Strait between Rameshwaram and Sri Lanka.
Sri Rams' ancestors have been traced out as: Shri Ram, King Dashratha, King Aja, King Raghu, King Dilip and so on. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Bengal to Gujarat, everywhere people believe in the reality of Shri Rams' existence, particularly in the tribal areas of Himachal, Rajasthan, MadhyaPradesh and the North-East.
Most of the festivals celebrated in these areas revolve around the events in the life of Shri Ram and Shri Krishna. The events and places related to the life of Shri Ram and Sita are true cultural and social heritage of every Indian irrespective of caste and creed. Therefore, it is common heritage.
The words Hindu and Indian were synonymous. India was also known as Bharat (land of knowledge) and Aryavarta (where Aryans live) and Hindustan (land of "Hindus" – derived from word Indus).
We need to be proud of the fact that Valmiki was perhaps the first great astronomer and that his
study of planetary configurations has stood the test of times. Even the latest computer software have corroborated his astronomical calculations, which proves that he did not commit any error.
Ram was born 7,000 years back and discovering the details relating to Shri Rams' life would be lot
more difficult with ravages of time. But, should that stop our quest for learning more about our cultural heritage?
There is need for the print and the electronic media to take note of these facts and create atmosphere which would motivate our young and educated youth to carry out research and unearth true facts about the ancient Indian civilisation and wisdom and would also encourage them to put across the results of their research before the people fearlessly and with a sense of pride!