The central figure of Hindu Epic Ramayana, Shri Rama is said to be the seventh avatar of Vishnu. He is venerated throughout India and many other places across the world. Historians doubt that he is a real person. But there are arguments that there is are sufficient evidence to suggest that Lord Rama could have been real and that he was a legend whose stories were real and they were only embellished and written in a fancy way.
Let’s look into these “premises” as they proclaim and see how they lead to the reality we have been searching for.
Across India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, there are tons of old temples dedicated to him. In India, there are countless; in Sri Lanka, there are at least thirty locations associated with Lord Rama.
In Nepal, there is the famous Janaki temple that’s dedicated to Rama’s wife’s Sita. Legend has claimed it that King Janak performed the worship of Shiva-Dhanush on this site.
There is evidence that King Janak existed in Janakpur in ancient times, and the places that Rama visited such as Ayodhya exist too.This has led to the belief that the stories were based on real places and historical figures, and was only inflated so much that they don’t seem practical in this modern age.
Ancient stories may not be all myth
Previously considered to be unreliable texts have been proven to have real historical foundations, all done by scholars. For instance, Iliad which was considered to be only imaginative before has an accurate depiction of geography surrounding ancient city of Troy during Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age. Also, religious texts such as Bible are being re-evaluated because they have found evidence that the stories and descriptions are very accurate to the customs during that time.
Also, if you look at the evidence of Socrates or Confucius, there were only textual evidence. So, we cannot say just because Rama’s existence has been seen only in the text means that he did not exist.
Speculation that Shri Rama lived before monumental architecture
There are questions that if Rama was the king as mentioned in Ramayana, then he had the power to commission monumental inscriptions that had his images inscribed on it. There should have been coins with his symbols and images if that was the case. But there is a speculation that he lived before such era where monumental architecture had not hit India.
That’s only a speculation.
However, it could also be the case that such inscriptions have not been discovered yet by archaeologists since it dates back thousands of years. Many scholars doubted that King David existed until Tel Dan discovered an inscription that proved he existed as an Israelite king or chieftain. Same may be the case of Rama, that an inscription might be there somewhere waiting to be discovered.
So as of now, these evidence are only “speculations” at most. The historical places and monuments do not necessarily prove that he existed. But it also does not completely prove that he did not exist too. For now, it is inconclusive. That’s why there is a question mark at the end of the title of this article.