The memory of “60,000 and 11,000 number of years” in Rāmāyaṇa

Rupa Bhaty
6 min readJul 9, 2022

A memory of an unremebered “Daśaratha” from post Toba volcanic eruption time — 72000 BCE

After penning an essay, ‘Hanumān’s leap towards Laṅkā and the Memory of Flight Path of Swāti Nakṣatra” exploring Hanuman’s recollection of Swāti nakshatra (accessible here), I began to contemplate whether humans possess the capacity to retain such meticulous memories of events that transpired when certain nakshatras were positioned differently. In oral traditions, events might have been documented at specific times, with changes noted through attentive observation. Many words (nouns) anchor potential diachronic histories, as revealed by onomastic inquiries, in addition to their semantic significance derived from Sanskrit verb roots. These verb roots can take on different meanings when combined with prefixes and suffixes. Certain words, such as river names, potentially embody historical contexts. Analogous to onomastic analyses of words indicating significant time periods and their historical essence, it seems that certain mathematical expressions not only convey philosophical ideas but may also encode the passage of specific numbers of years.Examining Numbers

We encounter two statements: one indicating that Daśaratha lived for 60,000 years, and another suggesting that Rāma will live for 11,000 years. What do these phrases signify, and what is their intended message? Why does Valmiki employ varying numbers for different individuals? If it were merely a matter of phraseology, then 60,000 years would have sufficed for Rama as well.

The Phrases — just phraseology or brief assessment of time


ष्टिर्वर्षसहस्राणि जातस्य मम कौशिक।।1.20.10।।
दु:खेनोत्पादितश्चायं न रामं नेतुमर्हसि।

ṣṭirvarṣasahasrāṇi jātasya mama kauśika।।1.20.10।।
du:khenotpāditaścāyaṃ na rāmaṃ netumarhasi।

O scion of of Kusika family, sixty thousand years have passed since I was born. Rama was born to me after a great deal of suffering. It is not proper to take him with you.

daśa varṣa sahasrāṇi daśa varṣa śatāni ca ।
rāmo rājyam upāsitvā brahma lokam prayāsyati।।1.1.97।।

दशवर्षसहस्राणि दशवर्षशतानि च ।
रामो राज्यमुपासित्वा ब्रह्मलोकं प्रयास्यति ।।

Rama, reigning the kingdom for eleven thousand years, will attain Brahmaloka.

The clue

Lets understand the 60,000 year phrase first. Do you remember Phantom series? Such narratives come from the human memories and histories by themselves.

These narratives resonate with life through their shared name associations within the monarchical system, akin to the Rāma Kings of Thailand. In the Chakri dynasty, all monarchs adopt the title Rāma.

Souce — Wiki

Rāghava Rāma

I’m not suggesting that all rulers were referred to as Rāma for 11,000 years following the Rāmāyaṇa, although it’s plausible that some might have been, albeit uncertain. Similarly, just as the Ikṣvāku tribe retained its name for generations, evolving into titles like Rāghava (in honor of a distant ancestor) or Trāsadasya (the vanquisher of enemies), a king like Rājā Rāma achieved such renown that he became synonymous with Raghupati Rāghava. Consequently, lesser-known monarchs from other epochs may have faded from memory in comparison to Raghu. If Rāma’s remarkable feats ensure his remembrance, then his father and grandfather, as immediate predecessors, are also recalled, while earlier ancestors may remain forgotten or overlooked.

Now why 11,000 and not 60,000 years for Rāma.

In one of my published papers, I presented evidence suggesting that the epoch dated back to 34,500 BCE, coinciding with the occurrence of the vernal equinox in the maghā nakṣatra. This implies that the lineage of the Ikṣvākus extends far into antiquity. Additionally, in another paper and various articles on Medium, we delved into the mapping of geographical and geomorphological conditions described in the Rig-Veda. These narratives were likely written after or during significant geographical events of the time. As such, Nairuktas classified the study of the Rig-Veda as āitihāsika, given its inclusion of historical accounts. For me, the references to Daśaratha living for 60,000 years and the prophecy that Rāma will live for 11,000 years resonate beyond mere philosophical implications. These statements could reflect past phenomena or ongoing events. Similarly, the mention of 11,000 years implies that this duration has elapsed since the departure of the main branch of the Ikṣvākus from earth, with this verse potentially added during the final uprooting of the Ikṣvākus, believed to have been orchestrated by Mahāpadmananda.

Pic 1. Sumitra — The last Ikṣvāku King

When the 11,000 years got appended in Rāmāyaṇa?

Compare 1.15.28 with 1.1.17

दशवर्षसहस्राणि दशवर्षशतानि च।वत्स्यामि मानुषे लोके पालयन्पृथिवीमिमाम्।।1.15.28।।

‘I will’ then reside in human world ruling this earth for eleven thousand years.” Thus Vishnu assured the gods. [1–15–28, 29, 30a]

दशवर्षसहस्राणि दशवर्षशतानि च | रामो राज्यमुपासित्वा ब्रह्मलोकं गमिष्यति || 1.1.17

“Having served the kingdom for ten thousand years and another one thousand years, i.e. for a total of eleven thousand years, Rama ‘will go to’ the abode of Brahma”… [1–1–97]

Both of these phrases indicate that the numbers were not merely incidental; they were deliberate. In the first verse, Lord Vishnu speaks, and in the subsequent one, Rama speaks. Now, a pertinent question arises: why eleven thousand years? When was this duration of 11,000 years added to the Ramayana, suggesting that Rama would rule the earth for this length of time? Since this prophecy pertains to the future, let’s explore if we can find any clues from future events. To do so, we must investigate when this addition could have been made. We know that Mahapadma uprooted the last king of the main Ikshvaku lineage. Let’s delve into the era of Mahapadma and the Mauryan period. If Kautilya is indeed the same as Chanakya, who advised Chandragupta Maurya, then the timing can be accurately pinpointed using Chanakya’s accounts in Arthashastra 2.20. Let’s examine the chronology of Kautilya’s era. (refer to the image below)

Pic 2. Kautilya-Arthashastra 2.20

21st Feb to 21st March = Vasanta’s first month=Chaitra,

21st March to 21st April=Vasanta’s first month=Vaiṣakha.

One month pressess is equal to 2000 years. With the help of precession of equinoxes the Chaitra in that month would mean Chandragupta Maurya going back to 1500 BCE ± 500 years. In today’s time Chaitra has shifted to 21st day of second month of vasanta.

If we consider the addition of the 11,000 years during the decline of the Ikshvaku lineage, aligning with the timing proposed by Shri Nilesh Oak for the Ram-Ravana conflict in 12,209 BCE, subtracting 11,000 years from it brings us to 1209 BCE. Although we cannot ascertain the exact duration of Mahapadma’s rule, this aligns closely with the period mentioned in Kautilya’s Arthashastra, which pertains to the Mauryan era when this verse in the Ramayana may have been added.

Moreover, if we accept the validity of the 11,000-year duration, then the reference to 60,000 years was likely not just a casual phrase. Daśaratha intentionally uttered this number to signify the age of the Ikṣvākus lineage on earth. This timeframe coincides closely with the era of the Toba explosion. During this period, there existed an Ikṣvāku king probably named or epithed Daśaratha, a distant ancestor, shortly after the Toba event.


  1. The numbers of years mentioned appears to be genuine.
  2. The verse 1–1–97 may have got appended during or little before Kautilya’s time.
  3. There had been many kings who were remembered in the name of their distant predecessors. Such a case is ruled in regard to Daśaratha also.



Rupa Bhaty

Architect and Adjunct Assistant Professor at School of Indic studies, Institute of Advanced Sciences, MA, USA