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

Examining Numbers

We come accross two phrases that Daśaratha has lived for 60000 years and for Rāma who will live for 11000 years. What do they mean or what are these verses trying to say?

The Phrases — just phraseology or brief assessment of time

Description

The clue

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

Souce — Wiki

Rāghava Rāma

I don’t say that all were called Rāma for 11,000 years post Rāmāyaṇa, or may be probably they were called. Just like for a long time Ikṣvākus were called Rāghava (a long distant predecessor). A king who was remembered so eminently for his deeds. Such becomes the case for non rememberance of other kings who may have been significant but yet insignificant compared to Raghu. If Rāma is remembered then due to him his father and grandfather are remembered, other predecessors go into the list of unremembered members.

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

After understanding the geographical and geomorphological condition mapping of rivers in Rg-Veda the narratives were written after some incedent already happened. Thus, Nairuktas had assigned Rg-Veda as āitihāsika. But the condition had already been a past phenomena. Similarly uttering 11,000 years will be attained can only mean that those many years have past from the uprooting of Ikṣvāku’s main branch from this earth. This was done by Mahāpadmananda.

When the 11,000 years were attained?

Now we come to a valid question. lets understand Mahapadma and Maurya times. If Kautilya is the same Chanakaya who supervised Chandragupta Maurya then the timing is very accurately recorded by Chanakya in Arthashastra.

Kautilya-Arthashastra 2.20

Takeaways

  1. The numbers of years mentioned appears to be genuine.
  2. There had been many kings who were remembered in the name of their distant predecessors. Such a case is ruled in regard to Daśaratha.

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Rupa Bhaty

Rupa Bhaty

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