182 Plant species mention in the great ramayana

Discussion in 'Ramayana' started by garry420, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member


    The world of plants is central to the Ramayana, and this Indian pre-historical book written in long poem describes several trees and plants that are geographically accurate, and even today, the plants that are described are found growing in the exact locations all over India where Valmiki, author of the Ramayana, has placed them. It is both geographically and botanically correct.

    Mr. M. Amerthalingam, botanist with the C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, Chennai, presented the paper, “Plant Diversity in the Valmiki Ramayana” at the February 2013 Conference on The Ramayana in Literature, Society, and the Arts. The proceedings have recently been published. Dr. P. Sudhakar, the co-author*, was invaluable in tracing the botanical and modern names for several of the plant species, which are named in Sanskrit. Valmiki Ramayana is replete with superb descriptions of nature’s glory. It hinges on two major events, namely Rama’s fourteen year exile in the forests and the rescue of Sita from captivity in Lanka. The stage of the epic includes a wide swathe of territory that stretches from present day Uttar Pradesh through Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka up to Lanka (Srilanka) beyond the sea. It is obvious that such a large chunk of territory would cover a wide range of biological and non-biological phenomena. The three years of analysis* is an attempt made to highlight the four major ecosystems, namely, the tropical deciduous forests, the dry and moist deciduous forests, the evergreen tropical forests of Sri Lanka and the Alpine region semi- forests (Himalayan), with details of geographical distribution, principal flora and fauna, water elements and their environmental importance. An amazing fact about the Ramayana is that it is geographically accurate in spite of the passage of thousands of years.

    The research also says it is worth examining who were the Vanaras, popularly called monkeys in current generation. According to the epic, they were the inhabitants of the ‘vana’, the cultivated forests. The word for monkey in Sanskrit is ‘kapi’, not vanara. We are told that that the armies of Vali and Sugriva marched with the Vanara emblem on the flags. Even Jambavan, the so-called bear, is called a vanara, or forest dweller. An author who knew his flora and fauna so well could not mistake a bear for a monkey. Much later, they were designated as monkeys with less understanding between Monkeys and Vanaras. Vanaras were indeed a different species, superior to monkey.

    The research* has documented a total of #182 plant species in Valmiki’s Ramayana. Out of the 182 plant species, 105 species are trees, 5 are small trees, 8 are shrubs, 22 are herbs, 1 is a species of creeper, 15 species are climbers, 6 are grasses and 20 are aquatic herbs.
    *Sources: Plant and Animal Diversity in Valmiki's Ramayana by M. Amirthalingam And P. Sudhakar. Published by C.P. Environmental Education Centre

Share This Page