Ayodhya of Valmiki Ramayana

WE are going to learn in this article that present day Harappa was the original Ayodhya of Ramayana. Present day Ayodhya town is situated in North India. Another town called Ayuthiya is in Thailand. But where did original Ayodhya located where the story of Ramayana took place ​?(These are extracts from Chapter 16 titled ‘ Aparajitam’ in author’s Book, ” A Tribute to the Ancient world of India “, ©)

Aparajita of Jataka stories

Erstwhile Ayodhya  was also called as Sarthaka. Sarthaka means living upto its            reputation. It is also called as Aparajita.  Aparajita means invincible. Etymologically Ayodhya means an impregnable fort. In the Buddist Jataka stories City of Varanasi, Kasi and Kosala Rajya are mentioned repeatedly and interchangeably. In the Jataka stories Lord Buddha is called as Bodhisatva.

In these stories Buddha incarnates as Bodhisatva in the form of different kinds of human beings (and also as animals). In one story the Bodhisatva is named as Sarthavaha. Etymologically Sarthavaha and Sarthaka sound same. This drives home the point that the    merchants who lead their caravans towards south actually hail from the city of Sarthaka and hence the Ayodhya. Sarthavaha takes up his journey from Kasi and travels towards South along with his associate Merchants.

In their journey some people try to mislead Sarthavaha saying that the water pots he and his band were carrying was a waste of exercise and there was a city with full of water ahead and hence the water pots could better be destroyed . But the Bodhisatva Sarthavaha ignores their words (recognizing them as cannibalistic Yakshas). After some time Sarthavaha and his companions would pass through a desert where there would be no water to drink. Then the water pots they were carrying on their bullock carts would come to their rescue. 

    And in another Jataka story a Bodhisatva inspires his companions to continue  digging the well eventhough they encounter a hard rock and ultimately they succeed in finding water in that well. 

From the above two episodes of Jataka tales we have to learn that caravans used to start from Kasi that is from Kosala Rajya and travel southwards. And then the journey of     merchants becomes odious and passes through a desert. There used to be cannibals roaming around along the trade routes. Jataka stories identify Yakshas as cannibals. And presently a desert called Cholistan exists to the South of Harappa.  And in other chapters we have identified Alakapuri or Meluha as the present day Mohenzo daro. Meluha  was the hub of  international trade in those days. So, we have to        understand that caravans starting from Harappa carrying mercantile goods had to pass through this desert to reach the city of Meluha or Alakapuri.  

Also Read

We have learnt in        previous chapters that this desert had housed a city that hosted the greatest people of the ancient world, the Matsyas and the city was identified as Vaijayanatam (present day Ganweriwala). And Kosala Rajya lies on the banks of River Sarayu as per the       following sloka from Ramayana. And the country of Kosala  is very prosperous and a big country among the Janapadas.

कॊसलॊ नाम मुदितस्स्पीतॊ जनपदॊ महान
विविष्टस्सरयू तीरॆ प्रभूत धनधान्यवान
kOsalO naama muditasspItO janapadO mahaan
viviShTassarayU tIrE prabhUta dhanadhaanyavaan
(baala kaaMDa, SlOkamu 5, sarga 5)

Sarayu Purushni Iravati Ravi

Historians have identified River Ravi as the ancient Purishni. From the           following hymn from Rig Veda we can see that Sarayu was also called as Purishni in the ancient days. 

मा वॊ रसानितभा कुभा क्रुमुर्मा वः सिन्ढुर्नि रीरिमत
मा वः परिष्टात सरयुः पुरीषिण्यस्मॆ इत सुम्नमस्तु वः

maa vO rasaanitabhaa kubhaa krumurmaa vaH sinDhurni rIrimat
maa vaH pariShTaat sarayuH purIShiNyasmE it sumnamastu vaH
(rugvEdaM maMDalaM 5 , SlOka 53, sUkta 9) 

( maa = no; vaH = you; pariShTa = obstruct; sarayu = saras, pond; purIShi = possessing land (spread across or over the land); Purishni =  Wide spread;  Nyaa = hold back; asma = us; sumna = show grace; astu = let it happen; vaH = you. )

    It is prayed in the second line of the above sloka, ‘ R. Sarayu  whose waters have spread very wide (Purishi) should not obstruct us while crossing ther river Sarayu/Ravi’. So we have to understand that River Ravi, Sarayu and Purishni are one and the same. 
So present day Harappa which lies on the banks of R. Ravi should be the erstwhile Ayodhya.

Also Read