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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The mythical king Ravana was apparently a real ruler in ancient Sri Lanka :: Ancient rock inscriptions translated

One of the elements of the founding mythology of the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka always bothered me; that was that when Prince Vijaya (the founder of the Sinhala people/race & Sri Lankan civilization according to the ancient chronicle Mahavansa) came to Sri Lanka he encountered various groups of people already living there, people with trappings of civilization, but then the story of Prince Vijaya moves on, just focusing on what his dynasty and kings after them did in Sri Lanka, without looking at who these other people - the Yaksas - that Vijaya encountered were. Looks like a new book provides the answer to the question of who those people were.

I received the '07 published book The Lost Dynasty: Uncovering Sri Lanka's Secret Past in the mail today, and the book is an intoxicating feast of historical material, amazing new interpretations, and beautiful photographs. Anyone familiar with ancient Indian mythology will have heard of the Ramayana; an epic poem that tells the story of the Indian King Rama rescuing his queen Sita from a powerful king named Ravana in Sri Lanka. The author of Lost Dynasty, Nishantha Gunawardena, presents images of ancient inscriptions (some only recently discovered, after the December 2004 tsunami) and their translations, some of which indicate that Ravana was a real, flesh and blood, not-only-in-myths, king of Sri Lanka who was descended from the Harappan civilization.

Here is a little bit from the book, from page 227 - 228:

"I translated the first portion of the inscription. "Under the order of His Eminence Ravana the son of His Eminence Visharava this boundary is marked and the lake is presented to the Priesthood." The inscription also mentions Ravana's grandson Agiya and Thejasha along with his brother Kuvera."

The inscription was made using "the earliest Brahami alphabet", a script that can trace its roots back to the Harappan civilization (c. 2500 BCE) and forward to Sinhala script (c. 300 BCE). There is an impressive chart in the book that shows the evolution of the Harappan symbols into Brahmi and Sinhala script. The inscription was discovered in the village of Kolonisyaya in Sri Lanka. In Lost Dynasty the inscription and the dynasty of Ravana are dated back to around 2300 BCE, 1844 years before Gautama Buddha.

Wild.

To find out more, check out Lost Dynasty.

Once I've digested the material & recover from the high of fresh interpretations of ancient rock inscriptions & artifacts, I plan on interviewing the author of Lost Dynasty at this blog.

Another translated inscription presented in the book provides proof of Gautama Buddha visiting Sri Lanka. More on all this at the interview, coming sometime soon/this month perhaps.

In the meantime, check out Lost Dynasty so that we can discuss it here later.

- Sujewa

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