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Rama's Bridge or Adam's Bridge
September 14, 2007 5:35 AM   Subscribe

Indian Government withdraws scepticism of bridge-building monkey army
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 (48 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Well, duh. Monkeys can do anything. What the fuck, Indian government?!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:43 AM on September 14, 2007


They say if you give a million monkeys a million typewriters, then eventually, by pure luck, one of them will use the typewriters to build a bridge to Sri Lanka.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:47 AM on September 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


He built a bridge? Why didn't he fly? Same reason Gandalf didn't get the Eagles to do an air drop of the Ring into Mordor, I suppose.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 5:49 AM on September 14, 2007


footage
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:50 AM on September 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh what I could do with an army of monkeys.
posted by chillmost at 5:52 AM on September 14, 2007


Today the robot and zombie communities mourn. For how many more years must the monkeys get all the credit?
posted by DU at 5:52 AM on September 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Henry, I decided that the eagles must have been migratory and were only available at the end of the book
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:53 AM on September 14, 2007


Would these be the same gang of monkeys as built our back patio? Trading Standards want a word with them.
posted by Abiezer at 5:54 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Um...
posted by liquorice at 6:03 AM on September 14, 2007


I remember seeing information about the bridge a couple years ago, and most people at the time believed it was man made, If it was, I would hate to see it dredged up. I wonder if the report called it natural to provide cover to destroy it.

Framing this as being a bunch of people who believe that monkeys built it is pretty weak. In fact, the second link says
This Blog is created with a sole aim to unite all like minded people of India and abroad who wants to protect the most ancient man-made bridge known as Rama’s Bridge ( or Adam’s Bridge ), the world’s most ancient heritage, and to save India from ecological destructions.
That is, man, not monkey made. Of course you could argue that humans are a subset of monkeys
posted by delmoi at 6:06 AM on September 14, 2007


The eagles were afraid to even enter the lands of men because of bows. You think they'd fare well in a hundred mile flight over the lands of orcs?

Without even any trees to provide cover?

And even assuming the orcs didn't take care of them themselves, you don't think giant eagles flying over barren Mordor towards Mount Doom would be noticed and reported, resulting in flying Nazgul being immediately dispatched to kick their... do birds have asses?

And the eagles were depicted as proud and powerful creatures. The whole reason Gandalf chose hobbits in the first place is that the prouder and more powerful, the greater the temptation of the ring. And, in the end, even the chosen hobbit failed to overcome the temptation. An eagle would've had no chance.
posted by Flunkie at 6:09 AM on September 14, 2007


A truly intelligently-designed bridge!

I must say that it is a small comfort (but a comfort nonetheless) to be reminded that dunderheaded religious rubes exist and wield some measure of power in all countries, not just the United States.
posted by billysumday at 6:17 AM on September 14, 2007


That is, man, not monkey made.
Delmoi, that page also references the Ramayana as the reason why this canal must not be built, and links to pages such as "Conclusive proof that lord Rama existed". It's entirely possible that by "man-made", he simply means "not natural".
posted by Flunkie at 6:17 AM on September 14, 2007


All you people want is more! more! MORE! MORE! MORE! Leave Indian Government alone! You're lucky she even performed you bastards.
posted by phaedon at 6:19 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


There's a comment at Kabaddi's Youtube (yeah, I know) footage that some speculate that the word in the Ramayana may have referred to aboriginal people rather than monkeys. Would support the ancient engineering marvel thesis.
posted by Abiezer at 6:22 AM on September 14, 2007


Sun Wukong doesn't care, one way or the other.

Greg Nog, see if you can identify this:
"To be or not to be, that is the gzorninplat."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:22 AM on September 14, 2007


"So, the Hindus say it was built by gods and monkeys, and everyone else says it's a natural formation. The truth must be somewhere in between!"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:27 AM on September 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


Also, you call that a bridge? This here is a bridge.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:30 AM on September 14, 2007


That's nice maneuvering on the anti-canal side, forcing the pro-canal side to back down or declare themselves unbelievers who are ready to destroy a god's work. I'd bet the people running the anti-canal don't believe the monkey story either; they just don't want a fucking shipping canal dug straight through a beautiful natural environment.

I think I'm with Ram and the monkeys.
posted by pracowity at 6:32 AM on September 14, 2007


LOL XINDUS
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:40 AM on September 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Flunkie, the Eagles could fly higher than the arrows. Sauron's eye was aimed elsewhere. If they had flown in from the brown lands, or whatever the wastes were called to the north of Mordor, meeting up with the Fellowship there, there wouldn't have been time for the flying Nazgul to be alerted, Sauron wasn't looking there. In any case, the Eagles could kick the Nazgul's asses.

The Hobbits could still have taken the ring, just hitched a ride. Gwaihir was the same sort of being as Gandalf, IIRC, so probably less likely to be subverted (could an Eagle wear a ring?). Time spent with the Ring increased the chances of it taking you over. If they had been quick, they could have done it.

posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 6:43 AM on September 14, 2007


Same reason Gandalf didn't get the Eagles to do an air drop of the Ring into Mordor, I suppose.

I believe TSR had a "Lord of the Rings" game back in the eighties, an early version of which had exactly this problem.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:47 AM on September 14, 2007


Flunkie, the Eagles could fly higher than the arrows.
As I said, they were afraid to enter the lands of men because of bows.
Sauron's eye was aimed elsewhere.
Sauron's eye was aimed elsewhere with respect to insignificant little hobbits walking in and crawling in hiding amongst the rocks the whole way, not "in general". And all it takes is one orc to look up.
If they had flown in from the brown lands, or whatever the wastes were called to the north of Mordor, meeting up with the Fellowship there, there wouldn't have been time for the flying Nazgul to be alerted, Sauron wasn't looking there.
Why wouldn't there have been time? One orc looks up. Signal fire is lit. Eagle ass is kicked.
In any case, the Eagles could kick the Nazgul's asses.
Uh, yeah. Sure.
The Hobbits could still have taken the ring, just hitched a ride.
Bad idea. One of Frodo's explicitly selected guardians tried to kill him due to the temptation; an eagle would've succeeded. Just dump him from a hundred feet up, and then go down and get the ring at leisure.
Gwaihir was the same sort of being as Gandalf, IIRC, so probably less likely to be subverted (could an Eagle wear a ring?).
Even Gandalf wanted as little to do as possible with the ring, for fear of its temptation.
Time spent with the Ring increased the chances of it taking you over. If they had been quick, they could have done it.
Also positively correlated with the temptation were distance to Mount Doom and the chance of the impending destruction of the ring. The implication that only the amount of time was a factor is not accurate.
posted by Flunkie at 6:53 AM on September 14, 2007


Will you take your discussion of a fantastical fictional epic out of this thread about the historicity of the Ramayana?
Oh. Right. I see. Carry on!
posted by Abiezer at 7:00 AM on September 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


Just wait until this monkey army gets together with the Sea Monkeys. They'll be an unstoppable fighting force.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:03 AM on September 14, 2007


I DISAGREE

/slam
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 7:08 AM on September 14, 2007


About Rama's Bridge/Adam's Bridge and Palk Strait on Wikipedia.

More about the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project.

NASA Images Find 1,750,000 Year Old Man-Made Bridge.

Timeline of human evolution.
posted by nickyskye at 7:08 AM on September 14, 2007


It would be a tragedy if they actually finished these canals.

In regards to the eagles, I think it's a question of politics. It's not just as though Gandalf can summon them to rescue a frisbee out of a tree - the eagle's were not his servants. Besides, disposing of the ring had everything to do with fate and destiny, not logistics.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:12 AM on September 14, 2007


It's entirely possible that by "man-made", he simply means "not natural".

Right, but "man-made" he obviously meant "not-man-made". I mean duh, that's just logic.
posted by delmoi at 7:21 AM on September 14, 2007


Just wait until this monkey army gets together with the Sea Monkeys. They'll be an unstoppable fighting force.

I think those mixed species social spiders in Texas might have something to say about the unstopability of a bunch of monkeys.

Then again the spiders might just be a bunch of hippies hanging out and living in their little commune in a nature reserve. They probably wouldn't want to kick ass.
posted by public at 7:26 AM on September 14, 2007


delmoi, Lord Ram was a god, but he was also a man. Like Jesus, or Mister Rogers.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:27 AM on September 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm tired of all this motherfuckin' MonkeyFilter.*


*Not really, I like it :)
posted by Mister_A at 7:31 AM on September 14, 2007


What the hell is going on here?
posted by Alex404 at 7:39 AM on September 14, 2007


The music in that bridge-building cartoon video is pretty catchy. Seems like it could do with a bit of up-mashing, eh, '94?
posted by moonmilk at 8:04 AM on September 14, 2007


What a tease ... you mention "monkey army" there better be video!
posted by mrgrimm at 8:27 AM on September 14, 2007


So. . . suppose the eagles had a monkey army suspended from their talons and then the monkeys were holding Frodo and Sam - maybe with bungee cords, because everything is better with bungee cords - and then they flew over Mt. Doom and Frodo sort of bounced on down and dropped the ring in?

Then they totally could have built the bridge on the way back to the Shire. Which is why only Orcs would consider slamming a canal through it.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:49 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Greg Nog, see if you can identify this:
"To be or not to be, that is the gzorninplat."


Isn't that from Act III of Hugrmnet?
posted by Greg Nog at 8:49 AM on September 14, 2007


Oh, also, mrgrimm: You want to see video of an army of monkeys, you check out the trailer for the Sitayana.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:02 AM on September 14, 2007


There has been a tremendous lack of restraint on this issue on many fronts.

The "problem" here is the following passage in the Archeological Survey of India's affidavit to the Supreme Court:
... contents of the Valmiki Ramayana, the Ramcharitamanas by Tulsidas and other mythological texts, which admittedly form an important part of ancient Indian literature... cannot be said to be historical record to incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters, or the occurrence of the events, depicted therein."
It was cold, pragmatic, rational and correct. Ramayana could never withstand rigorous hagiographic scrutiny; the original Valmiki version has misleading timelines, incorrect place-names and a whole lot of other problems. Not the least of which is the actual concept of Rama worship itself, which, by at least some accounts, came into prominence mainly during the Bhakti movement. (Tradition has it that Rama was unique in Vishnu's nine avatars in that he didn't think, or know, that he was divine. He makes some very human errors of judgement in the story.)

Moreover, [and I was googling this yesterday with the intent of posting this today :-)], there is virtually zero evidence, archeological or otherwise, to suggest that Sri Lanka is, in fact, The Lanka in the Ramayana. While this won't be apparent to protesting neanderthal mobs in the North, 'lanka' is actually a very common placename in the south; in Telugu, any island can be called a 'lanka'. In fact, I can think of at least three lankas in the Krishna delta area, none of which have anything to do with the Ramayana.

People forget that the Lanka in the Ramayana was a city-state atop a mountain on an island on the "other side" of the southern ocean. Hanuman had to fly quite a bit of a distance to reach the walls of the city-state.

In comparison, Sri Lanka is a huuuge island that encompasses more area than a city can ever hold. Also, it is not on the other side of the southern ocean, as the original text suggests; Adam's Bridge is "merely" 48 kilometres long.

Additionally, and I personally find this the most damning, the word "Sri Lanka" is actually a very very very VERY recent usage; you don't call the island as "Sri Lanka" in Vedic Sanskrit, it is simply "Sinhala-dweepa". (Vedic placenames are rather important for Hindu rituals; you're supposed to recite your place and time before you start any puja.)

In short, there is absolutely no archeological, theological, cultural, logical or linguistic basis to presume that Sri Lanka was Ramayana's Lanka.

In fact, there's at least one paper that suggests that Lanka was somewhere near modern-day Orissa, or perhaps, somewhere south, near the Godavari- Krishna doab.

There is also some conjecture that it could be somewhere on the Malaysian peninsula. Now this may, or may not, be true; the explanation there is that Hindu- Buddhist civilizations in South East Asia routinely called themselves after ancient Vedic tribes. Dynasties ruling the Angkor kingdom, for example, decided that they were descendants of the Vedic-era Kambhoja tribe; likewise, rulers of a 15th century kingdom along the banks of the Chao Phraya river called their ancient capital as Ayyuthayya, the river next to it as Sarayu, and their dynasty, the Rama dynasty. They're still in power in Thailand.

That said, the ASI's affidavit was also a breathtakingly stupid move. They were merely asked to comment on whether Adam's Bridge was archeologically relevant or not. Instead, they commented on the Ramayana itself, saying it may, in fact, be fictitious.

The ASI simply didn't get it; like all of South East Asia, India breathes Ramayana at every stone, tree, and temple. My grandmom has been narrating the Ramayana at a local temple to anybody interested for as long as I can remember and she always cries while describing the goddess Sita's travails at the Ashoka Vana. The Ramayana is India's great big schizophrenic celebration; it has seen countless translations, reinterpretations, depictions and narrations. As the ancient sloka (poetic verse in Sanskrit) goes, the Ramayana will be told and re-told for as long as water flows through rivers, and wind blows through trees. You may not believe in Rama or that his divine, but you cannot deny the Ramayana; it exists, with or without Rama.

See why I found this so frustrating? ASI could have simply said, "We do not believe that Sri Lanka is the Lanka in the Ramayana". That is all that they needed to say. Instead, they start questioning the Ramayana itself in India's highest court, thus shooting all of Rama's three million arrows on its own foot.
posted by the cydonian at 9:11 AM on September 14, 2007 [18 favorites]


Damn. This thread just gets better and better. I *love* metafilter.
posted by bonecrusher at 10:07 AM on September 14, 2007


Greg Nog, it's from the stand-up comic Newhart. Or to use his Vedic name - Bob.


posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:40 AM on September 14, 2007


Lord Ram was a god, but he was also a man. Like Jesus, or Mister Rogers.

Two of these are not like the other. And the odd man out is........Jesus!

*Jesus accepts handshake plus some Z-brick*
*applause*
posted by storybored at 11:19 AM on September 14, 2007


If there's anyone in this thread who A) is enjoying the discussion of both Hindu and Tolkein mythology and B) hasn't read Lord of Light, I recommend you do so.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:45 AM on September 14, 2007


This eagles thing is the best derail I've ever seen.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:38 PM on September 14, 2007


So, this bridge is part of the Hindu Forbidden Zone?
posted by Tube at 5:03 PM on September 14, 2007


WTF? At 2:24 of the Bridge-Building Monkey Cartoon With All The Singing, an elephant steps on some lizard-dog creature.

:-(
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 7:20 PM on September 14, 2007


India's culture minister has offered to resign in a row over whether Hindu gods are mythological figures.
posted by homunculus at 12:33 PM on September 15, 2007


To bring us back to the topic of the Eagles for a moment (and I know no one wants to hear any more about it, but I don't care, I have a point), the temptation of the Ring goes beyond the meta-temptation that grips Frodo, Gollum, Sam, etc. (i.e., lesser beings). It is called The Ring of Power for a very good reason. It imparts the faculty of Control to the wearer, and its ability to do this increases with the being's inherent powers. At one point in the book, Frodo threatens to put on the Ring and command Gollum to choke to death. And he would do it. And so, the meta-temptation is compounded with the sure knowledge that, if you were to put on the Ring, you could hold dominion over anything around you. Think also of when Sam is in brief possession of the Ring and hallucinates about transforming the plains of Gorgoroth into a blossoming field.

This is a brilliant literary device, and if you step inside of the Lord of the Rings world for a minute, a completely brilliant tactical/strategic move on the part of Sauron. Because the power of the Ring grows greater with the power of the wearer, and the meta-temptation (i.e., the singular desire to possess it, aside even from its other properties) grows as well, he can be practically assured that anyone who actually has the power to destroy the thing will immediately succumb to it!

Hence, giving it to the Eagles would be a terrible idea. Nearly as terrible an idea as giving it to Gandalf himself, against which he also protests.

Aside from the practical considerations, much is made of Frodo's having been "meant" to take the ring to its doom. In Tolkein's mythology, the entire history of events had been sung at the birth of the world in the Ainulindale, and it is likely that Frodo's journey was predestined.

And even aside from all of this, it is very likely that Gandalf didn't have the power to just say "Eagles, do whatever I want." The Eagles were creatures much older than Gandalf himself, they were the messengers of Manwe, for fuck's sake! Unlikely to take orders from a wizard, but they might have done him a solid or two (which they did).
posted by synaesthetichaze at 1:25 PM on September 15, 2007


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