When did the gods become literate? Was: Are the gods literate?

Bharat Gupt abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN
Wed Nov 10 23:32:43 UTC 1999

Robert P. Goldman wrote:
> There seems to be little in the way of unambiguous reference to writing in
> the Valmiki Ramayana other than the references to Rama's signet ring,
> famously given by him to Hanuman as a token of recognition for Sita.
> At 4. 43 11 the ring is said to be svanAmANKopaZobhitam and again at 5.34.
> 2 to be rAmanAmANkitam. ( refs. are to the crit. ed.).   This would
> certainly appear to suggest that some kind of writing was involved although
> it is not, perhaps, conclusive..

I am wondering why  Naama  and anka  are not conclusive enough to indicate that writing
that spells "Rama" existed. This is even more conclusive than Kalidasa's Meghadutam in
which the Yaksha tells the Cloud that his wife shall be heard singing a stanza
containing his name , " Mat gotraankitapadam geyamudgaatukaamaa"

I suppose the cardinal question is not whether writing was known in Valmiki's time (if
that is certain!) but whether the technlogy of writing was inluential in communication,
education, preservation of texts and so on?

At what time does the impact of writing show itself in India? A useful field of research
for indologists perhaps!

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