Hindu Temple Token: Ramtanka, 1740

Started by mitresh, November 03, 2013, 08:28:28 AM

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mitresh

Hindu Temple Token, Ramtanka, 1740, 10.5g

HAPPY VIJAYA DASHMI (DIWALI) to all WoC Members. Today (ie Diwali or Deepawali meaning Festival of Lights, see here) is the biggest festival of the Hindu's in which each and every household, rich or poor, city or village, will be lit by lights and lamps to commemorate the home coming of Lord Ram with his brother Lakshman and wife Sita, following 14 years exile on the orders of Lord Ram's father. It is said that the public of Ayodhya, fearing their Prince may have forgotten the way home due to the long years away from home, lit all approach pathways to the city including all household with lamps so that their beloved Prince could find his way home without any difficulty.

Diwali also means celebration of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. It is apt that the symbolism of the festival is captured by the central characters on a Token popularly known as the Ram Tanka.

Obv: Crowned Lord Ram with brother Lakshman holding bow slung from shoulders, legend on top in corrupt Nagari script reading: Ram Lakshman Janaki Jai Bolo Hanuman Ki (obeisance invoking the name of Ram, Lakshman, Janaki ie Sita, and Hanuman), date in exergue 1740

Rev: Within a central Chattra (Parasol or Umbrella), seated Lord Ram with consort Sita, flanked by Lakshman to the right and Bharat and Shatrughan to the left, and Hanuman below seated with hands folded in prayer.


More info on Ramtanka's here.

Note on Symbolism of the Central Characters of Ramayana (source: Swami Jyotirmayananda)

Rama symbolizes the Supreme Self, the Ultimate Reality, the Brahman of the Upanishads. His brothers (Lakshman, Bharat, Shatrughan) stand for sat-chit-ananda, the divine attributes—existence, consciousness, and bliss. Sita is the Divine Mother, who, through the Cosmic Mind, is the cause of the multiplicity of life. She is inseparable from Brahman.

On the level of our relative existence the protagonists represent the aspects of our lives: Rama stands for the soul in the process of awakening. Lakshmana is the power of will in us. Shatrughna represents reason, and Bharata is the emotional aspect of the personality, which is channeled into devotion. Sita is the intellect (buddhi) that finds its divine origin.

King Dasharatha stands for the human personality. His three queens are the positive aspects of the three gunas (modes of nature): Kausaliya is Sattva (harmony, balance, light and intelligence; our higher spiritual potential), Sumitra is Rajas (the power of action, energy, movement and change), and Kaikeyi is Tamas (darkness, inertia, dullness, unconsciousness).

Rama—the soul—breaks Shiva's bow, which is symbolic of breaking the spell of ego, the spell of ignorance, and of embarking on the spiritual quest. This wins him the hand of Sita, which means the higher, spiritual intelligence (buddhi) comes alive in us, leading us to enlightenment.

But Sita, the intellect, is kidnapped by the demonic force (Ravana—avidia or ignorance) and imprisoned in Lanka, the depth of the unconscious mind. In order to find her and free her, Rama meets sages and saints (seeks satsang or spiritual company). He befriends monkeys and bears, which means the soul integrates the energies of the senses. Then he sends Hanuman (the sadhana shakti, power of spiritual practice) to find Sita. Hanuman burns Lanka (he overhauls the unconscious) and brings the news of Sita to Rama. This means the soul and higher intelligence are connected through insight into the practice of meditation and Samadhi.

Rama then builds a bridge across the ocean to Lanka. This bridge is the mystical connection into the unconscious, built with the rocks of shubha samskaras (pure impressions, the cultivation of a pure mind). Rama, the soul, then enters the kingdom of the demons (the recesses of the unconscious mind where the roots of ignorance, egoism and evil dwell).

The demon brothers Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana, represent the negative aspects of the three gunas that keep the soul in bondage. Vibhishana is sattva, Ravana is rajas, and Kumbhakarna is Tamas. Vibhishana switches allegiance to Rama, which allows Rama to destroy the demons. In this way the soul, after developing sattva, is able to overcome the power of the rajasic and tamasic forces. In this process the light of the soul dissolves the darkness of the unconscious and allows the unconscious to be ruled by sattva. When the war has come to an end, Rama installs Vibhishana to be the ruler of Lanka.

Rama is then reunited with Sita, after she undergoes the fire ordeal. This means that the soul and buddhi (the higher mind) are joined, after has been purified in the fire of spiritual practice and becomes intuitive. Rama and Sita (the union of soul and pure intellect) then return to Ayodya and establish Rama Rajya on earth, a life of divine glory, free of fear and suffering, which symbolizes jivan mukti, the state of enlightenment.
In the quest for Excellence, there's no finish line.

Manzikert

Hi mitresh

Happy Diwali to you and everyone here. Thank you very much for the information about the meaning behind the various characters in the Rama and Sita story, which I only knew a little bit about.

However, to get back to a much more mundane level, I'd just point out that the date is actually '51,740' a fantasy date as on all of these.

I have similar Ramatankas 'dated' 1700; 55,740; 47,380; and even 475,000.

I even have one Ramatanka which has the numeral '9,495,594' on it.

Below is my example with the 51,740 'date', 13.82 gm, 29 mm.

Best wishes

Alan

statmatics

Hello mitresh -- Thanks so much for your explanation of the symbolism. It ties everything together. I operate a web site that does coin appraisals, and I get lots of inquiries from the general public about these ramtanka. May I ask your permission to use your picture on my page? Also, I wonder what you think of my evaluations of these coins. On the page there is a table that gives approximate value based on authenticity and metallic composition. Our page appears http://coinquest.com/cgi-bin/cq/coins?main_coin=521 -- Best, Paul Richards, CoinQuest

mitresh

Paul - sure you can use the image, no problem. As for valuation, I do not have much idea re: the ancient genuine coin but your prices for modern production looks reasonable.
In the quest for Excellence, there's no finish line.

yougotmi

Real nice information.  It really helped me in identifying my tokens.

Thank you.

statmatics

Thanks, mitresh -- We get a lot of inquiries about these pieces. They are fascinating. -- Paul R.

mitresh

In the quest for Excellence, there's no finish line.

yougotmi

Any idea on the valuation of these?  I have uploaded some pictures in the unidentified section, if you would like to see them.

Thanks,

Mohit

Abhay

These Ram tankas are available quite easily, even the old genuine ones, in all the three base metals - Brass, Silver and Gold.

For the old genuine Ram tankas, the present value for Brass should be around Rs. 1500-2000 (USD 25 - 33), For silver Rs. 2500 - 5500 (USD 42 - 91), and for the Gold Rs. 30000 - 100000 depending on the type and rarity (USD 500 - 1670).

Abhay
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