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The Monorailist

Ramayana, Monorailayana

The Monorailist | 2006-01-27.2500 LMT | Monorail Danger | Lost Worlds | Technology

According to the Ramayana, around 1.75 million years ago a bridge was built from mainland India across the sea to Sri Lanka. This feat of engineering was accomplished by the vanara architect Nala with the help of an army of monkeys, chief among them Hanuman, so that Lord Rama, prince of Ayodhya and avatar of Krishna, could save his wife, Sita, from the clutches of the island's dastardly, ten-mustachioed demon-ruler, Ravana.

While conventional Indologists theorize that this bridge was merely a walking path, I am certain that careful reading of the epic shows that the bridge was in fact India's first monorail line -- perhaps the grandest the world has ever witnessed.

NASA satellites have documented the bridge's remains: a chain of shoals of unnatural formation -- variably called Rama's Bridge, Nala's Bridge, or, in the West, Adam's Bridge. However, there is an interesting discrepancy; while these limestone shoals sit securely on the sea floor, tradition describes the bridge being made of "floating stones". Some scholars wildly infer that the shoals must have been formed later with the sinking of the presumably buoyant stones, but offer no mechanism for this transformation. They are like blind men unable to identify an elephant by its dissimilar parts. A true synthesis comes only with the realization that the shoals and the "floating stones" represent two different aspects of the same structure -- pillar footings and an elevated monorail track.

Consider the Monorail, with its track gliding through the air like a gentle breeze solidified, held aloft on slender pillars that hardly inconvenience the ground below. Is there any better description for this graceful, elevated state than to say the track is floating? I think not. Clearly, the chroniclers of India's history, faced with the awe-inspiring splendor of that majestic monorail stretching insouciantly Ceylonward, could not have described the rock that made up its track any other way than as "floating stones".

Read the epic with eyes open to the monorailistic possibilities and more details come into focus. Behold Nala's Monorail floating over the sea on pillars made of whole trees, some of them still bearing blossoms, uprooted by the monkey army and planted on shoals newly formed with elephant-sized boulders torn from the mountains by the most powerful of the vanara and plunged into waters tumulted with their alacritous monkey business. Five days! Five days was all it took the army of monkeys -- heroes all -- to build 30 miles of monorail track. Oh! If only Seattle had such a bold visionary as Nala!

(Some skeptics -- no doubt fearful of the coming Monorail Awakening and the massive social transformation it will bring -- will desperately protest that the bridge, described as being 10 yojanas or 80 miles wide, could not have been a monorail. But the same sources claim it was 100 yojanas or 800 miles long when we know the crossing to be only 30 miles. Obviously, exuberance for such an exalted structure has led to an exaggeration of the measurements over time. Do not attempt to explain away the reality of ancient Indian monorail technology with these untrustworthy figures!)

After the monorail line was built, Rama and his younger brother Lakshmana are said to have rode across it on the backs of Hanuman and Angada. As Sugriva, King of the Vanara, tells Rama: "These monkeys can hold both of you while flying in the sky." A clear reference to the elevated nature of the bridge, to be sure, but what are we to make of this? Was this a monorail track without monorail cars? Was it merely an elevated path for monkey porters? No.

We know from the epic that the vanara employed "mechanical contrivances" or "engines" to transport the largest boulders to the sea, so they had the technology to produce a monorail car. As Hanuman and Angada were instrumental in the endeavor to reach Ravana, what better tribute than to name the newly crafted monorail cars in their honor. Thus Rama rode in the foremost monorail car Hanuman, not on its monkey namesake -- a distinction that become understandably confused over time. Mind you, this doesn't lessen Hanuman's bhakti, for he did much in the service of Rama, but I think Rama would find traveling in the sublime, transcendental luxury that only a monorail can provide more befitting of him than riding on the back of a monkey, no matter how loyal and noble the monkey may be.

Having established the antiquity of monorail technology in India, I say: Let Mr. Zapato continue his tired tirades against the Monorail! Let him try to lead the good people of India away from their deserved place among the Monorailized Nations of the World! He will fail -- he already has failed! For you see, the Monorail is the warp woven through the very fabric of Indian culture; an intrinsic part of her national heritage, though today only dimly remembered. India is the homeland of Monorailism and the cycle of history shall be completed with the Monorail's rebirth in Chennai.

Lastly, an interesting note: Lava, the name of the Malaysian consulting firm behind the Chennai monorail deal, is also the name of one of Rama's two sons, both reunited with Rama after being born to Sita in monastic banishment. How fitting that a company bearing the name of one who would not have been conceived had it not been for Nala's monorailular ingenuity should be helping to return the Monorail to her ancestral home, reuniting the Past with the Future.

End of post.