Story Of Vedic Civilisation

Historical Dates From Puranic Sources

Prof. Narayan Rao

http://sgm.pcriot.com/pdf/listpdf.php

Indus Valley Civilization

From the similarity of many words of Sanskrit and other Indian languages with Latin and the relatively fair complexion of some of the upper caste Indians the early indologists liked to believe (or rather propagate the believe) that they are of the same racial stock as the Anglo Saxons and just as the Anglo-Saxons had migrated to Britain from the European mainland the ancestors of the fair complexioned upper caste Indians had migrated from Europe. This racial stock was named as Indo-Aryan and it was theorized that they had displaced or subjugated the original inhabitants of the land. The degenerate caste system of India was a handy tool to fit this hypothesis.

By the time the archeological remains of Mohenjodaro and Harappa were discovered in the late nineteenth century the biblical chronology as well as the theory of Aryan migration had been accepted as a proven fact. The discovery of these archeological remains indicated an extinct civilization which neatly fitted the theory of an earlier civilization vanquished by the invading Indo-Aryans. Thus no systematic or serious effort was made to explore the possibility that the Harappan remains could be post Mahabharata or post Vedic.

A critical examination of the Puranic chronology along with the Harappan remains clearly indicates that it belongs to the civilization that prospered during the long period of peace after the battle of Kurukshetra under the reign of the descendants of King Parikshit.

Conclusion

An objective and critical study of the original sources of Indian history shows that the correct chronology of ancient Indian history, confirmed by archeology, astronomical evidences and Greek history is as follows.

1. Kurukhetra battle of Mahabharata took place in the fourth millennium B.C.

2. The Harappan civilization was post-Mahabharata.

3. Lord Buddha lived in the Nineteenth century B.C.

4. Chandragupta Mourya succeeded Mahapadmananda in sixteenth century B.C.

5. Adi Shankara was born towards the end of the sixth century B.C.

6. The last Satavahana Emperor of Magadha was the contemporary of Alexander.

7. The last Satavahana Emperor Chandrabij was known to the Greeks as Xandramese

8. Chandragupta I of Gupta dynasty was known to the Greeks as Sandrocottus.

9. Samudragupta of Gupta dynasty was known to the Greeks as Sandrocyptus.

10. Sandrocyptus who married the daughter of Selucus was Samudragupta.

It is high time that the modern scholars discard the biblical chronology of Indian history and re-examine all sources in the light of modern science.

Appendix – I

Chronological Table Of Sir William Jones … from “The complete Works of Sir William Jones (in 13 volumes) Volume IV, 1807 edition, Page 47 … quoted by Pandit Kota Venkatachelam on page 19 of his book “The Plot in Indian Chronology” published in 1953.

Events                     Years before 1788 of our era …

Adam                       Menu I age I 5794               4006 BC

Noah                        Menu II 4747                      2959 BC

Deluge                                 4138                      2350 BC

Nimord                     Hiranyakasipu Age II 4006   2218 BC

Bel                           Bali 3892                           2104 BC

Rama                       Rama Age III 3817              2029 BC

Noah’s death                      3787                        1999 BC

Pradyota                            2817                        1029 BC

Buddha                     Age IV 2815                      1027 BC

Nanda                               2487                          699 BC

Balin                                 1937                          149 BC

Vikramaditya                     1844                            66 BC

Devapala                           1811                            23 BC

Christ                                1787                             1 AD

Narayanapala                    1721                            67 AD

Saka                                1709                            79 AD

Walid                               1080                           708 AD

Muhmud                             786                         1002 AD

Chengiz                              548                         1240 AD

Timur                                  391                         1397 AD

Babur                                 276                         1512 AD

Nadirshah                            49                          1739 AD

Appendix – II

Sandrocottus And Chandragupta

If Sandrocottus of Greek history is identified as Chandragupta Mourya we run into a number of difficulties which the modern historians have not yet been able to explain.

1. The name of the predecessor of Mourya Chandragupta, i.e. Nanda does not at all resemble the name Xandramese of Greek history. Similarly the name of his successor Bindusara does not resemble Sandrocyptus of Greek history.

2. The Greek accounts describe a vast empire and army under the command of Xandramese and Sandrocottus; though the Puranas state that the empire of Nanda was very extensive it is categorically stated that the kingdom of the Mouryas was rather small not including even Kalinga, the state just to the south of Magadha.

3. Greek accounts describe Palibothra as the capital of Sandrocottus. But the Puranas are specific about the fact that the capital of the Mouryas was at Giribraja. The capital was shifted to Pataliputra (Palibothra) only during the rule of the Satavahan dynasty.

4. No Indian account of Mahapadmananda or Chandragupta Mourya is complete without the description of Koutilya and Arthashastra. There is no direct or indirect reference in any Greek account to Koutilya or his Arthashastra.

5. The description of the society given in the Greek accounts does not even remotely resemble the description of the society given in Arthashastra. For example, Koutilya has given elaborate rules about slavery and punishments prescribed for those connected with it. But from the Greek accounts it appears slavery was unknown in India.

6. The Greek accounts describe Sandrocottus as a usurper who had treacherously killed King Xandramese after having won the confidence of the Queen. In contrast Chandragupta Mourya, guided by Chanakya, had overthrown the Nandas after a civil war.

7. According to the Puranas at the time of the establishment of Mourya dynasty Buddhism was spreading fast but the Greeks make no mention of Lord Buddha or Ashoka (either Ashokavardhana, or Dharmasoka).

Thus it is clear that the Sandrocottus was not Chandragupta of Mourya dynasty. If Sandrocottus is identified as Chandragupta I of Gupta dynasty the following correspondences are obtained between the Greek and Indian names.

Greek Name                                   Indian Name

Xandramese                                   Chandrabij (last Satavahan king)

Sandrocottus                                 Chandragupta (first Gupta king)

Sandrocyptus                                Samudragupta

Appendix – III

Dates Of Some Of The Important Historic Events As Mentioned In The Puranas …

Event                                                                  Year in B.C.

Kurukshetra battle of Mahabharata

and coronation of King Parikshit                            3138

End of Brihadratha dynasty (of Jarasandha)

and start of Pradyota dynasty                               2132

in Magadha (capital Giribraja)

End of Pradyota dynasty

and start of Shishunag dynasty of Magadha           1995

Birth of Lord Buddha                                            1887

Nirvana of Lord Buddha                                        1807

End of Shishunag dynasty

and cornation of Mahapadmanand                        1634

(capital Giribraja)

End of Nanda dynasty

and coronation of Chandragupta Mourya               1534

Coronation of Ashoka (Ashokavardhana)               1472

End of Mourya dynasty

and coronation of Pushyamitra Sunga                  1218

(Capital Giribraja)

End of Sunga dynasty

and start of Kanwa dynasty                                  918

(Coronation of Vasudeva)

End of Kanwa dynasty

and start of Andhra dynasty                                 833

Coronation of Shrimukha (capital Giribraja)

Birth of Adi Shankaracharya (in South India)         509

Establishment of Dwaraka Shankarcharya Pitha   491

Establishment of Kanchi Kamokoti Pitha              482

End of Andhra dynasty

with assassination of King Chandarbij

(Xandramese of Greek history)                            327

and coronation of Chandragupta

(Sandrocottus or Androcottus of Greek history)

Capital Pataliputra (Palibothra)

Coronation of Samudragupta

(Sandrocyptus of Greek history)                         320

End of Gupta dynasty

and decline of Magadha empire                           82

Establishment of the suzerainty

of Emperor Vikramaditya of Ujjain                       58

(Born in 101 B.C. and coronated in 86 B.C. at Ujjain)

over the whole of India and start of Vikram Sambat

Story Of Vedic Civilisation

English: The Atha Naradiyamahapuranam is one o...
The Atha Naradiyamahapuranam, one of the 18 Puranas of Hinduism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Historical Dates From Puranic Sources

Prof. Narayan Rao

http://sgm.pcriot.com/pdf/listpdf.php

According to the modern Indian history books Lord Buddha is believed to have been born in the Sixth century B.C. and Chandragupta Mourya is believed to have been the ruler of Magadha Empire soon after the invasion of Alexander in the year 327 B.C. There is a common misconception among laymen as well as historians that these and the other dates given in the official version of Indian history are proven facts.

However, a careful and critical examination of the sources from which these dates have been derived show that these dates are only as true as the creation of the universe in (or around) the year 4006 B.C. Most people, including historians, believe that the dates mentioned above and the other dates of Indian history have been derived mainly from archaeological evidences, inscriptions on stone pillars and accounts of the foreign travelers. But no complete history, whether correct or incorrect, can be written from such discontinuous sources.

History has to be written mainly from historical accounts. The modern pioneers of Indian history namely Sir William Jones, Professor Max Muller, Professor Wilson and the other indologists of early nineteenth century knew this and the first sources they looked for were the scriptures known as Itihasa and Purana such as Mahabharata, Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, Vayu Purana, Matsya Purana and Bhavishya Purana.

The Puranas give the dates of the historical events in Kaliyugabda, Vikram Sambat, Sakabda and other Indian eras still in use at present. From these narrations it is possible to get the dates of all important historical events in the Christian era.

Dawn Of Indology

However, Sir William Jones and the European orientalists of early nineteenth century ran into a serious difficulty in determining the chronology from the Puranas. It must be recalled that during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it was firmly believed by the Scientists and other learned men that the universe was created in or around the year 4006 B.C. The theory of evolution suggested by Darwin and the idea of the universe being millions, or even billions, of years, old were not accepted by the Scientists till late nineteenth century. The earlier European orientalists could not possibly believe in the chronology of the Puranas which places the age of the universe at a few billion years (in contrast to then scientifically accepted age of less than 6000 years).

Their misgivings were strengthened because of the following.

1. The narrations of the events of the first three eras, namely Krita Yuga, Treta Yuga and Dwapara Yuga, in the Puranas appear more mythical than factual.

2. All the narrations of the events after the battle of Kurukshetra are written in future tense. All narrations are made in a mythological language involving the Gods (rather unnecessarily) in the events. This could be very confusing to scholars not familiar with the Indian traditions.

3. There are some discrepancies in the accounts of the different Puranas partly due to the errors in copying, proof reading etc. including modern printing and partly due to deliberate alterations to suit the purposes of the royal families in whose courts the scriptures were maintained. These could be corrected by comparing the different Puranas as well as the different versions of the same Purana. This could be hardly expected to have been done in an unbiased manner by the early European orientalists who were exploring a field hitherto completely unknown. The later orientalists, like Pargiter, could not do a proper evaluation as they were already biased by the earlier work.

4. Many translations, or rather narrations, of the Puranas in the Vernacular languages contain accounts much in variation from the original Sanskrit texts from which those are purported to have been derived. Kamban Ramayana and Ramcharit Manas of Tulsidas are two such examples. In addition there are famous literary works like “Abhigyana Shakuntalam”, “Mudra Rakshasa” and “Harsha Charita” which are more popular but can be very misleading for the purpose of chronology.

Thus the European orientalists like Professor Max Muller and Sir William Jones came to the obvious, but grossly erroneous, conclusion that though the accounts of the Puranas are based on a hard core of historical facts, the chronology is all wrong.

Having thus dismissed the straightforward method of determining the chronology of Indian history, the orientalists started looking for other sources including their own conjectures. Sir William Jones actually suggested a chronological table of events starting with the year 4006 B.C. which he believed to be the year of creation of Swayambhuba Manu. This chronological table taken from the “Complete works of Sir William Jones” is given in Appendix I. Though most of the modern historians do not know it, the chronology they use is a modified version of the table given in Appendix I.

English: The Goddess Ambika Leading the Eight ...
The Goddess Ambika Leading the Eight Mother Goddesses in Battle Against the Demon Raktabija,

Indian History And Its Historians

Portrait of Srimushnam Vyakarna Subbaravachary...
Portrait of Srimushnam Vyakarna Subbaravacharya (+1837) a reknown sanskrit scholar

Part V :  British Colonial Indology (1780 CE – 2000 CE)

In reality this field of study was dominated by German scholars. Interest in Indology only took concrete direction and shape after the British came to India, with the discovery of Sanskrit by Sir William Jones in the 1770’s. Other names for Indology are Indic studies or Indian studies or South Asian studies. Almost from the beginning, the Puranas attracted the attention of European scholars. But instead of trying to understand the Puranas, and the context in which they were developed, the Occidental went about casting doubts on the authenticity of the texts and, in fact, altering the chronology which could be found in a particular Purana. 

The extraordinary level of interest by German scholars in Indic matters is a very interesting narrative in its own right and we need to reflect upon its highlights. The German speaking people experienced a vast increase in intellectual activity at about the same time that Britain colonised India. We do not understand the specific factors that came into play during this time, other than to remark on the tremendous intellectual ferment that was running concurrently during the French revolution and the keen interest that Napoleon showed in matters scientific, including the contributions of the orient. 

Clearly the remarks that Sir William made about Sanskrit as well as the high level of interest in Sanskrit language that he triggered, contributed to the overall sense of excitement. But why was it Germany and not Britain, the center of research on the Oriental contributions. The answer lies in the intense search for nationhood that was under way in Germany during that period. When Sanskrit was discovered, and it dawned on the Germans that the antiquity of Sanskrit was very great, and that Sanskrit and German were somehow related, the Germans suddenly had an answer to the question of their own ethnic and linguistic origins.

Sir Henry Maine (1822 – 1888), an influential Anglo-Indian scholar and former Vice Chancellor of Calcutta university, who was also on the Viceroys council, pronounced a view that many Englishman shared about the unification of Germany.

A Nation Has Been Born Out Of Sanskrit

From the beginning, the great interest that Germany showed in Sanskrit had more to do with their own obsessions and questions regarding their ethnic and linguistic origins. It had very little or at least far less to do with the origin of the ancient Indic. And yet, that does not stop the proponents of AIT (Aryan Invasion Theory) in India, whose knowledge of European history appears to be rudimentary at best, from asserting that AIT is an obsession of nationalistic Hindus. Such is the fate and perversion of history that conquered nations are expected to suffer !

Different aspects of this fascinating chapter – postulation of an Aryan race and its corollaries, Indo European and Indo German people – are described by various authors … Trautmann, Rajaram, Arvidsson, and very recently by Prodosh Aich. The interesting but curious aspect of this phenomena is that while the concept of Aryan race has been well nigh discarded by most of the modern generation in the Occident, it lingers on in our narrative of Indian History, a relic of the heyday of Europe’s dominance on the world scene. In those heady times as colonial powers, they promoted racist theories eulogising their occupation of distant lands, and over strange people, as part of their heritage as an Aryan people. Kipling’s phraseology, “white man’s burden.” is at once succinct of their superiority in psyche and of the racist outlook in behaviour and strategy formulation. 

In contrast to the Germans and the French, whose interest was catalysed by the ubiquitous presence of Indic civilisation in South East Asia, the British had aparticular reluctance to study the nature and extent of the Indic civilisation. First and foremost, amongst their reasons for such neglect, was the aversion to admit that a subject people had any worthwhile civilisation to speak of, let alone one that was of far greater antiquity than their own.

Britain was the last of the three major powers in Europe to have a chair in Sanskrit; it was almost 50 years after the death of Sir William that England got around to establishing a chair at Oxford, the famous Boden chair.

 *  *  *

Rajagriha or Rajagrha (Sanskrit)

The ancient capital of Magadha, famous for its conversion to Buddhism in the days of the Buddhist kings. It was the royal residence from Bimbisara-raja to Asoka, and the seat of the first Synod or Buddhist Council held 510 BC.The famous Saptaparna cave, in which the Buddha’s select circle of arhats were initiated, was in this famous city. 

Rajgir

is the current name of the city and a notified area in Nalanda district in the Indian state of Bihar. The city of Rajgir (ancient Rajagriha or Rājagha; Pali: Rājagaha) was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Maurya Empire. Its date of origin is unknown, although ceramics dating to about 1000 BC have been found in the city. The epic Mahabharata calls it Girivraja and recounts the story of its king, Jarasandha, and his battle with the Pandava brothers and their ally, Krishna.

Rajgir is also mentioned in Buddhist and Jain scriptures, which give a series of place-names but without a geographical context. The attempt to locate these places is based largely on references to them in the works of Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, particularly Faxian and Xuanzang. It is on the basis of Xuanzang’s records in particular that the site is divided into Old and New Rajgir. The former lies within a valley and is surrounded by low-lying hills. It is defined by an earthen embankment (the Inner Fortification), with which is associated the Outer Fortification, a complex of cyclopean walls that runs (with large breaks) along the crest of the hills.

New Rajgir is defined by another, larger embankment outside the northern entrance of the valley, and is next to the modern town.

 … to be continued

English: Sanskrit manuscript using the Ranjana...
Sanskrit manuscript using the Ranjana script, with an illustration of the Buddha sitting below the Bodhi Tree, day and night. Manuscript either from India or Nepal, date unknown.

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