Antiquity and Continuity of Indian History
(From Swayambhuva Manu to Gupta Dynasty)
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
The Vedic culture has been pervading the Indian subcontinent for a few thousand years back from today. The antiquity and continuity of this culture has been faithfully recorded in the oldest and grandest annals of mankind: the Rg Veda. Evidence has come forth entirely contradicting the present held “aryan invasion” of India.
Archaeological excavations and other findings confirm the inception of the Indus Valley civilization as Vedic. The Mahabharata and Ramayanic civilizations flourished in the ancient past. The history of India entered the medieval ages almost 5000 years ago, and even before the advent of Christ, the quintessence of philosophy thought and civilizational aspects of India had already been accomplished. Evidence testifies that The Buddha and Aadi Shankara lived in 1800 B.C. and 500 B.C respectively. The “golden age” in India was ushered in with the rise of the Gupta dynasty. It was Chandragupta of the Guptas who reigned over the Indian empire around 325 B.C., a time when Macedonian Alexander had invaded India.
In this article, it is attempted to derive the datelines of ancient Indian (alias Vedic) events and heroes, starting from Swayambhuva Manu to the kings of the Gupta dynasty. An outline of the antiquity and continuity of Vedic history is estimated, substantiating the events with a variety of evidence, including literary and archaeological.
The study of history forms an important part in providing an understanding and in giving a clearer perspective of the present mental setup and cultural state of a nation of peoples. The antiquity of a culture’s history and the achievements of its peoples provide the nation with an identity and a sense of self-esteem. The study of history tells us the story of how a particular society behaved and reacted in the wake of varying and trying circumstances. And history without chronology is like a person without a backbone. Without this backbone, the person feels helpless and hopeless. This construction and arrangement of historical facts and figures is therefore necessary to effectively hold together and guide forward a particular society.
The chronological establishment of Indian history has been a matter of academic contention for the past two centuries. The most difficult part of this study, until now, was to construct an agreeable framework of chronology. It is to the credit of Sir William Jones that a systematic study and examination of this problem was first initiated in the late 18th century. Western scholars have done commendable and untiring work in the field of oriental studies. The researches well-recorded by them are of utmost importance even today.
However, within decades, the political situation in India changed and this sincere study of history then became, in a way, a weapon to subjugate and win the people of India. The effects of European religio-political thought also creeped into this investigation. Inspite of the honest and genuine commencement of its study, it is quite unfortunate that the western indologists misinterpreted the historical data available, intentionally or by accident, and put forth theories based merely on speculation and pre-conceived beliefs. The result was that the antiquity of many events was highly underestimated and its continuity and greatness undermined. Nevertheless, it is quite futile to harp over the numerous shortcomings of early historical research, the mistakes of an era bygone.
important events and personalities is presented here and it is hoped that the readership gets a clearer and beneficial perspective on the matter.
The currently established chronology of India initiates with the invasion of the so-called aryan race in 1500 B.C., which ruthlessly and forcefully subdued the original inhabitants of the land, imposing upon them a alien language and culture. The invading hordes settled down on the banks of river Sindhu (Indus), and within few centuries (1200 B.C.), complied the Vedas. Subsequently, the Brahmanas, Samhitas, Puranas and numerous other scriptures were composed. Where does the Ramayana and Mahabharata fit in? Some say that the Ramayana follows Mahabharata and some opine otherwise. In all this anarchy of Indian histography, the probable date of Mahabharata ranges between 1000 B.C.to 300 B.C.
The identification of Sandrocottus (325 B.C.) of the Greeks with Chandragupta Maurya by Sir Jones was considered to be the “sheet anchor” and based on this assumption, a chronology of Indian history was constructed. The date when Gautam Buddha prospered was calculated from this sheet-anchor to be around 500 B.C., and the dateline of Aadi Shankara was put in 800 A.D. The Gupta Dynasty, whose reign ushered a Golden Age in India, were placed in the 4th century A.D.
Examination of the Rg Veda, Puraan and other texts provide dates of events that took Indian history, at times, back to thousands of years. However, since these dates contradicted the prevalent views of European historians, the Sanskrit texts were academically attacked in an attempt to disprove the authenticity of the contents. For example, the European Indologist, Max Muller, tried the interpret the astronomical evidences to prove that the observations recorded in the Hindu scriptures are imaginary, “pious frauds” created by the cunning Brahmanas. Numerous references which were anachronous to the particular time-frames were considered as unauthentic and unreliable. No attempt was made to re-check and re-evaluate the presumptions and a basis on which the present chronological structure was built.
The theory of the aryan invasion of India has been a matter of debate, and at times, incisive arguments have been presented for and against it. According to this theory, the light-skinned aryan people wandered into India in the 2nd millennium B.C. from Central Asia. The barbaric aryan race then destroyed an already existing and advanced Harappan civilization, conquered it and laid the foundations of a foreign imposition of language and culture on India. This supposedly marked the beginning of the development of a Vedic culture, or what is called Hinduism today.
The hypothesis of an aryan invasion is apparently based on the conflicts between light-skinned aryans and dark race of dasyus described in Vedic literature. This aspect is said to have been strengthened by the skeletal findings in the excavated sites in the Indus Valley. When the Rg Veda (2:20:10.) refers to “Indra, the slayer of Vritra, destroying the Krishna Yoni Dasyus”, it is held as a proof that the “invading arryans” exterminating the “dar aboriginals”. However, other references in the Rg Veda (10:1:11., 8:85:3., 2:3:9.) suggest that the Indians were a mixed race and also, no stigma was attached to any non-white complexion. Therefore to imagine the invading aryans to be a white race is suspicious. According to Saayana, the word dasyu derives from the word “das”, i.e., “one who harms”. The Rg Veda (6:22:10.) prays to Indra to give glory by which the dasyus can become arya’s, that is, changing the dasyus to ideal and cultured human beings.
Many a scholar and historian have acknowledged the discrepancies, raised objections and rejected the theory of aryan invasion since its inception in the early 19th century. According to historian Wheeler (in his “Civilization of Indus Valley and Beyond”), “..the [Aryan Invasion] cannot be proved and may be quite incorrect”.
Also, Murrow in his book “The Sanskrit Language” comments,” For the Indo-Aryan invasion of India no direct evidence is available… In the text of the Rg Veda itself, although historical allusions are not uncommon, there is no reference anywhere to the fact of the migration, nor any definite indication that it was still remembered.” Indian Vedic scholars like Dayanand Saraswati, B.G. Tilak and Sri Arvind had already rejected the aryan invasion theory based mostly on literary analysis. In spite of having no evidence to support this doctrine, it is amusing to know how academics held on to this dogma.
The unobservant reading of the Rg Veda and its subsequent misinterpretation led to the doctrines of “class” and “colour” struggles among the ancient Indians; an appropriate tool to justify marxist ideals and european racial theories. This doctrine of aryan invasion has been used as a perfect tool to divide the Hindu society and the Indian state. The north-indian aryans were then pit against the south-indian dravidians, high-castes against low-castes, mainstream Hindus against the tribals, Vedic orthodoxy against the “native” heterodox sects and later, to neutralize Hindu criticism of forced Islamic occupation as “Hindus themselves have entered the same way as Muslims have”. Till today, the Marxist and “secularist” forces continue to promote this theory and extract propagandist capital out of it.
Recent advances in archaeological, linguistic and astronomical research have also compelled the abandoning of the current view of the aryan invasion and the falsely speculated antiquity of the Vedic civilization. The excavated ruins of the submerged city of Dwaraka by Dr. S.R.Rao and his team in 1985 (Marine Archaeological Unit), along the coast of Gujarat, provides authenticity for the existence of the Mahabharata civilization (3000 B.C.). Satellite data combined with field archaeological studies have discovered now disappeared river Saraswati, which appears extensively in the Vedic literature. The study also showed that the river flow discontinued much earlier than 3000 B.C. The deciphering of the Indus script by S.R.Rao shows a amazing affinity with the Sanskrit family and analysis of the seals have put forth numerous words and names from the Vedic age. It indeed becomes evident that the harappan culture was a part and parcel and continuation of an earlier Vedic age: an age that existed much prior to 3000 B.C.
As opposed to any racial connotation, the word “arya” is a honorific title and was used for people who were cultivated in mind and character, a person whose way of life aims at elevating the individual soul through a disciplined life to godhood (Mukhti).
Rama and Krishna have been addressed as arya, as are many other people in the Rg Vedic era, the antiquity of which is considered in the next section.
The Rg Veda is not a work of the original and the descendants of the aryan nomads, but exhibits a great degree of philosophical thought and advanced knowledge about astronomy. The Rg Veda, Samhitas and other related Vedic literature have documented the seasons and related changes occurring over a certain epoch in time.
Astronomical configurations are also chronicled. The evaluation of these annals enable the determination of the periods when the particular configurations occured. Examinations of the recent archaeological findings also appear to support these datelines.
The analysis of astronomical references in the Taiteriya Brahman (3:1:15), where Brushaspati (Jupiter) crossed the Pushya constellation, gives a date of 4650 B.C. The Aiteriya Brahmana points to dates to the order of 6000 B.C. From the calculation of the vernal equinox cycle, the Taiteriya Samhita provides dates that reach as far as 22000 B.C (Ref: Vartak, Tilak).
In his book “Are the Gathas pre-vedic” H.S.Spencer quotes another scholar stating that “Dhanista was the first of the naskshatras in the Rg Vedic times and this takes us back to 21788 B.C., at least, to the origin of the Rg Veda.”
According to Dr. B.M. Sidhartha, director of the Birla Science Center, “Rg Veda .. was a product of a well-settled civilization going back to 8000 B.C. and beyond on the basis of astronomical dating .. and supported by archaeological excavations in south eastern Turkey… the more antique date of 10,000 B.C. proposed for Rg Veda or Vedic culture seemed more plausible in view of the epi-paleolithic agricultural and proto-agricultural civilizations going back to the same period …” (TOI, August 2, 1993). These datelines were already proposed by Tilak when he says, ” The Vedic hymns were sung in post-glacial times (8000 B.C.) by poets who had inherited their knowledge or contents thereof from their antediluvian forefathers”. B.G. Tilak has done some extraordinary work of deciphering the concealed astronomical allusions in the ancient Vedic texts.
The geological discovery of the mighty Vedic river Saraswati, which originally flowed somewhat parallel to Indus, dried up around 2000 B.C. Now the Rg Veda speaks of a mighty Saraswati and it is in much later literature that we hear of the disappearance of the river. It is definitely known that the Vedas are much older than the Mahabharata period (3100 B.C.) This establishes that the Rg Veda itself could not be later than the 4th millennium B.C. A paper presenting technical evidence concerning a newly discovered bronze idol states, ” The life sized head has a hair style which the Vedas describe as being unique to Vasishtha, one of the Rishis who composed parts of Rg Veda … Carbon 14 tests indicate that it was cast around 3700 B.C., with an error in either direction of upto 800 years .. an age also confirmed by independent metallurgical tests” (J. of Indo-European Studies, v.18, 1990, p.425-46). More and more archaeological findings are coming forth that place the Vedic age to remote antiquity.
A majority of events available in the chronicles provide ages from the beginning of the Kali yuga, and as such, fixing this date becomes necessary. The precise moment for advent of the Kali Yuga (3102 B.C) has been reckoned based from references in the Mahabharata as well as from the literature provided by Varahamihira, Kalhana, Arya Bhatta, Vruddha Garga and also the Puranic annals. Count Bijornstierna in his “The Theogony of Hindus”, has aptly summarized on the calculation of Kali Yuga Thus, “According to the astronomical calculations of the Hindus, the present period of the world, Kali Yugaa, commenced 3102 years before the birth of Christ, on 20th February, at 2 hours, 27 minutes and 30 seconds …” However, for the sake of convenience in calculations, only 3102 B.C is assumed.
The current Varaaha Kalpa (one period of time) begins with the reign of Swayambhuva Manu, or the self-born Man, who revived and established the Veda. In this particular Kalpa, 14 Manu’s will appear. The period of one chatur-yuga cycle, which begins with a Manu, comprises of 12000 human years. However, to denote the endlessness of Lord’s creation, the Puraan have multiplied the above period by 360, to get 4320000 “divine” years. And further multiplying these by 71, the Manavantara period is calculated.
Therefore, going backwards from 3102 B.C., the beginning for this chaturyuga period (2400 for Dwaapar, 3600 for Treta and 4800 for Kruta = 10,800) would be 10,800 years before Kali, i.e., at 13902 B.C. approximately, a time when Vaivasvata Manu (leader of the present chatur-yuga) flourished. The Brahmanda Puraan (1:2:9) states that Swayambhuva Manu, the king for the current Kalpa, lived 71 (divya) yuga before (Kali yuga). One divya-yuga is 360 human years, and therefore Swayambhuva Manu’s date is calculated to be about 31000 years before present (360*71 + 3102 + 1996). These datelines for Vaivasvata and Swayambhuva Manu are corroborated from the Matsya Puraan (129-76, 77) as well. B.G.Tilak in his “Orion” has calculated 29101 B.C., using astronomical data, as the time when Swayambhuva Manu existed, which tallies remarkably with the date suggested by the Puraan.
According to the Puraan’s, 52 generations had elapsed between Swayambhuva and Vaivasvata, i.e, over a period of 15200 years. Each generation must therefore be 290 years long. Chakshusha Manu, the sixth descendent of Swayambhuva, is said to be 12 generations elder to Vaivasvata and therefore going backwards, his date can be calculated to be about (14000 + 12290) 17500 B.C. One very famous king Pruthu, from whom this earth “Pruthvi” derives its name, is known to be 5th in line from Chakshushu. His date therefore comes to roughly 16050 B.C.
The exact location and expanse of the Vedic culture is still a matter of speculation and discussion. As of today’s theory, the span of ancient Vedic culture has primarily been limited to Punjab, the five-river region of northwest India. It is beyond any doubt that the Vedic culture existed in the land of Punjab, however, this fact does not exclude its existence elsewhere.
B.G.Tilak is his “The Arctic Home in the Vedas” has provided an incredible understanding and presentation of the Rg Vedic geography and argues for a polar home for the Vedic aryans before the advent of glaciation. Tilak notes, “in the early geological ages, when the Alps were low and the Himalayas not yet upheaved … from geological evidence of fossil and fauna, we find that an equable climate and uniform climate prevailed over the whole surface of the globe .. it is now conclusively proved that before the advent of a glacial and inter-glacial periods a luxuriant forest vegetation … flourished in the high latitude of the polar regions where the Sun goes below the horizon from November till march, thus showing that a warm climate prevailed in the Arctic regions in those days”. Tilak quotes many passages from the Vedic as well as Avestan literature which show acquaintance with these polar characteristics. According to geological evidence the post-glacial epoch commenced in about 8000 B.C. The freshness of Siberian fossils also testify to this event.
When the original land near the arctic regions was found unsuitable for human habitation, the survivors of the glacial tragedy appear to have moved down to the south of their earlier home. The Vendidad contains a picturesque description of different regions to which these people seem to have moved. The Lord of the Avesta, Ahur Mazdeo (Asur Mahadeo) is said to have created sixteen such regions. The original population appears to have split into different groups which moved in different directions. Scholars concur that the verses in the Avesta are full of aryan glory, and are composed in the same meters as the Rg Veda. So the ancient Brahmanas and Parsis were two tribes of one nation, called the Aryas, both in the Vedaand Avesta. Of the sixteen lands, the “best region” created by the Lord was the Sapta-Sindhu region: a vast region stretching to the east and west of the river Sindhu (Indus, hence Arya-Varta).
The river Saraswati, Harahwati of Avesta, is regarded as the most central and is intimately mentioned in the Rg Veda, and even a cursory examination of the text suggests that the Vedics lived on the banks of the “great goddess stream”. According to David Frawley (G, S & K, pp.73), it has now be found that Saraswati changed its course at least four times and originally flowed into the sea through what is now known as Rajasthan. The river Saraswati is also identified as the modern river Syr-Darya joining the Aral Sea to the North. For the river to change course four times must have taken at least a few thousands of years, until the river reduced to a insignificant tributary at the time of Mahabharata (3138 B.C.).
This takes the Vedic age to remote antiquity, at least to a few thousand years.
Most of the sites of the Indus-Valley Culture fall to the east of river Sindhu and appear to be found on the banks of the Saraswati, when the course of this river was already on its decline. It is stated in the Rg Veda (10:75:6) that river Kubha (Kabul) joins river Saraswati along with other rivers. It is therefore apparent that the Saraswati in the pre-Indus era must be flowing west from present-day Afghanistan-Iran area towards the west. Therefore based on the internal evidence appearing in the Rg Veda and Avesta, the central-land of the Vedic aryans can now be located in Afghanistan, Iran and other regions to their north and east. According to the Rg Veda (8:24:27), the land where the Vedics had their hey-day is a Sapta-Sindhu Pradesh or the Hapta-Hindu Pradesh of the Avesta.
There are references of people migrating to the east of Sindhu and not the other way around. Thus the land watered by the rivers Saraswati, Sindhu, Sharayu, Rasa, Oxus, Helmand and one more river to the west of Sindhu, territory covering regions to the west of Sindhu, was perhaps the home of the Vedic people for a long time.
The Vedics appear to have migrated on the banks of Sindhu after the mighty Saraswati began to desiccate. After having established their stronghold along the Sindhu region, they moved further to the east to the Ganga-Yamuna region and later to the South. Rishi Agastya, brother of Sage Vasistha, is reputed to be the first colonizer of the South. Also, the names and customs of Mittani and Hittite (Iraq, Turkey region) peoples to the west of river Sindhu show a close affinity to the Vedics. A clay tablet found near Ankara invokes gods like Indra, Varun, etc. The landmarks occurring in the Vedic lore, customs and language extend in the east from Ganga-Yamuna to Oxus river which joins the Aral sea in the west, which forms a considerable part of the globe. It should be realized that the Vedas are a heritage of mankind which record and preserve the human development for at least a few thousand years.
After the migration from the north, the Vedics settled in the Sapta-Sindhu region, which also included the present-day Iran. The incidents depicted in the Rg Veda, and even the language, thought and expression, shows a remarkable similarity with the Persian Avesta. It is of no dispute that the Zarathustran people of Iran (and also the Greeks) are closely linked or lived together with the Vedics in the past.
The Dasharadnya war (War of ten kings) took place between Chayamana, king of Abhivarta – identified in south-eastern Iran – and King Sudas, son of Divodasa, who presided over a kingdom to the east of Sindhu. As far as the Vedic evidence goes, after his victory over Chayamana, Sudas founded an empire on the banks of the Ganga along with Vashistha, Vishwamitra and others, whose impact later spread eastwards and southwards. The influence of these triumphant Bharatas (Sudas) over the Iranian (Chayamana) counterparts subsequently weakened in course of time. Thereafter, the Iranians appear to have developed a particular way of life under the advise of Sage Zarathustra, improving on the Vedic sacrificial religion and yet retaining fire worship. The Vedics in Afghanistan however maintained their relations with those to their east, until a recent past, till the advent of Islam in these regions.
The Dasyus were then the residents of some mountainous regions in Iran, a very respectable people, who appear to have become Zarathustra’s followers, since the latter is referred to as Dakhyuma (the temporal Lord) and Dakhyuma Suro (in Avesta, Fr.Yashta.90). It is notable that he is called Suro (Sur) – the learned – as opposed to Asur.
These ‘Asur’ians however were in turn the residents of Mesopotamia (Assyria) situated on the banks of river Euphrates. According to the Rg Veda, the Dasyus were believing in false gods and were inhuman (7:59:11) and it is that Zarathustra, the pious and learned one, was trying to bring these people into the aryan way of life.
Spencer gives details from Malcom’s “History of Ancient Persia” and states that for 2598 years some four dynasties ruled over Persia from Yama Vivanghao (Yama Vaivaswat in Sanskrit) in whose time the Deluge commenced, i.e., in 9844 B.C. The rule of these four dynasties ended therefore in approximately 7200 B.C. By this time, Kai Vishtaspa became ruler of Persia. Sage Kaksivan (RV 1-122-13) speaks of one Istasva who is identified with Vishtaspa by E.S.Bharuca (quoted by Hodivala). This king is supposed to have ruled for 120 years, and so his period can be fixed to about 7100 B.C. Iranian Zarathustra was a contemporary of king Vishtaspa, and therefore his date can be worked out to be around 7100 B.C. On the basis of astronomy, Spencer determines Zarathustra’s date to be in between 7388 to 7052 B.C., coinciding with the dates determined above. This apparently is also the approximate date for the occurrence of the Dasharadnya War. This War also appears to have set the Vedics living in the Sapta-Sindhu homeland towards the North, South, East and West directions.
From the foregoing discussion, it is now realized that the Vedics, after leaving their original habitat in the North, spread downwards settling down in various parts of the earth. Right from Turkey and Egypt, the Vedics covered the region between the Caucasian mountains and Caspian Sea down to Syria, Palestine and the ancient Persian kingdoms of Babylon, Sumer, Ur, Kassite and towards Afghanistan, Azerbaizan and then crossing the Hindukush mountains towards east into the present day India.
An impetus to the spread and severance between the sapta-sindhu homeland of Vedics then came about after the Dasharadnya War – the spread towards Greece and northwards. Renfrew allows a date as early as 6000 B.C. for the migration of Vedic aryans into Europe (“The Origins of Indo- European Languages, Sc.Amer, Oct, 1989).
That the Vedics had migrated to Egypt is also suggested from the geographical references in the Puraan. S.M.Ali in his “Geography of the Puranas” writes that “they (Vedics) had knowledge of the geography of the then known world. It is clear from the reference to Nile in the Vayu Purana”.
Also, Prof. Brugsch Bey writes about the Egyptian civilization in “History of Egypt” (quoted by K.Venkatachalam in “Age of Buddha”, p.76) that “We have a right to more than suspect that India, eight thousand years ago, sent a colony of emigrants who carried their arts and high civilization into what is now known to us as Egypt. The Egyptians came, according to their records, from a mysterious land (now known to lie on the shores of the Indian ocean) … led by Amen, Hor, Hathor (Brahma, Hari, Rudra)…” These statements justify the “Aryam Krunwanto Vishwam” (We will spread the Arya culture through out the world) slogan of the Vedic people.
Tilak in “Orion” mentions that the Greeks, who were worshippers of the Sun (Mitra), separated from their Vedic brethren about 3500 B.C. These perhaps were the people who moved westwards from the Caspian sea (as the Greeks Herodotus and Strabo lay down, that this sea and the nearby mountain Caucasus got their names from Sage Kaspios, obviously a reference to Sage Kashyapa of the Rg Veda). Pococke writes in “India in Greece” (quoted in Age of Buddha, by K.Venkatachalam, p.75), “The early civilization, the early arts, the indubitably early literature of India are equally the civilization of, the arts, and literature of Egypt and of Greece; for geographical references conjoined to historical facts and religious practices, now prove beyond all dispute than the latter countries are the colonies of the former”. The Greeks (and Egyptians) derived their cosmogony from the Hindus is apparent from their respective literature (Deshpandey, “Bharat: As seen and known by foreigners”).
An assessment of the spread of the Vedic culture in conjunction with the study of the ancient literature, history, arts, philosophy, cosmogony, etc. of peoples worldwide inculcates sufficient doubt, and perhaps an cogent argument, to the pervasive influence of the Vedic aryan thought. Count Bjornstierna in his book “The Theogony of the Hindus” (p.168) rightly judges and summarizes, “No nation on earth can vie with the Hindus in respect of the antiquity of their religion. It is there (i.e. Aryavarta) we must seek the cradle for the brahmin religion but for the cradle of high civilization of the Hindus, which gradually extended itself in the west to Ethiopia, to Egypt, to Phoenicia, in the east to Siam, to China and to Japan, in the south to Ceylon, to Java and to Sumatra, and in the north to Persia, to Chaldia and to Colchis, whence it came to Greece and to Rome and at length to the remote abode of the Hyperboreans”.
Charles Vallency quotes Sir William Jones as saying “It has been proved by clear evidence and plain reasoning that a powerful monarchy was established in Iran, long before the Assyrian or Pishdadi government; that it was in truth a Hindu monarchy … that is subsisted many centuries..” (Collectania De Rebus Hibernicus, p.465). Pococke observes, “that a system of Hinduism pervaded the whole Babylonian and Assyrian empires” (India in Greece, p.178). It is obvious that west asia, as was observed earlier, was very much a part of the massive Vedic empire.
There are a number of references and admittances to the antiquity of the Vedic culture, that the Hindus were the parent of the literature and theogony of the world (W.D.Brown quoted in Bharat: As seen and known by foreigners”, p.13), that the world thought was influenced by Hindu philosophy, and finally, according to Max Muller (in “History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature”) the Vedas are the oldest books in existence … and it carries us back to times of which we have no records anywhere”. The expanse and pervasiveness of the Vedic thought is simply amazing and remarkable. P.N.Oak in his celebrated book “World Vedic Heritage” provides an exhaustive account of the vedics worldwide.
A flourishing civilization along the banks of Indus (Sindhu) river, called the Indus-valley civilization, has been an enigma after its excavation in the early 20th century. In spite of the intensive research conducted, many questions about this civilization yet remain to be answered. However, it has been maintained that this advanced culture had a non-aryan identity, destroyed by the invading aryans. However, an examination of the artifacts located at the unearthed sites present an different opinion.
The ethnic identity of the SSC folks, whether they were aryans or non-aryans has been addressed. It is assumed that these cities succumbed to the invasions of the so-called aryans and that the Vedic god Indra carried out all the destruction. Archaeologist Dales points that there is no destruction level covering the latest period of Mohenjodaro, no sign of extensive burning, no armour-clad warriors and no weapons are conspicuously absent. He states, “Enemy of the Harappans was nature and abetted by Harappans themselves, who accelerated the spoliation of the landscape – Thus ended one of the three civilizations of antiquity. Indra and the barbarian hordes are exonerated” (quoted by Possehl in “Ancient Cities of the Indus”, 1979). The invasion theory does not stand an anthropological scrutiny, since studies of the SSC population prove the genetic and somatic homogeneity of all. The Vedic literature even though details many other things, does not speak of any “formidable civilization” presenting an extensive fortified front to the aryan invaders. There was no aryan invasion and therefore no massacre of the population at Mohenjodaro.
In Mohenjodaro, a tablet dated 2600 B.C. is found which depicts Lord Krishna in his childhood days (Agrawal, V.S., “India in the days of Panini”, 1953). This shows that Lord Krishna was popular at least prior to this date, and also that the Indus Valley culture was not destroyed by any outsiders. This culture was in continuity with the Vedic culture prevalent on the banks of river Saraswati and Sindhu from ancient times. The disappearance of these settlements seems to have caused by natural calamities, by earthquakes, flooding and perhaps, change in course of rivers.
The picture of the SSC that emerges is of huge dimensions, a superb religious-cultural and trade empire spanning area of continental sizes. Small settlements and a few city-centers of enormous size are also seen. These sites have been marked by a presence of planned township, typical pottery and other artifacts. At Mehrgrah, charred remains of wheat, barley and oats have been found along with milling stones. Among floral remains, the finding of cotton seeds forming part of cultivated crops is notable.
The motifs like Pipal leaf, which attained deification in the later stages of the Veda, and Swastika which are supposed to be religious are found in some pre-SS sites, suggesting a continuity of from the Vedic culture. Sacrificial fire-alters and geometric designs are found in most sites suggesting a Vedic religio-ritualistic lifestyle of the people. A full set of terracotta figures in Yogic and greeting postures in the Indian posture are found at Mohenjo-daro and Harapppa. One famous seal found at the sites is that of Pashupati, a human figure with headgear of horns in seated in a contemplative yogic posture and surrounded by animals. He has been identified as Rudra, the later Mahadeva. An Atharvavedic hymn (2:34), attributed to Pashupati himself, exactly describes this seal. Due to mutual cultural and trade contacts, these SSC seals, weights and beads have been found in Ur, Kish and some parts of Sumeria.
The most enigmatic and baffling aspect of the Saraswati-Sindhu culture has been their script. Due to a belief in aryans overriding the “dravida” culture, attempts have been made to decipher SS symbols into some form of a dravidian script. Recently, Dr.Rao has convincingly deciphered the script and it is a form of Sanskrit beyond any doubt, perhaps, a form of Brahmi from which the current devanagari script has evolved. This view is being accepted by many scholars. The conclusion appears to fit in the logic since the Harappa culture is only in continuance with the earlier Vedic culture. However, since there was continuous contact between the Vedic folks and Sumerians, Phoenicians, etc. is possible that the SS script contains alphabetics from the semitic scripts. The migration of indo-europeans along with the Indians from their common habitat explains the close relationship between different scripts.
The SSC culture was anything but a part and parcel of the earlier Vedic civilization, and also, an antecedent to the Hindu culture that followed. The Saraswati-Sindhu phase represents a stage of development, gathered from C-14 dating techniques of various objects at different sites, during the period between 3000 B.C. to about 2100 B.C. (Possehl, Ed., Ancient Cities of the Indus, 1979), a little later than the Mahabharata civilization.
The Mahabharata has exercised a continuous and pervasive influence on the Indian mind for millennia. The Mahabharat, originally written by Sage Ved Vyas in Sanskrut, has been translated and adapted into numerous languages and a variety of expressions and interpretations have been derived from it. Dating back to “remote antiquity”, it is still a living force in the life of the Indian masses. European scholars have maintained that the events described in the ancient Sanskrut texts are imaginary and subsequently, the Mahabharata derives to be a fictitious tale of a war fought between two rivalries.
The dating of the Mahabharata has been a topic of research for the past several years. Various dates have been estimated referring to astronomical recordings, lineagial references, archaeological findings and other evidences. Encoding of the astronomical recordings in the text, the only way to provide time precision upto a day, or even less, have been performed by numerous mathematicians in the past. From the Vishnu Puraan (4:24:108,113) it is known that the Kali Age started with the death of Shree Krishna of the Mahabharata Age, the time for which is precisely known to be 2:27′:30″, February 20, 3102 B.C.
From internal evidences from the Mahabharata text, the coronation of Yudhisthira can be determined to be 36 years before Kali Yuga, i.e., 3138 B.C. There are other pointers in the epic text itself that lead to the same date (Udyog Parva: 142-18). One scholar, Dr. Shriram Sathe, has evaluated the opinions of numerous experts on the dating of the Mahabharat, a majority of whom appear to concur with the 3100 B.C. dateline and therefore this time frame can be safely accepted. Among others, one scholar Dr. Patnaik has done commendable work in this regard. He has calculated the date of the starting of the Mahabharata War to be October 16, 3138 B.C. from textual references available in the epic text. However, many others have calculated dates many years before 3100 B.C. Dr. P.V. Vartak from Pune, Bharat (India) has shown, in his book “Swayambhu” that the Great War to have initiated on 16th October 5561 B.C.
Greek records, like the ancestral links of Megasthenes to Shree Krishna, also provide some corroborating evidence to the 3100 B.C. date. Archaeologists have been successful in excavating Dwaraka, an important city during the Mahabharata era and Krishna’s abode, which is said to have submerged into the sea around 2500 B.C. Mahabharat therefore precedes this date, and 3100 B.C. seems quite correct.
The remote antiquity of the Great War leads to a paucity or unavailability of archaeological records. However, archaeological evidence (Dwaraka, River Saraswati), inscriptions found at various places (Aihole, Belgaum, Nidhanpur), Greek records (Megasthenes), etc. provide interesting clues to the dateline of the Mahabharat. On one of the excavations obtained from the Egyptian Pyramid, dated to 3000 B.C, is found engraved a verse from the Bhagavad Geeta “vasanvsi jeernani yatha vihaya, navani ghrunnati naro parani” (Nava Bharat Times, 18-4-67). A tablet found in the Mohenjodaro sites depicts Lord Krishna and is dated to be 2600 B.C (Mackay’s report, Part 1).
This finding confirms two things: Mahabharata must have definitely occurred before that date, and that the people of the Saraswati-Sindhu culture knew of Lord Krishna. Also, according to B.B. Lal, horse bones, vestiges of the Ashwamedh, have been discovered at Hastinapur. There is further stratigraphical evidence at Hastinapur showing the flood level at the times of Nichakshu, sixth in line from Parikshit which has been mentioned in the Puranas. Thus calculating backwards, the date of Yudhisthira/Mahabharata can be determined.
The dating of the Mahabharata is also significant in fixing the dates of the Vedantic (Upanishadic) texts, the famous Bhagavad Geeta and the Brahma Sutras. It is known that the end of the Vedic school of thought was marked by the composition of the Vedanta by Sage Ved Vyas, the illustrious author of the Mahabharata text (Rajgopalachari, “Indian Philosophy”). The basis of yogic school of thought, the Sankhya Yoga, has been mentioned by Lord Krishna in the famous Bhagavad Geeta discourse. This philosophy of Sankhya and other five schools of thought, definitely preceded the Upanishadic alias Vedantic expositions. All these schools known to have been inspired by the Vedic teachings, and were extant much prior to 3100 B.C.
The Brahma Sutras, which propound the essence of the Vedantic thought, were also composed by the illustrious Ved Vyas during the Mahabharata Era.
Ramayana precedes the Mahabharata by simple reason that the genealogies of the personalities in the Mahabharata can be traced back to those in the Ramayanic Era (Ikshwaku, Kuru) and not otherwise. Detailed genealogical connections of the characters in the Ramayanic Era to those in the Mahabharata Era are also known. Also, the Ramayana is known to have occurred in the Treta Yug(a), which antecedes Dwaapar period when the Mahabharata took place. However, the exact dating of the Rama’s accomplishments has been unattempted and undecided as of today. However, it is suggested that it may have occurred 2 millennia before the Mahabharata (from available lineages) and 5100 B.C therefore becomes the approximate dateline.
The Mahabharata contains list of kings and family histories of the heroes of that era (eg. Pandav), which when traced back can provide an estimate of Shree Rama’s era. It is unfortunate that not much work has been done of the dating of Ramayanic events. The conservative date of that era falls to about 4500 B.C, about 1500 years beyond the Mahabharata age, which is altogether not impossible a date. Dr. Vartak, using astronomical recordings in the Ramayana, has reckoned Rama’s birth date to be 4th December 7323 B.C., approximately 1800 years prior to the Mahabharata dateline which he calculates (5561 B.C.). Assuming his lineage determinations are a correct estimate, and knowing that Mahabharata occurred in 3100 B.C., an approximate age when the Ramayana flourished can be reckoned to be around 5000 B.C. Dr.Vartak’s calculations have been presented in his celebrated book “Vastav Ramayana “. Tilak summarizes (in “Orion”) other researches stating that the Ramayana , from astronomical calculations, might have occured between 5000-6000 B.C.
Some clues from Sumerian clay tablets, Isin and Kish chronicles which approximate the date of the first king (Ukhu == Iksh-vaku) of the first dynasty of Sumeria to be 8350 B.C. Waddell states that the names of kings in the above records remarkably tally to those of Indian Solar and Lunar dynasties. This suggests the antiquity of the Solar dynasty, and the genealogies can be followed to determine Shree Rama’s Era. It is known from Shrimad Bhagvat that Shree Rama was (approx.) 75th in Ikshwaku lineage and that 60 generations passed between Shree Rama and Shree Krishna. Assuming 40 years for each generation (people lived longer at that time), and assuming the first Ikshwaku king at 8350 B.C, we see that Ramayana falls at about 5350 B.C and Mahabharata at 3000 B.C., the latter which is known. Ramayanic date therefore falls at about 5300 B.C.
The deities in the Ramayanic era (eg: Varun, Rudra, Marutgan, Indra) are similar to those (mentioned) in the Vedas. These deities are altogether different from those during the Mahabharata time. Ramayana therefore must have occurred when the Rg Veda (one of its stages) was being composed. Tilak, Ketkar, etc. have calculated the last phases of Rg Veda to be between 6000-4000 B.C. Ramayana could have occurred during this time, or even earlier.
Tradition informs that Mahabharata occurred at the end of Dwaapar Yuga and Ramayana at the end of Treta Yuga. However, if the Kali Era itself spans 432,000 years and Dwaapar two times that, how can then Ramayana occur in 5500 B.C ?
One theory by Swami Yukteshwar (derived from Hindu texts) gives 4800 years for the Satya Yuga, 3600 for Treta, 2400 for Dwappar and 1200 years for Kali (cycle of 12000*2 years=24000 years). Dwapaar has 2000 years, with 200 years of “sandhee” period on either sides. Now, assuming Kali Yuga began in 3102 B.C, the beginning of Dwapaar concludes to be around 5300 B.C. Subtracting the “sandhee” between Dwaapar and Treta, the end of Treta comes to around 5500 B.C., which is closer to Shree Ram’s date estimated above.
Incidently, the Ramayana has been conveniently linked with the premise of the aryan invasion of India, apparently, a story of the aryan conquests of south India; Rama being the ugly aryan engaged in subjugating Ravana’s dravidasthan. In that case, Rama must have been an Iranian invading Lanka, i.e., Mohenjodaro and Kishkinda (the above of the Vaanara community) therefore may be placed somewhere in Pakistan. This construction of geography puts us in endless trouble. On the other hand, due to their dark hue, Rama and Krishna are classified as dravidians and strangely, dravid Ravana is known to the Ramayana to be a very intelligent Brahamana, an aryan. Indeed, the situation becomes unnecessarily complicated and tortuous.
Modern history tends to put Buddha around 500 B.C. This date apparently comes from the assumption that Chandragupta Maurya, Sandrocottus of the Greek records, was the contemporary of Alexander, who is known to invade India in 325 B.C. However, the Greek chronicles are strangely silent on the names of Chanakya (Chandragupta’s Guru) who managed to install the Maurya on the Magadha throne, Bindusar (his son) and even Ashoka (his grandson) whose empire extended far wider than that of Chandragupta. The empire of Chandragupta, also known as the Magadha empire, was very powerful and had a long history but is nowhere mentioned by the Greeks. Even Buddha bhikkus and the flourishing religion of the Buddha are not mentioned in their literature. This imbroglio has been challenged by various scholars and is precisely summarized by K. Rajaram (in “A Peep into the Past History, Seminar Papers”, Madras, 1982), “There are difficulties in calculating the date of the coronation of Asoka .. In the first instance, the very identification of Sandrokotus with Chandragupta Maurya is questioned. In the second one, the date of the death of the Buddha has not been fixed accurately and therefore, the date of Asoka based on it cannot be accurate.” Indeed, the Sandrocottus of the Greeks was not a Maurya.
The Greek records mention Xandramas and Sandrocyptus as the kings immediately before and after Sandrocottus. These names in any way are not phonetically similar to Mahapadma Nanda and Bindusar, who were the predecessor and successor of Chandragupta Maurya, respectively. However, if Sandrocottus refers to Chandragupta “Gupta”, the Xandramas reckons to be his predecessor Chandrashree alias Chandramas and Sandrocyptus to be Samudragupta. The phonetic similarity becomes quite apparent and also, with the assistance of other evidence, confirms the identity of Sandrocottus to Chandragupta Gupta.
In the Puranic and other literature, there is no allusion anywhere to an invasion or inroad into India by foreign peoples upto the time of Andhra kings; and the only person who bore the name similar to Sandrocottus of the Greeks, and who flourished at the time of Alexander, was Chandragupta of the Gupta dynasty, who established a mighty empire on the ruins of the already decayed Andhra dynasty and existing 2811 years after the Mahabharata War, i.e., corresponding to 328 B.C. His date is currently placed in the fourth century A.D., which obviously does not stand. It is also interesting to note that the accounts in the life of Sandrokotus of the Greeks, and the political and social conditions in India at that time, match to those of in the era Chandragupta Gupta. With this observation, it is therefore that the Greek and Puranic accounts unanimously agree on the issue of the identity Chandragupta Gupta and Sandrocotus.
This misplaced identification of this Sandrocottus with Chandragupta Maurya, which also is considered to be the “sheet anchor” of Indian chronology, has led to further chronological fallacies in the dating of Ashoka Maurya, the grandson of Maurya-Chandragupta. This Ashoka supposedly became a Buddhist as is confirmed from a variety of inscriptions and rock edicts found. It is interesting to note that these edicts are summoned in the name of one “Devanam Priyadarshi Raja” and the name Maurya Ashoka is nowhere mentioned. This identification of “priyadarshin” with Maurya Ashoka was entirely based upon Ceylonese Buddhist chronicles. However, as admitted by Wheeler and V.A. Smith, undeserved credit is given to ceylonese records which have been nothing but a hinderance of ancient Indian history. Also, the Buddhist histories recorded centuries later create a good deal of confusion in the genealogies and family of Ashoka. It is therefore very difficult to get a confirmed statement from these annals.
The names of kings found on Ashokan inscriptions namely, Amtiyoka, Tulamaya, etc. are ascribed to distant lands (Syria, Egypt, etc.). It is known that the kings mentioned bordered Ashoka’s own lands. These alien kings are definitely not what they are construed to be. According to Agarwal, “In the Piyadassi inscriptions, the five names which are believed to the of the Greek kings are of the Jana-rajyas of the very country beyond the Indus.” (Age of Bharata War, Delhi, 1979). Amtiyoka was a Bharatiya prince ruling Afghanistan around 1475 B.C., which then appears to be the approximate date of Priyadarshi Ashoka: the grandson of Maurya Chandragupta. It should also be noted that there is also no evidence of the time when these edicts were inscribed.
Maurya Ashoka is known be respectful and supportive of Brahmana and Shramana, equally alike and favoured none, as known from the Girnar rock edicts. Also, he is not recorded to have become a follower of Buddha, and nowhere it appears that he erected great stupas and vihar. Then the question of the Ashoka who had embraced Buddha’s path arises. Kalhan’s Rajatarangini (1.101-102) provides details of one Ashoka of the Kashmiri Gonanda dynasty who is said to have freed himself from sins by embracing the faith of Gautam Buddha and by constructing numerous Vihar and Stupa and by building the town Shrinagari with its 96 lakhs of houses resplendent with wealth. He was a peaceful ruler who had lost all his land and wealth because of his innate pacifism. This description of Gonandiya Ashoka matches with one of the inscriptional Ashoka.
However, according to Hultzsuch opinion, the major rock and pillar edicts differ in tone and message from those of the 8 minor rock inscriptions. Strangely enough, all 26 inscriptions appear to be carved out during the same period. If studied and analyzed carefully, a compelling inference needs to be drawn. The edicts with the proclamations in morality belong to Maurya Ashoka (1482-1446 B.C.) and those on the conversion of Buddhism are those of Gonanada Ashoka (1448-1400 B.C.).
Modern history tends to inform readers that Sri Gautam Siddharta was born around 550 B.C. and died after about 80 years. Kota Venkatachalam, writes in his book “The Age of Buddha, Milinda and King Amtiyoka and Yuga Purana” that, “Due to his wrong identification of Maurya Chandragupta as the contemporary of Alexander, the history of Bharat has been shifted by 12 centuries (and) it is the Chandragupta of the Gupta dynasty who belongs to 327-320 B.C.” Thus, due to the confusion in pinpointing properly the “sheet anchor” of Indian history, Lord Buddha’s antiquity has been underestimated by about 1200 years. Now that Chandragupta Maurya reigned in 1550 B.C. (instead of 325 B.C.), the time when the latter flourished can be calculation to be around 1850 B.C. (instead of 550 B.C.).
All the Puranas and another historical compilation titled Kali Yuga-rajavruttanta, profess to describe the Magadha royal dynasties starting from the Bruhadratha to the Andhra lineages, after which the Magadha empire disintegrated. It is known from the Bhagavad Puraan that Gautam Siddharta was 23rd in the Ikshwaku lineage. However, the list of Ikshwaku kings are not available. In order to determine the date of Siddharta, it is necessary to find the contemporary kings in the Magadha genealogy. According to different accounts, the Buddha was a contemporary of Kshemajita, Bindusar and Ajatashatru, the 31st-33rd kings of the Shishunaga dynasty. The Buddha was 72 years old when the coronation of Ajatashatru tookplace, that is in 1814 B.C. Going backwards, the date of Buddha’s birth becomes 1887 B.C. Since he lived for 80 years, the Buddha must have left the body in 1807 B.C.
This date can also be confirmed by purely referring to astronomical calculations, and what is correctly and exactly obtained as the date for Gautam Siddharta’s nirvana is 27-3-1807 (Sathe, Age of Buddha). This date also explains the possibility of the existence of Buddhism in the second millennium B.C., as was rejected earlier. The astronomical computations of the indologist-astronomer Swami Sakhyananda suggests that Gautam Siddharta belonged to the Kruttika period, i.e., in between 2621-1661 B.C. In his book “Chronology of Ancient Bharat” (Part 4.Chap 2), Prof. K.Srinivasaraghavan states the approximate time of Gautam Siddharta to be 1259 years after the Bharata War (3138 B.C.). which turns out to be 1880 B.C.
Thyagaraja Aiyer in his book “Indian Architecture” observes,” Here lies Indian Sramanacharya from Bodh Gaya, a Shakya monk taken to Greece by his Greek pupils and the tomb marks his death about 1000 B.C.” If the Buddhist monk went to Greece in 1000 B.C., then Gautam Siddharta must have lived at least a few centuries earlier. Somayajulu places Chandragupta Maurya in the 14th century B.C (ref: Dates in Ancient History of India). This puts the Buddha three centuries earlier, i.e., in the 17th century B.C. A brief chronology of the events in Buddha’s life:Born in 1887 B.C., Renunciation in 1858 B.C., Penance during 1858-52 B.C and Death in 1807 B.C.
The chronological frame of the last theerthankar of the Jainas is a matter of debate among scholars since only a few arbitrary references are available. The Jaina tradition holds that Mahaveer left this world 15 years after the death of Bhagawan Buddha (1807 B.C.), i.e., in 1792 B.C., and since Mahaveer lived for a span of 72 years, he must have been born in 1864 B.C. The Pauranic and other traditions also give dates that are somewhat nearer to the above date. The Buddha and Jaina Mahaveer were, perhaps, the last of the teerthankaar’s of their respective sects. Indeed, there is much confusion among their traditional accounts on the dating of all these earlier prophets and any convincing datelines could not be asserted.
Incidently, the Buddha and Jaina, the great Kashtriyas, have been all along considered to be separate religions contradicting in thought and character from the main body of Vedic or Hindu philosophies. This has led to an historical analysis proposing a confrontation, in words as well as on the battle-field, between the relevant sects and Vedic peoples. However, this is totally incorrect. Buddha never found any new religion nor his teachings, in the form of arya-ashtangamarga or the eight-fold path, were in antithesis to the Hindu thought. What Buddha or Mahaveer preached was existent for ages before their time. They attempted to stop the killing of animals being wantonly sacrificed in rituals. Buddha was born a Hindu, lived as a Hindu and left the mortal coil as a Hindu. The extent of the Vedic culture is broad enough to accept, maintain and cultivate on itself different thought and modes of worship.
The current date of Shankara, i.e, 788-820 A.D. was first derived from a manuscript found at Belgaum. This date also was agreed with the internal evidence evinced from the works of Shankara himself. However, as years rolled on, a variety of dates were calculated. The verse found in the manuscript of Belgaum also appears in the treatise Shankara Digvijaya Sara (SDS), a summary of Brihat Shakara Vijaya (BSV), written by Sadananda. Although, BSV gives a date of 509 B.C., SDS mentions a date of 788 A.D. It is therefore clear that Sadananda gives Shankara’s date relying on some other source. Since the verse in both the Belgaum manuscript and SDS appears to come from the same source, which itself could be unreliable. Also, the date of 788 A.D. is in conflict with traditional dates, that is, those held by the Mathas found by Shankara himself. However, the 788 A.D. dateline was accepted, since all traditional accounts of Indian history, including the Puraan, were conveniently considered to be worthless of any historical content, and were ignored.
Numerous compositions with the title “Shankara Vijaya” describing the exploits of Shri Shankara are available, five of which confirm one date, four do not mention any date at all and only one gives the date of 788 A.D.(Antarkar’s thesis, BORI). One written by Chitsukhacharya, a childhood companion of Shankara from the age of 5, can be considered to be authorative. M.R.Bodas in his “Shankaracharya aani tyancha sampradaaya” published in 1923 gives the date of Chitsukhacharya as 514-416 B.C. As he was 5 years elderto Shankara, the latter’s date comes to be (514 – 5) 509 B.C. Chitsukhacharya’s “Brihat Shankara Vijaya” states that Shankara was born Vaishakha Shukla Panchami in the constellation and lagna of Dhanu, in the year Nandana of 2593 Kali, i.e, (3102 – 2593) in 509 B.C. This date was also calculated by Prof. Upadhya in his book “Sri Shankaracharya”. This tallies with the dates assigned and maintained in the lists of Aacharyas maintained in the establishments at Dwaraka (490 B.C.) , Jyotirmath (485 B.C.), Puri (484 B.C.) and Sringeri (483 B.C).
On the basis of “Shankara Satpatha”, the late Narayana Shastri of Madras wrote a book titled “Acharya Kaala” in which the date 509 B.C. has been derived to be Shankara’s date of birth. The Keraliya Shankara Vijaya also provides a verse with astronomical details of Shankara’s birth. This verse also verifies the unmistakable 509 B.C. dateline. A chronogram relating to Aadi Shankara and appearing in Prachina Shankara Vijaya is quoted by Atma Bodha gives the 509 B.C. date. This chronogram is supported and corroborated by Jina Vijaya, a Jain scripture, even though it is outspokenly hostile to Shankara. Jina Vijaya gives the date of Kumarila Bhatta (557 B.C.), who was senior contemporary to Shankara by 48 years.
It is stated in the Nepal Rajavamshavali that “Aadi Shankara came from the South and destroyed the Buddha faith” and this occurred during the reign of Vrishadeva Varma (Kali 2615 to 2654), i.e., during 487 B.C. to 448 B.C. (Chronology of Nepal History, K.Venkatachalam). The date of Vrishadeva is again confirmed relating Harsha Shaka (457 B.C.) from Alberuni’s accounts. In his “Short History of Kashmir”, Pt. Gavshalal writes, “The 70th ruler in the list of Kashmir Kings, Gopaditya (417-357 B.C.) founded agraharas and built temples of Jyeteshwara and Shankaracharya”. That Shankara must have visited Kashmir before 417 B.C. then becomes quite obvious.
Here under is provided a chronological table of events from the beginning of this “Kalpa” right upto the rule of the Gupta dynasty, i.e., when Greek Alexander invaded the western borders of India. The Vedic culture continues to flourish in India, the cradle of human civilization, even today. However, only the events before the advent of Common Era are listed in the following table. It is noted that dates prior to the Mahabharata (3138 B.C.) are approximate, until further investigation puts forth any convincing evidence.
Swayambhuva Manu 29,000 B.C.
Veda (early stages) 23,720 B.C.
Samhita (Taitiriya) 22,000 B.C.
Manu Chakshushu 17,500 B.C.
King Pruthu 16,050 B.C.
Manu Vaivasvata 14,000 B.C.
Indra-Skanda dialogue (Mahabharat) 13,000 B.C.
Glaciation period 8,000 B.C.
Dasharadnya War 7,000 B.C.
Ramayana 5,500 B.C.
Orion period 4,000 B.C.
Greeks separate 4,000 B.C.
Rajatarangini begins 3,450 B.C.
Gonanda-I of Kashmir 3,238 B.C.
Mahabharata 3,138 B.C.
Veda (last stages) 3,100 B.C.
Saptarsi era begins 3,076 B.C.
Saraswati-Sindhu Culture 3,000 B.C.
Gautam Siddharta born 1,887 B.C.
Gautam Siddharta Nirvana 1,807 B.C.
Mahaveer Jain born 1,862 B.C.
Chandragupta Maurya 1,534 B.C.
Ashoka Maurya 1,482 B.C.
Ashoka Gonanda 1,448 B.C.
Kanishka 1,294 B.C.
Kumarila Bhatta 557 B.C.
Vruddha Garga 550 B.C.
Aadi Shankaracharya born 509 B.C.
Harsha Vikramaditya 457 B.C.
Shatkarani Gautamiputra 433 B.C.
Chandragupta Gupta 327 B.C.
Shakari Vikramaditya 57 B.C.
Shalivahan 78 A.D.
Huen-Tsang 625 A.D.
Kalhana (Kashmiri historian) 1,148 A.D
The continuity of Vedic culture from the distant past until today is preserved in the Rg Veda. This world’s most ancient text records the happenings of many peoples; sincerely and faithfully preserved by the ancient Hindus and passed on to their subsequent generations. The Puranas also hold many geographical and historical annals of great kings and heroes who assisted in ushering principles of truth and righteousness around the globe. It is only the Hindus who have preserved authentically the records of the bygone era, a matter that they have a right to be proud about.
The word “arya” was used for people who cultivated the mind and character. The “aryans” were the inhabitants of India for at leasta few thousand years in the past, who spoke Sanskrit and practised the Vedic culture along the banks of the rivers Saraswati and Sindhu. There was no invasion of the aryan-race in India, causing the destruction of property and massacre of the aboriginals and of the so-called Dravidian people. Hindus have maintained the oldestand most authentic records of the ancient world, in the Vedas and Puraan, and accordingly, the Dravidians were the early offshoots of the Vedic people through Sage Agastya. After separating from their original homeland in the arctic regions, and later, from the regions of Caspian Sea, the Vedics appear to have migrated across the globe. This explains the commonality and affinity of the most ancient languages with Sanskrit. The customs, expressions and traditions of the Greek, Iranians, Egyptians with that of the Vedics is also apparent from the evidence presented in the preceding article.
The annals of astronomical configurations in the Rg Veda and Samhitas indicate a date of 23000 B.C. when the early stages of the these texts were composed. The literary works on ancient India provide long lists of kings, their genealogies and ancestries. From these and other records, the date when Swayambhuva Manu, the first king of this Kalpa, flourished is calculated to be roughly 29000 B.C. It was in 5500 B.C roughly that the great Ramayanic civilization appears to have flourished and the great Mahabharata War was fought, as calculated from literary, archaeological and astronomical examinations, in 3138 B.C. The Sage Buddha attained Nirvana in 1807 B.C., after living a saintly life of 80 years propagating the Vedic tenets.
Chandragupta Maurya, the grandfather of Maurya Ashoka, with the assistance of Arya Chanakya captured power and was coronated as the emperor of India in 1534 B.C. The foremost of all philosophers and the greatest proponents of the Advaita school of thought, Aadi Shankaracharya, was born in 509 B.C. The end of the Andhra dynasty, and the rise of the Gupta dynasty began in 328 B.C. It was an era when Gupta Chandragupta, Sandrocottus of the Greeks, ruled India. The rule of the Guptas is recorded as the “Golden Age” in the history of India, when all the facets of civilization, art and architecture, polity and politics, wealth and wisdom flourished side by side.
Thus, even before the advent of Christ, the civilization and thought in India, the Vedic culture had reached a state of supreme high idealism which the arya people wanted to propagate and share with rest of the world. It may be matter of a few decades until fresh literary, archaeological and experimental evidence is brought out that may provide further insight into the culture of the ancients, seeking answers to the common history of humanity. It is hoped that this article will benefit the readership in providing abetter understanding of the history of ancient nations and cultures.
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Within this paper there are terms and dates that conflict with the teachings of His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad – the above paper is only presented for Vedic reference and for Food for Thought, it in no way is presented to challenge the teachings of His Divine Grace or his followers. I’m trusting that the mature reader will apreciate the inclusion of this paper to support the ideals of HDG that the Vedic tradition has been misrepresented by mundane scholars, and in fact dates back many thousands of years prior to the modern age