Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Nanda Dynasty-The fourth dynasty of Magadha

The Nanda Dynasty
From I504 to 1604 A.Y. : : From 1634 to 1534 B.C. Total No. of years = 100.
1. Mahapadma otherwise known as Nanda, an illegitimate son of Mahanandin, the last of the kings of Saisunaga dynasty, ruled Magadha for 88 years from 1504 to 1592 A.Y., 1634 to 1546 B.C.
2. Sumalya and his seven brothers, the sons of Nanda, ruled Magadha jointly for a total period of 12 years from 1592 to 1604 A.Y, or 1546 to 1534 B.C.
According to the Puranas, the founder of this dynasty, Mahapadma Nanda is said to be the son of Mahanandin, the last of the Sisunaga family, born to a Sudra woman married by him and he is said to have assumed the surname of Nanda. Like Parasurama, he is said to have annihilated all the Kshatriyas of his time and became the mightiest and the most powerful of all the kings of Aryavartha. He had eight sons accordingto Puranic accounts, the eldest of whom Sumalya ascended the throne in succession of his father, along with the rest of his brothers according to their seniority and they ruled the country for a total period of 12 years, They were put to death by a brahmin named Chanakya, surnamed Kautilya (Vishnugupta), who thereupon placed an illegitimate son of Mahapadma, by name Chandragupta, on the throne of Magadha.
According to Buddhistic accounts, Mahapadma is known as Dhana Nanda, in consequence of his avaricious habit in hoarding up wealth. It is said that levying taxes on skins, Gums, trees, stones etc., he hoarded up money to the extent of eighty Kotis, and buries up in the bed of the Ganges. Diverting the main stream for a time by an anicut or dam thrown across the Ganges, and making a large hole in a rock in the bed of the river sufficient to contain the money, he deposited his wealth in the rock, and sealed it up with molten lead. The river was then restored to its natural course and his treasure was secured thus in a very strong place. During his life time, he continued to hoard up and to deposit the collections from time to time under the bed of the river. He and his eight sons known as the nine Nandas were put to death by the Brahmin Chanakya, surnamed Kautilya, who hated him (for his maladministration), and who took possession of the wealth in the bed of the Ganges.
All the Hindu accounts (Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Vayu Purana, Matysa Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Kaliyuga Raja Vrittanta) are unanimous in giving to these nine Nandas a total period of 100 years for their reign.
It will be clear from the accounts in the above various important Puranas, which are practically identical with one another, that the founder of this Dynasty was Mahapadma, well-known otherwise as Dhana Nanda, that he was the son of Mahanandin, the last of the Saisunaga Dynasty, that he was born to that king from a Sudra wife, that he was most avaricious and powerful, that he extirpated the Kshatriya rulers of his time like a second Parasurama, the destroyer of the Kshatriyas in the olden times,Tretaayuga, that he subjugated the different lines of Kings of the Solar and Lunar dynasties who began to rule in the various parts of Northern India from the time of the Mahabharata War commencing from 1 A.Y., corresponding to the coronation of Yudhistira in the year 3138 B. C., that he became a paramount king and Emperor of the whole of India between the Himalaya and the Vindhya mountains, by putting an end to the ancient families of kings, such as Aikshvakus, Panchalas, Kauravyas, Haihayas, Kalakas,Ekalingas, Surasenas, aithilas etc., who ceased to rule as a seperate dynasty ever since that time; that he ruled the kingdom under one umbrella for a period of 88 years; that his 8 sons jointly ruled the kingdom for a short period of 12 years, that these nine Nandas, including the father and his eight sons ruled Magadha altogether for a total period of 100 years from 1504 to l604 A.Y., corresponi ding to 1634 to 1534 B.C., that these Nandas were extirpated by the Brahmin Chanakya, well known as "Kautilya" on account of his crooked and Machiavelian policy, and that he placed his (Mahapadmanda’s) protege Chandragupta, an illeginiate son of Mahapadma Nanda by his Sudra wife ‘Mura' on the throne of his father.
The account given of these nine Nandas in the various puranas is sufficiently corroborated by the various Jain and Buddhistic accounts snch as Jaimini Bharata, Mahavira’s life, Parisishtaparva, Mahavamsa, Dipavamsa and Asokavadana, though, the Buddhistic Mahavamsa dubs the last of these nine Nandas only by the name of Dhana. All these records of the Jains and the Buddhists, though hopelessly muddled and full of contradictory stories, are uniform in extending the duration of the Nanda Dynasty to 155 years. While such is the case, it is really a great pity that Mr. Vincent. A. Smith should have chosen to give these nine Nandas a total period of only 45 years for their reigns, and alas! these European scholars, who accuse the Indians for want of their historical accuracy, should supply the dates for the ancient periods of Indian History purely out of their fertile imaginations and pre—conceived notions.
Thus ends the Nanda Dynasty.

Saisunaga Dynasty- The Third Dynasty of Magadha after the great war.

(From 1144 to 1504 A.Y.--From 1994 to 1634 B.C.) Total No. of Years 360.

1. Sisunaga (K.R.V., .B.P., and Br.P): Sisunaka (Va.P.,and M.P) or or Sisunabha (Vi.P) is the founder of the Sisunaga Dynasty of the Magadha kings. By conquest Sisunaga (the king of Benaras) succeeded to the throne of Magadha held hitherto by the_Pradyota Dynasty. He reigned for 40 years from 1144 to 1184 A.Y., 1994 to 1954 B.C. He is said to have placed his son as king of Kasi, while he himself reigned at Girivraja or Rajagriha, the capital of Magadha.

2. Kaakavarna or Sakavarna (Va.P), son of sisunaga ruled Magadha for 36 years from 1184 to 1220 A. Y., 1954 to 1918 B. C.

3. Kshemadharman or Kshemavarman (Va. P.): Son of Kakavarna reigned for 26 years from 1220 to 1246 A. Y. 1918 to 1892 B.C. The K.R.V., calls him Kshemakarman and gives him areignof 26 years with which B.P. and one version of M.P. agree. The Va.P., and Br.P., give him only a reign of 20 years. One version of M.P., gives him a reign of 36 years.

4. Kshattrowjas (Vi.P., Br.P., and K.R.V.) or Kshemajit (M,P.) or Kshetrajna (B.P): Son of Kshemadharman reigned for 40 years from 1246 to 1286 A.Y., 1892 to 1852 B.C. The M.P gives him only a reign of 24 years. While all the other Puranas including K.R.V. assign to him 40 years.

5. Vidhisara (Vi.P.,Va.P., Br.P., B.P., and K.R.V) or Vindhyasena (M·P) or Vimbisara (Buddhistic Accounts) Son of Kshattrawjas reigned for 38 years from 1286 to 1324 A.Y., 1852 to 1814 B.C. The M.P.,and one version of Va.P., give him only a reign of 28 years, while all the other authorities give him a reign of 38 years. Further, while the Mahavamsa and the Asokavadana call him Bimbisara, the Parisishta parva of Hemachandra calls him Srenika , and all these Buddhistic and jain authorities are agreed in describing Bimbisara or Srenika as being 5 years junior to Gautama Buddha, who is said to have attained his Nirvana in the 8 th year of the reign of his successor Ajatasathru. These works_also describe Gautama Buddha as having become an ascetic in his 29 th year. Mr. Vincent A. Smith calls him Bimbisara and adds that he built Rajagriha annexed Anga and was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha.

6. Ajatasathru : Son of Vidhisara, reigned for 27 years from 1324 to 1351 A.Y., 1814 to 1787 B.C. While M.P., B,P., and K.R.V., give him a reign of 27 years; Va.P., and Br.P., give him only a reign of 25 years. The Mahavamsa, on the other hand, gives him a reign of 32 years, and his father Bimbisara, a reign of 52 years. . There is evidently some confusion in the order of kings as found in some of the versions of Va.P., and M.P. The order—Ajatasathru, Vidhisara and Kshattrawjas as found in one version of the Va.P., is evidently a mistake for Kshattrawjas, Vidhisara and Ajatasatru, for the reading in the other version is clearly otherwise.

7. Darbhaka, Darsaka (Va·P.) or Arbhaka (Vi.P): Son of Ajatasatru ruled for 35 years from 1351 to 1386 A.Y, 1787 to 1752 B.C. The M.P., calls him Vamsaka and gives him only areign of 24 years. Mr. V.A. smith calls him Karshaka but we are not able to ascertain the source from which he has derived this name.

8. Udayana (Vi.P., K.R.V., and Brihatkatha), Udayin (Va.P. and Br.P ,), Udasin (M P.) Ajaya (Br.P) or Udayasva (one version of Va.P and M.P), Udayi Bhaddaka (M.V.) Udayibhadra—A.A):
Son of Darbhaka reigned for 33 years from 1386 to 1419 A.Y. 1752 to 1719 B.C. The Vayu Purana and other authorities distinctly say that this king Udayana or Udayin built the city of Kusumapura (Pataliputra) in the 4 th year of his reign on the southern bank of the Ganges, with which the accounts given in the Brihatkatha, Kathasaritsagara and Kaliyuga Raja Vrittanta entirely agree.
Mr. V. A. Smith ascribs the building of the fort of Pataliputra to the reign of Ajatasatru, the grand father of Udayana or Udaya as he styles him; while all the authorities ascribe the very foundation of the city of Kusumapura (Pataliputra) to Udayana. The story of Ajatasatru having built the fort of Pataliputra, must, like the dates arbitrarily assigned by him to these various kings, be taken cum-grano-salis.

9. Nandivardhana : Son of Udayana ruled for 42 years from 1419 to 1461 A. Y. 1719 to 1677. The M. P., and Br. P., give him only a reign of 40 years. The Buddhistic accounts make a mess of things between Udayana and Nandivardhana, whom they evidently call by the name Kalasoka.

10. Mahanandin: Son of Nandivardhana ruled for 43 years from 1461 to 1504 A.Y., 1677 to 1634 B. C. All the authorities are unanimous in aseribing a reign of 43 years. One vérsion of the Br.P., gives 63 years which is evidently a mistake for 43 years. There is again a good ideal of confusion here in the Buddhistic accounts. We find the names of the following 4 kings, Viz., 1. Sahalin, 2. Tulakuchi, 3. Mahamandala and 4. Prasenajit inserted between Kalasoka and Mahanandin, whom they simply call Nanda. (Vide Asokavadana).
Thus ends the Saisunaga Dynasty, the third dynasty.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Magadha Empire. After the Mahabharata war in 3138 B.C)

Barhardradha Dynasty continues after Mahabharata War
(22 kings from 3138 B.C. to 2132 B.C. for a total of 1006 years)

The Puranas commence the list of the Barhadradha Dynasty only from Marjari, son of Sahadeva and grandson of Jarasandha, and counts from him 22 kings, as all of them evidently give the dynasties of kings only from the time of the Mahabharata war, from which date our regular history commences.

These Puranas in summing up the total number of years which these 22 kings of Barhardradha Dynasty ruled over Magadha after the Mahabharata war, put it roughly at full 1000 years or over 1000 years, instead of exactly putting it as 1006 years, the actual number of years for which these 22 kings ruled Magadha, as stated in giving the years for which period each of these individual kings reigned.

Pradyota Dynasty
(The Pradyota Dynasty begins From 1006 to 1144 A, Y. From 2132 to 1994 B. C. (Total Years-- 138) according to a majority of the Puranas.)
Pradyota or Pradyotana(Kaliyuga Raja Vrittanta,K.R.V.) or Balaka(Matsya Purana,M.P) is the son of Munika(Vayu Purana and Vishnu Purana) or Sunaka(Brahmanda Purana and Bhavishya Purana) or Pulaka(M.P and K.R.V.), the minister of Ripunjaya, the last king of the Barhadradha Dynasty, whom he treacherously killed. Instead of crowning himself as the king, which was clearly against the wishes of the people, Munika cleverly managed to place his son Pradyota on the throne of Magadha by getting the only daughter of the last king married to him in the year 2132 B.C., 1006 years after the Great war.
According to all the Puranas he is said to have baffled all the Kshatriyas of his time and placed his son Pradyota openly as the Emperor of the whole Northern India, by subjugating the Vitihotras of Avanti as well, whose dynasties there after came to a close.(Vide Va. P., Ch. XC1X.309-314, M. P. Ch. CCLXX, 1-5, Br. P., III,Ch. LXXIV,123- 127, B.P., Skandha XII, Ch. II, 1 to 4, and Vi.P., IV, Ch._ XXIV, 1-8). According to Matsya(M.P.), the first king of this Dynasty is called ‘Baalaka and the Dynasty is called ‘Balaka Dynasty’

1. Pradyota or Balaka....reigned for 23 years from 2132 B.C. to 2109 B.C.
2. Paalaka or Palaaka....reigned for 24 years from 2109 B.C. to 2085 B.C.
3. Visaakhayupa..........reigned for 50 years from 2085 B.C. to 2035 B.C.
4. Janaka( or Suryaka)...reigned for 21 years from 2035 B.C. to 2014 B.C.
5. Nandivardhana.........reigned for 20 years from 2014 B.C. to 1994 B.C.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Royal Dynasties After the Mahabharata War of 3138 B.C.

Hindu Imperial Royal Dynasties After the Mahabharata War of 3138 B.C.
Megadha kingdom-Puranic Chronology

S.No.DynastyNo. of KingsYears reignedFrom–To years B.C.
4Nanda (9 Nandas reigns 2) 21001634-1534
9Maha-Gupta (Pataliputra Empire)7245327---82
Ujjain Empire
S.No.DynastyNo. of KingsYears reignedFrom–To years A.D.
10Penwar Dynasty24127582 B.C.--1193 A.D.
11Miscellaneous Rulers--Muslims, Andhra kings, Mahrattas, Sikhs,British etc.,at an average reign of 34½ years per king22 kings7531193-1947 A.D.
12Independent India
81947-1955 A.D.
Total...........................5092 years elapsed after Mahabharata war upto 1955 A.D.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Kings of Magadha - before the Great Mahabharata War - and - between Mahabharata War and beginning of Kali

The following list of Magadha kings is given according to Matsya Purana. As the reigning periods of the earlier Magadha kings (before the Mahabharata war) are not available in any one of the Puranas, the reigning periods of the earlier kings of Nepal are adopted for the Magadha kings as they were contemporary rulers with them.
Before the Great War ---- Barhadradha Dynasty:
From about 1058 before Kali(B.K.) or 1021 B.Y.(Before the coronation of Yudhistira) or 4159 B.C. to 36 B.K.(Before the commencement of Kaliyuga) or 3138 B. C.
( Total 1021 years )

After the Mahabharata War, 3138 B.C.,  36 years before Kali. 
19. Somapi or Somadhi( or Marjari) was crowned as king in Girivraja(capital of Magadha)..36 years Before Kali(B.K.)...reigned from 36 B.K.-to-22 A.K(After Kali) for 58 years, that is from 3138 to 3080 B.C.

Barhadradha Dynasty Before the Mahabharata War of 3138 B.C.
1. Barhardradha I :-
According to Mahabharata, Brihadradha-I, the founder of Barhadradha Dynasty was the eldest son of Uparichara Vasu , the seventh in the descent from the Great Kuru, son of Samvarna, a descendant of the Lunar Dynasty (Chandravamsajah) of kings. He founded the kingdom of Magadha probably about 3709 B.C. or 571 years before the Great war of Mahabharata at Kurukshetra between the Pandavas and the Kauravas.
This  battle according to Mahabharata, the important Puranas, and all other ancient Hindu, Bauddha and Jaina authorities and traditions, took place. 36 years before the commencement of the Kaliyuga—the present Yuga.   Kali Yuga  began immediately after the departure of Sri Krishna, son of Vasudeva by Devaki, from this world on the 20th February, 3102 B. C., in the year Pramadhin of the Southern School of Hindu astronomers. (Vide Indian Eras By this author, Kota Venkata Chelam)
Brihadradha married the two beautiful twin daughters of the king of Kasi; and by the blessing of a Rishi, he obtained a most powerful son by name Jarasandha. The king, after installing his mighty son Jarasandha on the throne of Magadha retired into a forest and led an ascetic life. In this context the Mahabharata gave the next prominent dynasty of Jarasandha, leaving some generations of kings in the interval between Brihadradha I and Jarasandha (or Brihadradha II). - (Vide_Mahabharata, Sabha Parva. Adhyayas 14 to 19).
N.B:- The Matsya Purana enumerates all the names of kings between Brihadradha-I and Jarasandha or Brihadradha-II Jarasandha, son of Bhuvana was the 15 th in descent from Kuru and the tenth from Brihadradha-I, the founder of the Magadha Dynasty of kings. The following table shows the order of descent according to Matsya Purana. (Chapter 59):-
1. Samvarna
2. Kuru (The founder of the Kaurava Dynasty who removed his capital from Prayaga to Kurukshetra.)
3. Sudhanvan, Parikshit, Prajana, Jaghnu or Johnu or Yaju
4. Suhotra.
5. Chyavana
6. Krimi (or Kriti)
7. Chaidya or Uparicharavasu or Pratipa
8. (1) Brihadradha-I thefounder of the Magadha Dynasty.(3709 B.C.)
9. (2) Kusaagra
10. (3) Vrishabha or Rishabha.
11· (4) Pushpavat or Punyavat
12. (5) Pushpa or Punya
13. (6) Satyadhrithi or Satyahita.
14. (7) Sudhnvan II or Dhanusha.
15. (8) Sarva
16. (9) Bhuvana or Sambhava.
I7. (10)Brihadradha II or Jarasandha.
18. (11)Sahadeva (Sahadeva died in the Maha-Bharata War)
According to this account, the commencement of the Barhadradha Dynasty of Magadha kings should be placed at about (571) B.Y.(Before the coronation of Yudhistira) or 3709 B.C.,allowing on an average at least 52 years for each king. i.e., The eleven kings from 8th to 18th King Sahadeva reigned Magadha from 3709 B.C. to 3138 B.C.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gift Deed of Janamejaya --- An Early Inscription of Kali Era

According to the Mahabharata (2nd Aswasa of Adiparva) Parikshit ruled for 60 years from the first year of the Kali (3101 B. C.) Era and died stricken by the curse of a Rishi(3041 B. C), when the coronation of Janamejaya his son, took place in Kali 61,(3041 B. C.).
An inscription (plate) of a gift deed by Emperor Janemejaya. (Indian Antiquary P. P. 333-334) runs thus:-This is the first inscription known which used the Jayabhyudaya Yudhistira Saka, which had its origin in Kali first year; (Both thé Eras started in the same cycle year Pramadhi. This gift deed refers to a gift of land for the worship of Sri Sita and Rama on the bank of the Thungabhadra River, by Janamejaya (son of Parikshit) in the 89th year of Jayabhyudaya Yudhistira Saka i. e. Kali 89 i. e. B. C. 3012. The year Plavanga mentioned in the inscription tallies with the 89th year of Kali. Kali Era starts in the year 3102 B. C., the 20th Feb. at 2-27’-30" hours. i.e. in the cycle year of Pramadhi the 1st day of the bright half of the month of Chaitram at 2-27-30 hours. Similar gift by the same Emperor Janamejaya was made on the same day to Sri Goswamy Anandalinga Jangama of Ushamutt through his disciple Jnanalinga Jangama for the worship of God Kedaranath in Kedara Kshetra situated in north Himalaya. The Inscription (plate) of the above gift which is preserved in the mutt even to this day runs thus:
......and so on.
In those times sacrifices were much in vogue and the Aswamedha and Sarpayaga performed by Janamejaya have become famous. Satanika, the eldest of the five sons of Janamejaya succeeded him to the throne. In his time in Naimisaranya the Satrayaga was performed by Saunaka and other Rishis, which is supposed to take one thousand years. The kings of this dynasty ruled till Kali 1468 (or 1634 B.C.), and in their time the vedic religion was patronised and protected. In the several Yagnas performed in those days many animals were sacrificed and the common men were disgusted with the sacrifices of animals. Then in Kali 1215 or 1887 B.C. Buddha was born, to Suddhodna, the 23rd king of the Ikshvaku Royal dynasty of Kosala and preached a new religion in opposition to and in disregard of the Vedas.
There is no prominent event in the history of the Ikshvaku Royal dynasty except for the birth of Buddha in 1887 B.C. In Kali 1468(B.C. 1634) Kshemaka, the last Emperor of the royal dynasty of Hastinapura and Sumitra, the last king of the royal Ikshvaku dynastyof Kosala Kingdom both died childless. So the king of Magadha became Emperor and founder of the Imperial dynasty of Magadha.(Capital of Magadha was 'Girivraja')

Hastinapura Empire

The Mahabharata war brought into the field all the vassal kings in the country, some fighting on the side of the Kauravas and others on the side of the Pandavas. The Kauravas were completely annihilated. The Victorious Yudhistira became the Emneror. He sent his brothers to the various vassal states and got the sons or the nearest heirs of the dead vassal kings on the throne. Ayodhya and Magadha were the biggest among those states. Brihadbala the king of Ayodhya, who fought on the side of the Kauravas was killed in the war by Abhimanue. After him his son Brihatshana was enthroned. Somadhi or Marjari the son of the Magadha king Sahadeva who was killed in the war was likewise coronated after the death of his father.
List of the Emperors of Hastinapura after the Mahabharata war....3138 to 1604 B. C.
Name of the king .....Date of Coronation
1. Yudhistira.........Before Kali 36......3138 B.C-
2. Perikshit.................. Kali 1...... 3101 B.C.
3. Jenamejaya................ Kali 61......3041 B.C.
4. Satanika
5. Aswamedhadat
6. Adhisima krishna
7. Nichaknu
8. Ushna
9. Chitraradha
10. Suchiradha
11, Vrishnimanta
12. Sushena
13. Suneedha
14. Nrupegakshu
15. Sukhibala
16. Pariplava
17. Sunaya
18. Medhavi
19. Ripunjaya
20. Urva
21. Thigma
22, Bruhadradha
23. Kasudana
24, Sataneeka II
25. Udayana_
26. Kihinara
27. Dandapani
28, Niramitra
29. Kshemaka
.....................................Kali 1468...... 1634 B.C.
These Emperors reigned for 1504 years from the Mahabharata War (3138 B C ) and the dynasty ends with the 29th king Khemaka in Kali 1468 or 1634 B.C.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Historial Literature of India

1. A.Stein writes in his introduction to Rajatarangini Westminister edition Vol. I. P. 3:-- "It has often been said of the india of the_Hindus that it possessed no history. The remark is true if we apply it to history as a science and art, such as classical culture in its noblest prose-works has bequeathed it to us. But it is manifestly wrong if by history is meant either historical development or the materials for studying it. India has never known, amongst its Sastras, the study of history such as Greece and Rome cultivated or as modern Europe understands it. Yet the materials for such study are equally at our disposal in India. They are contained not only in such original sources of information as Inscriptions, Coins and Antiquarian remains, generally, advancing research has also proved that written records of events or of traditions concerning them have by no means been wanting in ancient India."
2. H. Wilson in his admirable introduction to his translation of the Visnu Purana, while dealing with the contents of the Third book observes that a very large portion of the contents of the Itihasas and Puranas is genuine and old and writes:-
"The arrangement of the Vedas and other writings considered by the Hindus--being, in fact, the authorities of their religious rites and beliefs--which is described in the beginning of the Third Book, is of much importance to the history of the Hindu Literature and of the Hindu religion. The sage Vyasa is here represented not as the author but the arranger or the compiler of the Vedas, the Itihasas and the Puranas. His name denotes his character meaning the ‘arranger’ or ‘distributor’; and the recurrence of many Vyasas, many individuals who remodelled the Hindu scriptures, has nothing in it, that is improbable. except the fabulous intervals by which the if labours are separated. The rearranging, the re-fashioning, of old materials is nothing more than the progress of time would be likely to render necessary. The last recognised compilation is that of Krishna Dvaipayana, assisted by Brahmans, who were already conversant with the subjects respectively assigned to them. They were the members of the college or school supposed by the Hindus to have flourished in a period more remote, no doubt, than the truth, but not at all unlikely to have been instituted at some time prior to the accounts of I ndia which we owe to Greek writers and in which we see enough of the system to justify our inferring that it w as then entire. That there have been other Vyasas and other schools since that date, that Brahmsns unknown to fame have remodelled some of the Hindu scriptures, and especially the Puranas, cannot reasonably be counted, after dispassionately weighing the strong internal evidence, which all of them afford, of their intermixture of unauthorized and comparatively modern ingredients. But the same internal testimony furnishes proof equally decisive, of the anterior existence of aneient meterials; and it is, therefore, as idle as it is irrational, to dispute the antiquity or the authenticity of the contents of the Puranas, in the face of abundant positive and circumstantial evidence of the prevalence of the doctrines, which they teach, the currency of the legends which they narrate, and the integrity of the institutions which they describe at least three centuries before the Christian Era. But the origin and development of their doctrines, traditions and institutions were not the work of a day; and the testimony that establislies their existence three centuries before Christianity, carries it back to a much more remote antiquity, to an antiquity, that is, probably, not surpassed by any of the prevailing fictions, institutions or beliefs of the ancient world." (Willson’s Vishnu Purana, London Ed. P.P.LXII and LXIII.)
Again in dealing with the contents of the Fourth Amsa of the Visnu Purana, the Professor remarks:-
‘The Fourth Book contains all that the Hindus have of their ancient History. It is a tolerably comprehensive list Of dynasties and individuals; it is a barren record of events. It can scarcely be doubted, however, that much of it is a genuine chronicle of persons, if not of occurrences. That it is discredited by palpable absurdities in regard to the longevity of the princes of the earlier dynasties, must be granted; and the particula rs preserved of some of them are trivial and fabulous. Still there is an artificial simplicity and consistency in the succession of persons, and a possibility and probability in some of the transactions, which give to these traditions the semblance of authenticity, and render it likely that these are not altogether without foundation. At any rate,in the absence of all other sources of information the record, such as it is, deserves not to be altogether set aside. It is not essential to its celebrity or its usefulness, that any exact chronological adjustment of the different reigns should be attempted. Their distribution amongst the several Yugas, undertaken by Sir William Jones, or his Pandits, finds no countenance from the original texts, rather than an identical notice of the age in which a particular monarch ruled or the general fact that the dynasties prior to Krishna precede the time of the Great War and the beginning of the Kali Age, both which events are placed five thousand years ago.......This, may or may not, be too remote but it is sufficient, in a subject where precision is impossible, to be satisfied with the general impression, that, in the dynasties of Kings detailed in Puranas, we have a record, which, although it cannot fail to have suffered detriment from age, and may have been injured by careless or injudicious compilation, preserves an account not wholly undeserving of confidence, of the establishment and succession of regular monarchies, amongst the Hindus, from as early an era and for as continuous a duration, as any in the credible annals of mankind. (Do. Book LXIV, LXV)
And lastly, in discussing the general nature of the Puranas , and of their values as hishorical records, he_says:-
"After the date of the Great War, the Vishnu Purana, in common with other Puranas, which contain similar lists, specifies Kings and Dynasties with greater precision; and offers political and chronological particulars to which, on the score of probability there is nothing to obiect. In truth, their general accuracy has been incontrovertibly established. Inscriptions on columns of stone, on rocks, on coins deciphered only of late years through the extraordinary ingenuity and perseverence of Mr. James Princep, have verified the names of races and titles of princes - the Gupta and the Andhra Rajas mentioned in the Puranas." (Wilson’s Vishnu Purana Page LXX.)
3. In his Rajasthan. Col. Tod says :- "Those who expect from a people like the Hindus a species of composition of precisely the same character as the historical works of Greece and Rome, commit the very egregious error of overlooking the peculiarities which distinguish the natives of india from all other races, and which strongly discriminate their intellectual productions of every kind from those of the West. Their philosophy, their poetry, their architecture are marked with traits of originality; and the same may be expected to pervade their history, which, like the arts enumerated, took a character from its intimate association with the religion of the pe0ple."
"ln the absence of regular and legitimate historical records there are, however, other native works, (they may, indeed, be said to abound) which in the hands of a skilful and patient investigator, would afford no despicable materials for the histOry of India. The first of these are the Puranas and geneological legends, of the princes which, obscured as they are by the mythological details, allegory, and improbable circumstances, contain, many facts that serve as beacons to direct, the research of the historian."
"Another species of historical records is found in the accounts given by the Brahmins of the endowments of the temples their dilapidation and repairs which furnish occasions for the introduction of historical and chronological details In the legends respecting places of pilgrimage and religious resort, profane events are blended with superstitious rites and ordinances local ceremonies and customs. The controversies of the Jains furnish, also, much historical information, especially with reference to Guzerat and Nehrwala during the Chaulac Dynasty. From a close and attentive examination of the Jain records, which embody all that those ancient sectarians knew of science, many chasms in Hindu history might be filled up."
"Every MATHA or religious college of any importance preserves the succession of its heads. Among the Jains, we have the PATTAVALIS or successions of pontiffs, for a full and lucid notice of some of which we are indebted to Dr. Hoernle: they purport to run back to even the death of the last TIRTHAMKARA Vardhamana-Mahavira."(528 B. C.)
"The preservation of pedigrees and successions have evidently been a national characteristic for very many centuries. And we cannot doubt that considerable attention was paid to the matter in connection with the royal families and that Vamsavalis or Rajavalis, lists of the lineal successions of kings, were compiled and kept from very early times. We distinctly recognise the use of such VAMSAVALIS, giving the relationships and successions of kings, but no chronological details beyond the record of the total duration of each reign with occasionally a coronation date recorded in an era, in the copper-plate records. We trace them, for instance in the introductory passages, of the grants of the Eastern Chalukya Series ( See SII, I 35; EI, V. 131) which from the period A.D. 918 to 925 onwards, name the successive kings beginning with the founder of the line, who reigned three centuries before that time, but do not put forward more than the length of the reign of each of them; and, from certain differences in the figures for some of the reigns, we recognise that there were varying versions of those VAMSAVALIS. We trace the use of the VAMSAVALIS again in the similar records of the, Eastern Gangas of Kalinga, which, from A.D. 1058 onwards (EI, IV, 183), give the same deta ils about the kings of that line with effect from about A.D. 99O and one of which, issued A.D. 1296 ( JASB, L XV 229), includes a coronation date of A.D. 1141 or 1142. There has been brought to light from Nepal a long Vamsavali (by Pandit Bhagavan Lal Indraji P.H.D. Hon. and M.R.A.S.) which purports to give an_unbroken list of the rulers of that country, with the lengths of their reigns and an occasional landmark in the shape of the date of an accession stated in an era, back from A.D. 1768 to even so fabulous an antiquity as six or seven centuries before the commencement of the Kali age in B.C. 31Q2."
(Quoted By M. Krishnamachariar in his History of Classical Sanskrit Literature, Introduction 38 ff.)
4. In his Rajatarangini KALHANA mentions certain previous writers.—"Suvrata, whose work, he says, was made difficult by misplaced learning; Kshemendra who drew up a list of kings, of which, however, he says, no part is free from mistakes; Nilamuni, who wrote the NILAMATAPURANA, Helaraja, who composed a list of kings in twelve thousand verses; and Srimihira or Padmamihira and the author SRI CHCHAVILLAKARA. His own work, he tells us, was based on eleven collections of RAJAKATHAS or stories about kings and on the work of Nilamuni.
"Tamrasasana, or ‘Copper chapters‘ consist sometimes of a single plate but mare usua11y of_severa1 plates strung together on a large signet—ring_ which bears generally the seal of the authority who issued the particular chapter. The stone records usually describe themselves by the name of Silasasana or ‘Stone-chapters', Sila-lekha or 'Stone-writings',or Prasasti or "Eulogies'. They are found on rocks, on religious columns such as those which bear some of the edicts( insription recording grants, chiefly of grants and allowances engrossed on copper plates) of Priyadasi and others which were set up in front of temples as "flagstaffs" of the Gods; on battle-columns of victory such as the two at Mandasor, on the walls and beams, sand pillars of caves and temples, on the pedestals of images, and on slabs built into the walls of temples or set up in the courtyards of temples or in conspicuous places in village sites or fields. And they are often accompanied by sculptures which give the seal of authority issuing the. record, or mark its sectarian nature, or illustrate some scene referred to in it.
_ "The Chronolgy of Classical Sanskrit Literature starts with Mahabharata war and Kaliyuga. Kaliyuga commenced on 20th February 3102 B.C., just on the day on which Sri Krishna departed to his divine abode. The Kuru-pandava war was fought 37 years before kali, that is in 3139 B.C. Onwards from the commencement of Kaliyuga, Puranas contain accounts of various kingdoms that flourished from time to time and successive dynasties that ruled and fell during the course of about 35 centuries. To an impartial observer the tenor of these accounts warrants their accuracy and to the mind of the Hindu-- the Hindus of those bygone ages when scepticism had not called tradition superstition—-life here is evanescent and life’s endeavour must be the attainment of beatitude eternal. Ancient sages (Rishis perceived the divine hymns of the Vedas and passed them on for the edification of posterity. Since the advent of Kali, a prospective crop of vice and folly was predicted and to wean the erring world from such sin and misery, Vyasa formulated Puranas with the object of Vedopabrhana, that is, supplemented the exposition of Vedic teachings, and that in the garb of a language and narrative that would be easily assimilated by the masses. To such philosophical minds, the rise and fall of kings and kingdoms was not worth remembrance, save as another realistic means of illustrating the tenets of philosophy, e.g., the truth of the divine essence, Brahman, the unreality at sensual pleasures, the liberation of individual soul and the attainment of eternity in beatitude or oneness with the Spirit Divine and above all the inevitable occurrence of God’s mandates shortly termed Destiny or otherwise called Kaala or Niyati.
If this is the object of Puranic literature, it is a sacrilege to charge the author or authors of them, whoever it was, with having fabricated scriptural testimony for attributing an antiquity to Indian literature and Indian civilization, which it did not possess; for even if they had been, as many orientaists have said, made up late after the Christian era, the authors would not have anticipated this method of political history of the 18th and 19th centuries A. D. The Puranic lists of dynasties of kings and kingdoms furnish details of dates to an extent that even in days of historical records may be surprising, for they mention even months and days in their computation. Whatever those ancient authors did or wrote, they did it with sincerity and accuracy, ‘truth’ being the basis of accuracy. Our educational institutions are saturated with the teachings of modern scholars on the untruth of these Puranic accounts, but it is still hoped that time will come when truth will triumph and display a real orientation of ancient Indian History.
(P. P. XXXVIII — XLIV History of Classical Sanskrit Lit. By_M,· Krishnnmachariar) (38 to -44 pages)
( F, E. Pargiter has given an admirable summary of Early Indian Traditional History, as recorded in Puranas in JRAS (1914) 267 et seq.) _

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Asoka’s time from the Puranas

The Mahabharata War........... 3138 B.C.
The Reign of the Barhadrathas. 1006 years
...............................2132 B.C.
The Reign of Pradyotas......... 138 years
.............................. 1994
The Reign of Sisunegas........ 360 years
The Reign of Nandas............100 years
The coronation of Chandragupta}1534 B.C.
Chandragupta's reign.. 34 years.
Bindusara’s reign .....28 years
total..................62 years.. 62
Asoka’s ooronationn.............1472 B.C.
Asoka’s reign 1472 -1436 B.C......36 years, that is in the 15th century B.C.
Asoka’s inscriptions therefore belong to the 15th century B.C. At that time there were no Greek states in the region of modern Greece and the Greeks as a people were unknown. The Greeks were not Yavanas, the Yevanas were not Greeks. The Greeks of modern history of the 3rd century B.C. should properly be called Iono-Greeks, being a race of mixed descent from the Ionian settlers and the conquering Greek tribes from the north. Their names were also Iono-Greek (mixed) names.
The Yona names of.........................|| The Iono-Greek names with, which
Asoka"s inscriptions......................|| they have been indentified.

Amtiyoka.................................... Antiyo¢hus-Theos II of Syria
Tulamaya.................................... Ptolemy Philadelphos of Egypt
Amtikine.................................... Antigonos Gonatus
Maka........................................ Magas
Alikya Sudale............................... Alexander (Of Epirus)

In the names of the Greek kings identified with Yona Prakrit names of the Asokan inscriptions there is a samilarity only in the beginning but the rest is all a Greek name. There is no clear justification for the identification. Moreover these kingdoms are nowhere near the frontiers of Bharat or Asoka’s empire. Syria is at a distance of 1750 miles from the North-western Frontier-- beyond Ramatha, Hara, Huna, Sakasthan, Iran, iraq which intervene. Egypt is at a distance of 2400 miles, beyond Iran, Iraq, and the Red Sea.
Macedonia--nearly 3000 miles away, (ie about 6OQ yojanas only) to the Yavana kingdoms mentioned in the inscriptions are described as states beyond the borders of Asoka’s empire. If we take the boundary of his empire to have extended up to Taxila,on the north-west, the Bharatiya Yavana kingdoms of Abhisara, Uraga, Simhapura, Divyakataka, Uttara-jyothisha, the five Yavana states would be on the frontiers (North and North-west of Asoka’s empire. But it is absurd to argue that ‘Cyrene’, the Greek colony in Africa, which lay thousands of miles away from the frontiers of India, was a border State of "Asokan Empire. ‘Cyrene’ lay to the west of Lybia, a non-Greek territory, and it could never have been described as a border state of Asoka’s kingdom. Frontier states of adjacent countries should be touching the frontier borderline. In this sense Egypt, Syria and Macedonia and other Greek states of the 3rd century B.C., cannot have been the Frontier states of the supposed Asoka’s empire of the 3rd century B.C.
Only if we identify the Bharatiya Yavana. states of the 15th century B.C., (i.e modern Afganistan), as the frontier states of the inscriptions, the length of the entire range of Buddhist-religious influence on the north of Asoka's empire mentioned in the inscriptions will work out--from modern Afghanistan to the east coast of China -- nearly 800 yojanas as mentioned in Asoka’s inscriptions.
So "Amtioka" was a Bheratiya Yavana prince not an Iono-Greek or Greek Prince. He was the contemporary of Asoka. His age was from I472-36 B.C.. The "Yavana" of Northwest Bharat became Ionian in Asia minor and Greece and mixing with the Greek the Ionian became Iono-Greek and then by order of the Government of Ionia or Greece the Iono-Greek became “Greek" and the Country "Greece.°’

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Age of Amtiyoka

Question II of Dr, Sirkar:- About the age of ‘Amtiyoka’, the Yavanah monarch mentioned in the edicts of Asoka.
The above mentioned ‘Amtiyoka’ belonged to a branch of Bharatitya Yavana Kshatriyas. He was the ruler of ‘Simhapura’ one of the five Yavana kingdoms 1. Abhisara. 2, Uraga 3. Simhapura 4. Divyakataka 5. Uttarajyotisha. The other four rulers were subordinate to him. These five kingdoms were all beyond the borders of Asoka’s empire on the North-west and a group stretching in sequence from west to northeast. Now we find them included 1. in Kashmir, 2. in the North- west Frontier Province and 3, 4. 5, in Afghanistan. They were very small kingdoms. The people of these regions were Yavana Kshatriyas and martial people who lived on their arms i.e. served as mercenary soldiers under any ruler who paid them. Their women were very beautiful and they were employed as body-guards in the royal (harems) households of several Indian princes.
These mercenary soldiers were very loyal to the masters under whom they served and sacrifized their lives if necessary for the safety of their masters. They were Kshatriyas of Solar descent. But they were excommunicated from the Aryan Kshatriya fold on account of their disregarding and discarding the Vedic rituals and observances.(Manu 10-43, 45) They were regarded as Mlechchas. When they could not secure employment under wealthy masters who could maintain them, they used to live upon theft and banditry, raiding peaceful villages and carrying away loot to their mountain regions, They were cruel, indulging in violence, theft, and abducting women. Their homelands were rocky regions, infertile and unsuitable for cultivation. Later in the 12th century AD. they were converted to Islam. Even in very recent times, so late as 1948 A.D. it was the people of these regions that invaded Kashmir and looted the villages on the border.
The kingdoms surrounding the Yavana states were:—
On the East —- Kashmir and Gandhara,
On the South -- Gandhara,
On the West -- Ramatha, Amara Parvata, Hara, Huna.
Of these Ramatha was inhabited by a Kshatriya race known as Ramathas or Romakas or Rummas, Amara—Parvata by another Kshatriya sub-sect known as Barbaras, Hara by Haras (or Hurs) and Huna by Hunas, all kshatriyas. In course of time these Bharatiya Yavana kshtriyas, as they increased in numbers migrated further west and established their colonies there. Rome was such a colony of the Ramathas or Romakas. The Barbaras colonised in the North and East of Africa now called the Barbary States. The Hurs settled down in the North-West-Frontier-States and became Muhammadans and in Rajastan etc., they are now found among Hindus. The Hunas first settled down in Central Asia, but later as they became too numerous spread and came to the west, raiding countries in central Asia and India, sometimes in Europe also and settled down in various countries in Asia and Europe and established many kingdoms of their own mixing with the natives of those regions and evolving into the several nations of Europe of modern times.
Modern Europe might as well be termed a composite Huna kingdom.
"That the Europeans became in time many races and tribes and that they, mixing with the barbarians became themselves savages have been clearly proved by the researches of the European scholars themselves." (Vide Kallar’s "The Lake Dwellers" and Taylor’s "The origin of the Aryans.")
On the North:—1. Saka or Sakasthan (modern Drangiana comprising the river valley region at the bend of the river Helmond. 2. Aryanaka(Aria)-Capital Herat. 3. North Bahlika. Capital Balkh 4. Darada (or Daradastan)
The above four were to the north of the Yavana kingdoms; towards the west of the Yavana kingdoms were located in order- Ramatha, Hara, Huna, Sakasthana, then Iran, then Iraq and Syria and beyond the Red Sea and Suez, Egypt to the North-west.
The Yavana kingdoms mentioned in Asoka’s edicts were comprised in Modern Afghanistan 1. in the eastern part of it, stretching from South to North-east up to Kashmir. The kingdoms of Saka, Bahlika and Darada, to the north of the Yavana kingdoms were in those days independent states. So the names of the states or the people of the states who were also other branches of Kshatriyas, the Sakas, Bahlikas and Daradas just like the Yavana Kshatriyas, have not been mentioned in the Inscriptions of Asoka. So we have to infer that Asoka’s empire extended only upto "Taxila" on the North-west and the influence of his religious zeal and humanitarian activities extended to the Yavana, Gandhara and Kambhoja states on the border of his empire (mentioned in the inscriptions). Even Kashmir is nowhere mentioned in his inscriptions. So Kashmir must have been an independent state of Bharat beyond the frontiers of his empire. To the west and to the north of modern Afghanistan existed in his time the states of Ramatha, Hara, Huna, and Saka, North Bahlika and Darada. These are nowhere mentioned in the inscriptions and no inscriptions (Edicts) of his have been discovered in those regions. Only the Yavana, Kambhoja and Gandhara states have been mentioned as the states beyond the frontiers of his empire on the north-west and so it is clear his empire extended to the east of these Bharatiya mlechcha states. The Yavana prince across the border of his empire ‘Amtiyoka’ mentioned in his inscriptions could be only one of the princes of the Bhratiya Yavana Kshatriya states viz. "Simhapura." The other four princes mentioned along with him in the inscriptions should be identified as the rulers of the other four Yavana states 1. Abhisara 2. Urasa 3, Divya Kataka and 4. Uttarajyotisha (Bharatiya Yavana states). From the western region of modern Afghanistan (comprising in those days these five Bharatiya Yavana states) to the eastern end of China the distance is 800 yojanas as mentioned in the inscriptions, and throughout this region touching on the western and northern borders of Bharat Buddhism was propagated, to the north of northern Latitude 30°, from the meridian of 62° east to the meridian of 120° east the distance works out to 58° x 69 (1 degree = 69 mi1es) = 4002 miles = 800 yojanas (1 Jyotisha Yojana being equal to about 5 English miles) the distance mentioned in the inscriptions of Asoka.
"By the 3rd century B.C., the Greeks had established their empire and Greek kings were ruling in Egypt. Syria_ etc. There were historians among them who wrote long and regular histories of Egypt, Syria and Macedon etc., who carefully mentioned in them even the most trifling details of any interest. Nowhere in those histories do we find any mention of Asoka of Bharat or of any religious or humanitarian missionaries sent to their countries or of any institutions for the medical treatment of men and animals established by him or his missionaries in their countries. All the above facts prove that the contemporary of Alexander was Gupta Chandra Gupta (327 B.C.) and not Chandragupta Maurya (1534 B.C.)” (Vide The Plot in Indian Chronology. p. 7, by this Author.) Of the Yona provinces (mentioned in the inscriptions of Asoka) Dr. Bhandarkar says in his ‘Asoka’ p. :29:- They formed part of Asoka’s Empire and had therefore nothing to do with the dominions of his neighbours. There was a Greek colony of the pre-Alexandrian period on the north-western confines of India and it was established between the rivers Kophen and the Indus."
Prof, Rhys Davids, the Pali scholar, expresses the opinion that "The story of the spread of Buddhism in Asoka’s time is better preserved in the Simhalese chronicles than in his edicts, They make no mention of any such missions to the Greek kingdoms of the west". (Quoted by Dr. Bhandarkar in his ‘Asoka, p. 158.)’
Dr. Bhandarkar further explains Rhys Davids thus:- In other words what Prof. Rhys Davids means is "that Buddhism could not have extended to the Greek dominions of western Asia— and as the Simhalese chronicles speak of the Buddhist faith being preached in Asoka’s time only in the bordering regions of India, that must be accepted as more probeable and more accurate”. (Vide Bhandarkar’s ‘Asoka’ p, 159)

It is a fact. that Buddhism was preached and prevails even today in all the kingdoms of Central Asia between Afghanistan. and China, including Sugadha, Kucha, Kusthana or Khotan, Sinkiang, Tibet, Mongolia, Manchuria, Korea and China, a length of roughly 800 yojanas.
"Megasthenes, in his account of India has not said a word about Buddha or his system". (Buddhist India By Rhys Davids, p. 178)
"The Greeks do not mention Asoka" (ibid. p. 181)
It is plausible to infer that the region of Asoka's missionary work beyond the northern frontiers of his empire extended from Afghanistan in the west to the eastern borders of China. Buddhism prevailed in those regions for a long time and prevails even now to a considerable extent. But there is no trace of the prevalence of Buddhism at any time in Syria, Egypt or Macedonia etc. The states to which missionaries were sent in the time of Asoka, for propagating the religion, are mentioned in the "Mahavamsa", a Buddhist treatise.
"When the Thera, Moggali-putra. the illuminator of the religion of the conqueror, had brought the 3rd council to an end, and when, looking into the future, he had beheld the founding of the religion in the adjacent countries, then in the month of Karthika he sent forth "Theras’ one here and one there. The Thera Majjhamtika he sent to Kashmira and Gandhara, the There Matadeva he sent to Mahisha-mandala(west of Magadha). To Vanavasa he sent the Thera named ‘Rakkita"' and to Aparamtika the Yona named ‘Maha Dhamma Rakkita', but ‘Thera Maharakkita’ he sent into the country of the Yona. He sent the ‘Thera Majjhima' to the Himalaya country, (i.e. Northern border) and to Savana Bhumi (Karna Suvarna in Burma) he sent the two Theras Sona and Uttara. The great Thera Mahinda, the Theras Itthiya, Uttiya. Sambala, and Boddhasala, his disciples, these five Theras he sent forth with the charge "Ye shall found in the loveiy island of Lanka the lovely religion of the conqueror. (Vide the Mahavamsa, chapter XII, p. 82) As stated in the above passage of Mahavamsa the adjacent countries of Asoka’s empire were the following:- (1) Kashmira (2) Gandhara (3) Mahishamandala (4) Vanavasa (5) Aparantika (il Yona country means (Abhisara, Ursa, Simhapura. Divya Kataka, Uttarajyotisha) (7) Himalayan country (i.e. Nepal etc.) These seven kingdoms were independent kingdoms. Tney were not included in the empire of Asoka. They were adjacent and neighbouring countries touching and contiguous to the north-western and northern borders of Asoka’s empire. It is wrong to identify them with the Greek kingdoms of Western Asia, Eastern Europe and Egypt. The 3rd council was held in the time of Asoka and the states mentioned in Mahavamsa in the passage quoted above were all adjacent to the northern border to the empire of Asoka. The coronation of Asoka took place 335 years after the demise of the Buddha in 1807 B C. ie. in 1472 B.C. The States to which Moggaliputra Bhikshu sent missionaries for the propagation of Buddhism include LankaYona, Kashmir, Gandhara and the north Himalayan states, Sugadha, Kucha, Kustana, Sinkiang, Tibet, Mangolia, China etc. The other states mentioned are all within Western Bharat. Ramatha, Hara, Huna, Saka, Bahlika, and Darada were all to the West and North of the Yona states and modern Afghanistan. These states are nowhere mentioned in the inscriptions of Asoka or the Mahavamsa as states to which any missionaries were sent, Yona is mentioned immediately after Kashmir and Gandhara. There is no mention anywhere of Egypt, Syria or Macedonia etc. Moreover the word ‘Greek’ is not found any where in the inscriptions of Asoka or Buddhistic religions treatises or any Hindu Purana or Sanskrit literary work.
In this connection Prof. Rhys Davids (the Pali scholar) in his "Buddhist India" page 196, 197 writes:-
"Now when Cunningham opened the Topes (brick burial mounds) at and near Sanchi he discovered under them several of the funeral urns containing ashes from the funeral pyres of the distinguished persons in whose honour the Topes had been built. One of the urns has inscribed round the outside of it, in letters of the 3rd Century B.C., the simple legend: "Of the good man, Kassapa-gotta, the teacher of all the Himalaya region". Round the inside of the urn is the legend: "Of the good man Majjhima". In another Tope close by at Sonari two urns bear the separate inscriptions "Of the good man, Kassapa-gotta, son of Koti, teacher of all the Himalaya region." and: ‘ Of the good man Majjhima, the son of Kodini'. In the same Tope was a third urn with the inscription: "Of the good man Gotiputta, of the Himalaya, successor of Dundubhissara."
"I see no better explanation than the very simple one that these men really went as missionary teachers to the Himalaya region, and that the fact that they had done so was handed down in unbroken tradition, till the Chroniclers put it down for us. They make no mention of any such missions to the Greek kingdoms in the distant West." (Vide ‘Buddhist India, By Rhys Davids pp ,196, 197.)
"It is difficult to judge of Asoka’s claim that his Dhamma was followed by the peoples of the kingdoms mentioned by him. Greece knew nothing about Buddhism previous to the rise of Alexandria in the Christian Era. Buddha is first mentioned by Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150 -218). Centuries later Alberuni observed that ‘in former times, Khorasan, Persia, Iraq. Mosul and the country up to the frontier of Syria was Buddhisticc'. (Sachau, Alberuni's India p. 21.). That Indian culture spread to these regions during this period can hardly be doubted, but its extent cannot be, estimated till more positive evidence is available? (Vide Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s History Vol. II, page 616)
"We have evidence to show that Buddhism, and along with it Indian culture, was spread among the Parthians, the Yuch-chi, the Sogdians and various other peoples of central Asia before the beginning of the Christian Era. Even the Sassanians of the third century A.D. regarded Bactriana as virtually an Indian country and the Oxus, a river of Buddhists and the Brahmanas. The Greek writers always cite Bactriana with India and state that thousands of Brahmanas and Samanas(Buddhist monks) resided there. The recent explorations in Chineoe Turkestan have revealed the existence of a large number of flourishing cities with rich sanctuaries, and introduced us to a new world of Indian Culture which calls for a more detailed study"
"The Tarim basin, to which all the three routes led, is popularly known as Chinese Turkestan, and corresponds to the modern province of Sinkiang. This region lies immediately to the west of China.
“It was subsequently a meeting ground of diverse peoples and cultures, such as Indians, Persians, Turks, Chinese, Tibetans. Buddhists, Jews. Christians and Manichaeans. Two roads passing along its northern and southern fringes led from the west of China. Kashgar, on the western border. may be regarded as the starting point of both these routes which met on the Chinese frontier in east at a place called Yu-men-kuan or the Jade Gate, not far from the hills of Tunhwang which contain the caves ofthe thousand Buddhas."
"Along the southern route there were Indian colonies at Shule or Sailadesa (Kashgar), So-Khiu or Chokkuka (Yarkand), Khotamna(Khotan), and also at Domoko,Niya. Dandan-Oilik, Endere, Lou-lan, Rawak and Miran; and along the northern route at Po-lu-kia or Bharuka (Aqsu district, near Uch-Turfan). Kuchi (modern Kucha), Yen-ki (or Yen·chi) or Agni-desa (modern Qara-Shahr), and Turfan, in addition to various other localities. Future Explorations would no doubt considerably add to this number.
"Buddhism was the prevailing religion in all these localities. This is proved not only by the discovery of images and the remains of Buddhist stupas, Shrines and Viharas built after Indian models, but also by a large number of Buddhist texts, written in Sanskrit and Prakrit as well as in local languages of Central Asia, and in Indian scripts, both Brahmi and Kharoshthi. Large numbers of secular documents have also been discovered. These are written in Indian languages and scripts on wodden tablets, leather, paper and silk. (Vide Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s History Vol II, page 638.)
"Khotan was very important centre of Buddhism. Its famous monastery, Gomati-Vihara, was one of the biggest institutions of Buddhist learning in Central Asia. A number of able Indian scholars lived there, and many Chiense pil- grims, instead of coming to India for special instruction (Bagchi, India and China. pp. 14-15)
"There were other Indian colonies on the southern route like Khotan but, beyond archaeological remains. we have no historical information about any of them.
"On the northern route, Kuchi (modern Kucha) was the leading centre of Indian culture. (Cf. S. Levi’s account of Kucha in JRAS, 1914. pp. 959 ff.) Its ancient rulers bore Indian names such as Suvarnapushpa. Haripushpa, Haradeva. Suvarnadeva, etc.. It was a flourishing city with anumber of large Buddhist monasteries and splendid buildings. Kuchi had received Buddhism from India at a very early period and the whole of the local civilization was Buddhist. The lite- rature discovered at Kochi throws interesting light on the method of studying Sanskrit, the sacred language taught in the local monasteries. The students began with learning the alphabet. and many alphabetical tables have been dug out traced by more or less skilled hands."
"Sanskrit grammar was then studied according to the Katantra system, presumable because it was more fitted than Panini for non·Indians. Then the students made verbatim translations from Sanskrit into Kuchean. In addition to famous religious texts like Udanavarga, we have actual examples of astronomical and medical texts treated in this manner. This incidentally shows how, in addition to religion and its handmaid art, Indian astronomy, or rather astrology, and medi- cine were spread in this region. There was an extensive Kuchean literature, but all the works are based upon Sanskrit originals. At Ming-Oi, west of Kuchi, Brahmi fragments in Sanskrit have been found which belong to the second century A.D., (CII,II. Part 1,, p. Lxxiii). Kochi was also an important centre for the propaganda of Buddhism in other countries."
"Beyond Kuchi, ‘Qara Shahr’ was also an important Indian colony. It was known as Agnidesa and its kings had Indian names like Indrarjuna. Chandrarjuna, etc. Like Kuchi it also played an active part in the spread of Buddhism to China and other countries. Another important site is Bazaklik. It was an important Buddhist centre with hundreds of temples which had wall-paintings of Indian monks in yellow robes with names written in Brahmi to distinguish them from other monks in violet robes, with names written in Chinese and Tibetan"
"It is not possible here to refer in detail to all ancient Sites which were colonised by the Indians and the antiquities discovered in them. Taken as a whole, the artistic remains architecture, sculpture and painting and the large number of written texts, discovered in Central Asia, constitute a massive and most enduring monument of Indian culture and civili- zation which must have been widely spread all over the region in the early centuries of the Christian Era. Although Buddhism was the prevailing religion, Brahmanical culture was not altogether absent. This is proved by the seals with effigies of Kubera and Trimukha, discovered at Niya, and the painted Ganesha at Endere. Both Hinayana and Mahayana forms of Buddhism were prevalent, but by far the largest number of paintings and sculptures belong to the latter." (Ibid pp. 641-642)
"According to Chinese tradition, Buddhist missionaries from India proceeded to China as early as 217 B.C., but this can hardly be accepted as historical. According to another account, a Chinese general, who led a military expedition to Central Asia in 121 B.C, brought a golden statue of the Buddha, and thus the Chinese first came to know of Buddhism. This is also very doubtful. It is, however, definitely known that in the year 2 B.C., the Yueh—chi rulers in Oxus valley presented some Buddhist texts to the Chinese count." (ibid page 645)
"The official account of the intrcduction of Buddhism into China places the event in A.D. 65. In that year the Han emperor Ming-ti saw a golden man in a dream and was told by his courtiers that it was the Buddha. He accordingly send ambassadors to the west, who brought with them two Indian monks named Dharmaratna (Bagchi (op. cit) gives the name Dharmaraksha on pp. 7 and 32 and Dhar· maratna on p. 217. The last is also given in Le Canon Bouddhiqueen China, p. 4) and Kasyapa Matanga. These missionaries brought a load of sacred texts and relics on a white horse. Hence the monastery built for them by Imperial order at the captial city was called “The White Horse Monastery". The two monks spent the rest of their lives in China, translating Buddhist texts into Chinese and preaching Buddhism among the people."
"This story is probable, substantially correct. But Buddhism must have also passed into China by the other overland route from India through Burma. There are good grounds to believe that Buddhist missionaries came by this route and were already active in China by the middle of the first century A.D." (Ibid pages 645.)
According to Asokan inscriptions and Mahavamsa Buddhism was preached in the countries adjacent to the western and northern borders of Asokan empire i.e. the five Yona provinces (Uttarajyotisha. Divya A, Simha- pura, Urasa, Abhisara). Kashmir, Sakastan, Daradastan, Bactria, Kucha. Kustana, Yarkand, Khotan, Sinkiang and China, a distance of 800 yojanas (i. e 4000 miles) from the west of Afganistan to China in the east in the time of Asoka. (15th century B.C.)
So "Amtiyoka" was a Bharatiya Yavana prince, not an Iono-Greek or Greek prince. He was the contemporary of Ashoka. His age was from 1472-36 B.C. The "Yavana" of Northwest Bharat became Ionian in Asia minor and Greece and mixing with the Greek the Ionian becae Iono-Greek and then by the order of the Government of Ionia or Greece, the Iono-Greek became "Greek" and the country became "Greece".

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Menander and Milinda

It is supposed that Menander was born at Kalasigrama near Kabul (in the region of the ancient Yavana kingdoms) as mentioned in the ‘Milinda Panha.’ His capital is said to have been Sakala or modern Sialkot in the Punjab. It seems this Menander handed over the administration to his son and became a Buddhist monk and gradually an Arhat. So, it is presumed that the story mentioned by Plutarch of the king over whose bones the neighbouring cities contested for possession might have been true of him. The story related by Kshemendra with reference to Menander is also narrated with reference to Kanishka, it seems. Also it seems that in connection with a Buddhist image in Indo—China it is stated that Menander and Kanishka were associated. The author, however declares his opinion of such legends as follows: "Ofcourse such legends are not always authentic; but the most interesting thing in this connection is the impression the foreign king must have made on the Indian Mind. "(Bhavan’s History Vol. II, p. 113).
There is no definite conclusion in the above account of Menander. This Menander is identified as the Milinda of Milinda Panha. He is, it seems assigned to the 2nd century B.C., but the author of the essay Dr. D.C. Sirkar prefers to assign him to 115-90 B.C. It seems some historians opine that the Yavana prince who invaded India in the time of Patanjali and carried his conquests upto Saketa and Madhyamika-Desa was only this Menander. But it is pointed out that in the interpolated Yugapurana chapter in Garga Samhita( Vide ··“Yugapurana" By Pandit Kota Venkatachalam·) that a Yavana invasion reached Eastern Bharat after the time of ‘king Salisuka’ of the Maurya dynasty and before Pushyamitra became king ie, before the coronation of Pushyamitra, conjectured to have taken place in 187 B·C· It seems historical scholars are unanimously of opinion that Menander’s time is about 165 B.C. So he might have been a contemporary of Pushya Mitra towards the end of his career but he could not have been the invader before Pushya-Mitra in 200 B.C.
‘Pushsyamitra, it is claimed, waged war with the Yavana prince Demetrius soon after he seized power and later, towards the end of his reign, with Menander according to some historians. It seems, in the Buddhistic religious literature of the North-west of Bharat, the Menander of Milinda Panha lived about 500 years after the demise of Lord Buddha. All these statements are of the nature of conjecture and hypothesis and there is nothing in it of ascertained historical fact or inference (Bhavan’s history Vol. II pp. 113, 114;) A foot~note on page 114 says "Hieun-Tsang speaks of the four traditions of the epoch of the Parinirvana of (1) about the 3rd century B.C. (2) about the middle of the 6th century .B.C· (3) about the middle of the 7th century B.C. and (4) about the middle of the 9th century B.C. The first, second and fourth epochs are either too early or too late for Menander. The third epoch would place the Yavana king between the middle of the 2nd century and the middle of the 1`st century B.C. It is interesting to note in this connection that Keilhorn suggested an epoch of the Parinirvana falling in 638 B.C., with which astronomical details of the date of an inscription (Northern Inscription no. 575) work out satisfactorily. ·
Hieun—Tsang gives four different traditions about Buddha Nirvana:-
1. At the end of the 3rd century B.C. i.e. about 200 B..C.
2. About the middle of the 6th century BC. i e about 550 B.C..
3. About the middle of the 7th century BC. i e about 650 B.C..
4. About the middle of the 9th century BC. i e about 850 B.C..
In Hieun-Tsang’s writings there is scope for the current provisionally accepted date of 486 B.C, If we count 500 years from the provisionally accepted date of Buddha Nirvana we get 14 A,D. So Menander should belong to after 14 AD.,ie. Ist century A.D. But even this is pure conjecture and based on the assumption of the identity of Menander with the Milinda of Milinda panha, Even the provisionally accepted date of Buddha Nirvana is itself based on the wrong assumption of the contemporaneity of Mourya Chandragupta and Alexander of 324 B.C. How can we expect the superstructure to yeild correct dates when the basic assumption is itself questionable and a mere conjecture. As soon as the hollowness of the original foundation ofthe entire structure is exposed and recognised the entire edifice topples down with a crash and the time for it is approaching.
It is wrong to identify Menander with Milinda. Menander even according to the author of the essay, Dr. Sirkar. belongs to the 2nd century B.C. It will he proved in the pages that follow that Milinda belongs to the end of the 14th century B.C.
Question: I . :-— The Age of the Yavana king "Milinda".
The Milinda Panha says that the Yavana king Milinda flourished (1) 500 years after the Nirvana of Buddha and (2) soon after the reign of the later Maurya king "Salisuka" and (3) probably before the accession of Pushyamitra (about 187 B.C.) (Vide Bhavan’s history Vol. II, p. 113).
On the basis of the above hypothesis of our modern historians, let us try to locate the date of king Milinda according to their axiomatic hypothesis that Chandragupta Maurya was the contemporary of Alexander in 324 B.C. and that the Nirvana of the Buddha occurred in 486 B.C. It is held by all that "The date of Buddha's death is thus the crucial point in fixing the chronology of the rulers of Magadha and other contemporary dynasties of the period. Although no finality attaches to this or any other conclusion, 486 B.C., may be accepted as a working hypothesis and most scholars now place Buddha's death within a few years of this date."’ (Vide Bhavan’s History Vol II. p 36)
"Recently E.J. Thomas has pointed out(B C. Law Vol II, pp 18-22) that according to the Sarvastic-vadins Asoka flourished one century after the Nirvana of Buddha and this tradition may be traced even in the Simhalese chronicles. According to this the date of Nirvana falls in the 4th century B.C., and a Japanese scholar quoted by Thomas, places this event in 386 B.C." (Vide foot note 1 on p. 36 of Bhavan’s History Vol. II.)
"0n the basis of 486 BC., as the date of Buddha’s death, the accession of Bimbisara falls in 545 B.C. as he ruled for 52 years and the Buddha died in the 8th year of his son’s reign ." (Vide Bhavan’s Histor isy Vol. II p. 37)
According to the chronology of the modern historians:
1. Coronation of Chandragupta Maurya.....324 B.C,
The Maurya period lasted only 137 years (as to their account)
(a) So the close of the reign of the ninth king of the dynasty ‘Salisuka,’.....204 B. C.
(b) coronation of Pushyamitra............ 187 B.C.
II. Time of Buddha Niryana ...............486 B.C.
500 years later is Milinda's Time... 14 A.D.
This is 218 years (204 B.C + 14 A.D. = 218) after 204 B.C.
So there is no agreement or possibility of reconciliation. This shows that" The unanimous opinion of historical scholars, 165 B.C., as the time of Milinda", as Dr. D.C. Sirkar stated (Bhavan’s H‘s.Vol.iI.P113) is totally wrong, according to their modern chronology.
Puranic Account
Hindu Royal Dynasties of Magadha And Their Reigning Periods According to the Puranas.
Name of the Dynasty || No. _of kings. || Years reigned. || From. B.C. - To B.C.
1. The Barhadradha Dynasty......22................1006 ............ 3138 ...... 2132
2. Pradyota Dynaaty..............5................ 138..............2132........1994
3. Sisunaga Dynasty............ 10................ 360 ..........,, 1994........1634
4. Nanda,...Dynasty.......... 9 or 2 reigns........ 100 ,,.......... 1634........1534
5. Maurya Dynasty.............. 12................ 316 ............ 1534........1218
6. Sunga Dynasty............... 10................ 300..............1218........ 918
7. Kanva Dynasty................ 4................. 85 ,............ 918........ 833
8. Andhra Satavahana Dynasty ...32................ 506 ............. 833........ 327
9.. Gupta Dynasty............... 7................ 245...............327......... 82
10. Panwar or paramara Dynasty
from Vikramaditya,.........24................1275...............B.C 82 —1193 A.D.
Then the Muslim Period.
Let us apply the three indications from Milinda-Panha for the time of Milinda, accepted and relied upon by the modern historians. The application of these three indications, on the
basis of their basic chronological assumptions, could not lead them to any definite or plausible conclusion. Let us apply the same tests to the Puranic chronology.
According to the Puranas:-
Coronation of Chandragupta Maurya .........1534 B.C
SaliSuka was the 9th king of the Maurya Dynasty
Chandragupta Reigned for .....34 years.
Bindusara reigned for ....... 28 years
Asolta reigned for ....... 36 years
Suparswa reigned for .......8 years
Dasaratha reigned for .......8 years
Indrapalita reigned for .......70 years
Harshavardhana reigned for .......8 years
Samagatha reigned for .......9 years
Salisuka reigned for ....... 13 years
Total..................214 years.
_ The close of Salisuka’s reign. 1320 B.C.
II. The time of Buddha Niryana according to the Puranas.... 1807 B.C.
Milinda- 500 years after 1807 B.C.
Milinda’s time.·—-—·- 1307 B.C.
After the close of the reign of Salisuka in 1320 B.C.
III. Coronation of Pushyamitra Sunga 1218 B.C. certainly long after 1307 B.C.
So Milinda's time may be located between 1320 B.C. to 1307 B.C.
There is no difficulty, no ambiguity, and no room for conjecture here.
So this is just an instance of the superiority of the Puranic chronology which is regular and complete from 3138 B.C., the year of the Mahabharata war. All the historical events of later times can be determined with definiteness and consistency if this Puranic chronology is accepted as the basis, without any need for conjecture or difficulty in reconciliation.


That Menander was a great Indo·Greek prince was recorded by the historian Straho whose authority for the statement was a reference to him by the ancient writer Appalodorus. Periplus is another book assigned to 70-80 A.D., but of unknown authorship. But it is stated in this Periplus that coins with Greek letters and devices were current in the neighbourhood of Breach on the west coast of India in the first century A.D, ‘These coins resembled the
insignia of Appolodorus and Menander, Greek Potentates who were in power after Alexander. Hence it is inferred that the neighbourhood of Broach might have been included in the Greek
dominions in the times of Demetrius, Appolodorus and Menander. All this is entirely in the sphere of conjecture. It seems Appolodorus and Menander are mentioned in the list of Bharatiya
Yavana princes in the writings of Justin, the historian. But his writings are now extinct and not available for verification. It seems Plutarch also mentioned Menander as renowned for justice and that when he passed away the various cities in the neighbourhood contested for the privilege of hoiding his remains. This Menander is further identified with Milinda of the Milinda Panha(questions of Milinda), a Buddhist text containing the several questions raised by Milinda and the answers furnished to them by the Buddhist monk Nagasena at the end of which the prince, satisfied embraced Buddhism. This prince is spoken of as ‘Milindra’ in
Avadana-Kalpa-lata by Kshemendra. In the Shinkot inscription the name is given as ‘Menadra‘ and so it may be identified as ‘Minendra’or ‘Menandra’. This name might be read into the
devices on the coins, we are told. _
Later, in the 12th century A,D. all the inhabitants of the North Western Frontier Province and the states of Gandhara, Hara, Huna, Ramatha, Saka. Yavana etc. in the region of Modern Baluchistan, consisting of excommunicated Kshatriya groups were also converted to Islam and the entire region together with Sindhu now forms Western Pakistan.