Sunday, April 15, 2012

HOW CAN BE THE WRONG HISTORY ABOUT THE ANCIENT INDIA CORRECTED?


HOW CAN BE THE WRONG HISTORY ABOUT THE ANCIENT INDIA CORRECTED?


(I-DISCOURSE BY N.R. SRINIVASAN, APRIL 2012)

 


 

Perhaps some of you are familiar with the book "India Unveiled" and its author Robert Arnett, a philosopher and historian. Probably this is the only publication of this kind ever published in the Western World to have been officially recognized by a Prime Minister of India. Why is it stopping at that?

 

Writing about Unbroken Indian Tradition 10,000 years old of which we Hindu migrants are also equally concerned: Robert Arnett writes: "Americans are taught that ancient Greek is the source of Western Civilization. Only recently I have learnt that Vedic India is an older civilization. Modern excavations and scientific research reveal that Indic tradition has an unbroken cultural continuity that goes back at least 10,000 years. Vedic India is one of the oldest documented civilizations on earth and through its Sanskrit language, religion, and culture, had a profound influence on European culture and much of the rest of the world. Linguists have shown that the pre-Christian religions in many European countries had at least one god whose name came from Sanskrit. The name of the Greek God Zeus, the father of all the Gods, is a derivative from the Sanskrit DYAUS. There are cross-cultural parallels in the myths also".

 
He further writes: "Based on the new corpus of knowledge, it is time for the West to revise the factual inaccuracies in its description of the origin of civilization. There is no justification to perpetuate an outdated account of history merely to conform to the limited understanding and dated racial consciousness of a nineteenth century Britain that chose to ignore India's formidable cultural antecedents. Eventually, the History of Western Civilization will be rewritten, and India will be accorded her rightful cultural legacy". In my opinion those Historians of nineteenth century have also written their history as if South India never existed. This is also the view of Vincent A Smith author of Oxford Indian History. Those historians only concentrated to acquire a working literary knowledge of Sanskrit which was not adequate enough to translate the ancient Vedic and other texts correctly.

 
Much light has also been thrown recently on India's unbroken tradition which is 10000 years old in the publication "In Search of the Cradle of Civilization, New Light on Ancient India" by George Feurstein, Subhash Kak and David Frawley. "The True History and Religion of India" by Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, Austin, Texas, as well as "History of the Human Past" by Prof Laksmikantam, Florida and History of ancient India by Velanpalanisamy of Hinduism Today of Hawaii (an American who has taken to Hinduism) also support this view point with adequate data, all coming from the Western World.

 
Even in India some political parties have taken full advantage of the History of India, by the British authors of nineteenth century with their limited and biased approach, promoting race hatred and class hatred calling North Indians as Aryans, bracketing Brahmins from the South with them so that they could be firmly seated in Southern States as promoters of the cause of neglected cause of imaginary Dravidians clubbing low castes and outcastes with them. Probably, the Central Government of India feels it too sensitive an issue to focus their attention as the ancient history of India cannot be isolated from Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal Tradition which can be easily identified with Hindu Religion of the modern concept and also can be clubbed as Aryan Religion by the political rival groups of the South who to continue to be in power which is now in their hold for the past three to four decades. But the fact remains that Sanatana Dharma is no religion and is universal in its message. No religion existed when Sanatana Dharma got revealed to humanity, and perhaps even the word religion did not exist then.

 
Modern History says Christianity is 2012 years old. As we all know Jesus did not start Christianity. In the first years after the Crucifixion, Christianity was only the seed of a new concept, lacking a developed liturgy, a method of worship, and a name which encompass modern concept of religion. Probably the word religion was also coined later and defined? As we all know Sanaatana Dharma does not also fit into the concept of religion. It is a way of life or code of spiritual conduct. The earliest followers of Christianity also called it simply "The Way". It was not even a formal sect of Judaism. Peter was its first champion. History tells eleven of the twelve Apostles were martyred. Apostles suffered gruesomely for spreading their radical views. This did not happen in Sanaatana Dharma. It even had in its fold Charwaaka Philosophy.

 
We often get excited and get confused too between historic facts and astronomical evidences in our attempt to prove Hinduism is very old and Puraanas are very old and deal only with historic events. This thought is inspired by the coinage of words Puraana and Itihaasa. Puraana in Sanskrit means "puraa nava iti" though old yet it is new. "Itihaasa" means "iti haa" it happened so. Currently attempts are made to study astronomical evidences from Puraanas and scriptures with the help of modern tools like Planetarium software. Dr. Narahari of Memphis, Professor of Physics has come to the conclusion that Mahabharata War should have occurred either in 3139 B.C.E. or 3067 B.C.E. taking into consideration both historic views as well as puraanic narrations and investigating the time between those two views after elaborate research using Planetarium software. Aryabhatta mentions this date as 3137 B.C.E. as found in the inscriptions of Aihole of Karnataka of 1634 A.D.

 
Encouraged by such studies by him as well Siddhart Kak and others attempts are being made in India to import the Planetarium software from USA and based on hurried investigation come to hasty conclusions. One such study by Pushkara Bhatnagar from Indian Revenue Service reveals Rama was born seven thousand years before and there was no caste system prevalent in those days referring to the epic Ramayana of Valmiki. It also tries to prove how Hinduism is oldest and Aryan theory was baseless and manipulated, without proper explanation. While some of the analysis seems possible like Rama married early at the age of thirteen, remained in Ayodhya till he reached the age of 25, returned back from exile at the age of 39 to Ayodhya, many other statements seem to be mere speculations. He also authoritatively mentions Rama was born on January 10, in 5114 B.C.E.

 
The statement that birth of Rama occurred 7000 years before seems to be too far-fetched in an attempt to prove it is historic disputing the dates of Ramayana as predicted by Western authors of History. Western authors mention 1500 B.C.E. as the date for their Aryan Invasion theory and date of Ramayana around 1200 B.C.E. which also seems to be clever manipulation. This author while suggesting the birth of Rama as 7000 years old occurrence indicates date of Prophet Mohamed as 1400 years, Jesus Christ 2012 years Gauthama Buddha 2600 years old. Kaliyuga as Hindus believe to-day started 5114 years ago. To this if we add 864000 years for Dwaapara yuga it would be 869012 years when Tretayuga ended. Ramayana says that Rama ruled for 11000 years after his incarnation at the end of Valmiki Ramaayana. This would put Rama's age around 900000 years back. By the time Tretaayuga started caste system created by human society was well established. Dasaratha invited Brahmin priests to conduct Yajna. Sages like Valmiki and Viswamitra though not Brahmins were above caste considerations like Aazhwars and Naayanmaars of to-day and were considered as Brahmarishis. Rama as Kshatriya felt it is his responsibility to protect and defend Varnashrama Dharma and so killed Sambooka who was a Soodra and who resorted to Yaaga to fulfill his objectives, which was the privilege of higher castes only even in those days. As you all know Ram never revealed he was an Incarnation till the very end unlike Krishna who declared he was none other than Supreme Principle quite often. We should be careful in our study of scriptures and fully understand the implications in their interpretation. We have well read historians who are also religious scholars who need to be convinced by any such study. Such studies by several Indian scholars in the past, has not changed the History of India as taught in schools. We have a flood of such revelations in the Internet every one claiming to be authoritative.

 
Vedas mention about five types of cycles of years—Samvatsara, Parivatsara, Idavatsar, Idvatsara and Iduvatsara. We are only familiar with the 60-year cycle of Samvatsaras and their duration. We do not have any idea of other types of years. We are not sure in which type of years the duration of Yugas have been prescribed. We usually calculate as per Samvatsara of 60 years cycle generally known and understood by Panchangas. Ramaayana says Raama ruled for 11000 years (dasavrsha sahasraani
dasvarsha sataani cha). It does not say which kind of year was that from the above five.

 
It may be of interest to remind ourselves of the people who lived in India nearly five thousand years ago as revealed by Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro excavations. Five thousand years ago, so called Dravidians built a big kingdom in the Indus Valley says the Indian History. They flourished in the Indus valley for at least a thousand years. Perhaps in the other parts of India also these Dravidians ((since they are not identified with Aryans as stated in the History who are considered migrants) built cities and towns and lived in peace, cultivating their lands, sailing in boats and trading with other countries of Asia. It is on these people and on their cities and on their forests that a new set of people should have fallen. These are presumed to be the Aryans which Indian History talks about, if the Aryan invasion theory is true, who destroyed these great cities and thus put an end to one of the greatest civilizations of ancient India which can be traced back in modern Pakistan as well as the South. How can they be called with the respectable term Aryans if they were engaged in destructive activities? Could this be a continuous dwelling-site of human society? In spite of new authentic evidence ancient Indian History remains the same as in the days of British, promoted by Western authors of vested interest and ably propagated by Western educated Indian historians.

 
Recently more light has been thrown on even older civilization based on oceanographic studies. In 2001 Murali Manohar Joshi, the then Union Home Minister for Human Resources and Development announced in the Indian Parliament that ruins of ancient civilization were discovered off the coast of Gujarat in the Gulf of Khambat (Cambay). The site was discovered by NIOT (National Institute for Oceanographic Technology) while they were making pollution studies using sonar. Mr. Joshi added that the site was an urban settlement that predated Harappa-Mohenjo-Daro civilization; it contained regularly spaced dwellings, a granary, a bath, a citadel and a drainage system. A piece of wood picked was carbon dated 9500 years old. The ruins of Gulf of Khambat and Dwaraka dates to between 40000 to 10000 years ago, (upper Paleolithic dates) predating agriculture, stone-age humans. No one on Earth was building any structure at this time, much less cities.

 
By strange coincidence Hindu Panchangas say Kaliyuga started 5114 years ago when at the end of total destruction of Yadu dynasty, at the end of Dwaaparayuga, the New world order started.
Kali Era 5114 starts on 23 March 2012, on Chandramana Yugadi Day as per all Hindu Panchangas. This coincides with the Harappan Hindu civilization traced by history so far as stated above. According to Surya Siddhanta, Kaliyuga started on 17th February 3102 B.C.E. This date is also confirmed more or less by the research findings of Dr. Narahari with Planetarium software for the Mahabharata War. Start of Kaliyuga is presumed to be the day of ascension of Lord Krishna who is believed to have lived on earth planet foe 125 years (yaduvamso-avateernasya bhavatah purushottama | saraccchatam vyateetaaya panchavimsaadhikam prabho- 11/6/25). If Krishna is so short lived why Rama should have lived that long on Planet Earth after eliminating all evil forces in a very short time? Probably this and other factors like the continuous dwelling-site of humans on the Indian sub-continent since 7000 B.C. E. should have prompted Pushkara Bhatnagar to pick up a convenient Chaitra Sukla Navami as Rama's Birthday (January 10, 5114 B.C.E.), based on Planetarium software.

 
In April 2006 Nature magazine announced about Mehrgarth civilization (5500 B.C.E. to 2600 B.C.E.) which is the precursor to Harappa Mohenjo-Daro Indus valley civilization. In the Indian Sub-Continent a continuous sequence of dwelling-site has been established from 7000 B.C.E. to 500 B.C.E. as a result of exposition in Pirak, Mehrgarh and Nausharo. Problem today is that Indian Subcontinent has been divided and distributed to various opposing cultures by invaders which are at constant conflict and do not find time to focus on these. Mehrgarh neolithic site is in Kachi Plain of Balochistan in Pakistan.

 
If the West changes its World history based on the authentic facts presented by American authors and others it would be far easier and smoother for India to revise its own History. India will not do it however authentic the information may be because of communal and religious wrangling, disputes and fights by the political parties in power . The initiative has to come from Migrant Hindus or preferably from Western cultures in USA, Canada, Britain and Australia where majority of the Hindu migrants live. Even though Pakistan's ancient history is the same as that of ancient history of India they will not take the initiative as it will indirectly contribute to support Hindu Religion whose ancient name is Sanaatana Dharma just as Iran will not change its past history as it will support Zarathustra Farsi culture. Islam or as a matter of fact no other faith existed then and countries like Pakistan are interested only in glorifying Islamic culture and shutting off information or act indifferent to other ancient cultures as it is not in their interest of promoting Islam. It is important for the Hindu migrants to take the initiative to correct the mistakes in Western History for that portion of the history of the human past and its civilization as it involves their origin and culture which they are preserving even as migrants at all cost. These countries enjoy social freedom and free press. It will be most practical to start the initiative seriously in USA as Hindus enjoy maximum freedom to practice their religion and preserve their cultural identity and rich heritage. Yes, they can! Because of the free access to Internet, special software and facility to operate through Face book and other tools available liberally based on authentic data. Otherwise it will end up as has happened to US Citizens of European origin today as to their cultural background. We have the choice before us—to hasten the process of inter-racial marriages and lose our identity to join the main stream or preserve our culture with special focus and effort while participating and living in harmony with Western culture.

 

 
[Please also refer to my discourse on "Orthodox and Historic Dates of Some Hindu Scriptures, Events and Personalities"]



APPENDIX

Currently attempts are made to study astronomical evidences from Puraanas and scriptures with the help of modern tools like Planetarium software. Dr. Narahari of Memphis, Professor of Physics has come to the conclusion that Mahabharata War should have occurred either in 3139 B.C.E. or 3067 B.C.E. taking into consideration both historic views as well as puraanic narrations and investigating the time between those two views after elaborate research using  Planetarium  software. Aryabhatta mentions this date as 3137 B.C.E. as found in the inscriptions of Aihole of Karnataka of 1634 A.D.
The attached narration from IndiaDivine.org   after elaborate study says that Mahabharata War took place in 1194 B.C.  At present the Winter solstice falls on the 21st of December. The Gregorian system, which is the basis of the calendars of all Europe except Russia, Greece and Turkey, involves an error of less than a day in 3524 years. As the war took place in 1194 B.C., or 3094 years ago or 2776 years before the calendar was last corrected by Pope Gregory XIII, we may be certain that the winter solstice which occurred on the fifty-first day after the close of the war, would have happened, as now on the 21st of December (New Style). We may, therefore, conclude that the War commenced on the 14th of October, and was brought to a close on the night of the 31st of October, 1194 B.C. Whether or not this precise date, based as it is on data furnished by the Mahabharata alone, proves to be acceptable to the critical eye of a historian, we may at least be sure that the war took place in the latter part of the year 1194 B.C.
 Aryabhatta – whose fame spread to Arabia as Arjabahr and Constantinople’s vast empire as Andubarius or Ardubarius – was born in 476 A.D. and the first to promulgate the theory that the earth revolved round the sun, calculate the circumference of the earth and explain the eclipses. According to him “the line of the Saptarshis intersected the middle of Magha Nakshatra in the year of Kaliyuga 1910”, i.e. 1192 B.C. According to Vishnu Purana, the Sapatarshis were in that very same position at the birth of Parikshit who was, therefore, born about 1192 B.C. Since the war occurred at the most a few months earlier than his birth, it might have taken place about 1193 B.C.
Here are two contradicting views. I do not know personally Dr. Narahari in Memphis. It will be a good idea to refer the attached article on  "The Date of   Mahabharata  War by Pradip Bhattacharya, IndiaDivine.org" to Dr.  Narahari and get his opinion. Dr. Narahari's article was published in Aradhana of Nashville Ganesha Temple.
India has not shown or written a comprehensive history of India to the people of India. But real history has to come through.   The ICHR (Indian Council of History of Religions0 now under the leadership of Sudershan appointed by the Bharatiya Government  should encourage research about India and Greater India—from Southeast Asia all the way to Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. There is enough archaeological evidence to show the connection   of our civilization there. The ICHR    is in the process of acquiring digital records from centers of history in the US and Europe. This will not only give India access to our own records but will also aid us in writing history from Indian perspective.
Here is an example  which reveals how research can change the wrong views held by religion: In what could prove something of a pot hole for current readings of Islamic history, a carbon test carried out on a Quranic manuscript recently discovered in England reveals the book is likely older than Muhammad, the founder of the Islamic faith. This would radically alter the edifice of Islamic tradition and the history of the rise of Islam in late Near Eastern antiquity would have to be completely revised, somehow accounting for another book of scripture coming into existence 50 to 100 years before, and then also explaining how this was co-opted into what became the entity of Islam by around AD 700
The Date of the Mahabharata War
Posted by Pradip Bhattacharya | Nov 22, 2013 | 

Please help spread Hinduism by sharing these articles on Facebook:
Aiyer had published a previous paper in the same journal fixing the date of the beginning of the Kaliyuga from four different sources:
Vedanga Jyotisha – 1173 B.C.
Gargacharya – a few years prior to 1165 B.C.
Classical historians – 851 years before Alexander’s stay in India, viz. 1177-76 B. C.
which is confirmed by the Malabar Kollam Andu commencing in August/September 1176 B.C.

Aiyer concluded that the Kaliyuga began with the winter solstice immediately preceding the commencement of the Kollam Andu, or at the end of 1177 B.C. The Mahabharata War, he proposes, was fought a few years before the beginning of the Kaliyuga.
One would like to know if any reactions to Aiyar’s research were published in the “Indian Review”. Libraries in Chennai might yield the information. An abridgement is presented in Aiyer’s own words as far as possible. – Pradip Bhattacharya
Dating the Battle of Kurukshetra
According to the Mahaprasthanika Parva and the Vishnu Purana, the Kali age would not affect the earth so long as it was touched by Sri Krishna’s holy feet. When the Pandavas abdicated, Parikshit must have been about 16 years old (the age of majority according to Hindu lawyers). If Kali began in 1177 B.C., Parikshit would have probably been born in 1193 B.C. and the war should have occurred towards the end of 1194 B.C.
Again, the Mausala Parva says that the Yadava race was destroyed 36 years after the war and the Pandavas left soon thereafter at the beginning of Kaliyuga. On the other hand, the Bhagavatayana Parva states that Kali began at the time of the war itself. The Ashramavasika Parva states that when 15 years had expired after the war, Dhritarashtra, Gandhari and Kunti left for the forest. In the 16th year after the war, the Pandavas visited them along with Uttara who had recently become a mother and had her child in her lap. Now, Parikshit was in the womb during the war (Sauptika Parva), hence he could not have been an infant in the 16th year after the war. Therefore, this statement in the Ashramavasika is incorrect. Rather, in the 16th year after the war the Pandavas started not on a visit to the old people, but on their last journey. There is no mention of Parikshit’s marriage, which would have occurred later. If Parikshit were really 36 years of age when the Pandavas left, why should he be placed under the tutelage of Kripacharya as stated in Mausala Parva? It would be more consistent if Parikshit was about 16 when he was crowned, and the war took place 16 years before the beginning of the Kaliyuga. This conclusion is supported by other evidence.
Kalhana Pandit’s Rajatarangini, the well-known history of Kashmir written in 1148 A.D., is the only indigenous work in India that can pass for history. Verses 48-49 of the first Taranga state:
“Misled by the tradition that the Bharata war took place at the end of the Dwapara, some have considered as wrong the sum of years (contained in the statement that) in the Kaliyuga the kings beginning with Gonanda I (and ending with Andha Yudhishthira) ruled of the Kasmiras for 2268 years.”
This Gonanda I was, says Kalhana, the contemporary of the Pandavas. The 52nd in descent from him was Abhimanyu, son of Kanishka, whose successor Gonanda III was the first of a new dynasty “which came to power 2330 years before Kalhana’s time” (1st Taranga, verses 52 and 49). In the Rajatarangini the total for the reigns from the end of Andha Yudhishthira-the last of Gonanda III’s dynasty-to Kalhana’s own time is 1329 years, 3 months, 28 days, say roughly 1330 years. Kalhana would have presumed that the interval between the end of Abhimanyu’s reign and that of Andha Yudhishthira was 2330-1330 = 1000 years.
Clearly, in Kalhana’s time it was believed that 2268 years had elapsed from the time of Pandava Yudhishthira to that of Andha Yudhishthira. Hence, Kalhana gives 2268-1000 or 1268 years for the reigns of the first 52 kings from Gonanda I to Abhimanyu and 1000 years for the 21 kings of the dynasty of Gonanda III. This was the “tradition” Kalhana refers to in the excerpt above. The latter portion may well be a later addition because Kalhana himself says it is “thought” that the 52 kings down to Abhimanyu reigned in all “for 1266 years” (verse 54, Taranga I-obviously an error for 1268 years).
However, Kalhana accepts only part of the old “tradition”, namely that 2268 years elapsed from the time of Pandava Yudhishthira to that of Andha Yudhishthira. He does not accept the part that Pandava Yudhishthira lived at the end of the Dwapara Yuga because in Kalhana’s time, as now, the Dwapara was supposed to have ended and the Kali to have begun in 3102 B.C. Kalhana relied on Garga’s verse (quoted in Varahamihira’s Brihatsamhita, XIII. 3-4) which he erroneously interpreted as meaning that Yudhishthira commenced to reign 2526 years before the era of Salivahana, in 2428 B.C. As Abhimanyu lived 1268 years after Pandava Yudhishthira, Kalhana placed him in 2448-1268 = 1180 B.C. Since Kanishka and his successor Abhimanyu lived in the 1st century after Christ, the false figures given by Kalhana for Abhimanyu and all the subsequent kings down to the 6th century A.D. can be traced to his mistaken interpretation of Garga’s verse.
Almost all Sanskrit scholars agree that Kanishka lived in the 1st century A.D., though Cunningham thought that the Vikrama era from 57 B.C. began with Kanishka, and the Saka era beginning on 3rd March 78 A.D. dates from him. Coins show that Kanishka reigned down to 40 A.D. Irrespective of whether the era of Salivahana dates from Kanishka, clearly Abhimanyu must have been reigning about the commencement of this era in 78 A.D. If so, Yudhishthira, who lived 1268 years earlier, must have begun to reign about 1268-78 = 1190 B.C. Since his coronation took place soon after the war, it must also have been fought around 1190 B.C.
Aryabhatta – whose fame spread to Arabia as Arjabahr and Constantinople’s vast empire as Andubarius or Ardubarius – was born in 476 A.D. and the first to promulgate the theory that the earth revolved round the sun, calculate the circumference of the earth and explain the eclipses. According to him “the line of the Saptarshis intersected the middle of Magha Nakshatra in the year of Kaliyuga 1910”, i.e. 1192 B.C. According to Vishnu Purana, the Sapatarshis were in that very same position at the birth of Parikshit who was, therefore, born about 1192 B.C. Since the war occurred at the most a few months earlier than his birth, it might have taken place about 1193 B.C.
The same result is arrived at if we consider the number of kings who occupied the throne of Magadha from the time of the war to the accession of Chandragupta. According to the Vishnu Purana – which is mostly agreed to by the other Puranas – the 9 Nandas reigned for 100 years; the 10 Saisunagas of the next previous dynasty for 362 years; the 5 kings of the still previous Pradyota dynasty for 138 years succeeding the famous Barhadratha dynasty whose 22 kings sat on the throne since the date of the war. Thus, we get 100 years for the Nanda and 500 years for the 2 previous dynasties. Very probably the same number was reported to Megasthenes. However, what strikes one most is the large average for each reign. The same Vishnu Purana gives 137 years for the 10 kings of the later Maurya dynasty, 112 years for the 10 kings of the Sunga dynasty and 45 years for the 4 kings of the Kanwa line, i.e. an average of about 12 years against 28 for the Pradyota dynasty and 36 for the Saisunaga! For the Nandas, it is scarcely probable that a father and his sons could have reigned for 100 years, especially when the last sons did not die naturally but were extirpated by Chandragupta with the help of Chanakya. The Puranas may have left out insignificant reigns, or these ancient kings may have been longer-lived than those of the post-Chandragupta period, but even then the averages are too large. It would be unsafe to deduce therefrom the probable date of the war.
In England, from the Norman invasion to the 20th century, 35 monarchs had ruled for 835 years, the average being about 23 years. From Hugh Capet to the execution of Louis XVI, France was ruled by 33 kings for 1793-987 = 806 years, yielding an average of about 24 years. 8 kings ruled Prussia from Ivan III at 23 years. In Russia 22 monarchs up to the present Emperor Nicholas II for 1894-1462 = 432 years giving an average of about 19 years. In Japan, the present Emperor Musu Hito is the 123rd, his ancestor Jimmu Tenno having established the dynasty lasting unbroken for 2500 years, which gives an average of 21 years for this long-lived dynasty. Thus, the averages for each of the 5 foremost powers of our hemisphere are 23 for England, 24 for France, 23 for Germany, 19 for Russia and 21 for Japan. The average of these, about 22 years, may be taken as the probable duration of each reign of the pre-Chandragupta dynasties. There were 22 Barhadrathas, 5 Pradyotas and 10 Saisunagas = 37 in all from the time of the war to the Nandas, and they might therefore have reigned for 37 x 22 = 814 years.
Moreover, according to the Buddhist Mahavamso, composed by Mahanama around 460 A.D., Mahapadma Nanda, called Kalasoka in the chronicle, reigned for 20 years and had 10 sons who conjointly ruled for 22 years. Then there were 9 brothers who reigned for 22 years. Thus, the Nandas reigned in all for 20+22+22 = 64 years, a figure more likely to be correct than the Puranic round figure of 100 years. Thus, the war must have happened about 814+64 = 878 years before Chandragupta, at 878+315 = 1193 B.C.
Against our reckoning of 814 years between the war and Mahapadma Nanda’s accession, the Vishnu Purana (IV.24) gives 1015 years. This seems based on supposing a round period of 100 years from the start of the Kaliyuga to the time of Nanda’s accession and presuming that the Kali began 15 years after the war. If so, the genuineness of an interval of a round period of 1000 years between the beginning of the Kali and the coronation of Nanda is suspect. The Purana period of 1015 years for the 37 kings between the war and the coronation of Nanda yields an improbable average of over 27 years. The author of the Vishnu Purana deals vaguely in round figures, giving 100 for the Nandas, 500 for the Pradyotas and Saisunagas and 1000 years (IV.23) for the Barhadrathas, the last figure directly conflicting with the statement about 1015 years intervening between the war and the end of the Saisunaga dynasty.
This Purana also states that the Saptarshis, which are supposed to move at one Nakshatra for every 100 years (IV.24) had moved 10 Nakshatras from Magha to Purvashada during this interval, which therefore comes to 10×100 = 1000 years. Obviously, this supposed movement was arrived at by the author not by actual observation, for such a movement is astronomically impossible, but by his deducing it from the other statement in the preceding verse that 1015 years had elapsed during this interval. The author seems first to have had in mind that the Kali began 15 years after the war and that 1000 year elapsed from the beginning of the Kali era to the accession of Nanda, and then to have deduced therefrom the proposition that the Saptarshis which were in Magha at the time of the war had moved on to Purvashada at the coronation of Mahapadma Nanda.
In Chapter XIII of the Brihatsamhita, Varahamihira, born in 505 A.D., deals with the Saptarshi cycles and quotes Vriddha Garga: “When king Yudhishthira ruled the earth, the seven seers were in Magha; the Saka era is 2526 years after the commencement of his reign.” The translator, Dr. Hultzsch (Indian Antiquary VIII, p.66) comments, “The coronation of Yudhishthira took place 2526 years before the commencement of the Saka era, or at the expiration of the Kaliyuga-Samvat 653 and in B.C. 2448.” This agrees with Kalhana in thinking that the Yudhishthira era is different from the Kali era.
On the other hand, Jyotirvidabharana, an astronomical work attributed to Kalidasa, but which scholars place in the 16th century A.D., states that in the Kaliyuga six different eras will flourish one after another: the Yudhishthira to last 3044 years from the beginning of Kali; the Vikrama to last for 135 years afterwards; the Salivahana for 1800 years thereafter; and the Vijaya, Nagarjuna and Bali ears to be current in the rest of the Kaliyuga. The three last are fictitious. This shows that Hindus have all along thought that the Yudhishthira era commenced with the Kali. So also Aryabhatta computes by the era of Yudhishthira, which corresponds to the Kaliyuga. Therefore, it is not possible to concur with Kalhana and Dr. Hultzsch in placing the beginning of the Yudhishthira era “at the expiration of the Kaliyuga-samvat 653 and in B.C. 2448.”
What does “Sakakala” really mean? It has been proved that Garga, the author of the shloka, lived about 165 B.C. Even granting Dr. Kern’s contention that Garga lived in the 1st century B.C., it is not possible that Garga could have meant by “Sakakala” either the Vikrama samvat, which began later in 57 B.C., or the Salivahana Sakabda, which commenced still later in 78 A.D. It has not yet been proven that the Vikramasamvat era had been in use ever since 57 B.C. Fergusson, Max Muller and Weber opine otherwise. Besides the Kali or the Saptarshi era, there was in the days of Garga only one other prominent era in existence, namely, the era of Nirvana, “which,” says Fergusson (in History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, p. 46), “was the only one that had existed previously in India.” The era of Mahavira beginning in 527 B.C. might have been then in existence, but the Jain religion was only confined comparatively to a few and its era was not much in evidence before the public. The era of Buddha’s Nirvana was, on the other hand, very widely known (being the State Religion during Asoka’s time). A Tibetan work records a schism having occurred under a “Thera Nagasena” 137 years after the Nirvana’ Chandragupta is recorded to have ascended the throne 162 years after the Nirvana; the inauguration of Asoka is stated to have taken place 218 years after the Nirvana; and the Dipawanso, a history of Ceylon written in Pali verse about the 4th century A.D., makes use of the era of Nirvana in its computations. Therefore, the era of Buddha’s Nirvana, which was in current use in the time of Garga, might have been probably referred to by him.
Gautama Buddha was known by the name of “Sakya Muni” and his paternal grandfather was also known by the name of “Sakya”. The race to which Gautama belonged was often called by the name of Sakyas. R.C. Dutta says, “A little to the east of the Kosala kingdom, two kindred clans, the Sakyas and the Koliyans, lived on the opposite banks of the small stream Rohini …Kapilavastu was the capital of the Sakyas.” The followers of Gautama Buddha were often spoken of as “Sakyaputriya Sramanas” in contradistinction possibly to the Sramanas of other sects. We may therefore infer that the era of Gautama Buddha was probably known as “Sakya Kala” in those times. The era could not have been called “Nirvana Kala” as the term might equally apply to the Nirvana of Mahavira.
The shloka is written in the usual Arya meter. Similarly, the first 2 slokas of the chapter are in faultless rhythm, but the third shloka under discussion satisfies the rhythmic requirements in only the first three quarters. The last quarter, shakakalastasya… is short by one “matra”. It is inexplicable how Kalhana and other scholars could overlook such a glaring slip. As the Rajatarangini also makes this mistake, we may infer that the error might have been in existence from a very long time. The only way of correcting the error is by insertion of the letter “Y” which has been somehow omitted, between the letter “K” and “A” in the word “Saka”, correcting “Sakakala” to “Sakyakala” which makes the shloka perfect and then we have the best of reasons to suppose that Garga refers to the era of Nirvana, the epoch of the Sakyas, or of the Sakya prince Gautama, or of the Buddha called Sakya Muni. Some early copyist, better acquainted with “Sakakala” than with “Sakyakala” changed the latter into the former, which he might have thought to be the corrector form. Even without such a correction, “Sakakala” may be considered a corruption of “Sakyakala”. Thus, in any case, the era of Buddha’s Nirvana is the one most undoubtedly referred to.
The expression shadadvikpanchadvi means “twenty-six times twenty-five” or 650 and not “six two five two” denoting 2526 as Dr. Hultzsch interprets. The termination “ka” denotes “so many times”, and is not an expletive that a precise mathematician like Garga may be expected to use unnecessarily. Garga computed here by the Saptarshi cycle, which denoted the lapse of every 100 years by a new Nakshatra and gave 25 years for each Nakshatrapada, into four of which a Nakshatra was then usually divided. If the Saptarshis had moved 6 ½ Nakshatras from the time of Yudhishthira’s coronation to the Nirvana of Buddha, that would be more appropriately expressed as the movement of the Rishis through 26 padas and the period denoted thereby would be put down as twenty-six times twenty-five years.
Though Max Muller offers very fair reasons for fixing the date of the Nirvana in 477 B.C., yet as Bigandet points out in his life of Buddha, both the chronicles of Ceylon and Further India unanimously agree that Buddha attained Nirvana at the age of 80 in 543 B.C. The Dipawanso computes by the era of Nirvana beginning in 544-3 B.C. Burma, Siam and Ceylon are all unanimous in giving this date and such widespread unanimity of opinion cannot be expected unless the era of 544-3 B.C. had existed from a very long time.
Garga’s statement now indicates to us that the coronation of Yudhishthira, and therefore the Mahabharata War, took place in the year 544 or 543 + 650 = 1194-3 B.C.
Almost in all parts of India the Brihaspati 60 year cycle prevails from a very long time. In commenting on Taittiriya Brahmana, I.4.10, Sayana says that this cycle comprised 12 of the ancient 5 cycles, which are so often referred to in the Vedic works and in the Vedanga Jyotisha. The sun and the moon take about 5 years to return to the same position at the beginning of a year, which gave rise to the cycle of the 5 years known as Samvatsara, Parivatsara, Idavatsara, Anuvatsara and Idvatsara respectively. As Brihaspati makes a complete circuit of the heavens in about 12 years, all the 3 heavenly bodies were expected to return to the same celestial region on the expiry of every 60 years. Because of a correcting knowledge of Brihaspati’s motions, Northern India has been expunging 1 year of the cycle in every 85-and-65/211 years so that after one such period the name of the next year is left out and the name of the one following the next year is taken to be the next year’s name. As no such practice prevails in Southern India, the current year (April 1901 to April 1902) which is the year “Pramadicha” in the North, is the year “Plava” in the South.
When the names were invented, the year of the Mahabharata War, the only famous epoch in the history of Ancient India, was named “Prabhava”, the name of the 1st year of the cycle. But the dates given by the orthodox for the war or for the beginning of the Kaliyuga do not correspond to the 1st year of the cycle. But, if we adopt the date given by Garga for the epoch of Yudhishthira, i.e. 1194-3 B.C., we find that the corresponding year of the Brihaspati cycle for that date is “Prabhava”, the name of its very 1st year.
We have suggested that the Kaliyuga began at the winter solstice of 1177 B.C. We have also seen that, barring the argument based on Rajatarangini, which gives us about 1190 B.C. for the war, our other lines of discussion point to 1194-3 B.C. as the probable date of the war. This date is further confirmed by the application of the principles of the Vedanga Jyotisha to certain statements contained in the Mahabharata itself. We may here observe that these statements are not to be explained by the astronomical calculations of modern times, for these were unknown in the days of the War, but rather by the calculations of the Vedanga Jyotisha, which, though cruder, are better applicable to them, inasmuch as it is the oldest Hindu astronomical treatise known to us and its astronomical details, as we have seen, relate to the beginning of Kaliyuga.
In the Swargarohanika Parva of the Mahabharata, we are told that Yudhishthira having observed “that the sun ceasing to go southwards had begun to proceed in his northward course” set out to where Bhishma lay on his bed of arrows. After telling Yudhishthira that the winter solstice had set in, Bhishma said, “Yudhishthira, the lunar month of Magha has come. This is again the lighted fortnight and a fourth part of it ought to by this be over.” Whatever historical weight may be attached to these statements, they may be at least taken to mean that the winter solstice then occurred on the expiry of the fourth part of the bright fortnight in the month of Magha, that is, on the fourth or the fifth day after new moon. Nilakantha, the commentator, thinks that the expression tribhagashesha pakshah denotes ‘Magha Sukla Panchami’ or the fifth lunar day in the month of Magha after Amavasya, the new moon.
As according to the Vedanga the winter solstice always occurred with the sun in Dhanishtha the Amavasya referred to by the Mahabharata must have occurred with the sun and the moon in Sravana Nakshatra; and as the winter solstice occurred on the fifth day after this, the moon must have been, on the solstitial day, in or near Revati Nakshatra. According to the Jyotisha, this position could have occurred only at the beginning of the fourth year of a five-year cycle, for it was then that the moon was in Aswayuja, next to Revati Nakshatra. The difference of this one Nakshatra is due to the imperfections of the elements of the Jyotisha. Thus we may infer that the winter solstice following the Mahabharata war, and just preceding Bhishma’s death, was the fourth of the five winter solstices of a five-year cycle. The particular five-year cycle in which the Mahabharata war took place appears to have been the fourth cycle previous to the beginning of the Kaliyuga in 1177 inasmuch as we have found that the Rajatarangini points to1190 B.C., and that all other lines of discussion lead to 1194-3 B.C. as the probable date of the War. Consequently, the winter solstice shortly following the War was the fourth of the fourth five-year cycle preceding the commencement of the Kaliyuga, which began, like the five-year cycle, with a winter solstice and with the sun and the moon in Dhanishtha Nakshatra. In other words, the Mahabharata war took place a little before the seventeenth winter solstice preceding the commencement of the Kaliyuga or towards the end of1194 B.C.
To summarize the arguments above set forth:
We were first enabled by the Vedanga Jyotisha to place the beginning the Kali era approximately at about 1173 B.C.
After enquiring into the date of Garga and of the Yavana invasion he spoke of, we noted that he fixed “the end of the Yuga” for the retirement of the Greeks from Hindustan. From this statement we inferred that the Yuga, which ended sometime before 165 B.C, must have begun a few years before 1165 B.C.
In explaining the figures given by the classical historians, we concluded that the Kaliyuga must have begun in 1177-6 B.C.
The Malabar era furnished us with another authority for fixing the commencement of the Kali era in1176 B.C.
We found that if the Kali commenced at the winter solstice immediately prece ding the year 1176 B.C., the details of the Mahabharata would lead us to place the war at the end of the year 1194 B.C.
The Tradition recorded in the Rajatarangini, enabled us to fix the date of the war about 1190 B.C.
From a statement made by Aryabhatta that the Rishis were in Magha in 1192 B.C., we inferred that the war might have taken place at about 1195 B.C.
The average duration of the reigns of the monarchs of the five foremost powers of our hemisphere served to assist us in fixing the date of the war at about1198 B.C.
From a shloka of Garga quoted in the Brihatsamhita, we inferred that the war occurred in1194-3 B.C.
We also found that the first year of the Brihaspati cycle of 60 years actually corresponds, as might naturally be expected, to the date of the war as given by Garga, i.e. 1194-3 B.C.
We applied the elements of the Vedanga Jyotisha to a shloka contained in the Mahabharata, which fixes the day of the winter solstice occurring soon after the war, and concluded that the war should have taken place in the latter part of 1194 B.C.
Thus we find all this cumulative evidence derived from different sources converging to the result that the Kali era began at the winter solstice occurring at the end of 1177 B.C., and that the Mahabharata war took place at about the end of 1194 B.C. In arriving at these conclusions, we had the testimony of the only historian that India can boast of who lived in the twelfth century A.D., of the greatest of the astronomers of India who flourished at the end of the fifth century A.D., of another brilliant astronomer who shone in the second century B.C., and of a versatile Greek historian who was also an ambassador at the court of the first great historic Emperor of India who reigned in the fourth century B.C. We had also the authority of the oldest astronomical work of India which claims to be a supplement to the Vedas, of an ancient era which “forms such a “splendid bridge from the old world to the new”, and of the famous sixty-year cycle. We tested these conclusions by what we may call the common-sense process based on the lists of kings contained in the Puranas. We have met and disposed of the arguments of those that give an earlier date.
So far we have been treading on more or less firm ground. But if we attempt to fix the actual days of the year 1194 B.C. when the War may be supposed to have been fought, our authority will have to be the epic itself, by itself an unsafe guide. The Mahabharata is unfortunately neither the work of one author, nor of one age. It has been recently proposed to start an Indian Epic Society mainly for sifting out the older portions of our incomparable epic. But the labors of such a Society, when brought to a successful termination, will not militate against the authenticity of the texts we are presently to discuss. Most of these belong to the war portion of the Mahabharata, which, according to Weber, is recognizable as the original basis of the epic.
We have already referred to a shloka of the epic, which states that the winter solstice, which took place soon after the war, happened on the fifth day after new moon in the month of Magha. In the very next preceding shloka, Bhishma tells Yudhishthira that he has been lying on his ‘spiky’ bed for the previous fifty-eight nights. Among Hindus it has for long been considered good for one’s future state, for death to occur in the period between the winter and summer solstices. The grand old Bhishma did not allow the arrows sticking into his body to be removed lest he might die before the commencement of the auspicious period, but rather preferred to suffer the excruciating pain, to which one with a less magnificent physique would have speedily succumbed.
The war is expressly stated in the epic (Ashramavasika Parva X.30) to have lasted for eighteen consecutive days. Moreover, in the Dronabhisheka Parva (Sections II and V), Karna is said to have refrained from taking part in the war for the ten days during which Bhishma was the generalissimo of the Kaurava army. In the last chapter of Drona Parva it is stated that Drona, who was the next Commander-in- chief, was slain after having fought dreadfully for five days. Karna led the army for the succeeding two days (Karna Parva I.15), and on the night of the next day (Salya Parva I.10-13) after Karna’s death, the war was brought to an end. When Yudhishthira was lamenting the death of Ghatotkacha on the fourteenth night of the war, Vyasa told him that in five days the earth would fall under his sway (Drona Parva CLXXXIV.65). From these references also it is clear that the war continued for eighteen consecutive days. As Bhishma was mortally wounded on the tenth day of the war, as the war lasted for eight days more, and as Bhishma is reported to have stated (Anusasana Parva CLXVII.26-27) on the day of the winter solstice that he remained on his bed of arrows for fully fifty-eight nights, the interval between the end of the war and the solstitial day was fifty days. As a matter of fact, this very number of days (ibid. 6) is stated as the period of the stay of the Pandavas in the city of Hastinapura which they entered on the next day after the war (Stri Parva XXVII, Shanti Parva XLI and XLV. Though the Pandavas desired to pass the period of mourning which extended for a month outside Hastinapura vide Shanti Parva I.2, their intention seems not to have been carried out) until they set out on their last visit to Bhishma on the day of the winter solstice. The epic says:
“The blessed monarch (Yudhishthira) having passed fifty nights in Hastinapura recollected the time indicated by his grandsire (Bhishma) as the hour of his departure from this world. Accompanied by a number of priests, he then set out of the city, having seen that the sun ceasing to go southwards had begun to proceed in his northward course” (Anusasanika Parva CLXVII. 5-6).
After Yudhishthira reached Bhishma, the latter addressed him in these words, “The thousand-rayed maker of the day has begun his northward course. I have been lying on my bed here for eight and fifty nights” (ibid. 26-27). We may therefore conclude that the winter solstice took place on the fifty-first day from the close of the war.
On the next day after the close of war, Sri Krishna and the Pandavas paid a visit to the dying Bhishma, whom Sri Krishna addressed in the following words: “Fifty-six days more, 0 Kuru Warrior, art thou going to live” (Stri Parva XXVII; Shanti ParvaXLI, XLV and LII). One need not be misled by the prophetic nature of this expression and declare it to be of no historic value. It might well have been a fact and put in the form of a prophecy by the compiler of the epic. But it may be asked how Bhishma could have lived fifty-six days after the close of the war, if only fifty days had elapsed from that time to the winter solstice when Bhishma hoped to give up his life-breath. But the explanation appears to me to be simple enough; though the winter solstice occurred fifty days after the close of the war, Bhishma does not seem to have died on the solstitial day, when the arrows were extracted from his body but appears rather to have lingered on till the sixth day after the winter solstice. We have seen that the solstice took place then on the fifth lunar day after new moon in the month of Magha. It was on the sixth day from this, that is, on Magha Sukla Ekadasi, that Bhishma, “that pillar of Bharata’s race,” seems to have “united himself with eternity.” Tradition asserts that Bhishma died on this very day, and our almanacs even now make note of the fact and call the day by name of “Bhishma Ekadasi.” To this day, death on the eleventh lunar day of the bright fortnight of the month of Magha is held in great esteem, and next to that, death on such a day of any other month. Possibly the supposed religious efficacy rests on the memory of the day of the royal sage’s death.
As the fifty-ninth day after Bhishma’s fall corresponded to Magha Sukla Panchami, Revati or Aswini Nakshatra, the day of Bhishma’s overthrow, which took place on the tenth day of the war, happened, in accordance with the 84 principles of the Vedanga, on Margasirsha Sukla Panchami, in Dhanishtha Nakshatra; and the Amavasya preceding it happened on the fifth day of the war in Jyeshtha Nakshatra. As a matter of fact, Dr. G. Thibaut gives this very Nakshatra for the last Amavasya but two of the third year of a five-year cycle, which particular new moon our Amavasya actually is. We may therefore conclude that the war began on the fourth Nakshatra preceding Jyeshtha or in Chitra of the month of Kartica and ended in Rohini Nakshatra in Margasirsa-month.
The Pandavas tried many milder means before they at last resorted to the arbitratement of war; they even proposed to sacrifice their interests to some extent, if war could thereby be averted. Shri Krishna was the last to be sent on a mission of mediation and he started for Hastinapura (Udyoga Parva, LXXXIII.7) “in the month of Kaumuda, under the constellation Revati at the end of the Sarad (autumn) season and at the approach of the Hemanta (dewy season).” According to the commentator and also to the translator, Kaumuda is the Kartika month. As the latter half of autumn corresponds to the month of Kartika, we may be certain that the statement means that Sri Krishna left for Hastinapura in the Revati Nakshatra of the month of Kartika. His efforts at reconciliation having been of no avail, he seems to have returned to the Pandava camp in Pushya Nakshatra for, as soon as he left Hastinapura, Duryodhana asked his warriors immediately to march the army to Kurukshetra (Udyoga Parva CXLII.18), “For to-day the moon is in the constellation of Pushya”. A little before Sri Krishna’s departure from Hastinapura, he proposed to Karna, “In seven days will there be new moon; let the war be begun on that day which, they say, is presided over by Indra.” As the commentator says, “Sakradevatam” denotes the Jyeshtha Nakshatra, which is presided over by Indra. The verse, therefore, indicates that the approaching Amavasya was to happen in Jyeshtha Nakshatra. This serves to confirm our inference drawn from other texts that the Amavasya, which occurred on the fifth day of the war, took place in Jyeshtha Nakshatra. But, to say that the new moon would occur on the seventh day seems to be certainly wrong, for Krishna was speaking to Karna in Pushya Nakshatra and the Amavasya was said to occur in Jyeshtha, the tenth Nakshatra from Pushya. Probably saptamat is an error for dashamat.
The war, however, did not begin in Amavasya as suggested by Sri Krishna for, Duryodhana moved out his army to Kurukshetra on Pushya Nakshatra. The Pandavas too seem to have marched out of Upaplavya on the very same Pushya. Both the contending parties were in such a hurry to march their armies to the battlefield, because Pushya Nakshatra was considered auspicious for such purposes. Yet, it was not possible to begin the actual fighting on the very same day. Much remained to be done before the armies could meet each other in battle array. If Sri Krishna returned from Hastinapura with the answer of Duryodhana on Pushya Nakshatra it is reasonable to allow some time for the marching of troops, for the ground to be cleared, for the pitching of tents, for the divisions of the armies to be properly effected, and most of all, for the allied princes to bring on their respective divisions to the field of battle. It appears to me that all these preliminary arrangements were gone through during the interval of the five days between Pushya and Chitra, in which Nakshatra the fighting actually began. But our epic says that both the parties were prepared for battle on the day when the moon had gone to the region of Magha (Bhishma Parva XVII). The natural interpretation of the expression is that on that day the moon was in Magha Nakshatra. In that case we have to suppose that though the armies were almost ready for war in Magha Nakshatra, the first shot was not fired till after the lapse of three more days. The armies began their march to Kurukshetra in Pusha, were organized in effective divisions in Magha, and actually engaged in battle in Chitra. Or, it may be that ‘Magha’ is an error for ‘Maghava’. The expression then would mean that the moon had entered the region of Indra,  that is the star Chitra presided over by Indra. If the emendation proves to be correct we have here another testimony to the correctness of our conclusion that the war began in Chitra Nakshatra.
It must be borne in mind that the epic was cast into its present form more than a thousand years after the date of the war. There are many statements in the epic which conflict with one another, a circumstance which can be accounted for only on this historic basis. One such conflicting statement occurs in the Gadayudha Parva. On the last day of the war Balarama returned to Kurukshetra from his pilgrimage to the banks of the Sarasvati, whither he had gone on the eve of the war in utter disgust with this horrible fratricidal war. He said (Salya Parva XXXIV.6), “Forty-two days have elapsed since I proceeded forth; I left on Pushya, I have returned in Sravana.” The Epic states expressly that the Pushya Nakshatra on which Balarama went away on pilgrimage was the one (Salya Parva XXXV.10-15; Udyoga Parva CLVII.16-35) on which the Pandavas set out of Upaplavya to the field of battle. It also certainly implies that the Sravana Nakshatra on which Balarama returned happened on the last day of the war (Salya Parva LIV.32). If these statements are to be taken as authentic, the obvious inference is that the war, which began with the marching of armies to Kurukshetra on Pushya, came to an end in Sravana forty-two days later.
This conflicts directly with the natural inferences we have drawn from the other statements, namely, that the winter solstice occurred on Magha Sukla Panchami fifty days after the close of the war, that the war lasted for eighteen consecutive days, that the Amavasya which occurred on the fifth day of the war took place in Jyeshtha Nakshatra, and that Sri Krishna left for Hastinapura on his errand of peace on Revati Nakshatra of Kartika month and returned to Upaplavya on the next following Pushya. To avoid such a contingency two explanations of this manifestly corrupt text are possible. We have either to suppose that the statements about Balarama’s departure on the eve of the war and about his return on the last day thereof are spurious as being opposed to the united testimony of other texts, or that the verse under discussion requires a little emendation. In the former case the inference to be drawn from the shloka is that Balarama left for the Sarasvati in Pushya Nakshatra twenty-seven days before the march of troops on the next Pushya Nakshatra to the battle field and that he returned to Kurukshetra in Sravana some days before the close of the war. If, however, the shloka is incorrect, we may best correct it by changing ‘forty-two’ into ‘twenty-four’. If Balarama had left on pilgrimage in Pushya and returned on the last day of the war, that being the twenty-fourth from the day of his departure, the last day of the war would happen in Rohini, a result which is identical with the one we have already deduced from other texts.
There is one other conflicting verse which we shall briefly discuss. On the fourteenth night of the war there was a tremendous battle between the contending parties. It is hinted in the epic (Salya Parva LIV.32) that the moon rose up on that night after three-fourths part of it had expired. This is certainly a mistake; for the new moon having taken place on the fifth day of the war, the moon should have disappeared below the western horizon about an hour and a half before three-fourths of the night was over. On the evening of the fourteenth day of the war, Arjuna’s vow to kill Jayadratha having been fulfilled, the Kurus, burning with revengeful thoughts, continued the strife far into the night. The epic would have us believe that during the first half of the night a tremendous battle raged in total darkness resulting in the death of Ghatotkacha, that both the armies therefore lay down to sleep for some time, and that on the rise of the moon at about three o’clock in the morning, both the sides recommenced their fighting. It is more probable that the war continued for as long as the moon was shining and that the armies rested when the moon had set. The poet was perhaps led to make this mistake by his anxiety to render the night sufficiently horrible for Rakshasa heroes to fight with their powers of illusion.
But, barring these two conflicting statements which too may be explained away, all other texts serve to support our conclusion. We are told that:
the winter solstice happened on Magha Sukla Panchami; the tenth day battle happened fifty-eight days before it;
Bhishma, who died on Magha Sukla Ekadasi, gave up the ghost fifty-six days after the close of the war;
a period of fifty days intervened between the end of the war and the winter solstice;
the war lasted for eighteen consecutive days;
the Amavasya, which occurred soon after the commencement of the war, happened in Jyeshtha Nakshatra;
the armies began their departure to the field of battle in Pushya Nakshatra; and
Krishna had proceeded to Hastinapura on his mission of mediation on the preceding Revati Nakshatra in the month of Kartika.
All these point but to one conclusion, namely, that the war, which lasted for eighteen consecutive days, concluded on the fifty-first night before the winter solstice.
At present the winter solstice falls on the 21st of December. The Gregorian system, which is the basis of the calendars of all Europe except Russia, Greece and Turkey, involves an error of less than a day in 3524 years. As the war took place in 1194 B.C., or 3094 years ago or 2776 years before the calendar was last corrected by Pope Gregory XIII, we may be certain that the winter solstice which occurred on the fifty-first day after the close of the war, would have happened, as now on the 21st of December (New Style). We may, therefore, conclude that the War commenced on the 14th of October, and was brought to a close on the night of the 31st of October, 1194 B.C. Whether or not this precise date, based as it is on data furnished by the Mahabharata alone, proves to be acceptable to the critical eye of a historian, we may at least be sure that the war took place in the latter part of the year 1194 B.C.



The Aryan-Dravidian Divide Is A Political Myth
David Frawley
Traveling throughout India, including much time in the south, I have been trying to make sense of the proposed Aryan-Dravidian divide, and the call for a pure Dravidian culture that one hears in Tamil Nadu.
The first thing one notices is that the most pure Sanskrit names are found in Tamil Nadu, extending to Dravidian political leaders like Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi. Yet this is just the beginning of numerous connections between the culture of south and the north.
If you are looking for the region of India where ancient Vedic teachings are best preserved, you will find it in Dravidian Kerala, where ancient Vedic rituals and fire sacrifices are regularly performed with precision and devotion.
In the south one finds the largest Hindu temple complexes, dwarfing anything in the north. Yet the temples are of the same great deities as Shiva, Vishnu, Devi and Ganesha as in the north. Southern temples reverberate with the same Sanskrit chants, as in the north, with some chants in Tamil as the north has some in Hindi.

Shiva, a Dravidian God?
Dravidian nationalists tell us that Lord Shiva was a Dravidian God expropriated by the northern Aryans. Yet Shiva is the great deity of Varanasi, Kashmir, Kedarnath and Kailas in the north, with the Ganga flowing down his head as a Himalayan God. Varanasi is said to be one of the oldest cities in the world.
The great Vedanta teachers over the last 1500 years have come from the south: Shankara of Advaita Vedanta (non-dualist), Ramanuja of Visishtadvaita Vedanta (qualified nondualist) and Madhva of the Dvaita Vedanta (dualist) school.
If one does pilgrimage to the Char Dham in the north – the four Himalayan sacred sites of the Hindus – one learns that these great shrines were renovated by Shankara, the great Vedantic guru of Kerala. Priestly families from the south run many Himalayan temples, as in the case of Badrinath today, where the Rawat or chief priest must be chosen from certain Kerala families.
 Tamil and Sanskrit
Sanskrit learning is best preserved in South India. Many of the Sanskrit chants used in Hindu rituals throughout India are those of southern teachers, starting with Shankara from Bhaja Govindam to Ganga Stotra.
Of course, Tamil and Sanskrit are very different languages, but both have been used together in South India for as long as recorded history, sharing common scripts like the old Grantha script from which the modern Tamil script arises. Grantha in turn arose from the Brahmi script of North India, which reached Sri Lanka over 2500 years ago. Sanskrit has been used side by side with Tamil since as long as we can trace the history of the region.
South India as the Bastion of Vedic Culture
Many great Vedantic teachers of modern times have come from the south including Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Swami Chinmayananda and Ramana Maharshi.
If one wishes to study traditional Ayurvedic medicine, one will discover the most authentic traditions in the south, which has an entire tourist industry based upon it. Aryan or Hindu culture is much more alive in the south, including traditional dance or Bharat Natyam. Even South Indian movies more commonly depict Hindu stories and deities than do the Hindi movies of the north dominated by the Khans.
Spurious Theories
Behind this Aryan-Dravidian divide idea is the historical debate whether the so-called Aryans invaded or migrated into India from the north and pushed the Dravidians to the south – as western historians have proposed (supposed to have happened around 1500 BC). This theory is under severe scrutiny today and has no real evidence on the ground to prove it, including no Aryan race type ever discovered archaeologically – but even if it has some validity it is an event, more than three thousand years old. It is hard to see its relevance as defining Dravidian versus Aryan culture today.
The origin of the Aryan-Dravidian divide idea had a lot to do with the people of South India throwing off the rule of the old Brahmin class which, incidentally, happened in the north as well. Yet we must remember that these were their own local Brahmins, who had been living there for many centuries, not any recent group of migrants from the north. To identify local Tamil Brahmins today with descendants of proposed Aryan invaders of thousands of years ago has little credibility, except as propaganda.
Others raise the issue of skin color, which was the old basis of the now disproved Aryan and Dravidian races. Not surprisingly people in the more equatorial south of India are darker in skin color than those in the north, though north Indians also are usually dark in complexion.
Some have tried say that the caste system was racially based on placing darker skinned Dravidians at the bottom and lighter-skinned Aryans at the top. But traditional castes in India as Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra were defined by occupation like the nobility and priestly classes of Europe, not by ethnicity. Such racial theories cannot be found in India texts before the colonial era and its racist view of the world.
There is little in so-called Dravidian culture, ancient or modern, that does not have strong connections with so-called Aryan culture. The Aryan-Dravidian divide is largely a modern political construct. The culture of South India has been intimately woven with Sanskrit, Vedic philosophies, Vedic culture and Yoga as long as we can trace it.
Certainly there are cultural variations in India, including between the north and the south, just as there are in Europe or any subcontinent. But there is clearly a common culture that goes back many centuries and cannot be divided by Aryan versus Dravidian theories.