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Ancient History (1/2) [Re: Contribution of Backward Classes..]

mani@srirangam.esd.sgi.com (Mani Varadarajan) writes:
[ Just to summarize, I stated earlier that Mahabharat War *occured* around 
3100 B.C (5561 B.C according to Dr. Vartak) and that Ramayan occured even 
earlier (7300 B.C according to Dr. Vartak). Mani Varadarajan seems to 
disagree with me on some points, which I attempt to clarify.]

> What critical scholar of the Mahabharata has convincingly proven
> the veracity of your above statement? There is really no way of
> knowing how true the stories in the Mahabharata are.  

The Indian line of thought has always maintained Mahabharat to be a 
historical fact, unlike the western scholars, who rather prefered to 
consider the great text as a wonderful poem, exagerrated story, etc., all 
of which is fine. One scholar, Dr. Sathe, by evaluating the opinions of 
120 scholars on the dating of the Mahabharat, states that about 60 sixty 
of them take the date to be around 3100 B.C. Study of the recently found 
city of Dwaraka, that is mentioned numerously in the Mahabharat text, is 
indicated to have submerged under the sea around 2500 B.C. The excavation 
of the so-called mythical city thus confirms the authenticity of the 
contents of the Mahabharat. Same is true with River Saraswati, which 
supposedly dried out somewhere around 2000 B.C, that has been depicted as 
a "rivulet" in the Mahabharat manuscripts. If these (atleast) things were 
imaginary, then how is that they were found to have been extant? Please 
refer to the following post for some points on why Mahabharat may be 
construed as a reality and not a myth. Hope that helps you in forming an 

Even assuming and acknowledging that the Mahabharat (and also the 
Puranas) has been added to and embellished by various persons reciting it 
orally, the facts recorded therein can always be validated with other 
sources (inscriptional, etc.) and later, accepted. That the Pauranic 
dates of Indian antiquity are too fabulous to be a reality, and that 
civilization in India was that of a cave-man until recently are simply 
facetious arguments. Moreover, the value of tradition and hearsay as a 
source of ancient history is immense especially in the absence (or 
unavailability?) of alternative evidence. Is not the history written by 
Greek Herodotus, which is a collection of accounts based on hearsay, 
approved and accepted as genuine historical annals? Then why not accept 
the accounts of the Ramayan, Mahabharat and Puranas, even if they are 
considered to have been transmitted orally? It is funny to see 
indologists mustering evidence from the RgVed (a mere collection of poems 
and with no historical character) to justify the theory of Aryan Invasion 
and rejecting records (astronomical) which provide ancient dates (for 
example, some compositions date as early as 23000 B.C) found inconvenient 
and even awkward to fit into their version of historical chronology! The 
political impressions (and subsequent repurcussions) that have stained 
the writing of history (atleast, Indian) are too numerous and repetitive 
to mention and therefore, I would leave them aside.

> raised with without having any critical or historical backing.
> As far as we know, Veda Vyasa was *not* a singly historical figure; 
> even if he was, the epic he composed was far different from the 

I hope to have provided convincing "historical backing" to my claims, 
atleast sufficient to create a doubt on the historicity of the 
Mahabharat, Ramayan and ancient Indian history in general [see below]. Also, 
I am aware of the opinion that Vedvyas is a title, similar to an Editor. 
The Vedvyas, author  of the Mahabharat, is described in the Mahabharat as 
the grandfather of Arjun(a), the Pandava. There is no need for any confusion 
regarding this. Atleast I am not aware of any literature mentioning the 
existence of yet another Vedvyas after the Mahabharat.

> Can I tell you how these individuals who have pretensions to 
> scholarship arrive at such an astoundingly accurate date [.. of the 
> Mahabharat] ? 

There are various evidences, mainly literary, to determine the dating of 
the Mahabharat. The fact that not too many archaeological artifacts are 
available does in no way undermine the authenticity and importance of the 
literary texts. The contents of the Puranas, which have been so 
incorrectly branded as "concoctions" of the Brahmanas, are increasingly 
being accepted as proper records of history. Infact, in the last few 
decades, some historians had deciphered the Pauranic chronology to arrive 
at dates of historical events, for example, like the Mahabharat. However, 
since their dates were not in agreement with established chronology, were 
set aside conveniently by historical societies.

The dating of the Mahabharat has been based on various literary sources, 
archaeological evidences (Dwaraka, River Saraswati), inscriptions found 
at various places (Aihole, Belgaum, Nidhanpur), Greek records 
(Megasthenes), etc.  On one of the excavations obtained from the Egyptian 
Pyramid, dated to 3000 B.C, is found engraved a verse from the Bhagavad 
Geeta "vasanvsi jeernani yatha vihaya, navani ghrunati naro parani". A 
tablet found in the Mohenjodaro sites depicts Lord Krishna and is dated 
to be 2600 B.C. Mahabharat must have defintely occured before that date. 
Also, according to B.B. Lal, horse bones, vestiges of the Ashwamedh, have 
been discovered at Hastinapur. There is further stratigraphical evidence 
at Hastinapur showing the flood level at the times of Nichakshu, sixth in 
line from Parikshit which has been mentioned in the Puranas. Thus 
calculating backwards, the date of Yudhisthira/Mahabahrat can be 
determined. However, the limitations of C-14 dating to deliver precise 
dates should be accepted. Encoding of the astronomical recordings can 
only provide time precision upto a day, or even less. Such calculations 
have been performed by numerous mathematicians in the past, and is an 
established methodology. Also, that Indians were knowlegeable of planetary 
movements and their mathematical relations even during the Mahabharat 
(and Ramayanic) era can be well judged from the correctness of the 
textual recordings.

> first assume that Kali Yuga is an actuality (a fact which itself
> is dependent on the Mahabharata and subsequent works), and then,
> working backward from the tradition that King Y lived in the 
> XXXX'th year of Kali Yuga, they date the death of Krishna to 
> 3102 B.C. 

The advent of the Kaliyug (3102 B.C) has been reckoned based not just on 
references from the Mahabharat, but also from some of the inscriptions 
noted as well as literature provided by Varahamihira,  Kalhana ( 
Rajatarangini), Arya Bhatta, Vruddha Garga and also the Puranic annals. 
Count Bijornstierna in his "The Theogony of Hindus", has aptly summarized 
on the calculation of Kaliyug Thus, "According to the astronomical 
calculations of the Hindus, the present period of the world, Kaliyuga, 
commenced 3102 years before the birth of Christ, on 20th February, at 2 
hours, 27 minutes and 30 seconds -- the time thus calculated to minutes 
and seconds. They say that the conjunction of planets that took place and 
their tables show this time. Bailey also stated that Jupiter and Mercury 
were then in the same degrees of the ecliptic, Mars at a distance of only 
eight and Saturn of seven degrees. The calculations of the Brahmins is so 
exactly confirmed by our own historical 'Takes' (data) that nothing but 
an actual observation could have given to correspondent a result." And 
last but not least is the calculation of the Kaliyuga from the "Sankalpa" 
recited by the Brahmanas during any rituals! Surprisingly, this date 
from the "sankalpa" so piously chanted by the "fraudulent" Brahmanas 
matches to the one obtained otherwise! What more is required to say on 
the date of Kali? The calculation of the Mahabharat chronology based on 
the beginning of the Kaliyug stands corroborated.

                         [ ... to be continued ...]

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