Showing posts with label Ashoka. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ashoka. Show all posts

Is Gautama Buddha Avatar of Vishnu

Why does Purana and Buddhist Chronology does not synchronize with each other. While they seem to be saying about the same person. When Analyzing this question. It becomes apparent that we have merged two Buddhas. The Adi Buddha or Avatar Buddha of Vishnu and Shakya Buddha  or Gautama Buddha into One. Let us Analyze

Let us  summarize what we have regarding each Buddha

Adi Buddha
Adi Buddha is avatar of Vishnu was born on 1887BC to Mother Anjana in Kikata (Bodh Gaya).
The Adi Buddha Established the Philosophy of Ahimsa, Non Violence. He preached against ritual Animal Sacrifices that has crept into Vedic Hinduism. He emphasized the divine in all beings and divinity of all souls arousing compassion for all.

Gautama Buddha
Siddhartha was was born around 560BC in Royal Family of Suddhodana and Mayadevi in Lumbini in Nepal. Siddhartha received his name Gautama from his spiritual Master Gautama Muni, who belongs to Kapila dynasty(as per Sundarananda Charita). He left home his royal comforts to find enlightenment. He went to Bodh Gaya to meditate and got enlightenment.
Gautama Buddha philosophy that is Monist (the God, is inert, nonactive and without any characteristic) and that reaching the same inert and non-active state through Nirvana is the goal. For attaining freedom from all suffering and end cycle of rebirths, one should attain Nirvana. Gautama Buddha is the propagator of Bahyatmavada, Jnanatmavada and Sunyavada, three pillars of Atheism. He Went to Bodhgaya to medidate because of its spiritual potency as the birthplace of Adi Buddha.

Buddhist Texts
Threvada Texts refer to six Preceding Buddhas (Those who have been awakened) as Vipasyin, Sikin, krakuccanda, Konagamara and Kashyapa, also they say Maitreya as the Buddha of the future.

Amara Simha Buddhist scholar, who wrote Amarakosha gives eighteen names of Vishnu avatara including the name Sugato (Which Shankara calls Buddha) and seven names of Shakya Simha Buddha without any mention of Sugato. So we can even argue that Shankara talks about avatar Buddha not Shakya Buddha. Amarakosha states the Lord Buddha is also known as Samanta Bhadra, whereas Gautama Buddha is a human being.

In Lalita Vistara, it is described how Gautama Buddha medidated on the same spot as the predecessor Buddha. The original name of Bodhgaya is Kikata, after Gautama attained enlightment there, it came to be known as Buddha gaya. Even today the rituals of worship is preformed by sannyasis of Shankaracharya sect.

Lankavatara Sutra, the famous buddhist work says that Ravana King of Lanka first worshipped Vishnu incarnation Buddha then successive and future Buddha.

Analysing Buddhist texts like Prajna-Paramita sutra, Astasahastrika prajna- paramita sutra, Sata-Shastrika Prajna, Pramita Sutra, Lalita Vistara shows three categories of Buddha namely

Human Buddhas: Like Gautama, who came to be known as Buddha after enlightment.
Bodhisattva Buddhas: Personalities like Samanta Bhadraka who were born enlightened.
Adi(Original-First) Buddha: the Avatar of Vishnu.

Hindu Texts
Bhagavata Purana says "At the commencement of the Kāli-yuga will Vishnu become incarnate in Kikata, under the name of Buddha, the son of Jina, for the purpose of deluding the enemies of the gods."

Puranas say that Adi Buddha was born in Ikshvaku Dynasty.

How Two were merged.
Adi Shankara, in discussion with others treated both of them as one person and did not discriminate between the two. Shankara Sunya philosophy is similar to Buddhist Nirvana. With his Mayavadha philosophy he not only stopped rise of Buddhism in India, but also started its decline.  However acharyas who came after him did not agree and they came with corrections for clear vedic View
Vishnuswami -Suddha Advaitha
Ramanuja - Vasistadvaitha
Nimbarka - Dvaita Advaita
Madhva - Dvaitha
Chaitanya - Acintaya Bheda Bheda

Historical Accounts
Adi Buddha is contemproary of Srenika(Sunika) whose father was Hemajit or Kshemajit or Kshetroja or Ksetrauja. Son of Srenika is Kunika. His son is Dharshaka.

Gautama Buddha is contemproary of Bimbisara(Son of Bhatiya or Bhattiya), King of Magadha with Capital at Rajgirh. Bimbisara made married alliances with many kings of India. His first wife Kosaladevi was the princess of Kosala, daughter of king Mahakoshal and sister of Pasendi or Prasenjit. The marriage ended the hostility between Kosala and Magadha. Ajatsatru was Kosaladevi`s son. Bimbisara conquered Anga and send Ajatsatru as the ruler there. Champa was the capital of Anga. Bimbisara was assasinated by his son Ajathashatru. Gautama Buddha then went to sravasti, Capital of Kosala ruled by Prasenjit. Most of the teachings come from Sravasti. Buddhist, Puranic and Jain Accounts confirm Gautama Buddha to be the contemproary of Bimbisara.

Jain scriptures, described King Bimbisara as a disciple of Mahavira who frequently sought his teachings. As per Jain texts, he is referred to as King Shrenika of Rajgriha (being the possessor of a large army). Bimbisara sent Jivaka to Ujjain for medical treatment of King Pradyata, the king of Avanti.

Mahavamsa traces the Shakya dyansty to Ikshvaku dynasty and starts the dynasty with Ikshvaku.

Let us see the list of Contemproary kings as various religious texts 

Puranas List
Shishunaga(40yrs)(Desposed Pratyodya)
Khastrojas (40yrs)
Bimbasara (28yrs)
Ajatashatru (25yrs)
Udayin (33yrs)
Nandivardhana (40rys)
Mahanandin (43yrs)

Buddhist List
Kalashoka (Sons Bhadrasena, Korandavarna, Mangura, Sarvanjaha, Jalika, Ubhaka, Sanjaya, Koravya, Nandivardhana and Panchamaka)
All 10 sons ruled simultaneously.

How Reliable is Buddhist Historical sources

Indologists have been saying Puranas are not reliable, let us see how unreliable Buddhist texts are. It is from Buddhist texts that Indologists arguments come. There two schools of sources. Tibetan and Sinhala. There is Chinese source, which comes later.
Let us take the kings around Buddhas time

Lankan Tradition

Ajatasattu (32yrs)
Udayabhadda (16yrs)
Nagadasa (24yrs)
susunaga (10yrs)
Ten sons of Kalasoka (22yrs)
Asoka (37yrs)

Bimbisara (52yrs)
Ajatasattu (32yrs)
Udayabhadda (16yrs)
Anuruddha, Munda (8yrs)
Nagadasaka (8yrs)
Susunaga (18yrs)
Kalasoka (28yrs)
ten sons of Kalasoka (22yrs)
Nine Nandas (22yrs)
Candagutta (24yrs)
Bindusara (28yrs)
Asoka (37yrs)

Burmese Tradition
Ajatasattu (35yrs)
Udayabhadda (15yrs)
Aururddha, Munda (9yrs)
Nagadasaka (4yrs)
Susunaga (32yrs)
Kalasoka 28yrs
bhaddasena and 8 brothers (33yrs)
Uggasenananda and 8 brothers (21yrs)
candagutta (24yrs)
Bindusara (27yrs)

Tibetan Tradition
Ujayain or Udayibhadda

Jain Tradition
(Total 60yrs)
Nine Nandas


Buddhist dates
1)Sources of Buddhist: First Where do Buddhist sources come from, they are not there from time immemorial like Purana or Jain sources. They are from definite time frame that is after Gautama Buddha. Mainly after the state patronage of Buddhism. Now how does Buddhist dates start from Ikshvaku dynasty. They should have got from some source. where else Purana. These Buddhist chronologies before Buddha are from Purana sources. If Puranas are the source of many Buddhist dates, how can Indology scholars choose to reject Puranas and take Buddhist sources.

2)Indian Dates: Dates from Purana or Buddhist or Jain are all Indian dates. Indologists are just playing one against other.

3)Not the Same Kings: Jain and Purana Chronology names does not tally with Buddhist Chronology names on contemporary kings

4) Differences within Buddhist: There are two main dates for Buddhists. One from Sinhala Buddhist and other Tibetan sources. There are two sources from Sinhala. That is Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa. There are differences between the two dates, but let us not overplay the differences.

The Tibetan Buddhist dates are more closer to Puranas date. But there are major differences. Such as when did Buddha lived. Date of Ashoka etc.

There is also Burma (Myanmar), though based on Lankan sources has a mind of its own because it has direct contact with puranic sourcse.

Chinese and Japanese follow Lankan, though they also have direct contact with puranic, so there are differences.

Indology Confusions
By Combining two Buddhas Indology scholars have discredited the Purana accounts and thus Indian History. Whenever the Puranas refers Adi Buddha they will cite Gautama Buddha to discredit and vice verse.

Colonel Kennedy, argues that the Buddha of the Purana and Buddha the founder of the Buddhist system of religion have nothing in common but the name, and that the attempted identification of these two is simply the work of European scholars, who have not been sufficiently careful to collect information, and to weigh the evidence they have had before them.

Jacobi Believes that Kakavarna(Puranas) = Kalashoka (Sinhalese Buddhist Literature) = Udyain (Jain Literature)

The Cambridge and Oxford histories of India accept 483 B.C as the date of Buddha’s nirvana. But, William Jones, on the basis of Chinese and Tibetan records infers that Buddha lived in the 11th century B.C. Historian Fleet, who makes a study of ‘Rajatarangini’, thinks that Buddha lived in the 17th century B.C. Chinese monk Fa-Hien puts Buddha’s Nirvana at 1050 B.C. These contradictory theories may confuse one altogether.

Indology scholars just pick and choose to discredit Purana sources. The history that Buddha lived in the 5th century B.C was propounded by E.J Rapson who writes that the exact date of Buddha’s Nirvana is not known and hence the popularly accepted year of Buddha’s Nirvana is imaginary. Sastry states that Western scholars arbitrarily skipped 12 centuries of Indian history because their ‘hypothesis’ about Alexander’s invasion did not match with centuries-old Indian chronology.

We see that Early Buddhist texts distinguishes the two Buddhas, while the later ones seem to ignored the former. The Rock Edicts of Piyadasi teachings are of Adi Buddha not Gautama Buddha. This clarification actually synchronizes the Buddhist and Purana Chronology and there seems to be no problem in merging the two once we take as two persons. The key is not play puranic , Jain, Buddhist chronology against each other, but synchronize them. The Conclusion is that : Gautama Buddha is not avatar of Vishnu. Avatar of Vishnu is Adi Buddha.

Were There Two Buddhas By Stephen Knapp
Modern Buddha and Vishnu Avatar Buddha are Different by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja
Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, by W.J. Wilkins
Index to all Chronology Pages from Indic Studies Foundation
Saisunaga Dynasty- The Third Dynasty of Magadha after the great war. from Kota Venkata Chelam - Ancient Indian History
Buddhist India
Lord Mahāvīra and His Times By Kailash Chand Jain
History of Ancient India: From 4250 BC to 637 AD By J.P. Mittal
The dates of the Buddha

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Origin of Yavanas - Greek Myth

Yavanas are thought to have been Greeks by Western scholars tracing to Ionians . Is that so, Let us see the facts.

References to Yavanas in India
In Indian sources, the usage of the words "Yona", "Yauna", "Yonaka", "Yavana" or "Javana" etc. appears repeatedly, Let us see them in Detail

Edicts of Ashoka

Experts say in the Edicts of Ashoka (c. 250 BCE) especially In the Gandhari Rock XIII : Antiochus is referred as "Amtiyoko nama Yona-raja" (lit. "The Greek king by the name of Antiochus"), beyond whom live the four other kings: "param ca tena Atiyokena cature 4 rajani Turamaye nama Amtikini nama Maka nama Alikasudaro nama" (lit. "And beyond Antiochus, four kings by the name of Ptolemy, the name of Antigonos, the name of Magas, the name Alexander").

Dipavamsa , Mahavamsa and Sasanvamsa
Buddhist texts such as the Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa and the Sasanavamsa reveal that after the Third Buddhist Council, the elder (thera) Mahárakkhita was sent to the Yona country and he preached Dharma among the Yonas and the Kambojas.


Another example is that of the Milinda Panha , where "Yonaka" is used to refer to king Menanders (160–135 BCE ) guards.


The Vanaparava of Mahabharata contains verses in the form of prophecy complaining that "......Mlechha (barbaric) kings of the Shakas, Yavanas, Kambojas, Bahlikas etc. shall rule the earth (i.e India) un-righteously in Kaliyuga..." . This reference apparently alludes to chaotic political scenario following the collapse of dharmic dynasties in northern India and its subsequent occupation by non-dharmic hordes of the Yavanas, Kambojas, Sakas and Pahlavas etc.

other Indian records describe the Yavana attacks on Saketa, Panchala, Mathura and Pataliputra, probably against the Sunga empire, and possibly in defense of Buddhism. The main mentions of the invasion are those by Patanjali around 150 BCE, and of the Yuga Purana, which, like the Mahabharata, also describes Indian historical events in the form of a prophecy:

Yavana in other cultures.
  • Egyptians used the word j-w-n(-n)-’
  • Assyrians used the word Iawanu
  • Persians used the word Yauna or Yavanu
  • Sri Lankans - used the word Yona in Mahawamsa and other historic texts.
  • In Biblical writings, the word was Yāvān (and still is, in modern Israeli Hebrew - יוון)
  • In Arabic and Turkish it is Yunan See Also Sanskrit Yoni
So what is the problem in telling Yavana are Greek, Let us analyze.

Not Greeks
Greeks coming to Yavana Janapada (republic) in NorthWest(Not Bactria perhaps Khandahar) became Yavanas. There is never a Greek Ionia in the east , which is neither stated in Persian inscriptions, nor by Herodotus.

Yavanas of King Bhagadatta in the Mahabharata are placed in south/south west(present Karnataka / Maharastra) India before the Yadu migration scene to Dvaraka. It would not make sense for Yadus to migrate to the west if Yavanas at attacked Mathura from the same west.

During Panini dated 600BC , there is no Greeks in India Neibhourhood , so the question of Panini referring to Greeks as Yavanas does not arise.

The date for Krishna are 3100BC. So, it is less likely to be that Yavanas are the Greeks. Because Greeks or Ionians were not there before 300BC.

There are three words distinct used Yuana before 400BC , Yavana between 400BC to 200BC and After 200BC as Yona in Pali texts. Sometimes both Yavana and Yona are mentioned.

Antigonos, Magas, Alexander are more Greek than Antiochus(Syria), but only Antiochous is mentioned as yona raja ,which shows yona does not mean Greek.

Kala-yavana, the "Dark Yavana" of the Mahabharata, who fought with Duryodhana. While in India dark always refer to evil mentality, it is possible this Dark-Yavana is of dark complexion, and perhaps pertaining to south India.

And when Greek were in India, they were based out of Egypt rather than Greece.

Yavanas are Indians
Literature shows them Indians.

The first (attested) Greek to be connected with the word Yon a is Antioch us in ca. 250 BCE. He is called Yona-raja = king over Yona people and their Janapada. His 4 Greek collegues are simply called Raja.

Indo-Greek Menander in the Milindapanha. In that work he is simply called Raja, king of Yona country (Yonanam). But his 500 elite soldiers, mercenaries from Yonanam, are called Yonakas.

Indo-Greek Antialcidas. He is called simply Maharaja, but it is Heliodora, son of Diya, who is the Vaishnavite Yona and ambassador to king Bhagabhadra.

Also contrast the clear Greek names of Greeks and Indo-Greek kings and those of the Yonas: Yavanaraja Tushaspha. Heliodorus’ may have adopted a Greek name under influence of the powerful status of the Indo-Greeks ruling over Yona country up to Taxila. The Mili ndapanha has these names for Yonas: Anantakâya (Yonako), Devamantiya (Yonako), Mankura (Yonako) and Sabbadinna or Dinna (Yonako).

It knows the Yonakâ as tribe., and Saka-yavana as the countries (Seistan-Arachosia/Quetta. Compare with Shaka-yavana of Patanjali. Shakas are attested before the Scythian invasion of the 1st century BCE in the NW).

“A vast body of Kharoshthl inscriptions found at several sites in the north-western region of the sub-continent are not much help either The term Yavana seldom occurs in these records, dated to the first few centuries of the Christian era, but the names of the donors are undoubtedly of Greek origin.” Ray adds: “The Swat relic vase inscription of the first century B.C. records the establishment of the relics of the Sakyamunl by Theodoros, … An engraved stone from Bajaur, south-east of Jalalabad, reads "of king Theodamas". .. The Kaldarra inscription records the laying of a tank by Thaidora or Theodoros, the Datiaputra”. But when Yavana is applied, see what Ray says: “ …Karle 314 and date from the first century A.D , the donors have Indian names such as Dhamadhaya, Chulayakha, Sihadhaya and Yasavadhana.

At Nasik cave XVII (dated after 110 A.D ), Indragnidatta, son of Dhammadeva the Yavana..” Indo-Greeks seem to retain their Greek names, but it is the Yonas who adopt names from other
cultures, the vaste majority being Indic (or some persian, and a few Greek, like the name Heliodorus).
The Puranas make them decendants of the Turvashas, peoples of South- Western India (karnataka / maharastra).

Literature shows Yavanas are becoming degraded Kshatriyas speaking in a dialect form (Mleccha), once having a better position and not at all being treated as foreigners.

Yavanas of King Bhagadatta in the Mahabharata are placed in south/southwest India before the Yadu migration scene to Dvaraka.

Panini refers to the Yavanas around 600BC, or perhaps earlier. They appear to be related to the Kambojas, since he mentions they both were condemned to shave their heads. This shows that the Yavanas were people that shaved their heads.

Famed Yavanacharya, the great Yavana-astrologer who studied Vedic astrology. In Takshashila, in North Western India, which had existed from 700BC , also attracted students from all over the world, so the scholar tells us. But again 700BC, No greeks in India.

Here however, we see that Yavana is a term that began in India itself, for the Vedic Aryans themselves - not foreigners! But, they do appear as peoples related to ancient Indians, or Vedic Indians - which predates the Greeks.

Gautama Dharmasutra , which refers to Yavanas as a mixture of Kshatriya father and Shudra mother

The Yavana kings in the Mahabharata are called: Yavana (ancient great kings), Chanura Devarata (mentioned with a Bhoja and Kirata king, showing that these were ruling in the east, south and of course Chanura in the west), Sumitra (rules in Sauvira country in the west. Battle with Pandu), Bhagadatta (rules in the west. Old friend of Pandu), Kasherumat (Battle with

Krshna. Probable direct predecessor of Kalayavana), Kalayavana Garg ya (mentioned as king of western India. Battle with Krshna). These names are Indian, not Foreign.

Dharma of Yavanas
yavanâH kirâtâ gândhârâśh cînâH śhabarabarbarâH | śhakâs tuSHârâH kahvâśh ca pahlavâśh cândhramadrakâH oDrâH pulindā ramaTHâH kâcā mlecchâśh ca sarvaśhaH | brahmakSHatraprasûtâśh ca vaiśhyâH śhûdrâśh ca mânavâH

ie.'What duties should be performed collectively by the Yavana, Kirata, Gandhara, Cina (ishwa: Shina), Shabara, Barbara, Shaka, Tushara (ishwa: high mountaineer), Kahvas (var. Kanka), Pahlava, Andhra, Madraka, Odra (var. Paundra), Pulinda, Ramatha and Mleccha (var. Kamboja) Vaishyas and Shudras and offshoots of Brahma-Kshatras, (all these) Manavas?

The Duties to be performed by Kshatriayas are
  1. serve their mothers and fathers, their preceptors and other seniors, and recluses living in the woods.
  2. serve their kings.
  3. follow duties and rites inculcated in the Vedas.
  4. perform sacrifices in honour of the Pitris, dig wells, give water to thirsty travellers, give away beds and make other seasonable presents unto Brahmanas.
  5. Abstention from injury, truth, suppression of wrath, supporting Brahmanas and kinsmen by giving them their dues, maintenance of wives and children, purity, peacefulness,
  6. making presents to Brahmanas at sacrifices of every kind, are duties that should be practised by every person of this class who desire his own prosperity. Such a person should also perform all kinds of Paka-yajnas with costly presents of food and wealth.

And it means t hat those who fail to follow the above dharma is Yuana So Yavanas are the Kshatriyas(Warrior Clans) who dont follow the law or dharma.

Yavana Indian Etymology
The word Yavana, if it is assumed to be Indian, can be derived in three ways. Firstly, from yu = 'keeping away', 'averting' (dveSHo yavana), signifying one who is disliked. Secon dly, from yu
'mixing, mingling',(i.e. Yauti mishrayati vaa mishriibhavati sarvattra jaatibhedaabhaavaat iti yavanah), implying a mixed people. Thirdly, from the meaning, 'quick', 'swift'; a swift horse, (i.e. Yavena gacchatiiti yavanah), denoting those who have a quick mode of conveyance. These derivations taken together may indicate that the Yavanas were thought of as a mixed
people, who had a quick mode of conveyance and who were disliked. However these derivations are recent. But Experts disagree on this meanings already.

“Firstly, from the yu = 'keeping away', 'averting' (dveSHo yavana), signifying one who is disliked.” The word doesn’t signify one who is disliked, but rather Yavana is the one who keeps away, he keeps a way the Dvesha or the enemy. Yavana here rather denotes a protector, a Kshatriya, thus someone who is liked and needed! This word Dvesho yavana is from the Vedic (!) Krshnayajurveda. Thus not a recent word, as it conjectures. More ancient, Vedic words from this root: dveSHo-yávana (MaitrS.) and mfn. removing hostility. dveSHo-yút (RV.), mfn. removing hostility. pra-yotR' m. a remover, expeller . Or Yaavan.

“Secondly, from yu 'mixing, mingling', (i.e. Yauti mishrayati vaa mishriibhavati sarvattra jaatibhedaabhaavaat iti yavanah), implying a mixed people.” , but these are the true meanings given to the root he has in mind: yu does not mean mixing, but “to unite, attach, harness, yoke, bind, fasten RV.(=yuj); to draw towards one's self, take hold or gain possession of, hold fast AV. TS. ShBr.; to push on towards (acc.) AV.; to confer or bestow upon (dat.), procure RV.; (yauti), to worship, honour Naigh. Iii,” (It is from this root that the Vedic Yaavan and A-yaavan are derived from for the halves of the moon..).

Thirdlyfrom an ancient root yu = to move quickly. There are more Vedic words from this root denoting to move (quickly): yaávan m. a rider horseman, invader, aggressor, foe R. (ifc.) going, driving, riding (cf. akSNa-, agra-, eka-y &c.) akSNa-yaávan mfn. going across agra-yaávan mfn. going before eka-yaávan m. of a king TBr. ii TâNDyaBr; RNa-yaávan mfn. relieving fro m debt or obligations praatar-yaaan “who moves at early morning” puro-yaavan “who moves foremost” sa-yaavan -"going along with, associated with,accompanying Thus, the words yáva speed, velocity (prob. w.r. for java); a double convex lens ib. [yava; {Gk.}; Lith. javaí.], yavana mfn. quick, swift; m. a swift horse L. (prob.w.r. for javana) and yavaana mfn. quick, swift L. (prob. w.r. for javaana), have all ancient Vedic roots.

Yavanas are Indigenous Tribe
The Yavanas are enumerated together with Pârashavas, Yavanas, Caranas, and Shûdras. None of the Varnas mentioned in IV.16-21 do refer to any foreigner, but rather of a mixture of indigenous Varnas and Jatis. Parashavas or connected with parashu or the axe of a woodcutter. As frontier people (paccantima) they became degenerated in the eyes of the immediately adjoining main land (majjhima). The pre-Alexandrian Ganapatha remembers Yavanas as Munda, unlike the hairdress of (Indo-)Greeks. The Majjhima Nikaya mentions that the Yonas call their varna Arya! Did the Greeks consider themselves as such? No refere nce to this with the Greaco-Roman historians

Compared to the doubtful etymologies for Ionian, the etymology of yavana is much better and logical. In Yavana we have a normal indigenous development of fusion of ideas and meanings which we can observe in many other words or ideas (aspects of Indra absorbed in Vishnu- Krshna, etc.etc.) Besides, all the different Indian works point to the indigenous character of Yavanas.

In short, Ionian as Yauna doesn't seem to have been known to Indians at all before Alexander. After Alexander, it does seem that the Indo-Greeks were rather known through the central country they were ruling over, which was Yona Janapada. And Yona Janapada can not be equated with Bactria, it is always within the subcontinent, close to the Indus area.

Yona-Kamboja- Gandhara is the frontier line of India from south to the north of the (western bank of the) Indus Valley: Yona -Baluchistan, Kamboja - Gomal/Bannu Valley, Ghandra - Kabul/Swat Valley.

Rodney Lingham


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Date of Buddha

Date of Buddha

Most of us are taught that Buddha was born around 560 to 550 B.C. However, once we start doing some research, we find evidence that this date may be too late. Buddha may have lived much earlier. Let us see how Buddha is dated.

Let us see the Traditional Theories at arriving date of Buddha.
  1. Long chronology Based on the Mahavamsa and Dipavamsa accounts which state that 218 years difference between Buddha Death and Ashoka Conversion. Which put date of the Buddha’s death is 544/543 B.C.E.
  2. Corrected chronology According to Richard Gombrich, Aśoka’s dates are approximately established by the synchronism between his 13th major rock edict, which is dated by scholars in the 13th year after his consecration, and the five monarchs of the Hellenistic world named therein as reigning at the time. The date of the edict must be 255 B.C., give or take a year; Aśoka’s consecration is accordingly dated 268 B.C. So the Date of Buddha's Death is 483BC
  3. short chronology Many Sanskrit , Tibetan and chinese traditions say the difference between date of Asoka coronation and Date of Nirvana of Buddha to be 100 years and Chinese accounts say 116 years. So the date can be anywhere between 544BC to 440BC depending on which theory you are following.
  4. Dot-ted record. This account, taken from Chi-nese sources and referred to initially by Tao-hsüan in the Ta t’ang nei tien lu, argues that when Upāli, first collected the Vinaya after the Buddha’s death, he marked a dot in the manuscript at the end of the pavarana, and continued the process in each year thereafter. His successors, Dāsaka, Sonaka, Siggava, Moggali-putta, Tissa, Caṇḍavajji, and so forth continued the process. Samghabhadra, who presumably translated the Samantapāsādikā into Chinese, is said to have put the 975th dot on the manuscript during a visit to Canton in 489 C.E., thus establishing the Buddha’s death in 486 B.C.E.
But we are not bothered by this relative chronology based on the date of Ashoka cornation. Since we have seen that Ashoka grandfather chandragupta Maurya is itself is not based on Solid evidence the article Did Megasthanese Meet Chandrgupta. We will go to the root of the evidences to see when he can be dated.

European Account
Since the records of ancient India give only the intervals between events but do not, like later records, date the events themselves, it is necessary in order to establish dates in Indian history to call on Greek historians. Indo-Greek relations developed as a result of the Indian campaign of Alexander the Great (327 BC). About 303 BC, the Indian Emperor Candragupta came to a territorial agreement and entered into diplomatic relations with Seleukos Nikator, Alexander's former general who ruled over Babylonia. Through the reports of the Greek ambassador Megasthenes, who was ambassador to the imperial court of palimbothra , Candragupta ( Sandrokottos ) became known to Greek historians, and through them we are able to date his accession to 321 BC. But this date is now disputed due to various reasons, Further Information on Chandgragupta and Alexander Date follow article Did Megasthanese meet Chandragupta Maurya. How Let us see

Purana Account
The Puranas provide a chronology of the Magadha rulers from the time of the Mahabharata war, Somadhi (Marjari) was the ruler. He started a dynasty that included 22 kings that spread over 1006 years.They were followed by five rulers of the Pradyota dynasty that lasted over 138 years. Then for the next 360years was the 10 rulers of the Shishunag family. Kshemajit (who ruled from 1892 to 1852 B.C.) was the fourth in the Shishunag dynasty, and was a contemporary of Lord Buddha's father, Shuddhodana. It was during this period in which Buddha was born. It was during the reign of Bimbisara, the fifth Shishunaga ruler (1852-1814 B.C.), when Prince Siddhartha became the enlightened Buddha. Then it was during the reign of King Ajatashatru (1814-1787 B.C.) when Buddha left this world. Thus, he was born in 1887 B.C., renounced the world in 1858 B.C., and died in 1807 B.C. according to this analysis.

Further evidence that helps corroborate this is provided in The Age of Buddha, Milinda and King Amtiyoka and Yuga Purana, by Pandit Kota Venkatachalam. He also describes that it is from the Puranas, especially the Bhagavat Purana and the Kaliyurajavruttanta, that need to be consulted for the description of the Magadha royal dynasties to determine the date of Lord Buddha. Buddha was the 23rd in the Ikshvaku lineage, and was a contemporary of Kshemajita, Bimbisara, and Ajatashatru, as described above. Buddha was 72 years old in 1814 B.C. when the coronation of Ajatashatru took place. Thus, the date of Buddha's birth must have been near 1887 B.C., and his death in 1807 B.C. if he lived for 80 years

Professor K. Srinivasaraghavan also relates in his book, Chronology of Ancient Bharat , that the time of Buddha should be about 1259 years after the Mahabharata war, which should make it around 1880 B.C. if the war was in 3138 B.C.

Astronomical Account
A search was made from 1900 BCE to 400 BCE for the sequence of events: winter solstice, lunar eclipse, solar eclipse, followed by Vaisakha poornima, the full moon day of Buddha nirvana. It is found that there are only 14 dates possible for this sequence of events to occur:1807 BCE, 1694 BCE, 1659 BCE, 1510 BCE, 1250 BCE, 1192 BCE, 1138 BCE, 1119 BCE, 1062 BCE, 1007 BCE, 765 BCE, 690 BCE and 560 BCE. If a time limit of about three months (the time that Buddha spends in sravasti before attaining his nirvana) is imposed, then the time intervalbetween winter solstice and vaisakha poornima must be less than 90 days and that vaisakha poornima should occur before the vernal equinox, as winter solstice occurred after his arrival at sravasti. With this restriction, most of the dates do not qualify, leaving only two dates 1807 BCE and 1510 BCE as possible dates. It is interesting to note that the ‘traditionally’ accepted dates, 544 BCE, or 483 BCE, or any of the recently revised dates do not fit the picture. One additional piece of astronomical information is needed to fix the date.

The Samyutta Nikaya , Part I, sugatta Vagga, Book II, Chapter I, Devaputtasa yuttam,suttas contain ten units in all, two of them to relate to kassapa. The others are devaputtas who visit Buddha. Sengupta identifies kassapa with prajapati and hence with winter solstice. He regards the other deities as adityas The first devaputta to visit is to be taken as the lord of the month of the lunar eclipse. We take a hint from a listing of the sons of aditi in taittirya aranyaka dhata aryaman. If we assume as Sengupta did, kassapa as dhataa or prajapati, his visit would indicate the arrival of winter solstice. Aryaman would be the first ‘devaputta’ to visit as the deity of the month, i.e., the presiding deity of the nakshatra of the full moon, where the lunar eclipse occurs. In 1510 BCE the lunar eclipse occurs at uttaraphalguni, whose deity is bhaga. In 1807 BCE, the lunar eclipse occurs at purvaphalguni , with aryaman as the deity. So the year is 1807 BCE

Furthermore, astronomical calculations by astronomer Swami Sakhyananda indicates that the time of the Buddha was in the Kruttika period, between 2621-1661 B.C.

Pali and Ceylon Chronicles
Mahavamsa and Dipavamsa , give the traditional figure of 218 years between the death of the Buddha and the conversion of Asoka is best taken as conventional. It amounts to the claim that between the death of the Buddha and the conversion of Asoka, there intervened
  • A first major event occuring after 100 years, this being the standard conventional interval of prediction in the later Buddhist literature
  • A second major event, occurring after another 100 years, this event being the rise of the ruler patron, or the coronation of Asoka.
  • A third event, occurring after a further 18 years. We may note that according to his own inscriptions, it was in the 18th year of his reign that Asoka was persuaded to accept Buddhism.
The alternative interval of 256 years, is based on counting backward from a later date in Asoka's reign, namely, the year of his abdication to pursue a life of virtue. This is the information given by the chronicles , the western scholars have taken the difference in years between ashoka , buddha and Megasthanese – Chandragupta meeting to date Buddha.

The Ceylonese Pali traditions leave out the kings mentioned RockEdicts from list of Asoka’s kingdoms, whereas Rock Edict XIII includes them. In fact, as many scholars have noted, the character of Asoka from Ceylonese and other traditions is precisely (as RK Mukherjee has said) what does not appear in the principal edicts. Rock Edict XIII, the famous Kalinga edict, is identified as Asoka’s. It was, however, Samudragupta’s (Samudragupta was a great conqueror and a devout admirer of Asoka. He imitated Asoka in many ways and also took the name Asokaditya. In his later life, he became a sanyasi).

Tibet Account
The Kalachakra tantra puts the life of Sakyamuni Buddha in the 9th. Century BCE William Jones, on the basis of Tibetan records infers that Buddha lived in the 11th century B.C. A number of Tibetan documents place Buddha at 2100 BC.

China Account

Fa-hsien was in India and at Patliputra c. 410 AD. He mentions a number of kings, but makes not even a fleeting reference to the Gupta, even though according to European scholars he came during the height of their reign. Fa-Hien puts Buddha’s Nirvana at 1050 B.C.

Qin Shi Huang, who is said to have suppressed Buddhism, in the same way that he suppressed all other Chinese philosophy. His reign lasted from 246 BCE to 221 BCE. Han Wei, a noted researcher from the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, found evidence in the Historical Records, which were written in 104 BC. Silk Road archaeologist WANG Jianxin said Han's research sounded "reasonable" .

The Weilüe reports a tradition that an envoy of the Yuezhi king who gave oral teachings on Buddhist sutras to a student in 2 BCE

Greek Accounts
Seven Sages of Greece (Dated 620-550 B.C ) surprisingly give the Buddhist Teachings.

Thyagaraja Aiyer in his book "Indian Architecture" observes," Here lies Indian Sramanacharya from Bodh Gaya, a Buddhist monk taken to Greece by his Greek pupils and the tomb marks his death about 1000 B.C." If the Buddhist monk went to Greece in 1000 B.C., then the Buddha must have lived at least a few centuries earlier.

Somayajulu places Chandragupta Maurya in the 14th century B.C. This puts the Buddha three centuries earlier, i.e., in the 17th century B.C.

Long before the word 'missionary' came to be synonymous with Christianity" Buddhist monks ('dharma-bhanakas') were traipsing across Asia. Travelling the Silk and Spice Routes they spread their doctrines all the way from Khotan in central Asia to Antioch and Alexandria in the west. One such visit is documented in 20 BC in Athens. A Buddhist philosopher, Zarmarus, part of an embassy from India, made a doctrinal point by setting himself alight. His tomb became a tourist attraction and is mentioned by several historians.

It seems the original Therapeutae were sent on an Indian embassy to Pharaoh Ptolemy II in 250 BC. The word 'Therapeutae' is itself of Buddhist origin, being a Hellenization of the Pali 'Thera-putta' (literally 'son of the elder.') Philo Judaeus, a 1st century AD contemporary of Josephus, described the Therapeutae in his tract 'De Vita Contemplativa'. It appears they were a religious brotherhood without precedent in the Jewish world. Reclusive ascetics, devoted to poverty, celibacy, good deeds and compassion, they were just like Buddhist monks in fact. From the Therapeutae it is quite possible a Buddhist influence spread to both the Essenes (a similar monkish order in Palestine).

Gnosticism is Influenced by Buddhism , which was a religion of quite a different order to earlier 'pagan' cults. It was a scriptural religion, making a strong appeal to the emotions. It offered a moral code – and hope. The Gnostic idea of liberating the soul from entrapment in matter is not dissimilar to the teachings embodied in the "4 Noble Truths" of the Buddha.The Greek details presented above are also sometimes dated before Alexander, so the argument that Buddhism came to Greece only after Alexander invasion does not hold water. Greek and some parts of then India like Bactria were part of Persian empire of Darius, so the exchange of ideas is not confined to Alexander era.

Korea Account
Hwanin or Divine Regent is a figure in Korean mythology. Hwanin is an alias of Indra. Hwanin is the name on Buddhism of Indra, this name is widely used in east Asia. We have evidences that Hwanin being used in 3rd Century BC in Korea.

South East Asia Traditions

Japan, Thailand, , Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia follow the Ceylon (Sri Lanka) date.
Christian Account
Apart from similarities between buddha and Jesus Christ, Most Important account has been the Barlaam and Josaphat story, which is the Christianized version of Buddha Story.

Max Muller stated that missionaries also were sent more than thirty years prior to Ashoka's reign

Philo noted the presence of Buddhists in Alexandria, Egypt.
The above accounts say that Buddha can be earlier than the said dates of 560BC and Western and Indology Scholars have not even explained the contradictions in their own calculations. The fundamental sheet Anchor theory (Megasthanese -Chandragupta Meeting) is itself not established. The Indian literary accounts are being dismissed summarily. And Western scholars themselves dont provide any evidence to backup their account. Since Chandragupta Maurya date by Western and Indology scholars is disputable, Buddha Date is also susequently disputable. Regarding what is being said in Ashoka Edicts and what are the claims made on the edicts , we will see in another article. For now Buddha date is nowhere settled. Date by Indian Literary sources and Astronomical calculations is 1807 BC.
  • The Date of the Buddha by E Bruce Brooks
  • Re-establishing the Date of Lord Buddha by Stephen Knapp
  • A short note on the date of Buddha nirvana using planetarium software B. N. Narahari Achar
  • Indian Architecture by Thyagaraja Aiyer
  • Cooking the Buddhist Books by Charles S. Prebish 
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Did Megasthenes Meet Chandragupta Maurya

I got a comment on the post Dating Indian History by one GD Prasad , who claimed that to see the correct Indian History refer to Purana date, which I dismissed it as there was nothing to backup the comment. But curiously he said that the Chandragupta at the time of Alexander was of Gupta Dynasty not Maurya Dynasty. Now that worm has entered my head, After Googling much I am writing this article. Since this is the date that determines the entire Indian history is based on, we have to identify correctly who was the Chandragupta at the time of Alexander who met Megasthenes. Chandragupta Maurya is Indian King who renounced his empire and became jain monk , he went to Shravanbelagola in karnataka and died as simple man.
Megasthenes story
Megasthenes was the Greek ambassador sent by Seleucus Nicator in c. 302 B.C. to the court of the Indian king whom he and the Greek called "Sandrocottus". He was stationed in "Palimbothra", the capital city of the kingdom. It is not clear how many years Megasthenes stayed in India, but he did write an account of his stay, titled Indika. The manuscript Indika is lost, and there is no copy of it available. However, during the time it was available, many other Greek writers quoted passages from it in their own works. These quotations were meticulously collected by Dr. Schwanbeck in the nineteenth century, and this compilation is also available to us in English (J.M. McCrindle: Ancient India as Described by Megasthenes and Arrian). When European Indologists were groping to date Indian history during the nineteenth century (after having arbitrarily rejected the various Puranas), the Megasthenes account came in very useful.
How Chandragupta Maurya was Equated with Sandrocottus – Sheet Anchor Chronology.
Sir William Jones could not believe in the antiquity of the Bharata War according to Indian accounts because of his Christian faith which told him that Creation took place at 9-00 a. m, on 23rd October 4004 BC. He tried to search the Greek and Roman accounts. These accounts supplied some information about India of the time of the Macedonian king Alexander. It mentioned seven names of three successive Indian kings. Attributing one name each for the three kings the names are Xandrammes, Sandrocottus and Sandrocyptus. Xandrammes of the previous dynasty was murdered by Sandrokottas whose son was Sandrocyptus.

Jones picked up one of these three names, namely, Sandrokottas and found that it had a sort of phonetic similarity with the name Chandragupta of the Puranic accounts. According to the Greek accounts, Palibothra was the capital of Sandrokottas. Jones took Palibothra as a Greek pronunciation of Pataliputra, the Indian city and capital of Chandragupta. He, then, declared that Sandrokottas of the Greek accounts is Chandragupta Maurya of the Puranas. Jones died just a year after this declaration and possibly before his death, could not know that Puranas have another Chandragupta of the Gupta dynasty.

Later scholars took this identity of Sandrokottas with Chandragupta Maurya as proved and carried on further research. James Princep, an employee of the East India Company, deciphered the Brahmi script and was able to read the inscriptions of Piyadassana. Turnour, another employee of the Company in Ceylon, found in the Ceylonese chronicles that Piyadassana was used as a surname of Asoka, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya. The inscription bearing the name of Asoka was not found till the time of Turnour. In 1838, Princep found five names of the Yona kings in Asoka's inscriptions and identified them as the five Greek kings near Greece belonging to third century BC who were contemporary to Asoka.

In the Greek accounts, Sandrokottas of Palimbothra is described as a contemporary of Alexander of Macedonia who invaded India during 327 BC to 323 BC This decides the approximate date of Chandragupta Maurya. Princep's research decides the approximate date of Asoka, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya as in 3rd century BC Both these dates were adjusted with the reign periods of the three successive Magadha kings, Chandragupta, Bindusara and Asoka of the Maurya dynasty given in the Puranas. Thus, the date c. 320 BC was fixed as the date of coronation of Chandragupta Maurya. It is on this date that every other date of Indian history has been constructed.

Max Mueller, in 1859 AD, finalized this identity of Sandrokottas with Chandragupta Maurya and declared c. 320 BC, the date of coronation of Chandragupta Maurya as the Sheet Anchor of Indian history. M. Troyer did not agree with this conclusion and noted this fact in the introduction to his translation of Rajatarangani of Kalhana. He even communicated his views to Prof. Max Mueller in a letter but did not receive a reply from him.
Smith's Chronology:
Historian V. A. Smith took the chronological identity asserted by the predecessors in this historical hierarchy as the basis for further calculation of the exact dates of the different dynasties that ruled over Magadha after and before the Mauryas. He took the aid of numismatics in addition to epigraphy. He could not however get over, as if by compunction, to follow the Puranas in the enumeration of the kings and their dynasties. But he reduced their reign periods. The total reduction done by these British scholars, from Jones to Smith, comes to 1300 years according to some Indian chronologists.

Indian View Chandragupta Maurya did not meet Megasthenes
  1. Megasthenes has nowhere mentioned the word Maurya
  2. He makes absolutely no mention of a person called either Chanakya or Kautilya.
  3. Indian historians have recorded two Chandr aguptas, one of the Maurya dynasty and another of the Gupta dynasty. Both of them had a grandson called Ashoka. While the Mauryan Chandragupta' s son was called Bimbasara (sometimes Bindusara), The Gupta Chandragupta had a son called Samudragupta. Interestingly Megasthenese has written that Sandrakuttos had a son called Samdrakyptos, which is phonetically nearer to Samudragupta and not Bindusara.
  4. The king lists given by the Puranas say that 1500 years elapsed from the time of the Kurukshetra war to the beginning of the Nanda dynasty's rule. If one assumes the Nandas' period to be 5th century BCE, this would put the Bharatha war around 1900 BCE whereas the traditional view has always been 3100 BCE. This gives a difference of 1200 years which go unaccounted.
  5. Megasthanese himself says 137 generations of kings have come and gone between Krishna and Sandrakuttos, whereas the puranas give around 83 generations only between Jarasandha's son (Krishna's contemporary) to the Nandas of the Magadha kingdom.. Assuming an average of 20 to 25 years per generation, the difference of 54 generations would account for the gap of the 1200 years till the time of Alexander.
  1. The Chinese have always maintained that Buddhism came to China from India around 1100 -1200 BCE, whereas the western historians tend to put Buddha at 500 BCE
  2. According to the Greek accounts, Xandrammes was deposed by Sandrokottas and Sandrocyptus was the son of Sandrokottas. In the case of Chandragupta Maurya, he had opposed Dhanananda of the Nanda dynasty and the name of his son was Bindusara. Both these names, Dhanananda and Bindusara, have no phonetic similarity with the names Xandrammes and Sandrocyptus of the Greek accounts.
  1. Asoka's empire was bigger than that of Chandragupta Maurya and he had sent missionaries to the so-called Yavana countries. But both of them are not mentioned. Colebrook has pointed out that the Greek writers did not say anything about the Buddhist Bhikkus though that was the flourishing religion of that time with the royal patronage of Asoka. Roychaudhari also wonders why the Greek accounts are silent on Buddhism.
  1. The empire of Chandragupta was known as Magadha empire. It had a long history even at the time of Chandragupta Maurya. In Indian literature, this powerful empire is amply described by this name but it is absent in the Greek accounts. It is difficult to understand as to why Megasthanese did not use this name and instead used the word Prassi which has no equivalent or counterpart in Indian accounts.
  1. To decide as to whether Pataliputra was the capital of the Mauryas, Puranas is the only source. Puranas inform us that all the eight dynasties that ruled Magadha after the Mahabharata War had Girivraja as their capital. Mauryas are listed as one of the eight dynasties. The name Pataliputra is not even hinted at, anywhere in the Puranas.
No Concrete Proofs:
The Western scholars and their followers in India have been all along insisting on concrete evidence for ancient Indian chronology but they themselves have not been able as yet, to furnish any such evidence for the sheet anchor.
All the evidence supplied so far is conjectural. No numismatic or inscriptional proof is available for the date. Same was the condition at the time of V. A. Smith. He had written, "Unfortunately, no monuments have been discovered which can be referred with certainty to tile period of Chandragupta Maurya and the archaeologist is unable to bring any tangible evidence afforded by excavations."
Pandit Bhagavaddatta seems to have studied the fragments of Megasthenes in more detail than those who decided the identity. On the basis of Megasthenes's statements, he has arrived at the following conclusions. "Yamuna was flowing through Palibotha i.e., Paribhadra, the capital of the Prassi kingdom. Palibothra was 200 miles from Prayaga on way to Mathura. The kshatriyas there were known as Prabhadrakas or Paribhadrakas. Their king was Chandraketu. The capital Paribhadra was near to Sindhu-Pulinda which is in Madhya Desha and is today termed as Kali-Sindha. The Karusha Sarovara was between Sindhu-Pulinda and Prayaga." He further states, "Pataliputra cannot be written as Palibothra in Greek because 'P', in Patali is written in Greek as English 'P', only ; then why 'P', in Putra is changed to 'B', in Greek? There is no instance where Sanskrit 'P', is changed to Greek 'B'." Putra cannot be Bothra.

Based on all these, I would say the Sandrakuttos of Megasthanese was not Chandragupta Maurya. As far as Chandragupta of Gupta Dynasty meeting Megasthenes , we will see in another Article.

  • Defalsification of Indian history By Dr. Subramanian Swamy
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Dating Indian History - Towards a common Era

Most of disputes in history starts with dates, one claiming predating other. Let us see how difficult it is to know the exact year of existence of particular person from Inscriptions. We are restricting ourselves to Inscriptions as going to literature will open another Pandora box.
Inscriptions are dated in some many ways. Ranging from simple year date (regnal or era ) to detailed year month tithi(lunar day), week day and/or other calendrical or astronomical dates. Let us see the Era or dating used.
Regnal Year
This is practice dating records from regnal years of king , this method is used in most of the inscriptions. Beginning from Ashoka , continuing with satavahana, Ikshvaku, Vakatakas continued record in regnal years in their inscriptions, this continued in medieval period with Palas, Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas. A typical inscription with regnal year, might say “ The great king of so-and-so with so-and-so titles with so-and-so achievements donated in the first year of of his reign “. The inscription may add the tithi or day of the week, or month in addition the regnal year. Unless additional reference date or another king or ruler or event is provided the dating of the inscription is not absolute. These inscriptions have to be dated by techniques similar to paleographic records or undated inscriptions. But sometimes due to historical synchronization we can find the year and sometimes month and date of the particular inscription, but this is not the case with most inscriptions. The successive rulers of dynasty have given inscriptions ,so we can date them successfully. But sometimes some successive rulers have same names which compounds the problem. The problem is with regnal years everything is relative and fluid, with change of date of one inscription every other inscription has to be re-dated. If Greek have not come to India , we will not be able to date Ashoka and with Ashoka the entire Indian History.  
Year of an Era
Beginning with First century BC some inscriptions dated the years in continuous era. In this practice the kings issuing the inscription dates the inscription in the regnal years of the previous kings instead of his accession. This system is seen in the Dynasties. Sometimes they are followed even when the dynasties have fallen and new one takes over. But this information is not absolute, the name of the era may be left out since it is a prevalent one and common knowledge. In addition the year may be given in numbers or words or both. Sometimes the year is given as chronogram(bhutasamkya), with digits expressed in words for items associated in particular order. The suggested numbers have to read in reverse order(according to the principle Ankanam Vamato gatih, numbers run leftward). Sometimes both common era and Regnal year can be found.
Let us see some of the Era's
Jain Nirvana Era
This date starts with Nirvana or salvation of Last Jain Tirthakarna Vardhamana Mahavir. While Vicarasreni(1310AD) in Merutunga(Prakrit) gives date as 470 Years to vikrama Era, Nemichandra(1084AD) in Mahaviracariam(prakrit) gives the date as 605 years and 5 Months to before the start of Saka Era. So the dispute will be there as the Mahavira date is not certain. The Sravanabelagola Inscription equating Vir- Nirvana year 2493, Vikrama 1888 and Saka 1752 is an example.
Buddhist nirvana Era
Cantonese records say each year after passing of Buddha was represented by a dot and so the date of Buddha is 486BC , the start of Buddhist nirvana Era. But there is no agreement in Buddhist world. So the dates are disputed.
Vikram Era
This Era starts in 50 BCE by King Vikramaditya. Vikramaditya regained his ancestral kingdom in Ujjain by expelling the Sakas from there after 9 years of their rule (66-57 BCE). In order to commemorate his victory over them, he introduced a new era called Vikram Samvat (or Malawa Samvat) in 57 BCE. This story is also disputed.

Shalivahana saka

The Inscription of Pulakeshi talks synchronises the era with Kali era and uses the term Shalivahana sake. This era is also called Saka era. This is the most consistently used era and also currently used by Govt of India as Well. Historically this marks the defeat of Saka ruler of Ujjain by Shalivahana of Paithan. This is era is used extensively in Karnataka, Maharastra and Andhra. The start of era is 78AD. However Indologists have many theories for this era. But it is generally agreed that Kanishka was the first to use Saka era , so the origin is given to him. But kushana chronology itself is debated. Saka era is labled in various ways such as saka-nrpa-Kale, saka-varsesv-atitesu, Saka-varse, Salivahana sake, sake and so on. Except the earliest years Saka era dates are labeled saka year. 

Kalachuri-Cedi Era
The date of origin of this era is also doubtful. The date of 248AD based on the accesion of Abhira king Isvara dutta is now not valid.
Vallabhi Era
Thisis used in Kathivad and neighbhourhood.It is synchronous with Karttikadi Vikrama year 376 (318-319AD) and Saka 242-42. Inscription in the era are available from 82 to 945. It is also said this is gupta era continued and the era corresponds to accession of Chandra gupta I. Guptas don't use the era in the earlier inscriptions. So the claim is questionable. Most historians attribute to Accession of Chandragupta I. The dates are calculated by adding years 319 to 322 years to that is found in the inscriptions.
Ganga (Gangeya Era)
Many inscriptions of Eastern Gangas and Eastern Kadambas in Karnataka , Andhra and Orissa. The Ganga Era is also disputed ,but it is generally agreed it starts in 475AD based on inscription of Kadamba feudatory Dharmakhedi.
Sri Harsa Era
Al-Biruni (11th century AD)suggests that Harsa Era was prevalent in the area of Mathura-Kannuaj starting with 457BC. But there seems to be no common such era in India before Saka and Vikram Era. In fact Al-Biruni learnt in Kashmir that Sri Harsa era started with Sri Harshavardhana in 606AD, the Mathura pandits seems to have tricked Al-Biruni to such date.
Bhatika Era
The historical origin of Bhatika era is disputed. It starts at 623 to 625AD. The dispute here is due to association the close synchronisation and association with Islamic Hirja Era 622AD in western India and close to regions of Arab Incursions. Absence of Early inscriptions is explained as the solar modification of Muslim era. Mr.Dasharatha sharma says it represents era of Bhatia rajput Clan. Several unpublished inscriptions near Jaisalmar have cited to indicate Bhatika samvat. However Mr. Mirsa and Mr.Sarcar argue some of the inscriptions are Harsa Era.
Kollam Era
This era starts at 824AD, used in Kerala and around Kerala mostly in Malayalam and Tamil sometimes in Sanskrit as well. The reason for the start of the Era is controversial as it marks the starts of the foundation of Kollam, but Kollam existed prior to it. Some scholars say it is related to Saptarsi era, but the geographical distance makes the theory untenable.
Bhauma Kara Era
This era started by Bhauma Kara kings of orissa. The era starts in 831AD probably of ruler Ksemankaradeva. Earlier the era was considered to be harsa era.
Nepali or Newari Era
This era was started by Jayadevamalla. The era starts in 871AD. The earliest Nelpali inscriptions date themselves to Saka or Vikrama or Gupta or Licchavi Era.
Chalukya-Vikrama Era
This era was started by Chalukya Vikramaditya IV upon accession to throne in 1076AD. The Inscriptions of Vikramaditya mention this era ,many times the Saka era is also mentioned.

Lakshmana Sena era
This era starts in 1117AD in Gaya region of Bihar. This era is attributed to Accession of Sena King Lakshmana sena though the dates do not match.

Bengali San
The Era is Named Bengali San(Sen) is in use in Bengal. It is solar year and runs with saka era. The Months are however Lunar. It starts at 516 Shalivahana Saka.

Vilayati Year
This is another Solar Saka year used in parts of Bengal and Chiefly in Orissa. The Months like Bengali San is Lunar. The start of the Vilayathi year is same as Bengali San 516 Shalivahana Saka. There are two differences though, First begins solar year in Kanya which is bengali sen Ashvina or Assin. Second the months begin on the day of sanskranti instead of following 2nd or 3rd day.

Amli Era
This era is used in Orissa. The Amli commenses from the birth of Indradyumna, raja of orissa on Bhadrapada Sukla 12th and each month commenses the moment the sun enters the sign. Amli san is used in business transactions and in the courts of Law in orisssa.

Fasali Year
This is harvest year introduced by Akbar,originally derived from Mohammadan year and bearing the same number, but beginning in july. It was in most parts of India Solar year, but different customs in different parts of india has made it divergent. There is Luni Solar and North west Fasali year.

Maharatta sur san or Shakur san

This is sometimes called Arabi san. It is extensively used in Mahratta domains. This is nine years behind Fasali of Deccan.

Magi San
This is used in Chittagong. It is similar to Benglai san. The only difference is it is 45 years behind.

Simha Samvat
This era is used in Kathiavad. THe era starts in 1036-37 Saka

Lakshmana Sena era
used in Tirhut and Mithila, but always with Saka or Vikrama era. Era starts in 1105-6 AD.

Ilaki Era
The Tarlkh-i-Illahi or Mighty Divine era was established by Akbar. It dates to his Accession 14 Feb 1556 (Friday 2nd Rabi-us-sani AH 963) . It is extensively used in Coins of Akbar and Jahangir, but Shah Jahan seems to discontinued.

Rajyabhisheka Saka
It is also called Mahratta Raja Saka Era. Saka here is era. This era was established by Shivaji on the day of accession (Jyeshta sukla Trayodasi (13th) of Saka 1596 expired or 1597, Ananda Samvatsara)
Pseudo-historical Era's
Old Saka Era
Some of the early Khartoshi and Brahmi insciptions cannot be dated to Saka or Vikrama era's. So they are classified to Old Saka Era distinguishing from Saka Era 78 AD. But there are many disagreements between scholars on which inscriptions should fall to Saka Era and Old Saka Era. Evenmore controversial is the exact origin of the said Era. And still more controversial is the exact date of the historical epochs mentioned with this Era. So this can be said to be one of the speculative Era.
Aguptaiyaka Era
The Gokak inscription dates itself to 845 th regnal year of unknown Aguptaiyaka kings. The inscriptionbelong to 6th century AD. So the era should start at 3rd or 2nd century BC. Speculation is it is connected with Chandragupta Maurya and local king Aguptaiyaka.
Other Era's
Some Inscriptions of Bengal are dated to Malla era starting at 694/695AD. Some Inscriptions of Bengal refer to Bengali Era (sana or Sala Era). Some orissa inscriptions refer to sana era as Amli era. There is also Siddha Hema Kumara Era(1142AD). Illahi Era (1556AD) instituted by Mughal Emperor Akbar. Some late inscriptions date themselves to Imgreji San or Isvi Era based on Christian era.
Phantom Era
Maurya Era
Some scholars studying the Hathigumpha Inscription of Kharvela have noted a Maurya Kala starting 324-300BC based on Chandragupta Accession. But sunsequent studies revealed that the inscription was stating Mukhya Kala (Sanskrit) not Maurya Kala. So that Era is hoax.
Kaliyuga Era
Kaliyuga era is supposed to begin with Kali aeon. Traditional associations with events Epics. Kaliyuga is creation of astronomers for chronological base for astronomical and calendrical calculations. The initial date corresponds to Friday, Feb 18 ,3102BC at the time of astronomical conjunction of Sun, Moon, Earth, and Planets at the point of naksatra mesa. Kali yuga is normally counted as expired. Earliest Kaliyuga era in inscription is Aihole inscription dated Kaliyuga 3735 and saka556 corresponding to 634 AD.
Saptarsi Era
Saptarsi Era also called Laukika,Sastra, Pahadi or Kacca is a imaginary cycle of 2700 years. The calculation is based on Saptarsi(Great Bear) which stands for 100 years in 27 nakshatras. Pahadi refers to the use in hills of Punjab and Kashmir. Lukika and Kacca refers to omission of hundreds. Since it is mainly used in Astrology it is called sastra Samvat. The puranas give different dates and confuses this era.
Grahaparivriti Cycle
This is based on Kaliyuga Era , But instead of 100 year cycle it follows 90 year cycle. It is followed in Madurai region of tamil nadu. This year is fabricated by Astrologers of that area.
Brahaspati 12 Year Cycle
Brahaspati cycle is based on twelve year cycle of sidereal revolution of Jupitor. Some Gupta Feudatories , Kadambas, Rastrakuta used this in some inscriptions.
Brahaspati 60 Year cycle
This is originally calculated by jupitor transistion from one rashi to another. Due to discrepancy of four days every year, the cycle of requires suppression of one jupitor year every eightyfive years. This sixty year cycle is usually dated in name of the years then in numbers.


Indian Epigraphy by Richard Salomon.
Indian Epigraphy by D.C . Sircar.
Ancient Indian History and Civilization by Sailendra nath Sen.
The Indian Calendar, with Tables for the Conversion of Hindu and Muhammadan Into A.D. Dates, and Vice Versa Front Cover Robert Sewell, Robert Schram

origin of Brahmi Script

Brahmi Script
In the last centuries BC the script was divided into 3 varieties: northern, eastern, and southern. Dialectal differences consisted of the shape of the symbols, though the system remained the same. First separate branches emerged in the 5th century AD. The Brahmi script is the ancestor of all modern Indian writing systems, there are about 40 varieties of them nowadays, including Tibetan, Sinhalese, Sharada, Newari, Bengali, Oriya, Gujarati,Gurmukhi, , Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Burmese, Khmer, Lao, Thai, Devanagari. In addition, many other Asian scripts, even Japanese to a very small extent (vowel order), were also derived from Indian script. Languages which used Brahmi as their script: Indo-Aryan (Vedic, Sanskrit, Prakrits, Pali), Dravidian, Iranian (Sacian), Tocharic.

Brahmi origin
Brahmi origin has been controversial. one of the reason is the sudden appearance of fully developed script in the inscriptions during Ashokan period and l absence of inscriptions between Indus valley and Ashokan period(gap of 1500 years). Opinions of Brahmi is divided to into two camps Foreign origin by Foreigners and Indigenous independent development by Indians. Let us see the opinions behind claims.

Foreign origin
Foreign origin or derived script theory is based on the following theories
  • Failure to find and identify actual specimens of between indus valley and pre-Ashokan writing.
  • The testimony of Greek author Megasthenes to the absence of writing in India in the early Mauryan period
  • The evident influence of Indian phonetic and grammatical theory on the structure of the early scripts
  • Uniform appearance of Ashokan Brâhmî all over India.
Aramic origin
It is thought that the brāhmī drift of a Semitic writing like the imperial Aramean alphabet, as it is the case for the alphabet gāndhārī(khartoshi) which appeared at the same time in Northwest India, under the control of the empire of the Achéménides. Rhys Davids thinks that this writing could be introduced in India of the the Middle East by the merchants.The similarities between the scripts are just what one would expect from such an adaptation. For example, Aramaic did not distinguish dental from retroflex stops; in Brāhmī the dental and retroflex series are graphically very similar, as if both had been derived from a single prototype. Aramaic did not have Brāhmī’s aspirated consonants (k, t), whereas Brāhmī did not have Aramaic's emphatic consonants (q, ṭ, ṣ); and it appears that these emphatic letters were used for Brāhmī's aspirates: Aramaic q for Brāhmī kh, Aramaic (Θ) for Brāhmī th (ʘ). And just where Aramaic did not have a corresponding emphatic stop, p, Brāhmī seems to have doubled up for its aspirate: Brāhmī p and ph are graphically very similar, as if taken from the same source in Aramaic p. The first letters of the alphabets also match: Brāhmī a, which resembled a reversed κ, looks a lot like Aramaic alef, which resembled Hebrew .
Southern Semitic origin.
Brahmi is a syllabary, it consists of syllables only, if we state that single vowels are also syllables. Each character carries a consonant followed by the vowel "a", much like Old Persian or Meroïtic. However, unlike these two systems, Brahmi indicates the same consonant with a different vowel with extra strokes attached to the character. Brahmi is written from the left to the right. However in few coins right to left Brahmi is also found.

Phoenician Origin
Phoenician origin is based on the following points.
  • Writing from left to right unlike aramic which is right to left.
  • Striking similarity between theta and Brâhmî tha
Emphasising this two points to Brahmi phoenicaian origin is theory far fetched. Maybe there is influence but no such a thing as origin from Greek alphabet.

Greek and Brahmi
That the basic system of indication of post-consonantal vowels by diacritic marking was originally developed in and adapted from Khartoshi seems well established. But Falk's suggestion that the introduction into Brâhmî of distinct diacritics for short and long vowels was influenced by the model of Greek script is doubtful, since the notation of vowel quantity in Greek operates on entirely different principles. Whereas Greek uses distinct alphabetic characters, mostly derived from Semitic consonants, to represent, incompletely and inconsistently, short and long vowel pairs, Brâhmî has a complete and regular set of matched short/long pairs of post-consonantal diacritic signs.

Brahmi Numerals
Numerical notation system of Brâhmî. Because the use of distinct signs in Brâhmî for each of the digits (1 to 9) and the decades (10 to 90) a similar system used in early Chinese numerals. Also not only in system but also in the actual form of several of the numerical signs, between Brâhmî and heiratic and demotic Egyptian. we dont know which side influenced the other or Independent.

Indigenous origin

Independent origin
script appeared in India most certainly by the 6th century BC, but the fact it had many local variants, which suggests that its origin lies further back in time. The earliest inscription written in Brahmi date back to the 6th century BC in srilanka, and by 2nd century BC already there existed several varieties of it. Brahmi quickly became the official script of religious texts and cults, and therefore spread over all India.
Writting in Pre Ashokan Era
  • J.D.M. Derrett argues Megasthanese talks only about written Legal document not generally writting in India.
  • Nearchos, quoted by Strabo, to the Indians' practice of writing letters on cloth
  • Panini mentions Lipi (Writting)
  • Pali cannon makes reference to likhitako coro,lekha.m chindati (writting) in Vinaya-pi.taka
Ashoka Invention
Harry Falks believes as for him that the brāhmī was created under the Empire maurya. One often admits that it was an invention planned under the reign of Ashoka, necessary to the drafting of his edicts, case similar to that of the Hangul(Korean).

Indus origin
Brahmi script came from the Indus Valley Script. However, the lack of any inscription evidence between the end of the Harappan period at around 1900 BC and the first Brahmi and Kharosthi inscriptions at roughtly 500 BC makes the Indus origin of Brahmi highly questionable. However recent claims of deciphering the Indus script has strengthened this theory. Indus script have been found around 1500BC in Vaishai, bihar. And the theory derives the evidence from similarities as other theories. You can see in the picture .

Now the theory by western scholars is Khartoshi predated Brahmi and it was loose adoptation of Aramic. Khartoshi from Aramic is also not a good argument simply because several cases Khartoshi characters have different phonetic values from the Aramaic letters that they most closely resemble in shape. wide usage of Aramaicin the Ashokan Aramaic inscriptions, in the eastern regions of the Achaemenian empire.another theory is Brahmi is derived from Khartoshi. But this can be disproved on following points. Brâhmî ¤ ha , which can reasonably be derived from an Aramaic * he , but hardly from Khartoshi * ha , and * ta from Aramaic * taw ,
but not Khartoshi ¤ ta

We have to see that each theory putsforward the similarities and keeps silence on the other points. Brahmi is superior script all the others compared. And there is no easier explanation for the development of same.

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