Showing posts with label Pali. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pali. Show all posts

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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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.

Related Posts
Was Ancient India Literate
Indus Script Myths
Tamil Brahmi
Pallava Granta Script

Myth of Mother Sanskrit Theory

Is sanskrit mother of all Languages. Various theories are being floated. Let us see them.

Mother Sanskrit theory is a Myth
  1. Vedas - The word `Sanskrit' does not occur anywhere in the Vedas. Not a single verse mentions this word as denoting a language.
  2. The Vedic language was referred to as Chandasa even by Panini himself [ Chatt., p. 63 ], and not as `Sanskrit'.
  3. The Buddha was advised to translate his teachings into the learned man's tongue - the `Chandasa' standard [ Chatt., p. 64 ], there is no mention of any `Sanskrit'. The Buddha refused, preferring the Prakrits. There is not even a single reference in any contemporary Buddhist texts to the word `Sanskrit'. This shows that Sanskrit did not even exist at the time of the Buddha.
  4. The word `Sanskrit' occurs for the first time as referring to a language in the Ramayana : "In the latter [Ramayana] the term `samskrta' "formal, polished", is encountered, probably for the first time with reference to the language"
  5. The first inscriptions in Indian history are in Prakrit and not in Sanskrit. These are by the Mauryan King Ashoka (c. 273 BC - 232 BC ), and number over 30. The script utilised is not `sacred' Devanagari, and the language is not `Mother' Sanskrit. They are mostly in the Brahmi script, while 2 inscriptions are in Kharoshtri. They are in various Prakrits and some in Afghanistan are in Greek and Aramaic [ Bas,. p. 390-1 ]. In fact all inscriptions in India were in Prakrit till the early centuries AD : "[T]he earlier inscriptions up to the 1st century AD, were all in Prakrit"
  6. The Satavahanas, the first historical dynasty of the Deccan, also used a Prakrit language. There is no usage of Sanskrit.
  7. The Nanaghat cave inscriptions in Poona distt. are in Prakrit and are the work of the Satavahana Satakarni I. They have been dated to the first half of the 1st century BC. The contemporary relgiion of this region was Vedic. Indra and Vasudev are mentioned as the Vedic gods then worshipped [ Bas, p. 395 ]. The later cave inscriptions of Nasik in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD are in the local Prakrit [ Bas, p. 395 ]. Thus, although the Vedic religion was followed in the Satavahana regions, Sanksrit was not in use.
  8. Kharavela's Kalingan inscription of the 1st century BC were in a Prakrit of the east indian type.
  9. First Sanskrit Inscription : 150 AD - The earliest inscription in Sanskrit is by the Saka
  10. Brajbuli dates to 1000 BC - A central assumption of the MST is that all Prakrit vernaculars must be of a very late date. With the first mention of `Sanskrit' in a Ramayana dating to the ealy centuries AD, any Prakrit existing prior to this necessarily contradicts the Mother Sanskrit Theory. Brajabuli, the precursor to the modern Braj Bhasa, is said to have been used by Krishna and the gopis of Vraja (Vrindavan, whence Braj) and it was thus popular amongst Vaishnava poets [ Assam, p. 422. n3 ]. Krishna is dated to ca. 1000 BC, and this internal evidence would imply that Braj Bhasa dated to 1000 BC. Recently, Krishna's city, Dvaraka, has been excavated, showing that he probably was a historical person. The stories are hence based on fact, and this evidence cannot be dismissed as a `myth'.
  11. Prakrit' = Vernacular - The term `Prakrta' or Prakrit means `common', `natural', while the term `Samskrta' or Sanskrit natural means `polsihed, refined' [ Up. 164 ]. Thus Prakrit refers to any of the natural languages, while Sanskrit refers to the `purified' language. This etymology itself indicates that Sanskrit is derived from Prakrit rather than the other way around. This necessarily implies that Sanskrit is, like Old Church Slavonic, a polished version of various vernaculars.
  12. Apabrahmsa is a Prakrit - Apabrahmsa, which in the MST is seen as a derivative of Prakrit, is in fact itself a Prakrit known as Abhiri. It was actually comtemporary with all the other Prakrits, and the view that it succeeded Prakrit is wrong. Several dramas have characters speaking Apabrahmsa and Prakrits side by side. This shows that Apabrahmsa is not the second stage in the development from Sanskrit, but was merely another Prakrit dilect.
  13. As per the MST, the Prakrits are all dead languages, having `degraded' into the modern Indo-Aryan tongues. However, Prakrits never disappeared. All the modern Indo-Aryan (IA) languages are Prakrits (Bengali, Marathi etc.). The ancient Prakrits are the direct precursors of the modern languages, thus Vangi - Bengali, Odri - Oriya, and Maharastri - Marathi. All these so-called `Prakrits' such as Vangi, Odri and Maharastri, can all be understood by the speakers of their respective IA languages with the same ease with which a modern speaker of English can understand Anglo-Saxon. This fact alone is sufficient to refute the MST. Far from being dead, Prakrit is still spoken in all parts of India just as it has been for thousands of years. The word Prakrit itself merely means `natural' and refers to all the Indo-Iranian languages as spoken by the common man in India. Thus, even the literal meaning of the word `Prakrit' implies that it is far from dead.
  14. Prakrit Older than Sanskrit - The MST claims that Sanskrit is older than Prakrit. However, it is Prakrit which is older than Sanskrit, since several features of Prakrit can be traced to the Rig Veda, which are not found in Sanskrit.
  15. Pali poses another problem for the MST. As per the MST, it is an independant derivation from Sanskrit, and is not a Prakrit. However, Pali is in fact a dialect of Magadhi Prakrit and not a separate language as evidenced by the mutual comprehensibility between these two tongues.
Sanskrit is the mother of all languages
  1. The sound of each of the 36 consonants and the 16 vowels of Sanskrit are fixed and precise since the very beginning. They were never changed, altered, improved or modified. All the words of the Sanskrit language always had the same pronunciation as they have today. There was no ‘sound shift,’ no change in the vowel system, and no addition was ever made in the grammar of the Sanskrit in relation to the formation of the words. The reason is its absolute perfection by its own nature and formation, because it was the first language of the world.
  2. The morphology of word formation is unique and of its own kind where a word is formed from a tiny seed root (called dhatu) in a precise grammatical order which has been the same since the very beginning. Any number of desired words could be created through its root words and the prefix and suffix system as detailed in the Ashtadhyayi of Panini. Furthermore, 90 forms of each verb and 21 forms of each noun or pronoun could be formed that could be used in any situation.
  3. There has never been any kind, class or nature of change in the science of Sanskrit grammar as seen in other languages of the world as they passed through one stage to another.
  4. The perfect form of the Vedic Sanskrit language had already existed thousands of years earlier even before the infancy of the earliest prime languages of the world like Greek, Hebrew and Latin etc.
  5. When a language is spoken by unqualified people the pronunciation of the word changes to some extent; and when these words travel by word of mouth to another region of the land, with the gap of some generations, it permanently changes its form and shape to some extent. Just like the Sanskrit word matri, with a long ‘a’ and soft ‘t,’ became mater in Greek and mother in English. The last two words are called the ‘apbhransh’ of the original Sanskrit word ‘matri.’ Such apbhranshas of Sanskrit words are found in all the languages of the world and this situation itself proves that Sanskrit was the mother language of the world.
I feel the debate will continue for a long time, as there is a absence of written records. But here distinction should be made between vedic and sanskrit. Sanskrit starts with Panini which he calls Chandas.



Who are ancient Kambojas and their Land

There have been many controversies about the precise location of ancient Kamboja Mahajanapada or Kamboja country as mentioned in our ancient Sanskrit and Pali texts or which finds mention in the classical writings of the Greek, Roman, Chinese or Moslem writers. The footprints of Kambojas have been found in Iran, Bukhara, Balakh, Fargana, Sogdiana, Pamirs, Badakhshan, Hindukush, Kashmir, Kabol Valley (Paropamisadean region/Kaffirstan), Kandhar, Gazni, Sindh, Balochistan, Gujrat/Kathiawad, Mathura, Ayudhya, Tibet, Nepal, Assam, Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pardesh, in South India, Sri Lanka, Indochina (Cambodia) etc. So the various scholars, Indian and foreign, have tried to locate their KAMBOJA country, in South India, Gujrat-Kathiwad, Sindh-Sauvir, Balauchistan, Nepal, Tibet, Assam, Kandhar/Gazni, Kaffirstan, Pamir/Badakshan as also in Central Asia, comprising southern parts of Russian and Chinese Turkestan, according as, where they had found the foot prints of the Kamboja people, during the phase of history under their study. But unfortunately, still, the scholars are not unanimous in their location of Ancient Kamboja Mahajanapada which stands mentioned numerously in our Sanskrrit and Pali Texts.

Says Dr Moti Chander : " The Kambojas were important people, but strange as it may look the Indologists are not at all unanimous in their location of this ancient country" (Geographical and Economic Studies in the Mahabharata Upayana Parva, JUPHS, Vol. XVI, Pt. II., p 42). Let us start to unfold the story of location and identification of Kamboja from the beginning.


Vayu Purana (V) [I 45.118], Brahmanda Purana (V) [ I, 2.16.49), Markandeya Purana [57.36] and Vamana Purana [13.40] etc describes the Kamboja tribes in the Udychya or Uttarapatha.

Markendya (58) [Markendya 58.30.32], Vishnu Dharmottara [I.9.6] mention them as tribes of south-west. Brahta Samhita also mentions them in the South-west near Gujarat/Sorasher (Brahta Samhita XIV, 17-19). Markendya (55/30-33) groups them with the Pahlavas, Sindhus and Sauviras and Vishnu Dharmottara groups them with Strirajya (Bahlika) and the Yavanas, it goes without saving that these texts refer to the countries of northg-west of India.

Later some time, when many clans of these tribes were located near Saurashtra/Gujarat (after 2nd c/1 ist c BC), they find mention in Garuda Purana (55.13) in Dakshinapatha.

Brahata Samhita (14/17-19) mentions them near Gujarat in south-west division in association with Sindhu SauvirSorashter Dravid etc.

In his Arathshastra, Brahaspati, has shown Kamboja as a great country, associated with the Dasrana country in south-west [IHQ., Vol XXVI-2, 1950, p 127].

Very interestingly, Agni Purana mentions two Kambojas...Kamboja and Kambhoja located somewhere in South and South west division (Dr J. L. Kamboj).

Rajvilas, a mediaeval age Text also associates Kamboja with SorashterGujarat and Kachch countries. [Rajbilas 1/112].

Balmiki Ramayana locates Kamboja in general in the Uttarapatha of Indian peninsula but does not give us its precise location. Per BALMIKI RAMAYANA, Sugariva figures as directing the monkeys to go to Uttarapatha, the lands of the Kambojas, Yavanas, Sakas and the Vardas (Pardasa?) (Ramayana Kishakanda Saraga, 43.12). Thus Ramayana places Saka, Kamboja Yavana etc tribes as neighbors in the extrem north beyond Surasena, Prasthala, Bharatas, Kurus and Madrakas.

Further, in Vashista-Vishwamitra war over Kamdhenu, which was probably fought over in Afghanistan, the Kambojas, Sakas, Yavanas etc tribes are again shown to have participated as allies or supporters of Vashista against Vishwamitra. As Sakas, Yavanas etc are the well known tribes of the Uttarapatha, their Associates, the Kambojas are also qualify to have been their Uttarapathian neighbors. All these tribes are shown as having been jointly `created by the divine powers of Kamdhenu' on special plea by Vashist. See below:

tasyA humbhAravAjjAtAH kAmbojA ravisaMnibhAH . Udhasastvatha sa~njAtAH pahlavAH shastrapANayaH .. 2..\ yonideshAchcha yavanaH shakR^iddeshAchchhakAstathA . romakUpeShu mechchhAshcha harItAH sakirAtakAH .. 3..\ (Ramayana 1/52-55).

Mahabharata also associates Kambojas with Sakas, Yavanas tribes at several places and also counts them amongst the Uttarapathian tribes:

Saka-Yavana-KAMBOJAstasta: Kasatrya Jatyah: Vrishaltam parigta brahmanahnamdrashnaat (MBH 13/33/22)

But in the following Shloka of Mahabharata, the Kambojas are shown as belonging to western region of India.

ShakAnAM pahlavAnA.n cha daradAnAM cha ye nRipAH. KAmbojA RiShikA ye cha pashchimAnUpakAshcha ye// (Udyogaparvam-4/15)

So much so, in Mahabharata war, the Saka, Kamboja and Yavana tribes had fought to gather under the joint command of Kamboja king Sudakshina Kamboj. See evidence below:

Viduymano vatain bahurup ivambuda:/ Sudakshinashach Kambojo Yavanaishach shakaistha// (MBH 5/19/23) This undoubtedly verifies the Kambojas to have been the neighbor and friends of Sakas/Yavanas and hence living somewhere in the Uttarapatha division of Ancient India. MUDRARAKHASA DRAMA (II.2).

Kambojas, Sakas etc have also been portrayed as the tribes of Uttarapatha in Mudrarakasha drama of Buddist texts and they are shown to have jointly formed core of the Chander Gupta Maurya's composite army of Uttarapathian warriors which had decisively defeated the Magadha dynasty of Nandas/Nandins. e.g.

Asti tava Shaka-Yavana-Kirata-Kamboja-Parsika-Bahlika parbhutibhi: Chankyamatipragrahittaishach Chander Gupt Parvateshvar Balairudadhibhiriv parchalitsalilaih: Samantad uprudham Kusumpuram (Mudrarakshasa II.2)

All these examples points out at fact that the Kambojas who were the allies and neighbors of the well-known Uttarapathian tribes like Sakas, Parthas, Yavanas etc were most probably also located in the Uttarapatha somewhere.

Ashoka's Rock edicts (R.E. V (Yona-Kamboj-Gamdharnam...), R.E. XIII (Yona-Kambojesu), & Shar-I-Kunha Inscriptions of Kandhar (Aramic/Greek version representing Yonas and Kambojas respectively) document some Kamboja population in Kandhar, and Kandhar/Kabul/Lamghan/Swat valley (testified by linguist traces) but it does not talk about the Kambojas of Central Asia..Obviously the people in mind in Asoka's rock edicts were the Paropamisadean Republican Kambojas who had crossed the Hindu Kush range and had occupied the Paropamisadean region (south of Hindukush) a little before times of Ashoka. The republican Asvakyan (Ashvak/Ashmak) and Asvayana (Asapas) Kambojas of the Puranic literature and Panini's Ashta-dhyai belong to this class.

In Dhammapada's commentary on Petuvathu, Dvarka is associated with Kamboja as its Capital or its important city. (ref: The Buddhist Concepts of Spirits, p 81, Dr B. C. Law). See evidence below:

"Yasa asthaya gachham Kambojam dhanharika/ ayam kamdado yakkho iyam yakham nayamasai// iyam yakkham gahetvan sadhuken pasham ya/ yanam aaropyatvaan khippam gaccham Davarkaan ti// [Buddhist Text Khudak Nikaya (P.T.S)]


Based on this evidence of Buddhist Jatakja, Dr. T. W. Rhys David locates Kamboja somewhere in Northern India (Uttarapatha) and fixes its Capital as Davarka. (Buddhist India, p 17).


Dr S. K. Aiyanger agrees with Dr. Rhys David that Davarka was the Capital of Kamboja and locates this Kamboja country in modern Sindh and Gujrat region with ancient Dvarvati or Dvarka located in Gujrat as its Capital But the Davarka of Dr T. W. Rhys David was located in Central Asia across the Oxus river (Ancient India, p 7).

Dr. P. N. Banerjee also locates his Kamboja Mahajanapada in modern Sindh and Gujrat and states Davarka as its Capital ( Public Administration in Ancient India, p 56).

Nagendra Nath also supposes that the ancient Kamboja was the same as Kambhey of Gujarat (Vager Jatya Itihaas (Bangla), Rajanya Kanda.


According Nepali Pt B. H. Hodgson, the name Kamboja desha applies to Tibet. This fact has also been supported by two MSS (No 7763, and 7777) described in the Catalogues of Sanskrit and Prakrit MSS in the library of India Office, Vol II., part II; History of Bengal, I 191, by Dr R. C. Majumdar, Distt Gazetteer (rajashahi), 1915, p 26, Some Historical Aspects of the Inscriptions of Bengal, p 342, f.n. 1 by Dr B. C. Sen).

According to French Indianist Alfred Foucher, "......the Kohistan, a mountainous area near Kabul might be the land of the Kambojas, of which we know very little, except that they were more Iranian than Indian and raised fine horses" .(La Vieille route de I'nde, p271, Dr Alfred Foucher)

But at another place , Dr Alfred Foucher states that according to Nepali traditions, the name Kamboja desha applies to Tibet. (Iconographie Buddhique, p 134).

Dr Charles Eliot also locates the Kamboja Mahajanapada of the Sanskrit and Palli texts in Tibet country. (Hinduism and Buddhism, Vol I, , p 268). In another volume of the same work, Charles Eliot calls them, an ambiguous race, who were perhaps the inhabitants of Tibet or its borderlands" (Hinduism and Buddhism,Vol III, p 6, fn 5).

Dr G. G. Gokhale locates ancient Kamboja in Tibet. (Ancient History of India 1952, by Dr G. G. Gokhale).

Also compare:

Dr V. A. Smith seems to locate Kamboja in Tibet or within the Hindukush mountains ranges. (Early History of India, Ed IV, p 193). Dr Smith further states that the ancient Kambojas are supposed to have spoken an Iranian tongue. (op. Cit, p 184, fn).

OR WAS ANCIENT KAMBOJA OF SANSKRIT/PALI TEXTS LOCATED IN INDO-CHINA (???). A CONFUSION AMONG SOME INVESTIGATORS: Cf: "Dr R. D. Banerjee refers to a KAMBOJA or KAMBODIA on the east side of Samatata , East Bengal.Vanglar Itihasa, Vol I, p 95). But can hardly be our Kamboja Mahajanapada which is invariably associated with Gandhara in the Uttarapatha of India" (Some Kasatrya Tribes of Ancient India,p 235 , Dr. B. C. Law)

Cf: A Tribute to Hinduism - Suvarnabhumi; "... the ruins of a metropolis hidden in the jungles of Cambodia (formerly known as KAMBOJA). One of the largest cities of the ancient world, Angkor was built by ... " [More Results From:]

Cf: "As the Hindu culture spread to far east, temples were built in His Honor in many places like Java, Champa ( Indo-China), KAMHOJA ( present day Cambodia) and in the adjoining areas of the now south east Asian countries."

Cf: "Myawaddy (from Amaravati), dvaravati (to be found in Thailand as well as here at one time), Ayuthia (from Ayoddhya or Ayujjha), Cambodia (from KAMBOJA) are some that come readily to mind. The name "Erawati is evidently one of them. Harvey himself provides the clue when he mentions that" `The name of the Irrawady . cf: "...The period in which Cambodia has permanent significance in the history of the world runs from the Tenth Century to the Fifteenth and is the era in which the Khmers, the native population, came under the cultural dominion of India, adopted the religions of both Hinduism and Buddhism, and accepted Sanskrit as the language of the educated ruling class, itself of Hindu or mixed Hindu and Khmer stock. The very name of Cambodia is Sanskrit (KAMBOJA). This era ends with the sack of Angkor Thom by the Siamese and the consequent decadence of the nation...". [by Professor Revilo P. Oliver (Liberty Bell, October 1988]

cf: ".....The surviving archeological evidences of this period are seen in the imposing ruins of Angkor Vat in Cambodia (KAMBHOJA of the ancient Sanskrit texts)..............................Even present-day names like Singapore (derived from the Sanskrit Simha Pura meaning Lion City) and Java (derived from the Sanskrit Yava Dwipa meaning (island of grain), remind us of Hindu influences over this part of the globe....".

cf: "Indians were avid travellers and settled in distant lands. The Cholas encouraged and organized expeditions through which the religion and culture of the land was carried beyond India's borders. The ancient name for Java is Yava Dvipa, the Island of Millet - the Indian word for millet is Java. Cambodia was once called KAMBHOJA, named after the Indian city in ancient Gandhara in today's Kabul region. The epic, Ramayana, is a part of mythology of Thailand and Indonesia, Balinese and Thai dance forms are of Indian origin///". Also look at the following: "... asia were ruled by kings of Indian descent, and had Indian names. If Kamboja was the ancient name for Kampuchea / Cambodia, what was knon in ancient times as ... "

COMMENT: Thus all the above investigators locate KAMBHOJA/KAMBOJA of ancient Sankrit Texts in Mekong Basin (=modern day Kambodia). But this is not the our Kamboja mahajanapada mentioned in our ancient Sanskrit/Biddhist texts.

A WAY OUT? "Kamboja, a country referred to by Emperor Asoka in his inscriptions, is generally believed to be to the west of India. It could, however, also be identical with the Cambodia of today, and it is conceivable that two Kambojas existed" [Dr Roger Bischoff]

Thus this investigator (Roger Bischoff) supposes two KAMBOJAS...One Kamboja on north of India mentioned in Ashoka's Rock Edicts while the second KAMBOJA was in the present day Kambodia/Cambodia in Mekong Basin in Indo-China. And Roger Bischoff is indeed right in his supposition.


Dr James Philip states that researcher Wilford always locates Kamboja in the mountains of Gazni in all his essays, but what is the basis of his fixation of Kamboja in Gazni is never clarified or explained (JASB., Vol VII, 1838, p 237).

".......The earlier settlements of the Kurus were situated, as Zimmer has shown, near Kamboja in the territory of Kashmir. (H. Zimmer, Altindisches Leben, p. 102)..................." This above Kamboja may refer either to the country adjoining the Dardas (Kamboja Country) or the Trans-Himalaya Kamboja neighbor of Uttara-Kurus/Uttara Madras of the Aitraya Brahmana (ParamaKamboja). ".............. Ancient Buddhist literature mentions 16 great republics (Mahajanpadas) of northern India, and Afghanistan (Gandhara) and Central Asia (Kamboja) are included in them......." This author puts the Kambojas in Central Asia.

".....While Magadha was establishing their way over northern India, the regions of west, Punjab, Sind and Afganistan were divided into many states. Kamboja and Gandhara are two of the sixteen Mahajanapadas mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures". This puts Kambojas somewhere in Pakistan Punjab.

"Much of the early history of the South Asian region that has been recorded comes from the painstaking effort to put together historical documents (such as traveler accounts), archeological evidence and the interpretation of literature and moral texts of the times. These accounts lead a student to scattered stories of the populations that lived in the region between Kamboja and Gandhara in the North (modern day Northern Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan), their encounters with the Greeks and the multiple "States" that were spread out all across the lower reaches of the Himalayas and the Gangetic plain , extending down to the Narmada and Godavari rivers further south. It is from within such a milieu of multiple "States" that the Mauryan empire emerged in the fourth century B.C." (B. Mathew)

According to Encylopedia Brittanica, the ancienr Kamboja adjoined Gandhara and was located in north Afganistan and Central asia. (look at map of Ancient India, Encylopedia Brittanica).

"The Kambojas were a native population in the WEST OF THE MAURYAN EMPIRE, speaking a language probably of `Iranian origin". (Observations made at the International seminar on early Buddhist art of Central Asia, Gandhara, India and Sri Lanka, Colombo, 1998).) This author places his Kamboja in the west but is not specific where in the west of the Mauryan Empire.

According to A. K. Warder, Kamboja was located in the extreme north west, the capital then was Dvaraka ( Indian Buddhism-A.Kwarder)

" Not only in Madagascar but also in various places of North India, from Kamboja in Afghanistan to Anga (along the vast Gangetic Plains which were then mostly covered with shal forest) by 6th to 10th centuries BC, the practice of human sacrifice was a common phenomenon................. (human sacrifice)"....

Leaving other things apart, this writer also places ancient Kamboja in Afghanistan.

"Kamboja is a country referred to by Emperor Asoka in his inscriptions. It is generally believed to be in the West of India. It could, however also be the Cambodia of today. It is also conceivable that two Kambojas existed" (BUDDHISM IN MYANMAR, A Short History by Dr Roger Bischoff).

Thus Dr Roger locates one of his KAMBOJAS IN WEST OF INDIA, but where is in the west??

"...........Kamboja and Gandhara were the outermost regions in the north-west India and they had by the fifth century BC already developed significant relations with the Persian Empire. Evidence exists of tributes being paid to Cyrus of Persia and armies recruited from the two regions battling against the Greeks......." . (B. Mathew) Here again the Kamboja is placed in the north-west in general.

Rodney Lingham in his article `THE TRUE ORIGIN OF ZOROASTRIANISM' writes about the kambojas: "The Kambojas were a people who lived in the upper reaches of the Indus valley in the present eastern Afghanistan, western Pakistan, or Rajauri Kashmir. The King `Vistashpa' may be the Iranian rendering of King "Vishwamitra", the Asuric-like Sage-King of ancient India. He was the King of the ancient Vedic-Land of `Kanyakubja', descending from the Lunar-Dynasty of Illa and Pauravas. This relates to the Kambojas, the people of Western India, Kashmir or Afghanistan". (THE TRUE ORIGIN OF ZOROASTRIANISM ;Rodney Lingham). Thus Rodney Lingham places the ancient Kamboja in Kashmir. ... be only a memory in India, just as the Hindu Communities of Gandhara and Kamboja are in present day Afghanistan. What is the reaction/observation of the ... Here the Kamnboja is located in Afghanistan. Kambojas are from West Punjab, Yavanas from Afghanistan and beyond (not necessarily the Greeks) while Dravidas refers probably to people from the southwest of India and the South.

Thus the Kamboja is placed in undivided Punjab here.

Dr Nando Lal Dev states that according to Dr Loh, the Shiaposh tribes of Hindukush are the descendents of the Kambojas and according to him Afghanistan or at least its north-east part constituted ancient Kamboja Mahajanapada. ((Geographical Dictionary of Ancient and Medieval India, p 87).

Dr Stein locates Kamboja in the eastern parts of Afghanistan (Note on Rajatarangini, Vol, IV, 165, p 136).

According to Dr McCrindle, ancient Kamboja was Afghanistan, the Kaofu or Kambu of Hiun Tsang (Alexander's Invasion of India, p 38). According to him, the name Afghanistan evidently evolved from Ashvaka or Ashvakayan or Assakenoi of the classical writers.( Megasthenes and Arrian, p 180; Alexander's Invasion of India, p 38). Thus, according to McCrindle, also the Ashvaks of the Paropamisadean region were the Kamboja people.

According to Dr H. M. Eliot, "The Sanskrit name for Kabol is Kamboj and this so similar to Kamboh (Kamboj) that on the authority of their own traditions, these people may safely be regarded to have been the ancient inhabitants of Kabol" (Supplementary Glossary, p 304).

Dr R. K. Mukkerjee places Kamboja in Afghanistan. He observes: "The horses ...had been recruitedc from various places which are thus named by Kautalya (II.30); Kamhoja (Afghanistan, the Kaofu /Kambu of Hiuen Tsong), Sindhus (Sindh), Aratta (Punjab), Vanayu (Arabia) Bahlika (Balkh)..............." (Chander Gupta Maurya and His times, Madras, 1943, p 280 Dr Mukerjee).

Dr V. A. Smith seems to locate Kamboja in Tibet or within the Hindukush mountains ranges. (Early History of India, Ed IV, p 193). Dr Smith further states that the ancient Kambojas are supposed to have spoken an Iranian tongue. (op. Cit, p 184, fn).

According to Dr Dr S. M. Ali, ancient Kambojas lived around Kunar river in N.W.F. India. According to him, the Puranas no where locate the Kambojas in the Sindh valley or its any parts... somewhere. The Puranas only talk about the Kamboja ganhas or sanghas (Kamboja Republics) of the Kambojas (Kambojana-cha-ye-ganahas). And this seems true because, their country Kamboj desh or Kamdesh or Kaffirstan was located on the northern of Kunar. Later, these people might have advanced further towards Kunar valley whereby we find their mention in the Puranas (The Geography of Ancient Puranas, p 143).

Accordingly, the book Multan-History and Architecture, by Ahmed Nabi, tells how the Sub-Continent was made up of as many as 16 political units or states in the 6th century BC. Out of these, Kamboja and Gandhara were two units, which covered the area now known as Pakistan. Kashmir and Takshasila formed part of the Gandhara kingdom. (The rest of the northern region including ancient Multan) is believed to have been part of Kamboja until it merged with the Achaemenian Empire. (ref: Multan-History and Architecture, by Ahmed Nabi; Humsafar PIA's inflight Megazine).

D. D. Kosambi identifies the ancient Kambojas as a farmer warrior tribe and locates them in north-west frontier country.

Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru locates the ancient Kamboja as a city located in Gandhara or in Kabol valley in Afganistan (Discovery of India, 1967, p 210 , J. L. Nehru).

"...Cambodia was once called Kambhoja, named after the Indian city (Kamboja) in ancient Gandhara in today's Kabul region......."

"The names that were given to these settlements were old Indian names. Thus Cambodia, as it is known now, was called Kambhoja, which was a well-known town in ancient India, as was Gandhara in (present day Afghanistan)".

Both the above authors locate their ancient Kamboja of the Sanskrit literature in West Punjab/Afghanistan but erroneously they indentify the Sanskrit Kamboja/Kambhoja as a `city' in Gandhara. These authors seem not to have done their home work well. According to Hari Krishan Devsare, ancient Kamboja was located in Pamir Badakshan in Central Asia: ".....In India, people have been using wool since prehistoric times. There is a prayer in Rigveda for the deity of shepherds, called 'Pashma', entreating the deity to make wool white and help in its knitting. In Mahabharata, it has been mentioned that when Pandavas performed 'Rajsuya Yagna', Yuddhisthir was presented woollen clothes having golden embroidery by Kambojs (people of Badakhan and Pameer)." Dr MADHAV DESHPANDE (Michigan State University, USA): Kambojas were from Iranian affinities. See also the text below from Deshpande:

`In addition there is also palatal s`' ' (hacek plus accent aigu on top)which developed from the equivalent of Vedic cy i.e. the famous Nirukta case of Kamboja (= East Iranian) s'avati for Young Avestan s`' 'auua(i)ti. ~ Vedic Cyavate'.

"...In any case, Kamboja in this context refers to the region of Eastern Iranian borderlands, which are referred to in Sanskrit texts like Yaaska's Nirukta....

Szavatir gatikarmaa eva bhaa.sito bhavati, vikaara enam aaryaa bha.sante zava iti.

`The verb 'zav' in the sense of going is used only in the region of Kamboja, the Aryas use only the noun zava- in the sense of a dead-body". The same passage occurs also in Patanjali's Mahabhasya. ...' .

Patanjali is effectively quoting from Yaaska's Nirukta and has statements identical with Yaaska. The statement is:

zavatir gatikarmaa eva bhaa.sito bhavati, vikaara enam aaryaa bha.sante zava iti"

`The verb 'zav' in the sense of 'going' is used only among the Kambojas. The same verb in the nominal form 'zava' is used by the Aaryas in the sense of 'transformation'." The reference in Patanjali's Mahaabhaa.sya is p. 9, in vol. 1 of Kielhorn's edition'.

Thus we see that Dr Madhava Deshpande identifies the Kambojas in East Iran.

Article by L. S. Thind

Home of Pali

Pali, in which only the Buddha delivered his noble messages, appears to have been hallowed as the text of the Buddhavacana. The language of the Buddhavacana is called Pali or Magadhi and sometimes Suddha-Magadhi, presumably in order to distinguish it from Ardha-Magadhi, the language of Jaina Canons. Magadhi means the language or dialect current in the Magadha. In Pali Lexicon, the definition of Pali is given thus: pa paleti, rakkhati ' ti pali. Since it preserves the Buddhavacana (words) in the form of the sacred text, it is called Pali. In fact, the word Pali signifies only "text" "sacred text".

According to the tradition current in Theravada Buddhist countries, Pali is Magadhi, Magadhanirutti, Magadhikabhasa, that is to say, the language of the region in which Buddhism had arisen. The Buddhistic tradition makes the further claim that the Pali Tipitaka is composed in the language used by the Buddha himself. For this reason Magadhi is also called Mulabhasa as the basic language in which the words of the Buddha were originally fixed. However, for Pali now arises the question, which region of India was the home of that language which was the basis of Pali.

Westergrd and E.Kuhn consider Pali to be the dialect of Ujjayini, because it stands closest to the language of the Asokan-inscriptions of Girnar (Guzerat), and also because the dialect of Ujjayini is said to have been the mother-tongue of Mahinda who preached Buddhism in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). R.O. Franke had a similar opinion by different means; and he finally reached the conclusion that the original home of Pali was "a territory, which could not have been too narrow, situated about the region from the middle to the Western Vindhya ranges". Thus it is not improbable that Ujjayini was the centre of its region of expansion. Sten Konow too has decided in favour of the Vindhya region as the home of Pali.

Oldenberg (1879) and E.Muller (1884) consider the Kalinga country to be the home of Pali. Oldenberg thinks that Buddhism, and with it's the Tipitaka, was introduced into Ceylon rather in course of an intercourse between the island and the neighboring continent extending over a long period. However, E.MUller bases his conclusion on the observation that the oldest settlements in Ceylon could have been founded only by the people of Kalinga, the area on the mainland opposite Ceylon and not by people from Bengal and Bihar.

Maurice Winternitz is of the opinion that Buddha himself spoke the dialect of his native province Kosala (Oudh) and it was most likely in this same dialect that he first began to proclaim his doctrine. Later on, however, he wandered and taught in Magadha (Bihar) he probably preached in the dialect of this province. When in course of time the doctrine spread over a large area, the monks of various districts preached each in his own dialect. It is probable that some monks coming from Brahmin circles also attempted to translate the speeches of Buddha into Sanskrit verses. However, the Buddha himself absolutely rejected it, and forbade learning his teachings in any other languages except Magadhi. Here it is related , how two Bhikkhus complained to the Master that the members of the order were of various origins, and that they distorted the words of the Buddha by their own dialect (Sakaya niruttiya). They, therefore, proposed that the words of the Buddha should be translated into Sanskrit verses (Chandaso). The Buddha, however, refused to grant the request and added: Anujanamibhikkhave sakaya niruttiya buddhavacanam pariyapunitum. Rhys Davids and Oldenberg translate this passage by "I allow you, oh brethren, to learn the words of the Buddha each in his own dialect". This interpretation, however, is not accorded with that of Buddhaghosa, according to whom it has to be translated by "I ordain the words of the Buddha to be learnt in his own language (i.e., in Magadhi, the language used by Buddha himself)". In fact, the explanation given by Buddhaghosa is more acceptable, because neither the two monks nor Buddha himself have thought of preaching in different dialects in different cases.

Magahi or Magadhi is spoken in the districts of Patna, Gaya, Hazaribagh and also in the western part of Palamau, parts of Monghyr and Bhagalpur. On its eastern frontier Magahi meets Bengali. Dr.Grierson called the dialect of this region Eastern Magahi (Magadhi). He (Dr.Grierson) has named western Magadhi speeches as Bihari. In this time he includes three dialects, Magahi (Magadhi), Maithili and Bhojpuri. Dr.Grierson, after a comparative study of the grammars of the three dialects, had decided Maithili, Magahi and Bhojpuri as three forms of a single speech. There are four reasons for terming them as Bihari, viz.,

Between Eastern Hindi and Bengali have certain characteristics, which are common to the three dialects.
It becomes a provincial language like Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi, etc.
The name is appropriate from the historical point of view. Bihar was so named after so many Buddhist Viharas in the state. Ancient Bihar language was probably the language of early Buddhists and Jainas.

It is not a fact that in Bihar there is no literature. In Maithili we have extant ancient literature.
Though Hindi is highly respected as a literary language in Biharyetthe Maithili, Magahi and Bhojpuri languages are deeply entrenched in the emotions of the people. The fact is that Bihari is a speech distinct from Eastern Hindi and has to be classified with Bengali, Oriya and Assamese as they share common descent from Magadhi, Prakrit and Apabhransha. It is clear that an uneducated and illiterate Bihari when he goes to Bengal begins to speak good Bengali with little effort but ordinarily it is not easy for an educated Bihari to speak correct Hindi. Dr.Grierson has inclined to decide that Magadhi was a dialect of Magadha (Bihar) and some parts of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

The area covered by the Buddha's missionary activities included Bihar and Uttar Pradesh including the Nepal Tarai. So it may be assumed that the Buddha spoke in a dialect or dialects current in those regions. Welhelm Geiger considers that Pali was indeed on pure Magadhi, but was yet a form of the popular speech which was based on Magadhi and which was used by Buddha himself. It may be imagined that the Buddha might choose a widespread language which was used or understood by common people in the region, because through which he could propagate his noble teachings to the common people. Thus, Pali or the dialect of Magadha was more probably the language of the common people and also a lingua franca of a large region including mainly Magadha (Bihar).