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Ancient Indian History
A Critical Study of the alleged Greek influence on Ramayana
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Valmiki and Homer – A Critical Study of the alleged Greek influence on Ramayana

K. V. Ramakrishna Rao B.sc., M.A., A.M.I.E., C.Eng (I)., B.L.,

Introduction: The controversy was initiated by Rev. D. C. Boyd1, by translating an article of Albrecht Weber, a Professor at Berlin, written in German. D. C. Boyd brought out the Weber’s conclusions in Indian Antiquary (Vol.I, 1872) as follows:

1. The entire narrative of the exile itself has to a large extent, been developed out of germs furnished by Buddhistic legends.

2. In the existing condition of the text, however, we find unmistakable indications that the influence of Greece upon India was already firmly established.

3. It is possible that in addition of these two elements (namely the abduction of Sita and the siege of Lanka) by Valmiki, we should recognize the influence of an acquaintance with the Homeric saga cycle.

4. The work of Valmiki can hardly date earlier than this (i.e, about the beginning of the Christian era).

K. T. Telang read a paper2 before the Student’s Literary and Scientific Society, Bombay on September 2, 1872 refuting the above points. M. Krishnamachariar3 (1937) and others too pointed out the fallacies in such hypotheses. However, they were not publicized like the Weber’s writings. After that, many western and Indian scholars proceeded in the lines of Weber and filled the libraries with their hypotheses and theories, thereby, the modern Indian mind is still haunted and daunted by their writings. R. C. Dutt, H. Jacobi, Lassen, Monier Williams, H. H. Wilson, J. C. Chatterjee, M, V. Kibe, P. E. Pargiter, C. V. Vaidya, H. D. Sankalia, S. N. Vyas, and host of historians, archaeologists and sociologists have though delved on the subject, they have almost decided the issue by accepting the Greek influence. Therefore, the Homeric / Greek sources are analyzed here to find out the facts and review the issue in the right perspective.

The Western Views on the Epics Contradicting: The western views on the epics have been contradicting, confusing, bringing extraneous issues and hence definitely motivated. One thing is clear that they wanted to bring all Indian history after the Alexander’s invasion to prove the Greek influence on Indian arts and sciences. Even in the case of drama, their debate recorded is revealing as how they attempted to show the Greek influence on Indians just by taking the word “yavanika”! For illustrative purpose, Winternitze is quoted, as he covers all the debatable points:

M. Winternitze4 concludes, “If we briefly summarize the results of our investigations into the age of Ramayana, we can say the following :-

1. The later parts of the Ramayana, especially Books I and VII, are separated from the genuine Ramayana of Books II to VI by a long interval of time.

2. The whole Ramayana including the later portions, was already an old and famous work when the Mahabharata has not attained its present form.

3. It is probable that the Ramayana had its present extent and contents as early as towards the close of the second century A.D.

4. The older nucleus of the Mahabharata, however, is probably older than the ancient Ramayana.

5. In the Veda we find no trace of the Rama epic and only very faint traces of the Rama legend.

6. The ancient Buddhist texts of the Tripitaka betray no knowledge of the Ramayana, but contain traces of ballads in which the Rama legend was sung.

7. There are no obvious traces of Buddhism to be seen in the Ramayana, but the characterization of Rama may possibly be traceable to remote Buddhist influence.

8. There can be no question of Greek influence in the Ramayana, and the genuine Ramayana betrays no acquaintance with the Greeks.

9. It is probable that the original Ramayana was composed in the third century B.C by Valmiki on the basis of ancient ballads.

Indian writers have spent their times either accepting and few refuting these views effectively. As the dominant view prevailed, the other way was almost died down, but, it does not mean that whatever said about the Greek influence is completely correct in Indian context (Note point no.9 above). Therefore, the issue is dealt with directly starting with the “Homeric question”.

Who Was “Homer”? The very existence of “Homer” has been questioned5. Who Homer was, when he lived, where he was born and other details had / have been matters of doubt based on different traditions. Even the “Father of History” ventured to opine6 that he lived not more than 400 years before him i.e., 900 and 850 BCE! J. B. Bury7 openly declared that the author of Iliad was a native of Chios. He gives the following details:

1. The poets who composed the Iliad and Odyssey did not live before 9th cent.BCE.
2. The name “Homer” means “Hostage”, implying that he had come from outside to settle there perhaps captured or seeking asylum. He was hailing from a family of bards.
3. Tradition made Homer the author of both the epics.
4. Many critics think that the Iliad we have is not the original Iliad of Homer, but that his poem was a much shorter work and was remoulded and expanded by succeeding poets in a way that was not entirely to its advantage.
5. It is impossible that he committed the Iliad in writing, because the earliest example of a Greek writing is available on an Attic jar of the 7th cent.BCE (thereby the writing could have attained the level of poetry with metre/scale). The Greek Alphabet was derived from the Phoenician invented in 10th to 9th cent.BCE.
6. His successors sang the songs in Ionia and Iliad was arrayed in Ionic dress.

Westerners claim that Aristarchus, a commentator who lived in Alexandria about 150 BCE divided Iliad and Odyssey into 24 books each and even in his times, Chorizontes or Separatists also dubbed as heretics refused to accept the authorship of both to one person. Even today, though forceful views are expressed about the “Homeric poetry” in historical sense, because of Troy and Minoan excavations, Homer and his reshaping of story are considered more a matter of myth than of historical fact, as it satisfied the social agenda. Gregory Nagy8, the most influential Homer scholar of our generation, besides the above point opines as follows:

1. Around 1200 BCE, in the Anatolian plains, nothing would have been more frightening than a mass of Chariot warriors ready to attack.
2. Chariot fighting in the Greek-speaking world in the first millenium BCE became metaphysical, cosmological and ceremonial. It might be introduced into the Olympics around 680 BCE.
3. There was a Homer in the minds and hearts of the people who lived by the song culture that was dominated by what we know as Homeric poetry. There was a Homer for the audience of Homer, so to speak.
4. Homer’s poems were being transmitted by being recited, not by being written down.
5. The five stages of evolution of Homeric poetics are as follows:
i. First stage: By the 5th cent.BCE, the Iliad and the Odyssey were performed at the Panathenaea (the principal religious festival of Athens) and the poems were evolving. For a long period, an amorphous collection of oral poems coalesces into a coherent cycle of poems.
ii. Second stage: Then, this cycle of poems gets streamlined and regularized.
iii. Transcript stage / phase: Poems recited by the rhapsodes (oral poets) at the festival of Panathenaea.
iv. Script stage (4th cent.BCE): The poems are fixed, scripted; writing does not matter.
v. Scripture stage (3rd cent.BCE): Homer is reconstructed with divinely inspired versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey. One of the Alexandrian Library scholars Aristarchus of Samothrace (c.217-145 BCE) finally nailed it down.

Thus, to Harvard classicist Gregory Nagy, the man who is called “Homer” is a myth.

Who Was Valmiki? About the authorship of Ramayana, there is no dispute, as he is the author. Scholars might fix period for the composition based on different factors in the range pre-Buddhist - 600 BCE and 200 CE. But, Valmiki lived during Ramayana period (Tretayouga, traditionally) and Lava and Kusa rendered it before Rama himself.

Valmiki’s original name was Ratnakara, and he was also known as Bhargava and Pracetasa living on the banks of Ganges. He was a sage and he had a hermitage there itself. In Adhyatma Ramayana9 (Chap.VI, I.64-85), he himself narrates his past history of his life. The brief points are as follows:

1. He was a Brahmin, but following the practices of Sudras married to a Sudra wife.
2. Later, he became a brigand and tried to rob seven Munis.
3. Then, as per their advice, he renounced robbery and started meditating (ma ra).
4. When, the Munis returned, they found him in an ant-hill grown around him.
5. Thus, he became Valmiki (for he emerged from the white-ant-hill).
6. Then, he composed Ramayana, as contemporary.

Going by Vedic references to Ramayana, it is evident that Ramayana story was rendered as poems during c.4500-3500 BCE, though this date also differs widely according to various authorities. It may be noted that just because, Vedas were recited but not written, their date cannot be unhistorical, as historians do so. The recorded epic poetry has been found in the Vedic literature – Satapatha Brahmana, Atharvan Samhita etc. That Rama’s sons performed the Rama’s story before Rama itself proves the popularity of Rama during that period and the exiting tradition of reciting poetry before audience. As the gap between IVC (2250-1950 BCE) and Mauryan period (c.300 BCE, now going back to 1200-1000 BCE based on megalithic evidences) is not explained by the historians still, these evidences cannot be ignored. Thus, the recital of Veads and epics continued crossing the pre-Jaina/Buddhist, Jaina/Buddhist, Maurya periods and extending upto Southeast Asian countries during first centuries itself, as otherwise, the cultural imprints even today exhibited there could not have been possible. Such factors could not be imposed by force or other political, civil or administrative methods.

The Spread of Ramayana and Iliad: It is well known that the Homeric epics have not influenced any society as Valmiki’s. That Ramayana influences people of the world is well felt even today, because of the historical human continuity passes down through their strands of heritage, tradition, culture and living civilization as reflected in India, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and other African, European and American countries. Ramayana has imprinted in their way of life exhibited through art and architecture, music and dance and other modes. And the remnant culture has been still a living tradition among the people groups. There is no Sundarakandam in Iliad or Odyssey for any Greeks or others to recite and soliloquize to remember Sita and thereby enduring the passions and difficulties of human life. The books published by Sahitya Academy10 give much more detailed information.

The Greeks and the Indians: Scholars have been divided about the origin of Greeks, but not of Indians. Indian sources assert that Yavanas were degraded Kshatriyas. Bury’s notings11 are given for convenience about the Greek origins:

1. The Greek sources themselves accept that Iavana = Iavones (= Yavana) is the oriental name for Greeks.
2. The name “Greece” is derived from Graia -> Graii (L) -> Graeci -> Greece and applies to the colonists implying that they came from outside replacing Pelasgians. Though, even Bury records it, he does not mention to which oriental language that orient name belonged.
3. The original coming of the Greeks was utterly forgotten by their descendants, and we are unable to fix the date.
4. The old home of the invaders is supposed to have lain in the north-west regions of the Balkan peninsula.
5. The Greeks of history who had completely forgotten this far-distant past were not exclusively the descendants of these Greek invaders.

Edward Pococke12 shows how Indians colonized Greece. Col.Tod13 delves on the similarities between Indians and Greeks. C. F. C. Volney14 in his search of lost tribes finds that both belong to the same stock. H. P. Blavatsky15 has been specific about the Indian origin of Greek civilization. Chamanlal16 and other scholars also point out the fact with linguistic, anthropological and archaeological evidences.

Only later, they reverse stand is popularized and propagated in textbooks. In any case, as the antiquity of Indians has been well before the advent of the Greeks, only the Indian influence is plausible, probable and possible and not the other way.

However, Weber proposed, assuming on the Alexander invasion, that his expedition into India brought about some kind of knowledge of the substance of the Homeric story found its way into India. This clearly proves that the argument was put forward to strengthen the theory of “Alexander invasion of India” and thus show that everything came to India through Greeks thereafter. This syndrome working in them could be noted in the writings of John Bentley, William Jones, Vincent Smith, Heras and others.

The occurrence of a list of names of Kamboja, Yavana, saka, Barbara, Mlechchha, Tushara, Harita, Kirata and others in Ramayana was taken as the proof of Greek influence. That Indians and their literature considered Yavanas as their degraded Khastriyas and thus excommunicated people group is not at all denied. Therefore, Indians never considered them alien, in fact, the learned ones were treated with respect (Yavanacharya). Even Sangam Tamil Literature uses “Yavanas” in geographical context without specifically pointing to any people group. Moreover, from the western sources, it is noted that the word “yavana” was never used to denote only “the Greeks”.

1. Max Mueller17 himself showed that “yavana” is not the exclusive name of the Greeks or Ionians.
2. Goldstucker18 pointed out that “yavanani’ as alluded by Panini was in fact referred to the Persian cuneiform alphabet.
3. Of course, Panini19 himself points out the three different meanings prevalent to the word “yavanani”.

Even in the dramaturgy, chronologically, the Indian drama is traced back to Vedic period (literary evidence – c.4500-3500 BCE), well before the advent of the Greeks in Greece itself (c.,1000 BCE) 20. The archaeological evidences from Indus / Harappan valley, again proves the antiquity of dance and drama to 2500-1950 BCE period21. The philosophy behind the first drama of Persoe Aechylus is traced back to Indian origin based on Zeus and Promethecus discussion22. Therefore, the Greek influence on Valmiki is ruled out and in fact, the Ramayana’s influence on other literature has to be studied critically.

Many figures in the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Kassite, Hittite, Assyrian, Achaemenian, Seleuid or Parthian, Sassanian and other seals make any researcher think about India only, as in no other country such figures are used even today as being used in India23.

Particularly, the two or three figures with bow and arrows standing together remind Rama and Lakshmana or with Sita together as depicted in India24. In fact, the occurrences of Indian seals (IVC) in the Middle East and the commercial contact between these civilizations prove25 only the Indian influence.

Some of the seals are shown as illustration. How this type of Indian features should figure should be subjected to a separate study.

Trojan War versus Ramayana War: As the historicity of Trojan War has been questioned, the historicity of Ramayana War has also been questioned. But, its depiction in art and architecture of many countries, in the case of Ramayana questions such argument. If an incidence had been a myth, why such myth was carried on for thousands of years consistently? The War is closely connected with Ravana’s Lanka and is located differently by the scholars, because of the time factor involved. However, the Indian astronomical works have been consistent in fixing Lanka only on Niraksha i.e, on equator. Incidentally, these astronomical works have been the authority of Indian chronology defining the four yugas and giving specific date for the beginning of Kaliyuga on February 17th / 18th 3102 BCE.

Chronological Issue: The westerners / orientalists have placed the date of Ramayana differently. The dates based on arcahaeological evidences place it to c.600 to 200 BCE, whereas, the astronomical evidences take it to c.5000-4000 BCE (some fix the date of Rama c.4436 BCE). The differing date are as follows:

Balfour’s Cyclopaedia of India Volume II gives the dates as follows:

1. Rama of the solar line of Hindu chronology is, ….placed by Brahmins, 867,102 BC between the silver and brazen ages.
2. William Jones placed Rama was supposed to have lived around 2200 BCE.
3. Hamilton – 960 BCE.
4. Todd – 1100 BCE.
5. John Bentley – Rama was born on April 6, 961.

The other determined dates are tabulated as follows:

Date given
Book / work Reference
Many traditional scholars

Andanda Guruge
5100 YBP
The Society of Ramayana, Ceylon, 1960, p.35.
William Jones
3100 BCE
V. S. Dalal, A History of India, Bobay, p.196.
William Jones
2029 BCE
On the Chronology of Hindus in Asiatic Researches.
K. S. Ramaswami Sastri
3100 BCE
Studies in the Ramayana, Baroda, 1944, p.23
A. K.. Majumdar
15th and 14th centuries BCE
A History of India, Dacca, 1920, p.60.
Guspare Gorreso
15th and 14th centuries BCE
Valmiki’s Ramayana, Parigi, 1843-67 (in six volumes)
R. C. Majumdar, A. D. pulaskar and A. K. Majumdar
c. 2350-1950 BCE
Vedic Age, 4th edition, Bombay, 1965, p.292.
Sita Nath Pradhan
c.1500 BCE
Chronology of Ancient India, Calcutta, 1927, p.175.
F. E. Pargiter
c.1500 BCE
Ancient Indian Genealogies and Chronology, New Delhi, 1910, p.52
Hemachandra Raychaudhri
Vedic period
Political History of Ancient India, Calcutta, 1950, pp.78 and 101.

As the date of Ramayana widely differs, it has to be settled.

The Gap between IVC and Mauryan Period: The period between Indus Valley Civilization (2500-1950 BCE) and Mauryan c.300 BCE) has to be explained historically, which is not done. Only few scholars have pointed out the following facts:

1. A. L. Basham26 pointed out the continuation of depiction of floral motifs from IVC to Mauryan and the existence of pre-Asokan pillars. He also observes that the Mauryan art form was “directly descended from the engravers of the Indus seals”.

2. A. Sundara27 (2000) pointed out the megalithic Iron users of Karnataka going before Asokan period to c.1000 BCE taking the evidences of Karnataka, which are dated to c.1440 BCE (Komaranahalli), c.1380 BCE (Redware Pottery) and c.1320 BCE (Blackware Pottery). He also points out that the Mauryan period seems to be nearer to the end of the Harrappan civilization (c.2000 BCE).

3. Vedaprakash28 (1999) questioned the existence of stone architecture before Asoka in Sri Lanka pointing out the distance between Patna and Ceylon (Patna and Greece / Persia).

4. Dr. Deraniyagala29 (2004) pointed out the existence of early Brahmi script in Srilanka datable to 600-500 BCE, but absence of Asokan inscriptions.

5. K. D. Sethna30 (1989) too correlating the art form of IVC with Mauryan, places Asoka in c.650BCE.

Therefore, the historical period of India cannot be resatricted to c.4th cent.BCE and the period c.3500 to c.4th cent.BXE can be ignore by assigning to “proto-historic”, shutting down the research of ancient India.

The Issue of Buddhism: Many important factors about Buddhism is forgotten in interpreting the alleged influence of Jataka stories on Ramayana.

1. J. G. Jennings31 gives a clear picture of how Buddhism originated in Hindu religion and consistent with its principles in his “The Vedantic Buddhism of Buddha”.

2. Max Mueller32 says: “Buddhism in its original form was only a modification of Brahmanism. It grew up slowly and imperceptibly and its very founder could hardly have been aware of the final result of his doctrines”.

3. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy33: “The more superficially one studies Buddhism, the more it seems to differ from the Brahmanism in which it originated; the more difficult it becomes to distinguish Buddhism from Brahmanism, or to say in what respects, if any, Buddhism is really unorthodox”.

However, after Buddha, definitely, Buddhists had taken a belligerent attitude against Vedic followers by all means. The fierce battle waged between them theologically and philosophically is revealed from the Buddhist literature. The utter contempt and hatred shown against Adi Sankara proves the factual position. At one stage, Sankara was accused as a Pracchanna Buddha (a crypto-Buddhist)34. As Buddhists had and followed missionaryy zeal and activities vigorously in spreading their religion, they adapted and adopted the factors of customs, festivals and stories of the prevalent ones, popularly among the people. Thus, the Jataka stories were created profusely imitating epic characters and episodes, however, making Buddha supreme. Thus, we see very often Brahma, Indra and other Devas depicted as obeying to Buddha and so on. Therefore, it is clearly understandable that they immediately imitated Ramayana by changing certain characters and episodes. The influence of Ramayana had been so dominant that even Homer or any other poet might have also adopted in their Iliad and Oddeyssy. That is why they differ with Ramayana in comparing with characters though they appear to be similar.

The Question of Iron, Horse, Magnificent Palaces, etc.,: H. D. Sankalia35 has dealt with all these issues and come to a conclusion that Valmiki could have written Ramayana only after seeing the existing art and architectural specimens at different places of India, Partitioned-India and Pan-India. Taking a cue from the literature, he even asserts that that Dasrata and his wives lived in a hut with mud-floor. How then, Valmiki mentions about Pushpaka Vimana and Dynasoruses? Did Valmiki live during Jurassic Period or Steven Speilsburg Period to see it and describe in his work?

The attempt to bring everything into “present time and place of reference” cannot make research in “historical perspective”, as historians or archeologists are dealing with “material evidences of different time and place of references”. The study of past in the present cannot make the past material evidences to suit with the present ones. Having accepted that the core story of Ramayana belonged to Vedic period (c.4500-3500 BCE), how the experts try to correlate and corroborate material evidences of later period? Is it not historical idiosyncrasy and anti-synchronic? Thus, misinterpretation and misrepresentation of archaeological evidences too lead to wrong and unhistorical conclusions.

Critical Edition Evidence: The available Homer’s works have been reconstructed from the references and quotations attributed to Homer from the secondary sources written between first century BCE to fourth century CE, as the original sources were lost already. Some scholars36 talk about “Official edition of Homer” – made, however, without mentioning that it was written. The Ramayana critical edition, in spite of critical methodology adopted to sift the interpolated verses contains majority of verses and they convey the meaning with or without the interpolated verses. Only the experts, who discovered the interpolated verses could not appreciate the significance of such interpolations, which they themselves dated to first century CE.

The interpolated verses contain –

1. Astronomical descriptions of planets, stars, eclipses etc.
2. Geographical description of four quarters of the world as described by Sugriva.
3. geological, and other scientific details.
4. Iron / divine weaponry, horses, chariots, armies
5. urbanization, city construction, multi-storeyed buildings, 1000 pillared hall in Asokavana
6. Pushpaka vimana, air-travel,
7. Burial and crematory practices
8. Rama as a God, i.e, deification of Rama, Dasavatara,
9. Sita with yellow silk saree, offering 1000 / 100 pots of wine to Kalindi (the critic himself makes a mistake, in one place he says 100 pots!),
10. The problem of yugas, running into 4,32,000 years etc.

However, the bias or professional ignorance or tactful avoidance, willful evasion of certain subject matter whereas excessive or purposeful dealing with certain specific matters make other researchers to question their methodology. Some points are submitted for consideration:

1. H. D. Sankalia declared that – Sala trees are located in Chota Nagpur and the botanical literature showed that the sala – shorea robusta – grow in the Chota Nagpur only and nowhere else. Very good indeed. Why not go through other than botanical literature? What prevents these scholars referring to astronomical, geographical, geological, architectural, aeronautical, weaponry literature to find out the truth? Is the botanical literature is more historical or historical to historical research than other scientific literature?

2. The loath-contempt, stigmatic-disrespect, venomous-hatred and audacious-indifference shown by the Indian historians, archaeologists and inter-related disciplined scholars is astonishing. They coolly forget or do not know or knowingly suppress the fact that the so-called Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian chronologies have been constructed by astronomical dating. But, when it comes to India, it comes under the untouchability category.

3. Another argument – It is fanciful to suppose the existence of golden gateway, walls etc., because no such gateway ever existed. The nearest we have are the Isthar gateway from Babylon now reconstructed and exhibited in the eastern sector of Berlin. Why not any gateways of India reconstructed and exhibited? What about the gateways made in rock exhibited at different sites? What about the gateways of IVC? How then to believe Herotodus?

4. Dasratha and others living in huts and mud houses: Without horizontal excavations, he himself asserted that we do not have any archaeological evidences for the existence of Chandragupta Maurya, Asoka, Kanishka and others.

“………our want of planned, problem oriented excavations is responsible for our total ignorance. For a horizontal excavation at sites like Ayodhya, Vaisali, Kausanmbi, Ahichhatra would surely give us a factual picture of the development of the city-life before and after Buddha. In fact we have no evidence at all of this kind, even for the Maurya, Sunga, Kushana and Gupta periods” 37.

5. Why, then, we worry about as to whether they ever walked on the roads of their respective kingdoms or lived in their palaces or not. As long as the archaeological evidences to decide a particular issue is not final, the interpretations made on such findings must be kept as provisional only without making any forceful conclusions to influence others.

6. D. C. Sircar38 taking a cue from the Nagarjuni hill (Gaya Dist., Bihar) inscription, assertts that Ramayana was known in the last quarter of 3rd cent.BCE, as it mentions the Mauryan King “Dasratha”. The Mittani who worshipped Vedic gods, belonged to an Indic kingdom that was connected by marriage across several generations to the Egyptian 18th dynastry to which Akhneten (1352-1336 BCE) belonged. The first Mittani King was Sutarna I (good sun). The names of the successors are Indian as listed below:

Name of the King
In a treaty39 between Mittanians and Hittites dated to 15th – 14th cent.BCE (the Boghkoi inscriptions), the gods Mitrasil, Arunasil, Indar and Nasattyana side by side with Teshup and Hepa have been mentioned. They are nothing but Indian gods – Mithra, Varuna, Indra and the Nasatyas. Teshup and Hepa are local gods. Their kings too had names like Mattiwaza, Tushratta, Mariannu and so on and they are typically Indian. Not only kings have Sanskrit names, their records have many such words denoting day to day to things, goods etc. Few examples are –

1. A text by a Mitannian named Kikkuli uses words such as aika (eka, one), tera (tri, three), panza (pancha, five), satta (sapta, seven), na (nava, nine), vartana (vartana, round).
2. Another text has babru (babhru, brown), parita (palita, grey) and pinkara (pingala, red).
3. Their chief festival was the celebration of vishuva (solstice) very much like India.
Sutarna I
Good sun
Paratarna I
Great sun
Ruler with axe
Son of Sukshatra, the good ruler
Paratarna II,
Artatama or Ritadhama
Abiding in cosmic law
Sutarna II


Mtivaja or Matiwazza
Whose wealth is prayer

Here also Dasharatha is found, why not, historians ignore this reference and deny Ramayana’a influence there? Have scholars been selective in choosing and quoting the inscriptions? In fact, it is evident that Ramayana had been so popular that it was known among the Hittites during c.14th cent.BCE itself. Therefore, the influence on the Greeks is very imminent and factual.

History of Story-Telling: Anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, sociologists and other scholars have found out that story-telling has been one of the important factors in deciding the antiquity of the people.

That in India, epics are repeatedly edited and compiled the epics prove such art had been there already. Interestingly, Vayupurana says that the present Mahabharat is the 28th recension compiled by Dwaipayana Prabhu, also called as Vyasa:
Parivarte chaturvimshe Riksho Vyaso bhavishyati,
Ashtavimshe punah prape parivane kramagatagh yatha
Bhashyati Vyasah namna Dwaipayana Prabhu (28th chapter)

As it was compiled some 2000 years ago, it is evident that 27 recensions must have existed from the date of Mahabharat (3102 BCE) to the date of Vayupurana.

That is why the western scholars had great interest in studying the Indian stories. They know very well that –

“India is indeed the home of storytelling. It was from here the Persians learned the art, and passed it on to the Arabians. From the Middle East the tales found their way to Constantinople and Venice, and finally appeared in the pages of Boccaccio, Chaucer and La Fontaine.

It was not until Benfey wrote his famous introduction to Panchatantra that we began to realise what a great debt the Western tales owed to the East”

“The great advance made in the study of Sanskrit has shown that incidents in stories well known to every European child existed in India over two thousand years ago. This does not mean that the story, or incident , or incident in the story, travelled, slowly but surely, from India to the English nursery……..it is particularly interesting to note that some of the early stories from the Ehyptian papyri are so similar to tales in the Ocean of Story that one is led at once to suspect some connection”40

This is the confession made by C. H. Tawney, who translated Katha Sarit Sagara to English as “The Ocean of Story”. He also recorded the historical reasons for the development of story telling in India and they are summarised as follows41:

1. Environment – warm latitudes, the temperature
2. The habits of people – exaggerated code of hospitality
3. Gathering of men in the cool evenings
4. Prevalent of professional storytellers.
5. Antiquity of Indian civilization.
6. The early voyages of exploration and trade of Indians.

Therefore, taking all factors into consideration, it may be interpreted that the Ramayana had influenced ancient civilizations in such way, that it was recorded in different modes exhibited through their art and architecture. As the ancient people left out at Bharat recreated their culture, tradition, heritage etc., immediately, they could establish contacts with others instantaneously. Thus, the Ramayana stories spread to other civilizations.

Conclusion: The critical study of the origins of the Greeks, their language, Homer, “Homeric question”, the evolution of Iliad and Odyssey and related topics prove the following facts:

1. First, the scholars up to 18th-19th centuries traced the origins of the Greeks to India. Then, they changed the stand and started propagating the idea that Indians derived everything from the Greeks, particularly, after the “Alexander’s invasion”.

2. However, the more and more the archaeological evidences are studied critically, the depictions of human figures, gods and goddess, flora and fauna etc., point to India and living Indian tradition, as no other western country or even for that matter, Greece preserves and protects such living tradition, culture and tradition exhibited through material evidences.

3. As the origins of the Greek people (.c.1000 BCE), their language (c.800 BCE), “Homer” (c.800 BCE), the works attributed to him (c.400 BCE), their presentation (c.200 BCE), development in stages (up to first centuries of CE), committed to writing in Greek (may be after c.400 BCE) after the development of Greek script from the Phoenician (10th-9th cent.BCE) etc., have been uncertain but a lot of assumptions have been made, their origins have to be decided.

6. The arguments put forward that at the Greeks themselves utterly forgotten by their descendants, and therefore we are unable to fix the date, the old home of the invaders is supposed to have lain in the north-west regions of the Balkan peninsula, the Greeks of history who had completely forgotten this far-distant past were not exclusively the descendants of these Greek invaders read with other views recorded subscribing to the Indian origin, make to think that scholars have changed their stand for the best reasons only known to them.

7. However, the forceful Greek origin for every Indian arts and sciences makes one to analyze the truth, as the evidences make the bubble burst.

8. As the Ramayanic incidences had happened long back, it is evident that such happenings had been recorded in different civilizations variously, but preserving the core story. However, in Indian (and Southeast Asian and other) tradition, it has been preserved and protected to greater extent and followed and practiced even today in social, cultural, religious and inter-related forms.

9. The scholars who dub Ramayana as myth have evidently not gone into all details, as they have been experts in their respective fields. Therefore, multi-disciplinary approach should be adapted and adopted to analyze literary evidences, scrutinize the fanciful / strange descriptions presented, verify with material evidences, sift, corroborate and correlate such evidences and then come to conclusions without any bias of any kind.

10. Research without Professional bias, Social prejudice, political dominance, pre-determined disposition and religious indoctrination also makes scholars spiritual, in the sense to attain Professional Spirituality. Finding truth is always hall mark of spirituality in any field.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
The foremost point in refuting these western indologists should be:

Are we to believe that Christianity, which has always used the sword and the rack to impose itself on others and to systematically wipe out cultures, is an honest broker in its latter day dealings with what it considers "heathens"?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>An archaeologist’s journey into Adi Sankara’s Bhashyas</b>
           <b>  T.Satyamurthy**</b>
The great personality of the times of yore, Adi Sankara, is not only a preceptor of Advaita philosophy, as generally known to the outer world, but also a historiographer, probably the first of its kind in the world. His works record the various philosophical schools that existed at that time.  In the process of analyzing the principles of these systems, he provides the material examples for proving Advaita as superior. He could successfully annul the arguments of all such orthodox and heterodox schools of thought by putting forth popular analysis showing examples from the day to day life and the materials known to every body and appealing to common man.

              For the archaeologists the materials tabled by him are really source materials for deciding the material culture of that period. The frequent material example enumerated is the pot or Ghata in Sanskrit. In fact potteries are alphabets of Archaeology and they are the real tools for archaeologists to fix any date or period.
                    For example, for the benefit of layman, it can be clarified as under.
Throughout the world, the period of civilizations, in the pre metal age is decided on the basis of pottery that was unearthed during excavations. During the metal age also potteries continued to give clue about the age of the site. The study is more based on the fabrics, slip applied over the pottery before and after firing them, colour, lamination, painting pattern etc. Each and every type of ancient pottery is affixed with some probable date/Age on the basis of known chronology or well accepted chronology. The associated materials preferably, organic materials are also scientifically dated and the time scale for such potteries is arrived. In modern time potteries can also be directly dated by optically stimulated luminance methodology.

           A careful study and analysis of the works of Adi Sankara show that his quoting or citations of examples are centered over pottery and the percentage of mention of metals are far less than the earthen ware. Potter finds a predominant position in the Society than the metal smiths. Thus the pastoral society enumerated by him may belong to a transition period from the mere pottery to metal Age. In Indian Context, the ancient cultures up to the beginning of the Common Era* are generally identified with the typological pottery of particular nature. Thus the Sites associated with Mahabharata like Mathura, Indraprasta (Puranakila, New Delhi); Kurushetra are flooded with PGW (Painted Grey Ware) a superior type of pottery par excellent.

                 The clay used in theses potteries are well lavigated and probably  used from Ganga Yamuna Duob.Similary the Sites associated with Buddha do have a pottery typologically known as NBP(Northern Blue Polished ware).This is a very superior pottery with the outer surface in peacock blue and polish. The outer surface would
reflect like a polished metal mirror. In the far south, we have megalithic black and red ware a typical pottery made out of inverted firing technique. 

       These potteries forerun the metal age or indicate a transition period from pottery age to that of metal age. Interestingly these potteries are associated with Iron Age culture in south India.

         It is more relevant to probe such a phase in  Kerala, the birth place of Adi Sankara (Kaladi).The above transition period is well recorded in many sites in Kerala.The early archaeological remains that were unearthed in Kerala  so far pose enigmatic problems in finding solution for their rare varieties. It is the land in which many varieties of Megalithic monuments are discovered. In theses monuments the mortal remains of human beings together with the materials used by them are kept. 
Most of them contain skeletal remains that were mostly kept after cremation or exhumation. The interesting such varieties include the rock cut caves in which the burial remains interred the monuments. Other models include the Kodail Kals,
Or known as Umbrella stones, Menhir, orthostats etc.,.In all these monuments huge stones were used to indicate the tomb below. Hence they are named as megalith (mega-huge, lith-stone).

    These monuments are associated with iron implements like sickle, knife, trident.horse saddle, hedges. Beside these models urn burials (Keepings the skeletal remains in big pots) are also seen with many varieties of stone circle.

    These monuments were dated to 300 years before Common Era* to 300 years after Common Era*, till 1990s. But after the present Author’s excavation at Mangadu in Kollam District, Kerala, the dates of the sites were revised scientifically and now they are dated to 1000.years before Common Era to the beginning of Common Era. The varieties of potteries encountered in these monumts vary from hand made potteries to well lavigated, thin, well fired megalithic black and red ware pottery. In all these monuments the discovery of metals are very less compared to earthen wares. Very few copper utensils or ornaments were discovered. Nevertheless, in the later phases the presence of gold is significant as Adi Sankara frequently refers to its melting etc.

       It is clear form the above that the Age of Adi Sankara from his works or from the written records in the form of Bhashyas, can easily be fixed to pre metallic Age of South India which is at least few centuries earlier than the Common Era. These findings are to be corroborated with sources like other contemporary literary sources, traditions, folk lore, oral history and contemporary writings of foreigners.
We will probe into them in future Issues.

NOTE:* Presently the beginning of Christian Era is indicated as Common Era.

              Former Director of Archaeology
              Govt.of Kerala      

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>                              ABOUT THE ARTICLE AND AUTHOR</b>

        Through out the world, it is the modern trends to co- relate the historical personalities and their works with the archaeological findings  of the region in which they lived. This methodology helps us to determine the period of their life and also provides many source information for understanding the material culture of that period. Adi Sankara, being a travelogue of his period had meticulously recorded in his works the Pan Indian traditions and archaeological material of that period which are very helpful to write the history of that period. They also form guidelines for Archaeologists to co-relate them with the materials unearthed in Archaeological Excavations.

      The author is a  well known Archaeologist of the modern Time. For the past four decades he worked in Archaeological Survey of India and served in various parts of the country. Basically a Sanskrit Scholar, he had the opportunity to learn Vedanta from Brahmasri Vepattur Panditaraja Subrahmanya Sastigal at Annamalai University. Having undertaken many Archaeological Excavations including the Krishna Janmasthan at
Mathuara, as Director of Archaeology, Kerala Government, he had conducted many archaeological excavations and explorations in Kerala, the birth place of Adi Sankara. In the series of Articles he deals with various archaeological recent researches on Adi Sankara .This new research approach is published for the first time. The subject is dealt with as much as simplicity as any common person can understand them

.....to be continued.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->                  An Archaeologist’s journey into Adi Sankara Bhashyas –II
            In India, all philosophical speculations or thoughts that accept Vedas as authority are considered as Sanathana Dharma. Vedic tradition has two sides, Karma and Jnana.The philosophical system, Mimamsa, emphasized Karma side and raised a philosophy to justify and help the continuation of Vedic rites and rituals. Vedanta took to Jnnna side of Vedas and developed and elaborated philosophy out of it. Both these were direct continuation of Vedic Culture, but known as Mimamsa and for distinction between the two, the first is purva Mimamsa and the latter one is uttaara Mimamsa. Other philosophical systems, Sankya, yoga, nyaya, and vaiseshika based their philosophy on the basis of ordinary human experience and reasoning and they did not challenge the authority of Veda but were in harmony. Other heterodox systems of ancient India, the charvaka, Buddhism and Jainism arose mainly opposing the Vedic culture and they rejected the authority of Vedas.

            In all the systems, the foundation of philosophy is the experience and the chief tool is reason. The experience is again ramified into ordinary normal experience or truth discovered and accepted by people in general, and the experience of those saints who have the intuitive perception of truth. In both the cases their experience were transpired into the mundane world, through their own writing of through the writings of their disciples. In the above process, the Preacher has to explain or clarify the subject, whatever it may be even abstract, in a simple manner with the similes and examples that even a common man can understand. Always they preferred materials popular in contemporary period.

          Adi sankara’s Advaita philosophy is generally summed up with another famous dhristanta, allegory of Rajju sarpa or known as rope and serpent. In order to explain the transcendental reality of the world and to establish the paramarthika or Supreme reality of Atman as the ultimate truth, Adi Sankara cites the perception of snake in the rope. Rather, the allegory is explained as under:

A man passing through a High way suddenly saw a snake interrupting his route, but on close perception, he found that the material perceived by him was only a rope and not snake. The moment he realized that he had mistook the rope for snake; the snake has disappeared or wiped out from his perception. Likewise, when real jnana emanates the ephemeral reality disappears and the aspirant realizes the ultimate Truth, ie, the real Brahman.

                                  “Brahma satyam jaganmitya.”

          The allegory here is simple but contains the quintessence of entire Advaita philosophy of Adi Sankara. He admits that as long as the person perceived the rope as snake his mind accepts the rope as snake. In other words in the rope actual snake was there till the moment he perceived it as rope. Once the real knowledge emerges the transcendental nature of the object suddenly disappears and the empirical reality emerges. Thus the aspirant getting the real jnana understands that what he had perceived was maya or illusion and attains the real knowledge of the Paramatman or the Truth of the Atman. In fact the prime importance of Advaita surrounds this theory of Illusion (Maya) and certainly Adi Sankara placed an example popular in nature so that even an ordinary aspirant can understand it clearly. As already stated elsewhere in the part I, Adi Sankara always place the allegories to establish his Doctrines with very popular well known objects or materials.
        It is pertinent to note here that the Advaita philosophy is based on the Veda texts and they also provide sufficient allegories here and there to clarify the thoughts of the Vedic Seers, but  with out reciting them Adi Sankara placed the noble experience with the allegories or examples of the contemporary period in which he lived.
        In the above context, he had snake as a revered object which could draw the attention of even common man. In India the snake was considered as the holy of the holiest thing and together with tree formed the object of worship in early period or even can be placed earlier than the earliest temple reported so far. This worship of natural objects or Forces is reported in Vedic texts and also other heterodox school of thoughts accepted them. The earliest Naga temple so far discovered in India is at Sonkh near Mathura. In the archaeological excavations Dr.H.Haertel from Germany had discovered the earliest brick temple dedicated to Naga. The practice of worshiping snake as the main deity is authenticated here. It is interesting to note that the excavator had dated the site, on stratigraphical grounds at least 100 years earlier than the beginning of the Common Era**.
          In Kerala, the birth place of Adi Sankara the tradition of worshipping Naga was very popular and the practice of having Sarpa Kavu (MiniTempleof Snake)continues even to day. This popular material had made him to place this as the allegory so that even a common man can understand the same. Thus his period may be earlier than the beginning of the Common Era. This is tom be further probed with other archaeological materials from Kerala.

        The snake and tree worship found a prominent role in early Buddhism also. In the Amaravati Stupa, in Andhra Pradesh, the worship of bhodhi tree is shown. Even in Jainism snake finds a dominating position, and one of the twentyfour thirtankaras, viz., and Parshvanatha’s crest is snake hood. Besides Adi Sankara all other heterodox schools also admit the well revered object snake as a religious symbol.                                                                (to be continued..)

**The beginning of Christian era is termed as Common era

..... to be continued.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->             Adi Sankara Bhashya  :  An Archaeologist’ Journey III
             Kerala the birth place of Adi Sankara was always so tolerant to all faiths
including the religious Schools that had reached here through sea route. There was no such religious animosity and all the religious faiths co existed side by side with out conflict or rancor. They made lasting contributions to the process of cultural synthesis and reconciliation. Adi Sankara having born and brought up in such an atmosphere had to reconcile with all such Thoughts that prevailed at that time and established the supremacy of Advaita which could accommodate any such religious Preaching. Let us see two such religious practices that had their root there and analyze their influence in Sankara Bhashyas.

           The natives here subscribed to a strange mixture of primitive rites and practices. They had a variety of local deities to whom they made offerings and early archaeological monuments also indicate that Tree and ancestor worships were common among them. As part of ancient Sangam Tamilagam it was nothing but the early Tamil Society of the main land. At the same time as the result of Kerala’s commercial contacts with foreign land, other religions like Christianity and Judaism were also introduced and they helped considerably in shaping the composite culture of the land. Numismatic evidences recorded in Kerala also attest that the commercial activities had started here much earlier than the beginning of the Christian era.

              Christian faith is believed to have been introduced in Kerala in the first century C.E,** i.e., three centuries before it gained official recognition in Rome. Local tradition ascribes its origin here to St. Thomas, the Apostle, who is said to have landed at Maliankara, a place adjoing Kodunkallur in 52 C.E,. It is said that he had converted certain Nambudri families and founded seven churches in Malabar Coast.

Many historians regard this as unreliable evidence; but Cosmos Indicopleustus, a Byzantine monk of 6th C.E testifies the evidence of Christianity in Kollam.
However inscriptional evidences are found only during 9yh century. C.E.  During the age of second Chera empire, the Teresapalli copper plate executed in 849 C.E., by Ayyan Adikal Thiruvadikal, then Governor of Venad, under Sthanu Ravi (844-885.C.E,) issued a historic document granting several rights and privileges to the Christians of Kollam. It proclaims the sprit of religious tolerance and also the adaptation of common principles in any religion. It is again confirmed that in a copper plate grant (1225 C.E) Veera Raghava Chakravarthi, Iravi, the ruler of Mahodayapuram granted many privileges and headship of a merchant guild.

               It is clear from the above that the influence of foreign religion was felt in Kerala much earlier than anywhere in India, at least during the middle of the last first millennium C.E.

                    Similarly the Jewish immigration to Kerala was the direct effect of early commercial contacts with Israel. According to their tradition some 10,000 Jews and
Jewesses came to Keralacoast in 68 C.E. in order to escape from religious persecution at home. They are also said to have landed in Kodunkallur and founded a settlement. Their population multiplied in Kerala due to the spread of Christianity in western world and to prevent severe persecution at heir own land they took asylum in Kerala. They were originally prosperous business community and were encouraged by the local Rulers. The famous Jewish copper plate grant of the Ruler Bhaskara Ravi Varman records the royal gift of certain permanent Rights and privileges to the community. Interestingly, it happens to be the inscription in copper plate in Vattezhutu characters in which originally ancient Tamil was written. 

                    It is obvious  that like Christianity Jewish community also lived in the place of Adi Sankara and lead their religious life with out animosity. Even though there was turmoil in western world both the communities lived harmonious life in Kerala. Their philosophical thoughts and Doctrines were also spread in the country.

                    The above scenario in Kerala show definitely that the influence of such philosophical thoughts of foreign origin could have been there. Adi Sankara in his Bhashyas endeavors to annul all such speculations that contradict the Vedic Preaching. Among the six chief systems (SHAD DARSNA), all other systems like Mimamasa, Sankhya, yoga, Nyaya and Vaishesika were not regarded as the way to attain real truth.*** He annuls their arguments by proving that Jnana or Real Wisdom  is Supreme and hence Vedanta is the system that is acceptable by all.

                     Such a great Acharya, who judiciously set aside even the orthodox Schools which had not accepted Jnana (Wisdom) as the Supreme, could have certainly mentioned about the religious thoughts of foreign origin in his Bhashyas. Being a witness to all such influences in Kerala, (if at all there) at that time he could have mentioned them in his Bhashyas. Not only he analyzed the speculations of above systems he traveled through out India and had set aside many such Schools that had not accepted Wisdom or real knowledge as the goal to attain liberation.  In the absence of any such reference in   his Bhashyas on Christianity or Jewish thoughts we are restrained to conclude that the preaching of Adi Sankara might be earlier than the entry of these religions to Kerala i.e. earlier than the beginning of the Common Era .However let us probe into other archaeological evidences and scitific dating in the future Issues.      
       ** Beginning OF Christian Era is mentioned as Common Era.    

       *** For details see No, II of the Series.

.... to be continued.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->  Adi Sankara- An Archaeologist’s Research-IV
                                    The Story of change of Periyar River Course
                                                     T.Satyamurthy **                                                                                                                                                                     
In recent past Archaeological excavations and explorations were conducted in Kerala, the birth place of Adi Sankara,to unearth the ancient remains of Tamil Sankamage.The early historical period of Tamil country (300 BCE to CE500)  witnessed the conceivable growth of Tamil Language and Literature. The Anthology of Sankamage Tamil literature record about the Society and the rulers of that period. The Country was broadly divided into three Major Domains and ruled by Chera Cola and Pandyas with probably some small princely rulers under them. The land was divided into five categories known as hilly tracks, pastoral region, littoral, coastal and Dry land.  The people of the Age worshipped five presiding Deities, viz, Murukan, (Subrahmanya), Vishnu, Indra, Varuna and Durga (Kottravai), in those area respectively. This division of land and accommodating many deities with different Characteristics as per the need of the people formed a base for Adi Sankara to formulate and to bring to one Umbrella all such sects. Infact this early faith of Tamil society of Sankamage gave an impetus to Adi Sankara to systematise a Shanmatha for the welfare of the entire Society in entire India.

Nevertheless, the search of Archaeological materials in Sankamage ports had yielded some tangible results. Pumpuhar the Sankamage port of Chola country had yielded very good results to establish it as a busy trading Centre shrouded with export commercial activities. Ancient Remains of Buddhist Viharas, Warp etc were excavated by Prof.K.V.Raman; similarly archaeological excavations at Korkkai and Algakulam by Dr.Nagasamy, the early Pandyas Ports have also yielded good results to establish them as Pandya country ports. Similar Excavations at Kodunkallur, the ancient Muzuries in Thrissur District, Kerala had not yielded required materials to establish it as Chera country port. In the Archaeological excavations in Muzuries and in Mahodayaouram the ancient capital of Chera country materials of CE 9th  were only encountered. This anomaly had become a great problem for Archaeologists to locate the ancient port of Chera country in which Adi Sankara was born and brought up.

The present Author, as Director of Archaeology, Kerala Government had taken up this mission as problem oriented survey. Preliminary study had shown that hoary evidences were available to establish the role of Kerala Coast in building marine trade during the early historical period. (3 BCE). Numerous Silver and Gold Roman coin hoards were discovered in Kerala indicating the brisk foreign trade during that period. The Tamil Sakam literature also record the see faring business where the Yauvanas brought their materials like linen, wine, gold coins etc and exchanged them with pepper, sandalwood and other products of Kerala coast.
In a resolution the Parliament of Rome during the middle of the first CE*** had condemned this draining of Gold of their country to the Kerala coast for the purchase of pepper and other spices, the luxury items of rich community of Rome.
The location of Muzuries, as named in Tamil and Roman literature was identified as the present Kodunkallur of Thrissur District, Kerala. It is located at the mouth of Periyar River (also known as Purni River). The onshore excavations here had not yielded required clue and hence the possibility of the port being submerged could not be ruled out. Hence the explorations in the offshore of Kudunkallur were taken up during 1991.

The entire mouth of Periyar River (Purni) where it was draining into sea was scanned  with side sonar scanner and the result showed that here was a tectonic movement in the area due to earth quake during 3rd BCE and the Periyar River was emptying into that area retrieved during the earthquake. It was not draining onto the sea directly, but to the estuarine lake.

As a follow up action the entire Periyar (Purani) valley was taken up for scanning and electromagnetic survey of the area was conducted by the Geological Survey of India, Hyderabad. The results were really significant as it had recorded the paleo channel of the Purni River. This feature indicates that the present Periyar River had taken a new course nearly about 3 km south of the present Kaladi, the birth place of Adi Sankara. We can recollect here the incident of Adi Sankara’s life where he brought the Purni River to the foot steps of his house for the benefit of his mother. As she could not walk long distance to take bath in the river, on his prayer the river took a new course and run in front of his house.

The present birth place of Adi Sankara at Kaladi was identified by Narasimhabharati, the saint pontiff of Sringeri Mutt during the first quarter of last century and the reported old river (Paleo channel) Course is located about few KM from it. Thus the Archaeological –Geological survey had proved that the stories mentioned in Sankara Vijayas are not fables but real incidents in the life of Adi Sankara.

No doubt that the Archaeological researches in Kerala had yielded good results to establish Adi Sankara as living in Kaladi and a Guru of great Supper Powers. However further excavations of Paleo channel by Drilling and collection of Organic materials for scientific dating will help us fix the exact period of Adi Sankara. This is a task before Archaeologists and Geologists for future research.
Let us probe into Linguists’ approach of the problem in the next Issue.
**Former Director of Archaeology, Kerala Government
***Beginning of Christian Era is named as CE (Common Era)


..... to be continued.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->                              Adi Sankara – Archaeologists’ Research –V
                                          Mother tongue of Adi Sankara

It is very interesting to probe into the mother tongue of Adi Sankara the polemic of ancient philosophical systems of India. His birth in Kerala indicates the affiliation of his mother tongue as only a language of southern region, but his proficiency in Sanskrit is great as reflected in his works in both Bhashyas and Prakarana Grantas. His thought provoking Advaita Siddhartha had a poignant effect on all other schools of thought of that time by the flow of his language and classical expression with out any ambiguity. The opponents of his philosophical thought also enjoyed his flowering language. It is beyond any doubt that the outpourings are the products of his inner determinations and the language presentations were based on the flow of thought of his mother tongue. It is probable for every writer to express in any language only after conceiving it in his mother tongue. In other words if the language in which the thoughts are conceived is fertile; the resultant writing in any form will also be splendid in all respects.

Sanskrit and Tamil are the two ancient languages of the Bharatham and for official records and Prakrit and Tamil were used which had a reach of common public. This is attested by the discovery coins datable to 1st CE ***issued by the Satavahana Kings with bilingual legends in Prakrit and Tamil in Krishna valley. The ancient Tamilakam, as defined by the introductory Verse of Tolkappiam (ancient Tamil grammar work), is the area between Thiruvenkatam and Kanyakumari, and only Tamil was the spoken language. The entire geographical area was ruled by the Sankamage kings of Chola Chera Pandyas of early Tamil sankam period.

Kerala the birth place of Adi Sankara was part of Chera Kingdom and it is little difficult to ascertain the exact limit of the beginning of Malayalam. Some Linguistics have propounded that distinct features of Malayalam were noticed in west coast dialects before 10th CE and hence a distinct language other than Tamil was in Kerala earlier than that. The world renowned Indologist K.G.Krishnan analyzed the problem on the basis of epigraphical records available in Kerala and bordering districts of  Kerala in Tamil Nadu and pointed out that the inscriptions  have colloquial dialect till the end of 11th CE. On the basis of these records and in the absence of any Malayalam literature datable to that period, it is not possible to date the language earlier than the middle of 12thCE. It was during that period inscriptional records are available to definitely date the birth of Malayalam.

The above fact is corroborated by the Saiva and Vaishnava Bhakti literature of Tamil country. The Vaishnava saint Kulasekhara Alwar, the founder of second Chera Empire during later part of 8th CE  and his son Cheraman Peruman of 9th CE, both the kings of that dynasty have left hoary of Tamil poems in the praise of Vishnu and Siva respectively.

The Vaishnava pasurams of Kulasephara Alwar deal in chaste Tamil various subjects of Vaishnava philosophy, but never give any insinuation to find the origin of Malayalam. His son the contemporary of Sundaramurti Nayanar, rather considers Thillai i.e. modern Chidamabaram as his model pilgrimage and had created a mini Chidambaram in his capital city Thiruvanchaikalam (Mahodayapuram). He composed a poem of hundred songs on Nataraja of Chidambaram known as PONVANNATTU ANDADI. In his chaste Tamil work also nothing is indicated even about the dialects that were prevalent there in west coast. Neither Malayalam as language was known to these Tamil Saints.

Nevertheless, the Saiva saint of earlier century (6th CE.), ThirujnaanaSambanadar mentions about the different slang of this area in his devotional songs. While praising the Lord of Pazhavur, he mentions that Siva of that place was adored by Malaya lees who praise Him in soft spoken language. He hints at the dialect being different from that of Chaste Tamil. Probably a difference was felt by this great Tamil jnanasambanadar over the pronunciations of the Malayalees or the west coast people. Bereft of this no other material is available to establish a date for Malayalam language earlier than the middle of 12th CE, as established by K.G.Krishnan.

Having born in West coast, in Nambudri family, who spoke Tamil in pre Malayalam era Adi Sankara also, had Tamil language as his mother tongue. This is well attested by the fact that the Nambudri always had the local language as their mother tongue as they have Malayalam in modern days. Linguistics knows well that a master of one classical language can exhibit his skill in other classical language by their well found expressions and presentations. He preferred to compose his works on Advaita commentaries and Bhakti literature in Sanskrit, another classical language, only to take home these principles to the common public and philosophers of All India. His mission was to over rule the heterodox schools of Thoughts in the entire India and hence selected Sanskrit as the medium of his works. But for that only Tamil was his mother tongue.

Let us probe into his contributions in the field of Art in Tamil country in the next Issue.

**Former Director of Archaeology
    Government of Kerala.
***Beginning of Christian era is named as CE (Common Era )         
...... to be continued.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->  Adi Sankara – Archaeologists’ Research –VI
                                Tamil Heritage and Shanmatha of Adi Sankara
Having established Tamil as the mother tongue of Adi Sankara, let us probe into the influences of heritage of Tamilakam on the philosophical foundations of the great Preceptor. Besides setting aside the thoughts of heterodox schools of the period he could successfully bridge the gaps in between the traditionalists’ approach and establish one Vedic religion acceptable by all. The story of matrix of such religion is very interesting and the religious systems that prevailed in Tamil country formed a basis for Adi Sankara to carry out the mantle effectively. He had successfully uprooted the non Vedic thoughts by the modus operandi of contemporary missionary system which we will take for study at a later stage.

It has already been mentioned elsewhere (Pt.1V) that the Tamil Sankamage Society had divided the entire geographical region into five fold types and each and every variety of land was believed to be presided by particular deity. . Sankamage Basic farms were hill tracks, pastoral region, littoral, coastal and Dry lands and the presiding deities were Muruga (Subrahmanya of later period), Vishnu, Indra, varuna and Durga respectively and they were worshiped in one form or other. In spite of the fact that Western Ghats formed a natural stone wall bifurcating the main land and Kerala, the birth place of Adi Sankara, the social set up of the main land and Kerala were not different. Changes and challenges in the main land had echoed in the hinterland also. The Tamil Sankamage Society lived harmoniously with out any sectarian feeling among them. The socio religious
Mould never had any conflict on the basis of the worshipful deity. Rather the Society had accepted all such good things that shower prosperity to the common man. Thus we see in Silapadikaram the late Sankamage Tamil work that annual festival to please Indra, the deity of littoral region was celebrated at Kaveripumpattinam, the coastal city even though Varumna is the lord of coastal region. Animosity in the name of Gods was unknown to them.
Further their catholicity of religion was so broad that equal importance was given to Vedic Rituals also. Many Sankamage Pandya kings patronized Vedic rituals for the welfare of the Society. The Pandyan Kingdom was illustrious for two fold splendor i.e., the growth of paddy to the extent that instead of Bullocks, Elephants were used for thrashing the corns from paddy crop and the smoke that arose out of sacrificial fire. The narration of the latter glory was so dramatic that one could not see the  sun in the sky as the sacrificial smoke masked it. Their patronage of Vedic rituals was well supplemented by recent Archaeological discoveries. Dr.R.Krishanamurthy, Editor of Dinamalar Tamil Daily discovered recently inscribed coins of Perivazhzudi the Sakam Pandya King. His discoveries include a commemorative coin issued by the king in honor of Asvamaedha yaga performed by him. The said coin has the king’s name on the obverse and the depiction of Asvamaedha Yaga (Horse sacrifice) on the reverse. There were coins of similar types issued by other kings from Gupta Dynasty but the Sankamage Pandya coin pre runs all other such coins indicating the importance accorded by the Sankamage Pandya for such Vedic rites.

Yet another Sankam literature Kalitogai places five great Forces that guide humanity viz, Balaraman, Surya, Kamadeva, Mayon (Kannan) and Siva as Kuttru. They were all compared with five trees of the land in order make them more familiar with common man. In spite of the manifold Forces heading the religious needs of the people, there was pleasant blend of the worship of their Deity of their Choice, including performance of Vedic rites.

Adi Sankara as the intelligent observer of this harmonious set up of Tamil Society had carried out this methodology to the entire India and perpetuated them into a Pan Indian Way of life. While setting a unified pan Indian religious system he could take clues from the native Society and reformed the Systems in the entire subcontinent. In his contemporary time many such sects remained secluded, considering their own system as uncompromising Sect of par excellence. Among the same Sect itself there were ramifications. The Pasupatas of Kashmir and Lakulisa cult of west considered Siva as supreme God but divided over the Author of the cult. Similarly the Sakti cult of Kashmir and tantric Saktism of East considered Sakti as all pervasive and supreme but divided over the attitude of worship. The worshippers of Sun in western India and Eastern India at places like Modera in Gujarath and Konark in Orissa also divided claiming the origin of such worship from their own territotry.The north south divide over origin of Subrahmanaya or Muruga was also well known.

After his pilgrimages from far south to far north of the sub continent, Adi Sankara  could establish a religious pathway of all popular religious sects of the country into one system of Shanmatha (Six fold)  accommodating all such popular Sects viz, Ganapatyam,Souram,Vaishanavam,Saktam,Kaumaram and Saivam amicably  and lead a harmonious life. With this success in unifying the religious sects into one fold he could unitedly eschew the heterodox schools of thought from the country. No doubt that he inspired this unique coordination from his early Tamil society in which he was an important Associate.
His Shanmatha had royal approval and the Artists of early Pallava period exhibited them in lower rock cut temple at Trichirapalli. In this rock cut temple at the foot hills of Thayumanava Koil, Thiruchirapalli one can see on the central rear wall, the rock cut sculptures of Ganesa, Subramanian, Surya and Devi as Durga. Two shrines cut in the lateral walls had Siva lingam and Vishnu figures, thus accommodating all six fold religion in place. This is one of the earliest depictions of Shanmatha of Adi Sankara in stone datable to 7th CE.
Let us probe into the philosophy of early Tamil Saints and Adi Sankara in the forth coming issue.

    **Former Director of Archaeology, Government of Kerala 

I found an article that claim that Asoka was Diodotus,his capital was in Patali(in Afganistan) not Patna in Bihar;that Afganistan was inhabited by indians and Buddha was from there.


The real deciphered Indus script you can only find here and for free download: http://www.indus-civilization.info
Everyone may judge for himself!
<!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<span style='color:red'>The Ancient History of Test Cricket</span>

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: Buddhism, Cricket, Judaism — Acharya Somuchidononanda Pandey @ 3:56 pm

It appears to be cricket season with India performing quite well against Australia. At this juncture, it would be befitting if one were to go back to scholarly history to understand the truly ancient roots of this great sport.

Some time ago Nitin Pai alerted us by email to a report in the Times of India.

Terian notes that in the Armenian Gospel of the Infancy, translated into Armenian in the 6th century from a much older lost Syriac original, a passage tells of Jesus playing what may well be the precursor of cricket, with a club and ball.

Terian, who discovered the manuscript more than a decade ago at the Saint James Armenian Monastery in the Old City of Jerusalem, says he has now identified the same passage in a couple of other manuscripts of the same gospel of which some 40 copies exist in various archival collections in Europe and the Middle East, including the oldest copy now in Yerevan, the capital of the Armenian Republic.

I too have come across many scholarly works mentioning some form of ’Cricket’ being played in the middle-east as early as the 5th Century BCE. One notable treatise being that by Dr Yippi Schlein of Vanderbater University. Since its publication in early 1997 I have met Dr Schlein twice and have had the good fortune to discuss this with him.

Dr Schlein mentions a quaint Bar Mitzvah ritual where the young boy is given a thin flexible reed and made to stand in front of three stone pillars. 5 other boys are each given 6 rocks to hurl at the pillars. The task for the Bar is to defend the 3 stone pillars with the reed. This ritual is supposed to teach the young man that it is well neigh impossible to do so unless one were to physically stand in the way of the pillars, which would entail being stoned. This may well have evolved into the Haj ritual of stoning the devil, and the Biblical parable where Jesus shames those trying to stone the prostitute.

According to Dr Schlein, this practice died out by the later Roman times itself. Since he mentioned this to me way back in the year 2000 at the ACISTI conference in Tehran, I have not been able to spend too much time researching this, but have been able to collect some data which I have still not completely collated.

Of significance is one particularly remarkable piece of Archaeological evidence. This is yet to be fully studied and I have been in close contact with Dr Ahmed Kayyuosti of Kandahar who is working on a full-fledged paper which is to be published soon. As recently as the year 2006, Afghan Archaeologists digging near Bamiyan found a Greek/Armenian Ashokan inscription which also mentions this ’sport’. The Hebrew name for it was T’ost Kirzah, in Sanskrit it was called Thesta Krishkatam (Tettha Kriccum in Pali).

But instead of the reed, and the three pillars, there is a mention of young buddhist monks-in-training running continuously for five days between two sets of wooden spikes separated by a distance of 44 angas. The object of this ritual was to run as few times as possible between the two spikes until an elderly monk made a sign of a huge square on the ground (the Thalavischa Ripla Yantra), and everyone stopped and looked up at the hills overlooking the monastery. If a particular star (most probably the red giant 15Y Theta Pleiades) was visible over the ridge, then the young trainee was to stop and return to the Vihara, otherwise, he should continue running. The ‘game’ was supposed to teach the boys about the ways to escape rebirth (one of the spikes represented birth and the other, death). There is an anecdotal mention of a monk named Rahula from the Dakshina Desha who is reputed to have ’attained nirvana’ within 5 ‘life cycles’ every time he ran.

It appears that with the advent of later mystic Buddhist branches such as Tibetan and Theravada Buddhism, Thetta Kriccum was significantly shortened from the original 5 days to half a day or so. There also seems to have been an ideological shift. While ancient Buddhism seemed to allow for ‘no-result’ in a game, the later forms enforced a result in the game where there was utmost pressure on the Buddhist monks to either attain Nirvana or renounce the faith. Like all manmade artefacts, this sport too seems to have had its life-cycle complete when it is disappeared from popularity and was later revived in England in the form of Test Cricket.

It is quite possible that Marco Polo was the first European to come across the game as a variant could well have been played by the Central-Asian nomadic peoples. How it reached England and became the modern game as we know will be the subject of an entirely new study.

Nice hoax...

so much i do no (know) nanda pandey!..
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><span style='color:red'>2000-yr-old Shiva shrine found</span>

LUCKNOW: Believed to be among the oldest brick shrines in India, Lucknow University’s department of ancient Indian history and archaeology has unearthed a 2,000-year-old Shiva temple as part of its excavation project recently in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district.

‘‘It’s actually a complex comprising five temples,’’ Prof D P Tewari of the Lucknow University said. ‘‘While four temples belong to the Kushana period (1st-3rd century AD or 2,000 years ago), it appears that the primary temple was constructed during the Sunga period (2nd century BC to 1st century AD or 2,200 years ago).’’

The temple site is a mound in Sanchankot in Unnao. The excavations have been going on since 2004, when UGC cleared the project for funding. ‘‘A lot of things have come to fore since we began, but the temple complex has suddenly given impetus to our research,’’ said Prof Tewari.

Spread across an area of 600 acres, the temple is made of baked bricks. In India, most of the brick temples were built in the Gupta period which existed in the fourth century AD. The temple’s architecture is ‘apsidal’ (semi-circular or u-shaped) in nature.

The LU has many artifacts to conclude that Lord Shiva was worshipped in this temple. Prof Tewari said, ‘‘A terracotta seal bearing the legend of ‘Kaalanjar peeth’ in Brahmi script was found from the site in Dec 2008.’’

A shivling, trishul, nandi bull, and a river are inscribed over the seal. The legend of ‘Kaalanjar peeth’ is inscribed just below the river.

image at website.

An older news related to this excavation site:


<span style='color:red'>Archeological gold mine unearthed in UP </span>
Aradhana Sharma

Tuesday, April 19, 2005 (Sanchankot):

The residents of Sanchankot village in Uttar Pradesh on the banks on Sai river never knew they were sitting on an archeological goldmine.

Excavations in the mounds here have revealed proof of civilizations of four different periods.

The oldest being the Painted Grey Ware period dating from 1400 to 800 BC and the latest the Gupta period of the 4-6th century AD.

A 10th century temple of the Pratihar dynasty has also been found during the excavations.

The archeological significance of the site has been known for almost 150 years now.

And almost every one who has come here has based their assessment on Fihian's writing.

And even the excavation that is going on now is based on how he has described the historical city of Saket in his book.

The area was first highlighted in 1868 by the then Director General of the ASI, General Cunningham and was mentioned in some 20th century studies.

But it was only in 1992 that this mound was declared protected. Excavations began early this year and only a small portion has been covered so far.

"These are one of the earliest known settlements that we know of. These remains are in an area of about 9 sq km. Hopefully, next year we will be able to know more," says Prof D P Tiwari, archaeologist.

Teracotta figures, seals and coins of Kushan period have also been unearthed making it the first time in northern India that an entire city of the Kushan period has been discovered.

Archeologists are optimistic that this could be the legendary 'Saket', one of the six big cities of Northern India during that time

The possibilities are extremely exciting. So far the oldest culture found in the Gangetic plains has been the Painted Grey Ware but finds of Ochre coloured pottery, associated with the Aryan culture, have also been reported.

If these are found here, they could establish the existence of a civilization parallel to that of the Indus Valley.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A terracotta seal bearing the legend of ‘Kaalanjar peeth’ in Brahmi script was found from the site in Dec 2008<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Bodhiji, could you post some details on ‘Kaalanjar peeth’ ?
Viren Ji,

kAla~njara is one of the ancient shrines of shiva. The word is a name of mahAdeva, meaning One who Burns Down the Death. An ancient town by this name, on the banks of bhAgIrathI was also an ancient fort of invincible chandela-s and the pratihAra-s. Today the dilapidated fort that goes by the corrupted name kalinjar is in the forests of the modern Banda town of UP -- A great site to be seen! (fort walls broken by the canons of jehadi turuShka-s). There is a shrine to mahAdeva at the site, partial construction of which goes back to at least early gupta period.

bhArata mentions the glory of the shrine of kAla~njara in vanaparvan like this:

tataH kAla~njara.n gatvA parvata.n lokavishrutam
tatra deva hrade snAtvA gosahasraphala.n labhet
AtmAna.n sAdhayettatra girau kAla~njare nR^ipa
svargaloke mahIyeta naro nAstyatra saMshayaH

and also in anushAsana parvan like this:

ga~NgAyamunayostIrthe tathA kAla~njare girau
ShaShTihrada upaspR^ishya dAnaM nAnyadvishiShyate
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->New Light on Ancient India
The Historical Vision of K.D. Sethna
Pradip Bhattacharya

Sri Aurobindo, the seer of modern India, blamed new trails in several worlds of human enterprise and had followers of signal eminence in many of them. Some made their mark in more than one sphere of activity. Integral Yoga and Overhead Poetry are two such areas in which a number of luminaries have left their mark. No follower of Sri Aurobindo, however, has not only penetrated these areas but also ventured into territories such as science and history. Here is where K.D. Sethna, or Amal Kiran as he was named by his Master, stands distinctly apart. This remarkable mind has taken virtually all knowledge for its domain and the clear ray of his piercing insight has probed not only profound issues of philosophy, such as the question of free-will or the spirituality of the future, but has investigated Einsteinian physics, detected Shakespeare's mysterious Dark Lady, Mr. W.H. and the Rival Poet, published 750 pages of poetry and followed the approach of Sri Aurobindo in plumbing the riches of European literature and the practice of Integral Yoga. However, that which is unique is his signal contribution to historiography. Here I shall not go into his remarkable investigations into Jewish history to fix the date of the Exodus, or into the question of the Immaculate Conception which patiently awaits a publisher of vision and courage. My attempt will be to highlight Amal Kiran's deep-delving reconstruction of ancient Indian history.

It is Sethna's characteristic that even in this most intellectual pursuit, the dissection of the vexed questions concerning the Harappa Culture, his inspiration is drawn from Sri Aurobindo. Repeatedly he returns to this fountain-head for sustaining his arguments, building firmly on his faith in the infallibility of the seer-vision of the Avatar of the Supramental.

An implacable honesty is what places Sethna head-and-shoulders above scholars setting out to prove a preconceived thesis. Despite having ready to hand so useful an opinion as Pusalkar's that the Sanskrit sindhu occurring in Assurbanipal's library refers to Indian cotton and is the source for the Arabic satin, Greek sindon and Hebrew sadin, which becomes evidence for trade between Harappa and Mesopotamia and of an Aryan element in the Harappan Culture, Sethna was not satisfied. It struck him as peculiar that where the Sanskrit karpasa, cotton, produced Hebrew and Greek analogues, that same product should be given a different name in Assyrian, Hebrew and Greek. So he wrote to the world's foremost Assyriologist, S.N. Kramer1 who informed him that the Akkadian word was not sindhu at all but sintu, referring to woolen garments and having no relationship at all with India or the Indus! Kramer also denied that the Greek sindon and the Hebrew sadin could be equated with sintu or sindhu. Thus, what had seemed to be a sure linguistic proof of Aryanism in Harappan Culture was exposed through Sethna's relentless quest after truth to be a misreading of the Akkadian text by Pusalkar, although thereby Sethna lost a major support for his thesis. In the process, he also corrected a major misconception prevailing among our scholars regarding this word.

When Sethna approached H.D. Sankalia with the first draft of his The Harappa Culture and the Rigveda, that doyen of Indian archaeologists pointed out the single weak point in the thesis:2 The lack of any evidence of Vedic Aryan culture from Sind and Punjab belonging to the 4000-2000 B.C. bracket. That was in 1963. Sethna did not rush into print ignoring this solitary flaw. He waited patiently for well over a decade-and-a-half till the necessary archaeological evidence surfaced from excavations to substantiate his intellectually flawless arguments.

This relentless dedication in the pursuit of truth and the uncompromising sincerity are features intrinsic to Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga which shine forth so radiantly in Amal Kiran.

In Karpasa in Prehistoric India3 Sethna investigated the use of cotton in prehistoric India for arriving along a different route with additional evidence at the same conclusion that he had put forward in The Problem of Aryan Origins:4 The Rigvedic Culture precedes the Harappan; the Indus Valley Civilization contains Aryan elements. A clinching argument is evolved by Sethna from the fact of cotton being first mentioned in the oldest Sutras. If the Rigvedic Aryans flourished in the Indus Valley after the cotton-cultivating Harappans, how is it that all the Vedas, Brahmans, Aranyakas and early Upanishads do not know karpasa. Cotton is even found at sites deeper inland in Gujarat, Maharashtra and near Delhi dated c. 1330-1000 B.C. This is very much after the alleged incursion around 1500 B.C. of Rigvedic Aryans. Such a continuous absence of the mention of a product argues for dating the Vedas before the cotton-knowing Harappa Culture. Here he also suggested that clues to the Indus script might be found in potters' marks found in pre-Harappan and Aryan sites, proved that Mulukha of Sumerian records is Harappa and that the Biblical Ophir is Sopara. Each of these warrants serious follow-up by historians not only of Indian prehistory, but of Mesopotamian and Jewish history as well.

The second edition of the important work on Aryan Origins5 became necessary because in 1987 there was a recrudescence from within India and from Finland of the pernicious Aryan invasion theory which is at the root of the north-south, Aryan-Dravidian divide that raises its ugly head time and again in India.

The most important examination in this new edition relates to the question of the presence of the horse and the spoked wheel in the Harappa culture. The circle with six radials within seen on several Harappan seals is not found in Sumerian tablets or Egyptian hieroglyphics as a sun-symbol (which is what I. Maha-devan et. al. argue it represents). The damaged seal showing a man standing astraddle on spoked wheels suggests the presence of a spoked-wheel chariot. Moreover, S.R. Rao's finding at Lothal of a drawing on a potsherd of a figure standing on two wheels resembling the paintings of Assyrian charioteers is a clinching piece of evidence. Even more conclusive is the fact that the C-14 date for this damaged seal is 1960 B.C., long before the alleged invasion of Aryan cavalry that supposedly occurred around 1500 B.C.

Sethna shows that Asko Parpola, the Finnish scholar, is wrong6 in stating that no evidence of horse-bones is available in the Harappa Culture. At Rana Ghundai's pre-Harappan stratum horse's teeth have been found much before 2000 B.C. The same Rana Ghundai IIIc Culture exists at low levels of Harappa and Mohenjodaro. From the opposite angle, no evidence of the horse has been discovered in the excavations in Punjab and Haryana in post-Harappan sites - which should have been die case if the Aryans brought the horse and the Rigveda into India around 1500 B.C. - while equine bones have been found of that date from both Mohenjodaro and Harappa. Sethna quotes the 1980 report from G.R. Sharma on excavations in the valley of the Belan and Son revealing evidence at the Neolithic sites of the domesticated horse as well as the wild horse dated between 8080 B.C. and 5540 B.C. at Koldihwa and Mahagara. Moreover, there is the 1990 report of K.R. Alur identifying horse bones dated to c. 1800-1500 B.C. in repeated excavation at Hallur in Karnataka, before the supposed Aryan invasion. Alur has pointed out that the metacarpals allegedly of the domestic ass found in Mohenjodaro and Harappa are definitely not of the ass and are possibly of the smaller size horse. Therefore, the Aryans whom Parpola would like to immigrate into India around 1600-1400 B.C. cannot possibly have introduced the horse in the Deccan several centuries before their arrival. Sethna clinches his point by quoting the ardent invasionist, Mortimer Wheeler himself: "It is likely enough that camel, horse and ass were in fact all a familiar feature of the Indus caravans." Thus, lack of representation of the horse, like that of the camel, on the seals does not rule out their being in use in the Indus Civilization, particularly when their bones have been found much before the horse is supposed to have been introduced by the invading Aryans around 2000 B.C. If the horse is a conclusive sign of Aryan presence, men the report from Sharma proves that the Aryan was in India long before even the Harappan Civilization. Actually, even where picturisation is concerned, Sethna cites7 S.P. Shukla's account of a terracotta horse-like animal figurine with a saddle on its back from Balu in the Harappan urban phase.

Sethna could have rested content here. However, with the integrity that is so typical of him, he raises the question of what evidence there is of any trace of chariots in Neolithic times where remains of the domesticated horse have been found? Pointing out that in the Rigveda the chariot is not invariably horse-drawn, he draws attention to a pot from Susa showing an ox-drawn chariot similar to the Kulli ware of South Baluchistan with which trading existed. The Rigveda seems familiar with Baluchistan, as Parpola notes. Therefore, with the horse already present much before the Rigvedic time, and this illustration of a chariot, the probability of horse-drawn chariots becomes acceptable even in pre-Harappan times.

Sethna also takes on the eminent academician, Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, and points out the contradictions in his assigning to Indra the role of the destroyer of the Indus Valley Civilization.8 Archaeologists have found overwhelming evidence, going back to much before the second millennium B.C., of heavy flooding of Harappan settlements. In Mohenjodaro itself there is evidence for at least five such floods, each lasting for several decades, even up to a century. Evidence has also been found of considerable rise in the coast-line of the Arabian Sea. Hence, there is no need at all to posit a horde of invading Aryans for demolishing imaginary dams where natural forces are found to be responsible. Chattopadhyaya also fails to notice that whatever weapons Indra is mentioned as using are described clearly in the same hymns as being of symbolic nature. Similarly, the material objects demolished are also symbolic. Firstly, the Rigveda gives mighty forts not only to the enemies but also to the Aryans, and these forts surpass anything that has been found in archaeology of that time (ninety-nine or hundred in number, made of stone or metal). Secondly, if the invasion came from the north, how is it that instead of the northern Harappan sites it is the southern Mohenjodaro which shows a noticeable decline in material prosperity? Moreover, even here there is no settlement at all over its ruins, which is peculiar if the Aryans destroyed it.

The coup de grace is administered with evidence from the undersea excavations at Dwaraka, where the submergence has been dated to about 1400 B.C., tallying with what the Mahabharata and the Harivamsa state regarding this event following Krishna's death. If the Kurukshetra war took place around this time, surely the period of the Rigveda will have to be considerably anterior to it and can by no means be around 1500 B.C. as the invasionists would like to have it! Hence, there is no question of invading Aryans destroying the Harappa Culture a mere hundred years before the Kurukshetra war. The Rigveda, therefore, necessarily precedes the Harappa Culture which ended around the middle of the second millennium B.C. Thus, Sethna shows conclusively that all available evidence sets the end of the Indus Civilization quite apart from any violent destruction by Rigvedic Aryans.

In 1988 came another major paper from Asko Parpola on the coming of the Aryans to India and the cultural-ethnic identity of the Dasas. Parpola based his hypothesis of Rigvedic Aryan movement from Swat to Punjab around 1600-1400 B.C. on the Mitanni treaty and the Kikkuli chariot-horse training manual. However, neither document has the word "Arya", nor does the recitation of the names of deities conform to the Rigvedic turn of phrase, as Sethna perceptively notes. Linguistic study shows that there is a large gap between the Rigvedic epoch and the time of the Mitanni document whose language is found to be middle-Indie and not Indo-Iranian or Old Indo-Aryan as supposed initially.

Sethna's eagle eye spots the inner contradiction in Parpola's hypothesis. Parpola feels that the Harappans spoke proto-Dravidian and not Indo-European because the horse is absent from the seats and figurines. Yet, he characterizes the chalcolithic cultures of the Banas Valley and Malawa (Navdatoli) as Aryan although there too the horse is conspicuously absent. Further, when Parpola asserts that Pirak horsemen first brought the horse into use into India he forgets that no horse-bones have been found at Pirak at all! He also makes the mistake of equating a possible Aryan presence in Swat with Rigvedic Aryanism in arguing that there was a horse-knowing culture's incursion from Swat into India which was a Rigvedic invasion. Sethna shows that while the brick-built nature of the fire-altars found in Swat equates them with those in Kalibangan and the Harappa Culture, this sets them apart from the Rigvedic which is innocent of brick. Use of silver is mentioned by Parpola as a feature of the Namazga V culture which he claims to be Aryan and from where Rigvedic Aryanism was brought into India. But, points out Sethna, the Rigvedic period does not know silver at all. He shows that Parpola is wrong in his understanding of what black metal, shywmayas of the Atharvaveda is. It is certainly not iron, but an alloy of copper and tin, while ayas of the Rigveda is copper. Even in the later Shatapatha Brahmana, there is no knowledge of iron, lohayas or red metal being copper, ayas resembling gold being brass. Hence the Rigveda is considerably anterior to die iron age which Parpola fixes for it in Pirak c, 1100 B.C.

Parpola next uses the cultivation of rice for the first time in the Indus Valley as a sign of Rigvedic Aryanism invading India in the post-Harappan period. However, rice is already present in several Harappan sites within and outside the Indus Valley, while it is unknown to both the Rigveda and the Avesta. Therefore, Sethna is quite right in claiming that the Rigveda precedes the Harappa Culture and definitely the post-Harappan Pirak phase off. 1800 B.C. Even the PGW type of pottery, with its traits of rice cultivation, is absent along the route supposedly taken by immigrating Aryans. The latest excavations (1976-1982) by J.P. Joshi indicate that PGW culture is an indigenous development without any break from the local proto-historic culture and is not associated with invading Aryans from the west.

Sethna marshals powerfully persuasive arguments in favor of the Rigveda being, for all practical purposes, autochthonous to India, using recent statements from Colin Renfrew pointing out that nothing in the Veda hints at any intrusion. The Rigveda repeatedly alludes to ancient seers of hoary antiquity but never speaks of any immigration nor mentions any previous habitat. Sethna's incisive intellect fastens upon every possible objection that might be raised against the great antiquity proposed for the Rigveda. As a particular verse carries a reference to camels, he points out that there has to be some evidence of adequate antiquity of the domesticated camel for his hypothesis to be proven. He locates such archaeological evidence going back to the third millennium B.C. To this he adds the negative argument that silver has been known from 4000 B.C. but is not known to the Rigveda, which, therefore, must precede this date. Again, the earliest occurrence of cultivated rice is dated to Neolithic Mahagara and Koldihwa c. 6810-5780 B.C. Sethna prefers to deduct 240 — this is the solitary ad hoc element in his otherwise sound argumentation besides the gratuitous identification of Talmena with tala-mina for proposing the tribe of Minas from Talmena colonizing Sumeria - and come to 5300 which fits in with his proposition that the Rigveda would begin c. 5500 B.C. and be ignorant of rice while knowing the horse well as the Neolithic sites have the horse-bones whose C-14 dating is 6700 B.C.

The most important contribution in the midst of all this analysis of archaeological evidence is Sethna's bringing home to the reader how the naturalistic interpretations of western scholars fail to hang together if the Rigveda is studied as a whole and that the only approach which makes total sense is the mystic or spiritual one shown by Sri Aurobindo in The Secret of the Veda. The Rigvedic verse is most telling: "He who knows only the outward sense is one who seeing sees not, hearing hears not. (10.71.4)" The foes of the Rigvedics arc neither non-Aryans nor, as Parpola would have it, an earlier band of immigrated Aryans. They are anti-divine forces opposing the spiritual inspiration sought after by the "Aryan'", that is, "the striver", the aspirant. The forts arc symbols of occult centers of resistance to this quest after die "cows", that is streams of enlightenment flowing from the Sun of Truth and the Dawn of inner revelation. Sethna presents an excellent explication of the famous Battle of Ten Kings passage to demolish Parpola's hypothesis of two waves of Aryans disrupting the Indus Civilization and also shows how utterly wrong Parpola is in setting in opposition the Asura and the Deva, for in the Rigveda the Deva does not cease to be the Asura, except in some very late compositions. Sethna's acute perception points out basic errors in Parpola's data such as Indra never being referred to as Asura except in the late Book Ten.

Sethna finds such references existing in Books 1, 4, 6, 7 and 8. He also disproves Parpola's idea that Varuna entered the Pantheon at a later date than Indra and is originally foreign to the Rigveda, and demolishes E.W. Hales's thesis that the Asuras were human lords.

Having proved that the Rigveda is indigenous to India, that there is no justification for interpreting it as a war between invading Aryans and autochthonous Dravidians, the former enslaving the latter — a concept fostered by the foreign scholars which has bred so much bitterness in south India — Sethna ventures into what can only be described as high adventure in his radical reconstruction of ancient Indian chronology in Ancient India in a New Light? To summaries his findings in brief, Sethna marshals evidence from the Puranas and archaeology to argue that the Sandrocottus of Megasthenes could not have been the Mauryan king, but was the founder of the Gupta Dynasty. I had pointed out to him after he had completed the first part of the work that unless the Asokan epigraphs could be tackled convincingly, his new chronology would break down. Sethna proceeded to do this also over 300 pages of a closely argued thesis pushing Asoka back to 950 B.C. and allocating to the Gupta Empire the period 315 B.C. - A.D. 320.

Sethna's 606 page tome, with a 15 page bibliography and a 23 page index, is an outstanding instance of ratiocination proceeding inexorably from a chronological absurdity fastened upon unerringly by the clear ray of his perception. Pulakesin IPs Aihole inscription of 634 A.D. shows Indian chronology in vogue fixing 3102 B.C. as the date of the start of the Kaliyuga, while also referring to the Saka Era of 78 A.D. According to modern historians, this is the time of the Gupta Empire, when this system of chronology was made up by the Puranic writers. Now, according to the Puranas the Guptas come around the last quarter of the 4th century B.C. If the modern dating of the Guptas is accepted, it means that the Puranics, face to face with the Gupta kings, placed them in antiquity six hundred years in the past! It is peculiar that so obvious an absurdity should have escaped our own historians. Can we help concluding that we are still unable to rid our minds of the overpowering influence of the dismissal by western scholars of our own ancient records: The Puranas? They believe in the historicity of Homer and excavate Troy, but will not allow that same probability to the Puranas simply because they speak of a civilized antiquity in a colonized country when the western man was living in caves, and that is unacceptable from a subject race. On the grounds of the reductio ad absurdum of the Puranics placing their contemporary monarchs six centuries in the past, Sethna proposes that the Guptas referred to in the Puranas are the descendants of that Chandragupta whom Megastlienes refers to as Sandrocottus, contemporaneous with Alexander. Consequently, the Mauryan Chandragupta and his grandson Asoka needs must recede considerably farther into die past.

The rest of the book is a thrilling venture as Sethna daringly steers his slender craft through uncharted seas crossing one insuperable barrier-reef after another to reach a destination in whose existence he firmly believes. The most important of these is the supposed linking of the Greeks with Asoka. Sethna's penetrating insight reveals that the Asokan "yona raja" Amtiyoka of Rock Edict XIII cannot refer to a Greek king and that the dating of this edict proposed by Bhandarkar is quite mistaken even on the basis of the current chronology. Next the Asokan inscription in Greek and Aramaic at Kandahar is analyzed and the conclusion arrived at that the two inscriptions are not contemporaneous; that the Greek comes much after the Aramaic and, indeed, explicates it: That the "Yavanani" script referred to by Panini is this Aramaic script going back to the pre-9th century B.C. period. The Kandahar II and Laghlman Aramaic inscriptions are then taken up and proven to be much before the 3rd century B.C. as theorized at present. Finally, examining the evidence for the reigns of the Sungas, Kanvas and Satvahanas, Sethna arrives at 950 B.C. as the date of Asoka's accession.

The next challenge is harmonizing this with the wide-spread variety in traditions regarding Buddhist chronology (Ceylonese, Chinese, Tibetan, Arab, Puranic and the Milinda-panha and Rajatamngini). Sethna infallibly locates a sure guiding light to steer clear of this welter of confusion: Buddha's death has to be determined in terms of Asoka's accession and not the other way about. Thus, with the latter being fixed in 950 B.C., the nirvana is 218 years before that in 1168 B.C. and the death of Mahavira would be in 1165 B.C.

The argument of Ceylon being referred to in Asoka's inscriptions is demolished by Sethna who points out that this identification flouts all the literary and epigraphic data. "Tarnbapamni" and "Tambapamniya" are references to the far south in India. Coming to the Asokan monuments, he shows that the affinities are with Mesopotamia not with Achaemenid art, and that they carry on in the tradition of the realistic treatment of the Indus seals, the assembly hall of Mohenjodaro and the high polish of Harappan jewellery. From the other end of the spectrum, Megasthenes is analyzed to reveal that the references point to the Bhagavata Vaishnavite cult practiced by the Gupta Dynasty, certainly not to what is known of the Mauryas.

As in his work on the Aryan Origins, Sethna corrects major historical errors here too. One is regarding Fa-Hien who is widely accepted as having visited India during the reign of Chandragupta II. Sethna bluntly points out how generations of historians have simply assumed Fleet's chronology despite the pilgrim's records mentioning no king at all and the social conditions not tallying with whatever is known of the Gupta regime. Another such major twisting of chronology which has been unquestioningly accepted by modern historians is exposed when Sethna examines Al-beruni's travelogue to show that Fleet misrepresented the Arab visitor's categorical description of the Gupta Era as celebrating die end of a dynasty that had come to be hated and not the beginning of the dynasty! A third misconception is that the earliest Roman dinarius (whence the Gupta dinam is dated) in India is of the last quarter of the first century B.C. Sethna shows that the earliest denarii go back to 268 B.C. and it is around 264 B.C. that Ptolemy II sent an emissary from Egypt to India. Therefore, the reference to dinam in the Gadhwa Stone inscription of the Gupta Era 88 can certainly be in 277 B.C. A fourth error corrected is that of identifying the Malawa Era of the Mandasor Inscription with the Vikrama Era. Sethna shows that all epigraphic evidence points to the identity of the Malawa Era with the Krita Era, and that the Vikrama Era has been gratuitously brought in just because it is convenient for the modern chronology of the Guptas. He shows that the Kumaragupta referred to here cannot chronologically be the Gupta monarch even following Fleet's calculations. By bringing in the other Mandasor inscription of Dattabhatta which refers to Chandra-gupta's son Govindagupta as alive in the Malawa year 535, Sethna shows that dating it by the Vikrama Era of 57 B.C. creates an impossible situation. He fixes the beginning of the Malawa Era at 711 B.C. This leads to two fascinating discoveries when linked with other Mandasor inscriptions: that the Malawa ruler Yaso-dharman (Malawa 589, i.e. 122 B.C.) might be the source of the legend of Vikramaditya; and that Mihirakula whom he defeated was a Saka and not, as supposed by historians without adequate evidence, a Huna. Sethna exposes yet another Fleetian conjecture regarding Skandagupta battling the Hunas by contacting the epigraphist D.C. Sircar10 and getting the astonishing admission that there is no such reference in the Junagarh inscription!

Some of the more remarkable findings in this work which need mention are: Devanampiyatissa of Ceylon dealt not with Asoka but with Samudragupta; the Kushana Dynasty imitated features of the Guptas on their coins instead of the other way about as historians argue: Al-beruni testifies to two Saka Eras, one of 57 B.C. probably commemorating Yasodharman's victory, and the other of 78 A.D. by Salivahana who was possibly of the Satavahana Dynasty; the Mehrauli Iron Pillar inscription is by Sandrocottus-Chandragupta-I whose term for the invading Greeks is shown to be "Vahlika" (outsiders from Bactria) which fills in the puzzling gap in Indian records of mention of the incursions by Alexander and Seleucus. It is the founder of the Guptas and not of the Mauryan Dynasty who stands firmly identified as Megasthenes's Sandrocottus.

Sethna provides an extremely valuable Supplement" in which he uses the revised chronology posited by him for fixing the dates of the Kurukshetra War and the beginning of the Kaliyuga, traditionally dated to Krishna's death, at 1452/1482 B.C. and 1416/1446 B.C. respectively working back 8 or 9 generations of preceptors from Ashvalayana, a contemporary of Buddha, to Parikshit who was enthroned after Krishna's death. In another discussion,12 Sethna examines the Arthashastra and shows it as not having anything in common with Mauryan times as evidenced from the Asokan inscriptions, and being much closer to the royal titles and functionaries, use of Sanskrit and of terms like pmtyanta and Prajjunikas of the Gupta epigraphs and Megasthenes. He assigns to this work the period close to the pre-Gupta Junagarh Inscription of Rudradaman I in 479 B.C. A further examination of the religious date shows that Kautilya's work is in the interval between Panini and Patanjali, but closer to the former on account of the reference to the prevalence of worship of the Nasatya and the bracketing of an evil spirit Krishna with Kamsa recalling the asura Krishna of the Veda, which indicates a period prior to that of the Vasudeva cult recorded by Megasthenes. On this basis, the original Arthashastra is assigned by Sethna to c. 500 B.C., having clearly distinguished Kautilya the author of the work from Chanakya, the preceptor of the Maurya monarch. Here, too, Sethna corrects a widely prevalent mistake among our historians who have blindly followed Jacobi who compared Chanakya to Bismarck as Chancellor of the Empire. Sethna points out the facts: Chankya was instrumental in installing the Prime Minister of the Nandas, Rakshasa, to assume the same post with the Maurya king. Thus, if anyone, it is Rakshasa who is the Chancellor and not Chanakya.

This short survey cannot do justice to the magnitude of the contribution K.D. Sethna has made to the basic approach to Indian Pre-and-Proto-History as well as later historical periods. However, if it succeeds in giving some idea of how remarkable this effort has been in illuminating the dark backward and abysm of a critical portion of our antique time, and motivates those who are interested in our history to think afresh, untrammeled by preconceptions foisted by western scholars and their Indian counterparts over the last hundred years, it will be a consummation devoutly to be wished. That will also be a fitting tribute to the master-seer who has inspired such a phenomenal deep-delving, wide-ranging inquiry into the foundations of our past: Sri Aurobindo. 

1. Sethna, K.D.: Karpasa in Prehistoric India: a chronological and cultural clue, Biblia Impex, New Delhi, 1984.
2. Scthna, K.D.: The Problem of Aryan Origins: from an Indian point of vien\ second enlarged edition, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 1992, p. 57.
3. Cf. 1 above.
4. Cf. 2 above, first edition, S & S Enterprises, Calcutta 1980.
5. Cf. 2 above.
6. Ibid., pp. 214-222.
7. Ibid., pp. 419-20.
8. Ibid., pp. 187-93.
9. Sethna, K.D.: Ancient India in a New Light, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 1989.
10. Ibid., pp. 513.
11. Ibid., pp. 543-5.
12. Ibid., pp. 546-589.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> While we need not agree with all that Sethna says, the following points are very interesting.

1. That the "Yavanani" script referred to by Panini is this Aramaic script
going back to the pre-9th century B.C. period.                       

2. Megasthenes is analyzed to reveal that the references point to the Bhagavata Vaishnavite cult practiced by the Gupta Dynasty, certainly not to what is known of the Mauryas.

3. A third misconception is that the earliest Roman dinarius (whence the Gupta dinam is dated) in India is of the last quarter of the first century B.C. Sethna shows that the earliest denarii go back to 268 B.C. and it is around 264 B.C. that Ptolemy II sent an emissary from Egypt to India.

Therefore, the reference to dinara in the Gadhwa Stone inscription of the Gupta Era 88 can certainly be in 277 B.C

4.A fourth error corrected is that of identifying the Malawa Era of the Mandasor Inscription with the Vikrama Era. Sethna shows that all epigraphic evidence points to the identity of the Malawa Era with the Krita Era, and that the Vikrama Era has been gratuitously brought in just because it is convenient for the modern chronology of the Guptas. He shows that the Kumaragupta referred to here cannot chronologically be the Gupta monarch even following Fleet's calculations. By bringing in the other Mandasor inscription of Dattabhatta which refers to Chandragupta' s son Govindagupta as alive in the Malawa year 535, Sethna shows that dating it by the Vikrama Era of 57 B.C. creates an impossible situation. He fixes the beginning of the Malawa Era at 711 B.C. This leads to two fascinating discoveries when linked with other Mandasor inscriptions: that the Malawa ruler Yasodharman (Malawa 589, i.e. 122 B.C.) might be the source of the legend of Vikramaditya; and that Mihirakula whom he defeated was a Saka and not, as supposed by historians without adequate evidence, a Huna. Sethna exposes yet another Fleetian conjecture regarding Skandagupta battling the Hunas by contacting the epigraphist D.C. Sircar10 and getting the astonishing admission that there is no such reference in the Junagarh inscription!

the Kushana Dynasty imitated features of the Guptas on their coins instead of the other way about as historians argue: Al-beruni testifies to two Saka Eras, one of 57 B.C. probably commemorating Yasodharman' s victory, and the other of 78 A.D. by Salivahana who was possibly of the Satavahana Dynasty; the Mehrauli Iron Pillar inscription is by Sandrocottus- Chandragupta- I whose term for the invading Greeks is shown to be "Vahlika" (outsiders from
Bactria) which fills in the puzzling gap in Indian records of mention of the incursions by Alexander and Seleucus. It is the founder of the Guptas and not of the Mauryan Dynasty who stands firmly identified as Megasthenes' s

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"As in his work on the Aryan Origins...A third misconception is that the earliest Roman dinarius (whence the Gupta dinam is dated) in India is of the last quarter of the first century B.C. Sethna shows that the earliest denarii go back to 268 B.C. and it is around 264 B.C. that Ptolemy II sent an emissary from Egypt to India. Therefore, the reference to dinam in the Gadhwa Stone inscription of the Gupta Era 88 can certainly be in 277 B.C."

The book referenced: The Problem of Aryan Origins by K.D. Sethna. The first edition was published in 1980. A second enlarged version (with five supplements) was published in 1992. (Delhi: Aditya Prakashan, 1992.ISBN 81-85179-67-0)

The Gadhwa Stone inscription:

From: Fleet, John F. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum: Inscriptions of the Early Guptas. Vol. III. Calcutta: Government of India, Central Publications Branch, 1888, 38-39:

"(Line 3.)— . . . . . . . . . . . . headed by Mâtridâsa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . for the purpose of increasing [the religious merit] . . . . . . . . . fashioned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . the Brâhmans of the community of a perpetual almshouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . by ten dînâras, (or in figures) 10."

On the term dînâras:

The Minor Law Books (SBE33) by Julius Jolly [1889] "Last, not least, the European term Dînâra, i.e. denarius The term Dînâra, which is so important for the purposes of Indian chronology, occurs repeatedly in the Nârada-smriti. In the first passage (Introd. II, 34, p. 32), Dînâras are mentioned among other objects made of gold, and it would seem that a gold coin used as an ornament is meant, such as e.g. the necklaces made of gold mohurs, which are being worn in India at the present day. 'A string of Dînâras' (dînâra-mâlaya) used as a necklace occurs in a well-known Jain work, the Kalpa-sûtra of Bhadrabâhu 4. It is, however, possible that the 'Dînâras or other golden things' may be gold coins simply, and that Nârada means to refer to forged or otherwise counterfeit coins. The second passage (Appendix v. 60, p. 232) is specially valuable, because it contains an exact statement of the value of a Dînâra which, it says, is called a Suvarna also. The reception of Dînâras among the ordinary coins of that period shows that their circulation in India must have commenced some time before the Nârada-smriti was written. The first importation of gold Dînâras into India cannot be referred to an earlier period than the time of the Roman emperors, and the gold Dînâras most numerously found in India belong to the third century A.D."<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
On from event organized by Kaushal:
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<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Ancient pre-writing on rocks found in remote TN hamlet
23 Mar 2009, 0157 hrs IST, Jaya Menon, TNN

CHENNAI: A chance visit to a remote Pudukkottai hamlet to assess the
damage caused by illegal granite quarrying on an ancient protected'
archaeological site helped an Archaeological Survey of India team
uncover what could be evidence of the first artistic expression of
prehistoric man in this region.

The cup marks' or cupules, the oldest surviving rock art, similar to
those showcased in the UNESCO world heritage sites of Bhimbetka in
Madhya Pradesh, were found in a cave in a hillock in the remote
Malayadipatti village, 35 km north of Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu.

"We found rock paintings and stone beds used by Jain preachers in
three caves. But our greatest discovery was the cup marks, known as
petroglyphs. Besides pounding on lime and iron haematite to get
materials to paint on rock, early man used stone tools to carve out
symbols on cave surfaces. We believe what we have found in the
Malayadipatti cave is the earliest artistic and creative expression of
man. And, this is the first time this is being discovered in Tamil
Nadu," said Ramesh Mulimani, deputy superintending archaeologist, ASI,
Chennai circle, who led a group to the caves in Pudukkottai.

Archaeological experts believe that these marks could date back to the
Mesolithic culture, which ranges from 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. "But,
we have to undertake a precise, scientific dating through C14 (carbon
labelling) and OSL (obsidian silicon)," said Mulimani. The 400-odd cup
marks etched in a natural cave in Pudukkottai and tucked away on the
roof surface has been protected from changes over the past several
millennia. "They could be religious or other symbolic depictions of
that period," he said. The cup marks have a smooth finish and are a
few millimetres deep and wide.

The team found three natural caves. One cave had a five-line
inscription in ancient Brahmi script. It carried the name of an
individual, Picham-piran' ( piran' meaning chief or head and so
believed to be a chieftain). Two caves had a Jain stone bed in each
and one had a fading rock painting on the cave wall and the other the
cup marks. Known locally as samanar (Jain) padukkai (beds),' these
beds were used by Jain preachers during the 3rd to 4th centuries AD.
The rock painting, created probably using lime powder mixed with
water, is a fading white line drawing depicting a bird and a human

But the cup marks, spread over 100 square feet area of the cave roof,
has proved to be the most significant discovery for ASI in these
parts. "Further investigations need to be undertaken to ascertain the
exact nature of the marks and establish its archaeological
importance," Sathyabhama Bhadreenath, superintending archaeologist,
ASI, Chennai circle, told The Times of India.

The excited ASI team is now trying to get an endorsement from rock art
specialists, including Robert Bednarik, the Australian expert, to
confirm their findings. Bednarik, president of the International
Federation of Rock Art Organisations (IFRAO), has been coordinating
with the Rock Art Society of India (RASI) to attempt scientific dating
of Indian rock art.

Dr. Giriraj Kumar, professor in Indian culture and rock art science,
Dayalbagh Education Institute, Agra, who documented the 500 cup marks
found in a cave in the Daraki Chattan region in Mandsaur district in
Madhya Pradesh, pointed out that while the Chambal markings were in
quartzite, the Pudukkottai cupules were on granite. "They give an
insight into cognitive development of early humans and their cultural
development," he pointed out.

"After Bhimbetka and Dhariki Chattan (Madhya Pradesh) and Hunsgi in
Karnataka, the Pudukkottai cupules is an exciting find. We can confirm
they are petroglyphs by stylistic comparison with our earlier
findings," said Dr Adiga Sundara, a Mysore-based retired professor in
ancient Indian history and epigraphy.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/...how/4302250.cms <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

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