nabho gato diśaḥ sarvāḥ sahasrākṣo viśāmpate
prāg-udīcīṁ diśaṁ tūrṇaṁ praviṣṭo nṛpa mānasam
“O King, Indra first fled to the sky, but there also he saw the woman of personified sin chasing him. This witch followed him wherever he went. At last he very quickly went to the northeast and entered the Mānasa-sarovara Lake.” (Bhāg. 6.13.14).
It is also proved that Dadhīci Muni previously lived near Kurukṣetra. Some people say that three raised hillocks, called Tripiṣṭapa, may be found either at Kurukṣetra or northern Brahmāvarta.
On the instigation of Śukrācārya, the demons gradually became powerful, and because the demigods were unable to check them, they took the help of Vāmanadeva. By Vāmanadeva’s tactics, the demigods thus drove King Bali and his followers from the area of Tripiṣṭapa. Perhaps the asuras took a vow to live on the bank of the River Sindhu, at the place known as Sindhu. At the time of Alexander, there was a city named Pātāla near the conjunction of the Sindhu River and the ocean. Please see the Atlas of Butler Sahib. At that time the place was known as Pātāla, because the descendants of the Nāgas resided there. The descendants of the Nāgas, such as Elāpatra and Takṣaka, resided in that country for many years. After the asuras resided there for many years, they returned to reside at Tripiṣṭapa. At that time, the lake known as Elāpatra and the city known as Takṣaśīla were founded. The Nāgas also lived in the province of Kashmir. Elaborate descriptions of this are found in the Rāja-taraṅgiṇī. King Bali was in the fifth generation from Kaśyapa. During his reign, the asuras were tactfully exiled to Pātāla.
The topics of King Vena are one of the main subjects of Āryan history. King Vena came in the eleventh generation from Svāyambhuva Manu. At this point it should be considered where Manu and his descendants were residing. In some places of the scriptures it is stated that Manu resided in Brahmāvarta. Manu’s city of Barhiṣmatī was situated south of Brahmāvarta and southwest of Kurukṣetra. The boundary of Brahmarṣi-deśa was not established at that time, hence the sages considered Manu’s city as within Brahmāvarta. Actually the city of Manu should be considered as a part of Brahmarṣi-deśa, as it was situated to the southeast of the Sarasvatī River
tad vai bindusaro nāma sarasvatyā pariplutam
puṇyaṁ śivāmṛta-jalaṁ maharṣi-gaṇa-sevitam
“The holy lake called Bindu-sarovara was flooded by the waters of the River Sarasvatī and resorted to by hosts of eminent sages. Its holy water was not only auspicious but as sweet as nectar.” (Bhāg. 3.21.39)
ubhayor ṛṣi-kulyāyāḥ sarasvatyāḥ surodhasoḥ
ṛṣīṇām upaśāntānāṁ paśyann āśrama-sampadaḥ
“Along the way he saw the prosperity of the tranquil seers’ beautiful hermitages on both the charming banks of the Sarasvatī, the river so agreeable to saintly persons.
tam āyāntam abhipretya brahmāvartāt prajāḥ patim
gīta-saṁstuti-vāditraiḥ pratyudīyuḥ praharṣitāḥ
“Overjoyed to know of his arrival, his subjects came forth from Brahmāvarta to greet their returning lord with songs, prayers, and musical instruments.
barhiṣmatī nāma purī sarva-sampat-samanvitā
nyapatan yatra romāṇi yajñasyāṅgaṁ vidhunvataḥ
kuśāḥ kāśās ta evāsan śaśvad-dharita-varcasaḥ
ṛṣayo yaiḥ parābhāvya yajña-ghnān yajñam ījire
“The city of Barhiṣmatī, rich in all kinds of wealth, was so called because Lord Viṣṇu’s hair dropped there from His body when He manifested Himself as Lord Boar. As He shook His body, this very hair fell and turned into blades of evergreen kuśa grass and kāśa [another kind of grass used for mats], by means of which the sages worshiped Lord Viṣṇu after defeating the demons who had interfered with the performance of their sacrifices.
kuśa-kāśamayaṁ barhir āstīrya bhagavān manuḥ
ayajad yajña-puruṣaṁ labdhā sthānaṁ yato bhuvam
“Manu spread a seat of kuśas and kāśas and worshiped the Lord, the Personality of Godhead, by whose grace he had obtained the rule of the terrestrial globe.” (Bhāg. 3.22.27-31).
It is described that Manu visited many sages’ āśramas on both banks of the Sarasvatī when returning to his abode from the āśrama of Prajāpati Kardama of Bindu-sarovara. Eventually he left the Sarasvatī before entering his city of Kuśa-kāśa. Another consideration regarding Manu is the question of why he became a kṣatriya. Brahmā’s sons were called Prajāpatis, and they were all brāhmaṇas. So for what reason did Svāyambhuva Manu accept an inferior position? Perhaps when the Āryans established Brahmāvarta there was only one caste. But for increasing the population there was a shortage of women. They took a boy and a girl from an unknown caste and, after converting them into Āryans, they married them. They were Svāyambhuva Manu and his wife, Śatarūpā. Their daughters were married to various sages, and in this way the Āryan dynasty prospered. Considering that it was improper for the Āryans to openly accept a girl from a non-Āryan family, their parents were first converted into Āryans and the father was awarded the post of Svāyambhuva Manu. This was the tactic adopted for accepting their daughters in marriage. Therefore, the sons born from those daughters were not given equal status with pure Āryans, and they were called kṣatrus. Someone who is able to deliver one from kṣata, or injury, is called a kṣatru. This is the explanation that is found in Mallinatha’s commentary on the Raghuvaṁsa. Although the Āryans accepted Manu and his descendants as members of their community, still, with a desire to keep them separate from the original Āryans that established Brahmāvarta, the Āryans remained brāhmaṇas and engaging the members of the kṣatriya families for protecting the brāhmaṇas. The demigods used to reside on the northwestern side of Brahmāvarta as the protectors from the asuras, who were living in Pañca-nada at the time. The ṛṣis used to live on the banks of the Sarasvatī. Manu and his descendants resided on the southwestern side of the Sarasvatī, in a place called Dākṣiṇātya. They protected the brāhmaṇas from the uncivilised castes. The earthly kings were under the control of the heavenly kings. The demigod Indra was the emperor over all. The place where the demigods resided was called Tripiṣṭapa, or the place where there are three hillocks. On the northern side of the peak of those hillocks is the palace of Indra. That palace is protected on each of its eight sides by Dikpālas. I will not explain the modern opinion on this out of fear of increasing the size of this book. But I cannot refrain from mentioning one more thing in this regard.
The sons of Kaśyapa, who is the fourth generation from Brahmā, founded the kingdom of the demigods. From Brahmā to Kaśyapa there were two kingdoms—Manu and Prajāpati. The kingdom of the demigods was founded later. When the demigods’ kingdom became powerful, then the fighting between the demigods and the demons began. As the demigods’ kingdom became weaker, Manu’s kingdom became more powerful. The duration of Svāyambhuva Manu’s rule was not very long. As the kingdom of Vaivasvata Manu became powerful, the kingdom of Svāyambhuva Manu gradually diminished. Vaivasvata Manu was the son of Sūrya. But the writers of the scriptures have different opinions about the name of his mother. Perhaps he was an adopted son, or perhaps he was born of a non-Āryan. That is why he could not be accepted as a brāhmaṇa, like his brothers, rather he was accepted as a kṣatriya, like Svāyambhuva Manu. There is no need to further discuss the modern opinion in this regard. In due course of time, when he saw the demigods’ weakness, King Vena tried his best to disperse them
baliṁ ca mahyaṁ harata
matto ‘nyaḥ ko ‘gra-bhuk pumān
“Offer me all paraphernalia. If you are intelligent, you should know that there is no personality superior to me, who can accept the first oblations of all sacrifices.” (Bhāg. 4.12.48).
Then the brāhmaṇas, who were the leaders of the demigods, killed him. After massaging his hands, they found a great personality named Pṛthu and a woman named Arci on either side of his body, and they handed the kingdom over to Pṛthu for ruling. During Pṛthu’s reign, villages were founded, farming was introduced, gardens were planted, and many other material facilities were provided
prāk pṛthor iha naivaiṣā pura-grāmādi-kalpanā
yathā-sukhaṁ vasanti sma tatra tatrākutobhayāḥ
“Before the reign of King Pṛthu there was no planned arrangement for different cities, villages, pasturing grounds, etc. Every thing was scattered, and everyone constructed his residential quarters according to his own convenience. However, since King Pṛthu plans were made for towns and villages.” (Bhāg. 4.18.32).
If we accept the modern opinion regarding the Ganges, then it may be said that King Bhagīratha of the Sūrya dynasty performed a great job of spreading the glories of the Ganges up to the ocean, thus extending the area of Āryāvarta. At that time Āryāvarta extended only as far as Mithila, and the dynasty of Manu was almost extinct. The kingdoms of the Sūrya and Rudra dynasties were both very powerful at the time, and they had such an alliance that no general work could go on anywhere in India without their consent. When King Sagara’s sons were cursed to die near the ocean, it created a bad name for the Sūrya dynasty. In order to counteract that bad name, King Bhagīratha worshiped Brahmā, the leader of the demigods, and Śiva, the King of the Rudra kingdom, and thus received permission to make Āryāvarta prosperous. Bhagīratha then connected the Ganges with the ocean. In the beginning, the Sarasvatī was the only sacred river. Gradually when the areas around the Yamunā were populated by the Āryans, the glories of the Yamunā also spread. Then during the time of Bhagīratha, the Ganges became celebrated as the topmost of all sacred rivers.
Some time after this incident there was a great quarrel between the brāhmaṇas and the kṣatriyas. During this time the Āryans and the kṣatriyas saw that the demigods’ kingdom had become weak and they began to neglect them; they even killed many of the prominent ṛṣis. When the brāhmaṇas were unable to tolerate these incidents, they appointed Paraśurāma as their commander-in-chief and began to retaliate. Kārtavīryārjuna of the Haihaya dynasty accumulated many kṣatriyas and entered the war against the brāhmaṇas. Kārtavīrya was killed by Paraśurāma’s unbearable axe. Kārtavīryārjuna had ruled the city of Māhiṣmatī, on the bank of the Narmadā River. He was so powerful that the non-Āryans from the Dākṣiṇātya had always remained fearful of him. King Rāvaṇa of Laṅkā did not dare to come to Āryāvarta out of fear of Kārtavīryārjuna. The brāhmaṇas, however, were not satisfied by killing Kārtavīrya. They gradually began to fight with the kings of the Sūrya and Candra dynasties. It is said that Paraśurāma rid the whole world of all kṣatriyas twenty-one times and then gave the world to Kaśyapa to rule. The purport is that the demigods’ kingdom of Brahmāvarta fell into the hands of the brāhmaṇas of the Kaśyapa dynasty. When the Kaśyapa dynasty had nearly collapsed and many kings were ruling, Paraśurāma reestablished the Kaśyapa dynastys’ rule. Learned scholars of that time, however, considered that the brāhmaṇas were no longer capable of ruling the kingdom, so the kṣatriyas should rule. Prominent brāhmaṇas and kṣatriya kings had various meetings, out of which the Manu scriptures were brought into being. Later we will discuss whether those Manu scriptures are still current or not. Brahmāvarta, or the kingdom of the demigods, was no longer respected by the local people. The demigods were respected only during sacrifices. That also was simply in the form of names and mantras. The actual brāhmaṇa communities became highly respected. In this way, although the brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas had an alliance between themselves, Paraśurāma again fought with the kṣatriyas out of greed to capture the kingdom. In the Rāmāyaṇa it is stated that Paraśurāma went to fight Rāmacandra, but he was defeated and exiled to Mahendra Mountain, near Kanyā-kumārī. The brāhmaṇas assisted Rāmacandra in achieving this, and thus Paraśurāma became particularly envious of the brāhmaṇas and created a few kinds of brāhmaṇas in the South. Many brāhmaṇas from the South admit that they were turned into brāhmaṇas by Paraśurāma. Those brāhmaṇas who lived with Paraśurāma in the province of Mālābāra preached the Āryan scriptures throughout Dākṣiṇātya. That is how the astrology of Kerala and other sciences were introduced. The descendants of those brāhmaṇas are still current today; they are known as Sārasvata brāhmaṇas.
Immediately after this incident, the battle between Rāvaṇa and Rāma took place. Rāvaṇa, the King of Laṅkā, was very powerful at the time. One ṛṣi from the dynasty of Pulastya left Brahmāvarta and resided on the island of Laṅkā for some time. The dynasty of Rāvaṇa began after that ṛṣi married a daughter from the dynasty of Rakṣasa. We can therefore say that Rāvaṇa was half Rakṣasa and half Āryan. Due to his prowess, King Rāvaṇa gradually captured many of the southern provinces of India. Finally, his kingdom extended up to the banks of the Godāvarī River, where he appointed two commanders—Khara and Dūṣaṇa—to guard the border. When Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa built a cottage on the banks of the Godāvarī, Rāvaṇa thought that the descendants of the Sūrya dynasty were building a fort near his border in order to attack his kingdom. Considering this, King Rāvaṇa took the help of Mārica, the son of Tārakā, who was a resident of Bakasara, and kidnapped Sītā. Rāmacandra took the help of people from Dākṣiṇātya and Kiskinda in order to locate Sītā. Vālmīki was an Āryan poet who had a natural tendency to tease the people of Dākṣiṇātya. That is why he described the great heroes and friends of Rāma in a comical way. He described some of them as monkeys, some as bears, and some as Rakṣasas. He even described them as having tails and being covered with hair. Anyway, during the time of Rāmacandra, the seed of friendship was sown between the Āryans and the people of Dākṣiṇātya. There is no doubt about this. The seed later became a large tree, which produced excellent fruits. Otherwise, the people of Karṇāta, Drāviḍa, Mahārāṣṭra, and Mysore would not have become known as Hindus. Rāmacandra took the help of the people of those countries to conquer Laṅkā and rescue Sītā.
Modern scholars have also concluded that the battle between the Kauravas and the Pāṇḍavas took place 775 years after the victory of Rāmacandra over Laṅkā. There were no major incidents during this period except the gradual expansion of the Āryan kingdom. The Āryan kṣatriyas lived in the province of Vidarbha, or Nagpur, which gradually became known as Mahārāṣṭra. During that time the descendants of Yadu extended their kingdom from Sauvīra of Sindhu to Māhiṣmatī Chedi of Narmadā to Mathurā of Yamunā. During the same period the descendants of the Sūrya dynasty became extremely weak. King Maru of the Sūrya dynasty and King Devāpi of the Candra dynasty both left their kingdoms and went to the village of Kalāpa (nearby Badarikāśrama). Industry advanced, the position of cities and villages gradually improved, the language of the Āryans was refined, many sacred places were established in non-Āryan provinces, and Hastināpura was founded by King Hasti on the bank of the Ganges
adyāpi ca puraṁ hy etat sūcayad rāma-vikramam
samunnataṁ dakṣiṇato gaṅgāyām anudṛśyate
“Even today the city of Hastināpura is visibly elevated on its southern side along the Ganges, thus showing the signs of Lord Balarāma’s prowess.” (Bhāg. 10.68.54).
With the permission of the demigods, King Kuru established the sacred place named Kurukṣetra in the country of Brahmarṣi.
The battle between the Kurus and the Pāṇḍavas was a major incident because many different kings of India gathered there, and after a fierce battle they attained heaven. All the incidents of this battle are daily topics amongst Indians, so there is no need for any special mention of those incidents herein. It can only be said that Jarāsandha, the King of Magadha, was killed by Bhīma a short time before the battle. The kingdom of Magadha was gradually and powerfully increasing. Jarāsandha even tried to curtail the prestige of Hastināpura in order to increase the prestige of Magadha. Although many kings in the family line from Parīkṣit ruled a kingdom in the vicinity of the Ganges and Yamunā, still, their kingdom was under the jurisdiction of the King of Magadha. This is understood because only the names of the subsequent kings of Magadha are prominent in the Purāṇas.
Now we will have to decide when the battle of Kurukṣetra took place. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was born just after the battle. From the birth of Parīkṣit up to the coronation of Nandivardhana (the fifth of the Pradyotana kings) was 1,115 years
ārabhya bhavato janma yāvan nandābhiṣecanam
etad varṣa-sahasraṁ tu śataṁ pañcadaśottaram
“From your birth up to the coronation of King Nanda, 1,115 years will pass.” (Bhāg. 12.2.26).
Cunningham Sahib and others say that the word nandābhiṣeka in the previous footnote verse from the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam refers to the first of the nine Nandas. But although the respected Śrīdhara Svāmī also accepts this, he says the number is irrelevant. Therefore, we fearlessly accept this Nanda as Nandivardhana. Moreover, in the Ninth Canto of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam it is stated that 20 kings from the dynasty of Bṛhadratha, beginning from Mārjāri up to Ripuñjaya, would rule for 1,000 years
bārhadrathāś ca bhūpālā
“All of these personalities will belong to the dynasty of Bṛhadratha, which will rule the world for 1,000 years.” (Bhāg. 9.22.49).
The names of those 20 kings are also given in the Twelfth Canto of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Then, after five Pradyotana kings rule for 138 years and ten Śiśunāga kings rule for 360 years, the nine Nandas will rule for 100 years. So if we refer to the first of the nine Nandas, it will be about 1,500 years; but if we deduct the 23 years of Nandivardhana’s rule, then we have the correct figure of 1,115 years. Again
saptarṣīṇāṁ tu yau pūrvau dṛśyete uditau divi
tayos tu madhye nakṣatraṁ dṛśyate yat samaṁ niśi
tenaiva ṛṣayo yuktās tiṣṭhanty abda-śataṁ nṛṇām
te tvadīye dvijāḥ kāla adhunā cāśritā maghāḥ
“Of the seven stars forming the constellation of the seven sages, Pulaha and Kratu are the first to rise in the night sky. If a line running north and south were drawn through their midpoint, whichever of the lunar mansions this line passes through is said to be the ruling asterism of the constellation for that time. Currently, during your lifetime, the Seven Sages are situated in the nakṣatra, in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam it is stated that during the reign of King Parīkṣit the constellation of the seven ṛṣis took shelter in the nakṣatra called Maghā.
When this constellation of the seven ṛṣis crosses the nakṣatras beginning with Maghā through Jyaistha, then the age of Kali will be 1,200 years old. If that constellation remains 1,200 years in nine nakṣatras, then the duration in each nakṣatra is 133 years 4 months. When the constellation of the seven sages goes to the Pūrvāṣāḍha-nakṣatra, another Nanda will become king; then the constellation of the seven sages must have travelled through the eleven nakṣatras an additional 14 years. If we add 360 years—the duration of the ten Śiśunāga kings’ rule—to the 1,138 years up to the end of Nandivardhana’s rule, then the total comes to 1,498 years. Since the duration of the kings’ rule is equal to the duration of the movement of the seven ṛṣis’ constellation, this further confirms the previous statements. On hearing the statement that the ṛṣis will remain in the Maghā-nakṣatra for 100 years, many people may think that the ṛṣis stay in each nakṣatra for 100 years. But the seven ṛṣis were to stay in the Maghā-nakṣatra for 100 years from the time that Śukadeva was speaking to Parīkṣit. If we accept that before Śukadeva spoke to Parīkṣit the ṛṣis had already stayed in the Maghā-nakṣatra for 33 years 4 months, then there is no longer any doubt. Therefore, it is correct to say that up to the coronation of Nandivardhana was 1,115 years. After his rule, during the reign of the other Nandas, Kali became extremely prominent. This is also confirmed by practical observation. After the fifth generation, Ajātaśatru became the king. During his reign, Śākyasiṁha preached Buddhism, in the form of knowledge of self-realisation devoid of a conception of the Infallible [God]
naiṣkarmyam apy acyuta-bhāva-varjitaṁ
na śobhate jñānam alaṁ nirañjanam
kutaḥ punaḥ śaśvad abhadram īśvare
na cārpitaṁ karma yad apy akāraṇam
“Knowledge of self-realisation, even though free from all material affinity, does not look well if devoid of a conception of the Infallible [God]. What, then, is the use of fruitive activities, which are naturally painful from the very beginning and transient by nature, if they are not utilised for the devotional service of the Lord?” (Bhāg. 1.5.12).
The Nandas were like cowherd men and were envious of eternal religious principles. Aśokavardhana even widely propagated Buddhism. Gradually various castes like Śundhas ruled the kingdom and created many obstacles in the path of religion. The total duration to the end of the nine Nandas’ rule was 1,598 years. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita killed the last of the Nandas and gave the kingdom to the kings of the Maurya dynasty. According to some opinions, King Daśaratha, and according to others, Candragupta was the first king of the Maurya dynasty. During the time of Candragupta, people from Greece visited India first with Alexandra and later with Seleucus. According to the opinions of Greek literature, the great dynasties from Siṁhala, and the Buddhist history of Brahma-deśa, Candragupta took the throne 215 years before Christ. From this calculation it may be understood that the battle of Kurukṣetra took place 3,791 years ago from today. Dr. Bentley Sahib calculated the position of the stars mentioned in the Mahābhārata and decided that the battle of Kurukṣetra took place 1,824 years before Christ. When we compare his calculation with mine there is a difference of 89 years. So either Bentley Sahib made a mistake or the 1,000 years duration of the Bārhadrathas’ rule was an approximation that we have to deduct 89 years from. The future swan-like scholars can determine the correct figures after further research.
The Mauryas ruled their kingdom for ten generations. It is said in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam that the total duration of their rule was 137 years. Aśokavardhana was the most powerful of the Mauryas. He was Āryan at first, but later he became a Buddhist. He then established many Buddhist pillars throughout India. During his reign, eight Yavana kings such as Diodotos, Demetrios, and Eucratides captured a portion of India on the western side of the Sindhu River. It has not been established in which dynasty the Maurya kings were born. In the description of Nakula’s conquest of the Pañca-nada in the Mahābhārata (Sabhā-parva 32.4), it is stated:
kārttikeyasya dayitaṁ rohītamupyadravat
tatra yuddhamahaccāsīt śūrair mattamayūrakaiḥ
“Thereafter Nakula arrived at the district surrounding the beautiful Rohita Mountain, which is dear to Kārttikeya. There Nakula fought with the great kṣatriya kings like Mattamayūra.”.
They were perhaps born in the dynasty of the Mayūras, who resided near the Rohita Mountain on the western bank of the Vitastā River. Actually they did belong to any of the four standard castes. From the way they maintained their relationship with the Yavanas it appears they were from an insignificant class of the Śaka caste. It is also understood that before the Yavanas’ arrival, the Mauryas established their kingdom at either Mayūrapura or Haridvāra and called themselves Āryans. The name Maurya came from the name Mayūrapura. Just prior to the Mauryas’ rule, the nine Nandas lived on the western side of the Sindhu River, at the place known as Āvabṛtya, or Ārābāiṭa. Perhaps the Nandas resembled cowherd men, because in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam they are called Vṛṣala. Also, the seven subordinate kings were described as Ābhīras, or cowherds.
As far as the kingdom of Magadha is concerned, the Śundha dynasties captured the throne just after the Mauryas’ rule. They then ruled the kingdom for 112 years. Among them, first Puṣpamitra, and then Agnimitra extended their kingdom from Magadha up to Pañca-nada. In order to tactfully make friendship with the Āryans, they then started harassing the Buddhists in the city of Śākala, of the Madra province. They announced that whoever brings the head of a Buddhist sannyāsī would be rewarded with a hundred coins. After them the kings of the Kānva dynasty ruled Magadha. There were four kings of the Kānva dynasty who ruled Magadha for a total of 45 years. The duration of their rule is described in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam as lasting 345 years, but in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa it is said that Vāsudeva ruled for 9 years, Bhūmimitra ruled for 14 years, Nārāyaṇa ruled for 12 years, and Suśarmā ruled for 10 years. From this it appears that the statement in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam may be incorrect. Unfortunately, Śrīdhara Svāmī also accepted this incorrect statement. Anyway, at this point let us accept that the opinion of the author of the Bhāgavatam is 45 years. After the Kānva dynasty, the dynasty of Andhra ruled Magadha for 456 years. The last king of this dynasty was Salomadhi. The rule of the Andhra dynasty ended in 435 A.D.
Among these non-Āryan kings, no one could be accepted as the emperor. Only the kingdom of Aśokavardhana was particularly large. There is no doubt that the Śundhas and Kānvas were like plunderers of the Sidhia province. The various types of coins that have been found buried in places like Kabul, Punjab, and Hindusthan are marked with the signs of the Greek Yavanas and various castes from the Sidhia province. Coins marked with the names of Haviṣka, Kaniṣka, and Vāsudeva have been found in the province of Mathurā. From this it is believed that those people ruled Mathurā for some time. From the time of these kings [Haviṣka, Kaniṣka, and Vāsudeva] the calendar known as Samvat was introduced. After King Vikramāditya defeated the Śakas by his prowess he became known as Śakāri, or enemy of the Śakas, and it is sometimes said that he introduced the Samvat calendar. This statement, however, is difficult to believe, because the writers of the Purāṇas mentioned the names of the kings who ruled the first five hundred years of the Samvat calendar but did not include Vikramāditya’s name. If Vikramāditya, the King of Ujjain, had actually ruled at that time, the writers of the Purāṇas would have certainly glorified him. It is therefore understood that many kings ruled under the name Vikramāditya. The Vikramāditya who ruled Ujjain became king in the year 592 A.D. In the first century after Jesus Christ in the city of Śrāvastī there was a Vikramāditya who was an enemy of the Buddhists. King Śālibāhana was a respectable king from Dākṣiṇātya. The Śakābdā calendar, which he introduced, was widely accepted in the South. It is said that in 78 A.D. King Śālibāhana harassed the Śakas and established a city named Śālibāhanapura in the Punjab province. Again it is stated that Śālibāhana had his capital in a place known as Pāṭhana on the bank of the Narmadā. Therefore, the actual life history of these two kings [Śālibāhana and Vikramāditya] is still unclear.
Nimicakra came in the sixth generation after King Parīkṣit. He left Hastināpura and resided at Kuśambī, or Kauśikīpurī. The Pandu dynasty continued up to King Kṣemaka, who comes in the twenty-second generation from Nimicakra.
The Sūrya dynasty ended with King Dolāṅgula Sumitrā, who appeared in the twenty-eighth generation after King Bṛhadbala. Therefore, after the reign of Nandivardhana both the Candra and Sūrya dynasties ended. Kings like the nine Nandas, who became prominent afterwards, were all outcastes. The kings of the Tailaṅga province of Andhra thereafter conquered and ruled Magadha. It seems that they were from the Chola dynasty, because when the kings of Andhra ruled Magadha the Chola kings were ruling the city of Vārāṅgala in Andhra. It is very difficult to confirm whether or not the Chola kings were Āryans, but due to their behaviour and absence of any relationship with the Sūrya and Candra dynasties it is assumed that they were outcastes. The Chola kings were originally from the city of Kāñcīnagara of the Drāviḍa province. They gradually expanded their kingdom up to the banks of the Ganges. When Paraśurāma lived in the South, he established new brāhmaṇa and kṣatriya communities, including the Cholas. Anyway, the kings of the Andhra dynasty are mentioned in the Purāṇas.
In the 772 years from 435 A.D. up to 1206 A.D., when the Mohammedan rule began, no emperor ruled the whole of India. During this time many small kings ruled different provinces of India. Many Āryan and mixed caste people became very powerful in Kānyakubja, Kashmir, Gujarat, Kāliñjara, and Gauḍa. The Rajputs of Kānyakubja and Pālas from Gauḍa-deśa became equally powerful. The kings from the Pāla dynasty ruled their kingdom and accepted the title of Cakravartī. During this time King Vikramāditya of Ujjain studied many sciences. Harṣavardhana and Viśāladeva were also equally strong. I am not writing the history of those dynasties, as this book would then become too voluminous. So I stop here. In brief, the Rajput kings who eventually succeeded the kings of the Sūrya and Candra dynasties were more or less modern. The writers of the Purāṇas did not glorify them very much.
vrātyā dvijā bhaviṣyanti śūdra-prāyā janādhipāḥ
sindhos taṭaṁ candrabhāgāṁ kauntīṁ kāśmīra-maṇḍalam
bhokṣyanti śūdrā vrātyādy mlecchāś cābrahma-varcasaḥ
tulya-kālā ime rājan mleccha-prāyāś ca bhū-bhṛtaḥ
“At that time the brāhmaṇas will forget all their regulative principles, and the members of the royal order will become no better than śūdras. The land along the Sindhu River, as well as the districts of Candrabhāgā, Kauntī, and Kāśmīra will be ruled by śūdras, fallen brāhmaṇas, and meat-eaters. Having given up the path of Vedic civilisation, they will have lost all spiritual strength. There will be many such uncivilised kings ruling at the same time, O King Parīkṣit.” (Bhāg. 12.1.36-38).
The Mohammedans ruled over India from 1206 A.D. to 1757 A.D., when they were driven away by the Englishmen. During the Mohammedan rule India fell into inauspiciousness. Temples were destroyed, the Āryan blood was polluted in various ways, the standard of varṇāśrama dharma was diminished, and the discussion of ancient Āryan history was almost stopped.
At present, under the rule of the English, the Āryans are living more peacefully and prosperously. Vedic history and the glories of the Āryans are again being discussed. There is no longer fear of temples being destroyed. In brief, we have been delivered from a great calamity.
The modern scholars have discussed whatever incidents I have mentioned so far and divided the history of India into eight periods, as illustrated in the following chart.
I have given only a hint about the rule of India according to modern calculation. Now I will present the modern opinion regarding the scriptures written by the Āryans. During the rule of the Prajāpatis there were no scriptures written. There were only a few pleasing words. In the beginning there was only praṇava; written script was not yet introduced. There was only one syllable with anusvāra added to it (oṁ). When the Manus’ rule began, other syllables, such as tat sat, appeared. During the rule of the demigods, ancient mantras were composed by joining small words.
*Note: Śrīla Bhaktivinoda wrote this book in 1888. At that time the English had ruled India for 121 years. India became independent on 26 January 1950, so the British ruled India for 183 years. Now India is an independent republic.
The performance of sacrifices began at this time. Gradually ancient poetic meters like Gāyatrī appeared. Cākṣuṣa Manu appeared in the eighth generation from Svāyambhuva Manu. It is said that Lord Matsya appeared during his reign and delivered the Vedas. Perhaps during this time many poetic meters and verses of the Vedas were composed, but all these were only in sound vibration, not written. They were passed on by hearing. After the Veda had remained in this unwritten state for a long time and the number of verses gradually increased, it became difficult to grasp. At that time the sages, headed by Kātyāyana and Āśvalāyana, made memorizing the sūtras of the one Veda easier by composing them after careful consideration. Still, many other mantras were composed after this. When the one Veda became greatly expanded, then Vyāsadeva, after duly considering the subjects, divided the Veda into four and wrote them in book form.
cātur-hotraṁ karma śuddhaṁ prajānāṁ vīkṣya vaidikam
vyadadhād yajña-santatyai vedam ekaṁ catur-vidham
ṛg-yajuḥ-sāmātharvākhyā vedāś catvāra uddhṛtāḥ
“He saw that the sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas were means by which the people’s occupations could be purified. And to simplify the process he divided the one Veda into four, in order to expand them among men. The four divisions of the original sources of knowledge [the Vedas] were made separately.” (Bhāg. 1.4.19-20).
This took place a few years before King Yudhiṣṭhira’s reign. Then Vyāsadeva’s disciples divided those words among themselves.
tatrarg-veda-dharaḥ pailaḥ sāmago jaiminiḥ kaviḥ
vaiśampāyana evaiko niṣṇāto yajuṣām uta
atharvāṅgirasām asset sumantur dāruṇo muniḥ
“After the Vedas were divided into four divisions, Paila Ṛṣi became the professor of the Ṛg Veda, Jaimini the professor of the Sāma Veda, and Vaiśampāyana alone became glorified by the Yajur Veda.” (Bhāg. 1.4.21-22).
Those ṛṣis, who were disciples of Vyāsadeva, then divided the four Vedas into different branches so that people could easily study them.
ta eva vedā durmedhair dhāryante puruṣair yathā
evaṁ cakāra bhagavān vyāsaḥ kṛpaṇa-vatsalaḥ
“Thus the great sage Vyāsadeva, who is very kind to the ignorant masses, edited the Vedas so they might be assimilated by less intellectual men.” (Bhāg. 1.4.24).
It should be now understood that the Ṛg, Sāma, and Yajur Vedas are the most widely respected and quoted.
tasmād ṛcaḥ sāma yajuṁsi
“The mantras of the Ṛg, Sāma, and Yajur Veda emanated from the Supreme Lord.” (Maṇḍuka Upaniṣad).
It seems that all the ancient verses were compiled in these three Vedas. But we cannot neglect the Atharva Veda due to considering it modern, because in the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad (4.5.11) the following verse is found:
asya mahato bhūtasya niśvasitam etad yad ṛg-vedo yajur-vedaḥ sāma-vedo ‘tharvāṅgirasa itihāsaḥ purāṇaṁ vidyā upaniṣadaḥ ślokāḥ sūtrānyānuvyākhyānānyasyai vaitāni sarvāṇi niśvasitāni
“The Ṛg Veda, Yajur Veda, Sāma Veda, and Atharva Veda, the Itihāsas, or histories, the Purāṇas, the Upaniṣads, the ślokas, or mantras chanted by the brāhmaṇas, the sūtras, or accumulations of Vedic statements, as well as vidyā, transcendental knowledge, and the explanations of the sūtras and mantras are all emanations from the breathing of the great Personality of Godhead.”
The Bṛhad-āraṇyaka cannot be considered modern because it was composed before the writings of Vyāsadeva.
In the above-mentioned verse there is a description of the histories and Purāṇas, which are both Vedic literatures that contain ancient topics similar to those found in the Vedas. Whatever arguments Jaimini Ṛṣi presented in order to establish the Vedas as eternal are all for the benefit of the neophytes. Swan-like personalities should accept the purport of swan-like Jaimini’s teachings. The purport of his teachings is as follows: All truths discovered are related to the Supreme Lord, therefore they are eternal. Those who describe the Vedic truths as temporary by citing the examples kikaṭa, naicasaka, and pramaṅgada are not aspiring to understand the truth. This is Jaimini’s conclusion.
Now I will establish the dating of the smṛti-śāstras according to the opinion of modern scholars. Manu-saṁhitā is the first and foremost of all smṛtis. There is no evidence that the Manu-saṁhitā was written during the time of Manu. When Manu became a prominent ruler, the Prajāpatis had him establish and live in a city named Barhiṣmatī, just outside Brahmāvarta, so that his sons would remain a separate class. From that time on the Prajāpatis called themselves brāhmaṇas and accepted the Manus as kṣatriyas. In this way castes other than brāhmaṇas were introduced. Manu also gave due respect to the brāhmaṇas and arranged for the different occupational duties of the different castes with the help of ṛṣis such as Bṛghu. The ṛṣis approved Manu’s arrangement. At the time, however, the various occupational duties were not written down. Later, when the brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas fought, Paraśurāma appointed someone from the Bhṛgu dynasty who knew those arrangements to write everything down in the form of verses. The duties suitable for vaiśyas and śūdras were also included. About 600 years after the battle of Kurukṣetra the present Manu scriptures were written down with the assistance of another Paraśurāma, whose position was similar to the original Paraśurāma. That more recent Paraśurāma had appeared in the dynasty of the Āryans and lived in a southern province. There is a calendar that was begun from the time of his birth still current in that province. This calendar began 1176 B.C. Based on this calendar, Respected Prasanna Kumar Öhākura wrote in the introduction of his book, Vivāda-cintāmaṇi, that the scriptures of the Manus were first written at that time. This is wrong, however, for we find references to the Manu scriptures in the Chāndogya śrutī.
manur vai yat kiñcid avadat tad bheṣajam bheṣajatāyāḥ
“Anything that Manu has said is helpful in a practical way.” (Chāndogya).
The original Paraśurāma was a contemporary of Rāmacandra. There is no doubt that during his time brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas entered into an alliance after establishing the system of varṇāśrama. But in the scriptures of the Manus it is stated that the two oceans were the borders of Āryāvarta, and there are references to a few castes, such as Cinā, who existed halfway through the Manus’ reign. Therefore, it is to be concluded that these literatures were expanded at a later date. The conclusion is that the writing of the Manu scriptures was begun from the time of Manu and continued up to 1176 B.C. Other religious scriptures were written in various other countries before or after this period.
Although the Rāmāyaṇa is counted as poetry, it can also be called a history. It was written by Vālmīki Ṛṣi, who was a contemporary of Rāmacandra. We don’t feel that the current Rāmāyaṇa was written by Vālmīki alone. By considering the conversation between Nārada and Vālmīki and the recitation of the Rāmāyaṇa in Rāmacandra’s assembly by Lava and Kuśa, it is understood that Vālmīki composed many of the verses glorifying the characteristics of Rāmacandra in the Rāmāyaṇa, but after some time one scholar elaborated on Vālmīki’s work. I think that the present day Rāmāyaṇa was propagated after the composition of the Mahābhārata, because while chastising Jābāli, Rāmacandra accused him of being polluted by the Śakya philosophy. Please refer to the Sanskrit Rāmāyaṇa printed under the direction of the King of Burdwan. It is felt that the present day Rāmāyaṇa was written around 500 B.C. It is said that the Mahābhārata was composed by Vyāsadeva, and there is no objection to this. But it cannot be accepted that the Vyāsa who divided the Vedas and received the title Vedavyāsa at the time of Yudhiṣṭhira was the same Vyāsa. The reason for this is that in the Mahābhārata there are descriptions of kings such as Janmejaya, who ruled after Yudhiṣṭhira. There are specific references about the Manu scriptures in the Mahābhārata, therefore the present day Mahābhārata must have been written some time after 1000 B.C.
purāṇaṁ manavo dharmaḥ sāṅgo vedaś cikitsitam
ājñā-siddhāni catvāri na hastavyāni hetubhiḥ
“The Purāṇas, the Manu dharma-śāstras, the Vedas with all their corollaries, and the works on therapeutical medicine were all written following higher authority and shouldn’t be refuted by logical argument.” (Mahābhārata).
From this it appears that Vedavyāsa first made a draft of the Mahābhārata, and later on another Vyāsa elaborated on it and presented that under the name of Mahābhārata. One learned scholar from the śūdra community named Lomaharṣaṇa recited Mahābhārata before the sages at Naimiṣāraṇya. Perhaps he created the present day Mahābhārata, because during his time the original 2,400 verses that were written by Vyāsadeva were expanded to 100,000 verses. Now we have to consider when Lomaharṣaṇa lived. It is stated that he was killed by Baladeva. From this incident it is to be understood that if one becomes a learned devotee, he should be respected as a brāhmaṇa even if he is a śūdra. The Vaiṣṇava community of that time created this incident in order to confirm this statement. Actually that assembly gathered long after the time of Baladeva. The Lomaharṣaṇa who is said to be Vyāsadeva’s disciple may not have even been the speaker of that assembly. Maybe Lomaharṣaṇa, the disciple of Vyāsadeva, was killed while speaking on Vedic history during the time of Baladeva. Much later, even after the conversation between Janmejaya and Vaiśampāyana, a person named Sauti recited Mahābhārata. The previous incident was then connected to that recitation in the course of time. Since there is no special mention of Buddha in the Mahābhārata it is understood that Mahābhārata was recited by Sauti. This Sauti was the last Vyāsa who composed Mahābhārata. It is understood that he was a resident of Puśkara, near Ajmer, for in his book on holy places he described Puśkara as the first holy place to be visited. Before the reign of Ajātaśatru and after the reign of Bṛhadratha’s descendants. If we study the descriptions of Naimiṣāraṇya, then we come to know that when the peaceful ṛṣis saw the end of the Candra and Sūrya dynasties, they felt unprotected due to the absence of kṣatriyas. Therefore, they went to the secluded Naimiṣāraṇya and passed their lives discussing the scriptures. There is one more belief about the assembly of Naimiṣāraṇya. For some time after the battle of Kurukṣetra and before the coronation of King Nandivardhana the Vaiṣṇava religion was very prominent. The main conclusion of the Vaiṣṇavas is that every living entity has a right to cultivate spiritual life. But according to the opinion of the brāhmaṇas, persons of castes other than brāhmaṇa are ineligible for liberation. Sober persons of other castes may be born again as brāhmaṇas to endeavour for liberation. Because of these two conflicting opinions, the Vaiṣṇavas highly regarded the scholars of Sūta Gosvāmī’s line and thus established them at Naimiṣāraṇya as superior to the brāhmaṇas. Some of the brāhmaṇas there who were less qualified and controlled by wealth also accepted the scholars of Sūta’s line as superior. Those less qualified brāhmaṇas defied the doctrines of karma-kāṇḍa and accepted Sūta as their spiritual master. They took shelter of Vaiṣṇava religious principles, which are the only means of crossing the influence of Kali, the abode of sin.
kalim āgatam ājñāya kṣetre ‘smin vaiṣṇave vayam
āsīnā dīrgha-satreṇa kathāyāṁ sakṣaṇā hareḥ
tvaṁ naḥ sandarśito dhātrā dustaraṁ nistitīrṣatām
kaliṁ sattva-haraṁ puṁsāṁ karṇa-dhāra ivārṇavam
“Knowing well that the age of Kali has already begun, we are assembled here in this holy place to hear at great length the transcendental message of Godhead and in this way perform sacrifice. We think that we have met Your Goodness by the will of providence, just so that we may accept you as captain of the ship for those who desire to cross the difficult ocean of Kali, which deteriorates all the good qualities of a human being.” (Bhāg.1.1.21-22).