REWRITING ANCIENT HISTORY
Short comings in the existing History writing:
1. “Until a lion writes its story, the story of hunting will always be of the Hunter” – African Proverb.
Similarly, every country should write its own history. Unfortunately, being a colony of the British, our history was written by the colonial masters. Moreover, that history was taken to our children through the school and college curriculum. Alternative ideas, native ideas were not encouraged or not allowed to prevail. All along the Indian history is the history of the ‘looser’ as Indians are made to believe that they lost every war they waged against any foreign invader. In other words, the native resistance, native glory, native achievements in social and political field rarely recognised and if any always down played. These colonial masters had vested interest of preserving their rule over their colonies, for which along with political supremacy they required psychological supremacy over the subjects they ruled. To achieve this, they systematically ridiculed Indian classical works like Puranas, translated the Vedas without the guidance of the native scholars and missed much of esoteric, symbolic and inner purport of the passages when they translated. They published those translations in the form of books claimed that they have truly presented to the world masses the secrets of holy Indian texts, the Vedas and Upanishads. By losing the inner meanings of the verses and mantras of rishis, the texts appeared as a collection of poems in praise of elements of nature in most of the cases. The Indra who is praised in nearly 600 places has become a mere Aryan tribal God whose divine help is sought by the Aryan tribes in India in their fight against natives of India whom later English men identified with Dravidians and ended in identifying them with people of South India.
Max Muller, William Jones and others were staunch Christians and believed Bible as the most authentic historical document on human history. According to Max Muller, the Bible is an infallible document on human history. Based on Bible, all western scholars in 18th and 19th century believed that new life forms evolved on land only after the end of the Great Deluge, as reported in Bible and Noah was the pioneer to the new creation and spreading of life forms on earth. Thus, they fixed Noah Ark reaching the Sinai mountain as an event that happened in 3000 B. C. Based on this date, Max Muller gave the date of Rigveda as 1500 B. C., Brahmanas 1200 B. C. and Vedanga Jyothisha as 500 B. C. When strongly protested by H. H. Wilson and others about fixing a very late date to these texts in spite of internal astronomical evidences in the passages. Max Muller conceded the date of Vedanga Jyothisha as 1450 B. C., but refused to alter the other dates. Though Megasthenus and Aarian had stated that Indians of their times were able to remember clearly 167 generations before them and the number of years each king ruled, each dynasty ruled after Mahabharata war, they refused to accept those dates as fictitious literary accounts unconfirmed by epigraphy, coins and archaeology. The Europeans and English men in particular uniformly discredited the great antiquity of Indian civilization as we claimed; they also held the same view in all their colonies in Africa, S. E. Asia, West Indies and South America.
2. In order to put the people of India psychologically down not only did they ridiculed the classical texts, but also started telling that all the Indian achievements in the field of astronomy, science sculpture, art, mathematics and other sciences were not originally ours but were gifted to us by Greeks, Arabs and other foreign powers who invaded and later settled in India. Both William Bentley and Diwan Bagadoor Samikannu Pillai, one English and the other Indian, wrote derogatively on the great Indian astronomers like Arya Bhatta, Varahamihira, Baskara II, Valmiki and Vyasa. They called Indians by names and concluded in their books that Indians are ungrateful people, who failed to acknowledge the Knowledge they received from the foreign countries. Interestingly, when the British introduced maps in schools they showed the countries in Mercator Projection. In this projection, Great Britain which is 1/13 of Indian size appears as larger than India and many of her other colonies. This created a psychological opinion in the minds of the English children that the colonies are smaller in size than their country and in the minds of children in colonies that Great Britain is larger than of India and other colonies.
3. Indian history as written by Englishmen is one of long string of incidences of Indians losing battles to whoever invaded India. This history was taught in schools and even after 70 years of independence we are unable to throw the burden and ready to write a history of our own through purely from an Indian angle. We still have a large number of scholars trained in the western tradition believing in the European method of historical chronology; they are ready to jump on any one who suggests rewriting the Indian history based on Indian perception.
4. Historian relay more on epigraphy, copper plates, coins and archaeological evidences as science for writing history. There is, in India, a mountain of written material available in the form of Vedas, Itihasas, Puranas and other literary works. There is a lot of oral tradition existing in different parts of India. Both the sources mentioned above are to a great extent discarded by the historians, while rewriting history. Even while accepting them, dating of the incidents are done in an arbitrary manner. For example, Aryabhata, in his Mathematical book Aryabhatiyam, in the first sloka gives the date of his composition. Still Bentley refused to accept that date and assigned him to a period two centuries later. Basing on Aryabhata’s date fixed by himself, Bentley pushed dates of all Indian astronomers a few centuries later and this made Aryabhata II (11th Century) as a contemporary of Emperor Akbar.
Source of Indian History:
1. Literary Sources:
Among the many sources available to write history, the literary sources are the most extensive but least used one. Vedas, Itihasas, Puranas, Kavyas
and all literary works contain in some form or the other, some amount of historical information.
2. Specific texts in various sciences:
Even books on agriculture, medicine etc provides ample information about places, peoples and their way of life.
3. Coins, Plates and epigraphy:
These are the most loved and reliable source of information for writing Indian History. However, in reading the language in the coin and fixing the date and the king who issued it, element of arbitrariness enters in the minds of historians.
This is the most important source of historical research. However, we find in the case of Indus valley civilization that in spite of the fact that 1200 cities are distributed over half a million Sq. Km. area, we are unable to identify the people. In spite of availability of many skeletons in many places Paleo Pathological studies (the study which recreates the old man using the skeletal remains) are not developed. This is a modern method to understand how the early man looked.
5. Astronomical texts:
We have a number of astronomical texts available in India, written continuously for a period of 3500 years. We have Vedanga Jyothisha, Surya Siddhanta, PanchaSiddanta, Arya Bhateeya, Bruhat Samhita and many more written by Vedic Rishis and many others over a period of thousands of years. All over India, Hindu Pancangams (Calendars) were prepared taking that station as the meridian even up to 19th century (without using telescope or any other modern instruments or methods and purely based on traditional method). However, the details available in the astronomical texts are not given importance by the historians and the authors are ridiculed. The astronomical information available in the literary texts like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas are ignored while studying the history of India.
6. Oral Traditions:
These play a great part in preserving the history of a nation. In India, especially much information was committed to memory in the form of Vedas, Itihasas, Puranas, the stories and genealogy of kings, the great bottles between the kings etc. More over famines, floods, great natural calamities are also transmitted from generation to generation by oral transmission. Many historical details of personalities like Desingu Rajan, Kattabommu, Marudu brothers and events like Battle of Haldighat and many more available today to us through the oral tradition only. There are no written documents about them. Many of the victories of native Hindu Kings who fought with Huns, Greeks, Afghans, Moguls and British are available through folk lore only. There are no records about Saint Madhusoodna Saraswati (16th century during the period of Akbar) who created an army of saints to fight Mogul tyranny against Hindu society, the story of Ananda Matha movements, Gaddhar movement and many more are remembered only by oral traditions. However, the historians ignore them and paint a picture that the British were opposed only by a few kings in their long period of stay in India.
Caution to be exercised while using the Indian literary sources for rewriting ancient Indian History and evolution of Earth.
Though tremendous amount of information is available in Vedas, Puranas and other literary sources for reconstructing both the evolution history of the earth and History of ancient India, the researchers should be extremely careful and intelligent enough to segregate the relevant historical information from the texts. While going through the texts some of the problems encountered are:
1. The books are written in the form of Poetry, where as in other counties like Greece, Rome, Persia etc. the books are written in Prose form. Understanding the meaning of the prose passages is relatively easy. But in India the writers are great scholars in Sanskrit and hence most of the literary works are in the form of poetry. So, the words are arranged in a manner to satisfy the ‘Candas’ or metre and here we have to rearrange the words in a prose form before trying to understand the meaning of the verse. They are also great scholars and hence multiple meanings are possible in one sloka. For example, astronomers like Aryabhatta in their invocation verse (usually the first verse in their book) pay obscene to their ‘Ishta devata’ and also give the year of writing their book or year of their birth along with the name of their father. Usually the year of birth etc. are given in a word of three or four letters written in Katapayadi Sankya. So only a clever person can decipher the sloka properly. Sanskrit is a beautiful language and more than one meaning is derived to each word. Hence, scholarship is required to understand the texts. For example, one sloka in Bhagavata Purana XII Skanda, which tells about the time gap between the date of Parkshit, the grandson of Arjuna and Nanda is interpreted in six different ways by different scholars.
2. Books have been written in Sanskrit, Pali, Telugu and many other languages. Different scripts have also been adopted by scholars. Brahmi, Mythili, Granta, Telugu, Vattezheththu, Kannada etc depending upon the king who ruled the region, the region the king belonged to etc. Today we are far away from those days and a historian will find it difficult to read the texts even if they are available.
3. In Puranas, Ithihasas and Vedas information is available on three aspects namely esoteric portions in praise of Gods and philosophy; the geographical description and scientific ideas; and the historical information. All our rishis who wrote those books were great intellectuals and hence well versed in various subjects. While they are talking about a subject they will throw profound ideas on another subject. Thus we find in Ramayana, Aranyakanda when Jatayu, the eagle king encounters Ravana, he says, “When you eat a food, it should be palatable, digestible and acceptable; This is a subject related to Ayurveda. Similarly, in Yuddhakanda, when Rama and Lakshmana were fighting with Rakshasas in Lanka, “They (Rama and Lakshmana) resembled like Poova Proshtapada and Uttara Proshtapada stars.”, clearly a suggestion about some astronomical position of significance.
However, information and ideas are conveyed in the form of parables, allegorical stories transmuted parables and by clear statements. Often many great cataclysmic events of the past are given in the form of Devasura wars. In a Puranic anecdote they will convey a scientific idea.
4. Use of Katapayadi Sankya and Bhuta Sankya :
From Vedic periods, our people have been using unique number system. Since in those days, there was no clock (with division of 12 hours etc.) they used a time scale of thirty naligai for a day time and thirty for night time. For all this they gave names. When a name of the time is mentioned people would know automatically, which portion of day time or night time it refers to. More over for large numbers like thousand, ten thousand, a million, crore and even numbers of higher values they used specific names. Similarly, they had special names for the combination of thithis and nakshatras. For example, the star Rohini with 8th Lunar day of waning moon is known as ‘Jayanti’. Though the word ‘Ratri’ refers to night, the word ‘nisi’ also usually meant night, but particularly a time little before mid night.
To denote numbers, words were used in Katapayadi Sankya, unique to Sanskrit. There are two types of Katapayadi Sankya, one created by Arya Bhatta I and the other by later astronomers. The second version is more convenient and wildly used in most of the Sanskrit literature. More over in the Katapayadi Sankya the number is reversed before reading.
5. Astronomical Dating:
Many times, dates are given with reference to astronomical position of stars, while mentioning the star name they give it with reference to the presiding deity (ati devata) of the star. Thus, when Valmiki gives the birth chart of Rama, he mentions Rama was born in a star whose presiding deity is ‘Aditi’, the supreme mother of the Devas. Unless the reader has got proficiency to some extent on Indian Astrology and astronomy, he cannot understand or decipher the astronomical details in the passage. Overall, we can say, one cannot understand the astronomical and numerical information given in our classical texts, unless they have a sound knowledge of Hindu number system, Indian mathematical principles, a sound knowledge in Hindu astrology and basic knowledge in astronomy.
6. Mismatch of information in Puranas and other texts:
We have 18 Mahapuranas. 18 Upapuranas, two Epics and many kavyas and other works. Though same incident is mentioned in two texts, there may be differences in the accounts presented. Mostly such differences will not affect the general description of the theme or idea ported in these passages. Often lists of kings many not tally text to text, Puranas to Purana or Puranas to Epics. Still the differences are minor and will not affect the general understanding of the texts.
7. There are apparent contradictions in the names, places; multiple locations of domicile of rishis etc are common. But most of them can be reconciled when we match information available in various Puranas and Itihasas.
Most of the present-day Indian Historians do not know Sanskrit. They have only read the Sanskrit works through their English translations. They have no respect for traditional scholars. Hence they come to conclusions based on wrong judgements.
8. India was ruled many Mohammadans and English for a long time. After Independence the subsequent secular governments is not interested in unearthing old historical sites, though they are innumerable in number. Though Dwaraka like Underwater cities are partially explored, conclusions are not drawn and
Books are not published. Though Indian ‘land sat’ is passing through ‘Ramasethu’ every two hours for the past 20 years, we have only one photograph on Ramasethu given by NASA. Though excavations have revealed the ancient city of Ayodhya and Sri Krishna Janma Bhumi at Mathura are the original historical sites of two historical persons, the leading historians refuse
to acknowledge the fact.
Purport of the Puranas, Vedas and Ithihasas:
We can generalise the purport of our sacred texts into three main groups they are:
- Esoteric – bhakti, rituals, pilgrimages, austerities etc.
- Nature description and evolution of vice verse and nature
- Evolution of man and his history. Our research mainly centres on the second and the third point i.e., evolution of Earth and early history of India.
Evolution of Earth:
In Abrahmic religion, creation is a one time incident that happened at the hands of God within a short period of a week. All elements the earth, the creation of organisms and human evolution happened during this period. Similarly, the Extraction of the World is also destined to come within the
next 2000 years. Hence the Creation and destruction of the world, and all
life forms is an action of God with in a time frame of 8000 years.
In Hinduism the Creation is not only a divine event but it is a process. In the initial stages the Creation of elements happened within a short period. (MarkandeyaPruana states that the elements were created suddenly similar to flash of lightening. But subsequently creations are one of evolving through a complex process, taking place in a span of long period of time. The Indian Creation -deluge – dormant period takes a long period. The creation of earth and species in them are taking a time span of 4.3 billion years called Kalpa, within this Kalpa period, there are shorter periods called Manvantara, Caturyuga, Yuga etc. The Puranas clearly state that after extinction of species there is a long dormant period of earth before the earth is ready for creation again.
Holms, who wrote the book ‘Geology of the Earth’ has stated that the Indian theory of age of earth is nearer to modern estimate of evolution of earth i.e., 4.6 billion years. The Indian concept of evolution (srshti) and Deluge (pralaya) are two actions which happen at great interval of time and they are permanently repetitive. (Where as in Abrahamic religion they are one-time event)
Our Seers were able to hypothesise very complex theories on evolution
of elements, the Earth and evolution of species on the earth, the changes in climate and wind systems, evolution of human societies, civilisation etc, Bhagavata Purana, Visnu Purana, and Markandeya Purana are very well suited to study the evolution of the earth as the time span they have given for Dasavatar of Vishnu, is very long, i.e.,. 4.3 billion years. Though Siva, Vishnu, Devi, Karthikeya, Indra, Vinayaka have engaged in battles with Asuras, the Dasavatar of Vishnu is unique as it is highly connected to earth history (However the sequence of Vishnu’s Dasavatar should not be confused with the popular one – Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamaana, Parasurama, Balarama,Krishna and Kalki)
There are a lot of similarities of the ideas of evolution of earth in Puranas and in the modern geography and geology. The foremost aspect that is in favour of comparison of Puranic information with modern science is the age of earth as estimated by modern science (4.6 billion years) and Puranas (a little over 4.3 billion years) Many geological events that had taken place on earth analysed the modern earth scientists are also available in Puranas in almost same sequence. Like modern science, Puranas also believe that creation of species are the result of slow multiple events which are interspaced by long period of gaps. Bhagavata Purana gives elaborately the time-based evolution on earth.
Our Seers were great thinkers. Through meditations and by observation, they have postulated lot of ideas about the earth’s evolution and Human history. These ideas are found in numerable places in Vedas, Upanishads, Ithihasas, and Puranas.
In India from olden days, the spirit of questioning and enquiry was encouraged. Alternative ideas, theories are also finding their place in our sacred texts without discrimination and passed on to generation after generation. For astronomers and mathematicians also accepted many of those ideas and they further contributed to them.
When invasions like Greeks, Huns, Moguls and others happen, the social structure is disturbed due to the new rule of occupational forces. Since there are no kings to support scholars, literary works came to a halt. Since the economy also affected, people are unable to organise reading and teaching of Puranas, Epics. When Buddhism and Jainism and new cults emerge, they change the mind of the people from their earlier religious practices and reading literature. After few centuries, for want of followers the Vedic texts were to a great extent discarded. Once again, when Hinduism resurrected by great people like Adi Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva and others, books are to be collected from many places and or they have to be written again. In this process lot of works are lost and mistakes pop up when the texts are reconstructed. Sometimes, for want of continuation of teaching for a long time, the much of the original meanings of the texts are lost. Hence, we find old commentaries were lost and even great men like Ramanujacharya and Madhvacharya found it difficult to write a commentary to Brahma Sutra without consulting previous works of Dunkar, Badarayana etc. During the Muslim period, libraries at Nalanda and other places were burnt. Many villages were evacuated in haste fearing plundering of properties, abduction of women and forceful conversion of people ti Islam and destruction of holy places. In many areas propagation of religion was prevented and in some places highly restricted. Even great saints like Madhusudana Saraswati, who lived during the period of Akbar had to create armies made up of men and women, saints to take to arms to preserve women, Vedas and temples. He created four groups viz., Puri, Ananda etc. and those organisations still exist, in a subdued manner. During British period assault on our religion and society took place in two ways. Colonial rule deprived the natives of all their economic activities. Men and women were used for the purpose to satisfy colonial interest. In the education side studying in native language was discouraged. New history, new social laws, new legal system, new revenue system, restrictions on Indian enterprise etc. made people very poor and made millions to move out of their abodes where they were living for a thousand years. More over millions were moved to plantations in foreign countries like Fiji, Srilanka, South Africa, Malaysia and other places. Thus, various factors, time and again, have affected the continuation of learning and thus passing of the great Scientific Knowledge of Ancient India to our generation.
Like mathematician Ramanujam, the rishis of India and our mathamaticians (especially of Kerala school of Mathematics) have expressed their ideas in books, which have to wait 19th and 20th century for proof and gain acceptance. Without understanding this, a concerted effort is made from abroad, actively supported by people within India, who profess that India possessed no original scientific ideas like the Greeks and the Romans. Even when they are confronted with concepts which are purely scientific, they shift their statements and say that the concepts were adopted in India. We can present many ideas to prove that they are wrong and prejudiced. Let us compare some of the ideas that our sacred risis have given through the Vedas, Puranas and Ithihahas and how they are similar to modern ideas (ideas of the 19th and 20th century). Before that, let us have the Indian traditional time scale to appreciate the Indian Geographical concepts.
In million years before 2 billion years Padma Kalpa
0 – 306
1650 – 1956
306 – 612
1344 – 650
612 – 918
1038 – 1344
732 – 1038
1224 – 1530
406 – 732
1530 – 1836
120 – 426
1836 – 1956
0 – 120
14 Manu period makes one day of Brahma, called Kalpai.e., 4.3 billion years. At the end of the period Prakritik Pralaya happens when all the worlds are destroyed and all elements merge with one Prakriti or Pradhana the primordial creation substance.
- Puranic Idea (P.I.): When earth was created (Padma kalpa) there was
so much turbulence of waves. Brahma abode into himself. Then the earth, (liquid surface) calmed.
Modern Idea (M.I.): In the beginning earth was in molten state. Moon wasvery near (22000kms from this) This waded huge convection
currents on earth surface. In 10,000 years, moon moved away and the surface of earth calmed.
- P.I.: Many asuras like Somerka, Madhukaitaba folded earth as a mat and carried it into the ocean.
M.I.: In the beginning the earth crust was so thin layer (a few inches only thick) hence often disappeared into ocean and in earth mantle.
- P.I: In the Swaymbhuva Manu period (1900- 1600m) when Daksa Prajapati I was ruling he cursed Chandra to have waning moon
M.I: Geology also predicts that about 1500 – 1200 m.years period revolution moon in its orbit formed the phases of moon (waxing and waning moon).
- P.I: The present ecliptic phenomenon came into existence during 4thManvantra period after Amruta Mathana (700m years)
M.I: The ecliptic phenomenon is recent one in geological history.
- P.I: In every manvantara Pruthu is born and recreate to the continents.
M.I: Super continents are born and destroyed due to continental drift.
So far we have evidence for 35 such super continents. First super continent destroyed about 400 billion yearsafter origin of Earth. Later, Nima, Rhodera and Gonwana were the super continents.. There are possibilities that at least 3 more occasions such continents might have formed and destroyed.
- P.I: King Pruthu using his bow pushed the mountains to the western parts of continent and they stopped moving.
M.I: Mountains have roots. They go deep into Sima layer in the crust. This prevents further movements of continents.
- P.I: Himalayas are 16000 yojanas in height and 9000 yogjanas inside earth.
M.I: Part of Himalayas submerged in the crust. Everest the first Surveyer General of India discovered this during his geodetic survey of India in 1857.
- P.I: Vishnu killed Madhu and Kailabha under the ocean. In order to prevent the pliable, klastic earth not to be folded again and taken into ocean, he made 12 flats (2 heads, 2trunks, 4 hands and 4 legs) from the medhas of flesh of the Asuras and firmly placed them under the ocean so that the earth may not be folded again hence forth.
M.I: The theory of continental drift was supported by the theory of Plate tectonic which evolved in sixties. According to this theory there are large sections of bottom surface of crust below the oceans and continents which move as plates. When they move due to forces from inside the earth, continents and oceans are formed or changed. There are 12 major plates and many minor plates.
9. P.I.: When Pracedas returned to earth after doing austerities under water for 10,000 divine years (3.6 million years), they saw the earth covered with forest and became angry. This happened in the end of Raivata Manu period (400-700 m years).
M.I.: during carboniferous age (about 350 m years) for the first time the earth was covered with maxim forest. The vegetation too came from ocean to land.
10. P.I.: Brahma said to king Raivata, “you have travelled from earth to Brahmaloka. It has appeared as a short time for you. But in your earth (Bhoomi) yugas have passed. Please go back. When you reach the earth again, the period will be 28th Dvapara end of Vaivasvata manvantara. Give your daughter Revati to Balarama in marriage”.
M.I: Only in 1930-40 Albert Einstein gave the theory of relativity. According to him the time in earth and the space vary.
11. P.I: There are 49 maruts (winds) in each manvantara. 22 maruts will be common and 27 maruts will be newly created.
M.I: the thermal wind belts, mountain valley winds, land and sea breeze and special winds will always be there (in spite of any continental drifts or forming new continents). Other wind systems depend on configuration of oceans and land.
Like the statements above, we can show many examples wherein Puranic concepts are similar to modern geological and geographical ideas. The 19th century and 20th century scientific advancements and new theory building have helped us to understand that our Rishis who lived 3000 years ago were very good in hypothesising.
(We have still many theories on evolution of earth in Vedas, mechanical theory, artistic theory, philosophical theory etc. which the modern science has not applied its mind to still. Similarly, the first sequence of elemental creation i.e. Pradhana (Prakriti) – Mahat – Ahankara – Tanmatra - 5 elements – Srshti is to be explained in modern terms. Similarly the concept of ‘Pancikarana’ needs explanation from modern science.
The present history books divides the historical ages into Vedic period (100 B.C.), Ithihasa period (300 B.C.), Puranic period (300-600 A.D.), Hindu period (300 B.C.- 900 A.D.), Muslim period (1000-1500 A.D.), British period (1500-1947), Modern period or post Independent India. They consider Indus valley civilization is earlier to Vedas and it is native and Vedic civilisation that came from outside. The divide-and-rule policy of the British made them to adopt this method of historical divisions. According to them Indus valley civilization was oldest in India and it has no connection to Vedic Aryans. The main reason of disappearance of Harappan civilization is due to the destruction caused to the settlements and her people by invading Aryans. Aryans settled in Ganga valley about 1000 B.C and created many urban settlements.
Well-meaning Indologists Subhak Kak, Koto Ventachalam, D.C. Sarkar, Prof. Srinivasa Raghavan, Raj Vedam and many others believe that there was no Aryan invasion on India and the theory is a myth. In not a single place so called of Aryan literature starting from the Vedas there is any reference to show that they came from a foreign land. Archaeologists have found samples of grain in Ganga Valley and they have dated the period of agriculture to 6000 B.C. Excavations in Lothal and underwater studies (75 mtrs. below the present sea level) in the coast of Dvaraka has exposed settlements which were extended to that area as the sea level was low at that time. Some of the artefacts are dated back to 9500 B.C.
Many of the artefacts recovered in Mohenjo-Daro, Harappan sites,
show typical Vedic cultural features i.e. swastic, lady doll with Sindhoor in the fore-head, namaste pose in the dolls, asanas, sivalinga, lotus pose of the Yogi and many more indicate that Indus valley civilisation is the continuation of Vedis civilization and it should have flourished in that area after the end of the last glaciation about 10,000 B.C.
The discovery of Sarasvati River channel (the present Hakra-Ghagra channel) and study of changes in climate caused due to monsoon failure, formation of Elnino current around the west coast of South America, disappearance of snow fields on Himalayas, earth movement in the valley of Saravathi river, and river capture (loss of tributaries by Sarasvati river) seem to be the major reasons for the settlements in Indus valley to move to other parts of India. Indian Indologists summarily dismiss the confrontation theory between Indus valley settlers and Vedic people and consider it as continuous civilization.
Ramayana, Mahabharata and Vayu Purana give details about a society developing in the Indian sub-continent from primitive to very advanced level over a period of 10,000 years. The climatic changes taking place over the land, the evolution of society from primitive hunting to advanced stage of urban life are talked in detail in the above mentioned texts. Indeed they are very similar to 19th and 20th century of European ideas. As we know that Indian sacred books were translated into English, French and German languages it would have influenced the ideas of European scholars in formulating theories on social advancement though they have not acknowledged it in any place. When Malthus wrote that over population will lead to famine and war he could have been influenced by Indian Puranas as nowhere in west (Christian, Greek,
Rome) this concept is found.
Ancient Indian History should be classified into (a) Pre-Vedic Period, (b) Vedic Period, (c) Puranic Period, (d) Itihasic Period, (e) Post Mahabharata Period (f) Mouryan Period and so on.
(a). Pre-Vedic Period: This period refers to the period of cave dwellers in India. They have discovered hundreds of caves as abodes of ancient groups of homosapians, in India. They have recovered their artefacts, recorded their drawings etc. There are still a lot of areas left unexplored. However, there is no attempt made to study the inter relationships between groups and no special studies on these settlements available. In text books they cover only a few pages.
(b). Vedic Period: Vedic Period refers to a fairly established settled society. Religious practices were established. Fairly well distributed human groups called ‘Janapadas’ were distributed in different parts of Sindhu-Saraswati-Ganga region, Himalayan region was also fairly habited.
(c). Puranic Period: Presently Indian scholars are of the opinion that the Puranas were written between 3rd to 10th century A. D. Some portions which refer to Mohammedans and Milechas have given an impression that these Puranas which contain such information have been completed in 14th or 15th century A. D.
According to H. H. Wilson, F. E. Pargiter, Alexander Cunningham, Cole Broke and many Indian scholars, the Puranas are really historical chronicles. So, they carry information about pre-historic people, Vedic period, later Itihasa Period and Post Itihasa Periods. In this respect as time passes, when they are rewritten they add information about Mohammadans etc. This is similar to our modern history, where they go on adding new periods along with information on ancient periods. In this way Vayu Purana explains the life of people in Krta Yuga as the life of people of aborigines in India. When it describes life of people in Ttreta Yuga it represents the life of Indian during the Vedic and Upanishadic periods. The history of Indians at the end of Treta Yuga and Dwapara Yuga is the life of people during the Itihasic periods. The Kali Yuga represents the life of Indians in post Mahabharata period. The Puranic period refers to a period when external forces/ people of groups occupied parts of India and frequent fights were engaged between local population and outsiders.
(d). Itihasa Period: This period can be divided into two parts. Early Itihasa Period i. e., Ramayana Period and Later Itihasa Period i.e., Mahabharata Period. There is a long-time gap between Ramayana and Mahabharata Periods.
Ramayana Period: During this period, more kingdoms in Sind-Saraswati-Ganga valley. Fewer settlements were in Peninsula and western India. Distinctive groups of people/ tribes lived in many parts of Himalayas, Deccan and Assam. Vanaras, Kinnaras, Kim Purushas, Yakshas, the rishis are some of the important groups. Climate was more conducive. Though agriculture was practiced, irrigation was not practiced in most of the places. In Western India also the climate was good. External occupational forces were completely routed and permanently prevented from occupying the main land.
Mahabharata Period: This period is identified around 3100 B. C. Rainfall was low. Irrigation was well developed. Systematic agriculture was developed and spread though out India. The Vanaras, the Rishis like earlier tribe merged with other groups. Many kingdoms were in Vindhya region, South India and Western India. India traded through four trade routes with rest of the world.
(e). Post Mahabharata Period: This period refers to various dynasties which ruled India from the period of Janamejaya to Nandas for about two thousand years. Puranas give the names of important dynasties, the names of kings, the length of the period each dynasty ruled etc. Though there are discrepancies in the list of kings, the error is minor (or) less than 10%. Some of the important dynasties are: Brhadratha, Pradyta, Sisunaga and Nanda.
There are large gaps in the present history writing. Due importance to be given to Kashmir kings (Mihira Kula, Tara Pida, Chandra Pida and Lalitaditya etc.). The South Indian history is only given as a foot note. So, the long list of Chola kings, Ceras, Pandyas, Pallavas, Vijaya Nagara empire, Marathas, Kings of assam and many more. The main victories of the Indian kings against the invaders should be brought to light. Proper maps should be prepared to show the different empires at different periods, as visuals will have a great impact on people and young students in particular.
In India there were many great woman rulers and they have heroically resisted Afghans, Moguls and European powers. They should find a proud place in our history texts.
All along Puranas and Epics are not taken as historic documents. H. H. Wilson, who translated Vishnu Purana into English, F. E. Pargiter, who translated Markandeya Purana into English, Colebroke and Alexander Cunningham are well meaning English writers who emphasised that Puranas should be taken as authentic records for rewriting ancient Indian history.
Sri Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute is encouraging writings on Geography and History of India as presented in our sacred literature. In this connection already a book ‘Caturyuga Calendar’ has been published in 2015. This book highlights difficulties in using the written records in India. An attempt is also made to present our history of Vaivasvata Manu period for
about 3,00,000 years (divine years, taking 12,000 years as one Catur Yuga). Another book is attempted to show how the Hindu concept of Vadavagni contains many modern ideas.
Dictionary Project: Those who love ancient Indian history face a problem while reading/recreating history, i.e., they are not able to identify most of the places referred to in the texts, not able to identify the mountains and rivers. Hence, such places and incidents connected to those places are simply dismissed as mythological. Actually, these places are still remembered by local people, many mounds represent the old forts, towns and settlements. Hence, in KSRI, in an ongoing project, ‘Geographical Dictionary of Ancient and Medieval India’ is being prepared. After its release, those who are interested in ancient history could refer to the holy places, kingdoms, capitals, mountains, and rivers etc., referred to in our sacred texts.
- Dr. R. Parthasarathy
KSR institute, Chennai