There is a serious need to re-write the entire history of ancient India with reference to the newly discovered epochs of the ancient Indian eras. Indian civilisation is arguably, the oldest continuous civilisation that possibly had its origin in the beginnings of the Holocene. Puranas relate the chronology of the political history of ancient India starting from the Surya Vamshi king Ikshvaku to the kings of the Gupta dynasty. There is abundance of epigraphic, archaeological and literary evidence for the critical study of the chronology of ancient India. Unfortunately, by 10th and 11th centuries CE, the exact epochs of certain ancient eras were forgotten. This led to many inconsistencies and contradictions in our chronology. In the last three centuries, Western historians and their followers took advantage of these inconsistencies and distorted the entire chronology of ancient India. They concocted many false theories and managed to take modern Indian historical research in the direction that suited their purpose.
As a matter of fact, the chronic and complex problems in the study of ancient Indian chronology arise from a misunderstanding of the epochs of various eras. As unanimously accepted by all historians, inscriptions are the most valuable source of ancient Indian chronology but the inscriptional or epigraphic evidence is available only after the date of Nirvana of Buddha. For the period beyond the date of Nirvana of Buddha, only literary evidence is available. Western scholars simply concluded that literary evidence was contrary to epigraphic evidence, hence not reliable. They rejected the Puranic chronology and stressed upon modern Indian historical research based on epigraphic and archaeological evidence. Some scholars like John Playfair and Hermann Jacobi have logically argued that the antiquity of Vedic civilisation goes beyond 4300-4500 BCE but the majority of Western scholars simply brushed aside the irrefutable facts presented by them.
Indian inscriptions generally record the date with reference to the epoch of a particular era. Interestingly, many Indian inscriptions contain verifiable details of the dates. Since ancient Indians evolved many astronomical Siddhantas, they seem to have followed different schemes of calendars for the purpose of referring to dates. The tithi, nakshatras, intercalation, weekday, etc. mentioned in the inscriptions can be verified with reference to the specific calendric Siddhanta applied in those days. Interestingly, many inscriptions refer to solar and lunar eclipses occurred on the dates that are eternally verifiable astronomical events irrespective of the calendric Siddhanta followed. Therefore, the references to solar and lunar eclipses as the strongest evidence to calculate the exact epoch of the era referred to in the inscriptions.
Unfortunately, the history of India written during colonial era begins with Indus valley civilization. It also claims that when the civilization declined, Aryan invaded India who wrote the Vedas. Infact the modern history do not have confirmed chronological history before 4-5 century BCE. At least that is what modern historians and archaeologist record. But the advanve research on archaeological, archaeo-astronomical and literary evidence suggests otherwise. Indian history is continuous since beginning of Holocene and we Indians proudly call our history as Iti-ha-sa (Thus verily happened).
Vedic, post vedic Itihasa and Purana text records history just in a form different from what is now considered to be norm. Today the definition of history is that it was introduced in India during colonial era. Historians, who just doubted our antiquity without evidence. Much prior to that Rishis recorder chronological and genealogical history so that future generations could benefit from its learning.
Ancient Indian Antiquity
It may be difficult to say when humanity settled in India but catastrophic eruption of Toba Volcano of Sumatra in Indonesia had wiped out humanity, flora and fona of India about 75000 years ago. The Toba’s erupted an ash layer of about 15 cm thick settled almost over whole of India. Archaeological site of Jwalapuram Karnool district has evidence of human habitation before and after the event of Toba eruption. Possibly only few people living in the hills of Kashmir and Hindukush range might have survived. Gradually North Western and North India became habitable thus Sapta- Sindhu region and Saraswati River became cradle of Vedic civilization. The agricultural findings at the banks of Lahuradeva Lake in Eastern UP has been carbon dated from 13000BCE to 7300BCE. The sculpture of ancient city at Gulf of Cambay was indeed the city of Dwaravati was built by Vishwakarma at around 11100 BCE and it submerged in sea at around 9400 BCE to 9300 BCE at the end of Melt Water Pulse 1B at 10400 BCE to 9400 BCE. The ancient structure of ancient submerged Poompuhar city of Tamil Nadu has been dated 9500 BCE. The archaeological site of Bhirhana is dated 7570 BCE. Mehargarh Farming sites in Baluchistan of Pakistan are dated 7000 BCE. Famous Rakhigarhi site of Haryana is dated 6500 BCE.
Based on Archaeo- Astronomical evidence Brahma can be dated 14500 BCE because he introduced five year Yuga calendar with Summer Solstices used to occur in Dhanishta Nakshatra around 14500 BCE. After 1000 years, Vishamitra observed Summer Solstice at Shravana Nakshatra at 13500 BCE as mentioned in Mahabharata. This phenomenon is called precession of Equinoxes. The gradual shift in the orientation of earth axis of rotation in cycle of approximately 26000 years. Numerous references have found in post Vedic literature indicate the shifting of Winter Solstice from Mrugshira to Rohini. The Vedic legend of Prajapati Daksh and his 27 daughters clearly indicates Mrigshira list of 28 Nakshatras which also coincides with beginning of Vaivaswamantara around 11200 BCE. Winter Solstice was in Mrugshira Nakshtra at around 11200 BCE to 10200 BCE and same in Rohini Nakshatra from around 10200 – 9200 BCE. Winter Solstice was in Kritikka Nakshtra from 8200 BCE. Most of the Brahmnas and Arankyas were finally compiled when Winter Solstices was in Krittika Nakshtra. The list of Nasktras were again reset starting from Ashwini Nakshtras when Winter Solstices had shifted to Ashwini Nakshatra around 7200 BCE.
Kashmir Valley was a glacier lake known as Satisar during the Rig Vedic period. This glacial lake was formed during the period of Melt Water Pulse A around 12700 – 11500 BCE. The closed Varahmulla (Baramulla) pass holding the melted water of glaciers. Neelmata Puranas indicated that Kashmir Valley was a glacial Lake and it became habitable in Vaivswamantara around 11200 BCE. The fall of massive asteroid which caused earthquake might have opened up Baramulla pass and water of Satisar had flown out of Kashmir Valley which had caused great flood in Madra, Sindh and Gujrat area. This Devastating flood occurred during the period rain of Vaivaswata manu.
Vedic Saraswati. The Vedic Saraswati River had originated at near Badrinatha and flowed upto Pehoa in Haryana. Thereafter, Vedic Saraswati took South Western turn from Kurukshetra region and flowed from Hisar, Sambhar Lake, Pushkar and Jodhpur to great Rann of Kachh. Due to Massive earthquake in 11200 BCE Saraswati changed its course and started flowing Westward from Kurukshetra, Sirsa to Kalibanghan, Anupgarh. Satlej, Yamuna and Drisadwati were main tributaries of Saraswati. Satlej changed its course at around 14500 BCE to 13000 BCE. IIT Kanpur has dated the Paleochannel of Satlej River 13000 BCE based on Optically-Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) method. Yamuna and Drisadwati continued to be tributaries of Saraswati. Yamuna had two channels in Vedic period. One Yamuna channel flowed Westward and merged with Saraswati whereas another channel flowed Eastward and merged with Ganga River at Prayaga. The Paleo channel of Yamuna to Saraswati had changed around 11200 BCE. It clears that Awaprata ritual Saraswati Shradh in Yamuna might have been introduces to commemorate the past confluence of Saraswati and Yamuna.
Sea Rise. According to oceanographic study sea level suddenly rose 28m in 500 years about 10000 – 9500 BCE. This accelerated rate of rise of sea level is named Melt Water pulse 1 B. Most probably Dwarawati city in Gulf of Cambay was flooded by sea by 9400-9300 BCE at the end of Melt Water Pulse 1B. Seemingly it took 1500 years to completely submerge area of city Dwarawati.
Concept of Yugas. Mayasura wrote Surya Sidhanta at the end of Krittayuga when sun, moon and all five planets were in great conjunction in Aries on the date of Chaitra Shukla Pratipada. Computer simulations conclusively establish date of Surya Sidhanta on 22 Feb 6778 BCE, Sunday, which would be sheet anchor of our Yuga Chronology. A yuga had only five years in Vedic era, but duration of Yuga and Chaturyuga were increases from five years to 12000 years and from 20 to 4800 years in 6777 BCE. Later the duration of Chaturyuga was again increased from 12000 years considering the differential duration of four Yugas. Ancient Indian astronomers further extended duration of Chaturyuga from 12000 years to 4320000 years (12000 x 360 years) to achieve accurate calendrical calculations. Thus, with Puranic literary evidences suggest that epoch of early Vedic Yuga calendar might have commenced around 15962 BCE.
Puranas are the ancient chronicles of India that recorded the chronology of royal dynasties starting from the earliest Surya Vamshi King Ikshvaku of Surya Vamsha who probably flourished around 6800-6700 BCE. Mandhata, a descendant of the Ikshvaku lineage and the most illustrious King of the Krta Yuga flourished around 6200 BCE. The recent research by I-SERVE (Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas) has concluded based on the sky views, generated through Planetarium software, of planetary references in the Valmiki Ramayana that Rama was probably born on 10th January 5114 BCE during the Treta Yuga (5500-4300 BCE). Maharishi Valmiki probably authored Ramyana, the first kavya in classical Sanskrit around 5050 BCE was later updated. The epoch of the astronomical observations recorded in the tables, still in use among Hindu astrologers, are of 4300 BCE.
According to ancient Tamil literature, the first Sangam was supposed to have been started by the Vedic Rishi Agastya. Totally, three Sangams were patronised by 89, 59 and 49 Pandyan kings respectively. The star Agastya (Canopus) was known to Indians since the Rig Vedic period. The star Agastya actually became visible for the first time in India at Kanyakumari around 10,000 BCE, at Chennai around 8500 BCE, at Hyderabad 7200 BCE, in the Vindhya region around 5200 BCE and at Delhi around 3100 BCE. The epoch of the Puranic story about Agastya who crossed the Vindhya Mountain cannot be later than 5000 BCE. Thus, the history of the 197 Pandyan kings of the Sangam period ought to have begun around 5000 BCE and the first Pandyan king may have belonged to the era of the Ramayana i.e. 5100 – 5000 BCE. It is well known that the events of Mahabharata occurred around 3200-3100 BCE. The year of the Mahabharata war can be fixed around 3128 BCE.
Puranic Astro-Archaeo Evidences. The principles of Indian astronomy witnessed major revisions many times over a period of time. Finally, the epoch of Kaliyuga was fixed at the midnight between 17th and 18th Feb 3102 BCE when the Sun, Moon and the planets were in conjunction. Interestingly, the span of a Yuga was increased by 360 times and the concept of Mahayugas and Manvantaras was introduced to ensure the accurate integer solutions for astronomical calculations. King Yudhishtira ascended the throne after the Mahabharata war and his grandson Janamejaya probably started an era in memory of King Yudhishthira. The epoch of the Mahabharata war, the epoch of Yudhishtira era and the epoch of Kaliyuga came into use after 3000 BCE. Ancient Indians also observed that Saptarishi (Great Bear) reside hundred years in one nakshatra constellation and completes one cycle of 27 nakshatras in 2700 years. Indians used this cycle of Saptarishis as a calendar. Greek historians mention that Indians used the Saptarishi calendar with the epoch in 6676 BCE.The Yuga of 1200 years, Satparishi cycle of 2700 years were introduced in 6777 BC. Thus, we can fix the period of Treta Yuga around 6777-5577 BCE and the period Dvapara Yuga around 5577 – 3177 BCE.
It is traditionally recorded that Sri Rama was born in last century of Treta Yuga, thus Sri Rama was born on 3rd Feb 5674 BCE in Punarvasu Nakshatra when Saturn was on exultation. In Ramayana, Laxmana describe the position of a comet and planet in Mulla Nakshtra when Vanara Army was ready to march towards Lanka. This astronomical observation was verifiable. Venus was in Mulla constellation around 22nd August to 3rd September 5635 BCE and Halley’s comet had also entered Mulla Nakshtra on 23rd August 5635 BCE. The apparent magnitude of the comet made it visible to naked eyes after sunset from 23rd August to 23rd September 5635 BCE and it gradually faded away.
According to study of post glacial sea level rise, Sri Lanka was connected with India through land route at least 6200 BCE. The last Pulse water 1C took place around 6200 BCE to 5600 BCE which produced the rise of 6.5 meters in less than 140 years. Evidently the area of Ram Setu submerged by sea during Melt Water Pulse 1C. Nala might have raised the ground level max upto two meters to construct Ramsetu. The sea level between few placed like Dhanushkodi and Talaimanar must be at least 40m below the current level. Thus, Ramayana era can be dated around 5677BCE to 5577 BCE.
Where did we Go Wrong in Chronology?
The puranas were pure chronicles in ancient times but they have evolved into veritable encyclopaedias after the era of the Mahabharata. All Puranas available today were updated during the period from 500 BCE to 200 CE. These Puranas provide valuable information about the chronology of royal dynasties of Magadha from the Mahabharata war to the period of the Gupta dynasty. A total nine dynasties ruled over Magadha from 3128 BCE to 92 BCE. According to the Puranas, the Magadha Empire disintegrated into smaller kingdoms after the fall of the Gupta dynasty. Traditionally, Indians have followed the Puranic chronology of ancient India till the 18th century CE. The complex problem in Indian chronology arises from misunderstanding of epochs of ancient Indian era. The major mistakes of Western and colonial period historians that led to erroneous chronology of ancient Indian may be attributed to following key events:-
- Completely negating the Indian concept of Yuga to fix Indian chronology.
- Wrong identity of ‘Sandrokottus’ by Greek historians as Chandragupta Maurya which made him contemporary of Alexander.
- The error in dating of Buddha Nirvana by almost 14 centuries.
- Mistaken Identity of Saka and Sakanata era to be contemporary to each other despite gap of over 600 years.
- Taking 1 CE as the sheet anchor of world chronology without presenting any independent verifiable facts.
During the colonial era, Western scholars came to know about the Puranic chronology of ancient India but they could not bring themselves to believe it. Having been born and brought up in Christian society, their subconscious belief was likely based on Biblical chronology. Their racial bias also probably did not allow them to accept the Puranic chronology that was older than the chronology of ancient Greece. Western scholars completely rejected the Puranic chronology as mere mythology rather than history. They questioned the historicity of various royal dynasties mentioned in the Puranas and declared the Ramayana as fiction and the Mahabharata as historical fiction. Interestingly, the same Western scholars selectively accepted the genealogy of some royal dynasties as mentioned in Puranas.
Who was Sandrokottus: Samudragupta or Chandragupta Maurya?
Alexander, during his invasion of the Persian Empire and some parts of western India, had a few Greek scholars like Baeto, Diognetos, Nearchos, Onesikritos, Aristoboulos, and Kallisthenes in his entourage to chronicle his achievements. Megasthanes and Deimachos, the ambassadors of Seleucus Nikator the successor of Alexander, also wrote about India. Though the works of these scholars are all lost, their substance is found in the works of Plutarch, Strabo, Pliny and Arrian. Plutarch wrote Alexander’s biography over 400 years after the death of Alexander based on oral legends. These Greek scholars repeatedly mentioned a powerful king of India named “Sandrokottus” who was undoubtedly “Samudragupta” with reference to the epoch of Gupta era in 335 BCE and Puranic account of the history of Magadha. William Jones (1746-1794) deliberately identified “Sandrokottus” mentioned by the Greeks as Chandragupta Maurya and declared that he was the contemporary of Alexander in 327-326 BCE. This concocted theory of William Jones has been propagated by Western historians as an eternal and irrefutable historical fact in constructing the chronology of ancient India. Eminent Indian historians under the influence of western historians toed the same line. Unfortunately, they completely ignored the history of ancient India as recorded in Puranas since the Mahabharata war.
Puranas tell us that Chandragupta Maurya ascended the throne by defeating the last Nanda king around 1516 BCE. The Nanda dynasty ruled Magadha for 100 years between 1616 BCE to 1516 BCE. Chandragupta Maurya founded the rule of the Maurya dynasty around 1516 BCE. There is much more evidence to support that the fact that it was Samudragupta who was “Sandrokottus” and not Chandragupta Maurya:
- The Greek scholars recorded the names of the kings of India as Xandrames and Sandrokottus. Western historians deliberately identified these names with those of Mahapadmananda or Dhanananda and Chandragupta Maurya.
- All Greek writers mention Sandrokottus, the king of Prasii, whose capital was Palibothra i.e. Pataliputra. Megasthanes, Deimachos and other Greek ambassadors of Seleucus Nikator were sent to the court of Samudragupta and Chandragupta II at Palibothra. Pataliputra became the capital of the Magadha Empire only during the reign of Chandragupta I around 335 BCE. According to the Puranas, Girivraja (Rajgir) was the capital city of Magadha during the reign of the Nandas and the Mauryas. Thus, Pataliputra was not the capital city of Chandragupta Maurya. From 3rd century BCE onwards, the city of Pataliputra became famous as the capital of Magadha.
- Megasthanes describes the system of city administration of Pataliputa but there is no similarity between the system described by Megasthanes and the system of city administration given in the Kautilya’s Arthastra. Megasthanes also stated that there was no slavery in India but Kautilya Arthastra’s Chapter 65 named “Dasakalpa” is solely devoted to the status of slaves. Probably, the slavery system that existed during the Mauryan era had gradually declined by the time of the Gupta era. Thus, Megasthanes cannot be a contemporary of Chandragupta Maurya.
- Megasthanes, who was a frequent visitor to Palibothra, but also stayed in the court of Sandrokottus for a few years. But not once has he mentioned Kautilya, also known as Chanakya who was the real kingmaker and the patron of Chandragupta. In fact, no other Greek scholar has ever mentioned Kautilya. Therefore, Megasthanes cannot be a contemporary of Chandragupta Maurya.
- Greek scholars often refer to Sandrokottus as being the king of the country called as Prasii. Prasii means eastern country. During the Nanda and Mauryan eras, the Magadha kings reigned over almost the entire country. The Mauryan Empire was never referred to in Indian sources as eastern country. Pracii was referred to as the Gupta Empire because the Sakas were well established in North and West India. Megasthanes mentions that Sandrokottus was the greatest king of the Indians and that Poros was even greater than Sandrokottus which meant that a kingdom in the North-western region was still independent and with a status that was at least equal to the kingdom of Sandrokottus. Chandragupta Maurya and his successors being the most powerful kings of India, it is impossible to think of any other Indian king of equal status with the Mauryan kings because the Mauryans inherited a vast and mighty empire from the Nandas. Therefore, Sandrokottus, the king of Prasii can only be Samudragupta and not Chandragupta Maurya.
- The Greek historian Plutarch mentions that Sandrokottus marched over the whole of India with an army of 600 thousand men. Chandragupta Maurya defeated the Nandas under the leadership of Chanakya. There was no need for him to go on such an expedition to conquer the whole of India because he had already inherited the Magadha kingdom of the Nandas covering entire India. Actually, it was Samudragupta who overran the whole of India according to the details given in the Allahabad pillar inscription.
- The Jain work “Harivamsa” written by Jinasena gives the names of the dynasties and kings along with the duration of their rule since the time of the nirvana of Mahavira. Jinasena mentions nothing about the Mauryas but he tells us that the Gupta kings ruled for 231 years. Western historians fixed the date of Mahavira-nirvana in 527 BCE which means that the Mauryas ruled after Mahavira-nirvana but Jaina Puranas had no knowledge of the Mauryas after Mahavira Nirvana. Thus, Mauryas ruled prior to Mahavira Nirvana. Therefore, Sandrokottus can only be identified with Samudragupta.
- If Sandrokottus was indeed Chandragupta Maurya, why do none of the Greek sources mention about Ashoka, the most illustrious and greatest of Mauryan kings? It is evident that Greek sources had no knowledge of Ashoka. Therefore, the ancient Greeks were contemporaries of the Gupta kings and not the Mauryas.
In view of the above, Samudragupta was the contemporary of Alexander and not Chandragupta Maurya. Unfortunately, this distorted history has been taught to Indians since the last three centuries. Indian historians also blindly followed the footsteps of Western historians. Western historians were born and brought up in a Christian society and therefore, faithful to the Biblical conception of the creation of the world in 4004 BCE. They knew the fact that the antiquity of Greece and other European countries was not older than 1000 BCE. When they encountered the fact that the antiquity of Indian civilisation is greater than 6776 BCE, they could not swallow it. Therefore, they started distorting the chronology of ancient India. First of all, William Jones conspired and deliberately cut down 1200 years of Indian history by identifying Sandrokottus as Chandragupta Maurya. To cover up this distortion, Jones declared that the Puranic account of Indian history is mythological and unreliable but selectively accepted the genealogy of various dynasties from the Puranas. Actually, many Western historians pursued their research with the objective of curtailing the antiquity of the chronology of ancient India so that the supremacy of ancient Greek civilization could be established.
Western historians were fascinated with the history of Alexander from their childhood. They started searching for the footprints of Alexander’s invasion in India. Interestingly, there is no reference of Alexander’s invasion in Indian literary sources because it was actually a non-event for Indians. Western scholars concocted the theory that the Yavanas mentioned in Indian sources are Greeks. According to various Indian sources, Yavana kingdoms existed in Indian history since the Mahabharata war that located in the west and north sides of the Indus River. Thus, Indian Yavanas were more ancient than the birth of ancient Greek civilisation. In fact, it can be confidently stated that the great victory of Alexander and the homesickness of Greek soldiers were concocted by historians of Alexander who were employed by him to chronicle his achievements. Probably, the army of Alexander was comprehensively defeated by the Indian king Poros and the wounded Alexander and his army had to flee through the channels of Indus River and they landed on the shores of Arabian Sea. They were then forced to march along the dry Makran and Persian Gulf coast and somehow finally, made it back to Babylonia where the wounded young Alexander died in 323 BCE at the age of 33 years. It may be noted that Alexander employed the historians to chronicle his victories not the defeats. Therefore, Greek historians concocted that the victorious army of Alexander fell homesick and feigned the ignorance of geography for the return journey through the channels of Indus River. It is unbelievable that the victorious army of Alexander fell homesick otherwise they could have amassed unimaginable wealth from India, the most prosperous country of the world of the times.
After the death of Alexander, his generals decided to divide his Empire among themselves but interestingly, no part of India east of the Indus River was included as part of Alexander’s Empire. Therefore, it seems that the victory of Alexander over the Indian king Poros, the homesickness of his army and the ignorance of geography were just concocted stories by paid Greek historians of Alexander.
Mistakes in Saka Era
Based on the study of solar and lunar eclipses mentioned in the inscriptions, one is able to determine that the Saka era and the Salivahana era commenced in two different epochs. Also, Karttikadi Vikrama era and Chaitradi Vikrama era commenced in two different epochs. In general, by the 10th and 11th centuries CE, Indians had come to accept that the Saka or Salivahana era commenced in 78 CE and that the Karttikadi or Chaitradi Vikrama era commenced in 57 BCE. ‘Eminent’ historians of modern times also believed in these two epochs only, though they knew that many references of solar or lunar eclipses in the inscriptions cannot be explained by these two epochs. They simply conjectured that Indians referred to certain solar eclipses themselves on the basis of calculations though the eclipses were not visible in India. As ancient Indians celebrated the days of eclipses as festivals, it is totally absurd to conclude that Indian kings celebrated solar eclipses that were not visible to them.
Actually, a section of historians never honestly attempted to study the epoch of various eras with reference to Puranic chronology. Since Western historians rejected the Puranic history of ancient India as mythology, a certain section of historians also blindly followed them. Consequently, the entire chronology of ancient India got distorted. The study of the epoch of various eras clearly indicates the Saka era commenced in 583 BCE whereas the Salivahana era commenced in 78 CE. Similarly, the Karttikadi Vikrama era commenced in 719-718 CE whereas the Chaitradi Vikrama era commenced in 57 BCE. Interestingly the most of the epigraphic evidence is in agreement with the literary evidence.
The study of inscriptions reveals that the chronology derived from the epigraphs is absolutely in line with Puranic chronology. It also gives that all inscriptions are genuine if we follow the real epochs of certain eras. For instance, majority of historians simply assumed that both the Saka and the Salivahana eras commenced in 78 CE though the details of many inscriptions cannot be verified with reference to the epoch of 78 CE. The study of Indian inscriptions reveals two distinct epochs ie. the coronation of the Saka king and the death of the Saka king. The epoch of the death or the end of the Saka king commenced in 78 CE. The same epoch was referred to as the Salivahana era later. Historians generally conclude that the epoch of 78 CE was earlier referred to as the coronation of the Saka king and the same was referred to as the death of the Saka king later. But it is an egregious blunder committed by the historians. The inscriptions clearly indicate two different epochs of the Saka era. Undoubtedly, the epoch of the death of Saka king commenced in 78 CE. Later, this was referred to as the Salivahana era.
The Kurtaketi copper plates of the early Chalukya king Vikramaditya and the Hyderabad copper plates of Pulakesin II unambiguously indicate the untenability of the epoch of 78 CE. These two inscriptions provide the strongest verifiable details of solar eclipses that cannot be explained with reference to the epoch of 78 CE. Actually, the incorrect epochs of eras considered by the historians led to these absurd conclusions. The Kurtaketi and Hyderabad copper plates refer to the epoch of the coronation of the Saka king and not the epoch of the death of the Saka king. The Kurtaketi plates are dated in the year 530 elapsed from the epoch of the coronation of the Saka king. It refers to the total solar eclipse that occurred on the new moon day of the Vaishakha month in Northern Karnataka which ended around noon. The data shows that there was only one total solar eclipse that occurred in Northern Karnataka on the new moon day of Vaishakha month i.e. 9th May 53 BCE that started at 09:04 hrs and ended at 11:45 hrs. The day was the new moon day of Vaishakha month (between Vaishakha and Jeshtha months) and the moon was in Rohini Nakshatra. The Hyderabad copper plates of Pulakésin II are dated in the year 534 elapsed from the epoch of the coronation of Saka king. These plates refer to the occurrence of a solar eclipse on the new moon day of Bhadrapada month i.e. 21st Aug 49 BCE. Similarly, the Talamanchi (Nellore) plates of Chalukya Vikramaditya I are dated in his 6th regnal year i.e. 1 BCE – 0 CE and refer to a solar eclipse that occurred on the new moon day of the Shravan month i.e. 31st Jul 1 BCE. This solar eclipse was visible at Nellore, Andhra Pradesh.
The three solar eclipses mentioned in the copper plate inscriptions of the Badami Chalukyas cannot be explained with reference to the epoch of the death of the Saka king ie. 78 CE. It is evident that the epoch of the coronation of the Saka king is different from the epoch of the death of the Saka king. Considering the year 530 elapsed in 53 BCE, it can be easily concluded that the epoch of the coronation of the Saka king commenced in 583 BCE. Since the calendar of the Saka era was Chaitradi and Amanta (a scheme in which month ends on new moon day), the epoch of the Saka era ought to have commenced on 19th Feb 583 BCE.
It is evident that the early Chalukyas of Badami flourished around 1st century BCE and not in the 7th century CE as established by modern ‘eminent’ historians. It is well known that the Gupta dynasty flourished before the Badami Chalukyas thus validating the correctness of Puranic chronology. Therefore, “Sandrokottus” must be identified as Samudragupta and not Chandragupta Maurya. An inscription found in Shimoga district of Karnataka refers to an annular solar eclipse (Valaya grahana) that occurred on Chaitra pratipada i.e. the 1st tithi of the bright fortnight of Chaitra month in the year 861 of the Saka era. Considering the epoch of the coronation of the Saka king in 583 BCE, 277-278 CE was the 861st year of the Saka era and the annular solar eclipse occurred on 20th Feb 277 CE. The above mentioned references to solar eclipses found in the inscriptions clearly indicate that the epoch of the coronation of the Saka king and the epoch of the death of the Saka king are different. Evidently, the epoch of the coronation of the Saka king commenced in 583 BCE whereas the epoch of the death of Saka king or the end of the Saka era commenced in 78 CE.
Similarly, a section of historians considered only one epoch of the Vikrama era that commenced in 57 BCE. It is well known that the inscriptions dated in the Vikrama era followed two different calendars. One calendar was the Karttikadi (New Year starting from the month of Karttika) and another was the Chaitradi (New Year starting from the month of Chaitra). It is evident from the inscriptions that the Kartikadi calendar is older than the Chaitradi calendar. Kalakacarya-Kathanaka of Jaina tradition tells us that Kalakacarya persuaded the Sakas to invade Ujjain and they defeated Gardabhilla, the king of Ujjain. After four years, Vikramaditya defeated the Saka and established the Malava kingdom and founded an era known as the Krita, Malava-gana or Vikrama era. After 135 years, the Sakaa again invaded Ujjain and established their kingdom. The Vikramaditya mentioned in Jaina literature flourished 135 years before the epoch of the coronation of Saka king i.e. 583 BCE. Therefore, Vikramaditya founded an era in 719-718 BCE and the calendar was Karttikadi. We have to segregate the inscriptions dated in the Saka era and the Vikrama era into the following four categories to work out the chronology of various dynasties.
- Inscriptions referring to the epoch of the coronation of the Saka King (583 BCE).
- Inscriptions referring to the epoch of the death of the Saka king (78 CE)
- Inscriptions referring to the epoch of the Karttikadi Vikrama era (719-718 BCE).
- Inscriptions referring to the epoch of the Chaitradi Vikrama era (57 BCE).
Western historians wrongly calculated the epochs of the Sri Harsha, Kalachuri-Chédi and Gupta eras too. Alberuni clearly states that Indians used the Sri Harsha era that commenced 400 years before the epoch of the Chaitradi Vikrama era (57 BCE). Thus, the epoch of the Sri Harsha era commenced in 457 BCE. Western historians distorted the statement of Alberuni and created an epoch of fictitious era around 606 CE and named it the Sri Harsha era. Alberuni explicitly calculated and confirmed that the year 1031 CE to be 1488th year in the Sri Harsha era. Since Western historians were biased towards the distorted chronology of ancient India, they could not believe that Sri Harsha flourished earlier than the Mauryas. According to Puranic chronology, the Gupta dynasty started ruling in the 4th century BCE. The inscriptions of Gupta kings and their feudatories are dated in the Gupta era. Western historians concluded that both the epoch of Gupta era and the epoch of the Valabhi era commenced in 319 CE. Alberuni apparently clarified that the epoch of the Valabhi era commenced in 319 CE when the Gupta kings ceased to exist. Again, these historians distorted the statement of Alberuni and concocted that the Gupta era and the Valabhi era share the same epoch in 319 CE.
Based on the references of four solar eclipses in the inscriptions dated in the Gupta era, the epoch of the Gupta era had commenced in 335 BCE. The earliest inscription of Samudragupta is dated in the 5th year of the Gupta era and Samudragupta ruled for 51 years. Therefore, Samudragupta flourished around 331 BCE to 280 BCE. It is evident that Samudragupta was the contemporary of Alexander & Seleucus Nikator and not Chandragupta Maurya.
Thus, we have to consider the epoch of the Gupta era in 335 BCE and the epoch of the Valabhi era in 319 CE to reconstruct the chronology of ancient India. Eminent historians made every effort to find the epoch of the Kalachuri-Chedi era but utterly failed to find one epoch. Historian VV Mirashi concluded that the epoch of the earliest inscriptions dated up to the year 490 commenced in 249 CE whereas the epoch of the later inscriptions dated from the year 722 to the year 969 commenced in 248 CE. This unusual approach of eminent historians not only gives a long rope to explain the dates mentioned in the inscriptions but also facilitates the justification of their distorted chronology.
Since Western historians mistakenly identified “Sandrokottus” with Chandragupta Maurya, they generally fixed the date of Mahaparinirvana of Buddha around 486 BCE or 483 BCE considering Ashoka’s consecration around 268 BCE or 265 BCE. According to the Tibetan Sa-skya-pa tradition, Buddha attained nirvana around 2134-2133 BCE. The King Ashoka mentioned in Buddhist literature was probably a Kashmiri king and Buddha may have attained nirvana around 2134-2133 BCE. In case, the Ashoka of Buddhist literature was a Mauryan King, Puranas tell us that Ashoka flourished in the 15th century BCE; therefore, Buddha may have attained nirvana in 1658 BCE. Therefore, the Mahaparinirvana of Buddha cannot be dated later than 1658 BCE. Jaina sources tell us that Mahavira attained nirvana 605 years and 5 months before the commencement of the Saka era (583 BCE) and 470 years before the commencement of the Karttikadi Vikrama era (719-718 BCE). Thus, Mahavira attained nirvana on 22nd October 1189-88 BCE.
It is evident that the mistaken identity of “Sandrokottus” has brought forward the chronology of ancient India by 1200 years. Chandragupta Maurya of 16thcentury BCE has been erroneously dated in the 4th century BCE. Moreover, the wrong assumption of the same epoch (78 CE) for the Saka era (583 BCE) and the Salivahana era (78 CE) has brought forward the chronology of various South Indian dynasties by 661 years. Pulakesin II, the early Chalukya king of Badami flourished in the 1st century BCE but historians erroneously dated him in the 7th century CE. Similarly, the assumption of the same epoch (57 CE) for the Karttikadi Vikrama era (719-718 BCE) and the Chaitradi Vikrama era (57 CE) brought forward the chronology of various North Indian dynasties by 661 years.
Bhoja, the most illustrious king of the Paramara dynasty, flourished in the 4th century CE but historians mistakenly dated him in 11th century CE. Eminent historians concocted an epoch of a fictitious era in 606 CE and brought forward the Sri Harsha of the 5th century BCE to the 7th century CE. The chronology of the Gupta kings and the Kalachuri kings has also been brought forward by more than 650 years due to the erroneous fixing of the epoch of the Gupta era (319 CE instead of 335 BCE) and the Kalachuri-Chedi era (249 CE instead of 403 BCE). The dates of nirvana of Buddha and nirvana of Mahavira have also been brought forward by 1648 years and 661 years respectively. Cumulatively Indian ancient chronology has been distorted by about 1380 years. Thus, the entire chronology of ancient India was distorted by a section of historians and many theories without any basis have been floated as historical facts in modern textbooks of Indian history.
Indian chroniclers should share the blame for these concoctions and distortions as they forgot the epoch of the coronation of the Saka king (583 BCE) and the epoch of the Karttikadi Vikrama era (719-718 BCE). Eminent historians mistakenly identified “Sandrokottus” with Chandragupta Maurya and some dubious scholars fraudulently concocted the theory of the Aryan invasion misleading the entire body of modern Indian historical research in a wrong direction over the last three centuries. Moreover, modern eminent historians lack the knowledge of basic Sanskrit and that adversely affects the quality of Indian historical research. The Govt of India should promote the compulsory teaching of Sanskrit to the students of Indian history to ensure the future of fundamental research in Indian history.
The change in dates of Buddha Nirvana affects the entire world chronology. With the Western chronology, the epoch of birth of Jesus Christ in 1 CE as sheet anchor without presenting any independently verifiable evidences greatly argue that if this even qualifies as sheet anchor of world chronology. There is genuinely need to fix the Western Chronology upto Augustus not referring to the epoch of Christian era. The Venus Tablets found in Babylon offers independently verifiable astronomical evidence but unfortunately the world historians miserably failed to fix the exact date of Venus Tablets.
The internal archaeo-astronomical data of ancient Indian literature and marine archaeological site of Dwaravati in Gulf of Cambay conclusively indicates That India has the continuous Chronological History since the last 16500 years starting from the time of Rishi Brahma and his son Swayambhu Manu. Ancient Indian Historical traditions painstakingly preserve the genealogical chronology but the increased Yuga duration in Indian calendar let to the loss of true chronology. The Chronology of India considering the epoch of Mayasura’s Surya Sidhanta and Krittayuganta in 6778 BCE is scientifically proven as sheet anchor. Amazingly our motherland is not only the most ancient continuous civilization but had its origin in 14500 BCE but were also a cradle of human civilization. Let us reclaim our glorious past because a nation that gets de-linked from history cannot create history.
Disclaimer: this is not the original work of author. Author has taken references to various research articles and books on the topic. The major contributor to the article is the research work presented by Mr Vedveer Arya in various books who is eminent historian working on Indian Chronology. The primary content of this article is from a book ‘The chronology of Ancient India: Victim of Concoctions and Distortions”, published in 2015’ by Mr Vedveer Arya. This article is published purely for the aim of academic purpose and not to gain revenue out of it.
By Mr Vikas Haribhau Magar
Mr Vikas Magar is a class I gazetted officer. He is a keen reader, sportsman and a photographer. His liking for reading developed during his professional career when he had to deal with persons almost from every corner of India. Knowing their peculiarity, specialty forced him to know more about them. He has been writing short stories, before he finally converted his childhood memories in a Marathi Novel “Maitree” in March 2019 which is author’s solo novel.