Monday, November 21, 2011

Inscriptional evidence for Mahabharata times.

There is no doubt that we in India have a long and continuing history. Though the Ithihasas narrate the grand histories of our past, there are more in them that could help us to know about the other cultures and other people of the world. But alas, not many are ready to read them, leave alone accept them as historical documents. Looking at the West, we find the people there taking every bit of story from their old literature with seriousness and searching for clues to prove them. But the same is not happening in India. 

We have never needed a buried city nor an inscription to tell us what we were in the past. We ourselves are carrying the evidences of our past. The most notable one is our calendar that traces our time from the start of Kaliyuga. Everyday and day after day, the time period with reference to position of the Sun and Moon in relation to the beginning of Kali Maha yuga which started 5112 years ago, is noted in the rituals of lakhs of temples in India and in all the Vedic rituals done by individuals for various purposes. At the same time we are being made to read in our history books that Indus civilization was the beginning of our history which started about 5000 years ago.  The similarity in the date of Indus Valley civilization and the start of Kaliyuga tells us that IVC is post Mahabharata culture that heralded the start of Kali Maha yuga. Any new Yuga will start after a deluge or loss of culture or value system of the preceding yuga. That has happened in Kali yuga also. As this yuga is advancing, we are losing track of old history and old value system. From times that people relied on the words of the sages, we are now living in the world that wants proofs in physical form. 

We have not one but many texts which tell the same kind of past for our land. For example, we have not less than 3 sources, apart from Mahabharata, which tell us the history that existed 5000 years ago. The Kashmiri history started 300 years before the Mahabharata war. The Nepalese have recorded their history starting from 1000 years before Mahabharata. The Puranas  narrate the same line of history of kings starting from before Mahabharata. As far as the Hindu texts of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas are concerned, they were not done by ordinary folks but by selfless sages who had no reason to record an untruth. They did not write them by the order of any king – so that we can suspect some hidden agenda to hike up the dates and events. They were all voluntary records of history and conveyed to others, mostly comprising of fellow sages for the purpose transferring the memory of the true events of the past. It is regrettable that these are not given their due recognition by today’s people. 

In such a scenario, I was thrilled to come across 2 inscriptions by Emperor  Janamejaya, the great grand son of Arjuna in the book titled “Age of Mahabharata war” by Sri Kota Venkatachelam. One of them has been recorded by the Indian Archeological Department in the pages 333 and 334 of Indian Antiquary. The other is preserved at “Usha Mutt” at Kedarnath in the Himalayas. I wish they are brought to fore and help the historians build the Indian history from Mahabharata at the least. 

Both the inscriptions written in Sanskrit on copper plates are about the gift of land given by Emperor Janamejaya on the same day when the Solar eclipse was on. But the gifts were made at two different places, one at Kishkindha and another at Kedarnath. The year of kali and other details of the day were exactly the same in both the inscriptions. While one of them has been found by the Archeological Dept, the other was found by a devotee to Kedarnath who recorded the contents of the copper plate preserved in Kedarnath till today. 

Both the gifts were made by Janamejaya on Kali 89, in the year Plavanga, on a Monday, the New Moon day at the end of Chaitra. Kali 89 was the 29th year of the reign of Janamejaya. The chronology of events recorded by sages runs like this. Krishna shed his mortal coils, 36 years after the Mahabharata war. Kaliyuga started at the moment of Krishna’s exit. That was the year 3102 BC .

In Kali 1, Yudhishtra relinquished kingdom and Parikshit, the grand son of Arjuna and son of Abhimanyu was crowed. He ruled for 60 years. After his death due to snake bite, his son Janamejaya became the emperor. That was in 3041 BC.  At Kali 89, he was in his 29th year of rule. The corresponding year at the time he made the gifts was 3013-3012 BC.

The inscription recorded in the History of Antiquary is about the gift of land to  Sitarama temple in Kishkindha. The king is described as seated on the imperial throne at the City of Kishkindha. (“Kishkindha nagaryaam simhaasanastha”) whereas the inscription on gift of land to the Usha Mutt at Kedarnath describes the king as being seated in the imperial throne at Indraprastha,the capital city of the Kurus.(“Indraprastha nagare simhasanastha”). This difference in description need not raise doubts about the king mentioned because, in the inscription related to gift in Kishkindha, it is clearly said that the king is making the gift of land established in the name of his great grand father Yudhsihtra! It is customary to make gifts at the time of Solar eclipse as part of ancestral worship. 

Janamejaya inherited a vast land from his forefathers who brought most of Bharat under their control after winning the Mahabharata war. Though his headquarters was in Indraprastha, he must have had regional commanders to take care of each region. That explains how the gift was made in his name connected to the throne of Kishkindha. There is also a probability that he made gifts simultaneously at several places of his kingdom. What we have now are just two of them and sadly they are yet to be brought to popular notice.
The gift at Kedarnath was given for the worship of Kedarnath Swamy to Sri Goswamy Anandalinga Jangama Swamy of Usha Mutt through his disciple Sri Jnana Linga Jangama. This shows the disciple was received the gift document (Copper plate) in person from the King at Indraprastha. This copper plate is preserved till today in this Mutt. 

These 2 places have some historical significance. The Pandavas have been associated with Kedarnath on many occasions. They have often worshiped Shiva in Kedarnath and done penance. Arjuna got his Pasupatha astra after worshiping the lord here. There is a Usha Mutt here, perhaps related to Usha, wife of Aniruddha (Krishna’s grandson). This must be the place which the author Sri Kota Venkatachelam has referred to as having the copper plate of the gift given by Janamejaya

The Sita rama temple at Kishkindha also seems to be of importance from Ramayana times. The location of the land mentioned in the inscription shows that it was the Pampa region where Rama met Sabari.  The text of the 2 inscriptions is given at the end of this post. Interested persons are requested to help in locating the temple of Sitarama which seems to lie near river Thungabhadra. The Thungabhadra is in the North and Agasthyasrama in the west of the site of the gifted land. There was a Agasthyasrama near Panchavadi where Rama met the sage Agasthya for the first time. But the location near Thungabhadra shows that it is a different ashrama of Agasthya. There are many Agasthyasaramas in India. Wherever he has travelled, he seems to have established an ashrama in his name. 

An interesting information from these inscriptions is that Janamejaya belonged to Vyagrapada Gothra. Sage Vyagrapada is always associated with Sage Pathanjali

      Patanjali and tiger-footed Vyagrapada worshiping Shiva

He being the Gothra rishi of Janamejaya pushes the time of the rishi to a far antiquity. The connection with this rishi can be seen in 2 instances as far as I know. Upamanyu was the son of Vyagrapada whom Krishna goes to meet to get deeksha. This is described in Mahabharata -13-15 &17 . It is possible to assume that the Pandavas followed Krishna and got deeksha from Upamanyu and therefore came to belong to Vygrapada Gothra. Upamanyu’s name is also associated with the Kedarnath temple for which Janamejaya made the gift.  Like this the authenticity of the inscriptions can be checked with events connected with the Pandavas. 

The text of the inscription of donation of land to Sitarama temple in Kishkindha :-

The text of the inscription of gift to Kedarnath temple:-

(Click on the text of inscriptions to read in bold letters)


rk said...

What a great article!

seshadri said...

something extraordinary. i am interested to know as to how do u find time for writing such research based wonderful articles. is there any idea of bringing those articles in book form. then i will be first person to purchase.are u taking steps to find a place among historians .seshadri

Jijith said...

Delighted to read about this article! If there are positive evidence on the rule of Janamejaya, there is nothing better than this. One wonders why the official historians are shunning away from such archaeological evidences that can settle once for all the authenticity of history embedded in our epics and puranans rather than trying to prove again and again, as if motivated by somebody or something, that all of these are pure fiction like a superman story or a spiderman story!!!

jayasree said...

Dear rk and Seshadri,
As of now I will be using this inscriptional evidence in my Tamil blog "Thamizan Dravidanaa?" That series is likely to be brought out as a book. It will take 6 more months to finish that series. After that I will be writing the translation of it in this blogpost. May be that can be compiled into a book later.

jayasree said...

Dear Jijith,
Happy to know that you read this post. I thought of sending this post to you but by then you have read it:) Thanks.

I think the Antiquary entry was made in British India. The Archeological Dept must bring it out. The usha mutt must be approached to bring out the copper plate for public view.

On our part we can analyse the Musala parva of MB to plot the route taken by Arjuna leading the people of Dwaraka and wives of Krishna. I have already done that. That route goes through the Indus areas! That is, the Indus people are indeed the people of Dwaraka who settled there after Krishna's exit and Dwaraka submergence. I suggest you to do that plotting of the route, Jijith. I have already done that and posted in this post:

Let us see whether we arrive at the same conclusion.
If it is proved that it was the route of the Dwarakans then it means Indus is a continuation of Mahabharata times!

Jijith said...

Dear Jayasree

Your idea of studying Arjuna's path on his way from Dwaraka to Indraprastha is much valid and I welcome it. I had done some analysis on the military expeditions of Arjuna and plan to cover all the travels made by Arjuna, other Pandavas and Karna in Mahabharata as well as done by Rama and his brothers in Ramayana as part of a sereis of travel narratives. This is the link that lead to all travel articles and travel maps I have:- I guess you are aware of other researchers working on the Dwaraka-Kamboja trade route, which run parallel to Sindhu Saraswati rivers and go northwards to Kashmir, Simhapura at Kamboja and joins with the predecessor of later day silk route (that connect China with Europe). This route pass through Indus-Saraswati settlement is thus the back bone of IVC.

Arjuna in his Subadhraharana travelled through this route passing through Arbuda mountains (Mount Abu) and he took a deviation to west somewhere close to Vinashana in Saraswati to reach Indraprashta, passing through Salwa (northern Rajastan, southern Hariyana) and a Nishadha country (which overlaps with Matsya country of Virata and is in north eastern Rajastan).

I guess he pretty much travelled through the same route while going to and coming back from Dwaraka after the deluge. Here he passed through the territories of Suras (aka Sudras) and Abhiras (Ophirs of Bible). These lied on the banks of dried up Sarasvati and along the Dwaraka-Kamboja trade route. These can be equated to what has become later known as IVC. I want to point your attention to two other articles:- (analysis of Sindhu, Sauvira, Sivi, Abhira kingdoms that as per Mahabharata lied squarely in the IVC region or broadly in the Meluha / western Mlechcha region. (analysis of Vishwakarmas of Dwaraka and their possible involvement as architects of IVC.) See especially:- toc22:- Mohanjodaro - A city constructed by the Viswakarmas

jayasree said...

Dear Jijith,
Thanks for the links. I will go through them.