Posted on: 2 October 2016

The Scientific Dating of the Mahabharat War
By Dr.P.V.Vartak

The Mahabharat has excercised a continuous and pervasive influence on the Indian mind for milleniums. The Mahabharat, orginally written by Sage Ved Vyas in Sanskrut, has been translated and adapted into numerous languages and has been set to a variety of interpretations. Dating back to "remote antiquity", it is still a living force in the life of the Indian masses.

Incidently, the dating of the Mahabharat War has been a matter of challenge and controversy for a century or two. European scholars have maintained that the events described in the ancient Sanskrut texts are imaginary and subsequently, the Mahabharat derived to be a fictitiou tale of a war fought between two rivalries. Starting from the so- called Aryan invasion into Bharat, the current Bharatiya chronology starts from the compilation of the Rigved in 1200 B.C., then come other Ved's, Mahaveer Jain is born, then Gautam Buddha lives around 585 B.C. and the rest follows. In the meantime, the Brahmanas, Samhi- tas, Puranas, etc. are written and the thought contained therein is well-absorbed among the Hindu minds. Where does the Ramayan and Mahabharat fit in ? Some say that the Ramayan follows Mahabharat and some opine otherwise. In all this anarchy of Indian histography, the date of the Mahabharat (the mythical story!) ranges between 1000 300 B.C. Saunskrut epics were academically attacked occasion- ally - an attempt to disprove the authencity of the annals noted therein. For example, the European Indologiest Maxmuller, tried the interpret the astronomical evidences to prove that the observations recorded in the Hindu scriptures are imaginary, probably because it did not match the prevelant views of European historians!

On the contrary, many Bharatiya scholars have vehemently maintained the actual occurance of the Mahabharat War. Astronomical and literary evidences or clues from the Pauranic and Vaidik texts have been deci- phered to provide a conclusive date for the Mahabharat War. The fifth century mathematician, Aryabhatta, calculated the date of the Mahabharat War to be approximately 3100 B.C. from the planetary posi- tions recorded in the Mahabharat. Prof. C.V. Vaidya and Prof. Apte had derived the date to be 3101 B.C. and Shri. Kota Venkatachalam reckoned it to be 3139 B.C. However, the astronomical data used by the above, and many other, scholars contained some errors as examined by a scho- lar from Pune, Dr. P.V. Vartak. Using astronomical references and variety of other sources, Dr. Vartak has derived the date of the ini- tiation of the Mahabharat War to be 16th October 5561 B.C. This pro- posed date has been examined by a few scholars and has been verfied. This may prove to be a break-through in deciding the chronology of the events in the history of Bharat (and probably the World).

All the scholars have relied on this inscription found in the Jain Temple at Aihole prepared by one Chalukya King Pulakeshi. It says, according to scholars, that the temple was constructed in 30+3000+700+5 = 3735 years, after the Bharat War and 50+6+500 = 556 years of Shaka era in Kali era. Today Shaka era is 1910. Hence 1910- 556 = 1354 years ago the temple was constructed. Thus the year of inscribing this note is 634 AD. At this time 3735 years had passed from the Bharat War. So the date of the War comes to 3101 BC. This is also the date of Kali Yuga Commencement. Naturally, it is evident that relying on the beginning of Kaliyuga Era and holding that the War took place just before the commencement of Kaliyuga, this inscription is prepared. It is obvious from the Mahabharat that the War did not happen near about the beginning of Kaliyuga. (I have considered this problem fully at a later stage.) If we can see that the inscription is prepared by relying on some false assumption, we have to neglect it because it has no value as an evidence. Moreover the interpretation done by the scholars is doubtful because they have not considered the clauses separately and they held Bharat War and Kali Era as one and the same.

The verse inscribed is :

Trinshatsu Trisahasreshu Bhaaratdahavaditaha | Saptabda Shatayukteshu Gateshwabdeshu Panchasu | Panchashatasu Kalaukale Shatasu Panchashatsu cha | Samatsu Samatitasu Shakaanamapi Bhoobhujaam ||

I would like to interprete the verse considering the clauses of the verse. It says "3030 years from the Bharat War" in the first line, ( Trinshatsu Trisahasreshu Bhaaratdahavaaditaha) where the first clause oF the sentence ends. in the second line, the second clause starts and runs upto the middle of the third line thus ( Saptabda.....Kalaukale) This means 700+5+50 = 755 years passed in the Kali Era. The remaining third clause is ( Shatasu

Here the verse does not specifically say the Shalivahan Shaka but Scholars have taken granted that it is Shalivahan Shaka without any base or reasoning. The verse may have mentioned some other Shaka kings from ancient era. So we we neglect the doubtful part of the Shaka counting which is useless and adhere to the Kali era expressly mentioned. It is clear from the former portion of the verse that 3030 years passed from the Bharat War and 755 years passed from Kali Era. Kali Era started from 3101 BC. 755 years have passed so 3101-755 = 2346 BC is the year when 3030 years had passed from the Bharat War. So 2346+3030 = 5376 BC appears to be the date of Bharat War.

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The inscription is found at Aihole in Karnataka state, India. The Aihole inscription was written by the Ravikirti, court poet of Chalukya King, Pulakeshi II who reigned from 610 to 642 CE. The poetic verses (Shilalekh) of Ravikirti, in praise of the king, can be read in the Meguti temple, dated 634 CE. The inscription is in the Sanskrit language, which uses the old Kannada script.

Aihole inscription of Pulakesin II mentioned as akrantatma-balonnatim Pallavanam patim, means that the Pallavas had attempted to prevent the rise of the Badami Chalukyas. The conflict of the two powers before the campaign of Pulakesin II against the Pallavas Inscription, which was prepared by Pulakeshi II (634 AD) and found in the Jain Temple at Aihole. Scholars have used this inscription, which is related to the Mahabharata War and Kaliyuga.
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IV. The Aihole Inscription Now we shall take up the Aihole Inscription and show that the 'Saka used in it is only that of 78 A.D. and not the other one alleged by TSN and echoed by certain other scholars. Discussing the age fo VM in his Age of Sankara, Pt.I-D, pp. 224ff., TSN takes up the Aihole Inscription for consideration, and tries to show that the 'Saka Era mentioned therein is his own 'Saka of 550 B.C. from the synchronism found in it between the 'Saka Era and the Bharata War. The portion of the inscription relevant to our discussion is the following: [trim'satsu trisahasresu bharatad ahavaditah/ saptabda'satayuktesu 'sa (?ga) tesvabdesu pancasu/ panca'satsu Kalau Kale satsu panca'satasu ca/ samasu samatitasu 'Sakanam api bhubhujam]// In trying to interpret this passage, Dr. Fleet at first (Indian Antiquary, V(1876)67-73) made the mistake of thinking that the time of the inscription is given in three eras, viz. [Bharata War, the Kali and the 'Saka. Perhaps he was led into this mistake by the word 'sata' occuring thrice (sapataba'satayuktesu, 'satesvabdesu, and panca'satasu) and the statement in the Puranas that the Kali epoch is different from the Bharata War. But subsequently, in IA VIII (1879) 240-41, Dr. Fleet acknowledged his mistake and gave the correct reading by emedning 'satesu into gatesu (for, in the Kanarese-Telugu script in which the inscription is engraved on roch, ga, with a horizontal stroke across would become 'sa and the engraver might have been misled into adding the stroke here by the large number of 'sa letters occurring the context; or it might have been caused by weathering) and interpreting the passage as 3735 years from the Kali epoch, after the Bharata War, and 556 years 'Saka kings, i.e. 556 years in ('Salivahana) 'Saka Era. This interpretation is accepted by all scholars (see for instance, Kielhorn, Ep. Ind., VI (1900-01) 1-12), except TSN and KV. But the emendation of 'satesu into gatesu is accepted by TSN. He also accepts the fact that only two dates are given, of which one is 'Saka Era. This necessitates the two expressions 'after the [Bharata War]' and 'from the Kali epoch' to be taken together, as giving one date. If the Kali epoch is meant as important and the [Bharata War] is mentioned here simply to described it, without any more troble we get the interpretation, '3735 years from the Kali epoch', which beautifully synchronises with the 'Salivahan 'Saka year 556 given, (about this number there is no dispute), for if we deduct from 3735 the wellknown converter 3179 we get 556, which itself proves that this must be the 'Salivahana 'Saka of 78 A.D. If, on the other hand, the [Bharata War] is taken as important, and also that the War was fought 36 years earlier (TSN makes it 38 to suit his calculations) according to one sub-school taken advantage of by TSN, then there is trouble, for the War took place in 3140 B.C. according to TSN. 3735 years from this date there is no 'Saka epoch to synchronise with. But TSN sorely wants it to synchronise with the 'Saka of 550 B.C. postulated by him. He clutches at an error committed in a collection of old records publihed for literary study, the [Pracinalekhamala, (N.S. Press, Bombay, Kavyamala Series 16), thinking that it will help him. In the [Pracinalekhamala, saptabda'sata] is printed as [sahabda'sata]. Whether this is a misprint or an intended emendation, we do not know. But this much we can say, that the letter is certainly pata and not ha, as anyone can verify from the photo-print of the inscription reproduced in IA V (1876) op.p.69,ib.VIII (1879) op.p.241, Ep.Ind.VI (1900-01) op. p.7, etc.) and comparing the letters. Not only this; the word [saha] will be a repetition, because there is the word [yukta] giving the same meaning; also [saha] requires an instrumental to govern, which is not available in the verse. In spite of all this, TSN takes this [saha] instead of [sapta] and gets the number 31355, of course, as we have pointed out, with a duplicate [saha] serving no purpose in the interpretation ) and begins to effect the sybchronisation thus (see p.189, plot in Indian Chronology);The Aihole Inscription is 3135 years frm the War, viz. 3140 B.C. So the date of the inscription is 5 B.C. And then the inscription is 556 years from the 'Saka epoch (of TSN), viz. 550 B.C. 556 years from 550 B.C. is 6 B.C. (so says TSN), for he wants it, and wish is father to thought). 6 B.C. is only one year off 5 B.C. (obtained above), which can be easily accounted for, and the synchronism established; which shows that the 'Saka mentioned in the inscription is his 'Saka of 550 B.C. But TSN and KV who quotes him seem to be unaware of the blunder in the calculation, and that 556 years from 550 B.C., is not 6 B.C., but 7 A.D.; and this date is 11 years off 5 B.C., and no amount of jugglery can spirit this period of 11 years off and the synchronism is far from being establised. Waht is more, having failed to prove the 550 B.C. 'Saka, but thinking that it has been proved, TSN indulges in a tirade against Orientalists and their ways (see p.190, ibid.), unconscious all the while, that it all applies to TSN himself!: "Alas ! it is a great pity that these Orientalists should at first conceive a theory of their own, and then actively set themselves to work out the same by hook or by crook, by changing every authority to suit their own favourite hypotheses, and by hoisting up the fabricated text as the only true version, while they perfectly know all the while in their own heart of hearts that they have been able to achieve their objects only by fabricated evidence and meddling with the original authorities..... The Orientalists simply beg the question, and beat about the bush in discussing such matters (here, explanation of the word 'Saka), blowing hot and cold at the same time, misjudging themselves, and misleading others, and thereby keeping back the Truth as far away as possible from the ken of ordinary public." How aptly these words apply to TSN himself! Source:

Historians wantonly omit one important point. The quoting of Yuthishtra's ascension is found in Jain chronicles too. Similarly in all North Indian sankalpa Bauddhavathare ie after the AVATHARS of Buddha is being recited which is completely absent in South especially Tamilnadu. Though Kanishka/Hala is stated to have founded Salivahana Era it is only after Aryabhatta and AIHOLE Inscriptions that Kali/ Salivahana Era found mention. It is interesting to find that most of Early Chola Inscriptions in Tamilnadu does not mention Salivahana Era but interestingly Rajaraja' S Inscriptions in Karnataka mention Salivahana Era along with Kali. Asokan edicts don't mention any era and even Guptas don't mention any era. Thus some basic procedures actually flowed only from Karnataka and the influence of CHUTU NAGAS whom Karikala had said to have defeated/ KADAMBAS / Satakarnis/ Chalukyas in Eastern India has never been analysed. KADAMBAS had twine Gothras Managua and Charitable which was also adopted by Chalukyas. The extensive use of Ramayana characters like Raghu/ Deleepan and their connection with Guptas and Vakatakas through matrimonial alliance has never been analysed. The Satakarnis used bilingual scripts Prakrit and Tamil Brahmi and they had fascination for ships. However seals with ships with twin fish are found in Srilanka too. Historians should shrug off history of MAXMULER'S/Caldwell but analyse from Jain Mahajanapadas and from Karnataka

More about Dr. Vartak.

AIHOLE inscription is derived from Aryabhatta' S comment that his observation has happened after six times sixty years after

Never trust anyone who writes Rigved instead of Rigveda

It's pallava grantha script not Kannada script.

Akanksha Sharma if u r really interested, read its description