The Scientific Dating of the Mahabharat War
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 B.C.to 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.
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.