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Misdating of Important Events and Personalities in Indic History

The more I study this topic of Indic History and Chronology the more i feel it is hopelessly scrambled up beyond all recognition, thanks mainly due to the efforts  by Sir William Jones and Friedrich Maximilian Mueller, presumably because they could not shake loose from their preconceived notion  of Indian antiquity. Here are 2 examples. There are other examples of misdating most notable being Aryabhatta I, the Buddha, and Adi Sankara


Antiquity and Continuity of Indian History  by Prasad Gokhale (excerpt)

  1. Modern history tends to put Buddha around 500 B.C. This date apparently comes from the assumption that Chandragupta Maurya, Sandrocottus of the Greek records, was the contemporary of Alexander, who is known to invade India in 325 B.C. However, the Greek chronicles are strangely silent on the names of Chanakya (Chandragupta's Guru) who managed to install the Maurya on the Magadha throne, Bindusar (his son) and even Ashoka (his grandson) whose empire extended far wider than that of Chandragupta. The empire of Chandragupta, also known as the Magadha empire, was very powerful and had a long history but is nowhere mentioned by the Greeks. Even Buddha bhikkus and the flourishing religion of the Buddha are not mentioned in their literature. This imbroglio has been challenged by various scholars and is precisely summarized by K. Rajaram (in "A Peep into the Past History, Seminar Papers", Madras, 1982), "There are difficulties in calculating the date of the coronation of Asoka .. In the first instance, the very identification of Sandrokotus with Chandragupta Maurya is questioned. In the second one, the date of the death of the Buddha has not been fixed accurately and therefore, the date of Asoka based on it cannot be accurate." Indeed, the Sandrocottus of the Greeks was not a Maurya.

    The Greek records mention Xandramas and Sandrocyptus as the kings immediately before and after Sandrocottus. These names in any way are not phonetically similar to Mahapadma Nanda and Bindusar, who were the predecessor and successor of Chandragupta Maurya, respectively. However, if Sandrocottus refers to Chandragupta "Gupta", the Xandramas reckons to be his predecessor Chandrashree alias Chandramas and Sandrocyptus to be Samudragupta. The phonetic similarity becomes quite apparent and also, with the assistance of other evidence, confirms the identity of Sandrocottus to Chandragupta Gupta.

    In the Puranic and other literature, there is no allusion anywhere to an invasion or inroad into India by foreign peoples upto the time of Andhra kings; and the only person who bore the name similar to Sandrocottus of the Greeks, and who flourished at the time of Alexander, was Chandragupta of the Gupta dynasty, who established a mighty empire on the ruins of the already decayed Andhra dynasty and existing 2811 years after the Mahabharata War, i.e., corresponding to 328 B.C. His date is currently placed in the fourth century A.D., which obviously does not stand. It is also interesting to note that the accounts in the life of Sandrokotus of the Greeks, and the political and social conditions in India at that time, match to those of in the era Chandragupta Gupta. With this observation, it is therefore that the Greek and Puranic accounts unanimously agree on the issue of the identity Chandragupta Gupta and Sandrocotus.

    The ten kings of Shishunaga dynasty ruled for 360 years, beginning from 1994 B.C. and ending with 1634 B.C. At this time, an illegitimate son, Mahapadma-Nanda, of the last Shishunaga emperor, Mahanandi, came to the throne of Magadha. The total regal period of this Nanda dynasty was 100 years. After this, with the assistance of Arya Chaanakya, Chandragupta Maurya ascended the throne of Magadha, and that is in year 1534 B.C. This date can be arrived and confirmed using many independent accounts.


  2. This misplaced identification of this Sandrocottus with Chandragupta Maurya, which also is considered to be the "sheet anchor" of Indian chronology, has led to further chronological fallacies in the dating of Ashoka Maurya, the grandson of Maurya-Chandragupta. This Ashoka supposedly became a Buddhist as is confirmed from a variety of inscriptions and rock edicts found. It is interesting to note that these edicts are summoned in the name of one "Devanam Priyadarshi Raja" and the name Maurya Ashoka is nowhere mentioned. This identification of "priyadarshin" with Maurya Ashoka was entirely based upon Ceylonese Buddhist chronicles. However, as admitted by Wheeler and V.A. Smith, undeserved credit is given to ceylonese records which have been nothing but a hinderance of ancient Indian history. Also, the Buddhist histories recorded centuries later create a good deal of confusion in the genealogies and family of Ashoka. It is therefore very difficult to get a confirmed statement from these annals.

    The names of kings found on Ashokan inscriptions namely, Amtiyoka, Tulamaya, etc. are ascribed to distant lands (Syria, Egypt, etc.). It is known that the kings mentioned bordered Ashoka's own lands. These alien kings are definitely not what they are construed to be. According to Agarwal, "In the Piyadassi inscriptions, the five names which are believed to the of the Greek kings are of the Jana-rajyas of the very country beyond the Indus." (Age of Bharata War, Delhi, 1979). Amtiyoka was a Bharatiya prince ruling Afghanistan around 1475 B.C., which then appears to be the approximate date of Priyadarshi Ashoka: the grandson of Maurya Chandragupta. It should also be noted that there is also no evidence of the time when these edicts were inscribed.

    Maurya Ashoka is known be respectful and supportive of Brahmana and Shramana, equally alike and favoured none, as known from the Girnar rock edicts. Also, he is not recorded to have become a follower of Buddha, and nowhere it appears that he erected great stupas and vihar. Then the question of the Ashoka who had embraced Buddha's path arises. Kalhan's Rajatarangini (1.101-102) provides details of one Ashoka of the Kashmiri Gonanda dynasty who is said to have freed himself from sins by embracing the faith of Gautam Buddha and by constructing numerous Vihar and Stupa and by building the town Shrinagari with its 96 lakhs of houses resplendent with wealth. He was a peaceful ruler who had lost all his land and wealth because of his innate pacifism. This description of Gonandiya Ashoka matches with one of the inscriptional Ashoka.

    However, according to Hultzsuch opinion, the major rock and pillar edicts differ in tone and message from those of the 8 minor rock inscriptions. Strangely enough, all 26 inscriptions appear to be carved out during the same period. If studied and analyzed carefully, a compelling inference needs to be drawn. The edicts with the proclamations in morality belong to Maurya Ashoka (1482-1446 B.C.) and those on the conversion of Buddhism are those of Gonanada Ashoka (1448-1400 B.C.).




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