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October - November 2004

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Do we know Ancient India?

Extract from a Speech Made to the Rotary Club of Mumbai, India

India is in every Indian’s blood; yet very few of us ask about other aspects of the country apart from its physical and geographical traits. What did she represent in the past? Why very little is mentioned in our own history. How did we lose the old history and why is the chronology of our past not mentioned properly?

We read India’s rich history now through the records of International travellers from China, western and central Asia, who came to the country and left travel records. The first exact date and definite chronological history began from the Rig Veda and Manu Samhita. Students of Indian history may find particular difficulty as dates for events in the early Hindu era are recorded in various fashions with contradictory interpretations.

From Manu Samhita we can trace our origins from about 5000BC, and come to know the land around the River Indus, Sindhu and thus Hindu and Hindustan. From then on our civilisation grew along the River Bramhaputra, Yumuna and Ganges until we reached the sea in the East and South. On the Northern side, we covered the Himalayan, Mahabharata ranges and covering the Kinnor ranges. It may be noted that between the Mahabharata and Kinnor ranges lies the great Mount Kailash and Manasarovara- where the Mahabharata was written by Sage Viyasa with the help of Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva, in the Viyasa Valley. Before the Mahabharata very little is known as mentioned in the Rig Veda. It is understood that Mahabharata was written between 4000- 3760 BC and the battle of Kurukhestra happened in 3120 BC. After the battle the chronological order of the Ancient history of India is obtainable.

The story of Mahabharata consists of 100,000 stanzas and verses, 8 times longer than the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, and 15 times longer than the Bible. It contains thousands of beliefs, legends, teachings, thoughts and characters which are central to the Hindu tradition, and which are still part of everyday Indian life. Its centrepiece is the "Bhagavad Gita", an extended conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna on the battle field before the battle of Kurukhestra started, which reflects the new perceptions of divinity, often perceived as the basis of Hinduism as it is practised today.

After the battle, the Kings who took part with the Kuru clan did not agree with the winning clan of the Pandavas and some of them left India/ Bharata and proceeded beyond the Himalayas, Mahabharata and Kinnor ranges to Asia Minor and beyond. It is said that after the battle of Kurukhestra, the Kali-Yuga began in the year 3102 BC, when Lord Krishna disappeared from the scene. It is also said in the Bhavishya Purana that a few Kings left with their followers and went in search of new land beyond Asia Minor. Most representative of such migration was Yavana, one of the sons Maharaja Yayati, who were Kshatriya and did not wish to continue under Pandava dominance. They ultimately occupied the land known as Greece, and called themselves Greeks, at a later date Yavana (Greeks) invaded India in 342BC under Alexander of Macedonia. It is noted from the Greek archives that Alexander firmly believed that he had past roots in India.

Similarly 1730 BC a group of non Brahmins from the kingdom of Haran in Rajputana left India under the leader ship of Au- Brahmin who later called himself A-braham and reached land called Palestine and they eventually called themselves Israelites (reference ch29 Genesis and Joshua – 24,2-3). It is also noted from the work of Dr H.P.Blavatsky ‘the secret doctrine’ shows how the Hebrews were descendants of non Brahmins and Chandalas, who also migrated from India to Iran, Sind, Siberia, Iraq, Afganistan, Uzbekistan, Tazikistan etc. Between 0-BC to 70 AD all those areas were under the King Kanishka, and people there practised Hinduism and Bhuddism.

Between 0 BC and 1 AD a young man appeared in India. He was known as Yusuf Aziz or Issa and later became known as Jesus Christ. This young man came to India and mingled with the priests/Brahmins until he was 25 years of age, by which time he had learnt the technique of samadhi from the yogic experts. It is known that from the age of twenty-five he lived in Palestine and was subsequently crucified by order of Pilate, the Roman governor of the land of Israel. However, Jesus was only kept on the cross for around twenty minutes after which time, his followers took him down and his unconscious body was transported out of Jerusalem. Shortly after this, Jesus returned to Kashmir during the rule of Kanishka, and this was to become his final resting-place in around 70 A.D. He was buried in a place called ‘Rozabal’ near Bandipura, opposite Ular Lake in Kashmir. His sarcophagus is still there even after two thousand years.

It is noted that between 4000 to 5000 B.C. the Ramayana was written by the sage Valmiki. Between 2500 and 2000 BC, the Harappan civilisation was founded, followed closely by the Indus civilisation. Unfortunately, at the beginning of Kali Yuga (about 3120 BC) and until the end of the Indus civilisation, there exists a large gap in our history about which little is known. It is now known that during this gap, India was broken in a thousand different states and no proper defence existed. At the same time, Alexander discovered the route to India in 342 BC and was victorious in battle with King Porus of India (the last man to resist foreign invasion). After the invasion of India by Alexander, the route his men used became known as the ‘Silk Route’ and tribes of nomads capitalised on this by attacking India one after the other. Tribes such as the White Huns, Darius of Persia, and Chengis Khan were all beneficiaries of Alexander’s path.

The full version of this article is available in the print edition.

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