Validating Traditional date of Mahabharata War - XXX
by Jayasree Saranathan on 21 Mar 2021 7 Comments

This Mahabharata research validating the traditional date offers plenty of hints on solving the Harappan origins. The Early Harappan starting from modest settlements in 3300 BCE corresponds to the origins of the city-states mentioned in Mahabharata. This developed further after the war that enabled Yudhisthira’s command throughout the region ensuring peace and growth. Let me state certain parallels between the Harappan and the version found in Mahabharata.


The evidence of beef eating in the Harappan sites has been brought out by the researchers. That beef eating existed in the Land of the Five Rivers, Madraka, Vahika, Gandhara etc., was pointed out by Karna to Shalya. This was not prevalent in the places occupied by the Kuru clan. The evidence of beef eating in places like Golo Dhora (Bagsara) in Gujarat, when analyzed deeply, showed that there were marked differences in food habits inside and outside the walled structures, implying the existence of local and migrant workers in adjacent habitats. So there cannot be a generalization on food habits without cross-checking with the origin populations deduced from Mahabharata.


Another development in Harappan research is the consensus on pre-Harappan indigenous culture in Gujarat (Sorath Harappan) with further influx from Sindh and other Harappan to Gujarat in later phases. This reveals the return of the Vrishnis – Andhakas – Bhojas to their ancestral habitat that existed before Dwarka flood. The dense cluster in habitations in Gujarat was pre-Harappan and Early Harappan. The contemporaneity of Sindh and Baluchistan is decipherable only from Mahabharata about the presence of Bhojas, a sub-clan of the Vrishnis in those regions. 



Mahabharata unfolds the mystery of the ‘sudden’ appearance of civil engineering and town planning skills in the Harappan. A case in point is Maya’s contribution to building the city and palace of Indraprastha for the Pandavas. Maya left his unique stamp on the indoor water pool in the palace which people mistook for land and fell into it with eyes open. [Mbh: 2-3] There was no visible sign of inflow or outflow structures in that tank. The same can be seen in the Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro that appeared a century or two after the Mahabharata!


There is a small hole at the bottom corner of the Great Bath which people think is an outlet. In the absence of any source of water to the tank, it is understood that this hole served as an inlet for water from an external source - a well, existing just outside the complex. This is the core concept of “Vapi” (Step-well) found at many places in Gujarat and north of it. The indoor tank at the Pandava palace must have been built as a Vapi by Maya.


The Great Bath was not an open-air tank, but an indoor tank. It has all the features of a tank within an enclosed structure and this could have been the work of the masons who learnt the art of making interior tanks from Maya. The Vapi or step-wells found in many places in North India particularly the Indus region owe their origin to Maya.


Further authentication for Maya’s contribution in this regard can be unearthed only from local Indic sources. I wish to state a couple of such sources before ending this series with reflections gathered from Mahabharata.


Maya’s role in building Pandava palace authenticated cross-referentially


Maya’s role in Mahabharata is validated by the lines from Silappadhikaram, a popular Tamil Epic written 2000 years ago during the times of Gautamiputra Shatakarni. This appears in the context of the Chola king Karikala’s trip to the Himalayas. He was gifted with three exquisite artifacts [Royal canopy, Vidya Man?apa and Tora?a] by the kings of Vajra desa, Magadha and Avanti, on his way back home. Silappadhikaram says that were created as per the rules laid down by Maya who taught these rules to the ancestors of the makers of these artifacts, in return for the help they once did to him. [Silappadhikaram: Ch. 5. 99-108]


What kind of help could the ancestors of the craftsmen have given to Maya in the past? The only connection to Maya comes in Mahabharata period when he was rescued from the fire in the Khandava vana by Arjuna and was asked by Krishna to build a palace for the Pandavas. [Mbh: 2-1] Maya finished building the palace in 14 months. There is no mention of his team of men to assist him in the work. As a single person, he could not have built the entire palace. The local builders must have been pressed into service to help him. Silappadhikaram verse shows that these persons who had helped him in building that palace were taught the tricks and methods of his trade in return for the help they had rendered. They retained that knowledge and transferred it down the generations. The gifts that Karikala received were made by those persons coming in the families whose ancestors assisted Maya in building the palace.


An important innovation that Maya did was constructing an indoor tank in the palace. A similar one appearing in the Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro a couple of centuries later goes to show that the knowledge was retained through the generations and was used whenever asked for.


The Harappans did not spring up suddenly from hunter-gatherer life as some researchers think; nor were their civil engineering skills suddenly invented. Almost every feature of the Harappan building technology and allied ones were there in Mahabharata times and retained meticulously. These masons made no distinction between the people they worked for. From Hastinapur to Jayadratha’s land they had moved to do the work, but must have returned to their base once the job was done. Any new theory on Harappan life picked up from the excavations must take migrant labor into consideration. The civil technology and craftsmanship uninterruptedly continuing in India till Karikal Chola's period is just one piece of evidence, but this is enough to show the presence of similar other skills predating  the Harappan.


Script on Harappan seals mentioned in Silappadhikaram


In two contexts, Silappadhikaram tells about bundles of rare items that had arrived from North India. They carried seals of ‘ka??e?utthu’ (a reference to rebus expressions) from which one can know, according to the olden commentator Adiyarkku Nallar, ‘the name of the good, the size or measurement of the good’ [Silappadhikaram: Ch 26 –Lines 135-136] and ‘the stamp of the trader and the numbers’ [Silappadhikaram: Ch 5. Lines 11-113] of the goods that have been bundled. The origin of these goods in North India containing the wealth of that region unmistakably point out to the vast Harappan region where manufacturing activities continued even after the supposed decline of Harappan culture. 


The discovery of many broken seals in Harappa that were presumably tied around the bundles matches with the description in Silappadhikaram. McIntosh points out the nature of the sealings as being “attached to cords or sacking used to package bales of goods”. [McIntosh, Jane (2008). The Ancient Indus valley: New Perspectives. ABC-CLIO, Inc. California, pp. 151-153] They bear the same kind of script, animal motifs as found in other seals and steatites of the Harappan.


From the hints in Silappadhikaram, it is deduced that signs on the sealings were about the name of the goods, its numbers and its origins – the name or insignia of the manufacturer. This justifies our stance that Harappan animals on the seals and the sealings were the emblems of the kings or the chiefs of the region coming from Mahabharata times. Images of unicorn, bull and elephant in Harappan seals point to their origins in Mahabharata kings, continuing into the Harappan phase. The additional input we get is that the numerals in vogue at that time and the units of measurement or size were also present on the seals. So the scripts on the seals come under a different class used in trade and are not proof of literacy of the Harappan society. Literacy can be traced in other forms - the chief proof of it is the very text of Mahabharata coinciding with the Early Harappan Phase.


My reflections


Mahabharata is not just a story of the Bharatas; it gives the history of India and beyond, enabling us to pick out one gem after another, from an ocean of gems. What I have done is just picking out a few gems to tell the world that it is accurate to the core – such accuracy helping me to validate the date derived from the date of Kali Yuga.


In my limited journey through this Great Bharata, I realized how we have been fed with wrong information in our times. The foremost I want to say is that there was no interpolation and the entire text was written by Vyasa only. As I was systematically working on the verses, I was able to see that Ganesha as the scribe was not an interpolation, nor was the verse on the sun rising in the midst of Rohini on the day Bhishma left. Similarly the affliction to Rohini by the sun and the moon on the first day of the war, now rejected as interpolation, was a perfectly working astrological principle. Our ancestors need to be given a benefit of doubt for they were more honest and truthful than us, by not playing with the verses, but preserving the text for posterity.


Mindless manipulation of the verses seems to be a prerogative of the current generation, not the olden one.


The other controversy about Mahabharata pertains to its name and the number of verses composed by Vyasa!


Veda Vyasa composed Mahabharata after compiling the eighteen Puranas. [Devi Bhagavata Purana: 1-3] But he did not release it to the world until after Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura departed the world, says Sauti. [Mbh: 1-1-55 & 56]

utpadya dh?tara??ra? ca pa??u? viduram eva ca
jagama tapase dhiman punar evasrama
? prati
?u jate?u v?ddhe?u gate?u parama? gatim
abravid bharata
? loke manu?e 'smin mahan ??i?

This means the book was first made known to the public at large only after the Pandavas left the kingdom seven months after Krishna’s exit.


Sauti continued to say that Vyasa originally composed 24,000 verses, called as “Bharata” by the learned. [Mbh: 1-1 61]

caturvi?satisahasri? cakre bharata sa?hitam

upakhyanair vina tavad bharata? procyate budhai?


The initial 24,000 verses must have been composed by Vyasa in the intervening years after the war and the beginning of Kali Yuga (exit of Krishna).  Soon after the release of Bharata at the exit of the Pandavas, Vyasa composed the introduction and the chapter of contents comprising of 150 verses and added them to Bharata. After this he made the third compilation of different lengths by adding more details and events necessary for posterity, but released only that version having hundred thousand verses for propagation among the mankind. That version was recited by Vaisampayana at the sarpa yaga conducted by Janamejaya. That version is available to us in the words of Sauti. In former days, the text of Bharata was weighed in comparison with the Vedas in a balance and found to be heavier than Vedas by which it came to be known as Mahabharata.


There is an opinion that Mahabharata was initially known as “Jaya”. This is based on the invocation verse on increase of Jaya at the beginning of the chapters. This verse is not unique to Mahabharata alone; even the Puranas begin with the same verse. Jaya is a generic term used as invocation at the beginning of any work. The celebration of ‘Jaya’ (victory) must have started right after the victory in the war.


Sauti describes in the first chapter of Mahabharata how Dhritarashtra kept repeating to Sanjaya several times that he had no hope of ‘Vijaya’, i.e. victory -“tada nasa?se vijayaya sa?jaya” - after mentioning every event in the life of the Pandavas starting from Arjuna winning the hand of Draupadi in a contest until the time Krishna saved the child (Parikshit) growing in the womb of Uttara. Ultimately it was Vijaya of Pandavas over Kauravas and of Dharma over the greed of Dhritarashtra. Since then the invocation of ‘Jaya’ in all works seems to have started.


In Janamejaya’s inscription we find the terms, “Jayabhudaye Yudhisthira shake” which means ‘beginning with Jaya in Yudhisthira shaka’. Just as how Vyasa invoked Jaya at the beginning of his work, the royal decrees were given by invoking Jaya. Jaya was not the name of Mahabharata.


Finally, the enormity and accuracy of the details do not escape our attention. Vyasa seemed to have collected the information very meticulously before writing this Itihasa. The detailed description of the comet-hit from Sindhu to Ganga could not have become possible at the moment of the disaster. He had collected and cross-checked before writing them down.


Such kind of cross-checking is seen in the case of covering war events. Vyasa had given the divine eye to Sanjaya. The war events were seen both by himself and Sanjaya and probably cross-checked before writing. I got this opinion on reading that Vyasa appeared from nowhere in the battlefield on the 18th day to the rescue Sanjaya when Sanjaya was about to be attacked by Satyaki since Sanjaya belonged to the Kaurava side. It seems that both Vyasa and Sanjaya were moving around the battlefield and collecting firsthand information, like journalists collecting information.


Sanjaya was not staying with Dhritarashtra all the time. He was in the war field moving among the warriors. The nature of the divine vision gifted by Vyasa is explained by Sanjaya that he “obtained excellent and celestial apprehension, sight beyond the range of the visual sense, and hearing, from great distance, knowledge of other people's hearts and also of the past and the future, a knowledge also of the origin of all persons transgressing the ordinances, the delightful power of coursing through the skies, and untouchableness by weapons in battles.” [Mbh: 6-15 (Ganguli’s translation)]


We all think that the war scenes were narrated right from the first day. It is not so. Sanjaya seems to have spent the first ten days in the war field, until Bhishma fell. After the fall of Bhishma, he rushed to Hastinapur to tell the king the news about Bhishma. But by then the king had received the message. He then asked Sanjaya the happenings in the war by stating “Dharma kshetre, Kurukshetre...” that forms the first sloka of Bhagawad Gita. From then onwards the narration picks up on the war. This narration coming on the night of the 10th day of the war is used by some researchers to suit “their date” of Mahabharata saying that Bhagawad Gita was given by Vyasa (Mahabharata) only on that day. It was the Gita of Bhagawan Sri Krishna, not of Sanjaya or Vyasa!

Such is the degradation in knowledge of the current times. To ‘promote’ the date they got for Mahabharata, people work relentlessly even if it means ‘adjusting’ Kali Yuga date such that Kali Yuga started during the war or long before the war! This decadence in knowledge waiting to erase the true date of this great Itihasa, I sadly turn to the last page of the text of Mahabharata. [Mbh: 18- 5.v.46-50]


“In former times, the great Rishi Vyasa, having composed this treatise, caused his son Suka to read it with him, along with these four Verses.

“Thousands of mothers and fathers, and hundreds of sons and wives arise in the world and depart from it. Others will (arise and) similarly depart.

“There are thousands of occasions for joy and hundreds of occasions for fear. These affect only him that is ignorant but never him that is wise.

“With uplifted arms I am crying aloud but nobody hears me. From Righteousness is Wealth as also Pleasure. Why should not Righteousness, therefore, be courted?

“For the sake neither of pleasure, nor of fear, nor of cupidity should any one cast off Righteousness.

“Indeed, for the sake of even life one should not cast off Righteousness.

“Righteousness is eternal. Pleasure and Pain are not eternal. Jiva is eternal. The cause, however, of Jiva’s being invested with a body is not so.”


Reading this, I raise my hands crying why no one understood the Dharma of adhering to Vyasa and Kali date.


Vyasa replied, “Kali is running at its full pace. My Mahabharata is buried by the human beings in the human world. If you discover it, it would stay at places where people who know Dharma and Mahabharata live.”


With calmness attained in my mind I bow to Bhagawan Vyasa. I bow to Sriman Narayana who, having led me on Vaikuntha Ekadasi had completed this journey by this Shukla Dasami.




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