This book is the outcome of the project meticulously carried out by Prof. R. Parthasarathy (Retd. Prof. of Geography, D.B. Jain College, Chennai) under the "Om Namashivaya" project instituted by Arutchelvar Dr. N. Mahalingarn.
Dr. N. Mahalingam had been initiating different but connected research investigations into our ancient history through astronomy and he sought the help of our Institute to prove or disprove the findings of one of his recent researcher’s Sri N.P. Rarnadurai in this regard. Dr. Mahalingam was a shrewd assessor of men and matters; he was sure that Sri N.P. Ramadurai had started a spark but seemed to feel that it was not in the proper direction. He approached the Institute to appoint some scholar to go through the work and give his sincere opinion.
Accordingly, Prof. R. Parthasarathy worked on this and with his knowledge of Sanskrit, Astronomy and Geography he was able to throw more light on the subject.
In the second meeting, Dr. Mahalingam came with an idea of concentrating on the Caturyuga Calendar and fix the history of India as found in the Puranas within the limit of 3,00,000 years. This took well with all of us; in fact, it made us think on these lines for the first time and found that there is much in this thought process of Dr. N. Mahalingam.
Dr. Mahalingam was quite enthusiastic about this and he advised Prof. Parthasarathy to work 'on an independent project on Caturyuga Calendar. The result is presented now to the public in the form of this book.
Prof. Parathasarathy had to consult the Ithihasas and all the major Puranas and other texts while culling out relevant information on this subject. Realising the importance of this study, the research scholars and academic staff of the Institute were also requested to assist him. The Institute places on record the help rendered by Sri S. N. Krishna, Dr. V. Yamuna Devi (Academic staff), Mrs. Vasumati Rajaram, Mrs. R. Muthulakshrni and Mrs. Lavanya Pravin, research scholars of the Institute for checking the relevant passages in the text.
We also thank Ms. K. Vidyuta, research scholar of the Institute for computerising the project report as well as formatting the book and Mrs. M. Srividhya for assistance in type-setting the book. Our special thanks to Ms. K. Vidyuta, for the meaningful cover-design.
The discerning public will be able to appreciate the foresight of Dr. N. Mahalingam and the research work done by the author on, reading this book.
Dr. N. Mahalingam had been associated with our Institute for more than three decades and was its President for two decades and a half. He had been a silent supporter of the Institute in all its activities. As a mark of our respect, we are dedicating this book to the memory of Padma Bhushan Dr. N. Mahalingam.
Mahakavi Bharati has said: "where great men of lore are not venerated, no great man is born anew." These words are highly appropriate today in Indian context. India is a vast country with varied relief features. Even today there are 22 great rivers and in olden days many more were flowing and enriching the soil. This gave rise to a great civilization within its secured borders. Not only did no big invasion take place on India, Indians too did not have the habit of invading countries outside Indian borders. This fact has been well recorded by Megesthenes in his book Indika. Though famines were common in India in different parts and at different times, at no period of time the entire country was without rain. Hence prosperity of the land led to peaceful life in the country.
Ancient Greek and Roman historians, and later Arabian historians have recorded through their traders, the rise and fall of civilizations in many parts of Africa, Arabia and Europe. It is recorded that the traders have wept, that countries with whom they traded for many years were no longer existing during their subsequent visits, their cities destroyed, and citizens were in chains, by other countries. History has recorded that countries like Ethiopia and Somalia which were trading in precious metals and incense sticks were enslaved by Greeks, Romans and later by Arabs. They became an important source of slaves for the next two thousand years. On the other hand, even during the great Mongolian invasions, India was largely spared.
Freedom and spontaneity are the hallmark of Indian culture Not only Vedic customs prevailed in the society, innumerable local customs and traditions also co-existed; they often took precedence over Vedic customs. Though Dharmasastras of Manu and' other! were well-known throughout the land, the society has been guider mainly by local customs. A marriage after elopement of a boy and girl in tribal area, is as valid as a marriage conducted with Vedicceremonies. Teachings of elders in different parts of India in various languages and dialects are as important as the words of wisdom of Vedic rsis. Often, we find a husband following one faith while the wife follows another; yet they have amicable family life in the case of art and architecture too, we can see that even though the image of the God changes according to Hindu Buddhist or Jain systems of thought, the surrounding deities, the ornaments and the nature motif around the main deity does no change. Many kings, not withstanding the faith they followed, user to feed mendicants of all faiths in their palaces. The mora teachings, and the dharma practiced are common to all. Societies of different types are allowed even today to have their own age-old practices, though at times they are repulsive. Moreover, new gurus, new teachings, new practices are allowed throughout the land. All these have been recorded by foreign travelers till 1711 century.
When Europeans attempted to colonize India and change native population to their religion, they found that even though Indians were divided in all ways, there were many underlying concepts binding them all. They identified the source of this bondage, as the Vedas, Itihasas and Puranas. These traditional sacred texts gave them their religion, philosophy, culture and history. The colonial masters wanted to break this cohesive society through anglisised education on the one hand and a systematic denigration of on all Indian sacred texts on the other. For this they employed the method of translating the works in to European languages first. This happened for more than fifty years. Meanwhile, they also started commenting on the purport of the texts. Thirdly, for the past twenty years they started to give sociological interpretations to our ancient texts defeating the purpose for which they were written by our rsis.
In India we always give importance to the great ideas of men. But now the personal life of great men has become topic for discussion and research. Sage Vyasas contribution as epic writer, compiler of Puranas, and writer of Mahabharata is relegated as insignificant. Instead individual incidences, like the story of Sambuka, Ekalavya in Epics and Puranas are taken as major topics for research. Even great Rajaraja Cola and Rajendra Cola are forgotten for their great deeds but condemned as mere invaders and expansionists. Today in the name of freedom of speech and expression, debates are being conducted to throw slur on great Epic personalities like Lord Rama, Sita, Lord Krsna, sage Vyasa and Siva. When occasionally such mudslinging is challenged, hue and cry is raised saying that intolerance of traditionalist is exposed.
Every country has her own method of recording her history All ancient societies like African, Mongolian, North west European countries like Norway and Denmark too have their ancient history Since the period of history is long and incidents are many, the sense of time disappears and the information on important events are recorded in the form of folk lore. India too is an ancient country and has recorded important events in history in the Epics and Puranas. Instead of recognizing this fact, the Western historians and some Indian scholars influenced by them try to subject the information in Puranas to Western way of date fixing. For example the Pasupati Seal in Mohanjo-Daro belongs to 2000-1500 B.C. They have recently discovered a similar seal in a plate from the Gundestrup Cauldron (200B.C.to 300A.D.) in Denmark. This figure is seen holding a serpent and a torch, flanked by animals (including a stag), seated under the Pupal tree, remarkably similar to the Pasupati Seal in Mohanjo-Daro. Instead of accepting that culture has moved from Indus Valley to Western Europe, they explain it as an evidence of Aryan Invasion theory. Similarly, in order to dismiss all claims of antiquity, they often dismiss facts as false. For example, Aryabhatta has given the year of his birth in his boo in Saka year 421 which corresponds to 499 A.D. This date is dismissed as false by John Bentley and he fixes him to 9th century A.D. Having fixed the date of Aryabhatta arbitrarily, Bentley pushes the dates of other Indian astronomers too. According to him Bhaskara II was the contemporary of Emperor Akbar and so on. His book on A Historical View of Hindu Astronomy is just a veritable thesaurus of abusive words on Indian astronomers.
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