Reference : Kalahana’s Rajatarangini. Translation by Ranjit Sitaram Pandit, Foreword by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Publishers : Sahitya Akademi. ISBN : 81-260-1236-6, Rs 200, first published in 1935, latest reprint 2006. The expert Scholar Sri R.S. Pandit is incidentally and interestingly the husband of Smt. Vijayalakshmi Pandit, the first woman President of the United Nations General Assembly (My mother was named after her ).
Who was Kalahana? Kalahana was a Kashmiri Historian, who composed the history of Kashmiri Kings (Rajatarangini) in Sanskrit.
Why is it important to us? He has provided a links between the Kashmiri Kings, and the Yadava kings as well as his estimate of the date of the Bharata war.
What does he tell us?
King Gonanda 1 was a great Kashmiri king. He was invited by Jarasandha to attack Mathura after the death of Kamsa. In the battle between Balarama (Sri Krishna’s brother) and Gonanda, Balarama won (embraced the goddess of victory) and Gonanda I died (embraced the earth).
King Damodara 1 inherited the kingdom of Kashmir from his father Gonanda I and was waiting for an opportunity to hit back at the Yadavas. At this time the Yadavas were invited to Gandhar, on the banks of the Sindhu, for a swayamvar of a princess. He attacked the Yadavas with a huge army before the Swayamvar. In the battle, Sri Krishna killed him with his chakram (battle - disc).
Yasovati was the widowed and pregnant wife of Damodara I. Sri Krishna had her crowned the queen of Kashmir, by brahmans. The yadavas did not like this. They wanted to press their advantage and take over the kingdom. But Sri Krishna explained to them that the land of Kashmir is Parvati Devi and that the ruler is an Amsa of Siva and he should not be disregarded even if he is a bad man.
Gonanda 2, the son of mother Yasovati was crowned king while yet a boy whose dangling legs could not reach the foot stool from the throne. He was not invited either by the Kauravas or the Pandavas to fight in the war, because he was a kid. Thus Kashmir did not participate in the Mahabharata War.
35 were the kings after Gonanda 2 whose names and deeds disappeared without a trace.
Lava, the next king constructed 84 lakhs of stone houses and founded the city of Lolor.
Kusa, Khagendra, Surendra, Godhara, Suvarna, Janaka, Sacinara were the kings who followed Lava. Both Lava and Kusa gifted Agraharas to brahmanas. Khagendra waged wars against the Nagas. The others expanded in kashmir founding viharas and gifting agraharas. Suvarna constructed the canal Suvarnamani in Kerala. Sacinara died without a son.
Asoka was the great grandson of Sakuni and the son of Sacinara’s great-uncle. He was the next king. He accepted Buddhism, and covered s’uSkaletra and vitastAtra with stupas. He built a very large Caitya in Dharmaranya Vihara. he founded the magnificent city of Srinagari with 96 lakh houses. He rebuilt the prakaras of Vijayesa with stone and built 2 temples to Asokeswara within the stone rampart.
Jalauka was born to Asoka with the blessings of Siva. When the mlecchas (foreigners – people of indistinct speech ) overran his country, Asoka performed a penance to please Bhutesa and was blessed with Jaluaka. Jalauka could transform materials and had plenty of gold to gift. He froze the waters, entered the Naga kingdoms and delighted many Naga girls. In his court, was an erudite philosophers who defeated many puffed up, powerful, buddhist debators. Jalauka was devoted to Vijayeswara and Jyestesa in Nandisa kshetra. He had a naga friend. He drove out the mlecchas. The place where the invasion was repelled is called Ujjhatadimba. He instituted the constitutional system of Yudhisthira.
…… and so on….. this brings us to Gonanda 3; who became the first of the Gonanda dynasty.
- Kalahana tells us that 52 kings passed into oblivion from the time of the Kauravas and The Pandavas to this Gonanda 3.
- He tells us that, some people have calculated 2268 years from the Mahabharata War to the time of this Gonanda 3. (Giving on an average of 43-44 years per king)
- This he says is based on the wrong assumption that Mahabharata War took place at the end of the Dwapara Yuga.
- He says that the Bharata war took place in year 653 of Kaliyuga (not 36 years before Kaliyuga, which is the assumption made by others. See Date of the Mahabharata War)
- He says ” Of the laukika era, in the 24th year at present, 1070 years of the Saka Era have gone by. (See : How many kinds of Sakas (Eras) are there?)
- “Roughly commencing from Gonanda 3, 2330 autumns have now elapsed.”
- “1266 years is the duration of time which, it is believed is the duration of 52 kings “
- Then he refers to Varahamihira’s Brhat Samhita and says that since the Saptarishi Mandala moves from one nakshatra to the other in 100 years, and the Saptarishis stood in (indicated) Magha (Regulus) during the time of Yudhisthira, “2526 years prior to the Saka Era was the epoch of his reign”. See Saptarishi Calendar.
- Varahamihira’s Pancasiddhantika refers to 427 Saka Era (1.8.10 of pancasiddhantika), in a calculation to arrive at the Ahargana. : Varahamihira – Really 427 of Saka Era? : Pancha Siddhantika
Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula
- In giving 1226 years for 52 kings, Kalahana is assuming an average of 23-24 years per king, which is close to the assumption that many historians make.
- 1226+2330 = 3556 years is Kalahana’s estimate for the time between The Bharata War and himself. Pulakesin equates 3735 years after the Bharata War with 556 years of the Sakam that he was living in The Aihole Inscription.
- Kalahana says that he is in 1070 Saka Era., which gives 3556-1070 = 2486 years between the Bharata war and the start of Kalahana’s Saka Era. Pulakesin says that 556 years of the Saka era have passed, this gives us 3179 years between the Bharata war and the start of the saka Era referred by Pulakesin.
- If Pulakesi’s Saka Reference = Kalahana’s Saka Reference, then date of Bharata War as per Pulakesin is 3179 years before the start of the Sakam, and 2486 years as per Kalahana. Pulakesin who lived before Kalahana, clearly used Vyasa’s date for the Bharata War.
- In the Brihat Samhita Varahamihira is speaking of a Sakam whose zero point is 2526 years after Yudhisthira was made king. (Bharata War).
- Vyasa said that Sri Krishna’s ascent and Kaliyuga beginning was 36 years after the Bharata war. Kalahana says that the Bharata war took place in year 653 of Kaliyuga. This implies that his date for Sri Krishna’s ascent is 689 kaliyuga.
- Traditional Indian calendars give the start of Kaliyuga as 3102 BCE. (BC)
- Vyasa’s date for Bharata War : 3138 BCE. (2102+36)
- Kalahana’s Date for Bharata War : 2449 BCE (3102-653)
- Start of Saka Era referred to by Varahamihira : 612 BCE (3128-2526) (Assuming Vyasa’s date for the war)
- Start of Saka Era referred to by Varahamihira : 77 CE (AD) (2449-2526) (Assuming Kalahana’s date for the war. Kalahana took it that Varahamihara’s Saka was the same as his own Saka and post dated the Bharata War. So this is a circular reference.)
- Start of Saka Era referred to by Pulakesin : 41 CE (AD) (3735-3138-556) (Assuming Vyasa’s date for the war)
- Start of Saka Era Referred to by Kalahana : 73 CE (AD)
- Arybhatta’s date for himself (3600 or 360 years after Bharata War) : 2778 BCE or 462 AD (CE): (using Vyasa’s date for the war)
- Varahamihira referred to 427 Saka Era in Panca Siddhantika. (Kalahana took it that Varahamihara’s Saka was the same as his own Saka and post dated the Bharata War.) Using Vyasa’s date for the war, Varahamihira’s date is later than 185 BCE (612-427). Using Kalahana’s assumption of the Saka equivalence, Varahamihira’s date is later than 500 CE (AD). This is the calculation that Al-Biruni used. This equivalence is not accepted by many scholars., but appears to have been accepted by mainstream historians.
- Pulakesin’s date for himself : 597 AD (CE) (using Vyasa’s date for the war)
- Kalahana’s Date for himself : 1143 AD (CE)
- Modern Indian calendars give 78 CE (AD) as the start of the Saka Era.
Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula
I will be grateful if you leave a comment indicating any typos found.. my eye can’t pick them out.