Clime of the unforgotten brave
Where land from plain to mountain cave Was freedom’s hom@ or glory’s grave ;
Shrine of the mighty Can it be
That this is all remains of thee?
No one acquainted with the history of the ancient Indians can reasonably deny the great merits of their ancient Constitution, which combined happiness with activity, tranquility with progress—”one lesson which in every wind is blown”—and conservation with advancement. Their astonishing subjective capacities and their extraordinary powers of observation and generalization led them irresistibly to trace Nature in all her multifarious solemn workings. They followed her in every thing they did, and hence the halo of reality and conservation which surrounds their work. It is this reality and conservation, the happy results of following Nature” which is wisdom without reflection and above it “that have imparted that polish to Hindu Laws and Institutions which makes them at once durable and brilliant.
There was, anciently, an adjustment of forces which enabled each institution to describe its peculiar orbit and work in its own sphere without interfering with the others; but now, alas! owing to the long-continued and unabated pressure of hostile circumstances, that adjustment is being broken, and the forces are being let loose so as to bring the different institutions together. Their foundations, however, are still intact, owing to their exceeding firmness.
The turning point in the history of Ancient India was the Mahabharata, the Great War between the Panduvas and the Kauravas. This momentous event decided the future of Ancient India, as it closed the long chapter of Hindu growth and Hindu greatness. The sun of India’s glory was at its meridian about the end of Dwapar, and, following the universal law of Nature, with the beginning of the Kaliyuga, it turned its course towards the horizon, where it set on the plains of Thaneshwar amidst the romantic splendour of Sanjugta’s love and Pithora’s chivalry. As the Mahabharata marked the zenith of Hindu greatness, Shahabud-din’s victory at Thaneshwar marked the sinking of the great luminary below the horizon. The nadir was reached several centuries later, when the armies under Bajai Rao were routed on the same sacred, fateful plains by the Durrani host. The great war which, as will be seen hereafter, influenced so powerfully the destiny of nations was, in reality, the beginning of the end of Hindu greatness, and it was at this period that the political and social Constitution of India began to yield to those innovations which, by their very contrast to the fundamental principles of that Constitution, are so prominent now.
Time is the root of all created beings,
And uncreate; of pleasure and of pain.
Time cloth create existence. Time destroys, Time shatters all, and all again renews.
Time watches while all sleep. Lin vanquished Time!
THE antiquity of the Hindu civilization is wonderful, its vitality miraculous. The fabulous age of the Greeks, the times of the Egyptian Soufi, and the “ stone. age “ of the modern European thinkers are but as yesterday in the history of the Hindu civilization. The age of this earth is not to be counted by a few thousand years, but by millions and trillions. And Hindu civilization is the earliest civilization in this world. Nations have risen and fallen, empires founded and destroyed, races have appeared and disappeared, but the Hindu civilization that saw their rise and fall, their foundation and destruction, their appearance and disappearance, still remains.
After fully discussing the claims of the ancient nations of the world to high antiquity, Count Bjornstjerna says:—” No nation on earth can vie with the Hindus in respect of the antiquity of their civilization and the antiquity of their religion.”‘
Dr. Stiles, President of Yale College in America, formed such an enthusiastic expectation from the-amazing antiquity of the Hindu writings that he actually
1 Theogony of the Hindus, p. 50.
wrote to Sir W. Jones to request him to search among the Hindus for the Adamic books.’
Mr. Halbed exclaims with sacred reverence, after treating of the four Jugs of the Hindus: “To such antiquity the Mosaic creation is but as yesterday; and to such ages the life of Methuselah is no more than a span.”
In concluding his remarks on the antiquity of Hindu astronomy, Count Bjornstjerna says: “But if it be true that the Hindus more than 3,000 years before Christ, according to Bailly’s calculation, had attained so high a degree of astronomical and geometrical learning, how many centuries earlier must the commencement of their culture have been, since the human mind advances only step by step in the path of science! “2 And yet, astronomy is not the science that is cultivated very early in the national literature of any country.
Pliny states that from the days of Bacchus to Alexander of Macecloli, 154 kings reigned over India, whose reigns extended over 6,451 years. How many reigned before Bacchus history is silent.
Abul-Fazal, in his translation of the Raj Tarangini, quotes the names of the kings who appear in these annals, and whose successive reigns are said to have occupied 4,109 years 11 months and 9 days. Prof. Heeren says: “ From Dionysius (an Indian king) to Sandracottus (Chandragupta) the space of 6,042 years is said to have elapsed. Megasthenes says 6,042 years passed between Spaternbas and Sandracottus.3
1 Ward’s Mythology, Vol. I., p. 144.
2Theogony of the Hindus,. p. 37. 31-listorical Researches, Vol, II, p, 218, ,
Professor Max Dunker I says “ that Spatembas,” which is perhaps another name of Dionyisius,” began his reign in 6717 years B.C.” “ The era of Yuddhishthira indeed,” he again asserts, “ is said to have preceded that of ‘Vicramaditya by the space of 3,044 years, and to have commenced about , 1 0 0 years B.C.” 2
Count Bjornstjerna says: “Megasthenes, the envoy of Alexander to Kanclragupso (Chandragupta), king of the Gangarides, discovered chronological tables at Polybhottra, the residence of this king, which contain a series of no less than 153 kings, with all their names from Dionysius to Kandragupso, and specifying the duration of the reigns of every one of those kings, together amounting to 6,451 years, which would place the reign of Dionysius nearly 7,000 years B.C., and consequently 1,000 years before the oldest king found on the Egyptian tables of Illanetho (viz., the head of the Tznite Thebaine dynasty), who reigned 5,867 years B.C., and 2,000 years before Soufi, the founder of the G-izeh Pyramid.”13
According to Sir W. Jones,2 eighty-one kings reigned in Magadha. “The first 20 reigns are unaccompanied with any chronological determination, but the ensuing are divided by him into five separate dynasties, of which the first commenced with King Pradista about 2,100 A.C., and terminated with King Nanda, about 1,500 A.C., embracing a period of 16 reigns; the second
1History of Antiquity, Vol, IV., p. 74.
2History of Antiquity, Vol. IV,. p. 219,
only comprises 10, and ends with the year 1,365 A.C.; the third dynasty, that of Sunga, contains also the same number of kings, and terminates 1,253 B.C.; the fourth, that of Canna, only consisted of four kings, and lasted till the year 908 A.C.; the fifth, that of Andrah, forms a series of 21 kings, and continued down to the year 456 before the Christian era and 400 before that of Vicrama.”
Now, according to the Puranas, the race of the Brahadrathas had ruled over Magadha before Pradyotas, (who reigned 2,100 A.C., according to Sir W. Jones), from Sornapi to Ripunjayai for a thousand years. And before the first Brahadrathas, Sahadeo, Jarasandh and Brilindrath are said to have reigned over Magadha.’ 2
The fact that dynasties and not individuals were units of calculation, is in itself a proof of the great antiquity of the ancient Hindu Empire.
Count Bjornstjerna, after discussing the antiquity of Hindu astronomy says: “ Besides the proofs adduced of the great antiquity of the civilization of the Hindus, there are others perhaps still stronger, namely, their gigantic temples hewn out of lofty rocks, with the most incredible labour, at Elephanta, at Ellora and several other places which, with regard to the vastness of the undertaking, may be compared with the pyramids, and in an architectural respect even surpass them.”3
Professor Heeren4 says: “We do not perhaps assume too much when we venture to place the origin of Ayodhya from 1,500 to 2,000 B.C.”
‘Max Thinker’s History of Antiquity, Vol. IV., p. 76. 2Max Dunker’s History of Antiquity, Vol. IV., p, 77. 3Theogony of the Hindus, p. 38.
4Historical Researches, Vol. II., p, 227.
Captain Troyer says: “I cannot refuse credence to this fact, namely, that great States, highly advanced in civilization, existed at least three thousand years before our era. It is beyond that limit that I look for Rama, the hero of the Ramayana.”‘
According to the Mahabharata, Ayodhya prospered for 1,500 years, after which one of its kings, of the dynasty of Surgas, founded Kanauj. The foundation of the city of Delhi (Indraprastha) is as old as the fabulous age (Pober, Vol. I, p. 263), at which time it was already celebrated for its splendour (Vol. I. p. 606).
Rene112 states that Kanauj was founded more than a thousand years before Christ. But apart from these haphazard shots of European writers—who, as Professor Wilson says: “in order to avoid being thought credulous run into the opposite vice of incredulity,” and would never concede anything for which there is not a demonstrable proof, especially as the history of ancient India is a history of ages so remote as to hopelessly put out of joint their early-conceived and limited notions of chronology and antiquity—there is an important piece of evidence in favour of the great antiquity of Indian civilization. Says Count Bjornstjerna: “The Bactrian document, called Dabistan3 (found in Kashmir and brought lo Europe by Sir W. Jones), gives an entire register of kings, namely, of the Mahabadernes, whose first link reigned in Bactria 5,600 years before Alexander’s expedition to India, and consequently several hundred years before the time given by the Alexandrine text for the appearance of the first man upon the earth.”
1 Asiatic Journal, 1841,
2 Memoirs, p. 54, (2nd. edition).
3 Theogony of the Hindus, p, 134.
That these Bactrian kings were Hindus is now universally admitted.’ Dabistan thus proves that India enjoyed splendid civilization 6,000 B.C., or nearly 8,000 years before the Victorian age.
This alone is sufficient to prove that the ancient Indians were incontestably the earliest civilized nation on earth. Another conclusive proof of their unrivalled antiquity will be found in the fact that all the great nations of the old world derived their civilization from India, that India planted colonies in all parts of the world, and that these colonies afterwards became known as Egypt, Greece, Persia, China, America, etc.; and that Scandinavia, Germany, and ancient Britain derived their civilization and their religion from the Hindus. In short, as will be seen hereafter, it was India which supplied the rest of the world with learning, civilization and religion.
The most ancient coinage in the world is that of the Hindus (Aryan), and the modern discoveries of the coins of ancient India are conclusive proofs of the vast antiquity of Hindu civilization.2
But in India everything is astounding to the European. Notwithstanding the destructive ravages of barbarous fanaticism, enough material remains from which we can infer, upon scientific data, the age of the present earth. Swami Dayananda Saraswati has treated the subject elaborately in his “Introduction to the Vedas,” and
1 See Mill’s History of India, Vol IL, pp. 237-238.
2The coinage of the Hindus, whatever may he its value and character, is certainly of a very remote antiquity—E/phinstone’sp, 176.
also discussed it with the Reverend Mr. Scott of Bareilly at Chandapur (vide Ar ya Darpan for March 1880, p. 67-68.)
The Sankalp, which every educated Hindu in India knows well, and which is recited at every ceremony, even at a dip in the sacred Ganges, is the key to unfold the whole mystery that enshrouds the view of the time at which the earth assumed its present form.
To understand what follows, it must be remembered that this world is alternately created from and dissolved into its material cause (chmg)—the parmeinu or atoms—after a fixed period. The world exists in one form for a fixed period, and then, for that very period, it exists only in its material cause. The former is called “Brahma Din,” and the latter “Brahma Ratri.”
As the Atharva Veda says, the Brahma Din is equal to 4,320,000,000 years.
This Brahma Din is made up of 1,000 Chaturyugis (4 yugs) or Dibyayugs, as they are also called. Manu (A.dhyaya I) says :—
A Chaturyugi or Dibyayug means a period of four yugs, Satyug, Treta, Dwapar and Kaliyug, and consists
of 12,000 Dibya years—Satyng consisting of 4,800, Treta of 3,600, Dwapar of 2,400, and Kaliyug of 1,200 Dibya years. Mann (Chapter 1, Si. 71) says :—
II And again,
Now, a Dibya year is equal to 360 ordinary years.
Thus Satyng =4,800 x360=1,728,000 years.
Treta =3,600 x360=1,296,000
Dwapur = 2,400 x 360 = 864,000
Kaliyug =1,200 x 360 = 432,000
A Chaturyugi=4,320,000 years.
Thus, the Brahma Din = 4,320,000,000 years. This is the period for which the world will remain in its
Again, the Brahma Din is divided into 14 Manwantras and a Manwantra into 71 Chaturyngis. Mann
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The Surya Sicldhanta also says
According to the Sankalp quoted above, six Manwantras’ have passed, the seventh is passing, and the remaining seven have still to come. Each Ch.aturyugi .4,320,000, as shown before, and 4,320,000 x71 306,720,000 =one Manwantra. Now, six Manwantras. 1,840,320,000 have paAsed, and this present Kaliyug is the Kaliyug of the 28th Chaturyugi. OF ibis Chaturyugi, 5,006 years of the Kaliyug (the present Sambat being 1963 Vicrama) have passed, and 432,000 — 5,006 = 426,994 years of the Kaliyug have yet to pass. Thus, of the seventh Manwantra, 116,640,000 ( 27 Chaturyugis 4,320,000 x 27) + 3,893,006 (the period of the 28th Chaturyugi already passed, 4,320,000-426,994) total 120,533,006 years have passed. The period yet to pass before the day of Final Dissolution comes is 214,704,000 (remaining 7 Manwantras) +186,186,994(of the present (sixth) Manwantra.) =2,333,226,994 years.
The Europeans, “accustomed as they are,” to use the words of Professor Sir M. Williams, “to a limited horizon “, will find this vast antiquity bewildering. Billions surely are incredible, if not incomprehensible to pious ears accustomed to a scale, the highest note of which rises no higher than 6,000 years. But matters are ‘improving, and even these pious souls will in time break the shell and come out into a world in which centuries will be replaced by millenniums.
Mr. Baldwin says: “Doubtless the antiquity of the human race is much greater than is usually assumed by
1The six Manwantras already passed are Swayambhav, Swaroehis, Autami, Tainas, Raivat, Chakshus, Vaivaswat. The seven Manwantras to come are named Sawarnit. Dakshasawarnih, Brahma, Sawarnih, Dharm Sawarnih, Rudrapucho, Rochyashcha and Bhotakah.
those whose views of the past are still regulated by medieval systems of chronology. Archeo]ogy and linguistic science, not to speak here of Geology, make it certain that the period between the beginning of the human race and the birth of Christ would be more accurately stated if the centuries counted in the longest estimate of the rabbinical chronologies should be changed to millenniums. And they present also another fact, namely, that the antiquity of civilization is very great, and suggest that in remote ages it may have existed, with important developments, in regions of the earth now described as barbarous The representation of some speculators that the condition of the human race since its first appearance on earth has been a condition of universal and hopeless savagery down to a comparatively modern date, is an assumption. merely, an unwarranted assumption used in support of an unproved and unprovable theory of man’s origin.”‘
113aldwin”s Ancient America, p. 181,