[Advaita-l] On the history of Bharathavarsha

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 16 21:57:17 CST 2010

Dear Shri  Vidyasankarji,
Yes, one must convince oneself. Unfortunately it appears  that none of the sceptics had seen the paper in the journal "Vimarsha" nor had undertaken a visit to the Dwarka Math to ascertain the facts about the Copperplate inscription. If one says that the copperplate is not genuine then it is incumbent on him to substantiate that through proper investigation. The Dwarka Math had never hidden any information. There is no reason to doubt that Math to be non-transparent. Just because all the information is not available in a platter to the armchair critics they cannot ignore the evidence of the Copperplate, until they tell the forum the outcome of any such investigation undertaken by them.
As regards the work of Sethna it had been a good attempt to remove the distortions of ancient Indian history but he had not been entirely successful in his attempts. Dr. Subramanian Swamy's article too makes an attempt but that need be the last word. We have to look forward to the arrival of a book on the Ancient Indian History, devoid of most of the distortions. Let us be optimistic about the arrival of such a book soon. 
Abhinava Sankaracharya is also linked to 788 CE. Any comment?


--- On Sat, 1/16/10, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] On the history of Bharathavarsha
To: "Advaita List" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Saturday, January 16, 2010, 12:55 PM

Dear Sri Anbu Sivam,


Actually, most of us try to keep away from some of these inconclusive debates about
history! It is undeniable that our purANa-s have not been given the credence that they
deserve as a record of what happened in our own country from ancient times onwards.
It is also true that historians can and do differ from one another on how to interpret
known facts and what weight to give to surmise and conjecture where facts are not
available. It may be that the dates currently accepted for the Maurya dynasty and the
Gupta dynasty kings are still open to question and revision. More than a politican like
Subramanian Swamy or a demagogue like P N Oak, I would recommend reading the
publications of K D Sethna, for his dispassionate and highly detailed examination of the
various sources of historical data.

However, none of this is good enough reason to insist that Adi Sankara's date has to
be in the BCE period. When a native source gives a date in the SAlivAhana SAka era or
in the vikrama SAka era or as number of years passed since the kali yuga began, these
dates are extremely easy and clear to interpret. Even before there was any discussion
of Sankara's dates by Western scholars, a Kerala based poet, nIlakaNTha wrote two
kAvya-s on his life, SankaramandArasaurabha and SankarAbhyudaya, which give 788
AD as the date of his birth. Throughout Kerala, the accepted tradition is that the Kollam
era was begun in relation to Adi Sankara's lifetime. There are INDIAN sources, dating
from times when there were no political compulsions behind giving any date whatsoever
for Sankaracharya's life, which give us dates that translate to 788 AD as per the current
common reckoning. 

To Sri Sunil Bhattacharjya - any acceptance of a conclusion can only come after
direct examination of evidence, whether the topic is philosophy or mathematics or
science or history. Proper historians do not give credence to the supposed copper-
plate inscription of a king sudhanvA because the said inscription has never been made
available for examination. Questions abound - What script was it written in? Who
deciphered it? Was the claimed age authenticated via scientific means of dating? If
so, who did that study? Were copper-plate inscriptions used to record donations of
land and money in 5th century BCE? How many other, independent copper-plate
records have been found from a similar period? In other regions of India, the preferred
materials to keep records were different at different times. Finally, where is this
sudhanvA record today? Who has it and will he/she make it available for investigation?
There is no convincing answer to a single one of these questions. If this issue were a
hypothetical litigation in a court and you were the judge who had to sift through the
opposing claims of two parties and decide who was right, what would you do? How
would you handle the fact that lawyers for one side keep saying that they have some
evidence that vindicates their claim, but are forever unable or unwilling to bring that
evidence forth and present it in open court?



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