[Advaita-l] On evidence for and against Yugas of Indian chronology

Raghav Kumar Dwivedula raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Mon Nov 13 06:26:11 EST 2017

On 13-Nov-2017 4:52 PM, "Raghav Kumar Dwivedula" <raghavkumar00 at gmail.com>

Namaste Venkataraghavan ji

I have to admit that examining the itihAsa as having a core of historical
truth, may be not exactly be par for the course in an advaita forum. But
there are so many learned members here who I felt, cherish the itihAsas as
having atleast some historical value so I raised this topic.

The intention behind my question was as follows. Much of the content of the
Indian itihAsas is dismissed as imagined or allegorical from the
perspective of modern science.

This may be due to several reasons one of which is,  the fantastic
incidents mentioned in them. I am not examining this aspect.

One additional  reason which is advanced to dismiss itihAsas as having no
historical value which I specifically wanted to focus on was that the time
scales mentioned in the itihAsas with human dynasties having been present
for much longer (Sri Rama belonged to c.870,000 BCE if we accept 432000
years as the Kali Yuga; but it appears that this figure of 432000 years for
Kali Yuga is not insisted upon by all within the tradition. Another figure
of 600 years is also accepted by some) than what is regarded as plausible
or compatible with evidence from modern science. I wanted to know if any of
the members in this group have any idea about this aspect. I posted that
'science invalidates the yuga concepts and such large time scales' as
something like a hypothesis for examination.

To say that the itihAsas describing Sri Rama the King of Ayodhya are mere
imagined stories weakens the overall sanAtana dharma, is my perception. A
deeper bhakta may indeed not bother since he has discovered the Rama tattva
within his heart and is moving towards the nirguNa svarUpa of Sri Rama.
For him,  it is of no consequence whether Rama existed historically or not.
He has already embraced the eternal archetype of Sri Rama available as a
possibility for divine communion within the mind through nAma japa etc.

But for a large number of people it does make a difference if it is said
that Rama ruling Ayodhya is just a story with not even a historical
*possibility* given that *870000* is just too far back. In such a case we
have to, as Swami Dayananda Saraswati ji or Sri Yukteswar Giri suggest,
revise the duration of the Kali Yuga to 600 years. Or we show that the
so-called proof that there were no human beings that far back, coming from
science, to be of doubtful authenticity. I was hoping some members have
more idea about these two ideas.
1. Is the Kali Yuga 600 (or some relatively small figure) or is it the more
commonly quoted figure of 432000?
2. Does the evidence from science which goes against the larger time scales
have any significant flaws or problems? (For example until recently, it was
held that there were no human beings before 20,000 BCE and this figure has
morphed into 200,000 BCE or even more. Well that's an improvement no doubt.)

I am also not too sure the time scales are merely an arthavAda for
inculcating vairagya. I am trying to take itihAsa (iti ha aasa - thus it
happened ) as having atleast some historical basis. Sri Kanchi Periyava for
one took them quite literally and seriously.

In this post, I did not mention Sri Krishna since the time scales
traditionally mentioned of 3102 BCE has no violent clash with scientific
and archaeological evidence. (Please note I am not trying to validate but
only discover non-conflict. But with traditional dates for Sri Rama the
conflict is too strong. )


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