Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 131 (Vol # 5) Dated 21 Feb 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 131 (Vol # 5) Dated 21 Feb 2012

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavaaL of Kanchi Kaamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. Today we are proceeding from the second para on page No 816 of Vol 5 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that here in 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated constantly)
798. As we had seen earlier the Mourya Dynasty started around 1,500 years B.C., isn’t it? Bimbisaara was there another 300 years back as gathered from Matsya PuraNa. His son Ajaata Satru was followed by three or four rulers. Then came Maha Padma Nandan and then follows the Mourya Vamsam. Thus, it means that Bimbisaara was some 300 years prior to Chandra Gupta Mourya that is, sometime between 1800 and 1700 B.C. Since Buddha was his contemporary, his time can also be just there about. So, it would mean that our AachaaryaaL’s Avatara in 509 B.C., is sufficiently later, for Buddhism to have spread and taken roots!
799. Let this whole matter be set aside. (That is, let it be Chandra Gupta I or II or Samudra Gupta of the Gupta Dynasty, be the one who was the King at the time of the visit by Megasthanis in the 4th Century B.C.) As per those who hold the view that Sankara AachaaryaaL’s time was 788 to 820 A.D., his time is some 350 to 400 years after the above mentioned rulers of the Gupta Dynasty. In that period Gupta Dynasty had gone defunct and many others had ruled, followed by the reign of Harsha Vardhana after which another 100 years had passed. Regarding Harsha Vardhana, Maha Kavi BaaNa has written a huge ‘Harsha Charitram’ by which it is learnt that his reign was in the early part of the 7th Century A.D., for some 40 years. Even if they were not ready to accept indigent BaaNa’s words, notes and recordings of Chinese visitor HuanTswang, who was here for some 17 years visiting all Buddhist places of interest, are very much available by which it is confirmed that Harsha’s period was the early part of the 7th Century A.D. So what happened after Harsha, cannot be taken back a thousand years.
800. May be that you can take the events up to Gupta Dynasty by a thousand years back. But even in that, there is a recording of Fa-Hiyan’s notes. The trouble is that, he never made any mention of any of the rulers of his time! He stayed in India for some six years and has confirmed that the land was very peaceful. People respected each other’s right to follow their religion and that there were not many crimes. People could travel without fear of dacoity. He has made only some such generalised observations. So, we will leave him out of this controversy about deciding the dates of Gupta Dynasty. But then, we have to accept that later Harsha’s period and visit of HuanTswang in the 7th Century A.D. cannot be meddled with. There is no chance of taking it back by some 1000 years at all! Then another 150 years later only AachaaryaaL’s time comes. So this whole calculation is beyond any possibilities of dispute. That is the side of the case by the Orientalists who insist that AachaaryaaL’s time is from 788 to 820 A.D. I told you that they quote many other reasons for the same. We have to analyse each one of them singly and decide if their contention is right or wrong.
801. The Reference to KaaLi Daasa. One of their points is that, AachaaryaaL’s elder Kumarila Bhatta has quoted KaaLi Daasa and so, since KaaLi Daasa himself is of a later period (2nd Century B.C.), AachaaryaaL cannot be of 6th Century B.C.! They say that even if you take KaaLi Daasa as far back as possible, he must have been a contemporary of Puahsya Sunga Mitra’s son Agni Mitra, as the hero in ‘MaLavikaagnimitra’ is this Agni Mitra. Pushya Mitra’s time is only the 2nd Century B.C. and so KaaLi Daasa cannot be put back in 6th Century B.C., they say. But, their 2nd Century B.C. calculation is also based on the time of Megasthanis! By that they have fixed the period of Mourya Dynasty and Pushya Mitra was said to have been the Senapathy under the last of the Kings of Mourya Dynasty, who captured power. When the basis of calculation of the Mourya time period has been proved to be possibly wrong, there is no locus standi for this objection anyhow.
802. As per our calculations, Mourya Dynasty was there in 1,500 B.C. The Sunga Dynasty of Pushya Mitra comes some 300 years later in 1200 B.C. KaaLi Daasa comes shortly after that. That fits in with our contention that our AachaaryaaL is of the 6th Century B.C. and he is well within his rights to comment on KaaLi Daasa’s ‘MaaLavikaagnimitra’ hero Agnimitra, as KaaLi Daasa would be identified to have been another six hundred years before him! But because he has written about Kings of Sunga Dynasty does not mean however, that KaaLi Daasa should be a man of that period. Even today, someone can write a Ramayana without being a man of that period. So all that it means is that, Sunga Dynasty could be the upper limit for KaaLi Daasa’s time.
803. For long in this country we have always believed KaaLi Daasa to have been of the period of Vikrama Aaditya and that he was one of the nine famous characters known as ‘Nava Ratna’, or ‘nine gems’. The Vikrama Sahabdam is said to start in 57 B.C. Then how can it be taken back to 6th Century B.C., can be a question. There is yet another view that, there was a Vikrama Aaditya of the period Kali Yuga’s 2,500th year, that is in 6th Century B.C. and that he is the one mentioned in ‘Raja Tarangini’ and that KaaLi Daasa was the poet in his Royal Court. That calculation fits in with our own opinion that our AachaaryaaL was born in 509 B.C. and that KaaLi Daasa was born in the middle of that Century.
804. Whether we believe in our opinion of the common masses of this nation or that of the Western scholars of History, we have to agree that about the time of Vikrama Aaditya nothing can be said with certainty and he remains an enigma and puzzle. About him there are novels such as the ‘Bruhad Katha’, ‘Gaata Sapta Satee’ and other stories. But they do not have authoritative power such as that of PuraNas and Raja Tarangini. In every country, the stories of the adventurous capers and escapades by people like Vikrama Aaditya and Madana Kaama Raajan. But when we look at them as historical characters and try to fit them into the frame work of time, it becomes well neigh impossible! When some such attractive personages happen to come into people’s notice, they tend to add further stories to his name, not all of them real! That is how there are stories about Vikrama Aaditya who ruled from Ujjain and Bhoja Raja who ruled from the city of Tara.
805. Actually there is a strong belief that KaaLi Daasa was a poet in the royal court of Bhoja and not Vikrama Aaditya. When there are two such versions gaining currency in minds of the common folk, what can we do about it? May be one of them is wrong and may be that he was with one for some time and graduated to another! Still a quandary it remains. Looking at these variations, some people say that there were two people with the name as KaaLi Daasa! There were nine gems of characters in Vikrama Aaditya’s court namely, Danvantri, KshpaNaka, Amarasimha, Sanku, VedaLabhatta, Katakarpara, KaaLi Daasa, Varaaha Mihira and Vararuchi! From other sources it is gleaned that these Nine Gems were not contemporaries! When such is the case, how to decide the time of Vikrama Aaditya and KaaLi Daasa? In a book written by one VallaLa, known as ‘Bhoja Prabandam’, KaaLi Daasa is supposed to be one amongst the Nine Gems, who adorned the Royal Court of Bhoja Raaja! They are listed as, Bhava Bhoothi, BaaNa, DhaNdi, Sri Harsha and others, who were all great poets! From other sources it is clear that none of them or at least not all of them were contemporaries!
806. In the time of this historical personage Chandra Gupta Vikrama Aaditya, KaaLi Daasa might have been a courtier as gleaned from some evidences, though not incontrovertibly! KaaLi Daasa could not have been there earlier than Pushya Mitra Sunga, as the upper limit. As far as the lower limit is concerned, we are not able to say anything. BaaNa who was the Poet of the Royal Court of Harsha in ‘Harsha Charitram’ has poured out encomiums of praise on KaaLi Daasa and we know that Harsha was of the early part of the 7th Century A.D. From generally the same period there is a Royal Proclamation wherein KaaLi Daasa is mentioned by name. That is the 2nd Pulikesi’s Saasanam, an inscription on stone in a place known as IhoLe of Saka Varsham 556, which is the same as 634 A.D. Making a rhyme of ‘Ravi Keerti’ and ‘Baaravi Keerti’, it says, “sa vijayataam ravi keerti: kavitaasrita kaaLi daasa baaravi keerti:”, meaning, ‘may victory be his, who is wooed by poetical genius like the brilliance of the sun!’ So, it is clear that the time of KaaLi Daasa was prior to 634 A.D., but we do not know as to how far earlier. From one reference point we can go on to another unknown point. But how can we proceed from an uncertainty? So, from KaaLi Daasa we cannot come to any conclusion of the time of Kumarila Bhatta or our AachaaryaaL!
807. In Kolhapur there was one Appa Saastry who had a Title known as ‘Vidya Vaachaspati’. He has concluded from a study of various references, that KaaLi Daasa, Kumarila Bhatta and our AachaaryaaL were all of the 6th Century B.C., in that order. He has referred to our Saastraas, religious literatures, and books of the Jain Religion. Though when it comes to religion Jainism and Hinduism were at logger heads with each other, in terms of deciding the time frame, they are not contrary to each other. Thus we have to agree on this one opinion gleaned from various opposing sources. That is the end of discussion related to KaaLi Daasa that we started from Para 801 above. Now let us take up the argument about Buddhist conceptualists / philosophers, namely Dingnaaga, Asaanka and Naagaarjuna.
808. Vaibaasikam of Dingnaaga, Soudraandikam of Asaanka and the Soonya Vaadam of Naagaarjuna. All these concepts have been roundly disputed by our AachaaryaaL. The time of these three varies from 2nd to 6th Century A.D. and so it is claimed that our AachaaryaaL must have been of a date after all three of them. It is true that our AachaaryaaL has disputed all these Siddhaantams of Vaibaasikam, Soudraandikam and Soonya Vaadam! But, he has not mentioned any one of these three proponents of Siddhaantam by name. These points of views and many other such Siddhaantams have not been created by those by whom the principles became famous. From time immemorial many such concepts and principles have been there but in a vague form. Some philosopher comes along enlarging, explaining, codifying and giving it shape and substance. So their names and the concept get linked in people’s minds firmly. But, that does not mean that they are the originators of those ideas. Take our own AachaaryaaL. He was a champion of the principle of Adwaitam, but he is not the one who created it!
(To be continued.)
Sambhomahadeva.

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