Showing posts with label Yavana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yavana. Show all posts

Date of Kalidasa - Gupta Myth

Kalidasa most renowned classical Sanskrit scholar is widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the classical history. His period has not been dated to precise. Most likely falls in Gupta period in 5th century AD. This is a wikipedia introduction, you will mostly come across the same in many places as well. There is very little is known about kalidasa apart from his literature. But let us not go into other questions. Stay to main question: Date of Kalidasa.  Let us see what the scholars say.

Kalidasa Works
Four poetic works, Raghuvamsa, Kumarasambhava, Meghaduta, and Ritusamhara, and three dramas, Vikramorvasiya, Malavikagnimitra, and Abhijnanasakuntala are attibuted to him, in addition to these, Indian tradition attributes to him several other works(around 30) in diverse disciplines, ranging from poetics and astrology to mathematics and astronomy. It goes without saying that he had more than a little mastery of all these disciplines.

Kalidasa was clearly closely associated with, or lived in Ujjain, the capital of Vikramarka; his love for this city and the Malwa country is particularly apparent in the Meghaduta, from the way he holds forth lovingly on this city in the poem. The Yaksha's request to the cloud messenger to make a detour to visit Ujjain, the description of the dance of the devadasis in the Mahakaleswara Temple, and the incomparable descriptions of the city and of the river Sipra leave no one in doubt of this.

Kalidasa Life
Almost nothing definite is known about Kalidasa's life, although legends abound. What one can definitely infer from his works is that he was a Brahman, a devotee of Siva but no fanatic of any Hindu sect, was widely travelled and very well versed in the arts, sciences and philosophy of his day. He lived in a city in affluent circumstances, and was well acquainted with royal courts and court politics, almost certainly because he was patronised by a powerful king.

BanaBhatta of Harsha Charita
Banabhatta, court poet of Harsavardhana (AD 606-647) in Harsacaritaoffers prefatory salutations to Kalidasa.

Aihole Inscription of Chalukya pulikesin II(634AD)
Talks about poet Ravikirti who was in the court of Chalukya Satyasraya(pulikesi II )whose poetic skills have attained the fame of Kalidasa(Sanskrit) and Bharavi(Kannada)(520AD). This inscription does not give any date of Kalidasa. But the inscription shows the kalidasa fame has reached the courts of karnataka kings and held in high esteem.

Yasodharman who is believed to have assumed the title Sakari Vikramaditya after routing the Huns (Toramana at Malva in 528 AD). Kashmir Kalhana says that Kalidasa was the court poet of Vikramaditya.

Mandasor Inscription (473AD)
Mandasor inscription 5 dated to 473 AD which names Kumaragupta, has verses borrowed from Kalidasa and imitating his style by the poet Vatsabhatti.

Hero of Kumarasambhavam  Kumaragupta son of Chandragupta-II  (Vikramaditya) is the places him in 5th century AD.

According to Kshemendra in Auchityavicharacharcha says, An envoy sent as to kuntala king capital and he was not properly received and was made to stand. King Boja of Dhara(11century AD) in Sringaraprakasa says  kalidasa was sent as envoy from court of Vikramaditya to Kuntaleshwara. There is a conflicting  reports on who is the kuntaleshwara  the envoy met . Kadamba king Kakusthavarman says Guptas sent the envoy at the time of Kadamba Bhagiratha.  Some scholars say the envoy visited Vatakata court. But Vatakata's never called themselves kuntaleshwara's , eventhough they raided kuntala few times, they never ruled kuntala. There is scribe called kalidasa in one of vatakata inscriptions, but it is not kalidasa. Some point to another royal clan in the infancy, Rastrakutas of manapura also had conflict with Vatakatas. Mananka , founder of Rastrakuta dynasty called himself Lord of Kuntala. There is one more dynasty Chutus satakarnis apart from Satavahans who called themselves kuntaleshwaras. But as far as envoy there is only one claim kadambas, so the Gupta envoy should have visited kadamba kingdom.

Astronomical Data
There are two schools of thought on the astronomical evidence.
Sengupta's discussion on astronomical evidence places Kalida sa at the middle of the 6th  century AD, between AD 525-575 during the rein of Budhagupta.
Dasgupta has quoted Jacobi's demonstration of astronomical evidence vis-à-vis influence of Greek astronomy of the period around 350 AD.

Some Say that the work Meghasandesa is the communication that Kalidasa addressed to Prabhavati, sister of Chandragupta-II when the great poet was banished to Ramagiri by the Emperor. Prabhavati Gupta, widow of Rudrasena-II who died in 390 AD and mother of Pravarasena-II who is believed to be have authored Setubandhanam and Saundaryalahari.  Popular legends say that Malavikagnimitram was written for staging on the occasion of the marrigae of Prabhavati Gupt a at Ujjayini. The Drama was staged at the wedding.

Chandragupta II
This date is propounded by Dr. A.B. Keith. According to him, Kālidāsa flourished during the reign of king Candragupta 2nd (380-413) who made Ujjainī second capital, who crushed Hūnas and as a result, assumed the title ‘Vikramāditya'. The poet expresses in his works his deep sense of gratitude for his Gupta patrons. Smith and MacDonnell support Dr. Keith. On the basis of astronomical calculations Jacobi places Kālidāsa after 3rd century A.D. Dr. Bűhler is of opinion that he should placed before 472 A.D. Sircar admits that the earliest historical Vikramāditya is Candragupta 2nd of imperil Gupta dynasty who defeated Śakas, conquered western India and made Ujjainī, as the capital of his empire. This theory founded by Dr. Keith has received support from Winternitz, Konow, Liebich, Bloch and many other scholars

Gathasapthasati mentions Kalidasa to be court poet of Vikramaditya.  Hala's Sapthasati gives glowing accounts of Vikramaditya.

Aśvaghosa, the Buddhist poet, has prepared the ground for Kālidāsa by his compositions in the field of poetry and drama. Kālidāsa took clue from this great poet and presented his own poetry and drama in polished and refined manner. The date of Aśvaghosa is definite. He enjoyed the patronage of Kusāna king Kaniska who ruled in 1st century AD.

Vikaramaditya(1st century BC)
Most of the scholars including Baladev Upaddhyaya, William Jones, Peterson, M.R. Kale, and R.N. Apte  say that kalidasa lived during King Vikramaditya of Ujjain who ruled in 1st century BC. After whom the Vikram era is known.  After he defeated  sakas. Kalidasa has consistently called Pururavas "Vikrama" in the drama Vikramorvasiya. It is generally conjuctured that Kalidasa did this to honour his patron. He included the name in the title of the drama itself to ensure propagation of his patron's name. In addition, the name Mahendra is mentioned together with Vikrama several times in the Vikramorvasiya; we know from the Kathasaritsagara that Vikramaditya's father was known by this name. Since Vikramaditya father was Mahendraditya. It suits fine.

Kalidasa mentions three historical persons, Pushyamitra(conducts horse sacrifice to pronounce supreme soverignity) his son Agnimitra (governor of vidisa and hero of the story Malavikagnimitra and vidarba princess who disguises as maid) and lastly his grandson vasumitra   the brave guardian of horse, who returns triumphantly defeating the yavanas. These are historical incidents. According to Dr. C. Kunhan Raja, on the basis of Bharatvākya of the ‘Malvikagnimitra' Kālidāsa' was the contemporary of king Agnimitra of Sunga dynasty and flourished in the 2nd century B.C. Kalidasa talks about the vasumitra grandson of pushyamitra who defeated Yavanas. This is the upper limit of the kalidasa date. Kalidasa gives lot of intimate details of pushyamitra  and sungas ,which only the closest can give.

Raghu Dynasty.
800 B.C.- Mr. Hippolyte Fauche places Kālidāsa in the 8th century B.C., on assumption that he was contemporary of Agnivarna, the last king of Raghu dynasty. Hippolyte thought Ramayana to be this date.

Having seen the scholars opinions ,Let us bring in more material to discuss.

Basic of discussion
  1. All the sources say Kalidasa was in the Royal court of King Vikramaditya
  2. Kalidas widely travelled was based out of Ujjain in malwa. He Praises  vidisha capital of 3.sungas. Kalidasa speaks of defeat of Yavanas by Pushyamitra grandson vasumitra.
  3. kalidasa knew Huns.
  4. Historical person mentioned by Kalidasa was Agnimitra of Sunga Dynasty who ruled in 2nd century BC.
  5. Guptas employed  his literary works in Inscriptions and functions.
  6. There is a close resemblances between the works of kalidasa and Avagosha's Buddha charita
  7. kumargupta is called Mahendra and father of Vikramaditya is also called Mahendra.
  8. Vikrama - Many of the Guptas have titles vikrama Chandragupta, samudragupta etc.

Raghu Victory of Hunas
The cheeks of huNa women glowed with embarrassment by the action of raghu in waging war with their husbands and that flush itself appeared as an index to raghu's valour. Now the context has to be known, he is talking about Raghu(Legendary father of Ram) and also mentions Raghu Conqured Parasikas, Kambojas,Yavanas.  Reached Oxus river. Did chandragupta II defeated these kings. Huns are there , but Parasikas, Kambojas or yavanas.

now the principal difficulty in the identification of this river has arisen by the fact that Mallinatha, the most brilliant commentator on the works of Kalidasa has chosen to read Sindhu for Vanksu. But in view of some very important reasons, given below, Mallinatha's reading is evidently erroneous. It is to be borne in mind that six manuscripts of the mallinatha, out of nine, with their commentaries read vankS (four of these) or vanksu (two). There hardly seems an occasion for Mallinatha to adopt the reading Sindhu. This reading has landed him in obvious difficulties which he has sought to explain away. The unsuitability of his reading is so patent in his own explanation that, thinking that his readers would easily confuse Sindhu with the great river Indus.

Huns Locations
The history of the Huna expansion in Central Asia is very interesting.  During the reign of Pou-non-tanjou (A. D. 46) the Huna country and their  empire suffered from severe famine. While they were yet in difficulties the  Eastern Tartars and the Chinese drove them out of their land and pushed them to  west and south. In the middle of 5th century AD, Huns formed a powerful army and starts invading far of lands. The defeated the persian empire in 225AD. The First invasion of India took place during Skandagupta time, they were soundly defeated. The second invasion during Yasovarman. So until 46AD, Huns were in Oxus basin.

Kalidasa was in the royal court of vikramaditya , that  is confirmed by everybody. The  vikramorvisya mentions Vikramaditya to be son of Mahendraditya. There are two sets Mahendraditya - vikramaditya(2-1century BC) and Gupta dynasty Kumaragupta Mahendraditya - Skandagupta Vikramaditya. So who is the vikramaditya we are speaking.

Vikramaditya the Legend.
The tales of the vampire (Vetala) tell twenty-five stories in which the king tries to capture and hold on to a vampire that tells a puzzling tale and ends it with a question for the king. In fact, earlier the king was approached by a Sadhu to bring the vampire to him but without uttering a word, otherwise the vampire would fly back to its place. The king can be quiet only if he does not know the answer, else his head would burst open. Unfortunately, the king discovers that he knows the answer to every question; therefore the cycle of catching the vampire and letting it escape continues for twenty-four times till the last question puzzles Vikramaditya. A version of these tales can be found embedded in the Katha-Saritsagara.

Bhoja and Vikramaditya
The tales of the throne are linked to the throne of Vikramaditya that is lost and recovered by king Bhoja, the Paramara king of Dhar, after many centuries. The latter king is himself famous and this set of tales are about his attempts to sit on the throne. This throne is adorned by 32 female statues who, being able to speak, challenge him to ascend the throne only if he is as magnanimous as Vikramaditya is depicted in the tale she is about to narrate. This leads to 32 attempts (and 32 tales) of Vikramaditya and in each case Bhoja acknowledges his inferiority. Finally, the statues let him ascend the throne when they are pleased with his humility. This is story created in 11th century AD by Bhoja paramara king after he declared indepndence from chalukyas.

Vikramaditya of Ujjain
Kalakacharyakathanaka a jain works says that at the instance of Kalaka ( jain teacher whose sister was abducted by Garadabilla, king of ujjain), the shakas invaded ujjain and took Garadabilla prisoner. They ruled for sometime and was overthrown by vikramaditya , king of malwa. vikramaditya started his own era. Brihatkatha of Gunadaya and kathasaritsagara endorse this event. And Gathasaptasati of Hala Satavahana also describes the event. The works say vikramaditya also called vikramasila son of mahendraditya was the founder of vikrama samvat. According to Bhavishya Purana. Vikram era started in 57 BC by Vikramaditya the Great as a commemoration of his victory upon the Shakas. There is plentiful literature on Vikramaditya, and in the Bhavishya Puran itself there are descriptions of Vikramaditya in more than 40 chapters between Pratisarg Parv I and IV. Bhavishya Purana (Pratisarg Parv I, chapter 7) says that, "After the elapse of a full 3,000 years in kali yuga (3102 - 3000 = 102 BC), a dynamic Divine personality was born who was named Vikramaditya.  Bhavishya Puran further says that  the great King Vikramaditya ruled for one hundred years. Then his son Deobhakt ruled for ten years and his grandson Shalivahan, who established Shalivahan Shaka era (in 78 AD), defeated the Shaks and ruled for sixty years."  Alberuni also mentions about Vikram era (57 BC) and also the Shalivahan Shaka era which starts 135 years after the Vikram era.

One poet quoting another

Brihat katha by Gunadaya(1st century AD)

This work is lost but there are several versions available.The story is brihat katha manjari has lot in common with kathasarit sagara  of  kalidasa.

Some of the situations and Ideas are common to both asvagosha and kalidasa plays. But the big argument is waste because we can never say that the one copied from other. The ideas and situations seems to be borrowed from the situations and ideas common at that time frame. But indologist scholars(Kowell and Keith) will say kalidasa copied and Indian scholars say Asvagosha copied. But in concluding verses of  saundarananda . The Humble Asvaghosa says he is not poet of eminence. The Subject of interest for Asvaghosa is religion and philosophy. He is monk first and then a author. He wants to preach the his ideals through a kavya, So he sets himself after famous Kavyas of his time. Hence the resemblences and similarities to kalidasa kavyas. The Master kavya writer is of course kalidasa. That gives atleast a century or more earlier to asvagosha, which puts kalidasa in 1century BC.

Yajnasri Satakarni (2nd century AD
Yajna sri satakarni releases a coins with king on one side and  with crescent on hill, crescent on ujjain symbols, zig zag lines and cirle of dots. The meaning can be found in kalidasa verses in raghu vamsa. The king's fame ascended the mountains(symbolized by the moon on hill), crossed the oceans(figured by the four circles of the ujjain symbol and crescent), penetrated into the subterrannean abode of vasuki(zig zag line) and went up to the most high(as represented by dots representing sttary heaven).

Also kamasutra of Vatsyayana has similar styles to sakuntala.

Bhita Medallion
The terrocota medallion recovered from Allahabad  depicting the scene from sakuntala, has gateways like sanchi  dated to 1st century BC. But scholars say it Buddha in kapilavastu.

Astronomical observances
The astronomical references by ketki  like dakshinayana (summer solistice) cannot be taken to be conclusive as they can go each side 100 to 200 years.
Sengupta observations based on ashada month references cannot be taken as kalidasa mention lunar months ,not solar months. The works clearly show that that Gupta system  is not followed by kalidasa.
The term Jamitra in kumarasambhava has been mischeviously  interpreted as Greek diametron and claimed that kalidasa lived in the ideas of Greek astronomy and also claiming Greek astronomy has become popular in India. In Hindu Astrology Jamitra simply means seventh zodiacal sign from the natal(lagna).
And kalidasa knew lot  about Astronomy ,but he is basically a  poet not astronomer.

yavanas were defeated in persia, which fits the time frame of 1century BC and pallavas are absent in kalidasa account. kalidasa talks about Independent Anga , which is impossible in Gupta age. Kalidasa speaks about ruler in madura again not possible during gupta period.

Pushyamitra capital was Pataliputra, his son agnimitra was governor of vidisha, when pushyamitra was the senatipati and when the capital was shifted to vidisha, it remained the capital until 57BC, Later he shifted to Ujjain.  In Megaduta and Malvakiagnimitra the scenes of the city are vidisha, not pataliputra , not ujjain. Vikramovisaya completed after the victory of vikramaditya over sakas. why he does not tell about pataliputra or Ayodhya Imperial capital of Guptas, because he has come to a independent kingdom in Ujjain.


The Dharma(Law)  followed in Kalidasa works  like  " widow cannot inherit the property"  is of the times of Apastamba and Baudhayana. Brhaspati, vyasa,sankha and likita  belonging to Gupta period rule that the widow has the right to succeed in Husband's property. In Sakuntala there is capital punishment for theft. In the days of Brhaspati, this was relaxed and a heavy fine was introduced. So clearly kalidasa is not of Gupta times.

Several revisions of the Kalidasa works has taken place and many authors have included their current events in their works. For example there is an argument between Dinnaga(6th century AD) and Kalidasa, which looks unlike kalidasa. While Dinnaga was critic of kalidasa , Nicula is friend in megaduta. Since Dinnaga cannot be dated earlier, Kalidasa is brought down. We do not know who is Nicula. Another is refrerence to kalachuri dynasty ( 6th century AD).  For some commentators Dinnaga becomes Nagarjuna
D.C.Sircar draws attention to Tibetan passage in early 18th century AD , which says kalidasa was contemproary of King Bhagabadra of Sunga Dynasty ruling from vidisha,Wima kusala Khadphises  and king savti satavahana of dakshinatya and Aparanta. He Married daughter of Khadphises by name vasanti.

In Tenth Century AD Sanskrit scholar Rajashekara gives three great kalidasa who are renowned authors and masters of aesthetic language. There are many kalidasa's and more than dozen vikramadityas, Western scholars have done what they do best to confuse and combine everybody to one kalidasa and some vikramadityas to one vikramaditya. In effect they have hit two mangoes in one. Denying kalidasa antiquity and also stricking off the glorious vikramaditya(1century BC)  from history to mythical ruler.  For the time being we can go with Puranic account and say Kalidasa lived in the era of Vikramaditya (son of Mahendraditya) around 57BC. Vikramaditya who established vikram era in 57BC.

My Theory
Now the date is settled , All our problems are solved right?
No, we have only one problem. Panini talks about Pushyamitra. Panini cannot be dated later than 4th century BC. How can Panini talk about pushyamitra who is two centuries later. We  have to see pushyamitra dated to Mauryas. But keeping Mauryas in 3rd century BC, Indologists have brought pushyamitra to that date. But Panini is struck at 4 century BC . If Mauryas are dated in 15-14century BC, how come his Senapati dated in 2nd century BC. Indology Scholar Vogel equated Bruhaspatimitra of Magada with Pushyamitra and scholars like K P Jaiswal followed suit. We have one more mythical king pushyamitra.

I feel Gupta Emperors Chandragupta I and Samundragupta are the rulers in 3rd century BC. The Raghu in Raghuvamsa  campaign eeringly follows samudragupta campaign.There are several mitras ruling in many places in North India  as per inscriptions in 2nd century BC.   Kalidasa reads samudragupta campaign into Raghu campaign. And reads Sunga rulers  Pushyamitra, Agnimitra and vasumitra tales in to local mitra tales. And we have a big confusion.  Kalidasa says Agnimitra to be kasyapa lineage and belonging to Baimbika family, According to Panini Sungas belong to Bramhana family of Bharadvaja. The Vikramaditya son of Mahendraditya are the rulers whose time kalidasa lived that is 1 century BC. But with new additional information the things will change

Giravani  by desiraju hanumanta rao
Definitive Astronomical Evidence for the Date of Kalidasa  by K. Chandra Hari
The Role of Kālidāsa in the Development of Indian Literature by Parmeshwar Gangawat
Kalidasa and Ancient India by Chhattisgarh - Ambikapur
Numismatic parallels of kalidasa by sri c.sivaramamurti
Kalidasa: Date, Life And Works by  V.V. MIRASHI N.R NAVALEKAR
The Gupta polity By V. P. Ramachandra Dikshitar, V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar
Old Buddhist Shrines at Bodh-Gaya Inscriptions By B.M. Barua

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Origin of Yavanas - Greek Myth

Origin of Yavanas - Greek Myth

Yavanas are thought to have been Greeks by Western scholars tracing to Ionians . Is that so, Let us see the facts.

References to Yavanas in India
In Indian sources, the usage of the words "Yona", "Yauna", "Yonaka", "Yavana" or "Javana" etc. appears repeatedly, Let us see them in Detail

Edicts of Ashoka

Experts say in the Edicts of Ashoka (c. 250 BCE) especially In the Gandhari Rock XIII : Antiochus is referred as "Amtiyoko nama Yona-raja" (lit. "The Greek king by the name of Antiochus"), beyond whom live the four other kings: "param ca tena Atiyokena cature 4 rajani Turamaye nama Amtikini nama Maka nama Alikasudaro nama" (lit. "And beyond Antiochus, four kings by the name of Ptolemy, the name of Antigonos, the name of Magas, the name Alexander").

Dipavamsa , Mahavamsa and Sasanvamsa
Buddhist texts such as the Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa and the Sasanavamsa reveal that after the Third Buddhist Council, the elder (thera) Mahárakkhita was sent to the Yona country and he preached Dharma among the Yonas and the Kambojas.


Another example is that of the Milinda Panha , where "Yonaka" is used to refer to king Menanders (160–135 BCE ) guards.


The Vanaparava of Mahabharata contains verses in the form of prophecy complaining that "......Mlechha (barbaric) kings of the Shakas, Yavanas, Kambojas, Bahlikas etc. shall rule the earth (i.e India) un-righteously in Kaliyuga..." . This reference apparently alludes to chaotic political scenario following the collapse of dharmic dynasties in northern India and its subsequent occupation by non-dharmic hordes of the Yavanas, Kambojas, Sakas and Pahlavas etc.

other Indian records describe the Yavana attacks on Saketa, Panchala, Mathura and Pataliputra, probably against the Sunga empire, and possibly in defense of Buddhism. The main mentions of the invasion are those by Patanjali around 150 BCE, and of the Yuga Purana, which, like the Mahabharata, also describes Indian historical events in the form of a prophecy:

Yavana in other cultures.
  • Egyptians used the word j-w-n(-n)-’
  • Assyrians used the word Iawanu
  • Persians used the word Yauna or Yavanu
  • Sri Lankans - used the word Yona in Mahawamsa and other historic texts.
  • In Biblical writings, the word was Yāvān (and still is, in modern Israeli Hebrew - יוון)
  • In Arabic and Turkish it is Yunan See Also Sanskrit Yoni
So what is the problem in telling Yavana are Greek, Let us analyze.

Not Greeks
Greeks coming to Yavana Janapada (republic) in NorthWest(Not Bactria perhaps Khandahar) became Yavanas. There is never a Greek Ionia in the east , which is neither stated in Persian inscriptions, nor by Herodotus.

Yavanas of King Bhagadatta in the Mahabharata are placed in south/south west(present Karnataka / Maharastra) India before the Yadu migration scene to Dvaraka. It would not make sense for Yadus to migrate to the west if Yavanas at attacked Mathura from the same west.

During Panini dated 600BC , there is no Greeks in India Neibhourhood , so the question of Panini referring to Greeks as Yavanas does not arise.

The date for Krishna are 3100BC. So, it is less likely to be that Yavanas are the Greeks. Because Greeks or Ionians were not there before 300BC.

There are three words distinct used Yuana before 400BC , Yavana between 400BC to 200BC and After 200BC as Yona in Pali texts. Sometimes both Yavana and Yona are mentioned.

Antigonos, Magas, Alexander are more Greek than Antiochus(Syria), but only Antiochous is mentioned as yona raja ,which shows yona does not mean Greek.

Kala-yavana, the "Dark Yavana" of the Mahabharata, who fought with Duryodhana. While in India dark always refer to evil mentality, it is possible this Dark-Yavana is of dark complexion, and perhaps pertaining to south India.

And when Greek were in India, they were based out of Egypt rather than Greece.

Yavanas are Indians
Literature shows them Indians.

The first (attested) Greek to be connected with the word Yon a is Antioch us in ca. 250 BCE. He is called Yona-raja = king over Yona people and their Janapada. His 4 Greek collegues are simply called Raja.

Indo-Greek Menander in the Milindapanha. In that work he is simply called Raja, king of Yona country (Yonanam). But his 500 elite soldiers, mercenaries from Yonanam, are called Yonakas.

Indo-Greek Antialcidas. He is called simply Maharaja, but it is Heliodora, son of Diya, who is the Vaishnavite Yona and ambassador to king Bhagabhadra.

Also contrast the clear Greek names of Greeks and Indo-Greek kings and those of the Yonas: Yavanaraja Tushaspha. Heliodorus’ may have adopted a Greek name under influence of the powerful status of the Indo-Greeks ruling over Yona country up to Taxila. The Mili ndapanha has these names for Yonas: Anantakâya (Yonako), Devamantiya (Yonako), Mankura (Yonako) and Sabbadinna or Dinna (Yonako).

It knows the Yonakâ as tribe., and Saka-yavana as the countries (Seistan-Arachosia/Quetta. Compare with Shaka-yavana of Patanjali. Shakas are attested before the Scythian invasion of the 1st century BCE in the NW).

“A vast body of Kharoshthl inscriptions found at several sites in the north-western region of the sub-continent are not much help either The term Yavana seldom occurs in these records, dated to the first few centuries of the Christian era, but the names of the donors are undoubtedly of Greek origin.” Ray adds: “The Swat relic vase inscription of the first century B.C. records the establishment of the relics of the Sakyamunl by Theodoros, … An engraved stone from Bajaur, south-east of Jalalabad, reads "of king Theodamas". .. The Kaldarra inscription records the laying of a tank by Thaidora or Theodoros, the Datiaputra”. But when Yavana is applied, see what Ray says: “ …Karle 314 and date from the first century A.D , the donors have Indian names such as Dhamadhaya, Chulayakha, Sihadhaya and Yasavadhana.

At Nasik cave XVII (dated after 110 A.D ), Indragnidatta, son of Dhammadeva the Yavana..” Indo-Greeks seem to retain their Greek names, but it is the Yonas who adopt names from other
cultures, the vaste majority being Indic (or some persian, and a few Greek, like the name Heliodorus).
The Puranas make them decendants of the Turvashas, peoples of South- Western India (karnataka / maharastra).

Literature shows Yavanas are becoming degraded Kshatriyas speaking in a dialect form (Mleccha), once having a better position and not at all being treated as foreigners.

Yavanas of King Bhagadatta in the Mahabharata are placed in south/southwest India before the Yadu migration scene to Dvaraka.

Panini refers to the Yavanas around 600BC, or perhaps earlier. They appear to be related to the Kambojas, since he mentions they both were condemned to shave their heads. This shows that the Yavanas were people that shaved their heads.

Famed Yavanacharya, the great Yavana-astrologer who studied Vedic astrology. In Takshashila, in North Western India, which had existed from 700BC , also attracted students from all over the world, so the scholar tells us. But again 700BC, No greeks in India.

Here however, we see that Yavana is a term that began in India itself, for the Vedic Aryans themselves - not foreigners! But, they do appear as peoples related to ancient Indians, or Vedic Indians - which predates the Greeks.

Gautama Dharmasutra , which refers to Yavanas as a mixture of Kshatriya father and Shudra mother

The Yavana kings in the Mahabharata are called: Yavana (ancient great kings), Chanura Devarata (mentioned with a Bhoja and Kirata king, showing that these were ruling in the east, south and of course Chanura in the west), Sumitra (rules in Sauvira country in the west. Battle with Pandu), Bhagadatta (rules in the west. Old friend of Pandu), Kasherumat (Battle with

Krshna. Probable direct predecessor of Kalayavana), Kalayavana Garg ya (mentioned as king of western India. Battle with Krshna). These names are Indian, not Foreign.

Dharma of Yavanas
yavanâH kirâtâ gândhârâśh cînâH śhabarabarbarâH | śhakâs tuSHârâH kahvâśh ca pahlavâśh cândhramadrakâH oDrâH pulindā ramaTHâH kâcā mlecchâśh ca sarvaśhaH | brahmakSHatraprasûtâśh ca vaiśhyâH śhûdrâśh ca mânavâH

ie.'What duties should be performed collectively by the Yavana, Kirata, Gandhara, Cina (ishwa: Shina), Shabara, Barbara, Shaka, Tushara (ishwa: high mountaineer), Kahvas (var. Kanka), Pahlava, Andhra, Madraka, Odra (var. Paundra), Pulinda, Ramatha and Mleccha (var. Kamboja) Vaishyas and Shudras and offshoots of Brahma-Kshatras, (all these) Manavas?

The Duties to be performed by Kshatriayas are
  1. serve their mothers and fathers, their preceptors and other seniors, and recluses living in the woods.
  2. serve their kings.
  3. follow duties and rites inculcated in the Vedas.
  4. perform sacrifices in honour of the Pitris, dig wells, give water to thirsty travellers, give away beds and make other seasonable presents unto Brahmanas.
  5. Abstention from injury, truth, suppression of wrath, supporting Brahmanas and kinsmen by giving them their dues, maintenance of wives and children, purity, peacefulness,
  6. making presents to Brahmanas at sacrifices of every kind, are duties that should be practised by every person of this class who desire his own prosperity. Such a person should also perform all kinds of Paka-yajnas with costly presents of food and wealth.

And it means t hat those who fail to follow the above dharma is Yuana So Yavanas are the Kshatriyas(Warrior Clans) who dont follow the law or dharma.

Yavana Indian Etymology
The word Yavana, if it is assumed to be Indian, can be derived in three ways. Firstly, from yu = 'keeping away', 'averting' (dveSHo yavana), signifying one who is disliked. Secon dly, from yu
'mixing, mingling',(i.e. Yauti mishrayati vaa mishriibhavati sarvattra jaatibhedaabhaavaat iti yavanah), implying a mixed people. Thirdly, from the meaning, 'quick', 'swift'; a swift horse, (i.e. Yavena gacchatiiti yavanah), denoting those who have a quick mode of conveyance. These derivations taken together may indicate that the Yavanas were thought of as a mixed
people, who had a quick mode of conveyance and who were disliked. However these derivations are recent. But Experts disagree on this meanings already.

“Firstly, from the yu = 'keeping away', 'averting' (dveSHo yavana), signifying one who is disliked.” The word doesn’t signify one who is disliked, but rather Yavana is the one who keeps away, he keeps a way the Dvesha or the enemy. Yavana here rather denotes a protector, a Kshatriya, thus someone who is liked and needed! This word Dvesho yavana is from the Vedic (!) Krshnayajurveda. Thus not a recent word, as it conjectures. More ancient, Vedic words from this root: dveSHo-yávana (MaitrS.) and mfn. removing hostility. dveSHo-yút (RV.), mfn. removing hostility. pra-yotR' m. a remover, expeller . Or Yaavan.

“Secondly, from yu 'mixing, mingling', (i.e. Yauti mishrayati vaa mishriibhavati sarvattra jaatibhedaabhaavaat iti yavanah), implying a mixed people.” , but these are the true meanings given to the root he has in mind: yu does not mean mixing, but “to unite, attach, harness, yoke, bind, fasten RV.(=yuj); to draw towards one's self, take hold or gain possession of, hold fast AV. TS. ShBr.; to push on towards (acc.) AV.; to confer or bestow upon (dat.), procure RV.; (yauti), to worship, honour Naigh. Iii,” (It is from this root that the Vedic Yaavan and A-yaavan are derived from for the halves of the moon..).

Thirdlyfrom an ancient root yu = to move quickly. There are more Vedic words from this root denoting to move (quickly): yaávan m. a rider horseman, invader, aggressor, foe R. (ifc.) going, driving, riding (cf. akSNa-, agra-, eka-y &c.) akSNa-yaávan mfn. going across agra-yaávan mfn. going before eka-yaávan m. of a king TBr. ii TâNDyaBr; RNa-yaávan mfn. relieving fro m debt or obligations praatar-yaaan “who moves at early morning” puro-yaavan “who moves foremost” sa-yaavan -"going along with, associated with,accompanying Thus, the words yáva speed, velocity (prob. w.r. for java); a double convex lens ib. [yava; {Gk.}; Lith. javaí.], yavana mfn. quick, swift; m. a swift horse L. (prob.w.r. for javana) and yavaana mfn. quick, swift L. (prob. w.r. for javaana), have all ancient Vedic roots.

Yavanas are Indigenous Tribe
The Yavanas are enumerated together with Pârashavas, Yavanas, Caranas, and Shûdras. None of the Varnas mentioned in IV.16-21 do refer to any foreigner, but rather of a mixture of indigenous Varnas and Jatis. Parashavas or connected with parashu or the axe of a woodcutter. As frontier people (paccantima) they became degenerated in the eyes of the immediately adjoining main land (majjhima). The pre-Alexandrian Ganapatha remembers Yavanas as Munda, unlike the hairdress of (Indo-)Greeks. The Majjhima Nikaya mentions that the Yonas call their varna Arya! Did the Greeks consider themselves as such? No refere nce to this with the Greaco-Roman historians

Compared to the doubtful etymologies for Ionian, the etymology of yavana is much better and logical. In Yavana we have a normal indigenous development of fusion of ideas and meanings which we can observe in many other words or ideas (aspects of Indra absorbed in Vishnu- Krshna, etc.etc.) Besides, all the different Indian works point to the indigenous character of Yavanas.

In short, Ionian as Yauna doesn't seem to have been known to Indians at all before Alexander. After Alexander, it does seem that the Indo-Greeks were rather known through the central country they were ruling over, which was Yona Janapada. And Yona Janapada can not be equated with Bactria, it is always within the subcontinent, close to the Indus area.

Yona-Kamboja- Gandhara is the frontier line of India from south to the north of the (western bank of the) Indus Valley: Yona -Baluchistan, Kamboja - Gomal/Bannu Valley, Ghandra - Kabul/Swat Valley.

Rodney Lingham


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Myth of Alexander Victory in India

Scholars say alexander never won instead he lost to porus

by Kamesh Aiyer

Many years ago I came across a comment in a Usenet posting (to those who don’t remember Usenet, it was the blog of the pre-web world), that said that there was no proof that Alexander won any victories in India and that it might be more appropriate to call him “Alexander the Merely Mediocre”.The comment amused and intrigued me and much later I had an opportunity to read Alexander’s biography by Plutarch. I was surprised to find out that Plutarch wrote his biography over two hundred years after Alexander’s death using oral legends as his source. It is possible that he may also have had access to a personal diary kept by Alexander’s physician, but that is about it. Plutarch wrote the biography of Alexander as part of a series of biographies that contrasted the different styles of great Greek leaders, and in his view, Alexander was possibly the greatest of the greats, flawed only by youthful indiscretions. But otherwise, the tale came from legends spread by Alexander’s friends after he came back from India and died.So the story of how Alexander met and defeated the Puru king (“Porus” to the Greeks) and released him because Puru asked to be “treated like a king” in defeat did not come from any documented source. It was a legend.
The story, then, of Alexander’s triumphant march into India, finally only giving up at the urging of his soldiers who were tired after years of fighting and who wanted to return to their loved ones (in Persia?); the odyssey down the Indus, defeating various kingdoms but sustaining a deadly wound; and, finally splitting his army in two so that they would have a better chance of returning with the news in case of further conflicts; returning with a fraction of his army to the seat of his empire in Persepolis and his death from his wounds; all based on legend. No documents, no sources, just myth.So did Alexander really venture successfully into India and turn back at the urging of his men? Or was it all spin?
I’ve searched what I can access of Usenet now and looked elsewhere for any follow-up to the original comment. I did not find any, so I thought I should follow up, if only with a comment on Boloji!
Alexander’s defeat of the Persian empire and his victory over Egypt are well documented by non-Greek sources. So, I am not saying anything about these. After Alexander’s death the empire was divided into three, corresponding roughly to Greater Greece, Egypt, and Greater Persia, with tributaries to the east commanded by generals, such as Seleucus. No lands east of the Indus were part of this division; and subsequently, under the Mauryas, an Indian empire extended all the way into modern Afghanistan (ancient Gandhara) and modern Baluchistan (ancient Gedrosia). So Alexander did not even leave behind successors who would acknowledge his rule.

So what exactly happened to Alexander in India?Supposedly, Alexander first met some resistance from minor kingdoms in the Northwest, possibly from around Swat. He defeated these rulers. Then he met Ambi of Taxila who welcomed him as a fellow ruler, agreed to be his vassal, and offered him safe transit to the east. Then Alexander laid siege to a city and commited a crime against Athena by promising a safe conduct to mercenaries defending the city and massacring them after they left the city – Plutarch believes that the withdrawal of Athena’s blessing was the reason why he could not complete his victories in India. Then Alexander crosses the Indus into the Punjab and somewhere near modern-day Delhi, perhaps even in the historic battlefields of Panipat or Kurukshetra, he fought Porus and Porus lost. There is a story about how the Indian elephant brigade was winning the day when by cleverly attacking Porus’ elephant, the Greeks managed to un-elephant Porus, and the elephants in disarry retreated rough-shod over their own troops.Porus is captured and brought to Alexander in chains. Alexander looks at the tall (supposedly 6 cubits) Porus and asks him how he wanted to be treated. Porus replied, “Like a king” – his arrogance and pride aroused Alexander’s admiration.Promptly, Alexander released Porus, agreed to be his friend, restored his lost kingdom to him, and added to it lands that were part of Ambi’s Taxila.Huh?
Let’s have that again.Ambi, who fought on Alexander’s side, lost lands to Porus as a result of Porus’s defeat. Some defeat.Then, having established himself as a magnanimous victor, Alexander asked Porus what it would take to win the rest of India. He made the mistake, I guess, of asking this in public with all his generals listening in, and Porus described the entire rest of the Gangetic valley with its multiple kingdoms, and the Magadhan empire downstream. Porus described these in terms of how much bigger they were than his own little kingdom.As a result, there was no more stomach among Alexander’s generals for continuing. They had almost lost to Porus. How could they successfully confront even larger forces?And so Plutarch’s story goes that the army revolted against continuing. And Alexander decides to retreat, but he asks Porus what the best way to return would be. He is told that he should go down the Indus in boats and then go along the Makran coast in boats and ships to Arabia and thence to Persia. And Alexander does something like that – at the Indus delta he splits his force into two and sends one by sea and the other by land and they both return safely after three years.
But, uh-ho?Why couldn’t he just retreat? He had just defeated Porus and obtained his eternal friendship. He had defeated the kingdoms along the way and set up his own warlords to rule them. Ambi was his friend (well, maybe). He knew the way back.There is a simpler explanation that does not require one to strain one’s intelligence. Alexander lost to Puru. Puru imposed a separate peace on Ambi that included the surrender of some Taxilan land to Puru and a withdrawal of support for the Greeks. Alexander negotiated a safe-conduct for his own troops, provided they went down the Indus, and did not trouble Taxila or Puru again.So there’s Alexander, having suffered his first major defeat, set adrift down the Indus with a much reduced army. To get food and supplies, they have to negotiate or fight with the cities they pass. They even pick up some “philosophers” from a city populated and defended by “philosophers”, i.e., Brahmins. Plutarch has some stories about these Brahmins, some of which remind one of prescriptions in Kautilya’s Arthashastra.Along the way, Alexander suffers a wound to the side.They reach the delta of the Indus and make a decision to split – I’d like to imagine that the idea of splitting his force came from his Indian philosopher friends. It was wise advice. Alexander’s most urgent concern would have been for his family and his empire if any Persian enemies or even some fair-weather friends received the news of his defeat. The two halves of his army would be tied by bonds of friendship (and hostages in all but name retained by Alexander in his force). Whichever half returned first, it would serve to spread a different story, a story of the victory and the magnanimity of Alexander the Great.

What was left back in the Gangetic plain? Two “small” kingdoms, Taxila and Puru, that were to be swallowed up by the expanding Magadhan empire. Twenty years later, Chandragupta Maurya would take over the Magadhan empire and the true details of the encounter between these Indian kingdoms and Alexander would be lost to history for ever.Instead, Alexander’s physician and friend who had taken care of him on his deathbed had a journal to write. And his other friends had a story to tell, that would ensure that the myth of Alexander Megalos (the Great) would keep his enemies from attacking him as he lay dying.
Centuries later, Plutarch makes Alexander immortal.Why do I call the legend of Alexander “spin”. Because that is what it is. Alexander could not afford to look like a loser. His successors could not afford to look like losers. Years later, Plutarch could not afford to deflate the Alexandrian bubble.If we took the inhabited portions of all of Alexander’s verified conquests, and excluded the “Indian” provinces of Gandhara and Gedrosia, the resulting empire, “Alexander’s empire”, would be a little bit smaller than the inhabited portions of the Gangetic plain. Yes, Alexander may have been a great warrior and he was surely a lucky one when he defeated the weakened Persian empire, but it would be silly of us to accept without question the thesis that Alexander was all set to conquer the kingdoms of North India. But such is the influence of the “West” on us Indians – and by the “West” I mean the Persians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Arabs, the Europeans, the English, the Americans, and so on, that we accept without question that some tin-pot megalomaniac was about to do just that.