Saturday, June 13, 2009

Age of Lord Buddha(Part 2)

The various theories regarding the date of Buddha are summed up here:-

1. Sir william Jones believes in 1027 B. C. on the strength of Chinese, Tibetan accounts, Abul Fazal’s writings and Dabistan Document.
(Vide Jones’ works, vol. IV, PP. 17 & 42 to 46.) ----------------------------- 1027 B.C.

2. According to Max-Muller, the Chinese accounts assign 850 B.C.for Asoka. The interval between Buddha Niryana and Asoka’s end is 371 years. So Buddha’s Niryana falls in 850+371 = 1221 B.C
(Vide His History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature Allahabad Ed, PP. 141-143 & P 3-8 of the same Book Ed,. 1859) ------------------------------ 1221 B.C
According to the same scholar the Ceylonese accounts assign 315 B.C. for Asoka. Then Buddha Nirvana falls in 315 + 371 equal to 686 B.C., (Ibid) ------------- 7th century B.C.

3. Dr. Fleet is of opinion that Buddha Niryana occured in 1631 B.C., as Asoka lived about 1260 B.C.(according to Rajatarangini), and the interval between this date and Buddha Nirvana was 371years. 1260 + 371 =1631 B.C. ------------------------ 1631 B.C.
Dr. Fleet Says: "We should find that the Rajatarangini would place Asoka somewhere about 1260 B. C. We should prefer to select the date B. C. 1260. And then we should set about arranging the succession of the kings of India itself, from the Puranas with B. C. 1260 for the approximate date of the accession. of Asoka as our starting point."' (Quoted By M. Krishnamacharya in his history of Classical Sanskrit Literature Intro. P. XCII)

4. E. I. Rapson’s date of ‘Buddha Niryana' 483 B.C., was only provisional, even according to himself. (Vide Cambridge history of India, Vol I, page 171.) ---------------- 483 B.C.

5. V.A.Smith believes almost in the same date as Rapson; but we need not take that into account as he never did original research regarding Buddha’s date. -------------- 483 B.C.
(His Oxford Students His. of India. P-44. Ed. 1915)

6. According to Rajatarangini Buddha Niryana occurred 150 years before Kanishka. Thus we get the figure 1294 + 150 = 1444 BC., 1294 B.C. being the date of Kanishka according to Rajatarangini (Raj. 1-1 2) ----------------------------------------1444 B.C.

7. Inscriptional evidence brought by A.V.Thyagaraja Ayyar. ---------------- 17 centuryB.C.

8.. According to Fa·Hien ‘Buddha Niryana’ was in 1050 BC. ---------------------1050`B. C.

9. Mr. A,P. Sinnett in his “Esoteric Buddhism" VIIIth Ed. 1903 (First Ed. being printed in 1883 A.D) p. 175 assigns 643 B.C. for Buddha’s birth. ---------------------- 643 B.C.

It should be noted that these theories negativing one another are based on flimsy grounds. If one theory among these viz. that of the 5th century B.C., is now reigning the field, it is a mere accident. This theory of 5th or 6th century is perhaps the weakest one even among these flippant theories, the other theories being better founded. Even the author of this theory (EJ. Rapson) said that it is provisional. What a wonder that this theory should now appear to be the accepted theory of Buddha’s date! The learned Somayajulu writes:-
"All Jains and Hindus agreed that in 528 B.C, Vardhamana Mahavira died and that Kumarila Bhatta (557-493 B.C.,) was vehemently attacking the Jains all over India and was followed by Sankaracharya (509-447 B.C.). The interval of time between Sankara and Buddha was about 1400 or 1500 years. Hence no Buddha lived in the sixth century B. C. The scanty accounts kept by the inhabitants of Ceylone are no authorities for fixing the date of Buddha and for calculating all dates in Indian history on that basis. The Japanese acquired Buddhism in the seventh century A.D. Hence the Japanese calendar is no genuine authority for fixing the date of Buddha as it is only a second hand information. The western scholars piled conjecture upon conjecture according to their whims and fancies. The history now taught in Indian schools is simply a heap of such misrepresentations and baseless conjectures." (Vide A. Somayajulws Dates in Ancient History of India, PP. 112-114).

I have already shown that the puranic account in this respect is never contradicted by any authoritative document and that 1807 B.C. stands as the correct and incontrovertible date of Buddha’s demise.

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