If we consider the alleged evidence in the writings of the Chinese pilgrim, Hieun-tsang, it is admitted and declared by General Cunningham as well as the editors of the history published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan that his writings are unreliable and contain more false than true statements. We have reproduced these opinions of the worth of the alleged writings of Hieun-tsang as evidence for historical purposes in connection with our discussion of Hieun-tsang. The alleged statemcnts in his writings, advanced in support of their theories of the time of Chandragupta Maurya by the modern historians must have been interpolated into his writings by themselves for their own purposes. These could not have been written by Hieun-tsang. There could be no reason for Hieun-tsang who visitcd India 22 centuries after the time of Chandrngupta Maurya to refer to the great emperor of such remote past. At least Hieun-tsang’s evidece is after all based on hearsay and popular tradition. Such evidence could never annul or disprove the indigenous history by native writers based on the court records of the emperor.
These modern historians have willfully neglected and ignored the authoritative historical literature of the country and therefore to buttress their unwarranted determination of the time of Asoka as the 3rd century B.C., they were obliged to resort to several fictitious statements, as:
" The Yona princes mentioned in Asoka‘s inscriptions as ruling on the frontiers of his kingdom have been identified as Greek princes of the 3rd century B.C., ruling in Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, Epirus and Cyrene by the European orientalists." But none of these kingdoms could have been on the borders of his empire.
The Buddhist historical and religious literature (like Mahavamsa) claims missionaries to have been sent by the emperor to the neighboring countries or the northern border like the Yona Kingdoms on the north-West, Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, Sinkiang, Tibet, Khotan, Kucha, Kusthan etc., and never so far as Greece or the Greek kingdoms of those times.
In fact the words Greek or Greece are mentioned nowhere in the inscriptions. We find only the term Yona. Yonas are not Greeks. They were Indians of Kshatriya Origin. Asoka’s empire extended only up to Takshasila in the West and to the Himalayas in the North. To the west of Takshasila there spread the Yona kingdoms of 1. Abhisara. 2. Urasa or Uraga 3.Simhapura, 4. Divyakataka. and 5. Uttarajyotisha. These five Yona kingdoms were in existence even in very ancient times. The humanitarian activities and missions of Asoka could have extended only to such kingdoms on the borders of his empire and not at all so far as Asia Minor, Greece and Egypt. No Greek kingdoms were on the borders of his empire. So it is an erroneous interpretation. Indian historians had been set on a wrong track by these erroneous identifications and they have not been able to escape from their meshes and discover the truth so far.
Yonas, Kshatriyas of Indian Origin, came to occupy, in very ancient times, the region now known as Greece, and gave it the name of Ionia. They had mixed up by intermarriage with the Greeks who were later immigrants into the country. Their descendents were therefore given mixed Ionian and Greek names. Hence names slightly resembling the names of the Yavana or Yona princes on the borders of Asoka’s empire, could be found among the Greek kings of the 3rd century B.C.
|S.No.||Yavana name||Iono - Greek name resembling it|
|1||Amtiyoka or Atiyoga||Antiochus Theos|
In the writings of the Greek historians of the 3rd century B.C., there is no mention of Asoka or his humanitarian missions as we should expect if he had really belonged to the 3rd century before Christ and his humanitarian activities had extended to such remote lands as modern Greece. The Greeks had never heard of the religion of Buddha or the mission of Asoka, declares Prof. Bury in his history of Greece.
"The Greeks donot mention Asoka" (ibid. p. 181)
Megasthenes, in his account of India has not said a word about Buddha or his system." (Buddhist India by Rhys Davids. p,178).
It is a fact that Buddhism was preached and prevail even today in all the kingdoms of Central Asia between Afghanistan, and China, including Sugadha, Kucha, Kusthana or Khotan, Sinkiang Tibet, Mongolia, Manchuria, Korea and China,-- a length of roughly 800 yojanas (one yojana = 4.92 English Miles) or about 4000 miles.
It is plausibie to infer that the region of Asoka’s missionary work beyond the northern frontiers of his empire extended from Afghanistan in the west to the eastern borders of China. Buddism prevailed in those regions for a long time and prevails even now to a considerable extent. But there is no trace of the prevalance of Buddhism at any time in Syria, Egypt or Macedonia etc.