Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The History and date of Mihirakula by Dr. Fleet.

"The dates that have been proposed for Mihirakula and Baladitya are
(1) by the late Mr. Fergusson A.D. 180 to 200 A.D,
(2) by General Cuningham, during the century from A.D. 450 to 550 A D.,
and (3) by Mr. Beal, 420 A.D.

Mr. Fergusson based his date on the opinion, which he then held but afterwards abandoned, that the reign of Kanishka ended A.D. 21; coupled with the statement of Rajatarangini, that twelve reigns intervened between Kanishka and Mihirakula.

General Cunningham’s date was based partly on Fahian's silence regarding Baladitya’s samgharamas and other buildings at Nalanda and partly on the similarity of the architectural style of Baladitya's temple with that of a temple near the Bodhi tree at Buddha-Gaya, which, he had already shown, must have been built about A.D. 500.

And Mr. Beal based his date
(a) upon his erroneous identification of the Buddha-Gupta of Hiuen Tsang’s account with the Buddha-Gupta of the Eran inscription; which, coupled with his adoption of the theory that the Gupta era commenced A.D. 190, gave to Buddha Gupta the date of 349 to 368 A.D., and for his "Grandson" Baladitya a period of fifty years later;

(b) on the fact that, in Fa Hien's time ( 399-414 A.D. ) Buddhism was still flourishing and there were five hundred Sangharamas in the neighborhood of the Swat river; whereas in Hiuen Tsang’s time all the convents were ruined and desolate; which shewed that Mihirahula's persecution, during which Simha was killed, must have taken place at any rate after that period;

(c) on the current testimony of the Chinese accounts, which state that a life of Vasubandhu, the 21st patriarch, was written by Kumarajiva in 409 A.D., and that history of the patriarchs including Simha, was translated in China in 472 A.D.,

and (d) on the fact that the twenty-eighth patriarch, Bodhidharma, was certainly alive in 520 A.D., as he arrived in China, from South India in that year; which, allowing one hundred years for the four patriarchs between him and Simha, brought us again to 420 A.D. the period already arrived at on grounds (a) and(b)."

"The real date, however, of Mihirakula and Baladitya with of course, the margin of a few years either way, is now fixed with certainty by the duplicate pillar inscription of Yasodharman, from Mandasor, which I publish in page 253 ff below. This inscription records that this powerful king Yasodharman had worship done to his feet by king Mihirakula "whose forehead was pained through being bent down by the strength of his arm, in the act of compelling obeisance," i.e. that he subjugated Mihirakula. And, another Mandasor inscription, published by me at page 222 ff, above, has already given us the date of Malva Samvat 589 (A.D. 532-33) expired for Yasodharaman, we now know very closely the time of the overthrow of Mihirakula’s power in, at any rate, western and Central India."

"As regards the beginning of his reign, we have only to notice that Mihirakula’s Gwalior inscription is dated in his fifteenth year. Considering all that he did subsequently in Kashmir and Gandhara, it will he admitted that this date must be very near the end of his Indian career. His fifteenth year therefore, must fall somewhere about 532-33 A.D., the recorded date of Yasodharman; and in all probability a year or two before it. And we shall probably be very near the mark indeed,if we select A.D. 515 for the commencement of his career." (P.245 to 252, Vol.XV Ind.Ant.,Ed.1886,Text in page 252).

Dr. Fleet changed Mihirakula into a Huna king and brought him to a recent date of 6th cen. A.D. In order to maintain the modernity, he invented an inscription, and created a non existent monarch, by name, Yasodharma, who vanquished Mihirakula and humiliated him to his feet. It is clear that this is a forged inscription which was published in Indian Antiquary Vol XV, p,253, as No. 164, of Dr, Fleet’s Sanskrit and old Kanarese inscriptions. A duplicate of this same inscription was invented, as No. 165, being engraved on the second stone pillar.

In case there existed, at any time. a supreme sovereign who conquered the whole of Bharat from the Himalayas to Setu (Rameswaram) and reigned as the Emperor, the Puranas would have certainly praised his deeds of prowess and valour. But the narratives of the Kaliyuga kings in all the Puranas have described the monarchs from the date of the Bharata battle 36yrs B.K. or 3138 B.C., to Kali 4295 or 1193 A.D, No mention of Yasodharma was made in any one of the above books, Even Rajatarangini, which gave a graphic account of Mihirakula, was silent about Yasodharman, who by the strength of his arms, could extract homage from Mihirakula. Rajatarangini related that Mihirakula was a tyrant who invaded against Simhala (Ceylon), conquered and killed the king, he gave the kingdom to another, and, on his return journey, slew the kings of Chola, Karnata and Lata countries; and imprisoned many enemy rulers in his fortress. If there was a great hero who could defeat and destroy a despot like Mihirakula, Rajatarangini would, indeed, have showered praises and encomiums upon the saviour of humanity. In the absence of even the slightest reference to such a peerless hero or his victories, it is evident that the much boasted victor of the whole of India, Yasodharma, was a mere figment of the fancy of the foreign historians, who by the strength of their fantastic imagination gave to airy nothings a local habitation and a name. There is not even a single line in Rajatarangini to show that Mihirakula persecuted Buddhists and destroyed their Sangharamas. In this matter, Buddhist writings are not to be trusted. It is not true that he reigned in Central and Western India.

Mandasar Insctiption No. 164 :-

" The inscription refers itself to the reign of a powerful king named Yasodharman, who is evidently identical to with the Yasodharman of the Mandasor inscription of Malva Samvat 589, No. 163 (page 222 ff Ind, Ant XV) and whose dominions are here described as including the whole of the northern part of India, from the river a Lauhitya, or the Brahmaputra, to the western ocean and from the Himalayas to the mountain Mahendra. We have an important allusion in the statement that he possessed countries which not even the Guptas and Hunas could subdue and a still more important record, in connection with the general history of the period, to the effect that homage was done to him by even the famous king Mihirakula. It is not dated. But Yasodharman’s date is now known from Mandasor inscription of Malwa Samvat 589 (A.D. 532-33) expired No. 163 above , which mentions him and Vishnuvardhana; and the present inscription having been engraved by the same person, Govinda, must fall with a few years on either side of that date. The object of it is to record the erection of the column for the purpose of reciting the glory and power of Yasodharman and, since the present tense is used almost throughout, and also verses 7 and 8 speak of the column as being set up by Yasodharman himself, the inscription must be one of his own time, not posthumous."

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