Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vikramaditya's time - some more evidence

Evidence -3. Jyotisha Phalaratnamala

The scholar Sri Krishna Misra, lived in the court of Vikramaditya of 57 B.C. In his book "Jyotishaphala-Ratnamala," a work on Astrology, in the first Chapter , sloka 10 he said as follows:-

"Let that Vikramarka, the Emperor, famous like the Manus, who protected me and my relations for seventy years, having endowed upon me one crore of gold coins flourish for ever with success and prosperity?

This Verse shows that Vikramarka was then alive. Having consolidated his empire, Vikramarka went to Nepal; he made the king, Amsuvarma a feudatory, and as a symbol of his over-lordship founded his Saka in Nepal in 57 B.C.. (Vide "The Ind. Ant. Vol.XIII." PP 411 ff). Afterwards, Vikramarka returned to Ujjain, became a patron of poets and scholars and spent his time with literary debates and discourses at court.

He received dedications of works like ‘Jyotirvidabharana’ and others, in Kali 3068 or 33 B.C. if after the founding of the Era, or 57 B.C., Sri Krishnamisra was protected for 70 years; this means B.C 57+70= 13 A.D. So it is evident that Vikramarka lived till 13 A.D. When he was a patron of a scholar for 70 years, this reveals that Vikramarka enjoyed longevity. Having been crowned king in his 20th year, it would take 24 years to conquer the whole of Bharata-Varsha and to consolidate the Empire, by winning over the Vassals by the four diplomatic devises of Sama, Dana, Bheda and Danda or by the exercise of fears and favours. He should be (20+24) 44 years old at the time of the initiation of his Saka in Nepal. If he supported a scholar for 70 years after the start of the Era, he should be aged, 44+70= 114 years at the dedication of Jyotishaphala Ratnamala, and when he made Matrigupta, the king of Kashmir, he was aged 115 years. Then after a reign of five years’ period, Matrigupta heard the demise of Vikramarka, abdicated the throne and became a recluse. Thus, it is evident, that the Emperor Vikramarka lived for 115+5= 12O years. Sloka 1-11 says as follows:-
‘This book consisting of two thousand Poems, of various and diverse charming metres, comprising of thirty two chapters, is written to embellish the renown and reputation of the Emperor, Vikramarka." (1-11)

Evidence - 4: Commentary on Satapatha Brahmana

Further. as regards this Vikramaditya, the "Sukla Yajurveda Madhyandina Satapatha Brahmana Bhashya" with Sri Hari Swamy Bhashya and with Sayanacharya Dviveda Ganga Bhashya, published by Kshema Raja Sri Krishna Das of Bombay, in Lakshmi Venkateswar Steam Press, Kalyan, Bombay, printed in 1997, Samvat 1862 Salivahana Saka, in 1940 A.D., in five volumes contains the following passage:-
To this Bhashya the Preface was written by Sree Madanna Sastry Sunuh Sridhara Sarma. While writing the preface, he wrote about the commentator "Hariswamy" to this effect :-

Substance of three slokas:-
"A resident of Ujjain,one who belongs to Parasara Gotra, the son of Naga Swamy,holding the offices of "Dharmadhyaksha’, (Justice of Vaidika Dharma) and "Danadhyakska" (Distributor of gifts) adorning the title of "Sarvavidyanidhana Kavindracharya Saraswati" (Treasure of all sciences and Learning, Professor of Poets or poet Laureate, the goddess of the Muses) in the court
of Vikramaditya, the king of Avanti, by name "Hari Swamy", has written this commentary or Bhashya to Satapatha Brahmana."
End of the 9th Chapter in the first, Haviryajna Khanda.

The author of the Preface says thus:-
One or two or three of the above poems which contain the above substance were attached to the end of every chapter, as follows:-
1. Satapatha Brahmana, 1 kanda, 7 chapter 4 Brahmana has first two Slokas.
2. Satapatha Brahmana, 1 kanda, 8 chapter 4 Brahmana has last two Slokas.
3. Satapatha Brahmana, 1 kanda, 9 chapter 1 Brahmana has second Sloka only.
4. Satapatha Brahmana, 1 kanda, 9 chapter 2 Brahmana has second Sloka only.
5. Satapatha Brahmana, 1 kanda, 9 chapter 3 Brahmana at the end of 1 Khanda has all three slokas.
6. Satapatha Brahmana, 4 kanda, 7,8,9 chapters, at the end of 7,8,9 chapters has all three slokas.

The readers may see the whole book.

The commentary of Hari Swamy is available from 8th kanda, 4th chapter, 4th Brahmana to the end of the kanda to 8 chapter, and to 12 and 13 kandas. Prof. Weber, 1855 A.D. printed in Berlin, Satapatha Brahmana with Hari swamy and Dviveda Ganga Bhashyams; but he omitted in his edition the verses contained in Hari Swamy commentary which commemorate the praise of Vikramarka.

Historical Evidence-5 Rajatarangini:- Matrigupta and Vikramaditya

On the eve of the demise of the 82 king in the list of the Kashmir monarchs, Hiranya leaving no heir to the throne, the country fell into anarchy; the cabinet of the ministers, in Kashmir sent a prayer to their over-lord, Emperor Vikramaditya and requested him to depute a ruler. Then, out of his favour towards Matrigupta, a Scholar-poet of the court, Vikramaditya installed Matri-Gupta with the sovereignty of his vassal state, Kashmir. This information is rendered in Rajatarangini
in slokas which mean as follows:-

(When the 82nd Kashmir king Hiranya died issueless 14 A.D), "In Ujjain there reigned with alias ‘Harsha’, the Emperor Vikramaditya as the over-lord, having brought the whole of Bharata Varsha under one umbrella? (R.T.3-125).
"In order to destroy the Mlechchas, (the tormentors of the country), Hari will incarnate on the Earth. As if to lighten the burden of Hari, Vikrarnaditya destroyed the sakas who were called mlechchas " (sakas were excommunicated kshatriyas of Indian origin.) (R.T. 3-128)
"Matrigupta, the far-famed in all the quarters as poet and he who was accessible to virtuous men came to Vikramaditya." (3-129)
Vikramaditya thought like this:- "The state of Kashmir was deprived of a ruler." (3-186). "Thongh many great kings desire the sovereignity, they should be rejected and Kashmir should be bestowed upon this deserving person (Matrigupta.) (3-187)
"Having decided like this that night, secretly, Emperor Vikramaditya sent messengers to the ministers of Kashmir? (3-188)
"He, who bears the name of Matrigupta and shows you my mandate, without doubt you should crown him king." To this effect a royal command was sent to the ministers of Kashmir? (3-189).
"Having sent the message with the royal orders, the emperor spent the rest of the night." (3-190).
On the next morning, after sunrise Vikramaditya said to Matrigupta "Do you know the state of Kashmir? you go to Kashmir and give this inscription to the Chief ministers." ( 3-207).
Having gone to Kashmir, when Matrigupta gave the mandate to the Chief Ministers, “They received the order with due obeisance and the ministers opened it in a secret place. After reading it, the ministers with humility spoke to the bearer of the letter, Matrigupta like this:-(3-235)
"When asked if the illustrious name Matrigupta was his, Matrigupta, with a smile, replied in the affirmative." (3-236)
"Then the whole place was filled with rejoicings and it shone like an ocean dashing with waves? (3-238) .
"Afterwards having seated Matrigupta on a golden throne facing eastwards, the Kashmir ministers celebrated his coronation as king of Kashmir." (3-239).
Thereupon, Matrigupta reigned for five years with justice and made the subjects happy and prosperous. Lateron, "he invaded against Trigarta region and conquered it; on his return he learnt the tidings of the Emperor Vikrarmaditya’s ascent to Heaven" (3-285).
That day Matrigupta (the king of Kashmir) was overpowered with grief; spent the day in having hot sighs with neither bathing, nor food, nor sleep and sat with head bent down with sorrow." (3-286)
"On the next day, Matrigupta, having left Kashmir, set out on a journey." Then, Toramana’s son and heir to the Kashmir throne, Pravarasena II heard of the abdication of Matrigupta. He came to Matrigupta and requested him not to renounce the crown and promised that he would relinquish his claim and surrender it in favour of Matrigupta. In spite of the fervent appeals of Pravarasena II, Matrigupta went to Benares, became an ascetic and devoted the remainder of his life in spiritual contemplation and religious rites.

Evidence 6. Nepala-Raja~Vamsavali:

In the year 3044 Kali or 57 B.C., Vikramaditya visited his vassal state Nepal and established his Era there (Vikrama. Saka). This information is published in the Indian Antiquary Vol. XIII. Pages 411 onwards.

Evidence 7. Ptolemy's Ancient India: "Ozene:- This is a transliteration of Ujjayini, the Sanskrit name of the old and famous city of Avanti, still called Ujjain. It was the capital of the celebrated Vikramaditya, who having expelled the Skythions and thereafter established his power over the greater part of India, restored the Hindu monarchy to its ancient splendour. It was one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus, and the first Meridian of their astronomers. (Ptolemy’s Ancient India By Mr. Crindle page 154)

Evidence 8. Mahavamsa (a Buddhist Cronicle):

We learn from the Mahavamsa (a Buddhist Chronicle) that about B.C. 95, a certain Buddhist high priest took with him 40,000 deciples from the Dakkhinagiri temple at Ujjain to Ceylon to assist there in laying the foundation stone of the great Dagaba at Anuradhapura. Half a century later than this is the date of the expulsion of the Skythions by Vikramaditya, which forms the era in Indian Chronology called Samvat(57 B.C.). (Quoted BY Mr. Crindle in Ptolemy’s Ancient India. P.P.. 154, 155)

Evidence 9. Sir William Jones' Works.- Vol. IV:

Sir William Jones, the pioneer in the historical field, never doubted the historicity of Vikramaditya but frequently spoke of him as a historical person and a powerful emperor with several feudatories and this is thus a matter of great importance. (Vide Sir William Jones’ works Vol. IV. pp. 36 to 46 written in 1788 A.D. Ed. 1807.)

By the time of Jones (1778 A..D.) Vikramaditya was still green in the memory of the Indians and everywhere Jones heard accounts of that illustrious Emperor. The Panchangas(Almanacs) were mentioning his name and Era year after year. The necessity to deny the historicity of Vikramaditya to shield his wrong theory never struck him. This was an after thought of the later western scholars of the second half of the 19th century.

Evidence 10. Memoir of Central India BY C. H. Payne M,A, pp, 7, 8.:

"During the period that Dhunji’s family held Malwa we find no particular mention of them until about seven hundred and thirty years before Christ, when Dhunji’s successor is said to have shaken off his dependence on the sovereign of Delhi (i.e. Magadha Emperors). From this time we lose all trace of the kingdom of Malwa until near our own era, when Vikramaditya, a prince whom all Hindu authors agree in describing as the encourager of learning and the arts, obtained the Sovereignty."

Evidence 11. Esoteric Buddhism:

Mr. A.P. Sinnet in his Esoteric Buddhism (VIII Ed 1903, I Ed. being in 1883--p. 185) says that Vikramaditya lived in 80 B.C. The theory that Vikramaditya was a mythical person was not yet born then. It was only a later day invention.

Evidence 12. Tradition of the country:

Oral traditions handed down from age to age throughout the length and breadth of Bharat, stories about Vikrarnaditya and Salivahana afford equally valuable material for the historicity of Vikramaditya and Salivahana

Astronomical Evidence.

Evidence 13. Our National Almanacs:

A.D. 1951, English Calender year will be 2007 `Vikrama Sake and Kali Saka 5051-5052. If from 5051 Kali Saka, the Vikrama Saka, 2007, is subtracted (5051-2007=) 3044 Kali Saka or 57 B C. will be the starting point of Vikrama Saka. In the Indian Almanacs, from the past to the present, year after year Vikrama Saka is mentioned and the calculation is made.

Evidence 14. Siddhanta Siromani:

In "Siddhanta Siromani" written by himself, Bhaskaracharya, while discussing the calculation of time prevalent during his period, spoke about Vikrama and Kali Sakas, as given below:-

S.S. Kalamanadhyaya 28 Sloka:- This means that 3179 years in Kaliyuga will be the end of Vikrama Saka, The beginning of Vikrama Sake will be Kali 3044 year or 57 B.C., and the end of Vikrama Era will be the beginning of Salivahana Saka. When a new Era begins, the previous Era is considered to come to a close· So 3179 Kali will be 78 A.D., and this is the beginning of Salivahana Saka. If we deduct from Kali 3179 the Vikrama Saka start of Kali 3044, we get a period of 135 years.

Therefore, this calculation, beyond doubt, confirms the truth of the existence of Vikramaditya in 57 B.C., and the starting of his Era, together with the living of Salivahana in 78 A.D. and the establishing of his Saka. Salivahana was the great Grandson of Vikramarka. So it is evident that Vikramaditya was born in Kali 3001 year or 101 B.C., his coronation took place in Kali 3020 year or 82 B.C., and the Vikrama Saka was founded in 3044 Kali or 57 B.C., having got dedications of works in Kali 3068 (33 B.C.) and in Kali 3114 (13 A.D.) from Kalidasa and others. He made Matrigupta, king of Kashmir in Kali 3115 year or 14 A.D. Vikramaditya went to heaven in Kali 3120 year or 19 A.D.

Vikramaditya in Kalidasa's Jyotirvidhabharana
Date of Vikramaditya


  1. Namaste Sri Prasad Garu,

    Yes, I do find the relevant sloka for evidence 3 of the above blog in the Jyotisha Phalaratnamala available with me. Yet, it is the first sloka itself in the book with me not the 10th as quoted by Sri Chelam.

    It is also to be mentioned that Somanatha Mishra wrote Jyotisha Kalpalatha as a supplementary text to Jyotisha Phalaratnamala of Krishna Mishra. And both are commentaries on Jaimini System of Astrology. It was mentioned in Kalpalatha about the another way of reckoning Drekkana in Jaimini System and specifically claims that this reckoning is different from the Brihat Jataka way. As we know, Brihat Jataka was written by Varaha Mihira and it seems Jyotisha Kalpalatha is later text to the age of Varaha Mihira. This might be a useful hint in dating Vikramarka.

    Of course, as it common in most of the Astrological texts, adulteration and corruption might have crept in Kalapalatha text as we find many deviating points from Phalaratnamala. Remember, Somanatha's Kalpalatha is said to be supplementary work to his father's Phalaratnamala.


  2. Are the famous and valuable tales of great morals of Vikram and vetal tales or real happenings? If real when did they take place?