|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Krishna Samhita > Introduction|
chaitanyatmane bhagavate namah
There are two types of literatures—those which bestow artha, or material results, and those which bestow paramartha, or spiritual results. Geography, history, astrology, physics, psychology, ayurveda, microbiology, mathematics, language, poetry, music, logic, yoga, religion, law, architecture, and weaponry are all included in the first category. Every book aims at revealing a particular subject—that is its artha, or result. When all results compliment each other and ultimately yield the supreme result, in the form of the soul's ultimate destination, that is called paramartha. The literatures that discuss the attainment of this supreme result are called paramarthic shastra, or spiritual literatures.
Many spiritual literatures have been compiled in India and abroad. In India many sages from time immemorial have compiled various spiritual literatures after duly considering the spiritual topics. Among them, Shrimad Bhagavatam is the topmost. This book consists of 18,000 verses. In this book, the ten principal subject matters of this world1 have been discussed in some places as direct instructions and elsewhere as history. Among these ten subjects, the last, ashraya, is the paramartha-tattva, or spiritual subject. The ashraya-tattva, or summum bonum, is very confidential and unlimited. Although ashraya-tattva is sponteneously manifested to the living entities, in people's present conditional state that transcendental subject is very difficult to comprehend. That is why the compiler of Shrimad Bhagavatam was compelled to compassionately and clearly discuss the other nine truths2.
Such a matchless book has not been properly explained till now. The people of India and other countries can be divided into two categories—the asslike and the swanlike. Among these two, the asslike are in the majority. The swanlike are in the minority. Swanlike people abstract the purport of the scriptures for their own advancement and thus benefit themselves. That is why the real purport of Shrimad Bhagavatam has not yet been clearly revealed. I had a great desire to translate Shrimad Bhagavatam in this proper swanlike way, but I have no time to translate this huge work. For this reason I am now extracting the main purport of this great literature and presenting it in the form of this Shri Krishna-samhita. As I was not satisfied after writing the verses of this book, I translated them into Bengali. I hope learned people will always scrutinizingly discuss this book in order to ascertain the spiritual subject matters.
Everyone has the right to discuss spiritual topics. Yet people are divided into three categories according to their qualifications3. Those who do not possess independent power of discrimination are in the first category and are called neophytes, or those with soft faith. They have no alternative to faith. If they do not accept whatever the compilers of the scriptures write as the order of the Lord, then they fall down. They are qualified only for understanding the gross meanings of the science of Krishna; they have no qualification for understanding the subtle meanings. Until they gradually advance by good association and instruction, they should try to advance under the shelter of faith. Those who have not yet succeeded in connecting faith with argument are second grade, or madhyama-adhikari. And those who are expert in connecting these two are perfect in all respects. They are able to attain perfection by utilizing material resources in their independent endeavors. They are called topmost, or uttama-adhikari. Among these three, it is necessary to ascertain who is the proper candidate for studying this book. The neophytes are not qualified, but they can gradually become qualified by attaining a higher stage through good fortune. The expert topmost persons have no direct need for this book other than to strengthen their own conclusions. Still, they should discuss this book with due respect in order to benefit the madhyama-adhikaris. Therefore it is the madhyama-adhikaris who are the proper candidates for studying this book. All the above-mentioned three categories of people are qualified to study Shrimad Bhagavatam, yet most of the commentaries on this matchless book are composed for the benefit of the neophytes. The commentators were all swanlike persons, and they have exhibited more compassion towards the neophytes than towards the madhyamas. Whenever they discuss jnana, they are referring to brahma-jnana, or the impersonal understanding of the Absolute Truth. Therefore modern speculators are not benefited. Nowadays many people of our country discuss foreign literature and science with a desire to scrutinize its significance. They quickly become faithless after observing the indirect presentations4 by the writers of the scripture and the scriptural commentaries that are appropriate for the above-mentioned neophytes. They then either adopt a different religion or become famous by introducing a new one. The danger with this is that such people uselessly waste their time inventing a new level of understanding while leaving aside the previous mahajanas' perfect path, which automatically uplifts one from a lower qualification to a higher one. If there were some literatures appropriate for the madhyama-adhikaris to discuss, then no anarthas, or unwanted things, in the form of sub-religion, cheating religion, or irreligion would have entered India. The principal purpose of this book is to fulfill the above-mentioned requirement. Actually this book will directly and indirectly benefit all three types of persons—the uttama, madhyama, and kanishtha. Therefore they should all respect this book.
Sectarianism is a natural byproduct of the Absolute Truth. When acaryas first ascertain and instruct the Truth, it is not polluted with sectarianism. But the rules and regulations received through disciplic succession regarding the goal and the method of achieving it are changed in due course of time according to the mentality and locale of the people5. A rule that is followed by one society is not necessarily accepted in another society. That is why one community is different from another. As a community gradually develops more respect for its own standards, it develops hatred towards other communities and considers their standards inferior. These sectarian symptoms are seen in all countries since time immemorial. This is prominent amongst neophytes and found to some extent amongst madhyama-adhikaris. Amongst uttama-adhikaris, however, there is no trace of sectarianism. Adherence to a particular standard is the prominent symptom of a society. There are three types of standards—alocakagata, alocanagata, and alocyagata. Alocakagata is when sectarianists accept some external signs. Examples of alocakagata are tilaka, neckbeads, saffron robes, as well as the baptism practiced abroad. The different activities practiced in the process of worship are called alocanagata. Examples of alocanagata are sacrifices, austerities, fire sacrifices, vows, studying scriptures, deity worship, constructing temples, respecting the purity of various trees and rivers, dressing like sannyasis, acting like acaryas, dressing like brahmacaris or grihasthas, closing one's eyes, respecting particular types of books, rules and regulations in eating, and respecting the purity of particular times and places. The examples of alocyagata are attributing personalism or impersonalism on the Supreme Lord, installing deities, exhibiting the mood of an incarnation of the Lord, speculating on heaven and hell, and describing the future destination of the soul. The different forms of these spiritual activities create divisions of sectarianism. Differences that arise from places, times, languages, behaviors, foods, dresses, and natures of various communities are incorporated within their spiritual practices and gradually make one community so completely different from another community that even the consideration that everyone is a human being may cease to exist. Due to these differences there is disagreement, cessation of social intercourse, and fighting, even up to the point of killing one another. When an asslike mentality becomes prominent within the kanishtha-adhikaris, then they certainly indulge in these things. But if they develop a swanlike mentality, then they do not take part in quarrels, rather, they endeavor to attain a higher level. Madhyama-adhikaris do not quarrel so much about external standards, but they are always attacked by philosophical disagreements. Sometimes they condemn the standards of neophytes and establish their own standards as superior. They condemn the neophytes' deity worship in order to establish the worshipable Lord as formless6. In such cases, they are also considered asslike people. Otherwise, if they had a swanlike mentality and a desire to attain a higher level, they would respect others' practices and inquire about higher topics. Contradictions actually arise only due to asslike mentality. Swanlike persons consider the necessity for different practices according to one's qualification, so they naturally become detached from sectarian quarrels7. In this regard, it should be known that both asslike and swanlike people are found amongst the kanishtha-adhikaris and madhyama-adhikaris. I do not expect that asslike people will accept this book with respect. If neophytes and madhyama-adhikaris become completely indifferent in regard to the contradictions found in various practices and try to advance further, then they become swanlike persons. Then they are our respectable and dear friends. Although swanlike personalities may accept a particular practice from birth or childhood according to instructions they have received, they nevertheless remain indifferent and nonsectarian.
The religious principles that will be explained and established in this book are very difficult to name. If these principles are given a particular sectarian name, then other sects will oppose them. Shrimad Bhagavatam has therefore established sanatana-dharma as satvata-dharma, or religious principles related with the Absolute Truth8. Another name for these religious principles is Vaishnava-dharma. Asslike Vaishnavas fall into the categories of Shaktas (followers of Durga), Sauras (followers of the sun-god), Ganapatyas (followers of Ganesha), Shaivites (followers of Shiva), and Vaishnavas (followers of Vishnu). But swanlike Vaishnavas are nonsectarian and, therefore, rare. These five types of above- mentioned spiritualists, as found in India, are named according to their respective qualifications. Human beings have two types of tendencies—arthic, or material, and paramarthic, or spiritual. Material tendencies include maintaining the body, constructing a house, marrying, begetting children, studying, earning wealth, material science, factory work, acquiring and maintaining assets, and accumulating piety. Although there are some similarities between the activities of humans and animals, the material endeavors of humans are nevertheless superior to the natural tendencies of animals. If after executing their material activities human beings do not take shelter of their constitutional activities, then they are called two-legged animals. The constitutional activities of a pure soul are called one's sva-dharma, or prescribed activities. The sva-dharma of a living entity is prominently manifested in his pure state of existence. In the pure state of existence this sva-dharma is present in the form of spiritual activities. All the above-mentioned material tendencies become successful when dovetailed with spiritual activities, otherwise they cannot independently help one attain the highest goal9. From engagement in material activities up to the awakening of spiritual activities is called the preliminary stage of God consciousness. From this preliminary stage up to the uttama-adhikari stage there are innumerable levels10. Inquiring about the truth of the material world is called Shakta-dharma, because the predominating deity of the material world is goddess Durga. All behavior and practice instructed in Shakta-dharma is helpful only in the preliminary stage. Such behavior and practice is meant to bring one closer to spiritual life, and materialistic people may be attracted by this only until they begin to inquire about the Supreme Absolute Truth. Shakta-dharma is the living entities' initial spiritual endeavor, and it is extremely essential for people of that level. When the preliminary stage is further strengthened, one attains the next level. One then considers the energy of work and the superiority of heat over dull matter, and he therefore accepts the sun-god, who is the source of heat, as his worshipable deity. At that time, Saura-dharma is awakened. Later, when one considers even heat as dull matter and animal consciousness as superior, then the third stage, Ganapatya-dharma, is attained. In the fourth gross stage, Lord Shiva is worshiped as the pure consciousness of the living entities, and Shaiva-dharma manifests. In the fifth stage, the consciousness of the living entity worships the supreme consciousness, and thus Vaishnava-dharma is manifest. Generally there are five types of paramarthic dharmas, or spiritual duties, that have been known by different names in different countries at different times. If one considers all the different dharmas that are current in India and abroad, one can see that they certainly fall within these five categories. The religious principles taught by Mohammed and Jesus Christ are similar to the religious principles taught by Vaishnava sects. Buddhism and Jainism are similar to Shaiva-dharma. This is a scientific consideration of truths regarding religious principles. Those who consider their own religious principles as real dharma and others' religious principles as irreligion or subreligion are unable to ascertain the truth due to being influenced by prejudice. Actually, religious principles followed by people in general are different only due to the different qualifications of the practitioners, but the constitutional religious principles of all living entities are one. It is not proper for swanlike persons to reject the religious principles that people in general follow according to their situation. Therefore, with due respect to the religious principles followed by people in general, we will now discuss the living entities' constitutional religious principles.
Satvata-dharma, or nonsectarian Vaishnava-dharma, is the living entities' constitutional, or eternal, religious principles11. But the Vaishnava-dharma that is found in the Mayavada-sampradaya is only an indirect imitation of those principles. When such sectarian Vaishnava-dharma becomes transcendental, that is, when it is freed from impersonalism, then it becomes Satvata-dharma, or religious principles related with the Supreme Truth. The different sampradayas, namely dvaita (dualism), dvaitadvaita (simultaneous oneness and difference), shuddhadvaita (purified oneness), and vishishtadvaita (specific monism) that are found in satvata-dharma are nothing but wonderful varieties of sentiments within the Vaishnava science. Actually the various sampradayas are not the result of differences in the basic truth. Impersonalism is diametrically opposite to the science of bhakti. Those Vaishnavas who have accepted impersonalism are not pure Vaishnavas.
It is our duty to consider when and how Vaishnava-dharma has manifest in this country [India]. Before we consider this subject, however, there are many other subjects that have to be resolved. Therefore we will first resolve the dates, according to modern considerations, of the main events of India. Later we will ascertain the dates of the esteemed scriptures. As soon as the dates of the scriptures are ascertained, then I will explain, according to modern opinion, the history of Vaishnava-dharma that is explained in those scriptures. Although we ourselves consider the dates of the scriptures according to ancient methods, I will now follow contemporary methods for the benefit of modern people.
The very ancient history of India is covered by the dense darkness of forgetfulness, because there is no proper sequence in its ancient history. I will establish with a bit of conjecture whatever I can on the information I have acquired through the four Vedas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Puranas. In the beginning, the Aryans lived in a small country named Brahmavarta, which was situated between the two rivers—Sarasvati and Drishadvati. The present name of Drishadvati is Kagara12. By discussing the meaning of the name “Brahmavarta” it is assumed that the Aryans came from another country to reside therein. We cannot ascertain exactly where they came from, but it is believed that they came from some northwest country13. When they came, they were relatively civilized according to the time. There is no doubt about this. Being proud of their own civilization, they used to disregard the local natives. It is said that when the Aryans disregarded the local natives, the natives' king, Rudradeva, showed the Aryans his prowess by accepting in marriage the hand of Sati, the daughter of Prajapati Daksha, thus making an alliance with Daksha. Nevertheless the Aryans were so proud that after the marriage of Sati, they did not respect her or her husband. That is why Sati hated herself and gave up her body in Daksha's sacrificial arena and thereafter Shiva with his followers began to heavily torture the Aryans. The brahmanas were later forced to make an alliance with Shiva by allowing him a share in the sacrifice. Still, in order to maintain their superiority, the Aryans placed Shiva's seat in the northeastern corner of the sacrificial arena. There is no doubt that Daksha's fire sacrifice took place soon after the Aryans established Brahmavarta, because the ten personalities headed by Daksha are described as the original Prajapatis. The wife of Prajapati Daksha was named Prasuti. She was the daughter of Svayambhuva Manu, the son of Brahma. Svayambhuva Manu and the Prajapatis were the original inhabitants of Brahmavarta. Another son of Brahma was Marici, whose son was Kashyapa. The son of Kashyapa was Vivasvan, whose son was Vaivasvata Manu. The son of Vaivasvata Manu was Ikshvaku. From this we must conclude that the Surya dynasty began with the sixth generation from Brahma. At the time of Maharaja Ikshvaku, the Aryans were living in a place called Brahmarshi. According to modern calculation the above-mentioned six generations enjoyed their kingdom for two hundred years. Because Brahmavarta was too small it was expanded within this two hundred years and called Brahmarshi. The Aryans were very eager to expand their dynasty, and they had so many children that Brahmavarta became too congested to suit their needs. Modern scholars say that some civilized personalities like Candra were inducted into the Aryan race at that time. According to their calculation, in those two hundred years there were eight Manus, beginning from Svayambhuva Manu up to Vaivasvata Manu. Just after Svayambhuva Manu, the son of Agni named Svarocisha Manu appeared. The grandson of Svayambhuva Manu was Uttama Manu. He had one brother named Tamasa Manu and another brother named Raivata Manu. In the seventh generation from Svayambhuva Manu was Cakshusha Manu. Vaivasvata Manu was the fifth generation from Brahma. Savarni Manu was the stepbrother of Vaivasvata. Therefore all the Manus wound up their activities before the time of Ikshvaku; there is no doubt about this. Daksha-savarni, Brahma-savarni, Dharma-savarni, Rudra-savarni, Deva-savarni, and Indra-savarni existed only in the imagination of modern people. If they were historical, then it is to be understood that they lived in different parts of India within those two hundred years. It is also stated that the churning of the ocean took place during the time of Cakshusha Manu. Vamana appeared during the time of Vaivasvata Manu. After Bali Maharaja's sacrifice, all the demons were driven away by trickery. The kings of the Manu dynasty had their capitals outside Brahmavarta, but in the beginning they were not expert in managing their kingdom, education, or family life. Dhanvantari appeared during the churning of the ocean. The Ashvini-kumaras also appeared at that time. The poison which emanated during the churning of the ocean was eliminated by Shiva of the Rudra dynasty. By discussing all these topics we can understand that in those days the culture of medicine in progress. It is also seen that at this time the demon Rahu was cut in two, and thus Rahu and Ketu were formed. We can understand from this that the science of astrology was being discussed at that time. It is not believed, however, that there was a written language during this time. And since there is no written information about that period, it appears that it lasted for a vast duration of time. In fact, much later, when calculation of time began, it was said that each Manu enjoyed a rule of seventy maha-yugas. Among the kings, whoever laid down laws was called a Manu and was respected by all. There were two reasons why so many Manus appeared in such a short span of time. The first reason is that there was no written language or books, so knowledge was transmitted by shruti, or hearing. The other necessary shrutis that were added to the original shruti were then ascribed to the reigns of the many different Manus. The second reason is that due to an increase of population, the dwelling areas of the Aryans spread and divided into various areas with different kings ruling. Thus there were many lawmakers, or Manus. This is the way modern scholars have described the different durations of Manus. Swanlike people respect whatever substance may be derived from these topics, but transcendental explantions are often helpful for asslike people14.
These explanations of transcendental characteristics and divisions of time were accepted in order to generate firm faith in such peoples' minds. The great sages accept the existence of different Manus in order to benefit neophytes and check the fantasies created at various times and places. We will never say that history and the process of calculating time according to the scriptures is false or imaginary.
Modern scholars have stated that the names of the kings from Ikshvaku's time are available. The names of the kings in the Surya dynasty can be accepted with a great deal of certainty. From Ikshvaku to Ramacandra there were 63 generations. If we consider that each king ruled the kingdom for 25 years, then the time from Ikshvaku to Ramacandra comes to 1,575 years. In the ninety-fourth generation of that dynasty, King Brihadbala was killed by Abhimanyu in the Battle of Kurukshetra. The Battle of Kurukshetra took place 2,350 years after the rule of Ikshvaku. The duration of all Manvantaras together comes to 200 years. Therefore we will have to accept that the establishment of Brahmavarta took place 2,550 years prior to the Battle of Kurukshetra.
The duration of the Candra dynasty king's rule is not very clear. From Ila, who was a contemporary of Ikshvaku, through Pururava and up to Yudhishthira, 50 generations are described. It is therefore difficult to accept that Shri Ramacandra appeared in the sixty-third generation from Ikshvaku, yet long before Yudhishthira, if there were only 50 generations from Ila to Yudhishthira. Valmiki was a very ancient rishi. Therefore his calculations must be more accurate than the calculations of the modern rishis. The kings of the Surya dynasty were very powerful, so their family priests wrote down the duration of their various kings' rules. There is no doubt about this. Rather, there is a mistake on the origin of the Candra dynasty. Perhaps after the kings of the Surya dynasty ruled their kingdom for a long period, King Yayati became very powerful. Being unable to enter the Surya dynasty, Yayati decided to link his dynasty with the dynasty of Pururava Nahusha. Yet even after doing this, he and many others from his dynasty were unable to establish a relationship with the Surya dynasty. King Romapada15, the friend of Dasharatha, appeared in the fourteenth generation from Pururava, in the dynasty of Anu, the son of Yayati. Kartaviryarjuna was born in the sixteenth generation from Pururava, in the dynasty of Yadu. He was the enemy of Parashurama. From this it is understood that King Yayati ruled his kingdom about thirteen or fourteen generations before Ramacandra. That was the beginning of the Candra dynasty. That is why they calculate their time in relationship with the Surya dynasty.
In the beginning, the kings of the Surya dynasty lived on the bank of the Yamuna at the place known as Brahmarshi. The tenth king of the Surya dynasty, named Shravanta, created Shravantipuri. It is stated in the Ramayana that the city of Ayodhya was established by Manu. Nevertheless many people feel that Vaivasvata Manu lived near the Yamuna and his son, Ikshvaku, established Ayodhya and then resided therein. It is written that Ikshvaku's sons lived in Aryavarta. Vaishalipuri was created by King Vishala, who was in the twenty-fifth generation from Vaivasvata. The city of Shravanti is situated about 60 miles north of Ayodhya, the capital of Koshala. The present name of this place is Sahet Mahet. The city of Vaishali is situated about 28 miles north of Patna. From this it is understood that the kings of the Surya dynasty powerfully ruled their kingdom from the Yamuna to the Kaushiki River, on the western side of the Ganges. Gradually, when the kings of the Candra dynasty became powerful, the kings of the Surya dynasty became weakened. It is also said that up to the time of Mandhata the Aryans of the Surya dynasty used to call Mithila and the nearby area around the Ganges as Aryavarta. But at the time of Bhagiratha, who came just after King Sagara, the districts adjoining the Ganges up to the ocean were considered Aryavarta. Previous to this it was concluded in the scriptures that if an Aryan died outside of Aryavarta he would go to hell. At that time Aryavarta extended only between the Himalayas and the Vindhyas16. The descendents of King Sagara gave up their bodies at the place called Mleccha-desha17, Bengal [presently called Ganga-sagara], and until that place was included in Aryavarta, the descendants of the Surya dynasty were condemned. For this reason many kings of the Surya dynasty—such as Dilipa, Amshuman, and Bhagiratha—worshiped Brahma, the head of the rishis, and established the land up to Ganga-sagara as part of Aryavarta. According to modern opinion, those kings spread the glories of the Ganges up to the ocean. Modern opinion is that it was not the waters of the Ganges that were taken to the ocean, rather it was the glories of the Ganges that were taken to the ocean. That is why the Manu-samhita (2.22) describes Aryavarta as the area between the Himalaya and Vindhya Mountains and stretching from the eastern ocean to the western ocean18. The divisions of Aryavarta and Dakshinatya are thus accepted since the time of Bhagiratha.
Now I will explain the calculations of the four yugas according to modern opinion. Satya-yuga extends up to the time of King Mandhata. Treta-yuga begins after Mandhata and continues through the rule of Lava and Kusha. Dvapara-yuga then lasts through the Battle of Kurukshetra. Satya-yuga consists of 650 years, Treta-yuga consists of 1,125 years, and Dvapara-yuga consists of 775 years. In this way the total comes to 2,550 years19. Vedic scholars, however, do not accept these conclusions.
In the descriptions of the principle tirthas of the different yugas, it is mentioned that Kurukshetra was the tirtha for Satya-yuga. Kurukshetra is situated near Brahmavarta. Pushkara, situated near Ajmera, was the tirtha for Treta-yuga. In Dvapara-yuga, Naimisharanya was the tirtha. The present name of Naimisharanya is Nimkhara or Nimsara. It is located about 44 miles northwest of Lucknow on the bank of the Gomati River. In the age of Kali, Ganges is the tirtha. Just as Brahmavarta, Brahmarshi-desha, Madhya-desha, and ancient and modern Aryavarta were gradually established from time to time, similarly the tirthas were all spread from Kurukshetra to Ganga-sagara during the expansion of the country. According to the advancement of the intelligence of people in a particular time, different incarnations appear in different ages. As people advanced in religiosity, the mantras for their deliverance gradually blossomed.
According to modern opinion, some of the major incidents that took place in the 2,550 years prior to and including the Battle of Kurukshetra are the sacrifice of Daksha, the fight between the demigods and the demons, the churning of the ocean, the banishment of the demons to Patalaloka, the killing of King Vena, the bringing of the Ganges to the ocean, the killing of the kshatriyas by Parashurama, the victory of Shri Ramacandra over Lanka, the journey of King Devapi and Maru to the village of Kalapa, and the Battle of Kurukshetra. Apart from these, the scriptures relate many other incidents that took place.
Modern scholars think that Daksha's fire sacrifice took place immediately after the Aryans established Brahmavarta. This strange incident happened due to the Aryan's pride of their caste and their unwillingness to maintain a relationship with the local natives. At that time Bhutanatha Rudra was the leader of the local natives. Most of the hill areas were under his jurisdiction. Bhutan, or Bhuta-sthana, Koca-vihara, or Kucni-vihara, and Trivarta, where Kailasa Mountain is seen, were all under Rudra's rule. Even though he was a local native, he was expert in the science of medicine, fighting, and singing. Seeing his ability, the eleven Rudra kings, who were his representatives, even claimed that he was the supreme controller. Such a personality as the King of the Rudras could not tolerate the brahmana's false ego, so he forcefully and tactfully married the daughter of Prajapati Daksha, who lived at Kankhala, near Haridvara. After Satidevi left her body, a fierce battle took place between him and the brahmanas. After the battle, he was given a share of the sacrifice and a seat in the northeast corner of the sacrificial arena. After that the Aryans made friendship with the powerful local mountain people. Since then, we do not find any further quarrel between the local mountain people and the brahmarshis, because the mountain people respected the brahmanas and the King of the Rudras was counted among the lords of the Aryans20.
Although the Aryans no longer quarreled with the mountain people, many persons from their own dynasty put forward obstacles on the path of prosperity. The descendants of Kashyapa, who accepted the features of snakes and birds, started residing here and there under the subordination of the demigods. At that time the descendants of Kashyapa who accepted the features of birds developed intense animosity towards the snakes. But later the snakes became more powerful, and they ruled many kingdoms. Gradually the birds became almost extinct. From the womb of Diti, the wife of Kashyapa, a few formidable men were born. They were condemned as demons. They became enemies of all good people by willfully acting against the brahmarshis. Eventually they quarreled with King Indra and established a separate kingdom. This quarrel became known as the battle between the demigods and the demons. Almost all the demons lived in the country known as Panca-nada [the place of five rivers]. Shakala, Asarara, Narasimha, and Multan, or Kashyapapura, were under their jurisdiction. It is possible that Prajapati Kashyapa, in whose family the demigods and demons were born, lived in the countries of Panca-nada and Brahmavarta. The Prajapatis lived around Brahmavarta. At that time Brahmavarta was the center of the demigods' kingdom. Both the Sarasvati and Drishadvati Rivers flowed in the demigods' kingdom. Brahmavarta is the place that was founded by the demigods between these two rivers21. From the word deva in this verse [see footnote below], it is understood that the demigods were residing there. The demigods were also sons of Prajapati Kashyapa, therefore they are also accepted as Aryans. It is felt that during the founding of Brahmavarta, just after the reign of Svayambhuva Manu, Indra, the son of Kashyapa and an expert administrator, was awarded the title of King of the demigods. Those great souls who were engaged in the administrative work received different posts like Vayu, Varuna, Agni, Yama, and Pusha. Later, when others attained those posts, they were also known as Indra, Candra, Vayu, and Varuna. After the reign of Vaivasvata, the demigods became very weak. Their ruling of the kingdom continued simply in name. Wherever there were sacrifices, they were invited and shown respect. In this way, after some time the great personalities of Brahmavarta were no more and they became counted amongst the heavenly demigods. Their seats and shares in sacrifices of this planet were given to other invited brahmanas. The demigods then became known as yantras and were invoked by mantras. This is also seen in Jaimini's mimamsa philosophy. In the beginning the demigods were the rulers, later they became the enjoyers of shares of sacrifices, and finally they were established in the scriptures in the form of mantras. At the time when the demigods were ruling, the demons, born from Kashyapa's other wife, became greedy for the demigods' kingdom and created many disturbances. The first battle between the demigods and demons took place at the time of Hiranyakashipu. The churning of the ocean took place a short time after this battle. During the battle between the demigods and the demons, Brihaspati was Indra's minister and Shukracarya was the demons' minister. Being unable to kill Hiranyakashipu, the brahmanas brought his son to the demigods' side with the help of Shanda and Amarka. Hiranyakashipu was then killed by the strength of providence. The grandson of Hiranyakashipu was Virocana. During his reign an alliance was made between the demigods and the demons. By combining the intelligence of the demigods with the strength and industrial knowledge of the demons the churning of the ocean of knowledge took place, and various excellent items, like scientific opulences and nectar, were produced. Later, by discussing knowledge of the self, poison, in the form of renunciation of fruitive work and self-destruction, was produced. Maha-Rudra, who knew the spiritual science, controlled that poison by the power of science. The demons were tactfully deceived from obtaining nectar, and therefore another battle took place. The asuras were defeated in this battle, so they lived contented with their own kingdom for a long time. In the meantime, Brihaspati, the spiritual master of the demigods, was insulted by Indra and went off in seclusion. At this juncture the demons again lit the fire of war on the instructions of Shukracarya. With the permission of Brahma, Indra accepted Vishvarupa, the son of Tvashta, as his priest. Then, with various tactics, Vishvarupa helped the demigods defeat the demons. Vishvarupa used to drink wine, and due to his friendship with the asuras he devised a plan for the asuras to capture Brahmavarta in return for a share of the sacrifices. For this reason, Indra killed him. Vishvarupa's father, Tvashta, thus became angry with Indra and started a revolt. His other son, Vritra, joined the demons and began to harass Indra, and the demigods then decided to take shelter of Dadhyanca (Dadhici). After the death of Dadhyanca, Vishvakarma, with hard labor and scientific methods, created a vajra, or thunderbolt. Then Indra killed Vritra with the help of this vajra, and he became condemned as the killer of a brahmana. Along with other brahmanas, Tvashta exiled Indra for some time. At that time Indra lived near Manasa-sarovara. The brahmanas quarreled among themselves but were unable to find a proper candidate for the post of Indra. Finally they decided to install Nahusha, the grandson of Pururava, as the king. In a short time Nahusha developed a tendency to neglect the brahmanas, so the brahmanas reinstalled Indra as the king after sending Nahusha back to his previous duties. The battle between the demigods and the demons took place at Kurukshetra, near Brahmavarta. There is no doubt about this, because Indra killed Vritra and went northeast to Manasa-sarovara to reside22. It is also proved that Dadhici Muni previously lived near Kurukshetra. Some people say that three raised hillocks, called Tripishtapa, may be found either at Kurukshetra or northern Brahmavarta.
On the instigation of Shukracarya, the demons gradually became powerful, and because the demigods were unable to check them, they took the help of Vamanadeva. By Vamanadeva's tactics, the demigods thus drove King Bali and his followers from the area of Tripishtapa. Perhaps the asuras took a vow to live on the bank of the River Sindhu, at the place known as Sindhu23. At that time the place was known as Patala, because the descendants of the Nagas resided there. The descendants of the Nagas, such as Elapatra and Takshaka, resided in that country for many years. After the asuras resided there for many years, they returned to reside at Tripishtapa. At that time, the lake known as Elapatra and the city known as Takshashila were founded. The Nagas also lived in the province of Kashmir. Elaborate descriptions of this are found in the Raja-tarangini. King Bali was in the fifth generation from Kashyapa. During his reign, the asuras were tactfully exiled to Patala.
The topics of King Vena are one of the main subjects of Aryan history. King Vena came in the eleventh generation from Svayambhuva Manu. At this point it should be considered where Manu and his descendants were residing. In some places of the scriptures it is stated that Manu resided in Brahmavarta. Manu's city of Barhishmati was situated south of Brahmavarta and southwest of Kurukshetra. The boundary of Brahmarshi-desha was not established at that time, hence the sages considered Manu's city as within Brahmavarta. Actually the city of Manu should be considered as a part of Brahmarshi-desha, as it was situated to the southeast of the Sarasvati River24. It is described that Manu visited many sages' ashramas on both banks of the Sarasvati when returning to his abode from the ashrama of Prajapati Kardama of Bindu-sarovara. Eventually he left the Sarasvati before entering his city of Kusha-kasha. Another consideration regarding Manu is the question of why he became a kshatriya. Brahma's sons were called Prajapatis, and they were all brahmanas. So for what reason did Svayambhuva Manu accept an inferior position? Perhaps when the Aryans established Brahmavarta there was only one caste. But for increasing the population there was a shortage of women. They took a boy and a girl from an unknown caste and, after converting them into Aryans, they married them. They were Svayambhuva Manu and his wife, Shatarupa. Their daughters were married to various sages, and in this way the Aryan dynasty prospered. Considering that it was improper for the Aryans to openly accept a girl from a non-Aryan family, their parents were first converted into Aryans and the father was awarded the post of Svayambhuva Manu. This was the tactic adopted for accepting their daughters in marriage. Therefore the sons born from those daughters were not given equal status with pure Aryans, and they were called kshatrus. Someone who is able to deliver one from kshata, or injury, is called a kshatru. This is the explanation that is found in Mallinatha's commentary on the Raghuvamsa. Although the Aryans accepted Manu and his descendants as members of their community, still, with a desire to keep them separate from the original Aryans that established Brahmavarta, the Aryans remained brahmanas and engaging the members of the kshatriya families for protecting the brahmanas. The demigods used to reside on the northwestern side of Brahmavarta as the protectors from the asuras, who were living in Panca-nada at the time. The rishis used to live on the banks of the Sarasvati. Manu and his descendants resided on the southwestern side of the Sarasvati, in a place called Dakshinatya. They protected the brahmanas from the uncivilized castes. The earthly kings were under the control of the heavenly kings. The demigod Indra was the emperor over all. The place where the demigods resided was called Tripishtapa, or the place where there are three hillocks. On the northern side of the peak of those hillocks is the palace of Indra. That palace is protected on each of its eight sides by Dikpalas. I will not explain the modern opinion on this out of fear of increasing the size of this book. But I cannot refrain from mentioning one more thing in this regard. The sons of Kashyapa, who is the fourth generation from Brahma, founded the kingdom of the demigods. From Brahma to Kashyapa there were two kingdoms—Manu and Prajapati. The kingdom of the demigods was founded later. When the demigods' kingdom became powerful, then the fighting between the demigods and the demons began. As the demigods' kingdom became weaker, Manu's kingdom became more powerful. The duration of Svayambhuva Manu's rule was not very long. As the kingdom of Vaivasvata Manu became powerful, the kingdom of Svayambhuva Manu gradually diminished. Vaivasvata Manu was the son of Surya. But the writers of the scriptures have different opinions about the name of his mother. Perhaps he was an adopted son, or perhaps he was born of a non-Aryan. That is why he could not be accepted as a brahmana, like his brothers, rather he was accepted as a kshatriya, like Svayambhuva Manu. There is no need to further discuss the modern opinion in this regard. In due course of time, when he saw the demigods' weakness, King Vena tried his best to disperse them25. Then the brahmanas, who were the leaders of the demigods, killed him. After massaging his hands, they found a great personality named Prithu and a woman named Arci on either side of his body, and they handed the kingdom over to Prithu for ruling. During Prithu's reign, villages were founded, farming was introduced, gardens were planted, and many other material facilities were provided26.
If we accept the modern opinion regarding the Ganges, then it may be said that King Bhagiratha of the Surya dynasty performed a great job of spreading the glories of the Ganges up to the ocean, thus extending the area of Aryavarta. At that time Aryavarta extended only as far as Mithila, and the dynasty of Manu was almost extinct. The kingdoms of the Surya and Rudra dynasties were both very powerful at the time, and they had such an alliance that no general work could go on anywhere in India without their consent. When King Sagara's sons were cursed to die near the ocean, it created a bad name for the Surya dynasty. In order to counteract that bad name, King Bhagiratha worshiped Brahma, the leader of the demigods, and Shiva, the King of the Rudra kingdom, and thus received permission to make Aryavarta prosperous. Bhagiratha then connected the Ganges with the ocean. In the beginning, the Sarasvati was the only sacred river. Gradually when the areas around the Yamuna were populated by the Aryans, the glories of the Yamuna also spread. Then during the time of Bhagiratha, the Ganges became celebrated as the topmost of all sacred rivers.
Some time after this incident there was a great quarrel between the brahmanas and the kshatriyas. During this time the Aryans and the kshatriyas saw that the demigods' kingdom had become weak and they began to neglect them; they even killed many of the prominent rishis. When the brahmanas were unable to tolerate these incidents, they appointed Parashurama as their commander-in-chief and began to retaliate. Kartaviryarjuna of the Haihaya dynasty accumulated many kshatriyas and entered the war against the brahmanas. Kartavirya was killed by Parashurama's unbearable axe. Kartaviryarjuna had ruled the city of Mahishmati, on the bank of the Narmada River. He was so powerful that the non-Aryans from the Dakshinatya had always remained fearful of him. King Ravana of Lanka did not dare to come to Aryavarta out of fear of Kartaviryarjuna. The brahmanas, however, were not satisfied by killing Kartavirya. They gradually began to fight with the kings of the Surya and Candra dynasties. It is said that Parashurama rid the whole world of all kshatriyas twenty-one times and then gave the world to Kashyapa to rule. The purport is that the demigods' kingdom of Brahmavarta fell into the hands of the brahmanas of the Kashyapa dynasty. When the Kashyapa dynasty had nearly collapsed and many kings were ruling, Parashurama reestablished the Kashyapa dynastys' rule. Learned scholars of that time, however, considered that the brahmanas were no longer capable of ruling the kingdom, so the kshatriyas should rule. Prominent brahmanas and kshatriya kings had various meetings, out of which the Manu scriptures were brought into being. Later we will discuss whether those Manu scriptures are still current or not. Brahmavarta, or the kingdom of the demigods, was no longer respected by the local people. The demigods were respected only during sacrifices. That also was simply in the form of names and mantras. The actual brahmana communities became highly respected. In this way, although the brahmanas and kshatriyas had an alliance between themselves, Parashurama again fought with the kshatriyas out of greed to capture the kingdom. In the Ramayana it is stated that Parashurama went to fight Ramacandra, but he was defeated and exiled to Mahendra Mountain, near Kanya-kumari. The brahmanas assisted Ramacandra in achieving this, and thus Parashurama became particularly envious of the brahmanas and created a few kinds of brahmanas in the South. Many brahmanas from the South admit that they were turned into brahmanas by Parashurama. Those brahmanas who lived with Parashurama in the province of Malabara preached the Aryan scriptures throughout Dakshinatya. That is how the astrology of Kerala and other sciences were introduced. The descendants of those brahmanas are still current today; they are known as Sarasvata brahmanas.
Immediately after this incident, the battle between Ravana and Rama took place. Ravana, the King of Lanka, was very powerful at the time. One rishi from the dynasty of Pulastya left Brahmavarta and resided on the island of Lanka for some time. The dynasty of Ravana began after that rishi married a daughter from the dynasty of Raksha. We can therefore say that Ravana was half Raksha and half Aryan. Due to his prowess, King Ravana gradually captured many of the southern provinces of India. Finally his kingdom extended up to the banks of the Godavari River, where he appointed two commanders—Khara and Dushana—to guard the border. When Rama and Lakshmana built a cottage on the banks of the Godavari, Ravana thought that the descendants of the Surya dynasty were building a fort near his border in order to attack his kingdom. Considering this, King Ravana took the help of Marica, the son of Taraka, who was a resident of Bakasara, and kidnapped Sita. Ramacandra took the help of people from Dakshinatya and Kiskinda in order to locate Sita. Valmiki was an Aryan poet who had a natural tendency to tease the people of Dakshinatya. That is why he described the great heroes and friends of Rama in a comical way. He described some of them as monkeys, some as bears, and some as Rakshasas. He even described them as having tails and being covered with hair. Anyway, during the time of Ramacandra, the seed of friendship was sown between the Aryans and the people of Dakshinatya. There is no doubt about this. The seed later became a large tree, which produced excellent fruits. Otherwise, the people of Karnata, Dravida, Maharashtra, and Mysore would not have become known as Hindus. Ramacandra took the help of the people of those countries to conquer Lanka and rescue Sita.
Modern scholars have also concluded that the battle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas took place 775 years after the victory of Ramacandra over Lanka. There were no major incidents during this period except the gradual expansion of the Aryan kingdom. The Aryan kshatriyas lived in the province of Vidarbha, or Nagpur, which gradually became known as Maharashtra. During that time the descendants of Yadu extended their kingdom from Sauvira of Sindhu to Mahishmati Chedi of Narmada to Mathura of Yamuna. During the same period the descendants of the Surya dynasty became extremely weak. King Maru of the Surya dynasty and King Devapi of the Candra dynasty both left their kingdoms and went to the village of Kalapa (nearby Badarikashrama). Industry advanced, the position of cities and villages gradually improved, the language of the Aryans was refined, many sacred places were established in non-Aryan provinces, and Hastinapura was founded by King Hasti on the bank of the Ganges27. With the permission of the demigods, King Kuru established the sacred place named Kurukshetra in the country of Brahmarshi.
The battle between the Kurus and the Pandavas was a major incident because many different kings of India gathered there, and after a fierce battle they attained heaven. All the incidents of this battle are daily topics amongst Indians, so there is no need for any special mention of those incidents herein. It can only be said that Jarasandha, the King of Magadha, was killed by Bhima a short time before the battle. The kingdom of Magadha was gradually and powerfully increasing. Jarasandha even tried to curtail the prestige of Hastinapura in order to increase the prestige of Magadha. Although many kings in the family line from Parikshit ruled a kingdom in the vicinity of the Ganges and Yamuna, still, their kingdom was under the jurisdiction of the King of Magadha. This is understood because only the names of the subsequent kings of Magadha are prominent in the Puranas.
Now we will have to decide when the battle of Kurukshetra took place. Maharaja Parikshit was born just after the battle. From the birth of Parikshit up to the coronation of Nandivardhana (the fifth of the Pradyotana kings) was 1,115 years28. Conningham Sahib and others say that the word nandabhisheka in the previous footnote verse from the Shrimad Bhagavatam refers to the first of the nine Nandas. But although the respected Shridhara Svami also accepts this, he says the number is irrelevant. Therefore we fearlessly accept this Nanda as Nandivardhana. Moreover, in the Ninth Canto of the Shrimad Bhagavatam it is stated that 20 kings from the dynasty of Brihadratha, beginning from Marjari up to Ripunjaya, would rule for 1,000 years29. The names of those 20 kings are also given in the Twelfth Canto of the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Then, after five Pradyotana kings rule for 138 years and ten Shishunaga kings rule for 360 years, the nine Nandas will rule for 100 years. So if we refer to the first of the nine Nandas, it will be about 1,500 years; but if we deduct the 23 years of Nandivardhana's rule, then we have the correct figure of 1,115 years. Again30, in the Shrimad Bhagavatam it is stated that during the reign of King Parikshit the constellation of the seven rishis took shelter in the nakshatra called Magha. When this constellation of the seven rishis crosses the nakshatras beginning with Magha through Jyaistha, then the age of Kali will be 1,200 years old. If that constellation remains 1,200 years in nine nakshatras, then the duration in each nakshatra is 133 years 4 months. When the constellation of the seven sages goes to the Purvashadha-nakshatra, another Nanda will become king; then the constellation of the seven sages must have traveled through the eleven nakshatras an additional 14 years. If we add 360 years—the duration of the ten Shishunaga kings' rule—to the 1,138 years up to the end of Nandivardhana's rule, then the total comes to 1,498 years. Since the duration of the kings' rule is equal to the duration of the movement of the seven rishis' constellation, this further confirms the previous statements. On hearing the statement that the rishis will remain in the Magha-nakshatra for 100 years, many people may think that the rishis stay in each nakshatra for 100 years. But the seven rishis were to stay in the Magha-nakshatra for 100 years from the time that Shukadeva was speaking to Parikshit. If we accept that before Shukadeva spoke to Parikshit the rishis had already stayed in the Magha-nakshatra for 33 years 4 months, then there is no longer any doubt. Therefore it is correct to say that up to the coronation of Nandivardhana was 1,115 years. After his rule, during the reign of the other Nandas, Kali became extremely prominent. This is also confirmed by practical observation. After the fifth generation, Ajatashatru became the king. During his reign, Shakyasimha preached Buddhism, in the form of knowledge of self-realization devoid of a conception of the Infallible [God]31. The Nandas were like cowherd men and were envious of eternal religious principles. Ashokavardhana even widely propagated Buddhism. Gradually various castes like Shundhas ruled the kingdom and created many obstacles in the path of religion. The total duration to the end of the nine Nandas' rule was 1,598 years. Canakya Pandita killed the last of the Nandas and gave the kingdom to the kings of the Maurya dynasty. According to some opinions, King Dasharatha, and according to others, Candragupta was the first king of the Maurya dynasty. During the time of Candragupta, people from Greece visited India first with Alexandra and later with Seleucus. According to the opinions of Greek literature, the great dynasties from Simhala, and the Buddhist history of Brahma-desha, Candragupta took the throne 215 years before Christ. From this calculation it may be understood that the battle of Kurukshetra took place 3,791 years ago from today. Dr. Bentley Sahib calculated the position of the stars mentioned in the Mahabharata and decided that the battle of Kurukshetra took place 1,824 years before Christ. When we compare his calculation with mine there is a difference of 89 years. So either Bentley Sahib made a mistake or the 1,000 years duration of the Barhadrathas' rule was an approximation that we have to deduct 89 years from. The future swanlike scholars can determine the correct figures after further research.
The Mauryas ruled their kingdom for ten generations. It is said in the Shrimad Bhagavatam that the total duration of their rule was 137 years. Ashokavardhana was the most powerful of the Mauryas. He was Aryan at first, but later he became a Buddhist. He then established many Buddhist pillars throughout India. During his reign, eight Yavana kings such as Diodotos, Demetrios, and Eucratides captured a portion of India on the western side of the Sindhu River. It has not been established in which dynasty the Maurya kings were born32. They were perhaps born in the dynasty of the Mayuras, who resided near the Rohita Mountain on the western bank of the Vitasta River. Actually they did belong to any of the four standard castes. From the way they maintained their relationship with the Yavanas it appears they were from an insignificant class of the Shaka caste. It is also understood that before the Yavanas' arrival, the Mauryas established their kingdom at either Mayurapura or Haridvara and called themselves Aryans. The name Maurya came from the name Mayurapura. Just prior to the Mauryas' rule, the nine Nandas lived on the western side of the Sindhu River, at the place known as Avabritya, or Arabaita. Perhaps the Nandas resembled cowherd men, because in the Shrimad Bhagavatam they are called Vrishala. Also, the seven subordinate kings were described as Abhiras, or cowherds.
As far as the kingdom of Magadha is concerned, the Shundha dynasties captured the throne just after the Mauryas' rule. They then ruled the kingdom for 112 years. Among them, first Pushpamitra, and then Agnimitra extended their kingdom from Magadha up to Panca-nada. In order to tactfully make friendship with the Aryans, they then started harassing the Buddhists in the city of Shakala, of the Madra province. They announced that whoever brings the head of a Buddhist sannyasi would be rewarded with a hundred coins. After them the kings of the Kanva dynasty ruled Magadha. There were four kings of the Kanva dynasty who ruled Magadha for a total of 45 years. The duration of their rule is described in the Shrimad Bhagavatam as lasting 345 years, but in the Vishnu Purana it is said that Vasudeva ruled for 9 years, Bhumimitra ruled for 14 years, Narayana ruled for 12 years, and Susharma ruled for 10 years. From this it appears that the statement in the Shrimad Bhagavatam may be incorrect. Unfortunately, Shridhara Svami also accepted this incorrect statement. Anyway, at this point let us accept that the opinion of the author of the Bhagavatam is 45 years. After the Kanva dynasty, the dynasty of Andhra ruled Magadha for 456 years. The last king of this dynasty was Salomadhi. The rule of the Andhra dynasty ended in 435 A.D.
Among these non-Aryan kings, no one could be accepted as the emperor. Only the kingdom of Ashokavardhana was particularly large. There is no doubt that the Shundhas and Kanvas were like plunderers of the Sidhia province. The various types of coins that have been found buried in places like Kabul, Punjab, and Hindusthan are marked with the signs of the Greek Yavanas and various castes from the Sidhia province. Coins marked with the names of Havishka, Kanishka, and Vasudeva have been found in the province of Mathura. From this it is believed that those people ruled Mathura for some time. From the time of these kings [Havishka, Kanishka, and Vasudeva] the calendar known as Samvat was introduced. After King Vikramaditya defeated the Shakas by his prowess he became known as Shakari, or enemy of the Shakas, and it is sometimes said that he introduced the Samvat calendar. This statement, however, is difficult to believe, because the writers of the Puranas mentioned the names of the kings who ruled the first five hundred years of the Samvat calendar but did not include Vikramaditya's name. If Vikramaditya, the King of Ujjain, had actually ruled at that time, the writers of the Puranas would have certainly glorified him. It is therefore understood that many kings ruled under the name Vikramaditya. The Vikramaditya who ruled Ujjain became king in the year 592 A.D. In the first century after Jesus Christ in the city of Shravasti there was a Vikramaditya who was an enemy of the Buddhists. King Shalibahana was a respectable king from Dakshinatya. The Shakabda calendar, which he introduced, was widely accepted in the South. It is said that in 78 A.D. King Shalibahana harassed the Shakas and established a city named Shalibahanapura in the Punjab province. Again it is stated that Shalibahana had his capital in a place known as Pathana on the bank of the Narmada. Therefore the actual life history of these two kings [Shalibahana and Vikramaditya] is still unclear.
Nimicakra came in the sixth generation after King Parikshit. He left Hastinapura and resided at Kushambi, or Kaushikipuri. The Pandu dynasty continued up to King Kshemaka, who comes in the twenty-second generation from Nimicakra.
The Surya dynasty ended with King Dolangula Sumitra, who appeared in the twenty-eighth generation after King Brihadbala. Therefore after the reign of Nandivardhana both the Candra and Surya dynasties ended. Kings like the nine Nandas, who became prominent afterwards, were all outcastes. The kings of the Tailanga province of Andhra thereafter conquered and ruled Magadha. It seems that they were from the Chola dynasty, because when the kings of Andhra ruled Magadha the Chola kings were ruling the city of Varangala in Andhra. It is very difficult to confirm whether or not the Chola kings were Aryans, but due to their behavior and absence of any relationship with the Surya and Candra dynasties it is assumed that they were outcastes. The Chola kings were originally from the city of Kancinagara of the Dravida province. They gradually expanded their kingdom up to the banks of the Ganges. When Parashurama lived in the South, he established new brahmana and kshatriya communities, including the Cholas. Anyway, the kings of the Andhra dynasty are mentioned in the Puranas.
In the 772 years from 435 A.D. up to 1206 A.D., when the Mohammedan rule began, no emperor ruled the whole of India. During this time many small kings ruled different provinces of India. Many Aryan and mixed caste people became very powerful in Kanyakubja, Kashmir, Gujarat, Kalinjara, and Gauda. The Rajputs of Kanyakubja and Palas from Gauda-desha became equally powerful. The kings from the Pala dynasty ruled their kingdom and accepted the title of Cakravarti. During this time King Vikramaditya of Ujjain studied many sciences. Harshavardhana and Vishaladeva were also equally strong. I am not writing the history of those dynasties, as this book would then become too voluminous. So I stop here. In brief, the Rajput kings who eventually succeeded the kings of the Surya and Candra dynasties were more or less modern. The writers of the Puranas did not glorify them very much33.
The Mohammedans ruled over India from 1206 A.D. to 1757 A.D., when they were driven away by the Englishmen. During the Mohammedan rule India fell into inauspiciousness. Temples were destroyed, the Aryan blood was polluted in various ways, the standard of varnashrama-dharma was diminished, and the discussion of ancient Aryan history was almost stopped.
At present, under the rule of the English, the Aryans are living more peacefully and prosperously. Vedic history and the glories of the Aryans are again being discussed. There is no longer fear of temples being destroyed. In brief, we have been delivered from a great calamity.
The modern scholars have discussed whatever incidents I have mentioned so far and divided the history of India into eight periods, as illustrated in the following chart.
dynasty's name Meaning of the name Duration of rule in years Beginning
1 Prajapatis Rule of sages 50 4463 B.C.
2 Manus Rule of Svayambhuva Manu and descendants 50 4413
3 Demigods Rule of Indra and others 100 4363
4 Vaivasvata Rule of Vaivasvata and descendants 3465 4263
5 Outcastes Rule of the Abhiras, Shakas, Yavanas, Khasas, and Andhras 1233 798 B.C.
6 Bratya Rule of the new Aryan castes 771 435A.D.
7 Mohammedans Rule of the Patans and Moghuls 55 1206 A.D.
8 British Rule of the British34 121 1757
I have given only a hint about the rule of India according to modern calculation. Now I will present the modern opinion regarding the scriptures written by the Aryans. During the rule of the Prajapatis there were no scriptures written. There were only a few pleasing words. In the beginning there was only pranava; written script was not yet introduced. There was only one syllable with anusvara added to it (om). When the Manus' rule began, other syllables, such as tat sat, appeared. During the rule of the demigods, ancient mantras were composed by joining small words together. The performance of sacrifices began at this time. Gradually ancient poetic meters like Gayatri appeared. Cakshusha Manu appeared in the eighth generation from Svayambhuva Manu. It is said that Lord Matsya appeared during his reign and delivered the Vedas. Perhaps during this time many poetic meters and verses of the Vedas were composed, but all these were only in sound vibration, not written. They were passed on by hearing. After the Veda had remained in this unwritten state for a long time and the number of verses gradually increased, it became difficult to grasp. At that time the sages, headed by Katyayana and Ashvalayana, made memorizing the sutras of the one Veda easier by composing them after careful consideration. Still, many other mantras were composed after this. When the one Veda became greatly expanded, then Vyasadeva, after duly considering the subjects, divided the Veda into four and wrote them in book form35. This took place a few years before King Yudhishthira's reign. Then Vyasadeva's disciples divided those words among themselves36. Those rishis, who were disciples of Vyasadeva, then divided the four Vedas into different branches so that people could easily study them37. It should be now understood that the Rig, Sama, and Yajur Vedas are the most widely respected and quoted38. It seems that all the ancient verses were compiled in these three Vedas. But we cannot neglect the Atharva Veda due to considering it modern, because in the Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad (4.5.11) the following verse is found: asya mahato bhutasya nishvasitam etad yad rig-vedo yajur-vedah sama-vedo 'tharvangirasa itihasah puranam vidya upanishadah shlokah sutranyanuvyakhyananyasyai vaitani sarvani nishvasitani—“The Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda, the Itihasas, or histories, the Puranas, the Upanishads, the shlokas, or mantras chanted by the brahmanas, the sutras, or accumulations of Vedic statements, as well as vidya, transcendental knowledge, and the explanations of the sutras and mantras are all emanations from the breathing of the great Personality of Godhead.” The Brihad-aranyaka cannot be considered modern because it was composed before the writings of Vyasadeva.
In the above-mentioned verse there is a description of the histories and Puranas, which are both Vedic literatures that contain ancient topics similar to those found in the Vedas. Whatever arguments Jaimini Rishi presented in order to establish the Vedas as eternal are all for the benefit of the neophytes. Swanlike personalities should accept the purport of swanlike Jaimini's teachings. The purport of his teachings is as follows: All truths discovered are related to the Supreme Lord, therefore they are eternal. Those who describe the Vedic truths as temporary by citing the examples kikata, naicasaka, and pramangada are not aspiring to understand the truth. This is Jaimini's conclusion.
Now I will establish the dating of the smriti shastras according to the opinion of modern scholars. Manu-samhita is the first and foremost of all smritis. There is no evidence that the Manu-samhita was written during the time of Manu. When Manu became a prominent ruler, the Prajapatis had him establish and live in a city named Barhishmati, just outside Brahmavarta, so that his sons would remain a separate class. From that time on the Prajapatis called themselves brahmanas and accepted the Manus as kshatriyas. In this way castes other than brahmanas were introduced. Manu also gave due respect to the brahmanas and arranged for the different occupational duties of the different castes with the help of rishis such as Brighu. The rishis approved Manu's arrangement. At the time, however, the various occupational duties were not written down. Later, when the brahmanas and kshatriyas fought, Parashurama appointed someone from the Bhrigu dynasty who knew those arrangements to write everything down in the form of verses. The duties suitable for vaishyas and shudras were also included. About 600 years after the battle of Kurukshetra the present Manu scriptures were written down with the assistance of another Parashurama, whose position was similar to the original Parashurama. That more recent Parashurama had appeared in the dynasty of the Aryans and lived in a southern province. There is a calendar that was begun from the time of his birth still current in that province. This calendar began 1176 B.C. Based on this calendar, Respected Prasanna Kumar Thakura wrote in the introduction of his book, Vivada-cintamani, that the scriptures of the Manus were first written at that time. This is wrong, however, for we find references to the Manu scriptures in the Chandogya shruti39. The original Parashurama was a contemporary of Ramacandra. There is no doubt that during his time brahmanas and kshatriyas entered into an alliance after establishing the system of varnashrama. But in the scriptures of the Manus it is stated that the two oceans were the borders of Aryavarta, and there are references to a few castes, such as Cina, who existed halfway through the Manus' reign. Therefore it is to be concluded that these literatures were expanded at a later date. The conclusion is that the writing of the Manu scriptures was begun from the time of Manu and continued up to 1176 B.C. Other religious scriptures were written in various other countries before or after this period.
Although the Ramayana is counted as poetry, it can also be called a history. It was written by Valmiki Rishi, who was a contemporary of Ramacandra. We don't feel that the current Ramayana was written by Valmiki alone. By considering the conversation between Narada and Valmiki and the recitation of the Ramayana in Ramacandra's assembly by Luva and Kusha, it is understood that Valmiki composed many of the verses glorifying the characteristics of Ramacandra in the Ramayana, but after some time one scholar elaborated on Valmiki's work. I think that the present day Ramayana was propagated after the composition of the Mahabharata, because while chastising Jabali, Ramacandra accused him of being polluted by the Shakya philosophy40. It is felt that the present day Ramayana was written around 500 B.C. It is said that the Mahabharata was composed by Vyasadeva, and there is no objection to this. But it cannot be accepted that the Vyasa who divided the Vedas and received the title Vedavyasa at the time of Yudhishthira was the same Vyasa. The reason for this is that in the Mahabharata there are descriptions of kings such as Janmejaya, who ruled after Yudhishthira. There are specific references about the Manu scriptures in the Mahabharata, therefore the present day Mahabharata must have been written some time after 1000 B.C41. From this it appears that Vedavyasa first made a draft of the Mahabharata, and later on another Vyasa elaborated on it and presented that under the name of Mahabharata. One learned scholar from the shudra community named Lomaharshana recited Mahabharata before the sages at Naimisharanya. Perhaps he created the present day Mahabharata, because during his time the original 2,400 verses that were written by Vyasadeva were expanded to 100,000 verses. Now we have to consider when Lomaharshana lived. It is stated that he was killed by Baladeva. From this incident it is to be understood that if one becomes a learned devotee, he should be respected as a brahmana even if he is a shudra. The Vaishnava community of that time created this incident in order to confirm this statement. Actually that assembly gathered long after the time of Baladeva. The Lomaharshana who is said to be Vyasadeva's disciple may not have even been the speaker of that assembly. Maybe Lomaharshana, the disciple of Vyasadeva, was killed while speaking on Vedic history during the time of Baladeva. Much later, even after the conversation between Janmejaya and Vaishampayana, a person named Sauti recited Mahabharata. The previous incident was then connected to that recitation in the course of time. Since there is no special mention of Buddha in the Mahabharata it is understood that Mahabharata was recited by Sauti42 before the reign of Ajatashatru and after the reign of Brihadratha's descendants. If we study the descriptions of Naimisharanya, then we come to know that when the peaceful rishis saw the end of the Candra and Surya dynasties, they felt unprotected due to the absence of kshatriyas. Therefore they went to the secluded Naimisharanya and passed their lives discussing the scriptures. There is one more belief about the assembly of Naimisharanya. For some time after the battle of Kurukshetra and before the coronation of King Nandivardhana the Vaishnava religion was very prominent. The main conclusion of the Vaishnavas is that every living entity has a right to cultivate spiritual life. But according to the opinion of the brahmanas, persons of castes other than brahmana are ineligible for liberation. Sober persons of other castes may be born again as brahmanas to endeavor for liberation. Because of these two conflicting opinions, the Vaishnavas highly regarded the scholars of Suta Gosvami's line and thus established them at Naimisharanya as superior to the brahmanas. Some of the brahmanas there who were less qualified and controlled by wealth also accepted the scholars of Suta's line as superior. Those less qualified brahmanas defied the doctrines of karma-kanda and accepted Suta as their spiritual master. They took shelter of Vaishnava religious principles, which are the only means of crossing the influence of Kali, the abode of sin43. Anyway, that assembly gathered long after the battle of Kurukshetra. There is no doubt about this.
The Darshana-shastras, philosophical scriptures, were compiled a short time after the compilation of the Mahabharata. There are six prominent philosophical systems current in India—Nyaya, or logic; Sankhya; Patanjala, or yoga; Kanada, or Vaisheshika; Purva-mimamsa, or Karma-mimamsa; and Uttara-mimamsa, or Vedanta. All these philosophical systems were introduced after Buddhism. The rishis who propounded these systems first composed these philosophies in sutras. The Vedic sutras were compiled to facilitate easy remembrance, but this was not the case with the sutras of these philosophical systems. When the brahmanas were attacked by the mighty Buddhist philosophy, they first compiled the Upanishads, which are the pinnacle of Vedic literature, and thus strengthened their doctrine with logic and argument. The Buddhists gradually presented many philosophical systems such as Saugata, Madhyamika, and Yogacara. Soon afterwards they entered into intense debate with the brahmanas. The brahmanas then introduced their six philosophical systems, beginning with Nyaya and Sankhya, keeping them in the form of sutras and passing them on only to their disciples. During the time of Ramacandra some Vedic logic in the form of Anvikshiki was composed by Gautama Rishi and was current at that time. According to their needs, the brahmanas composed the present system of Nyaya under Gautama's name and substituted it for the previous system. In Gautama's sutras there is a tendency to counter the Saugata philosophy44. The scriptures of Kanada come under the category of Nyaya scriptures. In the system of Sankhya there are also many statements against Buddhism. The system of Patanjala falls under the category of Sankhya. The Purva-mimamsa propounded by Jaimini supports the karma-kanda system that was rejected by the Buddhists. Although Vedanta scriptures are the most recent, they have been accepted as another form of Anvikshiki, since they are based on the Upanishads. Therefore all philosophical scriptures were written in the 800 years between 400 B.C. to 400 A.D.
The Puranas were compiled after the Darshana-shastras, or philosophical scriptures. The Puranas that are mentioned in the Mahabharata and Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad are composed of Vedic stories. There are eighteen in all. The Markendeya Purana is the oldest, because there is no mention of future kings in it. The Markendeya Purana contains explanations of the Dharma-shastras, glorifications of the sun-god and goddess Durga, and elimination of doubts regarding the Mahabharata. The story of King Suratha of the Caitra dynasty is also given. From this it is understood that the Markendeya Purana may have been written after the kings of the Citranaga dynasty of Chotanagapura were defeated by the Kolas [Cholas]. This is confirmed by the word kolavidvamsinah. At that time the brahmanas and kshatriyas created by Parashurama were very prominent in India. Therefore it has been concluded that this Purana was written after 500 A.D. Among the other Puranas, the Vishnu Purana is the most respected. It was compiled just after the Markendeya Purana. There is no doubt that the Vishnu Purana was composed by a South Indian scholar because it is stated therein that people should begin their meal with tasty preparations and finish with bitter preparations. This practice is current in South India. The author of the Vishnu Purana has mentioned in his book the particular system of eating found in his own province. The Aryans, however, ate sweets at the end of their meal. The Vishnu Purana was written about 600 A.D. Other Puranas like the Padma and Skanda Puranas were written around 800 A.D., because those Puranas contain discussions of modern philosophies45. These Puranas were written after Shankaracarya preached his philosophy of advaita-vada, or monism. In his commentary, he quotes verses from the Vishnu Purana, so it is believed that Vishnu Purana was written before his time.
Now we will consider the modern scholars view on the date of the appearance of Shrimad Bhagavatam, the jewel of all scriptures. Not understanding our statements, third-grade people may lose all faith and consider this scripture a recent work. Therefore they should not read this section. Actually Shrimad Bhagavatam is not a recent book. It is eternal and ancient like the Vedas. Respected Shridhara Svami has confirmed the eternality of the Bhagavatam by using the words tarankurah sajjanih. Shrimad Bhagavatam has been accepted as the supreme fruit of the Vedic desire tree46. From pranava (om) came Gayatri, from Gayatri came the Vedas, from the Vedas came the Brahma-sutras, and from the Brahma-sutras came Shrimad Bhagavatam. This Paramahamsa-samhita consists of inconceivable topics in relation with the Supreme Truth that have brightly risen in the form of a sat-cid-ananda sun after being reflected through the samadhi of the author. Those who have eyes should see, those who have ears should hear, and those who have a mind should meditate on the topics of Shrimad Bhagavatam. People who are infected by the blindness of partiality are deprived of the sweet taste of Shrimad Bhagavatam. Let the supremely conscious Lord be merciful by destroying their blindness.
Shrimad Bhagavatam has no birth because it is eternal, without beginning or end. Nevertheless it is extremely desirable to ascertain when, where, and by whom this literature was manifested according to modern opinion. Modern scholars have concluded that Vyasadeva wrote Shrimad Bhagavatam on the bank of the Sarasvati River under the instructions of Narada Muni, the knower of the truth. Being dissatisfied after writing the scriptures, Vyasadeva presented the Shrimad Bhagavatam after visualizing the Absolute Truth through samadhi. He presented Shrimad Bhagavatam for the benefit of third-class people, who are unable to understand the deep meaning of a subject. Those great personalities who wrote the scriptures were all known as Vyasas, and they were all respected by people in general. In this regard, the title Vyasa indicates all Vyasas, beginning from Vedavyasa up to the Vyasa who wrote Shrimad Bhagavatam. When he was unable to ascertain the Absolute Truth after studying all the scriptures, then Vyasadeva, who is expert in the spiritual science, withdrew his mind and speech from those literatures, realized the Truth through samadhi, and then wrote the Shrimad Bhagavatam. The modern scholars also say that Shrimad Bhagavatam appeared in Dravida-desha (South India) about 1,000 years ago. The living entity has a natural inclination for being attached to his native place. Therefore even great personalities have this inclination to some extent. Due to the glorification found in the Shrimad Bhagavatam of Dravida-desha, which is not very ancient, it appears that Vyasadeva was a native of that place47. If the glories of Dravida-desha were mentioned in other scriptures, then we would have no right to give this conclusion. Our conclusion is further confirmed by the mention of a very recent holy place in the Shrimad Bhagavatam48. It is stated in the Venkata-mahatmya, which is popular in the South, that Venkata-tirtha was established when Lakshmidevi went to Kolapura from Chola. Kolapura is situated to the south of Satara. The Chalukya kings defeated the Cholas in the eight century and established a large kingdom in that province. Therefore Lakshmi went to Kolapura and Venkata was established at that time. For this reason, they do not hesitate to accept that Shrimad Bhagavatam was written in the ninth century. Shathakopa, Yamunacarya, and Ramanujacarya vigorously preached Vaishnavism in the tenth century. They were also from Dravida-desha. They all highly respected Shrimad Bhagavatam, so we cannot accept that Shrimad Bhagavatam was written after the ninth century. Furthermore, when Shridhara Svami wrote his commentary on the Shrimad Bhagavatam in the eleventh century, there were already a few commentaries like Hanumad-bhashya available. So there is no need to further consider this matter. I have not found a means of determining the family name of the author of Shrimad Bhagavatam. Whoever he may be, we are grateful, and with awe and reverence we accept that great personality, Vyasadeva, as the spiritual master of the swanlike people.49
So far I have described the modern opinion on the dating of the scriptures that we are concerned with. There is no need to analyze all the scriptures of the Aryans. There were many other ancient scriptures studied by the Aryans. After considering the views of Playfair Sahib, Mahatma Archdikan Prat Sahib has decided that astrology was current in Aryavarta 1000 years before the beginning of Kali-yuga. Prior to that the Vedas existed in the form of shruti, or hearing. Wilford Sahib has determined that the Vedic astrologer Parashara Rishi wrote his astrology book in 1391 B.C. According to the opinion of Davis Sahib, this is confirmed in a verse of the Atharva Veda. But the possibility that this verse on astrology in the Atharva Veda was later added on was not considered by Wilford Sahib. According to our opinion, Archdikan Prat's calculation is more acceptable, because the stars named after the seven rishis were originally named after the Prajapatis. Since there was no written language at that time, astrology was expressed through various signs. In this way, medicine, in the form of ayurveda, was practiced since very ancient times. If we consider all these things, this book will become voluminous, so we stop here. We have described the various books that directly and indirectly explain the spiritual science in the following chart.
Name of scripture Time period when preached
1 Pranava [om]. Hearing first codes of shrutis During Prajapatis' reign
2 Hearing the complete shruti and Gayatri During Manus' demigods' and part of Vaivasvata's reign
3 Sautra's shrutis In the beginning of Vaivasvata's reign
4 Manu's smritis During the second half of Vaivasvata's reign
5 Histories During the second half of Vaivasvata's reign
6 Philosophical scriptures During the Outcastes' reign
7 Puranas and Satvata Tantras During the reign of the brahmanas and kshatriyas created by Parashurama
8 Tantras During the reign of the Mohammedans
We have thus described the dating of incidents and scriptures as far as possible according to modern opinion. Swanlike people are not interested in quarrel50, therefore if some contrary conclusion is presented with proper argument, we will accept it. We hope to hear further on these conclusions from future transcendentalists or intelligent materialists.
According to our scriptures, the calculation of the dates are not like this. We believe only the statements of the scriptures. I have presented the modern conclusions for the benefit of the concerned people. According to them the beginning of the Aryans' rule in India was 6,341 years ago. We have thus established the incomparably long history of India. No other civilization can compare with it. It is said that Egypt, or Misore, is a very ancient country. It is estimated from the descriptions of Menitho, a historian from Misore, that people started living in that country in 3553 B.C. The name of their first king was Minis. It is calculated that his rule began when Harishcandra was ruling India. The strange thing is this: There was a king named Maniscandra who was a contemporary of Harishcandra. It may be noted how similar the names Maniscandra and Minis are. It is also said that King Minis came to Egypt from some eastern country. The great pyramid was created by the Suphu dynasty. A king named Hiksas from the east attacked Egypt about 2000 B.C., or about two hundred years before the battle of Kurukshetra. A religion similar to varnashrama-dharma was previously practiced in Egypt. From these facts it appears there was some kind of connection between Egypt and India. Let future scholars research more about this. According to the opinion of the Hebrews, their kingdom was created around 4000 B.C., probably from the time of King Shravasta. It is difficult, however, to prove these things nowadays. When the situation of the Hebrews and Misore [Egypt] is such, there is no need to mention other races. Descriptions of incidents prior to the time of King Minis of Egypt are uncommon. The 1,000 year life history of Adam of the Hebrews has become the subject of discussion for the third-grade people of that country. Modern scholars of India compare his life-span with the seventy-one maha-yuga life-span of a Manu or the 1,000 year life-span of Dasharatha. Swanlike people should not think that we are trying to establish India as the oldest country in order to increase its prestigious position. Since swanlike Vaishnavas see all people as equal, they accept whatever truth is substantiated regarding the age of the different races.
The previous history of India and the age of the various scriptures are thus described according to the modern scholars' opinion. Everyone has a right to decide whether or not these should be accepted as facts. The advancement of Vaishnavism does not depend on this type of conclusion. We know that Vaishnavism, the Vedas, and devotional scriptures such as the Shrimad Bhagavatam are eternal. Now I will try to discuss the development and advancement of spiritual knowledge from the time of its appearance up to the present. The constitution duty of the living entity is to inquire into the Absolute Truth. We have to accept that these eternal duties accompany the creation of the living entities51. In the beginning these eternal duties were self-manifested in the undeveloped state of considering the Lord and the living entity as one. At that time specific differences between the Lord and the living entity had not yet been established and the knot of devotion for the Lord had not yet been tied52. This spiritual perception of oneness between the Lord and the living entity was current for a long time. But the sunlike truth does not like to be covered forever by the cloud of ignorance and illusion. From time to time the rishis have revived the living entities' constitutional duties by introducing various methods like sacrifice, austerity, worship, self-control, peacefulness, tolerance, and charity53. A long time ago people rejected the idea of oneness with the Lord and began to engage in mundane fruitive activities. Falling from one illusion into another appears to be advancement for a person in illusion. But within a short time this illusion is dispelled. When the Aryans considered the insignificant and adverse results of fruitive activities, they turned their minds towards liberation54. But that also is simply dry and fruitless. The truth certainly prevails, however, even if it takes time. Later, when the incomparable truth appeared in the hearts of the Aryans, the form of ecstatic love became clear to them55. The swanlike Vaishnavas have ascertained the following subjects regarding the living entities' eternal duties. They may have changed in the course of time.
1. Paramatma—the superconscious sunlike personality, who is eternally full of knowledge and bliss. Jivatma—the minutely conscious rays of the supreme sun.
2. The superconscious Lord is different from the minutely conscious living entities, who are the superior eternal energy of the Lord. The living entities are individual, and they reside in different environments according to their qualification. The material world is an emanation from the superconscious Lord.
3. The material world is a perverted reflection of the spiritual world. The pure bliss of the spiritual world is pervertedly reflected as the happiness and distress of the material world.
4. The living entities have no relationship with the material world. The material world is the residence for only the conditioned souls. By the inconceivable energy of the Lord, the conditioned souls are encaged in material bodies. Some are absorbed in material happiness, and some endeavor for spiritual happiness.
5. The natural tendency for attachment to the Lord is the constitutional duty of a living entity. In conditional life, this constitutional duty is transformed into attachment for material enjoyment. This is a lamentable condition of life.
6. Liberation means being situated in the constitutional position of one's constitutional duties. This is attained through devotional service.
7. According to one's qualification, the cultivation of constitutional duties varies. It may be either direct or indirect.
8. Direct cultivation aims at realizing one's constitutional position; there is no possibility of other results.
9. Indirect cultivation results in irrelevant fruits related with one's material body.
10. Samadhi, or full absorption in the Supreme, is the primary and direct means of cultivation. Activities such as bodily maintenance that are meant to help attain samadhi are called primary indirect cultivation.
11. It is the living entity's eternal duty to cultivate Krishna consciousness following in the mood of the residents of Vraja through samadhi, because this is the most desirable goal.
12. The most glorious activity of a living entity is to engage according to one's qualification in discussions of the conjugal mellows enjoyed by Krishna, the personification of sweetness.
Among these twelve items, the first four concern the living entity's relationship with the Lord. Items five to ten concern the living entity's duties, and the last two concern the supreme goal.
During the reigns of the Prajapatis, Manus, and demigods, the science of one's relationship with the Lord remained in the form of a seed. They only considered that there was a worshipable personality who should be kept happy. This is understood from the pranava and Gayatri mantras. At that time there was some debate between karmis and jnanis over the duties of the living entities. A few personalities like Sanaka and Sanatana completely neglected pravritti-marga, the path of increasing material prosperity, while the Prajapatis, Manus, and demigods like Indra desired to satisfy Hari by advancing in material prosperity through the performance of sacrifices. As a result, the thought of heaven and hell entered their minds. At that time the pure state of the living entities, the search for liberation, and, ultimately, love of God were unknown. In the later part of Vaivasvata Manu's reign, when the smritis and histories were introduced, people began considering the science of self-realization and the goal of life56. But it does not appear that there was any progress made towards the goal of life. During the reign of the Outcastes and the brahmanas and kshatriyas created by Parashurama there was particular advancement made in understanding one's relationship with the Lord, the activities in cultivating that relationship, and the attainment of life's goal, as found in the Puranas and philosophical scriptures57. The complete discussion of these three truths is found in the Shrimad Bhagavatam, and the conclusions are clearly presented. But the Shrimad Bhagavatam is like an ocean, and it is extremely difficult for a madhyama-adhikari to ascertain what part contains which jewels. After considering this, the most merciful disciple of Shathakopa, Shri Ramanujacarya, compiled the essential truths of Vaishnavism for the first time. Some time before that, Shri Shankaracarya wrote a commentary on the Vedanta-sutras and thus extended the cultivation of knowledge so far that Bhaktidevi58 became surprised and full of anxiety. She hid herself within the core of the devotees' hearts. We cannot blame Shankaracarya, for he was a devotee of the Lord and benefactor of all. We therefore offer our obeisances unto him. He had a reason to engage in such work at that particular time. Everyone knows that about 500 B.C. a great soul named Gautama took birth in the family of Shakas in the village of Kapilavastu. He preached the principles of jnana-kanda so vigorously that the religious principles of varnashrama-dharma established by the Aryans were almost destroyed. The Buddhist philosophy that he preached became like a thorn in the side for all the Aryans' ancient practices. With the help of Kanishka, Havishka, and Vasudeva of the Sidia dynasty, Buddhism gradually crossed Punjab and extended to various countries like China, Tatara, and Trivarta, which are situated north of the Himalayas. In the South, King Ashokavardhana vigorously preached Buddhism in Brahma-desha and Shri Lanka. Under the patronage of Ashokavardhana, Buddhism was gradually spread throughout India by the disciples of Sariputra, Modgalayana, Kashyapa, and Ananda. The holy places of the Aryans were converted into holy places for Buddhists. All signs of brahminical culture practically disappeared. In the seventh century, when this disaster was no longer tolerable, the brahmanas became very angry and conspired together to destroy Buddhism. At that time, by providence, the most learned and intelligent Shankaracarya became the commander-in-chief of the brahmanas in Kashi. By discussing his activities, it appears he was an incarnation of Parashurama. There are many differing opinions regarding his birth. His brahmana followers accept him as the son of Mahadeva. Actually his widow mother was from Dravida-desha, but she moved to Kashi out of a desire to live in that holy place. Swanlike persons do not care about faults pertaining to a person's birth, because a person's greatness is judged according to his advancement in Vaishnavism. Narada, Vyasa, Jesus, and Shankara have all become respected throughout the world by the qualities of their work. There is no argument. But I have mentioned Shankaracarya at this time to illustrate a point. That is, from the seventh century, keen and powerful intelligence was found among the people of South India, and nowhere else. From that time on, Shankaracarya, Shathakopa, Yamunacarya, Ramanuja, Vishnusvami, Madhvacarya, and many other great learned scholars appeared as shining stars in the southern sky. Shankaracarya was not satisfied with his brahmana followers, so he introduced ten types of sannyasis, such as Giri, Puri, and Bharati. With the help of these sannyasis' physical and mental strength, Shankaracarya converted the brahmanas who were attached to fruitive activities and prepared himself for vanquishing the Buddhists. Wherever he failed to convert the Buddhists to his philosophy, he engaged Nagas, naked sannyasis, who took the help of weapons such as spears. Ultimately he wrote a commentary on Vedanta, and thus he combined the karma-kanda of the brahmanas with the jnana-kanda of the Buddhists. In this way he united both groups. After that, all the Buddhist temples and deities were converted into Vedic. Out of fear of being beaten, as well as by realizing the insignificance of their religious practices, the Buddhists helplessly accepted the authority of the brahmanas. Those Buddhists who hated being converted took the remnants of their cult and fled to Shri Lanka and Brahma-desha (Burma). The old Buddhists took Lord Buddha's tooth and went to Shri Lanka from Jagannatha Puri. They left Buddha, his teachings, and his association in Jagannatha Puri. Later these three were identified as Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra. In the fifth century a scholar from China named Phahiyan visited Jagannatha Puri and joyfully wrote that Buddhism was present there in a pure state and there was no torture by the brahmanas. After this incident, in the seventh century, another Chinese scholar named Huyensam went to Jagannatha Puri and wrote that the tooth of Lord Buddha had been taken to Shri Lanka and the brahmanas had totally polluted Puri. When we discuss these incidents, the activities of Shankaracarya appear astonishing. Shankaracarya has, to some extent, done a favor to India by evicting Buddhism. He helped stop the gradual deterioration of the ancient Aryan community. In particular, he changed the course of the Aryans' mentality by introducing a new method of thought on their scriptures. He even inspired in them an urge to consider new subjects with their intelligence. The flower of devotion in the devotees' hearts became unsteady as it floated in the current of Shankaracarya's arguments. Based on the strength of Shankaracarya's philosophy, Ramanujacarya, by the mercy of the Lord, wrote a commentary that differed from Shariraka-bhashya. Thus the strength and prosperity of Vaishnavism again increased. Within a short time Vishnusvami, Nimbarka, and Madhvacarya all introduced slight variations of the Vaishnava principles by presenting their own commentaries on Vedanta. But they all followed the footsteps of Shankaracarya. Like Shankaracarya, they all wrote commentaries on the Bhagavad-gita, Vishnu-sahasra-nama, and the Upanishads. At that time a thought arose in the hearts of people, that in order to establish a sampradaya one must have commentaries on the four above-mentioned works. From these four Vaishnavas, the four Vaishnava sampradayas, such as the Shri-sampradaya, have been introduced. Among the previously mentioned twelve truths, the first ten were particularly accepted by the four sampradayas. The last two truths were accepted to some extent by the Madhva, Nimbarka, and Vishnusvami sampradayas.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in Navadvipa in 1486. In the beginning of His life, He remained at home. Later He accepted the renounced order of life and preached knowledge of the last two items. Where is the doubt that the land of Bengal is rarely attained even by the demigods? Who does not know that the son of Shaci, who is supremely worshipable by Vaishnavas, descended in the land of Bengal and distributed matchless wealth to one and all? Fortunately we were born in that country. All Vaishnavas who are born in that land in the future will consider themselves fortunate like us.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, with the help of Nityananda and Advaita, clearly explained the truth regarding one's relationship with the Lord. He clearly explained the truths of the living entities' relationship with the Lord through Rupa, Sanatana, Jiva, Gopala Bhatta, the two Raghunathas, Ramananda Raya, Svarupa Damodara, and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. He consolidated the process of acting in that relationship by establishing the supremacy of performing kirtana. Regarding the ultimate goal of life, He ascertained the simple means of relishing the mellows of Vraja.
If the readers carefully consider, they will find that the spiritual science gradually evolved from ancient times and became more simple, more clear, and more condensed. The more impurities arising from time and place are removed, the more the beauties of spiritual science brightly shine before us. This spiritual science took birth in the land of kusha grass on the banks of the Sarasvati River in Brahmavarta. As it gradually gained strength, this spiritual science spent its childhood in the abode of Badarikashrama, which is covered with snow. It spent its boyhood in Naimisharanya on the banks of the Gomati River and its youth on the beautiful banks of the Kaveri River in the province of Dravida. The spiritual science attained maturity in Navadvipa, on the banks of the Ganges, which purifies the universe.
By studying the history of the world, it is found that the spiritual science reached its peak in Navadvipa. The Supreme Absolute Truth is the only object of love for the living entities. Unless one worships Him with attachment, however, the living entity can never attain Him. Even if a person gives up all affection for this world and thinks of the Supreme Lord, He is still not easily achieved. He is controlled and attained by transcendental mellows alone59. Those mellows are of five types—shanta, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhurya. The first mellow, shanta, is the stage in which the living entity surpasses the pains of material existence and situates himself in transcendence. In that state there is a little happiness, but no feeling of independence. At that time the relationship between the practitioner and the Lord is not yet established. Dasya-rasa is the second mellow. It contains all the ingredients of shanta-rasa as well as affection. “The Lord is my master, and I am His eternal servant.” This type of relationship is found in dasya-rasa. No one will care much for any of the best things of this world unless they are connected with affection. Therefore dasya-rasa is better than shanta-rasa in many ways. Just as dasya is better than shanta, know for certain that sakhya is superior to dasya. In dasya-rasa there is a thorn in the form of awe and reverence, but the main ornament in sakhya-rasa is the feeling of friendship in equality. Among the servants, anyone who is a friend is superior. There is no doubt about it. In sakhya-rasa all the wealth of shanta and dasya is included. Just as sakhya is superior to dasya, similarly vatsalya is superior to sakhya. This is easily understood. Among all the friends, the son is more dear and the source of more happiness. In vatsalya-rasa the wealth of four rasas, beginning with shanta, is found. Although vatsalya-rasa is superior to these other rasas, it appears insignificant before madhurya-rasa. There may be many secrets unknown between father and son, but this is not the case between wife and husband. Therefore if we deeply consider, it will be seen that all the above-mentioned rasas are seen in perfection within madhurya-rasa.
If we go through the histories of these five rasas, it is clearly believed that shanta-rasa was seen in the beginning days of India. When the soul was not satisfied after performing sacrifices with material ingredients, then transcendentalists like Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanat-kumara, Sananda, Narada, and Mahadeva all became detached from the material world, situated in transcendence, and realized shanta-rasa. Much later, dasya-rasa manifested in Hanuman, the leader of the monkeys. That dasya-rasa gradually expanded to the northwest and manifested in a great personality named Moses. Long after Hanuman, the leader of the monkeys, Uddhava and Arjuna became the qualified authorities of sakhya-rasa. They preached about this rasa throughout the world. Gradually that rasa expanded up to the Arabian countries and touched the heart of Mohammed, the knower of religious principles. Vatsalya-rasa manifested throughout India in different forms at different times. Among the different forms, vatsalya mixed with opulence crossed India and appeared in a great personality named Jesus Christ, who was a preacher of Jewish religious principles. Madhurya-rasa first shone brightly in Vraja. It is extremely rare for this rasa to enter the hearts of conditioned souls, because this rasa tends to remain with qualified, pure living entities. Navadvipa-candra, Shri Shaci-kumara, preached this secret rasa along with His followers. This rasa has not crossed beyond India as yet. A short while ago a scholar from England named Newman realized something about this rasa and wrote a book about it. The people of Europe and America have not been satisfied with vatsalya-rasa mixed with opulence, as preached by Jesus Christ. I hope, by the grace of the Lord, in a very short time they will become attached to drinking the intoxicating nectar of madhurya-rasa. It has been seen that any rasa that appears in India eventually spreads to the western countries. Therefore within a short time madhurya-rasa will preached throughout the world. Just as the sun rises first in India and gradually spreads its light to the western countries, the matchless shining of spiritual truth appears first in India and gradually spreads to the western countries.
The past compilers of the scriptures have established the appropriate holy names to deliver one in the different ages after analyzing the peoples' stage of advancement. The holy names to deliver one in Satya-yuga are as follows:
narayana-para veda narayana-paraksharah
narayana-para muktir narayana-para gatih
The purport of this verse is that Lord Narayana is the goal of all science, language, and liberation, and He is the supreme destination. The name of the Absolute Truth mixed with opulence is Narayana. The Supreme Lord is fully realized in the form of Narayana, who is surrounded by His associates in Vaikuntha. Pure shanta-rasa and a little dasya-rasa is found at this stage.
rama narayanananta mukunda madhusudana
krishna keshava kamsare hare vaikuntha vamana
These are the holy names to deliver one in Treta-yuga. The names that are mentioned in this text indicate Narayana's prowess. At this stage full dasya-rasa and a reflection of sakhya-rasa are indicated.
hare murare madhu-kaitabhare gopala govinda mukunda saure
yajnesha narayana krishna vishno virashrayam mam jagadisha raksha
These are the holy names to deliver one in Dvapara-yuga. The names that are mentioned in this verse aim towards Krishna, who is the shelter of unsheltered persons. In this stage there is a prominence of shanta, dasya, sakhya, and vatsalya-rasa s.
hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
These are the topmost sweet names of the Lord. There is no prayer in this mantra. Provocation for all rasas mixed with affection is found in this mantra. There is no mention of the Lord's prowess or giving of liberation. This mantra reveals only that a soul has an indescribable attraction for the Supersoul by the thread of love. These names are the mantra for those who are on the path of madhurya-rasa. Constant deliberation on these names is the best form of worshiping the Lord. All spiritual activities of swanlike people such as worshiping the Deity, following vows, and studying the scriptures are included in these holy names. There is no consideration of time, place, and candidate for chanting this mantra. The chanting of this mantra does not depend on the instructions of a guru or worshiping a Deity for some reward60. It is the duty of swanlike people to take shelter of these names while accepting the previously mentioned twelve truths. Swanlike people of foreign countries, whose language and social position are different, should accept these holy names in their own language by taking a hint from this mantra. This means that in the process of worshiping this mantra there should not be any complex scientific consideration, useless arguments, or any type of direct or indirect prayer. If there is any prayer at all, it should be aimed at advancing one's love for God, then it will be faultless. Swanlike people lead simple lives, completely satisfied and internally remaining surrendered souls61. Those who have divine eyes consider them equipoised yogis, and those who are less-intelligent, or third-grade people, consider them as attached to material enjoyment. Some people may occasionally even consider them averse to the Lord. A swanlike person can identify another swanlike brother who possesses all the appropriate symptoms, whether he is from the same country or not. Although their dress, language, worship, Deity, and behavior may appear different, they should freely address each other as brother. These type of people are called paramahamsas, and Shrimad Bhagavatam is the scripture that is meant for such paramahamsas62.
I cannot end this introduction without discussing one more subject. Due to prejudices, many learned persons accuse the swanlike persons of overly discussing loving affairs and thus being incompetent in family affairs. They say that unless one endeavors to prosper in family life, the Supreme Lord is not satisfied; and because of excessive endeavors for self-realization, affection for family life diminishes. This argument, however, is extremely weak, because if one carefully endeavors to act according to the desire of the Supreme Lord and in the course one's temporary material life is ruined, then what is the harm63? It is a fact that the material world was created in order to fulfill a distant plan of the Supreme Lord, but no one can explain what that plan is. Some people guess that the soul was first born in this gross world in the form of a human being. The Supreme Lord has created this material world with the desire that the living entities would gradually advance by following religious principles. Some people say that this material world will become a happy place, like heaven, through human intelligence. Yet there are others who have decided that at the end of the body they will achieve liberation in the form of nirvana. All these conclusions are as useless as blind people ascertaining the shape of an elephant. Swanlike people do not enter into this type of useless argument, because no one can come to the proper conclusion by human intelligence64. What is the need to search for a conclusion? If we maintain our life simply, while remaining subordinate to the Supreme Lord, then by His mercy everything will easily be revealed to us. Persons who are pierced by the arrows of lust will naturally endeavor for material prosperity. Let them make the material world prosperous, and we will utilize that prosperity. Let them discuss subjects like economics, and let them accumulate wealth, and we, by Krishna's mercy, will use that wealth for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. But in the course of maintaining this material body, if there is any advancement of our material situation, there is no harm. We are completely indifferent to the advancement and deterioration of our material situation. But we are naturally busy for the advancement of the living entities' spiritual life. We are even ready to throw the happiness of our life in the water in order to always benefit our brothers. The primary engagement of Vaishnavas is to deliver their fallen brothers from the well of material existence. The more the Vaishnava family expands, the more the atheists' family diminishes. This is the natural law of the universe. Let the love and devotion of all living entities flow towards the unlimited Supreme Lord. Let Vaishnava principles, which are the source of happiness, gradually spread from one end of the universe to the other. Let the hearts of those who are averse to the Lord melt with love of God. By the mercy of the Lord, the association of devotees, and the influence of devotional service, let the third-grade people become first-grade people and take shelter of pure ecstatic love. Let the exalted madhyama-adhikaris give up their doubts and the cultivation of knowledge and establish themselves in the science of love. Let the whole universe echo with the sound of the congregational chanting of the holy names of Hari.
shri shri krishnarpanam astu
om shanti shanti shanti hari om