Showing posts with label Vikram. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vikram. Show all posts

Origin of Vikram Samvat : Great Vikramaditya

Origin and Vikrama Era or Vikram Samvat at 23rd February, 57 B.C. has been most Controvesial in Indian History. Vikramaditya is said to have initiated this era after defeating sakas. But there is lot of claims on who initiated this era by modern scholars especially from West. Let us study the origins of vikrama samvat

Until 4th century AD. This era was called Krta era. Around 8th century AD. we have Vikramaditya associated with this era.
Some Schoalrs like D C Sircar says it is corruption of the term Kirta, which means purchased.  Altekar says Vikramaditya was the king who founded the era and Krta indicated some kind of leader. Bhandarkar says that the era was actually Krtayuga or Golden Age. He says it was talking about Pushyamitra reign. Bhattacharya says it starts the settlement of Malwa. Why does not the inscriptions say it is Krtayuga is not explained by these theorists.

Malwa Gana
Malwa got name from people Malavas who inhabited this place. In Sanskrit Malav indicates Lakshmi. Malwa was a Mahajanapada (Republic) from 730 BC. Ancient Malwa was called Malloi by Alexander and Greek Historians. The Malwa region with Ujjain as capital had Vikramaditya ruling with navaratnas as ministers and scholars. Now malwa gana represents these groups of eminent scholars.. So Malwa gana era indicates the era of these people. In the Inscriptions from 4th century AD to 8th century AD, it is referred to as Malava Gana, though Krta is also used sometimes. Around 6th century it is called for the fame of Malwa vamsa. We have coins malavaganasya jayah, Malavanam jayah , Jayah Malavanam indicating the victory of Malwa people apparently over Sakas. Malwa Gana Saka show that it was era of malwa people.


Around 9th century it is called vikramaditya Kala. After 11th century the era is fixed to Vikramditya and is so called vikrama Samvat or Vikrama Kala.


Aryavidya (by sudhakar) says that Mahavira attained his Nirvana 470 years before king Vikramaditya. Pattavali says that Vikramaditya was born 470 years after Mahavira Nirvana. So Mahavira Nirvana happened 527 BC. Kalpa Sutra says Mahavira lived for 72 years. So Mahavira lived between 599BC and 527BC.

There was a Jain king Vairisimha of Dhara (Dhar, MP) and Queen Surasundari, who had a son called Kalaka and daughter Sarasvati. Once when they were in Ujjain, King Gardabhilla of Ujjain was enamoured by the beauty of Sarasvati, carried her off. After futile attempts to recover her from clutches of Gardabhilla, Kalaka went westward after crossing river Sindhu reached the country where number of saka chiefs, who were sahi (Subordinates of sahanusahi) ruled. Kalaka broght them under his influence. Once their overlord became angry over Sahis, Kalaka migrated them to India. They came to Ujjain conquering along the way. Sakas defeated captured Gardabhilla alive. They established their ruler in Ujjain and divided the country among themselves. Kalaka recovered Sarasvati and avenged humiliation. After four years of saka rule, Gardabhilla son Vikramaditya drove away sakas and established his rule. Gardabhilla ruled for 13 years, Saka 4 years and Vikramaditya 60 years. This account is from Pattavali (Sanskrit) of Merutunga (14th century AD) sourced from earlier Prakrit Gathas.


D C Sarkar, says that Vikrama era is continuation of Era calculated from Parthian ruler Vonones. Vonones is the earliest parthian king of Eastern Persia is have assumed title king of Kings and flourished after the Parthian Emperor Mithradates II (125 -88BC) and ruled eastern parts of his domains and Afghanistan through Viceroys Spalirises, Azes.

Experts First deduced the parthian Reign of Vonones as between 120-70BC. Now Vonones is parthian name, but his brother and viceroy has saka name, Spalahora. Mithradates II has assumed the title king of kings during this time. So if take that into account. Vonones has to be after 91BC (Gotarzes challenged Mitradates). But considering his Viceroys starting at 90BC. He has to be before that. Is Mithradates = Vonanes. Now there are maues dated to 80-90BC. Vonones is a question for another Article. Now we can say Vonanes is not initiator of Vikrama Samavat.

Azez Era
John Marshall suggest that the Vikarma Era is actually continuation of Azez Era. The Era calculated from regnal years of Saka king who ruled Northwestern Part of the Sub continent. The Era is spelled as Aya, Aja identified as Azez I. This view is supported by B N Mukherjee who cites number of inscriptions of Maharaja Aya, Itravarman. The inscriptions refers to Atida, Varta Kala which indicate Expired Years. Now Krta refers to present time. So Atita and Vratta refers to past and this betrays the logic of saying Vikrama era is continuation of Azez Era.

John Marshall says that the era denotes the start of Azez Aya, Aja) Era which are found in coins. Now we know that there are two Azes: Azez I and Azez II. And Azes can also be dated to 90BC from various theories floating around Mithradates, Vonanes and his brother Spalirises. Indologists have also tried to make Azes II as founder of Azes Era. Azes II can be dated to 22AD as well.

There is theory that Aya, Aja cannot be equated with Azez era and there is no azez era as such other than in the minds of Indologists. Narain argued that aya refers not a king, but is appellation to month or other minor variation to some dating calender. So scholars Konow 84 BC, Narain 88 BC, Lohuizen 129 BC have proposed this to other eras.

Unlike Vikrama era which can be anchored to Kali Yuga date. There is no anchor for Azez Era. Azez Era can be anchored to Greek era with Vijayamitra inscription Azez + 128 = Greek Era. But Greek Era is itself has to be anchored. Vijayamitra of Apraca gives the 27th year of his reign as 73rd year of Azes, 201 year of Yona or greek era . So the date of Azez 128 years after Indo-Greek Era. Now Studying Demetrius I (186-187BC) and Eucratides I (171BC)gives two eras Indo-Greek and Graeco-Bactrian Eras. There is a great Secluid era(Anchor of all western Eras), which also has number of Guesses in it. There is another Bactrian Era starting at 157BC. There is Araces Era. Now which era is Vijayamitra is referring to. If we take the Indo-Greek era as the Greek Era, it gives 171-128 =43BC as the start of Azes Era. This Azes Era 43BC date does not match 57BC of Vikrama Era.

Gupta Chandragupta Vikramaditya

Most Western Scholars argue that the era came into prominence because of Gupta Emperor Chandragupta Vikramaditya. But Guptas ruled from Pataliputra and Ujjain is the capital of Vikramaditya we are talking about. Some have floated the idea of second capital , but there is absolutely no basis for the second capital. Not single Gupta Inscription is dated to this era, not even found in malwa region.

Brihat Kathamanjari, Katha Sarit sagara by Kshemendra narrate the stories of Vikarmaditya defeating Melecchas and ruling gloriously. Bana in Harshacharita sings glowing tribute to Vikramaditya partronage to Literaturers. Kalkacharya Kathanka, Pattavalis, Jyothividabharana all say that the era was founded by Vikramaditya who lived in 1st century BC. Puranas say that Gardabhilla is family name and give 7 kings(Jain 6) from this dynasty and they were followed by Sakas. Kathasaritsagara describes victorious camp of vikramaditya, joined by the king of Saktikumara of Gauda, Jayadhvaja of Karnata, Vijayavarman of Lata, Sunandana of Kashmir, Gopala of Sind, Vindyaballa of Bhills etc

Bhavishya Purana Says at the completion of 3000 years after the advent of the terrible Kaliyuga, a person descended from the abode of Guhyakas in Kailasa, at the command of Siva, for the purpose of destroying the Sakas and uplifting Arya-Dharma. He was born to the Great King Gandharvasena. The father named him ‘Vikramaditya’ and felt very much rejoiced.

Al Beruni
Arabic Traveller Scholar Alberuni says in his Kitab-ul-Hind(1030 AD), Vikrama Era starts 135 years before Saka Era. We know Saka era Starts at 78AD. So vikrama Era is 57BC

There is not much evidence to show that there was a Era named after Vonones. The Azez Era eventhough mentioned in the inscriptions, cannot be said to be era like Vikrama era. The date of Start of Azez Era is suspect. So both these era's cannot be equated with Vikrama Era. We have well known tradition of this era being used as Krta , Malwagana and Vikrama era's. Eventhough the name changes over period, the era is fairly accurate. This era as per tradition started 57BC and had origin in the court of Vikramaditya in Ujjain. The Era seems to have used only in Malwa region as Krta era or golden age. Later when rulers of Ujjain went to other parts of India. The era went outside as Malwagana saka, The era of malwa people. Around 8th century the tributes were paid to the great Vikramaditya. The era was then came to be known as vikramaditya Sake. We have literary evidence in the Jain Literature. Inscriptional evidence of vikramaditya and have coins issued to celebrate Malwa people victory over Sakas. Indology scholars have rejected all the Indian evidence and struck to equating the era to some foreign ruler from that time.

Vikramaditya established the rule of Malwas by driving out Sakas from Malwas and adjoinging areas. The tradition first started to celebrate this success, later went take name of the leader who made this happen, Sakari Vikramaditya of Ujjain. It came to be known as Vikrama Samvat starting from 57BC.

A Note on the Vikrama and Saka Eras by B N MUkherjee Indian Journal of Science 32(1), 1997
Vikrama Era by Ajay Mitra Shastri Indian Journal of History of Science, 31(1), 1996
A rough guide to Kushan History - The Azes Era by Roberto Bracy.
Introduction: numismatic, literary and epigraphic evidence on chronology in Gandhara by Osmund Bopearachchi
ALBEEUNI'S INDIA by Dr Edward C Sachau 


Related Topics
Old Saka Era - Varahamihira Sree Harsha Era
Kanishka Era
Dating Indian History
Date of Kalidasa - Gupta Myth
Did Megasthenes Meet Chandragupta Maurya 
Date of Buddha

Old Saka Era - Varahmihira 's Sree Harsha Era

We have consistently seen Saka era along with Vikrama Samvat are two era used in India for the last two thousand years. We have seen Pulakesin gives shalivahana saka starting at 78 AD. Vikram Samvat starts at 56BC. In Indian Literature these dates are counted from start of Kaliyuga that is 3102 BC. in Kaliyuga counting Saka era starts at 3180 and Vikram samvat starts at 3046. These dates are well established by Indian and Foreign experts. So what is the problem. Let us see.

Varahamihira Saka

Varahamihira quotes Vraddha Ganga "According to Vrddha Ganga, the Sages (Saptarsis) resided in the Magha nakshatra, when king Yudisthira ruled the earth, and the year of the reign can be obtained by adding 2526 years to the number of saka years elapsed". 

Now we have Vraddha Garga , who is an impeccable astrologer and Varahamihira even more versatile one, why will they give the dates wrong. When we see this saka era it starts at 576 BC. We know Shalivahana Sake Starts at 78AD. 

Let us analyse.
 Who is varahamihira
Vahara Mihira was Astronomer , Mathematician and Astrologer who lived in Ujjain, he was born in Avanti region (Malwa) to Astronomer Adityadasa. He was educated at Kapitthaka. He is considered as one of the Nine Jewels of Vikramaditya of Ujjian. His son Prithuyasas was also Astrologer, his work Hora Sara. 

His main Work is Panchasiddhantika (treatise of Five cannons(Astronomical)). He gives info on older Indian Astronomical works now lost namely Surya Siddhanta, Romaka Siddhanta, Paulisa Siddhanta, Vasishtha Siddhanta and Paitamaha Siddhanta. It is a monumental Work. 

Another major work is encyclopeidic Brihat Samihta. It covers wide ranging subjects of Human interest, including astrology, planetary movements, eclipses, rainfal, clouds, architecture, growth of crops, manufacture of perfume, matrimony, domestic relations, gems, pearls, rituals etc. 

His Other works in Astrology include Brihat Jataka, Laghu Jataka, Samasa Samhita (Swalpa samhita), Brihat Yogayatra, Yoga Yatra, Tikkani yatra, Brihat Vivaha Patal, Lagu Vivaha Patal, Lagna Varahi, Kutuhala Manjari, Daivajna Vallabha.

 427 - Saka
Varahamihira says 427 must be subtracted from saka era for his era. So 427 saka was the start of his era or birth of varahamihira. Amara raja gives the date of 509 Saka for varahamihira death. Indologists comes with 427 + 78 = 505AD as the birth of varahamihira. So the problem is solved. But why does the dates don't reconcile.

The Astronomical Positions mentioned in his works don't match for celestial positions of 6th century AD.

Shalivahana Saka is famous in South and West of India and Ujjain or Malwa especially followed Vikrama Samvat. Now why does one refer to Shalivahana Saka, which is from rival powerhouse.

If Aryabhatta was in 5th century AD, Varahamihira was in 6th century AD. Pulakesin Edict is 7th century AD. While Aryabhatta and Pulakesin Edict gives 3102BC and Varahamihira 2448bc.

Working from 576BC as start of Saka era gives varahamihira date as 149 - 67 BC , which places Varhamihira in Vikramaditya court as one of the nine jewels.

There is a traditional as well as modern view that kalidasa and Varahamihira are contemproaries

Jyotividabharana, a treatise on Astrology says it was completed on month of kartika of the year 3068 of kali (34BC). It says that the framing rule for finding ayanamsa is 445 years after saka and remainder divided by 60.

If we go by Al beruni statement, Gupta reign ended 241 years after Saka era, If we take 78AD, than it comes to 319AD.

There is no scope for Vikramaditya of Ujjain reigning in 6th century AD for Varahamihira to become his navaratna.

Alberuni says that Year 400 years before Vikramaditya or 457 BC was in use before Vikaramaditya. He calls it as Sree Harsha Era. This era was available in 11 century AD.

Sree Harsha Vikramaditya
Kota Venkatachalam says, based on the authority of Bhavishya purana, that this Vikramaditya is a son of Gandharvasena , a King of Ujjain. His son Deva Bhaktha reigned after him.

T S Naryana Sastri says that Sri Harsha Vikramaditya of Kashmir defeated the sakas and in commoration of his victory founded the Harsha era, in the year 457BC. In his work Haidimba Vaidagdhya, he identifies Matrgupta of the court of king Harsa Vikramaditya of ujjain as Kalidasa I living in 6th century BC and Medharudra on the court of of vikramaditya of Malwa as Kalidasa II in first century BC.

Sakas came to prominence on the periphery of India around 800 BC. They Came into prominence in India after the collapse of Satavahanas dynasty in Magada (802BC). They were in prominence for 380 years (802 - 422 BC). They were in considerable power struggle with local Indian rulers. In 551BC Darius has collected all the scattered Saka and invaded India. Which confirms 576 BC to be date when Sakas were soundly thrashed and scattered by Sree harsha. This may start Saka era in this case old saka era.

The saka era of kalahana

Saka of Kalhana and Varahamihira are same. Kalhana also talks about Sree Harsha Vikramaditya of ujjain.

Varahamihira was one of the nine jewels of Vikramaditya court.
Varahamihira was born in 427 Saka. He died in 509 Saka.
Shalivahana saka does not fit to this dates. As there is no vikramaditya in Ujjain during at that time(6th century AD). There were no sakas also at that time. Hunas were already vanishing. So there is no probability of Vikramaditya in 6th century AD at Ujjain.

Date of old saka era is 3102-2526 = 576BC. Some people take the start 2526 from Start of Yuddhistra era and arrive around 612BC. Here 576 is calculated from end of Yuddhistra reign, which ended soon after Kali yuga started.

When Varhamihira talks about saka kala, Saka Bhupakala, Sakendra kala, Saka Nrpati Kala, it refers to rule of saka rulers in India not shalivahana saka.

All these points when we consider does indicate there was old or original saka era started by Sree Harsha in Sixth century BC. Varahamihira, Vraddha Garga and few others quote this saka era. Even alberuni seems to mention this saka era. Later on he seems to have confused himself with Harshavardhan of Kannuj. This varahamihira was in the court of vikramaditya of Ujjain in first century BC. 

Date of start of Old saka era is 576BC.

Essays on Indian Antiquities, Historic, Numismatic, and Palaeographic By James Prinsep
History of Civilizations of Central Asia: The Development of Sedentary : By A. H. Dani, UNESCO Staff, M. S. Asimov, B. A. Litvinsky, Guang-da Zhang, R. Shabani Samghabadi, C. E. Bosworth, Unesco
Kaliyuga, Saptarsi, Yudhisthira and Laukika Eras by K.D. Abhyankar and G.M Ballabh
Saka Era by Ajay Mishra Shastry
History of Classical Sanskrit Literature by By M. Srinivasachariar
Essays on historical and mythological India
Age of Bhārata War edited by Giriwar Charan Agarwala

True Indian History 
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Kanishka Era
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Date of Kalidasa - Gupta Myth
Date of Rig Veda

Date of Kalidasa - Gupta Myth

Kalidasa most renowned classical Sanskrit scholar is widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the classical history. His period has not been dated to precise. Most likely falls in Gupta period in 5th century AD. This is a wikipedia introduction, you will mostly come across the same in many places as well. There is very little is known about kalidasa apart from his literature. But let us not go into other questions. Stay to main question: Date of Kalidasa.  Let us see what the scholars say.

Kalidasa Works
Four poetic works, Raghuvamsa, Kumarasambhava, Meghaduta, and Ritusamhara, and three dramas, Vikramorvasiya, Malavikagnimitra, and Abhijnanasakuntala are attibuted to him, in addition to these, Indian tradition attributes to him several other works(around 30) in diverse disciplines, ranging from poetics and astrology to mathematics and astronomy. It goes without saying that he had more than a little mastery of all these disciplines.

Kalidasa was clearly closely associated with, or lived in Ujjain, the capital of Vikramarka; his love for this city and the Malwa country is particularly apparent in the Meghaduta, from the way he holds forth lovingly on this city in the poem. The Yaksha's request to the cloud messenger to make a detour to visit Ujjain, the description of the dance of the devadasis in the Mahakaleswara Temple, and the incomparable descriptions of the city and of the river Sipra leave no one in doubt of this.

Kalidasa Life
Almost nothing definite is known about Kalidasa's life, although legends abound. What one can definitely infer from his works is that he was a Brahman, a devotee of Siva but no fanatic of any Hindu sect, was widely travelled and very well versed in the arts, sciences and philosophy of his day. He lived in a city in affluent circumstances, and was well acquainted with royal courts and court politics, almost certainly because he was patronised by a powerful king.

BanaBhatta of Harsha Charita
Banabhatta, court poet of Harsavardhana (AD 606-647) in Harsacaritaoffers prefatory salutations to Kalidasa.

Aihole Inscription of Chalukya pulikesin II(634AD)
Talks about poet Ravikirti who was in the court of Chalukya Satyasraya(pulikesi II )whose poetic skills have attained the fame of Kalidasa(Sanskrit) and Bharavi(Kannada)(520AD). This inscription does not give any date of Kalidasa. But the inscription shows the kalidasa fame has reached the courts of karnataka kings and held in high esteem.

Yasodharman who is believed to have assumed the title Sakari Vikramaditya after routing the Huns (Toramana at Malva in 528 AD). Kashmir Kalhana says that Kalidasa was the court poet of Vikramaditya.

Mandasor Inscription (473AD)
Mandasor inscription 5 dated to 473 AD which names Kumaragupta, has verses borrowed from Kalidasa and imitating his style by the poet Vatsabhatti.

Hero of Kumarasambhavam  Kumaragupta son of Chandragupta-II  (Vikramaditya) is the places him in 5th century AD.

According to Kshemendra in Auchityavicharacharcha says, An envoy sent as to kuntala king capital and he was not properly received and was made to stand. King Boja of Dhara(11century AD) in Sringaraprakasa says  kalidasa was sent as envoy from court of Vikramaditya to Kuntaleshwara. There is a conflicting  reports on who is the kuntaleshwara  the envoy met . Kadamba king Kakusthavarman says Guptas sent the envoy at the time of Kadamba Bhagiratha.  Some scholars say the envoy visited Vatakata court. But Vatakata's never called themselves kuntaleshwara's , eventhough they raided kuntala few times, they never ruled kuntala. There is scribe called kalidasa in one of vatakata inscriptions, but it is not kalidasa. Some point to another royal clan in the infancy, Rastrakutas of manapura also had conflict with Vatakatas. Mananka , founder of Rastrakuta dynasty called himself Lord of Kuntala. There is one more dynasty Chutus satakarnis apart from Satavahans who called themselves kuntaleshwaras. But as far as envoy there is only one claim kadambas, so the Gupta envoy should have visited kadamba kingdom.

Astronomical Data
There are two schools of thought on the astronomical evidence.
Sengupta's discussion on astronomical evidence places Kalida sa at the middle of the 6th  century AD, between AD 525-575 during the rein of Budhagupta.
Dasgupta has quoted Jacobi's demonstration of astronomical evidence vis-à-vis influence of Greek astronomy of the period around 350 AD.

Some Say that the work Meghasandesa is the communication that Kalidasa addressed to Prabhavati, sister of Chandragupta-II when the great poet was banished to Ramagiri by the Emperor. Prabhavati Gupta, widow of Rudrasena-II who died in 390 AD and mother of Pravarasena-II who is believed to be have authored Setubandhanam and Saundaryalahari.  Popular legends say that Malavikagnimitram was written for staging on the occasion of the marrigae of Prabhavati Gupt a at Ujjayini. The Drama was staged at the wedding.

Chandragupta II
This date is propounded by Dr. A.B. Keith. According to him, Kālidāsa flourished during the reign of king Candragupta 2nd (380-413) who made Ujjainī second capital, who crushed Hūnas and as a result, assumed the title ‘Vikramāditya'. The poet expresses in his works his deep sense of gratitude for his Gupta patrons. Smith and MacDonnell support Dr. Keith. On the basis of astronomical calculations Jacobi places Kālidāsa after 3rd century A.D. Dr. Bűhler is of opinion that he should placed before 472 A.D. Sircar admits that the earliest historical Vikramāditya is Candragupta 2nd of imperil Gupta dynasty who defeated Śakas, conquered western India and made Ujjainī, as the capital of his empire. This theory founded by Dr. Keith has received support from Winternitz, Konow, Liebich, Bloch and many other scholars

Gathasapthasati mentions Kalidasa to be court poet of Vikramaditya.  Hala's Sapthasati gives glowing accounts of Vikramaditya.

Aśvaghosa, the Buddhist poet, has prepared the ground for Kālidāsa by his compositions in the field of poetry and drama. Kālidāsa took clue from this great poet and presented his own poetry and drama in polished and refined manner. The date of Aśvaghosa is definite. He enjoyed the patronage of Kusāna king Kaniska who ruled in 1st century AD.

Vikaramaditya(1st century BC)
Most of the scholars including Baladev Upaddhyaya, William Jones, Peterson, M.R. Kale, and R.N. Apte  say that kalidasa lived during King Vikramaditya of Ujjain who ruled in 1st century BC. After whom the Vikram era is known.  After he defeated  sakas. Kalidasa has consistently called Pururavas "Vikrama" in the drama Vikramorvasiya. It is generally conjuctured that Kalidasa did this to honour his patron. He included the name in the title of the drama itself to ensure propagation of his patron's name. In addition, the name Mahendra is mentioned together with Vikrama several times in the Vikramorvasiya; we know from the Kathasaritsagara that Vikramaditya's father was known by this name. Since Vikramaditya father was Mahendraditya. It suits fine.

Kalidasa mentions three historical persons, Pushyamitra(conducts horse sacrifice to pronounce supreme soverignity) his son Agnimitra (governor of vidisa and hero of the story Malavikagnimitra and vidarba princess who disguises as maid) and lastly his grandson vasumitra   the brave guardian of horse, who returns triumphantly defeating the yavanas. These are historical incidents. According to Dr. C. Kunhan Raja, on the basis of Bharatvākya of the ‘Malvikagnimitra' Kālidāsa' was the contemporary of king Agnimitra of Sunga dynasty and flourished in the 2nd century B.C. Kalidasa talks about the vasumitra grandson of pushyamitra who defeated Yavanas. This is the upper limit of the kalidasa date. Kalidasa gives lot of intimate details of pushyamitra  and sungas ,which only the closest can give.

Raghu Dynasty.
800 B.C.- Mr. Hippolyte Fauche places Kālidāsa in the 8th century B.C., on assumption that he was contemporary of Agnivarna, the last king of Raghu dynasty. Hippolyte thought Ramayana to be this date.

Having seen the scholars opinions ,Let us bring in more material to discuss.

Basic of discussion
  1. All the sources say Kalidasa was in the Royal court of King Vikramaditya
  2. Kalidas widely travelled was based out of Ujjain in malwa. He Praises  vidisha capital of 3.sungas. Kalidasa speaks of defeat of Yavanas by Pushyamitra grandson vasumitra.
  3. kalidasa knew Huns.
  4. Historical person mentioned by Kalidasa was Agnimitra of Sunga Dynasty who ruled in 2nd century BC.
  5. Guptas employed  his literary works in Inscriptions and functions.
  6. There is a close resemblances between the works of kalidasa and Avagosha's Buddha charita
  7. kumargupta is called Mahendra and father of Vikramaditya is also called Mahendra.
  8. Vikrama - Many of the Guptas have titles vikrama Chandragupta, samudragupta etc.

Raghu Victory of Hunas
The cheeks of huNa women glowed with embarrassment by the action of raghu in waging war with their husbands and that flush itself appeared as an index to raghu's valour. Now the context has to be known, he is talking about Raghu(Legendary father of Ram) and also mentions Raghu Conqured Parasikas, Kambojas,Yavanas.  Reached Oxus river. Did chandragupta II defeated these kings. Huns are there , but Parasikas, Kambojas or yavanas.

now the principal difficulty in the identification of this river has arisen by the fact that Mallinatha, the most brilliant commentator on the works of Kalidasa has chosen to read Sindhu for Vanksu. But in view of some very important reasons, given below, Mallinatha's reading is evidently erroneous. It is to be borne in mind that six manuscripts of the mallinatha, out of nine, with their commentaries read vankS (four of these) or vanksu (two). There hardly seems an occasion for Mallinatha to adopt the reading Sindhu. This reading has landed him in obvious difficulties which he has sought to explain away. The unsuitability of his reading is so patent in his own explanation that, thinking that his readers would easily confuse Sindhu with the great river Indus.

Huns Locations
The history of the Huna expansion in Central Asia is very interesting.  During the reign of Pou-non-tanjou (A. D. 46) the Huna country and their  empire suffered from severe famine. While they were yet in difficulties the  Eastern Tartars and the Chinese drove them out of their land and pushed them to  west and south. In the middle of 5th century AD, Huns formed a powerful army and starts invading far of lands. The defeated the persian empire in 225AD. The First invasion of India took place during Skandagupta time, they were soundly defeated. The second invasion during Yasovarman. So until 46AD, Huns were in Oxus basin.

Kalidasa was in the royal court of vikramaditya , that  is confirmed by everybody. The  vikramorvisya mentions Vikramaditya to be son of Mahendraditya. There are two sets Mahendraditya - vikramaditya(2-1century BC) and Gupta dynasty Kumaragupta Mahendraditya - Skandagupta Vikramaditya. So who is the vikramaditya we are speaking.

Vikramaditya the Legend.
The tales of the vampire (Vetala) tell twenty-five stories in which the king tries to capture and hold on to a vampire that tells a puzzling tale and ends it with a question for the king. In fact, earlier the king was approached by a Sadhu to bring the vampire to him but without uttering a word, otherwise the vampire would fly back to its place. The king can be quiet only if he does not know the answer, else his head would burst open. Unfortunately, the king discovers that he knows the answer to every question; therefore the cycle of catching the vampire and letting it escape continues for twenty-four times till the last question puzzles Vikramaditya. A version of these tales can be found embedded in the Katha-Saritsagara.

Bhoja and Vikramaditya
The tales of the throne are linked to the throne of Vikramaditya that is lost and recovered by king Bhoja, the Paramara king of Dhar, after many centuries. The latter king is himself famous and this set of tales are about his attempts to sit on the throne. This throne is adorned by 32 female statues who, being able to speak, challenge him to ascend the throne only if he is as magnanimous as Vikramaditya is depicted in the tale she is about to narrate. This leads to 32 attempts (and 32 tales) of Vikramaditya and in each case Bhoja acknowledges his inferiority. Finally, the statues let him ascend the throne when they are pleased with his humility. This is story created in 11th century AD by Bhoja paramara king after he declared indepndence from chalukyas.

Vikramaditya of Ujjain
Kalakacharyakathanaka a jain works says that at the instance of Kalaka ( jain teacher whose sister was abducted by Garadabilla, king of ujjain), the shakas invaded ujjain and took Garadabilla prisoner. They ruled for sometime and was overthrown by vikramaditya , king of malwa. vikramaditya started his own era. Brihatkatha of Gunadaya and kathasaritsagara endorse this event. And Gathasaptasati of Hala Satavahana also describes the event. The works say vikramaditya also called vikramasila son of mahendraditya was the founder of vikrama samvat. According to Bhavishya Purana. Vikram era started in 57 BC by Vikramaditya the Great as a commemoration of his victory upon the Shakas. There is plentiful literature on Vikramaditya, and in the Bhavishya Puran itself there are descriptions of Vikramaditya in more than 40 chapters between Pratisarg Parv I and IV. Bhavishya Purana (Pratisarg Parv I, chapter 7) says that, "After the elapse of a full 3,000 years in kali yuga (3102 - 3000 = 102 BC), a dynamic Divine personality was born who was named Vikramaditya.  Bhavishya Puran further says that  the great King Vikramaditya ruled for one hundred years. Then his son Deobhakt ruled for ten years and his grandson Shalivahan, who established Shalivahan Shaka era (in 78 AD), defeated the Shaks and ruled for sixty years."  Alberuni also mentions about Vikram era (57 BC) and also the Shalivahan Shaka era which starts 135 years after the Vikram era.

One poet quoting another

Brihat katha by Gunadaya(1st century AD)

This work is lost but there are several versions available.The story is brihat katha manjari has lot in common with kathasarit sagara  of  kalidasa.

Some of the situations and Ideas are common to both asvagosha and kalidasa plays. But the big argument is waste because we can never say that the one copied from other. The ideas and situations seems to be borrowed from the situations and ideas common at that time frame. But indologist scholars(Kowell and Keith) will say kalidasa copied and Indian scholars say Asvagosha copied. But in concluding verses of  saundarananda . The Humble Asvaghosa says he is not poet of eminence. The Subject of interest for Asvaghosa is religion and philosophy. He is monk first and then a author. He wants to preach the his ideals through a kavya, So he sets himself after famous Kavyas of his time. Hence the resemblences and similarities to kalidasa kavyas. The Master kavya writer is of course kalidasa. That gives atleast a century or more earlier to asvagosha, which puts kalidasa in 1century BC.

Yajnasri Satakarni (2nd century AD
Yajna sri satakarni releases a coins with king on one side and  with crescent on hill, crescent on ujjain symbols, zig zag lines and cirle of dots. The meaning can be found in kalidasa verses in raghu vamsa. The king's fame ascended the mountains(symbolized by the moon on hill), crossed the oceans(figured by the four circles of the ujjain symbol and crescent), penetrated into the subterrannean abode of vasuki(zig zag line) and went up to the most high(as represented by dots representing sttary heaven).

Also kamasutra of Vatsyayana has similar styles to sakuntala.

Bhita Medallion
The terrocota medallion recovered from Allahabad  depicting the scene from sakuntala, has gateways like sanchi  dated to 1st century BC. But scholars say it Buddha in kapilavastu.

Astronomical observances
The astronomical references by ketki  like dakshinayana (summer solistice) cannot be taken to be conclusive as they can go each side 100 to 200 years.
Sengupta observations based on ashada month references cannot be taken as kalidasa mention lunar months ,not solar months. The works clearly show that that Gupta system  is not followed by kalidasa.
The term Jamitra in kumarasambhava has been mischeviously  interpreted as Greek diametron and claimed that kalidasa lived in the ideas of Greek astronomy and also claiming Greek astronomy has become popular in India. In Hindu Astrology Jamitra simply means seventh zodiacal sign from the natal(lagna).
And kalidasa knew lot  about Astronomy ,but he is basically a  poet not astronomer.

yavanas were defeated in persia, which fits the time frame of 1century BC and pallavas are absent in kalidasa account. kalidasa talks about Independent Anga , which is impossible in Gupta age. Kalidasa speaks about ruler in madura again not possible during gupta period.

Pushyamitra capital was Pataliputra, his son agnimitra was governor of vidisha, when pushyamitra was the senatipati and when the capital was shifted to vidisha, it remained the capital until 57BC, Later he shifted to Ujjain.  In Megaduta and Malvakiagnimitra the scenes of the city are vidisha, not pataliputra , not ujjain. Vikramovisaya completed after the victory of vikramaditya over sakas. why he does not tell about pataliputra or Ayodhya Imperial capital of Guptas, because he has come to a independent kingdom in Ujjain.


The Dharma(Law)  followed in Kalidasa works  like  " widow cannot inherit the property"  is of the times of Apastamba and Baudhayana. Brhaspati, vyasa,sankha and likita  belonging to Gupta period rule that the widow has the right to succeed in Husband's property. In Sakuntala there is capital punishment for theft. In the days of Brhaspati, this was relaxed and a heavy fine was introduced. So clearly kalidasa is not of Gupta times.

Several revisions of the Kalidasa works has taken place and many authors have included their current events in their works. For example there is an argument between Dinnaga(6th century AD) and Kalidasa, which looks unlike kalidasa. While Dinnaga was critic of kalidasa , Nicula is friend in megaduta. Since Dinnaga cannot be dated earlier, Kalidasa is brought down. We do not know who is Nicula. Another is refrerence to kalachuri dynasty ( 6th century AD).  For some commentators Dinnaga becomes Nagarjuna
D.C.Sircar draws attention to Tibetan passage in early 18th century AD , which says kalidasa was contemproary of King Bhagabadra of Sunga Dynasty ruling from vidisha,Wima kusala Khadphises  and king savti satavahana of dakshinatya and Aparanta. He Married daughter of Khadphises by name vasanti.

In Tenth Century AD Sanskrit scholar Rajashekara gives three great kalidasa who are renowned authors and masters of aesthetic language. There are many kalidasa's and more than dozen vikramadityas, Western scholars have done what they do best to confuse and combine everybody to one kalidasa and some vikramadityas to one vikramaditya. In effect they have hit two mangoes in one. Denying kalidasa antiquity and also stricking off the glorious vikramaditya(1century BC)  from history to mythical ruler.  For the time being we can go with Puranic account and say Kalidasa lived in the era of Vikramaditya (son of Mahendraditya) around 57BC. Vikramaditya who established vikram era in 57BC.

My Theory
Now the date is settled , All our problems are solved right?
No, we have only one problem. Panini talks about Pushyamitra. Panini cannot be dated later than 4th century BC. How can Panini talk about pushyamitra who is two centuries later. We  have to see pushyamitra dated to Mauryas. But keeping Mauryas in 3rd century BC, Indologists have brought pushyamitra to that date. But Panini is struck at 4 century BC . If Mauryas are dated in 15-14century BC, how come his Senapati dated in 2nd century BC. Indology Scholar Vogel equated Bruhaspatimitra of Magada with Pushyamitra and scholars like K P Jaiswal followed suit. We have one more mythical king pushyamitra.

I feel Gupta Emperors Chandragupta I and Samundragupta are the rulers in 3rd century BC. The Raghu in Raghuvamsa  campaign eeringly follows samudragupta campaign.There are several mitras ruling in many places in North India  as per inscriptions in 2nd century BC.   Kalidasa reads samudragupta campaign into Raghu campaign. And reads Sunga rulers  Pushyamitra, Agnimitra and vasumitra tales in to local mitra tales. And we have a big confusion.  Kalidasa says Agnimitra to be kasyapa lineage and belonging to Baimbika family, According to Panini Sungas belong to Bramhana family of Bharadvaja. The Vikramaditya son of Mahendraditya are the rulers whose time kalidasa lived that is 1 century BC. But with new additional information the things will change

Giravani  by desiraju hanumanta rao
Definitive Astronomical Evidence for the Date of Kalidasa  by K. Chandra Hari
The Role of Kālidāsa in the Development of Indian Literature by Parmeshwar Gangawat
Kalidasa and Ancient India by Chhattisgarh - Ambikapur
Numismatic parallels of kalidasa by sri c.sivaramamurti
Kalidasa: Date, Life And Works by  V.V. MIRASHI N.R NAVALEKAR
The Gupta polity By V. P. Ramachandra Dikshitar, V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar
Old Buddhist Shrines at Bodh-Gaya Inscriptions By B.M. Barua

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Dating Indian History - Towards a common Era

Most of disputes in history starts with dates, one claiming predating other. Let us see how difficult it is to know the exact year of existence of particular person from Inscriptions. We are restricting ourselves to Inscriptions as going to literature will open another Pandora box.
Inscriptions are dated in some many ways. Ranging from simple year date (regnal or era ) to detailed year month tithi(lunar day), week day and/or other calendrical or astronomical dates. Let us see the Era or dating used.
Regnal Year
This is practice dating records from regnal years of king , this method is used in most of the inscriptions. Beginning from Ashoka , continuing with satavahana, Ikshvaku, Vakatakas continued record in regnal years in their inscriptions, this continued in medieval period with Palas, Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas. A typical inscription with regnal year, might say “ The great king of so-and-so with so-and-so titles with so-and-so achievements donated in the first year of of his reign “. The inscription may add the tithi or day of the week, or month in addition the regnal year. Unless additional reference date or another king or ruler or event is provided the dating of the inscription is not absolute. These inscriptions have to be dated by techniques similar to paleographic records or undated inscriptions. But sometimes due to historical synchronization we can find the year and sometimes month and date of the particular inscription, but this is not the case with most inscriptions. The successive rulers of dynasty have given inscriptions ,so we can date them successfully. But sometimes some successive rulers have same names which compounds the problem. The problem is with regnal years everything is relative and fluid, with change of date of one inscription every other inscription has to be re-dated. If Greek have not come to India , we will not be able to date Ashoka and with Ashoka the entire Indian History.  
Year of an Era
Beginning with First century BC some inscriptions dated the years in continuous era. In this practice the kings issuing the inscription dates the inscription in the regnal years of the previous kings instead of his accession. This system is seen in the Dynasties. Sometimes they are followed even when the dynasties have fallen and new one takes over. But this information is not absolute, the name of the era may be left out since it is a prevalent one and common knowledge. In addition the year may be given in numbers or words or both. Sometimes the year is given as chronogram(bhutasamkya), with digits expressed in words for items associated in particular order. The suggested numbers have to read in reverse order(according to the principle Ankanam Vamato gatih, numbers run leftward). Sometimes both common era and Regnal year can be found.
Let us see some of the Era's
Jain Nirvana Era
This date starts with Nirvana or salvation of Last Jain Tirthakarna Vardhamana Mahavir. While Vicarasreni(1310AD) in Merutunga(Prakrit) gives date as 470 Years to vikrama Era, Nemichandra(1084AD) in Mahaviracariam(prakrit) gives the date as 605 years and 5 Months to before the start of Saka Era. So the dispute will be there as the Mahavira date is not certain. The Sravanabelagola Inscription equating Vir- Nirvana year 2493, Vikrama 1888 and Saka 1752 is an example.
Buddhist nirvana Era
Cantonese records say each year after passing of Buddha was represented by a dot and so the date of Buddha is 486BC , the start of Buddhist nirvana Era. But there is no agreement in Buddhist world. So the dates are disputed.
Vikram Era
This Era starts in 50 BCE by King Vikramaditya. Vikramaditya regained his ancestral kingdom in Ujjain by expelling the Sakas from there after 9 years of their rule (66-57 BCE). In order to commemorate his victory over them, he introduced a new era called Vikram Samvat (or Malawa Samvat) in 57 BCE. This story is also disputed.

Shalivahana saka

The Inscription of Pulakeshi talks synchronises the era with Kali era and uses the term Shalivahana sake. This era is also called Saka era. This is the most consistently used era and also currently used by Govt of India as Well. Historically this marks the defeat of Saka ruler of Ujjain by Shalivahana of Paithan. This is era is used extensively in Karnataka, Maharastra and Andhra. The start of era is 78AD. However Indologists have many theories for this era. But it is generally agreed that Kanishka was the first to use Saka era , so the origin is given to him. But kushana chronology itself is debated. Saka era is labled in various ways such as saka-nrpa-Kale, saka-varsesv-atitesu, Saka-varse, Salivahana sake, sake and so on. Except the earliest years Saka era dates are labeled saka year. 

Kalachuri-Cedi Era
The date of origin of this era is also doubtful. The date of 248AD based on the accesion of Abhira king Isvara dutta is now not valid.
Vallabhi Era
Thisis used in Kathivad and neighbhourhood.It is synchronous with Karttikadi Vikrama year 376 (318-319AD) and Saka 242-42. Inscription in the era are available from 82 to 945. It is also said this is gupta era continued and the era corresponds to accession of Chandra gupta I. Guptas don't use the era in the earlier inscriptions. So the claim is questionable. Most historians attribute to Accession of Chandragupta I. The dates are calculated by adding years 319 to 322 years to that is found in the inscriptions.
Ganga (Gangeya Era)
Many inscriptions of Eastern Gangas and Eastern Kadambas in Karnataka , Andhra and Orissa. The Ganga Era is also disputed ,but it is generally agreed it starts in 475AD based on inscription of Kadamba feudatory Dharmakhedi.
Sri Harsa Era
Al-Biruni (11th century AD)suggests that Harsa Era was prevalent in the area of Mathura-Kannuaj starting with 457BC. But there seems to be no common such era in India before Saka and Vikram Era. In fact Al-Biruni learnt in Kashmir that Sri Harsa era started with Sri Harshavardhana in 606AD, the Mathura pandits seems to have tricked Al-Biruni to such date.
Bhatika Era
The historical origin of Bhatika era is disputed. It starts at 623 to 625AD. The dispute here is due to association the close synchronisation and association with Islamic Hirja Era 622AD in western India and close to regions of Arab Incursions. Absence of Early inscriptions is explained as the solar modification of Muslim era. Mr.Dasharatha sharma says it represents era of Bhatia rajput Clan. Several unpublished inscriptions near Jaisalmar have cited to indicate Bhatika samvat. However Mr. Mirsa and Mr.Sarcar argue some of the inscriptions are Harsa Era.
Kollam Era
This era starts at 824AD, used in Kerala and around Kerala mostly in Malayalam and Tamil sometimes in Sanskrit as well. The reason for the start of the Era is controversial as it marks the starts of the foundation of Kollam, but Kollam existed prior to it. Some scholars say it is related to Saptarsi era, but the geographical distance makes the theory untenable.
Bhauma Kara Era
This era started by Bhauma Kara kings of orissa. The era starts in 831AD probably of ruler Ksemankaradeva. Earlier the era was considered to be harsa era.
Nepali or Newari Era
This era was started by Jayadevamalla. The era starts in 871AD. The earliest Nelpali inscriptions date themselves to Saka or Vikrama or Gupta or Licchavi Era.
Chalukya-Vikrama Era
This era was started by Chalukya Vikramaditya IV upon accession to throne in 1076AD. The Inscriptions of Vikramaditya mention this era ,many times the Saka era is also mentioned.

Lakshmana Sena era
This era starts in 1117AD in Gaya region of Bihar. This era is attributed to Accession of Sena King Lakshmana sena though the dates do not match.

Bengali San
The Era is Named Bengali San(Sen) is in use in Bengal. It is solar year and runs with saka era. The Months are however Lunar. It starts at 516 Shalivahana Saka.

Vilayati Year
This is another Solar Saka year used in parts of Bengal and Chiefly in Orissa. The Months like Bengali San is Lunar. The start of the Vilayathi year is same as Bengali San 516 Shalivahana Saka. There are two differences though, First begins solar year in Kanya which is bengali sen Ashvina or Assin. Second the months begin on the day of sanskranti instead of following 2nd or 3rd day.

Amli Era
This era is used in Orissa. The Amli commenses from the birth of Indradyumna, raja of orissa on Bhadrapada Sukla 12th and each month commenses the moment the sun enters the sign. Amli san is used in business transactions and in the courts of Law in orisssa.

Fasali Year
This is harvest year introduced by Akbar,originally derived from Mohammadan year and bearing the same number, but beginning in july. It was in most parts of India Solar year, but different customs in different parts of india has made it divergent. There is Luni Solar and North west Fasali year.

Maharatta sur san or Shakur san

This is sometimes called Arabi san. It is extensively used in Mahratta domains. This is nine years behind Fasali of Deccan.

Magi San
This is used in Chittagong. It is similar to Benglai san. The only difference is it is 45 years behind.

Simha Samvat
This era is used in Kathiavad. THe era starts in 1036-37 Saka

Lakshmana Sena era
used in Tirhut and Mithila, but always with Saka or Vikrama era. Era starts in 1105-6 AD.

Ilaki Era
The Tarlkh-i-Illahi or Mighty Divine era was established by Akbar. It dates to his Accession 14 Feb 1556 (Friday 2nd Rabi-us-sani AH 963) . It is extensively used in Coins of Akbar and Jahangir, but Shah Jahan seems to discontinued.

Rajyabhisheka Saka
It is also called Mahratta Raja Saka Era. Saka here is era. This era was established by Shivaji on the day of accession (Jyeshta sukla Trayodasi (13th) of Saka 1596 expired or 1597, Ananda Samvatsara)
Pseudo-historical Era's
Old Saka Era
Some of the early Khartoshi and Brahmi insciptions cannot be dated to Saka or Vikrama era's. So they are classified to Old Saka Era distinguishing from Saka Era 78 AD. But there are many disagreements between scholars on which inscriptions should fall to Saka Era and Old Saka Era. Evenmore controversial is the exact origin of the said Era. And still more controversial is the exact date of the historical epochs mentioned with this Era. So this can be said to be one of the speculative Era.
Aguptaiyaka Era
The Gokak inscription dates itself to 845 th regnal year of unknown Aguptaiyaka kings. The inscriptionbelong to 6th century AD. So the era should start at 3rd or 2nd century BC. Speculation is it is connected with Chandragupta Maurya and local king Aguptaiyaka.
Other Era's
Some Inscriptions of Bengal are dated to Malla era starting at 694/695AD. Some Inscriptions of Bengal refer to Bengali Era (sana or Sala Era). Some orissa inscriptions refer to sana era as Amli era. There is also Siddha Hema Kumara Era(1142AD). Illahi Era (1556AD) instituted by Mughal Emperor Akbar. Some late inscriptions date themselves to Imgreji San or Isvi Era based on Christian era.
Phantom Era
Maurya Era
Some scholars studying the Hathigumpha Inscription of Kharvela have noted a Maurya Kala starting 324-300BC based on Chandragupta Accession. But sunsequent studies revealed that the inscription was stating Mukhya Kala (Sanskrit) not Maurya Kala. So that Era is hoax.
Kaliyuga Era
Kaliyuga era is supposed to begin with Kali aeon. Traditional associations with events Epics. Kaliyuga is creation of astronomers for chronological base for astronomical and calendrical calculations. The initial date corresponds to Friday, Feb 18 ,3102BC at the time of astronomical conjunction of Sun, Moon, Earth, and Planets at the point of naksatra mesa. Kali yuga is normally counted as expired. Earliest Kaliyuga era in inscription is Aihole inscription dated Kaliyuga 3735 and saka556 corresponding to 634 AD.
Saptarsi Era
Saptarsi Era also called Laukika,Sastra, Pahadi or Kacca is a imaginary cycle of 2700 years. The calculation is based on Saptarsi(Great Bear) which stands for 100 years in 27 nakshatras. Pahadi refers to the use in hills of Punjab and Kashmir. Lukika and Kacca refers to omission of hundreds. Since it is mainly used in Astrology it is called sastra Samvat. The puranas give different dates and confuses this era.
Grahaparivriti Cycle
This is based on Kaliyuga Era , But instead of 100 year cycle it follows 90 year cycle. It is followed in Madurai region of tamil nadu. This year is fabricated by Astrologers of that area.
Brahaspati 12 Year Cycle
Brahaspati cycle is based on twelve year cycle of sidereal revolution of Jupitor. Some Gupta Feudatories , Kadambas, Rastrakuta used this in some inscriptions.
Brahaspati 60 Year cycle
This is originally calculated by jupitor transistion from one rashi to another. Due to discrepancy of four days every year, the cycle of requires suppression of one jupitor year every eightyfive years. This sixty year cycle is usually dated in name of the years then in numbers.


Indian Epigraphy by Richard Salomon.
Indian Epigraphy by D.C . Sircar.
Ancient Indian History and Civilization by Sailendra nath Sen.
The Indian Calendar, with Tables for the Conversion of Hindu and Muhammadan Into A.D. Dates, and Vice Versa Front Cover Robert Sewell, Robert Schram