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Ancient Hindus devised various ways to mark dates, the major emphasis being given to Astrology. The Puranic genealogies start with mythical events and the early Saptarishi calendar starts from the epoch of 6676 CE which is taken to be beginning of the genealogies.
 
A later Saptarshi calendar, still in use in different parts of the country, begins from 3076 CE. Other old calendars are Kaliyug (3102 CE), Vikrami (58 CE), Shak (78 AD). By means of complicated computer softwares, scientists have tried to arrive at the dates mentioned in the ancient texts with startling results!

Literary evidence

The Taittiriya Brahman [3.1.2] refers to Purvabhadrapad nakshatra’s rising due east, a phenomenon occurring at this date, indicating the earliest known dating of the sacred Vedas to be around 10,000 CE! Taittiriya Samhita 6.5.3 places Pleiades asterism at winter solstice in 8500 CE, again suggesting the antiquity of this Veda. Rig Ved verses (e.g., 1.117.22, 1.116.12, 1.84.13.5) say winter solstice begins in Aries, indicating the dates of 6500 CE.

While the events mentioned in the Ramayan as written by Rishi Valmiki have yielded dates in the 5th millennium BCE, the date of the Mahabharat has been derived to be clost to 3100 BCE! This proposed date has been examined by other scholars and has been verified. This may prove to be a break-through in deciding the real history of India and even the world!
 
Literary texts like the Mahabharat, Harivamsham, Sijupdlavadha and Puranas contain traditions about foundation of Dwarka, its planning and glory. Before the legendary city was discovered some scholars were of the view that the Mahabharat being only a myth it would be futile to look for the remains of Dwarka and that too in the sea.
 
Excavations done by Dr. S. R. Rao at Dwarka prove that the descriptions as found in these texts are not to be discarded as fanciful but are to be treated as based on actualities as seen by their authors. Dwarka is mentioned as Golden City in Shrimad Bhagvad Gita, Skand Puran, Vishnu Puran and also in Harivansham and Mahabharat.
 
Dwarka on mainland which was one of the busiest ports of the Mahabharat Period met a sudden end due to the fury of the sea. After the Mahabharat War Krishna lived for 36 years at Dwarka. At the end, the Vrshnis, Bhojas and Satvatas destroyed themselves in a fratricidal feud at Prabhas but Krishna did not interfere to save them. The portends of destruction seen by Sri Krishna who advised immediate evacuation of Dwarka are stated in Bhagavat Puran.
 
Dwarka abandoned by Krishna was swallowed by the sea. The information and material secured through underwater excavation off Dwarka corroborates with the references to the City of Dwarka, made in the Mahabharat and various other Sanskrit literary works. There is a vivid description in the Mausalparvan of the Mahabharat about the submergence of Dwarka.
 
The people of Dwarka including Arjun seemed to have witnessed strange things before its submergence in the sea: 'The event was preceded by the unabated rumbling noise of the earth throughout the day and night, birds screamed continuously, and heavy winds swept the land. The sea, which has been beating against the shores, suddenly broke the boundary that was imposed on it by nature.
 
Huge tide with great height surrounded Dwarka. The sea rushed into the city submerging beautiful buildings. The sea covered up everything and in a matter of few moments, there was no trace of the beautiful city. There was no trace of the beautiful city which had been the favourite haunt of all the Pandavs. Dwarka was just a name; just a memory.'
 
Also in the Mahabharat, Balram is mentioned to have traversed the cpourse of the Saraswati river and reach the city of Mathura. French archeologists have declared that the Saraswati was in full flow near 4000 CE and this gives an indirect indication of the time of the Mahabharat too.
 
Reference to Vernal Equinox in Krittika (Pleiades) from Yajur and Atharva-Ved hymns and Brahmanas gives the dates of 2500 CE and corresponds to Harappan seals that show seven women (the Krittikas) tending a fire. According to Babylonian chronology, the famed Vedic king Divodas ruled in 2051 and had contact with Babylon’s King Indatu.
 
Indian mathematicians and astronomers were even able to calculate the speed of light! In the western world, the speed of light was first determined in 1675 by Roemer who looked at the difference in the times that light from Io, one of the moons of Jupiter, takes to reach earth based on whether it is on the near side of Jupiter or the far side. Until then light was taken to travel with infinite velocity. Even Newton assumed so.
 
One of the books that raises this issue is the celebrated commentary on the Rigved by Sayana (c. 1315-1387), a minister in the court of King Bukka I of the Vijayanagar Empire in South India. Of a hymn addressed to the sun (RV 1.50), he says that it is ‘remembered that the sun traverses 2,202 yojans in half a naimesh’. The units are well known, the Purans define 1 naimesh to be equal to 16/75 seconds and 1 yojan is about 9 miles. Substituting in Sayana’s statement we get 186,000 miles per second.
 
Sayana’s statement was printed in 1890 in the famous edition of Rigved edited by Max Muller, the German Sanskritist. He claimed to have used several three or four hundred year old manuscripts of Sayana’s commentary, written much before the time of Roemer.
 
Further support for the genuineness of the figure in the ancient book comes from one of the earliest Purans, the Vayu Puran, conservatively dated to at least 1,500 years old. (The same reference is to be found in the other Purans as well.) In Chapter 50 of this book, there is the statement that the sun moves 3.15 million yojanas in 48 minutes. This corresponds to about 10,000 miles per second if considered as speed of light, and 135 million miles for the distance to the sun, if considered as the speed of the sun.
 
 
Archaeological Evidence
 
The strongest archaeological support comes from the structures discovered under the sea-bed off the coast of Dwarka in Gujarat by the pioneering team led by Dr S.R. Rao, one of India's most respected archaelogists.
 
An emeritus scientist at the marine archaeology unit of the National Institute of Oceanography, Rao has excavated a large number of Harappan sites including the port city of Lothal in Gujarat. In his book The Lost City of Dwarka, he writes about his undersea finds:
 
"The discovery is an important landmark in the history of India. It has set to rest the doubts expressed by historians about the historicity of Mahabharat and the very existence of Dwarka city. It has greatly narrowed the gap in Indian history by establishing the continuity of the Indian civilisation from the Vedic Age to the present day."
 
The importance of the discovery of Dwarka lies not merely in providing archaeological evidence needed for corroborating the traditional account of the submergence of Dwarka but also indirectly fixing the date of the Mahabharat which is a landmark in Indian history.
 
The Thermoluminiscence date of the pottery from Bet Dwarka which is also connected with the Krishna legend is 3520 years Before Present. Identical pottery is found in the submerged city of Dwaraka. Thus the results have proved that the account in Mahabharat as to the existence of a beautiful capital city of Dwarka of Sri Krishna was not a mere figment of imagination but it did exist.
 
Dwarka was a city-state extending upto Bet Dwarka (Sankhodhar) in the north and Okhamadhi in the south. Eastward it extended upto Pindara. The 30 to 40 meter-high hill on the eastern flank of Sankhodhara may be the Raivatak referred to in the Mahabharat too. The general layout of the city of Dwaraka described in ancient texts agrees with that of the submerged city discovered by MAU.
 
The epic says that flags were flying in the city of Dwarka. This can be corroborated by the stone bases of flag posts found in the sea bed excavation. From the structural remains in Dwarka and Bet Dwarka waters, it is possible to visualise that the city-ports were large and well planned. A very significant antiquity that corroborates a statement of the Harivamsha is the seal bearing the motif of a 3-headed animal representing the bull, unicorn and goat. The Harivamsha says that every citizen of Dwarka had to carry this mudra as a mark of identification.
 
There are archaeological finds that also attest to Krishna as a historical figure. For instance excavations have unearthed the remains of a temple of 300 BC in which Krishna (Vasudev) and Balaram (Sankarshan) are identified from their flagstaff. Krishna's son Pradyumna, grandson, Aniruddh and another Yadav hero, Satyaki, have also been identified.
 
From 180-165 BCE, the Greek ruler Agathocles issued coins with images of Vasudev holding a chakra! At Ghosundi near Udaipur, engraved about 150 BCE, is an inscription of a certain Bhagavat named Gajayana, son of Para-sari, stating that he erected in the Narayan-vata, or park of Narayan, a stone chapel for the worship of the Sankarshan and Vasudev.
 
In the 1st century BCE, the Greek Heliodorus erected at Besnagar near Bhilsa a column with the inscription:
 
'This Garud-column of Vasudev, the God of gods was erected here by Heliodorus, a worshipper of the Lord Bhagavat, the son of Diya Greek Dion and an inhabitant of Taxila, who came as ambassador of the Greeks from the Great King Amtalikita [Greek Antialcidas] to King Kashiputra Bhagabhadra the saviour, who was flourishing in the fourteenth year of his reign ....(missing text)... three immortal steps . ....(missing text)...when practised, lead to heaven—self-control, charity, and diligence.'
 
Another 1st century BCE inscription from Mathura, records the building of a part of a sanctuary to Vasudeva by the great satrap Sodasa. The grammarian Patanjali, who wrote his commentary the Mahabhashya upon Panini's grammar about 150 BCE, quotes a verse to the following effect:
 
'May the might of Krishna accompanied by Samkarshan increase!'
 
One verse speaks of Janardhan with himself as fourth (Krishna with three companions, the three possibly being Samkarshan, Pradyumna, and Aniruddh). Another verse mentions musical instruments being played at meetings in the temples of Rama (Balarama) and Keshav (Krishna). Patanjali also describes dramatic and mimetic performances (Krishna-Kamsopacharam) representing the killing of Kamsa by Vasudev.
 
Also in the 1st century BCE, there seems to be evidence for a worship of five Vrishni heroes (Balram, Krishna, Pradyumna, Aniruddh and Samba) for an inscription has been found at Mora near Mathura, which apparently mentions a son of the great satrap Raj Uvula, probably the satrap Sodasa, and an image of Vrishni, probably Vasudev, and of the 'Five Warriors'.
 
A more recent historical record, dated 574 AD, occurs in what are called the Palitana plates of Samanta Simhaditya. This inscription refers to Dwarka as the capital of the western coast of Saurashtra and states that Krishna lived here.
 
Very few actual inscriptions have survived the ravages of time and plundering barbarians, one of them being the Hisse Borala Inscription of Dev Sena. This inscription is of 5th century AD and scholars hold that it throws light on the time of Mahabharat War. It states, that Saptarshis were in Uttar at the time of this inscription. Scholars hold that Saptarshis were in Magh at the time of Yudhishthir because Varahmihir has stated so in Brihat-Samhita.
 
Another one is the Aihole Inscription on which quite a large number of scholars have relied. This inscription was found in the Jain Temple at Aihole ordered by a Chalukya King Pulakeshi. It says, that the temple was constructed in 30+3000+700+5 = 3735 years, after the Bharat War and 50+6+500 = 556 years of Shaka era in Kali era.
 
The Greek Ambassodor Megasthenis has recorded that 138 generations have passed between Krishna and Chandragupta Maurya. Megasthenis, according to Arian, has written that between Sandrocotus to Dianisaum 153 generations and 6042 years passed. Heliodorus, the son of Dia (Dion), a resident of Taxila had come to Besnagar as an envoy of the Greek king Antalikata (Antialkidas) to the court of Kashiputra Bhagbhadra during his 14th regal year.

Antialkidas is placed between 175-135 B.C. The Greek king Agathocles (2nd century B. C) was also devoted to the Bhagavata cult. The figures of Krishna and Balaram are shown on his coins found in the excavations at Al-Khanuram in Afghanistan.
 
Shrimad Bhagwatam gives 28 Kuru kings from Parikshit to Kshemak: ‘From Kshemak, the Pandava Dynasty will end in Kaliyug, and Magadh Dynasty will start.’ [Bhagwad 9-22-45]. This implies that the Pandav kings ruled before the advent of Kaliyug, and the Magadh dynasty will not super-impose the Pandav Dynasty.
 
Thus through all these calculations we can come to the date of Kaliyug starting on the Pramadi Chaitra Bright 1st day, which corresponds to Friday, 20th February 3102 BC of the Georgian Calendar at the precise time of 2:27:30 a.m. Thus the last age of this Maha-Yuga started on this day.

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Units of Measurement

The smallest unit for measuring the time is called 'Nimesh'. It is the time taken to drop one's eyelid.

A 'Kaal' consists of fifteen Nimeshas and thirty Kaals make a 'Muhurta'.

One 'Kashtha' consists of 15 Nimesha while a Kala consists of 30 'Kashthas'. A muhurta consists of 30 Kaals.

The periods of 30 muhurtas are equal to one day and Night of the human beings; a month of this world is equivalent to 30 days and nights.

A month consists of thirty days, divided into two fortnights. One fortnight is known as 'Krishna Paksh' (dark lunar phase) and the other is known as 'Shukla Paksha' (bright lunar phase).

In Pitralok the day consists of one fortnight and night of the same number of days. Shukla Paksha is the day of the Pitralok and Krishna Paksha the night.

Six months make an 'Ayan' and a year consists of two 'Ayans'. These two 'Ayans' are also known by two other names - Dakshinayan and Uttarayan. Dakshainayan is the night of the deities where as Uttarayan is their day.

A year consists of two 'Ayans'. One year of the earth is equivalent to a day and a night of the deities. The six months when Sun is in the southern hemisphere of the earth, is actually the time when the deities experience night. On the contrary, the six months when sun is in the northern hemisphere, is the day time of the deities. One year of the deities is equivalent to three hundred and sixty years of this world.

Lord Brahma, the embodiment of Lord Vishnu has a lifespan of one hundred years. His lifespan is also called 'Par', and half of its period is known as 'Parardha'.

This way, a manvantar is also equivalent to 8,52,000 years of the deities or divine years. Going by the standard of the years of this world a manvantar is equivalent to 30,67,20,000 years.

On the basis of the years of this world, a Brahma's day is equivalent to 30,67,20,000 x 14 = 4,29,40,80,000 years. This is the period after which a Brahma's day is over and a deluge takes place when all the three worlds becomes devoid of life due to unbearable heat. Lord Brahma then takes rest for the same period (4,29,40,80,000 years) which is his night. Each yuga is followed by the hibernation periods of Sandhya and Sandhyansh.
 

Hindu Calendar

 

The Vedic Calendar follows a Lunar Cycle, consisting of 60 years.

The names of the successive years are:

1. Prabhav, 2. Vibhav, 3. Shukla,

4. Pramudot, 5. Pajotpati, 6. Angiras,

7. Srimukh, 8. Bhav, 9. Yuva,

10. Dhat, 11. Ishwar, 12. Bahudhanya,

13. Pramadi, 14. Vikram, 15. Vishu,

16. Chitrabhanu, 17. Swabhanu, 18. Tharan,

19. Parthiv, 20. Vyaya, 21. Sarvajittu,

22. Sarvadhari, 23. Virodhi, 24. Vikriti,

25. Khar, 26. Nandan, 27. Vijay,

28. Jay, 29. Manmath, 30. Durmukhi

31. Hvilambi, 32. Vilhambi, 33. Vikari,

34. Sarvari, 35. Plav, 36. Shubhakrit,

37. Sobhakrit 38. Krodhi, 39. Vishwavasu,

40. Paridhavi, 41. Plavang, 42. Keelak

43. Saumya, 44. Sadharan, 45. Voridhikrit,

46. Paridhavi, 47. Pramadich, 48. Anand

49. Rakshas, 50. Nal, 51. Pingal,

52. Kalayukti, 53. Siddharthi, 54. Raudri

55. Durmati, 56. Dundubhi, 57. Rudhirodgari,

58. Rathakshi, 59. Krodhan, 60. Akshay

The years in the Vedic Calendar follow the Lunar cycle and the twelve months of a Lunar Year are:

1. Chaitra
2. Vaishakh
3. Jyeshta
4. Aashadh
5. Shravan
6. Bhadrapad
7. Ashwin
8. Kartik
9. Margashirsh
10. Paush
11. Maagh
12. Phalgun

The 2nd to the 6th months have 31 days each while the rest have 30 day months.


Time is Cyclical

For Hindus, Time is a cyclical entity and not a linear one. Each cycle is followed by another cycle followed by another and so on till Brahma finally decides to take a bow. Besides, there are mentions of many Cyclic Catastrophes in the Hindu Timeline, such as -

At the end of each Kali Yuga, some type of destruction takes place. The most recent instance would be a bit under 4 million years ago.

At the end of each Manvantar, a great flood wipes out most life on earth. The most recent occurrence would be 120,534,000 years ago. Other instances would occur at intervals of 306,720,000 years.

At the end of the Kalpa, all life on earth is destroyed. The most recent instance would be 2,267,574,000 years ago.

At the end of life of Brahma, the entire universe and all its heavens and hells are destroyed. The current universe would have come into existence more than 150 billion years ago and we are currently in the Kaliyug of one of the Maha-Yugas of the 7th Manvantar (Vaivasvat Manvantar) of the 1st day (Varah Kalpa) of the 51st year of the hundred year lifetime of the Brahma ordained for our Universe. (whew!!)
 
 

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