The Historicity of Vikramaditya and Salivahana
– A golden era made ignored by British historian
-An Intrigue exposed by Kota Venkatachalam
History is not a description of the destiny of a people; each civilization develops a character of its own. Character is destiny said Dr.Radha Krishnan. It is applicable both for individuals as well as nations. History is a portrayal of an unfolding of destiny of a people who appear on world stage as and when their time comes to reveal value based life patterns relative to their perception of god, man and nature. It is their own Weltanschuung – a world view of their own. In the sense History is an exercise in the evaluation of a society in terms of a historical teleological purpose to fulfill which a particular civilization comes in to existence and vanishes in the sands of time, like the Greek, Roman, Egyptian etc. This phenomenon has been put forward poignantly by WILL DURANT.
“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within”
This is what happened to all civilizations except Bhartiya civilization. This Phenomenon calls for an objective analysis of their social structure, stratification and functional aspects of those extinct civilizations. Social structure sustains itself through its stratification to meet the functional needs of occupational differentiation – a kind of division of labor to meet the needs of production and distribution systems. There should exist a strong systemic relation between them for any civilization to last long. Egyptian, Greek and Romanian civilizations are conquering civilizations.
“Man is the measure of all beings”-This is the metaphysical statement or premise on which their civilizations are based. They have been built to show their military might. To keep their people happy and prosperous their Emperors went on military expeditions with mighty armies to conquer nations and brought wealth and enriched their people, brought slaves in hoards as work force. Some feeble attempts were made by some philosopher statesman like Marcus Auralius Caesar to make their nations republic. But all failed due to political turmoil and intrigues that prevailed at those times. Seneca was persecuted by Emperors Caligula and Nero. Socrates was poisoned and Greece succeeded in forming a mutually warring city states. Plato and Aristotle were reduced to a state of philosophers of state ignoring their metaphysical outpourings of highest order. George Santayana of Spain writes that there are only two metaphysical nations in the world, one is Bharat and the other is Greece. When the neighboring states of Greece invented superior alloy metal to make swords and other weapons of warfare, the Greeks were decimated in all the wars. Similarly when the Germanian Barbarians invented the powerful Cross-Bow with a longer strike range the Roman Empire collapsed within a short period leaving nothing for posterity to cherish except the ruins that mourn silently with eerie winds around. Reminding the glory mayhem that happened for ‘THE GLADIATORS’ in a 64 day festival in Rome to celebrate their victories in the wars. The arena of the coliseum was soaked with the innocent blood of the Gladiators. In contrast the Bhartiya tradition of the concept of mother earth as a cow to be milked and not destroyed is the very basis of sustainable development epitomized in the Upanishadic saying exhorting humanity with the Upanishadic dictum.
“Tena tyaktena bhunjita”-Take from nature whatever is required to sustain in accordance with your need and not according to your greed. The Bhartiya tradition sets before us the spiritual goal of Sanatana dharma and the socio-religious goal of Dharma in accordance with which our social codes (smritis) are composed. These social codes are revised time and again according to the changes in Yugas i.e. Yuga dharma. This reflects that our Bhartiya civilization constitutes a highly organized society with a strong social institutional basis for spiritual, religious and social goals. Taking an overall picture, we have to take into consideration the cultural-spiritual-ethical notion of dharma as the social foundation for a well ordered functional society. These dharmic values were implemented in the lives of our kings and people in our puranas and epics. To create such a tradition it requires hundreds of years history. This history is embedded in our 18 puranas. Purana means “purapi navah”-though old, yet ever new. Puranas have been edited and updated time to time hence they are ‘though old, yet ever new’. Puranas are the primary source for writing the ancient history of Bhaarat. V.A.Smith admits:”The most systematic record of Indian historical tradition is that preserved in the dynastic lists of the puranas”, five out of the eighteen works of this class namely; vayu, matsya, Vishnu, bhramanda and bhagavata contain such lists. But Pargiter tampered the text of puranas and advised his co-workers to rely on Bhavishya Purana. V.A.Smith admires F.E.Pargiter that he has succeeded in his work “The Dynasties of Kali Age” in obtaining the most-definite results which was challenged by Kota Venkatachalam. This paper intends to highlight the glaring disparity in assigning correct timing of the periods to all dynasties with reference to the historicity of emperors Vikramaditya and Salivahana. Kota Venkatachalam tells us: “The Bhavishya Mahapurana, in the form it is available is highly interpolated by the western scholars to create doubts about its authenticity. From the very early times Christian missionaries of all denominations were united in their endeavor to destroy or discredit our ancient literature as they would not tolerate the existence of our great works which contained the history of the earth and the universe for crores of years before the creation of the world they described in the Bible (Ancient Hindu History Part 1, pp210-211).
VIKRAMADITYA AND SALIVAHANA ERAS
The Vikramaditya and Salivahana eras begin with 57 BCE and 78 CE respectively. A controversy has been raging regarding the founder of these two eras. Contrary to our expectation V.A.Smith writes:
“The popular belief which associates the Vikrama era of 58-57 BCE with a Raja, Vikramaditya or Bikram of Ujjain at that date is erroneous. There was no such person then. It is however true that probably it was invented by the astronomers of Ujjain. The first name of it was Malwa era. The term Vikramakala used in the later times must refer to one or other of the many kings with the title of Vikramaditya or Vikrama, who was believed to have established the era. The king referred to may be presumed to be Chandragupta II. Vikramaditya who conquered Ujjain about CE 390, The Gupta and Saka eras Changed their names similarly, becoming known in after ages as Valabhi and the Salivahana eras respectively “ 
So it is impossible that the western scholars should be ignorant of the accounts of Vikrama and Salivahana in Bhavishya-maha-Purana; They purposely ignored the four dynasties of Agni Vamsa which covered over a period of about 1300 years, from 101 BCE to 1193 CE i.e. from the time of Vikramaditya to the time of Prithvi Raja taking Bhojaraja alone from the list of the Panwar dynasty leaving the era-founders, Vikramaditya and Salivahana in the intervening period. Even before Vikramaditya the four dynasties of Agni Vamsa covered over a period of 291 years from Kali 2710(or 392 BCE) to Kali 3001(or 101 BCE). This intentional bungling was necessitated by the theory which makes Alexander and Chandragupta Maurya, contemporaries. The Chronology of ancient Indian History right from the time of Mahabharata War (3138 BCE) down to the beginning of Gupta dynasty (327 BCE) had to be compressed by 1207 years so as to suit the contemporaneity of Alexander and Chandragupta. *
* Kali era begins in the year 3102
|Beginning of Kali Yuga||20th Feb. at 2-27-30 hrs 3102 BCE|
|Mahabharata war 36 years before Kali||3138 BCE|
| After the war Somadhi of the Barhadradha dynasty
Was crowned as king of Magadha in
|And the dynasty ruled for 1006 years||3138-2132 BCE|
|Pradyota dynasty ruled for 138 years||2132-1994 BCE|
For this very purpose Gautama Buddha who actually flourished in the 19th century BCE. is placed in the 6th century; Chandragupta Maurya who lived in 1534 BCE is brought down to 323 BCE . The Andhra Satavahana dynasty which commenced in 833 BCE is dragged down to 220 BCE and is made to last till 240 CE i.e. for a period of 460 years. Even then they had to meet with certain difficulties. They made the Sunga, the Kanwa and the Andhra dynasties, contemporaneous simply to compress the chronology. They had to drive away the two great emperors and era founders-Vikramaditya and Salivahana-out of the historical field identifying Hala-Satavahana of the 5th century BCE with the Salivahana of the Panwar dynasty of 78 CE. The Gupta Dynasty and the Gupta era was placed in 320 CE.
Vikramaditya and Salivahana were historical persons who extended their empires from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin. Our historians summarily dispensed with them as mythical persons and ascribed these eras to some nameless Saka kings. This is an extraordinary case of audacity. It is a wonder that Indigenous scholars also followed the same line and fruitlessly tried to trace out the unknown Saka kings instead of searching their Puranic literature to have the correct history of the founders of these eras.
Vikramaditya and Salivahana are historical personages and both of them belong to the Panwar dynasty of Agni Vamsa. Of this dynasty Vikrama is the 8th, Salivahana the 11th, and Bhoja the 21st king. Salivahana was the great-grandson of Vikramaditya and he should not be confounded with Hala-Satavahana who belonged to the Andhra Satavahana family and flourished in the 5th century BCE. (i.e. 500-495 BCE).
We shall now come to the evidence of the historicity of these two personages.
|Sisunaga dynasty 360 years||1994-1634 BCE|
|Nanda dynasty 100 years||1634-1534 BCE|
|Then the Maurya dynasty begins with Chandragupta
Maurya the 1st King.
|Invasion of Alexander||327 BCE|
|Difference||1207 years lost|
“purne thrimsachchate varshe
Kalau prapte bhayamkare
Sakanamcha Vinasardham Arya
Jatassivajnaya sopi kailasat
Guhyakalayat.” (Bhavishya Maha Purana 3-1-7-14,15 verses)
“ Vikramaditya namanam pita
Sa balopi mahaprajanah pithru
Mathru priyamkarah” (3-1-7-16)
“pancha Varshe vayah prapte
Tapasordhe vanam gatah
Vikramena krutam tapah” (Bhavishya 3-1-7-17)
Purim yatah sriyanvitah
Divyam simhasanam ramyam
Dwathrimsan murthi samyutam” (Bhavishya 3-1-7-18)
“At the completion of 3000 years after the advent of the terrible Kaliyuga, (ie.101 BCE.) 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. Though a boy he was very wise and pleased his parents. (Bhavishya Purana 3-1-7-14,15,16 verses)
When he was 5 years pld, Vikrama went to the forest and did penance for 12 years. Having enriched his greatness by penance he reached the city Ambavati (Ujjain) and was anointed as a king on a golden throne decorated with 32 golden dolls.” (This was in the year 3020 0f Kali era i.e. 82 BCE.) (Bhav. 3-1-7-17,18). It should be noted that Vikramaditya was not a title as some historians think. But it was the name christened by the father.
||3020 – 82|
||3044 – 58 – 57|
||3068 – 33|
||3115 – 14 CE|
||3115 – 14 CE|
||3120 – 19 CE|
List of Kings of the Panwar Dynasty
|Name of the Kings||Regnal Years||Kali BCE|
|5.||Defeated by Sakas. Left Ujjain and Had gone to Srisailam. Inefficient and nameless Kings. Their names are not mentioned in the puranas.||195
|6||Gandharvasena (1st time)||50||2920-2970; 182-132|
|7||Sankharaja son of No.6. went to Forest for meditation No.7 died Issueless.||
Gandharvasena returnedfrom the forest and took up the government again}
(2nd son of Gandharvasena
Born in 3001Kali(101BCE.)
|10||Nameless King or Kings(Name not given in the puranas)
Bhumipala or (Virasimha)
(vide Bhavishya Maha Purana 3rd Parva 4th Kanda 1st Chapter from 12 to 46 verses).
(for easy references see “Kings of Agni Vamsa” By Kota Venkatachalam – in Telugu)
This royal dynasty came to a close in the battle of Kurukshetra. Along with this dynasty have closed the four dynasties of Agni Vamsa, except a few royal families of the chaulakya dynasty that established their might in the south. The history of the four Agnivamsis is narrated in 72 out of the 100 chapters in the Pratisagra parva of Bhavishya-Maha-Purana. Out of the 72 chapters 44 are devoted for the history of Vikrama and Salivahana. It is a wonder that the history of these illustrious emperors of Agni Vamsa is not touched at all by the western historians, The names of Prithviraja, Jayachandra, Rani Samyukta and Bhoja could not be mentioned by them, but the history of the remaining persons of these dynasties was purposely withheld. What is worse, these historians began to assert that Vikrama and Salivahana were not historical persons at all, and they attributed their eras to some nameless Saka kings.
The Panwar dynasty in which Vikramaditya and Salivahana were born in the most important of the four Agnivamsis. Vikramaditya and Salivahana conquered the whole bharat from Himalayas to Cape Comorin, became emperors and established their eras. Salivahana performed the Ashwamedha sacrifice.
The situation of the country after Vikramaditya is described in the bhavishya Maha Purana, 3-3-2-9; 17 verses.
The gist of the slokas is given here.
After Vikramaditya reached heaven several (incompetent and nameless) kings ruled the country. (From 19 to 78 CE.)
Then the empire of Vikramaditya was split up into 18 kingdoms. The limits of the empire were:-
* Sindhu in the west.
Setu in the South.
Badari in the North.
Kapilarashtra in the East.
The 18 Kingdoms formed were:-
- Maru (Rajputana).
- Kalinga (included Andhra Desa).
- Vangadesa (Bengal).
There were several languages and religions in these kingdoms, each of which had a separate king. Under these circumstances, the Sakas and Mlechcha tribes heard that the Aryadharma was decaying and crossing the Indus in large hoards attacked Aryadesa. They entered the country through the Himalayan and Indus regions and plundered these small kingdoms, killed the old, the infants and the women-folk and abducted many women. (Bhavishya 3-3-29-17 verses.)
In those times, Emperor Salivahana the great grandson of Vikramaditya came to the ancestral throne of Ujjain. With a great army he proceeded against the Sakas, the Chinas, the Tartars, the Bahleekas, the Kamarupis, the Romans or Ramatas and the deceitful Khorasanis and defeated them.
He took back the treasures plundered by them, punished them and drove them out of the country in 3179 of the Kali era (i.e. 78 CE.). The Great Emperor Salivahana demarcated the Aryastana, and the Mlechchastana, the river Sindhu being the dividing line; the land to the east of the river being called ‘Sindhustana’ and the land to the west of it being called mlechchastana. (Bhavishya 3-3-2-17, 21 verses.)
The Salivahana era started in the year Kali 3179 or 78th year of the Christian era. Salivahana not only demarcated the Aryastana and Mlechchastana but also made arrangements for the prevention of the Mlechchas crossing the border of river Sindhu.
He performed the horse sacrifice and reached heaven after ruling for 60 years. (78 to 138 CE) (Bhavishya 3-3-2-33-3-4-1-23)
Bhoja is the tenth king after Salivahana (i.e. 21st king of the Panwar line).
He went on an expedition to the northern countries up to Herat and conquered them (Bhavishya 3-3-3-1 to 4).
The western historians undoubtedly read the detailed history of the Agnivamsis in the Bhavishya Maha Purana and have taken from it short accounts of a few kings like Bhoja, prithvi Baja etc. and have incorporated them into their histories. It is a wonder that they have not given even the lists of the kings of the four dynasties-not even mentioned Vikramaditya and Salivahana the most important emperors who founded their eras that are still widely used in India. Further these western scholars treated Vikrama and Salivahana as mythical persons. It is a pity that Native scholars blindly followed their western masters and is unable to come out of the trap even after a century of historical research. It is high time that our historians should open their eyes to the truth held out in the puranas.
- Bhavishya Purana.
- Rajatarangini, Trans. R.S. Pandit, Sahitya Academy, Delhi.
- Ancient Hindu History, Vol I, Kota Venkatachelam.
- Kashmir History Reconstructed, Kota Venkatachelam.
- The Historicity of Vikramaditya and Salivahana, Kota Venkatachelam.
- “Vikramaditya of Ujjain” Raj Bali Pandya, Varanasi 1954.
- The study of Indian History and Culture, vol IV, Dr.S.D.Kulkarni.
- Early History of India, V.A.Smith.
- The Dynasties of Kali Age, F.E.Pargiter, Reprint, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi.
 State President Bhartiya Itihasa Sanskala Samiti,Tamilnadu,A-13 C Block Gulmohar Apts., T.Nagar Chennai 600012
 Vide, the Oxford Students’ History of India P.P 80, 81 by V.A Smith Ed 1915