The Historicity of Vikramaditya and Salivahana

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).


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 “ [2]

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

Legend Year
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

3138 BCE
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.

1534 BCE
Invasion of Alexander 327 BCE
Difference 1207 years lost


“purne thrimsachchate varshe

Kalau prapte bhayamkare

Sakanamcha Vinasardham Arya

Dharma vivruddhaye

Jatassivajnaya sopi kailasat

Guhyakalayat.”  (Bhavishya Maha Purana 3-1-7-14,15 verses)

“ Vikramaditya namanam pita

Krutwa mumodaha

Sa balopi mahaprajanah pithru

Mathru priyamkarah”                                          (3-1-7-16)

“pancha Varshe vayah prapte

Tapasordhe vanam gatah

Dwadasabdam prayathnena

Vikramena krutam tapah”                                   (Bhavishya 3-1-7-17)

“Paschadambavatim divyam

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.

Key Dates

Legend Kali, BCE
  1. 1. Birth of Vikramaditya
3001-   101
  1. 2. Coronation of  Vikramaditya
3020 –  82
  1. 3. Starting of Vikrama era when he visited Nepal, (see Nepal Vamsavali)
3044 –  58 – 57
  1. 4. Dedication of Jyotirvada bharana by Kalidasa
3068 –  33
  1. 5. Sent his court poet  ‘Mathru Gupta’  as king of Kashmir which was included in Vikramaditya empire (see Rajatarangini)
3115 –  14 CE
  1. 6. Pandit Sree Krishna Misra’s reference of Vikramaditya in his astronomical treatise(Jyotishaphalaratnamala)
3115 –  14 CE
  1. 7. Death of Vikramaditya
3120 –  19 CE

List of Kings of the Panwar Dynasty

Name of the Kings Regnal Years Kali                     BCE
1. Pramara 6 2710-2716;        392-386
2 Mahamara 3 2716-2719;        386-383


Devapi 3 2719-2722;       383-380
4. Devaduta 3 2722-2725;        380-377
5. Defeated by Sakas. Left Ujjain and Had gone to Srisailam. Inefficient and nameless Kings. Their names are not mentioned in the puranas. 195


2725-2920;        377-182


6 Gandharvasena (1st time) 50 2920-2970;        182-132
7 Sankharaja son of No.6. went to Forest for meditation No.7 died Issueless.




2970-3000;          132-102



Gandharvasena returnedfrom the forest and took up the government again}




3000-3020;          102-82

8 Vikramaditya


(2nd son of Gandharvasena

Born in 3001Kali(101BCE.)




3020-3120;        82-19CE

9 Devabhakta 10 3120-3130;        19-29CE.
10 Nameless King or Kings(Name not given in the puranas)





3130-3179;     29-78

11 Salivahana




3179-3239;        78-138

  1. 1. Salihotra
  2. 2. Salivardhana
  3. 3. Suhotra
  4. 4. Havirhotra
  5. 5. Indrapala
  6. 6. Malayavan
  7. 7. Sambhudatta
  8. 8. Bhaumaraja


50 3239-3739;     138-638


21 Bhojaraja 56 3739-3795;    638-693-94


22-28 Sambhudatta







Bhumipala or (Virasimha)

300 3795-4095;    693-993-94


29 Rangapala



200 4095-4295;     993-1193-94
31 Gangasimha  (Issueless)


(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:-

  1. Indraprastha.
  2. Panchala.
  3. Kurukshetra.
  4. Kapilarashtra.
  5. Antervedi.
  6. Vrajarashtra.
  7. Ajmir.
  8. Maru (Rajputana).
  9. Ghurjara.
  10. Maharashtra.
  11. Dravida.
  12. Kalinga (included Andhra Desa).
  13. Avanti.
  14. Udupam.
  15. Vangadesa (Bengal).
  16. Gaudadesa.
  17. Magadha.
  18. Kosala.

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.

Short Bibliography

  1. Bhavishya Purana.
  2. Rajatarangini, Trans. R.S. Pandit, Sahitya Academy, Delhi.
  3. Ancient Hindu History, Vol I, Kota Venkatachelam.
  4. Kashmir History Reconstructed, Kota Venkatachelam.
  5. The Historicity of Vikramaditya and Salivahana, Kota Venkatachelam.
  6. “Vikramaditya of Ujjain” Raj Bali Pandya, Varanasi 1954.
  7. The study of Indian History and Culture, vol IV, Dr.S.D.Kulkarni.
  8. Early History of India, V.A.Smith.
  9. The Dynasties of Kali Age, F.E.Pargiter, Reprint, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi.

[1] State President Bhartiya Itihasa Sanskala Samiti,Tamilnadu,A-13 C Block Gulmohar Apts., T.Nagar Chennai 600012


[2] Vide, the Oxford Students’ History of India P.P 80, 81 by V.A Smith Ed 1915


4 thoughts on “The Historicity of Vikramaditya and Salivahana

  1. k.v.raghavan says:


    I am always searching for the true Indian History. My grand father was instrumental in this search. But I am profoundly confused by various versions.

    It is in the stories that Kind Vikramaditya ruled for 1000 years. Is it true?

    Could u pleas highlight the who ruled Dravida Desa?

    There is a gap in the history of Dravida desa for three hundred years.

    Azhwars the famous saints of those periods were mentioned along with various kings then ruling, but no mention of them in modern history taught to us.

    Who are Kalapirars ruled the then Dravida desa?

  2. About Asoka, I had some discussion with the friends of in 2007, which I would like to share with you here in the context:

    Asoka, the Ruler of Kashmir:

    Asoka of Kashmir, ruling around c.1400 BCE was a Jain and it appears that historians cleverly suppressed him by superimposing Asoka of Mauryas with him. Ironically, that Chandragupta Maurya was a Jain, and he came to Sravanabelagola, all along the way from Magadha to die there facing north, exposes such interpolated history floated by the westerners. It is unfortunate that the Asoka of Kashmir is not even mentioned in the Indian history books, just because, he is dated to c.1400 BCE. Kalhana gives the following details about Asoka:

    “101. The great grandson of Sakuni and the son of that king’s grand-uncle named Asoka, who was true to his engagements, then supported the earth.
    102. That king, who had extinguished sin and had accepted the teaching of Buddha, covered Suskaletra and Vistastara with numerous stupas.
    103. In the Dharmaranya Vihara in Vitastara town the Caitya built by him was so high that eye could not see the extent of its height.
    104. Possessing ninety-six lakhs of dwelling houses resplendent with prosperity, that illustrious king founded the magnificent city of Srinagari.
    105. After removing the dilapidated enclosures of stucco of the sacred shrine of Vijayesa, the sinless one had a rampart of stone constructed.
    106. Within the enclosure and near Vijayesa, he, who had extinguished sorrow, had two temples built known as Asokaevara”.

    Here, in the verse 102, the word “Jina” is taken as “Buddha”, which is not correct. The “Buddhism” came out of “Jainism” instead of from “Brahmanism” or “Hinduism”, as popularly believed or historians made Indians to believe so. Note the words mentioned within inverted commas are mentioned as such only for understanding and not to be construed as acceptance of such concepts or differences in any context. The inscriptions attributed to “Askoa” by the historians – the British history writers and the Indian historians, who faithfully followed – actually pertain to three different personalities –

    6 Asoka – the Jaina ruler flourished during 1400 BCE
    6 An Indian King who conquered all Indian and foreign Kings up to Egypt including Persia, Greece, Egypt rulers.
    6 Askoa – the Buddhist ruler flourished 250 BCE.

    But, the “historians” clubbed them and declared as “Asokan Rock Edicts”, wherein, the owners of inscriptions have been clearly given as follows:

    Devanampiya / Devanampriya.
    Piyadasi / Priyadarsi.
    Piyadasan / Piyadesan.
    Devanampiya Piyadasi.
    Devanampriya Piyadarsi.
    Asoka (Only Maski and Gujjar inscriptions).

    Coming to the material evidence, the stupas built were in existence when Hiuen Tsang visited Kashmir. When he was there, evidently, Kashmir was dominated with Buddhism. As the stupas are not found now, it is evident that after 7th century, they were destroyed by the Muslims. Incidentally, the name of Kasmira does not occur in the Rock Edicts attributed to Asoka. Thus, it is evident that the Asokas mentioned here are different. Thus, the inscriptions of both Asokas must have been mixed up and they have to be separated. Here, it has to be noted that if the inscriptions of Asoka, the Jain are separated, they have to be placed at c.1400 BCE, which the British did not want, as then, the date of Indian script goes before the Greeks.

    Kashmiris know the fact about the existence of Asoka at least 900 years before the Asoka of historians. Therefore, doubting Kalhana is doubting history and that is what exactly done by the British history writers with their unhistorical methodology. Not only that, they also started suppressing and destroying such books which tell the truth about Asoka. H. H. Wilson in his “The Hindu History of Kashmir” has recorded interesting details on Asoka, which are repeated by F. M. Hassnain as follows:

    “Nagas ruled over Kashmir before 1260 BCE, while Asoka of Kashmir started his reign in 1182 BCE. This has resulted in creating a confusion about the Asoka of Kashmir. Hence, it appears that the Asoka of Kashmir is some different personality from the Asoka of Magadha. Kasmiri Asoka was the son of Sachinara and great-grandson of Sakuni, while the Indian Asoka was the son of Bindusara. There is gap of 900 years between the two. Indian Asoka was the chief patron of Buddhism and he deputed missionaries to various countries, the Kashmiri Asoka patronized the Buddhist as well as the Saivist faiths. While edicts of the Indian asoka contain detailed description of the countries, where Buddhist missionary activities were patronized by him. None of the edicts contain the name of Kashmir in it. Not a single inscription or edict of Asoka has been located in Kashmir, which is a mountainous country”.

    H. H. Wilson in 1849 maintained that there was nothing demonstrably “Buddhist” in any of the Rock Inscriptions, attributed to Asoka. The expression “Devanampiya Piyadasi” was forced to indicate Asoka and the debate among Wilson, Kern, Burnouf, Senart, Buhler, Prinsep, Burgess and others clearly expose their unhistorical intention rather than historical compulsion for such identification. Though, D. R. Bhandarkar pointed out thatH. H. Wilson ventured to dispute Asoka’s faith and Edward Thomas held that Asoka was a Jaina at first but became a Buddhist afterwards, he maintained that Asoka was a Buddhist without even whispering about the Asoka of Kashmir. As usual Vincent A. Smith (1848-1920) sat on the issue and decided that Asoka was the Buddhist who issued the inscriptions and thus, Indian history was placed within the “sheet anchor” chronology. He used to respond in the Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, whenever, any view was expressed about the identity of Asoka or taking antiquity before 326 BCE.

    I would be grateful, if our “history” friends could throw more light on the subject matter.

    1. The fact that at there were two Asokas had been known to the British scholars in the context.

    2. As pointed out one Asoka of Kashmir flourished during c.1400 BCE. He is mentioned as a “Jain” or “Buddhist” suppoting Saiva religion also.

    3. Another personality, as identified by the British as “Asoka” flourished during c.270 BCE., who is projected as a Buddhist, but the grand son of a Jain, who had chosen to come to Sravanabelagola and die “facing north”.

    4. So, if we go by the interpretation the British and based on the Rajatarangini, the following are the possibilities:

    È Asoka, the Jain Ruler flourished c.1400 BCE in Kashmir Based on Rajatarangini).
    È Asoka, the Buddhist fourished c.1400 BCE in Maghada (based on Rajatarangini and Puranas).
    È Asoka, the Jain Ruler flourished c.270 BCE in Kashmir (Edward Thomas, H. H. Wilson).
    È Asoka, the Jain converted to Buddhism flourished c. 1400 BCE / c.270 BCE (Edward Thomas).
    È Asoka, the Buddhist fourished c.270 BCE in Maghada (most of the modern historians).

    5. However, in identifying the countries mentioned in the inscriptions and the kings thereof, the scholars have not been unanimous. Therefore, in between, there must have been a king who conquered the countries mentioned and he could be Vikramaditya, as he has also been suppressed and dubbed as “mythical king” by the British.

    The Buddhist texts clearly talk about two Asokas existed:

    “A celebrated Indian king of the Morya dynasty which reigned at Magadha. There were two Asokas in reality, according to the chronicles of Northern Buddhism, though the first Asoka — the grandfather of the second, named by Prof. Max Muller the “Constantine of India”, was better known by his name of Chandragupta. It is the former who was called, Piadasi (Pali) “the beautiful”, and Devanam-piya “the beloved of the gods”, and also Kalasoka; while the name of his grandson was Dharmasoka — the Asoka of the good law — on account of his devotion to Buddhism. Moreover, according to the same source, the second Asoka had never followed the Brahmanical faith, but was a Buddhist born. It was his grandsire who had been first converted to the new faith, after which he had a number of edicts inscribed on pillars and rocks, a custom followed also by his grandson. But it was the second Asoka who was the most zealous supporter of Buddhism; he, who maintained in his palace from 60 to 70,000 monks and priests, who erected 84,000 topes and stupas throughout India, reigned 36 years, and sent missions to Ceylon, and throughout the world. The inscriptions of various edicts published by him display most noble ethical sentiments, especially the edict at Allahabad, on the so-called “Asoka’s column”, in the Fort. The sentiments are lofty and poetical, breathing tenderness for animals as well as men, and a lofty view of a king’s mission with regard to his people, that might be followed with great success in the present age of cruel wars and barbarous vivisection”.

    How the Asoka of Kashmir is different?

    The discussion of George Buhler, E. Hultzsch and John Faithful Fleet on Kalhana, Rajatarangini, Kashmir history, chronology of India, and connected issues:

    First, let us see what Buhler writes:

    “I would not fill the intervals between the historically certain dates of Asoka, Kanishka and Durlabhaka by cutting down the years of the kings placed between them by Kalhana. But, I would altogether ignore all Kashmirian kings for those existence we have no evidence from other sources, be it through Indian or foreign writers, or through coins, buildings and inscriptions. If Kalhana had merely given stories reported by Suvrata and other predecessors, there might be a hope that we could re-arrange them. But, we do not know what materials he had, nor how he traced them, if any particular case he lengthened or shortened the reigns and if he disposed or added kings or not. General Cunnigham’s constant search for Kashmirian coin, which as I learn from his private letters is attended with good results, will eventually throw a great deal of light on this dark period of Kashmirian history. Full certainty regarding the era of Guptas, which now seems to be near at hand, will also assist in settling the dates of some kings’ especially of Toramana, Matrigupta and Pravarsena.

    “For the period which begins with the Karkota dynasty not much remains to be done. The discovery of the initial date of Saptarishi or Laukika era which I obtained in Kashmir, makers it possible to fix the reigs of Avantivarman with perfect accuracy. The beginning of the Saptarishi era is placed by the Kashmirians on Chaitra Sudi I of the twenty fifth year of the Kaliyuga amd 24th year, or 1148 AD, in which Kalhana wrote, is consequently the Saptarishi year 4224. For,

    From Kaliyuga 25 to the beginning of the Saka era is 3154
    From Saka Samvat 1 to Kalhana’s time (1148 AD) is 1070
    Total Saptarishi years 4224
    My authorities for placing the beginning of the Saptarishi era in Kali 25 are the following. First, P. Dayaram Josti gave me the subjoined verse, the origin of which he did not know:

    कलेगतैः सायक नेतऱ सपतषिवया खिदिवं पयाताः।
    लोके हि संवतरपतरिकायां सपतषिं मानं परवदंति संतः॥
    Kalergathaiha sayaka netra varsaiha saptarshavarsha kidhivam prayataha
    Loke hi samvasarapatrikayam satarsha manam pravadhanti santaha.
    [For authority, I have typed the verse, but for certain words, I could not add reflexions etc., so excuse me for such wrongly appearing typing]

    “When the years of the Kaliyuga marked by the ‘arrows’ and the ‘eyes’ (i.e, the five and two, or, as Indians dates have to be read backwards, 25) had elapsed, the most excellent seven Rishis ascended to heaven. For in the calendar used in the wold the virtuous declare the computation of the Saptarsishi (years to begin from that point)”. Pandit Dayaram explained the verse as I have done in the above translation and added that each Saptarishi year began on Chaoitra Sudi I and that its length was regulated by the customary mixing of Chandra and Sauramanas.

    “The correctness of his statement is confirmed by a passage in P. Sahebram’s Rajatatangini sangraha where the author says that the Saka year 1786 (AD 1864) in which he writes, corresponds to Kali 4965 and to Saptarishi or Laukika Samwat 4940. One of the copyists, to, who copied the Dhvanyaloka for me in September, 1875, gives in the colophon, as the date of his copy, the Saptarishi year 4951. These facts are sufficient to prove that P. Dayaram’s statement regarding the beginning of the Saptarishi era is not an invention of his own, but based on the general tradition of his country. I do not doubt for the moment that the calculation which throws the beginning of the Saptarishi era back to 3076 B.C., is worth no more than that which fixes the beginning of the Kaliyuga in 3101 B.C. But it seems to me certain that it is much older than Kalhana’s time, because his equation 24 = 1070 agrees with it. It may therefore be safely used for reducing the exactness the Saptarishi years, months and days mentioned in his work to the years of the Christian era. The results will be thus obtained will always closely agree with those gained by General Cunningham, who did use of the right key.” (Indian Antiquary vol. Ed. 1877, pp.264-268.)

    About Rajatarangini E. Hultzsch writes from Bangalore in the context –

    “In the matter of the adjustment of Kalahana’s chronology, Prof. Wilson considered in the subjects in the remarks attached to his abstract account; and Gen. Sir. A. Cunningham has dealt with in 1843, in his paper on “the ancient coinage of Kashmir” in the numismatic Chronicle, Vol. pp. 1-38. But no very satisfactory results at least for the early period, have as yet been attained, As good as illustration of this as can be wished for, is to be found in connection with the king Mihirakula. His initial date as deduced from Rajatarangini itself is Kaliuga Samwat 2397 expired or B.C. 704; and the end of his reign, seventy years later, Prof. H. H. Wilson brought him down to 200 B.C. (loc. Cit. p. 81). And Gen. Sir A. Cunningham arrived at the conclusion that he should be placed in A.D., (163 loc. cit. 18). With the help. however, of newly discovered inscriptions, which are the really safe guide, Dr, Fleet (ante. Vol XV , p252) has now shown that his true date was un the beginning of the sixth century A.D, that as nearly as possible the commencement of his career was in 5215 AD and that AD 530, or very soon after, was the year in which his power in India was overthrown, after which he proceeded to Kashmir and established himself there. This illustrates very pointed by the extent of the adjustments that will have to be made in Kalhana’s earlier details; and furnishes us with a definite point from which chronology may be regulated backwards and forwards for a considerable time. A similar earlier point is provided by Kalhana’s mention, in Taranga I, verse 18, of Turuksha king Kanishka, who, according to his account, was anterior by two reigns to BC 1182, the date of the accession of Gonanda III, but who us undoubtedly the king Kanishka, from the commencement of whose reign in all probability runs the Saka era, commencing in 77 AD. And a still earlier point is furnished by Kalhana’s mention of king Asoka in Taranga I verse 101. According to Kalhana, he stood five reigns before 1182 BC……………” (E. Hultzsch, second paper in Indian Antiquary, Vol.XVIII, pp.65-66).

    “Kalhana’s narrative opens with a fragmentary account of 52 kings who were supposed to have reigned for 1266 years. The earliest definite strasight-point taken by him is the Coronation of Yudhistira; his authority for which (verse56) is a verse given by Varahamihira in the Brihat Samhita XIII-3, as being according to the opinion of Vriddha Garga.

    “When king Yudhistira ruled the earth, the (seven) seers (i.e, the constellation of Ursa Major) were in the (Nakshatra) Magha; the Saka era (is) 2526 (years after the commencement) of his reign. Accordingly, the coronation of Yuddhistira took place 2526 years before the commencement of the Saka era, or at the expiration of Kaliyuga Samva 653 (verse 51) and in 2448 BC. Kalhana himself was writing (verse 52) in Saka Samvat current i.e, 1148-49 AD.

    “At this present moment in the twenty-fourth Laukika year (of the popular Kashmiri reckoning by cycles of a hundred years) there have gone by one thousand years increased by seventy of the Saka era. And as an intermediate point, but now arrived at he does not expolain, he had the accession of the fifty-third king Gonanda III, which took place on the whole, roughly 2330 years before his own time i.e, in 1182 BC” (Ibid. p.66). [emphasis added by me].

    The above discussion clearly points out the following:

    6 The scholars knew the importance of Kalhana’s work in Indian history and chronology.
    6 The dates mentioned have close linkage with the era followed, which tallies.
    6 However, they wanted to reduce the reign of many Indian kings, leave some kings conveniently with scant regard for history.
    6 They knew the Asoka of Kashmir, who was ruling before the Maurya Asoka.
    6 Kalhana places him in 1448-1400 BCE, which upset their chronology, because, all the existing monuments, inscriptions, coins and other evidences had to be separated to these periods.
    6 Incidentally, there had been reports about the missing of certain manuscripts of Rajatarangini also.

    I would be very much obliged, if the AE members could throw more light on the subject matter.

    • the inscriptions read by d.c. circar also shows that asoka built stupas and monastry in srinagara of kashmir. then how we may accept two asokas?

      • K. V. Ramakrishna Rao says:

        Historians claim that they go by historical evidences.

        Thus, if evidences point to the existences of two personalities, that too, with distinguishable historical characteristics, then, historians must have treated them separately.

        But, it is evident that Vincent Arthur Smith made both as one personality, and that is why historically, the “Jaina Asoka” always confronts “Buddha Asoka” with inscriptions and Sanskrit literature too!

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