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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Alternate date of the birth of the Buddha


Antiquity and Continuity of Indian History : Part 5
(From Swayambhuva Manu to Gupta Dynasty)

by Dr. Prasad Gokhale

14. Gautam Buddha


Modern history tends to inform readers that Gautama was born around
550 B.C. and died after about 80 years. Kota Venkatachalam, writes
in his book "The Age of Buddha, Milinda and King Amtiyoka and Yuga
Purana" that, "Due to his wrong identification of Maurya
Chandragupta as the contemporary of Alexander, the history of
Bharat has been shifted by 12 centuries (and) it is the
Chandragupta of the Gupta dynasty who belongs to 327-320 B.C."
Thus, due to the confusion in pinpointing properly the "sheet
anchor" of Indian history, Lord Buddha's antiquity has been
underestimated by about 1200 years. Now that Chandragupta Maurya
reigned in 1550 B.C. (instead of 325 B.C.), the time when the
latter flourished can be calculation to be around 1850 B.C.
(instead of 550 B.C.).

All the Puranas and another historical compilation titled Kaliyug-
rajavruttanta, profess to describe the Magadha royal dynasties
starting from the Bruhadratha to the Andhra lineages, after which
the Magadha empire disintegrated. It is known from the Bhagavad
Puraan that Buddha was 23rd in the Ikshwaku lineage. However, the
list of Ikshwaku kings are not available. In order to determine the
date of Siddharta (Buddha), it is necessary to find the
contemporary kings in the Magadha genealogy. According to different
accounts, the Buddha was a contemporary of Kshemajita, Bindusar and
Ajatashatru, the 31st-33rd kings of the Shishunaga dynasty. The
Buddha was 72 years old when the coronation of Ajatashatru took
place, that is in 1814 B.C. Going backwards, the date of Buddha's
birth becomes 1887 B.C. Since he lived for 80 years, the Buddha
must have left the body in 1807 B.C.

This date can also be confirmed by purely referring to astronomical
calculations, and what is correctly and exactly obtained as the
date for Buddha's nirvana is 27-3-1807 (Sathe, Age of Buddha). This
date also explains the possibility of the existence of Buddhism in
the second millennium B.C., as was rejected earlier. The
astronomical computations of the indologist-astronomer Swami
Sakhyananda suggests that the Buddha belonged to the Kruttika
period, i.e., in between 2621-1661 B.C. In his book "Chronology of
Ancient Bharat" (Part4.Chap2), Prof. K.Srinivasaraghavan states the
approximate time of Buddha to be 2259 years after the Bharata War
(3138 B.C.). which turns out to be 1880 B.C.

Thyagaraja Aiyer in his book "Indian Architecture" observes," Here
lies Indian Sramanacharya from Bodh Gaya, a Shakya monk taken to
Greece by his Greek pupils and the tomb marks his death about 1000
B.C." If the Buddhist monk went to Greece in 1000 B.C., then the
Buddha must have lived at least a few centuries earlier. Somayajulu
places Chandragupta Maurya in the 14th century B.C (ref: Dates in
Ancient History of India). This puts the Buddha three centuries
earlier, i.e., in the 17th century B.C. A brief chronology of the
events in Buddha's life:Born in 1887 B.C., Renunciation in 1858
B.C., Penance during 1858-52 B.C and Death in 1807 B.C.

There are various other calculations and evidences which point to
the 1800 B.C. date. However, it is believed that, at least for this
article, the presentation made above suffices to convince and
ascertain the date of Buddha. After determining these dates, the
time location of yet another savant of ancient India, Mahaveer,
becomes easy.

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