Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Non-Jonesian Indology and Alexander"

Ancient India 600 BC (wikipedia)

Book Description
The book is an attempt to free Indology of its Jonesian fetters. The author holds that Megasthenes’ Palibothra was not Patna as Jones wrote but Kahnuj in Magan, which was the early Magadha. The center of early India was in the northwest, and greater India extended up to Southeast Iran.

From a study of Stephanus, Pliny and other sources it is shown that Palibothra was in Southeast Iran, which was then known as "India." Ignoring Jones' hypothesis, the Nandas, Chandragupta, Chanakya, and Asoka are relocated in the northwest without any great difficulty.

There are important clarifications regarding Kanauj and the Maukharis. It is shown that Asoka was the same as the Indo-Greek king Diodotus-I and that Kanik of Purushapura is Alexander. Another suggestion of utmost importance is that the Sanskrit drama, Mudrarakshasa, contains priceless material relevant to the history of Alexander. After an arduous campaign in Gedrosia Alexander defeated Moeris or Chandragupta Maurya of Prasii at Kahnuj in Southeast Iran, which was Palibothra.

The sage Kalanos who accompanied Alexander appears to be none other than the great Asvaghosa. Alexander may have patronized Buddhism long before Asoka, though his enthusiasm was not shared by all of his men. He loved power but, under the mellowing influence of Asvaghosa, succeeded in rising above the sensual domination that usually accompanies it. Finally, Seleucus’ special relations with Sasigupta hint at a conspiracy between the generals and Sasigupta-Chanakya (Bagoas) to poison Alexander.

A unique feature of the book is that its starting point is the message from the Indus seals, not literary tradition. It details a more or less straightforward strategy for deciphering the Indus seals. The underlying language is taken to be a mixture of Sanskrit and Dravidian. Here a major point of departure is the assertion that India (or Bharata as it was called) designated not only Melukhkha or the Indus cities but also Dilmun and Magan.

The author claims to have found the seals of Manu, the great priest-king of Dilmun, Magan, and Melukhkha. Some seals appear to be linked to sea-trade with the Persian Gulf (Madhyatarani) area. Another seal, which reads "Pancha Sila" ["Five Precepts"] may be linked to primitive Buddhism. There is a report in the seals of a battle that may be linked to the Bharata War.

Seistan and Southeast Iran were clearly within early India. Seistan appears in the seals as Ukshanira, which echoes Shinar of the Bible. Seistan was called "India" in early Christian sources. The author agrees with the view of R. Thapar that Gujrat was a part of ancient Dilmun.

The Buddha
The book unveils a totally unknown Gotama. The western affiliations of Buddhism were known to H. C. Raychaudhuri and others, but their vision was clouded by a Jonesian enchantment. Here some of the pictures seem to do the actual talking.

New light is also shed on ancient names like Luipad, Tissa, and so on. The author holds that the mysterious Isigili Sutta pertains to the holy Esagila of Babylon. The reading, Mahakal Dvara Uksha, of an Indus seal was first given in this paper.

Of all the topics discussed in this book, the location of Kapilavastu, the birthplace of the Buddha, may be the most important. As pointed out in the first article, it was situated not in Nepal but at Kuh-e Khwaja in Seistan, where Sir Aurel Stein discovered a Buddhist monastery in 1916.

A Kapilavastu in Seistan dramatically alters world history. Although the subject is not treated in any depth, there are broad hints at an Ur-heimat of all religions at Kabil or Babil in Seistan. The Patriarch Abraham may have started his westward journey in the eighteenth century BC from Babil in Seistan, which was also known as Ur.

Both Stein and Herzfeld realized the crucial importance of Seistan. Herzfeld wrote that the three Magi went to pay homage to Jesus from Kuh-e Khwaja.

From the Publisher
The book offers a fresh perspective in the history of Indo-Iran. Approaching age-old ideas with a scientific dimension, Ranajit Pal has shattered the half-truths about ancient India's glorious past.

Extensively quoting from primary sources, the author has succeeded in shifting the till-date linear perceptions that have riddled ancient Indian history. It is a fascinating account that begins with Manu, lord of Dilmun, Magan, and Melukhkha. There is irrefutable evidence indicating that Palibothra was in the northwest, and that "Gomata" was the true Gotama. Kapilavastu, again in the northwest, was the holiest religious center of the ancient world. The work has very important ramifications for the history of Alexander the Great.

Painstakingly researched, analyzed in depth, and a concentrated effort at challenging the bastions of fallacies, this labor of hard work is a must for the history buff.

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