Thursday, July 25, 2024

Nilesh Oak interviews Jeevan Rao, the author of the book Yuganta

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Jeevan Rao is a young researcher, writer, speaker, and IT consultant. He writes extensively on forgotten, least-discussed aspects of ancient Indian history. Jeevan aims to create awareness and understanding of the forgotten aspects of the Indian civilisation in an easily comprehensible way through simple language and strong logical reasoning. “Yuganta – The Advent of Kali Yuga” is Jeevan’s debut book and he has plans for more in the future. The range of his research spans finding the beginning of the Kali Yuga, the dating of Adi Shankaracharya, re-identifying Vishwamitra star, identifying the city Vatsyapura along the Indian meridian, locating Ravana’s Lanka, tracking the location of Jatayu’s fall and many more.

Shri Nilesh Oak interviews Shri Jeevan Rao about the claims and evidence presented in his book “Yuganta – The Advent of Kali Yuga”. The book “Yuganta” exhaustively explores the textual evidence of Mahabharata, Puranas, Surya Siddhanta, and many others to clear up the Yuga confusion and delusion of at least the last 1500 years.  The insights in the book have serious implications for correcting the chronology of Indian civilization and for the truthful narrative of India’s contributions to world civilizations.

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Nilesh Oak (NO): You have written a book on Yuganta and that is referring to the end of Dwapara and the beginning of Kali Yuga. We all know that the Panchang and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad calendar give a year as ‘Yugabdha’, and it is registered deep in the psyche of Indian intellect that Dwapara ended and Kali Yuga began in 3102 BCE.

If you agree with this, then why need a book stating the same?

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Jeevan Rao (JR): Glad that you brought up the calendar mentioning Yugabdha with 3102 BCE as the reference point. That in itself should provide a clue regarding the usage of the epoch 3102 BCE. That is, purely for calendrical/time-keeping purposes. The problem starts when you link this “calendrical epoch” with the dating of Mahabharata.

My book, “Yuganta” is to demonstrate to the readers the problems with this connection that we have made with the Mahabharata and 3102 BCE date.

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NO: If you are saying the beginning of Kali Yuga in 3102 BCE is not correct, I have two questions for you:

  1. Why it is not correct?


  1. Who created this myth of Kali Yuga in 3102 BCE?

JR: Answering your first question, the traditional claim for the date 18-2-3102 BCE has 3 components with it.

  • Sri Krishna Nirvana happened on that day
  • Kali Yuga began on that day
  • The day was of Ashwini Nakshatra

You can condense these into Chronology and Astronomy aspects of the 3102 BCE date.

  • Chronologically: Kali Yuga began with Sri Krishna’s Nirvana, 36 years after the Mahabharata War
  • Astronomically: Kali Yuga began on Ashwini nakshatra.

Now, this 3102 BCE date cannot be the Kali Yuga described in the Mahabharata because…the Mahabharata emphatically contradicts both of these aspects of 3102 BCE!

Coming to your second question, about who created this myth of Kali Yuga in 3102 BCE…

It’s a tricky question to answer, but with the available evidence, my current research points towards Bhaskara I as the man behind this link of 3102 BCE with the Kali Yuga tradition. So, you can say that this tradition of the Kali epoch at 3102 BCE has been in vogue at least since the last 1500 years.

NO: What do the Puranas and the Mahabharata say about the beginning of Kali Yuga?

JR: There is no one equivocal claim/tradition in the Puranas. I can summarize the Kali Yuga traditions of Puranas as:

  • Krishna was born after the advent of Kali Yuga
  • Kali Yuga by the time of the death of Kaalayavana
  • Kali Yuga began after the Kurukshetra War
  • Kali Yuga began with Krishna’s Nirvana
  • Buddha was born at the junction of Kali Yuga.

All this is just concerning the first day of the Kali Yuga from the Puranas. You will find that it’s the same case for the Astronomical or Genealogical aspects of Kali Yuga in the Puranas.

On the other hand, the Mahabharata is very clear in its stand on Kali Yuga. It gives multiple clear chronological markers and an explicit Astronomy pointer to map the beginning of Kali Yuga.

According to the Mahabharata, Kali Yuga began on the last day of the War and on Pushya Nakshatra.

NO: I am convinced of your work, but how does vast Indic, Hindu, Vedic, and Dharmic folks/population overcome the dogma of 1500+ years and correct the course? After all, the likes of Samartha Ramadas Swami (17th century) or Shrila Madhvacharya (12/13th century) have also employed this assumption of 3102 BCE.

JR: We must understand that any person/commentator is a product of his time. We already saw that 3102 BCE got linked with Kali Yuga from Bhaskara I’s time itself. That is almost 600 years before Sri Madhvacharya. And 600 years is a long enough time for any tradition to get completely assimilated into the psyche of the majority. Take for example the tradition of “Lakshman Rekha”. In the Valmiki Ramayana, there is no mention of Lakshman drawing any line before Sita. This incident is first mentioned by the Ramacharitmanas of Sant Tulsidas where he writes “Ramanuja laghu Rekha kichai”. But hasn’t the Lakshman Rekha become one of the most iconic incidents of Ramayana within the span of 400-500 years? Sabari’s Jhoota-Khana episode from the Odia Ramayana is another example where a later-day interpretation became entrenched in the minds of the folks.

What’s interesting is, even though this 3102 BCE tradition of Kali Yuga was already in vogue for the last 600 years, Sri Madhvacharya claims that Kali Yuga began on the last day of the War, instead of the mainstream claim of 36 years after the war. And my explanation for his acceptance of the 3102 BCE date is, that the Puranas just call the Kali Yuga as Pushya Yuga, but does not specify the reason for it. This might have led Madhvacharya to not see an issue with the Ashwini nakshatra of 3102 BCE. But luckily, we find the answer to this Pushya mystery in the Mahabharata and it contradicts the 3102 BCE tradition of Kali Yuga.

NO: How does your work on the timing of Kali Yuga differs from everything else that is written about the beginning of Kali Yuga?

JR: There have been multiple works in the past regarding the beginning of Kali Yuga and multiple dating efforts of Mahabharata using this date of Kali Yuga. My work is different from those because the conclusions of my research are based solely on the evidence of the Mahabharata text. My work is different because I have not cherry-picked a single reference from a single Purana to prove my point. My work is different because, I have not challenged the prevalent tradition, but I have challenged the assumptions that were employed during the creation of the prevalent tradition. More importantly, while most of the previous dating effort was done by starting with the Kali Yuga date and then arriving at a Mahabharata date, my research showed that it is, in fact, the opposite. It is the dating of Kali Yuga that is dependent on the date of the Mahabharata war.

NO: There are many researchers who are aware that their claims are not corroborated by Mahabharata evidence (be it the year of the Mahabharata war or the beginning of Kali Yuga). Therefore, they ignore the Mahabharata but embrace Puranas, and similarly ignore the Mahabharata statements but embrace the statements of epigraphs. If asked why they ignore the Mahabharata evidence for determining the events of or related to Mahabharata, they say the texts we have today consist of interpolations and pathabheda.

Ordinary folks are confused enough (or convinced enough) by this time. What can you say about these attempts of Indic researchers to circumvent the Mahabharata text while blindly trusting Puranas and epigraphs and later Indic narrations?

JR: I would say there is nothing wrong in referring to the Puranas or other Indic narratives. In fact, I have quoted at least 10 different Puranas and multiple other Indian narratives in my book. But it is extremely important to know the stature of the evidence. No matter which Purana says what about the Mahabharata or Kali Yuga, it’s always going to be a piece of secondary evidence. A secondary source can be of immense value to find corroborations. But just that. Corroborations.

My claim is very simple, Mahabharata text is the primary source for anything related to the Mahabharata. Mahabharata text reserves the right to be the first text to be analysed for events related to it. One can consider any other text as a primary source only when the Mahabharata fails to provide any information or reference about a topic.

But we know that Mahabharata is not silent about the Kali Yuga. Mahabharata’s descriptions of Kali Yuga are legitimate internal evidence of the text. So, the burden of proof lies on the other researchers to prove why he/she has not considered the Mahabharata as the primary source for Kali Yuga. Hitchens’s razor applies.

What is claimed without an explanation can be dismissed without explanation.

NO: Why is the determination of the dating of Kali Yuga beginning or that of Mahabharata important? And what will you say to those who say dating is not important and we should focus on the message (adhyatmic, statecraft, social, health, and prosperity and virtues) that is embedded in the epics such as Mahabharata?

JR: The answer to this is a bit complex. In very simple terms what I can say is, finding the dates of the Epics may not be such a big deal in our Indian school of thought (or you can say, from a dharmic perspective). But, from a Raajyanga perspective, having a date for our ancient history is an absolute must for the current times if we have to defeat the Breaking-India forces. To give an example, establishing the date of Mahabharata before 2000 BCE will automatically debunk the Aryan invasion theory. Doesn’t it?

And conversely, if you have to debunk the Aryan invasion theory, one needs to prove that the geography/spatial sphere of Rigveda, and Mahabharata were within the subcontinent. And modern science has shown us that space is not just limited to a 3-dimensional plane, but there is another dimension of Time. That means knowing the space-time continuum or desh-kaala is a must to logically locate/point out any event of the past. This again requires one to pursue the dating of the Epics.

NO: If folks understand the types of Yugas and the specific Mahabharata tradition of Kali Yuga, they will stop asking the question. But there are always a few who will still ask, “So, when is the Kali Yuga ending?”. What have you found for the benefit of this crowd?

JR: As far as I know, we have at least 5 different theories for the end of Kali Yuga!

  • Mahabharata informs that Kali Yuga is of 1200 years. That means Kali ended somewhere around 4300 BCE, and we are now in Treta.
  • Yuga Purana points towards 58 BCE as the end of Kali and the beginning of Krita/Satya Yuga. We also find inscriptional corroboration for this claim.
  • Puranas assign 4,32,000 years for the duration of Kali Yuga. Thus, according to the Puranas, it can be safely concluded that Kali is not going away anytime soon.
  • According to Swami Yukteshwar Giri, the world is currently in Dwapara Yuga. As per him, Kali (I) ended in 499 CE and Kali (II) ended in 1699 CE.
  • As per Sadguru, Kali ended in 510 BCE and Treta will start in 2082 BCE.

As we can see, each of these theories drastically differs from one another. How can one identify which theory should take precedence over the other?

We are really lucky that we have Mahabharata as a contemporary source for the beginning of Kali Yuga, but unfortunately, I don’t know one in this case. I do not see Mahabharata as a primary source for the end of Kali Yuga because it is not a contemporary account of the event, but that is just my subjective conviction at this point. Take for example, Mahabharata has “Ramopakhyana” which narrates the entire Ramayana, but one cannot take this rendition as a primary source for research on Ramayana. Valmiki Ramayana is the primary source for researching Ramayana. You can use this narration of Mahabharata only for corroboration.

“The End of Kali Yuga” is an exciting topic eligible be a separate original research, just like “The Beginning of Kali Yuga” and if Shri Krishna permits, we shall get to see “Yuganta — The End of Kali Yuga” in the future!

NO: Lastly Jeevan, since there are folks at varied levels of Shraddha, Buddhi which results in dogmatic, dull, idiotic, and intelligent kinds of folks who can not only comprehend your new findings but will give up wrong beliefs (no matter how dear), what do you think is the best method to disseminate these wonderful insights you have derived from your multi-text study of the beginning of Kali Yuga?

JR: I am trying my best to take this research to as many folks as possible through my blogs, my books, and through talks and podcasts. But there is only so much that one individual can do. So, I would say the best approach is when each reader of Yuganta or each viewer of my talks takes up the baton of passing the information on themselves. I see quite a few comments requesting me to speak or write in their mother tongues so that their family could understand the information. But I would say, don’t let this one talk or my one blog be a dead end. You take up the task of explaining the stuff which you understood from my work to your family and friends. As Richard Feynman says, “If you cannot explain something in simple terms, you have not understood the concept”. Explaining to others is the best way to obtain a better understanding of a topic.

NO: As a concluding remark, I would like to say that Shri Jeevan’s book accomplishes much more than solving the unsolved, contentious, and tedious problem of the beginning of Kali Yuga. The book is written by a 23-year-old young Indian who began his research at 20! This alone is a great accomplishment and an excellent example for the young generation of Indians; and for its research acumen, worthy of imitation by all. It sets a high standard for both young and experienced researchers of Indology on how to select a problem, do Purva-Paksha, and conduct original research with the pure aim of finding the truth, uninhibited by the considerations of bias, dogma, or the lure of being in the limelight.

Read it. Gift it. Share and discuss the findings!


Below are the links to buy Yuganta-The Advent of Kali Yuga:

If you are in India:

For readers in the US:

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