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Dwaraka - A Hindu Wisdom

Dwaraka Hindu Epics such as Mahabharata have often been described as myths. “On the same day that Krishna departed from the earth, t...

Dwaraka
Dwaraka
Hindu Epics such as Mahabharata have often been described as myths. “On the same day that Krishna departed from the earth, the powerful dark-bodied Kali Age descended. The oceans rose and submerged the whole of Dwaraka.“ According to Vishnu Purana - Dwaraka was submerged by the sea right after the death of Lord Krishna. This was regarded as a grandiose metaphor, part of a story filled with great myths. In the early eighties, an important archaeological site was found in India, at Dwaraka, the site of the legendary city of Lord Krishna.  Now, it is discovered that the whole coast of western India sank by nearly 40 feet around 1500 B.C. E. Why is that the rediscovery of Dwaraka has not attracted the same degree of attention in the West, like that of ancient Troy by Heinrich Schliemann?

The first clear historical record is dated 574 A.D. and occurs in the Palitana Plates of Samanta Simhaditya. This inscription refers to Dwaraka as the capital of the western coast of Saurashtra and still more important, states that Sri Krishna lived here. The establishment of one of the four of his pithas at Dwaraka by Sankaracharya attests to the great religious sanctity the place must have attained by the eighth century A.D.

Dr. S R Rao has written: "The discovery of the legendary city of Dwaraka which is said to have been founded by Sri Krishna, is an important landmark in the history of India. It has set to rest the doubts expressed by historians about the historicity of Mahabharata and the very existence of Dwaraka city. It has greatly narrowed the gap in Indian history by establishing the continuity of the Indian civilization from the Vedic Age to the present day."

Here is a report about the latest excavations done by Dr. S.R. Rao of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the National Institute of Oceanography of India. Following this report are a few articles and images.

The Towering personality of Lord Krishna
Sri Krishna is a towering personality and it is difficult to separate the human aspect of his life from the divine in Krishna concept. He is a grand mystery and everyone has tried to understand him in his own way, according to his spiritual light or vision. The Yogis considered him to be the absolute truth, the Gopis the highest object of love, the warriors as an ideal hero, Kamsa as an object of fear and Sisupala as an object of hate.

Whether one thinks of him as an object of love or hate, one attains him. Yudhishthira attained him through friendship and Narada by devotion. Krishna is the embodiment of intellectual and spiritual glory. No other single idea has so much influenced the course of India's religion, philosophy, art and literature as the life and personality of Krishna. As a child he was wonderful, as a youth, he was physically most perfect and beautiful. as an intellectual, he was the very embodiment of Vedic scholarship and his teachings in the Gita embody the immortal message of desireless action, knowledge and single-minded devotion. "As a fighter, he was without rival, as a statesman most shrewd, as a social thinker very liberal, as a teacher the most eloquent, as a friend never failing, and as a householder the most idea." It is with his help that the Pandavas were able to overcome all opponents and win the battle of Mahabharata.

In the words of Annie Wood Besant (1847-1933) was an active socialist on the executive committee of the Fabian Society along with George Bernard Shaw. "He (Krishna) is so fundamentally the God, who is human in everything, who bends in human sympathy over the cradle of the babe, who sympathizes with the play of the youth, who is the friend of the lover, the blesser of the bridegroom and the bride, who smiles on the young mother when her firstborn lies in her arms, everywhere the God of love and human happiness; what wonder that his winsome grace has fascinated the hearts of men."

(source: Discourses on Hindu Avataras - By Annie Wood Besant). 

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Sister Nivedita - Margaret Noble (1867-1911 wrote: "The Grand Personality that towers over Kurukshetra and enunciates the body of doctrines which all India knew....to be the core of dharma combines within himself the divinity of the Indian Shiva, the virility of the Greek Heracles, the simplicity of the Judian Christ, the tenderness of the Buddha, the calm, austerity and learning of any teacher of the Upanishads."

It is, however, essential to note that the Mahabharata itself treats Krishna both as a God and as a man, so does its essential part of the Gita. (IX. II).

The first possible recorded instance of a Krishna who may be identified with the deity can be found in the Chandogya Upanishad (ca. 900 BCE). The teacher Ghora Angirasa discusses the nature of the soul with Krishna, the son of Devaki. However, this teacher is never mentioned in connection with Krishna in later works nor does any ancient or medieval author quote this instance of Krishna, the deity. The exact words that Ghora speaks are treated by some as praise of Krishna and most others as a praise of the Atman, whose knowledge being imparted to Krishna. The doctrine taught by Ghora matches with the Bhagavad-gita and the name of the mother is the same as in later Krishna traditions.

Panini (ca. 5th century BCE), in his Ashtadhyayi, explains the word "Vāsudevaka" as a Bhakta (devotee) of Vāsudeva. This, along with the mention of Arjuna in the same context, indicates that the Vāsudeva here is Krishna.
From 180-165 BCE, the Greek ruler Agathocles issued coins with images of Vasudeva holding a chakra.
In the 4th century BCE, Megasthenes the Greek ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya says that the Sourasenoi (Surasena), who lived in the region of Mathura worshipped Herakles. This Herakles is usually identified with Krishna due to the regions mentioned by Megasthenes as well as similarities between some of the heroic acts of the two. Megasthenes also mentions that his daughter Pandaia ruled in south India. The south indeed had the kingdom of the Pandyas with the capital at Madhura (Madurai), the name similar to if not the same as Krishna's Mathura.

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The great grammarian Patanjali, who wrote his commentary the Mahabhashya upon Panini's grammar about 150 BCE, quotes a verse to the following effect: May the might of Krishna accompanied by Samkarshana increase! One verse speaks of Janardana with himself as fourth (Krishna with three companions, the three possibly being Samkarshana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha). Another verse mentions musical instruments being played at meetings in the temples of Rama (Balarama) and Kesava (Krishna). Patanjali also describes dramatic and mimetic performances (Krishna-Kamsopacharam) representing the killing of Kamsa by Vasudeva.

Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador in the court of Chandragupta Maurya (4th century B.C) makes the first reference to the deification of Vasudeva. He says that Heracles (who is closest to Krishna-Vasudeva) was held in high regard by the Sourasenoi (Surasenas) who possessed two large cities namely Methora (Mathura) and Cleisobora (Krishnapura, that is Vraja and Vrindavana). Apart from references by Megasthenes to the deification of Krishna-Vasudeva, Buddhist texts mention the existence of shrines dedicated to Vasudeva (Krishna) and Baladeva (Balarama).

Heliodorus, the son of Dia (Dion), a resident of Taxila had come to Besnagar as an envoy of the Greek king Antalikata (Antialkidas) to the court of Kasiputra Bhagabhadra during his 14th regnal year. Antialkidas is placed between 175-135 B.C. The Greek king Agathocles (2nd century B. C) was also devoted to the Bhagavata cult. The figures of Krishna and Balarama are shown on his coins found in the excavations at Al-Khanuram in Afghanistan.

1) Trini amutapadani‹[su] anuthitani 2) nayamti svaga damo chago apramado "Three immortal precepts (footsteps)... when practiced lead to heaven-self-restraint, charity, consciousness." From this inscription, it is clear Heliodorus was a Vaisnava, a devotee of Visnu. He also had written on his column’s inscription that "Three immortal precepts when practiced lead to heaven–self-restraint, charity, and conscientiousness." These three virtues appear in the exact same order in the great epic - The Mahabharata.

(For more refer to The Heliodorus Column - gosai.com). Refer to Vrindanet - Poland

The column was ordered by Heliodurus, a Greek or Greek-named envoy of the Indo-Bactrian king, Antialkidas. He came to the court of King Kasiputra Bhagabhadra, the ruler of the Besnagar area, from Taxila. To celebrate his conversion into Hinduism a pillar was erected which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Heliodorus calls himself a devotee of Krishna/Vasudeva, one of the names of Visnu. Such offerings were common in fulfillment of religious vows (thus 'votive' offerings) at that time. This same column has survived to the present and is one of the primary pieces of evidence used to prove the existence of Vasudeva-Krishna (Krishna-Balarama) worship in the pre-Christian era. On the column erected in Besnagar in central India near Vidisha, north of Madhyapradesh State, at 113 BC (sometimes also dated 140/150 BC ) he calls himself a worshiper of Vasudeva (Vishnu). This is the first known record that other than Indian-born person became a follower of Vishnu (Vaishnava).

"This Garuda-column of Vasudeva (Visnu), the god of gods, was erected here by Heliodorus, a worshiper of Visnu, the son of Dion, and an inhabitant of Taxila, who came as Greek ambassador from the Great King Antialkidas to King Kasiputra Bhagabhadra, the savior, then reigning prosperously in the fourteenth year of his kingship." (Transliteration and translation of this ancient Brahmi inscription was published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (London: JRAS, Pub., 1909, pp. 1053-54.)

Dr. S. Radhakrishan wrote: "The Bhagavad Gita is "both metaphysics and ethics Brahma vidya and yoga Shastra, the science of reality and the art of union with reality. The truths of spirit can be apprehended only by those who prepare themselves for their reception by rigorous disciplines"

Dwaraka had found a place in the texts on grammar, for Panini, the great grammarian, refers to Cakragirti, which is identified with Cakratirtha at the mouth of the river Gomati where Dwaraka is situated. The durgavidhana and durganivesa prakaranas of the Arthasastra of Kautilya prescribe the layout of a city. The description of Dwaraka in the Mahabharata and Jnata-dharma-katha as large, well-fortified and prosperous due to sea trade confirms hat it was a port city.

More Page Links:

Dwaraka – The Importance of Heritage

Legend of Dwaraka - By T. R. Gopaalakrushnan

Underwater museum, in Dwaraka yet to surface

Dwaraka museum in Gujarat likely to throw light on Indus Valley civilization 

Dwarka remains may soon be protected as underwater world cultural heritage site - By Rajesh Kumar

Dwarika - The Eternal City  - By Brinda Ramesh

Dwarka site pre-dates civilization

The Flooding of Dwaraka and the descent of the Kali Yuga - By Graham Hancock