Monday, August 22, 2011

Krishna History or Myth?

The Flooding of Dwaraka and the descent of the Kali Yuga
“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. “ 

-     Vishnu Purana - volume 2, p. 785. Nag Publishers New Delhi 1989.

Indian thought has traditionally regarded history and prehistory in cyclical rather than linear terms. In the West time is an arrow – we are born, we live, we die. But in India we die only to be reborn. Indeed, it is a deeply rooted idea in Indian spiritual traditions that the earth itself and all living creatures upon it are locked into an immense cosmic cycle of birth, growth, fruition, death, rebirth and renewal. Even temples are reborn after they grow old to be used safely – through the simple expedient of reconstruction on the same site. 

India conceives of four great epochs or ‘world ages’ of varying but enormous lengths: The Krita Yuga, the Treta Yuga, the Dvarpara Yuga and the Kali Yuga. At the end of each yuga a cataclysm, known as pralaya, engulfs the globe in fire or flood. Then from the ruins of the former age, like the Phoenix emerging from the ashes, the new age begins.   

The story of Dwaraka is tightly intertwined with this scheme of things. Reported in the ancient Indian epic of the Mahabharata and in later sacred texts such as the Bhagvata Purana and the Vishnu Purana, it straddles two of the great world ages.   

Towards the end of the most recent Dvarpara Yuga, the texts tells us, Dwaraka was a fabulous city founded on the north-west coast of India. Established and ruled over by Krishna, it was built on the site of an even earlier sacred city, Kususthali, on land that had been reclaimed from the sea: Krishna solicited a space of twelve furlongs from the ocean, and there he built the city of Dwaraka, defended by high ramparts. The gardens and the amenities of the city are praised, and we understand that it was a place of ritual and splendor.  

Years later, however, as the Dvarpara Yuga comes to an end, Krishna is killed. The Vishnu Purana reports: “On the same day that Krishna departed from the earth the powerful dark-embodied Kali Age descended. The ocean rose and submerged the whole of Dwaraka.

The Vishnu Purana reports: “On the same day that Krishna departed from the earth the powerful dark-embodied Kali Age descended. The ocean rose and submerged the whole of Dwaraka.  

(image source:  Hinduism and Ecology: Seeds of Truth - By Ranchor Prime).


In Book X of the Bhagvata Purana we read how Krishna used ‘his supernatural yogic powers’, in a crisis of battle, to transfer all his people to Dwaraka where he could protect them from the enemy in ‘a fortress inaccessible to human beings.’ 

“the lord caused a fortress constructed in the western sea. In the fortress he got built a city twelve yoganas (96 miles) in area and wonderful in every respect.  The building of the city exhibited the expertise in architecture and the skill in masonry of Tvastr, the architect of the gods. The roads, quadrangles, streets and residential areas were constructed in conformity to the prescribed tenets of science of architecture pertaining to city building. In the city, gardens planted with celestial trees and creepers and wonderful parks were laid out. It was built with sky-scraping, gold-towered buildings and balconies of crystals. It had barns built of silver and brass which were adorned with gold pitchers. The houses therein were of gold and big emeralds.” 

(source:  Underground: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization – By Graham Hancock  p. 108 - 128).

Preserve underwater cultural heritage of Dwarka, says expert 

Internationally renowned marine archaeologist Dr S R Rao today called for preservation of underwater cultural heritage, particularly the Dwarka city, believed to have been built by Lord Krishna in Gujarat.

Speaking at the 7th national conference on marine archaeology of Indian ocean countries at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Dr Rao regretted that many of the archaeological remains excavated were not preserved for posterity by the agency conducting the excavation.

He pointed to the neglect of the excavated Harappan site of Kalibangan. The Lothal site was, however, preserved and a museum built for it, he added.

Most of the important underwater sites of Dwarka excavated by the NIO's Marine Archaeology Centre (MAC) with funds from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Science and Technology and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) should have been preserved by a competent agency, he said.

With neither the CSIR nor the ASI having expertise to undertake conservation of a submerged city, the octogenarian archaeologist said he had prepared a project report in consultation with a number of organisations and individuals including the Indian Navy, research foundations and underwater construction engineers.

On the controversy regarding date of submerged site of Dwarka near the Gomti river mouth in Arabian Sea, Dr Rao said the archaeologists could not arrive at the date in isolation, but relied on relative chronology such as pottery and the sea-level rise.

''We are of the view that Dwarka was submerged by tsunami-like high energy waves, pulling down heavy blocks of stone used in the construction of the structures. This must have also resulted in changing the course of the paleo channel of Gomti, as recorded by NIO maritime archaeologist K H Vora during recent studies,'' he said.

The reference to such a catastrophe was made in the Mahabharata and other epics which said Dwarka, built on mainland by Lord Krishna, was contemporary to Bet Dwarka (Kusasthali) that could be dated to 17th century BC, and this was later confirmed by scientists, he said.

Dr Rao said the three-holed triangular stone anchors found in large numbers in Dwarka waters suggested a continuity in evolution of the anchors in Lothal and Mohenjo-Daro, which had a single hole.

The Dwarka anchors of late Harappan phase are a couple of centuries older than the identical anchors of late Bronze Age used in Cyprus and Syria, he added. The two-day conference is being held under the aegis of the Society of Marine Archaeology at NIO.

How marine archaeologists found Dwaraka

The submergence into the sea of the city of Dwaraka, vividly picturised in the great epic of Mahabaratha, is indeed true! A chance discovery made by a team of scientists, in the Gulf of Cambay region, establishes that the Mahabaratha story is not a myth. The rich city with fertile landscape and great rivers had indeed submerged into the seas several thousand years ago.

But before we get to the present, a bit of history is quite in order.

There is a vivid description in the Mausalaparvan of the Mahabaratha about the submergence of Dwaraka. The people of Dwaraka including Arjuna seemed to have witnessed strange things before its submergence in the sea. 'The event was preceded by the unabated rumbling noise of the earth throughout the day and night, birds screamed continuously, and heavy winds swept the land. The sea, which has been beating against the shores, suddenly broke the boundary that was imposed on it by nature. Huge tide with great height surrounded Dwaraka. The sea rushed into the city submerging beautiful buildings. The sea covered up everything and in a matter of few moments, there was no trace of the beautiful city.' It was something of an ancient tsunami.

And now the scientists at NIOT (National Institute of Ocean Technology, of the Department of Ocean Development) have established this. While working for British gas in the Gulf of Cambay region, a few years ago, the scientists of the NIOT, were stunned to see images of objects and things, completely alien to the marine domain. Immediately a team swung into action and samples were collected and sent for analysis and dating (it is usually done to scientifically establish the antiquity of the excavated objects).

Samples collected include artefacts, wood pieces, pottery materials, hearth pieces, animal bones. They ere sent to Manipur University, Oxford University, London, Institute of Earth Sciences, Hanover, Germany for analysis and dating. The results were astonishing. It was found beyond doubt that the samples belonged to a period varying from 7800 to 3000 years (BP) Before Present !

The even more flooring discovery happened soon. NIOT, which carried outside scan and sub-bottom surveys in the year 2002-03, established beyond doubt the presence of two large palaeochannels (river channels which existed once and later submerged under the sea) in the Gulf of Cambay. Alluvium samples were collected from different locations in the areas of the palaeochannels by the gravity core and grab method.

Badrinarayanan, Marine Archaeologist and formerly coordinator for the project, says 'the most astonishing thing was that all of the crew-members, including the ship master who was a catholic, had dreams full of strange visions, on the night of discovery. We felt we had stumbled upon something great and unusual.'

The study of the samples under microscope revealed the occurrence of fragile and highly sensitive Ostracods (tiny marine and fresh water crustaceans with a shrimp-like body enclosed in a bivalve shell) overlain by regular marine fauna.

These results strongly indicated that the freshwater deposition which took place in this area was very much a part of the onshore land region and later submerged to the depths varying from 20 to 40 meters. The alluvium (fresh water sand) samples sent to the Earth Science Department, Manipur University for OSL (optically stimulated luminescence) dating gave the OSL determinant of 3000 years (BP) Before Present !

Prof. Gartia (The Journal of Indian Ocean Archaeology, No.2 of 2005, Pg.144) after conducting extensive investigations concluded that Gujarat region had experienced at least three large killer earthquakes about 1500, 3000 and 5000 years BP respectively. Geomorphological evidences also show beyond doubt that the North-Western part of the Indian landmass was seismically active during the last 10,000 years. These killer quakes are likely to have caused the shifting of the rivers and sea level fluctuation including the sinking of the legendary city of Dwaraka, capital of the Lord-King Krishna. The discovery about the availability of fresh water from the now submerged major rivers along with other marine-archaeological evidences, corroborates the Mahabaratha reference that Dwaraka, the ancient city of Sri Krishna, lies under the great ocean !

(source: How marine archaeologists found Dwaraka – By V Gangadharan -

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