Yojana

In ancient India, Yuga and Yojana were two measures that were used frequently.

Yuga was used as a measure of time, while Yojana was used as a measure of distance.

In our ancient texts

For example, the Ramayana text states that the bridge, Rama Setu when it was constructed was 100 Yojana in length and the breadth was 10 Yojana.

The Ramayana Text gives the dimensions of the fort of Ayodhya as,

  • 12 Yojana in the North – South direction
  • 3 Yojana in the east – west direction along the river and
  • 3 Yojana in width.

More on this in our book, Ayodhya, War and Peace.

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Similarly, it is mentioned in our texts that Krishna, when He started constructing Dwaraka city, requested Samudra Deva, the Divinity of the Sea, to withdraw a little and provide Him land for building His city. In accordance with Krishna’s wishes Samudra Deva yielded and gave 12 Yojana (a measure) of land.

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More on this in our book, Historical Krishna.

Is Yojana a fixed measure of distance, like kilometer and miles?

There are many varieties of Yojana for measuring different types of distances, such as Bhu Yojana for measuring distances on Earth scale, Bha Yojana for measuring distances with respect to light, Nara Yojana for distances with respect to man etc.

The term Yojana was more a generic unit of measure rather than a fixed measure. These units varied from region to region as they were also based on local references.

Hence with just the term Yojana, we cannot always calculate absolute values for those measures.

Rama Setu

The Ramayana text states that the bridge, when it was constructed was 100 Yojana in length and the breadth was 10 Yojana, making it a ratio of 10:1.

Today, in the same ratio of 10:1 as mentioned in the texts, the bridge from Dhanushkodi in India to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka, measures approximately 35 km in length and 3.5 km in breadth, as is the naturally available sea ridge, the base beneath, on which it was built as an accretion.

From this, the measure of 1 Yojana is derived to be 0.35 km.

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Dimensions of Rama Setu, Adam’s Bridge

More on this in our book and film, Historical Rama.

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Similarly, there are other measures for Yojana in our texts.

Vishnu Purana

In “Vishnu Purana” chapter 6 of book 1, a measure of Yojana is expressed. Using that we can arrive at the relationship between Yojana and Miles using the following steps:

Yojana to Miles

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From the above calculation, we can derives a Yojana to be 14.63 kms, by converting miles into kms.

In the case of Rama Setu, Yojana was calculated to be .35 kms, while in the above content from Vishnu Purana, a Yojana is 14.63 kms.

Yojana as a unit of measure varies from time to time, through the ages and also from place to place, geographically.

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Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Birthday

Guru is one who attracts. Guru is one who is heavy, filled with knowledge. The attraction is for knowledge, culture, ethos, practices and so forth.

Gurutva Akarshana is attraction to a heavy body-Gravity. Jupiter, the largest, heaviest planet attracts all other bodies, is also referred Guru.

A true Guru is rare. A true Guru comes by, once in a way.

It is for us to realize, come within the sphere of a true Guru, not just be attracted, but relish in the love and knowledge emanating.

For all that we do in our life, the aim is to relish, realize the self, be happy and be grounded.

May 13 is birthday of  one such Guru, whose grace draws us to the path of love and self-realization.

Fortunate indeed we are.

Happy Birthday to Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar!

Buddha Purnima

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Buddha was born on 9th April, 1887 BCE

Buddha-Pornima-Final

Gautama Siddhartha, “The Buddha”, “the enlightened one” not just a noble son of India, but this earth as well.

Not only has his thought and philosophy been benchmarks, His date of birth as well has been a benchmark in history.

Buddha’s Teachings

Buddha’s eightfold middle path of right vision, right intention, right action, right speech, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration has guided millions in the path of spirituality for many centuries.

8 fold path

How many centuries back were these teachings given? In other words, when was Buddha born?

Buddha birth

Buddha’s Birth

The colonial historians who visited India during the 17th and 18th century, found it difficult to fathom the history of India recorded in the traditional form of recording. They also grappled with the dating of these historical events as the thousands of years of time periods ran contrary to their views on the concept of time and Creation of the Universe.

Buddha, who seemed to be rather recent and had inscriptions and followers in these parts of the world venerating Him, became a benchmark for these colonial historians as they could relate more easily to Him.

The times of Buddha therefore became the yardstick for fixing all other dates in the history of India as these colonial historians fixed an imaginary date for Him.

 Imaginary Date

The imaginary date of 483 BCE, for the Nirvana of Buddha, was assigned by the colonial historian E.J.Rapson. When propounding this date for Buddha, Rapson in his book, “Ancient India”, states,

 “Exact date of Buddha’s nirvana is not known, and hence the popularly accepted date of Buddha’s nirvana is imaginary and can at best be taken as provisional.”

Rapson book

              E.J.Rapson book – Ancient India

Moot Question

The question we need to ask here is that, in a scientific historical analysis, how can an imaginary or provisional date be taken as a benchmark and that too, to date another legendary hero of the land?

 So when exactly was Buddha born?

In present time, the new field of archaeo-astronomy helps us accurately date events based on astronomical events.

 The date arrived at using archaeo-astronomy method for the Birth Date of Buddha is 9th April, 1887 BCE.

sky chart

Buddha’s Birth Chart

The details of this are given in our book “Historical Krishna”.

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Historical Krishna Book

Swami Vidyaranya Jayanthi

Many great souls have walked this land in the last millennia, and one such saint who impacted his times was Vidyaranya. He was a saint as well as a king maker.

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Vidyaranya

Vidyaranya was born, Madhava around 1300 CE at Shalivahan in South India, into a Brahmin family.

Establishing the Vijayanagara Empire

He was the one who guided the brothers Harihara-1 and Bukka Raya 1 in establishing the Vijayanagara kingdom.

Before being identified by Vidyaranya, these two brothers had infact converted to Islam. This patron saint convinced and reconverted Harihara and Bukka Raya to Hinduism. He trained them and persuaded them to start the kingdom, as a response to the Deccan Sultanate

This Vijayanagar kingdom went on to become a big and prosperous empire, covering whole of Peninsular India.

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Harihara and Bukka Raya

Vidyaranya later served as a mentor and guide to three generations of kings, who ruled over the Vijayanagara Empire.

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Vijayanagara Empire

He also served as the Prime Minister of the empire, over a period of time.

All this was on the political front.

Jagadguru of the Sringeri Sarada Pitham

On the spiritual front, Vidyaranya was the 12th Jagadguru of the Sringeri Sarada Pitham, which was established by Adi Shankaracharya.

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Sringeri Sarada Pitham

This position also implies that Vidyaranya was a follower of the Advaita school of philosophy, propounded by Adi Shankara.

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Adi Shankara

Well known works

He is well known for his works such as Parasara Madhaviya and Sarvadarsanasangraha, a compendium of the school of philosophies.

Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, the former president of India, was attracted by the works of of Vidyaranya.

Speaking on Sarvadarsanasangraha, Radhakrishnan says, “Sarvadarsanasangraha sketches sixteen systems of thought so as to exhibit a gradually ascending series, culminating in the Advaita Vedanta – non dualism.” 

The sixteen systems of philosophy expounded by him are

  1. Cārvāka
  2. Buddhism
  3. Arhata or Jainism
  4. Ramanuja System
  5. Purna-Prajña Darsana or Dvaita
  6. Nakulisa-Paśupata
  7. Shaivism
  8. Pratyabhijña (Kashmir Shaivism) or Recognitive System
  9. Raseśvara or Mercurial System
  10. Vaisheshika or Aulukya
  11. Akshapada or Nyaya
  12. Jaimini
  13. Pāṇiniya
  14. Samkhya
  15. Patanjala or Yoga
  16. Vedanta or Adi Shankara

Panchadasi, is another work by Vidyaranya, on the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta.

Of all his famous works, the biography on Adi Shankara, titled Madhaviya Shankaravijayam is perhaps the most famous and circulated books. This books traces the life and mission of Adi Shankaracharya.

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Vidyaranya’s brother, Sayanacharya wrote a commentary on the four Veda, which was centuries later used by Max Muller for his commentary on the Veda.

Statues and Sculptures of Vidyaranya

Today, sculptures of Vidyaranya can be traced in the ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire, especially at Hampi, the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire.  His statue is established at the Virupaksha temple, in Hampi.  Another temple, the Lakshmi temple of Anagundi, also in Hampi, has a rock stone carving of this saint.

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Rock stone carving at Anagundi temple, Hampi

 He is a saint who helped in preserving Sanatana Dharma.