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THE NEED TO ESTABLISH HISTORICITY OF KRISHNA
There have been many great men born in different parts of the world, in different civilizations, across ages. Of all these, the personage of Krishna is unique. He has not just been eulogized during His lifetime itself as a Divinity, but has also been an inspiration for a whole civilization across millennia, as a historical personage. Krishna is the central character of the Mahabharata.
But while people accept the divinity of Krishna, there are doubts surrounding the historicity of Krishna as the time period when He lived has been described astronomically by the texts, rather than dated using a Gregorian calendar. Citing this unavailability of a date, the way we are used to specifying dates today, for Krishna, He has been relegated to the realm of myths.
Hence, in establishing the historicity of Krishna, it has become paramount to first establish a date in the Gregorian calendar for His lifetime, which overlaps with many events of the Mahabharata period. At the same time, it is equally important to understand and demolish fallacies which stand in the way of accepting His historicity.
Significance of Historicity of Krishna
Establishing the historicity and timeline of Krishna, as well as of Rama, the other heroic cum Divine personage of India, are very significant for India. For, as the central characters of the 2 Itihasa, historical woks – Ramayana and Mahabharata, Rama and Krishna, respectively, define the corner stones to pegging the timelines and history of this civilization, besides being the fulcrum of faith and devotion, Bhakti in India.
While Divinity is a matter of Faith, Historicity is a matter of Existence.
A POINT TO PONDER
The memories of Krishna are enshrined in commemorative temples in each of the places associated with Him.
- Mathura, the place where Krishna was born
- Vrindavan, by the banks of the Yamuna river, where He played pranks with His childhood friends and the Gopi
- Dwaraka, the place He made His capital
- Jyotisar in Kurukshetra, the place where Krishna gave Bhagavad Gita, His Upadesha on life and its purpose
- Mul Dwaraka near Somanath, the place where He decided to leave His mortal coils, are all real, historical places in the geography of India.
The geography of these respective places tallies with the legends too.
What is interesting to note is that, till about 200 years ago, no Indian doubted the historicity of Krishna.
Krishna had always been a Historical Hero of this land.