Vikram-Betal: Enchanting folklore or enticing history?

The good old Doordarshan days!!!! To wait for a whole week and watch Vikram-Betal on TV!! We all might have read at least one of the stories from Vikram-Betal and Simhasan battisi.

Is it just entertaining stories or a story from actual history, of a great king? How come the story of Great King Vikramaditya, just got limited to a folklore in his name? Who is this Vikramaditya and why not our history books mention him?

All thanks to the cunning British historians. The blunders they made, intentionally though, have changed the course of history. Omitting important rulers, change in time line of historic occurrence.

The king Vikramaditya, is famous even in Nepal. The era which starts with his name vikrama shake(Vikram sambath) is the official Panchanga of Nepal till today. Famous Indian historian P. N. Oak even opines that Kaaba, is a Shivalaya built by Vikramaditya.

Many historians simply claim Chandraguptha the second of Guptha dynasty as Vikramaditya. Some others say the Yashovarma of Malwa is Vikramaditya. But there is a larger sector of historians who claims that Vikramaditya was a piece of imagination, a personality in fiction.

The famous British historian– V.A.Smith, who was awarded with Companion of the order of the Indian empire for his services in art history in his book the the Oxford student’s history of India, writes as – ‘the Vikramadityas era is indefinite and there is no proof to believe he started vikrama shake in 57 BC.’

Yes, a famous award winning historian from British empire, vanishes one of the greatest king who unified India, who is the hero of folklore such as Vethalapanchavimshati and Simhana dwatrishath, stating that his existence was unclear.

The historians like V. A. Smith had complete knowledge of many such great kings of India yet they ignored to mention them. The reason behind it is the compulsion to please the church and stay true to the Bible. But how?

According to Bible, the creation on earth began at 9 am, on 23rd of October of 4004 BC. The church says, so no one can argue it.bible says Adam born in 4004 BC, had a son at the age of 130,and a grandson at the age of 235 and by death at his 930th year i.e., 3074 BC his 7th generation existed.

So for any historian who obeys church, to digest the fact- that civilization in India had flourished, great kingdoms were already ruling India even before the creation according to bible- is very hard. And as church and Bible don’t speak of these civilization, they refuse to believe it.

Hence, what they did next was- a cunning effort to distort history, so that supremacy of Bible is unharmed.

  • They wrongly claimed civilization of the banks of the river Sarasvati as an event occurring around 2000 BC, when actually it is much much older.
  • The Chandragupta Maurya’s era was wrongly changed from 16th century BC to 3rd century BC. They put Chandragupta and Alexander as contemporary in history.
  • What was difficult for them was to vanish kingdoms which ruled in that period. To prove that Chandragupta and Alexander were contemporary, they completely omitted mentioning 4 dynasties of ‘Agnivamsa’ who ruled over 1300 yrs. They left out hundreds of kings and mentioned only Bhoja raja.
  • They created confusion by placing Shunga, Kanva, Andhra kingdoms in the same era ruling the same area.
  • Our Puranas mention four Kanva kings ruling from 918 to 833 BC. But historian like William Jones, mentions Kanva as successor to Shunga kings, as says Kanva might not have possibly ruled before 908 BC, because it is impossible for any single ruler to rule for 86 long years. He claims that Puruhitashahi Brahmins created false history so that Indian history becomes the most ancient and prominent in the world.
  • The idea they followed to curb our evidence from Puranas was to declare all those kings mentioned in our texts as fictious and deny their existence.

The famous Vikramaditya and Shalivahana who initiated Shake(era) were the the first victims of this treachery.

These were the eminent kings of Pramara and Panwar dynasties which ruled from Himalayas to the southern states. According. To Bhavishyath purana 3-1-7-14,15 shloka-

“after 3000 years of dark era of Kaliyuga, to defeat the shaka and to uphold arya dharma, a warrior was born with the blessings of Shiva. Who was named as Vikramaditya by his father Gandharvasena. Vikrama, observed penance from his age of 5 for 12 years and returned to Ambavati(Ujjaini) to ascend to the throne, which has 32 figurines’

  • Kaliyuga beginning is estimated to be 3101 BC, so 3000th year from beginning means 101 BC, around 82 BC he became king. Important thing to note is Vikramaditya was not a title he acquired, but the his birth name.
  • We get references of 32 Pramara kings in our Puranas and Vikramaditya was 8th ruler in this list.
  • After Vikramaditya, his kingdom disintegrated into 18 smaller regions which faced Shakas and Huns attack.
  • The brave king who defeated these Huns and Shakas and reclaimed the throne by uniting all 18 kingdoms was the great Who is the 11th ruler of Pramara dynasty and great grandson of Vikramaditya.
  • The 72 chapters among 100 of Bhavishyath purana, sings praise of 4 dynasties of Agnivamsa. Among these 72, the 44 chapters are exclusively for the description of greatness of Vikramaditya and Shalivahana.

Even after having so many documented proofs British historians erased these great kings from history.

  • Kalidasa the Kavikulaguru was one among Navaratna of Vikramaditya’s court. To Distort existence of Vikramaditya, historians placed kalidasa in AD, creating nothing but confusion.
  • Kalidasa, is known author of 7 mahakavya, other than that he has also authored ‘Jyothirvidhabharana’ a book on astrology. In which he mentions 6 shake and shakakarthru of Kaliyuga. Vikramaditya is second among 6. He also mentions-

thathojjayininyam puri vikramahavayah’

That means Ujjaini was the capital of Vikramaditya.

We can get various references that king Vikramaditya is not a piece of fiction, Mathsya, Bramhanda purana, deepa vamsa and Mahavamsa of Buddhism, documentation of Ptolemy, Siddhantha shiromani of Bhaskaracharya, Jyotishya kalpalatha of Somanath Mishra….. These are few texts, literatures which praises Vikramaditya as one of the greatest king. And keeping him as hero the Vethalapanchavimshati – 25 stories by bethala and Simhana dwatrishath – 32 stories told by the figurines in the throne, folklore were created. These stories are treasures of moral, life lessons to overcome challenge.

The church sponsored, Bible driven British historians limiting Vikramaditya only tho these stories, is one of the many injustice they did to our rich history.

Dr Sindhu Prashanth