An interview with the man who traced Krishna’s journey
Many educated Indians and most Westerners are brought up to believe the Indian epics the Ramayana and Mahabharata are merely brilliant stories – products of the fertile imagination of the ancient Indians. This is despite the existence of a huge volume of corroborative evidence in the form of parallel texts such as the Puranas and Upanishads and other manuscripts. This disdain for India’s ancient history has reached, well, epic proportions and today Krishna’s very existence is described as doubtful in our history books.
This has led to millions of Indian schoolchildren growing up without any sense of respect for their past – a recorded history of at least 10,000 years. This nexus of European Indologists and Christian missionaries, which developed during the early years of the British period, has been supplemented by leftist Indian historians, who faithfully regurgitate the lies spun by the two groups, who were not qualified to speak on the subject in the first place. This nexus, which now includes a substantial section of the media, has proved so powerful that those who dare to question this view of history are branded Hindu fundamentalists.
Lately, however, a new generation of Indians is questioning this unscientific and biased approach to history. Dr Manish Pandit belongs to this breed. Dismayed by the lies being fed to a billion Indians, he decided to re-examine the astronomical, archaeological and linguistic evidence about Krishna. Two years ago, he put medicine on stand-by and traced the route of Krishna’s journeys to shoot the documentary “Krishna: History or Myth?” Produced by Saraswati Films, it has been shown on TV worldwide and is compelling viewing for anyone interested in history.
Dr Pandit moved to England in the mid 1990s and worked as a surgeon for a few years before switching career streams to nuclear medicine in 2003. He is an alumnus of Pune’s BJ Medical College.
In an interview to this writer, Dr Pandit spoke about his journey in search of Krishna.
Simha: How did this quest to seek Krishna begin?
Pandit: Generally speaking, many educated Indians believe that Krishna and Ram, who are the figures central to Indian consciousness, never really existed.
An extension of that idea is, therefore, that the Ramayana and the Mahabharata never took place and that all these ideas are stories based on elaborate myths.
I used to have very similar beliefs and felt that these beliefs were somehow a part of being modern and progressive. How wrong I was!
I have been very inquisitive about scriptures in general and specifically about Hindu scriptures. But I also thought they were myths.
I then came across Dr Narahari Achar’s research in the year 2004. That is the first time I came to know that there are astronomical references in the Mahabharata. And not one or two but more than 140 references. I was intrigued and bought Redshift 5, a planetarium software, and looked for these references myself. I soon realised that what Dr Achar was saying was true and, therefore, there must have been observers on the ground who recorded these references.
I also realised that interpolation of these references (by the ancients) was impossible because back calculation would have introduced a significant error in the references. This meant the Mahabharata war had definitely taken place, and it could be clearly dated to November 22, 3067 BC.
Simha: Why is it hard for some people to believe Krishna existed?
Pandit: If you look at all the scriptures of mankind, they speak of messiahs and people who have performed miracles. All these messiahs have something in common: they all say they have some connection with God. But not one of them says they are God.
Now in the case of Krishna, you have somebody who says, “Aham sarvasya prabhavo, matta sarvam pravarttate.” Basically, Krishna says he is God.
That was a view which Indians believed right up to the 1820s or so. As you know worship of Krishna cuts across religious barriers; for instance, the Nawab of Avadh, Wajid Ali Shah, used to go into bhavasamadhi while dancing in honour of Krishna.
But once the Raj took hold in India, Macaulayite education took hold. Thomas Macaulay wanted to create a class of Indians who were Englishmen in their way of thinking, and 150 years later, because we followed the same education system the British gave us, the transformation was complete. Indians no longer believed in the concepts which had kept India as India for millennia. This was compounded by another blunder, which was the deliberate omission of Sanskrit from school curricula. Sanskrit was something the great Babasaheb Ambedkar supported but which Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru rejected out of hand perhaps because of his prejudice. India has paid the price for it.
Simha: Did missionaries tamper with Hindu records? I believe they wanted to destroy evidence of any text that spoke of a time before their own history and religion.
Pandit: When Indologists and missionaries first came across the stories of Krishna in India, they were shocked by the extreme similarity of the story of Krishna to that of Jesus Christ. They initially said the whole story of Krishna must have been borrowed from that of Christ. And in their opinion any difference in the stories was attributed to Hindu irreverence or “impiousness”.
Many Indologists such as Weber had noted the similarity between the Vaishnava philosophy of extreme devotional worship and the original Christian ideas. They were sure the Vaishnavite faith was derived from Christianity, and talked about similarities between the stories about Krishna and the Gospel’s description of Christ to lend their claims more support.
The debate about who came first went on for many years, with many Indologists labelling anything and everything Indian to the post-Christian era. As shown in my documentary, the discovery of the inscription on the Heliodorus’ Column laid Christian speculation to rest. It provided conclusive archaeological proof that Vaishnava tradition preceded Christianity by at least 200 years.
Heliodorus’ Column recognises Vasudeva, or Krishna, as the “God of Gods”. It is be noted that while today the West considers Greece one of the model civilisations, Heliodorus, a Greek ambassador, had found Krishna and his ideas, no doubt from the Bhagavad Gita, so interesting that he converted to the Vaishnava tradition.
Simha: What is the strongest evidence for Krishna's existence?
Pandit: The single strongest piece of evidence for Krishna’s evidence comes from the astronomy of the Mahabharata which proves beyond all doubt the Mahabharata war was a part of Indian history. And we know that it is impossible to have a Mahabharata war without Krishna, who is the central character of the epic.
However, put together all the evidence shown in my documentary and it makes Krishna a definite part of Indian history.
Simha: How significant is the discovery of the sunken city of Dwarka?
Pandit: The sunken city of Dwarka is of considerable importance, not just because many people believe only in physical evidence. Well, for those people here is physical evidence that Krishna’s legendary city existed. The other important point about Dwarka is that it highlights India’s seafaring past, and the seal discovered from Dwarka gives further credibility to the accuracy of the Mahabharata as a document which is completely historical in nature.
It is unfortunate that treasures like Dwarka lie under the ocean, completely uncared for, for want of resources. In any other country such a find would have been highlighted and converted into a source of major tourist income.
Simha: Where do you think your quest is taking you?
Pandit: One of my visions is a world which is borderless. But this cannot happen unless divisive philosophies are challenged. Unfortunately, I see nobody willing to be courageous and call a spade a spade. In India, after the demise of Sardar Patel and Mahatma Gandhi, not many people want to confront divisive ideologies.
In India, for example, we have people who call their God divine. Now, for some reason, according to them, my God is not God, or is in some way inferior to their God. And in the same breath, they proclaim God is but one. This creates conflict.
And yet we listen to this nonsense in the name of tolerance. Well, tolerance cannot be a one-way street. It has to be accompanied by mutual respect. I would like to demolish these divisive ideologies.
•See Dwarka –
•See Bhalka Tirth -
•See Bet Dwarka -
•See Vrindavan -
•See Govardhan Parikrama -
•How science discovered the historical Krishna