As per the studies based on the hydrology research of Peter D Cliff, Yamuna did drain into Sarasvati, but only before 10,000 BCE. Balarama’s journey corroborate this as it contains no mention or Yamuna ‘joining’ Sarasvati. The only exception is a mention of Varuna-Tirtha, which is also described as Yamuna-Tirtha on the banks of Saraswati close to Plaksha-prasravana where Saraswati enters the plains having originated from the streams of lower Himalayas. This could be one of the spots where an ancient paleo channel of Yamuna merged with Sarasvati and this spot on Sarasvati could have been named after Yamuna, in memory of that.
The paleo channel of Satadru (Sutlej) is still visible in satellite imagery, but water flow in this channel was lost by 2300 BCE. Balarama’s journey makes no mention of Satadru joining Saraswati, but describes about Dwaita Lake – indicative of the lakes formed in the defunct channel. Forests of Dwaita and Kamyaka is described as existing in this region indicating wetness of terrain
Sarasvati was thus a perennial monsoon rain fed river and not a snow fed river – i.e. it was a mild, stable river in contrast to snow fed Sindhu which flooded frequently causing trouble to the settlements on its banks. Thus, Saraswati was good for agriculture and stable settlements. This fits well with my research on the pilgrimage of Balarama along Sarasvati. Balarama’s pilgrimage narration has highest data density on any narration about Saraswati in the Vedas, Itihasas and Puranas. Balarama’s trail of Sarawati ends at Yamuna. There is no explicit mention of Yamuna merging with Saraswati in this narrative containing many chapters of Mahabharata in the Shalya Parva (Book 9).
A snow fed Saraswati would have extended further beyond Yamuna, for example to Lake Manasa, usually identified with Manasarovar in Tibet, based on the less detailed narrations in the Itihasa-Puranas (which obviously is not correct).
The Balarama’s pilgrimage narration indicates that the southern banks of Saraswati in Kurukshetra region was highly inhabited. This fits well with the density of archeological settlements in the Saraswati-Drishadvati rivers basin, i.e. the extended Kurukshera region.
Shrikant G Talageri in his three books 1. AIT: A Reappraisal, 2. Rigveda: A Historical Analysis, 3. Rigveda and Avesta: The Final Evidence – details out how the five tribes mentioned in the Vedas viz. Yadu, Turvasa, Drahyu, Anu and Puru were ancestral to various Indo-European tribes, who originated in India and then spread from there to the rest of India, Central Asia and Europe, speaking various Indo-European Languages.
He places the origin of Indo-European language precisely in the Ganga-Yamuna-Saraswati region, viz. the Kuru territory, i.e. Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Haryana). He equates the Purus, who stayed back in the ancestral territory as the Vedic people viz. the Indo-Aryans. The Yadus were gradually pushed to the south. They spread to the Western shores of India including Dwaraka. Some Turvasas followed the Yadus and others migrated westward. Anus migrated to the west of Sarawati and Sindhu and finally settled in Iran as Indo-Iranians. The Drahyus migrated further away and are the ancestors of the Indo-Europeans.
Expanding this framework, my analysis concludes the following: – The Turvasas who migrated along with the Yadus to the South were the Bhoja Yadavas. The Anus (Anavas) diversified in their westward migration as Daityas and Danavas. The Daityas stayed back in the west of Saraswati and Sindhu and in finally Iran. They gave rise to the Avestan literature and later became the Zoroastrians. The Danavas later migrated from Iran to Armenia and Greece to become the Danaan tribe mentioned in the Iliad and Odyssey and finally reached Ireland as Irishmen. The strong linguistic relationship between the Iranian, the Armenian and the Greek mentioned in Talageri’s work can be explained this way.
Within the Kuru territory itself, the western part, viz. the region between Yamuna and Saraswati (later known as Kurukshetra and Kurujangala) was the most happening place during the period of the Adityas and in the Vedic period, when the Vedas were composed. Ganga as a river was discovered later, starting with a king named Hasti establishing Hastinapura on the banks of Ganga and then Santanu marrying from the banks of Ganga giving rise to a powerful son Bhishma (Ganga-putra).
The Purus, viz. the descendants of the Adityas, who inherited the Aditya territories and became worshipers of their Aditya ancestral heroes hailed in the Vedas (viz. Indra and others) became identified with the Adityas in the Puranic Aditya-Daitya-Danava triad. Their ancient capital must have lied in the Kurujangala / Kurukshetra region between Yamuna and Sarasvati. Some candidates locations are Bhirrana (7570 BCE), Rakhigarhi (4600 BCE) and also the location of Indraprastha itself, much before the Pandavas built their city there.
Daityo / Daitya is mentioned 20 times in Vendidad, 9 times in Yast and 2 times in Yazatas. The major river of Airyana Vaeja, one of the 16 lands of the Ahuras and the original homeland of the Avestan people (Ahuras: Asuras) is Daitya River (vdd.1.2).
Airyana Vaeja is identifiable with the cold regions viz. the Airavata region: Kashmir & North West Frontiers of Pakistan lying to the north of Iravati (Ravi) river. Samskrit texts describe this region is inhabited by the Airavata Nagas, Daityas and Danavas. Daitya River is identifiable with Vitasta or Sindhu in Kashmir. Other places mentioned in the list of the sixteen lands of Asuras, like the Sughdha is identifiable with Sumandala, the fertile plains north of Kurukshetra or with Subhumika on the banks of Saraswati and Mouru is identifiable with Maru, the desert to the south of Kuru territories and with Vinasana on the banks of Saraswati. The four cornered Varena is easily identifiable with the four cornered Kurukshetra. Similarly Harahvaiti is identifiable with Saraswati and Hapta Hendu identifiable with Sapta Sindhu (Punjab). Thus the Avestans (Daityas) shared common territory with the Vedics (Adityas).
In the Avestan texts, Indra worshipers or Daevas (Devas) are mentioned as the primary enemy, along with the Druj (Drahyus). Vedic pantheon of gods and goddesses is partially shared – Yima: (Yama), Vivanghat (Vivasvat), Mithra, Airyaman (Aryaman) etc. Avestan book Vendidad is an abbreviation of Videvdaat: Vi-daevo-data which means a (liturgical) book against the Devas. The position of Manu in the Vedas is replaced by Yima (Vedic Yama) in the Avestan. Hence, when the Samskrit texts talk about Manu’s flood, Avestan texts talk about Yima’s Flood.
Ahura Mazda (av.) i.e. Asura-Medha (Skt.), viz. the leader of the Asuras or the Intellect of the Asuras is identifiable as Hiranya Kashipu. Samskrit texts describe Hiranyakashipu as an Asura ruler, who considered himself as God himself and murdered the worshippers of the Vedic gods like Vishnu and Indra. The Avestan texts like Vendidad describe Ahura Mazda as the God and this God Ahura Mazda is mentioned as murdering the worshippers of Daevas (Devas), enabling us to make this conclusion.
Danaan is mentioned 114 times in Iliad, and 10 times in Odyssey. The Geek heroes, who sacked Troy (like Achilles, Patroclus, Antilochus, Agamemnon, Ajax) are described as belonging to the Danaan tribe. The river names Don and Danube in Europe are derived from matronymic Danu.
The goddess Danu is hailed as the mother of the Danavas by ancient Irishmen as well as by Samskrit texts. Irish mother goddess is named Danu. The term Tuath(a) Dé Danann meaning people(s)/tribe(s) of the goddess Danu is prevalent among the ancient Irishmen. Sages in the lineage of the Bhrigus are described as the priests allied with the Danavas in Itihasa-Puranas. An example is sage Usanas, also known as Shukra. Bhrigi, the wife of Bhrigu is mentioned in the Samskrit texts whose characters resemble the goddess Brig (Brigid, Brigit), who was an Irish goddess belonging to the Tuath (a) Dé Danann. The Bhrigus were the priestly class of the Danavas as per Samsrkrit text, while the Phrygians were the priestly class for the Irishmen.
The most ancestral tribe mentioned in the region between Yamuna and Saraswati is the Adityas. The twelve Adityas are hailed as the Vedic gods viz. Dhata, Aryaman, Mitra, Varuna, Indra, Vivasvat, Tvashta, Vishnu, Amshuman, Bhaga, Pusha and Parjanya. We have already seen that the Kurukshetra region is mentioned as their abode. Holy-spots were dedicated to Aryaman, Mitra, Varuna, Indra and Vivasvat. Cities and towns were named after Indra (Indraprastha) and Bhaga (Bhagaprastha). Several battles of Indra against the Daityas and Danavas as well as that of Varuna against others and Kartikeya against Taraka are mentioned as occurring in the Kurukshetra region. Hence, this region can be identified with the place where the Adityas and the Daityas-Danavas coexisted for a long time, from where the Daityas -Danavas migrated westwards and the Adityas stayed back.
Kurukshetra region is also hailed as the Devabhumi (the territory of the Devas), the northern sacrificial altar of the Devas and the sacred sacrificial altar of the Grandsire (Brhama).
Both Manu and Yama (Yima in Avestan) were the sons of Vivaswat and hence Adityas. Samskrit texts describe Manu as the patriarch-king, who faced the Great Flood while in the Avestan texts, Yima (Yama) is portrayed as the king who faced the Great Flood. There was a city named after Yama on the banks of Yamuna in Kurujangala called Yamaprastha.
Manu and his daughter Ila is mentioned as living in this same Kurukshetra region which was also known as Ilaspada named after Manu’s daughter Ila.
The royal dynasty of Ailas, originated from Ila is the one of the most ancestral tribe mentioned in Kurukshetra along Sarasvati apart from the ancestral Aditya tribe (pre-Aila tribe). Ila is mentioned as one among the triple goddesses in Rigveda: – Ila, Sarasvati, Mahi mentioned as the three goddesses (rvs.1.13.9). Sarasvati, Bharati and Ila mentioned as the three goddesses (rvs.1.188.8, rvs.2.3.8). Ila as a teacher of men (rvs.1.31) and as the mother of the herds of cattle (rvs.5.41.19) too are mentioned.
Ila’s place is mentioned in Rigveda and it is described as another name of Kurukshetra in Mahabharata. Mahabharata uses the name Ilaspada (mbh.3.83) to denote Ila’s place. Ila’s place is mentioned as Earth’s loveliest place amidst Apaya (Apaga), Drishadvati & Sarasvati (rvs.3.23.4). Ila’s son and Ila’s place are together mentioned (rvs.3.29.3 & 4) in Rigveda. Mahabharata clarifies that Ila’s son is Pururavas. Ila as the daughter of Manu and the mother of Pururavas is mentioned in Mahabharata (mbh.1.75). Ila’s consort is described as Budha (mbh.13.147). This pair is akin to the Aphrodite-Hermes pair in the Greek mythology.
Ila is also mentioned in Mahabharata as a holy-water (lake or river) in Kurukshetra near Sarasvati (mbh.3.155).
We also have some conflicting information, which is but, not as strong as the above understanding. King Ila, the son of Kardama is mentioned in Ramayana as ruling Bahlika (vrm.7.100) in Valmiki Ramayana. Ilavrta is mentioned as a big region surrounding Meru in Vishnu Purana indicating that it is the central region of importance (vp.2.1, 2.2). A clue is available in the title Ailavila given to Yaksha king Kuvera, who ruled the territory surrounding Kalisa in Tibet. Kuvera is also mentioned as living in Kurukshetra region. This could indicate a migration of Ailas or people in the Ilaspada region to other places like Bahlika, Kailasa and beyond, giving rise to regional names like Ilavrta.
Pururavas is mentioned as the son of Ila and lover of Urvasi in Rigveda. Rig Vedic hymn 10.95 is dedicated to the relationship of Pururavas and Urvasi.
Ayus or Ayu is mentioned as a god and giver of life (rvs.10.17) and as a king (rvs.8.96) in Rigveda. Ayu is mentioned in 9 times in Rigveda. Ayu is mentioned as a god and king in Atharva Veda many times and also once in Sama Veda. In Krishna Yajurveda, Pururavas, Urvasi and their son Ayu is mentioned together – (yvk.1.3). Ayu and mother Urvasi too are mentioned together (yvk.6.3). He is mentioned like a god at yvk.4.6.
Nahusha and his tribe is mentioned in the Samaveda (svs.1.2.2, 1.3.2). Nahusha’s tribe is mentioned along with the tribes of Aryas and Dasas in Atharva Veda (avs.20.36.9). Nahusha is mentioned as a Naga in Mahabharata.
There existed a multi-layered relationship between the Nagas, Purus and Yadus, who inhabited the banks of Yamuna and Saraswati. There were kinship, alliances and conflicts between them.
Nahusha as the Naga ancestor of the Yadus and Purus, the maternal grandfather of Bhima who was a Naga, Arjuna’s Naga wife Ulupi, Naga mother of sage Astika and the mention of Yadava Balarama described as a Naga – all of this indicate mutual kinship and shared ancestry.
Nagas allied with Purus (Daeva worshippers) against the Anavas (Daitya-Danavas) in a battle mentioned in the Avestan text Vendidad. The Naga leader was Azi Dahaka (Ahi Dasaka Naga). This battle took place at Varene (Kurukshetra). Takshaka allied with Indra against Arjuna. The Naga tribe were themselves having sibling rivalry described in the Kadru-Vinata narrative.
The battle of Arjuna with Naga Takshaka at Khandava, the murder of Kuru king Parikshit by Naga Takshaka, the murder of many Nagas by Kuru king Janamejaya, the Naga conflicts with the Yadavas on the banks of Yamuna – all of this indicate mutual conflicts.
Hastinapura, the Kuru city named after elephant was also known as Nagapura. The capital of northern Panchala, Ahichatra, literally means the city of the Ahi Nagas. The Khandavaprastha, that existed before Indraprastha on the western banks of Yamuna and the forests along the banks of Yamuna were the territories of the Nagas, who coexisted there with the Purus and the Yadavas.
Kundalini symbolized as coiled serpent and Yogic postures are found in the excavated sites as a symbol of the Nagas.
The trade-record inscriptions in Indus script, various trade artefacts and the identification seals like those in Dwaraka given to citizens as a symbol of citizenship (like passport) mentioned in Mahabharata is a representation of the Yadu symbolism. Yadavas, especially those in Dwaraka and the western coast were mentioned as great traders in Mahabharata.
Bulls are found as a dominant symbol in the excavated sites. Puru heroes were compared to bulls in Mahabharata e.g. Bharatarshabha – Bharata-rshabha. Similarly the elephants, important for the Kurus as a symbol of power (capital city Hastinapura, was named after elephants) too are found as a symbol in the excavated sites.
Markandeya was a sage who lived on the banks of Saraswati in the Yamuna-Saraswati region. One of the tributaries of Yamuna viz. Markanda is probably named after this great sage. He is described in the Mahabharata as a great scholar, who knows the science of observation of the movement of sun, moon, planets and the stars, by which he knew both past, present and the future. In the Vana Parva of Mahabharata sage, Markandeya describes about the Yuga system he developed to Yudhisthira. This Yuga system has a total duration of 12,000 years.
Manu’s Flood in Rta Yuga
Bathymetry studies indicates massive floods in the Gujarat-Kutch area and submergence of many islands (including Dwaraka) in 12,500 BCE, 10,000 BCE and 8000 BCE. Dwaraka was formerly known as Kusasthali (the place of potters). Dwaraka-Kusasthali island region submerged and reemerged three or more times as per Mahabharata. Archeologists needs to consider this while identifying Krishna’s Dwaraka.
Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) was at 24,500 BCE and the Sea Level Minimum was at 19,000 BCE. Deglaciation in Artic started at 17,000 BCE) and in Antartic at 12,000 BCE
Geologically 12, 500 BCE is a very important date. Domestication of various types of plants and animals evolved worldwide by 12,500 BCE. This date is identifiable as the start of Rta Yuga based on the Markandeya Yuga Definition (mbh. 3.187) found in Mahabharata. As per this definition Rta Yuga is 4800 years long; Treta, 3600 years; Dwapara, 2400 years and Kali, 1200 years, and thus the entire duration of the Chatur Yuga (Mahayuga) is 12,000 long years.
One Ascending Markandeya Yuga combined with one Descending Yuga is thus 24,000 years long which is approximately the period of precession of Equinox (Current Value of it is 25 772 years). Vedic texts indirectly derive a traditional value for this period as a multiple of 360 and 72 as 25,920 years (360 x 72 = 25,920). This is codified in the Rig Vedic hymn about Kalachakra 1.164 in the stanzas 2,3,5 11 & 48.
Due to the abrupt rise of Sea Level in 12,500 BCE (also in 10,000 BCE and 8000 BCE) the coastal regions of Indian peninsula submerged into the sea. A wide landmass from Gujarat to Kerala and a not so wide landmass from Bengal to Lanka submerged gradually resulting into the current shorelines of India. These flooding of landmasses can be identified with the Great Flood described in the Samskrit and Tamil texts. This resulted into migration from submerged lands into inland areas like Kerala, Pandya (southern Tamilnadu), Dwaraka (Gujarat) and Sindhu. Such migrations into Pandya territory is mentioned extensively in Tamil texts. Manu, the ancestral-king, who escaped the Great Flood, is mentioned as the king of the Dravidas in the Puranas. Dravida is mentioned as a territory in southern India. This could mean that the Dravidas were those people, who migrated from the submerged lands to new shorelines. One such Dravida territory is mentioned to the north of Kaveri River spanning the shorelines of southern Andhra and northern Tamilnadu.
Manu is mentioned as escaping the Great Flood and bringing his people from the flooded lands reaching up to the Himalayas. This correlates with the settlements like Bhirrana (since 7570 BCE) and Mehragarh (since 7000 BCE).
Correlating the Yugas with SSC and Itihasas
One of the proposals of this paper is to use Markandeya Yuga System with a starting date of 12,500 BCE as an Indic or Bharatiya time-frame for chronological studies focusing on the events in the Holocene period. It can be used as an alternate time-framework to study or map the chronology of prehistory and archaeology of Bharatavarsha. It is an alternative for the currently used Western Indologist’s time-frames used for the same purpose. It can be used irrespective of the accuracy of correlation with traditional-dates for Rama and Kurukshetra War as a good frame of reference for the post LGM (24,500 BCE) epoch, especially post 12,500 BCE Holocene period.
The long lineage of the Aditya-Aila-Puru-Bharata kings can be correlated with the settlements like Bhirrana and Rakhigarhi.
Brahma (Prachetas) lived in Kurukshetra as per Mahabharata. Brahmavarta is mentioned as the place where Brahma worked, which was located in Kurukshetra – close to Tarandaka on Sarasvati (mbh.3.83, 84). Kurukshetra is mentioned as the northern sacrificial altar of grandsire Brahma. Daksha, Aditi, Vivaswat, Manu and Ila lived and ruled in Kurukshetra. Kurukshetra is mentioned as Ila’s place viz. Ilaspada (correlating the references in Rigveda and Mahabharata). Pururavas, his wife Urvasi and son Ayus are mentioned as living in Ilaspada. Nahusha and Yayati (holy-spot of Yayata) lived & ruled in Kurukshetra. Puru and his lineage including Riksha and Dushmanta lived in Kurukshetra. Bharata and his linage including Suhotra, Hasti, Ajamidha and Samvarana lived in Kuru region.
The region was dotted with hundreds and thousands, of sacrificial stakes during the reign of Suhotra (mbh. 1.94). Hasti established Hastinapura (mbh.1.95).
Thus, the Pre-Ailas (Adityas) and the kings from Pururavas to Samvarana (Ailas, Pauravas and Bharatas) lived in the region containing Bhirrana (with settlements since 7570 BCE) and Rakhigarhi (the largest excavated Harappan settlement (with settlement since 4600 BCE). Thus, Rakhigarhi could as well be the ancient capital of this long lineage of Aditya-Aila-Puru-Bharata kings up to the Bharata king Samvarana.
Considering 35 to 36 generations of kings up to Samvarana, the duration involved is 1250 or more years from 4600 BCE to 3350 BCE.
Migration of Samvarana to Sindhu is detailed in the Adi Parva of Mahabharata. When attacked by Panchalas, Samvarana fled with his wife, ministers, sons and relatives and lived in the forest on the banks of the Sindhu extending to the foot of the mountains (mbh.1.94). The mountains mentioned here can be identified as the Kirthar-Sulaimani ranges to the west of the Indus plane. IVC settlements like Mohan-jo-Daro could be the result of occupation of people who migrated along with Samvarana to this region, who turned the forest on the banks of the Sindhu extending to the foot of the mountains into cities like Mohan-jo-Daro. During the time of the Pandavas at Indraprastha, this region was ruled by king Jayadratha.
This also explains the homogeneity of IVC (Indus Valley Culture) and SVC (Sarasvati Valley Culture) through the migration of people lead by Samvarana from Kuru territories to the Sindhu territories. This also strengthen the terminology of a combined Sindhu-Sarasvati Culture (SSC), since both cultures are part of a single culture through this literary evidence, corroborating the archaeological evidence producing the same result.
The exiled Bharatas were mentioned as ruling in Sindhu for 1000 years (Mbh.1.94) resulting into large IVC cities like Mohan-jo-Daro there. The symbol of the exiled Bharatas were mentioned as horns of wild bull and tusks of the wild elephant. Bull and horns are part of symbols found in IVC.
Bharatas i.e. someone in the line of Samvarana, after 1000 years retook their capital (which, as per this paper could be Rakhigarhi) assisted by Vasistha and defeated the Panchalas. As per our calculation, this will be occurring post 2350 BCE. Samvarana’ son (implying a descendant, since 1000 or more years elapsed) King Kuru established new field / town in Kurukshetra. This is identifiable with Jognakhere at today’s Kurukshetra town. King Kuru can thus be dated to 2350 BCE to 2150 BCE. We can add as many as 200 years to compensate for less famous kings in anywhere in this long lineage of Aditya, Aila, Puru, Bharata kings. From Kuru to Arjuna is 10 generations, i.e. 10 x 35 = 350 years. Arjuna can thus be dated to 2000 BCE to 1800 BCE.
This will corroborate well with a Kurukshetra war date of 1900 BCE to 1700 BCE. S.R. Rao, based on archaeology of Dwaraka, Bet Dwarka and Kurukshetra found 1900 BCE to 1700 BCE as acceptable date for Kurukshetra War.
Kings like Pradipa, Santanu, Vichitravirya, Pandu, Arjuna, Abhimanyu, Parikshit, Jayamejaya, Satanika and Ashamedhadatta developed Indraprastha and Hastinapura. Arjuna to Ashamedhadatta is 5 generations which is 175 to 200 years.
Both literary evidence (Mahabharata) and Hydrology reveals that Saraswati emerged from Shivaliks as a rain fed river, but it originated close to the source of origin of Yamuna
The names Harappan or IVC are insufficient to define the extent of geography of the civilization excavated by archaeology. Names like Sindhu Saraswati Culture can better define the culture excavated along the Sindhu and Saraswati rivers. Kuru territory described in the Vedas and Mahabharata is the central region of SSC. IVC is identifiable with Sindhu kingdom of Jayadratha. Settlements of Gujarat falls in Dwaraka – Anarta territories.
Analysis of Balarama’s travel along Saraswati ending at Yamuna, corroborate the finding that Saraswati was a rain-fed river originating near Yamuna and flowing along Gagghar-Hakra channel, and it was partially dried up. Interesting pattern emerges on the IE Dispersal, when analyzed using OIT and Itihasa like Aditya-Daitya-Danava split and Puru-Anu-Drahyu split, with Avestans identified as Daityas and Danaans identified as Danavas. SSC was composed of Naga-Puru-Yadu ethnicity. Naga, Yadu, Puru symbols are found profoundly in SSC. Markandeya Yuga System of 12,000 years is a good time-framework to describe Holocene events and SSC chronology. Rakhigarhi could be a former capital of Aditya (Pre-Aila)-Aila-Puru-Bharata kings. Samvarana’s migration from SVC to IVC reinforces the connections between the two cultures (IVC and SVC).
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- Markandeya Yuga System – Jijith Nadumuri Ravi – http://ancientvoice.wikidot.com/article:yugas-part2
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- Goddess Alive!: Inviting Celtic & Norse Goddesses Into Your Life – Michelle Skye – 2007 – page 119 – Danu, Irish Mother Goddess of Wisdom
- The Secret of The Veda: with Selected Hymns – Sri Aurobindo –
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Jijith Nadumuri Ravi is the founder of the Website AncientVoice which contains 23500 pages on Mahabharata,Ramayana, the four Vedas and Vishnu Purana. It contains ancient India maps, analysis articles, lineage maps, the full text of English translation of these texts in Wikified form with 7000 plus nouns analysed creating huge information networks of Indic texts. The author additionally hosts websites like Naalanda, Takshasila and RecentVoice, focusing on Greek, Avestan and Tamil literature. He was a former ISRO scientist (2001-2006) and an artist who loves to paint events from Mahabharata.