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Date: Thu Dec 14 1995 - 01:43:29 PST
My namaskarams to all of you Sriman NarayaNa devotees: Recently there was a very beautiful article written by Dr. V. Sadagopan on Kaala or Time, summarizing the time measures of each Yuga, etc. etc. as given in Srimad Bhagawatam. In this context, I would like like to bring up this topic of the Yugas and the date of our Alwars. For the past several days, I have been reading about the life of our great Alwars, and Acharyas from seemingly authoritative texts. For the sake of reference, I would like to mention two books: 1. The holy lives of the Azhvars or the Dravida Saints (by Alkondavilli Govindacharya, Publication: Anantacharya Indological Research Institute, Bombay, ed. 1982) 2. Life of Sri Ramanuja (by Swami Ramakrishnanada, Translated from Bengali by: Swami Budhananda, 1959) In ref. , in the table showing the hierarchy of spiritual pedigree of saints and sages from God downwards, according to the visishtadwaita dispensation, we can see that the first of the Azhwars (Poygei, Bhuta, Pey) took their avataras around 4202 B.C. In the footnote for this date reference, the author says, "It has been made out by scholars that according Aryabhatta, Kali Yuga commenced at midnight corresponding to 17-18 February, 3102 B.C. (Old Style)." We know that the length of the Dwapara Yuga is 864,000 human years. The year 4202 B.C. was arrived at by the fact (given in literature elsewhere), that these azhwars took birth in the 862,900th year of Dwapara Yuga. The calculation thereafter is straightforward. In the same table , the last of the azhwars Thirumangai Azhwars was born in 2706 B.C. This falls into the Kali Yuga. In ref. , however the facts are all no where in sink. Pandit M. Raghava Iyengar, in his book (Alvarkal Kala-nilai), the dates of avatara of the first three azhwars is between 5th and 6th centuries A.D., and the date of Thiru Mangai Azhwar is 8th century A.D. Also note that Sriman Nathamuni's time has been fixed by BOTH THESE REFERENCES as 825 A.D. to 918 A.D. I see a problem with this whole time measure scheme. My personal opinion: I believe ref  is much much more authoritative owing to the fact that the dates given in literature about the Azhwars is with reference to the Dwapara-Kali scheme. And I DO NOT DISTRUST the word of Aryabhatta on his fixing the date of commencement of the Kali Yuga. Secondly, the calculations fall into place. Thirdly, there is reason to believe, that the Nalayira Divya Prabandhams were lost during the big 3500 year gap between Thirumangai Azhwar and Nathamuni. About ref : If Thirumangai azhwar is as recent as the 8th century, and also considering the fact that he is the second most prolific of the poet saints, having composed over 1000 pasurams, I don't see a possible chance of the loss of at least this abundant a body of work in the 100 years or less between this azhwar and Nathamuni. Plus, the monarchs of those days were evidently great admirers of poetry, and would not have allowed such an extinction to occur, if we believed in the dates given in ref. . I would lay these facts, that I have gathered, to the readers for their perusal and also request scholars like Dileepan, and Dr. Sadagopan to shed more light on this. Do we believe in the Christian era dates of our Azhwars or our own system. Adiyen, Murali.