Dwapara Yuga 1
5000 BC to 3000 BC
Duration of Dwapara Yuga 1 was 2000 years. If we follow the ratio 1:1:1:1 instead of the ratio 4:3:2:1, its duration can as well be 1000 years. In this case Dwapara Yuga 1 would become the period from 3000 BC to 4000 BC. If we take the average of the ratios, then the duration of this Yuga becomes 1500 years. Then Dwapara Yuga 1 would become the period from 3000 BC to 4500 BC. The major event in this Yuga is the Kurukshetra War and the decline of Dwaraka. Described below are some of the important events occurred during this Yuga.
Partially dried Saraswati
Saraswati in Krita and Treta Yugas
Most of the portions of Rig Veda was developed in Krita Yuga (12,000 BC to 8000 BC) and its core books were completed by the first half of Treta Yuga around 6500 BC. Saraswati river was described as mighty river with full of water in Rig Veda which describes how it looked like by the end of Krita Yuga (8000 BC) or in the middle of Treta Yuga (6500 BC). It continued thus for most part of Treta Yuga (8000 BC to 5000 BC). However towards the end of it, by 8500 BC drought like situation emerged and the southern part of the river system started drying up. This is when Ikshwaku kings like Bhagiratha searched for another mighty river and found Ganga. Ramayana mentions that during the time of Rama, the land to the north of Lavanasagara (Arabian_Sea) except the green oasis in [[[mbh:Pushkara] (Pushkar) was dry like a deseart.
Saraswati in Dwapara Yuga
Mahabharata is a window to the end of Dwapara Yuga. Examining the whole of Mahabharata we comes to know that a large portion of Saraswati was dried up during this time. However the northern portion of Saraswati was still alive. There were forests like Kamyaka (western Hariyana) and Dwaita (northern Rajastan) on the banks of this portion of Saraswati. Saraswati flowed through Kamyaka forest but was reduced to a small stream and a large lake named the Dwaita lake inside the Dwaita forest, which lied south of Kamyaka. Beyond Dwaita, further into the south, Saraswati existed only as a dried up channel. Saraswati dried into the arid desert at a location named Vinasana. The dried up channel of Saraswati was recognizable as a river and was traceable up to Arabian sea. During the rainy season this channel carried water for a few months and remained dry most of the year. Krishna's brother Balarama traveled through this Saraswati river channel while Kurukshetra war was ongoing. The dis-tributaries of Saraswati carried some water collected from the newly emerged Arbuda (Aravalli) mountains. One of the dis-tributary of Saraswati was river Gomati. The island of Dwaraka was a river-delta formed close to the mouth of Gomati where it joined sea.
The dried up regions of Saraswati was occupied by the tribes of Nishadas, Sudras (also known as Suras) and Abhiras. Pandava-Nakula during his western military campaign had encountered these Sudras and Abhiras.
Balarama's travel along Saraswati
From Mbh.9.33 to Mbh.9.52, twenty chapters in the book 9 (Shalya Parva) of Mahabharata is dedicated to the description of Saraswati river and the places that lied along its course. This is the largest information about Saraswati river found in the ancient Indian literature. It described the journey of Balarama, the brother of Krishna along the Saraswati river. Balarama traced Saraswati from where it joined the sea to where it originated in the Himalayas.
Coastal Region: Beyond Dwaraka up to Udapana
The coastal region, where Saraswati and its dis-tributaries entered sea.
Balarama started from Dwaraka and traveled along Gomati to reach Saraswati. This region where Saraswati and its dis-tributaries join the sea was known as Prabhasa. From here he went to Chamasodbheda where Saraswati flowed due to rain water collected from Arbuda mountains. (Arbuda means ten-thousand, referring to a hilly region with 10,000 hills). Then he went to Udapana. From here own towards towards north Saraswati existed only as a dried up channel:- Although the Sarasvati seems to be lost there, yet persons crowned with ascetic success, in consequence of their obtaining great merits and great blessedness at that spot, and owing also to the coolness of the herbs and of the land there, know that the river has an invisible current, through the bowels of the earth there. Some people considered that Saraswati existed here underground by seeing the greenery along its course. At Udapana, an ascetic named Trita lived (in the past) whose name matches with the name Treta. (It is not sure if the name of Treta Yuga is derived from this sage; most likely this name emerged since Treta Yuga was third from Kali Yuga, when counted backwards and three times larger in duration than Kali Yuga.)
Desert Region: Beyond Udapana up to Vinasana
The desert region where Saraswati existed as a dried up river-channel
From Udapana (in south-western Rajastan) Balarama went to Vinasana. Saraswati existed as a dried river channel from Udapana in the south to Vinasana (in north-western Rajastan) in the north. This tract was inhabited by the Sudras, the Abhiras and the Nishadas. Saraswati flowed from Himalays till Vinasana.
Green Region: Beyond Vinasana up to Kurukshetra
The green region with forests like Dwaita and Kamyaka, where Saraswati flowed with water.
North of Vinasana was Subhumika. This was the southern boundary of Dwaita forest. This place was frequented by the tribes of Gandharvas and Apsaras. The rest of the course of Saraswati contained numerous sacred places named Gargasrota, Sankha (one of the Matsya king Sankha mentioned as son of Matsya king Virata, is from this region), Dwaita-lake (in the center of Dwaita forest) and Nagadhanwana (a Naga settlement; a western extension of Nagas at Khandava near Yamuna). After that the river had an east-west direction rather than north-south direction. Following Saraswati further to its source Balarama found places like Sapta-Saraswata, Kapalamochana (where Asura priest Sukra lived some time), Davya-Vaka's asylum, Vasishthapavaha (where sage Vasistha lived and encountered king Vishwamitra), the ancient territories of Skanda who became the commander of Deva army of Indra and Samanta-panchaka (a lake in Kurukshetra). All these places lied in Kurukshetra region towards the south-eastern shore of Saraswati river. To its north-western shore was Kamyaka forest.
Hilly Region: Beyond Kurukshetra up to Karavapana
The hilly region where Saraswati originated. The upper course of Saraswati from Manasa lake in Tibet up to Karavapana was lost due to tectonic activity.
At Samanta-panchaka, Balarama, visited many places on the banks Saraswati like Agnitirtha, Brahmayoni, Kauvera, Vadarapachana, Sakta, the territories of the ancient tribe leader Varuna, a place called Aditya (where the territory of the ancient Aditya tribe existed), a place called Saraswata where sage Saraswata taught Vedas to other sages, the place where sage Dadhicha of Krita Yuga lived and reached an ancient hermitage. All these places existed in the plain of Kurukshetra, in its north-eastern extension.
Beyond this point Balarama ascended to higher elevation to reach Plakshaprasravana which was on lower Himalaya mountains. From here he ascended to Karavapana. Here the Adityas like Mitra, Varuna, Aryaman, Agni and Indra once lived. Beyond this point the course of Saraswati was lost in mountains, broken by tectonic activity, that cut off the ancient course of the river from Manasa lake (Manasarovara) in Tibet up to this spot. Hence Balarama next went to river Yamuna which flowed nearby.
Mbh.1.2:- In the interval between the Dwapara and the Kali Yugas there happened at Samanta-panchaka the encounter between the armies of the Kauravas and the Pandavas.
The Kurukshetra War is the core event mentioned in Mahabharata. In this war, the two branches of Kuru royal family (viz. the Kaurvas and the Pandavas) battled with each other, taking with them the armies of almost all of the ancient Indian kingdoms, which were politically polarized due to this Kuru conflict. The memory of this event among ancient Indian society was very high. Many astronomers has taken this event as the basis-point in history for their calculations and many modern historians also do the same. As per some references (Mbh.5.142) in Mahabharata, Kurukshetra war marked the end of Dwapara Yuga. However there are references (Mbh.16.1) indicating that that Dwapara Yuga continued 36 years more and ended when Dwaraka island submerged. This is also the most popular view.
Kurukshetra war as end of Dwapara
Kurukshetra War is symbolically mentioned as start of Kali Yuga repeatedly 5 times:-
- When thou wilt behold in battle Arjuna, on his car drawn by white steeds and driven by Krishna, applying Aindra, Agneya and Maruta weapons, and when thou wilt hear the twang of Gandiva piercing the welkin like the very thunder, then all signs of the Krita, the Treta, and the Dwapara ages will disappear but, instead, Kali embodied will be present.
- When thou wilt behold in battle Kunti's son, invincible Yudhishthira, devoted to Yapa and Homa and resembling the very sun in brilliance, protecting his own mighty army and burning the army of his foes, then all signs of the Krita, the Treta, and the Dwapara ages will disappear.
- When thou wilt behold in battle the mighty Bhimasena dancing, after having quaffed the blood of Dussasana, like a fierce elephant with rent temples after having killed a mighty antagonist, then all signs of the Krita, the Treta, and the Dwapara ages will disappear.
- When thou wilt behold in battle Arjuna checking Drona and Santanu's son and Kripa and king Suyodhana, and Jayadratha of Sindhu's race, all rushing fiercely to the encounter, then all signs of the Krita, the Treta and the Dwapara ages will disappear.
- When thou wilt behold in battle the two mighty sons of Madri, those heroic car-warriors, capable of breaking into pieces all hostile cars, agitating, from the very moment when weapons will begin to clash, the army of Dhritarashtra's sons like a couple of infuriated elephants, then all signs of the Krita, the Treta and the Dwapara ages will disappear.
However the whole of the Book 16 (Musala Parva) of Mahabharata indicate that Dwapara continued for 36 more years and ended when Dwaraka submerged into sea.
Main Article: Historical Krishna
Mbh.6.66:- He it is who, towards the close of the Dwapara Yuga and the beginning of the Kali Yuga, is sung of with Sankarshana, by believers with devotion.
Krishna wasn't a king; nor was he a sage. Yet he was as powerful as a king and as influential as a great sage. His influence upon his contemporaries was extraordinary. Great was his influence on the subsequent history of India and its people, that he was adored as a great divinity. Krishna's divinity cannot be denied. Many evidence shows that worship of Krishna started during the life time of Krishna himself. It strengthened the victory of the Pandavas in Kurukshetra, aided by Krishna's intelligence. However, my analysis is restricted to his human life which became part of human history. As per this Krishna was a great statesman, a political reformer and a great philosopher of Dwapara Yuga, who lived towards the end of Dwapara, contemporary to the Pandavas. His major achievement includes, re-establishment of Yadavas of Mathura in Uttar_Pradesh to Dwaraka in Gujarat. His intelligent policies helped to curb the rising power of Magadha (Bihar) that threatened the Kuru dominance. He also was the key strategy adviser who helped the Pandavas to win the Kurukshetra War and establish themselves as the Kuru rulers at Hastinapura and Indraprastha.
Krishna, however could not prevent the political polarization of his own tribe, viz. the Yadavas that was the side effect of their participation in Kurukshetra war by siding with both sides of the warring parties. This led to the destruction of the Yadava political power at Dwaraka. This happened towards the end of Krishna's life and perhaps Krisha was too old and did not had the will to prevent this self destruction of the Yadava society. Like the (Jew) Yahooda-Jesus-Christ, Yadava-Krishna too was respected more by others than his own kinsmen. Many Yadavas like Kritavarma fell short of giving Krishna the respect he rightfully deserved. Yadavas of Dwaraka in general was thankless to Krishna, who led them to this safe city and prevented their persecution at Mathura by king Jarasandha of Magadha.
Decline of Dwaraka
3003 BC to 2998 BC
Decline of the powerful kingdom of Dwaraka was due to several factors. The primary reason was the submergence of Dwaraka island that contained the capital city Dwaravati. This was an island formed in the delta of Saraswati river system. Saraswati formerly drained into sea on the western shores of India though its several dis-tributaries. One of the dis-tributaries of Saraswati river system was river Gomati. Dwaraka was an island formed as a delta in the mouth of Gomati. The tectonic activity that led to the drying up of River Saraswati (by changing the course of its tributaries) also is believed to be the cause of submergence of Dwaraka island. Like any island formed as river-deltas, this island had a habit of submergence and emergence as is evident from Mahabharata and other texts. Formerly it was an island and city named Kusasthali. That island-city submerged at some point of time. Later the island emerged again. Dwaraka city was founded by Yadavas on the ruins of Kusasthali.
The geologists in Dwaraka had some knowledge about the precarious state of their island and probably urged citizens to migrating to the mainland kingdom named Anarta (Gujarat). There they made a temporary settlement around the Raivataka mountains (probably the southern end of Aravalli mountains or some mountains in Gujarat). While living their a dispute arose among them due to their political polarization during the Kurukshetra War. This dispute could also be inflamed by external forces like the Gandharas and Abhiras. As a result the Yadavas of Dwaraka annihilated themselves due to faction fighting.