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From time to time we see attempts to find historical evidence for our spiritual knowledge. Eager to remove our doubts we are sometimes contributing with new finds. It is, however, necessary to keep in mind to avoid offensive unethical or anti-ethical behavior in the name of being known as so-called rationalists or scientists as well as using hypercritical language applied to Lord Krishna and the Vedic history.
For example, very common in Indology books, even from Hindu authors, are words like “mythology”. It is derived from the Greek root mitos, untruth, seen also in the Spanish word men-ti-ra, falsity, and ultimately coming from the Sanskrit mithya. Another example of misunderstanding is when some traditional believers say, “In this work I will be proving that Lord Krishna was an historical personality”, etc. because Lord had been long recognized as an historical personage:
Dr. Bimanbihari Majumdar, 1968: “The western scholars at first treated Krishna as a myth... But many of the Orientalists in the present century have arrived at the conclusion that Krishna was a ksatriya warrior who fought at Kuruksetra,...” (1)
Dr. R. C. Majumdar, 1958: “There is now a general consensus of opinion in favour of the historicity of Krishna. Many also hold the view that Vâsudeva the Yadava hero, the cowherd boy Krishna in Gokula… were one and the same person.” (2)
Horace H. Wilson, 1870: “Rama and Krishna, who appear to have been originally real and historical characters,…” (3)
Dr. Thomas J. Hopkins, 1978: “From a strictly scholarly, historical standpoint, the KRISNA WHO APPEARS in the Bhagavad-Gita is the princely Krishna of the Mahabharata... Krishna, the historical prince and charioteer of Arjuna.” (4)
The New British Encyclopaedia: “Vasudeva-Krisna, a Vrisni prince who was presumably also a religious leader levitated to the godhead by the 5th century B C.” (5)
Rudolf Otto, 1933: “That Krishna himself was a historical figure is indeed quite indubitable.” (6)1. Majundar, Bimanbihari. Krishna in the History and Legend. University of Calcutta. 1969, pp. 5
Preciado in the Sophistic Cycle
Counter-critique of “First historical evidences of Krishna” (Primeras Evidencias Históricas Sobre Krishna” Estudios de Asia y África, Vol. XV; #4 by Benjamín Preciado Solís)
by Horacio Francisco Arganis Juarez. Graduate in Linguistics and Literature at U A de C and M.A. in Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy and Theology in IBCH. Reseacher Professor in Saltillo, Coahuila, Northeast of Mexico.
graduade student of the Education Sciences and Humanities Faculty at the U A de C, Round Campus, and priest of Radha Govinda Mandir, ISKCON, Saltillo City, Northeast Mexico
One Indologist, Benjamin Preciado Solis, published a lecture in l980, where he tries to present the first historical evidence about Sri Krishna Vâsudeva (c. 3200 - 3175 B.C.), the magnanimous Yadava prince, identified as Godhead incarnate in the Indian culture. He tentatively brings up puzzling concepts of Christian supporters of borrowing theory like Lessen, Weber, E. Hopkins, etc. Besides he kowtows before another British imperialist scholar upholding the same idea, A. L. Basham.
Preciado was honest in recognizing his inability to arrive at a conclusion, creating a trinket hypothesis while adulterating the age of Ghata Jataka and the Puranas, assigning them to the Christian era. This attempt has been futile because Ghata Jataka dates to the 3rd century B.C. and the Puranas are mentioned in the old Upanishads like Chandogya 7.1.14, Brhad-aranyaka 2.4.10 and others archaic texts. He made an amusing statement referring to evidence. First he said: “We can count those evidences with the fingers of our hands”. And then he stated: “The evidence is obtained from fourteen sources — eight literary and six archeological”. However, a close study of his own evidence shows that there are more than fourteen:1. Chandogya 3.17: Krishna Devakiputra.
Archaeological evidence:15. Heliodorus’s Column: Vâsudeva the God of gods.
In the footnotes:22. One stamp of Gopal (gopalasya) from Kumrahar.
Dr. Preciado states that there were fourteen sources but points out 21 plus two more in his footnote 43 on pp. 782. In other words, 23 with at least 40 historical references about Krishna. And the Mahabharata with 100,000 verses often talking about Krishna.
In the next step he shows a puzzling tactics to confuse the validity of the proofs. Epistemology of Dvaita Vedanta philosophy calls it anvaradhana-jñana, a doubt or uncertainty of knowledge. How is it created? A cause is called vipratipatt, conflicting testimony by jati, futile objections. He promotes distorted concoctions from those with a motive to convert Hindus to Christians, imposing on them that Krishna was a hinduized Christ. However, as he admitted on pp. 796, such thesis is false and accepted only by Christians themselves. His fallacies don’t come home.
It is as if we would want to demonstrate the hypothesis of Dr. Bill Kaysing, “They Never Went to the Moon”, by creating doubts about the Apollo travels beginning with the sceptic claims of Ticinelli against the airship of Da Vinci, later quoting that astronomer talking about the impossibility of flying heavy machines or Bicker, who considered the stupidity of space travel, and also Wooley and Walton with sceptical claims against the astronauts, etc; up to Kaysing. What happened? All these presuppositions were demonstrated to be false because they defended a mistake, an illusion. Therefore his arguments have resulted in a fallacy and consequently they have equal value. For example: x+y+d+b=O/ O=x+y+d+b. In other words, Preciado’s so-called objections are worthless and whoever takes support of them should be aware of it. Besides, Dr. Vogel, supporter of borrowing theory, attempted to distort Mora’s epigraphic inscription to avoid changing his paradigm (AV. pp. 28).
He sustains his thesis with opinions of others like Mueller, etc. When all the British Indologists had been probed, they were shown as arbitrary and having political and missionary agendas under English empire mentioned by many experts. Concerning this some authors wrote: “The Max Mueller thesis evidently endure of systematisation excess that carried him to fix some arbitrary periods without fundament. The unsupportedness of his presupposition is so obvious that many orientalists had already appointed it”. (RV pp 46).
About the culture approach: “His preoccupation was not the knowledge of a culture and his literature, but the desire to spoil and refute whatever they considered superstition, to annullate the Hindu believes or to find concordances in those texts with the exigencies in the Christian dogma” (Idem). Hindu scholars he quotes - like Raychaudhuri, Pulsaker, Majumdar, etc. - were programmed by the English influence. Thomas Hopkins mentioned that the British with their systematic denigration gave up an inferiority culture complex (HK, pp. 111). Therefore they largely adopted the British indosophistic paradigm. Some of them, like Mr. S.K. De, deride their own culture. But the majority cannot be so deviated because, even though they didn’t defend Krishna’s divinity, the historicity, from which the paradox arises, remains: “A deified Vrishni prince called Vasudeva; and a tribal hero Krishna, religious leader of the Yadavas”. (pp. 795)
We can summarize all of this as a strategy to artificially cloud the proofs in the most virulent, acid, ambiguous way. The good thing about his work is the affirmation that Krishna’s name is as ancient as Rig Veda, pp. 811; but he didn’t show any direct quote as Sanatana Gosvami quotes Krishna Upanisad or Nilakantha in the Rig 220.127.116.11, 8.96.13-15 etc. Or at least other Upanisads, direct parts of the Vedas, like Vâsudeva, Narayana, Gopala; besides of Mahanarayana in his small booklet.
In a very dignified and accurate way he finds that the idea of a separation of personalities is: “Speculations that are condemned to remain without proofs”. (pp. 814) Even though it is brilliantly affirmed: “In the VI BC century, the histories of the Krishna’s facts were already known, as the recount of Syamantaka jewel,... a record of Krishna’s life unifed with other features of the life of the hero (Krishna) through this epoch already existed.” (pp. 815) However, he tries to use the same criterion of improbability for the historical proof of Krishna’s legends (?) which is absurd. If we apply the strictness of verification of mathematical theorem to his postulate, it should be true in some cases as a possibility, in many cases as a probability and in all cases as an approbation. When it is said with an emphatic assertion as his, it means a demonstration. Therefore it cannot withstand any opposing evidence. When he states that the historicity of Krishna’s legends is condemned to remain without proofs or evidence (SA. pp. 285) and in his book he shows 23 evidences with at least 40 historical references about Krishna and his history, his concoction is automatically discarded.
In other words, with only one evidence his postulate is demolished. Furthermore, the evidence has more validity than the proof as it is defined: “Evidence is a clear manifestation of something, that no one would rationally doubt. (Idem.)
We can also add how some prestigious archaeologists have found more historical proofs about Krishna: Dr. S.R. Rao, emeritus scientist, with a commission of experts, using the Mahabharata as a map, rediscovered the City of Dwarka where Krishna lived in the harbor of Gujarat and confirmed the existing cities in the area mentioned in the biographies of Krishna, even the Janma-bhumi in Mathura, U.P. (AV pp. 31). In the sixties Dr. Gangully discovered artifacts corroborating the Kuruksetra battle (VE pp. 86). Dr. Alan Entwistle, Professor of Washington University who worked with the International Association of Vrindavan Research Institute, through his research together with other scholars confirmed the historicity of Krishna in Mathura and Vrindavana (V pp. 189). Dr. Mohan Gautam, Chairman of South Asian Research Centre and member of the International Union of Antrophological Sciences, began his investigation of Vrindavan grounds, specifically Radha-kunda, in 1960 demonstrating the genuineness of this place. (Idem. pp. 199)
Other very important point: the proofs that Preciado mistreated for disapproval are accepted by the scholars and with a caution at the end of his paper he accepts them also (pp. 811-813).
He asserted many incongruities and false claims, for instance: Megasthenes mentions Heracles, but he isn’t Krishna (pp. 796). However, the eminent Andrew Rosanen of Harvard stated: “Megasthenes mentions the god “Heracles” (Hari-kul-eesh), who was worshiped as the Supreme Lord in the district around Mathura where Krishna originated and whose name (Hari) is one commonly used for Krishna”. (AV p. x) Even though in posterior lines, in very tacit way, Preciado accepts it. In fact, one of critics of his work is Mr. Dahlquist (pp. 796) asserting things like: “In the VI. century BC or before, some compilators felt the necessity of inserting the Devakiputra Krishna” (pp. 815). How did he travel to the past to know the literary necessities (in the mind) of unidentified authors that he never observed (like the farce of an unknown genius author of Gita)? Maybe he could give us his secret formula to verify his claims.
More nonsense like this is at hand but let us end saying that he edited a booklet which was printed in India. However, when I asked Dr. Ram-Krishna Rao, a friend of Preciado, about this in l994, he told me: “I have never heard or known any work of him in the scholarly circles of India called “Krishna in the Puranic cycle” (after ten years of editions). Another scholar, Dr. Rajiv Bihari, teacher at the same college, who performed archaeological studies in Java, was questioned by me about his opinion of Preciado’s work. He showed a face of dislike and nausea saying: “So-called Indology”.
In 1989 Rosanen wrote: “A compilation of archaeological and textual data that summarizes the earliest record history of Vâsudeva Krishna. Although much of this historical information is available elsewhere in widely scattered form, it has not to my knowledge been brought together in so comprehensive and carefully researched manner as it is here.” (AV. pp. ix) referring to Steven Rosen’s book who is a Vaisnava. Therefore this shows that Preciado’s booklet is not regarded in the academic community of Harvard because he edited it in l984 and till today (1986) we never saw any quotation among American scholars. Only Rosen quotes him in two tiny notes.
Furthermore, at the beginning he asserts: “...the Krishna problem has already confused many generations of Indologists”. (pp. 771) Is this conceit? Because after deeply denying and condemning the idea of two separate personalities of Krishna he finishes with following words: “Perhaps this fact was due to the similitude in the Krishna heroic figure with other popular god, maybe tribal, in that such features pose with special significance.” (pp. 815) After this tautology he repeated the same fallacy that was condemned but with other words.
Dr. Thomas Hopkins said: “Krishna the historical prince and charioteer of Arjuna.” (HK pp. 144) “Krishna had been revealed as the Supreme Lord, identified with vedic Brahman and Purusa and with the universal form of Visnu. He is the culmination of the all religious forms of the Vedas.” (HT pp. 94)The conclusion of this analysis shows that Preciado prevails limitedly in the Indosophistic Cycle of the Colonial-British whose labyrinth excels that of Minotaurus. (VE) Dasa, Hare Krishna, Vaisnavismo, estudio histórico y confrontación de la doctrina esencial del Hinduismo. Libros Bhaktivedanta S.A. Mexico 1998.