A video of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is doing the rounds on the internet. In the video, he is talking to some of his followers on the mythological history of India. It seemed that Ravi Shankar was taking some spiritual session. At the same time, one of his followers asked Ravi Shankar that from where the warriors got deadly weapons like Brahmastra at the time of Mahabharata. Responding to this, Ravi Shankar said,
“Do you know the country, Australia? Where did its name come from? In the Mahabharata (this) was Astralaya, which (later) became Australia. It is said that all the powerful weapons were kept there. That is why even today there is a complete desert in the middle of Australia. Scientists say that there must have been a nuclear explosion here many thousands of years ago. There is no flora and fauna there. The whole population of Australia lives along the coast. So it must have been in those days.”
This video of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is viral on social media. People are ridiculing him for this claim. Here is how people reacted:
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a spiritual guru and is known worldwide. Art of Living is his organization which teaches Sudarshan Kriya of Pranayama. This claim of Sri Sri from Astralay to Australia is not only ridiculous but it also harms his reputation.
Ravi Shankar’s claim is being laughed at because in the video he does not appear to give any evidence or credible reference to Australia ever being an ‘Astralaya’.
However, now let’s take a look at the history related to the name of Australia. According to the National Library of Australia (NLA), the word ‘Australia’ was first used as a suggestion for Australia in the very early years of the 19th century.
In fact, European countries who traveled by sea believed for centuries that there was a huge land in the southern hemisphere of the earth. They called this place ‘Terra Australis Incognita’ or ‘Unknown South Land’. Several Dutch navigators arrived on different coasts of Australia during the 17th century. They called this place ‘New Holland’. But this name was about to change. In 1803, the English explorer Matthew Flinders came close to this continent. He wrote Australia on a hand-drawn map in 1804 for identification. An improved copy of this map is available with the National Library of Australia.
In 1814, a book was published on the voyage of Matthew Flinders to Australia. But the word Terra Australis was used in it. However, Flinders made it clear that his reference was Australia.
By the way, in 1545, 259 years before 1804, the word Australia was published at one place. We have already told that the explorers of Europe had imagined a large land in the Southern Hemisphere. According to the NLA, this fictitious land was described as ‘Australia’ in a map printed in an astronomical book or article published in 1545.