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Fact Check: Is Australia’s name derived from ‘Astralaya’ of Mahabharata?

A video of spiritual Hindu religious leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is viral on social media. In this video Sri Sri Ravi Shankar claims that the name of Australia has emerged from the Astralaya of Mahabharata. Ravi Shankar says in his religious speech – “Australia is a country. Do you know what it means? Know how came the origin? Astralaya, Australia became from Astralaya in the Mahabharata.”

This statement of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is becoming fiercely viral on Twitter and Facebook. Many people are in support of his statement, while many people are questioning the scientificity of this statement. At the same time, a sadhvi is also claiming the origin of the name Australia is come from the Astralaya of Mahabharata. Dressed in a white sari, this Sadhvi says in her speech that Australia was formed from Astralaya, where the Pandavas used to keep their weapons.

Apart from this, it also claims that Mauritius is the place where Ravana’s maternal uncle Marichi used to live. That is why the place of residence of Marichi is called Mauritius. At the same time, he also claims that Africa is the place where Luv and Kush lived, hence Africa is called Kushinagar.

Fact Check:

First we examined the claim of the Mahabharata of Australia coming from Astralaya. When we did a Google search, many articles came up in this context. According to a story from the National Library of Australia suggested the use of the name Australia by English explorer Matthew Flinders. Matthew Flinders was the first to visit the continent in 1803 and used the name ‘Australia’ to describe the continent on a hand-drawn map in 1804. The National Library has an article that can be read on its website.

This article describes his travels, saying that the map and book in this context were eventually published in 1814, using the name ‘Terra Australis’. However, Flinders said his priority was still ‘Australia’. You can see their general chart of Terra Australis or a map of Australia online.

Story of nriaffairs

The name Australia first appeared in print, but was only widely applied to the mythical southern landmass. The earliest printing of the name is in an astronomical treatise published in 1545. A Small Wind, with South at the top of the map The head map names the assumed southern landmass as ‘Australia’.

According to retired IPS Vijay Shankar Singh – the name Australia is derived from Latin, meaning “southern”. The name was called Australia by the explorer Matthew Flinders from 1804 and it became popular after that.

On the other hand, Vijay Shankar Singh writes on the possession of weapons by the Pandavas in Australia – It is mentioned in the Mahabharata that, during the period of their exile, the Pandavas had hidden their weapons in the stash of a tree of Shami. But that Shami tree was not in Australia, it was in the kingdom of King Virat.

After perusing these references, it emerges that the claim made by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and others is misleading.