No, Australia did not derive its name from Mahabharata’s ‘Asthralaya’ as claimed by Sri Sri Ravishankar

Claim

Australia was earlier called Asthralaya..where Pandavas stored their Asthras (weapons)

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Explanation

A Twitter user claimed that the name ‘Australia’ was derived from ‘Asthralaya’ and it means a place (Aalaya) that stored weapons (Asthra) of Pandavas of Mahabharatha.

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A blog on ‘wisdomfromsrisriravishankar’ website mentions the claim briefly.

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What is the truth?

When google searched ‘Australia’ and ‘Asthrayala’, it is found that the claim is doing rounds on social media for over a decade. A youtube video of Sri Sri Ravishankar explaining the derivation of ‘Australia’ is also found.

A retired IPS officer, Vijay Shanker Singh took it to Twitter in November 2021, to mention that ‘these claims only make us laugh’.


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The official website of ‘National Library of Australia’ answers the question ‘How was Australia named?’ under the ‘Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) category.

It is mentioned that ‘Australia’ was called ‘Terra Australis Incognita’ or ‘Unknown South Land’ before it was found. During the 18th century when Dutch navigators charted the coasts of Australia, it became ‘New Holland’.

In 1804, an English Explorer, Matthew Flinders used the name ‘Australia’ to describe the continent. And nowhere the website has mentioned about ‘Mahabharata’ or ‘Asthralaya’.

Similarly, Mauritius is claimed to be called as ‘Mutralaya’ earlier, and Taj Mahal from ‘Tej Mehalaya’. These are baseless allegations with no solid proof.


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Conclusion

The claim that the name ‘Australia’ was derived from ‘Asthralaya’ as it refers to the ‘place of weapons’ for Pandavas in Mahabharatha is false.

It is known that Australia was earlier called ‘Terra Australis Incoginta’ or ‘Unknown South Land’, and then ‘New Holland’.

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