Does Australia derive its name from 'Asthralaya' from Mahabharata?

It is being claimed that Australia and many of its cities have derived their names from the Indian language.

By Md Mahfooz Alam  Published on  16 Sep 2022 12:24 PM GMT
Does Australia derive its name from Asthralaya from Mahabharata?

Hyderabad: It is being claimed that Australia and many of its cities have derived their names from the Indian language. Users on social media claim that Australia was called "Asthralaya," derived from the root word "asthras" (atom bombs).

They also claim that bombs and weapons were stored in Australia during the times of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

According to one Facebook post, "The real name of Australia is "Asthralaya" i.e. Asthra + aalaya. It got its name because asthras (atom bombs) were stored here during the times of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Now let's see some of the names of cities in Australia: A lot of Pretas used to live in that city so it's called preta - preth - Perth, Siddhidhanapuram - siddhinam - siddhini - Sydney, Melivarnapuram - Melibarnam - Melbourne, the place where Sage Kanva is enlightened - Kanvaramu - Canberra, Rasavanam - Rasvan - Brasvan - Brisbane."

Click here to see similar posts.

A similar claim has been made on Quora too.

The claim has been doing the rounds on social media after a video of spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar went viral in which he is preaching to his followers that the name of Australia has come from Asthralaya of Mahabharata.

In this article, we have only fact-checked the claim about Australia's name and not its cities.

Fact Check

NewsMeter ran a keyword search and found an article by the National Library of Australia titled "How was Australia named?" According to the article, the southern hemisphere was an unknown land for many years and was called "Terra Australis Incognita" by the Europeans.

An article on the origin of Australia explains that Australis in Latins means 'southern', derived from the Latin word "auster" (southern wind).

Mathew Flinders, an English explorer, was the first who circumnavigated the Australian continent in 1803. In a hand-drawn map in 1804, he was also the first to use the name Australia. In his book 'A Voyage to Terra Australis', Flinders wrote, "Had I permitted myself any innovation upon the original term, it would have been to convert it into Australia; as being more agreeable to the ear, and as an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth."

The chart accompanying the book was titled "General Chart of Terra Australis or Australia."

Governor Macquarie of New South Wales started using "Australia" in his official correspondence after he received a copy of Flinder's book in 1817, and by the end of the 1820s, "Australia" was commonly used as the continent's name.

We did not find any evidence that confirms the theory floated by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Also, there is enough evidence available on the official website of Australia which confirms that the name Australia is derived from the Latin word Australis. Hence, the claim is false.

Claim Review:Australia derive its name from ‘Asthralaya’ from Mahabharata
Claimed By:Social Media Users
Claim Reviewed By:NewsMeter
Claim Source:Social Media
Claim Fact Check:False
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