आपणास माझे लेखन आवडते आहे असे ब्लॉगला भेट देणारांच्या वाढत्या संख्येवरून वाटते. विषेशकरून कर्णकथेला वाचक पुष्कळ मिळाले. आपल्या प्रतिक्रिया जरूर मिळावयास हव्यात! त्याशिवाय लिहीत राहण्याचा उत्साह कसा टिकून रहाणार?
I changed over from Marathi to English for my comments on Shri. Oak's book recently. I continue to get readers but there are no comments! Wonder whether I am boring!

Last Seven Days

माझी थोडी ओळख

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San Ramon and Mumbai, California and Maharashtra, United States
ज्येष्ठ नागरिक. साहित्य व संगीत प्रेमी. Senior Citizen

Friday, June 9, 2017

Seven Planets on 17th Day of War.

Reference No. 25 examined by Shri. Oak is as under
निरश्चरो व्यदृश्यन्त सूर्यात् सप्तमहाग्रहाः (CE 26:34, GP 37:4-5)
I had written about this here and in my book earlier so I will try to avoid repetition.
This is in the description of war on 17th day. Karna requested Duryodhana to ask Shalya to drive his ratha as he felt handicapped with Krishna driving Arjuna’s chariot. Shalya agrees reluctantly but says that as he is a Kshatriya king and Karna is only a Soota, he must be free to say anything, even insulting, to Karna. Then after an exchange of insults, finally Karna mounts the ratha and Shalya starts it. At this time besides many omens etc. this Shloka occurs.
Considering time spent in the exchange of insults etc. this could be considered as about one Prahara after Sunrise. If we note the use of past tense, (पूर्णभूतकाळ), this should be the actual planet state at that time itself. Whether in full daylight the planets could be seen is another matter. In any case, the question of looking at planets’ position after sunset does not arise. By sunset, Karna was already dead and anyway, other bad omens are described at that stage in the Text.
So, I checked the position on 1st Nov. 5561 BCE, 17th day, at morning.
1. At 8 AM, Sun had risen earlier, Moon was about to set, Mercury had just risen. Saturn and Jupiter were high in the sky. Venus and Mars were, however, yet to rise. So 5 out of 7 planets, as normally understood, were in sky. Three, Jupiter, Venus and Mars, were to east of Sun and would follow him keeping same distance, so can be called ‘सूर्यात् निश्चरन्ताः’. Saturn, ahead would also maintain its distance till it set. But not 7 at this appropriate time.
2. After some time, moon would go below horizon but Venus and Mars would rise and the score will rise to five, four following Sun at respectful distance till Sunset. Saturn, the fifth, ahead of Sun, would however set after some time.
3. For sake of comparison, I also checked position at Sunset. Moon and Saturn were below horizon. Jupiter, Mercury, Venus and Mars were following Sun. So score was still Sun + four followers. After Sunset and Moonrise (at 8 PM), score was Moon + same four but there was no Sun to follow. Moon was trailing the Four till they set one by one.
In the evening too, relevant or not, there were no seven planets, maintaining steady distance from Sun or ‘ सूर्यात् निश्चरन्ताः’
So what does Vyasa mean when he says ‘ सूर्यात् निश्चरन्ताः सप्तमहाग्रहाः?
I do not accept that Vyas saw and counted Uranus, Neptune or Pluto. So Shri. Oak’s solution is not acceptable to me.
Did Vyasa count Rahu –Ketu? Sapta grahas can mean 1) 5 planets + sun and moon or 2) 5 planets + Rahu and Ketu! Was the modern definition of Rahu and Ketu as ascending and descending nodes of moon in use then? If not, did they understand Rahu-Ketu as empty stars? How was their position decided? Was Rahu simply just behind Moon and Ketu (being shadow of earth), directly opp. to Sun? I have no knowledge on this. If this is correct, then just after moon set, there were Sun and 5 planets adding to 6, but Rahu- Ketu defined this way, were below horizon! At 8 AM Sun Moon, and three planets plus Rahu (behind Moon) were present, which still add up to 6 only.
If Rahu and Ketu were understood as nodes of moon at the time of Mahabharta, how was their position decided by Rishis like Vyasa? If at that time they were understood as Nodes of Moon they would be (almost) at diametrically opposite positions on Ecliptic all time and in general, one of them would be above horizon, the other being below. If this was how Rahu-Ketu were understood, then in Case number 2 above, that is, just after moon set in the morning, there were five planets, Sun and either Rahu or Ketu in the sky and we get a count of 7 ok. Still, the word ‘सूर्यात्’ calls for 7, other than Sun! If Rahu and Ketu were both, JUST above East and West horizons, then we do get a full count of 7, ‘सूर्यात् निश्चरन्ताः’ and also Sun itself, at least for a short time in the morning, without roping in Uranus, Neptune or Pluto! Alas, Voyager, as I have it, does not show Rahu and Ketu.
We have also to note that Nov. 1 was a Autumnal Equinox day so only half of Ecliptic will be above horizon. So Rahu and Ketu both being on horizon will be, at best, a very short time period. Did Vyasa want to highlight it?
Readers having knowledge of Indian Astronomy should throw light on Rahu Ketu.
Sky views shown below are self-explanatory.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Epoch of Arundhati Ahead of Vasishtha.

Arundhati Ahead of Vasishtha.
Shri. Oak has done a great job of identifying the Epoch of Arundhati, the period when Arundhati walked ahead of Vasishtha. In his book he has provided tables and graph of the Changing difference between Right Ascensions of the two stars over thousands of years.
For a layman, a picture is worth a hundred words. So when I gave some lectures to laymen audiences, I had prepared Schematic drawings of the relative positions which changed as the CNP moved in its circular path. I felt that they could understand the concept with the help of the graphics.
Now that I have access to Voyager, I revisited the problem and obtained sky views of Arundhati and Vasishtha crossing the meridian in the night in 5561 BCE and 2017 CE.
The pictures shown below, 2 for each of these years, may be liked by my readers.
If Shri. Oak or other readers like them they are free to use them.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Moon On Day of Bhishma’s fall – 10th day of war.

There is a reference in Bhishma Parva (CE 108-12, GP, 112-12) as under.
अपसव्यं ग्रहाश्चक्रुरलक्ष्माणम् निशाकरम्
अवाक्शिराश्च भगवानुदतिष्ठत चन्द्रमाः
Shri. Oak has interpreted it to mean the moon had downward pointing ends. Ganguli translates likewise
I had so far assumed this translation to be correct. However I now think that it is not correct.
The context of this reference is what Drona told his son and all other Kuru Warriors sometime around noon on this 10th day - ‘I am seeing many bad omens, Pandavas are attacking Bhishma repeatedly and I see great danger to him. We all must protect Bhishma with all our strength.’
According to rules of syntax in Sanskrit, the words get re-arranged as under. (अन्वय)
अलक्ष्माणम् निशाकरम् ग्रहाः अवाक्शिराः च अपसव्यं चक्रुः भगवान चन्द्रमाः उदतिष्ठत.
अवाक्शिराः meaning heads down, being in ‘बहुवचन,’ is an adjective of ‘ग्रहाः’ and not of Moon!
This should be translated as –
‘Not seeing the moon, the planets, with their head bowed down, turned backwards (looking for moon!). ( Later,) Moon rose.
Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Mars are behind Sun, Moon arose behind them. Till then, the four planets were looking backwards awaiting Moon. Planets looking backwards for moon is a poetic description of the position that moon had not risen so far. Why with heads down? A bad omen suggesting danger for Bhishma!
Assuming war began on Amavasya, this day was Shukla Navami. Moonrise should be after noon. Voyager shows moonrise for 25th Oct to be at 3 PM.
It seems to me that there is no question of moon having down-pointing horns!
Readers’ views are welcome.
Sky view of moonrise on 10th day is shown below.

Monday, June 5, 2017

A misinterpreted reference.

Among the large number of Astronomical references examined by Shri. Oak in his book there is one as under.
मघाविषयगः सोमः तद्दिनं प्रत्यपद्यत
दीप्यमानाश्च संपेतुर्दिवि सप्तमहाग्रहाः
Bhishma (CE 17-2, GP 17-2)
Shri. Oak has completely ignores the first line. He also ‘asserts’ this reference to be describing the position on the first day of the war after sunset. To get a count of seven planets he ropes in Neptune and Uranus. He also says the seven planets were seen ‘near the Sun’ although there is no mention of Sun in the reference. A complete butchering of the reference.
I was curious about ‘moon in Magha’. This being the first day of war and being a Jyeshthaa amavasya, moon should be in Jyeshtha. ( Well, actually it was in Purvashadha!). So why ‘मघाविषयगः सोमः तद्दिनं ....’?
So I looked up in the Text for context. The shloka just prior to this one (first in the chapter) is ..
संजय उवाच
यथा स भगवान व्यासः कृष्णद्वैपायनोब्रवीत्
तथैव सहिताः सर्वे समाजग्मुर्महीक्षिताः
Sanjaya says (to Dhritarashtra) that as Vyasa had said, all kings (with their armies) had gathered (at Kurukshetra).
Reading the two shlokas in the sequence opened my eyes. What Sanjaya says is that the day, the kings gathered, was a Magha day and there were seven planets in the sky shining brightly. The reference is NOT to the first day of war! So the question of seven planets being seen, on the first day, either during the morning because of solar eclipse, as Shri. Oak speculates or after sunset does not arise.
Both parties had commenced mobilization on Pushya day and by Magha day they had all gathered at Kurukshetra and there were seven planets visible (gathered) in the sky.
I checked with Voyager. On Oct. 7th, the moon was in Magha and at the time of moon setting, Sun, moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn were all seen in the sky! (No need to fall back upon Uranus and Neptune, which of course, Vyasa could never have seen with naked eyes, whatever Dr. Vartak or Shri. Oak may claim). There was no Solar Eclipse on that day.
Shri. Oak many times sees what he ‘wants to see’.
Readers’ views are invited.
Sky view from Voyager for 7th Oct. is shown below. Mars is not lablelled but the red colour identifies it.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Eclipses at the war –time.

Eclipses at the war –time.
References from Mahabharat Text seem to suggest that there was a Lunar Eclipse on the Purnima just prior to start of war. Although there is no specific mention of a Solar eclipse on the first day of war, some references do suggest that on the first day of waar there was a solar eclipse.
Shri. Oak has proposed 16th Oct 5561 BCE (Julian date) as the first day of war. Voyager software clearly shows that it was an Amavasya day. I carefully checked the position on 16th Oct. for a solar eclipse, whether total or partial, visible at Kurukshetra or not. I could find no trace of a Solar Eclipse at all.
1. Sunrise that day was at 6-17 AM.at Azimuth 82 deg. 12’. Moon had risen 12 minutes earlier and at sunrise, moon was at Azimuth 82 deg. 45’ and Altitude 9’. Centers of Sun and moon discs were sufficiently apart and there was no overlap.
2. Checking thereafter during the day, I could find no overlap at any time.
3. At sunset time, moon also set at same time at 6-53 PM, Sun at Azimuth 277 deg. 26’ and Moon at Azimuth 274 deg. 33’. The separation was more than in the morning and there was no overlap whatsoever.
There was thus no Solar Eclipse at all on 16th Oct. visible at Kurukshetra.
2. On 30th Sept night from Moonrise and till moon set at 6-30 AM on 1st Oct. morning, no shadow was seen on the moon disc throughout the night. At setting time moon face was fully visible. NO Lunar Eclipse could be seen on the Purnima just prior to war.
3. On the Purnima, AFTER start of war, on 30th Oct. at the time of Moonrise at 6-41 PM, Voyager showed an indication of a small shadow at the lower edge. By 7-26 PM this indication disappeared. Thereafter moon face was full. Thus the end of a partial lunar eclipse was seen at Kurukshetra for about 45 minutes after moonrise. There is no mention of this eclipse, however, in the detailed description of war on the 16th day, which was the first day of Karna leading the Kaurava army. It is therefore of no relevance.
The Lunar Eclipse prior to war is described rather clearly in Bhishma (CE 2-23, GP 2-23)
अलक्ष्यः प्रभयाहीनः पौर्णमासींच कार्तिकीम्
चन्द्रोभूदग्निवर्णश्च समवर्णे नभस्थले.
References to Solar Eclipse are not so direct but could be interpreted to suggest at least a partial Solar Eclipse in the morning at start of war.
Bhishma (CE 3-28-29, GP 3-32-33) does talk about
चन्द्रसूर्यावुभौ ग्रस्तौ एकमासे त्रयोदशीम्
(First shloka in these two talks about a Short krishnapaksha of 13 days
Fortnight of 30 Sept.-16th Oct. is in fact a long one.)
In any case, Voyager shows no eclipse on 30 Sept or 16th Oct. 5561 BCE.
Jyeshtha Amavasya on 16th Oct. 5561 BCE?
Another curious fact I noticed about 16th Oct. is that it is an Amavasya day but Sun and Moon are seen setting together in Nakshatra Purvashadha and NOT in Jyeshtha! So how can it be called Jyeshtha Amavasya mentioned by Krishna to Karna or Kartik Amavasya? Shri. Oak does so! In fact, on neither the previous one or the next amavasya, moon is seen in Jyeshtha!
Sky views shown below are self-explanatory.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

18th Day of war - Three Planets

On the 18th day of war Shalya became the leader of Kaurava army. Violent battle broke out. Skirmishes between all main surviving warriors on Kaurava side and the Pandavas are described. Till a little after noon, they continued. Early in this description, the following astronomical reference is seen.
भृगुसूनुधरापुत्रौ शशिजेन समन्वितौ चरमम् पांडुपुत्राणाम् पुरस्तात् सर्वभूभुजाम्
Shalya (GP 11-17)
Ganguly translates this as
‘The planets Venus and Mars, in conjunction with Mercury, appeared at the rear of the Pandavas and to the front of all the (Kaurava) lords of Earth.’
To the rear of Pandavas and in front of Kauravas was the Western sky. At this stage of the battle, it was still well before noon. Shalya and others fought vigorously till noon when Shalya was killed by Yudhishthira. Battle continued thereafter for quite some time when Shakuni etc. or all except Duryodhan were killed, Kourava army broke and Duryodhana ran away.
Shri. Oak however interprets this to be an evening situation and finds the three planets ‘behind ‘ Pandavas, in the western sky, after sunset! (By that time there was no Kaurava army, war had ended! Pandava survivors were also disorganized and Bhima was having Gadayuddha with Duryodhana) Yes, the three planets were there in the evening after sunset, Mercury on horizon, Mars and Venus about 30 deg. above horizon. However this has nothing to do with the position well before noon when they should be in front of Pandavas or in the eastern sky! Ganguly’s description is also wrong for the morning hour.
So I checked position in the morning on 2nd Nov. 18th day.
Sunrise was at 6-30 AM
At 7-56 AM Mercury had arisen.
At 10-08 AM Venus had arisen and
At 10-21 Am Mars also arose.
. So thereafter all three were in the eastern sky for at least 2 hours, in front of Pandavas!
(Jupiter is also seen but is not mentioned).
How Sanjaya or Vyasa could see them at 11AM, in bright sunlight is a mystery!
Shri. Oak’s interpretation is irrelevant. The three planets being above western horizon in the evening after sunset has no relevance as war was over, there was no Kaurava army, Ashvatthama Kripa and Krutavarma had run away and Pandavas had chalanged Duryodhana for final duel. Ganguli’s translation is also seen to be wrong.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Rohini, Saturn and Jupiter

Rohini, Saturn and Jupiter
Mahabharata References say that on the first day of war Rohini was afflicted or troubled by Saturn in the early morning. On the other hand, Rohini was troubled by Jupiter on the 17th day of the war in the evening after karna was killed. The references are as under.
1.प्राजापत्यंहि नक्षत्रं ग्रहस्तीक्ष्णो महाद्युतिः
शनैश्चरः पीडयति पीडयन्प्राणिनोधिकम्
Udyoga (CE 141-7, GP 143-8)
2. रोहिणीं पीडयन्नेष स्थितो राजन् शनैश्चरः
Bhishma (CE 2-32, GP 2-32)
3. बृहस्पती रोहिणीं संप्रपीड्य बभूव चंद्रार्कसमानवर्णः
Karna (CE 68-49, BP 94-51)
In both cases a strong word, पीडा is used. One would expect the graha to be at Rohini or close by.
The following two pictures show the relative positions on 16th Oct and 1st Nov. (17th day) in the morning and evening resp.
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It will be seen that Saturn-Jupiter are nowhere near Rohini. The relative positions are also such that
1. On 16th Oct. when Rohini was setting, Saturn was well above the eastern horizon at Altitude of 44 deg. 22’
2. On 17th day, when Jupiter was about to set, half hour after sunset, Rohini was at Altitude of 30 deg. above eastern horizon.
These relative positions do not suggest Rohini being given any serious पीडा by the planets as asserted by Shri. Oak. Readers are invited to form their own opinion.