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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Summary of my comments.- 2

7. About the eclipses, the first lunar, prior to Shishtai, is clearly mentioned by Vyasa. The next solar is doubtful. What is far more important is that the specific lunar fortnight between these two should be of 13 days. Vyasa clearly mentions it, that too ending on Amavasya. The war started next day or perhaps later. The third eclipse is not mentioned by Vyasa. No need to have three eclipses in any proposed year of war. The fortnight between solar and the second lunar (if it occur) is NOT what Vyasa is referring to as abnormally short.
8. About the year 5561 BCE I have no views. In spite of several doubts, it could be correct.
9. Start of war cannot be in rainy season. It has to be 18-20 days after Autumnal equinox. No king would have agreed to start the war before end of rains. Krishna was also no fool to propose a war with rathas and elephants before end of rains.
10. Did the war start on an Amavasya? 7th 8th 10th and 14th day descriptions raise doubt. Pitch Darkness after sunset on 7th and 8th day, and description of moon by Drona to his son on 10th day raise questions. Total darkness throughout the night on 14th day is a big puzzle. Darkness due to dust is a ridiculous explanation. Moonrise just before daybreak, in crescent shape and ‘in the East’ clearly indicate Krishnapaksha. It cannot be wished away.
11. Balaram returning on 18th day is an unsolved puzzle. All play on words, ‘श्रवणे पुनरागतः’ etc. is just that, play on words.
12. Bhishma spent 58 nights on bed of arrows and nothing more. Build-up of time-line up to visit of Pandavas and Krishna to Bhishma is just that, time till that event. Minor variations in that are insignificant. Krishna’s statement of 56 days on that day has to be taken as ‘from Bhishma’s fall’, and not from that day onwards. There is a clear internal consistency between war starting after rains, i. e. some days after Autumnal equinox, and Bhishma spending 57 days on deathbed ending his life on Winter Solstice.
I will end with a general remark that the story in the text must override any astronomical references which clash. One cannot twist and hang the story on Astronomy reference pegs.
I will not write any more on the book. I have enjoyed reading the book in any case. It has taught me many new things for which I am grateful to Shri. Oak.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Summary of my comments on Shri. Oak’s book. - 1

I have written extensively on the book in this blog. I will now summarize my views on some main points of disagreement. But first some points of agreement.
1. I wholeheartedly agree with the finding about Epoch of Arundhati. Whether any proposed year, based on other branches of science should be automatically disqualified if outside the epoch is a moot point.
2. I am happy to learn about ‘धनिष्ठादि तदा कालो ब्रह्मणा परिनिर्मितः
3. I appreciate the enormous effort of Shri. Oak in examining so many references and proposing explanations etc. and some new concepts like ‘वक्र’ motion of planets.
Now the disagreements.
1. All three positions of Saturn remain un-reconciled. All three of course cannot be met in any year. Which one is more important and must be met correctly? I cant say.
2. Same is true about Jupiter.
3. About Mars, the videos of Shri. Oak are excellent. If Mars was to go Vakra anywhere near Maghaa, the references would have been vindicated. Unfortunately, it goes vakra in Rohini, 5 nakshatra earlier. Will any other year fully meet the descriptions? I cant say. Does going Vakra mean ‘changing direction – left to right or right to left’ – and not ‘crossing of Ecliptic?’ I invite Shri. Oak to check this possibility.
4. A large numbers of references are just Upamas and whether met or not in any proposed year is immaterial.
5. Krishnashishtai timeline is not acceptable. One cannot ‘assume’ events not mentioned in the text, directly or even indirectly, to suit one’s theory. Krishna spent only 2 or max. 3 days in Hastinapur and not 7 or 8.
6. The period of Krishna Shishtai cannot be pulled back into the rainy season. It was clearly ‘शरदान्ते हिमागमे’.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sequence of motion of Mars - 2

It is however not possible that three retrograde, as normally understood, motions of Mars, at Magha, Chitra-Swati and Jyeshtha, one after the other, could occur in any single year. Interpretation of Apasavya as Retrograde and Vakra meaning maybe, change of direction, veering to left or right, (not necessarily crossing the ecliptic), can be considered as an acceptable solution. If the Vakra motion i. e. crossing of ecliptic, had been seen at Magha and at Jyeshtha, one could accept Shri. Oak’s definition but it occurs at Rohini and before Anuradha.
Use of present tense in all statements of Karna and Vyasa creates problems which appear irreconcilable. At the start of war, Mars can be only 1)at Magha – मघासु (or 2) at Anuradha , - प्रार्थयते मैत्रम् 3) at Chitra, - पीड्यते or )at Shravan, -श्रवणे not at all four places, obviously. The text however uses present tense for all four! Also Mars would be at first three locations long time before start of war, if it had reached Shravan-Dhanishtha by start of war. So why Karna and Vyasa use present tense for earlier three positions is a puzzle. One could treat it as poetic liberty if the Vakra motion did take place at Magha and Jyeshtha, but it does not!
I wonder whether any better fit could be found in some other year. I have no means to check it.
I look forward to seeing similar video of Jupiter going Vakra at Shravan, when and where.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sequence of movement of Mars.-1

I saw the videos of motion of Mars published by Shri. Oak. It is an excellent and imaginative use of the software he has got. I now review what the first four Videos show.
1. Mars starts on 16th Oct 5563 BCE South of ecliptic at Shravan, comes on Ecliptic ‘at Rohini’ and goes to North of Ecliptic at Rohini itself and then proceeds to reach Magha on 13th Aug. 5562 BCE, remaining north of ecliptic.
2. Proceeds to Chitra on 18th Nov. 5562 BCE, goes further to Swati, then goes retrograde back to Chitra – 6months near Chitra-Swati- till 19 May 5561 BCE
3. Becomes Prograde and proceeds to Anuradha crossing to south of ecliptic, a little before Anuradha, on 25th June 5561 BCE
4. Proceeds to Jyeshtha on 7th July 5561 BCE and then further to Shravan and upto Dhanishtha on ecliptic on 16th Oct. 5561 BCE
Now do these details match what Karna and Vyasa said?
1, Vyasa said Mars was Vakra at Magha. The Video shows Mars crossed the Ecliptic At Rohini, 6 Nakshatras behind Magha. Accepting Shri. Oak’s interpretation of Vakra motion, Mars should have crossed the Ecliptic at Magha, not Rohini! Mars did not come back to the ecliptic for long thereafter.
Also Mars was at Magha more than one year before the war date, yet Vyasa talks about the event in present tense. Vakra motions of Jupiter in Shravan, mentioned in the same shloka by Vyasa, again in present tense, actually happened 6 months and one year after war! Lots of discrepancies.
2. Mars did go retrograde between Chitra and Swati and came back to Chitra. It can be accepted as ‘चित्राम् पीडयते ग्रह:’
Only problem is that it happened long before the war and yet Karna talks about it in present tense. To justify Karna’s use of present tense, Mars should still be at Chitra!
3. Mars then crosses Ecliptic, but before Anuradha, not at Jyeshtha. So ‘कृत्वा अंगारको वक्र:’ is OK but not ‘ज्येष्ठायाम्’. Also it happened in July 5561 BCE. So why Karna talks about it in present tense?
‘अनुराधाम् प्रार्थयते मैत्रम्’ indicates that Mars was still close to Anuradha, approaching it. (Mars had just passed by Anuradha,having earlier crosses the ecliptic.) Actually, by Oct 5561 BCE, Mars was nowhere near Anuradha! It has moved five nakshatras ahead as though Anuradha had rejected the friendship!
4. At the time of war, Mars is described by Vyasa to be at Shravan. This description is fairly matched by what the video shows. Mars however appears a little beyond Shravan and closer to Dhanishtha on the ecliptic.
5. Crossing of Ecliptic by Mars is nicely seen in the Videos, though at wrong places. Question remains as to how Vyasa or anyone else could have noticed it. There is no thick yellow line in the real sky, as in the Video, to show the Ecliptic! Also motion of mars in the sky shown in the videos in a few minutes is actually over several months. So how the crossing could have been seen? This problem does not arise for noting retrograde (or Apasavya) motion. It can be seen without the ecliptic line.
On the whole, although the four Videos show all the motions of Mars mentioned by Karna and Vyasa, the location of going vakra or the timing indicated by use of present tense has serious mismatch problems.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Names of Lunar Months - Contd.

Between the Bhishma system and the current system based on Sun’s transit through rashi, thousands of years have passed. Was any refinement of Bhishma’s system introduced, such as, taking one extra month after 29 normal months? If so, when and by whom? Not known. If there was any such change, there must be somewhere a record of who introduced the change and more particularly, when.
There is a common belief among all researchers that on purnima day of any lunar month, the moon is in the Nakshatra whose name the month carries, e. g. in Chitra if the month is Chaitra etc. The Mahabharata researchers like Shri. Oak and Shri. Achar routinely place moon in that nakshatra on Purnima day and calculate on that basis. Conversely if moon is in Jyeshtha on purnima day, the month must be Jyeshth, is the conclusion! Out of curiosity I checked the position from Kalanirnay for all months of 2014 and found the rule is mismatched quite often! The table below shows the position for 2014. It can be seen that for 6 out of 12 months there is a mismatch!
Date of Purnima Month Name Nakshatra of the day
January 16 Poush Punarvasu NM
February 14 Magh Ashlesha NM
March 16 Falgun Purva-Falguni M
April 15 Chaitra Chitra M
May 14 Vaishakh Swati NM
June 13 Jyeshtha Jyeshthaa M
July 12 Ashadh Purvashadha M
August 10 Shraavan Shravan M
September 9 Bhadrapad Purva-Bhadrapada M
October 8 Ashvin Uttara-Bhadrapada NM
November 6 Kartik Ashvini NM
December 6 Margashirsha Rohini M
This is the position with the current accurate system of taking adhika masas. I wanted to see the position in Mahabharat days, with 2 Adhika masas together, after 58 continuous normally named masas –the Bhishma system. Shri. Oak generously helped to make a list of almost 100 consecutive months, and the purnima nakshatra of each in 2007 onwards from old Kalanirnay calendars. Then in the table, I named month nos 1 and 2 as Adhika and arbitrarily gave a name to month no.3 correctly matching the purnima nakshatra and then named 57 subsequent months as per normal sequence of Chaitra-Vaishakh etc. and then named the 59th and 60th months (month numbers 61 and 62) as Adhika masa, to resume normal names thereafter. So to say, I duplicated the Bhishma system. I found that by the time we go to 30th month onwards the month name and purnima nakshatra dont match at all and the mismatch kept on growing. It grew to 3 Nakshatras by 57th-58th month!
Month Number and Date of Purnima... Nakshatra ......Name of Month
1 ....................... 3-Jan-07 .......................Ardra-Punarvasu ........Adhika 1
2 ....................... 2-Feb-07 .......................Ashlesha .....................Adhika 2
3 ....................... 3-Mar-07 .......................Pur. Falguni ............ Falgun
4 ....................... 2-Apr-07 ........................Hasta ................... Chaitra
5 ....................... 2-May-07 ....................... Swati ....................Vaishakh
6........................ 31-May-07 ....................... Jyeshtha..................Jyeshth
7....................... 30-Jun-07 ....................... Pur Ash-Uttar ash.......... Ashadh
8 ...................... 30-Jul-07 ....................... Dhanishtha ................Shravan
9 ...................... 28-Aug-07 ....................... Shata-Pur Bhad.............Bhadrapad
10...................... 27-Sep-07 ....................... Uttara-Bhadra............. Ashvin
11 ..................... 26-Oct-07 ....................... Revati-Ashvini.............Kartik
12...................... 24-Nov-07......................... Krittika ................. Margashirsh
13...................... 24-Dec-07 ........................ Ardra..................... Poush
14...................... 22-Jan-08 ........................ Pushya.................... Magha
15 ......................21-Feb-08 ........................ Magha .................... Falgun
16 .......................................................................................... Chaitra
17............................................................................................ Vaishakh
18............................................................................................ Jyeshtha
56....................... 15-Jun-11 ....................... Moola .................... Shravan
57....................... 15-Jul-11 ....................... Ut. Ash.-Shravan..........Bhadrapad
58 .......................11-Aug-11........................ Dhanishtha-Shata...........Ashvin
59 .......................12-Sep-11....................... Purva Bhadrapada .........Kartik
60........................12-Oct-11....................... Utt. Bhadr.-Revati........Margashirsh
61........................11-Nov-11....................... Bharani...................Adhika 1
62........................10-Dec-11........................ Mrugashirsha..............Adhika 2
(Details of intermediate months not filled in)
I conclude that the assumption which researchers routinely make about purnima nakshatra and month name matching, is not at all tenable for Mahabharat or such ancient time!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Names of Lunar Months

The twelve lunar months of Indian Lunar calendar have names which are derived from names of twelve out of twenty-seven Nakshatra names. It is clear that the Nakshatra were given their names first. How twelve out of those have been selected for deciding month names? When did the nakshatras get their names and when the months got their names? The ancient texts of vedas etc. may have indications of these events.
Lunar months are only about 29 ½ days and 12 lunar months amount to only 354 days, short of the solar year of 365+ days. In order to keep step with Solar year, some nameless, ‘adhika’,lunar months need to be introduced. Jews follow a lunar calendar and have a system of such extra months in a 19 year cycle. The Muslims also follow lunar months but they do not have any extra months. Their year is just 12 lunar months. They are quite aware that their year is shorter than the Solar year but have lived with it all these years.
Solar year is also slightly larger than 365 days. A correction unit being ‘a day’, the system of leap years enables a much easier adjustment. Only a small change in the rule of Leap year of Julian calendar made the Gregorian Calendar more accurate. With lunar months and solar year, adjustment to catch-up is not easy, the unit being a full month!
The current system of naming Lunar months is not very old. It is linked with Sun’s motion through the ecliptic. Our ancestors had divided the ecliptic into 27 parts to match the approx. 27 days moon takes to pass through the ecliptic. The system of dividing the ecliptic into 12 equal parts called Rashis is linked with the approx 12 lunar months Sun takes to pass through the ecliptic. I believe, The Rashi System came to India from the Greeks. The Indian names of rashis are derived from the Greek names.
The current system of naming the Lunar month is based on Sun’s crossing over from one rashi to the next within the month. If Sun does not cross over within a Lunar month, then no name can be given to it and it becomes an Adhika month, but with the name same as the next regular month. Very rarely, Sun crosses over two Rashis in a lunar month and one month name needs to be skipped. We then get a Kshaya masa. When exactly, this system came into vogue? I have not come across any specific date or year when it started and who started it. The answer should be there somewhere but I dont know it.
Before that, what was the system of naming months and taking Adhika Masa? It is known that after approx 29 normal months an Adhika Masa needs to be taken to catch up with the seasons (Ritus). But it is not exact! So what were the rules?
Our ancestors may have started with no Specific Adhika Masa System as such. Exact and correct systems develop progressively over long time. So initially, only as and when the mismatch between the month name and Ritu became obvious, some adhika masas may have been taken at random. Then it may have been noticed that after 58 continuous normal months, the mismatch equals a full Ritu of two months. So, take two nameless months and fall in step. This was the system prevailing at Mahabharata Time. In the whole of Mahabharata the only reference to Adhika masa is in what Bhishma said at the time Arjun came out of Adnyatavasa and appeared before the Kouravas for battle. He was recognized. When the question arose whether 12+1 =13 years were over, Bhishma explained that after every 58 normal months, two Adhika Masas need to be taken. (पंचमे पंचमे वर्षे मासद्वयम् is the wording). Since there is no other system mentioned anywhere, we have to accept that this was the system then prevailing. Since when it was in use? Not known.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

What is a Yuga?

Our ancestors had a concept of a Yuga as a block of time. I am not clear whether there is a definite statement as to how large is a Yuga. There is a concept of a cycle of Four Yugas, viz. Kruta, Treta, Dvapara and Kali. Are they all equal? Why four yugas?
There are four Cardinal points of the Sun’s annual travel through the ecliptic, viz. the two equinoxes and the two solstices. Our ancestors had become aware of this and must have observed that the four points move backwards along the ecliptic, although only very slowly. Is the concept of four Yugas somehow connected with this phenomenon? Brahmadeva formulated the system of time counting with a starting point when Sun moves into Dhanishtha and was at Summer Solstice. At least, that appears the rational explanation of धनिष्ठादि तदा कालो ब्रह्मणा परिनिर्मित:
My speculation is whether a Yuga is the period from that point to the next point in time when Autumnal Equinox starts occurring when Sun is in Dhanishtha! It would mean that a yuga is a block of time needed for one cardinal point to move back to such an extent that the next cardinal point takes its place. There would thus be a cycle of four yugas before the starting point is again reached. We now know that total time of this cycle is 26000 years and so each yuga would have a size of 6500 years! I am of course quite aware that I have no basis to support this speculation.
This year, Summer Solstice occurred when Sun just entered Ardra. Between start of Ardra and end of Dhanishtha there are 9 clear nakshatra. Thus if Summer Solstice is assumed to have been at end of Dhanishtha when Bhrahma started his ‘system’ the Summer Solstice has moved backwards by full 18 nakshatra till now or about 17300 years have gone by. In other words, the year at that time was 15300 BCE! If Sun was at the start of Dhanishtha at that time then the year was 14350 BCE (960 years forward). We may take a mean year or 14850 BCE as the year when the Yuga started. That yuga would then end 6500 years later or in 8350 BCE and the next yuga would end in 1850 BCE! Was this the year when Dwapar yuga ended and Kaliyuga started?
An alternative concept for a Yuga could be the period during which, a Cardinal point occurs within a particular Nakshatra. This will make a Yuga much smaller, about 960 years and there would be no specific significance for four Yugas. There should then be a cycle of 27 Yugas. There is an Arati of Lord Vitthala in Marathi, the first line of which is 'युगे अठ्ठावीस विटेवरी उभा' Any connection?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Dhanishthadi ....

Dhanishthadi ....
Shri. Oak’s book has a chapter on Fall of Abhijit. Although I have found many points of disagreement with what he has written, particularly because of his wrong translation of the shlokas, I was fascinated by the statement by Indra, ‘धनिष्ठादि तदा कालो ब्रह्मणा परिनिर्मितः’ Here are a few thoughts on the subject
Shri. Oak has interpreted this statement to mean that a system of time counting was established by Brahmadeva when one of the Cardinal points of the Sun’s movement through the Ecliptic was in Dhanishtha. By and large this interpretation appears correct to me, as a common reader with some acquaintance with astronomy. We know that as a result of Precision, the four cardinal points, viz. Summer Solstice, Autumnal Equinox, Winter Solstice and Vernal Equinox move backwards through the ecliptic completing one full rotation in 26000 years.
The cardinal points are closely associated with seasons. Our ancestors probably noted the phenomena of equinoxes, longest and shortest days at a very early stage and may have started noticing the year as a time-block, other than and larger than the more easily noticed lunar month. At what stage they firmed up their observation that Sun and Moon move along a specific path in the sky, moon in 27 days and Sun in 365 days is to be left to our imagination. The system of counting numbers, that appears most natural to us, must have taken its time to develop, prior to all this. Then our brilliant ancestors observed that the path of movement of Sun and Moon in the sky can be marked out by referring to some specific stars and groups of stars, lying along the path. How long it took to complete this process of identifying the Nakshatras, at fairly equal distance, that too, 27 of them, and giving them the Names is again unknown. At some point of time all this was done and then only the movement of the cardinal points along the ecliptic,( which is really very slow), must have been observed. Only after all this background was established, Brahma could have said, ‘Such and such Cardinal point is currently in Dhanishtha. A new year begins when Sun enters and passes through Dhanishtha. Let all know this and and I order them to keep track of the year from Dhanishtha through the following 26 nakshatras.’ This is probably what is meant by Indra’s statement.
Which was the Cardinal point which Brahma associated with Dhanishtha? Was it Summer Solstice? It is closely associated with start of the rainy season in India. In south India rains begin a little earlier, by 10th June, but in north Indian, rains start by 25th June, just at Summer Solstice. So Summer Solstice is a most significant marker for an agricultural society. It would be appropriate to assume that Summer Solstice used to occur when Sun was passing through Dhanishtha, when Brahma set down his rule. What is ‘Awe Inspiring’ is that the time when Summer Solstice was coincident with Sun in Dhanishtha, is as far back as 14000 BCE! When I read this in Shri. Oak’s book I was really flabbergasted! Were our ancestors that smart in such ancient time? We can be justly proud of them.
I only wonder, why Brahma did not order counting of years, 1,2,3,4 etc. from that time, or, so to say, started a ‘Brahma Shaka’. If he had, we would have found statements like this ...‘In the year of Brahma 1437, such and such king was ruling at such and such place’ in all ancient texts. If this had happened, there would have been no question about when Mahabharata happened. Vyasa would have mentioned ‘Brahma Years’ for all major events! Shri. Oak and Shri. Achar and all other researchers would have been jobless! So would I! Alas, it did not happen! So we have all the researchers and controversies. (Of course, in spite of Shalivahana Shaka being around, we do have controversies about when Shivaji was born!) Wonder is that no one thought of starting to count years from an event, in India, until Vikramaditya .

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Comments Continued

Now we will examine the dates given by Shri. Achar for some main events prior to the war and thereafter.
1.Krishna’s departure from Upaplavya. – The date given is Sept. 26. In the year 3067 BCE the winter solstice came on Jan 13, 3066 BCE. The Autumal Equinox was 90 days earlier or on Oct 13 +/- a day. The text clearly says that Krishna left ‘शरदान्ते हिमागमे’ So the departure date should be on or after Oct 13. The date shown by Shri. Achar is about 17 days earlier or well before end of Sharad Ritu.
2.The entire visit of Krishna ending with his dialogue with Karna has been shown before Autumnal Equinox and no justification for that has been provided. This is not consistent with the text.
3.After the solar eclipse on Oct. 14, still before Autumnal Equinox, the start of war is shown on Nov. 22 and moon is mentioned to be at Bharani. What is the explanation for the one month and 8 days in between? Even if we take it that the seven days mentioned by Krishna for start of war, which ended on the day of the solar eclipse or Oct. 14, were for starting war rituals, did the rituals go on for a month and 8 days? There is no description of any such war rituals carried out by either side in the Mahabharata Text.
4.What was the tithi on the first day of the war? Only mention in Mahabharata is what Krishna said to Karna ‘Let us begin the war after 7 days on Amavasya.’ On 22nd Nov. the tithi would be Shukla Saptami or Ashtami Why this tithi has been selected as first day is not explained. There is no mention of this tithi in the Text. There is no mention of the war beginning on Bharani day either.
5.14th day of war is shown as Dec. 8. From Nov. 22nd as first day, 14th day would be Dec. 5 and not Dec 8!
6.Same discrepancy is seen in 18th day- Balarama returning. From 22nd Nov, 18th day would be 9th Dec. and not 12th Dec.
7.The day of Bhishma’s death is shown as Jan 17. If war began on 22nd Nov,. 10th day would be 1st Dec. From then his death would be only after 47 days. Bhishma himself clearly said that he spent 58 painful nights on the deathbed. There is a big mismatch here.
8.When Dec.8 is not the 14th day and Dec. 12th Dec. is not the 18th day, the star maps of these two days have no relevance. On 9th Dec, the actual 18th day, moon would not have been in Shravan.
9. I presume Shri. Achar is aware of the timespan identified by Shri. Oak, during which Arundhati was ahead of Vasishtha as mentioned by Vyasa. The year of war examined by Shri. Achar is well outside that time span and in fact Arundhati was Maximum Behind vasistha in that year. One would expect Shri. Achar to disprove the findings of Shri. Oak or to clarify why he does not find it necessary to accept the limits stated by Shri. Oak. He has done neither.
We can see that the time line proposed by Shri. Achar violates two facts very clearly stated in the text itself, viz., A)Krishna started from Upaplavya after the end of Sharad Ritu which is further borne out by his description of dry ground, plenty of grass etc. at kurukshetra, when he invited the Kouravas to begin war in 7 days (Vyasa’s description matches) and B)Bhishma spent 58 painful nights on the deathbed, as he himself clearly stated just before dying on Winter Solstice. As an ordinary reader of Mahabharat I would expect the Researchers not to distort these main elements of the story, to suit the so-called astronomical observations. Based on Bhishma expiring after 57 days (58 nights) on deathbed and that he fought for first 10 days of the war, the start of the war has to be 66-67 days before the winter solstice. This makes it about 23-24 days after Autumnal equinox. This period is enough for Krishna Shishtai and both sides reaching Kurukshetra. This is a natural time for start of war and matches with what Krishna and Vyasa have said. The whole story of the war is between Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice.
For any year in the distant past the researcher may examine, the dates of Winter Solstice and Autumnal Equinox get automatically fixed. This fixes the date of start of war and other consecutive days up to eighteenth day. These will be binding dates for that year and the researcher has to work as per that time-line to verify, by planetary software or by any other means, which astronomical statements by Karna or Vyasa or anyone else validate and which do not. I do not see how any researcher can outstep these limits.
Regrettably, both Shri. Oak and Shri. Achar have twisted the main story which is not acceptable to me as a reader of Mahabharata.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Further Comments

Let us examine now Shri. Achar’s findings by Planetarium.
He has concentrated on the two planetary positions viz. Saturn at Rohini and Mars going Vakra before reaching Jyeshtha to identify years for further study. He finds 17 such years within the window of 3500 BCE and 500 CE. There would be more such years if we go back further. I have no resources to identify them in any case. To eliminate from the 17 years, he falls back upon lunar eclipse on kartika purnima to narrow the choice to two only and the final choice is made based on winter solstice being on or near Magha Shukla Ashtami, the traditional tithi of Bhishma Nirvan. For the year 3067 BCE he claims that Winter Solstice occurred in 3066 on Jan 13, on Magha Shukla Panchami, just prior to the reqd. tithi and so it passes all tests.
He then gives a table showing Julian Dates for his time-line of events, beginning from Krishna’s departure from Upaplavya to Bhishma’s death. I presume one needs dates and not month-tithi to access the planetarium.
1. Regarding Saturn being at Rohini there is no doubt what-so-ever as the map of Sept. 29 shows it clearly at Rohini and being a slow-mover would remain in Rohini over the whole period.
2. Regarding retrograde motion of Mars there are some questions! Figure 6.5 shows motion of Mars from Dec. 8, 3068 to Oct 8 3067 with dates marked for events on the path. It is seen that Mars starts on Dec 8, 3068 from between Chitra and Vishakha. It turns Retrograde in Feb 3067, when between Vishakha and Anuradha, in fact well before reaching Jyeshtha. Then it becomes Prograde in May 3067, at a spot well behind Vishakha and then goes straight to Shravan on Oct 8, the date of Krishna Karna dialogue.
On the day of the dialogue, Mars is at Shravan. It was past Vishakha and ‘approaching Anuradha’ very much earlier, on 26th July. Then on 15th Aug., 2 months before the dialogue, it is seen to have already moved through Anuradha and Jyeshtha to Moola or a little beyond, and on the date of the dialogue Mars is 5 nakshatras beyond Anuradha!
Karna describes Mars position to Krishna as, ‘having gone retrograde before reaching Jyeshtha, it turned prograde and was approaching Anuradha and pleading for friendship.’ (‘अनुराधां प्रार्थयते मैत्रम्’). The use of present tense by Karna is worth noting. Does the position described above match with this description? NO! To match it, Mars should have been at or just approaching Anuradha. The actual position as shown on Shri. Achar’s Fig. 6.5 can be more appropriately described as ‘Anuradha had flatly rejected Mars’ friendship request and so Mars has gone away in a huff to Shravan!’ I am afraid the retrograde motion of Mars for 3067 BCE does not match what Karna said.
I cannot verify whether in any other year when Saturn was in Rohini within the period 3500 BCE to 500 CE or ‘earlier than 3500 BCE’, there was a retrograde motion of Mars more satisfactorily matching what Karna described. Only experts with access to Planetarium software can do it. I hope someone does it. 3067 BCE does not fit the bill.
3. Shri. Achar gives Sept 29, 3067 as the day of Kartika Purnima and verifies a lunar eclipse on that day and shows the eclipse in Fig. 6.3.
This eclipse can hardly be described as total or near total eclipse. It is a very small partial eclipse. It does not match Vyasa’s description of moon as ‘अलक्ष्यः, प्रभयाहीनः, रक्तवर्णः’
4. Next Shri. Achar asserts that on Magha Shukla Panchami winter solstice occurred. Let us do a little ‘back of envelope’ verification. On Summer solstice day in this year 2015, sun just moved from Mrug to Ardra or was just on the borderline between these two nakshatras according to Salgaokar’s Kalanirnay. Winter Solstice this year therefore would be on the mid point of Moola. In 3067 BCE, i. e. 5082 years back, it would have occurred 5082/960 = 5.3 nakshatras ahead or in last quarter of Shatataraka. On Pushya Amavasya Moon and Sun should be in Dhanishtha based on the assumption that moon was in Pushya on Poush Purnima and it was a full Paksha of 15 days. (The possibility of moon and sun both being at end part of Shravan on the Amavasya also exists.) From there Sun would take at least 15 days to reach last quarter point of Shatataraka. On Shukla Panchami, in 5 days, it would be still in Dhanishtha only! I have examined this position primarily because Shri. Achar claims Winter Solstice on Magha Shukla Panchami as a clinching evidence in favor of 3067 BCE as the war year. The mismatch needs to be examined by Shri. Achar. An year when winter solstice was in Dhanishtha would greatly increase the possibility of Magha Shukla Ashtami being on winter solstice day.
5. The solar eclipse on Oct 14, assuming it did occur as claimed, is on 15th day after the lunar eclipse on 29th Sept. The Paksha length is therefore the normal full length. So where is the ‘short’ lunar fortnight of only 13 days? If it is the next one from the solar eclipse day, the next Purnima and the eclipse, if any, should be on 27th Oct. Shri. Achar claims to have found a lunar eclipse alright but on 28th Oct. and shows it in Fig. 7.4. There is no eclipse on 27th Oct. So where has the ‘unusually short’ Lunar Fortnight of 13 days gone? Vyasa has emphatically spoken about the ‘short’ paksha and the researchers take it seriously. Hence the question.
It is thus seen that out of the four tests applied by Shri. Achar, only one, viz. Saturn at Rohini is established. Other three leave some questions unanswered. Mars is not shown as anywhere near Anuradha so cannot be considered as asking for friendship. Eclipse on Kartik Amavasya does not match the description by Vyasa as it is found to be only a nominal eclipse. Winter Solstice does not seem to match Magha Shukla Panchami or even Ashtami and there is no trace of a short lunar fortnight.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Comments Continued.

Karna – Krishna Dialogue
Krishna sent a message to Bhishma-Drona-Krupa through Karna that let war begin on the coming Amavasya. Shri. Achar claims that Krishna had no authority to declare war. It was for Yudhishthira and Duryodhana to do so. Well, Yudhishthira had long back told Duryodhana , ‘give me my Indraprastha or fight.’ Duryodhana openly rejected the demand for restoration of full Indraprastha rajya and even a minimum demand of 5 places for 5 brothers. No further declarations of war were needed. Krishna simply advised the appropriate time! In the Text also there is no subsequent setting of time for commencement of hostilities by either Yudhishthira or Duryodhana. If Krishna’s message ‘संग्रामं योजयेत्’ is to be interpreted as commencement of war rituals, where is the description of any such rituals gone through later by either side? Krishna has obviously asked for commencement of war, declaring ground conditions appropriate for it. Karna and later Kouravas seem to have accepted it.
Shri. Achar has quoted the astronomical observations of Karna at the end of the dialogue. He interprets ‘व्यावृत्तं लक्ष्म सोमस्य’ as a positive assertion that there was a lunar eclipse on the last Purnima. By itself, it is hardly so. In a lunar eclipse the spot on the moon does not turn nor does an eclipse leave any long-standing change in the appearance of the moon. The translation of karna’s words, ‘moon lost its lustre’ is also not correct. The next statement ‘Rahu is approaching the Sun’ is also only indicative of a possible Solar eclipse on the coming Amavasya. Karna’s other two statements that a) Saturn is afflicting Rohini and b) Mars’ retrograde motion after Jyeshtha, are verified by Shri. Achar with the software, which need a closer look. There is one more observation by Karna that a Graha is afflicting Chitra. Somehow, the name of the Graha is not mentioned by Karna. Shri. Achar points out that Karna has talked about a lunar eclipse and a possible solar eclipse but says nothing about no. of days between the two. He infers that it was a usual lunar Paksha, nothing abnormal.
Vyasa-Dhritarashthra dialogue.
On the eve before war commenced (or on Krishna Chaturdashi if war did commence on Kartika Amavasya), Vyasa had a long dialogue with Dhritarashtra when he expressed his grief at the coming destruction of the Kurus. He mentions a lot of bad omens he was seeing and also many astronomical observations. Shri. Achar has gone through all of them carefully, dividing them into 4 groups. He states here his view that in most of these observations the word ‘graha’ or ‘graha-putra’ stands for Comet. Since I have no knowledge of the references quoted by him in support of this claim, I have no comments to make on this point. It is for researchers having necessary background knowledge to accept or reject it.
In the first group of Vyasa’s observations, there are many bad omens and only one astronomical observation about moon on the last kartika Full-moon day. The description is of the same day as by Karna but far more specific. The words अलक्ष्यः, प्रभयाहीनः, रक्तवर्णः all describe a lunar eclipse. Shri. Achar attaches special importance to the red colour of moon as it is supposed to indicate a battle.
In the very recent lunar eclipse which we all saw, it was clearly seen that the moon turns red only when most of its surface is in shadow. When even a quarter part is still bright, it is not reddish in colour. The sky in any case does not turn red. The photo shown below illustrates the point.
Was the eclipse Vyasa describes a near-total lunar eclipse? We will come to this later again. Surprisingly, Vyasa refers to this eclipse again in the second group of observations but uses the same three words as used by Karna! This time Shri. Achar translates them differently as ‘Spot on the moon has shifted’. Even in a total or near total lunar eclipse no such thing happens. (Photo above may be referred). So what exactly happened to moon? We can only say it suffered an eclipse.
In the second group there is a mention of Saturn afflicting Rohini. Shri. Achar attaches a lot of importance to this one treating it as referring to Saturn itself (not a comet) and a strong bad omen. Vyasa also talks about Rahu catching the Sun and specifies Shveta as a graha afflicting Chitra. Karna had left the name of the graha out. Shri. Achar claims that Shveta is usually translated as Mercury. (It is to be noted that he has not included this position of Mercury in the list of observations to be verified by Planetarium Software.)
All observations in the third segment are claimed by Shri. Achar to be of Comets. Number of these comets runs to 12. While some of these claims appear, even to a novice like me as legitimate, I refrain from contradicting any of these claims. Again they are to be left for others to study and comment upon. Point to be noted is that since, in his view, verification of comets by planetary software is not reliable, he has not put to test any of these 12 observations for presence of a comet at the designated nakshatra. One would expect an effort ‘for what it is worth’ to subject these 12 observation to test. I believe comets do not move so fast that they would move from the positions mentioned in the 12 observations over a span of even 15 days.
In the fourth segment there are some more bad omens and then the observation about multiple eclipses. A lunar eclipse on Kartika Purnima was positively described earlier by Vyasa. A solar eclipse has been hinted at or suggested by both Karna and Vyasa. These two had apparently already occurred and the interval between the two, or the length of the Kartika Krishnapaksha has been the usual one since neither Karna nor Vyasa comments on that point. Vyasa expresses his surprise at a very short interval between two eclipses and an unusually short Paksha of 13 days (not 14, 15 or even 16). So this must refer to yet another eclipse on the following Margashirsha Purnima. Vyasa also talks about two eclipses ‘in one month.’ Since the first Lunar Eclipse was on Kartika Purnima and solar one on Kartika Amavasya, both these must be construed as having taken place ‘in one and the same month’. Problem is that if Vyasa is referring to these two, they were not 12 days apart at all. If he is referring to solar eclipse on Kartika Amavasya and another lunar one on Margashirsha Purnima with a Paksha length of only 13 days, the two are not ‘in the same month’! So what exactly is Vyasa saying? Since Vyasa has NOT described the second lunar in specific terms like the first one, it is not clear whether he considered it a partial, near total or total eclipse. Shri. Achar seems to take the second alternative of three eclipses and says he has verified all three eclipses by the Planetarium software. He has a rider on the eclipses that their verification is not reliable! We will take a look at that later.
Thus after going through the long list of Astronomical observations by Karna and Vyasa in Udyoga and Bhishma Parva, Shri. Achar reduced the list to only four items for testing. Only two viz. Saturn at Rohini and Vakri motion of Mars pertain to Planets and the other two are the lunar and solar eclipses! Even the only other planetary position, viz. Mercury (Shveta) at Chitra, (not ruled out by him as a comet) is not verified.
One of the bad omens listed by Vyasa is about Arundhati walking ahead of Vasishtha. Shri. Achar has taken no note whatsoever of the book written by Shri. Nilesh Oak, based on his own research with Software and computer, on this subject. The year authenticated by Shri. Achar, 3067 BCE, is well outside the 'Epoch of Arundhati'.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Shri. Narahari Achar's Monograph. My comments.

Shri. Oak has invited me to write on this blog about the monograph by Shri. Narahari Achar on the subject of authenticating the year of Mahabharat war proposed by Shri. Raghavan much earlier, using planetarium software.
Shri. Oak had sent me a copy of the paper and I had earlier exchanged a few e-mails with Shri. Achar. I dont belong to the group of learned persons who have done research work in this field. I am merely an interested reader or a ‘common man’ if you like. After some thought, I have decided to write a few posts on the subject as a 'common man'.
I had thought that Shri. Oak was the first to use computer and software for studies in this field. I am wrong. It seems Shri. Achar and many others have made use of this modern tool effectively. Shri. Oak had also sent me a copy of the original book by Shri. Raghavan in PDF form when I showed interest in it. I attempted to go through it but, frankly, I could not follow it. I will not make any comments on it. Shri Achar has validated the year 3067 BCE proposed by Shri. Raghavan as the year of mahabharat war. He has also quoted the dates given by Shri. Raghavan for various events prior to the war and ending with Bhishma’s death and apparently endorsed them as correct. My comments will be only about the validation of the year and about some of these dates.
Shri. Achar begins with giving information about some basic astronomical concepts and then has written about use of planetarium software. He has clearly stated the limitations about the reliability aspect, particularly about position of moon in the ancient past, in Mahabharat time and timing of eclipses. I dont know whether the software used by Shri. Oak offers more accurate data about moon positions for years in antiquity, thousands of years back. Shri. Achar also mentions that positions of Comets in the distant past cannot be verified reliably by Planetarium Software.
1. A very minor point – Shri Achar mentions that movement of Celestial north pole in a circle in 26000 years is called precision. Well, not so. I do not know whether this motion of Celestial Poles has got any specific name. Precision, as far as I know, is the backward motion of the Sun’s cardinal points, equinoxes and solstices, along the ecliptic, completing one round in 26000 years. The conical motion of the axis of earth’s rotation resulting in the travel of Celestial Poles in a circle is the Cause and the precision of equinoxes and solstices is the Result.
2. About Krishna-Shishtai timeline. – Shri. Achar says that Krishna left Upaplavya on Revati, spent a day on his way and reached Hastinapur on the third day. This, so far, is as per the mahabharat text. Then he says that (I quote), ‘(iii) Krishna meets with various people to discuss the conditions of averting the war. On the day of pushya, Duryodhana rejects all offers of peace.’ The Text does not say any such thing at all. Description in Mahabharata is very clear. After reaching Hastinapur Krishna meets the Kauravas and exchanges pleasantries, refuses their invitation to stay with them and to have a meal and goes to spend the night with Vidura and Kunti. Next day he attends the Kuru Rajasabha and pleads for peace and for Pandavas’ claim to Indraprastha, conveying Yudhishthira’s minimum demand of 5 villages. After long discussions and views and advice by many, Duryodhana, then and there, refused the offer and totally denied any claim of Pandavas. Then on the same day and place, when Krishna asks Dhritarashtra, Bhishma and Drona to disown Duryodhana, he even plans to arrest Krishna but quickly realizes the futility and folly,(If he had actually tried any such thing Krishna would have openly taken up arms on Pandavas’ side with justification.) and leaves the Sabha. Krishna, seeing no chance of peace, takes leave of all and goes to Vidura’s place for a final meeting with Kunti and then, same day or at most next day, leaves Hastinapur. The whole effort for peace was a one-day affair. There is no basis for claiming that he had separate meetings with various people over several days. Duryodhana did not wait till Pushya nakshatra but rejected all peace proposals on the spot in the Sabha itself. (In fact Duryodhana gave a very well-reasoned reply to Krishna in my view.)He never wavered from his position and left no chance for any further discussions. Krishna could clearly see that Dhritarashtra or Bhishma had no will or strength to go against Duryodhana. In fact Krishna and Pandavas never had any hopes of success but Krishna had gone through the motions of a Peace Talk to avoid any blames from third parties.
Shri. Achar gives a totally wrong impression to readers, Indians or non-Indians, who are not familiar with the Text. Researchers have no right to corrupt the clear story in the text, to suit any astronomical references which do not match the sequence or timing of events.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Puzzle of Eclipses.

Researchers of Mahabharat Year attach a lot of importance to the solar/lunar eclipses which are claimed to have occurred prior to start of war.
1. A lunar Eclipse is supposed to have occurred at the time of Krishna Shishtai.
Krishna is claimed to have started on Revati and reached Hastinapur on Bharani. Next day he visited the Kourava Rajashabha which was thus Krittika day. Since this was supposed to be Kartika Masa this was Purnima day. The first Lunar Eclipse must have therefore occurred on this day. Krishna spent this night with Vidura and Kunti. They had a long heart-to-heart talk. There is no mention of an eclipse in this part of the text. When Krishna left Hastinapur he took Karna with him and at the end of their dialogue Karna talks about some Astronomical happenings which he said indicated adverse days for Kauravas. One of the things he mentions is ‘व्यावृत्तं लक्ष्म सोमस्य’. This is hardly a description of a Lunar Eclipse. Literally translated, it means ‘The spot or Mark on the moon has turned’. Nothing like that happens during an eclipse. Also whatever happens during an eclipse, leaves no lasting effect. So why ‘has turned’?
However, the same event has been described by Vyasa far more clearly (though he also mentions turning of moon-spot). The words ‘अलक्ष्यः, प्रभयाहीनः, रक्तवर्णः’ are specific. So we have to accept a lunar eclipse on Purnima preceding the start of war. Shri. Oak claims 16th Oct. as first day of war, an Amavasya and has found a lunar eclipse on 30th Sept. and solar eclipse on 16th Oct. There is a Gap of 15 days between the two, or an extra-long lunar fortnight of 16 days in other words.
2. Now about the Solar eclipse on first day of war. Karna merely said ‘Rahu is approaching the Sun’. So he indicates a possibility of Eclipse on the coming amavasya (seven days later). (Did the war begin on that day or only war rituals? Both claims are made! I take it that Shri. Oak claims it as first day of war.) Vyasa in his dialogue with Dhritarashtra on the night ‘prior to first day of war’ mentions a large number of planetary observations. Regarding a Solar Eclipse, there is a shloka here which talks about an unusually short Lunar Paksha of only 13 days, as against a 14 or 15 (standard) or even 16 days and both moon and sun suffering eclipses (चन्द्रसूर्यावुभौ ग्रस्तौ एकमासे त्रयोदशीम्) separated by the very short Paksha of 13 days.
There is a problem here. Amavasya was to come on the next day so Solar Eclipse could occur only next day. Vyasa is saying it has already happened. Also the Paksha was not short at all. Purnima on 30th Sept. and Amavasya on 16th October.
3. Was there a Solar Eclipse next day? When the description of events on the first day of war by Sanjaya commences, there is a mention of ‘sun appearing split in two’ and ‘sun blazing in flames’. Do these two point to a Solar Eclipse? Not really. Sun’s flames are seen only when it is a Total Eclipse. The description of morning Sun when it rose does not say it was a total eclipse. In the afternoon description, there is a mention of lot of dust rising and causing darkness. This is also hardly a description of solar eclipse, total or partial. As against these vague indications of an eclipse, what Shri. Oak has found is an eclipse at kurukshetra at noon. He is not sure of it. There is thus no convincing conclusion that there was a Solar Eclipse on the first day of war. Also, if there was, it was not with a gap of 12 days from the earlier Lunar Eclipse but an extra long fortnight of 16 days from 30th Sept. to 16th Oct.
4. Is Vyasa then talking of a Lunar Eclipse on Next Purnima, occurring after 12 days’ gap? If war began on Amavasya this would be the 13th day of war when Abhimanyu died after breaking up Chakravyuha. There no mention or even a hint of a lunar eclipse in the description of events after end of fighting on that day. This was the evening when Arjuna took the vow of killing Jayadratha before end of next day. Even next day’s description of war is devoid of any reference to Lunar Eclipse previous night. Was that even a Purnima day? Shri. Oak claims the Next night as full-moon night!
Shri. Oak has found a Lunar Eclipse on 30th Oct. There is however a gap of 13 days between amavasya and purnima here so it is a (not unusual) 14 day lunar fortnight.
Actually Vyasa is saying ‘इमां तु नाभिजानामि अमावास्याम् त्रयोदशीम्’ An amavasya on 13th day, not a Purnima on 13th day! So where is the question of a third eclipse on Margashirsha Purnima?
If we have to somehow hypothecate that Vyasa is talking of a Lunar Eclipse on 13th day, there is another serious problem. Since Vyasa talks about it on the day before war, as an event which has already occurred, war must be taken to have started after the third eclipse!
5. My own surmise from all this is that (a) A lunar Eclipse occured prior to Krishna-Karna dialogue. (b) On 13th day after that, Amavasya occurred and Vyasa notes this very unusual event. (c) In the morning of the first day of war, moon was still in ‘Amavasya phase’ (d) There was, in all probability, no Solar Eclipse on the first day or a very nominal one, though moon was still in Amavasya phase. (e) The poetic description of sun when it rose may be due to the very nominal Solar Eclipse of short duration which soon ended.
For this sequence of events, Shri. Oak finding a lunar and a possible solar eclipse on 30th Sept and 16th Oct. of 5561 BCE does not help because they are 16 days apart, not 13days. Any proposed year of war must have a SHORT krishnapaksha of Kartika.
6. Alternative is – (a) Two lunar eclipses. (b) normal Krishnapaksha after first eclipse (c)followed by a 13 Day, short, Shuklapaksha noted by Vyasa (d) war starting after the second lunar eclipse.
Actually this may be a better alternative as it means first 13-14 days of war were Krishnapaksha. That takes care of 1)Pitch darkness after sunset on 7th and 8th day. 2) Drona referring to moon with pointed end at or before noon on 10th day and 3) Darkness throughout the night on 14th day!
Take your pick!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Another puzzle. Bhishma Nirvan Tithi

It is universally agreed that Bhishma died on or immediately after Winter Solstice day. Shri. Oak has claimed that the year of Mahabharata War was 5561 BCE. In that year, Autumnal equinox was in Purvashadha and Winter Solstice was in Revati. I ask Shri. Oak to verify and correct me if I am wrong. My basis is - In the year 2015 CE, Summer Solstice was in Ardra as per Kalanirnay. Winter Solstice was thus in Moola. 5561 +2015 = 7576 years back WS would be 7576/960 = 8 nakshatras ahead i. e. Revati.
Now, all claim that Bhishma Nirvan took place on either Magha Shukla Ashtami or Chaturthi or Krishna Chaturthi. The earlier Purnima was a Poush Purnima when moon was in Pushya Nakshatra. On Poush Amavasya, Moon would have moved to Shravan or Dhanishtha. Sun on that day would also have been in Dhanishtha. From Dhanishtha, Sun would need at least 50 days to move through 4 nakshatras to Revati. Problem is, there are only 4 or 8 or max. 20 days from Poush Amavasya to the tithis in Magha mentioned above! So in 5561 BCE, what was the month and tithi on Witer Solstice or Bhishma’s death? It was obviously not Magha Shukla Ashtami or Shukla chaturdashi or Krishna Chaturdashi.
If the year of war is pulled forward by 2500 years, to say 3000 BCE then winter solstice may move to Shatataraka. Sun which would be in Dhanishtha on Poush Amavasya as shown above, can move to Shatataraka in 8 days from Poush Amavasya to Magha Shukla Ashtami. Till Magha Krishna Chaturthi also it can remain in Shatataraka. So either of them can be the tithi for Bhishma Nirvan. Again, 3000 BCE is well outside the Epoch of Arundhati!
Can anyone find an year within the Epoch when Winter Solstice was in Dhanishtha? Only then the Winter Solstice can be on Magha Shukla Ashtami or Krishna Chaturthi! I dont see any possibility.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

An Exercise in futility

I am insisting upon a)Krishna starting for Shishtai after Autuman Equinox and b)Jyeshtha amavasya, if it is to be claimed as first day of war, occurring about 22-24 days after the Autumnal Equinox so that 67-68 days thereafter Winter Solstice will occur. I am therefore doing an exercise to find out whether year 5561 BCE can fulfill the conditions at all and if not, can a suitable year be found to satisfy the conditions.
Let us examine year 5561 BCE first.
In the year 5561 BCE, Autumnal Equinox was in Purvashadha. This statement is based on Shri. Oak’s statement in his book, in the chapter on Fall of Abhijit that ‘Autumnal equinox was in Dhanishtha in 8500 BCE’. In 3000 years it should move backwards by 3 nakshatras so it should be in Purvashadha.
Therefore on Autumnal equinox day in 5561 BCE, Sun was clearly in Purvashadha. Sun would have been in Jyeshtha, 2 nakshatras behind, about 27 days earlier. So Jyeshtha or Shakra Amavasya, when Sun and Moon both must be in Jyeshtha, must have occurred at least 27 days before Autumnal Equinox. Moon would have been in Revati, 18 nakshatras behind Jyeshtha, approx. 18 days prior to this Amavasya day or 45 days before Autumnal Equinox. Did Krishna start for meeting the Kurus, 45 days prior to Autumnal equinox or did he start ‘शरदान्ते’ i. e. ‘after’ Autumnal Equinox?
Alternatively, if we consider the next subsequent day when Moon was again in Revati, for start of Krishna’s journey, it would still be 45-27 = 18 days prior to AE. In those 18 days, moon would reach from Revati to Jyeshtha but then it would be Autumnal equinox day and Sun would be in Purvashadha and it would not be an Amavasya day! Moon would move to Purvashadha in further 2 days and assuming Sun to be still in Purvashadha it would be an Amavasya but not a Jyeshtha amavasya! It would be a Purvashadha Amavasya.
To complete the exercise, let us examine the next further day when Moon would again be in Revati. It would be 9 days after Autumal Equinox so would satisfy ‘शरदान्ते’. In these 9 days, Sun may move from Purvashadha to Uttarashadha. From Revati moon would move to Dhanishtha in 24 days and Sun also would move from Uttarashadha to Dhanishtha (2 nakshatras) in those 24 days. It would be a Dhanishtha Amavasya and it would be 33 days after Autumnal Equinox. Could this be the Amavasya when the war began? The days from here to Winter Solstice however would be only about 58 and would not accommodate 10 days of Bhishma’s war and 57 days on deathbed!
It seems the year 5561 BCE poses some problems and cannot meet both conditions.
If some other year is proposed, what will happen?
1. The year would automatically decide the Sun’s nakshatra on Autumnal equinox day. If we want AE day to leave Purvashadha, cross Mool and Jyeshtha and enter Anuradha, we will have to move forward from 5561 BCE at least 2200 years, to 3350 BCE. +/- 50. I am not sure but let us assume that in that year AE will be near the middle of Anuradha so that on AE day, Sun will be in Anuradha but will be about to move to Jyeshtha after 7 days.
2. The actual year selected will have to be such that the day when moon was in Revati, was 4-5 days after AE so that ‘शरदान्ते’ will be satisfied.
3. 22 days after AE, Sun may still be in Jyeshtha (spending 10 days in Anuradha and 12 in Jyeshtha). Moon can move from Revati to Jyeshtha in that time to catch up with Sun. It will thus be Jyeshtha (Shakra) Amavasya alright! Very marginal of course.
4. So was the year of war 3350 BCE +/- 50 years, so that AE was in mid-Anuradha? Any particular year in this range in which Moon was in Revati 4-5 days after AE day would suit as shown above. Following results will arise. 1. Krishna starts on Revati after AE i. e. ‘शरदान्ते’, 2. Jyeshtha Amavasya occurs after 18 further days when moon moves from Revati to Jyeshtha, Sun also having moved to end of Jyeshtha . 3 The day of Jyeshtha Amavasya would be about 22 days after AE leaving 69 days balance till Winter Solstice. Bhishma fought for 10 days and spent balance 59 days till Winter Solstice on death bed. Very marginal no doubt. ( It will improve if war year is pulled another 400 years forward ).All conditions satisfied!
The year, regretfully, will fall outside the Epoch of Arundhati!
It would thus appear that there may be no year within the Epoch, which can satisfy both the conditions that Krishna started on Revati ‘after’ Autumnal Equinox and the next Amavasya was a Jyeshtha (Shakra) Amavasya, (first day of war) occurring 22 days after AE and was the first day of war.
Thats why I have called this an exercise in Futility.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bhishma Nirvan - End of comments.

What remains is that both Krishna and Bhishma are saying that Bhishma spent 57-58 nights on deathbed. There is no contradiction. A realistic Time line of Yudhishthira’s various actions in these 57 days may be taken as 8 + 1 balance days of war, 30 days for funerals, travel to Ganga, jalanjali and stay for ashoucha at Ganga, 8 days for coronation, administrative and other duties, 3-4 days for visits to and a dialogue with Bhishma about essentials of Rajadharma and returning to Bhishma after balance days when Uttarayan began. This also fits well between start of war about 20 days after autumnal equinox and Bhishma ending his life on winter solstice.
The several hundreds of pages of text of the Bhishma-Yudhishthir dialogue in Shanti and Anushasan Parva are just a comprehensive compilation of all accumulated knowledge and wisdom available at that time. Obviously the entire material was not physically spoken out carefully and slowly by the dying and suffering Bhishma to enable Yudhishthira to absorb it fully! Bhishma and Yudhishthira, quite probably, did have a dialogue over 3-4 days which helped Yudhishthira to overcome his grief and guilt and to regain peace of mind and get some essential knowledge of Rajadharma too. Vyasa (or later, Vaishampayana/Souti) used the occasion to make the comprehensive compilation for posterity. As far as I know, that is the general consensus view of Mahabharat Lovers.
I do not know of any other researcher, astronomical or otherwise, concluding that Bhishma spent 95+ days on deathbed, other than Shri. Oak. Everyone else has taken Bhishma’s statement before death about spending painful 58 nights as true. There is no contradictory statement or view by anyone in the entire Mahabharat. Bhishma was considered as a learned man and he was dying. Why he would make a grossly inaccurate statement? Had he lost his mind? How is it that no one around him, then or later, has questioned the days? How Krishna, Yudhishthira, Vyasa, Vaishampayana, or Souti have said nothing contradictory? Even in today’s world a man’s dying declaration is accepted by Judiciary as true if properly recorded. Bhishma made his statement in the presence of many and Vyasa has recorded it. Shri. Oak has robbed Bhishma of the right to a dying declaration. His only basis for that is, Krishna’ statement literally interpreted to mean 57 days ‘thereafter’. He has of course just ignored two specific statements, 1)Vyasa showing urgency in his advice to Yudhishthira to visit Bhishma and 2)Yudhishthira saying that only a few days of dakshinayana remained.
In all this discussion I have purposely omitted any mention of tithis or month names. Mahabharata text also does not mention them in the many of these references. My observation is that Mahabharata mentions ऋतु when required but seldom month and tithi. It is to be noted that Tithis and months of two major events viz. 1)Dyuta/Anudyuta and 2)Arjun appearing with Uttara to battle with Kauravas, are not stated. (This was noted by me when I started reading Mahabharat carefully and with interest and wrote my first article on this blog that Pandavas did not complete 13 years of Vanavas/ Adnyatavas. I gave my first lecture in Vile Parle Mumbai, years back, on the same subject). If month names are found mentioned, they, most probably, are latter-day inclusions. There is no certainty that the current names of lunar months or current system of naming months was in vogue in Mahabharat times. System of Adhik masas in vogue was also a simple one of taking 2 extra nameless months after 58 regular months as explained by Bhishma.
In my view, it is not appropriate to designate Dates or build time-lines based on tithis and months where they are mentioned. I admit that this may not be acceptable to many.
The mahabharat war just could not have begun till well after rains ended for obvious physical reasons and this has been pinpointed by Vyasa using शरदान्ते (after Autumnal Equinox), as the time for Krishna’s departure for Shishtai. Start of war therefore has to be minimum 15 days after Autumnal Equinox. Fortunately, no one questions (so far as I know) that Bhishma died just after Uttarayan began. These two fixed points of time are thus binding for ANY year of war, any researcher proposes. The Julian date of the autumnal equinox and winter solstice get determined based on the year proposed. Other events must be timed and dated accordingly.
Shri. Oak’s findings that war began well before autumnal equinox and Bhisma spent 95+ days on death-bed are illogical and must be rejected.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bhishma Nirvan Cont. ...

Let us examine Krishna’s statement.
1. Neither Bhishma nor Yudhishthir nor anyone else from many others gathered around Bhishma asked Krishna to state how many days of Bhishma’s life remained. Why ask? They all knew! Bheeshma being a Dnyani, must have known on the day he fell down itself, how many days remained till start of Uttarayan.
2. On the tenth war day also, the subject of ‘days to Uttarayan’ was not raised by anyone from among all the assembled Kourava-Pandavas or all Rajas or rishi-munis. All knew it with reasonable accuracy.
3. When Vyasa asked Yudhishthir to meet Bhishma to learn Rajadharma he didn’t mention days still available but had invoked a sense of urgency, by his advice to do so ‘before Bheeshma ends his life’.
4. ‘56 days still balance’ on this day of visit therefore appears very doubtful.
5. I have carefully read the text of the shloka. Although I don’t claim deep knowledge of Sanskrit, I believe the shloka does not rule out a simple interpretation that ‘56 days remaining’ were from the event of the fall of Bheeshma, not from the day of this conversation. The text does not say ‘शेषं’ from when unambiguously.
6. On the other hand, 56 total days on deathbed would mean 57 nights, counting the night of Bhishma’s fall, till the morning of first day of uttarayana. Compare this with what Bheeshma said just before dying, ‘he spent 58 extremely painful nights’. The matching is far too perfect to ignore!
7. In my opinion it calls for only one conclusion. Krishna and Bhishma are saying the same thing! 57 or 58 nights on deathbed. There is no contradiction. (Bhishma may have spent one extra day to be sure that Uttarayana had really started.)
Remaining references 121 to 130.
These references pinpoint some events during the conversation between Bhishma and Yudhishthir in Shanti and Anushasan Parva. Mention is made of Yudhishthira returning at end of first and second day and of his going to Bhisma on the second day. No other breaks at end of day are highlighted. Did he visit only on 2 or 3 days? The possibility cannot be ruled out. After the end of the dialogue, Bhishma asks Yudhishthira to go back to Hastinapur and return when Uttarayan occurs. Ref 129 describes Yudhishthira returning with many others to Hastinapur. How many days were actually spent in this dialogue? There is no way to establish.
After Yudhishthira’s return, under Ref. 130, there is again mention of Abhishek to Yudhishthira, payment of compensation to war victims, admin. appointments etc and spending 50 days in the town before realizing that the time to visit Bhishma had arrived. Had Yudhishthira not taken care of all these matters much earlier, immediately after returning from Ganga and entering Hastinapur? This description and mention of 50 days therefore is clearly an interpolation.
On the other hand, in (Ref. 127), in Shanti-GP 302 – 4, more or less at the end of Shantiparva, Yudhishthir specifically told Bhishma ‘your days while in dakshinayana are almost over.’ Shri. Oak quotes this reference and then, without batting an eyelid, says ‘This then is the reference made on 52nd day before Bhishma Nirvana’. Really? I am tempted to say, ‘You must be joking!’
One can clearly see that the various references and days mentioned or estimated are repetitive, meandering and confusing. The subject matter covered in Yudhishthir – Bhishma dialogue in Shanti and Anushasan Parvas is so enormous that, if it is assumed to have been physically recited and explained by Bhishma to Yudhishthira, it could take a very large number of days! A definitive time line of events between end of war and Bhishma’s death can not be built based on these various references. It could stretch to even 200 days if one wants! (10 days till funerals, travel to Ganga and jalanjali + 30 at ganga + 15 in Hastinapur for corronation etc. before visit to Bhishma, then say 90 days for the full Bhishma-Yudhishthira dialogue + 50 days after returning, at Hastinapur).
I will state my conclusions in the next post.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

BheeshmaNirvan. Did Bhishma spend 95+ days on deathbed?

Shri Oak has made a strange claim in his book that Bhishma spent 95+ days on his death-bed or bed of arrows. Having started with 16th Oct (Julian) as the first day of war and winter solstice for the year of war, viz. 5561 BCE, being on end Jan. the arithmetic is simple. Shri Oak always claims that he has a long list of references from Mahabharata to support this claim. I will first take a look at the Mahabharat References quoted by him in his book and comment on them. They are numbered from 108 to 130 in the book. They are mostly from Shanti and Anushasan Parva.
108 – Shanti, GP47-1 – 4.
Bheeshma’s life ended on start of Uttarayana. – Accepted. No comment needed.
109- Anu, GP167 – 26-28
Bheeshma says he spent 58 nights on deathbed. – My mainstay. No comment needed.
110 – Shanti, GP47 -3 -Additional Text.
Cant say whether this is authentic. It seems it is not found in CE, only in GP. It is probably inserted by someone much later to suit his theory. It gives a tithi reference for the day of Bhishma’s death which may or may not be correct.
111- Stree GP26 – 24-43
Description of mass burning of all bodies and last rights of some sort or other –Pandavas fulfilling their obligation. How many days elapsed in this is not clear. This period should be counted 20th day onwards, since 19th day had kept Pandavas fully busy with Ashvatthama.
112- Stree GP26- 44
Yudhishthir along with Dhritarashtra goes towards Ganga.
Presumably all other pandavas also went. Here, there is no mention of the no. of days spent in travelling. Ganga is fairly distant from Kurukshetra or Hastinapur. All men and large no. of women also probably went so the journey could have taken a few days. Stree - GP27 says that after reaching bank of Ganga, ‘all’ gave jalanjali to their dead relatives. How many days it took? Presumably only a day. The purpose of going to Ganga thus seems to give jalanjali. All these descriptions under 110 to 112 don’t help in deciding the exact no. of days gone since end of war on 18th day till the day of jalanlali.
113 – Shanti GP1- 1-2
After udakakriya or jalanjali (I presume same), Pandavas stayed on bank of ganga for a month. Did Dhritarashtra and many others like Vidura or Gandhari/Kunti stay? They had participated in jalanlali. The word कृतोदकाः and mention of Vidura etc. indicates all stayed. In any case, Pandavas stayed. At which place near Ganga? Not mentioned. No month or tithi is mentioned for the jalanjali day or for the last day of stay at Ganga bank.
114 – Shanti GP37 – 30
Yudhishthira, along with Dhritarashtra, enters his Town, meaning Hastinapur. Apparently, Dhritarashtra had also stayed at Ganga. No comment is needed except that there is no mention of month name or tithi of this day. Lack of mention of month name or tithi for any of the activities after end of war till now does not permit any estimation of days gone.
Here Shri. Oak has not mentioned a significant earlier reference. (If he has mentioned, I have missed it). A little prior to entering Hastinapur, in Shanti - GP37 itself, shlokas12-16 say that Vyasa told Yudhishthira to meet Bheeshma and seek knowledge of Rajadharma ‘before he ends his life’. Yudhishthira replied that he was afraid of or ashamed of meeting him. He blamed himself for Bheeshma’s impending death. (Here Krishna also advises him to do what Vyasa said. Question is, Krishna was not accompanying Pandavas at Ganga. How he appears in the picture suddenly? This mention of Krishna appears a latter-day interpolation to give credit to Krishna for everything.) After this dialogue, Yudhishthir enters Hastinapur. Dhritarashtra, also Gandhari rode ahead of him on elephant. Kunti is not mentioned but must be there. It means that till now, entire Kurukula (or what was left of it) had abandoned the capital. There is no mention whatsoever of even anyone other than Pandavas going to meet Bheeshma till this day. This is a bit strange.
115 – Shanti GP37 – 35-36
Yudhishthir and his entourage enter Hastinapur. Even here, there is no mention of month name or tithi.
116 – Shanti GP 38 – 2.
Welcome to Yudhishthira. No timeline issue. No comment.
117 – Shanti GP38-16
Yudhishthir surrounded by brahmanas like bright moon surrounded by stars. Yet another upama.
118 – Shanti GP47- 105-108
After a lot of irrelevant Krishna Mahatmya prior to these shlokas, text says Yudhishthir finally went to meet Bheeshma. Here also there is no mention of tithi or month. Here the list of visitors includes many names, besides Pandavas and Krishna-Satyaki. Some further Krishnamahatmya follows.
How many days have passed since end of war before this visit? It is not specifically mentioned. Inferences can be drawn but some variation will remain as, how many days had passed since Pandavas’ entry into Hastinapur before this visit, is not mentioned.
Here I wish to draw attention to another reference I came across. Shanti GP 45-1 to 11 says Yudhishthira settled administration and started ruling Hastinapur. Text does not state how many days it took. However very many actions of Yudhishthira as a king and as a head of the Kurus are described in detail which should take several days between Yudhishthira entering Hastinapur and making a visit (at last) to Bhishma.
Thereafter I find in Shanti - GP46 – 11 to 23 that Krishna advises Yudhishthira to meet Bheeshma and seek Rajadharma advice. The mention here that Bheeshma was seeking Krishna Darshan and Krishna understood it by Antardnyan is all just Krishna Mahatmya (bullshit in other words). Either this is a latter day interpolation to give credit to Krishna for everything or, reallistically, Krishna merely reminded Yudhishthira to follow Vyasa’s earlier advice to meet Bhishma without delay. Why the reminder? Matters were obviously reaching urgency level as not many days of dakshinayana remained. Shri Oak has not mentioned this reference in his list.
Any of these references are not much useful to conclusively fix the month name or tithi of the Day of Yudhishthira’s visit to Bheeshma or days lapsed till then, from end of war on 18th day.
119 Shanti GP 48 – 1-6
When the Visitors reached Kurukshetra where Bhishma was lying, they saw on the way many remains of dead bodies of humans and animals lying around. This is a bit surprising as many days had passed since end of war. Pandavas had dealt with dead bodies of Kurus. Large common funeral pyres had also been arranged. Followers of prominent persons from other families of kings, presumably, would have taken similar action. Flesh-eating animals would have also been in action since kurukshetra was abandoned.
120 Shanti GP 51 – 14
After Pandavas and others reach Bhishma’s death-bed, Krishna says to Bheeshma that your life on bed of arrows is 56 days balance. (Literal meaning).
This particular reference is the crux of the problem and needs careful scrutiny. I will take this up in the next post.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Year and Date of War ... Continued

Now let us take a look at the date claimed as the first day of war. Dr. Vartak first proposed the date, 16th Oct in the year 5561 BCE in his book Svayambhu. Shri. Oak has accepted it. I had presumed that Dr. Vartak meant it to be as per Gregorian calendar projected backwards. My presumption was based on his own reasoning behind stating a Date as against a lunar month and tithi, that for a common reader, a date will make sense more easily. Obviously, that will be so, only if it is the familiar Gregorian date, with which a specific season will be straightaway associated in the mind of lay reader. A Julian date, in an year 7600 years back would not make sense to a lay reader easily. However, Shri. Oak has taken the same date, by Julian Calendar, as first day, so that is that.
In 5561 BCE, winter solstice was on 31st Jan according to Shri. Oak, which is correct. The Autumnal Equinox then would be around end October.
My objections to the date, 16th Oct., are as under.
1. If this date is accepted, we have to accept that the war began almost a fortnight before Autumnal Equinox. The rains in India end only by Autumnal Equinox. The start of war before end of rainy season is not appropriate by any account.(A)There was no extraordinary situation why war had to begin before end of rains. No side was in a desperate hurry. (B)There were at least 70-100 prominent warriors on both sides, well versed in warfare with Chaturanga Dal using elephants, horses and horse-drawn Chariots. They would never think of starting the war until ground conditions were favorable. If Krishna or anyone else for that matter, was to propose it, they would have called him a fool. Only Karna’s chariot wheel got stuck in mud on 17th day. If war had started before end of rains, chariots of all and sundry warriors would have got stuck in mud! The Maharathis on both sides knew this of course and would never agree to start war on 16th Oct. (C) Krishna, in fact, in his dialogue with Karna when he invited Kouravas to Kurukshetra for war, clearly stated that rains have ended, crops have come up, grass is plentiful and ground is dry. He was not a fool. (Vyasa also said the same things on the day before war). The dialogue itself thus took place well after end of rains. War came thereafter. (D)When Krishna left Upaplavya for his visit to Hastinapur, for his effort for peace, the season is unambiguously described as शरदान्ते हिमागमे. The effort failed and the war started ‘some days thereafter’. Obviously, it did not start before end of rains.
2. Shri. Oak asserts that 16th Oct. was an Amavasya. Description of war on several days after sunset does not match the tithi of that day counting first day as amavasya. (A) On 7th and 8th day, there is mention of deep darkness soon after sunset though 7th or 8th day’s moon would be bright enough after twilight. (B) The anomaly of total darkness almost throughout the night on 14th day which was an almost full-moon night is well discussed. No amount of DUST could have caused that. (C)Drona mentioning moon with pointed ends (pointing downwards or not is not critical) to his son on 10th day, around noon, is not consistent with appropriate time for moon-rise on Shuddha navami. The time would be late afternoon. My photo of Navami moon, (larger than half, not a crescent ), a little above eastern horizon, taken almost at end of day may be referred. For these reasons war could not have started on an amavasya.
3. Vyasa expressed his surprise and anguish in clear words on the day before war, that an unusually short fortnight of only 13 days has occurred as against the usual 14 or 15 days or sometimes even 16 days. Shri Oak says, 16th Oct was amavasya and the previous and subsequent poornimas were on 1st Oct and 31st October. Both these fortnights are longer than 13 days.
4. Since Vyasa talks with wonder, about the occurrence of ‘a short, 13 day fortnight’ on the day before war, the start of war cannot be on the previous amavasya. It can be on that poornima which occurred on 13th day itself or more logically, a day or two thereafter.
5. If the war started on 16th Oct. Bhishma fell down on 25th Oct. He actually died on 31st Jan, winter solstice day or next day. It means he spent 91+ days on death bed. It violently contrasts with what Bhishma himself said before dying. He clearly states that he spent 58 nights on the death bed or 57 days. If war started several days after the end of rains as is only logical, this discrepancy will not arise.
(I know Shri. Oak has made out a case for the long period of Bhishma on death-bed which is illogical and I will write on that topic in detail. At present I only assert that there is no reason to doubt what Bhishma himself said before dying and which Vyasa recorded.)
6. In the detailed description of the war on all 18 days, there is not a single mention of clouds or rain. No wonder, rains were well over, before war began.
7. Balaram went on pilgrimage 24 days before war began (He returned on 18th day of war after a yatra of 42 days). In the detailed description of his yatra there is no mention of Rain.
8. 16th Oct. in 5561 BCE was 15 days before Autumnal Equinox of that year. The corresponding date for current year 2015 CE, would be 6th Sept. What was the weather in Kurukshetra around then? Monsoon has still not withdrawn from North India on 20th Sept. (Did Krishna start from Upaplavya in August?)
9. Take a look at Maratha history and tradition. Armies marched out from Dasara onwards. Soldiers were not available until cultivation season was over. Kings in Mahabharata times would have faced same problem! Wherefrom did thousands of soldiers come before rains ended?
. .
Based on the above reasons I am unable to accept 16th Oct, Julian, in 5561 BCE, as the first day of war. Facts and Logic cannot be twisted to suit so called Astronomical references. For any year of war, the first day date has to be about 20 days after the Autumnal Equinox date of that year.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Year and Date of War.

I have written on various observations, astronomical or otherwise, from Mahabharat used by Shri. Oak rather at random. I will summarize my main points with reference to two specific claims of Shri. Oak, viz. Year of the War and First day of the war.
The year 5561 BCE and the date 16th Oct. were both first proposed by Dr. Vartak, and Shri. Oak finds them acceptable. I have a strong suspicion that 16th Oct. proposed by Dr. Vartak was a Gregorian date but Shri. Oak asserts that it was Julian. In any case Shri. Oak has proposed it as Julian date so I take it as Julian. For year 5561 BCE winter solstice is calculated on 31st Jan., Julian date, by Shri. Oak and that is correct, give or take a day. It would be same for 50 years on either side anyway. Winter Solstice date has a great importance because that is the undisputed day of Bhishma’s death.
Regarding the year of war, Shri. Oak has examined several observations from Mahabharat for corroboration. I summarize my questions and doubts as follows.
1. Position of Saturn. – In the proposed year, Saturn is not in Bhaga, not in Vishakha, nor can it be said to be afflicting Rohini as it is nowhere near it. All three are mutually exclusive so any proposed year will have the same problem. Proposed year satisfies none of the three observations.
2. Position of Jupiter – Jupiter is nowhere near Vishakha. Also Jupiter, not being anywhere near Rohini, cannot be claimed to be afflicting it. So both observations not corroborated.
3. Vakri (or Vakra) motion of Mars and Jupiter. – Explanation of ‘Vakra’ motion of Mars at Magha, (different from ‘retrograde or backwards’ as normally understood,) by Shri. Oak is novel. Crossing and Re-crossing of Ecliptic by Mars near Magha occurred before the proposed war date and final position of Mars at start of war also corroborates. Question remains, whether crossing of Ecliptic by any planet, at a very small angle, can be observed by naked eye. Retrograde motion presents no such problem. So does Vyasa mean what Shri. Oak claims? Further, in case of Vakra motion of Jupiter at Shravan, the crossing of ecliptic occurred six months and one year AFTER the claimed war date. No way Vyasa can refer to it along with Vakra motion of Mars.
4. Most other observations are likely to be equally true or untrue for the proposed year or many other years.
5. Vyasa commented on the day before war that the last Lunar Paksha was exceptionally short, of only total 13 days, (or only 12 days between the Amavasya and the Purnima), as against the normal length of 14 or 15 or even 16 days. In the proposed year, Shri. Oak has not shown any such short lunar fortnight or Paksha before war date. He gives dates of 1st Oct and 31st Oct for Purnimas and 16th Oct. for Amavasya. It should have been 29th Oct for the second Purnima to match Vyasa’s famous remark, oft quoted by all researchers as I understand.
6. I hold no brief for any other year as I am not a researcher but only a reader and critic. I however say that the proposed year cannot be claimed as well-corroborated.

Friday, September 11, 2015

KrishnaShishtai Timeline Contd.

I deliberately omitted all astronomical references in the narration so far. The story without them, as you can see, is complete, consistent and logical. I mentioned that Krishna took Karna with him when he left Hastinapur. The event is described in the Text in an indirect manner, Sanjaya telling the Kurus, what he heard. It is quite likely that Krishna never told Karna that he was Kunti’s son! If he did and Sanjaya somehow came to know of it and told the Kauravas, it was no longer a secret. In that case everybody except the Pandavas came to know the secret! Would Krishna betray Kunti’s trust in this manner even if Kunti had told him the secret? As stated in the text, Yudhishthira came to know of the secret from Kunti herself, after the war was over! And he blamed her for not telling this earlier. Nobody blames Krishna for keeping it secret.
Maybe, Kunti had never told the secret to Krishna or if she did,he kept it to himself. Kunti alone had tried to persuade Karna but failed. Maybe, the whole dialogue between Krishna and Karna on this subject never took place and is interpolated later to whitewash the image of Karna as a true friend of Duryodhan! May be, the interpolator inserted it in a clumsy manner in the mouth of Sanjaya! Quite likely, Krishna did talk to Karna but only about the evils of the war between brothers and tried to persuade him to convince his friend Duryodhana to be reasonable but when Karna did not budge, sent the message to meet on Kurukshetra for war! All this of course has nothing to do with tithis and Nakshatras except for the last part of the dialogue.
Enter the researchers! They start analyzing the astronomical references. It is mentioned in the text that Krishna left Upaplavya on Revati nakshatra. Then, after the talk with Karna, before departing, Krishna says, ‘After seven days, there is Jyeshthaa amavasya. Jyeshthaa’s Diety is Shakra so it is Shakra amavasya, let us start the war on that day’.
Is Shakra amavasya same as Kartik amavasya? The researchers assume so. If the month was Kartik, moon would have been in Krittika on the full moon day. So on the coming amavasya, moon and sun will be in Jyeshtha. (Devata for Jyeshtha is Shakra so it is Shakra Amavasya). So on the day of Krishna Karna dialogue, moon must be seven nakshatra back i. e. in Purva Falguni. If Krishna started on Revati and on third day the Shishtai took place it was on Bharani. From Bharani to Purva F., for 8-9 days, where was Krishna?
There is no explanation of the gap. So the researchers claim that Krishna must have been in Hastinapur only for all those un-accounted days! Doing what and staying where? No trace what-so-ever in the text.
I have a basic question here. Is the story as told in detail more important that the astronomical mentions? Which must fit which? Should the story be twisted to match the Nakshatras etc.? Why?
Consider the many problems and possibilities.
1. All those mentions of Nakshatras may have been interpolated much later for all we know.
2. Was the month really Kartik? On what grounds? Was the system of naming month as we name them now, established at that time? Not possible. How a month got a name at that time? Our current system of naming a lunar month is based on ‘movement of Sun through the Rashis. A transit of sun fixes the name.’ This system is obviously a very much later adaptation, only after Rashis arrived on the scene in India. There were no Rashis at Mahabharat times. What then, was the system for naming a month at Mahabharata time? It is not known.
3. Only other system for naming a lunar month that I know of, is that of naming the month by the name of the nakshatra where the full moon of that month was. (Twelve month names now in use link with twelve specific Nakshatra names). Was this the system in use in Mahabharat times? There is no such mention in Mahabharat itself. With introduction of Adhika Masa (Or masas) this method is really not fool proof. With 27 nakshatras and twelve months to name, more often than not, full moon will be in other than ‘one of the chosen 12!’ Also it will work satisfactorily with Purnimaadi month as the Nakshatra will then be noted on first day and name of the month decided. My main point is there is no certainty about the method in vogue in Mahabharata Time.
4. Adhika Masas further complicates the matter. In the whole of Mahabharata there is only one place where system of Adhika Masa then prevailing is explained. Bhishma says that ‘to match lunar months and the year, two (unnamed) extra months are required to be taken after every 58 lunar months’. This was a simple but effective method. It is also logical that this simple method must have ruled for long, until some elaborate method, for deciding when to take a single extra month, (after 29 lunar months, generally), was established. When did some such a system come in use and what was the system? Not known. The current method of naming a month, based on Sun’s transit from one Rashi to next, and when no transit takes place in any particular lunar month, call it an Adhika masa, obviously came very much later, only after Rashis came in the picture in India. What is the guarantee then that the month of Krishna Shishtai was Kartik as we understand months now?
5. Krishna says the coming amavasya is a Shakra amavasya. Now Shakra is the Devata of no less than five Nakshatras! Chitra, Vishakha, Jyeshtha, Dhanishtha (Vasava also means Indra) and Shatataraka. So out of these five, which was the Nakshatra on the next amavasya day? Can we claim Jyeshtha with certainty?
6. It is to be noted that with the system of taking two Extra months, without name, after every 58 normal months, prevailing in Mahabharata time, causes automatic naming of all normal months in a specific prevalent sequence, without needing any reference to any specific Nakshatra on Purnima or Amavasya day.
7. Mahabharat text very rarely mentions month names. (Chaitra, Vaishakh etc.) What are mentioned are ऋतु. When Pandavas lost the dyuta and went for vanavas or when Arjun appeared on the field to fight with Kauravas at end of Adnyatvas, what is mentioned is ग्रीष्म. It is probable that the current month names were not even in vogue then. The Text says Krishna started from Upaplavya शरदान्ते, हिमागमे. The mention of Rutu is clear and reliable.
With all these problems of month names, Nakshatras and tithis, speculation about Krishna idling in Hastinapur for 6-7 days to match the tithis is meaningless and un-called-for.
What can be concluded from the Krishna Shishtai story is only that, a)Krishna started from Upaplavya after Autumnal Equinox, (शरदान्ते, हिमागमे), i. e. after the rains were over, b)In a few days thereafter, (some 20-25 days after Autumnal Equinox ), the war broke out and c)The land had dried up and season was suitable for a war in every way according to what Krishna said to Karna in the end

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

More on Balaram Tirthyatra.

Shri. Oak and Dr. Vartak have tried to wriggle out of the mismatch of 42 days with 7 +18 = 25 days, by playing with the word श्रवणे. They say Balaram came to witness the duel between Bheem and Duryodhan on hearing of it. Let us take a look at sequence of events. Karna was killed on the 17th day in the evening and skirmishes ended for the day. On 18th day, Shalya was given the Generalship. By noon he was also killed and the Kuru army was completely routed. Ashavtthama, Krupa and Kritavarma, survived but ran away. Duryodhan, on horseback, also ran away and hided in a lake for rest. Pandavas went is search of him. They found him by evening, challenged him for a duel and made him come out of lake. Till this time no one knew that Bheem and Duryodhan would duel with Gada as a last chapter of the war. So question arises as to wherefrom did Balaram hear of it to make him return from yatra?
If one reads the text from Shalyaparva GP 33 onwards there is a clear continuity. After Yudhishthira chides Duryodhana for hiding etc. he came out of the water and then Bheema and Duryodhana are said to be about to begin the fight. In GP 34 the fight is just about to start when Balarama arrives. Everybody is pleased to see him and invites him to witness the fight. Here Balarama says clearly that he spent 42 days in the Teerthyatra. “I left on Pushya and am returning on Shravana.” When in the first part he mentions nakshatra of departure, the second part must be mentioning nakshatra of arrival as a counterbalance. Balarama is NOT saying that I am returning because I ‘heard’ about this combat. If he wanted to say so, there was no reason for him not to state it unambiguously. He mentions 42 days, departure nakshatra and a nakshatra which matches the days, obviously, as arrival nakshatra. The combat began then and there, where Duryodhana had emerged from the hiding place. This is all logically sequential.
Hereafter in GP from Ch. 35 onwards, there is a long meandering story of Balarama’s tirthayatra around sarasvati. In GP 54 it finally ends in Narada meeting Balaram on a hilltop and telling him of the impending combat of his shishyas. What time of the day it happened? Not clear. Looks more like in morning from the text there, when Shalya was yet to be Senapati and die! There is a completely confusing narration about where this meeting took place. Once Yamuna, then sarasvati, one tirtha then another, follow in complete disorder ending with Balaram getting down from a hill near Yamuna (or sarasvati! ) and proceeding to witness the combat. (How did Narada know in the morning, what was to happen at end of the day? Well, after all he was tricaladarshi Narada!) After arriving, Balaram here strangely says nothing about days spent, or departure / arrival nakshatras or that he has arrived because he heard of the duel taking place. Balaram advises all to proceed to Samatapanchak on the south bank of Sarasvati, obviously some distance away, because anyone dying there will get moksha! So all the tired folks walk down there! By GP 55 – 18 the meandering finally ends and the fight begins! All the material in GP from Ch.35 to Ch. 55-18 is very obviously a latter-day addition, main purpose of which is to add details of various tirthas visited by Balaram and also Samantapanchak. Even this long story does not support the claim that Balarama returned ‘श्रवणे’because Balaram does not say so at all. So the claim that 'श्रवणे'means 'On hearing' has no basis.
Dr. Vartak and Shri. Oak try another stunt. They propose that Balarama returned from yatra on Pushya! For this purpose Dr. Vartak suggests that the word ‘संप्रयातोस्मि’ should be read as ‘संप्राप्तोस्मि’! Shri. Oak claims it is used in some alternative edition. ‘पुष्येन संप्रयातोस्मि' becomes ‘पुष्येन संप्राप्तोस्मि’! (Returned on Pushya).
Unfortunately for them the Anushtubh Chhanda does not permit it. Vyasa has written thousands of verses correctly in Anushtubh Chhanda so how will he write against the rule of Anushtubh? It requires 8 letters per ‘Charan’. Original text of Ref 88(‘पुष्येन संप्रयातोस्मि श्रवणे पुनरागतः’) is in correct meter. If Vyasa wanted to say Balaram returned on Pushya, he would have easily found correct words to fit in the Chhanda.
What to do with last word? Shri. Oak says in some edition it is written as समागतः. Assuming one letter shortage here is made up by ‘च’, the line becomes ‘पुष्येन संप्राप्तोस्मि श्रवणे च समागतः’ Then Shri. Oak breaks the word as समा and गतः and says Sama means assembly and गतः means returned! ( On hearing, I have returned on Pushya, to this assembly of you people).Really? Only Shri. Oak can find such meaning for the words.
All this circus with the quote is a fruitless effort to solve the problem somehow! Why not leave it unsolved until a clearly satisfactory explanation is found?