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

Last Seven Days

माझी थोडी ओळख

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

Friday, August 28, 2015

Balaram Tirthayatra.

Balaram had gone on a Yatra as he did not wish to witness the war between Kurus and Pandavas. He came back from the Yatra on the last day of the war to umpire the Gadayuddha between Bheem and Duryodhan. He said that I left for yatra on Pushya nakshatra and have come back on Shravan (Nakshatra) and my Yatra was of 42 days. Between Pushya and Shravan 42 days are correctly accounted for (27 + 14) .
If this statement by Balaram is accepted as correct, the Nakshatra on 18th day was Shravan and the one on the first day of war had to be Mruga. If the first day also needs to be an Amavasya, then Sun and Moon on that day have to be in Mruga.
In 5561 BCE, according to Shri. Oak Sun and Moon were at Jyeshtha on 16th Oct. Sun would have been in Mruga, 13 nakshatras back, in April 5561 BCE or later, in April 5560 BCE. In April 5561 or 5560 BCE, was there any Amavasya in Mruga ? Even if there was, the season wont be correct. It seems 5561BCE and Shravan on 18th day cannot be reconciled at all if first day it taken as 16th Oct.5561BCE.( Will there be any year, in which there was an Amavasya in Mruga, which was also in an appropriate season for war? It would be necessary that the Mruga Amavasya should be a little after Autumnal Equinox )
If, on the other hand, we give up Amavasya and agree that first day of war should be on Mruga Nakshatra, i. e. moon in Mruga, it would be 14-15 days after 16th Oct, as Moon (and Sun) was in Jyeshtha on 16th Oct. So the first day becomes 31st October which would be a day after the end of the exceptionally short lunar fornight of 13 days and so Vyasa would be justified in referring to it in his talk with Dhritarashtra on the previous day! Is Shri. Oak willing to give up Amavasya? Most of the so called astronomical observations would be equally true or untrue for 31st Oct. as for 16th Oct. Of course the war then begins on a Purnima. It will also solve the problem of late moonrise of 14th day! The day will be 13th or 14th in Krishna Paksha! The pitch darkness on 7th and 8th day after sunset would also be natural, being krishnapaksha.
Shri. Oak has bypassed the anomaly of 42 days by assuming ‘श्रवणे’ to mean ‘on hearing’. A novel approach but does not hold water. The word should have been ‘श्रुत्वा’ for that purpose, followed by words to say on hearing what. Any rational reason why Vyasa would use a wrong word? Sanskrit does not permit you to make fanciful interpretations. Shri Oak is well aware of the correct meaning of श्रवणे. (Remember मघास्वंगारको वक्रः श्रवणे च बृहस्पतिः?). Let us stick to that meaning.
My (fanciful) proposal - As time passed, Sarasvati tirthyatra got standardized as a 42 day yatra from Pushya to Shravan. Then, assuming that Balaram must have observed the rule, someone interpolated Pushya and Shravan in Mahabharat in Balaram’s mouth. What had actually taken place was only that Balaram came back from the yatra on 42nd day of yatra, just in time for witnessing the 18th day Gadayuddha between Bheem and Duryodhan. It may not have been a Shravan day at all!
I have read a Novel alternative explanation of this problem in a Marathi book by a reputed scholar, Prof. G. V. Kavishvar. Translation of the Marathi title (महाभारतातील गूढ रहस्ये) would be ‘Puzzles of Mahabharat’. It is an old book and handles many intricate problems. His solution in this case is simple. He proposed that the war was not fought continuously every day for 18 days. After every day of war there was a day of truce, when the warriors rested, tended to their injuries and planned new strategies. This continued until the 14th day when Jayadratha was killed by Arjuna. (Actually 27th day) The war did not stop with that or with the sunset or darkness but continued throughout the night with a short spell of resting when all were deeply tired and there was complete darkness also. But it resumed with moonrise and continued uninterrupted next day till Drona’s death (28th day). Thus the last day of war was not 18th but 34th day which matches with Shravan! He himself has of course stated that there is no direct evidence of the rest day in Mahabharat. Readers may find this an interesting proposal.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Likely year of war.

I consider Epoch of Arundhati as an acceptable proposition. Also Vyasa has positively stated that Arundhati was being seen as walking ahead of Vasishtha. Why he has included the observation among many other bad omens, many of them quite fanciful, is a moot point. In my view it would be quite appropriate to look for a war year within the Epoch.
Taking a close look at the chart furnished by Shri. Oak, it is seen that the RA difference was maximum at about 8000 years back from now, or, say 6000 BCE. The maximum difference is approx. 500 + arc seconds at that time. The difference became just positive at about 11000 BCE and slowly crept up. From 6000 BCE it started declining. My contention is that it must have become noticeable during the ‘rising’ phase. If it did not do so, the chance of becoming noticeable would obviously be less and less after 6000 BCE. So 6000 BCE or some year a little before that, would be the best ‘Candidate’ year for being the war year on the test of ‘epoch’. What other tests it should withstand is another matter, e. g. Position of Saturn!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Problem of Saturn.

I now highlight a problem about Saturn’s position.
There are three references about Saturn, all in BhishmaParva, i. e. in the dialogue between Vyasa and Dhritarashtra on the day prior to start of war. They are as under.
1. संवत्सरस्थायिनौ च ग्रहौ प्रज्वलितावुभौ
विशाखयोः समीपस्थौ बृहस्पतिशनैश्चरौ
2. रोहिणीं पीडयन्नेष स्थितो राजन् शनैश्चरः
3. भाग्यं नक्षत्रमाक्रम्य सूर्यपुत्रेण पीड्यते.
First one wants Saturn to be at or near Vishakha for one year. As Saturn anyway takes more than one year to cross a nakshatra, the one year stay is not a problem but Saturn needs to be at Vishakha. (And also Jupiter should be in Swati in the beginning, so it remains in Swati-Vishakha-Anuradha space for one year)
The second ref. realistically calls for Saturn to be at Rohini or at least at Krittika or Mrug.
The third needs Saturn to be at Bhaga, i. e. Uttara-Falguni, The word आक्रम्य demands it.
The three are clearly mutually exclusive. If one is satisfied, other two cannot be.
The year 5561 BCE selected by Shri. Vartak and Shri. Oak satisfies none of the three. I quote Shri. Oak – ‘Saturn was at Uttara-Falguni two years before war but by the first day it was approaching Chitra.’ In other words, it had reached end of Hasta space, meaning it left Bhaga behind, one year back. (At another place in the book he specifically says ‘Saturn at Chitra’)
Since only one of the three references can be satisfied, Shri. Oak should make up his mind which he considers most important. His present attempt to claim that all three are satisfied will not satisfy anyone.
As far as I remember. Dr. Vartak in ‘Svayambhu’ considered Saturn and Jupiter being near Vishakha, as most important. Starting from some recent years when it was so, he has suggested working backwards in 60 years steps when Saturn will complete 2 and Jupiter will complete 5 rounds around Sun and come back to Vishakha. The year claimed by him, 5561 BCE, however, does not match the requirements. He had of course no access to software to verify actual positions of Saturn and Jupiter in 5561 BCE. If he had, he would have probably batted for some other year!
Another researcher, Shri. Raghavan and Shri. Narahari Achar have nicely bypassed the problem by satisfying only one, ‘Saturn at Rohini’ and claiming other two references are related to Comets, sons of Saturn, and not to Saturn itself at all!
Dr. Vartak has brought in Astrology and claims Saturn afflicting Rohini from seventh place. Modern Astrology may say so, I have no knowledge, but did Vyasa mean that? Obviously not. He talks about bad omens etc. but not about Duryodhana’s or Yudhishthira’s horoscope!
I have no favorite among the three references. Saturn affecting Rohini is mentioned by Karna also. So it gets two votes! Others get one each. Shri. Achar gives that as a reason for prefering it.
1. If we decide to give preference to Saturn in Vishakha for one year, we have to select 5559 BCE, two years later than 5561BCE, so Saturn will move from Chitra , through Svati to Vishakha. During these two years, Jupiter however would move 4-5 Nakshatras further away. So it will not suit. I am unable to hit on the nearest year to 5561 BCE to fulfil Saturn at Vishakha and Jupiter at Chitra.
2. If we want Saturn to be at Rohini, we will have to jump 18-19 years forward, i. e. to 5543 BCE or say 10 years backwards to 5571 BCE.
3. If we want Saturn at Bhaga (Uttara Falguni), we have to move back by only 2 years to 5563 BCE

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Shri. Oak's comments on his blog

Shri. Oak has made some comments on his blog. I am writing this additional post to make the position clear.Some reference numbers were wrong. I have corrected them.
1. Referring to the war year, winter solstice was on 30th Jan 5560BCE. Autumnal Equinox would be 31 Oct. (one day here or there). If 16th Oct, an amavasya day, is the first day of war, it is a fortnight before Equinox.
2. Shri. Oak says there was a Solar Eclipse on 16th Oct and lunar eclipses on the previous and the following Purnimas. Following Purnima should be on 29th Oct. as it was noticed to be an unusually short fortnight, only 13 days long. (14 days, 15 days or even 16 days fortnight was not considered ‘unusual’ by Vyasa). Although references to the three eclipses by Karna or Vyasa are not specifically clear, Vyasa clearly refers to all, especially the last one, as an even which ‘has occurred’ already. I therefore say that if the first day of war is claimed as an Amavasya, it cannot be the one on 16th Oct but the next one, on say, 13th Nov. (13days of first fortnight and usual 15 days for the second). If not required to be an Amavasya, then any day after 29th Oct. could qualify.
3. It seems Shri. Oak is treating the Amavasya prior to 16th Oct., one on 17th Sept, as The Jyeshthaa Amavasya, referred by Krishna in his dialogue with Karna. (Optionally or firmly?). (This gives him the one month he feels needed for war preparations.) This will mean the dialogue date would be 10th Sept. During the talk, Karna is supposed to refer to a lunar eclipse (व्यावृत्तं लक्ष्म सोमस्य is the only mention, past tense) and also suggest a likely solar eclipse to take place shortly as Rahu was approaching Sun. But these actually occurred on 1st Oct and 16th Oct., so many days after the dialogue!
4. Also the dialogue then occurred almost 50 days prior to Autumnal Equinox of 31st Oct. And yet Krishna is stated to have started his journey from Upaplavya ‘शरदान्ते हिमागमे’and also mentions to Karna that the ground at Kurukshetra is dry, there is no mud. Karna also does not contradict the statement.
Contradictions are numerous and glaring!
5. I have been checking and commenting on moon positions on various war days by ‘back of envelope’ calculations assuming war start date as the Amavasya after the second lunar eclipse when Sun and Moon were in Purvashadha or slightly beyond. They don’t strictly match what the references say. I repeat that in my view it is immaterial as all these are just Upamas and match or mismatch has no significance.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Some further comments

Ref. 48 Exp. 37.
There is something wrong here in what Shri. Oak says. The Ref. actually is in GP 113. I searched in 112 and could not find it. Ganguly translates it as …
(Drona says to Ashvatthama describing his unease at the impending final skirmish between Arjun and Bhishma pointing out bad omens …)
‘Large meteors seem to fall from the centre of the solar disc. The constellation called Parigha, with a trunkless form, appeareth around the Sun. The solar and the lunar discs have become awful, foreboding great danger to Kshatriyas about the mangling of their bodies. The idols of the Kuru king in his temples tremble and laugh and dance and weep. The illustrious Moon riseth with his horns downward.’
This translation matches the reference only in respect of the moon rising with ends pointing downwards.
Actually the day had by no means even half finished. It was most probably still some time before noon. Here onwards there were many skirmishes , repeated attacks on Bhishma and vigorous and desperate efforts by all Kaurava warriors to push the Pandava warrior back and protect Bhishma. When later Bhishma fell down, it was a little before sunset.
How Drona is talking of moon? This was 10th day, so it was a Shukla Navami. Moon would become visible, only quite some time after noon, being more than 90 degrees behind Sun. Further, being Navami, the moon would be slightly more than half and cant have pointed ends! It wont be a crescent! I am not sure whether one can see a crescent moon with pointed end downwards at any time. In Shuklapaksha, upto say 4th day, it would be a crescent, but it would set a little after Sunset, and the lower side of moon being towards sun would be lighted and upper side dark, i. e. pointed ends will be upwards! In Krishnapaksh on the other hand, 12th day onwards it will be a crescent but will rise in the east, sometime before sunrise and again, lower side being towards Sun will be bright, so pointed ends will be upwards! So Shri. Oak should produce a photo of a Shukla Navami moon with POINTED ENDS, pointing DOWNWARDS.
Here is a photo of moon on Shukla Navami of Shravan, at 6-30 PM (On Aug. 24, in San Ramon CA), showing moon, at some height above Esatern horizon. It could have been seen rising on Eastern horizon only at about 3 PM, not before noon as Drona said to Ashvatthama. It is more than half, not a crescent and has no pointed ends.
Under Exp. 38 Shri. Oak has listed a large number of references where many warriors killed or lying on the ground are compared to moon. All these are mere Upamas and nothing else. Vyasa had no need to see full or nearly full moon in the sky in the night following the event for using the Upamas. Moon is routinely used as a ‘Upamana’ by Sanskrit poets and don’t need to have moon in the sky in front of them for that. These references prove or disprove nothing regarding the tithi of the day and deserve no verification or further consideration.
Ref. No 50. Translation of this reference is as follows –
'Decked, O monarch, in garlands of flower, and with a white umbrella held over his head, he looked like the full moon when in conjunction with the constellation Krittika.'
This is a description of Bhagadatta on the 12th day of war. Shri. Oak says this corroborates with the first day being an amavasya. Question is witch one. According to him war did not begin on Jyeshthaa Amavasya, but the next one, after a month of preparations. So sun and moon on first day should be in Purvashadha or beyond. In 12 days, moon will move on to Mrug, 2 nakshatras beyond Krittika! Also it was not a full moon night, Dvadashi only. But Bhagadatta is compared to full moon!
So, this is nothing but an Upama. For using it Vyasa does not require to see a full moon in Krittika on that day. In fact it was not so, but it has not stopped Vyasa from using the Upama. One cannot read anything more in it. Corroboration? Neither yes, nor no. Not a relevant issue.
Ref. 57- compares Raja Paandya’s fallen head with full moon. This is 16th day of the war. Translation of reference is as follows – ‘That head also, graced with a face bright as the full Moon, having a prominent nose and a pair of large eyes, red as copper with rage, adorned with earrings, falling on the ground, looked resplendent like the Moon himself between two bright constellations.’ Translator mentions two bright constellations, not Vishakha, but the Ref does mentions (Two) Vishakhas. Shri. Oak finds moon on that night to be at Punarvasu, nowhere near Vishakha. Finding moon between the four stars of Punarvasu, Shri. Oak makes a nice attempt to call these as two branches (Vi-shakhas! unfortunately, not dvi-shakhas!) of Punarvasu. It is ingenious but proves or disproves nothing. Once again it is nothing but just an Upama. The fallen head has many other distinguishing features and also high colour.. All these are not claimed to have similarities with full moon. It is not what poets call पूर्णोपमा. Proves or disproves nothing.
Ref. No. 58 Translation --
The sons of Draupadi, desirous of battle, stood by the side of the son of Prishata. They were clad in excellent coats of mail, and armed with excellent weapons, and all of them were endued with the prowess of tigers. Possessed of effulgent bodies, they followed their maternal uncle like the stars appearing with the Moon.
The event is on the 17th day of the war. If the war started on the amavasya following the Jyeshtha Amavasya, moon on first day would be in Purvashadha and by 17th day it would move to Ashlesha or beyond, not in Punarvasu. It would be in Punarvasu only if war started on Jyeshtha Amavasya but Shri. Oak wants one month for war preparation from that Amavasya, suggested by Krishna-Karna dialogue as the start day. I also say that if the solar eclipse occurred on Jyeshtha Amavasya, the second lunar eclipse would be after that and since Vyasa refers to all three, one day prior to start of war, the start date has to be the following Amavasya, not the Jyeshtha Amavasya!
Once again, this is just an Upama. Nothing more should be read in it.
Ref. 59
Translation --- Each of those heroes, standing by the side of Yudhishthira’s car, looked resplendent like the constellation Punarvasu by the side of the moon.
The same problem as for Ref. 57. Which Amavasya? If one after the Jyeshthaa one, then no corroboration! Again I treat it as just an Upama and don’t read anything more in it.
It is to be noted that Shri. Oak accepts that moon between Vishakhas (Ref. 57) can just be an Upama, as he knows that it is not ‘dwi-shakhas’ but only Vishakha!
Ref. 64. The lunar eclipse, if it took place, on 13th day after the solar eclipse had occurred well before the war started as Vyasa mentions it prior to war. On 17th day of war, it was an old story! It is just an Upama although a good one.
I have dealt with the various references which are strictly not astronomical like those from Karna-Krishna dialogue or from Vyasa-Dhritarashtra dialogue. All these are just Upamas. Some match some don’t. Makes no difference really.
Important point is that war started one month after Jyeshthaa Amavasya if you want an Amavasya. In any case it started after the so called second lunar eclipse, on 13th day after the solar one, since Vyasa, before war, has referred to it as an event already taken place. So all checking done by Shri. Oak taking Jyeshthaa Amavasya as first day, needs to be revised!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Comments Contd...

References 34, 35 and 36, Exp. 30 to 34. –
The references are related to Solar Eclipse on 16th Oct., the first day of war. Translations of the references by Ganguli are as below.
Translation of Ref 34 - The Sun, when he rose, seemed to be divided in twain. Besides, that luminary, as it appeared in the firmament, seemed to blaze forth in flames.
Translation of Ref 35 - And as (both) the armies stood at dawn of day waiting for sunrise, a wind began to blow with drops of water (falling), and although there were no clouds, the roll of thunder was heard. And dry winds began to blow all around, bearing a shower of pointed pebbles along the ground. And as thick dust arose, covering the world with darkness. And large meteors began to fall east-wards, O bull of Bharata's race, and striking against the rising Sun, broke in fragments with loud noise. When the troops stood arrayed, O bull of Bharata's race, the Sun rose divested of splendour, and the Earth trembled with a loud sound, and cracked in many places, O chief of the Bharatas, with loud noise.
Translation of Ref 36 - And the Sun himself was shrouded by the dust raised by the combatants.
From the translations it is clear that Ref. 34 alone can be considered as talking about a solar eclipse in that it describes Sun as seeming to blaze in flames. Ref. 35 and 36 talk about dust raised by the combatants causing darkness., hardly a description of solar eclipse. Ref. 35 talks about events At Sunrise. The only words here, somewhat relevant to an eclipse, are ‘Sun rose divested of splendor’. Vyasa has laid more emphasis on heavy dust causing darkness.
Thus in all three references there is no direct mention of a solar eclipse. If there was an eclipse what was preventing Vyasa to be specific and call it a solar eclipse? Why leave it to inferences?
The Experiment no. 30 talks about a solar eclipse actually occurring on 16th Oct. but the timing is well after noon. Was it a total eclipse? Shri. Oak is not sure. What was the duration? Normally Solar Eclipses, partials or even totals don’t run into several hours. It is therefore most unlikely that in the morning there was any effect on the Sun. Fanciful events mentioned in Ref 35, all at sunrise, before the skirmishes began, cannot be attributed to the eclipse, if any, which occurred around noon.
The description of Ref. 34, ‘Sun seemed to blaze forth in flames’ seems to suggest the flares which are seen when a ‘Total Eclipse’ occurs. Well, there was obviously no total eclipse at sunrise.
The only reference, which somewhat points at a possible solar eclipse, is what Karna said to Krishna, viz. Rahu approaching Sun. That can only refer to the immediately following Amavasya within 7 days after the dialogue. But the war didn’t start on that Amavasya, according to me or even according to Shri. Oak himself. (Only preparations and rituals started!). Since Vyasa talks on the day before war about solar eclipse followed by lunar eclipse with only 13 days in between, as a ‘happening’, the eclipse which Karna suggested, would have occurred, (if at all it did), 7 days thereafter, on the Jyeshtha Amavasya, not the one when war began!
In conclusion I would say that there was no solar eclipse on the first day of war, claimed to be an Amavasya . If maybe there was any, it was one month back.
Ref 38 Exp.35 Translation of the reference by Ganguli is as follows.
And Sini's grandson and that bull of Kuru's race looked resplendent like the sun and the moon when together in the firmament after the last lunation of the dark fortnight has passed away.
On any Shukla Pratipada at the time of sunset, the Sun and a small crescent of Moon are seen close together. The reference simply compares Satyaki and Abhimanyu on same Ratha to Sun and Moon Crescent setting close together on the western horizon. (सोमसूर्यौ गतौ नभस्तले). Wherefrom does Shri. Oak conclude that it refers to the Amavasya three days back? The word गतौ refers to Sun and Moon (सोमसूर्यौ) and by no means to past Amavasya.
It is an instance of Shri. Oak’s motivated, freewheeling translation with no cognizance of grammar rules! It is NOT a corroborative evidence of Amavasya as a first day of war.
Exp 36, Ref – Various. Shri. Oak claims that the description of war for first 11 days is consistent with amavasya being the first day. I find nothing to contradict the claim. The skirmishes go on whole day and extend a little beyond sunset occasionally. Bhishma was keeping some control on the conduct of war so after sunset the skirmishes ended. Amavasya as first day is maybe OK. Question is, which one? Jyeshtha or the next or still later?
Some doubt persists though. The 7th day and 8th day descriptions of war at the end of the day, mention ‘pitch darkness’.
7th Day - 'thy troops and the Pandavas, ceased to fight when darkness came.'
8th Day - 'Kurus and the Pandavas withdrew their armies, when that awful night of pitchy darkness came.
As these are days of Shukla Paksha, on progressive days, moon would be higher up and larger at the sunset and time for ‘pitch darkness’ to set in would be some hours after sunset. The descriptions don’t mention the period of sufficient moonlight. Nothing is mentioned about moonlight in fact. There is an inconsistency here.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Comments on References.

1. Exp 28, Ref. Nos. 9, 27, 28, 29 and 64
Ref 9 and 27 are identical. व्यावृत्तं लक्ष्म सोमस्य is the wording in both cases. This has been translated by K. M. Ganguli slightly differently for the two shlokas.
(A)The sign of the deer in the Moon hath deviated from its usual position. and (B)The spot on the lunar disc hath changed its position.
Both these description are rather obscure in meaning. What can cause the spot on moon’s surface to deviate? These two translations are literal. In any case, the translations do not describe the event as a Lunar Eclipse. Also no tithi is mentioned in the two references. In my opinion these references do not describe a lunar eclipse, but some persisting change in the appearance of the moon, whatever the cause.
On the other hand, Ref. 28 which quotes Vyasa talking to Dhritarashtra, is far more explicit. Ganguly translates it as -
‘On (even) the fifteenth night of the lighted-fortnight in (the month of) Kartika, the moon, divested of splendor, became invisible, or of the hue of fire, the firmament being of the hue of the lotus.’ I don’t see where-from the word lotus comes. Fire and lotus are not really समवर्ण ' the word used in the ref. for the sky, meaning ‘of the same colour as moon’. Moon is called अग्निवर्ण. So both moon and sky were reddish, moon had lost its प्रभा and was अलक्ष्य or invisible. This seems to say that on Kartik Purnima a lunar eclipse had occurred. When was kartik purnima? 1st Oct.? Or 30th Sept ? Shri. Oak says he found a ‘doubtful’ eclipse on 30th Sept. Is that the same eclipse Ref. no 28 describes? Maybe. There is another problem here. From 30th Sept the first day of war proposed, 16th Oct., is 16 days away! Was 16th Oct. then an Amavasya? 16 days after Purnima? Vyasa has not made any comment on this unusually long Paksha. If Purnima was NOT 16 days before amavasya it wont be on 30th Sept. So what Shri. Oak has found does not clearly validate what the reference says!
Ref 29 talks about the Lunar Eclipse on the next Purnima, which came after only 13 days from Kartik Amavasya, or 30th Oct. Shri. Oak has validated this with his software. So we can accept it. However Shri. Oak himself has pointed out that the eclipse in question occurred during the day and was visible at kurukshetra for only a short time, in the final stages, after sunset.
My question is – If war began on 16th Oct., how is Vyasa, on the previous day, in his talk with Dhritarashtra, talking about the Lunar Eclipse of 30st Oct. as if the event had already occurred? Even 15 days later, when it did occur, it was visible only marginally!Shri. Oak has simply ignored this glaring discrepancy. An interpretation can be made from Vyasa referring to the second lunar eclipse in past tense, that the war must have actually started not on 16th Oct. but some day after 30th Oct. If the first day is to be claimed as an Amavasya, then it must be next amavasya, 30 days later.
Shri. Oak mentions that Ref. 64 points to lunar eclipse on 30th Oct (or Margashirsha Purnima). He has given no translation of the reference. 30th October was 14th day from start of war or 15th day of war when Drona died. The reference is from Karnaparva near end of the battle between Arjuna and Karna on 17th day. One translation I could get is as follows.
'Beholding king Yudhishthira the just, arrived there like the resplendent full Moon freed from the jaws of Rahu and risen in the firmament, all creatures became filled with delight.' This is just an UPAMA in my view. Mahabharat is full of such upamas. Since Rahu does not catch full moon and cause Lunar Eclipse, ‘full moon freed from jaws of Rahu’ seems erroneous.
If one accepts that there were three eclipses, two lunar with one solar in between and there were only 13 days between the solar and second lunar and Vyasa expresses his wonder about the unusually small gap between them, on the day prior to beginning of war, the straight inference is that war began, some days AFTER the second Lunar Eclipse and NOT on the day of the Solar Eclipse!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

First day of war.

After giving his reasons for claiming 5561 BCE as the year of the mahabharat war, Shri. Oak goes on in the next chapter to claim 16th Oct as the first day of the war. In essence he has accepted the date proposed by Dr. Vartak in Svayambhu as he claims that all astronomical references prove true for that date. I propose to examine some of the claims. Both Dr. Vartak and Shri. Oak claim the date to correspond to an Amavasya. So I will take it from there.
Shri. Oak had clarified in our e-mail exchanges that the date 16th Oct. is a date by Julian Calendar projected backwards from CE 1580 as per standard practice. He further said that Dr. Vartak also meant it to be so. In his book Svayambhu, Dr. Vartak says that he has selected ‘a date’ rather than a lunar month and tithi as the starting point of the war as the former will be easier for common man to appreciate in today’s context of dates and seasons etc. Actually, if the date is Julian, when one goes back 7000 years, relationship of dates and seasons cannot match today’s perception at all. I had my doubts whether Dr. Vartak has followed the standard practice to use Julian date or he meant Gregorian date,as that would retain the association of date and season in tact. Shri. Oak assured me that Dr. Vartak also means Julian date. I assume he had occasion to check the point with Dr. Vartak, since he asserts it. I still have my doubt because the days which Dr. Vartak counts between 16th Oct and Autumnal equinox, the day of Bhishma’s death, do not seem to agree with what Shri. Oak counts. (100 + ). However I will let it ride.
I will take 16th Oct. 5561BCE - Julian and an Amavasya as Shri. Oak’s claim for ‘first day of war’. I propose to examine Shri. Oak’s findings on various astronomical references as I did for the previous chapter.