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

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?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Time Line of Krishna Shishtai Contd.

Mahabharat says that Krishna invited Karna on his Ratha when he returned from Hastinapur to Upaplavya. They travelled together a short distance and then had a dialogue. Then Krishna continued onwards and Karna returned. The text does not state the story of the event directly. The Kauravas came to know about it and asked Sanjaya about what transpired. How he came to know about it? It is NOT stated. Why the indirect narration is not clear. During this dialogue Krishna told Karna that he was actually Kunti’s son. And so elder brother of Pandavas and so he should leave Duryodhana’s side and join Pandavas. Then Yudhishthira will give him due respect as the eldest Pandava and he will become King at Indraprastha.
Karna rejected the suggestion saying he cant suddenly give up his valued friendship of Duryodhana. If he did that the world would say that he was afraid of Arjuna.
He also said that he knew that he was Kunti’s Son!
Two questions arise. 1. How Karna knew he was Kunti’s son? 2. Equally important, how Krishna knew this. (This is not a question for those who believe he was Paramatma but for others it is a valid one.)
There is also the story, a straight narration here, that before war began, apparently while Karna was still in Hastinapur, Kunti herself met Karna, on the river bank, in the early morning and told him that he was her first son, born before her marriage to Pandu. (Who was Karna’s father has not been stated anywhere. Again, if you believe Sun was his father then there is no question.) She asked Karna to join the Pandavas. Here also Karna refused to be a Pandava, after having lived his whole life as a son of Radha and Adhiratha. Important point is that he did not say that he knew he was Kunti’s son!
Logically speaking, Kunti-Karna dialogue must take place earlier than Karna-Krishna dialogue, since Karna said to krishna that he knew, he was Kunti’s son. Since HE was not Bhagavan in any case, his dialogue with Kunti ought to have preceded to justify his claim.
So what was the sequence of events?
It appears to me that when Krishna reported to Kunti and Vidura the failure of his mission, Kunti herself told Krishna that Karna was her son and asked him to meet Karna and persuade him to leave Duryodhana’s side. Krishna may have asked her to try it herself first so that Karna may not doubt the truth. Next day morning Kunti tried it and when Karna rejected her request, she may have reported her failure to Krishna. Then, as a last ditch effort, Krishna himself took Karna along with him when leaving Hastinapur and made the request. When he also got a rejection, Krishna knew that war is on hand and sent his message to the Kauravas that both sides should meet at Kurukshetra after 7 days for war.
I therefore am of the view that after the meeting at Kaurava darabar on the third day, Kunti met Karna in the morning on fourth day and then Krishna left Hastinapur in the afternoon with Karna and after their talk, proceeded to Upaplavya without wasting any further time. In the evening he reported the failure to Pandavas. With all events accounted for, the mission took total 4 days.
Shri Oak has proposed a different timeline which I will analyze next.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Moon with Pointed Ends

I had earlier commented about moon with pointed ends downwards - statement by Drona to Ashvatthama on the tenth day of war some time before noon. I had shown a photo of a Shukla Navami moon which hardly had pointed ends and it would not have been seen before noon in that position as my photo was taken late in the evening. Some hours back its orientation also would be different.
Today (Sept 5), being a Krishnapaksha Ashtami, I took another photo, a little before noon. It is shown below.
One can clearly see the pointed ends and they are pointing downwards as described by Drona. It is not 'rising'. Actually it is nearing Western horizon. By Sunset it will dip well below western horizon and will rise in the east by about midnight it being Krishnapaksha Navami by then.
So, was the tenth day of war - when Bhishma fell in the evening,- a Shukla Navami or a Krishna Ashtami/Navami? There is ground for grave doubt and I leave the question for Shri. Oak and the readers
I add two more photos of Krishna Navami Moon taken today, (Sept 6), at 11-30 a.m.
The more I look at Krishnapaksha Ashtami or Navami Moon around noon the more I am convinced that this is what Drona saw and described to Ashvatthama on the tenth day of war, before or at noon. Pointed ends, pointing downwards. No opinion poll needed I suppose.
Readers, you be the judge.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Where was Jupiter?

I saw that Shri. Oak mentions in his comments that I have not gone into Jupiter’s position. It is true. I have been looking at each reference from Mahabharat, one at a time and have missed something there, in my earlier comments.
Let us take a look at Jupiter. According to Shri. Oak Jupiter was in Moola nakshatra one year prior to war and on first day it was ‘in the region of Moola- Uttarashadha’. At another place he says Jupiter near Shravan! Actually with a 12 year orbit Jupiter will move through more than two nakshatras in one year. So if it was in Moola, one year prior to war, on first day of war, the description ‘in the region of Moola – Uttarashadha is vague. Jupiter in Shravan is obviously the correct position.
1. Now according to Shri. Vartak and Shri. Oak both Jupiter and Saturn should be in near Vishakha. I have already written about Saturn. Jupiter also, is in Shravan, nowhere near Vishakha but 6 nakshatras away.
2. On 17th day, Jupiter was still in Shravan only. Shri. Oak says, at the end of the day, it was on western horizon. If first day was Jyeshtha Amavasya, Sun on that day was in Jyeshtha. In 17 days it would move to Purvashadha. So when sun set on 17th day, Jupiter, in Shravan , 2 nakshatra behind, would be close to western horizon . Rohini, 9 nakshatras behind, wont be on eastern horizon but about 45 degrees above. Reference 12 says that Jupiter afflicted Rohini and became same colour (bright) as Sun and Moon. The relative positions of Jupiter and Rohini do not justify the claim that Jupiter was afflicting Rohini. In case of Saturn, it was ‘somewhere in the Eastern sky’ when Rohini was setting. On the other hand, Jupiter was setting and Rohini was ‘somewhere in the eastern sky’. Yet both are claimed to be afflicting Rohini! So Jupiter is another shy first year student making a pass at college queen Rohini from a safe distance!
3. Yet another reference to Jupiter is in ‘मघासु अंगारको वक्रः श्रवणेच बृहस्पतिः’ Jupiter was in Shravan on first day OK. Shri. Oak has proposed a new interpretation of Vakra Motion of planets - ‘crossing of ecliptic’ Both Mars and Jupiter are said to have done it. Dates for Mars crossing the ecliptic are given by Shri. Oak which show that Mars crossed the ecliptic before the war date so Vyasa refering to it, in past tense, is correct. In case of Jupiter however the dates of crossing ecliptic are in April and Sept 5560 BCE, i.e. 6 months and one year after first day of war. I have already raised the question as to how Vyasa can refer to it in the same breath with Mars in the Past Tense. Another question is Jupiter would move through at least two nakshatras in the one year and so would no longer be ‘श्रवणे’, (‘in Shravan’) when it went Vakra but would be in Dhanishtha / Shatataraka. So the claim Jupiter went Vakra in Shravan is not justified.
Regarding the new definition of Vakra motion, I wonder whether it would be possible to observe a planet crossing the ecliptic with Naked Eye. Ecliptic is not a line marked in the sky. The Nakshatras provide only a broad band of reference generally along the Ecliptic as all Nakshatras are not bang on the ecliptic. So could Vyasa and his contemporaries have meant what Shri. Oak has proposed, by Vakra motion? Hardly likely.They did not have Voyager and computers, nor powerful telescopes.
I am afraid, Jupiter also, like Saturn, does not favour Shri Oak.(Both are Vakri!)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Time Line of Krishna Shishtai.

Before the war between Kauravas and Pandavas began, Krishna visited Hastinapur to make a last minute effort to avoid the war. It is described in great detail in Udyogaparva. When I first read it, I paid no attention to some astronomical points mentioned in the description. There was no sense of having missed anything or any gap. The story continues uninterrupted .
Effort for getting back the kingdom lost by Pandavas in the Dyoota/Anudoota sequence got under way immediately after Abhimanyu’s marriage when all supporters of Pandavas had gathered. Drupada had pointed out that war would be inevitable but peace negotiations will have to be gone through, friends contacted and armies gathered. The entire rainy season was spent in exchange of emissaries with Kouravas and contacting all kings to gather support, by both sides. Dhritarashtra, without going into merits of Pandavas’ claim of having completed terms of Anudyuta, and knowing fully well that Duryodhan would never give back Indraprastha, advised the Pandavas that if Duryodhana gives anything, take it, otherwise live on the charity of Virata, Drupada or Yadavas but don’t go to war and if you do it YOU will be responsible for our Family being killed off. He had slammed the door shut. One is reminded of Hitler’s ultimatums.
Against this background, having no hope of succeeding, Krishna made a dash to Hastinapur. He clearly told Yudhishthira that the visit is only to clear his conscience that he did not shirk from making the effort to avoid the war, when he had good rapport with both sides. Pandavas were apprehensive that Krishna may come to harm but he reassured them. Before this visit, supporters of Pandavas, with their armies, had already gathered at Upaplavya. There was no time to lose. If decision was not quickly made, unity may be lost. This was the background. Keeping aside the Nakshatras etc. what the story says is that Krishna started from Upaplavya in the morning, travelled whole day, spent the evening and night at a village on way and reached Hastinapur next day by evening. Rejecting Duryodhana’s invitation to stay at his place, he went to Vidura’s place for the night. He had a long dialogue with Vidura and Kunti at night and explained why he was making the peace effort. Vidura and Kunti wished him well but held out no hope.
Next day, before noon the meeting in Kaurava Darbar took place. All Kuru dignitaries and many others were present. Krishna addressed his speech to Dhritarashtra, rather than to Duryodhana, presented Pandavas’ claim forcefully, pointed out advantages of peace to the entire Kuru family and their friends like Yadavas. He also conveyed Yudhishthira's compromise offer of accepting only 5 villages as pandavas' share. It became clear that Dhritarashtra was shielding behind Duryodhana and pleading helplessness. Bheeshma was non-committal. In reply. Duryodhana rejected Pandavas’ claim of having completed 12 and 1 years in Vanavasa and Adnyanavasa and asked them to go for 12 more years of vanavasa as per terms of the Dyuta. He further said that if Pandavas wanted war he was ready.
His argument was irrefutable. No one forcefully supported Pandavas’ claim to have completed 13 years. Duryodhana also said that Pandavas had no claim as such, at any time but being young he could not stop Bheeshma from giving them a share in the first place. Now he was not prepared to give even five villages asked for by Yudhishthira. Neither Dhritarashtra nor Bheeshma-Drona appeared ready to take the extreme step suggested by Krishna, of ousting Duryodhana from his position of virtual king. So nothing further remained to be said or done. In anger, Duryodhana thought of arresting Krishna, but must have realized that it would be futile. It would also be foolish to provide Krishna a reason to take Pandavas’ side openly. At the end of the meeting Krishna squarely blamed Dhritarashtra, Bheeshma and other dignitaries for their inaction and announced that he was going back. He went back to Vidura, reported what happened to him and Kunti. She now gave her message to her sons to do their duty as Kshatriyas. Next day, either in the morning or evening, Krishna returned to Upaplavya.
When returning he took Karna on his Ratha and made an effort to bring him around to Pandavas’ side. Krishna is supposed to have revealed the secret that Karna was Kunti’s eldest son. Karna did not budge and in the end, Krishna sent through him his message to Kauravas to meet at Kurukshetra for the war. Then he went back to Upaplavya as fast as he could.
These are the only events that took place during Krishna’s visit as stated in the Mahabharata Text. I have omitted the Vishva Roop Darshan katha as I don't believe in it. No other meetings or discussions took place as obviously there was no scope for it now. Total story runs for 4 days maximum. Why I say Krishna may have returned on the 4th day in the morning or evening? I will elaborate on it in due course.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

14th day of War.

The problem of complete darkness after sunset for several hours on 14th day of war is not amenable to easy solution.
The description of the events of the day after Jayadratha was killed late in the evening, before Sunset, is very clear. The skirmishes between main warriors on both sides continued with hardly any interruption due to Jayadratha’s killing. Karna and Duryodhan expressed their anguish that in spite of all efforts by all their prime warriors against Arjuna they did not succeed in stopping Jayadratha’s death. Duryodhana blamed Drona for allowing Arjuna to bypass him, first thing in the morning. Drona realized that it was now his turn to face the combined efforts of Dhrishtadyumna, Arjuna and all others to corner him.
Why the battle did not stop with Sunset? Everybody realized that the turning point of the war was on hand. Abhimanyu on previous day and Arjuna today had carried out extensive carnage of Kuru army. Bheem and Satyaki no less. Even in the absence of Arjun, Bheem and Satyaki, Dhrishtadyumna and others had successfully defended Yudhishthira against Drona’s attempts to capture him. The tide had clearly turned against Kauravas. So this continued fight was a desperate effort to stem the rot. Pandavas on the other hand were in full fighting mood, Arjuna having achieved the task of killing Jayadratha against all odds.
Descriptions of the skirmishes, which continued during the night are in full details, very long and vivid. After full darkness set in and the soldiers could not distinguish between friend and foe, many large oil lamps were brought in by both sides and fierce fighting continued in whatever light they could provide. There are repeated descriptions of skirmishes by lamplight and warriors rushing from darkened areas to spots better lighted by even a few lamps. Ultimately, everybody was utterly exhausted. Arjuna invited all to stop fighting for a little while, not leaving the battlefield but just resting and refreshing a little. Out of utter exhaustion, the foot soldiers on both sides asked the charioteers to accept the short truce and fighting stopped for a while.
Arjuna’s speech ----
‘Beholding this condition of the soldiers, O bull among men, Vibhatsu in a very loud voice, said these words: 'All of you, with your animals, are worn out with exertion and blind with sleep. Ye warriors, ye are enveloped in darkness and with dust. Therefore, if ye like, ye may rest. Indeed, here, on the field of battle close your eyes for a while. Then when the moon will rise, ye Kurus and Pandavas, ye may again, having slept and taken rest, encounter each other for the sake of heaven.' Hearing these words of the virtuous Arjuna, the virtuous warriors (of the Kuru army) assented to the suggestion, and addressing one another, loudly said, 'O Karna, O Karna, O king Duryodhana, abstain from the fight. The Pandava host hath ceased to strike us.' Then at those words of Phalguna, uttered loudly by him, the Pandava army as also thine, O Bharata, abstained from battle.’
It is noteworthy that Arjuna clearly mentions ‘when the moon will rise’
Description of moonrise -----
Then the moon, that delighter of eye and lord of lilies, of hue white as the checks of a beautiful lady, rose, adorning the direction presided over by Indra. Indeed, like a lion of the Udaya hills, with rays constituting his manes of brilliant yellow, he issued out of his cave in the east, tearing to pieces the thick gloom of night resembling an extensive herd of elephants. That lover of all assemblage of lilies (in the world), bright as the body of Mahadeva's excellent bull, full-arched and radiant as Karna's bow, and delightful and charming as the smile on the lips of a bashful bride, bloomed in the firmament. Soon, however, that divine lord having the hare for his mark showed himself shedding brighter rays around. Indeed, the moon, after this seemed to gradually emit a bright halo of far-reaching light that resembled the splendour of gold.
The description leaves no doubt whatsoever in any reader’s mind that there was complete and heavy darkness for almost whole night, until, early morning, Moon rose a little before the Sun. The words in the description of moonrise, point out that it rose In The East (Direction presided over by Indra). Moon is ‘full arched’ and like Karna’s bow or a crescent in other words. It cannot, by any stretch of imagination be considered as a (nearly) full moon becoming visible after dust settled down. If it was a full moon, obscured by dust the whole night, it would, when freed from dust, reappear early morning near the western horizon and not in the east. It would also not be a crescent.
The description matches a moonrise on Krishna Chaturdashi in timing, shape and place.
Following is the description of what happened after the battle resumed with moonrise.
"Sanjaya said, 'When three-fourths of that night had worn away, the battle, O king, once more commenced between the Kurus and the Pandavas. Both sides were elated with joy. Soon after, Aruna, the charioteer of Surya, weakening the splendour of the moon, appeared, causing the welkin to assume a coppery hue. The east was soon reddened with the red rays of the sun that resembled a circular plate of gold. Then all the warriors of the Kuru and the Pandava hosts, alighting from cars and steeds and vehicles borne by men, stood, with joined hands, facing the sun, and uttered the prayers of the twilight of dawn.’
It is thus clear that the moonrise was quickly followed by Arunodaya and the Sunrise. No major skirmish took place between moonrise and sunrise. With Sunrise however, the war resumed full force.
I wonder why Shri. Oak is neglecting all these descriptions and insists on attributing the darkness throughout the night to just the dust obscuring a near full moon. I would advise Shri. Oak to go to a village, and step out at midnight of a full moon, cloudless night and see for himself the amount of light thrown by the moon and then imagine it being converted to complete darkness due to ‘dust’ throughout the night. Readers can imagine how much dust it would take.
I totally reject Shri. Oak’s dusty explanation of the 14th day dark night.
We have to look for the explanation somewhere else.
1. One possibility is that the war did not start on an Amavasya but near or on a Pournima. One must remember, Vyasa had seen and commented upon the very short Shuklapaksha which occurred before commencement of war. War could have commenced some day thereafter.
2. Shri. Kavishvar’s proposal is an alternative explanation, in case war did start on Amavasya.
3. Some day some other explanation may be found. Vyasa himself says .. कालोह्ययं निरवधिर्विपुलाच पृथ्वी