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

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.