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

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Vasishtha and Arundhati – Again.

Shri Oak has identified a period in the past when Arundhati was walking ahead of Vasishtha as described by Vyasa. This is based on the Right Ascension differential as obtained from software (which I presume itself based on observations and mathematics and algorithms). We can assume these data to be correct.
As we see today, the difference between the declinations of A and V is very small. That makes it difficult to decide who is ahead, to a naked eye observer. If you see any sky photo, it will bring out the position. We have to enlarge the photo before we notice with naked eye, Arundhati, distinct from Vasishtha
It would be interesting to know what were the declination figures for Arundhati and Vasishtha at 1)start of the ‘epoch’, 2) at the time Arundhati was Max. ahead of Vasishtha 3) at end of the ‘epoch’ and 4) today when Arundhathi is still significantly behind Vasistha (after being much behind earlier). This will enable one to judge (of course qualitatively speaking) the ability of a naked eye observer to assert that Arundhati was ahead at the Mahabharata war time.
I invite Shri. Oak to let us know the declination figures which, I suppose will be easily available. Any other reader with access to suitable software is also invited to do it.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dhanishthaadi Again

I have written detailed comments on the concept of fall of Abhijit here earlier. One key line in the shlokas about this topic is ‘धनिष्ठादि तदा कालो ब्रह्मणा परिनिर्मितः.’
Dr. P. V. Vartak had interpreted this to mean that year started from the time when Sun was in Dhanishtha and the appropriate time for start of year should be Summer Solstice as that marks the end of summer and beginning of rainy season in Northern India. Start of year from start of rains is quite logical.
Shri. Oak has accepted this theory as far as I know. Summer Solstice was occurring when Sun was in Dhanishtha around 14,500 BCE and therefore the conclusion is that Brahma started his system of marking the end of old year and start of new year around 14,500 BCE. I was also in agreement with this conclusion.
Recently, out of curiosity I tried to read ‘The Orion’ by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. I followed his writing only for the first chapter! Later I felt completely out of my depth and gave up. However from what little I followed I gathered two premises he has elucidated.
1. Year was defined by commencement and completion of a set of sacrifices called ‘Satra’, which ran for a full year. Start of the Satra, and thus of the year, was initially from Vernal Equinox. The period from Vernal Equinox to Autumnal Equinox was called the ‘Deva Ayana’ Devas were all supposed to be residing at the Meru or Celestial North Pole and this period was called ‘Deva Ayana’ because Sun would be above the equator and visible to the Devas at Meru. Deva Ayana was the original Uttarayana as Sun was to the north of equator during the period from Vernal to Autumnal equinox. When Sun reached Autumnal equinox, half the year was over. The day of AE was Vishuva Din and it was the middle day of the year. The second half of the year was Dakshinayana or Pitrayana as Sun was below equator, the region of Pitaras. Tilak has quoted many references from Vedas and other vaidik literature in support of this position.
2. At a latter period, start of year was shifted to Winter Solstice. Uttarayana was now defined as the period during which Sun moved towards North upto Summer Solstice. The other half of the year was the Dakshinayana when the Sun moved southwards from SS to WS. In present times, that is how we understand Uttarayana and Dakshinayana. He further says that this change was for general civil purposes but the old system of starting year from Vernal Equinox also continued for conducting Satras. He has of course quoted references for this too!
3. Krittika was the first nakshatra according to him based on many references. I did not find any mention of Dhanishtha as first nakshatra in his book. There is a curious mention that ‘If Sun turns back before reaching Dhanishtha, it would be a bad omen’ according to some Rishi. Now Sun can ‘turn back' before reaching Dhanishtha only if SS or WS was at Dhanishtha, some 100 years previously.
4. Tilak has not made any reference to the Shloka from Mahabharat, ‘Dhanishthadi ...’
Now the question arises – How to reconcile what Tilak says with ‘Dhanishthadi Tada Kaalo ...’ from Mahabharata? Dhanishtha was at Vernal Equinox in 21000BCE.If Year began initially from Vernal Equinox as Tilak states, did Brahma set the start of year from Dhanishtha in 21000 BCE? Tilak however has NOT claimed such Large Antiquity for Vedas etc. I refer the question to Shri. Nilesh oak and other learned readers.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Short Krishnapaksha before start of Mahabharat War.

I have shown in an earlier post that a very short krishna paksha as described by Vyasa to have occured just prior to start of war is very much possible. It occured in Sept 2016 and the period from end of Purnima to Start of Amavasya was 311 hours and that between End of Purnima and End of Amavasya (The full Krishnapaksha) was 335 1/2 hours. Both these were well below the equivalent of 14 thithis and 15 tithis.
As against these short periods, I invite Shri. Oak to find out by use of his software the periods which occured in 5561 BCE in the fortnight ending on 16th Oct. This will quantitatively establish the 'shortness' or otherwise of that Paksha and will test his claim in his book that it was short. I have no software so cannot do it myself. Any other reader having recourse to that type of software can also try his hand at it.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturn Positions Contd.

Saturn and Jupiter troubling Rohini is a problem as they are nowhere near Rohini. It some old posts about fall of Abhijit I had referred to the remark by Shri. Oak that some researchers consider Jyeshtha also as alternate Rohini. Does that surmise apply here too? Are Saturn and Jupiter supposed to be troubling Jyeshtha, alternate Rohini? According to another reference they should have been near Vishakha at the time of war, having gone retrograde earlier and having stayed put for an year (संवत्सरस्थायिनौ, विशाखयाः समीपस्थौ). Shri. Oak does find retrograde motion but does not find them close to Vishakha, but even from where they are, viz. Jupiter at Shravan and Saturn at Hasta, they were sufficiently close to Jyeshtha to cause trouble to Jyeshtha, alternate Rohini. If, in any other year proposed by any other researcher, if Saturn and Jupiter do end up closer than this to Vishakha, they would definitely be causing trouble to Jyeshtha! I invite Shri. Oak to give his view.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Three references of Saturn's position

There are three positions of Saturn mentioned in the Mahabharata text. 1. विशाखयोः समीपस्थौ उभौ २. भाग्यं नक्षत्रमाक्रम्य ३. रोहिणींम् पीडयते. Prima Facie they appear mutually exclusive, if one is satisfied other two are not met. Shri. Oak actually finds Saturn at Hasta at the start of war as proposed by him in Oct 5561 BCE.
1.I am prepared to accept that Saturn is near enough to Vishakha, giving weightage to the other two points of description of Saturn and Jupiterin the reference, viz. संवत्सरस्थायिनौ and प्रज्वलितौ which are satisfied by both as they went retrograde on either side of Vishakha and were also bright due to retrograde motion. 2. Saturn at Hasta was close to भाग्यं नक्षत्रम् (उत्तरा फाल्गुनि) for quite some time before war date again due to retrograde motion. The use of present tense by Vyasa can be kept aside for the moment.
3. Regarding the third reference of Saturn afflicting Rohini, how to reconcile this with Saturn at Hasta? Shri Oak says in his book that Saturn was 'somewhere in the western sky when Rohini was rising in the east and claims that from that position, it could be considered 'afflicting' Rohini.
It is difficult to visualize what an actual observer would see in the sky, from co-ordinates of Saturn (at Hasta) and Rohini. I show two schematic views of the night sky, one when Rohini is on western horizon and another when Saturn is about to rise in the east. I presume an actual picture can be generated by use of software. My pictures show a view as seen by an observer standing in the open and looking at the Celestial North Pole (no star there in those days)
I invite Shri. Oak to generate similar pictorial views with his software to enable seeing relative positions of Rohini and Saturn as actually seen by an observer. With that, maybe, we can judge his 'claim' more realistically.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Short Krisnapaksha in Bhadrapada also!

I continued to check for short Krishnapaksha for the following month of Bhadrapada. It shows some interesting features.
1. Purnima is shown on 16th Sept. Purnima had begin at 3-15 AM. It continued for the whole day and ended 35 minutes after midnight.
2. Krishnapaksha began from 17th Sept and continued till 30th Sept. 5 hr.41min. after midnight. Total length of the Krishnapaksha ending on end of Amavasya will be 14 full days and 5 hrs. or 341 hours.
3. The gap between end of Purnima and start of Amavasya (on 29th Sept 3hrs. 41 min. after midnight) is 13 full days and 3 hrs. 20 min. or 315 hrs. 20 minutes.
4. Both these measures of krisnapaksha have shown an increase over the previous month. An interesting feature is that on 21 Sept. both tithis 5 and 6 are shown. There is Tithi lope or kshaya of one tithi in Bhadrapada also as was the case in Shravan.
5. A lunar eclipse is shown on the Purnima - 16th Sept. - but it is only nominal.
6. There are 13 days between Purnima day 16th Sept. and Amavasya day 30th Sept. So it is still a short paksha of 14 days instead of 15 days. Vyasa has said that 14 day, 15 day or even occasionally 16 day paksha is no big deal.
7. The length of Krishnapaksha will now continue to show growth for some months untill it reaches the high point and then it will start reducing. I will look for the NEXT short Krishnapaksha with interest but I do not expect to see a 12 day paksha with lunar and solar eclipses at either end tagged on, anytime in the near future. I happened to land on one last month to my delight.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Short Lunar Fortnight.

Vyasa has talked about a very short Lunar Fortnight from Previous Purnima to The Amavasya on the day just prior to the start of the Mahabharat War. That is the talk between Vyasa and Dhritarashtra when Vyasa describes many bad omens which he sees and which point to the disaster which is going to hit the Kuru dynasty. He says that the fortnight is only of 12 days from Purnima to Amavasya instead of the normal 14 days’ gap or a shorter, but not unusual, 13 days’ gap or even the rare 15 days’ gap. I stated in my earlier post describing what I would verify for any proposed war year, that the lunar fortnight ending on the Amavasya at the start of the war must match this description. The consensus is that it is an extremely unlikely event. Many attempts have been made to check whether this is possible without positive outcome.
I have a surprise for interested readers!
I happened to take a look at the Kalanirnay Calendar for August 2016 and was shocked to note a short fortnight right there!
1. On 17th Aug. it says it is Narali Purnima. Purnima begins ‘in the evening’ at 4-27 PM. Why Purnima then? Because Narali Purnima is an evening affair so you need to have Purnima in the evening. (That is how I understand it)
2. On 18th Aug. it says Shravan Purnima or Rakshabandhan. At sunrise it was a Purnima so it is a Purnima day. Purnima however ended at 2-56 PM.
3. On 19th and 20th Aug. calendar shows Pratipada and Dvitiya. Resp.
4. On 21st Aug. calendar says it is 3 and 4. It is called Sankashti Chaturthi with moonrise at 9-21 PM. Time for beginning of Chaturthi is 8-17 AM and end of Chaturthi is 29-43 PM or 5-43 AM on 22nd Aug. Chaturthi will end before sunrise on 22nd Aug. (These timings are shown on the back page of the calendar.)There is thus a tithi-kshaya here. (Two tithis on the same day.)
5. Then for next 9 days, from 22nd Aug. to 30th Aug. there are consecutive tithis from 5 to 13 (Krishna Panchami to Trayodashi)
6. On 31st Aug. Calendar shows 14th or Chaturdashi. It also shows the Chaturdashi ending and Amavasya beginning at 2-03 PM and calls the day Pithori Amavasya! ( I believe the Puja for Pithori is an Evening event.)
7. On 1st Sept. calendar shows Shravan Amavasya. It was Amavasya at sunrise but it ends at 2-32 PM.
18th August is Purnima and 31st Aug. is Amavasya. There are 12 days between the two!. One tithi, (4th – Chaturthi) has suffered a loss (tithi kshaya) which causes the short fortnight.
Surprisingly, there is a Lunar Eclipse shown on 17th August and Solar Eclipse on 1st Sept. (Both are not visible in India.) Vyasa also had talked of a Lunar Eclipse on the Purnima and a solar eclipse, indirectly hinted and vaguely described, on the first day of war which was a continuation of Amavasya. Of course, you can see a solar eclipse only after sunrise.
Events during this fortnight of August show a surprising similarity with what Vyasa says!
Let us calculate the period between end of Purnima and beginning of Amavasya here.
1. Purnima ended on 18th Aug. at 2-56 PM.
2. On 31st Aug., 13 days later, almost an hour earlier, at 2-03 PM, Amavasya began. The gap is 12 x 24 + 23 hours, or 311 hours. The average period for 14 tithis should be 14 x 24 = 336 hours less 6 hours since lunar month is about 29 1/2 days and not 30 days or say, 330 hrs).
3. The period from End of Purnima to End of Amavasya can also be checked. It is from 18th Aug. 2-56 PM to 1st Sept. 2-32 PM. i. e. 1/2 hour less than 14 full days or 335 1/2 hours against the average of 15 days less 6 hours or 354 hours.
It is clear, this fortnight is a ‘really short’ fortnight.
What Vyasa describes is thus definitely possible and being an unusual event, carefully noted down by Vyasa, any proposed war year under verification must show occurrence of it.
My demand for it is vindicated.
As a matter of curiosity I verified the length of the Krishna Fortnight (from start of Pratipada to End of Amavasya) for the past several months from the data given on Kalanirnay. I find the following figures in hours (rounded off to half hour)
1. Shaka 1936 Pousha - 368.5 hrs.
2. Magha - 360.5 hrs.
3. Falgun - 351.5 hrs.
4. Shaka 1937 Chaitra - 344.0 hrs.
5. Vaishakh - 336.5 hrs.
6. Jyeshtha - 334.0 hrs.
7. Adhik Ashadh - 336.0 hrs.
8. Nija Ashadha - 340.0 hrs.
9. Shravan - 348.0 hrs.
10. Bhadrapad - 357.0 hrs.
11. Ashvin - 366.0 hrs.
12. Kartik - 372.0 hrs.
13. Margashirsha - 374.0 hrs.
14. Pousha - 373.0 hrs.
15. Magha - 367.5 hrs.
16. Falgun - 359.5 hrs.
17.Shaka 1938 Chaitra - 350.0 hrs.
18. Vaishakh - 341.5 hrs.
19. Jyeshtha - 336.0 hrs.
20. Ashadh - 334.0 hrs.
21. Shravan - 335.0 hrs.
One can see a pattern of increasing and decreasing length of the paksha as compared to 15 days less 6hrs or 354 hrs. Jyeshtha of Shaka 1937 also had a short Krishnapaksha of 334 hrs. Calendar shows 2nd June as Purnima and it continues till 9.48 PM. Amavasya however is shown on 16th June and it continues till 9.35 PM. There are 13 days between these two dates so it does not match with Vyasa's description. Also there were no eclipses on either day. So out of short Krishnapakshas of 334/335 hours which will occur from time to time, only very few will match Vyasa's description. I am amazed that, accidentally, I noted that Shravan of Shaka 1938 matches it in all respects.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Year of Mahabharata War.
I have no access to any software for Astronomical Research on this subject. If I can get it, how will I go about trying to determine the year? My line of action will be as follows.
1. I would concentrate on the period when Arundhati was maximum ahead of Vasishtha, based on data generated by Shri. Nilesh Oak, say 7000BCE to 5000 BCE, to begin with.
2. Then note down the years within this range when Saturn was in Rohini. As Saturn takes more than one year to cross a nakshatra, the years so noted +/- 1 would also suit.
3. For any year taken up for further verification, the date of Winter Solstice and Autumnal Equinox get established.
4. Working backwards from date of Winter Solstice, based on the fact that Bhishma spent 57 days on the bed of arrows, the date of his fall and the date of commencement of war will be established.
5. With the first day of war thus fixed, I will verify whether it was an Amavasya day or not later than 3rd day after Amavasya.
6. If that is satisfied, I will check the previous Purnima. Was there a total or near total Lunar Eclipse on that day?
7. If so, what was the length of the Paksha? It should be short, at least not exceeding 14 days. (A paksha of 13 days as described by Vyasa appears difficult to find.)
8. If ok so far, which is the Revati day, after the Purnima? That will be the day for Krishna to start from Upaplavya. It has to be, say, not later than 2 or 3 days after Purnima so that Krishna returns on 4th day and both armies move to Kurukshetra on Pushya day, 8th day from Revati day.
9. Was there a solar eclipse on the Amavasya? Need not be,
10. If all above are satisfied, the motion of Mars will have to be checked for Vakra or Apasavya motion, position on the first day of war etc. vis a vis description in the Text.
11. Similarly, Jupiter’s motion prior to first day of war and end position should be checked. Does it end up in Shravan?
12. Movement of Venus also needs to be checked similarly for comparing with what the text says.
13. If any year under verification meets the above requirements, it can be considered as a Candidate year.
14. If no year can be determined as a Candidate, I would go further 500 years back (in desperation), and then give up!
15. I would still call the qualifying year or years as only Candidates and offer them to researchers and others for developing a consensus.
I would welcome views of interested readers on this program!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I wrote some posts here about a monograph by Shri. Narahari Achar on his use of Planetarium Software for validating the year 3067 BCE determined by Shri. Raghavan earlier as the year of Mahabharat War. I have consolidated, edited and published my critical comments in a book form and published it on Amazon Kindle self publishing. Interested readers can read it there or I can send them a WORD file by e-mail if they request for it. Prabhakar Phadnis pkphadnis@yahoo.com

Saturday, July 23, 2016

I have written many posts here and commented upon the book of Shri. Nilesh Oak. Shri. Oak's book has been widely read by Indian and other readers. I am not aware whether it has been extensively commented upon, after critically examining his many claims. I have stated on this blog, my observations and disagreements. My posts had received good response from readers. I therefore thought it worthwhile to make the effort to consolidate them in book form. I hope readers will take a look at the book. It is now available on Amazon.com as a kindle self publication. The book was earlier available on bookstruck website but now that it is published on Amazon Kindle, it has been withdrawn from Bookstruck. If any interested reader wants, I can send the WORD file to him by email at his request.
Prabhakar Phadnis pkphadnis@yahoo.com

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Drona and Pandavas -- 8

Up to now, every day, at sunset or a little later the fighting used to stop. On this 14th day, it did not stop even after Jayadratha was killed a little before sunset. Duryodhana and Karna were anguished that in spite of all efforts they could not stop Arjuna from penetrating all defence and reaching Jayadratha. It is to be noted that they did not grumble that they were cheated and led to believe that Sun had set! So obviously Krishna had done nothing to make it so appear. Without any such skulduggery, Arjuna had achieved his objective.
After Jayadratha was killed the battle continued in full vigor throughout the night and continued next day. Drona became desperate that he could not capture Yudhishthira and progressively, the Panchalas were now more aggressive against him. His war-aim now changed to killing the Panchalas. He started using all his powerful astras and started a carnage of Panchal Army and Drupada and his family. Even till the end he never targeted any Pandava directly as he had no wish to kill any of them but Bheem, Krishna and Yudhishthira started worrying that if he was not checked, he would kill all the Panchals which was of course their main army. Arjun was reluctant to clash with his Guru wholeheartedly. Finally Krishna suggested a plan. Somehow Drona should be convinced that his son Ashvatthama was dead! Only that may make him give up the fight! But how to do it? Bheem went and killed an elephant named Ashvatthama! Then he went and told Drona repeatedly that Ashvatthama was dead. He knew that Drona will not believe him! He and Krishna knew that Drona may ask Yudhishthira directly whether it was true. They had persuaded him to be ambiguous but not to deny it! Bheema finally again went near Drona and scolded him ‘You are not our Guru. You are our enemy now. You are not even a Brahmin as you have no pity on Panchal soldiers and used Brahmastra on them! What keeps you fighting when your son is dead?’
Ultimately Drona approached Yudhishthira and asked him ‘Is Ashvatthama dead?’ Most reluctantly, Yudhishthira replied ‘Yes, an Elephant!’ He mumbled the last two words without looking at Drona and satisfied his conscience that he was not lying! (Bheem had told him earlier that he had killed Ashvatthama the Elephat). Drona, on hearing Yudhishthira’s ‘yes’ lost heart, threw down his bow and sat down in his ratha. Arjuna was not a party to this plan!
Dhrishtadyumna who had lost his father, brothers, family and army did not wait and waste any time. He climbed on Drona’s ratha and cut his head off with his sword, without paying any heed to Arjuna’s pleas not to kill Drona when he had no weapon!
The deed was done and many verbal duels started between, Satyaki and Arjun on one side and Bheem and Dhrishtadyumna on the other. But that was not going to bring Drona back. The fighting for the day ended with Drona’s death. Arjuna who was most reluctant to fight with his Guru and kill him was spared from that deed.
A little question remains in my mind. Ashvatthama was one of seven Chiranjeevis. The other was Krupacharya. Why these two figure in the list which also contains Bibheeshana? I have not come across any stories as to why these two were immortals! In any case if it was so, why Drona, who must have known that his son cannot die, believed Yudhishthira? My guess is that he had grown weary of fighting and killing. Somewhere in his mind he must have thought ‘enough!’ Over five days of war, he had failed to capture Yudhishthira and could see no end to the war. He just gave up out of frustration. A life devoted to Dhanurved finally ended.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Drona and Pandavas - 7

On the thirteenth day, Mahabharat says that the Trigratas succeeded in keeping Arjuna engaged for the whole day. Surprizingly, the description of the whole day’s engagement is covered in just 4 shlokas with no name of any prominent warrior killed by Arjuna. This is in sharp contrast with description of 12th day’s clashes between Arjuna and Trigartas which runs into many pages! I strongly suspect that Arjuna was very tired or injured and did not appear on the battlefield for whole day!
Drona had arranged the main Kourava army in a ChakraVyuha, which Mahabharat calles ‘extremely difficult to penetrate’. This makes it essentially a ‘defensive formation’. Drona had kept himself out of the Vyuha and his plan was to attack and capture Yudhishthira. Pandavas were quite aware of the plan. This day Pandavas took an offencive and Panchalas and Pandavas attacked Drona at the start of the day. Drona defended himself well. Question remained, who will break and enter the Chakravyuha.
I have written on this blog earlier on Abhimanyu’s death so will not repeat the whole story. When Abhimanyu entered the Chakravyuha and was proving quite too much to all Kaurava warriers, it was ultimately Drona who advised then to cut his bow somehow. With that they all managed to kill him. Was Drona happy with this? Mahabharat is silent. Even in the absence of Arjun, Drona did not succeed in capturing Yudhishthira as Pandavas and Panchalas defended him stoutly. The day’s skirmishes ended with Abhimanyu’s death. Late in the evening when Arjun came to know about Abhimanyu’s death he took an oath that on the next day he would kill Jayadratha and if he failed he would kill himself. When Kauravas heard this, they decided to protect Jayadratha by all means. Drona was of course the main planner of the next day’s strategy. He asked six main warriors to keep on challenging Arjuna turn by turn for the whole day to prevent him reaching Jayadratha placed deep in the back, further supported by his own forces. Drona kept himself free to use the opportunity of Arjuna being engaged for capturing Yudhishthira. He seems to have set his faith in Duryodhana’s plan to stop the war with minimum damage. He knew that Arjuna would prevail in the end but sacrificing Jayadratha was worth it if Yudhishthira can be captured.
I have written in full detail about the 14th day’s events earlier so will not repeat. Ultimately at the end of the day, jayadratha was killed but again, even without Satyaki and Bheema, who had gone to support Arjuna, Dhrishtadyumna foiled Drona’s plan.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Drona and Pandavas -- 6

During the first 10 days of the war, Bhishma was in charge of Kourava Army. Drona kept a secondary role and on many occasions, specially on the tenth day, asked all main warriors to protect Bhishma. He may have hoped, like Bhishma, that after the war goes on for some days, a compromise can take place. He was obviously not keen on killing any Pandava brothers. His enemy was Drupada and his sons.
On 10th day Bhishma finally fell down. He declared that he will hold on to life until Uttarayan begins. On 11th day Duryodhana had to select a replacement Senapati. Karna was now ready to fight. Duryodhana did not bypass Drona and select Karna. Pandavas’ main supporters, Panchalaas were still more or less intact and Drona was needed to face them. On being designated as senapati Drona asked Duryodhan what he wanted to do. Duryodhan also wanted now to end the war but on his terms! He asked Drona to capture Yudhishthira. Drona expressed surprise and pleasure that he did not want Yudhishthira killed. Duryodhan said if Yudhishthira was killed, Pandawas would be furious and will never give up. So his plan was to capture Yudhishthir and make him play Dyuta again and banish the Pandawas for ever! Drona agreed to do it but made it clear that so long as Arjun was around to protect Yudhishthir, even Drona himself also wont be able to capture Yudhishthir. ‘Keep him engaged elsewhere and I will do what you want.’
One can speculate what would have happened if the plan had worked. Drona was probably reconciled to Pandavas’ fate if he succeeded, as that was a lesser evil than killing them all (which, in any case, was not easy).
From 11th day onwards the war-aim was to capture Yudhishthira and the strategy for that was to draw away Arjuna from the main front! For first two days although Arjun was challenged by the Trigarta king and his brothers, Arjuna retained control and whenever a cricis arose he intervened to hold back Drona. When Duryodhana expressed unhappiness, Drona again said ‘ Keep Arjuna away’. On 13th day, the Trigartas again offered to make maximum effort to keep Arjuna engaged. 13th day was unexpectedly eventful.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Drona and Pandavas --- 5

Pandavas came back to play one more round of gamble with a heavy stake. As expected they lost and went to 12 years of Vanavas and one of Adnyatvas. War between the two parties was postponed for 13 years. During this long period Drona continued to stay at Hastinapur. He knew that at the end of the 13th year, Pandavas will come for the final war and Drupada will be their main support. He never made any effort to avoid that. It looks as though he was looking forward to a final showdown with Drupada and Dhrishtadyumna, even if that would involve fighting against Pandavas. He participated in Duryodhana’s plan to loot the Godhana of Virata. On that day, when Arjuna came with Uttara to fight with the Kurus and was recognized Drona was the one who raised the question as to how he did so before completion of the 13th year. Bhishma gave his interpretation of the required extra lunar months to match 13 ‘Solar’ years. Drona neither openly accepted it, nor rejected it, then or any time later. Duryodhana of course rejected Bhishma’s explanation then and there. After Arjuna defeated the entire Kuru army and warriors including Drona, they all ran away. Drona did not do anything remarkable in this battle. Maybe, he did not take it seriously.
After the marriage of Abhimanyu to the daughter of Virata, the Pandavas staked their claim to their in Indraprashtha. In the several rounds of talks between the two parties, Drona never accepted or rejected Yudhishthira’s claim. Even when Krishna came for a final round of talks to avoid the conflict, Drona did not threaten Duryodhana that he would go over to Pandavas or would remain neutral. He may be justified in that as he would have been branded with fright of Dhrishtadyumna. Drona wanted the showdown with the Panchals which he had to face some day or other.
When the war was to actually start, Bhishma accepted to lead the Kouravas, deftly managed to keep Karna out of it and kept control over the war for 10 days. During this period, Drona also kept a low profile

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Drona and Pandavas -- 4

Pandavas’ survival and now marriage to Drupada’s daughter was a wakeup call for Bhishma also. He took matters in his hand and decided to do some justice to Pandavas. He gave them a share of the kingdom but asked them to go out of Hastinapur and build their own new capital place. Dhritarashtra and Duryodhana would continue to rule at hastinapur. Pandavas burned down Khandava Vana and built Indraprastha. Slowly they settled down there and prospered. In due course Yudhishthira decided to perform Rajasuya Yadnya. All Kouravas attended the final phase. Drona must have been among them but there is no specific mention of him in the description of the dispute which arose when Shishupal raised a quarrel about Krishna being selected for first honour at Bhishma’s suggestion. Shishupal insulted Krishna, Pandavas and even BHishma. Drona remained silent. Finally Krishna killed Shishupal. Many kings were angry at the turn of events. Drona neither supported nor opposed the Pandavas.
Kouravas returned to Hastinapur. Duryodhan was jealous of the Pandavas and how all kings seem to accept their leadership. In consultation with Shakuni and Karna, he planned for a game of Dyuta (gambling) with Yudhishthira and persuaded Dhritarashtra to invite Yudhishthira for it. Neither Bhishma nor Drona foresaw any trouble or dispute although everyone knew that Yudhishthira was no match for Shakuni. Yudhishthira came to Hastinapur as invited. At the last minute he was told that he was to play against Shakuni.
The game began and as expected, Yudhishthira lost bet after bet. Neither Bhishma nor Drona made any effort to stop the game even when Yudhishthira gambled and lost his brothers’ and then his own freedom. Then he finally bet on Droupadi and lost.
When Duryodhan, Dusshasan and Karna pulled Droupadi in to the place of Dyuta and insulted her repeatedly, what was Drona’s reaction? Mahabharat is silent but he did not say anything in protest. Strangly enough, Bhishma also showed helplessness. Ultimately Dhritarashtra realized the serious consequences and managed to cancel the effect of the Dyuta and freed Pandavas totally. He advised Yudhishthira to forget all that had happened and advised him to go back. Pandavas left Hastinapur but their demeanor clearly suggested that they would take hard revenge for the insults. Duryodhan and his partners now panicked. What to do if they come back in full force? They did not feel sure what Bhishma will do. They appealed to Drona! And Drona who had witnessed all what had happened, assured them that if Pandavas attacked, he would support Duryodhan whole-heartedly! He never even admonished Duryodhan for all his actions. Strange but true.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Drona and Pandavas -- 3

Pandavas had survived the burning house in Varanavat but no one knew where they had gone. Mahabharat mentions that Krishna-Balaram had believed that they had survived. It also mentions that Drupad/ Dhrishtadyumna also believed so. Drupad had accepted Dhrishtadyumna and Droupadi as his children after Varanavat and Pandavas had no knowledge of it. After Pandavas spent some period in wilderness they settled in Ekachakra nagar.
Drupada in due course announced swayamvar of Droupadi. The PANA was exceptionally challenging. It looks as though he wanted that if Arjuna is alive anywhere he will come forward to face the challenge. If not, anyone else winning it would a worthy choice. Pandavas came to know of the swayamvar plan and as expected, wanted to attend it. They had to come out of living incognito some day and if they win Droupadi, they would get the support of Drupada. Kunti supported the idea, they travelled to Panchal Capital and attended the swayamvar but in disguise as brahmins.
All major and minor kings and their sons attended the swayamvar. No one dared to attempt the PANA. Karna wanted to try but Droupadi announced beforehand that she wont marry him as he was a Soota. Krishna-Balaram were present and Krishna recognized Pandavas though they were sitting among the Brahmanas. Ultimately, as expected, Arjun won the PANA. As desired by Pandavas and Kunti. All five brothers married Droupadi. Drupada had support of all five Pandavas now.
There is no mention of Bhishma or Drona among those who attended the swayamvar or the marriage. Mahabharat does not say anything about Drona’s reaction to survival of Pandavas, their marriage to Droupadi and now becoming aligned with Drupada. He must have realized that in any future conflict with Drupada, Pandavas will be his opponents and not supporters. In all future events the shadow of the changed relationship can be seen in Drona’s actions.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Drona and Pandavas -- 2

After Drupada’s defeat and Drona’s revenge, his work in Hastinapur was over. Bhishma however did not send him away. Drona and Ashvatthama continued to stay in Hastinapur. Did he continue his work of teaching young warriors? Mahabharat is silent.
Yudhishthira was declared Yuvaraj and Duryodhana, naturally, resented it. Dhritarashtra sent the Pandavas away to stay at Varanavat. From this time, Drona and Pandavas seem to drift apart. During Pandavas’ stay at Varanavat, Duryodhana carried out his plan of building a flammable house for them and putting it to fire one night to kill them. Bhishma and Drona were unaware of it. Pandavas were warned by Vidura, managed to survive the burning house but then had to stay away to escape. It was assumed that five Pandavas and Kunti died in the fire. Duryodhana became the de-facto king. Bhishma more or less retired. Drona continued to stay in Hastinapur. Duryodhana also did not send him away.
Drupada had lost to the Pandavas but then he took his Son Drishtadyumna and daughter Droupadi into cognizance as legitimate children. I speculate that they were his children from a woman of tribal origin. Dhrishtadyumna must have learned martial arts from his maternal tribe. Though occasionally it is mentioned that he was taught by Drona, this is not likely. Drona had stopped his teaching long back. Dhrishtadyumna also never showed any respect for Drona as a Guru.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A time line of Events from Autumnal Equinox to Winter Solstice.

I made an attempt to build a time-line of events from Krishnashishtai to BhishmaNirvan.
1.Krishna Left for Hastinapur on the day when moon was in Revati. Second day he reached Hastinapur and stayed with Vidur overnight. Third day the Peace Talks took place and failed too. Krishna stayed with Vidur and reported failure to Vidur and Kunti.
2.Fourth day in the morning (most probably, not on the previous day itself.), Krishna returned to Upaplavya, invited Karna on way,to accompany him on his ratha and had a talk with him. When Karna turned down Krishna’s suggestion to give up Duryodhana and join Pandavas, his brothers, Krishna invited the Kouravas to Kurukshetra for starting the war after 7 days, on Amavasya day.
3.Amavasya and Start of war therefore was 10th, or max. 11th day, counting the Revati day as first day.
4.Vyasa very specifically states that the Krishnapaksha ending on the Amavasya was a very short one, only 12 days between the preceding Poornima and Amavasya.
5.The preceding Purnima was thus just 1 or 2 days prior to the Revati day when Krishna started from Upaplavya.
6.Amavasya was first day of war, on 10th day Bhishma fell down on bed of arrows, spent 58 nights awaiting death and on 68th day he died. That was the day of Winter Solstice.
7.War thus started 68 days before winter solstice which means it started about 22 days after Autumnal Equinox. Purnima had occurred 12 days prior to war. Thus Autumnal Equinox was about 10 days prior to the Purnima.
8.As Amavasya occurred 10-11 days after the ‘moon in revati’ day, on Amavasya moon and sun were in Purva or Uttara (Phalguni)
9.Winter Solstice occurred 68 days later. In those 68 days where would sun move? At least 5 Nakshatra forward or to Anuradha or Jyeshthaa
Resultant time line would look like this.
Day 1 – Autumnal Equinox
Day 11 – Purnima. Nakshatra Purva Bhadrapada.
Day 13– Krishna leaves Upaplavya, Nakshatra Revati
Day 15 – KrishnaShishtai in Hastinapur. Nakshatra Bharani
Day 16 – Krishna Returns, Krishna-Karna Dialogue, Nakshatra Krittika
Day 24 – Amavasya after 8 days, (Only 12 days between Purnima and Amavasya), War Starts, Nakshatra Purva Phalguni, Sun also in Purva Phalguni. (Krishna refers to this as Shakra Amavasya)
Day 33 –Tenth Day of War, Bhisma falls.
Day 91 – Winter Solstice, 58th day after Bhishma’s fall, (On bed of arrows for 58 nights), Bhishma Dies.
In 67 days from Amavasya, Sun would move from Purva Phalguni to Jyeshtha on winter solstice day. What range of years it points to?
I have stuck to the description of events in the Mahabharat text about a)Krishna starting after autumnal equinox on Revati, b)Shishtai timetable, c)Amavasya after 8 days as start day of war. d)Very short fortnight of 13 days, 12days between Purnima and Amavasya. and e) Bhisma falling on 10th day and spending 58 nights on bed of arrows.
I don’t know whether Amavasya with Sun and moon in Purva Phalguni can qualify as Shakra Amavasya!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Drona and Pandawas. - 1

The relationship between Dronacharya and the Pandavas is complex and seems to change as the story proceeds. Drona was appointed by Bhishma as an Acharya for the Kouravas and Pandavas when they were very young. He was highly reputed as an expert in the Martial Arts. He also was very poor and was recently rejected by King Drupada as a friend and equal, although both had studied together as youths. Drona gladly accepted Bhishma’s offer and settled down in Hastinapur as a Guru of Kouravas and Pandavas.
Drona was essentially an expert in Dhanurvidya and Astras. He was not an expert in Wrestling though may have basic knowledge. He taught Dhanurved to all and also his own son Ashvatthama. All disciples picked up knowledge according their own abilities. Arjun and Ashvatthama were the best. Bheem, Yudhishthira, Nakul and Sahadeo seem to have done well enough. None of the Kouravas seem to have been highly successful although Duryodhan and Dusshasan were by no means dummies.
Karna is occasionally mentioned to be Drona’s student too but it is most unlikely. He was 8-10 years older than Yudhishthir and Duryodhan and no one knew who he was when he presented himself as a challenger to Arjun at the end of the training years. Karna also never showed any respect whatsoever to Drona which would be appropriate if he was Karna’s Guru.
At the end of the traing period, Drona asked the Kauravas and Pandavas to make war with Drupada and take revenge for his insults at the hands of Drupada. Kouravas could not prevail against Drupada. Pandavas could do so and fulfilled Drona’s wish. Although Drona confiscated half of Drupada’s kingdom, he never left Hastinapur to rule that half! So it was only notional. Karna had no part in this event. At this stage, Pandavas, espetially Arjun, was a favorite party of Drona.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Who was Senior? Bhishma or Vyasa?

Who was Senior? Bhishma or Vyasa? Bhishma and Vyasa are two prominent personalities in Mahabharata. Both are reputed as highly learned. Who was senior in age? First impression may be that Vyasa was senior. A little thinking will get us the answer.
Bhishma was a young man, maybe around 20 years, but had no interest in marrying and settling down. He was spending his time in hunting. His father was not much hopeful that he would be instrumental in continuing his Vansha. He saw Satyavati and wanted to marry her to get sons to continue his Vansha. Satyavati had earlier fallen in love with Parashara and had given birth to Vyasa. Parashara had however left her to follow his life of a seeker of divine knowledge. How many years had elapsed after that? Mahabharat does not state this clearly. One has to make a conjecture. After Parashara left and Vyasa also went with him, Satyavati must have spent a few years in greif. She was however a very young girl and her whole life was there for her to live!
We can presume that 7-8 years after Vyasa's birth she overcame her grief. When Shantanu saw her and asked her father for her hand Vyasa may have been at most 10 years old. Bhishma was 20 years old, give and take a year or two! That makes Bhishma senior to Vyasa by around 10 years!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Names of Lunar months and Nakshatras.

There is no question that there is a relation between names of 12 Lunar months and 27 Nakshatras. But which follows from which? There is a little question in my mind.
In all probability, the 27 Nakshatras were identified first, as milestones along the Ecliptic, the path in the sky on which the Sun Moon and Planets move. They also must have been given names at that time.
Month names like Chaitra, Vaishakh appear clearly derived from Nakshatra names Chitraa and Vishakhaa. The Sanskrit grammar rules of Vruddhi are seen to be followed in forming the names. Do we then conclude that the names of months are derived from names of Nakshatras?
Out of twelve month names the question arises about Ashadh, Bhadrapad and Falgun. The corresponding Nakshatra names are Poorvaashadhaa-Uttaraashaadhaa, Poorva-UttaraaBhadrapada and Purvaa-UttaraFalguni. In all three cases, there are double Nakshatra Names involved. Also, the month names are ‘short’ and do not appear to be derived from Nakshatra name by Guna or Vruddhi rule. On the other hand, Nakshatra name Ashadhaa appears to be derived from month name Ashadh by extending last vowel. Same with other two, Bhadrapad and Falgun. In these three cases, it cannot be said with certainty that the month name is derived from Nakshatra name!
What is the relation between Month and Nakshatra name? There is no clear answer.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Year and date of Mahabharat War.

Year and date of Mahabharat War.
I have examined in this blog two proposed years of the Mahabharat war, one by Shri. Oak and another by Shri. Achar. I have stated my arguments why I find both unacceptable. In case of Shri. Oak many of the astronomical references from the text do not match, particularly for the DATE proposed. As a keen but ordinary reader of Mahabharat, what are the minimum considerations which must be satisfied in my view, to accept a proposed year and Date of the great war? I will state my views on this point.
1. Shri. Oak has identified an Epoch when Arundhati was ahead of Vasishtha. Unless any researcher finds any factual error in the finding and modifies the period or concludes that there was no such period, I believe the proposed year should lie within the ‘Epoch’.
2. As soon as any particular year is proposed as the year of war, the Julian date of the Winter solstice gets automatically fixed. That becomes the date when Bhishma died. There is no choice!
3. I consider the statement by Bhishma, that he spent 58 painful nights on the bed of arrows as binding. There is no other mention of this period in the entire text and Vyasa has written nothing to discredit Bhishma, directly or indirectly. What Krishna has said actually supports Bhishma, if correctly interpreted. The Julian date when the war started thus gets automatically fixed, 67 days before the date of winter solstice already fixed.
4. The entire sequence between Krishna’s starting from Upaplavya for Shishtai and commencement of war, will have to fit between Autumnal Equinox and the first day determined as above. Commencement of war before end of rains as proposed by Shri. Oak is unnatural.
5. Among the many astronomical observations of Karna and Vyasa, there are some which must be corroborated. Others are not decisive.
6. Vyasa has described a lunar eclipse in un-ambiguous terms, to have taken place on the Purnima prior to Shishtai day. It should be corroborated.
7. Vyasa has very emphatically described an unusually short lunar fortnight, ending on Amavasya. He has stated that it was of only 13 days, not the normal 14 or 15 days or even 16 days. Therefore there should be only 12 days between the lunar eclipse and the following Amavasya.
8. Should the first day of war coincide with Amavasya? Not necessary. It could be one or more days after Amavasya.
9. Need there be a Solar Eclipse on this Amavasya? Not necessary. Description of events is vague.
10. Need there be another lunar eclipse on the next Purnima? Nothing is mentioned in the text so has no relevance.
11. About the positions of various planets, mentioned by Karna and Vyasa, I believe Saturn at Rohini should be met as it is a very bad omen for the ruler and mentioned by both Karna and Vyasa.
12. About other planets, or the movement of Mars through various Nakshatras, we can keep an open mind. More of the positions matching, the better! It is clear that multiple positions for Saturn or Jupiter cannot be met. Also Mars cannot go Vakri or Vakra at three places, one after another. However the researcher should verify all these positions and record his findings.
13. About Darkness on 14th night, Balaram Tirthyatra and other unresolved issues, whatever any researcher proposes will need to be examined. It will not affect the acceptability of the year or date of war.
I had kept an open mind about year of war proposed by Shri. Oak. It does not meet the conditions I have stated above. Saturn was not at Rohini. Short Fortnight ending on Amavasya is not seen. I am therefore not able to accept his year. His date is of course not at all acceptable as it is earlier than Autumnal Equinox. Lunar eclipse is also not Near Total or Total so does not match Vyasa's description. I have already rejected his claim of Bhishma spending 95 days on death bed.
I admit that my ideas and understanding of some of the above points were not so un-ambiguous to begin with. As i have exchanged a lot of points and arguments with Shri. Oak on this blog, on his blog and e-mails, I have come to conclusions stated above.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Two more comments

I had written summery of all my comments and objections and had closed the subject. I will add only two more points. 1. Shri. Oak produced an excellent video of 'Vakra' motion of Mars. It did not support his interpretation because the video showed Mars going Vakra near Rohini and not 'मघासु'. I was waiting for a similar video for 'Vakra' motion of Jupiter near Shravan. I have not seen any such video published by Shri. Oak. Maybe, Jupiter also did not go vakra near Shravan (श्रवणे च बृहस्पतिः?)
2. About Bhishma spending 95+ days on deathbed, Shri. Oak repeatedly mentions that a large no. of observations in Mahabharata support it. Readers may get an impression that at many places there is a specific mention of the days spent by Bhishma on deathbed, by Vyasa or others. It is not so. The many references merely help in building a time-line from fall of Bhishma till the first visit by Pandavas and Krishna to Bhishma well after end of war. Only single mention of days spent by Bhishma other than what Bhishma himself said on the last day is what Krishna said at the time of this visit. He mentions 56 days as against 57 days (58 nights) mentioned by Bhishma himself. Shri. Oak considers Krishna's 56 days as 'from that day onwards'. I consider them to be total days he expected Bhishma to spend from fall to Uttarayana.