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

Last Seven Days

माझी थोडी ओळख

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

Friday, June 9, 2017

Seven Planets on 17th Day of War.

Reference No. 25 examined by Shri. Oak is as under
निरश्चरो व्यदृश्यन्त सूर्यात् सप्तमहाग्रहाः (CE 26:34, GP 37:4-5)
I had written about this here and in my book earlier so I will try to avoid repetition.
This is in the description of war on 17th day. Karna requested Duryodhana to ask Shalya to drive his ratha as he felt handicapped with Krishna driving Arjuna’s chariot. Shalya agrees reluctantly but says that as he is a Kshatriya king and Karna is only a Soota, he must be free to say anything, even insulting, to Karna. Then after an exchange of insults, finally Karna mounts the ratha and Shalya starts it. At this time besides many omens etc. this Shloka occurs.
Considering time spent in the exchange of insults etc. this could be considered as about one Prahara after Sunrise. If we note the use of past tense, (पूर्णभूतकाळ), this should be the actual planet state at that time itself. Whether in full daylight the planets could be seen is another matter. In any case, the question of looking at planets’ position after sunset does not arise. By sunset, Karna was already dead and anyway, other bad omens are described at that stage in the Text.
So, I checked the position on 1st Nov. 5561 BCE, 17th day, at morning.
1. At 8 AM, Sun had risen earlier, Moon was about to set, Mercury had just risen. Saturn and Jupiter were high in the sky. Venus and Mars were, however, yet to rise. So 5 out of 7 planets, as normally understood, were in sky. Three, Jupiter, Venus and Mars, were to east of Sun and would follow him keeping same distance, so can be called ‘सूर्यात् निश्चरन्ताः’. Saturn, ahead would also maintain its distance till it set. But not 7 at this appropriate time.
2. After some time, moon would go below horizon but Venus and Mars would rise and the score will rise to five, four following Sun at respectful distance till Sunset. Saturn, the fifth, ahead of Sun, would however set after some time.
3. For sake of comparison, I also checked position at Sunset. Moon and Saturn were below horizon. Jupiter, Mercury, Venus and Mars were following Sun. So score was still Sun + four followers. After Sunset and Moonrise (at 8 PM), score was Moon + same four but there was no Sun to follow. Moon was trailing the Four till they set one by one.
In the evening too, relevant or not, there were no seven planets, maintaining steady distance from Sun or ‘ सूर्यात् निश्चरन्ताः’
So what does Vyasa mean when he says ‘ सूर्यात् निश्चरन्ताः सप्तमहाग्रहाः?
I do not accept that Vyas saw and counted Uranus, Neptune or Pluto. So Shri. Oak’s solution is not acceptable to me.
Did Vyasa count Rahu –Ketu? Sapta grahas can mean 1) 5 planets + sun and moon or 2) 5 planets + Rahu and Ketu! Was the modern definition of Rahu and Ketu as ascending and descending nodes of moon in use then? If not, did they understand Rahu-Ketu as empty stars? How was their position decided? Was Rahu simply just behind Moon and Ketu (being shadow of earth), directly opp. to Sun? I have no knowledge on this. If this is correct, then just after moon set, there were Sun and 5 planets adding to 6, but Rahu- Ketu defined this way, were below horizon! At 8 AM Sun Moon, and three planets plus Rahu (behind Moon) were present, which still add up to 6 only.
If Rahu and Ketu were understood as nodes of moon at the time of Mahabharta, how was their position decided by Rishis like Vyasa? If at that time they were understood as Nodes of Moon they would be (almost) at diametrically opposite positions on Ecliptic all time and in general, one of them would be above horizon, the other being below. If this was how Rahu-Ketu were understood, then in Case number 2 above, that is, just after moon set in the morning, there were five planets, Sun and either Rahu or Ketu in the sky and we get a count of 7 ok. Still, the word ‘सूर्यात्’ calls for 7, other than Sun! If Rahu and Ketu were both, JUST above East and West horizons, then we do get a full count of 7, ‘सूर्यात् निश्चरन्ताः’ and also Sun itself, at least for a short time in the morning, without roping in Uranus, Neptune or Pluto! Alas, Voyager, as I have it, does not show Rahu and Ketu.
We have also to note that Nov. 1 was a Autumnal Equinox day so only half of Ecliptic will be above horizon. So Rahu and Ketu both being on horizon will be, at best, a very short time period. Did Vyasa want to highlight it?
Readers having knowledge of Indian Astronomy should throw light on Rahu Ketu.
Sky views shown below are self-explanatory.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Epoch of Arundhati Ahead of Vasishtha.

Arundhati Ahead of Vasishtha.
Shri. Oak has done a great job of identifying the Epoch of Arundhati, the period when Arundhati walked ahead of Vasishtha. In his book he has provided tables and graph of the Changing difference between Right Ascensions of the two stars over thousands of years.
For a layman, a picture is worth a hundred words. So when I gave some lectures to laymen audiences, I had prepared Schematic drawings of the relative positions which changed as the CNP moved in its circular path. I felt that they could understand the concept with the help of the graphics.
Now that I have access to Voyager, I revisited the problem and obtained sky views of Arundhati and Vasishtha crossing the meridian in the night in 5561 BCE and 2017 CE.
The pictures shown below, 2 for each of these years, may be liked by my readers.
If Shri. Oak or other readers like them they are free to use them.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Moon On Day of Bhishma’s fall – 10th day of war.

There is a reference in Bhishma Parva (CE 108-12, GP, 112-12) as under.
अपसव्यं ग्रहाश्चक्रुरलक्ष्माणम् निशाकरम्
अवाक्शिराश्च भगवानुदतिष्ठत चन्द्रमाः
Shri. Oak has interpreted it to mean the moon had downward pointing ends. Ganguli translates likewise
I had so far assumed this translation to be correct. However I now think that it is not correct.
The context of this reference is what Drona told his son and all other Kuru Warriors sometime around noon on this 10th day - ‘I am seeing many bad omens, Pandavas are attacking Bhishma repeatedly and I see great danger to him. We all must protect Bhishma with all our strength.’
According to rules of syntax in Sanskrit, the words get re-arranged as under. (अन्वय)
अलक्ष्माणम् निशाकरम् ग्रहाः अवाक्शिराः च अपसव्यं चक्रुः भगवान चन्द्रमाः उदतिष्ठत.
अवाक्शिराः meaning heads down, being in ‘बहुवचन,’ is an adjective of ‘ग्रहाः’ and not of Moon!
This should be translated as –
‘Not seeing the moon, the planets, with their head bowed down, turned backwards (looking for moon!). ( Later,) Moon rose.
Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Mars are behind Sun, Moon arose behind them. Till then, the four planets were looking backwards awaiting Moon. Planets looking backwards for moon is a poetic description of the position that moon had not risen so far. Why with heads down? A bad omen suggesting danger for Bhishma!
Assuming war began on Amavasya, this day was Shukla Navami. Moonrise should be after noon. Voyager shows moonrise for 25th Oct to be at 3 PM.
It seems to me that there is no question of moon having down-pointing horns!
Readers’ views are welcome.
Sky view of moonrise on 10th day is shown below.

Monday, June 5, 2017

A misinterpreted reference.

Among the large number of Astronomical references examined by Shri. Oak in his book there is one as under.
मघाविषयगः सोमः तद्दिनं प्रत्यपद्यत
दीप्यमानाश्च संपेतुर्दिवि सप्तमहाग्रहाः
Bhishma (CE 17-2, GP 17-2)
Shri. Oak has completely ignores the first line. He also ‘asserts’ this reference to be describing the position on the first day of the war after sunset. To get a count of seven planets he ropes in Neptune and Uranus. He also says the seven planets were seen ‘near the Sun’ although there is no mention of Sun in the reference. A complete butchering of the reference.
I was curious about ‘moon in Magha’. This being the first day of war and being a Jyeshthaa amavasya, moon should be in Jyeshtha. ( Well, actually it was in Purvashadha!). So why ‘मघाविषयगः सोमः तद्दिनं ....’?
So I looked up in the Text for context. The shloka just prior to this one (first in the chapter) is ..
संजय उवाच
यथा स भगवान व्यासः कृष्णद्वैपायनोब्रवीत्
तथैव सहिताः सर्वे समाजग्मुर्महीक्षिताः
Sanjaya says (to Dhritarashtra) that as Vyasa had said, all kings (with their armies) had gathered (at Kurukshetra).
Reading the two shlokas in the sequence opened my eyes. What Sanjaya says is that the day, the kings gathered, was a Magha day and there were seven planets in the sky shining brightly. The reference is NOT to the first day of war! So the question of seven planets being seen, on the first day, either during the morning because of solar eclipse, as Shri. Oak speculates or after sunset does not arise.
Both parties had commenced mobilization on Pushya day and by Magha day they had all gathered at Kurukshetra and there were seven planets visible (gathered) in the sky.
I checked with Voyager. On Oct. 7th, the moon was in Magha and at the time of moon setting, Sun, moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn were all seen in the sky! (No need to fall back upon Uranus and Neptune, which of course, Vyasa could never have seen with naked eyes, whatever Dr. Vartak or Shri. Oak may claim). There was no Solar Eclipse on that day.
Shri. Oak many times sees what he ‘wants to see’.
Readers’ views are invited.
Sky view from Voyager for 7th Oct. is shown below. Mars is not lablelled but the red colour identifies it.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Eclipses at the war –time.

Eclipses at the war –time.
References from Mahabharat Text seem to suggest that there was a Lunar Eclipse on the Purnima just prior to start of war. Although there is no specific mention of a Solar eclipse on the first day of war, some references do suggest that on the first day of waar there was a solar eclipse.
Shri. Oak has proposed 16th Oct 5561 BCE (Julian date) as the first day of war. Voyager software clearly shows that it was an Amavasya day. I carefully checked the position on 16th Oct. for a solar eclipse, whether total or partial, visible at Kurukshetra or not. I could find no trace of a Solar Eclipse at all.
1. Sunrise that day was at 6-17 AM.at Azimuth 82 deg. 12’. Moon had risen 12 minutes earlier and at sunrise, moon was at Azimuth 82 deg. 45’ and Altitude 9’. Centers of Sun and moon discs were sufficiently apart and there was no overlap.
2. Checking thereafter during the day, I could find no overlap at any time.
3. At sunset time, moon also set at same time at 6-53 PM, Sun at Azimuth 277 deg. 26’ and Moon at Azimuth 274 deg. 33’. The separation was more than in the morning and there was no overlap whatsoever.
There was thus no Solar Eclipse at all on 16th Oct. visible at Kurukshetra.
2. On 30th Sept night from Moonrise and till moon set at 6-30 AM on 1st Oct. morning, no shadow was seen on the moon disc throughout the night. At setting time moon face was fully visible. NO Lunar Eclipse could be seen on the Purnima just prior to war.
3. On the Purnima, AFTER start of war, on 30th Oct. at the time of Moonrise at 6-41 PM, Voyager showed an indication of a small shadow at the lower edge. By 7-26 PM this indication disappeared. Thereafter moon face was full. Thus the end of a partial lunar eclipse was seen at Kurukshetra for about 45 minutes after moonrise. There is no mention of this eclipse, however, in the detailed description of war on the 16th day, which was the first day of Karna leading the Kaurava army. It is therefore of no relevance.
The Lunar Eclipse prior to war is described rather clearly in Bhishma (CE 2-23, GP 2-23)
अलक्ष्यः प्रभयाहीनः पौर्णमासींच कार्तिकीम्
चन्द्रोभूदग्निवर्णश्च समवर्णे नभस्थले.
References to Solar Eclipse are not so direct but could be interpreted to suggest at least a partial Solar Eclipse in the morning at start of war.
Bhishma (CE 3-28-29, GP 3-32-33) does talk about
चन्द्रसूर्यावुभौ ग्रस्तौ एकमासे त्रयोदशीम्
(First shloka in these two talks about a Short krishnapaksha of 13 days
Fortnight of 30 Sept.-16th Oct. is in fact a long one.)
In any case, Voyager shows no eclipse on 30 Sept or 16th Oct. 5561 BCE.
Jyeshtha Amavasya on 16th Oct. 5561 BCE?
Another curious fact I noticed about 16th Oct. is that it is an Amavasya day but Sun and Moon are seen setting together in Nakshatra Purvashadha and NOT in Jyeshtha! So how can it be called Jyeshtha Amavasya mentioned by Krishna to Karna or Kartik Amavasya? Shri. Oak does so! In fact, on neither the previous one or the next amavasya, moon is seen in Jyeshtha!
Sky views shown below are self-explanatory.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

18th Day of war - Three Planets

On the 18th day of war Shalya became the leader of Kaurava army. Violent battle broke out. Skirmishes between all main surviving warriors on Kaurava side and the Pandavas are described. Till a little after noon, they continued. Early in this description, the following astronomical reference is seen.
भृगुसूनुधरापुत्रौ शशिजेन समन्वितौ चरमम् पांडुपुत्राणाम् पुरस्तात् सर्वभूभुजाम्
Shalya (GP 11-17)
Ganguly translates this as
‘The planets Venus and Mars, in conjunction with Mercury, appeared at the rear of the Pandavas and to the front of all the (Kaurava) lords of Earth.’
To the rear of Pandavas and in front of Kauravas was the Western sky. At this stage of the battle, it was still well before noon. Shalya and others fought vigorously till noon when Shalya was killed by Yudhishthira. Battle continued thereafter for quite some time when Shakuni etc. or all except Duryodhan were killed, Kourava army broke and Duryodhana ran away.
Shri. Oak however interprets this to be an evening situation and finds the three planets ‘behind ‘ Pandavas, in the western sky, after sunset! (By that time there was no Kaurava army, war had ended! Pandava survivors were also disorganized and Bhima was having Gadayuddha with Duryodhana) Yes, the three planets were there in the evening after sunset, Mercury on horizon, Mars and Venus about 30 deg. above horizon. However this has nothing to do with the position well before noon when they should be in front of Pandavas or in the eastern sky! Ganguly’s description is also wrong for the morning hour.
So I checked position in the morning on 2nd Nov. 18th day.
Sunrise was at 6-30 AM
At 7-56 AM Mercury had arisen.
At 10-08 AM Venus had arisen and
At 10-21 Am Mars also arose.
. So thereafter all three were in the eastern sky for at least 2 hours, in front of Pandavas!
(Jupiter is also seen but is not mentioned).
How Sanjaya or Vyasa could see them at 11AM, in bright sunlight is a mystery!
Shri. Oak’s interpretation is irrelevant. The three planets being above western horizon in the evening after sunset has no relevance as war was over, there was no Kaurava army, Ashvatthama Kripa and Krutavarma had run away and Pandavas had chalanged Duryodhana for final duel. Ganguli’s translation is also seen to be wrong.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Rohini, Saturn and Jupiter

Rohini, Saturn and Jupiter
Mahabharata References say that on the first day of war Rohini was afflicted or troubled by Saturn in the early morning. On the other hand, Rohini was troubled by Jupiter on the 17th day of the war in the evening after karna was killed. The references are as under.
1.प्राजापत्यंहि नक्षत्रं ग्रहस्तीक्ष्णो महाद्युतिः
शनैश्चरः पीडयति पीडयन्प्राणिनोधिकम्
Udyoga (CE 141-7, GP 143-8)
2. रोहिणीं पीडयन्नेष स्थितो राजन् शनैश्चरः
Bhishma (CE 2-32, GP 2-32)
3. बृहस्पती रोहिणीं संप्रपीड्य बभूव चंद्रार्कसमानवर्णः
Karna (CE 68-49, BP 94-51)
In both cases a strong word, पीडा is used. One would expect the graha to be at Rohini or close by.
The following two pictures show the relative positions on 16th Oct and 1st Nov. (17th day) in the morning and evening resp.
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It will be seen that Saturn-Jupiter are nowhere near Rohini. The relative positions are also such that
1. On 16th Oct. when Rohini was setting, Saturn was well above the eastern horizon at Altitude of 44 deg. 22’
2. On 17th day, when Jupiter was about to set, half hour after sunset, Rohini was at Altitude of 30 deg. above eastern horizon.
These relative positions do not suggest Rohini being given any serious पीडा by the planets as asserted by Shri. Oak. Readers are invited to form their own opinion.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Movement of Mars - Does it match the References?

I have published in my post dated April 28, several slides showing progressive position of Mars beginning from a position well before Magha, (on May 1, 5562 BCE at Murg-Aradra) and ending with 16th Oct. 5561.
Though, in general these follow the description in mahabharata text, there are some very significant differences. I will now show the differences.
1. मघासु अंगारको वक्रः – Mars crossed the ecliptic at Punarvasu on June 10 5562. It does nothing at Magha. Just passes through.
2. कृत्वाचांगारको वक्रं ज्येष्ठायां मधुसूदन
अनुराधां प्रार्थयते मैत्रम् ...
The slides show Mars beginning Retrograde Motion, not from Chitra or Swati or Jyeshtha. From Magha it goes through Chitra and Swati right upto Vishakha and then turns Retrograde. Shri Oak claims that Mars passed through Chitra and turns back from Swati. That is not correct. From Vishakha Mars goes back upto Chitra-Swati (Longitude 99 deg. 27 min.). From this position it became Pro-grade. It did not go Vakri at Jyeshtha! It also did not cross Ecliptic at Jyeshtha. After becoming prograde it crosses Ecliptic at Vishakha! (Longitude 124 deg.). Then it just passes by Anuradha. So, maybe, it can be said to seek Anuradha’s friendship. Mars neither went retrograde at Jyeshtha nor did it cross Ecliptic at Jyeshtha. So no कृत्वाचांगारको वक्रं ज्येष्ठायाम् at all!
3. विशेषेणहि वार्ष्णेय चित्रां पीडयते ग्रहः ... This Graha is supposed to be Mars. Actually Mars just passed through Chitra, first when it went right upto Vishakha but then it became retrograde and came back to Chitra (Lon. 99 ), so we can accept that it troubled Chitra. (I am not aware of exact Longitude of Chitra)
4 ध्रुवः प्रज्वलितः घोरं अपसव्यं प्रवर्तते.
चित्रास्वात्यंतरे चैव धिष्ठितः परुषः ग्रहः
वक्रानुवक्रं कृत्वा च श्रवणे पावकप्रभः
ब्रह्मराशिं समावृत्य लोहितांगो व्यवस्थितः
Both these references are supposed to refer to Mars according to Shri. Oak. From the first shloka it is not clear, where Mars is supposed to do Apasavya. Shri. Oak seems to take it as between Chitra and Swati. Actually, Mars went retrograde at Vishakha and came back to Chitra-Swati and then became prograde. It cannot be said to have done ‘Ghor Apasavya’ motion ‘between Chitra and Swati’
The second shloka seems to say that Mars did ‘vakra-anuvakra’ at Shravan and then went further up to Brahmarashi which Shri. Oak says is Abhijit.
Actually, after crossing Ecliptic at Vishakha, not Shravan, Mars proceeds upto Dhanishtha – Shatabhishaj, by 16th Oct 5561. So the end position matches. There is, however, no वक्रानुवक्र motion at Shravan at all.
It will thus be seen that although there are two crossings of Ecliptic and one normal Retrograde motion, none of the three are at positions described in the Text.
One crossing at Punarvasu insead of Magha
Second crossing at Vishakha, not at Jyeshtha or Shravan
Retrograde starts at Vishakha, not at Jyeshtha or Chitra or Swati.
To match the descriptions in the text, Mars should have
1. Crossed Ecliptic at Ashlesha-Magha
2. Gone upto Jyeshtha and then turned retrograde
3. Gone slow near Anuradha, (seeking frienship)
4. Proceeded retrograde till Chitra
5. Turning pro-grade ther, should have proceeded upto Shravan
6. Crossed Ecliptic, at least once, near or at Shravan
7. Then reached Dhanishtha-Shatabhishaj by start of war.
I had no access to Voyager till recently. So I had been accepting whatever Shri. Oak said. After verifying complete Mars motion along the Ecliptic and noting the crossing points and position of Retrograde-Prograde, I am unable to accept that the facts match the described motion of Mars. Only the end position on 16th Oct. 5561 matches.
Shri. Oak notes down the Right Ascensions measured along Equator, not Ecliptical Longitudes. measured along Ecliptic. In my view, since planets move along the Ecliptic and remain mostly close to it, Longitudes are more relevant for determining position of planets accurately.
Readers are invited to draw their own conclusion whether there is ‘corroboration’ of Mars’ motion as claimed by Shri. Oak

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mercury on 17th day of war.

There is a reference to a planet rising ‘Tiryak’ in the evening after the death of Karna on 17th day of war. Shri. Oak has examined this in his book. He concludes that the planet was Mercury and he has given an explanation of ‘Tiryak’ rising.
On this blog or in my book I have not made any comments on this subject. I now am doing it.
On the 17th day of war after Karna was killed, there are several shlokas describing bad omens etc. One of them seems to refer to Mercury.
There are two versions of the shloka. The first line says that ‘On Karna’s death rivers stopped flowing and Sun set occured. No comments are needed on this line.
1. According the BORI edition, the second line is
ग्रहश्च तिर्यग्ज्वलितार्कवर्णो यमस्य पुत्रोभ्युदियाय राजन्
This line makes No Reference to Mercury. It talks about a planet which was तिर्यक् and ज्वलित अर्कवर्णः
The second part of the line says that the ‘Son of Yama’ had अभ्युदय. Mercury or ‘Budha’ is NOT son of Yama. It is considered son of Soma or Moon. Legend has it that when Budha was born, both Moon and Jupiter claimed to be his father! The dispute was decided by Brahma in favour of Moon. So Budha is Somaputra. Moon had asked his favourite wife Rohini to take care of him so Budha is also ‘Rohineya’! Budha is however, not referred to as Son of Yama anywhere.
So which is the planet referred in the first part of this line?
A) Mercury is not bright enough to be called ‘ज्वलित अर्कवर्णः’ B) Also what is meant by ‘तिर्यक्’? On the 17th day of war, Mercury was about 8 degrees above horizon at sunset. It set about 45 minutes later at a point about 10 degrees south of west.
B) On 16th Oct., first day, it had set about 21 minutes after sunset, one degree North of west. Its position on 17th day at its own setting was thus about 11 degrees towards south compared to 1st day. Its position in the sky when it became visible after sunset on 17th day was a little to the north and a little higher compared to its position on first day. Can this be the meaning of ‘tiryak’?
C) Of course, in the shloka, no reference is made to position on 1st day or no comparison is implied. It also does not mention name of the graha as Budha or Somaputra.
D) There is no other planet near the horizon at sunset on 17th day, which can be considered to meet the description, except maybe Jupiter.
E) There is no planet rising at Eastern horizon also, at sunset.
F) Movement of Mercury on 1 Nov. from sunset to its own setting is somewhat slant with reference to horizon. It was at azimuth 255 at sunset and azimuth 260 at its own setting. But that would be the case everyday, for any planet, noticeable some time prior to setting, as the axis of rotation of sky is inclined to horizontal, pointing towards CNP.
G) There is no clear explanation of the use of word ‘Tiryak’. Also there is no direct pointer to Mercury being under reference.
Regarding the second part of the line, reference to ‘Abhyudaya of Son of Yama’, needs to be interpreted. This is not connected with the first half in any way. I strongly believe, this part refers to Yudhishthira who was son of Yama and he was now freed from his great fear of Karna and would of course prosper (would have 'Abhyudaya').
2. The GP edition gives a slightly different version of the shloka first line being almost same.
Second line here is -
ग्रहश्च तिर्यग् ज्वलनार्कवर्णः
सोमस्य पुत्रोभ्युदियाय तिर्यक्
The first half is almost same and has same meaning. The second half however clearly talks about ‘Son of Soma’ or Mercury (Budha). The unnecessary repetition of the word ‘Tiryak’ should be noted.
This version does not appear to be authentic. It seems, the person who prepared this version, considered that the first half of the line refers to Budha and so he changed ‘यमस्य पुत्रः’ to ‘सोमस्य पुत्रः’. He spoiled his attempt by repeating the word ‘Tiryak’ unnecessarily, as though the ‘Graha’ in first part and ‘Son of Soma’ in second part were two different entities and both were ‘Tiryak. ’
This version therefore appears highly inappropriate. It also lost the reference to Yudhishthira and his ‘Abhyudaya as a result of Karna’s death’.
This version therefore deserves to be ignored. I do not know to whom it owes its creation.
Shri. Oak considers this GP version shloka to refer to Mercury and explains ‘tiryak’ as the changing position of Mercury when seen after sunset over the period of 17 days of war. He has of course ignored the BORI version and relied on the GP version. It does mention Mercury – Somasya Putra – but no comparison with position on 1st day is referred or implied in the shloka.
As stated above, BORI version does not point to Mercury. It mentions only a ‘tiryak’ graha which is of the colour of burning sun. This description is hardly appropriate for Mercury. Actually, Jupiter also shows same traits about its position at Sunset as Mercury and ज्वलनार्कवर्णः would be appropriate for Jupiter. So does 'Grahashcha Tiryak' refer to Jupiter, not Mercury?
Which version should take precedence?
Readers can take a call on these points.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Possible Alternative years of Mahabharat War

Shri. Oak has proposed 5561 BCE as the year of Mahabharat War and 16th Oct. as the first day. He has examined many astronomical references in his book and claimed corroboration for all.
The first reference he examined was pertaining to Saturn and Jupiter being close to Vishakha for more than an year prior to war and ending up ‘close to’ Vishakha at war date. He has claimed corroboration.This of course is not acceptable as they were quite far away from Vishakha on war date, Jupiter at Shravan and Saturn at Hasta.
I made an attempt to locate alternative years earlier than his year, when they were satisfactorily close to Vishakha.
I found two such years, 5706 BCE and 5942 BCE. They are both within 'Epoch of Arundhati' and during the period when Arundhati was nearly maximum ahead. Taking them to be just ‘possible alternatives’ I checked position of other planets and Moon.
As far as first day of war is concerned I have worked backwards from the Winter Solstice dates for the two years, viz. Jan 31 and Feb 2 resp. I take Bhishma’s statement of 57 painful nights on the deathbed as binding and thus the first day of war for the two years was 25th Nov. and 27 th Nov. resp.
Although movement of Mars and its going ‘Vakra’ (crossing of ecliptic as per Shri. Oak) and retrograde – prograde are fairly matching, those of Venus do not match the description in ‘शुक्रः प्रोष्ठपदे ...’
As far as Moon is concerned, in both cases, moon was at Revati (day of Krishna going for Shishtai), just after Autumnal Equinox, (शरदन्ते). There is no eclipse on Purnima and Amavasya for 5706 BCE and on Amavasya for 5942 BCE. Lunar eclipse on Purnima just prior to war appears possible for 5942 BCE as moon was almost on Ecliptic on that day. I cant say whether it was visible at Kurukshetra.
In both cases, no SHORT krishnapaksha is seen. (That is the case with Shri. Oak’s year also.)
It is seen that it may not be possible to locate an year which will meet all references satisfactorily. Further, any verification of Eclipses, or timing of Purnima and Amavasya is subject to ‘element of uncertainty’ !
I show below the two skyviews for the above two years showing Juptier and Saturn close to Vishakha. They were close to Vishakha for extended periods in both cases.
Out of the various references which are important and mandatory? In my opinion they are,
1. Short krishnapaksha. Vyasa is very emphatic on this.
2. Moon in Revati a little after Autumnal Equinox to match ‘Sharadante Himagame’
3. Lunar Eclipse on Purnima prior to war. The description of moon ‘अलक्ष्यः प्रभयाहीनः रक्तवर्णः’ is very clear.
4. Out of multiple locations of Jupiter and Saturn, no definite preference can be laid down. I give ‘Saturn at Rohini’ a preference. Saturn troubling Rohini from several Nakshatra away is not appropriate.
5. Venus movement should also match as the reference ‘शुक्रः प्रोष्ठपदे ...’ is very clear.
Readers can have their own priorities.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Movement of Venus

शुक्रः प्रोष्ठपदे पूर्वे समारुह्य विशांपते उत्तरे तु परिक्रम्य सहितः प्रत्युदीक्षते
Shri. Oak has examined this reference about Venus from Bhishmaparva in his book and claims corroboration.
I checked the position with Voyeger and the slides below show Venus Starting on south side of Ecliptic, from between Shravan and Dhanishtha, crossing Ecliptic and proceeding to Purva Bhadrapada, then going retrograde back to Shatabhishaj and finishing retrograde.
Then it proceeds to Purva and then Uttara Bhadrapada, crosses Ecliptic and then proceeds along the south side of ecliptic. It matches what the quotation says fairly
Although the quotation clearly uses present tense, and Vyasa said this before start of war, the motion described above is all AFTER the start of war claimed by Shri. Oak!
We can keep aside the use of present tense as poetic liberty. The shloka simply says that ‘venus has gone around Purva Bhadrapada and then proceeding towards Uttara Bhadrapada is seen shining brightly with it.'There is no mention of venus going around any planet or going towards north. The word ‘उत्तरे’ refers to Uttara Bhadrapada, not North!.
Shri. Oak sees Neptune in the Voyeger and somehow interprets the shloka to mean venus going around another planet, so it was Neptune which Vyasa is talking about.
On such interpretations, Shri. Oak has made claims that in Mahabharat times, our ancestors knew about Neptune, Uranus and even Pluto! No comments are needed.

Friday, April 28, 2017

I now have access to Voyager software. Making use of it, I tried to check the movement of Mars from Magha onwrdas for 'Vakra' and 'apasavya' movement. Readers are invited to take a look at the power point presentation I prepared.
One can see that Mars crossed the Ecliptic twice and also underwent the normal Retrograde-prograde movement at Chitra -Swati. Mars however did not cross Ecliptic at Magha or Jyeshtha as mentioned in Mahabharat but at other locations on the ecliptic.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Short Krishnapaksha

According to Shri. Oak, Mahabharata war began on 16th Oct. 5561 BCE. This was an Amavasya day. On 30th Sept. and 30th Oct.there was a Full moon day.
From Voyager, I find that
1. On Sept 30, at 4 pm, sun and moon had Eclipital Longitudes of 144deg. -57’ and 324 deg. 57’ resp., exactly 180 degrees apart. So this was the correct full moon time.
2. On 16th Oct. at 2 PM Sun and moon both had Ecliptical Longitude of 164 degrees 21’. So it was correct Amavasya time.
3. On 30th Oct. at 2 PM, Ecliptical Longites of Sun and moon were 178 – 31’ and 358 -35’ 180 degrees apart so this was full moon time.
The fortnight from Sept 30 to Oct 16 was 15 days and 22 hrs. , almost 16 days! A LONG fortnight!
The fortnight from Oct 16 to Oct 30 14 full days, again not a short one!
Where is Vyasa’s short fortnight of 13 days?

Fall of Abhijit – Some further thoughts.

A lot has already been written by me on the subject, on this blog and in my critical comments on the book of Shr. Oak Translation of ‘अभिजित स्पर्धमाना ...’ was correctly done by Dr. Vartak in ‘svayaambhu’ and he interpreted वन as water, which was very unusual but appropriate in this case.
Shri. Oak , for some reason or other, completely ignored this correct translation and made a mess of his interpretation of the four shlokas in his book.
I have given my interpretation of the following items, viz.
1.Why Abhijit was counted no. 1 and 27 other normal nakshatras followed, with Dhanishtha at no. two, to begin with, when Brahma started year system. 2. What happened later for Indra to say ‘abhijit has fallen off from the sky’. 3. Who was ‘Rohinee’s younger sister, Krittika or Anuradha as an alternative and 4. What finally happened – start of year was shifted from summer solstice to winter solstice and as it was now at Krittika, they got first rank or went to heaven and were brightly shining and abhijit was no longer counted along with the 27 nakshatras.
Upto now, I have also been interpreting इच्छंती ज्येष्ठतां देवी तपस्तप्तुं वनं गता on the lines of Dr. Vartak. i. e. ‘Devi went to water heated by तपः or sunshine. If this was to be interpreted to mean that ‘Summer solstice had shifted to Devi i. e. Krittika’, there was a complete time mismatch! Summer Solstice was much earlier –in 20000 BCE – at Krittika! I therefore proposed an alternative that Devi was the younger sister of Jyeshtha (also called Rohini) i. e. Anuradha and Summer Solstice had shifted to Anuradha from Dhanishtha. That did not shift Winter Solstice to Krittika.
Though Summer Solstice moving to Anuradha helped to judge the time of Indra-Skanda dialogue as 7500 BCE, question remained as to what made Krittika go to heaven ( be happy) and glow brightly.
I now propose a new interpretation of the line.
The word used in the shloka is ‘तप्तुम्’ and not ‘तप्तम्’ So, Devi 'went to water to heat it’ and not ‘went to water heated by sunshine’ would be a more appropriate translation.
So did Devi, younger sister of Rohini, i. e. Krittika go to Winter Solstice, so that water will be heated from the time sun came to Krittika for next six months?
She also wanted to become no. 1 (इच्छन्ती ज्येष्ठताम्), which she would achieve, if start of year was shifted to winter solstice. She was competing with Abhijit for no. 1. She was bound to win, as Abhijit had moved too far from North Pole, had no more relevance and was dropping to or below horizon in every orbit around CNP and so Indra called him गगनात् च्युतं नक्षत्रम्.
That is my interpretation now - ‘वनं तपस्तप्तुम् गता’ not ‘तपस्तप्तम् वनम् गता’
If this is accepted as correct interpretation, the Indra-Skanda dialogue took place when winter solstice had actually shifted to Krittika. From Voyager, I find that the time was 9000 BCE.
The time of the Indra-Skanda dialogue quoted by Markandeya to Yudhishthira was thus around 9000BCE.

In continuation with my own comment on previous post I show below the chart copied from Voyager showing Winter Solstice at Krittika. This was the view in 9100 BCE

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Markandeya- Yudhishthira Dialogue

Markandeya had a long dialogue with Yudhishthira when Pandavas were in Vanavasa.
In this dialogue Markandeya told Yudhishthira about the Indra-Skanda dialogue, the subject of ‘Fall of Abhijit.’ At the end of the four shlokas, markandeya said that Krittikas rose to heaven and brightened with pleasure.
Krittikas did that because after Indra explained to Skanda his problem of Nakshatara (Abhijit) ‘falling from sky’ and ‘Rohini’s younger sister going to vana तपस्तप्तुम् ‘and asked him to discuss it with Brhama, start of year was shifted from summer solstice to winter solstice which had shifted to Kritttika by then. So Krittika became the first nakshatra. When summer solstice was at Dhanishtha in 145000 BCE, winter solstice was near Magha. It would take about 7000 years to shift to Krittika. So the time must be around 7000-7500BCE.
Since Markandeya tells this story to Yudhishthira as a long past event, the time of Mahabharata events would definitely be later than 7000 BCE! (Of course it does not positively fix a narrow range of years).
According to Shri. Oak’s finding, the epoch of Arundhati runs from 11000BCE onwards. up to 4500 BCE and technically, mahabharat war could have happened in any year in this range.I have always contended that the initial part of the epoch is only mathematically true in that A was ahead of V but could anyone notice it or be positive about it with naked eye?
Well, we can safely ignore the years from 11000BCE to 7000BCE! Do the readers and Shri. Oak in particular, agree?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

And Ketu.

Similar questions arise for Ketu too. Ketu is the other NODE of moon, the point on Ecliptic where moon crosses it from north to south. It will not be diametrically opposite to previous Rahu position but a little away. ketu is also only a position and at Ketu there is nothing. Like rahu, ketu also moves backwards in successive moon orbits. It can hardly be described as motion of Ketu as it is not a continuous motion like planets but a series of spots.
As in case of Rahu, I wonder whether our ancient Astronomers had the same concept of Ketu as the current one. With visual observation, how can one decide where the moon crosses the Ecliptic? As Ketu is supposed to cause Lunar Eclipse, did they understand Ketu as Earth's shadow? It is known that Lunar Eclipse is caused by Moon passing through Earth's shadow (Umbra and Penumbra). How do the old astronomers describe the movement of Ketu and specify its position at any given time?
Moon will pass through Ketu in every orbit. Only if it happens to be a Full moon night, there will be a Lunar Eclipse. Even if Sun and Moon are not exactly 180 degrees apart but + - 6 degrees, a partial Lunar Eclipse is possible when mMoon is at Ketu. This is probably the explanation why Lunar Eclipses are more frequent compared to Solar Eclipses. For Solar Eclipse to occur, Sun must be at Rahu Node, (which itself does not happen frequently. Does it happen once in each Year?) and moon too must be at the same place on Ecliptic, not too much above or below.
I am interested in knowing what exactly our ancestors understood by Rahu and Ketu. I am not convinced that they understood them as Nodes of Moon on Ecliptic. I invite readers to share their information on these points.

Friday, March 17, 2017

What is Rahu?

Rahu, I understand, is the NODE or point of intersection between Sun’s and Moons paths, where moon crosses the Ecliptic from South to North. So it is just a SPOT. There is nothing at the spot! I further understand that the position of Rahu in each consecutive Lunar orbit changes slightly, moving retrograde along the Ecliptic. This is the so-called motion of Rahu. Does the change in position move equally in each Orbit on Moon? I dont know.
I further understand that the location of Rahu goes around the Ecliptic , moving retrograde and takes about 18.6 years for one orbit of its own. I take it that these are Solar years. They equal how many Lunar months? 18.6 x 12 = 223 plus Adhik masas at 1 per 29 months or plus about 8 or total 231 lunar months or thereabout. If Rahu moves at a uniform rate, then each time it moves about 360/231 or 1.5 degrees approximately. After going round the Ecliptic does Rahu come back to the exact spot it started from? I dont think so but would like to know.
I am not sure of these calculations and would like to hear about them from readers.
My main question is different. Did our ancestors have the same concept about Rahu?
It is difficult to believe that thousands of years back, when there were no telescopes, anyone could identify a NODE of moon, leave aside its changing position per orbit of moon! So what did they understand by Rahu? Their concept was it was something which caused Solar Eclipse. We know that Solar Eclipse is caused by the moon coming between Sun and Earth. So was the old concept of Rahu, ‘something’ directly behind the moon as seen from earth? How do the ancestors describe motion of Rahu? How do they designate ‘location’ of Rahu at various times of the day month or year? I invite readers to throw some light on this issue.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Planet Positios for 16th Oct 5561BCE - Gregorian.

Shri. Oak has assumed 16th Oct., the date proposed by Dr. Vartak to be Julian but obviously, it is not so. It is Gregorian. Based on 16th Oct to be Julian date Shri. Oak has noted down various planet positions for that date. He has claimed in his book and on his blog and on facebook repeatedly, that they match the astronomical references in Mahabharat. I do not accept the claim in many cases and have written extensively on this blog, giving my reasons.
There is a gap of almost 40 days between 16th Oct. Julian and 16th Oct Gregorian. Within those 40 days there may be no major change in the positions of the planets. I believe, if positions on the Julian date can be considered corroborated, so can be those, for the Gregorian 16th Oct. I wonder whether Shri. Oak agrees or finds any major problems.
16th Oct Julian, accrding to Shri. Oak, was an Amavasya. If so 16th Oct., Gregorian, will not be an Amavasya. Dr. Vartak in his book has claimed that it could have been an amavasya. He does this based on a 39 years cycle for repetition of a particular combination of date and tithi. Is the tithi of a particular date, 7500 years back, given by Software really reliable? If not what margin of error is likely? What was the tithi of 16th Oct. Greg.?
What does Shri. Oak say?

Monday, February 6, 2017

More on Swayambhu - Cont.

Shri. Oak in his book has claimed that he examined years and dates (where given) proposed by various researchers and found that except Dr. Vartak's year and date all other cases failed because either they were outside the 'Epoch' or planet positions for the proposed year did not match those in Mahabharat. He has not proposed any year or date of his own, based on his calculations but has examined the year 5561 BCE and 16th Oct as date of first day and has claimed corroboration in practically each case. He has done the exercises on the basis that 16th Oct. is Julian Date. There is problem with this.
From Dr. Vartak's working out of planet positions in the year 5561 BCE from known positions in recent years, working backwards using accurate speeds of the planets, it is abundantly clear that he has worked them out for 16th Oct., Gregorian and not Julian. In fact he has worked out the date 16th Oct. itself counting 68 days back from 22nd Dec,, the GREGORIAN winter solstice or start of Uttarayan. So the date 16th Oct cannot be Julian.
The question then is - 'Is Shri. Oak validating Dr. Vartak's claim of year and date? Clearly not so. Is it then a mixed bag? Year of Dr. Vartak and 16th Oct., Julian, as Shri. Oak's own claim? '
Shri. Oak needs to take a look at this and clarify his stand.
Planet positions worked out by Dr. Vartak do not match what Shri. Oak finds from his software. Is the difference due to two different dates? Shri. Oak should check planet positions for 16th Oct., Gregorian, and confirm or reject Dr. Vartak's findings. They may or may not match as Dr. Vartak has relied on manual calculations and not software.
Even in case of Saturn which is very slow, Shri. Oak finds it in Bhaga two years before war and 'approaching Chitra'by start of war, where Dr. Vartak finds it at Bhaga - Uttara Falguni.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

More on Swayambhu by Dr. Vartak

I went through Dr. P. V. Vatak's Swayambhu 3rd edition published in 1988. I presume it is the latest edition. I came across several interesting facts and details.
Dr. Vartak has claimed 5561 BC as the year of Mahabharata War. He has meticulously worked out positions of several planets from their known positions in recent years, working backwards using a very accurate rate at which they move along the ecliptic. He has used three different starting positions as a cross check. The positions of three main planets as established by him for 16th Oct 5561 BC (Gregorian Date) are as follows.
SATURN in Bhaga.
JUPITER in Shravan.
MARS a little ahead of Vishakha.
It is clear from his working that 16th Oct 5561BC he refers to, is a GREGORIAN date and NOT JULIAN as Shri. Oak says. This is also confirmed by the way he has derived this date in the book, taking 22nd Dec. as Winter Solstice date or start of uttarayana/death of Bhishma and working 68 days backwards from there. He has clearly taken 58 days as the time spent by Bhishma on death bed.
I always believed that Dr. Vartak's date is Gregorian and not Julian and had questioned Shri. Oak on this. He has examined Dr. Vartak's year and date and concluded that among dates and years claimed by many researchers only Dr. Vartak's claim stands scrutiny but taking the date claimed by Dr. Vartak as Julian. If Shri. Oak believes that 16th Oct Julian is the correct date he must claim it as his claim and not Dr. Vartak's claim.
More on the subject will follow.

Friday, February 3, 2017

What Dr. P. V. Vartak says on Short Krishnapaksha.

Today I came across Dr. Vartak's book 'Svayambhu' He has written a lot of material about timing of Mahabharata in the book. On Short Krishnapaksha before start of war he says (Translated from Marathi) - 'Vishvaghastra Paksha or Kshayapaksha or 13 days fortnight - Such a fortnight occurred in 1962 and 1940. It occurs every 22 years. 5562 BCE was (5562 + 1962 =) 7524 years back which is a multiple of 22 so in 5562BCE a short krishnapaksha could have occured.'
I have a couple of questions! Dr. Vartak has claimed 5561 BCE as the year of war, not 5562 BCE! So a short Paksha one year back is of no use! Further, is there any truth in the 22 years' cycle? From 1962 adding 44 years we come to year 2006. I have found a 13 day Paksha in 2016 which does not fit.
I wonder whether anyone can confirm a 13 day paksha in 1962? Nautical Almanac of that year will provide exact timings of End of Purnima and End of Amavasya for all months in the year. I have no access to the data. A panchang for that year will also give the details. Is any reader able to help?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Short Krishnapaksha Once Again.

In my earlier posts on this topic I had given details of a Very short Krishnapaksha in year 2016 0f a duration of 335 and 1/2 hours from beginning of Pratipada and End of Amavasya. Due to start timing of Pratipada a short time after sunrise, the day was designated as Purnima and there were ONLY 12 Days between days designated as Purnima and Amavasya in the calendar. The month perfectly matched what Vyasa has said about the Krishnapaksha just prior to start of war, that it was an exceptionally short paksha of only 12 days and Amavasya occurred on 13th day as against the normal 14th or 15th day or, exceptionally, 16th day. As what Vyasa has said was proved to be not a Flight of Fancy but quite feasible, I claimed that any particular year, claimed as Mahabharat war year, must fulfill the condition of a Very Short Krishnapaksha, just prior to the date claimed as Date of War. I also invited Shri. Nilesh Oak to verify the position in this regard, for the year and date of war claimed by him. He commented the he would do so and report. I have still to see the report.
Out of curiosity I checked from Kalanirnay 0f 2017, the Krishnapakshas of lunar months over Jan. to Dec. The length of the krishnapaksha in Jan. was as high as 15 days and 12 1/2 hrs. It increased to 15 days and 14 hrs. in Feb. and then declined progressively to 14 days 20 min. in October and further to 13 days 10 1/2 hrs. in Nov. First one is almost same as earlier instance and the second is actually SHORTER (332 1/2 hours) than the short Krishnapaksha in 2016 I had noticed and reported. And yet, both these short krishnapakshas DO NOT match what Vyasa said! In both case there are 13 clear days between the Days designated as Purnima and Amavasya, so both these Krishnapakshas, althought they are quite short, do not qualify as a '13 days krishnapaksha!' They are the common or garden variety of 14 days paksha!
It is thus clear that not only the krishnapaksha just prior to war must be Short but in addition it must be so disposed that there should be only 12 days between days designated as Purnima and Amavasya. (If I had claimed 2016 as the war year, I would have met the condition!) I invite Shri. Oak once again to verify whether he meets the requirment!Frankly speaking, I very much doubt but wont mind if proved wrong!)