Validating Traditional date of Mahabharata War-IX
by Jayasree Saranathan on 20 Jan 2021 0 Comment

Evidences that suggest collision from outer space during Krishna’s peace mission


The first set of astronomy references appear in the dialogue of Karna with Krishna before Krishna left Hastinapur on the day of Uttara Phalguni. This day is deduced from the words of Krishna to Karna that Amawasya was going to occur on the seventh day from thence in the star of Indra - referring to the star Jye?tha whose lord was Indra. [Mbh: 5-140-18]


In this meeting Krishna told Karna his birth secret and wanted him to side with the Pandavas. A somewhat emotional Karna refused to switch sides but conceded for the first time that he along with Sakuni, Dussasana and Duryodhana were going to be instrumental (nimitta) in the destruction of the earth. [Mbh: 5-141-2]


So saying, he continued to express five planetary features, four atmospheric features, one terrestrial feature and many features pertaining to animals as ““utpata lakshana” [Mbh: 5-141-26] (signs of sudden, unusual, unexpected phenomenon or appearance of calamity). He started narrating them as frightful and cruel nimittas! [Mbh:  5-141-5 “nimittani ca ghora?i tathotpata? sudaru?a?”] Then he described the five planetary features as ‘nimittas’ indicating the approach of a terrible slaughter. [Mbh: 5-141-12 “nimitte?u mahabaho daru?a? pra?inasanam”] Within a chapter on the dialogue between Karna and Krishna, Karna is seen mentioning the word nimitta thrice! This word must be clarified to understand the events he narrated.


In the first instance of calling himself along with his friends as nimitta for destruction, the word is used in the sense of ‘instrumental cause’. A cause that leads to an effect is the nimitta for that effect. In this case both the cause and the effect are visible.


However at times when the cause is invisible but gives rise to a visible effect, the cause becomes a nimitta that is popularly understood as an “omen”. [“ya? prek?apurvakari bhavati sa? adhruve?a nimittena dhruva? nimittamupadatte vedika? pu??arika? va”, Maha Bhshya on I.1.26 Vart.5] The invisible cause may be manifest as a mark or a sign, then that becomes a nimitta with which the visible effect is related. In any case, the mark or the sign (nimitta) can exist for a few seconds or a few minutes but the fear it creates seems to deliver a warning that something untoward is going to happen (There are good nimittas too, which sprout positive feelings indicating good results).


Mahabharata is full of such nimittas. One will be surprised to know that the spiteful talks of Karna and Duryodhana when Draupadi was humiliated were brought to an end by Dhritarashtra not by any saner counsel, but on hearing the howl of the jackal in the Agnihotra (homa) chamber, followed by the braying of the asses and cries of the bird - something perceived as ‘nimitta.’ [Mbh: 2-63: v.22-24] Vidura and Gandhari who were well versed in the features of this kind of “utpatam ghoram” conveyed this nimitta to Dhritarashtra that made him call for a halt to the harassment to Draupadi and give her boons by which she got the Pandavas released from bondage.


The basic feature of the nimitta that led to the release of the Pandavas is its transient nature and non-human origin. The sudden and fearsome nature of these nimittas cause immense trauma to men and animals alike. This is reflected in one of the nimittas told by Karna, that “amongst the steeds, elephants and soldiers, in all the divisions of Duryodhana's army, it is seen that while small is the food these take, ample is the excreta they evacuate.” [Mbh: 5-141-13] In any event of fear, the digestive system reacts immediately and adversely. So something terrible of unknown origin had happened causing a fear psychosis in all living beings.


With this introduction to nimitta, let me begin analyzing the nimittas stated by Karna. Similar ones stated by Vyasa to Dhritarashtra later, i.e. before the war, are given along with, to show that both of them were referring to the same events and same sightings. I am excluding the animal-related nimittas and only giving terrestrial, atmospheric and celestial ones. The foremost one seeming to be the cause of all these is the fall of objects from the sky.


Cosmic impact


Karna: Meteors (Ulka) were falling from the sky with loud noise. There were whirlwinds accompanied with earthquakes. [Mbh: 5-141-10]

Vyasa: dhumaketur mahaghora? pu?yam akramya ti??hati (6-3-12)

Vyasa: anabhre ca mahaghora? stanita? sruyate 'nisam (6-2-33)

Vyasa: abhik??a? kampate bhumir (6-3-11)


Vyasa says explicitly that a comet attacked Pushya. Many researchers have treated this as sighting a comet near Pushya, but it turned out to be an attack on the earth on Pushya day! The version of Karna taking place in Uttara Phalguni, on the fourth day from Pushya day, it is evident that he was referring to the meteor showers on Pushya day and probably continuing in the subsequent days.


Terrestrial features indicating a calamity


Karna: The wells in the midst of Duryodhana's encampment sent forth loud roars like those of huge bulls. [Mbh: 5-141-20]

This can happen in the event of earthquakes or tectonic movement – caused by a collision of an extra-terrestrial object with the earth.

Vyasa: phenayamana? kupas ca nardanti v??abha iva (6-3-32)

Vyasa: pratisroto 'vahan nadya? sarita? so?itodaka? (6-2-32)


Atmospheric features indicating a calamity


1] Karna: There were showers of flesh and blood. [Mbh: 5-141-21]

This can happen with tornado like whirlwinds lifting animals or red mud and pour them down elsewhere.

Vyasa: asid rudhiravar?a? ca asthi var?a? ca (6-2-30)

Vyasa: ma?savar?a? punas tivram asit k???a caturdasim (6-3-31)


2] Karna: Vapoury edifices of great effulgence with high walls, deep trenches, and handsome porches, are suddenly appearing in the skies. [Mbh: 5-141-21]

This could be a case of “Superior Mirage” when objects on the ground are reflected above them due to a process called ‘temperature inversion’ and changed atmospheric index from greater to lower from ground to top layers.* This is possible near water bodies. Eleven Akshauhinis of troops were assembled in tents in Hastinapur on the banks of the river Ganga. When the upper atmospheric layers were heated as an after-effect of an asteroid or fragments of a comet falling somewhere nearby, the cold air near the Gangetic shores where the army barracks had been set up causes the superior mirage in the sky of the structures on the ground. This is a temporary sight and as such a nimitta.

[* ‘Optical Phenomena’, see]


Vyasa does not mention anything similar to this. So the above appearance of ‘temperature inversion’ was an initial event soon after the cosmic impact, noticed on the banks of the river Ganga by Karna.


3] Karna: Both twilights at sunrise and sunset indicate great terror. [Mbh: 5-141-22b]


Though no exact information has been given by Karna, it is possible to deduce what he meant from a reading of the chapter on twilights in Brihat Samhita. [Brihat Samhita: Ch. 30] The colour of the sky, nature of the winds, dust, clouds and animal behavior at the time of the twilights were such that they were unusual, indicating some disturbance in the atmosphere.


4] Karna: A black circle called ‘Parigha’ surrounding the solar disc appears to the view.  “k???as ca parighas tatra bhanum av?tya ti??hati” [Mbh: 5-141-22]


In the case of asteroid hits or volcanic eruptions, the dust, fumes and ash thrown into the atmosphere appear as black halo around the sun. In the absence of any reference to a volcanic eruption, the asteroid hit(s) had caused this image. Brihat Samhita speaks about Parigha and its effects in quite a few places. [Brihat Samhita: Ch. 30 & 47]


Vyasa: svetalohita paryanta? k???a griva? sa vidyuta?

trivar?a? parigha? sa?dhau bhanum avarayanty uta (6-2-21)

(Tri-coloured Parigha is reported with a black ring around the sun)


Vyasa’s observation of tri-coloured Parigha must have happened long after the collision. Such appearances sustain for a prolonged period after a cosmic-hit.


Celestial / Planetary features indicating a calamity


All the five planetary nimittas stated by Karna had happened before the day of Uttara Phalguni and by our hypothesis on the day of Pushya and/or between Pushya and Uttara Phalguni, with just four nights in between enabling observation of any celestial abnormality.


Karna: prajapatya? hi nak?atra? grahas tik??o mahadyuti?

sanaiscara? pi?ayati pi?ayan pra?ino 'dhikam [Mbh: 5-141-7]


This is translated by Ganguli as,

“That fierce planet of great effulgence, Sanaischara (Saturn), is afflicting the constellation called Rohini, in order to afflict greatly the creatures of the earth.”


Prajapati’s star is Rohini, but Prajapatyam hi nakshatram graha is Moon! This is similar to Vyasa’s version given later on Krittikasu Graha [Mbh: 6-3-26]. Krittika’s graha (planet) is Sun! These expressions are straight from the astrology texts, proving that the same rules of astrology that we use today were present in Mahabharata times too. The 27 stars of the zodiac are divided into 9 groups of 3 each – with the three at equi-distance from each other, forming the corners of an equilateral triangle in the sky. The three stars of the same group are associated with a planet as the lord of the three stars. As such Rohini, Shravana and Hasta of a same group are lorded by Moon. So Moon is the graha of Prajapati nakshatra.


In the simulated chart for 2 September, 3136 BCE, Saturn is positioned in the co-star of Rohini, that is, Shravana, and in direct opposition to Moon. Though both interpretations are fulfilled here, this sighting being a nimitta, the position of Saturn in exact opposition to Moon in the zodiac must have been construed as Saturn casting its sharp (Teekshna) rays of light on the Moon, the graha of Prajapati star. By having afflicted it with his sharp rays, Saturn can be said to have caused harm to the praja and therefore the reference to the Prajapati star. With the fast moving moon quickly moving out of direct affliction of Saturn, this coupling between Saturn and Moon is construed as a nimitta. The coupling between the two had happened at the time of collision from the sky!


Before proceeding further, we must know another tenet of astrology. Except the nodes all the seven planets (including the sun and the moon) have their orbs. They are said to ‘catch’ each other when they come within the orbs. For Moon it is 8 ° and 9 ° for Saturn.# At 5 pm on that day the orb of moon at 13 ° and of Saturn at 21 ° started coupling with each other.

[#Dr. B.V. Raman, “Varshaphal”, p. 16. The knowledge of orb is ancient as this was the basis for spontaneous prediction of calamities].


The direct and teekshna affliction of Saturn on Moon happened until Moon left Cancer. Vyasa also refers to Saturn’s affliction on Rohini.

Vyasa: rohi?i? pi?ayann e?a sthito rajañ sanaiscara? (6-2-32)


Vyasa qualifies the reference with e?a sthito meaning, by standing in his place Saturn has sent its affliction. From its position in Shravana, it afflicts Rohini at the other end of the equilateral triangle formed by Shravana, Rohini and Hasta. It could also refer to what Karna meant – afflicting the planet (moon), the planetary ruler of Rohini. So this nimitta by Vyasa is the same one described by Karna.


At the moment of hearing the sound of the falling pieces from the sky, Karna and Vyasa had noted down the position of the Prajapati star, its planetary dispositor (moon) and the affliction caused to either of the two. They found that Moon was in direct line of contact with Saturn positioned in a star (Shravana) of the class of Prajapati (Rohini). It is important to note that the direct coupling indicated in the verse happened at sunset time in Hastinapur.


2] Planet Mars wheeling backwards to Anuradha


Karna: k?tva ca?garako vakra? jye??haya? madhusudana

anuradha? prarthayate maitra? sa?samayann iva [Mbh: 5-141-8]

This is translated by Ganguli as

“The planet Angaraka (Mars), wheeling, O slayer of Madhu, towards the constellation Jyeshtha, approacheth towards Anuradhas, indicating a great slaughter of friends.”


In computer simulation, Mars was in Jyeshtha star. From the verse it is known that its true position was in Jyeshtha only. A movement towards the previous star, i.e. Anuradha can happen in retrogression, but there was no retrogression at that time because Mars was on the other side of the Sun (as seen from earth) and was seen closer to the Sun.§ Mars cannot be in retrogression in Jyeshtha when the Sun was also in Jyeshtha or close to that in the same sign (Scorpio). This is a fact of astronomy (astrology too). And the observation being a nimitta, only a temporary appearance of movement must have been noticed.

[§ Retrogression of Mars or any outer planet can happen only when the planet is on the other side of the Sun, that is, with the earth in the middle and the Sun and outer planet on either side. In the current discussion, Mars was on the same side as the Sun and much closer to it when seen from the earth. So retrogression of Mars is impossible in this situation].


Similar kind of impossible movement is stated by Vyasa that

(1) Dhruva moved in apasavyam direction (away from zenith)

(2) Arundhati (star Alcor) kept Vasishtha (star Mizar) at her Prish?ha (exchange of places by which Vasishtha shifted to Arundhati’s right)

We will discuss them separately and for now focus on Mars in an impossible “retrogression”.


When we look for possible scientific causes, there exists only one cause – but not possible under normal atmospheric conditions. The right-ward movement of Mars can be caused by negative refractive index of the atmospheric layers which is rare. This once again points to an extraordinary event of a massive cosmic impact causing a reversal in the density of layers of the atmosphere. The epicenter of the impact could not have been closer to Hastinapur, for in such an event, Hastinapur could have been completely destroyed. The impact was marginal with only fragments falling in nearby areas. However a massive, wider impact is detected by this evidence of momentary sighting of Mars as if it made retrograde movement. 

Mars being a red planet, the deflection must have been more than under ideal conditions, thereby causing a right-ward shift for an observer on the ground, giving rise to an impression that it is moving towards Anuradha.


Venus was also there close to Mars at that time. But no change in its position was noticed, presumably because its rays were white and not red. It is highly probable that Vyasa noticed the deviation of Arundhati around the same time Karna noticed the deviation in the position of Mars.


-        Arundhati being part of a binary, the shift has caused a dramatic appearance with reference to Vasishtha.

-        In the case of Mars, there is no close companion as a reference point, and therefore the right-ward shift of Mars was less dramatized and hence escaped the attention of Mahabharata researchers.


The next three observations pertain to Moon. The features on the moon had shifted position, said Karna. The same was repeated by Vyasa. The features on the lunar disc as seen from the earth are permanent signs of volcanic seas and impact craters. The remark coming from Karna during the waning phase means the visible region of the moon was much less. Within that small region, already filled with marks, what did Karna see as something different?


Vyasa, the most knowledgeable of all, who has to his credit the compilation of the Vedas and composition of the Puranas, repeating the same observation could not have been a figment of imagination or hallucination. With evidences for a cosmic impact emerging one after the other in the text, this observation about the Moon raises a question – did moon receive a major hit from the comet even while its fragments just brushed the earth?


(To be continued…)


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