Validating Traditional date of Mahabharata War - XIV
by Jayasree Saranathan on 02 Feb 2021 2 Comments

Arundhati (Alcor) shifted position, so did Dhruva (Polaris)


Four unnatural sightings are found in Mahabharata, three stated by Vyasa and one by Karna. Mars wheeling towards Anuradha from Jye?tha (in reverse) in a sign occupied by the Sun is impossible in nature. An outer planet such as Mars can never go retrograde while it is seen in the company of the sun. But this was stated by Karna on Uttara Phalguni day, i.e. the 5th day after the comet hit. Since there is no retrogression in the right sense of the term, Karna had only seen a temporary aberration and therefore characterized it as a nimitta. What caused this?


Long after this statement by Karna we find Vyasa telling Dhritarashtra that Dhruva made reverse motion! Which star was he referring to as Dhruva? Did he mean the pole star at the northern celestial polar point at the time of Mahabharata or the specific star known by the name Dhruva, identified as the son of Uttanapada who was elevated as Dhruva?


Identification of Dhruva


The identity of Dhruva needs to be addressed here, because if this dating research was conducted a hundred years ago, no one would have imagined that Vyasa was referring to the pole star of the time. The knowledge system retained in this country is such that only three pole stars of the north were ever spoken of by the sages and one among them was Dhruva!


A constellation by name Shishumara (Gangetic Porpoise) is detailed by the Puranas in whose tail the Dhruva is located. “Dhruva is remembered as the fourth and the last one after Agni, Indra and Kashyapa,” says Brahmanda Purana. [BP: 1-2-23-108] Of these Indra and Agni are interchanged or recognized together with the result only three pole stars have been identified. Of them only Dhruva is acknowledged as supreme. “Among Dhruva, Agni and Kashyapa, Dhruva is the most excellent,” says Vayu Purana. [VP: 23- 99]


Before the advent of western astronomy simulators incorporating the modern theory of continuous precession proposed by Milankovic, the people of this country followed the ancient wisdom of precession that does not see the sun moving beyond 54 degrees at one stretch but reverse the direction after 54 degrees. One must remember that we are able to get the date of Kali Yuga accurately (see Part 1) only by means of this concept of limited precession found in Surya Siddhanta. This limited movement can be explained scientifically as being caused by the movement of the sun in a helical or sinusoidal path. This being outside the purview of this research, suffice to say that the pole stars mentioned in Mahabharata or Ramayana were only within this span.


In this to and fro movement of precession, the corresponding pole points moved only within 54 degrees. In this span the middle and the two extreme points were identified by three stars of which Dhruva is one. Simulation shows the identity of Shishumara as the constellation of Ursa Minor in whose tail Dhruva is positioned. This was derived by checking the 54 degree span of the polar region for the precession path that is reaching the extreme end at present. It is found that Polaris is at this end. Comparison of the three pole points of this span shows that Polaris is the brightest, by which we know that it is Dhruva, identified with the son of Uttanapada and Suniti, who attained the seat of Dhruva by penance.


At any time in the past, Dhruva could be sighted at or near the northern celestial pole. The Saptarishi mandala (Ursa Major) is also found closer to this smaller span of the Shishumara and is seen to revolve around the Dhruva of that time. This Dhruva is invoked in marriage mantras even today, along with Arundhati in the Saptarishi mandala.


At the time of Kali Yuga, i.e. 3101 BCE, the Polar region as visible from Hastinapur repeated in 499 CE when Aryabhata was around. Perhaps sensing the importance of that date he composed his Siddhanta. From 499 CE to now, that knowledge is gone, and we have not yet woken up to the fact that we are living at a unique time of Dhruva as our pole star. In some multiples of 7200 years ago facing the same part of the sky where we are now, Dhruva lived and was blessed to be identified with this star! [7200 years make one round in this precession or polar cycle]


There was no pole star in the exact point of NCP (Northern Celestial Pole). Dhruva was not the pole star then but was revolving around the NCP. Dhruva and all the stars in this northern section move from east to west, i.e. in anti-clockwise direction when one is facing the north.


Vyasa had seen this Dhruva moving in clockwise direction, i.e. to our right. This is impossible to happen. Since this was mentioned as a nimitta it must have appeared so for a few seconds or a very short time.


Arundhati caused Vasishtha at Prish?ha


Just before stating the deviation of the mark on the moon, Vyasa said that Arundhati, the star Alcor, who was praised in all the three worlds by the saintly people, had her husband Vasishtha, the star Mizar, at her Prish?ha! The exact verse is

arundhati tayapy e?a vasi??ha? p???hata? k?ta?” [Mbh: 6-2-31]



Arundhati = Arundhati

Tayapy = vtay = going, moving, guarding, protecting, to go towards

e?a = creep, glide, hasten towards, attain, obtain

vasi??ha? = Vasishta

k?ta? = done, made, accomplished, performed (third person singular tense paradigm injunctive class atmanepada vk?)

p???hata? = back, top


Overall meaning

Arundhati moving towards Vasishtha caused him to be at Prish?ha.


The verse does not refer to an appearance running for thousands of years, but an appearance that was caused by Arundhati moving towards Vasishtha. Vyasa had witnessed that movement. Two derivations are made out of this. (1) If Arundhati had permanently shifted her position, words related to ‘stithi’ or ‘asti’ or ‘bhavati’ could have been used, but kritah refers to an act done or performed by her that he had seen. That process of movement had happened in front of his eyes. (2) Prish?ha has different meanings; it could mean backside or even upper side.


In which way Vyasa had seen Vasishtha is not at all known. This appearance was seen by him and not by anybody else. Only if it appeared for a flash of a moment this would have escaped the attention of other observers. The basic feature is this movement refers to the right-ward movement that we found about Mars and Dhruva references above. The normal appearance has Arundhati closely behind Vasishtha.


The ladle-like constellation turns anti-clockwise. Arundhati is behind Vasishtha and this alignment continues as the constellation circles around the NCP. Vyasa has seen this at the time of rise of the Saptarishi mandala with Arundhati moving in such way that Vasishtha came behind her or above her. This means she shifted to right. A star shifting position in front of one’s eyes is impossible. By having shifted to the right, this nimitta is coming under the same category of Mars and Dhruva.


That the Saptarishi Mandala was rising at that time is told by Vyasa in the same narration of the nimittas. That nimitta solves the mystery of these sightings.


Two grahas with coppery red crest


Vyasa mentions two grahas (planets) appearing with blazing top that obscured the luster of the rising Saptarishis!


grahau tamraru?a sikhau prajvalantav iva sthitau

saptar?i?am udara?a? samavacchadya vai prabham (6-3-24)



Grahau = Two grahas (planets) masculine nominative dual stem: graha

tamraru?a = coppery red dawn

sikha?  = crest

prajvalan = burning, becoming inflamed (SB 10.89.3)

iva = like

sthitau = situated (BG 1.14, SB 4.12.2) masculine nominative dual past passive participle stem: sthita.

saptar?i?am =  Saptarishis (genitive, plural)

udara?a = rising, ascending

samavacchadya  =  samavachadyati = obscure

vai = particle of emphasis and affirmation   

prabham = effulgent form (SB 3.20.22)


Overall meaning

The effulgence of the rising Saptarishis was obscured by two planets situated (standing) with their crest appearing like the coppery red dawn.


This verse resolves the issue of rightward movement of Mars, Dhruva and Arundhati. There are totally six celestial entities in all of these four nimittas – Mars, Dhruva, Arundhati, Vasishtha and two planets.


A closer scrutiny reveals a common thread running through the deviation reported in all the six celestial entities that can be best explained by a scientific phenomenon called ‘Atmospheric refraction’. There is a substantial number of corroborative references in the words of Vyasa by naming as Nimittas to indicate a sudden occurrence of a natural calamity (comet-hit) in India or elsewhere impacting the atmospheric conditions and the density of air at different levels, thereby causing a change in the refractive index of the air at the surface of the earth from where he was observing. Both Vyasa and Karna were making these observations from Hastinapur.


The change was different from how it used to be under normal conditions. As an astute astronomer, being aware of the changes, Vyasa noticed the different changes at that time, all of which point out to a change in atmospheric refraction causing the change in the appearance of the celestial bodies.


Brief note on Atmospheric refraction


The light from the star passes through the vast emptiness of space (vacuum) before entering the earth’s atmosphere. It travels with no obstruction on the way to bend it or refract it. Therefore the refractive index of vacuum is 1. Once the light ray enters the atmosphere it undergoes deflections caused by the different layers of atmosphere. The star light is refracted differently in different layers causing it to appear twinkling. In reality the refractive deflections through the layers get cancelled out and the final refraction is determined by the refractive index at the ground level atmosphere. If the density is higher, which is the standard condition always, the light ray is refracted towards normal. This causes the star to shift to the left of the actual position of the star.


Near the horizon the light ray has to take a longer path through denser atmosphere. This causes the ray to refract more towards normal causing a slight shift in the apparent position of the star. The shift always happens towards the zenith.


The refractive index of the medium (here atmosphere) determines how much the light ray is bent. The index is always a positive number and never goes negative. The atmosphere should be rarer than vacuum for the refractive index to be negative – and this can never happen in nature.


Another feature is the colour of the refracted light. The star light contains all the seven colors of different wave lengths. Colors of shorter wavelength are deviated more than the colors of longer wavelength. Blue light has shorter wave length compared the red light having longer wave length. When the star is at the horizon, the different layers of the atmosphere behave like a prism that causes blue light to deflect more than the red light. These results in the rising star appear with blue crest.


Strangely, Vyasa is giving just the opposite of this appearance by saying in very clear terms that the crests of the planets were like the coppery red dawn! That means they appeared with red light on top, and not the regular blue light. This can happen when the surface level atmosphere was rarer and the upper levels were denser with the refractive index becoming negative. When light travels from denser to rarer, it gets deflected away from normal. Greater deflection of red light away from normal was the cause for the red-top of the planets.


This is absolutely impossible under standard conditions, but the fact this was specifically noted by Vyasa shows that ground level density of the atmosphere and heat had drastically changed – which can happen in extreme conditions like the cosmic collision.


So these nimittas must have been sighted on the twilight of the Pushya day when a major piece of the comet had fallen somewhere with the fragments falling on a wider region in India. On that day Mars and Venus were at the horizon in Jye?tha (see Part XIII) and the sun in Anuradha. After sunset these two planets appeared in the western sky. A little north from them the Saptarishis were rising. But their brightness seemed to be obscured by the flaming red colour on top of these two planets – indicating a sudden but temporary reversal in the refractive index of the atmosphere at the ground level.


In the same context Vyasa has listed down many features as nimitta that are related to causing variation in the atmospheric layers in terms of density, heat and humidity – the factors that cause refraction of the light-ray. More importantly, the star-deviations reported by him (that include Arundhati) can be seen at lower atmosphere.


One can notice that all these four nimittas have one thing in common – they shifted to right which is not possible under normal conditions. Except Dhruva which is a yellow star, the shifted ones were red – Mars in Karna’s observation – moving to right is a red star. In the case of Arundhati-Vasishtha, Arundhati has a red binary companion!


Interestingly, recent researchers have identified a dwarf companion for Arundhati (Alcor) that is red in colour! Two independent teams of astronomers have found that Arundhati is being circled by a red dwarf companion star, a spectroscopic binary.# Based on the orbital motion of the companion star,** the appearance of Arundhati will keep changing, at times reddish or smoky purple.

# “Mizar - A Fresh Look at an Old Friend”

** Mamajek et al., “Discovery of a Faint Companion To Alcor Using MMT/AO 5 µm Imaging”


This pair is a system of sextuples of Mizar (Vasishtha is a binary, each with two stars) and Alcor accompanied by a red dwarf. Researcher Mamajek believes that there must be another star or a planet circling Alcor as Alcor’s body doesn’t look perfectly round.


An amazing reference to red colour for Arundhati comes from the Tamil Sangam text, Padirru Patthu [31–28, 29], wherein the star Arundhati is mentioned as red in colour!


The deflection of the rays of Arundhati and Vasishtha is not uniform but different, given the fact the red companion’s light mingled with that of Arundhati. The shift in position will be there for the two stars, with the wavelength of their light also becoming a crucial factor in influencing the extent of the shift. One must remember that the light from Arundhati blended with a reddish spectral binary has a different refractive index than the blue or white light of Vasishtha!


Temporary phenomenon of Arundhati ‘walking ahead’ of Vasishtha


In the backdrop of the scientifically explained nimittas listed above, a strong case exists for the reversal of the atmospheric density caused by unusual natural calamities from outer space and from within the earth’s interior. The thermal convection released by tectonic explosions in north India had created hot conditions near the surface causing less density of air at the ground level. At the same time the upper layer of air was loaded with particles released by the collision of fragments of the comet elsewhere. Heavy turbulence in the air is also detected from the description of shower of flesh witnessed over a period of time. The rarer to denser conditions found normally from upper to lower atmosphere had changed to denser to rarer conditions causing unusual appearances of sorts that have been recorded as nimittas by Vyasa.


Of these, 3 stars and 3 planets appeared in impossible ways at the time of or as soon as the comet hit the earth causing ionization conditions.

-        Venus and Mars appeared with coppery-red crest.

-        Mars made a reverse movement towards Anuradha.

-        The pole star (Dhruva) appeared in apasavyam way.

-        Arundhati appeared in such a way that Vasishtha was at her prish?ha.


The phenomenon of coppery red top of the two planets is a pointer to what probably happened with the Arundhati- Vasishtha (A-V) stars. Greater deflection of red light away from normal was the cause for the red-top of the planets. Similar kind of deflection would make both Vasishtha and Arundhati shifted to the right, but Arundhati shifted more due to higher deflection of the longer wavelength of the red rays of her spectroscopic binary. She appeared on top of Vasishtha in tune with the observation of Vyasa of red-crest of the two planets at the same time. The final appearance was as though Vasishtha had gone behind Arundhati.


This A-V re-alignment was not reported any time before or after that particular moment of the day of asteroid hit. Vyasa has rightly observed it as a nimitta. The A-V observation was not an astronomy event but a scientific event systematically derived through logical and scientific reasoning of the events reported by Vyasa.


The obscure appearance of Saptarishi Mandala in the north and the red topped planets (Venus and Mars) in the west suggest the initial atmospheric disturbance in North and Western directions. The probable location of the fall of the major piece of the comet could be somewhere towards the North Western direction from India.


The moon also coming in the trajectory of the comet, and its original phase being waning Shashti (crossed 72°), the direct hit on the moon and the earth could have impacted the region anywhere between 10°E to 30°E in Europe during the day in that impact location.§ It was sunset time at Hastinapur.

[§ Krishna Shashti moon appears in the horizon just before midnight at Hastinapur. It is 72° (6x12 where 12=1 tithi) away from Hastinapur in the west where it was day and it was sunset at Hastinapur. The moon appeared at Hastinapur 5 to 6 hours after it rose up at that distance in the west. Time is rounded off as 6 hours (when Krishna saptami appears) which is 45° on the globe. Deducting 45° from the latitude of Hastinapur (78° E) we get 33° E. The maximum eastern limit being 33° E, we get a range of 10°E to 30° E from the Greenwich latitude]


The four odd events discussed above also reiterate the rarest of the rare event of a cosmic collision that caused change of Time cosmically. This collision has upset the plans of Duryodhana. Duryodhana could not move his troops on Pushya day. Krishna suggested Jye?tha Amawasya for the preparations, but alas that Amawasya didn’t occur in Jye?tha, further upsetting Duryodhana’s plans.


As for the celestial nimittas by Vyasa, we have established 12 out of 18 – all sighted at the time of comet-hit. Six are found to coincide with combinations on the first day of the war which we will discuss in the appropriate context. There are a few other nimittas in support of reversal of atmospheric density, as we shall see.


(To be continued…)


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