Validating Traditional date of Mahabharata War - XVI
by Jayasree Saranathan on 08 Feb 2021 0 Comment

Month-wise sequence of Mahabharata events after the exile


The sequence in terms of months, tithi and nakshatra of the respective months would solve many problems and confusions in understanding the verses. A systematic listing of the events in respective months is done below to arrive at the correct date of the events.


1] Lunar Ashadha month: (Sun in Cancer)


Exile ended on Krishna Dasami (11th May, 3136 BCE)

With 5 days left for the month to end, developing acquaintances and discussions must have happened.

Proposal for marriage of Uttara, daughter of King Virata, with Abhimanyu.


2] Lunar Shravana month: (Sun in Leo)


Marriage of Abhimanyu conducted.

After the marriage, intense discussion on ways to get back the kingdom from the Kauravas.

Krishna and Balarama returned to Dwaraka.


3] Lunar Bhadrapada month: (Sun in Virgo)


Pandavas began the preparations for war.


Both Arjuna and Duryodhana went to Dwaraka seeking support of Krishna for the war. [Mbh: 5-7] (It is probable that this happened in the previous month)


After getting assurance from Krishna to send army to support his side, Duryodhana went on to meet Balarama. Balarama refused to side with anyone, and expressed his inability to act against Krishna.


Emissary of King Drupada sent on a peace mission to Kuru kingdom on Pushya day. [Mbh: 5-6] This was in waning phase (Krishna Paksha) of Bhadrapada.


4. Lunar Ashvayuja month: (Sun in Libra)


The peace mission of Drupada’s emissary sent on Pushya day failed. This was followed by a peace mission by the Kauravas headed by Sanjaya to Pandavas. This also failed. There is no reference to any Panchanga feature for this date.


5] Lunar Kartika month: (Sun in Scorpio)


Krishna started on the peace mission to Hastinapur in the star Revati (25th August 3236 BCE). Tremors and whirlwinds struck Hastinapur while Krishna was on the way. During the presence of Krishna on the peace mission in the court of Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana ordered the moving of troops, since the day was Pushya, auspicious for the movement. He kept repeating that the troops be moved to Kurukshetra, the day being Pushya! [Mbh: 5-148-3]


On that day of Pushya, Bhishma was installed as the chief of the army of the Kauravas (2nd September, 3136 BCE). Terrible nimittas which in reality were the collision effects of a comet were noticed on the evening of the Pushya day. (discussed earlier) After the failure of the peace mission, Krishna left the court of Dhritarashtra.


On the 4th day after that (Uttara Phalguni), Krishna left for Upaplavya, but before that he took Karna in his chariot to tell him his birth secret. Karna turned a bit emotional and somewhat repentant in his conversation with Krishna, but was not willing to leave Duryodhana. He expressed his apprehension of a massive slaughter of people by pointing out certain nimittas (Discussed earlier)


When Krishna could not succeed in persuading him to switch sides, he advised him to tell Drona, Bhishma and Kripa to get ready for the upcoming war and worship Indra on Jye?tha Amawasya that was to appear in seven days. This is a crucial verse that decides the dates of events that followed. [Mbh: 5-140-18 to 20] Krishna said,

saptamac capi divasad amavasya bhavi?yati

sa?grama? yojayet tatra ta? hy ahu? sakra devatam

(Translation by Ganguli: Seven days after will be the day of the new moon. Let the battle commence then, for that day, it hath been said, is presided over by Indra.)


Indra, the lord of Devas was worshiped for victory in the war and this was done by means of a homa to Indra’s banner. [Brihat Samhita: Ch. 43] Since the star Jye?tha was ruled by Indra, Krishna told Karna to get ready for the war (yuddhayabhyupagata?) by worshiping Indra on Jye?tha. This holds good for both the armies and any king who was planning to join this war. The larger issue is something else.


Why did Krishna suggest war preparations to begin on Jye?tha Amawasya, when Duryodhana had already started to march his army on Pushya Day, three days before this conversation?


The hidden information is that Duryodhana, in spite of repeated talk of moving the army on Pushya day, did not move his army on that day due to inauspicious nimittas caused by the comet-hit. Krishna suggested Jye?tha Amawasya as an alternate day for starting the war plan and marching the army.


Krishna’s suggestion regarding Jye?tha Amawasya establishes that Duryodhana did not start as planned on the Pushya day. Moreover the word “yojayet” used by Krishna is third person, causative optative class parasmaipada verb – expressing his wish for worship to be done on Jye?tha by Drona and others.


Why did Krishna desire such worship if the worship was already done on Pushya day? This word with its stem ‘yuj’ refers to ‘join again.’ ‘Yojayati’ means to restore, repair, put in order, adjust, arrange, undertake and such other similar words hinting at setting right the debacle that happened on Pushya day. This is conveyed to Karna to have it done by Drona and others. This is not the same as ‘yajante’, the atmanepada verb, nor ‘yojante’ to mean ‘plan or prepare’ suggested by other researchers.  It was to start again after offering ‘ahuti’ to Indra, on Jye?tha day.


From Karna’s account of the nimittas we get the first indication that Amawasya did not occur on Jye?tha as Krishna had said. This falsifies all the researches that positioned the start of the Mahabharata war on Jye?tha Amawasya! The expected Amawasya had instead occurred on the 13th tithi of the phase- i.e. in Vishakha (10th September, 3136 BCE)


The visual observers were many at that time. Balarama was observing it from where he was while others like Vyasa and Karna had observed from Hastinapur. Right from the time they grasped the event of a comet fall, they must have been observing anxiously the sudden change in the shape of the moon. On the night of Uttara Phalguni they must have seen the moon compressed as it would appear on Ekadasi, in the place of Dasami in the normal course.


On Chitra day, they must have seen the moon rising just two hours before sun rise whereas it should have risen four hours before sunrise. A perplexed Balarama rushed to Upaplavya to meet his brother and left soon after. The day of Balarama’s arrival at Upaplavya is not known, but the day of leaving is given in Mahabharata as Anuradha. And he has gone ahead with the tirtha yatra from Upaplavya.


In the normal course, Balarama’s arrival at Upaplavya and return on Anuradha star must have happened in the lunar month of Kartika. Now with the advancement of Amawasya in Vishakha, the return of Balarama in Anuradha is fit to be clubbed with the events of the next month, i.e. Margashirsha.


The month ending on the 13th tithi sends another message that the reference to the shower of flesh and blood on the 14th tithi (Krishna Dwadasi) [Mbh: 6-3-31] by Vyasa did not occur in Kartika month as there was no waning Caturdasi in that month. However Karna did see a shower of flesh and blood, but that was within the first few days after the comet hit. [Mbh: 5-141-21] The advancement of ‘Jye?tha ‘Amawasya must have upset the war plans of Duryodhana for the second time within a fortnight.


6] Lunar Margashirsha month: (Sun in Scorpio / Sagittarius)


Anuradha must have been the first day of the month. Balarama returned to Tirtha yatra on this day. The next day was Jye?tha, and it is reasonable to assume that Duryodhana started his war plans on this day after worshiping Indra. There is no other reference in Mahabharata suggestive of the starting date for the Kaurava army.


The first fortnight of Margashirsha that followed the 13th tithi Amawasya in Kartika did not complete a 15-day phase. The Full Moon of Margashirsha did not happen in the normal course (in the star Mrigashirsha), and not even on the 15th day from the last Amawasya.


Counting from Anuradha (13th tithi Amawasya), the 15th day was Rohini, and the 14th day was Krittika. Vyasa’s version indicates that Kshaya tithis were happening - with the result that the Full Moon occurred on what normally could be Trayodasi. The star Krittika was running at the time of Full-moon in the month of Margashira! (24th September, 3136 BCE)


The two verses on dull Pournami in Krittika in Vyasa’s narration hint at the 13th tithi Full Moon in Margashira. The original Full Moon in Kartika month occurred soon after Krishna left Upaplavya for Hastinapur. No untoward sightings were reported then, though nimittas portending a calamity were reported in Hastinapur. All the nimitta based astronomy and atmospheric sightings were reported after the Full Moon in the month of Kartika, i.e. in the waning phase and after the comet-hit on the Pushya day.


In the next round of the moon’s journey, Vyasa (among others) was watching the waxing moon anxiously for its colour, size (to check normal waxing) and whether it could reach the expected star for Full Moon. It should have reached Rohini, the star of Moon (Indu) if everything was alright, but it did not.


The Margashira month continued after the Full Moon and then came the day the Pandavas moved the troops. Krishna’s call for starting on Pushya reported in Shalya parva in the words of Sanjaya could have happened only in Margashira Pushya! This call was made in Upaplavya after Krishna returned from Hastinapur, when Pushya of Kartika month was already over.


Closely following this verse, the narration continues to state that Balarama left for the Tirtha Yatra in the Mairti star (Anuradha). When did Balarama start the tirtha yatra?


This is a crucial question because he reappears on the scene on the day of Gada Yuddha (mace-fight) between his two disciples, Bhima and Duryodhana. And Balarama gives a hint on the duration of his yatra and the stars in which he started and returned – helping us to arrive at the day of the end of the war!


(To be continued…)


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