Validating Traditional date of Mahabharata War - XVIII
by Jayasree Saranathan on 14 Feb 2021 0 Comment

Armies assembled: Gita rendered by Krishna


6a] Lunar Margashira month continued:


The Pandava troops left Upaplavya for Kurukshetra on the Pushya day of Margashira under the advice of Krishna. The next event given in Mahabharata was that the two sides assembled on the Magha day. [Mbh: 6-17-2] This means the Pandava army reached Kurukshetra by the third day. There is no information on when the Kaurava troops started from Hastinapur. The first occasion of Kartika Pushya when Bhishma was formally made the chief ended up with chaos with the comet fragments causing inauspicious nimittas.


The second occasion was Jye?tha Amawasya which didn’t materialize at all. Perhaps Indra was worshiped on Jye?tha day but movement of troops could have started on Margashira Pushya, given the fact that Pushya was a much sought after day. We can say for sure that the war did not start on Magha day due to the main reason that Krishna Caturdasi, the day when Vyasa noticed a shower of flesh and blood, was yet to occur. [Mbh: 6-3-31]


There was no Krishna Caturdasi in Kartika month. The Krishna Caturdasi of Margashira was yet to happen when the Moon was in Magha star. So the verse on Magha could not have meant the commencement of the war but only war-preparedness.


Corroborating the planetary positions on Magha day


The verse states the position of the planets offering a good opportunity to crosscheck the date we arrived.

magha vi?ayaga? somas tad dina? pratyapadyata

dipyamanas ca sa?petur divi sapta mahagraha? (6-17-2)

(Translation by Ganguli: On that day on which the battle commenced Soma approached the region of Pitris. The seven large planets, as they appeared in the firmament, all looked blazing like fire)


The region of Pitris in the translation refers to the Nakshatra devata of the star Magha. Seven planets were in the sky blazing like fire. To know how the Magha day looked, we simulate it from software based on Surya Siddhanta ayanamsa. The alignment for three features, the year Krodhi, Margashira and Magha star for New Delhi (closest to Kurukshetra) shows the moon in Magha at sunrise. Counting from the position of the sun at the 10th degree in Sagittarius in clockwise direction, six signs are in the day sky. Mars, Saturn, Ketu and Jupiter appear in front of the sun. Including the sun, these five planets were in the day sky.


Venus at the 15th degree Scorpio and Mercury at the 28th degree Scorpio were behind the sun and could be sighted just before sunrise. As the sun was progressing in the sky they were also in the sky behind the sun. By about one and a half hours before sunset (one sign crosses the sky in two hours; the location of these two planets coming within one sign of the sun, they were less than two hours distance from the sun) when Venus was close to the western sky (just before setting), it was followed by Mercury, then the sun, Mars, Saturn, Ketu and Jupiter from west to east.


This was possible because from the 15th degree Scorpio where Venus was located, Jupiter was within 180 degree span (half the hemispherical sky) at the 3rd degree of Taurus. Just before Venus was about set in the evening sky in the west, Jupiter had risen in the eastern sky when the sun was still in the west. In this space-time position it can be said that seven planets including the sun were ‘burning’ in the sky due to day time sky.


-        The specific reference to the burning of the sevens planets comes on a day that was exactly a month after the comet hit. Krishna Shashti (waning Shashti) was the tithi of the day. In the same tithi of the waning phase in Kartika, dreadful events were witnessed. Perhaps to indicate this, Sanjaya stated “somas tad dina? pratyapadyata” where “pratyapadyata” means “returned” (Ref: SB 10.14.41, SB 4.12.9, SB 4.20.37, SB 7.10.6)


-        Ganguli’s translation that the “battle commenced” is not correct. What is stated is that “the moon returned for the ‘vi?aya’ of Magha”; Magha’s star lord is Pitr, to whose domain the departed ones are said to ascend. The last time the moon came to the same tithi (in Kartika month), there was widespread death. Now it had come to the same tithi (Krishna Shashti) in the next month, in the star that signifies the domain of the departed ancestors. This causes the fear factor that gets further amplified by the presence of seven planets burning in the day sky. A perfect corroboration of the comet-fall on the same tithi in the previous month before sunset!


-        Ganguli could not get this meaning. Even Nilakanta, the commentator of Mahabharata interpreted that “magha vi?aya” referred to the dying soldiers getting the celestial body immediately without delay.

[F.N. 38.1]


-        But having known the havoc caused by the cosmic collision, we are able to understand that the meaning of the verse is not what has been told. It is about the same tithi appearing with seven burning planets in the day sky towards sunset, reminding them of the burning sky a month ago. Sanjaya was anguished that the moon returned to the same tithi but in a star that also reminds one of death – of Pitru loka.


This verse provides an excellent corroboration for the comet-hit on Krishna Shashti in Kartika, the previous month!


Two Suns appeared one above the other


Following the verse on seven planets at sunset time, Sanjaya continues to state the appearance of the sun at sunrise in the next verse.

dvidha bhuta ivaditya udaye pratyad?syata

jvalantya sikhaya bhuyo bhanuman udito divi (6-17-3)


Ganguli translates that the Sun at rising seemed to be divided in twain and appeared to be ablaze. [Mbh: 6-17] The verse further qualifies the appearance of the sun as having flame on its head (jvalantya sikhaya). So the Sun appeared at the time of rise, with another flaming sun on its head. This has a scientific explanation of apparent image of the sun appearing above the actual sun caused by atmospheric refraction.


Under normal conditions, the rising or the setting sun is said to be an apparent image of the actual sun caused by atmospheric refraction. At sunrise even before the sun crosses the horizon, its rays are bent as they enter the earth’s atmosphere. The observer on the ground sees the image of the sun through the bent rays even though the sun is still under the horizon. The same is repeated at sunset. Even after the sun had gone below the horizon, its rays reaching the atmosphere above the ground are refracted to the ground causing it to appear above the horizon.


The Mahabharata verse hints at an extraordinary atmospheric condition when the light rays from the rising sun above the horizon, i.e. at eye level was caused to deflect upwards and then downwards towards the ground. Imagine the apparent sun as the actual sun above the horizon. Under standard conditions, the sunlight must have crossed the ground-level atmospheric layer of somewhat uniform density. If variations were there in the same layer, there is a likelihood of the rays getting deflected up and on encountering a differential density getting refracted down. In such conditions, another sun appears above the actual sun at the horizon.


A similar appearance of the sun on top of the sun was noticed at sunset in Zimbabwe on December 11, 2015, when the apparent sun was seen above the actual sun at the horizon. This ideally suits the description of Mahabharata verse that the sun appeared as two with the second one appearing ablaze, at sunrise.


In the case of the Zimbabwe image, no scientific study is reported on this phenomenon except a generalized explanation that it is an optical illusion caused by an unusual atmospheric refraction. The place was reeling under drought and dryness when this appeared. This fits my explanation (in Part 14) on changed refractive index causing the deflection of Arundhati star, Mars and Dhruva to the right. In Mahabharata times, a similar phenomenon due to an after-effect of the comet-hit had caused the sun appear as two, one above the other at sun rise.


-        The next and last event in this month was the shower of flesh and blood on Krishna Caturdasi day that appears in Vyasa’s version to Dhritarashtra. [Mbh: 6-3-31] The fortnight that started on Rohini (Krishna pratipat) ended in Jye?tha Amawasya! What was supposed to be Amawasya day in the previous month of Kartika – that many researchers identified as the date of the commencement of the Mahabharata war – had appeared only a month later, on the last day of Margashira when the Sun was in Scorpio!


This is in perfect alignment with the movement of the sun that joins the moon in every 3rd star in its transit path. In the month of Kartika it joined the moon (in its 13 day phase) in Vishakha. Following the normal course, the next conjunction happened in Jye?tha, but the month turned out to be Margashira! One month was lost due to the anomaly in the Moon’s orbit following the comet-hit. Amawasya of Margashira occurred in the same location of the zodiac where Amawasya of Kartika month must have occurred. 


The Pushya month started the next day. Until then the war had not started, is the revelation we get from this systematic sequencing of the events of Mahabharata based on the Panchanga factors given in the text.


7] Lunar Pushya Month (Sun in Sagittarius)


There are no Panchanga based clues in the text of Mahabharata for the start of the Mahabharata war; however it is being traditionally held that Krishna rendered his ‘Gita’ (Gitopadesa) to Arjuna on Shukla Ekadasi in Margashira on the day before the start of the Mahabharata war. By this it is known that the war started on Shukla Dwadasi of Margashira.

The western approach coupled with the western concept of the astronomy simulator would not yield any evidence for the true date. Instead the approach should be to test the traditional belief (date of Gitopadesa) and find out whether it fits with the overall time scale derived from other astronomy observations. We will establish this in the following passages.


Deciphering the day of Gitopadesa


The derivation done so far revealed that there was no scope for the war in the lunar month of Margashira. The fact that (1) Balarama’s 42 day pilgrimage ended in the star of Shravana in Pushya month and (2) Krishna Caturdasi that witnessed the shower of flesh and blood occurred on the last day of the lunar Margashira goes to prove that the war did not start anytime in the lunar Margashira month. This implies that the month of Gitopadesa was solar Margashira and not lunar Margashira. The present practice of celebrating Gitopadesa day in the lunar Margashira month is therefore not correct. The mis-timing can be attributed to the loss of knowledge of computation of time. Except Tamilnadu and a few other South Indian States, time keeping is not as it used to be in this country.


The sun which is the cause for Time is completely ignored in time computation. The Sun being the Pratyaksha Brahman is the source of all life. It is known as Ravi because it illuminates and protects all the three worlds. [Brahmanda Purana: 21-4] The sun is also known as Kala or Time from whom every other computation of time flows. [Brahmanda Purana: 23-145] So the solar month cannot be left out in any reference to time.


Time must be calculated in four units, Saura (solar), Saumya (lunar), nakshatra (star) and Savana. [Vayu Purana: 1-50-188; Aryabhatiya: 3-5] Therefore a day must be punctuated in terms of the solar month, the lunar paksha-tithi, the star of the day and the enumeration from sunrise (savana). When we understand this, we know that the Gitopadesa took place in solar Margashira month in Shukla Paksha Ekadasi. Simulation for the year Krodhi shows that the sun was in the last degree of Margashira (Sagittarius) while the lunar phase was that of Pushya Shukla Ekadasi. The calendar date was 22nd October, 3136 BCE.


The sun had not left Sagittarius at sunrise of Shukla Ekadasi when the lunar month of Pushya was running. Traditionalists have recognized the time as Margashira (the month expressed by the position of the sun) while Shukla Ekadasi (lunar) was running at sunrise (savana). The star of the day was Krittika at sunrise. The location of the two luminaries (sun and moon) is remembered as the day of “Vaikuntha Ekadasi” in Tamil-speaking lands, of entering Vaikuntha along with Vishnu. Though the memory of Gitopadesa given on this day is lost, the power of Krishna (Vishnu) in granting Vaikuntha to the devotee is associated with this day. 


In contrast, the day of Gitopadesa is remembered in other parts of India, but not on the exact day fulfilling the requisites of Time. The solar month is completely ignored and the date is remembered only in the lunar reckoning which at times pushes the date to the solar month of Kartika that corresponds to the day before Krishna started the peace mission! Mis-representation like this must be corrected at the earliest.


The Gita is rendered by Krishna; the war is very near – the next day.


(To be continued…..)



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