Validating Traditional date of Mahabharata War - XXIII
by Jayasree Saranathan on 27 Feb 2021 0 Comment

Bhishma said he waited for 58 days to leave this earth, while Krishna mentioned 56 days. To know when exactly the first day of the 58-day period commenced, let me construct the tithi-star alignment from the known factor. The known factor is Magha Shukla Ashtami coinciding with Rohini when Bhishma left his mortal coils. To recap the verses discussed in Part 4, Uttarayana started after completion of Saptami in Shukla Paksha of Magha (13-153-28) and the moon was in Rohini at the time of sunrise on that day (12-47-3). [Gita Press edn] From that day let me list out the days in reverse till the first day.


The biggest revelation of this reverse counting is that 58 or 56 day period did not begin on the 10th day of the war when Bhishma fell. It started from the beginning of the war. The number of days listed here pertains to solar risings (solar days). Bhagavad Gita was rendered on the 2nd day of this calculation. Krishna having killed Bhishma on that day, the remaining days turned out to be only 56!


1] Points of synchronization:


1. The first day falls in Pushya month. This concurs with my derivation done in previous parts that the war started in Pushya month. It didn’t start in Margashira or in Kartika.


2. The Full-Moon occurred in the beginning of this list of days concurring with Drona’s mention of the lunar eclipse rising with horns pointing downwards.


3. The counting of Bhishma’s waiting period includes the entire war period. This is close to the count-down that started from the time of Gitopadesa that was interpreted from Krishna’s version in Part 22.


2] Points of non-synchronization.


1. Shukla Ekadasi, the traditional date of Gita Jayanti comes within the initial period of this data.


2. The 18 day war period doesn’t synchronize with the date after Shukla Ekadasi (Gita Jayanti).


3. Paurnami coincides with Mrigashirsha in simulation table whereas it should have been on Punarvasu.


The non-synchronisation is due to the variance of tithi-star alignment.


The moon makes 62 synodic revolutions and 67 star rounds in the 5 year Yuga. As a result the moon takes 1.028 tithi to cross a star.##  The tithi exceeds the star such that the tithi and the star do not match. The 1st day of the war (see Part 19) shows that Rohini coincided with Shukla Dwadasi, but in the hand-made list, Rohini coincided with Shukla Caturdasi!

[##No of synodic revolutions in 5 years = 62 (62 x 30 = 1860 tithi)

No of sidereal revolutions of the moon = 67 (67 x 27 = 1809 stars)

1809 stars = 1860 tithis, therefore 1 star = 1860 / 1809 = 1.028 tithi]


The presence of two tithis in the simulation is a case of Tithi Dvayam. This is to imply that there was tithi-solar day mismatch and star-solar day mismatch within the 58 day reverse data.


The re-aligned Tithi-nakshatra-month for the first few days covering the 18 day Mahabharata period perfectly concurs with Mahabharata version of Shravana nakshatra when Balarama returned. Shravana was at sunrise on the 19th day when the mace-fight took place. This re-alignment is done by matching Rohini-Mrigashirsha with Shukla Dwadasi (S-12)–Trayodasi (S-13) in the simulator.


The re-aligned tithi-nakshatra perfectly matches with the 3rd day Full moon (lunar eclipse), the fall of Bhishma on the 10th day (when he started lying on the arrow bed) and the Gada Yuddha in Shravana that coincided with the end of Balarama’s pilgrimage. On the day of Bhishma’s fall the star was Hasta that matches with the simulation though it shows Shashthi tithi still running then.


Earlier I pointed out 12-hour difference between the actual time at the end of the tithi (and lunar eclipse) on the 3rd day of the war and the simulated version, caused by an anomaly in the speed of moon. By that difference, it is theorized that Shashthi almost ended at the time of Bhishma’s fall, followed by Saptami.


1] The rationale of Krishna’s 56 days:


Starting from the day after Gitopadesa (when Krishna claimed he killed Bhishma) Bhishma lived for 56 days. A counter to this may be quoted from the verses uttered by Krishna at the cremation of Bhishma. [Mbh: 13- 154- 29 to 31] The Goddess of river Bhagirathi (Ganga), mother of Bhishma, was grief-stricken at the death of her son. Krishna consoled her by telling that Bhishma was not killed by anyone! He remained alive till he decided to cast off his body. This seems to run contradictory to Krishna’s claim during Vishvarupa that it was he who killed Bhishma. Since Bhishma was invincible until he decided to write on his own his time of death, Krishna’s words make better sense that the countdown for Bhishma Nirvana started at the time of Vishvarupa.


2] Bhishma’s 58 days:


-        If we count from the first day of the war, Rohini was at sunrise. On the day of Uttarayana when Bhishma left it was again Rohini. In between only 54 stars had passed. Therefore Bhishma’s count was not star-based.

-        If we count the tithis, there are 57 tithis starting from the night of Shukla Ekadasi, on the day of Gitopadesa till the night of Magha Shukla Saptami.

-        If we count the tithis from the previous night when Pushya Shukla Dasami was running, there are 58 tithis. Starting the count from that time is justifiable on an important war-related activity.

-        Bharani was the star of the day then. Bharani is very well known for doing war-commencement Homa (Rana yajna)!

-        There is ample evidence in Tamil literature for symbolically starting the war on Bharani day by offering sacrifices to Pishaca (vampire) on that day. A separate literature called ‘Bharani’ literature is found in Tamil exclusively on war feats of the kings. The Chola King Kulottunga I’s Kalinga war was written as ‘Kalingatthu Bharani’ (The Bharani of Kalinga) in the form of a conversation among the vampires waiting for food, i.e. the bodies of the dead soldiers. Yet another popular Bharani in Tamil was on Daksha’s yajna, known as ‘Dakka Yaga Bharani’ (The Bharani of Daksha). This tradition, popular in the past must have been followed in any war including the Mahabharata war.§§§ The commencement of the war occurring closer to Bharani strengthens this view.  A huge battle such as the Bharata war must have been fixed on a day designated for starting with the war-yajna and that day is Bharani.

§§§ Stealing cattle as a prelude to attack a country and war dances were common throughout Bharatavarsha. They are incorporated as war traditions in the Tamil Grammar work called “Tol Kappiyam.” Bharani yajna was part of that tradition. Therefore it is presumed that Mahabharata war started with Bharani Yajna. Sacrifices were made at that yajna. Folklore in Tamil refers to Iravan, born to Ulupi and Arjuna, as the person sacrificed at this yajna done before the war. However Mahabharata does not support this view but describes Iravan’s fight and his death on the 8th day of the war.


Bhishma as the chief Commander must have participated in Bharani Homa and was present on the war field right from the night of Shukla Dasami. Counting from that tithi, he slept on the war field for 58 tithis (till Magha Shukla Saptami) enduring the hardships of the war field.


An overwhelming revelation is that the waiting period covered the entire war period. The tithi-star-month alignment does not support the counting of Bhishma’s waiting period from the 10th day of the war.


The next issue pertains to what happened after Krishna asked Bhishma to impart knowledge to the Pandavas. As per the time-line deciphered so for,

-        the coronation took place on Magha Shukla Dwitiya

-        Krishna and the Pandavas met Bhishma on Magha Shukla Tritiya

-        Only four days were left for the Uttarayana day designated by Bhishma himself.


For how many days Bhishma imparted the knowledge? More importantly, on which day Bhishma delivered the “Vishnu Sahasranama” – the thousand names of Vishnu that continues to be recited reverentially till date?


What are the evidences from the Mahabharata giving us the answers for these?


(To be continued…)


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