Thursday, 30 November, 2006
This article is based on the information that I found in March 1995 issue of "Saptagiri" published in Telugu by Tirumala Tirupati Devastaanam, authored by Shrii Janamaddi Hanumanta Rao. The article itself was based on the research effort by Professor K. Srinivasa Raghavan. The research was acclaimed by several famous pundits of Panchanga Shaastra including the Secretary of the All India Panchanga Samskarana Sangha, Pandit Radhashyaam Shaastri from Hariyana, and Vice chancellor of Sourashtra University, Shrii D.R. Mankad, etc.
Based on the astrological information provided by Veda Vyaasa (Position of the stars etc), Mahabharat war was estimated to have started on 3067B.C. on 22nd November. On the day of the war, the astrological positions of the Sun, Moon, Rahu, Saturn, Guru, Mangala and Sukra planets have been described by Vyaasa. By looking at the position based on Panchangam, Indian Calendar, and matching with the position of the stars described by Vyaas and comparing with the Julian Calendar, one can arrive at the precise dates for the war. Furthermore all other related incidents that took place before and after the war were described in Mahabhaarat, and the dates for these can be precisely matched with the Julian calendar, as discussed bellow.
Shrii Krishna made a last minute effort to make peace but failed. He left the Upaplaavya city on Kaartiika Shuddha Dvaadasi day in Revati Nakshatra (star) between 7:36 - 8:24AM. He reached Hastinaapura in Bharani Nakshatra, and had discussions with the Kouravaas till Pushyami Nakshatra. The day Duryodhana rejected the peace proposal was Krishna Pancami. Krishna left Hastinaapura, and had consultations with KarNa before he departed. (He revealed to KarNa that he was the eldest son of Kunti) on Uttara Palghuni day. Krishna informed KarNa that Duryodhana must get ready to fight, seventh day from that day, which will be Amaavaasya day (New-moon day) with JyeshTa Nakshatra. Krishna returned to Upaplaavya city on Chitta Nakshatra. Three days after that on Anuradha Nakshatra Balarama came to Upaplaavya. Next Pushya Nakshtra day Pandavaas left with Krishna to Kurukshetra.
Fifteen days after return from Upaplaavya city, Balarama left on Punarvasu Nakshatra on the tour of sacred places. (Balarama did not want to participate in the war that involved cousins on both sides). He returned to Kurukshetra after forty-two days in the ShravaNa Nakshatra. The war already started eighteen days back. On the nineteenth day, BahuLa Caturdashi day on ShravaNa Nakshatra, Duryodhana died. It was the fifty-ninth day after Amaavaasya with JyeshTaa Nakshatra.
Krishana returned from Hastinaapura after his unsuccessful peace mission on Uttara Palghuna day. Starting from that day, the seventh day is New-moon day (amaavaasya) with Saturn on Rohini Nakshatra as discussed by Vyaasa. Rahu was approaching the Sun, and the Moon was turning towards Amaavaasya (New-Moon day).
36 years after the Mahabharat war, Yaadava kula was destroyed. This was predicted by Krishana by astrological happening - "Rahu has compressed Purnima on Chaturdasi day. This happened once before the Mahabharata war and again will be happening soon and this will lead to our destruction". He remembered Gandhari's curse on the Yadava kula.
Astrologically a strange phenomenon occurred during the Mahabharata war.
The lunar cycle (paksha - normally is 15 days) sometimes happens in fourteen days. But during the Mahabharata war-time a rare thing happened - the paksha got compressed to 13 days. (May be 13 is a bad number). This aspect has been discussed in the Bhiishma parva - 3rd Adhyaaya. Guru and Shani are in Vaishaaka, Moon and the Sun entered in the same house one after the other making amaavaasya on the Trayodasi day it self . This peculiar condensation of the thithiis into thirteen from fifteen is a rare phenomenon as discussed by Vyaasa in Mahabharat and has inevitably followed by mass destruction due to war. This incident provided a direct means to establish the precise date of Mahabharat war.
According to Julian calendar this type of planetary collusion occurred definitely in 3076 BC in November. Vyaasa writes:
Bhuuta puurvamca shoodhashiim
Imaantu naabhi jaaneham
Chandra suurya bhougrastou
AparvaNi grahaNe tou
"I have seen fourteen days a paksha, fifteen day completion or extension to sixteenth day also. This amaavaasya falling on the thirteenth day itself I have never seen before" - says Vyasa. That, on the same month Sun and Moon eclipses falling during the missing thitiies is a rare phenomenon, resulting in large-scale disaster to people.
One month before, in Margashira, during Purvaashhaada Nakshatra, armies of Pandavaas and Kouravaas have assembled on the West and the East sides of the Hiranya river, respectively. The next day was Navaraatri and Durga Puja day. Duryodhana was itching for the war. That evening Duryodhana sends a word with Sekuni's son Ulaka, " We have finished the prayer to the arms and everybody is ready - why there is further delay in starting the war?" The next day, Margashira Shudda Ekadashi day, in KRittika Nakshatra, the war started. Hence, the famous Bhagavad Geeta teaching also started on that day. The war began at 6:30 am. The date according to Julian calendar was 22nd November, 3067B.C.
Other notable incidences that occurred:
Maagha Shuddha AshTami day in Rohini Nakshtra in the afternoon that 58th day after the war started, Bhiishma died. ( This is the actual death - He actually fell in the war on the 10th day after the war started).
Sri Krishna's Birth - He was born on 3112B.C. on Friday at 11:40 PM.
Pandavaas Birth - YudhishTara was born on August 31, 3114BC, Tuesday (Mangala Vaaram) Shudda Panchami JyeshhTaa Nakshatra - He was 696 days elder to Krishna.
Bhiima was 347 days younger to YudhishTara. - Krishna Trayodashi, Makha Nakshatra, and Arjuana was 303 days younger to Bhiima. Shukla Chaturdashi Soma Vaaram (Monday) Uttara PhalguNi Nakshtra.
When Pandavaas came to Hastinaapura after the death of their father Pandu, it was 3091BC and YudhishTara was 14years, 9 months and 11days old.
When he was coranated by Bhiishma as a prince, YudhishTara was 20 years, 1 month and 26 days old. (November, 3094BC).
They reached Varanasi in PalguNa Shuddha AshTami RohiNi Nakshtra.
Droupadi's Swayamvaram -in 3091BC, April - to reach the Wax-house it took 10 days for Pandavaas. They stayed there for an year. After the burning of the wax-house, they spent six months in the Shaalihotraa's ashram and seven months in Ekachatra city.
The second coronation and building of Indraprasta was in November 3091BC, seven months after the marriage.
Rajasuuya yagna was performed after Arjuna's dig vijaya tour - It took five years and six months for Arjuna. Subhadra's marriage was in April 3084BC. Three months after that was Khadava vana dahanam.
Abhimanyu was born in 3083BC, February.
Kaliyugam started in 3105BC, October 13th, Amaavaasya Mangala (Tuesday) JyeshaTa Nakshatra - Kali was born. This was the most inauspicious day.
The next Pournima day (Full-moon day) was full eclipse of the Moon, October 1, 3104BC. That was the day, when the five grahaas along with moon were in DhanishTaa Nakshatra.
Dharmajaa's Rajasuuya - Fifteen years before the Mahabharata war was the Rajasuuya yagna of Dharmaja. That day was amaavaasya (new-moon day) JyeshTa Muula nakshtra . YudhishTara shakam started in 3082BC, October 26th . The gambling and the banishment of Pandavaas to forest was in November 3081BC, Margashira shukla-Trayodashi.
Vanavaasam was 12 years and living incognito was for one year (13 lunar years + 5 lunar months + 12 days or 13 solar years plus 18 days) - Bhiimshma calculates and declares that Dhurodhana's calculations were wrong.
AJNaata vaasam (living incognito) began in Margashira 3069BC. Arjuna was noticed on Margashira Krishna Navami, 3068BC.
The Great war began on 3067BC, Friday 22nd November, Margashira shudda ekadashi Nakshatra.
The war lasted for 18 days.
Dharmaraju ruled for only 36 years.
25years later YudhishTara shaka started. (Thursday October 26th).
Fifteen years after Dharmaja rule started, Dhutaraashtra, Gandhaari, Vidura, Kunti and Sanjaya left for Vaanaprasta (forest living). That year itself Vidura performed praayopavesham.
Two years after that Dhrutaraashtra, Gandhaari and Kunti got caught in the forest fire and died.
Sanjaya was only left.
Shrii Krishna passed away on 3031BC, April 13th Friday.
Pandavaas Maahaa Prastaanam was in 3031BC, in November.
These are the dates that matched the Indian astrological description of the stars and the moon, and Julian Calendar predictions.
There is so much self consistency in all the events and the descriptions that it makes one to wonder. Based on these exact information Mahabhaarat must be Five thousand years Old (from today) as per the historical accounting.
The analysis is extremely precise and scientific, matching the astrological position of the Indian and the Julian Calendars.
The beauty and the scientific psychoanalysis of Bhagavad Geeta stand out as monumental contribution by the Mahabharat period to the mankind. Based on the above facts the historicity of Mahabharat cannot be questioned.
Tuesday, 28 November, 2006
Space images taken by NASA reveal a mysterious ancient bridge in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka. The recently discovered bridge currently named as Adam´s Bridge is made of chain of shoals, c.18 mi (30 km) long. The bridge´s unique curvature and composition by age reveals that it is man made. The legends as well as Archeological studies reveal that the first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the a primitive age, about 1,750,000 years ago and the bridge´s age is also almost equivalent. This information is a crucial aspect for an insight into the mysterious legend called Ramayana, which was supposed to have taken place in tredha yuga (more than 1,700,000 years ago). In this epic, there is a mentioning about a bridge, which was built between Rameshwaram (India) and Srilankan coast under the supervision of a dynamic and invincible figure called Rama who is supposed to be the incarnation of the Supreme. This information may not be of much importance to the archeologists who are interested in exploring the origins of man, but it is sure to open the spiritual gates of the people of the world to have come to know an ancient history linked to the Indian mythology.
I have collected 3 atricles related to Dating of The Ramanaya by different authors. You can find those under the "Dating Ramanaya" section.
Taking on the contemporary historical interpretation of Ramayana as a religio-literary text, and Lord Ram as a semi-mythical figure, is this unassuming person who zealously devotes her spare time to research in history when she's not playing the tax mandarin.
And she has chosen the unusual combination of astronomy, Internet and literary texts to provide us a startling picture of Shri Ram. This might change the way we look at history and religion. We might refuse to begin reading Indian history from that comma, or hyphen called 'Indus Valley.' We might have to stretch the beginnings by a few thousand years because, as Saroj Bala says - Ram was born on January 10, 5114 BC.
Excerpts of an interview with the lady who has the intellectual courage to go beyond the obvious:
What got it all started...
As an amateur historian, I've always been interested in Indian culture and heritage. I am proud that we're Indians and the products of one of the oldest civilisations. However, British rule changed us; we developed a sense of being somehow inferior.
But I could never reconcile to theories like the theory of Aryan invasion to India in 1500 BC. That would make Indian civilization only 3,500 years old.
And if you choose archaeology to dig beyond 7,000 years, you'd have to dig more than 60 metres - something not being done in India as yet. So, archaeology is not the only answer. There's a lot of objective research of another kind that needs to be carried out in earnest.
So, how can we say Ram was born on January 10, 5114 B.C...
My colleague Pushkar Bhatnagar of Indian Revenue Service is the real originator of this theory. He acquired a software named Planetarium, used to predict planetary movements and configurations.
By entering in this software, precise details of planetary positions vis-à-vis zodiac constellations described by Maharishi Valmiki in the Valmiki Ramayan, it is possible to determine important dates starting from Shri Ram's birth-date to the date of his return to Ayodhya.
More than just Ram's date of birth...
The results have not just thrown up Shri Ram's date of birth; it has actually traced the entire sequence of incidents throughout Ramayan.
Pushkar Bhatnagar starts with tracing Ram's birth. Then he moves ahead in the narrative. Valmiki Ramayan states Ram was 25-years-old when he went to exile. When the configuration of planets described at this point is fed into the software, the date thrown up matches perfectly with Ram's age at that juncture of his life - 25 years.
Again in the 13th year of Ram's exile, during a war with Khar and Dushan, Valmiki describes a solar eclipse. The software proves that on that given day there was indeed a solar eclipse (with Mars in the middle). This solar eclipse and the particular configuration of planets could be seen from Panchavati (longitude and latitude plainly shown in the software).
Hanuman Saw 8 Constellations while flying to Lanka...
In the Sunderkand, when Valmiki describes Hanuman crossing the sea and returning from Lanka to Rameshwaram, he gives details of 8 constellations. Usually, one can see not more than 6 constellations at a given point of time. But since Hanuman was flying across, and it must have taken him approximately 4 hrs to get there, he could see 8 constellations - in two hours one constellation would have moved out of sight and another become visible. So, in a period of 4 hrs he saw 8 constellations!
Historicising Shri Ram. Man or God...
After researching on Shri Ram, I do believe he's a man who walked the earth in flesh and blood. There is an essential difference between the Valmiki Ramayana and the Tulsi Ramayana. Tulsidas was a devotee who looked up to Ram, but Valmiki was a contemporary. Valmiki has written Ram's life-history, as a biographer does - he's a contemporary of Ram, and this is not very different from what happens all over the world. Kings have always had their life-history written.
The submerged bridge...
Recently, NASA had put pictures on the Internet of a man-made bridge, the ruins of which are submerged in Palk Strait between Rameshwaram and Sri Lanka. This clearly should be treated as historical evidence that corroborates its mention in Valmiki Ramayana.
The puzzle of Indian history...
The presence of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Vedas cannot be explained by the short period between the decline of the Indus valley civilization and the Rig Vedic period. A civilization cannot suddenly burst into advanced writing.
One needs to look at various sources of history to re-build it. Especially when looking at ancient history. One needs to excavate, look at literature, ancient texts, astronomy.
Government apathy to archaeological diggings and investigation in this direction...
There's been a very strange development in the media and the people of India. We have started seeing ancient India as something equivalent to the word 'Hindu'. The very word Hindu came into circulation only after the advent of Islam in India. In Ramayana and the Vedas , there is no mention of the word 'Hindu'. At the most, there is only mention of terms like 'Aryavrat' or 'Bharatvarsh' and residents here are called as 'Aryans'. Since centuries, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs have been living in this country and it's their land as much as it is to a Hindu. Anything that has happened on this land in the past is their common heritage. But, unfortunately, politicians with vested interests have divided the people on artificial religious lines and making it appear that anything related to ancient India was perhaps related to Hindu, which is not the case and should not be the case.
There has never been any strong will...
It is not that researches have been not taken place. There has been excellent work done by noted historians like Sir Alexander Cunningham and Dr Lal. Cunningham has written as many as 21 volumes on ancient Indian history. But one needs special permissions to access these texts.
Unfortunately, Cunningham's work that has very important information has not seen the light of the day. Dr. Lal has pictured the ancient city of Dwarka and it can be read in 'The lost city of Dwarka'. He has listed out 1000 artifacts. Only 9 crores needed to be sanctioned by the government in placing a transparent tube to the sea-bed that could allow people to see for themselves the wonder that was Dwarka.
And now people equate the sum total of ancient history to 'a temple or no-temple' at Ayodhya. Delay in research also because science hadn't arrived...
Without the aid of science it is practically impossible to manually calculate the exact planetary configuration 7, 000 years back. It is science which is going to validate our history and prove that it is much older than 3, 500 years.
What would be the implications of your research on the society?
I seriously feel that there can only be positive effects of my research. In fact, Indians should seriously re-look how old is our history and culture. This is not the end of the research; it's just the beginning. People should be encouraged to do more in-depth research by all means such as archaeology, dating methods and oceanography.
Max Mueller had come up with the theory that Aryans had come to India in 1500 B.C. In the Internet, Max Mueller Foundations says that that they have re-looked at this theory and is of the opinion that this theory is no longer valid because Indian history is much older than that period. It's just that people have to open up their minds and find out the answers for themselves.
Placing the Ramayana in the historical context is yet an unfinished task, as witnessed by endless debates among archaeologists, historians and literary pundits. The present analysis is a modest attempt to use astronomy, astrology and the science of time together in elevating the status of Ramayana from an epic to a chronological reality. Astonishingly, the ancient Indians had an accurate method of time easurement. They regularly and systematically recorded the `tithis', days marked according to the phases of the Moon, the months, the seasons, solstices, equinoxes and the positions of astrologically relevant luminaries like the Sun, the Jupiter, the Venus, and so on. In other words, the timings of events were recorded in the astronomical format. To convert this coded information on heavenly positions into a simple calendrical timeline, all that is needed is a database of ephemeris. Sage Valmiki, the celebrated composer of the Ramayana records the birth of Rama in Uttarayana (the Divine Half-year), in the Chaitra month, in the bright fortnight, on the ninth day, in the Punarvasu nakshatra, on a Monday, and under Karka lagna. Valmiki further details the birth with various planetary positions in the zodiac : Sun in Mesha at 10 deg., Mars in Capricorn at 28 degree, Jupiter in Cancer at 5 deg., Venus in Pisces at 27 deg. and Saturn in Libra at 20 deg. These starry configurations are so unique that they have occurred only once so far in measurable history and this helps us to fix the important date, the birthday of Rama, as the 4th of December, 7323 BC. Due to the slow yet continuous precession of the Earth, Rama's birthday anniversary, celebrated as Ram Navami, has since shifted by about four months over a period of about 9300 years. Valmiki has also beautifully described the sky at the moment when Rama left Ayodhya on his 14-year exile. He states, "Crux (Trishanku), Mars, Jupiter and Mercury have cornered the Moon. Vaishakha and Milky Way are shining in the sky". Using this additional input, astronomical rules help us to fix Rama's exile to a time when he turned 17 years of age. Another event, Hanuman's return from Lanka after discovering Sita (in Sunderkanda , one of the most evocative chapters of Ramayana) can be similarly pinpointed as occurring on a Pushya Poornima. Using the above techniques, the following pivotal events of the Ramayana can be fixed at the following dates: Rama_s birth: 4th December 7323 BC; Rama's marriage with Sita: 7th April 7307 BC; Rama's exile: 29th November 7306 BC; Hanuman's entry into Lanka : 1st September 7292 BC; Hanuman's meeting with Sita: 2nd September 7292 BC; construction of Setu (bridge): 26-30th Oct. 7292 BC; the beginning of the great war: 3rd November 7292 BC; Kumbhakarna's death: 7th November 7292 BC; Ravana's killing by Rama: 15th November 7292 BC; and Rama's return to Ayodhya: 6th December 7292 BC. The last event, celebrated as Deepawali, should also have advanced by about four months, but strangely the festival of lights now falls in Oct-Nov. each year. Complicated explanations have been put forth by many researchers to explain this anomaly, but I find none of them satisfactory. Astrological interpretations of Rama's birth chart provide us further insights. In fact, the matching and the mapping between his natal chart and the course of his life is so precise that it can be used as a case study in support of the science of astrology itself! The natal chart of Ramachandra indicates a yogic Rajayoga, a rare planetary pattern, wherein the native rises to be a King in the materialistic sense even while renouncing all worldly pleasures. It is an established fact that Rama, during his reign over the kingdom of Ayodhya lived a simple hermit's life. Mars being exalted in the 7th house of marriage indicates a bold and courageous spouse, but at the same time this made her sharp-tongued. It is this latter maleficent effect of Mars that led Lakshmana to leave Sita alone in the cottage in search of Rama. Venus' exalted position in the 9th house of travel and destiny gives a public life with spouse. Sita followed Rama during his exile, while in contrast, Lakshmana left his consort behind in Ayodhya. The Jupiter-Moon conjunction in Cancer forms the well-known Gajakesari yoga; it blesses the native with simplicity, honesty and religiosity and confers fame due to these qualities. Sun, the significator of soul in deep exaltation (in Aries) in the 10th house of karma suggests that Rama was a higher, perhaps a dual soul: he was the King of Ayodhya, and the Divine Incarnate of Lord Vishnu simultaneously.
It has been believed that there is no evidence to determine the dates of events in the Ramayanic era. Some historians of the past even refuse to acknowledge that Rama and other characters from the Ramayana even existed. However, Sage Valmiki has recorded the dates if events in detail, albeit by describing the positions of stars and planets. To decipher the astronomical encodings has not been a trivial task, and not many have attempted to do so. It should be noted that the ancient Indians had a prefect method of time measurement. They recorded the 'tithis', days according to the nakshatra on which the moon prevailed, the months, the seasons and even the different Solstices. By therefore noting a particular arrangement of the astronomical bodies, which occur once in many thousand years, the dates of the events can be calculated. Dr. P.V. Vartak has thus attempted to calculate the dates of important incidents that occured during the Ramayanic Era. The correct astronomical records goes to show that Valmiki's has chronicled an account of a true story and also, that the an advanced time measurement system was known to the Hindus (Indians) atleast 9000 years ago. Please refer to Dr. Vartak's celebrated book "Vastav Ramayan" for further reading.
Before coming to the astronomical method, it should be noted that the Mahabharat has recorded a number of facts about Ramayan (and not otherwise). The precedence of the Ramayanic era to that of the Mahabharat can therefore be inferred. An attempt to fix the dates of the events in the Mahabharat era, mainly based on internal astronomical records. The Mahabharat Era has already been dated by Dr. Vartak to 5561 B.C. [Reference: Dr. Vartak's book "Swayambhu"].
Genealogical links available from the Mahabharat and Puranas, Yuga calculations and some archaelogical findings also provide clues to the dating of the Ramayanic era. Also, literary references to the characters from the Ramayanic Era provide limits after which the Ramayan could not have occured. For example, Guru Valmiki (the author of Ramayana) is refered to in the Taittiriya Brahmana (dated to 4600 B.C) and therefore Ramayana must have before the Brahmana was composed. However, archaeological and literary methods can only provide approximate datelines and for determining the precise time of the Ramayanic events, astronomical calculations may alone be useful.
Mahabharat states that Sage Vishwamitra started counting nakshatras from Shravana (Aadiparva A.71 and Ashwamedha A.44) and a new reference to time measurement thus initiated. According to the old tradition, the first place was assigned to the nakshatra prevelant on the Vernal Equinox. Vishwamitra modified this and started measuring from the nakshatra at the Autumnal Equinox. Sharvan was at this juncture at about 7500 B.C, which is therefore the probable period when Vishwamitra existed and also that of the Ramayanic Era.
Formerly, the year initiated with the Varsha-Rutu (season) and therefore was termed "Varsha". Ramayan shows that the flag was being hoisted to celebrate the new year on Ashwin Paurnima (Kishkindha 16/37, Ayodhya 74/36). Ayodhya 77 mentions that the flags were defaced and damaged due to heat and showers. These descriptions point to the fact that their new year started on the Summer Solstice when heat and rain simultaneously exist. The Summer Solstice fell on Ashwin Full Moon, so the Sun was diagonally opposite at Swati nakshatra. This astral configuration can be calculated to have occured around 7400 B.C.
Kishkindha 26-13 describes the commencement of the rainy season. In shloka 14, refers to Shravan as "Varshika Poorva Masa". Kishkindha 28/2 clearly shows that the rainy season began in Bhadrapada Masa. Further description "Heated by the Sun and showered by new waters, the earth is expelling vapours" (Kish.26/7) points to Bhadrapada as premonsoon. Kish.28/17 tells that there was alternate sun-shine and shadowing by the clouds. Kish.28/14 describes the on-coming rainy season. Thus Bhadrapada was the month of pre-monsoon, that is before 21st June or Summer Solstice. Naturally, months of Ashwin and Kartika formed the rainy season. It is therefore concluded that Ashwin Full Moon coincided with Summer Solstice, that year being 7400 B.C.
Rama started forest-exile in Chaitra and ended it in Chaitra. He was coronated in the same month and one month later, proceeded to Ashokavan with Seeta (Uttar 41/18) when the Shishira Rutu terminated. So it seems that Vaishakha Masa coincided with Shishira. So the Winter Solstice was at Vaishakha with the Sun at Ashwini. At present, the Winter Solstice takes place at Moola. Thus a shift of 10 nakshatras has occured since the Ramayanic Era. Precession has a rate of 960 years per nakshatra. Therefore, Ramayan must have occured 9600 years ago, which is 7600 B.C approximately.
Shri Rama's Date of Birth
Now we shall proceed with the astral route. Valmiki records the birth of Rama as Chaitra Shuddha Navami (9th), on Punarvasu Nakshatra and five plants were exalted then; Sun in Mesha upto 10 deg., Mars in Capricorn at 28 deg., Jupiter in Cancer at 5 deg., Venus in Pisces at 27 deg. and Saturn in Libra at 20 deg. (Bala Kanda.18/Shloka 8,9).
Ayodhya 4/18 states that Sun, Mars and Rahu were at Dasharatha's nakshatra. It was the month of Chaitra, so the Sun was in Revati, Ashwini or Bharani. Naturally, either Rahu and Ketu was in any one of these nakshatra (Rahu and Ketu are diagonally opposite).
The planetary positions on 16th October 5561 B.C., the date of commencement of the Mahabharat War, have been calculated and known [Dating of the Mahabharat, by Dr. P.V. Vartak]. Therefore, calculating further backwards for the astral combination noted above, the date concludes to be 4th December 7323 B.C. On this date, Saturn was at 205 deg., Jupiter at 94 deg., Mars between 283 and 298 deg., Rahu at 179 deg. and Sun at 2 degrees. 4th Dec. 7323 therefore is the date of birth of Rama, when the aforementioned 4 planets exalted. Venus is always within 47 degrees from the Sun, and might be in Pisces in an exalted state. Thus Rama's date is confirmed.
The Date of Exile
Rama completed 17 years of age (Ayodhya 20/45) and his coronation was fixed on Chaitra Shuddha 9th on Pushya day. However, he had to proceed to the forest on the same day, at the behest of Kaikeyi. At this time, Dasharatha states that Rahu, Mars and Sun were disturbing his nakshatra (Ayodhya 4/18). Calculating 17 years from Rama's birth date, the location of Mars can be determined at 303 degrees in Dhanishta nakshatra. From here, Mars casts its fourth-sight on Krittika. Rahu, after 17 years had been at 211 degrees in Vishakha, and so was in opposition to Krittika. Being Chaitra masa, the Sun was at Mesha and so it could be at Krittika. This the planetary positions agree with Valmiki's statement. Dasharatha's nakshatra appears to be Krittika.
Valmiki has beautifully described the sky (Ayodhya 41/10), when Rama left for forest exile. He states, "Crux (Trishankhu), Mars, Jupiter and Mercury have cornered the Moon. Vaishakha and Milky Way are shining in the sky". Crux is on line with Hasta (Corvus) on the southern side. On the eastern side of Hasta, there are Chitra, Swati and Vishakha. As seen earlier, Mars was at 303 deg. in Dhanishta. Calculations show that Jupiter was in Poorvashadha at 251 deg. Pushya was at the western horizon with the setting Moon. On the southern side, from the west to the east, all the other planets were situated. So poetically Valmiki describes the sketch as if the Moon was cornered by the planets. The description of the sky, 17 years after the birth-date of Rama, is perfect astronomically.
After 14 years of Rama's stay in the forest, Valmiki tells that Rohini was imprisoned (6-24-7, 6-93-60, 6-92-60), Mars marched on Rohini (6- 93-46 or 6-92-45) and mars was torturing Rohini (5-17-24 or 5-15-22, 5-19-9, 6-113 or 116-2). The bracketed seven statements show the vicinity of Mars with Rohini. Calculations reveal that 14 years later, Mars was at Ardra and was retrograde. Mars therefore moved in the reverse direction (from Ardra) to Rohini, resided at the "gate" of Rohini, thus in a way imprisoning the latter. It is to be noted that the constellation of Rohini is V-shaped. The apex of the angle points to the west and the two limbs towards east, and therefore appears like a "gate". Mars was situated in between the two limbs (or two doors) of the gate and appeared like a guard. Thus can the simile be explained.
Amavasya (No Moon Day)comes 10.883 days earlier each successive year. 25th November 7323 B.C., 9 days before Rama's birth, was a Amavasya. In 17 years, the Amavasya shifted by 185.011 days backwards. It means that 6 Amavasyas (each 29.53 days) were completed and a shift of 7.8 deg. was noticed. The original Amavasya before Rama's birth took place at 353 deg. Deducting 7.8 deg. from it, we obtain 345 deg. as the position of this Amavasya which falls in the Uttara Bhadrapada nakshatra. Naturally, the next month was Chaitra, when the coronation was arranged on Pushya day at 104 degrees. One 'tithi' contains 12 degrees. So the moon was in Pushya on 29th November 7306 B.C., when Rama proceeded to the forest. Calculations show that this day was a Thursday, so said by Seeta as well(Ayodhya 26/9).
Rama left for the forest on a Thursday, the 29th Nov. 7306 B.C. He completed the required 14 year period in the forest and returned on 5th Shuddha 9th was over, and the 5th tithi refered to must have been Chaitra Krishna 5th. Amavasya recedes by 10.883 days each successive year. So in 14 years it must have receded by 152.3 days. Deducting 5 Amavasya periods (29.53 days each), 4.7 days remain which implies that Amavasya came 4 days days earlier on 15th November 7292 B.C. Calculating backwards for 14 years from 29th November 7306 B.C, when the Amavasya was at 345 deg., the Amavasya falls at 340 deg. (receded by 4.7 days in 14 years). This is Uttara Bhadrapada, the month being Phalguna. Since the next month was Chaitra, Krishna 5th tithi happens to be 5th December 7292 B.C. when Rama entered Bharadwaja Ashram.
Hanuman's visit to Lanka
Hanuman set out to Lanka in the hopes and mission to search for the kidnapped Seeta. He reached this destination at night, roamed around a little until he located Seeta the next morning. While describing Hanuman's return in Sunder Kanda (S.56 or 57 /1/2), Valmiki states using a simile of sea to the sky:
" The Moon was attractive like a lotus, Sun like a good crane and a span from Pushya to Shravana was seen. Punarvasu appeared like a big fish, Mars like a crocodile, Airavata like an island and Swati like a swan."
Even though a poetic simile, Valmiki provides a plot of the nakshatras from the west to the east. When Hanuman started from Lanka it was early morning, because Seeta tells him to rest for a day in some hiding place (Sunder 56/3,11; 57/18). Since it was morning, the Sun was rising and appeared like a crane and the moon like a lotus. As both the moon and the sun were present simultaneously in the sky, it probably was a Paurnima (Full Moon Day) with the moon on the western horizon and sun on the eastern. The span of nakshatras streched from Pushya to Shravan, that is from 104 deg. to 281 deg. Punarvasu was also seen. Aairavat connotes an elephant, and it is possible that Scorpio was seen like an elephant showing its trunk. The span of nakshatra's from Punarvasu to Sharavan is seen early in the morning of Krishna paksha of Pushya Lunar month. Sun-rise could also be seen. Hence, most probably, Hanuman returned from Lanka of Pushya Paurnima or Pushya Vadya paksha.
Hanuman had set out for Seeta's search after Ashwin masa as he himself says in Kishkindha 53/21,22. So he must have started the campaign in Kartika masa. One month, that of Margashirsha was spent in the cave of Swayamprabha. Some more time was spent in the search upto the South sea, after which Hanuman entered Lanka, possibly on Pushya Shuddha 14th. Thus it highly probably that he returned on Pushya Paurnima or Pushya Krishna 1st.
Ravana had abducted Seeta in the season of Hemant (Aranya 16/1) and had given a period of 1 year, that is upto the next Hemant to consider marrying Ravana (Aranya 56/24, Yudh 12/19). Had Seeta not accepted this offer, Ravana would have killed her in Hemant. Hemant is composed of 2 months. Sunder 58/106 or 108 state that Seeta told Hanuman that only 2 months of her life remain, after which she will die. Seeta therefore must have conveyed this to Hanuman before Hemant began, that is, in the season of Sharad. Thus Pushya lunar month coincided with the season of Sharad.
According to the above description, Mars was near Punarvasu and Pushya. It was noted that during the (Lanka) war, Mars was at 102 deg. in Pushya. Naturally, since Mars many a time becomes stagnant, Mars would have been near Punarvasu and Pushya two months earlier.
The distance from Kishkindha (Vijayanagar to Hospet) to the centre of Lanka is about 600 miles. An army can travel about 20 miles a day, therefore accordingly, Rama's army would have taken a month to reach Lanka. Even assuming a pessimistic speed of 30 miles per day, Hanuman may have covered the distance in 20 days. Also, it is known that the army of Vaanar tribe were searching for Seeta in many directions, and therefore, may have taken 2 months to reach Lanka. This army had started searching for Seeta in mid-Kartika, and would have reached Lanka in mid-Pausha. The assumption that Hanuman returned from Lanka in the month of Pausha therefore appears to be reasonable. The Vanar army hurriedly returned to Kishkindha and could have spent 20 days in the interim and the date falls at Maagha Shuddha 5th. Rama marched to Lanka in one month and reached there on Phalguna Shuddha 5th (22nd Oct. 7292 B.C). Rama observes, "Today is Uttara Phalguni. Tommorrow when the moon will rise on Hasta, we will proceed to Lanka" (Yudh s.4). Probably on Magha Krishna 1st (2nd Oct. 7292 B.C), Rama commenced his journey and reached the shores of Lanka on Phalguna Shuddha 5th. Subsequent three days were spent before Rama could cross the sea. Phalguna Shuddha 8th ended. Thereafter, starting on the 9th, Nala built a temporary bridge (Seetu) within 5 days. On Phalgun Shuddha 14th (31st Oct. 7292 B.C), Rama's army crossed over to Lanka. On Phalgun Shuddha 15th, a full moon day, Rama positioned his army at strategic points and surveilled the territory from Mount Suvela (Yudh 38/18). Ravan also observed the approaching army from a tower, held a meeting with his ministers and deployed his army for defence. On Phalgun Krishna 1st (2nd November 7292 B.C.), Ravana arranged his troops at strategic points.
The Great War started
On Phalgun Krishna 2nd, Rama's army seiged the gates of Lanka. Angada proceeded as Rama emmisary on a peace mission to Ravana's court. However, any peace proposal was rejected by Ravana and the next day (Phal.Kr. 3rd), Rama-Ravana war commenced. The great war spanned 13 days and concluded on Phalgun Krishna Amavasya, with the death of Ravana. The very next day, Chaitra Shuddha 1st was celebrated as a Victory Day. This tradition still continues to be a New-Years's Day and is marked by hoisting flags.
End of Rama-Ravana War. Ravana killed.
15th November 7292 B.C was then Phalguna Amavasya. Valmiki states that Ravan came out for the last battle on the Amavasya day (Yudh. 93/66) and was killed. In the description of the battle, Sage Valmiki writes, "Kosala's nakshatra Vishakha is aspected by Mars" (Yudh. 103/37). The annual motion of Mars is 191.405 degrees. In 14 years, it will progress by 159.58 degrees. At the time of Rama's exile, Mars was at 303 deg. 159 deg. added to this provides Mars at 102 deg. in Pushya. From Pushya Mars could cast its fourth-sight on Vishakha. So, the calculations presented so far seem to be correct. It also shows Valimiki's minute observations and time recording capabilities. Thus the date of the last battle of the War is 15th November 7292 B.C.
Following are the dates of few events from the Ramayana:
Rama's Birth Date 4th December 7323 B.C
Rama-Seeta Married 7th April 7307 B.C
Rama Exiled 29th November 7306 B.C.
Hanuman enters Lanka 1st September 7292 B.C
Hanuman meets Seeta 2nd September 7292 B.C.
Seetu (Bridge) built 26-30th Oct. 7292 B.C
on the ocean
The War begins 3rd November 7292 B.C
Kumbhakarna is killed 7th November 7292 B.C.
Ravana is killed by Rama 15th November 7292 B.C.
Rama returns to Ayodhya 6th December 7272 B.C.
Dr.P.V.Vartak, Vastav Ramayan in Marathi, Vedvidnyana Mandal, Pune
Thursday, 23 November, 2006
Mahabharata war is considered by many to be a historical event. The epic states that a singularly ominous pair of eclipses occurred in “Thirteen days” some time before the war. Using modern astronomical software, our article shows that a number of “Thirteen day” eclipse pairs were visible in Kurukshethra. Article suggests some candidate dates for Mahabharata war.
Mahabharata is a great epic, and is one of the pillars of present day Hinduism. The Mahabharata story and its moral ethos have had profound influence on millions over many generations. Mahabharata war is said to have occurred before the transition of Dwapara Yuga to Kali Yuga. Dating the Mahabharata war and start of Kaliyuga has been elusive and going on for many centuries.
Aryabhata, is a famous early astronomer with contributions to science, whose estimate of p, and the time of moon revolution around the earth are so accurate, that his works are being extensively researched. Aryabhata (476-550 AD) stated that Kaliyuga started 3600 years before, when he was 23 years old, making the start as 3102 BC [Aryabhateeya ref-1]). It would date Mahabharata war to around circa 3130-3140 BCJ.
Surya Siddhanta [Ref 2], a document evolved from roughly same period, states that sun was 54 degrees away from vernal equinox when Kaliyuga started on a new moon day, corresponding to February 17/18, 3102 BCJ, at Ujjain (75deg47minE 23deg 15min N).
Varaha Mihira (circa 560 AD), another famous astronomer, stated that 2526 years before start of Saka count (either Shalivahana saka starting in 79 AD or Vikrama Saka starting in 57 BC) [Brihat Samhita Ref-3] as per text below.
When Saptarishis (ursa major) was near Magha Yudhistira was king 2526 years before Saka time
Presently, traditional Sanatana Dharma followers consider that Kaliyuga started at 3102 BCJ, when Sri Krishna passed away, and that Mahabharata war occurred in 3138 BCJ. Millennium year 2000 AD is Kali 5102.
Like Homer’s Iliad, another epic poetry from Greece, different scholars have expressed opinions varying between the story of Mahabharata being either total fiction or true record of historical facts. It took efforts by Schliemann and others to show physical archeological evidence of existence of Troy in present day Turkey, and Homer’s poems having historical relevance.
Bharata has been continuously and relatively densely lived in for thousands of years and in Northern Bharata the archeological evidence is difficult to come by because of many 100’s of generations of people living in same area. Hence, it is usual to look for Puranic and Vedic (written and oral recitation) astronomical evidence to substantiate the time periods. As is true of all such documents like bible stories, Scandinavian, Chinese, Japanese, Egyptian and other documented local folklore, the historical truths are likely to be anywhere between absolute truth to vivid imagination. An objective analysis can help in determining the likelihood of folklore being a historical fact or not.
Mahabharata epic story was written by, Vedavyaasa (or Krishna Dwaipaayana) after the Mahabharata war. Vyaasa is also credited with codifying the existing branches of Vedas. It is perhaps the longest poem of its kind of such antiquity. The presently known oldest version of Mahabharata, based on its style, grammar and other features was probably written down before the Gupta period. This Mahabharata text does not refer to any Zodiac’s or Raashis (a western concept probably accommodated in to Jyotishya some time during 300BC to 200AD). The linguistic style of the oldest version of Mahabharata clearly cannot be the basis for determining if and when the events of Mahabharata occurred. It probably may have been rewritten/re-rendered many times as the mode of transference was by oral traditions as in the case of Vedic chandas prosody. The known oldest version has nearly 90,000 to 100,000 poems dominantly with 32 syllables Anushtup chandas, in 18 chapters called Parva’s [ref-4 and 5].
The Bhishma Parva and Udyoga Parva (specific chapters of Mahabharata) provide considerable astronomical/astrological descriptions and omens as the Mahabharata war was approaching. It describes a period of draught, with many planetary positions. Then there is this clear reference to pair of eclipses occurring on 13th day as shown below.
Fourteenth day, Fifteenth day and in past sixteenth day, but I have never known the Amavasya (New Moon day) to occur on the thirteenth day. Lunar eclipse followed by solar eclipse on thirteenth day is in a single lunar month etc…..
This reference to “Thirteen day” eclipse pair appears to be a unique astronomical observation.
Mahabharata text also refers to retrograde motions of planets prior to war and provides their location with reference to 27/28 Vedic star locations. Mahabharata Drona Parva also refers to Jayadhratha’s killing during a dark episode on 13th day of the war, which some consider as another short solar eclipse.
This document is basically concerned with analysis of all eclipses visible at Kurukshethra (Location where Mahabharata war took place, north of New Delhi, Longitude 76 deg 49 min East, Latitude 29 deg 59 Min North) from 3300 BC to about Buddha-Mahavira-Parshvanaatha time of about 700BC. Analysis of the time between successive eclipses, specifically time between end of one and beginning of other has been made, with a view to look at astronomical feasibility of back-to-back eclipses in 13 days, using modern astronomical computer software.
Another major issue of how did observers of the period define and determine period between eclipses when no clocks existed, has been addressed.
Lunar eclipse occurs when Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon. There are about 150 lunar eclipses per century. Lunar eclipses can occur only at full moon, and can be either total or partial. Further they can be umbral and or penumbral. Total lunar eclipses can last up to 2 hours, while partial lunar eclipses can last up to 4 hours. Any observer on dark face of earth can see when lunar eclipse when it occurs. During period 3500BC to 700 BC, nearly 4350 lunar eclipses have probably occurred. A good fraction of these would have been visible in Kurukshethra [ref-6].
Solar Eclipse occurs when Moon’s shadow falls on earth observer. About 240 solar eclipses occur every century. During period 3500BC to 700 BC, nearly 6960 Solar Eclipses have occurred. Solar can occur only at new moon. Solar eclipses may be total or annular. Total solar eclipses can last up to about 8 minutes, and partial solar eclipses can last up to 115minutes. The shadow of moon has a limited size of few thousand miles falling on nearly 8000-mile diameter earth. Hence, solar eclipses can be seen only in a limited range of longitude-latitude where the shadow falls. Elsewhere, even though sun is visible, eclipse will not be seen.
Eclipse evaluating computational software and its validation in present context
Astronomical calculations have been greatly improved since past 30 years, particularly with considerable amount of trajectory work conducted in Moon and other scientific projects. High accuracy computer models and software have been developed. These are validated against databases from US Naval Observatory’s Interactive computer Ephemeris, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. One such code is LodeStar Pro copy righted by Wayne C Annala in 1994 [Ref- 7]. The Lodestar Pro was checked for historical eclipses of 1000-2500 BC from clay tablet records of Mesopotamia area presently available with British Museum. Wayne Mitchell has analyzed this data [Ref-8]. Lodestar Pro provided excellent match with ref-8.
Eclipses at Kurukshethra
During the period of our interest, 3500BC to 700 BC, nearly 4350 Lunar Eclipses and 6960 solar eclipses have occurred on earth. Of these nearly 673 solar and lunar eclipses occurred in pairs of time gap of about nominal 15 days corresponding to roughly half lunar month. We need to search amongst these 673 for eclipse pairs visible in Kurukshethra, which occurred in “Thirteen” days.
A very detailed scan of all the visible lunar and solar eclipses for every year from 3300BC to 700 BC was made on the Lodestar software for Kurukshethra location. These are tabulated and plotted. Maximum eclipse time gap (end of one eclipse and beginning of next eclipse for naked eye observers) was found to be about 379 hours while the minimum was about 332 hours. A plot of time gap between back-to-back eclipses versus eclipse pair number is shown below. (This time corresponds to maximum to maximum – not end of one to beginning of next as in the future table).
The plot shows that during the period 3300BC to 700 BC, (Julian year corresponds to zero at 4712 BC- an imaginary date- Our range corresponds to 1412 Julian year to 4012 Julian Year) nearly 672 pairs of eclipses occurred on earth, which in principle may have been visible at Kurukshethra. Amongst these, nearly 32 pairs would be occurring for period less than 14 days. Many of these were found to be weak penumbral eclipses of moon, and solar eclipses had such low obscurity as to raise the issue whether any body could see them. Six pairs of “thirteen day” eclipses could be seen unambiguously.
Definition of Day and issue of timing determinationIt is easy for us, in present time, to precisely analyze the eclipse times based on a 24 hour per day time clock. However many thousand years ago, such a time evaluation would clearly be irrelevant. Hence the count of the day and time had to be based on clear, natural and unambiguous events such as sunset to sunset or sunrise to sun rise. Hence in all the analyses, presented below, the time of relevant sun rise or sun set is indicated such that the eclipse beginning and end can be evaluated with reference to the sun rise or sun set. In modern day definition, the period from sunrise to next sunrise is never 24 hours except on equinox day. On all other days, the time will be either less than 24 hours (when day light time is shrinking) and more than 24 hours (when day light time is increasing). For people of ancient times, sunset-to-sunset or sunrise-to-sunrise would be the logical definition of a day. Using this definition, it is possible to determine whether an eclipse pair occurred in “Thirteen days”.Kurukshethra eclipses and some planetary retrograde motionsThe table below shows six pairs of eclipses, which can be analyzed further to determine whether Mahabharata war and events could occur then.
Six eclipse pairs visible at Kurukshethra occurring in less than or near 14 daysEvents in red not visible due to sun rise (Lunar) or sun set (Solar)Year BC Eclipse Julian day Initial con Max End Sunrise Sunset end/start date
After serious analysis of all the eclipses, six eclipse pairs from 3129 BCJ, 2599 BCJ, 2056 BCJ, 1853 BCJ, 1708 BCJ and 1397 BCJ clearly are the best candidates for Mahabharata war year from “thirteen day” eclipse pairs view point. There are others that have low obscurity for solar eclipse, or have dominant penumbral lunar eclipse content and hence do not constitute strong candidates for the Mahabharata war. One typical eclipse pair of the six is illustrated using Lodestar Pro views of the relevant sunset/sunrise periods. The light/day transition is clearly shown in all the eclipse, which would form the only method of determining that the eclipses occurred in less than fourteen days, which has to be called thirteen-day eclipses. Planets Sani (Saturn) and Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus) in retrograde motion are illustrated for period around the eclipse pairs.
Solar-Lunar eclipse pair from Julian year 3129BC
Let us now look at how any observer can study these eclipses and conclude that the pair occurred in “Thirteen days”. The figures above show the pictures of day/night sky for a pair of Solar-Lunar eclipses, end of lunar eclipse being only 13 days and 20 hours before start of a solar eclipse. On Julian August 11 afternoon, a solar eclipse begins 20 minuets before sunset and it is still on going at sunset. Fourteen days later (On Julian August 25) in the evening at sunset a lunar eclipse is already occurring. It clearly suggests that eclipse started on the 13th day after the previous eclipse! Obviously the end of lunar and start of solar eclipses were less than 14 days period, or occurred in 13 days. This could be concluded without the benefit of modern clocks. The dates of this eclipse pair are Julian 3129 and Julian month of August. In ancient Bharata, since the full moon occurred on Proshtapada, the month would be considered as Bhadrapada. Normally, this is the monsoon rainy season in North India. However, there are many occasions when monsoon fails. The epic states that draught like conditions existed. Even during normal monsoon the sky is occasionally clear for the eclipses to have been witnessed. The two planets Jupiter, and Saturn are in motion (vakri) and these do occur during 3129 JBC as illustrated below. Motion of Angaraka or Mars is normal.
The location of the planets at the time of eclipse pair is shown in table above. Clearly, only Brihaspati, and Shukra are the only planets near locations indicated in the Mahabharata text. This date of 3129 BCJ is a serious candidate date for consideration of Mahabharata war. Analysis of the Eclipse tablesThe first and oldest eclipse pair from 3129 BC is unique. Aryabhata estimated that Kaliyuga started in 3102 BC. So does Surya Siddhanta. These fit the Puranic description that Sri Krishna passed away in 3102 BCJ, which is 27 years after the war. Our study confirms that Kaliyuga could have started in 3102 BCJ. The second date 2559 BCJ is also unique in that Varaha Mihira stated that 2526 before start of Saka, Yudhishtira was the ruling king. If it Saka was Vikrama it would make Yudhistira as king in 2583 BCJ, which is before Mahabharata War. Yudhistira was also king for a short time before war, before he lost it in a game of dice to Sakuni/Duryodhana. This date is also an excellent candidate for Mahabharata war. There is another event that occurs in 2559 BC. While the eclipse pair occurred in lunar month Shravana, there is another short solar eclipse in Pushya. On 13th day of Mahabharata war, it is said that Jayadhratha was killed when Sri Krishna covered the sun for a short time just before the sunset. This event could be looked upon as a solar eclipse. A study of year 2559 shows that another solar eclipse did occur in Pushya lunar month (Julian Dec 06, 2559) some 40 days before the winter solstice (Uttara ayana).The third candidate is eclipse pair from 2056 BCJ. It occurs in Margashira/pushya months, the lunar eclipse occurring when moon is between Punarvasu/pushya nakshathra, and would be right in the middle of war. Hence is not a very serious candidate for Mahabharata war.The fourth candidate is eclipse pair from 1853 BCJ. It occurs in month of Magha very near the winter solstice or Uttara Ayana. It is not a very good candidate for Mahabharata WarThe fifth candidate of eclipse pairs occurred in 1708 BCJ. This eclipse pair occurs in month of Phalguna, just after Uttara Ayana and is a bad candidate. The last candidate of eclipse pair occurs in 1397 in the month of Bhadrapada. It is a reasonably good candidate for Mahabharata war. Again, there was no solar eclipse during the period prior to Uttara Ayana.ConclusionsThe aim of this work was to analyze the unique statement that Mahabharata war took place when an ominous pair of eclipses occurred in “Thirteen days”. Initially, Mahabharata texts, contemporarily accepted as most authentic were reviewed and relevant data about Mahabharata and astronomical planetary observations have been presented.Firstly, a search of all eclipses during the period 3300 BCJ to 700 BCJ visible at Kurukshethra, where Mahabharata war took place was made. Amongst nearly 672 possible eclipse pairs, the time from end of one to beginning of next eclipse was found to vary between 13.8 days to 15.8 days. Eighteen naked eye visible eclipse pairs with less than 336 hours (14days) of time gap were found.The second issue was, what was the definition of a day, and how was the determination that eclipses occurred in “thirteen days” made, has been addressed. Day was taken to be the time between either successive sunrise or successive sunset. This is particularly important when clocks did not exist. Using this method, it was easy to demonstrate that observers from 3000 to 5000 years ago could identify accurately a “Thirteen-day” eclipse pair when they occurred.Six pairs amongst these, found to be good candidates for Mahabharata war, have been illustrated, showing how any observer could conclude that the eclipse pairs occurred in less than 14 days or in “thirteen days”. The locations of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, Sun and Moon, during the eclipses were identified with reference to 27 star locations. The positions of all these planets during the eclipse pair do not totally agree with Mahabharata text, but some do agree.Finally, it is found that two dates suggested by Indian astronomers Aryabhata, Varaha Mihira are credible dates for Mahabharata war. It would appear that 3129 BCJ is a first candidate for Mahabharata war followed by 2559 BCJ. Four other dates viz., 2056 BCJ, 1853 BCJ, 1708 BCJ and 1397 BCJ are other candidates which qualify as “ Thirteen day” eclipse pairs.In conclusion, this article has tried to address the basic issue, whether “ Thirteen day” eclipse pairs are astronomically possible. The conclusion is that such eclipse pairs have occurred and observers could easily identify the duration using sunset/sunrise transitions. 3129 BCJ and 2559 BCJ dates appear to be very viable dates for Mahabharata war as are a few others. This study provides modern scientific support one critical astronomical statement made in Mahabharata Bhishma Parva that “Thirteen day” eclipse pair occurred in Kurukshethra before the Mahabharata war.
Aryabhateeya by Brahmagupta, S.Shukla,New Delhi, INSA 1976
Surya Siddhanta: Translation of an Ancient Indian Astronomical Text. Translation by Bapudeva, Varanasi, 1860.
Varahamihira’s Brihat Samhita- M Ramakrishna Bhat, Motilal Banarasidas Publications, 1981
Ramashesha Shastry Bhagavata Mahapurana, 10th skanda, Upodghata (in Kannada script), 1930
John Smith web page - Mahabharata Text checked by Bhandarakar Oriental Research Institute
Eric Weisstien, World Of Astronomy web page
Wayne Annala, Lodestar Pro Manual, 1994
Wayne Mitchell Ancient Astronomical Observations and Near Eastern Chronology Journal of Ancient Chronology Forum, Volume3
Monday, 20 November, 2006
“The ancient Hindus could navigate the air, and not only navigate it but fight battles in it like so many war-eagles, combating for the domination of the clouds. To be so perfect in aeronautics they must have known all the arts and sciences relating to the science, including the strata and currents of the atmosphere, the relative temperature, humidity, density and specific gravity of the various gases....." - Col. Olcott in a lecture in Allahabad in 1881.
The Rig Veda, the oldest document of the human race includes references to the following modes of transportation: Jalayan - a vehicle designed to operate in air and water (Rig Veda 6.58.3); Kaara- a vehicle that operates on ground and in water. (Rig Veda 9.14.1); Tritala- a vehicle consisting of three stories. (Rig Veda 3.14.1); Trichakra Ratha - a three-wheeled vehicle designed to operate in the air. (Rig Veda 4.36.1); Vaayu Ratha- a gas or wind-powered chariot. (Rig Veda 5.41.6); Vidyut Ratha- a vehicle that operates on power. (Rig Veda 3.14.1).
Ancient Sanskrit literature is full of descriptions of flying machines - Vimanas. From the many documents found it is evident that the scientist-sages Agastya and Bharadwaja had developed the lore of aircraft construction.
The "Agastya Samhita" gives us Agastya`s descriptions of two types of aeroplanes. The first is a "chchatra" (umbrella or balloon) to be filled with hydrogen. The process of extracting hydrogen from water is described in elaborate detail and the use of electricity in achieving this is clearly stated. This was stated to be a primitive type of plane, useful only for escaping from a fort when the enemy had set fire to the jungle all around. Hence the name, "Agniyana". The second type of aircraft mentioned is somewhat on the lines of the parachute. It could be opened and shut by operating chords. This aircraft has been described as "vimanadvigunam" i.e. of a lower order than the regular aeroplane.
Aeronautics or Vaimaanika Shastra is a part of Yantra Sarvasva of Bharadwaja. This is also known as Brihadvimaana Shastra. Vaimaanikashastra deals about aeronautics, including the design of aircraft, the way they can be used for transportation and other applications, in detail. The knowledge of aeronautics is described in Sanskrit in 100 sections, eight chapters, 500 principles and 3000 slokas. Great sage Bharadwaja explained the construction of aircraft and way to fly it in air, on land, on water and use the same aircraft like a sub-marine. He also described the construction of war planes and fighter aircraft.
Vaimaanika Shastra explains the metals and alloys and other required material, which can be make an aircraft imperishable in any condition. Planes which will not break (abhedya), or catch fire (adaahya) and which cannot be cut (achchedya) have been described. Along with the treatise there are diagrams of three types of aeroplanes - "Sundara", "Shukana" and "Rukma".
The aircraft is classified into three types- Mantrika, Tantrika and Kritaka, to suit different yugas or eras. In kritayuga, it is said, Dharma was well established. The people of that time had the devinity to reach any place using their Ashtasiddhis. The aircraft used in Tretayuga are called Mantrikavimana, flown by the power of hymns (mantras). Twenty-five varieties of aircraft including Pushpaka Vimana belong to this era. The aircraft used in Dwaparayuga were called Tantrikavimana, flown by the power of tantras. Fifty six varieties of aircraft including Bhairava and Nandaka belong to this era. The aircraft used in Kaliyuga, the on-going yuga, are called Kritakavimana, flown by the power of engines. Twenty-five varieties of aircraft including "Sundara", "Shukana" and "Rukma" belong to this era.
Bharadwaja states that there are thirty-two secrets of the science of aeronautics. Of these some are astonishing and some indicate an advance even beyond our own times. For instance the secret of "para shabda graaha", i.e. a cabin for listening to conversation in another plane, has been explained by elaborately describing an electrically worked sound-receiver that did the trick. Manufacture of different types of instruments and putting them together to form an aircraft are also described.
It appears that aerial warfare was also not unknown, for the treatise gives the technique of "shatru vimana kampana kriya" and "shatru vimana nashana kriya" i.e. shaking and destroying enemy aircraft, as well as photographing enemy planes, rendering their occupants unconscious and making one`s own plane invisible.
In Vastraadhikarana, the chapter describing the dress and other wear required while flying, talks in detail about the wear for both the pilot and the passenger separately.
Ahaaraadhikarana is yet another section exclusively dealing with the food habits of a pilot. This has a variety of guidelines for pilots to keep their health through strict diet.
Bhardwaja also provides a bibliography. He had consulted six treatises by six different authors previous to him and he gives their names and the names of their works in the following order : Vimana Chandrika by Narayanamuni; Vyoma Yana Mantrah by Shaunaka; Yantra Kalpa by Garga; Yana Bindu by Vachaspati; Kheta Yaana Pradeepika by Chaakraayani; Vyoma Yaanarka Prakasha by Dundi Natha.
As before Bharadwaja, after him too there have been Sanskrit writers on aeronautics and there were four commentaries on his work. The names of the commentators are Bodh Deva, Lalla, Narayana Shankha and Vishwambhara.
Evidence of existence of aircrafts are also found in the Arthasastra of Kautilya (c. 3rd century B.C.). Kautilya mentions amongst various tradesmen and technocrats the Saubhikas as `pilots conducting vehicles in the sky`. Saubha was the name of the aerial flying city of King Harishchandra and the form `Saubika` means `one who flies or knows the art of flying an aerial city`. Kautilya uses another significant word `Akasa Yodhinah`, which has been translated as `persons who are trained to fight from the sky.` The existence of aerial chariots, in whatever form it might be, was so well-known that it found a place among the royal edicts of the Emperor Asoka which were executed during his reign from 256 B.C. - 237 B. C.
It is interesting to note that the Academy of Sanskrit Research in Melkote, near Mandya, had been commissioned by the Aeronautical Research Development Board, New Delhi, to take up a one-year study, ‘Non-conventional approach to Aeronautics’, on the basis of Vaimanika Shastra. As a result of the research, a glass-like material which cannot be detected by radar has been developed by Prof Dongre, a research scholar of Benaras Hindu University. A plane coated with this unique material cannot be detected using radar. (Did You Know this? http://www.indpride.com/didyouknow.html)
But perhaps the most interesting thing, about the Indian science of aeronautics and Bharadwaja`s research in the field was that they were successfully tested in actual practice by an Indian over hundred years ago. In 1895, full eight years before the Wright Brothers` first flight at Kitty hawk, North Carolina, USA, Shivkar Bapuji Talpade and his wife gave a thrilling demonstration flight on the Chowpatty beach in Mumbai.
An even more astonishing feature of Talpade’s aircraft was the power source he used- An Ion Engine. The theory of the Ion Engine has been credited to Robert Goddard, long recognized as the father of Liquid-fuel Rocketry. It is claimed that in 1906, long before Goddard launched his first modern rocket, his imagination had conceived the idea of an Ion rocket. But the fact is that not only had the idea of an Ion Engine been conceived long before Dr Goddard, it had also been materialized in the form of Talpade’s aircraft.
Mr. Talpade, a resident of Mumbai, was an erudite scholar of Sanskrit literature, especially of the Vedas, an inventor and a teacher in the School of Arts. His deep study of the Vedas led him to construct an aeroplane in conformity with descriptions of aircraft available in the Vedas and he displayed it in an exhibition arranged by the Bombay Art Society in the Town Hall. Its proving the star attraction of the exhibition encouraged its maker to go deeper into the matter and see if the plane could be flown with the aid of mercurial pressure. For the one hundred and ninetieth "richa" (verse) of the Rig Veda and the aeronautical treatise of Bharadwaja mention that flying machines came into full operation when the power of the sun`s rays, mercury and another chemical called "Naksha rassa" were blended together. This energy was, it seems, stored in something like an accumulator or storage batteries. The Vedas refer to eight different engines in the plane and Bharadwaja adds that they are worked by electricity.
Mr. Talpade carried on his research along these lines and constructed an aeroplane. In his experiments he was aided by his wife, also a deep scholar of the Vedic lore, and an architect friend. The plane combined the constructional characteristics of both "Pushpaka" and "Marut Sakha", the sixth and eighth types of aircraft described by Bharadwaja. It was named "Marut Sakha" meaning "Friend of the Wind".
With this plane this pioneer airman of modern India gave a demonstration flight on the Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai in the year 1895. The machine attained a height of about 1500 feet and then automatically landed safely. The flight was witnessed, among many others, by Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad, the Maharaja of Baroda and Justice Govind Ranade and was reported in “The Kesari” a leading Marathi daily newspaper. They were impressed by the feat and rewarded the talented inventor.
Unfortunately Talpade lost interest in things after his wife`s death, and after his own death in 1917 at the age of 53 his relatives sold the machine to Rally Brothers, a leading British exporting firm then operating in Mumbai. Thus the first ever attempt at flying in modern India, undertaken and made successful by an Indian, in a plane of Indian manufacture and built to Indian scientific specifications, slid into the limbo of oblivion.
(Author is a Chartered Accountant working in a private organization in Indore (MP), India and manages a web-site www.indpride.com)