Mahabharta war in the history of Hindus

By S. Govindaswamy

It is claimed that the civilisation that originated on the banks of river Saraswati is the most ancient in the history of mankind, based on historical and linguistic study of the Rig Veda. It is also claimed that Rig Veda is the world's oldest available text. These sweeping statements can only be wishful thinking as no references to support research works have been given. How proper is it to call Rig Veda as a text, as Vedas (smiritis) did have only an oral tradition.

If Shantanu was the great grandfather of the Kauravas and Pandavas, he would have lived three generations earlier and not four as mentioned.

What is the independent evidence that the 'accepted date' of Mahabharata war was 3101 B.C? Taking the above figure to be correct the latest verses of Rig Veda were composed around 3200 b.c.

From Krishna to Rama

a) In the discussion the author has used Solar (Sauramana) year, precession of equinoxes (seasons) and lunar (Chandramana) year.

b) Before drawing conclusions it is necessary to know which Panchangams (Almanacs) were in use and when these were computed. As per one Panchangam, year 5107 of Kaliyuga, the most ancient, is running now. Does it not mean that there were no Panchangams earlier than 3000 B.C.? If so,this coincided with the given date for Mahabharata war. The astrological references to Rama's birth and observation of Ashwins in winter solstice have probably been made prior to the start of the Kaliyuga Panchangam!

c) In the calculation of the periods of Krishna and Rama, the author has mixed up precession of equinoxes with thithis (phases) of moon. The former is based on the wobbling of earth's axis in clockwise (opposite to its rotation and orbit around sun) direction. The latter is the relative angles between the sun and moon due the latter's rotation around the earth. It is true that the difference. Between Chaitra Shukla Saptami and Chaitra Pournami, is eight days. The author points out, that winter ended on Chaitra full moon day during Rama's period and on Chitra Shukla Saptami during Mahabharata war. Application of precession of the equinoxes to the thithis is not correct. If the end of winter had been given based on sun's motion the above calculation would be correct. The moon's phases do not occur at the same corresponding position of sun with respect to stars, in any two years. Precision refers only to sun's position with respect to the equator (Bhumadhya rekha), Tropic of Cancer and Carpricorn (Kataka and Makara rekhas). For example sun is in winter solstice on December 23. If the preceding new moon (Amavasya) occurred at the same star (degree) during Rama's birth and Bhishma's death, it would establish sun's position also. If so the author's calculation is acceptable.

d) It is mentioned that Bhishma breathed his last when Uttarayana started on Magha (February-March) Shukla Ashtami. In the next line it is mentioned that winter ended on Chaitra (April-May) Shukla Sapta Saptami. The difference is two months. This needs clarification.

e) Sidereal day is approximately four minutes longer than solar day. Sidereral year is one day more than solar year because earth's rotation around the sun amounts to one extra revolution with respect to stars. The statement that sidereal year is longer than solar year by 20 minutes 23 seconds due to precession of the equinoxes, is wrong.

Sun comes to Ashwini on April 14/15 (Tamil New Year Day). This is start of Chittirai month (Mesha month in Kerala). This is called as Baishaki in Punjab. Is there an advance of one month sun is having a declination of approximately 90 34' North. If Ashwini was in winter solstice as per riches 7/69/3 and 1/112/13 the declination would have been 23030' south. The precession between December 23 and April 14 is 110 days. Hence the period would be 110X 72=7920 years; approximately 5000 b.c.