Many believe that Kali-Yuga began in 3102 BCE. But please don’t ask them this question:
“What makes you think that Kali-Yuga began in 3102 BCE?”
May be you should ask the question and listen to all possible interesting answers.
What do we have by way of evidence for this claim of 3102 BCE as the beginning of Kali-Yuga? Not much. Let’s list what we do know.
(1) One of the verses from Arayabhatiya (astronomy treatise) of Aryabhatta states that Aryabhatta was 23 years old when 3600 years of Kali-Yuga has elapsed.
Many researchers employ above reference to infer that therefore Aryabhatiya was written in year 499 CE and that Aryabhatta was born in 476 CE. However these researchers do not tell us from where they acquire this assumption of 3102 BCE as the beginning of Kali-Yuga, if that very information was used to decide the timing of Aryabhatta (or timing of composition of Aryabhatiya).
I do not know, and thus would like to know independent references (independent of Aryabhatiya and independent of assumption of 3102 BCE as the beginning of Kali-Yuga) that would lead us to this time period (5th century CE).
We do need independent evidence. In the absence of independent evidence, it is not clear, at least to me, how one can determine two unknowns from one piece of information (Aryabhatiya reference).
(2) Number of calendars of Indian origin, and in vogue in India but also around India – Sri Lanka, Thailand, etc., at least up to 17th and 18th century CE, and most likely still current, seem to employ 3102 BCE as the beginning (epoch) for their calculations. Some of these calendars go back to 6th or 7th century CE—plausible timing of Aryabhatta.
That is it. The entire thesis for the beginning of Kali-Yuga with 3102 BCE is based on above evidence. In fact majority of people asserting 3102 BCE = Beginning of Kali-Yuga are not even aware of the second evidence I mentioned above.
(3) When questioned further, some of the adherents of 3102 BCE =Beginning of Kali-Yuga also assert that all planets (and let’s assume they meant all visible planets – visible to the naked eye) were in conjunction near nakshatra Ashwini at the beginning of Kali-Yuga. Many claim this day to be 18 March 3102 BCE.
Let’s note down positions of the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn for 18 March 3102 BCE.
Graha ——— Right Ascension (dynamic epoch)
Sun —- 22 hr 18 min
Moon—- 22 hr 18 min
Mercury ——– 23 hr 12 min
Venus—- 23 hr 32 min
Mars—- 21 hr 39 min
Jupiter ——– 21 hr 48 min
Saturn ——– 18 hr 42 min
Rahu (node)—— 20hr 49 min
We can summarize that all visible ‘Grahas’ were within 60 degrees of the area of the ecliptic (in the vicinity of nakshatra Ashwini) on this day. To complete the picture I have also added position of the node (Rahu).
In next part, we will look at views of Kalhana, Garga and Varahamihir for the beginning of Kali-Yuga. We will also look at views of Lokamanya B G Tilak and his analysis for the assumptions of Aryabhatta but also Garga. We may also analyze if planetary situation described for 18 March 3102 BCE is truly a unique situation.