Arundhati –Vasistha (AV) Observation of Mahabharata

A reader wrote…

Nilesh ji,

A question came up while reading your Mahabharata book. If each Epoch of Arundhati is a wide phase of thousands of years where everyday Arundhati appears walking ahead of Vasistha;

Why would Vyasa tell Dhritarashtra a day before the War that “Arundhati has left her Husband behind”.
I feel that it makes sense only if this was a new phenomenon during that time. If at that time it had already been happening for thousands of years, this particular configuration of Arundhati-Vasistha would be too common and used-to to quote like this. What would be the use of quoting one day, something which was just as is, for thousands of years now? (Since 11091 BCE). Wouldn’t quoting something more dynamic/volatile be useful, something that helps tag the contemporary event/time more uniquely?

Or did this quotation in that particular situation meant to imply a certain horary section of the day … like saying “the Sun has set (its 6 PM).” ?? Of course I might be missing something basic, as my knowledge in Astronomy is poor. If you could clarify on this itching, its not letting me read further peacefully.
My response…

Scientifically speaking….

What is the problem?

Mahabharata text states that Arundhati is walking ahead of Vasistha, at the time of the Mahabharata War
What makes ‘Arundhati walking ahead of Vasistha’ a problem?

This is a problem (or was thought to be problem) because the positions of Arundhati and Vasistha are essentially unchanged for hundreds and thousands of years. The current configuration is such that Vasistha walks ahead of Arundhati, whereas Mahabharata text states the OPPOSITE.

The Mahabharata researchers dealt with this problem in the following ways:

(1) Many researchers either downplayed this observation or ignored it hoping no one notices.
(2) Two researchers (Vaidya & Kane assumed that this was inserted by later writers)
(3) One researcher (R N Iyengar) combined part of this observation with another Mahabharata observation to come up with arbitrary, and unsatisfactory, explanation
(4) One researcher (P V Vartak) believed in factual nature of this observation, but could not test it to validate
(5) One researcher (N N Oak) showed that this was indeed the case from 11091 BCE through 4508 BCE.

Conclusion: Mahabharata War occurred sometime during the Epoch of Arundhati (11091 BCE – 4508 BCE).

So I solved the problem. In a scientific jargon, it would not have mattered how long this phenomenon was occurring. It would also not matter by how much distance/separation, Arundhati was ahead of Vasistha.

So before we get into additional exploration and explanations, it is important to realize that this discovery is a great breakthrough. It is revolutionary in its implications and various objections people have raised have no implication whatsoever on the ‘scientific’ nature of this discovery.

If Newton had discovered this and if people had put the above questions to him, he would have simply answered, “Hypothesis non Fingo” ( in layperson’s language – I don’t know).

The discoverer is not required to answer these questions. One may claim that these concerns are real and they may be. But these new problems are in fact the result of the revolutionary discovery of ‘Epoch of Arundhati ‘(11091 BCE – 4508 BCE).

One must understand this and then, and only then, one can begin to explore answers to the new questions raised.
Essentially, reader is asking…

(1) If the phenomenon (of Arundhati ahead of Vasistha was occurring since 11091 BCE, what was such a big deal for Vyasa to mention in on 15 October 5561 BCE, one day before the first day of the Mahabharata War?
(2) In effect we are asking why Vyasa mentioned a phenomenon on the eve of the Mahabharata War, which otherwise was occurring for some 6000 years leading to the day of the Mahabharata War.
Short digression
In ‘The Poverty of Historicism’, Sir Karl Popper asks us to discard the tool of ‘psychology’ in researching any historical narrative. That is not to say that we can not speculate. Rather the point is if one is not careful, one will generate much metaphysical discussion but without any conclusion.
In short, history as documented can tells us something about ‘What’ (question phrased with ‘what’) and by luck, it may tell us something about ‘When’. It does not tell us anything about ‘Why’, but we can always draw inferences on what is being said.
Back to the discussion..

The phenomenon of Arundhati walking ahead of Vasistha was due to change in the position of the point of North Celestial pole as shown in the figure below

 photo 9bd11be6.jpg

The point of North celestial pole was placed in such a way that Arundhati would have appeared to walk ahead of Vasistha anytime during 11091 BCE through 4508 BCE.

Why suddenly it was such a big deal, that it was worth mentioning in 5561 BCE.

The answer is because a big destructive war was going to happen, many were trying their best to stop it. Vyasa was making a last min attempt and in describing evil omens (as a last min effort to see if he could influence Dhritarashtra in any way) he mentions various inauspicious omens. This list includes numerous astronomy observations of that time (30 of them by my count) and among these 30, he mentions this one observation of Arundhati walking ahead of Vasistha.

Is this a unique instance within Mahabharata where Vyasa is making a list of inauspicious omen? Not at all, on the contrary, such lists of evil omens appear anytime a disaster is anticipated. Karna mentions them during his conversation with Krishna, before the War and Vyasa mentions them before and during the dual between Bhima and Duryodhan. These omens included astronomy observations. There are too many instances to mention.

In fact same thing can be said of Ramayana (These are fresh on my mind and thus easy to list)

(1) Scheduled coronation of Rama (When instead he ended up leaving for the forest)
(2) Rama-Khara fight
(3) Ravana taking away Sita from Panchavati
(4) Vali-Vadha
(5) Rama and Vanara army leaving from Kishkindha (in this case, good omens)
(6) Ravana-Vadha
Another reason we can speculate is that while Arundhati indeed began walking ahead of Vasistha as early as 11091 BCE, the separation between them was very small and remained so for many hundreds and thousands of years, as shown in the figure below.

 photo fb57e044.jpg

As can be seen from the figure, The separation reached its maximum (Arundhati ahead of Vasistha) around the time of Mahabharata War (5561 BCE), in fact sometime before 5561 BCE.

Naked eye resolution is about 1 arc-min. The maximum separation (with Arundhati ahead of Vasistha) between Arundhati and Vasistha were around 500 arc-sec, which is about 8 arc-min.

Thus one can make a case that while Arundhati began walking ahead of Vasistha as early as 11091 BCE, only around the time of the Mahabharata War (5561 BCE) it would have become apparent to someone observing them (Arundhati and Vasistha) with naked eye.


8 thoughts on “Arundhati –Vasistha (AV) Observation of Mahabharata

  1. Arundhati had been very close to Vasishtha for a long period and her being just ahead of Vasishtha was noticeable only recently, that too to a keen observer like Vyasa. It is therefore legitimate that he mentions it. Why a bad omen? Cant say.

  2. Pingback: Response to Shri Shrikant Talageri – Part 6 | Nilesh Nilkanth Oak

    • Great question. For most part the references Tilak employed were from secondary literature related to Rigveda – broadly called ‘Veda-shakha Pravachan’. The timing of Veda-shakha Pravachan indeed comes to 5000 BCE through 2000 BCE (post- Mahabharata).

      Please watch.

      and also

      There are more videos by myself and Shri Mrugendra Vinod that you should watch, but this will provide a head start.

      Warm regards,

      NIlesh Oak

      PS: Feel free to post additional questions , after going through these videos + my books.

  3. “Naked eye resolution is about 1 arc-min. The maximum separation (with Arundhati ahead of Vasistha) between Arundhati and Vasistha were around 500 arc-sec, which is about 8 arc-min.” Since the naked eye resolution is about 1 arc-min, I am guessing that around 8000-9000 BC is when this phenomenon would have been observed. Am I correct?
    Also, you mention in your book that you didn’t check all the plausible dates but went ahead with P.V. Vartak’s suggestion. So there may be another date which may meet all the criterion.

    • Since the separation of 500 arc-sec existed in 5561 BCE, the phenomenon could be observed in 5561 BCE.

      The maximum separation was around 6000 BCE.

      Where do I mention that I did not check all the plausible dates?

      In fact, I did check all the plausible dates, however, as a man of Dharma (and thus of science, logic, etc.), I remain open to the possibility that if someone else comes up with another date (within the Epoch of Arundhati and (now) within the Epoch of Bhishma Nirvana) that provides a better corroboration than what 5561 BCE achieves, it will be exciting, in which case, we should accept that better claim. This is true for everything in science (e.g., Einstein’s theory) and my claim is not an exception.

      I am asserting that there is no other date but 5561 BCE that does a phenomenal job of corroborating multidisciplinary evidence of Mahabharata text (12+ disciplines of science). However, I am willing to be wrong (this does not mean I am wrong).

      However, anyone claiming to have a better claim for the year of Mahabharata war has an onus to show why and how that claim is better in comparison to 5561 BCE, as it relates to the rich internal evidence of the Mahabharata text.

  4. Dear Shri Nilesh Oak,
    Hope you are aware that Dr. Vartakji passed away recently. He was a teacher of my wife and my wife took me to his home quite some years ago. He was a great scholar. Credit goes to him for his pioneering attempts in finding the dates of the Mahabharata and Ramayana events. Let the Lord give him peace. I could not agree with his date of Mahabharata, but it appeared to me that he was almost at the point of finding the true date of the Ramayana events, though he seemed to be off by about one thousand years.
    Now coming to your work I was wondering why you have not given the distances of Arundhati and Vashishtha from the Earth. It does appear relevant to your approach. Why not give those figures, which you have considered for your work.
    Best wishes in your search for the truths of the past history of India.
    Sunil K. Bhattacharjya

    • I have not given their distances from the Earth because they are not relevant. If you think they are relevant, feel free to research and produce your original works. After all, you have published 32+ peer-reviewed papers. If I find merit in your work, I will be happy to publish them on my blog.

      All the best.

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