“These scholars are able to accurately date, to the year, month and day, the exact moment when Rama crossed his garden, bent down towards a rose bush (assuming rose bushes enter into the Ramayana scenario), plucked a rose and smelt it”
– A (rational) Indian writer (wryly) wrote in private mail to Shri Shrikant Talageri
Shri Shrikant Talageri is the author of
(1) The Aryan Invasion Theory (A reappraisal)
(2) Rig-Veda – A Historical Analysis and
(3) Rig-Veda & The Avesta: The Final Evidence.
Shri Talageri was analyzing effort of another researcher (Prof. Achar) on dating of Rig-Veda.
Shri Talageri quoted above email to express his own ‘lack of belief’ in ability of astronomy evidence to provide details of ancient events. He also felt this was an extreme example.
Anyone who is unfamiliar with Archeo-Astronomy, especially Archeo-astronomy in the context of Ancient Indian literature would have similar reaction. The problem is worsened further by the fact that for one ingenious researcher of Archeo-astronomy, there are at least dozen others who are either naïve, incompetent or outright quacks.
So can we tell when Rama crossed his garden (Ashoka-vana) in Ayodhya, may be along with pregnant Sita, bent down towards a bush (no mention of rose in Valmiki Ramayana), plucked it and smelt it?
Valmiki Ramayana has no specific mention of Rama plucking and smelling a flower in his own garden.
However, if we imagine he doing it, along with Sita as both of them were enjoying time in his Ashoka-vana; we can say that this occurred (if we have to go by limited information provided in Valmiki Ramayana) sometime during May-July (Julian calendar) 12208 BCE. Sorry, no specific day this time.
On the other hand, we can tell the day of Rama killing Vali: 22 September (Julian calendar) 12210 BCE, or the day of Rama-Sita wedding with a margin of error of a day or two: 4 or 5 January 12223 BCE.
Of course do realize that these proposals could be all wrong, but the probability of them being wrong is not any more than say theory of relativity (Einstein) or theory of gravity (Newton). Well, in fact we do know that theory of gravity is wrong (at least as proposed and stated by Newton), although it serves as useful and wonderful approximation for Einstein’s theory of relativity at very low speeds (low in comparison to the speed of light).
How can one predict/propose a specific day, month or year, thousands of years in antiquity, for an event recorded in an epic? Can we believe in such a possibility?
I would not address the issue of a ‘belief’ since I don’t know how to. So I will simply note down a quote from one of my favorite authors – Joseph Campbell
“I don’t have to have faith, I have experience.”
― Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
What makes it possible to predict/propose a specific day, or month or a year, thousands of years in antiquity, especially in the Indian context, and ONLY in the Indian context, is combination of the following:
(1) Newton’s laws for Planetary movements
(2) Accurate modern database for Astral objects (Courtesy: NASA)
(3) Propensity of ancient Indian astronomers/composers to note down astronomy observations
(4) Propensity of Luni-Solar calendar (and ONLY LUNI-SOLAR calendar) to allow a researcher to test and re-test a lone astronomy observation or a set of astronomy observations.
Reader must recognize that a given astronomy observation only offers a possibility (not probability and no guarantee) that it could be employed in predicting a specific day, month or a year of an ancient event, the context in which such observation(s) were recorded.
All we need is lot of ingenuity, wild imagination, unjustified anticipations, bold ideas, speculative thoughts and fearlessness in being wrong, humbleness to recognize when we are wrong and lot of luck.