Interrelation: Convention & Experience

Numerous readers, while discussing a specific subject, via emails write….

“BUT, all history professors agree with interpretation of X as Y.”

“However, you (referring to me) can not change the convention that Indian astronomers are using for thousands of years.”

“BUT, I was always told that X meant only Y.”

I want to emphasize that the confusion expressed/asserted/uttered by my readers, above, is due to their confusion of interrelation between ‘Convention’ and ‘Experience’.

Convention and experience do not determine each other. In fact they modify each other.

Let’s look at a simple illustration.

Imagine a lifelong resident of India or UK visits USA for the first time. When this visitor observes (experiences) road traffic, at a first glance he may interpret it as all wrong. Of course this would be so because he is observing American traffic based on his long held convention of traffic rules (or lack thereof) of India or UK.

However, as this new visitor to America continues to observe/experience American traffic may realize one day that there is nothing wrong with the traffic; it just that it uses different conventions.
Now let’s sit in a time machine and let’s go back in antiquity, by about 7500 years – to 5561 BCE.

I showed (with the help of observations -three of them – and thus experience) that in Mahabharata times (Pages 80-82 and Figures 7 &9, in MR) the convention ‘VAKRI’ meant ‘Oblique motion of a planet across the ecliptic’ and NOT ‘retrograde’ motion of a planet as is the convention in our times.

The Mahabharata text has at least three (3) instances of Graha traveling ‘VAKRI’

(1) Mars went VAKRI near Nakshtra Magha

(2) Mars went VAKRI near Nakshatras Jyestha/Anuradha

(3) Jupiter went VAKRI near Nakshatra Shravana.

Mars goes Vakri only once in two years. It also completes one rotation in its orbit (and thus through ~27 nakshatras) in 1.88 Years (~ 2 years). On the other hand, Nakshatra Magha and Nakshatras Jyestha/Anuradha are separated by only six or seven ( 6 or 7) nakshatras (P. & U Phalguni, Hasta, Chitra, Swati, Vishakha).

Thus if one employs ‘Convention’ for meaning of ‘VAKRI = RETROGRADE’, prevalent in our times, then above astronomy observations of Mahabharata text can not be corroborated.

This is when I focused on observations (experience) via simulations to understand the nature of convention for VAKRI of Mahabharata Times.

Additional observation of ‘Jupiter traveling VAKRI near nakshatra Shravana’ provided me an additional opportunity to test my modified convention for ‘VAKRI”.

The outcome was spectacular!, to say the least.

Thus while a researcher will always begin with a convention prevalent in his time, he must allow his experience (observation/experiment/corroboration) to modify his convention, if necessary.

Relation between convention and experience is simply that of modifying each other in the fashion of prediction/corroboration.


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