In 1969 CE, Prof. K Srinivasa Raghavan (hereafter Prof. Raghavan) published a book ‘The date of the Mahabharata War and The Kali Yugadhi’. In this book he proposed 22 November 3067 BCE as the first day of Mahabharata War.
My aim is to critically analyze his work and in the process discuss multiple aspects of Philosophy of Science.
Let’s begin with the first paragraph of his introduction….
I have gone carefully through all the essays of the occidental and oriental scholars in determining the date of the Maha Bharata War. Those scholars have variously fixed the date ranging from 1919 B.C. to 315 B.C. Most of their ideas are empirical and not a few of them are the product of fanciful imagination or pre-conceived notions. It is now possible dispassionately to determine the correct date with a high degree of accuracy, and this is based on astronomical data and the internal evidence of the Maha Bharata alone. We may in fact justly and properly style the date of the Maha Bharata war, which the science of astronomy has now in controvertibly fixed on 22 Nov. 3067 B.C., as the true anchor sheet of Indian chronology and history, as every date indicated by Indian astronomy and supported by Ancient Indian Puranic history depends on it.
It is not clear what Prof. Raghavan means by the word ‘empirical’ when he states that “ideas are empirical” or when he says that “not a few of them are the product of fanciful imagination or pre-conceived notions”.
The reality is that all ideas or revolutionary conjectures/theories/hypotheses are product of ‘fanciful imagination’. In addition, the theories emerge in the context of solving a problem and thus they are indeed based on ‘pre-conceived notions’ of what theory might able to solve the problem.
The next few sentences reminded me of ‘justificatory’ notion of science that began with Francis Bacon and continued through David Hume, Wittgenstein through Kuhn, viz. justification based on ‘dispassionate thinking’, authorities and majority opinion. Thus Prof. Raghavan tells us that it is possible to “dispassionately determine the correct date with a high degree of accuracy, and this is based on astronomical data and the internal evidence of the Mahabharata alone”.
Nothing can be farther from the truth.
He boldly claims that “We may in fact justly and properly style the date of the Maha Bharata war, which the science of astronomy has now in controvertibly fixed on 22 Nov. 3067 B.C., as the true anchor sheet of Indian chronology and history”.
I have shown in ten part series, how it is impossible to derive the timing of 3067 BCE, based on internal evidence (astronomy or otherwise) of the Mahabharata text, when I critically analyzed so called “twelve observations” of Prof. Narahari Achar who attempted a justification to ‘prove’ 3067 BCE as the year of Mahabharata War. While Prof. Narahari Achar was gung ho on ‘proving’ proposed date of Prof. Raghavan, he has conveniently avoided analysis and criticism of the work of Prof. Raghavan.