Ashwini & Mahabharata: Surprising Corroboration

Sometime ago I wrote on ‘Ashwini’ (Nakshatra) reference from the Mahabharata text and showed that the observation can corroborate timeline of 5500 BCE, timing of King Janmejaya.

A reader wrote me referring to another reference (not from Mahabharata) of Ashwini observation that leads to same time period of 5500 BCE.
The reference with explanation occurs in a book ‘Pre-Siddhantic Indian Astronomy’ (by Prof. K. D. Abhyankar and Prof. K. V. Krishna Murthy).
I reproduced the relevant passage from this book.. (Pages 72-73)
The healing power of Ashiwnikumar becomes evident at summer solstice in a different way if we adopt the interpretation of the ‘Vandana episode’ as given by P. V. Holay.

After traversing half of the celestial sphere during six months, the Ashwini nakshatra is seen (rising in the east) after sunset at the time of summer solstice. According to Holay, Ashwinikumar determined the summer solstice at this point of time by looking at the reflection of the sun in a deep well from a place slightly south of the tropic of cancer. The reflection of the sun (Vandana) was visible in the well four days before the summer solstice. Thereafter it could not be seen (Vandana was hidden in the well) for 9 days because of the sun’s northward shift. It traveled northward for the first four days reaching the northernmost point on the fifth day. It took the sun another four days to return to its original position, when its reflection (Vandana) was seen again in the well.

This is how Ashwinikumar resurrected Vandana from the well after 9 days by the turning of the well upside down and Vandana came out as bright as the sun.

This would have been the case around 5500 BCE.

I did not know the origin of this story, however I was told that some mention occurs in Rigveda. I plan on searching for these references.

However, I do want to make few observations…

(1) All Vedas were edited/recasted by Ved Vyasa and thus during the timing of Mahabharata.
(2) Thus it should not surprise us if there are astronomy references, even in Vedas, that corresponds to timing of Mahabharata
(3) While I am unable to comment or provide criticism of P. V. Holay’s interpretation, I do want to point out it’s coincidental corroboration for my proposed timing of Mahabharata (~ 5500 BCE).
(4) Reader may note down the similarity of ‘Upamanyu’ falling in the well and that of ‘Vandana’ in the well from above interpretation of P. V. Holay.


4 thoughts on “Ashwini & Mahabharata: Surprising Corroboration

  1. on other note…….myth of ashwinikumar is important myth in veda…they supposed appear in the sky before the dawn in chariot….is there any thought on how this myth corelates with ashwini constellation and sunrise? in what season, at what latitude , in which era?

    • There are lot of conjectures. One has to sift through them with the help of objectively testable evidence and innovative (but rooted in empiricism) experiments.

    • It is true that Ashwin is the first nakshatra (current Panchang).

      But Rohini, Dhanishtha, Krittika (and could be many others) are mentioned as first nakshatras in our ancient narratives. Every time the context is different. Trick is to identify the context.

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