Response to Shri Shrikant Talageri – Part 3 of 8

Theory or Theories are proposed to solve a problem, a problem not solved by previous theories or when expectations are deceived by an actual experience (e.g.  Sun rising from the West).

In any field, find the strangest thing and then explore it” – John Archibald Wheeler

Oak Theory of Visual Astronomy observations

What was the Problem?

Vyasa states that ‘Arundhati is walking ahead of Vasistha’ at the time of the Mahabharata War.

Why is this a Problem?

This is a problem, because in our times.. Arundhati walks BEHIND Vasistha and NOT AHEAD of Vasistha as it was (supposedly) walking at the time of the Mahabharata War.

The relative proper motions of Arundhati and Vasistha are also such that they can not account for Arundhati walking ahead of Vasistha in the distant past.

Thus, astronomers realized that ‘Arundhati walking ahead of Vasistha’ was simply an impossibility. Of course no serious researcher doubted the astronomy nature of this statement/observation from the Mahabharata text, however the observation posed the hardest stumbling block for any researcher trying to determine timing of the Mahabharata war via astronomy observations of the Mahabharata text.

Many acted as if this observation did not exist (while embracing remaining 3 observations (3 out of 4)) from the second chapter of Bhishma Parva). Few researchers did recognize the need for some explanation…any explanation… of AV observation (Vaidya, Kane, Iyengar, Vartak). These four greats tried but did not succeed.

Oak’s theory of ‘Visual astronomy observations’

The consequence of this theory (that Arundhati was literally seen as walking ahead of Vasistha) and more critically its validation/corroboration with actual evidence (tested and retested using multiple astronomy software, but also few brilliant mathematician running simple trigonometric solutions) all led to validation and re-validation of my claim that Arundhati was seen walking ahead of Vasistha in the past, specifically during 11091 BCE – 4508 BCE, and by deductive logic, this time interval then defined the plausible time interval of the Mahabharata War.

Growth of Knowledge, Scientific discovery and Deductive Reasoning

Oak’s theory and corresponding discovery (de-mystification) related to AV observation provided all of the above

(1) Growth of Knowledge – The interval for timing of the Mahabharata war …bounded by specific time limits (11091 BCE – 4508 BCE) and thus falsifiable by future attempts of others.

(2) Scientific discovery – As All time great Richard Feynman puts it… Guess (Theory) leading to computation of consequences and then agreement of consequences of a theory with that of observations …leading to new insights into the world (in this case, insights about the timing of an individual historic event).

(3) The entire process is deductive.. free from argumentative scholarly thesis (what I like to call ‘Hot air’).

Against this, let’s consider ‘Psychic theory of AV observation’ as proposed by Shri Shrikant Talageri

What made Shri Talageri propose his theory of Psychic Observations?

Note that Shri Talageri’s theory is trying to solve the problem of AV observation that was exclusively created by discovery of yours truly (Oak). Until I could show that Arundhati indeed walked ahead of Vasistha in the past, and a specific time interval when it did so, AV observation was an enigma for both astronomy minded and non-astronomy minded researchers of Mahabharata (or ancient Indian history).

The problem of explaining the ‘Omen‘ aspect of AV observation arose only because of the fact that it was shown (by me) that Arundhati indeed walked ahead of Vasistha (not unlike the problem of ‘why elliptical orbits’ after Kepler showed, with extraordinary brilliance, that planets have elliptical orbits…which in turn was answered by Newton’s theory of Gravity).

And what is the problem Shri Shrikant Talageri is trying to solve?

The problem is that while Arundhati walking ahead of Vasistha, in the past is now accepted, however,  the description does not fit the generic (or specific) definition of Omen emphasized by Shri Shrikant Talageri (or Dr. Elst).

{Of course, one may debate (until cows come home or NOT) various definitions of “What constitutes Omens” or “What definition Vyasa had in mind for Omens” etc. I encourage those taking the route of ‘Theory of Omen’ to explore this path further. It will certainly shed more light and we will gain numerous insights about Vyasa and of Mahabharata times regarding Omens and such. The trick though is to formulate theories in such a way so that they are testable otherwise the discussion quickly turns metaphysical and/or into scholarly thesis aka hot air (In fact I have done some cursory work.. only as it related to some of the astronomy-like observation of Mahabharat text. Read ‘When did the Mahabharata War Happen?’ for further details (e.g. Chapter 9 – section 6, Astronomy analogies such as that of solar eclipses)}

Back to the subject….

Talageri’s theory of Psychic Observations

Theory tries to (claims to ) solve the problem of AV observation, specifically its Omen interpretation by suggesting that it was all in the mind of Vyasa.

Shri Talageri points out the consequences that per his theory, this could have occurred only after 4508 BCE, when Arundahti was no longer walking ahead of Vasistha!

He missed the other time interval … namely.. anytime before 11091 BCE, in antiquity, when Arundhati was  not walking ahead of Vasistha, is also (should be at any rate) consequence of his theory.

And before we forget, does his theory explain the astronomy aspect of AV observation?

The answer is … Nope, NADA, Nah!

In fact, the theory chastises anyone looking at this AV observation in astronomy terms,  as a fool! (Not his words, rather a consequence of his theory). 

In fact, once astronomy aspect of AV observation is removed, it does not matter (should not matter), per his theory of psychic observations, whether Arundhati is walking ahead of Vasistha or not, and thus his demand for ‘removal‘ of time interval…as plausible time interval for the Mahabharata war…what I call ‘Epoch of Arundhati – 11091 BCE – 4508 BCE‘, is superfluous.

Is Shri Talageri’s theory testable?

Again, the answer is Nah!, Nope, No……at least not with technology and development in psychic sciences at our disposal.

Does Shri Talageri’s theory lead to Growth of Knowledge?

Again, the answer is Nah!, Nope, No….Not unless he tells us specifically if it does. (Unlike his brilliant work ‘The Rigveda – Historical Analysis’)

What aspect of Mahabharata does this theory shed light on?  I could not think of any.

Is Shri Talageri theory of Psychic observations FALSIFIABLE?

The answer is obvious. Anything that is not testable is not FALSIFIBLE.

That makes his theory of ‘Psychic observations’ non-scientific!

Before I close this part of the series, I want to make few points..

(1) Just because Shri Talageri theory is not testable today does not mean it will not be testable in the future

 (2) Just because there are no apparent consequence of his theory today, does not mean there would be no consequences in future. Unfortunately, his theory does not have any consequences in its current formulation.  Even metaphysical  (and thus non-testable) theories have consequences (e.g. If one attains certain adhyatmic siddhis, one can make a wall fly (Jnaneshwar-Changdev reference of Shri Talageri in his original comment).  Other examples of Metaphysical theories may include – If  Raga Deep is played in a perfect fashion (wahtever that means.. as was claimed for Tansen) the lamps would lit., etc.

 (3) I also want to point out that since the AV observation is explained in astronomy terms (by me), a desire to understand its ‘Omen’ character by other researchers (e.g. Talageri or Elst) is genuine and natural, and any progress we will make in that direction will indeed add to our understanding of Mahabharata.

 (4) Any theory that is not testable attains the status of ‘Metaphysical theory’. Just because a theory is Metaphysical, it is not necessarily un-true (or false), it’s simply that we have no way of commenting on it (because it is not testable) and only in that sense non-scientific.

In the future sections, I will discuss the cyclical and iterative nature of scientific progress from Problem to tentative theory to predictions (consequences of a theory) to validation (or falsification) and then to new problems of greater complexity (or back to the board to try new theory.. in case of falsification of proposed theory).  Of course I will discuss this in the context of AV observation.

I will also discuss the ‘Myth of the theory of everything’. This is not limited to history research, but research of all kinds.  Again I will point out relevant examples of this myth as it relates to ancient Indian history research.

I will also point links to my other blog articles that have answered other questions related to this FAQ ‘Omen’ thread, in the context of AV observation.



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