“There are horrible people who, instead of solving a problem, tangle it up and make it harder to solve for anyone who wants to deal with it. Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
Let’s try to untangle. Shall we?
This is what Professor Hans Henrich Hock wrote (original paper written in 2000 CE) and published as a chapter in a book “Indo-Aryan Controversy: Evidence and Inference in Indian History’ (2005).
“Was intercalation used on a yearly basis? That is, were the months entirely
lunar (consisting of 27 or 28 days), and the thirteenth month was inserted
every year? If so, at what point in the cycle was it inserted? If this was not
the case – as suggested by the fact that  mentions six sixtwelve
months for the course of the sun – at what yearly intervals were intercalary
months inserted, and what, therefore, was the number of days per month (the
Vedic texts range between 27 and 35 days)? Given a rough correlation of
1 day1 or 72 years of precession, the difference between 27 and 35 days,
that is 8 days, would translate into a variation in time depth of 576 years.”
We will list all possibilities…
(1) Hindu Astronomers used intercalation. No disagreement here:
(1) – (a): Calendar is assumed to be solar
(1) – (b): Calendar is assumed to be lunar
(1) – (c) Intercalation may be employed annually
(1) – (d) Intercalation may be employed every few years
Combining above possibilities, we can create further options..
(1) – (e) Intercalation employed annually and applied to Solar Calendar
(1) – (f) Intercalation employed annually and applied to Lunar Calendar
(1) – (g) Intercalation employed every few years and applied to Solar Calendar
(1) – (h) Intercalation employed every few years and applied to Lunar Calendar
In effect, I have listed all possibilities (permutations and combinations). I encourage readers to mention other possibilities. I am certain I would have missed them.
In next part, we will explore above possibilities in the context of alleged length of Hindu month between 27-35 days. However, before we do that, we must dismiss the myth (repeated tirelessly for reasons only those who repeat know well): The Myth is that as if there is one reference (or more) which states length of Indian month to vary from 27 to 35! Nothing is far from the truth.
As we progress, I will present specific references for the length of the month and the context in which it is stated.
(2) Our Linguistic professor also claims that Vedic texts refer to days of the month from 27 through 35.
This second statement is provided without specific references. That is hand waving at its best! Why does a reader need to recognize this as casual and careless hand waving? This is because Vedic/Hindu calendar is Luni-Solar and ancient Hindu literature refers to both lunar and solar months, and also lunar and solar years. Thus, it is critical to know the context (lunar or solar) when length of the month is described.
Besides, the very purpose of ‘Intercalation’ is to synchronize Luni-Solar Calendar! Hard math and complex motions of Moon and Sun (and earth) are at work.
Rhetoric and careless hand waving is of no use whatsoever!
To be continued…