Bhishma Nirvana is assumed to have occurred during the lunar month of Magha, and Tithi of Ashtami (8) of Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight).
While The Mahabharata text has no direct evidence for ‘Day of Bhishma Nirvana =Magha Shukla 8’, the interpretation of one such Mahabharata text does make it plausible.
That same verse (of Mahabharata text) is been interpreted by past Mahabharata researchers to mean day(s) of
(1) Magha Shukla 8
(2) Magha Shukla 4
(3) Magha Shukla 12
(4) Magha Vadya 8,
(5) Magha Vadya 4 or
(6) Magha Vadya 12.
Many researchers have also assumed presence of ‘Adhika-masa’ (Intercalary month) during the year of Mahabharata War.
what could have led researchers to such varied Lunar Tithis for the day of Bhishma Nirvana?
We will explore this issue in future,
Mahabharata War began on the Amawasya day , at the end of lunar month of Kartika.
(Bhishma fell down in the war on the 10th day of the War and began his rest on bed of arrows from that day)
Here is a plausible calculation for the ‘Tithi’ of Bhishma Nirvana; assuming no ‘Adhika masa’ (intercalary month) and a minimum interval of 92 days (as validated by 20+ astronomy and chronology observations of Mahabharata text).
We will begin our counting with Margashirsha Amawasya (~15 days after Kartika Purnima – Full Moon). We will take, deliberately, most conservative route to the day of Bhishma Nirvana, beginning with the first day of Mahabharata War.
= 29.5 days of Margashirsha + 29.5 days of Pausha + 29.5 days of Magha + 12-13 days of Phalguna
Thus the earliest Tithi (exluding assumption of Adhika masa or Kshaya masa) for Bhishma Nirvana could have been Phalguna Shukla 12 or 13 (Dwadashi or Trayodashi).
Since one reference of Mahabharata text also suggest plausible lunar month of Magha; it appears that assumption of ‘Adhika masa’ made by many Mahabharata researchers may be a viable assumption.
To be continued…