A reader of ‘Swayambhu’wrote…
2.The date claimed for first day is also same , 16th October. There is a big difference though. Oak has followed the Julian calendar 1300AD backwards. Vartak seems to have stuck to Gregorian Calendar throughout, for working backwards. As a result, Vartak’s 16th Oct. occurs 67 days prior to winter solstice (Uttarayana), which also he has taken on 22nd December as it occurs now. In fact, he has taken Bhishma’s 58 nights on death bed and 10 days of war as the basis for arriving at the date, working backwards from 22nd Dec.. The date according to Vartak matches with an Amavasya he claims.
I did respond to the above point in my previous blog article in this series…
However, I want to comment on the highlighted (bold) portion of reader’s comment, in order to put/set the record straight.
How Vartak arrived at his proposal for the year 5561 BCE as the year of Mahabharata War is a long story and best way to know it is to read his ‘Swayambhu’. Having said that, I want to make it clear that anyone who has read (or will read)’Swayambhu’ will understand that Vartak did not begin with Bhishma on bed of arrows for 58 nights and then added 10 days of the War to arrive at his proposed first day of 16 October 5561 BCE.
In fact my first blog article in this series makes it amply clear that is not at all the case, and it could not be. Otherwise he would have known from the get go that he did not have a case! This is because his claim for 22 December 5561 BCE = the day of Winter solstice, is based on confusion, that even he is aware of, even if indirectly.
What Vartak did is exactly opposite, opposite to what this reader is suggesting. Vartak arrived at 16 October 5561 BCE through a laborious (and ingenious) way, mostly by focusing on positions of Saturn, Jupiter and Rahu.
However, once he defined his 18 day timeline (16 October – 2 November, 5561 BCE), he went on to identify every single astronomy/chronology observation he could find and then tried to corroborate these observations for his timeline.
This is indeed a legitimate scientific method. Unfortunately, he remained stuck to reference of Bhishma on bed of arrows for 58 days, justifiably so (since majority of past researchers are/were chewing the same chewed stuff for ever, without having to do their own investigation). What is surprising is that Vartak did identify many additional references in the context of Bhishma Nirvana. Unfortunately he tried to fit them into the 58 day framework, and not surprisingly, failed miserably.
I also want to make it clear that what the reader is suggesting, i.e. begin with winter solstice, go backward by 58 days and then further 10 days to arrive at first day of War, is equally legitimate method. The problem many researchers run into is that while they do this, they do not even realize that now they have an onus to corroborate rest of the Mahabharata observations (astronomy, chronology and other) against their proposed timeline.
But back to Vartak vs. Oak.
Since I (Oak) had accepted (and borrowed) 18 day timeline of Dr. Vartak for the 18 days of the Mahabharata War, I assumed his other proposed dates (e.g. Bhishma Nirvana) with same force of corroboration. However when I began testing them (both pre-war and post-war instances), I realized that one could not corroborate pre-war and post-war dates proposed by Dr. Vartak.
As a matter of fact, I spent more than 6 months, trying to figure out this problem (or non-corroboration) of Bhishma Nirvana, (for the date 22 December 5561 BCE- that too, per Julian Calendar) as proposed by Dr. Vartak.
I considered every single possibility I could imagine – Adhika masa (extra intercalary month), Kshaya masa (elapsed month), problem of nomenclature of lunar months, confusion of Bhishma or confusion of Vyasa. You name it! I considered every possible scenario. I in fact reached the conclusion that while Vartak’s proposal for 18 days of the War is the best that can be among all 130+ proposals, and by a wide margin, I still have to accept that the proposed time duration of 58 days for Bhishma on bed of arrows could not be corroborated. This is because, for year 5561 BCE, beginning with 25 October 5561 BCE (Fall of Bhishma in the battle, on the 10th day of the War), the time interval between this day (Fall of Bhishma) and the day of Winter Solstice – 30/31 January 5560 BCE (Bhishma Nirvana), was about 98 days, and nowhere close to 58!
Frankly, I gave up. And it is at this time, I had an epiphany!
In my words, as written in my book….
“I speculated, purely from the idea of truth, i.e. if my theory, and its predictions were independently testable, was also true, my theory would then provide me with successful predictions, and I should able to find observations corroborating my proposed timeline. The reader should understand that even a successful prediction is not a guarantee of reaching ‘the truth’, but such an occurrence is definitely an indication of a better theory, i.e. better than existing theories.
I decided to re-read the Mahabharata text, this time, with emphasis on post-war incidents. I re-read the Mahabharata text, by now a familiar and useful exercise, specifically Bhishma and Shalya and then Sauptic, Stri, Shanti and Anushasan Parvas, looking for any and all observations that would allow me to build the timeline be-tween ‘Fall of Bhishma’ and ‘Bhishma Nirvana’. I was, by luck, immensely rewarded for my efforts.”
Rest is history.