Illustration of active problem solving: AV observation and Angular separation

A reader from India wrote…..

“Completed readings of both of your books recently. First of all, I want to appreciate your efforts. Regardless of the fact that your conclusions may or may prove to be correct, the extent of efforts you had to put in deserve the appreciation.

One of my friends (who believes Mahabharata is more of “exaggerated imaginative description” and not to be taken seriously), read your book and asked me:-

If Arundhati had indeed left Vasishtha behind from 13000 BC to 4000 BC (approx.), then-

1.Any observer during Mahabharata epoch would have observed Vasishtha behind Arundhati on a regular basis. For about 7500 years from 13000 BC to 5561 BC, this phenomenon was common. Any common event in the sky which was happening for over 7500 years does not require any special mention.

•Why did Vyas feel the need to record this observation so explicitly, especially during 5561 BC? Was it possible that the angular distance between Vasishtha and Arundhati became noticeable to human eyes just before the war- rather than any other time in the previous 7500 years?

I tried to answer in the following way:-

•The combined effect of
(i) proper motion of Arundhati and Vasishtha and
(ii) precession of equinoxes

would have been noticeable to human eyes just before the war. That’s why Vyas must have informed about this “unusual” event to Dhritarashtra. This unusual event could be a bad omen/warning from Gods which could lead to serious damage if necessary action was not taken.

However, I couldn’t verify my response since I did not have access to a good sky simulation software.

Can you give your comments to help me understand it better?”

My Response…

1) Observer of Mahabharata times (Vyasa) has listed many ordinary astronomy (200+ ) observations of that time, so where comes the quetion of some ‘uncommon event’? it is not requirement of Vyasa. Those who make such artificial demand have to explain what made them make such demand!

(2) Vyasa clearly states that he wants to preserve the history of Kuru dynasty and thus he recorded many things, among them astronomy observations. when one (in this case, myself) tried to regerss backwards, found out that these observations suit best for 5561 BCE, and thus it is my conclusion (original proposal of P V Vartak for the year).

This is not any different that say if an astrologer (not astronomer) could look at horoscope (positions of planets) and go back and find out based on horoscope, when the person was born.

Your explanation is excellent. You don’t need a software. In fact software (astronomy) would not help much however visual observation of the sky might. In any case, it is straighforward, e.g. the separation between A and V (with A ahead of V) was about 500 arc-sec in 5561 BCE. However, since the positions of A and V are lot closer to North pole, the actual/perceived visual separation is much lower than what it would have felt say for two stars separated by same angular distance, located at ecliptic.

I am also glad that your friend also noticed the effect of angular separation for star clusters close to North pole.

Angular separation is indeed a very strong argument for PLAUSIBLE inclusion of AV observation in Mahabharata. However, I do not emphasize it because, many have a knack to miss the crucial point and rather go on tangent and miss the key point. The tangent being discussion of why AV observation was included or how does it qualify as Omen or why it was included in the list of Omen, and on and on. This is while altogether missing the aspect of AV observation, namely, ancient indian astronomer documenting a factual observation that many modern astronomers who tried to comprehend could not, and numerous other Mahabharata researchers were simply baffled by this (AV) observation so much so that their only recourse was to pretend that they did not notice it.

Out of 130+ attempts to date timing of Mahabharata War, ONLY 4 (P V Kane, C V Vaidya, R N Iyengar and P V Vartak) researchers dare mention it (none could solve it), while other researchers (and the proponents of their proposals) remain in ignorant slumber.

Key point being .. Vyasa mentions ‘A was ahead of V at the time of MBH War’. and we can show that A was never ahead of V, anytime after 4508 BCE!


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