Shri Prabhakar Phadnis has brought out two conflicts for the timeline of Mahabharata War year = 5561 BCE
(1) Summer solstice and thus rain concided with lunar month of Ashwin and thus lunar months of Ashiwn and Kartik would be months of heavy rain. Against this background Krishna’s statement (to Karna) “to begin preparation for the war/begin the War on Shakra Amavasya and his comment that there is no mud, clean water, ample grass” conflicts with my proposed timeline for Krishna-Karna dialogue (end of lunar month of Ashwin)
(2) In our times (and at least in parts of India – western India/Konkan/Maharashtra) where I experienced monsoon season for 20 years of my life, the season of Sharad (approximately one month before and one month after around 21/23 Septemeber – point of Fall equinox) feels like time of rainy months (months of September/October) even though rain is substantially low in comparision to that of June/August. Lunar months corresponding to the season of Sharad in our times are Bhadrapada/Ashwin/Kartika
During 5561 BCE, Sharad season would correspond with lunar months of Margashirsha/Pausha.
However, Chapter 182 (GP edition, Vana Parva) refers to lunar month of Kartik as that of Sharad season.
It is true that corrrespondance between lunar month of Kartik and Sharad season would be valid over an extended time interval. Even then, there are limits to this time interval.
For example, the point of spring equinox (opposite of fall equinox) coincided with nakshatra Krittika during 2215 BCE, i.e Peak of Sharad season coincided with lunar month of Kartika. First month of Sharad season coincided with lunar month of Krittika during 3415 BCE. When we add the element of ‘Adhika masa’ to this timeline, we get a broader time interval of 3415 BCE +/- 2000 years (5415 BCE – 1415 BCE) for the coincidence of lunar month of Kartika and first month of Sharad season. This also means this coincidence would occur only rarely (rare rare) during 5561 BCE, however, sections of Mahabharata (at least Vana Parva) are seen replete with “Kartika = Sharad season”.
My goal is to define and refine the problem of “Kartika = Sharad season”, while plausible for 5561 BCE, is a stretch, and since memories linger and change took place slowly (coincidence of seasons and lunar months) in human mind, Mahabharata researchers who are otherwise convinced of implications of AV observation and duration of Bhishma on bed of arrows (>92 days) have this interesting problem on their hands. BTW, the state of river Sarasvati, as described in this chapter (adn elsewhere in Mahabharata text) also poses problem to those Mahabharata researchers who speculate a time interval for Mahabharata War, after drying up of river Sarasvati.
I do want to caution researchers and readers not to confuse this problem with that of Krishna’s statement to Karna. That is altogeher a separate legitimate problem.
The specific narration that leads to this problem of “Lunar month of Kartika = season of Sharad’ occurs in Vana Parva, chapter 182 (GP edition).
The chapter describes onset of rainy season when Pandava are spending time on the bank of river Sarasvati. The chapter has desriptions of heavy rain and thunderstorms and then onset of Sharad season. This is when the timing is described as that of lunar month of Kartika and also that river Sarasvati was filled with flowing limpid water.
It is interesting (interesting for those, likes of myself and Prabhakar Phadnis) to note that season of Sharad is described as that of green grass and clear water and also clear sky – cloudless skies where stars shoen with a stainless lustre. When second half of Kartik commenced, Pandava moved to Kamyaka vana.
This chapter has compressed a mighty punch that should rouse all Mahabharata researchers from their slumber.
(1) Kartika = season of Sharad (a bit of challenge for 5561 BCE)
(2) Green grass, clear water, clear skies and star studeed nights (a surprise for those who are used to cloudy and rainy Sharad season)
(3) river Sarasvati flowing with full and clean water ( a shock for those who try to think of Mahabharata War long afer river Sarasvati dried up).
That is all, for now.