A reader of my book who also read Dr. P V Vartak’s ‘Swayambhu’, wrote…
“Bear with me as I explain where you might have gone wrong. I understand that you agree with 18 day timeline of Dr. Vartak. I agree that 16 October (1st day of War) is per Julian calendar. Vartak describes, I think, 22 December in the same year as the day of Bhishma Nirvana. This matches well with Bhishma on bed of arrows for 58 nights, Marga shuddha Asthamee, and nakshatra of Rohini.
Therefore I fail to understand why you insist on 98 days for Bhishma. Pardon my limited knowledge of sky and astronomy.”
I presume this reader is reading my blog articles in the series – The Mystery of Bhishma Nirvana.
At some point, I will provide criticism for proposal of Dr. Vartak, however I encourage this reader (and other readers) to read chapter 9 of my book that looks at conflicting observations.
This reader’s reference to ‘Swayambhu’ (of Dr. Vartak) made me pick up a copy of this book, for the nth time and came across this passage. Of course I have already addressed it briefly in my book, but thought this may be another opportunity to emphasize this passage again to drive home point of why proposal of 16 October 5561 BCE (as the first day of Mahabharata War) demands that Bhishma be on the bed of arrows for 98 days (>92 is what Mahabharata text can corrborate and 98 is indeed >92!).
I am providing free flow/crude translation of a passage from ‘Swayambhu’ (7th edition, 2012, page 282)
(Emphasis all mine)
Dr. Vartak writes…
Leap Year – Only a trivial mistake
“One of the researchers wonders if I (Vartak) erred in my calculations since I did not correct for leap years, i.e. since I assumed lenght of year to be only 365.25 and this meant my calculations assumed leap year every 4 years. What this researcher says is true and in 7500 years the error does amount to about ~ 50 days. But our ancients must have periodically adjusted for these shifts (i.e. between points of solstices and equinoxes). Thus my proposed timing of Mahabharata would not go wrong. If at all it is wrong, an error of 50 days within a time span of 7500 years is a forgivable mistake. Positions of Saturn and Jupiter would hardly change (within this span of 50 days). Thus the concern of this researcher is meaningless. No need to worry about this shift of 50 days for the positions of planets. Some people’s assumption that the day of Winter solstice is not to be considered steady at 22nd December is also wrong. Current calendar based on calculations of modern science does assume 22 December as the day of winter solstice. If a shift occurs (over a long period of time), the current calendar experts will either drop a day or add one, to adjust the point of winter solstice with that of 22 December. I have essentially done this backwards, going in antiquity to determine dates of Mahabharata instances. Thus there is no need to argue over the timing of winter solstice.
Vyasa refers to first day of War, definitely, 68 days before the day of winter solstice and thus 16 October is definitely the first day of the War.
If anyone shows that the day of winter solstice moved, still 68 days before that day (shifted/alternate day of winter solstice) would be the the first day of Mahabharata war. However if someone thinks this is the case, then they should do the reqired work. Otherwise what is the point of raising unnecessary doubts or generating arguments? ”
Shri Prabhakar Phadnis have also argued along the lines of this reader, however driven by considerations of war occuring in rainy season (interested readers may read some of my previous blog articles).
Let’s analyze this passage from ‘Swayabhu’..
Dr. Vartak acknowleges an accumulated error of ~50 days for his calculations. He is correct when he states that this error of ~50 days would have no significant impact on the positions of planets. (Sure, planets such as Mercury, Venus and Mars would move significantly during this time, but as long as their positions corrborate the statments of Mahabharata text, in general, and specifically when the timing of observation is also mentioned). Thus if above is true, then an error of ~50 days would not change the proposal for the ‘Year of the Mahabharata War (5561 BCE).
So far so good. Things do go downhill after this…
Dr. Vartak states…
“Some people’s assumption that the day of Winter solstice is not to be considered steady at 22nd December is also wrong.”
This is NOT True. In fact the point of winter solstice will indeed shift, even with respect to day (22 December) of Gregorian calendar. It is just that the shift would be lot slower, in comparison to the shift in Julian Calendar (Julian calendar shifts by a day every ~128 years). This was the reason why Roger Bacon has to suggest a shift of 9 days to then (13th century CE) existing (Julian) calendar.
Dr. Vartak does admit an error of ~50 days for year 5561 BCE (error with respect to his calculated dates for Mahabharata events)
The million dollar question we all should ask is:
Which of the Mahabharata events do we need to assign different dates, different from his (Dr. Vartak) original proposal, due to this error of ~50 days?
The answer is straighforward…
but let’s clarify few other errors in the passage (of Swayambhu) above…
Dr. Vartak states…
“Vyasa refers to first day of War, definitely, 68 days before the day of winter solstice and thus 16 October is definitely the first day of the War.
This is NOT the whole story. While it is true that there is/are 1 or 2 (one of the two is considered interpolated or tautological) reference(s) that does lead to the conclusion of 68 days between first day of War and the day of winter solstice, there are 21 specific Mahabharata text references that contradicts this interpretation. Thus the score against asertion of 68 days stands at 21:2.
What Dr. Vartak writes after this is very critical…
“If anyone shows that the day of winter solstice moved, still 68 days before that day (shifted/alternate day of winter solstice) woudld the the first day of Mahabharata war. However if someone thinks this is the case, then they should do the reqired work. Otherwise what is the point of raising unnecessary doubts or generating arguments?”
The fact that day of winter solstice shifts is a trivally true reality and let’s not waste our time proving it! 🙂
I agree with Dr. Vartak that there is no point raising unnecessary doubts or generating arguments unless one has evidence to the contrary.
I indeed have evidence to the contrary, viz; the day of winter solstice for year 5561/5560 BCE was on 30/31 January 5560 BCE and NOT on 22 December 5561 BCE.
Those who understand this error of ~50 days, and its implication, would instantaneously understand reinforced corrboration for 5561 BCE as the year of Mahabharata War.
This is the reason, I wrote, in my book (chapter 10, Theory of P V Vartak)
“I have provided detailed solution to the problem of Bhishma Nirvana elsewhere (Chapter 9) and thus won’t repeat, however, I must resolve one last problem. I have shown that the actual day of winter solstice (30 January 5560 B.C.) was some 39-40 days in the future from 22 December 5561 B.C. The reader should still wonder about the gap of 10 days; gap between estimation of Vartak of ~50 days (between 22 December 5561 B.C. and actual day of winter solstice) and actual gap of 39-40 days shown by Voyager. Fortunately the answer to this problem is straightforward! Pope Gregory, when he made the correction, some 300 years after Roger Bacon suggested it, eliminated 10 days (5-14 October) from the calendar in year 1582 A.D. to coincide the day of winter solstice with 22 December.”