“Non-consideration of Leap Years – only a trivial mistake”. Really?

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.”

My Response…

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.

My Response…

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.

My Response…

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?

My Response…

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.”

Advertisements

2 thoughts on ““Non-consideration of Leap Years – only a trivial mistake”. Really?

  1. Pl. dont compare my objection to 98 days with Dr. Vartak’s arguments.
    You have not contradicted that Bheeshma died on the day of winter solstice or at best a day later. So it is fixed. You are stretching the commencement of war, way back prior to Autumnal Equinox, that is, within the rainy season. This does not stand the test of practicality. No war with Rathas, Elephants, and a very large army could be conceived to have occurred before rains ended and ground dried up. Krishna clearly stated that such a season had in fact arrived, when he invited Karna to meet at Kurukshetra and fight. The war thus must have started some 20 days, minimum, after Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice was obviously only 68 -70 days away. This position is irrespective of whatever year the war took place, No number of astronomical references can change ground reality. This is my reason for rejecting your conclusion of 98 days. It has nothing to do with leap years, Julian Calendar or Gregorian Correction.

  2. I have not compared your objection to 98 days for ‘duration of Bhishma on bed of arrows’ with that of Dr. Vartak’s arguments.

    This is what I wrote above (in the blog article above)

    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).

    In addition, Dr. Vartak did not argue against 98 days for duration of Bhishma, rather he did not realize that if he can not find relevant references from Mahabharata text for duration of Bhishma on bed of arrows >92 days, then his proposal for year of 5561 BCE (for MBH War) CAN NOT be corroborated by references of Bhishma Nirvana.

    Totally different objections, different set of problems and different levels of confusions. No similarity whatsoever.

    Your (Shri Prabhakar Phadnis) argument is that What Krishna said (during Krishna-Karna dialogue) conflicts with Bhishma on bed of arrows for 98 days or first day of War being 108 (98+10) days before the day of winter solstice. I get it.

    The problem presented due to Krishna’s statement (Krishna-Karna dialogue) is not unlike the problem presented by ‘multiple statements’ of Mahabharata text related to when did the war take place (Dwapara, Kali, sandhi of Dwapar-Kali, etc.) or the problem of Balarama Tirthayatra (combining statement of Balarama -Pushya/Shravana nakshatras – with that of the last day of Mahabharata War)

    Dr. Vartak have suggested innovative approach (Scoring employed in Tennis match is a good analogy) in solving problems of these kinds. I have alluded to this approach in the context of Bhishma Nirvana (e.g. 21:2), but so far it has lost on the readership.

    I have also alluded to alternate approach such as that of ‘stepwise regression’ in the context of many small and big problems (e.g. Balarama Tirthyatra, Bhishma’s duration on the bed of arrows, Mahabharata and beginning of Kaliyuga, Late moon rise on the 14th day of the Mahabharata War, etc.). Again the approach is lost on the readership. So, I have to do better in elaborating this approach and thus my decision to wait, until background (prerequisite) is established.

    I suggest approach similar to ‘TRIZ’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIZ) in resolving these issues. Again, readers require good comprehension of (1) Corroboration, (2) Degree of corroboration, (3) Testability, (4) Degree of Testability, (5) Simplicity (in theory and testing) (6) Concept of alternate explanations, (7) Falsifiability (8) Prior improbability and such.

    I have not had time to establish these concepts through my writing and specifically for the context of historical research. This is the reason I have not indulged into these explanations yet. However, this very much remains on my mind.

    All in good time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s