Translation by Dr. Vartak (Shri Phadnis has accepted translation of Dr. Vartak as directionally correct. I am also ok with accepting Dr. Vartak’s translation as directionally correct.)
Of course, the fun begins when we get into the interpretation. This is because all three – Vartak, Phadnis, Oak, differ in their interpretations.
Our task is then to determine which one of the three interpretations is the most consistent.
1. अभिजित्स्पर्धमाना तु रोहिण्याः कन्यसी स्वसा इच्छन्ती ज्येष्ठतां देवी तपस्तप्तं वनं गता.
‘Daughterlike (younger) sister of rohini, DEVI, contesting with abhijit for seniority has gone to water heated by hot season.’
2. तत्र मूढोस्मि भद्रं ते नक्षत्रं गगनाच्च्युतम् कालंत्विमं परं स्कंद ब्रह्मणासह चिन्तय
‘Here I am confused, bless you, (also) Nakshatra has fallen (or moved) from sky Skanda, please think of this time (event) along with Brahma (discuss with him)’
3. धनिष्ठादिस्तदा कालो ब्रह्मणा परिनिर्मितः रोहिण्याद्यः अभवत्पूर्वम् एवम् संख्या समाभवत्
‘Bhrahma had then created time beginning from Dhanishtha. Earlier, beginning from Rohini also happened. This is the available information.’
4. एवमुक्ते तु शक्रेण त्रिदिवं कृत्तिकागताः नक्षत्रं शकटाकारं भाति तद्वन्हिदैवतम्
‘ On Shakra (Indra) saying this, Krittikas came to heaven (आगताः) The nakshatra having Agni as devata and of chariot shape shines.’
Dr. Vartak’s Interpretation (from ‘Swayambhu’)
Dr. Vartak considers nakshatra Krittka as the nakshatra (devi) that competed with nakshatra Abhijit for seniority and went to summer solstice. And nakshatra Abhijit began falling from the sky. Summer solstice was at Krittika around 22000 BCE and Dr. Vartak considers above descriptions as referring to the timing of 22000 BCE.
He also considers nakshatra Dhanistha being in first place as also of the same time (Spring equinox was at Dhanistha around 20000 BCE). He interprets ‘Rohini’ was also in the first place in the past as the time of 22500 BCE, when summer solstice coincided with nakshatra Rohini.
Dr. Vartak considers Brahma’s time of adjusting calendar as this time, viz. 20000 BCE – 22500 BCE!
On the other hand, Dr. Vartak considers the timing of ‘Indra-Skandha dialogue’ as that of ~13000 BCE (when Abhijit was closest to the point of North Celestial Pole)! Thus, Indra told above information to Skandha, around 13000 BCE, however all of the above was thus past information.
And reason for this discussion in 13000 BCE, per Dr. Vartak, is due to the fact that nakshatra Abhijit was close to NCP and thus useless as a Nakshatra for timekeeping.
He states that some calendar makers would have suggested that first place should be assigned to nakshatra Abhijit and that is why Indra had to intervene. He further states that all would/might have considered that fall of Abhijit (from close to celestial equator to close to NCP) was due to nakshatra Krittika, and thus Krittika were honored!
I reiterate what I wrote in 2009 CE, viz. Dr. Vartak, luckily, retained his true discovery – documentation of nakshtra Abhijit becoming north pole star. Otherwise I consider his explanation a confusing mess and not consistent or even meaningful in explaining above 4 shlok.
What makes me say this about interpretation of Dr. Vartak?
(1) Since Vartak does agree that crisis described via this metaphor (of 4 sholk) for calendar adjustment occurred around 13000 BCE, I fail to understand his interpretation for the timing of incidents of first 3 sholk to be that of ~22500 BCE – 20000 BCE.
(2) Dr. Vartak confuses the matter further by essentially postulating both nakshatra Rohini and nakshatra Dhanistha in first place (about the same time) for they being at the point of summer solstice (Rohini around 22500 BCE), and that of spring equinox (Dhanistha around 20000 BCE).
If this interpretation is correct, then the sholk should have also referred to Krittika being in first place around 22000 BCE, when it coincided with the point of summer solstice!
(3) He does not state clearly the timing when nakshatra Krittika was honored (for making Abhijit fall from the sky!). If ~ 22500 BCE – 20000 BCE is the timing for his interpretation, then all 4 sholk would refer to this timing (including last shlok where Krittka are honored). If so, the entire interpretation has everything to do with ~22500 BCE – 20000 BCE and nothing to do with nakshtra Abhijit becoming pole star.
(4) On the other hand, if he refers to timing of honoring of Krittika as that of ~13000 BCE, when nakshatra Abhijit indeed fell down from the sky by becoming a north pole star, there is no good logic to explain why nakhatra Krittika would have anything to do with Abhijit’s fall!
I will state my own interpretation in the part 2 of this series.
We will evaluate interpretation of Shri Phadnis in part 3 and comparison of all 3 interpretations in the final part ( part 4).