Phases of the Moon during 18 days of the Mahabharata War

Shri Prabhakar Phadnis writes…

“Under Exp. 38 Shri. Oak has listed a large number of references where many warriors killed or lying on the ground are compared to moon. All these are mere Upamas and nothing else. Vyasa had no need to see full or nearly full moon in the sky in the night following the event for using the Upamas. Moon is routinely used as a ‘Upamana’ by Sanskrit poets and don’t need to have moon in the sky in front of them for that. These references prove or disprove nothing regarding the tithi of the day and deserve no verification or further consideration.”

My Response…

First the administrative stuff…

(1) I want to make it clear that ‘warriors killed or lying on the ground are compared to FULL MOON and not JUST moon.  This is very critical.

(2) All these comparisons are INDEED ‘Upamas (analogies/metaphors).  Nothing fancier is asserted by me.

What is asserted though is that while ‘many warriors were also killed and/or lying down during the first 11 days of the war’ none of these warriors were compared with the FULL MOON.

Interestingly the picture changes during the last 7 days of the war when warriors – killed or lying on the ground are compared with the FULL MOON (17+ times by my conservative count!)

If someone used above evidence of analogies to assert ‘Amawasya’ as the first day of War, it would indeed be a poor case of assertion!

On the other hand, if the above analogies are employed as ‘corroborative evidence’ in support of existing conjecture of ‘Amawasya’ as the first day of War, it is corroboration par excellence!

And finally, while analogies have their limitations and one should not read too much into them, readers may want to read ‘Vibhuti- Yoga (Chapter 10) of Bhagvad Gita (part of this very Bhishma Parva). The whole Adhyaya (chapter) of Vibhuti-Yoga is full of analogies/metaphors.

After reading the entire Vibhuti-Yoga, readers may return to comments of Shri Phadnis (reproduced (from above) below) to see to what extent they agree with his views..

“These references prove or disprove nothing regarding the tithi of the day and deserve no verification or further consideration.”

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