Understanding ‘Degree of Corroboration’

Shri Phadnis writes…

“Ref. No. 57 Translation —
,div>The sons of Draupadi, desirous of battle, stood by the side of the son of Prishata. They were clad in excellent coats of mail, and armed with excellent weapons, and all of them were endued with the prowess of tigers. Possessed of effulgent bodies, they followed their maternal uncle like the stars appearing with the Moon.

The event is on the 17th day of the war. If the war started on the amavasya following the Jyeshtha Amavasya, moon on first day would be in Purvashadha and by 17th day it would move to Ashlesha or beyond, not in Punarvasu. It would be in Punarvasu only if war started on Jyeshtha Amavasya but Shri. Oak wants one month for war preparation from that Amavasya, suggested by Krishna-Karna dialogue as the start day.

I also say that if the solar eclipse occurred on Jyeshtha Amavasya, the second lunar eclipse would be after that and since Vyasa refers to all three, one day prior to start of war, the start date has to be the following Amavasya, not the Jyeshtha Amavasya!

Once again, this is just an Upama. Nothing more should be read in it. “

My Response…

Since I have emphasized enough how ‘upama’ can serve as a ‘corroborative evidence’, we will skip that portion of the argument and get into the details.

(1) The day is indeed 17th day of the War (1 November 5561 BCE)

(2) The relevant reference states, “Five sons of Draupadi, well equipped to fight, began protecting Dhrishtadyumna, similar to bright nakshatras protecting the moon.” (GP Hindi edition translation).  ” Five sons of Draupadi followed/surrounded their maternal uncle (Dhrishtadyumna) similar to bright stars around/near the Moon” will also do.

(3) Ref 57 is typo in Shri Phadnis write up.  The actual reference is my book is Reference # 58.

Other than the fact the reference is of the 17th day of the War, no specific nakshatra are mentioned.  Since I had proposed (originally proposed by Dr. P V Vartak) 1 November 5561 BCE as the 17th day of War, I simulated the sky to see what set of visual observation might corroborate such an arrangement.

Since specifics provided in the original reference are limited, this remains a weak corroboration.  To explain the context, I would reproduce my original write up from my book (Error Elimination – Experiment 41)

“I noticed this observation in the Mahabharata text only because I knew what I should be looking for.  In the absence of specific expectation, this is a generic observation and may not carry much value. 

Five sons of Draupadi are described as protecting Dhristadyumna, their maternal uncle, by surrounding him, on the 17th day of War and Mahabharata author compares this military arrangement with the Moon protected by (5) bright stars in the sky 58.  I conjecture that the (5) bright stars (referring to five sons of Draupadi) protecting Dhristadyumna are 4 stars of Punarvasu (Pollux, Castor to the north & Procyon, Gomeisa to the south) along with Alhena to the west.  The full moon is to the east of these stars and can be visualized as protected by these five stars.”

Now the specifics of positions of nakshatra and the moon….

RA measurements: (morning of 17th day of War, 5 AM, before sunrise)

Ashlesha: 2 hr 11 min

Pushya: 1 hr 31 min

Moon: 1 hr 10 min (thus between nakshatra Pushya & nakshatra Punarvasu)

Punarvasu -1: 0 hr 28 min

Punarvasu- 2: o hr 8 min

Punarvasu- 3: 1hr 10 min

Punarvasu- 4: 0 hr 53 min

Ardra2 (Alhena) :23 hr 54 min

Athough this is self-explanatory for an astronomy initiate, it can be confusing to a neophyte.  In any case picture is worth 1000 words, so here it is.

And finally, a brief comment on non-relevant (non relevant to this observation) assertion of Shri Phadnis..

Shri Phadnis writes…

I also say that if the solar eclipse occurred on Jyeshtha Amavasya, the second lunar eclipse would be after that and since Vyasa refers to all three, one day prior to start of war, the start date has to be the following Amavasya, not the Jyeshtha Amavasya!”

While I (Nilesh Oak) have every reason to agree with Shri Phadnis that war did not begin on Jyeshtha Amawasya; I understand neither his justification nor see a need for justification provided by Shri Phadnis why the start date of Mahabharata war (first day) has to be the following Amawasya and not the Jyeshtha Amawasya.

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