Evidence vs. Corroboration

Shri Phadnis writes…

“Ref. 58  Translation — Each of those heroes, standing by the side of Yudhishthira’s car, looked resplendent like the constellation Punarvasu by the side of the moon.

The same problem as for Ref. 57. Which Amavasya? If one after the Jyeshthaa one, then no corroboration! Again I treat it as just an Upama and don’t read anything more in it.

It is to be noted that Shri. Oak accepts that moon between Vishakhas (Ref. 57) can just be an Upama, as he knows that it is not ‘dwi-shakhas’ but only Vishakha!”

My Response…

We are dealing here with 3 specific issues

(1) Corroboration/non-corroboration – Is a given astronomy evidence being corroborated (or not corroborated) for the proposed timeline of the Mahabharata War.

(2) Upama/evidence  – Is a specific reference of Mahabharata text only pure ‘Upama’ or only pure ‘evidence’ or both ‘Upama & evidence’.

(3) Consistency of a theory.

(1) Let’s begin with corroboration of above reference  (Reference #59  (and not 58) in my book).

The reference compares two Panchal warriors on the side of Yudhishthir with that of (two) Punarvasu  protecting the moon.

17th day of the War – 1 November 5561 BCE, 5 AM (morning). Delhi (proxy for Kurukshetra)

RA coordinates

Moon – 1 hr 10 min

Punarvasu-1 (Pollux) – 0 hr 28 min

Punarvasu -2 (Castor) – 0 hr 8 min

Punarvasu -3 (Procyon) – 1 hr 10 min

Punarvasu – 4 (Gomeisa) – 0 hr 53 min

This is indeed a good corroboration!

Those readers desiring to have a visual feel for this arrangement may look at the picture I posted in this blog article…

https://nileshoak.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/understanding-degree-of-corroboration/

(2) Shri Phadnis does not think, for reasons of his own, that above reference corroborates well, in spite of positions of Punarvasu and the moon, as stated for the morning of 17th day of the War.  This is puzzling since I am not sure what alternate arrangement of moon (in the context of nakshatra Punarvasu) he has in mind for the corroboration to be valid!

He states that if the Amawasya for the first day of war, per my proposal, one after Jyeshtha Amawasya, then no corroboration.

I am indeed asserting  Amawasya of first day of Mahabharata War (16 October 5561 BCE) to be  ‘one after Jyeshtha Amawasya‘, however, I am also asserting that with my proposed timeline, astronomy reference (of moon protected by two Punarvasu) corroborates well for the 17th day of the War (1 November 5561 BCE).  I have presented my evidence showing vicinity of the moon near nakshatra Punarvasu via their RA coordinates and also how the arrangement would have looked visually.

If this is not a great (or acceptable) corroboration, then onus is on Shri Phadnis to tell us what would have satisfied him as ‘acceptable corroboration’ and why.

Even if we move from this point of corroboration, which we should, Shri Phadnis appears to be confused about another point.

After stating that “then no corroboration“, he goes on to state that , “Again I treat it as just an Upama and don’t read anything more in it.”.

This is problematic indeed!

Shri Phadnis must make up his mind if he treats this Mahabharata text as ‘astronomy reference’ or not!. If he treats it as ‘astronomy reference’, then and only then the question of whether this observation does ‘corroborate’ or does ‘not corroborate’ for the day of 1 November 5561 BCE, arises.

Act of testing for corroboration of a given reference assumes the validity of that reference as a legitimate reference worthy of testing in the context of a specific theory (in this case theory of visual astronomy observations).

As to the point of if this reference is ‘Upama’ or not, no doubt and disagreement exists. This is indeed a ‘Upama’ where a specific military arrangement is compared with a specific celestial stars/planet arrangement.

(3) This confusion of Shri Phadnis (between corroboration/non-corroboration and Upama/evidence has also led to his next comment…

It is to be noted that Shri. Oak accepts that moon between Vishakhas (Ref. 57) can just be an Upama, as he knows that it is not ‘dwi-shakhas’ but only Vishakha!”

By above statement, if Shri Phadnis simply means that I (Nilesh Oak) do accept reference 57 as Upama, then we (Shri Phadnis and I) are in total agreement.

On the other hand, by above statement (especially by his words – “just be an Upama“, if Shri Phadnis means that I (Nilesh Oak) do accept reference 57 as only ‘Upama’ but not ‘astronomy reference’, then he misstated my position, for I did not say any such thing.

My blog article referring to reference 57  is here…

https://nileshoak.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/punarvasus-as-vi-shakhas-part-1/

Almost all the astronomy references mentioned in chapter 8 (The first day Mahabharata War) are ‘Upamas’; upamas with astronomy context.

What I said is that since the reference refers to ‘moon between (two) Vishakhas’ and since moon is nowhere close to nakshatra Vishakha, the observation would be deemed as ‘NOT CORROBORATED’, which would in turn have effect on ‘Verisimilitude (truthlikeness) of a theory) in the formula below..

Vs = C-t  – C-f

Vs – Verisimilitude/truthlikeness of a theory

C-t – count of corroborated observations

C-f – count of non-corroborated observations

Naturally, C-f score would go up by a count of 1 due to ‘non corroboration’ of this observation (Reference# 57), and to that extent reduce the ‘truth-like-ness’ of my theory.

This has nothing to do with ‘Dwi-Shakhas’ vs. ‘Vishakha‘.

Now the critical point regarding ‘consistency‘ of a theory.

A  statement of a theory (thesis) is (and must be) a universal statement.  In case of my theory, that statement states that “All astronomy observations of the Mahabharata text are visual observations of the sky”.

Against this background, if I ignore/eliminate/explain away a specific evidence as only ‘Upama’ and not ‘astronomy evidence presented via Upama’, only because observation was not corroborated for my timeline, and thus choose to eliminate it from the discussion; that would lead to ‘inconsistency‘ for my theory… not something acceptable or desired for any theory.

Numerous Mahabharata researchers have precisely made this mistake of ‘inconsistency’.  Of course, their blunders are not limited to ‘inconsistency‘.  Majority of them have generated heavy stew of ‘contradictions (theory)‘, ‘logical fallacies’, ‘internal contradictions (timeline), ‘testability issues’‘irrefutability issues’ and ‘inductive nonsense’.  To top it of, many are unaware that their own selection of evidence ( a faulty process in its own right) have falsified their own proposed timeline (for the timing of Mahabharata War).

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