Shri Phadnis writes…
“The problem of complete darkness after sunset for several hours on 14th day of war is not amenable to easy solution.
The description matches a moonrise on Krishna Chaturdashi in timing, shape and place.
I wonder why Shri. Oak is neglecting all these descriptions and insists on attributing the darkness throughout the night to just the dust obscuring a near full moon.
I would advise Shri. Oak to go to a village, and step out at midnight of a full moon, cloudless night and see for himself the amount of light thrown by the moon and then imagine it being converted to complete darkness due to ‘dust’ throughout the night.
I totally reject Shri. Oak’s dusty explanation of the 14th day dark night.
We have to look for the explanation somewhere else.”
I agree with Shri Phadnis when he states that….
“The problem of complete darkness after sunset for several hours on 14th day of war is not amenable to easy solution.”
Any reader reading through the many chapters of Drona Parva that describes this nightlong battle would gather that the evidence is indeed confusing, especially if the same reader had taken trouble to read entire narration of 18 days of the War.
While many (but not all) Mahabharata researchers have acknowledged this problem (of 14th night), many of these researchers have not provided any solution to the problem. Those who have not even recognized the problem are in their own ‘ignorant and blissful’ world and thus no question arises of expecting any solution from them or a possibility of convincing them of this unsolved problem.
Some researchers have gone to the extent of using this evidence of 14th night (selective evidence, mind you), as key evidence in building their timeline (and have failed miserably).
Readers and researchers should realize that …
(1) We are limited by whatever evidence we have in the Mahabharata text in solving the problem of this 14th night of the War.
(2) The very descriptions of 14th night are mixed/confusing in nature and do not, unequivocally, lead to one crisp solution.
(3) Anyone claiming 14th night to be that of specific day (lunar tithi and phase of the moon) has onus to show how such a claim corroborates evidence of other 17 days of the War and also rest of the pre-war and post-war timeline. In addition, these researchers should also show, with the same evidence, how claims of other researchers (who claim a different Tithi/moon phase, often exactly opposite .. Full moon/Amawasya) are not corroborated (and if possible, falsified) by the very evidence of Mahabharata Text.
(4) Anyone claiming 14th night to be that of specific day (lunar tithi and phase of the moon) has onus to show which specific observations, if any, falsify their own claim or those of others.
(5) It is possible to always find faults with any given theory.
Kepler’s theory of elliptical orbits (that deviated from then assumed divinely blessed circular orbits) could not explain why the planets moved (or seemed to move) in elliptical orbits, however it was considered a better theory because it could do much better predictions and also make these predictions with one simple assumption – namely – the planets move in elliptical orbits.
Newton’s theory of gravitation could not solve the problem of instant act of gravity across long distance or that of variation in the orbit of Mercury. These (and many other) limitations were recognized in Newton’s time and many years after Newton, however, still Newton’s theory was considered a better theory (in fact many considered it the best and nothing more was left to be done) because no other theory did a job as good or better than Newton’s theory of gravitation….NOT UNTIL, Einstein.
(6) This means a criticism of a theory, any theory, is always – always, in the context of another theory/proposal. Thus a criticism of a specific point/evidence aka inability of a theory to explain or corroborate such evidence shows limitations of that theory, however, still it remains the best theory that we may have. Only new theory/proposal that does job better than this existing theory (which has established its status as the best among the available theories) can attain a status of newly accepted better theory.
(7) There is value to criticism of ‘specific points’ of any given theory. Since hope is that such criticism would lead to novel theories and thus better proposals. However, it only remains a hope. A better theory, with obvious non-corroboration (and even falsification) retains its status until it is replaced by new and better theory. One more reason why criticism of any theory/proposal must always – always be in the context of another theory/proposal.
It is then interesting that Shri Phadnis provides a crisp solution for the identification of lunar tithi (for the 14th day of the War).
“The description matches a moonrise on Krishna Chaturdashi in timing, shape and place.”
I will show, in next part of this blog series, how numerous descriptions of the moon, from the very night of the 14th day of War contradict with expectations of the moon of Krishna Chaturdashi (day or two before Amawasya).
To be continued…