I have received flood of emails from readers in the context of ‘Day of Rama Janma found’. Readers sent me links such as these.
Readers also wonder if these researchers (Shrimati Sarjo Bala and others who claim 10 January 5114 BCE as day of Rama-Janma) are aware of my work and if I have contacted them either about my research findings or about my criticism of this date.
I want to inform my readers that I have done both.
At this point, readers are curious to know reactions of these researchers (Saroj Bala, et al) to my findings or criticism.
I want to inform my readers that their reaction is that of dead silence.
I have commented on erroneous claim for 10 January 5114 BCE in the following blog article and anyone curious enough can check erroneous claims made by these researchers for their claim of Rama Janma.
And now I re-produce my entire chapter (from my book – ‘The Historic Rama’) where I have falsified claim for 10 Janauary 5114 BCE, using the very references claimed by Late Shri Pushkar Bhatnagar (and likes of Saroj Bala and others) in supposedly, arriving at this date.
I also explain what led them to such erroneous date. I have no idea why likes of Saroj Bala and others are hanging on to such erroneous date. I leave it to readers to reach their own conclusions.
Chapter 19 (from ‘The Historic Rama’…not to be confused with another book, ‘The Historical Rama’)
Theory & Proposal (10 January 5114 BCE) of Pushkar Bhatnagar
“If we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmations, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories.”
– Karl Popper
Late Shri Pushkar Bhatnagar proposed timing for various incidents in Rama’s life. He summarized his findings in a book ‘Dating the Era of Lord Rama’.
Recently Saroj Bala, along with Kulbhushan Mishra, published a book ‘Historicity of Vedic and Ramayana Eras: Scientific Evidences from the Depths of Oceans to the Heights of Skies’. In it, Saroj Bala and coauthor argue for the timing of Ramayana, as proposed by Pushkhar Bhatnagar. I will limit my comments to work of Pushkar Bhatnagar however my criticism would equally apply to Saroj Bala’s acceptance of Bhatnagar’s Ramayana timeline.
Bhatnagar has certainly put a lot of efforts and we must appreciate his efforts. Unfortunately his Ramayana investigation is naïve and innocent. The approach is, unfortunately, very much inductive (सूतावरून स्वर्ग), as opposed to deductive (युक्तिवाद). I would encourage all to read his book and then compare it’s methodology with my work.
The fact that his proposal is inaccurate/wrong/erroneous on multiple grounds should not be seen as its biggest drawback. After all, many great minds have been wrong. Rather the biggest problem of his approach is the use of wrong methodology. It is difficult to say whether his use of software or his manual calculations deceived him. It is hard for us to figure out the reasons for the confidence he felt in his findings, in spite of the fact that what he is claiming to be the planetary situation, for a given instance of Ramayana, is far from the truth, as can be verified by anyone using decent astronomy software.
Of course the problem is intrinsic to the methodology of inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning, by nature, gets into verbose argumentation, since its main feature is that of justification. As the evidence, to be explained for a given incident/phenomena, piles up; inductive reasoning becomes more inconsistent, more contradictory and tautological. This is the reason why inductive approach is that of presenting selective evidence that appears to prop up a given theory or proposal. The very approach is unscientific.
Theory of Pushkar Bhatnagar
While he never clearly states his theory, it appears to be similar to my theory, i.e. astronomy observations of Ramayana. On the other hand his background assumptions are different (e.g. the timing of Mahabharata War). It is not clear if he accepted timeline of Mahabharata War around ~3000 BCE, only because it was convenient for his proposed timeline of Ramayana. Accepting (even insisting) that Mahabharata War occurred after 5000 BCE is a necessity for his proposal since accepting my timeline of Mahabharata War (5561 BCE) automatically falsifies his proposal for the timing of Ramayana.
Indian Lunar Months & Precession of Equinoxes
We may want to refer to Chapter 7 of this book. This will allow us to understand why Shri Pushkar Bhatnagar’s proposal falls short of corroborating any observations of Valmiki Ramayana.
He claims to have understood the phenomenon of ‘Precession of Equinoxes’. Unfortunately, his comprehension of the phenomenon of ‘Precession of Equinoxes’ is a mixed baggage, and in the final analysis a disaster for his research.
He certainly understood the loose correspondence between Indian lunar months (e.g. Chaitra, Vaishakha, Jyeshtha, etc.) and the months of Gregorian/Julian Calendar. Thus he states, correctly, that while the lunar month of Chaitra coincides with March-April in our times (2000 CE), in 5000 BCE (some 7000 years ago) the lunar month of Chaitra coincided with December/January.
This approximate shift of 3 months is due to two reasons. First, it is purely due to the phenomenon of ‘precession of equinoxes’ which would shift ‘median lunar Tithi’ by one day every 71 years. Thus for 7000 years, we should observe a shift of 7000/71 ~ 100 days. The second reason for this shift is due to the slight difference in length of time between Julian and Gregorian calendars.
Important point for our analysis of Shri Bhatnagar’s research is that, while he understood this shift for correspondence between Indian lunar months and months of Julian/Gregorian calendar, he completely missed the implication of ‘precession of equinoxes’ for the shift in season for a given lunar month. A season would shift by one lunar month approximately every 2000 years due to the ‘precession of equinoxes’.
No wonder Shri Bhatnagar is assuming lunar month of Chaitra to be that of spring (Vasanta), even in 5000 BCE, while the reality is that lunar month of Chaitra coincided with the peak of winter (interphase of Hemant and Shishir seasons) during 5000 BCE. During the period of 5000 BCE, lunar months coincided with six seasons as follows:
Chaitra-Vaishakha Shishir (winter)
Jyeshtha –Ashadha Vasanta (spring)
Shravana-Bhadrapada Grishma (summer)
Ashwin-Kartika Varsha (rain)
Margashirsha –Pausha Sharad (pre-Autumn)
Magha-Phalgun Hemant (autumn)
I have shown that in year 5561 BCE, time of the Mahabharata War, the point of summer solstice coincided with nakshatra Hasta (one nakshatra before Chitra), which also meant lunar month of Chaitra was the beginning of winter season (Shishir). In another 500 years (~5000 BCE), the point of summer solstice would have moved by only 7-8 degrees and thus the month of Chaitra would still be the first month of winter season.
Let’s keep this correlation in mind as we analyze proposal of Shri Bhatnagar.
Rama- Janma & Rama’s scheduled Coronation
The time of Rama Janma18 and his coronation 17 years after his birth2 occurred on Chaitra Shuddha 9 and the time was that of forests full of blossom2, peacocks dancing in the rain9 and the time of Sharad season 10-14, 21.
Against this descriptions of Valmiki Ramayana, consider dates for Rama Janma (10 January 5114 BCE) or for the scheduled coronation of Rama (4/5 January 5089 BCE), proposed by Shri Bhatnagar.
On 10 January 5114 BCE, the sun was 16 degrees away from the point of winter solstice (i.e. winter solstice would occur 16 days after this day) and on 4/5 January 5089 BCE, the sun was 21 degrees away from the point of winter solstice (i.e. winter solstice would occur 21 days after this day). Therefore Valmiki Ramayana observations of season, at the time of Rama-Janma, do not corroborate with the proposed timing of Bhatnagar.
We have already seen, in Chapter 17, how astronomy observations of five grahas in exalted state, at the time of Rama-Janma, per very definition accepted by Shri Bhatnagar, do not corroborate with proposed timing of Shri Bhatnagar.
Age of Rama at the time of leaving for Vanavas (Exile)
Shri Bhatnagar has claimed Rama’s age to be equal to 25 and Sita’s age equal to 18 at the time of Rama’s scheduled coronation and subsequent leaving for the Vanavas. He has also claimed that Sita lived in Ayodhya, after her marriage to Rama, for 12 years before leaving for the Vanavas. I have already shown how such a claim leads to numerous contradictions. I have dealt with this issue in my chapter on Conflicting observations (Error Elimination – Experiments 65 & 66) and I won’t repeat the explanation here. On the other hand, Shri Bhatnagar has not bothered to explain related and conflicting observations.
Rama’s Coronation: Positions of Sun, Mars & Rahu
Valmiki Ramayana observation is as follows15:
अवष्टब्धं च मे राम नक्षत्रं दारूणग्रहै:
आवेदयन्ति दैवज्ञा: सूर्यानअंगारकराहुभि:
Shri Bhatnagar has interpreted this to mean that the sun, Mars and Rahu (node of the moon) were together (within one nakshatra space). On 5 January 5089 BCE, the sun was between nakshatras Shatabhishaj and Purva Bhadrapada. Rahu is rather a region in the space and not point and the position of this node was at nakshatra Shatabhishaj. Thus the sun and Rahu can be considered together. On the other hand, Mars is between nakshatras Hasta and Uttara Phalguni and thus nowhere close to the sun and/or Rahu. Thus this Ramayana observation does not corroborate with proposal of Shri Bhatnagar.
I have interpreted and corroborated this observation in Error Elimination – Experiments 6-8.
Time of Khara-Rama fight
Shri Bhatnagar proposed that Khara-Rama fight took place sometime after the first month of Hemant (autumn) season and before the beginning of Vasanta (spring) season and that there was a solar eclipse on this day.
Shri Bhatnagar proposed 7 October 5077 BCE as the day of Khara-Rama fight. Let’s test this prediction. There was no solar eclipse on 7 October 5077 BCE. However, I realized that most of the proposed dates by Shri Bhatnagar are off by ~ 2 days, and I conjectured that this could be due to inability of astronomy software, used by him, to take into account ‘Delta T’ correction. We would compensate for this correction (so as to enable further testing and criticism of his theory and proposal) and now we do have a solar eclipse, albeit in the morning and not in the afternoon/evening as claimed by Shri Bhatnagar (and required per evidence of Valmiki Ramayana) on 5 October 5077 BCE. Mars was also in the middle of the sky, at least in the morning when the solar eclipse began. We should keep in mind that it is not easy to predict exact timing (or angle) of an eclipse, thousands of years into antiquity.
We would have accepted this evidence as rather good corroboration of this Ramayana incident. Unfortunately, the sun was 24 days away from the point of fall equinox and that meant this was the beginning of Sharad (pre-autumn) season and not the end of Hemant season as demanded and claimed by evidence of Valmiki Ramayana and also by Shri Bhatnagar.
I have summarized and corroborated observations related to Khara-Rama fight in Error Elimination – Experiments 23-28.
Shri Bhatnagar proposed that Rama killed Vali, during the second dual between Vali and Sugriva, at the beginning of the rainy season and that there was a solar eclipse, during morning, on that day.
Shri Bhatnagar proposed 3 April 5077 BCE as the day of Vali-vadha. Let’s test this prediction. There was no solar eclipse on 3 April 5077 BCE. However if we test it in the vicinity of 3 April, we find that there was indeed a solar eclipse on 11 April 5077 BCE. This gap of 8 days cannot be explained by lack of ‘Delta T’ correction alone. This probably points to the faulty astronomy software he might have employed. In any case, we will test it for 11 April 5077 BCE, since at least there was a solar eclipse on this day, and it appears to have begun in the morning.
We would have accepted this evidence, albeit with little hesitation, as corroboration of Vali-vadha, for date proposed by Shri Bhatnagar.
Wait a minute. You guessed it! Unfortunately, the sun was 19 days away from the point of spring equinox and that meant it was the beginning of Vasanta (spring) season and not the beginning of the rainy season as required per evidence of Valmiki Ramayana (and per claim of Shri Bhatnagar).
I have summarized and corroborated observations related to Vali-vadha in Error Elimination – Experiments 34-39.
Hanuman meets Sita in Lanka
Shri Pushkar Bhatnagar proposed that Hanuman met Sita, in Lanka, sometime during the lunar months of Kartika/Margashirsha and on the full moon day.
Shri Bhatnagar asserts this to be the time of late Sharad/early Hemant and that there was a lunar eclipse on this day. This assertion of Bhatnagar directly contradicts with the evidence of Ramayana. Valmiki Ramayana describes the timing of Hanuman visiting Lanka (and meeting Sita) to be that of the spring season.
Valmiki Ramayana does provide numerous analogies of ‘full moon becoming free from Rahu’ in this context and thus if one can confirm a lunar eclipse for one’s proposed timeline of Hanuman meeting Sita, it would be a wonderful corroboration. However, absence of a lunar eclipse, for a given proposal, is not a falsification of that proposal, as long as other conditions are corroborated. This is a subtle but very critical distinction and I want readers to understand it in full before proceeding further.
Shri Bhatnagar proposed 12 September 5076 BCE as the day when Hanuman met Sita in Lanka. Let’s test his prediction. 12 September 5076 BCE was not a full moon day. We can check in the vicinity and find that 9 September was indeed a full moon day. It appears that there was a lunar eclipse. However, the lunar eclipse occurred and was over before the moonrise in Lanka and thus was not visible to anyone in Lanka. We may still give a benefit of doubt (to Bhatngar proposal) and accept this as at least a weak corroboration, only for the aspect of ‘lunar eclipse’ reference of Ramayana
The problem with this proposed timing is that the day was 39 days after the day of summer solstice and thus at the peak of rainy season. Thus the time proposed by Shri Bhatnagar agrees neither with the season of Vasanta (spring) per descriptions of Valmiki Ramayana nor with the season of late Sharad/early Hemant, albeit erroneous, as proposed by Shri Bhatnagar.
I have summarized and corroborated observations related to Hanuman meeting Sita in Lanka, in Error Elimination – Experiments 53-57.
Hanuman’s Return from Lanka
Shri Bhatnagar proposed that Hanuman left from Lanka on 14 September 5076 BCE, two days after he met Sita, and that Hanuman left from Lanka during the early morning.
First, we will have to adjust proposed date of Shri Bhatnagar, for Hanuman meeting Sita, from 12 September to 9 September, to match the day of full moon and 14 September in order for the position of moon to be close to nakshatra Punarvasu.
I want readers to understand that we are trying our best to make proposals of Shri Bhatnagar as valid as we can. In other words, we are trying our best to give his proposal a benefit of doubt, as much as we can. This would make stay of Hanuman in Lanka for up to five days, which is closer to my conjecture (based on Valmiki Ramayana references) than ‘two days’ of Shri Bhatnagar. If we assume 11 September (2 days after the full moon day, as proposed by Shri Bhatnagar) instead of 14 September, no significant difference occurs in the sky view, except that in case of 11 September, other nakshatras such as Krittika and Rohini also become visible.
Valmiki Ramayana describes the view of the sky, as Hanuman left Lanka to cross the ocean, in a poetic manner. The portion of the sky from nakshatra Punarvasu through nakshatra Shravana is described.
Shri Bhatnagar states, correctly, that this entire portion of the sky cannot be visible at any given time and thus conjectured that this also alludes to the traveling time of Hanuman while crossing the ocean. This is very logical and should be considered as his original contribution to Ramayana research.
Shri Bhatnagar summarizes Valmiki Ramayana description:
The Moon was like lotus while Sun appeared like a crane. In the sky, Pushya and Shravana Nakshatras were seen like swans. Punarvasu appeared like a big fish. Mars and the large graha (Jupiter), the elephant of Indra – Airavata, Island and the Swati Nakshatra were seen to be moving like a Swan.
On 14 September 5076 BCE, the phase of the moon is that of four days after the full moon day and the position of the moon is near naskshatra Punarvasu. This corroborates well with the descriptions of the sky. On the other hand, since the sun is near nakshatra Vishakha, only naskshatras Punarvasu through Swati would be visible. The portion of the sky from nakshatra Swati through nakshatra Shravana, as described in Valmiki Ramayana, would not be visible at all due to the glare of the sun. Of course, once we realize that this is a poetic description, we can conjecture that Valmiki would have imagined half of the visible (potentially visible) sky beginning with nakshatra Punarvasu and up to the region of nakshatra Shravana. While this could be true, we must recognize that Mars and Jupiter, per summary of Shri Bhatnagar, are simply nowhere to be found in the sky. Mars and Jupiter are near nakshatra Jyeshtha and thus would not have been visible at all in the morning, since the sun was near nakshatra Vishakha and would be on the horizon, long before Mars and Jupiter came up on the horizon.
I have already commented (Hanuman meets Sita in Lanka) on the mismatch between season of Valmiki Ramayana (spring) with actual season for the proposal of Shri Bhatnagar (rainy), but not recognized to be so by him, since he is thinking this time to be that of Sharad/Hemant.
While timing proposed by Shri Bhatnagar does not corroborate with the sky view of Valmiki Ramayana at the time of Hanuman’s return from Lanka, Shri Bhatnagar translation did provide me with a surprising gift.
In Error Elimination-Experiment 58, I wrote:
Two other grahas, not mentioned by Valmiki, Venus and Jupiter are also visible. Of course we can talk of only those things that are mentioned. Even then I wondered why Valmiki may not have mentioned Venus and Jupiter in his descriptions of the sky. I noticed in Voyager simulation that Jupiter was in perfect or near perfect conjunction with Star Magha (Regulus) and this could explain why mention of Jupiter might have been missed. Of course this remains my pure speculation. No logical reason for non-mention of Venus can be suggested.
I had accepted the translation of GP edition. Vartak had also translated ‘Mahagraha’ to mean crocodile. Both meanings of Mahagraha (Crocodile or great graha) are valid. The recognition of Jupiter by Shri Bhatnagar makes my corroboration even stronger. Let’s recall that Jupiter was in close conjunction with nakshatra Magha, and in the sky and visible, for my proposed timing of Hanuman returning from Lanka.
Hanuman meets Rama
Shri Bhatnagar proposed that Rama left from Kishkindha, along with Vanara-army on 19 September 5076 BCE. This would mean Bhatnagar is claiming that southern Vanara search party, along with Hanuman, traveled the distance from southern shore (Rameshwaram) to Kishkindha (Hampi/Bellary in Karnataka) in less than 5 days!
While it is true that Valmiki Ramayana talks of flying ability among Vanara, not all Vanara could fly. In addition, there is no mention of Vanara party returning to Kishkindha flying. In fact there are descriptions of them taking rest on the way and spending time at Sugriva’s garden where they feasted on honey and became inebriated. Besides, Shri Bhatnagar is not accepting existence of flying Pushpak, so it is reasonable to assume that he is not accepting flying Vanara. I leave it to readers to figure out if it is possible for Vanara party to walk a distance from Rameshwaram to Hampi/Bellary in 5 days. As a reference, I may mention that current distance via national/state highways, using the shortest route, is over 900 kilometers, which would mean ~200 kilometers of walking per day!
Kishkindha to Lanka – Astronomy observations
Shri Bhatnagar has not provided specific duration for Rama’s journey from Kishkindha to Lanka and thus we cannot analyze or provide criticism for this portion of his Ramayana proposal.
Taking this as a broad time period of 19 September through 21 November 5076 BCE, let’s see to what extent we can corroborate timeline proposed by Shri Bhatnagar. Shri Bhatnagar summarizes Valmiki Ramayana description:
Venus has gone on the back side, Saptarshi are visible brightly and they are moving around the pole star. Trishanku – our ancestor (Trishanku refers to the constellation CRUX) is brightly visible in the front. The Moola Nakshatra, which protects the Rakshasa, is being inflicted with Dhumra-Ketu (node).
The correct translation of ‘Dhuma-Ketu’ is ‘Comet’ and not ‘node’ as claimed by Shri Bhatnagar. Let’s test this description for the proposed timing of Shri Bhatnagar. Venus could be seen during this period in the morning while star Trishanku could not have been seen until 10 October 5076 BCE. No Dhuma-ketu (comet) was observed during this period of three months. Thus, Ramayana observations are not corroborated by the proposed timeline of Shri Bhatnagar.
First day of the War
Shri Bhatnagar proposed 21 November 5076 BCE as the first day of the War. This day is 1-2 days before Amawasya! This is interesting because Valmiki Ramayana is rich with specific references for the beginning of the war to be near the full moon day. Shri Bhatnagar’s proposal is in direct contradiction with observations of Valmiki Ramayana.
Last day of the War
Shri Bhatnagar has proposed 4 December 5076 BCE as the last day of the War. This is the day Rama killed Ravana. The day appears to be 10th or 11th day of Shuddha Paksha and Shri Bhatnagar agrees with this identification/validation of the moon’s phase. This is in direct conflict with evidence of Ramayana. Valmiki Ramayana alludes to the last day of the War as that of Amawasya and thus the last day of War, proposed by Shri Bhatnagar contradicts observations of Valmiki Ramayana.
Shri Bhatnagar states that “No descriptions of astronomical bodies are available to ascertain specific days of the War”.
It is true that there are not many astronomy observations, besides observations of the phases of the moon at the beginning and at the end of the War. However there is indeed an observation of ‘Mercury attacking Rohini’ on the last day of the War282 and I have shown how this observation corroborates with my proposed timeline.
In case of Shri Bhatnagar’s proposal, Mercury is near nakshatra Shatabhishaj, on 4 December 5076 BCE and thus nowhere near nakshatra Rohini. As a result, Ramayana evidence fails to corroborate proposed last day of the War by Bhatnagar.
Arrival from Lanka at the Ashram of Sage Bharadwaj
Shri Bhatnagar proposed 29 December 5076 BCE as the day when Rama arrived at the ashram of sage Bharadwaj, from Lanka. Shri Bhatnagar claimed this day to be that of Shuddha 5 (lunar Tithi). We will have to make a slight correction (of 2 days) to adjust the phase of the moon to match this Tithi and the adjusted day (for the sake of testing) would be 27 December 5076 BCE.
Valmiki Ramayana states that Rama met Bharata, at Nandigram/Ayodhya, the next day and the nakshatra of the day was Pushya. Nakshatra for Shri Bhatnagar’s proposed date of 27 December (or 29 December) 5076 BCE is Ashwini (or Rohini) and thus the Nakshatra of the next day would be Bharani (or Mrigashirsha). Thus Shri Bhatnagar’s proposal does not corroborate observations of Valmiki Ramayana, either related to arrival of Rama, from Lanka, at the ashram of sage Bharadwaj or Rama-Bharata meet the very next day.
Observations not considered by Shri Bhatnagar
There are numerous observations from Valmiki Ramayana, astronomical and chronological in nature, that are not employed or evaluated by Shri Bhatnagar. These observations do not corroborate the timeline proposed by him. On the other hand, observations, specifically from Chapter 6 of this book that define upper and lower bounds on the timing of Ramayana, falsify proposal of Shri Bhatnagar.
Mahabharata War & Kali-Yuga
Shri Bhatnagar discusses archeological and geological evidence for his timeline. He also discusses the timing of Mahabharata War and of Kali-Yuga. I would encourage readers to read my book –‘When did the Mahabharata War happen? The Mystery of Arundhati’ for detailed discussion of astronomy evidence of Mahabharata text and how that can be employed to predict the timing of Mahabharata War. The book also falsifies any and all claims, made after 4500 BCE, for the timing of Mahabharata War.
We have seen that Ramayana observations employed by Shri Bhatnagar in developing his proposal do not corroborate his proposed timeline, even according to his own interpretation (e.g. definition of exalted state of grahas).
Shri Bhatnagar failed to explain his logic of selecting references that allude to older age of Rama (and Sita) at the time of Rama’s scheduled coronation, and fails to explain how such a selection is consistent with the rest of chronological, sociological and physiological accounts, related to Rama and Sita, as described in Valmiki Ramayana.
Valmiki Ramayana references of astronomy, seasons and chronological observations, not employed by Shri Bhatnagar, decisively falsify his proposed timeline. In fact, Valmiki Ramayana references discussed in chapter 6 decisively place a lower limit of ~11,000 BCE on the timing of Ramayana – some 6000 years earlier than the timing proposed by Shri Bhatnagar.
Brief note on life and work of Shri Pushkar Bhatnagar
Late Shri Pushkar Bhatnagar is to be congratulated for his courage to attempt a difficult task, the task of determining the timing of Ramayana. While so much is written about Ramayana within and outside academia, no one from academia, worth his/her salt (or without) have dared to do what Shri Bhatnagar attempted. He worked for the Indian Revenue Service and was diagnosed with cancer as early as 1991 CE. In spite of his health, he worked tirelessly on this project and published his work in 2004 CE.
When I tested his proposal few years ago, I wrote to Mr. Pushkar Bhatnagar about my findings. After few attempts of mine to contact him, his daughter wrote me back with the inevitable news of his sad demise. While I was not aware of it, he was fighting cancer for some time.
Since Saroj Bala is taking forward the work of Late Shri Bhatnagar, I request her to consider my analysis and criticism of his work, and a rebuttal of my work, in her future publications.
One has to do a work of this kind to realize the amount of time and efforts it consumes, while looking after the necessities of life. Only through the recognition of the errors of past researchers, on whose shoulders we stand, we can perhaps see farther.