Bhishma Nirvana – Q & A

A reader wrote….

“I read your multiple blogs on Bhishma Nirvana and now also completed reading your book. While I enjoyed the book very much, your blog articles explain a lot about Bhishma Nirvana and I think I am getting my head around understanding it.

Here is the question that popped in my head as I read your recent blogs.

You refer to time duration of more than 92 days for Bhishma on bed of arrows and then state that this duration can be used to estimate that Bhishma Nirvana did not happen anytime after 4000 BC.

You also wrote another blog stating that if the War started 12 days later, then that would mean Bhishma Nirvana did not happen anytime after 4700 BC.

My question,

What happens if there was an adhika month or Kshaya month at the time of war. What would be the impact of that on the timing of Bhishma Nirvana.”

My Response…

The Solar year is longer by about 10-11 days than the lunar year and thus ‘Kshaya’ (elapsed) Lunar month is rather a theoretical concept.  A concept (more likely) came into being with the introduction of current method for determination of Adhika masa using sun’s travel through the area of a specific zodiac.

What I mean is that the calendar would never need to skip/eliminate a lunar month in order to synchronize Luni-solar calendar.  What it always (always) have to do is ‘add’ one, in order to synchronize Luni-solar calendar.

Thus, let’s ignore the whole issue of ‘Kshaya lunar masa’ (for now, anyway!).

This brings us to the problem of estimating effect of ‘Adhika’ masa on the timing of Bhishma Nirvana.

While the duration of Bhishma on the bed of arrows, leading to the day of Bhishma Nirvana (on the day of winter solstice) would remain the same (some number >=92 days), the designation of lunar month and ‘tithi’ (lunar day) can change with the insertion of ‘adhika’ lunar month.

This in principle, may necessitates an additional correction of 30 days.  Of course, we do not know for sure if Adhika masa occurred during the year of Mahabharata war.  We also do not know the location of it (which specific adhika masa? or did it even matter?).

Not knowing the answers to any or all of the questions (related to need and location/nomenclature of adhika masa during the year of Mahabharata war), all we can say is that we can estimate the range for the timing of Bhishma Nirvana as follows:

BN Timeline

 

(1) Assuming war began on the Amawasya day and beginning of lunar month of Margashirsha (per Amanata reckoning)

Lower bound for the timing of Bhishma Nirvana = ~ 4000 BCE

https://nileshoak.wordpress.com/2016/01/31/importance-of-bhishma-nirvana-for-ancient-indian-history/

And, taking duration of adhika masa of ~30 days,

Upper bound for the timing of Bhishma Nirvana = 4000 + 72 x 30 = 4000 + 2160 = 6160 BCE

(4000 BCE – 6000 BCE)

(2) Assuming war began 12 days later (than Amawasya) and thus around Margashirsha Shukla 11 (Ekadashi)

https://nileshoak.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/effect-of-non-conservative-estimate-bhishma-nirvana-mbh-war/

Then this time interval shift futher in antiquity by about (12 x 72 = 864 years)

Thus,

(4800 BCE – 6800 BCE)

 

 

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