Problem of ‘Sharadante & Himagame’ for 5561 BCE as the year of Mahabharata War

Shri Prabhakar Phadnis wrote…

“If you refer to my view about ‘Sharadante’, mention about my above stated reasoning also. Otherwise you are not doing justice to me.”

Shri Phadnis wrote this in the context of my referring to his views for the timing of Krishna’s peace mission being at the end of Sharad season, here…

Shri Phadnis raises many issues and I will respond to them one at a time.  However in this segment I want to specifically address his concern which is that  while I quote his views, somehow I hold back his accompanying reasoning behind it.

This is my attempt to clarify the issue.  Readers can judge if I was successful in my effort.

Mahabharata text does have one reference that conflicts/contradicts my proposed timing  for Krishna’s visit to Hastinapur on a peace mission.  I have discussed this as ‘Problem of seasons’ as part of specific conflicting observations (7 of them to be specific) in chapter 9 (Conflicting Obsevations) of my book – When did the Mahabharata War happen?: The Mystery of Arundhati.  I did this as early as June 2011 CE, when I published the book.

What is this specific reference that leads to this commotion?

Udyoga Parva   (CE 81:6-7, GP 83:6-7)

वैशम्पायन उवाच||

 ततो व्यपेते तमसि सूर्ये विमल उद्गते |मैत्रे मुहूर्ते सम्प्राप्ते मृद्वर्चिषि दिवाकरे ||||

 कौमुदे मासि रेवत्यां शरदन्ते हिमागमे |स्फीतसस्यसुखे काले कल्यः सत्त्ववतां वरः ||||

Since Shri Phadnis has avoided the entire subject of designation/nomenclature of lunar months altogether, we will skip the discussion of ‘कौमुदे मासि ‘.

According to Shri Phadnis, ‘शरदन्ते हिमागमे’ is decisive evidence for Krishna leaving on peace mission at the end of Sharad (per him, second half of Sharad, i.e. after the day of autumnal equinox is acceptable) and during (or before) the beginning of Hemant season.

Shri Phadnis does not propose a specific date or year in support of his decisive evidence.

I want to state that my proposed timeline, e.g. the first day of Mahabharata war (originally proposed by Dr. P V Vartak) is 16 October 5561 BCE (Julian calendar computation) which occurs 16 days previous to the day of autumnal equinox.

Naturally, the day of Krishna leaving from Hastinapur, after the failed peace mission is at least 7 days before (based on another Mahabharata evidence of Krishna Karna dialogue occurring 7 days before Shakra Amawasya) this date and thus about ~23 days previous to the day of autumnal equinox.

In fact I have assumed (conjectured, guessed, proposed, etc.) a gap of one lunar month, in addition to these 7 days, between Krishna returning from Hastinapur and the first day of War, based on numerous other pre-war timeline considerations.

Thus, my proposed timeline of 31 August 5561 BCE for the day when Krishna left from Upaplavya, for Hastinapur is about 60 days previous to the day of autumnal equinox and thus in direct conflict (contradiction) to Shri Phadnis interpretation (or Krishna Mohan Ganguli translation or Gita Press translation) of this Mahabharata text.

This is the reason I included this reference among the list of ‘conflicting observations’ in my book.

Let me  also quote few additional observations (evidence) from the Mahabharata text that can also be interpreted to conflict/contradict my proposed timing (either timing of Krishna’s visit to Hastinapur or the timing of 18 days of Mahabharata war)

I also highlight below (in bold) translation that also conflicts/contradicts my timeline

Udyoga CE 140:16-17, GP 142:16-17

ब्रूयाः कर्ण इतो गत्वा द्रोणं शान्तनवं कृपम् |सौम्योऽयं वर्तते मासः सुप्रापयवसेन्धनः ||१६||

 पक्वौषधिवनस्फीतः फलवानल्पमक्षिकः |निष्पङ्को रसवत्तोयो नात्युष्णशिशिरः सुखः ||१७||

[Krishna Mohan Ganguli translation:

Returning hence, O Karna, say unto Drona and Santanu’s son and Kripa that the present month is a delightful one, and that food, drink, and fuel are abundant now. All plants and herbs are vigorous now, all trees full of fruits, and flies there are none. The roads are free from mire, and the waters are of agreeable taste. The weather is neither very hot nor very cold and is, therefore, highly pleasant.]

Udyoga (CE 158:11 GP 161:11)

लोहाभिहारो निर्वृत्तः कुरुक्षेत्रमकर्दमम् |समः पन्था भृता योधाः श्वो युध्यस्व सकेशवः ||११||

[Krishna Mohan Ganguli translation:

Thy weapons have been properly worshipped and their presiding deities have been invoked! The field of Kurukshetra also is without mire. The roads are even. Thy steeds are well-fed. Engage in battle, therefore, on the morrow, with Kesava as thy ally!]

I encourage other readers or Shri Phadnis or Shri Ganesh Puranik to bring in additinal evidence that in their opinion conflicts/contradicts with my timeline.

Against, this background, what follows is the reasoning of Shri Phadnis, which he thinks I omit and thus do not do justice to his criticism of my timeline.

I have copied, verbatim, his reasoning, as stated by him.  All I have done is added numbers to make it easy for readers to enumerate his arguments/reasonings/justifications.

(1) The necessity of ‘naturalness’ of the sequence of events must outweigh any astronomical calculations.

(2)  There was no reason whatsoever for starting such a major war before rains ended, ground dried, soldiers became free from cultivation work.

(3) Krishna clearly says that the right time has arrived to Karna.

(4) The war was fought by a very large number of prominent Maharathis. Bhishma, Drona, and all others were not idiots to start the war in rain!

(5) Astronomy is not the Be All and End All. If your astronomical interpretations lead to such absurd conclusions about the time of war, something is seriously wrong with the Astronomy!

(6) Bhishma himself says that he spent 58 painful nights on bed of arrows. No one in the entire text has contradicted it.

(7) If you stretch it (duration of Bhishm on the bed of arrows) to 95+ days based on astronomy, it needs to be further researched.

(8) Why, oh why, Vyasa has not called Bhishma a fool or a senile one if his statement was so hopelessly wrong? No. Bhishma and Vyasa are right and you are wrong.

The last 3 statements  (6, 7, 8) are in the context of duration of Bhishma on the bed of arrows which practically 99.99% of Mahabharata researchers (past and present) dogmatically think/guess/blindly repeat to be equal to 58 nights…while a lone soul….’yours truly’ asserts that it was >92 days.

This is a separate and very critical/importnat issue by itself, however, the reason, I think, Shri Phadnis quotes it is due to its relevance in the following way….

If Bhishma was on the bed of arrows for 58 nights, then the war began 58+10 = 68 days before the day of winter solstice, and time of end of Krishna’s visit to Hastinapur can be considered about 7 days before this, which means, even if one adds few more days (say X) to this equation to estimate day Krishna left from Upaplavya on peace mission, the timing of this incident can be considered as that of (75 + X ) days before the day of winter solstice, which in turn can be considered in the second half of Sharad season  (as long as (75+X) <90 days) and thus claim of Shri Phadnis of ‘शरदन्ते हिमागमे’ can be considered valid!


Shri Phadnis demands ‘natural’ justifications from me by stating that…

“If you want to claim that Krishna Shishtai took place well in the monsoon period and the War itself started before end of monsoon, you have to provide ‘natural’ justifications for why it should be so.”

I have no justifications whatsoever. All I have is signficant evidence that led me to my timeline.  I will present it against the evidence presented above (as I have done numerous times).

For now, I will kindly request Shri Phadnis to reply and state if I have stated his reasoning clearly and also his justifications of ‘naturalness’ for sequence of events.




2 thoughts on “Problem of ‘Sharadante & Himagame’ for 5561 BCE as the year of Mahabharata War

  1. I wanted to emphasize that even assuming that Vyasa never used the words ‘sharadante himagame’, it would be illogical and against nature to claim that the shishtai and the war itself happened in Rainy season based on some astronomical calculations or interpretations. The claim if made on astronomical data alone is not tenable. It must also answer the question ‘why in rainy season and why no such clear description’.

    • I am not only open but also very much in favor of employing all the evidence of Mahabharata text in determining when exactly (or approximately) Mahabharata war happened.

      What are these other evidences and where are these researchers who have or are proposing timing for Mahabharata war that satisfies whatever demands you have for the timing of War.

      In addition, I do not consider chronological narrations of Bhishma Nirvana as astronomical (other than the fact that the last day of that journey -aka – day of Bhishma Nirvana was the day or day after winter solstice. This is as ‘astronomical’ as it gets. Otherwise the evidence is pure literal, numeric, plain sequential narration. No astronomy.

      In other points, while one should not rely or insist on only astronomy evidence, there is nothing logical about dismissing astronomical evidence.

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