Discovery of Shrimati Rupa Bhaty

Bhagavad Gita 10:21 states….

आदित्यानामहं विष्णुर्ज्योतिषां रविरंशुमान्।
मरिचिर्मरुतामस्मि नक्षत्राणामहं ‘शशी’।२१।

A typical translation (majority of translations if not all) translates the last portion of this Shlok as “among the nakshatras I am the Moon“.

This translation bothered me since I came across it the very first time.  But I could not think of alternate explanation.  So I justified that since naksahtras are visible at night and moon is also considered an object of night (yes, it can be seen during the day just fine, but its glory is at night), moon might be referred to in that generic sense (brightest object during the night sky).

This is when discovery (and/or ‘connecting the dots’ skillset) of Shrimati Rupa Bhaty comes into the picture.  Of course she knew this all along, i.e. the association of ‘rabbit’/Shashi/Lepus with nakshatra Mrigashirsha.  I did not know of this connection or reference.



We were communicating in the context of the timing of Mahabharata war, specifically interpretation of another shlok from the same Adhyaya of Bhagavad gita,

Bhagavad Gita 10:35

बृहत्साम तथा साम्नां गायत्री छंदसामहम
मासानां मार्गशीर्षोsहमृतूनां कुसुमाकर:

(readers may read more about this sholk here…

This is when Shrimati Rupa Bhaty brought to my attention this alternate nomenclature of Mrigashirsha.

So, what is the discovery?

The discovery is that  शशी referred to in  नक्षत्राणामहं ‘शशी’ is not referring to the moon but to nakshatra Mrigashirsha.



Point of spring equinox (the beginning of the year) was around nakshtra Mrigashirsha during Mahabharata times (5561 BCE)

This also provides additional support to the only logical interpretation of why Krishna considered ‘Margashirsha’ as month representing his ‘Vibhuti’.  Lunar month of Margashirsha coincided with the ‘Sharad’ season at the time of Mahabharata war (5561 BCE)

This also explains and reinforces interpretation of season of ‘कुसुमाकर’ as referring to ‘Sharad’ rutu, in the same shlok.

All of these act as additional corroborative evidence for 5561 BCE as the year of Mahabharata war.

Of course, the implications of this discovery is far reaching and beyond Mahabharata.  But more on this, another time.

I want to thank Shrimati Rupa Bhaty for her efforts and congratulate her on her discovery and, specifically, her successful attempt in connecting the dots.

‘Connecting the dots’!  That is what the science is all about!





14 thoughts on “Discovery of Shrimati Rupa Bhaty

  1. I studied the second shlok in my school days and learnt that कुसुमाकर meant season of Vasanta. I also read a book by Prof. Mohan Apte (सूर्यमालेतील सृष्टीचमत्कार) in which he mentioned that Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak gave some serious thought to this shlok and his efforts culminated into the publication of a book called “Orion”. Tilak thought season of Vasanta coincided with month of Margashirsha and that’s the reason lord Krishna mentioned it to Arjuna. I realised that this was wrong but didn’t pursue it further till I read your first book. Here, I would give my own interpretation to the two shlokas-

    मासानां मार्गशीर्षोsहमृतूनां कुसुमाकर:

    The month of Margashirsha (which is associated with nakshatra mrugashirsha) coincided with season of Sharad in 5561 BCE. At the same time, vernal equinox (the cardinal point associated with season of Vasanta, कुसुमाकर), also coincided with (or at least very close to) the nakshtra mrugashirsha. To stress this fact, lord Krishna explained that he is the month of Margashirsha (out of all the months) and season of Vasanta, कुसुमाकर (out of all the seasons).

    नक्षत्राणामहं शशी – The discovery of Smt. Rupa is indeed thought provoking. However, I tried to think over alternative interpretation as given below:-

    The full moon of Sharad season (also known as Kojagiri Paurnima) was an important event signifying harvest activities. This full moon would have been the full moon of Margashirsha as it would have occurred near the nakshatra mrugashirsha.

    The nakshatra mrugashirsha thus became very important as it was “holding” vernal equinox, associated with the month in which
    1) harvest activities were carried out and
    2) the great mahabharat war was about to begin.

    This nakshatra is also very easy to locate in the night sky which consists of 4 stars in a trapezium shape with 3 collinear stars almost aligning with the diagonal of the trapezium.

    Considering the fact that, lord Krishna explained these two verses to Arjuna JUST BEFORE the war was about to begin (and thus just before the month of Margashirsha as well- as per the proposal of Shri. Oak and Dr. Vartak), I have to conclude that even the lord Krishna too was very well aware of subject of astronomy.

    I want to add it further, that my interpretation (assuming it is correct) is yet another corroborative evidence for 5561 BCE as the year of Mahabharat war, even if we consider my alternative interpretation as above.

    Of course, I know that this could be wrong (suggesting alternative interpretation for कुसुमाकर to mean Vasanta and hence theposition of cardinal point associated with it). But, this attempt of mine could be considered by those insisting on कुसुमाकर to mean Vasanta, without having to rework on dating of Mahabharat war all over again.

    • Excellent, Sameer.

      Also consider that (I wrote this note to Rupa Bhaty, only few min ago). Copying from there….

      “Another quick point It is very common in ancient literture (and very common in Mahabharata text) to refer to nakshatra by its Devata (Thus we hear shakra, Prajapati, etc. as referring to Jyeshtha, Rohini, etc.). Extend that to this verse from Mahabharata (BG 10:21) Shashi can refer to moon and that is fine too.. but what is really meant is that nakshatra whose Devata is Moon (Shashi).. and that happends to be Mrigashirsha”

      Your point about ‘कुसुमाकर’ is valid. As I said in my original note….both Vasanta and Sharad rutu can be described as ‘Kusumakar’. Our experience and the descriptions of these two rutus from ancient Indian narratives agree with these inferences.



  2. Please note that Shashi does not mean Rabbit! That word is ‘Shasha’. Pl. recollect ‘कदाचिदपि पर्यटै शषविषाणमासादयेत् ] न तु प्रतिनिविष्ट्जनचित्तमाराधयेत्.- भर्तृहरि नीतिशतक. भाषांतर – ‘सशाचेंही लाभे विपिन फिरतां शृंगहि जरी, परंतू मूर्खाचे हृदय धरवेना क्षणभरी – वामनपंडित. शष = ससा / Rabbit and शशि = चंद्र / moon.

  3. नक्षत्राणामहम् शशी – Here Shashi definitely means and correctly translates as moon. It is quite appropriate also, as moon passes through all 27 nakshatras one per day and all nakshatras are also described as daughters of Kashyapa and wives of moon! So Krishna naturally claims that he is the moon among nakshatras! No need or justification to read any other meaning, that too based on wrong translation of shashi as rabbit.

    • You may also want to read the note I wrote, in comments above, to Sameer Barve. (Nakshatradevata of Mrigashirsha = Shashi = Moon, and thus , nakshatra Mrigashirsha identified by its devata (a common occurrence in Mahabharata…..Prajapati, Shakra, Brahma, or in Ramayana….Indragni (referring to Vishakha) etc.)

      • And Rupa Bhaty wrote (to me) stating that (based on consultation with few other Sanskrit experts) that this specific reference (Vibhuti yoga) of shashi can be interpreted to mean nakshatradevata (Moon) and thus referring to nakshatra Mrigashirsha.

        She may elaborate more on this…

  4. Has anybody translated ‘shashai’ as Rabbit, here or anywhere else? Does Rupa Bhati claim so or are you (Shri. Oak) claiming this meaning? ( You do indulge in fancy translations! )

    • Your claim that ‘( You do indulge in fancy translations! ) is without merit.

      I know you have made that claim numerous times. In 100% of the cases I begin with and/or borrow translations by others. And in 100% of the cases, I also look for multiple translations from multiple sources.

      If you care to show where I have made a fancy translation (of my own), I will be happy to show you original translation by someone else (and done prior to me quoting it).

      One instance where I have interpreted (not changed the translation) is that of statement of Dasharatha as referring to Mars, Sun ad Rahu in his nakshatra…and since I noticed that the date I arrived at (not based on this Mars/sun/rahu) evidence, matched only if I assumed that Dasharatha made that statement as referring to nakshatras of both Dasharatha (Revati) and Rama (Punarvasu), then it corroborated better.

      In this case, I provided the original translation (Error elimination – experiment 6-A) and then provided my modified interpretation (Error elimination – experiment 6-B)

      No trickery. No confusion. Crisp and clear.

      Now that is on the score of Ramayana (575) and Mahabharata (215) = 1 out of total of 790 specific astronomy/chronology/seasonal references..

      If that qualifies as me indulging in ‘fancy translations’…so be it.

      If you truly want to see fancy translations and twisting beyond imaginations…read works of Prof. Raghavan, Prof. Achar, Prof. R N Iyengar, Shri Daftari, Gorakhpur press translations, Online Valmiki Ramayana translations (where they translate clear Hemant rutu as Vasant rutu).

      There is a ‘fancy translation’ galore. And most of them (if not all) claim to be sanskrit experts. I don’t. I never formally or even informally learnt Sanskrit.

      Be it as it may…

      Translation of Shashi…coming up, in next note…

    • The translation, connection is all due to Shrimati Rupa Bhaty.

      What follows is multiple meanings of ‘Shashi’ ‘Shashin’…etc.

      शशिन् zazin m. emblem of a particular arhat or jina
      शशिन् zazin m. containing a hare
      शशिन् zazin m. camphor
      शशिन् zazin m. moon
      शशिन् zazin m. kind of metre

      शशाङ्क zazAGka m. the moon
      शशाङ्क zazAGka m. moon
      शशाङ्क zazAGka m. camphor
      शशाङ्क zazAGka m. hare-marked

      शाश zAza adj. belonging to or coming from a hare

      शश zaza m. hare
      शश zaza m. lotus bark tree [ Symplocos racemosa – Bot. ]
      शश zaza m. man of mild character and easily led
      शश zaza m. rabbit
      शश zaza m. lodhra tree
      शश zaza m. kind of meteor
      शश zaza m. hare in moon
      शश zaza m. gum-myrrh
      शश zaza m. antelope

  5. Nilesh ji,

    I checked panchanga and found out that devata of mrugashirsha nakshatra is indeed Chandra (moon).
    We should be thankful to Smt.Rupa Bhaty for bringing it to the notice.

    Regarding शश to mean rabbit/hare, I am quoting a reference from Ramayana- I read it in Dr. Vartak’s book Vastav Ramayana:-

    पंच पंच नखा भक्ष्या ब्रह्म क्षत्रेण राघव |
    शल्यकः श्वाविधो गोधा शशः कूर्मः च पंचमः ||
    Kishkindha Sarg 17 (4.17.39)

    The translation goes-
    Vali informs Rama:
    Raghava, five types of five nailed-animals, viz. wild rodent, wild boar, lizard, hare and turtle are edible for brahmins and kshatriyas.

    Dr. Vartak mentioned it while discussing antiquity of Ramayana. He explained that during Ramayana times brahmins used to consume non-veg but no such reference is found in Mahabharata.

    Shri. Prabhakar Phadnis in his comment quoted a reference to mean “शष” as rabbit/hare. My reference above from Kishkindha sarg 17 says “शश” means rabbit/hare. The difference between “शष” and “शश” can be explored in more details by keeping in mind the rules of sanskrit grammar.

  6. I only wanted to point out that शशि and शष /शश are not same. शशि means moon only. and not Rabbit / Hare and certainly not मृग. शशांक means moon as the dark spot on the moon looks like a rabbit (to many). I have not made any comment about मासानां मार्गशीर्षोहं ऋतूनां कुसुमाकरः This line has nothing to do with शशि meaning anything other than moon. I have also pointed out that Krishna saying ‘I am moon among Nakshatras’ has its own justification as 27 nakshatras are considered wives of moon.

  7. Nileshji and PK Padhnavisji.

    By which Paninian sutra does शष /शश comes in; would then shed some light on शष word. Etymology of शश might help rather which is शश् + अच्= शश: . I would like to share one example शष्(स्)+ कुलच् +डिष्= शष्कु ; कान विवर, श्रवण मार्गI ष् and स् both were used, but i couldn’t find शष word. I was emphasizing on the word ‘नक्षत्राणामहं’ whether ‘nakshatra’ here just means the nocturnal-sky or those group of stars in which spring equinox was happening as well as on शशिन्. We must not forget that Shri Krishna is very specific in mentioning each name in Gita adhyAya 10. To further reinforce that which has been just a coincidence that the west-greek world also knew Mrigashirsha but purely as constellation ‘containing’ hare and hunter; I am again emphasizing on the word ‘containing’ . This western ‘hunter-hare’ is again a pointer to IkshvAku clan which is yet another story.

    To quote some why nakshatra devata used by Shri Krishna?

    नक्षत्रदेवता ह्येता एताभिर् यज्ञकर्मणी।
    यजमानस्य शास्त्रज्ञैर् नाम नक्षत्रजं स्मृतम्॥

    The name of nakshatra devata was prevelent and common in ancient vedic times. And for thousand years people were named by their nakshatra or nakshatra devata unlike cha, chi, che la for mesh rashi in todays time which is apbhransha of vedanga jyotisha.

    नक्षत्रशब्दस्य प्रयोग: तैत्तिरीयादिकृष्णयजुर्वेदशाखासु अथर्ववेदे शतपथब्राह्मणे च तारकार्थे तारकासमूहार्थे एव… surely for constellations.

    नक्षत्रदेवता: वेदाङ्गज्योतिषेऽपि नक्षत्रस्य पर्यायरूपेणाऽपि प्रयुक्ता: …

    At the end, and not the least I didn’t want to share this initially, but शश m. antelope = मृग~मृगशीर्ष may have solved the problem without going into ‘शशी’ interpretation being Nakshatra devatA. But ‘-in’ ending (masculine) noun like given as under,
    योगिन्/शशिन् Singular
    Case 1 (subject) योगी/शशी

    Please see all possible meanings.

    शश zaza m. hare
    षस Sasa poppy
    सस sasa adj. sleeping
    सस sasa m. grass
    सस sasa m. corn
    सस sasa n. herb
    शस zasa adj. reciting
    शास zAsa m. commander
    शास zAsa m. chastiser
    शास zAsa m. ruler
    शास zAsa m. butcher’s knife
    शास zAsa m. command
    शास zAsa m. order
    शाश zAza adj. belonging to or coming from a hare
    शश zaza m. antelope
    शश zaza m. man of mild character and easily led
    शश zaza m. rabbit
    शश zaza m. lodhra tree
    शश zaza m. kind of meteor
    शश zaza m. lotus bark tree [ Symplocos racemosa – Bot. ]
    शश zaza m. gum-myrrh
    शश zaza m. hare in moon


    शशिन् zazin m. camphor
    शशिन् zazin m. moon
    शशिन् zazin m. kind of metre
    शशिन् zazin m. emblem of a particular arhat or jina
    शशिन् zazin m. ‘containing’ a hare

    शश can never become शशी via sanskrit noun declination in first case thus शश interpretation was kept apart. to be very preside, शशिन् doesn’t mean hare ‘alone’, it means ‘containing’ a hare.

  8. >To be very precise, शशिन् doesn’t mean hare ‘alone’, it means ‘containing’ a hare and certainly is synonym to Moon and which is Nakshatra devata of Mrigashirsha nakshatra, very common in usage from vedic times.

  9. If any one, has read shlokas of VedAngajyotish of vedic times, would easily succumb to the meaning of
    नक्षत्रदेवता ह्येता एताभिर् यज्ञकर्मणी।
    यजमानस्य शास्त्रज्ञैर् नाम नक्षत्रजं स्मृतम्॥35॥

    सोमसूर्यस्तृचरितं विद्वान् वेदविदश्नुते।
    सोमसुर्यस्चरितं लोकं लोके च सन्ततिम् इति॥४४॥
    इति यजुर्वेदिनां परम्प्रयाऽऽगतं वेदान्गज्योतिषं समाप्तं

    Nilesshji says “since I noticed that the date I arrived at (not based on this Mars/sun/rahu) evidence, matched only if I assumed that Dasharatha made that statement as referring to nakshatras of both Dasharatha (Revati) and Rama (Punarvasu), then it corroborated better.”- Indeed

    Why Dasharatha is of Revati nakshatra?
    Simply because, his name was Nemi; we often recite नक्षत्रनेमि नक्षत्रि in Vishnu SahastranAma~
    नक्षत्रनेमि nakSatranemi f. nakSatras revatI
    नक्षत्रनेमि nakSatranemi m. moon
    नक्षत्रनेमि nakSatranemi m. pole-star

    which can corroborate to Revati or Moon or thunderbolt precisely giving four options Revati, Mrigashirsha, or as under

    नेमि nemi f. tyre
    नेमि nemi f. foundation of a wall
    नेमि nemi f. set of tires [ amer. ]
    नेमि nemi f. thunderbolt
    नेमि nemi f. set of tyres [ engl. ]
    नेमि nemi f. windlass or framework for the rope of a well
    नेमि nemi f. car tire
    नेमि nemi f. any circumference or edge or rim
    नेमि nemi f. car tyre
    नेमि nemi f. felly of a wheel
    नेमि nemi m. Sandan tree [ Desmodium oojeinense – Bot. ]

    नेमि nemi f. set of tyres ; this suits well for Dasaratha but who would know that he will become proficient in Ratha-rides later, during the birth. Thus while when child is born he is first named after nakShtra name only. Dasharatha in Ramayana is of Revati Nakshatra via nakShatra name prevalence.

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