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!