Debating evidence, method & Inferences: Oak vs Koch – Part 2

Continued from part 1 here:

Now, Dieter Koch claims to turn next objection of his,

Instead, let us turn to another objection that has been made against his approach. Vyasa is talking about astronomical observations (omens) that were made in the very year of the war, more precisely only a few days before the war. He certainly would not have mentioned any observations that were over 5000 years old and applied to the whole time range from 11.089 BCE to 4508 BCE.

What makes this ‘another objection’?  Is this not the same logic Dieter Koch used when he wrote, previously?

From the calculation, it seems to follow, at first glance, that the Mahabharata War must have taken place around 11.000 BCE

Vyasa is indeed talking of astronomy observation and he is indeed referring to it among the list of ‘Nimitta’ and ‘Nimitta’ can indeed be translated at indication, signs or omens.  What problem Dieter Koch sees in mention of AV observation as astronomy observation which also could be employed as ‘Nimitta’.

Shri Shrikant Talageri (and Shri Koenraad Elst) had raised similar arguments (regarding ‘Nimitta’) in the past and I have responded to them here.  I would encourage Dieter Koch to review them.

Instead, Dieter Koch puts wrong words in my mouth, as the explanation for why AV observation could qualify as ‘Nimitta’ only around 5561 BCE.

This is what he states,

On his website ( ), Oak counters this kind of objection by stating that the separation between the two stars reached a maximum shortly before 5561 BCE and that the phenomenon may have been discovered only near this year. He writes:

(passages below is written by me in the blog article referenced by Shri Koch above)

Naked eye resolution is about 1 arc-min. The maximum separation (with Arundhati ahead of Vasistha) between Arundhati and Vasistha were around 500 arc-sec, which is about 8 arc-min. Thus one can make a case that while Arundhati began walking ahead of Vasistha as early as 11091 BCE, only around the time of the Mahabharata War (5561 BCE) it would have become apparent to someone observing them (Arundhati and Vasistha) with naked eye.

And then concludes erroneously and not surprisingly, the following,

Thus Oak is assuming that for 5500 years, astronomers believed Vasishtha was in front of Arundhati and never realized they were wrong. Only in 5561 BCE they would have noticed that their knowledge about the two stars had become outdated. Here it could be objected that if they were not able to determine which star came first, they could at least have found out that the two stars crossed the meridian approximately at the same time and that it was not possible to determine which one came first. Most likely they would have given up the old outdated information.

Why assume something when Oak is being more than clear in stating his position.  Before I propose an explanation to a query, in my blog article, I had stated, in no uncertain terms,

So, I solved the problem. In a scientific jargon, it would not have mattered how long this phenomenon was occurring. It would also not matter by how much distance/separation, Arundhati was ahead of Vasistha.

So before we get into additional exploration and explanations, it is important to realize that this discovery is a great breakthrough. It is revolutionary in its implications and various objections people have raised have no implication whatsoever on the ‘scientific’ nature of this discovery.

If Newton had discovered this and if people had put the above questions to him, he would have simply answered, “Hypothesis non Fingo” ( in layperson’s language – I don’t know).

The discoverer is not required to answer these questions. One may claim that these concerns are real and they may be. But these new problems are in fact the result of the revolutionary discovery of ‘Epoch of Arundhati ‘(11091 BCE – 4508 BCE).

One must understand this and then, and only then, one can begin to explore answers to the new questions raised.

This makes additional speculation and explanation of Dieter Koch, superfluous and unnecessary when he writes,

Also, let us ask the question at what time before 11.089 Vasishthas going ahead of Arundhati could have been observed. Using Oak’s logic, this would have been as early as 16.500 BCE, because a clear ascertainment of this fact would of course have been gained in a similar way, i.e. based on a naked eye resolution of 1 to 8 arc min. Thus for more than 10.000 years there would have been this teaching of Vasishthas going ahead of Arundhati, when no clear evidence for its truth was given. And this would never have been realised during this long period of time.

In reality, however, Oak’s assumption that the resolution of the human eye plays a relevant part here might be wrong. Before making such statements one ought to think about likely methods of observation. E.g., the observation could have been made using an erected wooden pole in northern direction or a rope hanging from a tree branch with a stone at its end. The stone age star-gazer could then have observed which of the two stars would first appear first from behind the pole or disappeared first behind it. With this method, the resolution of the human eye should not have played a relevant part, as long as the two stars were perceived as separate lights. If the pole was standing in vertical position, if the observer was sitting or lying due south of it and kept his head in a fixed position (perhaps leaning the head against another pole or in a kind of open-eye shavasana), then he would have seen the stars just at the moment they appeared. Even if the one star appeared only a fraction of a second after the other, this could have been detected. Thus even if the one star preceded the other only by a few arc seconds, this could have been noticed. The example shows how accurate observations could be made even with rather simple instruments and methods. I have to add that I have never tried this experiment, so it is speculative. But it looks like a reasonable method that should have worked. Hence, if Oak’s interpretation of Vyasa’s verse were correct and referred to the order in which the two stars crossed the meridian, then Vyasa’s observation, and therefore also the Mahabharata War, should have taken place very soon after 11.090 BCE.

To be continued….






2 thoughts on “Debating evidence, method & Inferences: Oak vs Koch – Part 2

  1. Nileshji,
    I had once mentioned in a comment on your blog that the ancient Rig Vedic marriage ritual requires the bride to look up at the heavens and state to her husband that ‘Just as Arundhati never leaves the side of Vashishtha, I shall be by your side forever..’ Now, with the Rig Veda being older than the Mahabharat, the tradition was that of close proximity between AV.. Vyasa simply states to Dhritarashtra that A has put V at her back, which is perfectly plausible as per your proof of maximum visible separation between the stars around Mahabharat time.. Hence, Koch’s argument of when V was ahead of A in the past is irrelevant..

    • I do not know if Arundhati-Vasishtha and wedding ritual is mentioned in Rigveda (if you have ready references, do send them to me)

      However, irrespective of it, none of the main or secondary or numerous others digressing arguments of Koch are relevant for AV observation.

      He went to an extent of presenting multiple twisted arguments for alternate explanation of AV observation.. but then not willing to accept the resulting inferences.

      This is due to lack of comprehension of logical and inferential skills. The problem is severe. It is not limited to Shri Koch.

      Thanks for your comments.

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