Debating evidence, method & Inferences: Oak vs Koch – Part 9

Dieter Koch writes,

Are there other reliable clues? Most probably you think so. Well, I do not think so.

My response…

You have already answered your own question. There are many.
The answer is resounding – YES! [hydrology, climatology, oceanography, seismology, anthropology, Astronomy (non-Mahabharata war references from Mahabharata text, Ramayana text, Surya Siddhanta)]
But I will restrict myself to ONLY astronomy evidence and ONLY from the text of Mahabharata.
All the references – astronomy and chronology of Bhishma Nirvana!

Dieter Koch writes,

This leads me to the question of the number of days Bhishma spent on his bed of arrows before deceasing. You (Nilesh Oak) arrived at the conclusion that it is 98 days, which would indicate a very early date of the Mahabharata War.

My response…

I have shown that, based on all references (astronomy and chronology) of Bhishma Nirvana, that Bhishma was on the bed of arrows for a minimum of 92 days (actual number >92 days) and when combined with other chronology markers, the timing of Mahabharata war can be asserted to be no later than 4700 BCE and not earlier than ~7000 BCE! NO IFS and NO BUTS.

Dieter Koch writes,

You asked me for my opinion about it. I request you to read what I wrote about it in my book, pp. 358ff. There I demonstrate that the evidence provided by the Mahabharata is actually contradictory and very difficult to disentangle.

My response…

I have read your book and just now when I did a quick re-read, I realized that you have not taken any specific position, but have rather discussed the merit and limitations of certain references of Mahabharata text (related to Bhishma Nirvana) you selected for discussion.

Dieter Koch writes,

There are text passages that support your claim, but others that contradict it. In my opinion it is not a well-established fact that Bhishma spent 98 days on bed of arrows. It is only the opinion you chose because it fits your dating of the war.

My response…

Your first statement is, again, a trivial truism. It is true and it is also true for claims of all Mahabharata researcher. No exceptions! Remaining two statements of yours are factually incorrect. Have you read my book?

While I have included all relevant references of Bhishma Nirvana (and open to add any other that I might have missed), all other Mahabharata researchers (only one exception I am aware of is that of Dr. P V Vartak) have selectively chosen 2-3 (out of total of 22-23 references! Order of magnitude difference!) and even then, failed to corroborate – even those 2-3 references of their choice – for their proposed date/year of Mahabharata war!
Opinions have no value – either those of yours or mine, in a scientific endeavor of this kind. Objective testing of evidence does! We should insist on it and we should stick to it.
The explanation of Bhishma Nivrana references is rather straightforward, especially for a savvy astronomy and Mahabharata researcher, however, may involve some investment on the part of others who may not be familiar with concepts such as shift of lunar month with respect to the day of winter solstice, Median Tithi and shift of median Tithi with respect to the day of winter solstice, how there can be disagreement in nomenclature of lunar months (as can be seen even in modern Indian calendars) however, how position of sun on the day of winter solstice can-not be manipulated.
The lack of such knowledge, few levels deeper, on the part of Mahabharata enthusiasts have restricted their ability to separate the grains from the chaff in evaluating 130+ claims for the day (and the minimum duration of Bhishma on the bed of arrows) of Bhishma Nirvana.

I am currently writing a book ‘Bhishma Nirvana’ and I would encourage all to read it and critique it when it is published. Of course, if you desire, I will be happy to provide a gist of it in my future responses to you.

Dieter Koch writes,

For a better feeling for what we are discussing, I went out last night. The sky was clear, and although the Moon was bright and although there was some light pollution and the Milky Way was not visible, I could easily see both Vasisththa and Arundhati, with the naked eye, without binoculars. The two stars are 12 minutes of arc apart, which corresponds to a little less than half of the diameter of the moon. The distance between the two stars and their relative positions in the constellation Ursa Major has changed very little since 5561 BCE, so almost the same angle between the two stars was already given in 11.000 BCE. Only their difference in right ascension has changed sign around 11.090 and 4508 BCE. I think the observation with the pole should have worked, already thousands of years before 5561 BCE. The two stars would have appeared/disappeared at the edge of the pole at different heights, about 12 arc min apart (which, as has been stated, is a bit less than half of the diameter of the Moon). Nowadays, Vasishtha’s going ahead can be observed without any tools, just by drawing an imaginary line from Dhruva-Polaris to Vasishtha. This is very easy. Unfortunately, no polar star was available over great periods of time between 11.000 and 4500 BCE, so the wooden pole or hanging rope was the likely method of observation. Or what alternative method could be thought of? It seems you don’t consider this question relevant. In my opinion it is. Nevertheless, if you or anybody has an idea, please let me know.
I think this is sufficient from my side concerning Arundhati and Vasishtha.

My response…

What you did is fascinating! I do such experiments all the time. I am doing them for more than 20+ years. I find it all useful and worthy of discussion. Not sure what made you think I find it irrelevant! However, I worry that we will get into many digressions from our pet subject – astronomy observations of Mahabharata and their ability to corroborate and/or falsify specific claims.

Having said that, if for some reason you think this is central to our discussion, I will intently listen to it until we are ready for the next step.

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5 thoughts on “Debating evidence, method & Inferences: Oak vs Koch – Part 9

  1. Good Day Nilesh ji.
    I am aware that you are working on the date of the Rigveda. Can’t wait to read it.

    My question is:

    Have you read the recent book called The Rigveda and the History of India written by David Frawley? The author states that the Vedas themselves allude to an earlier time and mention the names of Manu, Ila/Sadyumna, Pururav, Ayush, Nahush, Yayati and Puru as heroes of the past.

    Second Dr. PV Vartak has dated the earliest part of the Rigveda to around 24000BC and that Manu was born at around 15000 BC.

    How can we reconcile the two view points.
    And which in your viewpoint is more accurate chronology.

    Or do you have a date of your own?

    Please let me know.

    • I have not read the book by Shri Vamdev Shastri (David Frawley) however what he is saying is true and make perfect sense. The chronology described by Dr. P V Vartak also makes total sense. Do remember that there are many Manus as there are many Vyasas, Vasishthas, and Vishwamitras (and also Valmiki) These are descendants of same disciplic and/or genetic succession.

      Vedvyasa edited Vedas at the time of Mahabharata (6th millennium BCE) and that is why we also have references to Devapi and Shantanu (father of Bhishma) in the10th Mandala of Rigveda (10:75).

      Thus timing of Rigveda can be stated as 6th millennim BCE for the last Mandala and beyond 17000 BCE for the earliest Mandalas (6, 3, 7, 2 etc) of Rigveda.

  2. I have not read the book by Shri Vamdev Shastri (David Frawley) however what he is saying is true and make perfect sense. The chronology described by Dr. P V Vartak also makes total sense. Do remember that there are many Manus as there are many Vyasas, Vasishthas, and Vishwamitras (and also Valmiki) These are descendants of same disciplic and/or genetic succession.

    Vedvyasa edited Vedas at the time of Mahabharata (6th millennium BCE) and that is why we also have references to Devapi and Shantanu (father of Bhishma) in the10th Mandala of Rigveda (10:75).

    Thus timing of Rigveda can be stated as 6th millennim BCE for the last Mandala and beyond 17000 BCE for the earliest Mandalas (6, 3, 7, 2 etc) of Rigveda.

  3. Thank you again sir.
    Really looking forward to reading all your future works.
    Mr. Frawley’s book “Rigveda and the History of India” is a fantastic book and it is sort of an addition to the works of Mr. Shrikant Talagiri. The book deals with the Vedic History history of India.
    While Shrikant Talagiri has emphasized on the Movements of Anus and Druhyus, Mr Frawley has emphasized what was going on in India itself at the time.

    I personally think these two books must go hand in hand.

    If you are searching for information on dating the Rigveda then this book could be of great help.

  4. But question still stands. There are only two Manus relevant of this manyantar which I am aware of :
    1)Vaivastav Manu (Surya)
    2) Shraddhadeva Manu

    In his book Mr Frawley is talking about the latter ie. Shraddhadeva Manu whom he says is alluded to as already a historical figure in the Rigveda itself.

    On the other hand PV Vartak in his respective works gives a date of Shraddhadeva Manu around 15000BC which 9 thousand years later than when the Rig Veda was written.

    I would like to point out that Mr Vartak has come up with this date of 15000 BC for Shraddhadeva Manu by using reference from Ramayana and not the Vedas themselves ( Not that i know of the existence of any reference to Shraddhadeva Manu exists in the Vedas or not)

    Now PV Vartak has given the date of Ramayana around 7400-7300 BC. But you have shown correctly that the more accurate date is 12029 BC.
    Will this new finding push the actual date of Shraddhadeva Manu farther back???

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