AstronomyLord KrishnaSatapatha BrahmanaVedic AstronomyVedic Science

Indian Astronomy | Astronomical Dating of Events | 105 (Date of Krishna)

Mathomathis would like to present article on Indian Astronomy | Astronomical Dating of Events | 103 by the author Kosla Vepa Published by Indic Studies Foundation, 948 Happy Valley Rd., Pleasanton, Ca 94566, USA. Previous article can be found here (Indian Astronomy | Astronomical Dating of Events | 105 (Beginning of Kaliyuga)) Their website can be located The studies is also conducted by N.S. Rajaram PhD. Author’s in the volume 1 of their research start their discussion on a topic called Why are History and the Chronology Important by Kosla Vepa PhD.

According to the Epic Mahabharata , the character of Lord Kirshna first appears at the time of Draupadi’s wedding and his departure is exactly 36 years after the war. No information about his birth is available in the Epic itself, although there is information about his departure. Lord Kirshna observes omens3645 similar to the ones seen at the time of the Mahabharata war, now indicating the total destruction of the Yadavas. Simulations show that in the year 3031 BCE, thirty-six years later than 3067 BCE, there was an eclipse season with three eclipses. A lunar eclipse on October 20 was followed by an annular solar eclipse on November 5, followed by a penumbral lunar eclipse on November 19, within an interval of 14 days and at an ‘aparvani’ time. Thus the date of departure of Lord Kirshna is consistent with the popular tradition that he passed away after 36 years after the war. The information about his birth can be gathered from Harivamsa and Bhagavata Purana., according to which he was born in krsna paksa astami with rohini naksatra, but there is an uncertainty about how long he actually lived. Some believe that he lived for 125 years, while others take his life span to be only 105 years. Raghavan assigns only 81 years. The date of birth of Lord Kirshna is calculated, apparently by extrapolation from the date of departure and so also are the several ‘horoscope’s of Lord Kirshna. Simulations based on the dates yield results which only go to show whether the calculations had been done accurately and correctly by those who give such ‘horoscope’s. As there is no clearly independent piece of information, in the Epic, which can be used for distinguishing the dates, one may accept that date which suits the tradition of choice. It should be understood, however, that the date of his departure from this world can be established on the basis of information in the Epic and demonstrated by the simulations.

Consistency with the dates of other Vedic texts: It will be interesting to verify astronomical information contained in other Vedic texts and determine the dates based on simulations using planetarium software and to see if these dates are consistent with the date of Mahabharata . For example, based on the astronomical information from Rigveda, Sengupta inferred a solar eclipse on July 26, 3928 BCE. Figure 10 shows the star map for this date. As verified by the software RedShift, it is a central solar eclipse, which occurred two days after the summer solstice that year, as per Sengupta’s conjecture. However, some caution must be exercised. As has been discussed in detail by the author in the planetarium software, the positions of the planets and the stars are computed using the latest theories and information available and they are highly reliable. However, there is uncertainty when it comes to determining eclipses on dates extrapolated to 4000 BCE. These uncertainty which may amount to about 15 minutes when extrapolated to dates around 1000 CE, jumps to more than 12 hours for the time of the occurrence of the eclipse when extrapolated to 3000 BCE, and even more when taken to 4000 BCE.

The exact location of the eclipse and the exact time of visibility are uncertain, but the occurrence of the eclipse itself is certain. As a consequence, determining the date on the basis of eclipse data alone is risky. However, the eclipse data can be used as secondary information to confirm that it occurred on a particular date. However, there are other astronomical data available in the brahmana texts. For example, satapatha brahmana refers to krttika’s rising exactly in the east. On the basis of simulations using the planetarium software, the date of the event referred to has been shown to be 2925 +/- 100 BCE, quite in agreement with Dikshit. Considering that this text is attributed to Yajnavalka, a disciple of Vaisampayana, who is an important narrator of the epic, the date of 3067 BCE for the war is consistent with the date of satapatha brahmana. The author has shown (also on the basis of simulations using the planetarium software) that Lagadha’s vedanga jyotisa should be dated to be about n1800 BCE. The astronomy followed at the time of the Mahabharata war is vedanga jyotisa, but is very much pre-Lagadha. The date of Lagadha’ s vedanga jyotisa is also consistent with the date of the war. It may be noted in passing that satapatha brahmana mentions both Pariksit and Janamejaya. This is an independent check on the date of the war. A passage in the pancavimsa brahmana (XXV. 15.3) connects Janamejaya with the sarpayaga and has been referred to by Raychaudhur. The date of a solar eclipse mentioned in this brahmana text has been determined by Sengupta4523 to be September 14, 2451 BCE. Figure shown below shows the star map for this day confirming the calculations of Sengupta. This date, which is about 600 years later, is consistent with the date of the war and the date of the other brahmana texts.

Janamejaya’s Inscriptions: Several copper plate inscriptions declaring grants of land and other gifts made at the time of sarpa yaga of Janamejaya have been discovered. While there are questions about the authenticity of these plates, it will be interesting to see if the simulations based on planetarium software are consistent with the dates.

Inscription I: In one of the inscriptions, it is declared that in the 89th year of “jayabhudaya” era, at the time of solar eclipse in the ‘sahasya’ month at the time of the ‘sarpa yaga’ a certain gift is made. Considering that this date would refer to the 89th year of Kaliyuga’ as explained by the scholar Dr. Vedavyas, it would be 3014 BCE, and ‘sahasya’ would be the second month in hemantartu. Figure A shown below shows the star map for November 27, 3014 BCE, which is a solar eclipse day and Figure B shown below shows the full moon on December 11, 3014 BCE to occur near pusya, the month corresponds to ‘sahasya’ just as required. A note of caution has to be mentioned again at this stage. As has been discussed earlier, the positions of the planets and the stars are computed in the planetarium software using the latest theories and information available and they are very reliable. However, there are uncertainties when it comes to determining eclipses on dates extrapolated to 3000 BCE. These uncertainties may amount to as much as 12 hours for the time of the occurrence of the eclipse. For example, the time of occurrence is given as 3:00 a.m. for the eclipse on November 27, 3014 BCE with the uncertainty of several hours. What is certain, however, is that a solar eclipse did occur on November 27, 3014 BCE. Figure 13 corroborates to the month given in the inscription. The same caution applies to the solar eclipse on September 14, 2451 BCE also. It may be noted that this inscription of Janamejaya was rejected as not being authentic on the grounds that the astronomical data it contained would not stand ‘the test of critical examination.’ However, the planetarium software has shown that the eclipse, month and the year in the Inscription are all reproduced thus establishing its veracity.

Fig A

Inscription II: There is a second inscription, which refers to a ‘digvijaya’, an expedition of conquest of the south by Janamejaya. According to the inscription, the Lord of Hastinapura makes a certain grant on the occasion of vyatipata yoga in uttarayana caitra masa krsnapaksa. According to the text of the Inscription quoted by Dr.Vedavyas, it reads, “…sri harihara deva sannidhau katakam utkalita caitramase krsnapaksa somadine bharani mahanaksatre samkranti vyatipata nirmita samaye sarpayagam karomi.” There is no mention of a partial solar eclipse anywhere in the text. Dr.Vedavyasa has inferred ‘ having conquered Kataka (Orissa Cuttack?)’ from the words ‘katakam utkalita’. However, in the context, this does not appear to be the meaning. The vyatipata yoga refers to an amavasya on a Sunday, when the moon is in asvini, ardra, sravana, dhanistha, or in the first quarter of aslesa. The text is really referring to the next day, ‘somadine’. Since the naksatra referred to is bharani, the previous day must have been asvini, and the combination with amavasya and ravivara created the vyatipata yoga. The word ‘utkalita’ ‘blossoming’, qualifies ‘caitramase krsnapakse’, making the ‘somadina’ the first day of suklapaksa. The word ‘katakam’ really qualifies ‘sarpayagam’ because of the ending, and means well bounded or fortified in the context. The occasion is therefore, the well protected ‘sarpa yaga’ being performed on Monday of bharani naksatra following the amavasya Sunday of asvini naksatra which created the vyatipata yoga, one which has to be avoided in performing auspicious

Fig B

Inscription III: An inscription almost identical to the one above in the preamble and labeled III by Vedavyasa was also issued at the time of the commencement of the sarpa yaga. A second inscription under the same label III records the date as caitra Krishna paksa tritiya tithi, visakha naksatra, sankranti and vyatipata yoga and records the grants that were made. This is recorded as one of kupparagadde plates in Indian Antiquary of 1901. on this occasion. Figure C shows the star map for March 6, 3014 BCE at sunrise and shows the vyatipata yoga. Figure D shows the next day of bharani the beginning of sarpayaga. It appears that a large number of copper plates inscriptions attributed to Janmejaya are available, but not all of them have enough independent information for simulation and confirmation. Some of them refer to a partial solar eclipse at the time of uttarayana sankramana. In fact simulations show that there was indeed a solar eclipse on January 5, 3104 BCE and the winter solstice was on January 13, 3104 BCE. In any case there is consistency with the two inscriptions selected above for the detailed information in them.

Figure C


Figure Shows the next day of Bharani the beginning of sarpayaga. March 6 3014 BCE
Figure D Shows the next day of Bharani the beginning of sarpayaga. March 6 3014 BCE
Figure Shows the next day of Bharani the beginning of sarpayaga. March 6 3014 BCE
Figure D Shows the next day of Bharani the beginning of sarpayaga. March 6 3014 BCE


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