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Indian Astronomy | Astronomical Dating of Events | 106 (Buddha’s Date)

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 (Date Of Krishna)) 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.

One consequence of the mix up of the names of Asokaditya of the Guptas with Asoka of the Mauryas is the misdating of Buddha. According to Puranic evidence, there had expired 1500 years after Pariksit, when Mahapadmananda was coronated. Between Pariksit and the Nandas, there were three royal dynasties, Brhadratha, Pradyota and Sisunaga families. The Nandas who ruled Magadha for 100 years, were followed by Mauryas, Sunga, Kanva and Andhras. Candragupta founded the Mauryan dynasty with the help of Canakya. His son was Bimbisara and grandson was Asokavardhana. The Maurya- s ruled for a total of 316 years and were replaced by the sunga-s. The Kanva-s who succeeded the Sunga-s were themselves supplanted by the Andhra-s, who ruled for a total of 506 years. Then followed the reign of srigupta-s for a period of 245 years. This age has been termed the ‘Golden Age’ in the history of Bharata. It is Samudragupta of the srigupta dynasty who was known as “Asokaditya Priyadarsin” The “Inscriptions of Asoka” belong to this Gupta emperor and not to Asoka Maurya , who came to power after 218 years after Buddha.

Buddha was the son of King Suddhodana who was the 23rd king of the Iksvaku dynasty and Puranic-records point to 1807 BCE as the date of attaining nirvana by Buddha. Just as in the case of Krsna, it appears that his date of birth is calculated after determining the date of parinirvana (final departure). Buddha’s nirvana Kota Venkatachelam has determined that Buddha’s nirvana occurred on the vaisakha Purnima, on March 27, 1807 BCE. Simulations show that astronomically this is indeed the situation as shown in Figure A. Many other scholars also agree as to the date of Buddha’s nirvana. Support for this date is derived from an independent Buddhist source, samyutta nikaya. For about three months before his death, Buddha was staying in sravasti. During this time there occurred the winter solstice, a lunar eclipse, followed by a solar eclipse. Simulations show that the winter solstice occurred on January 5, 1807 BCE. There was a lunar eclipse on January 26, 1807 BCE, which was followed by a solar eclipse on February 10, 1807 BCE, as shown in Figures B and C. It can also be seen from Figure 18 that winter solstice occurred earlier when the Sun was near dhanis{ha (the position which corresponds to 270 degrees along the ecliptic). This is exactly as recorded in samyutta nikaya, Part I, Sugatha-Vagga, Book II, Chapter I, Devaputtasam yuttam, sutta-s 9, and 10. It is interesting to compare these simulations with the calculations of Professor Sengupta, who was trying to confirm which of the usual dates, 544 BCE or 483 BCE is to be ‘accepted’ for the event of Buddha nirvana. He found that two eclipses as mentioned in the samyutta nikaya would be possible in 560 BCE, however this would be in conflict with the dates 483 BCE and 544 BCE which have been touted as possible dates of Buddha’s nirvana. Professor Sengupta considers 544 BCE to be the better date as it is closer to 560 BCE. However, the proper conclusion should be that neither of these dates

Atha kho bhagava candimaM devaputtaM arabha rahuM asurindaMgathaya ajjabhasi ||
thatagataM arahantaM | candima saranaM gato ||
rahu candaM pamu~cassu | Buddha lokanukaMpakati || SN (I. ii . 1. 9.3) ||
Atha kho bhagava suriaM devaputtaM arabha rahuM asurindaM gathaya ajjabhasi ||
thatagataM arahantaM | suriyaM saranaM gato ||
rahu pamu~ca suriyaM | Buddha lokanukaMpakati || SN (I. ii . 1. 10.3) || are the correct ones according to saMyutta nikaya.

But, 1807 BCE is consistent with the eclipse data. It should be pointed out that a search from 1900 BCE to 400 BCE for the set of astronomical data, namely, winter solstice, lunar eclipse, solar eclipse followed by vaisakha purnima, yields about a dozen dates: 1807 BCE, 1694BCE, 1659BCE, 1564BCE, 1510BCE, 1250BCE, 1192BCE, 1138BCE, 1119BCE, 1062BCE, 1007BCE, 765BCE, 690BCE and 560BCE. If the restriction of a time limit of about three months is imposed, the last three do not qualify, leaving only the dates prior to 1000 BCE. The astronomical information is not sufficient to further narrow the possible choice. It is interesting to note that the ‘traditionally’ accepted dates, 544 BCE or 483 BCE do not fit the picture, neither do the recently revised later dates.

A. Buddha’s nirvana March 27, 1807 BCE
A. Buddha’s nirvana March 27, 1807 BCE
B. 17January 26,1807 BCE
B. 17th January 26,1807 BCE
C. Solar eclipse on February 10, 1807 BCE
C. Solar eclipse on February 10, 1807 BCE

Buddha’s Birth: This has been discussed in great detail by Kota Venkatachelam and by Vedavyas, who gives the planetary positions at the time of Buddha’s birth on March 10, 1887 BCE. (vaisakha suddha purnima, visakha naksatra). The simulations for March 10, 1887 BCE (Figure D) shows that all the planetary positions agree with those given by Vedavyas, but the naksatra is clearly citra and not visakha. The next purnima occurs at visakha on April 9, 1887 BCE, but some of the planetary positions would have changed. Thus the date given by Vedavyas cannot be confirmed using the planetarium software. It appears that the positions of the planets were calculated by Vedavyas, after obtaining the time of Buddha’s birth on the basis of Puranic, Buddhist, and Tibetan, Chinese, Ceylonese and Japanese Buddhist sources. Table below. Planetary longitudes at the time of birth of Buddha according to Vedavyas Vaisakha suddha purnima, visakha naksatra, Tuesday at 12:15 p.m. 1887 BCE

Sun 4, 54′ mesa Aries
Moon 28,6′ tula Libra
Mars 28,24′ mina Pisces
Mercury 10,30′ mina Pisces
Jupiter 8,12′ Kanya Virgo
Venus 23,24′ mesa Aries
Saturn 16,48′ Vrshabha Taurus
Rahu 15,38′ mithuna Gemini
Ketu 15,38′ dhanus Sagittarius
Lagna 1,2′ karkataka Cancer
D. Star map on March 10, 1887 BCE
D. Star map on March 10, 1887 BCE

While the planetary positions other than the moon are correct for this date, the most crucial factor, that the naksatra be visakha for vaisakha purnima is not satisfied. If on the other hand, the date of April 9, 1887 BCE is selected, the naksatra works out fine. The other planetary positions must be reported as found by these simulations shown in Figure E. The date given by Rev. P. Bigandet is March 31 1886 BCE. March 30, 1886 BCE is visakha purnima as seen by the simulation, but the planetary positions are again different. But if it is agreed that Buddha lived for eighty years and his nirvana occurred in 1807 BCE as discussed above, then one can choose April 9, 1887 BCE as the date of his birth.

FIG E - Star Map for April 9, 1887, Vaisakha Purnima
FIG E – Star Map for April 9, 1887, Vaisakha Purnima


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