Ancient History Mahabharata

Astronomical references in Mahabharat and the AV observation

This article is 4th in the series of articles explaining Sh. Nilesh Nilkanth Oak’s propositions with respect to the date of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The primary source of information for this piece is the talk organized by the Srijan Foundation at the Press Club of India. The topic of discussion was Dating of Mahabharata and Ramayana.

For the First article in the series, Please Click:

The second article can be read here:

The third article which rubbishes different claims, can be read here:


Astronomical evidence in Mahabharata that supports Nilesh’s claims.

Let me first give you some background. All of the Mahabharata has close to 200 astronomy observations and Nilesh has listed each one of them in his book. So there are 215+ and Nilesh puts down that plus because there are more that he might have missed.

They can be split into these two categories. On the right, let us call them ‘near earth phenomenon’. What does it mean? Just like we say Monday. If something happened on Monday, the Monday will be repeated after 7 days. If you look at a certain phase of the moon, it will repeat after a month. A certain position of the Sun, like 21st of December, it will repeat after a year. So, those are repeated phenomenon. In fact, in astronomy, everything is repetitive.


On the other side, there is also somewhat repetitive phenomenon but it has a longer time span. We are talking about thousands of years. The phenomenon is known as “Precession of equinoxes”.

Let us briefly see what this phenomenon is. The whole cycle of the” Precession of equinoxes” takes 26 thousand years. Twenty-six thousand years! And by luck, it helps us in determining the timing of our ancient events.

So from that other side, that long cycle of 26000 years; I am going to take one observation. That’s one out of the 215 total observations. What is it?

A number of you might know Krishna tried to create peace and tried to see if he can avoid the war. Did he succeed? No. So, finally, the war is due. It’s a day before the war. And Vasudeva says, Let me make a final attempt to see if I can succeed. So, he approaches Drithrashtra and tries to tell him all the negatives about the war and so on. While he is having communication he makes a list of many other things. And as a part of that list, he mentions many astronomy observations. He mentions many other things and one of the astronomy observation we are going to discuss today is this.

It comes in “Bhishma Parva Adhyaya 2, verse 31”.



A quick translation is that respected Arundhati has gone ahead of Vasishtha or is walking ahead of Vasishtha.

If you are familiar with the Saptarishi in the sky, you will observe or recollect that there are three stars in its tail and the middle star is Vasishtha. It is called Vasishta in Indian astronomy and Mizar in western astronomy. Next to that Vasishtha, is a small star. It is called Arundhati, in Indian astronomy and in western astronomy, it is called Alcor. You will be able to see it in the night sky with small binoculars or even naked eyes.

When you observe the stars in the night sky, you will observe that the Vasishtha will appear walking ahead of Arundhati. That’s the scenario today. That was the scenario 1000 years ago, 2000 years ago, 3000 years ago, 4000 years ago, 5000 years ago, 6000 years ago. Vasishtha was walking ahead of Arundhati. Vyas is saying Arundhati is walking ahead of Vasishtha.

Now, what’s the big deal of this observation! Well, even if we go back 6000 years, still Vasishtha is walking ahead of Arundhati. So, what does that tell you if this statement of Vyas is true. Mahabharata did not happen for last six thousand years.

Now, you would imagine, all these one thirty plus researchers would do something about it, right?

But, only four people mentioned it, out of 130. Who are those four?

Bharatacharya C V Vaidya. Lokmanya Tilak gave him the title for his great work on Mahabharata. He says this is something impossible in astronomy. Someone might have introduced it afterward.

The second person, Bharat Ratna Mahamahopadhyaya Pandurang Vaman Kane and he said that this is something impossible in the very order of nature, “astronomically speaking.” So, he also said someone might have inserted.

In our times Prof. R. N. Iyengar, those of you who may know the name, he recently retired from Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.  He has done a lot of good work in this area but he tried to do some ‘jugaad’ while trying to explain this observation. He took this last line and tried to combine this line with another line of another Adhyaya of Mahabharata. It is actually referring to planet Mars. Nothing to do with this stars. He tried to see some ‘jugaad’ can happen. But didn’t go anywhere.

The fourth one is Dr. P. V. Vartak. He is a medical doctor, now 83 years old, based in Pune. He was also convinced that this is a factual observation and tried to test it in three different ways over many years and failed.

Now, someone might say come on, Mahabharata is so big that someone may just miss that observation. But that story doesn’t sell. The reason is, there are four specific observations in this chapter. Everyone mentions the remaining three but not this one. Now you know why? Because, if you go back, unless six thousand years, you cannot explain it.


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