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Scholars from across the world came together, for the first time, in an attempt to establish the 'Date of Kurukshetra War based on astronomical data.'  Undoubtedly, it was an amazing collation of information presented in a colloquium, held on January 5 and 6, 2003 at the Mythic Society, Bangalore.  The colloquium was jointly organized by The Mythic Society, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts - Southern Regional Centre and Sir Babasaheb (Umakanth Keshav) Apte Smarak Samithi Trust.

Inaugurating the two day session, Dr. Raja Ramanna, Member of Parliament and eminent nuclear scientist, emphasized that the 'best clock for dating was the sky itself and the position of stars.'  He added that 'research and scientific theory should be questioned although he found that many homes and libraries hampered the progress of research by keeping ancient manuscripts to themselves.'


Dr. Kalyana Raman clarified the purpose of the colloquium in his introductory remarks.  Well-known historian, Dr. Suryanath Kamath, in his Presidential address explained the objective as an ' exploration of the authenticity of dates using planetary software and textual evidences containing over 150 references.'  He felt that 'chronology was most important for the history of any society since history without chronology is like a body without a skeleton.'  He also gave a detailed explanation of the development of the Mythic library and the collections.

The other dignitaries present on the dais were Dr. M.K.L.N. Sastry - Hon. Secretary, Mythic Society, Prof. P.V. Krishna Bhat - Hon. Coordinator, IGNCA-SRC and Shri K. Narahari - Managing Trustee, Apte Trust.  The opening session set the tone for the mind stirring sessions with various interpolations found in the Mahabharata.  Several scholars put forth their perception and calculated derivations.  Dr. S. Balakrishna (NASA, USA) proved the occurrence of 'two eclipses in (a span of) 13 days prior to Mahabharata'.  Analysing the astronomical possibility of Vyasa's statement in Bhishma Parva "Amavasya occured on the 13th day.  Two eclipses in a month, on the thirteenth day." he presented the data of eclipses during the period 3300 BCJ (Before the Calendar of Julian Ceaser) to 700 BCJ visible at Kuruxethra, using Lodestar Pro software.  He stated the possibility of 672 eclipse pairs, ten 'thirteen day lunar first' eclipse pairs and concluded that 2559 BC eclipse pair was nearest to the text of Mahabharata.

Prof. R.N. Iyengar (I.I.Sc., Bangalore) systematically dealt with "Internal consistency of eclipses and planetary positions in Mahabharata".  Verifying all double eclipses of 501-3000 B.C. and when Satur + Jupiter were near Vishaka, he concluded that 1478 B.C. was the most likely year of the war.

Dr. B.N. Narahari Achar (Dept. of Physics, University of Memphis, U.S.A.) gave a brief description of various available planetary software, a review of the works of astrophysicists Kochhar, Siddharth and astronomers, Sengupta and Srinivasa Raghavan and other astronomical references in the epic.  He critically examined the limitations and the reliability of simulations and concluded that the astronomical events in the Mahabharata pointed to 3000 B.C.E. (Before Common Era)* and simulation of events to 3067 B.C.E., identical to the one given by Raghavan.

Speaking on 'The date of Mahabharata War with reference to Bhishmashtami', Dr. Kalyan Rama (Chennai) validated the ground truth of River Saraswati of Vedic times that established the historicity of the Mahabharata.

Dr. Shambhu Shastry (Franklin, USA) and Dr. Venkateswara Reddy dealt with 'Natural cycles in the Solar System and Chaturyuga Cycles.'  Dr. Kalyan Raman (Chennai) validated the ground truth of River Saraswati of Vedic times that established the historicity of the Mahabharata.

Dr. Shambu Shastry (Franklin, USA) and Dr. Venkateswara Reddy dealt with 'Natural cycles in the Solar System and Chaturyuga Cycles.'  Dr. Shambhu Shastry showed that the chatuyuga and manavantara schemes of Hindu chronology are directly from natural astronomical cycles and based on this, he stated, that the human race is about five million years old.  He concluded that this helped demythologize the Mahabharata and Ramayana and placed them in the last descending Chaturyuga segment over a time span of not more than 6000 years.

Shri P.V. Holey (Nagpur) was of the opinion that the war began on the 13th day of November 3143 B.C.  He sourced this to crucial events with planetary positions after a comparative study of astronomical dates based on nakshatra, the Julian and Gregorian systems.

On the second day, Dr. Mohan Gupta (Ujjain) dealt with Puranic and Astronomical evidences.  Based on genealogical and astronomical calculations he concluded that 17th October 1952 B.C.  Thursday, Marga Krsna Amavasya kali 1157 or shakapurva 2029, Julian year 2762 as the date when the Mahabharata war began.  Dr. S.R. Rao based his derivation on archaeological evidence obtained from onshore and offshore excavations conducted in Dwaraka, Bet Dwarka and in the Kurukshetra region and found 1900-1700 B.C. as acceptable.

Dr. N.S. Rajaram (Bangalore) expressed a need to exercise caution while interpreting astronomicla statements and that it should take into account both the literary evolution and interpolated passages.  He felt 3100m B.C. had the best astronomical support.  Shri K.V. Ramakrishna Rao (Thiruvananthapuram), felt that due to periodical corrections in Indian astronomical works, changes had crept it and without the significance of the two ears - kali and saka - dates cannot be determined, Dr. M.V. Subba Rao (Secundrabad) gave astrological references of Sri Krishna and felt that the dates could be calcutated from the day of Ktrishna's birth.  Shri M.V. Narasimhan (Mysore) spoke of a research methodology using the shastric and the scientific inputs.  Referring to Pulakesin's inscription and comet at Nagercoil he concluded 3100 B.C. as the year of the war.

Despite the inspiring deliberations, it was observed that further resource data from varied fields was required to calibrate supportive evidence.  Thus the concluding session unanimously drew a plan of action.  Dr. S. Nagaraju reviewed the colloquium with regard to the two objectives set at the beginning - to establish internal consistency with respect to dates and chronology mentioned in the Mahabharata and whether it could be proved using planetary software and secondly, if a correct date of the Mahabharata could be derived from the 150 astronomical references and have a sheet anchor of chronology of pre-Buddhist India?  He said that at least four papers dealt with the problem directly and clarified a non-discrepancy with respect to the dates given.  This is he felt was the most important contribution of the colloquium.  But a problem he sighted was, out of the one-lakh odd sholkas, to distinguish what was added at what time.  In this context he suggested that more interactions might be had with people who had knowledge of geography and other related areas of study.  Secondly, he felt that the dating of the Mahabharata war could not be done merely on the basis of astronomy alone.  Since there are a number of texts one should find out the correct text and establish a critical edition giving all details.

Dr. R. Subramaniam in his observations also agreed that there was a need to develop a critical editions of the verses with interpretations in consensus with astronomy, history, archaeology, Sanskrit astrology and mathematics.  He suggested that verifications should take into account occurrence of double eclipse, Saturn in Rohini and the use of all available software and data.  Another valid point he raised was the absence of direct reference to winter solstice in the Mahabharata.  Once that is available it was felt that 'everything could be nailed.'

'Where do we go from here?'  Answering the self-query Dr. Kalyan Raman voiced the common desire to 'trash Western Indological work done with motivation and instead rewrite Indian history.'  The fundamental task would bring to light traditional works which can be achieved in a series of colloquiums.  Truth, he felt, should be perceived in terms of our national heritage and his colloquium had established the reliability of this tool.

The Chairperson, Prof. K.I. Vasu addressed the various issues discussed and surmized that the Mahabharata could be 'considered a historical document'.

- Report from Southern Regional Centre

* (B.C.E. - Before Common Era (indicates dates before the Chiristian era, used especially by non-Christians; B.C.J. - indicated the Julian Calendar.  The Julian Calendar is names after Julius Caesar who ordered its adoption in 45 B.C.E. upon the advice of Greek astronomer Sosigenes and decided to use a purely solar calendar.  The Julian Calendar also established the order of the month and the days of the week as they exist in present day calendars.  Caesar's Calendar consisted of 11 months of 30 or 31 days and a 28 day February with no leap year.  In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII ordered another reform of the calendar, which came to be known as the Gregorian calendar.  The Gregorian calendar is still in official use and was adopted throughout Europe.  It is used today throughout most of the Western world and in parts of Asia.)



Copyright IGNCAŠ 2001


Mahabharata as the sheet-anchor of Bharatiya Itihaasa

S Kalyanaraman

(This is  a mirror site of the above)

The following pages describe some details of the path-breaking colloquium held in Bangalore on 5th and 6th January 2003:

Historicity of Mahabharata (An analysis of Dr. BN Narahari Achar's presentation by Dr. S. Kalyanaraman)

Mahabharata Planetarium Project

Overview of the International Colloquium (together with links to papers presented)

The following key dates are found to be consistent with the sky inscriptions observed by Veda Vyasa:

  1. Krishna's departure on Revati Sept. 26, 3067 BCE
  2. Krishna's arrival in Hastinapura on Bharani Sept. 28, 3067 BCE
  3. Solar eclipse on Jyeshtha amavasya Oct. 14, 3067 BCE
  4. Krittika full moon (lunar eclipse) September 29, 3067 BCE
  5. War starts on November 22, 3067 BCE (Saturn in Rohini, Jupiter in Revati)
  6. Winter solstice, January 13, 3066 BCE
  7. Bhishma's expiry, January 17, 3066 BCE Magha shukla ashtami
  8. A fierce comet at Pushya October 3067 BCE
  9. Balarama sets off on pilgrimage on Sarasvati on Pushya day Nov. 1, 3067 BCE
  10. Balarama returns from pilgrimage on Sravana day Dec. 12, 3067 BCE
  11. On the day Ghatotkaca was killed moon rose at 2 a.m., Dec. 8, 3067 BCE

These dates, in particular the occurrence of Winter solstice which is a critical celestial event, gets corroborated by the chronology of Kaus'i_taki Brahmana which should not be far-removed from the date of S'atapatha Brahman.a which has been established by Dr. BN Narahari Achar based on the Brahmana observations that the Kritthika (Pleiades group) rose exactly at the east point (eta_ ha vai pra_cyai dis'e na cyavante: S'Br. II Kanda, Ch. 1, Br. 2,3).

In Kaus'i_taki Brahmana there are two statements:

sa vai ma_ghasya_ma_vasya_ya_mupas'asatyadangabha_vai sannupeme (KBr. XIX,3)

mukham va_ etat samvatr.sarasva yatr. pha_lguni_ paurn.ama_si_ mukhamuttare puccham pu_rve (KBr., V,1)

[cf. S'Br. VI.2.2.18; Taittiriya Br.].

These observations indicate that

  • the sun reached the winter solstice at the full moon Ma_gha
  • the year was considered to be at its end at the full-moon at the star group Purva Phalguni_.

Dr. Phanindralal Gangooly notes: "From all of which we gather that the summer solstitial colure of the earliest Brahmana period when this was the case was 3100 BCE (PC Sengupta, Age of the Brahmana, in Indian Historical Quarterly, Vol. X, No.3, 1934). The vernal equinoctial colure passed through the star Rohini or Aldebaran. In the later Vedic times the sun's turning north very probably took place a fortnight earlier. The S'atapatha Brahmana says that 'some want to have a few nights more; if they want some more then they should begin the sacrifices on the night on which the moon becomes first visible before the full moon at the Phalgunis.' (S'Br. II,6.4 Br. 11). These sacrifices were begun as soon as the sun turned north. It shows that the solstices had preced by about 15 degrees and that the date when this took place was 2000 BCE. The earliest Brahmana period may be called the Rohini-Phalguni_ period. Even at this time the five early luni-solar cycle was known. (pancas'a_radauyo va_ eva yajn~a iti: TBr. 2.7.11). The calendar was luni-solar in characte. The chief signals for the beginning and the end of the year were the full-moon at the U. Phalguni_ and that at the Purva Phalguni_ respectively; from which the intercalary month were detected." (Phanindralal Gangolly, ed., The Surya SIddhanta, a text-book of Hindu Astronomy, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, first edn. 1860, repr. Delhi 1989, Introduction, pp. xxxv-xxxvi).

S. Kalyanaraman

8 January 2003



Historicity of Mahabharata; Discovery and Rebirth of

River Sarasvati

Sarasvati is ground-truth. So is Mahabharata an account of the ancient history of Bharat. The dating of this epic is fundamental in establishing the historical chronology of ancient Bharatiya Itihaas.

Veda Vyasa who wrote the Mahabharata observed the sky inscriptions from the banks of River Sarasvati. The epic describes a pilgrimage of Balarama (elder brother of Krishna) from Dwaraka-Somnath(Prabhas Patan) to Mathura along the banks of River Sarasvati in 200 shlokas in the S'alya Parvan.

This date of Mahabharata War is crucial in determing the chronologies in the ancient history of Bharat since many epigraphs and inscriptions with a historical import, refer to time-reckoning based on the starting date of Kaliyuga which is close to the date of the Mahabharata War.

Dating Mahabharata events using astronomical references

Using a set of modern technology tools such as Planetarium Software (Sky Map Pro 5, Red Shift), Panchanga Software compiled by a Japanese professor to produce the equivalence between Kaliyuga dates and dates of the Christian era, Dr. Narahari Achar has tried to authenticate the accuracy of observations made by Veda Vyasa in the Mahabharata.

In the epic, Veda Vyasa himself says that day in and day out he is watching the planetary positions on the skies. His recording of over 70 such planetary events are almost like a record of celestial inscriptions within the text. These celestial events are used to date the events which occurred on the banks of River Sarasvati -- events which are described in the epic poem. Since the planets on the sky and the celestial events are remarkably accurate and follow a precise pattern of cyclical movements, to a rhythm of time, the determination of planetary positions as observed by Veda Vyasa will help determine the date of events described in detail in the shlokas of Mahabharata.

In the past, many scholars have attempted to arrive at the date of the war based on one or two celestial events mentioned in the text. But, the contribution made by Dr. Narahari Achar is unique in that he tries to find a series of dates which is consistent with almost ALL the 150 plus astronomical references contained in the text.

Akhila Bharateeya Itihaasa Sankalana Yojana has published a reference work by Shriram Sathe as a compendium of astronomical references in the Mahabharata. This work has provided the basis for this International Colloquium.

In a paper presented at the international colloquium held in Bangalore on Jan. 5 and 6, 2003 and organized by Akhila Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana, Mythic Society and Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts Southern Chapter, Dr. Achar conclusively proves that the observed celestial events on the sky, observed by Veda Vyasa were based on a variety of observations:

1. Lunar-solar-lunar eclipse sequence occurring within a period of one month and one lunar-solar eclipse sequence occurring within just 13 tithi-s;

2. A comet (Haley's comet) is observed on the sky;

3. Bhishma waits for the uttarayana punya kaala (winter solstice) and ashtami tithi to arrive before his soul departs from the mortal body;

4. Karna describes to Krishna the observatin of unusual planetary conjunctions -- almost all the seven planets coming together;

5. Balarama's pilgrimage starts on a particular tithi and nakshatra and ends after 42 days on a particular tithi and nakshatra. All such observations are found by Dr. Narahari Achar to be consistent with only one date: about 3000 BCE, i.e. about 5000 years ago. No other date matches so consistenly with all the astronomical observations or, what may be called, celestial inscriptions.

This finding is historic and constitutes a watershed in our understanding of chronology in ancient itihasa of Bharat.

Firstly, it establishes the historic authenticity of Mahabharata as a sheet anchor of Bharatiya Itihas.

Secondly, Veda Vyasa should have recorded only observed celestial events when he provides precise astronomical details in the text. The observations should have been made from the banks of River Sarasvati close to Kurukshetra. Dr. Narahari Achar reconstructs the skies as seen by Veda Vyasa from this location close to  Kurukshetra.

Thirdly, together with the scientific discovery of the River Sarasvati in north-west Bharat as ground-truth and not a myth, it is possible to state with authenticity that the modern history of Bharat begins with the historic document, the Mahabharata and the War which occurred on the banks of River Sarasvati.

Fourthly, Balarama's pilgrimage along the banks of River Sarasvati as described in 200 shlokas of Salya Parva of the Mahabharata was a historic event and provides a geographical account of northern Bharat.

Fifthly, the history of modern Bharat begins from about 3000 BCE, that is, from the Kaliyuga which is reckoned from this date, according to Bharatiya Kala Ganana.

Sixthly, there is no historic document in human history which records historical events with such astonishing accuracy, to the last tithi and nakshatra.

Seventhly, this demonstrates the remarkable astronomical knowledge possessed by the rishis of Bharata, exemplified by Veda Vyasa as early as 5000 years ago and establishes Jyotisha which was evolved in Bharata, as an early astronomical scientific discipline.

Thus, using modern astronomy computer-based software tools, it is now possible to state that Mahabharata of Veda Vyasa is the earliest recorded history of Bharat and the modern history spans from over 5000 years of continuous, indigenous civilization. The chronology of Bharatiya Itihas should be reconstructed from this date and based on this historical document, and need not be based on foreign travellers' accounts or theories propounded by western indologists.

Next steps. It is proposed to transport this presentation onto Planetaria in many cities of the country and abroad; the presentation will show Veda Vyasa's text juxtaposed to the celestial inscriptions. This will be an effective means of popularising jyotisha and itihas, i.e. by reaching the research findings in Bharatiya Itihas to a large number of school children and scholars all over the world and promoting further studies in Mahabharata as a sheet-anchor of Bharatiya Itihas. Hopefully, the findings will also be recorded on CD's and distributed to all schools as part of the value-based revised curricula.

Brief introduction of Dr. S. Kalyanaraman and his lecture-Power-point presentation:

The rebirth of River Sarasvati by using the waters of River Sutlej, River Beas and River Sharada (called Mahakali-Karnali in Nepal) is ongoing together with the development of the river basin as a world heritage basin. This has been the catalyst for the project to network Himalayan and Peninsular rivers of the country to solve the twin problems of frequent floods in some parts of the country and recurrent drought situations in other parts of the country. The work of the National Water Development Agency, Min. of Water Resources with 200 engineers who have worked for the last 20 years to prove the feasibility of these links almost entirely by gravity flows is a magnificent engineering project linking Brahmaputra- Ganga- Subarnarekha- Mahanadi-Godavari-Krishna-Pennar-Palar-Cauvery-Vaigai-Vaippar-Gundar-Tamraparni to ensure equitable distribution of water resources in the country mainly fed from the glacier sources.

The civilization which was nurtured on the banks of the river constituted the substratum of the Sarasvati-Sindhu (earlier called Indus Valley) Civilization dated to between circa 5500 to 3500 years Before Present. With the desiccation of the river, there were migrations eastward towards the Ganga-Yamuna doab, southwards towards the Godavari and western coastline, westwards towards Gandhara in the present-day Afghanistan. The neolithic cultures which are evidenced by the recent finds of the Gulf of Khambat Cultural Complex blossomed from a maritime culture into a riverine culture and emerged from chalcolithic to bronze age and the consolidation of the cultural traditions which are present in almost every facet of the heritage cherished all over Bharat and exemplify the cultural unity of the country from Mt. Kailas to Kanyakumari, from Somnath to Gawuhati. The civilization was most extensive and extended from Ropar in Punjab to the Tigris-Euphrates valley (Mesopotamian civilization area), from Caucus mountains to Daimabad on the banks of Godavari.

The discovery of the courses of Vedic River Sarasvati traversing a distance of 1,600 kms. from Manasarovar (Mt. Kailas) to Gujarat is an unparalleled discovery in the history of human civilization. Carrying the waters of River Sutlej and River Yamuna, the mighty river had drained most of North-west Bharat for thousands of years prior to 3500 year Before Present (i.e. prior to 1500 BCE). The causes for the desiccation of the river have been established: tectonic events of the type which hit Bhuj in Gujarat on 26 Jan. 2000 which are plate tectonics (clash of Deccan Plate with the Eurasian Plate) resulted in river migrations and disappearance of the river into underground channels in many stretches. River Yamuna migrated eastward circa 4500 years Before Present (i.e. 2500 BCE) and River Sutlej migrated westward circa 3500 years Before Present (i.e. 1500 BCE) leaving the River Sarasvati entirely dependent upon monsoon waters of the Siwalik ranges, depriving her of the glacier waters of the Himalayas. River Yamuna captured the waters of River Sarasvati at Paonta Saheb (Himachal Pradesh), near a yamuna tear in the Himalayas, and carried them to join with Ganga at Prayag (Allahabad) thus establishing the ground-truth of what is referred to in Bharatiya tradition as Triveni Sangamam where a kumbhamela is held every 12 years. The discovery of the ancient channels which were as wide as 6 kms. over the entire distance has been substantiated by analyses of satellite imagery and by studies done by atomic scientists of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai (tritium analysis). The tritium analysis was done in the wake of the Pokaran hydrogen-bomb blasts which occurred on 11 May 1998 to ensure that there has been no nuclear contamination of the ground-water aquifers. The most emphatic evidence that Sarasvati is not a myth but ground-truth came from archaeology of the last 50 years. Out of over 2,600 archaeological sites of the so-called Indus Valley Civilization, as many as 2,000 (i.e 80%) of the site are found on the banks of the River Sarasvati which flowed 300 kms. east of the River Sindhu. There are very large sites on this River banks: Rakhigarhi, Lakhmirwala, Bhatinda, Ganweriwala, each of which is larger than either Harappa or Mohenjodaro. There are also culturally vibrant sites such as Ropar, Kunal, Kalibangan, Kotdiji, Dholavira, Surkotada, Lothal, Rangapura, Rojdi, Padri, Dwaraka attesting to the maritime-riverine nature of the indigenous origins and evolution of the civilization. The cultural traits found in this civilization continue into the historic periods of Bharat and are present even today in the cultural mosaic of the nation. Some examples are: finds of shiva linga at Harappa (dated to 4,500 years BP), finds of 50 seals and copper plate inscriptions carrying the swastika glyph, find of a burial site of a woman at Mehergarh dated to 6500 BCE (i.e. 8500 BP) with a wide bangle and ornaments made of s'ankha (turbinella pyrum); this s'ankha is a Rs.5 crore industry even today in the coastline of Bharat particularly in Gulf of Mannar and Gulf of Khambat; find of a terracotta image of a woman wearing red sindhu on the parting of her hair; find of a statuette of a priest wearing angavastram as it is worn even today by priests in Bharat; find of polished stone pillars at Dholavira like the stone pillars found in many architectural monuments all over Bharat; find of a rock-cut reservoir and a pushkarini at Dholavira and Mohenjodaro, like the pushkara-s which are present in many tirthasthana-s of the country; find of boat and cart similar to those used even today in the region. The use of copper plate inscriptions continued into the historicla periods within the country. Such is the uniqueness of the River Sarasvati that there are 72 in the R.gveda adoring the river; one Rishi Grtsamada calls her ambitame, naditame, devitame sarasvati: i.e. best of mothers, best of rivers and best of godesses. There is only one reference to River Ganga in this document attesting to the fact that the oldest human document, the R.gveda was composed on the banks of the River Sarasvati. The vedic dharma and vrata traditions and the agama traditions which have their roots in the river basin, continue in the cultural mosaic of the nation.

Such a great river got desiccated which led to migrations of people eastwards towards the ganga-yamuna doab, westwards towards Gandhara, southwards hugging the coastline. Thus, it is conclusively established that the roots of bharatiya civilization were indigenously evolved and there were only contacts with neighbouring civilizations such as Mesopotamia and Caucasus for trade. This is attested by the finds of decimal series of weights used in the civilization also used in the Persian Gulf sites. A cuneiform cylinder seal found in Mesopotamia depicts a Meluhha merchant visiting a royal personage in Mesopotamia accompanied by his wife carrying a kamandalu. It is generally accepted that Meluhha referred to the Sarasvati-Riverine-Maritime civilization area.

The projects for reviving this river using check-dams and watershed management techniques to harvest the monsoon waters of Shivalik ranges, have started to ensure the availability of water in River Sarasvati from Adh Badri to Sirsa all the year round. With the dams on Sutlej (Bhakra and Nangal) and on Beas (Pong) providing the waters at the Harike reservoir, a Rajasthan Canal (also called Sarasvati Mahanadi Roopa Nahar) has transformed the desert areas into fertile lands over a stretch of 650 kms. Projects are ongoing to extend the Sarasvati Canal beyond Gedra Road (Barmer Dist.) upto Rann of Kutch. By augmenting this canal with the glacier waters of Mahakali-Karnali (Nepal) - Sharada (Bharat) which will be transferred across Yamuna, the Reborn Sarasvati will flow upto River Sabarmati.

S. Kalyanaraman

8 January 2003

Dr. B.N. Narahari Achar is a Professor in the Department of Physics, University of Memphis, USA. He obtained his 1968 from Pennsylvania State University. His researches are in Theoretical solid state physics and in ancient tradition of Vedanga Jyotisha. He has published a number of papers in academic and scientific journals on the use of modern astronomical techniques for validating the astronomical references contained in the ancient texts of Bharat. He has reviewed over 150 years of scholarly works related to dating Mahabharata with particular reference to over 70 astronomical references contained in the Mahabharata itself. He has found a way to simulate the planetary positions on the skies and to validate the accuracy or otherwise of conflicting dates arrived at by scholars for the date of the Mahabharata War.

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman was a Senior Executive in the Asian Development Bank between 1978 and 1995 responsible for a disbursement portfolio of US Dollars 60 billion and world-wide information systems network of the Bank. Earlier he was a member of the Indian Railway Accounts Service and Chief Controller of Accounts, Karnataka Electricity Board.

He has compiled a multi-lingual comparative dictionary of 25 ancient Indian languages. He has set up a web-site on River Sarasvati and Civilization at with over 30,000 files.

His presentation focussed on River Sarasvati, Civilization, Rebirth of River Sarasvati and National River Network Project. The discovery of Vedic River Sarasvati is a historic event unparalleled in the history of human civilization. The river is not a myth but is ground-truth and had drained in North-west Bharat over a distance of 1,600 kms. from Manasarovar, Mt. Kailas to Gujarat (Somnath, Prabhas Patan). The discovery has been made through analyses of satellite images, archaeological discoveries of over 2,000 archaeological sites on the banks of the river, tritium analysis by atomic scientists and geomorphological/glaciological studies. The causes for the desiccation of this great river has also been established as due to plate tectonics and consequent river migrations over a period of 1000 years between 4500 to 3500 years Before Present. Projects have been started to make this river flow again. The river nurtured the civilization of Bharat on its banks and in the coastal areas surrounding Gujarat with emphatic evidences of indigenous evolution and continuity of culture in the historic periods of Bharat thus constituting the roots of Bharatiya Civilization



The objective is to demonstrate that over 70 sky inscriptions mentioned by Veda Vya_sa in the Mahabha_rata are remarkably scientific dates of the War. This demonstration will be presented in Planetaria all over the world simulating the skies as seen from Kurukshetra by Veda Vya_sa using astronomical computational software. This will validate the Maha_bha_rata as a historical document, a sheet-anchor of the modern history of Bharat which commences in 3012 BCE (Before Common Era, according to the Gregorian Calendar).


From 22nd to 24th November, 2002 a national seminar was organized on History of India through Vedic Astronomy under the patronage of Dr. N. Mahalingam. On 5 and 6 January 2003, a colloquium will be held in Bangalore under the auspices of the Yojana, the Mythic Society and Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts Southern Regional Chapter on Date of Mahabharata using only astronomical references. Dr. Narahari Achar will be presenting his findings together with scientists and scholars.

Dr. Ramasubramanian, Professor of Theortetical Physics in University of Madras made a brilliant presentation on the purpose, and methodology of Indian Astronomy.

I mentioned in the seminar about the path-breaking work done by Dr. Narahari Achar of Universit of Memphis, USA, validating, (using Planetarium Software, Sky Pro and Red Shift Sky computer software), Prof. Srinivasa Raghavan’s computations (using Vedanga Jyotisha, in 1979) on the astronomical references mentioned in the Mahabharata.

Dr. Sabaratnam and Shri V. Sundaram also associated with Dr. Mahalingam had arranged for a visit to the planetarium in Chennai. The director of the Birla planaterium, Dr. Ayyan Perumal mentioned during their presentation of the Haley’s Comet’s history that the planetarium has software which can reconstruct the inscriptions on the skies upto 26,000 years Before Present.

The proposed project

Now, the idea is this. We will organize a team of young scholars to work with the Birla Planetarium, under the guidance of Dr. Ramasubramanian to make a presentation in the Planetarium demonstrating the inscriptions on the skies around circa 3000 BCE.

We have the textual references from the critical edition of the Mahabharata (Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute).

Reading selected inscriptions on the sky

We have the selected inscriptions on the sky as demonstrated by Prof. Srinivasa Raghavan (using Vedanga Jyotisha computations).

We have Dr. Narahari Achar's demonstration and reading of these inscriptions, using computer simulation of the planetarium with reference to the dates (tithi, naksatra), planetary positions, Haley’s comet (dhu_ma ketu) and lunar-solar-lunar solar eclipse sequences occurring in two paks.a-s (one sequence occurring within 13 tithi-s). For example, the selected inscriptions relate to: Balarama’s start date of pilgrimage on River Sarasvati and return date; the day of beginning of the war; the date of injury to Bhishma on the 10th day of the war; the date of Uttara_yan.a (i.e. Bhishmashtami on ma_gha s’ukla which occurs after 58 days from the date of injury since Bhishma waits for the winter solstice to arrive); the planetary positions during the war as reported by Karna to Krishna; the occurrences of lunar-solar-lunar eclipse sequences; and the passing of the Haley’s comet on the skies.

Simulating the sky as seen by Veda Vya_sa (from Kurukshetra, on the banks of River Sarasvati)

A further demonstration of the planetarium with reference to these selected inscriptions on the sky can be made by using the Birla Planetarium facilities and the guidance of astronomers in the Planetarium and Dr. Ramasubramanian.

The idea is to display the texts in Sanskrit with translations which describe the events on the sky.

This display will be done together with the demonstration of actual positions of the planets, Haley’s comet, lunar-solar eclipses and the corresponding dates of the Gregorian calendar and Kaliyuga_bda.

We have a general idea of the advances made in computational software to go beyond 5000 years Before Present and also the limitations which have to be overcome to achieve greater reliability in computations by providing corrections, for example, for manda-gati ans s’i_ghra-gati of some planets and nakshatras.

Once the Birla Planetarium, Chennai, comes up with this programme, it can be replicated in planetaria all over the world demonstrating the historicity of the Mahabharata and the use of the sky inscriptions for treating this text as the sheet-anchor of the modern history of Bharat.

25 November 2002

S. Kalyanaraman



26/3 Vishali, Temple Avenue, Srinagar Colony, Saidapet, Chennai 600015

Tel. 2350557; Fax. 4996380

The links:

A Mahabharata Planetarium Project has been proposed by Dr. S. Kalyanaraman.

Mahabharata as the sheet-anchor of bharatiya itihasa

Dr. S. Balakrishna (NASA, USA)    Two eclipses in thirteen days prior to Mahabharatha War

Prof. B.N. Narahari Achar (Dept. of Physics, University of Memphis, USA)    The Date of Mahabharatha War based on simulation using Planetarium Software

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman (Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Prakalp, Chennai)   Date of Mahabharatha War with reference to Bhishmashtami

Sri K.V. Ramakrishna Rao (Chennai)   The Date of Mahabharatha based on Indian Astronomical Works

Dr. S. R. Rao (Bangalore)    Archaeological Evidence for Dating Kurukshetra War

Dr. Shambhu Shastry (Franklin, USA) and Dr. Venkateswar Reddy (Sunnyvale, USA)   Natural Cycles in the Solar System and the Chaturyuga Cycles

Prof. Mohan Gupt (Ujjain University)  The Date of Mahabharatha War: Puranic and Astronomical Evidence

International Colloquium on the date of the

 Kurukshetra War, based on astronomical data

  • held in Bangalore on 5 and 6 January 2003,
  • organized by Mythic Society, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts and Babasaheb Apte Smaraka Samiti Trust, Akhila Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana.

Over 200 scholars and scientists participated in the deliberations which included presentation of well-documented and well-researched papers/power-point presentations with sky maps, by scholars from Bharat and from USA.

Background and Executive Summary

The colloquium was made possible by the critical edition of the text of the Mahabharata  compiled by scholars of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute headed by the late Dr. Sukthankar.

Dr. Raja Ramanna, noted nuclear scientists inaugurated the colloquium. The colloquium included lectures on many facets of the use of jyotisha and bharatiya scientific tradition by Dr. KP Pandurangi, Dr. Suryanath Kamath, Prof. MKLN Shastri, Dr. SR Rao, Dr. BV Subbarayappa, Dr. A. Sundara, Dr. Nagaraju, Dr. M.A. Narasimhan, Dr. K.I. Vasu, Dr. Ramasubramanian.

The consensus reached in the colloquium was that there were over 150 astronomical references in the critical edition which could be classified by types of celestial events observed and recorded. The sky inscriptions or celestial epigraphs included:

  • planetary/constellation positions on dates of specific events related to the war and
  • starting nakshatra and ending nakshatra of the pilgrimage of Balarama along the River Sarasvati (described in the shalya parva),
  • the injury to Bhishma and his passing away on the winter solstice day on shukla ashtami tithi in Rohini,
  • position of S'ani in Rohini,
  • occurrence of a solar eclipse on jyeshtha and an eclipse season of three eclipses in one month with a solar eclipse occurring between two lunar eclipses and the latter sequence of solar eclipse-penumbral lunar eclipse occurring within 13 tithis (a rare celestial event indeed),
  • recorded events of meteor showers and
  • occurrence of comets (possibly including the Haley's comet mahaaghoraa) during the war which lasted 18 days.

Mahabharata is a historical document

It was also noted that the celestial inscriptions or sky epigraphs were observed events, observed by Veda Vyasa from the banks of River Sarasvati in the Kurukshetra region. This has been validated by the references to the mighty river in the Mahabharata. Recent scientific researches have established that the River Sarasvati of Vedic times and of the days of the epic was not a myth but a geo-physical reality as mentioned in the texts and has been established as ground-truth. [ ] Thus, the Mahabharata constitutes a historical document with a wealth of geographical, geophysical information and vivid pictures of the society and political institutions of the times (such as janapadas involved in nation-building), in continuation of the Vedic traditions which refer to Bha_ratam Janam. The consensus was that the determination of the dates of the war should be based on establishing the consistency of ALL the astronomical references contained in the text to make it a useful reference date for chronologies in ancient bharatiya itihaasa.

Mahabharata  is sheet anchor of modern Itihaasa

Against this backdrop of consensus, scholars reached further consensus that the Mahabharata was a sheet anchor of the modern history of Bharat. Areas for further were identified as:

  • the concept of yuga and mahayuga
  • knowledge of comets among ancient Bharatiya scientists
  • the need for compiling a critical edition of the Mahabharata astronomical references based on all variant readings and excluded verses listed as annexes in the Critical Edition and including the commentaries of Vadiraja and Nilakhantha and Madhvacharya's Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya
  • further investigation of the reference to the occurrence of the war during night also on the 14th day of the war
  • compilation and research on astronomical references in the Vedas, Puranas and other astronomical texts.

Thus, the use of modern tools of planetaria software and satellite image analyses will help in re-writing of bharatiya itihaasa and reinforce the historicity of the great epics as basic reference documents for itihaasa, in terms of both kaalaganana and geography.

A Mahabharata Planetarium Project has been proposed by Dr. S. Kalyanaraman.

Participants of the Colloquium and their papers/presentations:

Dr. S. Balakrishna (NASA, USA)

    Two eclipses in thirteen days prior to Mahabharatha War

Prof. B.N. Narahari Achar (Dept. of Physics, University of Memphis, USA)

    The Date of Mahabharatha War based on simulation using Planetarium Software

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman (Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Prakalp, Chennai)

   Date of Mahabharatha War with reference to Bhishmashtami

Sri K.V. Ramakrishna Rao (Chennai)

   The Date of Mahabharatha based on Indian Astronomical Works

Dr. S. R. Rao (Bangalore)

    Archaeological Evidence for Dating Kurukshetra War

Dr. Shambhu Shastry (Franklin, USA) and Dr. Venkateswar Reddy (Sunnyvale, USA)

   Natural Cycles in the Solar System and the Chaturyuga Cycles

The digital versions of the following papers will be added as and when they become available:

Prof. Mohan Gupt (Ujjain University)

    The Date of Mahabharatha War: Puranic and Astronomical Evidence

"To conclude, 17th of October 1952 BCE, Thursday, Marga Krishna Amavasya, Kali 1151 of Shaka-purva (Before Shaka) 2029, JUlian year 2762 is the date when Mahabharata War began. In my detailed treatise on the subject, I have successfully refuted all theories which fix this date as 3138 BCE or 2448 BCE or 1400 BCE or 3102 BCE. Neither the planetary position as mentioned in Mahabharata nor the phenomenon of Uttaryana on the date of passing away of Mahatma Bhishma do obtain, on respective days in these dates."

Sri P.V. Holay (Advocate and Astronomer, Nagpur)

    Year of Kaurava Pandava War


About hundred and twenty scholars have made efforts to find out the year of Kaurav-Pandava War (which is known as the Great Bharata War) yet the date has remained uncertain so far. Its farthest limit is found to be 5561 BCE by Dr. Vartak and the nearest limit is 1000 BCE by Dr. BB Lal. The author of this paper found out the date of the war after keeping in mind all these works.

Some scholars have said that in no case the date of Bharata war can be earlier than 2000 BCE when we consider that Bhishmacharya expired in Shukla Paksha of the month of Magha on the day of Uttarayanaarambha (Winter solstice). However in those days lunar months were not named in the manner as we name them to-day according to Jyotisha Siddhanta System. The author of this paper therefore gave importance to:

(i) The event that Bhishmacharya expired on Rohini Nakshatra, the eighth day of shukla paksha, on the day of winter solstice.According to mathematical calculations the year is found to be 3341+ - 240 BCE. (ii) as also to the fact that an intercalary month followed the Kartik month before the war (iii) the description of the planetary positions, meteor-showers, diffused atmosphere, reduction in gravitational force which are narrated in chapter III of Bhishma Parva is totally scienfe fiction, making us believe that in those days some comet-like shoemaker moved around the earth and bursted. The author has therfore totally ignored the contents of the said chapter. The planetary positions given in the preceding and succeeding that chapter form sufficient data for fixing the date of the war (iv) according to the description in verse 3 of chapter XVIII of Bhishma parva ten days before the beginning of the war and according to the contents of verse 4 of chapter XXXVIII Karna Parva (nis'caranto vyadr.s'yanta su_rya_t sapta maha_ graha_h) on the day of Karna's death; people saw seven planets in the sky excluding the sun. It was therefore necessary to search the seventh planet. The seventh planet is obviously 'Uranus'. The magnitude of Uranus is 5.6. It can be seen without the aid of the telescope. The vedic priests must have definitely observed it because they used to worship Nakshatra deities daily, they, therefore observed all planets and stars on the ecliptic daily. The author therefore gave six positions of planets during the period of the war with sky maps (v) Dr. D. Abhyankar and Dr. Ballabh of Osmania University have found in 1991 AD the day of beginning Kaliyuga as 7th February 3104 BCE. THe author of the paper finds that the war begain 38.3 years before the said date. That is on 13th Nov. in 2000 AD both these scholars have given three more probable dates of beginning of kaliyuga. The relevance of these dates with the date of Bharata War is discussed.

Dr. N.S. Rajaram (Bangalore)

    Mahabharatha Date: A word of caution

We may now summarize the information provided by the Mahabharata verses as follows:

  1. The 'Magnificent Bull' (uttama vrsabha) and its identification with dharma existed in Kasyapa Prajapati's Nighantuka-Padkhyana. This fact, as well as the fact that Yaska used it as the source for his own Nirukta was known to the author of the passage in the Mahabharata.  This image of the Magnificent Bull as the embodiment of dharma was equated with Krishna-Vishnu by the time the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata came to be written. This suggests that the passage in the Shanti Parva was composed when Krishna had gained recognition as an incarnation of Vishnu. The seal messages found so far suggest that this was already happening in the Harappan era but received its full dimension in the post-Harappan period.
  2. One-horned creatures and three-headed kakudman bulls appear in great profusion on the Indus seals, especially the former. In some seal-pictures with three faces one can also see the birth of bulls with three posteriors. This again tallies with the description given in the Mahabharata. (This explains the symbolism of such creatures: they represent the adi-varaha and not the 'Three-faced Agni' as, at least one prominent scholar has asserted).
  3. The famous 'Unicorn Bull' found on a very large number of the seals is a representation of the same varaha -- an extremely important symbol for rescuing the earth from deluge and also for rescuing the Vedas from oblivion. The varaha, which is rich in Vedic symbolism, and later plays so important role in th Puranas, was the royal emblem of many great Hindu rulers and dynasties like Vikramaditya of Ujjain, the Calukyas, and even Vijayanagara. It was seen as the emodiment of Vedic knowledge itself though its symbolism is still not fully understood. (Its composite bull form suggests that it represented dharma also).
  4. and Vr.sa_kapi images as interpreted on the seals are representations of Dharma. This concept of associating animals with human as well as deities prevails to this day among the Hindus. It goes back to the Rigveda itself. But by the time these descriptions made their way into the didactic portions of the Mahabharata the Puranic concepts were already in vogue. This is clear from references to the Varaha as saving the Vedas found in the same passage.

We may, therefore, say that the account given in the Mahabharata represents a transition stage from the Vedic to Puranic, or perhaps a blending of the two as part of the same movement that took the Vedic teachings to the common people via popular works like the Bhagavata. This shows also that the Mahabharata underwent a long period of evolution -- not of centuries but a thousand years or more -- from the early Harappan period to the centuries after the Harappan sites had been abandoned. The question to be faces is -- did the language of the Mahabharata also undergo changes? Did it evolve from the spoken Vedic dialects of the kind we find in the early Upanishads to the epic style pioneered by Valmiki the Adikavi -- the First of Poets? This is a question for future research.

As a result, any astronomical reference in the epic should take into account both this literary evolution and the possibility of interpolated passages containing spurious data.

Prof. R.N. Iyengar (IISc, Bangalore)

    Internal Consistency of Eclipses and Planetary Positions in Mahabharata


The ancient intellectual tradition of India holds that the epic Mahabharata reports part of national history. However, historicity of key personalities like Krishna has depended more on an unbroken tradition, rather than on archaeological evidences. The single most important physical source available for present day study is the text of Mahabharata itself. It is unlikely that later reciters and copyists of the epic would have tampered with descriptions of natural phenomena like eclipses, even though transmission errors cannot be ruled out. Hence, such celestial observations would become the most important physical evidences if they can be scientifically investigaged and dated. Planetarium softwares are powerful tools for computer-based searching of thousands of possibilities and for sifting through obscure texts on celestial events. Such an exercise in archaeo-astronomy leads us to the conclusion that the eclipses and planetary observations of Mahabharata should belong to the period 1493 BCE - 1443 BCE of Indian history.

Sri R.Y. Sane (Nagpur)

    The probable Date of Mahabharatiya War

Shri MV Subbarao (Hyderabad)

    Astronomical references and key events of the war





The Date of Mahabharata Based on the Indian

 Astronomical Works

K.V. Ramakrishna Rao, B.Sc., M.A., A.M.I.E., C.Eng.(I)., B.L.,


The date of Mahabharat is analyzed for determination only based on the Indian astronomical works. The following facts are taken into consideration for such critical study:

The Indian astronomers of Siddhantic works and followers have recorded the date of Bharata implying Mahabharat war in particular and starting of Kaliyuga or Era, that is used to reckon the dates of themselves at many places and in conjunction with Saka era in some places later.

Aryabhata makes a specific mention about Bharata in his Aryabhatiyam. Most of the scholars including westerners have taken the connotation of it as referring to Mahabharat and in particular Mahabharat war, because, that is considered as the staring point of Kaliyuga / era in Indian astronomy and history too.

Therefore, taking the astronomical works - Siddhantas, Tantras and Karanas like - Aryabhatiyam, Mahabhaskariyam, Vatesvara - Siddhanta and Gola, Sisyadhivrddhida Tantra and the commentaries thereof, the significance of such references are studied to find out the date of Mahabharata, only based on these ancient Indian astronomical works.

As the authors and commentators have been astronomers, their authenticity about the astronomical data and information are reliable and taken for interpretation. Moreover, if the chronology of any ancient dynasty is taken for study, one can find that its origin goes back to Mahabharat1 and even beyond. It is not a myth or fantasy2, but an historical fact that has not been accepted by the historians on the plea that there are no archaeological evidences.

Aryabhata’s Reference about "Bharata": According to scholars, it is Aryabhata (b.426 CE) who for the first time mentions about Bharata in his work while giving the number of years elapsed since the starting of the present kalpa. He uses the specific expression bharatat purvam, thus the commentators since his times to present day have been stimulated with inquisition and thus have analyzed, studied and interpreted critically.

The verse goes (Aryabhatiyam.I.5) like this:

Kaho manvo da, manuyugaha: skha, gataste ca, manuyugaha: chuna ca|

Kalpadheryugapadha ga ca, gurudhivasacca, bharatat purvam||

The word bharata could denote one of the following:



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