Mahabharat is history, not mythology – A short analysis.
Over the centuries, the historicity of Shri Krishna or the events of the Mahabharata were never in doubt for Indians (except in the demented minds of leftist distorians).
The fifth century mathematician, Aryabhatta, calculated the date of the Mahabharat War to be approximately 3100 B.C. from the planetary positions recorded in the Mahabharat. However using more modern techniques, a four-pronged methodology has been used to determine that Aryabhatta was not far from the mark :
1) Literary 2) Geographical, Ecological 3) Archaeological 4) Astronomical.
1. Literary sources used – Mahabharata, Harivamsa, Bhagavata Purana, Buddhist text – Sutra Pitaka, Greek records, Tamil text – Pura Naanooru.
2. Geographical and Ecological evidence – Tsunami destruction of Dwaraka correlates with Biblical floods and Gilgamesh period flood. Sea level rise factor. Desiccation of Sarasvati river civilization.
3. Archaeological evidences of submerged city off the coastline of present day Dwaraka. The archaeological spread and their construction tallies with the literary information mentioned of the plan layout of Dwaraka city.
4. Astronomy –
a) Modern planetarium software has eased the dating of events of the past. This field called archaeo-astronomy can help us find the dates of past events based on the recordings of the actual astronomical observations made then.
b) Dating of then pole star Alpha Draconis – Thuban – Dhruvan.
c) Maha Sivarathiri occurs on winter solstice day during Mahabharata period.
d) With this four-pronged approach, the events in the lifetime of Krishna can be dated in fairly precise terms to 3112 BCE.
In addition to the above, the author of the Mahabharata, Maharishi Veda Vyasa has left additional astronomical markers in the Mahabharata, which has enabled modern-day astrophysicists to accurately date the occurrences described therein. He has described planetary formations at different important points in the Mahabharata. The most clinching evidence comes from the day when the war started, as Vyasa has described an unique formation on that day :
1) Conjunction of Saturn with Aldebaran, a lunar eclipse near Pleiadas and retrograde Mars before reaching Antares.
2) Astrophysicists have searched for the years when all the three astronomical events happened simultaneously; and they came across two dates – 3067 BCE and 2183 BCE.
3) To narrow it down further, they superimposed the information that Bhisma died in the month of Magha, which occurs after the winter solstice. The only remaining date was 3067 BCE.
4) Let me play the devil’s advocate here. Simply arriving at a possible date for Mahabharata, does not prove that it actually happened. So we have to see if there are any external sources that can corroborate this date.
5) Let us turn towards Greek references. Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador in
the court of Chandragupta Maurya, made the first written reference to Krishna.
In his account, Krishna is called Heracles. The Greeks renamed many Indian deities after their own, and the Greek usage of the name Heracles was influenced by the term Hari, the common expression used for Krishna. Now what does Megasthenes tell us about Heracles? He writes that the Sourasenoi (Shurasenas) held Heracles in high esteem. In the Mahabharata, Shurasena is Krishna’s grandfather and Shurasenas are his Yadava descendants.
6) Krishna is recorded by the Greeks as having lived a hundred and thirty-eight generations before the times of Alexander and Chandragupta Maurya. We may take the midpoint of Chandragupta’s reign as 307 BCE. Now, assuming twenty years per generation – which is a fairly good average where ancient Indian dynasties are involved – Krishna should have lived 2,760 years before 307 BCE. Do the arithmetic! You’ll end up with 3067 BCE.
7) Further evidence? The Surya Siddhantha is an ancient work on astronomy that
provides the foundation for all Hindu and Buddhist calendars. This particular treatise tells us that at precisely midnight on 18 February in 3102 BCE, Kaliyuga began. Krishna was an avatar of Vishnu and his passing away symbolically marked the dawn of Kaliyuga. Therefore even the Surya Siddhanta roughly corroborates the date of, the Mahabharata war as having taken place on 3067 BCE.
8) Let’s look at archaeological evidence now – Lord Krishna is said to have shifted his kingdom from Mathura to Dwarka, which he reclaimed from the sea. The Mahabharata also states that after Krishna’s demise, the city was reclaimed by the sea. The Archaeological Survey of India and the National Institute of Oceanography started searching off the coast of Gujarat for the legendary city. The team discovered underwater stone walls and six layers of ruins – proof of what was written in the ancient texts that the city had been built upon previous cities. They located an ancient harbour, seals with animal motifs, Vishnu idols and even massive triangular stone anchors – indicative of the flourishing maritime trade of Dwarka.
TIME-LINE OF EVENTS OF MAHABHARATA :
27th July 3112 BCE – Shri Krishna’s Birth.
26th September 3067 BCE – Krishna’s departure to Hastinapura as peace messenger.
28th September 3067 BCE – Krishna asks for 5 villages from Kauravas.
8th October 3067 BCE – Krishna reveals to Karna the secret of his birth.
1st November 3067 BCE – Balarama goes on a pilgrimage.
22nd November 3067 BCE – Kurukshetra war begins.
8th December 3067 BCE – Ghatotkacha is killed.
12th December 3067 BCE – Balarama pilgrimage concludes. Duryodhana is killed.
13th February 3031 BCE – Krishna’s departure from the world (36 years after the war ended).
15th November 3031 BCE – Yadava Civil war erupts. Dwarka sinks in the sea shortly thereafter.
As per Vyasa’s Mahabharat, Pandavas reigned for 36 years after Kurukshetra war ended; and decided to renounce the world shortly after Shri Krishna left his mortal coil.
Mahabharat is history, not mythology – A short analysis.