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Mahabharat war occurred in 1478 BC: Scientist
October 28, 2003 08:12 IST
Based on the study of eclipses and planetary positions mentioned in six printed versions of the epic, a scientist at the Indian Institute of Science claims the events referred to in the Mahabharat occurred between 1493 and 1443 BC.
This claim disputes the earlier known dates of the event, which is believed to have occurred in the Dwapara Yuga between 3100 and 3000 BC based on historical and archeological evidence.
"The 23-day Kurukshetra war between the Kauravas and Pandavas must have taken place in 1478 BC. This result may have an error band of one year, since the intervals between the three constraining eclipses are uncertain to the extent of one year," Professor R Narayana Iyengar (Department of Civil Engineering, IISc) told PTI in Bangalore on Monday.
His research was based on interpreting six different versions of the epic, including in Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada and English, besides calculating planet and star positions and eclipses described in the epic using modern IT tools and software for astronomy. The software has been used to validate eclipse observations made by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
"These dates match with those mentioned in the Bhagavatha Gita and Vishnu Purana," Iyengar, a Sanskrit scholar and an authority on earthquake engineering, said.
"In a text as large as the Mahabharat, it's no wonder that chronological ordering of the events and observations might have got mixed up due to transmission errors. But everything falls into place as in a puzzle and an almost unique epoch emerges from celestial observations when 1478 BC is taken as the year of the war," Iyengar wrote in Indian Journal of History of Science published by the Indian National Science Academy.
He said the epic would have passed on orally before it was written, which legend attributes to Veda Vyasa. Oral renditions, he indicated, are vulnerable to errors.
Iyengar had picked up only the common observations made in all the six editions of the epic.
His findings have aroused scientific interest, but sceptics have questioned his methodology."The Kali Yuga began in 3102 BC. The date of Mahabharatha war, according to you, is 1478 BC. After integral multiple of 18 years, the same type of solar eclipses will occur. Hence, it is impossible to conclude the date based on studies of solar eclipse alone," Dr K Balakrishna Warrier, an astrologer from Kerala, said in a letter to the scientist.