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Monday, July 13, 2020
Mahabharata date is intertwined with the inviolable Kali Yuga date.
Kali Yuga date forms the basis for determining the time line of events in
Mahabharata. Kali yuga date forms the boundary condition for Mahabharata date by which it is meant that if this is not fulfilled, there is no point in claiming that other references in Mahabharata have been 'successfully' corroborated. Without the knowledge of this basic requirement, or without fulfilling this requirement we find people blabbering around and forcing some date as Mahabharata date. It is a pity these researchers have never ventured into history, but only dabbled with their astronomy simulators - for, if they have, they would have come across thousands of inscriptions giving the date to the Kali Shaka year, thereby realizing that how foolish their claims have been.
The absence of
knowledge of the inviolability of Kali date is the shocking proof of presence of non-practising Hindus
all around us – by non- practicing I mean the minimal requirement of doing
monthly Amavasya tarpan by those to whom it applies or who have elders at home doing
this. The one who does pitru tarpan is supposed to keep track of time by using
Pancanga – the traditional one and not the ‘modern’ Pancanga promoted by these new age 'researchers' which does not
have five angas - by which he comes to know when
the Kali Yuga started. By 2020, we have completed 5121 years in Kali Yuga.
The connection between Kali Yuga date and the Mahabharata war date is such
that the war happened exactly 35 years before the start of Kali Yuga.
The date of
Kali Yuga:22nd January 3101 BCE, Year Pramathi, Caitra, Amawasya,
Aswini, Thursday with all the planets except Rahu near the beginning of Aries
when the tropical vernal equinox coincided with the beginning of sidereal
The entry of Kali Yuga upon the exit of
Krishna is repeated in the first and the last chapter of Bhagavata Purana. The
entry of Kali is also revealed in the context of how Parikshit received
Kali Yuga. Parikshit
being the immediate successor of Yudhishthira, after the latter relinquished
the throne on hearing the exit of Krishna, it goes without saying that the
entry of Kali Yuga coincided with the exit of Krishna.
Mahabharata gives enough clues on two
kinds of Yugas, one, the 5-year Yuga that was in vogue for all practical
purposes and the other, the Chatur Maha Yuga for judging the scale of Dharma.
The 5-year Yuga is well revealed in the context of Bhishma justifying the
completion of incognito period of the Pandavas. The dates of Mahabharata war
and Bhishma Nirvana can be proven only on the basis of the 5-year system.
Many characters of Mahabharata also
speak about the Chatur Maha Yugas, for determining Brahma’s duration of life in
terms of solar years and also on how the Yuga is decided by the Dharma of the
King / ruler. There are instances found in Mahabharata of a fusion of Yugas and
one Yuga dharma appearing in another Yuga. An analysis of all these references
reveals that the 4 yugas from Krita to Kali were measured by the scale of
was on the decline at the time of Mahabharata giving the semblance of Kali
Yuga, but it was not completely perceived as Kali Yuga due to the presence of
Vyasa was the first one to have grasped
the change of Time in terms of Yuga Dharma and expressed it explicitly. When
Arjuna informed Vyasa of Krishna’s exit, Vyasa spoke about the change of time
and that time has come for the Pandava brothers to leave the earth. It
was only after meeting Vyasa, Arjuna went on to meet his brothers to convey the
news of Krishna’s exit.
From Mahabharata to Bhagavata Purana we
find a continuity of events following the exit of Krishna. In the very
beginning of Bhagavata Purana, Vyasa repeats the bad omens seen by Yudhishtira
at the exit of Krishna as was described in Mahabharata. When Arjuna brings the
bad news about Krishna’s departure, Vyasa says (in Suta’s narration) the Kali has manifest fully at the
exit of Krishna.
“When the Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa, left this earthly planet in His
selfsame form, from that very day Kali, who had already partially
appeared, became fully manifest to create inauspicious conditions for
those who are endowed with a poor fund of knowledge.”
In the very next verse Vyasa says that
Yudhishthira having understood the arrival of Adharma (adharma-cakraṁ)
prepared to exit the world. Vyasa
again repeats the arrival of Kali Yuga (kalinādharma), perceived by the
younger Pandavas prompting them to leave the earth.
Thus there is consistency in the
narration on the change of the Yugas and the birth of a new Yuga, and the
narration continuing from Mahabharata and taken over to Bhagavata Purana by the
same author Vyasa. Vyasa had said without mincing words in the beginning of
Bhagavata Purana that Kali
which was partially manifest until then became fully manifest on the day
Krishna left the earthly plane.
Let me reproduce the evidence from
‘Ain I Akbari’ authored by Abul
Fazl Allami, a contemporary of Akbar. He mentions King Yudhishthira
as having started his own era which was followed by the eras of Vikrama and Shalivahana.
He continues to name the future Shaka eras as those of Vijayabhinanda,
Nagarjuna and Kalki – giving the total
number as six eras in the Kali Yuga. This includes the era of Yudhishthira.
The above narration continues further by
stating the arrival of Shalivahana and how he usurped Vikrama. For the gap of
135 years between the two, it is unrealistic to assume that Shalivahana
defeated Vikrama. May be it was a metaphoric way of expression of replacement
of an old Shaka with a new one, which I am not delving into, due to its
irrelevance in this context. What needs to be understood is the fact that a new
Shaka year was started; this is corroborated by numerous inscriptions that have
recorded the date from Shalivahana Shaka.
Abu Fazl continues to write that
Shalivahana didn’t interfere with the observance of Vikrama Era. So
simultaneously both Eras had existed, but inscriptional evidence shows that
Shalivahana Shaka was in widespread usage. Abul fazl’s narration cannot
rejected as invalid or ‘traditional belief’, for, it shows how time was
recorded by calculating right from the beginning of Kali Yuga.
Abul Fazl has given valuable inputs for
cross reference. At first he gives the Kali Yuga year as 4700 and later 4696 as
the elapsed years of Yudhishthira Shaka at the 40th year of Akbar’s
rule. The difference of only 4 years between the two Kali dates (Kali 4700 and
Yudhishthira 4696) goes to show that the first was the year of writing the book
and the second, the 40th year of Akbar’s rule. He also mentions the gap of 3044 years between Yudhishtira Shaka and Vikrama
For the 40th year of Akbar he
has given the corresponding years in Yudhishthira, Vikrama and Shalivahana
Akbar’s 40thyear = 4696 of
Akbar’s 40th year = 1652 of
Akbar’s 40th year = 1517 of
The 40th year of Akbar was
Hijri 1003-1004 corresponding to 1595 CE in Gregorian calendar.
Checking for the recent two eras (Shaka)
for which the date is not disputed we get
(1) Shalivahana 1517 + Shalivahana 78 CE
= 1595 CE
(2) Vikarama 1652 – Vikrama 57 BCE =
Since the year tallies correctly, the
year derived from the Yudhishthira date must be the true Kali Yuga date. Let me
deduct 1595 (CE) from Yudhishthira Shaka date of Akbar’s 40th year.
Yudhishthira 4696 – 1595 = 3101 (BCE)
This being the Yudhishthira Shaka, and
also the Kali Yuga start year, it becomes clear that the Shaka computation started after Krishna left
and Yudhishthira stepped down (which happened closely within a span of
few months). The
computation must have been initiated by Vyasa himself by stipulating the start
of the Kali Yuga as the date of exit of Krishna.The clear statement
of Kali Yuga start date in the first chapter of Bhagavata Purana
explained earlier goes to show that VYASA was the originator of the Kali Yuga date. Time computation
must have been a far easier task for him as a knower of three times (past,
present and future) compared to other stupendous tasks for which is known –
compilation of the Vedas and authoring the Puranas and Mahabharata.
The word Shaka comes from the root
‘Shak’ meaning “be able”. The name Shakra for Indra comes from this
root. With the decadence of the concept of Indra expected in the Kali Yuga, the
sages had mooted the idea of Shaka in the place of
Indra. The Shaka ruler is one who has defeated
the enemies of Bharata varsha or Vedic culture or in other words,
non-Vedic people, according to a Telugu text “Vijnana Sarvaswamu” and
Kalidasa’s “Jyothirvidabharana”. Mahabharata
war was won by Yudhishthira by subduing many tribes of North West India who
were not followers of Vedic culture. He continued to be the Shaka Karta
until Vikrama repeated the same feat. Vikrama was replaced by Shalivahana
either because he defeated some non-Vedic, foreign ruler or he defeated the
previous Shaka ruler, in this case Vikrama. Though Abul Fazl refers to the
second probability, the gap of 135 years between Vikrama and Shalivahana makes
Quoting Tilak, it is said that
there is no inscription in the name of Yudhishthira Shaka.
The reasons are not hard to find. Engraving on the stones was a later development with most of the
stone inscriptions appearing in the Common Era only. In olden days writing in burja
patra was in vogue.
Engraving in metals such as copper was also widely prevalent and it is
anybody’s guess why they were lost. The bottom-line is
that absence of inscriptions does not mean absence of the Era!
However, an inscription of King
Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit was quoted by Kota Venkatachela Paakayaaji in
from Indian Antiquary P.P. 383 334.The inscription states
Shree Jayabhyudaye Yudhsihtrashake”
The donation mentioned in that
inscription was made in the 89th year of Yudhishthira Shaka during
the reign of Janamejaya. The year concurs with Janamejaya’s rule as he
succeeded his father Parikshit who ruled for 60 years as per Mahabharata. This
grant was made in the 29th regnal year of Janamejaya, to Lord Sitarama temple
on the banks of Tungabhadra River, in today’s Hampi.
The inscription gives important
details such as Plavanga year, Amawasya, Monday and Sahasya month referring to
Pushya month. Only the star of the day is not given.These four out of five features of the
Panchanga were checked in astrology software.
The horoscopy chart generated for these
details show that the month was Tapasya (Phalguna) and not Sahasya indicating a
scribal or transmission error. The four features had co-existed on 28th
January, 3012 BCE with Amavasya starting around 4 PM in Gregorian calendar.
Here I want to give a word of caution.
Like astronomy software, the astrology software also has limitations when we
are picking out dates thousands of years ago. Both software are accurate for
the current stellar and planetary positions. However when we regress, the
astronomy software becomes redundant for sidereal positions of Vedic astronomy
noting. The redundancy is not too great in astrology software as sidereal
positions are noted, but this is done for the current ayanamsa (precession
degree). The following simulated version is done for the current ayanamsa
position (Lahiri / chitra Paksha). Let us first see the degree of concurrence
with Panchanga details of the Janamejaya grant.
1: Simulated to current (Chitra-paksha) ayanamsa
Though all the features are present, one
can see Amavasya having commenced in the evening, just before 4 PM. Generally
the tithi at sunrise is treated as the tithi of the day. But in the case of
Amavasya there is another version, known as Bodhayana Amavasya. Amavasya refers to the conjunction of the
sun and the moon, and as such Amavasya tithi must be running at night time.
Sometimes the tithi starts on the previous evening (Chaturdasi at sunrise) and
ends before sunset the next day though it was there at sunrise. On such
occasions, the previous day is considered as Amavasya. This is known as Bodhayana
The early setting of Amavasya gives rise
to reduction in tithis that plays a crucial role in our understanding and
interpreting the number of days given in certain contexts in Mahabharata. (The
reduction in the tithis delays the sighting of crescent moon as required in
Now let me give another simulated
version for the same Panchanga features corrected to the precession date
calculated from Surya
Siddhanta based on Makarandacharya’s Tables made in 1478 CE. In this,
the precession is taken as zero with vernal equinox coinciding with zero degree
Aries which was the case at the time of Kali Yuga according to tradition and
reiterated by Indic astronomers of the past. The simulation done with this
correction based on Surya Siddhanta for the Panchanga features of Janamejaya
grant is as follows:
2: Simulated to Sri Surya Siddhanta ayanamsa
Note the two major changes: (1) Amavasya
was there at sunrise (2) Sun is at 8th degree Pisces whereas in the
previous simulation (on current Ayanamsa) it was at 25th degree of
Pisces. The modern calendar date has regressed by 28 days in the above
simulation, but the Panchanga features had not changed at all. Nearly a
month-long difference is there between current and the changed ayanamsa for the
same Panchanga features!
This must be an eye opener for all the researchers working on dating
the past from astronomy simulators having no ayanamsa correctionfor the Vedic sidereal
positions and no scope for knowing the Panchanga features.The
one using astronomy simulator hoping to date a past Indic event will be in
reality just groping in the dark with no idea of whether he /she had landed up
with the correct weekday, tithi and year name for a given star or solstice or
equinox position. Only Panchanga
features coupled with the correct ayanamsaoffer the reality check
of a date which the Gregorian or the Julian calendar dates of the astronomy
software do not give.
With the Panchanga features of the date
of Janamejaya-grant synchronising with each other in the above simulation set
to Sri Surya Siddhanta (SSS) ayanamsa, we can rest assured of the authenticity
of the grant that was given on the last day of Plavanga year.
In his first chapter on 10 Gitika verses
that he proclaims to be capable of making the knower (of those verses) reach
the Supreme Brahman, Aryabhata had given two clues on Yuga.
In the 3rd and 4th
verses, he has given the number of revolutions of the planets that “commenced
at the beginning of the sign Aries on Wednesday at sunrise at
This is variously interpreted by
commentators, but the number of revolutions given for the Sun in that verse is
43, 20,000and this is valid only for the Chatur Maha Yuga that started with
Krita Yuga. Therefore this verse implies that Krita Yuga started on a Wednesday with all the planets at the
beginning of Aries. In the next verse (no 5) he refers to the
elapsed Yugas at “Bharatāt Purvam”!
The above is the translator’s version,
but the verse refers to the lapse of 6 Manus, 27 Yugas and 3 quarter Yugas on a
Thursday at “Bharatāt Purvam.”
The three quarter padas refer to the
first three yugas of the Chatur Maha Yuga. Coming after the verse on Chatur
Maha Yuga, one can expect this to be about the beginning of the 4th
Yuga, i.e. Kali Yuga. But then why did he use the term Bharatāt Purvam instead
of Kaliyugāt Purvam? Let me give two
(1) ‘Bhāratāt Purvam’ has been
interpreted by ancient commentators such as Bhaskara I and Suryadeva, as
refering to before the time when
Yudhishthira of Bharata dynasty relinquished the throne. This is a
reference to the traditional Kali Yuga date given the fact that Yudhishthira
came to know of the exit of Krishna only after seven months.
The sequence of events given in
Mahabharata shows that on the seventh day after Krishna’s exit, Arjuna left
Dwaraka along with the remaining population and settled them down in different
places. Then he went to the hermitage of Vyasa to convey the exit of Krishna.
Taking the advice of Vyasa that the time had come for him and his brothers to
leave the earth, Arjuna returned to the Kuru kingdom to meet his brothers. This
happened seven months after he left, says Srimad Bhagavatam.Therefore the reference to ‘Bhāratāt Purvam’ is a date from
before the Bhārata (Pandavas) renounced their throne. Krishna’s exit was
the only important event before the renouncement of the throne – an event that
prompted them to renounce.
Aryabhata had succinctly conveyed that
event (the day of exit of Krishna) while giving the time-lapse at that time as the marker for the start of Kali Yuga. The mention of Thursday in that context as the weekday when
the new Yuga started is further proof of meticulous calculation of Time and the
record and remembrance of the same.
(2) According to another ancient
commentator Somesvara, ‘Bhāratāt Purvam’ refers to the first day of the Bharata
war! Kali almost started on the day of the war that was unjustifiably fought by
refusing to honour the agreement to give back the kingdom to the Pandavas at
the end of their exile. However this is not acceptable
given the time lapse mentioned in the verse that fits with the beginning of
This chapter being designed to give
basic aphorisms, one can expect Aryabhata to give the universal view on the
basics, such as the beginning of Kali Yuga.
The third reference to Yuga comes in the
3rd chapter on Kalakriya Pada that exclusively deals with
He has given the name of the month and
the phase (Shukla) but left out the Yuga name. It is not difficult to assume
that it is Kali Yuga (the entire chapter is on computations pertaining to Kali
Yuga) and the year was Pramathi. Most of the inscriptions found in North
India refer to Pramathi as the start of the counting of years in Kali Yuga. In
South India it is Prabhava, the reason being, the year clock was set
back to the first year of the 60-year cycle for counting the years from Kali
Yuga start date. This difference in North – South traditions has no
justification except that North India retained continuity, while Southern
tradition went back to the first year of the cycle. That is, when Pramathi was
running, it was Prabhava in the South and this continues till date. The switch over happening in
Pramathi signals that some event had happened in Pramathi that caused a new
cycle.And that event
was the exit of Krishna. The 36th year before that was the
year name of Mahabharata War. That happens to be Year Krodhi.The year name Krodhi must concur
with the other Panchanga details for deducing the time of Mahabharata war.
In the present context the week day and
the star of the day are not given. The week day seems to have been taken for
granted in the verse and this makes me think that it must be Thursday based on
the verse in the 1st chapter discussed earlier. When these four Panchanga
details (Pramathi, Chaitra, Shukla paksha beginning / Pratipat and Thursday)
were checked in the astrology software, it gave a remarkable concurrence for
the date 22nd January, 3101 BCE! That is the day from which Kali
Yuga is calculated!
3: Kali Yuga date simulated to (current) Chitra-paksha ayanamsa
The same Panchanga details simulated for
Sri Surya Siddhanta ayanamsa (SSS) gives the same date but Sun was at 2nd
degree of Aries!
4: Kali Yuga date simulated to Sri Surya Siddhanta ayanamsa (zero degree
The date in modern calendar is
remarkably the same in figures 3 and 4 for current and SSS ayanamsa. However in
Figure 4, all the planets are at close degrees behind the Sun with Mars alone
within 5 degrees in front of the Sun. This is a remarkable concurrence with the traditional version and the
marker for the start of a Yuga when all planets would be together near the
beginning of Aries while vernal equinox would be at zero degree Aries.
The Surya Siddhanta based
Ayanamsa (used in simulating the above chart) is close to the ayanamsa of Kali
Yuga date and therefore highly reliable for dating Mahabharata events.
In Figure 3 for Chitra Paksha Ayanamsa
(current) the Panchanga details were the same, but planetary positions were
different, particularly that of the Sun. The ayanamsa was at 313 degrees in the
zodiac (in precession). This is 45 degrees short of 360 degrees thereby placing
Kali Yuga at Taurus 15 degrees. Now readers can know the havoc of not using the exact ayanamsa for
dating. When the correct ayanamsa and Panchanga
details match, all the planetary positions automatically match.That it is not possible to get all
the planetary positions right without the correct ayanamsa is what the people
engaged in this kind of dating research using astronomy software, have not yet
The difference of nearly a month in
Janamejaya grant issued at 89th year after the above Kali Yuga date
in the two simulations, one on chitra Paksha ayanamsa and another on Surya
Siddhanta ayanamsa, can be better understood now. On Kali yuga date (January
22, 3101 BCE) the ayanamsa was at zero degree Aries in SSS settings. After Kali
Yuga began, the ayanamsa moved forward in SSS whereas it was always in backward
motion in the Chitra Paksha settings. As such the ayanamsa was 1-20 degree (at
Aries) in SSS settings at the time of Janamejaya whereas it was 314-37 degree
(in Pisces) in the settings of Chitra Paksha. This is so in the western
astronomy software too. Between SSS (Surya Siddhanta) and Chitra Paksha the
difference was 313 degrees of the zodiac in presessional direction. The same
can be re-phrased as a gap of 45 degrees between 314- 37 (Chitra Paksha) and
1-20 degrees (SSS). This gap in ayanamsa accounted for a month and a change in
the position of the planets. Now
one can imagine the havoc of vast difference that the changed ayanamsa can
cause in dating an event.
It cannot be denied that the Panchanga
features synchronise for the date January 22nd, 3101 BCE.
This combination repeats
along with the same planetary positions only once in a Yuga. The next
time the ayanamsa was at zero degree Aries was on 21st March 499 CE
during Aryabhata’s times. But then the planetary combinations were different,
so also some of the Panchanga features. Though the year was Pramathi, as in
Kali start date, other Panchanga features were different. Fig 5 shows
Aryabhata’s time in Pramathi with zero ayanamsa as was at the time of start of
Kali Yuga, but the planets had not congregated at Aries. I am constrained to state that I
have not yet come across any one research on dating Mahabharata done with this
The same verse on Bhāratāt Purvam states
that Kali Yuga started on
a Thursday. Today all the available calculations given in astrology
texts to derive a day in Kali Yuga finally ends up with dividing the derived
number by 7, and the weekday enumerated from the remainder starting from
Friday.If the remainder is zero, the
week day is Friday, if it is one; the day is Saturday and so on. This deduction
is possible only if Kali Yuga started on a Thursday. The unstated fact of this
deduction is that Kali Yuga started on a specific day that is neither
fictitious nor changeable.
Yet another inviolable feature connects the weekday with
solar ingress in Aries. The weekday advances at
the rate of one day per year – where the year is calculated in terms of
days, Ghatis, vighatis and vipalas taken by the sun to come back to the same
position at zero degree Aries. For instance, if the solar ingress in Aries
occurs on a Monday in a year, it will occur on Tuesday the next year, on
Wednesday the year after, and so on. However, with extra hours piling up, the
weekday will progress by two every fifth year.That is, if Monday is the weekday in the first year, it will progress by
a day for the next four years, with Thursday becoming the weekday on the first
day of the 4th year. On the fifth year the weekday will not be next in
succession (Friday) but it will be Saturday.
This progression is based on another
rationale that if the solar ingress occurs at day time, the weekday at sunrise
is taken into account. If the ingress occurs at evening or night, the next day
is taken as the first day of the year. The implication of this relationship
between the weekday and the first day of the solar year (entry into Aries) is
such that the first day of Kali Yuga is an established one. If Kali Yuga
started on some other day or date, today cannot be what we see in the calendar.
The solar ingress is a
cosmic fact that none can change. That movement coinciding with specific
weekday is proof of inviolability of Kali Yuga begin- date. This
relationship between the year beginning and the running weekday at that time does not allow any tampering with the Kali Yuga date.The date is fixed and unalterable.
By this the reader must understand that the year of Mahabharata war is also
fixed and unalterable.
again on Kali Yuga date.
A verse in the third chapter of
Aryabhatiya, giving the age of Aryabhata fixes the year of Kali Yuga 3600 years
before his date.By using the term ‘Yuga
pādā’ to refer to the lapse of the three previous yugas (Krita, Treta and
Dvapara), Aryabhata has made a clear statement on the date of Kali Yuga.
Sixty times the sixty years are 3600
years that Aryabhata recognises as the time elapsed since the beginning of Kali
Yuga when he was 23 years of age. Scholars had debated in the past on why Aryabhata
mentioned his age from Kali Yuga beginning. The basic reason is that any Tantra
must refer to time starting from the nearest Yuga, which is Kali Yuga in the
case of Aryabhata. The oft repeated justification by commentators is that at 3600
years after Kali Yuga date, the mean position of the planets given by Aryabhata
in the first chapter required no correction with zero rate of precession
running at that time! This means that the tropical vernal equinox coincided
with the sidereal equinox at zero degree Aries at his time. This conjunction
happens at the beginning of every Yuga which means similar conjunction or zero
ayanamsa had happened 3600 years before Aryabhata’s date! This is a clinching evidence for
the Vedic concept of equinoxes (explained earlier) that it does not go
permanently in 3600 years.
illustration is excerpted from my upcoming publication on precession of
equinoxes. Aryabhata’s 3600 years can be covered within abc (Indic) or ec (western astronomy). In the case of ec, Kali Yuga could not start at the beginning of Aries.}
3600 years expressed in Indic and Western model
Let me reproduce the planetary and
Pancanga details from the astrology simulator for 3600 years after Kali Yuga
date. The year turned out to be Pramathi, the same year in which Kali Yuga
started as per tradition.
age at 23 years.
The Sun’s entry into Aries happened on
Chaitra Krishna Saptami in the year Pramathi, when the moon was at Purvashadha.
The date was 499 CE in Gregorian calendar. The ayanamsa being zero degree, the
tropical vernal equinox had coincided with sidereal Sun at zero degree Aries on
this date. The mean positions of the planets given by Aryabhata are found to
hold good for zero degree ayanamsa. Sensing the importance of this rare date
Aryabhata had produced his Siddhanta. The reference to
Kali Yuga exactly 3600 years prior to this date endorses the view of Surya
Siddhanta on oscillating equinoxes
of Kali Yuga date in Saptarishi cycle.
The Saptarishi cycle comes into
reckoning in the discussion on Kali Yuga date for two reasons. According to all
available versions, the Sapta Rishi cycle started 25 years after the start of
Kali Yuga. This offers excellent cross- reference to validate the Kali Yuga
date. The second reason can be traced to a specific verse in Brihat Samhita on
the location of the Saptarishis in the time scale of
Yudhishtira Shaka. The verse says, “During
the reign of Yudhishtira 2526 years before the commencement of Vikrama Shaka
the seven sages were at the constellation of Magha.”This helps in zeroing in on the date in the
time scale of Kali Yuga and from there tracing the beginning of Saptarishi Era.
The gap between Yudhishtira and Vikrama Shaka being 3044 years, this date
corresponds to Kali / Yudhishtira Shaka 518 (3044-2526). This was mistaken as
the beginning year of Yudhishtira Shaka by some.
Starting from the basic features of the
Saptarishi cycle, the Saptarishis are said to go round the 27-star zodiac by
crossing each star in 100 years. This gives the overall cycle of 2700 years. In
astronomy terms this cannot be actual movement, but only hypothetical movement
with actual time in application. The calculation can only be mathematical. Any
reference in any text on visual sighting of the Saptarishis at a particular
star is therefore untenable.
Any cycle around the zodiac = 360˚ = 27
Time to cross 27 stars / 360˚ = 2700
Time to cross 1˚ of the cycle = 7 and
half years (2700 % 360).
This cycle started at Kali 25
years. At Kali 518 the Saptarishis were at
Magha. By a simple calculation of assigning 100 years for crossing each star
the Saptarishis must have been at the star Mrigashirsha in the beginning of Kali
Yuga. From Mrigashirsha to Aslesha 5 stars and 500 years will be crossed. The
next star is Magha. This is based on the presumption that the cycle is clockwise.
have to first check the movement of the cycle, whether clockwise or anti
From among various references on the
location of Sapta Rishis, one stands out enabling us to find out the direction
of the movement of Sapta Rishis in its time-cycle. This appears in Pargiter’s compilation of chronological and
astronomical particulars from Vayu Purana and highlighted by Kota Venkatachelam. Venkatachelam has pointed outhow
Pargiter had amended the verse from “agnina samah” to “Pushye.”The original verse says that the Sapta Rishis
were in Krittika (Agni star) at the time of birth of Parikshit, i.e. soon after
the Mahabharata war. Pargiter has changed it into Pushya and this has been
picked up by others.
At the outset this puts at rest the
uncertainty about the direction of Sapta Rishi movement. The direction is
clockwise. In Kali 518, the Sapta Rishis were at Magha but they were at
Krittika at the time of birth of Parikshit. Parikshit was born after the war
was over, probably in the next year of the cycle, i.e. Viswavasu. Between Kali
and Pariskhit’s birth the gap was 35 years. Let’s add it to Kali 518 to get the
duration that Saptarishis had travelled from Krittika to Magha.
518 + 35 = 553 years
The degrees travelled by Sapta Rishis
through 553 years
=553 /7.5 (7.5 years = 1˚of movement of
Since Magha occurs at the beginning of
Leo, going backward by 73.73˚ means the Saptarishis
were at Taurus 16.27˚
Till Taurus 10˚ = Krittika.
At 16.27˚= Rohini.
There is a difference
of 6.27˚ from Krittika equal to approximately 45 years of Sapta Rishis time.
This is equal to two padaof
Rohini or mid-point of Rohini. As per this calculation when Parikshit was born,
the Sapta Rishis had moved from Krittika to Rohini. However the main issue
remains whether the Era started at Kali 25.
Era at Kali year 25.
With the certainty about directional
movement of the Sapta Rishis being clockwise, it is possible to locate the
beginning point of the Sapta Rishi cycle 25 years after the start of Kali Yuga.
From the earlier equation we derived:
Yudhishthira Shaka 518 = Sapta Rishis at
Deducting 25 years = 518- 25= 493
Sapta Rishi cycle began 493 years before
it entered Magha.
The distance in degrees for 493 years =
493 / 7.5 (@ 1 degree)
This is the distance travelled by the
Sapta Rishis since the beginning of the cycle till they reached Magha (zero
puts the beginning at Taurus 24.27˚, exactly at the beginning of the star
Mrigashirsha(Deer’s head) at the 2nd degree,
to be precise. Starting from this, the Saptarishis will be in the 2nd degree of
Magha in the Yudhishtira Shaka year 518. The star Mrigashirsha signifies ‘path’, the Mārga of the
Universe. Conceptually this concurs well with the idea of Sapta Rishi
that they lead mankind in the Universe. Among the months, Krishna identified
himself with Mrigashirsha.Culturally celebration of Full Moon in
Mrigashirsha in Kashmir where Saptarishi Era was followed in olden days adds
credence to the beginning of this cycle at Mrigashirshain
the solar month of Margashira.
This also solves the mystery around “Agrahāyana” which means
“first movement” (Agra = first, ayana = movement) occurring at Mrigashirsha.
The ‘first movement’ was about the beginning of the cycle of Saptarishi Yuga at
Full Moon in Mrigashiras. This puts at naught the view
that Agrahāyana could refer to the equinox. The oscillating equinox
cannot go beyond Krittika 1st pada. Agrahāyana being the other name for the month of Margashira, its
importance as the first one is known from the Saptarishi Era. The yearly
celebration of the Full Moon in Margashira in Kashmir marks the day as the New
Year day and the month as the first month in the Saptarishi Calendar.
The Era starting with the Saptarishis at
the star Mrigashirsha in Kali year 25 offers yet another evidence of the
inviolability of Kali Yuga date at 3101 BCE.
evidence for Kali Yuga date.
The evidence of Kali Yuga date in
epigraphy is very less. The reason can be traced to the fact that engraving on
stones came into vogue only after the beginning of the Common Era. The records
of olden times inscribed on leaves and metals had suffered easy destruction.
The inscriptions on metals were always in the custody of the private persons
and were lost in due course. Only stone inscriptions have withstood the
vagaries of time.
By the time stone-inscriptions were
gaining popularity, the Shalivahana Shaka Era was started in the year 78 CE and
it is continuing. Any year in the Shaka Era would be counted from the beginning
of that Era. This Era having started 3179 years after Kali Yuga, it became easy
to convert any year of the Shaka Era into Kali Year by adding 3179 to the Shaka
year. Verses in Tamil attributed to Siddhas do refer to adding a constant,
3179, to the Shaka year to get “Kali-Yugābda”.This calculation came into existence only
because the Kali Yuga date was well established beyond doubt. The Shaka year
establishes the Kali Date at 3101 BCE (3179 – 78 CE = 3101 BCE).
With most inscriptions on stone made in
the current Shaka, we get to see only few inscriptions with Kali date. For
instance Polasara plates of Arkesvara Deva of Ganjamis dated at “Yugāvda
4248” that corresponds to 1147 CE (4248 – 3101). Pottesvara temple
inscription of Bhanudeva III of Imperial Ganga Dynastytraces the date at Kali 4477 (1376 CE). The
Parthivasekara puram inscription traces the date in Kali days since the Yuga
One of the inscriptions of the early
part of Kali Yuga recorded by Francis Buchanan in
his travelogue and delivered to the Bengal Government was originally found in
Madugeswara temple at Banawasi, in North Canara district. It refers to a grant
of land to God Maducanata by Simhunna Bupa of Yudhishthira’s family dated at
Yudhishthira Shaka 168.
Yet another inscription mentioned in the
same book refers to a recordon palmyra leaves which was a copy of a
copper plate inscription in possession of a sanyasi, dated at “Kaliyugam 600” in the reign of Raja Mulla, king of the
South. A copy of that was delivered to the Bengal Government. It is not known
how many more inscriptions of the old had gone into the possession of the
government of the colonial period and continued to remain undetected.
As of today only two inscriptions
published in the Indian Antiquaryoffer scope to cross check the date deduced
above (3101 BCE) or rather deduce the date of Kali Yuga. Other inscriptions
only state the Kali year of the inscribed text. One is the Aihole inscription
of the Chalukya king Pulikesin II and the other is the grant issued by king
Janamejaya, son of Parikshit discussed earlier.
from Aihole inscription.
The Aihole inscription of the Chalukya king Pulikesin II has two components of time,
one, pertaining to the years in Kali Yuga after the Mahabharata war and the
other, the Shaka year of the grant. Confusion abounds in the former regarding a
term mentioned therein. The term is ‘Bhāratādāhāvāditah’
which is interpreted as ‘beginning from the Mahabharata war’. However the date
derived from the numbers given in the inscription does not tally with the date
of Mahabharata that started 35 years before Kali Yuga (3101 BCE). Kota
Venkatachelam interpreted this term to mean ‘after the Mahabharata war’ by
not connecting the counting of years from the date of war. He also corrected a
minor scribal error in the inscription from ‘shateshu’ to ‘gateshu’.
With this correction the inscription gives the date 3101 BCE that we
established as the date of Kali Yuga.
Reading this inscription in the light of
Aryabhatiya version of ‘Bhāratāt
Purvam,’ we are pleasantly surprised to see the similarity between the
two. ‘Bhārata’ in ‘Bhāratādāhāvāditah’
is much like ‘Bhāratāt Purvam’ that
was interpreted by ancient commentators as referring to Bhāratā (Pandavas)
relinquishing the throne. The Bhāratā renounced everything and cast off
their sacred fires too. Bhāratā dāha avādita could refer to the sacrifice of the Bharata clan after coming to know of
Krishna’s demise (when Kali Yuga started). The time of Pulikesin II
coming within 150 years of Aryabhata, this kind of reference to the start of
Kali Yuga seems to be widespread in use. The other way of looking at it is that
a powerful and prosperous king
like Pulikesin II could have found it difficult to ascribe to the view that
Kali was running in his country, much like Parikshit who detested the presence
of Kali. Perhaps this made him pick out the alternate marker for the
Yuga beginning, the sacrifice of the Bhāratā (Pandavas) on coming to know of
The first part of the inscription reads
as “Trimshatsu (30) trisahasreshu (3000) Bhāratā dāha avādita /Sapta abda shatayukteshu (700) gateshu
abdeshu panchasu (5)//
This adds up to 3735 years since the
time the Bhāratā sacrificed everything.
The next part reads as “Panchāshatsu
(50) Kalaukāle shattsu (6) panchashatāsu (500) cha / Samā su samatitāsu
The number given here is 556 since the
beginning of Shaka. The nearest Shaka being that of Shalivahana, the Gregorian
date is derived by adding 78 (CE) giving the year 634 CE which is very much
within the reign of Pulikesin II.
Combining the two parts of the
inscription, in the Kalaukāle (Kali’s Time) 634 years had elapsed in 3735 years
which works out to 3101 BCE. That was the time of Bhāratā dāha avādita and
Deriving the date of Mahabharata War from Kali Yuga.
Once having corroboratedthe date of Kali Yuga at 3101 BCE, it is not
difficult to derive the date of Mahabharata War. There was a gap of 35 years between the war and the exit of
Krishna. On seeing the death of her children and all relatives in the
war Gandhari vented out her frustration at Krishna that he (Krishna) after
causing the slaughter of his kinsmen would perish in the wilderness on the 36th
On the 36th year a huge carnage did take place wiping out the
When the 36th year (after the
war) arrived Yudhishthira noticed many unusual omens, says the first chapter of
In the next chapter it is said that a great calamity overtook the Vrishnis on
the 36th year. 
In the third chapter, Krishna on seeing the inauspicious omens understood that
the thirty sixth year had arrived when Gandhari’s curse given out of grief of
losing her children was about to happen.
year started in Uttarayana before that time.
The 36th year happening to be Pramathi, we have to count backwards
by 35 years. That leads us to the year Krodhi! That was the year of the Mahabharata War. The year corresponds
to 3136 BCE in the
Gregorian date. Thus we have two dates established without doubt of which the
date of Kali Yuga continues to form the basis of time in all Vedic and
‘Indiya Kalvettugalum, ezhutthukkalum’ by
T.S.Sreedhar, Tamilnadu Archaeological Department publication, page 25-29
“Chronology of Ancient Hindu History” Part 1,
by Pandit Kota Venkatachela Paakayaaji (1957) Page 13-17
 Today Panchanga refers to 5 features, week day, star, tithi, yoga
and karana. These 5 are part of Ashtanga that include month, year name and Yuga
also. Of the 8, year name, month, week day, tithi and star form indispensible
synchronisation at any time, therefore these features are used here with the
familiar name Panchanga.
The horoscopy illustrations used in this book
are generated from Jagannatha Hora software, version 7.4
 “Aryabhatiya of
Aryabhata” edited and translated by Kripa Shankar Shukla, Page 6
Jyothisha Siddhanta is divided into three parts
- Siddhanta, Tantra and Karana. The Siddhantic text presents calculations
starting from Kalpa. The Tantra text deals with calculations starting from the
nearest Yuga. The Karana text gives the calculations from the nearest Shaka
year. Aryabhatiya is a Tantra text which is further authenticated by the title
of the commentary “Aryabhata Tantra Bhashya” by Bhaskara I.
 ‘The Brihat Samhita’
translated by N.C. Iyer, Ch 13-3
Kota Venkatachela Paakayaaji, “Chronology of Ancient Hindu History”
Part 1, Page 206
F.E.Pargiter, “The Purana Text of the Dynasties of the Kali Age.”
 Mrigashiras represents the eye of the “Nakshatra Purusha” – a
concept of 27 stars of the zodiac making the body of Vishnu (Brihat Samhita:
The month of Margashirsha represents
the first name of Vishnu as Kesava among His 12 names. Krishna identified
himself with this month in Bhagavad Gita. Such primacy to Margashirsha when
Full Moon occurs in Mrigashiras can be traced to Saptarishi cycle!