Karna’s talk with Krishna continued. He stated five planetary nimittas in all, of which we finished with two, The remaining three nimittas are related to the moon. Let me sequence them one by one so that we can see continuity with a related observation by Vyasa which is crucial, as that marked the beginning of the tradition of Bodhayana Amawasya by Krishna! For reference, let me reproduce the sky chart of the Pushya day when a massive calamity struck the earth. The longitudes of the planets are to be noted from this. (Figure 1)
Fig 1: Planetary longitudes on the Pushya day.
3. Karna: rāhur arkam upeṣyati
In Ganguli’s translation, “Rahu also approacheth towards the sun.”
Most researchers have interpreted this as an eclipse. This was not possible as the Sun was far away from the nodes to be part of an eclipse. Rahu was at Magha and Sun at Anuradha. Assuming that we don’t have this chart, how to prove that there was no solar eclipse at that time (sun in Jyeshtha)? This is needed to be done for the reason that most of the researchers are of the opinion that a solar eclipse took place on Jyeshtha Amawasya.
To begin with, we must know the basics about Rahu (or Ketu) and the sun. Rahu and Ketu are not physical entities but points of intersection of the lunar orbit and the ecliptic (the ecliptic is the path of the sun which in reality is the projected orbit of the earth). Figure 2 shows the basic ideas about Rahu and Ketu (nodes).
Fig 2: Direction of the nodes and the sun (Illustrative purpose)
The moon and the sun always move in clockwise direction as seen from the earth (east to west), but the nodes move in opposite direction, i.e. anti-clockwise direction (west to east). The orbit of the moon (dotted blue in Fig 2) is slightly inclined from the ecliptic by 5 degrees by which one half of the lunar orbit lies above the ecliptic (north of the ecliptic), i.e. from Rahu to Ketu in anti-clockwise direction. The other half is below the ecliptic (south of the ecliptic), from Ketu to Rahu in anti-clockwise direction. When the moon is coming along the path from Ketu to Rahu it would be seen in the north of the ecliptic. Once it crosses Rahu, it would be appearing in the southern side of the ecliptic.
With these basics let us look at the issues:
Where would one find Rahu if it were to approach the sun (as told by Karna)?
To reply this, let us take a look at Figure 3 that shows the stars from Uttaraphalguni (Up) to Sravana (Sr). The observation was narrated on Uttaraphalguni day. In seven days the Sun was going to be in Jyeshtha (Jy). If Rahu was positioned somewhere beyond Jyeshtha, say in Sravana (Sr), naturally it would be moving towards the sun.
Fig 3: Rahu in normal movement
The direction of the movement of the sun and Rahu is shown by the arrows. At any position in front of the sun, Rahu would be seen moving towards the sun due to its anti-clockwise motion. But then it could not be a nimitta! We must remember that a nimitta is a temporary sign. Here we see a continuous natural movement of Rahu which could not have caused any fear. Therefore Rahu’s position beyond the sun is COMPLETELY RULED OUT.
Rahu must have been moving in the stars before the Sun or in the stars already trodden by the sun – in which case a meeting of them could never happen for nearly a year thereafter as they (Rahu and the sun) were moving away from each other. A solar eclipse is possible only when the sun and the moon meet Rahu or Ketu (here Rahu). Such a meeting in Jyeshtha is impossible here.
Then the issue is why did Karna say that Rahu was approaching the sun?
A visual observer can judge whether the moon had crossed Rahu or Ketu by watching its position in the ecliptic (north or south) in successive days. Karna said that Rahu moved towards the sun. The sun was in Kartika month (in Scorpio, within 7 degrees of Jyeshtha – counted at the rate of the sun’s movement of 1 degree per day) at the time of this dialogue. We had just proved that Rahu was in the previous stars to the sun moving further towards previous degrees due to its anti-clockwise movement. Movement towards the sun could only happen if the intersection point moved clockwise (in the opposite direction of its motion - i.e. from east to west) (Figure 4)
Fig 4: Rahu moving towards the Sun
In Figure 4, M is the Moon in its original path (in blue). It is moving in clockwise direction (east to west from geocentric view) towards the sun in the ecliptic (in red). It was expected to meet the sun (Amawasya) on Jyeshtha day. But before that (Amawasya) Rahu had moved towards the Sun, says Karna, which means R had shifted to R1 (clockwise - east to west). This can happen only if the moon shifted from M to M1 into a newer orbit (in dotted blue).
This observation was made on Uttaraphalguni, by which it is known that the shift of Rahu happened before Uttara Phalguni.
How did Karna make that observation?
The moon covers 12 degrees of the sky in a day. This span is huge enough to gauge, particularly when it is crossing the ecliptic. The moon shifts to the south by crossing the point of Rahu. Only if the moon was seen to have shifted to the south of the ecliptic after the expected day (where Rahu was positioned), this observation could have been made. In Figure 4, the moon must have been sighted south of the ecliptic on the day after R, but it didn’t appear at the south. It appeared in the south of the ecliptic a little later, i.e. after R1. Seeing this delay Karna used the term “upeṣyati” in future tense – as though Rahu would go on continuously towards the Sun, by changing its directional movement. But this directional change is impossible to happen in nature. So what he observed was characterized by him as a “nimitta”! This shift (and observation) had happened before Uttaraphalguni, the day Karna narrated this!
Since the shift had already happened before Uttaraphalguni, it is evident that the location of Rahu was before Uttara Phalguni, i.e.,anywhere between Pushya and Purvaphalguni but nowhere closer to Jyeshtha.
In view of the fact that Rahu was before Uttaraphalguni and Amawasya was expected on Jyeshtha – six stars away, i.e. 80 degrees away, a solar eclipse in Jyeshtha is ruled out. Moreover the essential condition for a solar eclipse is such that the sun should be within 19 degrees of the nearest node (here Rahu). From the day of this conversation the sun was going to be 80 degrees away. So there is no way to say that a solar eclipse took place.
Vyasa repeated the same observation.
Vyasa: arkaṃ rāhustathāgrasat
Ganguli translates this in the same way as he did for Karna’s reference. Karna, Vyasa and others who had been watching the surroundings keenly more than ever before, in the wake of the calamity, must have noticed the moon slipping to the south later than expected, giving an impression that Rahu was moving towards the sun, but in view of the long distance between the sun and Rahu, a solar eclipse did not happen.
Behind this observation, lies a great fact that the lunar orbit had shifted! The moon had shifted from M to M1 and Rahu had shifted from R to R1 (Fig 4). This is further reiterated by the other two nimittas pertaining to moon
Karna: citrāṃ pīḍayate garaḥ
Many researchers interpret ‘garaha’ as graha and assume that a planet has afflicted the star Chitra. There is no affliction to Chitra as per the simulated chart. Gara is the name of a Karana, the 5th anga of Panchanga. An analysis of Gara in Chitra shows that Amawasya had occurred on the 13th tithi – the same view expressed by Vyasa to Dhritarashtra.
Let us first understand what a Karana is.
A Karana is half of a tithi .A tithi is the gap between the sun and the moon as they move across the sky. In scientific terms it is the difference between the celestial longitudes of the sun and the moon calculated on a day to day basis. When the difference is zero it is Amawasya. When the moon completes one round around the earth and joins the sun, it is said to have travelled 360 degrees. This duration is divided into 30 parts, and each part is called a tithi. The duration of a tithi is 12˚ (360 / 30 = 12). It is numbered as first, second and so on until the moon reaches the 180th degree from the sun. That is the 15th tithi, also known as Paurnami. Then from Paurnami to Amawasya, another 15 tithis are covered by the moon in 180 degrees.
Half of a tithi is a Karana of 6˚span. Each day has two karanas spanning across one tithi. Karana is proof of meticulous tracking of the movement of the sun and the moon for 6˚ extent of the sky. The Tithi- karana alignment is a constant and cannot change. There are 11 Karanas and they keep repeating except before Amawasya which is not of concern here. A regular visual observer will be able to tell the tithi almost correctly by looking at the moon’s shape in the waxing phase and the waning phase. From that shape, a regular observer will be able to gauge the corresponding karana also.
In his conversation with Krishna, Karna refers to a change in the karana! This is noticed in the 2nd half of the waning phase. Karna’s anguish that something went wrong is reflected in his reference to Gara karana coinciding with Chitra.
Let me show the normal alignment of the tithi- karana for the stars if Amawasya was expected to occur in Jyeshtha.
In the above table the tithi is at sunrise but could be followed by the next tithi soon after. On Pushya day Shashti started by noon as per simulation. On the day of Uttara Phalguni when the conversation took place, Gara karana was present.
But Karna reports (expecting) Gara karana a day after, i.e. in Chitra (when Bava and Balava must be happening as per the normal alignment) If Gara joins Chitra, then the karanas of Amawasya tithi, namely Chatuspad and Nagava would appear on Trayodasi. This means Amawasya (no-moon) would occur on Trayodasi! The realignment would appear as follows:
If Gara appears in Chitra, Amawasya will occur on the 13th tithi, in Visakha or Visakha- Anuradha junction and not in Jyeshtha!
This is in concurrence with the 13th tithi (Trayodasi) Amawasya mentioned by Vyasa.
pañcadaśīṃ bhūtapūrvāṃ ca ṣoḍaśīm
imāṃ tu nābhijānāmi amāvāsyāṃ trayodaśīm
candrasūryāv ubhau grastāv ekamāse trayodaśīm
aparvaṇi grahāv etau prajāḥ saṃkṣapayiṣyataḥ
(Unfortunately researchers are treating tithi as day. The two are not the same. The tithi is just 12 degree long, traveled by the moon. The day pertains to the sun and spans between one sunrise to another. Vyasa refers to tithi and Karna refers to karana - half of the tithi)
The 13th tithi Amawasya can never happen unless the circumference of the moon’s orbit had changed from the original. As per the current knowledge, the moon is 252,088 miles away from us at the farthest distance and 225,623 miles when it is at the closest. The average orbital distance is 238,855 miles. At the average distance 30 phases occur that correspond to 30 tithis (15 in waxing and 15 in waning phase).
The duration of a phase at average distance = 238,855 / 30 = 7961.8 miles
Now let us find out the range between the closest and farthest.
252088 - 238855 = 13233 miles.
This divided by 7961.8 = 1.66
This means that between the closest and the farthest orbit of the moon, the phases can vary within 2 phases (1.66) only.
At the farthest it is 15 +1
At the closest it is 15-1 (14th tithi)
That is why never it is stated in any text of astrology that Amawasya (no-moon) or Paurnami (full moon) can happen on the 13th tithi. If the 13th tithi phase occurs that means the moon has come closer to the earth, by a reduction in its orbital circumference by 6000 + miles. This drift can happen over millions of years but not in a day and within a phase or two, i.e. within a month.
It occurred in the lunar Kartika month soon after the unusual natural events on the Pushya day that suggest a comet hit! Only if a comet had hit the moon’s surface also, a change could have happened in the speed of the moon, thereby causing a change in its path. This may sound unprecedented, but Mahabharata is explicit in the description of the events as indicative of a terrible comet-hit on the earth which had not spared the moon as well.
The moon was disturbed in its orbit, moved towards the earth by which it went through two 13 tithi phases before it regained its original orbit, which we know from Vyasa’s version to be discussed soon.
The normal nakshatra – tithi- karana alignment is shown in the left in the figure below. The right side table shows the changed alignment since Pushya day. The table unmistakably reveals that Karna's specific reference to Gara karana can be traced to the fact that 'Gara' which must have have been running on Uttaraphalguni (the day of this conversation) was missing but found to be coming on Citra day with the phase of the moon showing quick reduction as to cause Amawasya on Vishaka.
After the comet-hit, the running Shashti tithi on Pushya day changed into Saptami.
A tithi was lost forever thereafter.
No simulator can detect this.
No man, no scientist had ever known this.
Only the great Itihasa of Mahabharata has retained this information meticulously, that we the Indians are ignorant of.
The cause of the ignorance is the absence of subject knowledge used in these verses.
Knowledge of the subject is more important for dating Mahabharata!
A massive collision had jolted the moon from its path that was perceived by Karna and Vyasa in the impossible forward movement of Rahu!
Its impact on Time was observed by Karna in the change of karana-tithi- star combination.
There is the fifth nimitta about moon told by Karna and later repeated by Vyasa – that gives us definite evidence that a major chunk of a comet fell on the moon.
(To be continued)