Sunday, September 3, 2023

Mahabharata Quiz - 49

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Question – 49

Krishna started his journey for peace at the end of Sharad season in Kaumudi maasa (kaumude māsi revatyāṃ śarad ante himāgame). Which month was known as ‘Kaumudi’?


The dictionary meaning of Kaumudi is Kartika month.

This can be further corroborated by the reference to Sharad season in the verse. Sharad season falls in the months of Ashvina and Kartika. Vyasa specifically says, ‘at the end of Sharad season’ (śarad ante). Only Kartika will be running in the later part of Sharad season.

To substantiate this further, let us construct the season-calendar of the 5-year Yuga period that started in the year Krodhi when the Pandava-s returned from exile. This can be done based on the hints given in Yajur Vedanga Jyothisha which defines the season as two synodic months and two tithi-s.  This must not be construed as synodic months starting from a New- moon or a Full moon. Vedanga Jyotisha calculates it from the beginning of the 1st year of the 5-year Yuga period, i.e., from the Uttarayaṇa of the 1st year.

Shishira was the first season covering the two months, Magha and Phalguna. Since the Uttarayaṇa started in Magha (found in the version of Bhishma) we can construct the Season- calendar of the Mahabharata by adding two lunar months and two tithi-s from the first tithi of the 1st year that was found to be Magha Shukla Pratipat. The 8th Ṛtu (season) must start from the 15th tithi from the beginning of the 1st Ṛtu, says Vedanga Jyotisha.  That is found fulfilled in the table below constructed for the 5-year Yuga period that started in Krodhi, the year of the war.

The four seasons of the 1st year (Samvatsara) Krodhi are boxed to highlight that all the major events of the war had taken place within these four seasons. The Sharad season when Krishna undertook the journey is also highlighted to show that it contained only Ashvina and Kartika. This season started on Shukla Navami of Asvina as per the Table.

Since a season has 2 lunar months and 2 titthis, by Shukla Dasami of Kartika one half of Sharad season was over (one month + 1 tithi). We already found in Question 47 that Krishna left on Shukla Dwadasi of Kartika month. By then one half of Sharad season was over. This prompted Vyasa to say that he started in the later part of the season (śarad ante). Kartika month coming at that time, it goes without saying that Kaumudi was a reference to the month of Kartika.

The Table also shows that the season (any season) didn't begin on the same day in any year of the 5-year Yuga. No simulator comes to our help in deriving the first day of a season. We must manually calculate it.

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