Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Mahabharata Quiz - 100

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Question – 100

So far no one had said that an extra terrestrial impact is reported in the Mahabharata. On what basis do you make such a claim?


The reference to a comet falling on Pushya day was already written. The unusual advancement of Amavasya in Trayodasi tithi and the subsequent Full moon of Margashira coinciding with the star Krittika again are irrefutable proofs for something amiss in Nature caused by an extra-terrestrial impact.

Above all, the 75+ nimitta-s narrated by Vyasa are of the same nature as found in the aftermath of a comet- hit. There are about 8 major proxy features for identifying a cosmic impact. Of them the three must-be-present proxies are,

1. the loss of iron oxide from the meteor (normally shrinks by 90%) and the rest only hits the floor,

2. the loss of titanium from the meteor. Both can be best identified in time series of peat moss (because of exact dating of horizons with 14-C)

3. abundant release of NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) in the atmosphere. The reddish-brown color of this gas causes the water bodies and the rainwater to turn red. This is recognized as ‘rain of blood’ or ‘rivers flowing with blood’ by the people.

All these are detected in the data available for the impact of 3136 BCE. Any object entering from space produces NOx. For example, a falling satellite back onto the earth produces 7 tons of NOx. The Hastināpura event also produced NOx, expressed in many ways as rain of blood, river of blood, vomit of blood, blood in the mouth, in the body etc., explained as nimitta-s.

Examining the IntCal13 graph and the associated data from 2050 -4050 BC, sharp calibration drops are seen, caused by meteor-impacts producing 14-C for four different years, one among them being 3136 BCE. The 13th tithi Amavasya and the delayed Uttarāyaṇa offer fresh insights on orbital disturbance of the moon and the earth besides the change in the appearance of the sky. Mahabharata is the only documented evidence of a meteor-hit in a remote past. 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Mahabharata Quiz - 99

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Question – 99

Did the climate change caused by the comet-hit of 3136 BCE get reflected in any displacements in Bharat?


A major displacement of home-bred horses from India to outside was noticed following this cosmic impact.

Several varieties of horses were indigenous to Bharat as made known from both the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Gandhara was known for indigenous horse breeds that prompted Amāvasu, the ancestor of Sumantu and Jahnu to shift to Gandhara. According to the Mahabharata, Gandhara, Kāmboja and Arāṭṭa were known for horses such as Kalmaṣa, Tittiri and Mandūka.

Vāhlika horses were preferred by the Ikṣvāku-s right from the time of Bhagīratha. Dhṛtarāṣṭra gifted the Vāhlika breeds to Krishna when he visited him for the peace mission. All these horse breeding sites, occupied right from the Ramayana times, came under the control of Jayadratha during the Mahabharata. Jayadratha wielded power up to Vāhlika by friendship and matrimonial alliances.

Looking at the events in the Mahabharata, we are led to speculate that Jayadratha was tolerated in the incidence of attempted molestation of Draupadi, mainly because he controlled the horse breeding regions. Until such a time that the Pandava-s could wrest control of his region from him, which happened only with the Great War, people were not willing to upset him completely.

After the death of Jayadratha and the change of climate turning hostile for horse-breeding following the comet-hit, the breeders must have moved further west and Northwest with their horses. This is reflected in the sudden appearance of genetic material seen in the Anatolian horses which researchers find not to be of autochthonous origin but migrated from outside.

A paleogenetic study of the horses in Anatolia and the Caucasus establishes that there was no autochthonous independent domestication of horses in these regions, but a large-scale introduction of domestic horses at the end of the 3rd millennium BCE, whose origins were not known.   (https://www.science.org/doi/abs/10.1126/sciadv.abb0030)

The origins can be traced to the Gāndhāra-Vāhlika-Sindhu axis that was controlling the horse trade until the Mahabharata war. With these regions suffering a defeat in the war, the horse breeding trade had shifted to Anatolia. The climatic changes in the aftermath of the comet-hit could also have necessitated the shift to newer regions. 


Sunday, October 29, 2023

My talk on my Mahabharata book in Galatta dot com

 Watch my interview in Tamil on my book 'Mahabharata 3136 BCE'

I spoke about 

# the importance of establishing the date of the Mahabharata war

# how the year of war can be arrived

# the role of Krishna in the Mahabharata

# how Krishna as God plays an inevitable role in any devotee's life by citing instances from the Mahabharata

# Gandhari's curse

# the end of Vrishni clan including the physical exit of Krishna 

# the spread of the Dwaraka people to the Saraswati region to start the Early Harappan

# the spread of Harappan people to South India including regions such as Porunthal, Kodumanal, Keezhadi etc

# the arrival of the descendants of Satyaki-s to Triplicane who set up the Parthasarathy temple. 

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Mahabharata Quiz - 98


Question – 98

You said this comet-hit was one of the causes for Piora Oscillation? What changes were noticed globally by this comet hit / Piora oscillation?


 The following are some of the events taken from the paleoclimatic data that caused global floods around the year 3136 BCE.

1. The Belfast tree ring chronology set the onset of cold weather at 3150 BCE (suggesting cold weather in Ireland and Britain, and NW Europe in general). This is just 14 years earlier that the comet-hit date.

2.  The Greenland ice cores have an acid spike at 3150 BCE and a sulphate spike also in 3250 BCC, together with a methane trough. This could be the signature of a volcano or of a cosmic event. The temperature drop was found to coincide with 3136 BCE of a comet-hit expressed variously in the Mahābhārata.

3. In Germany, there was an increase in swamp oak (or bog oak in Irish terminology) suggesting water logging (as in Ireland and Britain) and possibly evidence of heavy flooding with the jet stream much further to the south than normal. The flooding and rains are scientifically associated with cosmic impact.

4.  Similar water logging is detected for a brief period around this date.

5. In Morocco there was a decline in oaks (as a result of declining rainfall, right across the Sahara region).

6. The Nile flooded - giving rise to the myth of the inundation (perpetuated thereafter by the annual flooding event fueled by winter rains on the Ethiopian Highlands).

7.  Glaciers advanced in the Alps suddenly for the first time in the Holocene. The advancement of the glacier in a place called Piora in Switzerland was first detected, thereby giving the name ‘Piora Oscillation’ to this phenomenon.  

8.  Sudden spike in cold climate in Andes of Peru.

9. Climate change found in Kenya, East Africa, Columbian Highlands and even Australia.

10.  There was a change in the monsoon track rendering the Sahara a desert and displacing people.

11.  Dead Sea level rose by 300 feet.



Friday, October 27, 2023

Mahabharata Quiz - 97

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Question – 97

Can it be scientifically proved that there was indeed a comet / asteroid hit in the year 3136 BCE (the year of the Mahabharata war)?


Certainly yes. The comet or asteroid hits cause a dip in temperature globally when the impact is considerable. This leaves several imprints on tree rings, chemical composition in the air that leave an impact on the earth and in ice sheets. Radiocarbon dating is done to assess the age of these impacts. Today we have such data for nearly 50,000 years in the past and more accurately for the Holocene period of 12,000 years.

The changes in temperature are plotted into a graph called GISP2 which shows variations in temperature in the past. Interestingly, the graph shows a sharp dip in the year 3136 BCE!


Rapid temperature-drop in 3136 BCE

In the above figure, the blue line marks 3136 BCE from when the temperature drops sharply indicating some impact that reduced global temperature.

Incidentally, that year saw a comet vanishing in Pushya day and several of its fragments banging on the earth and the moon.

There are four sudden drops between the years 3210 BCE to 2920 BCE forming a period of temperature-drop called the “Piora Oscillation.” They are as follows:

1.     Andaman Sea 3210 BC

2.     Hastināpura 3136 BC

3.     Morasko 3040 BC

4.     Burckle 2920 BC

Except the 2nd event, which I have named as "Hastināpura event" the locations of the other three have been identified by scientists. 3136 BCE shows up in the graph but scientists were not aware of the location of the fall. Now with the exposition of the inputs given in the Mahabharata, it is proved that the event had occurred in North India from Langatang in Nepal to Persian Gulf with Mohenjo-Daro and Hastinapur feeling the impact. The Biblical Flood was the major result of this impact.

Change in tithi is a far important development as a result of this impact which only Mahabharata explains. Only Mahabharata offers the first ever eyewitness account of a comet-fall with more than 75 markers – all of them related to comet/ asteroid hit. Vyasa used the term ‘nimitta’ to mark them, but they are evidences for a comet fall. It is humanly impossible to write so many markers for the comet fall unless people have witnessed them in reality.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Mahabharata Quiz - 96

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Question – 96

Vyasa said that loud bursts were heard in Kailash and Himavat regions. Are there any evidence of asteroid / cometary fragments falling on these regions which seem to be in Nepal?


Landslides in Langtang in Nepal situated 500 km to the east of Kailash are detected to have been caused by a cosmic impact. The paper by Masch et al comes up with imprints of a meteor crash in Langtang.  It establishes,

Ø  Impact from Southwest and debris flow also in Southwest which match well with the meteor direction given in the Mahabharata. 

Ø  Formation of SiO2-glass filled crevasses in autochthonous gneiss to a depth of 5 m are detected which is possible only in meteor crashes. The rocks (gneiss) contain 20 - 40% quartz, thus SiO2, which liquefied and flowed along the rock surfaces. A similar formation was found in the meteor crash in Atacama Desert. 

Ø  Minimum temperature on the autochthone gneiss surface of more than 1,520 C (based on Glass melt) is possible in an impact and not in regular landslides.

Ø  Similarly, the host rocks deformed in a brittle mode point to heat associated with meteor impact.

The rock melting heat does not stem from sliding, but from the immediate impact of the meteor onto the rock mountain range. The meteor scraped at a 45-degree angle along the rock face at a 5,000 m mountain altitude. It scraped 4 km along the rock, therefore the rockfall is unusually 4 km wide. As the meteor scuffled through, loosening the debris on the way, it was heard as thousands of explosions of summits tumbling down – “sahasraśo mahāśabdaṃ śikharāṇi patanti ca” – to quote Vyasa.

The period of this impact is not yet established scientifically but what makes this an event of 3136 BCE is the latitudinal match of this site with Mohenjo-Daro, where the Lower Town suffered a calamity, explainable by a meteor crash.  These two sites lie almost on the same latitude and an extended line connecting them, crosses the Persian Gulf - another probable location of the crash that could have possibly caused the Biblical flood explained in the previous question.

Three crash sites in same latitude

A group of fragments falling and landing at the same latitude is highly probable. Langtang (28.15 N) and Mohenjo-Daro (27.32 N) are latitudinally one degree away from each other. Hastinapura (29.16 N) comes within the same range. The marked location at the Persian Gulf is almost at the same latitude. Since the other three regions (Langtang, Hastinapura and Mohenjo-Daro) received the impact from South- Southwest, the effect at the Persian Gulf would have pushed the waters towards North-North East, up to Mount Ararat. This could have been more devastating to the Mesopotamian regions than the tsunami effect from the Burckle impact near Madagascar, in 2920 BCE.

The crash-range shown covers the rivers that suffered reversed flow of water on account of the gush of wind accompanying the falling fragments which was explained in Question 58



Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Mahabharata Quiz - 95

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Question – 95

Did the comet-hit of 3136 BCE cause the Biblical flood? What are the evidences for such a claim?


Vyāsa specifically stated that the earth trembled, and the sea swelled, but the swelling water did not cross the shores in Bharat (MB: 6.3.36). This gives an additional insight that some meteors had fallen into the sea – the most probable location being the Arabian Sea.

In this regard, the data on Paleoclimatic Flood events furnished by Stanford.edu shows the Biblical Flood and the flood events supported by paleoclimatic data around the year 3136 BCE (Fig. below).  The well-established Mayan calendar date coming immediately after the Mahabharata war at 3114 BCE offers a benchmark to compare the flood events. I marked the Mayan date by running a blue line across it. Just before the Mayan date, the Biblical flood, suggested by Dr. Hales appears, matching with the Comet-hit of 3136 BCE.

Dates of global floods and the flood of 3136 BCE

The foremost inference from this Figure is that the flood at Dwārakā has no nearest origin, by which we are made to deduce that it was a localized flood and not a global event as the comet-hit was.

Though there is no consensus on a scientifically supported date for the Biblical Flood, with the archaeologically supported flood event coming around to 2950-2850 BCE in the Mesopotamian site of Shuruppak, the Stanford data offers overwhelming support to a global flood around 3136 BCE. Of the two dates suggested for the Biblical flood – one by Dr. Hales and the other by Wright & Morris (Fig.13), the former is supported by a range of paleoclimatic data.    When I checked the research works on the Biblical flood archaeology, there is an overwhelming consensus on a flood from the Mesopotamian region that caused the Ark of Noah to be lifted and disembarked on Mount Ararat (Biblical mount Urartu)

According to Genesis 7:11, the flood started with two major events: (1) the fountains of the deep burst and (2) the windows of the heaven were opened. Of these, the first event apparently refers to explosion noises from beneath the ocean causing eruption (fountain) of water. In the event of a major fragment of the broken comet crashing into the Persian Gulf, the burst of water from the deep becomes possible. The crash causing massive precipitation is recognized as the heavens opening up. Vyāsa-s simultaneous reference to the trembling of the earth and swelling of the oceans (MB: 6.3.36) concurs with an event of a crash in the Persian Gulf.


The probable location of the Biblical Flood

The Biblical month running at that time also makes an interesting correlation with the time of comet-fall. It was on “the seventh, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Urartu” (Genesis: 8.4). In the Vedic calendric months starting from Caitra / Aries (in sidereal year count starting from Aries), the crash occurred after the seventh month.


Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Mahabharata Quiz - 94

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Question – 94

Change of tithi and change of  marks on the moon were cited in support of a cosmic hit. Were there references in the Mahabharata for the fall of fragments of a broken comet or meteors on the earth apart from those quoted earlier?


Yes, there are. Both Karna and Vyasa narrated the meteor hits and allied disturbances to the earth and atmosphere.

Karṇa said: Meteors (Ulkā) were falling from the sky with loud noise. There were whirlwinds accompanied by earthquakes (MB: 5.141.10)

Vyāsa said: dhūmaketur mahāghoraḥ puṣyam ākramya tiṣṭhati (MB: 6.3.12) This means a horrible comet occupied on the day of Pushya. Many researchers treated this as sighting a comet near Pushya, but it turned out to be an attack on the earth on Pushya day!

Vyāsa said: Even though the sky is cloudless, a terrible roar is heard there.  (MB: 6.2.33)

Vyāsa said: Meteors, effulgent like Indra's thunderbolt, fall with loud hisses (MB: 6.3.33b)

Karṇa said: The wells amid Duryodhana's encampment sent forth loud roars like those of huge bulls (MB: 5.141.20). This can happen in the event of earthquakes or tectonic movement – caused by a collision of an extra-terrestrial object with the earth.

Vyāsa said: The earth is frequently trembling (MB: 6.3.11). In the event of a heavy fall of an extra-terrestrial object, it will cause shattering impact on all things around and on the earth. The vibration of the earth can be felt at those times.

Vyāsa said: The wells, foaming up, are bellowing like bull (MB: 6.3.32). The shattering impact on the ground causes the well water to splash out with sound.

Vyāsa said: In consequence of the Earth's trembling, each of the four oceans having swelled greatly, seems ready to transgress its continents for afflicting the Earth (MB: 6.2.32). The swelling in oceans can happen if fragments have fallen on the sea. This causes tsunami effect with water rushing towards the shores, but Vyasa said that the sea water did not transgress the shores. The only possible region for this effect is the fall of a fragment in the Arabian sea. That must have caused the water to rise and move towards the Gujarat coast, but luckily water did not enter the land.

Vyasa said: From the mountains of Kailasa and Mandara and Himavat thousands of explosions are heard, and thousands of summits are tumbling down. (MB: 6.2.31) This shows that some fragments had fallen on the Himalayan range and caused loud noise.

The last two events described by Vyasa have been identified for their location and impact. This writer has analyzed the fall of fragments in the ocean and the regions affected by the sudden rise of water. It gave rise to what is now known as the Biblical Flood.

The second event of fall of the fragments in Nepal have been identified. It was already analyzed by experts but Mahabharata offers the date and concurrence for that event.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Mahabharata Quiz - 93

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Question – 93

Generally, following an asteroid-hit or a comet-hit, the sun will be blurred by the disturbance to the atmosphere. Was any such event reported in the Mahabharata?


Certainly yes. The appearance of the sun in the days following the comet-hit is described by Vyasa to king Dhritarashtra.  In the event of a comet-hit, the particulate matter thrown into the atmosphere blocks the sunlight and makes it appear smoky and dull. On the 7th day after the comet-hit, the sun entered Jyeṣṭha, the tīvro star. By then the atmospheric aberrations obstructed the sun’s rays reaching the earth. It made the sun appear hazy and dusty like a comet with a tail. This is told by him in this verse:

kṛttikāsu grahastīvro nakṣatreprathame jvalan

vapūṃṣy apaharan bhāsā dhūmaketur iva sthita (MB: 6.3.26).

A word for word meaning of this verse is given, since this is one of the mis-interpreted verses.


kṛttikāsu graha = the graha belonging to Kṛttikā (feminine, locative, plural, stem: kṛttika).

tīvro = fierce (SB 10.27.12), sharp (SB 10.47.19) (masculine, vocative, singular, stem: tīvra)

nakṣatre = in the star (locative, singular)

prathame = at first

jvalan =  blazing (masculine, nominative, singular, stem: jvalat)

vapūṃṣy = √vap = to shear, cut, shave, mow. (Second person, singular, present imperative class 1 parasmaipada)

apaharan = taking away by cheating (SB 5.14.26)

bhāsā = to appear ("as" or "like" Nominal verb or instrumental case of an abstract noun) stem: bhās.

dhūmaketur = comet

iva = like

sthitaḥ = standing, staying,     there remaining (SB 11.1.10) (masculine, nominative, singular, past passive participle, stem: sthita)

Interpretation of kṛttikāsu graha: The sun is the “Kṛttikāsu graha”. Each planet is assigned 3 stars which become its dispositors. Kṛttikā is the dispositor of the Sun and therefore the Sun is called as Kṛttikā’s graha.

Tīvro nakṣatra : Among the star categories, Moola, Jyeṣṭha, Ārudra and Āśleṣā are regarded as ‘sharp’ stars.  Among these the Sun entered Jyeṣṭha a week after the comet-hit. Therefore, Jyeṣṭha is indicated here as “tīvro nakṣatra”.

Overall meaning:

“Krittikā’s graha, the sun at first blazing in Jyeṣṭha, the tīvro star, got sheared off and stayed appearing like a Dhūmaketu, a comet.”

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Mahabharata Quiz - 92

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Question – 92

By the occurrence of Full moon in Krittika for two consecutive months, a lunar month is lost, and the solar days also will lose sync with the pre-existing star-tithi alignment. If this is true, this will be reflected in the tithi- star – solar position today. What evidence do we have?


Popular evidence are in the mismatch of Rama’s and Krishna’s birth date which occurred before the comet hit. In contrast the events of post 3136 BCE can be seen to match. For example, the date of burning of Madurai having all the Panchanga features will match as it happened in the post comet-hit period. It was proved in this article. In fact the solar month, tithi and star will combine often within a century.

But the combination of Krishna’s birth (Simha as solar month, Krishna Ashtami at the time of moon rise which is past 12-30 at night and Rohini nakshatra) will never coincide.

Similarly, the combination of Rama’s birth (Mesha as solar month, Shukla Navami and Punarvasu nakshatra) will never coincide.

People must be aware of a minimum of two dates of Krishna’s birth day, one coming in the previous solar month of Kataka when Krishna Ashtami joins Rohini past midnight or Simha month when the tithi and star do not coincide.

Similarly, for Rama’s birth date, Shukla Navami and Punarvasu will join at noon in Meena month and not in Mesha as was during Rama’s birth. Only Srirangam temple sticks to Mesha month and celebrates the birth date of Rama on Punarvasu which doesn’t join with Navami.

The advancement of the sun when two lunar months occurred in the same star (Krittika) has caused this discrepancy. Let me explain this in Rama Navami which is easy to understand since we have the birth details of Rama in Valmiki Ramayana.

The sun moves one degree a day. A star is 13 degrees and 20 minutes long. So, the sun travels past a star in 13 and a half days. When the sun and the moon meet in the same star, that day is Amavasya. From the next day onwards, the waxing phase is counted as Pratipat, Dwitiya, Triya and so on. On each of these tithi-s, a star will be crossed by the moon.

Now we know that Rama was born on waxing Navami when Punarvasu was crossed by the moon. Navami is the 9th tithi. Counted backward from that Navami+ Punarvasu, the Pratipat is on Uttrabhadrapada (Uttrattadhi). This means Amavasya is on the previous day, that is, on Purvabhadrapada. It also means the Sun is on Purvabhdrapada.

Since the sun takes 13 and a half days to cross a star, it can come to Uttarabhadrapada or even Revati, by the time the moon moves to Punarvasu. At this time the sun is still in Meena and not in Mesha which is the requirement for Rama’s birth time position.

Why did this happen when Valmiki says that the Sun was in Mesha?

Since the sun can never be in Mesha at the time of moon in Navami + Punarvasu, anti-Hindu scholars are dismissing Ramayana as a myth.

But think of the change in the tithi- star alignment and the sun having moved past at least by 13 days / degrees which is unaccounted for. The simulations or calculations are done by extrapolation from the present alignment. So, it will show the present and altered alignment to the period before 3136 BCE. Either you get the tithi- star alignment in the previous month with the Sun in the previous month or not get the tithi- star alignment with the sun’s position aligned.

In contrast, you can check the date of burning of Madurai where the solar month, tithi, star, time and even the weekday match very well.

So, only when we establish the loss of tithi in the Mahabharata period, can we prove that the Ramayana date is not false but altered due to loss of tithi and solar days.

The Ramayana date and Kannagi burning Madurai date are excellent proofs for the changed tithi during the Mahabharata period.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Mahabharata Quiz - 91

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Question – 91

Some people claim that these events represent twin eclipses. How do you prove them wrong?


The Thirteen-day eclipse, single or twin or triple is proposed by almost all the Mahabharata researchers without realizing that Vyasa doesn’t talk about day but only about tithi. There is no reference to Rahu or Ketu either whose conjunction with the sun and the moon is an essential condition for a solar eclipse (on Amavasya). There is only a reference to ‘aparvaṇi grahāv etau’ – of two grahas joining in, out of season. Vyasa says this after expressing the impossible-to-happen Trayodasi Amavasya.

candrasūryāv ubhau grastāv ekamāse trayodaśīm

aparvaṇi grahāv etau prajāḥ saṃkṣapayiṣyataḥ (MB: 6.3.29)


Candrasūryāv = Moon and sun (dual, nominative, vocative, accusative)

Ubhau = both of them, against each other, i.e., opposite to each other (SB 10.63.23) (dual, nominative, vocative, accusative)

Grastāv = covered (SB 6.8.34: sva-tejasā grasta-samasta-tejāḥ sva-tejasā = by His personal effulgence covered all other influences = one upon another) (dual) stem: grasta. (Nominative, accusative, dual past passive participle)

ekamāse = in a month (locative)

trayodaśīm = trayodaśīm = trayodaśī (ī-stem, singular, accusative)

aparvaṇi = (locative case of a-parvan-) at the wrong time, out of season

grahāv = two grahas (moon and sun), (dual, nominative, vocative, accusative)

etau = these two (SB 10.41.31), these (SB 10.43.23, SB 10.46.31, SB 10.82.38, SB 11.11.6, SB 3.16.2)

prajāḥ = people

saṃkṣapayiṣyataḥ = will be destroyed

Overall meaning:

“These two grahas, the moon and the sun covered each other (Full-moon) at a wrong time in Trayodaśī in a month, (by which) the people are to be destroyed.”

In the first line of this verse, ‘candrasūryāv, ubhau and grastāv’ are in dual case indicating the catching of only two planets, the moon and the sun. Since this followed Amavasya in Trayodasi in the previous verse, the meaning “against each other” referring to “opposite to each other” (Full-moon) is taken for ‘ubhau’. The event being that of Full-moon, the meaning ‘covered’ is taken for ‘grastāv’ (dual declension). They covered each other at wrong time (aparvaṇi), a reference to Trayodasi –i.e., before the normal season on Pañcadasi or even Caturdasi. This happened in ekamāse – in a month or in one month – which could be a reference to a solar month or two pakshas (phases of the moon) together, but can never be in a single lunar month, because by Amavasya, a lunar month ends, and the next month starts from the next day. In that month the Full Moon happened at Trayodasi.

Thus, there is absolutely no reference to an eclipse in this verse too. The word ‘grasta’ is mis-interpreted by some researchers to mean, Rahu!!!  Grasta can happen with or by anyone. To have meant an eclipse, the verse should have made a mention about Rahu or Ketu by their alternative names if not their own names.  It is repeatedly written in dual declension about the sun and the moon and what they did with each other.

The simulated version from the astrology software for the Vedic Surya Siddhānta ayanāmśa shows Vishakha starting in the evening of Krishna Trayodasi of Kartika month.


Amavasya started on Trayodasi in the star Vishakha.

The Amavasya in Trayodasi occurred in the lunar month of Kartika (Kaumudī) in the star Vishakha and not in Jyeshtha. Note the location of Rahu more than 90 degrees away from the sun. In the absence of a conjunction with Rahu or Ketu, an eclipse did not occur.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Mahabharata Quiz - 90

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Question – 90

Under what circumstances two consecutive Full Moons happen in the same star, say in Krittika as noticed before the Mahabharata war?


This rare phenomenon can be pictorially depicted for better understanding.

This is the normal movement of the sun and the moon in clockwise direction.

The red circle is the ecliptic, the path of the sun which is in fact the orbit of the earth.

The dotted circle in blue is the orbit of the moon. It is inclined by 5 degrees to the ecliptic.

The sun and the moon move along the respective paths in clockwise direction as shown by an arrow mark.

The two orbits (lunar and ecliptic) cut each other at two points called nodes, which are known as Rahu and Ketu. The orbits are not stationary. They keep moving. As a result, the Rahu and Ketu keep moving – but in anti-clockwise direction. That is also shown by red arrow marks.

From Rahu to Ketu, the path of the moon will be above the ecliptic. From Ketu to Rahu the lunar path is below the ecliptic. This can be watched with the naked eye for over a phase when we see waxing moon rising in one corner of the west and ending up as Full moon in another corner of the east. Nowadays, with the help of apps, we can follow the moon crossing the Rahu or Ketu. In Mahabharata days, they observed with the naked eye.

Now look at this picture.

Something happened to the lunar path that it shifted from dotted blue to plain blue orbit.

The moon at ‘M’ has shifted to ‘M1’ which is in an altered orbit. That orbit cuts the ecliptic at R1 and not R.

R represents Rahu. Now Rahu has moved to R1. This is told by Karna that Rahu is moving towards the Sun. This dialogue is construed by many that eclipse is indicated.

But no, in normal course Rahu and Sun meet from opposite directions. Never can Rahu go clockwise, behind the sun. In this case it shifted towards the Sun, which is odd. This was observed by Karna by watching the sky.

Since moon has moved from M to M1, which is a forward position, it reached the sun to cause Amavasya early.

That also happened to be the same part of the sky the previous month.

That is how two Full Moons occurred in the same star consecutively for two months.

This is the simplest way to express what happened.

But how it happened is explained by the comet fall.

The thrust force of the falling debris caused the moon as well as the earth to lose their initial equilibrium which however was restored after some time.

The month after Margashira, the moon has taken a normal course.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Mahabharata Quiz - 89

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Question: 89

Can you sequence the events in a nutshell showing the difference in moon’s phase and appearance?


The sequence is this:

# It was Krishna paksha (waning phase) in the lunar month of Karthika.

# On the evening of Pushya star, a shower of meteors was experienced by the people of Hastinapura. The running tithi was Krishna Shashthi.

# When people watched the moon that night, it appeared like Krishna Saptami with a reduced size of the moon. Whereas it should have been Krishna Shashthi.

# They also noticed a fresh mark on the plain region of the lunar disc where normally no marks are seen.

# The phases in the next days showed the moon going from Saptami to Ashtami, to Navami, Dasami, Ekadasi and Dwadasi.

# By the time of the next tithi, that is, Trayodasi, the moon completely disappeared from the sky indicating the onset of Amavasya.

# The star of that day was Vishakha while in normal course it should have been Jyeshtha – a star after Vishakha.

# Now the waxing phase starts which is called Margashira month. People were anxiously watching the growing phase of the moon.

# Usually, the growing phase will be bright as seen from Bharat because the plain regions will appear bright first. But they could see no brightness of the lunar disc.

# The mark that earlier appeared is not seen, but the entire disc appeared fiery red with the regular marks not seen.

# The phases were moving very fast with kshaya tithi often.

# The Fullmoon which ought to appear on Mrigashira star appeared earlier, on Karttika.

# Only the previous month of Karthika, the Full Moon appeared in Krittika star. But again, in Margashira month, the Full Moon appeared in Krittika star.

# So, for two consecutive months Full Moon appeared in Krittika star which is impossible happen.

If people consider Margashira as Margashira, it is not so because it was Karthika because the Full Moon occurred in Karttika (once again)

So, the inference is that a full lunar month has gone unaccounted for by this.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The date of burning of Madurai by Kannagi

Silappadhikāram describes certain important historical events that offer a watershed year to demarcate pre-history of Bharat from the Common Era. The text was written by the younger brother of the Chera King Senguttuvan during whose period the events of Silappadhikaram occurred. A crucial information about the Chera king being a contemporary of a Śatakarṇi offers a valuable cross reference to the historicity of the events. The identity of this Śatakarṇi king was elusive to many researchers, but there does exist not one but two evidence-s in Silappadhikaram to zero in on his identity. Added to that is an important Panchanga clue about the day Kannagi burnt Madurai. These two are discussed in this essay to fix the date of Silappadhikaram and the allied issues such as the chronology of Chola kings who had their base at Kanchi!

The Pallava-s wrested Kanchi from the Cholas only after the Silappadhikaram period, reducing the Cholas to feudatories who however managed to rise from the time of Vijayālaya in the 9th century. The early presence of the Chola-s in Kanchi was studied by me when I ventured to find out the date of Adi Shankara - the much-disputed date with some people positioning his time in the CE – based on the input that he was a contemporary of a Chola King! My quest led me to an unshakable date of Adi Shankara to a time before the Common Era which I will be sharing soon. That quest needed the watershed date of Silappadhikaram to deduce the presence of Cholas in Kanchi by the turn of the CE and before that. Therefore, this essay takes precedence over my essay on Adi Shankara’s date.

The date of the burning of Madurai by Kannagi

As we proceed to deduce the date of Silappadhikaram by checking the Panchanga details at the time of Kannagi burning Madurai, certain issues cropped up. As per Silappadhikaram, Kannagi burnt Madurai in the afternoon / evening (before nightfall) on a Friday when Krittika and Krishna Ashtami were running in the Aadi (Kataka) month. These four features, namely weekday, star, tithi and solar month occur quite often that we need an additional checkpoint to fix the date.

An important checkpoint pertains to Manimekalai who was born to Madhavi, the other woman in the life of Kannagi. Manimekalai must have been quite young when Kannagi burnt Madurai. The sequence of the events shows that soon after Kovalan deserted Madhavi and returned to Kannagi, the couple started their journey to Madhurai (from Pūmpukār) to sell the anklet of Kannagi. After taking morning food, Kovalan went to the city where the cunning goldsmith who already kept the anklet of the queen with himself complained to the king that the missing anklet of the queen was with Kovalan, whom he projected as a thief. At that moment, the king was rushing to meet his queen to pacify her who was angry with her husband for showing special interest in the performance of the dancers in the court.

The king thought that the recovery of her lost anklet would help in pacifying her and therefore ordered his guards to kill the ‘thief’. Thus, the innocent Kovalan was killed in the afternoon of that day. The news of his death reached Kannagi staying in a nearby location. She rushed to the spot where her husband had fallen. His ātman left after seeing her. The shocked Kannagi took her remaining anklet and went straight to the king’s court to seek justice. The king appeared calm as he said that he delivered judgement that was suitable in such circumstances at which Kannagi asked what the beads inside the anklet were. Famous for pearl harvesting, the Pandyan queen had pearls stuffed inside her anklet. Kannagi’s had rubies inside. Kannagi asked the king to get the anklet taken from Kovalan, the so-called thief, and smashed it. The anklet broke and rubies jerked out hitting the king on his face.

The shocked king just fell dead on coming to know about the blunder he had done. His queen also collapsed and died on the spot. Not satisfied with the fate that befell the royal couple, Kannagi was determined that her Pativratātva must be made known to the world. Miffed with extreme anguish and anger, she cut off her breast and hurled it at the palace with a curse that it would burn the city of Madurai.

This happened in the afternoon of the day and before nightfall because the text says that the people of the city affected by the spread of fire could not do the evening worship of the Gods. At that time the Guardian deity of Madurai appeared before her and pacified her. The deity said that the city already had a curse that it would be burnt on a Friday in the month of Aadi when the moon was in Krittika star on a Krishna Ashtami.

ஆடித்திங்கள் பேரிருட் பக்கத்து

அழல் சேர் குட்டத்து அட்டமி ஞான்று

வெள்ளி வாரத்து ஒள்ளெரி யுண்ண

(Si: 23 – lines 133- 135)

The date features the day Madurai was burnt by Kannagi are thus available in Silappadhikaram. How to identify this date?

The combination of that tithi and star on a Friday in the month of Aadi, can occur 4 or 5 times in a century. How to deduce the exact date depends on certain inputs found in Silappadhikaram and its twin epic, Manimekalai.

From Silappadhikaram it is known that the Kannagi episode was conveyed to the Chera Senguttuvan soon after she was seen to have ascended heaven from the hill of ‘Neduvekundram’ (Si: 23- line 190). On hearing about her life, the king decided to go to the Himalayas to procure the stone for making her image. If we get the date of his travel, we can deduce the date of the burning of Madurai closer to that. To arrive at that date, let us proceed to state the events that happened after Kannagi burnt Madurai. Where did she go after that act?

The place where Kannagi attained her exit from the world.

As per the direction of the deity of Madurai that she would join her husband after fourteen days, Kannagi started her journey to the western direction. At first, she went to the Durga temple in Madurai and broke her shell bangles. Then she started walking on the banks of river Vaigai. She crossed uneven terrain on her way and reached ‘Neduveḷ Kundram’. According to Arumpadha Urai-Asiriyar, this was Thiruchengode, a place in Tamilnadu, but the commentator Adiyaarkku Nallar opines that it was Thiruchenkundram, a place in Kerala – which was in the Chera country at that time. Since the identity of this place is debated, let us analyse the verses to find out the location.

The description here talks about

கடல் வயிறு கிழித்து மலை நெஞ்சு பிளந்தாங்கு

அவுணரைக் கடந்த சுடரிலை நெடுவேல்

நெடுவேள் குன்றம் அடிவைத்தேறிப்

பூத்த வேங்கைப் பொங்கர் கீழோர்”

The description is about the tall deity ‘who tore apart the ocean and broke the mountain to defeat the asuras’. The commentator refers to a similar expression in ‘Aychchiyar Kuravai’ earlier in the text of Ayar women singing in praise of Vishnu churning the ocean using similar words (கடல் வயிறு கலக்கினையே).  

The expression Neduveḷ referring to a tall structure is repeated at other places in Silappadhikaram for Vishnu. The name Nediyon Kundram (நெடியோன் குன்றம்) referring to Vishnu at Tirumala hills (Si: 8- line 1) is almost like Neduve Kundram (நெடுவேள் குன்றம்). After finishing the dance of ‘Aychchiyar Kuravai’ the Ayar woman, Madhari went to the river Vaigai at the feet of ‘Nedumāl’ (நெடுமால்) to take bath (Si: 18- line 4). Here the temple of Kudalazhagar in Madurai is indicated.

The description of Neduveḷ Kundram fits with the temple of Thiruchenkundroor in Chengannur in Kerala. The Sthala Puranam of this temple talks about Vishnu taking the form of Mohini to kill the asura, Padmasura. The verse in Silappadhikaram also talks about the deity who killed asuras. This temple is on the banks of a river called Chittraru which means ‘small river’. The deity is in standing posture in tune with the description of ‘Nedu’ in the name for tall.

This temple is likely to be known as Neduveḷ kundram in olden times. This place mentioned in Silappadhikaram is mistaken for a temple of Muruga because the verse makes a mention of spear, ‘neduvel’ (நெடுவேல்), the weapon associated with Lord Muruga. But the verse can be read as Vishnu destroying the asura with the spear. The need for associating the place with Vishnu arises from other descriptions too which do not match with Thiruchengode in Namakkal district of Tamilnadu but with Chengannur of the Chera country.

Further description of Silappadhikaram says that the region was hilly with many waterfalls– a description that does not suit Thiruchengode. The inhabitants of the hilly region were aghast on seeing a haggard woman without a breast. When they enquired her, she told them about her story in brief and went and sat under a Vengai tree. Vengai is a tree native to the border regions of Kerala and Karnataka. It is not found in Thiruchengode or regions in Tamilnadu. Botanically known as Pterocarpus marsupium, this tree called as Malabar Kino or Indian Kino or Vijayasar or Vengai in Tamil grows in the western ghats. This tree finds mention in two verses of Ainkurunooru (ஐங்குறுநூறு) as a native variety of hilly tracts of western ghats (in Kurinji Nadu – குறிஞ்சி)

Vengai tree

Kannagi waited under this tree till the 15th day after the death of her husband. On the evening of the 15th day, an aerial car arrived with her husband and picked her up and vanished. The hill tribes were astonished to watch this and conversed among themselves that she must have been an extraordinary woman -a deity perhaps and called up their clan to perform their traditional dance called ‘Kundra Kuravai’ in praise of her.

This has happened after the 15th day of Kovalan’s death and on seeing Kannagi vanish in the ethereal car. The tribes bathed in the fresh water of the water falls and started dancing in praise of Muruga, the deity of Kurinji, the hill regions. The arrival of fresh water indicates the onset of monsoon as the month must have been Aavaṇi (Simha māsa). The surrounding hills with waterfalls are not to be found in Thiruchengode of Tamilnadu. This must have been in the western ghats of the Chera land. The most likely place is Chengannur where there is a temple of Thiruchenkundroor with Vishnu in standing posture. This is Thiruchenkundram mentioned by the olden commentator, Adiyaarkku Nallar.

Even as the tribes were celebrating the rare sight by means of Kundra Kuravai, the Chera King, Senguttuvan arrived at that place from his capital city of Vanji for a picnic with his wife. Vanji is today’s Kodungallur. The distance is roughly 130 kilometers between Vanji and Thiruchenkundram.

The king camped on the banks of a river called ‘Per Aāru that crossed a huge hill range that resembled the garland on the chest of Nediyon, that is, Vishnu (Si:25 – line 21). ‘Per Aāru’ means Big River. This contrasts with Chittraru (Small River) where the Neduveḷ Kundram is situated. Initially I was tempted to relate the Per Aāru with Periyar, but the location was too far off from Periyar river.

I locate the camp of the King closer to Neduveḷ Kundram because the text says that he was able to hear the Kundra Kuravai performance of the hilly tribes. This information from Silappadhikaram also shows that the arrival of the king to that place was almost two weeks after the death of Kovalan or immediately after the exit of Kannagi from the worldly plane.

On coming to know of the arrival of the king, the hilly tribes visited him with a variety of goods available only in the ghats which included the rare and currently endangered variety of ‘Varaiyādu’ or Varudai (Si: 25- line 51). They thrive only in hilly regions. They were never found in Thiruchengode region – a fact to remember if we assume that Neduveḷ kundram was in Thiruchengode. Today they are found confined to the sanctuary at Munnar in Iravikulam. In those days they must have been freely roaming through the ghat sections. This information also shows that Neduveḷ Kundram was in the western ghats and not in the Tamilnadu region.


The tribes narrated to the king the odd event of Kannagi ascending towards the sky in an aerial car. The king was surprised but was briefed by his teacher who accompanied him for the picnic. He was Seeththalai Saatthanar (சீத்தலை சாத்தனார்) who later penned Manimekalai, the follow-up epic of Silappadhikaram. He narrated the life history of Kannagi and how Kannagi avenged the death of her husband Kovalan for the wrong judgement given by the Pandyan King Nedum Chezhiyan.

Overwhelmed by the life history of Kannagi, the Chera King and his queen decided to construct a temple for Kannagi. They thought that it was more appropriate to make the statue of Kannagi from the stone procured from the Himalayas and get it bathed in the river Ganga. The king lost no time in executing his plan. It must be noted that this decision was taken almost immediately after Kannagi left this world. In other words, his Himalayan expedition started soon after the date of the burning of Madurai.

The date of the burning coming immediately prior to the expedition of the Chera king, our next task is to decipher the date of the King’s march to the North. There is no explicit reference to the date, but Silappadhikaram offers a valuable information of an important king who helped Senguttuvan in his expedition to the Himalayas. By knowing his date, we can determine the date of the Chera king’s voyage to the North. That king was a Śatakarṇi, a Sātavāhana king mentioned as Nuttruvar kannar (நூற்றுவர்கன்னர்) in Silappadhikaram. So, our next search is to identify this Śatakarṇi whose full name is not given in Silappadhikaram.

The identity of the Śatakarṇi who helped Senguttuvan.

As soon as he decided to go to the Himalayas, Senguttuvan got a letter signed by the Chola and Pandya kings to make his trip appear as a united Tamil effort. His previous trip to the North was a pilgrimage to the river Ganga in which his mother joined him to take sacred bath in the river. At that time, Senguttuvan was confronted by the kings of that region (mentioned as Arya kings) and had a fight too. He had a grudge against particularly two kings, Kanaka and Vijaya who were the sons of a king by name Balakumara. On coming to know that they teased him, Senguttuvan decided to capture them in this trip and make them carry the stones procured from the Himalayas for making the image of Kannagi.

The king made a public announcement of his proposed expedition to the North which was received by the spies of different countries of the North. On hearing about his plan, the king Śatakarṇi, sent an emissary by name Sanjaya, with numerous gifts and people of sorts to Vanji with a request to stay back as his expedition with a huge army could vitiate the conditions in the North. The Śatakarṇi also conveyed that he would do the needful to get the stone from the Himalayas for the sake of Senguttuvan.

The Chera king was in no mood to budge but gently indicated his desire to avenge the two kings, Kanaka and Vijaya and requested Śatakarṇi to set up a camp for him on the banks of river Ganga. And thus, his journey to the North kicked off in all grandeur.

Senguttuvan was confronted by the Arya kings Kanaka and Vijaya who opposed him with their friends, namely, Utthara, Vichithra, Rudra, Bhairava, Chithra, Simha, Dhanudra and Sweta. The Chera king defeated all of them. He then sent his army chief, Villavan Kodhai to get the stone from the Himalayas. He made Kanaka and Vijaya to carry the stones on their heads.

By then, a Brahmin by name Mādalan, who appeared in the story earlier and met Kovalan and Kannagi on their way to Madurai reached the camp of the Chera king on the banks of Ganga. He narrated the events after the king left Vanji. Thirty-two months (2 years and 8 months) had gone since the king left Vanji. In that period, the brother of the dead king of the Pandya dynasty, namely, Vettri Vel Chezhiyan who was looking after Korkai until then moved to Madurai as the chief king of the Pandya land.

In the Chola country, a king by name Vaḷavan Kiḷḷi, who happened to be the brother-in-law of Senguttuvan was confronted by nine of his cousins. He fought and won them to retain the throne. Hearing these developments, Senguttuvan decided to march back home.

Until now, there is no hint in the text to find out the year – Gregorian or Śaka year – of his visit to the North which would help us to deduce the date of the burning of Madurai. But the clue comes later in the form of praise of Senguttuvan after he consecrated the temple of Kannagi.

It is said twice in the text, ‘Vansol Yavanar Vaḷanaadu Andu’

வன் சொல் யவனர் வளநாடு ஆண்டு

(Si: 28-line 141 and 29-line 25)

This means that the Chera King ruled (won over) the rough tongued Yavana-s!

Throughout the expedition, there is no reference to a fight with the Yavana-s. The focus was on his victory over the Arya kings. The only possible time the Chera army could confront the Yavana-s was in the Himalayan Proper. The Himalayas stretch through a long distance from east to west and the exact place where the Chera army went to procure the stone is not mentioned in the text.

However, we get a clue from the expedition of Pandya-s in an earlier time from the poem of Periyazhwar, who said that the Pandya king engraved his emblem on ‘Paruppadam’ in the Himalayas.

Paruppadam, Kailayam (Kailash), Meru and Mandra are the four peaks of the Himalayas dear to Lord Shiva, says the Tamil text, Tiruvilaiyādal Puranam (v. 216).

Paruppadam, the choice of the Pandyan king could have been the same peak preferred by Karikal Chola who also went to the Himalayan region to engrave his emblem.  Senguttuvan also could have preferred the same peak. Paruppadam sounds like Barbara, a people who lived along with Yavana-s, Pahlava-s, Kāmboja-s, Sindhu-s and others in the southwest part of larger India (Akhand Bharat) as per the version of Brihat Samhita (14-v17 to 21). Valmiki Ramayana (1-54-23) also informs us that Barbara-s and Yavana-s lived together. Their presence near the peak of Amarnath seems to have lent their name to the peak as – Barbara which is Paruppadam in Tamil.

Of all the four peaks mentioned by Tiruvilaiyādal Puranam, Amarnath stands out special for being the place of Uma or Parvati and the union of Uma with Shiva. This location was the first to deglaciate soon after the end of Ice Age 12,000 years ago. Gangotri associated with Ganga, the sister of Uma continued to grow at that time as per Valmiki Ramayana (1-36).  Therefore, this region of the Himalayas was the most revered that the Tamil kings thought it fit to raise their flag on this peak and engrave their emblem on its slopes. King Senguttuvan also must have felt that the stone from this peak was the ideal one to chisel the image of Kannagi. Once consecrated, Kannagi was praised as the daughter of Himavān.

Location of Amarnath

In that visit, Senguttuvan’s army must have run over the Yavana-s, Barbara-s and other Mleccha-s and won them ultimately. Since Śatakarṇi had guided him throughout, there is every likelihood that the Śatakarṇi accompanied the Chera army to Amarnath. He too must have claimed victory over the Yavana-s.

A search for the Śatakarṇi who won the Yavana-s leads us to only one Śatakarṇi, who was Gautami Putra Śatakarṇi. No other Śatakarṇi claimed victory over the Yavana-s.  This victory of Gautami Putra Śatakarṇi is recorded in Nashik inscription by his mother Gautami Balashri.

Nashik inscription

The inscription says that he defeated Śaka-s, Pahlava-s and Yavana-s. All these people, being Mleccha-s, the victory over them meant something. It made Gautami Putra Śatakarṇi the initiator of the new era of Kali Yuga, namely, Śālivāhana Śaka.

The Śaka date started in Senguttuvan’s period.

The Nashik inscription provides an important information that this king (Gautami Putra Śatakarṇi) devised Time and place for the pursuit of three goals, perhaps referring to Dharma, Artha and Kāma. Written specifically as “suvibhatativaga desa kālasa”, this seems to indicate the initiation of Śālivāhana Śaka. By having defeated the Śaka-s, this Śatakarṇi became eligible to start the third Śaka of Kali Yuga. These Śaka- eras were prophesied right at the beginning of Kali Yuga when the sages devised Time in 3101 BCE. In their foresight, they named every new Śaka (means branch) and the date when each Śaka will be initiated. The marker for each Śaka comes from a victory over the Śaka-s who were Mleccha-s. (By defeating Mleccha-s who were known by the name Śaka-s, a new Śaka which means a sub-part of Kali Yuga was started).

Though Senguttuvan was part of the military expedition against the Yavana-s, the credit has gone to Gautami Putra. This may be because, Senguttuvan sent only his army headed by Villavan Kodhai to pick out a suitable stone whereas the Śatakarṇi could have headed the expedition to Paruppadam and played a major role in the fight against Yavana-s and others.

From the description of Silappadhikaram, it appears that Senguttuvan stayed back in the camp on the banks of Ganga. Perhaps his advanced age at that time caused him not to climb the peak. He ruled for more than 50 years as per the version of Mādalan (Si: 28-line 130). Considering his age, he had not gone to the Himalaya peak but the credit for getting the stone and defeating the Yavana-s came to him – he being the King.

As a result of his victory over Mleccha-s, Gautami Putra Śatakarṇi got entitled to the name as Śaka- karta and started a new sub-era of Kali Yuga called Śālivāhana Śaka. Śālivāhana was not his name but the name already given by the sages at the beginning of kali Yuga. The names of future Śaka-s such as Vijayābhinanda, Nagarjuna, Bali etc, already given by them, it is futile to search for a king by name Śālivāhana. The winner of Śaka-s automatically becomes the new Śaka-karta and takes over the titular name given by the sages of yore.

On the eastern walls of the veranda of Cave 3 where the inscription on devising Time and the victory over the Śaka-s are found, there is another inscription dictated by Gautami Putra Śatakarṇi from his military camp at the battlefield soon after winning the Śaka king ‘Usabadata’ (Rishabhadatta), the son-in-law of Nahapāna, transferring the villages previously under the control of the Western Kṣatrapa-s to the ascetics.

The deed declares that it was issued on the 18th year of the rule of the king, on the 1st day of the second fortnight of the rainy season. In Caitra, the next year, this king must have got established as the Śakakāraka. This was at the expiry of 3179 Kali year, corresponding to 78 CE. Starting from this Śaka, many Karaṇa texts were written to prepare the tables for Pancānga-s for usage in religious, cultural, civil, and administrative works.

This year, 78 CE, marking the beginning of the current Śaka also indicates the probable date of Senguttuvan’s northern trip. He must have started from Vanji two years before that because two years and eight months were over after he procured the stone and was resting on the banks of Ganga.

So, our search for Kannagi’s date of burning Madurai starts before 76 CE.

The probable dates of burning Madurai.

I checked right from the beginning of the century (1 CE) till 76 CE for the combination of Adi month, Krishna Ashtami, Krittika star, Friday afternoon. I checked both with Surya Siddhanta ayanamsa and Drik ayanamsa. Surya Siddhanta Ayanamsa looked more agreeable because it was only in 499 CE, the tropical zero degree of Aries coincided with Sidereal zero-degree Aries. So close to that mid-point, the 1st century must have been Surya Siddhanta ayanamsa compliant.

The following are the dates I could get for the date combinations for 4 p.m. (Madurai was burnt in the afternoon)

1.     July 5th, CE 5 (SS ayanamsa)

2.     July 16th, CE 32 (Drik ayanamsa) – In SS, the Sun has shifted to the next month.

3.     July 13th, CE 46 (Drik ayanamsa) – In SS, the tithi changed to Krishna Navami

4.     July 14th, CE 73 (SS ayanamsa)

5.     July 10th, CE 76 (SS ayanamsa)

Of all these, CE 76 is closer to CE 78, the Śālivāhana Śaka that started with the defeat of the Yavana-s. The planetary combination also shows a dreadful event on that evening. The horoscopy chart is produced.

For the lagna at 4 p.m., the 8th house is maligned by the conjunction of two fiery planets, namely, Mars and Sun within 1 degree. They both happen to occupy the Mrityu Bhaga which gives deadly results. Saturn, a maraka, is retrograde and is moving towards Mrityu Bhaga besides getting locked in a mutual aspect with Sun and Mars, its worst enemies. Jupiter, the Dharmadhikari is also retrograde in Mrityu Bhaga and in the 8th from the Sun, the signifactor for King. The affliction to Sun indicates the bad time for the king. The Moon, signifying people, is in Marana avasta and is in Kemadruma yoga suffering from downfall. There are null bindus in the 8th house in Moon’s ashtaka varga. In the Martian Ashtaka varga there are no bindus in the 4th house that signifies home or country. Null bindus indicate affliction to the significances of those houses, namely life and people of the country.

This kind of deadly combination does not exist for any other dates given above. Moreover, Senguttuvan having started his military expedition soon after Kannagi’s death following the burning of Madurai, CE 76 is the most probable date of burning Madurai.

Manimekalai must have been born just around that time and was a baby when Kannagi left. As per Manimekalai, she had gone to the temple of Kannagi built by Senguttuvan in Vanji as a young girl. If we take CE 73, the planetary combinations are not that deadly to cause a havoc to the king and the people and by fire. So, CE 76 was the year of the burning of Madurai.

It was year Dhaata, Aadi month, Krishna Ashtami, Krittika and Friday.

CE 76 is the cut-off date in so many ways. The last flood that changed the boundary of Pūmpukār occurred after that date, as per Manimekalai. The Tamil lands changed after that with Buddhism taking root. The new Era of Śālivāhana was ushered in which was followed in the Tamil lands. Kanchi, which was mostly Advaitic due to the influence of Adi Shankara, started embracing Buddhism.

Expanding these versions, let me start from what Māsātthuvān, the father of slain Kovalan told Manimekalai. He was staying in Vanji when Manimekalai, the daughter born to Kovalan from Madhavi visited Vanji. He narrated the old story of an ancestor of Kovalan born nine generations before Kovalan, who constructed a Chaitya for Buddha on a hilltop in Vanji. It was established at a time when the then Chera King had a low and was advised by the Buddhist sages who returned from Lanka after going around a hill called “Samanoḷi(சமனொளி) where a Buddhist shrine is located. This was originally the abode of Lanka of Ravana, which had gone to the hands of the Buddhists for long such that its original history is never uttered, though a Buddhist text does refer to it as Ravana’s abode. I will be divulging more about it in my upcoming article in Tamil in Geethacharyan magazine and in my upcoming book on Date of Ramayana.

He also talked about a curse on Pūmpukār of a flood. Expecting the flood to destroy Pūmpukār anytime, he shifted to Vanji. This flood did take place, but researchers are not sure about the exact date of the flood. From the utterance of Māsātthuvān, it is deduced that it occurred sometime after 78 CE or in other words, in the latter part of the 1st century CE.

When the young Manimekalai visited Kanchi, it was reeling under drought and famine. The ruling king of Kanchi was a Chola king by name, Iḷam Kiḷḷi (இளம் கிள்ளி) who agreed to abide by the advice of Manimekalai to set up a Buddha Vihara in a waterhole made long ago on the advice of a Buddhist. It was uncared for until then but the king on the advice of Manimekalai agreed to renew it, hoping to wipe out famine. Kanchi, the land of Advaita until then under the influence of Adi Shankara who spent his last days there was gradually lost out to Buddhism by the later part of the first century CE.

In the next article we will continue to see the Chola dominance until then in Kanchi with Karikal Chola playing a major part in reclaiming Kanchi from Trilochana (Pratapa Rudra in Kalingatthu Bharani) – the king he humiliated for refusing to join his phenomenal work of building a dam across Kaviri river.

 Post Script

Kannagi in Kodungallur

There are several temples dedicated to Kannagi in Kerala, but the temple of Bhagavati in Kodungallur deserves analysis because the original temple of Kannagi was consecrated in Kodungallur (Vanji) only. 

Today that temple houses an Ugra form of Bhagavati, a manifestation of Kali with a legend that she destroyed Daruka, the asura. As per Silappadhikaram, the king Senguttuvan in consultation with experts in temple architecture and Sthapati-s decided the form of Kannagi and built a magnificent temple with all the Dik-phala-s. There is no word on what form was given to her, but she was glorified as Parvati, the daughter of Himavān. So, there is every likelihood of her having the form of Kali with a fierce and angry look.

Kodungallur Bhagavati - Kannagi

There are many folk songs in Kerala partially or completely depicting the story of Kannagi. They are all in oral form and not known to have a written form. Generationally devotees have been singing them.

Most important are Kannagi Thottam, Manimanka Thottam which describe Kannagi’s story. Manimanka refers to Kannagi which sounds like Mangala Madanthai (மங்கல மடந்தை) described for her in Silappadhikaram.

Nallamma Thottam, Mudippurai Thottam or Mudippurai Paattu also describe Kannagi’s story. The Thottam Paattu is also known as Bhadrakali Paattu which refers to Kannagi legend and is influenced by the Kali cult.

In Kali Paattu, the destruction is by fire with a reference to Kannagi of destroying Madurai. In North Kerala, Kali is the theme of the songs but in South Kerala Kannagi dominates the narrative.

In Kodungallur, the Bharani Paattu is most famous and celebrated from the Bharani of Kumbha month to the Bharani of Meena month. Bharani Paattu focuses on Kannagi though it ends up in praise of Kali.

This is almost same as how Silappadhikaram describes the last two chapters after the consecration was done. Kannagi who suffered a lot as a mortal is praised with godly qualities of vanquishing enemies.

The choice of Bharani and the specific month of Kumbha and Meena also could be the date of consecration. She burnt Madurai in Krittika star. Bharani, coming before that star saw Kannagi full of hopes of happy days ahead. But Krittika changed her life. Perhaps to tap her happy mood for the benefit of mankind Bharani festival was conducted. And it also turned out to be the time of Kavu Theendal when oracles are heard. Silappadhikaram says that frequent oracles were heard after Kannagi was consecrated. 

It is also possible to assume that the consecration as done on a Bharani day in Kumbha month. The text says that the celebration went on for some time. Perhaps it went on till the next Bharani which is being followed till date.  

In Tamil speaking lands Kannagi worship perhaps evolved into worship of Amman. There are countless Amman temples where annual festival is done in Aadi (Kataka) - the month she burnt Madurai. The burning was done on the last Friday of that month. Perhaps this was reminiscented by the Fire- walk ceremony which is conducted on the last Friday of Adi in most Amman temples. 

Fire-walking was done in Sangam Age too as is known from the name of a Sangam poet, 'Theemidhi Naganar' - Naganar who did fire-walking. But it was made a regular procedure in Amman temples post Kannagi period. Kannagi continues to remain powerful both in the imagination of Tamils and also in temple culture.