Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ramayana – 9: Asteroid-hit indicated by bad omens before the war with Khara

A few days after Bharata left with his sandals, Rama found the sages living in that region move out, apprehending trouble from the demon, Khara. In their absence, he also decided to move out of the Chitrakoota. Rama went to the hermitage of sage Atri where Anasuya, the wife of the sage offered her jewels, apparel, and garlands to Sita.

Then, Rama shifted to Dandaka Forest and “stayed there for nearly ten months at some place, elsewhere for one year, at somewhere else for four months, and for five and six months at elsewhere, even at somewhere else for more than a month, and for more than one and half months elsewhere.” (VR: 3-11- 24 to 26). Thus, ten years of exile elapsed (VR: 3-11- 26b, 27b).

Counted from the year Pramoda when he was exiled, he completed ten years by the month of Caitra  in Vikrama year. The year was 5080 BCE.

After the lapse of ten years, Rama shifted to Panchavati on the advice of sage Agastya. This was the 11th year in exile. He met Jatayu soon after, i.e., in the 11th year of exile.

Rama lived in a Parna-shala in Panchavati for some time, says Ramayana (VR: 3-15-31). How long they lived here is not mentioned. From the later events we deduce that they lived peacefully for two full years and certain events started in the 3rd year, i.e., in the 13th year of their exile.

Hemanta ritu in the 13th year.

The talk between Rama and Lakshmana on a morning of Hemanta ritu in the 13th year of exile is detailed in the next sarga after describing how they settled down in Panchavati (VR: 3-16).

It is stated in the 1st verse of this sarga – “sharad vyapaaye Hemanta ritur pravartate” With the Sharad ritu passing off, the Hemanta ritu has set in.

The nature of Hemanta ritu is described in several ways by Lakshmana of which two features stand out, enabling us to deduct the probable date of that talk.

The context was pre-dawn time on a day in the Hemanta Ritu when Rama, Sita and Lakshmana were walking towards river Godavri to have bath and do the morning rituals. During the walk, Lakshmana was describing the scenes around which are commonly found in Hemanta ritu. The sun was cool and continued to be in the direction of Yama (means South), therefore in Dakshinayana (VR:3-16-8). This information along with the mention of the offer of the first produce (aagrayana - आग्रयण) do indicate the month as Margashira (VR:3-16-6). This was not Makara sankaranti ( says so) as Aagrayana is a ritual done when the first harvest is done after the rainy season.

The full moon was already over (VR: 3-16-4), indicating that they were in the waning phase of Margashira. The moon was lusterless due to foggy nights (VR:1-16-13). The lotus ponds were seen with only the stalks of lotuses with their petals withered and aged (VR: 3-16-26). Thus, the change from Karthika to Margashira is beautifully expressed.

The time was the waning phase of Margashira which started from 3rd September in 5078 BCE. The year was Chitrabhanu.

Rising of the Pushya star at night

In that conversation, Lakshmana talked about the rise of the star Pushya in the early night which however could not be seen due to foggy atmosphere. It was Margashira in the first half of the Hemanta ritu when the sun used to rise in Sagittarius and set in Gemini (Mithuna). The star Pushya is in the sign Kataka, that appears after Gemini.

The sun was in the beginning of Sagittarius when the waning phase of the moon had set in. Daylight could last for about ten and a half hours in that month. Sunset in that month used to occur at the early part of Gemini and Pushya will rise 2 hours after sunset. By the time Pushya was rising, a blanket of fog had spread, and it appeared as though Pushya was in a deep sleep. When the fog cleared Pushya had moved well into the sky and there was chilly weather thereafter for three ‘yaama-s’ until the time they were walking towards the river.

निवृत्त आकाश शयनाः पुष्यनीता हिम अरुणाः |

शीता वृद्धतर आयामः त्रि यामा यान्ति सांप्रतम् || -१६-१२

(Meaning: Completely enveloped with tawny coloured fog, the star Pushya had gone to sleep. Chillness continued for three Yaama until now.)

The Yaama gives the clue that there was indeed foggy weather in the early part of night sometime after sunset.

One Yaama is equal to 2 hours and 24 minutes. Three Yaama-s make 7 hours and 12 minutes. After sunset at around 6.30 pm in their location in Panchavati, Pushya must have risen after 8 pm. But by then it became foggy. Assuming that the fog cover was seen from 8 to 10 pm when Pushya’s sign of Kataka was rising, it is indicative of Mun-pani season, i.e., early night fog. It would clear soon, and the night would continue to be cold. Suppose the early night fog cleared by 10 pm, then for the next 7 hours and 12 minutes there was chilly weather. This lasted till 5-30 in the morning. By 5-30 am, it was pre-dawn and Lakshmana, Rama and Sita had woken up and started walking to the river. On this walk, Lakshmana was describing how foggy it was that they could not see Pushya rising and how cold it was for the rest of the night. The description about ‘sleeping’ Pushya and the cold night are depicted in the illustration.

This talk occurred sometime between 3rd September and 16th September 5078 BCE when the waning phase of Margashira was running.

Almost in the same phase, Surpanakha entered their hermitage and was humiliated when she pounced on Sita with an intention to kill her.

Surpanakha complained to her brother Khara. Khara sent 14 demons to attack Rama. Rama killed all the 14 demons. On hearing this, Khara himself decided to take 14,000 demons to attack Rama. At that time horrible portents appeared. Ramayana refers to them as Utpaata (VR: 3-23-18 & 19). A full chapter is about the utpaata witnessed by Khara (VR: 3- 23)

An Utpaata is an omen or portent which is sudden, unusual and unexpected indicating a calamity. There is no mention of any planetary position in this chapter, but scholars like Pushkar Bhatnagar have interpreted the utpaata as solar eclipse! Let us check verse by verse to know what was being described.

This is from the 23rd chapter of Aranya Kanda.

Verse 1: Clouds poured blood.

Verse 2: The horses of Khara’s chariot tottered in a trice even though the surface was even and smooth.

Verse 3: Dark red halo surrounded the sun (the halo is called Parivesha) while the sun appeared like a fireball.

Verse 4: An awful eagle perched on the flag of Khara’s chariot.

Verse 5: Cacophonous and carnivorous predators and vultures took over the nearby places of Janasthaana.

Verse 6: Jackals looked towards the sun and howled.

Verse 7: Sky filled with mountain like clouds having blood.

Verse 8: There was no brightness but sudden darkness of abominable, cataclysmic, hair-raising nature.

Verse 9: The twilight glistened with the colour of blood-red.

Verse 10: Female jackals howled in front of Khara’s army.

Verse 11: Near the sun, a club-like object was hanging like a headless body (Kabandha). It appeared that the sun was eclipsed by Rahu out of season.

Verse 12: Wind blew, and the sun appeared sheen less. Stars appeared like fireflies though it was not night.

Verse 13: At that moment fishes and waterfowls stood still in lakes, lotuses have dried up, flowers and fruits have dropped from trees as though it is night.

Verse 14: Without any puffing of wind dust in brownish red colour is heaved up. Songbirds screamed.

Verse 15: उल्काः अपि निर्घोषा निपेतुः घोर दर्शनाः Ulkaa means meteors. Meteors looking horrible fell down with thunderous sound.

Verse 16: The earth with its mountains and forests quaked shakily.

Verse 17: Khara’s left shoulder quivered excessively (bad omen for men), and his voice was shaky.

Verse 18: Tears shed from his eyes for no reason, his head ached, and he could not be steady in his steps.

Until the 18th verse, only the omens were mentioned. Thereafter Khara was described as ignoring these omens and proceeding to attack Rama.

In the next chapter, Rama is described as expressing the same kind of omens.

VR: 3-24-4: Reddish grey clouds are pouring blood.

VR: 3-24-7: Rama’s right hand repeatedly throbbed (good omen for men)


The entire description revolves around just one kind of Utpaata, namely an asteroid-hit or a meteor shower. Red-coloured appearances such as the rain of blood and dust in reddish hue are associated with NOx created by a meteor-fall. The NOx mixed with any water content turns it red, like blood. This kind of description was found in the Mahabharata too in the fall of a Dhumaketu. All the associated occurrences in a meteor-fall as expressed in the Mahabharata are found in the Ramayana too in this context. The earth quaked. The whirls of winds blew. The rising dust dimmed the sunlight making the sun appear dark reddish with a halo around it and a Kabandha next to it. Darkness appeared in the daytime making the stars visible.

The description of the sun perhaps made scholars think that there was a solar eclipse. It is specifically said in that context that it was ‘aparvani’ – ‘out of season’ - which means there was no Amavasya then for a solar eclipse to happen.

जग्राह सूर्यम् स्वर्भानुः अपर्वणि महाग्रहः

Swarbhanu refers to Rahu. The dullness of the sun gave the impression that Rahu captured the Sun though it was not the time to capture (means not Amavasya). Looking at the other description, it is understood that the darkness was caused by the meteor hit, because no solar eclipse is regarded as a Utpaata and no solar eclipse is associated with rains of blood, bloody dust, whirls of wind, earthquakes and strange behavior of animals. The Kabandha like cloud or the dark patch of atmospheric dust near the sun made Valmiki compare it with Rahu capturing the sun.

Moreover, we can check with the GISP2 maps to check whether a meteor or asteroid had fallen that year (5078 BCE) causing considerable impact. A cosmic impact must/will/is always FOLLOWED by a decrease in global temperatures, and then rebound to higher temperatures compared to the impact date. When I checked the GISP2 graphs for the period between 4050 BCE to 6050 BCE, a sudden and steep drop is found in the year 5078 BCE.

The close-up of the event period is shown below:

It is seen that exactly in the year 5078 BCE, the graph shows a sudden and steep fall indicating a global drop in temperature. The steepness shows that it was indeed a terrible impact. The exact location of the impact might be elsewhere, but meteors had fallen in the Panchavati region, and the effects had been substantial as known from rainfall in blood red colour. Such clouds are induced by the cosmic impact and are considered as important markers for a meteor or asteroid fall.


Exile started: Pramoda year, Caitra Shukla Ekadasi, Pushya, Monday, 18th December, 5091 BCE

Completed 10 years in Dandaka: Vikrama year, Caitra, 5080 BCE

Met Jatayu: 11th year, 5080 BCE.

Started life in Panchavati: 11th year, 5080 BCE

Encounter with Surpanakha : 13th year, waning Margashira (between 3rd September and 16th September 5078 BCE)

Encounter with Khara: 13th year, Hemanta ritu (may be Pushya month) 5078 BCE

Meteor- hit: 5078 BCE (after September 5078 BCE)


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Ramayana – 8: Bharata’s return from Kekaya and bringing back Rama’s sandals.

The death of Dasaratha sometime during the night of the 6th day of Rama’s exile was known to others only in the morning of the 7th day. There is no reference to planetary or Panchanga details in the events following the death of Dasaratha. However, a different kind of clue is found later when Bharata went to meet Rama in Chitrakoota. On the way to Chitrakoota, Bharata offered oblations to his departed father in the river Ganga. On the 3rd day after that, Rama offered pindam to his father. Pindam could not be given on any day. The three-day difference between Bharata offering oblations in the Ganga and Rama offering Pindam could mean the 27th and the 30th day ritual done to the departed ancestor. I checked the days and dates in those lines to see if the sequence matches.

We will begin counting the days from the day of Dasaratha’s death. By that morning, Caitra Krishna Pratipat had started. Let us take it as the first day. The overnight lunar eclipse ended some time in the night at the end of the Pournami. After that Krishna Pratipat started which continued at daybreak. Hence, Krishna Pratipat could have been considered as the tithi of Dasaratha’s death.

1st day of death: The body of the king was immersed in oil for preservation because none of his sons were present to do the final rites. Date was 24th December, 5091 BCE, Pramoda Caitra Krishna Pratipat, Sunday, Hasta.

2nd day: Vasishtha instructed messengers to proceed to Kekaya to bring back Bharata.  Messengers started on the same day. Dec 25, 5091 BCE. Caitra Krishna Dwitiya. Monday, Chitra star.

3rd day: There is no mention of how many days they travelled. It is just said that they reached Kekaya at night and met Bharata in the morning. From the later details about oblations, it seems that the messengers travelled for 3 days and reached Kekaya on the night of the 3rd day. This means they reached on the 4th day of Dasaratha's death.

4th day: The messengers reached Kekaya at night. Dec 27, 5091 BCE. Caitra Krishna Caturthi, Wednesday.

5th day:  The messengers met Bharata the next morning. Dec 28, 5091 BCE. Caitra Krishna Panchami, Thursday, Anuradha star.

6th day: Bharata and Shatrughna started from Kekaya. Dec 29, 5091 BCE, Caitra Krishna Shashti, Friday, Jyeshtha.  

They travelled for 7 nights and reached Ayodhya on the morning of the 8th day. The long delay may be because he took a different route, and he was accompanied by an army and many carriages of gifts from his grandfather’s home. In contrast, the messengers seemed to have taken the shortest route and had gone through forests and streams.

6th night to 12th night – Bharata was travelling. Krishna Shashti to Krishna Dwādaśī. Till the night of 4th January 5090 BCE Bharata was travelling.

13th day: Bharata reached Ayodhya. Jan 5, 5090 BCE, Caitra Krishna Trayodaśī, Friday, Purva Bhadrapada.

13th day: Cremation of Dasaratha by the evening. Jan 5, 5090 BCE, Caitra Krishna Caturdaśī, Friday.

Next 12 days, rituals for the departed father. 25 days were over by then. Till Vaishakha Shukla Ekādaśī. Jan 17, 5090 BCE. Wednesday, Magha star.

26th day: 13th day ceremony done. Jan 18, 5090 BCE, Vishakha Shukla Dwādaśī, Thursday, Purva Phalguni.

27th day: Pathway to reach Ganga was laid. Jan 19, 5090 BCE. Vaishakha Shukla Trayodaśī, Friday, Uttara Phalguni.

28th day: Bharata started off to see Rama. Jan 20, 5090 BCE. On reaching the river Ganga, Bharata stopped the journey and started giving water as oblations to his departed father. (VR: 2-83-24). This looks odd. Looking at the tithi, it was Shukla Caturdaśī, and the day was the 28th day of death. There is a ritual called “Oona Maasya” done between the 27th and 30th day of death. On reaching the sacred Ganga capable of giving salvation, Bharata probably decided to offer water oblations, though not a full-fledged Oona Maasya.

On the same day Bharata met Guha. He saw the tree under which Rama and Sita slept. It moved him so much that he pledged to live like Rama and sleep on grass and stay in the forest if Rama refused to come back. Spent the night on the banks of the river Ganga.

The date was Jan 20, 5090 BCE, Vaishakha Shukla Caturdaśī, Saturday, Hasta.

29th day: Bharata reached Bharadwaja ashram. Stayed in the Ashram for the night. Vaishakha Paurṇamī, Sunday, Chitra. Jan 21, 5090 BCE.

30th day:  Proceeded towards Chitrakoota. Searched for Rama and found him. Rama offered Pindam to his father. This happened on the death tithi of Dasaratha. It was Shukla Pratipat in the month of Vaishakha. The first Maasya ritual was done by Rama, on the death tithi of Dasaratha coming after a month. The date was Jan 22, 5090 BCE, Pramoda, Vaishakha Shukla Pratipat, Monday, Swati star.

This correlation endorses our deduction of 3 days of travel to Kekaya by the messengers. For that part alone, we didn’t have a precise information in the Ramayana. All the other events before and after that travel of the messengers were well documented in the Ramayana. The water oblations by Bharata and the offer of Pindam by Rama helped us to construct the dates for the sequence of events.

30th day: On the same day, the mothers arrived at the leaf-hut of Rama. Talks went on to persuade Rama to return. There is no clue on whether Bharata and others spent the night with Rama.

At the end of the discussion, Bharata requested Rama to mount with his feet on the wooden sandals adorned with gold. It seems they were brought by Bharata. Rama must have walked barefoot since he left Ayodhya. Rama obliged. Those sandals were carried by Bharata on his head as he left Chitrakoota for Ayodhya. This could have happened on the 30th day itself or on the 31st day. 

The date of carrying the Paaduka could have been either Jan 22 or Jan 23, 5090 BCE, Pramoda, Vaishakha Shukla Pratipat, Monday, Swati star or Shukla Dwitiya, Tuesday, Vishakha star. 

Olden commentators have opined that Bharata, and others stayed for two to three days in the company of Rama.

Bharata returned with the sandals and installed them on a royal throne. He started living outside the city in Nandigrama. All these must have happened in the Shukla Paksha of Vaishakha month of Pramoda year, that is, in the first one and a half months of Rama’s exile.


Monday, February 26, 2024

Ramayana – 7: From exile to the death of Dasaratha

 The coronation was planned for Pushya day in the month of Caitra in Pramoda year when Rama entered his 25th year. Rama was informed of the Pattabhisheka the previous day, i.e., on the day of Punarvasu. He and Sita conducted the necessary rituals for the function. The night passed by. That was when Kaikeyi made her dreadful demands to Dasaratha. As a result, the next day (when the coronation had to take place) Rama was informed that he must leave the country and live in the forest like an ascetic for 14 long years.

Lakshmana decided to join Rama in exile. Sita insisted that she too would join. Rama’s mother Kausalya was inconsolable. She expressed something that contains a clue on Rama’s age at that time. She said,

दश सप्त वर्षाणि तव जातस्य राघव |

असितानि प्रकान्क्षन्त्या मया दुह्ख परिक्षयम् || -२०-४५

(Meaning: “Oh, Rama! I have been waiting for seventeen years after your birth with the hope that my troubles will disappear at one time or the other.") (VR: 2- 20-45)

As one who had been waiting to see her son taking the crown, it was difficult for Kausalya to accept that he had to renounce the crown and go to the forest. In this context she said she waited for 17 years since his birth to see the day he was crowned. She said,

dasha sapta ca varSaaNi tava jaatasya raaghava |”

The word Jaatasya has been debated by scholars as to whether it refers to his birth or second birth during Upanayana. If it is taken to mean birth, 17 years of age doesn’t fit with other inputs we have seen so far. Rama was married for 12 years at the time of exile. If he was only 17 years old at the time of exile, it means that he was married in his 6th year. The age difference with Sita being 7 years (as told by Sita to Ravana that she was 18 and Rama was 25), Sita was not even born when he was married!! Such an absurd derivation will have to be made if we assume that Kausalya meant his age as 17 years at the time of exile.

Moreover, there are two contexts (discussed earlier) on his age as 25 at the time of exile. We also had an input from Sita’s version that he was exiled on the 13th year of his marriage. There is also the version from Mareecha on his age when Vishvamitra brought him to the forest to destroy the demons.

The year of Rama’s Upanayana

Taking all this into consideration, we must understand that Kausalya was referring to his second birth, i.e., Upanayana time. Already we know that Rama completed 24 years as of Caitra Punarvasu when he was informed of the coronation. Deducting 17 years from that, we get the year 7 as completed age when he had upanayana. In other words, his upanayana was done on his 8th year. This was Pramādi or Ananda year, corresponding to 5106 BCE. In Caitra Pramādi Rama completed his 7th year. In Caitra Ananda he completed his 8th year. In between these two years his Upanayana took place. In the absence of information on the month we are not able to give the exact date.

Exile date.  

On the morning of Pushya in Caitra Rama was informed of the exile. He immediately informed his mother, Kausalya and obtained her permission. Then he informed Sita and tried to persuaede her to stay back but relented after she insisted that she would accompany him. Then Lakshmana also decided to join. Rama distributed his wealth to rishi-s. The sequence of these events appear to have happened on the same day.

By that evening, Rama departed to the forest. In that context, the planetary positions are mentioned.

त्रिशन्कुर् लोहित अन्गः बृहस्पति बुधाव् अपि |

दारुणाः सोमम् अभ्येत्य ग्रहाः सर्वे व्यवस्थिताः || -४१-११

{Meaning: Trisanku, Lohintanga, Brihaspati as also Budha and all other planets assumed a menacing aspect and got stayed with the moon. (VR: 2-41-11)}

The day being Pushya, the Moon was on Kataka (cancer). It was joined with Mars (Lohintanga) and Jupiter (Brihaspati). The simulation also shows the same confirming that we are proceeding in the right way of decipherment.

Rama’s exile

Budha (Mercury) was the 12th lord in his natal horoscope. The 12th house indicates exile. The Lord of that house, namely, Mercury was just crossing into Aries in the star of Ketu. It was in 0 degree of Aries which is recognized as Baalya avasta signifying trouble. The star lord Ketu was in the 12th to Mercury (which was the 10th house from the 12th) and was in the star of Mercury, namely Revati. Thus, there was mutual parivartana of the 12th lord and the 12th from the 12th lord which aggravates the 12th house significance of confinement and exile. This is indicated by Valmiki in the above quoted verse.

Other planets also assumed a menacing aspect, says Valmiki. Saturn was in Saade Sati. Rahu casts its aspects on Kataka (It is also likely that Rahu joined Saturn as the simulation doesn’t show the exact position of the nodes). Venus, the 4th lord signifying home was in the 8th in the star of Jupiter.

Trisanku is not a star of the zodiac, but in summer (Caitra month) month it will be visible in direct south after sunset. It must have shone brightly as though it was casting a menacing aspect.

In the next verse it is said that Vishakha appeared in the sky, veiled in the mist (VR: 2-41-12).

Vishakha is in line with Trisanku in the south. It will appear overhead in the latitudes of India while Trisanku will appear in direct south of it. This combination can be seen even today in the summer months, confirming our contention that we are looking at the same part of the sky as it was during Rama’s time.

Vishakha was the Kula-nakshatra of the Ikshvaku-s (VR: 6-102-36). That is the reason its appearance has been specifically mentioned.

1st day night: They stayed on the banks of Tamasa River. Rama didn’t eat anything and took water only. The next morning, he deceived the residents and went to the forest.

2nd day: After travelling a long distance in the chariot driven by Sumantra, Rama crossed the rivers, Vedasruti, Gomati and Syandika. By that night he crossed Kosala city. Rama stayed under a fig tree on the banks of river Ganga on that night.

Rama met Guha on the banks of Ganga (near Shringaberapura). The date was 19th December, 5091 BCE (Pramoda, Caitra, Aslesha, Shukla Dwadasi.

3rd day: Crossed the river Ganga with the help of Guha. That night was spent on the base of a tree.

4th day: Reached Bharadwaja ashrama at the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna. The date was 21st December, 5091 BCE. It was Pramoda year, Caitra Shukla Chaturdasi, Purva Phalguni star.

Spent the night at the ashrama. The rishi told Rama about Chitrakoota, located at 60 miles from the Ashrama.

5th day: Crossed the river Yamuna and stayed on the banks of Yamuna. Sumantra left for Ayodhya after hearing from Guha that Rama departed for Chitrakoota.

6th day: Rama proceeded to Chitrakoota and built a Parna shala and entered it. The day was 23rd December, 5091 BCE. Pramoda, Caitra Pournami in Hasta nakshatra. That night the Full moon was eclipsed.

That night Dasaratha passed away.

The fear about the dreadful combination came true.

On the night (December 24th early morning) in 5091 BCE, Dasaratha died at the time of Lunar eclipse while Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana was sleeping in the newly built leaf-hut in Chitrakoota.

Reproducing the time that he feared very much.

Dasaratha’s death time

Here I have not changed the tithi to the next one because, in Caitra, Full moon is possible in Hasta nakshatra. Since Dasaratha spoke about affliction to his birth star by Rahu, eclipse is indicated. In the absence of knowledge of the exact position of Rahu, we must deduce that the moon was eclipsed when it passed close to Rahu. The eclipse could have lasted for a few minutes and was partial. Since eclipse has to be indicated I picked out 2 am when the Pournami was still running and moon was at a distance when eclipse was possible.


Sunday, February 25, 2024

Ramayana - 6: Deciphering Dasaratha’s birth star and his decision to crown Rama.

In the month of Caitra, king Dasaratha decided to perform the coronation of his beloved son, Rama (VR: 2-3-4). He called his son to convey his desire. In that context he talked about his fearful dreams, the dur-nimitta-s of thunderous meteors (ulkaa) falling in the country and the astrological prediction about affliction to his birth star.

अवष्टब्धं मे राम नक्षत्रं दारुणैर्ग्रहैः |

आवेदयन्ति दैवज्ञावः सूर्याङ्गारकराहुभिः || --१८

"Oh, Rama! Astrologers are informing me that fearful planets like Sun, Mars and Rahu are encroaching on my birth star."

We need to check this combination to make sure that we are proceeding with the correct findings.

We know that Rama completed 24 years of age when he was exiled (explained in the previous article). In the year Pramoda, he completed his 24 years and started his 25th year. On the day of his birth star (Punarvasu in Caitra), the above conversation took place.

Around the time of his birthday, his father’s star was afflicted by three planets, namely Sun, Mars and Rahu. The reference to Sun and Rahu raises a doubt whether he meant an eclipse – impending or just over – afflicting his birth star.

Since it was the time of Caitra, the Sun could be expected to be in Pisces (Meena rasi) or Aries (Mesha). When I checked the dates from Amavasya to Pournami coming before and after Rama’s birthday on Punarvasu, I found that the Pournami coming closely after Rama’s birthday was going to be eclipsed. The combination of planets show that Dasaratha could have been born in Revati star with lagna in Gemini (Mithuna). Mercury was the lord of both Revati and Gemini lagna. Mercury was badly afflicted by the planets he mentioned. The horoscope of the day of Pournami (coming after Rama’s birthday) is shown below. (The exact time of Full Moon could have been earlier.)

For Gemini lagna, 2nd and 7th houses are the Maaraka houses (death signifying). Jupiter is the lord of the 7th and 10th and also suffers from Kendra Adhipatya dosha. It has gone to the 2nd house (Maaraka sthana) and is in retrogression. It is joined with the 6th lord Mars in debility signifying a life-threatening health issue.

The 10th house is occupied by Sun, Venus (12th lord signifying death) and Ketu. Mercury, the lord of his birth star is in retrogression and moving to occupy Revati. Sun and Ketu are transiting Revati. Rahu is aspecting this combination from the 4th house whose lord is once again Mercury. (The 4th house signifies home. Trouble from the home-front indicated). Mars and Jupiter are transiting the star of Mercury in the 2nd house. The Full Moon of that month is going to be eclipsed by Rahu in the sign opposite the star Revati. (For the lunar eclipse to take place, the node (Rahu or Ketu) must be within 13 degrees of the Full Moon. It was so in this horoscopic combination)

Keeping all this in mind, Dasaratha’s astrologers expected some trouble from the home-front leading to life-threatening problems for the king. Expecting a sudden adverse end to himself, the king decided to crown Rama as soon as possible and before the eclipse occurred. The decision to crown him when Bharata was away from home seemed to have been triggered by the expected lunar eclipse in the 4th house of his horoscope. He did expect objection from Kaikeyi which was reflected in his version that he wanted the coronation function while Bharata was away (VR: 2-4-25)

The king didn’t want to lose any more time and fixed the immediate date – the day of Pushya- to crown Rama.

Why did Dasaratha wait till Rama’s 25th year?

One of the complaints against Dasaratha was that he was delaying the coronation of Rama. Dasaratha was aging but there was no sign of him transferring the mantle to Rama. Suddenly on the 25th year of Rama he decided to crown him– but after getting bad dreams, dur-nimitta-s and bad combination of planets. It seems he would have delayed further if these reasons were absent.

Why should he delay the transfer of the crown to his beloved son?

Looking at the planetary combinations, Rama was undergoing the seven-and-a-half-year transit of Saturn through his Janma rasi for more than five years by then. It must have started before his 19th year or so. Additionally, Saturn Maha Dasa was running. Saturn, though exalted, would not give positive results because it was aspected by (and aspecting) another exalted planet, namely, Sun. Sun stands for crown and authority (the ruler); Saturn for subjects (the ruled). When they are exalted in signs opposite to each other and are aspecting each other, there will be conflict between the two. The reason Rama had to sacrifice his wife (during Agni Pariksha and while she was pregnant) fearing a bad name from his subjects, was because of this combination.

Keeping it in mind, the astrologers would have advised Dasaratha not to give the crown during Rama’s Saturn Maha Dasa. By his 20th year Saturn started transiting his 12th sign and then the Janma rasi. This also made them postpone the coronation. By then, Jupiter entered his Janma rasi which also made them not to advise the king to crown his son.

But the prospect of death for his own self – indicated by dreams, nimitta-s and planets – made Dasaratha to ignore the adverse features for Rama and made him go ahead with coronation for the sake of the country to have a ruler in case something happened to his own self.

The planetary indicators assuring us that we are proceeding in the right direction, let us now look at the date of exile.


Saturday, February 24, 2024

Ramayana – 5: Deciphering the age of Rama at the time of marriage

The age of Rama at the time of leaving Ayodhya with Vishvamitra must be found out to decipher his age at the time of his marriage with Sita. Let us begin with the inputs we gathered. Rama was below 12 years of age at the time of accompanying Vishvamitra. Four days were spent on travel and the next 6 days and 6 nights were spent on guarding the Vedic ritual done by Vishvamitra and other sages. After that Rama and Lakshmana were taken to Mithila. It took four days to reach Mithila. Counted from the time Rama left Ayodhya along with Vishvamitra, Rama went to Mithila and broke the Shiva Dhanush on the 14th day of his travel with Vishvamitra.  On the 23rd day the parents of Rama and Sita finalized the marriage proposal. On the 25th day, Rama married Sita. That day had both Purva Phalguni and Uttara Phalguni stars. With this information, we will proceed to decipher Rama’s age at the time of marriage.

His age at the time of exile is given by Sita in Aranya Kanda. While speaking to Ravana in Aranya Kanda, Sita said that Rama’s age was 25 when they left for exile. She was 18 years old then.

मम भर्ता महातेजा वयसा पंच विंशकः || -४७-१०

अष्टा दश हि वर्षाणि मम जन्मनि गण्यते |

mama bhartaa mahaatejaa vayasaa pa.nca vi.mshakaH || 3-47-10

aSTaa dasha hi var.hSaaNi mama janmani gaNyate |

(Meaning: "My great-resplendent husband was twenty-five years of age at that time, and to me eighteen years are reckoned up from my birth. [3-47-10b, 11a]).

There is yet another clue in Sundara Kanda when Sita told Hanuman that she stayed in Rama’s house for 12 years after marriage. On the 13th year, they were exiled.

समा द्वादश तत्र अहम् राघवस्य निवेशने || -३३-१७

भुन्जाना मानुषान् भोगान् सर्व काम समृद्धिनी |

samaa dvaadasha tatra aham raaghavasya niveshane || 5-33-17

bhunjaanaa maanuShaan bhogaan sarva kaama samR^iddhinii |

(Meaning: "I stayed in Rama's house there for twelve years, enjoying the worldly pleasures belonging to humankind and fulfilling all my desires.")

ततः त्रयोदशे वर्षे राज्येन इक्ष्वाकु नन्दनम् || -३३-१८

अभिषेचयितुम् राजा उपाध्यायः प्रचक्रमे |

tataH trayodashe varShe raajyena ikShvaaku nandanam || 5-33-18

abhiShecayitum raajaa sa upaadhyaayaH pracakrame |

(Meaning: "Thereafter, in the thirteenth year, King Dasaratha along with his preceptors started to perform anointment of the kingdom to Rama, a celebrity of Ikshvaku dynasty.")

From these verses, it is known that Rama completed 12 years of marriage as of the day he was exiled. An interesting feature is that he was informed of his exile on his birthday, i.e., Caitra Punarvasu.

We have a doubt here whether the previous year (of his age) included Caitra Punarvasu, or the new year started on Caitra Punarvasu. But it is certain that he had completed 12 years of marriage by then. Another doubt is how many years he has completed by then – 24 years or 25 years? This question arises because we are not sure about what Sita meant by ‘Vayasa’ – the completed age or the running age.

This makes me look for other clues, mainly the oft repeated information about transit Jupiter in his Janma rasi at the time of his exile. For example, Pulippaani Siddhar says,

பாரப்பா யின்னமொன்று பகரக் கேளு

பரமகுரு சென்மத்தில் வந்த போது

கூறப்பா கோதண்டபாணி வீரன்

கொற்றவனே குடியேறிப் போகச் செய்தார் (verse 187)

When Jupiter came to Janma rasi, Kodandapani (Rama) had to leave (out of the country). There is also a popular verse in Tamil which says that when Guru came to Janma rasi, Rama had to leave for the forest; this verse also says that Janma Guru made Sita to be confined (in Lanka).

"ஜென்ம ராமர் வனத்திலே சீதையை சிறை வைத்ததும்

Jupiter was in his Janma rasi at Rama’s birth. It completes one cycle around the zodiac in 12 years. So, in 24 years, it must come back to its natal position, which was Kataka, Rama’s Janma rasi. So, I counted 24 years from his birth year Parābhava (Caitra month), to see if it came back to the Janma rasi of Rama.

In Caitra Punarvasu of the year Pramoda, Rama completed his 24 years. Simulation showed that Jupiter was in his Janma rasi at that time. The date was 17th December, 5091 BCE (Pramoda year, Caitra Punarvasu). (Simulator shows by default the same year (Sukla) for the entire Gregorian year from January to December. Sukla year ended in Phalguna before Chaitra. Pramoda started in Caitra.)

When Rama completed 24 years of age

Jupiter is in retrogression in the above simulation, but it came out of retrogression a fortnight after this date. Both debilitated Mars and Jupiter were in the Janma rasi of Rama in Pramoda year when he completed his 24th year. Saturn in seven-and-a-half-year sojourn through his Janma rasi added to the woes. It was in retrogression in the 2nd house to his Janma rasi.

I checked for the next year too (5090 BCE) when Rama completed 25 years. Jupiter was not in Janma rasi. It was in the second house. That year not fulfilling the Janma Guru position, it is dropped from reckoning.

Marriage date of Rama- Sita

Now the next cross-check involves counting 12 years backward from Pramoda year to see if it matches with his marriage date having both Purva Phalguni and Uttara Phalguni on the same day.

Counted from Pramoda-Caitra, I checked 12 years backward and zeroed in on two years Kālayukti and Pingala – one of it the likely year of marriage- coming 12 years before Pramoda- Caitra. Twelve years of married life having been completed on Caitra Punarvasu (when Dasaratha proposed coronation), I checked the Caitra month in Kālayukti and Pingala for the presence of both Purva Phalguni and Uttara Phalguni on the same day.

In Pingala year, Purva Phalguni was present at sunrise and ended at around 9-30 am. After that Uttara Phalguni started.

In Kālayukti year, (5102 BCE) the two stars were present on 2nd January, but Uttara Phalguni started after 4 pm in the evening and continued in the next morning. Evening is an odd time for marriage. Moreover, in the discussion on the 23rd day, king Janaka referred to Uttara Phalguni only as the star of the marriage day.

This makes me zero in on Pingala year as the year of marriage of Rama when Purva Phalguni was at sunrise and Uttara Phalguni started shortly thereafter.

We can safely locate the time of Rama-Sita Kalyanam on Pingala year, Caitra Shukla Trayodaśī, with Uttara Phalguni from 9-30 am onwards, on a Thursday. The Gregorian date was January 12, 5103 BCE.

Marriage date of Rama- Sita

Rama's age at the time of marriage

By Caitra Pingala, Rama completed 11 years of age, counted from his birth year, Parābhava.

So, Rama’s marriage took place in his 12th year. Counted from Pingala Caitra when Rama’s 12th year started, 12 years of married life (as told by Sita), ended in Caitra of Sukla year. Counted from his birth year (Parābhava), 23 years were over by Sukla Caitra. 

His 24th year was between Sukla Caitra and Pramoda Caitra.

On Pramoda Caitra Punarvasu, Dasaratha proposed the coronation. This was the 13th year of their marriage. By then the 24 years of Rama was over. (This gives the revelation that the year ended with the birth star Punarvasu. Next year started only in the next star, Pushya)

The next day was Caitra Pushya when the 25th year of Rama started. He started his exile on that day.

With the 7-year difference between Rama and Sita, Sita was 5 years old at the time of marriage. She must have been in her 6th year then. 


Rama’s age when he left Ayodhya.

The marriage took place on the 25th day after Rama left Ayodhya. It was on the 13th tithi after the New year started (Pingala Caitra Shukla Trayodaśī)

This means he left Ayodhya in the previous year, that is, Nala varsha when he had completed only 10 years and was running his 11th year.

Counted backwards from Uttara Phalguni at the time of his marriage, here are the dates for each day of his travel: (12 pm is the time taken)

1st day of leaving Ayodhya – Nala year, Phalguna month, Star Vishakha, Krishna Chaturthi, Monday, Dec 19th, 5104 BCE.

2nd night halt at a hermitage between Sarayu and ganga – star Anuradha, Krishna Shashti, Tuesday, 20th Dec, 5104 BCE (Krishna Panchami was present at sunrise, but Shashti started by noon)

3rd day Tataka vadha – star Jyeshtha, Krishna Saptami, Wednesday, 21st Dec, 5104 BCE

4th day – reached Vishvamitra’s hermitage – star Moola, Krishna Ashtami, Thursday, 22nd Dec, 5104 BCE

5th day – ritual started – star Pūrvāṣāḍhā, Krishna Navami, Friday, 23rd Dec, 5104 BCE.

6 days and 6 nights guarded the ritual.                      

5th to 10th day– guarded the ritual – From Krishna Navami -Pūrvāṣāḍhā to Krishna Caturdaśī-Purva Bhadrapada (Dec 23rd to 28th night, 5104 BCE )

11th day – started for Mithila, Nala, Phalguna, Krishna Caturdaśī, Purva Bhadrapada till afternoon, Thursday, 29th Dec, 5104 BCE

12th day – Nala, Phalguna, Amavasya, Uttara Bhadrapada, Friday 30th dec, 5104 BCE

13th night – stayed at Vishaala – star Revati. Pingala (New year) Caitra Shukla Pratipat, Saturday, 31st Dec 5104 BCE

14th day – reached Mithila – Pingala Caitra Shukla Dwitiya, Ashwini, Sunday, Jan 1, 5103 BCE

14th day Ahalya Shapa Vomocana – Pingala Caitra Shukla Dwitiya, Ashwini, Sunday, Jan 1, 5103 BCE

14th day – Received by Janaka.

15th day - Rama broke the Shiva Dhanush – Pingala Caitra Shukla Tritiya, Bharani, Monday, Jan 2, 5103 BCE

15th, 16th and 17th – Messengers travelled to reach Kosala. 2nd Jan to 4th Jan 5103 BCE, Bharani to Rohini

18th day – Message of Rama’s feat and marriage informed to Dasaratha. Pingala, Caitra Shukla Shashti, Mrigashirsha, Thursday, 5th Jan 5103 BCE

19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd – Travel of Dasaratha’s troupe to Mithila. Morning Mrigashirsha, then Arudra, next day, Punarvasu, Pushya, Aslesha 6th Jan to 9th Jan 5103BCE

23rd day – marriage talks – Pingala, Caitra Shukla Ekādaśī, Magha star from 1 pm, Tuesday, Jan 10, 5103 BCE

25th day Sita Kalyanam. Pingala, Caitra Shukla Trayodaśī, Uttara Phalguni from 9-30 am onwards, Thursday, Jan 12, 5103 BCE  


Rama left with Vishvamitra = Rama completed 10 years, running the 11th year. Year name Nala. Dec 19th, 5104 BCE.

Rama’s marriage = Rama completed 11 years, running his 12th year. Year name Pingala. January 12, 5103 BCE.

Rama was running Venus Bhukti in Saturn Maha Dasa at the time of his marriage.

Rama and Sita married for 12 years – From Pingala to Sukla

Rama completed 24 years of age – Caitra Pramoda

Coronation announced in the 13th year of their marriage – Pramoda year.