Mahabharata question

Georg von Simson g.v.simson at EAST.UIO.NO
Mon Mar 20 16:13:21 UTC 2000

Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

>In consonance with the much bemoaned transformation of this list into a
>battlefield, partly due to a perceived scientists vs. humanists polarity,
>let me ask an astronomical question regarding an ancient battle.
>In the Mahabharata, when acting as an envoy for the Pandavas, Krishna parts
>from Karna with the statement that the two armies should meet in seven days
>time, on a new moon day. Is the epic consistent throughout, in telling us
>that the battle started on the new moon day? I would very much appreciate
>specific references.

As far as I can see, Mbh. (Poona Edition) 5.140.18 is the only passage
where the start of the battle on the new moon day "which has Indra as its
deity" (that means probably jyeSThA so that the month would be mArgazIrSa)
is mentioned. Though the chronological account of the Mahabharata battle
does not seem to be quite consistent (see my article "Narrated time and its
relation to the supposed Year Myth in the MahAbhArata", in M. Brockington
and P. Schreiner (ed.): Composing a Tradition. Proc. of the First Dubrovnik
Int. Conference on the Sanskrit Epics and Puranas, Zagreb 1999, p.49-66,
here p. 59 f.), it is nowhere said that the battle did NOT start on a new
moon day.

Best regards,


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