The date of Mahabharata is often debated.
However it may be noted that it has been accepted as a Fact of History and not a legend.
People who deny that the Mahabharata is History and based on facts are those who deny because they find the impossibility of some of the feats and Physiognomy of the characters in the Epic .
I will posting on this.
Now based on the internal evidence which abounds in The Mahabharata and external references to the Mahabharata fix the date somewhere between
3129 BCJ and 2559 BCJ.
This wide gap between the Dates is due to our present of Time,
Please read my posts on Time filed under Time,Astrophysics( Read my posts on Ravana’s date,Ram’s Date,Places traveled by Lord Rama)
Evidence for this conclusion.
1.External Evidence based on references to Mahabharata by other Works.
“Aryabhata, is a famous early astronomer with contributions to science, whose estimate of p, and the time of moon revolution around the earth are so accurate, that his works are being extensively researched. Aryabhata(476-550 AD) stated that Kaliyuga started 3600 years before, when he was 23 years old, making the start as 3102 BC [Aryabhateeya ref-1]). It would date Mahabharata war to around circa 3130-3140 BCJ.
Surya Siddhanta [Ref 2], a document evolved from roughly same period, states that sun was 54 degrees away from vernal equinox when Kaliyuga started on a new moon day, corresponding to February 17/18, 3102 BCJ, at Ujjain (75deg47minE 23deg 15min N).
Varaha Mihira (circa 560 AD), another famous astronomer, stated that 2526 years before start of Saka count (either Shalivahana saka starting in 79 AD orVikrama Saka starting in 57 BC) [Brihat Samhita Ref-3].
When Saptarishis (ursa major) was near Magha Yudhistira was king 2526 years before Sakatime
Presently, traditional Sanatana Dharma followers consider that Kaliyuga started at 3102 BCJ, when Sri Krishna passed away, and that Mahabharata war occurred in 3138 BCJ. Millennium year 2000 AD is Kali 5102.”
Internal Evidence in The Mahabharata.
The Bhishma Parva and Udyoga Parva(specific chapters of Mahabharata) provide considerable astronomical/astrological descriptions and omens as the Mahabharatawar was approaching. It describes a period of draught, with many planetary positions. Then there is this clear reference to pair of eclipses occurring on 13th day as shown below.
Fourteenth day, Fifteenth day and in past sixteenth day, but I have never known the Amavasya(New Moon day) to occur on the thirteenth day. Lunar eclipse followed by solar eclipse on thirteenth day is in a single lunar month etc…
This reference to Thirteen day eclipse pair appears to be a unique astronomical observation.
Mahabharata text also refers to retrograde motions of planets prior to war and provides their location with reference to 27/28 Vedic star locations. Mahabharata Drona Parva also refers toJayadhratha’s killing during a dark episode on 13th day of the war, which some consider as another short solar eclipse.
This document is basically concerned with analysis of all eclipses visible at Kurukshethra(Location where Mahabharata war took place, north of New Delhi, Longitude 76 deg 49 min East, Latitude 29 deg 59 Min North) from 3300 BC to about Buddha-Mahavira-Parshvanaathatime of about 700BC. Analysis of the time between successive eclipses, specifically time between end of one and beginning of other has been made, with a view to look at astronomical feasibility of back-to-back eclipses in 13 days, using modern astronomical computer software.
Another major issue of how did observers of the period define and determine period between eclipses when no clocks existed, has been addressed.
Lunar eclipse occurs when Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon. There are about 150 lunar eclipses per century. Lunar eclipses can occur only at full moon, and can be either total or partial. Further they can be umbral and or penumbral. Total lunar eclipses can last up to 2 hours, while partial lunar eclipses can last up to 4 hours. Any observer on dark face of earth can see when lunar eclipse when it occurs. During period 3500BC to 700 BC, nearly 4350 lunar eclipses have probably occurred. A good fraction of these would have been visible inKurukshethra [ref-6].
Solar Eclipse occurs when Moon’s shadow falls on earth observer. About 240 solar eclipses occur every century. During period 3500BC to 700 BC, nearly 6960 Solar Eclipses have occurred. Solar can occur only at new moon. Solar eclipses may be total or annular. Total solar eclipses can last up to about 8 minutes, and partial solar eclipses can last up to 115minutes. The shadow of moon has a limited size of few thousand miles falling on nearly 8000-mile diameter earth. Hence, solar eclipses can be seen only in a limited range of longitude-latitude where the shadow falls. Elsewhere, even though sun is visible, eclipse will not be seen.
Eclipse evaluating computational software and its validation in present context
Astronomical calculations have been greatly improved since past 30 years, particularly with considerable amount of trajectory work conducted in Moon and other scientific projects. High accuracy computer models and software have been developed. These are validated against databases from US Naval Observatory‘s Interactive computer Ephemeris, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. One such code is LodeStar Pro copy righted by Wayne C Annala in 1994 [Ref- 7]. The Lodestar Pro was checked for historical eclipses of 1000-2500 BC from clay tablet records of Mesopotamia area presently available with British Museum. Wayne Mitchell has analyzed this data [Ref-8]. Lodestar Pro provided excellent match with ref-8.
Eclipses at Kurukshethra
During the period of our interest, 3500BC to 700 BC, nearly 4350 Lunar Eclipses and 6960 solar eclipses have occurred on earth. Of these nearly 673 solar and lunar eclipses occurred in pairs of time gap of about nominal 15 days corresponding to roughly half lunar month. We need to search amongst these 673 for eclipse pairs visible in Kurukshethra, which occurred in ‘Thirteen’ days.
A very detailed scan of all the visible lunar and solar eclipses for every year from 3300BC to 700 BC was made on the Lodestar software for Kurukshethra location. These are tabulated and plotted. Maximum eclipse time gap (end of one eclipse and beginning of next eclipse for naked eye observers) was found to be about 379 hours while the minimum was about 332 hours. A plot of time gap between back-to-back eclipses versus eclipse pair number is shown below. (This time corresponds to maximum to maximum – not end of one to beginning of next as in the future table).
Julian Calendar from 412 BC
It is easy for us, in present time, to precisely analyze the eclipse times based on a 24 hour per day time clock. However many thousand years ago, such a time evaluation would clearly be irrelevant. Hence the count of the day and time had to be based on clear, natural and unambiguous events such as sunset to sunset or sunrise to sun rise. Hence in all the analyses, presented below, the time of relevant sun rise or sun set is indicated such that the eclipse beginning and end can be evaluated with reference to the sun rise or sun set. In modern day definition, the period from sunrise to next sunrise is never 24 hours except on equinox day. On all other days, the time will be either less than 24 hours (when day light time is shrinking) and more than 24 hours (when day light time is increasing). For people of ancient times, sunset-to-sunset or sunrise-to-sunrise would be the logical definition of a day. Using this definition, it is possible to determine whether an eclipse pair occurred in ‘Thirteen days’.
Kurukshethra eclipses and some planetary retrograde motions
The table below shows six pairs of eclipses, which can be analyzed further to determine whether Mahabharata war and events could occur then.
Six eclipse pairs visible at Kurukshethra occurring in less than or near 14 days
Events in red not visible due to sun rise (Lunar) or sun set (Solar)
Year BC Eclipse Julian day Initial con Max End Sunrise Sunset end/start date.
Follow the Link for The Table.
After serious analysis of all the eclipses, six eclipse pairs from 3129 BCJ, 2599 BCJ, 2056 BCJ, 1853 BCJ, 1708 BCJ and 1397 BCJ clearly are the best candidates for Mahabharata war year from ‘thirteen day’ eclipse pairs view point. There are others that have low obscurity for solar eclipse, or have dominant penumbral lunar eclipse content and hence do not constitute strong candidates for the Mahabharata war.
One typical eclipse pair of the six is illustrated using Lodestar Pro views of the relevant sunset/sunrise periods. The light/day transition is clearly shown in all the eclipse, which would form the only method of determining that the eclipses occurred in less than fourteen days, which has to be called thirteen-day eclipses. Planets Sani (Saturn) and Brihaspati (Jupiter),Shukra (Venus) in retrograde motion are illustrated for period around the eclipse pairs.
Other Researches place the date at There are astrological, natural, geographical, physical, inscriptional and scriptural evidences that unquestionably establish the date of Mahabharat war as 3139 BC and the beginning of kaliyug as 3102 BC.
The dynasty of Surya Vansh of Kaushal (Ayodhya) ends with Sumitra (Bhagwatam 9/12/16); the dynasty of Chandra Vansh of Hastinapur ends with Chemak (Bhagwatam 9/22/44, 45); and the dynasties of the kingdom of Magadh flourished up to the Gupt dynasty (80’s BC).The kingdom of Hastinapur, after Chemak, was constantly ruled by the people who took over the throne. An ancient book describing the date-wise chronology of all the kings of Hastinapur (Indraprasth or Delhi) from Yudhishthir up to Vikramaditya was found by the proprietors of the fortnightly magazine of Nathdwara (Rajasthan) called “Harishchandra Chandrika and Mohan Chandrika” in about 1872 AD. The proprietor of the magazine printed the entire description in two of its issues (called kiran) 19 and 20 of 1882.