by Dr Narahari Achar (edited by Dr Manish Pandit)
Oak’s revolutionary theory of Vakra motion.
Summary: For those who can’t understand astronomy:
Genuine Retrograde motion is the situation where the planet will show a spectacular loop in the sky as it appears to stop and go backwards in its orbit with relation to the observer.
Here are the two points clearly shown:
Point A: Where the real Vakri motion happens in 5561BCE (in Yellow Arrow) it ends in April 5561BCE.
Point B: Where Oak’s so called “revolutionary Vakri” motion of crossing the ecliptic obliquely (Red Arrow) is shown. Mars crossing the ecliptic obliquely in 5561BCE after 30th May 5561BCE (In June 5561BCE).
You decide. Is B noticeable?
The ecliptic by the way is a line only shown in softwares, in the real sky it cannot be seen, it has to be computed or imagined. Can this ever qualify as “Vakri motion?”
Oak writes a voluminous introduction to retrograde motion which can be found in any elementary astronomy text book.
Mr Oak claims 215 astronomical observations in the epic that his date of 5561 BCE for the Mahabharata war can account for, but lists 27 major observations that he really emphasizes. But out of these 27
‘observations’, except for 4, all the observations are referenced from Udyoga and Bhishma parvas only.
The four references come from Drona, Karna and Shalya parvas and refer to the 13th , 14th and 17th day of the war. We shall concentrate for the time being on the twenty three major astronomical references taken
from Udyoga and Bhishma parvas.
References in the Udyoga and Bhisma Parvas:
At the outset it must be stated that these references are all omens (nimittas).Only Krishna does not refer to
any nimitta. He simply says:
सप्तमाच्चापि दिवसाद् अमावास्या भविष्यति
संग्रामो युज्यतांतस्यां तमाहुः शक्रदेवताम् ॥ V.140.18॥
स्वप्नाहि बहवो घोरा दृश्यन्ते मधुसूदन
निमित्तानिच घोराणितथोत्पाताः सदारुणाः. ॥V.141.6॥
प्राजापत्यं हि नक्षत्रं ग्रहस्तीक्ष्णो महाद्युतिः
शनैश्चरः पीडयति पीडयन् प्राणिनोधिकम् ॥V.141.7॥
कृत्वाचाङ्गारको वक्रंज्येष्ठायां मधुसूदन
अनूराधां प्रार्थयते मैत्रं संगमयन्निव ॥V.141.9॥
“ Oh Madhusudana, many horrifying dreams(nightmares) are seen. So also frightful omens and terrifying
Among these omens Karna mentions Saturn afflicting Rohini, Mars performing vakra motion near
Jyeshtha and as if praying for friendship with anuradha.
“afflicting”, “vakra” are terms with specific meanings.
Key Shastra definitions of Affliction:
Varahamihira defines affliction in the following way:
रवि रविसुत भोगमागतं क्षितिसुत भेदनवक्रदूषितम्।
ग्रहणगतम् अथोल्क्याहतं नियतम् उषाकर पीडितञ्च तत्॥
A nakshtra is said to be afflicted (pidita) when
(1) It is tenanted by Sun(ravi) or Saturn (ravisuta)
(2) It is spoilt by Mars(kshitisuta)by either cutting through or by vakra motion
(3) When it is involved in an eclipse
(4) When it is stuck by a meteor
(5) When it is manifestly crushed by moon
(6) Or when something unnatural happens to it.
When a nakshatra is thus thus afflicted all the people and things coming under its jurisdiction will be harmed.
From these it will be clear that the references are for the affliction of Rohini ( Saturn being near it ;bhogamagatam’, Lunar eclipse on Kartika Pornima), and Jyeshtha ( Mars being vakra near it, Solar eclipse)
As for Oak’s interpretation of these terms ‘affliction’ and ‘vakra’, they cannot be accepted.
Further mistakes in Oak’s theory of affliction:
For ‘afflicting’ Rohini, Saturn must be near Rohini, not looking down from east as Rohini sets in the west.
On 10 th Sept 5561 BCE, which is the day according to Oak When Krishna and Karna ride together, Rohini sets at 7:17 am. Mercury and Saturn are in the eastern Sky But the sun is also up (5:46 am) and hence neither Mercury nor Saturn can be seen. Can Saturn be described as afflicting Rohini, when it cannot be seen? Moreover, Mercury is also in the eastern sky, but the epic does not say mercury is afflicting Rohini.
Vakra Motion of Mars:
As far as the ‘vakra’ motion of Mars is concerned, Mars is retrograde between 11 Feb to about 1 Apr.
5561 BCE and exhibits a spectacular loop seen in the star map.
Mars’s orbit is inclined to the ecliptic at about 1.85°. When Mars crosses the ecliptic on June 4, 5561, it is at a oblique angle because of the inclination and it is hardly noticeable and shows no deviation from normality (as opposed to the retrograde loop) and can hardly be considered a nimitta. Furthermore, Mars crosses the ecliptic in the future on 24 Apr. 5560 BCE, but the Sun is at exactly the same location and neither Mars nor its oblique crossing can be seen.
Oak’s claims can therefore not be accepted as above.
We will consider next his claims on the vakra motion of Jupiter and Saturn in the next post.