By Dr Manish Pandit
The first set of verses are from the battle of Shalya on Day 18 of the war:
First: vyadṛśyata tadā śalyo yudhiṣṭhirasamīpataḥ
raṇe candramaso ‘bhyāśe śanaiścara iva grahaḥ (MBh 9/15- 16/ 10,11,12)
pīḍayitvā tu rājānaṃ śarairāśīviṣopamaiḥ abhyadhāvatpunarbhīmaṃ śaravarṣairavākirat (11)
tasya tallāghavaṃ dṛṣṭvā tathaiva ca kṛtāstratām apūjayannanīkāni pareṣāṃ tāvakāni ca (12)
From verse 10-12 we get a story of the attack of Shalya who is compared to Saturn and Yudhistira is compared to the Moon. Shortly thereafter Shalya attacks Bhima.
The problem arises when researchers confuse these analogies with real observations. Please note that the real observations are noted in the relevant chapters of my book: Here you must read Chapter 4 which is on Saturn which can only have three positions and one must explain and reconcile the three with alternative explanations. Read the book below for more:
Actual position of Saturn and Moon on 18th war day: Elsewhere in the text of the Mahabharata, we get the positions of Moon which can only be at Shravana nakshatra on the last day of the war (read my chapter on Balarama’s pilgrimage to understand why). This means that the reference given on Shalya being compared to Saturn and Yudhistira to the Moon may be just another analogy (unless one wants the absurdity of a 4th possibility for Saturn’s position in the text. This is why it’s important to have a critical understanding of the text and astronomy otherwise one may mistake mere analogies for true observations of the sky.
Anybody claiming corroboration of analogy of not really existing Saturn and Moon conjunction (like Shalya n Yudhistira) on #Day18 should explain how Moon came to be in two places at the same time : Shravana nakshatra which is given as the end of Balarama’s pilgrimage and 18th day of the war and their position of Moon wherever it may be: Pushya/ Ashlesha nakshatra on that day 18. Moon cannot be in two places at the same time.
By the way in 5561BCE, #Day18 , Moon at Pushya till 1230 then Ashlesha, Saturn 60 degrees away so not near. (UNABLE TO replicate conditions of text critical edition,)
In 3067BCE: Moon at Shravana (replicating conditions of text critical edition), Saturn at Rohini.
To be continued….