Fascinating Astronomical and Eustatic Observation by King Brhadratha
Let us see some interesting observations of King Bṛhadratha in the Maitrayāṇī Upanishad(MAU).
I have once mentioned King Bṛhadratha in one of my previous blogs, is a Rigvedic Ikshvaku lineage king mentioned in Rigveda (I. 36.18, X. 49.6). The Maitrayāṇī Upanishad – MAU has very interesting evidence. This upanishad is known as “सामवेदीय सामान्य उपनिषत्” a simple Upanishad which is a conversation between King Bṛhadratha who is ikshvaku lineage king, “बृहद्रथेक्ष्वाकुवंशध्वजशीर्षात्मजः” which came out of many inquisitive observations due to aversion towards life. One observation was brought to notice by Shri RN Iyengar in his research paper on Dhruva where he has identified Dhruva as Thuban. He has noted that ‘why Dhruva drifts, why the air strings holding the celestial bodies dip (kim…..dhruvasya pracalanam…vâtarajjûnâm nimajjanam)’. Implicit in this enquiry is the statement: ‘the North Star understood by us as fixed has changed its position’. This is not just one information attested here but it contains other crucial astronomical observations which are as under.
We draw important conjectures to be objectively tested from the below given data from MAU.
(1) अथ किमेतैर्वा परेऽन्ये महाधनुर्धराश्चक्रवर्तिनः केचित्सुद्युम्नभूरिद्युम्नेन्द्रद्युम्नकुवलयाश्वयौवनाश्ववद्धियाश्वाश्वपतिः शशबिन्दुर्हारिश्चन्द्रोऽम्बरीषो ननूक्तस्वयातिर्ययातिनरण्योक्षसेनोत्थमरुत्तभरतप्रभृतयो राजानो मिषतो बन्धुवर्गस्य महतीं श्रियं त्यक्त्वास्माल्लोकादमुं लोकं प्रयान्ति ॥ १.५॥ From this prapāṭhaka 1.4 we get information of ancient kings like Sudyumna, Bhuridyumna, Indradyumna, Kuvalayāśva, Yauvanāśva, Vaddhiyāśva, Aśvapati, Shaśabindu, Hariśchandra, Ambrīṣa(son of Mandhatri), Nahuṣa, Anānata, Svayāti, Yayāti (son of Nahusha), Anaraṇya, Ukṣasena, Marutta and Bharata were predecessor to Bṛhadratha.
(2) “अथ किमेतैर्वान्यानां शोषणं महार्णवानां शिखरिणां प्रपतनं ध्रुवस्य प्रचलनं स्थानं वा तरूणां निमज्जनं पृथिव्याः स्थानादपसरणं सुराणं सोऽहमित्येतद्विधेऽस्मिन्संसारे किं कामोपभोगैर्यैरेवाश्रितस्यासकृदिहावर्तनं दृश्यत इत्युद्धर्तुमर्हसीत्यन्धोदपानस्थो भेक इवाहमस्मिन्संसारे भगवंस्त्वं नो गतिस्त्वं नो गतिः ॥ १.७॥ ” इति प्रथमः प्रपाठकः ॥ Last of the first prapaathaka gives ,” Among other things there is drying of other great oceans, the falling of mountains, The moving of the polestar, the cutting of wind ropes (that hold the stars), the submergence of the earth, and the departure of the (suras) gods (from their places)…”, two important astronomical information A) Moving of a pole star and B) Longitudinal change of position of stars– precession and, C) third and very important information is about the drying of Ocean, which could have been assumed to be accounted by Bṛhadratha due to his remorsefulness towards life, yet I take this as an evidence and in our times with ample research data this can be objectively tested.
(3) अन्नं वा अस्य सर्वस्य योनिः कालश्चान्नस्य सूर्यो योनिः कालस्य तस्यैतद्रूपं यन् निमेषादिकालात्सम्भृतं द्वादशात्मकं वत्सरमेतस्याग्नेयमर्धमर्धं वारुणं मघाद्यं श्रविष्ठार्धमाग्नेयं क्रमेणोत्क्रमेण सार्पाद्यं श्रविष्ठार्धान्तं सौम्यम्…॥ ६.१४॥ The sixth prapāṭhaka gives information of his time where Samvatsara appears in the beginning of Maghaa and ends at half of Shravishtha, this portion is ruled by Agni. And in continuation from Ashlesha to the end of Shravishtha’s half is sacred to Soma. Below is the translation given by
(4) पञ्चेष्टको वा एषोऽग्निः संवत्सरः तस्येमा इष्टका यो वसन्तो ग्रीष्मो वर्षाः शरद्धेमन्तः स शिरःपक्षसीपृच्च्हपृष्टवान् एषोऽग्निः पुरुषविदः सेयं प्रजापतेः प्रथमा चितिः करैर्यजमानमन्तरिक्षमुत्क्षिओप्त्वा वायवे प्रायच्च्हत् प्राणो वै वायुः प्राणोऽग्निस्तस्येमा इष्टका यः प्राणो व्यानोऽपानः समान उदानः स शिरःपक्षसीपृष्ठपुच्च्हवानेषोऽग्निः पुरुषविदस्तदिदमन्तरिक्षं प्रजापतेर्द्वितीया चितिः करैर्यजमानं दिवमुत्क्षिप्तेन्द्राय प्रायच्च्हत् असौ वा आदित्य इन्द्रः सैषोऽग्निः तस्येमा इष्टका यदृग्यजुः सामाथर्वाङ्गिरसा इतिहासं पुराणं स शिरःपक्षसीपुच्च्हपृष्ठवानेषोऽग्निः पुरुषविदः सैषा द्यौः प्रजापतेस्तृतीया चितिः करैर्यजमानस्यात्मविदेऽवदानं करोति यथात्मविदुत्क्षिप्य ब्रह्मणे प्रायच्च्हत् तत्रानन्दी मोदी भवति ॥ ६.३३॥ Here the year has been explained as five bricks and these bricks are attested to seasons viz first season spring, then summer, the rains, autumn and winter. Rig-veda also mentions only 5 seasons. Winters have not been segregated into Hemanta and Shishir during Bṛhadratha’s time, this is also an important point to be noted in this 6th prapāṭhaka. From this internal evidence that the year begins with vasanta we can now place Magha in vasant sampat-vernal equinox. This can take us to either 8500 BCE or 33800 BCE(± 500) + many Magha epochs of the past. From the below sea-level history we see that there is a steep decline during that period. the receding of sea level would have been quite noticeable by the coastal people. On the contrary during 8500 BCE, the phenomena was opposite, there was considerable sea level rise and we have archeological evidence of Konkana’s 25 km artificial wall created during 8000-9000 BCE to combat this sea level rise at its coastal stretch. Thus, if Bṛhadratha is noticing the sea level decline it should be at least from the earlier epoch of Magha when the sea levels declined steeply due to impact of high glaciation during LGP.
Bṛhadratha watched polestar also drifting away which is noted in point no. 2 above. Iota Herculis was the pole star during 35,750 BCE. Any pole star is a good candidate for a duration of ±1000. Therefore Iota Herculis stood near polestar condition till 34,750 BCE and during 33800 BCE Bṛhadratha would have had noticed the star shifting from the pole point, considerably, quite away and must had heard of such phenomenal memories coming down to his times.
- Bṛhadratha is an ancient king who gives very ancient king names like Ambrīṣa (son of Mandhatṛ), Nahusha, Anaraṇya, Yayāti (son of Nahusha) etc.
- His observations A) Moving of a pole star and B) Longitudinal change of position of stars and, C) thirdly very important information is about the drying of Ocean and all leads to the epoch of Magha of 33800 BCE, drifting away from polestar Iota Herculis with steep decline of sea level during that epoch.
- Vernal equinox in Magha, thus its epoch 8500 BCE and 33800 BCE, in which 33800 BCE appears to be correct with corroborative eustatic evidence.
- To clear the hoax of samvatsara- year beginning in winter solstice, which has been followed blindly, against this we here have evidence of construct of year with first Ritu Vasanta in prapāṭhaka 6.33. Thus Magha Nakshatra is to be seen during Vasanta sampaat- vernal equinox. Seasons are experiential. Seasons mentioned in MAU are only five similar to Rig veda, apparently LGP times, till the advent of LGM, wouldn’t have appreciated difference between Hemanta and Shishira, just like todays European doesn’t bifurcate winters. This evidence also corroborates Magha of previous cycle.