Fascinating Astronomical and Eustatic Observation by King Bṛhadratha

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, who is a Rigvedic Ikṣvāku lineage king mentioned in Rigveda (I. 36.18, X. 49.6). The Maitrayāṇī Upanishad – MAU has very interesting various evidence in regard to noticing of Astronomy and other sciences. This upanishad is known as “सामवेदीय सामान्य उपनिषत्”, a simple Upanishad, which is a conversation between King Bṛhadratha who is Ikṣvāku lineage king, “बृहद्रथेक्ष्वाकुवंशध्वजशीर्षात्मजः bṛhadrathekṣvākuvaṃśadhvajaśīrṣātmajaḥ” 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 the important conjectures to be objectively tested from the below given data in MAU.

(1) अथ किमेतैर्वा परेऽन्ये महाधनुर्धराश्चक्रवर्तिनः केचित्सुद्युम्नभूरिद्युम्नेन्द्रद्युम्नकुवलयाश्वयौवनाश्ववद्धियाश्वाश्वपतिः शशबिन्दुर्हारिश्चन्द्रोऽम्बरीषो ननूक्तस्वयातिर्ययातिनरण्योक्षसेनोत्थमरुत्तभरतप्रभृतयो राजानो मिषतो बन्धुवर्गस्य महतीं श्रियं त्यक्त्वास्माल्लोकादमुं लोकं प्रयान्ति ॥ १.५॥ 

atha kimetairvā pare'nye mahādhanurdharāścakravartinaḥ kecitsudyumnabhūridyumnendradyumnakuvalayāśvayauvanāśvavaddhiyāśvāśvapatiḥ śaśabindurhāriścandro'mbarīṣo nanūktasvayātiryayātinaraṇyokṣasenotthamaruttabharataprabhṛtayo rājāno miṣato bandhuvargasya mahatīṃ śriyaṃ tyaktvāsmāllokādamuṃ lokaṃ prayānti ॥ 1.5॥ 


(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 ॥


"atha kimetairvānyānāṃ śoṣaṇaṃ mahārṇavānāṃ śikhariṇāṃ prapatanaṃ dhruvasya pracalanaṃ sthānaṃ vā tarūṇāṃ nimajjanaṃ pṛthivyāḥ sthānādapasaraṇaṃ surāṇaṃ so'hamityetadvidhe'sminsaṃsāre kiṃ kāmopabhogairyairevāśritasyāsakṛdihāvartanaṃ dṛśyata ityuddhartumarhasītyandhodapānastho bheka ivāhamasminsaṃsāre bhagavaṃstvaṃ no gatistvaṃ no gatiḥ ॥ 1.7॥ " iti prathamaḥ prapāṭhakaḥ ॥  

From this prapāṭhaka 1.4 we get information of ancient kings like Sudyumna, Bhuridyumna, Indradyumna, Kuvalayāśva, Yauvanāśva, Vaddhiyāśva, Aśvapati, Śaśabindu, Hariśchandra, Ambrīṣa(son of Mandhatri), Nahuṣa, Anānata, Svayāti, Yayāti (son of Nahuṣa), Anaraṇya, Ukṣasena, Marutta and Bharata were predecessor to Bṛhadratha.

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 starsprecession 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॥ 

(3) annaṃ vā asya sarvasya yoniḥ kālaścānnasya sūryo yoniḥ kālasya tasyaitadrūpaṃ yan nimeṣādikālātsambhṛtaṃ dvādaśātmakaṃ vatsarametasyāgneyamardhamardhaṃ vāruṇaṃ maghādyaṃ śraviṣṭhārdhamāgneyaṃ krameṇotkrameṇa sārpādyaṃ śraviṣṭhārdhāntaṃ saumyam...॥ 6.14॥ 

The sixth prapāṭhaka gives information of his time where Saṃvatsara appears in the beginning of Maghā and ends at half of Shravishtha, this portion is ruled by Agni. And in continuation from Aśleśa to the end of Śhraviṣṭhā’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॥ 

pañceṣṭako vā eṣo'gniḥ saṃvatsaraḥ tasyemā iṣṭakā yo vasanto grīṣmo varṣāḥ śaraddhemantaḥ sa śiraḥpakṣasīpṛcchapṛṣṭavān eṣo'gniḥ puruṣavidaḥ seyaṃ prajāpateḥ prathamā citiḥ karairyajamānamantarikṣamutkṣioptvā vāyave prāyacchat prāṇo vai vāyuḥ prāṇo'gnistasyemā iṣṭakā yaḥ prāṇo vyāno'pānaḥ samāna udānaḥ sa śiraḥpakṣasīpṛṣṭhapucchavāneṣo'gniḥ puruṣavidastadidamantarikṣaṃ prajāpaterdvitīyā citiḥ karairyajamānaṃ divamutkṣiptendrāya prāyacchat asau vā āditya indraḥ saiṣo'gniḥ tasyemā iṣṭakā yadṛgyajuḥ sāmātharvāṅgirasā itihāsaṃ purāṇaṃ sa śiraḥpakṣasīpucchapṛṣṭhavāneṣo'gniḥ puruṣavidaḥ saiṣā dyauḥ prajāpatestṛtīyā citiḥ karairyajamānasyātmavide'vadānaṃ karoti yathātmavidutkṣipya brahmaṇe prāyacchat tatrānandī modī bhavati ॥ 6.33॥ 

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 Maghā in vasant sampāt-vernal equinox. This can take us to either 8500 BCE or 33800 BCE(± 500) + many Maghā 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 Maghā when the sea levels had declined steeply due to the 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 and quite away, and must had heard of such phenomenal memories coming down to his times.

Conclusion

  1. Bṛhadratha is an ancient king who gives very ancient king names like Ambrīṣa (son of Mandhatṛ), Nahuṣa, Anaraṇya, Yayāti (son of Nahuṣa) etc.
  2. 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 Maghā of 33800 BCE, drifting away from polestar Iota Hercules with steep decline of sea level during that epoch.
  3. Vernal equinox in Maghā, thus its epoch 8500 BCE and 33800 BCE, in which 33800 BCE appears to be correct with corroborative eustatic evidence.
  4. To clear the hoax of saṃvatsara– year beginning in winter solstice, which has been followed blindly, against this we here have an evidence of construct of year with first season as spring in prapāṭhaka 6.33. Thus, Maghā Nakṣatra is to be seen during Vasanta sampāt- 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 Śiśira, just like todays European doesn’t bifurcate winters. This evidence also corroborates Maghā of previous cycle.

Footnote

13 thoughts on “Fascinating Astronomical and Eustatic Observation by King Bṛhadratha

    1. Thank you, I think these are very preliminary short writings and they go for many edits and corrections time to time. I write in a hurry so. Please send me your email.id on my twitter message or here. I can then forward it to you for final publication. All these write-ups are edited time to time with inter links introduced. I hope you understand.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ma’am, I have been searching your blogs for your study on Nahusha for no avail,may be I am missing some key words. Can you please share me the links for your study on Nahusha. I hope you won’t mind .🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Namaste Rupaji,
    Seasons Greetings!

    Contacting you to share a folklore that can possibly be connected to Ancient Indian Itihasa and Hindu literature.

    While I was reading your article on “Fascinating Astronomical and Eustatic Observation by King Bṛhadratha” I recollecting one folklore where receding water level is mentioned. The folklore relates to Lord Parashuram. It is said that the Kokan – west coast land is reclaimed from the Sea by Lord Parashurama. See if this folklore fits into any astronomical observation like “Agastya Vindhya Lore”.

    Thank you very much for giving new perspective to look at Ancient Indian Itihasa and Hindu literature. I will be happy to be part of this movement.

    Shrihari Arjunwadkar

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s