We already know that Gopatha Brāhmaṇa was written around 23,000 BCE according to logical and scientific reasoning. Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa compilation has always been of utmost importance and critical. In his translation of Vedga Jyotia, Shri PV Kane asserted that although some researchers derive Vedic Uttarayana from the Vernal Equinox, others derive it from the Winter Solstice. We have already determined that the new year began with Vasanta, and Agni was the first and foremost of the season and year, which is also a synonym for Vernal Equinox, based on numerous evidences from various literature, including Saidhantic writings. Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa makes an intriguing cross reference in Gopatha Brhmaa. Since all of them—Brāhmaṇas, Aranyakās and Upaniṣads—are references to the Vedas, the Saṃvatsara beginning must be the same in each text.
Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa evidence in Gopatha Brāhmaṇa
Gopatha contains evidence that refers to “six limbs.” (see the pic below). It consistently makes reference to Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa’s research and its existence as early as Gopatha periods. Let’s examine it.
Gopatha Brāhmaṇa (1.1.27) (see the screenshot above) where (षडङ्गविदस्तत्तथाऽधीमहे), ṣaḍaṅgavidastattathā’dhīmahe mentions clearly that (षडङ्गविद्-) ṣaḍaṅgavid i.e., “knowing the six limbs” were known during 23,000 BCE. We also saw that saṃvatsara in Gopatha began from Vasanta with the help of its internal evidence (see here).
It is thus correct when I conjecture that since Brāhmaṇās are vedic texts, and Vedāṅga is a part of Vedas as one of the six limbs, then the new year beginning in Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa cannot be different from Brāhmaṇas. This is to bring to notice of many researchers who assign new year beginning from Winter Solstice in Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa.
Interesting Note on the Occurrence of Place Names in Gopatha Brāhmaṇa
One can read that the places mentioned are Kuru, Pāñcāla, Kāśī, Magadha and other northern provinces but not beyond Vindhyā range. My talk and research paper on Agastya crossing Vindhyā during 19000 BCE is thus corroborated even with the help of Gopatha Brāhmaṇa. I had conjectured in my talk that place names started appearing from around 26000 BCE with the help of Jaimini’s – “Agastya leaving Kurukṣetra” reference. This was the first ever occurrence of place name in vedic texts. (Note that Brāhmaṇa, Aranyakās were edited during MBH times also, noted famously by Vyāsa.)
If the theories are correct then the proof will always settle with the truth. We know Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa has two recensions-one Rik and other Yajus (why two recensions?, is yet another question to the inquisitive minds). But now we know that the ṣaḍāṅga which includes vedāṅga is older than Gopatha (23000 BCE). How old these ṣaḍāṅga had been? That too remains a question. We will solve it sometime down the lane when the new evidence surfaces.