Sunday, March 19, 2017

Archaeobotanical evidences have revealed that plants referred to in Ramayan existed in India 7000 years back, which was the period of Mid Holocene Climatic Optima with good Monsoonal rains.

Archaeological evidence of ornaments like signet ring and churamani, referred to in Ramayan, 7000 years back

After carrying out in depth research for 8 years, I have worked out sequential astronomical dates of Mahabharat war and of related events. These are also supported by Scientific evidences from Archaeology, Archaebotany , Geology, Remote sensing imagery, DNA studies etc. A summary is given below.

Mahabharat Retold with Scientific Evidences

Saroj Bala
IRS (1972 Batch), Retd. Member, CBDT
Director, Institute of scientific Research on Vedas

Entire ancient history, revealed through Vedas and Epics, is capable of being re-constructed scientifically with accuracy by making use of modern scientific tools and technologies, which include planetarium software. The astronomical references of Rigveda could be observed in the sky between 7000 BCE and 5000 BCE, whereas those of Ramayan could be observed sequentially around 5100 BCE. The astronomical references of Mahabharat pertain to the sky views observed sequentially between 3153 BCE and 3102 BCE. For arriving at these dates, following approach & methodology were adopted –

·       More than one lakh slokas contained in nine volumes of Mahabharat (Parimal Publications) were scrutinized and astronomical references were extracted sequentially. Only those which were found in Critical Edition as well were identified for sequential dating. All translations were redone with the help of Sanskrit scholars and referring to dictionaries as some of the traditional translations were found to be not fully correct.

·       Astronomical references from Sabha parva, Vana Parva, Udyog Parva, Bhisma Parva, Shalya Parva, Shanti Parva, and Mausal Parva have been dated sequentially by making use of Planetarium software (Fogware). The internal consistency of astronomical dates with the text of Mahabharta was ensured. Astronomical dates calculated by almost all the scholars during last 130 years were analysed with respect and genuine efforts were made to provide the missing links and to make the dating more comprehensive.

·       Vana Parva of Mahabharat reveals that in Mahabharat days asterisms were being counted from Rohini as equinox was on that.  Astronomically there is precession of equinox by one degree in 72 years. Today Spring equinox is in 3rd quarter of Purva Bhadrapad Asterism; thus equinox has moved by more than 5.25 naksatras (Krttika, Bharani, Asvini, Revati, and Uttara Bhadrapada) since this reference in Mahabharata. This means that more than 5040 years (960 X 5.25) have passed. This took our research period for dating of Mahabharata references to 4000 BC – 3000 BC).

·       A more accurate translation of all the relevant slokas of chapters 2 and 3 of Bhishma Parva, had enabled such accurate depiction of sequential sky views, which should be able to set at rest all controversies regarding the dating of Mahabharat war. Sky view of 19th December, 3139 BC, depicting Magh Shukla Saptami, a day before Bhishma’s demise and of September 14, 3139 BC, depicting all astronomical references of Bhishma Parva observed six hours before solar eclipse of Kartik month are most exclusive, which do not get repeated on any other date; not even around 3067 BC, 1792 BC or 1472 BC.

Eleven sequential sky views covering a period of 52 years from 3153 BC to 3101 BC have been generated, using planetarium software (Fogware), which exactly match the descriptions in Mahabharat, are internally consistent and sequentially accurate. Evidences from archaeology, archaeobotany, palynology, oceanography, remote sensing and genetic studies have corroborated this date sequence of events recorded in Mahabharat. The kingdoms which supported Pandavas and Kauravas during Mahabharat war, have been plotted on the Map, which reveals that entire Greater India was involved in this war. This map also certifies the existence of Bharatvarsha as a Nation with defined boundaries for more than 5000 Years.

Description of Event / Sky view
Oct. 20, 3153 BC, 10:25 hrs. / Hastinapur (Meerut)
Sabha Parva
Solar eclipse observed when Pandavas were
 leaving Hastinapur for 13 years of exile after losing in
 the game of dice. War started after 14 years appx.
Aug. 31, 3139 BC; 11:10 hrs. / Hastinapur
Bhishma parva 6/2/23
Lunar eclipse followed by solar eclipse within 14 days; foreboding widespread destruction before war         
Sep. 14, 3139 BC
22:15 hrs. / Hastinapur
Bhishma parva 6/2/23 & 6/3/28-32
Solar eclipseobserved within 14 days (13thtithi) of lunar eclipse. On next Amavasya, Mahabharat war actually started.
18:30 hrs. / Hastinapur
Bhishma parva. 6/3/14 -18

Just six hours before the eclipse all the positions of stars and planets described in Udyog Parva & Bhishma Parva could be observed in the sky.
Sep. 25, 3139 BC
Udyog Parva 5/83/6-7
Lord Krishna leaves for last peace mission in Kartika month, Revati Nakshtra.
Oct. 3. 3139 BC
Shalya Parva 9/34/5-6,
Udyog Parva 5/142/17-18
After failure of Krishna’s peace mission, Balram leaves
 for pilgrimage in Pushya Nakshtra. 3-4 days later, Krishna tells Karna that war could begin on next Amavasya.
Oct. 13, 3139 BC 6:15 hrs. / Hastinapur
Udyog Parva
Amavasya within 13 days of Kartik Purnima, moon near Jyeshta (Scorpius / vrishchika) – war started after the failure of Sri Krishan’s last peace mission.
Nov. 14, 3139 BC 06:50 hrs. / Kurukshetra
Shalya Parva  9/34/5-7
With Shalya’s fall war came to an end on 31st October. Duryodhan went into hiding in Dvaipayana lake. Pandavas could locate him only after 12-13 days. Balram comes back after 42 days in Shravana Nakshatra. Duryodhana gets killed in Gada yuddha  with Bhim
Dec. 19, 3139 BC
07:20 hrs. / Kurukshetra
Anushasan Parva 13/167/26-28
Occurrence of Winter Solstice on Magh Shukla Saptmi. Next day on Magh Ashtami was Bhishma’s demise. This was 68th day after beginning of the war on 13thOct.
March 3, 3102 BC 10:30 hrs. / Dwarka
Mausala parva 16/2/18-19
Solar Eclipse on 13th tithi after Purnima  again in the 36th year of war indicating; annihilation of Yadavas and destruction of Dwarka, proving Gandhari’s curse true
Jan. 22, 3101 BC Delhi 10:47
Sabha Parva 2/1//19-91; Dasagitika/3
Spectacular assemblage of Sun, Moon & Five Planets around Aries when Kali era Began 37 years after the Mahabharat war

Table 1: List of some important sequential sky views generated along with the dates on which these are recorded as observed at the time of important events narrated in Mahabharat

Note: References are from ‘Mahabharat’ of Parimal Prakashan (2008 Edition) translated by M N Dutt, edited by Dr. Ishwar Chandra Sharma and Dr. O N Bimali; all these are also included in critical edition ‘The Mahabharat’ by Vishnu S. Sukthankar.

Keywords: Saroj bala, Shri Krishna, Shri Ram, Mahabharat, Bhagvadgita, Ramayan, Pandu, Pandavas, Kunti, Yudhishthir, Bhim, Arjun, Nakul, Sahadev, Kuru, Draupadi, Kauravas, Dhritarashtar, Gandhari, Duryodhan, Bhishma, Dronacharya, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam, Sukthankar, Hastinapur, Indraprastha, Kurukshetra, Dwarika, Matsya Desh, Kamyaka forest, Gandhamadan Parvat, Ekchakra Nagri, Rakhigarhi, Bhirrana,  Kunal, Sarasvati, Lahuradeva, Jhussi, Sabha parva, Vana Parva, Udyog Parva,  Bhishma Parva, Shalya Parva, Shanti Parva, Stri Parva, Anushasan Parva,  Mausal  Parva, Tithi,  Nakshatras , asterism, planets, equinox, sky-view, Planetarium software, Astronomical, solar eclipse, lunar eclipse, archaeology, archaeobotany, palynology, oceanography, remote sensing, genetic studies, Gandiv, astras, sastras, Mace, Terracotta, Gandhara, Kamboja, Matsya, Surasena, Kuru, Panchala, Avanti, Chedi, Vatsa, Kasi, Kosala, Malla, Magadha, Vrijj, Anga, Asmaka, Yadus, 

Full Paper
Did Lord Krishna actually recite the profound philosophy of Gita to Arjun from the battlefield of Kurukshetra? Did the land of Kurukshetra actually turn red with the blood of millions of warriors who were killed during that historic war?  If yes, then where, when and in which year?
About 5200 years back Vichitravirya, the son of  Raja Shantanu, was coronated as the king of Hastinapur.  He was married to Ambika and Ambalika, two daughters of King Kashiraj.  Vichitravirya thereafter died very soon.  In order to save the Kuru Dynasty from extinction and with the permission of mother Satyavati, Ambika bears a son through Sage Vyas who is named as Dhritarashtra whereas Ambalika bears a son named Pandu.
Since Dhritarashtra was blind from birth, he was considered unfit for the throne; therefore, Pandu is coronated as the king of Hastinapur.  For this reason, Dhritarashatra nurtured resentment against Pandu from the very beginning. King Pandu expanded the boundaries of Kuru kingdom through multiple victories but there after he handed over the Throne to Dhritarashtra and went to live the life of an ascetic along with his two wives Kunti and Madri. King Pandu was blessed with five sons – Yudhisthir, Bhim, Arjun, and Nakul & Sahadev. Dhritarashtar was married to Gandhari who gave birth to many sons; the eldest was named Duryodhan.
Maharishi Dronacharya was appointed as the teacher for both Kuru and Pandu princes.  For doing well in every competition, Pandava princes were generally appreciated which generated a lot of jealousy among in the hearts of Kuru princes. For this very reason, Duryodhan attempted to kill Pandu princes through deceit but all such attempts remained unsuccessful. Since Yudhisthir was the eldest of Pandu and Kuru princes and was also very accomplished, talented and admired by the public, he was declared as the Crown Prince of Hastinapur.
Out of jealousy and frustration, Duryodhan and his Shakuni mama hatched a conspiracy to send all Pandavas to Varanavat and then burn them alive in Lakshagrih i.e. a house built with highly inflammable material by Purochan. However, Pandavas saved their lives by escaping through a tunnel alongwith mother Kunti.  They reached Ekchakra Nagri and started living with a Brahmin. After some years, Pandavas went to participate in the Swayamvara of Draupadi, the princess of Panchala. Her brother, Dhrishtadyumna hadannounced that anyone who shoots the target with the five arrows through the five holes of the Yantra over which the target was kept would have Draupadi as his wife. Arjun won the archery contest and won Draupadi as his wife. On reaching Ekchakra Nagri, Arjun announced to his mother that he had won the “prize,” Kunti told him to share that prize with his brothers, without seeing Draupadi. Like an irrevocable vow, her statement, even by mistake, could not be undone, so all five brothers married Draupadi, the daughter of King Drupada.
Back in Hastinapur, Dhritarashtar had declared Duryodhana as the Crown Prince presuming that all Pandava brothers had died alongwith their mother Kunti in Varanavat Lakshagrih. After learning about Pandava’s victory during Draupadi Swayamvara, Dhritarashtar invitedthem to Hastinapur along with their mother Kunti and wife Draupadi. On being persuaded by Bhishma Pitamah and King Dhritarashtra, Duryodhan handed over deserted region of Khandav Van as half the kingdom to Yudhisthira, who accepted the offer in the hope of averting a war.Thereafter, with the help of Vishvakarma and Maya Danav, the Pandavas built a great city named Indraprastha along with its grand palace.
Duryodhan could not digest this prosperity of Pandavas; he invited them to a game of dice with the intention of winning their kingdom through deceit. Yudhishthira lost everything, his wealth, his kingdom and even Draupadi in this game of dice. Dushasan dragged Draupadi in to Kuru Darbar, Karna, still stinging from his rejection at the swayamvara, called her a harlot who serviced five men. Enraged at this treatment of his wife, Bhim vowed that he would one day drink Duhsasana’s blood and break Duryodhana’s thigh. The wicked Kauravas even tried to disrobe Draupadi in front of the entire Raj Darbar, but her honour was saved by Lord Krishna who miraculously created lengths of cloth to replace the ones being removed.
After having lost in the game of dice, the Pandavas were required to go into exile for 12 years, and live incognito in the 13th year; if discovered by the Kauravas, they would be sent into exile for another 12 years. As they were leaving Hastinapur, there were many ill omens and a solar eclipse was also seen as per references in Sarga 80 of Sabha Parva (2/80/29). This eclipse was seen on 20th Oct. 3153 BC (10:25 hrs) from Hastinapur (29o N, 77o E) –

Figure 1: Solar eclipse as seen on 20th Oct. 3153 BC (10:25 hrs) from Hastinapur (29°N, 77°E)

The Pandavas first went to Kamyaka forest, where Lord Krishna, King Drupad, and Draupadi’s brother Dhristadyumna expressed their outrage at the humiliation of Draupadi in Kuru Court and they all pledged revenge and re-installation of Dharmaraja Yudhishthra on the throne.  Thereafter, Pandavas moved into Dvyaitavana and built their hermitage, where Rishi Markandeya consoled them by narrating the story of Ramayan; comparing sufferings of Yudhishthira with that of Lord Ram, sacrifices of his four brothers with those of Lakshman and troubles of Draupadi with those of Sita. Draupadi and Bhim were sore and angry and made every effort to provoke Yudhishthira to take revenge from Kauravas but were unable to convince him.
Pandavas, thereafter, returned to Kamyaka forest. After a briefing from Sage Vyasa, Yudhishthira told Arjun “all four branches of weaponry have been mastered by Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, Karna and Ashvathama, who being on the side of Duryodhana have made him invincible. Therefore, only celestial weapons obtained from Indra can provide us victory”.Great warrior Arjun quickly left with the resolve to secure these weapons.  He crossed Himalayas, and thereafter he crossed Gandhamadan Parvat and obtained the divine weapons with the blessings of Lord Indra and Lord Shiva. Bright, brilliant and even more powerful Arjun came back and narrated the story of his adventures to Yudhishthira.  They all moved back to Dvaitavan, where Duryodhana and Karna came to enjoy the sight of Pandavas living in miserable conditions. But instead, Karna was defeated by Gandharvas, who also captured Duryodhana.  On being so ordered by Yudhishthira, Pandavas defeated Gandharvas and rescued Duryodhana. Duryodhana boiled with anger at this humiliation.
Thereafter, one day king Jayadratha, husband of Duryodhana’s sister Dushala, came suddenly and forcibly abducted Draupadi in his chariot.  Bhim and Arjun chased him, defeated him and rescued Draupadi. Back in the hermitage, Rishi Markandeya consoled Yudhishthira by narrating the story of abduction of Sitaji by Ravana; Lord Ram had killed Ravana and rescued Sitaji. Rishi Markandeya assured that troubles of Yudhishthira would also soon be over and he would rule as the king of Hastinapur.
During these twelve years of exile; there were many more adventures and many alliances were also made for a possible future battle.According to the conditions of the game of dice, the thirteenth year, which the Pandavas were to spend in disguise had now arrived. They went to the court of King Virata of Matsya Desh.Yudhishthira presented himself as a poor Brahmin, his brothers and Draupadi as wandering servants; they all found refuge at the court of King Virata. Towards the end of 13th year of living incognito and presuming that Pandavas might be hiding in Viratanagar, Duryodhana launched an attack on Virata's kingdom. The king entrusted his troops to his young son who needed a chariot driver. Accepting Draupadi’s suggestion, prince Uttar tookArjun as his charioteer; Arjun defeated Duryodhana’s forces and repulsed the attack on Virat’s kingdom.
After this Victory, the true identity of Pandavas got revealed. Consequently King Virata offered his daughter Uttarā’s hand to Abhimanyu, son of Arjun through Subhadra, sister of Lord Krishna. The wedding was celebrated in style; the Kings from all over the Indian sub-continent assembledin Viratanagar to attend this marriage. Apprehending that Duryodhana would not give back their kingdom to Pandavas, this occasion was also used to build alliances for augmenting military power in case war became inevitable.
Duryodhana refused to give their kingdom back to them, claiming that Arjun was identified one day before the completion of 13th year but neither Bhishma Pitamah nor Guru Drona agreed with him.  Duryodhana even rejected Lord Krishna’s proposal of giving them only five villages.  The war thus became imminent and all efforts made to prevent war had failed. There are several references to dhoomketus, ulkapats, eclipses which forebode widespread destruction. There is a reference to very inauspicious lunar eclipse on Kartika Purnima followed by a solar eclipse on 13th day in Sarga two and three of Bhishma Parva (6/2/23, 6/3/14-18). This lunar eclipse was seen from Hastinapur (29o N, 77o E) on 31st August 3139 B.C. (11:10 hrs) on the first Purnima of Kartika month –
Figure 2: Lunar eclipse as seen from Hastinapur (29°N, 77°E) on 31st August 3139 B.C. (11:10 hrs) on the first Purnima of Kartika month

On 14th September 3139 B.C., on Kartika Amavasya day a solar eclipse was also observed from Hastinapur.  This was 13th lunar tithi as there was tithi kshaya on 1-2 September and at the time of solar eclipse on 14th September new lunar tithi had not begun. Reference here be also made to 6/3/32 , which states that a lunar fortnight has hitherto consisted of 14 days or 15 days or even of 16 days, but on the 13th day and in the course of same month two eclipses have taken place. See the sky-view depicting solar eclipse of 14th September, 3139 BC (22:15 hrs.) from Hastinapur (29o N, 77o E)-

Figure 3: Sky-view depicting solar eclipse of 14th September, 3139 BC (22:15 hrs.) from Hastinapur (29°N, 77°E)

In Sarga 3 of Bhishma Parva, there are comprehensive details of locations and movements of various Planets and Nakshatras just before the solar eclipse. All these positions could be exactly seen in the sky just six hours before the solar eclipse on 14th September, 3139BC(18:30 hrs.) from Hastinapur (29oN, 77oE).  The positions as narrated in Mahabharat are summarized as under –
     6/3/14 – Mangal (Mars) is comfortable (i.e. magh) entering its own house i.e. mesha (Aries) in Vakra-gati (in backward motion) as it was in Tauras before 13th Sep 3139 BC. Brihaspati(Jupiter) is in Shravan Nakshtra (in Capricornus). Sun’s offspring Shani (Saturn) is (in Scorpius) and is thus aspecing Bhagham i.e. Uttar Phalguni(in Leo) which is 10th constellation from Scorpius and is therefore in full aspect of Saturn.
     6/3/15 - Shining brilliantly, the planet Shukra (Venus) is aspecting Poorva Bhadrapada & there after Uttara Bhadrapada (both in Pisces). On 14th Sep 3139 BC, Venus is situated in kanya (Virgo) and is thus aspecting 7th constellation from its location i.e. Meena Rashi (Pisces).
     6/3/17 - Both Sun and moon are located in Scorpius, therefore they are afflicting Rohini (located just opposite in Taurus). Parush Graha i.e. Shukra (Venus) is located between between Chitra&Swati Asterisms and is thus located between Kanya (Virgo Constellation) and Tula (Libra).
      6/3/18 - Brihspati i.e. Jupiter (Pavak prabha) is going around Shravana in Brahmraashi i.e.Makar Rashi (Capricornus); whereas Vakra/Lohitangi.e.Mangal (Mars) in Vakra-anuvakra gati (backward-forward motion) is looking stable/static.

Figure 4: Planetary positions as seen in the sky six hours before the solar eclipse on 14th September, 3139 BC (18:30 hrs.) from Hastinapur (29°N, 77°E)

This sky view is exclusive and it does not get repeated in/around 5561 BCE, 3067 BCE, in 1792 BCE or in 1478 BCE; for this reason the date of war in 3139 BC appears to be almost indisputable. There is lunar eclipse on first Kartik Purnima on 31 Aug 3139 BC followed by solar eclipse on 14th Sep 3139 BC, which had occurred on 13th lunar tithi after the lunar eclipse; all the above stated planetary positions could be observed six hours before the solar eclipse.
Eleven Akshauhini Sena of Duryodhana and Seven Akshauhini Sena of Yudhisthira had by now assembled in Kurukshetra.  Duryodhana wanted to start the war in Pushya Nakshtra i.e. 3rd October, 3139 B.C. However, in the meantime in the month of Kartika, after the end of autumn season (Patjharh) and beginning of winter season(Hemant Ritu), Shri Krishana left Dwarka for Hastinapur on his last peace mission in Rewati Nakshtra (5/83/6-7). See the sky-view on 25th September 3139 B.Cat 6:20 AM from Dwarika (23o N, 69o E), in the month of Kartik –

Figure 5: Sky-view on 25th September 3139 B.C at 6:20 AM from Dwarika (23°N, 69°E), in the month of Kartik;

After reaching Hastinapur, Lord Krishna tried to persuade Duryodhana to make peace with Pandavas but Duryodhana said, “I can sacrifice my life, my kingdom, my everything, but I can never live in peace with the Pandavas”. Consequently, the peace mission failed and the war was just going to begin. Not wanting to take sides, Balram left for 42 days of pilgrimage in Pushya Nakshtra (Moon in Cancer) i.e. on 3rd Oct. 3139 BC and was to come back after 42 days in Shrawan nakshatra (5/142/17-18 & 9/34/5-6). See the sky view of 3rd October, 3139 BC from Hastinapur (29o N, 77o E), when Moon was in Pushya nakshatra -

Figure 6: Sky view of 3rd October, 3139 BC from Hastinapur (29o N, 77o E), when Moon was in Pushya nakshatra

The forces of Duryodhana and of Yudhisthira stood opposite to each other in Kurukshetra; ready to fight the most devastating war in the history of mankind! As suggested by Lord Krishna the war actually started on Jyeshtha Amavasaya day of Marghshish month, when Moon was near Jyeshtha in Scorpius (5/142/17-18), which happened to be on 13th October, 3139 B.C. See the sky-view of this historic day!

Figure 6: Sky-view on 13th October, 3139 B.C. - Amavasya day of Margshish  month when Moon was near Jyeshtha in Scorpius. Mahabharat war started on this day.

Eleven divisions of Duryodhana’s army and seven divisions of Yudhisthira’s army stood face to face in the battle ground of Kurukshetra. Arjun requested Lord Krishna to take his chariot in the middle of Kuru and Pandu armies. After seeing his near and dear ones, like Bishama Pitamah and Guru Drona, Arjun broke down and abandoned his Gandiv Dhanush. At this juncture, through Arjun, Lord Krishna passed on to the World the great philosophy of Bhagavad Gita. He asked Arjun to do his Karma by fighting the war in order to protect Dharma.  He also added that the soul is eternal and indestructible, only the body is perishable.
The time of this Gita-updesh must have been sometime before the beginning of war on 13th October 3139 B.C. It was the month of Margshish, in winter season, when the Sun was in Dakshiayan (Southward movement). We Indians still wait for the assurance given by Shri Krishna during Gita Updesh -

yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānirbhavati bhārata | 
abhyutthānamadharmasya tadātmānaṃ sṛjāmyaham || (4.07)
paritrānāya sādhunām vināsāya ca duskritām |
dharma-samsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge || (4.08)

            Through these words Lord Krishna had assured that whenever and wherever there is a decline of Dharma i.e. virtue and true religion languish whereas irreligion and sin predominate, O descendant of Bharat! I manifest myself in different eras to establish the superiority of Dharma by annihilating the miscreants and protecting the pious and the noble.
We still console ourselves at the death of a near and dear one by remembering what Lord Krishna had said –
nainaṃ chindanti śastrāṇi nainaṃ dahati pāvakaḥ | 
na cainaṃ kledayantyāpo na śoṣayati mārutaḥ || (2.23)

            Meaning thereby that the soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapons, nor can it be burnt by fire. The soul cannot be moistened/submerged by water, nor can it be withered by wind. The soul is eternal and indestructible, it is only the body which perishes.
karmanya evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadacana |
ma karma-phala-hetur bhur mā te sango 'stv akarmani ||2-47||

Meaning thereby that your concern is only with the actions, never with their fruits. Let not the fruits of actions be your motives. Perform your righteous duties without being attached to their results.
Our belief system still centers around karma yoga, jnana yoga and bhakti yoga, the three paths out of which individual could make a choice.
The war began on 13th October, 3139 B.C., with Bhishma Pitamah as the Commandar-in-chief of Duryodhana’s army. Military science was much developed; a four division army comprising infantry, horse riders, elephant riders and rathis were built in nine steps. The weapons used included astras (missiles like chakras and arrows), sastras (swords, spears and axes), dandayuddha (mace and musala) and yantrayuddha (firearms like sataghni and bhusundi). Some such weapons, which are considered to be more than 5000 years old, have been found during excavations in the relevant geographic locations. Every day there used to be different kind of battle-array. At least eighteen types of vyuha-rachnas are described in the Epic.
Under the command of  Bhishma Pitamah, Kuru army fought fierce battles and killed very large number of warriors of Pandava’s side during first nine days. The Pandavas visited Bhishma Pitamah by night on ninth day and sought his blessings. He advised them to place Shikhandi in the front line as Bhishma would not attack a woman. On the 10th day, placing Shikhandi in front of him, Arjun succeeded in showering thousands of arrows on Bhishma Pitamah, which practically put him on the bed of arrows.  Bhishma Pitamah was now waiting for the beginning of Uttrayan for his mahaprayan
On 11th day of war, Guru Drona took over as the commander-in-chief of Duryodhana’s forces. Through his clever chakravyuh formation (circular array), he succeeded in killing Abhimanyu when Jaidrath engaged Arjun in a diversionary battle far away. However, on the 15th day Dhrishtadyumna succeeded in killing Dronacharya by severing his head. On 16th day Karna took over as the commander-in-chief of Duryodhana’s forces but on the 17th day of war, the wheel of Karna’s chariot got stuck in the mud.  Just at that time Arjun shot an arrow which instantly killed Karna in the battlefield. 
On the 18th day Shalya came to fight as the commander-in-chief of Duryodhan’s Kuru forces but got killed at the hands of Yudhisthira by mid day. Thus on the 18th day the war came to an end but Duryodhana hid himself in the waters of Dvaipayan Lake; he was making plans to take revenge from Pandavas after his recovery. The Pandavas launched the search operation; after several attempts, they finally succeeded in locating him on the 14th day. On being challenged by Pandavas, Duryodhana came out of the lake to fight mace battle with Bhim. Just at that time Balram came there in Shrawan Nakshatra after 42 days of pilgrimage and he desired to see the mace battle between his two disciples (Shalya Parva 9/34/5-7). See the sky-view from Kurukshetra (30o N 77o E) of 14th November, 3139 B.C, when Moon was near Shrawan in Capricornus.

Figure 7: sky-view from Kurukshetra (30° N 77° E) of 14th November, 3139 B.C, when Moon was near Shrawan in Capricornus

On being hit by Bhim on his thighs, Duryodhana collapsed and Pandavas went away leaving him behind in pain.  Kritverma, Kripacharya and Ashvatthama were grief-stricken looking at the plight of Duryodhana. They decided to take revenge from Pandavas; In the middle of night when the entire Pandava sena and all the five sons of Draupadi were in deep slumber, they killed Dhrishtadyumna and five sons of Draupadi by striking them with their shastras. Thereafter, they killed all other remaining warriors by putting the camp on fire. Ashvatthama even tried to destroy the womb of Uttara but Lord Krishana saved her pregnancy. This child in Uttara’s womb, named Parikshit, later on became the king of Hastinapur when Pandavas went for Swargarohan. 
Yudhishthira reported the death toll at six million during this dreadful war. The women were crying piteously after losing their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons (M.B. – Stri Parva) According to one study conducted by Estonian Bio-Centre, Tartu, around 5000 years back the ratio of men vis-à-vis the women went down to 1:4.
Let us just have one look at the map which displays the geographic locations of kingdoms and tribes which had participated in Mahabharat War. Most of the North Western kingdoms of Indian sub-continent fought on behalf of Kauravas; whereas those from South Eastern areas participated in the war to support the Pandavas.

Figure 8: Map depicting kingdoms which participated in Mahabharat War

After the end of Mahabharat War, Yudhishthira was coronated as the king of Hastinapur. Grief-stricken, he was very reluctant to accept the kingship. He performed the funeral rites of the deceased kings and warriors and took several steps to console the grieving females.
Lying on his bed of arrows, Bhishma Pitamah was waiting for the Sun to begin its Northward journey (Uttarayan). That day arrived on 19th December 3139 B.C. when it was Saptmi of the lighted fortnight in the month of Maghaand moon was in Rohini Nakshtra (in Taurus), as per the references in Anushasana Parva(13/167/26-28) and in Shanti parva (12/47/3) of Mahabharat. See the Sky view from Hastinapur (29o N, 77o E) of 19th December, 3139 BC at 7.20 AM, when Sun had just started its northwards journey; Moon was near Rohini and it was Magh Shukla Saptami. This is also a unique date and sky-view which does not get repeated in / around 5561 BCE, 3067 BCE, 1792 BCE or 1478 BCE.

Figure 9: Sky view from Hastinapur (29°N, 77°E) of 19th December, 3139 BC at 7.20 AM, when Sun had just started its northwards journey; Moon was near Rohini and it was Magh Shukla Saptami

King Yudhishthira arrived on Magh Shukla Saptami and bowed before Bhishma Pitamah who enlightened him about the basic principles of Rajdharma, Mokshdharma, Daandharma and Shantidharma. Thereafter every surviving member of the family met Pitamah. The very next day i.e. on 20th December 3139 B.C., Bhishma left for his heavenly abode and this day is celebrated as Bhishma Asthmi till date.
Thereafter, Yudhishthira got fully involved in the welfare of the Praja. After some time he conducted Ashvamedha Yagya and gave huge amount of wealth in charity. Lord Krishna had also got fed up with wars and battles, therefore, was in search of peace. So he went and settled in Dwarika along with Yadavas, Gopis and war-widows.
36 years were spent in peace but thereafter the signs of destruction all around again became visible. Around that time, a solar eclipse was seen from Dwarika which also occurred on an Amavasya on 13th lunar tithi after Purnima as per references in the Mausala Parva. See the solar eclipse of 3rd March 3102 B.C. (at 10:30 AM) from Dwarika (23o N, 69o E), which could be seen right from the time of Sunrise to Sunset.

Figure 10: solar eclipse of 3rd March 3102 B.C. (at 10:30 AM) from Dwarika (23°N, 69°E), which could be seen right from the time of Sunrise to Sunset

Thereafter, there was destruction all around in Dwarika. Yaduvanshis were killing other Yaduvanshis. Balraam had died by drowning in the sea, Vasudeva also left for his heavenly abode; Yadav race was at the verge of extinction. After some time the entire city of Dwarika was devoured by the Sea. On receipt of a message from Lord Krishna, Arjun had left for Dwarika. However, in the meantime an arrow mistakenly shot by a hunter pierced at the heel of Lord Krishna, who thereafter left for celestial region.
Arjun performed the last rites of many kinsmen and took the survivors along with him. He made Vajra the king of Indraprastha and settled other survivors in smaller kingdoms. After hearing about the destruction in Dwarika and about Mahapriyan of Lord Krishna, Yudhisthira decided to renounce the world.  He coronated Prikshit, son of Uttara and Abhimanyu, as the king of Hastinapur. After donating huge amount of wealth in charity, he left for Swargarohan accompanied by his four brothers and Draupadi.
Around this time a spectacular assemblage of Moon and five bright planets along with the Sun was seen on the eastern horizon in Aries and Pisces on 22nd January, 3101 B.C. This striking sight at dawn must have come down as a legend associated with the beginning of Kali Era i.e. Kaliyug –

Figure 11: Sky-view on 22nd January, 3101 B.C. when assemblage of Moon and five bright planets along with the Sun was seen on the eastern horizon in Aries and Pisces associated with the beginning of Kali Era or Kalyug

Let us have one look again at the map of Bharatvarsha of Mahabharat times, given above.  Bharatvarsha was a nation with defined boundaries 5000 years back, when its territories included modern day India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkamenistan, Tibet, Bangla-Desh etc. Excavations have been carried out in many of the principalities and kingdoms plotted in this Map, which had participated in the Great War. From the archaeological evidence from these sites, it has been concluded on the basis of C-14 dating that these political principalities and kingdoms were well established by the second millennium BCE, though the settlements started at many of these sites much earlier; for example -
·       Sarai Khola and Pushkalavati (Charsadda) in Gandhara,
·       BMAC and Gandhara Grave Culture sites in Kamboja;
·       Bairat, Gilund and Ojiana in Matsya
·       Mathura, Sonkh and Noh in Surasena
·       Hastinapura, Hulas and Alamgirpur in Kuru
·       Ahichchhatra, Atranjikhera, Kannoj and Kampilya in Panchala
·       Ujjain, Kayatha, Nagda, Ahar in Avanti
·       Eran and Tripuri in Chedi
·       Kaushambi and Jhusi in Vatsa
·       Rajghat-Sarai Mohana in Kasi
·       Ayodhya, Sravasti, Lahuradewa, Siswania in Kosala
·       Rajdhani, Narhan, Sohgaura in Malla
·       Rajgir, Chirand and Juafardih (Nalanda) in Magadha
·       Vaisali and Lauriya Nandangarh in Vrijj
·       Champa and Oriup in Anga
·       Adam and Inamgaon in Asmaka
Kingdom of Kurus i.e. Hastinapur was near Upper Ganga plains, Krishna’s Mathura was on the banks of Yamuna and war was fought in Kurukshetra of Sarasvati region. The excavations carried out in these areas have also established the direct connection of Mahabharat references with 3000 BC. These include excavations at Rakhigarhi, Bhirrana and Kunal in the Sarasvati valley and Lahuradeva and Jhussi etc. in Ganga region, from where terracotta, beads, jewellery, metals, weapons etc. have been excavated, the radio-metric dates of which go back to the time bracket ranging between 5000 - 2500 BC.
See pottery, mirror, necklace, silver and beads excavated from Rakhigarhi in Saravati and Drishadvati belt near Hissar of modern day Haryana –

Figure 12: Pottery, mirror, necklace, silver and beads excavated from Rakhigarhi in Saravati
 and Drishadvati belt near Hissar of modern day Haryana

Figure 13: Arrow heads, lapis lazuli, bangles and beads etc. excavated from Bhirrana in the area adjacent to Rakhgarhi

In fact the entire region, at multiple sites, has yielded similar kind of artefacts, which are dated more than 5000 years old. Have a look at those excavated from Kunal, near Kurukshetra -

Figure 14: 5000 year old artefacts excavated from Kunal near Kurukshetra

In middle Ganga Plains, the most important excavated sites include Koldihwa, Lahuradeva, Jhusi, Tokwa and Hetapatti etc., which have revealed an uninterrupted history of cultural development in this region from 7000 BC till date. More than 5000 year old plants have been found in these areas, many of which find reference in Mahabharat -

Figure 15: Crop remains from 7000-6000 B.C. found in Middle Ganga Plains

In view of the above said scientific evidences, we can safely conclude that Mahabharat refers to the historical events of the remote past. The Mahabharat war was actually fought about 5150 years back in 3139 BC. Just before that war, Shri Krishna had actually passed on to the world, through the instrumentality of Arjun, that adbhut jnana of Bhagavadgita.
Keeping in mind the discriminations and distortions prevailing in India during modern times, let us remember and follow what Lord Krishna said in 4/13 of Bhagavadgita –
cāturvarṇyaṃ mayā sṛṣṭaṃ guṇakarmavibhāgaśaḥ | 
tasya kartāramapi māṃ viddhyakartāramavyayam || (4.13) 

Lord Krishna said that four varnas had been created by God Almighty, based on the guna i.e. qualities and karmai.e. actions/functions of individuals. Thus the four varnas had nothing to do with the birth or with the modern day caste system. Dronacharya was a Brahmin but fought like a kshtriya; Karna was discriminated against by Bhishma but befriended by Kuru king Duryodhana. Eklavya was discriminated against by Drona but was mentored by Jarasandha. Sudama was a Brahmin but was very poor, whereas Drona was a Brahmin but humiliated by King Drupada. Thus discrimination was not caste-based but more complex, which reflected the selfish motives and baser or nobler instincts of individuals.
However over the years these four varnas got linked to birth and gave rise to caste-system. Slowly social evils like untouchability, inequality, caste-based discrimination started taking deep roots, which have played havoc with our country and its social fabric. To remove these vices, we shall have to revert back to the true teachings contained in our ancient Vedas and Epics. We shall have to cleanse these from the distortions, which were interpolated subsequently after India was enslaved by external forces. Let us all resolve to build India in which no one is discriminated against and all are treated with love and respect.
In the words of Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam, “In India the core culture goes beyond time. It precedes the arrival of Islam; it precedes the arrival of Christianity……..It is when we accept India in all its splendid glory that, with a shared past as a base, we can look forward to a shared future of peace and prosperity, of creation and abundance. Our past is there with us forever. It has to be nurtured in good faith, not destroyed in exercises of political one-upmanship”.

Note on References
No references have been given within the text of this paper because no extracts or pictures have been taken from any other book. This paper contains the sky-views of astronomical references in Mahabharat, which have been generated making use of Planetarium software. The pictures of excavated artefacts have been taken from the reports published by Archaeological Survey of India and Indian Archaeology Society. However, the names of authors of books and articles who might have influenced the thought process behind this paper are listed below with gratitude.
-          Saroj Bala

A K Gupta
J F Jarrige
R Saraswat
A K Pokharia
J R Sharma
Rajgopalachari C.
A R Chaudhry
John Marshall
Rakesh Tewari
A P J Abdul Kalam
K D Abhyankar
Ramtej Pandey
Ajay Mitra Shastri
K L Joshi
Sadguru Jaggi vasdev Ji
Ashok Bhatnagar
K L Seshagiri Rao
Swami Ramsukh Das
Ayengar R N
K N Dikshit
S Kalyanaraman
Banmali O N
K S Sarswat
S N Chaturvedi
B K Bhadra
K S Valdiya
S P Gupta
B Narhari Achar
K V R S Murty
S R Rao
B P Radhakrishna
K V Krishna Murthy
S Sorensen
B R Mani
Kamlesh Kapur
S Sukthankar
Barthwal H
Kapil Kapur
Sriram Sharma
Bhagvadatta Satyashrva
Kenneth Kennedy
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji
Bhagwan Singh
Kulbhushan Misra
Subhash Kak
C M Nautiyal
M G Yadav
Subramanian Swamy
Maitreyee Deshpande
V D Misra
Chanchala Srivastava
Manjil Hazarika
V H Sonawane
Come carpentier
Michael Denino
V R Rao
David Frawley
Narahari Achar
V S Wakankar
Divya Tripathi
N S Rajaram
Vasant Shinde
Dutt M N
Narasimha Rao
Vartak P V
Romesh C Dutt
Peeyush Sandhir
Vijay Singhal
G R Sharma
Premendra Priyadarshi
Gurcharan Das
Pushkar Bhatnagar
Yogesh Chandra
Gyaneshwar Chaubey
R Nigam
Yuktanand Swami
H Maheshwari
R P Arya
Z D Ansari
Ishwar Chandra Sharma
R S Bisht
 Many more