Challenging Nilesh Oak’s dates of Mahabharata and Ramayana.

Many have attempted to date the Mahabharata war and Ramayana taking inputs from the two Epics. Mr Nilesh Oak ( ) is one among them who has dated Mahabharata war at 5561 BCE and Rama- Ravana war at 12,209 BCE. In an exchange with him on Twitter for open debate I sent to him the following transcripts in a series of tweets on January 8th and 9th of 2018.

Till now he has not replied to my arguments.

– Jayasree


Date of MB is non-negotiable as it is connected with Kali yuga that started 36 yrs after MB war. Traditional date of K.Yuga is 3102 BC, so that of MB is 3138 BC. 3102 BC is the basis of time frame all these 5000 yrs used by rishis & ancestors in Sankalpa for yajnas, puja and lakhs of times everyday even today.

Tamil Siddha hymns also give a formula to deduce the day, star etc of any day, anytime of this time frame of K.Yuga which is perfectly working. To deny this date is Videshi Indology. Our attempt should be to locate this date matching with hints given by Vyasa in MB. If we don’t get this date, it means we haven’t understood the hints correctly.

Hints in MB: Planetary position, Upagrahas, Gara Karana (one of Pancha angas) and terrestrial sightings.

1.Planets:-The reference to planets and their motion at the start of MB war pertains to Nimittha (निमित्त ) and the results/ predictions connected with planetary motions pertain to astrology, and not exactly about the position of those planets as per astronomy. Therefore one must not take the reference to planets at face value.

  1. Upagrahas:- Syama, Dhuma and Ketu mentioned are Upagrahas of planets and located in relation to the respective planet on a particular day. They must support planetary position.
  2. Panchanga factor:– Gara karana appearing in Chitra (5-141-9)

नूनं मह भयं कृष्ण कुरूणां समुपस्थितम
विशेषेण हि वार्ष्णेय चित्रां पीडयते गरहः

Based on all these I derived 3 water-tight  features – Mars in Sravana, Saturn in Purva phalguni and an eclipsed Amavasya in Jyeshta with no eclipses in the preceding and successive pakshas and asked Dr N.Achar in Aug 2013 to check for the date in his astronomy software. He got two dates 3178 BCE and 3030 BCE, of which 3178 BCE is within 40 yrs of traditional date of MB. Details of this decipherment here:

Anyone showing a date less than this is welcome.

Why another year also appeared for the given inputs? Because we took only 3 factors that we are so sure about and they had existed at another date also. But the date closer to traditional date is taken, as the traditional date forms the basis of this research.


  1. Terrestrial sightings:- Fierce winds, colour of the sky & of sun, showers of dust, trembling of earth, roaring noises, high waves at the seas, strange behaviour of animals etc narrated by Vyasa as terrestrial happenings fit in with after-effects of a meteor or asteroid hit somewhere on earth. In this context he speaks about Arundhati ahead of Vasistha. Immediately after that he notes that the deer image on the moon had deviated from original position.

Movement of Arundhati and deer image on moon are reported (seen) at the same moment. This is possible due to some atmospheric refraction. (Today both are all right). A meteor/ comet hit somewhere in the globe can cause this making the above mentioned sightings possible.

Around the same time of these sightings, a comet had hit Austria. A Cuneiform tablet prepared in 700 BC explains a meteor-fall 5000 years ago in Austria. Read

The date is deciphered as 29th June, 3123 BC! This is 15 yrs after MB war. A dating error could have caused this deviation. But description including the deviation of Arundhati and deer image of the moon is possible due change in the refractive index of the atmosphere caused to particles thrown in the air by meteor-hit.

Next catastrophe happened 36 years after Mahabharata war when Krishna left the world. Massive waves that hit Dwaraka could have been caused by an asteroid hit off the coast of Madagascar 5000 yrs ago. The chevrons around Madagascar testify this. My article here

Now taking up Oak’s theory of shift in the position of Arundhati, it can happen only under 2 circumstances. 1. If the earth reverses its direction of rotation, the stars in the circumpolar constellation (Ursa Major) will reverse the direction in which Arundhati will move in front of Vasistha. This reversal is impossible.

  1. When Arundhati (Alcor) comes in front of Vashishta (Mizar) which can happen only after 375,000 yrs! Read This cannot happen in a measurable span of human civilization.

What Oak says is with reference to change in equinoctial position or change in poles over 26000 years. The change in equinox – showing a shift in poles can be in understood by this figure.

In the hour-glass like span, earth’s axis draws an arc to and fro. Points A,B,C,D are four pole stars seen aligned with earth’s axis once in 6500 years. Shown in the figure.

For a terrestrial observer on the earth, this to-and fro movement will be 2-dimentional.  See the figure below where points B & D will be noticed at the same point in space. After all within 6500 x 4 yrs shift, the background cosmos does not shift much for observer.

The same is what our ancients had noticed which I showed in another article in another thread. With axis falling in Aries- Libra, the motion goes upto 27 degrees to and fro.


Within this the poles shift. For the naked eye observer, Ursa Major does not undergo any change. Take a look at the figure. To and fro oscillation for poles and Ursa Major does not cause change in position of Arundhati for an observer. She will be seen following Vashishta due to the same directional rotation of the earth.

Even across time of 1000s of years, Vashishtha- Arundhati orientation to each does not change due to the gravitational coupling between them. Ursa major may change its shape, but Mizar- Alcor orientation and location  as seen from the earth won’t change. See this video

So what Vyasa noticed was an optical illusion caused by change in the refractive index of the atmosphere, which in turn was caused by a catastrophic meteor hit which is what his observations are about.

That Arundhati would not change position was noticed as early as Skanda’s times. MB 3-229 is about how the wives of 6 out 7 sapta rishis were disowned by their respective husbands and allotted motherhood of Skanda. The import is Arundhati alone stayed put without changing position. That is why she is made an icon of chastity. Such an Arundhati could have never changed position in the past or future. That is why she is exceptional. To say she changed position in the near past was poor understanding of why and how our ancients created certain icons like Arundhati.

Talking on Skanda we move to Ramayana date as Skanda is worshiped in the Mantra of Indra dvaja by Manu (Brihad Samhita 43:54-55) Means Skanda aka Muruga existed before Manu’s times. He was born in Pandyan dynasty as ‘Ugra kumara’ or Muruga and hosted the 1st Sangam age. The dates of 3 sangams deduced after research:

9990 BCE is the date after which Manu must have given the Indradvaja mantra. Only after that the  Ikshvaku dynasty was formed in which Rama was born much later.  Southern Madurai was capital of 1st Sangam age (5550 BC – 9990 BC). After it submerged, Kavaatam became the capital of 2nd Sangam age (5550 BC – 1850 BC). This capital is mentioned in V.Ramayana.

Internal evidence of Ramayana is “Kavatam of Pandyas!” कवाटम् पाण्ड्यानाम् – Valmiki Ramayana, chapter 41 -19). Sugreeva asked vanaras to search there. Date is anywhere between 5550 BC – 1850 BC

That Pandyans were contemporaries of Ravana is known from  Sinnamanur copper plates

In Sanskrit it is written “Dasaanan sandheepa rakshakaara”. In Tamil the same is written as “dasavathanan saarbaaka sandhu seithum” Ravana bought peace with Pandyans – same thing told in Raghu Vamsam of Kalidasa 6-62

The location of Pandya is mentioned as “Aalavai” – another name for Kavaatam of the 2nd Sangam age. Read my article.  So Rama lived during 2nd Sangam age of Pandyas. Definitely not before 5550 BCE.

Another internal reference: From my ppt presentation in SI3 conference

Now coming to Oak’s date, his date of Ramayana even pre-dates the beginning of Holocene which started around 11,500 yrs before present (BP). It marked the end of Ice age when Himalayas was heavily snow clad. Warmth flowed from south to north starting from 11,000 yrs to 7000 yrs. Only gradually Himalayans glaciers started breaking. So Ganga was not yet born in the time period he has given.

The Indian monsoon had not started at that time – a fact confirmed in Hancock’s vegetation map of India at 10,600 BC. Look at interior Deccan – no Dandakaranya forest. Description of rainy season of V.Ramayana is invalid in this period.

In Oak’s scheme, Vedic civilization goes beyond 15,000 yrs ago. Look at Hancock’s map prepared based on climate, rainfall etc of those times. Only habitable place was west coast, extended beyond present limits and in SE Tamilnadu.

If Oak still thinks that is date is right, let him challenge Hancock who prepared these maps.

Now coming to sea level, a bridge (Setu) could be built only if there is water between India and Srilanka. In the beginning of Holocene Lanka was landlocked like a peninsula – similar to Kathiawar Peninsula. Check out these maps of Hancock based on sea-level maps of Glen Milne. There was no need to build Setu in Oak’s date of Rama!

Till 8,900 BP there was land connection between India and lanka.

By 7000 BP sea level almost reached the current level. Between 7700 BP to 6900 BP, sea waters completely separated Lanka from India for the first time. Only in this period Setu could have been built.

Note this period concurs with Bhatnagar’s date, 2nd Sangam date, and science channel date of boulders and geological studies done there. My article

Nutshell: Absence of Ganga and land-locked Lanka in Oak’s date demolish his date of Ramayana. Plus Indian monsoons not yet started and absence of forest formation in Deccan makes his date unrealistic. If he wants to challenge these, let him first disprove Hancock’s maps and the sea-level data.



5 thoughts on “Challenging Nilesh Oak’s dates of Mahabharata and Ramayana.

  1. Brilliant take down. The questions raised are very technical and MUST be answered by Nilesh Oak if he wants credibility for his theory. The issue on relying on single interpretation of archeoastronomy must be corroborated with facts from other sources.

    I would request, Jayashreeji to please consider mapping the 500 odd references which Oak claims for his theory to the traditional dates and see if the archeoastronomy dates also fall in line. This will take a lot of resources, but unless such an angle is given scholarly application, even the conventional dates suggested by you will be on weaker ground.

    Maybe this can be a book and not just a blog series.

  2. Mr Oak’s research is weak in its basics! He is talking about seasons where they don’t exist in a pre-Holocene set-up in sub-tropics. He is talking about shifting of Arundhati which is a gravitationally locked binary. Just these two are enough to demolish all his references. He takes up Kausalya’s verse on 17 years of Rama at the time of coronation, rejecting every other verse on Rama’s age at the time of coronation as either interpolation and or wrong statements. After seeing these three in his videos, I don’t see any compelling reason to watch any more of his on dating. If you see any video / article worth challenging, let me know. I will take them up.

    I also noticed that he has nothing to offer on Yugas and horse argument in AIT. My next article is on Yuga issue in the date of Mahabharata and Ramayana. After that I want to take up another rubbish I found posted in Swarajya and Bharatabharati by Dr Raj Vedam. His article will show you how casually these people are using astronomy software to locate the dates.

  3. I have been reading about Aryan migration ( An aryan journey By Harsh Mahaan Cairaie) He proposes migration of Vedic people from around and from the west of Caspian sea to the subcontinent in a major way around 200 BC – 200CE. He also proposes earlier migrations from Arjika to the east . My question is regarding the timing of these aryan migrations relative to the time line of Ram and his life and the time line of Indus Valley civilisation. I also wonder about the time line of Sanskrit/Protosanskrit usage realtive to Indus valley exisitence as the Indus script is yet to be deciphered .
    I am an amateur delving to history /anthropology.

  4. @Ruchi Bhatia,

    We can talk about timeline of Aryan migration only if there was a migration of Aryans. Aryan as a race or a people is a misnomer. There was not even a culture prevailing in Europe at the time of Rama of Ayodhya – whose time I am linking to the period of indigenous rice cultivation in Sarayu region in the above article. There was an indigenous culture in India even before Indus civilization developed. Taking the years you have quoted for Aryan migration (200 BC – 200 CE), Ashoka was already ruling at that time.

  5. Thanks for taking the time to get back. So I wonder if the book an “Aryan journey” and the likes of it are pure hypothesis ? I have a lot more reading to do to have an opinion on any of this . Indegenous people before Indus Cvilization is reasonable to believe as Indus people would have take hundreds of years to develop what they did.
    Would appreciate if you could recomend any books / authors for an amateur on this subject. I can well handle serious academic books as well .
    Appreciate your time

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