Exact date of start of Kali-Yuga - Aryabhatta Theory

Imagine the following scene: It is midnight on the meridian of Ujjain in India on February 18, 3102 B.C. The seven planets, including the sun and moon, cannot be seen since they are all lined up in one direction on the other side of the earth. Directly overhead the dark planet Rähu hovers invisibly in the blackness of night.

According to the jyotish shastras, this alignment of the planets actually occurred on this date, which marks the beginning of the Kali-yuga. In fact, in the Sürya-siddhänta, time is measured in days since the start of Kali-yuga, and it is assumed that the positions of the seven planets in their two cycles are all aligned with the star Zeta Piscium at day zero. This star, which is known as Revati in Sanskrit, is used as the zero point for measuring celestial longitudes in the jyotish shastras. The position of Rähu at day zero is also assumed to be 180 degrees from this star. Nearly identical assumptions are made in other astronomical siddhäntas. (In some systems, such as that of Aryabhatta, it is assumed that Kali-yuga began at sunrise rather than at midnight. In others, a close alignment of the planets is assumed at this time, rather than an exact alignment.)

In the Chaitanya cartimrta, the present date in this day of Brahmä is defined as follows: (1) The present Manu, Vaivasvata, is the seventh, (2) 27 divya-yugas of his age have passed, and (3) we are in the Kali-yuga of the 28th divya-yuga. The Sürya-siddhänta also contains this information, and its calculations of planetary positions require knowledge of the ahargana, or the exact number of elapsed days in Kali-yuga. The Indian astronomer Äryabhatta wrote that he was 23 years old when 3,600 years of Kali-yuga had passed. Since Äryabhatta is said to have been born in Çaka 398, or A.D. 476, this is in agreement with the standard ahargana used today for the calculations of the Sürya-siddhänta.

For example, October 1, 1965, corresponds to day 1,850,569 in Kali-yuga. On the basis of this information one can calculate that the Kali-yuga began on February 18, 3102 B.C., according to the Gregorian calendar. It is for this reason that Vaishnavas maintain that the pastimes of Kanahiya with the Pändavas in the battle of Kurukshetra took place about 5,000 years ago.

Of course, it comes as no surprise that the standard view of Western scholars is that this date for the start of Kali-yuga is fictitious. Indeed, these scholars maintain that the battle of Kurukshetra itself is fictitious, and that the civilization described in the Vedic literature is simply a product of poetic imagination. It is therefore interesting to ask what modern astronomers have to say about the positions of the planets on February 18, 3102 B.C.

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