reply to post by serbsta
There is only one critical English translation of the Mahabharata, and that is Ganguly's translation. The Mahabharata text is so massive, that very
few felt the need to commision another translation, moreover the consensus is that Ganguly's translation is faithful to the original.(Fortunately,
there will soon be available modern English translations, which should be more readable)
Most Hindu people cannot read or write Sanskrit, so it is unlikely they are reading the original Sanskrit text of the Mahabharata. I think the so
called Hindu experts you are referencing simply want to believe in the translation that appears in Childress's book and thus accept it
As that excerpt definitely does not appear in Ganguly's translation and it does not appear anywhere else. However, it does appear in parts taken from
different sections. I think Childress has basically constructed the excerpt by taking parts from various sections from and Mahabhahta and then putting
them together so that they would support his theory of ancient nuclear war. It would be safe to say then that Childress's translation is fraudulent.
However, the basic theme of a weapon being deployed(iron bolt) that destroys an entire civilisation with nuclear bomb like characteristics is still
present in Ganguly's translation.
I just read the various sections that Charisma referenced where we can find verses similar to Childress:
Mausala Parva, Section 1 and 2
Vaishampayana said: "When the thirty-sixth year (after the battle) was reached, the delighter of the Kurus, Yudhishthira, beheld many unusual
portents. Winds, dry and strong, and showering gravels, blew from every side. Birds began to wheel, making circles from right to left. The great
rivers ran in opposite directions. The horizon on every side seemed to be always covered with fog. Meteors, showering (blazing) coals, fell on the
Earth from the sky. The Sun’s disc, O king, seemed to be always covered with dust. At its rise, the great luminary of day was shorn of splendour and
seemed to be crossed by headless trunks (of human beings). Fierce circles of light were seen every day around both the Sun and the Moon. These circles
showed three hues. Their edges seemed to be black and rough and ashy-red in colour. These and many other omens, foreshadowing fear and danger, were
seen, O king, and filled the hearts of men with anxiety. A little while after, the Kuru king Yudhishthira heard of the wholesale carnage of the
Vrishnis in consequence of the iron bolt. The son of Pandu, hearing that only Vasudeva and Rama had escaped with life, summoned his brothers and took
counsel with them as to what they should do. Meeting with one another, they became greatly distressed upon hearing that the Vrishnis had met with
destruction through the Brahmana’s rod of chastisement. The death of Vasudeva, like the drying up of the ocean, those heroes could not believe. In
fact the destruction of the wielder of Saranga was incredible to them. Informed of the incident about the iron bolt, the Pandavas became filled with
grief and sorrow. In fact, they sat down, utterly cheerless and penetrated with blank despair."
Janamejaya said: "Indeed, O holy one, how was it that the Andhakas along with Vrishnis, and those great car-warriors, the Bhojas, met with
destruction in the very sight of Vasudeva?"
Vaishampayana continued: "When the thirty-sixth year was reached (after the great battle) a great calamity overtook the Vrishnis. Impelled by Time,
they all met with destruction in consequence of the iron bolt."
The later part of this section now talks about a prophecy where some sages had prophecised the destruction of the race of the Vrishnis and Andhakas at
the hands of Samva, who would deploy a weapon on them. It is interesting that this prophecy says the reason this will take place is because of the
moral degeneration of these people, somewhat parallel to the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomrah.
When the next day came, Samva actually brought forth an iron bolt through which all the individuals in the race of the Vrishnis and the
Andhakas became consumed into ashes. Indeed, for the destruction of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, Samva brought forth, through that curse, a fierce
iron bolt that looked like a gigantic messenger of death.
Section 2 now describes either the "omens" just before the deployment of the weapon or is describing the effects of the weapon after it was
deployed. It is not clear because the prose is confusing, but I would imagine it is after because section 1 describes it as already being used:
Vaishampayana said: "While the Vrishnis and the Andhakas were thus endeavouring (to avoid the impending calamity), the embodied form of Time
(death) every day wandered about their houses. He looked like a man of terrible and fierce aspect. Of bald head, he was black and of tawny complexion.
Sometimes he was seen by the Vrishnis as he peered into their houses. The mighty bowmen among the Vrishnis shot hundreds and thousands of shafts at
him, but none of these succeeded in piercing him, for he was none else than the Destroyer of all creatures. Day by day strong winds blew, and many
were the evil omens that arose, awful and foreboding the destruction of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas. The streets swarmed with rats and mice.
Earthen pots showed cracks or broke from no apparent cause. At night, the rats and mice ate away the hair and nails of slumbering men.
Sarikas chirped, sitting within the houses of the Vrishnis. The noise made by those birds ceased not for even a short while by day or by night. The
Sarashas were heard to imitate the hooting of the owl, and goats imitated the cries, O Bharata, of jackals. Many birds appeared, impelled by Death,
that were pale of complexion but that had legs red of hue. Pigeons were seen to always disport in the houses of the Vrishnis. Asses were born of kine,
and elephants of mules.
What is unambigious here is that a weapon of mass destruction, an iron-bolt, has been deployed against the race of the Vrishnis and Andhakas and it as
resulted in their total annihilation, "reducing them to ashes" After the weapon is used there is a period of unnatural darkness, the sun and the
moon are covered in black-red ash hues and there is carnage everywhere.
The second part is more ambigious, but it is likely it is describing the fallout of the weapon. Food-stuff is infected; pottery is breaking without
apparent cause; hair and nails are falling out within the night(it says eaten by mice, but this could be the writer attributing the fall-out to rats,
because they do not know about radiation poisoning). There seems to be suggestion of mutation as well.
This is a remarkably similar description to a nuclear weapon and its fallout indeed. So it is not the case that Childress is completely fabricating
this, but what Childress has appeared to done to support his theory, is fill in the description with description from other parts of the text which
describe similar weapons. Such as "rose with the splendour of 10,000 suns" or "charged with the power of the universe"
Is this really describing a nuclear weapon? The description certainly seems to suggest it, but there are other descriptions in the Mahabharata which
sound mythological and magical. This is why it makes it difficult to accept descriptions in the Mahabharata as actual history. It could be easily
explained as the imagination of its authors, and the supposed nuclear weapons as an amazing concidence. If we want to challenge that explanation than
we need to provide actual evidence that shows the Mahabharata is a real historical event.
[edit on 3-12-2009 by Indigo_Child]