The Buddha’s Second Visit to the Island.Was there an Eclipse?
The Sinhalese celebrate the beginning of a New Year, as the Sun starts a new journey crosses the equator . The Epa Panchanga Litha where the calendar of the Sinhalese is published for each Sinhala New Year mentions that 2011 is 1,972,949,112 years after the universe started to open up.[ Surya Siddantha 2500 BC]. This, the Sinhalese believe to be the age of the Universe in its present cycle.
The ancient astronomers has identified 12 set of stars that travel along with the Sun across the Horizon in a the Zodiac[ the general area in the sky where the Sun traverse]. They are named after the shape of animals or objects that these set of stars form. Each of these constellations rises with the sun for each Sinhala Lunar month. The month of Bak , the Mesha or the Ram or Aries constellation arise with the sun and heralds the lunar month of Bak. The previous month the sun arose with the constellation of Meena[ The Fish or Pisces ].This change of the position of the Sun in respect of the stars is the beginning of the sinhala new year.
BUDDHA SECOND VISIT
The Moon too travels with in the Zodiac, and some times get in between the Sun and causes eclipse. It is stated in the Mahawansa that Buddha 5 years after enlightenment made his second visit to Nagadipa.in the month of Citta [ March- April] There he settled a dispute between the Nags kings. It is also said to have brought light to darkness. It is believed that the ancient astronomers in India could predict Eclipses[ Web Site- Hindu Astronomy] .
According to the Dipavansa Begins with
“ Listen all, giving your mind; I will proclaim a history handed down from generation to generation , highly praised, adorned in many ways, joined together in this , just as flowers of various kinds”.
And describes Buddha second visit
Chapter II para 21 -27 ‘ The Sambuddha produced a deep darkness, which scared the two Naga fractions who were fighting and stopped the war and then he brought a warm ray of light…’
Can this be considered Magic or did the Buddha use a natural phenomena[ An Eclipse] to bring peace between Culodara and Mahodara, the two Naga kings fighting over a throne.
The NASA institute has calculated and published eclipses of the past on a web site Two of these eclipses that is published by NASA during the month of Bak[ April-May] i.e . 480 BC April 19 and 415 BC April 21 are of interest here.
THE ECLIPSES OCCURRED FROM -599 BC TO -300 BC
-480 BC April 19 Over Jaffna North of Island- Month of Bak or Citta [ Mahawansa Dark half of the month of Citta-Ch I para 47]
-440 BC August 23 Central Lanka
-415 BC April 21 Central Lanka Short Sunset- Month of Bak
-375 BC February 28 North of Island
-353 BC June 24 SE Lanka Sunrise.
Comments of Dr Kavan Ratnatunga,
BC 552 Aug 31 is only an Annular Eclipse of the Sun and as less than 94% of the Sun is
covered by the Moon and it does not become Dark like in a Total Eclipse of the Sun
The BC 480 April 19[ month of citta] over Northern Sri Lanka[ Nagadipa] is the only Total Eclipse of the Sun for the 2 centuries in Question and puts the Death of the Buddha a round 435 BC which is close to a Date worked out by Rhys Davids and published in his book of 1877, IF it was a Total
Eclipse over Naga Deepa when he visited.
If the Buddha came to Nagadeepa when he was 35 or 45 years
and the darkness mentioned in Mahavamsa is a Total Eclipse of the Sun
543 BC date is 588 BC
483 BC date is 528 BC
435 BC date is 480 BC
383 BC date is 428 BC
See maps, Blue is Total, Red is annular
THE Only TOTAL ECLIPSES OCCURRED FROM 599 BC TO 400 BC visible from Lanka
-480 BC April 19 Over Jaffna North of Island- Month of Bak or Citta [ Mahawansa
Dark half of the month of Citta-Ch I para 47]
-440 BC August 23 Central Lanka
-415 BC April 21
Central Lanka Short Sunset- Month of Bak