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According to the Indraloka Gamana Parva, Vana Parva, Mahabharata, when Arjuna goes to Svarga during his 13 years exile before the war, he lived there for five years. Now if we take this calculation in earthly terms, 1 year of the devas is 360 years for us. So five years would be 5x360=1800 years on earth! Yet Arjuna was gone only for five earth years, which would mean five days on Svarga.

There is an alternate possibility of Arjuna having visited the city of Indra on the Meru Mountain, which is on earth. But this is not described in the Mahabharata. So how is this time difference reconciled?

  • Where is Mount Meru? – user3547 Nov 28 '15 at 0:03
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    The Vana Parva says "And those brilliant regions that are seen from the earth in the form of stars, like lamps (in the sky)--so small in consequence of their distance, though very large--were beheld by the son of Pandu, stationed in their respective places, full of beauty and effulgence and blazing with splendour all their own." sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03042.htm So clearly this wasn't a city on Mount Meru. – Keshav Srinivasan Dec 5 '15 at 16:21
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    The answer to your question is in your question itself! He lived there for 5 years according to Mahabharata. What else do you want to know? – Chinmay Sarupria Feb 24 '16 at 13:33
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    To answer your original question. Yes you are correct this is obviously a mistake written in the scriptures. We see this a lot in mythology: things do not add up often. – Wikash_ Sep 29 at 6:33
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    @Wikash_, or your interpretation could be faulty. If the verse meant 5 earth-years, that equals 5 deva-days, which adds up just fine. – ram Nov 1 at 18:50
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Yes. It was mentioned in Indraloka Gamana Parva of Vana Parva that Arjuna spent full five years in heaven.

Vaisampayana said, "The gods and the Gandharvas then, understanding the wishes of India, procured an excellent Arghya and reverenced the son of Pritha in a hurry. And giving water to wash both his feet and face, they caused the prince to enter the palace of Indra. And thus worshipped, Jishnu continued to live in the abode of his father. And the son of Pandu continued all the while to acquire celestial weapons, together with the means of withdrawing them.

And he received from the hands of Sakra his favourite weapon of irresistible force, viz., the thunder-bolt and those other weapons also, of tremendous roar, viz., the lightnings of heaven, whose flashes are inferable from the appearance of clouds and (the dancing of) peacocks. And the son of Pandu, after he had obtained those weapons, recollected his brothers. And at the command of Indra, however, he lived for full five years in heaven, surrounded by every comfort and luxury.

We have to read study carefully the above paras. It is to be remembered that it was Vaisampayana, who was narrating the story. So, naturally, he narrated from his point of view only, i.e, on EARTHLY terms only.

Hence, Arjuna spent 5 years, according to EARTHLY terms, in Heaven.

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