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Archive for the ‘Nakshatras’ Category

Saptarishi (Great Bear) Positions according to Varahamihira and Vateswara

Reference : Saptarishi Calendar,
See Also : Nakshatras, Grahas, Varas, Rasis, Masas, Rtus
Note : I am in the process of finding and verifying some original sources (Vishnu Puranam etc).. in order to clear up some matters. For eg : from the data below it appears that Kaliyuga Raja Vrttantam is counting “backwards” from Makha to Aslesha and that Vishnu Puranam is counting “forwards” from Makha to Poorvashada.
  • Saptarishi Position at the Time of Parikshit’s Birth and Yudhisthira’s Coronation : 74/75 years after Makha beginning : 3138 BCE
  • Saptarishi Position at 0 Kaliyuga : 3102 BCE
    • Aslesha (given : computed by author ): direction counting backwards by 25 years
    • Kaliyuga Raja Vruttantam
  • Saptarishi Position at MahaPadma Nanda (Chanakya): Poorvashada middle (observed):
  • Saptarishi Position at the beginning of the Saka Era referred by Varahamihira : (beginning 2526 years after Yudhisthira.. as calculated by Varahamihira, using the 100 year per nakshatra rule given by Vrddha Garga and quoted by Varahamihira).
    • We calculate Aslesha counting forwards.
    • We calculate Poorvaphalguni counting backwards.
      • Brihat Samhita
  • Saptarishi Position at the beginning of Saka Era referred by Vateswara :
    • Vateswara Siddhanta
    • 4000-3102 = 898 BCE
    • 4000 years corresponds to a movement of 42.3 nakshatras as per Vateswara; 42.3-27=15.3
    • This brings us to the beginning of Uttarashada (counting backwards).
    • This brings us the to the beginning of Uttarabhadra (counting forwards).

Saptarishi Position presently : Poorva Phalguni as per Vateswara, Hasta as per Varahamihira, counting backwards.

  • Arudra according to me.. just looking at the sky map,, I may be wrong
  • If Arudra is right then Bharata War is 58 centuries ago, not 51 centuries ago…
Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula


Reference : History of Astronomy in India. Indian National Science Academy.1985. Chapter 9. Indian Calendar from Post-Vedic period to AD 1900. Page 274: S.K. Chatterjee and A.K. Chakravarthy.

What is the ecliptic?

The ecliptic is the apparent yearly path of the Sun seen from the earth on the background of the stars.

What is the zodiac or rasi chakra?

The moon and planets are found within a belt of width eight degrees on either side of the ecliptic. This belt is known as the rasi chakra, or the zodiac.  ( See : Measuring distances in degrees in the sky using your hand)

What is a nakshatra?

To indicate day to day position of the moon in relation to the stars, the zodiac has been divided into 27 equal parts, from a fixed initial point in the ecliptic. Each part is known as a nakshatra or nakshatra division. and it covers 13 deg 20 min or 800 min of arc of the ecliptic.

Each Nakshatra division is named after a selected star which is generally prominent or traditionally well known and is broadly equally spaced in the zodiac. These identifying stars are called yogataras.


Not all Yogataras are located in the lune of the nakshatra division.  for eg Ardra, Swati, Jyesta, Poorvashada, Uttarashada, Sravana and Dhanishta.

The word Nakshatra in the context of panchangas means the nakshatra division signified by that Nakshatra.

See Also : Nakshatras, Grahas, Varas, Rasis, Masas, Rtus

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula

Rights for sourced material vest with the source.

Nakshatras in the Chaldean Creation Legend

Source :

Fifth Tablet of Creation Legend.


1. It was delightful, all that was fixed by the great gods.

2. Stars, their appearance [in figures] of animals he arranged.

3. To fix the year through the observation of their constellations,

4. twelve months (or signs) of stars in three rows he arranged,

5. from the day when the year commences unto the close.

6. He marked the positions of the wandering stars (planets) to shine in their courses,

7. that they may not do injury, and may not trouble any one,

8. the positions of the gods Bel and Hea he fixed with him.

9. And he opened the great gates in the darkness shrouded

10. the fastenings were strong on the left and right.

11. In its mass (i.e. the lower chaos) he made a boiling,

12. the god Uru (the moon) he caused to rise out, the night he overshadowed,

13. to fix it also for the light of the night, until the shining of the day,

14. That the month might not be broken, and in its amount be regular.

15. At the beginning of the month, at the rising of the night,

16. his horns are breaking through to shine on the heaven.

17. On the seventh day to a circle he begins to swell,

18. and stretches towards the dawn further.

Written by Satya Sarada Kandula

December 17, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Why study Geo-Centric Astronomy?

To understand the astronomical significance of the Puranas, it is necessary to have some idea of the geo-centric (earth-centred) astronomical model used by Ancient Indian Astronomers (Rishis and others).

A helio-centric (sun- centred) model, simplifies a lot of calculations and is the preferred model in modern science.

But if you step outside and look at the sky and see the sun-rise and sun-set, the full moon and the new moon, you will find that geo-centric astronomy makes more intuitive sense.

So what we will be doing is trying to place ourselves in the minds of our forefathers and see the world as they saw it.

Much of the knowledge that they had did not require extra-terrestrial genes or divine revelation. It required careful observation, excellent mathematics, brilliant insights and great dedication to the science.

It also needed a society which valued truth and knowledge. And that was the society of Ancient India.

It was as difficult to afford advanced education for all then as it is now. So puranas with their high appeal were overlaid with astronomical significance, such that the ‘facts’ were retained even if the ‘derivations’ and ‘logic’ was available only to those who dedicated their life to study.

It was a society that placed the knowledgeable and wise people above the rulers in status while at the same time ensuring that they had neither the power of wealth nor arms and at the same time required strict discipline and self-denial from them.

It was a society that trusted the spoken word and put all the knowledge in to metrical form such that any mispronunciation or interpolation would be evident. It was a society that then introduced many different forms of preserving the oral tradition, with recitals from back to front, alternating words etc, such that the word was incorruptible.

It is possible that the most knowledgeable phycists today know more about astronomy and physics than the rishis of the ancient times. It is certain that the rishis of the ancient times knew more than the ‘average’ or ‘lay person’ of today, and definitely knew more than they are given credit for, by the general populace.

Then why study ancient science at all? Why not study modern physics and be done with it? There is too much to know anyway.

A part of the answer to this can be national pride. A part of the answer to this can be justice and giving credit where it is due. A part of the answer to this can be curiosity. A part of the answer to this can be social reform. If we know what the puranas actually said and what they actually meant, we can make more informed decisions with regard to our religious and spiritual life.

Some people are not comfortable with recognising that ancient wisdom was science. They don’t like  taking the magic out of ancient science. Humans like miracles and magic. They entertain and reassure us. But I think the fact that we are all here at all is a miracle. The fact that we can speak and pray and dance is a miracle. All technology is a miracle. When Nature or Prakruthi is such a great miracle, why seek unnatural miracles?

Let us give the rshis of India their respectful and rightful dues as the original scientists of our human civilization and not just as philosophers.

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula

Halloween, Karthika Pouranami, Yama Deepam

The theme of lights and overcoming fear of death dominates festivals around the world during Karthika Masam.

  • I compare the dates and customs of Halloween, Karthika Pournami and Yama Deepam in the following article.
  • It is possible that Ancient Indian customs spread to many parts of the Ancient World and were later suppressed/modified there under the label of Paganism.
  • At one time Halloween coincided with Karthika Pournami.
  • (See Also : Harvest Moon : Aswiyuja Pournami (Purnima))

Halloween : Americans celebrate Halloween on the 31st of October. Children dress up as ghosts (prethas) and monsters and demand sweets from neighbours. Pumpkins are carved and candles are placed in them. (Jack O’ Lantern)

  • According to this reference, Hebrews followed a lunar calendar. Halloween was instituted on the full moon of the eight month (October). On that day they sacrificed to the golden calves at Dan and Bethel.
  • God ordained, in Leviticus 23, the Feast of Tabernacles on the fifteenth of the seventh month. I Kings 12:28-3228 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. (NIV)”
  • Westerners used to begin their new year with the winter solstice at one time as opposed to the spring equinox new year traditions of South Indians. Today their new year day Jan 1st is separated by 9 days from the winter solstice, so we know how relatively young this calendar is, compared to the Indian calendars. ( See : Equinoxes and Dating the Vedas
  • For October (Akhtabar – Ashtavar(sha)) to be their 8th month, the first month has to be March. This implies at the their new year also started  at the Spring Equinox, as it does for the Andhras, Kannadigas and Tamilians (and some other Indian States), at the time of the Old Testament.
  • The Biblical Reference above shows that the full moon was the 15th day, which means that like Andhras and Kannadigas (and some other Indian States), they started their calendar on the new moon day when the sun and the moon were aligned.

Karthika Pournami : Andhras (and Indians of some other states) celebrate Karthika Pournami in a big way on the full moon day of lunar month Karthika Masa.  Karthika Masa is named after the Kruthika Nakshatram (called Pleiades). The Krutika Nakshtram is a constellation of 6 stars called the Krttikas and the adopted son Karthikeya (son of Siva), whom they all raised together. It is Karthikeya who killed Tarakasura and returned Indra’s kingdom to him.

  • Karthika Masam is named after Kruthika Nakshatram, because, on an average, the full moon day occurs closer to Kruthika than the other 26 Nakshatrams. This usually occurs in the english calendar month of November.
  • This year Karthika Pournami is on 2nd November and occurs in Ashwini Nakshatram which is 2 nakshatras away from Kruthika.
  • On the day of the Kruthika Nakshatram in Karthika Masam, the festival of Kruthika Deepotsavam is observed – this is on 4th November this year!
  • “The Seven Sisters constellation, Pleiades, which looks like a small cluster of grapes, has long been a signal for the time of year to honor the dead — such as All Saints Day, Nov. 1. According to myth, the Seven Sisters constellation is at its highest point in the sky during a great calamity. The Aztecs and Mayans believed it would be overhead at midnight on the night the world comes to an end.(Reference)
  • What is a good day to the victors (Karthikeya and the Devas) might well be a bad day to the losers (Tarakasura). Could this be a clue?

(For posts by me explaining the lunar calendar please see : Nakshatram of the Day! , Nakshatras and Masas)

Yama Tharpanam and Yama Deepam : Yama is worshipped on different days of Karthika Masam and one or 2 days preceding it.

My calendar gives the day before Deepavali (Aswiyuja Krishna Paksha Chaturdasi as Yama Tarpanam, Naraka Caturdasi, Preta Caturdasi and Yama Deepam) and Karthika Krishna Paksha Trayodasi as Yama Deepam. Expect variations from state to state.

  • Yama Dharmaraja is reverred the luminary (deva) in charge of Yama (Restraint and Self-Control) and Dharma (Ethics, Right Conduct etc). He is popularly known as the God of Death or Mrutu Devata in contemporary Hinduism. At the end of your life, it is believed that, Yama reviews the account of your activites and decides how much time you get in heaven and how much time in each kind of hell. Yama is worshipped to overcome the fear of death.
  • Yamadwitheya / Bhathru Dwithiya: As the legend goes Yamraj, the God of Death visited his sister Yamuna (Yami) on this particular day. That is why this day of Bhayyaduj is also known by the name of “Yama-Dwitiya” or Bhathru Dwithiya. (Source)

In Andhra, sisters give Arati to their brothers on Naraka Caturdasi. Variations of this custom occur in various states of India, both north and south.

For other posts written by me on the spread of Ancient Indian Customs (Brahmins to Hebrews) you may see links below:  (These are not connected to Karthika Masam.)

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula


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