Posts Tagged ‘Vedas’
This book has a small chapter on telescopes in Ancient India also… which is interesting and useful.
Some caution is advised while reading.
- For eg “the word kancha” is mentioned in the yajur veda : fact.
- “Yajur Veda is of 1200 BCE” : an assumption based on many other assumptions about the date of the Yajur Veda
- “Kanch means glass” : We have to consult Kasysapa’s Nighantu plus Veda Mantras to find out in what sense that word was used in that mantra at that time.
I think this book is a worth a look-see .. It is available in IISc library.
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Jyeshta means elder.. (The North Indian word Jettani is derived from jyESTa.)
In common tradition, Jyeshta Devi is considered the elder sister of Lakshmi Devi. She is also called alakshmI. She is considered more beautiful while leaving, while Lakshmi Devi is considered more beautiful while coming.
The nakshatram following Jyeshta Nakshatram is Moola Nakshatram. (This moola nakshatram points to the center of the milky way, our galaxy. In my article on Moola Nakshatram, we have explored the significance of the Dhanur masa early morning rituals. At sunrise in Dhanur masam, the sun is in line with Moola Nakshatram, which is in line with the galactic centre where Vishnu lies in the khseera samudram. )
It is said that Jyeshta Devi rose out of the sea before Lakshmi Devi on the day of the ksheera sagara mathanam.
In this article Ksheera Sagara Mathanam (Location), I have presented the idea the sthala purana that gives Antarvedi in Andhra Coast as the location of the Ksheera Sagara Mathanam on earth. I have written that on the east coast of India, you do see the moon rising out of the ocean. This is not possible on the west coast. I have also written in one of my posts that the kalpavruksham etc that ‘came out of the ocean” on that daywere the various constellations that rose into the sky, one after another, through the night.
Now, both Jyeshta and Chandra (Moon), rose before Lakshmi (see Sri Suktham : Lakshmi as Light), out of the ocean and after the churning.
I think that first Jyeshta Nakshatram rose, and then Chandra making everything bright and thus Lakshmi came next. This would mean that the Nakshatram of the Day was either Jyeshta or Moola.
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Reference : Gods, Sages and Kings. Vedic Secrets of an Ancient Civilization by David Frawley
For use with our future discussions on this subject, I am jotting down a few points from this reference.
- Today we hear of the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius”. The point of the vernal equinox – the position of the Sun among the stars on the first day of spring – is approaching the sign of Aquarius (Kumbha).
- This phenomenon is caused by a backward tilting of the earth on its axis, the precession, which changes atthe rate of about 50″ per year and competes the whole cycle of the zodiac in about 25,800 years.
- The astronomy of India has always been sidereal, based on stellar positions, unlike the west which employed a “Tropical” zodiac based on seasonal points.
- Most Indian astronomers place the vernal equinox around 23 degrees from 0 degrees Aries, as of 1950. ie 7 degrees of Piesces.
- While the greek Hipparchus calculated the rate of precession as 36″ per year, the Surya Siddhanta calculated the rate at 54″ which is much closer to the modern measurement of 50.3″ per year.
- Precessional changes are the hallmark of Indian Astronomy.
- A sidereal day is 4 minutes shorter than a regular day and therefore there are 366 sidereal days in a normal year. Thus the precession is built into the Indian calendar.
- Any culture employing the sidereal zodiac will find the position of the equinoxes moving back a week or so every 500 years or about 7 degrees in the zodiac.
- Today, Hindus celebrate the Sun entering the sign of Capricorn around Jan 14th as this is the observable sidereal position, and western tropical calendars use Dec 21st as the date of the western solstice.
- Hindu Sidereal calculations are more complicated than tropical ones. Indian astronomy is a very specialised system that requires precise astronomical observations and shows an ongoing knowledge of the exact placement of the planets and equinoxes relative to the fixed stars. many Vedic rituals are described relative to sidereal calendars.
- About every 1000 years, the equinox is moved back another nakshatram (lunar constellation).
- The nakshatram after which each month (masa) is named, mark the beginning of their respective signs.
- The Hindu months were devised according to a correspondence between nakshatras and the zodiac, revealing a knowledge of both systems.
- In Ancient Indian Texts, the nakshatras are listed in the order of their sequence starting with the constellation that marks the spring (vernal) equinox. Medieval lists begin their listing of the nakshatras with Ashwini. Ancinet lists started with Krittija, showing the equinox at the beginning of taurus.
- Whenever the equinox retreated back to a previous sign and therfore a previous month, a major calendar reform was initiated. (We can find various texts and tables in use even today).
- Eras when the equinox came to an initial point of one of the 12 signs were more prominently marked in Vedic texts than the intermediary points.
- For the purpose of Vedic Yajnas, the year began with the winter solstice when the sun was “renewed”.
- The first month of the year therefore becomes, the one named after the nakshatram that marks the full moon on the winter solstice day.
- Vedic literature tells us some of the months named by these lunar constellations (nakshatrams) and the days within them in which the solstices occured, affording us additional means of calculating these eras.
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In 1893, Lokamanya Balagangadhar Tilak wrote a book called: The Orion: the antiquity of the Vedas.
In this book he establishes that the Vedas are earlier than 4000 BC. (Don’t worry about the use of the word Aryan in those days people believed in the AIT. When you see the word Aryan just think Indian or person of the Vedic period and civilization. )
Max Muller believed that Buddhism was 400 BC. He thought that Vedic literature was of 4 periods each 200 years long, the last ending with Buddhism. He thought that these 4 periods were.. Chandas, Mantra, Brahmana and Sutra. Therefore he thought that Vedas were earlier to 1200 BC. Dr. Haug, thought that each period was 500 years long and therefore thought that the Vedic period started in 2400 BC. Their reasoning was clearly arbitrary.
Whenever verses related to astronomy were found in the Vedas, there was a tendency of colonial historians to label them as interpolations, added later. The Vedas are considered apaurusheyas (not by created by men) and no Hindu would care/dare to tamper them. Even today, I observe that in the Veda Pathasalas, the Vedas are taught as they are first for many years and only many years later will a few students become eligible to learn the meaning. (Can you think of an American historian deliberately editing their Declaration of Independence?)
The Vedic Indians were well versed in astronomy and the early yagnyas, customs prayers were tied to seasons and astronomical events.
Tilak presents an argument that the new Year began in those days with the spring equinox and that the devayanam or uttarayanam also began with the spring equinox. (Even today, among the Telugu and Kannada people, the new year ((Y)Ugadi) begins in Spring). Tilak tells us that the shift of the new year from the spring equinox to the winter solstice, occured later. He tells us that the word Uttarayanam is not found in the Rg Veda.
Tilak tells us that the period called Devayana originally consisting of the period from the spring equinox to autumn equinox, over time, came to be identified with Uttarayana which is from winter solstice to summer solstice.
In Varahamihira’s time, the spring equinox coincided with the end of Revati and the summer solstice was in Punarvasu. In the Pancha Siddhanthika, Varahamihira says “in earlier times, the summer solstice was in the middle of Aslesha, but now it is in Punarvasu”. Tilak also tells us that when Bhishma waited for the beginning of Uttarayanam (the winter solstice) it took place in the first fortnight of the Magha Masa.
Nowadays the Uttarayanam takes place in Dhanur Masam. As per Tilak, our present calendars begin with the supposition that the spring equinox takes place at the end of Revathi Nakshatram. As per Prof. Whitney, this event happened in 490 AD. (This matches my rough calculations).
Tilak says that there is plenty of evidence to show that before the ancient indians started with the calendar mentioned above (Spring Equinox – Revati), they used to use a calendar in which the winter solstice was in Magha masa and the spring equinox was in the Kritikas). He says that this is corroborated by the Vedanga Jyotisha and other works. There are some Hindu astronomers who date the Mahabharata to this period, when the spring equinox was in the Krittikas.
As per Prof. Whitney’s calculations, using the krittika vernal (spring) equinox, the date of the Taittireya Samhita would be 2350 BC. Between the Taittireya Samhita and Vedanga Jyotisha, there was a precession of 13 deg 20 min or roughly 14 degrees. The Vedanga Jyotisha gives the spring equinox at 10 deg of Bharani and this matches. (10 deg + 3 deg 20 min).
To be continued…