Agni Nakshatram (Kruttika Nakshatram, Karthikeya)
- It is Agni Deva who carried the burning Siva Bijam that became Karthikeya (Shanmukha) to Ganga who bore him and the Krutika Sisters who raised him. (Amar Chitra Katha Version)
- In the Vedic times Nakshatras were dedicated to Vedic Luminaries such as Indra, Agni, Bhaga and so on. (See Nakshatradhipatis from Vedic deities to Grahas, after Valmiki’s Ramayana).
- In later day astrology and vimsottari dasa systems, Nakshatras were dedicated to grahas such as sukra, kuja etc. The graha nakshatridhipathi for Krutika is Kuja, Mangal or Mars.
- It is interesting to note that: Kuja is now also considered a son of Siva, just like Karthikeya, the adopted son of the Krutika sisters and the slayer of Tarakasura. And just as Karthikeya was a War-Lord-God who led the Devas to victory, so also Kuja is considered warrior like.
- It is interesting to note that the Mongols, actually call themselves, “Mangals” and they were at one time very fierce and warrior like.
Krittika Nakshatram (Astronomy and Dating) : refers to the set of six ‘sister’ stars.
- This set of stars is identified by classical European system as Plaeidis.
- Brightest amongst them is called Alcyone by Arabs.
- If a single star has to be identified as representing Krittika Nakshatra, best candidate is 25hAries AlCyone.
- Arundhati Nakshatra (though not a part of the 27 day pointing fixed stars) is near the Krittitka. It is said to be the eighth star in the cluster Krittika. (Nakshatras, Masas, Rtus, Varas, Rasis, Specialities)
- Kruthika nakshatra (constellation) constitutes last padam of Mesha (Aries) and the first 3 padams of Vrishabha (Taurus). ( kruthika: Location = Alcyone, Celaeno, Electra, Taygete, Maia, & Asterope:(Pleiades) Eta, 16, 17, 19, 20, & 21 Tauri)
- The Vedanga Jyothisha begins the count of Nakshatras from Krithika Nakshatram. Today we count beginning from Aswhini Nakshatram. This can be interpreted to mean that the spring equinox occured in Krithika Nakshatram at the time that verse was composed.
- R.V. 1.164 Autumn Star Agni (Krittika, Alcyone 59.5 long) : Dirgha tamas Rshi. (See : Date of Veda Mantras and Equinoxes and Dating Vedas)
Some Background and Technical Terms :
- The nakshatras always appear to to rise and set along the same celestial line or longitude. That is why they are called in general fixed stars.
- Surya (The Sun) and Chandra (The Moon) do NOT rise and set along the same celestial line or longitude. The sunrise or moon-rise position, is to the north or south relative to the previous day.
- The moon passes by every nakshatra once a lunar month and spends an average of one day close to any given nakshatra. Each day is that named after a nakshatra.
- Similarly the sun passes by every nakshatra once a year and spends on an average one fortnight near any given nakshatram. That fortnight is called the kArte of that nakshatram.
- Thus day-nakshatra names depend on the longitude of the moon, fortnight karte names depend on the longitude of the sun. The names of the lunar months depend on the longitude of the full moon. Each lunar month is named after that nakshatram on which the full moon day (pournami) day occurs. Since the full moon depends on the relative angular separation of the sun and the moon and the nakshatram depends on the moon and the nakshatrams, tehy never match exactly. So we take the nakshatram that most frequently occurs near the full moon and name the lumar month after that.
Kruthika Nakshatram and the Moon : Karthika Masam (Lunar Month):
The lunar month Karthika Masam is named after the Kruthika Nakshatram. This usually occurs in or close to the english calendar month of November.
- List of Karthika Masam Celebrations in Andhra :
- Connecting Karthika Masam Celebrations of USA and India : Halloween, Karthika Pouranami, Yama Deepam
Kruthika Nakshatram and the Sun : Kruthika Karte :
The fortnight called Kruthika Karthe occurs in the month of May.
- Kruthika Karthe Clebraions in Tamil Nadu: Tamilians, who follow the solar calendar, celebrate Kruthika Karthe, under the name Agni Nakshatram Festival. It is celebrated in honour of Siva’s son Karthikeya also revered as Murugan, Palani, Subrahmanya, Kumaraswamy among many other names.
- Source : “Agni Nakshatram is a 14-day period in May, the hottest part of the year. It is the season when devout persons go round the hill in the Giri Veedi as much out of faith as for reasons of health, in the early morning (1 am. to 10 a.m.) and evening (4 to 10 pm) in large numbers. Just now, the kadamba trees (Eugenia Racemosa), favourite flora of Murugan, are in full bloom all around the hill shedding their fragrance and conveying healing properties to all the walkers. At Kodumudi (Periyar District), ardent devotees by the thousands collect Cauvery water in scorching sun and bring it in kavadis for abhishekam of the deity and the sanctum sanctorum at the hill is a large pool of water! It is so cool that one forgets the summer-heat. The water bearers are accompanied by artistes in a variety of folk-music and folkdance items. Their procession by itself is colorful and difficult to forget. On the concluding day, the festival deity of the Periyanâyaki Temple marches to the Adivaram and there is a majestic procession round Giri Veedi.”
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