On the identification of Brahmarashi with nakshatra Abhijit

I have corroborated astronomy references of ‘ब्रह्मराशिं‘ from both Mahabharata and Ramayana texts, for my proposed years of wars, (Mahabharata Yuddha & Rama-Ravana Yuddha) 5561 BCE and 12209 BCE, respectively.

Recently, while I was sharing evidence from Ramayana text with history enthusiasts, Shri Arjun Singh ji asked me if there is any specific evidence for my identification of ब्रह्मराशिं with that of nakshatra अभिजित्.

I may mention that he is convinced, more or less, about the identity of ब्रह्मराशिं with that of nakshatra अभिजित्.

However, since he could not locate any specific references in ancient literature, directly connecting ‘Brahmarashi’ with ‘Abhijit’, and thus wanted to find out what other evidence exist in support of this identification.

Thus, to begin with, irrespective of the final fate of this identification, let me take the due credit for being the first (known) individual (unless additional new evidence comes up that falsifies my claim) to have proposed this identification of ब्रह्मराशिं with that of nakshtra अभिजित्.

(1)

ब्रह्मराशिं in the Mahabharata text

I came across ‘ब्रह्मराशिं‘, the very first time, in the pages of the Mahabharata text.

The reference appears in Bhishma Parva, Adhyaya 3

ध्रुवः प्रज्वलितो घोरमपसव्यं प्रवर्तते |

चित्रास्वात्यन्तरे चैव धिष्ठितः परुषो ग्रहः ||१६||

वक्रानुवक्रं कृत्वा च श्रवणे पावकप्रभः |

ब्रह्मराशिं समावृत्य लोहिताङ्गो व्यवस्थितः ||१७||

Since I was familiar with the facts,

  • that position of ‘grahas’ (in this case – Mars) was described in the context of nakshatra,
  • and the fact that position of Mars was described near nakshatra Shravana,
  • and the word ब्रह्मराशिं itself was a easy giveaway, since nakshatra Abhijit, a star in the vicinity of Sharvan, is identified with nakshatra-devata Brahma
  • and the fact that the Mahabharata text identifies, numerous times, nakshatra by referring to its nakshatra-devata

I  tested position of Mars for the first day of war (16 October 5561 BCE) and found that it was indeed as described in the Mahabharata text.  In fact, there can not be a better description of its position.

[It is very critical to recognize that assertion of 16 October 5561 BCE as the first day of Mahabharata war was NOT based on this ‘ब्रह्मराशिं’ reference and thus the evidence provided, via ‘pratyaksha‘ and ‘anumana‘ is free from circular reasoning.]

(After being fixed in the region of chitra/swati and moving in ‘अपसव्य’ direction and after going through ‘वक्रानुवक्रं’ motions, Mars approached the area of nakshatra Shravana near ब्रह्मराशिं’.)

Let’s reproduce the RA (Right Ascension) measurements for this scenario, from my book (Chapter 7 – Planets were aligned)

nakshatra Shravana      13 hr 48 min

Mars                                   14 hr 21 min

naskshatra Abhijit          14 hr 32 min

nakshatra Dhanishtha    14 hr 52 min

mars-near-brahmarashi

I was indeed delighted  when I recently (2016 CE)  found a southern recension (P P S Sastri) that should remove all the doubts in anyone’s mind regarding the identification of ‘ब्रह्मराशिं’

The reading from this recension is as follows:

bhishma-3-brahmya-nakshatra

(2) 

Let’s note down the Sanskrit english dictionary references for both Abhijit and Brahmarashi

ब्रह्मराशि brahmarAzi m. particular constellation
ब्रह्मराशि brahmarAzi m. whole mass of sacred texts orknowledge
अभिजित् abhijit m. Vega  [ Alpha Lyrae – Astron. ]
अभिजित् abhijit adj. victorious
अभिजित् abhijit m. eighth muhUrta of the day

(3)

List of nakshatras are found in various places

For example…

  • Taittiriya Samhita – 4:4:10 (It lists 27 nakshatras and does not list अभिजित् )
  • Taittiriya Brahmana – 1:5:1:1-5 (It lists 28 naksahtras including अभिजित् )

taittiriya-naskhatra-list

OR

  • Vedanga Jyotish – Rik & Yajus Path (It lists 27 nakshatra and does not list अभिजित् )

vedanga-jyotish-rk-and-yaju-nakshatra-list

OR

  • Atharva Veda – 19:7 (It lists 28 nakshatras including Abhijit)

While Taittiriya Brahmana and Atharva Veda lists include ‘Abhijit’ as naksahtra, Taittiriya Samhitaa and Vedanga Jyotish lists do not include ‘अभिजित् ‘.

Taittiriya Brahmana and Atharva Veda place ‘Abhiit’ between ‘Uttara Ashadhaa’ & ‘Sharavana’.

It can be shown that this situation (Abhijit between U. Ashadhaa & Shravana)  existed only between 2700 BCE and 1350 CE  (based on RA measurements) within last 15,000 years.

I assert, based on my work on the ‘Fall of Abhiit’ reference of Mahabharata text, that nakshatra lists employed in Taittirya Samhita or Vedanga Jyotisha came into existence sometime in the 15th millennium BCE. (If you are not shocked at the antiquity claimed here, then you have not understood the impact of this discovery or claim!)

While tradition has Brahma as nakshatra devata of Abhijit, I could not readily find the references from India’s ancient literature confirming this to be the case.  Interestingly anyone with a little knowldge of nakshatrs happen to know that  Brahma is the naskshatra devata of Abhijit.

I encourage other researchers to bring it to my attention if they are aware of it.

(4)

 Tradition of nakshatra being referred to via its nakshatra Devata.

Shrimati Rupa Bhaty informs that the tradition of referring to nakshatra by its nakshatra devata is old and can be found, as we noticed in the texts presented in (3).

नक्षत्रदेवता ह्येता एताभिर् यज्ञकर्मणी। यजमानस्य शास्त्रज्ञैर् नाम नक्षत्रजं स्मृतम्॥

The name of nakshatra devata was prevalent and common in ancient vedic times.

And for thousand years people were named by their nakshatra or nakshatra devata unlike cha, chi, che la for mesh rashi in todays time which is apbhransha of vedanga jyotisha.

नक्षत्रशब्दस्य प्रयोग: तैत्तिरीयादिकृष्णयजुर्वेदशाखासु अथर्ववेदे शतपथब्राह्मणे च तारकार्थे तारकासमूहार्थे एव… surely for constellations. नक्षत्रदेवता: वेदाङ्गज्योतिषेऽपि नक्षत्रस्य पर्यायरूपेणाऽपि प्रयुक्ता:

(5)

Rationale explanation for presence and absence of अभिजित्  from Naksahtra list

I will skip this topic, for now, by stating that the insertion and exclusion of nakshatra ‘अभिजित् ‘ from list of nakshatras might have many reasons, however, one of the reasons, definitely, was due to the fact that nakshatra अभिजित् moved very close to the point of North celestial pole and thus was (had to be) dropped from the list of functional nakshatras, sometime during the 15th millennium BCE.

(6)

Fall of Abhijit (from the Mahabharata text)

I will skip this very interesting subject by requesting those interested in this subject, to search on my  blog site with ‘Fall of Abhijit’ as keyword(s).

(7) 

Ramayana reference of ‘ब्रह्मराशिं ‘

[It is very critical and worth recognizing and emphasizing that assertion of 12209 BCE as the year of Rama-Ravana yuddha  was NOT based on this ‘ब्रह्मराशिं’ reference and thus the evidence provided, via ‘pratyaksha‘ and ‘anumana‘ is free from circular reasoning.]

There are thee additional and specific references in the Valmiki Ramayana text, that also lead to a broader time interval of 10,000 BCE through 17500 BCE , for the plausible timing of Ramayana (what I have termed ‘Epoch of Ramayana‘)

brahmarashi-ramayana

(8)

Ramayana reference of अभिजित्

I will conclude this note on identification of ब्रह्मराशिं ‘with that of nakshatra Abhijit by quoting another reference from the Valmiki Ramayana text.

Kishkindha Kand  (GP 63:15 CE 62:15)

अथ पवन समान विक्रमाः
प्लवग वराः प्रतिलब्ध पौरुषाः |
अभिजित् अभिमुखाम् दिशम् ययुः
जनक सुता परिमार्गण उन्मुखाः ||

As is true that practically every Sanskrit verse can be translated in multiple different ways resulting in multiple interpretations. This verse is no exception.

I provide one meaningful translation below.

अथ = then; पवन समान विक्रमाः = with air [gustily,] equal, in their gusto; प्लवग वराः = fly-jumpers, the best; प्रतिलब्ध पौरुषाः = redeemed, certitude; अभिजित् = naskhatra अभिजित्;  अभिमुखाम् = against, in the presence of; दिशम् = direction, region;  ययुः=moving, going, journey, traveled, moved;  जनक सुता = Janaka’s daughter;  परिमार्गण = tracing, searching, looking for;  उन्मुखाः= looking up or at, ready, raising the face, i.e. face upward

(Then, those best fly jumpers, having redeemed their certitude, in the presence of nakshatra अभिजित्, in gusto, became ready to travel in the (southern) direction, searching for Janaka’s daughter.)

I assert that this reference to naksahtra अभिजित् is due to its being a North Pole star, and thus a reference star, employed by  Vanara search party, in their journey to the south as they searched for Sita.

[Again, It is very critical and worth recognizing and emphasizing that assertion of 12209 BCE as the year of Rama-Ravana yuddha  was NOT based on this ‘ब्रह्मराशिं'(Yuddha 4:48) or  अभिजित् (Kishkindha 63:15) references and thus the evidence provided, via ‘pratyaksha’ and ‘anumana’ for their identification  is free from circular reasoning.]

इति लेखनसीमा

Added later….

Shri Arjun Singh ji informs that Garuda purana does have a list of nakshatra and nakshatra devata that lists Brahma as nakshatra devata of Abhijit.

I include it below.

nakshatra-devata-garud-purana

It is also critical to keep in mind that some variation among Nakshatra devata can be observed between various ancient Indian documents.

For example…

(1) Garuda Purana & Vedanga Jyotish (above) lists ‘Bhaga’ as devata of nakshatra ‘Purva Phalguni’ and ‘Aryama’ as devata of nakshatra ‘Uttara Phalguni’

(2) Taittiriya Samhita and Taittiriya Brahmana lists ‘Aryama’ as devata of nakshatra ‘Purva Phalguni’ and ‘Bhaga’ as devata of naskhatra ‘Uttara Phalguni’

(3) Shatapatha Brahmana (Kand 2, Adhyaya 1, Brahmana 2, Shlok 11) mentions ‘Indra’ as devata of both ‘phalguni’ nakshatras.

 

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5 thoughts on “On the identification of Brahmarashi with nakshatra Abhijit

  1. Is there a CE edition for Ramayana? Not by Bhandarkar Institute I suppose? Which is the research body or who is the person?

    • There is. Except it was done at few places (e.g. Badoda/Vadodara, Pune,) The quality of effort is nowhere close to what Sukathankar, Belvalkar and Vaidya gang did on CE edition of Mahabharata

  2. The translation of this shloka in valmikiramayan.net is hackneyed. Plavaga means monkeys (vanaras). example – ‘मूलं भुजंगैः, शिखरं प्लवंगैः शाखा विहंगैः कुसुमंच भृंगैः श्रितं सदा चंदनपादपस्य परोपकाराय सतां विभूतयः ‘ अभिजित् अभिमुखाम् दिशम् should translate – the direction facing Abhijit’ or south. Note that the dishaa (or rather the region) is facing Abhijit, not the Plavagas! If plavagas were ‘abhijit abhimukhas’, they would have been flying to North! (A very tricky wording). I dont know wherefrom the translator in the book brings in ‘Abhijit Muhurta!”
    In this shloka, anyway, Abhijit is not called ब्रह्मराशि!
    I wrote on facebook that North pole or मेरु is the abode of Devas. ( Lokmanya Tilak says so in Orion) Brahma is a prime Deva. Abhijit was North Pole for a very significant period and was thus the home of Brahma So Abhijit got the name ब्रह्मराशि! North Pole moved far away from Abhijit in due course but the name stuck! How do you like this व्युत्पत्ति?

  3. I note that Garuda Purana lists Nakshatras starting from Krittika! So by the time it was written, kala had become कृत्तिकादि in place of धनिष्ठादि when Bhrahma Created Kala. Since when Ashvini became the first nakshatra? Did Indra send another SOS with Skanda?

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