Saturday, November 28, 2020

Hindu Gods in south Mesopotamia of early 2nd Millennium BCE - Part 3 (From Eshwari to Eshnunna to Ishtar)

 Part 1: Lord Venkateswara and Padmavati

Part 2: Shiva linga

Ishtar was the one goddess who dominated the religions of the Middle East from the latter half of the 3rd Millennium BCE to the more recent biblical times. She was worshiped as Ishtar by Akkadians, as Inanna by Sumerians and as Astarte by Egyptians and Canaanites. Her earliest image found in a cylinder seal is displayed in the Chicago Museum along with her transformed image – which is the most commonly recognized image of hers (Figure 1). Both images belonged to the same time period.

Figure 1

Of the two images seen in the above figure, the top most one differs vastly from the other, though both are identified as Ishtar. A closer look at the top-image is given in Figure 2.

Figure 2

The most striking feature is the dented impression on her forehead. It is not caused by any defect in the seal as can be clearly seen from the corresponding projection in the cylinder seal. While this leaves us perplexed whether it is the Tilaka, the auspicious Hindu mark worn on the forehead, other features help us to arrive at a better understanding of who she is.

The Goddess is seated on a lion throne with legs folded– a feature that is not found in any goddess of the region at any time. The Mesopotamian Goddesses were either standing or seated with legs down.

Her cloths also are not as how they appear for other Goddesses. Her right hand is extended as if in abhaya mudra – something not seen in other goddesses of the region. The inscription in Akkadian reads “of Eshnunna”.


Eshnunna was a city-state of central Mesopotamia hemmed between south Mesopotamia and Elam and served as a connecting trade centre. Importantly some seals and beads of the Indus Valley have been unearthed in Eshnunna hinting at trade contacts with Indians. The location is easily accessible from the Persian Gulf for anyone going from Peninsular India and Gujarat.

Ishtar was the presiding deity of Eshnunna and a code of Law was in vogue in her name. The same codes were found incorporated in the Code of Hammurabi later, showing how popular her code had been. The Code of Hammurabi being no different from the Danda Niti of Shiva, (refer Part 2), it can be assumed that the Code of Eshnunna was originally a derivative of the Danda Niti of Shiva. 

The name Ishtar seems to have been derived from the place name, Eshnunna, but then from where did the name Eshnunna evolve?

Looking at her figure, a parallel with Eshwari – Goddess Bhuvaneshwari can be made out. Bhuvaneshwari is the consort of Shiva and a counterpart of him in cosmic relevance. Like Shiva she too has the Third Eye on her forehead and a crescent moon on her head. The goad is her weapon while she pulls people with the noose held in her other hand. She is seated on a throne, not always decorated with lions, but the lion throne is the popular seat for anyone held in supreme position.

Goddess Bhuvaneshwari


Looking for these features in figure 1, the deity of Eshnunna had a Third eye. She was seated. Weapons are seen at her back. The crescent moon is missing but it is found in another unidentified goddess of Isin-Larsa (figure 3)

Figure 3

This unidentified deity had a crescent moon on the head much like Bhuvaneshwari. Her cosmic role is perhaps shown by the star like discs on either side of her head. She has birds on her shoulders, a feature that is commonly found in Indian Goddesses. This figure could perhaps be the early form of Eshwari (shortened form of Bhuvaneshwari where Bhuvana refers to world and Eshwari to goddess) brought to Eshnunna by the traders of Indic landmass. From Eshwari, the place could have got the name Eshnunna.

When Eshnunna came under the Akkadian rule, her cult was absorbed into the mainstream.

The name further corrupted as Ishtar and the iconographic details were modified. The seat supported by lions gave way to Ishtar standing on a lion. The noose of Bhuvaneshwari was used to hold the lion in control while the other hand of Ishtar carried a goad-like weapon. Her costume was changed to the familiar Akkadian / Mesopotamian style. Figure 4 shows how she looked at the same period of the seated Eshnunna having the third eye.

Figure 4

Quick changes like this within the same period are not unknown in Mesopotamia. An example can be quoted from another artifact found the same Museum. Figure 5 shows a “bull-man” holding a ring-staff in the same period.

Figure 5

The same staff appears in the same style in the hands of Ishtar found in Eshnunna of the same period (figure 6).

Figure 6

Source:  Louvre Museum 

For comparison the two figures are shown together in figure 7.

Figure 7

This staff seems to have undergone changes in style though the concept of the entangled twin snake is retained until the Greek time in their Caduceus, the staff of Hermes.[1]  (Figure 8)

Figure 8

The quick re-mix and the continuous re-mix were common features in Mesopotamian region with the result the original figure was easily lost within a short time. Perhaps that was the aim of the re-mix. When a city state was annexed, its cult practices were absorbed and made new by the new ruler and perhaps this went on with every ruler. Only then we get a convincing explanation for the numerous twists in the myths related to the gods and goddesses in addition to the changes in names, roles and relationships from time to time.

Behind all these, the original form of Eshnunna with the third eye was lost forever, though some semblance to the Tilaka is found in a figurine unearthed in Tel Agrab, in the ruins of Shara temple, dedicated to God Shara, identified in some texts as the son of Inanna (another name for Ishtar of Eshnunna). The head of a female of the Early Dynastic period, 2600-2400 BCE found at Shara temple shows somewhat a selective damage on her forehead where the Tilaka is placed  (circled in Figure 9) The ear bore shows wearing ear ornament which is customary in the Vedic religion.

Figure 9,_Shara_Temple.jpg The Iraq Museum

The holes around the hairline seem to have held some decorative ornament. The ear ornament looks distinctive as to reveal her identity of Indic origin. She could have been a worshiper or a deity at Shara temple, but she stands out as an evidence for the spread of religious beliefs of ancient India along with gods and goddesses. There is no record of any Mesopotamian king having banished any particular religious cult. Instead the cults and gods of the migrants were imbibed or re-worked. Linga shaped stones are an example of this tendency. Some like Venkateśvara and Padmavati were left out. But Eshwari seems to have gained many patrons from across the region with continuing modifications as Ishtar and Inanna. From which part of India the immigrants went on to Mesopotamia is a big riddle.

The closest point to the Persian Gulf is Gujarat where Saurashtra is traditionally known for weavers. The weavers of Saurashtra were generally known for migrating tendency in the past. In the last millennium they shifted to South India. As per 1891 census records, 77,000 silk-weavers of Saurashtra origin were present in Madras Presidency who were speaking their ancient language of yore. Their expertise in silk-weaving got them a name as ‘Patnuli-kar’ – meaning ‘silk thread-people’ in Tamil. Tirupati too must have been one of their destinations very long ago, where they continued their occupation.

The migration outside the country in the 3rd or 2nd millennium BCE is perhaps evidenced in the presence of Shiva linga and Eshwari – the divine couple worshiped in the Gujarat from times of yore. Somnath in Gujarat has been the home for the first Jyothir Linga established in India. This deity of Somnath was associated with a crescent moon! Recently the only Shakti-pitha of Bhuvaneshwari was established there which could not have come up without an olden connection with Bhuvaneshwari.

The region is well known for abundant presence of Asiatic lions. The lion-connection with Bhuvaneshwari could have come up from this feature. The port facility at Lothal right from the early Harappan phase could have given the predominantly trading communities scope to try their hands at distant shores. Shiva linga (Part 2) and his consort Eashwari could have been introduced by them into Mesopotamia.

The next figure that caught my attention was a Hanuman look-alike! A similar figure is found carved on a mountain side in Sulaymaniya, Iraq, prostrating in front of an archer, making us wonder whether it was Rama.[2]  The exhibit in the Museum shows a similar pose for the Hanuman look-alike but the man worshiped was carrying an axe! My search for other clues to solve this, led me to locate a Cuneiform tablet of the same Isin-Larsa period in the Museum. (Figure 10) A mathematical problem given to two students was written on that.

Figure 10

The above figure shows the cuneiform tablet and the translation of the text. Two mathematical problems were given to two students, identified by the name of the place they came from. One was ‘Meluhha’ and the other was Ur-Ishtaran. This conveys that some people from ‘Meluhha’ had settled in south Mesopotamia. Their children had attended school and taken up lessons in Akkadian or Sumerian as per the laws of the prevailing king. Ur-Ishtaran belonged to the same region, but where did Meluhha exist?

There is an opinion among Indic scholars that Meluhha is identified with the Indus valley region. How far is this acceptable if we go by the meaning of Meluhha that is vastly accepted as ‘Mleccha’, meaning, ‘outcast’?  When we dig into the earlier events given in Vishnu Purana and the Itihasas, on certain people made into outcasts, and compare them with unique figures including the Hanuman look-alike found in the Museum, a different kind of history unrolls before us that links certain missing dots in our understanding of the so-called ancestral South Indians and the migrations that took place before Rama's time, 7000 years ago.  All these will be discussed later, followed by another Vedic figure – a couple, Brahma and Saraswati look-alike housed in the Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Tipu's vandalism at Tonnur Kere - a lesser known fact of history!

 Earlier published in PGurus

Tipu Sultan’s assault on men, material and temples is well known by now, but a lesser known atrocity by him was the destruction he caused to Tonnur Lake, popularly known as Tonnur kere located in Mandya district. This lake was named as ‘Moti Talab’ by Nasir Jung, the Subedar of the Deccan in view of the crystal clear water ever present in this lake. The waters are so clear that one can see the pebbles at the bottom of the lake.

Popular notion today attributes the modern Moti Talab to Tipu Sultan! People also believe that he repaired the lake, but facts speak otherwise. A dig into the history of this lake shows that Tipu Sultan was the only person to have caused extensive damage to this lake which at once caused Jala samadhi for most people of Thondanur living downstream. The bund was subsequently repaired by the British. In a short period of 200 years after that, the atrocity was forgotten or twisted deliberately with the result the one who breached it was credited with having repaired it! And the motive for the breach was his hatred for Hindus, as expected.  

The “Souvenir of Mysore Album” from the collection of Lord Curzon says that “The tank was breached by Tipu Sultan in 1798 to prevent its being of use to the enemy, but was restored by the British and is maintained in good order”. The same article also traces the origin of this lake to none other than the Hindu sage, Sri Ramanujacharya during his stay at Thondanur, now corrupted as Tonnur. The formation of this lake by Ramanujacharya is also well attested in Buchanan’s travelogue written soon after the fall of Tipu Sultan.

In Buchanan’s times the lake was known as ‘Yadavi Nuddi. It was formed by two mountain currents that merged together and forced their way through a gap between two hills. He recounts that Ramanujacharya found a way to stop the water and closed the gap so that water could be stored in the form of a lake. The superfluous water was let off through channels cut through the hills. When the lake was full, it sustained agriculture for two years.

Tonnur Lake

Ramanuja’s involvement in the formation of the lake is also attested in the sthala Purana of Shravana belagola. It says that the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana built the lake at the advice of Ramanuja. It also says that the lake was named as Tirumala Sagara, after the abode of Vishnu. This name is still in vogue today. The outflow channel of the lake is called as Ramanuja Gange, in memory of Ramanuja. It is really shocking that the 1000 year old history of this lake along with its founder is completely unknown to many. But Tipu’s name continues to be associated with the lake re-christined as Moti Talab and as one who repaired the breach.

Only a few years after Tipu caused the breach, Buchannan had visited Tonnur Lake. He was in Tonnur as part of an assignment to survey the region after the fall of Tipu. He had written that Tipu had made a narrow trench in the mound that closed the gap between the hills. Once the opening was made the enormous water stored in the tank gushed out with so much force that two thirds of the mound was swept away. An opinion prevalent at that time was that Tipu wanted to destroy a monument built near the bund for a Hindu Doctor, venerated by Hindus and he achieved it by allowing the water to sweep it out. But Buchanan writes that, “Although the demolition of this work by Tippoo was but a just retaliation for the enormities by which it had been erected, nothing could be more absurd or impolitic, both as giving offence to his subjects, and as injuring the resources of the country”. 

It was on this trip to Tonnur Lake that Tipu came to know about the presence of a monument near the lake for a fanatic follower of Ghazni who suffered martyrdom. Buchanan states that “his zeal against the infidels had been inflamed into rage by the recollection of the martyrdom” and made him enlarge the mausoleum.

How he enlarged the mausoleum can be understood from the Annual Report of the Mysore Archaeological Department for the year 1939. It says that the mausoleum now stands on the ruins of a Hindu temple.Several pillars are Hindu. Some of these in the mantapa bear figures of Hanuman etc.” So a Vishnu temple had been destroyed to build the mausoleum of the ‘fanatic follower’ of Mahmud Ghazi who was likely to be the one who ransacked the temples of Thondanur and Melkote. His accomplice had escaped with the loot that included the processional deity of Melkote, Ramapriyan.

It was only after the survey by Buchanan, the breach had been repaired by the British. As if to pay back for the massive gush of waters caused by Tipu, the sky opened up suddenly at the time of burial of Tipu at the Gumbaz at Srirangapatna. “The funeral party escorting Tippoo's body to the mausoleum of his ancestors situated in the Lal Bagh Garden, where the remains of his warlike father, Hyder Ali, had been deposited, were overtaken at the commencement of this furious whirlwind, and the soldiers ever after were impressed with a firm persuasion that his Satanic majesty attended in person at the funeral procession.... A fearful description of the Day of Judgement might have been depicted from the appalling storm of this awful night,” writes Lieutenant Richard Bayly, one of the British officers who preferred to face a hundred battles than the horrific storm that he witnessed at the time of Tipu’s burial.

Such was the thinking of an army officer who had witnessed the atrocities committed by Tipu. Separated by time, we have lost the power to judge the damage done by Tipu to the people and the earth as well. Coming out fresh from celebrating Tipu Jayanti, a minister says that there should be “Dharma (righteousness) in politics but not politics in Dharma (religion)” By what Dharma can he and his ilk support Tipu for the enormous damage he caused to the natural resource of the earth?


Francis Buchanan, T. Cadell and W. Davies, (1807) “A Journey from Madras Through the Countries of Mysore, Canara and Malabar..” Volume II

Online Gallery, British Library,

Coelho, William (1950) “Hoysala Vamsa”

Gumbaz, Srirangapatna,_Srirangapatna


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The date of the start of the Vedic culture and the 'Fall' of Abhijit (Vega)


(Excerpted from the 13th chapter of my book

Myth of "The Epoch of Arundhati" of Nilesh Nilkanth Oak)


Many have tried to interpret the so-called ‘Fall of Abhijit’ in varied ways. I have also taken up a discussion on the star Abhijit (Vega) and it’s ‘Fall’ because it is discussed in a context where the first ever Vedic Homa was done by none other than Skanda! This information on the Vedic past lying un-touched in the narration of Markandeya makes a compelling and intense reading to unravel the mysteries locked in.

In the same context the unwavering position of Arundhati (the star Alcor) is also mentioned by Markandeya in Mahabharata. [1] That was also the first time we come across a reference to the moving away of the wives of the other six rishis of the Saptarishis (seven stars of Ursa Major). That narration also refers to the substitution of Abhijit by the star Krittika (Pleiades) and a re-design of the zodiac.

Contextual analysis of the Fall of Abhijit.

This narration occurs in Vana Parva of Mahabharata when sage Markandeya met the Pāndava brothers residing in the forest of Kāmyaka. One of the inquisitive queries raised by the Pāndavas was about the birth of Skanda, who is also known as Kumara. The reply by the sage covers the entire story of the birth and works of Skanda in the course of which we come to hear about the ‘Fall’ of Abhijit star and the start of the Vedic culture by Skanda, that pre-dated Vaivasvata Manu!

The narration runs into many chapters and sounds allegorical of the events around Skanda’s birth and growth. Two types of natural calamities are described in that narration, one caused by heavy downpour and lightning strikes on mountains or hills accompanied with a tectonic burst and another indicative of a terrible comet or asteroid hit that caused havoc in most of the Northern hemisphere. In between these events occurs the recognition of the “Fall of Abhijit.” Let me briefly go through them.

Birth of Vishakha

The birth of Skanda is well known from Valmiki Ramayana but this Mahabharata version is truly a revelation on many things including the birth of Vishakha. Skanda’s birth is described by Markandeya as having happened from the Adbhuta Fire begotten to the wives of the Brahma-rishis who were none other than the wives of six rishis of the Saptarishis.[2]

As per Vayu Purana, Adbhuta was the son of Savana, the fire used for cooking flesh.[3] It was not a sacred fire, nor used for sacred purposes. He (Adbhuta) had an intense desire for the wives of the Saptarishis. (Here we are clueless about who the wives were as we know only of Arundhati (Alcor), the wife of Vasishtha (Mizar) in the binary system. Anyway let us move further with the story to know the import). Unable to gratify his desire, he repaired to the forest with the certain objective of destroying himself. (This seems to be indicative of a time when fire was less in use or the ‘heat’ of the fire or ‘heat’ of the sun was very less. The time was perhaps before the onset of Holocene)

There was a woman called ‘Svaha’ who was the daughter of Daksha. (Being the daughter Daksha Prajapati implies that she (it) has an inevitable existence in Nature). She wanted to marry Adbhuta who was referred to as Hutasana or Agni in the text. But Agni was not interested in her and he only longed to get the wives of the Saptarishis.

Seeing this, Svaha devised a plan to lure Agni. Each day she impersonated one of the wives of the Saptarishis and cohabited Agni. Over six days she impersonated the wives of six rishis and collected the semen in a golden lake. She could not impersonate Arundhati due to the ascetic merit of Arundhati, says Markandeya.[4] This is allegorical of the nature of Arundhati that she was not found moving away from her position of following Vasishtha!

From the semen of the Agni collected by Svaha, in the guise of wives of six rishis, Skanda was born with six faces! Seated on top of a hill he broke the Krauncha hill with his weapons and started becoming powerful. On coming to know of the complicity of their spouses in the birth of Skanda, the six rishis abandoned their wives. Meanwhile Skanda grew up in prowess and this made the celestials feel threatened. They sought refuge in Indra who went on a war with Skanda. A fierce battle ensued in which Indra threw his thunder-bolt that pierced Skanda on his right side. This caused another being coming out of Skanda who attained the name ‘Vishakha[5] to mean ‘born out of piercing’. On seeing the indomitable strength of Skanda, Indra sought truce with him.

The description of the war by Indra in which he used the thunderbolt conveys the event of a lightning strike that probably split a hill or a mountain or caused damage to it. It could also mean lava burst from a fissure that occurred at the time of lightening as the narration says that Skanda diffused the thunder showers of Indra by blowing out fire. This is metaphorical of a simultaneous lava-burst causing a fissure on the ground when there was a heavy rainfall. But rainfall stopped once after the fire burst out of the fissure, and this was expressed as Indra seeking truce with Skanda.

The splitting of the ground came to be regarded as ‘Vishakha’ and the text describes this as Vishakha born out of Skanda. Many people died and many were born after this event and those born after this event identified themselves as the Children of Vishakha!

Markandeya says, “A number of male children came into being when Skanda was struck with the thunder-bolt, those terrific creatures that steal spirit away from little children, whether born, or in the womb and a number of female children too of great strength were born to him. Those children adopted Visakha as their father.”[6]

Abhijit, the wives of six rishis and the marriage of Svaha with Agni.

On seeing the prowess of Skanda, Indra got Devasena, the daughter of Daksha, married to him. Devasena has other names that we are familiar with!

evaṃ skandasya mahiṣīṃ devasenāṃ vidur budhāḥ
     ṣaṣṭhīṃ yāṃ brāhmaṇāḥ prāhur lakṣmīm āśāṃ sukhapradām
     sinīvālīṃ kuhūṃ caiva sadvṛttim aparājitām[7]

(Ganguli: “She who is called Shashthi, Lakshmi, Asa, Sukhaprada, Sinivali, Kuhu, Sadvritti, and Aparajita, is known among men as Devasena, the wife of Skanda”)

Then comes the narration that the abandoned wives of the six rishis approached Skanda and wanted him to erase the bad name they earned. Skanda accepted them as his mothers. After this Indra approached Skanda and talked about Abhijit, given in four verses in the narration of Markandeya in Mahabharata.

abhijit spardhamānā tu rohiṇyā kanyasī svasā
      icchantī jyeṣṭhatāṃ devī tapas taptuṃ vanaṃ gatā
tatra mūḍho 'smi bhadraṃ te nakṣatraṃ gaganāc cyutam
      kālaṃ tv imaṃ paraṃ skanda brahmaṇā saha cintaya

dhaniṣṭhādis tadā kālo brahmaṇā parinirmitaḥ
     rohiṇyādyo 'bhavat pūrvam evaṃ saṃkhyā samābhavat
 evam ukte tu śakreṇa trividaṃ kṛttikā gatāḥ
     nakṣatraṃ śakaṭākāraṃ bhāti tad vahni daivatam


Translation by Ganguli: (Vasava said,) The lady Abhijit, the younger sister of Rohini, being jealous of her seniority, has repaired to the woods to perform austerities. And I am at a loss to find out a substitute for the fallen star. May good luck attend on thee, do thou consult with Brahma for the purpose of filling up the room of this great asterism. Dhanishtha and other asterisms were created by Brahma, and Rohini used to serve the purpose of one such; and consequently their number was full. And in accordance with Sakra's advice, Krittika was assigned a place in the heavens, and that star presided over by Agni shines as if with seven heads.”

The substance of these verses can be split as follows:

1. Abhijit, jealous of her elder sister Rohini retired to the forest to do tapas.

2. Indra could not find a substitute for Abhijit.

3. Brahma had assigned the foremost place for Dhansihtha and also for Rohini and their number was full.

4. On the advice of Indra, Skanda assigned a place for Krittika in the heavens.


This was followed by Svaha approaching Skanda expressing her desire to marry Agni.

    dakṣasyāhaṃ priyā kanyā svāhā nāma mahābhuja
      bālyāt prabhṛti nityaṃ ca jātakāmā hutāśane
    na ca māṃ kāminīṃ putrasamyag jānāti pāvakaḥ
      icchāmi śāśvataṃ vāsaṃ vastuṃ putra sahāgninā

Translation by Ganguli:

“Svaha replied, 'O mighty being, I am the favourite daughter of Daksha, by name Svaha; and from my youthful days I have been in love with Hutasana (the Fire-god); but that god, my son, does not understand my feelings. I desire to live for ever with him (as his wife).

Skanda replied: “From this day, lady, all the oblations that men of virtuous character, who swerve not from the path of virtue, will offer to their gods or ancestors with incantation of purifying hymns by Brahmanas, shall always be offered (through Agni) coupled with the name of Svaha, and thus, excellent lady, wilt thou always live associated with Agni, the god of fire.”

   havyaṃ kavyaṃ ca yat kiṃ cid dvijā mantrapuraskṛtam
      hoṣyanty agnau sadā devi svāhety uktvā samudyatam
   adya prabhṛti dāsyanti suvṛttāḥ satpathe sthitāḥ
      evam agnis tvayā sārdhaṃ sadā vatsyati śobhane[9]

Catastrophe from the sky.

Continuing further with the sequence of the narrative, Skanda also known as Kartikeya was anointed as the Commander-in-chief of the celestials with none to equal him. He was sent with all paraphernalia and was seen off by Sankara.

After Skanda was seen off by Sankara and Uma, there occurred a terrible shower of weapons on the celestials and towards where Sankara and other celestials stood. This account, though sounding like mythological warfare, contains description that smacks of a comet or asteroid breaking into pieces by showering numerous fiery canons (Shatagni), hillocks (parvata) and rocks in all directions and particularly in the direction where Sankara stood.

Skanda sprang into action immediately by hitting them back again and again with his weapon called Sakti that returned back to him after hitting. At last Skanda successfully exterminated the enemies (Danavas) and this earned him a great name as one in the image of Rudra. With this the narration ends with a eulogy on Skanda.

Decoding Markandeya’s narration.

The above narration of Skanda’s birth contains a number of allegorical events. The use of specific names for Skanda hints at the location where the birth and events had taken place. The events of the catastrophe have a parallel with the Tamil version of Skanda’s life.  Vishakha’s sons had peopled India and started an important lineage of India. Most important of all, the marriage of Svaha with Agni facilitated by none other than Skanda makes a decisive statement on when, where and by whom the Vedic tradition was initiated. When we know where all these events had happened we get a pleasant surprise of what was meant by Abhijit retiring to the forest. Let me elaborate them.

Marriage of Svaha with Agni conducted by Skanda signals the start of Vedic Homa.

Foremost feature decoded from the narration is the marriage of Svaha with Agni. Svaha is the term chanted while making the oblations in the Homa fire. Without Svaha, no oblations are made. Therefore marriage of Svaha with Agni can only refer to the first ever time the practice of offering oblations into fire was started. This is nothing but the birth of Homa culture that forms the basis of the Vedic culture.

That Skanda had conducted this marriage goes to show that Skanda was the first one to have started the Vedic Homa and thereby the Vedic culture!

Skanda had been explicit in saying that by this marriage of Svaha and Agni, people can offer oblations (Havya and Kavya) to Gods and ancestors.

The terms ‘havyam kavyam’ in the earlier quoted verse starting as, “havyaṃ kavyaṃ ca yat kiṃ...” refer to first Agni or Aupasana done by the householder. Vayu Purana in the chapter on geneology of Agni refers to Havya-vahana and Kavya-vahana as referring to Āvāhaniya and Gārhapatya respectively.[10] Vayu Purana says that Agni was the mental son of Brahma and Svaha bore to him three sons, Pāvaka, Pavamāna and Śuci or Śaura (solar fire). Pavamāna’s son is Kavya-vahana, the fire of Pitrus. Śuci’s son is Havya-vahana, the fire of Devas. Pāvaka’s son is Sahasrakṣa, the fire of Asuras.

That Skanda had initiated the Āvāhaniya and Gārhapatya homa was immortalised into a story of Skanda conducting the marriage of Svaha with Agni. These two fires are the primary fires from which all the other homas are done. Of the two fires the Gārhapatya, derived from the word Gruhapati, the lord of the house or the householder is the first agni that a son receives from his father and passes on to his son. This Agni is to be kept alive at home throughout one’s life time. Even if the husband is away, the wife can do this homa. This appears in consonance with a time that Agni was protected at home as the only source of light and fire. This Homa was first initiated by none other than Skanda is what is revealed in this verse.

These two Agni Homas constitute what is called ‘Aupasana’. From this Aupasana Agni, Pāka yajnas, attributed to Manu are done. The Pāka yajnas also are about household yajnas in which cooked rice is offered. Thus we find the development of the Vedic Homa started by and starting from Skanda, and further expanded by Manu with more developments in course of time.

The story of marriage of Svaha with Agni appeared after the marriage of Skanda with Devasena, leading to the deduction that Skanda started doing these homas (to Devas and Pitrus) after his marriage with Devasena. So it is apt to say that Skanda- Devasena was the first couple to protect or create Gārhapatya-Agni and Āvāhaniya for making offerings.

Till date the etymology of Aupasana and the description of the same is found missing in any Vedic literature. (However without Aupasana, no other homa can be done) The causes are obvious when we come to know that Skanda had introduced it at a troubled times of fear from Agni, perhaps seeking protection from Agni and when Manu and Vedic sages had not yet appeared. The term ‘Aupasana’ seems to be derived from ‘Aum-upasana’ – as we know from the Tamil tradition of Skanda having taught his father, Lord Shiva, the Praṇava which is nothing but ‘Aum’.

·         The decipherment of the story of marriage of Svaha with Agni solemnised by Skanda puts at naught the Aryan debates and about who started the Vedic culture or who brought the Vedic culture.


·         This story also puts at rest the unresolved question of how and why the Tamils have had a long past of Vedic culture ingrained within the society as known from the ancient Sangam literature.


That Skanda was the initiator of the Homāgni is revealed further in the description of Skanda in this Mahabharata narrative. Skanda had six faces of which the middle one was that of a goat says, Markandeya.

ṣaṣṭhaṃ chāgamayaṃ vaktraṃ skandasyaiveti viddhi tat
     ṣaṣ ṣiro 'bhyantaraṃ rājan nityaṃ mātṛgaṇārcitam[11]

(Ganguli: “Know that the sixth face of Skanda was like that of a goat. That face, O king, is situated in the middle of the six, and is regarded constantly by the mother”.) 

The same idea is found in the Sangam text that describes each of the six faces and what they look at.[12] In this form as Shanmukha (six faced) the goat face will be looking at the Vedic Homa says the text.

The Goat (Chāga) is unique to Homāgni, as the Agni Deva is mounted on a goat according to the iconographic rules found in Mayamatam.[13] It says that Agni Deva,

“is mounted on a ram and is near the fire pit and he must wear the ascetic’s belt. Svaha is to his right, adorned with jewelled ear-rings. Agni, whose adornments are russet and who is favourable towards all sacrifices, is pure.”

This iconographic description with goat as the mount and Svaha as the consort of Agni taking oblations must clear any doubts arising from other legends of Agni with names of consorts being different in such legends.

When Agni is associated with Svaha it refers only to Vedic Homa.

Skanda as facilitator for the marriage of the two is a clear statement that Skanda was the initiator of Vedic culture.

Vedic Homa: Initiated by Skanda and carried over by Vivasvan and Manu.

With Mahabharata stating in no uncertain terms, through the words of Markandeya that Skanda formalised the wedding of Svaha with Agni and declaring the starting of Homa thereon, we are able to identify the chronological evolution of Vedic culture from Skanda.

The significant hint is the birth of Vishakha from Skanda at the time of terrible lightening which was diffused by Skanda by spewing fire and those born after that event calling themselves as the children of Vishakha! The foremost among them was ‘Vivasvān’- whose son Vaivasvata was the progenitor of the current Manvantara!

Vivasvān, the son of Aditi, the first among the planets, the sun-god, was born in the constellation Viśākhā in the Cākṣuṣa Manvantara”, says Brahmanda Purana.[14]

Skanda existed towards the end of the 6th Manvantara known as Cākṣuṣa, and shortly after him the current Manvantara of Vaivasvata had started

·         Like Yugas known at Divya and Dharma scale, Manvantaras also seem to follow a larger and smaller time. At smaller time the classification is known from the heroes and events around them. Skanda, known as one who lived in flesh and blood, existed at the end of Cākṣuṣa manvantara. We will know the time period of this when we discuss about the date of Skanda shortly.


·         The birth of Vivasvan in Vishakha could only mean that Vaivasvata Manu and other people of his ilk were born after the terrible calamity of the “splitting”, with fire bellowing out while there were terrible lightening strikes. Their birth happened at or after the time of Skanda.

The progeny that followed, hailed Vishakha as their father.


·         The Ikshvakus coming in the lineage of Vaivasvata Manu also identified Vishakha as the star of their dynasty!

Giving evidence for this let me quote Lakshmana’s words to Rama while they were moving towards the sea shore carried by Angada and Hanuman (carrying Rama). Lakshmana was referring to the stars seen at that time and mentions Vishakha as the supreme star of the Ikshvakus![15]

vimale ca prakāśete viśākhe nirupadrave
   nakṣatraṃ param asmākam ikṣvākūṇāṃ mahātmanām

(Meaning: “Visakha stars are shining clearly without any evil influence. This supreme constellation is of our Ikshvakus, the high-souled”)[16]

·         Again during Rama’s direct fight against Ravana, the star Vishakha is mentioned as the one adorned by the kings of Kosala, the country of Rama and Ikshvakus.

kosalānāṃ ca nakṣatraṃ vyaktam indrāgnidaivatam
   ākramyāṅgārakas tasthau viśākhām api cāmbare[17]

(Meaning: “The planet Mars stood assailing in the sky, the constellation Vishakha, presided over by the gods Indra and Agni (the god of fire), which is adorned by the kings of Kosala.”)[18]

·         Reading through Valmiki Ramayana, one can even say that the Ikshvakus held Skanda as their supreme deity. At the time of Rama leaving to the forest, his mother Kausalya invokes Skanda’s name among other deities to protect him. Notable feature in this is that all except Skanda are Vedic or (perhaps) non-human deities. She says,


smṛtir dhṛtiś ca dharmaś ca pāntu tvāṃ putra sarvataḥ
  skandaś ca bhagavān devaḥ somaś ca sabṛhaspatiḥ[19]

(Meaning: “May Veda, the Smriti texts taken as one body, the resolution and the piety protect you, my son! May lord Skanda and the moon god along with the sage Brihaspati, the well known seven sages as well as Sage Narada guard you on all sides.”)[20]

·         Similarly Manu invokes only Skanda’s name along with other Vedic deities in the mantra of consecration of Indradvaja[21] signalling that in those times of Manu’s emergence, Skanda was a deity of worship.


Manu’s name is also associated with the primary homas called ‘Pāka yajna’.[22]This is done from Aupsana fire. The strange feature is that there is hardly any mention of this fire in Taittriya Samhita says Vedic scholar Ramanathan[23] lending credence to its primary existence, initiated by Skanda, but before Vedic verses were composed.

All the other primary homas of the householder, going by the name Pāka yajna were associated with Manu’s name. Manu seemed to have carried over the Vedic Homa (Aupasana) from Skanda with newer additions.

It was only along with or after Manu, the Rig Vedic compositions had evolved. There again a strange feature is noticed by the presence of retroflex sound of Tamil (ɻ) substituting ‘ḷa’ sound of the Rig Veda.[24] This has been pointed out by Kanchi Mahaswami[25] who also brings to our notice the traditional view that the entire Rig Vedic compilation was ‘Agni Upasana’ – the worship of Agni - by starting and ending the compilation with the worship of Agni.[26] He further says that Rig Veda is an anthology of stotras in Mantra form. Yajur is the practical application of them in worship. Saman calms down the mind.

Thus the three Vedas had evolved as a network to conduct the Vedic yajnas. All these trace their origin to Skanda’s Havya- Kavya (Aupasana) Agni, at a time Abhijit retired to the forest and was substituted by Krittika. In stellar terms that was also the time the star Vishakha had come into existence, but in the absence of a reference to its identify as a new star included in the zodiac, it is understood that the star was already part of the 27 star zodiac but was re-named after the event of the ‘birth’ of Vishakha by Indra’s Vajrayudha!

Having established the Vedic origins to Skanda the next task is to ascertain the date of Skanda. The date is enumerated in two ways which match with each other.

Date of Skanda from Tamil literature.

The Tamil literary past had spanned across three Ages of Tamil Sangam of which the earliest was initiated by none other than Skanda, who was known as Ugra Kumara of Pandyan lineage. He was born to Tadathaka, later glorified as Mīnakshi, married to Chokkanatha, identified as an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Skanda with his father constituted an Assembly for the purpose of developing Tamil in three ways, viz., prose, poetry and drama.

In all the Assemblies conducted even after Skanda had exited the world, his name was invoked and a learned person was chosen to represent Skanda to adjudicate the material presented. This had gone on for long even after losing their capital city to natural calamities and re-settling in newer places. The last such Assembly was conducted 2000 years ago by a Pandyan King by name Ugra Peruvaɻuti. From inscriptional evidences we are able to establish without doubt that the last Assembly was conducted sometime around the start of the Common Era.[27]

The commentary presented at the last Sangam Assembly by poet Nakkeerar to a Grammar work called ‘Irayanar Agapporul’ contains the duration of each of the Sangam periods along with the number of participant-poets and some of their names.

One such name just refers to the King of Dwaraka who attended an Assembly of the 2nd Sangam. This could be a reference to Krishna because he was the first and last king of Dwaraka founded by him. After his exit, it was lost to the seas.

In corroboration of this information of Nakkeerar, there exists a verse in Mahabharata spoken by Krishna that the king of the Bhoja-s, belonging to his clan, had conquered the Pandya-s by his learning.[28]  This appears like a reference to establishing his mastery over some form of knowledge, which in the case of Pandya-s could only refer to successfully publishing a composition in Tamil in the Assembly of Sangam that requires one and all in the Assembly to endorse it unanimously.

Tamil source: Krishna attended the 2nd Sangam Assembly.

Krishna in Mahabharata: Bhoja of his clan established his knowledge in Pandyan Assembly.

The correlation between the two different references establishes that Krishna attended the session of the Sangam Assembly in which a member of his clan published his literay work.[29]

With this cross-reference from Mahabharata corroborating the long history of Sangam Assembly let me divulge into the duration of each Sangam Age narrated by Nakkeerar. According to him the first Sangam lasted for 4440 years, the second for 3700 years and the third for 1850 years (till the time he presented his work). Now adding up these years until the start of the Common Era we arrive at the following years.

3rd Sangam started around 1850 BCE.

2nd Sangam started around 5550 BCE.

1st Sangam started around 9990 BCE.

This puts the time of Skanda around 9990 BCE or 10,000 BCE occurring around the beginning of Holocene.

To substantiate that Sanskrit was known to Skanda at that time (to facilitate the conduction of Vedic Homa), there is textual reference that Tamil existed side by side with Sanskrit.[30] This idea is a very old one – something found in old texts and also coming by tradition. There is even a time period for this, mentioned in Tirumandiram authored by Tirumular, a Siddha. The verse says,

There was a time when rainy season and summer season ceased to exist. There was snow everywhere that made the lakes to shrink. At that time Lord Shiva taught Sanskrit and Tamil to his consort.”[31]

The time corresponds to the Ice age or pre-Holocene when two languages were formed by a people owing allegiance to Shiva or Shakti or both. The very purpose of the Tamil Sangam being promotion of grammatical Tamil, it goes without saying that the language was newly formed and was sought to be popularised among the masses. Simultaneously the ‘well-perfected’ Sanskrit was used for Vedic Homa. Thus we find the birth two languages - both formed with efforts and were not naturally existing and perhaps drawn from a pre-existing proto language. The name of just only one person is associated with both the languages at the time of their formation. That person was Skanda, who initiated the Tamil Assembly for the promotion of Tamil and Vedic Homa in which Sanskrit found an everlasting utility.

Skanda was the only person associated with the birth of Tamil Sangam and the birth of Vedic Homa

His time as per Tamil literary evidence was around 10,000 BCE

(12,000 years before present).

That was the time of the first ever Vedic Homa!

His life events as given in Tamil texts[32] more or less match with the description of Markandeya. The comparison with the Tamil texts is necessary to establish the authenticity of the events involving Skanda.

·         The first ever event in Skanda’s life as per Mahabharata was breaking the Krauncha mountain. The same is found in Tamil literature too. That perhaps marks the time people invented means to break the mountains slopes for stone works.

·         Skanda was described as seated on a hill top in the narration by Markandeya. That is also the same in Tamil tradition, and temples of Skanda are found on hill tops.

·         The next event was the fight with Indra in which Indra attacked with Vajrayudha ‘piercing’ Skanda, leading to the birth of Vishakha. The parallel in Tamil texts speaks about the first sea flood that was controlled by Skanda by throwing the spear he got from his mother, Shakti.

·         This event might sound as a myth, but a similar kind of event is reported in Rama’s life too when he was asked to direct his Brahmastra at a place so that the sea at the place  he was standing could recede, giving way for him to cross the sea.

From the available scientific knowledge we can say that a tectonic disturbance at a place on the sea- floor can cause the waves move in a different direction. Both Skanda and Rama had directed their weapons at a region in the sea in such a way that water in their places receded and sea floods moved in a different direction.

·         The name ‘Vishakha’ is not associated with this legend in Tamil.

·         The ‘Fall’ of Abhijit appearing after this incident in Mahabharata is not found in Tamil texts.

·         The marriage of Svaha and Agni mentioned in Mahabharata has a different kind of presence in Tamil texts. There is complete chapter on Skanda having taught the Vedas to sages. The foremost teaching was giving the Praṇava mantra (AUM) to his own father Shiva, says Tiruvilaiyadal Puranam.[33] Skanda teaching Praṇava to Shiva is found in all legends of Skanda in Tamil. The temple of Skanda at Swamimalai is hailed as the place where he taught the Praṇava. Praṇava being the initial utterance at any Vedic chant, it appears now - after realising the role of Skanda in the marriage of Svaha and Agni – that Skanda as the initiator of Vedic Homa had been remembered  by the Tamils by the story of teaching Praṇava to Shiva himself. In reality it was the occasion of Skanda conceiving the concept of ‘Aupasana’ (AUM- Upasana) and conducting the Homa every day after his marriage with Devasena.


With clear leads that we have got from both Mahabharata and Tamil texts on Skanda’s role in starting the Vedic Homa, our next task is to identify the location of Skanda from where he observed the ‘Fall’ of Abhijit.

Skanda’s location at Tiruchendur.

To unlock this mystery, let me look for the hints in Markandeya’s narration. He often refers to Skanda as Guha and the followers of Skanda as Guhyakas. There is also the narration of marriage of Skanda with Devasena! This information can be found as an expanded story in the chronicles of Skanda in Tamilnadu. The story of Skanda’s marriage with Devasena was preceded by the war with Surapadma. The location of Skanda after the war was Tiruchendur. For this reason Tiruchendur is known as Srijayantipuram. Even the name Tiruchendur is a corrupted from of Sanskrit word Sindhu, a name Adi Sankara has used to denote this place near the ocean, in one of his verses.[34] Sindhu+ur had become Chendur and the prefix ‘Tiru’ was added for auspiciousness.

It was originally a cave justifying the name of Skanda as a cave dweller. One can see remnants of the cave inside the temple even today and fragments of a cave a little away. Sometime in the past the cave was removed and the present structure had come up.[35]  That the entire region was once a huge cave can be made out from the sudden depression in that part of the town where the temple complex stands. The cave has been completely removed to build the temple. The same rocky material of the cave is found on the floor of the seashore in front of the temple. The main shrine of Shanmukha has cave-roof, proving without doubt that this part of Tiruchendur was once a cave. Temple legends say that Skanda worshiped Shiva at the main shrine where he as Shanmukha is worshiped now.

Fall of Abhijit noticed from Tiruchendur.

The talk of Abhijit comes after the marriage of Skanda with Devasena that took place after winning the asuras. When we checked the sky-view from Tiruchendur for the time deduced from Tamil literature, i.e. 9990 BCE in the tropical zodiac of the astronomy software it does show Abhijit disappearing near the horizon (following figure).

(Yellow circle: Abhijit’s orbit. Orange circle: Polar precession circle)

However the Vedic concept of the to and fro movement of the equinoxes within 54 degree range (27 +27) rejects the above depiction of the astronomy software. As per the Vedic concept the vernal equinox must have coincided with zero degree Aries at the time of Skanda.

The last time the Vernal equinox coincided with zero degree Aries was at the start of Kali yuga (3101 BCE). The previous time was 7200 years ago (in forward direction) that occurred around 10,301 BCE – the time close to Skanda’s time with a margin of just 300 years. (Figure below)

To and Fro movement of equinox.

At the point of vernal equinox at zero degree Aries, the world witnessed catastrophe by fire in the form of comet hit before Mahabharata war. At the same point in the previous cycle Adbhuta fire was experienced. It is perhaps in lieu of this, the pole star at that point was named Agni. And the birth of ‘Vishakha’ happening at that time caused by Indra and resulting in Agni deciphered in earlier passages, it is evident that the concept of “Indrāgni’ as the deity of Vishakha had its genesis at this time only.

It must also be recalled here that the northern pole star at the time of vernal equinox at zero degree Aries was identified as twin names or one after the other as Agni and Indra by Vayu Purana[36] Brahmanda Purana[37] and Taittriya Aranyaka. [38] With only 3 northern pole stars recognised by Vayu Purana, (named Kasyapa, Agni and Dhruva with Dhruva identifiable with Polaris)[39] it is deduced that Indra, owing to close proximity to Agni (name of the pole star) near the NCP for zero degree vernal equinox date, was merged with Agni, and referred to as Indrāgni.

Early evidence of rice in Tiruchendur supports genesis of Vedic Homa around that region.

Rice is an important grain used as oblations in the Aupasana fire – the primary fire that was initiated by Skanda in our analysis. This requires cultivation of rice or availability of wild rice in the region around Tiruchendur. Research shows that wild rice occurred naturally since 20,000 years BP in the region of Tiruchendur, of all the places in India!

The following map shows evidence of growth of refugial wild rice in regions around Tiruchendur and the adjacent land-locked region between India and Lanka since the last Glacial Maxima around 20,000 years BP. Parts of Eastern India too was growing rice since then as an extension of South East Asian influence. In contrast the rest of India particularly the Saraswati region did not support growing of rice - the grain that is inevitable for Vedic Homa until 9000 years BP!

However the growth of rice is proven in the region around Dwaraka, the mouth of Saraswati – ever since 9000 years BP (H in the map). West coast of Peninsular India also had grown rice.

Having established that Skanda started the Vedic Homa and Manu came into existence only after Skanda, we can trace the path of migration from south east India (Tiruchendur) to Dwaraka through coastal line. Vishakha’s children might have moved through this route and entered mainland India through Narmada valley and Saraswati River when a flash flood pushed them inwards into Saraswati facilitating them to reach the Himalayan ranges. But then the earlier presence was in Sarayu, showing the initial presence in trans- Sarayu region where Manu’s descendants, the Ikshvakus thrived. The rice-route establishes the earlier civilization to be Sarayu civilization much before Saraswati- Sindhu civilization evolved, perhaps from a migration from Sarayu and Eastern India.[40],[41] Rice-genetics completely rules out Aryan migration from Europe which was freezing with cold when Skanda was actively evolving Vedic Homa!

Rice distribution map since 20,000 BP (P) and 9000 BP (H) Source: Fuller et al. 2010a[42]

In this map, P located in South East India is where Tiruchendur exists. Srilanka was land-locked as per this map even as early as 9000 BP (7th – 8th millennium BCE) discounting any probability of Ramayana having occurred before this date.

Abhijit was the younger sister of Rohini.

The narration of the Mahabharata text shows that Krittika was not in the list of stars at that time. The list had 27 stars with Abhijit one among them. Abhijit sounds like a male name but it was referred to as the sister of Rohini. This confusion on gender can be resolved by looking at the concept of the 27 star-system. The 27 stars were daughters of Daksha Prajapati married to moon. As such Abhijit was treated as a female. 

But then how did Abhijit become the sister of Rohini? A basic knowledge in astrology would help answer this question. The 27 stars are categorised into 3 groups of nine each. The three stars in a row are said to belong to the same category and become the ruler of a planet.

One can see that Rohini, Hasta and Abhijit are of the same group and Moon was the planet ruled by them. Of the three, Rohini enjoys primacy as a star ruled by Prajapati.

Dhanishtha and Rohini were foremost

The next feature in the verse refers to the primacy enjoyed by Dhanishta and Rohini.

The verse is repeated here for continuity in reading.

dhaniṣṭhādis tadā kālo brahmaṇā parinirmitaḥ
     rohiṇyādyo 'bhavat pūrvam evaṃ saṃkhyā samābhavat

Nilesh Oak interprets this verse as “At that time (as a result) Brahma assigned first rank to nakshatra Dhanistha (for it being at the point of summer solstice). Rohini used to be in the first position prior to this”

The verse does not say that Dhanishtha was assigned the first rank at that time (of noticing the Fall of Abhijit). Nor does it say that Dhanishtha was at summer solstice. Ganguli’s translation is more exact. It runs as follows:

“Dhanishtha and other asterisms were created by Brahma, and Rohini used to serve the purpose of one such; and consequently their number was full.”

The verse conveys that both Dhanishtha and Rohini had a place of primacy in the olden system.[43] To understand what this means, we must recall the 90 ̊ (right angle) distance between the solstice and the equinox in the zodiacal design which can be easily understood from the following astrological chart. The zodiac is divided into 12 parts of 30 ̊ each. At every 90 ̊ the equinox and solstice alternates. 

The following figure shows the Mean location of the solstices and the equinoxes when the vernal equinox is at zero degree Aries. As explained in the 4th chapter, the oscillation of the equinoxes goes to the maximum extent of 27 degrees on both sides of the Mean position of the equinoxes and the solstices.

Suppose the winter solstice (Uttarayana) starts in Dhanishta, the vernal equinox (Vishu) will occur at Krittika (by the rule of 27 degrees) in the current zodiac. But in the olden zodiac Krittika was not present and Rohini was there in its place. In that case if Uttarayana started in Dhanishtha, Vernal equinox occurred at Rohini.

To decipher the location of Abhijit and Rohini in the zodiac of Skanda’s time before Abhijit was dropped and replaced by Krittika, let me first test the traditional view prevailing now that Abhijit started at 6 ̊40ʹ of Capricorn. Let me reproduce the zodiac by placing Abhijit at 6 ̊40ʹ. I have noted down the degrees in terms in ‘pada’ for easy understanding and counting.

1 star = 4 padas.

1 pada = 3 ̊ 20ʹ (1 minute =60 seconds)

3 pada = 10 ̊

9 pada = 30 ̊ = 1 sign of the zodiac.

27 padas (9 x 3) = 90 ̊ = distance between a solstice and the equinox. 

There is another equation pertaining to the distance of 27 ̊, on either side of Mean VE, AE, SS and WS

27 degrees = 8 pada (=26.40 degree)

In the following illustration I have placed Abhijit in Capricorn at the 3rd pada (after 6 ̊40ʹ), i.e. after the last 3rd and 4th padas of Uttrashada. The requirement as per Mahabharata is the distance between Dhanishtha and Rohini must be 90 ̊ to make them foremost in the solstice and equinox respectively. This gap is equal to 27 pada. We have to match only that Pada of Rohini that lies at 28th pada from a pada of Dhanishtha.

Deductions from this illustration:

If Uttarayana started at the 2nd pada of Dhanishtha, Vernal equinox would start at the 1st pada of Rohini.

3rd pada of Dhanishtha - 2nd pada of Rohini

4th pada of Dhanishtha - 3rd pada of Rohini.


·         Never in the past had the equinox gone beyond Rohini. 

·         When vernal equinox had occurred at Rohini, Krittika was not part of the zodiac.

·         To put it differently wherever the texts say that vernal equinox occurred at Rohini, it goes without saying that Krittika was not counted at that time. If Krittika was there, the vernal equinox could have occurred only in Krittika – due to the right angled distance between Uttarayana and vernal equinox.

·         The confusion over the equinox at Mrigashirsha (Agrahāyana) was already solved in the 10th chapter[44] that it was the beginning of the year and the cycle of Sapta Rishi calendar as well. It has nothing to do with the equinox.

From the above understanding, let me now deduce the Mean position of the Solstices and the equinoxes. The Mean winter solstice (Uttarayana) must occur at zero degree Capricorn as per the oscillation of the zodiac caused by the axial precession of the earth.

The Mean position of Uttarayana must occur after the 8th pada south of the maximum extent of Uttarayana which is 4th pada of Dhanishtha in the above illustration. By the rule of Dhanishtha – Rohini angle, only 3 probable positions occur.

For 4th pada of Dhanishtha, the Mean Uttarayana = Abhijit 4th pada

For 3rd pada of Dhanishta, the Mean Uttarayana = Abhijit 3rd pada

For 2nd pada of Dhanishtha, the Mean Uttarayana = Abhijit 2nd pada.

This makes it mandatory to place Abhijit 2nd pada at zero degree Capricorn. But the illustration shows 3rd pada of Uttarashada at zero degree Capricorn. This makes the zodiac tilted towards further north (to our right) by 10 degrees (3rd and 4th pada of Uttarashada and 1st pada of Abhijit).

10 degrees over and above the current Mean tilt is unrealistic and improbable. Moreover the narration in Mahabharata talks only about the change in the position of Abhijit and not about any change in the zodiac or the signs. For these reasons the current view of locating the span of Abhijit (though symbolic) at 6 ̊ 40ʹ covering Uttarashada 4th pada and touching Shravana 1st pada (10 ̊ 53ʹ 20ʺ) is found to be baseless.

The previous illustration is re-done with above deductions on Dhanishtha – Rohini angle and the Mean Uttarayana for the probable maximum locations of Uttarayana at Dhanishtha.

A notable feature is the presence of Vishakha completely within the sign, i.e. Libra. It was not split in this design and also if we move the zodiac by 10 ̊ to our left to align with the Mean position. This strengthens the view that it was originally known as Radha with the succeeding star given the name Anu-radha.

In the above illustration, from Dhanishtha to Rohini represents the limits between Uttarayana and vernal equinox. From Dhanishtha to Abhijit represents the Mean Uttarayana for the three probable locations of Uttarayana.

It can be seen that Abhijit occupied the same location (in the zodiac) of Uttarashada as it is placed today. The 2nd pada of Uttarashada starts from zero degree Capricorn today. 2nd pada of Abhijit too started from the same position (Mean Uttarayana) in the past. Let me show it.

·         Mean Uttarayana started in Abhijit 2nd pada. At that time the Vernal Equinox (Mean) occurred at 1st pada of Asvini.

·         Maximum limit of Uttarayana was Dhanishta 2nd pada.

At that limit, vernal equinox occurred at Rohini 1st pada.

This was the same as in Krittika 1st pada today.

·         There is only one location of Uttarayana – vernal equinox for Dhanishtha – Rohini in this design.

·         Rohini spreads between Aries to Taurus.

·         When the vernal Equinox occurred at Rohini 1st pada, Dakshinayana started at Magha 4th pada. Therefore reference to Solstice at Magha in any olden text should refer to time when Abhijit was part of the zodiac.

·         There are remarkable limits to the three positions such that for vernal equinox to occur at Rohini, the maximum extent of Uttarayana was at the 2nd pada of Dhanishtha. The only possible position for Dakshinayana was 4th pada of Magha. 

·         Vishakha was not split in this arrangement.

·         But Swati was split at its middle. This reminds us of the verse in Ramayana praising the appearance of Setu Bridge as “Swati patha[45] – the Madhya Veethi that I earlier explained in the 5th chapter. Swati Patha cuts the zodiac into two equal halves.

·         Swati Patha was the Mean Autumnal Equinox in Skanda’s times, when Abhijit was part of the zodiac. That idea continued to be in memory in Ramayana times.

In this backdrop let us discuss the reference to Abhijit retiring to the woods, understood as the ‘Fall’ of Abhijit by modern researchers.


Abhijit 2nd pada was rising at zero degree Capricorn when the vernal equinox occurred at the 1st pada of Asvini at zero degree Aries. At that time Rohini 1st pada was in Aries and Krittika was not part of the zodiac. The equinox was in forward motion (refer the figure titled ‘To and Fro movement of equinox’) in the year 10,301 BCE. This means right after 10,301 BCE Uttarayana (winter solstice) started moving forward in Capricorn, or in other words, from Abhijit 2nd pada, to 3rd pada and then to 4th pada and finally to Shravana. By this, Abhijit, the star had slipped back into Aja Veethi, the southern street in course of time!

At the time of Skanda (9990 BCE deciphered earlier from Tamil Sangam texts) Uttarayana advanced by 300 years (10,301 – 9990 =311). At the average rate of precession derived earlier from Surya Siddhanta verse, (66.66 Years per degree) it is found that the Uttarayana and the Vernal equinox advanced by 4.5 degree which is little more than the span of one pada (3.2 degree) of a star. At the time of Skanda Uttarayana started at 3rd pada of Abhijit and not at 2nd pada of Abhijit (which is the median position in the zodiac). The vernal equinox also moved forward into 2nd pada of Asvini.

Among the three stars of a group, Abhijit, Rohini and Hasta (identified as sisters who married Moon), Abhijit and Rohini enjoyed special attention, respectively, for occupying the location of beginning of Uttarayana and part of Aries where Vishuva occurred. But with the passage of time, it was observed that Abhijit was slipping down from the mean position of the Uttarayana while no change was noticed with Rohini. A reading of the verse by Markandeya in Mahabharata reveals this movement observed by the society of the day.

      abhijit spardhamānā tu rohiṇyā kanyasī  svasā
      icchantī jyeṣṭhatāṃ devī tapas taptuṃ vanaṃ gatā

Translated by Ganguli this means, “The lady Abhijit, the younger sister of Rohini, being jealous of her seniority, has repaired to the woods to perform austerities.”

The slipping down of Abhijit from Uttarayana point is perceived as Abhijit retiring to woods, being jealous of Rohini not suffering any change in her status. This is the “FALL” of Abhijit! This is one part of the explanation.

There is another explanation, in terms of a change in the ecliptic from an elliptical orbit to the current circular one. This was marked by an increase in insolation, bringing an end to the Ice Age and a spurt in melt water pulses that were experienced as sudden sea floods in the time of Skanda. Abhijit appears to be part of the elliptical orbit – which can be visually judged by its location lying to the north of the ecliptic of today. Perhaps the drift in the ecliptic, observed by means of the ‘drift’ in the position of Abhijit over thousands of years was finally reconciled to, as the ‘fall’ of Abhijit from the ecliptic and recorded so in the time of Skanda.

The revelations from this are as follows:

·         The observational astronomy had been going on for a long time before Skanda. Only if the pre-Skanda society had started observing the celestial position of the stars and conceived the idea of the zodiac from the time Abhijit was at zero degree Capricorn, this kind of slipping away could have caused distress as revealed in Markandeya’s narration of the dialogue between Indra and Skanda.

·         The earliest possible time for the evolving interest in Abhijit as the star of Uttarayana could have started from when the 1st pada of Abhijit was rising at Uttarayana. That was from the last 3.20 degree of Sagittarius (which was the 1st pada of Abhijit). This span is roughly equal to 230 years before 10,301 BCE (that is c.10, 530 BCE). But the observation of Abhijit on the ecliptic must have started thousands of years ago.

·         The time of conception of the zodiac with Abhijit at Uttarayana is likely to be around c.10, 530 BCE. The zodiac and the allegorical story of Moon marrying 27 daughters (stars) of Daksha Prajapati, including Sasi (Abhijit) must have evolved long before this.

·         With Abhijit slipping back with advancing Uttarayana, the society had decided to keep Abhijit away from any change or blemish. This idea could occur only of the society had held the star in great reverence. The reference to Abhijit in Vedic texts (that evolved after Skanda initiated the marriage of Svaha and Agni) reveal her high status. To name some of them:

1. Abhijit was the day “for the gaining of the world of heaven” [46]

2. The heveanly connection is further reiterated in Mahabharata in Bhishma’s sermon on the arrow bed. While associating different kinds of results for charity done on the days of different stars, attainment of heaven is mentioned by Bhishma only in the case of charity done on Abhijit day.[47]

3. Similarly while enumerating the results of doing optional shraddha ceremony for departed ancestors, Abhijit is associated with acquirement of knowledge.[48]

4. Offerings were done to Abhijit on the third year (of the 5 year Yuga) – year that is mid-point of the 5-year Yuga.[49] The mid-point also matches with Abhijit spread on both sides of the Uttarayana in mean position, or in other words Uttarayana falling in the middle of Abhijit which was the case in Skanda’s time, when a re-think on Abhijit was made.


The salient features are

·         Uttarayana started after the 2nd pada of Abhijit or in the middle of Abhijit in Skanda’s times.

·         It was also noted that Arundhati had not deviated from her path, of following Vasishtha!

·         A catastrophe was witnessed by that time or before that time (to be discussed in the course of this chapter) that it was felt that Krittika could be elevated as a star of the zodiac (one among the 27 stars) by dropping Abhijit from the counting.

·         Since the society could not stomach the loss of importance to Abhijit as the star of Uttarayana, it decided to freeze Abhijit at the mid-point location, from the 3rd pada as it was at the time of Skanda. It seems this was mistaken as the 3rd pada in Capricorn (after 6.40 degree) and continuing in tradition now, while in fact it could be the 3rd pada of Abhijit spread between 3.20 and 6.40 degree of Capricorn.

·         The mid-point nature of Abhijit was frozen in memory by the Vedic society later which we see in the naming of the mid-day as Abhijit Muhurtha!


Abhijit Muhurtha.

Abhijit split the zodiac into two halves between the two equinoxes when its 2nd pada started at zero degree Capricorn. That mid-position was recognisable in 10,300 + BCE. That mid-position was retained in memory as Muhurta at mid-day. The ‘Swati Patha’ (the mid-point of Autumnal equinox when Abhijit was part of the zodiac) reference in Valmiki Ramayana is proof of the attachment the olden society had for things held high in far olden days.

·         Even after discarding Abhijit from the zodiac, the society had retained the name to refer to the mid-day Muhurtha at local time. This starts from 1 ghati before noon at local time and ends 1 ghati after that. So wherever mid-day reference appears in the context of Abhijit, one must check if it refers to Abhijit Muhurtha.

·         In astrology, Abhijit Muhurtha is known as Vijaya Muhurtha or Brahma Muhurtha or Kutup Muhurtha.[50] Therefore one can expect words like Vijaya associated with Abhijit to refer to the Muhurtha.

·         The rationale of mid-day attributed to Abhijit Muhurtha has risen from having held Abhijit as a Mean Uttarayana star. 

Ramayana references on Abhijit

In Ramayana, Rama refers to Abhijit Muhurtha as Vijaya Muhurtha while starting for war. “This is suitable Muhurtha for Vijaya; the sun has reached mid-day” (युक्तोमुहूर्तोविजयःप्राप्तोमध्यम्दिवाकरः)[51]

Yet another verse in Valmiki Ramayana says that the Vanaras were waiting for “Abhijit Abhimukha” to start their journey towards South.[52] This is a clear reference to the Muhurtha which ensures victory particularly when they have to travel towards the South known for inauspiciousness owing to be abode of Yama. Naturally they had waited for the auspicious time to start.

The context was that of meeting Sampāti and starting the search on his advice. All this had happened in broad day light. Only the sun was the guide for directions in the day time. They waited for the Sun to reach mid havens (Abhijit Muhurtha) and then started off.[53]

In this context let me set at rest a controversy regarding a verse of Valmiki Ramayana, that it refers to Abhijit as the pole star.


The verse is

brahmarāśir viśuddhaś ca śuddhāś ca paramarṣayaḥ
   arciṣmantaḥ prakāśante dhruvaṃ sarve pradakṣiṇam. [54]

There is no dispute over the fact that Abhijit is referred to as the Brahmarashi in this verse. The verse first refers to Abhijit (Brahmarashi) looking clear. And then tells the same for the great Rishis (sapta rishis) and all of them circumambulating the Pole Star (Dhruva). Abhijit and Pole star were not treated as the same in this verse. They were different. Abhijit can never be a pole star as per the Siddhantic version of to-and fro movement of the equinox within 54 degrees.

·         The love for Abhijit had continued down the ages with Krishna identifying himself with Abhijit among the stars! Though he uses the name “Śaśī” in his discourse to Arjuna,[55] he does mention Abhijit for the same in his discourse to Uddhava.[56]

“Śaśī” was the original name of Abhijit as one among the 27 stars.

·         Its importance was retained as a mid-day Muhurta in Mahabharata times too. The corresponding mid-night Muhurtha is known as “Śaśī”! It is probable that after Śaśī was dropped from the 27 star-group she was renamed as Abhijit.

The interesting feature of this Muhurta is that though it is auspicious on all days, it is not so in the mid-day of the week, astrologically speaking.[57] Wednesday is the mid-day of the week and Abhijit Muhurta of this day is not auspicious. This gives rise to the view that there was something obsessive about the “middle”. 


Only if the society had watched Abhijit high in the sky which at the same time coincided with the Mean position of Uttarayana (in the middle of two equinoxes), this obsession with Abhijit is justifiable.

Around 10,800 BCE Uttarayana started sliding up from Uttarashada to Abhijit, but then the star slipped down in Skanda’s times and the society must have gained the grasp of the movement of the solstics and equinoxes. For a society infatuated with Abhijit, the inevitable dawned on them that Abhijit cannot continue to be the start of Uttarayana forever. By pulling it out of the zodiac and keeping its relevance to Muhurtha they thought they can retain its greatness for all times to come. This made them choose Krittika as the foremost star of the zodiac at a distance of 90 degrees from Dhanishtha by pushing Rohini away from the primary position.


Bringing in Krittika also solved the problem of completing the star count of the zodiac arising from the inevitable event of having to remove Abhijit from the zodiac. So what happened then? What made them choose Krittika and not any other star near the ecliptic?

10,800 BCE witnessed a comet-hit.

Markandeya’s narration speaks about a second catastrophe that smacks of a comet falling from the sky. Though this is characterised as Danavas fighting with Devas, the description speaks about hills, rocks, fire balls and parigha falling towards the direction where Sankara (Shiva) and other celestials stood.[58] The chief among the enemies is identified as Mahisha who was described as hurling hillocks at the Devas.[59] The sage says that unable to protect themselves from the army of Mahisha, Rudra prompted Skanda to attack him and his army. Skanda shot his weapon Shakti that broke into pieces the head of Mahisha. Translating the verses Ganguli writes,[60]

That missile cut off the head of Mahisha, and he fell upon the ground and died. And his head massive as a hillock, falling on the ground, barred the entrance to the country of the Northern Kurus, extending in length for sixteen Yojanas though at present the people of that country pass easily by that gate.”

Skanda repeatedly sent his weapon and killed other invaders too. This led to Rudra declare that Skanda must be seen like himself from then onwards (rudreṇa skandaṃ paśyata mām iva)[61]

This story has allegorical parallel to the fall of a comet that caused massive and widespread damage in the northern hemisphere (land of Devas in the story) leading to global firestorms, bio-mass burning, extinction of life forms, such as mammoths. This caused cooling of the earth by 2 to 6 degrees Celsius resulting in a period termed as ‘Younger Dryas’ – with a brief return of Ice age conditions for a 1000 years.

Today the scientific community had come to a unanimous agreement that this was caused by a comet hitting the earth around 10,800 BCE.[62] It is even speculated that this event is expressed in one of the stone carvings at Gobkli Tepe.[63] The comet has hit Greenland but its fragments fell on a wider area causing nearly 10% of the earth experience wild-fires. The comet’s fragment was found to have fallen in southern hemisphere too, at 40 degrees South in Chile.[64]

So far nothing has been heard of this hit in India, but we have three evidences from Mahabharata, one in the narration of Markandeya explained above, another in the reply given by Bhishma from his arrow bed to a question by Nakula on the origin of the ‘sword’- the weapon considered to be foremost among all the weapons and the third in the narration of Bhishma of Vasishtha’s version on the transfer of Agni, the seed of Shiva to Ganga.[65] All these have the trappings of the comet-hit or an asteroid-hit witnessed or experienced at the time Skanda lived.

It sprang from scattering flames, looking tall and exceeding in energy. When it struck, the earth trembled, oceans agitated and meteors fell from the sky. From the image of the fall of a comet or asteroid, the sword seems to have been designed.

The most intriguing part of the narration by Bhishma is that the ‘sword’ was born under the constellation of Krittika; Agni was its deity and Rohini was its Gotra!!

kṛttikāś cāsya nakṣatram aser agniś ca daivatam
     rohiṇyo gotram asyātha rudraś ca gurur uttamaḥ[66]

Does this refer to the comet-fall on a Krittika day? Rohini becoming the Gotra is another intriguing feature that conveys Krittika comes under the family of Rohini or evolving from under Rohini!

The shape of the sword and the power of the sword hitting on all sides seem to have been inspired by the shape of the comet falling on the earth. The name of Krittika in the Gotra of Rohini appears to convey that the comet hit had happened on a day when Rohini was reigning in the previous zodiacal design where Krittika was not included.

1. Krittika in, Rohini away, Abhijit out and Vishakha split!

From the initial look of it, the choice of Krittika to replace Abhijit does appear to be a needless one given that it is a dim group of stars which easily escapes observation. For a visual observer, in the span of the sky from Asvini to Krittika, the zodiacal stars do not appear in regular distance from each other. Unless otherwise there were compelling reasons to choose Krittika, the ancients could have gone ahead with the regular Dhanishtha – Rohini in supremacy and include some other star near the ecliptic to make for the loss of Abhijit.

Rohini has been held in high esteem for all these ages as an auspicious star.[67] Even a smallest obstruction caused to it by a passing planet or meteor is treated as indicative of a calamity in astrological predictions. This view could have gained currency right from the time the comet/asteroid hit the earth on a Rohini day. Some of the arguments in justification of pushing away Rohini to position Krittika in its original place are as follows:

·         At that time the ancients were already taunted with worries over the changing position of Abhijit that slipped down from Uttarayana.

·         The society that was wondering about how to re-work the zodiac was hit with another calamity in the form of a comet hit. And if only that calamity had taken place on a Rohini day, they could have thought about protecting the identity of Rohini as an auspicious, but not a calamitous star.

·         Rohini that was supposed to bring growth and prosperity, if brought out death and destruction contrary to its assigned nature, then it is perfectly justifiable to move her a little and give way for another upon whom death and destruction can be assigned.

·         With Krittika in the neighbourhood of Rohini as seen from the earth, its inclusion also serves as a replacement for Abhijit.

2. Krittika seemed to have fulfilled some important requirements.

  1. The comet hit on the Rohini day can be technically altered by positioning Krittika at where Rohini was located in the zodiac.


Krittika in the place of Rohini.

As a result, Krittika’s 1st pada becomes the last pada of Aries at which the maximum extent of Vernal equinox occurs. The re-designed zodiac with this replacement pushes Rohini well into Taurus. Vishakha that was never branched in between the zodiacal signs, now appear branched or split much in tandem with the birth of ‘Vishakha’ by the blow (Vajrayudha / thunder bolt) of Indra and Agni spewed by Skanda to counter the blow. Expectedly Indragni is recognised as the deity of Vishakha.

Abhijit whose 2nd pada appeared at mid-point of the equinoxes had to give way for Uttarashada after making a quiet exit. The re-designed zodiac is shown in the following diagram. This design continues to be in vogue till date.

3. Krittika offered new identity for the spouses of six of the sapta rishis.

The abandonment of the six rish-patnī-s is also a feature noticed in Skanda’s times. The change in their position is revealed in the impersonation done by Svaha which however could not be repeated in the case of Arundhati. This indicates that some stars were initially recognised as the spouses of six sages of the Saptarishis. However their identity is not discussed anywhere in the texts.

There is also an unrealistic element in this description as the change in the position of six stars is not palpable for thousands of years. However the slipping away of Abhijit being the cause of all consternation and substitution of the same with Krittika (Pleiades) having six stars, we are left wondering whether Abhijit was treated as a group of six spouses of the six rishis who along with Arundhati accompanying her husband circulated the Dhruva. Abhijit always present in high northern latitudes and circulating the Pole stars spread within the span of 54 degrees (as per derivation from Surya Siddhanta verse) in the company of Sapta Rishi Mandala, it sounds plausible that Abhijit was also considered as a group of the six rishi patnis. 

Once Abhijit was abandoned, the ancients had looked for a ‘stable’ star group that can be linked up with the Sapta Rishis as spouses. Giving credence to this conjecture is a reference found in Satapatha Brahmana that the seven sages married the Krittika stars![68] This idea is also reflected in the Marriage mantras during the sighting of Arundhati!

Recalling the meaning of the mantra discussed in the 1st chapter, Arundhati, the spouse of Vasishtha always remained following her husband. The other six spouses were also stable as the six Krittika stars! This idea about Krittika stars must have come up only after Krittika was included in the zodiac to replace Abhijit in Skanda’s times! The star-spread of Krittika and that of the Sapta Rishis (Big Dipper) offer a marvellous resemblance to one another.

The six Krittika stars resemble the shape of the Sapta Rishis. So the choice of Krittika was so apt as to replace Abhijit that was treated as a single group of six spouses.

4. Krittika ruled high in the Heavens when Abhijit ‘fell’ behind the forests.

The choice of Krittika, an obscure star group as a substitute for a glowing Abhijit seemed to have been prompted by its elevation in the sky. Astronomy simulations are of help here. When checked in Stellarium, it is found that Krittika was at zenith when the Sapta rishis were rising, but Abhijit was setting! This was true for Vedic dates of to and fro limits of times (and also in the western astronomy precessional past for the year 10,000 BCE)

The simulation for both Vedic dates of 54 degree limits and western astronomy dates shows the Sapta Rishis and Krittika together for quite some time in the sky on any day of the year. In contrast Abhijit by virtue of its position in the sky opposite to the Sapta Rishis, disappeared short time after the Sapta Rishis rose up in the sky. This was immortalised into a story of the six wives seeming to run away due to impersonation and the six sages abandoning their spouses on account of it. Only Arundhati kept constant company with her husband. By rising early and setting late she set a model for an ideal wife, the pativratā and therefore was celebrated in all the three worlds.

·         Could she ever transgress from her position?

·         Could anyone in the know of Vedic tradition ever imagine that Vyasa did indeed refer to a transgression committed by her?

I leave it to the readers’ judgement.

5. Krittika’s inclusion to match with the shower of fire from comet-hit.

The choice of Krittika also reveals the basic concept behind stars as time keepers. Many people think that the division of the sky into 27 star segments help in tracking the motion of the sun and the moon in specific time intervals.

The true import of the nakshatras perceived by our ancients is revealed in placing Krittika on a Rohini day such that the comet fire engulfed the earth on Krittika, and not on Rohini day. That is because a nakshatra – which is nothing but a self-illuminating Deva – awards the good or bad that it is supposed to give. The Nakshatra ‘times’ the events to be experienced by the people, as and when coming into contact with the sun, the moon or the planets (graha). Naksh, the root word of nakshatra meaning ‘obtain’, ‘attain’, ‘get’, ‘arrive at’ etc., stands for timing the fruits of karma to be obtained by people.

For example, Rohini, the star of the deity Prajapati delivers growth and prosperity to the praja, the people as a father does to his children. When Moon crosses it, this deity causes to obtain prosperity. But alas a terrible fire ball descended on the earth on a Rohini day, which runs counter to the ‘timing’ of the stars!

Those were the times people were keenly watching the celestial sphere and matching them with terrestrial events. The fire on Rohini had upset their conjectures. For quite some time they must have observed the region of the sky from where the fire-ball descended and must have come to the conclusion that that part of the celestial sphere is fit to be assigned to the Fire God and thus was born the Agni Deva, the deity of Krittika. This necessitated the moving away of Rohini in spite of her being the foremost star in Brahma’s scheme along with Dhanishtha.

In comparison Abhijit had never caused any agony. The only problem with it was slipping away from the high position at Uttarayana. The fruits ‘obtained’ (naksh) from it are sought to be obtained when the sun came into contact with the mid-point in the sky. Thus was born the Abhijit Muhurtha.

It is for the reason of obtainment of specific results Rama chose to march towards Lanka on Purva Phalguni, [69] Lakshmana was happy that there was no evil influence on Vishakha the star of their dynasty, Karna was worried that the Graha (moon) of the Prajapati nakshatra (Rohini) was afflicted by Saturn and Vyasa was worried that Arundhati appeared to change her position from normal!

Each one of these references found in the Epics conveys the results expected at the moment, ‘timed’ by the respective nakshatra. Of these Arundhati stands apart for she is not part of the ecliptic to be traversed by planets or the luminaries (sun and moon) to cause mankind get the result – and the result being pativratātva! Just by looking at her and contemplating on her one can fashion oneself in the path of pativratātva.

Such a star seemed to have changed her position- said the worried Vyasa thinking of the transgressions that women would have to make in the event of losing their husbands on account of the war – a predicament that caused Arjuna refuse to fight. Such appearance of Arundhati could only be momentary, like all the other so-called ‘astronomy’ references that were related to some result.

Abhijit also stood apart, as a star ensuring Vijaya, and that must have made the ancients include it in the ecliptic. But alas ever since it started slipping down from the Uttarayna - something the ancients had not originally contemplated and hence gone into thoughtful mode on what to do about it. This deduction makes me declare that the final design of the zodiac was done around the time Uttarayana started in Abhijit. That was around10,600 BCE.

10,800 BCE Comet-hit impacted India too.

The last event of ‘adjustment’ by including Krittika prompted by the comet-hit pre-supposes that India also received the fiery canons of the comet. The completely undetected regions that received the fiery fragments of the comet must have been immortalised into another legend of self-immolated body parts of Sati Devi falling in different parts of India. Most of them fell in northern section towards the direction of Mount Kailash, the abode of Shiva – having a parallel in Markandeya’s narration to the fiery rocks falling at where Sankara stood.

Yet another parallel pertains to Sankara retiring to “Bhadravaṭa[70]after Skanda won over Mahisha. In the legend of Sati Devi’s body parts falling scattered, the same deity Sankara was recognised as “Virabhadra”.  Although the impact regions were glorified as Shakti-Peetha, the underlying event seems to be the same.

Not to be left out is the Arbuda Devi on Mount Abu that has the stamp of a fiery fragment of a comet or asteroid falling on the mountain. The local legend claims that the Devi is still hanging in ‘mid-air’. A Rig Vedic verse on Indra piercing through Arbuda with frost appears to be an allusion to pouring down water on the fiery Arbuda![71]

Adbhuta was the fire in Skanda’s legend that was described as aiming to destroy itself. The society which was not well aware of the ways to grow fire with huge flames, after experiencing the fire-balls from the sky and wild-fires caused by them, had started to praying to Fire God to protect them from destruction, and help them to grow in prosperity. That was the aim of the Agni Upasana, initiated by Skanda and kept warm throughout the millennia.

The comet-hit of 10,800 BCE matching with the catastrophe from the sky that ultimately gave Skanda the designation as the celestial commander in chief, and the spread of Adbhuta fire and the splitting of Vishakha caused by fire - all happening around the same time offer the foundation for Skanda legends. However between 10,800 BCE and 9990 BCE (the date of Skanda deduced from the Tamil sources) there is a long gap of 800 years. But before that, we can be certain about the design of the zodiac as early as 10,600 BCE. The gap is only 200 years then, and with the date of comet-hit being fixed around the same time with a variation of a few centuries, it is deduced that the Pre-Skanda society witnessed the comet hit. 

Reclamation happened in the aftermath of the comet-hit, thanks to Skanda whose list of reforms included development of Tamil and Sanskrit besides the introduction of Vedic Homa as a way of prayer to Agni, not to destroy but to develop the seeker. And all the after-effects were blended around Skanda as he happened to the valiant persona of the times that followed the calamity. The Vedic society elevates the great among men as a God and Skanda was the first man elevated into Godhood. Rama and Krishna were later inclusions.

In the final analysis, Abhijit reference is not only about a long past of Vedic culture, but also a hint to pinpoint the exact time of birth of the Vedic culture.


[1]Mahabharata: 3-224-11333 and 3-225-11371

[3] Vayu Purana: Part 1- 27: verse 38

[6]Mahabharata: 3-217- 1& 2

[8] Mahabharata: 3-219- 8 to 11

[9]Mahabharata: 3-220- 3 to 6

[10]Vayu Purana: Ch 28- verses 1 to 5

[11]Mahabharata: 3-217-12

[12]Tiru Murugarru Padai,

[13]Mayamatam: Ch 36- 142, 143 (Translation by Bruno Dagens)

[14]Brahmanda Purana: 24-129

[21]Brihat Samhita: 43- 52to 55

[22]Taittriya Samhita says that Manu himself was the seer of the Pāka yajnas “What are Vedic Yajnas?”

[25]Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, also known as Paramacharya (1894-1994)

[26]Rig Veda Mantra Kosam, Part 1: Introduction: xvi (Tamil)

[27]In verse 367 of Puranauru, the poetess Auvaiyar praises the Pandyan King Ugra Peruvaɻuti who was seen along with the other kings, Chola and Chera. Perhaps that was the occasion of the Sangam Assembly. The Cholan king Peru narkilli who did Rajasooya yajna was spotted along with Ugra Peruvaɻuti as per the poem. These two kings appear in Tiruvalangadu Copper plate inscriptions and Sinnamanur Copper plate inscriptions respectively. Auvaiyar, the contemporary of Ugra Peruvaɻuti, also happened to be a contemporary of Adiyaman Neduman Anji. This is known from the numerous verses she penned on him, now available in Tamil Sangam corpus. Neduman Anji’s time period has been established by epigraphers from Jambai inscriptions, to be around 200 BCE. Therefore the date of the last Sangam assembly was around 200 BCE. However, I have taken up the beginning of the Common Era, as the base year.

[28]caturyuḥ sa mahārāja bhoja indra sakho balī
     vidyā balād yo vyajayat pāṇḍya krathaka kaiśikān
(Mahabharat 2.13.20)

[29] The composition must have been only in Tamil. The Sangam founded with the goal to promote grammatical Tamil had never entertained a composition from any other language.

[30]Tiruvilaiyadal Puranam: Tirunattu cirappu - 56

[31]Tirumandiram – verse 65

[32]Tiruvilaiyadal Puranam, Madurai Kānchi

[33]Tiruvilaiyadal Puranam, 1156 (authored by Paranjothi Munivar)

[34] Subrahmanya Bhujangam: verse 4

[36]Vayu Purana: Ch 52- 96

[37]Brahmanda Purana: 23- 107

[38]Taittriya Aranyaka: II-19-1

[39]Vayu Purana: Ch 52- 98

[40]Varma, Radha Kant  (2008). Beginnings of Agriculture in the Vindhya-Ganga Region” History of Agriculture in India (up to c.1200 A.D). Concept Publishing Company. New Delhi. pp 31-46

[41]Petrie, C., Bates, J., Higham, T., & Singh, R. (2016). “Feeding Ancient Cities in South Asia: Dating the Adoption of Rice, Millet and Tropical Pulses in the Indus Civilisation.” Antiquity.90 (394).pp1489-1504.

[43] Brahmanda Purana (23-140) says that Dhanishtha is first among the stars, referring to Uttarayana’s maximum limit starting from Dhanishtha.

[45]Vālmiki Ramayana: 6- 22 - 72

[46] Krishna Yajur Veda: VII- 5.1

[47]Mahabharata: 13-64

[48]Mahabharata: 13-89

[49]Krishna Yajur Veda: V-6.5

[50]“Abhijin Muhurt – and Limitations Thereof” by V.K. Sridhar.

[51] Valmiki Ramayana: 6-4-3

[52]Valmiki Ramayana:  4-63-15

[53] At night-time search, Moon was the guide, a feature known from the search by Hanuman after moonrise.

[54]Valmiki Ramayana: 6-4-49

[55]Bhagavad Gita: 10-21

[56] Srimad Bhagavatam: 11-17-27

[57]“Muhurtha” by B.V.Raman. Page 28

[62] “12,800 Years Ago, Earth Was Struck by a Disintegrating Comet, Setting Off Global Firestorms”

[63] “Ancient stone carvings confirm how comet struck Earth in 10,950BC, sparking the rise of civilisations”

[64] “More evidence of a comet catastrophe 13,000 years ago, this time from South America”

[65] Mahabharata: 13-84 – verses 55-56

[67]The Tamils of Sangam Age conducted marriage specifically on Rohini day only.

[68] Dr Subhash Kak, “Babylonian and Indian Astronomy: Early Connections.” (2003) Page 29

[69]Valmiki Ramayana: 6-4-5

[70]Mahabharata: 3-221- 1 &78

[71]Rig Veda: 8-32-26

ahan vṛtraṃ ṛcīṣama aurṇavābhamahīśuvam |
himenāvidhyadarbudam ||