by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 319,243 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246
This page describes the arrangement of the heavenly luminaries which is Chapter 24 of the English translation of the Brahmanda Purana: one of the oldest puranas including common Puranic elements such as cosmogony, genealogy, ethics, geography and yoga. Traditionally, the Brahmandapurana is said to consist of 12,000 verses metrical Sanskrit verses.
1. On hearing this, the sages who were in doubt asked Romaharṣaṇa once again the answer (for the same).
2. What has been described in details by your honour is about the abodes. Now describe to us how may be the abodes of gods and how are the luminaries.
3-6. Mention everything decisively, the facts concerning the Luminaries.
Vāyu (The Wind god) said:
On hearing their words, Sūta of great concentration and mental purity, delivered the most excellent speech that dispelled their doubts.
“I shall mention to you the origin of the sun and the moon, the details as mentioned by the wise and intelligent sages of great wisdom. I shall recount how the sun, the moon and the plants came to be remembered here as Devagṭhas (Divine abodes, abodes of the Devas).
7. When the night of Brahmā, born of the unmanifest one, dawned, this (visible comet) that had not been manifested and developed was completely enveloped by the darkness of the night.
8-9a. When this universe remaned in the form of all the original Bhūtas (Elements) and the specific particularities (distinctions) had been destroyed (i.e. had not been developed), the self-born lord who manages the activities of the universe, moved about like a Khadyota (glow-worm) i.e. he who illuminates firmament) with a desire to manifest himself.
9b-10. At the beginning of the world he saw the fire supported by the Earth and Water. The lord encased it for the purpose of light and divided it into three parts. The fire that is sanctifying in this world is called the Pārthiva (Terrestrial fire).
12. The fires born of water are three, viz.: Vaidyut (Lightening) Jāṭhara (gastric) and Saura (Solar). It is on account of this, that the sun blazes in the heaven after drinking water by means of his rays.
13. The (fire) Vārṣya (originating from Varṣā or rain) contained in lightening, does not become cool by means of water. The fire that abides within the stomach of human beings does not become cool by means of water.
14. Hence, the solar fire, the Vaidyuta fire and the gastric fire are fires that have water for their fuel.
Some among the waters are considered Tejas (fiery splendour) and some are seen as having water for their fuel.
15. The Nirmathya. fire (i.e. the fire produced by churning or friction) has wood for its fuel. That fire is brought under control by means of water.
The Pavamāna fire (sanctifying fire) has sparks and flames and the gastric fire is remembered as devoid of lustre.
16. (The same is the case with) the fire without heat that is in the zone (of the sun). It is white and it illuminates.
When the sun sets along with its rays (i.e. withdrawing all the rays), the solar lustre enters fire during night. Hence it glows from far off.
17-18. The heat of the fire, of the terrestrial fire, enters the sun as it rises with its rays. Hence the fire blazes. The power of illumination and heat are (respectively) the solar and fiery splendour.
19-20. By permeating each other, they make each other nourish and develop.
In. the northern hemisphere as well as in the southern one, when the sun rises, the night enters waters. Hence, waters become hot during the day and cold on account of the entrance and permeation by the night.
21. When the sun sets, the day enters waters. Hence, during the night, the waters are seen white (and sparkling).
22. It is in this order that in the southern and northern hemispheres, the day and the night enter water at the times of sunrise and sunset.
23. The sun that blazes imbibing water by means of his rays, is remembered as the divine Śuci (pure) fire that is combined with the terrestrial fire.
24-27. This fire Śuci has a thousand feet (rays). It resembles one holding a pot. With a thousand Nāḍis (vein-like rays) spread all round, it takes up the waters of the rivers, oceans, wells, canals etc. both blowing and stationary.
Its thousand rays exude cold showers, snowfall as well as hot ones. Among them, four hundred veins have variegated forms and they shower (rain).
Those rays of limited lustre are called Candrās by name.
The white (pure) rays that cause heat are three hundred in number and their names are Śuklās, Kuhakās, Viśvabhṛts.
The sun brings about the satisfaction of human beings, Pitṛs (Manes) and Devas after distributing them impartially among them.
He gratifies human beings by means of medicinal herbs, the manes by means of Svadhā-offerings and all the Devas by means of nectar.
32-33. During Vasanta (spring) and Griṣma (summer), the sun blazes by means of three hundred rays.
During the rainy season and autumn he showers (rain) by means of four hundred rays.
During Hemanta (early winter) and Śíśíra (later winter) he scatters snow by means of three hundred rays.
34-35. The sun during the month of Māgha is Varuṇa; Pūṣan in Phālguna; lord Aṃśu in the month of Caitra and Dhātṛ in the month of Vaiśākha. Indra is the sun in the month of Jyeṣṭha and the sun in the month of Āṣāḍha is Savitṛ.
36-37a. Vivasvān is the Sun in the month of Śrāvaṇa, Bhaga is remembered as the Sun in the month of Pṛṣṭhapada (Bhādrapada). Aryaman is the Sun in the month of Āśvayuja (Āśvina) and Tvaṣṭṛ is the sun in the month of Kārttika. Mitra is the sun in the month of Mārgaśīrṣa and Viṣṇu, the eternal one, is the sun in Pauṣa.
37b-40. In the activity as the sun, Taruṇa has five thousand rays. Pūṣan blazes with six thousand rays and Lord Aṃśu blazes with seven thousand rays; Dhātṛ with eight thousand and Indra with nine thousand rays.
Savitṛ moves (about) with ten thousand rays and Bhaga with eleven thousand rays. Mitra blazes with seven thousand rays and Tvaṣṭṛ blazes with eight thousand rays.
Aryaman moves about with ten thousand rays and Vivas-vān (not Parjanya as in the text) blazes with nine thousand rays. Viṣṇu scorches the earth by means of six thousand rays.
41-42. During the Vasanta season, the sun is tawny-coloured; during the Grīṣma season, the sun has golden lustre: during the Varṣā (rainy) season, he is white in colour and during autumn, he is yellowish white in colour.
During Hemanta (early winter) the sun is copper-coloured. During Śiśira (late winter) he is red in colour. Thus the colours of the sun caused by the seasons have been (traditionally) proclaimed.
43. The sun infuses strength in the medicinal herbs; he makes the Pitṛs (stronger) by means of Svadhā; he infuses nectar in the Devas. Thus he gives three things to the three.
44. In this manner the thousand rays of the sun achieve the requisite things of the people of the world. They differ inasmuch as they exude snow, rain or hot rays.
45. Thus, is the white resplendent sphere named sun. It is the foundation and source of origin of the stars, planets and the moon.
46. All these, viz. the moon, the stars and the planets should be known as originating from the sun. The moon is the lord of all stars and the sun is the king of planets.
47. The remaining five planets should be known as gods moving about as they please.
The two resplendent great planets are the preceptors of the Devas and Asuras.
There is no doubt that the entire unit of the three worlds has the sun as its root (source).
52-54. The entire universe including the Devas, Asuras and human beings originate from the sun, O, leadings Brāhmaṇas.
All the brilliance of Rudra, Upendra (Viṣṇu), Indra and Candra (the Moon), the dwellers of the heaven, the brightness of all luminaries, the entire splendour of all the worlds (is that of the sun). He is the soul of all; he is the lord of all the worlds; he is a great god; and Prajāpati the lord of the subjects). The Sun alone is the root of the three worlds. He is the highest deity. It is from him that everything is born and everything gets merged in him alone.
55. The existence and non-existence of the worlds have formerly emanated from the sun. The plant that should be understood by the whole universe, O, Brāhmaṇas, is the brilliant sun of great lustre.
56-57. (The units of time) Kṣaṇas, Muhūrtas, days, nights, fortnights, the whole months, the seasons, the years and the Yugas get merged into this and are born again and again. Hence, there is no reckoning of time without the sun.
58-60. Without the reckoning of time, there is neither (the study of) scriptures, nor (religious) initiation nor the daily routine of religious duties. If the seasons are not well defined, how can there be flowers, roots and fruits? How can the crops or fruits of trees come out? How can medicinal herbs and grasses grow?
Without the sun that blazes in the universe and who robs (evaporates) water, there will be complete cessation and nonexistence of all sorts of human activity and the activity of other creatures both in the earth and in the heaven.
He alone is the ‘Time’. He is the ‘Fire’. He is the lord of the subjects. He has twelve souls (in the form of twelve Ādityas (the sun god).
61. He scorches the three worlds inclusive of the mobile and immobile beings, O excellent Brāhmaṇas.
He is the mass of splendour that dispels the darkness of the entire world.
62. After resorting to the excellent path of the wind, he gives heat to this entire universe by means of his rays, at the sides, above and below, nay, at all sides.
63-64. Just as a bright lamp suspended in the middle of a. house dispels simultaneously the darkness at the sides, above and below, so also the sun who has a thousand (innumerable) rays, who is the lord of planets and the universe, illuminates by means of his rays the entire universe everywhere on all sides.
65. The most excellent among the thousand rays of the sun cited by me before, are the seven rays that are the sources of origin of the planets.
It is the solar ray Suṣumna that causes the nourishment of the Moon that wanes. This Suṣumna is glorified as one that spreads sideways and upwards.
Harikeśa, that is in front, is glorified as the source of origin of the stars.
69-72a. Viśvakarman, the ray to the south, right, nurtures Budha (Mercury). Viśvaśravas the ray to the west, behind, is remembered by learned men as the source of origin of Śukra (the Venus).
The ray Sampadvasu is the source of origin of Lohita (the Mars.)
The sixth ray Arvāvasu is the source of origin of Bṛhaspati (the Jupiter).
The ray Svarāṭ causes the development of Śanaiścara (the Saturn).
Thus, it is due to the power of the sun that the planets, stars and constellations remain in the firmament. Nay, this entire universe is sustained.
These Kṣetras (abodes) happen before on account of the rays (?) The sun, the creator of the star, takes up their abodes.
74-76. The stars are so called because they redeem (tāraṇāt) those persons who have crossed the planets by means of merit and who have resorted to them (once again) at the end of the merit (i.e. when merits had been enjoyed fully.)
They are Tārakas because they are white and sparkling.
The sun. is named Āditya because it takes up (ā-^dā- ‘to take’) and dispels the splendour and darkness pertaining to the heaven, earth and night (Ādānāt).
77. The root ^Cad is cited so as to mean “to delight”. It is considered to mean “to be white”, “to be nectarine”, and “to be cool”.
78. The divine spheres of the sun and the moon are sparkling and white. They are of the form (or full of) of fire and water. They move about in the firmament. They resemble auspicious round pots.* (i) * (i)
79. The sphere of the moon is remembered to be consisting of dense water. The white and brilliantly sparkling sphere of the sun is composed of dense fiery splendour.
They are the abodes of the divine ones and are called after them respectively.
Śukra (the Venus) enters the abode pertaining to Śukra that is very brilliant and has sixteen flames.
Bṛhaspati (the Jupiter) enters Jaiva (intended for Jupiter) abode and Lohita (the Mars) enters the Lauhita abode.
84. All the stars enter the Nakṣatras (abodes meant for constellation) and stars. All these are the luminary abodes of those who are pious-souled and meritorious.
85. These (abodes) have been created by the self-born lord (Brahmā) at the beginning of a Kalpa and they have begun to function since then. These abodes remain till the annihilation of all living beings (at the end of the world).
86-87. In all the Manvantaras, the same are the abodes of all the Devas. The Abhimānins (those who identify themselves) abide by these divine abodes. The past ones live along with the past ones and the future ones along with the future Devas. The present ones live along with the present Sthānins (those who identify themselves with the abodes) and Devas. In this Manvantara the planets are remembered as Vaitāmkas (pertaining to Sacrifices).1
89. Lord Śukra, belonging to Bhṛgu clan, should be known as the performer of sacrifices on behalf of the Asuras.
The lordly son of Aṅgiras, of massive splendour is remembered as the preceptor of the Devas.
90. Budha is fascinating to the mind. He is remembered as the son of Tviṣi. Śanaiścara (the Saturn) is the ugly son of Saṃjñā and Vivasvān.
91. The youthful lord Mars was born of Vikeśī and Agni.
Thus the Abhimānins (those who identify themselves) with the moon, the stars, the planets and the sun have been recounted.
93. These are mentioned as the abodes and those who occupy the abodes are deities.
The abode of Vivasvān (the Sun) of a thousand rays is Śukla (white and resplendent) and fiery.
94. The abode of Tviṣi of a thousand rays is white and sparkling and consists of water.
The abode of Manojña (i.e. the Mercury) of five rays, is remembered as dark in colour as well as Āpya (watery).
95. The abode of Śukra is a lotus among the sixteen rays. It is watery, white and sparkling.
The Lohita (red) abode of Bhauma (the Mars) is watery.
96. The big abode of Bṛhaspati is green and watery. It has twelve rays. The abode of Manda (the Saturn) is said to be black and watery. It has eight rays.
97-99a. The abode of Svarbhānu is Tāmasa (dark). It is the abode of those who cause the distress of all living beings.
All the stars should be known as watery and they have a single ray each.
They are the shelters unto those of meritorious fame. In colour they are perfectly white. They should be known as full of dense water. They have been created even at the beginning of the Kalpa. They are remembered to be intrinsically luminous due to the contact with the rays of the sun.
Svarbhānu is equal to them both. It moves beneath them. It has been created after taking out the shadow of the Earth and has a spherical shape.
The third large abode of Svarbhānu which is full of darkness, comes out of the sun during Parvan days (i.e. New Moon, Full Moon etc.) and goes towards the moon. During Solar Parvans it comes back to the sun from the moon.
104. The diameter and extent of the sphere of Bhārgava (the Venus) it laid down as one-sixteenth of that of the moon.
105. Bṛhaspati (the Jupiter) should be known as one-fourth less than the Venus (i.e. three fourths of its size).
The Mars and Saturn are remembered to be three-fourths of Jupiter in extent.
106-107. In diameter and extent, Mercury is three-fourths of either of them.
The forms of the stars and constellations are similar to those of Mercury. Those that have bodies are equal in length and extent to Mercury.
A man conversant with reality should know that the stars are usually in conjunction with the moon.
108. The stars and constellations differ in extent from one another by five hundred, four hundred, three hundred and also two hundred Yojanas.
109. The spheres of the stars are lesser than the earlier ones. There is no star smaller than the ones with one and a half Yojanas.1
110. Three planets among them which orbit very far away and above all are the Saturn, the Jupiter and the Mars. It should be known that they orbit very slowly.
111. The great planets beneath them are the four fast moving ones, viz. the sun, the moon, the Mercury and the Venus.
112. There are as many crores of stars all round as there are constellations. The movement of these constellations has been duly regulated by god Brahmā.
113-116. The movement of the sun. through them in accordance with the Ayanas (Solar transit) is high and low. When (the sun) is in the northern transit, the moon is seen moving fast during the Parvan days with its rays, not very clear. This is because it is very high (?)
When the sun is in the southern path, it resorts to the lower path. It is always surrounded by the line of Earth (? horizon) during the New Moon and the Full Moon days. It is not seen at the regular time and it sets quickly.
Hence, on the new moon day, the moon stationed in the northern path is seen in the southern path; but it is not seen so regularly.
117. Hence, in view of the movements of the luminaries, the sun and the moon set and rise at the same time (every day) during the equinotical days.
118. In the northern paths, the times of rising and setting are different. During the new moon and full moon, they should be understood as following the circle of luminaries.
119. When the sun orbits through the path of the southern transit, it does so beneath all the planets.
120. Making its sphere vast and wide, the moon orbits above it. The entire galaxy of stars orbits above the moon.
121. The Mercury orbits above all the stars. The Venus orbits above the Mercury. The Mars does so above the Venus and the Jupiter above the Mars.
122. The Saturn is above it and the sphere of the seven sages (Great Bear) is above it. Dhruva (the Pole Star) is situated above the Great Bear.
123. The intervening distance between the stars and the planets high above is two hundred thousand Yojanas.
124. The planets, the moon and the sun orbit in the firmament with divine splendour. In their regular movement, they duly come into contact with the constellations.
125. The planets, the stars and the sun may be low, high or straight during their mutual contact or when separate, yet they look at the subjects simultaneously.
126. These are situated face to face. They come into contact mutually. That their mutual conjunction is without any confusion should be understood by learned men.
127-128. Thus is the regulated arrangement of the Earth, the luminaries, the continents, the oceans, the mountains, the sub-continents, the rivers and those who stay in them.
The planets have their origination in these constellations.
130. Tviṣiman, the son of Dharma, the lord moon god, the son of Vasu, the cool-rayed cause of nights was born in the constellation Kṛttikā.
131. Śukra (the Venus) who is endowed with sixteen fiery flames (rays) and who is the son of Bhṛgu and who is the most excellent among stars and planets was born in the star Tiṣya (Puṣya) after the sun.
132. The planet Bṛhaspati (the Jupiter) who has twelve fiery flames (rays), who is the son of Aṅgiras and who is the preceptor of the Universe, was born in the Pūrvāphālgunī.* (i)
134. Sanaiścara (the Saturn), the son of the sun, was bora in the constellation Revatì. He has seven fiery flames.
The planet Budha (Mercury), the son of the moon was born in the constellation Dhaniṣṭhā. He has five fiery flames.
135. Śikhin (i.e. Ketu) who is full of darkness, who is the sun of Mṛtyu, who causes the annihilation and decline of the subjects and who is a mighty planet that destroys everything, was born in the constellation of Āśleṣā.
136-138. The daughters of Dakṣa (i.e. the 27 stars) were born in their respective stars named after them.
These stars and planets beginning with Bhārgava (the Venus) should be comprehended because they become devoid of goodness at the time when the constellation of nativity is being harassed. They are affected by that defect (and are redeemed), due to the devotion to the planets.
139. The first among all these planets, it is said, is Āditya (Sun).
Śukra is (the first) among the stars and the planets and Ketu is the first among meteors.
140. Dhruva is the pivotal peg among the planets scattered about in all the four quarters. Śrav[?]ṣṭhā i.e. Dhaniṣṭhā (is the first?) among the stars and the northern transit is the first among transits.
Due to the peculiar movement of the sun, this revolves like a wheel.
145. The sun is hence remembered as Kāla (Time) by those who know that (i.e. time). He is the lord. It is he who makes the four types of living beings function or desist from action.
146-147. The venerable lord Rudra himself is the cause of the functions of Time. Thus is the regulated arrangement of luminaries as conditioned by the affairs (of the world). It is evolved by the Lord (God), for the sake of regular functioning of the world.
This is compressed (?) in Dhruva by means of Uttarāśravaṇa (?)
148. It is extensively spread all round among them. He is situated in the form of a circle. He is made to function intelligently at the beginning of the Kalpa by the Lord.
149. He is the support. He is the Abhimānin (one who identifies himself) with all. He is the soul of the luminary bodies. He is the miraculous transformation of Pradhāna of the Cosmic form.
150. It is impossible for all human beings to comprehend factually the movements both inward and outward, of the luminary bodies, by means of their physical eye.
151. The learned man should comprehend and retain in belief, by means of scripture, inference, perception, and reasoning after testing intelligently and carefully.
152. O Brāhmaṇas of the most excellent intellect these are five expedients (means) to comprehend the group of luminaries viz.: eye, scripture, water, picture and calculation
Footnotes and references:
Agni (the fire god) was regarded as a very great deity by the Vedic Aryans and different names according to its functions were given to it in the ṚV. The Purāṇas amplified the tradition. The fire is given the credit of movements of the Sun which is regarded as the source of all the planets—nay even of the three worlds. It is the fire who through the different Nāḍis or rays of the sun evaporates water and causes seasons—the summer, the rainy season and the winter. Cf. Mt.P. 128.4-23.
1. This tabular statement shows the month-wise distribution of the sun-gods and their capacities and functions:
|Month||Name of the ruling Sun||Rays|
VV.41-42 give the traditional season-wise colours or complexions of the sun.
This is a peculiar way of associating the particular ray of the sun as the source of origin of particular planet:
|Name of the ray of the sun||Name of the planet or star so introduced|
|Harikeśa||stars in general|
|Viśvaśravas||Śukra (The Venus)|
VV. 72-77. Our author takes interest in popular etymologies. Here are some specimens:
(i) Nakṣatra ‘a star’—na kṣīyante ‘Those which do not get diminished’ but grammatically it is √nakṣa—+ tran.
(ii) Āditya is normally Aditi—ṇya=ya (the son of Aditi) but here it is traced to ā + √dā—‘to take’.
VV. 80-92. The idea is that what we see as stars or planets are the abodes, the occupants of which change per Manvantara. In this Manvantara, the occupants have got their position due to performance of sacrifices and hence they are called Vaitānikas. The names of the present gods occupying these planets are also given e.g. Vivasvān (the present sun god), Vasu, son of Tviṣi (the present moon god).
VV. 99-126. These are the ideas of the ancient Indians about the locations, dimensions and movements of planets and the heavenly bodies in the pretelescope days. Cf Bh. P. V. 22. 8-17.
VV. 129-137 give the stars (or constellations) under which these planets were ‘born’.
|Name of the Planet:||The star of birth:|
|(i) The Sun god, the son of Aditi||Viśākhā|
|(ii) The moon god, Tviṣiman, the son of Dharma||Kṛttikā|
|(iii) Śukra (the Venus) the son of Bhṛgu||Tiṣya (Puṣya)|
|(iv) Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) the son of Aṅgiras||Pūrvā-Phālgunī|
|(v) Mars, son of Prajāpati||Purvāṣāḍhā|
|(vi) Śanaiścara, son of the Sun god||Revatī|
|(vii) Budha (Mercury) son of the moon god||Dhaniṣṭhā|
|(viii) Ketu, son of Mṛtyu||Āśleṣā|
VV. 139-144 give what is the ‘first’ or the most important one among the stars, divisions of time etc. It is worth noting that Māgha is regarded as the first month of the year (probably due to Vasanta Sampāta therein) and Śiśira as the 1st Ṛtu (season) and not the spring. The second point of importance is the emphasis of the Yuga being a period of five years beginning with Dhaniṣṭhā and ending with Śravaṇa Nakṣatra.
Vā. P.53.119a reads: utpannaḥ śravaṇenāsau: ‘It started by Śravaṇa’