Yesterday I posted this thought regarding evidence that the yugas may be shorter than most of us suspect. The greatly esteemed scholar Dr. Satyanarayan Babaji sent me a comment which unequivocally corrects the doubt raised in that post. With his permission, his comment is:
Describing the astrological conditions of the birth of King Yudhisthira, the Mahabharata says, starting from 114.4:
muhUtrte ‘bhijite ‘zthame
divaa madhya-gate sUrye
tithau puNye ‘bhipUjite
The first line means Yuddhisthira was born, “at the moment of abhijit / eighth.”
Abhijit is never considered the 8th nakshatra (it is counted as the 22nd or sometimes the 20th to the best of my knowledge) so “eighth” must refer to another subject – probably the lunar phase. So I believe we are being told that Yudhisthira was born when the Moon was in the 8th phase (a half moon, very auspicious) in the stellar section ascribed to the constellation of Lyra/ Vega (Abhijit).
The next line says “brightness/daytime, to the middle portion went the Sun.”
Now, this may mean that the daytime sun got to mid-day, highnoon. OR it may mean that the 8th lunar phase was in the “bright” half – the waxing half,and the sun was at noon. I favor the later because the former is a redundant phrasing – and good authors avoid immediate redundancy.
The third line clarifies that the previous descriptions have pertained to the “tithi” – the lunar phase. And that overall this tithi was most auspcious and respectable.
From this seed “Half waxing moon, in Abhijit, at noon.” The following elaboration can be extrapolated:
- Yudhisthira was born in the month of Kartik, for the bright half-moon of Kartika falls in Abhijit. (this could be confirmed to be sure)
- He was born at a simultaneous Moonrise and Noon – for the waxing halfmoon is always 90 degrees progressed from the Sun.
- Thus he was born with the Sun in the 10th house
- Moon in the first
There is no information given regarding rashis. Without knowing the ayanamsha current for the year, it is not possible to calculate the rashis. We can estimate that the birth was approximately 5,000 years ago. Which, I believe means that the ayanamsha would have been around negative 30 degrees. Which would mean that the rising Moon would have been near the end of Scorpio / beginning of Sagittarius, and the Sun near the end of Leo/ beginning of Virgo. However, information about natal rashis simply is not recorded in this ancient Vedic astrological description – so we can only extrapolate the information.
- Vic DiCara
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~~~~
In the Mahābhārata (Virata Parva, Section 44) Arjuna explains his many names to his daughter in law, Uttarā. In text 14 he explains why he has the name Phālguna.
उत्तराभ्यं च पूर्वाभ्यं फल्गुनीभ्याम् अहम् दिवा
जातो हिमवतः प्रेस्ष्ठ तेन माम् फल्गुनं विधुः
uttarābhyaṁ ca pūrvābhyaṁ phalgunībhyām aham divā
jāto himavataḥ presṣṭha tena mām phalgunaṁ vidhuḥ
“I am known as Phalguna, my dear, because I was born in the snowy season on a day belonging to both Uttara- and Purva-Phalguni.“
The lunar calendar is the primary calendar of Indian culture, because it is designed for religious and spiritual time-keeping and Indian culture is fundamentally religious and spiritual. This method of telling time involves measuring the distance between the Moon and Sun (which basically amounts to the same thing as counting lunar phases). It ties the lunar phase to Earthly days via the Sunrise. The phase of the moon at the time of sunrise becomes the phase of that day, even if the actual phase itself changes before the next sunrise.
There are a few components of the Indian lunar calendar besides the phase-day (tithi). Another is which of 27 star-clusters (nakshatra) the Moon is in. Again, the star-cluster the Moon is in at sunrise becomes the star for the entire day, even if the Moon moves into another star-group before the next sunrise.
It regularly happens that the Moon can pass two phases and/or two star-clusters during the course of one Earthly day (sunrise to sunrise). Or, visa versa, sometimes one phase or star manages to span two sunrises. Say for example that the Sun rises on day 1 when the moon is at the very end of star-group 1. During the course of the day the Moon would move through star-group 2, and by the time of the next sunrise it would be at the very beginning of star-group 3. So day 1 would be a star 1 day, and day 2 would be a star 3 day. There would be no star 2 day in the cycle. Or, visa versa, if day 1′s sunrise occurs with the Moon at the very beginning of star-group 1, day 2s sunrise can occur when the Moon is still at the very end of the same star-group. In that case both day 1 and day 2 would be star-group 1 days.
These “stretched” and “lost” days are special days in the calendar, with special significance.
In the reference quoted above from Mahabharata, it seems that Arjuna is telling his daughter-in-law that he was born on one such special day during the winter (Hima season, the snowy season) where the Moon passed two star groups on a single day. This is somewhat rare and significant, but there is something more rare and significant about Arjuna’s birthday:
Among the 27 star-groups there are a few that are in pairs.
- Purva and Uttara PHALGUNI
- Radha and Anuradha (Radha is also called Vishakha)
- Purva and Uttara ASHADHA
- Purva and Uttara BHADRAPADA
So there are only 8 out of 27 star-groups that are paired up. It is somewhat uncommon to be born on a day where the Moon passes through two star-clusters. It is much more uncommon to be born on a day where those two star-clusters are among these pairs. Arjuna says he was born on a winter day when the Moon did exactly that – passed through two paired star-clusters: Purva and Uttara Phalguni.
This noteworthy birth earned him the name Phālguna.
The Phalgunis are stars of entertainment and friendship. Arjuna (besides being an outright dashing hero) was such a skilled dancer and musician that he could successfully disguise himself for a year as a gender-neutral dance instructor for the royalty (and is thought to probably met Uttara as his student during that time, appreciated her qualities and later introduced her to his son, whom she married!). As for friendship, Arjuna has the Supreme Friend. He is well known as a dear, dear friend of Krishna, for whom the All-Attractive became like a chauffeur of sorts, and was always a close confident and trusted guide. Krishna spoke the very important philosophical and spiritual instructions of Bhagavad-Gita to Arjuna, only because “you are my very dear friend.”
- Vic DiCara
There is confusion among modern astrologers regarding the god empowering Viśākhā. The name of this god is Indrāgñi, and most people seem to think that it refers to two different gods: Indra (god of rain) and Agñi (god of fire). However this is not the case. Indrāgñi is the name of a single being noted in the Mahābhārata as well as the Ṛg Veda. There are many different forms of the god of fire, Agñi. The chief (“Indra”) of them is the form of fire used in sacrifices and rituals. Indrāgñi, therefore is the god of ritual fire.
The purpose of ritual is to obtain a specific boon. The god of ritual fire empowers Viśākhā to be a star that focuses and fixes our determination upon a specific objective, often to the point of obsession. The symbol of this star, a finish line, illustrates this mentality nicely.