Nakshatras - Nakshatras in The Atharvaveda

Nakshatras in The Atharvaveda

In the Atharvaveda (Shaunakiya recension, hymn 19.7) a list of 28 stars or asterisms is given, many of them corresponding to the later nakshatras:

(1) Kṛttikā (the Pleiads), (2) Rohinī, (3) Mrigashīrsha, (4) Ārdrā, (5) Punarvasu, (6) Sūnritā, (7) Pushya, (8) Bhanu (the Sun), (9) Asleshā, (10) Maghā, (11) Svāti (Arcturus), (12) Chitrā (Spica), (13) Phalgunis, (14) Hasta, (15) Rādhas, (16) Vishākhā, (17) Anurādhā, (18) Jyeshthā, (19) Mūla, (20) Ashādhas, (21) Abhijit, (22) Sravana, (23) Sravishthās, (24) Satabhishak, (25) Proshtha-padas, (26) Revati, (27) Asvayujas, (28) Bharani. Interestingly enough, the term "nakshatra" has a different meaning as demonstrated in the "Surya Siddhanta" which is an ancient text on astronomy. In the early chapters, the author, Mayasura or Mayan, describes various time units. He writes that a "prana" is a duration of 4 seconds. He then continues with a discussion of a number of time units with progressively long durations made up of the shorter time units all composed of a number of pranas. Amongst those time units are something he calls "nakshatra." For example, there are 15 pranas in a minute; 900 pranas in an hour; 21600 pranas in a day, 583,200 pranas in a nakshatra (month). According to Mayan, a nakshatra is a time unit with a duration of 27 days. This 27 day time cycle has been taken to mean a particular group of stars. The relationship to the stars really has to do with the periodicity with which the moon travels over time and through space past the field of the specific stars called nakshatras. Hence, the stars are more like numbers on a clock through which the hands of time pass (the moon). This concept that nakshatra means a time unit has been lost and diverted to meaning a set of stars in the sky. This concept was discovered by Dr. Jessie Mercay in her research on Surya Siddhanta. It is documented in a textbook called "Fundamentals of Mamuni Mayans Vaastu Shastras, Building Architecture of Sthapatya Veda and Traditional Indian architecture." (Mercay, 2006 - 2012, AUM Science and Technology publishers)

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