‘SACRIFICE IS THE NAVEL OF THE UNIVERSE’- ON SACRIFICE AND STARS (Post No.4970)

Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 2 May 2018

 

Time uploaded in London – 17-08 (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 4970

 

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 ‘YAJNAO BHUVANASHYA NAABHIH’

Rig Veda says ‘Yajno Bhuvanasya Nabhi’ (RV1-164-35); the meaning of the mantra is “Sacrifice is the navel of  (Naabhih= navel, nest, home, birth place etc) the Universe. Sacrifice has many meanings in the Bhavad Gita. It does not mean only fire sacrifice; it means penance; life itself is a Yajna; giving something to God, community, society is sacrifice. Jnana Yajna, Tapo Yajna, Dravya Yajna are few of the Yajnas.

Prajapati, the creator, created human beings along with the sacrifice (yajna) and told the human beings to benefit through the yajnas.

 

Lord Krishna explains the different types of Yajnas in Chapter 4 in slokas/couplets 24-32.

 

xxx

STARS ARE HOLY SOULS

In several cultures including the Greek culturestars portrayed as good and bad characters; but in Hindiusm stars are seen as positive signs only.

Satapata Brahmana says,

The stars are the souls of the righteous who go to heaven and Mahabharata also confirms it (Sata.Br.6-5-4-8 and Mbh 3-174/5).

Druva (Pole star), Sapta Rishis (Seven Seers= Ursa Major), Arundhati (Alcol), Agastya (Canopus),Trisanku (Southern Cross), Krittika (Pleiades) and Arudra (Betelgeuse) are some of them.

Though the popular story thinks that the little boy Druva is pole star, W H Robinson thinks that Sunahsepa of Rig Veda is (Cynosure=Sunahsepa) Pole Star.

Sangam Tamil Literature which is at least 2000 year old mentioned Sapta Rishis (7 seers in Ursa Major), Pole Star, Arundhati, Krittika (Pleiades) etc.

Even before 2000 years ago the beliefs were same from the Himalayas to Kanya Kumari.

 

The great Vedic seers, who by Varuna’s holy act had been exalted to the stars, and who shine both by night and day, have taught him wisdom.

Seers and Bears

Rishi is seer and Rikshaah is bears. The Sapta Rishi constellation (Ursa Major) is called Great Bear in Greek and other cultures.

Dr.Martin Haug says,

It is found only once in the Rig Veda (1-24-10). According to an account in the Satapata Brahmana (2-1-2-40 this name was afterwards changed into ‘Sapta Rishyah’ the Seven Rishis, by which name the stars of Ursa Major are called in the Vedic hymns (RV 10-82-2; AV 6-40-1) and in the classical Sanskrit writings. The sounds of Riksha ‘bear’ and Rishi ‘seer-prophet’ were so near to one another, at  that time when they commenced to deify those great founders of Brahmanism nothing was more natural than to assign them a place in the sky and make them one of the brightest and most beautiful constellations.”

 

There is no doubt that the same constellation is alluded to under both names – rikshaah and sapta rishyah.

The seven wise and divine Rishis, with hymns, with metres with ritual forms, according to the prescribed measures, contemplating the path of the ancients, have followed it, like charioteers, seizing the reins 9Rig Veda 10-130-7).

Every Brahmin family of India claims to be descended from one or other of the Seven Great Rishis or sages, who were exalted to the stars of constellation, called Ursa Major (the Great Bear) in the West; but in India it is Sapta Rishayah.

THE ASVINS

The meaning is ‘possessors of horses’. They were two stars, said to appear in the sky before dawn, in a golden chariot drawn by horses or birds. They were also the physicians of the gods (Aitareya Brahmana 1-18)

They have mythological correspondence with the Castor and Pollux of the Greeks They are presiding divinities of the zodiacal asterism named from them. ; and which is figured as  a horse’s head from their name, and not from any fancied resemblance.

This constellation, at the time of vernal equinox appears in the heavens just before the dawn. That was the time for certain sacrifices in the olden days.

Asvins are also called Dasras (destroying, destructive, giving marvellous aid, overcoming enemies, doing wonderful deeds, worthy to be seen, handsome, beautiful, applied to the Asvins as being the destroyers of diseases.

 

–Subham–