Nakshatras sentence example
- Such were the Hindu nakshatras, a word originally signifying stars in general, but appropriated to designate certain small stellar groups marking the divisions of the lunar track.
- Everything points to a native origin for the system of nakshatras.
- The Rig-Veda contains only one allusion to them, where it is said that " Soma is placed in the lap of the nakshatras "; and this is in a part including later interpolations.
- But the nakshatras are twenty-eight, and are represented by as many " junction stars " (yogatara), carefully determined by their spherical co-ordinates.
- The successive entries of the moon and planets into the nakshatras (the ascertainment of which was of great astrological importance) were fixed by means of their conjunctions with the yogataras.Advertisement
- The modern nakshatras are twenty-seven equal ecliptical divisions, the origin of which shifts, like that of the solar signs, with the vernal equinox.
- Belief in the power of the nakshatras evidently inspired the invocations of them in the Atharva-Veda.
- The various members of the body were parcelled out among the nakshatras, and a rotation of food was prescribed as a wholesome accompaniment of the moon's revolution among them.8 1 Max Muller, op. cit., p. lxiv.
- The correspondence does not, however, extend to the stars; and some coincidences adverted to by Humboldt between the nakshatras and the zodiacal animals of Central Asia are of the same nominal character.
- It appears nevertheless to have become tolerably clear that the nakshatras were both native to India, and the sieu to China, but that the manazil were mainly of Indian derivation.Advertisement
- 12 The essential difference, however, between the nakshatras and the sieu is that the latter were equatorial, not ecliptical, divisions.
- All that is certainly known about the antiquity of the sieu is that they were well established in the 3rd century B.C. Their initial point at the autumnal equinox marked by Kio (Spica Virginis) suits a still later date; and there is no valid evidence that the modern series resulted from the rectification of an older superannuated arrangement, analogous to the Krittika sequence of nakshatras.
- Yet not only were the latter an independent invention, but it is almost demonstrable that the nakshatras, in their more recent organization, were, as far as possible, assimilated to them.
- Its invocation with the other nakshatras, remoteness from the ecliptic notwithstanding, was thus due (according to Max Miiller's plausible conjecture)' to its being regarded as of especially good omen.
- Euphratean exploration has so far brought to light no traces of ecliptical partition by the moon's diurnal motion, unless, indeed, zodiacal associations be claimed for a set of twenty-eight deprecatory formulae against evil spirits inscribed on a Ninevite tablet.4 The safest general conclusions regarding this disputed subject appear to be that the sieu, distinctively and unvaryingly Chinese, cannot properly be described as divisions of a lunar zodiac, that the nakshatras, though of purely Indian origin, became modified by the successive adoption of Greek and Chinese rectifications and supposed improvements; while the manazil constituted a frankly eclectic system, in which elements from all quarters were combined.Advertisement