Shani Dev Kee Mahimaa | Remedies-22
A Beautiful Metaphor of all This
Many people do not consider the myths as real and thus question their authenticity. But still there is something behind these myths which is buried deep. Aditi (the Unbound One, the Unbroken, eternity) is the mother of Devtaa; and Diti (the Bound One, the Broken, the Divided) is the mother of Asur - the enemies of Devtaa. This is good reason to believe that Aditi represents the northern celestial hemisphere and the zodiac, which being the part of heavens that is visible throughout the year in northern India would have remained unbrokenly visible to sky-watchers there. Diti was then the visible portion of the southern hemisphere of the heavens which changes (is bound or broken) day by day as the Earth shifts her position in space. Diti and Aditi are the two wives of Kashyap Jee (the Tortoise) who is the tortoise shaped firmament.
Aditi is the mother (the home, the womb) of all the Deities (stars, constellations and planets). She has 12 sons - 12 Aaditya (sons of Aditi), each of which rules one month (one constellation of the zodiac) of the solar year. Each Aaditya courses through the sky in his chariot drawn by 7 green horses (the 7 Vaidik meters which with the chariot represent all the Ved and all there is know including infinite space). Aditi's most famous son is Vaaman, the incarnation of Vishnu who took birth to take Tri-Lok fro Asur King Bali (who resides in the southern celestial hemisphere) and give it to Indra. While Bali may represent some particular southern star or constellation which once gained temporarily importance in the sky, he most likely represent different things at different occasions.
Bali was guided by Shukraachaarya (Venus) who possesses Sanjeevanee Vidyaa which can revive the dead. Indeed Venus is always dying (disappearing from the view when it goes too close to the Sun and being reborn (reappearing after a predictable period of residence in underworld). Asur are known to be stronger at night which they rule, but each morning the potential chaos that night represents is dispelled by the Sun who reappears to separate the Earth from the sky and to measure the world by rising in the East, overhead at noon and setting in the West. These may be the three feet land Vaaman asked from Bali and then sent him to the celestial underworld.
Or perhaps the three feet are measured at the Vernal Equinox (when Vaaman's left foot reaches to the North (celestial) Pole, his right foot to the [unseen] South Pole, leaving His third foot to fall on the head of Bali's sacrifice on the Winter Solstice, when the Sun is a "dwarf" because he cannot stretch his feet (rays) all the way to North Pole.
These three steps could apply to the system of reckoning which takes one human year to equal one day and night of the Devtaa. When during this period the Sun moves from the Vernal Equinox to the Autumnal Equinox (during which time he appears above the celestial equator in the sky), it is the day for Devtaa and night for the Asur; and when the Sun moves from the Autumnal Equinox to the Vernal Equinox (during which time the Sun appears below the Celestial equator in the sky), it becomes night for the Devtaa and day for the Asur. While the Asur rule during the day, the Devtaa are discomfited, but with the coming of the Vernal Equinox (sunrise on the day of the Devtaa) the order of the Universe is renewed through noon (the Summer Solstice) until sunset (the Autumnal Equinox); after which the Asur get their chance to play about. Bali conquered Heaven when the time was bad for Devtaa who waited to re-attack until the Time became good for them. When the Time was good for Devtaa, Bali stopped Asur until their good Time comes.
Above all this celestial competition reside the Sapt Rishi and above them sits the Dhruv Taaraa (the Polar Star). Chapter 22 of Brahmaand Puraan explains, how presided by Dhruv and inspired by the celestial air known as Pravaah Vaayu, the Sun takes up water and the Moon showers it down in a torrential current which flows through celestial Naadees (conduits). The Sun provides the heat to the world, and the Moon provides the coolness.
The Heavenly Mill
Dhruv Taaraa (Polar Star) is fixed, because the heavens seem to eternally revolve around him - the great cycle of luminaries areattached to Dhruv and go round and round him like a vigorous team of oxen yoked to an oil mill. This celestial mill grinds on uneventfully and there is calm in Heaven so long as Dhruv is firm, but sometimes the axle of the mill jumps out of its hole (then there is a change in Polar Star or perhaps in the Pole of the Ecliptic.
Our Earth wobbles during its rotation. Just as the vertex of the top makes a circle in space, in the same way Earth's axis of rotation slowly shifts its position relative to the fix stars (over a period of 25,920 years), a similar circle. This movement of the axis through the space creates a succession of Pole Stars and causes the equinoctial points to change their position in space slightly each year, moving slowly through the zodiac in a direction opposite from the apparent direction of movement of the Planets. This phenomenon is know as the Precision of the Equinox
As the Equinox moves about 1 deg of arc each 72 years, it takes around 2,160 years for the Equinox to move through one Zodiac Sign. The Age of Aquarius is the era during which the Vernal Equinox occurs in the constellation of Aquarius . The other ages are named for their own constellations. As soon as the axle of the Heavenly Mill is fitted onto a new pivot, the mill starts again to work. Atop the mill's axle sits Saturn, the Oil Mill Lord who is the so-called Genie of the Pivot. His grain comprises the living beings of the Universe whom he grinds exceedingly fine, reducing then "by Time to Tales that others tell".
Some call Saturn the elder brother of Yam, god of the dead. (elder brother term is referred to more powerful also, Brihad Aranyak Upanishad says that Asur were the "elder brothers" of Devtaa). After being possessed by the image of the Graha Saturn, Vikramaaditya was literally put into Saturn's shoes - he took his own place at the top of an oil mill and slowly watched his own life grinding away. After a while when he got sufficiently purified, he sand Deepak Raag so that the lamps lit in his body
Evolution and Devolution
Life is in the cosmos is a two-way highway, in which simplicity turns into complexity in one lane and the complexity turns into simplicity in the other one. In the beginning, when the society was simple, astrological knowledge was implicit and intuitional. As cultures got of complex nature, this science also got m ore explicit and more rule-based. When changes in a myth are inspired by Jyotir Vidyaa, the result is evolution which is a sign of true sort of progress. But when the change in myths are inspired by individual, social or other limited human aspirations, the Devolution occurs. It bends the myth further from the Center fragmenting it further in the operation. While both these processes are continually at work, evolution tends to occur at occasional intervals and devolution tends to be more constant and more insidious.
Example of Mythical Evolution - In the original story of "how Soorya lost some of his luster, his wife's name is Saranyu (not Sangyaa) and the substitute wife was Sangyaa (image). Saturn does not seem to appear in this version. Later Saranyu became Sangyaa and Sangyaa became Chaayaa (shadow) who was Saturn's mother. The word Chhaayaa indicates dark, hidden and unconscious things (as we think it today), but it can mean skin's luster and the body's aura too. Chhaayaa which can be light or dark, is an effect that is cast by an original object. So it can be brilliant also like Soorya's shadow in a still water.
Chhaayaa is particularly important for materialists, because the shadow permits us to believe that illusory things are real. From the viewpoint of the Sun (soul) all material things are illusory because they cannot shine with their own light; but fro the viewpoint of Raahu and Ketu who are the Chhaayaa Graha (shadowy planets), the world seems extremely solid and real. A Chhaayaa Graha is a shadow that comes to believe itself to be alive. While sunshine allows us to to see both things and shadow of things clearly, shadow shows us only illusion. The Nodes (Raahu and Ketu) are known in Jyotish for their ability to create falsity, false ego, and aquisitiveness in those who are susceptible to their influence.
When the guardians of myth fall under the influence of Raahu and Ketu, devolution becomes inevitable. The important source of myth devolution has been Braahman. Braahman is he who knows reality [when Bali refused to send away Vaaman, he indeed meant that he respected Braahman]. But later this name was given to the children of Braahman too.
There were at least three Vaidik Som: Som Pavaman (the Milky Way), Som the Moon; and Som the plant that gives the Som juice. Even Som the Moon possess three separate components - Som the orb, Som the Deity overseeing the Moon, and Som the Amrit derived from the Moon. How easy is to know which Vaidik reference refers to which of the Som?
With the passage of time various Som began to merge, as the early text states - "The Moon is none other than King, the food of Devtaa." [Shatapath Braahman, 126.96.36.199.] When the many Somas began to merge with other identifications, including the identification of the Moon, the gleaming drop in the sky with semen; and other mythic themes, like the theft of the Som, new myths developed.
One composite myth in which the Moon stars under an assumed name appears in here in this document, in the story of Raahu and Ketu: the Saagar Manthan (the Churning of the Cosmic Ocean). This myth does not appear as such until the epics, though it has been around since the beginning of the Time in oral form alone. In some versions of the myth (MBH, 1.16.33), the Moon is said to have emerged from the Ocean instead from the Rishi Atri, so Atri's paternity is apparently a later version of the tale.
The gist of all this is that we should avoid any simplification and unjustified brevity in formulating what has happened.
The Moon in Jyotish is the descendant of the Vaidik Moon. What is truly similar about the earlier and the later Moons in his mythical life force which is only partially visible from without. We must locate this force, where is it now, not to where it used to be, if we wish to collect it. We cannot know if, in Vaidik times, if Brihaspati always signified the Planet Jupiter, and Shukra or Ushanaa signified the Planet Venus. All we can sure of is that something of Brihaspati's life force has been inherited by Jupiter and something of Ushanaa's essence by Venus.
Sometimes these merges are almost mathematical in their operation - when we add one tale of Vishnu in the Rig Ved in which He measures Tri-Lok with His three feet, with a story of Shatapath Braahman, in which He becomes a dwarf and the Asur give Devtaa as much land as He can lie down, we get the story of Vaaman.
Or take the 12 Aadityas who appear to represent an accumulation of various Soorya Devtaa (Mitra is an Indo-European Sun god, Pooshaa is the Sun god of a small shepherd tribe, and so on) that they were reborn in myth as the sons of the firmament to rule the 12 solar months.
According this document Mars is said to have been born of from Shiv's perspiration; while other sources say he sprang from a drop of Paarvatee's menstrual blood or from Shiv's blood. In these stories, the influence of fire is the constant, for both sweat and blood are the examples of Fire contained in water. But Mar's earliest parents seem to have been the 7 Rishi and their wives (the Pleiades). In such circumstances the role of "Fire in Water" is played by the semen of Agni.
Some other Vaidik fragments have been condensed into the tale of Moon's abduction of Brihaspati's wife Taaraa (this tale found in the story of Mercury's Birth). One fragment has Som return to Brihaspati a Braahman's wife that he had taken away; another mentions that the woman was a star (Taaraa), in particular Vikeshee Taaraa (hair-like star = a comet); and a third one states that the Planet Mercury is Som's son. All of these stories may or may not have been known to people of that time.
In fact all Puraan had specific purpose for selecting the stories they included in their subject material. Some describe this story as Taaraa's beauty and Moon's pleasure of her union with Moon (Bhaagvat Puraan); others including the Bhaagvat Puraan state Moon's hatred for Brihaspati; and Brahm Vaivart Puraan (IV.79.63) uses this story to explain the Moon's phases and eclipse. One very important reason to include this story in a Puraan was to emphasize that one of the ancestors of Krishn was not married to a woman and he was her child's father. It is just to prove why Krishn believed in loving other men's wives.
Genealogy is as important to mythical beings as it is to race horses. The authors of the Puraan relied much on the establishing of ancient lineages to explain some of the personality traits of descendent Deities. They are also used to tie Ved to Puraan. If both Som and semen are related to the Moon, and Budh is Chandramaa's son, then the story of Ilaa/Sudyumn and the Planet Budh with its male/female sex changes may have some relation with the passage in the Vaidik Som sacrifice in which the Neshtra Priest becomes female in order to receive semen from the Aagneedhra Priest for transfer to the sacrificer's wife. This sort of mythical stories were made public first in the Braahman texts.
Because everything in the Universe has an origin, genealogy became one method through which to show how those origins trace back to the One. Genealogies also serve Jyotish, as in the case of Mercury and Saturn, who are sons of the Moon and the Sun respectively; and who because they are father and son, do not obstruct one another under certain conditions where other planets would create obstruction.
Puraan are heavily oriented towards cultural values. While the Ved openly and freely talk about fertility and sexuality, later texts cover them by creating some myths. Here is one version how Shukra gained his name - "Shukra was doing penance for thousands of years seated in Shiv's body. So Shiv got pleased with his penance and got him out. He had gone completely white because of living inside Shiv's body for such a long time and hence was named Shukra." While it is true that Shukra means white, it is much more to the point, both etymologically and astrologically that Shukra means semen. The reader would never suspect this from this interpretation.