Indian Constellations and Asterisms

We have found no good historically oriented summary of the asterisms recognized in India. Derivatives in SE Asia may show most of the features of 5th or 6th century a.d. Indian asterisms but probably also incorporate local data of non-Indian origin. The Jain tradition may reflect ideas of the Greco-Babylonian period. Indian constellations or asterisms that seem to have principal importance were the lunar mansions, treated in detail in ยง15. Among them are the Pleiades and the Hyades, and several of the brighter stars, as well as several asterisms comprised of dim stars. The selection of the stars of the asterisms seem to be more dependent on their locations on the sky, i.e., as markers of the positions of the Moon and planets, than on their brightnesses. Other asterisms that are mentioned by Subbarayappa and Sarma (1985) include the stars Canopus (Agastya), Sirius (Lubdhaka), and the Seven Sages (Saptarsayah), our Big Dipper. One Brah-mana source says that the "Seven Sages" were earlier called the "Seven Bear" (Parpola 1994, p. 222).

0 0

Post a comment