Bharani is one of the twenty-seven Nakshatras which are equal division segments of the sky. Secondly, Hindu astronomers used the arc portion of Nakshtras along the ecliptic to track planetary movements. Thirdly, every Nakshatra arc has a fixed anchor point. These points are prominent stars. Astronomers used these to monitor the relative the location of a planet within a Nakshatra arc. The anchor star of Bharani is Arietis 41. Its name in Avestan is “Upa-Paoiri”. Surprisingly, the Vedic people called Bharani as “Apa Bharani”. The strange coincidence does not stop here. Let us understand the Zoroastrian link to the Bharani Nakshatra and its ruler Yama.
Upa-Paoiri is associated with a Yazata. The Avestan word Yazata has several meanings. Certainly, one of them refers to a departed spirit. Coincidentally, the ruler of Apa Bharani Nakshatra is Yama. Secondly, Yama is the ruler of ancestral beings. Certainly, Nakshatras have a religious meaning in the Vedic tradition. However, they were equally important to Vedic astronomy for over four millennia. Secondly, Vedic astronomy contributed tremendously to the growth of mathematics and geometry in the world. However, the Avestan knowledge system did not have a similar impact. We can attribute this to Incidents in the past few centuries, especially in the late nineteenth century.
Persecuted Zoroastrians migrated to India from Iran several centuries ago. Parsis are the Zoroastrians who settled in India. The British employed them in large numbers for key administrative roles in India before their departure from India. The Parsis came under intense pressure from Christian missionaries. The missionaries severely criticized the Zoroastrians for their belief in “polytheism”. They argued that the Parsi religion was inferior to Christianity which is rooted in “monotheism”. No doubt, the missionaries were equally harsh on the Hindu community. However, the Hindu intellectuals could counter any arguments from the missionaries. The Parsis lacked the ability to counter because they lacked theologians in their midst.
At this juncture, Linguist Martin Haug presented an interpretation of Avestan texts in a Christian context. He compared the Yazata to the angels of Christianity. Secondly, he placed some spirits as the archangels. Most of the important spirits in the Zoroastrian religion became hosts of lesser spirits per Haug’s explanation. The Parsis, under pressure, welcomed Haug’s counter interpretation. in addition, they were grateful to Haug. Subsequently, Western academia began to promote Haug’s interpretations. Consequently, the modern world forgot the traditional approach to Avestan religion.
The 30 day Savana month
The world today views the Zoroastrian calendar as an extension of the Semitic. The obvious similarities between the Parsi calendar system and the Hindu Panchang challenge this viewpoint. An example is the thirty-day month. A particular yazata protects one day each of this thirty-day month. The day-name dedications kept the Yazata divinities in the public consciousness, in a distant past. Certainly, the dedications had a religious purpose also. The Savana month in the Vedic system is similar to this. It consists of 30 days. The Nakshatra Ishti ritual honors one Nakshatras Devata each day. These Devatas reign supreme on their respective days. For example, Yama is the supreme being on Bharani Nakshatra day. A missionary from any monotheist order detests this idea.
Vedic texts can be understood only in the light of Pantheism rather than Polytheism. American intellectuals like Thoreau and Emerson in the past were Pantheists.
My short videos about Nakshatras