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. Prominent stars mark these points. Astronomers used these to refer to 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 late eighteen hundreds.
Persecuted Zoroastrians migrated to India from Iran several centuries ago. They settled in India as the Parsis. 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 the missionaries. The missionaries severely criticized the Zoroastrians for their “polytheism”. They argued that the Parsi religion was inferior to their own “monotheism”. Certainly, 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 did not have theologians of their own.
At this juncture, Linguist Martin Haug presented an interpretation of Avestan texts in Christian terms. He compared the Yazata to the angels of Christianity. Secondly, he placed some spirits as the arch-angels. The other important spirits became the hosts of lesser spirits per Haug’s explanation. The Parsis, under pressure, welcomed Haug’s counter interpretation. Besides, they were grateful to Haug. Subsequently, Western academia picked up Haug’s interpretations. Consequently, there is no gateway to the native 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 Monotheist missionary detests this idea. This idea does not belong to Polytheism either.
Vedic texts can be understood only in the light of Pantheism. American intellectuals like Thoreau and Emerson in the past were Pantheists.
My short videos about Nakshatras