Bharani is one of the twenty-seven Nakshatras, the equal division segments of the sky. Secondly, Hindu astronomers used the arc portion of Nakshatras 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 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 “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. Indeed, 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 crucial to Vedic astronomy for over four millennia. Secondly, Vedic astronomy contributed tremendously to the world’s growth of mathematics and geometry. 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 critical administrative roles in India before they departed 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 every argument from a Christian minister. The Parsis could not oppose because they needed good theologians in their midst.
At that 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 explained some spirits to be like archangels. According to Haug’s explanation, most central spirits in the Zoroastrian religion became hosts of lesser spirits. 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 has forgotten the traditional approach to the Avestan religion.
The 30 day Savana month
The world today views the Zoroastrian calendar as an extension of the Semitic. The 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 societal consciousness in a distant past. Indeed, 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.
We must resort to Pantheism rather than Polytheism to understand Vedic texts. Famous American intellectuals like Thoreau and Emerson were Pantheists.
My short videos about Nakshatras