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Zodiac with 24 sectors - the Vedic side

 
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Michael Sternbach



Joined: 01 Mar 2014
Posts: 520
Location: Switzerland

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:59 pm    Post subject: Zodiac with 24 sectors - the Vedic side Reply with quote

Hi!

This thread is spinning off my "Zodiac with 24 sectors" thread on the traditional forum.

Just as this thread's title suggests, its purpose is to discuss everything that has got to do with this concept as applied in Indian astrology.

On the recommendation of Mark, I would like to start with a question left unanswered in aforesaid thread.

Michael wrote:
Quote:
In Anthony Writer's The Use of Fixed Stars in Astrology, I read:

"To the Vedic sages the stars were known as nakshatras ( groups of stars having different shapes). Initially, due to the gradual retrograde shifting of the Sun’s rising position in the horizon of the polar region, it was observed that the Sun shifts the place by an interval of 1000 years and at the end of this period a new star rises in the East. The number of asterism or stars according to the then belief was 24 in one Brahama’s ahoratra of 24000 years."

I wonder if any of you know more about this.


Mark replied:
Quote:
I have never heard of this idea. There are currently, 27 nakshatras in the Indian system today. However, older sources often point to 28.

I recommend that you post any questions like this on the Indian forum. We have members there like Kenneth Johnson and Martin Gansten who are authorities on this kind of topic.

You will find a few threads already discussing the original of the nakshatras there. Nothing like your quote above I am aware of though.

I believe the nakshatras were originally equatorial not ecliptical.


Martin replied:
Quote:
I can't speak for Kenneth, but for my own part, I've never heard of this idea either.


So this is where it stands.

Any contributions to this theme or the topic in general would be most welcome. Lala Happy

Best regards
Michael
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Kenneth Johnson



Joined: 12 Aug 2012
Posts: 132
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA

Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This concept is explicated in "Deciphering the Indus Script," by Asko Parpola, a professor of Asian Studies at the University of Helsinki. The idea is that there are several nakshatras which are "doubled" in the sense that they have a purva (earlier) and uttara (later) sector. Specifically, we have Purva Phalguni and Uttara Phalguni, Purvashadha and Uttarashadha, and Purvabhadra and Uttarabhadra. The asterisms now known as Shravana and Dhanishta were sometimes called Shravishta and Dhanishta, suggesting that they were similarly paired at one time. Parpola suspects that these "doubled" nakshatras were originally single constellations, broken up into two at some point prior to the written record. This would give us the following scenario:

1. Krittika, 2. Rohini, 3. Mrigashira, 4. Ardra, 5. Punarvasu, 6. Pushya, 7. Ashlesha, 8. Magha, 9. Phalguni, 10. Hasta, 11. Chitra, 12. Svati, 13. Vishakha, 14. Anuradha, 15. Jyeshtha, 16. Mula, 17. Ashadha, 18. Abhijit, 19. Shravana/Dhanishta, 2o. Shatabhishak, 21. Bhadrapada, 22. Revati, 23. Ashvini, 24. Bharani.

Note that this scheme requires the inclusion of Abhijit, which has been dropped from modern lists. To the best of my knowledge, it seems to drop out of the record round about the time of Minaraja's Vrddha Yavanajataka, c. 325 CE. All the earlier lists that I have seen include Abhijit, and the Mahabharata relates that Yudhishthira the Dharma King was born in the muhurta of Abhijit.
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Michael Sternbach



Joined: 01 Mar 2014
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Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ken,

Thanks. I will order the book.

Regards
Michael
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Mark
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Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the meantime I think you will find this link very intriguing:

http://www.harappa.com/script/parpola0.html


Mark
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Kenneth Johnson



Joined: 12 Aug 2012
Posts: 132
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA

Posted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's an excellent link, Mark. Harappa.com posts the finest academic articles in the field of Indus Valley archaeology. The links within this post provide a fairly good summary of Parpola's work.

It is worth noting that many of his colleagues in the field of Asian studies have vehemently disagreed with Parpola's conclusions. His premise is that the Indus script (still undeciphered) contains a great deal of astronomical material, related most likely to the nakshatras. Some of the more conservative scholars have found Parpola's ideas uncomfortably close to asserting that astrology lies at the roots of civilization on the Indian subcontinent. To astrologers, of course, this sort of news would be welcome rather than threatening.

It is also worth noting that Parpola's schema for the structure of the Indus script was a collaborative effort between himself and the Russian linguist Yuri Knorosov, who specialized in identifying the structure of unknown languages. Whatever the final judgment may be on Parpola and his theory of the nakshatra component of the Indus script, it is worth noting also that Knorosov was proved correct on one remarkable occasion -- it was his hypothesis of the Mayan hieroglyphic script as a syllabary which led directly to Tatiana Proskouriakoff's ground-breaking decipherment of the Piedras Negras inscriptions in 1961. One may criticize Parpola and Knorosov's ideas as freely as one may criticize any other scholarly hypothesis, but they ought not be casually dismissed out of hand.
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Michael Sternbach



Joined: 01 Mar 2014
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Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Mark for referring me to this.

Parpola's work seems indeed very intriguing and may prove highly relevant to my further research.

In reference to my original thread, I am still curious if and how, exactly, the horas are used by ancient and contemporary practitioners in delineating a chart.
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Kenneth Johnson



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Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As with almost anything in Jyotish, there are numerous interpretations, but the most common is as follows.

Planets in the first 15 degrees of masculine (odd) signs are in the hora of the Sun, while those in the second 15 degrees are in the hora of the Moon.

Planets in the first 15 degrees of feminine (even) signs are in the hora of the Moon, while those in the second 15 degrees are in the hora of the Sun.

The resulting total of planets in solar and lunar horas will help to determine whether the masculine or feminine (solar or lunar) tone of the entire horoscope is stronger.

This is typically considered to be one of the Hindu divisional charts (along with the navamsha) which has no Hellenistic antecedents, unlike the drekkana (decans), trimsamsa (terms), and dwadasamsa (dodecatemoria). I believe that I may have found a Hellenistic model for the hora in Antiochus' Definitions and Foundations, but will post this at a later time when I feel more certain of my conclusions.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kenneth Johnson wrote:
This is typically considered to be one of the Hindu divisional charts (along with the navamsha) which has no Hellenistic antecedents, unlike the drekkana (decans), trimsamsa (terms), and dwadasamsa (dodecatemoria). I believe that I may have found a Hellenistic model for the hora in Antiochus' Definitions and Foundations, but will post this at a later time when I feel more certain of my conclusions.

I look forward to that. It would be rather odd if an indigenous Indian division had been given a Greek name like horā.
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Michael Sternbach



Joined: 01 Mar 2014
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Location: Switzerland

Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kenneth Johnson wrote:

Quote:
As with almost anything in Jyotish, there are numerous interpretations, but the most common is as follows.


Hello Ken,

Thank you for your explanation!

Could you additionally say something about, or refer to sources on those other interpretations?

Quote:
This is typically considered to be one of the Hindu divisional charts (along with the navamsha) which has no Hellenistic antecedents, unlike the drekkana (decans), trimsamsa (terms), and dwadasamsa (dodecatemoria). I believe that I may have found a Hellenistic model for the hora in Antiochus' Definitions and Foundations, but will post this at a later time when I feel more certain of my conclusions.


Your theory is very intriguing.

Much like Martin, I'm eager to learn more about it as soon as you are ready (even if it may just be a working hypothesis, for the time being).

I started out with the assumption myself that something like the horas should have existed already in Greek or even Mesopotamian Astrology.

In this regard, did you read the exchange between Mark and me on my “Zodiac with 24 sectors” thread over on the traditional forum?

Mark wrote: Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:39 pm
Quote:
Hello Michael,

This might be completely irrelevant and way off the mark in answering your question but regarding 24 sectors around the zodiac I wonder if this might originally go back to Mesopotamian rising and setting non-zodiacal constellations similar to the decans?

I came across a section in an ancient historical text describing Chaldean astrology which got me curious. In particular Diodorus Siculus (90BCE-30BCE) in his Bibliotheca Historica. Regarding Chaldean astral beliefs he states:

Quote:
Beyond the circle of the zodiac they designate twenty-four other stars, of which one half, they say, are situated in the northern parts and one half in the southern, and of these those which are visible they assign to the world of the living, allow those which are invisible they regard as being adjacent to the dead, and so they call them "Judges of the Universe''.


Michael replied: Apr 13, 2014 7:39 pm
Quote:
Hi Mark,

Your contribution is neither off the mark (no pun intended) nor irrelevant!

Not only am I interested in anything that somehow pertains to a 24-sector zodiac, your comment also caused me to re-read what Franz Boll had to say about Diodorus ("Aus der Offenbarung Johannis", Teubner, 1914, p. 35 ff.).

Boll believed that the ascension of the Mesopotamians' 24 stars marked the hours of the day. He further connected this with a gnostic text, the Testamentum Adami, in which all the hours of the days are under the influence of higher entities.

According to Boll, Diodorus meant 24 stars that are rising with zodiacal constallations (paranatellonta) – not stars that themselves belong to the zodiac. – I am not sure if the original text leaves this totally unambiguous, though.

Somewhere else Boll wrote that, prior to creating the zodiac, the Babylonians divided the equator into twelve sectors (30° each) and named them according to nearby star constellations, thereby marking the twelve Babylonian double-hours of one day (Sphaera, p. 319). This is the origin of the dodekaoros. As I mentioned before, the double-hour was still known to the ancient Greeks and was also called hora.

Later this principle and some of these constellations were used for designing the zodiac with its twelve signs as equivalents to the twelve months.

By this, we start seeing how closely the 12 or 24 hours of the day and the 12 or 24 sectors of the zodiac are related to each other right from the start!

As an aside, I wonder if the division of the equator may have anything to do with the origin of the houses?


Cheers
Michael
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