Comets in the Vedas


Comet Ison
Photographed from Japan - November 2013

Nov 21, 2013 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial exploration of Vedic references to comets, their effects, and their association with great floods.

Astronomers expect a spectacular show to manifest in the heavens in late 2013 to early 2014, when Comet C/2012/S1, better known as Comet Ison, will be visible from the Earth. In its peak brightness, it will outshine the full moon. Comets are named after their discoverers, and Ison was named after it was spotted in September 2012 by Russian astronomers of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON). While Ison was previously unknown there are other comets, like Encke, whose short orbit brings it past the Earth every 3.3 years. But in the Vedas we find historical records of fantastic comets like Ison very long orbital paths, and some are associated with all sorts of phenomenon on the Earth planet.

Comets are small icy bodies orbiting the Sun usually on a highly elliptical path. A comet consists of a central nucleus a few kilometres across, and modern science likens it to a dirty snowball because they think it consists mostly of ice mixed with dust. As a comet approaches the Sun its nucleus heats up releasing gas and dust, which form a tenuous coma up to 60,000 miles wide around the nucleus. Gas and dust then stream away from the coma to form one or more tails, which may extend to millions of miles.

In recent years, the 'dirty snowball' notion has been challenged, mainly by those asserting the Electric Universe theory. They suggest that comets are also comprised of plasma, have a direct interaction with the Sun, and therefore have the ability to effect the planets.

Ison is said to be coming in from the Oort Cloud, and NASA says the 'dirty snowball' will evaporate as it approaches Sun. The gases surrounding the comet will shine brightly as a tail in late 2013, and will gradually disappear into vast space.

Comet Ison
Germany - November 2013

While scientists assure the public that no harm will come to Earth's inhabitants as a result of Ison's passing, some are looking for correspondences between Ison and various predictions for earth changes and calamities. And in this regard, the Vedic references to comets tends to lend credence to such fears. According to Vedic texts comets, like eclipses, are seen as harbingers of ill effect. Comets generally portend danger to king and country, and are not conducive to pious influence. References in this regard are found from Mahabharata to the Puranas, and in both Sanskrit and Tamil Literature. Comets are compared to evil persons, and their appearance helps to provoke war and calamity.

There is an interesting story in the Bhargava Purana referring to comets. The Sanskrit term Dhumaketu is associated with Lord Ganesh and a comet. Ganesh conducted chemical warfare against the demon Dhumasuranm and killed him, therefore Ganesh is known as Dhumaketu.

Dhumasuran was born as a king who was known as Vikuthi in his previous birth. When he hankered after Lord Indra's post, he was cursed to be born as the demon Dhumasuran. Vinayaka (Ganesh) appeared as a child to the couple Sumuthai and Madhavarajan and killed Dhumasuran. Dhumasura, who was well versed in chemical warfare, used weapons of mass destruction by blowing poisonous gases at those he wished to harm. Vinayaka swallowed the poisonous gas and threw it back on Dumasuran, and according to the Puranas, Dhumasuran was killed by the smoke. This pastime is associated with the appearance of a comet, i.e., the hot gasses thrown through the skies.

There are references in the Parashara-samhita to a great flood being associated with the appearance of two comets, and this is linked with Manu (Vaivasvata). This connection between great comets and floods is, according to some, not a singular occurrence but rather a theme borne out by many references in Vedic literature. Over the course of this brief series, we will cover some of these sastric references.

In the late 5th Century Brihat-samhita of Varaha Mihira and the later 11-12th Century Adbhuta-saagara by Vallalasena, neither author provides original information about comets. Both claim to be presenting the knowledge of previous sages, like Vriddha-garga, Garga, Parashara, Asita and Devala.

All these authors provide graphic descriptions of comets with two or three heads, long tails, and orbits which see t hem returning to the Earth planet after 100 or more years. Some are said to cause earthquakes or famine.

Not all comets are bad, however. Parashara writes about a comet named Chalaketu, which comes every 115 years, rising in the western skies, its head bent southward. It travels across half the sky, due north, touches Saptarshi, then turns south near the star, Abhijit.


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