Comets in the Vedas, Part Three
BY: SUN STAFF
Nov 23, 2013 CANADA (SUN) A serial exploration of Vedic references to comets, their effects, and their association with great floods.
Following are some of the prominent comet names and descriptions found in Vedic literature:
Dhuma-ketu: bow shaped
Kabandha: like a truncated human body
Brahma-danda: column-like, 3-colours, 3-heads (trishira, trishikha)
Aangiras: seen on solar orb, like a human being with a bow seated in a chariot
Vishvarupa: a group, causing fire disaster on earth
Shveta-ketu : (100 years), famine causing, may be seen along with another comet by name "ka"
Ka: seen like a yoke in the west, famine for 10 years
Rashmiketu: rises in Krittika, (110 years) devastation
Dhruva-ketu: climate alteration
Chala-ketu: earthquake, disasters (115 years)
Mahabharata, Aadi parva:
This verse refers to the last days of the Yadavas, who fought among themselves near the salt sea. But it also mentions they were squeezed by the 'brahma danda'. In the Puranas this is explained as a 'musala' or pestle (long wooden contraption to pound paddy), born miraculously. Still the comet metaphor of musalla is clear. As per brihat-samhita and other texts, brahma danda was a comet.
Mahabharata, Shanti parva, ch. 160 (Birth of asi/ahi in the sky):
candrama vimala-vyoma yathabhyudita-tarakam|
vikiryagnim tathabhutam utthitam sruyate tada||
tasmin utpata-mane ca pracacala vasundhara|
mahormi-kalitavartah cuksubhe sa mahodadhih||
cacâra vividhân mârgân mahâbala parâkramah|
vidhunvan asim âkâse tathâ yuddha cikirsayâ||
krttikâstasya naksatram aseragnisca daivatam|
rohinîm gotramâsthâpya rudrasca gurusattamah||
When the sky was clear with moon and stars, it is said that Asi (sword) arose, emitting fire. As it arose, the earth shook and the oceans got disturbed. Displaying the sword in the sky, being intent on a battle, (Rudra) moved in various directions. For Asi, Krttika is the birth star; Agni (fire) is the godn Rohini is the gotran and Rudra is the teacher.
There is correspondence among legends occurring in the Puranas, Mahabharata and Ramayana. Some of these seem to have originated from Vedic times. Vedic literature, particularly, the samhita portion personifies celestial observations in profusion that could be comets or similar objects. Atharva-samhita (19.9.7-10) is a prayer to the shaking earth hit by meteorites and to the Sun, Moon, Rahu and:
mrityu dhuma-ketu sham no bhuumih vepyamaanaa sham ulkaanirhatam ca yat| sham no grahaah chandramasaa sham aadityascha raahunaa| sham no mrityur dhuumaketuh sham rudraah tigma tejasah|
In 'British Archaeology', December 1997, No. 30, pp. 6-7, "Comets and Disaster in the Bronze Age", Benny Peiser writes:
"Cometary impact is gaining ground as an explanation of the collapse of civilisations. At some time around 2300 B.C., give or take a century or two, a large number of the major civilisations of the world collapsed, simultaneously it seems. The Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia, the Old Kingdom in Egypt, the Early Bronze Age civilisation in Israel, Anatolia and Greece, as well as the Indus Valley civilisation in India, the Hilmand civilisation in Afghanistan and the Hongshan Culture in China - the first urban civilisations in the world - all fell into ruin at more or less the same time."
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