Hanumāna’s leap towards Laṅkā and the Memory of Flight Path of Swāti Nakṣatra

Hanumāna’s knowledge from the memories of deep antiquity and one of the greatest evidence of observing proper motion of the Stars by our ancients…

Once I had posted on twitter why Swāti nakṣatra is called Niṣṭyā. Niṣṭyā means external, foreign, strange*. In the sky chart Swāti is assigned to western Arcturus which is the fourth brightest star in the sky, and the brightest in the constellation Boötes. It is an orange giant. This appeared to me a strange name since Arcturus is already quite away from the ecliptic and its not behaving strange as of now if the name is just 3000–4000 year old. But when I went deeper into the name and contemporary sciences I found that Arcturus’s own intrinsic or proper motion of 2.3″ to the southwest (PA 209°) each year. I found it would had behaved strange if observed for thousands of years and it is still foreign to ecliptic. I thus posted pictures comparing the past when she was a pole star and left the place towards ecliptic.

Proper motion (μ)RA: −1093.45[5] mas/yr
Dec.: −1999.40[5] mas/yr, 2.3″ to the southwest (PA 209°))

The Arcturus will reach very near to ecliptic after 28000 years

I had this notion that Why devatā of Swāti nakṣatra is Vayu. It has always stuck me as if the ancients were observing its high proper motion and thus assigned Swāti to Vayu-Wind god. We already noted MAU saying vāṭārajju, i.e., (stars) held by ropes of wind.

The First Prapāṭhaka of the Third Kāṇḍa of the Taittirīya-Brāhmaṇa has interesting facts in it. It does gives us a hint of proper motion of the star Swāti assigned and observed. It says — “To the faculty of moving at will, to conquest-swaha!”. So far so interesting.

Taittirīya-Brāhmaṇa — 3.1.4.12- Paul Dumont

Then I waited for some more evidence and I was lucky enough to fetch one and that too from Rāmāyaṇa. When Hanumāna was about to leap towards Laṅkā he uses the metaphor of Swāti nakṣatra’s great leap/flight path.

How did Hanumāna know that Swāti nakṣatra had a flight path? The answer to it is only one, and that is, she had been continuously observed from deep antiquity and the knowledge of such events were recorded invariably.

At one point of time she was a pole star ( 58,000 BCE) & was located at the left side of Saptaṛśis.

In todays time she has moved to the right side of Saptaṛśis.

I hope by now many are comprehending what Saptaṛśi in the sky means. Ṛgveda has alluded to this word many a times. Apparently, her behavior was noted for a very long time.

Now this information deserves a peer review. But who will review? And I know what would be the answer — “This is impossible!”

This is impossible!

— — — — — — — — — — — —

Footnote

निष्ट्य mfn. (fr. निस् + त्य; cf. Pāṇ. iv, 2, 104; viii, 3, 101) external, foreign, strange

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Rupa Bhaty

Architect and Adjunct Assistant Professor at School of Indic studies, Institute of Advanced Sciences, MA, USA