Various legends mention that Siva removed the 5th head of Brahma. (Each quotes a different reason). (See : Siva Mahapuranam Vidyesvara Samhitam 8th Adhyayam : Brahma loses his fifth head.)
I have long been searching for the astronomical significance of this.
Today I found an important clue.
- Pandit Bapu Deva Sastri who translated the Surya Siddhantam, mentions that Brahma refers to the Auriga Constellation.
- Auriga is a 5 starred pentagon. So we have a 5 faced Brahma.
- Arudra is the nakshatram for which Siva is the deity. This has commonly been identified as Betelguese by many sources.
In this post I have provided the skymaps that help us identifythe various nakshatras : Identifying Nakshatras – Betelguese, Arudra in Orion; Aldeberan, Rohini in Taurus; Mrigasira and Krutika; Punarvasu, Pollux in Gemini ; Brahma, Auriga
I reproduce part of the details below for our reference.
Identifying Betelguese or Arudra. (Siva / Rudra)
Identifying Auriga – Five Faced Brahma :
- In the picture, Take the limb of Taurus that does not have Rohini (Aldeberan) in it.
- The star “beta”, common to Auriga and Taurus in the drawing below, is the one called El Nath.
- Arudra, El Nath and Capella are on a line.
- That will point you to the 5 sided pentagon, the Auriga.
- Auriga has been identified as Brahma by Bapu Dev Sastri who translated the Surya Siddhantam.
- Do you remember the story where Siva knocked of the 5th head of Brahma which was on the top?
- That story is connected to this constellation. Capella sounds like Kapala (Skull in Sanskrit) does it not?
Now, in the figure below visualize a line that connects Betelguese, El Nath and Capella of Auriga.
If Capella is removed from Auriga, you have a 4 faced Brahma (4 starred constellation).
All Puranas were overlaid with astronomical information, which made the astronomy easy to remember and pass on.
So while Vyasa preserved the information in the Vedas, in one way., he again made sure that the knowledge was retained for posterity in another way too. We owe a lot of gratitude to this genius.
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