Are the names of the * moon,’ the latter occurring from the Rigveda onwards, but the former being first used in this sense by the Atharvaveda. Very little is said about the moon in Vedic literature, except -as identified with Soma,3 both alike being described as waxing and waning. Reference is, however, made to the regular changes of the moon, and to its alternation with the sun, to which it, as Soma, is declared in the Rigveda to be married. Mention is also made of its disappearance at the time of new moon, and of its birth from the light of the sun.8 In the Atharvaveda9 reference is made to demons eclipsing the moon (grahās cāndramāsāh). For the phases of the moon, and the month as a measure of time, see Māsa. For the moon and its mansions, see Naksatra.
Denotes a ‘ milch cow,’ or in the plural, ‘ draughts of milk.’ In two passages Roth takes the word to mean mare,’ and in another the * team’ of Vāyu’s chariot. Benfey, on the other hand, renders it ‘ lips ’ in one passage, with Sāyana and with Durga’s commentary on the Nirukta. Geldner assigns to the word the senses of ‘ lips,’ ‘ speech,’cow,’‘ beloved,’ and ‘ streams.’
The ‘sun,’ plays a great part in Vedic mythology and religion, corresponding with the importance of the sun as a factor in the physical life of the peninsula. In the Rigveda2 the sun is normally regarded as a beneficent power, a not unnatural view in a people which must apparently have issued from the cold regions of the Himālaya mountains. Its heat is, however, alluded to in some passages of the Rigveda, as well as referred to in the Atharvaveda and the literature of the Brāhmaṇas. In one myth Indra is said to have vanquished Sūrya and to have stolen his wheel: this is possibly a reference to the obscuration of the sun by a thunderstorm. The Aitareya Brāhmaṇa presents a naive conception of the course of the sun, which it regards„ as bright on one side only, and as returning from west to east by the same road, but with the reverse side turned towards the earth, thus at night illumining the stars in heaven. In the Rigveda wonder is expressed that the sun does not fall. There are several references to eclipses in the Rigveda. In one passage Svarbhānu, a demon, is said to have eclipsed the sun with darkness, while Atri restores the light of the sun, a similar feat being elsewhere attributed to his family, the Atris. In the Atharvaveda Rāhu appears for the first time in connexion with the sun. Indra’s defeat of Sūrya may also be explained as alluding to an eclipse; in two other passages such an interpretation seems at least probable. Ludwig not only argues that the Rigveda knows the theory of eclipses caused by an occultation of the sun by the moon, and regards the sun as going round the earth, but even endeavours to identify an eclipse referred to in the Rigveda with one that occurred in 1029 B.C. These views are completely refuted by Whitney. The sun as a maker of time determines the year of 360 days, which is the civil year and the usual year (Saipvatsara) of Vedic literature. This solar year is divided into two halves— the Uttarāyaṇa, when the sun goes north, and the Dakṣiṇā- yana, when it goes south. There can be no doubt that these periods denote the time when the sun turns north from the winter solstice, and when it turns south from the summer solstice, for the Kauṣītaki Brāhmaṇa says so in perfectly clear language. The alternative theory is to regard the periods as those when the sun is in the north—i.e., when it is north of the equator, and when it is in the south, taking as points of departure the equinoxes, not the solstices; but this view has no support in Vedic literature, and is opposed to the fact that the equinoxes play no part in Vedic astronomical theory. There are only doubtful references to the solstices in the Rigveda. The Brāhmanas, and perhaps the Rigveda, regard the moon as entering the sun at new moon. According to Hillebrandt, the Rigveda recognizes that the moon shines by the borrowed light of the sun, but this seems very doubt-ful. See also Aryamṇalj Panthā, Nakṣatra, and Sapta Sūryāh.
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