One of the important things which I have felt repeatedly while writing this blog, during the last seven years, is lack of enough evidence to believe that Rama crossed Rivers Godavari, Krishna, Penna, Kaveri to reach Rameswaram, build a bridge there with the help of monkeys, cross the Ocean, embark with his billions of monkeys force in Sri Lanka, and slay the Daemon Ravana. My mind frequently reverberated with a belief Ravana's Lanka existed somewhere in Chattisgadh or Jharkhand. Evennow, this doubt persists.
This is incontinuation of 065 which mentions that tradition takes Rama's birth star as Punarvasu (Castor in the Constellation Gemini).
NAKSHATRA (STAR) AND TARA (STAR) DISTINCTION
First, we have to observe a subtle distinction between a Nakshatra (star) and a tara (pr: taara)(star), though both are used nearly as synonyms to mean a star. But in ancient astronomy, if the celestial skys from West to East are divided into 360 minutes, a Nakshatra is strip of space in sky which occupies 360/27 Nakshatra Zones. Thus Nakshatras are zones or areas, rather than the individual stars themselves. On the other hand the term "taara" refers to individual stars. This distinction seems to have been taken some notice in Valmiki Ramayana.
In verse No.1-8-9 discussed by us in #65, Rama's birth star was mentioned as that, for which Aditi (w/o sage Kasyapa, Mother of Vaamana - 5th incarnation of Vishnu, and Mother of Aaditya (Sun God)) is the patron Goddess. This is being taken as Punarvasu (Alpha Castor).
Here we have to refer to verse No. 1-29-25 (Same BOOK 1, BOOK OF CHILDREN, BALA KAAND`A), CHAPTER 29, VERSE 25.
CONTEXTSage Visvamitra requested King Dasaratha to send Shri Rama, with a mission of protecting the sacrifice being performed by the sage. Rama and Lakshmana went along with Visvamitra to his hermitage. Valmiki was describing the entry of Rama and Lakshman`a into the hermitage. He compared the two brothers to the stars in the constellation Gemini (Mithuna in India). (In the constellation Gemini, the two main stars are Castor and Pollux. Punarvasu in Indian Astronomy is equal to Castor.
Iti uktvaa parama priito
Grihya Raamam sa Laxman`am
Pravis`an aas`rama padam
S`as`ii iva gata niihaaraha
" ... Having said thus, the beaming and delighted sage Visvamitra entered the hermitage with Rama and Lakshmana. He shone like Moon emerging out of moon along with "Punarvasu".
INTERPRETATION AND DEDUCTION
Valmiki thus comparing Rama to Punarvasu, might have led the scripture preachers and interpreters to believe that Rama's birth star was Punarvasu (Castor).
OTHER REFERENCES TO NAKSHATRAs IN RAMAYANA
For information of readers:--
1. Wedding of Sita and Rama: Purva Phalguni and Uttara Phalguni (Stars in constellation Leo, Delta Leo and Denebola respectively).
2. Proposed day for coronation of Rama: Pushya (or Pushyami) (Alpha Cancer).