Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 8 Chapter 16



Chapter XVI

On the motion of the planets

Śrī Nārāyaṇa said:

O Nārada! Now hear the wonderful movements of the planets and their positions:

The auspicious and inauspicious events of the mankind are due to the different movements of these planets.

As in a potter’s wheel going round and round, the motion of the insects crawling on the wheel, appears in a contrary direction, so the motion of the Sun and other planets moving on the Zodiac composed of the Rāṣīs (12 constellations) which again always moves round the Meru as an axle, appears different.

Their motion from one star to another and from one constellation to another appears so likewise. These two motions therefore are not contradictory but are consistent; so it is settled everywhere by the learned Pundits (as being subservient to the Zodiac).

O Nārada! He, Who is the Origin of all, Who is the Ādi Puruṣa, from Whom all these have sprung, Who is endowed with six extraordinary powers, in Whom all this Prapañcha, this material world composed of the five elements remains, that Nārāyaṇa, roaming about, has divided the Trayī Ātmā into twelve parts for the perfect happiness of all and for Karma Śuddhi (the purification of Karma, acts).

The sages furnished with Jñāna and Vijñāna have thus argued on the point, following the path as laid out in the Vedas.

The Sūrya Nārāyaṇa, moving on in the six seasons, spring, etc., has established, cold, heat, etc., as the Dharma of the seasons, duly for the fructification of the Karmas of the individual beings.

Those persons that worship this Ādi Puruṣa, with devotion, according to the knowledge of the Vedas the customs and usages of Varṇa (castes) and Āśrama (Brahmacharya, etc.), and with various performances of Yogas, get their fruits respectively according to their desires.

This Sun is the Ātman of all the Lokas and resting on the Zodiac between the Heavens and the Earth, enjoys the twelve months in the twelve constellations, Aries, etc.

These months are the limbs of the year. Two fortnights make one month. The 21 asterisms form one month according to the Solar measure, of the day and night.

The period that the Sun takes to travel over the two constellations is called Ritu or the Season (i.e., two months). The Scientists say that this season is the limb of one Samvatsara.

The path that the Sun describes within the three seasons or half the year in the Zodiac is called one Ayanam.

The time taken by the Sun with earth and heavens to make a circuit of the Zodiac is called one Vatsara or year.

This year is reckoned into five divisions as Samvatsara, Parivatsara, Iḍāvatsara, Aṇuvatsara, and Idvatsara. These are functioned by the Śīghra, Maṇḍa, and uniform motions of the Sun. So the Munis say.

Thus far the motion of the Sun has been described. Now hear that of the Moon:

The Moon is situated one lakh Yojanas higher than the Sun and shares with the motion of the Sun for one year; and She enjoys as well every month with the Sun in the shape of the dark and bright fortnights.

The Moon, the Lord of Night and of the medicinal plants also enjoys the day and night by the help of one constellation or 2 1/4 Nakṣattras. Thus, by Her Śīghragati, the Moon enjoys the Nakṣattras.

During the bright fortnight, the Moon becomes more and more visible and gives pleasure to the Immortals by Her increasing phases; and, during the dark fortnight by Her waning phases, She delights the Pitris.

She performs revolution in the day and night by Her both the phases of the bright and dark fortnights. Thus She becomes the Life and Soul of all the living beings.

The Moon, endowed with the highest prosperity, travels one Nakṣattra in thirty Mūhurtas.

She is Full and the Soul without any beginning. She fructifies the desires (Sankalpas) and resolves of all; hence She is called Manomāyā. She is the Lord of all the medicinal plants (Oṣadhis); hence She is called Annamāyā.

She is filled with nectar; hence She is called the Abode of Immortality and She gives Nirvana (the final liberation) to all. Hence She is called Sudhākara.

She nourishes and satisfies the Devas, Pitris, men, reptiles and trees; hence She is called “Sarvamaya.” By Her influence the asterisms travel over the three lakh Yojanas.

The God Himself has made the Nakṣattra Abhijit to revolve round the Meru, along with the other Nakṣattras in the Zodiac; so this is reckoned as the twenty-eighth Nakṣattra.

The planet Venus (Śukra) is situated above the Moon two lakh Yojanas high. It sometimes goes before the Sun, sometimes behind and sometimes along with Him.

It is very powerful. His motion is of three kinds:

(1) Śīghra, (2) Maṇḍa, and (3) uniform.

He is generally favourable to all the persons and does for them many auspicious things. So it is stated in the Śāstras.

O Muni! Śukra, the illustrious scion of Bhrigu, removes the obstacles to the rains.

Next to Śukra, the planet Mercury (Buddha) is situated two lakh Yojanas high. Like Śukra, he, too, goes sometimes in front sometimes behind and sometimes along with the Sun.

And his motion too, is of three kinds: Śīghra, Maṇḍa, and uniform.

When Mercury the Son of Moon, is away from the Sun, then Ativāta (strong winds, hurricanes), Abhrapāta (the falling of meteors from the clouds) and draught and other fears arise.

The planet Mars, the son of the Earth is situated two lakh Yojanas higher. Within three fortnights (45 days) he travels one Rāśī. This occurs when his motion is not retrograde. This Mars causes all sorts of mischief, evils, and miseries to mankind.

The planet Jupiter is situated two lakh Yojanas higher. He passes through one Rāśī in one year. When his motion is not retrograde, he is always in favour with the Brahmā Vadis.

Next to Brihaspati, come the planet Saturn (Śani), the son of the Sun, two lakh Yojanas higher. He takes thirty months to pass over one Rāśī. This planet causes all sorts of unrest and miseries to all. Therefore He is called a Maṇḍa Graha (a malefic planet).

Next to it, is situated the Saptarṣi mandala, the Great Bear, eleven lakh Yojanas higher up. O Muni! The seven planets always do special favours to all. These circumambulate the Viṣṇupāda, the Polar Star.

Here ends the Sixteenth Chapter in the Eighth Book on the motion of the planets in the Mahā Purāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.