rohiNi’s cart

In Greco-Roman star lore the constellation Auriga is the charioteer. Traditionally, in India too the constellation is refered to as the sArathi, which means the same thing. The mainstream Western scholarship has believed that this is a recent acquisition of the constellation name from the Greco-Roman world.

If Auriga is the charioteer, where is his car? India star-lore records an unsual name for the Hyades cluster in constellation of Taurus: rohINi shakaTa: The cart of roHiNi (alpha Tauri) [sUrya siddhAnta, 8.13]. Not surprisingly, the constellation is also called the shakaTa of prajApati or brahmA [ pa~ncha siddhAnta 238-241]. Traditionally, Hindu astronomy records the star Capella (alpha-Aurigae) as brahma-hR^idaya (the heart of brahmA). This suggests that the Hyades, which indeed look like a simple cart was the cart of rohiNi or prajApati, thus linking the cart to the charioteer. Hence, while lateral Greco-Roman influence cannot be ruled out entirely, it is likely that the basic concepts concerning this constellation go back to the misty Indo-European past when Greeks and Indians shared a common ancestor.

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