By Dean De Lucia/Dharmapada,
EDITORIAL, 10/8/99 (VNN) — Vedic " Shadowy Planet, " Chaya-Graha Mandi, Observed by Astronomers at Lucerne
In addition to the seven major planets, Vedic astrology recognises a set of non-luminous, shadowy planets, the two most famous being Rahu and Ketu, the Northern and Southern nodes of the Moon. Two others which are often referred to in the Vedic astrological literature are Gulika and Mandi. These-non luminous planets have never been considered to have have physical shape or form, although there are descriptions of them in the Puranas and calculations are given to find their coordinates.
At this moment we shall consider a sighting of what is apparently Mandi, one of the principal non-luminous planets. In the Vedic astronomical literature, all non-luminous planets are deemed to have an eclipsing function, in other words, the Puranas describe that these planets cover or " swallow " the luminaries.
But the lack of any kind of evidence whatsoever of the existence of the non-luminous planets has always grouped in their belief with the stuff of fairy tales or imagination. However, the following article from the August, 1999, edition of the British magazine Astronomy Now seems to provide documented evidence which supports the existence of the non-luminous planet Mandi. Such proof seems to be unwittingly provided by the Western astronomical community itself, which is very ironic as Western astronomers usually discount the Puranic astronomical descriptions as being poppycock. At any rate, in the " Key Moments in Astronomy " column, by Ian Seymour, the article entitled " A Very Singular Phenomenon " appeared:
" Historical sources record many astonishing astronomical events, but few remain as bewildering as' a very singular phenomenon seen in the disk of the Sun,' reported by the Annual Register for 1766. The journal's account warrants full repetition, for events of August 9, 1762, seem both well-attested and unique.
On that day ' M. de Rostan, of the economic society at Berne, and of the medicophysical society a Basle, whilst he was taking the Sun's altitude with a quadrant at Lucerne ... observed that the Sun gave but a faint pale light, which he attributed to the vapors of the Leman lake; however, happening to direct a 14 foot telescope armed with a micrometer, to the Sun, he was surprised to see the Eastern side of the Sun, as it were eclipsed about three digits, taking in a kind of nebulousity, which environed the opaque body, by which the Sun was eclipsed. In the space of about two hours and a half, the South side of the said body, whatever it was, appeared detached from the limb of the Sun; but the limb, or more properly, the northern extremity of this body, which had the shape of a spindle, in breadth about three of the Sun's digits, and nine in length, did not quit the Sun´s northern limb. This spindle kept continually advancing on the Sun's body, from East towards West, with no more than about half the velocity with which the ordinary spots move; for it did not disappear till the 7th of September ... M. Rostan, during that time observed it almost every day: that is to say for near a month: and, by means of a camera obscura, he delineated the figure of it, which he sent to the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris.'
The next paragraph raises this observation far above the usual run of fantastic anecdotes, for ' the same phaenomenon was observed at Sole, in the bishopric of Basle, situated about 5 and 40 German leagues Northward of Lausanne. M. Coste ... observed it there, with a telescope of 11 feet, and found it of the same spindle-like form ... only it was not quite so broad [ for ] the body began to turn about, and present its edge. A more remarkable circumstance is, that at Sole it did not answer to the same point of the Sun as it did at Lausanne: it therefore had a considerable parallax: but what so very extraordinary a body, placed between the Sun and us, should be, is not easy to divine. It was no spot, since its motion was greatly too slow, nor was it a planet or comet, its figure seemingly proving the contrary. In a word, we know of nothing to have recourse to in the heavens whereby to explain this phaenomenon; and, what adds to the oddness of it, M. Messier, who constantly observed the Sun at Paris during the same time, saw nothing of such an appearance.'"
The reader may note that the phenomenon was not perceived by Messier observing in Paris. A modern parallel, which has been narrated by Jan Lamprecht in his book " Hollow Planets," may offer an explanation for this. In the 1950s, strange situation arose whereby one noted astronomer, Richard Baum of the British Astronomical Association, and Patrick Moore, perhaps Britain's most noted astronomer, disagreed on their observations of the planet Venus. Richard Baum reported seeing radial spokes emanate from a point on or near the Southern pole of Venus while Patrick Moore never perceived them. They both had a sensitivity check done on their eyes, and it was determined that Richard Baum had quite a bit of sensitivity in the ultra violet band while Patrick Moore did not. Visual sensitivity could also account for the fact that Messier did not perceive what the other two did.
Ian Seymour concludes his article by commenting " What could this object have been? ... Natural explanations do not readily come to mind ...."
At this point, I would like to offer an explanation for that which was witnessed by the two astronomers. It was the shadowy planet Mandi of Vedic astronomy. The celestial coordinates of the Sun and Mandi were synonomous, I repeat synonomous, during the time period under consideration. For example, on August 9, 1762, on the first day of M. Rostan's observations, according to the Vedic Jyotish program Visual Jyotish, the Sun was in sidereal Cancer at 26*26, while Mandi was at 25* 45 of sidereal Cancer. On September 7th, the Sun was at sidereal Leo at 24*27 and Mandi was at 23*46. The half a degree of divergence is negligible as the above-mentioned software program is not exactly research grade. The reader may not have much experience with commercial astronomy or astrology programs, but anytime one takes such a program back several hundred years, errors of a few minutes start cropping up. For our purposes right now, however, the information at hand more than serves the purpose - this scribe will leave it to somebody else to come along and do any double checking.
Not only do we have a match in terms of coordinates, but we also have a match in terms of a description of the nature and activity of the " planet " Mandi- it was performing its role as per the Puranas of engulfing the Sun with its shadow.
Now, such an explanation will not probably sit well with the modern, Western scientific temperament which tends to strongly discount Vedic astronomical descriptions, maybe because such descriptions aren´t understood, and maybe because they seem to be too fantastic. But this explanation must be dealt with nevertheless because such a close astronomical correspondence in terms of coordinance cannot be chalked up to merely chance; nor may a simultaneous correspondence between the observed effect of the phenomenon and the Puranic descriptions of the way in which Mandi is supposed to cover or " swallow " the Sun be chalked up to chance. The correspondences pointed out justify and even demand investigation by modern astronomers, in the same way that they justify and demand that the Puranic astronomical descriptions be revisited with new respect, even though such descriptions may not tabulate with currently accepted parameters. The timeless wisdom of Hamlet is very apropriate in this regard as he instructs his friend:" There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." ( Hamlet, I, v, 166 )
The indulgence of the readers is duely appreciated and I hope that the reader's faith in the Vedic version has been solidified.
Dean De Lucia/Dharmapada Dasa
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