Book 5: Chapter 22
Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 5: Chapter 22: Verses 10-17
It is this glorious being appearing in the form of the moon (with its orb consisting of sixteen parts or digits), the deity presiding over the mind, the food of all living beings and the very embodiment of nectar, who, being by his very nature the nourisher of the life of (all living beings including) the gods and the manes, human beings and spirits, beasts and birds, reptiles and plants, is one with all: so declare the wise. At a height of three lakh Yojanas (or twenty-four lakh miles) beyond the moon (or five lakh Yojanas beyond the earth's surface) are placed the twenty-eight lunar mansions inciusive of Abhijit. They revolve with the Meru on their right alone (having no separate course of their own) fixed as they are to the wheel of time by God.
At a height of two lakh Yojanas beyond them is observed Usana (Venus), which traverses the heavens in rapid, slow and moderate marches like the sun, (sometimes) going before, (at other times following) in the rear, and (at still other times) keeping pace with, the sun. Bringing showers (in its train) almost invariably, it is ever propitious to (all) living beings and by its flitting (across certain constellations) is concluded to be neutralizing the influence of planets (such as the Mars) obstructing rainfall. By describing (the course of) Venus, (the course of) Budha or Mercury (too) stands described. Observed at a height of two lakh Yojanas beyond Venus, Budha, an offspring of the moon, is generally beneficent (in its influence). When (however) it outstrips the sun, it forebodes storm, a cloudy weather almost throughout (that period), drought and other unwelcome conditions. Beyond Mercury, Angaraka (Mars) too is observed at a height of two lakh Yojanas. It passes through the twelve signs of the zodiac at the rate of one in three fortnights, unless it takes a retrograde course, and is an inauspicious planet, often portending evil. Placed at a height of two lakh Yojanas beyond Mars, the glorious Brhaspati (Jupiter) passes through one sign of the zodiac in a whole year unless it takes a retrograde course. It is generally propitious to the Brahmana race. Observed at a height of two lakh Yojanas beyond Jupiter, and tarrying in each sign of the zodiac for thirty months (two years and a half), the planet Sanaiscara or Saturn (so-called because of its slow moving nature) passes through all (the twelve signs) in exactly the same number of years and is indeed mostly a source of anxiety to all. At a height of eleven lakh Yojanas beyond Saturn are observed the seven Rsis (the seven stars known by the name of the Big Bear or Ursa Major), that move clockwise round what they call the highest abode of Lord Visnu (viz., the pole-star or Dhruvaloka), (ever) contemplating the (unmixed) good of all living beings.
Thus ends the twenty-second discourse, forming part of an account of the stellar sphere, in Book Five of the great and glorious Bhagavata-Purana, otherwise known as the Paramahamsa-Samhita.
- The moon-god has been referred to in the scriptures as 'Osadhisa' (the ruler and protector of herbs and annual plants). Elsewhere he has been spoken of as supplying food to all living beings (vide V. xx. 12). It is in this sense that he should be understood as constituting the food of all.
- The Naksatras or lunar mansions are ordinarily reckoned as twenty-seven only. Their names are:---Aswini. Bharani, Krttika, Rohini or Brahmi, Mrgasira or Agrahayani,.Ardra, Punarvasu or Yamaka, Pusya or Sidhya, Aslesa. Magha, Purva• phalguni, Uttaraphalguni, Haste, Citra, Swati Visakha or Radha, Anuradha (so-called because it is placed next to Radha), Jyestha, Mala, Purvasadha, Uttarasadha, ravana, Sravistha or Dhanistha, Satabhisa, Purvabhadrapada. Uttarabhadrapada and Revati. The twenty-eight constellations, viz., Abhijit, is located midway between the two Asadha and Sravana, as is borne out by the Sruti text-