The Shastra dictates that a competent astrologer is essentially supposed to know how to calculate the right time of rising and setting of star Agastya Varahmihir said that- ‘A learned astrologer should always calculate its rising well in advance and should foretell its effects for the remaining months of the Samvatsara’. Agastya : The Canopus In the southern celestial hemisphere, Agastya, a bright yellow-coloured star, remains visible from August to April every year from almost all places falling south of 37° latitudes. This is the second most brilliant star there, of 0.9 apparent magnitude and about180 light years away from our earth. It is 85 times bigger and 1900 times more brilliant than our Sun. In the Indian literature, this star has named after the Pauranic rishi ‘Agastya’, while in the western world, this was formerly known as Canobus and now called as ‘Canopus’ this is located at 75°S 49' latitude and 52°S41' declination. It exactly appears in front of the Punarvasu nakshatra at 21° of the zodiac. Myths about the Star In the Rigaveda 10.63.10 and in the Atharva Veda 5.4.4, a detailed description of a celestial golden boat or vessel ( Hiranyamayee Nau) is found, which is said to be located in the south of the Pushya nakshatra-mandala. This vessel is also mentioned in the Vedas as ‘Argha’. The Agastya star is said to be situated in the cluster of stars which is known in the Greek mythology as ‘Argo- Navis’. Scholars opine that the words ‘Argha’ and ‘Argo’, or ‘Nau’ and ‘Navis’, have originated from the same roots. How to recognize the Star Somewhat similar to the ‘Sapta-Rishis’ or Ursa major in the northern celestial domain, there is the Vyadha, sometimes called as Lubdhaka (the Hunter), and in the western world as Sirius. located at a key position in the southern sky, with whose help we can mark many other stars falling in that celestial region. This blue coloured star Sirius (Vyadha or Lubdhaka), recognized as the most brilliant star of the entire celestial region having two brilliant stars at almost the same distance on its both sides, Ardra in the north and Agastya in the south of it The Vyadha always forewarned of flood in the Nile river according to the belief of the old Egyptian astrologers. During March-April, the Agastya shines in the southern horizon and is visible from all over India. Readers must note that there is no prominent star exactly at the south polar point like the Pole Star in the northern hemisphere. Therefore, in order to determine south direction, the Agastya always helped the sailors in the southern oceans and still remains useful for the astronauts.The sculptures of the Rishi Agastya have been found in the southern parts of India as well as in Srilanka, Java and Sumatra islands. One beautiful sculpture of Agastya is carved on the Gopuram (main entrance of a big temple) of Nataraja (dancing Shiva) temple at Chidambaram in Tamilnadu state, India. Ritual at the rising of Agastya In the classics of astrology, worshipping the star Agastya was a convention after its annual rising. The Agastya sets around April and further rises in the south in September. An easy and precise method for calculating its rising as well as of setting will be discussed here as the dates of these phenomena vary from one locality to another. The Shastra dictates that a competent astrologer is essentially supposed to know how to calculate the right time of its rising and setting. Varahmihir said that- ‘A learned astrologer should always calculate its rising well in advance and should foretell its effects for the remaining months of the Samvatsara’. • After the rise of Agastya, in the immediately following dawn or dusk, the star should be worshipped by offering ‘Arghya’. The water of ‘Arghya’ should contain flowers, whole rice, fruit, cash gift (Dakshina) and sandal powder. • The head of the family should face the star, which practically will mean that he face the southern direction and he should offer the Arghya. • Like Surya-puja, it is also believed that this ritual repeated for seven consecutive years promotes benevolence of the natal chart, bestows good health, nullifies disease and ensures good effects for the year, ensuring gain of property and producing results like a Raja-yoga. Effects of Agastya • At the time of rising of Agastya, the colour and size of the star foretell us about the various effects for the remaining months of the Samvat, in the following manner: • A faded appearance will indicate diseases or pervasive panic because of a host of diseases: • When it rises with a dull yellow colour, it indicates lack of rains during winters, causing poor winter crops. • A smoky Agastya manifests scarcity of milk and disease in cattle: • A shaky appearance brings rumours and terror: • Reddish yellow colour causes political and social disturbance: • Smaller than normal appearance with a reddish touch opens fire or a limited war: • Besides this in Parashari Samhita, Parashara adds that Agastya having some bluish touch manifests heavy winter rains. The following is the relevant quote from the. ‘The colour of Agastya indicates thus: blaze - diseases; dull yellow- less winter rains; smoky- disease among cattle; blood red- riot and scarcity of commodities; blue- heavy winter rains; smaller than normal - encroachment by rivals; shaky- terror.’ • Golden yellow colour or clear as crystal, reflecting sufficient rays, is all time benevolent. ‘Agastya in a colour appearing like conch shell, jasmine, cow milk, lotus roots or silver shade results in benevolence, while appearing like a blaze, flesh or blood, it leads to war, riots and calamities.’ • With the rising of Agastya, ground water and the rivers naturally start their purification. During rains, particularly when the Sun transits in tropical Karka and Simha, all rivers become untouchable and are considered to be going under menstrual cycle. Therefore, drinking river water and making dips into rivers are only recommended after the rise of Agastya. The Agastya rise is known as the concluding symptom of rainy season for the year. The rise of Agastya, similar to rising of other planets and stars, basically relates to the Sun’s position. For convenience, the longitude of the Sun at rise of Agastya is tabulated here. City Latitude Palabha Sun at (Angulas) Agastya rise Delhi 28°N39' 6.53 4:12°12' Jammu 32°N43' 7.72 4:22°30' Kolkata 22°N35' 4.99 3:29°44' Mumbai 18°N58' 4.11 3:23°10' Chennai 13°N04' 2.78 3:13°24' Srinagar 34°N06' 8.11 4:26°00' Method of Calculation Palabha plays a key role in calculation of the rising time of Agastya. This replaces the geographical latitudes in a traditional method of astrological calculations. To calculate the time of Agastya rising and setting, you should proceed in the following manner: • (Palabha –3:00) x 7 = Factor I. • (Palabha –3)2 ÷5 = Factor II. • Add the sum of Factors I and II to 33°. This total is an essential tool (Kshetramsha) in this connection, relevant to the locality in question.For Delhi • Palabha(6.53-3.00) x 7=3.53 x 7=24.71–factorI • (3.53 x 3.53)÷5=12:46÷5=2.49 –factor II • 24.71+2.49+33:00 = 60.2 (Kshetramsha) • 72 degrees + Kshetramsha = Sun at Agastya rise. • Similarly 72 degrees – Kshetramsha = Sun at Agastya Setting. • Thus the Agastya will rise in Delhi at a moment when the Sun’s longitude becomes 72°+60.2°=132.2° or 4:12°12' and has already set when the Sun was 72°–60.2°=11.8° or 0:11°48'.