March to Mars

March Mars Connect

The month of March is connected with Mars and derives its name from the planet. The name March comes from the Latin word “Martius”, the first month of the Roman calendar. It was named after Mars.

The month Maritus was the beginning of the season for farming in Rome.  For, the sun on its northward journey brought warmth for agriculture to happen in Europe, after harsh winter. It was the month of the festival in honour of Mars, the god of agriculture.

Planet Mars is known as Mangal in Samskrt and Indian languages. Hence, the name Mangalyan for this mission, Ayana meaning “travel to”.

Mars lies beyond earth from the sun at the center of the Solar System.

Solar System

In Indian thought, Mars is referred to as Mangal, meaning “auspicious”.

Mangalvar

Among the weekdays, Tuesday is referred to as Mangalvar in Samskrt, after the planet Mars. It is significant to note that the Mangalayan Mission was launched on Mangalvar, a Tuesday.

Mars – The Greek God of War

In Greek astronomy, Mars is referred to as “the planet of war”, “the God of war”, because of its red nature.

Greek God of War

Greek God of Wars

Roman God of Agriculture

In the Roman civilization, Mars was looked upon as a God of Agriculture. This has been brought forth in legends, paintings and coins.

Roman god of agri

Mars, The Roman God of agriculture

Other Names of Mars

The Iron Link

Planet Mangal is also referred to as Lohitang in Samskrt, meaning “that which is rich in iron deposits”, loha.

Blood in Ayurveda is also described as lohini, meaning “that which is rich in iron”.

iron deposits

Mars rich in iron deposits

In Greek legends too, blood is called “Haem”, from which comes the word “Haemoglobin” in blood.

Hemoglobin

We thus see an intrinsic connect between Lohitang, Mars and Lohini, iron and blood, a connect that has been brought out in various legends and the practice of venerating Mars as the divinity for surgeries, wars and other such professions involving use of iron / steel equipment.

Mars is also known as Angaraka, meaning “that which is red in colour”.

Mars

Mars – The Red Planet

Son of Earth

In some context, it is referred to as Bhumi Putra, meaning “Son of Bhumi”. For this, there is a legend on how Mars took form from Earth and was nurtured and brought up by Bhumi, Mother Earth.

These terms are available in astronomical texts of the land.

The other Names of Mars

Names Meaning
Bhauma Made of earth
Angaraka Heated Charcoal
DharaNisuta Dhara =  dry

Nisuta = Laid out, thrown into, DharaNisuta = dried up surface

Kshitija Earth born
Krura Cruel
Dharāputra Dhara = Dry, Putra = Son
Lohitānga Red powdered, Iron Dust
Kona Corner
Vakra Curved, hostile
Kārtikeya
Ara

A Dry Planet

There are speculations and postulates in the scientific community that there was water once upon a time on Mars but that it has dried up.  This tallies with the ancient Indian names for Mars which mean dried up surface.

Mars and Antares

The star Antares in the Scorpio constellation gets its name because it was called Anti Mars, the rival to Mars as from the earth, it visually looked similar to Mars in brightness and colour for ancient European astronomers. Whereas in Indian astronomy, Antares is called as Jyeshtha, the big brother, for, it is the largest star in our Milky Way Galaxy.

Mars - Antares

Antares in Scorpio Constellation by the side of Mars as it was transiting through Scorpio

Comparison – Similarity

Mangala in Music

Muthuswami Dikshitar was one among the trinity of Carnatic musicians who formed the basis of the music system of this land.

Shama Shastry

Muthuswami Dikshitar

Carnatic trinity

Trinity of Carnatic Music

He lived about 200 years ago. Among his compositions, is the famous, “Navagraha Keerthana”. In this, he speaks of various qualities, characteristics, gunas of Mars. The lyrics are not from an astrological perspective, but are to be viewed from the perspective of the qualities that this planet exhibits.

Imagery of Mars

Vahana, Vehicle

The Vahana, vehicle of Mangal is Ram, the male goat. It is interesting to note that a similar Ram is shown for Aries, the first zodiac constellation. There is an Indian astronomical connect between Aries & Mars.

   vahana

Vahana of Mangal, Mars – A Ram

Ram

Ram, a Zodiac symbol of Aries

 Shula and Trishula, Difference

The implement of Mangal is a Shula. Shula is something akin to a spear. When the same Shula has 3 pointed heads, it is called Trishula, the weapon of Shiva. In the case of Mangal, it is Shula, a spear.

Trishula shula

Trishula and Shula

Mangala’s Consort

In Indian legends when one is expressed as a consort, it is certainly not for a limited understanding of a wife, spouse. The term has certain qualities, characteristics that  the notion of consort brings in.

In this case of Mangal, the consort is Jwalini, jwala meaning “fire”, and here as Jwalini, a female form of fire is brought forth.

Consort

Mangal with his consort Jwalini

“What could this mean astronomically in the case of Mars?” is something for us to dwell more into as we study the scientific aspects that Mangal and Jwalini stand for.

India has already launched Mangalyan to probe Mars physically.

As the world is preparing to march to Mars, we have the advantage of our ancients’ thoughts to probe into and leap frog into a deeper understanding of Mars and the skies.

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