Agastya – Canopus

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The article in the link quoted below makes a connection between canopus and Agastya. It makes 2 sets of assumptions and calculations arrives at a date for Agastya around 4000 BC.

Assumption set A:

  • The nakshatram Canopus was named Agastya after the Rishi Agastya.
  • This was so because he was the first sanskrit northerner to sight it.
  • He sighted it as soon as he crossed the Vindhyas.


  • Agastya (Canopus) was visible in the north of the Vindhyas only after 5200 BC and in Kurukshetra (Delhi) only from 3100 BC assuming that for a star to be visible its meridian altitude has to be at least 5°.
  • Agastya (Canopus) was visible in the north of the Vindhyas only after 4000 BC assuming that for a star to be visible its meridian altitude has to be at least 4°.

Conclusion A:

  • Agastya Rishi’s Vindhya Crossing was between 4000 BC and 5000 BC.

Assumptions B:

  • Agastya started the first Sangam.
  • The last Sangam ended around 0 BC.
  • Each Pandyan king ruled for 20 years.

Calculations B:

  • There were 89, 59 and 49 Pandyan kings in each of the Sangams.
  • (89+59 + 49) * 20 = 3940 years

Conclusion B:  Agastya’s time was 4000 BC

Notes :

from: by K.D. Abhyankar.

  1. Agastya, is the author of 25 hymns (nos 166 to 190) of the first ‘mandala’ of the Rigveda.
  2. Canopus, the second brightest star in the night sky, is called Agastya in India.
  3. This star is close to the ecliptic south pole, having an ecliptic latitude of –76°.
  4. As the celestial poles go round the ecliptic poles due to the phenomenon of precession of the earth’s axis of rotation, this star becomes visible from different latitudes on the globe at different times. If we assume that for a
    star to be visible at a place its altitude at the meridian passage should be at least 5°, then calculations give the visibility curve for Agastya (Canopus).
  5. Agastya was not visible from any part of India before 10,000 BC.
  6. First it became visible at Kanyakumari around that epoch. Thereafter, as it was brought more and more northwards by precession, it became visible at various places in India.
  7. It became visible in the east coast (in the present Chennai region) in 8500 BC, and in the present day Hyderabad in 7200 BC, in the Vindhya region in 5200 BC, at Delhi in 3100 BC.
  8. At present it is visible from most parts of India for longer or shorter durations. This cycle will repeat after every 25,725 years. It is thus clear that around 5000 BC, the star Agastya was visible from the south of the Vindhyas, but not from the north of it.
  9. If sage Agastya was the first to cross the Vindhyas from the north, he would have been the first northerner to see the star. Hence the star has been named after him, just as the Magellanic clouds in the southern sky are named after the navigator Magellan, who first saw them as he sailed southwards.
  10. This fixes an epoch of 5000 BC for sage Agastya. This date is based on the assumption that for a star to be visible its meridian altitude has to be at least 5°.
  11. If we make 8° meridian altitude as the criterion for visibility, the date of Agastya would be shifted to about 4000 BC. The dates 5000 and 4000 BC should therefore bracket the probable epoch of Agastya crossing the Vindhyan mountains.

Tamil literature tells us about the three Sangams which were patronized by 89, 59 and 49 Pandyan kings respectively. The first Sangam was supposed to have been started by Agastya and the last Sangam ended sometime at the beginning of the Christian era. we have 197 kings between these two dates. If we assume a span of 20 years for each king on an average, we get a total period of about 4000 years, which would place Agastya’s epoch around 4000 BC, in agreement with the astronomical dating.

All Rights Reserved: Satya Sarada Kandula