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From: Bob Kobres <>
Subject: What part of the sky is most apt to fall?
Date: 9. junij 1997 0:19

The link between the spinning cross and birds is evident on artifacts from many cultures. Perhaps the association of the Sanskrit term “svastika” with this symbol can be linked to the Astika Pava in the Mahabharata which relates the birth of a cosmic bird par excellence - Garuda. This fabulous winged deity had a radiance like the Sun, could change shapes at will, and destroyed other gods and kings by casting down fire and stirring up storms of reddish dust which darkened the Sun, Moon and stars. Clearly Garuda was symbolic of an Earth approaching comet.

The bird-comet connection is even more obvious in the Janva-Khanda Nirmana Parva of the Mahabharata which describes a fierce fowl with but one wing, one eye, and one leg, hovering in the night sky. As this bird “screams” and “vomits blood”.

All the quarter of the earth, being overwhelmed by showers of dust, look inauspicious. Fierce clouds, portentous of danger, drop bloody showers during the night. Rahu of fierce deeds is also, O monarch, afflicting the constellation Kirttika. Rough winds, portending fierce danger, are constantly blowing.

The mention of Rahu, the demon of eclipse, which originally had four arms and a tail that was severed by Vishu to become Ketu (comet) is interesting in that the demon is here darkening Kirttika (the Pleiades) in the month of Kirttika (later half of October, through mid November), for the tale goes on to relate that:

... in the course of the same month both the Moon and the Sun have undergone eclipses on the thirteenth days from the day of the first lunation. The Sun and the Moon therefore, by undergoing eclipses on unusual days, will cause a great slaughter of the creatures of the earth. Meteors, effulgent like Indra’s thunder-bolt, fall with loud hisses ... People, for meeting together, coming out of their houses with lighted brands, have still to encounter a thick gloom all around ... From the mountains of Kailasa and Mandara and Himavat thousands of explosion are heard and thousands of summits are tumbling down. ... Fierce winds charged with pointed pebbles are blowing, crushing mighty trees. In villages and towns trees, ordinary and sacred, are falling down, crushed by mighty winds and struck by lighting.

This is, without doubt, a mythological record on an intense meteor storm from the still active Taurid stream which presently peaks around the first of November and appears to radiate from near the Pleiades star cluster. The un-airworthy bird associated with this meteor bombardment could have been comet Encke which until recently was thought to be the sole source for the Taurid meteors. However, the discovery of other large contributors which are now dark but were once active comets rules out a positive identification.

Bob Kobres
Phone: 706 542-0583