Hindu roots of Vesak Festivals?

Valerie J Roebuck vjroebuck at APPLEONLINE.NET
Wed Oct 25 06:58:18 UTC 2000

The month of Vis'Akha is so called because its full moon (i.e. opposition
to the sun) occurs in or near the nakSatra (lunar mansion) of Vis'AkhA.
"Vis'AkhA", whose name means "branching in different directions", is ruled
jointly by Indra and Agni--an appropriate constellation, perhaps, for the
birth of the future Buddha, who had to make a choice between the life of a
king (Indra) and that of a renouncer (Agni).

This symbolism seems to be quite ancient: the list of gods named as rulers
of lunar mansions seems characteristic of the Vedic and UpaniSadic periods
rather than of later developments in Hinduism.

Valerie J. Roebuck
Manchester, UK

David Turpie wrote:

>Given that in some circles, Gotama Buddha is considered to be the ninth
>incarnation of Visnu, and the month of Vaiskha is generally associated with
>Visnu celebrations, there would seem to be a link between this buddhist
>festival which celebrates the birth, death, and enlightenment of the buddha
>(all ocurring on the same full moon day in this month)and earlier (or
>current)Visnu festivals of some sort.

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