The Seven Rishies ( Ursa Major )
It is the custom in all Hindu marriages, to show the stars Vasishta and Arundhati to the married couple. Vasishta and Arundhati, both mythological figures, are actually stars in the heavens ! Their harmony and devotion to each other was worthy of emulation and admiration. This tradition is now becoming extinct and here we will describe the Seven Rishies.
This pair is in the constellation of the Big Dipper or Ursa Major. Ursa in Latin means Bear . This constellation is known as Sapta Rishi Mandala. There is also another constellation called Ursa Minor.
In his Brihat Samhita, Varaha Mihira ( 550 BCE ), gives clear defintions about them. His postulates are as follows :
In the Sky North, we have the Saptha Rishies revolving around Dhruva ( Polaris ) like a necklace, according to Garga.
From East to West, the Seven Rishies, Atri, Angiras, Marichi, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu and Vasishta stay. Chaste Arundhati accompanies Vasishta.
At the time of death, however, one will not be able to see both Mizar and Alcor, that is Vasishta and Arundhati.
Ursa Major Cycle, Sapta Rishi Yuga
Professor Drayson wrote in " Asiatic Researches "
The Hindus thought proper to connect their Mythology with an astronomical period of a strange nature. It is that of the Seven Rishies, moving along the Zodiac in a retrograde motion in 2700 years.
They stay in a constellation for 100 years. Hence an Ursa Major Cycle = 27*100 = 2700 years.
They were in Regulus, Makha, at the start of the Maha Bharata War !
The first Astronomical Calendar was erected by the Vedic Emperor, Vaivashvata Manu in circa 8736 BCE !
Their Wives are the Pleiades or Karthika. Anasuya ( Alcyone ) is the main star, along with Arundati ( Alcor ) and five more stars !
Wheeler Wilcox wrote " India - the Land of the Vedas, the remarkable work contain not only religious ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airplane, all were known to the Seers who founded the Vedas ! "