Written by Sri Swami Chandrashekarendra
How do the planets differ from the stars? The planets revolve round the
sun; the stars do not belong to the sun's "mandala" [they are not part
the solar system]. If you hold a diamond in your hand and keep shaking
about, it will glitter. The stars glitter in the same way and twinkle,
planets do not twinkle.
The sun and the stars are self-luminous. The stars dazzle like polished
diamonds. The planets Jupiter and Venus shine like the bigger stars but
they do not twinkle. The sun too has the brilliance of the stars[it is
a star]. If you gaze intently at the sun for a moment the watery
surrounding it will vanish. Then it will look like a luminous disc of
floating in water and it will not be still. The moon is not like it. I
you how to prove the sun twinkles. Observe the sun sun's light pouring
down from an opening in the roof. Observe similarly moon's light also
coming into your room. You see the sun's rays showing some movement
but not the moon's. The planets are also like the moon.
If the star is a big one, we may be able to see its light refracted into
seven colours (vibgyor), like the colours emanating from a brilliant
The sun is called "Saptasva" (one with seven horses--the sun god's
is drawn by seven horses). It is also said that there is only one horse
drawing the chariot but it has seven different names. "Asva" also means
"kirana" or ray. So "Saptasva" could mean that the sun emits seven types
of rays or colours. It is of course the same light that is split into
colours. In the Taittiriya Aranyaka it is clearly stated that the same "asva"
or ray has seven names: "Eko asvo vahati saptanama.”
The stars are self-luminous, while the planets shine by reflected light.
light of the stars is not still. That is how we say, " Twinkle, twinkle
star ". The stars rise in the east and set in the West. The planets too
westward but they keep moving a bit towards the east every day. It is
a passenger walking westward on a train speeding eastward. The seven
planets thus keep moving eastward.