In Sanskrit it is called as Ardra. In English it is Betalgeux. The astronomical name is Alpha Orion.
In Tamil only two stars are prefixed with the word ‘Thiru’ which means ‘most respected’. One is Thiruvadirai and the other is Thiruvonam.
Thiruvadirai is Betalgeux. This star denotes Shiva. The other star denotes Maha Vishnu.
The presiding deity of the star Betalgeux is Rudra, that is Shiva.
This star could be easily spotted in the sky because of its size and relatively close distance from the earth.
According to Sir James Jeans, the famous author of ‘Mysterious Universe’, the star Betalgeux is so voluminous that it can contain two crores and fifty lakhs of spheres of the size of our Sun. And the Sun is thirteen lakhs of times bigger than our earth. Such is the enormous size of Betalgeux.
It is so fiery in nature, that one observer has rightly describes the star after seeing it through 100 inch telescope from Mount Wilson Observatory in America thus: “I saw it blazing; How many millions of Suns rolled into one! I seemed almost to hear the roar of that unbelievable furnace seething across the night, burning for ever and ever, from the beginning of time to that incalculable day when time shall have no longer any meaning’.
This is the third brightest star in the sky.
The Hindu puranas give the name Manmada for the God of Love. Manmada is being identified as Sagittarius in the sky.
We can see the disappearance of Sagittarius, that is Manmada, in the western horizon as Rudra – Betalgeux – rises in the east. This has been effectively and picturesquely described in the purana through a simple story.
The puranas say that Manmada is immediately burnt and instantly reduced to ashes as fiery Rudra – Betelgeux – rose up and extended his fierce glance over the offending cupid.
This episode is being gloriously sung from time immemorial to this day in every nook and corner of India. The dancers with their imaginative skills capture this beautiful scene and reproduce it in every stage till this day.
In the Puranas we may find that always the demonic forces are 180 degrees opposite to that of the Divine forces.
The sky is divided into 360 degrees and always the divine forces win over the demonic forces which are always exactly opposite to them.
Thus, Ardra is one such star glorified by the Puranas, Lord Shiva burnt the evil passion instantaneously.
This is called Kama Dahanam meaning burning of evil passion.
Mahabharata describes the burning of Khandava Forests.
Valmiki in Ramayana describes as how Hanuman burnt the city of Sri Lanka.
Napoleon described the historic burning of Moscow in 1812 as ‘fierest, the most terrific and the most sublime sight the world ever beheld’.
These are all of the descriptions of the earthly fire of a much smaller area.
When we think of the fiery perennial burning for billions and billions of years in the sky we are dumbfounded.
We are reminded of this great Betalgeux in our every day life through a small story of Purana.
Observe the sky and then read the Puranas. We may understand the Puranic stories in a better manner the real meaning of which are hidden in the vast, never-ending, limitless, immeasurable space.