Bull and Auriga constellation

Unicorn Figure: Auriga-Aldebaran constellations combined

Unicorn symbol

                        Unicorn symbol is the most discussed symbol and no conclusion is arrived at on its meaning. Benght Hemtun says that the unicorn symbol indicates the Taurus constellation and the horns of unicorn points towards the star Aldebaran. His explanation seems to be correct and the picture in the seal beautifully coincides with the star constellation. The International Astronomical Union website has an interesting observation on this Taurus constellation. The narration on the topic “origin of constellations” starts with the remark that the cave paintings at Lascaux in southern France could have been the earliest known sky map depicting the Taurus constellation (The bull figure in the painting). The Pleiades constellation (six stars cluster) is also depicted by way of six dots near the bull head. The painting is 17,300 years old and it shows that the study of constellations have started a full 10,000 years ahead of the emergence of farmers in Anatolia. Man was at hunter stage of civilisation at this time period (20,000BC). (Rappengluck., 1996)

                       The horn of the bull was used as a pointer by the Indus people; hence they depicted only a single horn instead of double horn. They were well aware that there were no unicorns at that time, and the unicorn is deliberately drawn to show the subsequent generation, it was a symbolism not an existing animal. The vessel before the animal is variously described by different people. Hemtun says that it looks like a sailing boat, and the seal depicts the starting of sailing season. Mahadevan says that it looks like a filter and most probably it was a kind of filter used for soma juice, but he himself points out the contradiction that soma is known to later day suppose to be Indo-Europeans and not Indus people. In this book, the possibility of Indus people themselves being the authors of Rig Veda is being discussed, if that theory is accepted, the possibility of this vessel being soma filter is very much possible.

                             Closer look of the vessel shows that it is some kind of ritual vessel, and most probably it was used for collecting the blood of the bull, before slaughtering the bull. Blood was considered as the only food and source of nourishment for the spirits of the dead persons. Most probably the blood was collected in this kind of vessel and offered to the spirits by way of pouring blood into holes made on graves (or) stem of the vessel itself acted like a tube and the blood was directed towards the inner cavities of the tomb. After the blood is drained out the animal could have been slaughtered and the meat would have been consumed by the people. All the depictions in the seal have two parallels, one heavenly event and another earthly event. So far we discussed about the earthly nature of the vessel symbol. Now it is the time to think about the heavenly meaning of this vessel symbol. Careful observation of sky map shows that the ritual vessel coincides with that of Orion constellation. The orientation direction of Orion is different from the orientation in the “hunter on tree” symbolism, which is being narrated in the following pages.

See the orientation of Bull constellation and Orion. The dotted line is the ecliptic pathway. In the above given picture the Orion is looking like the trough (animal feeding utensil) as depicted in Indus seal (given below).
this combination of bull and trough is an excellent way to find direction in night time , the hind portion (star Capella) of bull shows the north direction and the horn of Bull is indicating western side, whereas the Orion shows the south direction. Because of this reason Indus people might have tried to memorize this scene for their survival. For the sea faring Indus sailors  also this depiction would have served as a life line. No doubt that this bull had been treated as God by them. Egyptians also followed similar practice by worshipping the Bull as Ptah.