The following are the names of zodiac signs

  1. Mesha (Aries),
  2. Vrushabha (Taurus),
  3. Mithuna (Gemini),
  4. Karkat (Cancer),
  5. Simha (Leo),
  6. Kanya (Virgo),
  7. Tula (Libra),
  8. Vrushchika (Scorpio),
  9. Dhanu (Sagittarius),
  10. Makar (Capricorn),
  11. Kumbha (Aquarius) and
  12. Meena (Pisces).

Which is the first Hindu scripture, according to the historical dating, mentions about zodiac signs?

  • Do you want all of them mentioned at one place? or the most earliest scripture mentioning some of them? Sep 23, 2019 at 17:54
  • @SwiftPushkar Most earliest one, mentioning either number 12 or eithwe all of them or some of them is also fine.
    – hanugm
    Sep 23, 2019 at 18:23
  • 1
    Vishnu Purana whose speaker was sage Prashara. sacred-texts.com/hin/vp/vp066.htm
    – user16530
    Dec 10, 2019 at 11:20
  • It's mentioned in Padma Purana too - hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/49248/12304 .. finding first is too difficult..one has to read ALL the scriptures for that...
    – YDS
    Oct 13, 2021 at 3:33
  • @SwiftPushkar do you have the answer?? from the earliest Hindu scripture according to modern scholars, other than Ramayana which mentions zodiac by name.
    – user22253
    Oct 15, 2021 at 14:39

3 Answers 3


There seems to be an indirect reference to 12 zodiac signs in Rig-Veda 1.164.48 as,

48 Twelve are the fellies, and the wheel is single; three are the naves. What man hath understood it? Therein are set together spokes three hundred and sixty, which in nowise can be loosened.

the Rishi speaks about the wheel of twelve spokes, which has three navels with three hundred sixty nails. The spokes are the twelve Solar months or twelve Zodiacal signs or rasis, the three hundred sixty nails are the three hundred sixty degrees of the Zodiac, and the three navels are the three sets of Chaturmasas (Four months x three) that make up a year.

We find another indirect reference from Atharva-Veda 10.8.4 also,

One is the wheel, the tires are twelve in number, the naves are three What man hath understood it? Three hundred spokes have thereupon been hammered, and sixty pins set firmly in their places.

  • Can you edit the answer adding citations from the earliest Hindu scripture, other than Ramayana which mentions zodiac by name for the bounty.
    – user22253
    Oct 15, 2021 at 14:37
  • That's an interesting take on the riddle, although unfortunately I think it would be incorrect to equate months to zodiacs.
    – Leafy
    Oct 16, 2021 at 17:46

If you equate solar months and the zodiac, the 1400 BC Vedangajyotisha talks about twelve solar months.

लगधेन ग्रथिथां, वेदाङ्ग ज्योतिषं, श्लोकं 28: (see pages 42, 43 of the linked PDF)

त्रिशत्यलिनां सषाश्तिर् अब्दः षट् चार्तवोfयने

मासा द्वादश सूर्यः स्युः एतत् पञ्चगुणं युगं

Three hundred and sixty-six days form the solar year. In the year, there are six rtus and two ayanas. In the year, there are twelve solar months. Five years make a yuga.

(emphasis mine)

  • Can you edit the answer adding citations from the earliest Hindu scripture, other than Ramayana which mentions zodiac by name for the bounty.
    – user22253
    Oct 15, 2021 at 14:37

Ancients might be aware of astronomy, though not explicitly mentioned in earlier literature like Vedas.

However, those people might not have shown much interest in astrological predictions. As Veda contain multi-layered meaning, they might be referring to astronomical as well as Spiritual aspects also.

Sun being devoured by Svarbhanu was mentioned in Rig Veda V.40.5.

While narrating the birth of Sri Rama in Ramayana, the positions of grahas were mentioned.

ततो यज्ञे समाप्ते तु ऋतूनां षट् समत्ययुः | ततश्च द्वादशे मासे चैत्रे नावमिके तिथौ || १-१८-८

नक्षत्रेऽदितिदैवत्ये स्वोच्चसंस्थेषु पंचसु | ग्रहेषु कर्कटे लग्ने वाक्पताविंदुना सह || १-१८-९

प्रोद्यमाने जगन्नाथं सर्वलोकनमस्कृतम् | कौसल्याजनयद्रामं सर्वलक्षणसंयुतम् || १-१८-१०

विष्णोरर्धं महाभागं पुत्रमैक्ष्वाकुनंदनम् | लोहिताक्षं महाबाहुं रक्तौष्ठं दुंदुभिस्वनम् || १-१८-११

On completion of the ritual, six seasons have passed by; then in the twelfth month, i.e., in chaitra-mAsa, and on the ninth day of that chaitra month [April-May], when it is punarvasunakShatrayukta-navamI tithi, i.e., when the ruling star of that ninth day is punarvasu, for which Aditi is the presiding deity; and when five of the nine planets - sUrya, kuja, guru, shukra, shani are in ucChasthAna-s, namely, when those planets are in ascension in their respective houses - meSha, makara, karkaTa, mIna, tula - rAshI-s; and when chandrayukta- guru, karkaTalagne - Jupiter in conjuction with Moon is ascendant in Cancer, and when day is advancing, Queen Kausalya gave birth to a son with all the divine attributes like lotus-red eyes, lengthy arms, roseate lips, voice like drumbeat, and who took birth to delight the Ikshwaku dynasty and adored by all the worlds, and who is the greatly blessed epitome of Vishnu, namely Rama.

There was indeed a mention about RAHU, while describing Moon eclipse in Sundara Kanda of Srimad Ramayana.

वेदीमिव परामृष्टां शान्तामग्निशिखामिव |

पौर्णमासीमिव निशां राहुग्रस्तेन्दुमण्डलाम् || ५-१९-१५

Seetha was like an altar desecrated, like a tongue of fire gone out, like a full moon night with moon devoured by Rahu.

In Sundara Kanda, there was a mention about constellations like Pushya and Shravana, etc.

सचन्द्र कुमुदम् रम्यम् सार्क कारण्डवम् शुभम् | तिष्य श्रवण कदम्बम् अभ्र शैवल शाद्वलम् || ५-५७-१

पुनर्वसु महामीनम् लोहित अन्ग महाग्रहम् | ऐरावत महाद्वीपम् स्वाती हंस विलोडितम् || ५-५७-२

वात सम्घात जात ऊर्मिम् चन्द्र अंशु शिशिर अम्बुमत् | भुजम्ग यक्ष गन्धर्व प्रबुद्ध कमल उत्पलम् || ५-५७-३

हनुमान् मारुतगतिर्महानौरिव सागरम् | अपारमपरिश्रान्तः पुप्लुवे गगनार्णवम् || ५-५७-४

Hanuma, with a rush equal to that of wind, withaut a fatigue, leapt across the baundless sea looking analogaus to sky, like a large ship crossing the ocean.

In that pleasant and auspiciaus sky-like sea, shone the moon as a white water-like sea, shone having the constellations known by the names of Pushya and Shravana as swans, the clauds as its duck-weeds; the twin constellations the Punarvasus as its large fish, the planet Mars as its large alligator, a large island as Airavata (Indra's elephant), graced with a swan in the form of the constellation, Shwati, having gales as its waves, the moon bea.ns as its cool water and with the Nagas, yakshas and Gandharvas as its full blown lotuses and water-lilies.

  • Can you edit the answer adding citations from the earliest Hindu scripture, other than Ramayana which mentions zodiac by name for the bounty.
    – user22253
    Oct 15, 2021 at 14:37

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