Jyotishacharya Shastri Pundit Roshan Singh – AIFAS (India)
As per Vedic astrology, Nakshatra is the term people use for the lunar mansion. It is so because the planet Moon places itself in a Nakshatra for about one day. Therefore, each lunar mansion is about 13°20’ in length. Moreover, they are further divided into four quarters called Pada. Each pada is about 3°20’ long.
It is believed, according to Vedic astrology, that lunar constellations or Nakshatras form an association with the natal symbols of the Moon. Because of that, the Moon takes 28 days to move in each zodiac sign and stays there for 2.3 days. Also, Moon is known as the ruler of the Nakshatras. Therefore, it looks after the planetary positions, being responsible for predicting the life of each individual in a variable manner.
In astrology, these Nakshatras play a significant role. The ancient texts say that Nakshatra is taken from the word Naksha, meaning map, and Tara is a star. And the full meaning of the word Nakshatra tends to be the map of stars. History also reveals that the earliest introduction of Nakshatras is in the Rig Veda. However, you shall find the entire list of the 27 constellations in the Yajurveda and the Atharva Veda.
How can you determine your Nakshatra?
For knowing which Nakshatra you belong to, you need your accurate birth details— the exact date of birth with year, place of birth, and exact time. When you shall provide these details to an astrologer, they shall effortlessly check the position of the Moon on the given birth details and let you know the constellation you belong to.
So, during your birth, where your Moon would have been will be your respective Nakshatra. Moreover, the role of your horoscope would be vital too. It provides additional details about you regarding the position of the Sun and Moon during your birth hours. Looking at that prospect is vital because it provides a detailed insight into your well-being, characteristics, etc.
The 27 Nakshatras in Vedic astrology
One can divide Nakshatras into various categories, depending on their attributes, the planet that rules them, and much more.
There is also a 28th Nakshatra, which astrologers take into consideration. It is the Abhijit Nakshatra. Sun is the ruler of this constellation, and the deity that governs it is Lord Brahma.
The mythological tale behind the Nakshatras
As per Hindu mythology, it is believed that there was a King Dakshan who had 27 daughters. Moon married all the 27 daughters (the Nakshatras). However, Moon had a strong drift towards one of his queens more than others— Rohini. As per astrology, Rohini is known as the exaltation point of the Moon. Because of the same reason, the other 26 wives of Moon complained to the King. Regardless of the repeated request of the King, Moon didn’t change his nature. It made the King angry, and he cursed the Moon, making it shrink in the size.
This led to the waning of the Moon. Seeing the consequences, the other deities requested the King to take his curse back and promised him that Moon would visit each of his daughters equally to spend time with them. Because the King cannot draw his curse off completely, he mentioned a remedy to the Moon. He mentioned that in half a month he would be able to restore his strength.
This is the reason why we have Purnima and Amavasya, and the Moon stays in each Nakshatra for an equal amount of time, completing his zodiac orbit in the month.
Pada in Nakshatras
As we know that there are 27 constellations. These stars divide into four parts known as the Padas. These padas have the traits of the zodiac signs, beginning with the first zodiac sign— Aries. So, we can assume that the Pada is the most integrated system that Naksahtras follow involving the zodiac signs.
In every 3 constellations, there are 12 padas. As each pada illustrates one zodiac sign in a trio of three constellations, we shall see all the zodiac signs in the form of pada signs.
As we know that each zodiac sign covers approximately 2.25 parts of the zodiac signs. It makes the count of the pada to 4+1, i.e., 9 Padas. Padas provide information regarding the soul of the person. Also, it holds information as equal to a zodiac sign.
Characteristics of Nakshatra
The symbolism of the constellation in Vedic astrology is affluent indeed. Nakshatra corresponds closely with the planets, deity, and aim of life, guna, and deity. Moreover, it also relates to the caste, sex, dosha, element, temperament, animal, wind direction, etc. When interpreting Nakshatras, all these pointers are considered in detail.
As per astrology, constellations are divided into two categories or sexes, the male Nakshatras and the female Nakshatras. Generally, male ones are more enthusiastic and active than female ones.
- Ashwini, Bharani, Pushya, Ashlesha, Magha, Uttara Phalguni, Swati, Jyeshta, Mula, Purvashadha, Uttarashadha, Shravana, and Purva Bhadrapada are considered Male constellations.
- On the other hand, Female Nakshatras are: Krittika, Rohini, Mrigashirsha, Ardra, Punarvasu, Purva Phalguni, Hasta, Chitra, Vishakha, Anuradha, Dhanistha, Shatabhishak, Uttara Bhadrapada and Revati are the female Nakshatras.
When we see this prospect of Nakshatra, we shall notice three sub-categories. Deva, Manushya, and Rakshasa.
- The Deva Nakshatras are Ashwini, Mrigashirsha, Punarvasu, Pushya, Hasta, Swati, Anuradha, and Revati.
- The Manushya Nakshatras are Bharani, Rohini, Ardra, Shravana, and the Purva and Uttara Nakshatras.
- In the category of Rakshasa Nakshatras lies the Krittika, Ashlesha, Magha, Chitra, Vishakha, Jyestha, Mula, Dhanistha, and Shatabhishak Nakshatras.
People who possess more of their planets in the Nakshatra tend to be harsh people. However, those who possess more of their planets in the Deva constellation are soft in nature.
Constellations in Vedic astrology also have a close connection with the animals. Knowing which ascendant you belong to, you can figure out the totem animal you shall have. Also, one can meditate on their particular animal and look to its traits as somewhere down the line, you shall know more about yourself with this. So, as per the Nakshatra science, each one belongs to a different animal, which helps to illustrate in detail the kind of being you shall be.
In Nakshatra, there are three kinds of guna (energy). Each Nakshatra in Vedic astrology represents a certain guna of the individual. But, it doesn’t occur on a single level but on three different levels.
- The first one is the Rajas. It illustrates the sparking energy which possesses the capacity to incarnate the world. Under the same lies nine stars in astrology and the first four zodiac signs, i.e., Aries, Taurus, Gemini, and Cancer.
- Next comes the Tamas. It represents the soul that enters the world and involves itself in materiality. Basically, we can say that Tamas is all about materialism. It also involves the nine lunar mansions. And zodiac signs Leo, Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio form the Tamas.
- The last guna is Sattva. It is the guna of liberation and defines the concept of going much beyond materialism and its roots. The last set also has nine Nakshatras, and zodiac signs Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces compose this guna.
How are Nakshatras different from Zodiac Signs?
If you would split the sky into twelve different parts, you shall call these 12 divisions as Zodiac signs. However, if you divide the same into 27 equal divisions, the term would be Nakshatra. During the division, each zodiac sign covers a zone of 30° from the circle of 360°. However, each Nakshatra covers 13.33° (approximately).
In other words, we can say that Nakshatras are a smaller part of the twelve zodiac signs we have in astrology. So, from Aries to Pisces, 2.25 parts (approx) of each Nakshatra comes under each zodiac sign.
The four aims of life and the Nakshatras
Our life consists of four aims— Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Mosha. By looking at the position of the Nakshatra in the planets, one can figure out the main aim of the life of an individual.
- Dharma basically illustrates what you do or are supposed to do. It depicts the fulfilment of your soul with everyday work and activities.
- Next is Artha. It illustrates the wealth and income so you feel fulfilment regarding your food and shelter.
- The third one is the Kama. It represents your wanting to go after any desire.
- Last is the Moksha, which depicts the liberation of your soul.
An interesting fact is that each aim of life represents an element in astrology. The Dharma shows a strong connection with the fire, Artha with earth, and Kama and Moksha with water.
Importance of Nakshatra in astrology
In Vedic astrology, analysis of Nakshatra is very important. It is generally responsible to figure out how an individual thinks, understands, or perceives life. Moreover, with the help of these Nakshatras, you can also figure out the Dasha period in your horoscope.
Other than these, Nakshatra is important in a number of ways. Let us see that:
- For astrological predictions and accurate analysis, astrologers take the help of the Nakshatra readings. It is because Nakshatras involve the use of zodiac signs and possess a ruling deity. Plus, it also helps to understand a number of traits and characteristics of an individual.
- These stars in astrology have their own power and energy. Seeking the blessing of the nine lords in astrology, they have their own importance in astrological analysis.
- Along with this, Nakshatras also illustrates the abodes in which the results of our Karmas are stored and transferred.
- Nakshatras also play a vital role in understanding an individual’s traits and helping to determine the essential points of his ambitions and energy.
- During Kundli matching, astrologers consider the Nakshatras as an extremely significant thing. It helps them understand the compatibility that the couple shall have in marriage. Also, it helps them know how prosperous the life of the couple would be in the future.
In all, Nakshatras have immense importance in Vedic astrology. It helps people understand the traits and personality of the person and calculate the major phase (Dasha) they shall have, clearing some main points in the birth chart.