Introduction to Nakshatras
© Sarajit Poddar
The nakshatras are the apparently fixed bodiesin the Zodiac, where the planetary systemmoves with them placed in the background.Among the Rasi and the nakshatras, theformer is overlorded by the Sun, whereas thelatter is overlorded by Moon. This implies thatthe Rasi shows the environment we would beplaced with at different times in our life andwhat we get out of it, on the other hand, thenakshatras govern the different state of mindwe shall be having at various times. Even theactual events are important in our life, taking aperson-centric view point; our reactions tothem also matter equally. Hence the study of the nakshatras is well warranted. There are two nakshatra schemes, one of which uses 27 Nakshatras and the other uses28 nakshatras, which include the AbhijitNakshatra, an intercalary nakshatra. Both theschemes are useful in their own right. While 27nakshatra scheme is used for all day toanalysis, such as analysis of birth chart,analysis of dasas, using Navatara chakra etc;the 28 nakshatra scheme is used for analysisof few chakras such as sarvatobhadra chakra,the sannadi chakra etc. The Nakshatras arereckoned from beginning with Aries whichcoincides with the beginning of Ashwini. There are four padas (quarters) of eachnakshatra, each measuring 3d 20m makingthe total duration of the nakshatra to be 13d20m. Thus there are 108 padas across thezodiac and each map to 1 Navamsa. However,since the duration of 1 sign is 30 degrees, thenakshatra cannot be mapped exactly on theRasis. However, it is interesting to see that 9nakshatras can be mapped to 4 Rasis. Fromthis we can derive the basis of dividing thezodiac of 12 Rasis and 27 nakshatras into 3parts each measuring 120 degrees. This is thebasis for the Navatara Chakra, where thenakshatras are divided into three groups of 9each, starting either from the Janma or LagnaNakshatra. While we see the mapping of the 9 Nakshatrason 4 Rasis, we see that there are fewnakshatras which would fall across two Rasissuch as Krittika, which falls in Aries and Taurus; Mrgashiras, which falls across Taurusand Gemini and so on. There are others whichwould fall in 1 rasi such as Ashwini, Bharani,Rohini etc. Even though this looks haphazardand erratic, there is a hidden meaning behindit. To understand the meaning, we need toknow the tattvas (primordial elements) rulingthe Rasis and the Nakshatra padas. Beginningfrom Aries, the Rasis are ruled by Fire, Earth,Air and Water in a cyclical manner. Thus Aries,Leo and Sagittarius are the fiery signs; Taurus,Virgo & Capricorn are the earthy signs and soon. This is the same pattern which repeats forthe nakshatra padas, which means that thefirst pada is governed by fire element, 2nd byearth, 3rd by air and the 4th by water. Thiscycle repeats across the nakshatras. The beauty of the mapping of the Nakshatrawith the rasi is that, among the 9 nakshatrapadas which fall in a rasi, the tattva of the firstand the last pada belongs to the tattva of thesign. So the first and last pada of Aries wouldbe Fiery, the first and last pada of Tauruswould be Earthy and so on. Seeing this fromanother perspective, the while seen amongthe three groups of 4 signs (starting fromAries, Leo and Sagittarius), the 1st sign startsfrom 1st pada of a nakshatra and ends withthe 1st pada of a nakshatra (for example, Ariesstarts with 1st pada of Ashwini and ends withthe 1st pada of Krittika). Similarly, the 2ndsign (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) start with 2ndpada of a nakshatra and end with the 2ndpada of another nakshatra (for example, Taurus starts with 2nd pada of Krittika andends with 2nd pada of Mrgashiras); 3rd signGemini starts with 3rd pada of Mrgashiras andends with 3rd pada of Punarvasu and the 4thsign Cancer start with 4th pada of Punarvasuand end with 4th pada of Aslesha. The lordship of each cycle of 9 nakshatras, asper Vimshottari dasa scheme, starting fromAshwini is Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury. It is worthy to notethat the 3 of the 9 nakshatras, which fall in the junction of signs (rasi sandhi), are ruled bySun, Mars and Jupiter, the three best friendson the Deva's side! The other Nakshatraswhich fall inside the signs are ruled by Ketu,Venus, Moon, Rahu, Saturn & Mercury. Whatcan be made out of these two categories of the planets?
Classification of NakshatraFixed Nakshatras
Rohini, Uttar-phalguni, Uttar-ashadha andUttar-bhadrapada are supposed to be fixednakshatras and they are favourable foractivities which are related to establishingsomething permanent such as coronations,laying the foundations of cities, sowingoperations, planting trees.
Chitta, Anuradha, Mrigasira and Revati are softnakshatras. They are favourable for soft orartistic activities such as wearing new apparel,learning dancing, music and fine arts, sexualunion and performance of auspiciousceremonies.
Ashwini, Pushya, Hasta and Abhijit are lightnakshatras, and they are favourable for lightand sportive activities such as puttingornamentation, pleasures and sports,administering medicine, starting industries andundertaking travels.
Moola, Jyestha, Ardra and Aslesha are sharpnakshatras in nature and they are favourablefor sharp, piercing and painful activities suchas incantations, invoking spirits, forimprisonment, murders, and separation of friends.