Nakshatra

The Nakshatras   Just  like  the  Rashis,  the  Nakshatras  also  break  up  the  zodiac  into  equally  spaced  segments. There are 27 Nakshatras, each taking up 13'20". The Nakshatras are also called lunar mansions, as the Nakshatra position of the Moon is an important use of Nakshatras. Each Nakshatra has a symbol, various attributes, and a planetary ruler.     

In order to clarify the use of Nakshatras, we will first explain the major differences between the use of Rashis and Nakshtras.  

- Rashis are used to break up the chart into houses, as one Rashi corresponds to one house (the    topic of the following lesson). Nakshatras do not correspond to any house, or to anything    comparable.  
- The attributes of the Rashis are highly symmetric, with the order of male-female, and movable-   fixed- dual repeating in a consistent pattern. The attributes of the Nakshatras are not like that    at all, and their significance is not easily derived from a mathematical pattern as in the case of    the Rashis.   
- Rashis are fully responsible for the dignity of the Graha, such as being in exaltation, in    Moolatrikona    etc. Nakshatras play no role at all in determining the dignity or any other    attribute of the Grahas.  
- Rashis are used in the birth chart as well as in the divisional charts (vargas). Nakshatras are    generally only used in the birthchart, and not in the divisional charts.  
- Rashis are used in many of the strength calculations that constitute ShadBala, but Nakshatras    are not used at all.    
- The astronomically corresponding factor to a Rashi is the Solar month, whereas the Nakshatra is    closest to the lunar day. (It takes one month for the Sun to pass through one sign, and it takes    one day for the Moon to pass through one Nakshatra.)    
- Signs aspect each other. Nakshatras do not have aspects.    
- Nakshatras play a major role in the timing of the chart, and their order acts like a clock,    activating the effects of the Grahas in the chart in a very particular order.

The rashis also have a similar relationship to the Grahas, but much less emphasized/used. In general, one can say that the Rashis divide the zodiac to reveal more visible, objective aspects of the chart, and create a division of houses that represent the major areas of life where the Grahas act in.     

Nakshatras divide the zodiac to reveal a more subjective cycle that is particularly relevant to understand our awareness and perception. The qualities of the Nakshatras are mostly derived from the symbols and mythological associations indicated in the Vedas. The accuracy and validity of these derived qualities can only be verified by the practicing astrologer.     

The most wide spread use of Nakshatras is through the unique system of dashas. Dashas are planetary cycles that divide life in major time periods, and each of those time periods in sub periods. Each dasha period has a precise starting and ending date, and during that period the influence of one of the Grahas (the dasha lord) will be felt more pronounced.  Therefore, the prime use of the Nakshatras is to determine when the Rashi-based interpretations will manifest! The dasha system forms the link between our nakshatra based cycles of experience that activates our rashi based potentialThe topic on dashas will be elaborately discussed in a future chapter.     

These are the 27 nakshatras and their dasha lords: 

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For the purpose of Muhurta, the Brihat Samhita classifies the Nakshatras in some broad groups that characterize their nature. Each group is favorable for certain types of events, and these events give you a fairly good picture of the quality of that group:

Dhruva (fixed): Nakshatras  the three Uttaras and Rohini are called Dhruva or Fixed. To be used for coronations, expiatory rituals, planting of trees, laying the foundation of towns, commencement of meritorious deeds, sowing seeds and other permanent things.

Tikshna/Daruna (dreadful):  Mula, Ardra, Jyestha and Ashlesha.  These are good for success in attacks, incantations, rising of goblins, imprisonment of others, murder, separation of friends and alliance with kings and the like. So if you care for raising a goblin, wait until the Moon is in one of those nakshatras.

Ugra (Fierce):   The three Purvas (Purvaphalguni, Purvasadha and Purvabhadrapada), Bharani and Magha.  They are to be used with success in ruining enemies, destruction, deceit, and imprisoning, poisoning, arson, striking with weapons and murders and the like.

Ksipra (Swift):  Hasta, Ashwini, and Pushya (Abhijit too) are termed Ksipra or Swift.  They are beneficial for trade, sensual sports, education, decorations (or making ornaments), fine arts, skilled labor (like carpentry, smithy etc.), medical treatment, journey and the like (taking or giving loan etc.).

Mrdu (Tender): Anuradha, Chitra, Revati and Mrigasira. They are used with advantage in making friends, sexual union, use of garments and ornaments, performance of auspicious ceremonies (like marriage, Upanayana and Cudakarana) and singing.

Mrdutikshna/ Sadharana (Tender-Dreadful)  Krittika and Vishaka: These yield mixed results. Cara (Temporary) Shrvana, Dhanistha, Shatabhisa, Punarvasu and Swati. These are beneficial for emphemoral things. We will now elaborate on the details of each Nakshatra. Since there is no one, complete authentic source on Nakshatras, we have to gather our information from several sources. Parashara does not mention nakshatras for interpretive purposes at all.

The Brihat Samhita uses Nakshatras in various ways related to mundane astrology (part of the Samhita branch of Astrology). In the Brihat Jataka interpretations are given for the Moon in the various Nakshatras.  Since the Moon rules the mind and emotions, the interpretations should be read as already being adjusted for the limitation of the Moon's significations. The full significance of the Nakshatra is greater than that.

May God Bless you
Article by: Mr. Jayesh Dave
Date Write: 28 June, 2012