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A Nakshatra (Devanagari: नक्षत्र) or lunar mansion is one of the 27 or 28 divisions of the sky, identified by the prominent star(s) in them, that the Moon passes through during its monthly cycle, as used in Hindu astronomy and astrology. Therefore, each represents a division of the ecliptic similar to the zodiac (13°20’ each instead of the 30° for each zodiac sign). The orbit of the moon is 27.3 days, so the Moon takes approximately one day to pass through each nakshatra.

The starting point for the nakshatras is the point on the ecliptic directly opposite to the star Spica called Chitrā in Sanskrit (other slightly-different definitions exist). It is called Meshādi or the "start of Aries". The ecliptic is divided into each of the nakshatras eastwards starting from this point.

The list of Nakshatras is found in the Vedic texts (AV 19.7; Taittiriya Samhita) and also in the Shatapatha Brahmana. The first astronomy text that lists them is the Vedanga Jyotisha of Lagadha.

In Hindu mythology the Nakshastras, were invented by Daksha, and are personified as daughters of the deity and as mythological wives of Chandra, the moon god. Some even make them the daughters of Kashyapa, the brother of Daksha.

Each of the nakshatras is governed as 'lord' by one of the nine graha in the following sequence: Ketu (South Lunar Node), Shukra (Venus), Ravi or Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Mangala (Mars), Rahu (North Lunar Node), Guru or Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shani (Saturn) and Budha (Mercury). This cycle repeats itself three times to cover all 27 nakshatras. The lord of each nakshatra determines the planetary period known as the dasha , which is considered of major importance in forecasting the life path of the individual.


[edit] List of nakshatras

The following are the 27 nakshatras and their meanings, with their equivalent positions in the Indian and Western zodiacs. The corresponding regions of sky are also given, following [Basham]'s Appendix: Astronomy.

Note: Although the Indian and Western zodiac signs have a common origin, due to differences in measuring the zodiac they have diverged from each other by about 25°. Therefore in the Western zodiac 0° Aries (Mesha) corresponds to 5° Pisces (Meena) in the Indian zodiac and so on. For details, see Sidereal Astrology

[edit] Ashwini Nakshatra

Ashwini (अश्विनि) (Horse Woman)

  • Western star name : β and γArietis
  • Lord: Ketu (South lunar node)
  • Symbol : Horse's head Deity : Ashwini Kumaras, the horse-headed twins who are physicians to the gods
  • Indian zodiac: 0° - 13°20' Mesha ; Western zodiac 26° Aries - 9°20' Taurus
  • The moon in Ashvini indicates a person who is a pioneer, innovator and explorer, who is heroic, courageous, restless, impatient, with a zest for life. They have a strong desire to be of service to others. They are energetic, magnetic and attractive, and are quick in speech and actions. However, they can also be inconsiderate and irresponsible.

[edit] Bharani Nakshatra

Bharani (भरणी) (Bearer of New Life)

  • Western star name: 35, 39, and 41 Arietis
  • Lord: Shukra (Venus)
  • Symbol: Yoni, the female organ of reproduction Deity: Yama, god of death or Dharma
  • Indian zodiac: 13° 20' - 26°40' Mesha ; Western zodiac 9° 20' - 22° 40' Taurus
  • The moon in Bharani indicates a person who suffers struggles and restraint and obstacles in life. They can be resentful of these restrictions and jealous of the good fortune of others. They will inflict oppression on others, or else fight to liberate themselves and others from oppression. They are intelligent and witty and love the fine things of life, but they can also be fanatical in their beliefs, which can lead to ups and downs in life.

[edit] Kritikka Nakshatra

Krittika (क्रृत्तिका) (One Who Cuts)

  • Western star name: Pleiades
  • Lord: Ravi (Sun)
  • Symbol: Knife or spear Deity : Agni, god of fire
  • Indian zodiac: 26°40' Mesha - 10° Vrishabha ; Western zodiac 22° 40' Taurus - 6° Gemini
  • The moon in Krittika indicates a person who is sharp, penetrating, sarcastic and critical. They are proud, ambitious, determined and focused on achieving their goals. They can be crusaders against injustice, protective of others, persistent and stubborn, but also aggressive and fiery.

[edit] Rohini Nakshatra

Rohini (रोहिणी) (Red One)

  • Western star name: Aldebaran
  • Lord: Chandra (Moon)
  • Symbol: Cart or chariot, temple, banyan tree Deity : Brahma or Prajapati, the Creator
  • Indian zodiac: 10° - 23°20' Vrishabha ; Western zodiac 6° - 19°20' Gemini
  • The moon in Rohini indicates a person who is passionate, sexually seductive, elegant, attractive and charismatic. They love children, art, music and luxury, and the fine things of life, but can be snobbish, pampered, materialistic and critical of those whom they consider not up to their own standards.

[edit] Mrigasira Nakshatra

Mrigashirsha (म्रृगशीर्षा) (Head of a Deer)

  • Western star name: )λ, φ Orionis
  • Lord: Mangala (Mars)
  • Symbol: Deer's head Deity: Soma, Chandra, the Moon god
  • Indian zodiac: 23° 20' Vrishabha - 6° 40' Mithuna ; Western zodiac: 19°20' Gemini - 2°40' Cancer
  • The moon in Mrigashirsha indicates a person who is restless and nervous, and constantly searching or looking for something. They are gentle, tender and peaceful, sensual and romantic, with motherly instincts. They are always curious and so are good travellers, investigators, researchers and collectors and they make good public speakers and communicators.

[edit] Aarudra Nakshatra

Arudra (आर्द्रा) (Moist One))

  • Western star name: Betelgeuse
  • Lord: Rahu (North lunar node)
  • Symbol: Teardrop, diamond, a human head Deity : Rudra, the storm god
  • Indian zodiac: 6° 40' - 20° Mithuna ; Western zodiac: 2° 40' - 16° Cancer
  • The moon in Ardra indicates a person with sadness and destructive impulses, but also who is skilled at creating new things out of destruction and renovating old things. They are cold, calculating, stubborn and controlling, with a violent temperament, but can also be strong, stable and sympathetic personalities.

[edit] Punarvasu Nakshatra

Punarvasu (पुनर्वसु) (Return of the Light)

  • Western star name: Castor and Pollux
  • Lord: Guru (Jupiter)
  • Symbol : Bow and quiver Deity : Aditi, mother of the gods

Indian zodiac: 20° Mithuna - 3°20' Karka ; Western zodiac 16° - 29°20' Cancer

  • The moon in Purnarvasu indicates a person with strong inner resources and ability to bounce back from difficulties, and who is philosophical, religious, spiritual, likeable, charming and forgiving. They are idealistic, honest and truthful to the core and value family and the home.

[edit] Pushya Nakshatra

Pushya (पुष्य) (Nourishing)

  • Western star name: γ, δ and θ Cancri
  • Lord: Shani (Saturn)
  • Symbol : Cow's udder, lotus, arrow and circle Deity : Brihaspati, priest of the gods
  • Indian zodiac: 3°20' -16°40' Karka ; Western zodiac 29°20' Cancer - 12°40' Leo
  • The moon in Pushya indicates a person who is religious, conventional, helping, selfless, caring, intelligent and spiritual. They are usually self-sufficient and wealthy, but give service to others and the under privileged. However, they can be arrogant and superior towards those who do not share their high ideals.

[edit] Aslesha Nakshatra

Ashlesha (आश्लेषा) (The Embracer)

  • Western star name: δ, ε, η, ρ, and σ Hydrae
  • Lord: Budh (Mercury)
  • Symbol: Serpent Deity : Sarpas or Nagas,, deified snakes
  • Indian zodiac: 16°40' - 30° Karka ; Western zodiac 12°40' - 26° Leo
  • The moon in Ashlesha indicates a person is penetrating, intense, hypnotic, wise, profound and secretive. They are ambitious and full of conviction and are unable to take criticism or humiliation. They can also be crafty, devious, controlling and vengeful.

[edit] Magha Nakshatra

Magha (मघा) (The Great One)

  • Western star name:Regulus
  • Lord: Ketu (south lunar node)
  • Symbol : Royal Throne Deity : Pitris, 'The Fathers', family ancestors
  • Indian zodiac: 0° - 13°20' Simha ; Western zodiac 26° Leo - 9°20' Virgo
  • The moon is Magha indicates a person who is noble, eminent, ambitious and generous, with leadership qualities, strong and traditional values and a drive for power and wealth. They are amiable and have a positive outlook on life. They are loyal and proud of their family and ancestors, but can also be elitist and arrogant.

[edit] Purva Phalguni Nakshatra

Purva Phalguni (पूर्व फाल्गुनी) (Former Reddish One)

  • Western star name: δ and θ Leonis
  • Lord: Shukra (Venus)
  • Symbol : Front legs of bed, hammock, fig tree Deity : Bhaga, god of marital bliss and prosperity
  • Indian zodiac: 13°20' - 26°40' Simha ; Western zodiac 9°20' - 22°40' Virgo
  • The moon in Purva Phalguni indicates someone who is carefree, happy-go-lucky, attractive, sensual, affectionate, sociable, kind, generous and loyal. They are good communicators and influencers of others. They are artistic and relaxed in their approach, but can also be lazy and vain. They need to be in relationships and family life is important to them.

[edit] Uttara Phalguni Nakshatra

Uttar Phalguni (उत्तर फाल्गुनी) (Latter Reddish One)

  • Western star name: Denebola
  • Lord: Surya (Sun)
  • Symbol: Four legs of bed, hammock Deity : Aryaman, god of patronage and favours
  • Indian zodiac: 26°40' Simha- 10° Kanya ; Western zodiac 22°40' Virgo - 6° Libra
  • The moon in Uttar Phalguni indicates a person who is helpful, kind, friendly, caring, sincere and courageous. They are stable, fixed and focused in their approach to life. They need relationships and family unity, and love humanity in general. However, they can also be dependant in relationships, stubborn and controlling.

[edit] Hasta Nakshatra

Hasta (हस्त) (The Hand)

  • Western star name: α, β, γ, δ and ε Corvi
  • Lord: Chandra (Moon)
  • Symbol: Hand or fist Deity : Saviti or Surya, the Sun god

Indian zodiac: 10° - 23°20' Kanya ; Western zodiac 6° - 19°20' Libra The moon in Hasta indicates a person who is skillful with their hands, good at craftsmanship and the arts, healers and massagers. They are clever, witty, entertaining and humorous, and are good speakers and communicators. Their early life may be subject to hardship and restraints and they like routine and security. They can also be grasping and possessive.

[edit] Chitra Nakshatra

Chitra (चित्रा) (Bright One)

  • Western star name: Spica
  • Lord: Mangala (Mars)
  • Symbol: Bright jewel or pearl Deity : Tvashtar or Vishvakarma, the celestial architect
  • Indian zodiac: 23°20' Kanya - 6°40' Tula ; Western zodiac 19°20' Libra - 2°40' Scorpio
  • The moon in Chitra indicates someone with good opportunities in life, with charisma, charm, and glamor. They love bright colors, jewellery and beautiful things and are artistic. They are also spiritual and have great insight, and are good conversationalists and organizers.

[edit] Swati Nakshatra

Swati (स्वाति) (Sword or Independence)

  • Western star name: Arcturus
  • Lord: Rahu (north lunar node)
  • Symbol: Shoot of plant, coral Deity : Vayu, the Wind god
  • Indian zodiac: 6°40' - 20° Tula ; Western zodiac 2°40' - 16° Scorpio
  • The moon in Svati indicates someone who is musical, artistic, creative, intuitive and psychic. They have good business and financial skills and are good communicators. They are good learners, knowledgable, curious and flexible in their approach. They can be vulnerable but are good survivors. However, they can also be changeable, restless and fickle.

[edit] Vishakha Nakshatra

Vishakha (विशाखा) ( Fork Shaped)

  • Western star name: α, β, γ and ι Librae
  • Lord: Guru (Jupiter)
  • Symbol : Triumphal arch, potter's wheel Deity : Indira, chief of the gods; Agni, god of Fire
  • Indian zodiac: 20° Tula - 3°20' Vrishchika ; Western zodiac 16° - 29°20' Scorpio
  • The moon in Vishakha indicates a person who is purposeful, goal oriented, ambitious, competitive, opinionated, forceful and determined. They are persistent and patient, but quick witted and intelligent. They are pleasant and popular and are good communicators, but they can also be abrasive. They usually only achieve success later in life and can be jealous and envious of others.

[edit] Anuradha Nakshatra

Anuradha (अनुराधा) (Disciple of Divine Spark)

  • Western star name: β, δ and π Scorpii
  • Lord: Shani (Saturn)
  • Symbol : Triumphal archway, lotus Deity : Mitra, one of Adityas of friendship and partnership
  • Indian zodiac: 3°20' - 16°40' Vrishchika ; Western zodiac 29°20' Scorpio - 12°40' Sagittarius
  • The moon in Anuradha indicates someone who has balanced friendships and relationships and is co-operative, loving, popular, and successful. They are good leaders and organisers and are focused on their goals, but they are also good at sharing. They are sensual, and love variety and travel. They are faithful and devoted to those they love, but they can also be jealous and angry.

[edit] Jyeshtha Nakshatra

Jyeshtha (ज्येष्ठा) (The Eldest)

  • Western star name: α, σ, and τ Scorpii
  • Lord: Budh (Mercury)
  • Symbol : circular amulet, umbrella, earring Deity : Indri, chief of the gods
  • Indian zodiac: 16°40' - 30° Vrishchika ; Western zodiac 12°40' - 26° Sagittarius
  • The moon in Jyeshtha indicates a person with a sense of seniority and superiority, who is protective, responsible and a leader of their family. They are wise, profound, psychic, maybe with occult powers, and are courageous and inventive. They may experience poverty and hardship in life and can be reclusive and secretive.

[edit] Mula Nakshatra

Mula (मूल) (The Root)

  • Western star name: ε, ζ, η, θ, ι, κ, λ, υ, μ and ν Scorpii
  • Lord: Ketu (south lunar node)
  • Symbol : Bunch of roots tied together, elephant goad Deity : Niriti, god of dissolution and destruction
  • Indian zodiac: 0° - 13°20' Dhanus ; Western zodiac 26° Sagittarius - 9°20' Capricorn
  • The moon in Mula indicates a person who has a passionate desire to get to the truth and is good at investigation and research. They are direct, ardent and truthful and are shrewd and ambitious, but they can feel trapped and bound by circumstances and so feel resentment and a sense of betrayal. They can also suffer extreme reversals of fortune that may involve pain and cruelty.

[edit] Purva Ashada Nakshatra

Purva Ashadha (पूर्वाषाढ़ा) (Early Victory or The Undefeated)

  • Western star name: δ and ε Sagittarii
  • Lord: Shukra (Venus)
  • Symbol: Elephant tusk, fan, winnowing basket Deity : Apah, god of Water

Indian zodiac: 13°20' - 26°40' Dhanus ; Western zodiac 9°20' - 22°40' Capricorn

  • The moon in Purva Ashadha indicates a person who is proud, independent, and invincible with strong influence and power over others. They are ambitious and fearless, with a strong urge to better themselves. They have deep emotions and are philosophical, but they can also be confrontational, angry and harshly spoken.

[edit] Uttara Ashada Nakshatra

Uttara Ashadha (उत्तराषाढ़ा) (Latter victory or Latter Undefeated)

  • Western star name: ζ and σ Sagittarii
  • Lord: Surya (Sun)
  • Symbol : Elephant tusk, small bed Deity : Vishvedas, universal gods
  • Indian zodiac: 26°40' Dhanus - 10° Makara ; Western zodiac 22°40' Capricorn - 6° Aquarius
  • The moon in Uttara Ashadha indicates a person who enduring, invincible, patient, righteous and responsible. They have great integrity and are sincere, committed to ideals, ambitious and good leaders. They usually have success later in life and have great stamina and constancy, but they can also be rigid and unbending.

[edit] Shravana Nakshatra

Shravana (श्रवण) (Hearing)

  • Western star name: α, β and γ Aquilae
  • Lord: Chandra (Moon)
  • Symbol : Ear or Three Footprints Deity : Vishnu, preserver of universe

Indian zodiac: 10° - 23°20' Makara ; Western zodiac 6° - 19°20' Aquarius

  • The moon in Shravana indicates a person who is good at listening and learning and is on a quest for knowledge and information. They are intellectual and wise, and make good teachers and counsellors and are good at conversation, but they can also be gossipy and restless. They are interested in the past and their heritage and are extensive travellers. They can suffer troubles and disappointment early in life. They are also noted for walking with a limp or some other strange gait.

[edit] Dhanishtha Nakshatra

Dhanishta (श्रविष्ठा) (Richest One)

  • Western star name: α to δ Delphini
  • Lord: Mangala (Mars)
  • Symbol : Drum or flute Deity : Eight vasus, deities of earthly abundance
  • Indian zodiac: 23°20' Makara - 6°40' Kumbha ; Western zodiac 19°20' Aquarius - 2°40' Pisces
  • The moon in Dhanishtha indicates a person who possesses material wealth and property. They need fame and recognition and are good leaders, but they can be greedy and self absorbed. They are musical and good at dancing and like to travel. They can also experience marital difficulties.

[edit] Satabisha Nakshatra

Shatabhisha (शतभिषा) (Hundred Healers)

  • Western star name: γ Aquarii
  • Lord: Rahu (north lunar node)
  • Symbol : Empty circle, 1,000 flowers or stars Deity : Varuna, god of cosmic waters, sky and earth
  • Indian zodiac: 6°40' - 20° Kumbha ; Western zodiac 2°40' - 16° Pisces
  • The moon in Shatabhisha indicates a person who is a good healer or doctor, and who is mystical, meditative, philosophical, scientific and a visionary. However, they can also be secretive, reclusive, moody, depressed, opinionated and stubborn; and suffer setbacks in relationships and marriage as a result.

[edit] Purva Bhadrapada Nakshatra

Purva Bhadrapada (पूर्वभाद्रपदा) (Former Happy Feet)

  • Western star name: α and β Pegasi
  • Lord: Guru (Jupiter)
  • Symbol : Swords or two front legs of funeral cot, man with two faces Deity : * Ajikapada, an ancient fire dragon
  • Indian zodiac: 20° Kumbha - 3°20' Meena ; Western zodiac 16° - 29°20' Pisces
  • The moon in Purva Bhadrapada indicates a person who is passionate and transformational, but a little extreme and indulgent. They are idealists and non-conformists and are good influencers of others and speakers and orators, but they can also be fearful, nervous, cynical and eccentric. Often their life can be full of sadness and problems.

[edit] Uttara Bhadrapada Nakshatra

Uttara Bhādrapadā (उत्तरभाद्रपदा) (Latter Happy Feet)

  • Western star name: γ Pegasi and α Andromedae
  • Lord: Shani (Saturn)
  • Symbol : Twins, back legs of funeral cot, snake in the water Deity : Ahir Budhyana, serpent or dragon of the deep
  • Indian zodiac: 3°20' - 16°40' Meena ; Western zodiac 29°20' Pisces - 12°40' Aries
  • The moon in Uttara Bhadrapada indicates a person with good discipline and speaking and writing skills, who is cheerful, generous, self-sacrificing and psychic with deep insights. They generally have good wealth and inheritance and have a happy home life; but they like solitude and seclusion and can be lazy.

[edit] Revati Nakshatra

Revati (रेवती) (The Wealthy)

  • Western star name: ζ Piscium
  • Lord: Budh (Mercury)
  • Symbol : Fish or a pair of fish, drum Deity : Pushan, nourisher, the protective deity

Indian zodiac: 16°40' - 30° Meena ; Western zodiac 12°40' - 26° Aries

  • The moon in Revati indicates a person who is sweet, caring, responsible and likes to care for other people. They are sociable and love humanity and society, and are protective and nourishing of others. They are devoted to loved ones, spiritual, artistic and creative. Disappointments in their early life creates compassion and forgiveness for others, and it is said that they will reap karmic rewards in the next life for their caring actions.

An additional 28th intercalary nakshatra, Abhijit (अभिजित)(α, ε and ζ Lyrae - Vega - between Uttarasharha and Sravana), is required to compensate for the sidereal month being eight hours more than 27 days. Unlike the 13°20' range of the 27 proper nakshatras, Abhijit spans 4°14' to reflect the extra span of 7¾ hours. It sits is located between 20. Purva Ashadha and 22. Shravana. This 28th nakshatra is sometimes drawn as not on the ecliptic like the other 27; certainly its main star vega is far from the ecliptic. Abhijit is not used by all astrologers. The lord of Abhijit is Brahma

[edit] Traditional Hindu Names

Hindu astrologers (see Jyotisha) teach that when a child is born, they should be given an auspicious first name which will correspond to the child's Nakshatra. It is claimed that the benefit of this naming is that when the child hears this sound it generates the feeling of wholeness within the child. The child gains the feeling of comfort 'that mother is at home', whereas the wrong name can lead to feelings of isolation or alienation. The Moon is associated with mother, so using this sound gives the child that comfort feeling of mother.

Each birthstar has corresponding Sanskrit sounds which would belong at the beginning of such a name. These are available under each Nakshatra, listed above. The principle technique for deducing the name is to see which nakshatra the moon is in at the moment of birth; this gives four possible sounds. A refinement is to pick one sound out of that four that relates to the Pada or division of the Nakshatra. Each Nakshatra has four Padas and four sounds and each Pada is of equal width. The Nakshatra changes every 62 minutes of time and the Pada every 15 minutes.

A further refinement or opportunity is to instead use the Nakshatra that the ascendent resides in at birth. The same broad choice of sounds and Padas apply, but now the sounds change roughly every 15 minutes. The ascendent passes through all 27 Nakshatras every 24 hours, being in each one for 53 and a third minutes of time, and is in a Pada for 13 and a third minutes of time. By using the ascendent's nakshatra, instead of the moon's nakshatra leads more to comfort of the Self, rather than comfort of the mother. This second approach is only really applicable if intuitively the moon approach does not feel right.

[edit] See Also

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