Nakṣatra

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Naksatra, NakSatra, Nakshatra


Nakṣatra literally means ‘star’, ‘constellation’.

Significance of Nakṣatra

In the astronomy and astrology, nakṣatra is an important subject. It is the lunar mansion. It is the name of 1/27th part of the path of the moon round the earth.[1] The period of sidereal revolution of the moon is a little less than 27 days and 8 hours. Thus the moon travels through a little less than one nakṣatra[2] every day.

Reference of Nakṣatras in Literature

  • The day itself can be named after the nakṣatra occupied by the moon on that day. This system of naming seems to be very ancient since there are references to it even in the Vedas.[3]
  • The Atharvaveda[4] and the Maitrāyanīya Samhitā[5] give the names of 28 nakṣatras beginning with Kṛttikā and in this list is mentioned Abhijit also which disappears from the lists of later periods.
  • The purāṇas consider the 27 nakṣatras as the daughters of Dakṣa and married to Candra.[6]

Different Nakṣatras

The nakṣatras are:

  1. Aśvinī
  2. Bharaṇī
  3. Kṛttikā
  4. Rohiṇī
  5. Mṛgaśiras
  6. Ārdrā
  7. Punarvasu
  8. Puṣya
  9. Aśleṣa
  10. Maghā
  11. Purvaphālgunī
  12. Uttaraphālgunī
  13. Hastā
  14. Citrā
  15. Svātī
  16. Viśākhā
  17. Amurādhā
  18. Jyeṣṭhā
  19. Mulā
  20. Purvāṣāḍhā
  21. Uttarāṣāḍhā
  22. Sravaṇā
  23. Dhaniṣthā
  24. Śatabhiṣa
  25. Purva-bhādrapadā
  26. Uttara-bhādrapadā
  27. Revatī

These nakṣatras are related to the rāśis.[7]

Nakṣatras Astrologically

Astrological works classify the nakṣatras as male and female and also as puṇya[8] and pāpa.[9] In naming a new-born babe, the nakṣatra in which it was born, is taken into consideration.


References

  1. It is approximate 13.33 degrees of the sky.
  2. Nakṣatra means the cluster of stars.
  3. Ṛgveda 10.85.13
  4. Atharvaveda 14.7
  5. Maitrāyanīya Samhitā 2.13.20
  6. Candra means the Moon.
  7. Rāśis means the twelve zodiacal signs.
  8. Puṇya means beneficent.
  9. Pāpa means malefic.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore