By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Aslesa, AZlesA, AAshlesaa
Āślesā literally means ‘the embracer’.
Āśleṣā is the ninth nakṣatra (constellation of stars) in the list of 27 normally found in astronomical works. The stars of this group are eta, sigma, delta, epsilon, rho and zeta Hydrae.
It is usually classified as belonging to the rākṣasa group. Serpent is its presiding deity. It is considered as an evil nakṣatra so much so that if children are born in it, special śāntis or propitiatory rites like ‘gomukha-prasava-śānti’ are prescribed to be performed to ward off its effects. Travelling is forbidden when this nakṣatra is in the ascendant.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore