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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Krttika, KRttikA, Krrittikaa

Kṛttikā is a nakṣatra or asterism. It is third in the series of 27 nakṣatras. It is actually a group of six stars known as the pleiades. Persons born under this nakṣatra are considered as demoniacal in nature.

These six stars are described in the purāṇas as six goddesses who simultaneously suckled the baby Subrahmaṇya who assumed six heads. Hence he came to be known as Saṇmukha or the Six faced one.

As per the Taittiriya Samhitā and the Atharvaveda, this nakṣatra was the first in the series. Some scholars have therefore attempted to fix the date of the Vedic Samhitās on the assumption that the vernal equinox occurred at that time when the sun was in Kṛttikā.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore