From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
By Swami Harshananda
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. 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 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.
- The Atharvaveda and the Maitrāyanīya Samhitā 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.
The nakṣatras are:
These nakṣatras are related to the rāśis.
Astrological works classify the nakṣatras as male and female and also as puṇya and pāpa. In naming a new-born babe, the nakṣatra in which it was born, is taken into consideration.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore