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Friday, November 11, 2011

The Nakshatras

The Nakshatras      Just  like  the  Rashis,  the  Nakshatras  also  break  up  the  zodiac  into  equally  spaced  segments.  There  are  27 Nakshatras, each taking up 13'20". The Nakshatras are also called Lunar mansions, as the Nakshatra position of the Moon is an important use of Nakshatras.
Each Nakshatra has a symbol, various attributes, and a planetary ruler.      In order to clarify the use of Nakshatras, we will first explain the major differences between the use of Rashis and Nakshtras.   
 Rashis are used to break up the chart into houses, as one Rashi corresponds to one house (the topic of the following lesson). Nakshatras do not correspond to any house, or to anything comparable.     - The attributes of the Rashis are highly symmetric, with the order of male-female, and movable-fixed-dual repeating in a consistent pattern. The attributes of the Nakshatras are not like that at all, and their significance is not easily derived from a mathematical pattern as in the case of the Rashis.  
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Rashis are fully responsible for the dignity of the Graha, such as being in exaltation, in Moolatrikona etc. Nakshatras play no role at all in determining the dignity or any other attribute of the Grahas.     -
Rashis are used in the birth chart as well as in the divisional charts (vargas). Nakshatras are generally only used in the birth chart, and not in the divisional charts.     -
Rashis are used in many of the strength calculations that constitute ShadBala, but Nakshatras are not used at all.     -
The astronomically corresponding factor to a Rashi is the Solar month, whereas the Nakshatra is closest to the lunar day. (It takes one month for the Sun to pass through one sign, and it takes one day for the Moon to pass through one Nakshatra.)     -
Signs aspect each other. Nakshatras do not have aspects.     -
Nakshatras play a major role in the timing of the chart, and their order acts like a clock, activating the effects of the Grahas in the chart in a very particular order.
The rashis also have a similar relationship to the Grahas, but much less emphasized/used.    
 In general, one can say that the Rashis divide the zodiac to reveal more visible, objective aspects of the chart, and create a division of houses that represent the major areas of life where the Grahas act in.     
Nakshatras divide the zodiac to reveal a more subjective cycle that is particularly relevant to understand our awareness and perception.     
The qualities of the Nakshatras are mostly derived from the symbols and mythological associations indicated in the Vedas. The accuracy and validity of these derived qualities can only be verified by the practicing astrologer.     
The most wide spread use of Nakshatras is through the unique system of dashas. Dashas are planetary cycles that divide life in major time periods, and each of those time periods in sub periods. Each dasha period has a precise starting and ending date, and during that period the influence of one of the Grahas (the dasha lord) will be felt more pronounced.     
Therefore, the prime use of the Nakshatras is to determine when the Rashi-based interpretations will manifest! The dasha system forms the link between our nakshatra based cycle of experience that activates our rashi based potential.      For example, suppose your first dasha cycle will be  of Rahu, so your initial experience in life will be  strongly directed by Rahu. To know what that means in concrete terms, you have to analyze it's Rashi based position;
  These are the 27 nakshatras and their dasha lords:
      1. Ashwini       2. Bharani       3. Krittika       4. Rohini       5. Mrigashira       6. Ardra       7. Punarvasu       8. Pusya       9. Ashlesha     10. Magha     11. Poorva Phalguni     12. Uttara Phalguni     13. Hasta     14. Chitra     15. Swati     16. Vishaka     17. Anuradha     18. Jyestha     19. Moola     20. Poorvashadha     21. Uttarashadha     22. Shravana     23. Dhanishta     24. Shatabisha     25. Poorvabhadrapada     26. Uttarabhadrapada     27. Revati    
 For the purpose of Muhurta, the Brihat Samhita classifies the Nakshatras in some broad groups that characterize their nature. Each group is favorable for certain types of events, and these events give you a fairly good picture of the quality of that group: Dhruva (fixed) Nakshatras     The three Uttaras and Rohini are called Dhruva or Fixed. To be used for  coronations, expiatory rituals, planting of trees, laying the foundation of towns, commencement of meritorious deeds, sowing seeds and other permanent things.

Tikshna/Daruna (dreadful):     Mula, Ardra, Jyestha and Ashlesha.  These are good for success in attacks, incantations, raising of goblins, imprisonment of others, murder, separation of friends and alliance with kings and the like. So if you care for raising a goblin, wait until the Moon is in one of those nakshatras.

Ugra (Fierce)     The three Purvas (Purvaphalguni, Purvasadha and Purvabhadrapada), Bharani and Magha.  They are to be used with success in ruining enemies, destruction, deceit, imprisoning, poisoning, arson, striking with weapons and murders and the like.
Ksipra (Swift)     Hasta, Ashwini, and Pushya (Abhijit too) are termed Ksipra or Swift.  They are beneficial for trade, sensual sports, education, decorations (or making ornaments), fine arts, skilled labor (like carpentry, smithy etc.), medical treatment, journey and the like (taking or giving loan etc.).

Mridu (Tender)     Anuradha, Chitra, Revati and Mrigasira. They are used with advantage in making friends, sexual union, use of garments and ornaments, performance of auspicious ceremonies (like marriage, Upanayana and Cudakarana) and singing.

Mrdutikshna/ Sadharana (Tender-Dreadful)     Krittika and Vishaka. These yield mixed results. Cara (Temporary)     Shrvana, Dhanistha, Shatabhisa, Punarvasu and Swati. These are beneficial for emphemoral things. 

(Parashara does not mention nakshatras for interpretive purposes at all.
The Brihat Samhita uses Nakshatras in various ways related to mundane astrology (part of the Samhita branch of Astrology).
In the Brihat Jataka interpretations are given for the Moon in the various Nakshatras.  Since the Moon rules the mind and emotions, the interpretations should be read as already being adjusted for the limitation of the Moon's significations. The full significance of the Nakshatra is greater than that.)

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