Vedic Astrology Nakshatra

Posted: October 13, 2014 in astrology
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NakshatraNakshatra (Sanskrit: नक्षत्र, IAST: Nakṣatra) is the term for lunar mansion in Hindu astrology. A nakshatra is one of 27 (sometimes also 28) sectors along the ecliptic. Their names are related to the most prominent asterisms in the respective sectors.
The starting point for the nakshatras is the point on the ecliptic directly opposite to the star Spica called Chitrā in Sanskrit (other slightly different definitions exist). It is called Meshādi or the “start of Aries”.[citation needed] The ecliptic is divided into each of the nakshatras eastwards starting from this point. The number of nakshatras reflects the number of days in a sidereal month (modern value: 27.32 days), the width of a nakshatra traversed by the moon in about one day. Each nakshatra is further subdivided into four quarters (or padas). These play a role in popular Hindu astrology, where each pada is associated with a syllable, conventionally chosen as the first syllable of the given name of a child born when the moon was in the corresponding pada. The nakshatras of traditional bhartiya astronomy are based on a list of 28 asterisms found in the Atharvaveda (AVŚ 19.7) and also in the Shatapatha Brahmana.[citation needed] The first astronomical text that lists them is the Vedanga Jyotisha. In classical Hindu mythology (Mahabharata, Harivamsa), the creation of the nakshatras is attributed to Daksha. They are personified as daughters of the deity and as mythological wives of Chandra, the moon god, or alternatively the daughters of Kashyapa, the brother of Daksha. Each of the nakshatras is governed as ‘lord’ by one of the nine graha in the following sequence: Ketu (South Lunar Node), Shukra (Venus), Ravi or Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Mangala (Mars), Rahu (North Lunar Node), Guru or Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shani (Saturn) and Budha (Mercury). This cycle repeats itself three times to cover all 27 nakshatras. The lord of each nakshatra determines the planetary period known as the dasha, which is considered of major importance in forecasting the life path of the individual in Hindu astrology.
In Vedic Sanskrit, the term nákṣatra may refer to any heavenly body, or to “the stars” collectively. The classical sense of “lunar mansion” is first found in the Atharvaveda, and becomes the primary meaning of the term in Classical Sanskrit.

Nakshatras in the Atharvavedaj
In the Atharvaveda (Shaunakiya recension, hymn 19.7) a list of 28 stars or asterisms is given, many of them corresponding to the later nakshatras: (1) Kṛttikā (the Pleiads), (2) Rohinī, (3) Mrigashīrsha, (4) Ārdrā, (5) Punarvasu, (6) Sūnritā, (7) Pushya, (8) Bhanu (the Sun), (9) Asleshā, (10) Maghā, (11) Svāti (Arcturus), (12) Chitrā (Spica), (13), Phalgunis, (14) Hasta, (15) Rādhas, (16) Vishākhā, (17) Anurādhā, (18) Jyeshthā, (19) Mūla, (20) Ashādhas, (21) Abhijit, (22) Sravana, (23) Sravishthās, (24) Satabhishak, (25) Proshtha-padas, (26) Revati, (27) Asvayujas, (28) Bharani. [2] Interestingly enough, the term “nakshatra” has a different meaning as demonstrated in the “Surya Siddhanta” which is an ancient text on astronomy.

Nakshatras in the AtharvavedajIn the early chapters, the author, Mayasura or Mayan, describes various time units. He writes that a “prana” is a duration of 4 seconds. He then continues with a discussion of a number of time units with progressively long durations made up of the shorter time units all composed of a number of pranas. Amongst those time units are something he calls “nakshatra.” For example, there are 15 pranas in a minute; 900 pranas in an hour; 21600 pranas in a day, 583,200 pranas in a nakshatra (month). According to Mayan, a nakshatra is a time unit with a duration of 27 days. This 27 day time cycle has been taken to mean a particular group of stars. The relationship to the stars really has to do with the periodicity with which the moon travels over time and through space past the field of the specific stars called nakshatras. Hence, the stars are more like numbers on a clock through which the hands of time pass (the moon). This concept that nakshatra means a time unit has been lost and diverted to meaning a set of stars in the sky. This concept was discovered by Dr. Jessie Mercay in her research on Surya Siddhanta. It is documented in a textbook called “Fundamentals of Mamuni Mayans Vaastu Shastras, Building Architecture of Sthapatya Veda and Traditional Indian architecture.” (Mercay, 2006 – 2012, AUM Science and Technology publishers).

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