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 See also   Devtaa of NakshatraNakshatra in Astrology;   

Originally meant for any heavenly body, later Constellation, or Asterism, or Lunar mansions. Among all these words, Asterism comes the closest to Nakshatra. Nakshatra have an independent existence ie they are not clubbed with any month. Thus when the Moon is hovering around Ashwinee Star, in any month, it is Ashwinee Nakshatra on that day and so on. This was the system followed till about first centuries of CE, ie till the advent of the Soorya Siddhaant by Maya the Mlechchh, when Mesh, Vrish etc Raashi came into vogue.

Nakshatra is a cluster of stars, for example, the first Nakshatra Ashwinee Nakshatra is a cluster of three stars which looks like a horse. Since in Sanskrit language horse is called Ashwa it has been named as Ashwinee. And since horse represents the physical power and stamina, that is why people born under this star are always energetic, active, dynamic and full of energy. One should understand such analogy for other stars also.

Numbers and Names of Nakshatra

In Vaidik literature there is ambiguity about the number of Nakshatra, whether it is 27 or 28. 28 Nakshtra have been followed as per Atharv Ved vide Khand 19, Sookt 2, Mantra 2-5.  In Taittireeya Sanhitaa (4.4.10) 27 stars are listed; while in Tattireeya Braahman ( 28 stars, including Abhijit, are listed. In the much late Saiddhaantik Astronomy 28 stars are mentioned when dividing the ecliptic, Abhijit Nakshatra is placed between U-Aashaadh and Shravan and is identified as Star Vega (a Lyrae).

According to Hindu astrology there are 27 Nakshatra which are distributed among 12 Zodiac Signs (2 1/4 Nakshatra in one Sign). Every Nakshatra is divided in four parts, thus each sign contains parts of three Nakshatra - Nakshatra's 9 parts make one Sign, or 2 1/4 Nakshatra make one Sign.

There are 27 Nakshatra (Constellations) divided among these 12 Signs, and every constellation is made up of four Charan (feet). So each Sign is made up of 2 1/4 constellations - or 9 feet of constellations. They come in a specific sequence. The names of these Nakshatra are -

1. Ashwinee,                     2. Bharanee,                    3. Krittikaa,      4. Rohinee,           5. Mrigshiraa 
6. Aardraa,                      7. Punarvasu                    8. Pushya,         9. Aashleshaa,      10. Maghaa,
11. Poorvaa Phaalgunee      12. Uttaraa Phaalgunee     13. Hast,           14. Chitraa          15. Swaati
16. Vishaakhaa                 17. Anuraadhaa                18. Jyeshthaa    19. Mool             20. Poorv Aashaadh
21. Uttar Aashaadh          22. Abhijit,                     23. Shravan,      24. Dhanishthaa,  25. Shatabhishaa
26. Poorv Bhadraa,          27. Uttar Bhadraa,           28. Revatee

What is Abhijit Nakshatra?

In fact Abhijit Nakshatra, the 22nd one, is not a Nakshatra, but a certain time period. Some people consider Abhijit as Nakshatra, thus making 28 Nakshatra. This time period, Abhijit, is very auspicious Muhoort and it falls in day time - one Ghadee (24 minutes) before and one Ghadee after 12.00 pm. Even if the whole Panchaang is not auspicious, even then to travel during this period is very auspicious.

No Nakshatra is less than 56 Ghatee (28 Muhoort, or 22.4 hours) and more than 66 Ghatee (33 Muhoort or 26.4 hours). One Muhoort is of 48 minutes. [Naarad Puraan, p 331]

Pushya Nakshatra is a very powerful Nakshatra, even if it is in Paap Graha. Leave alone marriage, this Nakshatra gives desired fruit in all auspicious Karm.

How Do We Use Nakshatra

(1) It is one of the five parts of our Panchaang.
(2) It is used to decide the first letter of the name of the infant.
(3) It is used while match making for the boy and girl.
(4) They guide to decide how the each planet will function in somebody's astrological chart.
(5) Hindu Maalaa (rosary) to recite name of god has 108 beads. People have not reached at this number just like that. As there are 27 Nakshatra, and even each Nakshatra is divided into 4 parts for precision in forecasting the future, 27 x 4 = 108. That is why we have 108 beads in Jap Maalaa. It is believed that by completing the Jap 108 times (1 Maalaa), a person has pleased all the Devtaa of the firmament.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 01/22/13