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27 Nakshatras – Characteristics

27 Nakshatras – Characteristics

The Jyotish teachings of the Rig Veda tell us of the Nakshatras, or constellations which are said to represent human consciousness. There are 27 sections/Nakshatra (also known as Lunar Mansions) which correspond to the moon’s movement around the Earth in one day. The Nakshatras are the foundation of Hindu/Vedic astrology.

Akin to astronomy where a constellation represents a cluster of stars, the Nakshatras also correspond to specific groups of stars. For example, the first Nakshatra known as ‘Ashwini’ is made up of three stars and resembles a horse (the word Ashwini is obtained from the Sanskrit word Ashwa meaning horse).

nakshatras
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In Jyotish, it is said that the cosmos provides a constantly changing backdrop through which consciousness revolves. The Nakshatras are the images that appear on the backdrop. In the case of Ashwini, the backdrop is the horse constellation.

The characteristics of each of the Nakshatras merit individual discussion, as do planetary influences, life purpose and deities, for this basic introduction it is sufficient to summarize the Nakshatras key attributes as indicated in the following table:

NAKSHATRAPLANETPURPOSEANIMALDEITY
1. Ashwini – Twin HorsesKetuDharmaHorseKumar
2. Bharani – Bearer-womanVenusArthElephantYama
3. Krittika – Cutting womanSunKaamGoatAgni
4. Rohini – Red womanMoonMokshaSerpentBrahma
5. Mrigasira – Head of a deerMarsMokshaSerpentSoma
6. Ardra – Moist OneRanuKaamDogRudra
7. Punarvasu – Return of the LightJupiterArthCatAditi
8. Pushya – NourishingSaturnDharmaGoatBrihaspati
9. Ashlesha – The embracerMercuryDharmaCatAhi
10. Magha – The great oneKetuArthaRatPitragana
11. Purva Phalguni – Former reddish oneVenusKaamRatBhagya
12. Uttara Phalguni – Latter reddish oneSunMokshaCowSurya
13. Hasta – The handMoonMokshaBuffaloSavita
14. Chitra – The bright oneMarsKaamTigerVishwakarma
15. Swati – Sword or IndependenceRanuArthBuffaloPawan
16. Vishakha – Fork shaped(having branches)JupiterDharmaTigerSatragni
17. Anuradha – Disciple of divine sparkSaturnDharmaTigerMitra
18. Jyestha – The eldestMercuryArthDeerIndra
19. Moola – The RootKetuKaamDogNiriti
20. Purva Ashadha – The UndefeatedVenusMokshaMonkeyToya
21. Uttara Ashadha – latter UndefeatedSunMokshaMongooseVishwadeva
22. Sravana – HearingMoonArthMonkeyHari
23. Dhanishta – The richest oneMarsDharmaLionVasu
24. Shatabhisha – Hundred healersRanuDharmaHorseVaruna
25. Purva Bhadrapada – Former happy feetJupiterArthLionAjapada
26. Uttara Bhadrapada – Latter happy feetSaturnKaamCowAbhihbadhnu
27. Revati – The wealthyMercuryMokshaElephantPushan

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