Nakshatra Division

Nakṣatra Maṇḍala Courtesy Freedom Cole

नमस्कार | Nakshatra Mandala defined including calculation of Abhijit 28th Nakshatra

God has decorated the heavens with constellations like pearls on dark steed. The light of the Sun hides them in the day, and all knowledge of them is divined in the darkens of the night’
Maharishi Parasara, Rig-Veda

Vedic Astrology is the science of study of time and space and its effect on the entire life and activities of earth which revolves the two principle luminaries viz., the Sun and the Moon. This ancient study of vedic astrology known as “Jyotish”. When transliterated, it is known as the study of Jyoti meaning light which comes naturally from the Sun.  this ancient science of Jyotish comprises of three major branches viz, (i) Hora Shastra – the study of time.  The word “Hora” has been derived from two words – “Aho” meaning day and “Ratra” meaning night; (ii) Ganita Shastra – the study of mathematical part of astrology and astronomy; and (iii) Gola Shastra – the study of astronomy, which included observation and analysis of stellar effects and the effects of the motion of planets in the solar system.
Before venturing into subdivisions, it is worth while to know the primary divisions. The first divisions was by means of the lunar mansions or Nakshetra’s (lit Na – synonym for Moon + Kshetra – Mansion) which finds mentions even in the Rig-Veda. The Moons transit of the sidereal (fixed) zodiac approximately takes 27 days and 7 ¾ hours, based on which the zodiac of 3600 was divided into 27 nakshetras, (each 130 20’ of arc) Each Nakshatra was identified with a star, (or star cluster) and derived its name from it. The 7 ¾ hour shortfall in a sidereal lunar transit was made up by a short-span intercalary (hypothetical) Nakshatra called Abhijit. The Sun, being the cause of all life and existence, was identified with Divinity and is the Atmakaraka and represents Parambrahman. Its transit through the lunar mansions was observed both in shape formed by stars within the constellation as well as in relation to the natural phenomena by the Vedic seers for determining their names, characteristics and identifying the form and mood of God. This became the basis of the nomenclature of the asterisms and the natural phenomena became the basis of symbolically representing the mood of God.

Abhijit, the 28th Nakshatra

The span of Abhijit is determined proportionally as (7h 38min / 24 hrs) x 130 20’ = 40 14’ 13″. This span is from 2760 40’ to 2800 54″ 13″overlapping the 21st Nakshetra (Uttarasadha).
Abhijit (Lorded by Mahavisnu) indicates the direction in which the Sun (i.e. solar system) is precessing in the universe. Hence it represents the eye. (Chakshyur) of the zodiac. Aratus, a Greek Astronomer, opined that Hercules (derived from Hari-kulesa i.e. Vishnu) the celestial constellation was a stranger. Thus, Hercules is the Greek name for Abhijit. This Vishnu Gayatri teaches that the Sun which is the significator of the individual soul (Microcosm) has the universal goal of and is constantly moving towards Narayana (Mahavisnu), the Creator and the Universal Soul (Macrocosm).

Details of nomenclature, span, natural name (God) of nakshetras can be seen in any standard text. The predominant natural phenomena when the Sun transits sidereal Krittika (i.e. 260 40’ to 400) is the burning heat of Indian summer and the name of God identified with this constellation is Agni (Fire). Similarly, the storm God ‘ Rudra’ presides over Ardra constellation.

The observation and studies by our ancient astronomers (Gola Shastra-gynas) further revealed that even within this arc of 13 degrees 20′ each there used to be further constant changes prompting them to divide even this arc of 13 degrees 20′ into four quarters of 3 degrees 20′ each. These four quarters were then symbolized to represent specific characteristic features of the rulership of the Stars. I would like to deal with these characteristic features and influence of each planet when placed in a particular Asterism at the Rising Point (the precise point of the zodiac found rising at the exact time of birth which is fixed on the basis of the placement of Moon at the time of birth) in a running series covering all the 27 Nakshatras in the subsequent issues.

The rulership of each of these 13 degrees 20′ of the arc begin from zero degrees Aries to 13 degrees 20′ ruled by the first Star – Ashwini, and goes on till the end of Pisces (360 degrees of the zodiac) where the last arc of 13 degrees 20′ is ruled by the Star Revathi. The 27 Nakshatras and their rulership, together with the Lordship of planets (fixed on the basis of attributes), is detailed below in the table.

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