Shaktis of the Nakshatras

This is a key article by David Frawley on the Nakshtras and how to use them, widely circulated and used, including as a predictive tool.

Each Nakshatra has its particular power or Shakti. These are also the powers of the Devatas or the deities ruling the Nakshatras. Each of these Shaktis has its effect above and its effect below, and the final result of these three factors. The imagery is of common factors of plants, healing, worship, marriage and death.

This is a teaching that derives from an ancient Vedic text called Taittiriya Brahmana I.5.1 and from the commentary of Bhattabhaskara Mishra. The first paragraph relates to the textual reference. The second paragraph consists of my own comments based upon it.

Ashwini

Ashwini is govern by the Ashwins, the twin horsemen. It has the power to quickly reach things (shidhra vyapani shakti). Its basis above are the creatures to be healed. Its basis below is the healing therapies. From these three the entire world becomes free of disease.

Ashwini Nakshatra brings about quick aid and energization. The healing power of Ashwini is evident from these comments, particularly their ability to bring about fast, radical or miraculous cures as well as rejuvenation. The Ashwins are forces of Prana or the life-force, which is quick in its action to stimulate, help, and initiate a new level of activity.

Bharani

Bharani is ruled by Yama, the God of Death. It has the power to take things away (apabharani shakti). Its basis above is the removal of life from the body. Its basis below is the carrying of the soul to the realm of the ancestors. By the combination of these three factors creatures move on to the next world.

Bharani Nakshatra takes away that which has reached its term of life to a new condition. It shows the movement of the soul away from the body. Yama guides the soul to the astral plane, where it can experience the result of its karma from the present life and prepare for the life to come. Yama is a figure of discipline and sacrifice.

Krittika

Krittika is ruled by Agni, the God of Fire. It has the power to burn (dahana shakti). Its basis above is heat and below is light. The result of these three is burning or purification.

Krittika Nakshatra burns up negativity, purifies what is mixed, and cooks or prepares that which is not yet ripe. Agni is mainly the God of the sacred fire, so purification is perhaps the dominant action, not destruction, though purification does involve the destruction of impurity. Agni is also the fire that cooks our food and so there is a nourishing side to its effects as well. This fire has a childlike nature.

Rohini

Rohini is ruled by Prajapati, the Creator. Its power is growth (rohana shakti). Its basis above is the plants and below is the waters. The result of these three is creation.

Rohini Nakshatra allows for growth and creation on all levels, bestowing great fertility. However it also evokes some degree of jealousy because others may resent that a person gains such abundance. More over it can increase desire. But these are only side effects to its great prosperity. Prajapati is the creator who can bestow everything so we should be careful what we want.

Mrigashirsha

Mrigashirsha is ruled by Soma, the God of the Moon or the immortal nectar. Its power is giving fulfillment (prinana shakti). Its basis above is extension. Its basis below weaving (producing clothing). These three together make the world enjoyable.

Mrigashirsha Nakshatra fills or covers with joy. It is like a beautiful cloth to make our life more attractive. Soma is a great enjoyment that is won, conquered, bought or stolen, so its procurement does not always come easily. However what does not require effort to gain is not always enjoyed either.

Ardra

Ardra is ruled by Rudra, the fierce form of Lord Shiva who represents thunder. Its power is effort (yatna shakti), particularly for making gains in life. Its basis above is hunting or searching. Its basis below is reaching the goal. These three bring about achievement.

Ardra Nakshatra arouses us to greater effort in life. This struggle can bring great rewards but not without persistence and a degree of luck. Rudra is the hunter and the wielder of the bow. The idea here also suggests placing of the arrow and hitting the target. For this one must have a good aim, as well as strength to shoot. Rudra is also the lord of wild animals.

Punarvasu

Punarvasu is ruled by Aditi, the Great Mother Goddess. Its power is the ability to gain wealth or substance (vasutva prapana shakti). Its basis above is the wind or air. Its basis below is wetness or rain. These three bring about the revitalization of the plants.

Punarvasu Nakshatra brings about the return of energy and vitality, like the return of the monsoon rains after the dry season. It causes our creative growths and inspirations to be renewed. Aditi is the Earth Goddess who grants all abundance and gives birth to all the Gods.

Pushya

Pushya is ruled by Brihaspati, the God of Divine wisdom. Its power is the ability to create spiritual energy (brahmavarchasa shakti). Its basis above is sacrificial worship. Its basis below is the worshipper. These three result in the creation of spiritual energy.

Pushya Nakshatra increases our good karma and good efforts. The value of this Nakshatra for religious and spiritual practices is emphasized. Brihaspati is the lord of speech, particularly prayer, and of all forms of worship, including meditation, so these indications are all in harmony with his functions.

Aslesha

Aslesha is ruled by the serpent God. It has the power to inflict with poison (visasleshana shakti). Its basis above is the approach of the serpent. Its basis below is trembling and agitation. These three together bring about destruction of the victim.

Aslesha Nakshatra paralyzes the enemy. This can be helpful if we have enemies but it can serve to give a person an inimical temperament as well. It all depends upon how the energy of this Nakshatra is used. Serpents also give wisdom, but a practical wisdom through which one can overcome enemies and obstacles.

Magha

Magha is ruled by the Ancestors. It gives the power of to leave the body (tyage kshepani shakti). Its basis above is mourning. Its basis below is leaving the body. These three together bring about death.

Magha Nakshatra causes a change of state or condition, a kind of death. Usually it shows that we are coming to the end of a cycle. Its condition is prior to that of Bharani which indicates the movement of the soul away from the body. Of course there are higher meanings of this Nakshatra relative to Ancestors including ancestral pride and power.

Purva Phalguni

Purva Phalguni in the Vedic order is ruled by Aryaman, the God of contracts and unions. It gives the power of procreation (prajanana shakti). Its basis above is the wife or female partner. Its basis below is the male or masculine partner. These three together bring about the creation of the fetus.

Purva Phalguni brings about union and procreation on all levels. Yet this follows some official agreement or marriage and is part of the creation of a new family or social order. Aryaman governs such productive alliances and also arranges the marriage festival.

Uttara Phalguni

Uttara Phalguni in the Vedic order is ruled by Bhaga, the God of happiness. Its power the giving of accumulation or prosperity (chayani shakti) through marriage or union. Its basis above is the wealth gained from ones own family. Its basis below is the wealth gained from ones partner and her family. These three together bring about the accumulation of wealth.

Uttara Phalguni brings the prosperity that results through union. It indicates both the need for union and for organizing the resources gained through it. Bhaga is also a God of wealth who brings about the right apportionment of resources. While the previous Nakshatra shows marriage this shows the setting up of the household for the newly married couple.

Hasta

Hasta is ruled by Savitar, the creative form of the Sun God. Its power is the ability to gain what we are seeking and place it in our own hands (hasta sthapaniya agama shakti). Its basis above is the seeking of gain. Its basis below is the process of gaining. These three together place what one wishes to gain in ones own hand.

Hasta gives the ability to achieve our goals in a complete and immediate manner. Such goals are usually creative in nature. Savitar is the creative will that builds up the universe with all of its beauty. His productions are most wonderful.

Chitra

Chitra is ruled by Twashtar, the Cosmic craftsman. Its power is ability to accumulate merit in life (punya cayani shakti). Its basis above is the law. Its basis below is the truth. Through these three the worker is able to gain honor in his work.

Chitra allows us to gain the fruit of our good karma that comes through righteousness. It has a highly spiritual energy and effect. Twashtar creates enduring forms, like a blacksmith, and also produces variety and abundance.

Swati

Swati is ruled by Vayu, the God of the Wind. It gives the power to scatter like the wind (pradhvamsa shakti). Its basis above is moving in various directions. Its basis below is change of form. The result of these three is transformation.

Swati Nakshatra causes things to move and scatter. This can be destructive unless we learn how to use it to remove negativity. All these indications are basically those of the Wind, which has both healing and destructive powers.

Vishakha

Vishakha is ruled by Indra and Agni, who represent the powers of heat and lightning in the Atmosphere. It gives the power to achieve many and various fruits in life (vyapana shakti). Its basis above is plowing or cultivation. Its basis below is the harvest. These three gives us the fruit of the harvest.

Vishakha provides the effort to achieve our goals abundantly through time, like a farmer plowing his field. It does not give immediate results but perhaps greater long term gains. Indra and Agni here are agriculture Gods showing the ripening effect of heat, rain and seasonal changes.

Anuradha

Anuradha is ruled by Mitra, the Divine Friend. It gives the power of worship (radhana shakti). Its basis above is ascension. Its basis below is descension. From these three honor and abundance is gained.

Anuradha Nakshatra gives balance in relationship, both honoring others and seeking ourselves to be honorable, through which we acquire fame and recognition. Mitra indicates compassion, devotion and right relationship.

Jyeshta

Jyeshta is ruled by Indra, the ruler of the Gods. It has the power to rise or conquer, and gain courage in battle (arohana shakti). Its basis above is attack and its basis below is defense. The result of these three is that one becomes a hero.

Jyeshta allows us to reach the summit of our personal powers but it requires great courage and effort. It shows karmic battles that require our complete energization in order to overcome. Indra is the king of the Gods who must eventually alone and single handed defeat the dragon, the most fearful of serpents. Though his position looks hopeless, he wins by courage and cunning, not by strength of arms.

Mula

Mula is ruled by Nirriti, the Goddess of destruction. It has the power to ruin or destroy. Its basis above is breaking things apart (barhana shakti). Its basis below is crushing things. Through these three one gains the power to destroy destruction.

In bringing afflictions Mula Nakshatra allows us to destroy their root, as long as they don’t overcome us. It shows the necessary destruction to proceed a new creation. Nirriti is Alakshmi or the denial of Lakshmi (abundance and prosperity). She is Kali or the negative effect of time that we must protect ourselves from or use to our advantage.

Purvashadha

Purvashadha is ruled by the Waters (Apas). Its power is that of invigoration (varchograhana shakti). Its basis above is strength. Its basis below is connection. Through these three one gains lustre.

Purvashadha brings about purification and regeneration, like the energy gained through taking a bath in water. It provides us additional energy for our efforts. These effects flow from the Waters, which in this instance are heavenly in nature and can provide inner purification.

Uttarashadha

Uttarashadha is ruled by the Universal Gods (Vishwe Deva). Its power is grant an unchallengeable victory (apradhrisya shakti). Its basis above is the strength to win. Its basis below is the goal that one can win. From these three one becomes the unchallenged winner.

Uttarashadha brings us to the summit of our power, support and recognition, not so much through our personal efforts (which is more the case in Jyeshta) but with the appropriate alliances and support of all the Gods. Our victory depends upon a righteous cause that is beneficial to all, which we are helping in. Here we fight more as the leader of an army.

Shravana

Shravana is ruled by Vishnu, the pervador. Its power is that of connection (samhanana shakti). Its basis above is seeking. Its basis below are the paths. The result of these three is the connection of all things together.

Shravana enables us to link people together by connecting them to their appropriate paths in life. This requires receptivity and listening, and results in understanding and aspiration. Vishnu with his three strides links together the three worlds of Earth, Atmosphere and Heaven, connecting all creatures with the Gods.

Dhanishta

Dhanishta is ruled by the Vasus, the Gods of abundance. Its power is to give abundance and fame (khyapayitri shakti). Its basis above is birth. Its basis below is prosperity. These three give the power to bring people together.

Dhanishta allows us to bring the resources of people together. In this way it builds upon the connections of Shravana and makes them more practical. The Vasus are the deities of the Earth that give abundance on the earthly plane. They are manifestations of Agni or the sacred fire and show the gifts that it can dispense.

Shatabhishak

Shatabhishak is ruled by Varuna, the God of the cosmic waters. It has the power of healing (bheshaja shakti). Its basis above is extension or pervasion over all. Its basis below is the support of all. These three make the world free of calamity.

Shatabhishak counters difficult karmas through Divine grace and repentance. These include not only diseases but difficulties of all kind, including sin. While Ashwini gives more immediate cures, Shatabhishak brings about a healing crisis leading to revitalization. Varuna is a God of sin, debts, injury and disease, who cannot only bring these calamities upon us but can remove them from us, if we propitiate him sincerely.

Purva Bhadra

Purva Bhadra is ruled by Aja Ekapad, the one-footed serpent. It gives the fire to raise a spiritual person up in life (yajamana udyamana shakti). What is good for all people is its basis above. What is good for the Gods is its basis below. These three cause the entire world to be supported.

Purva Bhadra grants a universal view through internal purification. This raises up our spiritual aspiration in life and takes us out of the domain of selfish behavior. Aja Ekapad is the cosmic or celestial form of Agni or the sacred fire. It raises up our spiritual aspiration in life.

Uttara Bhadra

Uttara Bhadra is ruled by Ahir Budhnya, the serpent of the depths of the Atmosphere. Its power is the bringing of the rain (varshodyamana shakti). Its basis above is the raining clouds. Its basis below growing of the plants. From these three factors the three worlds gain their stability.

Uttara Bhadra grants growth and prosperity in a broad way, benefiting the entire world. This makes it very auspicious. Ahir Budhnya is the benefic serpent who brings the rain, connecting us with the creative powers at the foundations of the world.

Revati

Revati is governed by Pushan, the nourishing form of the Sun God. It has the power of nourishment symbolized by milk (kshiradyapani shakti). Its basis above is the cows. Its basis below are the calves. These three bring about the nourishment of the entire world.

Revati creates abundance through providing proper nourishment. It helps all people in their efforts. Pushan is the lord of cattle and the lord of the paths. He leads, protects and gathers the herd in their movement, particularly to new pastures. In this way he also protects the soul in its journey to the next world.

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