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Nakshatra, aka: Nakṣatra, Nākṣatra; 8 Definition(s)

Introduction

Nakshatra means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit terms Nakṣatra and Nākṣatra can be transliterated into English as Naksatra or Nakshatra, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Purāṇa

1) Nakṣatra (नक्षत्र).—Stars as sons of Dākṣāyaṇī1 do not shine in Ilāvṛta;2 living by them (astrology) leads one to hell;3 the maṇḍalam of, 10,000 Yojanas from the moon;4 27 daughters of Dakṣa married to Soma;5 lord of;6 ety.7

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 24. 91; Matsya-purāṇa 2. 7; Vāyu-purāṇa 1. 101; 7. 16; 24. 77; 30. 146; 107. 45.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 17. 10.
  • 3) Ib. IV. 2. 163; Vāyu-purāṇa 101. 161.
  • 4) Vāyu-purāṇa Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 2. 130.
  • 5) Matsya-purāṇa 4. 55; 8. 3; 171. 31; Vāyu-purāṇa 66. 37, 53; 90. 21.
  • 6) Ib. 34. 90; 53. 29.
  • 7) Ib. 53. 50.

2) Nākṣatra (नाक्षत्र).—Measurement of time of 625 Kalas.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 100. 223.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana IndexPurāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Jyotiṣa (astronomy and astrology)

Nakṣatra (नक्षत्र) refers to “lunar mansion”. The term is used throughout Jyotiṣa literature.

Source: Wisdom Library: Jyotiṣa
context information

Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or ‘astrology’. It is one of the six additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas. Jyotiṣa concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Nakṣatra (नक्षत्र) is a word of obscure origin and derivation. The Indian interpreters already show a great divergence of opinion as to its primary meaning. The Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa resolves it into na-kṣatra (‘no power’), explaining it by a legend. The Nirukta refers it to the root nakṣ, ‘obtain’, following the Taittirīya-brāhmaṇa. Aufrecht and Weber derived it from nakta-tra, ‘guardian of night’, and more recently the derivation from nak-kṣatra, ‘having rule over night,’ seems to be gaining acceptance. The generic meaning of the word therefore seems to be ‘star’.

In several passages of the later Saṃhitās the connexion of the moon and the Nakṣatras is conceived of as a marriage union. Thus in the Kāṭhaka and Taittirīya Saṃhitās it is expressly stated that Soma was wedded to the mansions, but dwelt only with Rohiṇī; the others being angry, he had ultimately to undertake to live with them all equally.

Source: archive.org: Vedic index of Names and Subjects

1) Nakshatra 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. Each nakshatra is further subdivided into four quarters (or padas).

The starting point for the nakshatras is the point on the ecliptic directly opposite to the star Spica called Chitrā in Sanskrit. It is called Meshādi or the "start of Aries". 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.

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.

2) A Nakṣatra or lunar mansion is one of the 27 divisions of the sky, identified by the prominent star(s) in them, used in Hindu astrology. Historical (medieval) Hindu astrology enumerated either 27 or 28 nakṣatras. Today, popular usage[clarification needed] favours a rigid system of 27 nakṣatras covering 13°20’ of the ecliptic each. The missing 28th nakshatra is Abhijeeta. Each nakṣatra is divided into quarters or padas of 3°20.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

The nakshatras are divisions of 13 degrees 20 minutes starting from zero Aries and ending at 30 degrees of Pisces, 13.20 divided into the 12 signs is 27. The nakshatras are referred to as the lunar mansions because the Moon moves approximately 13.20 per day, therefore, resides in one nakshatra per day.

Source: Galactic Center: The 27 Nakshatras

The ancient Indian system of constellations or lunar mansions (nakṣatras) was known from Vedic times. By dividing the sky on the basis of the moon’s relation to the fixed stars, a lunar month of initially 27 and then (through correction) 28 days was established by astronomers, the moon passing through a different nakṣatra on each day of its cycle. This information was then used to fix the auspicious dates and times for Vedic sacrifices and to cast horoscopes. See also jyotiṣa.

Source: Oxford Reference: A Dictionary of Hinduism

Nakṣatra (नक्षत्र, “star” or “constellation”) is actually the lunar mansion. It is the name of part of the path of the moon on round 1 around the earth which comes to 13 degrees of the sky. Though the moon travels through a little less than one nakṣatra everyday, the day can be called as having that nakṣatra for that day. The nakṣatra in its turn is named after a prominent star or constellation nearby. Twenty-seven nakṣatras (nakṣatras from Aśvini to Revatī) have been recognized by the astronomical works and incorporated into the pañcāṅgas also.

Source: Hindupedia: Pañcāṅga

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

In ancient India the lunar stations were and still are called nakṣatra. In early Vedic times nakṣatra originally just meant star and later came to refer to constellations constituting lunar stations along the ecliptic. A complete list of 28 nakṣatra's is first provided in the Atharva Veda.

The following lists the Chinese xiu, Sanskrit nakṣatra, (Sanskrit month name), and associated deity plus variant in the Xiuyao jing if applicable. The associated deities are originally listed in the Nakṣatrakalpa of the Atharvavedapariśiṣṭā. It is unclear the reason behind the variant deities.

  1. 昴宿 Kṛttikā (Kārttika) – Agni.
  2. 畢宿 Rohiṇī – Prajāpati.
  3. 觜宿 Mṛgaśīrṣa (Mārgaśīra) – Soma.
  4. 參宿 Ārdrā – Rudra.
  5. 井宿 Punarvasū – Aditi.
  6. 鬼宿 Puṣya (Pauṣa) – Bṛhaspati.
  7. 柳宿 Aślesā – Sarpa (Śeṣa)
  8. 星宿 Maghā (Māgha) – Pitaras (Bhaga).
  9. 張宿 Pūrvaphālgunī – Bhaga (Vasu).
  10. 翼宿 Uttaraphālgunī (Phālguna) – Aryaman.
  11. 軫宿 Hasta – Āditya (Savitṛ)
  12. 角宿 Citrā (Caitra) – Tvaṣṭṛ.
  13. 亢宿 Svāti – Vāyu.
  14. 氐宿 Viśākhā (Vaiśākha) – Indrāgnī.
  15. 房宿 Anurādhā – Mitra.
  16. 心宿 Jyeṣṭha (Jyaiṣṭha) – Indra.
  17. 尾宿 Mūla – Nirṛti.
  18. 箕宿 Pūrvāṣāḍhā (Āṣāḍha) – Toya (Āpas)
  19. 斗宿 Uttarāṣāḍhā – Viśvadeva.
  20. 牛宿Abhijit – Brahmā.
  21. 女宿 Śravaṇa (Śrāvaṇa) – Viṣṇu.
  22. 虚宿 Dhaniṣṭhā – Vasu.
  23. 危宿 Śatabhiṣaj – Varuṇa.
  24. 室宿 Pūrvabhādrapadā (Bhādraphada) – Ajapāda.
  25. 壁宿 Uttarabhādrapadā – Ahirbudhnya.
  26. 奎宿 Revatī – Pūṣan.
  27. 婁宿 Aśvinī (Āśvina) – Aśvin (Gandharva)
  28. 胃宿 Bharaṇī – Yama.

The nakṣatra-s themselves are also regarded as deities in various esoteric Buddhist works. The respective deities are also represented in art.

Source: Flower Ornament Depository: Buddhism

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Mrigashirshanakshatra
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Shravishtha-nakshatra
The Śraviṣṭhā-nakṣatra (श्रविष्ठा-नक्षत्र) is another name for the Dhaniṣṭha-nakṣatra, a par...
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The Tiṣya-nakṣatra (तिष्य-नक्षत्र) is another name for the Puṣya-nakṣatra, a particular sect...
Shatataraka-nakshatra
The Śatatārakā-nakṣatra (शततारका-नक्षत्र) is another name for the Śatabhiṣā-nakṣatra, a part...
Radha-nakshatra
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Bharaninakshatra
Bharaṇīnakṣatra (भरणीनक्षत्र) is another name for Bharaṇī: a particular section of the ecliptic...
Ashleshanakshatra
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Uttarabhadrapadanakshatra
Uttarabhādrapadānakṣatra (उत्तरभाद्रपदानक्षत्र) is another name for Uttarabhādrapadā: a particu...

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