Nakshatra, aka: Nakṣatra, Nākṣatra; 16 Definition(s)


Nakshatra means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. 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

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Nakshatra in Purana glossary... « previous · [N] · next »

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 Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Nakshatra in Jyotisha glossary... « previous · [N] · next »

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

Source: Wisdom Library: Jyotiṣa

Nakṣatra (नक्षत्र).—1. One of the twenty-seven or twenty-eight constellations that lie in the orbital path of the Moon. 2. An arc of the ecliptic with length 13° 20' , associated with one of the above mentioned lunar constellations. 3. An interval of time during which the Moon traverses an arc of 13° 20'. 4. Asterism. Note: Nakṣatra is a Sanskrit technical term used in ancient Indian sciences such as Astronomy, Mathematics and Geometry.

Source: Wikibooks (hi): Sanskrit Technical Terms
Jyotisha book cover
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Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha or jyotish) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents 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.

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Vastushastra (architecture)

Nakṣatra (नक्षत्र, “planet”) refers to the third of āyādiṣaḍvarga, six principles that constitute the “horoscope” of an architectural or iconographic object, according to the Mānasāra. Their application is intended to “verify” the measurements of the architectural and iconographic object against the dictates of astrology that lay out the conditions of auspiciousness.

Nakṣatra and ṛkṣa, sometimes used interchangeably as synonyms in the text, however, are different in a strict technical sense. Ṛkṣa is the Plaedis or constellation of seven stars (the Great Bear, Seven Sages), while nakṣatra literally means a star, asterism (that is, a constellation of heavenly bodies), 27 number.

They are in order as follows:

  1. Aśvinī;
  2. Bharaṇī;
  3. Kārttikā;
  4. Rohiṇī or Brāhmī;
  5. Mṛgaśiras;
  6. Ārdrā;
  7. Punarvāsū or Yāmakau;
  8. Puṣya or Siddhya;
  9. Āśleṣā;
  10. Māghā;
  11. Pūrva-phālguṇī;
  12. Uttara-phālguṇī;
  13. Hasta;
  14. Citrā;
  15. Svāti;
  16. Viśākhā;
  17. Anurādhā;
  18. Jyeṣṭha;
  19. Mūla;
  20. Pūrvāṣāḍhā;
  21. Uttarāṣāḍhā;
  22. Abhijit;
  23. Śravaṇa;
  24. Śraviṣṭā;
  25. Śatabhiṣaj;
  26. Bhādrapāda;
  27. Revati.

In the context of village planning and measurement, the text sates that among the stars, the ones that are pūrṇa, odd (literally, “full, complete”), are auspicious and the ones that are karṇa, even (literally, “ear”), inauspicious. In iconographic measurement, however, the role given is that all except the sixth, eighth and ninth nakṣatras are auspicious. In both cases, the janmanakṣatra, birth-star of the patron or of the sthapati, as applies, even if in itself an inauspicious star, is always considered as auspicious for the architectural and iconographic object.

Source: McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra
Vastushastra book cover
context information

Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

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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: 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. 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 Meshadi 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.

2) In Vedic Sanskrit, the term naksatra 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.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

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

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

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Nakṣatra (नक्षत्र) refers to the “stars” according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter VI. Accordingly, “There are monks who observe the stars (nakṣatra), the sun and the moon (sūryacandramas), the wind and the rain (vāyuvarṣa), the clouds and the clear sky (meghavidyut), the thunder and lightning. Those who follow these impure ways of livelihood ‘eat with their face up in the air’”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

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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

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

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Nakṣatra (नक्षत्र, “constellations”) refers to a class of “stellar celestial beings” (jyotiṣī), itself a category of devas (celestial beings), according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 4.10. What is the duration of existence of planet Jupiter (guru)? It is one pit-measured-period. Where do constellations reside? They reside four yojana above moon. What is the maximum span of time of constellations and scattered stars? It is one quarter of pit-measured-period (palya).

Stellar celestial beings (eg., Nakṣatra) are named after their vehicle which is endowed with shining light. These are called by the significant general name luminaries or stellar.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 4: The celestial beings (deva)
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

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nakṣatra (नक्षत्र).—n (S) A star. 2 An asterism in the moon's path; a lunar mansion. Twenty-seven are enumerated; viz. aśvinī, bharaṇī, kṛttikā, rōhiṇī, mṛga or mṛgaśīrṣa, ārdrā, punarvasu, puṣya, āślēṣā (or asāḷakā), maghā, pūrvā, uttarā, hasta, citrā, svātī, viśākhā, anurādhā, jyēṣṭhā, mūla, pūrvāṣāḍhā, uttarāṣāḍhā, śravaṇa, dhaniṣṭhā, śatatārakā, pūrvābhādrapadā, uttarābhādrapadā, rēvatī, abhijit. na0 paḍaṇēṃ (hātāvara) To have itching hands; to be addicted to thieving: (pāyāvara) To be ever gadding about: (tōṇḍāvara) To have a tongue ever running and clacking. nakṣatrāsārakhā Brilliant or beautiful as a constellation or star.

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nākṣatra (नाक्षत्र).—a S Relating to the nakṣatra or lunar asterisms. 2 Stellar, sidereal, astral.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

nakṣatra (नक्षत्र).—n Star. An asterism in the moon's path; a lunar mansion. nakṣatra paḍaṇēṃ (hātā- vara To have itching hands; to be addicted to thieving: (pāyāvara) To be ever gadding about: (tōṇḍāvara) To have a tongue overrunning and clacking. nakṣatrāsārakhā Brilliant or beautiful as a constellation or star.

--- OR ---

nākṣatra (नाक्षत्र).—a Relating to the nakṣatra or lunar asterisms. Stellar, sidereal, astral.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

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Nakṣatra (नक्षत्र).—[na kṣarati; cf. Uṇ.3.15 also]

1) A star in general.

2) A constellation, an asterism in the moon's path, lunar mansion; नक्षत्राणामहं शशी (nakṣatrāṇāmahaṃ śaśī) Bg.1.21. नक्षत्र- ताराग्रहसंकुलापि (nakṣatra- tārāgrahasaṃkulāpi) R.6.22; (they are twenty-seven).

3) A pearl.

4) A necklace of 27 pearls.

Derivable forms: nakṣatram (नक्षत्रम्).

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Nākṣatra (नाक्षत्र).—a. (-trī f.) [नक्षत्राणामिदम्-अण् (nakṣatrāṇāmidam-aṇ)] Starry, sidereal.

-traḥ an astronomer or astrologer; आह्वायका देवलका नाक्षत्रा ग्रामयाजकाः । एते ब्राह्मणचाण्डाला महापथिकपञ्चमाः (āhvāyakā devalakā nākṣatrā grāmayājakāḥ | ete brāhmaṇacāṇḍālā mahāpathikapañcamāḥ) || Mb.12.76.6.

-tram A month computed by the moon's passage through the 27 lunar mansions, a month of 3 days of six Ghaṭīs each; नाडीषष्ठ्या तु नाक्षत्रमहोरात्रं प्रकीर्तितम् (nāḍīṣaṣṭhyā tu nākṣatramahorātraṃ prakīrtitam) Sūrya Ś.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

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Nakṣatrapuruṣa (नक्षत्रपुरुष).—1) (in astr.) the figure of a man's body on the limbs of which a...
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Sūryanakṣatra (सूर्यनक्षत्र).—that constellation (out of the 27) in which the sun happens to be...
Kṛttikānakṣatra (भरणीनक्षत्र) is another name for Kṛttikā: a particular section of the ecliptic...
Ghātanakṣatra (घातनक्षत्र).—an inauspicious constellation. Derivable forms: ghātanakṣatram (घात...
Nakṣatrayoga (नक्षत्रयोग).—It is ordained in the Purāṇas that alms-giving on each star or day w...
Lagnanakṣatra (लग्ननक्षत्र).—an auspicious asterism. Derivable forms: lagnanakṣatram (लग्ननक्षत...
The Tiṣya-nakṣatra (तिष्य-नक्षत्र) is another name for the Puṣya-nakṣatra, a particular sect...
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andhaḷēṃ nakṣatra (अंधळें नक्षत्र).—n A blind Nakshatra. A common term for Nakshatras, during w...
The Rādhā-nakṣatra (राधा-नक्षत्र) is another name for the Viśākha-nakṣatra, a particular sec...

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