Nakshatras – Complete Guide

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Nakshatra in Hinduism refers to a group of stars. It’s a further division of clusters within a zodiac sign. However, there’s more to it in Hinduism than simply a cluster of stars. Each cluster has a story, meaning, and a certain significance, which can help decode a lot of facts about life.

Among the ancient sages, ‘Nakshatra’ served as the original language of the stars used to communicate with intangible spirits. In their quest to decipher life’s meaning, they sought out qualities beyond the zodiac, where gods and goddesses lived in a world free of sorrow and pain. Sages believed they could overcome daily turbulence in human life and mind if they understood the language of the stars and worked with their cosmic patterns. A nakshatra is a constellation of fixed stars which comprises 13° 20′ of the ecliptic, the number of degrees traveled by the Moon in a 24-hour day. Naksha means to get closer, while Tra means to preserve. Nakshatra means ‘to get closer’ and Tra means ‘to preserve’, so ‘Nakshatra’ also means ‘one that never decays’. Nakshatras are supposed to protect souls during their many human lives and bring divine knowledge to the world.

Contents: Nakshatras and the mind | Astrology | Myth of Nakshatras | 27 Nakshatras | List of Nakshatras | Nakshatras Padas | Nakshtaras and Souds | FAQs on Nakshatras

Nakshatras and the mind

A nakshatra represents the mind, representing higher and lower energies along with daily struggles for peace and calmness in the face of uncertainty and pressure. As well as being a part of the higher self, evolving consciousness, and being at one with the divine, they also represent the emotional chaos, unhappiness, and sorrow that the mind deals with on a daily basis. Nakshatras are associated with the karma that is stored in the mind, whose daily fluctuations prevent us from reaching self-realization. Nakshatras refer to two elements: the eternal and the ever-changing. By understanding this interaction, you will gain a deeper understanding of consciousness, karma, and happiness. The fixed stars represent constant stars, while the Moon/mind represents the ever-changing mind.

Nakshatras in astrology

There are in total 28 nakshatras in vedic astrology. Nakshatras are used for a variety of purposes especially in decoding a chart in astrology. The placement of planets in nakshatras is seen over nakshatras. In western astrology, placement of planets in zodiac signs in seen, which is often less accurate over placement of planets in nakshatras. A typical astrological chart will map out planets in 27 nakshatras (not 28. we’ll discuss this in this article below). The placement of a planet in a nakshatra indicates a certain nature. This is far more accurate than understanding placements over zodiac signs.

Myth of Nakshatras

There are twenty-eight daughters of Daksha Prajapati who became the wives of Soma, the Moon god. On the condition that he, Soma, would treat the daughters equally, Daksha Prajapati allowed Soma to marry his daughters. In time, Soma began showing a preference for Rohini and spending more time with her, which made the other wives jealous, so he cursed Soma and he began dying as a result.

When Soma realized his mistake, he asked Daksha to remove the curse. Daksha Prajapati explained that curses cannot be reversed once they have been given. He however mentioned to Soma that lord Shiva can help him. Soma went to lord shiva and lord Shiva also said that he can rid him of the cure. However, lord Shiva gave Soma a boon that upon dying (new moon night), he’ll be reborn. When the Moon transits the nakshatras, visiting the symbolic wives of Soma, it activates the different aspects of human minds, their soul desires, and their changing moods.

27 Nakshatras

Initially, the sky was not divided equally. Initially, the nakshatras were of varying lengths and their guiding stars possessed high importance. Eventually, the nakshatras were divided into 28 sections. The sages made the nakshatras equal in size by modifying them. A nakshatra equals the distance the Moon travels in one day, which is 13°20′. Their system was able to divide the sky into 27 sections, with the 28th nakshatra being shorter and intercalary (outside the nakshatra belt). Traditionally, nakshatras were named after their deities rather than by their names. This practice still persists, especially in Muhurta and Prashna. The nakshatras have three cycles of nine, and the planets always rule them in the same order. In this cycle, Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn and Mercury are the nine planets. As the Moon stays in one nakshatra for a day, the sky is divided into 27 sections.

28th Nakshatra

As part of the original nakshatra mandala, there is also a nakshatra called Abhijit. Abhijit measures 4°13′20′′ and lies between 6°40′ and 10°53′20′′ Capricorn and is considered the auspicious nakshatra. The Moon was such a powerful nakshatra that when it occupied an important activity, its success was unsurpassed. At the time of the Mahabharata, Krishna was aware that Duryodhana had planned to start a war with the Pandava brothers during the time when the Moon was in Abhijit. He knew the power of the Abhijit. At the time of Amavasya tithi (New Moon), the Moon was in Abhijit nakshatra, making this day extremely powerful for the success of Mahabharata.

When the Sun is in Capricorn, this combination is unbeatable for victory over enemies. Seeing that the Pandavas would lose if the Kaurava and Duryodhana started Mahabharata on this day, Lord Krishna removed the auspicious Abhijit nakshatra from the nakshatra mandala. As a result of being placed beyond the intercalary nakshatra belt, this nakshatra became an intercalary nakshatra. Along Uttara Ashadha, it remains 6°40′ to 10° and by Shravana, it remains 10° to 10° 53′20′′.

List of Nakshatras

The following table lists the 28 Nakshatras, their planetary ruler and placement in the zodiac.

Nakshatra namePlanetary RulerDegrees
AshwiniKetu00-130.20′ Aries
BharaniVenus130.20′ – 260.40′ Aries
KrittikaSun260.40′ Aries – 100 Taurus
RohiniMoon100 – 230.20′ Taurus
MrigsiraMars230.20′ Taurus – 60.40′ Gemini
ArdraRahu60.40 Gemini – 200 Gemini
PunarvasuJupiter200 Gemini to 30.20′ Cancer
PushyaSaturn30.20′ – 160.40′ Cancer
AshleshaMercury160.40′ Cancer to 00 Leo
MaghaKetu00 – 130.20′ Leo
Purva PhalguniVenus130.20′ – 26040′ Leo
Uttar PhalguniSun26040′ Leo – 100 Virgo
HastaMoon100 Virgo – 23020′ Virgo
ChitraMars23020′ Virgo – 6040′ Libra
SwatiRahu60.40 – 200 Libra
VishakhaJupiter200 Libra to 30.20′ Scorpio
AnuradhaSaturn30.20′ – 160.40′ Scorpio
JyeshthaMercury160.40′ Scorpio – 00 Sagittarius
MoolaKetu00 – 130.20′ Sagittarius
Purva AshadaVenus130.20′ – 26040′ Sagittarius
Uttar AshadaSun26040′ Sagittarius – 100 Capricorn
Abhijit6040′ – 10053′ Capricorn
ShravanaMoon100 – 23020′ Capricorn
DhanishthaMars23020′ Capricorn – 6040′ Aquarius
SatabhishaRahu60.40 – 200 Aquarius
Purva BhadrapadaJupiter200 Aquarius to 30.20′ Pisces
Uttar BhadrapadaSaturn30.20′ – 160.40′ Pisces
RevatiMercury160.40′ – 300 Pisces
List of 28 Nakshatras, ruling planets, placement in the zodiac

Nakshatras Padas

Pada means foot or steps. Every nakshatra has four steps. Due to the Moon’s permanence in a single nakshatra for one day, the padas correspond to the natural divisions of the day: sunrise, midday, sunset and midnight. A pada is the same as a navamsha and equals 3°20′ each. There is often confusion between the terms pada and navamsha.

This connection between the nakshatras is formed by the order of the padas — nine nakshatras will have the same padas. That’s important, as it’s used in techniques for understanding the nakshatras.

In an astrological chart, each Nakshatra and its pada corresponds to a zodiac sign, which is used to create the navamsa chart or the D-9 chart. The first pada as you will see from the table below falls in fire signs and hence the energy of this is of creation. Pada 2 falls under earthy signs and hence the energy is of sustenance. The 3rd pada falls in airy signs i.e. Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. Here the energies are more intellectualize. The last pada has watery signs i.e. cancer, scorpio and pisces.

NakshatraPada-1Pada-2Pada-3Pada-4
AshwiniAriesTaurusGeminiCancer
BharaniLeoVirgoLibraScorpio
KrittikaSagittariusCapricornAquariusPisces
RohiniAriesTaurusGeminiCancer
MrigsiraLeoVirgoLibraScorpio
ArdraSagittariusCapricornAquariusPisces
PunarvasuAriesTaurusGeminiCancer
PushyaLeoVirgoLibraScorpio
AshleshaSagittariusCapricornAquariusPisces
MaghaAriesTaurusGeminiCancer
Purva PhalguniLeoVirgoLibraScorpio
Uttar PhalguniSagittariusCapricornAquariusPisces
HastaAriesTaurusGeminiCancer
ChitraLeoVirgoLibraScorpio
SwatiSagittariusCapricornAquariusPisces
VishakhaAriesTaurusGeminiCancer
AnuradhaLeoVirgoLibraScorpio
JyeshthaSagittariusCapricornAquariusPisces
MoolaAriesTaurusGeminiCancer
Purva AshadaLeoVirgoLibraScorpio
Uttar AshadaSagittariusCapricornAquariusPisces
ShravanAriesTaurusGeminiCancer
DhanisthaLeoVirgoLibraScorpio
SatabhishaSagittariusCapricornAquariusPisces
Purva BhadrapadaAriesTaurusGeminiCancer
Uttar BhadrapadaLeoVirgoLibraScorpio
RevatiSagittariusCapricornAquariusPisces
Nakshatra pada and zodiac signs

Nakshtaras and Souds

Each Nakshatra and its pada has a unique sound associated with it. Quite often in naming a child, the nakshatra and the pada of the moon is used to decide the prominent sound in the name. This is done since the placement of moon is linked in deciding our destiny and hence the sound of the moon nakshatra is used.

NakshatraPada – 1Pada – 2Pada – 3Pada – 4
AshwiniChuCheChoLa
BharaniLiLuLeyLo
KrittikaAaEeUA
RohiniOVaVeeVo
MrigsiraVayVoKaKee
ArdraKooGhaaJnaChcha
PunarvasuKayKoHaHee
PushyaHooHayHoDaa
AshleshDeeDooDayDo
MaghaMaaMeeMooMay
Purva phalguniMoTaaTeeToo
Uttar phalguniTayToPaaPee
HastaPuShaaNaThaa
ChitraPayPoRaaRe
SwatiRuRayPaTa
VishakhaTheeThuuThayThou
AnuradhaNaaNeeNouNay
JyeshthaNoYaYeeYou
MoolaYayYoBaaBee
Purva AshadaByDhaBhaDha
Uttar AshadaBayBoJaaJee
ShravanaJuJayJoGha
DhanishthaGaaGeeGooGay
SatabhishaGoSaSeeSou
Purva BhadrapadaSaySoDaaDee
Uttar BhadrapadaDuThaAaJna
RevatiDeDoChaaChee
Nakshatra and Sounds

FAQs on Nakshatras

What is the meaning of nakshatra?

Naksha means to get closer, while Tra means to preserve. Nakshatra means ‘to get closer’ and Tra means ‘to preserve’, so ‘Nakshatra’ also means ‘one that never decays’. Nakshatra in Hinduism refers to a group of stars, which are fixed (and hence don’t decay).

How many Nakshatras are there?

In astrology, 27 Nakshatras are used. However, for the purposes of panchanga 28 Nakshatras including the 28th Nakshatra i.e. Abhijit is used. The use of Abhijit in nakshatras is not the same as using it in natal astrology, but it is significant in Panchanga and other aspects, and we use only twenty-seven nakshatras in Kali Yuga. Although some techniques still use twenty-eight nakshatras, old traditions remain. For the more serious astrologer, the knowledge of the 28 Nakshatras Abhijit is a crucial step in understanding the true quality of the soul; a bridge that leads us to a deeper understanding of spiritual concepts. As we study Abhijit, we should keep in mind that it exists alongside Uttara Ashadha and Shravana nakshatras, and all analyses should be based on both.

Whar are Nakshatra padas?

Every nakshatra has four parts, which are known as padas. Each Nakshatra pada has specific traits and is ruled by a certain zodiac sign.

Which Nakshatra is the best?

There is no such thing as the best nakshatra. Each nakshatra has a certain trait and is driven by a certain goal (dharma, artha, kama, moksha). They all have unique qualities, unique doshas.

Which Nakshatra is good for baby birth?

All nakshatras are good for baby birth. The child has come into the world to fulfill their destiny. These things are designed by nature. All nakshatras have their unique qualities.

How to find nakshatra from date of birth?

You can use any modern astrology software to find nakshatra. Open your chart. There will be a table that will have the planets and the nakshatra placed along with them. Look at the nakshatra next to the moon. That is your birth nakshatra.

Which nakshtra is best for wealth?

There are specific prominent nakshatras, which have been found in the charts of wealthy individuals. These are typically nakshtras, which tend to give a higher drive to accumulate wealth. However, their presence does not guarantee wealth. Similarly, their absence does not guarantee a lack of wealth. Prominent wealth-giving nakshatras include Pushya, Purva Phalguni, Jyeshtha, Swati, and Dhanishtha.