Monday, April 28, 2014

Nakshatras - from the veda

There is a vedic ritual called agnyadhanam wherein a newly married householder kindles the shrautagni for the first time marking the commencement of his religious life as a householder. While prescribing the auspicious timing for this ritual, the following features of some of the nakshatras are mentioned. ( Ref: Taithireeya brahmanam, Shatapatha brahmanam and Baudhayana shrauta sutram )

1. Krittika - There are two opinions here. Krittika being Agni's nakashatram it is suitable for agnyadhanam. This is also because Krittiaka is the मुखम् of the nakshatras.मुखम् वा एतन्नक्षत्राणाम् (T.B.). Nakshatras from Krittika to Vishakha are called Deva nakshatras and Krittika is the first among them. One who does agnyadhanam during Krittika becomes a ब्रह्मवर्चसी  (ब्रह्म - mantra वर्चस् - strength).

Some others are not in favour of this. They say by doing agnyadhanam during Krittika the yajamana's house itself will burn गृहान् ह दाहुको भवति.

There is another version in Shatapatha brhmanam. Krittikas used to be the wives of Saptarshis, but the Saptarshis were  denied physical union by them. That is why still the Saptarshis rise in the north and the Krittikas in the east. By doing agnyadhanam during Krittika, there is fear of deprivation of physical union for the yajamana.

Others say that Agni and Krittika make a pair, hence their union will lead to abundance.अग्निर्वाऽएतासां मिथुनमग्निनैता मिथुनेन समृद्धास्तस्नादैव दधीत​.

2.Rohini - प्रजापती रोहिण्यामग्निमसृजत​  Prajapati created Agni during Rohini nakshatram. रोहन्त्यस्यामिति रोहिणी. The nature of Rohini is growth and rise. The Devas did agnyadhanam during Rohini and thereby attained all heights. सर्वान्रोहानरोहन्. One who does agnyadhanam during Rohini progresses. ऋध्नोत्येव​.

3. Mrigashirsha - This is the head of Prajapati. Among men, one who is the most important is called 'Head'. He is the possessor of prosperity. Hence one desirous of being 'Head' should perform agnyadhanam on Mrigashirsha nakshatram.श्रियं ह गच्छति य एवं विद्वान्मृगशीर्ष​ऽआधत्ते.

4. Punarvasu - Once abundance and wealth deserted the Devas. By performance of agnyadhanam during Punarvasu nakshatra they regained wealth and prosperity. पुनरुपावृत्तं वस्वनयोरिति पुनर्वसू.

5. Purva phalguni - One who desires that his sons should become charitable ( दानकामा मे प्रजास्स्युरिति) should perform during Purva phalguni. The lord of this nakshatram is Aryama.अरीन् यमयति अर्यमा. One who suppresses foes.

6. Uttara phalguni - यः कामयेत भगी स्यामिति स उत्तरयोःफल्गुन्योरग्निमादधीत​. One who wants to be भगी ( prosperous ) should perform on Uttara phalguni. What is bhaga ?

ऐश्वर्यस्य समग्रस्य वीर्यस्य यशसश्श्रियः
ज्ञानवैराग्ययोश्चैव षण्णां भग इतीरणा

7. Hasta - हस्त​ means hand. Hand provides. This nakshatram is the provider of all desires.

8. Chitra - The asuras called Kalakanjas wanted to ascend the heaven. They began to prepare for agnyadhanam. They started building up the vedi. Each one brought a brick and started building. Indra did not want this. He came disguised as a brahmin and placed one brick. Just before the time for keeping the Agni came, he pulled out his brick ( which was at the base ) saying " this is mine".The whole vedi collapsed. The asuras could not perform yajna. This happened during Chitra nakshatram. Indra became victorious on Chitra nakshatram. Hence one with foes ( भ्रातृव्यवान् ) should perform during Chitra nakshatram.हन्ति सपत्नान्हन्ति द्विषन्तं भ्रातृव्यं य एवं विद्वांश्चित्रायामाधत्ते.

The above could be specific to agnyadhanam, but looking at the nature of these nakshatrams whether it can be applied in similar situations is worth consideration.