Thousands of years ago, pre-vedic Indian culture evolved a lunar calendar/almanac in which the moon and the stars consistently found in its path were charted. These moon-path star clusters (called star mansions or Asterisms) were called nakshatra. and given proper names. The base lunar calendar evolved into the Vedic star almanac, the Chandrarama. Chandra, the moon, visits these mansions in its monthly trajectory around the earth.

There are twenty-seven nakshatra, corresponding to each day of a sidereal lunar month. Rishi Gargya documented the names of nakshatras in the Atharvana Veda circa 2400 BC, though their present form is more "modern" - dated via the Jyotishya Shaastra circa 400 BC.

These names are in use even today, and many Indians are as familiar with their star names as Westerners might be with their astrological sun sign.

Names of the nakshatra and the deities to which they are dedicated

  • Krittika (dedicated to Agni)
  • Rohini (dedicated to Prajaapati)
  • Mrigasheerisham (dedicated to Soma)
  • Aardharaa (dedicated to Rudra)
  • Punarvasu (dedicated to Aditi)
  • Tishya (dedicated to Brihaspati)
  • Aaslesha (dedicated to Sarpa)
  • Maghaa (dedicated to Pitra)
  • Poorva Phalguni (dedicated to Bhaga)
  • Uttara Phalguni (no dedicant)
  • Hastaa (dedicated to Savitru)
  • Chitra (dedicated to Indra)
  • Swati (dedicated to Vaayu)
  • Vishaaka (dedicated to Indraagni)
  • Anooradha (dedicated to Mitra)
  • Jyeshta (dedicated to Indra)
  • Vichruta (dedicated to Pitru)
  • Aashada (dedicated to Aapah)
  • Aashada Abhijit (dedicated to Vishvedeva)
  • Shrona (dedicated to Vishnu)
  • Shravista (dedicated to Vasu)
  • ShathaBhishaja (dedicated to Indra)
  • Proshtapada1 (no dedicant)
  • Proshtapada2 (dedicated to Ahirbadhni)
  • Revathi (dedicated to Pausha)
  • Ashwini (dedicated to Ashwini)
  • Bharani (dedicated to Yama)

Other Stars named in the Vedas

The Zodiac

The European system has origins in the Chaldean and Kassarian cultures of the Middle East, and was propagated by the work of the Greek philosophers. In this system, the Sun is considered the primary point of reference. In Vedic astronomy, the moon is considered to be the primary point of reference. Nevertheless, the star groupings are very similar, as documented in the Bhaarateeya Rashis.


For starcharts, astronomical concordances, formulae, and additional detail on relevant Vedic theology, see: http://www.geocities.com/vijayabalak/stars/nakshathra.html

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