Old Thoughts

Connecting Science and Scriptures : Satya Sarada Kandula : All Rights Reserved

Nakshatras, Grahas, Varas, Rasis, Masas, Rtus


Nakshatra No. of stars Alternate name Dedicated to / Adhipati Story Month Rasi
Ashwini 3 Ashwini / Ketu AswiyujaSeptember – October Mesha The month of Ashwija (usually October in the Gregorian System) is named after Ashwini and at the full moon of Ashwija Moon is near Ashwini Nakshatra. If a single star has to be identified as representing Ashwini Nakshatra, Best candidate is 13 a Aries / SAO-75151/HD-12929/Hamal.
Bharani 3 Yama / Sukra Mesha If a single star has to be identified as representing Bharani Nakshatra, best candidate is 41-Aries/SAO-75596/HD-17573
Krittika 6 Agni / Surya Karthikeya Karthika- October – November Mesha, Vrishabha Krittika Nakshatra is defined as a set of six stars. Bharateeya tradition has it that Kaartikeya, is surrounded by five Apsaras. This set of stars is identified by classical European system as Plaeidis. Brightest amongst them is called Alcyone by Arabs. If a single star has to be identified as representing Krittika Nakshatra, best candidate is 25hAries/SAO-76199/HD-23630/ AlCyone. Arundhati Nakshatra (though not a part of the 27 day pointing stars) is near the Krittitka. It is said to be the eighth star in the cluster Krittika(Ref-2).
Rohini 5 Prajaapati / Chandra Krishna Vrishabha Brightest Star Rohini is the brightest of the 27 Stars used for Bharateeya Nakshatra system of names, with a brightness of 0.85. Rohini is identified as birth star of Sri krishna. The distance between Krittika and Rohini is about 12.5 degrees (E-W). If a single star has to be identified as representing Rohini Nakshatra, best candidate is 87aTau/SAO-94027/HD -29139/ Aldebaran
Mrigasheerisham 3 Soma / Kuja Dattatreya Maargasira -November – December Vrishabha, Mithuna Brightest Full Moon If a single star has to be identified as representing Mrigashira Nakshatra, best candidate is 112b Tau /SAO-77168 /HD -35497/ Elnath.
Aardharaa 1 Rudra / Rahu Siva Mithuna Points to centre of universe? 24 g Gem/SAO-95912/HD47105/Arab ‘Alhena’ is the best candidate for Aardhra. It is 68 minutes or 17 degrees (E-W) away from Mrigashiras. It is 2 diameters out of moon traverse band.
Punarvasu 2-4 Aditi / Guru Sri Rama’s janmanakshatram Chaitra masa Punarvasu nakshatram was the day on which Dasaratha made the decision regarding Sri Rama’s coronation – Valmiki Ramatanam – Ayodhyakanda. Mithuna, Karkataka Very Bright Star If a single star has to be identified as Punarvasu, then 78 b Gem/SAO-79666/HD-62509/’Pollux’ is the best candidate for Punarvasu. It is a very bright star of +1.15 brightness.
Tishya 3 Pushya Brihaspati / Sani Chaitra masa Pushya nakshatram was the target date selected by Dasaratha for Sri Rama’s coronation – Valmiki Ramatanam – Ayodhyakanda Pushya – Jan, Feb Karkataka If a single star has to be identified as Pushya (Tishya), then 17b Cnc/SAO-116569/HD-69267/ is the best candidate. The brightness of this star is 3.52. Arab name is Al Tarf.
Aaslesha 1 Ashresha Sarpa / Budha Karkataka If a single star has to be identified as Aaslesha, then 65 a Cnc/SAO 98267/HD 76756 is the best candidate. Aaslesha is 45 minutes or 11 degrees (E-W) away from Pushya. This star is also called by Latin name Asseleus Australis.
Maghaa 5 Pitru / Ketu Maagha-Feb, March Simha If a single star has to be identified as Maagha, then the best candidate is 32 a Leo/SAO 98967/HD 87901/Regulus. Its
Poorva Phalguni 2 Pubba Bhaga / Sukra Marriage of Ruru and Pramadvara (Mahabharata) Simha If a single star has to be identified as Poorva Phalguni, then SAO 99512/HD 97633 is the best candidate, and it is located at 65 minutes or 16 degrees (E-W)from Maagha. Poorva Phalguni is also called Chort by Arabs.
Uttara Phalguni 2 Uttara Prajapathi as per Balakanda, Valmiki Ramayanam / Ravi Siva, Sati Marriage. (Siva Puranam)Janaka selected this nakshatram for the marriage day of Rama and Sita and their siblings. (Balakanda) Phalguna-march- april Simha, Kanya Both the stars are at same time distance from Poorva Phalguni. If a single star has to be identified as Uttara Phalguni, then 94 b Leo/SAO 119076 / HD 102870 is the best candidate, despite Denebola being brighter. Reason is that Denebola is about 5 diameters out of Moon traverse band while Zavijava is in the moon traverse band. Uttara Phalguni, is also called Zavijava by Arabs.
Hastaa 3 Savitru / Chandra Kanya If a single star has to be identified as Hastaa, then star 29 g Virgo identified as HD-110380, (It has no SA0 identification) is best candidate for Hastaa Nakshatra. Its brightness has been declared as +2.8 in some references and +3.6 in some. Hastaa is 55 minutes or 14 degrees (E-W) away from Uttara Phalguni Nakshatra. It also carries the Arab name Porrima.
Chitra 1 Chitta Indra / Kuja ChaitraApril – May Kanya, Tula Ugadi, Chaitra masa Pushya nakshatram was selected by Dasaratha for Sri Rama’s coronation – Valmiki Ramatanam – Ayodhyakanda It also stands for the name of the first month in Chandramaana calender. The Bhrateeya Chandramaana Ugadi (new Year day) is on the new moon day of this month, and this day is very near the Spring Equinox day. Spica. This star which is very near the ecliptic was scientifically studied by Hipparchus in 150 BC and by Ptolemy in 150 AD, and they noticed the property of earth’s precession using observations on Spica.
Swati 1 Vaayu / Rahu Tula There are some scholars who have argued that Arcturus is Swati. Arcturus is located in ‘Bootes’ constellation and is identified as SAO-10094/HD-124893/16-Bootes of brightness +1.24. However, Arcturus is at 19 N degrees where as northern limit of moon traverse (8 S to 18 S) band is -8 degrees. Hence the star Arcturus is located 27 to 37 degrees away, north from moon traverse band, hence can not be seriously considered, as being pointed to by Moon. This 27 degrees is the distance between two Nakshtra’s and too large an error. If we accept moon visits the Arcturus mansion, all our identifications become questionable. The Arcturus mansion located in Bootes constellation is nowhere near Tula (Libra) or Vrishchika. Even 5000 years ago, the location of that constellation was far away from moon traverse band. Hence SAO-139824/HD 124850 /99i Vir, also called Syrma by Arabs is the best candidate for Hastaa. This Nakshatra is 45 minutes or about 12 degrees (E-W) away from Chitra. It is bright enough to have been given a name by Arab astronomers.
Vishaaka 2 Indraagni / Guru Gautama Buddha VaisakhaMay-June Tula, Vrischika If one star has to be chosen as Vishaaka in Tula Raashi, it is 92a2Libra, identified as SAO 158840 or HD 130481. The brightness is +2.75. It has been called, Zubenelgenubi by Arabs. Vishaaka pair is 45 minutes or 11(E-W) degrees away from Swati. Though Zubeneschemele is a little brighter, it is a little away from moon traverse band. Vishaaka is right in the middle of the moon traverse band. Guatama Buddha was born, received enlightenment, and died on the full moon day of Vishaka when full moon was on this nakshatra.
Anooradha 4 Mitra / Sani Vrischika If a single star has to be identified as Anooraadha then the best candidate is 7d-Sco/SAO 184014/HD 143275. Anooraadha is 1 hour 10 minutes or 17 degrees (E-W) away from Vishaaka. Anooradha is also called Dschubba by Arabs.
Jyeshta 3 Indra / Budha Oldest Star JyeshtaJune-July Vrischika If a single star has to be identified as Jyeshta, then the best candidate is 21 a Sco/SAO 184415/HD 148478. Jyeshta is 30 minutes or 8 degrees (E-W) away from Anooraadha. The brightness of Jyeshta is a high +1.08. Antares
Vichruta 11 Moola Pitru / Ketu Vishnu Dhanus

If one star is to be identified as Moola, then the best candidate for Moola or Vichruta Nakshatra is 42 q OPH from Ophichius zodiac of the European system. It falls in the star band and is 50 minutes or 13 degrees (E-W) away from Jyeshta. Its brightness is +3.28. Arab Sabik is another strong candidate for Moola with +2.43 brightness and is also 13 degrees from Jyeshta.

Moola or Vichruta has been extensively referred to in Atharveda Kaanda 2,Kaanda 3 and kaanda 6 (Ref 2). Vichruta, stands for darkness and Moola carries an adjective Arishta. This word has two meanings, one standing for sweet and second associated with bad associated with death. Astronomically, Moola is in line with Milkiway galactic center.? In modern astronomy, there have been conjectures of a black hole at the center of our Milkiway. This area of sky is visually dark because large amount of matter is presumed to exist around the center of the Galaxy

Aashada 2 Purvashada Aapah / Sukra AshadaJuly-August Dhanus If one star is to be identified as Poorvaashadha, it is 34 aSag, which has an Arab name Nunki. Its brightness is +2.06. There are other stars nearby and one which has a brightness of 1.8. But it is far away from the moon traverse band, and hence is not a good candidate for Poorvaashada. Poorvaasaahda is 80 minutes or 20 (E-W) degrees away from Moola.
Aashada(Abhijit) 3 Uttarashada Vishvedeva / Surya Dhanus, Makara If one star is to be identified for Uttaraashada, it is the twin star 5a/6a2 both in Capricorn Zodiac. They are of brightness 4.24 and 3.56.Together the pair appear as one star. The SAO identities are SAO-163422/163427 or HD -192876/192947. There is a large gap between Poorvaashada and Uttaraashaada of nearly 22 degrees (E-W). There are no likely candidate stars for Uttaraashaada in the 22 degrees in the moon traverse band or near by. Arabs call this as Geidi associated with slaughter of sheep.
Shrona 3 Shravana Vishnu / Chandra Sravana Kumara, may have been named after this nakshatram SravanaAugust – September Makara Krishna’s birth in Sravana Masa. Lava Kusa were born on Sravana Pournami, also known as Dandhyala Pournami. Satrughna took control of Mathura in Sravana Masa If one star is to be identified as representing Shravana, it is clearly 49d-cap of brightness+2.83 identified as SAO-164644 and HD-207098. It is 30 minutes or 8 degrees (E-W) away from Uttarashada, which is a part of Makara Raashi. Arabs also call Shravana as Deneb Al Geidi.
Shravishta 4 Dhanishta Vasu / Kuja Makara, Kumbha If one star is to be identified as representing Dhanishta, it is clearly 55z of brightness +3.66 identified as SAO-146107 and HD-213051. From a distance point of view this star is 45 minutes or about 12 degrees (E-W) away from Shravana.
ShathaBhishaja 100 Indra / Rahu
Kumbha Shatabhishaja Nakshatra is defined to be a star mansion of 100 stars. Shata is undred and bhishaja stands for medical doctor. The significance of later is not apparent. The following table presents one candidate star, which qualifies as Shatabhishaja based on brightness, location with reference to moon traverse band, and distance from previous Nakshatra.and 99 others whose identity has not been proposed -There is great dilemma about star for Shatabhishaja because one hundred stars of brightness <+5 brightness are not visible. Did one hundred bright objects exist in this part of sky 5000 years ago? One bright star near ecliptic is 90f Aqr, and best qualifies as single star identity of Shatabhishaja. The other identities are SAO-146595/SAO-146620, or HD-219449/HD219688. This star pair is 50 minutes or 13 degrees (E-W) away from Dhanishta, which is in ideal location.
Proshtapada 2 Purvabhadra / Guru BhadrapadaSeptember-October Kumbha, Meena All the stars in this Meena Raashi are very low in brightness. Modern astronomers always use this area to identify new Sun’s minor planets because of less interference from low brightness stars. If a single star is to be found to represent Poorvabhaadra, the best choice is SAO128513/HD224617 /28w Psc. Star Poorvabhaadra really is in Meena Raashi. The brightness is +4.02.
Proshtapada 2 Uttarabhadra Ahirbadhni / Sani Meena If a single star is to be found to represent Uttara Bhaadra, then the best candidate is 63 dPsc, SAO-189474/HD-4656. It is in the moon band and is located about 12-14 degrees (E-W) away from Poorvabhaadra. But 71e is only 7 degrees away from Revati, while 63 is midway between Poorvabhaadra and Revati.
Revathi 32 Pausha / Budha Balarama’s wife Meena If one star has to be identified for Revati, it is 99h Psc, which is the brightest star of Meena Raashi. Its identities are SAO-92484 or HD-9270.The brightness is +3.62. It is 45 minutes or about 12 degrees (E-W) away from Uttarabhaadra.

Note : Brahma is Aurigae as per Pandit Bapu Deva Sastri who translated the Surya Siddhantam.

B. Grahas

  1. Graha means gravitational body not Planet.
  2. “The Grahas referred to in The Vedas are Surya, Chandra, Brihaspati, Shukra, Budha, Shani, Kuja, Rahu, Ketu.
  3. The Vedas extensively refer to Nakshatra month names and moon pointing at different Nakshatra‘s for various purposes.
  4. The European view (originally from Chaldian and Kassarian cultures of Middle East and from Egypt), propagated by Greek philosophers, of the night sky and the star system ran in a different direction in ancient times in that Sun was considered as the pointer to skies.  In contrast, the moon is considered to be the primary pointer from vedic astronomical point of view.

C. Varas : Days of the week : were in use at the time of Janamejaya’s Rule. See Janamejaya’s Dana Sasana Patram They are still in use today.

Ravivar Sunday Sun
Induvasar or Somavar Monday Moon
Bhomyavasar or Mangalvar Tuesday Mars
Sowmyavasara orBudhavar Wednesday Mercury
Brihaspativasara or Guruvar Thursday Jupiter
Bhargava vasara or Shukravar Friday Venus
Sthiravasara or Shanivar Saturday Saturn

D. Rasis or Zodiac Signs :

Rasis were mentioned in the Balakanda of Valmiki Ramayanam to describe the time of Sri Rama’s birth and were also explained in Parasara’s Hora Sastra.

It is likely that zodiac names travelled from India to Greece.

Mesha Aries
Vrishabha Taurus
Mithuna Gemini
Karkataka Cancer
Simha Leo
Kanya Virgo
Tula Libra
Vrishchika Scorpio
Dhanu Sagitarrius
Makara Capricorn
Kumbha Aquarius
Meena Pisces
E. Masas (Months)
  1. Why we have 30 days to a lunar month : The time between two successive full moons is 29.53059 solar days, which can be approximated to 30 solar days. The size of fractional moon exposure to sun can indicate a day count and is defined as a moon day or tithi. Thirty tithi‘s are defined in a lunar month, each tithi being smaller than a solar day. Fifteen are identified as Shukla paksha or ascending fortnight and next fifteen are called krishna paksha or descending fortnight.
  2. Why we use 27 nakshatras : The moon takes 27.32166 days to go around the earth. This is the sidereal month. It covers 1 nakshatram per solar day approximately. The moon functions as an astronomical day count clock in which Moon is the pointer and the stars are numerals in the sky pointed to by moon each day of the lunar month.
  3. The reason for time between full moons being higher than sidereal month is because, the moon has to go around the earth by more than a revolution (nearly 390 degrees) to keep with earth which moves forward in its trajectory around sun.
  4. How we got the names of the months: “The twelve months were named after the stars at which full moon occurs and these are ChaitraVaishakha, Jyeshta, Ashaada, Sharavna, Bhadrapda, Ashwija, Kaartika, Margashira, Pushya, Maagha, Phalguna.”
  5. Lunar Month : “Though the lunar time between two successive full moons is 29.53059 solar days, the time taken for moon to go round the earth (sidereal month) is 27.32166 days. Moon also has an oscillatory motion crossing the ecliptic. The moon anomalistic motion and nodal motion have periods are 27.55545 and 27.21222 days for a revolution around earth. The Chandramaana lunar calendar system keeps a natural cyclic count of days using both Moon based properties
  6. Tamil and Hindi Calendar Month Name Variations with Sanskrit (Telugu) Month Names

F. Rtus (Seasons)

  1. What are the names of the Vedic seasons: The six-season definition is unique to vedic system and is not found in any other recorded culture or system. These seasons are, Vasanta, Geeshma, Varsha, Sharad, Himavanta and Shishira each season being about two moon cycles.
  2. Masas and Rtus Names from the Linga Puranam

Seasonal Connections with Lunar Months tend to be not very accurate – making corrections necessary every 3 and 5 years. In Bangalore, summer starts in March itself.

  • CHAITRA MASA – VASANTHA RUTHU (Spring)
  • VAISHAKA MASA – VASANTHA RUTHU
  • JYESHTA MASA – GREESHMA RUTHU (Summer)
  • ASHADA MASA – GREESHMA RUTHU
  • SHRAVANA MASA – VARSHA RUTHU (Rainy)
  • BHADRAPADA MASA – VARSHA RUTHU
  • ASHWAYUJA MASA – SHARAD RUTHU (Autumn)
  • KARTHIKA MASA – SHARAD RUTHU
  • MARGASHIRA MASA – HEMANTA RUTHU (end of  ’gold’ – golden skies? or end of ice? – Himantha)
  • PUSHYA MASA – HEMANTA RUTHU
  • MAGHA MASA – SHISHIRA RUTHU (cold – winter -?)
  • PALGUNA MASA – SHISHIRA RUTHU

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula

Written by Satya Sarada Kandula

October 7, 2008 at 5:57 am

2 Responses

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  1. very good work.
    actual nakshatra adhipatis or rulers are as mentioned in yajurveda etc for example adhipati of rohini is prajapati-brahma etc , here you have given nakshatra rulership as per vimshottaree dasa rulership as prescrbed by sage parashara in Brahat Parashar horashastra which is not valid atleast from vedic reference point .
    it is my humble suggestion to please modify it accordingly.
    since you have done extensive work in finding references of nakshatra in vedas and other literature, such correct vedic deity depiction of nakshatra will be tune with your work which i very much appreciate .
    brijendra s shrivastava

    brijendra s shrivastava

    July 22, 2012 at 10:06 pm

  2. Dear Sir, Hearty thanks and Congratulations for this information. Your knowledge of both Indian and Western Star Constellation Mapping is praiseworthy.
    In addition to tabulated information saying say naxarea Revati has 32 stars, if you will kindly upload images of each of such 27 naxatra’s (and each of the 12 raashee’s) it will be very educational to new Indian generation.
    Such pictures are easily available on Internet for only the Western Star Constellations. But once lines are drawn, in western style, it becomes difficult to redraw & teach pictures of Indian-vedic-Constellations.to School children.
    e.g. Indian vRushabha Bull cannot be clearly seen once the lines are drawn dipicting the Western “Tauras”. It will be educative if Tauraus lines are drawn in white and vRushabha lines are drawn in Red to show the two pictures in same area star dots.
    Hope you will kindly spare some time to do the needful.
    Dr.Ghare

    Dr.Ghare

    August 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm


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