The Nakshatra Devatas

While studying the Nakshatras we should try to understand the qualities of the Devata governing the nakshatras. Often, one is gravitated too early in the graha lordship of the Nakshatras as per the Vimshottari scheme i.e., Ketu, Shukra, Surya, Chandra etc. governing in the groups of 9, Ashvini, Bharani, Krttika, Rohini etc. However, they don’t represent the inherent qualities of the Nakshatras, the Nakshatra deities do.

There are various groups of Nakshatras deities:

(1) The Grahas: The 3 Grahas Surya, Chandra and Brhaspati are assigned to 3 nakshatras, Rohini is governed by Chandra, Pushya is governed by Brhaspati and Hasta by Surya.

(2) The Tattvas: 3 of the pure tattvas i.e., Agni, Jala and Vayu governs 3 nakshatras viz., Krttika-Agni, Svati-Vayu and Purvasadha-Jala.

(3) The Trimurti: 3 Nakshatras are governed by Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra i.e., Rohini — Brahma (Prajapati), Ardra-Isa (Shiva, Rudra) and Sravana-Govinda (Vishnu).

(4) The Adityas: 9 out of 12 Adityas are assigned the nakshatras, Purvaphalguni-Bhaga, Uttaraphalguni-Aryama, Hasta-Arka (Dhatr, Savita), Citra-Tvastr, Anuradha- Mitra, Jyestha-Indra, Sravana-Visnu, Satabhisa-Varuna and Revati-Pusa (Pushan). In addition, the mother of the Adityas, Aditi is assigned to Punarvasu and she carries with her the energies of all the 12 Adityas.

(5) The Rudras: Out of 11 Rudras, two are assigned 2 Nakshatras, Purvabhadra — Ajaekpada and Uttarbhadra-Ahirbudhnya. However, all the 11 Rudras are assigned to the Ardra Nakshatra.

(6) Others: There are six nakshatras which don’t fall in any of the above mentioned groups. They are Punarvasu-Aditi, Aslesa-Sarpa, Magha-Pitrs, Visakha-Indragni, Mula-Nirrti, Uttarasadha-Visvedevah, Dhanistha-Vasu.

One should understand the quality of the nakshatra classes before moving on understanding the qualities of the individual nakshatra devatas.

Narada Purana 56.168b-170: The lords of the asterisms are, in order : (1) Asvini- Dasrau (Asvins); (2) Bharani — Yama; (3) Krttika- Vahni (Agni); (4) Rohini — Brahma; (5) Margasiras- Chandra; (6) Ardra- Isa (Rudra); (7) Punarvasu- Aditi; (8) Pusya- Jiva (Brhaspati); (9) Aslesa- Ahi (Sarpa); (10) Magha- Pitrs; (11) Purvaphalguni- Bhaga; (12) Uttaraphalguni- Aryama; (13) Hasta- Arka (Surya); (14) Citra- Tvastr (Vishvakarma); (15) Svati- Marut (Vayu); (16) Visakha- Sakragni (Indragni); (17) Anuradha- Mitra; (18) Jystha- Vasava (Indra); (19) Mula- Nirrti; (20) Purvasadha- Udaka (Apah); (21) Uttarasadha- Visvedevah; (22) Sravana- Govinda (Visnu); (23) Dhanistha- Vasu; (24) Satabhisa- Toyapa (Varuna); (25) Purvabhadra — Ajaekpada; (26) Uttarbhadra- Ahirbudhnya; and (27) Revati- Pusa.

The Adityas

The Ādityas have originated from Aditi. In RgVeda, eight Adityas are mentioned viz. (1) Varuna, (2) Mitra, (3) Aryaman, (4) Bhaga, (5) Aṃśa, (6) Dhatri, (7) Indra and (8) Vayu (Mārtanda). The eighth Āditya (Mārtanda) was rejected by Aditi, thus leaving only seven sons. In the Yajurveda, Taittirīya Samhita, their number is also given as eight, and the last one is believed to be Vivasvān. Rig Veda, Book 10, confirms that there are nine Adityas, the eighth one being Mārtanda, who is later revived as Vivasvān.

The Bhagavata, Linga and Vishnu Purana mentions the names of the Dvadas Adityas, the 12 forms of Sun god, as (1) Varuna, (2) Mitra, (3) Aryama, (4) Bhaga, (5) Amshuman, (6) Dhata, (7) Indra, (8) Parjanya, (9) Tvashta, (10) Vishnu (11) Pusha and (12) Vivasvan.

Each of the 12 Adityas have specific power with which it bestows blessings on the world during its sojourn through the zodiac (1) Dhata creates the living beings (2) Parjanya showers rain (3) As Tvashta lives in trees and herbs, (4) Pusha causes growth of the food grains (5) Aryama embodies the wind the blows, (6) Bhaga imbibes in to the body of all living beings, (7) Vivasvan helps in cooking food as fire, (8)Vishnu destroys the enemies of the gods, (9) Anshuman again embodies the wind the blows, (10) Varuna governs the waters and (11) Mitra embodies the Moon and the Oceans.

The Adityas are perfect being, free from guile, honest and transparent. Being the governor of the 12 zodiac signs, they protect the world and its inhabitants.

Pt. Sanjay Rath in his book “A Course of Jaimini Sutra” gives the following qualities of the Adityas: (1) Dhata: Mesha Rasi: Creation, (2) Aryama: Vrsha Rasi: Generosity, Nobility, (3) Mitra: Mithuna Rasi: Chivalry, constancy, friendship, (4) Aruna or Varuna: Karka Rasi: Punishment, blessings, (5) Indra or Sakra: Simha Rasi: Knowledge, courage, (6) Vivasvan: Kanya Rasi: Service, purity, social laws, (7) Pusha or Pushan: Tula Rasi: Inquisitiveness, change, intercourse, (8) Parjanya or Daksha: Vrschika Rasi: Transformation, secret rituals, (9) Amsa or Amsuman: Dhanu Rasi: Justice, fairness, sharing, (10) Bhaga: Makara Rasi: Labour, remuneration, reward, inheritance, (11) Tvasta: Kumbha Rasi: Skill, talent, innovation, improvement, (12) Vishnu: Meena Rasi: Renunciation, truth, universal laws.