|by Das Goravani
Posted with Permission
The 27 fixed stars used heavily in Vedic Astrology appear to us as stars
within the 12 signs of the zodiac. Actually, some of them are stars, and
some are clusters of stars. In any case, it is known through the descending
knowledge which Gods and Goddesses rule the different nakshatras. And,
through Puranic histories, we can know much about the past activities and
therefore the natures of these ruling personalities. Just as you really
exist, so do they. The demigods are actually higher forms of human's, having
more subtle bodies than ourselves, and living on higher, more subtle planes
of existence. Nonetheless, they have human forms more or less and
activities. Many of the Puranic histories take place on these higher planets
involving these higher demigods. From these histories we can know the true
nature of these personalities and thus better understand how their respective
planets, signs, and stars are directing our world and our lives. This is the
true nature of Vedic astrology- to believe and read. It is somewhat foolish
to be simultaneously both an Atheist and a Vedic Astrologer.
Let us take a deep look into the background of the first star, which is "Ashvini". This will be an example of how deeply it is possible to go into the background of each of the Nakshatras.
The Ashvini Star or Nakshatra
Independence, working alone, and stubborness or fixedness in purpose are the traits of this star's influence. This is the place of exaltation for the Sun, the planet of independence and authority. Ashvini is a Vaisya (merchants) caste star, and the Srimad Bhagavatam (also known as the Bhagavat Purana- a 5000 year old history summing up all pre-history since creation) says that the nature of the Vaisya is that they are never satisfied with their material attainments, and thus always want more. Being the first star, this one stands for jumping forward, into material creation, taking charge, and doing something.
The controllers of this nakshatra, the Asvini Kumar twin demigods, appeared very early on in the creation, and are mentioned in many places in the Sastras (scriptures). Krsna mentions them to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita when He is showing Arjuna His Universal Form, or the Virat-Rupa. Arjuna sees within the Virat Rupa all the demigods, including the Asvini Kumars. Also, in Srimad Bhagavatam 3-6-14 we learn that it is the Asvini Kumars who are partly responsible for the sense of smell in all living creatures within the creation.
Asva means "horse", Asvini is the "she-horse", and Kumars means "young boys". Their title as the Ashvini Kumars means that they are the sons of a mare or female horse. The star is named after their mother and therefore the symbol is the horse head. One of Vivasvan's (the Sun God) wives whose name is Samjna once took the body of a mare in order to spend some time performing austerities on Earth. During that time, Vivasvan (other names: Sun, Ravi, Surya, Aditya) also came down as a horse to be with her and together they parented these twin sons, the Ashvini Kumars.
The Ashvini Kumars are the physicians of the demigods. They are very learned in Ayurveda, and all forms of medical practice. Once they used this talent to receive knowledge from the sage Dadhici , who was learned in material and spiritual knowledge. Indra warned Dadhici not to teach the Kumars Brahma-Vidya since their occupation placed them outside that realm. He promised to cut off Dadhici's head should he not heed the warning. Dadhici relayed this to the Kumar's. With their great medical abilities however they removed Dadhici's head and replaced it with a horse head. Dadhici then spoke to them through the horses mouth. They were then able to replace the original human head of Dadhici after Indra cut off the horse head. In this way they received Brahma-Vidya, or spiritual knowledge.
In the eighth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam we find the history of the Ashvini Kumars restoring the youth of Cyavana Muni. Through this service to a powerful Muni, the twins were granted the right to drink Soma Rasa, an immortalizing drink, with the other demigods. Formerly they were excluded from this elite group due to disqualifications born of their occupational stature as that of physicians only. The Maha Bharat, which is the history of the battle of Kurukshetra and other important events on Earth of roughly 5,000 years ago, is centered around the Pandavas, who were five brothers who were great Ksatriya heroes, and personal friends of the Lord Sri Krishna during His manifest pastimes on Earth during that time. Two of the brothers were twins, born of Madri, the second wife of Maharaja Pandu. However, because Pandu was restricted from sex life by a curse, the five sons were all fathered by demigods, and for the twins the fathers were the Asvini Kumars. These five brothers never knew of the sixth, oldest, brother because Kunti, the first wife of Pandu, bore this son before she was wed, through connection with the Sun God, Vivasvan, whom she called to herself by accidentally invocating the proper mantra. That son was the tragic personality known as Radheya in the Maha Bharat.
Radheya, son of the Sun God, is therefore a brother to the Ashvini Kumars, and Radheya was a greatly powerful Ksatriya. Similarly, the Pandava sons of the Ashvini Kumars, named Nakula and Sahadeva, who are grandchildren to the Sun God, were also powerful Ksatriya princes and highly elevated spiritual associates of the Lord Sri Krishna. Therefore, we can understand why, in Vedic Astrology, that the Sun, especially when powerful or exalted, grants nobility, leadership and other Ksatriya qualities.
Ashvini is a Ketu ruled Nakshatra. Ketu, as all Vedic Astrologers know, is intimately connected with liberation from material bondage, or Moksha. Ashvini is located within the sign of Aries, which is ruled by the military planet Mars. Therefore, the Sun is exalted there because He is the father and grandfather of the greatest Ksatriyas. He stands regal and splendid amongst his army, who is headed by Mars. Like all the greatest Ksatriyas or Vedic warriors, His power is based upon service to Visnu. Hence, Moksha, or liberation from material bondage, which is obtained best by serving the Lord, remains the aim of the Sun, the Karaka of soul. In the sign of external action or Aries, the commander in chief, the Sun, stands resplendent and dignified, ready to lead all other leaders, on the righteous path of liberation.
From histories such as those related above we can gain an understanding of the personalities who are the deities behind the forces that come to us through the stars and planets. Just as the real, eternal soul inside each living being is something much more powerful and greater than the bodily casing we see representing it at this time, similarly the planets and stars we see and track in space are simply representations of greater beings, demigods, who are actual personalities who actually exist right now in another dimension our eyes are not privaledged to perceive.
Knowing that Ashvini is actually Samjna, the wife of the Sun, we can understand another part of the reason why the Sun feels exalted and powerful under this star. Also, knowing the nature of Samjna and her sons, the Ashvini Kumars, we can understand some of the powers and influences that come through this Nakshatra, such as medicinal and spiritual knowledge, and nobility and leadership qualities.
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