Symbolism of Star in Hinduism

Symbolism of Stars

by Jayaram V

Until modern times no one really saw the stars as giant suns. Like most ancient people, Vedic people considered them divinities and consorts of the moon and daughters of Brahma. People however studied the stars for navigation and to calculate time. Find here archetypal meaning, cultural significance and symbolism of Storm in Hinduism.

According to Vedic texts, nakshtra means aany star, a group of stars, a heavenly mansion studded with stars, a particular location in the sky, and a unit of time.

The position of stars and their association with planetary gods help Vedic astrologers determine the fate of individual and predict future events. Knowledge of stars helped ancient Indian seafarers to navigate the seas and trade with people in distant lands.

Stars and their location provide direction and guidance to people, who have lost their way or caught in the darkness of life. Hence, in Hindu symbolism they are often equated with seers and spiritual teachers. Some stars are believed to be the souls of ancient seers, gods and celestial beings.

Like other beings created by God, stars said to have attitude, benevolent or malevolent nature, positive or negative influence, and predominant qualities. Accordingly, Vedic astrology classifies them into various types such as fixed, movable, pleasant, unpleasant, small, gentle, intense, etc.

The Vedas mention 27-28 stars, which have a great significance to Vedic astrology, lunar calendar, and Hindu almanacs (panchangas). Each of the stars is dedicated to a particular deity and represents a particular day in a lunar month. Description of the stars and their location found in the scriptures enable scholars to determine the probable dates on which important historical events such as the Mahabharata war, or the birth of Rama took place in the remote past.

Besides them, the Vedic texts identify the seven stars in the constellation of Ursa Major with the seven Vedic seers (sapta-rishis) who are credited with the revelation of the Vedas and knowledge of Brahman. The star of Arundhathi, the wife of Vashistha, is also found in the same constellation near the star which is identified with him.

Stars in Hinduism represent femininity, motherhood, and angelic beauty. They impart to the heaven glamour and glitter. They personify the diversity of creation and its immensity. The Puranas and the Mahabharata describe the 27 stars of the lunar calendar as the daughters of Daksha, who were married to the moon god, Chandra. According to the legends, he spends one day with each of them in a lunar month and keeps them happy.

Since Daksha was also the father of Sati, wife of Shiva, all the stars in the sky are considered the sisters of Mother Goddess. Apart from him, each of the stars is also associated with a particular planetary god as her presiding deity. Since there are nine planets and 27 stars, each planet controls three stars. According to legends,

Kartikeya, the son of Shiva, said to have been brought up by six mothers who form part of the six stars in the constellation of Krithika. Two intersecting triangles, forming a hexagon as in the star of David, is an important tantric symbol representing the six forms of cosmic energy (heat, light, electricity, magnetism, mechanical energy, and atomic energy) found in creation.

Many beliefs of Hinduism arose from the observation of the stars (nakshatra) and celestial bodies in the night sky by Vedic astrologers, astronomers, seers, and sages. In religious and secular literature of Hinduism, the symbolizes mother goddesses, virtuous women, a beautiful wife (Tara), a constant companion, a symbol of resolve and permanence (pole star), guide, the soul in the body, a great soul who is immortalized for his deeds, a lunar mansion (constellation of 77 stars), all bright and shining objects, lamps, gems and jewels, a necklace of 27 pearls, an object of concentration, a bright idea, and an auspicious state (nakshatra yoga).

In ancient times stars helped people navigate through darkness and across the seas. Hence any idea, thought, concept, prayer, chant, path or doctrine that leads to liberation across the ocean of transmigration is called taraka, the leading star. Stars also play an important role in the destiny of an individual. Depending upon the position of the stars at the time of birth, a person's fate is predetermined.

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