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Nakshatras are one of the oldest and an important aspect of our tradition and mythology. It is also one of the oldest references we have in astrology from the Vedas, specially the Rig Veda, which is about 5000 years old. The Vedas are scriptures of the great seers and sages of India who lived in the ancient times and are considered to be strong pillars of our tradition. Our entire history, values and principles are derived from the Vedas. In Hinduism we believe that a person's destiny has strong relations with the cosmic stars, planets and constellations. Each has its own specific characteristics and gives a lot idea about the traits and personality of a person they belong to. The Nakshatras are also similar to the zodiac, but they are more specific and detailed. Their meanings are derived from the constellations, position of the stars and planets and the mythology behind them. The Nakshatras are rich in meaning and each one of them have their own ruling deities which reveal the stories or myths that bring to life the symbology referred in our lives.

There are 27 Nakshatras in total and they are
Ashwini Bharani Krittika Rohini Mrigashirsha
Ardra Punarvasu Pushya Ashlesha Magha
Purva Phalguni Uttara Phalguni Hasta Chitra Swati
Vishakha Anuradha Jyeshta Moola Purva Ashadha
Uttara Ashadha Shravana Dhanishta Satabhisha Purva Bhadrapada
Uttara Bhadrapada Revati

According to Indian Astrology the zodiac is of 360 degrees. They are divisions of 13 degrees 20 minutes, which starts from zero at Aries and ends at 30 degrees of Pisces, 13.20 divided into the 12 signs is 27. They are also known as lunar mansions as the moon moves approx 13.20 per day, therefore residing in one Nakshatra every day. Each nakshatra resides in a personal planet, which reveals important and deep information about the individual in relation to the meanings of the houses (area of life) and which planet is ruled by which house. An example of this is that the planet that rules the 7th house (indicating a person's spouse) gives detailed information about the spouse. According to classical Hindu Mythology, the creation of Nakshatras is attributed to Daksha who are personified as daughters of the deity and also as the mythological wives of Chandra or the moon god. They are also alternatively referred to as the daughters of Kashyapa who is the brother of Daksha.

Significance - The Nakshatras are a significant part of Hindu astrology and has a significant bearing on the life of any individual. The Nakshatras calculated by the time of an individual's birth gives valuable information about the person's identity, personality, traits, future and people in their life. From truth and power to justice and discipline, from as the remover of impurities to giver of sensual excess, from eroticism to love, life and beauty, as a source of energy and intelligence to redeemer of sin, from the nurturer of heart to the ability to deal with adversities and from the source of all material affluence to the power to rule and control others, the Nakshatras have it all.

The nakshatras are also related to artistic beauty and independence and freedom. It helps to give one a sense of purpose and a feeling of fulfillment on achievement of anything important in life. It is related to friendship, love, care, affection as well as hatred, pain and suffering. It also covers protection of your dependents and the loved ones, kindness, compassion but at the same time is also related to danger, courage, forbearance and victory. The unique social charm that individuals have, to the respect, attention and also the aim for higher altruistic achievement and attainment is all guided by one's nakshatras. It protects and shields and conceals one from all the adversaries of life and also gives one the power to fight adversaries and endure pain and go through suffering.

The name a person gets after his or her birth (Janma) is also closely related to the Nakshatras, hence that is why people say that there is a lot in the name. The child after birth is given an auspicious first name which corresponds to the child's nakshatras. This has a further significance on a whole lot of areas of the child's life. To do this one has to see which nakshatra the moon is at the time of the birth. The time then corresponds to four possible sounds out of which one is picked and a suitable name derived from it.

Love compatibility The nakshatra or the birth star of a man and a woman is also quite often used to match their love compatibility and for marriage. According to Indian tradition, before the marriage, the horoscopes of both the boy and the girl are thoroughly matched by an experienced astrologer. This helps to match compatibility and see if there are any obstacles in the union. This is because marriage is a lifelong union and has to be taken seriously. To get a rough or a general idea about the compatibility, one can also check the matching of five astro signs which are the sun sign, the rasi or moon sign, the lagna or ascendant and the nakshatra and the Chinese sign.

For the purpose of finding compatibility, the girl's Nakshatra is matched with the boy's nakshatra to find if the gunas match. In order for the couple to be compatible a minimum of 18 gunas have to match or be compatible out of 36. In other cases the match is considered to be incompatible and thus marriage not feasible. However there are ways out of this as well, through various corrective pujas done to bring peace to the nakshatras. On the other hand, the higher the score of matching, the better it is. Matching of the gunas or the nakshatras is just one part of the process of marriage. The horoscope of the boy and the girl also has to match with each other, for the marriage to be successful and everlasting.

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