Nakshatra is a Sanskrit word that means “which does not decay”. Naksh means, approaching, to worship, to guard or protect. Tra means a tool or an instrument. Nakshatras are heavenly bodies that need reverence and worship. These nakshatras are stellar constellations and the earliest references of them are made in the yajur Veda. Moon transits all 27 nakshatras in a month, completing the zodiac orbit. On an average, it travels one nakshatra everyday. 27 nakshatras are 300-400 light years away from the earth.
In Vedic Astrology, the study of nakshatras is done for accurate predictions and astrological analysis. Nakshatra or birthstar is an important element in this astrology, as it gives insight into one`s thinking patterns, characteristics of the person and also calculating the dasha period. Nakshatras with their cosmic powers help to bring about changes in human psyche, as they rule and direct each soul`s journey according to karmic destiny.
Each nakshatra radiates its own quality and has a symbol with meaning. It is presided over by the ruling deity. For example, for star punarvasu, it is Goddess Aditi, for star Rohini, it is Brahma and for Ashwini, it is Ashwin twins. According to Taittiriya Brahmana, “One who offers worship here reaches the world of heaven beyond. That is the nakshatrahood of Nakshatras.” They act as a link between the human mind and the cosmic mind. Worship to them gives one great benefits unparallel in nature. They are spiritual forces in the sky that shower divine blessings when invoked through prayer and offerings.
According to David Frawley, “The ancient Vedic seers looked to the origin of human soul, the eternal or light part of our nature, in the heavens, among the stars, in the realms of light and eternity ruled by the creator or cosmic lord".
When these heavenly lights are connected to us through spiritual efforts by way of worship, prayer and meditation, then they reward according to the fruits of each one`s karma. They can be invoked in many ways. One such way to attract their blessings is to light incense in the form of Nakshatra dhoop. There are certain herbs that correspond to each star on earth plane. When these herbs are offered to the stars that correspond to each day, it magnetically attracts their blessings from afar. They have to be lit with devotion and sincere prayers to the star would magically transform one level of existence. Connection should be made to them through strong thought forms and lighting of such dhoops would help in the process. Lighting lamps and incense infuses the surroundings with positive energy and thus good thoughts are produced in the mind.
The practice of lighting herbal dhoops specific to the ruling star of each day brings about auspicious benefits like peace of mind, fulfillment of desires, relief from worries and blessings of the ruling star deity and universal God. It helps us to transcend worldly existence and attain heavenly realms. Such is the power of worship to the stars, who are all wives of Planet Moon, according to Hindu mythology.