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Abhijit the Nakshatra vs. Abhijit the Star vs. Dhruva

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When did the pole star Dhruva become synonymous with the constellation Abhijit?

Maybe 4th canto, 9th chapter describes when this happened. However, let’s be clear about something: Dhruva and Abhijit are not entirely synonymous. Actually there are three things we can confuse:

  1. Abhijit as a nakshatra.
  2. Abjhijit as a star (by which the nakshatra is defined)
  3. Dhruva.

Dhruva is the pole itself: The point in the sky that does not move at all (which is the literal meaning of “dhruva“), and around which everything else moves.

Abhijit is the closest major star to that pole.

Abhijit nakshatra is a zone that can be defined by extrapolating from the pole, through the star, to the ecliptic.

Considering precession, how do we know which star is “Abhijit”?

There is no star EXACTLY at the pole and, yes, due to precession a few different stars come relatively close over the course of millennia, but Abhijit (Vega) is by far the most bright, conspicuous, and noteworthy of them.

Precession has a ~25.7k year cycle. Abhijit was very very close to Dhruva c. 14k years ago, and would have also been at ~39.7, 65.4, 91.1, 116.8 (etc) thousand years ago (so the story in 4th canto, 9th chapter probably occurred at one of those times), but even when it is at its furthest from Dhruva (as it basically is now), it is still the brightest star in the vicinity of the pole (click to see the image clearly).

One more detail…

Stars, planets, and other points in space act as “celestial projections” of various loka (“realms” / “worlds” in which it is possible to exist, but which are very distinct from each other in their rulesets). In other words, celestial points are “nominals” for different loka. This allows them to be utilized as access points to those lokas by arcane sciences that I think are probably entirely lost or impossible for us to execute by now.

Dhruva (the celesital pole) is the nominal object referent to Viṣṇu’s loka. The pole-star (abhijit-tara / Vega) is the nominal object referent to Brahmā’s realm, the nearest realm to Vishnu’s (a ontological thing expressed in physical space to the human loka by celestial latitude and proximity).

In 4.9 of Bhagavatam, Viṣṇu gives the pole to a boy named Dhruva. Perhaps the pole was thereafter called “Dhruva” or perhaps visa versa, the boy was named for his kingdom, or perhaps neither. In any case, Viṣṇu gave the pole to Dhruva as the arcane means of granting that boy access to enter Viṣṇu’s realm to become Viṣṇu’s associate after completing his duties and responsibilities in this world. 4.9 explains this directly.

Why do we use 27 nakshatra instead of 28 (including Abhijit)?

Because we are astrologers.

Astrologers concern ourselves with celestial movements. Celestial movements with any regularity or palpability happen only near the ecliptic. Abhijit is not near the ecliptic at all.

There are 27 nakshatra stars near the ecliptic. The 28th (abhijit) is extremely far north. So far north that it is the Vedic “pole-star.” So, we use 27 because there are 27 near the ecliptic. The 28th is not an ecliptic nakshatra but is essential for defining all the others.

If we want to be different and use 28 nakshatras there are 2 approaches that I know of.

One is a very unusual system that redefines all the nakshatra significantly, making them unequal with each other, and hence breaking the very founding principle of nakshatra (“the area that belongs to the moon over the course of one solar day”). So, I am not a fan of this system and am not really even sure of its obscure source, or whether it even has a reputable source.

The other system is more widely accepted and does not break the basic concepts behind the blueprint of the nakshatra. The idea is that Abhijit Nakshatra would overlay a fourth of the end of Uttarāṣāḍhā, and a small bit of the start of Śravaṇa.

Being practical, it isn’t really all that exciting to use Abhijit here, because the culminating area of Uttara-āṣāḍhā should already (in the typical 27-nakshatra system) be seen as symbolizing the same power and mastery that Abhijit should be seen to symbolize. So it doesn’t really add or change much to add Abhijit in here.



4 responses to “Abhijit the Nakshatra vs. Abhijit the Star vs. Dhruva”

  1. Spacebug Avatar

    Thank you so much for covering this. My ascendant would be here if I used the overlay system. I think. . . But always curious about it. I accept this nakshatra is not for us humans, but it’s always fun to think about!


  2. Alfonso Ugarte Avatar
    Alfonso Ugarte

    awesome post Vic, thanks!

    Vic, if planets are the celestial projection of other loka, then how does this concept relate to that of the AtmaKaaraka?

    i have heard some people say (as an example) that if you have a Mars ArmaKaaraka then it is as if (at least to an important extent) “you soul comes from Mars”…. is this so in any way?

    thank you!


    1. Vic DiCara Avatar
      Vic DiCara

      people say things that sound insane to other people (me). “Your soul comes from mars” should certainly be taken as a metaphor – meaning that the traits of mars are intrinsic to your identity. Souls dont come from or go to anywhere, they are beyond location.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ari Avatar

    please, what is this cross orange point close to the north pole called NEP?

    Another thing, i find it very intriguing that in the vedic philosophy NORTH is associated with the water element and moksa (as one of the 4 goals of life)… Water meaning emotion… that would mean that Vishnu Loka (or Vaikunta) is like an emotional place? the substance of life is therefore feeling? the purpose of consciousness is eventually to feel… a liberated/liberating emotion?

    Also, it is very curious that in the chinese philosophy of the yin yang (and also in reality) the water element is the occupying the lowest point, for example they associate winter solstice and midnight with the pure yin element, the oldest water… that would fit with the vedic point of view inside the analogy of the world as an inverted tree of the bhagavad gita…maybe?


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