Nakshatra Series – Ardra
Ardra, the seed of Rahu’s energy, consists of the bright star in the constellation of Orion, known in modern astronomy as Betelgeuse (Alpha-Orionis). With a visual magnitude of 0.57, this red giant is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. Betelgeuse is the bright star at the top left hand corner of Orion. It is revered in most ancient cultures as a very important star as it is supposed to have a strong influence on our planet. The ancient vedic seers saw this bright red star as being the abode of Rudra, the fierce red form of Shiva.
Ardra can have many varied English translations like- “green”, “fresh”, “the moist one”. It is not hard to notice that all these translations are connected and carry a feeling of renewal. For example, the word “moist” may refer to the moisture in the air which forms the clouds, which in tum cause rain ‘The rain in turn brings life to the earthly vegetation and makes them “fresh” and “green”.
Tears is one image which comes across instantly to one’s mind when moisture is related with human feelings. A “teardrop” in fact is one of the most well-known symbols of this asterism. Sweat is another physical phenomenon which can be linked with moisture and the ancient texts associate this asterism with the oppressive heat of the Sun, which as we know is responsible for the sweating process.
Its main symbol is a Diamond, even though many scholar see a Tear drop as its primary symbol.
As we have already seen, the name of this Nakshatra relates to moisture and wetness. The symbolism of the tear drop associates it with all kinds of sorrow. The tear drop symbolism also relates to water in all its droplet forms, like the early morning dew drops on the leaves or the thousands of drops left around after the rain has come and gone. These dew drops, as we can see, symbolise freshness and renewal. Even tear drops are part of a cleansing process and relate more to the dispersal of sorrow rather than the actual production of it. This cathartic process is similar to that of a baby, which can cry one minute and be smiling the next as if nothing happened’.
This is a futuristic Nakshatra, which tends to release one from the decaying past through a series of stormy events. It must be remembered though that all these storms are usually of a very short duration and don’t last very long. If one does not try to cling to the past one can sail through this phase with ease and be rewarded with a renewal akin to the freshness of the leaves after the rain. For example, one feels disappointed when one loses a job, but this might provide a new opportunity for one to pursue one’s favoured vocation and find success there in. This is the reason why ‘a diamond’ is the main symbol of this Nakshatra.
A diamond, as we know, is formed after been acted upon by extreme heat and pressure for
millions of years. In the same way, this asterism can produce a glowing personality after one has successfully gone through the storms that wash away the old. The diamond symbolism also relates to the hard work required to extract the shining and brilliant jewel of knowledge from the stormy vicissitudes of this Nakshatra.
A diamond is mainly a mental and intellectual symbol, with its reflective multi-dimensional layers, signifying the multifarious aspects of Manomayakosha (mental/intellectual plane).Just as the brilliance of a diamond depends on the amount of light falling on it, the brilliance of the mind and intellect depends upon the amount of light the soul has. Ardra’s alternative symbol, “a man’s head”, also conveys a similar idea of mind and mentality.
The diamond is also the hardest known substance on the material plane and this hardness in turn relates to the unyielding and determined aspect of this Nakshatra. This Nakshatra has a sharp, piercing quality to it and can cut through anything with ease in much the same way as a diamond can. Getting to the root of the matter is very important to this Nakshatra. Ardra is therefore directly connected to one’s depth of perception.
Its presiding deity is Rudra, which translates into ‘the terrible’, ‘the ruddy red’, ‘the transformer’ or the ‘the howler’. The reference to red colour gains significance from the fact that astronomers actually refer to Betelgeuse (the primary star of this Nakshatra) as “the Red Giant”. Rudra represents the destructive and transformative aspect of Shiva (the destroyer among the Vedic trinity).
Rudra is also seen as the Storm God by some Vedic texts, which again points towards a sense of commotion and upheaval. Rudra relates to chaos, disorder, confusion, anarchy and havoc. However most wise men will agree, that in fact, it is these terrible things which more often than not turn people around. Very few embrace change unless put against the wall!
The primary essence of Ardra is ‘change’ and Rudra knows exactly what is required to bring it about. The period before the storm, where the dark clouds gather accompanied by lightning and thunder, is the atmosphere Rudra revels in and relates to. Ardra can be seen as an expert at producing these kinds of situations, bringing in such experiences into a person’s life. Storm is an important phenomenon through which nature finds its release. Ardra can be seen as marking the period just before, during and after a rainstorm. Rudra is intimately connected with the constellation of Orion, ‘The Hunter”. Orion is supposed to be the most important constellation in terms of its effect on earth and humanity. It is revered in all the Vedic texts as the gateway from where the souls descend to begin their earthly life and is thus called the “Giver of Life”. It aids in the evolutionary process of humanity through triggering important changes. Some of these changes may appear destructive on an individual or collective level like a violent storm, but they are always auspicious in the sense that they always trigger new growth.
Nature and Functioning:
The nature of Ardra is like the nature of a child. Natives under its influence have an ability to flit from intense joy to intense sorrow, to somewhere in between within a matter of minutes. Ardra is always involved in a churning process. This makes the natives under its strong influence to be undergoing constant transformation. In some cases, this process produces good things like gems of knowledge and in some cases it produces negative things like poisonous thoughts and confusion.
Ardra is the first Nakshatra where an attempt is made on a mental/intellectual plane to understand the functioning’s of Maya [illusion]. This is the place where intellect is born. In the previous Nakshatra, Mrigshira, mind develops its capacity to roam and wander. In Ardra intellect is developed to synthesize the experience gained through these wanderings. Ardra is still pretty much as curious as Mrigshira, the only difference being that Ardra likes to know the cause behind the effect, while Mrigshira is mostly content with observing and enjoying the effect.
It can be said that Mrigshira “enjoys” and Ardra “dissects”. This is probably the reason why all natives born under its influence have research orientated and probing intellects. When an Ardra native enters a room one can immediately recognise their probing quality. Even seven year old children like to observe and understand people around them. This observing is usually without any regards for courtesy and they can be quite upfront about voicing their findings
In the universal scheme of things, Ardra relates to ‘yatna Shakti” – the power to make efforts. Its main theme is searching and reaching the desired goal. Ardra thus finishes off the searching that began in Mrigshira. Achievement is the result of Ardra’s energy’.
It is easy to see that that the English words like- “arduous” and “ardent” have been derived from “Ardra” and thus relate to its functioning’s. In fact, English as a language has a lot to do with the energies of Ardra.
Ardra is the nakshatra where mental sensitivity and impressionability develops as the stormy vicissitudes of this nakshatra make the mind active and reactive. This sensitivity makes Ardra natives susceptible to all kinds of hurts and in some cases gives a strong desire to help those who are suffering or hurt. The underlying emotional thirst of Ardra is based upon empathy. Even Rudra, its ruling deity, came into being to protect Rohini from Brahma (please refer to the story in the Deity section of Rohini).
Even a thunderstorm is nothing but nature’s way of relieving Earth’s vegetation of its misery. Ardra is the first Nakshatra where emotions are encountered by the mind. There is a constant need for balancing the mental and emotional impulses in this Nakshatra.
Natives born with Ardra rising on the Ascendant usually have large faces, curly hair and sullen expression. The eyes have a particular piercing quality about them and the expression, ‘going red with anger”, literally applies to Ardra natives. The mad, absentminded professor archetype is an Ardra character. They have good memory and are quick to respond to facts and figures. It must be noted that Ardra natives don’t usually verify the facts before they speak. Although they may appear calm outside there is usually some raging storm going on in their heads. Their lives are full of extreme changes and complete turn-arounds.
Ardra natives are intense and unrelenting observers of both themselves and others. This quality, coupled with the fact that they usually put their thoughts into speech, makes them appear impolite and critical. In some cases their sarcasm can cause much pain or agony to others. In lesser evolved souls, Ardra displays its childlike tendency to serve selfish ends through lying, unscrupulousness etc. They are, however, courageous like Rudra and don’t mind any type of confrontation.
Ardra people are like storms running around and the reactions they get from other people is as varied. They are good at scaring people, especially the softer types. Their physical constitution is usually quite strong, which makes them good at physically oriented jobs. On the material prosperity scale, they tend to fluctuate between extremes. They are, however, usually not good with finances, as they are likely to spend all of their earnings. Just like a seven year old child, Ardra is not very concerned about money.
Because of the illusionary energies of Rahu, Ardra can create a whole lot of confusion and make Ardra natives scatter away their intellectual and mental energies in meaningless pursuits. It can also make them stubborn, arrogant and reckless. In the present day and age, where science and technology have a stronghold over the mass consciousness, Ardra natives usually waste their potential on these material sciences, which in most cases don’t bring about any evolution on the soul level. It is seen that a lot of physicists make the shift from physics to metaphysics late in their lives, after exhausting all its possibilities. This shows how people can waste their whole lives before coming to any meaningful conclusion. All Ardra natives get a chance to transform their lives for the better, but in today’s hyper materialistic age, where all types of illusions abound, it is no easy task.
In the case of highly evolved souls, Ardra functions in a different way. In such cases, the
universal mind tests them through stormy conditions and situations, in order to test their resolve and understanding. History is the proof that all great personalities have undergone many storms in their lives. Besides testing our faith, these storms clear away the dust of negative karmas from previous lives. Ardra is the storm which wakes us from our stagnating slumber and makes us howl and cry out the most important question “Why!”