Nakshatra Series – Hasta
Hasta consists of five prominent easily visible stars of the constellation known as Corvi (the Crow), which lies below the constellation of Virgo. These five stars, whose grouping was seen by the ancient Vedic seers as resembling the top of a hand (five fingertips), are known in modern astronomy as Alpha-Corvi (Alchiba), Beta-Corvi, Delta-Corvi (Algorab), Gamma-Corvi (Gienah) & Epsilon-Corvi. Beta-Corvi is the brightest among these stars with a visual magnitude of 2.66. The constellation representing this asterism Corvi can be located in the night sky below the constellation Virgo to the right hand side of the zodiacal belt. It lies very close to the right hand side of Spica, one of the brightest stars and can thus be easily spotted despite its relative faintness.
Hasta’s main translation is “the hand”. As we shall find in the course of this section, this seemingly general and inconsequential name conveys a major part of this asterism’s nature, activities and approach.
Its alternative translation is “laughter”. The root “Has” in Sanskrit means “to laugh”. The ancient seers must have picked this name as a pun on a Nakshatra most closely associated with pun. Its alternative names “Bhanu” and ‘Ark’ translate into “Sun” and “Sun’s Ray” respectively. The association of Hasta with Sun and the solar principle will become clear as we discuss its symbols and ruling deity.
Hasta has three main symbols. One symbol is “a hand with all five fingers spread-eagled”.
Through this symbol, the ancient seers are trying to emphasize Hasta’s relation with fate. One can see all the lines in the palm when a hand is spread out. These lines in the palm as we know, relate to our destiny in the present life. Hasta is closely connected to the art of palmistry and by extrapolation, Astrology. The hand also simply relates to all activities done with the use of the hands. This will be expanded upon later. In ancient times the outstretched hand was a symbol of the Sun, with the fingers representing its rays. The relationship of this Nakshatra with the Sun is established through its ruling deity.
The second symbol is “a clenched fist”, which exemplifies secrecy and determination. Hasta, as we shall discover, is related to all kinds of activities like trickery deceit and manipulation involving the use of the above two qualities. The clenched fist in its negative aspect represents greed, ambition and an inability to let go of things. In its positive aspect, it represents strength which is derived through unity and harmonious working of parts.
Hasta is the Nakshatra most closely associated with cooperation in order to achieve the intended goal. This cooperation however has very little to do with friendship, as there is a distinct lack of trust in all Hasta bonding’s. It is no wonder that shaking hands is the most commonly used act for bonding in the modern times. This immediately reflects the modern world’s obsession with cooperation without trust.
The third and more rarely used symbol of Hasta is “a potter’s wheel”. A potter’s wheel has its obvious association with pottery making and all types of handicrafts in general. On an esoteric level the potter’s wheel symbolizes the passage of time. Hasta is often very concerned about the proper utilization of time. It is very prone to go to extremes in relation to this issue and turn life into a clock. It is obsessed with timekeeping, punctuality, repetition and other such robotic traits usually associated with the sign Virgo.
Just like the previous two Nakshatra’s, a solar deity presides over Hasta. This solar deity is
named “Savitar”. His name has two translations – “the impeller” and “the first rays of the rising Sun”.
As an “impeller”, Savitar is seen as a god who gives life. Hasta is therefore known as a Nakshatra which aids childbirth. The “first rays of the rising Sun” represent the awakening potential of Hasta in all ancient cultures and civilizations. The first rays of sunrise were a signal for all people to begin their day’s activities, its function being similar to an alarm clock today. We can thus infer that Hasta has all to do with the terms activity and alertness. Hasta is the proverbial ‘wakeup call’, a term which should be read from both a material and spiritual perspective.
Savitar has a jovial, light-hearted type of persona. He is always portrayed with a laughing gesture. He is a playful deity into all kinds of tricks, amusements and games. This makes Hasta interested in all kinds of sport on all planes of existence. On the terrestrial earthly plane, Hasta relates to both mind games and physical sports.
Savitar is supposed to be extremely skilled with his hands. This makes Hasta directly associated with everything done with the hands. The reasoning behind the naming of Hasta should now be clear to us. Savitar is also considered to be a crafty trickster, taking pleasure in lying, gambling and fraud. These qualities don’t seem like the kind which one would associate with a solar deity but the truth is that even the planet Sun has this cunning, crafty side to its nature, which is more often than not overlooked by astrologers. In the ancient times all kings (represented by Sun) were supposed to be well versed in the alts of lying, deceit, fraud, gambling and robbery.
Savitar is almost mercurial in his approach, which does not come as a surprise since all of this Nakshatra falls in Virgo, a sign ruled by Mercury. Savitar can be seen as a deity who fuses the energies of Sun and Mercury. His qualities are very similar to those ascribed to the Budha-Aditya yoga (Sun/Mercury conjunction in a sign or house).
In a way the nature and functioning of Savitar is akin to a bright sunny day where everyone is feeling good and are involved in creative activities of all kinds. This is what makes Hasta one of the most optimistic and creative Nakshatra’s.
Nature and Functioning:
Common English words like “hand”, “handy”, “haste”, “hassle”, ‘haggle”, “have”, “hard”, “harness”, “hack”, “harvest”- seem to have the same root as the word “Hasta”, Their meanings relate to Hasta’s functioning at some level or the other. The well-known greeting “Hasta Maniana” sheds light on Hasta’s jovial and easy going approach and its relationship with all kinds of endings.
Hasta follows Uttara Phalguni, the Nakshatra in which a family is established. After the
establishment of a family, issues like continuity and sustenance crop up. There are little and big things to be done on a regular basis to keep the household going. Hasta relates to all the little activities which make civilized living possible. It is no surprise that Hasta natives are the handymen of the zodiac. They also make excellent householders. Even though they take their work seriously, there is always some internal light-heartedness underneath. They are very good at carrying plain faces and stern exteriors. Even the comedians which use this nakshatra’s energies, bring out humour through deadpan, straight, serious facial expressions.
When Hasta rises on the Ascendant it produces highly flexible and supple bodies capable of handling a variety of manual jobs. They often have some type of acrobatic skill. They have small eyes and roundish faces. They have mischievous smiles and like to squint a lot. They love to laugh and play the joker. They have quick, sharp minds which constantly process whatever they observe. They like to think along practical lines and have a tendency to look down upon romantically bohemian attitudes. Theirs is a world of classification, order and arrangement. Hasta natives have a tendency to overwork arising from an inability to sit still. They can get obsessive about keeping themselves busy, a trait which makes them invent unnecessary tasks or complicate relatively simple tasks. No other Nakshatra comes close to Hasta when it comes to an eye for detail. They work at things painstakingly and expect others to do the same. They can be extremely critical when their high standards are not met. Hasta usually gives some sort of tension with progeny if related to the fifth house in any way.
In the universal scheme of things, Hasta relates to ‘hasta sthapaniya agama Shakti”- the
power to put one’s object of desire in one’s hands. Its symbolism has attainment of the object above and the process of attainment below. The symbolism makes it clear beyond words that Hasta promises immediate acquirement of one’s object of desire through one’s skill.