Nakshatra Series – Chitra
Chitra is one of the few asterisms which are represented by a single star. Its star is commonly known as Spica (Alpha-Virginis), which lies in the lower back part of the constellation Virgo. It can be said to be placed around the region where the ‘hips of the maiden’ formed by the shape of the constellation Virgo would lie. It is one of the brightest stars in the night sky with a visual magnitude of 1.06 and can be spotted even in the polluted skies over big metropolitan cities. Ancient Vedic seers saw this star as the residence of Vishwakarma (or Tvastar), the divine architect.
Chitra conveys a wide variety of meanings in English ranging from “Glittering”, “Brilliant”, “Bright”, “Art”, “Artful”, “Beautiful”, “Many Coloured”, “Variegated”, “Illusory”, and “Visually Exciting” or “Magic”. In a way this nakshatra conveys more of its inherent qualities through its name than any other asterism.
In keeping with its name, its main symbol is a ‘big, bright, shining jewel’. Gemstones, as we know, are formed under conditions of intense heat and pressure acting over rocks and minerals for millions of years. On a material plane, the universe has to come a long way from the initial big bang to the stage where gems are produced on planets such as ours. A gem can thus be seen to be the apex of the universe ‘striving for beauty and perfection of form’.
We have already seen that Hasta, the previous Nakshatra, is related to artisans and those involved in light craft like handicrafts. In Chitra, however, crafts are taken to another level and perfection of form is achieved. Chitra is therefore associated with the final appearance and form of everything in nature. Its ruling deity as we shall learn, was even responsible for giving our Sun its final present day form. It is up to Chitra to finally oversee how a thing should look, whether it be a galaxy or a small leaf.
Its alternative symbol is a ‘pearl’. Pearls, as we know, are formed in an oyster’s moments of irritation, in much the same way aft comes out of the artist’s moments of irritation and depression. Chitra is thus related to the mysterious essence behind creativity, using its clear understanding of the laws of the universe. It has the ability to fashion new, wonderful and delightful things out of seemingly nothing at all. In its higher aspect, Chitra allows one to see beyond the illusion of form, thus giving access to the pearl of true knowledge.
Tvastar, the celestial architect, is the main ruling deity of this asterism. He is usually referred to by the name Vishwakarma (creation worker) in most of the Vedic texts. He is said to be an adept in Maya, the illusory force which keeps alive the drama of life. Vishwakarma uses his knowledge of Maya to create, mutate and fashion new forms out of the pre-existing ones, an act which seems like magic to others. His workings are often done in secret and a shroud of mystery surrounds his character and persona. To understand his mysterious aspect better, we have to take our present day example; “most of the human population on our planet are completely unaware of how normal soil containing silicon is fashioned into a computer, a device which has the ability to do all these magic like functions”.
In the same way, most of the gods and other celestial beings do not have a clue as to how Vishwakarma creates magnificent structures using the most basic elements. Even on our planet we can see that the most important thing defining a civilization is its architecture. There’s none better than Vishwakarma in material architecture and consequently none surpasses Chitra as far as arts, crafts, design, architecture, beauty and proportion are concerned. Chitra is the grand illusion maker creating delightful things, forms and objects, which make us want to live.
Vishwakarma, even though he is friendly to the gods, has no particular allegiance to anyone. He creates all lokas (planes of existence) for all races (human, godly, demonic, serpent etc.). It is Vishwakarma who fashions thunderbolts for Indra, the king of the heavenly hosts, but his twin brother Trishiras (three-headed) is a demon and an enemy of Indra. This duality finds expression through Chitra, a Nakshatra which is very ambiguous and thus hard to classify in any fixed category of good, evil, crooked or saintly.
Like Vishwakarma, Chitra creates without a care for the far reaching implications of what it is creating. It was the palace, which Vishwakarma built for the Pandavas (refer to Vedic legend “The Mahabharata), which in a way led to the final great war, commonly known as Mahabharata. Even in the present day and age, all kinds of new weapons of war are fashioned everyday by scientists, technicians and engineers. They however can’t be held responsible for the way these weapons are used by politicians and the ruling elite.
Nature and Functioning:
The essence of Chitra can be summarized in the phrase “create, create and create”. Chitra is a dynamic, energetic Nakshatra which has very little ability to sit still. It likes to involve itself in one creative activity or another. When this creativity is in harmony with universal functioning’s all goes well for Chitra natives. However when this is not the case, Chitra natives can become unbalanced, selfish, indulgent creature.
Chitra natives are obsessed with appearance/complexity, structure and form. Therefore this Nakshatra has to do with Maya, illusion and glamour. Chitra approaches things from an architectural, aesthetic mint of view. There are different levels of Maya. It can operate on the superficial external levels like a desire to project outer beauty, and in one’s need to create harmony and balance in relationships with others. On both mundane and spiritual levels the point here is that Chitra natives can leam to play with universal energies and utilise its complex layers of perception and projection. It is due to this aspect that natives influenced by this Nakshatra never reveal themselves in social situations. They are always projecting a front of some kind. Usually this is a dignified front with a hidden quality.
The Virgo part of Chitra has more core understanding of Maya than the Libra part. The Libra part relates to the form element, while Virgo part is more concerned with the intricate detailed working of things. The Libra part of Chitra is more relationship oriented. Chitra loves admiration and is motivated by that in whatever it does, especially in the Libra part of this Nakshatra. Chitra always has an element of doubt and uncertainty attached to it due to Sun’s weakness in the sign of Libra. Therefore its qualities and its needs to focus on structure and appreciation of form are motivated by this inherent doubt and uncertainty.
Chitra’s love for understanding how things work and how all the parts fit together, generally place natives under its influence in scientific, technological and artistic fields. Japanese as a race are governed by this Nakshatra, which can be seen in their technological obsession and their attention to detail. Chitra loves to create “magic”. The Virgo part of Chitra will create the technological gadget and the Libra part will give it an outer form or garment to the aesthetic appeal. On a higher plane it is the Virgo part of Chitra which is more sincere in trying to understand the inner workings of the universe, whereas the Libra part can tend to keep one trapped in the Maya aspect rather than going beyond it.
Natives with Chitra rising or having prominent Chitra influences usually well-Proportioned hairless bodies (if they have hair they are constantly pruning it), bright lustrous eyes, thin eyebrows and alluring mannerisms. They always have a glint in their eyes. They are born with a natural ability to dazzle. Chitra natives have a very strong ability to attract the opposite sex. They are usually passionate but also have the ability to fake passions when the situation demands it. They hold themselves with a certain degree of dignity which covers up their weaknesses. Chitra natives always make a special effort to come across as completely together type of individuals. Since all of them are not all are together especially in the present age of kali, most of this effort is pretension. Chitra can cause one a lot of frustration and angst whether it is functioning from a higher or lower level. Just like the oyster experiences irritation to produce a pearl, there is a certain amount of pain involved in stripping away the layers of illusion and going beyond Maya. Again this pain only operates on the egoic plane, which itself is an expression of Maya.