Nakshatra Series – Vishakha
Vishakha consists of four stars, which form the left half of the hanging scale shape formed by the constellation Libra. These stars are known in modern astronomy as Alpha-Librae, Beta-Librae, Gamma-Librae & Iota-Librae. Despite the fact that all of these stars are part of the constellation of Libra, a part of this asterism lies in the zodiacal sign of Scorpio. Among these, Alpha-Librae (Zuben el Genubi or the North Scale) and Beta-Librae (Zuben el Hakhrabi or the South scale) are the brightest, with visual magnitudes of 2.75and 2.61 respectively. The easiest way to spot these stars is to locate them below the bright star Spica. Ancient Vedic Seers saw these stars as forming the shape of a forked branch and associated them with the abode of the gods under the rulership of Indra.
“Vishakha”, like other Sanskrit terms, evokes a wide variety of English meanings – “forked”, “two-branched”, “poison vessel”. Its alternative name is “Radha”, which translates into “the delightful”. Radha, as a name, has gained popularity by virtue of being the name of Krishna’s beloved consort.
Its main symbol is a ‘decorated arch’ or ‘gateway’. In depictions this gateway is usually decorated with leaves. Such gateways are still a norm in marriage ceremonies in India. Consequently, one can infer that Vishakha has a lot to do with marriage. Most of Vishakha lies in the sign governing marriage, Libra. In the ancient times this gateway was symbolic of triumph. It symbolised the ending or attainment of a goal and the beginning of a new one. It was a reminder of the fact that challenges don’t end once you pass through the gateway, after achieving your goal.
The challenges begin when one enters the gateway, just like the marriage ceremonies the precursor of the challenges to come in married life. The gateway also suggests that Vishakha always has its eyes fixed upon the final attainment of a goal. This goal can range from triumphing over one’s external enemies to triumphing over one’s inner demons. In the present day and age, where negative qualities of every Nakshatra predominate, Vishakha usually functions as an obsessive, goal-oriented Nakshatra with complete disregard for the nature of the means employed to achieve the desired end.
Despite its association with celebrations, Vishakha cannot be seen as a pleasant Nakshatra. When striving towards a goal becomes the only objective in life, one is likely to have little peace of mind and will definitely miss the true essence of life. In the words of the contemporary songwriter John Lennon, “Life is what happens while we are busy making other plans.
Vishakha, true to its forked quality, has two main ruling deities – Indra and Agni (fire god). In the puranic literature, Indra, the chief among the demi-gods, is often portrayed as a very goal oriented, fixated and offensive character, who would go to any lengths to achieve his desired ends. The funny thing is that many times his desired ends are completely ungodly and he is getting into all sorts of troubles as a result. This is a primary theme of Vishakha – pursuing unwholesome goals in questionable ways and creating bad karma as a result. Indra is also seen as a character who drowns himself in women, wine and other such pleasures. This indulgent side of Indra also finds expression through Vishakha.
Deceptiveness is also associated with Indra, in the sense that he doesn’t shy away from putting his own near and dear ones in danger, in order to get what he wants. He is also often seen to act in a cowardly fashion at the first sign of real danger. It is helpful to remember that “Indra” is just a post which is occupied by different souls in different times in different universes. Vishakha people are always in search of a post which gives them dominion and pleasure and Indra is just a soul who makes it.
Agni, the fire god, basically represents energy in one of its many forms. It is because of Agni that Vishakha has the capacity to exert herculean efforts in order to attain its goal. Just like fire, when harnessed properly, can be used in a variety of constructive ways, Vishakha’s strong energy can manifest as courage, determination and the capacity for hard work directed towards wholesome ‘pursuits’ Fire in its negative aspect can run amok and burn in discriminately. In the same way Vishakha can cause harm to others around it before finally getting consumed itself. Terms like’, “burning grief”, “burning desire” and “burning passion” are all tailor-made Vishakha expressions.
Agni and Indra rule over heat and rain, making Vishakha an agricultural Nakshatra. It utilizes the forces of nature to produce crops and then goes on to derive intoxicants like wine and alcohol from these crops.
Nature and Functioning:
The nature of this Nakshatra can be summed in one word – “fixation”. Even though its single mindedness in pursuing its goals is unmatched, its Achilles heel lies in “what goal it chooses to pursue”. In the present day and age, the likelihood of forming unwholesome goals is intensively heightened, the presence of this Nakshatra in a nativity becomes a cause for concern. Vishakha natives easily fall prey to excesses in regards to sex and alcohol. They are the ones who have an overwhelming need to flock to the local bar.
There is a certain jubilation aspect to Vishakha natives which shows itself in love of pomp and ceremony. Very often those among Vishakha’s who choose the path of the senses end up becoming mad party types. Following Swati, the Nakshatra where actual achievement takes place, Vishakha represents the exuberant victorious state after the achievement. It is common knowledge that a sense of emptiness follows any accomplishment. This sense of emptiness is a continuous feature throughout the lives of Vishakha natives. Fire is never satiated no matter how much or how long it consumes. They are always concerned about what they don’t have, rather than making use of what they have.” The grass looks greener on the other side” mentality breeds a quagmire of unwholesome emotions. This emptiness and frustration drives some of the more evolved Vishakha natives away from blind worldliness in search of higher knowledge and truths.
Vishakha natives have a distinct fierce appearance with prominent slants and angles on the face even in case of the fairer sex. They usually have sharp eyes and features. Their external behaviour ranges from extremely courteous and jovial to completely nasty and obnoxious. Vishakha natives are very concerned about putting up fronts to gain their ends. This makes them hide their innate negative feelings towards others in their dealings with them. Most Vishakha natives easily fall prey to envy, jealousy, viciousness and can’t help feeling useless in comparison to those around them. All these factors make Vishakha natives hard to get along with making them bereft of any real friends. These negative feelings arise from the same empty place which was mentioned above. The real problem lies in the fact that these natives become obsessive about these negative feelings and thoughts and can’t let go of them. This is where the fire inside them starts burning their own selves instead of being put to any constructive use. Vishakha natives are pretty much defined by their obsessions, which can range from petty and soul-destroying to soul-nurturing and evolutionary.
The good thing about these natives is that once their mind is made up they are devoted to their cause and will go to any lengths to fulfil their objective. However it is noticed that life continuously presents them with two different paths, and they have to make a conscious choice to stay on the right one. Vishakha natives take life as a challenge of softs. They usually make simple things complex and easy things difficult. The way they go about achieving their objectives does not follow the line of least resistance. They encounter lots of obstacles, which they are able to surmount by their one pointedness, but the process is not free from moans and complaints. The final paradox of this Nakshatra lies at the point where after achieving what they set out to achieve, they are not sure if that’s what they wanted to achieve.