Nakshatra Series – Punarvasu
Punarvasu, the root of Jupiterian energy, consists of the two bright stars in the constellation of Gemini, known in modern astronomy as Castor (Alpha-Geminorium) & Pollux (Beta-Geminorium). With visual magnitudes of 1.58 and 1.22 respectively, Castor & Pollux are easily visible in the night sky. They can be located at the top left hand comer above Orion within the constellation of Gemini. In most ancient cultures these stars were seen as twins (brothers or lovers). The ancient Vedic seers however saw this asterism as a “quiver of arrows”.
Punarvasu translates into “Good Again”, “Wealthy Again” or the “Visible Infinity”. The original name for this Nakshatra was “Punah Vasu” – translated it meant to ‘Reorganize, reorient, OR try once again’. The Vasus are demigods carrying all the desirable qualities like goodness, strength, prosperity etc. (refer to the Deity section of Dhanishta, the 23rd asterism). The fact that the term “Punarvasu” literally translates into “Becoming Vasu Again”, reveals its first two meanings. We also get an impression of some positive transformation from darkness into light. This duality and interplay between the opposites is the essence of Punarvasu. Its “visible infinity” meaning is more profound and relates to its ruling deity.
The most accepted symbol of Punarvasu is a ‘quiver full of arrows’. Sometimes one single arrow is taken as its symbol, but in both cases the arrow symbolism dominates the discussion of this Nakshatra.
An arrow has been traditionally associated with every aspect of human nature and functioning – arrow of desire, arrow of ambition, Eros’ arrow and not to forget the arrow of time. In all these cases the arrow is always associated with some sort of movement, striving or objective. The arrows in the Punarvasu quiver are not normal arrows. They are supposed to be like the divine as far as (weapons), used in ancient times, which magically return after fulfilling their function or mission. This conveys the idea of renewal, regeneration and endless beginnings.
Punarvasu’s quiver basically represents energy and resources at “one’s command” It is up to us to choose the purpose and timing of their use. Punarvasu thus has a distinction of returning safely from any mission it undertakes. This mission may be as simple as going to the neighbourhood shop or as arduous as climbing Mt Everest. The mission can take place on any plane – mental, physical, emotional, astral or causal. It is Punarvasu’s function to ensure safe return to the starting point. No wonder that Punarvasu became synonymous with ‘safety’ in the eyes of the wise men. Its alternative symbol, “a house”, once again reiterates the idea of safety.
One can also easily infer from the above that Punarvasu has a lot to do with any kind of motion, movement and searching. All the qualities normally associated with the sign Sagittarius, which also has an arrow as its symbol, can be applied to Punarvasu as well. The fact that the journey always ends where one started leads us to the idea of a circle. Time and reality are cyclical and not linear, as most in the modern world believe it to be. The modern Darwinian theory of evolution suggests that the human race is in a state of unhindered evolutionary the process of natural selection. This implies that we, as a race, are becoming more intelligent than our ancestors with each passing generation. The theory further suggests that we are in a state of perpetual progress, through linear time, which only moves forward. This is in opposition to the view held by all ancient civilisations, who knew that time is cyclical, and that nature renews itself through perpetual repetition. This repetition has a helical (as is the case with DNA strands which makeup the genetic code), rather than a purely circular nature, but for symbolic purposes the circle has always been used as the imagery which conveys this eternal reality. Satabhisha (24th Nakshatra) and Punarvasu are the two main Nakshatra’s which reveal and deal with this aspect of the universal functioning.
Aditi, the mother of the 12 Aditya’s (solar deities), is the main ruling deity of Punarvasu. Aditi translates into “unbounded”. She is often seen as the goddess of abundance. She is a sky goddess who is said to be the mother of all the godly beings in the universe. In a way she relates to all space. The manifest universe, as we know, is basically a function of space and time. Space like time has an infinite quality to it and for all purposes can be taken as unbounded. The “visible infinity” translation of Punarvasu starts to make some sense when seen in the above light.
The reality however is that both space and time are finite quantities bounded by the circular aspect of nature discussed earlier. Aditi or space is the sinequanon for any motion or movement. If there is no space there is no motion. In fact there can be no concept of existence either. Space has always been the receptive, feminine principle as opposed to time, which is seen in a more masculine light. Going by this line of thinking, Aditi should be the mother of all that exists, if it were not for her sister Diti. Diti, the bounded space, is the mother of all ungodly or demonic beings in the universe.
Diti, like the night, can be seen as dark space, which harbours the dark, mysterious and evil side of nature. Aditi relates to the space, which like the day, is full of light, and is thus the harbinger of the benevolent side of nature. Aditi’s rulership of Punarvasu imparts it with a maternal, caring, sensitive, reasonable and accommodating approach. Just like the space which accommodates all, Punarvasu is very accommodating of people, situations, circumstances and energies.
Name and Functioning:
In the universal scheme of things, Punarvasu relates to “vastuva prapana Shakti”- the power to gain or retrieve objects or objectives. Its main theme is triumphant return and renewal. The arrow which hits its target in Ardra now returns back. Its symbolism has wind, which carries the clouds above and rain, which revitalizes the plants below. Just like the rain, Punarvasu brings renewal. Another way of seeing this is that the wind carries the clouds to where they need to be after the rain is over.
The essence of Punarvasu’s nature and functioning lies in two words, “Nurturing” and “Harmony”. Since it represents the first light after the storm, Punarvasu represents harmonious conditions in nature. Nature seems to be at its happiest in the period after a storm, when the chirping of birds and the fresh smell from the rejuvenated earth creates abuzz in the air. Consequently, Punarvasu represents favourable conditions for life to thrive on all levels. The inherent calm of this Nakshatra makes natives strongly under its influence, contented people, who get satisfied easily. They believe in living a simple, spiritual life and strive hard to get rid of any negative energies, feelings or thoughts, which may obstruct their evolutionary process.
Punarvasu is a Nakshatra where the interplay of the mental with the emotional is at its most fascinating, as both have the same amount of strength. In the previous Nakshatra, Ardra, the mental is much stronger, while the emotional part is in the process of developing. The quality which arises out of this fine balance of mental and emotional is “reasonability”. Punarvasu represents the stage in life when a child outgrows its tempestuous and naughtiness and settles into a mind-set which is more aware of the needs of others. This usually takes place between the ages of ‘9’ and ’14’. Children at this age have the unique ability to live in the moment and are friendly and good natured at the same time. This ability is retained by those under strong influence of this Nakshatra throughout their lives. ‘9’ to ’14’ are the right age to get a child interested in spiritual writings and philosophies, as they are more likely to take them seriously. Punarvasu is related to all kinds of spiritual practices meant to foster self-understanding and enlightenment. The interplay of mental and emotional gives rise to a very active, profound and inspired imagination. Punarvasu natives thus excel in arts like poetry and writing.
Those with Punarvasu rising on the Ascendant are usually of short to middle stature, have a serene countenance and benevolent expression. One can refer to the many images of Rama, incarnation of Vishnu, to understand the appearance of this Nakshatra (especially the part which lies in Cancer). The words – quiet, patient devout, temperance, contrary views, amiability, adaptability, self-understanding and nobility sum up Punarvasu natives essential nature and functioning. It must be mentioned that Punarvasu’s generosity is conditional and work on the principle of “give and take”. This part of their nature actually accounts for their safety in today’s tumultuous times.
Punarvasu natives usually lack the strong mental capacity of Ardra and have a much simpler approach to life. They lack foresight, a negative quality which gets them into complications, but they are always lucky to get out of them unscathed. In fact ‘safety’ is one of the keywords of this Nakshatra. One can easily rule out any serious misfortune in relation to the significations Punarvasu influences in a nativity. For example, having Ascendant lord placed in Punarvasu would rule out any serious disease, accidents, bodily malfunctions and so forth. On a whole, Punarvasu natives usually lead comfortable lives filled with intermittent periods of adventure and upheaval.
Punarvasu natives are usually very attached to their homes, but at the same time are ever ready to travel if required. In some negative cases. Punarvasu natives may shun travel completely. Such natives usually end up confused and disillusioned as they have avoided following their natural life path. Punarvasu natives always need to guard against a tendency to stagnate. Their inward orientation usually gives them a lack of drive and focus required to attain their goals. Many such Punarvasu natives can be heard saying statements like, “What’s the use?”, “Why bother?’ etc. In other words, they tend to philosophize their inactivity. In its higher aspect, Punarvasu gives a capacity to achieve its goal no matter how difficult or challenging it is. Just like an arrow fired by a good bowman, the evolved Punarvasu types never miss their mark.
One strange quality of Punarvasu is that everything happens in two goes for the natives under its strong influence. They almost always tend to fail or not get far in their first attempt at any pursuit, but the funny part is that they almost always succeed if they try a second time. This relates to the opposing natures of the two stars, Castor and Pollux, which makeup the constellation of Punarvasu.
These stars are regarded as twin brothers, one of whom (Castor) is naughty and cruel, and the other (Pollux) is generous and wise. Punarvasu natives tend to encounter the first one in their first try and the latter one in their second try.
It is Castor, which creates all types of losses for Punarvasu natives, while Pollux brings back all that is lost. Thus Punarvasu, in keeping with its name translation “Good Again”, relates to all kinds of repetition and recycling. In its negative aspect, Punarvasu natives find it hard to discard anything just because they think that it might serve some purpose in some future time’ The more evolved souls however know when to let go of things which have outlived their usefulness.
Common English words like “punctual”, “punitive”, “pun”, “puny” seem to have their root in the word “Punarvasu”. We can easily see that their meanings relate to Punarvasu’s functioning at some level or the other.