Nakshatra Series – Purva Phalguni
Purva Phalguni is represented in the night sky by two bright stars in the back of the constellation of Leo. These stars can be seen forming a part of the lion shape usually associated with the constellation Leo. However ancient Vedic seers saw these two stars as representing the back legs of a cot (or the two poles of a swinging hammock). These stars are known in modern astronomy as Delta-Leonis (Zosma) and Theta-Leonis (Chertan). With a visual magnitude of 2.56, Zosma is the brighter one among them. It is very easy to locate these stars in the night sky as Leo is the brightest among the twelve zodiacal constellations. These stars are located to the left of the bright star Regulus where the hindlegs of the lion figure of Leo are supposed to be. Zosma lies on top of Chertan.
Purva Phalguni translates into the ‘former reddish one’, or ‘little fig tree’. The colour red always evokes a wide variety of meanings and feelings and as we shall see, this Nakshatra has a lot to do with the nature, qualities and temperament generally associated with the colour red. The ‘fig tree’ translation is a more obscure one and relates to the procreative aspect of this asterism.
Its main symbol is the front legs of a couch or bed. The bed referred to here is not the bed we use for sleeping on during night time, but a divan or a bed/couch used for a daytime siesta or lounging around. Some astrologers also use a swinging hammock as one of Purva Phalguni’s symbols. It is pretty clear from the above symbols that ‘comfort’ is the keyword for this Nakshatra. In the cycle of 27 Nakshatra’s, the soul looks for comforts and enjoyment after attaining the ‘throne’ in the previous Nakshatra.
Purva Phalguni relates to a time where we look for rest, relaxation and amusement after fulfilling our worldly duties and responsibilities (activities ruled by previous Nakshatra – Magha). The symbolism of the front legs of a bed/couch relates to the beginning part of this relaxation process. When we are very tired and hop onto a couch or a bed we usually go into a mode of complete relaxation in the beginning (the time period varies from individual to individual). Purva Phalguni relates to this beginning period where we feel like doing no activity and are completely intent upon renewing our energy. Purva Phalguni is thus strongly related with the forces of renewal, which ultimately link it to the process of creation itself.
It is difficult for some of us to understand how something can be creative without being active. All activity is dependent upon periods of non-activity. Nothing or no one can work all the time. It is the periods of rest which provide the impulse for creative/active periods. A lot of scientists and researchers have found that the solution to a problem usually comes to them, not when they are actually working at the problem, but in the period when they have taken their mind off it and are in a state of complete relaxation. In the fast paced life of modern times, especially in cities, people have forgotten the importance of having adequate periods of rest between activities. This is probably the root cause for most of the physical and psychological traumas faced by the fast paced city dweller. However one must be careful not to amplify Purva Phalguni energy, which usually results in excessive laziness and indulgence.
Bhaga, one of the twelve Aditya’s (solar deities), is the main ruling deity of this Nakshatra. He is often referred to as the “morning star”, which might be a reference to the planet Venus. As we shall discover later, Venus is the planetary ruler of this Nakshatra and was seen in ancient times as a planet representing the solar aspect of nature. Bhaga’s name translates roughly into ‘delight’. A similar Sanskrit word called ‘bhoga’ translates into ‘pleasure’ or ‘indulgence’. The term ‘Bhaga’ finds use in ‘bhagwan’ (full of delight), one of the Sanskrit names often used for gods, incarnations and evolved souls. In keeping with his name, Bhaga is known for bestowing rest, relaxation, enjoyment, pleasure, affection, sexual passion and marital felicity. Thus Purva Phalguni is seen to promote all of the above indications.
Bhaga’s strong relationship with enjoyment and merriment makes this one of the most carefree Nakshatra’s. Purva Phalguni natives don’t like to worry as long as they are comfortable, especially from a physical point of view. Bhaga’s obsession with physicality often makes Purva Phalguni natives overtly concerned with their bodies. Bhaga’s amorous nature gives Purva Phalguni natives a strong desire to appear beautiful and be appreciated. Bhaga stands for an easy life full of comfort and luxury and this is what Purva Phalguni natives aspire for. Bhaga relates to that solar aspect of nature, which makes life worth living. If one removes the pleasure aspect from the universe, not many souls will be willing to take part in the game of life.
Bhaga is always involved along with Aryaman, the ruling deity of Uttara Phalguni, the following Nakshatra. As we shall see later, these Nakshatra’s form a pair in the same vein as Mrigshira and Ardra.
Purva Phalguni is directly connected to the Shiva Lingam, the most commonly worshipped form of Shiva. The fact that Shiva’s penis is worshipped more than Shiva as a whole, relates to the penis being regenerative symbol, representing creation and continuation of life; while Shiva as a whole is god of destruction. Purva Phalguni thus relates to the creative and delightful aspect of Shiva, which can be easily understood through the stories and legends associated with him. It is interesting to note that the penis is the most delicate part of male anatomy. This fact brings out the essential tender quality of Purva Phalguni.
Nature and Functioning:
After the victory crown and throne achieved through intense battles in Magha, it is natural that rest, relaxation and enjoyment follow. This is what Purva Phalguni is all about. A period of rest follows every period of activity, just like a sunny calm follows a storm. Amongst all the Nakshatra’s Purva Phalguni is the most related to the recreational aspect of nature’s functioning’s. It offers shelter from the vicissitudes of the drama of life.
The sense of self having been firmly established in Magha, self-absorption reaches a peak in this Nakshatra. Just like a tired person looking for some place and time to rest, the concerns here are me, myself and I. The intensive absorption of this Nakshatra makes it dramatic. The fact that it falls in the middle of the sign of dramatics, Leo, further encourages this tendency, making it the most theatrical amongst the Nakshatra’s. Purva Phalguni natives have a strong desire to be noticed for what they are and what they do. This is the reason why a lot of Purva Phalguni natives fall prey to pretentious behaviour and attitudes. Learning anything, especially new things, becomes very hard for such natives as they don’t want to look beyond their own little world, no matter how superficial it might be. If it wasn’t for Purva Phalguni, terms like “vanity” and “pompousness” wouldn’t exist.
Despite its self-indulgent eccentricity, Purva Phalguni is a social Nakshatra. It likes to function within prevailing social standards. Despite its natural fixed character, it shows amazing flexibility when it comes to fitting the prevailing social norms. It likes the comfort and safety of blending in, rather than standing out. In its positive aspect, Purva Phalguni can be a warm, sustaining and nourishing influence on those around them. It is one of the cornerstone Nakshatra’s which keep up the pillars of human society.
Having said this, it must be remembered that Purva Phalguni is a naturally cruel Nakshatra and therefore natives under its strong influence can be expected to be capable of carrying out ruthless acts. Purva Phalguni’s cruelty usually comes out when its rest, relaxation or amusement is disturbed by an outside agency. Natives under its influence get easily hurt and get extremely vindictive over small issues. This is especially the case if they don’t get the requisite amount of attention from others which they think they deserve in their own minds.
Despite their limitations of pride, jealousy and vindictiveness, these natives are quite delightful creatures to be around when appreciating the finer enjoyments in life. They can be the most fun to hang around socially, as they radiate their Leonine warmth and beneficence from their position on the bed or couch. It is very easy to spot a Purva Phalguni native in a crowd as they will be the one in the most comfortable spot. They are usually in no hurry to begin the day’s activities and like to lead lives of luxury even if they can’t afford to. They are not overachievers except in areas where little physical discomfort is demanded of them. They are happy idling about in the office, in the arts studio, making love or entertaining others with their personality. Most of their efforts go in trying to make themselves comfortable or exploring their own personal feelings, thoughts and emotions. They usually end up having a family but are often not very suited for the parental role. Theirs obsessive aspect usually makes them cruel or unnerving for their children.
In the universal scheme of things, Purva Phalguni relates to “prajanana shakti”- the power to procreate. Its symbolism has female above and male below. It is immediately apparent that Purva Phalguni is all about creation through union of the polar natural opposites. Its objective is creation of a family on the macro cosmic as well as microcosmic level.