THE NAKSHATRAS – FOUR AIMS OF LIFE
1. Dharma: doing what you are supposed to do. Fulfilling daily activities
2. Artha: generating income and wealth so you can provide shelter and food for your body.
3. Kaama: going after your desires.
4. Moksha: liberating your soul.
Every Nakshatra represents an energy in which one aim is focused. Therefore, by looking at which planets are in which Nakshatras we can find out which aims of life are focused.
At first sight there seems to be a connection between these aims and the elements. It is easy. Connection between fire and Dharma, earth and Artha, air and Kama, moksha and water.
The way the Nakshatras are divided among the aims of life is interesting. At first, the order of the aims is the same as the order of the signs which represents the connected elements.
We all know that the first sign in the zodiac is Aries (fire), then Taurus (earth), Gemini (air) and Cancer (water).
Now the first Nakshatra Ashwini is a Dharma Nakshatra, the second Nakshatra Bharani is a Artha Nakshatra, the third Krittika is a Kama Nakshatra and the fourth Rohini is a Moksha Nakshatra.
Then however something different happens. The fifth Nakshatra Mrigashirsha is also a Moksha Nakshatra and from then, the order is going backwards. So the sixth Nakshatra Ardra is a Kama Nakshatra, the seventh Punarvasu is an Artha Nakshatra and the eighth Pushya a Dharma Nakshatra.
Now we have returned at the ‘first aim’ Dharma again. The ninth Nakshatra Ashlesha is still a Dharma Nakshatra. From then, we go onwards: the tenth Nakshatra Magha is Artha, the eleventh Purva Phalguni is Kama, the twelfth Uttara Phalguni is Moksha.
From then, the same thing happens as with Rohini. Again the next Nakshatra Hasta is a Moksha Nakshatra and from then, we go backwards: Chitra is Kama, Swati is Artha and Vishakha is Dharma.
As can be expected there follows another Dharma Nakshatra which is Anuradha, then we have an Artha Nakshatra Jyeshta, a Kama Nakshatra Mula and a Moksha Nakshatra Purvashadha.
At this point, something happens which may surprise us. At first what happens is very much what we would have expected. There comes another Moksha Nakshatra, which is Utturashadha, but then we seem to skip the Kama Nakshatra and go right to an Artha Nakshatra which is Shravana and then we come to a Dharma Nakshatra which is Dhanishta.
Of course, it is interesting to know why we skip the Kama Nakshatra. The answer seems to be that in the past there used to be a system of 28 Nakshatras. The 28st Nakshatra is Abhijit. This Nakshatra is located between Purvashadha and Shravana. It is the only Nakshatra of which the main star Vega is located far away from the ecliptic. That is also why it is hard to locate it on the ecliptic and probably one reason why it is skipped.
However, some fifteen thousand years ago Vega used to be the polestar. In the past, this Nakshatra could be very important. The fact that the deity which belongs to this Nakshatra is Brahma, the creator, seems to underline this. Today, this Nakshatra is sometimes used for religious purposes, but it’s not a standard part of the system.
Going back to the order of Nakshatras. We have arrived at Dhanistha, which is a Dharma Nakshatra. Now we will find as expected another Dharma Nakshatra, which is Shatabhishak. Then comes an Artha Nakshatra Purva Bhadrapada, a Kama Nakshatra Uttara Bhadrapada and we end with a Moksha Nakshatra Revati.
It is interesting that we start the sequence of Nakshatras with the Nakshatra Ashwini which is a Dharma Nakshatra (that has to do with finding our purpose in life) and end with a Moksha Nakshatra which is about spiritual liberation.