The 23rd of the 27 Nakshatras is Dhanishta, spanning from 23°20′ in Capricorn/Makara to 6°40′ in Aquarius/Kumbha in the Sidereal Zodiac. I’ve read in many places that Dhanishta, धनिष्ठ, means drum or bamboo flute, as in Shiva’s drum or Krishna’s flute, but when I looked it up in the Sanskrit dictionary, it says it means very rich or very swift, which may describe qualities of the divine music played by these instruments. These are hollow instruments that beat and resound according to the musician’s skill.
Lying in both Makara and Kumbha, Dhanishta is strongly under the influence of the restrictive and strict disciplinarian Saturn. However, Saturn restricts material expansion to bring about lessons we need to learn to clear out karma so that we can expand towards spiritual realization. This Nakshatra itself is ruled by Mars. Mars likes action and energy, and is in great conflict with the Saturnian influence. If these opposing energies can be reconciled and harmonized, they can lead one to dance the dance of the Universe.
The ruling deities of Dhanishta are the eight Vasus, either the personifications of Surya, the Sun, or the attendants of Indra. They are also symbolic of the eight chakras. The Vasus are: Earth, Fire, Wind/Air, Ether/Space, Eternal, Sky, Moon, and Stars. These represent different stages of the soul on it’s journey towards moksha.
The main Guna quality is Tamas with a secondary influence of Sattwa, and the main motivation, or Purusaartha, is towards Dharma. Those born under the influence of Dhanishta will face challenges and trials in the material world, but through self-purification, inner expansion, and working for God, Nature, or the Universe, the sattvic harmony will flow through. Through the influence of Dhanishta, one may become the empty vessel or hollow instrument through which the vibrations of the divine reverberate beautifully infinitely.
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