Ardra

Ardra is the sixth star in the lunar constellation. Its presiding deity is Rudra. Ardra means wetness. The Purana-s say Rudra removes distress. When we are distressed, we shed tears. Tears indicate wetness and wetness denotes Ardra. This explains the link between Ardra and Rudra.

Ardra remains solely in the sign Gemini. The four quarters of Ardra can fall in the sign of either Jupiter or Saturn in navamsa. A person born under the star Ardra will be intelligent, magnanimous and perseverant; will also bear a sense of equality and patience.
A person born in Ardra will be unhelpful. They are sadistic in outlook. They adopt wrongful ways in achieving their goals. When provoked they tend to get angry and turn revengeful. They are always after others’ wealth. They can hurt others by their speech. However people born in the fourth quarter of Ardra are philanthropic, since Moon occupies Pisces in navamsa.

According to Jataka Parijata, people born in Ardra are poor and run after sensual pleasures due to wavering mind. They will possess a huge body frame and remain basal in their instincts.

The person born in the first quarter of Ardra will be a spendthrift ;a person born in the second quarter will be poor; one born in the third quarter will not live long; and one born in the fourth quarter will earn money through wrongful means.

People born in Ardra acquire enmity by their egoistic ways. They usually will be ungrateful and jealous.

Due to vedha dosha that operates between Ardra and Sravana stars, a person born in Ardra ought not to marry a person born in Sravana star. A girl born in Ardra can marry a boy born in Sadabhishek star but should not marry a boy born in Swati; some say that persons born in Ardra, Swati and Sadabhishek should not inter se marry one another.

While Ardra is an unfavorable star for specific agricultural purposes such as ploughing, sowing seeds, and planting, it is good for harvesting. For making investments in sectors such as real estate or stock market Ardra is beneficial . Ardra is an inauspicious star for conducting chowla (the first tonsure ceremony of a child). Generally hair cutting should be avoided on a day ruled by Ardra as this is supposed to usher grief.

To catch a criminal, the police should begin their mission on a day ruled by Ardra. Other stars for such missions are Ashwini, Rohini, Aslesha, Poorvaphalguni, Chitra, Visakha, Moola, Uttarashada and Revati.

Ear piercing, as a samskara, is supposed to have impact on the meridians of the body and an auspicious moment should be chosen for this samksara. Usually the ears of a child are pierced on either the 12th or the 16th day from the day of birth. Ardra is a suitable day for ear piercing according to the Muhurtha treatise Kalaprakasika, while Muhurtha Chintamani pledges a dissent.Ardra is a favourable star for commencement of education
Cutting and polishing of gems can be done on a day ruled by Ardra. Any acute aliment or fever which commences on Ardra will prove problematic and will require rapid medical attention; otherwise death can ensue. Ardra is suitable for dental treatment and cosmetic surgery.

Ardra is a favorable star for initiation into a mantra but is unsuitable for travel. It is a suitable star for setting up missiles or taking up arms either in defence or in offence. Here again Muhurtha Chintamani takes a contrary view.

In the month of Marghashira (December―January), the full moon day will usually be on Ardra star. Ardra star in that month is a holy day for Hindus.

Thiruvaadirai is one popular vrata followed by Hindus. This is the day ruled by Ardra star in the month of Maargasirsha. Ardra is considered as the star of Lord Nataraja (Siva’s cosmic dancer form) and is observed in the Tamil month of Margazhi (December – January). It is essentially a Hindu festival and celebrates the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, which is represented by the Nataraja form. The cosmic dance of Siva represents the key five events in human life: creation, protection, destruction, embodiment and release. It summarily represents the continuous cycle of creation and destruction, studded with other integrated events. This cosmic cycle occurs in every particle and is the source of all energy. It will fall on the full moon night in Margasirsha . An important venue for this annual event is the Siva Temple at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. Most of the Siva temples around the world, with Nataraja as one of the deities celebrate this occasion.

The story goes that once when Mahavishnu was lying on the great serpent Adisesha, the latter felt that Mahavishnu was heavy. When asked Mahavishnu clarified that He was recalling and enjoying the Dance of Lord Shiva. Thus arose the desire in Adisesha to witness the Cosmic Dance of Lord Shiva. He asked Mahavishnu how his desire could be fulfilled. Mahavishnu asked him to go to Chidambaram and do a penance. Adhisesha came to Chidambaram and prayed to the Lord for a long time.There was another Sage and devotee of Lord Shiva in that place, called Vyaagrapaadha. He prayed to God to get the legs of a tiger, so that he could climb trees and pluck flowers to offer to the God, before any bee touches the flower. He was also praying God to see His Great Dance for a long time. Pleased with their prayer the God appeared on the Thiruvaadhirai day and danced in Chidambaram.
On the morning of Thiruvadhirai one offers his/her salutations to Nataraja. One key food item prepared on this day is Thiruvadirai-k-kali and a side dish made with the tubers of kavathu (vettrilai- valli; Dioscorea esculenta) and avarai-k-kai. The notable point is that these two food items are only prepared on Ardra Darshan day.

For those interested in knowing how to prepare this recipe,the culinary formula is given in the form of an annexure to this article.

1. Kali:
Ingredients:
Rawrice -1cup
Toor dhal – handful
Channa dhal – handful
Jaggery powder – 1 1/2 cups
Cashewnut seeds – 10 to 15 Ghee – Small quantity

Method:
1. Deep fry rice, toor dhal and channa dhal till rice becomes slightly brown and allow it to cool for sometime ( Similar to the colour of a biscuit )
2. Grind the above to a fine powder. ( Not very fine and not very coarse )
3. Take a broad pan, add jaggery powder and 4 1/2 cups of water to it and boil it.
4. When it is boiled well, put the powder to it and mix it well and show this in low flame. 5. Add ghee and fry it in between so that it doesn’t become hard.
6. When it is fully cooked, remove it from flame and smash it using spoon so that it is even.
7. Heat ghee in a pan and fry the broken cashewnut seeds till it becomes slightly brown.
8. Put the cashewnuts to kali and mix it well.

2.Kavathu

Ingredients:
Carrot – 1
French Beans or Green beans – 50g Broad beans – 50g
Cluster beans – 25g
Colocasia – 5 to 6 pieces
Brinjal-3 to 4
Potato – 2 Yam -25g
Pumpkin – 50g
Sweet potato – 3 to 4
Chowchow(small)-1
Plantain – 1
Hyacinth bean or field bean – 25g
Ash gourd – 50g
Coriander seeds – 1 cup
Red chillies – 5 to 6
Grated cocunut – 1 cup
Channa dhal – handful
Toor dhal – 1/4 cup
Tamarind – 1/2 the size of lemon
Tumeric powder – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp Oil –
3 teaspoonful Salt

Method:
1. Pressure cook toor dhal by adding water and little tumeric powder.
2. Peel the skin of ash gourd, pumpkin, sweet potato, chow chow, yam, plantain, carrot and cut it.
3. After cutting brinjal and plantain , put it to water so that they don’t turn black.
4. Pressure cook potato, colocasia and yam together and peel the skin of potato and colocasia.
5. Cut broad beans, cluster beans , green beans, field bean , carrot to medium size and cook it.
6. Cook sweet potato seperately as it does not require much time for cooking.
7. Heat oil in a pan and fry coriander seeds, channa dhal, red chillies and grated cocunut and allow it to cool for some time.
8. Grind the above to a fine paste.
9. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan and put mustard seeds.
10. When mustard seeds sputter out, add fenugreek seeds and remove it from flame after a minute.
11. Take a broad vessel and put chopped ash gourd, pumpkin, chow chow, plantain, brinjal.
12. Add tumeric powder and water to the above and boil it.
13. Extract tamarind juice for 1 cup and 1 cup of water to it.
14. When these vegetables are cooked, add the tamarind juice ,salt and the remaining cooked vegetables ( broad bean, cluster bean, field bean, green beans, potato, sweet potato, colocasia, carrot, yam ).
15. Smash the cooked dhal and add it to the vessel and mix it well.
16. After few minutes, put the paste and mix it well.
17. When yellow colour comes on the corner of the vessel, switch off the stove.
18. Add mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and mix