All constellations form part of the zodiac. In astrology, this band is divided into 12 equal parts called signs, each 30° wide. The Vedic constellations have a spiritual purpose in the cosmos. They constitute the repository of our Karma. Our ancestors believed that our souls travelled to stars after death. Complete lists of the Nakshatra-s occur in the Yajur Veda (Taittriya Samhita IV.4.10) and in the Atharva Veda (XIX .7). Western Astrology is largely based on solar signs, while the Eastern Astrology attaches much importance to lunar signs. A person’s birth star is an important factor in discovering the intrinsic psychological foundation of that person’s horological chart. Each star has a presiding deity and is ruled by a particular planet.

We can group all stars into four categories:
1. Stars, which fall under one particular sign (Rasi): e.g., Bharani, Pushya, and Revati.
2. Stars, which fall into two signs equally: e.g., Dhanishta, Mrgashirsha, and Chitra. Chitra, for instance, has its first two quarters (padas) in Virgo and the balance in Libra.
3. Stars, which have their initial pada in one sign: e.g., Krittika, Uttaraphalguni, and Uttarashada.
4. Stars, which have only their final pada in one sign: e.g., Punarvasu, Vishaka, and Poorvabhadrapada.

Stars are also classified on their innate qualities such as sattva, rajas, and tamas.
We are somehow, intrinsically linked to the Cosmos, through a star. That star is none other than our birth star ? janma nakshatra, as we call it. On visiting a temple and on entrusting a ritual, the pundit does the sankalpa as follows: “I am doing this ritual for the person (Name will be recited), born in ¼ gotra, born in ¼ star, born in ¼ rasi, for this person’s health , wealth and happiness.”

Stars connect with planets; planets connect with the human body; body is connected to the mind. If one understands this connection, one can easily understand that stars are linked to mind. Even when remedial measures such asndMaha Mruthyunjaya Homam are performed, they are usually conducted on a favourable star such as the 2 , 4th, 6th star from one’s janma nakshatra. Usually the 3rd, 5th, and 7th stars are avoided as these these are inimical.

Here I wish to clarify one issue. I just now said avoid 3rd, 5th and 7th stars. In the Anujanma category the inimical stars are 12, 14, 16; in the Trijanma category the inimical stars are 21, 23, 25; so should all the stars be avoided for auspicious functions such as Grihapravesha or Vivaha?

The answer is ‘no’.

Just avoid 3, 5, 7. Extending this argument would be carrying on this principle, endlessly, ad nauseam. If we decry stars endlessly, a stage might come when no ritual can be done by anyone. So avoid certain destructive stars but do not stretch this argument endlessly.

For pumsawana, Pushya is the best; for vivaha, Swati is the best; for tonsure Punarvarsu is the best; avoid travel on Bharani, Ardra, Aslesha, Poorvaphalguni, Poorva Bhadrapada, and Poorvashada.

With these introductory remarks, we shall now proceed to discuss the qualities of Ashwini, which is the first star in the Zodiac.

Aries begins with Ashwini. This star constitutes the first 13o and 20' of Aries sign. It is ruled by Ketu. It is a star with tremendous power denoting initiation, transformation and enterprise. Stars are luminous. Planets reflect Sun’s light, whereas stars radiate light. Even the Saptarishis now live amidst us in the form of stars only. Kshatra means destruction; Nakshatra means indestructible. There are innumerable stars in the galaxy; of these, the Vedas have introduced to us, only 27, which guide us in Vedic Astrology.
The divine doctors, namely Ashwini Devas govern this star. They are the physicians of Gods. The Sun is exalted in the tenth degree of Aries, which means it gains exaltation while in Ashwini star.

Ashwini belongs to a category of nakshatras, which are termed as laghu (not heavy, light). The three light stars are Ashwini, Hastam, and Pushya. These light stars are swift in their working. Hence they are suitable for the following activities:

1. Trade
2. Sensual activities
3. Gaining knowledge
4. Fine arts
5. Making ornaments
6. Medical treatment
7. Borrowing or repayment of money.

If medical treatment commences in Ashwini, cure is certain and will happen soon. This is due to the fact that Ashwini is a light star, which hastens cure. Secondly the governing deities of Ashwini star are the Ashwini Kumara-s, the divine doctors. Money borrowed in Ashwini tends to get repaid soon. There are nine Tiryangmukha nakshatras and Ashwini is one among them. These stars are Mrigasira, Punarvasu, Hasta, Chitra, Swati, Ashwini,Anuradha, Jyeshta and Revati.

The chara-chala nakshatras are Punarvasu, Swati, Sravana, Dhanishta and Satabhisa. Please keep the following dictum in mind always: whatever deed is supposed to be done in a laghu star can also be done under chara-chala star; the converse is also equally true.
According to Kalaprakasika, when a part of a loan is repaid while moon is in lagna in Ashwini star, then the entire debt will get discharged easily (Ch XXXII, Verse I). This rule will be useful to people in high debts and will enable them to rid their debts.
According to Mantreswara, “When Venus occupies Ashwini star in lagna and is aspected by either three or more planets, a king who is capable of vanquishing all his enemies, is born” (vide Phaladeepika, Ch 7, verse 8). The following rituals can be performed in Ashwini star: grihapravesha, vidyaramba, shanti karmas for a child born in Gandanda, upanayanam, pumsavanam and vivaha.

Ashwini being a Tiryangmukha nakshatra, it favours purchase of vehicles, buying horses, singing and playing of musical instruments, learning to drive vehicles, journeys in water, land, and air. A person born in the four padas of Ashwini will have the following traits: passionate, not given to hard work, liked by everyone, long lived. Persons born in Ashwini star will be benefitted by the worship of Ashwini Devas using the mantra “Am Ashwini Kumarya Namaha”.