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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Swati Nakshatra - The first among all nakshatras on auspicious rating.

SWATI is once again among the few nakshatras which are represented by a single star. Ancient Vedic seers saw it as the abode of SARASWATHI, the goddess of learning.

Its symbol is a 'YOUNG PLANT SHOOT BLOWN BY THE WIND". The wind symbolism suggests the airy quality of this nakshatra which promotes restless-ness, adaptability, skill-ness in using the mind and a roaming disposition.  Whereas, the young plant symbolism suggests delicacy.
"Swati" which means purity or more precisely the pure first drop of rain, defines the characteristics of this star. The Sanskrit word also means sword that indicates sharpness or talent as exhibited by the natives of this nakshatra.
The chatak bird , as per the belief , never drinks water from any other source and waits for the rain droplets of 'Swati Nakshatra' to satisfy his thirst. I remember reading a story about a chatak and his son discussing this unique phenomenon of their community. The young chatak could not understand as to why he should remain thirsty when every other living being is quenching his/her thirst through the available sources of water. The father tries to convince the young one and says that it’s their responsibility because after hearing their calls the clouds feel compelled to come and pour the life giving rain and thus save the whole creation from starving. The son is not convinced though and ultimately flies in the direction where he had seen other animals move for water. He has to look far and wide and finds a pond filled with dirty water but the very sight of water makes him contemplate what his father told him. He feels that if after this short effort, just the sight of a dirty pond could bring in so much relief, what bliss it would be to quench his thirst with the pure rain drop ! The young chatak flies back and sits with his father to welcome the pure drops of the first rain.
Here goes the story...

 One day, God invited the Nava Grahas to His kingdom.

 "Tell me," he said, "which among the 27 nakshatras is
 the greatest?"

 All the Nava Grahas preferred their stars of exaltation, because it
 was here that they felt most comfortable. Therefore, Surya voted
for  Ashwini, Chandra for Kritika, Budha for Hasta, Sukra for Revati,
 Kuja for Dhanista, Guru for Pushya, and Sani for Swati.

 Since there was no consensus, God wanted Rahu and Ketu to vote for
 one of the stars already mentioned above.

 This irked Surya and Chandra, who complained and said that demons
 were not fit to vote on such divine matters. But God waved aside
 their protests and said that, in His kingdom, all were equal, and
so both Rahu and Ketu had as much a right to vote as any of the other
 Nava Grahas.

 Both of them agreed with Sani and said that Swati was the greatest
 of the nakshatras.

 Once again, Surya and Chandra protested, but God ignored them and
 said, "Swati it is, then! But first, I think that we should know
why  exactly it is Swati." Sani, who had first said that Swati was the
 greatest, stood up, bowed low before the Lord, and said, "My Lord,
I did not vote for Swati merely because it is the star of my
 exaltation. Neither did I vote for it because it is owned by my
good > friend Rahu, who owns Kumbha along with me."

 God knew this, and He also knew what was coming next. But He
 pretended to be surprised. "Why then, pray tell me, did you vote
for Swati, Sani?" "Because, my Lord, this star signifies a desire to
 attain Your kingdom more than any other star."

 "Liar!" screamed Surya, rebuking his son. "How can a star owned by
 hedonistic Rahu signify Godliness?" He then turned to God and
said, "My Lord, I request that you turn my son Sani out of Your

 "Silence!" thundered God, "You may be Sani's father, Surya, but
 remember, that I am everybody's father, including you. Keep quite
 now, or I shall tell Rahu to eat you!"

 Surya sat down, trembling with fear.

"Continue, Sani," said God in a calmer tone. "In what way does
Swati  signify desire to attain My kingdom? Who taught you this?"

 "My Lord, I learnt this from a bird called the common hawk cuckoo,
 which is also called chatak or papiha." "Pray, my son, please
 enlighten us. What is so special about this bird?" asked Surya,
keen  on getting into God's good books once again by showing affection to
 his son. "Father, the special thing about the chatak is that it will drink
 only rain water that falls when the star Swati is rising."

 "Hah!" said Surya, reverting to his customary arrogance. "Is that
  all? Is this the only thing great about the chatak?" "Father! You
 are so proud of your kingdom that you fail to realize the greatness
of small things. The chatak will refuse water from even holy rivers
 like the Ganga and the Yamuna. Even if it is offered water

 from a sacred temple tank, it will not drink it. In fact, I will
not be surprised if it holds even the nectar of immortality in
contempt, preferring instead the rain water that falls on a Swati."

 "Son," said Surya, "Being at the outer edge of the solar system, so
  far away from me, has no doubt confused your brains. Why else would
  you confuse silliness with greatness?"

 "This is not silliness, but greatness, father," said Sani. "And
 being away from your blinding light, I have savoured the darkness
 and contemplated long upon things dear to me, like Vairagya and
 Viveka. To me, the chatak is an exemplary example of both."

 "In what way?" demanded Surya.

 "Thanks to the Viveka possessed by the chatak, it is able to
 discriminate and realize that the water that falls on a Swati is
the  greatest. Because it practices Vairagya, it is able to give up its
 desire for all other sources of water."

 Before Surya could interrupt him, Sani continued, "This is what man
 has to do. He should shun everything--especially the power that you
 can offer, father--and choose only God. Only then will he attain
 Moksha." Surya was quite keen on rebuking his son again, but a quick glance  at God's smiling countenance convinced him that if he spoke now,
 then God would surely set Rahu upon him.

 Sani continued, "The chatak also shows us that the path to God is
 not easy. God, though pleased with the chatak for shunning all
other  water bodies, still tests the chatak to see if its resolve to taste
 only the rain water of Swati is strong. The chatak, by being firm,
 shows devotees that they must be willing to put up with hardships
in  order to realize Him." When Sani finished, God was immensely pleased with him. "Sani, your  explanation is wonderful. From now on, you shall be called Swati  Ucchan not just because you are exalted in Swati, but because you  have grasped the inner meaning so beautifully."

 As Sani bowed low before God, the other Nava Grahas applauded him.

 Budha, ever keen on depicting his poetic wit, and on having the
last  word, said, "Excellent, friend Sani! From now on, may Swati be to
 Sani what Swaha is to Agni!"

 Courtesy: Sri Balaji Narasimhan( taken from Mail from Ancient Indian Astrology)