Deepest Secrets of Shatabhishak Nakshatra Revealed


satabhisaj_03The main star in Śatabhiṣaj is Gama Aquarii, which the Mesopotamians envision at the base of the head of the man in the constellation of Aquarius.

It spans from 6º40’ to 20º of the 11th sidereal rāśi. Which is currently equivalent to 0º46’ through 14º6’ of tropical Pisces.

To the Vedic eye, the Stars of Śatabhiṣaj depict a lasso, for they literally form a circle at the end of a line.

This shape is also the symbol of Śatabhiṣaj nakshatra: a lasso (or sometimes an empty circle). The deity of Śatabhiṣaj, Varuṇa, wields a lasso as his divine weapon.


Śatabhiṣaj contains more stars than any other nakshatra, which is why it is also widely known as Śatatārakā (“Many-starred” or “Hundred-starred”).

People usually translate The word śatabhiṣaj as “100 Doctors” because śata means 100 (or, less specifically, any large number) and bhiṣaj is a word for “doctor” because is literally means one who brings (abhi) ointments (ṣaj). 

The word ṣaj literally means apply. So it is also used to indicate contact between parties (as in love and sex), and paying attention to something. So the name Śatabhiṣaj also directly implies meanings like “100 lovers” and “100 watchers.”

It is, like Śravaṇa and Śraviṣṭhā immediately before it, a cāla nakshatra, good for movement (which classically, according to ancient Sanskrit texts, includes being good at sex). As you should expect from nakshatra named “100 Lovers,” the Sanskrit classics depict Śatabhiṣaj as a Don Juan of the Vedic sky.

Varuṇa – the Changed God

1200px-VarunadevaTo really understand what any nakshatra interpretively represents in astrology, we have to clearly understand its deity. This is difficult for Śatabhiṣaj because its deity, Varuṇa has undergone more changes in position and function than any other god, perhaps of any culture of the world.

This in itself reveals an important trait of Śatabhiṣaj: it signifies frequent and significant change. Planets that also represent change (like the nodes, especially Rāhu) fare well here, depicting positive changes and the ability to change others. Stable planets like the Sun, however, depict unsettling, disruptive changes and an unhealthy resistance to them.

Varuṇa – The Ever-Present Witness

Most people think of Varuṇa as the God of the Seas, but this hardly gives a good picture of who he truly is. Varuṇa began as the god of all-enveloping, all-permeating space. Indeed this is what the name Varuṇa means by etymology. And this is why his nakshatra Śatabhiṣaj is good with mocement (cāla).

Varuṇa once held the position as the supreme judge of gods and men, because being everywhere makes him a witness of everything. This is why Śatabhiṣaj also means “100 watchers.”

Here we discover another important trait of Śatabhiṣaj: it isee through facades, misdirections and smoke-and-mirrors, into the true quality of a person or thing, and judges them accordingly without fear or hesitation.

Varuṇa used his lasso to arrest guilty, fraudulent hypocrites who tried to flee his judgement. This is why Śatabhiṣaj nakshatra is so often depicted in Sanskrit classics as argumentative and rebellious. It does not care if you are god or man, popular or unpopular, respected or not – if you have flaws and misdeeds, it  will arrest you and reveal you for what you really are.

In this regard, rebellious nodes and the harsh malefic planets fare well in this iconoclastic nakshatra (with the exception of the royal, stable Sun). The acquiescent benefics in this nakshatra indicate problems with rebelliousness and criticism.

Varuṇa – The Dark Sun

Varuṇa is a son of Goddess Aditi, who is Space Herself. His mother puts him and his brothers in charge of the sky by superintending the Sun.  She gave her strongest child, Varuṇa, charge of the roots of the sky – which is why Varuṇa superintends the Sun through its lowest point: midnight. Thus although a solar deity, Varuṇa is the God of a dark sun (another implication of the empty-circle motif of Śatabhiṣaj). This classifies Varuṇa as an asura – a dark divinity: although it is not until later on that the dark divinities (asura) became enemies of the light divinities (sura).

All this clearly explains why Śatabhiṣaj is a nakshatra symbolizing the counter-cultural, non-mainstream underworld. Planets of similar disposition will fare well here in this context, others will not. Again, this shows that Rāhu and Ketu do well here. The planet’s in Saturn’s anti-solar camp of friends (Venus and Mercury) also symbolize positive connection to counter-cultural things.

Varuṇa – The Fall

Although originally revered as the supreme authority of all gods and men, Varuṇa fell into relative obscurity and was banished to the depths of the seas. The tale of his fall involves what could easily be called the most central  tale of all the Vedas and Purāṇas, whose telling spans from the earliest segments of Ṛg Veda through to the final development of the nigama in Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahā Purāṇa.

The tale begins when a fellow asura, a Nāga named Vṛtra decided to harass all the rivers and prevent them from flowing. This brought drought and dire havoc to the world, but Varuṇa did nothing to stop it, being partial to his own kind.

Indra, who at the time was merely the god of rain, attacked Vṛtra, the drought-bringer. But Varuṇa  defended his fellow āsura, and other divinities like Agni and Soma helped him. Indra eventually convinced Varuṇa and the others to fight on his side and, with their help, was able to defeat the drought-dragon and set the rivers free to bring fertility back to the world.

In the wake of this event, all the gods became partial to Indra. Indra took this opportunity to usurp Varuṇa’s position as leader of the heavens and banished him to live at the bottom of the world, in the deepest of the seas, husbanding the rivers whom he had wronged by failing to protect.

This is how Varuṇa fell from his position as the ruler of Sūra and Asūra alike, and became merely a cheif among Asūra, husband of rivers and god of the deep sea. Because of this, many classic Sanskrit astrological texts associate Śatabhiṣaj with upsets and loss of fame, dignity and power. However this applies most when the planets in Śatabhiṣaj are not compatible with its fundamental nature.

The banishing of Varuṇa is also when the asuras and suras became separated and inimical to one another. Since then they try to take back what Indra took from them. This is yet another reason why Śatabhiṣaj must be interpreted as an underdog, rebellious, and revolutionary star, a star which favors those who are not at the top of the power structure, and which seeks to topple those people, ideas, and ways of that that are.

Planets in Śatabhiṣaj

Planets with good interpretations here are the nodes,  especially Rāhu. Mars and Saturn also bring out mostly the good interpretations. Mercury and Venus are mixed, becoming more outstanding and uncommon, but loosing their balance and gentility. The Moon has some good traits here, but mostly becomes unbalanaced and exaggerated in its desires. The Sun and Jupiter fare the worst.

Vic DiCara –