The main stars in Pūrva Bhādrapadā are Markab and Scheat (alpha and beta in the Pegasus constellation).
It spans from 20º of the 11th sidereal rāśi to 3º20’ of the 12th, currently corresponding to 14º06’ through 27º26’ of tropical Pisces.
The Bhādrapadā are a nakshatra pair, Pūrva and Uttara. To the Vedic eye, their stars depict the legs of a bed or chair — which is why they are sometimes called proṣṭhapadā. We’ve seen the bed before: it is the symbol of the Phalgunī nakshatras; but the Phalgunī depict the legs of a love-bed, while the Bhādrapadā depict the legs of a deathbed.
The word pada means “leg” or “foot.” The word bhādra means “ceremonial.” Bhādra and bhadra are not identical words. Bhadra means “auspicious.” When this word becomes bhādra it indicates something generated by auspiciousness, like a ceremony. So bhādrapada indicates “the legs of a ceremonial bed or table,” where the ceremony is a funeral.
Today, Ajaikapāt may be one of the most obscure and unknown of the Vedic deities.
The Vedic Saṁhitā almost always pair him with a twin god, Ahirbudhnya (who is the god of the next nakshatra, Uttara Bhādrapadā), describing them the two dragons responsible for binding the earth and sky together.
Indeed, the name Ajaikapāt can mean nāga – a dragon, a divine serpent. Aja (which literally means “without origin”) refers to things that are “divine” and ekapāt (which may literally mean “one-legged”) refers to serpents.
So, Ajaikapāt and Ahirbudhnya are two very special nāga. Ahirbudhnya is the dragon below, holding up the earth. Ajaikapāt is the dragon above, moving the storms and weather which hold up the sky.
Some say that they are two aspects of the same divinity: the supreme nāga, Śeṣa. Then, Ahirbudhnya is the benefic, placid aspect of Śeṣa as the bed upon which Viṣṇu reclines, and Ajaikapāt is the fierce, fire-breathing aspect which devours the cosmos when universal night falls.
The name Ajaikapāt implies storms and lightning bolts – because storms and lightning seem to come from nowhere (aja) and travel quickly without feet (ekapāt).
So, Ajaikapāt is both a nāga and a rudra – a dragon and a stormy destroyer. The saṁhitas and brahmanas describe him as the destructive power of the atmosphere: bringing lightning, fire, hurricanes, and floods. Since Ajaikapāt is a destructive force. Considering this, it’s no surprise that his nakshatra depicts a deathbed.
Symbolism of Pūrva Bhādrapadā
Because Ajaikapāt is a nāga, Pūrva Bhādrapadā is associated with wealth and pleasure, but because he is a rudra it is associated with disappointment, anger, and depression. So, Pūrva Bhādrapadā symbolizes being troubled by wealth and pleasure. Trouble is an inspiration to improve, and Pūrva Bhādrapadā symbolizes inspiration evolve our conceptions of wealth and pleasure to a less base and mundane level.
The word “ceremonial” (bhādra) reveals an important part of Pūrva Bhādrapadā’s symbolism: it tends to be ceremonial, official, and a bit pompous. Indeed, it is an ugra nakshatra, so it symbolizes being hypocritically strict, harsh, bold, and unforgiving.
Planets in Pūrva Bhādrapadā
Pūrva Bhādrapadā has a malefic nature, so malefics do well here – while benefics do not.
Of all the malefics Saturn will be especially at home in Pūrva Bhādrapadā, symbolizing analytic criticism of superficial conceptions of pleasure and wealth, which leads to remarkable personal strength, discipline, detachment, and rational intellect.
The other malefics also depict similar things, but the Sun here depicts a hard time with authority figures, and Mars here depicts a hard time controlling anger.
The benefics mostly signify problems in Pūrva Bhādrapadā’s, but Jupiter at least symbolizes the chance to attain wisdom about true pleasure and wealth, though probably as a result of trial and error.
Mercury here signifies challenges speaking helpfully.
Venus is especially impacted in Pūrva Bhādrapadā, signifying romantic hardship, and a very significant need to evolve beyond superficial concepts of wealth, pleasure and love. This can be a particularly complex interpretation, because it co-exists with Venus’ exaltation in Pisces.
The Moon fares like the benefics here in Pūrva Bhādrapadā, because it is gentle and mild, clashing with the strong, forceful, hard nature of the nakshatra. It signifies a need to more carefully practice empathy and sympathy, and to curtail our impulses and desires with a more careful gaze.
Rāhu in Pūrva Bhādrapadā is very outstanding. It symbolizes an extremely powerful critic, willing and able to tear down any adversary; but finding self-control to be the most difficult challenge.
Ketu here depicts profound non-materialism, which superficially tastes depressing and bitter, but is a key to the doors of spiritual experience.