the stars or constellations, a conjunction of the moon with diff. constellations, a lunar mansion or the constellations of the lunar zodiac, figuring also as Names of months & determinant factors of horoscopic and other astrological observation; further a celebration of the beginning of a new month, hence any kind of festival or festivity
■ The recognised number of such lunar mansions is 27, the names of which as given in Sk. sources are the same in Pāli, with the exception of 2 variations (Assayuja for Aśvinī, Satabhisaja for Śatatāraka). enumerated at Abhp. 58–⁠60 as follows Assayuja [Sk. Aśvinī] Bharaṇī, Kattikā, Rohiṇī, Magasiraṃ [Sk. Mṛgaśīrṣa] Addā [Sk. Ārdrā], Punabbasu Phussa [Sk. Puṣya], Asilesā, Maghā, Pubba-phaggunī [Sk. Pūrva-phalgunī). Uttara˚, Hattha, Cittā [Sk Chaitra], Sāti [Svātī], Visākhā, Anurādhā, Jeṭṭhā Mūlaṃ, Pubb-āsāḷha [˚āṣāḍha], Uttar˚, Savaṇa, Dhaniṭṭhā Satabhisaja [Śatatāraka], Pubba-bhaddapadā Uttara˚, Revatī
■ It is to be pointed out that the Niddesa speaks of 28 N. instead of 27 (Mnd.382: aṭṭhavīsati nakkhattāni), a discrepancy which may be accounted by the fact that one N. (the Orion) bore 2 names, viz. Mṛgaśīrṣa & Agrahayanī (see Plunkett; Ancient Calendars etc. p. 227 sq.)
■ Some of these Ns. are more familiar & important than others, & are mentioned more frequently, e.g. Āsāḷha (Āsālhi˚) Ja.i.50 & Uttarāsāḷha Ja.i.63, Ja.i.82; Kattikā & Rohiṇī Snp-a.456
■ nakkhattaṃ; ādisati to augur from the stars, to set the horoscope Mnd.382; oloketi to read the stars to scan the constellations Ja.i.108, Ja.i.253; ghoseti to proclaim (shout out) the new month (cp. Lat. calandae fr. cālāre to call out, scil. mensem), and thereby announce the festivity to be celebrated Ja.i.250; n. ghuṭṭhaṃ Ja.i.50, Ja.i.433; sanghuṭṭhaṃ Pv-a.73; ghositaṃ Vv-a.31 kīḷati to celebrate a (nakkhatta-) festival Ja.i.50, Ja.i.250; Vv-a.63; Dhp-a.i.393 (cp. ˚kīḷā below). n. ositaṃ the festival at an end Ja.i.433
nakkhatta (sg.) a constellation Snp.927; collect. the stars Vv.81#1 (cando parivārito). nakkhattāni (pl.) the stars: nakkhattānaṃ mukhaṃ chando (the moon is the most prominent of the lights of night) Thig.143; Vin.i.246 = Snp.569 (but cp. expl. at Snp-a.456: candayogavasena “ajja kattikā ajja Rohiṇī” ti paññāṇato ālokakāraṇato sommabhāvato ca nakkhattānaṃ mukhaṃ cando ti vutto); DN.i.10 (nakkhattānaṃ pathagamanaṃ & uppatha-gamanaṃ a right or wrong course, i.e. a straight ascension or deviation of the stars or planets); DN.ii.259; DN.iii.85, DN.iii.90; AN.iv.86; Thig.143 (nakkhattāni namassantā bālā).

  • -kīḷana = kīḷā Dhp-a.iii.461;
  • -kīḷā the celebration of a festival, making merry, taking a holiday Ja.i.50; Thag-a.137; Vv-a.109;
  • -ggāha the seizure of a star (by a demon see gāha), the disappearance of a planet (transit?) DN.i.10 (expl. at DN-a.i.95 as nakkhattasa angārakādi-gahasamāyoga);
  • -patha “the course of the stars,” i.e. the nocturnal sky Dhp.208;
  • -pada a constellation Vin.ii.217
  • -pāṭhaka an astrologer, soothsayer, augur Mnd.382
  • -pīḷana the failing or obscuration of a star (as a sign of death in horoscopy) Dhp-a.i.166; - mālā a garland of stars Vv-a.167;
  • -yoga a conjunction of the planets, a constellation in its meaning for the horoscope Ja.i.82 Ja.i.253; Dhp-a.i.174 (+ tithi-karaṇa); ˚ṃ oloketi to set the horoscope Dhp-a.i.166, ˚ṃ uggaṇhāti id. Pv.iii.5#4.
  • -rājā the king of the nakkhattas (i.e. the moon) Ja.iii.348.

Ved. nakṣatra collect. formation from naktiḥ & naktā = Gr.; νύς, Lat. nox, Goth. nahts, E night = the nightly sky, the heavenly bodies of the night as opposed to the Sun: ādicco tapataṃ mukhaṃ Vin.i.246