Jyeṣṭhā

Etymology & Symbolism

Jyeṣṭhā (Jyeshtha / ज्येष्ठा) has many translations. In general it means eminent, distinguished, and honorable. In social contexts it’s considered “The Eldest,” representing “the senior-most,” “the most important,” “most excellent,” “the founder,” or “the preferred.” Being the oldest and most powerful, Jyeṣṭhā is the most worthy of praise and reverence. It truly represents seniority among all others based on preference or merit. In Hindu families the elder is often considered a family’s protector, and so with this seniority also comes a representation of protection. Jyeṣṭhā is also often called the “Wisdom Crone,” and as a star it’s referred to as the “chief star.”

The Eldest

Ganga

Ganga

Valerie Roebuck refers to her as the “eldest queen” of Soma, the moon god, who was superseded in her husband’s romantic affections by his younger wives.1

The eldest sister, in Hindu culture, is regarded with almost as much respect as the mother. As the elder sister she is also symbolized by the Ganges (Ganga), suggesting that Jyeṣṭhā acts as a female guardian angel, protecting and guiding the development of those of us in the earthly realm.2

Jyeṣṭhā

Jyeṣṭhā

As, “The Eldest,” Jyeṣṭhā as a devi is the elder sister and opposite of Lakṣmī, the goddess which embodies good fortune and beauty. As Lakṣmī‘s antithesis, Jyeṣṭhā is the goddess which embodies inauspicious things and misfortune and is associated with inauspicious places and sinners, with sloth, poverty, sorrow, ugliness, and the crow. She is sometimes identified with Alakṣmī, similar goddess of misfortune.

Jyeṣṭhā’s worship was often prescribed for women who did not wish to become attached to home life. Jyeṣṭhā appeared in the Hindu tradition as early as 300 BCE, with her worship at its peak in South India in the 7th-8th century CE. By the 10th century, however, her popularity waned almost into obsolescence. Today, Jyeṣṭhā is rarely worshipped.

Just as Jyeṣṭhā is considered Lakṣmī‘s antithesis, she is also on the exact opposite side of the sky from Rohini, Candra’s favorite wife who was so irresistable that he ignored all other 26 wives (naksatras). And so, 180° from the favorite that is Rohini represents 180° from the young, beautiful, and fortunate: old, weathered, and inauspicious.

Protective/Status Symbologies

Jyeṣṭhā is symbolized by a circular amulet or a circular protective talisman, both of which are reflected in the shape of its three stars. Indra’s invincible disc, the sudarshana chakra, is also closely symbolized here. The talisman is a physical expression of an understanding of a cold or hidden forces. It can indicate either providing or receiving protection from some danger or in adversity, just as Indra’s disc provides, as well as a capacity for subtle, inventive, and imaginative design (as offered by the intellect of Budha).

Chatra (Umbrella)

Chatra (Umbrella). Artwork courtesy: Drdha Vrata Gorrick.

Jyeṣṭhā is also symbolized by an umbrella or earring (also as seen in its constellation). Both of these status symbols indicate worldly and spiritual attainments.

In summary, these symbols, the disc of Indra, the earrings on the ear lobes of divine team, and protection given by umbrellas for the elite, yogically stand for the serpent fire, which is said to resemble them. This Kundalini Sakti, the secret energy coiled like a serpent at the base of the spine, when rightly energized, gives control over the subtle forces of nature. In order to unfold it in the right way the individual is required to master his lower nature and go beyond attachment to the outer world. Upon successful completion of this discipline, the soul becomes the ruler of the world. Angels and fairies dance at his will and he gains miraculous powers. These potentials are contained in this asterism, which enables the human individual to communicate freely with spiritual powers. This relationship is suggested by Budha ruling over Jyeṣṭhā.3

Jyeṣṭhā is also represented by the middle finger.

John – You might want to check out www.jyotisha.bhavans.info.

Jyeṣṭhā (Star Map)

Jyeṣṭhā (Star Map)

Astronomy

Jyeṣṭhā resides between 16° 40′ and 30° Vṛścika (Scorpio). It consists of the stars α (Antares), σ, and τ Scorpionis in the heart of Scorpii/Scorpius. They resemble its symbolic umbrella or earring.

Antares, the bright red giant at the heart of the scorpion, literally means, “the rival of Mars,” because they are often confused with each other.

Classifications

Nature Puruṣārtha Varna Color Gana Guna/Tattva Gender Body Part Animal
 Harsh (Tikshna)  Artha  Rakshasa/Asura  Tamas/Sattva/Sattva middle finger Male Deer or Hare

As a Tikshna (Harsh) naksatra, powerful, bold, and brash activities can occur under its influence.

The primary motivation of Jyeṣṭhā is artha (material prosperity, directed activity). Its motto is that it’s much easier to meditate on a balanced checkbook. Internal conflicts about one’s self-image and self-esteem can result.

This marks the end of the second third of the asterisms under the primary flow of Tamas, the attribute of inertia. Sattvic attributes begin to flow freely at the secondary and tertiary levels.

Devata, Graha & Śakti

Jyeṣṭhā is ruled by Budha, resides within the rāśi of Vṛścika (ruled by Maṅgala), and its presiding deva is Indra.

Graha

Budha, a reflection of Vishnu, imparts Jyeṣṭhā with mental brilliance, analytical ability, the capacity to achieve an elevated position in life, and accomplish things skillfully. Even a troubled, yet creative genius can result from Jyeṣṭhā. It is the nakshatra of the creative eccentric. Thus, Jyeṣṭhā often finds social destiny as a politician or an influential religious leader.

Maṅgala imparts Jyeṣṭhā with power, independence, and a sense of danger. Natives may possess an irritable and combative nature.

Indra

Indra

Indra

Jyeṣṭhā’s additional synonyms include Kulisatara (Indra’s Star), Satamakha (Indra’s Sacrifice), and Suraswami (Indra himself).

Indra imparts additional power to Jyeṣṭhā: a daring nature, courage, power, glory, the ability to rise and conquer, and gain courage in battle. This power is not by stregth, but by courage and cunning. And so, combined with the strength of Maṅgala, Jyeṣṭhā’s formidability is undeniable. Jyeṣṭhā allows us to reach the summit of personal power, but it requires great control and self-effort. With such power, one’s arrogance, pride, and egotism must be held in check. ((Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras. p. 72.))

Many hymns of the Veda honor Indra for his daring deeds, power, theme, glory, and praise worthiness, all qualities associated with Jyeṣṭhā.4

Indra controls all the pleasures of life. He has achieved this status after arduous preparation and severe discipline. The name Indra is derived from the root word meaning “a drop.” It is the individual who has attained the supreme heavenly position as a result of great austerity. The sudarshana chakra, the invincible disc with which anything can be annihilated in an instant, remains balanced on his forefinger. It is the reward he has one for his great sacrifices. It is a kind of thunderbolt, a circular disc, ever active and auspicious, a great and mysterious weapon. The circularity of the disc has an important similarity with the symbols of the umbrella and earring associated with Jyeṣṭhā. Indra uses this disc to protect the universe and the kingdom of the gods against the deadly onslaught of the Asuras. The sudarshana chakra can be used for attacking the most dangerous enemy. This weapon used for protection is not bestowed by another, rather it is earned by one’s own severe penance and austerities, by control over one’s senses and nature’s subtle forces.5

I am Indra, god of war and lord of Svaloka (heaven). I am messenger for a great army of destructive forces. My instructions have mysterious origins. I have proven seniority, at least within my own mind. I know the correct information with unshakable certainty. I evangelize from occult sources; craft detailed explanations of unseen things; make reports and deliver announcements from the battlefield of terrible cycles of destruction and rebirth. I am a dark angel of destruction and rebirth. Follow my instructions. – B.P. Lama Jyotisha, Soul Recognition in Relationships

Indra desired, ‘May I gain supremacy among the gods.’ One who makes the appropriate offering to Indra, to Jyeṣṭhā, gains supremacy among his peers. Those born under Jyestha seek to be the best, the highest, but on their own, by their own effort, as individuals, not by relying on others. They often do their best when left alone. – David Frawley, Fruits of Worshipping Each Nakshatra

Dhūmāvatī Mahavidya by Udaya Charan Shrestha

Dhūmāvatī Mahavidya by Udaya Charan Shrestha

Dhūmāvatī

Jyeṣṭhā is very much associated with Dhūmāvatī, the widow goddess of the Tantric Mahavidya. Like Jyeṣṭhā, Dhūmāvatī is elderly, a wisdom crone, dark, ugly, and is also associated with the crow. She dwells in quarrels, inauspicious places, and has a bad temper. Lakshmana Desika, the commentator on the Saradatilaka-Tantra, also identifies Dhūmāvatī with Jyeṣṭhā.

Śakti

Jyeṣṭhā, ruled by Indra, has the power to rise or conquer, and gain courage in battle (arohana shakti). Jyeshta allows us to reach the summit of our personal powers, but requires great courage and effort. It shows karmic battles that require our complete energization in order to overcome. Indra is the king of the Gods who must eventually alone and single-handedly defeat the dragon by courage and cunning rather than by strength of arms.6

Planetary Placements/Astrological Interpretations

Kundalini flows through this asterism, greatly energizing and strengthening any aspect of life affected by its influence. This force is capable of destroying in mens power on those who can rightly develop it, but it is dangerous if such control cannot be maintained.7

When Jyeṣṭhā connotes gain it may be through supernatural, occult, or extraordinary means.

When afflicted, Jyeṣṭhā indicates hard times, poverty, and/or a fall from grace.8 ((Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras. p. 72))

Jyeṣṭhā may lead a person to have few friends and desire seclusion. A secretive or hypocritical nature may also be observed, as a person can be very much involved in religious practices while simultaneously immersing themselves in materialistic pursuits.9

The primary function of Jyeṣṭhā in a horoscope is to guide the individual to their spiritual evolution. A radical transformation must take place at the stage of the soul’s pilgrimage.10

Because of Jyeṣṭhā’s association with family seniority, there may be some indication that the native may be the patriarch or matriarch of a family or the eldest brother, sister, child, etc. Its indication truly depends on the manner in which Jyeṣṭhā is involved in a horoscope. For example, if the lord of the seventh house of the partner occupies Jyeṣṭhā the native may be inclined to marry an older person or a person who holds a position of seniority in his or her family. The same principle may be extended to the other houses.11

Planets in Jyeṣṭhā are in transition. Their feet are firmly rooted in the worldly desires so the transition is not always easy to accept. Planets placed at the end of Jyeṣṭhā especially, face major transformation in life due to circumstances beyond their control. The end of Jyeṣṭhā is the most important gandanta.12

Being motivated by “wants” keeps a person eternally dissatisfied. Jyeṣṭhā should aspire to only fulfill their needs and enjoy what life has to offer, not pile on more and more desires.13

Yamas & Niyamas

Ārjava (sincerity, straightness, non-hypocracy): Jyeṣṭhā may have problems with this yama, as “at times they can be arrogant and hypocritical because of their low self-esteem.”

Āsana, Meditation, Mudra & Bhanda

Good for meditation.

In pranayama, yogic breath control exercises, the middle finger represented by Jyeṣṭhā is used for stopping the left nostril as to direct the breath flow through the right.

Tales & Mythologies

Padas

It requires considerable psychological growth to be able to absorb the cosmic impulse so that the individual can be spiritually transformed. This psychological impact is indicated by the rulership of Jyeṣṭhā’s various quarters.14

Jyeṣṭhā is the end of the 6th cycle of personal development. There is no vargotamma, pushkara or ashtamamsha. The end of Jyeṣṭhā is gandanta. It is the wrapping up of one way of being. The Scorpio ending is the most difficult gandanta as it is about giving up your possessions, desires and wants. The mind plays tricks on the individual, the more there is a need to give up, the mind tells us to acquire. Herein lies the pain of Jyeṣṭhā, the more people try to cling and to own, the greater the struggle. It does not mean that Jyeṣṭhā should not enjoy life but the real meaning is that they must recognize that this is not the real thing.15

Pada Summaries

Pada 1 Pada 2 Pada 3 Pada 4
Ruler Bṛhaspati (Sagittarius) Śani (Capricorn) Śani (Aquarius) Bṛhaspati (Pisces)
Position 16° 40′ – 20° Vṛścika (Scorpio) 20° – 23° 20′ Vṛścika (Scorpio) 23° 20′ – 26° 40′ Vṛścika (Scorpio) 26° 40′ – 30° Vṛścika (Scorpio)
Bija Mantra नो No या Ya/Yaa यी Yi/Yee यू Yu/Yoo

Gemstones & Metals

Interests & Careers ((Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras. p. 73.))

  • Self-employment, management
  • Military leadership
  • Music, dance, modeling
  • Police detective work
  • Engineering
  • Intellectualism, philosophy

Auspiciousness/Engage In

  • Apologies
  • Metallurgy
  • Architecture
  • Laying the foundation of a home ((Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras. p. 15.))
  • Learning music or dance ((Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras. p. 15.))
  • Surgical treatment ((Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras. p. 15.)) (Maṅgala)
  • Heating things (Indra, Maṅgala)
  • Acts of destruction (Tikshna)
  • Success in warfare (Tikshna, Indra, & Maṅgala)
  • Facing one’s foes directly (Tikshna, Indra, & Maṅgala)
  • Performing actions for subduing one’s competitors (Tikshna, Indra, & Maṅgala)
  • Punishment (Tikshna & Maṅgala)
  • Imprisonment
  • Breaking alliances with authority figures
  • Filing for divorce (Tikshna)
  • Invocation of elementals and spirits and other incantations (Tikshna & Jyeṣṭhā’s connection to the kundalini)
  • Casting spells, black magic, and exorcism (Tikshna & Jyeṣṭhā’s connection to the kundalini)
  • Separation from friends (Tikshna)

Inauspiciousness/Avoid

As with all Nakṣatras, there are both auspicious and inauspicious characteristics to be considered. But a day in which Candra is in Jyeṣṭhā is particularly, at least very potentially inauspicious. Do not undertake anything important, especially during the last two padas of Jyeṣṭhā and into the first two padas of Mula.

Birth, travelling and performance of auspicious functions, like marriage etc., during Gandanta [the last two padas of Jyeṣṭhā] are likely to cause death of the person concerned. – Brihat Parashara Hora Sastra 92.1

Ayurveda & Health Issues

Ailments like pain in the joints, cough and colds, sleeplessness, genital organs, ovaries, muscular problems, neck pain, ear aches, stomach trouble, and breast cancer. 16

Pinus contorta Pine Tree is sacred to the Vedic Nakshatra Jyeshtha.

Remedial Measures

The Sage said. O Maitreya! Now I will describe to you the remedial measures to be adopted to ensure relief from the evil effects of Jyeshtha Gandanta. The erection of a canopy (Mandhup), installation of Kalash, selection of a priest etc. will be done in the same manner, as has been recommended for the Abhukta Mula in the previous chapter. In this ceremony Indra will be the deity-in-chief, Adhideva will be Agni and the Pratyadhideva will be Rakshasa. – Brihat Parashar Hora Shastra 94.1-5

Then the remedial rites should be performed in the following order. Install on a Kalash, full of paddy rice, an idol of gold with Indra, seated on Airavat with Vajra Ankusha in his hands. Perform worship of the chief deity Indra along with that of the Adhideva and the Pratyadhideva with the recitation of their appropriate Mantras. Perform Havan, Abhisheka and then feed the Brahmins in accordance with one’s means. In addition to the above, after doing Indrasukta and Mrityunjaya Japas, prayers may be offered to Indra. These measures will wipe out the evil effects of the Gandanta. – Brihat Parashar Hora Shastra 94.6

In case the performance of remedial rites, described above, is beyond the means of any person, he should give a cow in charity. This will also appease the deities and promote relief from the evil effects of the Gandanta. Because the giving of a cow in charity has been considered a superior remedial measure than giving in charity all the lands, belonging to a person. – Brihat Parashar Hora Shastra 94.7

According to prescribed remedial measures, 3 cows are to be given in charity in the case of Jyeshtha-Mula and Aslesha-Magha Gandantas, 2 cows in Revati-Ashvini Gandantas and 1 cow in other Gandantas, or in any inauspicious Yog. If cow, or cows are not available, their actual value should be given in cash to a Brahmin. –  Brihat Parashar Hora Shastra 94.8-9


  1. Valerie Roebuck. The Circle of Stars. 

  2. Myths and Symbols of Vedic Astrology. p. 223 

  3. Bepin Behari. Myths & Symbols of Vedic Astrology. p. 224. 

  4. deFouw & Svoboda. Light on Life. p. 236. 

  5. Bepin Behari. Myths & Symbols of Vedic Astrology. p. 223. 

  6. David Frawley. Shaktis of the Nakshatras 

  7. Bepin Behari. Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology. p. 73 

  8. deFouw & Svoboda. Light on Life. p. 236. 

  9. Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras. p. 72. 

  10. Bepin Behari. Myths & Symbols of Vedic Astrology. p. 223. 

  11. deFouw & Svoboda. Light on Life. p. 236. 

  12. Komilla Sutton. The Nakshatras. pp. 171-172. 

  13. Komilla Sutton. The Nakshatras. p. 173. 

  14. Bepin Behari. Myths & Symbols of Vedic Astrology. pp. 224-225. 

  15. Komilla Sutton. The Nakshatras. p. 173. 

  16. Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras. p. 73