Mūla

Etymology & Symbolism

Mūla, the nakṣatra, is an abbreviation of Mūla-Varhani. In the Vedic age it was known as Vichrita and consisted of only two stars. According to the Artharva Veda 6.110.2, one born under this asterism destroys his own family, and for this reason Vichrita was called Mūla-Varhani in Taittiriya Brahmana 1.4.2.8. According to the Rgveda 10.14.10, the stars 2 Vrischikasya (Syam tara) and 7 Vrischikasya (Sabal tara) are considered to represent the two messengers of Yama, the god of death. Vichrita, as well as Mūla-Varhani, means “destroyer of one’s own race.”

Bulbous, constricted, tied up roots of an oak tree.

The bulbous, constricted, tied up roots of an oak tree.

The Root

Mula literally means, “root,” “center,” or “innermost core,” and is called the “root star, ” “the original star, ” and “the foundation star.” Its symbol is a bunch of roots tied together (reticulated roots). It is the foundation or lowest part of anything, especially the trunk of a tree from which the branches and foliage grow. After Mula the process of manifestation is strengthened to branching out in various directions, to blossom and bear fruit. The trunk can be said to mark the end of one phase and the beginning of another. Mula marks the end of materialism and the beginning of the spiritual process which is not very pleasant. In Mula, the past proclivities have to be completely annihilated which requires the ruthless action of a demon-like God. The occult literature speaks of a stage when the feet of the disciple have to be washed in the blood of his heart. Such action takes place under this afternoon. Eradicate past karma. It is only when life becomes pure and tamasic tendencies are transformed that enter purity and the enduring goals of life can blossom.1

Because roots penetrate deep into unseen realms, Mula is associated with getting to the bottom of things, literally or figuratively, by scientific, philosophical, and other forms of deep inquiry. As a root, Mula often stands for the unseen origins of visible conditions, like the germs which are the roots of some diseases. Roots are also foundations, beginnings, and sources. Roots being much used for medical purposes, Mula is associated with medicines. The fact that Mula’s roots are tied as a certain sense of restraint, bondage, or limited mobility, all meanings that accompany this nakshatra.2

Lion’s Tail & Elephant’s Goad

Mūla is also symbolized by the tail of a lion, which is apparent in the pattern of its stars, as well as an elephant goad (ankusha). These suggest dangerous possibilities if the asterism’s influence is not properly absorbed. The elephant’s goad inflicts pain in order to direct the animal in the right direction. Mūla directs individuals toward their destined goals.3

Mula is inauspicious. It’s synonyms include Asura and Akratubhuj (“evil spirit”). There are many indications that emphasize the invincible quality of the asterism and the ruthlessness of its impact.4

Astronomy

Mūla resides between 0° and 13° 20′ Dhanuṣa (Sagittarius). It consists of the ten stars ε, ζ, η, θ, ι, κ, υ, λ (Shaula), μ, and ν (Lesath) Scorpii in the tail of the constellation Scorpius. Shaula and Lesath, which have visual magnitudes of 1.63 and 2.68, respectively, appear very close to each other in the sky and represent the brightest lights of Mūla.

Shanka (Conch)

Shanka (Conch)

Mūla likes near the serpent holder or Ophiuchus, marking the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, hence the name Mūla (root), emphasizing its translations of “center” and “innermost core.” This is fitting for the original name(s) Vichrita and Mulavarhanr as the destroyer of one’s own race, the end of materialism and the beginning of spiritualization through self-destruction.

The shape of the stars that comprise Mūla resemble the aforementioned lion’s tail, as well as a conch shell.

Classifications

Nature Puruṣārtha Varna Color Gana Guna/Tattva Gender Body Part Animal
Harsh (Tikshna) Karma butcher mustard Rakshasa/Asura Sattva/Rajas/Rajas Male left side male dog

Mula’s karmic focus leads the native to structured, lawful actions, as well as maintaining and supporting.

The motivational impulse coming from Kama makes the asterism intense. This is the passion for carnal indulgence. When this craving is resisted, an intense opposition from the personal nature arises. Any impediment to one’s carnal passion is violently resisted, and consequently the struggle ensued. Mula makes the individual violent and cruel in this sense. Is mental balance is disturbed. Transformation takes place when the mental disturbance is controlled.5

Mūla is the starting point for a radically different kind of influence, as Sattvas’s influence on the Nakshatras begins at Mula, placing it in a spiritual orientation. Anytime a guna begins at the primary level, the planet assigned to the asterism is Ketu because some abstraction has to be concretetized and an idea is to be made manifest at the physical level. It implies a new opportunity, but also onerous responsibilities because much hardship must be born in carrying out a new mission or disseminating any new ideas in a tradition-bound environment.

Mūla’s Tikshna (sharp or dreadful) nature indicates a gravitation to black magic, casting spells, exorcism, punishment and even murder. Powerful, bold and brash activities can occur under its influence. A Mūla native must learn to control their passions.

The ancient risis categorized Mūla as belonging to the “butcher’s caste.” The cruelty of the butcher is typical of Mula. Into action is decisive and will broke no obstruction. In perpetrating its effect, it will be ruthless.6

Mula’s masculinity expresses the positive quality of nature. The soul wants to act, achieve, and attain a goal rather than be a passive recipient of the fruit.7

As a human animal type, Mula holds a purpose in transforming human animality into spirituality. The transmutation of animality, materiality, and self centeredness into sympathy, spirituality and altruism is the most important characteristic.8

The primary impulse of Mula is to arouse mumukshattva, the urge for liberation. But in this process, the necessary transformation involves much discomfort, which makes the asterism troublesome. The unfortunate, demonic impulses are expressions of a karmic nemesis which the spiritual aspirant accepts joyfully. On the path of materialism, Mula becomes cruel and possessive.9

Devata, Graha & Saktis

Mūla is ruled by Ketu, resides within the rāśi of Dhanuṣa (ruled by Bṛhaspati), and its presiding devas are the Pitrs, “The Fathers,” one’s family ancestors, and Nirriti, the god of dissolution and destruction. The combination of Niriti and Pitrs suggests the destruction of one’s lineage.

Graha

Ketu, combined with Mula’s root-nature, offers an individual a deep philosophical nature and an inquisitive mind that enjoys exploring the roots of any subject.

Jupiter’s influence may offer wealth and luxury, but Mula’s destructive power may create the dissolution of one’s fame and money.

Ketu and Bṛhaspati combine to define Mūla’s energy.

The Pitrs

Nirṛti (Nirriti)

Although Mula is male by gender, its presiding deva is Nirṛti (“calamity”), the goddess (a “black Asura” which is synonymous with Kali) of disillusion who personified evil and corruption. She either directly induces material privation or causes prosperity to deteriorate after it is attained.10 In bringing afflictions, Mūla allows us to destroy their root, as long as they don’t overcome us. It shows the necessary destruction to proceed a new creation.

Nirṛti (निरृति) is the goddess of poverty and corruption, one of the dikpāla (Guardians of the directions), representing the southwest (or, according Monier-Williams’s Sanskrit-English Dictionary, “the south”). The name nirhti has the meaning of “absence of ṛta, lawless”. The masculine form of the name, Nirhita, is a name of Adharma.11

Destruction is positive when used properly, however, as Nirriti also has the power to destroy destruction.

The deity of this nakshatra is Nirṛti, the goddess of destruction, who lives in the kingdom of the dead. Mula is often associated with butchers, violence and cruelty. Arrogance, egotism, lust and anger can be experienced here. Nirṛti means “calamity” and can indicate an individual tied to a position of misfortune. Nirriti, being the goddess of destruction, has the power to ruin, destroy and break things apart (barhana shakti). It reveals the necessary dissolution to proceed to a new life. Nirṛti is also called Alakshmi or the denial of Lakshmi (prosperity). She is also depicted as Kali, the fierce goddess who wears a necklace of skulls, representing the heads of ignorance. Mula inflicts pain, but the pain is intended to set the person on the right track toward God-realization. It leads the person to seek, divine help.12

Since Nirṛti connotes opposites, reverses and losses, Mūla is associated with contrariness and with borrowing and lending to one’s detriment. As such, it is against the rules of election astrology to lend or borrow while Candra is in Mūla, for the debt may go bad or prove to be very vexatious.13

Nirṛti is Alakshmi or the denial of Lakshmi (abundance and prosperity). She is Kali or the negative effect of time that we must protect ourselves from or use to our advantage. ((David Frawley. Shaktis of the Nakshatras))

Kali

Mūla is a Kālī-like force that promotes non-violence by severing the head of the ego.

Planetary Placements/Astrological Interpretations

There may be a marked tendency to be betrayed by one’s colleagues.14

Mūla people can be very devoted to a spiritual path and learn to transmute the animality of the ego in to spirit. For the Mūla person, pain in inevitable, but suffering is optional.15

((Bepin Behari. Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology. p. 70.))

Mūla is straight-forward and direct.

Though an individual often goes off deeply into a matter ruled by a planet positioned in Mūla, that deep inquiry may not yield affluence, particularly if the planet is otherwise afflicted because Nirṛti and Mūla re opposed to abundance. For example, when the lord of the tenth house of profession occupies Mūla, the individual may not prosper from his profession in a worldly sense, so he made those deeply into it.16

Yamas & Niyamas

Ahiṃsā (no harm to living beings; nonviolence): Those born under the violent nakṣatra of Mūla must make cultivation of the yama of ahiṃsā a key principle unless other factors their chart indicate otherwise. Mūla is often associated with butchers, violence, and cruelty, and those under the influence of this asterism often gravitate toward arrogance, egotism, lust, and/or anger. One must understand these potential perils of Mūla, to understand that through Mūla destruction leads to construction. Ultimately, Mūla is a Kālī-like force that promotes non-violence by severing the head of the ego. Egotism itself is the focus of the yamas, which are intended to manage one’s ego. Therefore, pūjā to fierce devas like Kālī or Rudra is helpful to the Mūla native who suffers from violent or harmful actions.

Santoṣa (contentment; acceptance of others and of one’s circumstances as they are, optimism for self): Those born under the influence of Mūla may have problems with this niyama. “They feel bound and trapped by the circumstances of their life, and can get caught up in blaming others in their environment.”

Āsanas, Mudras, Mantras & Bhandas

Bija Mantras

Mūla corresponds to the bija syllables Na, Pa, and Pha, and its bija mantras are Om NamOm Pam, and Om Pham.

Tales & Mythologies

Padas

Mūla starts from Aries, showing a beginning of the 7th level of spiritual development. The start of the spiritual inspiration means that they have to start from scratch. Unlike the quarters in Aries Aśvinī, here the soul is not just beginning a new cycle but a new way of being. They have to let go of the structures, the sureties of materialism and things that they had become fond of. Unless the situation is handled sensitively, it can be very destructive. The planets are now working on very high vibrations.17

The first 48′ of Mūla is Abhukta Mula. The social and emotional support from family and worldly issues may not be there, so the individual needs to find their own strength to develop their inner awareness, to be able to fight their spiritual battles alone. This is very tough where the individual is living a life of turmoil and many situations come into life that they have no control over. As the soul detaches from the material path, the experience can be painful. All planets will suffer by being placed in these degrees.18

Pada 1 Pada 2 Pada 3 Pada 4
Position 0° – 3° 20′ Dhanuṣa (Sagittarius)  3° 20′ – 6° 40′ Dhanuṣa (Sagittarius)  6° 40′ – 10° Dhanuṣa (Sagittarius)  10° – 13° 20′ Dhanuṣa (Sagittarius)
Bija Mantra Ye/Yey Yo Bha/Baa Bhi/Bee/Bhe
Effects Affects parents Affects father Loss of wealth Good
 Native’s Nature knowledgeable, devoted but lethargic, sickly and arrogant; having few if any children. truthful, gentle and knowledgeable; diseased heart and eyes passionate, handsome; sad nature; shameful actions strong, clever, gentle, wise, in control of the senses; able to defeat opponents; suffering throat disease

Gemstones & Metals

Interests & Careers

Medicine, doctors and healers. People engaged in selling roots, flowers, and fruits. Ministers, officers and the judges sometimes. Big courts of justice or big institutions. Investigators and researchers of all sorts. Contrarians and others who delight in presenting opposite points of view. Debaters, orators, and politicians.19

  • Public speaking and writing
  • Philosophy and spiritual teaching
  • Law and politics
  • Medicine and pharmaceuticals
  • Business and sales

Auspiciousness/Engage In

  • Making parks and gardens
  • Treaties and breaking treaties
  • Digging wells, tanks and ponds
  • Agriculture
  • Warfare
  • Invocation of elementals and spirits
  • Imprisonment
  • Separation
  • Acts of destruction
  • Breaking alliances with authority figures

Inauspiciousness/Avoid

Mula itself is considered inauspicious.
As with all nakṣatras, there are both auspicious and inauspicious characteristics to be considered. A day in which Candra is in Mūla

Ayurveda & Health Issues

Indicative of the feet and left side of the trunk (torso?).

Hip and thigh problems, sciatic nerve troubles, foot problems, obesity, liver issues, mental vacillation.


  1. Bepin Behari. Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology. p. 74. 

  2. deFouw & Svoboda. Light on Life. p. 237. 

  3. Bepin Behari. Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology. p. 74. 

  4. Bepin Behari. Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology. p. 74. 

  5. Bepin Behari. Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology. p. 74. 

  6. Bepin Behari. Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology. p. 75. 

  7. Bepin Behari. Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology. p. 74. 

  8. Bepin Behari. Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology. p. 75. 

  9. Bepin Behari. Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology. p. 75. 

  10. deFouw & Svoboda. Light on Life. p. 237. 

  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nir%E1%B9%9Bti 

  12. Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras. 

  13. deFouw & Svoboda. Light on Life. p. 237. 

  14. deFouw & Svoboda. Light on Life. p. 238. 

  15. Dennis Harness. The Nakshatras 

  16. deFouw & Svoboda. Light on Life. p. 237. 

  17. KS TN 183 

  18. Komilla Sutton. The Nakshatras. p. 183. 

  19. deFouw & Svoboda. Light on Life. p. 238.