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Agni Nakshatram (Kruttika Nakshatram, Karthikeya)

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Agni Nakshatram : There is only one Nakshatram that is dedicated to the Vedic Luminary Agni (Energy). That Nakshatram is Krutika (Kritika, Krttika).

  • It is Agni Deva who carried the burning Siva Bijam that became Karthikeya (Shanmukha) to Ganga who bore him and the Krutika Sisters who raised him. (Amar Chitra Katha Version)
  • In the Vedic times Nakshatras were dedicated to Vedic Luminaries such as Indra, Agni, Bhaga and so on. (See  Nakshatradhipatis from Vedic deities to Grahas, after Valmiki’s Ramayana).
  • In later day astrology and vimsottari dasa systems, Nakshatras were dedicated to grahas such as sukra, kuja etc. The graha nakshatridhipathi for Krutika is Kuja, Mangal or Mars.
  • It is interesting to note that: Kuja is now also considered a son of Siva, just like Karthikeya, the adopted son of the Krutika sisters and the slayer of Tarakasura. And just as Karthikeya was a War-Lord-God  who led the Devas to victory, so also Kuja is considered warrior like.
  • It is interesting to note that the Mongols, actually call themselves, “Mangals” and they were at one time very fierce and warrior like.

Krittika Nakshatram (Astronomy and Dating) : refers to the set of six ‘sister’ stars.

  • This set of stars is identified by classical European system as Plaeidis.
  • Brightest amongst them is called Alcyone by Arabs.
  • If a single star has to be identified as representing Krittika Nakshatra, best candidate is 25hAries AlCyone.
  • Arundhati Nakshatra (though not a part of the 27 day pointing fixed stars) is near the Krittitka. It is said to be the eighth star in the cluster Krittika. (Nakshatras, Masas, Rtus, Varas, Rasis, Specialities)
  • Kruthika nakshatra (constellation) constitutes last padam of Mesha (Aries) and the first 3 padams of Vrishabha (Taurus). ( kruthika: Location = Alcyone, Celaeno, Electra, Taygete, Maia, & Asterope:(Pleiades) Eta, 16, 17, 19, 20, & 21 Tauri)
  • The Vedanga Jyothisha begins the count of Nakshatras from Krithika Nakshatram. Today we count beginning from Aswhini Nakshatram. This can be interpreted  to mean that the spring equinox occured in Krithika Nakshatram at the time that verse was composed.
    • atharvagargya1
  • R.V. 1.164 Autumn Star Agni (Krittika, Alcyone 59.5 long) : Dirgha tamas Rshi. (See : Date of Veda Mantras andEquinoxes and Dating Vedas)

Some Background and Technical Terms  :

  1. The nakshatras always appear to to rise and set along the same celestial line or longitude. That is why they are called in general fixed stars.
  2. Surya (The Sun) and  Chandra (The Moon) do NOT rise and set along the same celestial line or longitude. The sunrise or moon-rise position, is to the north or south relative to the previous day.
  3. The moon passes by every nakshatra once a lunar month and spends an average of one day close to any given nakshatra. Each day is that named after a nakshatra.
  4. Similarly the sun passes by every nakshatra once a year and spends on an average one fortnight near any given nakshatram. That fortnight is called the kArte of that nakshatram.
  5. Thus day-nakshatra names depend on the longitude of the moon, fortnight karte names depend on the longitude of the sun. The names of the lunar months depend on the longitude of the full moon. Each lunar month is named after that nakshatram on which the full moon day (pournami) day occurs. Since the full moon depends on the relative angular separation of the sun and the moon and the nakshatram depends on the moon and the nakshatrams, tehy never match exactly. So we take the nakshatram that most frequently occurs near the full moon and name the lumar month after that.

Kruthika Nakshatram and the Moon : Karthika Masam (Lunar Month):

The lunar month Karthika  Masam is named after the Kruthika Nakshatram.  This usually occurs in or close to the english calendar month of November.

Kruthika Nakshatram and the Sun : Kruthika Karte :

The fortnight called Kruthika Karthe occurs in the month of May.

  • Kruthika Karthe Clebraions in Tamil Nadu: Tamilians, who follow the solar calendar, celebrate Kruthika Karthe, under the name Agni Nakshatram Festival. It is celebrated in honour of Siva’s son Karthikeya also revered as Murugan, Palani, Subrahmanya, Kumaraswamy among many other names.
  • Source : “Agni Nakshatram is a 14-day period in May, the hottest part of the year. It is the season when devout persons go round the hill in the Giri Veedi as much out of faith as for reasons of health, in the early morning (1 am. to 10 a.m.) and evening (4 to 10 pm) in large numbers. Just now, the kadamba trees (Eugenia Racemosa), favourite flora of Murugan, are in full bloom all around the hill shedding their fragrance and conveying healing properties to all the walkers.  At Kodumudi (Periyar District), ardent devotees by the thousands collect Cauvery water in scorching sun and bring it in kavadis for abhishekam of the deity and the sanctum sanctorum at the hill is a large pool of water! It is so cool that one forgets the summer-heat. The water bearers are accompanied by artistes in a variety of folk-music and folkdance items. Their procession by itself is colorful and difficult to forget. On the concluding day, the festival deity of the Periyanâyaki Temple marches to the Adivaram and there is a majestic procession round Giri Veedi.”

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula

Posted 28 May 2003 · Report post



Dear Kasthuri and Vyasan,

The Nakshatra deity for the Nakshatra Krittika is Agni. Transit of Sun over

Krittika is the period specifically referred to as Agni Nakshatra. Krittika

Nakshatra is supposed to be a cluster of 6 stars and that are believed to be

the sparks of fire from the third eye of the Lord Shiva. It was the Shiva agni

which burnt out Kama when he tried to disturb the penance of the Lord Shiva.

There is a underlying tatva behind it. It is believed that Lord Skanda emerged

from the fire of the third eye of the Lord Shiva. Lord Skanda is gyana

personified. Karma is born out of Kama which induces the search for happiness

outside, while Gyana is born out of the inner fire which burns out the Kama.

Kama induces a person to commit mistakes like disturbing a tapaswi/interwening

in others life etc. Lord Subramanya is also called as Kadirkama(Kadir = sun;

Kama = venus) meaning the lord who takes up the job of combustion of venus and

helps in the dawn of Gyana. Gyana is born out of tapas and not out of kama.

The space ( Akaasa) between the two eyebrows is called as Agya chakra which is

the seat of Guru(hum beeja – hamsa maha purusha yoga can be understood from

this). Lord Skanda is also called as Gurupara. As per his dictates/agya inner

life and aananda results. Is it not a fact when the Sun scorches people remain

indoors! When the Gyanasurya burns, the outer search for happiness ends.

The heat is unbearable. When a tapaswi is disturbed the result is unbearable.

Can we perform marriage and other auspicious activities in front of a disturbed

tapaswi! Shiva is also called as Mangala. When the mangala is disturbed no

activities related to mangala(auspicious) is performed.


Kamadeva is the Hindu God of Love and in an important story in the Puranas, Kamdeva was assigned with the mission to stop Lord Shiva’s penance that he started after the death of Sati Devi.

After the death of Sati, Lord Shiva entered into yogic penance in the Himalayas. Lord Shiva was no longer interested in the world.

Taking advantage of the situation, a demon named Tarakasura, son of Vjranga and Varangi, did Tapas (penance and austerities) and pleased Lord Brahma and got two boons. As the first boon, he asked Brahma to make him the most powerful man in the world. As the second boon he sought that his death should only happen at the hands of a son born to Shiva – thinking that Shiva will never again marry.

After getting the boons, Tarakasura showed his true color and started attacking the demi gods, saints and humans. He defeated all the Kings and Devas and took control over earth and heaven.

All the Devas and saints sought refuge at the feet of Brahma who told that the only solution for this problem was to bring back Lord Shiva to the world and stop his penance.

Brahma told them that Goddess Sati was reborn as Goddess Parvati and was doing penance to get Shiva as her husband. But Shiva was not ready to stop his intense penance.

Brahma asked the gods to take the help of Kamadeva to stop the penance by creating sexual desire and passion in Lord Shiva.

Kamadeva arrived in front of Shiva along with Rati Devi, and shot five arrows of flowers at the heart of Shiva.

Shiva’s meditation was interrupted and he was terribly angry and opened his third eye on his forehead, and a fierce blazing flame came out of his third eye and burned Kamadeva into ashes.

The sperm that split from Shiva as the result of the arrows of Kamadeva fell into River Ganga and it was born as six children. These six children were looked after by the Krithiga Stars and were later joined to a single child by Goddess Parvati after her marriage with Lord Shiva. This child was Kartik and he later killed Tarakasura.

Shiva was later convinced regarding the intention of Kamdeva and he was later restored.

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Lord Brahma narrated the following tale-
“A girl by the name of Sandhya manifested from my being. I was amazed by her heavenly beauty. Right then a divine entity appeared before me, whose beauty could not have been matched even by the deities. He was Kamadeva- the god of love. He influenced me to such an extent that I forgot that Sandhya was my daughter and got infatuated by her.”
“When Rudra came to know about my lust for Sandhya, he admonished me and ridiculed about my character. I felt ashamed. But I also became jealous of Rudra. I decided to influence him with
the power of infatuation, but I was unsuccessful in my attempts. I remembered lord Vishnu and he tried to make me understand about the futility of my attempts, as according to him (Vishnu), Rudra was beyond the reach of any human emotions.”
“But I instructed my son – Daksha to help in the procreation of a girl child from the womb of Ashwinivirini. Thus Sati was born. Sati later on became famous of Uma and got Rudra as her husband on account of her tremendous penance.”
“Though Rudra was free from all kinds of attachment, but still he became so influenced by the desire for procreation that he married with Sati. He enjoyed a blissful married life for a very long time.”
“Rudra father in law, Daksha in his arrogance started condemning his son in law -Rudra. Once, Daksha organised a grand yagya ceremony. He gave invitation to everybody except Rudra and Uma. Despite of Rudra’s disinclination to allow Sati to go to her father’s yagya, She insisted and ultimately she was successful in convincing Rudra, to allow her to go.”
“When Sati reached there, she was not given respect by her father Daksha. Not only this, Daksha made fun of Rudra. Feeling dishonored, Sati gave up her life by jumping into the sacrificial fire.”
“When Rudra got the news of Sati’s death he became extremely furious. To take revenge, he created Veerbhadra from his locks of hair. Veerbhadra went to Daksha place and destroyed his oblation site. He severed Daksha’s head. All the deities became afraid and prayed to Rudra, to have mercy. Rudra then brought back Daksha to life and helped him the accomplished of the still incomplete Yagya. The site where Sati had died later on became famous as Jwalamukhi devi.”
“The same Sati in her next birth was born as Parvati to Himalaya. By her tremendous penance she again got lord Shiva as her husband.
After that lord Brahma told Narada about the manifestation of Kama, the god of love.

“When I became infatuated by the divine beauty of Sandhya, my infatuation resulted into the manifestation of my another Manas-putra named Kamadeva. His beauty and qualities were incomparable. His manifestation not only inflicted me with lust, but also my other Manasputras became filled up with lust. Kamadeva made salutations to me and asked as to what was his name and purpose of being. I gave him the name ‘Pushpavan’ and instructed him to help in the process of procreation. I also blessed him that nobody would remain unaffected by his influence including myself and Vishnu.”
After being named by lord Brahma as ‘Pushpavan’, Kamadeva was also given various names as Manmath, Kama, Madan etc by sages like Mareech, etc. They also said to him that he would be married to ‘Rati’ the daughter of Daksha.
Kamadeva himself was infatuated with the beauty of Sandhya. To test the authenticity of Brahma’s boon, Kamadeva took out his five arrows and wanted to examine their power. The names of their arrows were Harshan, Rochan, Mohan, Shoshan and Maran.
These arrows had effect on all the people present there including lord Brahma and Sandhya. Getting affected by those arrows, fourty nine types of thoughts emerged in Brahma’s mind. Similarly, flaws were clearly visible in Sandhya’s behaviour.
Kamdeva became convinced of his powers and capabilities. But Dharma – the manasputra of Brahma was saddened by this event. He prayed to lord Shiva.
When Lord Shiva saw the condition of Brahma, he became amused and made fun of him and his Manasputras. Everybody was ashamed.
Due to his shame, Brahma perspired profusely. From his perspiration were created the Pitraganas. Similarly from the perspiration of Daksha Prajapati was created the most beautiful woman Rati.
Brahma was very angry with Kamadeva because of whom he was ridiculed by Shiva. He cursed him and said- “You would be charred to death by the arrow of Shiva.”
Kamadeva became very scarred and said that he was only testing the authenticity of his boon and he had no other evil intention. He also requested Brahma, not to curse him.
Feeling Pity on him, Brahma consoled him that, although he would definitely get killed by the arrow of Shiva’s sight, yet he would regain his physical body as soon as Shiva get’s married. Lord Brahma then went to Brahmaloka.
Daksha requested Kamadeva to get married with his daughter Rati. Kamadeva was very pleased at this proposal. Both Kamadeva and Rati got married.

Sandhya was very ashamed of herself. For the atonement of her sin she decided to do penance. She went to Chandrabhaga mountain and commenced her tremendous penance.
Lord Brahma then instructed Vashishtha to go to her in disguise and help in getting her initiated. He went to Chandrabhaga mountain in the guise of a brahmin and gave the mantra – OM NAMAH SHANKARAYA OM to her and also told her the methods of doing worship, then he returned back.
After sage Vashishtha who was disguised as brahmin went away. Sandhaya did penance as per his instructions. After the passing of one Chaturyuga, she had a darshan of lord Shiva.
Shiva being pleased by her devotion asked her to demand anything. Sandhya said-
“Nobody should have lust towards the member of his own clan. There should be no virtuous and chaste woman greater then me in this whole world. Anybody other than my husband who looks at me with evil intentions become an impotent man.”
Lord Shiva blessed her by saying- ‘Evamastu!’
Lord Shiva then categorised the life-span of a man into four parts – childhood, adolescence, youth and old age. He than told her that it was written in her destiny to die by burning. He also advised her to go and surrender her body in the sacrificial fire of the yagya, performed by Medhatithi. “Before jumping into the sacrificial fire, just remember anybody, whom you want as your husband, and your wish would be fulfilled in your next birth, when you would take birth as a daughter of Daksha Prajapati. Your father Daksha Prajapati would marry his 27 twenty daughter to Moon, but the moon would have affection only towards Rohini and rest of his wives would be neglected by him. For this reason he would be cursed by Daksha. All the deities would take your refuge.”
After blessing Sandhya in the way lord Shiva went back to Kailash mountain.

When lord Shiva went away. Sandhya got up and went to the place where Medhatithi was performing his yagya. She made a mental resolution to have that brahmin as her husband, who in reality was Vashishtha and then entered into the sacrificial fire. The fire of the yagya burnt her body and carried it ti the solar-system, where it was divided by the sun-god into three parts and established in his chariot. The names of these three parts were Pratah-Sandhya, Madhyanha-Sandhya and Sayam-Sandhya. Sandhya‘s vital force was absorbed by lord Shiva.
When the yagya ended, the sages were surprised to see the presence of a girl, who was radiating like gold in the sacrificial fire. They took out that girl child from that yagya-kunda. The sages then brought up that girl with love and affection. She was named Arundhati.
When she attained the age of five, Brahma Vishnu and Mahesg arrived and married her with Vashishtha. Arundhati enjoyed a happy life and became famous for her chastity.
Brahma told Narada that since the day he was humiliated by Shiva, he had grudges against him and wanted to take revenge. “I wanted to subdue the arrogance of Shiva by proving it to him that even he could be binded by attachment. I asked Daksha and sages like Mareech as to how this feat could be achieved. As a result ‘Rati’ and ‘Kama’ manifested. I instructed Kama to influence Shiva by his powers. Kama agreed but requested me to create a suitably divine women for Shiva. Myself and Daksha became worried and during that time we exhaled fragrant air through our nostrils, which resulted into the creation of spring season. The spring season was looking divinely beautiful in her physical form. I handed over her to Kama and thus all the three of them
(spring season, Kama and Rati) went to influence lord Shiva who was in his deep state of meditation.


You might also like:
End of Andhak – Story of Andhakasura – Part 3
Devotional songs of lord shiva
Hanuman – 11th Rudra of Lord Shiva
Kannappa Nayanar – Devotee of Shiva
Shiva Avatars


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