by Khandro Kunzang
According to Tibetan and Vedic astrology, there are a cluster of stars, called the ‘Rishi’ stars, that ‘appear’ for one week each year – usually during the 8th lunar month (September). This year, according to Tibetan astrology, the Rishi stars will be ‘out’ from Sept. 9-15. In Tibetan this is known as ‘Karma Rishi.’
According to Hindu legend, these stars were once great sages of the past, who, upon their death, ascended up into the heavens and became these stars. When they are visible in the night sky, their light is said to possess special healing powers that transform all water into a healing nectar. Some sources state these stars are the Ursa Major, or the ‘big dipper,’ also known as the Sapta Rishi stars, who are associated with the seven great Rishis of Vedic lore. Other sources say this is the Canopus star, which is associated with the Rishi Agastya, and is said to be the ‘cleanser of waters.’
Typically, Tibetan doctors and healers would place buckets of water outside during this time, then use this water for making their medicines. Lama Dawa remembers how His Holiness Matrul Rinpcoche – a great Tibetan physician – would then boil this water down, thus concentrating it, then use this water to make the herbal medicinal pills, and also to consecrate the water with healing mantras.
Another way of benefiting from this healing water is to bathe in pools, ponds or rivers during this time. Or, collect water in buckets and use that for bathing. Any water – whether it is ocean, river, stream, or water in pools, is imbued with the healing qualities of the stars. This water can be used to make healing tinctures, or for giving to pets and plants. Even the water in our own bodies can be ‘blessed’ and purified by this special healing energy by exposing your body to the night sky when the stars are out. It is a particularly auspicious time to do practices such as the Vajra Armor mantra, which is used to consecrate water, or Medicine Buddha mantras and offering pujas.
Rangrig Dorje Rinpoche offers this prayer and mantra to be said while taking a bath outside under these stars:
JI-TAR TAM-PA TSAM-GYI NI / LHA-NAM KYI-NI TRU-SOL TAR /
LHA-YI CHU-NI DAG-PA YI / DE-ZHIN DAG-GI TRU-GYI O /
OM SARWA TAT’HAGATA ABHISHEKA TA SAMAYA SHRI YE HUNG
DI-NI TRU-CHOG PAL-DANG DEN / T’HUG-JE’I CHU-NI LA-NA MED /
JIN-LAB YE-SHE CHU-YI NI / CHI-DOD NGO-DRUB TSAL-WAR DZOD /
Western astrologer, Terry Nazon, offered this information about the Sapta Rishi Stars:
“They are the fixed stars of Ursa Major the Big Dipper. They are always visible…but during that time in September as the constellation late Leo and early Virgo is right above us in the night sky…they are closest then and right above us. Because the earth is moving and just like the moon moves across the night sky so will the big dipper…it can also be that the Sun is activating them…for planets and stars to be effective they have to be triggered by a planet or star like the sun. If you are “charging” water you will want to place the water where it receives the most exposure. For instance maybe there’s tree blocking the Big Dipper in your front yard…and remember, we are made up of 60 % water and in ancient Kabbalah, the text said to bath ourselves in this planetary “rain” they called it.”
The Rishi stars:
1. Dubhe The Bear: Astrology, arrogance, psychic power, destruction; aka Krathu, one of the 7 Rishis (Hindu sages) in Ursa Major; Bast Isis, the Egyptian goddess; “The Eye”; “Heaven’s Pivot”
2. Merak: Prudent, restrained, mistrustful, self-controlled (but angry when roused), love of command, power to achieve, good with animals; Pulaha, one of the 7 Rishis (Hindu sages) of Ursa Major
3. Phecda: Civilising influence, tamer of beasts, transmission of divine knowledge; Pulasthya, one of the 7 Rishis (Hindu sages) of the Great Bear, Ursa Major; bloodbaths, assassinations, riots, sexual perversion
4. Tania Borealis: In the right hind paw of Ursa Major, along with Tania Australis, this star was part of an early Arabian constellation, The Gazelle, of which this group is the “Second Leap”. The Great Bear is mainly martial in action, considered unfortunate for nations and kings.
5. Megrez: Spiritual sight; creativity; violence; Atri, one of the 7 Rishis (Hindu sages), the ruling star of the Great Bear, Ursa Major
6. Alioth, The Black Horse: Suicide among women; danger in pregnancy; Angirasa, one of the 7 Rishis (Hindu sages) in Ursa Major
7. Mizar: Connected with fires of a catastrophic extent and mass calamities; Vasishta, one of the 7 Rishis (Hindu sages) of Ursa Major
8. Alula Borealis: Hindmost foot of Ursa Major. As the northern Alula, it is more fortunate. Associated with female infidelity & revenge. The Great Bear gives a quiet, prudent, suspicious, mistrustful, self-controlled, patient nature, but an uneasy spirit; great anger when roused.
A link to more information about the Sapti Rishi stars
The Canopus star is the second brightest star after Sirius. In Indian Vedic literature, the star Canopus, known as the ‘smiling star’ is associated with the sage Agastya, one of the ancient rishis (the others are associated with the stars of the Big Dipper). Agastya, the star, is said to be the ‘cleanser of waters’ and its rising coincides with the calming of the waters of the Indian Ocean.
Link for more information on Canopus Star