Magha Nakshatra And Its Effects On Mahabharata
In the Mahabharata Purana, Anushashan Parv relating to the donations of objects pertaining to each Nakshatra in its 64th Adhaya from Sloka Number 21-36 is given.
This beautiful Nakshatra of Magha describes the 3 beautiful facets of human life – Satoguna, Rajoguna and Tamoguna operating within the same Nakshatra with the three examples of Karna, Bheema and Duryodhana respectively. The deity o this Nakshatra is Pitris. Its symbol is the throne and the bird associated with it is the eagle. The Shakti of this Nakshtra is Tyaga Shepani and we see all of them operating on different levels for all the three people with Moon in this Nakshatra.
Karna, Bheema And Duryodhan Had Their Moon In Magha Star
The character of Karna in the epic raises many questions. Among them was his ability to remain faithful and loyal to his friend, knowing that his friend was in the wrong. Also, he shows a great generosity of spirit when he decides not to reveal his true parentage to his younger siblings just so that the continue with the war and not make him their king. He knew that his siblings deserved better for what was meted out to them. The qualities of the Pitris can be seen in the need to protect the younger ones of the lineage. Karna was born adorned with a pair of earrings and (Kavacha) breastplate which made him immortal like the gods, invincible before any god, human or demon. Indra, the father of Arjuna, came to Karna after Karna had performed the morning prayers to Sun God and asked for those earrings and Kavacha as alms. As Karna had taken an oath of donating whatever a person asked for after he finished with his prayers to the Sun God, he willingly parted with the earrings and the armour which rendered him mortal and finally resulted in his death. So, we see another shade of his Moon Nakshatra of sacrifice in his life where we see the Tyage Shepani Shakti or the ability to leave the body comes into play. Being the Star of Power, Karna, whose foster parents were Shudras, did show exceptional skills in the battlefield and is at times hailed as a better warrior than Arjuna. The Rakshasha gana gave him the ability to be fearless and break the glass ceilings of the caste and creed and work on being one of the greatest warriors and generous persons of his times.
The issues about dharma (duty, ethics, moral) as associated with this Nakshatra well find resonance with Karna.
Bheema too had Magha Nakshatra. We know that he was saved by his ancestors or rather the ancestors of his mother, the Nagas when he was poisoned and thrown in the river by Duryodhana and his brother. Just like the deities of this Nakshtra, the Pitris, he was the protective force of the Pandavas and we know of many instances like the Lakshagrah or The House of Lacquer where he carried his tired brothers and mother on his person and when he saved all of them from numerous beasts and rakshasas alike.
It is also seen that he was the heir apparent to the throne of Yudhisthira – the throne being the symbol of the Magha Nakshatra.
He went ahead and did an unthinkable thing when he drank the blood of his defeated cousin in the battle field, a vow that he had taken to avenge the humiliation of his wife, Draupadi. This reflects on the rakshasha nature of the Nakshatra. He killed 100 of his cousins, the brothers of Duryodhana as a part of his vow .
Rishi Angiras, associated with Nakshatra showed immense ability to consume fire and the same fire was seen burning in Bheema whenever he saw the adhocracies of Duryodhana and his brothers. The Ugra or fierce nature of this nakshatra was well established in the persona of Bheema.
We can go ahead and compare him with the bird of the nakshatra, the eagle, who swooped down on his cousins and killed them single handedly. His ability to finally kill Duryodhana does give him the title of “the mighty one” or Magha.
Duryodhana’s obsession with the symbol of this Nakshtra was legendary. He was known as a lovable and a kind friend by Karna – the softer side of the Pitris. However, he also did the unthinkable, he went ahead and asked his brother to undress a lady of his own family – definitely a bad Rakshasha trait. He was known as the champion by his brothers – the eagle amongst the sparrows. He had a very loyal following of his brothers. Just as we worship the Pitris.
His Ugra or fierce nature finds a mention in many a place in the Mahabharata – for example – his behaviour with Bheema, his jealousy for the throne, his need to have control over the kingdom and his ruthlessly poisoning Bheema. His fight to the finish with Bheema is also the depiction of the same.
Hs smoldering anger for the throne and hatred for the Pandavas can depict the anger of Sage Angiras, albeit wrongly used.
His mother’s vision on him made him a virtual pillar of iron with the exception of his genitals which he had kept covered when asked to come naked before her. Tyage Shepani Shakti comes to foreplay here when he gets the so called ability to call the shots about his impending death.
The goal of this Nakshtra is Artha or material acquisition and Duryodhana was blinded by it.