Āśleṣā

(‘the embracer’)

Āśleṣā is the ninth nakṣatra (constellation of stars) in the list of 27 normally found in Hindu astronomical works. The stars of this group are eta, sigma, delta, epsilon, rho and zeta Hydrae.

It is usually classified as belonging to the rākṣasa group. Serpent is its presid-ing deity. It is considered as an evil nakṣatra so much so that if children are born in it, special śāntis or propitiatory rites like ‘gomukha-prasava-śānti’ are prescribed to be performed to ward off its effects. Travelling is forbidden when this nakṣatra is in the ascendant.