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:
༈ཇི་ལྟར་བལྟམས་པ་ཙམ་གྱིས་ནི། ལྷ་རྣམས་ཀྱིས་ནི་ཁྲུས་གསོལ་ལྟར། JI-TAR TAM-PA TSAM-GYI NI / LHA-NAM KYI-NI TRU-SOL TAR / ལྷ་ཡི་ཆུ་ནི་དག་པ་ཡིས། དེ་བཞིན་བདག་གིས་ཁྲུས་བགྱིའོ། LHA-YI CHU-NI DAG-PA YI / DE-ZHIN DAG-GI TRU-GYI O /
Mantra: ཨོཾ་སརྦ་ཏ་ཐཱ་ག་ཏ་ཨ་བྷི་ཥེ་ཀ་ཏ་ས་མ་ཡ་ཤྲཱི་ཡེ་ཧཱུྃ༔ OM SARWA TAT’HAGATA ABHISHEKA TA SAMAYA SHRI YE HUNG
Aspiration: འདི་ནི་ཁྲུས་མཆོག་དཔལ་དང་ལྡན། ཐུགས་རྗེའི་ཆུ་ནི་བླ་ན་མེད། DI-NI TRU-CHOG PAL-DANG DEN / T’HUG-JE’I CHU-NI LA-NA MED / བྱིན་རླབས་ཡེ་ཤེས་ཆུ་ཡིས་ནི། ཅི་འདོད་དངོས་གྲུབ་སྩོལ་བར་མཛོད། JIN-LAB YE-SHE CHU-YI NI / CHI-DOD NGO-DRUB TSAL-WAR DZOD /