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The star cluster Kṛttikā (Sanskrit: कृत्तिका, pronounced [kr̩t̪t̪ikɑː], popularly transliterated "Krittika") sometimes known as Kārtikā, corresponds to the open star cluster called Pleiades in western astronomy, it is one of the clusters which makes up the constellation Taurus. In Indian astronomy and Jyotiṣa (Hindu astrology) the name literally translates to "the cutters".
In Hindu mythology, the god Skanda was raised by the six sisters known as the Kṛttikā and thus came to be known as Kartikeya (literally "Him of the Kṛttikā"). According to the Mahābhārata, Kartikeya was born to Agni and Svāhā, after the latter impersonated six of the seven wives of the Saptarṣi and made love to him. The Saptarshi, hearing of this incident and doubting their wives' chastity, divorced them. These wives then became the Kṛttikā.
In Hindu astrology, Kṛttikā is the third of the 27 nakṣatras. It is ruled by Kartikeya. Under the traditional Hindu principle of naming individuals according to their nakṣatra, the following Sanskrit syllables correspond with this nakṣatra, and would belong at the beginning of the first name of an individual born under it: A (अ), I (ई), U (उ) and E (ए).
- Dennis M. Harness. The Nakshatras: The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology. Lotus Press (Twin Lakes WI, 1999.) ISBN 978-0-914955-83-2
- Harness, Dennis M. The Nakshatras: The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology. Motilal Banarasidas. Retrieved 21 January 2013.