Literally meaning ‘distant star’. It’s part of the 27 constellations in the Jyotisa tradition. Although it was written 5 thousand years ago, those nakshaktras can be correlated with modern astronomy.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakshatra)
The 27 nakshaktras covers the entire ecliptic, where each nakshaktra (13 deg 20′) is further divided into 4 quadrants (3 deg 20′). These quadrants and called as ‘pada’ or quarter.
Interestingly, 27 nakshaktra x 4 pada = 108. That’s the number of seeds on a japa mala.
Om Tat Sat