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Vedic Astrology & Spiritual Life

We will start discussing this topic by going back to the roots of Jyotisha—not in the Jyotisha texts themselves, but In related thought and other important texts.

Vedic Astrology, or Jyotisha is considered one of the Vedangas or “limbs” of the Vedas. As a matter of fact, it is considered the “eye” of the Vedas. The legends of the Vedas do represent the chief gods of the Vedas as being omniscient beings, such as Varuna, the lord of dharma who encompasses the night sky and who judges everyone’s actions, and Indra (who succeeds Varuna as chief deity) as having a 1,000 eyes:

http://ancientindians.wordpress.com/indra-deva-the-ancient-indian-hero/

Indra and Ahalya …An agriculture story?… An interpretation!

Ahalya means unploughed and Indra is the God of Rain. Gautama was devoted to the devas. So Indra rained on Gauthama’s fields. When Gautama came back to see his fields at the time of Sri Rama’s visit, all the fields had come to life! And Sahasraksha is a not a curse, but a praise! Only God has a thousand eyes with which He keeps watch over the entire universe. The Purusha Suktham describes God as Sahasraksha and Sahasrapad, with a thousand eyes and a thousand feet, who sees everything and is present everywhere. Even Varuna is described as Sahasraksha in some suktams of the Vedas. Durvasa complained that Gauthama and Vasishtha overly praised Indra and made him arrogant.

As per the Kautilya Arthasastra “One thousand sages form Indra’s assembly of ministers. They are his eyes. Hence he is called thousand-eyed though he possesses only two eyes.”

Varuna was ancestor to both Bhrigu and Shukra and Indra was father of Agni, father of Brihaspati; these are the two great teachers of the Vedic astrology tradition. Shukra, known to those in Greece as Aphrodite and those in Rome as Venus, was the preceptor of the Asuras, their mentor and teacher in all matters, including yoga and the knowledge of the stars. Brihaspati or Guru, also known as Jupiter to those in the West, is the preceptor of the Devas, or the preservers of order in the universe. All of these beings represent the forces of the universe that work to bring us closer to divinity; for the Asuras act to set up obstacles to life that cause us to turn inward, and the Devas light the path to the greater light beyond.

The term jyotisha comes out of the term jyothi which means light. This light illuminates all life, all death, all transformation, and reveals the pattern of previous karmas which will or may manifest during this lifetime. It is a simple matter, complicated unnecessarily by levels of discrimination that obscure the meaning of Karma.

Karma is action, pure and simple. The only thing that is somewhat mysterious about it is why it manifests the way it does. What is our motivation? Modern thought considers two major motivations—biology (genetics) and breeding (environment).

Astrology, particularly Vedic astrology, reveals life to be a joining of both biology and breeding, as one can look at a chart and see the predispositions in a chart—the manifestation of previous lifetimes’ acts, after a manner—and can see how these have manifested for the person in terms of his or her height, overall appearance, hereditary diseases and gifts, and, of course, parents and intellectual predispositions. These are the results of our biology, and some of the environmental factors, that are set before we are born. These are the patterns of life we cannot change, because they are set before we become conscious beings. However, we are born as conscious beings as well, with an intelligence In us and a right to choose, even if within a limited range of options. Even when we do not seem to have an option to choose, we have an option to determine how we react to our circumstances. Do we react with anger, with virtue, with humor, with renewed determination or with resignation? All of these choices are available to us. Some are easier for us, some harder, because of our predispositions. And these predispositions are shown in the Vedic chart.

What does this have to do with yoga and personal growth? Virtually everything….

The concept of yoga is connected with relaxation, happiness, but mostly, spiritual growth. What does the chart have to do with spiritual growth? Basically, the chart reflects the potential karmas and the challenges we have In this lifetime to progress or tread water. The chart shows ways in which a person can live a balanced life, but can also show ways in which a person can accelerate spiritual growth, through adherence to certain behaviors and practices. A bold claim? Not necessarily, once you understand that a chart contains inherited karmic results, but also allows for a person to engage in actions not yet taken, called agama karmas.

Agama karmas are, essentially, actions taken to alter direction in life…deliberate actions can really make a difference in a person’s life.

Let’s look at some examples: Suppose a person is born with a speech impediment. That individual has a choice as to whether he or she can work to correct or minimize that speech impediment, or let it linger and not address it. Many of us know the person who has chosen not to address a problem. Less commonly do we run across someone, such as Demosthenes, the great Greek orator who became tyrant of Athens through his oratory, or James Earl Jones, who had a stammer in his youth, yet who went on to become one of the most recognizable voices in modern entertainment, noted for roles as diverse as Jack Johnson and Darth Vader.

So, while some factors in a chart are given, so are our chances of changing life patterns for the better. A Vedic chart can indeed show a pattern of difficulty, but they can also show a pattern of opportunity connected with that difficulty.

One of the simplest methods a person can use Vedic astrology for is to determine which kind of yoga they are best suited, temperamentally, to pursue, as different types of Yoga correspond to the strengths of different planets. For example, a person with a strong Sun or Moon tends to do well with Raja Yoga, which is a yoga that combines a variety of spiritual paths. People with a strong Sun will do well with Yoga that requires a great deal of personal discipline or self control and will power, as the Sun excels at these things. The Moon is better for people who have a very compassionate or devotional and nurturing nature. Helping people or charitable work may be a great supplement to spiritual practice for these people.

For people with a strong Mars, which is active energy, some of the more energetic yoga patterns, like the various forms of vigorous asanas, might hold the most promise. These people have a lot of energy, that must be controlled and channeled for effective spiritual growth.

Individuals with a strong Mercury may be drawn to studies like gnana yoga, which emphasizes meditation and spiritual discrimination, sometimes learning languages and astrology.

Jupiter is the Guru or teacher planet of the devas, so individuals with this pattern may do well with a strong, lengthy, systematic form of yoga, emphasizing a slow but traditional yoga path with great support and communication with the teacher.

Those with strong Saturn’s in their chart may be best served by a path called karma yoga. Karma yoga is essentially a path of selfless service in which the person works without regard for reward.
Strong Venus types are best served by devotion to music or art as a form of worship or even simply through devotion to God, as the love of one’s life. Venus types often make good priests because of this natural devotion.

Rahu is a critical part of Jyotisha and spiritual life as sometimes he will provide frustrations with the material world and incline a person to keep searching for a solution until the person turns towards the spiritual life. He also promotes interest in foreign lands and teachers. This can be a critical point in spiritual evolution for a person. Individuals who are under the extreme influence of Rahu (people with Rahu in the first house or with Rahu and Moon in the same sign) can pursue spiritual life through exotic teachers, magickal practices and visiting sacred sites around the world. These individuals will need to feel spiritual energy and may soon experience boredom with spiritual techniques, so they need a variety of spiritual experiences to keep themselves interested.

Ketu is a planet which leads naturally to union with everything. The challenge with Ketu is to avoid confusion and descent into mysticism as the person is naturally inclined in a spiritual direction. Also, Ketu can cause depression or even feelings of hopelessness or laziness if not watched, so the challenge for Ketu is not to lose entirely interest in the material world, because we still need its gifts to function and support ourselves.

All of the planets have a function to fulfill in promoting or obstructing our spiritual path. Ultimately, each planet is capable of performing both functions and can promote or restrict our spiritual or material development. Also, it should never be assumed that spiritual development and material progress are mutually exclusive. They are also, it should be recalled, not necessarily tied together either. Material security is, for some people, a necessity for spiritual development because its lack produces anxiety which obstructs spiritual development. Alternately, some people never feel materially secure, and their obsession with this part of life mitigates against spiritual progress. The chart which allows a person to feel secure, without anxiety, is the chart which is the most conducive to spiritual progress. Those who feel no anxiety about this part of life have an advantage, but even so, a lack of anxiety alone is not the sole determinant, as one’s life will be disrupted if the person does not fulfill financial responsibilities. So, resources, peacefulness of mind, and appropriate attention to spiritual life should complement each other.

How does astrology fit into all of this?

Basically, astrology in all its forms, provides a viewpoint of the potentials and challenges in a chart. Jyotisha, in particular, uses a chart that 1) fits the chart to a zodiac that is more astronomically correct than other systems of astrology currently practiced and 2) sets the time for karmas to manifest with accuracy that is easy to see.

Many of you who come to Jyotisha from Western forms of astrology may view these statements with some surprise, as you have probably been told that the Indian system is complicated. It is-at first-but it is because of two things. The first is reorienting one’s self to the Indian system of a sidereal zodiac. This is a huge psychological adjustment if one is used to looking at one’s self as let’s say, an Aries and one becomes a Pisces. However, there IS a difference between how the two systems interpret signs, and also, what they emphasize in chart interpretation. We will get on to this later.

The second big complication in Jyotisha for Westerners, is, obviously, the use of a different language to represent chart terms. This may seem complicated, unless one understands that most of the terms in the Indian system are descriptive. When one understands the translated term, the person will realize that these are very simple terms, actually intended to aid in chart interpretation. Vedic astrology, in its best sense, is clear and obvious. There is no searching the chart for clues. Everything is laid out clearly for you. The learning environment is longer, but once you see a chart in action, it is (or should be) very obvious what is happening to the person in the chart. That is how you know you are grasping the chart, and also, to be honest, whether you have the right teacher. This should not be complicated; this should be evident to the person who studies and applies the principles taught. If not, the person is not studying or the principles being taught or flawed.

The History of Vedic Astrology

INTRODUCTION:

Compared to approximately 20 years ago, the current availability of both classical and contemporary works on the subject is in fairly good shape, so selecting a manageable number of reference texts is a challenge. One of the problems is that there is dispute about some of the dates of classical Vedic texts (a dispute that will not be settled any time soon) and that some theories about when influences were felt in India don’t follow a consistent time line, regardless of the time line you choose. So which books should be chosen for an accurate historical depiction?

For early texts that encompass most of the Vedic tradition, I chose Brihat Jataka by Varahamihira, Bhrigu Sutram (a traditional work attributed to the ancient sage Bhrigu–this is an excellent guide to planets) and a 16th century work, Mantreswar’s Phaladeepika, which I feel encompasses most of the earlier principles found in esteemed books like Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, but in a more easy to understand fashion for newcomers. (I included Parasara’s text in the suggested reading and strongly recommend you get a copy if you can. You will use it for years to come if you do more Vedic astrology. The range of material in it is staggering.) Given the multitude of Indian classical texts (bear in mind that what is published represents a small portion of available Indian texts, I was looking for something that reflected the spirit of interpretation that may have been in existence at that time, since as in the case of Greek texts, some of the earlier Vedic texts are missing or difficult to locate, or, the translations are currently unavailable or just too expensive (in my opinion).

If you can dig through these works, Pandit Gopesh Ojha’s (or Ramakrishna Bhatt’s) text and the Western texts that I have assigned, you will get a great feel for this subject. It is complicated at first, but if you stick with it, you will grasp chart delineation. There are many approaches to chart delineation by the way; I have chosen what I consider to be a fairly mainstream approach (with my own idiosyncracies), but be aware that as with any living system, folks are devising new approaches every day! I have tried to keep the interpretational principles within the confines of traditional Indian astrology, so you won’t see outer planets or even the use of some of the more recent techniques like Krishnamurthi Paddhati, Iyer techniques or Systems Approach, which were all introduced in the 20th century. All of the techniques used originated, as far as we know, before 800 CE.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I like a lot of questions and classes usually benefit from this type of exchange. Plus, many of the texts are dense with content, and questions can help sort out what is critical from what is just interesting.
Gary Gomes

Class Expectations

Students are expected to spend five to fifteen hours per week on the Vedic Astrology material. After studying this week’s Vedic reading assignments, please ponder the following questions: What are the possible origins of Jyotish and its relationship to the Vedas? Can you think of a reason why there is so much information packed into the first nine pages of Mantreswar’s Phaladeepika? These questions do not require a written response.

Sidereal Zodiac/Chart Formats/Indian Mythology

I welcome you to Vedic or Hindu Astrology. You will find many similarities to the astrology you know and even more to Hellenistic Astrology. Jyotisha is a Sanskrit word. Although there is some controversy about the literal meaning, it is often translated as: Jyoti= light and Isha= soul or spirit; isha is also sometimes translated as god or lord. A translation provided by the Pandit Gopesh Ojha, whose text some of you may be using this term (it is not as available this year as in the past, so I assigned Ramakrishna Bhatt’s excellent, but slightly more complicated, text as a substitute for those who cannot obtain the Ojha book), also states the word “Ishtam” means that which is wished for. Since a Jyotish chart is considered the manifestation of many acts through many life times, the term can also mean that which we create through the lights. More conventional interpretations translate Jyotish as “the lord of light” or “the science of light”, but it also reflects our actions in choosing our lives. By understanding the lights (planets, literally, but also divinational systems) in the sky we can understand our lives. Some parts of Jyotish also include looking at the indicators around us, including omens and palmistry. This is called nimhita, and is a separate system of Jyotisha with its own rules.

THE AYANAMSA
All Vedic charts are calculated using an AYANAMSHA, which literally means a division of longevity–or a “long divider”. This is an apt summary of the name. Basically, around 285 CE, the sidereal and tropical zodiacs (the seasonal zodiac) were placed in the same location. Since there is a shift in the earth’s rotation, the reference points to the fixed stars shift from the earth’s orientation. Since the reference point is missing, Indian astrology uses an adjustment based on several different calculations. The most popular is the Chitra Paksha ayanamsa, figured from the lunar mansion Chitra, or the fixed star SPICA. The difference between the Vedic and Western charts is around 23-24 degrees now. The split changes about 50 minutes every 100 years.

LINKS WITH HINDU CORE BELIEFS AND RELIGION
Jyotish is called a Vedanga or a limb of the Vedas. Specifically it is the eye of the Vedas, and lets us see the pattern of the world, and also our relation and path to the divine.

There are six Angas or explanatory limbs, to the Vedas: the siksha and vyakarana of Panini, the chhandas of Pingalacharya, the nirukta of Yaksha, the Jyotisha of Garga (Garga is an ancient sage or teacher, and is sometimes referred to as the teacher of Parasara–see above for references to Parasara), and the Kalpas (srauta, grihya, dharma and sulba) belonging to the authorship of various rishis.

Siksha is knowledge of phonetics. Siksha deals with pronunciation and accent. The text of the Vedas is arranged in various forms or Pathas. The pada-patha gives each word its separate form. The Krama-patha connects the word in pairs.
Vyakarana is Sanskrit grammar. Panini’s books are most famous. Without knowledge of Vyakarana, you cannot understand the Vedas.
Chhandas is meter dealing with prosody.
Nirukta is philology or etymology.
Jyotisha is astronomy and astrology. It deals with the movements of the heavenly bodies, planets, etc., and their influence in human affairs. It includes earthly signs like Nimhita (omens) and the ability to read different parts of the body (palmistry is the most commonly used, but there are others.) (See above.)
Kalpa is the method of ritual. The Srauta sutras which explain the ritual of sacrifices belong to Kalpa. The Sulba Sutras, which treat of the measurements which are necessary for laying out the sacrificial areas, also belong to Kalpa. The Grihya Sutras which concern domestic life, and the Dharma Sutras which deal with ethics, customs and laws, also belong to kalpa.

There are many texts that explore the philosophy of Jyotish, but its basic philosophy is based on Sankhya, a system of thought that categorizes states of existence between spirit and matter. Interestingly enough, Sankhya’s complementary discipline is Yoga, which is the process by which we merge again with the divine, while still retaining our identities. Indian philosophy is heavily steeped in the belief in reincarnation, and the astrology chart is seen as an indicator of how far away from, or how close to reunion with God the soul is. (There are six darshans or viewpoints in Hinduism, set into three pairs—Nyaya (logic) and Vaisheshika (discrimination); Samkhya (categorization) and Yoga (Union) and Purva Mimamsa (religious and spiritual ritual) and Vedanta (or the elimination of boundaries between the divine and the human) This is certainly not the only use of Jyotisha—you will see as we study it that Jyotish excels at identifying trends in material life, and is used for that more than anything else—but ease of life is considered the result of past life actions, which leadi to reward or suffering. The spiritual aspect to these life events depends on how we deal with the good and bad that life hands us—or that we hand ourselves! Also, the concept of the level of karma a person must face becomes important. Sankhya is considered to be ruled by the Moon (as will be discussed later) and the Moon is probably the most important heavenly body in Jyotisha–the Moon is our mind through which we sense and experience the world and the sensations that the Moon brings keep us reincarnating–and experiencing life in this world.

TYPES OF KARMA
Karma is divided into four primary categories: (1) sanchita, (2) prarabdha, (3) kriyamana, and (4) agama. Sanchita and prarabdha karma can be generally understood as the unchangeable fate or destiny of the individual, with kriyamana and agama karma reflecting the person’s free will or choice. The following is a basic description of each type of karma.
• Sanchita can be defined as one’s collective karma from all past incarnations. Sanchita basically means “heaped together” and reflects the collection of all karmas due to known and unknown actions of the past.
• Prarabdha karma is the specific karmic lessons that an individual is ready to experience in this lifetime. Thus, it is only a portion of the collective sanchita karma and may be experienced as a person’s destiny or fate in the present incarnation.
• Kriyamana karma is created by our current actions in this lifetime. It can be thought of as our free will or effort that we are exerting now. It is our daily behavior and personal actions. As the great Jyotishi, Swami Sri Yukteswar stated, “The first lesson on the spiritual path is to learn to behave”.
• Agama karmas are created by how we envision the future. They are the new actions that are contemplated as you plan your work as a result of personal insight. As the Buddha stated, “As we think, we create our world”. (Credit for the above section:: American College of Vedic Astrology on-line program, year one, Module 1)

Books that contain discussions on the history and philosophy of the Vedic system include Dr. David Frawley’s Astrology of the Seers and Hart DeFouw and Robert Svoboda’s Light on Life, both excellent tests, but the history of Vedic astrology is a topic of dispute between western and eastern authorities, and will probably not be resolved in my lifetime. Part of the problem rests in how both sides date things. Western academia typically looks for verifiable works, but also looks for works that verify the current academic paradigm—that what we call Vedic astrology originated in India as the result of Greek invasions. An excellent overview of this thought is contained in Valerie Roebuck’s excellent—and out of print—book The Circle of Stars. *See notes.

Eastern authorities have typically resorted to references of star positions contained in ancient books like the Rig Veda, Puranas, and great epics to date the ancestry of their work, but primary historical texts from the ancient time line seem to be missing. This is not surprising given the purported antiquity of these texts and both sides seem to have drawn lines in the sand as far as sticking to their preferred position. Bill Levacy’s excellent text Beneath A Vedic Sky contains a reasoned explanation as to why the very old dates are honored. Richard Thompson (see notes) provides a more extreme theory, based on his researches into texts like the Surya Siddantha, an ancient Indian astrological text and many Puranas (Puranas were essentially religious texts based around the rich legends and mythology of ancient India. There are supposedly 18 classical Puranic texts, but many more exist and an example of the dating controversy can be seen in this passage discussing the Bhagavat Purana from the web source Wikipedia. “European historical scholarship suggests that the text was written in the 9th or 10th century as part of the development of the bhakti traditions.[2] However, Hindu religious tradition holds it to be one of the works of Vyasa written at the beginning of Kali Yuga (about c.3100 BCE).

According to Ludo Rocher, in his book The Puranas, these texts were referenced extensively by the Arab Al-Biruni, in his researches. Certain respected contemporary authorities on Jyotish, Nalina Kantha Das, and the late Harish Johari, also cite Puranas as the source of information on Jyotisha. From this perspective, regardless of dating issues, Jyotisha can be seen as an integral part of the Indian belief system.

The difficulty we have in validating dates probably has its roots in two factors, one historical and one cultural—the historical part comes to a certain extent from the rise in Buddhism in India. Buddhism did not particularly welcome astrology (if the moderate path is the path, what need do we have of rituals or even an analysis of destiny—whatever astrology was practiced before 400 BCE is not in evidence), and we may have a cultural manifestation as well. Many Brahmins (who were the astrologers in ancient days) allegedly passed along this knowledge orally, and it may be that this knowledge was only written down in the late Hellenistic era—but this is speculation. The main point here is that, it is quite impossible at this point in time, to set an exact date. Certain components of Vedic Astrology, namely the nakshatras, do date back to the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda, which are conservatively dated to 1200 BCE and 500 BCE. Other authorities cite much earlier dates, based upon references to stellar placements contained in the Rig Veda. The first mention of recognizable astrology is in the Atharva Veda. The Atharva Veda is thought to have been transcribed by 500 BCE, although some people consider it to be much older. The most ancient textbook of Vedic Astrology was Lagadha’s Vedanga Jyotisha. Lagadha’s remarkable book outlined the methods of determining the calendar including, it is thought, the first historical reference to the 19 year lunar/solar cycle, which is often attributed to the Greek’s Metonic calendar (c440 BCE). The Vedanga Jyotisha, which is almost certainly older than the Meton, covers the duration of the year, the position of the luminaries, the solstices and the equinoxes, the days of the full Moon (Purnima) and the new Moon (Amavasya), etc. Also, according to Dr. David Frawley, the Maitrayani Upanishad contains references to astrological principles that indicate a fully formed Vedic astrological tradition, and the placement of the signs in the heavens would date back to 1800 BCE. This seems to be an extraordinary amount of effort to fabricate a tradition. (This paragraph references materials found in the American College of Vedic Astrology on-line course. Used with permission.)

On the other side, there is certainly some validity to the argument that ancient Vedic astrological texts contain what appear to be “loan” words from Greek Astrology. Why would this happen if Indian astrology developed as a fully developed, indigenous system of thought? Many Indian texts (including the important Indian text, Brihat Jataka), contain references to the Yavanas, or Ionians, another term for the Greeks—although some authorities maintain this is just a term for foreigners. Could two systems have developed in parallel? Could the subcontinent picked up terms for its own use (there are many additional terms-with one exception-that Vedic astrologers use in addition to Greek terms, however). But the lack of documented texts before Vedanga Jyotish does present a huge gap in evidence.

It is impossible to tell whether the books written in the first 500 years of the current era are a reinvention of the Vedic system, a massive borrowing from Hellenistic astrology, or something else. Certain revered classics, like Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra place such a range of techniques together that the book has the feel of a compendium of knowledge, although it does possess a certain consistency. But these debates will rage on for many years.

Perhaps the Greek influence was limited to having the Indian subcontinent systematize or record its astrological techniques?

See this link about Indian History up to 800 AD:
http://www.gatewayforindia.com/history.htm

See this link about the Gupta period in India:
https://edit.britannica.com/getEditableToc?tocId=46881

Bill Levacy’s Beneath A Vedic Sky presents historical material and the three main divisions of Jyotish. These are: (1) Hora- interpretation of horoscopes and prediction, (2) Ganita- astrological/astronomical calculations, and (3) Samhita- mundane astrology such as national or world events, weather and earthquake prediction, omens, and house construction. Many texts also discuss the four aims of life according to the Vedic vision. The four aims or goals of Hindu life are: dharma (right action), artha (prosperity), kama (healthy desires), and moksha (spiritual liberation). These aims or goals are related to the twelve houses of the zodiac.

Some authorities believe that early Indian astrology was used for setting times for rituals or propitiate the gods of the Rig Veda and that is was later used by kings (a king has karma to unfold!) and perhaps later used for other castes, and was used in both worldly and spiritual pursuits. Around the thirteenth century, worship of the Sun became an important part of Indian religion, and evidence of this practice can be seen at the Temple of Konark. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali also indicate that one can know past, present and future through meditation on the Sun, and this seems to be an aphorism for astrology. Even today, certain mantras which are used as meditation on the Sun are used by astrologers to encourage their proficiency in astrology. The late B.V. Raman, often cited as the greatest Indian astrologer of the 20th century) recited such a mantra—the Gayatri mantra—daily.

Many of the forms of Indian astrology—and the authenticated texts of Indian antiquity—were produced during the years of the Gupta Dynasty, which flourished in India between the third and fourth centuries CE. (Some are dated a bit earlier, and certain texts that we know are earlier, like the Atharva Veda and the Grihya Sutras, make reference to astrology.) Certain reference texts discuss the fact that Chandra Gupta revived certain traditional practices that had fallen out of practice in the comparative chaos that beset India as many small satraps ruled Northern India during Hellenistic times. Included among these were the Bactrian Greeks who engaged in active trade with the rest of India at that time. Could part of the revival of techniques also include a revival of Indian astrology? Details are sketchy, but scholars such as Aryabhatta and Varahamihira (after Parasara, Varahamihira is the most respected classical Vedic astrologer), two of the most widely respected astrologers of India, were active during this time. It was during this period that Indian mathematicians were credited with the invention of the concept of zero, which did not make its way to the West until several hundred years later.

The Chola Dynasty came much later (about 1100 AD) and succeeded in spreading its conquests throughout Southeast Asia, reaching as far as Malaysia, becoming one of the rare sea empires to sustain itself—an accomplishment not matched again until the 1500’s. Both this and the Gupta dynasties spread Vedic thought throughout large areas, but, more importantly for us, they spread the influence of the Brahmin caste throughout Southeast Asia, and with it, Jyotish. Since the Brahmins influenced Gupta social life directly through the codification of the caste system, and, left a permanent record of their influence through the temples that were built during the Chola dynasty, a stable and established foundation was established for Jyotish, leading to consistency of institutional support that was not as variable as that which existed in the West—and, more importantly, with a strong religious base supporting it, even though India was later threatened by and succumbed to Muslim invasions.

Contemporary Forms of Vedic Astrology

PARASARI Astrology — This is the predominant form of astrology practiced in India and is the most prevalent form practiced in the United States, by far. The major text in this tradition is the Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra which is considered the Bible of Vedic Astrology. The Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra is an encyclopedic collection of astrological techniques, many of which are only sparsely used or investigated by many contemporary astrologers. The other major reference texts in this tradition are Phaladeepika by Mantreswara; the Brihat Jataka (a curious collection which seems very much influenced by Greek astrology) by Varaha Mihira; the Jataka Parijata (a compendium of collected knowledge from various sources); the Uttara Kalamrita (a much later text, but clearly derived from earlier works) by Kalidas — a little gem of astrological knowledge which contains a wealth of astrological gems; and the Saravali (a medieval text). These texts are the backbone of Jyotish. The problem with many of these texts is that the translations of many of these texts have been relatively disorganized — many astrology students have found the experience of approaching these texts very daunting because the techniques are often presented in a very random fashion. In my opinion, it is extremely important for the student to start to familiarize him or herself with these texts, primarily for the purpose of getting closer to the source Perhaps, as some have insisted, these techniques were not meant to be studied without the aid of a Guru. However, this belies the number of successful and accurate astrologers who are able to utilize Jyotish techniques successfully without a Jyotish Guru. This does not mean that I downgrade the importance of learning from those who have come before us, but I think that the Jyotir Vidya reveals itself to the sincere soul. Jyotish has rules, of that there is no doubt, but after the rules are learned, creativity can be introduced, and tested. I have seen quite a few eminent teachers disagree with each other. Every teacher has something of value to teach us. But keep in mind that the most important teacher is the Ishta Devata — the teacher inside.

JAIMINI Astrology
Jaimini astrology is a fascinating system of Vedic Astrology which has NO apparent parallels in the West—although there seem to be some overlap with ancient Greek astrology in the way it measures time using signs rather than planets.. In many ways its strikes me as a more thoroughly integrated system than the Parasara Vimshottri dasa system taught to most beginning Jyotishis (and from which many astrologers believe it originally It also strikes me as being a more forgiving of birth time inaccuracies, and easier to learn, than Parasari astrology. The reason that it is not taught more often is that the system is not even that well understood by many Indians, and it does require some familiarity with the Parasara system of astrology in order for full understanding. Jaimini has several unique qualities which reveal at a glance those things which require a great deal of investigation using Parasara astrology, especially when considering spiritual potential in the chart. Jaimini uses sign dasas (periods of our lives which are under the influence of signs) rather than planetary dasas. So when one is going through a dasa the individual is not only influenced by the sign, but also the planets in the signs as well. There are certain idiosyncrasies within this system, and it is, as yet, rather incompletely understood in the West. Indeed, even in India. It is thought that there exist some million Sanskrit slokas, 20,000 translated into Indian languages and about (optimistically) a little more than 5,000 Sanskrit Slokas translated into English. Of the 20,000 Sanskrit slokas which are devoted to Jaimini, there are only about 500 translated into English, so vast stores of existing knowledge have not been translated nor interpreted. Large parts of Jyotish are not written, but are passed along orally, and significant interpretational clues are contained in other holy literature, including the Puranas, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Upanishads. But even in its incomplete state, it is extremely powerful when used properly. Please note that there are currently major differences of opinion regarding Jaimini indicators and how to calculate mahadasas; try to learn the shells of the systems and then reach your own conclusions regarding which of he systems seems more correct for you.

TAJIKA Astrology –
This is also referred to as Varshaphal, or “the fruits of the year”. This system, practiced extensively in Northern India (and showing a certain interesting similarity to the techniques of Arabian astrology), uses annual returns (the movement of the Sun to the same position it was when you were born) in order to fine tune predictions for the current year. There is also a rather interesting system of calculations called “sahams” which identify sensitive points on the horoscope in both the birth and annual charts. I have personally seen Tajika charts reveal extremely accurate predictions, particularly in health matters. Although not as complicated as Parasari astrology, it is extremely detailed, and the interpretation is less free flowing than in Parasari astrology. There is a precedent for using Parasari astrology principles in Tajika charts, and it would be interesting to see if the interpretational accuracy worked both ways — in the interests of research.

BHRIGU ASTROLOGY — The term Bhrigu astrology actually encompasses several discrete systems of astrology which co-exist in India. The most familiar type is the system of palm leafs which are kept in custodial capacity and passed down among families from generation to generation. This system was discussed in one of Swami Kriyananda’ s texts, and is supposed to give a reading for certain individuals destined to experience such readings. These palm leaf readings apparently developed when the astrologers of India began to get so proficient in Jyotish they were able to generate the charts of those not yet born. This is not so amazing when one realizes that the paths of the planets are set, so generating a chart becomes a mathematical process. Apparently these families pass down certain techniques for finding and interpreting charts (including the seemingly fantastic ability to generate names, which is actually a part of chart interpretation called namakaran. Although a bit beyond the scope of this text (I may include it in an intermediate level text), namakaran, or “making names” or identifying people and places by name from astrology charts is theoretically possible through the use of a standard natal chart, as all the Devanagari Sanskrit vowels and consonants are assigned to the nakshatras.

The second system referred to as a “Bhrigu technique” is the Nadi readings. Nadis are points on the Zodiac — there are at least 1200 such points — all possessing some character or trait. Obviously the use of such a technique requires an extremely accurate birth time, but Nadi techniques are said to produce incredibly accurate results. However, as in the palm leaves, there are several different Nadi traditions — some through systems legendarily attributed to the Sun, others to the Moon (contained in the text Chandra Kala Nadi); some to Mars; and some to other planets.

A third set of techniques is standard astrological techniques pulled from Bhrigu astrology. There are certain techniques which are culled from the Bhrigu system which are unique and not in basic Parasara texts; this system is still being revealed at this time and it will probably be many generations before significant parts of this system are released, although there have been several interesting initial steps taken in this direction by Narendra Desai, Nalini Kanta Das (Tom Hopke), and K. N. Rao and R. G. Rao from India.

Panchpakshi (five bird) This is a type of biorhythm system developed in India by Tamil saints, in which the various lunar mansions are assigned the qualities of birds in Vedic astrology. These birds (peacock, cock, vulture, owl, crow) are assigned to times of the day (which change during the days of the week) and individuals will either have good or bad days depending on the state of their “bird”. I have seen several analyses using the Panchpakshi system, and feel that this system should be used more extensively, particularly for the purpose of evaluating the ability of an individual to withstand illnesses and setbacks in life.

MUHURTHA—This very complicated system of astrology sets the timing of events, such as when to start a ritual, when to marry a person, when to start a job, when to start a voyage, when to conceive. Every aspect of life can be chosen for a beginning using electional astrology. Muhurtha (literally, this means a 48 minute interval and is a basic unit of time in Vedic Astrology) is an extremely involved system that requires intense study and has many rules. Some astrologers have speculated that, because of its emphasis on nakshatras—which are irrefutably Indian in origin—and its use in timing rituals to the Gods, that this system may be the oldest form of Jyotisha, with horoscopic astrology developing later. Its complexity does indicate that the system has had a substantial period of time to develop.

PRASHNA—This is what is known as horary astrology in the West. Prashna is considered a discipline by itself in India, and certain astrologers specialize solely in this system of astrology. It is used to answer specific questions based upon the time the petitioner asks the question. Prashna can also involve the interpretation of omens, such as a dog barking (called NIMHITA) although some experts consider Nimhita to be a separate discipline from Prashna.

PALMISTRY—This is considered a part of Jyotish as the indications of the stars are also in evidence in our hands and certain planets rule certain parts of the body.

TYPES OF VEDIC CHART STYLES

Although this class will mostly use the South Indian chart format, it is useful to become familiar with both styles. The North Indian chart looks very similar to some charts used in Europe in the middle ages. It is a square chart, with interesting lines drawn from the corners and with lines drawn from mid-point to mid-point of each side. It is a house based chart. The ascendant is usually marked by a number in the top opening (1=Aries; 2 = Taurus; 3=Gemini; and so forth. To give examples, a Libra rising would be marked 7, a Sagittarius would be marked 9, and a Pisces 12)) and the chart is read counterclockwise, so the top left side opening is the 2nd house and the top right hand opening the 12th house.

The South Indian chart is a bit simpler in conception in that it is a series of twelve squares, around an open space. It is a sign based chart and is read clockwise. Pisces (we’ll get to the Sanskrit terms for these signs a bit later) always sits in the upper left side of the chart, Aries is in the next box, Taurus follows, and Gemini sits in the upper right hand corner.

You can see examples of both chart styles in James Braha’s and William Levacy’s books. I would encourage you to experiment with both, to see which style you prefer.

Students are expected to spend five to fifteen hours per week on the Vedic Astrology material. After studying this week’s Vedic reading assignments, please ponder the following questions: What are the possible origins of Jyotish and its relationship to the Vedas? Can you think of a reason why there is so much information packed into the first nine pages of Mantreswar’s Phaladeepika? These questions do not require a written response.

Week 1 Part 2
Planets in Vedic Astrology

Planets in Vedic / Hindu astrology are treated like living intelligences. This is consistent with the legends of the Puranas, which describe the planets as DEVAS, or active entities who achieve immortality as guardians of the universe with the assistance of both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, the two great representations of divinity in the Hindu religious tradition. The point is that these entities all have a function in the proper running of the universe. Their effects on us may be happy or sad, but the planets must (obviously) fulfill their functions for the universe to persist. Individual souls, when they again enter the realm of worldly existence, do so in order to experience difficulties or happiness which they have set up as a result of previous actions in previous lives. The basic purpose of life, put in simplistic terms, is to have experiences which will lead to the realization of desires. This may mean, for some, the manifestation of material prosperity, or the manifestation of strong duties and responsibility; or most effectual for happiness, the development of spiritual interests and activities, which ultimately leads the individual to freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth. The development of any of these interests does not imply superiority or inferiority of any soul. There are usually very strong reasons for why these individual experience different paths in life. The planets (Grahas) are THE SEIZERS of our minds and direct our attention to these activities. We have worked hard for the actions we encounter in this lifetime.

SURYA — THE SUN:
The entity Surya (called the Sun in the West) has inspired its own cult in India. This cult apparently reached its peak in the thirteenth century and is reflected in the work done on the huge temple at Konark in India.

The Sun is the source of all energy in the solar system. Scientists have also apparently located a galactic Sun of enormous size located in the middle of the Milky Way. The energy which produces the raw material of life is enclosed in this sphere. The legends connected with Surya stress the tremendous energy of the creator of life’s energy.

The best-known Vedic myth regarding the Sun describes the Sun’s marriage to Samjna, the beautiful daughter of Tvashtr, the builder of the universe. Samjna is devoted to her husband, but finds the brilliance of the Sun too difficult to bear. As a result, she decides to get away and asks her handmaiden Chhaya (shadow), to take her place while she goes away. Samjna has already had children by Surya, and Chhaya, in her turn, had children by the Sun as well. This effectively ended the ruse. Samjna’s children noticed that Chhaya was treating her children more favorably than Samjna’s children. The Sun forced Chhaya to tell her that she was not his wife, and then went searching for his wife. He followed her and found her disguised as a mare, and order to get her back, the Sun changed himself into a horse as well, mated with her. The children which resulted from this union were the Ashwini Kumars, two gods of healing, which demonstrates the Sun’s ability to regenerate and heal after separation. Tvashtr also sheared off the excess energy of the Sun in order that Samjna could bear to be around the Sun.

The Sun actually functions as a relatively difficult planet in a person’s chart, causing great responsibilities to be borne by the individual during his periods. These periods will cause a certain intensity of to the individual which may result in increased status, ability to influence others, governmental favor, and ability to influence others if the Sun is strong in the chart. If the Sun is weak, the individual will feel like his energy is depleted, or self-confidence is low. The individual will also have problems with the government, bosses, his or her father, or any authority figure in his or her life.

Side note: There has recently been a great deal of emphasis on the theory of matriarchal civilization being the prevalent system prior to 2,000 BC. While this theory may be very appealing to contemporary society, there seems to be evidence that the dominant sex in society has changed position several times over the eons, and that the 30,000-year epoch of matrilineal dominance espoused by certain authors is a theory which has minimal evidence to support it. The preponderance of male solar deities in ancient religions seems to indicate that the sexes were relatively evenly considered in ancient religions.

One interesting attribute of the Sun in India is its alleged connection with certain really ancient traditions. The book Surya Siddhanta, an ancient astronomical/astrological text has been dated as far back as 1,000,000 BC by certain authorities! While this date can not be verified by current archaeological sources (and would certainly be disputed by current academic authorities), this theory implies that there are vast amounts of astrological knowledge that have been lost through the ages.

The Sun hits maturity at age 21. This means you feel the full effect off the Sun’s placement in your chart, for good or bad, by age 21.

THE MOON (CHANDRA)
The Moon is perhaps the most important planet in conventional Hindu Astrology, although it is certainly the smallest body considered. In Hindu astrology. The Moon is considered to be male, and possesses twenty-seven (27) wives (the Nakshatras). Its state of waxing and waning is caused by the curse of either Ganesha or Daksha (the father of the Moon’s 27 wives). The Moon is considered “lustful”, a condition often overlooked or minimized in Vedic Astrology texts. Lustful does not necessarily mean sensual. In popular culture the idea of lust is usually tied to sexual relationships, but there are many types of “lust”. There is lust for power, lust for money, lust for knowledge, and even lust for spiritual liberation. The Moon represents the entire set of thoughts and beliefs that our mind seeks. The mind is also more than thought — it is also the medium for the spirits interaction with the phenomenal world (what we in the West call the “real” world) It is that interaction of the mind with the outside world that produces desire, or “lust”. It also represents the mother for the individual, and many of us form our opinions and reactions to the world through our parents (particularly mother, because we were carried by her for quite a few months and because of traditional child rearing customs.)

The Moon changes signs every two and one half days. It changes nakshatras roughly once a day, and its waxing and waning states add another dimension of mutability to the moon. All of these states modify the interpretation of the Moon in Vedic / Hindu Astrology. The Moon is a public soft planet. In Jyotisha, there are very distinct friendships and animosities between different planets. Significantly, because of the rules which govern the determination of friendship and animosity, the Moon has NO enemies. It is the father of Mercury (more about this later) and is considered to be the planet connected with Soma, the nectar of immortality that is given to those who attain unity with “the reality” or “God”.

In the Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, widely considered the most authoritative text on Jyotish, there are descriptions of the avatars (representations of divinity who descend from heaven in order to re-establish order and redirect human impulses from good to evil) and the various planets through which they descended to the material world. The manifestation of Vishnu who descended through the Moon was Krishna, whom some consider the greatest manifestation of divinity, and whom some consider to actually be the great personality of Godhead — everything emanates from him. (Krishna’s birthday is celebrated when the Moon is in Taurus — its exalted position — in late August or early September.) One may accept Krishna as being all defining reality even in a metaphorical sense because of the Moon’s rulership of the mind…the filter through which all reality is understood by the individual. Also, the Moon’s original deity is Varuna, the greatest deity in the original Hindu pantheon, the encompasser of the sky, and the father of sage Bhrigu and grandfather of Shukra/Venus—both considered Brahmins (Priests) of great knowledge and power. The Moon attains maturity at age 23.

MARS (MANGALA/ KUJA/ANGARIKA)
Mars is, according to the Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, is the most malefic planet — a role normally attributed to Saturn in other Vedic texts. It is with good reason that Mars assumes this status. Mars is a rapidly acting, rather violent planet. It is also in charge of logic, because logic is the intellectual weapon employed to win arguments. Mars is usually represented by several deities in Hindu mythology, including Shiva’s younger son Skanda (who also goes by the name of Kartikeya or Subrahmanya). This God is created in order to defeat demonws who were in the process of destroying the world and who had made a deal that they could only be defeated by an infant child (There are many similar passages in Indian mythology).

This deity has the power to defeat enemies, but was not designed for human contact. Another representation of Mars (the incarnation of Vishnu through through the planet Mars) is Narasimha, the lion-headed deity of the Hindus. Narasimha was born, like Skanda to destroy a demon who had won the favor of Brahma or Shiva, and was so powerful he threatened the cosmic order. The demon had made a deal with God that he would not be destroyed by human or animal; could not be destroyed either indoor or outside; could not be killed by any weapon; and could not be destroyed in the day or the night. This seemed to cover all of the possibilities, and the demon set about taking over the world, confident in the knowledge that he could not be harmed. Eventually, he became so cruel that Vishnu, preserver of the universe, vowed to end the demon’s cruelty. A young child appeared to the demon, and started chanting a mantra on the threshold of a temple. Initially the demon thought nothing of this, but the demon started being irritated by the child’s singing. The child’s singing of the mantra continued all day and eventually, at duck, a wondrous being emerged from one of the temple pillars. Equipped with a lion’s head and claws, but with the body of a man, Narasimha emerged at the temple threshold, where the demon was lured. He was neither animal nor man; he emerged at dusk, which is neither day nor night; and he emerged at a temple threshold, neither indoors nor outdoors. Narasimha killed the demon with his claws (not using a weapon.) Vishnu as Narasimha fulfilled the criteria necessary for the being capable of destroying a powerful demon capable of perverting the universe. It is said that Yogis of certain sects grow beards and moustaches in order to look like Narasimha, and in order to give them the courage to defeat their own demons and (perhaps) save the world from demonic influences.

Hanuman the monkey general who served the role of Ram’s loyal supporter and servant in the epic tale the Ramayana, is also considered a manifestation of the planet Mars. He is totally devoted to Rama and Sita, Rama being a representation of the Sun and Sita being born of the earth. He is also superhuman; when Lakshmana, Rama’s brother, becomes ill, Hanuman is charged to find a certain herb which will cure him. Hanuman, uncertain as to the herb, lifted up the entire mountain and brought it to Lakshmana. Hanuman / Anjaneya also single-handedly laid waste to Sri Lanka, the home of the Rakshashas (the leader of whom, Ravana, was so powerful that he had all of the planets under his control, and could use them as steps to his home!) (See The Greatness of Saturn by Robert Svoboda). The strength and determination of Hanuman was enormous, and this represents the greatness of Mars at its best. If it has a goal and a service to pursue, it is a truly wonderful planet, capable of delivering us from our worst enemies.

This very courage and inability to compromise, however, are also drawbacks when it comes to interpersonal relations. Individuals who possess strong Mars in certain houses, especially in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th and 12th houses in the chart, are, with certain exceptions, said to cause Kuja Dosha or “Mars Affliction”, a condition which either causes harm to the marriage partner or causes the individual to be attracted to individuals with whom he or she can not function for a very long period of time. There are cancellations of Kuja Dosha, said to occur when Mars is in the Ascendant in the signs of either Aquarius or Leo (according to B.V. Raman) or in Scorpio, Capricorn or Aries. These placements are supposed to nullify Kuja Dosha. In my opinion, they lessen but do not nullify Kuja Dosha. Similarly, Kuja Dosha is said to be inactive if the individual marries after the age of 28. In my experience, this is not true. However, Kuja Dosha is nullified if the marriage partner also possesses the affliction, in my experience. There are remedial measures for Kuja Dosha, and I believe these can work in certain cases as well. A section at the end of the book is devoted to remedial measures for planetary afflictions which fall outside the norm of most Vedic Astrology texts published in the United States.

In the Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, Mars is considered the worst malefic, the planet most capable of producing inauspicious results. There are several possible reasons for this status. The predominant reasons is probably Mars’ status as the military planet, the planet which makes widows of women. Mars is the Commander in chief of the planetary army. As such, this planet requires that we make sacrifices for the higher good — in some ways it acts as a metaphor for the realm of logic, because logic and rational thought often make us pursue paths which do not “feel” good. Yet logic and rationalism can be used for constructive purposes, but it must be used carefully. The significations of Mars can, like those of a knife of a knife, can be used to kill or to cure. Mars is an aggressive planet, and it requires action and provides energy wherever it is located in a planet. Mars forces things to happen, yet many things of our technological age would not be possible without Mars, and its energy also applies to things which are heated (this applies to cooked food as well as metals and manufactured goods.). Mars is also essential for success in surgery; for success in engineering; and for success (the most unusual and surprising signification of Mars for most individuals) in spiritual practices. The reason for these three levels and needs is that many of these things require dedication, self sacrifice, and, I would insist, application of intellect (yes, even for spiritual practices, for the truth of the matter is that when we face God, it must be, at least in certain yogic traditions, through the use of a determined mind, and it is Mars as a planet, which allows us to control our mind in order to retain self control.

Interestingly enough, military domination and imperialism are actually judged by other planets in combination or conjunction with Mars. Venus, Saturn and Jupiter are far more territorial planets than Mars is. Mars, may, in fact, eliminate lives, but it does its job because it must be done. This is what makes it such a powerful planet for spiritual activity (because it has little attachment to anything except doing the best job it can) but is also what makes it such a dangerous planet, BECAUSE IT DOES ITS JOB WITHOUT CONSCIENCE AND WITHOUT REGARD FOR THE CONSEQUENCES. Logic, following orders, and spiritual sadhana (practice) must be followed with intelligence and judgment, otherwise destruction and despair will follow. The perspective. Mars, according to K. N. Rao, a well-respected astrologer from India, represents the wife in a man’s chart within the Bhrigu system of astrology, and also represents the inclination to worship Vishnu (a great many people whom I have done charts for who worship Vishnu or who worship deities with Vishnu – like characteristics (including Christ and Buddha) and have seen a very strong Mars either in the first house or in or aspecting the ninth house. Mars also introduces disruptions and arguments in married life and in other interpersonal relationships, often forcing us to work alone, or, to take command and get the job done. Mars attains maturity at ages 27-28.

See the article on Mars by Gary Gomes in course documents in week 3.

MERCURY – BUDHA

Mercury is the significator of intelligence in a chart; it is also considered a child of the Moon and the planet most easily influenced by association with other planets. Mercury, or Budha is also the planet which has the most contact or communication between the world of the living and that of the dead.

The myth of Mercury’s birth is one of the most fascinating in Jyotish. It seems that Jupiter (whom we will discuss next) was extremely ritualistic in his attentions to his wife. His wife, Tara, tired by lack of attention and Jupiter’s attention to ritual over passion, or (accounts differ) seduced by the beauty of the Moon (Soma), ran off or was abducted by the Moon. Jupiter (Guru) wanted his wife back and the resulting conflict caused a war which involved all of the planets and the Gods. Mars and the Sun sided with Jupiter, while Venus, Saturn and the Lunar Nodes sided with the Moon. The final outcome of this war was that Tara was reunited with her husband. However, when she returned to Jupiter, she was with child.

Jupiter demanded to know who the father of the child was. At first Tara claimed that the child was Jupiter’s baby, but after awhile she admitted that the child was really the Moon’s child. Jupiter at first did not want the baby, but after the child was born and Jupiter saw how smart and special the child was, he wished to raise the baby himself. Although eventually the Moon found out about Mercury’s birth, Mercury harbored animosity toward the Moon, perhaps because of the Moon’s abduction of his mother or perhaps because of Mercury’s association with Jupiter as his surrogate father. (Mercury, among all of the planets, is considered the most susceptible to the influence of others.) `However, Mercury is a clever, rather non-traditional planet, so the best it can hope for in its relationship with Jupiter is neutrality and devotion to duty, not love or adoration. One key point is that Mercury is considered the young prince among the planets; it is always youthful in outlook and is the fastest moving of all planets (except for the Moon, its natural father); it rules the intellectual and “clever” parts of the mind, whereas the Moon rules the “common sense” parts of the mind, and Jupiter rules the orthodox, credentialed and socially recognized parts of the intellect. So, if the planet Mercury is intellect, the Moon is publicly recognized intelligence of common sense, and Jupiter is philosophical wisdom (which can, in some ways be limiting or stifling to more creative individuals — hence Tara’s involvement with the Moon.) Mercury has the benefit of both parentages and has the benefit of the knowledge of conventional wisdom and the wisdom of the masses, but is uncomfortable with either of these venues as its sole method of expression.

Among all of the planets, Mercury is the essential planet for learning. It is considered to be the planet which triggers astrological involvement, but it is also the major planet for self-inquiry and for the development of self-knowledge. It is also the planet that can be the most interfered with in this process, because of the fact that Mercury is very easily influenced by adjacent planets.

Among the planets, Mercury, perhaps has the widest range of rulerships, and is perhaps the most socially active of the planets. It is most often mentioned as the planet of Lord Vishnu, and Vishnu is famous for descending to the earth in the form of avatars or incarnations of the lord. so Mercury matches Vishnu’s rather protean form. It is a very flexible planet, and it has been said that Mercury and Mars (separately) in the second and twelfth houses of the astrological chart can give individuals proficiency in Hatha Yoga. Since Mercury is also a clever planet, in the same sign with Mars can, as has been observed by many Jyotishis, create the ability to manipulate words — to lie, in other words — and this combination can be found in the charts of many politicians.. The combination of Mercury with certain malefic planets (Mars, Mercury, Rahu, Ketu) can produce the ability to easily deceive individuals, while its association with benefics, particularly when with Venus, can give a very beneficial and sweet temperament.

Mercury, in a bizarre twist, is also considered to be a significator for landed property in Bhrigu Astrology. The reason for this, is that Mercury is considered to be a representation of Vishnu himself, who is the ruler of the universe. Mars, usually indicated as the significator of land, is a child of the earth. How can the son tell the mother what to do? But Vishnu, as lord of the earth, has the power to increase land and property, for all the world responds to the commands of Vishnu. Mercury achieves maturity at age 32-33.

Jupiter/Guru

Jupiter is often lauded as being the best planet in Hindu astrology, praised for its overwhelming beneficence. Although Jupiter is a very generous planet most of the time, there are sometimes circumstances in which it can be a very detrimental influence in a chart. Usually, this occurs when Jupiter owns malefic houses or is transiting over difficult houses. Jupiter essentially rules luck, and the times when Jupiter withdraws its support can be truly devastating. When this massive planet provides support, its results are usually overwhelmingly good and it seems that one has stepped into a cornucopia.

Jupiter is also known as the Guru planet, the teacher, the remover of obstacles. He rules optimism, happiness, benevolence, and good judgment. The major gifts that Jupiter provides in my humble opinion, are wisdom, generosity, and optimism. The places where Jupiter can be obstructive or difficult are in its extreme adherence to tradition (one of the reasons given for Tara’s elopement with the moon, and from what I have seen, a resistance to any thing which has the appearance of unorthodoxy).

Over the past several years, I have read and heard an extraordinary amount of information about the benevolence of Jupiter, but this is an over-simplification that must be treated with extreme caution when interpreting a chart. I have seen cases in which Jupiter periods have, for certain individuals, caused the onset of cancer and even death! Jupiter, much like any planet, has its detrimental side.

On the positive side, Jupiter as a planet is usually extremely lucky, and its presence in the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth house acts very much like a guardian angel protecting the entire chart. It usually promotes great benefit to the house it occupies. Even when in its debilitation sign of Capricorn, it can give popularity and money, but usually the placement of Jupiter in Capricorn is detrimental for spousal happiness, luck, optimism, and good judgment.

Also, even in periods during which Jupiter has caused a great deal of distress, the trials of Jupiter (And there are some) usually produce a philosophical resignation that what is happening will ultimately benefit the individual (this is quite unlike the way we usually react to the trials of Saturn or the North Node — see the following section). Jupiter is a popular planet, and a great some of its worst attributes are the fact that its truisms are so conventional, that they bore us. Jupiter is also an expansive planet. Placed in or aspecting the first house, it produces optimism, association with conventional wisdom and success, a strong philosophical and traditional nature, and being well liked. It can also produce over weight in this position. (all of the benefic planets will produce some weight, but Jupiter is the heaviest.).

Jupiter is called Guru, which I have seen translated as either “heavy” or “the dispeller of darkness”. It radiates more heat than it reflects, in keeping with the theory that it is a failed second star in our solar system.

When Jupiter is exalted in Cancer, those possessing this placement have extremely strong ethics, are clever in work, and will generally give good and sound advice. Jupiter in Aquarius is also considered a fine placement, producing a very strong philosophical nature and good friendships and similar associations. If Jupiter aspects or is in the same sign with any other planet, it greatly expands the size and power of that planet.

Jupiter is one of the indicators or the husband in a woman’s chart; it is also considered one of the most important indicators for children, and is one of, though not the only indicator, of spiritual matters, spiritual teachers, and association with traditional religious traditions. The Moon (Chandra) is very beneficial in combination with Jupiter, and Jupiter is thought to be too non-conformist or selfish when in the same sign with, or aspected by Rahu, the North Lunar Node.

The primary quality of Jupiter is “expansion”. This principle usually produces very good results, in that it expands the outlook of an individual. It also expands opportunities for growth and opportunities to make money. Jupiter in the sign Cancer because Cancer (called Karka in Sanskrit) is one of the best indicators for public acceptance and being the fourth house, is the natural significator of education, and the Moon (ruler of Cancer) is the natural indicator of public life. It likes Jupiter, because Jupiter gives good advice to the public and tempers the Moon’s (the public’s) excesses through the introduction of patriotism, public gatherings, and societal passages as a way of controlling and channeling the often emotionally unstable energy of the Moon into constructive channels. This character, the idea of good advice and judgment, is the real reason that Jupiter is such a powerful benefic. Its expansiveness, combined with its ability to give solutions to problems, gives Jupiter the power to eliminate problems and help individuals on their path to acceptable behavior and fulfillment.

Jupiter came to earth as an avatar of Vishnu to return power to the devas after a righteous demon had taken over the world. When he met the demon king, he requested just enough land to cover three of his strides. When the king granted his wish, Jupiter grew to enormous size. His first stride covered earth, his second heaven. The demon king offered his own head for Jupiter’s foot. He lost everything he had, but because he had kept his promise, Jupiter promised him he would become King of Heaven (Indra) the next time the universe is created. Often, Jupiter will grant long term benefits for taking the right course of action. Jupiter attains maturity at age 16.

VENUS — THE GIVING BENEFIC

Venus (also called Sukra– THE BRIGHT) is, in my humble opinion, the least well-understood planet in Vedic / Hindu Astrology. One of the reasons for the genesis of this opinion is Venus’s status of the guru of the Asuras — the antigods or open opponents of dharma in Hindu mythology. This status is quite often not given the respect it deserves in many texts, and, of the popular Indian Jyotishis, only R. Santhanam seems to give Shukra his proper place. It is worth noting that, in Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, Shukra (Venus) is given the status of being the best benefic–more capable of giving goof results than even the great benefic Jupiter. It is this status in this text, possibly the most respected Vedic Astrology text ever written, that we should consider when analyzing Venus’ function in a chart.

Venus’ primary function, much more so than the other less spiritual functions assigned to this planet, is as the primary provider of bliss and happiness, regardless of the means through which this status is obtained. It is the primary planet of priests of all religions. The incarnation of Vishnu through Venus is Parasurama, the Warrior Priest who reestablished the dominance of the Brahmin caste in India. Those of us in the West who view the Indian caste structure have little knowledge that caste was supposed to be originally determined by nature; only after it was institutionalized under Jupiter (family) and Saturn (tradition) did it actually start to be passed down within families, excluding others. The ascendancy of those who are intellectually gifted is the desire of Venus, for this should theoretically bring happiness to all, for a variety of reasons. Shukra achieves maturity at age 24.

Venus is listed in various texts as being knowledgeable in the 64 arts. These are skills and abilities for every day living, including rituals. The Yajur Veda the Veda of rituals, is under the domain of Venus. Also Venus is the only graha capable of bringing those dead back to life. In very simple terms, everything which can reproduce or regenerate itself is under the rulership of Venus. Semen, Ojas– these two are the tools of immortality, for they allow DNA to replicate endlessly, giving us a form of immortality. Venus also has general rulership over the plant kingdom, which is extremely territorial, but which also has the ability to regenerate itself after long periods of dormancy–very much like Shukra’s experience in Shiva’s stomach. Shukra is actually beloved by all major sects, but is particularly strongly connected to Shiva. (There is a myth that Shukra learned a mantra to bring the dead back to life from Shiva after doing penance for a thousand years. Shukra/Venus used the mantra in the demons’ war against the gods. He would bring the dead back to life to fight again. Finally, the Gods petitioned Shiva to eliminate Shukra and Shiva swallowed Shukra, but Venus again petitioned Shiva from inside his stomach, seeking release, and Shiva relented, eventually releasing Shukra/Venus through his stomach. Shukra then resumed his position as teacher of the Rakshasas/Demons. There is another story related to this mantra, and it involved Jupiter sending his son to study with Venus in the hope that Jupiter’s son could learn this mantra. Venus guarded against letting this secret out, until the demons found out about this and killed Jupiter’s son, burned him into ash, and slipped the ash into Venus’ wine. Venus found out and uttered the mantra to bring Jupiter’s son to life again, but he regained consciousness in Venus stomach. He was forced to teach Jupiter’s son the mantra, so he could be brought to life again. But he cursed alcohol and intoxicants in the process, because they had led him to folly. Individuals with strong Venus should avoid intoxicants as they will not be favorable to them.

It is also worth noting that Shukra’s function as a teacher applies to us all, for we are, by nature, Rakshasic—we have reincarnated, and have desires to fulfill. This is far more rakshasic than devic.

SATURN — THE GIVER OF GRIEF

Saturn is perhaps the most feared planet in Indian astrology. It is, by definition, the weakest planet in Jyotish. Why then, all the paranoia connected with this planet? Primarily because, despite its weakness, it rules over misery, wasting away, hardship, poverty, privation, old age, and illness—pretty much everything we find unpleasant in life. Yet a strong Saturn has extremely good potential for power and authority. It is found to be very prominent in the charts of dictators and lawyers—those who deal with limitations and restrictions. The most interesting myth about Saturn connects to the birth of Ganesh. Parvati decides to show his new child to the world. Saturn declines, because he knows that he will destroy whatever he looks at. Parvati insists and Saturn’s gaze destroys the young child’s head. One of the gods (Shiva by some accounts, Vishnu by others) rushes out and finds the elephant’s head. This gives the child great wisdom and memory, and copious spiritual gifts. So Saturn’s gaze eliminates the first gifts, but also grants spiritual growth and development. Saturn’s placement in a chart indicates the major source of unhappiness in a person’s life, but promotes spiritual growth. Especially important are Saturn transits to the 12th, 1st and 2nd houses from the Moon, the 4th house from the Moon, and the 8th house from the Moon. Saturn aspects planets three, seven and ten signs away from it.

Saturn is, like most of the Vedic planets, capable of a wide range of significations, so it essential that anyone attempting to read Saturn look at its sign placement (it is exalted in Libra, and well placed in the two signs it owns (Capricorn and Aquarius). It is well placed in the third, sixth and eleventh houses of the chart. It is fallen in Aries and tends to become weak in this sign. But is that necessarily such a bad thing? Often you will notice that the more powerful Saturn becomes, for society as a whole, businesses and markets usually expand incredibly fast when Saturn is placed in Aries (Note: 1968-1970 and 1998-1970), but changes usually occur too fast and erratically to be sustained for long periods of time. And exalted or otherwise strong Saturn often produces economic constriction along with a consolidation of power (1981-1983, for example. Saturn also functions as a benefic for Libra, and Taurus rising, so it usually does well in either of these rising signs. It achieves maturity at age 34-36.

RAHU — THE CAUSE OF DISSATISFACTION AND NON-CONFORMITY
(Acts like the lord of the sign in which it is placed, or planets in which it is conjunction)
The great serpent Vasuki was one of the demons called to churn the elixir of immortality in the Vedic myths. This churning of the ocean caused powerful poison to emerge—this was swallowed and stuck in Shiva’s throat. The second thing to emerge was the Goddess Lakshmi, (like Aphrodite); a very few legends indicate she was promised to Shiva (the liberator) but loved Vishnu (the preserver) and ended up with him. The vast majority of legends indicate that Vishnu was her first and only husband and love. The third thing to come out was the Amrita (the elixir of immortality.) In some ways this parallels the stations of life: from birth comes struggle, absorbed by meditation (Shiva), then prosperity and its maintenance (Lakshmi and Vishnu), then true joy and happiness (The Amrita) or union with God.

The elixir was to be drunk by the gods, and the demons, although their physical might was needed to extract the elixir, were not to receive this. The consensus seems to be that they were too powerful to share this secret with, and the Gods would lose their only advantage in the great war between order and chaos. So the demons were given alcohol—but Vasuki saw that something was wrong, disguised himself as a god and drank the elixir. The Sun and the Moon saw that something was wrong and exposed the demon. As soon as this was noticed, Vishnu took out his discus and chopped the head of the demon off—but the demon had already received the gift of immortality and lived, as did the lower body, Ketu.

Needless to say, someone who is missing their body will automatically be rather unhappy and although immortal like the other gods (the Grahas or planets) will be seeking vengeance, particularly upon the entities that exposed it—namely the Sun and the Moon. Because of this need for vengeance, Rahu regularly stalks the Sun and the Moon and swallows them. Rahu wants and cannot absorb what is has, so along with its demonic energy, it rarely gets what it wants, or cannot hold onto it. Also, as a non-material Graha, it has no substance, so it acts like a ghost. Reflecting the fact that Rahu has this ghostly attribute, what comes during its dasa or sub-period it tough to hold onto—also it encourages people to get interested in occultism or even unhealthy pursuits. This attribute of Rahu can also cause a great deal of frustration, because Rahu is never satisfied, and it likes to be in control. So when Rahu activates in a chart, it can cause all sorts of bad actions. This is what causes Rahu’s intense discomfort. Rahu, like its shadow status indicates, has been shown as being exalted in Taurus, Gemini and sometimes Scorpio; it can also be considered debilitated in Sagittarius, Scorpio and Taurus. Its own sign is Aquarius.

Rahu also rules poison, demonic possession, witchcraft, affliction by ghost, foreigners, engineering, air travel and the unusual or exotic. It achieves maturity when one is 41 years old. Rahu is also the primary indicator of cancer and it acts like the planet that rules the sign in which it is placed.

KETU — THE UNKNOWN, THE THIEF
The lower half of the demon that swallowed the elixir of immortality, Ketu developed a snakehead after it separated from its birth head and was raised by a sage. Since Ketu does not have a head, it is the natural indicator of liberation and its direction is heaven ward. Its maturity is between the ages of 48 and 52. Ketu has a serpent’s tail and a snake’s head.

On the negative side, Ketu has very little interest in the material world, and being the lower part of a demon, the planet has little interest in preservation and can be quite destructive. It is said to be quite a bit like Mars, and is part (like Rahu) of the planetary army—so it can stand for anonymity and obscurity. It is also a thief and steals away material possessions in order to increase interest in spirituality. People with strong Ketu can be prone to depression, but are very psychic and sensitive and have a knack for stripping down to the details of any situation very quickly. It can, however, cause obsession, compulsive and erratic behavior. It can cause accidents, but also sudden elevations in position (President Carter’s and Princess Diana’s charts are excellent examples) but Ketu is not a high status planet and can expose people to fall from grace. It can also cause illnesses that are tough to diagnose, like viruses.

Ketu achieves maturity between ages 48 and 54.

Planets symbolise components of the Self. Everyone has these components. The various placements of the planets in the signs and in the houses make create human diversities. The meaning of the planets in Western and Indian astrology differs quite a lot.
This is especially true for the northern and southern Nodes (Dragon’s Head and Dragon’s Tail). We call the northern Node is Rahu and the southern Node Ketu.
Another difference between Indian and Western astrology is that there are but few Indian astrologers who work with the relatively recently discovered planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. We will not discuss these three planets in the following paragraph. However, we will give Rahu en Ketu special attention. Where the Indian interpretation of a planet differs from that in Western astrology, it will be emphasised in heavy printing.

Continued in Week 2:

This week’s Assigned Readings: Ojha (Intro & pp. 1-18)OR Bhatt, Chapters 1 and 2, Ojha (pp. 75-85) Course material; Gomes “Mars” in course documents; Mantreswar, pp. 1-9 ; Beckman Intro and Chapter 1 (Read the entire Beckman book by week four. It is not very long and will be a good complement to the materials being covered.). Braha (pp 375-376)

Gomes Week Suggested Readings: Braha, (pp. 1-11) ; Braha (pp.17-36), Parasara, Volume 1 (pp. 24-48)
Last modified: Tuesday, 6 January 2009, 07:28 PM

Planets in Vedic Astrology

Planets in Vedic / Hindu astrology are treated like living intelligences. This is consistent with the legends of the Puranas, which describe the planets as DEVAS, or active entities who achieve immortality as guardians of the universe with the assistance of both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, the two great representations of divinity in the Hindu religious tradition. The point is that these entities all have a function in the proper running of the universe. Their effects on us may be happy or sad, but the planets must (obviously) fulfill their functions for the universe to persist. Individual souls, when they again enter the realm of worldly existence, do so in order to experience difficulties or happiness which they have set up as a result of previous actions in previous lives. The basic purpose of life, put in simplistic terms, is to have experiences which will lead to the realization of desires. This may mean, for some, the manifestation of material prosperity, or the manifestation of strong duties and responsibility; or most effectual for happiness, the development of spiritual interests and activities, which ultimately leads the individual to freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth. The development of any of these interests does not imply superiority or inferiority of any soul. There are usually very strong reasons for why these individual experience different paths in life. The planets (Grahas) are THE SEIZERS of our minds and direct our attention to these activities. We have worked hard for the actions we encounter in this lifetime.

SURYA — THE SUN:
The entity Surya (called the Sun in the West) has inspired its own cult in India. This cult apparently reached its peak in the thirteenth century and is reflected in the work done on the huge temple at Konark in India. (Interestingly enough, there was an iconoclastic movement at roughly the same period of time in Eastern Orthodox Church. This movement had a strong interest in astrology and destiny, smashing all of the saints and icons used by the church over the past thousand years. Neither movement lasted very long, but the coincidence — perhaps there was an exchange of information — is fascinating.

The Sun is the source of all energy in the solar system. Scientists have also apparently located a galactic Sun of enormous size located in the middle of the Milky Way. The energy which produces the raw material of life is enclosed in this sphere. The legends connected with Surya stress the tremendous energy of the creator of life’s energy.

The best-known Vedic myth regarding the Sun describes the Sun’s marriage to Samjna, the beautiful daughter of Tvashtr, the builder of the universe. Samjna is devoted to her husband, but finds the brilliance of the Sun too difficult to bear. As a result, she decides to get away and asks her handmaiden Chhaya (shadow), to take her place while she goes away. Samjna has already had children by Surya, and Chhaya, in her turn, had children by the Sun as well. This effectively ended the ruse. Samjna’s children noticed that Chhaya was treating her children more favorably than Samjna’s children. The Sun forced Chhaya to tell her that she was not his wife, and then went searching for his wife. He followed her and found her disguised as a mare, and order to get her back, the Sun changed himself into a horse as well, mated with her. The children which resulted from this union were the Ashwini Kumars, two gods of healing, which demonstrates the Sun’s ability to regenerate and heal after separation. Tvashtr also sheared off the excess energy of the Sun in order that Samjna could bear to be around the Sun.

The Sun actually functions as a relatively difficult planet in a person’s chart, causing great responsibilities to be borne by the individual during his periods. These periods will cause a certain intensity of to the individual which may result in increased status, ability to influence others, governmental favor, and ability to influence others if the Sun is strong in the chart. If the Sun is weak, the individual will feel like his energy is depleted, or self-confidence is low. The individual will also have problems with the government, bosses, his or her father, or any authority figure in his or her life.

Side note: There has recently been a great deal of emphasis on the theory of matriarchal civilization being the prevalent system prior to 2,000 BC. While this theory may be very appealing to contemporary society, there seems to be evidence that the dominant sex in society has changed position several times over the eons, and that the 30,000-year epoch of matrilineal dominance espoused by certain authors is a theory which has minimal evidence to support it. The preponderance of male solar deities in ancient religions seems to indicate that the sexes were relatively evenly considered in ancient religions.

One interesting attribute of the Sun in India is its alleged connection with certain really ancient traditions. The book Surya Siddhanta, an ancient astronomical/astrological text has been dated as far back as 1,000,000 BC by certain authorities! While this date can not be verified by current archaeological sources (and would certainly be disputed by current academic authorities), this theory implies that there are vast amounts of astrological knowledge that have been lost through the ages.

The Sun hits maturity at age 21. This means you feel the full effect off the Sun’s placement in your chart, for good or bad, by age 21.

THE MOON (CHANDRA)
The Moon is perhaps the most important planet in conventional Hindu Astrology, although it is certainly the smallest body considered. In Hindu astrology. The Moon is considered to be male, and possesses twenty-seven (27) wives (the Nakshatras). Its state of waxing and waning is caused by the curse of either Ganesha or Daksha (the father of the Moon’s 27 wives). The Moon is considered “lustful”, a condition often overlooked or minimized in Vedic Astrology texts. Lustful does not necessarily mean sensual. In popular culture the idea of lust is usually tied to sexual relationships, but there are many types of “lust”. There is lust for power, lust for money, lust for knowledge, and even lust for spiritual liberation. The Moon represents the entire set of thoughts and beliefs that our mind seeks. The mind is also more than thought — it is also the medium for the spirits interaction with the phenomenal world (what we in the West call the “real” world) It is that interaction of the mind with the outside world that produces desire, or “lust”. It also represents the mother for the individual, and many of us form our opinions and reactions to the world through our parents (particularly mother, because we were carried by her for quite a few months and because of traditional child rearing customs.)

The Moon changes signs every two and one half days. It changes nakshatras roughly once a day, and its waxing and waning states add another dimension of mutability to the moon. All of these states modify the interpretation of the Moon in Vedic / Hindu Astrology. The Moon is a public soft planet. In Jyotisha, there are very distinct friendships and animosities between different planets. Significantly, because of the rules which govern the determination of friendship and animosity, the Moon has NO enemies. It is the father of Mercury (more about this later) and is considered to be the planet connected with Soma, the nectar of immortality that is given to those who attain unity with “the reality” or “God”.

In the Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, widely considered the most authoritative text on Jyotish, there are descriptions of the avatars (representations of divinity who descend from heaven in order to re-establish order and redirect human impulses from good to evil) and the various planets through which they descended to the material world. The manifestation of Vishnu who descended through the Moon was Krishna, whom some consider the greatest manifestation of divinity, and whom some consider to actually be the great personality of Godhead — everything emanates from him. (Krishna’s birthday is celebrated when the Moon is in Taurus — its exalted position — in late August or early September.) One may accept Krishna as being all defining reality even in a metaphorical sense because of the Moon’s rulership of the mind…the filter through which all reality is understood by the individual. Also, the Moon’s original deity is Varuna, the greatest deity in the original Hindu pantheon, the encompasser of the sky, and the father of sage Bhrigu and grandfather of Shukra/Venus—both considered Brahmins (Priests) of great knowledge and power. The Moon attains maturity at age 23.

MARS (MANGALA/ KUJA/ANGARIKA)
Mars is, according to the Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, is the most malefic planet — a role normally attributed to Saturn in other Vedic texts. It is with good reason that Mars assumes this status. Mars is a rapidly acting, rather violent planet. It is also in charge of logic, because logic is the intellectual weapon employed to win arguments. Mars is usually represented by several deities in Hindu mythology, including Shiva’s younger son Skanda (who also goes by the name of Kartikeya or Subrahmanya). This God is created in order to defeat demonws who were in the process of destroying the world and who had made a deal that they could only be defeated by an infant child (There are many similar passages in Indian mythology).

This deity has the power to defeat enemies, but was not designed for human contact. Another representation of Mars (the incarnation of Vishnu through through the planet Mars) is Narasimha, the lion-headed deity of the Hindus. Narasimha was born, like Skanda to destroy a demon who had won the favor of Brahma or Shiva, and was so powerful he threatened the cosmic order. The demon had made a deal with God that he would not be destroyed by human or animal; could not be destroyed either indoor or outside; could not be killed by any weapon; and could not be destroyed in the day or the night. This seemed to cover all of the possibilities, and the demon set about taking over the world, confident in the knowledge that he could not be harmed. Eventually, he became so cruel that Vishnu, preserver of the universe, vowed to end the demon’s cruelty. A young child appeared to the demon, and started chanting a mantra on the threshold of a temple. Initially the demon thought nothing of this, but the demon started being irritated by the child’s singing. The child’s singing of the mantra continued all day and eventually, at duck, a wondrous being emerged from one of the temple pillars. Equipped with a lion’s head and claws, but with the body of a man, Narasimha emerged at the temple threshold, where the demon was lured. He was neither animal nor man; he emerged at dusk, which is neither day nor night; and he emerged at a temple threshold, neither indoors nor outdoors. Narasimha killed the demon with his claws (not using a weapon.) Vishnu as Narasimha fulfilled the criteria necessary for the being capable of destroying a powerful demon capable of perverting the universe. It is said that Yogis of certain sects grow beards and moustaches in order to look like Narasimha, and in order to give them the courage to defeat their own demons and (perhaps) save the world from demonic influences.

Hanuman the monkey general who served the role of Ram’s loyal supporter and servant in the epic tale the Ramayana, is also considered a manifestation of the planet Mars. He is totally devoted to Rama and Sita, Rama being a representation of the Sun and Sita being born of the earth. He is also superhuman; when Lakshmana, Rama’s brother, becomes ill, Hanuman is charged to find a certain herb which will cure him. Hanuman, uncertain as to the herb, lifted up the entire mountain and brought it to Lakshmana. Hanuman / Anjaneya also single-handedly laid waste to Sri Lanka, the home of the Rakshashas (the leader of whom, Ravana, was so powerful that he had all of the planets under his control, and could use them as steps to his home!) (See The Greatness of Saturn by Robert Svoboda). The strength and determination of Hanuman was enormous, and this represents the greatness of Mars at its best. If it has a goal and a service to pursue, it is a truly wonderful planet, capable of delivering us from our worst enemies.

This very courage and inability to compromise, however, are also drawbacks when it comes to interpersonal relations. Individuals who possess strong Mars in certain houses, especially in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th and 12th houses in the chart, are, with certain exceptions, said to cause Kuja Dosha or “Mars Affliction”, a condition which either causes harm to the marriage partner or causes the individual to be attracted to individuals with whom he or she can not function for a very long period of time. There are cancellations of Kuja Dosha, said to occur when Mars is in the Ascendant in the signs of either Aquarius or Leo (according to B.V. Raman) or in Scorpio, Capricorn or Aries. These placements are supposed to nullify Kuja Dosha. In my opinion, they lessen but do not nullify Kuja Dosha. Similarly, Kuja Dosha is said to be inactive if the individual marries after the age of 28. In my experience, this is not true. However, Kuja Dosha is nullified if the marriage partner also possesses the affliction, in my experience. There are remedial measures for Kuja Dosha, and I believe these can work in certain cases as well. A section at the end of the book is devoted to remedial measures for planetary afflictions which fall outside the norm of most Vedic Astrology texts published in the United States.

In the Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, Mars is considered the worst malefic, the planet most capable of producing inauspicious results. There are several possible reasons for this status. The predominant reasons is probably Mars’ status as the military planet, the planet which makes widows of women. Mars is the Commander in chief of the planetary army. As such, this planet requires that we make sacrifices for the higher good — in some ways it acts as a metaphor for the realm of logic, because logic and rational thought often make us pursue paths which do not “feel” good. Yet logic and rationalism can be used for constructive purposes, but it must be used carefully. The significations of Mars can, like those of a knife of a knife, can be used to kill or to cure. Mars is an aggressive planet, and it requires action and provides energy wherever it is located in a planet. Mars forces things to happen, yet many things of our technological age would not be possible without Mars, and its energy also applies to things which are heated (this applies to cooked food as well as metals and manufactured goods.). Mars is also essential for success in surgery; for success in engineering; and for success (the most unusual and surprising signification of Mars for most individuals) in spiritual practices. The reason for these three levels and needs is that many of these things require dedication, self sacrifice, and, I would insist, application of intellect (yes, even for spiritual practices, for the truth of the matter is that when we face God, it must be, at least in certain yogic traditions, through the use of a determined mind, and it is Mars as a planet, which allows us to control our mind in order to retain self control.

Interestingly enough, military domination and imperialism are actually judged by other planets in combination or conjunction with Mars. Venus, Saturn and Jupiter are far more territorial planets than Mars is. Mars, may, in fact, eliminate lives, but it does its job because it must be done. This is what makes it such a powerful planet for spiritual activity (because it has little attachment to anything except doing the best job it can) but is also what makes it such a dangerous planet, BECAUSE IT DOES ITS JOB WITHOUT CONSCIENCE AND WITHOUT REGARD FOR THE CONSEQUENCES. Logic, following orders, and spiritual sadhana (practice) must be followed with intelligence and judgment, otherwise destruction and despair will follow. The perspective. Mars, according to K. N. Rao, a well-respected astrologer from India, represents the wife in a man’s chart within the Bhrigu system of astrology, and also represents the inclination to worship Vishnu (a great many people whom I have done charts for who worship Vishnu or who worship deities with Vishnu – like characteristics (including Christ and Buddha) and have seen a very strong Mars either in the first house or in or aspecting the ninth house. Mars also introduces disruptions and arguments in married life and in other interpersonal relationships, often forcing us to work alone, or, to take command and get the job done. Mars attains maturity at ages 27-28.

See the article on Mars by Gary Gomes in course documents.

MERCURY – BUDHA

Mercury is the significator of intelligence in a chart; it is also considered a child of the Moon and the planet most easily influenced by association with other planets. Mercury, or Budha is also the planet which has the most contact or communication between the world of the living and that of the dead.

The myth of Mercury’s birth is one of the most fascinating in Jyotish. It seems that Jupiter (whom we will discuss next) was extremely ritualistic in his attentions to his wife. His wife, Tara, tired by lack of attention and Jupiter’s attention to ritual over passion, or (accounts differ) seduced by the beauty of the Moon (Soma), ran off or was abducted by the Moon. Jupiter (Guru) wanted his wife back and the resulting conflict caused a war which involved all of the planets and the Gods. Mars and the Sun sided with Jupiter, while Venus, Saturn and the Lunar Nodes sided with the Moon. The final outcome of this war was that Tara was reunited with her husband. However, when she returned to Jupiter, she was with child.

Jupiter demanded to know who the father of the child was. At first Tara claimed that the child was Jupiter’s baby, but after awhile she admitted that the child was really the Moon’s child. Jupiter at first did not want the baby, but after the child was born and Jupiter saw how smart and special the child was, he wished to raise the baby himself. Although eventually the Moon found out about Mercury’s birth, Mercury harbored animosity toward the Moon, perhaps because of the Moon’s abduction of his mother or perhaps because of Mercury’s association with Jupiter as his surrogate father. (Mercury, among all of the planets, is considered the most susceptible to the influence of others.) `However, Mercury is a clever, rather non-traditional planet, so the best it can hope for in its relationship with Jupiter is neutrality and devotion to duty, not love or adoration. One key point is that Mercury is considered the young prince among the planets; it is always youthful in outlook and is the fastest moving of all planets (except for the Moon, its natural father); it rules the intellectual and “clever” parts of the mind, whereas the Moon rules the “common sense” parts of the mind, and Jupiter rules the orthodox, credentialed and socially recognized parts of the intellect. So, if the planet Mercury is intellect, the Moon is publicly recognized intelligence of common sense, and Jupiter is philosophical wisdom (which can, in some ways be limiting or stifling to more creative individuals — hence Tara’s involvement with the Moon.) Mercury has the benefit of both parentages and has the benefit of the knowledge of conventional wisdom and the wisdom of the masses, but is uncomfortable with either of these venues as its sole method of expression.

Among all of the planets, Mercury is the essential planet for learning. It is considered to be the planet which triggers astrological involvement, but it is also the major planet for self-inquiry and for the development of self-knowledge. It is also the planet that can be the most interfered with in this process, because of the fact that Mercury is very easily influenced by adjacent planets.

Among the planets, Mercury, perhaps has the widest range of rulerships, and is perhaps the most socially active of the planets. It is most often mentioned as the planet of Lord Vishnu, and Vishnu is famous for descending to the earth in the form of avatars or incarnations of the lord. so Mercury matches Vishnu’s rather protean form. It is a very flexible planet, and it has been said that Mercury and Mars (separately) in the second and twelfth houses of the astrological chart can give individuals proficiency in Hatha Yoga. Since Mercury is also a clever planet, in the same sign with Mars can, as has been observed by many Jyotishis, create the ability to manipulate words — to lie, in other words — and this combination can be found in the charts of many politicians.. The combination of Mercury with certain malefic planets (Mars, Mercury, Rahu, Ketu) can produce the ability to easily deceive individuals, while its association with benefics, particularly when with Venus, can give a very beneficial and sweet temperament.

Mercury, in a bizarre twist, is also considered to be a significator for landed property in Bhrigu Astrology. The reason for this, is that Mercury is considered to be a representation of Vishnu himself, who is the ruler of the universe. Mars, usually indicated as the significator of land, is a child of the earth. How can the son tell the mother what to do? But Vishnu, as lord of the earth, has the power to increase land and property, for all the world responds to the commands of Vishnu. Mercury achieves maturity at age 32-33.

Jupiter/Guru

Jupiter is often lauded as being the best planet in Hindu astrology, praised for its overwhelming beneficence. Although Jupiter is a very generous planet most of the time, there are sometimes circumstances in which it can be a very detrimental influence in a chart. Usually, this occurs when Jupiter owns malefic houses or is transiting over difficult houses. Jupiter essentially rules luck, and the times when Jupiter withdraws its support can be truly devastating. When this massive planet provides support, its results are usually overwhelmingly good and it seems that one has stepped into a cornucopia.

Jupiter is also known as the Guru planet, the teacher, the remover of obstacles. He rules optimism, happiness, benevolence, and good judgment. The major gifts that Jupiter provides in my humble opinion, are wisdom, generosity, and optimism. The places where Jupiter can be obstructive or difficult are in its extreme adherence to tradition (one of the reasons given for Tara’s elopement with the moon, and from what I have seen, a resistance to any thing which has the appearance of unorthodoxy).

Over the past several years, I have read and heard an extraordinary amount of information about the benevolence of Jupiter, but this is an over-simplification that must be treated with extreme caution when interpreting a chart. I have seen cases in which Jupiter periods have, for certain individuals, caused the onset of cancer and even death! Jupiter, much like any planet, has its detrimental side.

On the positive side, Jupiter as a planet is usually extremely lucky, and its presence in the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth house acts very much like a guardian angel protecting the entire chart. It usually promotes great benefit to the house it occupies. Even when in its debilitation sign of Capricorn, it can give popularity and money, but usually the placement of Jupiter in Capricorn is detrimental for spousal happiness, luck, optimism, and good judgment.

Also, even in periods during which Jupiter has caused a great deal of distress, the trials of Jupiter (And there are some) usually produce a philosophical resignation that what is happening will ultimately benefit the individual (this is quite unlike the way we usually react to the trials of Saturn or the North Node — see the following section). Jupiter is a popular planet, and a great some of its worst attributes are the fact that its truisms are so conventional, that they bore us. Jupiter is also an expansive planet. Placed in or aspecting the first house, it produces optimism, association with conventional wisdom and success, a strong philosophical and traditional nature, and being well liked. It can also produce over weight in this position. (all of the benefic planets will produce some weight, but Jupiter is the heaviest.).

Jupiter is called Guru, which I have seen translated as either “heavy” or “the dispeller of darkness”. It radiates more heat than it reflects, in keeping with the theory that it is a failed second star in our solar system.

When Jupiter is exalted in Cancer, those possessing this placement have extremely strong ethics, are clever in work, and will generally give good and sound advice. Jupiter in Aquarius is also considered a fine placement, producing a very strong philosophical nature and good friendships and similar associations. If Jupiter aspects or is in the same sign with any other planet, it greatly expands the size and power of that planet.

Jupiter is one of the indicators or the husband in a woman’s chart; it is also considered one of the most important indicators for children, and is one of, though not the only indicator, of spiritual matters, spiritual teachers, and association with traditional religious traditions. The Moon (Chandra) is very beneficial in combination with Jupiter, and Jupiter is thought to be too non-conformist or selfish when in the same sign with, or aspected by Rahu, the North Lunar Node.

The primary quality of Jupiter is “expansion”. This principle usually produces very good results, in that it expands the outlook of an individual. It also expands opportunities for growth and opportunities to make money. Jupiter in the sign Cancer because Cancer (called Karka in Sanskrit) is one of the best indicators for public acceptance and being the fourth house, is the natural significator of education, and the Moon (ruler of Cancer) is the natural indicator of public life. It likes Jupiter, because Jupiter gives good advice to the public and tempers the Moon’s (the public’s) excesses through the introduction of patriotism, public gatherings, and societal passages as a way of controlling and channeling the often emotionally unstable energy of the Moon into constructive channels. This character, the idea of good advice and judgment, is the real reason that Jupiter is such a powerful benefic. Its expansiveness, combined with its ability to give solutions to problems, gives Jupiter the power to eliminate problems and help individuals on their path to acceptable behavior and fulfillment.

Jupiter came to earth as an avatar of Vishnu to return power to the devas after a righteous demon had taken over the world. When he met the demon king, he requested just enough land to cover three of his strides. When the king granted his wish, Jupiter grew to enormous size. His first stride covered earth, his second heaven. The demon king offered his own head for Jupiter’s foot. He lost everything he had, but because he had kept his promise, Jupiter promised him he would become King of Heaven (Indra) the next time the universe is created. Often, Jupiter will grant long term benefits for taking the right course of action. Jupiter attains maturity at age 16.

VENUS — THE GIVING BENEFIC

Venus (also called Sukra– THE BRIGHT) is, in my humble opinion, the least well-understood planet in Vedic / Hindu Astrology. One of the reasons for the genesis of this opinion is Venus’s status of the guru of the Asuras — the antigods or open opponents of dharma in Hindu mythology. This status is quite often not given the respect it deserves in many texts, and, of the popular Indian Jyotishis, only R. Santhanam seems to give Shukra his proper place. It is worth noting that, in Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, Shukra (Venus) is given the status of being the best benefic–more capable of giving goof results than even the great benefic Jupiter. It is this status in this text, possibly the most respected Vedic Astrology text ever written, that we should consider when analyzing Venus’ function in a chart.

Venus’ primary function, much more so than the other less spiritual functions assigned to this planet, is as the primary provider of bliss and happiness, regardless of the means through which this status is obtained. It is the primary planet of priests of all religions. The incarnation of Vishnu through Venus is Parasurama, the Warrior Priest who reestablished the dominance of the Brahmin caste in India. Those of us in the West who view the Indian caste structure have little knowledge that caste was supposed to be originally determined by nature; only after it was institutionalized under Jupiter (family) and Saturn (tradition) did it actually start to be passed down within families, excluding others. The ascendancy of those who are intellectually gifted is the desire of Venus, for this should theoretically bring happiness to all, for a variety of reasons. Shukra achieves maturity at age 24.

Venus is listed in various texts as being knowledgeable in the 64 arts. These are skills and abilities for every day living, including rituals. The Yajur Veda the Veda of rituals, is under the domain of Venus. Also Venus is the only graha capable of bringing those dead back to life. In very simple terms, everything which can reproduce or regenerate itself is under the rulership of Venus. Semen, Ojas– these two are the tools of immortality, for they allow DNA to replicate endlessly, giving us a form of immortality. Venus also has general rulership over the plant kingdom, which is extremely territorial, but which also has the ability to regenerate itself after long periods of dormancy–very much like Shukra’s experience in Shiva’s stomach. Shukra is actually beloved by all major sects, but is particularly strongly connected to Shiva. (There is a myth that Shukra learned a mantra to bring the dead back to life from Shiva after doing penance for a thousand years. Shukra/Venus used the mantra in the demons’ war against the gods. He would bring the dead back to life to fight again. Finally, the Gods petitioned Shiva to eliminate Shukra and Shiva swallowed Shukra, but Venus again petitioned Shiva from inside his stomach, seeking release, and Shiva relented, eventually releasing Shukra/Venus through his stomach. Shukra then resumed his position as teacher of the Rakshasas/Demons. There is another story related to this mantra, and it involved Jupiter sending his son to study with Venus in the hope that Jupiter’s son could learn this mantra. Venus guarded against letting this secret out, until the demons found out about this and killed Jupiter’s son, burned him into ash, and slipped the ash into Venus’ wine. Venus found out and uttered the mantra to bring Jupiter’s son to life again, but he regained consciousness in Venus stomach. He was forced to teach Jupiter’s son the mantra, so he could be brought to life again. But he cursed alcohol and intoxicants in the process, because they had led him to folly. Individuals with strong Venus should avoid intoxicants as they will not be favorable to them.

It is also worth noting that Shukra’s function as a teacher applies to us all, for we are, by nature, Rakshasic—we have reincarnated, and have desires to fulfill. This is far more rakshasic than devic.

SATURN — THE GIVER OF GRIEF

Saturn is perhaps the most feared planet in Indian astrology. It is, by definition, the weakest planet in Jyotish. Why then, all the paranoia connected with this planet? Primarily because, despite its weakness, it rules over misery, wasting away, hardship, poverty, privation, old age, and illness—pretty much everything we find unpleasant in life. Yet a strong Saturn has extremely good potential for power and authority. It is found to be very prominent in the charts of dictators and lawyers—those who deal with limitations and restrictions. The most interesting myth about Saturn connects to the birth of Ganesh. Parvati decides to show his new child to the world. Saturn declines, because he knows that he will destroy whatever he looks at. Parvati insists and Saturn’s gaze destroys the young child’s head. One of the gods (Shiva by some accounts, Vishnu by others) rushes out and finds the elephant’s head. This gives the child great wisdom and memory, and copious spiritual gifts. So Saturn’s gaze eliminates the first gifts, but also grants spiritual growth and development. Saturn’s placement in a chart indicates the major source of unhappiness in a person’s life, but promotes spiritual growth. Especially important are Saturn transits to the 12th, 1st and 2nd houses from the Moon, the 4th house from the Moon, and the 8th house from the Moon. Saturn aspects planets three, seven and ten signs away from it.

Saturn is, like most of the Vedic planets, capable of a wide range of significations, so it essential that anyone attempting to read Saturn look at its sign placement (it is exalted in Libra, and well placed in the two signs it owns (Capricorn and Aquarius). It is well placed in the third, sixth and eleventh houses of the chart. It is fallen in Aries and tends to become weak in this sign. But is that necessarily such a bad thing? Often you will notice that the more powerful Saturn becomes, for society as a whole, businesses and markets usually expand incredibly fast when Saturn is placed in Aries (Note: 1968-1970 and 1998-1970), but changes usually occur too fast and erratically to be sustained for long periods of time. And exalted or otherwise strong Saturn often produces economic constriction along with a consolidation of power (1981-1983, for example. Saturn also functions as a benefic for Libra, and Taurus rising, so it usually does well in either of these rising signs. It achieves maturity at age 34-36.

RAHU — THE CAUSE OF DISSATISFACTION AND NON-CONFORMITY
(Acts like the lord of the sign in which it is placed, or planets in which it is conjunction)
The great serpent Vasuki was one of the demons called to churn the elixir of immortality in the Vedic myths. This churning of the ocean caused powerful poison to emerge—this was swallowed and stuck in Shiva’s throat. The second thing to emerge was the Goddess Lakshmi, (like Aphrodite); a very few legends indicate she was promised to Shiva (the liberator) but loved Vishnu (the preserver) and ended up with him. The vast majority of legends indicate that Vishnu was her first and only husband and love. The third thing to come out was the Amrita (the elixir of immortality.) In some ways this parallels the stations of life: from birth comes struggle, absorbed by meditation (Shiva), then prosperity and its maintenance (Lakshmi and Vishnu), then true joy and happiness (The Amrita) or union with God.

The elixir was to be drunk by the gods, and the demons, although their physical might was needed to extract the elixir, were not to receive this. The consensus seems to be that they were too powerful to share this secret with, and the Gods would lose their only advantage in the great war between order and chaos. So the demons were given alcohol—but Vasuki saw that something was wrong, disguised himself as a god and drank the elixir. The Sun and the Moon saw that something was wrong and exposed the demon. As soon as this was noticed, Vishnu took out his discus and chopped the head of the demon off—but the demon had already received the gift of immortality and lived, as did the lower body, Ketu.

Needless to say, someone who is missing their body will automatically be rather unhappy and although immortal like the other gods (the Grahas or planets) will be seeking vengeance, particularly upon the entities that exposed it—namely the Sun and the Moon. Because of this need for vengeance, Rahu regularly stalks the Sun and the Moon and swallows them. Rahu wants and cannot absorb what is has, so along with its demonic energy, it rarely gets what it wants, or cannot hold onto it. Also, as a non-material Graha, it has no substance, so it acts like a ghost. Reflecting the fact that Rahu has this ghostly attribute, what comes during its dasa or sub-period it tough to hold onto—also it encourages people to get interested in occultism or even unhealthy pursuits. This attribute of Rahu can also cause a great deal of frustration, because Rahu is never satisfied, and it likes to be in control. So when Rahu activates in a chart, it can cause all sorts of bad actions. This is what causes Rahu’s intense discomfort. Rahu, like its shadow status indicates, has been shown as being exalted in Taurus, Gemini and sometimes Scorpio; it can also be considered debilitated in Sagittarius, Scorpio and Taurus. Its own sign is Aquarius.

Rahu also rules poison, demonic possession, witchcraft, affliction by ghost, foreigners, engineering, air travel and the unusual or exotic. It achieves maturity when one is 41 years old. Rahu is also the primary indicator of cancer and it acts like the planet that rules the sign in which it is placed.

KETU — THE UNKNOWN, THE THIEF
The lower half of the demon that swallowed the elixir of immortality, Ketu developed a snakehead after it separated from its birth head and was raised by a sage. Since Ketu does not have a head, it is the natural indicator of liberation and its direction is heaven ward. Its maturity is between the ages of 48 and 52. Ketu has a serpent’s tail and a snake’s head.

On the negative side, Ketu has very little interest in the material world, and being the lower part of a demon, the planet has little interest in preservation and can be quite destructive. It is said to be quite a bit like Mars, and is part (like Rahu) of the planetary army—so it can stand for anonymity and obscurity. It is also a thief and steals away material possessions in order to increase interest in spirituality. People with strong Ketu can be prone to depression, but are very psychic and sensitive and have a knack for stripping down to the details of any situation very quickly. It can, however, cause obsession, compulsive and erratic behavior. It can cause accidents, but also sudden elevations in position (President Carter’s and Princess Diana’s charts are excellent examples) but Ketu is not a high status planet and can expose people to fall from grace. It can also cause illnesses that are tough to diagnose, like viruses.

Ketu achieves maturity between ages 48 and 54.

Planets symbolise components of the Self. Everyone has these components. The various placements of the planets in the signs and in the houses make create human diversities. The meaning of the planets in Western and Indian astrology differs quite a lot.
This is especially true for the northern and southern Nodes (Dragon’s Head and Dragon’s Tail). We call the northern Node is Rahu and the southern Node Ketu.
Another difference between Indian and Western astrology is that there are but few Indian astrologers who work with the relatively recently discovered planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. We will not discuss these three planets in the following paragraph. However, we will give Rahu en Ketu special attention. Where the Indian interpretation of a planet differs from that in Western astrology, it will be emphasised in heavy printing.

PLANETARY DEFINITIONS

SUN: The Inner Light, cosmic intelligence, consciousness, life , the father, power and authority.
Darshan: Vedanta Yoga: Karma and Gnana
MOON: The mother, the past, the mind, daily communication, how we receive, feelings and emotions.

MERCURY: Objective intellect and differentiation, humour, writing, education, ideas, commerce, mental flexibility, travelling short distances.
Darshan: Vaisheshika Yoga: Gnana /Atharva Veda

VENUS: Beauty, refinement, charisma, good taste, love, marriage, sexuality, enjoyment of the good things in life, riches, the marriage partner in a man’s horoscope.
Darshan: Purva Mimamsa / Rituals Yajur Veda

MARS: Energy, potency and sexual passion, competitive attitude, sport, muscles, accidents, brothers and sisters, technical insight, action.
Darshan: Nyaya Yoga: Karma/Bhakti/Hatha Sama Veda

JUPITER: The guru or spiritual teacher planet, insight into the workings of the cosmos, creativity, luck, our religious principals, pleasure, party-time, children, the marriage partner in a female horoscope

Darshan: Uttara Mimamsa Yoga: Raj Yoga Rik/Rig Veda.

SATURN: Longevity, limitations, discipline, adversity, delays, melancholia and depression, fears, reserves, material values, concentration, ascetic demeanour, hard work.

RAHU/KETU: In Western astrology the dragon’s head or North Node (Rahu) has positive connotations and the dragon’s tail or South Node (Ketu) has negative connotations.. In Vedic astrology, Rahu grants success but can also cause anxiety and stress, while Ketu can increase spiritual sensitivity, awareness, but can also expose one to accidents, thefts and illnesses.

Darshan: Depends on ruling planet. Ketu naturally inclines one to Vedanta, however and Gnana Yoga. Rahu will encourage the person to “sample” paths or will orient the individual to technology or less traditional forms of yoga such as meditation tapes, technology, etc.

In Indian astrology however, both nodes are regarded as ‘shadow planets’ with negative connotations. A Sun or Moon eclipse is only possible if either the Sun or the Moon is near the nodes. Indian astrology regards Rahu and Ketu as forces who have the power to obscure the Sun and the Moon, which is regarded with negativity (they can obscure the light symbolised by the Sun). Rahu is the head of a mythological dragon and Ketu the tail. This dragon has the capacity to be able to swallow the Sun and the Moon.
Some of the things attributed to RAHU are hypnotism, mass trends, insanity, and self-delusion. Rahu can offer (temporary) material success, which could be an explanation for the positive value given to this shadow planet in the Western astrology. These successes may include for instance, the power to influence others, but it does not lead to inner satisfaction. Rahu can bring psychic powers and mediumship, but also paranoia and negative influences from entities.
We can see Rahu at work in the lives of some film stars, for example. These are the film stars who become extremely wealthy, and have an extravagant lifestyle, but who end their lives in an environment of drugs and decay. Many politicians and leading figures in the business world are under the strong influence of Rahu. They still have to learn that power and material riches do not lead to inner contentment.

KETU is also difficult. Ketu is associated with doubt, isolation, and alienation. However, Ketu can also lead us to concentration on a spiritual level, and further to spiritual deliverance (moksha). It can also generate fine insight, even to the point of genius. Those who turn their backs on a normal daily lifestyle in order to follow the spiritual path are strongly influenced by Ketu. Although the problem here is, that Ketu can give occasion to illusions in spirituality. For instance, following a guru who is of the opinion that he does not have to practice that which he preaches.
The energy of Rahu is directed outwards (extrovert), but the energy of Ketu is directed inwards (introvert).

Sun exaltation 10º Aries fall 10º Libra
Moon exaltation 3º Taurus fall 3º Scorpio
Mercury exaltation 15º Virgo fall 15º Pisces
Venus exaltation 27º Pisces fall 27º Virgo
Mars exaltation 28º Capricorn fall 28º Cancer
Jupiter exaltation 5º Cancer fall 5º Capricorn
Saturn exaltation 20º Libra fall 20º Aries
Rahu exaltation in Taurus/Gemini fall in Scorpio
Ketu exaltation in Scorpio/Sagittarius fall in Taurus

Planets are strong when they are placed in the sign or signs, which they rule. All the planets, with the exception of the Sun and the Moon, rule over two signs. This means that certain planets feel naturally at home in certain signs. The signs represent forces, which are similar to those of the planets who rule them. A planet feels very much at home when it is placed in its own sign, because both energy fields are similar and therefore work well together.

Planetary Friends and Enemies: Below you will find a table of planetary friends, enemies and neutrals:

Planet Friends Neutral Enemies Aspects
Sun Mo, Ma, Ju Me Ve, Sa 1, 7
Moon Su, Me Ma, Ju, Ve, Sa (none) 1, 7
Mars Su, Mo, Ju Ve, Sa Me 1, 4, 7, 8
Mercury Su, Ve Ma, Ju, Sa Mo 1, 7
Jupiter Su, Mo, Ma Sa Me, Ve 1, 5, 7, 9
Venus Me, Sa Ma, Ju Su, Mo 1, 7
Saturn Me, Ve Ju Su, Mo, Ma 1, 3, 7, 10
Rahu Ju, Ve, Sa Me Su, Mo, Ma 1, 7
Ketu Ma, Ve, Sa Me, Ju Su, Mo 1, 7

Up until now, we have only spoken about permanent friendships and animosities. What we mean by permanent is that they remain the same in every horoscope. In addition to this, we also have temporary friendships and animosities.
Temporary in the sense that they are different in every horoscope. The rule of thumb for this is as follows:
Temporary friends are the planets calculated from the second, third, fourth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth house, calculated from the house where a certain planet is placed.
Temporary enemies are planets calculated from the first, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth house, calculated from the house where a certain planet is placed.

You may want to create index cards that can be used as flash cards for memorization. The Levacy book provides a group of keywords connected to the planets. I would strongly suggest memorizing these and Pandit Ojha’s terms for your interpretive work.

Note that many significations of the planets are very similar to Hellenistic and Modern Astrology..

One of the most essential skills in astrology is to be able to measure the strength and nature of a planet. The Levacy text also provides a user-friendly table of planetary strengths (page 16). Notice any dramatic or contradictory changes in regard to planetary strength in Vedic charts as compared to their tropical positions. Charts are available under “course documents” on Moodle.com

The planetary relationship table shown above is good to memorize or have handy for reference.. The suggested readings of the Braha, Levacy, Ojha books give further explanation to the basic significations of the planets from the Vedic perspective. The Levacy book also provides a good section on retrograde, sandhi and combust planets,

There is a lot to absorb in this chapter and we will continue covering this next week in order to make sure all of this is absorbed.
A WORD ABOUT THE DATES IN THIS PRESENTATION
Dates in the history of this part of the world are notorious for the contention surrounding them. For instance, there are no less than four dates for the birth of the Buddha! This overview of Indian history is intended as one interpretation of Indian history and philosophy, intended to give an outline of major events and trends in history and philosophy, not as final word upon when these events have occurred. Please review this material in that spirit, and do not get concerned if it does not agree exactly with other sources you may have read.
MAJOR PARTS OF THIS TEXT ARE TAKEN FROM:
http://www.gatewayforindia.com/history.htm

Term 202 – Week Three: The Planets, continued, The Rashis (Signs) and the
Lagnas (Ascendants)

DIAGRAM 3: RULERSHIP

Sun rules Leo
Moon rules Cancer
Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo
Venus rules Taurus and Libra
Mars rules Aries and Scorpio
Jupiter rules Sagittarius and Pisces
Saturn rules Aquarius and Capricorn
Rahu Aquarius/Gemini
Ketu Pisces/some texts say Leo or Cancer
MOOLATRIKONA SIGNS
A moolatrikona sign is a sign which makes a planet especially powerful when it is placed there. Mula means root and trikona means triangle. In general, the moolatrikona sign is the positive sign (fire- or air sign) ruled by a certain planet. Only the Moon and Mercury are exceptions to the rule. The general opinion here being that the energy from a planet works better in its own positive (fire or air) sign than in its own negative (water or earth) sign.

DIAGRAM 4: MOOLATRIKONA SIGNS OF THE PLANETS

Sun Leo
Moon Taurus
Mercury Virgo
Venus Libra
Mars Aries
Jupiter Sagittarius
Saturn Aquarius

The Rashis
Aries/ Mesha
Taurus/VRISCHABHA
Gemini/MITHUNA
Cancer/Karka
Leo/Simha
Virgo/Kanya
Libra/Thula
Scorpio/Vrischika
Sagittarius/Dhanus
Capricorn/Makar
Aquarius/Kumbha
Pisces/ Meena

THE SIGNS
Signs are symbols of the HOW. A planet in a certain sign will give you certain information as to HOW that planet functions. For example: the Moon (symbolising the mind) in Taurus means that the person has a stable mind, because this is a characteristic accorded to Taurus.

ARIES: The first impulse, impulsive, headstrong, enterprising, man of action.

TAURUS: Stable and trustworthy, solid, steadfast, enjoys the good things of life.

GEMINI: Flexible, communicative, inquisitive, and sometimes restless.

CANCER: Sensitive, home loving, warm, sometimes a little shy.

LEO: Proud, likes to be the centre of attention, magnanimous, commanding.

VIRGO: Critical, precise, modest, helpful, and diligent.

LIBRA: Values harmony and justice, romanticist, companionable, appreciates beautiful things.

SCORPIO: Intense, passionate, mysterious, preoccupied with transformation sometimes concerned with power.

SAGITTARIUS: Optimistic preoccupied with expansion, philosophical, sometimes dogmatic.

CAPRICORN: Conservative, hard worker, serious, progresses slowly.

AQUARIUS: Independent, somewhat eccentric, overflowing with ideas, inventive, congenial.

PISCES: Intuitive, lively fantasy, idealistic, very sensitive, sometimes unpractical, tendency to self-pity.

Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are FIRE signs. They are the signs of individuality and expression. In India, these signs are associated with raja yoga. This is royal yoga, and its aim is to control the creative powers that are present in human life.

Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are EARTH signs. These are the practical signs, founded on matter. The type of yoga ascribed to the earth signs is karma yoga. Its aim is to teach mankind to place daily work and obligations in a spiritual context.

Gemini, Libra and Aquarius are AIR signs. These are the signs of human contact and communication. Jnana yoga is the type of yoga assigned here. This embraces understanding the complexities of the cosmic (by thinking and studying). Astrology is a form of jnana yoga.

Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are WATER signs. Here the central theme is sensitivity. This is the realm of bhakti yoga. This consists of devotion and unity with the Divine in a devotional way (the Hare Krishna, or the love of Mother Mary or Christ to give a non-Hindu example)

.
It may be new for a Western astrologer that the signs are associated with different forms of yoga. In this context, yoga is seen as a process by which someone may meet the Divine.
Please note that in many classical astrology texts you will not find the conventional definitions of signs such as those that are used in modern Western astrology. This is because signs, in predictive astrology, are not as commonly used to identify personality traits as in modern Western astrology, but are 1) used to describe locations or conditions and 2) conventional sign definitions are altered dramatically by the placement of the lords of the signs in the Vedic chart. So a Virgo rising with Mercury in Virgo will, for example, be very different from a Virgo rising with Mercury in Aries. The traits of the rising sign are modified exceptionally by these placements. Certain modern texts also try to define characteristics of rising signs based upon which houses different planets rule, but this is also limited because the house lordships get altered by moving placements as well. For examples of a traditional interpretation of signs, Pandit Gopesh Ojha’s book.provides some good models. For a system that ignores characteristics of signs entirely, see James Braha’s excellent introductory text Ancient Hindu Astrology for the Modern Western Astrologer. The latter book is much closer to the way I have seen charts functioning in practice.
DIAGRAM OF TEMPORARY MALEFICS AND BENEFICS
The following diagram is extremely important in understanding how to interpret planets for various rising signs. For instance, Jupiter, normally benefic, becomes malefic for Libra rising. Saturn, likewise, becomes an auspicious planet for this rising sign.
B = temporary benefic M = temporary malefic N = temporary neutral
* = raja yoga connection (exceptionally favourable)
The numbers refer to the houses over which the planets are the lords.

Ascendant Sun Moon Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn

Aries 5B 4B 3,6M 2,7M 1,8B 9,12B 10,11M

Taurus 4B 3M 2,5B 1,6B 7,12M 8,11M 9,10B*

Gemini 3M 2M 1,4B 5,12B 6,11M 7,10N 8,9N

Cancer 2N 1B 3,12M 4,11N 5,10B* 6,9N 7,8M

Leo 1B 12M 2,11M 3,10M 4,9B* 5,8B 6,7M

Virgo 12M 11M 1,10B 2,9B 3,8M 4,7M 5,6N

Libra 11M 10B 9,12B 1,8B 2,7M 3,6M 4,5B*

Scorpio 10B 9B 8,11M 7,12M 1,6B 2,5B 3,4N

Sagittarius 9B 8M 7,10M 6,11M 5,12 1,4B 2,3M

Capricorn 8M 7M 6,9B 5,10B* 4,11M 3,12M 1,2B

Aquarius 7M 6M 5,8B 4,9B* 3,10M 2,11M 1,12B

Pisces 6N 5B 4,7M 3,8M 2,9B 1,10B 11,12M

A less condensed version of this table is available in course documents.

IMPORTANT SOME OF THE RELATIONSHIPS IN THIS TABLE ARE SOMETIMES DISPUTED BY ASTROLOGERS. FOR INSTANCE, FOR TAURUS RISING, VENUS IS SOMETIMES CONSIDERED A MALEFIC BECAUSE OF CERTAIN RULES IN VEDIC ASTROLOGY. THIS TABLE IS A COMPROMISE BETWEEN CLASSICAL VEDIC PRINCIPLES AND MODERN AUTHORITIES.

Gomes Week Four Assigned Readings: Ojha (pp. 47-66) or Bhatt, Chapters 5 and 8; Braha (pp. 380-384), Levacy (pp. 23-35 & pp.43-84); Ojha (pp. 91-115 and pp. 149-176); Levacy (pp. 37-42 &pp. 85-124); Braha )pp. 376-378 and the main class text above for a listing of house interpretation.
See text in course work.

Gomes Week Four Suggested Readings: Braha (pp. 41-42) Parasara (pp. 48-62). Braha (pp. 37-40 & pp. 77-215), Parasara (pp.121-236)

Gomes Week Four Study Question: What is the lagna and why is it so important in Vedic Astrology? What planets are good and bad for your ascendant? How do you think this would show? Write two paragraphs.
List the bhavas according to life purpose ad whether these houses are favorable or unfavorable. Which is most benefic to least benefic? Why? What planets would be strongest in which house? Briefly give a rationale for your ordering.

Gomes Week Three Written Assignment:
1. List ten significations of each planet based upon what you have read in the assigned materials, Cite your sources. Pick one of the assigned charts and describe how you think the significations of each planet in the chart manifest. 500 words
2. Do the sample charts’ Vedic Ascendants seem to fit their personality and character? Why or why not. What planets would be more benefic based on their lagnas? What do you think is the most powerful planet in two of the assigned Vedic natal charts? 600 words.
3. Books like Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra do mention certain conditions that are very similar to the Hellenistic conception of Sect. Certain planets assume different functions depending on whether birth is a night or a day birth. These are not emphasized very much in contemporary Vedic Astrology. Why do you think this has developed this way? Provide possible explanations. 500 words. (Use the discussion forum)
4. Which bhava seems the most powerful in the Chart? Write a one to two paragraphs of analysis.
Gary

Term 202- Planetary Yogas and Drishtis (Aspects)
One element that cannot be overlooked in chart interpretation are graha and rasi aspects. In the simplest possible terms:

All planets aspect houses 7 houses away from themselves:
Jupiter also aspects houses 5 and 9 houses away
Saturn also aspects houses 3 and 10 houses away
Mars also aspects houses 4 and 8 houses away
Some hold that Rahu and Ketu share the aspects of Jupiter and others do not.
The following is for your information. We will not be using Rasi analysis in this course.
Aspects exist between signs regardless of the degree of Rasis: All mutable signs *Gemini, Sagittarius, Virgo and Pisces) aspect each other.
All fixed signs (Scorpio, Leo, Aquarius) aspect all movable/cardinal signs (Aries, Libra, Cancer) except the adjacent sign.
Most Vedic astrologers evaluate aspects regardless of the degrees of the planets in question, although they do concede the closer the aspect the more pronounced the effect. Also refer to Levacy’s text for a comprehensive analysis of two planet combinations.

Yogas
These are special combinations in a chart. The most common (and easy to remember) ones are connected to graha house rulerships, relationship to the Sun or Moon, and distribution of planets in the houses).
Refer to the table in Week 3 for good lords of rising signs.

Here are some of the more common yogas:

YOGA’S IN ASTROLOGY
A unique characteristic of Indian astrology is the yogas. Yogas are planetary positions that lead to a certain result. We have already discussed one yoga, that of raja yoga.
PANCHA MAHAPURUSHA YOGA’S
Pancha mahapurusha yoga’s are yoga’s that are easy to find in a horoscope.
The Moon is an exceptionally important planet in Indian astrology, So if we look for yoga’s we can look for them fro the ascendant but we can also take the Moon as a starting point in our search for yoga’s.
For instance, if we say that a certain planet must be placed in a kendra house to be considered as a planet making a yoga, the kendra house is calculated from either the ascendant or from the sign the Moon is in.
And now to the yoga‘s and their consequences:
The following five yogas are called Panch Mahapurusha Yogas, or the five great personality yogas. They are easily observable in a chart and provide the strong effects of these planets!
1) Ruchaka yoga: Mars in its own sign or in exaltation, and in a kendra house – brave, arrogant, the victor.
2) Bhadra yoga: Mercury in its own sign or in exaltation, and in a kendra house – intellectual, learned, rich.
3) Hamsa yoga: Jupiter in its own sign or in exaltation, and in a kendra house – religious, very fortunate.
4) Malavaya yoga: Venus in its own sign or in exaltation, and in a kendra house – wealthy, loves life, sometimes self-indulgent, good marriage, strong sense of justice.
5) Sasa yoga: Saturn in its own sign or in exaltation, and in a kendra house – powerful, strict, position of authority.
Here is a sample of some of the more popular yogas.

PARIVARTANA YOGA’S
A parivartana yoga occurs when planets are in each other signs.
There are three kinds of parivartana yogas.

Dainya yoga: This yoga occurs when one of the planets participating in the yoga is lord of the sixth, eighth or twelfth house. These are dushtana houses that generally have an unfavourable influence.

Kahala yoga: This occurs when one of the planets of this yoga is lord of the third house. The other planet may not be lord of the sixth, eighth or twelfth house (because we then have a dainya yoga). The third house is the house of energy and strength of the third house and Saturn lord of the ninth and tenth houses. Supposing the Moon is in Capricorn and Saturn in Cancer. Then we have a kahala yoga. This person will put a lot of energy (third house) into his career (tenth house) and into broadening his horizons (ninth house).

Maha yoga: When a parivartana yoga occurs between the lords of the first, second, fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth, tenth or eleventh houses, we have a maha yoga. The lords of the third, sixth, eighth or twelfth houses may not be involved, because then we would have either a dainya yoga or a kahala yoga. This yoga enriches the planets involved.

SCISSORS YOGA’S (KARTARI YOGA’S)
This group of yoga‘s is caused by planets being placed around a certain house and/or planet. The most generally occurring scissors yoga is when two benefics or malefics enclose a planet or a house.

Scissors yoga’s can also be called kartari yoga’s. Kartari means scissors.
We call enclosure by malefics of a planet or a house papa kartari yoga.
We call enclosure by benefics of a planet or a house shubha kartari yoga.
A house can also be enclosed, although there is no planet in that house.
All planets can form these scissors yoga’s, including Rahu and Ketu.

SCISSORS YOGA’S OF THE MOON
There are a number of scissors yoga’s that apply specifically to the Moon or the Sun.

Sunapha yoga. Planets in the second house calculated from the Moon – richness, financial benefits.

Anapha yoga: Planets in the twelfth house calculated from the Moon – religious.

Durudhura yoga: Planets in both the twelfth and the second house calculated from the Moon – rich and high morals (especially if it concerns beneficial planets).

Kemadruma yoga: There are no planets in either the twelfth or the second house calculated from the Moon. Other planets do not support the functions of the Moon. The person will feel lonely and lead a rather difficult life. Should the Moon be in either a kendra or a trikona house, or be in conjunction with another planet, this unfavourable yoga will be greatly neutralised.

SCISSORS YOGA’S OF THE SUN
Veshi yoga: When a planet is in the second house calculated from the Sun, it forms a veshi yoga. This yoga gives riches and status, at least when this yoga is formed by benefics.

Voshi yoga: This occurs when a planet is placed in the twelfth house calculated from the Sun. This yoga supports spiritual development and intelligence, at least when it is formed by a benefic

The eighth house represents death as well as sexual charisma. A powerful Mars in that house can lead to a violent death (Mars as powerful malefic) as well as a lot of sexual charisma. The Voshi yoga increases the above effects.

Ubhayachari yoga: There is a planet in both the second and the twelfth house calculated from the Sun. This brings good fortune in many areas, but again only if it involves benefics.

VARIOUS YOGAS
The book ‘Yogas in Astrology’ by K. S. Charak contains especially good descriptions of yoga’s. Light on Life, by Hart deFouw also gives a lot of attention to this subject.

Raja yoga: The lords of a kendra and a trikona house are in conjunction, mutually aspected or in reception. This is a combination of good fortune (trikona house) and action (kendra house), so take advantage of it. A raja yoga could be formed by one planet, and also by two planets.

Adhi yoga: There must be art least two, but preferably more, benefics in the sixth, seventh and eighth house calculated from the Moon – leadership.

Amala yoga: A benefic placed in the tenth house calculated from the ascendant or the Moon – philanthropic and benevolent attitude towards mankind, career in the social sector

Ashubha mala yoga: When all the benefics are placed in the sixth, eighth and twelfth houses – the benefics become powerless: misfortune, a difficult life.
Budhatiya yoga: The Sun and Mercury are in conjunction and are placed in the first, seventh, fifth or eleventh house – an intellectual.

Chandra Mangala yoga: The Moon and Mars in conjunction or opposition – riches (often caused by women). Chandra is the Indian name for the Moon, and Mangala is the name for Mars.

Charussagara yoga: Planets placed in all the kendra houses – good reputation and good fortune (better when it is formed by benefics).

Srik yoga: This occurs when only natural benefics placed in the kendra houses – comfort, good luck, abundance.

Sarpa yoga: Only malefics are placed in the kendra houses – misfortune, a difficult life.

Gaja Kesari yoga: Jupiter is in the first, fourth, seventh or tenth house as seen from the Moon – good luck, intelligence, and high morals.

Shakata yoga: When the Moon is placed in the sixth, eighth or twelfth house, calculated from Jupiter – fluctuating fortunes.

Maha Bhagya yoga: For a man: The ascendant, the Sun and The Moon are placed in uneven signs and he is born in the daytime – very fortunate.

Saraswati yoga: When Jupiter, Venus and Mercury are placed in
> kendra houses or
> in the sign of a friend, good friend, own sign or exalted or
> in the second house
the person will be a writer, learned, a speaker, an intellectual.
All three planets (Jupiter, Venus and Mercury) have to meet at least one of the demands as stated above.
When they are in a favourable position, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury can provide wisdom.

Vasumathi yoga: Benefics placed in upachaya (the third, sixth, tenth or eleventh houses) houses calculated from the Moon or the ascendant – riches.

Above materials Copyright Roeland DeLoof.

Can you identify any of these combinations in the charts you have reviewed so far?

Term 202 – Introduction to the Nakshatras:
The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology
Nakshatra translates as “that which does not decay”. These represent the primordial zodiac of ancient Vedic culture. Research of the Indus Valley scripts indicates that the nakshatras may have been the original Hindu zodiac that predated the use of the twelve signs
The Nakshatras are a standard feature of Vedic Astrology and can be used for determining the sequence of events in a person’s life (see Week 9); for selecting an auspicious time to start an event (this is a practice called electional astrology or muhurtha, which is not covered in Term 202); for Prasna (or Horary astrology), for relationship compatibility (see lesson 10) and for analyzing personality traits, especially for personal points in the Vedic chart like the Ascendant and the Moon. Many Vedic astrologers use these 27 nakshatras (which cover exactly 13 degrees and 20 minutes) as personality trait indicators, much the way that Western astrology uses the constellations.

The Nakshatras sometimes extend over more than one sign, and they are often judged to have planetary rulers ( I must caution the students that this is not universally accepted,.). Looking at the planetary ruler of a nakshatras will often tell you more about a planet located in a sign, and some astrologers look to see where the lords of nakshatras are located to tell them more about the chart. There is a list of the meanings of the nakshatras in the Beckman, Levacy and Roebuck (now out of print—see readings)) books. Please refer to these and to the following list of nakshatras.

Ashwini: Natives of Ashwini are usually beautiful in appearance. They love to be adorned in good jewelry and cloths. They are sharp-witted, accomplished and unperturbed. Usually they have a calm temperament, they belong to Mesha (Aries) rasi. Ruler: Ketu
Bharani: Natives of Bharani usually have an immense zest for life. They are intellectually inclined, and have scientific bend of mind. They enjoy good health and prosperity. They have a steady mind, and they seldom tell lies. They belong to Mesha (Aries) rasi. Ruler: Venus
Krittika: Natives of Krittika have a strong physique and they enjoy good health and long life, usually they have insatiable lust, and they are greedy in there eating habits. As a rule they are very cunning and deceitful. However they are inclined to enjoy fame and socially they move in high circles. Krittika Nakshatra 1st pada belongs to Mesha (Aries) rasi and the rest 3 padas to Vrishabha (Taurus) rasi. Ruler: Sun

Rohini: Natives of Rohini usually have exceptional large eyes. They are honest and truthful in there dealings, and generally they are generous and charitable. Talent conversationalists, they have an unperturbed mind. They belong to Vrishabha (Taurus) rasi. Ruler: Moon
Mrigasira: Natives of Mrigasira generally suffer from inferiority complex. They are persevering in nature, but love an easy way of life. Money comes to them easily. The first two-Nakshatra padas are belonging to Vrishabha (Taurus) rasi and the next two belong to Mithuna (Gemini) rasi. Ruler: Mars
Ardra: natives of Ardra are usually not very trust worth. Generally they are not very sincere. They are proud and often self-centered. They are given to quick temper. These natives belong to Mithuna (Gemini) rasi. Ruler: Rahu
Punarvasu: natives of unnerves rarely enjoy good health. They can easily become addicted to alcohol and drugs. Though they are generally polite and tactful, when aroused, they may easily loose control over their tongues. In business dealings they are usually clever and cunning, if necessary arises. The first 3 padas belong to Mithuna (Gemini) rasi and the rest to Karka (Cancer) rasi. Ruler: Jupiter

Pushya: natives of Pushya casually have a calm mind highly intellectual, they are usually dutiful, law abiding and righteous. They are noble in their outlook and they are philanthropic. They belong to Karka (Cancer) rasi. Ruler: Saturn
Ashlesha: natives of Ashlesha generally have a robust physique. They are of a cheerful temperament, and they have a great zest for life. However it is not unusual to find some of them insincere and cunning. Gratefulness is not a quality associated with the native of Ashlesha. They belong to Karka (Cancer) rasi. Ruler: Mercury.
Magha: natives of Magha love an easy luxurious life. It is rare to find industrious people among them. They love to surround themselves with beautiful things, particularly flowers of co lour and fragrance. Prosperity comes to them rather easily. They belong to Simha (Leo) rasi. Ruler: Ketu
Purva Phalguni: natives of Purva Phalguni are philanthropic minded and noble hearted. They are generally pleasant in their behavior, and tactful in their speech. They have the knack to see ahead and therefore they make very good businessman. At times they suffer from unsteady mind. They belong to Simha rasi (Leo). Ruler: Venus
Uttara Phalguni: natives of Uttara Phalguni usually suffer from poor appetite. They are intellectually inclined and healthy minded. Generally, they are sincere, truthful and noble hearted, though short-tempered. The first pada falls in Simha (Leo) rasi and the rest three in Kanya (Virgo) rasi. Ruler: Sun

Hasta: Natives of Hasta are usually brave and chivalrous. Besides other noble qualities, they are grateful and charitable. However at times they can be merciless and stealthy. They are usually prosperous in the later part of life. they belong to Kanya (Virgo) rasi. Ruler: Moon
Chitra: Natives of are especially distinguished for their beautiful physique. They are noted for their shapely figure and attractive features, particularly eyes. They are fond of good clothes and ornaments. Though they can be considered good-natured in general, they are not usually sharp-witted and bright. It is not unusual to find being stringy. The first two padas belong to Kanya (Virgo) Rasi and the other two belongs to Thula (Libra) rasi. Ruler: Mars
Swathi: Natives of Swathi are well known for there dignified and polishing manners. They are intelligent, scholarly and are able administrators. Tactful in their behavior, they have great self-control. Dutiful and generally law abiding, they make excellent citizens. They belong to Thula (Libra) rasi. Ruler: Rahu
Vishakha: Natives of Vishakha are well known for their jealousy and stringiness. They are short tempered, but at the same time they are god fearing and honest. The first three padas belong to Thula (Libra) rasi and the next one belongs to Vrischika (Scorpio) rasi. Ruler: Jupiter.
Anuradha: Natives of Anuradha are distinguished for their beautiful hair and eyes lashes. Dutiful and god fearing they have great attraction for the opposite sex. They will be prosperous and honored by the great. However, natives of Anuradha will find themselves luckier in a foreign county. They belong to Vrischika (Scorpio) rasi. Ruler: Saturn

Jyeshtha: Natives of Jyeshtha have very bad tempers, giving way to violent outbursts at times. Generally they are not very prosperous, though they are charitable. They belong to Vrischika (Scorpio) rasi. Ruler: Mercury.
Moola: Natives of Moola are very proud people. They have bad tempers and not favorable disposed towards relatives. They have a constant, steady mind and they love discipline. They belong to Dhanus (Sagittarius) rasi. Ruler: Ketu.
Purva Ashada: Natives of Purva Ashada stand out in a crowd because of their stature. Generally they are proud and noble minded. Kind to people, and generous to the poor and the needy, natives of Purva-Ashada are loyal friends, but dangerous enemies. They belong to Dhanus (Sagittarius) rasi. Ruler: Venus.
Uttara Ashada: Natives of Uttara Ashada are distinguished by their majestic appearance. Strong and muscular they usually have long nose and chiseled features. They have good discerning eyes and they are generally gentle and kind. Fond of good food and good company, they are of a pleasant disposition. The first pada belongs to Dhanus (Sagittarius) rasi and the rest three Makara (Capricorn) rasi. Ruler: Sun.
Shravana: Natives of Shravana distinguish themselves for their high intellect and noble qualities. They are generally of polished manners and dignified behavior. They have great enthusiasm for life. They belong to Makara (Capricorn) rasi. Ruler: Moon

Dhanishta: Natives of Dhanishta are known for their independent nature and liberal outlook. Highly esteemed for their courage and valor, natives of Dhanishta are also generally fond of music. The first and second pada belongs to Makara (Capricorn) rasi, and the third and fourth belong to Kumbha (Aquarius) rasi. Ruler: Mars
Satabishak: These natives possess high intellect and virtuous conduct. Always truthful and uncompromising, they are the beloveds of everyone. They belong to Kumbha (Aquarius) rasi. Ruler: Rahu.
Purva Bhadra: Natives of Purva Bhadra are easily given to melancholy. They usually think lesser of themselves than they are actually worth. They are intelligent and are usually gifted speakers. They easily give in to jealousy and greed. Generally they have very little faith in god. The first three padas belong to Kumbha (Aquarius) rasi and the fourth one Meena (Pisces) rasi. Ruler: Jupiter.
Uttara Bhadra: Natives of Uttara Bhadra have a great aptitude for arts and science. Usually talkative they are argumentative, but tactful and diplomatic. They are generally charitable and kind. They belong to Meena (Pisces) rasi. Ruler: Saturn.
Revati: Natives of Revati possess a perfect build and a robust constitution. They are popular heroic and have a great attraction for the opposite sex. Tactful and diplomatic they have a wandering mind. They belong to Meena (Pisces) rasi. Ruler: Mercury.

Nakshatras are also emphasized in relationship compatibility analysis that will be explored later. We will explore their use for muhurtha or electional astrology in 300B. Since there is so much material to read this week, focus primarily on moon and ascendant nakshatras.

Week’s Goals:

This week we will be:

1) reviewing key elements of chart interpretation
2) developing a strategy for successful chart interpretation

This week’s class:

I expect and really want you to be contacting me a lot during this week, as the interpretation process involves balancing everything you already know.
This week will focus on the keys to natal chart analysis. You will be pulling together basic principles you have learned in earlier weeks (and may have already started to draw some conclusions about). The Levacy book provides some basic steps in chart interpretation. First, he divides the planets in natural benefics (Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter) and malefics (Sun, Mars, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu). Next, the methods of determining whether a planet is favorable or unfavorable are presented. This is following by a section on analyzing the strength or weakness of a house. Levacy concludes by providing a step-by-step guide to analyzing a natal chart and a method to measure planetary strength (pages 254-255). Try measuring an ascendant ruler using this planetary strength and benefic analysis chart. Pick any chart you like.

The Beckman book provides a detailed analysis of what the lords of certain houses do in other houses. James Braha’s book Ancient Hindu Astrology for the Modern Western Astrologer provides a marvelous exposition of this technique on pp. 71-215, and Pandit Gopesh Ojha offers good examples of chart interpretation techniques on pp. 219 to 249 of his text.

The Braha text demonstrates natal chart interpretation through the analysis of famous personalities. Peruse pp. 251-337 in particular for interpretation techniques and to avoid interpretational errors.
On
I would suggest the following strategy in analyzing the natal chart.
1)Use the Levacy principles for determining the favorability of a planet and strength of a house.
2) Use the Beckman, Levacy, and (if you have it), Braha’s Ancient Hindu Astrology for the Modern Western Astrologer text for chart analysis. Apply some of Ojha’s principles for a sample. Also, focus on the disposition of the benefic and malefic planets for each rising sign as shown in the table in Week 4. These will give you the best short cut to assessing the overall luck in the chart.
3)See if you can identify prominent yogas and aspects in the chart (refer to Week 6) and interpret them.
4) Identify the Ascendant and Moon nakshatras and see what these tell you.
I expect there will be a good deal of interaction with the class this week. Chart synthesis is as much an art as a science, so don’t be overwhelmed by the level of detail here. Part of the skill of interpretation comes from knowing what to omit.

Forecasting and Prediction- Dashas (Planetary
Periods), Gochara (Transits) and Ashtakavarga

Dasas (planetary periods) and Gocharas (transits)
Dasas or planetary periods of Vedic Astrology constitute a comprehensive system of revealing the developmental life cycle unfoldment. Dasha means a “stage or condition in life”. These planetary periods are very helpful in understanding the seasons of life and planning long term goals. This dynamic assessment technique estimates when positive potentials as well as life challenges may occur. The dashas are indicators of when certain karmas have matured or ripened.
In the most commonly used system of mahadasas in the Vedic System, called the Vimshottri mahadasa system, the planets are assigned a certain number of years for their karma to manifest in a chart. There are MANY mahadasa systems in Jyotish, most of which work, from my humble experience. This is the place to start though.

The years assigned to the various planets, based upon where the Moon sits in your chart, are as follows:

Aswini, Magha, and Moola,: Ketu- 7 Years
Bharani, Purva Phalguni. Purva Shadha -Venus 20 years
Krittrika, Uttara Phalguni, Uttara Shadha – Sun 6 years
Rohini, Hasta, Shravana – Moon 10 years
Mrigasira, Chitra, Dhanistha – Mars 7 years
Ardra, Swati, Satabishak – Rahu 18 years
Punavarsu, Vishaka, Purva Bhadra — Jupiter 16 years
Pushya, Anuradha, Uttara Bhadra – Saturn 19 years
Ashlesha, Jyestha, Revati – Mercury 17 years

The degree at which a planet is placed in the nakshatras is important; if placed in the middle of a nakshatras, the dasas will start from the planetary subperiod represented by that point. It usually happens that a person does not start life from the very beginning of one dasa. Almost always, time will have elapsed from the beginning of that dasa.

Subperiod planets: Mahadasas shift all the time as the years pass. Basically, when you go through the subperiod of a major planet, such as Jupiter-Saturn, you should note when planets are well-placed from each other (in the same sign, or four, five, seven, nine, ten or eleven signs away). If they are good effects will show. If not, difficulties and struggles will show.

In terms of priority, the following produce good overall planetary periods:
The lords of the first, fourth, fifth, ninth and tenth houses.
Planets well placed by sign and house (in one of the above houses), even if not one of these lords.

The following tend to give bad effects:
Planets that are lords of the 8th,12th, 6th and 3rd houses.
Planets located in these houses

The general rule of interpretation is as follows:

If these planets are well-placed, strong and favorable to the rising sign, they will give good results. If they are weak, afflicted by malefic planets or unfavorable to the rising sign, they will give bad results. If they are a mix of these two extremes, they will give mixed results. Pay close attention to planets that are moving over the lord of the mahadasa, will provide good effects or bad effects, depending on whether they are benefic or malefic planets and whether the sarvastakavarga (see below) points for that house are high.

Subperiod planets: Mahadasas shift all the time as the years pass. Basically, when you go through the subperiod of a major planet, such as Jupiter-Saturn, you should note whether planets are well-placed from each other (in the same sign, or four, five, seven, nine, ten or eleven signs away). If they are good effects will show. If not, difficulties and struggles will show.

Sarvastakavarga

This is a numerical weighting system that allows us to see how strong houses are. If a bhava has high sarvastakavarga points (more than 26), then benefic planetary transits will be more positive and malefic transits will be less malefic. If the sarvastakavarga score is high, then the planet will be less beneficial, if a benefic, and more destructive, if a malefic.
Gocharas are another name for transits or the movements of the planets in the sky. In the simplest terms possible, it is essential to see where planets are moving in the sky to determine if the planet (especially one which is the mahadasa planet lord) is moving through favorable signs and house from your Moon or rising sign. This will let you know the current karmas in your chart, as well as the inherent qualities in your chart seen by the placement of the planets at your birth. Gocharas also assume great importance because they show the current influence of a mahadasa.
Transits work in conjunction with and independently of, the current major planetary period. For example, certain Jupiter transits from the Moon (this is traditionally used) and the rising sign give great opportunities in life. But gochara are transient; whether the person can turn these opportunities into an enduring situation relies on the karma in the chart, as shown by the dasas.The current dasha planet can have more effect in its transit, especially if it is strong natally. The transits of the strongest planet natally or the ruler of the ascendant are always important. The Ashtakavarga system measures the strength of each house/sign in bindus, also shows the transiting power of a particular planet through a rashi. The Levacy book also provides some excellent guidelines for judging the effects of planetary transits (pages 266-268).

The Ojha and Bhatt books give some great concepts for dasa interpretation; Phaladeepika gives some detailed explanations of favorable and unfavorable transits for planets (from every conceivable place) and Parsasara provides the most detailed exposition of how to judge dasas in Vedic astrology. I would recommend reading all of these materials (especially Parasara if it is available to you).

Vedic astrologers also use a technique called a Varshaphal (“Fruit of the Year”) chart, which is essentially a solar return chart. This looks at the potential for the next year in a person’s life. Since the methodology for this chart is rather complicated, and sometimes uses different rules than we have been discussing, we will not be covering it in class, but I have provided an article in the suggested reading for those of you who may want to learn more about the Varshaphal chart. You may be interested to know that its rules for interpretation of aspects are similar to those of modern tropical astrology.

Gomes Week Seven Assigned Readings: Beckman(Dasas) Levacy (pp. 259-316); Mantreswar (pp. 294-325) Ojha (pp. 260-314) or Bhatt, Chapters 11 and 21; do not read any information on “Vedha” for this class)

Gomes Week Seven Study Question: What is the current Dasha/Bhukti operating in one of the assigned individual’s life? What effects might she experience during this planetary period? What were the Dasha/Bhuktis operating? What are the potential astrological significations of death during those planetary

Term 202 – Vargas (Divisional Charts) and
Vedic Relationship Compatibility
This is an overview of the vargas or amshas of jyotish. They are also called divisional charts and are used to fine-tune the meaning of the birth chart. Planets placed in their exalted, own sign or in a sign of a friend in these charts gain strength, while those placed in their debilitation sign of their enemies are weakened. The varga charts focus on specific areas of life. For example, the dasamsha or tenth harmonic chart reflects career, status and other professional accomplishments (10th house affairs). The most important of the sixteen primary divisional charts is the ninth harmonic or navamsha chart. It reflects one’s deeper spiritual tendencies (9th house) as well as marriage karma (7th house), which is usually an indicator of a person’s luck as well. The navamsha represents the “fruit of the tree” of life, most often showing its full effects after the mid-thirties.

The varga charts numbers and names are as follows:
2nd Hora: Used to assess wealth.
3rd Drekkana: Used to assess siblings, skills, desires, and courage.
4th Charturthamsa: Used to assess parents, home, cars.
7th Saptamsa: Used to assess children, creativity, sometimes marriage
9th Navamsa: Used to assess luck, marriage, spirituality
10thDasamsa: Usesd to assess career, action in the world.
12thDwadasamsa: Used to assess grandparents; sometimes past lives
16th Shodasamsa: Used to assess education, housing and vehicles.
20th Vimsamsa: Used to assess general luck, religious tendencies,
24thSiddhamsa: Used to assess power and status in the world, also the capacity for right action and learning
27th Bhamsa: Strength; level of energy
30th: Trimsamsa:Misery, disappointments, illness
45th Akshavedamsha: General luck, used like navamsa, can be used for chart rectification.
60th Shastiamsha: General, Can be used for twins, for chart rectification, and for spiritual purposes

Use of Navamsa in Jyotish

The Navamsa chart is the most important varga or harmonic chart in Jyotish.

This chart is extraordinarily useful in a variety of ways.

The Navamsa chart can be used in any of the following ways:

1) To assess the potential for luck in the chart;
2) To analyze relationship potential between two charts, in terms of marriage, business partnerships and even enemies
3) To see the nature of the person’s spouse
4) To analyze the person’s destiny, particularly after the late 30’s and early 40’s
5) To identify planets that are weak or strong in the birth chart, but show contrary significations in the navamsa. One very important condition in a Vedic chart is when a planet is in the same sign in the navamsa chart as in the natal chart. This is called Vargottma and it makes the planet very prominent in the chart. If planet is debilitated in both charts however, the status of the planet is doubly weakened.
6) To assess combinations of planets using both navamsa and the birth chart as a way of analyzing good or poor dasa results
7) To see the potential for career in a chart
8) To see the potential for unusual encounters in a chart;
9) To determine the deity the person will worship and the person’s potential for moksha or liberation.

Read the Gomes’ article (SEE THE ATTACHMENT IN WEEK 10) in order to assess the wide variety of ways the Navamsa can be used in a Vedic chart. You will not be expected to use the variety of techniques discussed, just to get an idea of the range of flexibility the navamsa possesses.

The reading assignment this week also focuses on an introduction to Vedic relationship compatibility. The Gomes article (SEE THE ATTACHMENT TO WEEK 10) provides a brief overview of the importance of compatibility components in comparing two charts. The traditional Indian compatibility system, called the Kuta point system, is utilized most often to measure the harmony between the natal Moons of a couple, but it can be extended to other planets so sensitive points between the charts can be examined more carefully. The Moon compatibility can reveal emotional and psychological stability and the potential to create a nurturing home environment. In week 3, there was a lengthy discussion of Mars’ affliction that you should review now, as emphasis is also placed on the longevity of each individual as well as the strength of the seventh and eighth houses. (Mars’ affliction sometimes indicated the untimely demise of a spouse, but in our culture it can indicate friction leading to a divorce as well.) The navamsha charts can also be compared for compatibility. Dasas are also analyzed in the navamsha chart to reveal trends in the marriage karma. Vedic synastry will be explored in more depth in Term 422.

Gomes Assigned Readings: Braha (pp. 221-337); Levacy (pp.235-258) ; Ojha (pp. 177-192; pp. 220-249); Levacy (pp. 259-316); Mantreswar (pp. 294-325) Ojha (pp. 260-314; do not read the section on Vedha for this class) ; Braha (pp. 251-306) Levacy (pp. 225-230 & pp. 327-333) Gomes “The Navamsa in Vedic Astrology” “ Vedic Compatibility: Is Relationship Karma a Matter of Luck or Effort?” See posted articles.
Gomes Suggested Readings: Braha (pp. 71-215); Braha (pp. 217-309); Gomes “ Combining Varshaphal and Birth Charts”; Parasara (pp. 626-798); Braha (pp. 13-15).

OTHER ASSIGNED READINGS ARE IN THE ATTACHMENTS IN WEEK 10

Gomes Study Question:

Which graha and bhava are extremely strong in one of the assigned individuals’ Vedic chart and why?

What is the current Dasha/Bhukti operating in one of the assigned individual’s life? What effects might she experience during this planetary period? What were the Dasha/Bhuktis operating? What are the potential astrological significations of death during those planetary periods? (Use discussion forum)

Gomes Written Assignments:

1. Using the above technique sequence as a guide, write a 500 word essay on the strengths and challenges of one of your assigned charts regarding family and career.

2. Where are Jupiter and Saturn currently transiting in one of the assigned charts’ Vedic chart? What houses are they aspecting? What potential effects may occur due to these transits? What period was occurring during major crises in these individuals’ lives.
The following is an article by Gary Gomes describing how the Varshaphal chart works. This will be the required reading for this week:

Varshaphal charts are intended to give a microscopic viewpoint of the chart of the individual karmic pattern of the individual. Literally, Varshaphal means “fruit of the year”. But the Varshaphal chart, at least as I was taught it, was never intended to be a chart that was interpreted independently of the annual chart. As a matter of fact, the notable teacher from India, Dr. K.S. Charak, who lectured on Varshaphal and other Indian astrological techniques, insisted that the Varshaphal chart would never manifest anything that did not show in the natal chart.
If this is true, why even study the Varshaphal chart? First of all, similar to certain types of Jaimini systems, the Varshaphal reveals at an instant what the birth chart can only show through intensive analysis. The Varshaphal places a microscope over the entire chart and focuses all of the Jyotish elements in one year. Secondly, most classical Vedic systems use the Moon as the sole predictive indicator. The Varshaphal chart, refreshingly, takes certain perspectives from the Sun and/or like certain elements in Jaimini (the Jaimini Karakas) and other types of predictive systems contained within the Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra (specifically Karaka dasas), allows the degrees of the planets some role in when their effects will manifest. Finally, it allows individuals the perspective of judging a single year based upon a single starting point that is eminently recognizable to most individuals. To be quite honest, to the layman (and even to certain astrologers) the Jyotish system as it is currently practiced is quite complicated, and the timing of mahadasas by date is often very difficult to follow. Why not give the consumer of astrology a standard reference point, such as an overview of how their year will be?
The Varshaphal chart also charts the progress of the soul…where the Sun sits and how the person’s evolution is progressing. This is an important element to map in a person’s life.

SOME VARSHAPHAL BASICS
Chart construction
The single easiest way to calculate a Varshaphal chart is the method specified in the Uttara Kalamrita. Essentially, one should just figure out the degrees and minutes at which the Sun sat when you were born, then figure out when the Sun will reach that same position during the year in question. Because degrees and minutes will be included in the calculation, one can estimate the lagna (the sign rising in the Eastern horizon as well. This can be calculated quite easily using an ephemeris for those who do not possess a computerized program. For those who have a computer program but who do not have a “Varshaphal” option, locating the sun placement is a bit of trial and error, but one can usually get the exact degrees and minutes, and this will produce the entire chart for you. Finally, the commercially available larger vedic astrology programs contain Varshaphal calculation and charts as installed options—just input the year you desire and you will be all set. (One element of Varshaphal that I will not discuss in this lecture is the sahams, not because they are invalid but because this will exceed the time limits of this lecture.)
Varga charts
Standard varga charts are calculated as they are in the birth chart for the year. So the sixteen standard varga charts are included in most Varshaphal calculations. These can be interpreted in the same way that the natal chart vargas are to be interpreted. In addition, there are several additional varga charts that are apparently derived from the Tajika (Varshaphal) system. The primary additional vargas that are introduced into Jyotish are:
The Panchamsa – the one-fifth divisional chart: Useful for matters connected to children, creativity, past-life credit, mantras and other related matters. This chart can be interpreted in the same way as a natal chart can be interpreted, but it yields the best results when one looks at the fifth house in this chart, Jupiter, Venus and the fifth lords in this chart, the varshaphal chart and the natal chart.

The Shastamsa – the one-sixth divisional chart: Useful for assessing health matters, enemies and obstacles. This chart should be analyzed by looking at the sixth house in this chart, Saturn, Mars, Ketu and Rahu, and the sixth house lords of this, the varshaphal and natal charts. Spiritual sadhana or service can also be assessed through this chart.
The Ashtamsa – the one-eighth divisional chart. This chart can be used to assess long term obstacles in life, problems in relationships, hidden problems and even chronic illnesses (that could lead to death) for the individual. Again one would look at the eighth house in this chart, Saturn, Mars, Rahu and Ketu and the lords of the eighth house in this chart, the birth chart and the annual chart.
The Ekadamsa – the one-eleventh divisional chart. The Ekadamsa chart is used to assess financial gains, friendships, status, and elder siblings. The factors to look at in this chart are the eleventh house in this chart; the eleventh lord in the natal chart, in the annual chart and in this chart, as well as Jupiter, Venus and Mars.
Muntha and Year Lord.
The Muntha is the progressed rising sign in the birth chart. Basically this is used for determining the central focus of the year and is also considered when interpreting which planet should be “lord of the year”. The major idea behind the Muntha is that it is good when placed in a benefic house (such as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 9th, 10th, or 11th houses), difficult placed in the 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 12th houses.
(Please keep in mind that planets in the eighth and twelfth houses are not necessarily evil; as a matter of fact, they can produce surprising increases in status during their periods, especially if the individual is unselfish or engaged in some kind of spiritual practice or service.)

There are five planets that are considered office bearers in Varshaphal charts. These are the:
1) Muntha Pati or the lord of the sign in which the Muntha is placed
2) Janma Lagna Pati or the lord of the ascendant in the birth chart
3) Varsha lagna or the lord of the ascendant in the annual chart
4) Tri Rasi Pati or the lord of the Tri-Rasi (this changes from sign to sign according to whether the Varshapravesha rising sign occurs during the day time or the night time.
For Aries rising, the day time Tri-Rasi Pati is the Sun; the night time is Jupiter.
For Taurus rising, the day time Tri-Rasi Pati is Venus; the night time is Moon.
For Gemini rising, the day time Tri-Rasi Pati is Saturn; the night time is Mercury.
For Cancer rising, the day time Tri-Rasi Pati is the Venus; the night time is Mars.
For Leo rising, the day time Tri-Rasi Pati is the Jupiter; the night time is the Sun.
For Virgo rising, the day time Tri-Rasi Pati is the Moon; the night time is Venus.
For Libra rising, the day time Tri-Rasi Pati is the Mercury; the night time is Saturn.
For Scorpio rising, the day time Tri-Rasi Pati is Mars; the night time is Venus.
For Sagittarius rising, the day time Tri-Rasi Pati is Saturn ; the night time is Jupiter.
For Capricorn rising, the day time Tri-Rasi Pati is Mars; the night time is Mars.
For Aquarius rising, the day time Tri-Rasi Pati is the Jupiter; the night time is Jupiter.
For Pisces rising, the day time Tri-Rasi Pati is the Moon; the night time is the Moon.
5)Dina-Ratri Pati or the lord of the Sun sign occurring during the day time or the lord of the Moon sign if the Varshapravesha occurs at night.

The lord of the year should meet two essential qualifications.
It must aspect the Varshaphal rising sign (Varshapravesha)
It must be the strongest of the planets aspecting the lagna.
In cases where no office bearer aspects the rising sign, the Muntha lord automatically becomes the year lord. According to some sources, the Moon can never become the year lord. According to others, this restriction does not apply. Strength is determined from the status of the planets according to the Pancha-vargiya bala, a rather complicated system of assessing planetary strength. As the name implies, five factors are used:
Griha bala or Kshetra Bala – points assigned if a planet is in its own house. 30 points are the most given for a planet in its own sign. The low point is 7.5 for a planet in an enemy’s sign.
Uccha bala – as the name implies, points are given based upon how close a planet is to its exaltation sign. The most a planet can get for being at highest exaltation is 20 units; the least is zero (for deep debilitation). There are a series of calculations using degrees and minutes in order to calculate the points for planets between highest exaltation and lowest debilitation.
Hudda bala- a special feature of this system found nowhere else in Hindu astrology. Each sign is divided into five parts, each with its own hudda or leader (the Sun and Moon do not own any huddas). If a planet falls in its own Hudda, it gets 15 points (the most); in a friend’s Hudda, 11:15 points, in an enemy’s Hudda, 3:45 points. The calculations for this are actually a bit complicated and outside the realm of this article.

Drekkana Bala—This is a direct quote from Dr. K. S. Charak’s text, Varshaphala. “The Drekkana lords for the consideration of the Pancha-Vargiya bala is different from those in the Parashari system. Here the lord of the first drekkana in Aries is Mars. The lords of the first drekkana in the successive rashis are the planets that fall in regular order from Mars onwards (i.e. Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. Begin the second drekkana of Aries from the Sun and proceed in the same order. The cycle continues through the third drekkana of Aries, with its lord Venus, until the third drekkana of Pisces, whose lord happens to be Mars. This method of determining the Drekkana lord is only applicable to the Pancha-Vargiya Bala.” (p.59)
Navamsa bala—Unlike the drekkana bala indicated above, the Navamsa is calculated as in Parasari astrology, so lords of planets in their own signs receive 10 points and lords of planets in enemy signs receive 2.5 points, and planets in friend’s signs receive 7.5 points.
These are then tabulated and the planet with the most reduced points becomes the strongest planet.
Special Tajika Mahadasas

The Patyayini Dasa
I actually prefer this mahadasa to the standard mahadasas used in Vedic astrology, because it is NOT nakshatra-based and seems to be unique to every annual chart. In this system, the longitudes of the seven planets and the ascendant cusp, are recorded in signs, degrees and minutes. Like the chara karakas specified in the Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, the signs are ignored and the remaining degrees, minutes (and seconds) are noted as the Krishamshas in ascending order. This ascending order determines the dasa order in the Patyayini system. So the planet (or ascendant) with the lowest number of degrees [in its sign] is the first dasa under this system.
The calculation of the length of the periods is judged in a different way. Starting with the planet that has the lowest number of degrees, this gets a patyamsha equal to its degrees in its sign. The degrees of the first planet are subtracted from the planet next highest in degree, and the difference between the two is the patyamsha of the next planet. The degrees of the second planet are then subtracted from the third planet in order to generate the next patyamsha, and so forth. After the patyamshas have been calculated, the duration of the periods is calculated using the following formula to calculate the number of days in each period:
Take 365 days times the Patyamsha (of the planet in question) divided by the highest degree value (also called the Krishamsha value) of the planets in question.
This formula will render the days for each subperiod. The antardasas are calculated by taking the same proportion of time for a dasa as they do for an entire year.

Mudda Dasa
This mahadasa might be more appealing for those used to the Vimsottri mahadasa system. In order to calculate the mudda dasa, do the following.
Take the number of years of life completed. Add to this the nakshatra number at birth. If it is Krittika, for example, add three), then subtract two (the number 2), then divide this by 9. Ignore the quotient. The remainder gives the dasa operating that year. A remainder of 1 would give the Sun; 2 the Moon; 3 Mars; 4 Rahu; 5 Jupiter; 6 Saturn; 7 Mercury; 8 Ketu; 0 Venus. In other words, the normal Vimshottari sequence compressed into a year starting with a lunar position progressed by one Nakshatra a year.
In order to calculate the balance of the dasa, use the balance of the birth dasa. The remainder of the birth dasa period will be the same as the balance of the birth dasa percentage as contained in your natal chart. As a result of the method, the mahadasa of the year is almost invariably the one after the one that the previous year ended with. Of course, the new year does have different planetary positions, so there will often be major change from one year to the next.
Alternate Mudda Dasa
According to the Utttara Kalamrita , one of my favorite Jyotish texts, one can take the dasa lord of the annual chart’s Moon nakshatra as being the starting mahadasa in the annual chart. The simplicity of this approach appeals to me, and I have found that it gives extremely good results. (I have used a similar technique in determining the timing of prashna charts.)

Which Dasa?
Take your pick. By far the most interesting thing that I have noticed about Jyotish is that different modalities of prediction work consistently well if one uses the same reference base. Transposing a 360 day system on top of a 365 day system will not produce similar results, but using two 365 day systems (or two 360 day systems) will.
Can one use other dasas on the Varshaphal chart?
In my opinion, yes. Dr. Charak had said he good results when he used the Yogini mahadasa system a few years ago (whatever happened to the interest in Yogini?) and I have experimented with compressed (one year) Jaimini Chara dasa and Kalachakra dasa systems to good effect, so long as one follows the interpretational rules contained in each system.
Yogas in Varshaphal
The use of yogas has always seemed to be a bit suspect to me, as I think you can garner the same results by careful chart analysis as one can from yogas, but there are special yogas in the Varshaphal system. I would like to mention the two most important, as these tend to show very good results when interpreting these charts.
The Ithasala Yoga. This occurs when a faster moving planet is behind a slower moving one and will “catch up” to the slower moving planet by aspect or conjunction. There are special conditions attached to this yoga, and if any of the conditions fail to manifest, the yoga will not fructify. Retrograde motion will cancel the yoga, for example, and planets must be in their “orbs of influence” for the yoga to work. If it does fructify, it is a yoga of good fortune. Because of all of the conditions that can spoil an ithisala yoga or its variants, a true unspoilt ithisala is pretty rare.
Ishrafa Yoga is a separating yoga, occurring when a faster moving planet is moving away from a slower one. This is considered a combination for misfortune.
Most of the Varshaphal Yogas are variations on these two combinations. It is also acceptable to use Parashari Yogas in the Varshaphal system.

Special Condition in the Varshaphal Chart
A year in which the rising sign for the Varshaphal chart is the same as the birth chart rising sign is considered a difficult year for the person whose chart is being analyzed. There will either be personal injury or loss of money during this year.
Combining the Natal Chart and the Annual Chart—Tried Techniques
One of the more obvious techniques that can be used for comparing the two charts is to compare the rising sign house for the Varshaphal Year with that of the rising sign for the natal chart. If the rising sign of the Varshaphal chart is the 2nd house, it will show a focus on money, in the fifth house an increase of focus on children; if in the seventh house it will show a focus on marriage. If in the ninth or eleventh houses, it will show an emphasis on status or luck. So this is the first step one should take in analyzing a Varshaphal chart compared with a natal chart. Next, check the Muntha point in the chart.
The second step is to look at the changeable karakas, such as the Atma Karaka in the birth chart and check its location in the Varshaphal chart. If the Atma Karaka planet is well placed in the Varshaphal chart, the year will be beneficial to the native, if it is badly placed, then luck and personal health will be adversely affected. Go down the list. Check the Amatya Karaka (career indicator) next; then the Bhatri Karaka (desires, skills and brothers); Matri Karaka (mother, education, status) next; Pitri/Putri Karaka (children, creativity, intelligence, father); Gnati Karaka (service, illness, servants); Dara Karaka (wife, partnerships). These planets are the planets in the highest to lowest degree in the birth chart. You can also check the planets that assume these positions in the Varshaphal chart. These karakas in the varshaphal chart are not quite as strong as they are in the natal chart however. But, if these karakas are the same planets in both the birth and Varshaphal charts, the strength of these planets for producing good and bad effects, according to their significations, are extremely strong.

The other thing you want to look for is the placement of the planets in the Varshaphal chart in relation to the natal chart. If you want to get practical about it, the birth chart is a transit chart for the time that a person is born; the Varshaphal chart is essentially a transit chart of the year in question. Is Jupiter transiting a good position in the natal chart; is Saturn, the Nodes or Mars? Some Sun signs are very sensitive every year to transits from the inner planets; for example, those with Virgo suns will often have debilitated Venuses and exalted Mercury’s in a Varshaphal chart; those with Pisces or Aquarius suns are prone to debilitated Mercury’s and exalted Venus. The Capricorn and Cancer axis has similar situations with strong and weak Mars, for example. These all have to be factored in when analyzing the chart.
In analyzing the chart, I would start with the birth chart. The Varshaphal is an ancillary chart that should not be interpreted in isolation from the birth chart. The major thing to keep in mind is that the birth chart should be analyzed in the standard manner, utilizing a standard analysis of the birth chart, including the Parasari aspects, dasas, and harmonic charts.
There are no real shortcuts to analyzing dasas. However when you analyze the Vimshottari Mahadasa — or whichever Mahadasas you use; I would recommend the Yogini and Tribhagi (a compressed Vimshottri system) if you are partial to nakshatra-based dasas, as these can be used for general purposes or the Chara dasa introduced by K.N. Rao as accurate systems. Look for the relationship of the Mahadasa lords to each other and there position in the charts as strong or weak, natural benefics or malefics, or as benefic or malefic lords of the chart. There should also be an analysis of the varga charts for in-depth analysis of the date presented.
When you do this, and get a general feel for whether the period will be benefic or malefic, then look at the Varshaphal chart. When you analyze the dasas, you will notice that these are easier to analyze than the birth chart mahadasas because they will manifest within a year’s time. Also, you should keep in mind the principle of applying (ithisala) and separating (ishrafa) aspects as you are reviewing the charts.
In the patyayini mahadasa system you will see the year lord giving very strong and positive results according to where it is placed in the chart. I always check at least this and the mudda dasa results for the year before I pronounce a final judgment upon a year chart. Also, short-term transits of the planets (like a retrograde Mercury or a debilitated Venus or Mars) can produce very telling results on a short-term basis that may not show up in any of the charts! I would look for these in assessing moods of individuals.

I have not covered other special features of Varshaphal, such as the use of Sahams (degrees in the chart that are derived by adding and subtracting certain planets and houses in the Varshaphal chart and also in the natal chart; these produce points in the chart that concern prosperity, knowledge (or Guru), strife, disease and other matters. They have found a home in Western astrology in the form of the Arabic Parts. I have found that Sahams tend to work, but not consistently, implying that many conditions must be met for these points to work properly—but the standard natal chart guidelines I have given above do produce the desired for results; perhaps the sahams are refining points rather than key factors in annual chart interpretation.
In any event, Varshaphal is a fascinating system but is not typically a quick study—it took me a couple of years to get results that I could identify as reliable and consistent—but it is, as said before, a great interpretative tool and a laser beam to accuracy in the year ahead.
Reference Texts:
Charak, Dr. K. S., A Textbook on Varshaphal, Vani Graphics, Delhi, India, 1995.
Kalidas (translated by S. S. Sareen, Uttara Kalamrita. Sagar Publications, Delhi, India)

Muhurtha

Muhurtha means literally, “moment” and it is a division of time that literally constitutes forty-eight minutes. Muhurtha is considered by some to be the oldest part of Vedic astrology and is used for electing rituals, and selecting almost any type of Vedic Astrology. The primary components of Muhurtha are: Vara (day), Tithi (soli-lunar combination); Karana (half a tithi), Yoga (again, another solar lunar combination) and Nakshatra (the most important). Since Muhurtha is an exceptionally complicated system, it will be discussed in another module. I am mentioning it here because some experts consider this system to be a very useful additional technique for analyzing natal charts, although this is not a universal position.

Prasna

Prasna is a system used for analyzing questions asked during the moment; it is the Hindu term for horary astrology, although Indian horary has an entire system of divination based on omens, the recording of which dates back to VarahaMihira’s great astrological text, Brihat Samhita, from the sixth to seventh centuries CE. Again, there are slightly different interpretational rules for basic chart analysis, and an elaborate system of omens (nimhita) in Prasna, so we will not cover it in this class, but it is an interesting field of study by itself.

Required readings: Text included this week and Bhatt, Chapters 22 and 23.

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