Archives for the month of: December, 2014

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zodiac

Photo Credit: astronlogia.com

 

In the previous post we became acquainted with the concept of Houses of the Natal chart and what they signify for the subject we had chosen, whose Horoscope is being drawn up. We also projected the Houses into space around the Earth and noted that the Houses were directional. We saw that at the time of birth the 12 Zodiacal Signs would become aligned with the 12 houses, one figuring in each. this would have astrological significance, depending on the nature of the Signs. The next step for the Pundit in drawing up the Horoscope would be to find out where the planets had got located in the 12 Houses.

Before he considers the effects of actual location of planets in the Houses and Signs therein, the Pundit however needs to determine whether they are malefic, benefic or neutral for the Natal Chart. This is determined on the basis of the Zodiac Signs (constellations) which they are said to own, as indicated in the scriptures.

The Sun and the Moon own one Sign each, the other planets own two Signs each but the Lunar Nodes Rahu and Ketu, also considered as planets in Hindu astrology, own no Signs. The chart below shows the Signs aligned with various Houses of the Natal Chart, the placement of planets in the Houses and the ownership of the Signs by the planets..

PLAETS OWN SIGNS

 

* The Sun owns Leo in the Second House.

* The Moon owns Cancer in the first House

* Mars owns Aries in the tenth House and Scorpio in the fifth House

*Mercury owns Gemini in the twelfth House and Virgo in the third House

*Venus owns Libra in the fourth House and Taurus in the eleventh House

* Saturn owns Capricorn in the seventh House and Aquarius in the eighth

* Jupiter owns Sagittarius in the sixth House and Pisces in the ninth house

 

We know that the 12 Houses signify various aspects of a person’s life. What we have yet to learn is that the 12 Houses are divided into regions or zones, which are auspicious, inauspicious or neutral. There are four categories into which the Houses of fortune are divided as shown in the diagram below:

(a) Central Area (Kendra), also called Angular houses – these are the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th.

(b) The holy Triangle (Trikon), also called the Triane Houses – the 1st, 5th and 9th.

(c) the three Houses of Acquisition (Trishdaya) – the 3rd, 6th and 11th.

(d)Houses on either side of the first House – the 2nd and the 12th.

(e) the eighth House, in a category of its own.

chart with vishnu-laxmi

 

The delineation of the chart into these zones is important for Jyotish astrology. The Central area is neutral. The Triane are auspicious. The last of the Triane, the 9th House is the most auspicious, representing fortune (Bhagya) and spirituality and righteousness (Dharma). The Houses of Acquisition (Trishdaya) are also referred to as sinful areas and are inauspicious. The 2nd and 12th on either side of the 1st ( the ascendant) are variable depending on the nature of the second Sign owned by their Lords. Planets owning Signs are referred to as their Lords. The 8th house is the House of mortality and therefore inauspicious. In scriptural lore the 1st House represents the Lord of creation, Vishnu, whereas the other two laterals of the Holy Triangle, the 5th and the 9th represent Laxmi, his consort, the goddess of good fortune and happiness.

EMERGING  NATURE  OF  PLANETS  FOR  THE  CHART

It is only after the Pundit knows which Sign has fallen in a House that he can determine the nature of its owner, the planetary protagonist for the chart. The inherent nature of the planet will get modified and even transformed, depending on the placement of the Sign in one of the above designated zones. The most auspicious planet for the chart, irrespective of its inherent nature will be the one with a combination of Signs, one at the Centre and the other in the Triangle. A planet will be auspicious but blemished if being a benefic it owns a Sign at the Centre and another outside the Triangle. A planet will be doubly inauspicious if it owns two Signs, both outside the Centre and the Triangle. Such a planet may become a killer for the chart in question. Lords of triangular Houses ( planets owning a Sign in a triangular House) will produce evil effects except if they occupy their own Signs. Lords of Signs in the 2nd and the 12th will give results according to the placement of the other Sign they own. Lord of the Sign in the 8th House will be evil unless he is himself located in the 1st or 8th House or is also Lord of a Sign in a triangular House. A planet owning two Signs, both placed in Central houses will also be inauspicious for the chart ( Affliction of the Centre – Kendra Dosh).

The foregoing is only a brief outline of a very complex compendium of intricate rules to determine the nature of the planets for a chart but would doubtless give the reader some understanding of how an analysis is made of location of Signs in the chart.

SINGNIFICANCE  OF  OWNERSHIP  OF SIGNS  FOR  THE  CHART

The Pundit can now determine how the planets are going to behave in the chart even before he actually considers the effects of their location in the Houses. From their ownership of Signs located in different zones of the chart he learns whether the owners are auspicious, inauspicious, killers or neutral for the specific chart, irrespective of their inherent benefic or malefic natures. Let us see what picture emerges for our case study of the person whose horoscope we have taken for our study.

1. Mars (though malefic) is the most auspicious planet for this chart as it owns a Sign in  a Central house, the 10th and a Triangular house, the 5th.

2. Jupiter owning a Sign in a Triangular House, the 9th is auspicious but also owning a Trishdaya House, the 6th, becomes blemished. however, as the 9th House is the most powerful triangular House, he retains most of his auspiciousness.

3. Venus owning a Central House and a Trishdaya House (11th) is inauspicious.

4. Mercury is neutral owning the 12th House but also owning the 3rd (Trishdaya) becomes inauspicious.

5. Saturn owning the 8th House is evil and further owning the 7th becomes a ‘Killer’ ( the 2nd and the 7th Houses are also deemed as ‘Marak Sthana’, areas of death).

6. the Sun owning the 2nd House is neutral ( as it owns only one House and the nature of the second affecting this position therefore does not arise).

7. The Moon owning the 1st House, the ascendant House of birth ( both Central and Triangular in definition) should be auspicious if it itself is suitably located and in the right phase at birth of the subject – this we shall examine later.

This is the final look of the planets for the chart in question. However this picture is likely to change further depending on where the planets have actually got located in the chart at birth. Now that this major exercise is over the Pundit turns to the next stage, which is to determine where the planets have got located in the chart in the twelve Houses of fortune with the twelve Signs already located therein. Here again the process involves perusal of the ephemeris to find the longitudes of the planetary positions at birth and their calibration to obtain a precise longitude of the place of birth.

LOCATION  OF  PLANETS  IN  THE  NATAL  CHART

Finally the planets appear in our subjects Natal Chart as shown below:
PLANETS IN HOUSES X

                                              ( IN THE CHART ABOVE THE NUMBERS REPRESENT THE ZODIAC SIGNS )

 Numerous questions arise in the mind of the Pundit when he sees the completed chart above. These relate , we have already seen, most importantly to the ownership of the Signs by the planets and their resulting status for the chart; whether they are going to be malefic or benefic for it. Other issues include the presence of the planets together in a House (conjunction), mutual relationship, their aspects on one another, their relationship to the Signs they occupy, their relationship to the Houses where they are located, their inherent natures, their significations, their strengths for the chart, whether they are well placed for the chart and beneficial or otherwise.

The planets are the real protagonists apart from the subject. They are as complex as the subject whose life they are supposed to control and influence. I have in the preceding posts on Stellar India sought to give a detailed expose of the planets in mythology, popular lore and scriptures. With the benefit of that detailed background we are in a better position to appreciate their true natures and the manner in which they are intended by providence to influence lives.

We saw that the Sun, Moon, Mars and Jupiter are mutual friends, though the Moon is indifferent to Jupiter ( having eloped with his wife). The Moon regards his son Mercury with amity, though Mercury sees his father Moon with enmity. Saturn and Venus are mutual friends and both regard the Sun and Moon as enemies. Saturn furthermore regards Mars as n enemy. The Sun reciprocates the sentiments of Saturn and Venus with hostility, though the Moon’s nature is such that it does not regard any planet as an enemy. Saturn we saw is an estranged son of the Sun. Mercury views the Sun and Venus as friends. This friendship is reciprocated by Venus. Saturn views Mercury as a friend but this is not reciprocated.

The Sun is a mild malefic. Saturn is entirely malefic and so is Mars. Jupiter is the most benefic of planets and Venus is benefic too. Mercury has an uncertain nature, mostly neutral, assuming a benefic or malefic attitude depending upon the company and location he is in. The Moon is a changeable planet. When in the ascendant mode to full-moon it is benefic but when in its descent to no-moon it becomes malefic. The two Lunar Nodes are always malefic. Yet these inherent natures are subject to change for the chart. Thus a benefic need not necessarily bestow good fortune, nor a malefic, misfortune. For instance an inherently good person can cause you harm and an evil person can in fact be of advantage, depending on the circumstances. These circumstances would include the House they occupy, the Sign they inhabit, the company they are in, their mutual relationship in a chart, the Houses on which their aspect (sight) falls. For instance a benefic planet in the company of a malefic in a House will lose some of his beneficial capabilities as also the malefic some of his evil intentions. Further, if they are enemies they will disturb the tranquility of the House, much like two quarrelsome persons invited to a party will create tension there. Like friends together would create a positive environment in a House. Enemies ‘looking’ at each other would disturb the peace of the relevant Houses and friends viewing each other would enhance the favourable results. Furthermore a planet in a Sign owned by an enemy would be unable to do good, much like a person in the house of a hostile person. Planets in friendly Sign, those belonging to friends, would be relaxed and able to act effectively to promote the prospects of the House. They may even develop special relationships, like being in mutual exchange of Houses, which would further enhance their capabilities and bring more powerful effects.

When looking at the completed chart, the learned Pundit’s thoughts would now focus on the nature of the Signs the planets occupy, in the following order:

 are they

(a) in the Sign they own (Swa-Rashi)

(b) in a Sign in which the planet is in exaltation ( each planet is assigned a Sign in which it is in exaltation )

(c) in a Sign in which the planet is in debilitation ( the 7th sign from the one in which it is in exaltation is the one in which it is in debilitation – i.e. 180 degrees next)

(d) in a Sign belonging to a friendly planet or an enemy planet.

He also proceeds to calibrate their strength (Bal) for the chart. They could be infant, youthful, aged or combust, depending on their longitudinal coordinates which may place them in the first, second or third section of the constellation or too close to the longitude of the Sun. There are also other complex considerations on the basis of which the strength of a planet is determined. A powerful planet will do its job, good or bad with certainty, a weak planet will do it halfheartedly and a combust planet will be ineffective either way. The final analysis of our subject’s chart after studying the location of the Signs, considering their lordships and noting where and with whom the planets are located, evaluating their locations in terms of being in their own Signs, in exaltation or debilitation, calibrating their strengths, reveal the following:

He notes first that none of the planets are in their own Signs, in exaltation or debilitation. Next he notes whether they are in friendly, enemy or neutral Signs, depending on who the owner is. The Moon is in a neutral Sign. Mars, the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Saturn are in friendly Signs. Jupiter and Rahu are in enemy Signs and Ketu is in a neutral Sign. He also notes that Saturn and Venus are in an exchange of Signs ( each located in the others Sign) and have therefore developed a special relationship in the chart and being friends this creates a ‘Rajyoga’ or very auspicious circumstance for the subject.

The Moon, Lord of the ascendant Sign Cancer, also happens to be the most powerful planet for the chart and being in ascendant phase at time of birth ( 14 Shukla Paksh – day before full moon) is in a state of empowerment. The subject’s birth was also on a Monday, reckoned as the Moon’s Day. the Moon is located in the 10th House of career and achievement, a Central House. These factors make for a strong and well placed Moon, which is going to be a positive influence for the chart, If the Moon was, say in the 11th or 12th House and was weak and in the dark half of descending phase, the picture would have been quite negative.

The placement of Mars, already emerging most auspicious for the chart, based on its ownership of Signs placed in a Central House, the 10th and a Triangular House, the 5th – becomes even more auspicious by getting located in the most powerful House of the Holy Triangle, the 9th house, which is the House of fortune, spirituality and righteousness. There is no blemish either on account of being in any enemy’s Sign, as Jupiter the owner and Mars the tenant are friends.

The placement of the Sun and Mercury in the 5th House ( part of the Holy Triangle) is also quite positive. They are not enemies sitting together but Mercury has become ‘combust’, its coordinates being too close to the Sun thus loosing effectiveness.

The placement of Jupiter and Saturn in the 11th House is also positive, as planets located in the 11th, the House of ‘Gains’, give benefits. They too are not enemies, though Jupiter is indeed in an enemy Sign, while Saturn is not.

Venus is in the 7th House, which is not considered positive because Venus is the significator of the House of marriage and sexuality and according to scriptures being in the house of which it is a significator disturbs the issues with which both are concerned.

The placement of Rahu in the 2nd and Ketu in the 8th are causes of worry, both being inauspicious planets and unfortunately placed.

Overall however the emerging picture is quite positive and promising  and several potential ‘Rajyogas’ are apparent. Of course there are pitfalls as well, as in any life.

ASPECTS OF PLANETS

The Pundit has also to take into account the question of aspects ( their sight falling on a House where another planet is located) of planets on one another and on the Signs and Houses. different planets cast their vision in different ranges from where they are located in the chart. Most cast a vision on the seventh House (at 180 degrees)from where they are, including the location. Saturn, Mars and Jupiter have multiple visions in addition to the standard seventh. Once the Pundit knows which House is aspected by the planets, he makes conclusions according to scriptural aphorisms on aspects. When a planet aspects a House, its inherent benefic or malefic nature affects the issues concerned with that House. When a planet aspects a planet it affects (a) the aspected planet’s signification ( each planet represents certain issues as significator eg Venus is significator of conjugal affairs and sex. (b) the issues represented by the Houses in which the Signs owned by the aspected planet are located. Let us illustrate from our subject’s chart for greater clarity:

Jupiter a benefic brings positive effects from its aspects on the 3rd,5th, and 7th Houses, namely Houses of achievement, progeny and spouse respectively. As the sun is in the 5th House ( Holy triangle) it also sends positive energy to the House it owns, the 2nd. Likewise it brings benefits to the Houses owned by Mercury ( which is also aspected by it in the 5th House) the 3rd and 12th Houses.

On the issue of planetary strengths the Pundit arrives at the following conclusion:

Moon – very benefic – auspicious

Venus – benefic – but inauspicious for chart

Mars – greatly reduced malefic – most auspicious for the chart

Jupiter – benefic – auspicious but blemished for chart

Saturn – less malefic- but eventually a ‘Killer’ for the chart

Sun – malefic – but generally neutral for the chart

Mercury – malefic – inauspicious but generally ineffective being combust

We observe that thus far the exercise has been merely to describe the conditions of the playing field and the strengths and weaknesses of the protagonists and how they are likely to interact to determine the destiny of the subject. This will show broadly how each House will be affected favourably or adversely in respect of the issues within its jurisdiction. The precise and detailed predictions would come at the second stage when it would have to be analysed to what extent the generalizations apply or to what extent they have to be modified. This exercise would involve a detailed examination of each House in the chart which we will attempt in future posts.

01-jyotish

Sage Parashar

Finally we need to note that Jyotish astrology has two aspects – the Math. ( Ganit) and the predictions ( Phalit – fruit). while the Math is based entirely on the science of astronomy and mathematics and is precise and scientifically accurate in every detail, the predictions covering interpretations of the astronomical facts for the life of the subject and his destiny, are an entirely different ball game which relies on scriptural aphorisms with no explanation of the reason for their conclusions. The Phalit is derived from scriptural verses attributed to the legendary sages of the period of the earliest Vedas, prominent among whom were the sages Parashar and Jaimini, the first emphasized the role of the planets while the second stressed the importance of Signs for predictive astrology. Sage Parashar’s treatise of 11000 verses, the ‘Brihat Parashar Hora shastra’ is the essential basis of Jyotish predictive astrology. Parashar is believed to have lived around the third millennium BC and his treatise is in the form of a dialogue between him and his disciple Maitreya who poses the questions. Parashar is also said to be the grandfather of Veda Vyas the author of the Mahabharat epic which contains the Bhagvad Gita. According to scholars the present form of Parashar’s treatise was conceived in the 7th or 8th century AD piecing together the lost ancient version from manuscripts and traditions. The present version is believed to have been recompiled in the 19th century.

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Photo credit: panoramio.com Sage Parashar temple Himachal Pradesh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We are all addicted to having our Horoscopes read and interpreted. Our Natal charts hold a great fascination, predicting the course our lives are supposed to take, the highs and the lows, the opportunities and the obstacles, the strengths and the weaknesses – what the stars have to foretell. From the Jyotish (traditional Hindu) standpoint, the drawing and interpreting of the Janampatri or Natal Chart is an immensely complex exercise, which I propose to simplify in this post. But before we do that we need to ponder on what it implies.

In the series of posts on Stellar India so far I have covered the nature of the planets in Astrology and Hindu myth. Astrology , as I stressed earlier is for the Hindu an article of faith because it finds full sanction in Hindu scriptures, and unlike the Judaic faiths is not considered a heterodox deviation  at variance with established religious beliefs, if not blasphemous – the stuff of magic and witchcraft.  In India astrology is part and parcel of the orthodox belief system, is an aspect of religion, the high priest the Pundit being an adept at astrology if he has any worth. All social and religious customs and festivals derive their significance from astrologically determined timing and the Hindu calendar and time scale are a product of that discipline. Astrology and the planets which it represents and interprets, are part of age-old mythology and form part of the Hindu pantheon as demigods.

The astrological general effects which we studied in the posts on Fasts, Festivals and Prohibitions concern the populace as a whole having universal application. However, at the heart of Hindu astrology there is the question of the effect of the stars on the individual. It is here that we enter the hallowed ground of the Horoscope which confines itself to predicting their effect on the individual rather than the mass. It is to this microcosm level that much of the burden of traditional knowledge and astronomical and mathematical complexity turns its attention.

The birth of the individual is the crucial moment and the Natal Chart is drawn taking the stellar configuration at that moment. That chart will then become the road-map of his life and define the effects of each passing day and subsequent configurations will have upon him, in the context of the original configuration at his birth. It is therefore imperative for all Hindus to ensure that this stellar passport and birth certificate is drawn up. He will need it when he marries, when he builds a house, celebrates a birthday, or engages in any important social, religious or commercial activity. For this it is essential to record the exact time of birth to the minute if not the second and to relocate it in terms of the Lunar calendar.

To understand the Horoscope, we need to get acquainted with the several stages through which a chart is processed before it becomes a complete Horoscope and also to become conversant with the basic underlying concepts.

Basically, three terms are used and it is important not to confuse one with the other. Let me explain; The first concept is that of the 12 Houses ( Bhavs – loosely translated as moods). The second are the 12 constellations of the Zodiac, referred to as Signs ( Rashis). the third are the 7 planets + 2 Lunar nodes making them together as the 9 ‘planets’ of the Hindu Jyotish or Astrology. There must be a clear understanding of the distinction of the three.

 

T H E    H O U S E S

At the first stage of preparation, the Pundit or astrologer has an empty chart with 12 ‘Houses’. This as yet refers to no person. It is a universal map of the life of  prospective individuals. It is like a form which has yet to be filled in. The life of man is divided into 12 categories and these are cast within 360 degrees because the visible Zodiac also falls within 360 degrees. Each category will fit into one or two constellations, covering a space of 30 degrees. This will be determined on the basis of the birth of the subject whose chart is being drawn up. It is as if 12 Houses of fortune of a person are abstractly suspended into space, waiting for the constellations and planets to fill them up.

Each House relates to an aspect of life ( these aspects related to individual Houses are proscribed in the ancient scriptures on Astrology without indicating any logical reason for such prescription – presumably, divinely ordained). Very briefly, the Houses represent, first, the body and temperament of the subject; second, wealth; third, siblings; fourth, mother and home; fifth, progeny; sixth, enemies; seventh, spouse and sex; eighth, lifespan and death; ninth, spirituality and destiny; tenth, father, honour and career; eleventh, gain; and twelfth, loss and misfortune. These are the major issues of life but the detailed enumerations of the Houses are more comprehensive in the connected issues they embrace. These twelve, ‘Celestial’ Houses, as they are termed, are shown in the diagram below:Untitled

However, looking at the chart ( a North Indian version, there being a south Indian and an East Indian version also) it is difficult to visualize what it represents in the space around the Earth. the Houses are entirely conceptual but have a physically definable reality. Simply put, they are directional. the First House, denoting birth and person of the subject is in the East, the seventh is in the West, the Fourth is in the North and the Tenth is due South. We can either assume, as in traditional astrology, that the Earth is stationary, in which case the Houses remain stationary or if we assume in astronomical terms that the Earth rotates, then the directional Houses move with the Earth, the First being always in the East. If we assume the Earth as stationary, the band of the Zodiac Signs would be moving at that point;  If the Earth is taken as the moving factor, then the Zodiac Signs would be stationary. The chart and the actual position in space would therefore be as below:

 

                                                                                                                      S P A C E                                                             C H A R T 

CORRECT

 

 

The point at the centre of the circle shown in the above diagram, may be assumed to be the place of birth. To be more precise, the direction due East would be bisecting the first House, running through its middle. This would be the line running due East into the horizon at the place of birth and would correspond with 15 degrees of the 30 degrees of the first House; likewise, due West would be 15 degrees of the seventh House; North, 15 degrees of the fourth House and due South, 15 degrees of the tenth House.

The tenth House is also the Zenith, where the Sun is at mid-day and the fourth the Nadir. The Sun rises in the first House and sets in the seventh. Therefore the Houses from two to seven are below the horizon while the seventh to the first through the twelfth are the Houses above the horizon – the first and seventh being half below and half above the horizon. 

 

T H E      S I G N S

Like the twelve directional Houses, also called the Celestial Mansions, the twelve Signs of the Zodiac are also divided into twelve sections of 30 degrees each, together aggregating 360 degrees of the visible cosmos. the twelve Signs are the constellations of the Zodiac, beginning with Aries and ending with Pisces. In fact the Zodiac is only a small part of the visible cosmos. They are recognizable constellations within a narrow band of 23 degrees on either side of the ecliptic ( the path of the Sun around the Earth). The Zodiac is contained within this band width of 46 degrees. Within this band also orbit all the planets of our Solar System. the rest of the visible cosmos beyond the band of the ecliptic is not relevant to Hindu astrology. The following illustration would graphically show the juxtaposition of the Celestial Houses with the constellations of the Zodiac within the ecliptic band.

 HOUSES AND SIGNS

 

 As the Earth rotates in one direction, we may assume that the constellations appear to rotate in the opposite direction. the time taken for a revolution of the Earth is twenty-four hours. A constellation or Sign encompassing 30 degrees, which is coterminous with a House would take about two hours to enter and exit the House. The Signs rotate round the Earth in the order of the numbers from 1 to 12. The Signs are assigned permanent numbers to identify them in the chart from 1 to 12 ( one has to try really hard not to confuse the numbers denoting Signs from those denoting Houses). thus Aries is assigned the number 1 and whenever the number 1 appears on the chart it indicates the presence of Aries in that House. Below are listed the Signs with their permanent numbers:

Aries (Mesh) 1                                                             Libra ( Tula) 7

Taurus (Vrishabha) 2                        Scorpio ( Vrishchika) 8

Gemini ( Mithun) 3                              Sagittarius ( Dhanu) 9

Cancer (Kark) 4                                      Capricorn ( Makara) 10

Leo ( Singha) 5                                        Aquarius ( Kumbha) 11

Virgo(Kanya) 6                                         Pisces ( Meena) 12

In the illustration above if we assume that the constellations rotate clock wise and the Earth is stationary, Cancer would enter and pass the first House in about two hours above the horizon. After passing the first House Cancer would enter the 12th House and eventually set in the 7th House below the horizon. Leo would follow Cancer above the horizon entering the first House thereafter and set in the 7th House. The other Signs would follow likewise. Or if we take the Earth to be rotating, the Houses would pass the stationary Signs one after the other in the same order.

It is important to note that at any point on Earth ( Jaipur or New York, Timbuktu or Kathmandu) where a birth takes place, the chart for that birth would show the first House as aligned along the horizon due East at that point. At that point Houses 2 to 6 and half of the 1st and 7th would be below the horizon and Houses 12 to 8 and half of the 1st and 7th would be above the horizon ( please see the above illustration to understand this).

At the moment of birth the Sign rising in the East ( in the first Celestial House) in the town or village of birth of the subject, is  called the ‘ascendant’, the birth Sign, the ‘Lagna ( connection) Rashi (Sign). the manner in which this is calculated is extremely complex in the interests of absolute precision.

 The first step will be to have the precise time of birth ( Indian Standard Time – IST). The next is to note the latitude and longitude of the place of birth. The longitude will help to precise the IST in terms of the local place of birth. the latitude will be important in determining the Sign rising in the East at the time of birth. Next the longitudes will have to be noted. longitudes are indicated in the ephemeris in the Panchang for 5.30 IST (dawn). As the time of birth at the place of birth is likely to be different from IST, the longitudes would have to be adjusted accordingly through complex calculations or by viewing the tables in the Panchang which are specific to different cities in India. We need not go further into the enormous complexities of the calculations involving conversion of time scales, adjusting of timing of sunrise at place of birth in relation to IST sunrise, adjusting of longitudes to fix planetary positions at place of birth etc etc. Suffice it to say that nothing is left to the imagination in the interests of hair-splitting accuracy, which is so important for predictions to be accurate, considering that the Zodiac is on the move from minute to minute, the planets at their own varying speeds and time of sunrise and sunset change from day-to-day and place to place.

However, coordinates of Signs and planets occupying birth charts would be useful for those who may be interested in going deeper into this complex discipline, which has several courses assigned in Indian universities.

I have chosen a colleague of mine in the Foreign Service as our ‘subject’ whose Natal Chart we will be studying for purposes of illustration.

A few of the coordinates at birth for our subject are given thus in his horoscope under the caption ‘Bhav Spasht’ or coordinates of Houses.

                                     Ascendant ( Lagna- or birth):  3/17/50/58

                                     Sun:                                            7/16/03/59

                                     Moon:                                         0/22/26/23

the above coordinates of birth signify that at birth if we drew a line due East at the place of birth, the 3rd Sign, Gemini, had already passed and the 4th Sign, Cancer had arisen 17 degrees, 50 minutes and 58 seconds of iots total of 30 degrees. thus more than half of Cancer had risen above the horizon at the place of birth.

Likewise, the coordinates of the Sun show that the Sun had passed through the 7th sign and had completed traversing 16 degrees, 3 minutes and 59 seconds of the 8th Sign, Scorpio of the total of 30 degrees of that Sign. The Sun thus was located in the 5th House aligned with Scorpio ( see chart above). it too had passed the midway mark.

The Moon, had already traversed 22 degrees 26 minutes and 23 seconds of the first Sign, Aries, that is, 2/3rds of the Sign. The Moon was thus located in the 10th House.

the extent of progression of the planets into the Houses are indicative of their health and state, for instance, the Sun’s state is ‘youthful’, that of the Moon, ‘aged’ for the chart.

This has connotations for the chart in the manner in which the planets are likely to act, like an old person, feeble and ineffective, or a youth, active and strident, or an infant, or even a person who is dead and therefore exhausted and ineffective.

The number of the ascendant Sign in the Zodiac is then placed in the first House of the chart, the succeeding constellations in successive Houses. let us take the instant case of our subject, born in cancer, No. 4 of the Zodiac. We therefore note ‘4’ representing Cancer in the first House of the chart, Leo (5) in the second, Virgo(6) in the third and so on till all the 12 Signs are placed in the 12 Houses. Thus the Zodiac Signs are ‘superimposed’ on the blank Natal chart of 12 Celestial Houses as shown below:

HOUSES AND SINGNS X

 

Thus we note that 4, Cancer, is in the first House; 5, Leo, is in the second; 6, virgo, is in the third; 7, Libra, is in the fourth; 8, Scorpio, is in the fifth; 9, Sagittarius, is in the sixth; 10, Capricorn, is in the seventh; 11, Aquarius, is in the eighth; 12, Pisces, is in the ninth; 1, Aries, is in the tenth; 2, Taurus, is in the eleventh; and 3, Gemini is in the twelfth.

Like the Houses, the Signs also have their natures and properties which influence the subject and his fortunes. very briefly, signs can be masculine or feminine, movable and passionate, fixed and inactive,  or common and harmonious. they can have the quality of fire, earth, air or water, can represent the directions, be blind, deaf, or mute, be dry or watery, fruitful or sterile, human, reptilian, animal, bestial, vegetal or mineral, rise with head first or posterior, be silent or vocal. these qualities of the Signs will affect the subject’s personality and nature in the ascendant House and other aspects of his fortune in the other designated Houses. briefly, therefore, the Signs will affect the Houses they inhabit. Quite often, astrological predictions are based merely on the presence of the Signs in various Houses in a generalized kind of way, like the predictions on a daily basis to be found in the columns of newspapers and magazines, without reference to the planetary positions in the horoscope. That is of course only a small part of the story. Planetary positions further elaborate, modify and transform the basic predictive analysis, based merely on the locations of the Signs.

In our next post we will delve deeper into the influence of the planets and their ownership of Signs, and their mutual aspects on one another in the Natal Chart, to understand the full impact of Signs and planets on a horoscope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Worshiping the manifest Godhead ( Sagun Brahma), the visualized divinity, one with form, the Image, the Avatar, the Prophet, the ‘Son of God’, the conceivable, both on the spiritual plane and the physical one – is given preference in the Gita over contemplating or worshiping the Unmanifest Godhead ( Nirguna Brahma – the absolute without characteristics), because for an embodied being ( like us) the worship of the Unmanifest or formless is explained as being both difficult and troubling. The tenor of tolerance for all forms of worship, however is in clear evidence in the Gita.

However, the worship of divinity with form in the shape of Krishna ( Avatar) or the numerous gods of the Hindu pantheon, or for that matter elsewhere, have clear sanction without denying worship or contemplation of the formless as equally legitimate, if more difficult. While some faiths allow one or the other, the Gita permits both, but prefers a representation with form for worshipers who have physical form themselves and can mainly comprehend and relate to a God with form.

                                QUOTES  FROM  THE  GITA

”Those who, fixing their minds on Me, worship Me with perpetual devotion, endowed with supreme faith – them do I consider most perfect in the rule.”

”But those who worship the Imperishable, the Indefinable, the Unmanifested, the Omnipresent, the Unthinkable, the Unchangeable  the Immovable, the Eternal; having restrained all their senses, even minded everywhere, rejoicing in the welfare of all beings – win to Me also.”

Greater is their difficulty whose minds are set on the Unmanifested, for the goal of the Unmanifested is very hard for the embodied to reach.”

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Photo Credit: waytogomedia.com

 

There are patterns everywhere. In my mind, there a  a pattern of thought. In the seed, a pattern of growth. In the solar system a pattern of circulation. In the elements, atomic patterns. Mammals have a pattern of suckling, birds of laying eggs, lizards of slithering, plants of rooting, flowers of coloring.

The snow crystal has a striking design. The sugar crystal repeats the same pattern. The British is pastel and lace, the French, perfume and chiffon, the Indian a riot of symbols, the Chinese, pagodas and green tea, the Japanese bow and karate. You have your own style of holding and gesturing. Europeans abstain from using the tips of their fingers in gestures designed to be dexterous and utilitarian, Indians insist on the tips as in the ‘Mudras’ of their dance. The grocer artfully drops his sale with a flourish into a brown paper bag. The fascinating fingers of the sales woman on the key board of her cash box, the tellers reflexive counting of bank notes, the conductors flitting musical staff, the different patterns of acknowledgement, denial, culture.

The law of the land, crystallized pattern; physical and natural laws inflexible pattern; dogma and ideology, firm pattern;  genetic growth, unerring pattern; seasons, designs, repetitive patterns; systems, solar or circulatory, circular patterns; fashions and vehicles, changing patterns; birth, death, rise and fall, graphical patterns; progress and development, evolving patterns; language and writing, expressive patterns; logic and symmetry, mathematical patterns; character and personality, individual patterns; finger prints, chromosomes, unique patterns; policy and strategy, directional patterns; style and panache, sophisticated patterns; war and weaponry, destructive patterns; literature and art, creative patterns.

Patterns surround us, are with us, emanate from us. Our wisdom grows as we learn to recognize and assimilate patterns. As we learn of the more obvious visual patterns, we begin to gauge the less obvious ones and as our sensitivity to patterns develops, we begin to comprehend hidden and more subtle patterns till we are so full of patterns that we generate a unique pattern of our own, in an act of creativity.

The patterns that envelop us must arise from some more creative source, even as our own arise from us. At the centre of the Universe an inconceivably creative force must send out the patterns that govern the universe, introducing shades of colours, timbres of sound, aromas of smell, depths of feeling and a range of tastes – countless patterns radiating to fill creation with order, dispelling tha vacuous anarchy of nothingness, infusing and instructing pattern into the paternless, dispelling nihility, vacuity and emptiness with the infusion of pattern, allowing new space and dimension for more patterns, overtaking disorder with purpose, disciplining, ordering, making reliable and more predictable, through the patterns of creation.

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Photo Credit: cogmobblog.wordpress.com

 

 

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cREDIT: ISKCON

 

Externally divinity is ubiquitous, in every atom of creation and internally it is situated within as the Indweller, the soul. Recognition of this leads to an attitude of Sam Darshana or Same-sightedness, the understanding that every individual and every facet of creation is imbued with innate divinity. Therefore every individual, creature and aspect of creation has to be honoured and treated with respect and consideration. One should therefore apply the same norms to others which one wishes for oneself. While our world looks diverse, in essence it is one grand unity in apparent diversity.

 

 QUOTES FROM THE GITA 

 

”He sees, who sees the Supreme Lord, remaining the same in all beings, the imperishable in the perishable.”

”The knowledge by which the one Imperishable Being is seen in all existence, undivided in the divided, know that, that knowledge is Satvik ( true).”

”But that knowledge by which one sees in all beings manifold entities of different kinds varying from one another – know that, that knowledge is Rajsik ( confused arising from egoism).”

”And that knowledge by which one believes that a single life is all there is, which with its unreasoning and trivial view sees not the cause, or the external reality, that knowledge is Tamsik ( false arising from ignorance ).”

”They rise above this transitory existence whose minds abide in the sense of equality, for Brahman is unblemished and the same in all, such people become established in Brahman.”

”His mind being harmonized in Yoga, he sees himself in all beings and all beings in himself; he sees the same in all.”

”He who sees Me  everywhere and sees all in Me, he never becomes lost to Me, nor do I become lost to him.”

”That Yogi, O Arjun, is regarded as the supreme, who judges pleasure and pain everywhere by the same yardstick he applies to himself.”

Behold now, O Gudakesh ( one who has conquered sleep – Arjun), the whole universe of the moving and the unmoving, joined together as one in my body and whatever else you desire to see.”

There in the body of the God of gods, Pandava then beheld the whole universe, in its manifest diversity, drawn together into one.”

”He is undivided and yet He seems divided in beings. He is to be known as the supporter of beings. He devours and He generates.”.

 

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Credit: ISKCON

 

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From my earlier posts we are already familiar with the universal prohibitions arising from the nature of the Tithi ( Hindu Lunar day), the daily Chaughadias ( hourly change in auspicious and inauspicious phases of the day) eclipses etc. The longer term prohibitions become more significant as they affect Hindu social life and commercial activity over extended periods as contrasted with the shorter term prohibitions which pass quickly from hour to hour or Lunar day to Lunar day. These prohibitions relate to ‘universal effects’ as contrasted with ‘individual effects’ which are the concern of the horoscope of an individual or sometimes of a national unit.These universal prohibitions, applicable to all are governed by the following astrological or astronomical events:

DAKSHINAYAN

The fundamental precept of long-term prohibitions arise from the belief that when the Sun is in Uttarayan (Norther swing) moving from the tropic of Capricorn to the tropic of Cancer, it is an auspicious time  as the Sun becomes stronger and empowered with every passing day. The commencement of this process is marked by the great festival of Makar Sakranti ( entry of the Sun into Capricorn) mid January, with great rejoicing, kite flying and feeding cattle around town. When the Sun is in Dakshinayan ( southern swing) moving from Cancer to Capricorn, its rays grow weaker, losing power and the time is less auspicious. This is marked by Kark Sakranti ( entry into Cancer), mid July. If this were strictly observed or enforced, no auspicious activity like marriage, inauguration of temples , entry into a new home, ceremonial tonsure of a child’s hair, coronation or assumption of important office etc etc  would be astrologically recommended during a six month period during each year. Fortunately, relief has been provided in the month of Margsheesh ( November-December) but only till the Sun enters Sagittarius ( Dhanu Sakranti) in mid-December when the prohibition becomes total as in this month the Sun is at its weakest in the year.  This period is called the Malmas, the dark month.The prohibition ends with Makar Sakranti and suddenly there are marriages everywhere once again. Even a former Governor of Rajasthan state waited till Makar Sakranti before assuming office.

SHRAAD

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Soon after the Dakshinayan phase commences, come the further prohibitions on account of Shraad. These are observances which are not festive but equally essential. We are said to be born with two types of obligations: debts to the gods ( Dev Rinn) and those to the ancestors ( Pitri Rinn). Dev Rinns are discharged through prayer and ritual and the first half of every day is for that. Pitri Rinn is discharged through ritual observances for ancestors and the latter half of the day is appropriate for that. Both are to be undertaken with the Sun as witness, therefore preferably between sunrise and sunset.

The Shraads commence with the full-moon of the month of Bhadrapad and end with the no-moon of the month of Ashwin, generally falling in the month of September each year, prior to the Sharad ( Winter) Navratra ( discussed in the post on fasts). This is a fortnight during the year which is reserved for deceased ancestors. Ancestors include three generations of parents, grandparents and great grand parents and uncles, aunts and siblings who have no progeny other than yourself to honour them. That which is done with Shraddha, faith, is Shraad. During the Shraads all other auspicious and festive events are prohibited. Each of the fifteen Shraad days is dedicated to the ancestor who died on that Tithi. Prayers and offerings to ancestors consist of preparations of rice, lentil and milk and the favourite food of that ancestor if known and then distributed to five beings – a cow, a crow, a dog, ants and a beggar – called the Panch Gras. Thereafter Brahmins are fed. This upholds an ancient tradition of feeding all manner of beings before consuming ones righteous repast. Through the mouths of these beings the ancestors are satisfied and honoured. mahalaya-ama-nIt is believed that the ancestors are permitted to visit the mortal world from their realms as spirits during this period to observe whether they are still loved and remembered. Most people observe these rituals meticulously as it is believed that one will be blessed with progeny and they will be assured long life and a successful career only if the ancestors thus honoured bless the family. The principle is that you are only entitled to future generations if you care to remember and honour your past generations – sounds quite logical.

DEVSHAYAN

images (9)Growing up in an Indian home one often hears the remark ‘sorry we can’t celebrate the wedding for the next few months, the god’s are asleep’. This was always intriguing. how possibly did the gods go to sleep? Of course one was familiar with the strict timings observed in temples when the gods awaken in the morning to the chanting of Mantras and the afternoons when the curtains are drawn or gates closed when they are resting, bathing or being presented with offerings of food. The timing for worship and divine audience  Darshan, was fixed in the morning and evening hours. If you came at the wrong time your worship would be without viewing the deity of the temple. Thus one was familiar with the concept of divine rest periods. But the prolonged rest for months on end in the lunar calendar was another matter and once again had stellar origins.

The period of divine rest or inactivity falls between two Ekadashis ( eleventh Tithis). Beginning with the Ekadashi in the Indian month of Ashad, Shukla Paksh ( lunar ascending phase), falling generally in June-July, it extends to the Ekadashi falling in the month of Kartik, Shukla Paksh. The first Ekadashi is popularly known as Devshayan Ekadashi ( Divine rest Ekadashi), signalling commencement of Devshayan Dosh (divine inactivity affliction) and the second one is called Devauthni Ekadashi ( Divine awakening Ekadashi) signalling end of the afflicted months.

Hindu-God Vishnu imageAs the Devshayan Dosh runs more or less concurrently with the Dakshinayan, the prohibition becomes strengthened further and no one dares to breach it by arranging any auspicious activity then. After the Devuthni Ekadashi, cities in India suddenly spring to life for a month, squeezing in a spate of marriages and events. Roads become so crowded with marriage processions and bridegrooms on horseback and elephants moving with their dancing and singing entourages that traffic happily comes to a standstill, unless of course you have to take a flight or a train. Mass marriages are also the order of the day for people of humbler means.

MALMAS

A month later, despite the prohibition arising from ‘divine rest’ having been lifted, another prohibition arises on account of the Sun entering Sagittarius and once again there is a complete lull on the Hindu social calendar. The entire sub-continent pauses till the Sun leaves Sagittarius and enters Capricorn on Makar Sakranti when its Uttarayan phase begins. Then all is well again for another six months, though short-term prohibitions do crop up from time to time. the Pundit is your trusted guide through all this. The question arises why the Sun’s entry into Sagittarius is deemed unfortunate. Of course the obvious explanation is that it is the month in the year when it is the least empowered having moved to its southernmost point and therefore inauspicious. But there is also a mythological basis for Malmas being inauspicious.

Jupiter, lord of Sagittarius, is the divine mentor and Guru of the demigods. When a royal personage, like the Sun enters the abode of his Guru, he must humbly conduct himself as a disciple and assume a lower seat from him, which he does not find pleasant. This causes him discomfort and being thus reduced in stature he is not his radiant self and in such a state cannot be expected to confer auspiciousness on celebrations. Marriages therefore are avoided during this period. also deferred are important trading and commercial transactions. Indeed, the Indian stock market itself is affected by these distant and invisible cosmic events and it is only after Malmas has passed that the stock market assumes full momentum again.

  Once, being in a hurry I installed a statue of my father in the village square at considerable cost with a stone carved canopy, despite warnings by the Pundits. Within days I was informed that a wayward truck had hit the canopy and that it had shattered, though the statue only suffered minor damage as it too was toppled to the ground. Could have been an unfortunate co-incidence – who knows? 

While the presence of a visible Full-Moon engendering a feeling of auspiciousness and a clearly visible eclipse or transit of a comet arousing fear and being interpreted as evil, may be understandable, the occurrence of a cosmic event which is not visible and can only be known through calculation of movement of the Sun affecting something as mundane and material as the stock market is most remarkable and shows the dominant influence of stellar phenomena on Indian culture and civilization. One cannot escape the feeling that India invisibly reels under a stellar spell.

ADHIKMAS

The third major prohibition period is the additional  month which we saw had to be inserted within  a month in the lunar calendar every three years. Generally Adhikmas ( additional month) falls in late summer or monsoons and therefore in the period of Dakshinaya and the Devshayan, thus not creating an additional period of prohibition but this may not always be so, when the prohibition period would grow even longer than it is. Apart from the prohibition of marriages, during this month, the scriptures  demand that one prays more, fasts, sleeps on the floor, eats only once a day and is charitable.

JUPITER IN LEO

The entry of Jupiter in Leo is another signal for prohibitions. Again we go back to the relationship of Jupiter and the Sun in Indian lore. As the Guru of the Indian Olympus enters Leo, abode of the Sun, the Sun begins to feel the same discomfort having to act deferentially to his Guru and marriages are once again avoided during Jupiter’s sojourn in Leo. However as this would mean no marriages for a whole year because that is the period that slow-moving Jupiter remains in the Sign, the Pundits have found a way out of this impossible prohibition by restricting it to a shorter duration when Jupiter enters a segment of three degrees of Leo from 13 degrees 20 minutes to 16 degrees 40 minutes called the Navmansh of Leo, thereby limiting the prohibition to less than two months.

COMBUST JUPITER AND VENUS

Other prohibitions are associated with periods during which Jupiter or Venus become ‘combust’ ( get too close to the Sun as viewed from Earth). A ‘combust’ planet cannot exert its benefic influence and becomes a source of negativity, therefore inauspicious during such phases. During such phases also, marriages are avoided. fortunately with the Sun’s movement onwards as also that of faster moving planets, the combust status remains only for a short duration.

From the foregoing it should become abundantly clear that planning a calendar event in India is no joke and the astrological almanac is the arbiter for fixing the timing of auspicious and inauspicious events with the assistance of the Pundit – those who take this lightly do so at their own peril!

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The carnivore predator often attracts our admiring attention for its strength, naturally equipped weapons of offence and hunting strategies, its ability to overpower and kill its prey. The mighty lion is proclaimed king of beasts. We marvel at the knife like long canines of the large cats, their retractable claws on paws as broad as the face of their victims, their enormous size and muscular strength and deafening roars. The cat is cute but equally lethal when it strikes its prey with lightening speed. We are astonished by the athletic speed of the cheetah in chase and the aerial jet like flight of the raptors, outpacing any flying creature, in mid-air kills, when the force of their huge talons snuff the life out of the victim with the force of a canon’s shrapnel when it strikes. Likewise the marine monsters, Sharks, Swordfish and Killer Whales and riverine mobs of piranhas  and catfish become our awesome nightmares, armed to the teeth literally for their grisly purpose. These masters of the land, sea and air evoke amazement, respect and awe for their strength and prowess.

But the question arises whether they are indeed more fortunate than their prey, the herbivore deer, antelope, wildebeest, horse and cow or their avian counterparts who rely on seed for nourishment, or again the species of fish who subsist on weeds and plankton, like the gentle giant the humpback whale or its terrestrial counterpart the elephant. Does the strength and fury of predators make them more fortunate than the rest of the animal kingdom?

Both are fundamentally motivated by the perpetual need to seek sustenance and nutrition in the food they consume. While the herbivore and plant and seed eating beings consume simply by grazing or foraging, their aggressive predatory counterparts do not have it so easy. They need to employ guile, give chase, overcome the prey at some risk to themselves in a kind of wrestling match, overpower and kill their prey every time they need a meal. The amount of energy required to graze stands in no comparison to the energy expended in chase, catching, overcoming and killing their mobile food and often the food escapes and they are left hungry. To have to hunt for food is a strenuous excercise which when compared with the virtually effortless grazing and foraging can only be seen as a punishing necessity, no less than a curse imposed on these regal beings, which I would like to term as the Carnivores’ Curse.

I would rather be a sparrow than a hawk, a humpback rather than a shark, a gazelle than a tiger.

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