Summary: Covering Remedial Measures or Planetary Antidotes (Upaye or Upayes) in Jyotish. Detailed discussion of: Wearing gem stones associated with a particular planet: Chanting planetary related mantras: Performing specific acts of charity: Conducting Vedic rituals to balance planetary energies
Planetary Antidotes (Upaye) – Remedial Measures in Jyotish
Vedic astrology is essentially karmic in nature. It predicts the type and duration of both positive and negative returning karma. It tells us what we are likely to experience in all areas of our lives and, most importantly, when these experiences are likely to occur. The great thing about Jyotish is that it comes from a tradition that believes suffering in life is unnecessary! So it is no surprise Jyotish offers a range of practical techniques to deflect, or at least greatly reduce, our returning negative karma. These techniques are often referred to as ‘remedial measures’ or ‘planetary antidotes’ (Upaye or Upayes).
A Vedic astrologer can identify imbalances in a person’s birth chart (based on the code read from the planetary positions at birth). The astrologer can then offer the individual practical strategies to ‘avert the danger that has not yet arisen’. So, they can actually prescribe a number of strategies to lessen the individual’s karmic burden. These strategies may not remove the karma entirely, but they will certainly modify them.
These planetary remedies, or antidotes, are things that can balance out planets ‘negative energies’ and restore balance and harmony in our lives. They can also really enhance the energies from positive planets too – maximising positive returning karmas.
The antidotes to problematic planets that are prescribed by Jyotish generally fall into four categories:
These strategies are not based on superstition. They have withstood the long test of time from generation to generation. They work because the Vedic tradition sees everything in the universe as an interconnected whole. This Vedic model of reality is increasingly supported from the perspective of modern science. It is also reflected in the Vedic (and Buddhist) concept of ‘Indra’s Net’ .
There was a song by Joni Mitchell (released 1970) – the lyrics went: ‘We are stardust, we are golden’. Very true, as from the point of modern astrophysics we are actually mainly stardust! All the elements in our body (other than hydrogen), were forged in stellar furnaces billions of miles away (and billions of years ago). So we have a very real connection to the stars in that most of the stuff that makes us was made there. Many people report that wearing a quality Jyotish gemstone reminds them on a very deep level of this connection.
Although not specifically mentioned in the Jyotish texts, many astrologers also agree that performing spiritual practices can greatly modify returning karma. In particular, mantra based Vedic meditation techniques have a big effect. When they examined the birth-charts of numerous long-term meditators they found their actual life experiences much better than they would have otherwise predicted!
For those with a personal Guru, the ‘Grace of the Guru’ can remove major obstacles! Such individuals should consider themselves extremely fortunate!
Wearing Gemstones as Planetary Antidotes
In Vedic astrology, each planet is associated with a particular gemstone. For example, the Sun is associated with ruby, Venus with diamond, Saturn with blue sapphire, etc. If an auspicious planet in a birth chart needs strengthening (note: usually ‘strong’ = ‘good’ in Jyotish), then this can be facilitated by wearing the gemstone for that particular planet.
The key word in the above sentence is ‘auspicious’. Only auspicious planets can be strengthened by wearing the appropriate gemstone for the planet (‘auspicious’ in this context means ‘functional benefic’). Other mitigating strategies (such as mantras) are needed if the planet is not auspicious. A number of modern books on Jyotish fail to make this vital point clear. A serious and misleading error!
Because many of the planets simultaneously rule two houses, the rules for determining whether a planet is ‘good’ or ‘not good’ for a particular ascendant are a bit more complex. As the ascendant (in the Sidereal Zodiac) changes sign, the ‘functional benefic’ or ‘functional malefic’ nature of a planet also changes. This is dealt with in detail in a separate article. However, as a general rule (and Jyotish just loves ‘exceptions’ to rules) any planet ruling the first, or fifth, or ninth house is considered auspicious regardless of what other house it ‘owns’.
The table below shows the gems associated with each of the nine planets:
Note: In the above chart, ‘Gomed ‘ is also known as ‘Hessonite Garnet’, and ‘Cat’s Eye’ is also known as ‘Chrysoberyl’
It is worth noting that the weight and quality of the gemstone are also specified by Vedic Astrology – as are the metals in which it is set and even the fingers on which it is worn . For remedial purposes precious stones should also be natural and not synthetic or man-made gems .
In order to be effective stones must touch the skin – this can be achieved with special settings for rings, or the stones can be set as a pendant.
I have heard some Jyotish experts saying that even the gold (must be 22 carat) that is in a chain or ring removes quite a bit (maybe up to 70%) of planetary negativity. Interesting, if this is correct!
The concept, of wearing a gemstone to balance planetary energies, is therefore much more finely tuned to an individual’s birth chart in Jyotish, than in the Western Astrological system. Western Astrology just uses the relatively simple concept of a ‘birthstone’ or gem appropriate to the ‘sun sign’ of a person – rather than the detailed analysis and remedial prescriptions of Vedic astrology.
There is a lot of detailed and quality information about Jyotish gems on the Astrological Gem website (Vedicplanet has no commercial links with this site).
Semi-Precious Gemstone Equivalents
If we can’t afford a particular quality precious stone, then there are a few semi-precious equivalents. However, the general understanding is that semi-precious stones do not confer as much protection on the wearer as precious stones. In India, people sometimes wear the following semi-precious stones for Jyotish purposes:
- Red Spinel for the Sun
- Green Tourmaline for Mercury
- Yellow Topaz (better than Citrine) or Yellow Citrine (Yellow Quartz) for Jupiter
- White Sapphire (a good substitute for diamond) or Phenakite for Venus
- Blue Spinel for Saturn
Wearing Gemstones Based on our Ascendant
If we know our ascendant (our ascending sign in the Sidereal zodiac) we can always safely wear the gemstone that is associated with the planet that rules or ‘owns’ our ascending sign. This will bring only positive results to our lives. This is something we can all do to reap the benefits.
Wearing this gem will also give some help (but not as much as specifically targeted planetary relief) with any problems indicated in other areas of our chart by strengthening the ‘Lord of the Ascendant’ (planet that ‘owns’ or ‘rules’ our ascending sign). Strengthening the ascendant lord can only bring positive effects to an individual. (Note: some astrologers say the only exception to this rule is for a Scorpio ascendant – where Mars simultaneously rules both the first and the sixth houses).
If we already have a Western style birth-chart giving our ascending sign in the Tropical Zodiac we can easily convert to Sidereal by subtracting the angle stated for the ‘Ayanamsha’ for our birth date. This is easier than it sounds . We can then wear the appropriate gem stone.
An alternative to this is to use a free online service (based on the sidereal zodiac) for getting a gemstone recommendation. This link is the best I have seen and is driven by a very well respected piece of Jyotish software that produces great recommendations – only bettered by a very experienced Vedic Astrologer. But be aware that accurate birth-times are needed. If you do not have these try and generate two separate reports using your earliest and latest birth-time estimates. If the recommendations differ then seek out a professional astrologer.
Chanting Planetary Related Mantras to Remove Negative Karma
While wearing gemstones for auspicious planets (i.e. auspicious for a particular ascendant) is good, wearing the gemstone associated with a ‘malefic’ planet (i.e. malefic for a particular ascendant) would not be good at all! In this case we can chant mantras to alleviate the negative effects of a weakened or badly afflicted malefic.
Mantras are always said or chanted in Sanskrit. This ‘upwardly manages’ the force of nature (the Devas). Specific mantras can be repeated to balance the negative energies associated with a particular planet. Mantras are like passwords that enable us to connect to the higher realms. They are the vehicle that helps us transcend or ‘cross over’ to higher states of consciousness. A Jyotish astrologer can identify problematic malefic planets in a birth-chart and suggest mantras to remove their negativity.
At their most basic level, the planetary mantras can be fairly simple and follow the general pattern:
‘Om – [planets name in Sanskrit] – Namaha’
These can be repeated daily 108 times (the number 108 is derived from the nine planets multiplied by the twelve astrological signs: 9 x 12 = 108) – usually done with a ‘mala’ or rosary. So, for example, the mantra for Venus would be ‘Om Shukraya Namah’. This takes only a few minutes to do.
Basic Planetary Mantras to Chant
Some planets have multiple names, so the names given below are only one suggestion out of a number of possibilities – but they are all very effective.
Getting the correct pronunciation is very important! Typing the mantra in the list below into ‘YouTube Search’ usually works well (although this sometimes gives a slightly more complicated version of the mantra – for example by adding ‘Shri’ or a ‘seed mantra’ in front of the planet’s name; but the basic pronunciation remains the same).
In the list below I have added an ‘a’ to the last word (Namah) in the mantras. This makes the ‘h’ at the end sound a little bit more prolonged. This comes from the ‘Visarga’ rules for the correct pronunciation of Sanskrit and here it applies to the final word in the mantras. So if ‘Namah’ appears in the middle of a mantra it is pronounced just as it is written (e.g. ‘Auṁ Namaḥ Śivāya’ – Om Namah Shivaya). But at the end of a mantra the ‘h’ is just a bit more prolonged! The difference is quite subtle. So best to listen to a reputable source on YouTube if you have any doubts.
Sun: ‘Om Suryaya Namaha’
Moon: ‘Om Somaya Namaha’
Mars: ‘Om Mangalaya Namaha’
Mercury: ‘Om Budhaya Namaha’
Jupiter: ‘Om Brihaspataye Namaha’
Venus: ‘Om Shukraya Namaha’
Saturn: ‘Om Shanaye Namaha’
Rahu: ‘Om Rahave Namaha’
Ketu: ‘Om Ketave Namaha’
A Jyotish astrologer would fine tune this process even more – by determining when in a person’s life the planet’s effects will be felt most and advising chanting during this time period (the Maha Dasha of the planet concerned). An analogy would be like putting on more clothes in the winter to protect us from the cold – we only need to do it for a limited period and not for life.
Mantra for Harmony between the Nine Planets
Another possibility is to chant a simple mantra that ‘takes care’ of the energies from all the nine planets and creates harmony between them. This will modify our returning karmas in a positive way. This is the great ‘Nav Graha’ mantra:
adityaaya cha somaaya mangalaaya budhaaya cha |
guru shukra shanibhyash cha raahave ketave namaha ||
It is surprisingly easy to learn by repetition, and there is a good version and explanation on YouTube: ‘Mantra to balance effects of the Nine Planets (Navagrahas); By Swami Purnachaitanya’
General Mantras for Removing Negativity and Suffering
Another option would be to chant something like:
‘Auṁ Namaḥ Śivāya’ (Om Namah Shivaya)
This simple mantra is very powerful at removing negativity. There are lots of videos on YouTube giving the pronunciation of this mantra in chant format.
Even more powerful would be chanting the great Mrityunjaya mantra – but this takes a bit of learning.
Why are these mantras so powerful? It is said: ‘Shiva sits on top of all the planets’  , which really means ‘That Shiva Consciousness’ (i.e. ‘Shiva Tattva’) has the ability to overwrite the planetary influences that are shown in our birth-charts. Chanting Shiva mantras enlivens this in our awareness! Wow.
Acts of Charity to Balance Planetary Energies
Because the Vedic tradition sees the universe as an interconnected whole, then specific acts of charity help negate the karmas associated with a particular planet. Even if this is not true, it is still good to give away a small fraction of our income to ‘good causes’! A living enlightened Vedic Saint encourages everyone to do this – he says that giving a few percent of our income to the charity of our choice means there is less likelihood of disputes, court cases and associated problems in our lives.
Some remedies are very simple – just feeding the crows on a Saturday is said to relieve some of the karmic burdens we might experience due to a problematic Saturn in our birth-chart.
Different planets are linked to different days of the week, so it is best to carry out certain specific acts of charity on the appropriate day for each planet.
This may all seem just superstitious, but these practices have withstood the long test of time; generation after generation. The interconnectedness of all things is increasingly being considered from a scientific perspective too (see article: Vedic Model of Reality from a Scientific Perspective), giving additional weight to the perceptions of the ancient enlightened sages.
Conducting Vedic Rituals to Remove Negativity
Since ancient times, Vedic rituals have been performed to upwardly manage the forces of nature. When certain Vedic ceremonies (called ‘yagnas’ or ‘yajnas’ or ‘yagyas’) were performed, rain came on time, crops grew well and there was abundance on the earth.
In a similar way, serious problems due to out of balance planetary energies in a person’s birth-chart, can be resolved using these rituals. People might view this is as ‘worshipping the planets’ – but it is far more subtle and profound. This is actually ‘karmic engineering’! The procedures for conducting these ancient ceremonies were actually given to mankind by the Divine to ease suffering.
The yagnas have to be performed very precisely using appropriate Vedic mantras and they really do give ‘peace from the planets (grahas)’ or ‘Graha Shanti’. They are best performed by pundits with a high level of consciousness. They are most effective when done in an Ashram or Temple according to the ancient tradition with all the specified ingredients (these are not easy to obtain in the West). Even better when they are supervised by an enlightened Guru. The only organisation I can recommend for this (based on my first-hand experience of their pujas) is that founded by the living saint ‘Mata Amritanandamayi’
The rituals can specifically target the problems associated in a birth-chart due to a single planet. They enliven the forces of nature associated with that particular planetary energy and modify returning karmas. Or, if there are a number of planets causing problems, then all nine of the planets can be targeted simultaneously so that there is peace and harmony between them and their energies do not conflict.
 ‘The Net of Indra is a profound and subtle metaphor for the structure of reality. Imagine a vast net; at each crossing point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly clear and reflects all the other jewels in the net, the way two mirrors placed opposite each other will reflect an image ad infinitum. The jewel in this metaphor stands for an individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a cell or an atom. Every jewel is intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight, in every other jewel.’Stephen Mitchell, The Enlightened Mind, (HarperPerennial; Reprint edition: April 1993, ISBN -10: 0060923202)
 Jyotish is very precise about the metals in which a stone is set e.g. gold for ruby, silver for pearl etc. It is also very clear about the need for really high quality gems – preferably with no internal cracks or black spots (inclusions). In fact, the quality is often more important than the size of a stone for remedial purposes. For example, diamonds should be grade IF or VVS1, with colour grade H or better, with weight between 0.25 and 1.25 carat. These are expensive stones!
 Although synthetic gems are not suitable for Jyotish purposes, I have heard a world leading Ayurvedic doctor say they give 80% health benefits (compared with natural stones) for ayurvedic purposes. For Jyotish use there are also arguments about the benefits of heat treated stones compared with unheated ones. Certainly I believe it is better to completely avoid artificially irradiated stones.
 The difference in planetary positions between the zodiacs is now around 24 degrees. If our sun was, say 14 degrees in Virgo in Western Astrology, it will be at 14 – 24 = – 10 degrees Virgo in the Vedic system! So it will be 10 degrees before the start (or zero position) of Virgo. This simply means it has has moved backwards and changed sign into the position of 20 degrees in Leo in the Vedic system (as -10 + 30 = 20). However if our sun was at 28 degrees Virgo in the Tropical zodiacit will now be at 28 – 24 = 4 degrees Virgo in the sidereal zodiac. It has still moved backwards, but in this case it has not changed sign
 Quoted by By Swami Purnachaitanya’ of the Art of Living Foundation
 Quoted by the enlightened Vedic Master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: “Shiva doesn’t have a body, he was never a person at all. To symbolize the unfathomable, the infinite divinity, and to make it comprehensible for young people, for children and others, they made a form. In fact, there is no form to Shiva.
Shiva is a principle (Tattva) from where everything has come, everything is sustained in it, and everything dissolves into it. Shiva is the space, it is the consciousness. There is no way that you can even step out of Shiva at any time because Shiva is the ‘summum bonum’ of the whole creation. That is why Shiva’s body is depicted in blue because blue signifies the sky; the all-pervading infinity which has no limits, and no shape.
The consciousness which is bliss and innocence, the consciousness which is the bestower of dispassion – is Shiva. The whole world is moving in an auspicious rhythm of innocence and intelligence – that is Shiva. The permanent and eternal source of energy, the eternal state of being, the one and only one – is Shiva.”
Additional Information on Vedic Astrology
Introduction to Jyotish. A range of articles for people entirely new to Vedic Astrology. Including: Introduction, FAQs, Origins and Karmic Implications.
Key Concepts in Jyotish. Articles covering the Sidereal Zodiac, Planetary Forces, Forecasting Analogies and ‘Planetary Antidotes’.
For Western Astrologers. Articles examining major differences between the two systems and the paradigm shift needed by Western Astrologers wanting to understand the subject.
Learn Jyotish. An extensive collection of articles covering key facts, concepts and methods. Aimed at ‘foundation level’ students. Includes essential information needed before beginning chart interpretations. Covering: Chart Formats, Planets, Houses, Mahadasha Periods, Transits, Aspects, Birth-time Errors, Natural and Functional Benefics / Malefics, Chart Interpretation Basics, etc.