Tag Archives: vedic astrology

Planetary Antidotes in Jyotish

Summary: Covering Remedial Measures or Planetary Antidotes (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

Remedial Measures or Planetary Antidotes (Upayes) in Jyotish

Vedic astrology is essentially karmic in nature. It predicts the type and duration of both positive and negative returning karmas. 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 karmas. These techniques are often referred to as ‘remedial measures’ or ‘planetary antidotes’ (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 karmas 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’ [1].

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 (and possibly billions of years) away. 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 karmas. 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 Gem Stones 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 the particular planet.

The key word in the above sentence is ‘auspicious’. Only auspicious can be strengthened in this way planets (‘auspicious’ in this context means ‘functional benefic’). Other mitigating strategies are needed if the planet is not auspicious. A number of modern books on Jyotish fail to make this clear.

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, 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.

Gemstones associated with particular planets in Jyotish.Planet and Gemstone Associations in Jyotish

It is worth noting that the weight and quality of the gemstone are also specified – as are the metals in which it is set and even the fingers on which it is worn [2]. For remedial purposes precious stones should also be natural and not synthetic or man-made gems [3].

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!

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 semi-precious Yellow Citrine or Yellow Topaz for Jupiter, pure Quartz crystals (‘Sphatik‘) for Venus and Red Spinel or Pyrope Garnet for the Sun.

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.

Wearing Gemstones Based on our Ascendant

If we know our ascendant (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 [4]. We can then wear the appropriate gem stone.

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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 will identify problematic planets in a birth-chart (if any) and suggest a mantra to remove their negativity.

At the most basic level, the planetary mantras can be fairly simple and follow the general pattern:  ‘Om – [planets name in Sanskrit] – Namah’.

These can be repeated daily 108 times (108 is for the nine planets multiplied by the twelve astrological signs) – usually done with a ‘mala’ or rosary. So, for example, the mantra for Venus would be ‘Om Shukraya Namah’. This probably takes only 10 minutes to do.

Basic Planetary Mantras to Chant

Some planets have multiple names, so the ones given below are only single suggestions 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 planets name).

Sun: ‘Om Suryaya Namah’

Moon: ‘Om Somaya Namah’

Mars: ‘Om Mangalaya Namah’

Mercury: ‘Om Budhaya Namah’

Jupiter:  ‘Om Brihaspataye Namah’

Venus: ‘Om Shukraya Namah’

Saturn: ‘Om Shanaye Namah’

Rahu: ‘Om Rahave Namah’

Ketu: ‘Om Ketave Namah’

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 namah ||

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) – simple but very powerful at removing negativity. There are lots of videos on YouTube giving 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’ [5] , which really means That Consciousness (i.e. ‘Shiva Tattva’[6]) has the ability to overwrite planetary influences. Chanting Shiva mantras enlivens this in our awareness! Wow.

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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.

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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).

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.

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Footnotes

[1] ‘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)

[2] 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!

[3] 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.

[4] 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

[5] Quoted by By Swami Purnachaitanya’ of the Art of Living Foundation

[6] 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.”

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Additional Information on Vedic Astrology

Planets and Their Indications

Summary: Planetary indicators (Karakas) of a range of physiological, psychological, and sociological phenomena related to an individual and which can be read from their birth-chart

In Vedic astrology planets are used as indicators (Karakas) of a range of physiological, psychological, and sociological phenomena that relate to the individual.

Vedic astrology sees the whole cosmos and all the people in it as part of an inter-connected whole. So, in this system, the planetary positions at birth just represent coded information about a person’s returning karmas. It is the job of the astrologer to decode this information and translate it into actual predictions.

A key component of chart interpretation is to know what each of the planets indicates. The following list gives us a basic understanding:

Sun

Physiological Indications: Health and general well-being

Psychological Indications: Power and influence

Sociological Indications: Father

Other Indications: Self-realisation

Moon

Physiological Indications: Fertility, heart, younger years

Psychological Indications: Mind, memory, emotions, happiness

Sociological Indications: Mother

Other Indications: Affluence

 Mars

Physiological Indications: Energy, stamina

Psychological Indications: Drive, courage, ambition

Sociological Indications: Younger siblings

Other Indications: Military, enemies, property

 Mercury

Physiological Indications: Nervous system, speech

Psychological Indications: Logic, intelligence, education

Sociological Indications: Friends

Other Indications: Business, communication, dance, drama

Jupiter

Physiological Indications: Fat

Psychological Indications: Wisdom

Sociological Indications: Children

Other Indications: Wealth, guru, philosophy, law, religion

 Venus

Physiological Indications: Semen

Psychological Indications: Pleasures

Sociological Indications: Wife

Other Indications: Luxury, singing, poetry

 Saturn

Physiological Indications: Longevity, bones

Psychological Indications: Patience, grief, adversity, renunciation

Sociological Indications: Servants

Other Indications: Land, wood, metal

 Rahu

Physiological Indications: Strange illnesses

Psychological Indications: Frustrations

Sociological Indications: None

Other Indications: Worldly benefits, gambling, thefts

 Ketu

Physiological Indications: Strange illnesses

Psychological Indications: Psychic abilities

Sociological Indications: None

Other Indications: Enlightenment, strange events

 

Planetary Placement Affects The Above Indicators

If a planet is ‘well placed’ in a birth chart, then all the above indicated associations are likely to be very positive for the individual concerned.

If the planet is ‘poorly placed’, then all its associations are likely to provide some degree of difficulty, obstacles or challenges.

By ‘well placed’ we mean a planet in a favourable sign, such as its own or exalted sign, or in a good house (e.g. the 5th or 9th) or well aspected by a planet that has positive associations (a ‘benefic’) for that ascendant.

By ‘poorly placed’ we mean the planet is in an unfavourable sign (e.g. weakened or debilitated) or an unfavourable house (e.g. 6th, 8th, 12th), or aspected by a planet with negative associations (a ‘malefic’) for that particular ascendant.

So for example, if the sun in a person’s birth chart is exalted (i.e. in its sign of exaltation – Aries sidereal), or in the 9th house (even better if both exalted and in 9th!) we can expect that person to have excellent health and well-being (physiological indications): good self-esteem, power and influence (psychological indications): good relationships with his father (sociological indications): and be interested in self-realisation and personal evolution (other indicators).

If the sun was poorly placed in a birth chart (e.g. in its sign of debilitation [Libra sidereal] or in the 6th, 8th, 12th houses, or aspected by a malefic influence) then we could expect possible health problems, lack of self-esteem, maybe problems with father, etc.

Of course, there are many other indicators and subtle layers of chart interpretation, but this principle is fundamental to assessing an individual’s chart. It is a cornerstone of the subject!


Additional Resources on Jyotish

 

Planetary Strengths or Powers

Summary: Covers a key component of chart interpretation – assessing the ‘strength’ or ‘power’ of a planet from its sign placement in a birth-chart

In Jyotish, a key component of chart interpretation lies in assessing the ‘strength’ or ‘power’ of a planet.

A planet that is classified as ‘strong’ brings many benefits and signifies positive returning karmas. In general, ‘strong’ equates with ‘good’!

There are two ways in which ‘strong’ equals ‘good’

Firstly some of the benefits will be in the life areas indicated by the natural associations or indications of that planet.

For example our health, power, self-esteem, relationship with father are natural associations or indicators of the Sun. Whereas our mind, emotions, memory are associated with the Moon. (See the aricle on ‘natural associations’ of planets for details)

Secondly, a strong planet brings benefits to the Houses associated with the signs it ‘owns’ or ‘rules’ [1].

Assessing Planetary Strength from Sign Placement

Although there are numerous ways of assessing a planet’s strength, a fundamental indication of strength is to assign a particular state depending on the sign of the zodiac in which the planet is located. Sometimes even the sector of the sign (say the first 10 deg.) makes a difference to the level of ‘strength’.

In Vedic astrology there are certain signs in which a planet is said to be ‘strong’ or ‘powerful’ and so can deliver benefits, whereas in other signs it is said to be ‘weakened’ so we might expect more challenges, difficulties or negative returning karmas in the life areas associated with it. Therefore the strength of a planet depends on its relationship with the sign of the zodiac in which it is placed (or passing through).

When beginning astrology, we can make quite a good initial observation of a birth-chart simply by first looking to see if each of the nine planets is in one of the four key categories of strength.

These are called, ‘Exalted’, ‘Moolatrikona’, ‘Own House’, ‘Debilitated’ (weakened or ‘fallen’).

The state of ‘Moolatrikona’ (no direct English equivalent word) brings benefits somewhere between the best state ‘exalted’ and the good state ‘own house’.

The sign where a planet is weakest (Debilitated) is exactly 180° opposite its position of maximum strength (Exalted).

Suppose we take a naturally positive planet such as Venus. If Venus is in its sign of Exaltation (Pisces), it will bring tremendous benefits (both to its natural indicators, and also to the two houses associated with the signs it rules – Libra and Taurus; the house numbers linked to these signs will of course depend on the particular ascendant in the birth-chart). However, if Venus is located in its sign of Debilitation (Virgo), it will bring no benefits whatsoever.

Therefore the same planet can act in very different ways according to its sign placement!

Planetary Strengths or Powers by Sign Placement

Sun

Exalted sign: Aries (maximum strength at Aries 10°)

Moolatrikona sign: Leo 0° to 20°

Own sign: Leo 20° to 30°

Debilitated sign: Libra (maximum weakness Libra 10°)

Moon

Exalted sign: Taurus 0° to 3°

Moolatrikona sign: Taurus 3° to 30°

Own sign: Cancer

Debilitated sign: Scorpio (maximum weakness at Scorpio 3°)

Mars

Exalted sign: Capricorn (maximum strength at Capricorn 28°)

Moolatrikona sign: Aries 0° to 12°

Own signs: Aries 12° to 30° and Scorpio

Debilitated sign: Cancer (maximum weakness at Cancer 28°)

Mercury

Exalted sign: Virgo 0° to 15° (maximum strength at Virgo 15°)

Moolatrikona sign: Virgo 16° to 20°

Own signs: Virgo 20° to 30° and Gemini

Debilitated sign: Pisces (maximum weakness at Pisces 15°)

Jupiter

Exalted sign: Cancer (maximum strength at Cancer 5°)

Moolatrikona sign: Sagittarius 0° to 10°

Own signs: Sagittarius 10° to 30° and Pisces

Debilitated sign: Capricorn (maximum weakness at Capricorn 5°)

Venus

Exalted sign: Pisces (maximum strength at Pisces 27°)

Moolatrikona sign: Libra 0° to 15° and Taurus

Own signs: Taurus 15° to 30° and Libra

Debilitated sign: Virgo (maximum weakness at Virgo 27°)

Saturn

Exalted sign: Libra (maximum strength at Libra 20°)

Moolatrikona sign: Aquarius 0° to 15°

Own signs: Aquarius 15° to 30° and Capricorn

Debilitated sign: Aries (maximum weakness at Aries 20°)

There are considerable differences of opinion in the ancient texts about the signs where Rahu and Ketu are strong or weak. So the following are quoted using the best sources I have available.

Rahu

Exalted sign: Taurus

Debilitated sign: Scorpio

Ketu

Exalted sign: Scorpio

Debilitated sign: Taurus


House ‘Ownership’ or ‘Rulership’ Principles

A ‘strong’ planet also brings benefits to the signs associated with that particular planet. By ‘association’ we mean sign(s) the planet is said to ‘own or rule’. The Vedic seers allocated each of the signs to a particular planet:

Sign Ownership or Rulership by Planets in Jyotish

For example, the Sun is said to be the ‘owner or ruler’  of the sign of Leo (sidereal). A strong Sun therefore brings benefits to the house number in the birth chart that corresponds with the sign of Leo. It brings benefits to all life areas that specific house indicates. The house number (1 to 12) will of course depend of on a person’s ascendant. If a person had a Cancer ascendant, then Leo becomes the second house (counting clockwise). So a strong Sun would bring benefits associated with the second house e.g. wealth

Note that in Jyotish signs and houses correspond exactly – unlike in some western astrological systems.

Suppose a person had an ascendant in Aries – this sign then becomes the first house and the sign of Leo (counting clockwise from Aries – yes clockwise, unlike in the Western system) would be the 5th house. So, if the Sun was ‘strong’ (by sign placement – see below) the affairs indicated by the 5th house e.g. children, intelligence and education, would also be supported in a positive way. This is in addition to the natural indications of the Sun (health, power, etc.) being positively supported.

 


Additional Measures of Strength – ‘Friends’ and ‘Enemies’

Professional astrologers add a number of other states lying between the ‘own house’ and ‘debilitated’ states. These are a bit more complicated for beginners but they ‘fine tune’ the chart interpretation.

These five intermediate states are named as follows: ‘Great Friends’, ‘Friends’, ‘Neutral’, ‘Enemies’, ‘Great Enemies’.

A planet positioned in a sign owned by a ‘Great Friend’ does well, but one in a sign owned by an ‘Enemy’ is weakened. Of course, planets don’t actually have ‘friends’ or ‘enemies’. It is just a convenient way of saying that a planet such as Venus is less ‘happy’ (so will bring less benefits) when positioned in the sign of an ‘enemy’ such as the Sun. Good Vedic astrological software will show these states for each planet in a birth-chart.

The above, together with ‘Exalted, ‘Own House’  and ‘Debilitated (‘Fallen’) are the primary planetary strengths or ‘Avasthas’.

For a proper chart interpretation we should take these nine detailed levels into account, but when we are starting to look at charts for the first time we can just use the four key states: Exalted, Own, Moolatrikona and Debilitated. They give a surprisingly accurate picture of an individual’s returning karmas! If you are in any doubts about the validity of Jyotish check these strength indicators out in the charts of your friends and family.

The sage Parashara quantifies the benefits a planet in each state can bring:

Exalted 100%, Moolatrikona 75%, Own House 50%, Friendly sign 25%, Neutral sign 12%, and Fallen/Enemies sign 0%.

This gives us a general idea of how the state of a planet affects the good it can do. We don’t have to take the above figures too literally – but they give a good illustration of the concepts.

Other Factors which Influence Planetary Strength

There are also other factors which influence strength. For example, if the planet appears to be moving backwards against the background of the fixed stars (i.e. ‘retrograde’), if it is very close to the Sun (i.e. ‘combust’), or within about 1 degree of another planet (i.e. involved in ‘planetary war’). A planet’s position in the divisional charts (e.g. the ninth division or ‘marriage’ chart) also affects its overall power and ability to do good.

There are also other ‘Avasthas’ or ‘states’ which modify planetary strengths. Wikipedia comments: ‘Avasthas are basically secondary sources of strength which temper interpretations rather than reverse them’. If Wiki is talking about these other Avasthas (such as ‘youth’, etc.) and not the primary ones (Exalted, Own, etc.) then I agree. For those wishing to research this further, WikiZero has an interesting article on Avasthas.

These other influences on planetary strength will be covered in further articles.


Additional Resources on Jyotish

Vedic Astrology – A Paradigm Shift

Summary: This article examines the paradigm shift needed by Western Astrologers if they are going to stand any chance of understanding the fundamental concepts involved in the predictive and preventive Vedic Astrological system.

Jyotish – A Major Paradigm Shift for Western Astologers

A fully Self–realized Vedic Master said this about Vedic astrology:‘The purpose of astrology is to take you to the ultimate truth that the entire universe is one organism. It’s one Being, one consciousness, one Self, that manifests itself into this varied universe’. [1]

For many centuries man thought that the Sun and planets revolved around the earth and that the earth was at the centre of the universe. These ideas were very deeply ingrained in our thinking and formed a conceptual framework which affected our whole outlook on life.  The learned scholars and establishment of the time (the Church) supported these ideas.

Irrefutable scientific evidence later emerged to suggest that what had previously been taken as ‘self-evident fact’ was merely a result of an earth-centred perspective and that, contrary to what we observe, the earth and planets do indeed revolve in orbits around the Sun.

Looking back from our present time it is hard to imagine the upset this change in perspective caused and why those who supported the new theories were branded as heretics.  It is also difficult to imagine why the established ideas had so much inertia.

The above is an example of what is known as a ‘paradigm shift’.  There have been other examples.  More recently the concept of ‘evolution of the species’ had to overthrow the entrenched ideas that God, at some time in the past, created life exactly as we see it now – and that there was no room in the divine plan for changes.

Yet another paradigm-shift occurred in the field of physics when the rules of motion as laid down by Isaac Newton were found to be inadequate at explaining all observed phenomena (e.g. those occurring close to the speed of light or at the minute atomic scale).  Einstein’s’ theory of relativity and the whole of quantum physics then emerged. However, the shift from one view point to another is never easy and takes considerable time to get established in the consciousness of the general public.

Now Western Astrologers are often considered as being reasonably flexible and adaptable to ‘new ideas’. One problem with Jyotish Astrology is that it is not a ‘new idea’ – it has been in existence for thousands of years.  Another problem is that in order to be able to fully grasp ‘where it is coming from’ a major paradigm shift is going to be needed by Astrologers born and bred into Western Astrological thinking patterns.

Here are some key concepts:

1. Planets Do Not Affect People

The Jyotish Astrologer realises that planets do not affect people – it is people which affect people!  In the West it is very easy to take on an ‘Astrological Victim Consciousness’ mode of thought e.g. ‘I’m having a bad time at the moment because of my Saturn transit’ i.e. Saturn is the agent responsible for my condition.  Jyotish Astrology says this is nonsense.  Any condition or situation we find ourselves in at the present is solely due to our past thoughts, words or deeds.  Of course we could argue as follows, ‘I can’t remember doing anything which would give rise to what I am now experiencing.’

The answer to this, from a Jyotish viewpoint, is very simple.  It says that our memory does not extend far enough back.  In order to understand the present we might require a memory stretching back many lifetimes.  So Jyotish has built into its structure the concepts of re-incarnation and the fruits of past actions returning to the individual.

The mechanics of Jyotish, at a fundamental level, rely on the Vedic Model of Reality: the universe and all the beings in it is an interconnected single entity!

2. We Were Not Born at a Particular Time Merely by Chance

We were not born at some particular time on a specific day when the planets were arranged in a particular way, merely by chance.  Jyotish Astrology comes from a tradition which does not believe that the Creator plays dice!  It would be grossly unfair if some people were born into very rich families and others into families of beggars just by accident.

Jyotish implies that we were born at a particular time and place due to our past karmas and latent impressions (samskaras). The celestial arrangement of the 9 planets amongst the twelve houses and 27 constellations (Nakshatras) at our birth simply reflects how our lives will unfold as a result of our past deeds. The moment of our incarnation on this planet therefore reflects the karmic lessons we needed to learn to maximise our evolution – and Jyotish Astrology can detect the nature and timing of the benefits we receive and challenges we face.

3. Planets Don’t Emit a Physical ‘Force’ that Affects People

Many Western Astrologers believe that the planets emit some type of force which, as yet, has not been discovered by science, and which influences our lives.  They therefore feel that Jyotish Astrology is in some way limited as it does not use the very slow moving planets Neptune, Uranus and Pluto and thus fails to take into account the ‘forces’ emitted by these planets.

The Western Astrological concept of a planet emitting a ‘force’ that affects human beings is very mechanistic and ‘Newtonian’. Vedic Astrology realises that it is just dealing with a field of information, not a physical, or even esoteric hidden force. The planetary arrangements present at the time of birth are a type of code that can be ‘read’ by skilled Vedic Astrologers and translated into predictions.

The lack of a physical force and the acceptance that planetary arrangements merely represent information is supported by the Jyotish axiom that the ‘effects’ of planets vary markedly with the individuals’ rising sign or ascendant.  There is no such parallel in Western Astrology.

In Jyotish the planet Mars is (generally) a very positive influence in the birth chart of someone with a Leo ascendant (sign rising on the horizon at birth).  It is also (generally) an extremely negative influence for a person with a Virgo ascendant.  So the same planet signals both positive effects for some individuals and negative for others. Clearly this is not due to any physical force emanating from the planet! This gives evidence to the fact that we are really dealing with an integrated field of information (or intelligence) where the individual is linked to the Cosmic Totality.

 4. Jyotish Provides Remedial Measures to Modify Returning Karmas

Because we are part of an integrated whole, then by participating in certain vedic procedures , performing prescribed acts of charity, reciting certain sanskrit mantras  or wearing appropriate gemstones we can modify or deflect (to a large extent) returning karmas so that we do not have to suffer the consequences in this lifetime. So, Jyotish enables us to both detect and ‘deflect’ returning karmas! [2]

Footnotes:

 [1] HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘The Daily Sutra’, 20 May 2003

[2] Vedic ceremonies such as yagnas, when performed correctly by enlightened pandits are said to modify returning karmas. Also, as the universe and the beings in it are viewed as an interconnected whole, then the wearing of certain gemstones associated with  specific planets in a birthchart are said to modify returning karmas associated with those planets. The sanskrit mantras are also seen as a  means of ‘upwardly managing’ the laws of nature to modify returning karmas!


Additional Information on Vedic Astrology

Jyotish and Karma

Summary: This article examines the concepts of karma and reincarnation which are central to the understanding of Jyotish Astrology. It also explains how returning karmas can be predicted then modified through Vedic Astrology’s remedial measures.

Vedic Astrology, Karma and Reincarnation

In the West we tend to confuse, and often mispronounce, the words ‘kama’ and ‘karma’. ‘Kama’ means desire and in the West many are familiar with the Kama Sutra. ‘Karma’ literally means action, so the world is full of karma as actions are going on all the time.

There are subtle meanings attached to the concept of karma. On an individual basis we usually understand karma to mean the returning consequences of our past actions (‘as you sow, so shall you reap’). Karma is also linked with the concept of samskara (or sanskara) – the deep seated desires, or latent impressions in our mind that drive us to perform specific actions [1].

In Jyotish, the planets are seen as representing the ‘Cosmic Postman’. They ‘deliver’, in this lifetime, some of the consequences of our actions carried over from past lifetimes. We tend to regard these karmas as ‘positive’ when they are life enhancing or ‘negative’ when they create problems and obstacles for us [2]. However, that is merely our subjective interpretation. From a higher state of consciousness the terms ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ karmas simply do not apply – stuff just is!

In Vedic astrology, the soul (for want of a better word in the English language) does not incarnate at random. Vedic Masters tell us that it incarnates into a human body with certain physical characteristics according to past karmas. The specific family, its position in society and country of birth are also determined by past karmas.

Vedic astrology tells us that we are not the victims of our birth-chart and the planetary arrangements contained therein. We cannot blame the planets for our current condition and difficulties. What we are currently experiencing, either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, is merely the result of our returning karmas. The planets indicate this, but are not responsible for it.

A self-realized Vedic Master was asked about free will and pre-destiny. He said that we experience a mixture of both in real life. He gave the example that our height was pre-determined, but our weight depended on our free will. Everyone in the audience laughed!

On a day to day basis most of our actions are neutral in terms of the karma they incur. A reasonably vegetarian diet helps in this respect!

It is not just our actions that matters, but also our intentions behind them. Again, regular meditation and spiritual practices mean our intentions are more likely to be life enhancing rather than us just acting on the impulses of previous impressions carried over from past lifetimes.

Prediction and ‘Prevention’

Major karmic consequences for an individual’s present incarnation can be predicted with Jyotish – simply by deciphering the ‘code’ contained in the planetary arrangements at the time of our birth. Just as DNA contains the code that structures our human physiology, so the planetary arrangement at the time of our birth is the code that structures our returning karmas [3].

When these karmic influences are likely to take place in our lifetime can also be predicted through Vedic Astrology’s unique Maha Dasa system [4]. This is based on the position of the moon in the constellations or Nakshatras at the time of our birth.

The Vedic tradition believes that people should live healthy, happy and fulfilled lives. So Vedic Astrology contains a whole range of remedial measures that are designed to greatly reduce the influence of our returning negative karmas. These measures can help restore balance and harmony in our lives. Because we are part of an integrated whole, then by participating in certain vedic ceremonies (yagnas or yagyas) , performing prescribed acts of charity, reciting specific sanskrit mantras  or wearing appropriate gemstones we can modify or deflect (to a large extent) returning karmas so that we do not have to suffer the consequences in this lifetime. So, Jyotish enables us to both detect and ‘deflect’ returning karmas!

Jyotish techniques can also enhance the benefits of our returning positive karmas. So Jyotish really is the ultimate ‘Karmic Engineering System’!

Our returning karmas can also be greatly influenced by our spiritual practices in this lifetime. Ask any Jyotish astrologer and they will agree that regular meditation and sadhana (spiritual practices) really reduce the predicted effects of negative returning karmas. Paramahansa Yogananda [5] confirmed this by saying that as a person moves ‘into the orbit of the Divine, they move out of the orbit of planetary influences’. When Self-realization occurs, all karmas from a previous life are transcended.

Three type of Karma – Sanchita, Prarabdha and Agami

The Vedas clearly identify three major categories of karma: Sanchita, Prarabdha and Agami. Jyotish astrology only deals with the Prarabdha aspect of karma [6]. I have no doubt about the effectiveness of the ‘remedial measures’ in Jyotish to lessen our suffering in this lifetime. However, this leaves some unanswered questions. Are we actually lessening karmas, or are we just kicking them into a future lifetime? Can we really modify karma? Or, has someone got sufficiently good karma somewhere in their ‘stock’ to be able to consult a Jyotish astrologer in the first place and learn of the remedial measures? These are questions to ask an enlightened Master!

Footnotes

[1] Samskaras are deep seated desires and impressions left in the ‘mind’ by past actions, including those from previous lifetimes.  Note that in the Vedic sense ‘our mind’ is not localised in our brain, in fact the ‘mind’ surrounds the body! One Vedic pandit described the latent impressions as ‘post-it notes stuck to the soul!

Karma is often described as a wheel: latent impressions in the mind give rise to actions. These actions then produce new impressions. Future actions are then influenced by these new impressions. The process is cyclical. But the cycle can be broken by meditation and spiritual practices. So karma and samskara are inextricably linked.

[2] What produces negative karma? A vedic scholar said ‘simply doing to others that which we would not like done to ourselves’! Perhaps this includes actions towards all living beings and the environment too?

[3] Karmic influences in all areas of our lives are decoded by Vedic Astrology from the position of the nine planets in the twelve astrological signs, twelve houses and twenty-seven constellations – as shown in a person’s birth-chart drawn in the sidereal zodiac.

[4] The time when certain karmic influences are likely to ‘take centre stage’ in our lives is calculated via the Vimsottari Maha Dasa system using the natal position of the moon in one of the 27 constellation or Nakshatras

[5] Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) was a Self-realised sage who spent a considerable part of his life in the West teaching yoga and Vedic philosophy. His most well-read and highly recommended work: Autobiography of a Yogi, published by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India; 2013 edition ISBN-10: 818953551X,   ISBN-13: 978-8189535513

[6] Categories of karma.  Sanchita – the store of all karmas from previous births. Prarabdhathat part of the Sanchita that must be worked through in this lifetime. It is said Prarabdha karma is most suited for our optimum evolutionary path in this lifetime. Agami – new karma accumulated in this lifetime which is carried forward into future incarnations.


Additional Information on Vedic Astrology