Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Outer Planets & Vedic Astrology

One of the main differences between Indian astrology and western astrology is in the number of planets they use. Consider this:

Western Astrology uses: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. (Total of 10)

Vedic Astrology uses: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu & Ketu. (Total of 9)

Now which one of the above is correct and scientific? Give it a little thought and you can arrive at the conclusion yourself! 9 planets would be my contention. We need not use any more than 9 planets.

How many numbers does the base ten system of numbering have? Nine numbers (1 to 9). Can something go beyond nine? Do this simple test: Take any number and multiply it by 9. Add each of the digits of the product until it is reduced to a single digit. The result will be 9 always.

Example 1: Take 392, multiply by 9, the answer is 3528. Add all the digits until it is reduced to a single number. 3+5+2+8 = 18 = 1+8 = 9.

Example 2: Take 7396, multiply by 9 = 66564 = 6+6+5+6+4 = 27 = 2+7=9.

Only the number 9 has this unique property. Try this with any other digit and it will not work. 9 signifies the limit. You can’t go beyond 9. You do not need anything more than 9.

If you are still not convinced, how many colors does white light have? Seven. Each color for one planet. Vedic astrology uses these 7 for the inner planets and it adds two more, Rahu (moons north node) and Ketu (Moons south node) bringing the total to 9.

The outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are too distant to influence mankind. That is why they were left out of Jyotish. Already Jyotish has had one victory with the down grading of Pluto which is no longer considered a planet.

Western astrology has also given ruler ship of some signs to these outer planets. For example Pluto rules Scorpio according to western astrology. The noted astrologer Linda Goodman of yesteryears had said that 2 more planets are due to be discovered and they will rule Virgo and Taurus! Eventually it will be 12 signs and 12 planets according to western astrology. In Vedic astrology 2 zodiac sign are ruled by 1 planet. Mars for example rules Aries and Scorpio. In western astrology Mars rules only Aries and Scorpio is ruled by the now down graded Pluto.

It is not known if the sages of the past knew about the existence of outer planets but it is said that Maharishi Vyasa knew about the existence of Pluto. But nowhere are outer planets given sanction in India’s astrological texts. They are just not mentioned. Probably they are too far to influence man and that is why the sages ignored them. Even if vedic astrologers use these outer planets for prediction (a few vedic astrologers do) they will never ever give them lordship. Uranus can never rule Aquarius. Aquarius is ruled by Saturn in Jyotish. Neptune can never be given lordship of Pisces. Pisces is ruled by Jupiter in vedic astrology. Giving them lordship will destroy the fine way in which planets are ascribed lordships in hindu classical astrology. Vedic astrology on the other hands includes many other factors like the 27 Nakshatras (Fixed stars) and subsidiary planets like Maandi, Gulika, Dhuma, Vyatipati, Parivesha, Indra Chapa, Upaketu and Kala which are unheard of in western astrology.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Classification of Bhavas / Houses in Astrology

Classification of the Houses:

Houses 1-4-7 are Kendra or Angular houses
Houses 1-5-9 are Trikona or Trinal houses
Houses 3-6-10-11 are Upachaya or Trishadaya houses
Houses 6-8-12 are Dustana or Evil Houses
Houses 2-7 are Maraka or Killer houses

Kendra or Angular Houses:
The Kendra houses are the angles of the chart. These houses are One, Four, Seven, and Ten. These are considered the most powerful houses of all. They create the most action in a chart. They relate to the qualities of the signs, which are cardinal. The cardinal signs are the signs of change and action. They are 1-Aries, 4-Cancer, 7-Libra, and 10-Capricorn in the natural zodiac. These houses bring results. This is why when planets that rule a Kendra and a Trikona come together it creates the fulfillment of purpose. This is called a Raja Yoga.

Planets in the Kendra houses are very strong and active. When malefic planets rule the angles they are said to loose their power to cause harm, and when benefic planets rule the angles they lose their power to give blessings.

Trikona or Trinal Houses:
The Trikona houses are one, five and nine from the lagna (ascendant). In the natural zodiac they refer to Aries (1st house), Leo (5th house) and Sagittarius (9th house). These are the most auspicious houses of all. They give fortune and luck. They are five houses away from each other. They form a triangle from each other. The four elements fire, earth, air, and water all form a trine from one another. The fire element is our Dharma. Dharma is our sense of purpose. When we understand our purpose, we are connected to our spirit and guided by inspiration. The spirit is what fuels our life. The Trikona houses are the houses that are related to the fire element, our spirit and inspiration. The trinal bhavas indicate unconscious actions.

The 1st house of a horoscope is considered as both a Kendra and a Kona and is hence very important house.

Upachaya Houses:
Upachaya means "improvement". The Upachaya houses are three, six, ten, and eleven. They create a certain amount of tension that drives one to improve life’s situations. These houses have a competitive edge to them. Life improves and gets better over time with these houses. Certain astrological conditions involving these houses can improve one’s condition in life.

Dustana Houses:
The Dustana houses are six, eight and twelve. These houses primarily deal with suffering, and mainly ill health. They are the most difficult of all, ruling disease, death, loss and sorrow. The rulers of these houses will inflict this type of suffering. Dustanas are difficult points because they are places of transition. Both the sixth and the eighth are on either side of the seventh house, which is the point of sunset (endings), and the twelfth is the end before the new dawn, the ascendant. These houses are sometimes referred to as the Trik houses (the Three). However the 3rd and 6th can be simultaneously houses of both suffering and growth.

Maraka Houses:
The Maraka houses are two and seven. Maraka in Sanskrit means "killer". These houses and the planets that rule them are considered the killer houses or planets. These planets and houses are prominent when death or injury occurs. Death or injury does not occur every time these planets become prominent through the dashas or transits. There must be other determining influences indicating such an event. Planets occupying these houses, planets associated with them, and the lords of these houses can become maracas. Marakas indicate problems in health. For example, the lord of one maraka house occupying the other maraka house can reduce one’s life span.

The 4 Aims or Goals of Life:

Dharma – represented by 1-5-9, the Fire Houses
Artha – represented by 2-6-10, the Earth Houses
Kama – represented by 3-7-11, the Air Houses
Moksha – represented by 4-8-12, Water Houses

Each house is related to one of the four elements: Fire, Earth, Air, Water. These also correspond to one of the four aims of life: Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha. There are 3 houses for each element/aim of life. The elements directly relate to one's motivation in life. We must look at the distribution of planets and the predominance of planets in any particular group. This gives an understanding of the motivations of the native. For example; if there are majority of the planets in the 3-7-11 houses then the focus is mainly on desires, social interactions.

Dharma – represented by 1-5-9, the Fire Houses:
These are the houses of motivation, inspiration and spiritualism. They relate to the fire signs Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius in the natural zodiac. These houses tell us that we ought to do. It is doing what best fits our inclinations and talents. Dharma is part of destiny and cannot be ignored. These houses tell us of the blessings that we are born with. They relate to luck and wealth; and are therefore called Lakshmi Sthanas (the Goddess of wealth). When there are a lot of planets in these houses then it shows the person to show these qualities more than the others. The person gives importance to personal growth, inspiration, creative expression, and ethics. Rulers of these houses are always benefics or favorable planets.

Artha – represented by 2-6-10, the Earth Houses:
Houses 2-6-10 relate to the wealth or the resources available at our disposal. They deal with the material and physical things like possessions, luxuries, money etc. Thye are th houses of work, earning, material security. These houses are easier to understand since they deal with the tangible things of life. If there is a predominance of planets in these houses then the person is focused on the material side of life. This leads to practicality and good use of resources to gain more for the material things. These people can be good with money.

Kama – represented by 3-7-11, the Air Houses:
The air element relates to the social and of those things that we desire to do or want to do. These houses relate to relationships with other living beings. It deals with communication. Kama is often translated as lust; but in this context it relates to relationships in general. Many grahas in these houses show the person will value relationships and social interaction. The person could also be a care free being, not very material, lack purpose or inspiration, and be distracted by many desires.

Moksha – represented by 4-8-12, the Water Houses:
These are the houses of dissolution and relate to the mind or to our deepest self. They relate to emotions that cannot be seen by others. It is being able to free one self of dharma, artha or kama. For example several planets placed in the 8th house of a horoscope will tend to increase the moksha qualities in that person. Such a person may develop a philosophical outlook. Planets in these bhavas help in liberating the person and take him to a higher realm.

All the four goals are important for a balanced life. However a person may pursue one of the goals with more enthusiasm than the does the others. This nay be due to the activation of these areas due to planetary placements.

Indian / Sidereal Astrology vs Western / Tropical Astrology

The differences arise in the way the zodiac is configured. Vedic astrology uses a sidereal (star-based) perspective and tropical astrology uses a seasonal focus.

In the Tropical system, the first degree of Aries is designated as the time of the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. The first degree of Aries is considered the beginning of the zodiac in both systems. However, the time that this degree actually coincided with the vernal equinox (some two thousand years ago) has long passed, due to a cosmic phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes. Equinox refers to the twice yearly times when the lengths of day and night are equal. At equinox, the sun is directly over the Earth's Equator. The vernal equinox, when spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere, occurs about March 21, when the Sun moves north across the celestial equator. The earth because of its oblate shape has a slight tilt and this causes a slight wobble leading to very minor backward movement. The precession of the equinoxes means that the four equinoctial points (spring, summer, autumn, and winter equinoxes) are constantly moving. They will rotate (backwards) through all 360 degrees and return to their starting point every 25,920 [solar] years. The precession rate is 50.2719 seconds /year rate of precession, from year 285. Ayanamsha is defined as the angle by which the sidereal ecliptic longitude of a celestial body is lesser than its tropical ecliptic longitude.

Tropical astrology is based on the idea that early astrologers defined the star signs according to the seasons in which the sun rose in them; it wishes to preserve the seasonal associations of those star signs by laying out new horoscopes against a first-millennium sky. For tropical astrologers therefore it is irrelevant that the solsticial points (tropics) have drifted from one constellation to another over the millennia, due to the precession of the equinoxes. The underlying philosophy remains unchanged in spite of precession, because it is based on the earth's (and therefore our) relationship to the sun, not to the stars.

  • The sidereal ecliptic longitude of a celestial body is its longitude on the ecliptic defined with respect to the "fixed" stars
  • The tropical ecliptic longitude of a celestial body is its longitude on the ecliptic defined with respect to the vernal equinox point.

Vedic Astrology is frequently called predictive astrology because of its ability to predict events in life. This ability is due to the refinement in the various systems of the science, and requires significant subtlety of understanding and perception on the part of the practitioner.

Vedic Astrology is based on the Sidereal Zodiac as opposed to the Vernal Zodiac of Western Astrology. Vedic/Sidereal Astrology uses the fixed observable stars in the sky whereas Western Astrology is more time based, determining the beginning of the zodiac as corresponding to the start of the Vernal Equinox. In the year 2002, the difference between the two systems is considered to be between 22 and 24 degrees and indicates the difference between the point of the vernal equinox and the first point of the constellation Aries.

We could say the consequence of this difference is a Vedic system which does not give the sun the same prominence that is has in the Western system. While acknowledging the Sun as a significator of the essence, or soul, Vedic Astrology, by following the Sidereal Zodiac gives more relative importance to the influence of the other planets as opposed to making the Sun the focal point.

In Vedic Astrology, the rising sign or ascendant is represented by the sign which is on the eastern horizon at the time of birth and considered to be the most important factor in prediction since it is the most frequently changing aspect of the chart – changing every two hours. It is the most pivotal point from which one considers everything, the context from which all of the planets are evaluated.

In Vedic Astrology more emphasis is placed on the Moon than on the Sun. The moon represents the mind which is seen as a very important factor and consequently is a major determining factor in how one interacts with the world.

Vedic Astrology is also sometimes called constellation astrology because it takes into account fixed stars called constellations. As a result, one considers not only the influence of the planets in a sign but also the subtle influences exercised by the constellations. This means that when a planet passes through a sign, it expresses the influence of the sign and is also tempered by the influence of the constellations of the sign. To practice predictive astrology, one must be able to go deep into the subtle influences of the constellations.

Vedic Astrology also employs mathematical divisions called Shadbalas and Shadvargas. They give the precise strength of each planet in a mathematical figure which enables one to understand the real potency of the planets.

Another system of delineation in Vedic Astrology is aspects known as “yogas”. This is a unique system for understanding the power of the associations between the planets in their placement from one another. When the planets have formed yogas, they create specific results which are powerful.

The Dasa System (the planetary cycles) is another feature of the Vedic system which indicates a period during which a planet’s influence becomes fully operative. This enables one to give precise predictions during a particular period.

Lastly, the great sages, in their compassionate nature, wanted to help mankind to reduce their miseries, and thus introduced a system of remedies or Upayas, for overcoming suffering from planetary afflictions. These remedies vary depending on the affliction and include japas, meditation, chanting of suitable mantras, fasting and worship.

So which is superior, Western or Indian Astrology? My personal answer is overwhelmingly the Indian or Vedic system of astrology. While western astrology has it merits; like for example it is slightly superior in delineating the character or the psychological make up of a person. If; for example; only the Sun Sign were to be taken to determine which astrology is superior; then western astrology will win. My Sun sign by western tropical zodiac is Virgo and I do show many of the Virgo qualities. According to vedic astrology my sun sign is Leo (because of precession of zodiac) which does not correctly reflect Leo or the lion like traits. However from a predictive point of view Hindu astrology is far superior. There is nothing of the equivalent of this in western astrology. Western astrology uses some transits of inner and outer planets to predict which is very inferior and incapable of giving correct predictions. If dasas (planetary periods) have to be used then we cannot use a tropical zodiac. Only a sidereal zodiac which takes into consideration the precession of the equinoxes (called Ayanamsha) will give superior results. No Indian astrologer will use a tropical zodiac for predictions. A few Indian astrologers at best use the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. This is also unnecessary and is not sanctioned in our astrological texts. The vexed question of which ayanamsha to use is subject for another article which will be dealt with in a subsequent article.