Nakshatra (Sanskrit: नक्षत्र, IAST: Nakṣatra) is the term for lunar mansion in Hindu astrology. A nakshatra is one of 27 (or 281Intercalary nakshatra Abhijit for Hari) sectors along the ecliptic. Their names are related to the most prominent asterisms. n classical Hindu mythology (Mahabharata, Harivamsa), the creation of the nakshatras is attributed to Daksha. They are personified as daughters of Daksa prajapati and as mythological wives of Chandra, the Moon god, since the Moon covers one nakshatra per day. Longevity of all creatures is associated with their janma nakshatra due to prana-vayu coming from these stars.
Names and Lordhips of the Nakshatra, especially the planetary rulership based on Vimsottari Dasa.
The inter-calary nakshatra Abhijit is ruled by the Sun as the major part of Abhijit is in Uttarasadha nakshatra which is ruled by the Sun.

S.No. Nakshatra/Asterism Pada (Quarter) (3 Deg20′ each) Rasi: Sign Planetary Lord-ship (Vimsottari) Deity
1. Aswini 4 padas Aries (Mesh) Ketu Aswini Kumar
2. Bharani 4 padas Aries Venus Yama
3. Krittika 1 pada Aries Sun Agni
Krittika 3 padas Taurus (Vrishaba)
4. Rohini 4 padas Taurus Moon Brahma (Prajapati)
5. Mrigasira 2 padas Taurus Mars Soma (Candra)
Mrigasira 2 padas Gemini (Mithuna)
6. Ardra 4 padas Gemini Rahu Rudra
7. Punarvasu 3 padas Gemini Jupiter Aditi
Punarvasu 1 pada Cancer (Kark)
8. Pusya 4 padas Cancer Saturn Brhaspati
9. Aslesha 4 padas Cancer Mercury Sarpa
10. Makha 4 padas Leo (Simha) Ketu Pitri
11. Poorva Phalguni 4 padas Leo Venus Bhaga
12. Uttar Phalguni 1 pada Leo Sun Aryama
Uttar Phalguni 3 padas Virgo (Kanya)
13. Hasta 4 padas Virgo Moon Savitur
14. Chitra 2 padas Virgo Mars Tvasta
Chitra 2 padas Libra (Thula)
15. Swati 4 padas Libra Rahu Vayu
16. Visakha 3 padas Libra Jupiter Indra-agni
Visakha 1 pada Scorpio (Vrischika)
17. Anuradha 4 padas Scorpio Saturn Mitra
18. Jyestha 4 padas Scorpio Mercury Indra
19. Moola 4 padas Sagittarius (Dhanus) Ketu Rakshasa
20. Poorva Ashada 4 padas Sagittarius Venus Apa
21. Uttar Ashada 1 pada Sagittarius Sun Visvadeva
Uttar Ashada 3 padas Capricorn (Makar)
22. Sravana 4 padas Capricorn Moon Vishnu (Hari)
23. Dhanista 2 padas Capricorn Mars Vasu
Dhanista 2 padas Aquarius (Kumbha)
24. Satabhisaj 4 padas Aquarius Rahu Varuna
25. Poorvabhadrapada 3 padas Aquarius Jupiter Ajaikapad
Poorvabhadrapada 1 pada Pisces (Meena)
26. Uttarabhadrapada 4 padas Pisces Saturn Ahirbudhanya
27. Revati 4 padas Pisces Mercury Pushan

Nakshatra basics

# Name Meaning Stars Shape/Symbol Guna Caste Goal Gana Sex
1 Aswini The horsemen 3 Horses head Rajas Vaisya dharma Deva M
2 Bharani the bearers 3 female sexual organ Tamas Outcaste artha Manusya F
3 Krittika razor/cutter 6 dagger/razor Sattva Brahmin kama Raksasa F
4 Rohini ruddy cow, red, growing 5 chariot Rajas Sudra moksa Manusya M?
5 Mrigashira dear or antelope’s head 3 head or a deer Tamas Servant moksa Deva N
6 Ardra the moist 1 tear drop, gem Sattva Butcher kama Manusya F
7 Punurvasu return of the light and goods, 4/5 quiver/ house, bow Rajas Vaisya artha Deva M
8 Pushyami nourisher, flower, the best 3 teat of cow, arrow, flower Tamas Ksatriya dharma Deva M
9 Aslesha entwiner, embracer, intimate connection 5/6 wheel, serpant Sattva Outcaste dharma Raksasa F
10 Magha beneficent, mighty 5 throne, palanquin, royal court Rajas Sudra artha Raksasa F
11 PurvaPhalguni previous red one 2/8 legs of a cot, stage Tamas Brahmin kama Manusya F
12 UttaraPhalguni later red one 2 bed, legs of a cot Sattva Ksatriya moksa Manusya F
13 Hasta hand 5 closed hand Rajas Vaisya moksa Deva M
14 Chitra brilliant, distinguished 1 pearl Tamas Servant kama Raksasa F
15 Svati independent, sword 1 coral, sapphire Sattva Butcher artha Deva F
16 Vishaka branched, forked branches 4/5 leaf decked triumphal gate, potters wheel Rajas Outcaste dharma Raksasa F
17 Anuradha subsequent success, following Radha 4 Bali (heap of rice), umbrella Tamas Sudra dharma Deva M
18 Jyesta the eldest 3 kundal (ear Ring), umbrella, talisman Sattva Servant artha Raksasa F?
19 Moola root, commencement 11 tail of lion, crouching line Rajas Butcher kama Raksasa N
20 Purva Ashada earlier victory 2 hand fan, winnowing basket, tusk, square Tamas Brahmin moksa Manusya F
21 Uttara Ashada later victory 2/8 machan, elephant tusk, square Sattva Ksatriya moksa Manusya F
22 Sravana famous, hearing 3 3 footprints, arrow Rajas Outcaste artha Deva M
23 Dhanishta very rich, very swift 4/5 mridanga (drum) Tamas Servant dharma Raksasa F
24 Shatabishak 100 medicines or doctors 100 circle, flower Sattva Butcher dharma Raksasa N
25 Purva Bhadra earlier auspicious one 2 double faced man, stage, machan, legs of a cot Rajas Brahmin artha Manusya M
26 Uttara Bhadra later auspicious one 2/8 last bed, legs of a cot two joined men Tamas Ksatriya artha Manusya M
27 Revati rich, wealthy 32 mridanga (drum), fish Sattva Sudra moksa Deva F

Power of the Nakshatra (Read Dr.David Frawley)

# Nakshatra Deity Shakti Basis Above Basis Below Result
1 Aswinni Ashwins-the twin horseman quickly reaching things those to be healed healing therapies world becomes free from disease
2 Bharani Yama- Death take things away removal of life from the body carrying the soul to the ancestral realm moving on to the next world
3 Krittika Agni- Fire to burn heat light burning or purification
4 Rohini Prajapati-lord of creation growth plants waters creation
5 Mrigashira Soma-god of immortality giving fulfillment extension weaving make the world enjoyable
6 Ardra Rudra-god of storm effort hunting or searching reaching the goal brings about achievement
7 Punurvasu Aditi-mother of the Gods ability to gain wealth or substance wind or air wetness or rain revitalization of plants
8 Pushyami Brihaspati- teacher of the Devas create spiritual energy sacrificial worship the worshipper creation of spiritual energy
9 Aslesha Sarpa-serpent inflict with poison approach of the serpant trembling and agitation destruction of the victim
10 Magha the Pitris-the Ancestral Fathers leave the body mourning leaving the body death
11 PurvaPhalguni Aryaman- god of contracts & union, Sun as friend, beloved procreation wife, female partner husband, male partner creation of the fetus
12 UttaraPhalguni Bhaga-the Sun as bliss giving of prosperity through union or marriage wealth gained from one’s own family wealth gained from one’s partner and their family accumulation of wealth
13 Hasta Savitar-Sun as inspiration gain what one is seeking and place it in one’s hands seeking of gain process of gaining puts what one wishes to gain in one’s hand
14 Chitra Vishvakarma- divine architect accumulate merit in life law truth gain honor in one’s work
15 Svati Vayu-Wind scatter like the wind moving in various directions change of form transformation
16 Vishaka Indragni-gods of lightning and fire achieve many and various fruits plowing or cultivation harvest fruit of the harvest
17 Anuradha Mitra-divine friend, lord of compassion worship ascension descent honor and abundance
18 Jyesta Indra-god of thunder rise or conquer, and gain courage in battle attack defense one becomes a hero
19 Moola Nirritti- goddess of disaster, Alaksmi to ruin or destroy breaking things apart crushing things the power to destroy (can destroy destruction)
20 Purva Ashada Apas-goddess of Waters invigoration strength connection gain of luster
21 Uttara Ashada Vishvadevas-Universal Gods grant an unchallengeable victory strength to win the goal that one can win becomes unchallenged winner
22 Sravana Vishnu- the Pervader connection seeking the paths connection of all things
23 Dhanishta Vasus-gods of Light and Abundance give abundance and fame birth prosperity bringing people together
24 Shatabishak Varuna-god of Cosmic Waters healing pervasion over all support of all world freed of calamity
25 Purva Bhadra Aja Ekapada- one footed serpant, horned goat, unicorn gives the fire to raise one worshipping up in life what is good for all people what is good for the gods support the entire world
26 Uttara Bhadra Ahir Budhya- dragon of the Depths of the atmosphere bringing of the rain raining clouds growing of planets stability of the three worlds
27 Revati Pushan- Sun as nourisher, protector, fosterer nourishment, symbolized by milk cows calves nourishment of the entire world

Nakshatra Articles

# Nakshatra Miscellaneous Articles Misc*
1 Aswinni conveyances, horses,
2 Bharani wells, husky grains, cereals, birth star of Rahu
3 Krittika mantra, music, white flower, birth star of Chandra
4 Rohini beasts of forests, rose apple, gems, ornaments, mountain, cows, bulls aquatic animals, beauty parlor, the market birth star of Chandra
5 Mrigashira fruits, Catechu plant, fragrant articles, birds, garments, aquatic products, flowers, gems, beasts, perfumes, brewery, mango, juices, tastes, crops
6 Ardra fort, husky grains, belleric myrobalan (baheda), heavy rains
7 Punurvasu weapons, best of grains (Kalama paddy),
8 Pushyami sugarcane, barley, wheat, rice, holy fig tree (Peepal), forest, water tanks, flowers
9 Aslesha artificial articles, liquid, husky grains, bulbs, roots, fruits, insects, reptiles, poison, herbs, worms, aquatic objects or animals, snakes birth star of Ketu
10 Magha corns, granaries, non-vegetarian food, birth star of Venus
11 PurvaPhalguni salt, fire, butea frondosa (palash), commodities, oil, cotton, honey, kids, money exchangers, fried food birth star of Guru
12 UttaraPhalguni elephants, stone, fire, corns, holy tree (plaksha), fine grains (kalama rice), jaggery, salt (Venus-ruins the beings in the Jangala regions- where there is little water) birth star of Guru
13 Hasta neem tree, ornaments, commodities, husky grains, elephants,
14 Chitra coconut, corns for royal use, birds, painted vessels, women
15 Svati elephant, green gram, Arjun tree (arjun terminalia), birds, beast, horses, grains that produce gas, deer, vegatables, birth control
16 Vishaka cotton, stone, trees with red blossoms and fruits, sesame, black, green and Bengal gram, gram, saffron, lac, crops, madder, safflower birth star of Sun
17 Anuradha wool and hide articles, ornaments, horses, vehicles, games, mimusops elengi (bakula), all things growing in the Autumn, birth star of Sun
18 Jyesta wealth, buffaloes, fir, weapons, groups or seminaries, elite families, trade guilds
19 Moola opposite or reversed, seeds, weapons, agriculture, medicines, fruits, herbs
20 Purva Ashada fire, fruits, aquatic flowers and fruits, aquatic animals, birth star of Mars
21 Uttara Ashada elephant, horses, stone, commerce, immovable things like trees, diseases birth star of Mars
22 Sravana medicinal plant (Aak), conveyance, birth star of Mercury
23 Dhanishta ornaments, birth star of Mercury
24 Shatabishak water creatures, things thriving in water, neulea orientalis (kandab), aquatic products, ropes, nets,
25 Purva Bhadra mango tree, animal husbandry, fire,
26 Uttara Bhadra elephant, stone, lemon, fine/valuable corns, roots and fruits, gold, women
27 Revati things produced in water, conches, ornament, bassia latifolia (mahua), fruits, salt, pearls, gems, flowers (fragrant), lotuses, perfumes, autumnal crops birth star of Saturn
* Harihar Majumdar Phalita Jyotish Part I (Fasting on days of planets and graha mantras if this is your birth star)
Note: Those in italic are derived from Brihat Samhita through a study of transit effects, the other indications are directly stated from other works.

References   [ + ]

1. Intercalary nakshatra Abhijit for Hari
Nakṣatra Maṇḍala Courtesy Freedom Cole

नमस्कार | Nakshatra Mandala defined including calculation of Abhijit 28th Nakshatra

God has decorated the heavens with constellations like pearls on dark steed. The light of the Sun hides them in the day, and all knowledge of them is divined in the darkens of the night’
Maharishi Parasara, Rig-Veda

Vedic Astrology is the science of study of time and space and its effect on the entire life and activities of earth which revolves the two principle luminaries viz., the Sun and the Moon. This ancient study of vedic astrology known as “Jyotish”. When transliterated, it is known as the study of Jyoti meaning light which comes naturally from the Sun.  this ancient science of Jyotish comprises of three major branches viz, (i) Hora Shastra – the study of time.  The word “Hora” has been derived from two words – “Aho” meaning day and “Ratra” meaning night; (ii) Ganita Shastra – the study of mathematical part of astrology and astronomy; and (iii) Gola Shastra – the study of astronomy, which included observation and analysis of stellar effects and the effects of the motion of planets in the solar system.
Before venturing into subdivisions, it is worth while to know the primary divisions. The first divisions was by means of the lunar mansions or Nakshetra’s (lit Na – synonym for Moon + Kshetra – Mansion) which finds mentions even in the Rig-Veda. The Moons transit of the sidereal (fixed) zodiac approximately takes 27 days and 7 ¾ hours, based on which the zodiac of 3600 was divided into 27 nakshetras, (each 130 20’ of arc) Each Nakshatra was identified with a star, (or star cluster) and derived its name from it. The 7 ¾ hour shortfall in a sidereal lunar transit was made up by a short-span intercalary (hypothetical) Nakshatra called Abhijit. The Sun, being the cause of all life and existence, was identified with Divinity and is the Atmakaraka and represents Parambrahman. Its transit through the lunar mansions was observed both in shape formed by stars within the constellation as well as in relation to the natural phenomena by the Vedic seers for determining their names, characteristics and identifying the form and mood of God. This became the basis of the nomenclature of the asterisms and the natural phenomena became the basis of symbolically representing the mood of God.

Abhijit, the 28th Nakshatra

The span of Abhijit is determined proportionally as (7h 38min / 24 hrs) x 130 20’ = 40 14’ 13″. This span is from 2760 40’ to 2800 54″ 13″overlapping the 21st Nakshetra (Uttarasadha).
Abhijit (Lorded by Mahavisnu) indicates the direction in which the Sun (i.e. solar system) is precessing in the universe. Hence it represents the eye. (Chakshyur) of the zodiac. Aratus, a Greek Astronomer, opined that Hercules (derived from Hari-kulesa i.e. Vishnu) the celestial constellation was a stranger. Thus, Hercules is the Greek name for Abhijit. This Vishnu Gayatri teaches that the Sun which is the significator of the individual soul (Microcosm) has the universal goal of and is constantly moving towards Narayana (Mahavisnu), the Creator and the Universal Soul (Macrocosm).

Details of nomenclature, span, natural name (God) of nakshetras can be seen in any standard text. The predominant natural phenomena when the Sun transits sidereal Krittika (i.e. 260 40’ to 400) is the burning heat of Indian summer and the name of God identified with this constellation is Agni (Fire). Similarly, the storm God ‘ Rudra’ presides over Ardra constellation.

The observation and studies by our ancient astronomers (Gola Shastra-gynas) further revealed that even within this arc of 13 degrees 20′ each there used to be further constant changes prompting them to divide even this arc of 13 degrees 20′ into four quarters of 3 degrees 20′ each. These four quarters were then symbolized to represent specific characteristic features of the rulership of the Stars. I would like to deal with these characteristic features and influence of each planet when placed in a particular Asterism at the Rising Point (the precise point of the zodiac found rising at the exact time of birth which is fixed on the basis of the placement of Moon at the time of birth) in a running series covering all the 27 Nakshatras in the subsequent issues.

The rulership of each of these 13 degrees 20′ of the arc begin from zero degrees Aries to 13 degrees 20′ ruled by the first Star – Ashwini, and goes on till the end of Pisces (360 degrees of the zodiac) where the last arc of 13 degrees 20′ is ruled by the Star Revathi. The 27 Nakshatras and their rulership, together with the Lordship of planets (fixed on the basis of attributes), is detailed below in the table.

shiva_parvati_ganeshaMuhurta is essentially (1) a measure of time equal to 48 minutes and also (2) refers to the application of Vedic astrology wisdom in determining the auspicious time for starting an event. Since we know that the future of an enterprise can be safely predicted using its birth time, then it would be a wise decision to choose an auspicious time for its inception.

Some astrologers have stretched this to the absurd extent of giving a suitable time for a Caesarian child birth!! This cannot work as man can never become God nor should he try to arrogate to himself the role of God. Nevertheless, this is a very important aspect of Jyotish and the rules are much the same as the standard rules for Jyotish. The knowledge of the constellations and the Vedic time system is used extensively. This includes knowledge of Kala, Yama, Yamardha, Hora, Muhurta etc. Some articles where this knowledge has helped us to make very accurate predictions are included in this website.

Traditional Wisdom

Once Indra the King of the Gods approached Brihaspati, his preceptor and Guru to determine the auspicious time for starting the plantation of a forest. Brihaspati consulted the Hora’s and advised Indra. Accordingly the forest plantation was started and the plants soon grew into a thick forest. Unfortunately, during summer there was a fire and the entire forest which had dried wood was burnt down. Indra was disgusted and asked Brihaspati the reason for this failure. Brihaspati replied that anybody can make a mistake and that Brahma alone knew everything. Sukracharya arrived to chide Indra about his failure and stated that the reason for the same was the inauspicious Muhurtha. Thereafter he explained the principles for selection of Muhurtha.
The basic difference between Hora (Hour – 60 minutes) and Muhurtha (24 Minutes) is that the former is used in personal charts whereas the latter is used for determining auspicious time for specific activities. In the above episode, the time was favorable for Indra to take up the work as this will not damage him personally, but since the Muhurtha itself was inauspicious for planting trees, the same failed.
In conclusion, the traditional wisdom of the two great sages are as follows: –

  1. Brihaspati: Guru is the Kavacha (protector) of the self and the first step in Muhurtha is to ensure that the time chosen for initiating any activity is not going to harm the person concerned in any way. The time should not result in further bad Karma for the native.
  2. Sukracharya: The time chosen should result in the fructification of the objective. Even if the obstacles are tremendous, they should be surmounted.

Lesson: Follow Brihaspati in all good karma for normal people like marriages and other samskaras while the way of Sukracharya is best for Raja Jyotish (Political Astrology) and Vanijya (Business/Money minting enterprises)

What is Muhurta?
The word Muhurta has a few meanings and references –

1. Muhurta is a time measure of 48 minutes reckoned from sunrise as a part of definition of linear time concepts (based on the speed of light as in the Rig Veda 1.50). The smallest time unit called nimesha [Srimad Bhagavatam (III, 11-3 to 10); Mahabharata; ] is the smallest humanly conceivable time frame and is defined as the ‘wink of an eye’. Bear in mind that this is the fixed measure and a linear concept.
15 nimeshas make 1 kashta, [Manu says 18 nimesa instead (Manu Smriti 1.64)…perhaps Manu winked faster than the other sages!] 15 kashta make one laghu
15 laghu make one ghatika (also called danda)
2 ghatika (30 laghu) make 1 muhurta and
30 muhurta make 1 diva-ratri or day (of 24 hours)

2. Muhurta for astrological purposes of defining the quality of time is not exactly 48 minutes everyday and can vary based on sunrise, sunset and local noon. This is a non-linear concept being cyclical and is also not fixed. There are 30 muhurtas in a nakshatra ahoratra (sidereal day and night reckoned from one sunrise to the next sunrise). The period from sunrise to local noon is divided into 7½ Muhurta as is the period between local noon and sunset. In a similar manner the period from sunset to midnight and midnight to the next sunrise is divided into 7½ Muhurta each (7½ Muhurta x 4 = 30 muhurta). These four points of time – sunrise, local noon, sunset and midnight are the four gayatri pada.Each of the four time spand between these points measuring 7½ Muhurta is called a Prahara. So, the four (4) Prahara make a day.

The eighth muhurta spanning the last ½ Muhurta of the morning and first ½ Muhurta of the afternoon is called Abhijit Muhurta and is very auspisious as it maps into the Abhijit nakshatra which is ruled by Hari (Narayana; hence Hari vamsa or Hari-kulesa {Hercules?) belonging to the lineage of Hari). The seven nakshatra before Abhijit map into the seven muhurta before Abhijit muhurta and constitute the first Prahara or morning. These are (1) Svati, (2) Visakha, (3) Anuradha, (4) Jyestha, (5) Magha, (6) Purva Phalguni, (7) Uttara Phalguni. The twenty (20) nakshatra after Abhijit map into the twenty (20) muhurtas following Abhijit muhurta. In this manner the the twenty eight nakshatra map into the 28 muhurtas starting from sunrise and the remaining two muhurta before sunrise are attributed to the Creator. These two muhurta taken together (96 minutes before sunrise) are loosely called as Brahma Muhurta. However, they are different in their energy and are better understood as Brahma and Surya (or Savitur to be mosre precise) being both Creators yet different. Brahma is the deity of Saturn and is associated with rebirth of the soul and this 29th muhurta is excellent for meditation on the resons for our creation, the purpose of this birth and realisation of the self and God whereas the 30th Muhurta is best for praying to the creator Savitur for impelling our intelligence in the right direction, burning the sins that led to rebirth and recovering from the curses and dridha karma of past births.

3. Muhurta is one of the ten wives of Dharma and one of the sixty daughters (shatyamsa) of Daksa Prajapati the creator and Asikni. These sixty daughters are Sati, Khyati, Smrti, Svaha, Anasuya, Svadha, Priti, Kshama, Sambhuti, Sannati, Arundhati, Kirti, Laksmi, Dhrti, Medha Tusti, Sraddha, Kriya, Mati, Buddhi, Lajja, Vasu, Santi, Pusti, Siddhi, Rati, Arundhati, Vasudhasi, Lamba, Bhanu, Marutvati, Samkalpa, Muhurta, Sadhya, Visva, Aditi, Diti, Kala, Danayu, Simhika, Muni, Kadru, Krodha, Ira, Pava Vinata, Surabhi, Khasa, Bhrsasva, Suprabha and Jaya.

Daksa Prajapati had his daughters marry illustrious persona of the vedic period.
(1) Two daughters married sage Angira (concept of truth and untruth) and Brihaspati was an offspring of this marriage.
(2) two daughters married the sage Krishashva (Supragya and Jaya),
(3) ten daughters were married to Dharma (concepts of navagraha & lagna, the ten variables that define the individual creation based on dharma named Arundhati, Vasu, Yami, Lamba, Bhanumati, Marutvati, Sankalpa, Muhurta, Saadhya and Vishva),
(4) fourteen to sage Kashyap (concept of the fourteen worlds – seven of the devas and seven of the asuras populated largely by the children of these fourteen wives named Aditi, Diti, Danu, Kala, Anayu, Sinhika, Muni, Kadru, Saadhya, Ira, Krodha, Vinta, Surabhi and Khaga) and
(5) twenty-eight daughters to Chandra, the Moon God (concept of 28 nakshatra or constellations as the mental consciousness states and concept/experience of time).

The ten wives of Dharma gave birth to children (who are personification of concepts)

1. Sun: Bhanu gave birth to twelve Bhanus [the twelve Suns in the signs and not the sun signs which are Aditya as the sons of Aditi]. These are Dhata, Mitra, Aryama, Pusa, Sakra (Indra), Amsa, Varuna, Bhaga, Tvasta, Vivasvan, Savita and Visnu. (Nilamata Purana also).

2. Moon: Saadhya (accomplishment) gave birth to Saadhyaganas or Sadhva (personification of accomplishment resources). Personified as the rites and prayers that lead to accomplishment of the spiritual path, these twelve (from 12 Moon signs) listed in the Vayu Purana are Darsha, Paurnamasa, Vrihadashwa, Rathantara etc. The seventeen goals (from 16 Moon rays or Kala + Supreme consciousness = 17) that result from these twelve paths are listed in the Matsya and Padma Purana as Bhava, Prabhava, Isha etc.

3. Mars: Vasu to Vasuganas or eight Vasudevas who were personifications of Agni/energy and were full of light and splendor. Apa, Dhruva, Soma (aka. Bhoja), Dhava (fire), Anila (wind), Anala (fire), Pratyusha (day-break or transformation from light to darkness and vice-versa), and Prabhasa (light). [Agni tatva ruled by Mars]

4. Mercury: Arundhati gave birth to the the divisions of the earth and populated it. [Prithvi tatva ruled by Mercury]. This Arundhati is different from the daughter of Kashyapa of a similar name who was the wife of sage Vasistha. However the similarity in the name does show synergy.

5. Jupiter: Muhurta gave birth to Muhurtaganas or the thirty personified deities of the Muhurta

6. Venus: Vishva gave birth to the Vishvedevas or the world creators. The Vishwadeva are either ten or twelve depending on the creation level or type as Jadatma (non-living) or Jivatma (living). For jadatma creation (non-living world), dasamsa (D10) is the sphere of action and the ten vishwadeva guiding the path to the ten digpala (direction deities) are listed in the Vayu Purana. For jivatma creation (living beings), dwadasamsa (D12) is the sphere of action and the twelve vishwadeva guiding the path to the four deities of the dvadasamsa (as the four mouths of Brahma) are listed in the Matsya Purana. [Jala tatva ruled by Venus is the root for sapta rasa that is used for creation. The sapta rasa or seven liquids as flavours/taste/fluid energy are (1) salty water, (2) milk, (3) butter (ghee), (4) curd, (5) wine, (6) sweetness of sugarcane-juice and (7) tasty water (Nilamata Purana).

7. Saturn: Marutvati gave birth to Marutvaans or Maruts, the wind gods [Saturn rules the vayu/air tatva]

8. Rahu: Lamba gave birth to Ghosha the arc of the heavens (celestial sphere and other arc concepts)

9. Ketu: Yami the daughter of the night, gave birth to Naagvithi (the milky way defining one border of the zodiac)

10. Lagna: Sankalpaa gave birth to Sankalpa, the pious or auspicious and praiseworthy one and the ‘identity/self of all’ [implying that one Lagna (sankalpa) follows another (sankalpa); the word Kalpa means head or lagna that defines the being created]

Rig Veda and Muhurta: The Kshtra tejas of Bhisma (kshtriya) and the brahma tejas of Krishna Dvaipayana came together in the begining of the Kali Yuga to form a tam to record the Vedas. Krishna Dvipayana was named the Veda Vyasa for the yuga and the Rigvedic hymns were collected by Paila under the guidance of Vy?sa, who formed the Rigveda Samhita as we know it today. According to the ?atapatha Br?hmana, the number of syllables in the Rigveda is 432,000, equaling the number of muhurtas (1 day = 30 muhurtas) in forty savana years.

30 muhurta = 1 ahoratra (day reconed from sunrise to next sunrise)
1 savana year = 360 ahoratra = 30 X 360 muhurta = 10800 muhurta
40 savana years = 40 X 10800 muhurta = 432000 muhurta

(1) the number 10800 = 100 mala or 100 x 108
(2) the number 432000 is related to the definition of the yuga cycles in Brahma Vidya
(3) All vedic remedial measures are for a minimul period of 40 days as 40 savana years is equated to 40 days of the devas/sura.

Presented at ACVA Tenth International Symposium on Vedic Astrology, 2003; Venue: Phoenix Room, Radisson Poco Diablo Resort, Sedona, AZ; Date: Sunday – November 16, 2003 ; Time: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Naisargika Dasha is the natural growth and decay of the body. This was one of the two dasa used by Varahamihira (other was Mula dasa).

The tree, which moves some to tears of joy, is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity . . . and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.William Blake

Naisargika means natural and dasa refers to the state of a being at any point of time. Naisargika dasa is based on the observation of nature and life process of human beings and indicates the natural growth process of a being starting with its birth and physical growth to maturity. Thereafter the mature state is retained and the superior beings (all creatures) enjoy the bounties of nature and all that the world has to offer. The process of decay culminating in death follows.


Dasa order

Kalyanavarma [Saravali sloka 41-21]

kramaso sadhaparigraha isto naisargikascaiva||
Translation: The Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Sun, Saturn and Lagna, in that order furnish the periods of the Naisargika dasa.

Seven or eight stages have been identified in this natural process. Let us examine these for the human being. These are like the Seven Stages of Man. The reader will appreciate that it is the Hindu scholars (Varahamihira) who had the Seven Ages of Man while the Greeks (Yavana) recommended Eight Ages.
However, Hesoid used the Five Ages of Man while Ovid used Four Ages of Man1 But these Ages are like the Yuga periods and do not refer to the stages of human life. So they must not be mixed with the Seven/Eight Stages.

1. Baby : Moon
Infancy; The baby is totally dependent on the mother who is the focus, life support, and the very objective of being. The baby learns to use its limbs and the highest development and growth of the brain occurs during this stage. Mother is represented by the Moon.
2.Child : Mars
The growth of the physical body and strength is the highest during this period. The bones begin to harden. The focus during this stage is to become physically independent. Mars symbolizes this stage of growth. Being a perfect brahmachary (celibate), Mars ensures that the thoughts of sexuality are not to enter the mind.
3. Juvenile : Mercury
Unbridled freedom is enjoyed and joyous abandon define this stage. The need for learning the ways of the society and taming the naughty kid is the focus as learning begins. Mercury symbolizes this stage. Mercury is a eunuch and this state lasts till puberty.
4. Youth : Venus
Adolescence, post pubescent period; With puberty starts the series of chemical and hormonal changes that cause the body to develop sexual features. The ‘opposite sex’ becomes the focus of this stage. Venus symbolizes this stage. In the earlier stages there is learning as Venus is the daitya guru and teaches the knowledge necessary for survival in this material world. Mundane subjects and all knowledge focused on being able to earn a living come in this category. In the later stage, this matures into marriage and parenthood. However, the children are still babies or very young and the spouse is still very physically attractive. Physicality dominates the thinking and wisdom is yet to dawn. Physical growth is completed during this stage.
5. Adult : Jupiter
Children have become physically independent (i.e. have learnt toilet habits, walking, brushing etc.) and need some support in the form of learning the homework they bring from school. The physical attraction towards spouse decreases as the respect for sharing and emotional support increases. Relationships become more than just skin deep. This is the stage of the dawn of wisdom and is symbolized by Jupiter. Physical growth was completed and the stage marks the sustenance of the developed body.
6. Elder : Sun
The children have grown and flown the nest. Spouse maybe there but the relationship has gone far beyond the physical level and there has been and continues to been a lot of soul searching. This stage marks the beginning of the decay of the body as the frown begins to show. The individual gradually becomes more and more lonely and realizes that the definition of family cannot be limited to the four walls of a house. Thoughts of social contribution are foremost. The Sun symbolizes this stage.
7. Old : Saturn
The body fails to replace the old cells with as much vigor as it did in the ‘good old days’. Politics, power and corruption tend to leave a bad taste as you recall that the society at large was much better and definitely more innocent in the ‘good old days’. In reality you were too self-focused to have realized that the society was full of the same, or maybe more evils in the ‘good old days’ and due the poor communication systems, no one got to know anything. Loneliness is the order of the day and your children, grand children or maybe a few more generations are too busy to find the time for you. All sorts of illnesses begin to grip the body. Mobility reduces and rigidity seems to creep into every joint. The spouse is no longer alive and even if she is in body, is at best, just a very good friend. Saturn the old, symbolizes this stage. You begin to appreciate the holy books and the wisdom of the sages.
8. Very Old : Lagna/Nodes
With on leg in the grave, you have become very dependant, and you wait for the last day when the body shall cease to move. The stage of fear is gone. This stage is symbolized by the lagna as none of the planets (having a body) can symbolize this stage where the body is of not much consequence.

In view of the foregoing, both Kalyan Verma and Varahamihira state that the order of the dasa of the planets in the natural (naisargika) scheme is (1) Moon, (2) Mars, (3) Mercury, (4) Venus, (5) Jupiter, (6) Sun, and (7) Saturn [and maybe (8) Lagna]. Most Vedic astrologers have objected to this eighth stage on the grounds that this is really the same as old age. This issue needs to be examined and we feel that the use of seven planets is correct as the lagna cannot indicate the physical body as it is only a mathematical point in the eastern horizon whereas the remaining seven planets symbolize the physical body.

Planetary periods

Vaidyanatha Diksita [Jatakaparijata sloka V-2] nakhah sasi dvau navakam dhrtisca krtih khabana ravipurvakanam|
ima niruktah kramaso grahanam naisargike hyayusi varsasankhya||
Translation: 20, 1, 2, 9, 18, 20 and 50 are the periods in years for the planets in the order of Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn in the Naisargika (natural) longevity estimation (and dasa).
Varahamihira [Brhajjataka sloka 8-9] ekam dvau nava vimsatirdhrti krti pancasad esam
kramaccandrarenduja sukra jivadinakrid daiva karinam samah |
svaih svaih pusta phalani sarga janitaih paktirdasayah kramad ante
lagnadasa subheti yavana necchanti kecit tatha || 9||
Translation: 1, 2, 9, 20, 18, 20 and 50 years are the periods of the planets in the order of Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, the Sun and Saturn in the Naisargika dasa applicable to all creatures. If both the naisargika dasa and the normal [read Mula dasa] period indicate favorable results in their concurrent periods, then the same is sure to occur. Yavanacarya (Greek/foreign astrology inputs), opines that the dasa of Lagna shall be the last and produces prosperity. This [view of Yavanacarya] is objected to by some .

It is evident that both Vaidyanatha Diksita and Varahamihira have excluded the period of the Lagna in the mahadasa. Using only the seven planet periods, the dasa is shown for the scribe
Note that the age at which the naisargika dasha starts for all human beings is fixed.
Moon starts at 0, Mars 1, Mercury 3, Venus 12, Jupiter 32, Sun 50, Saturn 70.

Antardasa planets

Kalyan Varma defines2In the opening sloka of the Antardasa phala adhyaya (Chapter 42-1) the antardasa based on drsti. He allocates fractional weightage based on the aspect of the dasa lord.

  • We know that all planets have a full aspect on the seventh house. Hence, the minimum weight of 1/7th is given to planets in the seventh house from the dasa lord.
  • The next weaker aspect of all planets (¾ pada) is on the chaturasras (the 4th and 8th houses). Kalyan Varma gives the next higher weightage of 1/4th to planets in these houses.
  • The next weaker aspect of all planets (½ pada) is on the trikona (5th & 9th houses) and the weightage given for them is slightly more – 1/3rd for all planets in these houses.
  • Kalyan Varma has given a slightly more weightage of ½ for planets conjoining the dasa lord.
  • The next weaker aspect of all planets (¼ pada) is on the upachaya (excluding trika houses (6th & 11th) i.e. only on the 3rd and 10th house. The next higher weightage possible is 1 (whole) and this is given to planets in 2, 3, 6, 10, 11 & 12 houses. Some astrologers tend to ignore this on the ground that it is not specifically mentioned in Saravali.
  • Kalyan Varma opines3Saravali Ch.42-2 that if two or more planets tenant a sign, only the strongest amongst them will rule over the sub period. However, Satyacarya4Saravali 42-4 and others are clear that all the planets in a sign shall furnish the antardasa (instead of only strongest). Further, their order shall be based on strength with the strongest furnishing the first antardasa and so on.
  • A careful reading of the antardasa phala adhyaya of Saravali reveals that the dasa lord shall not have an antardasa, as it is the root indicating the overall trend of the period. The antardasa of the (other) planets will give results according to their nature5Saravali 42-2.

Order of antardasa

The planets in the kendra (1, 4, 7 & 10 houses), followed by those in the panapara (2, 5, 8 & 11 houses) and finally apoklimas (3, 6, 9, 12 houses) shall furnish the antardasa. Jaimini and Parasara spell out the standard rules for this.


The given rules must be used to first determine the stronger sign, and later the stronger planet in the signs must be found using the following rules. The rules given for the strength of signs are exclusive in that when comparing the strength of two signs, use the first rule. If that works, then no need to go further. If you find that the signs are still equally strong, then use the next rule and so on in the order given. This also applies to the planets.

Strength of signs

1. A sign with more planets is stronger.
2. The signs aspected or conjoined Jupiter, Mercury or the lord of the sign, is stronger.
3. If there are an equal number of planets/aspects, then the state of the planets in the signs must be ascertained i.e. exalted planets are stronger than mulatrikona, who are stronger than in own signs, etc. Debilitation signs are weakest.
4. If they are still equal in strength, then the natural strengths of the lords placed in Dual signs being stronger than fixed signs and fixed signs being stronger than movable signs is considered.
5. The sign lorded by atmakaraka is stronger.
6. If both lords have the same degrees, then the lord of a sign being in a different oddity than its own sign is stronger.
7. If the strengths are still equal, the degrees of the sign-lord must be delineated. One with higher degrees (as used in the Cara Karaka scheme) is stronger.
8. The sign that gives a higher dasa period is stronger.

Strength of planets

1. A planet placed in exaltation/mulatrikona or own sign is stronger in decreasing order.
2. The degrees of planet must be delineated. One with higher degrees (as used in the Cara Karaka scheme) is stronger.
3. If both have equal number of degrees, the one with higher minutes/seconds is stronger.

Calculation of antardasa

Add the fractional or whole weights of the six planets (excluding the dasa lord) and divide the dasa period by this sum. The result (called multiplier) should be multiplied by the individual fractional weights of the six planets to yield their antardasa periods6Saravali 42-5. Kalyan Varma elaborates the mathematics involved in using fractions. .

The Jagannath Hora software from Sri Jagannath Center has provided the calculations given in this paper. or
However, as software are changing with time, we recommend that the calculations be tried from two softwares and checked for accuracy before using.
As of 25 Jun, 2015 all available software miscalculate the order and sub-periods of the Naisargika Dasha. This is the primary reason why it is not popular. Else it is among the best dasha systems and the great Varahamihira, Kalyana Verma and a few others primarily used this.

References   [ + ]

2. In the opening sloka of the Antardasa phala adhyaya (Chapter 42-1)
3. Saravali Ch.42-2
4. Saravali 42-4
5. Saravali 42-2
6. Saravali 42-5. Kalyan Varma elaborates the mathematics involved in using fractions.

Shankaracharya’s Prayer[1] ॐ नारायण परोऽव्यक्तादण्डमव्यक्तसम्भवम्। अण्डस्यान्तस्तित्वमे लोकाः सप्तदीपा च मेदिनि॥
om nārāyaṇa paro’vyaktādaṇḍamavyaktasambhavam| aṇḍasyāntastitvame lokāḥ saptadīpā ca medini||


This prayer of Adi Sankara has been taken from a smriti and gives the ultimate objective of every birth in this world at least. Thus, Sri Ramanujacharya has given the best mantra that will guide us to this
penultimate goal[6].

The Zodiac, called the Bha-Chakra symbolises the body of Narayana in it physical aspect or Brahmanda, as viewed from the earth at the centre. The Bha Chakra is divided into two signs starting from Aries and is called the 12-petal lotus of Brahma. Since the microcosm (Nara) is the same as the macrocosm (Narayana), the Bha Chakra also represents the individual (animate/inanimate object). Thus, eight latter mantra everything that we perceive at least, is represented by the zodiac. This twelve petal lotus grows from the navel of Narayana, and these points at 00 Aries, 00Leo and 00Sagittarius represent the Navel (also called Brahma Nabhi) and symbolise the end/beginning. Thus, these points are called Gandanta and the two Nakshetra-Pada adjoining each navel are called Gandanta-Pada. These are (a) 0-0′ to 3-20’ Aries and 26-40′ to 30-0′ Pisces around the point 0 Aries; (b) 0-0′ to 3-20’ Leo and 26-40′
to 30-0′ Cancer around the point 0 Leo & © 0-0′ to 3-20’ Sagittarius and 26-40′ to 30-0′ Scorpio around the point 00 Sagittarius. With this emerged the concept of perfect harmony or trines (and the angle of 120Deg). Thus, the zodiac was divided into three types of signs as movable and fixed and dual bodied.

The whole body of Narayana is divided into four parts called Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and Vasudeva. These parts cannot really be differentiated from the whole and are complete in themselves like dividing infinity by four, we still get infinity as the result. Thus, Narayana with Sri Shakti is called Vishnu and is of pure Sattva Guna; Narayana with Bhoo Shakti is called Brahma and is of Rajas Guna; while Narayana with Kali Shakti was called Shiva and is of Tamas Guna. These three parts are full of nectar and are imperceptible. The fourth part of Narayana is called Vasudeva. This part is both perceptible (with three Shakti i.e. Sri-Shakti, Bhu-Shakti & Kali-Shakti and three guna’s intermingling) and imperceptible (with two Shakti’s- Sri-Shakti & Bhu-Shakti). As Vasudeva, Narayana sustains/maintains the Brahmanda. Thus, the zodiac when used for all material/purposes would represent Vasudeva[7] and the signs would Represent the three Gunas. All signs have all the three
gunas and only one dominates. Thus movable signs have a predominance of Rajas Guna, fixed signs of Tamas Guna and Dual signs of Satwa Guna. Because of the predominant Guna, the primary deities of the Dual, movable and fixed signs were Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva respectively. However, at a later date, to differentiate these deities from the pure parts of Narayana, the latter were also called Maha-Vishnu, Param-Brahma and Sada-Shiva.

Thus, in Vedic Astrology the perceptible part of Sri Vasudeva and the three deities Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva because very relevant, by providing the perception for guidance of the individual soul. Thus, the dasa system for timing events / guiding individuals and using the three types of signs is called Narayana dasa and its three types of Chara etc. dasa are specifically meant for movable / fixed / dual sign of the ascendant for the three deities Brahma / Shiva / Vishnu respectively.

Thus, the Narayana dasa gives the impact of the environment on the native while the Vimsottari dasa gives his reaction / experience. Without the Narayana dasa, we really cannot say the direction in which
the forces of nature and going to lead the native. The Vimsottari dasa, being an Udu dasa gives the state of mind / personal preparedness to deal with these directions.

Shakti literally means strength or power and specifically indicates the strength to achieve purpose. The purpose of Vishnu is to preserve the individual and Sri Shakti is his power to do the same. The strength of the lord of the second house will represent the strength of Sri Shakti and from the second lord Vishnu (or Hari Yoga) is ascertained. Thus, the second house deals with food / eating which is necessary for survival or sustenance as well as wealth for sustenance of everything. The lord of Lagna represents Bhoo Shakti and if strong with planets in quadrants, gives Brahma Yoga. Bhoo Shakti in one aspect is Savitur or Savitri whereby she provides the means for good health and long life and as Saraswati she provides the power of knowledge, speech and intelligence. Similarly the lord of the seventh house represents Kali Shakti and Hara Yoga occurs due to it. Hence the saying “Brahma gives longevity (Ayus), Vishnu gives wealth (Dhana) Shiva gives marriage etc (Kalyana)”. The Vimsottari dasa is used to judge the state of mind /self of the native, as it is also necessary to determine the availability of the means to achieve the purpose. The variation in Sri Shakti is examined from Su-dasa or Rasi dasa as it gives the level of prosperity while the variations in Bhoo Shakti (Savitri) is examined from Shoola dasa or any other Ayur dasa.

The Rasi, Navamsa (D-9) and Drekkana (D-3) are the most important divisional charts. Parasara explains that the Drekkana are ruled by Deva-Rishi Narada, Maha-Rishi Agasthya and Brahma-Rishi Doorvasha for dual / fixed / movable Drekkana respectively. Similarly fixed / dual / movable Navamsa are presided over by Shiva / Vishnu / Brahma respectively. Now for example if a planet is placed in Pisces in both
Rasi and Navamsa, it is stated to be Vargottama (i.e. having acquired the best division of the sign) and connects the Satwa Guna of the sign to Sri Vishnu the presiding deity of the Navamsa. The dasa system when we examine Guru Yoga, Mantra, Diksha and renunciation etc is called Drig dasa.

Hence, for a comprehensive examination of a chart the Narayana dasa, Su-dasa, Vimsottari dasa, Shoola dasa and Drig dasa should be examined.
[1] Provided in the Bhagavad Gita with the commentary of Adi Sankara.
[2] OM is the cosmic syllable representing God
[3] Narayana is composed of two words ‘ Nara’ meaning ‘ any body ‘ and ‘ Ayana ‘ meaning ‘ Goal ‘. Thus the composite word Narayana means the ultimate goal of every body both living and non-living or mobile and immobile. In a more subtle sense it refers to the individual soul (Microcosm) endeavouring to attain Union (Yoga) with the Universal Soul (Macrocosm). Thus, Narayana also means this universal soul or supreme personality of Godhead.
[4] The Unmanifest is referred to as ‘Maya’ or illusion, and in the Bhagavad Gita is called the Akshara’ (syllable), immutable Brahma. Thus, if Narayana is said to be even above this sound syllable which is the
source of all creation, then Narayana is also Parambrahman or Sadasiva
[5] Brahmanda: Brahma, the dimurge God evolved from the navel of Narayana and ‘ Anda’ literally means the ‘egg. Thus Brahmanda refers to the hiranyagarbha (golden embryo – principle of cosmic evolution), whereby the universe was created. In fact ‘ All these worlds ‘ used in the prayer refers to the universe (’ Virat ‘) composed of five elements (or rather fire states of matter/energy). These are the earth elements (solid), water element (liquids), air element (gases). Fire element (energy) and space element (ether).
[6] (Vishnu Astakshari). “OM NAMO NARAYANAYA “.
[7] Hence, Vasudeva (or Krishna) shows the path for the individual soul to merge into Narayana. The mantra for this MOKSHA / NIRVANA / EMANCIPATION has been provided in the Madhusudana Stotra. It is called Sri Vishnu Dwadasakchari “ OM NAMO BHAGAVATE VASUDEVAYA.”

Thomas Paine

SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expence and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others. – Thomas Paine (1776)

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A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. — Lao-tzu

1.1 Creation

Creation of the Universe has been a popular theme with philosophies and so also with Vedic Astrology.Parasara[1] teaches that the entire manifested[2] Universe is but one-eighth portion of the body of Narayana[3]. The size of the unmanifested Narayana is infinite and just like dividing infinity by any number the quotient is still infinity, so also the size of the manifested potion of Narayana is infinite[4]. Essentially, the absolute Narayana is Nirguna[5] but as a part of His pleasure[6], does attain the three Guna[7] due to Yoga (union) with the three kinds of Shakti[8].

The whole body of Narayana is divided into four parts called (1) Param-Brahmä, (2) Maha-Vishnu, (3) Sada-Shiva and (4) Vasudeva. These parts cannot really be differentiated from the whole as the pure nectar pervades them and the names used here are merely to aid understanding. Thus, Narayana with Sri[9] Shakti is called Maha-Vishnu and is of pure[10] Satwa Guna; Narayana with Bhu[11] Shakti is Param-Brahmä and is of pure Rajas Guna; while Narayana with Nila[12] Shakti is Sada-Shiva and is of pure Tamas Guna. These three parts are full of nectar and are imperceptible. The fourth part of Narayana is Vasudeva. This quarter is further divided into two parts – one part that is perceptible (with three Shakti i.e. Sri-Shakti, Bhu-Shakti & Nila-Shakti and three Guna’s intermingling) and the other part that is imperceptible (with two Shakti’s: Sri-Shakti & Bhu-Shakti).

ExpansionShaktiDevaThe WorldsPancha TattvaGunaReference

1.2 The Expansion of Vasudeva

The perceptible part of Vasudeva is Karanodakasayi-Vishnu or the principal evolver and the first intention of creation is seen in the evolution of the sixteen principles of material action[13]. Srila Prabhupada[14] opines that many such universes come out of the pores of the skin of Karanodakasayi-Vishnu. This is the first expansion (first Pada) of Vishnu of the three Pada[15] (steps) in which the Lord manifests. Having created the universes Vasudeva/Vishnu enters into them for continuing the process of creation. In the next two-stages/ steps, He is known as Garbhodakasayi Vishnu and Kshirodakasayi Vishnu.

The three-fold division continues into the next level due to the expansion of this perceptible part of Vasudeva with the motive of entering into each universe. Vasudeva takes the form of Garbhodakasayi Vishnu lying within the half of the universe, which is full with the water of His perspiration from the pangs of multiple births. Vasudeva (Garbhodakasayi Vishnu) with Neela Shakti (Tamas) evolves as the Shankarshana; with Bhu Shakti He expands into Pradyumna (Rajas) and with Sri Shakti He evolves as Aniruddha (Satwa Guna)[16]. There is an intermingling of the Guna’s (modes of nature), and the prevailing modes shall dominate the nature of the expansion.narayana02

The expansions of Sankarshana (Neela Shakti – Tamas) further evolve into the Maha Tatwa (the primordial five states of physical existence) while those of Pradyumna (Bhu Shakti – Rajas) evolve into Ahamkara (individual ego) and Aniruddha (Sri Shakti – Satwa) evolves into the demiurge Brahma (Ahamkara murti). This is conceived as the stem of the lotus (akin to the umbilical chord) growing out of the navel of Garbhodakasayi Vishnu (as Aniruddha). The stem has a thousand petal lotus as its apex (like the Sahasrara Chakra – thousand petal Chakra in the cranium) on which resided Brahma. The stem has been equated to the three Loka (planes of existence) or to fourteen Loka depending on the context. Such brilliant imagery helps to clear many a misconception. For example there is this never ending debate about the correct time of birth – as to (a) whether it is the Garbha pravesha or coming out of the uterus, (b) Nadi sodhana – cutting of the umbilicus or (c) Prathama rodana – first cry? If we were to accept this imagery of Brahma on the umbilicus of Garbhodakasayi Vishnu as symbolizing birth, then it is time of cutting of the umbilical chord, which is the correct birth moment.

Ahamkara born of predominant Rajas further evolves into three parts based on the Guna’s. A more Satvic expansion (born from Satwa or goodness) is into a Deva; Rajasik expansion (born from Rajas or Passion) is unto the Indriya’s {five Gyanendriya or senses related to knowledge (1) smell, (2) taste, (3) sight (4) hear and (5) touch or feel and five Karmendriya or five primary actions (1) speech, (2) grasping, (3) walking, (4) evacuation/cleansing and (5) procreation}; and the Tamasik expansion (born of Tamas or ignorance) is into Pancha Bhoota (five states of physical existence) called (1) Agni – fire/energy (2) Prithvi – earth/solid (3) Jala – water/liquid (4) Vayu – wind/gas and (5) Akash – ether/vacuum.  The Dhi (Supreme intelligence of Vasudeva) enters the process of creation through Ahamkara and besides the creation of the Tanmatra {five subtle elements – (1) Energy – Agni (2) Solid – Prithvi (3) Liquid – Jala (4) Gas – Vayu and (5) Akash – Vacuum in the physical sense but an ethereal substance in the metaphysical sense} and the Indriya as indicated, also creates the Mana (Mind or consciousness). All these creations are ‘active’ as they arise with their individual Shakti’s. In fact, Ahamkara itself has been created from the Rajas of Pradyumna and in turn its creations will also exhibit such traits as associating for the purpose of creating active elements and bodies that are principally Rajasik. Thus all creatures and living bodies are created from Ahamkara.

Figure 2 : Karanodakasayi-Vishnu

The Vishnu Purana confirms this postulation and adds that the ‘Paramatma’ is the ‘Purusha’ and adds that He is ‘Kaala’ or time (the controller of the sixteen laws of material action). Thus evolved the concept of Kaala Purusha (personification of time as an aspect of God) and the Bha-Chakra (zodiac) as the celestial clock that not only represents the Kaala Purusha but also indicates the quality of time. Kshirodakasayi Vishnu or the Paramatma expands from Vasudeva/Garbhodakasayi Vishnu into the body of Brahma (through the Satvic incarnation Aniruddha) and thereafter enters the body of every living being to reside in the heart (lotus[17]). By a similar process, the Jeevatma (or the individual personal soul) also enters the body and shares a berth next to the Param Atma in the heart. Parasara[18] has opined that the Paramatma resides in all Jeeva’s i.e. all living beings have a portion of the divine spark of Vishnu within their hearts. The potency of this spark of Vishnu is called Paramatma-amsa whereas the potency of his or her own individual soul is called Jeeva-amsa.

Sankhya Shastra has a similar postulation (as taught by Sri Krishna in the Srimad Bhagavat Gita and Kapila Muni an incarnation of Vishnu in the Srimad Bhagavatam) in so far as the expansion of Garbhodakasayi Vishnu is concerned. This teaching is grossly different from the fundamental atheism of the Sankhya Shastra given in the Sankhya Karika of Isvarakrishna attributed to Kapila. Kapila Muni the legendary founder of this system of philosophy[19] gave this knowledge to His mother Devahuti and is different from Kapila Muni as indicated in the Bhagavatam. The principal difference is in the view of the Purusha as being the prime creator (Krishna/Kapila) and just an inactive spectator of the evolution of Prakriti (Isvarakrishna).

The expansion of Vasudeva is based on twenty-five principles (Tatwa). The first principle is [1] the Purusha or Vasudeva the principal evolver Who glances at [2]Prakriti (Shakti – personified as Mother Nature) while lying on the Karana Sagar (causal ocean). The Purusha has three forms[20] as (a) Maha Vishnu or Karanodakasayi Vishnu, (b) Garbhodakasayi Vishnu and (c) Kshirodakasayi Vishnu at the three levels of evolution. At the first level, the exhalation of Karanodakasayi Vishnu produces innumerable universes that start as a seed and expand as they float above the causal ocean. At the second level, Garbhodakasayi Vishnu enters each of these universes and interacts with Prakriti in its three constituent qualities called Guna to produce besides others, [3]Intelligence (Dhi or buddhi called Maha ‘the Great One’). From intelligence is produced [4]Ahamkara (Self consciousness).

Figure 3 : Garbhodakasayi Vishnu
Figure 3 : Garbhodakasayi Vishnu

Ahamkara interacts with Neela Shakti in the mode of Tamas to produce the Tanmatra (five forms of material existence in the particle form). The Tanmatra or particle forms of physical existence are [5] Akash – Vacuum or ether depending on context, [6] Vayu – Gas, [7] Jala – liquid, [8] Prithvi – Solid, and [9] Agni – Energy. The five forms of gross physical matter called Maha Bhoota was created from these molecular forms. These are also named as the molecular forms (as they are not different from their constituent molecules) as [10] Akash – Vacuum or ether, [11] Vayu – Gas, [12] Jala – liquid, [13] Prithvi – Solid, and [14] Agni – Energy.

Ahamkara interacts with Bhu Shakti in the mode of Rajas to produce the five sense organs called Gyanendriya – [15] hearing, [16] touch, [17] sight, [18] taste and, [19] smell and the five organs of action called Karmendriya – [20] speech, [21] grasping, [22] walking, [23] procreation and, [24] evacuation. Each of these organs and senses correspond to a Tanmatra/Maha Bhoota respectively. The final product of Ahamkara is the Mana (Mind) that interacts with the various Gyanendriya and Karmendriya and is influenced by the Tanmatra and Maha Bhoota i.e. the mind is the link between the senses and organs that are in constant interaction with the molecular and gross material forms.

1.3 Shakti

Lord Vishnu with Bhu and Sri Shakti

Shakti is viewed as the principal field of evolution and in that sense is construed as a feminine personality but is viewed as a potency or energy type. Narayana, the Supreme Lord has two types of energies. These are the superior Spiritual energy and the other is the inferior material energy that manifests. The spiritual energy is further classified as internal and marginal. These are called Antaranga Shakti (internal spiritual energy), Tathastha Shakti (marginal spiritual energy) and Bahiranga Shakti (external material energy). Just as light loses its intensity as it goes further from the lamp (bulb source), so also the Antaranga Shakti is viewed as the concentrated effulgence existing within the Lord and is called Para Shakti as it exists only at the Para level. Tathastha Shakti is like the light just outside the lamp (glass cage of the bulb) and is also spiritual in the sense that it does not serve the purpose of  making objects visible. The light which is outside the bulb helps us to see objects by reflecting from their surface and in a similar manner the Bahiranga Shakti is the original effulgence, field or potency that is involved in the process of creation.

The Antaranga Shakti (internal spiritual energy) has three attributes. One is called Hladini Shakti and is like Neela Shakti or the pleasure potency and this internal quarter of the Supreme Lord is akin to Sadashiva. The other attribute is called Sandhini Shakti which is like Sri Shakti or the existential potency and this quarter portion of the Supreme lord is Maha Vishnu. The third attribute of the spiritual energy is called Samvit Shakti and is like Bhu Shakti or cognitive potency and this quarter of the Supreme Lord is Param Brahma. Refer Figure-1 where these are schematically shown as the three complete quarters in the imperceptible portion. The Padma Purana refers to these as the Tri-Pada –Vibhuti (three quarters) and provides elaborate details. It adds that the material manifestation is in the Eka-Pada-Vibhuti (one quarter).

The Tathastha Shakti is present in the fourth quarter as the margin or meeting point between the internal Antaranga Shakti  and the external Bahiranga Shakti. As mentioned above, this is also spiritual energy and is viewed by Parasara as having two attributes – Sri Shakti and Bhu Shakti. Narayana in His interaction with the Tathastha Shakti is known as Vasudeva and is represented as a half of the fourth quarter in the schematic diagram (Figure-1). This portion is also imperceptible. Vasudeva in His multiple expansions as Kshirodakasayi Vishnu is the Paramatma (Universal soul or Macrocosmic expansion). The name Kshirodakasayi ‘Vishnu’ implies the yoga (union) of Vasudeva and Sri Shakti and indicates the perception of the Paramatma as being of pure Satwa Guna. This is viewed as the pure white light as indicated by the descriptive term Kshirodakasayi[21]. The other Yoga of Vasudeva is with Bhu Shakti and this multiple expansion is called the Jeevatma (Individual spirit soul or Microcosmic expansion). These are like the various colors of visible light as well as the invisible ‘dark’ ultraviolet. Just as the diffracted light colors are like the original white light in every possible sense except the breadth of their spectrum, so also the Jeevatma have the potency of the Paramatma but are different in their individual potency.

These Jeevatma or Jeeva’s are like water particles that have acquired excessive energy (‘Rajas’ from Bhu Shakti) to become steam and have left the surface of the boiling water. Having moved away from the surface of the water these tiny water particles acquire various forms in various substances and being to believe in their independent existence in these substances as being different from the water reservoir from where they originated. In a similar manner the Jeevatma dwelling in the material substances begin to believe in their independent existence as different from the Paramatma. The closest contact that any being has with God is the juxtaposition of the Jeevatma and the Paramatma in the heart (lotus).

The external Bahiranga Shakti is present in the other half of the fourth quarter and has Yoga with Vasudeva as Sri, Bhu and Neela Shakti for the process of creation.

Whereas Sri Jiva Gosvami lists twenty Shakti’s in the Bhagavat Sandarbha, Parasara lists forty Shakti’s in two groups of twenty each as the potencies of the spiritual energy. This shall be discussed in a separate volume under Vimsamsa.

1.4      Deva

Most scholars misinterpret the word ‘Deva’ as meaning ‘God’. In reality, there are 33 Deva’s with about 330 million forms. The word is derived from the root Divu that has ten meanings[22] (for a better understanding, refer to the glossary) –

1.      Krida – sporting
2.      Vijigisha – conquest
3.      Vyavahar – occupation/pursuit
4.      Dyuti – intellectual inspiration or brilliancy
5.      Stuti – praise
6.      Moda – pleasure
7.      Mada – exhilaration, intoxication
8.      Swapna – dream
9.      Kanti – splendor
10.  Gati – direction, movement

These words define the purpose of a Deva. Jaimini defines Deva or Devata as indicated by the Devata Karaka[23] planet. This is the third in the hierarchy (of spiritual needs) after the Atmakaraka (helps in the determination of the Ista/Isa directing emancipation from the cycle of rebirth) and Amatya Karaka (deity symbolizing sustenance in this world). Thus Deva or Devata is the Guru and guides or illuminates certain inherent abilities that will develop in this life or the spiritual path or that which leads to fulfillment of desires etc. Nirukta[24] defines Deva as that which (a) confers benefits (Danada) (b) illumines (Deepanad) or (c) is the source of such knowledge or illumination (Dyutanad). Thus, translating deva as God is conceptually incorrect. This view is further confirmed without an iota of doubt in the Aitereya Brahmana[25] as well as the Sathapatha Brahmana[26]. The natural question is ‘if Deva’s are not Gods, then who or what are the Deva’s and in what manner are they linked to Jyotish’?

Sathapatha Brahmana 14.16:
Katame te trayastrimshat iti ashtou vasavah; ekadasa Rudra, dwadasa-Adityah ta ekatrimshat; Indraschaiva Prajapatischa trayatrimshaviti.

(We) speak of the thirty three (Deva) of which eight Vasu, eleven Rudra and twelve Aditya add up to thirty one. Indra and Prajapati included bring their number to thirty three.

BG Vasudeva Krishna1.4.1   Asta Vasava (Eight Vasu’s)

Sathapatha Brahmana 14.16:
Katame Vasava iti. Agnischa prithivi cha vayusch-antarikshamchaadityascha dyouscha chandramascha nakshatrani chaite Vasava aeteshu  hidam sarve vasu hitam aete hidam sarve vasayante taddyudidam sarve vasayante tasmad Vasava iti.

The Sathapatha Brahmana gives the list of eight Vasu as (1) Agni (2) Prithvi (3) Vayu (4) Antariksha (5) Aditya (6) Dyou (7) Chandrama and (8) Nakshetra. Prima facie this may seem a bit contradictory as Aditya has also been mentioned separately but here it refers to the Sun, Chandra refers to the Moon, Nakshetra are the lunar mansions or the constellations and the remaining five represent the states of material existence. These eight form the primary source of enlightenment about the self. They represent the basic variables that define every creation and its original source of illumination in the ten methods defined earlier as the purpose of the deva. The Vishnu Purana makes this more lucid in the definition of the Vasu’s as

  1. Apa – Jala Tatwa or liquid
  2. Dhara – Prithvi Tatwa or solid
  3. Anila – Vayu Tatwa or Gas
  4. Anala – Agni Tatwa or Energy
  5. Dhruva – the pole star representing
    1. Akash Tatwa – the sky or Vacuum and
    2. fixity of the zodiac i.e. the relevance of Ayanamsa
  6. Soma – The Moon
  7. Pratyusha – the recurring dawn representing
    1. The Sun – as causing the night and day i.e. the source of light behind the dawn,
    2. Lagna – The ascendant or the point in the eastern horizon as representing the self and is equated to the dawn.
  8. Prabhasa – splendorous lights of the stars that are grouped into 27/28 Nakshetra (Constellations).

This list is the first principle of Jyotish where the bodies that create all beings as well as guide them through various activities are defined. These include (a) the Sun, (b) the Moon, (c) the constellations called Nakshetra and (d) the Pancha Tatwa or (the guidance/direction from) the five states of existence of all matter and energy. Thus, the luminaries (Sun & Moon), the five planets Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus & Saturn [ruling the five states of energy (Agni), solid (Prithvi), ether (Akash), liquid (Jala) and gas (Vayu) respectively] and the 27 (or 28) lunar mansion called Nakshetra form the first principle. Birth implies creation and this is the Satvic principle of sustenance of the born or created being.

rudra_tandava_pk641.4.2   Ekadasa Rudra

Sathapatha Brahmana 14.16:
Katame Rudra iti. Dasheme purushe praanaa atmaikadashah te yadasmat martyaacchreeradtkramanti atha rodanti tad yad rodayanti tasmad Rudra iti.

The eleven Rudra[27] are defined as Deva’s. Ten of these are Rudra are responsible for holding the ‘Prana’ (vital life force or air) within the body that sustains the breathing and life. Thus, their nature is akin to Marut or storm god and in a sense like Vayu (the air element). The eleventh Rudra is Maheswara and is responsible for the Atma (soul). These are called Rudra from the root Rud meaning to weep as their ‘going away’ results in the death of the native and the near and dear ones weep.

These eleven Rudra (including Maheswara) are responsible for the destruction of everything that has been created and form the second principle of Jyotish. In the first stage there is the destruction of the physical body by the ‘going away’ of any of the ten Rudra. Thereafter the Atma (soul) is separated from the Mana (mind) by Maheswara (Shiva) the eleventh Rudra.  The two nodes of the Moon called Rahu & Ketu are the destroyers. Rahu has the responsibility of destroying the Luminaries and the signs (Dwadasa Aditya). Ketu destroys the material creation represented by the Pancha Tatwa (in Jyotish the five planets Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn) and the Nakshetra. The Rudra can be viewed as the binding forces in any created being, both living and non-living. They symbolize the strength of God and are also the strength of the created being as their going away results in the weakness of the body and it is destroyed.

aditya-vertical1.4.3   Dwadasa Aditya

Sathapatha Brahmana 14.16:
Katame Aditya iti. Dwadasamasah samvatsarasya
Aeta Adityah aete hidam sarvamadadaanayanti taddwididam sarvamadadaana yanti tasmaditya iti.

Dwadasa means twelve and Masa means the month – thus the Dwadasa (twelve) Aditya are the twelve months represented by the twelve signs in the zodiac. The month is variously defined in Jyotish and this specific reference indicates the motion of the during the period between two consecutive conjunctions with the Moon. This is the synodic month and is about 29.5 days, which for convenience is taken as 30 days. Since the average geo-centric motion of the Sun during 30 days is 30 degrees, this defines the Saura Masa (solar month) which is the third principle of Jyotish. Twelve such ’30 degree motions’ result in the Sun returning to its original position and this defines the Samvatsara or ‘solar year’. Thus, the third principle of Jyotish is that of time & space which is defined by the Dwadasa Aditya (twelve signs of the zodiac with the Sun as their overlord). The solar month and solar year are the foundation of Vedic astrology and that further sub-divisions of time are to be determined based on solar motion. The word Samvatsara means ‘year’ and specifically ‘solar year’ as this is based on the Dwadasa Aditya. This knowledge is of vital importance in determining the period of influence of the planets called ‘dasa’. Often astrologers are bogged down with misconceptions about using the solar or lunar year or even other variously defined time periods. This indicates the lack of appreciation of this principle of time & space relationship as defined by the Dwadasa Aditya.

They are called Aditya as they are the distributors of food  and all materials required for creation and sustenance (Dana) as well as inspiration, exhilaration, intoxication, sexual vitality and vigor (Mada). The Aditya are the givers and everything comes from them. Thus, the twelve signs represent all the material forms of creation.

1.4.4   Indra & Prajapati

Sathapatha Brahmana 14.16:
Katama Indrah katamah prjapatiriti. stanayitnurevendro yagyah prajapatiriti. Katama eko deva iti sa Brahma tyadityachakshate.

indra_sachiStanayitnu means thunder or lightening and refers to the electrical impulses that are used by the brain to control the senses. Thus Indra is the demigod controlling the senses and the working of the brain as well as the intelligence of all creation. Yagyam is the worship or praise for Prajapati the progenitor. This is the fourth principle of Jyotish and is called Lagna or the ascendant representing the seat of Prajapati the progenitor and the ‘praise worthy one’. Indra is seated on the throne of the zodiac indicated by the point in the mid-heaven. This is the area of the tenth house counted from the Lagna or ascendant sign.

The zodiac at any point of time, is divided into two halves by the line of the horizon. Since the earth rotates from the west to the east, the planets and other stars seem to move in the opposite direction from any stationary point of observation on the earth. The Sun rises in the east in the morning, ascends to mid-heaven (middle of the sky) by mid-day and then starts descending till it sets in the western horizon. Lagna is the point in the eastern horizon that is just about to ascend or rise into the heavens signified by the visible half of the zodiac and is akin to sunrise. This is called the ascendant. Similarly the point in the western horizon which is just about to descend or go under the horizon is called the descendant. The zodiac is divided into two halves called the Drusya (visible) and Adrusya (invisible) by the line of the horizon with the sky in the visible half and the portion below the horizon in the invisible half. The Drusya Rasi or zodiac signs (complete or portions) in the visible half are the heavens called loka whereas the Adrusya Rasi or zodiac signs (complete or portions) in the invisible portion or below the horizon are called hell or Tala. There are two postulates based on (1) material or physical existence and (2) spiritual existence to describe these heavens and hell.

The three material worlds

The physical universe can be classified into three parts called Bhu loka (earth), Bhuva loka (firmament or the solar system which contains the nava graha) and Swarga loka (Sky containing the fixed stars which is the residence of the demi-gods). The geocentric zodiac (Bhu loka as its center) limited to the Bhuva loka is called the Vishnu chakra (Tropical zodiac where the weather and other phenomena of the atmosphere and beyond are experienced). The geocentric zodiac based on the fixed stars in the sky is called the Narayana chakra (Sidereal zodiac). These terms find specific mention in the Vishnu purana. The pious Hindu recited the prayer “Om Bhur-bhuva-svah” every morning for the blessings of this material creation as a prefix to the Gayatri mantra.

The Fourteen spiritual worlds

Thus, there are seven heavens and seven hell. The heavens called loka[28] are in seven parts:

  1. Visible portion of the Lagna (ascendant sign/house) that has ascended i.e. from the start of the sign to the longitude of the ascendant called Satya loka symbolized by the thousand petal lotus on which rests Prajapati (form of Brahma) the progenitor. This is the seat of the creator and He is praised by all His creation. It shows fame as a consequence of the praise and health and vigor.
  2. Visible portion of the seventh house/sign that is about to descend or go into the invisible half i.e. from the longitude of the descendant to the end of the sign called Bhu loka (the earthly plane). It shows the death and re-birth as this is also the Mrityu loka or ‘where death occurs’.
  3. The tenth house/sign (with the mid-heaven as the throne of Indra in it) called Svah or Swarga loka.
  4. The remaining signs/houses in the visible portion (8th, 9th, 11th & 12th ) are the Bhuva, Maha Gyanah and Tapah loka.

Thus, the seven heavens are Bhu, Bhuva, Svah, Maha, Janah, Tapah & Satya loka[29] and the deities of the planets Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Saturn and Jupiter respectively, preside over these loka. The seven hell are the seven signs in the invisible portion of the zodiac called Atala, Bitala, Sutala, Talatala, Rasatala, Mahatala and Patala respectively. There are seven Narka (most inferior hells for punishment) below these seven Tala and are all situated at the nadir i.e. the point exactly opposite mid-heaven in the fourth house. The spiritual  Hindu recites the mantra “Om Bhur- Om Bhuva – Om svah – Om Maha – Om Gyana – Om Tapah – Om Satyam” everyday as a prefix to the Gayatri mantra aspiring for the highest heavens.

Thus, in any chart, the seventh house is examined for death and rebirth. If death occurs during the period of the planet in the seventh house or its lord, then rebirth is sure to occur. The place of rebirth can be guessed from the planet / sign in the seventh house. If Mars is in the seventh house, then rebirth shall be in an island like Sri Lanka. Others indications can be read from standard texts. It is also for this very reason that Parasara recommends the Mritunjaya Mantra with its prayer for Moksha (emancipation from the cycle of rebirth) during such periods of planets connected with the seventh house. The 12th house or the portion just before the Lagna is the Satya Loka, the highest spiritual point  and beyond this is the spiritual region of no-return. By constantly repeating Om Tat Sat and living a truthful life, the worshipper attains Satya Loka and the highest heavens beyond from where there is no return to this Mrityu loka.

Thus, we conclude that the 33 Deva’s are the basic paradigm of Jyotish and that they can also be grouped based on mobility. These groups would include:

  1. The immobile or stationary stars form the group of 27 (or 28) Nakshetra,
  2. The space and time divisions form the group of Rasi or Dwadasa Aditya and
  3. The luminaries (1) Sun & (2) Moon, the Pancha Tatwa controllers (3) Mars, (4) Mercury, (5) Jupiter, (6) Venus & (7) Saturn and the Rudra representatives (8)Rahu & (9)Ketu form the third group of mobile bodies called Graha. Since these are nine in number, they are called Nava Graha. We shall use the forced definition of ‘planets’ to indicate these nine mobile bodies. The Sun is not mobile within the solar system but from a geocentric viewpoint i.e. assuming the earth to be stationary, its movement is translated to be the movement of the Sun.

1.5      Pancha Tattva

The five principal forms of existence of all matter and energy which is the physical manifestation from Tamas are called Pancha Tatwa (lit. Five elements). These five forms of existence are Agni (Energy), Prithvi (Solid), Jala (Liquid), Vayu (Gas) and Akash (Vacuum). Thus every body or physical manifestation in this Universe must exist in one or more of these five principal forms of physical existence. This is a well known principle of Physics and that these forms of existence are mutually convertible i.e. matter and energy can change from one form to another or that the Tatwa are changing from one to another all the time. Gasoline (petrol) is primarily a liquid substance (Jala Tatwa) which is ignited in the engine of a car and is converted to energy (Agni Tatwa) that propels the car. The human being consumes solid food (Prithvi Tatwa) and various liquids (Jala Tatwa) which are digested at various levels and the necessary elements are extracted into the blood especially glucose (the gasoline for the human body). For ignition, the presence of oxygen is necessary and this is drawn from the air (Vayu Tatwa) we breathe. Oxygen also gets dissolved into the blood which is like the engine of the car where the glucose and oxygen meet and are ignited to give energy (Agni Tatwa) to the muscles to work.

The Pancha Tatwa are not Deva’s in their physical manifestation but their ability to guide the life process and course through various forms and manifestations is the Deva. Water for example, is Jala Tatwa and is primarily a physical element (Bhoota) born from Tamas. However, the knowledge that water can quench thirst is a Deva. This difference between the physical element itself and the body of knowledge associated with it should be understood as the difference between the Bhoota and the Deva. In the human body, neither the food nor liquids consumed nor the air we breathe nor the ignition and energy formed are Deva. They are simply the Tatwa or the elements working as per the natural laws.

1.6      Guna

Guna is the state of being of a body (or element composed of the principal forms of existence). It is a measure of the energy level as well as the nature of the motion. If the motion is balanced, then it can continue without resistance for infinite time like the rotation of the planets around the Sun has been going on for ages. Such bodies possess Satwa Guna or the quality of goodness in good measure that causes them to continue in perfect motion for a long time. It is for this reason that Parasara teaches that the planets possess the goodness that causes them to represent the Dasavatar (ten forms of Vishnu – Sustainer, the embodiment of Goodness). Others tend to accelerate with excess energy and then decelerate as the energy level is diminished until they come to a standstill. The process of uneven motion is called Rajas Guna and is a sign of life (Brahma – Creator). The point where the body comes to a standstill or has no motion is called Tamas guna and is a state equated with death (Shiva- Destroyer).

From a heliocentric viewpoint, the planets possess Satwa Guna, but this situation changes from a geocentric view point, where we find the planets accelerating, decelerating and also coming to a standstill. These motions have been studied and various mental attitudes have been attributed to them. For example, a planet that is accelerating and moving very fast is said to be in Bheeta avastha i.e. frightened and is running away.

1.7 Divine Incarnations

From the above it is evident that every aspect of this manifested universe is a part of Vishnu and thus, every being is but an incarnation of God. There are umpteen incarnations of Vishnu as given in the Bhagavat Gita[30], Srimad Bhagavatam[31] and other literature. The Bhagavatam is also the best source for understanding the principles of creation and what has been given here is merely a gist. One of the important teachings of the Bhagavatam is that the different incarnations and forms of God are worshipped  by people for attainment of different desires.

Recommended reading

  1. Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra Vol 1 & 2
  2. Satapatha Brahmana
  3. Srimad Bhagavatam


[1] BPHS 1.9
[2] The manifest is referred to as ‘Maya’ or illusion, and in the Bhagavat Gita is called the Akshara’ (syllable), immutable Brahma. Thus, if Narayana is said to be even above this sound syllable.
[3] Narayana is composed of two words ‘Nara’ meaning ‘any body’ and ‘Ayana’ meaning ‘Goal’. Thus the composite word Narayana means the ultimate goal of every body both living and non-living or mobile and immobile. In a more subtle sense it refers to the individual soul (Microcosm) endeavoring to attain Union (Yoga) with the Universal Soul (Macrocosm). Thus, Narayana also means this universal soul or supreme personality of God.
[4] Poornamada poornamidam poornatapoornamudachyate; poornasya poornamadaya poornamevavasisyate.
[5] Nirguna means untouched by material contamination – [Prabhupada]. Beyond the Guna’s or without Guna.
[6] Bhagavat Gita 9.8
[7] Guna are the material qualities of Prakriti (personified nature) as Satwa (Goodness), Rajas (Passion) and Tamas (Ignorance).
[8] Shakti literally means strength or power and specifically indicates the strength to achieve an objective. The three primary objectives are creation, preservation and dissolution.
[9] Sri Shakti is the phoneme causing Satwa Guna and is personified as Maha-Lakshmi. Satwa Guna is of the nature of Goodness causing preservation.
[10] The word ‘pure’ has been used to indicate the presence of Amrita (nectar) that causes immortality or perceived immortality in a relative time concept.
[11] Bhu Shakti is the phoneme causing Rajas Guna and is personified as Maha-Saraswati. Satwa Guna is of the nature of Passion causing creation.
[12] Nila Shakti is the phoneme causing Tamas Guna and is personified as Maha-Kali. Tamas Guna is of the nature of Ignorance causing destruction.
[13] SB 1.3.1
[14] SB 1.3.1 purport
[15] Trinipada vichakrame Vishnur-gopa adabhya. Atho dharmani dharayen. RV
[16] This postulation of Parasara (BPHS 1.14 –1.17) is corroborated by the Sloka – Om namastubhyam Bhagavate Vasudevaaya dhimahi. Pradyumnayaaya, Aniruddhaaya namah Sankarshanaya cha. In addition we are taught that the intellect ‘Dhi’ evolves with these expansions which in turn, results in the creation of (a) Brahma and the 14 Loka, (b) Ahamkara that creates living beings and (c) Maha Tatwa. These expansions are spontaneous without any time lag.
[17] Ref: Appendix-1 – Heart lotus is the Hridaya Padma or a psychic energy center in the region of the heart.
[18] BPHS 1.21 -24
[19] There are six systems of Philosophy called Shad-Darshan. Refer Appendix-4 for more details.
[20] Laghu Bhagavatamrita, Purva Khanda, 33
[21] Kshira means milk and Kshirodakasayi means sleeping on the ocean of milk thereby referring to the pure white effulgence of the Paramatma.
[22] Dhatupatha
[23] Refer Chapter 8
[24] ibid 7.16
[25] Sloka 1.6 Satyasamhita vai deva
[26] Sloka Vidmanso hi deva
[27] Jaimini has given considerable details on calculating these eleven Rudra (infact ten Rudra and the eleventh he calls Maheswara or Shiva Who is responsible for delivering the soul). These have been discussed in Volume VIII (Ayur Khand – Longevity).
[28] The names of the seven loka as given here are from the Markandeya Purana. Human beings reside in the Bhu loka (earthly plane) while birds, clouds and the demigods reside in the Bhuva loka. The names given for the seven heavens indicated by the seven signs are different in other Vedic literature. However, the names given here are accepted as authentic as Rishi Markandeya was the recipient of the Vedic knowledge from the Maharishi’s through Rishi Chyavan & Daksha Prajapati. He was also the grandfather of Parasara.
[29] The names of the seven loka as given here are from the Markandeya Purana. Human beings reside in the Bhu loka (earthly plane) while birds, clouds and the demigods reside in the Bhuva loka. The names given for the seven heavens indicated by the seven signs are different in other Vedic literature. However, the names given here are accepted as authentic as Rishi Markandeya was the recipient of the Vedic knowledge from the Maharishi’s through Rishi Chyavan & Daksha Prajapati. He was also the grandfather of Parasara.

Basic Vedic Astrology

Perhaps the first step in Vedic Astrology is to discard the idea that it is some kind of a superstition. Astrology is composed of two words “Astro” referring to the study of celestial bodies and phenomena and “Logos” meaning the logical application of this scientific study. Vedic refers to the period of the writing of the Vedas and the codification of the data from the Brighu’s (database created across India in the form of Brighu Samhita having records of various birth charts and their life events).

Thus, Vedic Astrology refers to the method of Astrology as studied and practised in India since time immemorial. The principal exponent of this is Maharishi Parasara whose writings in the monumental classic Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra form the standard text for Jyotish (Vedic Astrology).

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