This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Nārāyaṇa Daśā

Shankaracharya’s Prayer1Provided in the Bhagavad Gītā with the commentary of Adi Śaṅkara.

narayanaॐ नारायणः परोऽव्यक्तादण्डमव्यक्तसंभवम्।
अण्डस्यान्तस्तित्वमे लोकाः सप्तदीपा च मेदिनी॥
om nārāyaṇaḥ paro’vyaktādaṇḍamavyaktasambhavam|
aṇḍasyāntastitvame lāokaḥ saptdvīpā ca madinī||
Om2OM is the cosmic syllable representing God: Nārāyaṇa3Nārāyaṇa is composed of two words ‘ nara’ meaning ‘ any body ‘ and ‘ āyana ‘ meaning ‘ goal ‘. Thus the composite word Nārāyaṇa 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, Nārāyaṇa also means this universal soul or supreme personality of God. is beyond (much above) the unmanifest4The unmanifest is referred to as ‘maya’ or illusion, and in the Bhagavad Gita is called the Akṣara’ (syllable), immutable Brahma. Thus, if Nārāyaṇa is said to be even above this sound syllable which is the source of all creation, then Nārāyaṇa is also Parambrahman or Sadāśiva. The brahmāṇḍa5Brahmāṇḍa: Brahma, the dimurge God evolved from the navel of Nārāyaṇa and ‘ Anda’ literally means the ‘egg. Thus Brahmanda refers to the hiraṇyagarbha (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).  (cosmic egg) evolves from the unmanifest. The brahmāṇḍa contains all the worlds including this earth with its seven islands6Śaṅkara is referring to the Geo-centric view (used in Vedic Astrology) of the earth with the earth at the foci and the revolutions of the seven bodies (Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) causing seven Islands of concentric ellipses around it. This order of the planets from Moon to Saturn, when reckoned in the reverse, is the order of the horā’s of the day (i.e. Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon). This also forms the basis for the reckoning of the weekday order as the 25th Hora gives the ruling planet of next day..
This prayer of Ādi Saṅkara has been taken from a smriti and gives the ultimate objective of every birth in this world at least. Thus, Śrī Rāmānujācarya has given the best mantra that will guide us to this penultimate goal7(Viṣṇu Aṣṭākṣarī), the eight letter mantra: om namo nārāyaṇāya as “om namo nārāyaṇaya”.

Bhā-ChakraTrimūrtiŚaktīD-Chart

Bhā-Chakra

The zodiac, called the bha-chakra symbolises the body of Nārāyaṇa in it physical aspect, as viewed from the earth at the centre. The bhā chakra is divided into twelve signs starting from Aries and is called the 12-petal lotus of Brahma. Since the microcosm (nara) is the same as the macrocosm (Nārāyaṇa), the bhā-chakra also represents the individual (animate/inanimate object). Thus everything that we perceive at least, is represented by the zodiac. This twelve petal lotus grows from the navel of Nārāyaṇa, and these points at 0° Aries, 0° Leo and 00 Sagittarius represent the Navel (also called Viṣṇu nābhi & Brahma nābhi at two different levels of time quantification) and symbolize the end/beginning. Thus, these points are called gaṇḍānta and the two nakṣatra pada adjoining each navel are called gaṇḍānta 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°00′ Cancer around the point 00   Leo &  (c) 0°0′ to 3°20’ Sagittarius and 26°40′ to 30°0′ Scorpio around the point 0°Sagittarius. With this emerged the concept of perfect harmony or trines (and the angle of 120°). Thus, the zodiac was divided into three types of signs as  movable, fixed and dual.

Four-fold division

narayana01

The whole body of Nārāyaṇa is divided into four parts called Brahma, Viṣṇu, Śiva and Vāsudeva. 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, Nārāyaṇa with Śrī Śaktī is called Viṣṇu and is of pure sattva guṇa; Nārāyaṇa with Bhū Śaktī is called Brahma and is of rajas guṇa; while Nārāyaṇa with Kāli Śaktī was called Śiva and is of Tamas guṇa. These three parts are full of nectar and are imperceptible. The fourth part of Nārāyaṇa is called Vāsudeva. This part is both perceptible (with three Śaktī i.e. Śrī-Śaktī, Bhū-Śaktī & Kāli (Nīla)-Śaktī and three guṇa’s intermingling) and imperceptible (with two Śaktī: Śrī-Śaktī & Bhū-Śaktī). As Vāsudeva, Nārāyaṇa sustains or maintains the Brahmāṇḍa. Thus, the zodiac when used for all material purposes would represent Vāsudeva8Hence, Vasudeva (or Krishna) shows the path for the individual soul to merge into Nārāyaṇa. The mantra for this Mokṣa / Nirvana / Emancipation has been provided in the Madhusudana Stotra. It is called Śrī Vishnu dvādasākṣarī – om namo bhagavate vāsudevāya and the signs would represent the three guṇa. All signs have all the three guṇa and only one dominates. Thus movable signs have a predominance of rajas guṇa, fixed signs of tamas guṇa and dual signs of sattva guṇa. Because of the predominant guṇa, the primary deities of the movable, fixed and dual signs were Brahma, Śiva and Viṣṇu respectively. However, at a later date, to differentiate these deities from the pure parts of Nārāyaṇa, the latter were also called Mahā-Viṣṇu, Param-Brahma and Sadāśiva respectively.

Trimūrti (The three chief deities)

trimurtiIn Vedic Astrology, the perceptible part of Śrī Vāsudeva and the three deities Viṣṇu, Brahma and Śiva becomes very relevant, by providing the perception for guidance of the individual soul. The daśā system for timing events / guiding individuals and using the three types of signs is called Nārāyaṇa daśā and its three types9Refer: Chapter titled “Order of Nārāyaṇa Dasa” of daśā are specifically meant for movable, fixed or dual sign in the ascendant for the three deities Brahma, Śiva or Viṣṇu respectively (See Fig). Hence, the Nārāyaṇa daśā gives the impact of the environment on the native while the Vimśottari daśā shows the native’s   reaction or experience in life. Without the Nārāyaṇa daśā, we really cannot say the direction in which the forces of nature are going to lead the native. The Vimśottari daśā, being an Udu daśā gives the state of mind / personal preparedness to deal with these directions.

Śaktī

Śaktī literally means strength or power and specifically indicates the strength to achieve purpose. The purpose of Viṣṇu is to preserve the individual and Śrī Śaktī is his power to do the same. The strength of the lord of the second house will represent the strength of Śrī Śaktī and from the second lord Viṣṇu (or Hari Yoga) is ascertained. Thus, the second house deals with food / eating which is necessary for survival or sustenance as well as resources, wealth for sustenance of everything. The lord of Lagna represents Bhū Śaktī and if strong with planets in quadrants, gives Brahma Yoga. Bhū Śaktī in one aspect is Sāvitrī whereby she provides the means for good health and long life and in the form of Sarasvatī she provides the power of knowledge, speech and intelligence. Similarly the lord of the seventh house represents Kāli Śaktī and Hara Yoga is formed that involves the seventh lord.  Hence the saying “Brahma gives longevity (Ayus), Viṣṇu gives wealth (Dhana) Śiva gives marriage etc (Kalyāṇa)”. The Vimśottari daśā 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 Śrī Śaktī or sattva guṇa is examined from Su-daśā (also simply called rāśi daśā by Parāśara) as it gives the level of prosperity while the variations in bhū Śaktī (Sāvitrī) is examined from Śūla daśā or any other Ayur daśā.

Divisional Charts

The rāśi (D1 chart), drekkāṇa (D3 chart), navāṁśa (D9 chart) and ṣaṣṭiāṁśa (D60 chart) are the most important divisional charts. Parāśara explains that the Drekkāṇa are ruled by Deva-ṛṣi Nārada, Maharṣi Agastya and Brahmarṣi Dūrvāsa for dual / fixed / movable drekkāṇa respectively. Similarly Movable, Fixed and Dual navāṁśa are presided over by Brahma, Śiva and Viṣṇu respectively. Now for example if a planet is placed in Pisces in both Rāśi and navāṁśa, it is stated to be vargottama (i.e. having acquired the best division of the sign) and connects the sattva guṇa of the sign to Śrī Viṣṇu the presiding deity of the navāṁśa. The daśā system when we examine guru yoga, mantra, dīkṣa, renunciation etc is called dṛg daśā.
Figure 2: Three-fold division
narayana
Hence, for a comprehensive examination of a chart the rāśi daśā’s, such as Nārāyaṇa daśā, su-daśā, śūla daśā and dṛg daśā and the nakṣatra daśā such as Vimśottari daśā should be examined. In this book, we are dealing with the Nārāyaṇa Daśā, and this preface aims to give the spiritual background behind its conception. In addition to explaining the procedure to calculate the Nārāyaṇa Daśā, its comprehensive usage has also been shown.

References   [ + ]

1. Provided in the Bhagavad Gītā with the commentary of Adi Śaṅkara.
2. OM is the cosmic syllable representing God
3. Nārāyaṇa is composed of two words ‘ nara’ meaning ‘ any body ‘ and ‘ āyana ‘ meaning ‘ goal ‘. Thus the composite word Nārāyaṇa 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, Nārāyaṇa also means this universal soul or supreme personality of God.
4. The unmanifest is referred to as ‘maya’ or illusion, and in the Bhagavad Gita is called the Akṣara’ (syllable), immutable Brahma. Thus, if Nārāyaṇa is said to be even above this sound syllable which is the source of all creation, then Nārāyaṇa is also Parambrahman or Sadāśiva
5. Brahmāṇḍa: Brahma, the dimurge God evolved from the navel of Nārāyaṇa and ‘ Anda’ literally means the ‘egg. Thus Brahmanda refers to the hiraṇyagarbha (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. Śaṅkara is referring to the Geo-centric view (used in Vedic Astrology) of the earth with the earth at the foci and the revolutions of the seven bodies (Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) causing seven Islands of concentric ellipses around it. This order of the planets from Moon to Saturn, when reckoned in the reverse, is the order of the horā’s of the day (i.e. Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon). This also forms the basis for the reckoning of the weekday order as the 25th Hora gives the ruling planet of next day.
7. (Viṣṇu Aṣṭākṣarī), the eight letter mantra: om namo nārāyaṇāya
8. Hence, Vasudeva (or Krishna) shows the path for the individual soul to merge into Nārāyaṇa. The mantra for this Mokṣa / Nirvana / Emancipation has been provided in the Madhusudana Stotra. It is called Śrī Vishnu dvādasākṣarī – om namo bhagavate vāsudevāya
9. Refer: Chapter titled “Order of Nārāyaṇa Dasa”
This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Nārāyaṇa Daśā

The Sun Signs – Zodiac

Dvādasa Āditya[1]– The twelve Sun Signs: For one reason or the other, whether it be the conquest of the Normans or the birth of Christ, the starting date of the year has been varying as calendars come and go. In the scheme of Vedic astrology, the solar calendar consists of twelve houses of 30 degrees each covering the total span of 360 degrees. These are called the twelve Sun Signs (dvādasa āditya). These signs are fixed (unlike that used in the western astrology) although the names and other significations, nature etc are similar to that used in Western Astrology.

Table 1: The Characteristics of the Signs

Sign Triplicity  Quadruplicity Sex Ruler
No Name Mobility Guṇa
1 Aries Fire Movable Rajas Male Mars
2 Taurus Earth Fixed Tamas Female Venus
3 Gemini Air Dual Sattva Male Mercury
4 Cancer Water Movable Rajas Female Moon
5 Leo Fire Fixed Tamas Male Sun
6 Virgo Earth Dual Sattva Female Mercury
7 Libra Air Movable Rajas Male Venus
8 Scorpio Water Fixed Tamas Female Mars & Ketu[2]
9 Sagittarius Fire Dual Sattva Male Jupiter
10 Capricorn Earth Movable Rajas Female Saturn
11 Aquarius Air Fixed Tamas Male Saturn & Rāhu[3]
12 Pisces Water Dual Sattva Female Jupiter

Sign Characteristics

The signs of the zodiac are classified in various ways. The important ones are listed below:

(a)   Sex: The sign is either positive “masculine”, or negative “feminine”. The odd numbered signs (as reckoned from Aries) are the Male or Odd signs while the even numbered signs are Female or Even signs.

(b)   Ruling Element: Each sign belong to one of the triplicity of Fire, Air, Earth and Water (Refer tattva below). “Triplicity” means triplicate or three of a kind and there are three signs of each of the four types of elemental forms. The seers called these the Fire triplicity (Aries, Leo and Sagittarius), because there are three zodiac signs for each element. We will stick to this terminology instead of using the more refined term ‘energy’. Since these signs are similar, this triplicity, trine or trikoṇa (jyotiṣa terminology) represents harmony or similarity of nature/ interest. These signs are 120° apart.

(c)   Mobility: Each sign is either cardinal (movable or Chara), fixed (sthira) or mutable (dual or dvisvabhāva). Thus, every fourth sign reckoned from Aries is movable, every fourth reckoned from Taurus is fixed and every fourth reckoned from Gemini is Dual in nature. This similarity of every fourth is called the quadruplicity of the sign. The movable signs have excessive energy and are capable of easy movement showing the predominance of rajas guṇa. The fixed signs have low energy and have an inability to move thereby showing a predominance of Tamas guṇa. The Dual signs are a balance between the excessive mobility of the movable signs and the immobility of the fixed signs thereby showing a predominance of sattva guṇa. Guṇa is the inner attribute of the sign and this inner nature of the sign manifests externally in different ways and mobility being one of them.

Ayanāṁśa[4]

This difference in the tropical and sidereal zodiac of the western astrologer and Vedic astrologer is because Vedic Astrology takes into account the astronomical fact of the precession of the solar system around another point called a “nābhi” or Navel whereby the system processes (like going back) at the rate of about 50.18 seconds per year[5] (others take an average varying from 50″ to 54″ per year based on the time of 26,000 years or 24,000 years for the precession to complete one circle of 360 degrees). This precession results in a mathematical correction called Ayanāṁśa. Viscount Cheiro writes[6] “We must not forget that it was the Hindus who discovered what is known as the precession of the Equinoxes, and in their calculation such an occurrence takes place every 25,827 years. Our modern science, after labors of hundreds of years has simply proved them to be correct.”

Saṅkrānti

The dates assigned to the signs of the zodiac are based on the solar ingress (i.e. entry of the Sun) of the signs. Depending on the value of Ayanāṁśa used, this date can vary by a few days and different “astrologers” assign slightly different dates based on their belief on the date of conjunction of zero point of the precession and Aries (called beginning of Kali Yuga) and the rate of the precession. The Government set up a committee called the Calendar reforms committee to correct the anomaly between the beliefs of different Vedic calendars. The result was what is popularly called the Rashtriya Pañcāṅga (national calendar) and the Lahiri ayanāṁśa. The date at which the Sun enters a sign is called the Saṅkrānti. Thus, we have 12 Saṅkrānti based on the date of the Sun’s entry into each of the 12 signs from Aries to Pisces. Good Vedic Astrologers will date events from the days calculated from Saṅkrānti and also the Tithi. The Vedic Sun signs have a profound influence on the desires of the soul, which is the real individual and if charts are matched based on the Sun signs in addition to the Moon, and then real compatibility can be ascertained. Thus, in a way, people having the same Sun signs as can be called “soul mates”.

Tithi

Tithi is the Vedic date of the Lunar calendar and is a measure of the distance between the Sun and the Moon starting from Pratipada when they conjoin at Pūrnima when they oppose at 180 degrees. There are 15 Tithi in the Śukla Pakṣa (Waxing Phase) and 15 Tithi in the waning phase (Kṛṣṇa pakṣa) (Refer Table-1). Each Tithi is an angle of 12 degrees. This angle is mathematically represented as:
Angle = Longitude of Moon – Longitude of the Sun
and, Tithi = Angle / 120
Table 2: Tithi or the Vedic date (All angles in degrees)

Pakṣa Tithi Angle Tithi Angle Tithi Angle
Śukla Pakṣa Pratipad-1  0 -12 Dwiteeya-2 12-24 Truteeya-3 24-36
Chaturhi-4 36-48 Panchami-5 48-60 Shasti-6 60-72
Saptami-7 72-84 Astami-8 84-96 Navami-9 96-108
Daśāmi-10 108-120 Ekadasi-11 120-132 Dwadasi-12 132-144
Trayodasi-13 144-156 Chaturdasi-14 156-168 Purnima-15 168-180
Kṛṣṇa Pakṣa Pratipad-1 180-192 Dwiteeya-2 192-204 Truteeya-3 204-216
Chaturhi-4 216-228 Panchami-5 228-240 Shasti-6 240-252
Saptami-7 252-264 Astami-8 264-276 Navami-9 276-288
Daśāmi-10 288-300 Ekadasi-11 300-312 Dwadasi-12 312-324
Trayodasi-13 324-336 Chaturdasi-14 336-348 Amavasya-0 348-360

 


[1] āditya is the name of the Sun God as born from Aditi [the mother of the Gods or Deva (Deva is derived from Diva, meaning the giver of light or enlightenment)]. There are 12 Āditya or Sun Gods for each of the 12 months of Solar transit through the 12 signs. To find your Sun God/Āditya, refer to Vedic Remedies in Astrology by Sanjay Rath.

[2] Ketu, the descending node is the co-lord of Scorpio

[3] Rahu, the ascending node is the co-lord of Aquarius

[4] Ayanāṁśa: this is the precession of the solar system and is to be added or subtracted from the zero point of Aries in the western chart to arrive at the Vedic Horoscope. For example, the solar ingress into Aries resulting in the start of the Aries Month in western astrology is March 21. However, the Ayanāṁśa at present (2000 AD) is about 23 degrees and adding 23 days to March 21 we get April 14 as the date for Solar ingress into Aries in the Vedic Calendar.

[5] Based on the traditional period of 25,827 years to cover 360 Degrees of the zodiac.

[6] Cheiro Book of numbers, Page 19.

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