This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Atmakaraka

The Astrological Soul

The Astrological Soul. A study of Eastern Astrology and Philosophy.

  • All religions start from a simple thought – of the nature of life after death. Where do the dear ones go after life?
  • And after generations of deep thinking they arrived at an intricate concept of ātman (the individual soul).
  • This atman is bound by ropes called karma that force it to rebirth and process the karma. In doing so it learns how to untie the ropes and unlock the knots.
  • Let us take a look at the Vedic Astrology concept of ātman as brought out by ātmakāraka and charakā


These ātman or the soul’s the eight directions – they are bound by ropes of karma. Karma is nothing but ropes, they bind you. You are forced. How many of us have the courage to walk around without clothes? Can we walk around over here without clothes? No, we cannot do that. What causes us to have this feeling of shame? We feel ashamed, is it not? Is it good to feel ashamed or is it bad to feel ashamed? Little kids can run around without clothes, is it not? Look at their innocence. What have we lost, that they have? Innocence, the innocence of Venus. Venus is the most innocent of them. So, this is what we call dāra. Can we get that innocence back? Is there a method by which I can get that back? Some people try it and therefore they are naturists. But we laugh at them, some of us laugh at them. I am not judgmental. I try to understand, and I talk to them to understand what exactly they are trying, why are they running around the beach without clothes. When they tell me that they are trying to go back to nature, I said: ‘well, that is a good idea’. They are trying to lose that concept of the apple and Adam. It is interesting, how different souls are looking at God. Their view of reaching God is to get back the innocence, is it not? That is one way. So let us see from a chart. Can I, by looking at a chart, see what impulse a person spiritually? What are these eight directions of karmas that bind us, that are pulling us? We need to study that a little more.

What is the Ātman?

So, what is the ātman? Here is a nice Sanskrit shloka from a book called the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. It is a very complicated phrase:

that which is the witness of vision cannot be seen
that which is the hearer of hearing cannot be heard
that which is the thinker of thought cannot be thought of
that which is the knower of knowledge cannot be known
that is your
ātman (that is your real self) and that is within all;
everything else but this is perishable.

So, what are we talking about as the ātman? The concept of the ātman is that it is not perishable, it is imperishable. From there comes the concept of bhasma[3]. You know, you take a piece of wood and you burn it. Finally, what is left? Some dust is left, right? That dust is that, which stays after everything is destroyed; it represents the ātman of the wood. So did you understand the concept? We are looking for that which will stay after you are ‘dust to dust’. You know that famous phrase, the Christians say? ‘Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.’ After you become dust to dust and ashes to ashes, that, which will remain is called the ātman and that is nothing but a spark of light, tiny little spark.

But to that spark is added a mind. I am using the word ‘mind’ very loosely over here. We call it the manas. The ātman and the manas are different, there are two separate entities. The mind is not the same as the soul, the mind is different from the soul; it is like a software put in a computer. The soul is the energy, it is the life force, it is that which is alive, that which causes the body to become alive. But the mind is what is being used for accessing all that is around. Without the mind the soul cannot see. The ātman is like the person sitting in the back of a cab, he has no control over the cab. He is sitting in the cab; this journey is a journey of life. He is sitting in the cab, he is requesting the cab driver to take him to this place, that place, that place, that place. The cab driver is the mind. Wherever the mind wants to go, it will go. You barely have any control over the mind. The whole thing about meditation, prayer is all about different means to try to control the mind by enforcing certain discipline on it. Even fasting is trying to push the mind to obey the will of man. So, basically, what are we doing? We are having different kinds of spiritual discipline only to affect the mind. But does it affect your soul? That is the question. How can we say that if I fast it is good for my soul? So, these are questions that we need to put in any spiritual practice. Is it really good for the soul or is it just for the mind? It is good to have a disciplined mind, but these are questions, we need to answer subsequently.

That which is most auspicious (śiva) and true (satya) is this ātman. This soul is called śiva, ‘most auspicious’, because that is your real self and that is the only truth for that is imperishable. Everything else will perish.


  • The simplest definition of ātma is ‘self’ and the self can be defined from various angles when considered a part with other elements.
  • Ātmanā is an instrument of the ātma in compound and is normally expressed with ordinals.[4]
  • Ātma-dvitīya: means ‘being one’s self the second’ and implies being together with someone else.
    • Refers to hṛdaya padma (heart lotus) where ātma sits in the close proximity to iṣṭa (paramātma).
    • Ātma yoga is union of jīvātma and paramātma
    • Anāhata is ‘chest lotus’ with 12 petals opening downwards like canopy for the paramātman
    • Hṛdaya padma is the heart lotus to its left fully enclosed the anāhata canopy.

ANĀHATA.  Twelve outer petals that define the months and the years – it is the zodiac of the jyotiṣa. Eight inner petals having the eight karmic variables in the eight saṅsāra directions. One inner pedestal for the Iṣṭa Paramātman.


So how is it, how is this soul? The word ātma, the simplest definition of ātma is ‘self’ and the self can be defined from various angles when considered a part with other elements. There are multiple ways of defining the self: the mind is the self, it is your mind. This is your body, so the body is the self. But all this self is perishable. The self which is not perishable is the soul.

Ātmanā is an instrument of the ātma in the compound form. We need to compound the soul with something else for our study and experimentation. I cannot study the soul independently; I take the soul and I take the mind and I put it together. What do I get? I get a spirit. When you die, your spirit leaves your body. It is not just the soul going away, your mind is also associated with that soul. Because the mind is associated with the soul, the soul remembers: who he is, what his name was.

For example, when somebody is dead, have you ever done planchette? Do you know what is a planchette? Planchette is a means of communicating with the dead. When you do planchette you start communicating with the dead. And then you can ask them their names, you can ask them other things and you can have communication with that. What happens here is you realize, that the mind is there with the soul; the soul has a mind. The Swami knows his name, he remembers his past. If you die, will you immediately forget what happened to you, who you were? What do you think? You will remember, right? Do not you think that when you go to bury somebody, that person’s spirit is out there somewhere, seeing all the family over there? Sometimes family members can even feel the spirit.

So, at some stage the soul, the ātman and the mind have to be separated. And then this ātman, according to the Hindu philosophy, this ātman then goes through a process of finding another mind and is put inside another body. That is how the reincarnation is happening. This separation of the mind from the soul is the grace of God, otherwise you could be loitering around like a ghost in the Planet, sent to different Lokas, to Narkas, various kinds of hells. There are twenty-eight hells defined in the Hindu systems. I do not know in Christianity – how many do you have? One?

– Mainly. But it has nine levels.

In Hindu philosophy we do not have hell itself, but we have down worlds. There are seven Patalas, which are down worlds. But we have hellish worlds called Narkas, 28 of them.

At the time of death, in the death chart, if Mars is in the 7th house, the person is surely going to hell. That is Vedic astrology. Because the cops are there to take you. Mars is the cop. The cops are sitting there. 7th house is the house of going, right? So, if Mars is there, the cops are there to take you. You are going to hell. And depending upon the 28 constellations, – whichever constellation Mars was in, – that is where you are going. I did a whole workshop on this in Śivānanda ashram in California. They were quite shocked to see the results, so we tried to find out where did Adolf Hitler go, we found it. These are very-very interesting concepts of where you will go after death, and the advantage of seeing this is we get to know, that, okay, there is a life after death and in this life after death I need to understand my soul and to see what I can do about it now, so that I do not have to see a bad life after death.

The point here is, you see, these are very interesting things we learn, and then we try it out. For example, a terrorist was hanged in India and I checked, what time did he die. I requested to get the date and time. Wow. I mean, they did not check with any astrologer of when to hang him. Bull’s eye. Shocking, you know, whenever you see one chart, two charts, ten charts – it is working.

– These days we have machines to keep person in coma alive, so death’s time depends on when someone turn off this machine.

Recently there was this thing on the paper. Somebody who was in coma for 27 years, came back. Next year we should talk on this. You have got a very good point, next year we should be talking on death and when will death come and how will it come. I remember those beautiful words, you know, that French freedom fighter, he never shot a bullet: ‘Death will come, and it will have your eyes’. How many committed suicides, right? So strange, very-very strange about death. We spent years trying to study it. That is in Jaimini. Years we spent.

But this is more interesting, let us talk about living. He has got a point; we will take that up. Without death where did the question of the soul come? Otherwise, how are we bothered about the soul? We would have nice life, why would we bother about the soul? Because what will happen after death? We have seen – parents died; we have seen – grandparents died, so naturally there is a feeling, Śmaśāna vairāgya[5]. It is only at the place of death, that we feel that sorrow and be question – what is the meaning of life? Śmaśāna is the place of death. They said that time we question, otherwise we are just laughing and enjoying life. Death is very important. There would be no religion in this world without death. All religions have started from the question of death. So, we will take that, but let us come back.

hṛd chakra (here left hand shows) and anāhata chakra (right hand shows)

Hdaya padma, or the hd padma, is the ‘heart lotus’, that I was talking about, and that is slightly to the left. It is slightly smaller, it is on the heart chakra, right on the heart. This chakra, right over here upside down, is called the anāhata chakra, the chest chakra. Translators make the mistake of calling the chest chakra as the heart chakra. It is an error in the translation, heart chakra is called hd. Hd means ‘heart’. Anāhata is that which cannot be destroyed, that which cannot be attacked, you cannot defeat him. That is the anāhata, the undefeated one. He sits right here, in the anāhata and we call him Viṣṇu. He is sarva vyāpaka. He is all over the place. He is the One connecting everybody to everything. He is Viṣṇu, He is right here [in the center]. This is the Paramātma, the small tiny little spark of God is somewhere out here. Whereas you are here [on the left], you are different from God. From that – concept of duality. See, now, immediately we have started talking of duality over here. Did you see that?

And then we talk of what is Śiva, knowledge. He is here, right on the head. What is yoga? Yoga is the soul, traveling every day to the guru [Śiva] and coming back. That is all there is to knowledge – you go up, go over here, talk to your guru and come back.

So, this soul – is it going to go there, up? Or is it just going to keep loitering or maybe even go down? The soul goes down, you know that, right? Why does the soul go down? Because he needs to have babies, he has got karmas to have babies. So, he needs to go down; he goes down to Brahma, and Brahma says: ‘Okay, now you need to go to produce some babies for me.’ He goes further down, there is Kāmadeva over there, near the genitals. And the Kāmadeva tells him: ‘Okay, I will find a beautiful spouse for you.’ And that is how he produces baby. So, all that thing is going down.

This soul, when it is going up, is going towards learning, jñana, knowledge, and therefore that is going to get moksha. But to know those directions, we need to know whether the soul is going to seek those directions, or it is not bothered about it. In the evening, do you want to attend Sanjay Rath’s lecture at TS or are you dying to go to the pub out there? What makes you come here and not go there? That is what we need to know. By looking at a chart can I see, what is impelling this. Will it happen or not? That is the soul.

Hṛd padma is the heart lotus to its left fully enclosed by that anāhata canopy. So, this little heart lotus is like this and it is fully enclosed. Look at that image over there, that is the picture of the anāhata, the chest. Do you see the planets around it? There are eight petals over here, as you can see.

  • We have the Sun in the Eastern direction,
  • you have Venus in the South-East,
  • Mars in the South,
  • you have the Nodes over here, in the South-West. Basically, they are called the dragon’s head.
  • Then we have Saturn in the West,
  • the Moon in the North-West,
  • Mercury in the North
  • and Jupiter in the North-East.

It is very interesting, that these eight planets (not really planets – seven planets and one node) have these eight directions. They rule these directions, so people who are having knowledge of Astrology, know that these directions are lorded by these planets. But these directions are not only physical directions, they are also directions of the soul. We need to know as to how these directions are affecting my soul, because these directions are coming from the chest. My soul is here, [in hṛd]. So, when my soul comes towards the chest, it is going to affect me.

For example, you know about the 12 signs of the Zodiac, right? How did you get 12 signs? Why are there not 13 signs in the Zodiac, or 11 signs? Because mathematically we have derived that the Sun and the Moon come together once in every 30 days, so we take 30 days, divide by it the whole circle of 360 and that is how we get 12 signs, is it not? Mathematical derivation of 12 signs. But where else are the 12 petals? These 12 petals are actually in this chest chakra. You see the outward 12 petals, they are in the chest chakra, and these 12 petals are the 12 signs.

So, right out here [in the chest chakra] I have some kind of flower, which is pointing downwards. There are twelve petals and these 12 petals are 12 sings, it is like a canopy. And these signs, the entire Astrology is actually taking place right at this level. The 12 outer petals are defining the months and the years, so the entire time keeping is happening at this level. The 8 inner petals have the 8 karmic variables in the 8 saṅsāras. Saṅsāras means worldly directions. One inner pedestal for the Iṣṭa Paramātman. This center point is your God point. The god has all the directions, you do not have. And that is what we call the pillar of light. There is a pillar of light. See, for the soul this looks like a big pillar.

Series Navigation<< Eastern Cosmology – Soul or Atman


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