All inanimate as well as the animate being the world are signified by the planets and hence the work karaka is associated with them. Karaka means the doer of certain activities. This means that the karakas represent the influence of various things animate or inanimate, in our life. Based on the inhenrent gunas, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas the karakas are classified in three categories namly the Naisargik karaka which is predominant in Rajas Guna, the Chara Karaka which is predominant in the Sattva guna and the the Sthira Karaka which is predominant in the Tamas guna. The utility of these karakas can be understood from the standpoint of their gunas. The sthirakarakas are governed by by Shiva and there are 7 such karakas. They represent the death of various animate things surrounding us (Rahu and Ketu, who are the shadowy planets without body cannot die and hence is excluded from the scheme of the 7 sthira karakas). The charakaraka is governed by vishnu and are 8 such karakas. They show the influence of various atmas / souls in our life and thus means our sustainence in this material world in the form of a social life (having inter relationships with various souls in this world) and spiritual growth. The remaining category is the Naisargik karaka governed by Brahma and there are 9 such karakas. They represent the creation process and hence all perceptible and imperceptible creation of the world are governed by them.
We know that when we talk of a horoscope we are talking of Narayana (Maha Vishnu) who is the creator and preserver of the brahmanda. While the rasis represent different parts of the Lord and the grahas represent the deities who signify a particular aspect and event in the life of a creature. The rasis are fixed and represent the environment, while the grahas are in motion which represent people who come and influence us.
THE CHARAKARAKAS (8 planets)
The graha that obtains the highest longitude in the chart is the Atmakaraka. It is the significator of the soul (atma). It is the king of the chart. Being the significator of the soul, the 12th house of liberation is seen from the Atmakaraka in the Navamsa to find out the Ista devata of the native who would guide the soul towards liberation from the bondage of life and death.
The graha obtaining the second highest longitude is called Amatyakaraka. It signifies the mind. Its role is that of a Minister who guides the king. It is the Amatyakaraka who guides the destiny of the person towards attainment of the desires of the atma. Being the protector of the soul, the palanadevata (the deity who sustains oneself in this world) is seen from the 6th from the Amatyakaraka in the Navamsa.
The graha obtaining the third highest longitude is called the Bhratrikaraka - the significator of brothers and co-born who actually are expected to stand by the individual in times of dire need. It is also known as the Gurukaraka, as next to the Amatya it is only the Guru (preceptor) who can guide the atma towards its desired goal and God. The guru and their influence on our life and its purpose can be seen from the Bhratrikarka in the Rasi and the Navamsa chart. In the Navamsa chart, they show the promise, how the guru would influence the life of the native, while in the rasi chart, it would show how the promise is fulfilled.
The graha obtaining the fourth highest longitude is called the Matrikaraka - the significator of mother. Among the four karakas of prime importance, Matrikaraka is one (and the first in ascending order to the Atmakaraka) as mother is the person who has brings the atma into existence in the world. It is she who has the first right over the child and guides the child at all stages to do the right thing to attain glory and God. The influence of mother on the life of the native need to be studied from this Charakaraka.
The graha obtaining the fifth highest longitude is called the Pitrikaraka - the significator of father. Father is the one who is the cause for the birth of the person, being the one who has carried the soul of the native and transmitted to the womb of mother. Hence he comes next in hierarchy to the mother. The influence of father on the life of the native need to be studied from this Charakaraka.
The graha obtaining the sixth highest longitude is known as the Putrakaraka and it is the significator of children. Children bear the future of the person. A son is the one who is to perform the last rites of the person. Hence he gains the sixth place of importance in the relationship of the person. The influence of father on the life of the native need to be studied from this Charakaraka.The influence of children on the life of the native need to be studied from this Charakaraka.
The graha obtaining the 7th highest longitude is known as the Gnyatikaraka - the significator of relatives. The relatives of the person are the ones who are expected to be near the person in times of happiness and distress. Hence, they gain the seventh place of importance in the relationship of the person. The influence of kith and kins on the life of the native need to be studied from this Charakaraka.
The graha obtaining the eighth highest longitude is called Darakaraka - the significator of wife. The spouse is the 'Ardhangini' (equal partner) of the person. Thus, the spouse is no different from the person as whatever is to happen with the person is to be shared jointly by both. As importance to the self is always last, the spouse (Dara) is placed last at the 8th place. The influence of spouse and companion on the life of the native need to be studied from this Charakaraka.
The Atmakaraka has a very vital role to play in the horoscope of a person. It actually shows the objectives, ideals and goals of the soul for which it has born on earth. No graha in the horoscope can actually give benefic or malefic results beyond what the Atmakaraka could signify. Any deviation in life from the desired path or objective of the atma renders it disillusioned. As it actually performs no role in the active life of the person except to watch (as a Judge) the direction of growth of the person, it finally deserts the body in the form of death at a time when it can no longer sustain the misdeeds of the person. It simply leaves the physical body and an Atma whose primary desire is not fulfilled has actually lived a wasted life.
Our atma is a jeevatma. The ultimate objective of the atma is to mingle with the parmatmamsa, which is God. To attain this, the activity of the person whose physical form the atma has obtained, should perform sattwik acts so as to cleanse the soul off its impurities and lead it to God. Sattwik guna alone is the sustainer of the atma and it leads it to the lord.
As the atmakaraka has an objective with which it is born, it has certain abilities of its own towards that direction. What are the desires of the atma? What are its abilities? Whether it has the power to fulfil its objective or utilize its abilities? Whether the abilities and the powers of the atma would be utilized in the right direction or not? Whether the birth of the atma would attain its purpose or not? All these factors are to be seen from the Navamsa (the 9th division – D9 – chart of the person), which, thus, becomes a very vital part of vedic astrology divination.
The Navamsa sign occupied by the atmakaraka is called the Karakamsa, while the ascendant or Lagna sign of the Navamsa is called the Lagnamsa and, both these together are called the Swamsa (Swa meaning self and amsa meaning division). If the Karakamsa and Lagnamsa become the same or have any connection between them, then it becomes the Swamsa, in which case, the objective and the abilities of the atmakaraka are attained. The gati in that direction may be slow or obstructed due to various other factors. Regular prayer to the Ishta Devta (to be determined from the 12 house from the placement of Karakamsa) and the Lord of Bhratrikarak (also called the Gurukarak) helps attain the gati for the atma to move speedily in the desired direction.
While the Karakamsa itself will help see the desire of the atma, the Trines from the Karakamsa will show the actual desire of the atma. The Trines from the Karakamsa, therefore, become very vital signs to determine the native’s spiritualism. Any graha located in the 1st, 5th and 9th (Trines) bhavas from the Karakamsa, thus, become automatically good for the spiritualism of the person and also to provide gati for his atma (known as Atmagati).
Thus, the role of Brihaspati (who represents God) becomes very vital in the Navamsa division of the person, as Brihaspati is the naisargika karaka for the 9th house (Dharma) significations. It is Brihaspati as the sustainer of the jeevatma and Surya as the provider of jeeva (life) who predominate the person’s Dharma bhava. This is one of the very important and significant reasons why the 9th house in the Rasi chart is associated with Jupiter and Sun as the natural significators of the person’s Dharma bhava.
THE STHIRA KARAKS (7 planets)
Stronger among Sun and Venus- Father
Stronger among Moon and Mars- Moon
Mars- Younger sister, younger brother brother-in-law, sister-in-law
Mercury- Maternal uncles, aunts and all maternal relatives
Jupiter- paternal grand parents, Husband (for female chart), children
Venus- Wife, maternal grandparents, father & mother-in-law, maternal grand parents
Saturn- Elder brother & Elder sister
THE BHAVA KARAKAS (Controller of Bhava)
Though the primary bhavakarakas are given below, each bhava has many secondary karakas. Both the primary and secondary karakas are important for protecting the signification of a bhava. Any bhava whose karaka is well placed in kendra/ trine from the bhava in good dignity or is aspecting the bhava or is placed with the lord of the bhava try to fulfil the promise of the bhava.
4th- Moon; Mercury
6th- Mars; Saturn
9th- Sun; Jupiter
10th- Sun; Mercury; Jupiter; Saturn
NAISARGIKA KARAKAS (9 planets)
From Uttara Kalamrta and other texts...
Since the world is so much full of variety of various living and non living things each of which is symbolised by a planet, the list of the karaka can never be comprehensive and it requires experience to know the karaka of each and everything around us. However, the list of karakas given by various classics can help us in building up the insights while understanding the possible planetary lordship of a particular thingl.
The natural karaka cover everything around us may it be tastes, our emotions, the plant or animals, different metals, clothes, substances, elements and everything which is either perceptable or non perceptable to our senses.
The Soul; Power; Intense Severity (fierce); Fortress; Good Strength; Heat; Splendour; Fire; Worship Of Siva; Courage; Thorned Trees; Being In Royal Favour; Bitterness; Old Age; Cattle; Wickedness; Land; Father; Taste; Self-Realization; Skyward Look; One Born of a Timid Woman; World Of Mortals (Mrtyu Loka); Square shape; Bone (skeletal system); Valour; Grass; The Belly; Strenuous Effort; Forest; Half A Year (uttarayana / dakshinayana); Eye (right); Wandering Over The Mountains (wanderer); Quadruped (also the birds); King; Travelling; Dealing; Bite; Scorch; Circular Shape (??); Eye Disease; Body (vitality in the body); Timber (wood); Mental Purity; Lordship Of The Whole Country (sovereign); Freedom Form Disease; Lord Of Saurashtra State; Ornaments; Disease In The Head; Precious stones (gems); Lord Of Sky; Short Like A Dwarf; Lord Of The Eastern Direction; Copper; Blood; Kingdom; Red Cloth; Stone; Public Life; River Bank; Coral (??); Ruby; Strong At Mid-Day (Noon); Eastern Direction; Mouth; Long Standing Anger; Capture Of The Enemy; Sattvik (Pure); Red Chandan Or Saffron; Hostility; Thick Cord
Mind; Imagination; Flower; Good Perfume (incence); Going to a Fortress; Brahmin by caste; Idleness; Phlegmatic (kapha) Humour; Epilepsy (diseases of mind, if afflicted); Enlargement of the Spleen (spleed creates bile which help in fat metabolism); Mental Disposition (state of mind); Heart (feelings); Woman (motherly); Virtue Or Vice (attributes of mind); Saltish taste/ Sleep (peace); Happiness; Anything like Water (any fluid); Bell-Metal; Silver (metal); Sugarcane; Typhoid (infection of intestine); Travel/ Going To Far Off Countries; Well; Pond; Tank (any water body); Mother (relations); Pearls; Consumption (infection of lungs/ TB); Whiteness (colour); Waistband; Short Stature; Ability; Winter Season; White Colour; Belly; Worshipping Goddess Gauri; Joking; Nourishment; Wheat; Pleasure; Splendour; Face; Sharp in Thought (in good association such as Jupiter); Love for Curd; Mendicant (sanyasa yoga); Fame (popularity among masses); Learned; Beauty; Strength at Night; Facing Westward; Learned; Getting A Job; Love For West; The Middle World; Nine Gems (navaratna); Middle Age; Life; Eating (food); Ailment of the Shoulders; Umbrella or any Other Royal Insignia; Good Fruits; Blood Purity and Vitality; Fish and Other Water Creatures; Serpent; Brilliant Things (sparkling); Clean Crystal; Soft And Velvety Clothes; Silk Garments
Prowess; Land (any immovable property); Strength; Kingship; Loss Of Virility; Thief; Battle; Hostility; Enemy; Generosity; Deep red colour; Owning A Garden; Sound Of A Trumpet; Affection; Quadruped; Fool; Anger; Going to a Foreign Country; Firmness; Supporter; Fire; Controversy; Bile; Heat; Wound; Commander in chief; Day; Seeing; Shortness; Disease; Fame; Tin; Sword; Lance Or Spear; Minister; Fracture Of A Limb; Jewel; Praying To God Subrahmanya; Youth; Pungent; Dubar Hall; Earthen Pots; Obstacles; Flesh eater; Calumniating Others; Victory Over Enemy; Bitter; Strong At The End Of The Night; Gold; Summer Season; Valour; Enemy's Strength; Profundity Of Character; Male; Axe; Forester; Village Headman; State Inspection; Pain while Passing Urine; Triangle; Goldsmith; Rogue; Burnt Place; Good Dinner; Leanness; Adept In Archery; Blood (red blood cells); Copper; A Beautiful Cloth; Facing South; Desire; Anger; Scandal; House; Sataghni, A Weapon; A Tree; Sama Veda; Brother; Spade Or Hatchet; Looking After The Wild Animals; Independence; Persistency; Judge; Serpent; World; Speech; Fickle Mindedness; Mounting A Vehicle; Sight Of Blood; Coagulation Of Blood
Formal education (schooling); Horses; Treasury; Mathematics; Speech/ Courteous Speech; Infantry; Writing; New Garment, Palatial Building; Green Colour; Sculpture; Astrology; Pilgrimage To Holy Places; Wise Lectures; Temple; Trading; Best Ornaments; Vedanta Philosophy; Maternal Grandfather; Bad Dreams; Eunuch; Facing North; Skin; Wet; Bell metal; Renunciation; Ritu (Season); A Beautiful House; Doctor; Neck; Recitation Of Mantras/ Sattvik Mantras; Childhood; Crooked Look; Heaven; Modesty; Paternal Relation; Fear; Dancing; Devotion; Humorous Temperament; Powerful In The Morning; Hemanta Ritu; Stone To Sharpen Knives; Tranquillity; Navel; Family Prosperity; Mixed Items; Proficient In Telugu Language; Worship Of Lord Vishnu; Sudra; Bird; After Born; Depth Of A Language; The Directions; Atharva Veda; Religious Action; Tower; Dust; Garden; Pudendum Virile; Even; Benefic; Moving In Villages; Impartial Nature; Fond Of Northwest Quarter; Well Versed In The Legends Of The Past; Specialist In Grammar; Expert In Testing Of The Precious Stones; A Scholar; Maternal Uncle; Sacred Prayer; An Amulet
Brahmin; Guru; One's Duty; Chariot; Cow; Infantry; Savings; Meemamsa philosophy; Treasure; Horse; Honey; Large Body; Valour; Reputation; Logic; Astrology; Children; Grandson; Dropsy; Philosophy; Grand father; Great grand-father; Palatial House; Gems; Eldest Brother; Lord Indra; Automn Season; Wrath of Priest; Jewel; Merchant; Physical Health; A Beautiful Mansion; Royal Honour; Thighs; God (divine blessings); Penance; Charity; Religious Duty; Helping Others; Impartiality; Facing North; Circular; Yellow Colour; Moving In Villages; Close Friend; Swinging; Orator; Fat; Old Garment; A New House; Happiness; Mantras; Twice Born (Brahmins- Dvija); Holy Water; Knee; Movement In Heaven; A House Granting All Comforts; Intellect; Proficiency In Learning; Literature; Tower; Charming an Audience; Throne; Strong at All Times; a month; Vessels; Yellow Sapphire; Sweet Juice; Being Good; Happiness; Misery; Length; Gentleness; Reading Other's Mind; Ornamentation; Ether; Phlegm; Topaz; Vedic Text; Brilliancy; Softness; Worship Of Lord Shiva; Performing One's Religious Duties; Travelling In A Well-Decorated Carriage
White Umbrella; Garment; Marriage; Income; A Biped (Human); Woman; Brahmin; Auspiciousness; Whiteness; Wife; Sexual Happiness; Short; Sour; Flower; Command; Fame; Youthful Vigour; Vehicle; Silver; South-East; Ogling; Scratching; Half A Month; The Quality Of Passion; Strong; Pearl; Yajur Veda; Vaisya; Beauty; Trading; Love-Making; Watery Resort; Elephant; Horse; Variegated Colour; Poetry; Dancing; Middle Age; Singing; Enjoyment; Happiness From The Wife; Gems; Fond Of Humour; Swimmer; Servant; Luck; Variegated Lustre; A Handsome Youth; Kingdom; Scents; Garland; Veena (a string instrument); Flute; Amusement; Lovely Gait; Eight Kinds Of Wealth; All Sorts Of Pleasures; Well Formed Limbs; Sparing In Meals; Spring Season; Ornaments; Eye; Truth Speaking; Proficiency In Art; Semen; Water Sports; Profundity Of Character; Pre-Eminence; Sharp-Witted; Decoration for The Stage; Fond Of Amorous Sports; Broken Health; Love, Greatly Respected And Highly Esteemed; Fondness For White Garments; Bharat Natyama (a form of dance in India); Government Seal; Worshipping Goddess Parvati and Lakshmi; Gentleness; Much Emaciated; Day Sitting Mothers; Literary Composition, Adept at Writing Poetry; Black Hair; Auspicious; Genital Organs; Urine; Afternoon; Diamond
Laziness, Obstruction; Horse; Elephant; Skin (nerves, tendons and ligaments); Gain; Witness; Distress; Sickness; Misunderstanding; Misery; Death; Happiness Through A Woman; Maid Servant; Asses And Mules; Outcast; One With Disfigured Limbs; Haunting Woods; Handsome Look; Gift; A Lord; A Portion Of Life; Eunuch; One Born Of The Lowest Caste; Birds; A Servile Duty; Unrighteous Conduct; One Without Manliness; Telling Lies; Long Lasting; Wind; Old Age; Tendons And Muscles; Strong At The End Of The Day; Sisira Ritu (Winter); Great Anger; Exertion; Born Of A Very Low Mother; Bastard; Golaka (abode of lord Krsna); Dirty Clothes And House; Wicked Mind; Friendship With The Wicket; Black Colour; Evil; Cruelty; Ashes; Black Grains; Gems; Iron; Nobility; A Year; Sudra; One Representing The Father; Learning The Trade Of Another Class; Crippled; Sharp; A Blanket; Facing West; Life Saving Drugs; Downward Look; Agriculture; Life Saving Drugs; Arsenal; A Student Belonging To Another Caste; External Position; North-Eastern; Serpent World; Downfall; Lost in Battle; Wandering; A Spear; Lead; Misdirected Strength; A Turk; Worn Out; Oil; The Tamas Guna; Travelling Through Forests and Over Mountains; Hard-Heartedness; Fear; Long Standing Distress; Hunter; Ugly Hair; Entire Sovereignty; Alarm; Goats And The Like; Buffalos And The Like; Indulging In Sex Pleasure; Dressing Oneself For Amorous Appeals; Worshipping God Yama; Dog; Theft And; Cruel-Hearted
Umbrella; Kingdom; Gathering; Fallacious Argument; Hurting By Speech; Downcast; Wicked Woman; An Irreligious Man; Decorated Vehicle; Gambling; Strong At Twilight; Intriguing With A Wicked Woman; Going Abroad; Impurity; Bone; Enlargement Of Spleen; Falsehood; Downward Look; Perplexity; Emerald; Facing The Southern Quarter; Shelter Of Outcast Or Low People; Painful Swelling; A Big Forest; Wandering In Rugged Places; Mountain; Pain; Staying Outside; Tending Towards Southwest; Wind; Phlegm; Sorrow; Serpent; Night Breeze; Sharp; Long; Reptile; Reading Of Dreams; Travel; A Muhurata; Old Age; A Vehicle; World Of Serpents; Mother; Father Or Maternal Grandfather; Air; An Acute Or Sharp Pain; Catarrh; Breathing; Great Prowess; Forest; Worshipper Of Goddess Durga; Wickedness; Cohabitation With Quadrupeds; Urdu Script; Harsh Words
Worship Of God Chandeeka, God Ganesha And Many Other Gods; Doctor; Dog; Cock; Vulture; Salvation; All Kinds Of Wealth; Consumption; Pain; Fever; Bathing In The Holy Ganges; Great Penance; Wind; A Hunter; Friendship; Conferring Of Prosperity; Stone; Wound; Witchcraft; Inconstancy; Knowledge Of Brahma; Belly; Eye Sore; Stupidity; Thorn; Deer; Knowledge; Observing Silence As A Fast; Philosophy; All Sorts Of Luxuries; Luck; Trouble Form Enemies; Loss Of Appetite; Indifference To The World; Paternal Grandfather; Hunger; Severe Stomach ache; Boils And The Like Skin Troubles; Revolving The Orders Of Arrest; Association Of Sudra.