Saturday, January 26, 2008

Nakshatra Devatas I

1. Ashvini
Mythologically the nakshatra is ruled by the Ashvini Kumaras, the divine physicians named Dashra and Nasatya. Being divine physicians they are adept in healing, medicine, counseling and all other allied disciplines.

It so happened that aṅjñā had to penance for many years to gain enough spiritual strength (Tapobal) before she got married with someone like
Sūrya who is full of spiritual brilliance. However with time her spiritual energy withered away. To gain her spiritual energies again she left her shadow (Chaya) with Sun and went to a hermitage to do tapasya (penance). Sūrya had many other kids from Chaya (may be discussed later), when he realized the truth he rushed to find his real wife and found that she is doing her tapasya in the form of a Mare.

Ashvini Kumaras (two kumaras) are born from their union while she was in a hermitage doing penance in the form of mere. Hence the name Ashvini which means, born from a female horse. This makes them adept in horse riding, in many kinds of sports and any activities which require a lot of energy. Being taken birth from
Sūrya, the divine time keeper and protector of righteousness, they are by nature righteous, spiritual and philosophical. The names of the Ashvini Kumaras, Dashra and Nastya imply bringing help and truthfulness respectively and hence the natives of this nakshatra are philanthropic and truthful.

Being born from Sūrya, who is full of brilliance and effulgence, Ashvini Kumaras are also full of such brilliance and energy. Given their age as kumaras (teenagers), they have high propensity to jump into activities without much thought, which makes than hyperactive. Many times, it displays their qualities of initiative, however, at many times it results in failures due to jumping into something without prior evaluation of pros and cons of their action. They are ambitious and has a strong drive to create something on their own such a new thought, attitude, ideology or mundane things like business, enterprise etc. Horse are characterized by nervousness, fidget and always prepared to run and so does the Ashvinis.

2. Bharani
Mythologically Bharani is ruled by the god of death Yama. Even though Yama is known by most as the god of death, the true meaning of Yama can be understood from Patanjali's yoga sutras which talks of the eight limbs of yoga (astanga yoga) and yama being the first of them, followed by niyama and so on.

Maharishi Patanjali talks of five forms of restraints (abstinences) which are Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (
non-covetousness), Bharmacharya (celibacy), Aparigraha (non-acceptance of gifts). It is said that Yama is the first person to fulfill the requirements of these 5 forms of abstinences and hence his name is Yama. If we understand the true nature of death, we realize that it is nothing but a phase of transformation of old and worn out state to a new state and also mean consolidation of old experiences and forging ahead of to pass through subsequent phase of new experiences.

The meaning bearing out from these mythologies is that, this nakshatra is the nakshatra of restraint. On one side, this nakshatra represent anything and everything to do with death, on the other, it represents the energy of self restraint from materialistic indulgence and penance. In fact at the time of pregnancy, the mother of the child need to have a good amount of restraint to avoid indulging in anything, this can otherwise be detrimental to the life inside her. In the similar sense, in the developmental stage of any activity, over indulgence in anything else can be a death blow to the activity, since it may cause loss of focus.

The symbol of this nakshatra is Yoni or the female sexual organ, which is the symbol of new birth. Thus this nakshatra symbolizes the pain and caution the mother goes through before the birth of the child. This nakshatra also represents revolution or breaking away from old and worn out practices since new life or concept originate after the old one has been dissolved. The energy and drive of Ashwini gives a new dosage of life to create something new, whereas the Bharani’s energy see through the upheaval and change that rise to a new practice, idea or concept. Thus the natives of this nakshatra can be quite revolutionary in their ideals and do not tolerate things which are carried down from the past but do not serve the purpose. Since a change in the established practices is a painful process, the natives need to pass through painful phases in life, when they are hell-bent in changing them. Usually such natives have a very strong character and they can withstand turbulences and turmoil in life with poise and equanimity and eventually grow stronger with each of their experiences. Each such experiences in their life are transformational and they are ever eager to take more such transformational journeys in life. Due to their propensity to withstand negative experience with poise, they are always still on their face, in spite of having a raging volcano or tsunami inside.

Thus the natives ruled by this nakshatra are transformational and revolutionary in their thinking and tend to break away from old and worn out practices to create something new. It conveys ideas pertaining to discipline, self-control, faith, firmness, enduring support, sustenance, nourishment, etc. However, under strong malefic influences, natives of this nakshatra may develop extreme tendencies, as that of criminals and terrorists.

3. Kṛttikā
Mythologically Agni (fiery element) is the ruler of this nakshatra and thus shows the tremendous potential lie within the purview of this nakshatra. Fire is the creator of all beings be it living or non living, tangible or intangible as it represents the energy required for the creation process. They like to take on big projects and are highly ambitious and self-motivated. Due to the burning fire, which is every eager to destroy darkness and ignorance within, these native are ever eager to learn newer things. They are logical, skeptical, creative, enthusiastic, enterprising and skillful in engineering however their fortune is unsteady like the flames of fire.

Due to its fiery nature it is related to command, power, luster, glow, brilliance, and the creative force. However, Kṛttikā being a female nakshatra, it dwells in passivity and requires, stimulus from outside to let loose its creative potencies. The symbol of a razor, which cuts and fire as deity which burns, it indicate wars, trials and tribulations in the life of native, where the native acts as the commander, trying to control or win over the situations. This nakshatra is often known as the seat of power and one in which Chandra (Moon - mind) was born.

Agni is the god for sacrifice, which means it has the ability to burn up the negativities and purify things, a state which is attained after the fire sacrifices. The thing which is sacrificed here is the ego and the negative side of self. Due to its nature of burning up of follies, it has the power to give a new lease of life and guide the native to take corrective actions. Thus it has the capability to initiate changes in life, which helps in undoing mistakes and follies of past.

Due to the fiery nature of the nakshatra, natives of this nakshatra have a cutting wit that can sometimes be sarcastic and critical. They are stubborn, aggressive and can be short-tempered. Due to their fiery and independent nature they are likely to have strained relations with relatives, friends and spouse. They are well-versed academically, fond of opposite sex, bright in appearance, misers, of worried nature and achieve widespread fame. Their speech is usually harsh and do not show sense of gratitude to their well wishers, which eventually take them away from others and make them lone.

Due to strong fire within they have strong appetite and their thirst is difficult to be quenched. Hence, these persons are gluttons, fond of spicy foods. Mythology also states that Krittika is the foster mother of Kartikeya (Skanda), the commander in chief and son of Shiva. Thus this nakshatra also indicate foster motherhood among other things.

4. Rohini
Rohini Nakshatra is mythologically ruled by Prajapati, the progenitor, a form of Brahma which cause creation. Thus this nakshatra represent the creative energies of the universe and is also called a fertile nakshatra.

In mythology, Progenitor Daksha Prajapati wed his 27 daughters to Chandra (Moon), however, infatuated by the beauty of Rohini, Chandra tried spending more time with her ignoring other daughters. This infuriated Prajapati who cursed Chandra that his brilliance will wither away with time. This is why Moon's brilliance changes with time, while in Shulka Paksha, it increases, in Krishna Paksha it withers away.

Due to the predominance of fertile energies in the nakshatra, it is full of passion and sexual energies, which cause creation. As the mythology suggests natives of this nakshatra have attractive physique and seductive eyes. Psychologically they are quite attached to their consort and also suffer due to their intense desires to enjoy each and every moment of companionship. On the negative side, it can show obsession towards people of opposite sex.

Moon gets exalted in this nakshatra suggesting the exhilarating condition of mind which is it attains when it achieves all their desires. Thus native are always in search for fulfillment of such desires which can make them exhilarated. Since they thrive in abundance, deprivation of anything can bring quite a bit suffering to these natives. Such natives are enjoyer of beauty and have a great taste for finer details in life, which makes them connoisseurs. They are extremely materialistic and get upset with others who do not measure up to their standard of taste and finesse.

As the myth suggests, natives of this nakshatra can be over sexed and use sex as a means to fulfill their desires and achieve their objectives. They feel comfortable in company of opposite sex and are always eager to befriend them. They have higher chances of having multiple sex partners at a time. On the positive side, they can make good artist/ fashion designer as their mind is fertile for imagination and creativity. Thus creative professions are good for channelizing their creative energies.

Rohini is the birth Nakshatra of Lord Krishna who is predominated by Klim beeja (kama beeja), which attracts everyone and everything. His Ras Leelas are one of the manifestation of this nakshatra.

5. Mṛgaśirā
This nakshatra is lorder by Soma a form of Chandra which is full of live giving force. It is mentioned in the shastras that the devas (the followers of Surya or brightness, knowledge and wisdom) are exhilarated by drinking somaras (the soma juice). Although some commentators interpreted the meaning of this as the juice of a creeper (Sarcostema Viminalis or Aclepias Acida), if once delve deeper in the myths, it would be clear that it is term given to symbolic life force which fills one with life and vitality; something which is cool and soothing and can be equated with Moonlight.

Myth related to the nakshatras narrate the story of Daksha Prajapati marrying his 27 daughters, the nakshatras to Soma, this symbolizes the romantic nature of this form of chandra who is looking for some form of companionship. There is yet another myth which says that once Soma got infatuated by the beauty of Tara, Brhaspati's wife, seduced her and eloped with her. From the union of Soma and Tara, Budha (representing intellect) was born. This caused tremendous uproar which made the gods intervene and return Tara to Brhaspati, however by that time Tara was Pregnant and subsequently delivered Budha. As the myth goes, even though Brhaspati was aware of Budha's illegitimate birth, he got carried away by his charming face and agreed to accept him as his son. From Jyotish point of view, this can be interrelated as involvement of sexual seduction, birth of illegitimate child and reunion of family after a mishap. Natives of this nakshatra are pleasure seeking, the way Soma sought after Tara's company and they are on a look out for some kind of sensational relationships.

Being full of creative juices of Soma, this nakshatra also represent creativity of various forms such as Art, Dance, Music etc. They love traveling, the way Soma travels through the Nakshatras once in a month. Being governed by Soma, who waxes and wanes with time, the natives of this nakshatras also experience vacillation of their mind. They seek pleasures and comfort in life and they find it difficult to rest their mind on something. They are eternal seekers like the symbol "Deer's head (Kasturi Mriga - Moschus Moschiferus)" always keep searching for the kasturi (Musk) although it is hidden within him. The thirst of deer is also known as Mriga-Trishna which indicate search of water (prosperity) in a desert (difficult circumstances). Thus the natives of this nakshatra are always thirsty and prosperity in this world of struggles. This can also mean that such natives are the true seekers of knowledge (water) in this world of maya (desert) and it is difficult to quench their thirst as it is psychological rather than physical. Thus under positive influences, the natives of this nakshatra takes up studies of scriptures and dive deep into the hidden mysteries of nature.

Soma is also related to the fire sacrifices which means burning the negative side of self to attain knowledge and truth, which makes the natives of this nakshatra interested in priestly and religious activities. The involvement of symbol of deer also indicate activities related to forests and hunting as well.

It is noteworthy that Shiva's consort Uma is born in this nashaktra, One who is full of motherly love and compassion.

ॐ तत् सत्

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Praśna IV: Use of prasna arudha

There are many methods of prognosticating the nature of the query and the future from the Prasna Chart. I am narrating here one of the methods from the our tradition. This method involves use of a number between 1 to 108 to find the nature of the query, hidden aspects of the query and the answer too.

There are two ways of using this method which are as follows:

Method 1:
Divide the number by 9 and find the rasi and navamsa from the quotient and remainder respectively. Add 1 to the quotient to get the rasi in the following order, 1- Aries to 12- Pisces. In this case, 13 would be treated as Aries again (for number 108). Similarly the navamsa gained in the sign can be seen from the remainder. In this case if the remainder is 0, then it is taken as 9 (the last navamsa) and for such cases the quotient will not be added with 1.

For example, lets see what should be the rasi and navamsa for number 45. In this case quotient will be 5 and remainder 0. Thus the rasi would be Leo (quotient 5 and the Navamsa would be the last navamsa of Leo which is Sagittarius.

This principle is based on Navamsa since there are 108 navamsas in the zodiac, each number will correspond to a particular rasi and navamsa. Thus the duration of each number can be equated with 3d 20', which is the duration of 1 navamsa or a nakshatra pada.

Method 2:
Step 1. Find the Number Planet:
When the number is divided by 12, the quotient added with 1 will show the number planet. Since the number can vary from 1 to 108, the quotient can vary from 0 to 9. Here 0 and 9 signify the Sun (since 0+1 = 1 and 9 + 1 = 10, which is same as 1), 1 signifies the Moon ( 1 + 1). Thus in similar fashion, the number planet can found from the quotient in the week day order which is Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu.

In our example of 45, number planet will be quotient 3 + 1 = 4 i.e, Mercury.

Step 2: Find the placement of the number planet:
When the number is divided by 9, the remainder when added with 1 will show the rasi where the number planet is supposed to be placed. Since the number is divided by 9, the remainder can vary between 0 to 8, showing that the rasi would be one of Aries to Sagittarius. Place the number planet in this sign.

In our example of 45, the sign where the number planet Mercury to be placed is Aries (0 remainder after division by 9).

Step 3: Find the number rasi and navamsa as given in method 1.
In our example number rasi is Leo and number navamsa is Sagittarius.

Step 4: Find the prasna arudha.
Bring the number navamsa to the rasi chart and count it from the number planet. Find the planet in the prasna chart and count as many houses from it to arrive at the prasna arudha.

In our example we have placed Mercury in Aries. Counting from Aries to Sagittarius (number navamsa) we arrive at 9 signs. Now we find Mercury in the prasna chart, which is in Sagittarius. Counting 9 signs from Sagittarius, we arrive at Leo. Thus Leo becomes the prasna arudha.

Principles of Use:
I am giving here the explanation on the use of the 2nd method using a real life prasna. Due to confidentiality, details of the prasna (who asked etc.) are witheld. This prasna was regarding theft of money.

To allow the reader to cast the prasna chart, the details are given below.
Date     : December 29, 2007
Time : 11:26:51 am
Time Zone: 8:00:00 (East of GMT)
Place : 103 E 51' 00", 1 N 17' 00"
Singapore City, Singapore
Prasna Number = 45.

1. The root cause: The Arudha Lagna (AL) in the prasna chart becomes very important. It shows the root of the problem. Since the arudha lagna cannot fall in 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 &12 houses, the root cannot be in these houses. Thus the root of a problem can only be traced to 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th and 11th houses.

The exact problem / query can be seen from the lord of the Arudha Lagna (AL). It happens many times that the query asked is different from the root cause troubling the native. Thus even though a query can be of any thing, it can be traced to a root in the mentioned houses(3 to 5 and 9 to 11th).
In an illustration which I will give below, the native asked about a theft. The Arudha Lagna is placed in the 10th house while its lord Mars is placed in the 5th house and co-lord Ketu is in the 7th house with 6th lord Moon and the Karaka Saturn. Showing theft of money and also some 7th house problems. The theft was most likely done by servants as shown by the lord of the arudha lagna. The placement of Arudha Lagna in the 10th shows root cause of the problem is with authority and Venusine matters. In addition, Venus is the 9th lord showing her inability in explaining the situation to her father.

2. Queriest Mind: What's there in the mind of the querist can be seen from the Prasna Rasi, which our illustration is in Leo, in the 7th house from the Lagna with afflicted Moon, showing concerns of the native and inappropriate advances by male servants towards the native.

3. Hidden Answers: The hidden answers can be seen from the Prasna Arudha, which in our case also comes to the 7th house, Leo, which shows the the 6th lord coming to the 7th house with karaka Saturn and Ketu. This shows that problem of inappropriate advances from the servants towards the native. There could be serious trouble due to involvement of Ketu as well. The native was asked to fire the servant immediately.


Praśna III: Lost Horoscopy

The basic requirement for Astrology is to have a Horoscope and the details required for casting a horoscope are the Date of Birth, Time of Birth and the place of birth. However, many times it so happen that the native who comes to an astrologer does not have a horoscope and he even does not know his birth date or time. In such cases, it is necessary to cast a horoscope for the native before venturing into the details of query. Although most queries can be answered using Praśna alone, it is nevertheless to draw the horoscope for overall analysis of the horoscope. Since it is difficult to cast a lost horoscope it is not very popular among the modern days astrologers.

There are many scholars who have written on this subject. However, without the effort of Mukunda Daivagna who beautifully compiled all such views of the scholars and given his comments, these could have been lost as well with time like many other ancient classics on Jyotish Shastra. Among all the prevalent views of the scholars, in this article, I will be focusing on that given by Varahamihira and Kalyanavarma in their immortal classics Brhat Jataka and Saravali.

Lost horoscopy is an art of pinpointing the time of birth and the technique given by the scholars is quite systematic to pin down the exact moment of birth by zeroing in the order of Birth Year, Birth Ayana, Birth Seasons, Birth Month, Birth Tithi (lunar day) and birth Lagna (the moment of birth). In this article also we shall follow the same order of finding out the smaller measure of time moving from larger measures.

Birth Year:
Since Jupiter moves approximately 1 sign in a year, if we are able to fix the position of Jupiter, we would be able to ascertain the year of birth, keeping in mind the approximate age of the native. Here is how it is done.

According to the teachings of my Tradition, find the number of Dvadasamsa traversed by prasna lagna. In the derived Natal Horoscope, Jupiter will be placed in as many signs from Aries. For instance at the time of query, the lagna has traversed 10 Dvadamsas in the sign where it is placed, then in the natal horoscope, the native's Jupiter should be placed in 10th from Aries, which is Capricorn. The sign of Jupiter could be +/- 1 sign of the the arrived sign.

Another method which is given by Varahamihira is see the Drekkana rising the time of query. Jupiter will be placed in Prasna Lagna if 1 drekkana is rising, 5th sign from the Prasna Lagna 2nd drekkana is rising or 9th sign from the Prasna Lagna if 3rd drekkana is rising at the moment of query.

Birth Ayana:
An ayana is the 6 monthly course of Sun from either Cancer to Capricorn which is known as Dakshinayana or Capicorn to Cancer which is known as Uttarayana.

Both Varahamihira and Kalyanavarma are of the opinion that if 1st Hora of a sign is rising, then the birth is in Uttarayana and if the 2nd hora is rising, the birth is in Dakshinayana.

Birth Season:
The whole zodiac is divided into 6 seasons with each season spanning over two signs. The names of the seasons are Grishma (Summer), Varsha (Rainy), Sarad (Autumn), Hemanta (Mild-winter), Sishira (Winter), Vasanta (Spring). The seasons are related to signs in the following manner:

Summer : Taurus ; Gemini
Rainy : Cancer ; Leo
Autumn : Virgo ; Libra
Mild winter: Scorpio ; Sagittarius
Winter : Capricorn; Aquarius
Spring : Pisces ; Aries

The ruler of the seasons are:

Summer (Grishma) : Sun & Mars
Rainy (Varsha) : Moon
Autumn (Sarad) : Mercury
Mild winter (Hemanta) : Jupiter
Winter (Sishir) : Saturn
Spring (Vasanta) : Venus

To find the season at birth, then check if there are any planets placed in the Prasna Lagna. If yes, then season will the one governed by that planet However, if there are no planets in the prasna lagna, the drekkana lagna lord will govern over the season at birth. If there are more than one planets in the rasi lagna, the stronger among them will have its say on the seasons. Check the stana bala of the planet as per the shadbala scheme to know the relative strength of the planets.

If there are mutual contradictions between the Ritu and the Ayana, then the planets can be exchanged as per following pairs:
Moon    <--> Venus
Mercury <--> Mars
Jupiter <--> Saturn

For example, say the birth is in Uttarayana (Capricorn to Cancer) and the season is ruled by Mercury i.e., Virgo & Libra. Since Virgo and Libra belong to Dakshinayana, the seasons of Mercury needs to be replaced by that of Mars, ruling Taurus; Gemini.

Birth Month:
The season of birth is shown by the drekkana rising, the month of the birth can be seen from half of the drekkana. If the prasna lagna rises in the first half of the drekkana (0 - 5deg) then birth happens in the 1st month of the identified season else if 2nd half (5 - 10deg) of the drekkana rises, birth happens in the 2nd month.

Birth day (Solar day):
The position of Sun can be ascertained from the amount traversed by the prasna lagna in the half drekkana which signify the season at birth.

For instance if Lagna's position in the prasna is 17deg, this means 2nd half of 2nd drekkana is rising. Thus the native will be born in the 2nd month of a season. Since Sun has traversed 2deg in the 2nd half (15 - 20deg), the Sun's longitude at birth would be (2/5)*30 i.e., 12deg in the sign.

Birth Tithi (Lunar day):
There are 30 tithis in a month starting from Krishna Pratipad (1st day of wanning phase) to Purnima (full moon).

The tithi at birth can be ascertained from Sun's degree in the prasna chart. If Sun's degree is 0 to 1deg, the native is born on the 1st tithi which is Krishna Pratipad. Similarly if Sun is at 20deg, the native is born at Shukla Panchami (5th day in the waxing phase).

Birth in day or night:

The next step to ascertain the birth time is to find out whether the native is born in the day time (Sunrise to Sunset) or night time (Sunset to Sunrise). This will help in reducing the number of possible lagnas to 6 out of 12 lagnas. The Night signs are Aries to Cancer (ruled by Moon), Sagittarius and Capricorn (reflection of Moon) whereas the Day signs are Leo to Scorpio (ruled by Sun), Aquarius and Pisces (reflection of Sun).

If day sign rises in the prasna chart, then the birth happened in night and vice versa.

Birth Lagna:
Tradition teaches that the birth lagna will be trine or the 7th from the Prasna Navamsa Lagna.

Date : January 23, 2008
Time : 3:45:05 pm
Time Zone: 8:00:00 (East of GMT)
Place : 103 E 51' 00", 1 N 17' 00"
Singapore City, Singapore

Ayanamsa: 23-58-19.26
Sidereal Time: 22:48:37

Body Longitude Nakshatra Pada Rasi Navamsa
Lagna 20 Ta 04' 03.86" Rohi 4 Ta Cn
Sun - PK 8 Cp 42' 19.08" USha 4 Cp Pi
Moon - BK 18 Cn 28' 28.59" Asre 1 Cn Sg
Mars (R) - DK 0 Ge 28' 53.04" Mrig 3 Ge Li
Mercury - AK 27 Cp 16' 54.63" Dhan 2 Cp Vi
Jupiter - MK 14 Sg 04' 29.21" PSha 1 Sg Le
Venus - GK 4 Sg 47' 29.98" Mool 2 Sg Ta
Saturn (R) - PiK 13 Le 31' 39.50" PPha 1 Le Le
Rahu - AmK 5 Aq 11' 19.83" Dhan 4 Aq Sc

1. Year of birth: Lagna in the prasna chart is in 9th Dvadasamsa hence Jupiter should be in Sagittarius at birth. Currently Jupiter is also in Sagittarius which indicate that the person's current age would be 60 years.

The position of Jupiter could be in one of the signs of Sagittarius, Scorpio or Capricorn.

2. Ayana of birth: Lagna is in 2nd hora, which indicate that the birth happened in Dakshinayana, when Sun was in signs from Cancer to Capricorn.

3. Season of birth: There are no planets in the prasna lagna so that drekkana lagna lord should decide the season. Drekkana rising is Capricorn ruled by Saturn who rules over Sishira, the signs Capricorn and Aquarius. However since the signs fall in uttarayana, the season should be replaced with Jupiter's season, Hemanta, the signs Scorpio and Sagittarius.

4. Month of birth: Since lagna is in the 1st half of 2nd drekkana, the birth should have happened in the 1st month of the season i.e., when Sun transited through Scorpio somewhere between 15Nov - 15dec.

5. Day of birth: By applying the proportion of Sun traveled through the half drekkana we find that Sun should be in 0deg 24min Scorpio.

6. Tithi at birth: Sun is in the 9th degree, which indicate that the Tithi at birth was Krishna Navami. Which means that Moon was separated from the Sun by around 108deg. Adding this to the longitude of Sun, we arrive at 210deg 24min + 108deg = 318deg 24min = 10s 18d 24m. Thus Moon at birth should be in Aquarius between 6deg and 18deg.

7. Day or night birth: Since the prasna lagna is in night sign, the birth should have happened during the day time.

8. Lagna at birth: The Prasna navamsa lagna is Cancer, which means that the birth could have happened in Cancer or other watery signs such as Scorpio or Pisces or 7th from it, which is Capricorn.

This horoscope belongs to my Mother, whose birth date and time had some ambiguity. Based on my casting of her horoscope, here is what we can see.

She was born when Jupiter was in Capricorn, Sun in Sagittarius and Moon in Pisces in Uttarabhadrapada Nakshatra. One must note that at the Kunda in the prasna is in Saturn's Nakshatra which is same as the native who is born in Uttara bhadrapada nakshatra. At birth Sun was in Sagittarius (instead of Scorpio as we found) and Moon was in Pisces (instead of Aquarius) as we found and she was born in Krishna Ashtami (instead of Krishna Navami that we found) and Sagittarius Lagna (instead of Scorpio Lagna)

This shows that we are almost near (behind by 1 sign), but may be god didnot want to reveal the actual horoscope since the horoscope of the person is actually known. For those who are interested in knowing all the planetary details, I am giving them here.

Body                Longitude        Nakshatra Pada Rasi Navamsa
Lagna 5 Sg 01' 18.26" Mool 2 Sg Ta
Sun - MK 11 Sg 45' 52.76" Mool 4 Sg Cn
Moon - PK 8 Pi 52' 36.38" UBha 2 Pi Vi
Mars - GK 7 Vi 09' 17.01" UPha 4 Vi Pi
Mercury - DK 0 Cp 06' 44.66" USha 2 Cp Cp
Jupiter - BK 12 Cp 14' 28.49" Srav 1 Cp Ar
Venus - AmK 21 Cp 40' 33.92" Srav 4 Cp Cn
Saturn - AK 26 Le 16' 26.38" PPha 4 Le Sc
Rahu - PiK 19 Pi 13' 08.89" Reva 1 Pi Sg
Ketu 19 Vi 13' 08.89" Hast 3 Vi Ge

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Praśna II: Use of Trisphuta in praśna

As the name suggests, tri-sphuta is a sum of three longitudes; the longitudes of the Lagna, Moon and the Gulika. The involvement of three participants in the formula suggest that this has something to do with health and longevity. Lagna and Moon are the keeper of health and Gulika is the destroyer of health. When we combine the longitudes of these three bodies we arrive at a potent point which can indicate about the health at the time of Prasna. Thus if a prasna is about health and diseases, then it is of utmost importance to get this potent point and use it to know about the past, present and future condition of the native under consideration.

Prasna Marga deals quite extensively on the Trisphuta. While computing this point, there is no ambiguity with the longitudes of Lagna and the Moon, however there can be some ambiguity with the longitudes of Gulika. There are some difference in opinions on the longitude of the Gulika among the scholars and hence we should know what should be the definition of Gulika to be used in this computation. If the day duration (dinamana) or the night duration (ratrimana) is divided into 8 portions (yama-ardha) of "approximately" 1.5 hrs each, then each portion will be lorded with the 7 planets in the order of weekday starting from the weekday lord for the day portion and from the 5th planet from the weekday lord for the night portion. Since there are 8 parts, the part after Saturn is lordless and is supposed to be lorded by Gulika (BPHS). Various upagrahas (also called the son of the grahas) rise the middle portion of the planetary periods (the yamardha lords) as per Kalidasa's Uttarakalamrita, while Gulika rise at the onset of Gulika's portion. Hence the beginning of Gulika's portion is also known as Gulikodaya kala, which means rising time of the Gulika. You can refer to my following article for details.

Thus many say that it rises at the end of Saturn's portion while others say it as beginning of Gulika's portion and both are essentially same.

Here are some principles of using Trisphuta as per what my Gurudev taught:

1. The zodiac in the rasi chart has to be divided into three parts whereby the first part (Aries, Taurus, Gemini & Cancer) represent creation, the second part (Leo, Virgo, Libra & Scorpio) represent sustenance and the last part (Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces) represent destruction. We can call them as rasi creative, sustenance and destruction zones.

2. Similarly coming to a smaller scale each sign starting from Aries represent Creation, Sustenance and Destruction in that order. Thus all movable signs represent creation, fixed signs represent sustenance and dual signs represent destruction.

3. Coming to even smaller scale, each nakshatra starting from Ashvini represent Creation, Sustenance and Destruction in that order. Thus Ashvini represents creation, Bharani represents sustenance, Krittika represent destruction and so on.

Since the nakshatras can be fully mapped to the Navamsa, we can map the nakshatra mapping to Navamsa as well. We know that Ashwini's four padas cover Aries to Cancer and similarly Bharani's four padas cover Leo to Scorpio and Krittika's four padas cover Sagittarius to Pisces and so on. Thus we can see that Navamsa can also be divided into 3 parts whereby 1st part from Aries to Cancer represent Creation, the 2nd part from Leo to Scorpio represent Sustenance and 3rd part represent Destruction. We can call them as navamsa creative, sustenance and destruction zones.

4. Coming to the minutest level, each pada of the nakshatra represent Creation, Sustenance and Destruction as well. Thus 1st pada of Ashwini represents Creation, 2nd pada represents sustenance and 3rd pada represents destruction and so on.

Since even this also can be mapped to Navamsa, we can see that similar to classification of Signs in the Rasi Chart, similar classification in the Navamsa can be linked to the nakshatra padas. Thus nakshatra padas falling in Aries Navamsa will represent Creation, those falling in Taurus Navamsa will represent Sustenance and so on.

In analysing the Trisphuta in the matters of Health following things should be noted:
1. The rasi-zones indicate the immediate past of the native. If the Trisphuta falls in the creation zone, the native has been healthy and full of vitality, if the Trisphuta falls in the sustenance zone, the native has been having stable health and if the Trisphuta falls in the destruction zone, the native has been suffering.

2. The rasi-signs indicate the present state of affairs. If the Trisphuta falls in movable sign the native is currently healthy or recovering (if in past he was having health troubles). I it falls in the movable sign, the native is having stable health condition and if in dual sign, the health is deteriorating.

3. The navamsa zones and the signs indicate the future. If Trisphuta falls in creation zone, then the native will recover fast; if it falls in sustenance zone, the recovery will happen slowly and if it falls in the destruction zone the recovery will have after considerable trouble and suffering; provided Trisphuta falls in the creation sign in the navamsa. If it falls in sustenance sign, then the health will be stable although there would not be much improvement and if it falls in destruction sign, the health will deteriorate further. However, the rate of deterioration will depend on the zone. If Trisphuta falls in creation zone but destruction sign i.e., Gemini, the native's health will deteriorate slowly; however if it falls in Pisces, the health will deteriorate very fast and the native might even lose his life.

4. There are few additional things to note. If there are nimittas (omen) pertaining to the lord of the nakshatra (as per Vimshottari lordship) where the Trisphuta is placed, the indications shown by the Trisphuta will definitely happen.

5. The nature of the health trouble or its causes can be seen from the lord of the Trisphuta Nakshatra.

6. The health trouble can be timed using compressed Vimshottari Dasa (for a year) initiated from Trisphuta. This may be called as Prasna Trisphuta Vimshottari Dasa.

References on Trisphuta in Prasna Marga:
Details on the Trisphuta is given in the 5th chapter of Part I of Prasna Marga. Further references can be found at other places in the book. I am giving here translation of some of the key slokas on Trisphuta from Prasna Marga.

Stanza 28: If Thrisphuta falls in Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, it is productive of intense trouble which is greatest for Pisces least for Cancer.

Explanation: These are the last signs of the three zones. However, Cancer is a creation sign, Scorpio is a sustenance sign and Pisces is a destruction sign, indicating highest suffering in Pisces and lowest in Cancer. In addition, all these signs are watery signs and giver of health (Moon/ Venus - Water) and hence presence of Trisphuta can cause health troubles.

Stanza 29: If the Thrisphuta falls in the last Navamsa of Karkataka, the questioner will die in a year. If it falls in the last Navamsa of Vrischika, he will die in a month. If it falls in the last Navamsa of Meena, he will die in a day.

Explanation: Cancer falls in the creation zone indicating that the health is good and last navamsa falls in Pisces navamsa, a destruction sign in destruction zone. The combination of creation zone in Rasi and Destruction zone is Navamsa indicate death (if happens.. for example the native is in the death bed and waiting for his last time) shall happen quite late, i.e. 1 year (usually the duration of a prasna is of 1 year shown by the slowest moving planet Saturn). If however Trisphuta falls in Vrischika sign (a sustenance sign in sustenance zone) and last navamsa which is again Pisces navamsa, death can happen in one month. However if Trisphuta falls in Pisces Sign and Pisces Navamsa all indicating destruction zone and sign, death can happen in 1 day.

From this we can extend the principle for other Signs and the Navamsas.

Stanza 30: The four signs beginning from Mesha, Simha and Dhanus respectively constitute the creative, protective and destructive areas. Movable, fixed and common signs and Navamsas are respectively creative, protective and destructive. If Thrisphuta falls in a destructive area, Rasi or Navamsa or Nakshatra, predict that evil alone will happen.

Explanation: This gives the dictum for the principle mentioned above, on the division of the zodiac into three zones starting from Aries, Leo and Sagittarius

Stanza 32: Multiply the Thrisphutas by 9 and drop off the Rasis. Multiply the degrees and minutes that remain by 12 and expunge all 'twelves' from the Rasi. If the result falls in Riksha Sandhis, Navamsas, or in the asterism of the questioner, he will certainly die.

Stanza 33: If the Thrisphuta Rasi or Navamsa Rasi, whichever is stronger, happens to be the Janma Rasi of the questioner, then also he will meet with death. If it falls in the navamsa of Aries, Leo or Sagittarius, he will live long.

Explanation: If the Janma rasi of the querist fall in the Trisphuta rasi or the navamsa (the stronger among the two), the native is likely to suffer considerably or even die.

If however, the Trisphuta falls in fiery Navamsas, the health will recover. It is important to note that Sagittarius is a destruction sign in the Destruction Zone. However, since it is a fiery sign, it will improve health, although after considerable suffering.

Stanza 34: If Gulika or evil planets occupy Thrisphuta Rasi, it forebodes evil. If anybody in the questioner's house is born in the Thrisphuta Nakshatra, he will fall sick. If this Thrisphuta is afflicted by Nava Doshas, then the questioner will meet with calamities, If Thrisphuta occupies creative elements or if it conjoins with good planets, then predict longevity and good health.

Explanation: Gulika and Mandi are the most evil among other planets to cause ill health. In addition association of natural malefics such as Saturn, Mars, Sun, Rahu and Ketu the native will suffer considerable ill health. However association of natural benefics such as Jupiter, Venus, Mercury or Moon will help in recovery of the native.

This sloka talks of nava doshas (9 blemishes) which can be found in Prasna Marga. I will write on this when time permits.

Stanza 35: If Thrisphuta falls in Aswini and its trines, Bharani and its trines, etc , and an event of the following kind takes place on each of these days, then predict that the questioner will die. A rich and learned Brahmin visits the house; a penniless Brahmin visits the house; a conflagration takes place ; loss of clothes ; a man comes after being vanquished in a quarrel; a serpent is seen in the house; three Brahmins turn up at the house: destruction of cattle; and arrival of a relative.

Explanation: This sloka talks of the nimitta (omen) happening at the time of judging the Trisphuta shall give additional strength to the indication of Trisphuta and the evil shown by the Trisphuta shall certainly happen. The omen is related to the lord of the nakshatras as per vimshottari dasa scheme. The association of various nimittas with the planets are as follows:

Ketu - A rich Brahmin visits the house
Venus - A penniless Brahmin visits the house
Sun - Conflagration
Moon - Loss of cloths
Mars - A man comes after being vanquished in a quarrel
Rahu - A serpent is seen in the house
Jupiter - Three Brahmins turn up at the house
Saturn - Destruction of cattle
Mercury - Arrival of a relative

Stanza 36: These events must take place when the Sun or the Moon occupies Thrisphuta Rasi, or its Navamsa Rasi or their trines. Then only death can happen.

Explanation: This sloka gives additional qualification for the death to happen. Only when the luminaries, the Sun or the Moon occupies the Trisphuta Rasi or Navamsa, death can be predicted.

Stanza 37:
Health troubles shown by different planets placed in Trisphuta Rasi or Navamsa. If no planets are placed with the Trisphuta, then the lord of Trisputa Nakshatra will indicate the trouble
1. The Sun causes fever, internal heat, and severe pains in the head due to heat.
2. The Moon causes dysentery.
3. Mars brings in all sorts of sores and wounds.
4. Mercury causes inability to talk and think, i.e.. disorder in the vocal organ and the head.
5. Jupiter causes weakness of the eyes.
6. Venus causes mental ill-health, excruciating pains in the body and swelling.
7. Saturn produces disorders to one's hands and legs.
8. Rahu is the cause of sudden fall from an elevated place.
9. Ketu causes ills like Mars.

Case I: Mother's health
My mother has considerable health troubles and hence I draw up the Prasna Chart to see scope of recovery in near future (within 1 year period)

Date:          January 22, 2008
Time: 1:30:38 pm
Time Zone: 8:00:00 (East of GMT)
Place: 103 E 51' 00", 1 N 17' 00"
Singapore City, Singapore

Ayanamsa: 23-58-19.11
Sidereal Time: 20:29:52

Body Longitude Nakshatra Pada Rasi Navamsa
Lagna 16 Ar 14' 58.79" Bhar 1 Ar Le
Sun - PiK 7 Cp 35' 33.74" USha 4 Cp Pi
Moon - GK 3 Cn 11' 30.53" Puna 4 Cn Cn
Mars (R) - DK 0 Ge 35' 52.68" Mrig 3 Ge Li
Mercury - AK 26 Cp 14' 10.85" Dhan 1 Cp Le
Jupiter - BK 13 Sg 50' 02.85" PSha 1 Sg Le
Venus - PK 3 Sg 26' 57.89" Mool 2 Sg Ta
Saturn (R) - MK 13 Le 35' 24.12" PPha 1 Le Le
Rahu - AmK 5 Aq 14' 46.41" Dhan 4 Aq Sc
Ketu 5 Le 14' 46.41" Magh 2 Le Ta
Maandi 23 Ar 54' 21.18" Bhar 4 Ar Sc
Gulika 12 Ar 27' 35.69" Aswi 4 Ar Cn
TriSphuta 1 Le 54' 05.01" Magh 1 Le Ar

The Trisphuta is in Leo rasi, Scorpio Navamsa and Purva-phalguni nakshatra 4th pada. In the rasi chart, Saturn and Ketu are placed in the Leo rasi and in Navamsa Rahu is placed in Scorpio Navamsa.

Leo falls in the sustenance zone and is a sustenance sign showing that her health has been stable so in near past. However Saturn is placed quite close in Purva-phalguni 1st pada showing that she is suffering from some troubles of hands and legs. Ketu although is placed in the same rasi is placed in Magha, different nakshatra, hence its affect is quite minimal on the Trisphuta. In addition, Leo is a fiery sign, indicating some scope of recovery as fiery sign indicate that.

Trisphuta navamsa is again in Sustenance zone and Sustenance Rasi showing that the heath is not going to improve in near future. In addition, presence of Rahu does indicate some fall which she might face in near future.

She is actually suffering from Osteo-arthritis in her knees, shown by Saturn in the Trisphuta rasi and Nakshatra. She is also passing through mental stress and troubles due to lordship of Venus for the Trisphuta nakshatra. Her condition will be stable in near future and shall not deteriorate. However she should be careful of heights as Rahu in the Trisphuta navamsa indicate fall from heights.

Case II: My health
I am suffering of back-ache for over 1 month which sometimes becomes quite painful. To know how bad or better it would be I casted a prasna chart and here is what it shows.

Date:          January 22, 2008
Time: 3:15:45 pm
Time Zone: 8:00:00 (East of GMT)
Place: 103 E 51' 00", 1 N 17' 00"
Singapore City, Singapore

Ayanamsa: 23-58-19.11
Sidereal Time: 22:15:16

Body Longitude Nakshatra Pada Rasi Navamsa
Lagna 6 Ge 11' 34.88" Mrig 4 Ge Sc
Sun - GK 1 Aq 38' 22.10" Dhan 3 Aq Li
Moon - AK 28 Cn 11' 44.73" Asre 4 Cn Pi
Mars (R) - BK 24 Ge 33' 43.57" Puna 2 Ge Ta
Mercury - MK 20 Aq 16' 58.49" PBha 1 Aq Ar
Jupiter - PiK 7 Cp 49' 21.81" USha 4 Cp Pi
Venus - AmK 27 Sg 30' 41.35" USha 1 Sg Sg
Saturn (R) - PK 7 Vi 33' 30.24" UPha 4 Vi Pi
Rahu - DK 29 Aq 12' 53.52" PBha 3 Aq Ge
Ketu 29 Le 12' 53.52" UPha 1 Le Sg
Maandi 17 Ta 52' 55.11" Rohi 3 Ta Ge
Gulika 28 Ta 56' 12.02" Mrig 2 Ta Vi
TriSphuta 3 Sg 19' 31.63" Mool 1 Sg Ar
Kunda 21 Aq 38' 05.40" PBha 1 Aq Ar

Trisphuta is in Hasta 4th pada in Virgo Rasi and Cancer Navamsa. There are no planets in the Virgo Rasi or Cancer Navamsa. Presence of Trisphuta in sustenance zone in rasi and destruction rasi indicate that the condition has been stable from past while currently it is quite bad. Its presence in Creation zone in the Navamsa in a creation rasi indicate fast recovery in near future.

The problem should be indicated by the lord of Trisphuta nakshatra i.e., Moon, since no planets occupy either Trisphuta rasi or Navamsa. Moon causes watery troubles such as Dysentery which is not a case with me. I have muscular pain which should have been shown by Mars. On closer examination, I found that Moon is placed in Cancer Rasi hemmed between Mars, Saturn and Ketu. Cancer is the 4th sign of the zodiac and affliction of which due to papakartari yoga shows the trouble in my back (behind chest) which is ruled by the 4th sign.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Praśna I: The time for casting a praśna

Prasna shastra is a branch of Jyotish Shastra which deals with the prognosticating things based on the horoscope cast when a query is put to the astrologer. This technique is useful if birth time of the querist is not accurate or missing or to support analysis of the birth horoscope. Even though all questions can be answered with some degree of accuracy, through analysis of birth horoscope it is a good practice to draw up of the prasna horoscope to support the analysis. Since there is an element of free will in human lives, the assessment of natal horoscope can never be 100% accurate as our destiny is not only shaped by our karma in past lives but also in this life. Prasna Marga sums it up quite beautifully by saying that if the Prasna chart shows negetive things compared to the natal horoscope, the native's destiny has deteriorated till the time he asked prasna and vice-versa. Thus analysis of a chart should be a combination of the Prasna as well as Natal horoscopes.

The difficulty an astrologer faces for casting a prasna horoscope is the time and place for casting the horoscope. Unlike the place and time of birth, time of casting a prasna horoscope is not tangible. To understand what should be right time of casting the prasna we need to understand the dynamic involved in a prasna. Prasna is a tool which makes and astrologer a true daivagna or the messenger of the divine will. Although it would looks quite arbitrary from the way it is done, there is a deep meaning behind it. Only when the time is right for the querist to know more about his question, he will be inspired by the divine will to go to a qualified astrologer. Here is the astrologer just becomes a messenger of the divine will or just an instrument in the hand of the supreme consciousness. For this to happen two conditions must be satisfied; the queries should be sincere and the astrologer should be qualified. When I say a qualified astrologer, what do I mean? Prasna Marga states it quite clearly, which I can summarize as someone who has perfected the art of natal horoscopy and has the ability to read the heavens (positions of planets in the sky) and its signs (the nimitta and shakunas- the omens) and does his spiritual practice quite ardently (to connect to the supreme consciousness without hindrance).

Like birth of any being in this world in various phased such as impregnation, conception and delivery, the question also passes through similar phases. The impregnation happens when the question crops for the first time in the mind of the querist. Then when the querist ponders on the question and searches for answers, it is the phase of conception. The phase of conception continues till the question is asked to a Daivagna. However the delivery of the question didn't occur yet as it is still in the process of delivery. Only when the Daivagna is inspired to draw a horoscope to that query, the query is said to be delivered. Since the medium of delivery is the Daivagna, the time at which he is inspired and his location at that moment is important in drawing up the query. At the time when the Daivagna gets the question, the happening in his surrounding offers cues to the nature of the question and the possible outcome, which are covered under shakuna shastra (the omens) and hence the Daivagna should be quite observant of any such cues.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Precession of equinox and the yuga cycle

Note: This article is my personal opinion which may be misleading (so read with caution!). This does not represent the views and opinions or my Guru or my Jyotish Tradition.

The astronomers from the ancient civilisations noted that the occurrence of the seasons shift gradually with respect to the fixed start of the zodiac. Later this was attributed to a phenomenon called the precession of the equinox. Although the first knowledge of precession of the equinoxes is attributed to Greek philosopher and mathematician Hipparcus, studies of the ancient civilisation such as that of the Mayan, Babylonian and Harappan reveal that the knowledge was quite common during those times, however lost with time.

The implication of precession of the equinox has not only caused the sidereal zodiac to precede with respect to the tropical zodiac with a constant rate, but it also implies a greater cycle is at work; a cycle which is much beyond our own solar system. This cycle is the movement of the vernal equinoxial point in the zodiac in an anti-zodiacal direction

Many speculated on the cause of the equinox and two widely known theories are postulated. First one is due to wobbling of Earth due to gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun and second one is due to movement of Sun in a bigger cycle. The most accepted reason behind the second theory is presence of a Binary Star. In the universe presence of a binary start system is quite common and hence Sun's movement in a bigger cycle due to a binary pair is not a rare occurrence. While Indian classics on Astronomy and Astrology supports the second theory, more tangible proof is expected to appear in future supporting it. Nevertheless, lets see why it is important to study the great cycle of precession of equinox.

Precession of the equinox is a well known concept in Vedic astrology, since the whole discipline is based on this concept. Unlike western astrology, Vedic astrology gives high importance to the Nakshatras or the lunar asterisms in addition to the Rasis (or the signs). When a planet is seen in the sky, in Vedic astrology it corresponds to its placement with respect to a fixed star in the zodiac, the Nakshatra. Since the normal practice of recording the planetary positions is from the vernal equinox (in the ecliptic coordinate system), it has to be converted to sidereal positions (as used in Vedic astrology) by subtracting the amount of precession that the vernal equinoxial point preceded so far from the time when the vernal equinoxial point actually aligned with the beginning of sign Aries or Nakshatra Ashvini. This accumulated amount of precession is called Ayanamsa in vedic astrology or Jyotish Shastra. The term Ayanamsa is derived from Ayana and Amsa where Ayana means the portion of the zodiac in the ecliptic plane and amsa means the angular distance.

From the observations it is found that the rate of precession (ayana chalana in Sanskrit) is not constant and varies with time in a sinusoidal wave form, making it inappropriate to apply constant Ayanamsa correction to the the tropical zodiac to derive the sidereal zodiac and a better suggestion would be to find the exact start of the zodiac from the astronomical observation and apply the angular separation of this point with respect to the vernal equinoxial point to the tropical zodiac. The duration of the grand cycle is observed to be 24,000 sidereal year (year measured from movement of Sun in Ashvini Nakshatra) while due to variation of the rate of precession does gives a impression that the duration to be 22,000 or 26,000 years if the variation is not seen in a bigger timescale.

Now does the grand cycle of the equinox correspond to the cycle of the Yugas mentioned in the Vedic scriptures? Although there are definite linkages with the precessional cycle with the cycle of yugas, there are some controversies too. Before we proceed with drawing the linkages, lets understand what the yuga cycles are:

It is said that in the life of Manu, who is governor of the "Manu"sya race (Human Race) there are 71 yuga cycles and each yuga cycle consists of 4 phases from brighter to darker. The brightest and most enlightened phase is the Satya Yuga and in the order of decreasing brightness are the Treta, Dvapar and the Kali. Among the 4 yugas, the Kali is the shortest and the darkest, while Satya is the brightest and the longest. If the duration of Kali is 1 part, the duration of the other yugas are Dvapara- 2 part, Treta- 3 part and Satya- 4 part. Although there are unanimity by the scholars in the details I have provided so far, the differences arise on the duration assigned to each part mentioned above. One group of scholars believe that each part is 1200 divine years (each divine years is 360 human years, thus making each part as 4,32,000 years), while the other group believe that each part is 1,200 human years.

If we accept the duration of each part to be 1,200 years (human/ earth), then the total duration of the cycle would be 12,000 years and this correspond to half of the duration of the precession cycle. Like all cycles, the yuga cycles also comes in two major phase ascending and descending or waxing and wanning like the phase of the Moon. In the waxing phase, the level of consciousness increases as time progresses moving from the Kali Yuga towards the Satya Yuga, while in the wanning phase, the level of consciousness decreases from Satya yuga to Kali yuga again. If we accept this principle, then two yuga cycles will form a pair in a complete precession cycle with a total duration of 24,000 years.

Now let's have a re-look at whether the duration of the yuga cycle be 1200 divine years or 1200 human years. It seems that 1200 divine years could be a misinterpretation of what it was meant to be. The divine years are from Daiva varsha in Sanskrit. Daiva is from Deva and Deva is someone who is full of light. It could mean Surya (Sun), who is full of light and brighness and cause day. 1 daiva varsha could mean 1 solar year. 1 sidereal solar year would have 360 solar days and each day would measure 1 degree movement of the Sun in the sidereal zodiac. One must note that since the precession of the equinox as a phenomenon is related to the sidereal zodiac, the definition of a day should correspond to 1 degree motion of Sun in the sidereal zodiac and not the day which is caused by Sunrise & Sunset. Thus 1200 daiva varsha could mean 1200 solar years in which each year correspond to 360 sidereal-solar days.

If we accept that the yuga cycle correspond to the precession cycle, let's find out which yuga we should be in now. To understand this, we need to know when the Kali Yuga started and find references of association of Yugas with known time scale. If we try to tag the beginning of the yugas to the beginning of the sidereal zodiac, Kali yuga should start on February 11th or 12th, 285 A.D, when both the sidereal and tropical zodiac were perfectly aligned. If we accept this then the forthcoming years would have following duration:

(Note: All dates are as per Gregorian Calendar)

1. Kali - 1200 years: 285 A.D. - 1485 A.D.
2. Dvapara - 2400 years: 1485 A.D. - 3885 A.D.
3. Treta - 3600 years: 3885 A.D. - 7485 A.D.
4. Satya - 4800 years: 7485 A.D. - 11085 A.D.
Total: 12,000 years: Aarohini cycle (Ascending)

If we go backward in time, the Avarohini cycle (Descending) would be
1. Kali - 1200 years: 285 A.D. - 915 B.C.
2. Dvapara- 2400 years: 915 B.C. - 3315 B.C.
3. Treta - 3600 years: 3315 B.C. - 6915 B.C.
4. Satya - 4800 years: 6915 B.C. - 11715 B.C.
Total: 12,000 years: Avarohini cycle (Descending)

This indicates that we are currently in Dvapara yuga and 523 years have already elapsed.

If we find the angular distance the point of vernal equinox would travel in various yugas as per the association mentioned above, it would look like this (moving in an antizodical direction):

1. Kali : 18deg: Pisces 18deg - Pisces 30deg
2. Dvapara: 36deg: Aquarius 6deg - Pisces 18deg
3. Teta : 54deg: Sagittarius 12deg - Aquarius 18deg
4. Dvapar : 72deg: Libra 0deg - Sagittarius 12deg

However, this does not match with the currently accepted timescale for the beginning of the the kali yuga, which is 23rd January 3102 BC. If we align the yuga start and end with the this timescale, the dates will looks like this:

Avarohini Cycle
1. Dvapara (Descending) - 2400 years: 5502 BC - 3102 BC
2. Kali (Descending) - 1200 years: 3102 BC - 1902 BC

Aarohini Cycle
3. Kali (Ascending) - 1200 years: 1902 BC - 702 BC
4. Dvapara (Ascending) - 2400 years: 702 BC - 1698 AD
5. Treta (Ascending) - 3600 years: 1698 AD - 5298 AD
6. Satya (Ascending) - 4800 years: 5298 AD - 10098 AD

There are various other scholars who have even different opinions such as Yukteswar Giri. According to him

We are currently in the beginning stages of Dwapara Yuga, which began around 1699 A.D. This now puts us in the year 307 Dwapara according to Sri Yukteswar. Thus, we are moving closer to the grand center of our galaxy, and will pass into Treta Yuga around the year 4099 A.D. More and time and research into this area would help in clarifying the issue further and enable us to settle down on the phase we are in.

Now how can we use this knowledge? While pondering over this, I came up with an idea. We can equate the ascending and descending phenomenon of the yugas with the phenomenon of Lunar Phases. Here the middle of Satya Yuga will represent the brightest phase of Moon, full moon or Purnima and the middle of the Kali yuga would represent the darkest phase of Moon, the new moon or the Amavasya and all other time can represent one of the phases of the Moon. The aarohini yugas or the ascending yugas can correspond to the waxing phase of Moon while the avarohini yugas or the descending yugas can correspond to the waning phase of Moon. Here we can divide the zodiac into 30 parts of 12degrees, where each part correspond to 1 lunar phase. The first 12degrees from Aries (in ant zodiacal direction, which is 18deg Pisces to 30deg Pisces) can be associated with 1st day of wanning day, the shukla partipada which is ruled by the Sun. For ease of reckoning we can call this Yuga Tithi and assign them the lordship based on the Lunar Tithis. Since there will be 30 yuga tithis in the twin yuga cycle of 24,000 years, the duration of each yuga tithi would be 800 sidereal years.

Since currently the equinox in around 6 deg pisces, which is 24 degree away from the beginning of the zodiac (Ashvini nakshatra) we are getting near to the end of Yuga Tithi Dvitiya (the 2nd tithi) ruled by Moon (care, compassion, relationship, mutual co-existence, preponderance of emotions). For next 800 years when Equinoxial point would be moving from 6deg Pisces to 24deg Aquarius, we will be in the Yuga tithi of Shukla Tritiya ruled by Mars. So what are we going to expect in the coming 800 years! Wars, Strife and Struggles all over the world. Mars also rules over rationality and logical thinking process as well as Engineering. Thus the world would see predominance of move individualism, rational and logical thinking over relationship, care and compassion and creation of some of the most wonderful engineering marvels.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Measure of a day

The measure of a tropical day is seen from the motion of earth around the Sun which cause Sunrise and Sunset. To keep track of time within the day, the day is further divided into Hours, Minutes and Seconds.

Have you every wondered, if the duration of the day changed with time, how difficult it would have been to keep track of time with a watch which we all use! Fortunately the duration of the day is constant and any further subdivision is not tagged to an astronomical phenomenon; like the way it is done with year (tagging it to days which is marked by revolution of earth, keeping a balance of .2425 to accumulate each year). That is why no adjustment is necessary to keep the watch synchronized with actual duration of the day. Thus if a watch with enough power and accuracy is set inside a deep cave which does not have any human access and the watch is retrieved after thousands of years; it should show the correct time (as synchronized with the part of the astronomical day). Any variation to the length of the day (even by fraction of seconds) can have impact on the time of the watch! Thus any astronomical event which has impact on the duration of a day is important to note, so that the watch is synchronized.

Now what should be the best way to sub-divide the day so that we can keep track of smaller measures? Well! various civilizations have various answers to this question. Since the subdivision is not related to any astronomical phenomenon, any such division will be just a matter of convention and ease of use. The most common sub-division is dividing the day into 24 hours. Now why 24 and not 30 and not 60? Well to understand this we need to go to the beginning of civilizations where it was first devised and followed. I am not sure about the rest of the world, but in Jyotisha Shastra it corresponds to 24 horas. Hora is derived from Ahoratra (A+HORA+TRA), meaning day and night and thus signifying the influence of 7 planets on human affairs.

Now anyone can ask, why do we need to link them to planets. I would say this is for the same reason, why the days are named after the planets! The convention which developed naturally (with development of human consciousness) with time should have some merit! However, there is no further sub-divisions of Hora in Jyotisha, showing the lack of necessity of breaking time even further when it comes to human affairs. However there is another measure which is used for recording the birth time so that the horoscope can be casted properly. This is done by dividing the day into 60 ghatikas. Since the purpose is just to measure the duration elapsed between the time of birth and that of Sunrise or Sunset, there is no lordship assigned to them. Each of them is further sub-divided into 60 Vighatikas.

Vighatika is the smallest measure of time, which is enough for the purpose of casting a horoscope till the smallest varga (known so far). Lets see which is the smallest varga which can be calculated with the knowledge of correct Ghatika and Vighatika. We know that in the Rasi Chart, 12 lagna rises in a day which makes the duration of each rasi as 5 ghatikas or 300 vighatikas. This shows that the rasi can be divided into 300 parts to find the exact position of the lagna and this varga is called the ardha-nadiamsa. Based on the principles of Karma, it explains why a person would be born in that exact moment and not a vighatika before or after.

The current practice of measuring time within a day is a combination of Horas and Vighatikas. There should be a good reason for the measure to evolve this way or may be this is due to influence of multiple cultures on the place where it evolved.

The formula for conversion between these measures are:

1 day = 24 hours = 60 ghatika = 3600 vighatikas
1 hour = 60 minutes = 2.5 ghatika = 150 vighatikas
1 minute = 60 seconds = 2.5 vighatikas
1 vighatika = 24 seconds

You might be wondering what is the meaning of the term Ghatika and Vighatika. The name came from the instrument used for measurement of the these ghatikas and vighatikas, which is a Ghatika Yantra. This is made of a Pitcher with a hole in the bottom and kept inside a pool of water. Ghatika was measured in terms of the duration for the pitcher to fill up and sink! What an innovative way of measuring time :-).

Discussion on Calendars

Here is a discussion on Calendar with one of my student.

Q: Why do we need a calendar?
To watch and follow day to day life, climatic conditions, happenings throughout the world, calender is needed to specify and to remember to correlate for futures.

My comments:
Yes. Good reasoning. The first calendar was developed to mark the seasonal changes so that right activities can be done in agriculture without missing the season. Again this happened due to the realization that the time is cyclical and astronomical phenomenon such as seasons recur in a cyclical manner.

Again they needed to know how much time has passed from a specific event, which is not possible without a calendar. When the civilizations developed, they need to keep track of such events. Anyway, since they were more tuned to the nature, they could see the patterns in seasonal variation such as heavy rains or light rain, hotter summer/ warmer summer etc and they needed a measure of time to mark these patterns with respect to it. When civilizations developed even further, they started keep track of phenomenon such as Eclipses, sighting meteors etc...

Q: What is the basis for creation of a calendar?
Calender creation is based on the movements mostly on Sun and Moon.

My comments:
This is a narrow understanding. We can make calendars for anything which is cyclical. Hence there are various calendars in addition to those which keep track of Sun, Moon, Sun+Moon; such as one which keeps track of eclipses called metonic cycle which recur after 18 years. So basically anything which is cyclical can have a calendar.

Since calendar is used to keep track of astronomical events, there should be sound astronomical basis for creation of a calendar. Every calendar has a define start and end after which a new cycle begins. The start and end of the calendar should also mark with an astronomical event, else it becomes a arbitrary start or end point and thus becomes subjective, whereby different people can have their own start and end.

Q: How many kinds of calendar (around the world) do you know?
To my knowledge, there are two types of calenders among a lot around the

1. based on sun transit into the Aries.(Sowra)
2. based on Moon transit in the Chitrai Nakshtra (Santhana)

My comments:
There are two widely used calendar used for measure of solar motion, one is for keeping track of season and the other one is for keeping track of Sun for astrological purpose. The calendar which is used for keeping track of Season is called Tropical calendar and year is called tropical year, while the one which is used to keep track of Sun's placement in the nakshatras, which is used for astrological purposes is called the sidereal calendar and the year is called the sidereal year.

Now take up the tropical calendar. Since its purpose is to keep track of Seasons, it should be synchronized with the equinoxes and solstices; which means the equinoxes and solstices should always fall in the same days every year. Why this should be so? This is because, the equinoxes and solstices decide the start of all the seasons on earth. Now you should be able to tell, what should be the correct start of the calendar, so that each year; beginning of the year is marked with such an event and we know that the calendar is not out of track when compared to the seasons. So when should the calendar start. Logically it can start when Sun is at the beginning of Sign Aries or Libra which marks the equinoxes or it can start when Sun is at the beginning of Capricorn or Cancer, which marks the solstices. But for whatever reasons, the tropical calendar starts when Sun is at 9Cp55; which is just a arbitrary position.

Now lets take up the tropical calendar. Since its purpose it to track position of Sun in the Nakshatras, it should be synchronized with the movement of the Sun in the zodiac (nakshatra belt). If we do this, then at the same part of the year, the same nakshatra will be seen on the sky in a certain position in every year. For example if we follow strict sidereal calendar, then Aswini 0 degree will rise with Sun in the eastern horizon, beginning of every year. Since the length of the sidereal year is "almost" the same, the tropical year can be used to mark the rising time of the nakshtras over the sky at any part of the year. However, since the position of equinox is preceeding when seen with respect to the nakshatra belt, minor correction needs to be applied to the calendar, which is known as Ayanamsa Correction. Over time, the ayanamsa correction has accumulated to around 23 degrees. There was a time sometimes near 285 a.d., when the vernal equinox was at the same position as the beginning of the Ashvini Nakshatra, it was the time when the tropical and sidereal zodiac was perfectly synchronized. However now, due to the precision, the equinox actually falls at around 6 Pi 45. Have you wondered what should be the length of the day based for the tropical year? Since we are interested in the tracking the movement of the Sun w.r.t the Nakshatras, each day in this calendar is 1 degree motion of Sun in the sidereal zodiac. We can call this as the sidereal day and end of 360 such days we can reach the end of the year which is marked by the last degree of Revati so that the next degree will marks the 1st day of the next sidereal year. Now you should know, why in the nakshatra based dasa, the length of the year should be 360 solar days and not 360 civil days or 365 civil days (of 24 hrs each). The day length of a sidereal day is a bit more than the tropical day. Hence if we use tropical days in a dasa system, a correction needs to be applied at various places in the dasa duration.

Over the ages various civilizations used various calendars based on their need to track various astronomical phenomenon. It is interesting to study them and it can give insights into their civilizations.

In India we also use the soli-lunar calendar, which is based on Tithis. We need the tithis for observances of various festivals. Since this is based on the both Moon and Sun, the feminine and masculine principles of nature, this calendar is extremely important. Also since this year is also dependent on the Sun, the year length is same as Sidereal Solar year (the name of the month is based on the position of the Sun in that month) and the day length is the one tithi each (12 degree separation of Moon from the Sun). If we consider the soli-lunar year has 12 months like the solar year, then 1year in this calendar is around 11 days shorter than the tropical year. Thus every three years, a correction of 1 extra month is applied to synchronise this calendar with the tropical calendar, which is known as Mal Masa. Since this month is used only for adjusting purposes, this cannot be used for observances of any festivals and the original calendar will still take precedence. When we talk of start of month in this calendar, it can be mapped with either Amavasya or Purnimasya. There are two groups in India who follow either of them, the first one is called Amanta and the 2nd one is called Shuklanta. It seems like Amanta month is corruption which crept in with passage of time. It is suggested by great astronomer and astrologer Varahamihira to follow Shuklanta Calendar. This is also evident from the names of the month, which is derived from the approximate position of the Moon during the start of the month. Thus the first month Chaitra begins when Moon is in Chirtra Nakshatra. This can happen when Moon is placed in opposition to Sun at the beginning of the year; which shows that the name is derived from the Shuklanta principle (end of sukla paksha or bright half). Think on this and you will understand more.

There are so many more calendars which I will discuss when time permits.