Comprehensive Blog on Vedic Astrology (Jyotish)


Archive for September, 2006

September 23rd, 2006


Shadbala refers to strength of planet in a horoscope. Everywhere and every time during interpretation of a janma kundali and trying to make predictions, we refer to strength of a planet. We try to understand if a planet is really capable of producing the desired result in a Vedic horoscope. We try to provide arguments whether a planet has gained or lost strength due to position a friend’s or enemy’s house or has become more or less powerful due to aspects of other planets.

The Shadbala system of calculating strength takes the guesswork away from such an interpretation and brings it down to mathematical formulae. There are no more ambiguities left. The unit of strength of a planet in this system is called a “rupa”. A rupa is further divided into 60 virupas or shashtiamshas (literally translated as sixty divisions).

There are 6 main strength areas defined by Brihat Parashara Hora Shashtra – hence the name shat (six) balas (strengths)

  1. Sthana Bala
  2. Dik Bala
  3. Kala Bala
  4. Cheshta Bala
  5. Naisargik Bala
  6. Drik Bala

I would like to explain few of the interesting strength areas in this article. For the entire understanding of Shadbalas, please pick up the book Graha and Bhav Balas by Dr. Raman.

Sthana Bala

This is the most interesting strength area. Rather than relying on an Vedic Astrology software, a student of Vedic Astrology must learn how to calculate this using pen, paper and a pocket calculator. This is a strength obtained through the position – exaltation or debilitation, placement in angle, succedent or cadent houses, etc. Saptavargaja Bala talks about strength in classical sense – in its own rashi or in moolatrikona, planets gain certain virupas (30 and 45 respectively), in friend’s house – 20 virupas and in enemies house – 4 virupas. Uchcha bala is calculated based on how far a planet is from its highest exaltation point.


House in Janma Kundali Planets
Ascendant Jupiter and Mercury
4th House Venus and Moon
7th House Saturn
10th House Sun and Mars

Drigbala (Strength due to aspects)

Malefic aspects decreases strength and benefic aspect increases the strength of a planet.

This system talks about absolute gain or loss of strength. The other placement parameters should be then taken into account. Kendradi Bala talks about how a planet gains strength due to placement in Kendra – benefic will get more strength to do good and a malefic planet will get more strength to do worse.

September 17th, 2006

Apartments and Vastu Shastra

When I started looking for a house to purchase in Bangalore, my only intention was to purchase it for myself for living in and not for investment reasons. Initially I had thought of looking for a plot of land and constructing a house there. I had thought that I would take part in each and every aspect of planning, design and construction – but slowly I realized that I had none of the three things required for undertaking such a project – time, energy or patience. I then decided to do what most Bangaloreans are doing - purchase a flat in one of the up and coming areas of Bangalore. And like most Bangaloreans, I paid a lot of attention to Vastu.

While making a decision to purchase any property, it has become necessary for both the builder and purchaser to consider Vastu. For the builder because he/she has to sell the property for the first time and for the purchaser because he/she would like to live in the apartment without getting spooked if someone mentions that the house is not Vastu compliant and because they would like to have an option to sell it sometime in the future.

This article is not about Vastu Shastra and why I think it is relevant in our times. That is not a topic of discussion. I will also not try to explain every last principle of Vastu here. A lot of books are already written on this subject which explain nothing more than what portion of building should be built in a given direction. I am sorry to say that they do not do justice to the science of Vastu and are far from ground realities and problems that plague our cities. Consider a house with good open space towards east. Someone else purchases the plot towards the east and a building comes up there. It effectively blocks all the incoming sunlight and the morning fresh air. Although the neighbouring building and plot has a different ownership, would this affect the Vastu of our building in question? And how?

How do we then purchase an apartment given all the constraints? This decision becomes complicated since we cannot make any big changes to the layout and the plan. Even if the builder allows making some changes, we still cannot make the entire apartment Vastu friendly. We go for an east facing apartment, and find that the kitchen is in North-East where it is most inappropriate.

In case of apartments, we need to give importance to factors beyond this one unit. Even from ownership perspective, it makes sense as all the owners of the apartments jointly own the common areas of the entire apartment complex. The walls between the apartments are shared anyway. It is as if the residents of a building are all part of one big family.

Therefore, the entire plot area of the complex is important and rules of Vastu should be applied more strictly here. The plot should be more or less rectangular. North-east should be developed and more prominent than the other three corners. If there is only one bore or tank for water supply within the apartment complex, it should be towards this north-east corner. Large water bodies, e.g. swimming pools, artificial ponds or lakes should be in appropriate area, i.e. away from the fiery portion of south-east. The plot in its entirety should be sloping upwards from north-east to south-west.  Main entrance to the complex should be in north, east or north-east. The amount of open area towards the north or north-east of the plot should be more than south or south-west.

If there are multiple buildings in the apartment complex, the central area of the complex should be relatively construction free. This seems to be the case with most of the projects as a garden or play area for children is always planned for in the middle.

To choose a particular building, a building towards north east portion of the complex should be given preference. The entrance of the building should be looked at properly. Again, the plan of the building should be more or less rectangular. A building should be avoided if the main entrance is towards south or west. An apartment in the middle of a building should be avoided all costs – but that is just common sense since it would be difficult to get sunlight and air circulation in the apartment if it is planned in such a way.


September 2nd, 2006

Sadhe Sati, Saturn’s Transit

Saturn is the slowest planet in the solar system that is relevant to Vedic/Indian Astrology. It takes 29.5 years to complete one revolution around the Sun. Considering 12 rashis, it would be in one rashi for 29.5/12 ~ 2.5 years. In Gochara, Saturn’s transits are given a lot of importance because it stays in a rashi for the longest time. In general, Saturn is associated with qualities of being cold and heavy like the metal iron. It destroys attributes of the house it is associated with by its association or drishti. Being the slowest planet, it also causes delays and is retarding in nature.

Sadhe sati is referred to the seven and a half year period when Saturn transits over natal moon and adjoining houses. Translating this to from Astrology to English would take some effort :-) . Consider a person who has his/her Janma Rashi as Aries, i.e. in the chart prepared during his/her time of birth, Moon is situated in Aries. Now, when Saturn moves through zodiac and comes to the sign of Aries, it is said to be transiting over Aries. In case of this person, adjoining houses would mean Pisces (one before) and Taurus (one after Aries). Thus, Saturn’s transit over the three houses comprises of a total duration of 3*2.5=7.5 years. This 7.5 year duration is called in Hindi as Sadhe Sati. This cycle repeats every 30 years and thus a person with normal life span would see at least 2-3 sadhe satis in his/her life.

In both Western and Indian astrology, Saturn has been accorded the status of the most dreaded planet. In Indian mythology, it is the estranged son of Surya (Sun). Saturn is considered the opposite of Sun in many ways. Sun represents light, Saturn represents darkness. Sun is representative of kings and leadership in the society. On the other hand, Saturn represents poverty and the stark reality of the masses. Sunlight is the basis of all life on earth. Saturn is associated with obstruction and hindrance and ultimately, death. No wonder Saturn and Sun are exalted and debilited rashis exactly opposite each other. In Aries and Libra respectively. Saturn is associated with iron, the stuff bullets, swords and spears are made of. Mars may be the lord of war, but Saturn is what causes and executes it.

Saturn’s transits over the three houses tend to bring a lot of depression to the person. He/she would face losses, delay or denials in new projects and health problems. It can also affect peace of mind and make a person emotionally unstable. The first round of sadhe sati affects the individual personally. There is a loss of health and wealth – miseries. The second round affects the person’s parents and there would be some loss in the family. The third round is said to affect the children and bring the end of the person.

The above paragraph is what the real effect of Sadhe Sati is made out to be in a lot of books and astrology sites. However, sadhe sati does not affect each and every person in the same way. The effect also depends on which Sadhe Sati is in progress. The rest of this article is an attempt to describe these effects.

To understand how sadhe sati would operate, the first and foremost thing is to find out if Saturn is a functional benefic in the chart. The ill effects would be mitigated in this scenario. Saturn would be a benefic if:

  1. It is a natural friend if the Rashi lord and Lagna lord,
  2. It is a Rajyoga karaka planet,
  3. It is lord of lagna, 5th house or 9th house in the chart.

Right away, we can see that for people with Taurus, Libra, Capricorn and Aquarius lagna/rashi, sadhe sati would not be bad. In fact, such transit of Saturn over lagna would be good for the person. For a transit over the rashi, there would be some emotional problems, as Moon is not happy when it is around Saturn (or Rahu as well for that matter).

The effects would not be good for rashis – Aries, Cancer, Leo and Scorpio as these belong to natural enemies of Saturn. Mercury and Venus are its friends and Jupiter is a neutral – hence there would be not much of a problem for the rest of the rashis. The exact effect would also depend on the position of Moon in a chart. If the Moon is in 1st house or in Aries, the transit would cause trouble in upper part of body. While transiting through 5th house, the problem could happen to the person’s children, 7th house transit would be bad for the spouse etc.

Bad effects of Saturn and sadhe sati are mitigated by praying to Lord Hanuman who has special control over Saturn. Saturn is said to be forever in debt of Hanuman (see wikipedia article on Hanuman for some details) who had rescued him from the clutches of Ravana. Hence Saturn promised Hanuman that those who prayed to him (Hanuman) would be rescued from painful affects of Saturn.

In the first part of this article, I mentioned that Saturn represents death and the stark reality of the masses. This quality of Saturn can be put to a very positive use – it takes a person away from the moh-maya of this world. It teaches us a lesson like the other teacher – Jupiter, just the way of teaching is different.

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