Components

Lesson #12

by Das Goravani

Components

The most basic elements of Vedic astrology are the nine planets or heavenly bodies and the twelve signs of the zodiac and the twelve houses of the chart. When studying Vedic astrology, it is important to become familiar with the Sanskrit words for all the main components. Therefore, through out this book, we will often refer to these Sanskrit words. To begin with, let it be known that the words planets and "grahas" are synonymous. The twelve signs of the zodiac are called "rashis" and the houses are called "bhavas" or "sthanas". The nine planets used in Vedic astrology are the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu. These are known in Sanskrit as Ravi or Surya, Candra, Mangal or Kuja, Buddha, Guru, Shukra, Shani, Rahu and Ketu.
Brhaspati Jupiter
Surya Sun
Candra Moon
Shukra Venus
Kartikeya Mars
Sani Saturn
Budha Mercury
Bhumi Earth
Rahu North Node
Ketu South Node

The twelve signs are as follows:

Sign Name Sanskrit Name Meaning of
Sanskrit Name
Type Sex Mobility Lord
Aries Mesha Ram Fire M Movable Mars
Taurus Vrishaba Bull Earth F Fixed Venus
Gemini Mithuna Couple (embracing) Air M Common Mercury
Cancer Karkata Crab or Circle Water F Movable Moon
Leo Simha Lion Fire M Fixed Sun
Virgo Kanya Virgin or Daughter Earth F Common Mercury
Libra Thula Balance or Weight Air M Movable Venus
Scorpio Vrishchika Scorpion Water F Fixed Mars
Sagittarius Dhanus Bow (the weapon) Fire M Common Jupiter
Capricorn Makara Alligator & Shark Earth F Movable Saturn
Aquarius Kumbha Pot or Jug Air M Fixed Saturn
Pisces Meena Fishes Water F Common Jupiter

There are twelve houses in a chart. The chart is also called the "Kundali Chakra". The twelve houses govern all the various parts of our lives. The houses are domains in space. When you stand anywhere on the earth, at that moment you are surrounded by space all the way around you. Space even surrounds the earth which is below your feet. You are standing on a ball floating in space so space surrounds you and your earth ball on all sides.

If you look directly East and point your hand at the Eastern horizon where the Sun rises, you are pointing in the direction of what is known as the first house. The first house governs the 30 degree span of space where the Eastern horizon is. Directly across from it, or on the Western horizon is the 7th house. From the first to the 7th are the 2nd through 6th houses.

Directly over your head is the 10th house. That is, straight up into space where the high noon Sun beams down on us is the 10th house. Straight below your feet covering the span of space on the other side of the earth from you, is the 4th house.

So the first house governs the Eastern horizon, the 2nd house is just below the Eastern horizon, the 3rd house is deeply below the Eastern horizon, the 4th house is directly underneath you, the 5th house is underneath you and behind a little bit. The 6th house is underneath you and behind you quite a bit. The 7th house is behind you covering the Western or Sunset horizon. The 8th house is just over your shoulder when you turn your head around and look behind you. The 9th house is above the top back part of your head, the 10th house is straight over your head, the 11th house is what you see when you look upwards but not straight up. The 12th house is just slightly above the eastern horizon and this brings us back around to the first house which governs the eastern horizon.

In this way, the entire 360 degree circular span of space surrounding you and your earth are divided into 12 equal 30 degree sections, each of which has a number from 1 -12 and is known as a house. Studying the parts of life that these houses govern is a large part of astrology.

For example, the 10th house, i.e., the span of space directly over head, governs power, position and our career to a large degree. Any planets in this span of space at the time of our birth greatly affect our career, power and status in life. As you study astrology, you will find this to be unfailingly true and eventually you will become so familiar with the effects of planets that effect this house that you will be able to tell much about the success and failure of any one's career who's chart you glance upon.

In conclusion, the 12 houses are always present. At every moment the 12 houses are present surrounding you and your earth.

>>>>>> Insert House Table #1 here.

Besides the 12 houses there are 12 signs. It is important to differentiate in your mind between the 12 signs and the 12 houses. Let us examine this difference more closely and then ultimately bring the two together where they become one in Vedic Astrology.

First let us discuss the physical zodiac which is comprised of 12 main constellations also known as signs or rashis.

The zodiac is a band of stars that surrounds the earth like a ring. There are 12 main constellations that form this great ring around us. The stars that we see in the night sky are mostly very, very far away. Amongst the millions of stars in the night sky, the 7 planets and two invisible planets in Vedic Astrology exist also, although they are much closer and they move. Besides these few, very few, moving planets all the other stars are fixed out in space.

The zodiac is comprised of a band of these fixed stars, very far beyond the planets that form our immediate solar system. So you could say that the fixed stars of the night sky which includes the band called the zodiac altogether form the "back drop" of the sky or the back drop against which our solar system is moving.

For example, in astrology, we always speak of which sign a planet is in. The planets are not actually mixing in the stars at the sign, it is just that because the planet is circling with us around the sun, looking from earth towards the planet in question, we always see some sign of the zodiac as the back drop of that planet.

For example, picture yourself standing in the middle of a circular room. There are seven other people with you in the room. You yourself and the 7 other people are all walking in circles around in the room. Some of you are closer to the wall, some of you are closer to the middle. You are all walking at different speeds, but you are all walking around the central point of the room. Some of you complete your circles around the center of the room on your own path very quickly and begin again, circling again and again. While others, walking closer to the outer edge, and perhaps walking slower due to their own natures, take longer to complete their circle around the room.

The wall of the room surrounding all of you is painted with 12 different distinct colored sections. One section is orange, the next section is green, the next section is red and so on. You are walking on the 3rd or 4th ring out from the middle of the room. When you look to your right or left you see the other walkers within the room. Whenever you look at any one of them, you see a colored back drop behind them from your relative view point. For example, you may look at the person on the 5th ring from the center, and when you look at them you see that behind them is the green section of the wall which is 1/12 of the circular wall surrounding all of you. If you were to refer to that person, you might say the 5th walker is in the green section. Looking yet at another person, you may see an old man on the very most outer ring, walking very slowly against the gray 1/12 of the back drop wall. You could then say, the old man who is on the outer most ring is currently in the gray section as he walks around the room.

In this way the various heavenly bodies known as grahas or planets are always, in relation to our vision, situated in front of one of the signs of the zodiac which is behind them. Thus we say that the planet is in a certain sign. It does not mean that the planet is actually in those stars at this time, but simply that that constellation (sign) is the back drop far away behind the planet as we gaze upon it. Apparently it is the will of the Lord that these relationships of the planets to signs and the houses in relation to us, is how the effects of the Gods can be read.

Our universe is so dependent upon the higher controlling demigods that what we see as our planet, the 12 divisions of space surrounding it (the houses) and the other floating planets in our solar system, are all actually a reflection of the dance of various demigods during the minute fraction of their day that passes while we have an entire lifetime. Their thoughts at a moment reflected in the planets, control our entire lives.

A real astrologer looks at the planets in a chart and having already become familiar with the nature of the demigods that each planet represents, can immediately tell the mood and effect upon the person whose chart it is. Vedic Astrology is actually a system of reading the effects of the demigods based on their positioning within a chart. These three elements, the planets, signs and houses are the most important fundamental building blocks of Jyotish. One must become intimately familiar with the nature of these 33 items. Namely, 9 planets, 12 signs and 12 houses. After this there are 27 special stars or Nakshatras. The 27 Nakshatras are the most important stars in the zodiac. They are spaced roughly evenly around the zodiac and they control 13 degrees and 20 minutes of the zodiac each. Studying the Nakshatras or special stars will come later. First one must become familiar with the 33 main elements. Before we begin to study these elements in detail and individually, let us first take a brief over view of the process of actually reading the chart or practicing Vedic Astrology.

Vedic Astrology works like this. You take an exact moment in time, such as 4:42 a.m. for example, and a date, such as May 18 1960, and a place on earth, such as Oakland California U.S.A. On that date, at that place, at that exact time, the heavens were in a certain position in relation to that spot on earth at that moment. In fact, that moment was the moment and place of my own birth.

At that time, the sign known as Aries was rising on the eastern horizon. Roughly 1/4 of the sign had risen above the eastern horizon when that moment in history flashed by. The planet known as Venus was in the 30 degree domain of space close to the Eastern horizon, which we earlier discussed as being the first house. The Sun and Mercury were under the Eastern horizon, and they would soon rise above the Eastern horizon and thus the dawn of that day, May 18th 1960, was soon to begin.

But at 4:42 a.m. it was still dark. It was very early morning, just prior to dawn. Therefore the sun and Mercury who always travels near to the sun were in the 2nd house which is the next house just under the eastern horizon. It is the next house to rise. It takes roughly two hours for each sign of the 12 to pass by the eastern horizon. Thus, roughly within every 24 hour period, the 12 signs of the zodiac each take a 2 hour turn rising on the eastern horizon. And as each one rises, it's opposite across the zodiac is setting on the western horizon. So at the time of my birth, there were no planets in the 3rd or 4th houses underneath the earth, but the shadow node of the moon known as Rahu was in the 5th house which is just under and towards the west a little, there was nothing in the 6th, 7th (western horizon) or 8th. Then we come to the 9th house which if we look towards the east is just above our heads and to the back a little bit. The 9th house rules religion in Vedic Astrology. It is interesting to note that many religions honor this angle through various customs. For example, Jewish men wear a small hat on that part of their head. Many Hindu men shave every part of their head except that part which they let grow into a long pony tail known as a sheeka. It is also taught in the Vedas that that crown of the portion of the head which faces the 9th house is where certain types of yogis of the past used to burst through at the time of their death and would actually leave their body through that spot which is known as the Brahma Rundrum. It is also interesting to note that the hair often curls in a swirling pattern on that part of the head as if the universal swirling pattern enters us at that point.