Category Archives: deities

What Grahas Get One Involved in Astrology?

Shukra (Venus). Guru of the Asuras.

Shukra (Venus). Guru of the Asuras.

I am often asked what planets get one involved in being an Astrologer themselves.  It is an understandable question since most people studying astrology would naturally want to see if it that is indicated in their own horoscopes.  When I was reading, for the longest time there was a gap in my understanding when it came to this question.  Most of the books available state that Mercury is important for being an astrologer and that you have to have a good Mercury to do astrology and to convey what is shown in the chart to the individual.  But there must be more to it than that, since a good Mercury can also make one many other things, like a lawyer, a bookkeeper, or an artisan for example. What else is involved?

First, I want to define an Astrologer not as one who necessarily makes a living off of it, or is super amazing at it, or famous, or whatever, but as one who has devoted a great portion/majority of their life and time to the study and practice of Astrology.  A person could be a nurse by trade and in the sense of what pays the bills, but in another sense, they are an Astrologer if they are constantly contemplating astrology all day at the hospital while working, and get home and study and practice it at night.  This should be clear first.

And that is the thing with Astrology, it is a very thoughtful craft.  So while I do agree that Mercury is very helpful and important for a person to be able to convey the chart to an individual, there is more involved than that. Mercury represents skills and our aptitude overall. In this manner, a great Mercury can really make one great at most things. So naturally that can carry over to studying Jyotish, and Mercury loves to study.  But there must be some desire to study the heavens, to contemplate, to find symbolic meaning in life, to be philosophical and so forth. Mercury alone is not really the planet that is going to always do that. Mercury is a vaishya, the Merchant mentality (There are 4 castes or mentalities in human nature according to Vedic philosophy, each one offering unique skills and abilities). To really be a counselor, an advisor, a guide that has the best interest of the individual at heart, one must have other factors going on to indicate that. Mercury alone is a businessman and sometimes even a trickster, it just depends. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wanna be tricked when I go to get advice.

So the main planets you really need to see involved in a person’s makeup are the philosophical and contemplative planets, the Brahmin mentality.  Those planets are Venus and Jupiter. They are the Brahmins of the zodiac, which means most devoted to knowledge and spirituality, to learning, educating, etc.  These planets suggest a desire for refinement in life as well. Ketu is also involved in making one an Astrologer.  So when it comes down to it, having these three planets involved heavily in your chart, and connecting to the self-factors such as Atmakaraka, lagnesh, swamsha, and pada, you often find these people to be involved in Astrology at some point in their life. (Look for these planets in the svamsa or 10th from it, see my previous posts for more info on the svamsa).

Brihaspati (Jupiter) Guru to the Devas.

Brihaspati (Jupiter) Guru to the Devas.

Then you often find Mercury connecting to these planets in some way, via conjunction or rasi aspect, or ruling them, especially if they are going to make a business out of it. Mercury rules business as well as curiousity, so they may just talk about it a lot if the business isnt indicated by other factors in the chart.  This you will really find happening a lot! Jupiter, Venus, or Ketu in the lagna, or 10th, or with the Lagna lord is very, very common.

Now you have the ingredients as far as planets go.  But to be more precise, we need to see the 8th house connected to Ketu to make one an Astrologer, at least if they are going to spend a large portion of life involved in it.  One example I can think of is the Lord of Ketu being in the 8th, another is Ketu simply being in the 8th, another is with the 8th Lord and Ketu rasi aspecting each other, and still one more example I can think of has the 8th lord conjunct ketu.

If all these factors come together you will often see an Astrologer or someone who is involved somehow in dealing with the Soul’s journey and its many lives. There is more to determining any career than this but now you have the basic ingredients to find if one is going to be an Astrologer from the birth chart.

Oh and one more thing, a predictive Astrologer is often shown more by Venus. A psychological astrologer or more of a spiritual advisor type of astrologer can be shown by Jupiter. Venus is the Guru to the Asuras, the worldly forces of materialization and the senses. Naturally, Venusians take after this quality and tend to give great guidance to people for worldly matters.  Jupiter is the Guru to the Devas, the heavenly forces of consciousness, ideas, and inner life. Therefore, Jupiterian Astrologers will perhaps not be as inclined to predict but will give great spiritual counsel about where you are and the type of person you are, your dharma.  The best Astrologers tend to have both planets involved so they can do both of course.  But this is worth noting as there are so many types of astrologers and there are many uses for this craft.  So go to a venusian astrologer if you need help with getting a new car. Go to a jupiterian astrologer to learn a great mantra to meditate upon. Or hopefully, with the grace of God, you will find one who can do both ;)


Why is Saturn Related to Brahma?

“Vahni (Fire), Ambu (Water), Shikhija (Skanda), Vishnu, Vidauja (Indra), Sachi, and Ka (Brahma), O’ Twice Born, from the Sun and the other Grahas in their order are known the Devas.” – Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra Chapter 3:18

This quote is from a foundation text of Vedic Astrology, the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, on the allotment of different deities to the Grahas (The Sanskrit word for the planets).  These are not the only associations that the Grahas have to different deities, however.  It should be remembered that all the many deities of Hinduism are considered to act through the agency of the different Grahas for their purposes and responsibilities as custodians of the various forces of nature on Planet Earth.  So while this list is not meant to be the only correlation of Deities to Grahas, it is a very insightful list to consider, shedding much valuable information on the nature of the different energies of the Planets.  In this post, for brevity’s sake, we will just be focusing on Saturn’s correlation to Brahma as it is quite interesting to contemplate.

This relation of Saturn to Brahma is very confusing and hard to understand for most.  If you study Jyotish you are probably already wondering where I am going with this, but lets first make sure we understand a little about Saturn.  He is in many ways the toughest planet to understand… Saturn rules death, lack, loss, negative karma, disease, depression, sorrow, and those things we must do that we are not good at doing.  When well placed in the birth chart, He is the planet that does the hardest jobs that no one else cares to do.  He does it without concern for himself and just for the sake of others. When Saturn is weak one is not able to do the hard things they know they must do for success and therefore usually are not very successful in the world, as most successful people in the world didn’t get that way by avoiding or not wanting to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.  Saturn is the one who does that. Jaimini says that if Saturn is in the 10th from the swamsha (atmakaraka in navamsa) the person will live a life of “accomplished deeds”.  Meaning this person gets things done in the world.

Mythological image of Brahma.  Depicted with four heads, each continually reciting one of the four vedas.  Even his mythological image seems much more busy at work like Saturn, when compared to Vishnu and Shiva who are both mythologically seen lounging on a coiled serpent, or sitting in blissful samadhi.

Mythological image of Brahma. Depicted with four heads, each continually reciting one of the four vedas. Even his mythological image seems much more busy at work like Saturn, when compared to Vishnu and Shiva who are both mythologically seen lounging on a coiled serpent, or sitting in blissful samadhi.

The word for the absolute God without attributes is Brahman in Hinduism.  The names of the threefold aspect of God as Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer are Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva respectively.  This correlates to Christianity and its holy trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, actually.  Brahma is the God of creation, he creates but does not get involved with creation and does not destroy or transform it, those are Vishnu and Shiva’s roles… Everybody knows that, so what is my point?  Well Saturn is not the planet of creativity, so you would think Jupiter or Sun would be related to the creative aspect of God (Brahma).  But they arent… Why is that?

I am not asserting to know exactly why that is, but here are some interesting ideas about why that may be the case:

Brahma is the force that releases just the right finite amount of God’s infinite potential of energy to create a galaxy and cause creation to occur.  Too much or too little of God’s infinite potentiality would cause tremendous imbalances in the grand scheme of the creation… So Brahma is that force which releases just the right amount of energy, but not too much.  In this way we can see that for creation to occur most perfectly from God’s standpoint, there needs to be a Saturnian element of restraint involved for the creation to be harmonious and properly balanced…If new worlds were constantly created before the old ones got destroyed then everything would be off and their would be less purpose to creation.  In a smaller way this is why I think the yogic guidelines Patanjali gave in the Yoga Sutras called one of the Yamas “Brahmacharya”.  In plain english, this is one of the 10 do’s and dont’s of Raja/Kriya Yoga and it is normally translated as “celibacy”.  This is a bad job of translating though.  Brahma means God’s creative energy, and Charya means “going, driving”.  So it simply means “going the way that God goes”.  And God doesn’t waste It’s creative energy in frivolous sexual pursuits.  So Brahmacharya really means to use one’s creative energy wisely and like God would, so as not to waste the spiritual force generated from Yoga practice.  Its true that sexual over-indulgence is the fastest way to waste that force for most people and so this is why it has slowly come to mean that, though it really means much more.  Talking excessively, being on social media unnecessarily, and eating bad foods that take too much energy to digest are just as obvious and popular ways of wasting one’s spiritual force in this modern age as sexual indulgence is.  And in the same way but on a smaller level, when Saturn is strong in a birth chart that individual will usually be much more focused on important works and not be as easily distracted or waste its energy on over-socializing, overeating, or overstimulation in general.  And so from the perspective of God it may be more that creation is not real, it is an illusion, but it is Brahma/Saturn’s job to continue this illusion for the purpose of individuals to grow beyond whatever separates them from God and to eventually unite with God.  So in this sense creation is very much an “Accomplished Deed” and thus related to Saturn.  Also we must remember that we dont incarnate unless there is some Karmic debt (Saturn) that must be worked out.  Even having too much good karma can cause a need to reincarnate and live an awesome life, which happens often for Saints and Yogis.  Even this is still a karmic debt that must be spent before the positive and negative karmic-balancing scale can go back to zero and one can finally become liberated.  Its like a bank account balance, it has to be zero to close out (get liberated), so a positive balance must be spent in an incarnation, and a negative balance must be worked off in an incarnation.  So when we see that Creation is actually just this path we must navigate to get beyond our lack and separation, and to merge back with God, we can see how similar it is to Saturn’s astrological role.

Here is another way to see how creation is related to Saturn, and this is basically paraphrasing what Ernst Wilhelm has written in his book Graha Sutras, so all credit goes to him on this perspective:  In order to have creation, the Absolute God must hide himself and be “veiled” in order to make creation seem real and separate from himself.  The veil is called “maya” in sanskrit and is created by each person’s “Avidya”- the ignorance of their soul nature as pure Spirit.  Saturn is responsible for each person’s ignorance and so this is how we can see his connection to creation from the perspective of having to create illusion/separation/lack from our real Self.  Ernst even goes so far as to say that Saturn rules the flow of life force into the nerves, making us sense things as cold/hot, fast/slow, dark/bright, etc. and not as God essentially.  So in this way Brahma requires and uses Saturn to create the world and the ignorance of our soul nature that so often accompanies our incarnation.

Another interesting factor is that Brahma is the most neglected of the trinity by far, as there are very few temples to Him and He is hardly mentioned compared to Vishnu and Shiva.  Saturn is similarly always the most neglected planet as well!  This is really because Saturn is misunderstood, and gets blamed for being the worst planet, but it is really because He has the most enemies from the standpoint of the lajjitaadi avasthas, and so therefore on average will be the weakest and most afflicted planet.  So then when his dasa or transits occur, we experience those weaknesses and difficulties.  But this is not because Saturn wants to wreck our life, it is because our Saturn is often not strong enough to deal with all the negative karma that we have and so during his periods there are difficulties.