In Vedic Astrology there is a thing called the “Atmakaraka”. The word “Atma” means “self” and “karaka” means “producer”. So the Atmakaraka planet is the planet that “produces” the “Self” in a sense. It is an important factor that represents the Native in the chart, like the Ascendant and its Lord, and without considering it we simply cannot see all of the objective experiences a person will go through in their life. The Ascendant and the placement of its lord and all the details of the Rashi chart and the other fifteen vargas are definitely important, and are not to be discounted. Without the Atmakaraka and its placement in the Navamsa however, we will certainly miss a lot of things about the nature of who a person really is. And this would be logical if it is the “Self-Producer” as its name claims it to be.
The Atmakaraka planet can only be one of the seven visible planets that we can see with the naked eye (not counting Rahu, Ketu, or the outer planets) and cannot be the Lagna (rising sign) point either. So every person has either Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, or Saturn as their Atmakaraka planet. Whichever of these planets has the highest degrees in any sign in the rashi chart is the Atmakaraka planet. This planet is like a stamp for the individual concerned, and marks the life of the native with this planet’s qualities. For example, if Venus is the planet with the highest degrees in the chart, Venus is the atmakaraka planet, and the native will have a career and path in life that is marked by the significations of Venus. The native with this placement may be an entertainer of some sort, they may be a massage therapist, they may be a nurse, or even a teacher, all Venusian career paths. To determine the specific one takes more work, but this alone is a big help to seeing the nature of a person.
Another big step to see the experiences and the career path/dharma a person may have, is to look at where this same planet falls in the navamsa chart. The sign that this planet falls in is called the “Swamsha”. (It is also called the Karakamsa, but I prefer the term Swamsha as it seems more in line with the Upadesa Sutras of Jaimini.)
This sign is arguably as important as the rising sign for determining the objective karmas that one will go through! But it is not given nearly the importance as the rising sign, possibly because it takes a lot more time and study to appreciate and calculate this correctly. Western Astrology has lost its memory of vargas for the most part, and does not even have this technique unfortunately. This is a powerful technique. It takes time and tons and tons of research and practice to learn to utilize it fully though, which is the only reason I feel okay with sharing it here on the internet. Otherwise it would just be too irresponsible to share such a powerful thing that could be used negatively for personal gain. This may also be why the Upadesa Sutras of Jaimini are written in a very cryptic and coded fashion, so as to not easily reveal this information to the superficial student.
Here are a few things worth mentioning when the Atmakaraka falls in one of these signs in the Navamsa :
Aries: With an Aries swamsha, the native will often have a reoccurring theme in their life of needing to “not sweating the small stuff”. A theme of having to continuously ignore the details and small hangups in life in favor of the big picture ideals and inspirations that serve as the real fuel for the Aries fire. They must devote themselves to whatever bigger sense of purpose they may have deep down, and pursue that, while ignoring much of the details, in order to be the ideal Aries individual and fulfill their true dharma. These types often get frustrated easily with the smaller and more detail oriented problems that must be patiently dealt with in life. They get hung up on the tedious details, and yet the more attention they put on them, the more they seem to notice more small problems to be fixed. Aries will need to learn to stop focusing there, and expand their viewpoint or to just “focus on the big picture in life” as we say in common speak.
Taurus: The Atmakaraka falling in the Navamsa of Taurus gives a major emphasis throughout life on material stability. It gives a focus on generating the resources needed to provide for oneself and the others which one is responsible for. This indicates one to have a path of learning to make good use of the natural resources of the earth as well as one’s own resources. Learning to be a productive person, with good self worth, good work ethic is also represented by Taurus. Those with an afflicted Taurus swamsha will often not use their resources wisely, and may even be the type of person to exploit the Earth’s natural resources for personal gain. A strong Taurus swamsha however, will be the opposite and will work in harmony with nature as much as possible while they provide for themselves and for others. With this swamsha, one will often have careers that work with the earth or deal with the production of necessary resources such as food, land, or housing.
Gemini: When the atmakaraka is placed in Gemini in the navamsa, there is a lot of karma being worked out with one’s intellectual development. Gemini is about cognition, and understanding. Gemini deals with the subjective intellectual ideas and concepts we have about life and how they are being met with the outside world and reality. A strong Gemini swamsha has healthy intellectual concepts which enable them to relate and function harmoniously in the world. An afflicted Gemini swamsha struggles with this, and its concepts and intellectual ideas about how life works dont get easily validated by the outer world. You may notice people who are so frustrated in life, but it is really because of their own ideas about how things should be. They go through life choosing to see things a certain way and so each time life isnt actually the way they think it should be, they are frustrated or confused or annoyed. Gemini therefore can be a very frustrated sign at times. Gemini can actually have such strong mental concepts, that when they arent being realized in the world, the irritation or frustration can be seen physically on the skin or through one’s weight changing. This is why Gemini is a sign of skin problems and weight fluctuations.
Cancer: When the atmakaraka is in Cancer in the Navamsa, one is said to be a Cancer Swamsha. The Cancer swamsha is a native who is developing in the emotional and feeling side of life. They will often live in foreign lands or travel abroad at least once in their life. They may have issues with “freezing up” or being frigid in a sense, in life. Hence the need to develop healthy emotional states. Cancer is ruled by the Moon, the most adaptable planet. These natives must follow suit and learn to be adaptable in life, which is also why they often end up living abroad. Living in a foreign land forces one to be adaptable because there inevitably are rules and conducts that are the not the way one is used to in their homeland but must abide by anyway.
Leo: The Leo swamsha is focusing on developing its capacity for responsibility and leadership. Leo is about running the kingdom in the most virtuous and responsible way. It is really not a sign of enjoying life on planet earth like so many people seem to think. It is a sign of duty and dharma. Whether the native is the leader of a country or just runs a convenience store, either way they must run their kingdom with the same degree of virtue and duty and responsibility. That is the goal of the Leo swamsha. The Leo swamsha will often have some important karmic emphasis on their own territory, their own kingdom in a sense. In the same way as Cancer may live in a foreign land or travel a lot, the Leo swamsha will focus on its own country and its own territory or kingdom that it is responsible for. Also, Leo swamshas can sometimes have a dharma that involves actual wild beasts of prey like lions or sharks somehow being involved in their life. Or at particular moments in their life, when an important moment of leadership is about to come up, a wild beast of prey perhaps graces them at that moment as if to inspire the native towards their dharma. It is this sort of thing that the Leo swamsha will experience in their path in life.
Virgo: The Atmakaraka in Virgo navamsa can be very similar to Gemini swamsha as explained above, but with an added emphasis on digestion issues. Virgo swamsha basically must learn to digest all of life, the good and the bad. It must learn to “take it all in”, and not be so fastidious with its mental concepts (again like Gemini) about what it likes and doesn’t like, and what is right and wrong, etc. Virgo is sort of the sign of solving problems and so these people tend to be great at that, but are almost too geared towards problem solving, and so they look for problems, and naturally see them everywhere and there seems to be no end in sight and so the fragile virgo gets frustrated and irritated by this. It cant “digest” life, in a sense. Virgo is where the planet that rules the digestive system, Venus, is fallen. Again, showing that Virgo doesnt go with the flow easily, and must learn to. Venus represents sexual intercourse and so in many ways Venus falling in virgo shows difficulty for the Virgo in having intercourse with the world and with life itself if that makes any sense. The main remedy for this and the Gemini Swamsha is developing a type of spiritualized consciousness that can see everything as coming from the same Source. In the Vedic philosophy, the native must learn to see everything as Vishnu. The Thief is Vishnu, the Chief is Vishnu, the Mother is Vishnu, the Lover is Vishnu. All is Vishnu. The afflicted Virgo may struggle with this, but with practice, if they can learn to see all as Vishnu then eventually they start digesting life much more easily and start being happier and more even-minded. Their health will actually improve as well oftentimes. Their skin and digestion will improve as they stop creating so much inner friction with every problem they see. Once one sees that Vishnu is the doer of all things, then one just starts to relax more into life as a whole and true understanding can then begin to dawn in the native.
This post is getting a bit long so I will make a separate one for the next 6 signs, Libra through Pisces. Look at some charts of friends you know and see if any of these indications correlate. These significations are also true if someone has their rising sign or sun in one of these signs, but not as significantly I have found. But take note of the sign that the atmakaraka goes to in the Rashi as well as the Shastiamsa as well, those signs will also have an emphasis in a person’s life. The Navamsa is the most important one though, and that is the only one that is called the Swamsha*.
*Sanskrit– “Swa”- Self or Soul. “Amsha”- division, meaning a sign in this context. So Swamsha means the Sign of one’s Self or Soul.