Before we begin, let us recognize the transcendental truths that surround us and go on for infinity, beyond the covering of this Universe, which we may never
Before we begin, let us recognize the transcendental truths that surround us and go on for infinity, beyond the covering of this Universe, which we may never discover while in these bodies. Let us be centered on truth and devoted to truth. Let us be humble and sincere.
I offer my praise to the Supreme Divine Couple who is sometimes manifest as Sri Sita Rama. I offer my praises to their servant who is my personal guardian, Sri Hanumanji.
To begin, let us remember that since we small Souls actually do not know for sure what is really going on "out there" beyond the Universe, and since we really don't know for sure anything other than what we can see, let us remember that all opinions about the unknown remain only opinions and faith. And that is good, for it seems that that is exactly the way divinity wants it, otherwise divinity would do something more than what he and she already do. Since they're in control, we can assume that what is happening is very well and good indeed. In fact, it is ecstatic.
But back to the point: The conclusions that each of us has about divine matters and arguments are derived sometimes from our own speculative thinking, and sometimes from what we've heard from others, perhaps even from scriptures or spiritual leaders. Nevertheless, humility dictates that none of us be so boisterous as to think or project that our conclusion from our own processes of reception is THE ONE AND ONLY ONE that is right for everyone.
So, it is normal and good to humbly admit one's bias before speaking. If for no other reason than to help the listener more quickly realize where you're going with your arguments.
So, I would like to reveal my background briefly before speaking: I was introduced to formal and strict Vaishnava Hinduism at the age of 19. Vaishnavism is that branch of Hinduism, which chooses to worship Vishnu, the Supreme God, rather than worshipping separately any of his parts or expansions such as Siva or Durga Devi. Vaishnavas are personalists, which means they believe that there actually are spiritual Planets or "heaven" where there are actual spiritual people in spiritual bodies, and that this can be attained after many births when one is finally ready. This is in opposition to those who believe that the highest attainment is merging into one great, formless Soul known as "Brahman" or just "pure spirit". So, I'm a Vaishnava by faith. I have had my own visions, and done my own studies, and have my own realizations, which embellish what I write. But in overall conclusion I am one with the Vaishnava followers of the Sri Chaitanya branch of Bengali Vaishnavism. I lived for a long time with the monks at the Sri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math temple, which is near the border with Bangladesh but is in West Bengal on the outskirts of the city of Navadwip, the birthplace of the Great Avatar Sri Chaitanya. These monks are most adept at analyzing the nature of the Soul, and the science of Karma, Reincarnation, Free Will, Destiny, etc.
We are considering now the subject of Free Will verse Destiny. The Question is:, which one is correct? Do we have free will, are we creating our future? Or, is a predetermined path of destiny guiding our every step and thought as if we have no freedom at all? Or is it some sort of mix?
First I will give my conclusion, then the supporting understanding. The conclusion, which I ascribe to after much careful thought on the matter is that, which I feel was a central expression of the philosophy of Sri Chaitanya. Namely, that he described reality as "Achintya bed abeda Tattva", which means "that everything is inconceivably simultaneously one with yet different from divinity".
Therefore, I believe and more than belief, I can see it happening, that we are fully controlled, our thoughts, everything, is in one sense, fully controlled. I will explain how and why I believe that. But also, at the same time, due to the great wonderful magic of the source of our creation, we feel free will at every step, as if we are doing it. This is the wonder of creation!!!
Krishna says to Arjun in the Gita: "Although the Soul in the body thinks himself the doer of activities, actually he does nothing at all, but instead everything is carried out by my external energetic force known as the material nature".
So, I conclude, as per the Gita's version, that the Soul is merely a witness in the body. And that the lives we go through are a gradually improving building process of graded lessons, one after the other, much like school. The Soul is raised up through a predetermined or fully controlled lesson plan, but simultaneously always feels right at home and identifies with the lesson fully due to having really no other choice.
When you're in a body, you usually feel pretty much like it is you, and most conscious sentient beings don't take too kindly to someone ending their bodily existence early for them. So, we feel like we have free will, but it is really not that, we identify with our conditioning in the form of our body and all it is likes and dislikes, which are also automatically coming to us based on our birth, our race, family, nation, particular subculture experiences, schooling, exposure, and so on. It is all a part of the Universe and because we're plunked down into the middle of a body as a conscious witness, and our brain is hooked up to what feels like the control panel, we feel pretty much like pilots.
In fact our so-called "choices" are taking place within such a totally predetermined spectrum. We can't choose to date Martians, we can order food not on the menu, and we can't decide to not breath, we can't change our parental set in for another. A baby born with half a heart or no brain doesn't have much choice, does it? My daughter, burned badly when one years old doesn't have much choice about that event or the scars. The dead on the ground in Bosnia don't have much choice about remaining dead.
Since I program and use Vedic astrology daily, and since I've seen many charts and discussed peoples lives with them so much using the Vedic chart as a guide and reference, I have literally seen repeatedly that people are all following their Karma as specified by their Vedic chart. It is very rare that a chart will not match or appear to match what the person describes of their life. It is a most amazing and excellent science and enlightening tool.
So I see regularly that what people are doing was indicated and could have been known at the time of their birth. This includes people with serious mental disease and serious physical problems. So, if we say that in this life you are getting reactions to your past good and bad deeds and acting accordingly, then isn't it also true that that was the case in the last life. If we are constantly products of reactions to OUR OWN past deeds, then how can we create new good and bad deeds, if we are going to be limited by our past?
Some babies are born totally mentally retarded and live their whole life in an institution. What is the point? Is God punishing the Soul for being bad in a past life? What is God doing to the Souls in animal bodies? What's the point of those incarnations?
The atheists and scientists have a view, which cannot answer these basic questions in any way, which gives the mind and intelligence the loving, protective peace that is necessary for happiness. The Vedic theistic conception can and does however. So, which is right?
The Vedic conception is that the Soul, encased in bodies in this plane is a student of divine teachings by need and nature. The Karma is a lesson plan to refine our conceptions of ourselves, our needs, and the answers to our needs. Gradually divinity raises us in that we become purified. As Krishna says in the Gita "vasuDevam sarvam iti, sa mahatma sudurlabha", that the Soul is indeed rare in this world who, after many births, finally throws up his or her arms and surrenders to divinity in devotion. Until that point, we find that the Soul remains stubborn, trying this theory and that pursuit according to their own mental speculations. Thus the scientists and atheists are described by Krishna, and we see they are doing just what he said they will do. Then we find the devotees, the surrendered Souls, who attain real peace due to acceptance of divinity. Thus we see the purpose of this world, as taught in the Vedas, panning out in real life.
We see that we are fully controlled, yet we see that we are forced to identify with our lives as if we are responsible for our choices. So again the conclusion is that free will is a planned, cognitive part of our controlled lives. Part of the absolute control is that we are forced to face our lesson plan as if it is our own, we have to own it, even though it is also obviously fully planned and cast upon us by divine will or destiny. Thus the conclusion "Achintya bed abed", the "one yet different" philosophy, is the one that is most correct.
The astrologer has the unique position of being able to read the Karma of self and others. Thus the astrologer has the unique position of hopefully being at peace with the divine paradigm of simultaneous destiny and ownership or free will. It is natural that an astrologer will have some mental way of dealing with the mental impact upon themselves of this knowledge. So what is your way of dealing with it?
Some astrologers see Karma, or astrological reality, as mere "pushings" or "impetus" that can be avoided willingly if enough effort is made. Such astrologers are not totally theistic in their conceptions. They see themselves and others as free agents who can choose to avoid that, which is indicated. However, a deeper view is that the process of doing just that, must also be indicated in the chart. And then, it becomes more correctly read that:
"You will be pushed in a certain direction, but due to your other better planetary placements and fortunes, you will be able to go a different route than the lure. And this is part of your lesson plan for this life, that you will begin to make progress away from certain things, towards higher things."
Another example: Suppose a certain chart indicates sickness, and the astrologer gives a prescription of Mantra, stone wearing, or some other measure to appease the Planet and thus the indicated Karma. Suppose it works for the individual. Has the person outsmarted the Planets? The Vedic answer is a strong NO. It will be elsewhere indicated in the chart that the person meets the astrologer and gets upliftment. The act of carrying out the worship of the Mantra or wearing of prescribed gems is the requisite external action, which seems to effect the positive change, but the deeper reality is that the individual is merely being shown the power of divine controls and the power of divine remedies. You see, the purpose and result here is a raising of the Soul's conceptions of life. And that is always the Vedicly understood purpose of life. So, such happenings are not outdoing the Vedic planetary conceptions and divine theistic conceptions, but rather actually the fulfillment of them!
If one can understand thus the absolutely good and positive nature of the reality we are parts of, then one is seeing the Vedic way. If one has the opposite conception where we are free agents fighting for our own existence and fulfillment, then they are seeing only the lessons, and not the purpose behind the lessons.
In the end, all is ordained, and all is good. Even ignorance is good because it is leading, through the process of frustration, to a higher consciousness. But, if you are ready, and you accept, and you act directly towards divine connection, then it is understood that you are further along. And that is always a happy conclusion.
Purpose and Free Will
So then what is the purpose of everything? The purpose, after all the thinking and knowing for all of life, for the Earth, for the Universe, is to teach Souls what they are, to teach them how to be eternal living beings, angels, godlike, heavenly, eternal, living. So the greatest, simplest greeting, is "to life", or "forward in life", or "onward to life". Life, living, eternally, happily.
How is that possible? It is possible when every living being sees every other living being as equal to them. Then we will treat each other as ourselves and thus we will all live, none will die. We will all provide for each other. Everything will be in harmony. That is the aim of life, to teach us to come to the place of harmony with each other. All Souls as one, yet separate individuals functioning as one, together, caring for each other, loving each other as we love ourselves. Simple. And all the lessons we go thru, all the pain we go thru, is to teach us this. To bring us to this point. We may have to be brought to our knees if we are full of Ego, which is separative and harmful to others. If we are full of anger, frustration and pain, that shall have to be fixed. That is what life, temporary life, is for. Temporary life in these bodies is full of painful lessons, difficult things, and what those do is teach us what is true and what is right. A lot of life is simply designed to humiliate and humble us, to bring us to the point where we are cooperative, not combative.
There is the issue of free will versus the higher planned guided divined predetermined way. There is a debate, which we can have as to, which one is true. Do we have free will or is there destiny and fate? Are things predetermined?, which is it? We cannot fully answer that. Let Me assure you. And I say Me because not only am I a lifelong student of this, but I happen to be a leading programmer of astrology software and teacher of astrology, worldwide, and have been doing so for many years. And I have been heavily involved in this and I have a lot of experience with people's charts, and watching the heavens and watching people's lives, many people's lives, many charts and I have clearly seen that astrology definitely works. There is fate and there is destiny. From a birth chart so much of the life can be known and mapped and it does come true. So that is showing that there is destiny, fate and predeterminism.
On the other hand, we feel like we are full of free will. We feel that we have so much choice. So, which is it? It is both. The system of fate and destiny that we live in, the life we are made to live in by the higher, guiding, creationary source is such that the Soul inside you is looking out at the world through intelligence and mind., which in Sanskrit, the Hindu way, is called the buddhi (intelligence) from, which comes Buddha, and mann (which is mind). Intelligence is more about Vigyan (which is realized knowledge) and the mind is more about Gyann (which is just little points of fact). So the mind is running around looking at facts and things and just kind of on a rampage of seeing and delineating what things feel good in the now and what things don't. Like, sugar feels good on the tongue. The mind knows that and it says, "sugar, sugar, sugar". But That is not intelligent. That may not be good for you. So the mind may not be good for you. The mind needs to be controlled.
So in the greater system of destiny and fate there are these things, which we are being forced to work through. Our intelligence and our mind, and they are like mirrors through, which we see the world. We don't see the world directly, not for real. We see it through our allotted ability, granted to us through our granted level of intelligence and our granted clarity of mind. Some people are born smarter than others. They're born with greater gifts in those areas. And thus we all have to suffer, or enjoy, our allotted level of intelligence and mental capacity. And we are seeing through those. And through those, the Soul is seeing the fated, destined life for the 1st time at every moment. So every moment the Soul is seeing what is unfolding, what has been planned to unfold just as when you watch a play, it is very well known to the author of the play, the script writer, the actors, actresses – they know – but you don't. That is what makes it exciting. You sit in the audience. You watch it unfold and it is very exciting. You're watching it for the 1st time. That is how life is. And as you go through life, just as at the play, sometimes you may cry, sometimes you may laugh, as it unfolds you enjoy and you suffer. But the higher knowing when you are at the play is to know that there is a message behind the play. There was a reason it was written; it has something to teach you. So it is with life. It is unfolding under a plan; it is not random and just chaotic.
If that were so, then sometimes we would see people float off the Earth. Why not? We would see people just suddenly change into things we had no idea even existed. Why not? If it were chaos, and no controlling factors, we would see whatever! But we don't see whatever. We see everything functioning within very strict physics laws, universal laws, and not only that, if we are watchful, which many people are, we see that people are very much similar – going through very similar lessons. The fields like psychology, psychiatry, etc., they're based on studying patterns of human awareness and the unfoldment of awareness, lessons, etc. This is common knowledge, actually. You know these things deep in your heart – that as you sow, so shall you reap. You know that. You know that you're a Soul. You know that you ultimately will be nonviolent.
Anyway, clearly, before us, I always saw, is this problem, this dilemma, this challenge, this lesson, this test, obstacle course, which is: How do you judge and interpret things, when deciding course of thought and action or even desire, with what rule, with what idea of reality, with what paradigm, individually and as a society, by what principles are we being ruled, from within and without?
I am mainly interested in the resultant within, as the without is a result of the cumulative within and the accumulation of the past conclusions of our societies, i.e., we have baggage, as we have shared societal culture and results of that culture.
So I see flows of ideas, like say, the Anglo Saxons have traditional passed down cultural values and ways, as do the Arabs, the Hindus, etc. All people pass things down, and all individuals are built by what they see around them, constantly evolving it is, so are they, so are we, the world, the humans, forward in time, possibly "up" or "forward" in realization as well, though that is really a relative judgment, which we have no right to be sure of, so actually, it is MOST SANE to PRESUME that it is perfect, thus both up and forward for it completely seems to be, in control of us utterly, that is, reality, what IS, is in control of us, we are in what IS not that we control what is.
If we control it then I want appointments YESTERDAY with the following people:
The guy who controls the date of my death
...any future nuclear war
...whether fanatical Muslims have changes of hearts anytime soon
...whether I will get prostate Cancer
you get the idea.
"Meteor Strike You Dinosaur!"
That is my favorite saying!
You see, we do not have control. No, we PATHETICALLY do not have control. It is pathetic. If you're going to cry and judge reality that way. It is awful terrible horrible but we are in something that has control over our lives as humans, over our bodies, and we are all doomed, physically speaking. DOOMED! And you know it. I know it. You know it.
Aha, are we? Well, it looks like yes, our bodies are. And you know what; I almost feel ridiculous trying to be a part of changing that. I really do. You know, if dying was good enough for everyone before me, so be it, and it is good enough for me too. I'm not different from all those good people; let’s see, actually, from ALL PEOPLE, good and people. Add animals, and Planets, stars, galaxies, Universes, yeah, it seems EVERYTHING burst, burns, dies, etc.
I spent my life trying to understand why it ends and what that means. Some people really do, just that. But I have given up caring. For me it is the most interesting part of our life. I have done most of the "fun stuff" the world has to offer, from Disneyland and traveling in India. So that leaves researching the meaning of life! Seriously though, for me it was from a deep within feeling that I got it from day one, and it was my duty to always represent it, learn more about it, teach it, stand up for it, explain it, research it, etc. It is always been an absolute and total addiction. Unbeknownst to almost everyone around me almost my whole life, I was background checking everything against what I knew was my future, which was to speak like this. I just ignored tons of things in life because they did not matter given this fact. I had to. I had to constantly maintain a connection with divinity. That is not easy. You have to hold the thought. It is not autopilot. Very often it takes careful thinking. And it is so easy to blow it, to cross the lines you can see yourself clearly. The dichotomy between body and senses, and Soul and intelligence, is intense. And so, in the end, all you know, from galaxy on down to country, to culture, race, species, Planet, it is all blown away. Your continent is about as resistant to a supernova a tissue is to a bullet. Or less. In other words, there is nothing you know, that will remain, eventually. Said another way, eventually, everything you know, will not be, at all. AT all. Not AT ALL. No America, No Jesus, No Galaxy, No Earth, And No Nothing We Know.
There may have been previous creations, and great species and civilizations that are not the particles you are made of... that is completely possible in astronomy and physics. And reality. Those are reality. So that is reality. Your body may contain pieces of Cleopatra, or Hitler, for example. I mean, it is possible that Hitler's last breath has been breathed by everyone by now, or at least some atoms of it. It is good to share. So now, here we are witnessing all this, and it is going to be so blown away, eventually. And before then, you get to die off the body you're in, witness it decay slowly, get old, diseased, and die. That is what lies ahead for you. If you're real young, there are some intermittent years labels "your twenties or thirties" during, which you will ignore what is coming so effectively you will have fun.
As we go forward from this time, as always, we will more and more, come to the point where our religions and our knowledge, collectively, individually, will bring us together, not apart. At times, in history, we have had philosophies and religions, which have taught us to separate from one another, to hate one another, to fight one another, etc. And sometimes rightly so, sadly, in order for one group to progress had to get away from another group that did not want to progress. And figuring that all out That is judgment, which we can do individually, collectively – but ultimately, I'm speaking ultimately where we are headed, is an oneness, though retaining individuality. You see we are individuals but we are all linked. So we are one, yet separated. So the aim of life is to learn how, though separated, to act as one – or to know where each applies; where to be individuals and give in an individual way, and where to see the oneness and share as one; to learn exactly how to behave. And the way this is done is each individual has to be taught to be an angel. Each individual has to be taught how to be very divine, how to be excellent. And that is what Karma and lifetimes are doing to us. Individually, we each have a unique Karmic path, forever – never does it repeat exactly. We are truly individuals. And we are, as an individual, being raised by the Universe through lifetimes to be godlike, to be an angel. I just use that word because it is something we understand, at least in the west. At least the Judeo, Christian, Islamic type religions understand this word, Angel. In India it would be, perhaps you'd say to become a devta – or something like that, to become like a gandharva – something, a higher being, a being of light, of immense knowledge, a sage, a rishi, but eternal. You could say in India perhaps, Nichtiamukta, to become Nichtiamukta instead of Nichtiabata. To become eternally liberated instead of eternally bound. So, Karma, lifetimes, and reincarnation – these things are all working together simply to raise the Souls to higher consciousness. That is what life is for. That is what's going on. You might think that what is going on is that you're earning money to buy things you want, to have the life you want; to acquire real estate and vehicles and power, and savings, a good retirement, a good vacation – whatever it is that you focus on – that may be occupying your mind. And your consciousness may be all wrapped up in those things of your current life, the material side of your current life – but the truth is that there will be much frustration and ultimately there will be aging, diseases and death, and all these things are there simply to teach. This place is nothing but a huge school. And just like the dinosaurs, everything here gets wiped out. All things must pass, to death and beyond. This is the material world. We are on Earth, a ball of dirt, essentially. A ball of dust, a lot of matter – just matter, energy. We are living beings stuck in energy bodies on an energy Planet. That energy we call matter – and all of that is being guided by very precise laws, and we are forced to go along with those laws, and they are raising us – we are complying. We have a lot of objection inside us – we are objecting constantly, individually, to our lives. That is frustration, anger, depression, hopelessness, fear – those are all forms of objecting and fearing what we don't know, what we can't control. It hurts. Spiritual life is the answer for that. And That is what we are being brought to, is spiritual vision – it is the only answer. To raise our minds, to control our minds force them to see the truth, to live in the truth, to think the truth, to feel the truth, to share the truth, which is that we are higher than this, we are higher and greater than our fears of material unmanifestation – death. We are higher than that. We are higher than just being lusty creatures full of anxiety and anger and desperation. We are higher than that.
As living beings, we are privileged to have great knowing, great consciousness, great ability to control our minds and our senses and our bodies, and to be in the light of our spiritual knowledge. And the more we do that, the more we can share that with each other. The future for everyone, ultimately, is spiritual life. There is no other future to hope for, or to go forward towards. Material manifestation has its limitations. And even if it is extremely great, it is made so by the consciousness of living beings. We do try to manifest our spirituality in matter, and we are successful to a great degree. Like the Internet is our desire to share with each other, to know each other, to talk to each other. Communicate –, which is life reaching out to life. Life is born from life and life likes life, wants to share with itself. That is spirit. The Internet is a vehicle for spiritual growth, ultimately – as is everything else.
Spiritual life is the aim of life, and it is where we're going. It is where we are being forced to go. But as long as we reject it, that is how long we suffer. So this is the game. The beginning, the end, the all. Spiritual life.
Overview of the Vedic Astrological Process
First of all I offer my praises to Sri Lakshmi Narayana Vishnu, the Supreme Couple, and to all their associates and servants in both worlds. I offer my respects to the dear reader and beg their kinds thought upon this humble author.
The main book from, which Jyotish (Vedic Astrology , "the science of light") comes is the "Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra". Translated that means "the great scripture of astrology by Parashara Muni". Parashara was a great sage who lived roughly around 5,000 years ago. His great son, Veda Vyasadeva, wrote down most of the Vedic scriptures for the 1st time, bringing them from oral to written tradition. In any case, Parashara wrote down the astrological science, which prior to 5000 years ago was an orally passed science given by Brahma to the 1st created beings of this universal cycle.
You can purchase English translations of the Parashara Hora Shastra from JDR Ventures
918 Douglas Dr., Wooster, OH 44691, 216,263,1308. Tell them Das Goravani referred you please if you call or write.
The Parashara Hora Shastra is a large book, 2 volumes each roughly 2 inches thick. However, it is undoubtedly the most exhaustive compendium of the science of Jyotish. From this book comes the main directives on how to practice Jyotish. In this volume Parashara states what I have repeated, namely that this science comes from Vishnu to Brahma, and then down from there, it was therefore not created or discovered or found while meditating. It was handed down through disciplic succession. In this scripture, we are advised to be pure and godly in order to receive this science properly, and to not pass it on to those who are not such. Of course, these days we are freely distributing this more as a tool to help direct the Western culture towards the Vedic direction. We trust our guardians seen and unseen will be pleased with our efforts due to the motive behind them.
The Parashara Hora Scripture teaches us how to construct the main chart and the divisional or harmonic charts. There are a total of 16 charts for a person, the main one being called the "Rashi Chart", which means the basic chart of the Planets and Signs they are in with the rising Sign noted. Of great importance also is the primary harmonic chart, which is called the "Navamsha Chart", which simply means the "chart made by dividing each Sign into 9 parts". There is a certain way to construct the divisional charts and this method is revealed in the book. All Jyotish software programs, including the one I've created, construct these charts for you.
Of also great importance is the Bhava Chakra, also known as Chalit Chakra, and these names mean "chart of Houses". In Vedic astrology, we generally use the whole Signs as the Houses. Whatever Sign was rising, that whole Sign becomes the 1st House, no matter where in the Sign the rising angle actually falls. The next Sign becomes the 2nd House, and so on up to 12 Houses. It is amazing how well this works despite it is simplistic sounding nature.
In Jyotish we use the real Zodiac, known to Western astrologers often as the "sidereal Zodiac". In other words, the actual stars in the Zodiac are used, not the tropical Zodiac, which is now roughly 23º off from the actual stars that make the Signs.
So the main chart we use is the actual Signs, where the rising Sign becomes the 1st House, the next Sign becomes the second House, and therefore whatever Signs the Planets were actually in at the time of the nativity determines therefore what House they are in.
For example, at the time of my birth Aries was rising at about 7º. Therefore, all of Aries becomes my 1st House in the main chart, known as my "Rashi Chart". Therefore Taurus is my second House, Gemini my third, and so on. Since the Sun and Mercury were in Taurus, they are automatically in my second House. So, this is very simple and straightforward.
The harmonic charts, the other 15 charts that is, are constructed following various divinely revealed patters of dividing the Signs into small parts, finding where the Planets sit in these divisions, and thereby reassigning them to other Signs. Thus, these additional charts take shape through specified patters. Thus, a Planet might be in Sagittarius in the 9th House in your main chart, but in Gemini in the 1st House in the Navamsha, or 9,fold divisional chart. The Vedic astrologer takes that additional placement into consideration before pronouncing judgment on the Planet in the main chart. So, there is some blending of placements, which goes on in the mind of the astrologer before he speaks.
After constructing the charts according to Parashara's instructions, the Vedic astrologer, or his computer program, constructs the "Dashas". These are a fundamental part of Vedic astrology, which is immediately attractive to Western astrologers because it is the 1st and primary ingredient of the predictive power of Vedic astrology.
By the way, when pronouncing Sanskrit words, never say the "a" as we do in the word "Saturn". There is no such sound in Indian languages. Always say the "a" as in "saw". Therefore, the Dashas, which refers to a list of ruling planetary periods governing distinct periods of our lives, is pronounced "daw-shaws", though don't make it too extreme in pronunciation. Just don't make the "a" sound midwestern or twangy.
There are a number of Dasha systems taught in the Parashara Scripture as well as in other major works. However, by far and away the leading system both in accuracy and widespread use is the Vimshottari Dasha system, which simply means "the one that adds up to 120 years".
This Dasha system is what most astrologers use. The way a Dasha system works is that it tells you how to construct a list of dated life periods and know, which Planets in a particular horoscope will govern each period. Thus, you know if you are currently being ruled primarily by your Jupiter, or Saturn, etc. And beyond that, the Dashas have levels. Thus, you always know that you are in "Sun, Jupiter, Mercury", or you might be in the period of "South Node, Mars, and Venus". All combinations are possible, but the science of calculating these periods is divinely given, to be exactly followed, and produces wonderful results.
After constructing the charts and Dashas, most astrologers have what they need. There are many other things and parts of Vedic astrology, but these 2, charts and Dashas, are the predominant parts. A good astrologer always knows the current transits of the Planets and thus can take such into consideration at any time while reading charts. Additionally, there are complex strength calculations and other various charts and diagrams, which help the Vedic astrologer to understand the subtleties of a chart. But here we will stick to focusing on the main charts and Dashas.
With the Rashi, Navamsha, Bhava Charts and the Dashas listing of dates and periods in front of them, the Vedic astrologer is ready to study and read the chart. In Vedic astrology, the 1st directive is to never forget the nature of a persons rising Sign, or in other words, their 1st House, all influences upon that House and it is lord, and similarly never forget the Moon, it is House, it is Sign, and all influences upon it. These two sensitive points, the Ascendant (known as the Lagna, pronounced like "lug,nut" without the 't' on the end), and the Moon must be though of as filters for everything in the chart. These two points are the essential shapers of the personality, the final filters of everything else in the chart. So, before reading the results of another one of the Planets, the astrologer should try to consider how the particular rising and Moon Sign combo in the chart would choose to express the effects that the other Planet is indicating.
Of course, the Sun is also an important sensitive point, but actually it comes third. The Moon rules the mind, and the mind is the guide in life. So, we tend to reflect our Moon Signs more than our Sun Signs. The Ascendant shapes the body and the Karma, and the Sun represents the inner self on a very subtle level, and also the life force or tendencies of the body. But when dealing with a person, you deal more with their mind than these other things.
So, the Vedic astrologer studies the chart and arrives at a mental overview of the person. Then, in order to predict current, future, or past events in the life, he or she looks at the Dasha listing. Here's a small part of the Dasha listing for the current period from my chart:
Maj Min Sub From To Age
Saturn Ketu Jupiter 11/26/92 01/18/93 32
Saturn Ketu Saturn 01/19/93 03/23/93 32
Saturn Ketu Mercury 03/24/93 05/19/93 32
Saturn Venus Venus 05/20/93 11/28/93 33
Saturn Venus Sun 11/29/93 01/25/94 33
Saturn Venus Moon 01/26/94 05/01/94 33
Saturn Venus Mars 05/02/94 07/07/94 33
Saturn Venus Rahu 07/08/94 12/28/94 34
Saturn Venus Jupiter 12/29/94 05/31/95 34
Saturn Venus Saturn 06/01/95 12/01/95 35
Saturn Venus Mercury 12/02/95 05/13/96 35
Saturn Venus Ketu 05/14/96 07/19/96 36
Saturn Sun Sun 07/20/96 08/05/96 36
Saturn Sun Moon 08/06/96 09/03/96 36
Saturn Sun Mars 09/04/96 09/23/96 36
Looking at the list, here is what you're being shown:
Maj: This stands for "major period". It is the primary ruling Planet at the time. The major periods are long. For the 9 Planets used in Jyotish the combined major periods add up to 120 years. I'm in Saturn major, which lasts for 19 years. The major period is known as the "Mahan Dasha Pati" or "lord of the major period".
Min: This is the 1st sub period, known as the minor period, and in Sanskrit as the "Bhukti pat" or sub period lord. In every major period, all 9 Planets have a minor period. The Planets always follow each other in the same pattern. So as you can see, I am in Saturn,Venus, and Saturn
Sub: This is the "Antar Dasha", which means the sub, sub period, or "third level" period. There are many ways to refer to these levels. You can actually take it further, and add fourth and fifth levels.
From: The date this particular 3rd,level period began.
To: The date this three level period will end.
Age: My age at the time it begins.
For now I'm going to skip the math of constructing Dashas. If you think I should give it, send me a note. If I get a couple or so such notes, I'll post it next. Otherwise, it is given already in so many books and all programs do it for you as well, including mine, from, which I snipped the above text.
Anyway, I'm in "Saturn, Venus, and Saturn". These are the Planets ruling the few months of my life in, which I cam currently living. Then comes Saturn,Venus, Mercury, and so on. The Bhukti, or second level Lord, switches from Venus to Sun on July 20, 1996. Up until then Venus is the 2nd level lord, known as the "Bhukti". An Indian astrologer would refer to my current period as "Shani Mahan Dasha, Shukra Bhukti, and Shani Anta Dasha". That simply means the same thing as saying "you're in the period of Saturn, Venus, Saturn".
So what does this do to me, what does it indicate? Well, to answer that, you look to these Planets in my chart. Whatever they indicate is what is going to happen. It is that simple really. But, it is a real good idea to take into consideration what Dashas, at least the major Dashas, the person has gone through so far in life. This is important because the current effects are going to happen ON TOP OF who the person already has become. Also, look at current transits of the slow Planets, they are important.
In my chart, I have Saturn in the 9th in Sagittarius with it is lord Jupiter there also, and Venus is alone in the Ascendant Sign Aries. Saturn and Venus are in an EXACT trine from each other (within seconds).
So, what would you predict for Venus in Aries in the 1st , and Saturn in Sagittarius in the ninth, knowing that I began life and lived through about 10 years of Rahu (North Node) major Dasha, then the entire Jupiter Major Period, and now am about halfway through Saturn Major? You have to take into consideration what I've been through before speaking about my present.
Forgetting Rahu and my childhood for now, look at Jupiter, knowing that I went through that major period from 9 years old to 25 years old and that I'm now 35. So, all of my teens and early 20's were spent in Jupiter major, and Jupiter is in it is own Sign Sagittarius in the 9th House.
You must look at the Houses that a Planet lords over, the Sign it is in, the aspects upon it, it is placement in at least the Navamsha harmonic chart, the Star or Nakshatra it is under, the lord and sub lord of that Nakshatra (not yet explained I realize), and some other things, before actually pronouncing predictions. But of course, we have to start simply to learn anything. So, to finish this lesson, let us SIMPLY examine my situation. I am going to stick to just a couple things per Planet and Sign and House to keep it really simple.
OK, to talk about the present, lets put it in past context. I've gone through Jupiter major, Jupiter is in the 9th House of religion and it is the religious leader Planet. Jupiter is very strong being in a Sign it owns, and in a House it really likes (according to Vedic astrology, Jupiter has a natural affinity for the 9th House). So, during Jupiter major we would expect this person (me that is) to be very religious in a formal way (because Jupiter is rather a conservative or formal personality). Well, is this true?
Yes. I joined the Catholic seminary while in High School and halfway through college became a Hindu convert and monk. I ran temples, travelled all over the world working on behalf of my religious beliefs and gave up virtually everything else in my life in favor of this one part of my life. It was total, very austere, and very intense.
OK, then comes 1985 and Saturn Major begins. It is also in the 9th House, and it is said in the Jyotish classics that Saturn in the 9th House as lord of the 10th and 11th Houses in my case (Aries Ascendant) somewhat spoils one's religion and turns it instead to mysticism.
Well, is this true? Yes. In 1985 I finally left living in temples once and for all, moved back to America, got a job, began raising children and got quite reabsorbed back into normal family American life. I never have to this day given up my faith, but it has sure changed and become much less formal and external. I am not connected to any group, have no living spiritual master, as I did through Jupiter major, and in terms of mysticism, well, astrology would fall into that category, and that has come during Saturn major.
So, this is a brief overview of how my life has tended to follow my Dasha periods. When you go into the 2nd and 3rd level periods you can nail down events to specific months rather easily.
This is an exciting part of Vedic astrology. I hope you're now excited to study this aspect further. We shall continue with it in the next lessons.