One of the first things jyotishes learn in astrology is the kalapurusha kundali which has mesha rising in the lagna and the rest of the signs arranged in the remaining houses. Kalapurusha is Time-personified, TIME itself viewed as a human being. I have always taken it to represent the horoscope of all human beings, in other words a generic horoscope of the human race!
As far as I know, only human beings are concerned about or interested in astrology, hence in the rest of the article I would avoid the oxymoron term: Human Karma, and simply call it Karma! The remaining fauna and flora are perhaps entirely devoid of karma because their fate is the responsibility of The Creator and those built in the image of the CREATOR!
I invite you to take this mental journey with me. Let us try and match attributes of the planetary rulers and the houses in this aries-oriented kala-purusha kundali and who knows, some interesting concordances might emerge.
Almost sans exceptions for most of earth-dwellers, to achieve success in material spheres be it money or fame or in spiritual spheres too, hard work and persistence and focused application of oneself is an absolute requirement. Initiative is certainly important as also is the willingness to assume responsibilities and taking risks. Physical and mental endurance are essential attributes. Remaining blase and waiting for blessings to drop in ones lap is generally not a good strategy, or sometimes is not even an option. Little wonder that energetic mars rules the FIRST house in the kala-purusha’s horoscope (KPH hereafter) through its fiery, action-oriented sign, Aries.
Venus represents LOVE in its many shades including true love, unconditional love, selfish love, all kinds of love. Some of us love our families, our acquisitions, our knowledge, even ourselves. Our personal possessions that we want to last forever and grow are ruled in the KPH by the fixed, earthy sign of Venus – vrishabha, in the SECOND house of the KPH.
Communication and logic as well as efforts are the attributes of the third house. Through its airy sign mithuna, budha or mercury gets the portfolio of the THIRD house in KPH. Unlike the emergency-type response that mars is proficient at, mercury is fast at thinking on its feet. The mental agility is never unidirectional and involves strategy: knowing when to push forward, when to stay put and when to step back! Mercury is good at that, being the planet that is probably literally more often moving forward and retrogressing even in its astronomical journey up in the visible sky from our geocentric perspective. The first house deals more with physical efforts, endurance, qualities that are possessed best by mars, but the third house indicates efforts that are of a mental nature. Initiative, careful planning and strategy basically are more the forte of mercury who gets to be the ambassador of the third house. Some astrologers look at the 3rd for communication, travels, restlessness, all of which are mercury’s portfolio. The glove fits!
From inner peace comes our sense of integrity and strength of character and this we learn from our first home and the second home in this lifetime. Our first home is inside our mother’s womb. Our second home is the home where our first few years were spent, usually the home of our parents. Our nurturing, the sense of belonging, of being cared and our true sense of self-confidence comes from this house. Little wonder that we find that the FOURTH house in KPH is ruled by moon, the matrukaraka. In most cases, though fathers may give us a lot of brain food, much of our cultural, instinctive and emotional formation can be attributed to our mother, regardless of our gender, or culture and location!
The primary domain of the FIFTH house deals with children and creativity. Having the natural karaka for father, sun, rule over the fifth house in the KPH does make one halt and take notice. In fact if the fifth and ninth could be switched around so that sun became the ruler of the 9th and Jupiter the ruler of the 5th their respective karakattwas would fit the bill perfectly! However, that is not the case in the Kala-purusha kundali. Creative energy comes from an energy Source that is higher than us, and self-sustaining. The Sun represents that with its karakattwa being associated with the SOUL. While hard effort is required, creativity of the highest order, as seen in Beethoven or Mozart requires Heavenly blessings.
Mercury comes back again for a second term when we arrive at the SIXTH house. This house has three attributes associated with it clearly and almost unequivocally: service, sickness and maternal uncle. I find it very interesting that mercury which is undeniably an intellectual and information-type planet (Hermes the messenger bringing and taking back information being the patron saint of communication, including the modern information technology) is also associated with effort, service and work, in the third house of purushartha and now again in the sixth. It is also an important upachaya bhava and again the growth aspect of service and sickness as the human population ages (and so does Kalapurusha!) makes sense. Most of the serving, and service these days is really about information management, no matter which vocation, or profession one is in. Truly mercury has its fingers and both thumbs in all pies, metaphorically speaking and our reliance on its child, Internet, in all walks of life is not a random happenstance. It is true that there are a few services that correspond more to Saturn still, but even those are managed by mercury in many ways.
Our relationships, at work, at home may have a strong component of communication and mercury which rules the 9th and 12th houses from the seventh house may have an interesting role to play in keeping the 7th house happy and friendly! But seriously, these relationships are based and derive strength from emotions and feelings! The superficial envelop in a business relationship may be about logic, gains and tangible material goals, but players and consultants tell us that in many cases it is often about emotional connectivity. The first impressions! We now hear of terms like, Emotional Intelligence and organization and beautification and streamlining. All of these terms and labels go with Venus that believes in rounding off any jagged edges, and though earlier depicted as the glue that bonds souls is probably more the lubricant that allows souls to coexist – in personal lives, in business, in … pretty much everywhere! Venus gets the SEVENTH house. I need not go into the obvious links between LOVE, Venus, seventh and 2nd house, I am sure!
Leaving the moon aside for a second given its special status vis-a-vis the earth, our home planet is flanked by mars and Venus. This of course is obvious and depicted in the assignment of ruler-ship which is based on the orbital placements in the solar system.
With sun in the center of our solar system, and the moon next to it, the other orbits and rulerships line up nicely. Why is the moon placed next to sun in this scheme? Because if you think about it, what we call as the astrological sun is really a projection of the EARTH. Sun is not going through the 12 signs each year, it is the earth that moves and creates the illusion of the sun moving through the signs! And the moon is the nearest significant real estate next to the earth!
With the EIGHTH house, mars again comes to the helm in the KPH. The 8th is the hidden house, the house of research, and the house of litigation. Scorpio has all of these attributes and its persona spans from skepticism all the way to extreme paranoia. The negative manifestation of mistrust lands us into courts, to fight for what we believe is our due and the positive manifestation leads to tirelessly searching, exploring and researching. All of these require the energy of mars. Whereas the fiery mobility of mars gets expressed in the fiery, movable aries, vrischika being a fixed and watery sign deals more with the mental and fluid energy of mars and also persistence. In some ways it has some qualities of Saturn, which is one of the karakas of this house. Saturn is named the ayushkarka or executor of longevity. However, it rules over death and not life. The 8th house indicates vitality or life energy which will relate more naturally to mars. The 8th also represents the home of the enormous quantum of energy, the kundalini, the explosive steam that ties in well with the fixed, water of martian Scorpio: Kundalini at rest but ready to pounce forth and upwards like a volcano that has come alive. Sun has also been associated with physical vitality and it rules the 10th from the 8th in the KPH. This is not random or inconsequential, in my thinking. The tenth house represents the highest expression for any house, the maxima and having the inherent source of vitality, sun ruling the 10th from 8th is an ideal support for longevity – the portfolio of the 8th.
Jupiter is known to represent the highest form of knowledge, as well as of dharma, morals and is a teacher par none. The dwiswabhav, fire of dhanu or Sagittarius in the NINTH house of KPH does not require a lot of explanations to see the appropriate place of the 9th rashi in the realm of human experience, the earthly tour for which jyotish has been serving as the tour book for aeons. The 9th rules over the teacher, dharma, morals, higher education and one’s father. Interestingly, Parashara has also referred to the 9th and 10th houses in a horoscope as indicative of one’s father. In the absence of detailed explanations which most jyotish classics tend to shy away from – one would have to try and connect the dots by themselves.
Saturn rules over the TENTH and ELEVENTH houses in the KPH. Saturn is known as a taskmaster, one who disciplines and introduces us to humility and limitations, and through those gives the human soul opportunities to make itself known better to the self that is living through the life plan, in other words, us! While some individuals may be so lucky as to live charmed lives with a silver or golden spoon in their mouths all through their lives, most others generally have to work fairly hard to make a living and have to experience hardships, self-sacrifice and pain and difficulties in many ways. Short-cuts and possessive greed often lead to punishment while on the other hand sharing and service to others elevates us. All very saturnine. Without Saturn, life would be very enjoyable but completely devoid of meaning and not memorable. It would be a lifetime wasted, if we think about it.
Tripods or trines impart stability to a structure. The trines in a horoscope, are the 1st, 5th and 9th houses. These have been interpreted in different ways: body-mind-soul, today-tomorrow-yesterday, self-son-father. Mars, sun and Jupiter are chosen by Kalpurusha as the officers for these three areas, the structure is formed by mars (lagna), the vitality is provided by sun (pancham) and the true knowledge or TRUTH itself by Jupiter (navam). If one of the three legs is shaky or under-performing, a significant degree of joy and fulfillment remains absent from one’s life.
Jupiter walks into the limelight again with the mystical TWELFTH house where the rashi of Pisces reigns with its mystical, profound, dwiswabhava and watery nature. In a worldly sense it is the house of expenditure and losses but it also is the house of salvation and thus an important karmic house. Just as the house of longevity (8th) requires a strong fifth house for its maximal expression and the fuel it needs to run an individual’s life, the 10th from 12th, the ninth house imparts meaningfulness to the 12th. Only through understanding the noble essence of Jupiter and the ninth house can losses and expenditures of many types be reconciled and paradoxically gained from ultimately! The shayan sukha attribute of the 12th house has been imaginatively considered by jyotishis, including sexualization of the 12th house, which may be not be the proper interpretation. However, if taken simply and directly as the house that describes the quality of sleep – one who is morally and philosophically superior sleeps peacefully! Again, I would like to emphasize the importance of the tenth house from the 12th in rendering this otherwise negative house into a constructive one that may contribute towards one’s essential and spiritual being and experience.
While many jyotishis take great pride in being superior predictors and take the rather black and white view that predicting events is the sole purpose of astrology, they are turning away from something important and factual. Very few individuals are able to predict to a high enough degree of success, or specifically in all or nearly all the charts they predict for! This does not make their contribution any less important, but it does strip astrology of another of its inherent powerful messages. We can wrestle with the philosophical and difficult to prove theorem of what really reigns supreme: Fate or free-will and if all events are even fully predictable? Perhaps my early exposure to the Astrological Magazine and the sense of Astrology being a discipline of probabilities and tendencies has conditioned me to be comfortable with that line of thinking. Again, simply stated, if destiny were cast in concrete, what would be the useful purpose of knowing the good and bad beforehand if these were unmodifiable and what would be the purpose of using remedial measures if the karmic ‘sentence’ has been already pronounced at our birth and written in the legible map know as our horoscope, with no hope of redemption in sight? On the other hand, obviously, the body of jyotish is telling us that as long as the breath flows there will always be room for personal improvement, that the Jury has not given its full report and the Judge surely has not meted out the final sentence. We might be allowed to appear in this earth-bound court, again, perhaps many times, over many lifetimes until we get our act together!
How can we improve ourselves if we do not understand ourselves, our drives and difficulties, our motivations and desires, our deficiencies and impediments? In focusing only on predictions, events and dates and often not doing too well on that count, across the board, we are missing out on the other important focus and powerful abilities of jyotish. Firstly, it is a tool for self-knowledge. It will not take us to the ultimate point but let us think of it as the train that takes us to the shore where the ferry awaits that shall take us to our next destination, to another land. Without the train, we shall not reach the port, because the ferry of spiritual enlightenment is not going to come to our house and we cannot reach it without the train (and training!) that the curriculum encapsulated in our horoscope outlines, but we have got to study it. Just as modern doctors do not have a lot of time to spend per patient, most professional astrologers probably are in the same boat with their many clients. Predictive work can be faster but less effective as a complete and long-lasting cure. The well-predicted client will be dazzled and will perhaps come back with more offerings, but the status of astrology as a mysterious and mystical discipline would remain unabated. On the other hand, if more people took up learning jyotish, they would through the study of their charts gain a better understanding of themselves over a period of years. They would do so because they have a vested interest in themselves. They should! The best remedial, one might say, is in learning how to read the charts through learning astrology. As the wise Chinese said: Fish for a person, you feed him a meal, teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime!