Learning any language is easy if we are exposed to it for a long time. Any new language that we pick up or learn is through listening and understanding and this is useful for verbal communication. For written communication it is important to learn the script and the alphabets (the building blocks of words and sentences).
We will be doing just that in this first lesson for this course.
The script of Jyotish has nine players called planets (Graha in Jyotish, pronounced Gra as in grant and ha as in hunt).
The term planet is not as per Astronomical definition. Here the seven planets of the seven weekdays plus the Ascending and descending nodes of the Moon are termed as planets or to be politically correct Graha.
These Nine Grahas are:
Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Dragon head and Dragons tail.
They are commonly referred to in Sanskrit as:
Sun is called Soorya (su as in soon, r as in rain ya as in yet), it is also referred to as
Moon is called Chandra (ch as in chapel, and as in under and, ra as in rain). It is also called Soma (So is so of English and ma is muster).
Mars is called Mangal (Ma as in mug and ngle as in tingle), it is also referred to as Kuja (in south
Mercury is called Budha (bu as in bush and dha as in dharma.
Jupiter is called Guru, he is also called Brihaspati.
Venus is called Shukra (pronounced shook and ra as in rain
Saturn is called Shani. (Sha as in Shine and ni as in near.
Dragon’s head is called Rahu.(Ra as in Rascal, Hu as in Hook)
Dragon’s tail is called Ketu. (Ke as in Cage, tu as in took)
The backgrounds where all the scenes take place in this vast cosmic play are called the signs (the popular Sun signs). We will give the Jyotish equivalent of these.
Aries is called Mesha (May and sh as in Shine).
Taurus is Vrishabha (vri as in wring, sha as in shine and bha as in
Gemini is Mithuna (mi as in mist, th as in thank, una as in tuna)
Cancer is Kark (kar as in curb k as in cork)
Leo is Simha (sim as in simple ha as in halt.)
Virgo is Kanya (
Scorpio is Vrischika (vri as in wring, s as in shine, chi as in chicken and ka as in cork.
Sagittarius is Dhanus (Dha as in Dharma nus as in Noose)
Capricorn is Makara (Ma as in mug and ka as in come and ra as in rain)
Aquarius is Kumbha (kum as in and bha as in )
Pisces is Meena (Mee as in me and na as in number).
The first thing that confronts a Jyotishi (Astrologer) is a chart or diagram made up of twelve compartments. Inside each compartment are certain things written. We should first understand what this chart means in our daily usage.
For example in the south
The planets are entered into it and the chart then looks like this
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We have to be able to decipher this chart or decode it and it is really very easy.
The square is a representation of the Sky and the twelve smaller squares in it are the twelve signs of the zodiac called the Rashi’s.
Actually the Zodiacal belt is cicular but it is shown as a square for a reason. We will come to that later.
It this chart the names of the Rashi (Signs) are not written and are to be understood as below:
Now look at the chart given above and understand (The names of the planets in brackets are English equivalents).
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This chart is akin to a photograph of the sky at the time of the birth of the person to whom the chart belongs.
Remember there are other ways of drawing this chart followed in
This course will be using the above chart format and the student is advised to become familiar with the same.
From what we have learnt till now we may decode the chart as follows:
The Mesha rashi has planet Sun (Surya), Vrishabha has Budha (Mercury) and so on for the other Rashi. Some Rashi are empty because they don’t have any planets (Graha) in them.
We now know to see from the Horoscope (Chakra) which sign is tenanted by what planets.
Here we find that we have encountered a thing called the Lagna or Ascendant. We are going to learn now what this means.
Well you see this horoscope is a geocentric view of the sky, or in other words this is what the sky looked at the time of birth of this person – from the centre (core) of the earth and at the Eastern horizon the sign Kark (cancer) was climbing ( Ascending, rising). This is the starting point of the zodiac (The Zodiac is called Bhaa chakra in Sanskrit) for the person whose horoscope we are seeing.
The Natural zodiac has starting point as Mesha (Aries), but different people will be born in different signs as their Ascendant (Lagna pronounced Lug- na) and this sign will be the starting point for the horoscope.
Just as Aries is the First sign for the natural zodiac (The world horoscope) so also the Lagna (Ascendant) is the first sign for each and every horoscope.
In the example chart given above, we see Kark (Cancer) is rising (Ascending) because Lagna is written in it. This means that the first house for this horoscope is Kark. The next or second house will be Leo (Simha), the third will be Virgo (Kanya) and so on. In all there will be twelve houses in the horoscope corresponding to the twelve Rashis.
Houses are called Bhaava in Sanskrit. This word requires a detailed explanation to understand what it means and we will go into it soon.
For now just keep in mind that Bhaava (Houses) show the different departments of life which defines a persons life. In other words a person has to put on different acts in front of different people. In front of his Father he is a Son and in front of his Son he is a father and so on. These are what the Bahvas are all about.
Summing up the Graha (Planets) are the co actors, the rashi is the backdrop for a scene and bhaava is the act and The Lagna is the person whose horoscope is being played out (actually it is the sense of presence of that person, the ‘I am’ feeling).
In this lesson we have been introduced to the three basic concepts of Jyotish, The Rasi, the Graha and the Bhaava. These form the bedrock of Jyotish knowledge and every learner should get familiar and at ease with these.
The details of these will be covered individually in later lessons.
BTW the Chart shown above is Shri Ram’s chart. Traditionally, while teaching Jyotish this is the first chart used for illustration and learning.
We will now delve into other traditions of drawing a chart.
But remember that it is better to use the South Indian format first and use it to learn the basics of Jyotish, then switch over to the Diamond format (Ruled by Shukra).
The Northern parts of
In the diagram given above, the compartment where the number four is written is always the first house and the number four shows that the Rashi on Lagna is Kark (the fourth sign). Then the houses are counted anti-clockwise and the Rashi number is written in order. Thereafter the Grahas are entered as per the Rashi they occupied at the time of birth of the Native.
The following image will make this clearer:
The difference of the two ways of drawing the chart is:
1) In the South Indian format, the Rashis are fixed, whereas in the North Indian format the Houses (Bhaavas) are fixed.
2) In the South Indian chart the counting of bhaavas and Rashis are clockwise whereas, in the North Indian or the Shukra chakra the count is anti clockwise.