Vedic astrology brings with itself a plethora of information for the betterment of society and astrologers keep on diving in this vast and ever-expanding sea of knowledge to fish out useful information which can be utilised by the society. In this eternal quest, we astrologers come across different Vedic scriptures and texts highlighting the use of different concepts, definitions, calculations etc. which might be contradictory to each other but still surprisingly indicate similar conclusions.
To attain accuracy in calculations it is advisable not to leave any stone unturned and skip any concept which might add to the precision of the prediction. Though including all concepts for a single prediction would be infeasible most of the times, I have tried highlighting some of the important terms associated with Vedic astrology along with their significance:
AtmaKaraka: As the name suggests it is the Karaka (Significator) of the soul. Being a significator of the soul it automatically becomes the single most important planet which controls the conscience of the native and thus controls the decisions made by him/her throughout his/her life. This decides the path native will take and how much will he/she be near to attaining moksha in his/her course of life. AtmaKaraka is of 2 types, namely:
- Natural AtmaKaraka – Sun is a fixed natural atmakaraka for all the natal charts, hence also called the king of planets
- Char AtmaKaraka – Moveable AtmaKaraka, it requires the char atmakaraka to be strong for a Kundli to give good results because if a king is not powerful his judgements will affect the course of action for its subordinates too.
AtmaKaraka is the planet with highest longitudinal degrees, all 8 planets are considered for this calculation with the exception of Ketu which represents salvation itself. Rahu is always in backwards motion (theoretically), hence its degrees are calculated by subtracting the existing degrees from 30. Calculation of AtmaKaraka also lays the foundation of finding one’s ishta devta and career prospects.
AmatyaKaraka: If AtmaKaraka is the king amongst planets, AmatyaKaraka ought to be the minister. It is the second most important planet in terms of the extent to which it exercises control over a native. While AtmaKaraka is the significator of soul, AmatyaKaraka is the significator of karma, intelligence, wealth etc. It exercises control over the houses 2, 5, 9 & 10 which represent self-earned wealth, education/intellect, luck and the career of a native respectively. Condition of AmatyaKaraka is very important in assessing the career prospects of the native. Calculation of AmatyaKaraka is similar to that of AtmaKaraka and the planet with the second-highest longitudinal degrees is termed as the AmatyaKaraka.
Gulika: Similar in physical characteristics to Rahu/Ketu, Gulika is a theoretical point in astrology with no physical existence yet the effects of the same on a natal chart cannot be ignored. It is considered as the son of Saturn as per Vedic astrology texts and poses similar malefic effects. Gulika is an Upgraha considered to be the most malefic entity in a birth chart. Discussing the effects of Gulika in association with different planets and houses would be something out of scope currently but what needs to be understood is that Gulika extends its maleficence in any position it occupies.
Retrograde / Vakri: This is one of the most disputed concepts in astrology, retrogradation or better known as the concept of Vakri Grahas. While the phenomenon of retrogradation is well settled and accepted by all the astrologers but the interpretation of its effects is what causes the dispute. Retrograde planets are an optical illusion when planets appear to move backwards direction with respect to Earth as the observation point. This happens due to the difference in relative velocities of the two planets with respect to each other, in Vedic astrology, this illusion is taken as a real phenomenon and for all calculation purposes, the planet is indeed concerned to be moving backwards. This gives rise to the different interpretation on the effects of retrograde planets, some of which I have collated here:
- Some schools of thought suggest that the backwards motion make the planets give opposite results of their nature and placements.
- Some suggest that being in a slow state the effects of retrograde planets last way longer in natal charts than they should.
- A few astrologers vouch by the fact that during retrogradation the planets are theoretically the closest to Earth hence their effects (good or bad) is at their highest intensities if a planet is retrograde.
- Astrologers also believe retrograde planets to give high-intensity bad results during the initial phase of their dashas but contradictorily very positive results in the latter half of their dashas.
Considering the above different perceptions the list of effects of retrograde planets in various bhavas become very exhaustive. Hence it is best to judge a Kundli with empiricism that is by one’s own experience rather than touching different beliefs as far as the concept of retrograde planets is concerned.
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