KARAKAS IN VEDIC ASTROLOGY
KARAKAS IN VEDIC ASTROLOGY
The student of vedic astrology comes across the word ‘karaka’ quite often in various contexts. In fact most standard texts devote an entire chapter for the ‘karaka’ . For instance Parasara’s magnum opus the ‘Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra’ has an entire chapter titled ‘kaarakaadhyaaya’ . Even the dasa delineation depends on how accurately one identifies all the karakas involved. Every prediction is based on these karakatwas. In fact any successful astrologer will tell you that your understanding of the chart is directly proportional to how thorough your knowledge of the karakas and their appropriate use is.
The word Karaka means a ‘significator’ or “one who causes”. Karaka of a matter is the significator of that particular matter and signifies / causes events related to that matter. Significators can be classified according to various criteria.
Significations may be Natural or Acquired
Natural significations of planets are permanent or fixed in a way and are based on their innate nature. For instance Sun is the karaka for the soul, Moon for the mind, Mercury for the intellect, Mars for courage and Jupiter for children. The detailed natural significations for various planets are given elsewhere.
Planets acquire the power to signify a matter by virtue of their lordships and positions too. These significations are Acquired and change in each chart. For instance the lord of the first house (who ever the planet maybe) acquires signification over all the matters governed by that house. Likewise the second lord acquires signification over matters governed by the second house such as speech, possessions, food/diet etc. The detailed l significations for various houses are given elsewhere.
Acquired or Temporary or Variable karakatwas of planets are defined in another way too in Jaimini system. The Charakarakas of Jaimini are discussed elsewhere in this article.
The above is the simplest and most basic approach to a karaka. As the student progresses, he/she will come across a more in-depth approach to the concept of karakas.
In accordance with tradition, Somanatha Misra writes in Kalpalata (his vrtti on the Jaimini Sutras ) that Karakas are of many kinds ( Kaarakaa bahu vidhaah ) and then deals with the following
Five kinds of karakas
• Dasakaraka and
Among these five, Jain astrologers are said to favour Atmakaraka and Swakaraka . Atmakaraka is the most favoured planet in Jaimini system and its extensive use is a unique feature of Jaimini astrology.
Swakaraka is the most dependable of all in determining the results of a chart though one should study the chart with reference to other kinds of karakas too. I will deal with the ‘swakaraka’ later. First let me define each of these karakas.
Atmakaraka is the planet that has advanced to the highest degree in any sign. I have written more on the charakarakas and atmakaraka elsewhere in this article.
Dasakaraka is the planet whose influence is prominent during a particular dasa. The lord of the dasa (in a planetary dasa) is the single most influential planet for that particular dasa. But planets conjunct or aspecting or aspected by the dasa lord too influence the dasa. In a rasi dasa, planets in that rasi as well planets involved in aspects with the rasi also determine the results. All such planets become the Dasa karakas in some manner though the Dasa lord is the single most influential planet as the Dasakaraka. Simply put for most practical purposes Dasakaraka is the planet whose dasa is operating.
Bhavakaraka is the significator of a house. Bhavakarakas are of two kinds:
Permanent ( Nitya ) and Temporary ( Anitya )
Nitya (Permanent) bhavakarakas :
The permanent significators for the twelve houses are fixed for all charts. Hence the name Nitya indicating ‘permanent’. These are:
1 st house: Sun
2 nd : Jupiter
3 rd : Mars
4 th : Moon, Mercury
5 th : Jupiter
6 th : Mars, Saturn
7 th : Venus
8 th : Saturn
9 th : Sun, Jupiter
10 th : Sun, Saturn, Mercury, Jupiter
11 th : Jupiter
12 th : Saturn
Though the above list is supported by standard works such as Phala Deepika, Sarvartha Chintamani, Jataka Parijata etc, Parasara mentions only one planet as the significator for a house. According to the BPHS only Moon is considered for the 4th house, Mars for the 6 th , Jupiter for the ninth and Mercury for the tenth. Who is correct? Depending on the context both versions are correct. For instance Mars is the significator for the sixth if one is referring to enemies. But for other general indications Saturn is also appropriate.
Anitya (Temporary) bhavakarakas:
As already stated a temporary significator of a bhava (house) is a planet that acquires the power to signify matters governed by that house by virtue of its lordship, position, aspects etc in the chart under question. So the lord of the second house, planets in the second house and planets aspecting, all these become the bhavakarakas for the second house in a particular chart.
STHIRA & CHARA KARAKAS
Jaimini makes a distinction between Sthira (Fixed) and Chara (Variable) karakas.
As indicated by the name, these significations of a planet are fixed or permanent in nature. For instance Sun is the karaka for the soul, Moon for the mind, Mercury for the intellect, Mars for courage and Jupiter for children. These are to be learnt from other standard texts. Most texts agree on a majority of the common significations in a general way. The detailed natural significations for various planets, based on standard texts, are given in another article. Here I will confine myself to a few important differences.
Generally it is acceptable to take the Sun as the karaka for father and Moon for the mother. But certain authorities make a distinction between night and day births.
In Brihat Jataka, Varahamihira suggests that Sun is the significator for father and Venus for mother in case of day birth. Likewise Saturn is the significator for father and Moon for mother for night births. Parasara has something else to suggest though it has no distinction between day and night births. The stronger one between Sun and Venus is the significator for father, while the stronger one between Moon and Mars is the significator for mother.
My own observation is that Varahamihira is more accurate in this regard. One thing should be kept in mind though. In spite of considering Venus and Saturn too for the mother and father according to day or night birth the general signification of Sun for father and Moon for mother should not be ignored. It works well in practice.
As for Parasara’s suggestion, it could be reframed. Though it does not seem appropriate to take the stronger one between Sun and Venus for father, Venus does have a role in another way. Venus is the significator for ‘shukla’ or ‘semen’ and in that sense indicates the male fecundity factor. Likewise Mars is the significator for ‘sonita’ and in that sense indicates the female fecundity factor at least. Perhaps this may have a bearing on the conception chart. Since no valid research or study has been done on conception charts by anyone so far, I will not speculate.
It is accepted by all that that Venus is the karaka for ‘beeja’ (seed) and Mars for the ‘kshetra’ (field), a concept that has been used by Mantreswara in calculating the ‘beeja sphuta’ and ‘kshetra sphuta’ in assessing the fecundity/fertility factor. The sphuta is calculated in a male chart by adding the longitudes of Sun, Venus and Jupiter. In a female chart it is done by adding the longitudes of Moon, Mars and Jupiter. Jupiter is the fixed karaka for children for all charts. Additionally Sun, Venus for males and Moon, Mars for females are taken by Mantreswara in accordance with the above mentioned logic. Parasara’s suggestion too could be founded on a similar principle and could be useful in a different context. But for all general purposes SOME believe Varahamihira is more acceptable while the standard significations of Sun for father and Moon for mother should be kept in mind at all times.