Since olden times, spiritualism has been a way of life in the Vedic tradition. All life is a combination of spirit and matter. It was Albert Einstein, who through his penetrating insight propounded the Mass-Energy equation, the oft repeated formula, E=Mc2. In one stroke he proved what our Saints, Prophets and Masters have all along advocated; the world is just the body of God. In this scenario, there is no difference between Light and Darkness; darkness is just light operating at zero – density. While the scientists probe to know the underlying Truths, the masters suggested we look within to know what is outside meaning the world or external reality is just a projection of our Thoughts. As Shakespeare said,
“We are such stuff As dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep” (The Tempest, Act 4, scene 1,148–158 )
God, who is just a single all –inclusive person, creates an illusion of dichotomy to create this drama, we call “the world”, for which the following two additional illusions play a supporting role viz ., time and space. Once this illusion was created, a science of time to explain this illusion was formulated and that science is nothing but Astrology.
Does Astrology influence spiritualism? The answer is in the affirmative, going by the verdict of Rishis and the great Masters of Astrology. If I were a describe spiritualism in a single sentence, I would say, “ Spiritualism is the recognition and identification with the cosmic spirit within us to the exclusion of everything else”. A spiritual person refuses to be enslaved by the pulls and temptations of the eternal world. Many perceive materialism to be the antithesis of spiritualism but the New Age Thought movement, which has caught the imagination of the present day world, feels that if God is in everything, He must surely find a place in the material world as yet another facet of the Unseen Power and therefore subject to the rules of the game, propounded by the divine power. With this background, let us now go on to discuss how Astrology influences the life of Spiritual Stalwarts.
The following Astrological combinations, if present in a person’s chart, lead one to spirituality.
1) One becomes devout if the lord of 10 is in 9, Lord of 9 is strong and related to Jupiter or Venus.
2) A person can reach the Samadhi state if the lord of the sign and navamsa occupied by the 10th lord are strong and the lord of 10 is in 9.
3) If the lord of the either the 9th or the 10th is in Devalokamsa or Paravatamsa , aspected by a benefic.
( Note: Out of the divisional charts, if a planet gains two vargas, then it is termed Parijatamsa; if it is gaining 6, it is termed Paravatamsa and 7 it is Devalokamsa. By “gaining a varga” we mean, a planet being placed in a house which is its own house, exaltation house or a house of a friendly planet.)
We say, “I am undergoing these things due to Astrology”, meaning our lives are now on a particular course due to Astrology. This is what is called “Prarabdha Karma” or the events caused by the unlocking of past Karma. So long as we are not self -realized, we are struck to time and this is why we are bound by Astrology. When we are subject to Karmic links and Karmic bonds, we have to obey the dictates of planets. Once we reach the state of self-realization, we are outside the pull of planets and they no longer affect us. “Seeds of Karma cannot germinate if they are roasted in the divine fires of Wisdom” said Paramahamsa Yogananda. In his famous autobiography, which is a book to be read by every spiritual seeker, he devoted one entire chapter to his views on Astrology, which goes under the title, “Outwitting the stars” – this is chapter 16 in “Autobiography of a Yogi”.
According to Yogananda, “Astrology is the study of man’s response to planetary stimuli. The stars have no conscious benevolence or animosity; they merely send forth positive and negative radiations .Of themselves these do not help or harm humanity, but offer a lawful channel for the outward operation of cause- effect equilibriums which each man has set into motion in the past. A child is born on the day and that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma. His horoscope is a challenging portrait, revealing his unalterable past and its probable future results.”
Further Yogananda says “The message boldly blazoned across the heavens at the moment of birth is not meant to emphasize fate, the result of past good and evil but to arouse man’s will to escape from his universal thralldom; what he has done, he can undo. None other than himself was the instigator of the causes of whatever effects are now prevalent in his life. He can overcome any limitation, because he created it by his own actions in the first place and because he has spiritual resources which are not subject to planetary pressure… The wise man defeats his planets, which is to say, his past, by transferring his allegiance from the creation to the creator. The more he realizes his spirit the less he can be dominated by matter.”
I will discuss Yogananda’s views from two angles.
1) When we are bound by Karma, planets have their full control over us. This is the unenlightened state. This is where even God would find it difficult to mitigate suffering.
2) When we reach the spiritual state which we may term as enlightenment, the role of planets becomes less and even bad transits tend to give little of sorrows.
Pravraja yoga is a yoga for asceticism and final emancipation. Here are a few examples.
1) When lord of 10 occupies a quadrant or trine in conjunction with four or more planets.
2) When four or more planets occupy a single house.
3) When there are 4 or more planets in one house, one of which happens to be 10th lord.
4) When the Ascendant falls in the end of the sign with Jupiter in a quadrant or trine.
5) Moon in a navamsa of Mars aspected by Saturn. (vide Phaladeepika, chapter 27, Verse 3
When four planets come together, what do they indicate? They indicate loss of their individual traits and merger for a common cause. No cause is higher than salvation. If planets don’t come together, that means the desire to enjoy or experience life persists. In horoscopes with Chathurgraha yoga, Panchagraha yoga, so on and so forth, there is focused attention on the ultimate purpose of life. Why stress is laid on 10th lord joining this group is that dissolution of Karma is the sine qua non for Moksha. Jupiter is the planet for knowledge and wisdom. According to Bhagwad Gita, Jnana yoga leads to realization of soul. Hence role of Jupiter in conferring Moksha cannot be underemphasized.
According to ,Maharishi Jaimini
1) If benefics occupy 12th from Karakamsa, a person goes to superior lokas (worlds) after death.
2) (a) If Ketu occupies 12th from Karakamsa or (b) If Karakamsa is Aries or Sagittarius with benefics in Karakamsa or(c) If Ketu is in the 12th from Karakamsa in Aries or Sagittarius , one gets Moksha or final emancipation.
3) One becomes a devotee of Lord Siva if Sun and Ketu are in Karakamsa.
4) One worships Goddess Gowri if Moon occupies Karakamsa.
5) One worships Goddess Lakshmi, if Venus occupies Karakamsa.
6) If Mars occupies Karakamsa one worships Lord Skanda(or Shanmukha).
7) If Mercury or Saturn occupies Karakamsa, one worships Lord Vishnu.
8) One worships Lord Sambasiva if Jupiter is in Karakamsa.
9) A person worships inferior deities if Rahu occupies Karakamsa.
10) If Ketu joins Karakamsa, one worships Lord Ganesa and Lord Skanda.
In common usage and tradition, the following are held as spiritual combinations.
1) Sun with Jupiter.
2) Ketu in 12.
3) 9th lord in the 9th.
4) 5th lord exalted.
5) Saturn in Pisces aspected by Jupiter.
6) Jaimini Atmakaraka in Pisces in Navamsa.
7) Jaimini Atmakaraka in exaltation.
8) Lord of 7th weak.
9) Lord of 10, weak.
The 10th house rules over Karma. Weaknesses in the 10th bhava tend to reflect the waning influence of prarabdha karma. The 7th lord is the pivot of the Kama(love) triangle of houses viz 3,7,11. It is also the bhavat- bhava house of the 10th viz ., it is the 10th to the 10th house. Necessarily, weaknesses to the 7th bhava reflect evolution of the soul. The Sun-Venus combination is also a contraindication for spiritual evolution.
Among the divisional charts Vimshamsa or the D-20 chart plays a crucial role in evaluating the spiritual progress of a soul. It is widely believed , that in all , the soul will take 800 births. Everybody is destined for Moksha, whether you like it or not. You can travel from Chennai to London in an aircraft or in a ship. Either it takes a few hours or a few days but the destination is reached sooner or later. Robert Leggett, in his commentary to Patanjali Yoga Sutras expresses the view that the concept of Avatara purashas is fundamentally opposed to Advaita philosophy. According to Advaita school of Thought, Man is God, nothing more, nothing less; The Jiva is none other than Brahman. Then, how do you explain this spiritual journey? This journey is just a dream journey or an illusion. This is like a prince who got separated from the royal family, wanders about as a beggar, is finally traced to his origin by a minister and is restored to his royal splendor. It was asked: If everything is an illusion then is not Vedanta also an illusion?
Answer: Yes, Vedanta is also an illusion; but it is like a lion in a dream, which wakes you out of the dream. Astrology is the science of time. If you believe Time is only an illusion, Astrology is just another illusion. But somewhere in the illusion, lies buried the glorious Reality. As Eckhart Tolle said in The Power Of Now, “If you saw an angel but mistook it for a stone statue, all you would have to do is adjust your vision and look more closely at the “stone statue,” not start looking somewhere else. You would then find that there never was a stone statue.” With this discussion, we will now proceed to examine the horoscopes of a few Spiritual Stalwarts.
In the horoscope of Chadrasekharendra Saraswathi , effectionately known as Paramacharya, certain spectacular combinations are seen. Without doubt he was the king of saints. Absolutely selfless, having no trace of attachment, without ego or desires, he was virtually God in human form. According to Mantreswara ,the true attribute of an ascetic, as could be seen from his birth chart is the presence of Moon in a navamsa of Mars aspected by Saturn. (vide Phaladeepika, chapter 27, Verse 3).Interestingly enough in Paramacharya’s chart, this combination occurs in both Rasi as well navamsa, as both Moon & Saturn are Vargottama. The 9th lord which bestows divine grace aspects Ascendant, while the lord of Poorvapunya (5th) & Ascendant conjoin in the 10th Venus, planet of sensuality gets relegated to the 8th, making him a lifelong celibate.
In the horoscope of Shri Meher Baba, one can easily find three powerful spiritual combinations viz; (a) Presence of Ketu in 12 (b) An exalted Yogakaraka Saturn in conjunction with Moon in lagna and (c) Parivartana or Mutual interchange between Ascendant lord and 5th lord.
In God Speaks, Meher Baba describes the journey of the soul from its original state of unconscious divinity to the ultimate attainment of conscious divinity. The whole journey is a journey of imagination, where Cosmic souls gets individualized, which he likens to bubbles within an infinite ocean.Each soul, powered by the desire to become conscious, starts its journey in the most rudimentary form of consciousness. This limitation brings the need of a more developed form to advance it towards an increasingly conscious state. According to Baba, each soul pursues conscious divinity by evolving: that is, experiencing itself in a succession of imagined forms through seven “kingdoms”: stone/metal, vegetable, worm, fish, bird, animal, and finally human. The soul identifies itself with each successive form, becoming thus tied to illusion. During this evolution of forms thinking also increases, until in human form thinking becomes infinite. Although in human form the soul is capable of conscious divinity, all the impressions that it has gathered during evolution are illusory ones, creating a barrier for the soul to know itself. For this barrier to be overcome, further births in human form are needed and this process is termed “ reincarnation “.Eventually the soul reaches a stage where its previously gathered impressions grow weak enough and finally it realizes it’s true identity with God or as God. Baba breaks this inner journey of Realization into seven stages he calls “planes.” The whole process culminates at the seventh plane with God-realization, where the goal of life of the soul is attained.
In Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s chart, Moon is in a Navamsa of Mars aspected by Saturn ,so that the dictum of Mantreswara quoted above (with reference to the chart of Paramacharya) applies verbatim,leading the chart holder to asceticism . Some of the noteworthy features of the chart are (1) Exaltation of 3 planets viz Mars, Saturn and Venus. (2) Presence of Jupiter in 5 aspecting the lagna and an exalted Saturn in 9. (3) Relegation of the 10th lord to the 12th, with Ketu in 10. (4) Sun, Moon and Ascendant falling in the mystic sign Aquarius leading to Mahabhagya yoga. He had visions of God and several mystic experiences.
The horoscope of Seshadri Swamigal brings to light certain interesting features peculiar to spiritual charts. The Jaimini Atmakaraka , Mercury is exalted in navamsa while the presence of Jupiter in 5 aspecting the Ascendant, with the 5th lord exalted in Capricorn, made him a clairvoyant with amazing insights and conferring mystic experiences. Even after his passing away, many persons had paranormal experiences, with the saint guiding them in an astral form. He was a contemporary of another great saint, Ramana Maharishi.His chart is an illustration of the principle laid down by Mantreswara in Phaladepika( Chapter 27,Verse 2) that 4 or more planets in a single house leads a person to a life of asceticism.
In Swami Vidyaranya’s chart, Jupiter the sattwic planet happens to the Ascendant lord occupying the Ascendant with the 9th lord, denoting divine grace exalted in Aries. A powerful Neechabhanga Rajayoga is formed in the 4th, involving Mercury and Venus. He counseled Harihara I And Bukka I to establish the Vijayanagara empire. He identified a suitable place and being a great Astrologer, also suggested an appropriate Muhurtha. The time was so auspicious, that the Vijayanagara empire if begun at that auspicious moment would last for 2000 years. Swami Vidyaranya suggested to Harihara and Bukka, that he would go to a nearby hill, observe the positions of the stars and planets and at the correct moment, blow the conch and exactly at that time, the foundation stone should be laid. Both Harihara and Bukka agreed to follow the instructions of their Guru. The sound of conch was heard and the foundation stone was laid at that moment. After a few minutes, yet another sound of someone else blowing the conch, was heard a second time and Harihara and Bukka were puzzled as to who could be blowing the conch again. Swami Vidyaranya appeared subsequently and said that he too was aware of the blowing of conch, two times. Apparently the first time, the conch was blown by a beggar and it was Swami Vidyaranya who blew the conch the second time. But unknowingly Harihara and Bukka laid the foundation stone at the exact moment, the beggar blew the conch. Based on that astrological moment, Swami Vidyaranya calculated that the Vijayanagara empire would last for only 200 years or rather one-tenth of the planned duration. It is also widely believed that Goddess Bhuvaneswari appeared in front of Swami Vidyaranya while he was in penance, saying that time for the country was not favourable and the boon of good governance could be granted only for 200 years and thereafter the glorious Vijayanagara empire would meet with its doom. Here is the final story : The Vijayanagara empire was founded in 1336, reached its moment of glory under Krishnadeva raya (1509-1529) and came to an end in 1646. Practically the decline started after the reign of Krishnadeva raya, which is about 200 years after inception and the end came in 1646, meaning the prediction of Swami Vidyaranya was largely fulfilled if we look at the dominant era of the dynasty, which is about 200 out of the 310 years, it was in existence. Once Bhagwan Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, took students from a local school on an excursion to Hampi, where you can still find the ruins of Vijayanagara empire. Advising students to shun their ego, he told them, “The lesson you learn at Hampi , is that if this is the fate of even great emperors, what would be the fate of ordinary people? So, please do not give room for egoism. We all are born, live for some time and die but when we are alive, we think that we are going to rule the earth forever”.
In Swami Vivekananda’s chart, the 5th lord Mars is in its own house aspected by Jupiter while , two benefics Mercury and Venus occupy the 5th from Moon. The 9th lord Sun in the Ascendant denotes that the chart holder has the complete blessings of Guru and God. Saturn in 10 gave him the opportunity to spread the spiritual teachings of Indian masters to the West, symbolized by Saturn’s placement in the 10th in an exchange of signs with Mercury, lord of 7 and 10.
Sri Meher Baba
CHANDRASEKHARENDRA SARASWATHI (KANCHI PARAMACHARYA)