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From time immemorial, marriage in India has been accorded sanctity and importance. In Scriptures, we had couples, such as Vasista — Arundhati, Agastya — Lopamudra, and Nala — Damayanti, who led their married lives ideally. Vishnu in his incarnation as Rama set an example for human race through his marriage to Sita and observance of Grihasthashrama Dharma. While the Hindu ideal is always Sanyasa or asceticism, the road for the same was through Grihasthashrama (life as householder). Some scholars hold the view that only a married person could become a Sanyasi and not a Brahmachari.

In India the starting point for a marriage is the compatibility of horoscopes of the boy and the girl. If the astrologer finds the charts of the boy and the girl incompatible, the marriage proposal gets rejected ab initio. The reason is simple; unless the charts match, the marriage will prove unsuccessful, however good the other factors might be.

When the charts of a boy and a girl are considered by an astrologer for matching, what exactly does an astrologer look into? The astrologer looks into the following to ascertain whether the charts are compatible: compatibility
2.papasamya or equality of malefic influences
3.dasasandhi (period-wise junction) points between the horoscopes
4.rina-raniya bhava (the karmic relationship) for becoming husband and wife
5.longevity of the couple and duration of married life
7.overall marital prospects including happiness of the family and prosperity.

Only when all of the above are favourable, the astrologer gives his/her consent for the marriage.

Controversies surround star-wise compatibility. Take the example of the girl born in Bharani and boy born in Chitra star, Thula rasi. An astrologer from Kerala would reject the alliance citing madhyama Rajju dosha while an astrologer from Andhra Pradesh would gladly consent to the alliance citing the samasaptama rule. Obviously both of them cannot be right. Who is correct and who is wrong?

The other issue regarding star-wise compatibility is if the girl is born in Ashwini and the boy in Punarvasu, one astrologer might reject citing dina porutham and stree deergham, while another astrologer would accept the match on the grounds of mahendra porutham. The seventh star is a contentious issue because dina porutham rules specifically reject that, while it is acceptable under mahendra porutham. Taking a balanced view, some astrologers accept mahendra porutham only when it is not the seventh.

To become husband and wife, a karmic cause extending from the previous birth of the individuals is vital. What is karmic cause and how to determine it? Mantreswara answers this question in Phaladeepika; (chapter X, verse 11).

Life span of the individuals falls into three broad categories: short, medium and long. Ideally both the husband and wife should live a long life. Some scholars say that a woman who predeceases the husband is a blessed soul as she dies a sumangali. This view is opposed by some who take the view that a woman who takes care of her husband till his life time is superior to a sumangali, as she does not leave her husband in difficulty, especially towards the end of his life. In olden times, the age gap between husband and wife used to be much more than what it is today. Nowadays, most girls prefer not to marry a boy who is older to her by more than 3–5 years. In olden days the age gap would be even 10 years and earlier to that, when child marriage was in vogue, the gap would be even 15 years. The concept of marriage has changed considerably today and India is now fast catching up with Western beliefs. However, many Westerners envy the Indian family system, which offers warmth and security badly needed for the aged.

Every boy wishes to marry a girl of the beauty of Helen of Troy, the courage of Joan of Arc, the glamour of Marilyn Munroe, the physical prowess of Steffi Graf, and the charisma of Ursula Andress. But do they succeed in getting such a wife? ‘A ship is safe in the harbour; but that is not the purpose of a ship’ is an adage. No doubt, beauty of the female is essential for a happy marriage and even scriptural texts say one should marry a pretty girl, but the person one may marry need not be a Hollywood star. A sharp disconnection between daydreams and reality exists. In everyday life the girl one wishes to marry is the girl with whom he will bear an everlasting, soulful relationship and this is the one, an intelligent astrologer should suggest.

Progeny is assured only if both charts indicate children. Even if either the fifth house or the factors relevant to progeny is contraindicated in one of the charts, the couple would be issueless. The purpose of marriage is to beget good progeny and no astrologer should overlook this key area in matching horoscopes.

Despite ongoing discussions, ‘horoscope matching’ continues to be a grey area in Astrology. The reason is simple: there is neither a rule-of-thumb nor a mathematical formula with which an astrologer can furnish a simple ‘yes or a ‘no’ in answering the question of marital compatibility. Astrologers rely on intuition and divine grace to arrive at a conclusion. This view is supported in the writings of Varahamihira.

Now we have discussed in detail, what horoscope matching does. So we better understand what it cannot achieve.

Horoscope matching cannot alter the course of destiny. If a person is meant to become unemployed in a particular dasha, he will lose his job. By getting him married to a girl with bright prospects, the fate of the man will not change. Similarly the quality of a horoscope cannot undergo any critical alteration through marriage.

The purpose of horoscope matching is to find a spouse whose birth chart complements the life partner. For instance a disorganized man should be advised to marry an organized woman. An uneducated girl should marry an educated boy. A timid girl should marry a courageous boy. The defect in one is compensated by the strength of the other. Common mistakes committed by astrologers, such as like marrying a long-lived boy with a short lived girl or a boy whose chart shows birth of children with the chart of a barren girl, have already been pointed out. Here the defects are not compensatory and they tend to deprive the life partner of the merit shown in their personal birth chart.

An astrologer is not God, but he/she acts as an instrument in the hands of God to bring about a harmonious and fruitful married life. The role of the astrologer is to study the karmic pattern in the two charts considered for matching and determine whether they share a common destiny. Unless some similarity exists the two charts would not have reached the astrologer’s hands for analysis. Whether the karmic link should be converted into a permanent bond is for the astrologer to decide.

The adage ‘What is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander’ would imply in this context, what is good for the girl may not be good for the boy. This means the boy’s astrologer should check the charts independently and not rely on the suggestions of the girl’s consultant. If a chart is mediocre, then the consultant would only be too glad to accept any chart that is somewhat superior. The astrologer is like an advocate who attempts to get a favourable verdict for his client – his role is not that of a judge. Hence it would be inappropriate on the part of the families of the boy and the girl to rely on the opinion of the same astrologer.

It is better for the families of the boy and the girl to seek matching independently, so that if the decision is unanimous, both parties can enter into the alliance with satisfaction. In case a difference of opinion prevails, either a third opinion should be sought or the consideration should be discarded. Having said this, I would call a word of caution in rejecting an alliance, because on many an occasion marriages fail to fructify due to the consulting astrologer’s poor understanding of rules pertaining to horoscope matching.

I have not known many medical practitioners writing books on their experiences. Books are usually written by theoreticians, which are seldom useful to practitioners. Being a Chartered Accountant, I can say from my personal experience, that those who teach the subject are professionals who do not have much work in their office.

Mr Kameswaran is of a different league altogether. He is a person with a busy schedule as a consultant in Astrology in Mumbai. He is nearing 80 with an enthusiasm of a youth. This work on matrimonial compatibility could easily be rated as the best work on the subject. Astrology and Marriage by Mr H. Bhutalingam is another good book on the same subject, which is more of a ready reckoner on horoscope matching. Mr. Kameswaran’s work could therefore be said a pioneering work, which lucidly explains the nuances of horoscope matching in plain English, with a judicious blend of theory and practice. It is a book which should necessarily be read by both laymen as well as scholars. The Author’s presentation of the general rules of Astronomy as well as Astrology are sure to guide the reader.

For a beginner this book would provide an easy grasp of the principles of horoscope matching. Scholars would find this book a tailor-made compilation of rules relevant to matrimonial compatibility. Answer to the queries I have raised in this foreword would be found in Mr Kameswaran’s flowery treatment.

In short, this work is a major contribution to the science of Vedic Astrology vis-à-vis marital compatibility and its peculiarities. It fulfils a long-term need for a work, which deals with the core issues relating to this branch of Astrology in a scientific way.

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