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The relationship between a planet and the lord of the constellation is not unknown to the founding fathers of Astrology. The line of demarcation between Traditional Astrology and Stellar Astrology is thin or even non-existent. The Nakshatra lordship of planets which is the foundation on which Stellar Astrology rests is a corollary to the fundamental principles of Astrology . A building cannot survive if the foundation gets rocked which is to say that most scholars on Stellar astrology have chosen to erect an artificial barrier between Traditional Astrology and Stellar Astrology similar to the “Berlin Wall” which in my opinion would meet with the same fate as the wall separating East Germany and West Germany.

I now invite the reader’s attention to verse 88 of chapter XIV of Prasna Marga. In his learned commentary to this book, Dr. BV Raman offers his interpretation through the following lines. “Suppose Venus occupying Scorpio is the planet in question. He signifies certain events in respect of certain houses E.g., marriage. Then the event can manifest (a) on a day ruled by Bharani, Poorvaphalguni and Poorvashada (b) on Friday (c) during vasantha ritu (or spring) (d) when the Sun, Moon or Jupiter transits Scorpio (e) in the Dasa or bhukti of Venus (f) when Scorpio rises or sets” This gives the complete list of Astrological links, a planet has in a horoscope and each of these is potent enough to cause the event. On the other hand, Stellar Astrology ignores all or most of the links and chooses to give the pride of place to the stellar link unlike Traditional Astrology which places equal emphasis on all parameters and gives the discretionary power to the Astrologer. Textbooks such as Brihat Jataka, Yavana Sataka and Saravali do not seem to recognize planetary ownership (or rulership) over nakshatras whereas later works such as Jataka Parijatha and Prasna Marga do emphasize the constellation link.When a person is born in Ashwini, the initial dasa is that of Ketu; For a person born is Bharani, the initial Dasa belongs to Venus. This Dasa lordship is converted by later authors into Nakshatra lordship.

Late Shri. R Santhanam seems to question the very authenticity of Nakshatra lordship and he has summarized his views into 15 points to prove his view. I will briefly summarize the views of Late Shri. R Santhanam. The stellar lordship followed by a number of astrologers seems to be a simple confused version derived from Vimshottari Dasa lords. In the so-called stellar lordship scheme, you have three Nakshatras for Ketu, (viz. Aswini, Makha and Moola) and three for Rahu, (Viz. Ardra, Satabhisha and Swati). Note that in the whole gamut of astrological parlance, you find no zodiacal allotment to the Nodes, as detailed below:

1. They do not have any Rasi in the zodiac.

2. Consequently, in Shodasa Varga Scheme (16 kinds of planetary Strength) they have no hold.

3. They are not allotted even a single degree of thrimsamsa.

4. In the planetary horas, calculations at the rate of 21/2 gh from sunrise, Rahu and Ketu rule not even a single hour.

5. The seven weekdays are ruled by planets from the Sun to Saturn only. No Rahu or Ketu Vara.

6. The seasons (Ritu) are not ruled by Nodes.

7. Directional strength is not applicable to them

8. They have no combustion (because they have no rays to lose in the sun. Nor do they heliacally rise and set).

9. They are not classified as Marakas/Yogakarakas in general for any Lagna. By virtue of their position they act.

10. They do not figure in Shadbala because they are exempt from Cheshta Bala, etc.,

11. Their exaltation /debilitation vary from text to text.

12. Authors like Varaha Mihira, Kalyana Varma, etc. have not considered these two planets for Ashtakavarga. There is no Rahu/Ketu Ashtaka Varga. Of course, Sambhu Hora Prakasa gives Rahu Ashtakavarga only, but here again you do not have harana or discounts.

13. The five elements are ruled by Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn Only. No nodal ruler ship for these elements is attributed. The Sun is however a representative of the Creator and the Moon is primordial Energy.

14. In Kala Chakra Dasa, Naisargika Dasa, Moola Dasa, etc., the Nodes do not feature.

15. In Ashtottari Dasa, Ketu is not considered.

Thus when Rahu/Ketu are not the rulers of these six stars, the whole scheme is doubt worthy. I will give my views on the comments made by Shri R Santhanam on Nakshatra Lordship. The following verses from Jataka parijatha seem to indicate that the learned author Vaidyanatha had included the theory of Nakshatra lordship while writing this book.

1. The time of marriage may also be determined in the same way in respect to the total of the figures for the ruler of stars occupied by Moon and the lord of the 7 th bhava (Ibid, Ch14, verse 27)

2. If at birth, the planet owning the asterism or the navamsa, occupied by the Moon should aspect the latter or be in conjunction with it, the Kalachakra dasa of these planets will be fraught with the special effects to be mentioned (Ibid Ch 18, Verse 40)

While textbooks mention planets as rulers of signs, it is now imported into rulership of stars as well. This is the fallacy pointed out by Late Shri. R Santhanam and he has a valid point in his criticism. The theory of ownership of Nakshatras means Ketu rules Ashwini, Venus rules Bharani, so on and so forth. This is an important departure, a certain school of Astrologers have made from Vedic Astrology. The protagonists of Vedic Astrology such as Late Dr.BV Raman and Late Shri. R Santhanam have chosen to remain true to the Vedic view and turned a Nelson’s eye to this neoteric trend which clearly conflicts with the scheme laid down in Vedic Astrology. The ancient Vedic view does however recognize the occupation of a star based on sampat,vipat etc and therefore it would be incorrect to say that Vedic Astrology overrules stellar occupation of planets.In stellar Astrology, the rule is that an exalted planet occupying the constellation of a debilitated planet behaves like a debilitated planet which clearly contradicts the Vedic view.

It is worth mentioning were that even between texts on Astrology there are conceptual differences. For instance, Maharishi Parashara does not include Rahu in the gamut of planets for counting the dots in the Ashtakavarga scheme of things whereas the author of Sambu Hora Prakasa does include Rahu in Ashtakavarga.

Astrology has gained wrong publicity through the branding of Rahu and Ketu as the head and tail of a snake, which in order to wreak vengeance on the Sun and Moon, repeatedly swallow them at the times of eclipse. This oft-repeated story is an ingenious one making it known to the laymen the point of intersection of the orbits of the Sun and the Moon. In the assignment of Weekdays, Rahu and Ketu are omitted. The Vimshottari dasa system does give room for Rahu and Ketu allotting them terms of 18 years and 7 years respectively. Varahamira does not assign ownership of houses, Moola Trikona or exaltation points to the Nodes.

According to Maharishi Parashara, Rahu is exalted in Taurus and Ketu in Scorpio. Clearly this is a later development and apparently the later authors seem to have upgraded the status of Rahu and Ketu. Similarly there are conflicting theories about the exaltation and “Swakshetra” houses to Rahu and Ketu and it is difficult to conceive which one is authentic. However the author of Jataka Chandrika seems to have taken a balanced view while stating that no independent effects could be attributed to Rahu or Ketu and what they intend to do would depend upon the planet aspecting them, the planet conjoining them and in the absence of either of these two, the properties of the sign dispositor would decide the character of Rahu and Ketu. This is the background material on which we need to assess the potential of Rahu and Ketu in a chart. Protagonists of Stellar Astrology have further complicated the issue of attributing Nakshatra lordship to Ketu in the case of Ashwini, Makha and Moola and Rahu to Ardra, Swati and Sadabhishek. Clearly the onus is on these scholars to establish how this deduction is valid in theory.

Every cause has an effect. The cause precedes effect. In the case of Stellar Astrology, the success of predictions cannot be construed as a ratification of the science or logic to support the underlying theory.Astrology as conceived in Vedic times is a perfect science in itself where little could be added or little taken away. Any research in Astrology should devolve on proving the theory through apt case studies. In their over-enthusiasm to prove their merit, some researchers have come out with case studies to disprove the laws of Astrology. A failed Weather forecast does not disprove Meteorology nor does death of a patient disprove Allopathy as a science. A fallacy in research findings could be an indicator of failure to grasp the intricate of the science.

The theory of Nakshatra lordship by recent authors is an effort to validate Astrology in cases Vedic Astrology is not found to be true in practice according their findings. The correct approach should be to understand Vedic Astrology in a holistic way rather than circumvent the mainstream rules in an attempt to arrive at the Truth through the backdoor. This, of course, requires a stellar effort on part of the practitioners of Astrology!

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