Here is a quick thought.
There is something called parivrajak-yoga which is an astrological alignment defined as having four or more planets in a single sign. The effect of the yoga is classically defined as “renunciation” and sanyassa. The actual effect is that we lose interest in enjoying the world and prefer to / need to look for deeper relevance and meaning in life. Therefore we wind up giving away or abandoning what most people would want in search for that deeper thing that we truly want.
Why is it that 4 planets in a sign has this effect?
Some people think it’s because it makes you unstable and crazy, to have that many parts of life (planets) put in the same environment (sign).
Here is what I think:
There are sankhya-yogas and really this parivrajak-yoga is a derivation of those. Sankhya means “count.” The sankhya yogas count how many signs the planet occupy. Now you can see why I say parivrajak-yoga is a derivation of sankhya yogas: because it counts how many planets are in a sign.
There are only seven planets you can deal with (Rahu and Ketu don’t factor in to sankhya-yogas, and classical astrology doesn’t count the multitude of new planets and quasi-planets). So if you have four planets in one sign it means that at most you can only have your planets in a total of four signs (if the other three planets are each in separate signs). So if you have a yoga for renunciation (parivrajak-yoga) you cannot have a sankhya yoga higher than four houses. The higher count yogas produce people who enjoy life and are materially productive. The lower count yogas produce people who struggle to attain something more significant.
The fifth yoga is particularly important to this discussion. When the planets occupy five signs it is called harsha - the effect of which is that we see the world as something fit to enjoy. We are more delighted with life, and see everything as something enjoyable (this is putting it in a bright perspective, it also makes hedonists). If you have four planets in one sign you cannot have this harsha. That means you cannot get excited about exploiting people and objects for your personal enjoyment and pleasure.
If you have four planets in one house you must have either a four, three, two or one count yoga. And these are all yogas which make us dissatisfied with the external world and seek something better.
I think this is the logic behind parivrajak-yoga.
Question: In your opinion, is NBRY (Neech Bhanga Raja Yoga – Excellence Arising from the Cancellation of a Debilitation) to be considered in D9 charts? Some people say debilitation in D9 is final, but other experts (like Dr B.V Raman) look at neecha-bhanga raja yogas in D9 too.
Vic DiCara: I think more fundamental things are important. Without having a true grasp of them, intermediate concepts like neech-bhanga yogas, etc. become hopeless to truly grasp.
For example, debilitation itself is not well understood – despite it being an extremely basic and fundamental concept. Classical textbooks like Phaladeepika often describe standard debilitation with unexpectedly neutral or even positive images, while other signs are given exaggeratedly horrific imagery. For example compare the description of Mercury in Aries, Scorpio, or Leo to the description of Mercury debilitated in Pisces. Without understanding this, without understanding how standard debilitation really plays out, how can anyone really hope to understand cancellation of debilitation (neech-bhanga) or even more complicated Excellence Arising from Cancelled Debilitation (neech-bhanga raja yoga)?
Having said that, to pay the courtesy of answering your question, I think if we are going to cast an amsha as a separate chart it makes no sense to say that we should not read yogas in that chart. If it is a separate chart, it is a separate chart and we are free to read it as such. This does not mean that an amsha (for example, the navamsha) is not more than a subchart, and it does not mean it should not be read in otherways besides as a chart unto itself, and further it does not mean that yogas in a subchart are likely to be as powerful and effective as yogas from the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant in the main chart.
“When we consult an astrologer, aren’t we trying to get the fruits of our work? And isn’t that in contradiction to the advice of Krsna in Bhagavad Gita?”
What a really, really wonderful question! Thank you so much for asking this.
First I will note that different people consult astrologers for different reasons. Some consult astrologers in ways that do not violate this principle of the gita. Most, however, do violate this principle in their astrological inquiry. But it is the duty of the astrologer to gently redirect them towards the wisdom of this Gita shloka in the course of addressing their inquiry.
We have a right to act, to do our duties.
Ma phaleshu kadaca NA:
but we never have such rights over the results of our actions.
Ma karma-phala hetu bhur:
So don’t try to cause results of your action
Ma te sango ‘stv akarmani:
but don’t give up action, either.
The wisdom of this shloka from Bhagavad Gita is saying that we shouldn’t only do things which we think will bring good results to us personally, giving up things that we think will bring us bad results. We should do what we are responsible to do, because we are responsible to do it.
This lifestyle is called “karma-yoga.”
The bulk of the Vedic scripture, however, is a precursor to karma-yoga. Most of the Veda is “karma-khanda.” In other words it is about karma, not karma yoga. It is a manual, a handbook for enjoying the fruits of life. Why? Because this is what the vast majority of the readership of the Veda (humanity) is interested in. By giving them a handbook to get what they want – human beings develop faith in the handbook – the Vedas. Thus eventually they come to the more important, though less proliferate, sections on the yogas: karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, and bhakti-yoga.
Jyotish is an appendix on the main bulk of the Veda, and thus mainly it is part of the system of how people can enjoy or not enjoy the fruits. Therefore yes, you are right, the main bulk of astrology is subordinate and inferior to the level of knowledge being expressed in that verse of Bhagavad-Gita.
Jyotish can and should be used to help people rise to this level of knowledge and beyond – just as the karma-khanda of the Vedas are meant for that purpose. That is why the astrologers, at least, should be interested in higher levels. If the astrologers are in karma-yoga, jnana-yoga or bhakti-yoga – then the less advanced persons who come to the astrologers for guidance about everyday material things can receive a great deal of benefit.
- Vic DiCara