The universe is a mirror. It reflects the truth of your soul. The most active area of the universe, from our point of view on Earth, is the Zodiac, through which all the planets move and thus mark the unfolding of divine, universal time.
The zodiac is a circle. Circles have no beginning and no end. They are eternal – as are you, as is all this.
The progress of the Sun measures this circle to have 360 units, we call them “degrees.” The combined movements of the Sun and Moon divide this zodiac into 12 distinct regions, each covering 30 degrees of the circle of infinite life.
Universal acoustics create resonances and echoes forming overtones and harmonics. These further subdivide the 12 distinct zodiac regions into smaller and smaller sections called “Amshas” with their own distinct characteristics. Eventually, every half a degree in the zodiac acquires its own unique traits as a result of the subdivisions generated by these harmonics and overtones.
Understanding what these “amsha” zodiac divisions are is very important to being able to utilize astrology effectively and reliably as a systematic artful science.
Amsha is a Sanskrit word. I first came across this word 20 years ago when I was reading the famous Indian philosophical and spiritual classic: Bhagavad Gita. It is in the seventh verse of the fifteenth chapter:
ममैवांशो जीवलोके जीवभूतः सनातनः ।
मनःषष्ठानीन्द्रियाणि प्रक्रितिसथानि कर्षति ।।
mama — My; eva — certainly; aḿśaḥ — fragmental particle; jīva-loke — in the world of conditional life; jīva-bhūtaḥ — the conditioned living entity; sanātanaḥ — eternal; manaḥ — with the mind; ṣaṣṭhāni — the six; indriyāṇi — senses; prakṛti — in material nature; sthāni — situated; karṣati — is struggling hard.
Krishna: “The host of souls struggling hard with the habitual conditionings of their mind and senses in the material world are in fact eternal subdivisions of my self.”
I was discussing this topic with a fellow astrologer who is a follower of the famous yogi, Yogananda. She shared with me Yogananda’s explanation of the verse, and I clarified my understanding of the same:
Yogananda-Ji comments that, “complex man requires the sensory instruments of delusion to perceive his finite existence.”
I am in complete agreement. The six senses (including the mind) are products of the delusory energy of the material world and their purpose is to give the living entity a sensation and experience that she is a being with a clear, finite beginning and end which cuts herself off from the infinite Godhead. Spiritually speaking we are women who have abandonded our family and husband and are now taking drugs to delude our mind and senses into coping with what we have done.
Yogananda-Ji continues, “Bound by these limiting and limited mediums, he feels himself isolated by God and motivated by Maya, and sustaining his separation by misuse of free choice.”
Again, I am in full agreement. We used our inherent freewill to turn from godhead and enter a deluding material world of drug-like senses and mental states which give us a feeling of limitation which we both loathe and crave simultaneously. We loathe it because it curtails our every wish. We crave it because it makes us feel independent from the “radix chart” of Godhead and thus gives us the chance to fulfill the motivation for our strange free choice which brought us here in the first place.
Now Yogananda-Ji states, “Eventually he chooses to break the ties of Prakriti and moves back through the involutionary pull to God…”
Again, we are in absolute agreement. Godhead created this delusory material world and therefore it too, deep beneath its apparent struggle and limitation, is actually full of nothing but mercy, kindness and love. This world functions on the basis of Karma which is the loving guidance of Godhead in the role of a mother gradually leading us, her children, to lose interest in our deluded intoxications and move once again inward towards our original nature.
Then Yogananda-Ji states, “The illimitable Spirit of God and the pure soul in all beings are the same in essence. Only when the jiva becomes identified with the body does it put on its apparent limitations.”
Again we completely agree, but persons reading Yogananda Ji may miss the key words: “in essence”. The soul and God are the same in essence, not the same in all respects identically. Specifically, Godhead is the cake, and we are the slices of the cake. Godhead is the ocean and we are the drops of rain from it. Godhead is the Radix, and we are the subdivisions. Godhead is the infinite zodiac circle and we are the infinit(essimal) subdivisions thereof, the “amshas.”
Consider the amshas of the Zodiac signs. Anyone must admit that by definition they are subdivisions of a sign. They are like slices of cake. You can not have a slice of a cake if the cake does not exist! A slice can not be made unless there is something to slice. And a slice always remains a partial sample of the whole cake.
The primary purpose of the amsha subdivisions of the Zodiac signs is to differentiate the various degrees within the signs – giving unique qualities and resources to every half degree or even less, and thus affecting the actual dignity of any planets occupying specific degrees within the signs. Secondarily, we calculate the amsha subdivisions as charts in their own right – based on the exact degree occupied by the ascendant and planets in the radix of the main zodiac. So, even as apparent charts unto themselves their very existence is inexorably related to the radix of the main zodiac!
Similarly even when a soul enters into the complete illusion of the material world, she never loses her inexorable relationship to Godhead.
What does an astrologer do with these subdivision charts? What they should do is use them to gain angles of vision into certain specific topics that the main zodiac radix may not directly expose to view. The caturamsha (fourth subdivision) for example gives a deeper image into the realities of the fourth house in the radix chart and the fourth house from the moon in the radix. The navamsha (ninth division) gives a line of sight to previously unseen areas pertaining to the seventh house of the chart and the seventh house from Venus, etc. etc. As such, even in their role as charts unto themselves they are finer divisions of the original whole, the Radix, the main birth chart – they are never entirely separate entities, nor are they ever able to overpower or be more prominent than the Radix.
Astrologers who claim to have “experience” to the contrary are confused astrologers. This we can know on the strength of the clear and simple logic I just presented.
The drop does not become the ocean. The slice does not become the cake. The subdivision does not become the Radix. A sign does not become the whole Zodiac. Ever. It never happens. An astrologer is deluded to look at a subdivision chart (an amsha) and think this chart is completely separate from the Radix birth char, just as a person is deluded to look in the mirror and see something other than a subdivision of Godhead.
Some followers of Yogananda might propose that when we “take off the deluding body” we will become god. This is ignorant of the fact that our definition is to be an amsha of God. The soul can never be wholly different from God, nor can she ever be wholly identical to God. An amsha is a subdivision. A subdivision does not exist without the thing that it subdivides! Therefore the subdivision can never become completely divorced from the thing it subdivides, nor can it wholly become that which it subdivides.
If you go back to the metaphor of the soul as a woman who has divorced herself from Godhead you will remember that she is taking drugs to facilitate the idea. This is why the material world has to delude the soul with a limited and cloudy mind and senses – it is the intoxication which gives the illusion that the subdivision (soul) has become independent from and divorced from the thing which it subdivides (Godhead).
An astrologer who wants to read the subdivisional charts without the context of the Radix chart is in as much illusion as the conditioned soul who thinks herself to have no relationship with God, or who presumes to become God.
You can accept this with absolute certainty. It is impossible for the subdivision to exist without the thing it subdivides, and equally impossible for it to become the thing it subdivides. It is crystal clear and simple logic. Persons who claim that spiritual truths don’t have to be logical delude themselves. The only way they can make their fanciful ideas work is by avoiding clarity and hiding in the shadowy clouds of the six senses and deluded mind.
In addition to Logic, Krishna himself clearly spells it out. The word he uses in the verse is “sanatana” which means a situation that never changes! It is the last word on the first line of the verse. Therefore it is an emphatic modifier for that line: “The host of souls in this world are subdivisions of my own self, and this will never change!” That is the clear and simple meaning of the words of the Vedic authority, Krishna. It is also a clear and simple logical conclusion. Therefore from two important epistemologies (pramana) it is verified as the reliable truth.
Another Vedic text is very important to understanding subdivisions – either of the Zodiac or of Godhead. It is the opening mantra of the Isa-Upanishad:
ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते ।
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ।।
oḿ pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idaḿ
pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate
pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya
“OM.” From the infinite comes the infinite. This soul comes from that infinite. Therefore it too is infinite. Subtracting infinity from infinity, infinity remains.
Godhead is infinite. Metaphors comparing godhead to a cake or an ocean are useful but limited. Godhead is infinite and limitless. The subdivisions of something infinite are themselves infinite (a mathematical truism, ∞ ÷ ∞ = ∞). This world and everything in it, including the souls in it, are all infinite subdivisions of the infinite whole. Being a subdivision of infinity is not belittling in the least! This is what Yogananda Ji truly means when he tells you that “God and the soul are the same in essence.” This is what it means to perceive the indispensable importance of the subdivisional charts in astrology.
It also illustrates that the supreme Godhead does not diminish when there are subdivisions made (∞ – ∞ = ∞), nor do the subdivisions need to “combine” to “create” godhead (∞ does not require any additions to become ∞).
The soul and God are eternally distinct yet intimately inter-related entities, the infinite whole and the infinite subdivision. If we apply this understanding to the Radix chart and the subdivisional charts we will more perfectly understand them.