Astrology “ABC”s from Ancient Sanskrit Texts

Learn how to think, not what to think

There are several medieval and ancient Sanskrit astrology textbooks that have a great wealth of knowledge – but are completely misunderstood by readers without the cultural background required to correctly approach them. This handicap is not the special curse of non-Indian’s by any means! All humans since the dark ages have lost the intellectual culture required to make good use of Sanskrit literature.

The most important point of that culture to understand is this: Gurus do not come to teach you what to think! They come to teach you how to think!

Thus, the statements in the Sanskrit astrological texts (or “scripture”) are examples given by gurus to illustrate to us students the way to think like a guru! We are not supposed to Xerox, memorize, or cut-and-paste these statements. We are supposed to enter into them and discover their spirit.

I hope that I can now manage to share with you a few examples of how to use Sanskrit knowledge, particularly the knowledge in the Astrological texts, as a result of the grace my guru has kindly shown me. I will give examples of very basic “ABC”-level statements from a text entitled Brihat Jataka (“The Encyclopedia of Natal Astrology”) and will show you how to not just read or memorize the statements but instead to enter into them and understand the thought process which the examples in those statements serve to illustrate.

If you are familiar with the basic meanings of the planets this will all make amazing sense to you, I think. If not you may first want to start by learning about the planets.

Another obstacle we have to overcome is the impulse to jump to final conclusions prematurely. For example, a guide will make some statement to illustrate the nature of what happens when, say, the Sun is in Virgo… our first impulse is to say, “Wait, I have the Sun in Virgo (or I know so and so with the Sun in Virgo) and that’s not how things are for them.” I will say three things to help us deal with this short circuiting impulse:

  • A single factor (such as Sun in Virgo) is just a single fact. The final conclusion is made when we understand how that single factor resonates with the many other factors in the horoscope.
  • It is good to see how the principle plays out in the real world – but be sure to consider all the astrological factors (or at least many of them), not just one before drawing a conclusion on how practically useful the knowledge is for you.
  • We can have some amount of faith – it is very important. The points mentioned may not always be at the fore of existence for an individual, but they are always there in some degree and in some permutation. With faith we have the patience to search for the full understanding rather than dismissing what initially confuses us.

Now lets dive into gaining a deeper, more useful insight into the Sanskrit astrological texts:


Remember, Virgo is a sign that belongs to Mercury. The following bullet points are statements from Brihat Jataka (as translated by Ernst Wilhem) about this very basic placement. Between the bullet points, I will explain what the author of Brihat Jataka was thinking, what he was illustrating by his statement.

  • The individual will be a writer, painter, poet,mathematician, and well up in other subjects of knowledge,

Sun (Career) + Mercury (communication & intelligence)

Thus, the Career operates in fields related to communication and intellect.

  • but he will possess a feminine body.

Sun (Self) + Mercury (Beautiful)
Thus the body (visible self) operates in a beautiful way.


Remember, both Gemini and Virgo belong to Mercury.

  • One will become spirited

Mars (passion) + Mercury (intellect) – Thus one’s thoughts are full of passion and ambition – one is “spirited.”

  • and intolerant,

Mars (selfish) + Mercury (diplomatic relations) – Selfishness enters into ones diplomatic relations, so one appears “intolerant.”

  • will get many sons and

Passion (Mars) + Intellect (Mercury) leads to enjoyment/copulation/children.

  • no friends.

Mars (selfish) + Mercury (friendly) – Selfishness enters into ones ability to have friends and can spoil it.

  • He will be doing good to others,

Mars (insight/incisive) + Mercury (intelligence) = knows that to do good karmas is in ones own self-interest, therefore does good deeds for the sake of getting good karma in return.

  • and be clever in music, singing and in the knowledge of warfare

Mars (insight/ incisive) + Mercury (intellect) = insight in the arts (particularly martial arts)

  •  The individual will be a miser

Miser means keeping money, not spending.

Mars (Practicality, Utility) + Mercury (Party) = one prefers not to party, but rather to be pratical and do things that have utility and purpose. Therefore he does not enjoy and expend.

  • fearless

Mars (bravery) + Mercury (intelligence)

  • and desirous of wealth

Mars (conquering property) + Mercury (commerce) – The passion to conquer and control enters into ones commercial interactions, one becomes “desirous of wealth”


Virgo belongs to Mercury, and Mercury is “exalted” in a portion of Virgo. Brihat Jataka says that one born under this combination will become (bullet points):

  • unselfish,and generous

Mercury (balanced and flexible) is strong in this sign. This leads to a person who is flexible to others needs, “unselfish and generous.”

  •  a learned scholar

Mercury (intelligence, education) is strong

  • endowed with many qualities

Mercury (master of arts and sciences) is strong – so one has an intellect that is open to education and thus one learns many things and thereby develops many good qualities.

  • happy and forgiving

Mercury (diplomatic and witty) is strong

  • He will know how to convince others by reasoning

Mercury (intelligent communication) is strong – therefore one can communicate diplomatically and intelligently, and use that rather than force or coercion to accomplish ones goals.

  • and will be void of any fear.

Mercury (intelligence) is strong – “fear of unknown” is diminished.


Jupiter owns both these signs – Sagittarius and Pisces (we don’t consider new planets like Uranus in Sanskrit texts). So remember that this placement basically indicates a strengthened Jupiter. The Brihat Jataka says the individual will become:

  • the head of an assemblage

Jupiter (the teacher at the front of the class) is strong in these signs. This placement enables and encourages the individual to be in a similar position, at the front of a group giving instruction and guidance.

  • or the ruler of a province, a minister to a king, or a general

Jupiter (the guide, wise leader) is strong. The idea all these specific statements illustrate is that one with Jupiter in these signs is enabled to be a guide and leader for others.

  •  and will be wealthy

Jupiter (prosperity) is strong.


Leo belongs to the Sun. Brihat Jataka says the individual born under this combination will

  • get money through wife or women

Venus (Women & Money) + Sun (Career). So the career brings money when women/cosmetics/beauty/sensuality/arts are involved.

  • exalt his excellent wife as the most high

Venus (Wife) + Sun (Royalty). So one is inclined to treat the spouse/opposite sex like they are royalty. This also implies loyalty and submission to the opposite sex/spouse.

  • and will possess few sons

Venus (Fertility) + Sun (Sterility).


Taurus belongs to Venus.

  • Practicing illicit intercourse with women of low caste not fit to be approached

Saturn (perverted/low class) + Venus (women & sexuality). Here the guru makes a specific statement, don’t tie your brain to the specific statement itself, but to the concept that it illustrates! The concept is that one will be fond of women (or to remove the male bias, “spouses”) who are not really worthy of ones fondness for one reason or another. Maybe they are old, maybe they are low class, maybe they are uncultured and unrefined and insensitive. But still one has fondness for them for some strange reason. Probably the strong, persistent desire to be with women prompts one to accept any and every woman. “Perversions” are enjoyable and attractive from this placement.

  •  not at all wealthy

Saturn (Poverty) + Venus (Wealth)

  • having many wives

Saturn (Perversion) + Venus (sexuality). Saturn is an insatiable, unstoppable force. One is inclined to enjoy many partners when this force contacts Venus energy as it does for example when Saturn is in Venus’ Taurus.

– Vic DiCara