The Shortfalls of Astrological Compatibility

Recently someone sent me some doubts about the accuracy of Vedic astrological compatibility methods. Here is the essence of what he said:

Vedic astrologers usually use the asta kuta system for determining the compatibility of two people, however my experience is that it does not give us the full picture. I know divorced couples with compatibility scores above 70%, and other couples who live together nicely with compatibility scores below 50%. Because of this I feel that asta kuta is not up to the expectations.

The biggest shortcoming of compatibility assessments is that people apply them beyond their intended limit. The compatibility between people primarily shows how “sticky” they are with one another. It can be interpreted to tell us why the partners are more or less “sticky” to one another – but it doesn’t really tell us much about what’s going to happen while the two people are stuck together.

Joe and Jane may be perfectly awful for one another – yet may get a high compatibility score in an astrological assessment. That high compatibility score simply indicates that they will remain stuck to one another for a long time, despite it causing a lot of hell and suffering.

In my own compatibility assessments I combine the Indian nakṣatra-moon system (“aṣṭa-” or “dāśa-kūṭa”) with a contemporary system based on the aspectual relationships between the couple’s ascendants, moons, suns, and Venuses. But still, the main information that comes from either of these approaches primarily evaluates the couples “stickiness.” It doesn’t directly reveal much about the goodness or badness of being stuck or unstuck.

To have a complete picture of the nature of a marriage (as far as fate will make possible) we have to first examine each partner’s horoscope individually. What type of person is he? What type of person is she? What does his chart say about his marriage? Does she fit that description? Does he fit the description of marriage in her chart? If the individuals have a lot of negative indications related to marriage, then all the compatibility in the world is not going to make it a good marriage, it’s just going to make it a lasting marriage (which, if it’s bad enough, can actually be an undesirable thing!).

Ideal marriages come about when the partners are “sticky” with one another (in other words, when it is easy for them to need one another and benefit from one another and cooperate with one another), and when both of them have the destiny to have a positive marriage, and when both of them “fit the bill” indicated by their charts’ descriptions of the marriage experience and spouse.

This person also said:

I know that Vedic science is perfect so all I can think is that we are not using it properly.

Personal astrology is not really a “Vedic science.” Calendric and ceremonial astrology is a legitimate aṅga of the Veda, but personal astrology, including inter-personal compatibility, is a rather recent development in India, catalyzed by her ongoing relations with Persians (yāvana). Noting this fact doesn’t make me popular with “Vedic astrologers” who attract clients by giving off the vibe that doing astrology makes them some type of yogi, vedic seer, etc. Nonetheless this is the truth as far as I can see it.

Even if personal astrology is occasionally mentioned quite indirectly in the later Vedic texts, like purāṇas – no detailed account of how to practice it is given except in quite recent works. The fact that a book was written in India in Sanskrit does not qualify it as Vedic, I’m sorry.

Don’t get me wrong, the personal astrology of India is an amazing art and science more well developed and preserved than even its Persian inspirations. But it should not be puffed up and advertised as a “perfect Vedic science.” Only a dubious mind manipulator would do that.

The person also wrote:

Devotees intending to marry in the Hungarian Yatra are advised based on the asta kuta, but I do not think it gives a full picture about a relationship.

In Vedic culture marriage was not arranged in a manner at all similar to how contemporary so-called implementations of Vedic culture do it. Throughout the most important Purāṇa and Veda, the Bhāgavata, I have not found a single reference to a marriage arranged by astrology, and the vast majority of marriages are arranged according to the preferences of the bride. Please see this article “Vedic Marriage” for more discussion on this topic.

– Vic DiCara