Dr. Foss’ Article Against Rashi / Nakshatra Independence, Part 2

Dr. Foss Edited his article after my critique (Andrew Foss’ Attempt to Debunk the Tropical Zodiac). Here are the new portions with my critique:

“Why are the fire signs associated with Dharma, the earth with Artha, etc.? “

I answer this question in the first class in my 102 course on the signs. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XnnAc4b2Ss. In short:

Fire is bright and hot. Since it is bright it clearly shows the difference between the correct path and the incorrect path. Since it is hot, it has the power to enforce and punish transgression of the correct path. Because of having these two essential qualities, fire symbolizes dharma, and therefore is rooted in the East, placing it at the Eastern cardinal point: Aries, from which it branches by trine to Leo and Sagittarius.

Earth is fertile and tangible. Because it is fertile it produces food, gems, metals and all articles of wealth. Because it is tangible it is solid, stable, and practical. This it symbolizes artha, and is therefore rooted in the South (underground), placing it at the Sourthern cardinal point: Capricorn, from which it branhces b trine to Virgo and Taurus.

I have explained the other two elements in the same way, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XnnAc4b2Ss

Here is Dr. Foss’ answer to his question about why the elements are assigned to particular rāśi. He writes:

“One answer based on standard Jyotish principles is that Dharma, Artha, etc. are defined on the four padas of each Nakshatra. Each Nakshatra has four padas and these are defined as being in the order Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. If Aries and Ashwini start in the same place, then all fire Navamshas coincide with Dharma padas, all earth Navamshas coincide with Artha padas, etc.”

Dr. Foss’ argument is against the principles of logic (nyāya) because it proposes that an aṁśī is generated by its aṁśa. Logic establishes that the aṁśī generates aṁśa, not visa versa. For example, the Sun is aṁśī and the Sunshine is aṁśa. The Sunshine does not produce the Sun, but visa versa.

Dr. Foss proposes that qualities of signs (the aṁśī) are generated from their fragmental reflections (their aṁśa). This is like saying that a mirror generates the person who looks at it, or that the sunshine generates the sun. It is an illogical proposition.

Moreover, he proposes that the navāṁśa signs get their qualities from somewhere else – Nakṣatra. So besides being illogical, his proposition is also convoluted.

The logical proposition is that the aṁśa get their qualities from the aṁśī – just as the Sunshine has heat and brilliance as a a result of being an aṁśa of a brilliant and hot aṁśī.

A smaller problem with his proposal is his unsupported claim that the padas of nakshatras are “standard Jyotiṣa principles” and furthermore that their correlation to dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa is also “standard.” I would like to know a reference from a standard Jyotiṣa textbook to verify this. I have looked for them and asked others for them, and not found them.

Certainly the concept of nakṣatra pada correlated to  navāṁśa is very “popular,” but being popular doesn’t really mean the same thing as being “standard.” The term “standard” implies that it is not questioned, due to being established by the classical authorities. (Bṛhat Jātaka, etc). Perhaps there is such a statement in these texts, but I have not noticed it in my studies.

It seems to me that once Indian tradition welded the beginning of Asvinī permanently to the beginning of Aries (which it seems to have done between 1700~1300 years ago), it then divided the nakṣatra by the navāṁśa and imported the qualities of those navāṁśa into their understanding of the four sections they created in the nakṣatra.

Indeed we find that this approach to the nakṣatra persists today: most astrologers explain them mainly as a combination of rāśi, navāṁśa, and viṁśottarī daśa rulerships.

Another addition made by Dr. Foss:

“One can ask questions like ‘Is Jupiter exalted in Pushya?'”

If a student asks this question, the teacher who doesn’t immediately answer, “You are mixing apples and oranges. Exaltation is a factor related to the rulers, elements and modes of the rāśī” is not really fit to teach.

He goes on to say:

“Pushya is already moving into tropical Leo. Then will Jupiter be exalted there and debilitated in Aquarius or has he ceased to reach his peak in his own favourite Nakshatra?”

Dr. Foss is mixing apples and oranges. Exaltation, debilitation and the other conditions of dignity are based on the rulers, elements and modes of the rāśī, not the nakṣatra.  As evidence, consider that the Persians and Ionians also have exaltation and debilitation, but do not have nakṣatras with Vedic devas. To suggest that they got it from India (but didn’t also take the nakṣatras) would be extremely difficult to defend in an educated forum.

Jupiter exalts in Cancer, debilitates in Capricorn, his its root in Sagittarius and its own sign is Pisces. Exaltation, debilitation, trikona and own-signs are not derived from nakshatra, so these signs of exaltation, debilitation, etc do not change with the nakshatra’s change of relationship to rāśi.

The same, of course, is true for every planet.

He adds:

“Shri Krshna is adored for having his Lagna and Moon in Rohini in the centre of Taurus. What becomes of that? At that time that degree of Rohini was in tropical Pisces.”

Śrī Krishna not adored for his horoscope. He is adored because he is gorgeous, delightful, and the ultimate object and subject of adoration and pleasure.

Dr. Foss says that Krishna has “Lagna and Moon in the centre of Taurus.” I wonder exactly were we gets this information. The Bhāgavata Purāṇa (by far the most important Purāṇic-Vedic document on Krishna) makes no mention of Taurus (or any Rāśi) when it describes his birth (10.3.1). It only mentions “The star of the unborn”, as being prominent and that, “the nakshatras and planets were peaceful.”

Later, the great poet Sūr Dās (a 14th century personality) embraced a particular horoscope for Śrī Krishna naming the lagna and the rāśī of each planet, and citing Taurus for the ascendant and lagna. I personally love this horoscope, but it is not suitable for scientific astrological evidence.

Dr. Foss also added something to this part:

“If Magha is not in Leo, how is it the royal sign? The mere rulership of the Sun is insufficient as without the throne, one cannot call oneself the king.”

There “mere” fact that it is the sign ruled by the planet who signifies kingship and Soverenty is not enough to characterize Leo as the royal sign??? I guess the presence of the decision-making, law-enforcing fire element in Leo is also not very significant?

For the record, Maghā is not exactly a “royal nakṣatra.” It is the nakshatra of ancestors (pitṛ) and what we inherit from them. A throne is chosen to depict this, because kingship is the epitome of inheritance

Vic DiCara (vicdicara.com)