Birth Times, Transits, Yugas, Rahu Exaltation, Outer Planets, and TONS more Q&A!

How precise are the measurements for birth time and place? Should I panic after requesting a reading if I discover that I was born on the 3rd floor, not the 5th floor and in the annex across the street?

They are not THAT precise. What we need is a reasonably accurate latitude and longitude of your place of birth, within a few degrees of accuracy.

Longitude is necessary just for knowing timezone precicely.

Latitude is necessary for knowing the time of sunrise on that day, which is necessary for knowing where the ascendant was at that time.

Since the apparent position of the planets in the sky is actually where they were several minutes ago (due to the time it takes light to travel from there to here) do you calculate using the apparent or actual position? Put another way, is the effect of the planets physical (apparent position) or metaphysical (actual position)?

We care only about the apparent position.

Astrology is a language the universe uses to convey information about the world and life. The “words” of this language are  visual symbols in the sky, apparent from here on earth.

If I were pregnant and due on about Sept 17, would it make sense for me to travel someplace specific to get a “better” prognosis for my child?

A) A few minutes of difference in spot a makes as much difference as several degrees of latitude or longitude. So you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to figure out the “best” combination of times and places.

B) And anyway, who is to say which chart is “better” than the other? Just as most of a poker game is not about the cards you were dealt, but how well you played with those cards, similarly most of what makes or breaks our lives is not the karma we are born with, but what we do with it.

Are there patches of earth which favor certain characteristics for those born in the region, regardless of the time?

There is a theory that Asians are more sensitive to Mercury, Europeans to the Moon, Indian’s to Venus, Africans to Saturn, and so on. More importantly it is certainly true that women are more sensitive to the Moon and Venus, while men are more sensitive to the Sun and Mars.

My child came about 14 days later than the doctors anticipated. Were the doctors simply inaccurate in their calculations, or do you deserve some credit/blame for your birth signs?

Doctors can’t predict exactly when a child will be born. There is a certain supernatural being who oversees all of that, Yama. Human’s can’t figure it out.

Anyway everyone is entirely responsible for the karma happening in their lives. You may want to look through my recent YouTube videos to find a short one called “Do we have freewill? Or are we puppets of Fate?” That video explains this.

Why do you use the time and place of birth rather than of conception?

The classical system was to use a conception chart to foresee how well the pregnancy would proceed. The birth chart is the beginning of the child’s independent life, so it is used to foresee what karma come to bear during that life.

What is indicated by the Moon in the 8th House?

This is easy to figure out if you are very clear about what the Moon represents and what the 8th House represents. So, work more on trying to understand the individual symbols perfectly, then their combinations are simpler.

Yavanajataka seems to give an alternate planetary friendship scheme, what are your thoughts on that?

I myself don’t use the standard theme the way most people do. I see it in reverse to the way most see it. For example, most see the Moon being hostile to Mercury, but I see it the other way around: Mercury is hostile to the Moon.

As for Yavanajataka we now have a lot of classical texts coming out of the research into Hellenistic astrology, and these are very helpful to understanding much of the rationale involved in classical Indian astrology. I would be surprised if the alternate friendship scheme in Yavanajataka didn’t turn out to be some other concept similar to friendship, something like the Sect theory, for example.

What is Mercury like when he is a functional malefic by virtue of owning the 8th house.

This sounds really complicated, but is just a simple thing. When you are learning stuff, you have to learn it in isolation. When you really use the stuff, though, you have to use it in context with everything else. The whole “functional malefic” concept is just a way of noting that planets will carry to symbolism of the houses they own. So if you simply bear in mind that the lord of the 8th house is like a spooky shadow, but don’t overdo it or blow it out of context, you’ll be fine in your interpretations of Mercury.

I have heard a view that Rāhu is exalted, or some say debilitated, in Cancer. What is your view?

Rāhu and Ketu are not planets (Graha), they are semi-planets (Upagraha). They don’t have all the same behaviors and characteristics as normal planets. One thing they don’t have is dignity. People are not always comfortable with this, so have tried to assign some points of dignity (like exaltation and debilitation) to Rāhu Ketu. This has been going on for a very long time, and even the Babylonians seemed to have speculated about it.

Most arrive at the conclusion that Gemini and Sagittarius are special signs for Rāhu and Ketu. I myself do not calculate dignity for Rāhu and Ketu, but I have noted that when they are in the signs owned by Jupiter and Mercury, or the corresponding houses (3, 6, 9, 12), they can do very well, if their polarity is correct. For example, Ketu should be in the 12th with Rāhu in the 6th, I have noticed. And Ketu in the 9th with Rāhu in the 3rd is also very powerful.

Why doesn’t Vedic astrology use the outer planets, etc – like Neptune?

Because it’s a very old system of astrology. But that doesn’t mean it should be updated. There is no need to update it. We always think, “let me alter the world to fit my needs,” but this makes us miserable, because the world cannot cooperate with that. Similarly we think, “let’s improve this astrological system so it works better for us.” More enlightened is to think, “Let me alter myself to fit the world’s needs.” Then we will be happy, because the world will cooperate fully. Similarly, we should think, “If I am not getting something clear, let me alter my thinking so that it is more harmonious with the classical system.”

All of the symbols of astrology are derived from visible characteristics of celestial objects. The houses in the Eastern part of the sky have their symbolisms because the Sun rises there. In the West, the Sun sets. Jupiter is very bright and constant. Venus is very sparkly. Mars is very unpredictable, and so on. Rāhu and Ketu turn off the Sun and Moon. We derive the symbolism based on what we see, so what shall we do with planets we don’t see?

And why would the universe communicate to humanity using objects that humans are not naturally equipped to see?

Do you use the whole sign house system exclusively, or do you also use other systems.

I exclusively use the whole-sign house system.

In the Chart Assessment reading you sent me, it says I have 5% Teekshna (bitter) nakshatra. But I have no planets in Teekshna nakshatras.

You must have a planet in one of the miśra Nakshatras (Viśākhā or Kṛttikā). A planet in one of these gives one point to each of the six nakshatra types.

Questions about specific transits…

These are like questions about specific planets in specific houses. You don’t really need to ask them, because you can figure them out yourself if you know the basics very well. And if you don’t know the basics very well, any answers given will not be very useful to you in a broad scope anyway.

So first understand the fundamental nature of a transit. The positions of planets in your birth chart are like sensitive points on your body. Suppose you have a point sensitive to pain on your arm. That point will come to your attention when something moves over it. The transiting planets are that “something.” The benefics have their nature, the malefics theres. A malefic transiting a point sensitive to pain, for example, indicates difficulties. A benefic transiting a point that represents happiness, signifies achieving success.

You can get more detail from the whole thing, but first get these basics clear and get used to seeing them at work in the real world. In the process you will start becoming aware of more details in the interpretation.

One thing to consider is the speed of the transiting planet. Slow transits are more significant. Planets have variant speeds, so even fast planets like Mercury can slow down and stop sometimes.  If you have a planet slowing and stopping on a sensitive point relative to your birth chart, that is a very significant timing when very significant things will happen. This is particularly true if more than one planet does it at the same time.

When will Dvapara Yuga begin?

Begin? It ended about 5,000 years ago. After Dvapara is Kali-yuga, which lasts for 432,000 years. Then the cycle begins again at Satya-yuga.

You may be thinking, “But Śrī Yukteśwāra in Holy Science says…” Yukteshwar made up his own stuff. His concept of the Yugas is not Vedic. Its something he invented to try and make the Yugas coincide with the 26,000 year cycle of equinotical precession.

He got it by dropping the 360 multiple from the Purāṇic calculation of yugas. This should not be done, because the Yugas are geological timescales – huge spans of time relative to the cosmos, not human history. The 360 multiple scopes the “years” involved in a yuga to the celestial scale, which is 360 times longer than our years on earth.

In the heavens a new day begins and the old one ends when the Sun rises northward of the equator. On the earth this is the beginning and end not of a day, but of a year. This is why there is a 360 multiple for cosmic timescales.

Yukteshwar erased that multiple, making the four yugas last 12,000 years. He then put two four-yuga cycles back to back, flipped the second one around so it went in reverse, and added some fudge around the edges to get something he could say was measured by the precession of equinoxes. His concept is not the vedic concept of Yugas at all.

Some say, “the sweet maker never needs sweets!” Does the practicing Jyotishi go to others for direction or do they resolve there own charts/karmas via their own knowledge/study/references. I.e do you consult with other astrologer for your self?

I never see other astrologers and seldom feel the need to look at my chart except as a starting point for testing and refining calculations and systems. I practice Bhakti-Yoga, so I seldom worry much about specific karmas.

I’ve had two horrible Vedic readings. Is there any point to getting a Western reading.

Maybe astrology isn’t meant for you? But first, before deciding that, try to learn enough about astrology yourself that you can tell the difference between a real doctor and a quack. Then you can find an astrologer you can really trust, and give that a try.

Would you call the Moon a samsāra planet?

They are all samsāra planets! The horoscope is nothing but an image of your karma, and what is karma? “Bhūta-bhavodbhavo karaḥ” — it is the force that creates your tangible reality. It is the force that creates your body and your samsara.

The moon is a very samsārik planet because it is our mind, our desires. Desires are the basis of karma, which is the basis of samsāra. But even more samārik than the Moon is the Sun – because the Sun represents your self-concept, the concept of yourself as something fragmentalized and divorced and separated from the whole of reality.

Yes, some planets have some ability to make you interested in not creating a tangible body in a fragmentalized world. Saturn and Ketu are good at this. Jupiter is good for it by giving wisdom. Venus is good for it by showing us the value of being whole and integrated and unified, rather than fragmentalized.

When using the tropical zodiac, do you use different calculations for nakshatra degrees?


Nakshatras are, literally, segments of the sky based on stars. In latin, the word for stellar is “sidereal.” So for measuring the stars, the nakshatras, you must use sidereal coordinates.

This blows people’s mind because they think Ashvini can’t be anywhere except the beginning of Aries. There are so many, many centuries of theory and teaching based on it, it is hard for people to accept that Nakshatras are not permanently related to specific signs.

The concept is very simple though. You’ve probably heard the Nakshatras explained as “lunar mansion” or as “fixed stars.” That is exactly what they are. Lunar mansions and fixed stars are calculated using Ayanamsha.

It is not very hard, all you have to do is subtract about 24 degrees from any tropical coordinate to get the sidereal equivalent. Then you can reference the standard sidereal positions of the nakahstras.

Is it possible to determine the third marriage through the horoscope?

Second, third, fourth, that will be a little difficult – and they may not be set in stone. The basic principle is to look for Venus and the 7th lord in connection with dual signs, and not with houses 2 and 4. Look for this from the main chart, the moon chart, and the navamsha. The more you find it, the more likely (and more numerous) multiple marriages are. Or maybe no marriages, and just multiple relationships.

Will you please comment on Gītā 4:24?

This verse comes in the section where Krishna is describing Karma-yoga, stressing that “spiritual life” is not something that happens on a mountain in a cave – it happens by doing your duties and responsibilities in everyday life with deeper and deeper insight and wisdom. This verse indicates that you will get full samadhi (spiritual realization) from that karma-yoga, and will see that each and every part of your “normal life” is fully spiritual brahman.

What is the most useful remedial measure?

What is the biggest problem? First know that, then you will know the most useful remedial measure.

The root of all problems is ignorance. So the greatest remedial measure is knowledge. Thus the astrology reading itself is the greatest “remedial” helping you to live a better, happier life.

After that, mantra is the best remedial. Mantra is made of words, and words contain knowledge.

After that, actions are the best remedial. If you are suffering from some situation, go do something to comfort someone else who is suffering a similar situation. This will burn your karma.

Where can we get Soma these days?

On 42nd street? 🙂

Soma is the miracle drug of the gods. It is not available on Earth anymore. But that is only the material version of soma. The real version of soma is to be found within the consciousness at the core of your very self.

If everything depends on planets and we born with our destiny .. all planets move and effects variously to each person… so are we puppet in this world? Are we puppet of that god( a source of energy)??? Is this true ? Or everything is on deeds? How much deeds(karma) effects …please discuss if you have time to discuss on this.

Please look through my YouTube channel, I recently posted a video explaining this. The title is “Do we have Freewill? Or are we puppets of fate?”

Here is the video with many of these questions addressed: