Evolution of the word Graha ग्रह

The word graha more literally means “grasp.” Various forms of the word graha are used in Sanskrit very similarly with how we use the word “grasp” in English. For example:

अथः श्रीकृष्णनामादि नभवेत्ग्रह्यम् इन्द्रियै (athaḥ śrī kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grahyam indriyai) {“Description of Krishna by names and words is not within the grasp of the senses.”}

As is common in any language, things with certain qualities are often referred to by naming that quality. So a class of monster gained the name Graha – evil spirits who possessed human beings. Because these spirits took hold of (“grasped”) the human being, they were named “the seizers” – Graha. Even our word for an epileptic episode comes from the idea that Graha (“Seizers”)  cause such things (“Seizures”).

Rahu was originally a demonic being, much more powerful than a Graha. But when he became a “semi-planet” he caused Eclipses. In an eclipse Rahu “seizes” the sun and moon, therefore, Rahu, specifically began to be called a “Graha.”

As time wore on the word Graha became applied to all the planets.

Thus today the term graha can even be used to indicate the number nine! (Since there are nine planets)

– Vic DiCara (www.vicdicara.com)

Rahu and Ketu- the waxing and waning moon

My New Book is Available! 27 Stars, 27 Gods


27 Stars, 27 Gods

The Astrological Mythology of Ancient India

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What does “Gaja Kesari” mean?

Gaja Lakshmi
Gaja Lakshmi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gaja can mean the following:

1. Elephant (of which there are 8 types recognized in Sanskrit)
2. Hence, the number 8
3. A measure of length (a sum of 8 units)
4. A musical measurement
5. A foundation of earth upon which a house is built

Essentially it means “elephant” the other meanings are derived from that essential meaning.

Kesari can mean (assuming that the spelling is keza in Harvard-Kyoto Sanskrit transliteration):

1. Hair
2. Tail
3. Mane
4. Perfume

Essentially it means “hair.” A lion has a mane, so it can be referred to as a kezari.

If the spelling is not kezari but kesari, the meanings are:

1. Same meanings of Hair / Mane / Etc.
2. Saffron
3. Sulfates
4. Filaments of plants
5. Gold

Essentially it means Saffron – which has a color similar to sulfates and gold, and is produced from the pollen in plant filaments.

Now, this yoga – Gaja-Kesari – is formed by Jupiter. Jupiter’s color is saffron. Therefore the main meaning of the term Gaja-Kesari in astrology is:

– A mound of saffron.

Saffron is a color of religious significance – so the “mound of saffron” suggests the traits of Jupiter become ample: morality, philosophy, charity, learning, etc.

Other possible meanings, “golden elephant,” “heap of gold”, are also useful as images to evoke the prosperity caused by the Gaja Keshari yoga.

Others, “Elephant-lion” or “hairy elephant” are not very useful! :)

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“OK People LOOK…” Vedic Tropical vs Sidereal Madness!

At the beginning of 2012 I finished my research into the actual definition of the zodiac in Sanskrit, Indian classical literature. I came undeniably to the conclusion that a lunar “zodiac” of 27 divisions exists in sidereal space. And that a solar zodiac of 12 divisions coexists in tropical space.

It was not hard to figure this out because the Puranas and Siddhantas I researched were completely clear about it, and there was no contradictory statement to be found anywhere. The hard part was gripping the fact so many centuries of Indian astrologers have mis-represented the solar twelvefold zodiac.

Respecting authority (sastra) over popularity / popular opinion I took the plunge and said, “OK, this is just the way it is and I have to accept that. The 27 nakshatras are sidereal but the 12 signs are tropical.”

Here’s my video, article, and Q & A all about it.

People reacted, and still are, with great confusion and, often, anger. The biggest reaction I get is,

“Who the hell are you to dare to be different?”

My apologies. But may I ask in return, “Who the hell are you to call yourself ‘Vedic’ yet make up your own definitions of things, in defiance of the Surya-Siddhanta and the Puranas, including Vishnu and Bhagavata Purana”?

Conversation usually stops there…

I admit I am not the greatest diplomat.

Among those who aren’t pissed off at me, the next largest group are just baffled and confused by the whole thing:

“You mean I’m a Capricorn now???”

Most of the baffled group are astrological “laypeople” trying to read their own recalculated charts and getting outstandingly confused.

Is this any different than it ever was before, though? The only reason “vedic” astrology fans “like” or “understand” their “vedic chart” is because they’ve wrestled with it for a year or more now to try figure out the sense in it. They take a look at a new version of their chart and are like, “Whoa, Nelly!!!! I just started making progress actually starting to understand the old version – why are you handing me something a bit different all of the sudden???”

Looking at the chart with cross eyes for maybe 5 seconds, to maybe 5 hours… they give up. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

Friends, don’t you realize that all the ladies and gentleman outside of the “vedic” astrological bubble are exactly in the opposite position that you are. They’ve had their tropical charts for 10 years, struggling to beat some sense out of it, and if you hand them a sidereal version of their birth chart they are going to do exactly the same thing you are doing: look at it in bepuzzlement for 5 seconds – 5 hours, and then sigh and say, “this just isn’t for me – there’s no way I’m a Capricorn.”

The layperson’s confusion and inability to correctly read their chart (be it tropical or sidereal) doesn’t say anything about which one is the correct zodiac.  It just shows that laypeople get confused hella easy.

“We Want Proof!!!”

Next up you have the actual practicing astrologers or more learned laypeople who are graciously willing to give me 5 seconds – 5 hours of attention before they too get confused. Their reaction is, “OK, if this is right, show us proof!”

OK guys, can we please be honest here for several minutes:

(a) Since when has astrology of any type been able to scientifically “prove” anything beyond a doubt? Why don’t you ask me to do something feasible. 

(b) Astrology is incredibly complex, and is about a boatload more than just the 12 signs – be they tropical or sidereal. Don’t you realize that you can explain things a million different ways from a single chart? Have you ever seen two astrologers interpret even the same chart in the same way?

If we start debating the sidereal chart vs. the tropical chart we are just going to tire each other out because (i) there is a boatload of stuff that is the same in both, (ii) there are dozens of factors involved, almost always counterbalancing one another out when we switch a chart from sidereal to tropical.

Yes, eventually I am going to publish something showing how it is simpler and clearer to make accurate proclamations and predictions with a tropical 12-fold zodiac. No, I can’t show it to you in 5 minutes, because (a) it takes a gainormous amount of work, especially because (b) the vast majority of you  are so dead-set against it, I am going to have to write it out very carefully.

But,really, something has to be said here, or said again: If you purport to be “Vedic” don’t you realize that means you have implicit faith that the Vedas were written by people with lots more experience, understanding and realization than you or I? If you don’t have that faith please stop capitalizing or fantasizing with the terminology “Vedic”, “Hindu”, “Indian”, etc.

If you do have that faith, don’t you realize that if I establish Vedic Literature (viz. Purana and Siddhanta) unequivocally stating that the 12 signs are tropical, while the 27 nakshatras are sidereal –that is the proof!?!?

By the way, have done that and no one has offered any refutation except the innane, “you can’t possibly understand it correctly, who the hell are you?” If you are really “Vedic” you are not going to start asking me for “proof” when I have already given you Vedic proof. What you should be doing is trying to find if and where my understanding of the Vedic sastra is flawed. If you can find that, please show me – clearly. Believe me, being the ambassador for the “Tropical Vedic Revolution” is ridiculously tiring and time consuming, and I would welcome a good excuse to give it up.

And this is not really a call to ultra-pure orthodoxy. It’s a practical scientific statement: You and I are confused. Drop the facade, none of us look at a horoscope and see the future with crystal clarity. All of us are confused and try our very best. We shouldn’t expect that our confused opinions are more important than the authorized opinions of our foundations: the Vedic literature.

“Keep Me Out of This Debate! I don’t want to make enemies, and I don’t want to upset my clients”

After the haters and the confused, this is the next group of reactions: neutrality. It might actually be very wise in a practical sense, but it lacks spine. I’m kind of let down by the number of colleagues who just prefer to ignore the importance of this debate. But I can respect it, and at times, I wish I also didn’t elect myself to become some champion of an increadibly underdog cause.

Then, finally there are about 2% of you – the people who “get it.” I just want to say, THANK YOU!

– Vic DiCara


Divine Love and Romance in Purva Phalguni

English: Murti of Sri Krishna in an ISKCON tem...
English: Murti of Sri Krishna in an ISKCON temple (can’t remember which however). The original printout was a bit degraded so I had to re-treat it to make it usable. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In modern times, with the rise of extremely dualistic concepts of religion, we tend to conceive of a huge gulf between mater and spirit, god and pleasure, etc. This divisive conception is not embraced by Vedic culture. Certainly dualism has some relevance, for not all things are identical. Selfishness and selflessness, for example, are polar opposites – and thus so are lust and love. However, the Indian concept of divinity neutralizes, harmonizes, and integrates all opposites.

Bhaga is the god of “material” things such as romance, sex and marriage. Bhaga (in the form Bhaga-van) is also the most common classical Sanskrit term for a blessed being. The Purāṇas even define Bhaga-van as a moniker of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus the division between material and spiritual transforms.

Bhagavan means, “The possessor of Bhaga.” Sanskrit culture conceives of the Supreme Spirit as Bhagavan: a blissful, attractive, talented and romantic entity.

Parāśara Muni defines the word Bhagavān in Viṣṇu Purāṇa (6.5.79): “To fully possess happiness (bhaga) one must have all majesty, power, fame, beauty, knowledge and detachment.”

Bhaga gives majesty – which means status, influence and wealth. He gives power – which means heroism, bravery and strength. Bhaga also gives fame – which means celebrity and good reputation. He also gives beauty – which attracts others to participate in ones pleasures.

Money, power, fame, beauty… these first four are obvious and well known ingredients of a person who can enjoy great pleasures. Knowledge is a lesser known requirement. We need expertise and skill to really enjoy the pleasures of life. Bhaga, the god of pleasures, also gives detachment – because attachment causes suffering. If we are only attached to enjoying pleasures, we will inevitably suffer. To be detached requires knowledge of what one really is – a spiritual being, not just a collection of senses to please. So in addition to giving money, power, fame, and beauty, Bhaga also gives knowledge and detachment. The complete package of six traits grants supreme pleasure.

The personality of Godhead, especially in the intimate form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is recognized by Parāśara and his son Vyāsa as the person most fit to be named Bhagavān.[1]

Pūrva Phālgunī has the special ability to grant pleasures and wealth in a manner that befits a spiritually progressive person. It also can incline one to more deeply appreciate the spiritual pleasures and opulence of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

[1] Parāśara says so in Viṣṇu-Purāṇa. Vyāsa says so in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.3.28


– Vic DiCara


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