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Retrogration of planets (Part-A)
Retrogration of planets (Part-A)

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Published by: Narayana Murthy Tekal Nanjundasastry on Aug 30, 2011
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03/07/2012

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RETROGATION OF PLANETS:
Q.When is a planet called retrograde?A.
When a planet appears to be moving in the opposite direction as compared to its normalmovement, it is called a retrograde planet. To understand this better we should look into themovements of planets. In Vedic Astrology all astronomical observations are done consideringthe earth to be the reference point. This system of observation is called 'geocentric'. In anysystem of measurements, the reference point is considered stationary, though it may actually bemoving. This may be likened to everyone's common experience while sitting in a moving train. Ifthe train you are sitting in passes by another train which is moving in the same direction, butslower than your train, this other train seems to be moving backwards against the backdrop ofdistant trees. This is so because you consider yourself to be the reference point and hencestationary. Largely, a similar phenomenon takes place with the planets also, when they appearto be moving backwards. In our solar system, the planets are orbiting around the Sun withvarying speeds. The earth is also doing likewise. Inner and outer planets: The planets that liebetween the Sun and the earth are called inner or inferior planets. These are Mercury andVenus. They can never go too far away from the Sun. Mercury can go a maximum of 27degrees form the Sun and Venus cannot go beyond 47 degrees from the Sun. These twoplanets retrograde when they are between the earth and the Sun. The planets whose orbitslie outside the orbit of the earth are called outer or superior planets. These are Mars, Jupiter andSaturn. The extra-Saturnine planets, i.e., Herschel Neptune, and Pluto are also in this verycategory. Outer planets retrograde when the earth is between the Sun and the planet.
Q. Ignorance about Mangala Dosha causes a lot of anxiety in many home. It is justified?A.
Ignoring Mangala Dosha is also not right. Matching of horoscopes by a competent astrologercan save calamitous results in many cases. Mangala Dosha by itself is generally not so seriousunless the 7th house, its lord and karaka have other severe afflictions too. Therefore, the entirehoroscope must be scruitinized as a whole. After all, besides Mars, there are eight other planetsin the horoscope which may also have some bearing (benefic or adverse) on the houses relatedto marital harmony. An isolated Mangala Dosha should not cause much concern. One is likely tofind as many happy couples with Mangala Dosha as without it, in a real world.
Q. Do all planets become retrograde?A.
Except for the Sun and the Moon, all planets become retrograde once in a while. Since theMoon is essentially a satellite of the earth, its apparent and real movements are one and thesame. Rahu and Ketu, which are not physical planets are always in retrograde motion.
Q. Can one spot a retrograde planet in a horoscope without it being specificallymentioned?A.
Since Mercury and Venus are always quite close to the Sun (as viewed from the earth) it isdifficult to know from the chart alone when they are retrograde. But the outré planets aredefinitely retrograde when they are in the 6th, 7th or 8th house from the Sun. Sometimes theyare retrograde even when they are in the 5th or 9th house from the Sun, but not always.
Q. Does a retrograde planet behave differently in predictive astrology as compared to adirect one?
 
A.
The classics have vexed eloquent about the position (longitude) of a planet in the zodiac asfar as
 
predictive is concerned. That is the reason we have detailed descriptions of deepestpoints of exaltation,
 
debilitation, own rashi placements, and what not. But they are generallysilent on the velocity of the planet.
 
Velocity has two components, one is speed and the other isdirection. On speed there is silence again,
 
except when it becomes atichari; and on directionthere is very little to go by. A planet is termed atichari
 
when it gains unusually fast motionimmediately after it becomes direct.
 Q. It does not seem possible that there is no reference to velocity of planets in predictiveastrology. Isn't astrology supposed to be dependent on astronomy which is essentially astudy of motion of planets?A.
Cognisance of velocity of a planet has been taken only in Shadbala which is the actualstrength of a planet arising out of six difference sources. Out of these six sources, one is termedCheshtabala. It can loosely be translated as 'attempt' or 'intent' of a planet due to its motion. Aretrograde planet gets full 60 shashtiamshas as its Cheshtabala. All other states of motion get45 or less. This strength is added to the strength of a planet derived through a host of othersources. Thus its relative importance is very low in Shadbala. Nevertheless, Venkatesha inSarvatha Chintamani gives the results of the dasha of retrograde planets, as under: The Sunand the Moon are never retrograde.
Mars:
During the dasha-antardasha of Mars in retrogression, the native will be full of fear andtrouble from thieves, fire and snakes. He ay fall from the position held and may go to the forest,to live in solitude.
Mercury:
In the dasha of retrograde Mercury the native gets good luck, wife, son and wealth.He also gets to hear the sacred texts from Puranas and engages in acts of charity and bathes inthe sea.
Jupiter:
The dasha of a retrograde Jupiter bestows on the native much wealth, wife, sons,victory in battles, friendship with the ruling elite and perfumes. He indulges in luxuries of speech.
Venus:
During the dasha of retrograde Venus the native gets much honour from the ruler. Hegets vehicles fitted with excellent music systems, fine clothes and ornaments and ruling powers.
Saturn:
Retrograde Saturn in its dashas causes failures in actions, frustrations in undertakings,sorrows and loss of brothers. These results should not be applied verbatim as they will bemodified due to other factors present in a chart. But one thing is clear from these results that theauthor of Sarvartha Chintamani has made a sharp distinction between malefics and benefics,and they remain so even if they are retrograde in the natal chart. The view given above is that ofone author. Another author, equally acclaimed, if not more, Shri Mantreshwara of Phaladeepika,offers a strikingly different opinion. According to him a retrograde planet has the status of anexalted planet even if it is posited in an inimical sign - no distinction between malefic andbenefic. This view may have some astronomical justification. The planet that is on the verge ofbecoming retrograde is almost stationary; and so is the case when it is about to become direct.To understand this better, one may imagine a child on a swing. When the swing is at its highestpoint, it is momentarily stationary, since it has to change the direction of its motion. Even in-between these extreme points, the planet is rather slow in motion as compared to its averagespeed. Thus it is possible for it to send its radiations more strongly to the earth. This view that aretrograde planet acquires an element of strength and beneficence is supported by Amsayumethod of calculation of longevity. In this method the agecontributed by a retrograde planet is to
 
be trebled. Such additions, or bharanas as they are called, are to be done only in the case ofthose planets which are either exalted or retrograde. Howeve, our experience points out that theresult of a retrograde planet are contrary to expectations, they are erratic, inconsistent andunpredictable. It may be so due to it native velocity. Predictive astrology seemingly assumesdirect motion of planets and the results are based on this tacit assumption. But results becomeunexpected when this assumption is not true.
Q. Does it matter which sign the planet is retrograde in?A.
Yes, it ought to. There is a principle that states: a planet that is moving towards its sign ofexaltation, (uchchabhilashi) acquires beneficence and the planet that has crossed its sign ofexaltation and is now moving towards its sign of debilitation (neechabhilashi) sheds some of itspower to do good. With this principle in mind, imagine a Jupiter retrograde in Leo and a Marsretrograde in Leo. As is obvious, though both the planets are posited in the sign of a friend, butwhile Jupiter is moving towards its sign of exaltation, Cancer, Mars is moving towards its sign ofdebilitation. Another principle that must be borne in mind is that the retrograde planet issupposed to exert its influence from its preceding house also. Now take another example, thatof Mercury and Venus, both getting retrograde in Virgo. While the exalted Mercury would beexerting its influence from Leo, a friendly rashi, Venus which was already debilitated, will now bedeemed to be in Leo, its inimical rashi. Therefore, which rashi the planet is retrograde in, is animportant consideration.
Q. What happens if a planet becomes retrograde when it is exalted or debilitated?A.
There is an opinion held by some astrologers that a retrograde planet, if debilitated, acts likean exalted planet; and an exalted planet getting retrograde behaves like a debilitated planet.The genesis of this opinion probably lies in the fact that a retrograde planet does not behave asit is expected to. Therefore, results from the other extreme are attributed to it. However, thisopinion is not universally accepted.
Q. Does it matter which house the planet is retrograde in?A.
Yes. Imagine a planet in the 9th house. This is one of the best placement. Now, if it isretrograde, it would be considered to be in the 8th house. This is one of the worst placementsfor a planet. Thus, a planet which was the bhagya-vidhata, now becomes the mrityu-data; theplanet that was to determine the 'extent of luck' now has to determine the 'mode of death' Takeanother example, that of a retrograde benefic in the 5
th
house. It will exert influence from the 4thhouse also, thus covering a Kendra and a trikona both. It will also influence the houses that thisplanet aspects from both these positions. Thus, the influence of such a planet, particularly, if it siJupiter, can change the total complexion of the chart. Yet another feature, this time of aretrograde malefic, takes effect when it is involved in causing a Paap-kartari yoga. Suppose,there is a malefic in the 12th house and a retrograde malefic in the 2nd house. Together theywould breathe down the neck of the 1st house and asphyxiate it!
Q. Does a retrograde planet have any influence on the health issues of the native?A.
The results of a retrograde planet are definitely felt on the health and generally these resultsare adverse. One of Parashar's dicta is that benefics in the kendras promote sound health. Butexperience suggests that a retrograde benefic is not capable of doing so. In fact it wouldcertainly cause some health problem appropriate to its significations during its dasha. Ourscrutiny of retrograde planet's influence on the health of the native clearly confirms that even if a

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