LIGHT ON 'KARAKA

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------ © Dr. Satya Prakash Choudhary The student of vedic astrology comes across the word 'karaka' quite often in various contexts. In fact most standard texts devote an entire chapter for the 'karaka' . For instance Parasara's magnum opus the 'Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra' has an entire chapter titled 'kaarakaadhyaaya' . Even the dasa delineation depends on how accurately one identifies all the karakas involved. Every prediction is based on these karakatwa s. In fact any successful astrologer will tell you that your understanding of the chart is directly proportional to how thorough your knowledge of the karaka s and their appropriate use is. The word Karaka means a 'significator' or "one who causes". Karaka of a matter is the significator of that particular matter and signifies / causes events related to that matter. Significators can be classified according to various criteria. Significations may be Natural or Acquired Natural significations of planets are permanent or fixed in a way and are based on their innate nature. For instance Sun is the karaka for the soul, Moon for the mind, Mercury for the intellect, Mars for courage and Jupiter for children. The detailed natural significations for various planets are given elsewhere. Planets acquire the power to signify a matter by virtue of their lordships and positions too. These significations are Acquired and change in each chart. For instance the lord of the first house (who ever the planet maybe) acquires signification over all the matters governed by that house. Likewise the second lord acquires signification over matters governed by the second house such as speech, possessions, food/diet etc. The detailed l significations for various houses are given elsewhere. Acquired or Temporary or Variable karakatwas of planets are defined in another way too in Jaimini system. The Charakarakas of Jaimini are discussed elsewhere in this article. The above is the simplest and most basic approach to a karaka. As the student progresses, he/she will come across a more in-depth approach to the concept of karakas. In accordance with tradition, Somanatha Misra writes in Kalpalata (his vrtti on the Jaimini Sutras ) that Karaka s are of many kinds ( Kaarakaa bahu vidhaah ) and then deals with the following five kinds of karakas. • Karaka • Atmakaraka • Swakaraka • Dasakaraka and • Bhavakaraka.

Among these five. All such planets become the Dasa karakas in some manner though the Dasa lord is the single most influential planet as the Dasakaraka. planets in that rasi as well planets involved in aspects with the rasi also determine the results. Simply put for most practical purposes Dasakaraka is the planet whose dasa is operating. The lord of the dasa (in a planetary dasa) is the single most influential planet for that particular dasa. BHAVAKARAKA Bhavakaraka is the significator of a house. Mercury 5 th : Jupiter 6 th : Mars. Jain astrologers are said to favour Atmakaraka and Swakaraka . ATMAKARAKA Atmakaraka is the planet that has advanced to the highest degree in any sign. I will deal with the 'swakaraka' later. First let me define each of these karakas. Swakaraka is the most dependable of all in determining the results of a chart though one should study the chart with reference to other kinds of karakas too. Atmakaraka is the most favoured planet in Jaimini system and its extensive use is a unique feature of Jaimini astrology. I have written more on the charakarakas and atmakaraka elsewhere in this article. Hence the name Nitya indicating 'permanent'. These are: 1 st house: Sun 2 nd : Jupiter 3 rd : Mars 4 th : Moon. Saturn 7 th : Venus . DASAKARAKA Dasakaraka is the planet whose influence is prominent during a particular dasa. In a rasi dasa. Bhavakarakas are of two kinds: Permanent ( Nitya ) and Temporary ( Anitya ) Nitya (Permanent) bhavakarakas : The permanent significators for the twelve houses are fixed for all charts. But planets conjunct or aspecting or aspected by the dasa lord too influence the dasa.

Jupiter for the ninth and Mercury for the tenth. these significations of a planet are fixed or permanent in nature. STHIRAKARAKAS As indicated by the name. For instance Sun is the karaka for the soul. The detailed natural significations for various planets. Parasara mentions only one planet as the significator for a house. aspects etc in the chart under question. In spite of considering Venus and Saturn too for the mother and .8 th : Saturn 9 th : Sun. Saturn. Jataka Parijata etc. all these become the bhavakarakas for the second house in a particular chart. while the stronger one between Moon and Mars is the significator for mother. Jupiter 10 th : Sun. In Brihat Jataka. So the lord of the second house. are given in another article. based on standard texts. Jupiter 11 th : Jupiter 12 th : Saturn Though the above list is supported by standard works such as Phala Deepika. Varahamihira suggests that Sun is the significator for father and Venus for mother in case of day birth. My own observation is that Varahamihira is more accurate in this regard. Who is correct? Depending on the context both versions are correct. Moon for the mind. One thing should be kept in mind though. Mars for courage and Jupiter for children. Mars for the 6 th . But certain authorities make a distinction between night and day births. Parasara has something else to suggest though it has no distinction between day and night births. According to the BPHS only Moon is considered for the 4th house. position. Generally it is acceptable to take the Sun as the karaka for father and Moon for the mother. planets in the second house and planets aspecting. These are to be learnt from other standard texts. Sarvartha Chintamani. Most texts agree on a majority of the common significations in a general way. The stronger one between Sun and Venus is the significator for father. For instance Mars is the significator for the sixth if one is referring to enemies. Likewise Saturn is the significator for father and Moon for mother for night births. Mercury. Here I will confine myself to a few important differences. STHIRA & CHARA KARAKAS Jaimini makes a distinction between Sthira (Fixed) and Chara (Variable) karakas. Anitya (Temporary) bhavakarakas: As already stated a temporary significator of a bhava (house) is a planet that acquires the power to signify matters governed by that house by virtue of its lordship. Mercury for the intellect. But for other general indications Saturn is also appropriate.

Venus and Jupiter.father according to day or night birth the general signification of Sun for father and Moon for mother should not be ignored. The "charakarakas" are assigned according to the longitude of the planets. Venus for males and Moon. In other words the significators are not constant or fixed and are variable in this system and hence referred to as 'Chara Karakas'. Venus is the significator for 'shukla' or 'semen' and in that sense indicates the male fecundity factor. Parasara's suggestion too could be founded on a similar principle and could be useful in a different context. I will not speculate. The sphuta is calculated in a male chart by adding the longitudes of Sun. a concept that has been used by Mantreswara in calculating the 'beeja sphuta' and 'kshetra sphuta' in assessing the fecundity/fertility factor. Mars and Jupiter. Likewise Mars is the significator for 'sonita' and in that sense indicates the female fecundity factor at least. The seven Karaka School continues the seven fold planetary significations just like the sapta (seven) sthira karakas (fixed significators) which too are seven in number. Venus does have a role in another way. It is accepted by all that that Venus is the karaka for 'beeja' (seed) and Mars for the 'kshetra' (field). Additionally Sun. . Sthira Karakas (Fixed significators) are 7 in number. In Jaimini system karakas are classified as Sthira (fixed) and Chara (Variable). It works well in practice. The same "karaka" may be indicated by one planet in one horoscope and by another planet in another horoscope depending upon the longitude. Likewise the Moon for mother and so on. Chara Karakas (Temporary / Variable significators) are 7 or 8 in number. Ketu is not considered and the additional planet is placed in the 5 th position bringing in a significator for father. For instance in all charts the fixed natural significator for the soul and father is Sun. Since no valid research or study has been done on conception charts by anyone so far. In a female chart it is done by adding the longitudes of Moon. Mars for females are taken by Mantreswara in accordance with the above mentioned logic. Both camps have their votaries. As for Parasara's suggestion. each planet and house governs certain significations called "Karakatwas" and these are constant in all charts. The planet that attains the highest degree of longitude in a sign is called "Atma Karaka" and the sign occupied by this planet in Navamsa chart is called the "Karakamsa Lagna ". But for all general purposes Varahamihira is more acceptable while the standard significations of Sun for father and Moon for mother should be kept in mind at all times. only 7 planets are considered excluding Rahu and Ketu. only 7 planets are considered excluding Rahu and Ketu and it does not have a significator for father. Traditionally astrologers seem to have been divided as to whether the charakarakas are 7 or 8 in number since the texts give scope for both interpretations. In this. it could be reframed. In the scheme of 7 chara karakas. Perhaps this may have a bearing on the conception chart. In the 8-planet scheme. CHARAKARAKAS As already stated karakas may be fixed or variable. In conventional vedic astrology (also referred to as the Parasari system by some). Jupiter is the fixed karaka for children for all charts. In descending order of the degrees of the longitude occupied by other planets in the horoscope . Though it does not seem appropriate to take the stronger one between Sun and Venus for father.

minutes and seconds) the gap is filled by bringing in the natural karakas. The seven Karaka School accepts only seven planets and brings in Rahu only when two planets attain the same longitude in any sign.the other six (or seven) karakas are determined. According to one such reading the karaka for mother is followed by the karaka for father while matrukaraka and putrakaraka are one and the same. Eight karakas in order of decreasing longitude: Atma (Soul) Amatya (Intellect/Mind) Bhratri (Siblings) Matri (Mother) Pitru (Father) Putra (Children) Gnati (Collateral relatives) Dara (Spouse) . But one is free of this controversy by getting rid of Rahu altogether from the list of Karakas. The longitude of Rahu is reckoned from the end of the sign (30 degrees minus actual longitude in the sign) since generally speaking Rahu is retrograde. According to BPHS if three or more planets have the same longitude (in degrees. Seven karakas in order of decreasing longitude: Starting from the highest degree down to the lowest degree Atma (Soul) Amatya (Intellect/Mind) Bhratri (Siblings) Matri (Mother) Putra (Children) Gnati (Collateral relatives) Dara (Spouse) There are variant readings which give rise to some differences. The eight Karaka School always includes Rahu in the karakas list.

Rao mentions this in his book 'Predicting though Jaimini's Chara Dasha'. In a nutshell I will state my position. For all general purposes the seven and nine karaka schemes are more popular though the eight karaka scheme is also not altogether uncommon. Since the karaka concept is a basic one in all systems (both fixed and variable).Note than an additional planet is placed in the 5 th position bringing in a significator for father. The seven karaka scheme is used in most basic approaches. Moreover the system is kept simple and consistent by adhering to the seven karaka method and works very well in practice. but not denying the eight karaka scheme as untraditional or absolutely illogical. he deals with the issue from a broader perspective. the argument in favor of the seven karaka school is quite logical to me. Charak has published an article with some case studies on the same. . Here I should clarify that I am only stating my preference for the seven karaka scheme. As far as the text of Jaimini Sutras is concerned we do not know if the sutra for the additional karaka has been inserted into or deleted from the original since both versions seem to exist in the available manuscripts. In fact it is logical to assume that the seven karaka scheme is the earlier one. In this discussion Somanatha touches upon a few issues. the planetary hours ( hora ). shadbala (dignities and debilities in Vedic astrology) are all such instances. In the following paragraphs I have used Somanatha' s discussion as the seed though I have developed it further by citing the instances. a variant reading solves this by stating that the karaka for mother is followed by the karaka for father while matrukaraka and putrakaraka are one and the same. N. Let us see what the texts and various commentators say about the seven fold and eight fold karakas . A few modern astrologers say that under the sevenfold scheme the father is indicated by the bhratri karaka . Even Sri K. K. S. The conclusion should be based on actual cases where the additional karaka makes a perceivable difference in the chart. Some authors argue that the signification of father is an important one and hence their preference for the eight charakarakas . Somanatha Misra defines the atmakaraka as the planet that attains the highest longitude among the seven or eight planets thus giving scope for both the versions though he actually favors the eight karaka scheme for the charakaraka s. Somanatha actually favors the eight karaka scheme for the charakarakas saying that it is quite useful. The seven weekdays. The popular version of BPHS mentions both the methods though there are at least two variant versions of the BPHS that mention only seven karaka s. The argument is on similar lines though I haven't arrived at the same conclusion as Somanatha. Varahamihira has dealt with only seven karakas in his Brihat Jataka though in a different context. But even in the seven charakaraka scheme. Dr. He discusses the merits and demerits of both the schools quoting other authors and in the end gives the reader the impression that the eight karaka scheme has its own merits. Adherents of the karaka scheme should demonstrate how the additional karaka makes difference. Since the karaka concept is a basic one to all systems of astrology that use both fixed and variable significators. Generally speaking karakas are five or seven or eight or nine depending on the context. In other contexts the nine graha s have been employed. The 'Jataka Rajeeya' also indicates its preference for eight charakaraka s. In some systems eight karaka s too are used as in the case of Ashtottari and Yogini dasa s. Commentators like Neelakantha and Venkateswara have clearly indicated their preference for the seven charakaraka method.

SWAKARAKA Swakaraka is the lord of the Ascendant.The Atmakaraka and the sign occupied by him in the navamsa play an important role in Jaimini system. the other Karaka s. • Tripravana Lagna • Yogada Lagna • Indu Lagna • Sree Lagna • Rahusthita Rasi: the sign in which Rahu is placed .e. Somanatha defines 'swakaraka' as the 'Vilagnaadhipati'. As Parasara says in the 'kaarakaadhyaaya' in BPHS . This unique power of the Atmakaraka in Jaimini methodology is somewhat akin to the role of the Moon in conventional Parasari system. namely the Putrakaraka. especially if he is Ksheenachandra (if he is within 24 degrees of the Sun in an applying aspect). Though simply put the swakaraka is none other than the lord of the Ascendant. If the Moon is afflicted. other Karakas cannot predominate with their malefic influences. We have to look elsewhere for further guidance. Similarly. Somanatha's father Krishna Misra has dealt with this extensively in his ' Jyotisha Phala Ratnamala'. the Atmakaraka is the most important planet and has a prime say on the individual. a question arises as to which ascendant should be considered since Jaimini methodology employs many ascendants. other Karakas too cannot give their benefic effects. That is why the Atmakaraka gets the highest strength in 'Amsabala'. rasi drishti) The Atmakaraka indicates the soul and heart of the native. Aspects are as per Jaimini system (i. We may be able to ascertain the individual's constitution. Just as the king is the most famous among the men of his country and is the head of all affairs and is entitled to arrest and release all men. cannot prevail over the Atmakaraka . The following ascendants are all considered for Vilagna. the Atmakaraka too is vested with the power to give auspicious or inauspicious results. Just as the minister cannot go against the king. meaning the lord of Vilagna. he liberates (or gives benefic results) the native and if he has malefic disposition or association. Amatyakaraka etc. nature. But he does not clarify the issue further. The Atmakaraka gives benefic or malefic results depending on his disposition and dignities or his association / aspects with benefics and malefics. even other planets cannot bestow the auspicious results which are otherwise indicated in the chart. general health and fortune from the Atmakaraka. If the Atmakaraka is adverse. he subjects the native to bondage (or gives malefic results). if Atmakaraka is favourable. When he is beneficially disposed. But if the Moon is strong (full) and unafflicted the auspicious results indicated by other planets too manifest fully. outlook.

• Lagnadhipasthita Rasi: the sign in which the Ascendant (rising sign) lord is placed • Hora Lagna • Chandrasthita Rasi: Moon sign • Ghati Lagna I have defined three of the above here. Hora and Ghati lagnas contend for the 'Swakaraka' It is not uncommon among expert jyotishis to analyze the chart from three or four ascendants. fourth from the Moon for mother. Analysing the bhavakarakas Finally I should mention another concept that is on similar lines as the above one. For instance if you are analyzing marriage in a chart. the prediction will not fail. Moon sign. The lords of the last five lagnas namely Rahu sign. sixth from Mercury for maternal uncle. . The above mentioned five lagnas are all important in a regular full delineation of the chart. eighth from Saturn for longevity/death ninth from the Sun for father. The remaining have been explained in another article. The second one too is not uncommon. Bhavas (houses) are reckoned in more than one way. If the yogas are present in spite of reckoning from more than 2 or even three of the first four lagnas. In analyzing 'bhavakarakas' too. Bhavas may be judged from: • Lagna • Karaka • Drekkana and • Arudha (also referred to as Arudhamsa ) The first way of reckoning is obvious and is the most popular method and involves the Rising sign. Likewise all yogas (both status and wealth conferring) should be reckoned from the first four lagnas in order to ascertain how fixed the karma is. fifth from Jupiter for children. Asc lord sign. Krishna Misra suggests that the lord of the strongest from the above should be treated as the 'Swakaraka'. and so on. judge the 7 th from Venus (as Venus is the karaka for marriage). Likewise judge third from Mars for co-borns. one comes across a similar concept. The prediction given in such cases will not fail. If one arrives at the same results by reckoning from most of the lagans. Bhavas are reckoned in at least four ways. the astrologer concludes that one is looking at a karmic pattern that indicates fixed karma (dhridha karma). Among the above mentioned nine lagnas the first four should be employed in judging Raja (status or power conferring) yogas and Dhana (wealth conferring) yogas.

Arudha Charts Enunciated from Symbol used • Lagna Arudha or Lagna Pada 1 st house A1 • Dhana Arudha(Pada) 2 nd house A2 • Vikrama / Bhatru Pada 3 rd house A3 • Matru / Sukha Pada 4 th house A4 • Mantra / Putra Pada 5 th house A5 • Roga /Satru Pada 6 th house A6 • Dara / Kalatra Pada 7 th house A7 • Mrutyu / Marana Pada 8 th house A8 • Pitru /Bhagya Pada 9 th house A9 • Karma /Rajya Pada 10 th house A10 • Labha Pada 11 th house A11 • Vyaya /Upa Pada 12 th house Up . Thus arudhas can be calculated for all twelve houses though some commentators recommend for only 8 important houses. Somanatha clearly states that he Arudha lagna or Pada lagna is subordinate to the actual Rasi or Rasi lagna. How to arrive at the arudha of any house? Count the number of signs that the lord has progressed from his house. Both Jaimini as well as Parasara deal with this though Jaimini deals with it more extensively. In other words if you judge the entire chart taking the sign in which Venus is placed as the ascendant. This exercise may be done even with house lords. Arudha means mounted or ascended. Next to the Lagna Arudha is the Upapada Lagna which is equally important. The resulting sign is the Arudha lagna. Count as many signs from the lord. and is used in standard Parasari approach too. but it should be kept in mind that the results pertain only to that particular theme of life. you should keep in mind that the indication are applicable only for Spouse/marriage/relationships and Vehicles (all natural karakatwas of Venus).Alternately the entire chart may be judged from the karaka. The Ascendant in this system is known as "The Lagna Arudha Pada". This concept is not necessarily confined to Jaimini system alone. Apart from Lagnaarudha. Apart from Lagna Arudha as already stated Arudha padas for all the remaining houses can also be arrived at. arudha padas for the remaining houses also can be calculated. Arudha or Amsaka The fourth way of reckoning is from the respective Arudha lagna . This should be kept in mind by the overzealous student. The 'upapada' is nothing but the arudha of the 12 th and is also referred to as 'uparudha' or 'gaunapada'.

But for either of these to happen your chart should have the trikonas (trines) and/or their lords in good place in the rasi and/or navamsa (can you guess why?). the deeper becomes one's understanding of the symbolism of the particular method employed. Various methods of calculating the Hora and Drekkana charts exist and one should ensure that the appropriate Drekkana or Hora is being used in the relevant context. As you study more and observe the principles at work in actual life (charts). shadowy as twilight. The astrologer should predict confidently whenever the results from variant methods of reckoning concur well. The first path is superior in a way at least initially. Conclusion: If one arrives at the same results by reckoning the bhava under scrutiny from more than two or three of the above four. Three or four lagnas or three or four dasas are often used compositely for greater clarity. The first path is to find an experienced teacher from whose knowledge. It should be pointed out that Somanatha has a unique way of calculating the Drekkana. The longer one practices. To one person the answer appears as clear as day. There are two paths to gain deeper understanding. Both the paths are valid as long as one is serious and intellectually honest. Only the user can decide upon the importance and meaning of a particular method for him or her. The second is as good and is definitely safer than resorting to one of the many self proclaimed false ' gurus '. It all depends on the level of understanding of the practitioner. Moreover with practice comes the ability to discriminate. the drekkana in which the third lord is posited should be treated as the third bhava and so on. But to the trained mind.Drekkana: Now I will explain the way to reckon bhavas from the Drekkana (decanate) chart. to a third. the prediction will not fail. . to another. dark as night. Intellectual honesty and critical study combined with some sadhana are most important if one adopts the second path due to the unavailability of a good teacher. anything beyond his own level of thinking at that stage. No practitioner or user can see in a spiritual tool. it makes sense. wisdom and experience one may gain. The other is by regular practice and hard work. To a beginner all this might sound complex. you will gain your own insights. This is the method as given in Kalpalata . Likewise the drekkana in which the second lord is posited should be treated as the second bhava. The drekkana in which lagna lord is posited should be treated as the lagna in the drekkana chart. One may use alternate methods to confound oneself or to attain further clarity.

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