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Tntric Symbolism as the Basis of Astrology

1. Synonymous Phraseology of Jyotisa and Tantra

Kundalini means both the horoscope and the Täntric power
Müla is the “ädhäram” of Kundalini in both Jyotisa as well as Yoga
Both Jyotisa and Tantra are based on the equivalence of Pindändam and
Brähmändam (microcosm and macrocosm)
Common terminology includes: Idä, Pingalä, Nädi, Sun, Moon, Yoga, Bhöga,
Bhukti, Meru, and Cakra etc.

Classification of Räsis

The pictorial representation of the horoscope itself is reflective of
the Täntric conceptions of Meru and Mülädhäram. In the picture
given 1, 2, 3…marks the respective signs Mesa, Vrsabha, Mithuna
etc., and the left boarder line of Räsis 1 & 8 connecting the
longitudes or positions of 0
and 240
is the Merudanda or Mukti
rekha over which the Kundalini ascends. The path of the Kundalini
is via signs 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 to reach the Sïrsa at 0
covering 18
naksatras of 13
.333 each which represented the 18 steps of
Yogavidya. Further, 40
of longitude constitutes one navämsa cakra
* 9 = 360
] and as such the Kundalini sector is made up of six navämsa cakras which
are representative of the Sadcakras.

Further the twelve signs are classified on the basis of the Trigunas and Caturbhütas as
shown below:

Bhta Guna
Mesa Agni Tamas
Vrsabha Prthvï Rajas
Mithuna Väyu Sattva
Kataka Jala Tama
Simha Agni Rajas
Kanyä Prthvï Sattva
Tulä Väyu Tama
Vrscikä Jala Rajas
Dhanu Agni Sattva
Makara Prthvï Tama
Kumbha Väyu Rajas
Mïnä Jala Sattva

12 1 2 3
11 4
9 8 7 6
These basic attributes of Räsis form the foundation over which astrological symbolism is
built up. The planetary lordship over signs was also decided on the basis of Täntric esoteric
wisdom. The eight houses from Mesa onwards up to Vrscikä is ruled by planets Mars,
Venus, Mercury, Moon and Sun and forms the esoteric frame of Kälapurusa, which manifest
terrestrially as the power of delusion (Mäyä) inherent in Time. Räsis 9
to 12
ruled by
Jupiter and Saturn represent things that are independent of Mäyä viz., Jnäna and Karma that
are contributive of liberation from the delusive spirit.

Similarly, classification of the naksatras is three fold in direct synchronism with the three-
fold Kundalinï that splits into Trigunas, which we find personified in mythology as

Secret of Kundalin

Controversy of definition of birth

In the very beginning of the astrological process of divination we encounter an unsolvable
controversy as to what actually is the precise definition of birth?
• Is it ‘the appearance of Head’ or ‘the first touch of ground’ or ‘the first cry’ or
‘the cutting of umbilical chord’?
The recorded time obviously has a component of confusion attached to it howsoever we
may care for accuracy in noting either of the above movements or even all of them.
Classical texts do prescribe certain methods for rectification of birth time but neither of
them is consistent and reliable. In fact rather than time, we are more bothered about the
longitude of lagna as diurnal rotation of the earth alters the value by 15 minutes of arc in one
minute of time. i.e. Lagna can be accurate up to the minutes, only if we can assure the
accuracy of birth time up to seconds. This is an almost impossible task.
• If Lagna cannot be fixed up to the minutes of arc with certainty confusion shall
obviously spread to the divisional charts. In many Vargas we may fail to have the
correct Lagna and astrology shall be reduced to a bundle of confusion. Further,
according to Satyäcärya the dasas have to be derived from the stronger of the two
factors viz., Lagna & Moon. Despite such importance of the birth time and accurate
Lagna, astrological wisdom of the post – Varhamihira period is not explicit as to
what exactly is the astrological definition of birth time. What precisely is the birth
time is a question as confusing as the controversy of ayanma or zodiac itself.
The reason for this silence is that the astrological wisdom was a part of the occult
knowledge of the Täntrics and as such many of the top secrets of the discipline were
available only to the initiates and therefore with the degeneration of the cults such

Magical diagrams, referred to as Yantras too have the origin of their geometry traceable to planetary
revolutions over the zodiac. The most magnificent of occult symbols, r Cakra in fact is an occult portrayal
of the mystery of life using an ingeniously conceived astronomical script as is evident from the description of
Devi’s effulgence seated in r Cakra as constituted by the 360 rays – divided among Agni, Sun and Moon in
the ratio 118:106:136 – which enlighten the macrocosm as well as microcosm and give rise to the calculation
of time, Sun for the day, Moon for the month and Agni for the rtus or seasons.
knowledge was lost for the posterity. Occult science got reduced to a pseudo science and it
has remained so during the last two thousand years.

Tntric Definition of Birth Time

Tantra has no confusion as to the precise definition of birth time. A Täntric or astrological
birth is marked by the first cry of the child with which the ‘new being’ reports to the ‘eternal
being’ Mahäkäla. More than giving a precise definition, Tantra profess a mathematically
conceivable pattern of destiny operating over the terrestrial existence based on the longitude
of Moon as well as the ascendant or Lagna.

• Pda or Kunda Lagna

Päda or Kunda here in refers to 81 in ‘Katapayädi’ notation. According to classical
instructions 81 times the Lagna must fall in either of the triköna räsis of the Moon provided
the Lagna is reasonably correct. This relationship can be modified mathematically to fix the
point ascendant –in fact the above technique arose out of the Täntric definition of birth and
the mathematical pattern of destiny under the rule:
Lagna x 81 (Kunda Lagna) = Longitude of Moon ± 120
or 0

Synchronization of Lagna and Moon implicit in the above is:
Birth in naksatra beginning from Asvini will correspond to successive arcs of 9.87654321
minutes ascending on the east:

Arc of Lagna Serial
Beginning End
1 0
0’0” 9’.87654321 Asvini
2 0
9’.87654321 0
19’ 45”.185 Bharani
3 0
19’ 45”.185 0
29’37”.77 Krttikä
…. ….
10 1
28’ 53”.33 1
38’45”.93 Maghä
…. ….
19 2
57’ 46”.66 3
07’45” Müla
…. ….
27 4
16’ 47”.4 4
26’40” Revati

First cycle of Kunda Lagna ends and second begins again on Asvini. In this manner there
are a total of 81 cycles so that 81x 4
.444 = 360
. i.e. a particular longitude of Moon shall
correspond to 1/3
of the above arc of 4
26’.66 i.e. 1
28’53”.33 or 88’.88 - roughly at
intervals of 5
in time. Alternatively, it can be said that the Tantra makes the sky to
revolve 81 times faster (mathematically) and for every 9.87654321 minutes of arc of the
ascendant Kunda covers one naksatra each and a birth manifests only when the Kunda
coincides the triangular longitude of Moon. It is this mystic phenomenon that necessitated
the division of the ecliptic into 27 divisions of 800’ each (naksatras). 800/81 leads to the
mystic number 9.87654320987654320987…on which the whole of astrological wisdom is

It is therefore possible to fix the point ascendant if the birth time is known with a precision
of + 3 minutes. The correction involved can be computed as either:

= Kunda Lagna -Moon or [Moon + 120
] or = Moon or [Moon + 120
] - Kunda Lagna
81 81
Kunda_kriya thus deciphers the Karmic structure of the Space_Time correlations
employed in astrology. Human birth can occur only at these Karma_kandams linked
to the moments which satisfy the equation that Kunda_Lagna = Triangular Longitude
of Moon. Any birth i.e. first cry, at times falling in between has to be shifted to the
respective Karma_kanda and then only Vargas and Vimsottari shall give a perfect fit
to the destiny of the native.

Tntric Theory Behind the Zodiac

Mathematically Hindu Zodiac is a division of the ecliptic into 12 Räsis of 30
each and 27
naksatras of 13
20’ each. It is generally believed that the first of the divisions is more
universal and earlier in origin than the second. The Graeco, Arabic, Babylonian as well as
Hindu nomenclatures of the signs are essentially the same and this universality suggests a
common source of inheritance like the ancient civilizations of Babylon, India or Egypt. The
Tantra literature on these occult secrets has not survived time to reach this modern age. Such
lost wisdom has to be recreated by the grace of Kundalini as has happened in many past

Rudiments of 12-fold as well as more complex divisions of the ecliptic are visible in the
Rgveda. Hymns not only imply divisions arising from 12 and its fractions like 2,3,4 and 6
but also suggest some serious efforts to comprehend the natural phenomena mathematically.
But almost all the interpreters of the Rgvedic hymns consider the number 360 as a simple
day-count and attach no mathematical significance other than primitive thinking to such
counts. In the words of Dr. M.N. Saha:

“Like other nations of antiquity early Egyptians has a year of 360 days divided into 12
months each of 30 days; but they found very early from the recurrence of the Nile flood, that
the seasonal year consisted approximately of 365 days and that a month or lunation was
nearly 29 1/2 days (real length 29.531 days). But they had already framed a calendar on the
30-day month and 360-day year, which had received religious sanction. Hence arose the
first necessity for calendar reform recorded in ancient history....”

Here Saha’s reference is obviously to the imperfect knowledge length of the year that led to
the year-frame of 360 days having 12 equal divisions. Prima-facie there is nothing wrong in
this reasoning. But closer look raises a few pertinent questions:

Why should the imperfect knowledge lead to mathematical sense of perfection?

Formulation of the year took place under the guidance of the luni-solar phenomena. As such
12 lunations must have obviously ended at a count of 355 days. On the other hand, had the
guidance been predominantly solar like the heliacal rising of Sirius the count would have
been 365 or 366 days. In between these lunar and solar extremes, how could the primitive
minds locate 360 had they been devoid of any numerical sense? Moreover 30 and 360
simultaneously became significant only with the radix of 10.

What better archaeological evidence can we get for the use of decimal/ sexagesimal system-
other than the graduations of 720, 360,12 & 3 we see in the Vedic hymns?

For the sake of discussion it can be a reed that 360 are just a count of days only. But then
how can we explain the evolution of the seven-day-week? A six-day week would have been
more harmonious with the count of 360 and that had been the practice in Vedic India as may
be understood from the works of Syäma Sästry on Vedic Astronomy. But as is well known
the “seven-day week” is astrological in origin and the planetary lordship evolved out of the
distribution of planets in their heliocentric order (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus,
Mercury, and Moon) over a division of the day in to 24 equal parts known as Höra or hour.
According to the Calendar Reform Committee Report.

“Historical Scholarship has shown that unlike the year and month, the seven-day week is an
artificial man-made cycle.... The seven-day week from the account of its origin it is clearly
based on astrological ideology.... The weekdays are not found in earlier Hindu scriptures
like Vedas or the classics like the great epic Mahbhrata. They occur in inscriptions only
from AD 484 an unimportant part in the religious observances of the Hindus which are
determined by the Moon’s phases....”

The logic at work and the inference drawn are typical of historical research - as one or two
inscriptions of 300 AD haven’t mentioned the weekday its non-existence is concluded. Dr.
Saha himself did record in his report that the idea of counting the heap of days elapsed from
a specified epoch up to the given date dawned upon the Hindu astronomers as early as in
500 AD, at the time of Äryabhata. The computation of ahargana is one of the cornerstones
of Siddhäntic astronomy and Äryabhata has not claimed any originality for the method. As
such it is very clear that the method is traditional and has an antiquity that preceded
Äryabhata by centuries. Use of such a day count i.e. the computed Ahargana for
astronomical purposes required verification in terms of the weekday and it is quite unlikely
that method could have evolved in the absence of the weekday.

The correlation between the seven-day week and the 24 divisions of the day has no easy
explanation other than a ‘piece of irrational thinking by the primitive minds’. The
heliocentric planetary order could have been very well applied over the 12 divisions of a day
as well. The progenitors of the concept have applied a scientific criterion – the time period
relationship between planets or heliocentric order – in deciding the planetary sequence over
the divisions. How can the latter half be irrational or arbitrarily chosen? Some logic must
have certainly guided them. We shall revert to this aspect later.

Dividing the Ecliptic Into 27 Naksatras

Far more complicated is the situation that we encounter with the naksatra zodiac of 27
divisions considered as arising out of the daily lunar motion. If the divisions of ecliptic
evolved simply out of aboriginal practices and convenience and the astrological formalism
imaginary as well as irrational not only astrology but the Hindu religious citadel also will
collapse - all that we describe as our culture and religion will become a bundle of non-sense
having no scientific rationale. It is true that the 360 and 27 divisions do have a resemblance
to the respective arcs covered by the Sun and Moon in a day, but what about the subtler
divisions of the Zodiac? Just as we have the 12 Ädityas, Mahäbhärata ascribe 108 names to
the Sun and obviously this is a reflection of the popular division known as navämsa a
mention of which is also available in the Maiträyana Upanisad and Nidäna sütras. Even if
we accept the most posterior date for the Mahäbhärata it will be difficult to explain the entry
of such astrological factors –an irrational development from 12 divisions to 27 and then 108
– into the epic in a mythological form.

Zodiac whether it is a product of human or superhuman wisdom, various divisions along
with the moving longitudes represent an abstraction of the mystery of life. In other words,
astrology has credibility only if we can establish that the formalism is an expression of
destiny in the language of mathematics. It is not necessary to fully comprehend the
underlying phenomena or physical reality but it must be possible to identify the sequence of
logic employed in the process. In science we are aware of the instances like the
Mendaliyef’s Periodic table or Bohr’s atom model, wherein the genius was guided by sheer
logic and hypothetical computations like Bohr’s formula for the maximum occupancy of a
shell (2n
), which were reflections of more complex natural laws that guided the physical
processes. Similarly whether the zodiacal divisions be empirical or mathematical, if we are
able to decipher a general logic or formula employed in the process, zodiac can very well
claim the status of a theoretical construct emerging out of wisdom rather than primitive

Superimposition of the Space-divisions over the elliptical orbit

12 1 2 3
11 4

9 8 7 6

4 – fold division
The style of drawing the horoscope prevailing in South India since very early times is a
Täntric squaring of the elliptical planetary orbit. The four vertical and horizontal lines that
intercept the orbit leads to a four-fold division of space in two dimensions leading to a
periphery of 12 columns or houses and an inner quadrangular demarcation that depict a two-
fold division. The two-fold division is a representation of the four cardinal directions N-E-
W-S and in astronomy they signify the four cardinal points of the equator-ecliptic geometry
viz., the equinoxes and solstices. Also this two-fold division generates the square aspect of
Western astrology and the ‘Kendras’ of the Hindu system. The general features of this quite
natural and fundamental division process can be understood by a glance over the
corresponding sequence in geometry.

(1) A straight line divides the whole universe into two hemi-ellipsoids. Mathematically
this is the linear dimension or a one-dimensional process.
(2) The cross signifies a plane of two dimensions or as said above the N-E-W-S. This is
one of the most popular mystic symbols.
(3) The 3×3 division leads to a periphery of 8 houses that signify in turn the 8
directions. Buddhism has a spiritual application of this division while in physics we
can see Gellmann’s “Eight-fold way”.
(4) The 4×4 division or the Zodiac with the 3 navels as reflected in the Vedic hymns
quoted earlier represent in astrology the classification of signs into 4 groups of 3
each i.e. Fire, Earth, Air and Water signs. Correspondingly in Physics it can be seen
that all fundamental particles are constituted of a set of four quarks in their three
modes so that 4×3 = 12 and in Genetic-code the basic configuration is of 4 acid
bases in their 3 forms. Also four are the dimensions of this universe perceivable to
humans through their senses. In this way physical significance of the successive
divisions can be searched out.

Mathematical features of the sequence of peripheral divisions can be understood by a glance
over the 3-fold, 4-fold and 5-fold divisions. It is apparent that the super imposition of these
space-divisions 2×2 to 7×7 onto a curvilinear path yields the divisions 4,8,12,16,20,24,28,
i.e. in general 4(n-1) division of the periphery for an n-fold division of space.

Explanation of the Zodiacal Features:

Hindu Zodiac i.e. Räsi and its different Vargas (harmonics) are now self-evident.

Varga N
D =
Rasi 4-fold 12
Räsi×2 7-fold 24
Räsi×3 10-fold 36
Räsi×4 13-fold 48
Räsi×5 16 -fold 60
Räsi×6 19 -fold 72
Räsi×7 22 -fold 84
Räsi×8 25 –fold 96
Räsi×9 28 –fold 108
31 –fold 120
34 –fold 132
37 –fold 144

In terms of the serial order of the harmonics(R×Z, where Z is an integer), the theory can be
expressed as:

• N = (1+3Z) where Z is an integer gives the sequential order (N) of space division. s
• D = 4(N-1) gives the corresponding divisions of the curvilinear path.

On combing both, we get the definition of a Varga viz., D = 12 Z where Z is an integer.
Accordingly it can be seen that the 9
harmonic or the navämsa chart correspond to the 28-
fold division of space that leads to 108 navämsas each of extent 3
20'. Four of these
navämsas together constitute 13
20 or one naksatra division and hence the total number of
27 naksatras in 360 degrees. The 28-fold space division was perhaps wrongly construed as
28 ecliptic divisions probably in some dark age when the mathematical aspect got relegated
to the background. It is evident from the theory given that these divisions have nothing to do
with yogatäras except for the identification via nomenclature. It must be especially noted
here that there exist no space divisions corresponding to a 27-divisional graduation of the
curvilinear obit, the formula being D = 4(N -1), excludes all odd number graduations of the
circular/elliptical path.

Explanation of Hora and Seven-day Work

The seven-fold division of space corresponds to and Orbital graduation of 24 and the seven-
day week was commissioned accordingly. In fact no other logical explanation was ever
forwarded by anyone for the correlation between the 7 days and 24 hours of a day.
Distribution being in the heliocentric order Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun (Earth), Venus,
Mercury, Moon, after the 24 hours of a Saturday the 25
hour or the next day will begin
with Sun and the day therefore was Sunday.

The Höra divisions of time emerges from the Earth’s revolution about its axis and is
therefore related to the successive rising points at the horizon i.e. the ascending degrees.
This also explains the Varähamihira’s derivation of the term ‘Höra’ from ‘ahörätra’ meaning
- one revolution of the Earth on its axis. Further the successively rising degrees (i.e. Lagna
or Höra) symbolize time and its lord Mahädeva therefore received the appellation Hara and
the term ‘Höra’ most probably arose out of this appellation or the synonymous appellation
Hari of Sun/ Visnu.

Planetary Years

The dasa years credited to the planets viz., 6, 10, 7, 18, 16, 19, 17, 20 too had their origin
out of the first four numerals 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Sum of the digits 1+2+3+4=10 = R was used as the radix.

Moon =10 (=R); Sun = R - 4 = 6; Mars, Sikhi = R - 3 = 7; Mercury=2 R - 3 =17; Jupiter =2
R - 4 =16; Rähu = 2 R - 2 =18; Saturn = 2 R -1 =19; Venus = 2 R = 20.

Alternatively, R - 4 = 6, R - 3 = 7, R - 2 = 8, R - 1 = 9 and R =10 can give all daa
years by addition to 10 or 0.

Implicit Tntric Rationales

In the theory outlined above we can’t miss the notice of the four spokes of Mülädhära, the
seat of Kundalinï. Räsicakra in fact is the most important of all Yantras employed in Täntric
worship. It represents the most fundamental as well as the most sophisticated
interrelationship between the microcosm and macrocosm and as such in its design the sum
total of Täntric wisdom must have played its role. The designs of the Sadcakras and the
Srïcakra took shape out of the Kälacakra as the Täntrics conceived it – Mülädhära Rähu
Sikhi Cakra. We can find in the astrological literature the equivalence between the
Sadcakras and Sadvargas as:

“Drekkänädikramena kälapurusasya müladhäradisadädhäräh kramena sücitäh I Sästrasya
mantratulyatvam pürvamevam pradarsitam I Atöƒsyäƒädhärädicintänyäyyaiva I Tathä

Mülädhäre drgänah syät pitrcintä ravistathä I
Svädhistäne tu horä syänmätrcintä tathä sasï II
Manipüre navämsasca bhrätrcintä kujöƒpi ca I
Anähate ca trimsämsö vänïcintä budhastathä II
Visuddhou dvädasämsah syät putracintä tathä guru I
Äjnäyäm ksetramuddistam jäyäcintä sitastathä II
Dvädasänte sanaiscärï näsacintä ca kïrtitä I
Tatrasthoustadïsaisca baläbalavasätphalam II “

ANS Iyengar, Varhamihira Horstram, pp.39 – 40.
These verses, which may be the remnants of a bigger volume of literature, illustrate the
interrelationship between Tantra and Jyotisa. According to these verses the planetary
lordship of the Sadcakras is different from what Hinze has brought out in his work:

Mülädhäram Sun Drekknam
Svädhisthänam Moon Höra
Manipuram Mars Navämsa
Anähata Mercury Trimsämsam
Visuddhi Jupiter Dvädasämsa
Äjna Venus Räsi

Despite the difference with the western conception the above correlation point towards the
Jyotisa – Tantra interdependence. The terminology such as Sadvarga, Sadbala, Kunda etc
and the religious significance of numbers such as 8 and 18, which represent Mülädhäram in
terms of Räsis and Naksatras, also suggests Täntric influence.

Over and above the similarities in theoretical conceptions/constructs the true practice of
astrology to ascertain the good and evil propensities of time depend fundamentally on the
Yöga nädis Idä of Moon and Pingalä of Sun, which respectively represent the breaths
passing through the left and right nostrils. In the words of John Woodroffe:

“They both indicate Time or Kla, and Susumna devours Kla. For on that path entry is
made into timelessness. The three are also known as Gag (Id), Yamun (Pigal) and
Sarasvat (Susumna), after the names of the three sacred rivers of India. The Mldhra is
the meeting place of the three “rivers” and hence is called Yukta-triven. Proceeding from
the dhra lotus, they alternate from right to left and left to right
, thus going round the

A prediction made without ascertaining the ‘saram’ i.e. benevolence indicated by Pingalä or
malevolence portended by Idä is meaningless. Jïvapurusa, itself is the most sophisticated
Yantra and when it is properly conditioned by Yöga the Idä and Pingalä signal the quality of
time or auspiciousness of the moment.

A more detailed explanation is not attempted due to constraints of time and space.

(This is part of my published book, Hindu Zodiac and Astronomy. Edited the matter a bit)

Spiral motion from right to left and left to right: Probably this is an adaptation of the motion of
moon relative to the ecliptic / Nodes, Rhu and ikhi.