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Kala Sarpa Yoga Narrated by Madhushri Mukerjee Kala means Time in the cosmic sense and Sarpa means

Serpent. Kala Sarpa, therefore , means the Serpent of Time. Many astrologers dread this as an evil yoga. Interestingly, the ancient astrological texts, from Parashar to Varahamihir, are silent about it. This Yoga is said to exist if all the planets are between Rahu and Ketu. When th at happens in one s birth chart, the person experiences many ups and downs throughou t life. The suffering increases during transits when the nodes come close to the ir natal positions. Kala Sarpa Yoga is considered to be the main reason for a pers on s downfall from a high position. In Indian Puranic tradition, the she demon Singhika had a mighty son whose name wa s Swarbhanu. He performed severe penance and Lord Brahma was pleased. When he wa nted to grant him his wish, Swarbhanu wanted to have the same status in the heav ens as the planets. The boon was granted. Subsequently, the gods and the demons joined hands to churn the ocean in search of nectar. The mountain Mainak was the churning stick and Vasuki, the king of se rpents, was the churning cord. A problem arose. Mainak was slipping off to the o cean floor whenever churning was started. To prevent this, Lord Vishnu took the form of a tortoise (His second Incarnation) and Mainak was placed on its back. T he churning started and many things started coming out but those need not attrac t our attention because that is truly another story. We are interested in the fi nale when at last Amrit (Nectar) came up. Amrit (literally translated means No deat h makes one immortal. Naturally, gods and demons were in a mad scramble for it and before anything cou ld happen, Lord Vishnu, in the guise of a beautiful woman (Mohini) took it in he r custody and asked gods and demons to sit in two lines, so that she could distr ibute Amrit to them. The gods knew what was going on and the demons who did not, were so captivated b y the enchantress that they readily agreed to do her bidding. The gods sat in a line on one side and the demons on the other side. Mohini started with the gods. The demons charmed as they were, failed to see the trick. But Swarbhanu, son of Singhika, with his huge head and body, ending in a serpent like tail, was smart enough to smell a rat. Taking no chances, he broke rank and went to sit with th e gods. Amrit was served and Swarbhanu was about to take it when Sun and Moon found out that there was an imposter among them. They alerted Vishnu who severed Swarbhanu s head with his divine discuss (Sudarshan Chakra). But alas! Nectar had already touched his lips and did it s job. The discus had sep arated the head and the tail and both had, by the drink of the nectar, become in destructible. Now Lord Brahma s boon was remembered - and the head and the tail were given the s tatus of planets and placed in the heaven. It is a kind of double and quits or r ather the other way round. There were many other fall outs astrologically. Sun and Moon, the snitches, beca me Swarbhanu s hated enemies. The names were changed the head was called Rahu and the tail Ketu. Rahu swallows the luminaries on particular stellar configurations

(the eclipse) but since it has no body, the Sun and the Moon soon emerge throug h the hole in the neck. Thank God! To distinguish this from the other planets, their motion was also different from the planets. While all planets move anti clockwise, Rahu and Ketu move clockwise through the skies. Further, the fact that they are closely related has been auth enticated by the relative placement one is always in the 7th house from the othe r i.e.: 180 degrees apart or in other words, in perfect opposition. They always move in synchronism to keep the 180 degrees difference between them. In Rigveda, Rahu and Ketu are mentioned not as planets but as demons. On a new M oon day the luminaries becoming conjunct leads to solar eclipse and Rahu is at w ork. So, Rahu is spiritually dark while Ketu creates the eclipse on a full Moon day (Lunar eclipse), which makes it the spiritual planet. In the Vedic tradition, Lord Vishnu is the Sun and his discuss is the elliptic. Rahu and Ketu are the lunar nodes, which intersects the elliptic. In astrology, when the two nodes hem all the planets within their semicircle, Ka la Sarpa yoga is said to be in operation. It is considered to be the main factor f or a man s downfall. The subject is not free from controversies. Some say that the Yoga should take i n all planets including Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. But then the Yoga will become very rare indeed. It is therefore more meaningful if we take the other point of view where only the 7 main planets are considered for the Yoga. Even then the f ollowing points should be kept in mind. Planets must be between Rahu and Ketu and not between Ketu and Rahu. How do we e nsure this? If we find Rahu first as we move anti-clockwise from the Ascendant a nd all the planets (not counting Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) are between Rahu and Ketu, then the Yoga exists. Care should be taken to ensure that no planet is outside the semicircle by even 1 degree. For example, if Rahu is in 15 degrees of Cancer and Moon is in 16 degr ees of the same sign, there is no Kala Sarpa. Rahu moves clockwise. It will go to Cancer 16 degrees soon, but right now, at the time of birth, Moon is outside the Rahu Ketu bracket. Hence there is no Kala Sarpa. It is debatable whether Kala Sarpa is an unmitigated evil. Many great men had this Yoga in their horoscopes. Some have been Presidents and Prime Ministers and oth ers have been conquerors. It is said that Genghis Khan had it. One thing is clea r. With Kala Sarpa, you may climb very high. But one day there will be a downfall. And the higher you climb, the harder you fall.