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Karako Bhav Nashaya (KBN) – Paradoxical Autoimmune Disorder or Simply a Myth?

By Rohiniranjan (published in Express Starteller July 2007)

Karakas or Significators/Executors hold a special place of importance in Jyotish delineations. In order for the nativity to enjoy positive experiences pertaining to an area in life, not only must the ruler of the house associated with the area be strong and benefic, but also the karaka. This is a golden standard that is rarely questioned and makes practical sense. However, we also run into adages such as “Karako Bhav Nashaya” (KBN), meaning: The Karaka destroys the house it represents! This is counter-intuitive and reminds one of disorders known as autoimmune diseases in which the body begins to destroy its own healthy components. Diseases such as some forms of diabetes, certain thyroid disorders (Hashimoto’s disease), and the fairly common disorder known as rheumatoid arthritis are examples of such senseless destruction that the body sometimes engages in. When the Karaka turns against the very bhava that it is supposed to support and promote, a similar situation can be visualized. Before we label such a Karaka insane or self-destructive and head towards our first-aid box of astro-remedies, perhaps we should examine the disease itself a bit more! The first question obviously arises as to the source of this adage. The small treatise, “Bhavartha Ratnakara” penned by Sri Ramanujacharya and beautifully translated by Sri B.V. Raman holds certain interesting adages regarding Karakas. In the 2nd Chapter (Atha Dhanayoga Vicharah), sloka number 9 clearly states: If the different Karakas are present in their respective bhavas, such bhavas lose vitality and give rise to very little of their indications. In the notes that follow, Prof. Raman lists the bhava karakas from sun to Saturn as Father, Mother, brothers, profession, children, wife and longevity with rahu being attributed karakattwa over paternal relations and ketu over maternal relatives. Prof. Raman then states that Saturn in 8th and Jupiter in 2nd are exceptions and such an individual does not suffer from abbreviated longevity or diminished wealth. The sloka in Bhavartha Ratnakara clearly indicates the Karako Bhav Nashaya principle but interestingly appears in the chapter that deals with considerations for wealth. Is there a specific message or connection in that placement, as opposed to it being a general warning? I do not know! Further on, in Chapter 8 (Atha Bhagyayogatarangah), another counterintuitive concept appears in stanza 6 which states that a person will be fortunate in respect of that bhava whose karaka is situated in the 12th from the ascendant! The twelfth being the house of loss, one would hardly expect this to have been a good placement for a bhava karaka! Later on, in stanza 16 of the same chapter, the principle is included in an illustration through the statement that the native’s father will be fortunate if the lords of the 12th, 9th and sun are in the 12th or if Jupiter and lord of 12th are in the 12th. Prof. Raman sounds a caution when dealing with this sloka and recommends “due reservation”. Obviously, in this sloka, more factors are involved than just the karaka being placed in the 12th house. Another ancient text Jyotisharnava Navanitam in the first sloka of the 2nd Chapter on

Bhava effects indicates that when a karaka is associated with the bhava it represents then limited effects emanate. The ‘blemish’ in other words seems to have softened a bit from totally destructive Bhav Nash. So far we have only talked about Karakas in a generic and non-specific sense. Parashara in the Magnum Opus, Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra devotes significant attention to the varieties of Karakas. Bhavartha Ratnakara is silent on the particulars. Perhaps one must ask the question, “Which Karaka?” before asking, “Is the Karako Bhav Nashaya adage valid?” Parashara classifies in Chapter 34 (BPHS, Sharma Edition, Sagar) Karakas into different types, such as: Charakarakas that vary from chart to chart (7 or 8 planets ranked in order of their longitudes in a given sign to yield the range of charakarakas from Atmakaraka to Darakaraka); Sthira Karakas which are constant from chart to chart; the bhava karaka (karaka bhavas being specific houses from a given planet); the yogakarakas, and the karakas for houses (the karakas used popularly in contemporary Jyotish). I. CHARA KARAKAS: VARY FROM CHART TO CHART In the order of diminishing longitudes in a given sign, the chara karaka designation renders a planet to be labelled: Atmakaraka Amatyakarka Bhratrikaraka Matrikaraka Pitrikaraka (missing from the 7 karaka scheme) Putrakaraka Gnatikaraka Darakaraka II. STHIRA KARAKAS: CONSTANT Pitrikaraka: the stronger of sun or venus in a chart Matrikaraka: the stronger of moon or mars Additionally, sister, wife’s brother, younger brother are considered from mars Relatives equivalent to or siblings of mother (mother’s sister, uncle’s wife, maternal uncle) are considered from mercury. Grandfather from Jupiter Husband from venus Son from Saturn Wife, father, mother, father in law and mother’s father from ketu. There are some overlaps and some possibility of confusion, as readers will note! III. BHAVA AS KARAKAS

The ninth bhava from Sun denotes one’s father The fourth from Moon denotes one’s mother The third from Mars denotes one’s brother

The sixth from Mercury denotes one’s maternal uncle The fifth from Jupiter denotes one’s sons The seventh from Venus denotes one’s wife The eighth from Saturn denotes death and pitras (deceased ancestors) IV. YOGA KARAKAS

Planets that were at the time of birth in their own, exaltation or friendly signs AND in kendras from ascendant (1, 4, 7 or 10th) become karakas. Of these, the planet in the 10th is the most significant karaka. It must be noted that if planets in own, exalted or friendly signs are in mutual angles (but not from the ascendant), they are still considered as Yogakarakas (Sharma’s notes discuss this). V. KARAKAS SIGNIFICANT FOR VARIOUS HOUSES (I to XII):

Sun Jupiter Mars Moon Jupiter Mars Venus Saturn Jupiter Mercury Jupiter Saturn

It is not really clear in texts known to me which of these types of KARAKAs is it that destroys its house by being present in the house it is supposed to strengthen, represent and sustain. Since ‘bhava’ is clearly indicated in the adage, some may think that it makes sense to focus on the bhava karakas alone for this consideration. This would pretty much rule out the classes I to IV enumerated above. There is also a variant karaka system that ascribes one or more than one planet to a bhava, the rationale given for that being that each bhava has many indications and needs more than one Karaka to fully represent it. The logic would make sense but is rendered tenuous because the classification is not exhaustive to cover all the attributes of any given house and thus remains tentative, at best. A proposal that has been sounded from time to time is that if the karaka is present in its house and if affected by malefic influences then the summation of malefic influences on the karaka as well as the house it is supposed to strengthen would be detrimental. This does make sense, obviously. Another related issue may be that in most of the ordinary

charts that most of us jyotishis gives readings for, most planets are probably already affected adversely and are not very benefic or strong, overall. This may be exactly what is making these nativities regular and ordinary. An otherwise affected or not optimally functioning karaka would be like a tired horse that even if yoked to its cart (placed in the house it is supposed to pull out of misery) will be of questionable help! Finally, I would like those readers who are not averse to experimentation, to also consider examining the ‘mirror’ bhavas, or padas as described in Parashara and Jaimini’s writings. An example is being provided here (Raman Ayanamsha -28 min., savanamana year for dasha).


1. SNC-MC 30 Aug 1963: Marriage was adversely affected, the individual was not satisfied from her marriage and had an ‘open’ marriage. The dynamics in that family were extremely complex. Note that the 7th lord is placed in the 10th house with sun. Both venus and sun are strong in shadbala, venus is weak in vimshopaka. It would be tempting to ‘pin’ this one on combustion, particularly since venus is in the house of its atishatru and with the atishatru being right there. And, it does not help matters when we see that that house also holds the pada for the 7th house. Other negative factors exist too, the notable one being rahu who is the darakaraka (kalatrakaraka since this is a woman’s chart) and placed in the 8th house which happens to hold the upapada! Incidentally, if we were to use a 7 karaka scheme, then mercury would become the kalatrakaraka and being strongly and happily placed in exaltation and strength, aspected by a swagrahi Jupiter in fifth, this would not be concordant with the actual experience. The marriage began to fall apart in Rahu dasha, Jupiter bhukti (Aug 90 to Dec 92) after childbirth and continued to

get worse in saturn’s bhukti (Dec 92 to Oct 95) and brought several romantic relationships. Neurological disorders surfaced in mercury’s bhukti (Oct 95 to April 98). Mercury rules over the nervous system and is the lord of 8th house (chronic illnesses) and is placed with lord of 6th mars. Mercury is also gnatikaraka and has association with sickness. Dr. Charak has observed that retrograde planets lead to physical ailments. The placement of retrograde Jupiter in the fifth, aspected by mars and mercury (by griha and rashi drishtis being in dual signs) affirms the target system (brain) as well as raises the possibility that perhaps the deterioration started in Jupiter bhukti and finally was diagnosed in mercury bhukti. Some of the relationship issues and other behavioural problems could have been the manifestation of the disease itself. Interested readers may wish to examine some transits influencing the natal rahu and transit rahu (dasha lord) during the period between autumn of 1992 and mid-1994 when the most dramatic part of the happenings got played. Using the Astrodatabank database (ver. 3), containing high quality data (category A or higher) for human births, we have 1571 charts with jupiter in fifth house. Of these, 53 had more than 3 children whereas 17 had no children. There were 249 in the database with no children and 626 with > 3 children, a ratio of 1:2.51. The comparable ratio in the subset with Jupiter in the fifth house was 1:3.12. There is thus a slightly higher prevalence (13% higher) of people with more than 3 children in the subset with Jupiter in fifth house, as opposed to the bigger test population. The important point here is that there are people with more than 3 children despite having putrakaraka Jupiter in the fifth house! Unfortunately, the database does not allow one to check out similar stats for chara karakas but it sure would have been of interest to pit one type of karaka against the other!

2. Childless 6040 20 Nov. 1925: Note in this leo rising chart that Jupiter and venus the chara putrakaraka as well as the lord of 12th house placed in the fifth. Was it the Jupiter

that destroyed the bhava or the charakarakas aided by the lord of 12th (loss)? Note that Jupiter is swagrahi! Additionally, gulika in the house of kutumba (2nd) is certainly not helpful in the matter of growth of one’s family. The individual experienced rahu dasha from age 22 till 40 generally the child-bearing period in a woman. This was followed by Jupiter dasha. One wonders if Jupiter dasha had run earlier in life, it may have been able to give a child, despite the KBN dosha! Now let us look at the opposite side of the story.

3. Five kids 6379 2 Mar. 1928: She had five kids. Beneficial and unblemished putrakaraka Jupiter is placed in the fifth. Chara putrakaraka rahu is placed in the 7th aspected by Saturn but essentially has no contact with the fifth house. KBN did not apply.

4. Four kids 5441 26 Aug 1921: This is an interesting chart of a very accomplished lady astrologer, teacher, writer who had four children, each of them making significant contributions to the field of astrology. The fifth lord is involved in a strong kendra trikona yoga which also happens to be a powerful budha aditya yoga well in keeping with her scholastic, astro-literary accomplishments as well as of the children. Not only does this question the occasional practice of applying rules mindlessly and in isolation, namely, in this case: that the lord should not be placed in the 12th from its house, but it also questions the KBN dosha! Not only is Jupiter the putrakaraka placed in the fifth house, but also the chara putra karaka rahu is in the fifth house. As if that was not enough, Saturn the natural malefic is also placed there. Readers please note that Saturn in this vrishabha rising chart is a yogakarka, since it rules the dharma and karma houses. Some individuals consider the lord of badhaka house (9th in this case) as malefic. Obviously that is another questionable blemish. Saturn the badhakadhipati in this case helped flourish the house as opposed to hindering it.

PATH FORWARD: If the simplistic application of rules such as Karako bhav nashaya strikes fear in your hearts as a nativity or an astrologer, and this article manages to rouse some doubts and some other possible ideas as to which karak was being referred to by in the two ancient texts mentioned earlier in this article, then my efforts have been rewarded. ========end of article==========