The Vimshottari Nakshatra Connection

This brief article brings up again how helpful it is to keep in mind the specific origin of the various periods and subperiods (mahadashas, dashas, antardashas/bhuktis etc.) of the single most popular dasha system since the advent of computers in the world of Vedic astrology: Vimshottari, the 120-year-long cycle. I am thinking of actively considering the particular nakshatra in the native’s chart that the dasha or antardasha planet refers to. Second, it is helpful for Vedic or neo-Vedic astrologers in predictive analysis to mention dashas and their subperiods with the nakshatra name they are connected to. I mentioned this before, as a closing remark in my earlier guest article in this magazine, published on October 1, 2016 (Bhavat-Bhavam and the Modern Interpretations of Nakshatras). Originally, the thought struck my mind when reading the book Brihat Nakshatra by Pt. Sanjay Rath years ago, wherein the author summarizes traditional nakshatra tara techniques. Summed up, my thesis is that Vimsottari periods (subperiods etc.) of individuals should be partly regarded as a periods or subperiods of their particular nakshatras following the Moon (or the Ascendant, if you look at Vimshottari counted from the Ascendant), and not just the general planet that owns the nakshatra. This simplifies analysis of dasha periods and subperiods greatly. If I had some influence on software development, I would recommend a user choice to be able to set Vimsottari segments to be named by the particular nakshatras they involve. I must add that my interpretations below relate to the bhavat-bhavam analysis of nakshatras. I have not found the best examples in famous people yet I kept on validating this theory with clients’ life experiences for years. The two theories fortify each other, and they both seem to me to fit traditions perfectly. I could venture to say that this is a lost part of the tradition encoded in the 108 parts of the Indian zodiac when it was discovered or formed by the rishis. As you all know, judgment of a Vimshottari dasha usually starts in modern times by merely looking at the owner planet of the dasha, its position, aspects etc. I suggest that it is equally important to count where the particular nakshatra falls first time after the Moon in the chart, and additional points can be gained by how far the nakshatra and its ruling planet are from each other in terms of houses. (The same applies to antardashas and further divisions.)

I have mentioned the Ascendant because some astrologers compute Vimshottari from the Ascendant point as well. This has a far more secondary role, but it could be informative in the chart of a well-analyzed native when trying to see the major changes in developing their life task in this life, symbolized by the Ascendant sign and nakshatra, with the planets standing near or aspecting the Ascendant sign having a great influence over it. But for simplicity’s sake, herein I will concentrate on the Vimshottari counted from the Moon which is deservedly the single most popular dasha system in the computer age, and also in the period of Indian history when BPHS was probably written. Though Sage Parashara mentions around forty different dasha systems, he devotes the entire second volume of his magnum opus to the aspects of evaluation of Vimshottari periods and subperiods. If your life starts with a Rahu period, your Rahu period will be different if your Moon is Swati than if it is in Satabhishak or Ardra, no matter where Rahu stands (unless it aspects the same house, because then effects are mixed). I would say that in the first case you would have a Swati dasha, in the second case, a Satabhishak dasha and in the third case and Ardra dasha, which have very different meanings, though being ruled by Rahu and being in an air signs are two common denominators. A Swati Moon in a chart, as mine for example, would suggest that the native’s parents have strong relationship issues, in the West they may divorce, cheat on each other and generally have a rough learning time with love matters, since Swati stands in the middle of Libra, the central theme of which is love, partnership and marriage. A Satabhisak Moon would rather suggest that the native’s mother is involved in a community, and sometimes the native’ childhood is spent under that influence, since that Rahu nakshatra stands in Aquarius which means all these things and it does so in a Saturnian way, whereas the sign ruler of Libra is Venus. I have seen Shatabhisak natives where the mother was working in a hospital, others where she was a member of a sect (and the child grew up partly in that sect), and I have heard stories of Shatabhisak Moon clients telling me their mothers were unbalanced, crazy, alcoholic or even institutionalized. I have also seen such mothers with mediumism or a positive use of this connection. I must mention that in traditional Vedic writings any connection between the Moon and Rahu (Rahu-Chandra) is suspect, since Rahu has a peculiarly unsettling influence upon the Moon. Yet Shatabhishak is the US Moon… A childhood spent in an Ardra period is different again, because it is in Gemini – more emphasis would be placed upon learning, endless adaptation to new environments, and probably the child’s circumstances changing sharply in a bipolar way as Gemini is a bipolar sign. My best example was from the last century; a Native American boy with an Ardra Moon who was raised by white settlers who adopted him after the tribe suffered terrible destruction and dislocation. It turned out later that his stepfamily was part of the campaign that led to the destruction of the child’s original family, and later the same tribe recaptured him and continued to raise him in a Native American way. He received many taunts for having his white ways, but overall through his dasha he was always a different person trying to adapt endlessly and learning new values whenever his life changed.

The Shashtras say that the reason Vimshottari is 120 years long is because during one incarnation, we go through the experience of maximum one-third of the zodiac, that is, 120 degrees, or nine nakshatras of 13 degrees and 20 minutes each. The cycle of nine nakshatras is repeated three times in the Zodiac in the same order. That is why Indian astrology developed Taras, which reduce the periods/subperiods to their rulers. You can also observe Taras when seeing how the various Moon phases work for you – Kala software for example lists the Taras of the transiting planets as well. Returning to the main subject of nakshatra dashas, let me illustrate this with a life-turning event in my own chart.

Author’s Vedic chart, Southern style - scroll down for Northern style

Author's North Indian chart:

On October 24, 1984, my first wife and I sneaked out from then Communist Hungary through the Austrian border exit, and did not return for over a decade. According to the jyotish pandits I saw in Washington DC in the summer of 1990, this happened at the exact beginning of my Saturn mahadasha. I tried later to establish evidence for this sudden change when I learned classical jyotish. BPHS says the weaker your Saturn is, the more likely such change could happen in the initial period of Saturn mahadasha. If Saturn is moderately weak, such change – generally unfavorable from the POV of traditional jyotish – would happen rather in the second or third portion of the mahadasha. Saturn is super weak in my chart; it is combust in a fire sign in the eighth house, aspected by Ardra Mars. This is only improved by Jupiter’s aspect as Jupiter is in its own sign. The Sun is the lord of my 4th house and Saturn is the lord of my 4th from the Moon, both meaning roots and homeland. This does give you a clue, as well as the fact that in view of transits, I was undergoing Sade Sati at the time, with Pluto complicating things.

The above requires careful consideration, and that was probably what the pandits based their assessment at the time. However, if you look at the nakshatra connection, you begin to suspect the same theme early on from another angle. My birth Moon is Swati, so my first mahadasha was Swati/Rahu. The second one was Vishakha/Jupiter, which is three quarters in Libra, and one quarter in Scorpio, my seventh house. During the last quarter of the 16-year-long mahadasha, I met my first wife, who studied at the same university; soon we moved together, then got married and started to entertain the idea of escaping to the West. Now my Saturn mahadasha in this counting means Anuradha, a nakshatra in the middle of Scorpio, my seventh house. By bhavat-bhavam connections, Anuradha frequently brings up the theme of moving, dislocation, travelling to distant places or leaving your homeland. You can frequently see Anuradha Moon, Sun or Ascendant in the charts of famous explorers. Anuradha is like Saturn in Scorpio. Saturn rules the third and fourth house from Scorpio. The third house means the conscious mind and exposure to the outside world, rivalry, while the fourth means home, real estate, roots and mother among other things. Scorpio is the sign of change and letting go, as well as destruction. Saturn makes this obligatory, and it is the lord of Kala – time – thus it demands an exact timing of events. Anuradha falls in my seventh house, and I fled the country with my wife. Looking back, perhaps I may not have decided finally to leave, had it not been for her.

Here’s the chart of John F. Kennedy South then North style:

Kennedy's chart North style:

His chart was rectified many times but let’s assume he was elected according to his original time of birth, 15:00, shortly before Rahu/Swati period ended and ninth-house Jupiter kicked in. That happened to Donald Trump as well (if we use Lahiri’s timing) – but maybe Rahu dasha has its peculiarities of subtly advancing the themes of the coming Jupiter towards its end; I have seen this phenomenon in private clients’ charts. His womanizing was a subject in the national awareness, an apt subject for a Swati dasha. Jupiter dasha means Vishakha, which learns a sort of psychological rule learning from human relationships and connections, and he was barely into it a year and a half, when he was killed. Vishakha had some good points: falling in his second house, the President made excellent speeches. Libra Vishakha is in the sixth house from Jupiter though, so while fulfilling his job, he also made enemies with his speech. Libra though has Arudha Lagna, the key to life (1st House Pada), as well as Upalagna (12th House Pada) which can be dangerous, especially since Jupiter is his maraka planet. When he was murdered, he ran Vishakha /Jupiter dasha and Anuradha/Saturn bhukti/antardasha. The third level is still Anuradha/Saturn – and he did travel a lot and changed his mind about a number of things. The fourth level is Jyestha/Mercury. It is noteworthy that Mars was transiting Jyestha at the time, gandhanta (along with Venus), as the dispositor of dasha ruler Jupiter and the Sun, marking rulership. So crafty and violent minds ended his life in armed opposition but having extraordinary intelligence – Mercury in Anuradha having an exact opposition to his natal Sun suggests an extraordinary level of manipulation. (He was near to his Rahu/Ketu turnaround over natal Rahu/Ketu – within a degree.) Manipulation was surely a strong factor as were political taboos. To recap it all, he rose to the real heights of power in Vishakha/Jupiter dasha, but the same planet mobilized his enemies (Vishakha is in the sixth from Jupiter) and finally killed him as maraka (Jupiter rules the 7th from the Ascendant; Venus cannot be maraka since it is in its own sign.) Strengthening the 6th house case was the fact that Saturn, ruler of Anuradha subperiod, was transiting in his sixth house from the Moon.

It is interesting to see that Mars nakshatras are always halfway at the end of an Earth sign and halfway at the beginning of the next air sign. Now the unity of a nakshatra can be seen by not exactly stretching through the sign yet. Though some other clear indicators for the same event are seen rather from other things, my first wife’s chart also shows a change relating to the same event of leaving Hungary:

Author's wife's chart, Southern style:

Author's wife's chart, Northern style:

She was in Mercury mahadasha, and Mars antardasha started exactly when the move was implemented. Traditional explanation shows that Mercury is in her ninth house, so being abroad attains a spiritual significance for her. The same Mercury as a planet is eighth from the Moon, so some time during that dasha a major change was to be expected. In fact, her mother was not favoring our marriage at the time and was dead set against our leaving the country. Moon is at home, so until Moon antardasha was running, she could not leave. The nakshatra-dasha connection says that since the first Mercury-ruled nakshatra in her Moon series is Ashlesha, that was an Ashlesha dasha. Mars, however, is ruling Chitra which extends into her fourth house from the Moon, bearing the brunt of change. The only thing is that the time proportion does not seem at first sight to work out like in the case of my Jupiter dasha – she left at the onset of Mars antardasha (about one year long) because it also stretches into her fourth from the Moon. However, I can add that official acceptance of her visa petition to the United States was approved only half a year later, so that was the time she could really be sure she would not have to return. (And she did not until this very day.)

By that time, Mars antardasha was surely in its second part of two padas in the new sign. (Mars BTW aspects her eighth and ninth houses.)

Here’s Alexander Fleming’s story of discovery of penicilline.

Alexander Fleming, Southern style:

Alexander Fleming, Northern style:

The original discovery started on September 3, 1928, when he discovered mold on his bacteria cultures, returning from a holiday. This was Mars/Jupiter dasha, so we can easily calculate it was Dhanishtha (the seven-year-long dasha was still way before halfway, having started in November 1926). Its significance would change everything, but fame was still waiting. Purva Bhadra antardasha is between his ninth and tenth house, again pointing to professional success at a later time, between the fourth and fifth from his Moon. The discovery got some meager acknowledgement in half a year, but basically until another researcher started earnestly on it in the wake of the coming war in 1939, he was not enjoying the fruits of this knowledge. Both planets (Mars and Jupiter) are in his twelfth house – which means he was closed away from the world. By the time he got famous, he was in his Rahu dasha, which means Satabhisak (a hundred doctors!) in the nakshatra-dasha connection. Luck and fame really turned around when penicillin was applied to troops during the war, and he finally got the Nobel Prize in 1945 in Rahu/Venus, which is Satabhishak/Purva Shadha – one is in his ninth house, and the other in his seventh. Surely a good house combination for winning fame. BTW I noticed as I was looking at people of fame that a nakshatra of a Vimshottari mahadasha or subperiod falling into the person’s seventh house frequently brings him/her fame no matter if there are planets in that place or not.

Finally, a question. Mundane horoscopes. Take the chart of the US which entered its second Rahu dasha recently.

The US Declaration of Independece, Southern style, at Philadelphia, PA July 4, 1776 18:30

The US Declaration of Independece, Northern style, at Philadelphia, PA July 4, 1776 18:30

Rahu dasha at the founding meant Satabhishak. What does it mean now? To go through the periods quickly: Satabhishak/Rahu 1776-1793

Purva Bhadra/Jupiter 1793-1809

Uttara Bhadra/Saturn 1809-1828

Revati/Mercury 1828-1845

Aswini/Ketu 1845-1852

Bharani/Venus 1852-1872

Krittika/Sun 1872-1878

Rohini/Moon 1878-1888

Mrigashira/Mars 1888-1895

Rahu 1895-1913

Jupiter 1913-1929

Saturn 1929-1948

Mercury 1948-1965

Ketu 1965-1972

Venus 1972-1992

Sun 1992-1998

Moon 1998-2008

Mars 2008-2015

Rahu 2015-2033

I did not write the nakshatras to the second cycle because I was not sure. If I recall correctly, Pandit Rath was saying in his Brihat Nakshatra that if a second cycle is started, the individual may go on to the next cycle of 120 degrees. But I am not sure of this. Very few people have survived 120 in modern times – there is not enough data. I could imagine going back to the same cycle, where the Great Depression, for example would be Uttara Bhadra (with its toughest suffering and sacrifice). But I have not studied this yet adequately. I can imagine the Depression and World War 2 falling into Pushya instead of Uttara Bhadra again – Pushya falls into the US’s eighth house, and sixth from the Moon. It would be odd for me to say it is changed for the next third of the Zodiac though, because then in effect the US would have an Ardra Moon instead of Satabhishak. On the other hand, I can barely associate 9/11 with Rohini, perhaps more with Hastha. I am not sure I would support such a radical change of the mundane interpretation of long jyotish charts, though it does have a scriptural backing.

I would welcome your thoughts on Vimshottari nakshatras spanning more than 120 years. Please, if this article aroused your interest, write your opinion on that matter. Jai Guru Dev and Namasté

Janos/Kartikeya


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       Nakshatra picture courtesy of:

        Vedic astrologer Viktor Lévai