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The Chart of Gandhi: Where Love Serves Truth

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing! True in many areas of life, but particularly true in Jyotish, where you will be astonished by the nuances your chart reveals. The celestial patterns that correspond to the unfolding of time are complex, my friends. Just as one tiny red-hot chilli can transform an entire pot of soup, so too can slight differences in planetary alignment signify an entirely different trajectory through life.

Gandhi & HitlerIf any two individuals impacted history in opposite ways, Mahatma Gandhi and Adolf Hitler certainly qualify. Incredible as it may seem, however, Gandhi and Hitler have many elements in common in their charts. How can that be? How can the chart of the greatest non-violent activist have anything in common with that of a perpetrator of mass murder?

Jyotish reveals the deep layers, where things are not always how they seem on the surface. Nine planets (grahas) represent the entire spectrum of archetypal energy. But the possibilities of their expression become infinite, depending how they align. Twelve Constellations (rashis), Twelve Houses (bhavas), Twenty-Seven Nakshatras (lunar mansions), and each degree of difference of all of the above create a unique pattern of relationship, which alters how each planet will manifest. Your chart is a kaleidoscope, the colours shifting and changing through time, as the cycles of life (dashas) and transits (gochara) get added to the picture too.

This is good news for all those people with little understanding of the subtlety of Jyotish, all those who feel misrepresented by a certain astrological box. So do not despair if you feel a Scorpio Moon or a Saturn Lord does not speak to your soul essence. Nothing can be taken at face value, and no element of your chart says anything in isolation. Every feature only makes sense in terms of the whole. And that whole is totally unique for you.

Gandhi and Hitler are both Libra ascendents, so both have Venus as Lord of their charts. Not only that, but in both cases, Venus resides with Mars and Mercury and receives an aspect from Jupiter. Yet on the one hand this configuration led to blitzkrieg and concentration camps, on the other it manifested as Satya Graha, the powerful path of peace. So where do the differences lie?

In my last Jyotish blog, I explained how in Hitler’s chart Venus (his Lord) sits uncomfortably in Mars’ sign Aries, compromised by the fiery presence of an exalted Sun and a triply strong Mars. The harsh gaze of Saturn upon Aries increases the maleficence, so that both Venus and Mercury (who also resides in Aries) are overwhelmed, their natural beneficence essentially cancelled.

UntitledIn Gandhi’s chart, Venus, Mercury and Mars are also together, but here they reside in Libra, ruled by Venus. So unlike for Hitler where Venus is weak, for Gandhi Venus is strong. Venus is the power planet in Gandhi’s chart, placed happily in his own sign, where the qualities of peace, love, harmony, diplomacy and concern for the welfare of others become dominate. So unlike for Hitler where Mars dominates Venus, in Gandhi’s chart, Venus dominates Mars. Mercury receives strength here too through his association with a strong Venus. Mercury represents discerning intellect, the razor-sharp ability to analyse, discriminate and judge. With Venus dominant, these qualities function for Gandhi in service of the higher good that Venus embodies.

Also, unlike for Hitler, Gandhi has no exalted Sun or aspect from Saturn colouring the configuration. Instead, Venus gains even more strength for Gandhi in the chart that represents the fruit of his karma (navamsa), where he once again resides with Mars in his own sign, this time Taurus. In both charts, Venus contains Mars and bequeaths Gandhi with a fundamental orientation towards harmony.

gnadhi colour portraitBut Mars still exerts an important influence on Gandhi too. When Venus dominates Mars, the drive, determination and assertiveness that Mars exemplifies get oriented towards the purposes of Venus. Mars gives Gandhi the energy and stamina to struggle for the lofty purpose he envisages. A spirit of conquest has to be there for every battle, even one based upon non-violence. From Mars Gandhi gains the courage to confront his opponents with uncompromising power of will. Never underestimate the beauty of a well-placed Mars! Mars oriented toward justice becomes a potent force for social good.

Gandhi quoteA strong Venus without this Martian influence could not have created a Gandhi. Pure Venus types usually find themselves in the arts, beauty, diplomatic or human resources fields. But Gandhi was not just a man of peace happily fluttering about his own little duck pond. He was a man of peace challenging a formidable opponent upon the world stage, determined to free his homeland after centuries of foreign rule. Yet in doing so, he would not compromise his principles. As an embodiment of peace, Gandhi grew to understand the incredible power of non-violence as a political tool. Ironically, non-violence became his greatest weapon. He confronted the British with the utter simplicity of his unarmed person, standing forth for truth and justice, but with nothing personal to gain or lose. And so he was very, very difficult to defeat.

In Gandhi’s chart, Moon is Atma Karaka, planet in highest zodiacal degree and therefore another strong indicator of his essential self. Just as in Hitler’s chart, Gandhi’s Moon is caught up with Rahu and Ketu, the nodes of the Moon. The Nodes make for alternative sensibility, and both Gandhi and Hitler were not your ordinary Joes. But once again, Jyotish is full of nuance. Just as the Nodes can derange the mind, so too can they create extraordinary mental perception. For Hitler the configuration of Moon with the Nodes resides in fiery Sagittarius, with Jupiter increasing the heat and connecting it to the fiery configuration in Aries: all destabilising forces that led to mental derangement.

For Gandhi, Moon resides in in his own sign Cancer, a watery medium exemplifying compassion, sympathy and the fecundity of springtime energy. The Nodes intensify those qualities, with an aspect from Saturn upon Ketu that gives measure and restraint. Though Gandhi did in fact suffer from many pressures on his mental stability, his Cancer Moon ensured they would resolve in a way that created no harm to others, whereas for Hitler, the excess of fire ensured the opposite.

Gandhi spinninBoth Cancer and Moon indicate mother, and Gandhi’s entire campaign of Satya Graha was about securing freedom for Mother India. As a leader, Gandhi himself exemplified the qualities of a mother. With his strong Moon in Cancer, he was mother to the nation: loving, compassionate, patient, tolerant and caring. But he was a mother with a mission. Receptive like the water of Cancer, unshakeable passivity characterised his path of resistance. But like a mother, his yielding contained the iron hand of firmness. Satya Graha was the method, but revolution was the goal.

In his cycle of the Moon, Gandhi’s purpose as the embodiment of Mother India took shape. He realised the futility of trying to correct injustices as a lawyer working within the framework of the law. He turned back to the principles of Hinduism, abandoning his attempts to become like an English gentleman. Moon represented a “coming home” for him. The urge for roots, for the motherland, was strong, and he had a role in its service. Moon for Gandhi resides in the Tenth House of Vocation, and through the Nodes connects to the Fourth House of Home and Mother. Gandhi’s highest dharma found expression in the non-violent struggle against British rule for Mother India.

(If you recall from Hitler’s chart, Moon resides in the Third House of the Arts and connects through the Nodes with the Ninth House of Spirituality. Hitler’s demented ideology had a quasi-religious veneer and manifested itself in dramatic displays of fire and theatricals.)

In the cycle of Moon-Rahu, Gandhi took a vow of brahmacharya, determined to live the life of a renunciate. It was for him a time of intense purification. Rahu is the planet of toxins and intoxication, and that energy got expressed for Gandhi as detoxification, as a letting go of the superfluous. The suit of an English gentleman long discarded, Gandhi faced the world in a simple loincloth.

salt marchAs Rahu is the planet of desire and of unfulfilled desire in the world, his adopting brahmacharya at this time represents a profound internal confrontation with resistance. From then on, Gandhi would grow as the Mahatma. Rahu–also in Cancer in his chart–takes on the qualities of Moon/Mother. Nothing could undermine him, as he had nothing to lose. He was ready to give up food, go to jail, anything. He started a simple march to the sea in protest against the law restricting Indians from selling salt, and gathered so many followers along the way that he ended up humiliating the British before the media of the entire world.

Jupiter, planet of expansion, casts his gaze upon these defining configurations in the charts of both Hitler and Gandhi. For Gandhi, Jupiter expands the power of his beautiful First House, the configuration that makes him a spiritual warrior for the cause of Satya Graha.. In Hitler’s chart, Jupiter brings expansion too, but here the configurations he touches contain the seeds of violence, insecurity and mental breakdown. It is these sinister forces that the great planet Jupiter inflates for Hitler.

Gandhi with publicAs a simple man of peace, Gandhi inspired trust. As an embodiment of Mother India, he earned admiration, respect and love. Thus, he gained the power to influence the public freely: it was given to him effortlessly. Without appropriating anything for himself, with nothing to lose personally because he had given everything away, Gandhi received the public’s devotion.

Hitler gained the power to influence the public as well, but his method was entirely different. He manipulated the public’s vulnerability, creating a scapegoat to blame for the nation’s problems and cloaking evil in an elaborate veil of lies.

Both Gandhi and Hitler galvanised the public behind their vision with their charismatic public presence. For both possessed as well the power of persuasive speech. If you recall, Mars rules Hitler’s Second House of Speech, so all the anger, impetuosity and ruthlessness of Hitler’s fiery Mars characterise his speech.

gandi catFor Gandhi, Mars also rules the Second House of Speech. Gandhi too spoke with decisiveness and passion. There was nothing weak about him: the truth he spoke was sharp. But since Mars resides in his First House, dominated by the naturally benefic energy of Venus and Mercury and Jupiter (through aspect), his speech is also sweet. Compelling it may be, but it comes from a place of compassion and focuses upon the welfare of others.

Also for Gandhi, Saturn resides in his Second House. The Second House governs not just speech, but food, family, resources and most significantly, truth. Saturn is a great planet for a Libra Ascendent. He is Yoga Karaka, ruling two great houses of purpose and power. Saturn gives a measured quality to his speech: solemnity and seriousness grounded in the highest truths. Saturn is Lord of Truth, as he is Lord of Yoga. Saturn elevates speech for Gandhi, so the truth he spoke resonated with matters eternal, the political within the context of the cosmic and illuminating a vision that aspired towards Ultimate Reality.

Gandhi with flagWhereas lies gave Hitler momentum, a lifelong search for truth defined the path of Gandhi, which according to the grace of Saturn ripened in particular during his later years. In what he took in (food for thought) and what he spoke outwardly (food for the transformation of public awareness), Gandhi’s message was ultimately about the highest spiritual truths. He may have begun life by practising law; but later, disillusioned by the injustice of man, he turned to higher law, to spirituality. It was this that impressed itself so deeply upon the Indian people. It recalled them to their roots, elevating as it did the ancient Indian traditions of spirituality and right living, which had been marginalised and somewhat degraded during British rule.

So you see, Gandhi and Hitler do share many qualities . . . determination, passion, will power, eccentric mind, charismatic presence, persuasive speech . . . all apparent through the similarities in their charts. Yet those significant places where the charts diverge make all the difference. They indicate radically different sensibilities and ensure that those qualities will serve radically different purposes.

And so it is for all of us. It is in the details where you can read your truth. Your chart is as unique to you as your fingerprint. It mirrors a configuration of cosmic light that is YOU, never before and never again to be seen in precisely the same pattern.

Om shanti

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