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Becoming a Jyotishi

Soon after I received my Jyotish Visharada certificate, someone asked me what in my chart enabled me to become a Jyotishi. This is an excellent question, as everything that manifests in a life can be found in the chart. For something significant, there must be confluence, that is, different factors pointing to a similar possibilty. Here is a brief analysis of certain elements in my chart that point the way to Jyotish. 

1. First of all, there is a strong sanyasa yoga, which indicates a life oriented towards the spiritual path. Two configurations create this yoga. Saturn, planet of introspection and renunciation, aspects all three indicators of self: the Sun, Moon and the Lagna (ascendent). Saturn turned the mind inwards, bringing also a great deal of worldly loss and challenge. (Worldly loss can mean spiritual gain, and in time that understanding ripened.) In addition, four planets reside together in one house, without being combust. Together, these two features establish the conditions for spirituality and asceticism. The fact that two of those planets in my case are Mars and Venus creates another influence, modulating the draw to total renunciation. (So I became a householder, not a monk.) Yet the effect of the sanyasa yoga is still very profound, making sadhana and svadhyaya a life-long focus, and preparing the ground for Jyotish.

2. Jupiter, planet of knowledge and higher consciousness, casts his direct dristi on all of those four planets residing together, uplifting them with his light, the grace of Gurudev. As Jupiter resides in his own sign Pisces, consciousness gets directed towards the cosmic dimension and expressed in an intuitive, expansive and devotional manner. Owner of a dharma house and residing in a dharma house, Jupiter illuminates all the dharma houses in the chart. Dharma (rather than artha, kama or moksha) thus drives the life force. Jupiter directs it towards jnana (knowledge) . . . and through jnana makes possible Jyotish. (In yoga too, jnana has been my primary path.) In addition, as Virgo is the medium through which all four of these planets manifest, discernment and discrimination become features colouring the sanyasa yoga and further enabling Jyotish. Same as Saturn mentioned above, Jupiter also aspects all three indicators of self: Sun, Moon and Lagna. So the solitude bequeathed by Saturn gets tempered with a love for both people and divinity, and an understanding of the way that those loves merge into one. All these factors add confluence to the potential for Jyotish.

3. A relationship between Ketu and Mercury is another indicator of a Jyotishi. Ketu is the planet of transcendence, otherworldliness and perception. Mercury is discerning intellect, the ability to judge and evaluate. Together they create the conditions for Jyotish mind. In my chart, Mercury resides in the nakshatra (lunar constellation) of Mula, ruled by Ketu, which directs the discriminating mind towards hidden knowledge. Sagittarius, where this configuration falls, gives inspiration and vision. In addition, Ketu resides in Magha, a nakshatra that he also rules, adding confluence to this orientation towards otherworldly perception. Both of these nakshatras are of a demon nature, which gives the power to delve beneath surfaces. The shakti of Mula (root, as in muladhara) breaks things open, like roots penetrating the earth. The shakti of Magha is the power to leave the body. Finally, Ketu in Magha is the tenth House. Placed in the 10H of vocation, very close to the mid-heaven at the top of the chart, Ketu indicates a vocation involving spirituality and perception . . . like Jyotish.

4. Jyotish also has a practical side, requiring accuracy with calculations and precision with measurements. (Ganita, one of the limbs of Jyotish, means mathematical calculations.) Mars and Mercury together often create technical skill, and in my chart Mars aspects Mercury. However, both of those planets are also under the much more powerful influences discussed above. This has ensured that engineering, computer science and technical inventiveness have not been my path! But a degree of technical ability is still there for the practice of Jyotish.

5. All this karma has ripened for me during these last five years or so, at the end of my Saturn mahadasa (which is 19 years) and during my third SadeSati (which is seven and a half years of Saturn transiting the quadrant of the Moon). Saturn has taken me through the wringer, particularly these last few years, his lessons of loss and limitation coming to me (from one perspective) so cruelly. But the cruelty of Saturn can also be his greatest grace. Worldly loss makes clear the ephemerality of all things material. It opens the door to spiritual growth. Jyotish--given to me through Saturn--is the silver lining. Now I am in the mahadasa of Mercury, a congenial time for deepening into Jyotish. By the grace of Lord Ganesh may my eyes be open, may I become a worthy channel of this sacred knowledge, Jyotish.

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Meditation for the Month:

"Thoughts come and go.
Feelings come and go.
Find out what it is that remains."
Ramana Maharshi

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