Friday, November 18, 2016

Devi Saptashati / Chandi path

For long, I have been thinking that the very structure of the 13 chapters of the incredible Devi Saptashati is organized  on the basis of natural zodiac and hints at vedic remedies for birth chart afflictions.

Guruji Sanjay Rath taught that exalted planets are high in sattva guna and are like Vishnu avataras, while debilitated planets have tamasic energy and represent Devi avataras / Mahavidyas, whose noble function as a loving Mother is to clean up the bad karma accumulated by her children. 

This is not connected to Ishta Devata, unless there is some association between the debilitated planet and Ishta devata.

Let me test it out.

Each chapter has a presiding Devi, who I feel, is linked to the planet debilitated in that sign. For the purpose of this study, Ayus exaltation / debilitation are not taken into account for the nodes. Only phalita results are considered. For those signs, where no planets are debilitated, the lord of the house is considered.

For the 3 mandalas only the Mulatrikona of planet is considered. It holds the key to the number of chapters included in the Charitras.
1        Prathama charitra - Vahni Mandala – Chapter 1
2      Madhyama charitra - Soma Mandala – Chapters 2,3,4
3        Uttama charitra - Surya Mandala – Chapters 5-13

Mula Trikona
Planet in Debility / Lord
Vahni / Agni
Saturn Deb
Maha Kali
Soma / Chandra
Lord Venus
Maha Lakshmi

Ketu Deb

Mars Deb
Jaya Durga
Lord Sun
Maha Saraswati

Venus Deb

Sun Deb
Raja Matangi

Moon Deb
Bhavani / Lalitha

Rahu Deb
Ardhambika (ArdhanArishvari)

Jupiter Deb

Lord Saturn
NarAyaNi / Bhuvaneshvari

Mercury Deb
Agni Durga

Sun exalted
Sri Vidya

I think that the entire Devi Saptashati charts the Soul’s journey from terrible ignorance / Avidya (Saturn in debility) to great  enlightenment / Sri Vidya (Sun in exaltation). This is reinforced by the fact that Devi Saptashati is narrated for protection mostly during Vasantha Navaratri  (When Sun is about to traverse the gandanta & move into exaltation) or during Sharad Navaratri (when Sun is poised to traverse the hidden gandanta & move into debility).

For those people with debilitated planets, the remedy could be in propitiating the Devata associated with that Sign & planet. For example, in Sri Krishna’s chart, Mars is in debility, and his worship of Durga is legendary.

In my chart, Venus is in debility, and the remedy lies in worship of Padmavathi. By God’s grace, I moved to Tirupati, where the presiding Devi is Padmavathi, the consort of Lord Venkateshwara. People who know me, also know how this Divine Mother guided my coming to Tirupati and how she continues to bless me.

This is my humble view point.

Om NamaH ShivAya.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vishnu Purana 4 (Part II)


If we observe the above passages closely, it becomes clear at once that they were invoking a yogic practice called Tratak. The Hathayog Pradipika mentions six types (shatkarma) of hathayoga: dhauti, vasti, neti, nauli, tratak and kapalbhati, that impart physical, mental and spiritual power. The first four, i.e., dhauti, vasti, neti and nauli are more concerned with purification of the body, while the last two, tratak and kapalbhati, correspond to spiritual achievements.

 Tratak sadhana is defined as focusing your attention with concentration on a point in the flame of a lamp continuously, without blinking. It improves memory, concentration, mental efficiency and bestows great energy, foresight, clairvoyance, hypnotic and spiritual powers. Inner tratak sadhana involves  focusing your attention on the middle of your eyebrows or heart, which are the seats of Agni and Ishta Devata.

Tri gunas

So far, we have been discussing in depth, the pancha tattvas or the 5 primordial elements. Now, we need to introduce the factor of tri-guna, which through its matrix of interaction with the five elements causes the creation. Guna reflects the evolution and attitude of an individual and is the main cause of subjectivity and transmigration. 
It is well known that the three gunas corresponding to creation (Rajas), sustenance (Sattwa), and enlightening; rajas as passion – motivates us to create, desire, acquire and enjoy and tamas as ignorance – dirty, degrading, deluding, and destructive, yet all gunas.., as components of Maya, co-exist in creation and in every one. During Dissolution the gunas remain in balance. Their  imbalance ensues with the beginning of creation.
According to Bhagavadgita, it is said that based on the soul's samskara or preference for a particular mode, it takes on a corresponding body. A person influenced mainly by goodness will be elevated to the heavenly planets at death. Those largely in passion stay in human society, and those infected with ignorance enter into the lower species. Only pure souls, transcending even sattva , attain liberation and escape the entanglement of matter.
The much misunderstood system of varnashrama-dharma actually allows us to understand  how matter conditions the soul. As stated by Sri Krishna in
viddhy akartāram avyayam (B.G.4.13)
According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable.
 As apparent from the very words uttered by Sri Krishna, this system was based not so much on birth but on personal character and inclination for a particular type of work. The Brahmanas (priests, teachers and intellectuals) represented Sattwa, the kshatriyas represented rajas, the Vaishyas symbolized a mixture of Rajas and Tamas, while the Shudras stood for Tamas, but as already clarified these were not water tight compartments, but enabled mobility between the varnas based on individual evolution.
Sattwa Guna
The sattva guna is said to be in full strength when ‘every gate (meaning sense perception) of the body is illumined and receives Knowledge of the Absolute’,  thus the  sattva is considered to be  illuminating, a ‘revealer’ of Consciousness (prakashakam) that is without sorrow (anamayam).
Among the navagrahas, Sun, Moon and Jupiter are considered to be the Sattwa planets.

Rajo Guna

The guna rajas is operative in the sphere of action and ambition. Rajas is characterized by desire and passion, thus leading to attachment. This attitude binds the soul and consciousness firmly to the temporary illusion called samsara.

Sage Parashara categorized Venus and Mercury as rajasic planets.

Tamo Guna

The tamas guna deludes all embodied beings (sarvadehinam), is born of ignorance (ajnanam) and has  no capacity for discrimination. This guna is characterized by laziness, sleep and distraction. Because Light of wisdom is veiled by ignorance, this guna leads us to neglect our spiritual practices.

Saturn, Mars, Rahu and Ketu are said to be the Tamasic planets among the navagrahas.

The Matrix of Gunas

The gunas are basically part of maya, which is unreal and our attachment to their effects  will eventually lead us back into delusion. But, all the three gunas do have their function in the creation. Rajas guna with its sheer energy that can overcome the inertia of tamas and can cause Creation, which neither the  sattva nor the tamas can do. Tamas is necessary to destroy the redundant and obsolete, and the other two gunas do not possess the necessary ruthlessness. Sattva guna equips us with wisdom and enlightens our consciousness. 
Tamas and Rajas conclusively weigh the soul down with ignorance and desire. Sattva guna allows us a reprieve by allowing the Divine Light to pierce through the darkness. But it is to be understood that all the three bind us in the webs of illusion ...including the sattva guna. The sattwa guna can result in an attachment to knowledge and wisdom, resulting in a sort of spiritual / intellectual pride, which also can damage our chances of emancipation. Thus Tamas, Rajas and Sattwa gunas indicate progressively higher levels of buoyancy.    
These 3 gunas manifest in astrology not only through the planets mentioned above, but also through the signs which are divided into movable (rajas), dual (sattva), and fixed (tamas) signs and a predominance / strength of planets/signs pertaining to a particular guna in the natal chart can indicate the dominant guna of a person.

In astrology, all the signs have been divided into 3 categories, based on the gunas. Movable signs like Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn are categorized as Rajas and are ruled by Brahma, Fixed signs, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius are Tamas and are ruled by Shiva, while the dual signs are Sattwa and are ruled by Vishnu.

We have all also come across the term Rasi drishti, which is permanent. In Rasi drishti, all movable signs aspect fixed signs except the one adjacent to them, while all fixed signs aspect movable signs, except the one next to them, indicating that Tamas and Rajas gunas have a lot in common and can easily influence each other, periodically elevating or pulling down each other, whereas the dual signs, indicating Sattwa guna, only aspect one other, of a similar nature. Thus when one gets into the sattwik mode after a lot of introspection and struggle, there is a greater probability that he would only look for similar environment and usually does not get attracted to the baser gunas.

Tretagni : Drishti

Drishti / sight is the attribute of agni. Any food offered to a deity is said to be consumed by the deity through drishti. Since we have been talking about agni so much, it is only natural we should veer towards a discussion on drishti. We all know that agni is worshipped in 3 forms, called tretagni or a  triad of fire; in Hindu religious ritual the three sacred fires taken collectively -- the  Ahavaniya agni or sacrificial fire, the Garhapatya agni or the household fire, and the Dakshina agni or the southern fire. It is obvious that the above three fires are representative of the 3 sandhyas and the three mystical rivers, Yamuna, Ganga and Saraswati, These three sacred fires are obtained by the attrition of sticks commonly made of the wood of the Asvattha tree, mystically called the Tree of Wisdom and Knowledge. 

Agni is the significator tattva for both Creation and drishti and is said to be of three kinds… indicative of the trigunas that influence creation.

The Garhapatya agni is circular in shape and is situated in the west of the offering ground. Fire is taken from the Garhapatya and kindled in the remaining two fires. The Dakshinagni is semi-circular, situated in the south and used for certain rituals, mainly for offerings to the forefathers. The Ahavaniya is square, situated in the east, and is used as the main offering fire of most Srauta sacrifices.

Fig 1.1 : Tretagni



                                                East- Ahavaniya Agni-Mars
                                               Morning-Rajas-Brahma-1st house


              South- Dakshiniya Agni-Sun 
              Noon- Sattwa-Vishnu-10th house  


                                                West- Garhapatya Agni– Moon
                                                Evening-Tamas- Shiva-7th House

As there are 3 agnis, so there are 3 drishtis, be it Rasi drishti or Graha drishti. Drishti or sight can be there only when there is light / agni, i.e., during the day. Thus the fourth direction, representing midnight is missing here.

Graha Drishti

All planets hasve a full drhti on the 7th house, which is directly opposite to their station. That is the house most bathed in that planet’s light. The outer planets, viz., Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are empowered with special full aspects, because being far above the earth they are equipped with the ability to have a more comprehensive / objective view.

Ahavaniya Agni & Chaturasra Drishti: The East symbolizes Sunrise and the creation, thus its guna is Rajas. The East is also ruled by Agni and Brahma and the 4th & 8th aspect of Mars, is symbolic of the 4 heads of Brahma, as is apparent from the “Chaturasra” or the Square shape of the sacrificial pit. 

Dakshina Agni & Trinal Aspects : The South symbolizes Pithris and Noon (Aparahna) is the time when they are usually invoked. Here, the Sun is at his zenith and no shadows are cast. Thus the Dakshinagni represents Sattva, and the trinal aspect of Jupiter. It is to be borne in mind here that Sun rules the trines. The Semicircle sacrificial altar indicates that half the day is past.

Garhapatya Agni & 3rd/ 10th aspect : The Garhapatya agni is situated in the West and is said to be always burning…like our Karma…as indicated by the circle. The natural 7th house, being a vayu tattwa rasi, is symbolic of Moon (significator for manas) and  is also the digbala rasi of Saturn and Rahu, who represent the circle of desires (3H), death (10H) and unending lifecycles. Since the 7th house is also the point of sunset, the starting point of darkness, Tamas is the guna of this direction.

Shadow houses & Graha Drishti

Since the concept of drishti is totally based on Light, it is interesting to note that all the dustanas (shadow houses) have no aspect on them, except Mars’ (Rudra) aspect on the 8th house. Rahu  has another drishti on the invisible 12th house, because he alone is qualified to represent Maha Tamas or the Great Darkness. The 11th house, being the Harasthana, is also like a shadow house. The 3rd and 10th drishti of Saturn touches the houses, which are immediately adjacent to the shadow houses.    

But we are only going to take into account the special aspects of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, because Sage Parashara had mentioned that the other planets also have Tri-pada (Mars), Dwi-pada (Jupiter) and Eka-pada (Saturn) drishtis, which may lack the impact of full aspects, but which are nonetheless important. However, the venerable Rishi had never seemed to have accorded the 12th aspect of Rahu to other planets in a similar manner, so let us confine ourselves to the 7th house aspect of all planets and the special aspects of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

From the above, we can also deduce that all aspects before the 7th house can be classified as Tamasic and all aspects beyond the 7th house can categorized as Sattwik, while the 7H aspect itself is Rajasik (because the house where the planet is posited is like lagna for that planet).    
Rasi Drishti
Rasi drishti is the permanent drishti of signs on one another irrespective of the fact whether planets are placed within them or not. Since signs are fixed, like houses, they lack the mobility of grahas (persons) to bend and cast trinal / tetra aspects and can only simply aspect signs directly opposite to them.    

Similar to the 3 kinds of Graha drishti, discussed above, are the rasi Drishti, which are again inspired by 3 kinds of agni. Considering the well established fact that Rahu  is the north node and Gemini had often been referred to as the north pole;. Sagittarius represents the South pole and is the exaltation sign of Ketu; we can accordingly plot the signs onto the Chaturasra (Mars, who rules Earth / Bhuloka) in the following manner as given in the diagram, with Isana representing the head.   

Fig: 1.2 : Earth / Zodiac

Immediately, what becomes apparent is that  that 5th, 8th and 11th signs are opposite to the 1st sign, indicating the rasi drishti of Aries on Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. Upon doing a similar exercise with other signs, we observe the following patterns emerge…which are very much like the co-ordinates of a place…Latitude, Longitude and Altitude!!! These are the three coordinates mandatory for defining any place on the earth, hence it becomes increasingly apparent that assessing the rasi drishti is extremely important to define the tenor / environment of the chart.

Fig 1.3 : Latitude : Based on the principle of Tretagni, this drishti represents the Tamasic guna.  

Fig 1.4 : Longitude : Rasi Drishti can be interpreted as Rajasik here.

Fig 1.5 : Altitude : Represents Sattwa drishti.

Three dimensional Drishti : Fitting all the above aspects into a single diagram would make it appear like the following lattice-like diagram, revealing something very akin to the  internal structure of a crystal. Thus when one is empowered with light and vision, every single happening in the world is transparent to him…perhaps this is the crystal ball the Rishis were gazing into…Bhuloka !