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Why do we fast|Benefits of Fasting

Why do we fast|Benefits of Fasting

The topic of ‘Remedial Measures’ in Vedic Astrology is often neglected, and yet there is a hope that we as Jyotishas never forget to conclude any aspect of our practice, or a study, without learning about the remedies for the same. This is after-all our main purpose as astrologers, to shed light on the karmas in such a way that will improve on ones Gati, or path in life (12th house), and ease the suffering (if any) along the way. After all the fascinating predictions we may offer, we should always remember to offer the remedy and the solution for the problem.

Twelfth house & remedies

12th house of the Zodiac represents our opportunity for the remedies. This is the house that indicates our ancestors (progenitors) or rishis (sages) that came before us. What rishis are interested in is for us to repay our debts, that is, the debt of our creation, in a form of continuation of the lineage. This can be in the form of procreation (family lineage) or through the Shishyas or students (spiritual lineage).

Guna & Gati

Twelfth house specifically shows our Gati or direction in life, and with that also our Gunas or nature. Let’s start with the Gati. 12th house of the Kala Purusha as a body-part indicates feet. Gati as a direction in life is seen from the 12th house. From this concept comes the worship of Guru´s feet or Guru paduka, we bow down to the Gurus feet to get the blessing of the right path in life. On the other hand, Gauna-pada (Upapada) is an arudha calculated from the 12th house that shows the marriage which affects our nature or virtues (guṇa), hence the name gauna.

Note: Sage Parashara in his Jyotish classic dedicated an entire chapter on the topic of the Upapada!

Three types of Vrata

Even though the topic of remedies is vast, based on the 12th house we can ascertain three main Vratas or vows/penances. These are 1) fasting, 2) brahmacharya and 3) Mauna-vrata. All three Vratas are seen from the 12th house but from different reference points. I.e. fasting which is also the main focus of this article is a vow to abstain from eating. It is to be seen from the 12th house from the Lagna as it is a physical penance, hence in Vedic Astrology, we prescribe fasting as a remedy based on the 12th house from the Lagna.

Concept of Upapada fast

As mentioned previously, marriage and kids are the domain of the rishis. But what do we do when there is a problem of getting married or when there are issues in the married life itself? One of the main tools (but certainly not the only one!) in remedying all aspects of the married life is known as Upapada-fasting. Upapada-vrata is to be performed on the day of the lord of the Upapada in one’s horoscope.

  • How does it work? By fasting, we ensure that we are repaying our debts to the rishis, or burning our karmas, and are improving on our gunas. For those not married, it can help to encourage marriage and for those already in the marriage, it can improve on the quality of the married life.

  • When do we fast? Fast is to be done on the day of the lord of the Upapada. These are Sunday for the Leo UL, Monday for Cancer UL, and Tuesday for Aries or Scorpio UL, Wednesday for Gemini or Virgo UL, and so on.

  • Are there any exceptions? Yes, there are exceptions to this. If Upapada happens to be in the 2nd house in one’s horoscope this is not advisable. The 2nd house is our source of sustenance and Vishnu-sthana and such activity would be considered as a-Vishnu or against Vishnu. In such cases, we advise tithi fast based on the Upapada lord. Ex. if Upapada in the 2nd house and 2nd the lord is placed in the 11th house one should perform Ekadashi vrata or fasting on the 11th Tithi called Ekadaśī. The Tithis of fasting are from the 4th tithi, corresponding to the 4th house until the 15th Tithi corresponding to the 3rd house. Fasting is never performed on the day or tithi of the lord of the 2nd house!
  • Other exemption’s arise if you have health problems; one should always take this into account and use common sense. Generally Vata type people or those lighter in weight should be careful with any type of fasting as it can further aggravate Vata in the body.

  • How do we fast? Fasting means no eating, so no food is allowed, the water of fresh pressed juice is allowed. Fasting is done with the Sun as Sakshi or a witness and is done from sunrise to sunset.

Conclusion: Twelfth house of the Zodiac shows one’s Guna & Gati in life. Upapada (otherwise known as Gauna pada) is our marriage, shows that person with whom we share our life and gunas. Fasting on the day of the Upapada lord can improve our married life or prospects for the same, by burning our karmas and repaying our debts to our ancestors (rishis).

– om tat sat –

Predict with transits by Visti Larsen

Predict with transits by Visti Larsen

Predict with transits is part 1. of a four-part audio lecture performed by Visti Larsen covering the topic of the most important planetary transits, and their significance as taught in the Vedic tradition.

This lecture starts with the basics, what are the transits? Transits are the planetary movements and Visti compares them to world dashas (periods) and sub-dashas (sub-periods). Those planetary positions show the circumstance of the world that can affect individuals. In this, the slow-moving planets, namely Saturn, Jupiter and the nodes(Rahu and Ketu), can be seen as a maha dashas (main periods). Whilst the fast-moving planets can be seen as a antardasha (sub-periods) being that they should be judged under the scope of the maha dasha (main period).

How do the planetary transits influence us? The first part is understanding negation vs. reinforcement of the events. Negation being the effect of  Saturn’s transit, and generally the transit of slow-moving malefics (Saturn and the nodes), whilst reinforcement being the effect of the Jupiter’s transit. For example, Saturn’s transit highlights our sins and weaknesses in those areas of life that he is transiting over or aspecting. This is the root cause of the two most well-known transits of Saturn, namely Sade Sati and Kantak Shani.

  1. Sade Sati is a 7,5 year period in one’s life occurring at the time of Saturn’s transit over the natives Moon sign as well as 12th and 2nd from it. This transit is generally a feared period even thou it is not always negative nor is it of the same quality all throughout this given period. Saturn transiting over the 12th from the Moons sign can affect one’s relationships and family; over the Moons sign itself, ones health and in 2nd house ones carrier and finances. Notably, Visti points out that the negative connotations of this transit do not show themselves viz-a-viz the Moon’s position in the Rāśi (D-1) chart, but instead that of its Navāmśa (D-9) position.
  2. Kantak Shani, popularly known as a thorn in the leg (kantaka means a thorn), is Saturns transit over 10th house or Saturns aspect on the 10th house (here we talk about the graha-dṛṣṭi or planetary aspects). This period can hamper one’s karma yoga. As there are different aspects to karma yoga so are the different focal points to judge this transit from. Therefore, Saturns aspect on the 10th from the Lagna can show ones mistakes or weaknesses in decision-making with regards to work/karma; 10th house from the Arudha Lagna can show a negative trend in the society that can influence your karma yoga, and 10th house from the Moon can indicate lack of motivation and drive when interacting with others for the purpose of karma yoga.

You can read more about Kantak Shani here.

How do we judge these transits and their influcences on us? Well, a very good starting point is to see these main transits with regards to the self indicators, namely Lagna and the Moon. Of which, Moon and its extension – Arudha Lagna, are really our connection to the society and world. This is why Moon and the arudhas are very important in the transits.

Visti’s subsequent lectures will cover the effects of eclipses and other planetary transits. To stay updated, consider subscribing to Visti’s YouTube channel.

The month of Pisces – the domain of God

The month of Pisces – the domain of God

There is a wealth of knowledge coming from observing time, which reminds me of the poem On Time by Khalil Gibran, and his words

 But if in your thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons,
And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.

Meena Sankranti is the time of the year when the Sun enters Meena rashi, or the sign Pisces. As per Jātaka pārijata – śloka 9, sign Pisces is depicted as two fishes, moving in the opposite direction, with their heads joining the other’s tail.

The symbol of the rāśi is important for the study of Astrology as the symbols are not picked randomly. For example, the sign Pisces is described as two fishes eating each other’s tails. They are moving in circles, and they depict the natural twelfth house, which is the house of emancipation, liberty/freedom and in the negative represents bondage, imprisonment, and closed institutions.

If you want to learn more about signs, consider Visti´s webinar series covering this topic.

The sign Pisces is said to represent the beginning of creation and this is why Rishis (Sages) have their domain here. Rishis are the holders of all the knowledge, they are our connection to God as well as our opportunity for liberation. Aquarius is the 12th sign therefrom that indicates the loss of this connection, loss of liberation and is the guarantee of the rebirth. This is symbolized with the beginning of the sign Pisces with the fish swimming downwards (indicates rebirth) while the second half of the sign has the fish moving upwards that indicates the upward movement towards moksha.

It is during this month that the Brahmins worship Jagatprasuti or Maha Lakshmi trough the Śrī Kamalātmika sadhana as she is the one who is giving birth to the whole Universe. This is the divine connection which is preceeding the birth, where the actual beginning of life is in the Aries, the next sign. As this is the time for prayer and performing remedies, Sun in the sign of Pisces (and Sagittarius) is considered inauspicious in a marriage muhurta and is preferred for prayers.

In a mundane way, our creation is coming from the D12 divisional chart (Dvadashamsha chart) that is dedicated to our immediate ancestors or parents. This gives us clarity in understanding the importance of one’s parents as through our bloodline there is a direct link to the ancestors, and finally Rishis. D24 chart (12+12=24) or Siddhamsa links to all the Rishis and the knowledge they give, for which reason it is also called Vedavahvamsha. In the Parashara scheme of divisional charts these further link to the D60 (12+12+12+12=60) or Shastyamsha chart that deals with the karmas that have led to this life.

As the 12th house represents our opportunity for the remedies, some of the means to remedy our karmas are the practices of meditation, fasting, the importance of one’s faith and dharma (the other lordship of Jupiter). And finally, as Jupiter is the lord of the sign Pisces, spiritual practices always start by remembering our Guru. In many spiritual traditions, this is done with the prayer called Guru Vandahana.

You can find the prayer on my Guruji´s website here.

– om tat sat –

Jātaka Pārijāta|śloka 10-11

Jātaka Pārijāta|śloka 10-11

अथ मेषादीनां स्थानवर्णनम्।
atha meṣādīnāṁ sthānavarṇanam |

Translation: In the next ślokas will be spoken on the characteristics of the places where various signs are dwelling.

Commentary: This knowledge is very useful for Praśna techniques, where lost object needs to be found. Also by knowing this, we are able to find birth place of the native and other important information related to place.

Śloka 1. 10.

मेषस्य धातुकररत्नधरातलं स्यात् उक्ष्णस्तु सातुकृषिगोकुलकाननानि।
द्यूतकृयारतिविहारमही युगस्य वापीतटाकपुलिनानि कुलीरराशेः॥ १०॥
meṣasya dhātukararatnadharātalaṁ syāt ukṣṇastu
ātukṛṣigokulakānanāni |
dyūtakṛyārativihāramahī yugasya vāpītaṭākapulināni kulīrarāśeḥ || 10||

Translation: Aries is dwelling on earth, which is rich with the minerals and precious stones.  Flat fields should be connected with Taurus. Also Taurus must be connected with the place of agriculture, cow-houses and forests. Places for gambling, for enjoyment and gardens are related to Gemini. Lakes, ponds or sandbanks are places of Cancer.

Commentary: In this śloka, it has been indicated that Aries is ruling over the earth, connected with minerals and precious stones. In Bṛhat Paraśara Hora Śastra, for Aries, the term śailacārī (Parashara, 1999) is used. It means wandering in the mountains. For Taurus, Paraśara said that it rules over grāmyo vaṇija – villages and traders, while here in Jātaka Parijata, this is assigned to Libra. Taurus indicates plateaus, plains, farms, cowsheds, forests and such other places inhabited by quadrupeds. For Gemini, Paraśara specified that it is connected to villages (grāmavrajo). Gemini also represents gambling dens, pleasure haunts, bars, and such places where people meet for entertainment. Cancer indicates rivers and sandbanks, places where civilization begins.  And for Cancer, Paraśara adds that he is roaming in woods (vanacārī).

Śloka 1. 11.

कण्ट्ःईरवस्य धनशैलगुहावनानि षष्ठस्य शाद्वलवधूरतिशिल्पभूमिः।
सर्वार्थसारपुरपण्यमही तुलायाः कीतस्य चाश्मविधकीटबिलप्रदेशाः॥ ११॥
kaṇṭḥīravasya dhanaśailaguhāvanāni ṣaṣṭhasya śādvalavadhūratiśilpabhūmiḥ |
sarvārthasārapurapaṇyamahī tulāyāḥ kītasya cāśmavidhakīṭabilapradeśāḥ || 11||

Translation: Property of Leo is rock crags, caves, and forests. The abiding place of Virgo is one with a lot of grass or decorated ladies-pleasure rooms. Place where everything can be seen, bought or sold (market place), belongs to Libra. Scorpio indicates stony regions full of dirt, holes full of worms, insects.

Commentary: Mountain-caves and dense jungles is the abode of the lion or Leo. Virgo will represent pasture lands, green fields ready for harvest in addition to living rooms of women. All markets, bazaars, stock markets and areas where traders sell their valuable merchandise are indicated by Libra.  The lair of the scorpion is near filthy places, noxious reptiles prefer swampy and dirty areas and poisonous snakes live in underground holes in secluded places. Deep wells and such places where the water is very stationery (Scorpio is a fixed sign) and can become poisonous is also indicated.

Example chart:

In the given example, lord of the fifth house (of knowledge) is placed in the twelfth house in Libra. Lord of the fifth house shows the place where somebody gives knowledge. Here Jupiter is in Libra, which represents the market place, city center, and the person was teaching a very serious course near the market place and city center. Fifth lord Jupiter is in Parivartana yoga with Venus in Sagittarius, indicating the change of the place and person went from teaching in the city to teach in the mountain area. Teaching in a foreign country is also indicated as Jupiter is in the twelfth house.

If you missed the previous śloka (JP śloka 9) you can read it here.