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Translation and commentary by Branka Larsen, Guide & Guru Pt. Sanjay Rath. This article was originally published in The Jyotish Digest.

अथ मेषादीनां स्वरूपविशेषादिवर्णनम्।
atha meṣādīnāṁ svarūpaviśeṣādivarṇanam |

Śloka 1. 13.
ह्वस्वा गोऽजघटाः समा मृगयुक्चापान्त्यकर्कटकाः।
दीर्घा वृश्किककन्यकाहरितुला मेषादिपुंयोषितौ।
प्रागादिक्रियगोनृयुक्कटकभान्येतानि कोणान्विता-
न्याहुः क्रूरशुभौ चरस्थिरतरद्वन्द्वानि तानि क्रमात्॥ १३॥
hvasvā go’jaghaṭāḥ samā mṛgayukcāpāntyakarkaṭakāḥ |
dīrghā vṛśkikakanyakāharitulā meṣādipuṁyoṣitau |
prāgādikriyagonṛyukkaṭakabhānyetāni koṇānvitā-
nyāhuḥ krūraśubhau carasthirataradvandvāni tāni kramāt || 13||

Translation: Taurus, Aries, and Aquarius are short. Capricorn, Gemini, Sagittarius, Pisces, and Cancer are even and the long ones are Scorpio, Virgo, Leo, and Libra. Starting from Aries, signs are masculine and feminine. Starting from East, Aries and its trines, Taurus and its trines, Gemini and its trines, Cancer and its trines will represent four cardinal directions of the world. After that, signs can be differentiated as krūra (harsh) and śubha (auspicious); and also as movable, fixed and dual as their type of movement.

Commentary:

Length of the signs

Firstly, herein we have division based on length of the signs. This has to do with astronomical definition of Zodiac or Bha chakra. In reality, it is not perfect circle, it is an elliptic. Two signs before Aries, Aries and one sign after are short. Two sign before Libra, Libra and one sign after are long ones. Signs in between are of the even length. Exactly opposite point from the 00 of Libra is used for starting the Zodiac, and because of it the Aries is shortest one. Later we will see that the author also putting the Pisces in the category of short signs.

Also, this is very useful in depicting size of the person. For this we need to look Lagna, Lagna Lord, Moon sign and navaṁśa Lagna.

Table 1: Length of signs

Length Signs
Short Taurus, Aries, Aquarius, Pisces
Even Capricorn, Gemini, Sagittarius, and Cancer
Long Scorpio, Virgo, Leo, Libra

Sex of the signs

Starting from Aries, signs are masculine and feminine. So, Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius are male signs and Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces are female. The biggest utilization of this is related to the sex of a child in the Jātaka chart. There is one exception here: Gemini and Aquarius haven’t got enough strength to produce a male child, so in the matters connected to children, we will treat them as female signs. Also, Cancer and Pisces have the power to give a son, so in these matters, Cancer and Pisces will give male progeny.

Table 2. Sex of signs

Sex Signs
Male Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius and Aquarius
Female Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn and Pisces

 Table 2a. Sex of signs: related to progeny

Sex Signs
Male Aries, Cancer , Leo, Libra, Sagittarius and Pisces
Female Taurus, Gemini , Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn and Aquarius

Directions

Directions related to signs are given in the chart. Directions are linked to the four goals or ayana in the chart. There are four ayanas: Dharma, Artha, Kama and Mokṣa. East is related to Dharma, South is related to Artha, West is related to Kama and North is related to Mokṣa. About four ayana, see 20th śloka of this chapter.

Table 3. Direction of the signs

Sign Direction Ayana
Aries, Leo, Sagittarius East Dharma
Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn South Artha
Gemini, Libra, Aquarius West Kama
Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces North Moksa

There is another division of signs based on direction.

Directions are of the crucial value for determining the place of living for a person as well as other similar questions. In this division, signs will show physical direction. Here Aries and Taurus are representing East, Pisces is Southeast, Aquarius and Capricorn are South, Sagittarius is Southwest, Libra and Scorpio are West, Virgo is Northwest, Leo and Cancer are North and finally Gemini is Northeast. In Vedic astrology, we use two different types of chakras related to direction. One is Dig chakra and another is Kala chakra. In Dig chakra, planets will give the most of their potential, and in the Kala chakra, they will show obstacles.

Table 4. Directions, signs, planets and devatas.

Direction Sign Planets in Dig chakra Planets in Kala chakra Digpala
East Taurus, Aries Sun Sun Indra
Southeast Pisces Venus Mars Agni
South Aquarius, Capricorn Mars Jupiter Yama
Southwest Sagittarius Rahu Budha Niritti
West Scorpio, Libra Saturn Venus Varuna
Northwest Virgo Moon Saturn Vayu
North Leo, Cancer Mercury Moon Kubera
Northeast Gemini Jupiter Rahu Ishana
Upwards   Ketu Ketu Ananta
Downward   Lagna Lagna Brahma

Krūra vs śubha

All odd signs are termed as krura or harsh signs. They are active by their nature. These are also known as fire (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius) and air (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius) signs. Fire signs are acting quickly and burning, while air signs are slow and persistent. All even signs are known as śubha or mild. They are earth (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn) and water (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces) signs. It shows that nature is very passive and calming.

Trikona

Here, the author is mentioning the trines of a certain sign. Trines or Trikona literary means three corners. For the first sign, a trine is a fifth and ninth sign, and in a similar manner, we can define trines for all signs. Trikonas are very important and they are showing the fruits that one begets in this world. For them, it is said that they are the seat of Śri Lakṣmi.

Trikonas will always be same tattva or primordial element. Word tattva is translated as a true principle, principle that causes creation to occur. There are five primary elements or tattvas. These are:

Tattva Element Deity State Planet Rāśi
Ākāśa Ether Viṣṇu Vacuum Jupiter In every sign, omnipresence
Agni Fire, Sūrya Energy Mars and Sun (and Ketu) Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Jala Water Devī Liquid Venus and Moon Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Vāyu Air Śiva Gas Saturn (and Rahu) Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Pṛthivī  Earth Gaṇeśa Solid Mercury Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

Trines will be always the same tattva or the element and Kendra will always have all four manifested types. These elements come together with the gunas or quality of the Raśis.

Movement

There are three types of movement: movable or cara, fixed or sthira and dual or dvisvabhava. These three types are based on three Gunas or qualities, namely: Satva, Rajas and Tamas. Satva is quality of goodness, knowledge, sustenance. Rajas show creation of thing, movement and high level of energy inside. Tamas show ignorance, darkness. These three Gunas are represented by Tri Murti, i.e. Viṣṇu (omnipresent), Brahma (omniscience) and Śiva (omnipotent). They are helping us to overcome all three, because in Bhagavat Gita, it is said that we need to go beyond Gunas to get liberation (nistraiguṇyo bhavārjuna – be above the Gunas, O Arjuna. BG 2.45.).

Movement Sign Guna
Movable Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn Rajas
Fixed Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius Tamas
Dual Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces Satva

Movement of signs can be also used to determine distance from one place to another. Here movable signs will show traveling overseas, dual is indicating travel that is still between countries borders or traveling from one city to another, and fixed signs show staying in the same place. For example, if the lord of the 10th house from the Moon is placed in a movable sign, a person may need to travel far to find work. (To learn all about work, profession and karma bhava, check out Visti’s Rama course here).

– om tat sat –

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