The fundamentals of Indian Astrology are the twelve signs and twenty-seven Nakshatras spread along the 360° Zodiac, seven planets and two Chayagrahas (Nodes). Except the Sun and Moon, the other five planets own two signs each. Being mathematical points, the Chayagrahas have no mass and hence no physical existence like other Grahas (planets). However, due to their profound effect on human affairs, these have been assigned the status of planets, though there is difference of opinion among the ancient Rishis about the ownership and exaltation signs of Rahu and Ketu. These nine planets own three Nakshatras each. The traditional Indian astrologers regard only these nine planets quite sufficient for making correct prediction and consider reference to trans-Saturnine planets -Herschel, Neptune and Pluto not necessary.
The quality and quantity of the result produced by the planets depends on their location in a sign and house of the horoscope whether in own, mooltrikona, exaltation, friendly or enemy sign and whether in a benefic or evil house. The nine planets have their Ucchasthan (exaltation sign) and the exact opposite sign is their Neechasthan (debilitation sign). An exalted planet produces highly favourable results in its dasa and bhukti.
The exaltation of the Sun, Moon and Jupiter improves their benefic qualities, while the exaltation of Mars, Rahu and Ketu mellows down their evil propensities. The exalted planets, however, fail to fulfil the expectations if these are aspected by or associated with, strong malefics, or are debilitated in Navamsa chart. The experience shows that if the horoscope on the whole lacks strength, an exalted planet may not produce the expected result. Moreover, the native should run the dasa of the exalted planet at an appropriate age to enjoy the effect.
The rationale behind the exaltation of different planets is as follows :
Sun : The Vedic name of the Sun is ‘Aditya’ that is, the son of ‘aditi’, which means ‘of unchangeable nature’. Accordingly the Sun symbolises (immortal soul) and heart. Whenever Sun, its sign Leo, the 5th house and its lord are afflicted by malefic planets, particularly by Rahu, one is prone to heart problem. Another name of the Sun is ‘Bhaskara’, which means “The source of light”. Since human eyes are the instruments for seeing light, there is an intimate connection between the Sun and the eyes. Whenever the second house, its lord and the Sun are afflicted by malefics, one suffers from eye trouble. Yet another name of the Sun is ‘Savitri’ meaning ‘The inspirer’. Astrologically the Sun inspires spirituality (Love of God ). The location of Sun in the 6th house destroys enemies and in the 10th house the Sun gives power, authority, name and fame.
Aries, the first sign of the Zodiac, owned by Mars, is assigned the exaltation sign for the Sun. In the natural Zodiac Aries is the 10th house from Leo and the Sun gets sthan bala (positional strength) in the 10th house. Further, Aries is a male, moveable, positive and fiery sign. The Sun is a fixed luminary with fiery element. Mars, the owner of Aries is Sun’s friend, whose qualities of courage and dynamism go well with the Sun’s love of authority and supremacy. Aries is also a male and positive sign which allows Sun a free play. The Sun in exaltation gets dazzling power which adversely affects the eyesight of the native or causes early demise of father for whom the Sun is Karaka (significator). The native also becomes over-bearing and pompous.
The highest exaltation point of the Sun is 10° in Aries, which falls in Aswini Nakshatra, whose lord Ketu is significator for ‘Moksha’. Aries represents active surroundings. The Sun in Aswini Nakshatra inclines to spirituality. In spite of active life, the native remains conscious of the goal of his life, that is, liberation or realization of God.
The Sun is in deepest debilitation at 10° in Libra sign owned by Venus, in Swati Nakshatra owned by Rahu. Both the house lord and Nakshatra lord are inimical to the nature of the Sun. The Sun is fiery whereas Venus is a watery planet and Rahu causes grahana (eclipse) of the Sun. In such adverse surrounding the Sun is not able to express its qualities which get toned down. Hence the Sun is considered debilitated in Libra.
Moon : The Moon is called ‘Soma’ in the Vedas. ‘Soma’ means ‘A gentle refreshing drink’. The other name ‘Chandra’ conveys the sense of pleasure. Hence happiness and pleasure (experienced through mind) and gentle feelings and compassion (found in mother) are astrologically related to the Moon. Whenever the fourth house, its lord and the Moon are associated with, or afflicted by malefics, or otherwise ill placed in the horoscope, the health of mother suffers and the individual lacks peace of mind and may even suffer from psychological and emotional problems.
While the Sun is the ring of the solar system, Moon is regarded the queen. The Sun represents soul and the Moon symbolises mind. As the Moon is Queen of the King Sun, adjacent second sign of Zodiac is assigned to the Moon as its exaltation sign. In the natural Zodiac from Cancer (the sign of Moon) Taurus is the 11th sign signifying fulfilment of desires. The highest exaltation point of Moon is 3° in Taurus, in Kritika Nakshatra, whose lord is Sun. The Sun, as stated earlier is Atma or the soul. The Moon representing the mind is in its best state when it is in harmony with the soul.
Taurus is governed by Venus, the planet of luxuries. In the fixed and earthy sign Taurus, the fickleness of the Moon is not much tempted by the Venusian surroundings as fixed and earthy sign Taurus controls Moon’s flight of imagination and makes the native worldly wise and practical. The tender nature of Moon finds an easy expression in the feminine Venusian sign of Taurus. The watery nature of the Moon also finds a fertile ground in the earthy sign Taurus. A strong Moon and strong Ascendant make the native rich, famous and contented. One seldom finds a poor or unhappy individual with Moon in Taurus.
The Moon is in deep debilitation at 3° in Scorpio, a watery, negative and fixed sign owned by Mars, a fiery planet. Water and fire are inimical in nature. In the selfish sign of Scorpio the sensitivity of Moon acts tainted with selfishness. The Martian influence makes it excited and reckless. The Moon is considered weak within 72° on either side of the Sun. The Moon also represents lungs (4th house). A weak and afflicted Moon in the 8th house makes the native susceptible to dropsy and T.B., and indicates a sickly childhood. An afflicted Moon in 12th house adversely affects the left eye.
Mars : The Vedic name of Mars is ‘Angaraka’, meaning ‘burning coal’. The name amply describes the fiery nature of Mars and its red colour. Red colour represents energy, blood, muscles, ambition, enterprise, adventure, the army (who is after the blood of the enemy), accidents (causing loss of blood) and mechanical workshops using furnaces. A Martian native acts in haste without thought. An afflicted or ill placed Mars causes quarrels, accidents and injury commensurate with its affliction.
Mars gets the highest exaltation at 28° in Capricorn, in own Nakshatra Dhanishta. The lord of Capricorn, Saturn is bitter enemy of Mars. Mars, as a true soldier, is at its best in enemy’s camp when well guarded in own Nakshatra, always alert and cautious. It is no more rash and develops a sense of caution, reflection and restraint. The earthy sign of Capricorn suits Mars who is Bhumiputra (The son of earth). In the sign of cool and calculative Saturn, Mars gets the virtue of reflection before action. In the natural Zodiac, from Aries (the positive sign of Mars) Capricorn is the 10th house and Mars gets sthanbala (positional strength) in the 10 house.
Mars gets deeply debilitated at 28° in Cancer, a watery sign, in the Nakshatra of Ashlesha ruled by inimical Mercury. Such a setting is detrimental to the energy and drive of Mars. In Cancer, the house of imaginative Moon and inimical Mercurian Nakshatra, the Martian characteristic of aggression gets accentuated into recklessness. It is like applying brake to a vehicle running full speed, which results in loss of balance. Hence Cancer is not congenial to Mars and is regarded its debilitation sign.
Mercury : ‘Buddha’is the Vedic name of Mercury. ‘Buddha’ means ‘related to Buddhi (intellect)’. Astrological works mention Mercury as significator of education, speech and intellect. Because of the relationship with knowledge, Mercury is known as ‘the knower’. Mercury is a changeable planet, of dual nature, and also owns two dual signs, namely, Gemini and Virgo.
Mercury is also the second quickest moving planet after the Moon. By virtue of changeability, it lacks steadiness. In Indian astrology, Mercury is called ‘Kumara’(young boy) who needs support. The Mercurians, like creepers, require a strong support to bloom brilliantly. Mercurians are very good advisers but seldom succeed independently.
Out of the four dual signs of the Zodiac, the fiery sign of Sagittarius does not suit Mercurial nature. The watery and mystic sign of Pisces is also not suitable. Both Sagittarius and Pisces are opposite to Mercury’s own signs of Gemini and Virgo. Among the rest, Gemini is its own positive sign, an intellectual sign, and helps in improving Mercurial imagination. Mercury finds a better ground in its earthy and negative sign of Virgo where it becomes practical and pragmatic.
The highest point of exaltation of Mercury at 15° Virgo, is in the Nakshatra of Hasta, owned by Moon. Mercury represents intellect, while Moon represents feelings and imagination. When intellect retains its logic and yet is considerate to others, nothing could be more sublime than that. The rationale of Mercury’s exaltation in Virgo is therefore in consonance with moral, spiritual and psychological principles.
As stated above, Pisces is not congenial to Mercury where it is regarded debilitated. Its deepest debilitation point is 15°. Although it is a common belief that Mercury is enemy of Jupiter, yet when Mercury is in association with Jupiter, the intellect is definitely elevated. The intuition of Mercury combined with wisdom of Jupiter produces learned scholars and successful astrologers.
Venus : The Vedic name of Venus is ‘Shukra’, which has a variety of meanings, such as ‘refined’, ‘sensual’ and ‘seminal’. Venus represents everything that is refined, fine arts, ornaments, luxury items, vehicles and all worldly comforts (Iha-Loka-Sukha). A Venusian is handsome, graceful, full of joy, happiness, love and sympathy, sociable and a person of aesthetic tastes, who completely remains engrossed in enjoyment, which leaves him no time for religion.
Venus is also called Kalatra karaka, significator for marriage. A Venusian generally marries early and leads a happy married life. If ever unmarried, his private life will not be above board. When Venus and 7th house are afflicted by malefics, the native becomes a reckless profligate who satisfies his physical passions somehow or the other and also suffers due to over indulgence.
According to Hindu mythology, Shukra (Acharya of Asuras) was blinded in one eye by Lord Vishnu during Vaman Avtar. If Venus is not well posited and is afflicted, the eyes are affected. Venus when afflicted by Saturn and Ketu causes skin trouble, being significator for beauty of the skin.
The highest exaltation point of Venus is at 27° in Pisces, owned by Jupiter, in Revati Nakshatra, owned by Mercury. Pisces is the last sign of the Zodiac and represents detachment from the worldly pleasures after tasting them, and leads to Moksha. In Pisces the sensuality of Venus gets disciplined, restrained and chastened under the Satvik (Virtuous) influence of Jupiter and discrimination of Mercury. This setting keeps sensual enjoyment within limit and the humanitarian qualities of love, sympathy and compassion become prominent.
Venus becomes deeply debilitated at 27° in the opposite sign of Virgo, which is the negative house of Mercury, in Chitra Nakshatra owned by Mars. As Mercury and Venus are natural friends and Virgo is an earthy and moveable sign. Apparently Venus should not give bad results in Virgo. But on deeper insight we notice that its location in Chitra Nakshatra ruled by Mars provides energy to excite the Venusian sensuous character. The changeable nature of Virgo and its imaginative lord Mercury also give a fillip to Venusian indulgence. Hence the debilitation of Venus in Virgo is logical.
Jupiter : The Vedic name of Jupiter is ‘Brihaspati’. ‘Brihat’ means large and ‘Pati’ means protector. Jupiter is the most benefic planet. It protects and boosts the affairs of the houses it aspects. In mythology, Jupiter is called Deva Guru or preceptor of devatas. As Guru, Jupiter confers the qualities of wisdom, learning and intellectual achievements. In the horoscope of females, Jupiter is significator for husband. According to the dictum .’Sthan hani karoti Jivah’, Jupiter does not augment the affairs of the house where it is posited, but the houses aspected by it prosper. As significator of progeny it represents the son in particular.
The highest exaltation point of Jupiter is 5° in Cancer Sign, which is 5th from Jupiterian sign Pisces. The 5th house denotes intelligence, success, fame and purva punya. The highest exaltation point of Jupiter in Cancer falls in Pushya Nakshatra. In Cancer, owned by Moon, the emotional and imaginative quality of Jupiter gets a boost and makes an idealist philosopher. Pushya’s lord Saturn denotes samadhi. The fickleness of Moon is not able to disturb the spirituality of Jupiter in Pushya Nakshatra. Hence assigning Cancer as the exaltation sign of Jupiter is quite appropriate for blossoming the pious qualities of Jupiter. However, Jupiter’s increased ethical and philosophical nature proves a handicap for material progress. Such a person becomes averse to material gains either for self or for his near and dear ones. This characteristic is pronounced when exalted Jupiter is located in Kendra or Kona in the horoscope. An exalted Jupiter in the 7th house generally inclines a person to celibacy, because he considers marriage and family a burden.
Moon, lord of Cancer, is a weak dispositor for exalted Jupiter. For Sagittarius Lagna, Jupiter’s claim to exaltation becomes blemished with location in the 8th house. Pisces lagna in that way is better, as Jupiter occupies the 5th house from it. However, it suffers from the dicta ‘karko bhava nasya’. Despite, all this, it is considered advantageous to have an exalted Jupiter irrespective of its placement, because then it unfolds humanitarian qualities of the individual.
Jupiter’s deepest debilitation point is 5° in Capricorn, ruled by Saturn and in Uttarashada Nakshatra ruled by the Sun. While Saturn is cold, self-centered and miserly, Jupiter is warm-hearted, kind and charitable. Capricorn is the 10th sign of natural Zodiac governing profession, position, prestige and status in life. Nakshatra lord Sun also represents power and authority. Jupiter’s nature does not fit in this worldly and materialistic sign. Jupiter’s placement in Capricorn does accentuate materialistic tendencies, but only through honest means and hard work. As Jupiter loses much of its inherent philosophical and philanthropic qualities in this sign, it is considered debilitated in Capricorn.
Saturn : Saturn is the fartherest planet from the Sun in the solar system. In Indian mythology he has been assigned the role of the judge of our karmas (actions) and dispenses reward or punishment. Saturn’s distant location affects its movement. Due to slow motion it is also called mandah (slow). Saturn (Shani) is described as ‘Shaneh Shaneh charatri iti Shaneshcharah’. Due to its slow motion Saturn is karaka (significator) for longevity. In the 8th house it increases longevity as an exception to the dictum ‘Karako bhava nasya’. As per another dictum ‘Sthan Vriddhi karoti Mandah’, Saturn gradually augments through hard work the affairs of the house it occupies in a horoscope, and harms the houses aspected therefrom. Being away from the Sun (heat and light), Saturn is cold, dark in complexion, lean, miser, introvert, melancholic, lacking in warmth and happiness. If Saturn is afflicted in the horoscope, the native becomes avaricious, deceitful and conspirator. Thus Saturn stands for paucity, restriction, poverty and turns one to religious pursuits. The effect of Saturn is experienced late in life, generally after 36 year. Being cold, contracting and karaka for 6th, 8th and 12th houses, Saturn causes lingering chronic diseases like paralysis, rheumatism, asthma, neurosis, constipation, tuberculosis, etc.
Saturn is exalted in Libra. In the natural zodiac, Libra happens to be the 10th sign from Capricorn and 9th sign from Aquarius, the two houses owned by Saturn. The 10th and 9th houses are the most powerful Kendra and Kona houses in a horoscope. Saturn’s highest exaltation point is 20° in Libra, the positive sign of Venus, in Swati Nakshatra owned by Rahu. Venus the lord of Libra, and Rahu the Nakshatra lord, are Saturn’s friends’ (‘Shani vat Rahu’). Rahu is as much a factor for adversity as Saturn. The miser, selfish and dry Saturn becomes considerably liberal in warm-hearted, sympathetic and benevolent Venusian sign. The caution and prudence of Saturn gains width of vision, expansiveness and becomes charitable and benevolent. In the Nakshatra of Rahu, its friend, Saturn does not forget its essential nature. When a poor man does not get intoxicated on getting wealth, it becomes a rare virtue. An exalted Saturn in Lagna (Libra) gives one high position and comforts in life.
Saturn is in deep debilitation at 20° in Aries, the positive and fiery sign of Mars, his bitter enemy. Saturn becomes cynical and foolhardy in Aries. Saturn’s association with Mars produces sinful nature. Hence, debilitation of Saturn in Aries is quite justified.
Rahu and Ketu : During its movement around the earth, the orbit of Moon intersects the path of the Sun (Ecliptic) at two points which are exactly 180° apart. When the intersection occurs during the Moon’s motion from South to North, it is called ascending or North Node (Rahu) and when the Moon’s motion is from North to South, the intersection point is called the descending or Southern Node ( Ketu). When the New Moon (on Amavasya) is within 5° from the Nodal point, it intercepts the light of the Sun from reaching the Earth and the phenomenon is called Solar Eclipse. The degree of proximity of the Moon to the Node determines the extent of the eclipse. When the Full Moon (on Purnima) crosses the Nodal point, the shadow of the earth falls on the Moon and a Lunar Eclipse is the result. As the only apparent phenomenon that can be connected with Rahu and Ketu are the eclipses, when shadow (chaya) obscures the Sun or the Moon, the savants of Indian astrology gave them the name of ‘chayagraha’ or shadowy planets.
The Western astrologers have named Rahu and Ketu as Dragon’s Head and Dragon’s Tail respectively, thereby revealing their origin from the Hindu mythology. They consider Rahu as benefic and Ketu as malefic, while Indian authorities regard both Rahu and Ketu as tamsik (malefic) in nature. Rahu is often described as giving the results akin to Saturn according to the dictum ‘Shani vat Rahu’. However, while Saturn is cool, clandestine and secretive, Rahu is ambitious, practical and confrontist and believes in achieving the goal by hook or crook.
Ketu is said to give results similar to Mars -’Kuja vat Ketu. However, while Mars is active and argumentative, Ketu is psychic and mystical. Rahu has rajsik relationship with Venus, friendly relationship with Saturn and spoils Mercury and Jupiter. Sun, Moon and Mars are Rahu’s enemies.
Ketu has satvik relationship with Jupiter and is friendly to the Sun, Moon and Mars. It is neutral to Mercury, while Venus and Saturn are its enemies. Some astrological works assign 5th, 7th, 9th and 12th house full aspect to Rahu and Ketu from their location, while others deny this on the ground that the Nodes are only mathematical point without any mass, volume and light.
As malefics, Rahu and Ketu give good result when posited in the 3rd, 6th, 10th and 11th houses of the horoscope. When well situated in the horoscope, associated with or aspected by benefic and Yogakarka planets, they give good results in the matter of finance and prosperity in their ruling period. Rahu (like Saturn) gives chronic diseases depending on its location, aspect and association of malefics, and Ketu (like Mars)causes injury and even death.
The majority of Indian authorities have assigned Virgo as own sign to Rahu, Aquarius as its Mooltrikona sign, Gemini as its sign of exaltation and Sagittarius as the debilitation sign of Rahu. Pisces is considered as own sign of Ketu, Leo as its Mooltrikona sign, Sagittarius as its exaltation sign, and Gemini as its house of debilitation. Some authorities consider Taurus as the exaltation sign of Rahu and Scorpio as the exaltation sign of Ketu. The opposite sign Scorpio becomes the sign of debilitation of Rahu and Taurus becomes the sign of debilitation of Ketu.
Assigning Gemini as exaltation sign to Rahu appears more logical. Rahu is sensitive in nature and acts as a catalyst in fructification of good or bad events in human life. Gemini is an airy sign owned by intelligent and volatile Mercury. Moreover, Gemini contains the full Nakshatra Aridra owned by Rahu and three Padas of Punarvasu owned by Jupiter. Rahu does not have inimical relationship with Mercury. Rahu is scientific and practical and is quite comfortable in Gemini. It gives the best results when posited in own Nakshatra Aridra from 6°40’ to 20° in Gemini. Similarly Aquarius, the Mooltrikona sign, is also an airy and intellectual sign owned by Rahu’s friend Saturn, and contains its full Nakshatra Satabisha, and three-fourth of Purvabhadrapada Nakshatra owned by Jupiter. In the light of the foregoing the own, mooltrikona and exaltation signs allotted to Ketu, just opposite to Rahu, also hold good.
According to Hindu Karma Theory, Rahu denotes the culmination of past sins committed within the family, that give results in this life of the individual, whose destiny is linked with the family. On the other hand, Ketu is the means through which this family curse or destiny can be altered by intelligent and constructive efforts directed into wholesome channels for attaining liberation, after the prarabdha ( results of past Karma) has been worked out in the pattern of destiny. Ketu is, therefore, called Mokshakaraka.
To conclude, exaltation sign of the planets have been allotted on the basis of valid rationale and logic. The result produced by an exalted planet is commensurate with the nearness of the planet to its highest exaltation point and are experienced during its dasa-bhukti, provided it is not afflicted by malefics or debilitated in Navamsa Chart. r