Any exhaustive commentary on the epics is not only beyond the scope of this article, but also beyond the limits of any common man's knowledge, intellect, and capacity. It is also beyond an individual's qualification to even venture to comment, at the cost of being blasphemous, on the writings of many revered souls. What follows , therefore, is only an attempt to synthesize the ideas expressed by many learned persons (at different times in different context) within a small frame – somewhat like offering an instant coffee without going through the process of picking, roasting, grinding, blending and filtering decoction etc. With this background we shall try to capture the essence of Ramayana, Gita, etc. and examine their relevance to astrology in particular, and how the epics and astrology can be used to enrich or benefit human life. The import of epics are better understood if we can co-relate the characters and events to our daily life, on the basis of commentaries by learned sages and others.
Taking Ramayana we may identify the characters/events as follows :
Manas Ayodhya Promise to Kaikeyi Self deception & tendency to shift blame to others Shuddha brahmam Dasharatha Sathvik bhava/shakti Kaushalya Rajas shakti Sumitra Tamas shakti Kaikeyi Parabrahma/parmatmaSri Rama Jivathma Lakshmana Peace of mind / shanti Goddess sita Buddhi/intellect Hanuman Exile in forest Ocean of life/samsara chakra Maya mruga Illusion/mirage In simple terms Ramayana story is that Dasharatha through three wives begets four sons. Rama the eldest is married to Seeta. During exile, while chasing a golden deer, Seeta is lost. Aided by Hanuman it is discovered that she is imprisoned by Ravana in a far off place difficult to regain and retrieve. After hard battle Ravana is defeated and Seeta is regained.
The union of shuddhabrahma with satvik, rajsavik, tamasik shakti gives rise to Sri Rama( Satvik), Lakshmana & Shatrughna- (rajas), and Bharata( Tamas) respectively, The Ten heads of Ravana signify that evil resurfaces repeatedly and cannot be curbed unless one is determined and destroys the very root. This is done by constant practice and experience, and with the help of good counsel and teacher; which is Sage Agastya’s advice of Adityahrudayam. In the above backdrop we may say that while passing through life even the best of human beings is subjected to Kama/Krodh/Moha etc. and becomes a victim of mirage and illusion.
Consequently his peace of mind is lost irretrievably. Only with firm determination and intelligence and assistance of all faculties the evil can be conquered and peace of mind regained. At another level Sitamata is regarded as Jivatma , and Ravana is Manas and 10 heads represent 5 Gnyanendriyas +5 Karmendriyas; and we have to control these 10 factors which make our mind sway waver. In depression consolation and hope arrives in the shape of Hanuman. While Sita was firm and did not succumb to Ravana- so should we, with help of a good guru, overcome our indriyas and try for upliftment of the soul and enlightment. If we take the gitopadesha in Mahabharata, where Arjuna is sitting in a Chariot pulled by horse with Lord Krishna as Sarathi holding the reins, in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, same message is reflected !
The above scene may be visualized as under : Kurukshetra World at large Mind Battlefield Atman/Jiva Hero (Arjuna) Body Chariot Intellect Charioteer Mental vritties Reins Senses Horses Objects Road Kurukshetra-is the world which to the mind- (which has begun to discriminate), is full of problems-a veritable battlefield. Atman- the Jiva or the human mind with its wonderful faculty of discrimination is the Hero ;the Body is the car; the Intellect is the Charioteer; and the mental Vrittie is the Reins; They say, the senses are the Horses, and their Objects are the Roads, The intellect( Gnana Shakthi) being the brightest reflection of the Atman, is the Charioteer. Krishna-the Paramatman in Human body.
(Kathopanishad-III, 3, 4) The great battle of Kurukshetra is not a matter of antiquarian interest fought Eons ago somewhere, but a daily or even hourly one. The sooner we enter into it with earnestness and Zeal, the better will it be for us , for KRISHNA, the Atman will reveal HIMSELF to us in the shape of intellect or gnana shakthi, and guide us safely through it, and the victory of salvation is sure to be ours in the end. If your intellect is not stained, in other words, if it be as it ought to be, the brightest reflection of the atman—the charioteer krishna- the car on which you are seated will go well, there will be no fear to the rider, provided you know how to hold the reins of mental tendencies.
The sensesthe fleet of horses of yours will run well and stand the war; and you need fear no obstacles on the road. the victory will surely be yours. If on the other hand, your intellect is clouded with selfish considerations, or weakened by low cares, or enfeebled by vain ambition and avarice, or polluted by prejudice, then, there is a fatal defect in charioteer(the charioteer was , in the ancient mode of warfare by personal combat. A very important personage; and hence krishna is the charioteer, and arjuna-the warrior), and you will surely go to ruin.
(from rambling on Vedanta by B.R. Rajam Iyer) The bhagavatham – the story of lord krishna Lord Krishna is born in prison, transported to elsewhere, kills Pootana, Chakatasur,Thrunavartasur and many other Asuras, shows entire universe in his mouth, steals butter and breaks the pot, dances on Raasleela with Gopis, marries Rukmini, apart from helping Pandavas to win war of Dharma. The very first event of birth in jail – the Lord is born in jail to liberate others from bondagethose who read /listen this are said to be liberated from bondage.
(In modern times do we not have parallel in Gandhi/ Nelson Mandela/ Martin Luther King who chose to protest and forego their freedom so that their fellowmen are freed from oppression?)-pootna vadh-like a child instinctively sucks breast-milk-we are enveloped by ignorance due to accumulated effects of Karma of multitude of births and are prone to commit more sins; Pootana signifying Avidya, her killing indicates that the first step towards salvation is to overcome ignorance.
Chakatasur who comes in the form of cart & wheel signifies our life is a journey of birth and death in the wheel of Karma which has to be broken. How it is to be done is reflected killing of various Asuras- Thrunavartasur- coming as he does as Storm- signifying Rajo Guna- i.e. passion & Anger is to be killed to develop Satvik Guna; Bakasur, Agasur, Vatsasur, Kapitasur, etc. symbolize various negative qualities( these can be noted from any standard commentary on the classic), which have to be overcome;
The ultimate being control of one’s mind which being no less than 1000 headed snake –succumbs to many temptations- Kaaliya nrutya shows we should trample every temptation ( like Krishna did) to control mind ,and meditate God;
Vastraapahran- jivatma is entrapped in clothing of ignorance which has to be shed- (including the feeling of shame/shyness in sporting religious symbols );
Raasleela- there is no male female- every animate/inanimate object belongs to him and is his body part( during this episode Krishna takes as many form as there were Gopis and duplicates himself as every Gopi in their respective household; similarly he replicates himself as many cowherds and their belongings, cow& calves when Brahma hides all of them; further Lord himself is repository of eternal bliss and Ananda and has nothing to enjoy from gopis but it is the other way round as Gopis are said to be Rishis who were denied the experience of divine touch of Lord in his Rama Avatara and blessed so in Krishna Avatar.
This episode is said to be the process of purification of eligible souls prior to Moksha –personally carried out by Lord – so much so that it has been ordained that anyone who renounces the worldly desires and become a Sanyasin has to do parayana of these 5 chapters titled ‘Rasapanchaka’ to enable them to win over mind and realize that all body is His. Eventually Rukmani Vivaha - Rukmini is sister of 5 brothers led by Rukmi. She desires to marry Krishna but is compelled to marry Sisupala. Rukmini send a message through a Brahmin and is carried off by Krishna; here Rukmini and Krishna are jivatma and Parmatma- Brahmin is Acharya or guru-Rukmi & co are the 5 senses which obstruct Jivatma’s mission- Sisupal being worldly/mundane pleasures.
Again in response to earnest prayer of Jivatma, the Lord showers His Grace and uplifts the soul trapped in Kaalchakra. Having seen the identical message of Ramayana , and Gita , Bhagavatham , the question is how these are linked to Astrology? That there is a definite pattern in the evolution of life in general , human life , and the allocation of significations of Bhavas ( Houses) in Astrology based on this evolutionary pattern is no longer in doubt- beginners in astrology can usefully refer to Astro Sutras ( Ch.-4) by Sh. J.N.
Bhasin for a broader treatment of the point. Suffice to say here that in this evolutionary scheme the period from birth to death are covered from Lagna to eighth house. But from ninth to twelfth house we are on a different plane! There is no doubt that the span of life is intricately linked to the individual’s moral and spiritual level - not only limited to their actions/ karmas but their actual attainment over the multitude of births the Atman has taken in the Cycle of Karma. So while the 9th house indicates religious /spiritual plane of the native, the 10th house necessarily has to reflect the action/ Karma of the person. In fact instead of relating the 10th house with occupation /profession of the native, it ought to be point of reference to examine whether the nature of the person’s actions /Karma is for his own spiritual upliftment and /or improvement of society itself! And if there is some defect or impediment prohibiting the person from working towards this ideal, in what manner he may be counselled. For only based upon his action /karma arising out of this 10th house,
we can estimate if his actions have benefitted (11th house), and if he is on the road to Salvation (12th house)! Conclusion It is clear, therefore that the lessons/ message from epics are actually intended and applicable to our day to day life, and to enable us to battle and overcome our deficiencies and uplift ourselves without entraping ourselves in mundane matters. The Neetisatakam of Bhartruhari says “Deivena prabhuna swayam jagathi yadhyasya pramaneekrutham Thaththasyopanamenmanaagapi mahaaneivasrayah kaaranam/ sarvaashaaparipoorake jaladhare varshathyapi prathyaham sookshma yeva pathanthi chathakmukhe dwitraha payobindavaha//” That, which is destined as a man’s portion in the world by Fate, will certainly go to him. (But) even if a Chaataka bird lives in rain prone mountains it will get only 2 or 3 drops. We may also usefully refer to Yaksh Prasna in Mahabharata also; The Yaksha asks Yudhishthir:“Vyaakhyaahaa me thvayaaprasna yaathaathathyam paranthapa/purusham thvidhaaneem vyaakhyaahi yashcha sarvadhnee narah”- Thou hast, O repressor of foes, truly answered all my questions! Tell us now who is truly a Man, and what man truly possesses every kind of wealth” To which Yudishthir replies:
“Dhivam sprushathi bhoomim cha shabdhaha punyena karmana/ yaavathsa shabdho bhavathi thaavathpurusha uchchyathe//Thulye priyaapriye yasya sukhadhuhkhe thathaiva cha/Atheethaanaagathe chhobe sa vy sarvadhanee naraha”// A person who by his actions is renowned in all three world, and whom, (among other things), past and future are same is a Purusha.