Vargottama planets | Vedic Astrology overview
People often enquire about Vargottama planets in their vedic horoscopes; and, very recently one more similar message was received from one gentleman which is quoted below. For the sake of privacy, the email ID and other personal details have been omitted from the message; however, for the benefit of the reader, his queries have been reproduced exactly.
Hello sir, it is a very important question for me, i will be glad if
you can help on this.
Do rahu and ketu act as vargottama planets?
Now, I could have easily replied in specific and brief for this query; however, I thought of explaining this aspect in detail so that other regular visitors/readers of this blog may also be able to understand it.
The very basic fundamental related to a planet being Vargottama is based upon planetary degrees. Won’t be possible to elaborate much on this; and, I hope that this aspect might be known to all of you. In brief, there are twelve zodiac signs/rashis; and, every rashi comprises of 30°. These rashis are also categorized on the basis of Nakshatras/constellations; however, in this article, I won’t be touching that aspect and would like to keep the focus towards explaining about the Vargottama only. So, the movement of every planet is tracked via the degrees; and, on this basis, the exact position of a planet (at a given date, time and place) can be identified. For example, the Sun covers around one degree on daily basis; and, during its stay in one zodiac/rashi, the Sun has to cover 30 degrees in total. And, therefore, we can easily track/identify the position of the Sun at any time and for any time. Like, today when I am writing this article, the Sun is transiting at 2:27° in Pisces/Meena rashi.
Another important aspect to be understood in this regard is the divisional charts. There are many divisional charts of which the most commonly used are categorized in different sets.
First set is Shadvarga: As the name suggests, Shad means six and Varga means division; this set comprises of total six divisions of horoscope charts. The first one is Lagna also known as natal chart in English; second one is Hora; third is Drekkana or Dreshkana; then comes the Navamsha division (ninth division and one of the most important and very commonly used divisional chart); afterwards, Dwadashamsha (also known as D-12 because it is the twelfth division of a zodiac sign); and, the last one is Trimshasha. In simple words, we can also describe these divisions as D-1, D-2, D-3, D-9, D-12 and D-30.
The second set is of Saptavarga i.e. seven divisions; and, in addition to above mentioned six divisions, the Saptamansha (D-7) is also included in Saptavarga consideration.
The third set Dashavarga includes ten divisions; and, therefore, three more divisions (in addition to the above mentioned seven divisions) are included in Dashavaraga namely, Dashamsha (D-10), Kaalamsha or Shodashamsha (D-16) and Shastiamsha (D-60).
The fourth set is known as Shodashvarga wherein a total number of 16 divisions are considered; and, therefore, six more divisions are included in this set namely, Turyamsha or Chaturthamsha (D-4), Vimshamsa (D-20), Siddhamsha or ChaturVimshamsa (D-24) , Bhamsa or Nakshatramsha (D-27) , Khavedamsa or Chatvarimsamsha (D-40) and Akshavedamsa (D-45).
Further, every set has specific value assigned for each division which indicates the importance of each division in respective set. For the ease of understanding, these four sets along with the value of each division can be understood as per the following table:
For ascertaining the value/point wise strength (also known as Vimshopak Bala); the disposition of every planet is checked and valued as per the specific set being used for the analysis of vedic horoscope. For example, if the strength of the Sun is to be evaluated for Shadvarga; this will be done by identifying its (Sun’s) position in every division (D-1, D-2, D-3, D-9, D-12 and D-30) falling the category of Shadvargas. I am not going much deep into this now; and will be explaining about the Vimshopaka bala in a separate article. As of now, the only objective is to apprise you of the basic elements related to divisional charts which is the primary requirement for understanding the concept of Vargottama planets.
The terms “Vargottama” includes two Sanskrit words, “Varga” and “Uttam”. The basic concept of Varga i.e. Divisions (or divisional charts) has already been explained above in brief; and, now the second word “Uttam” is to be defined and understood. When used in vedic astrological perspective; the literal meaning of “Vargottama” is “best disposition in divisional chart(s)”. The term “Uttam” means best and when it is joined with “Varga” (divisional charts); it signifies good/best disposition of a planet in divisional charts.
However, this term “Vargottama” is primarily used in reference to one specific division/varga and; that is the Navamsha Division (D-9). And, it is applicable only when the planet concerned is occupying the same zodiac sign/rashi in Lagna as well as D-9 Chart. For example, if the Sun is occupying Aries zodiac sign (Mesha Rashi) between 0 to 3:20 degrees; its disposition in Navamsha division (D-9) will also come into Aries zodiac/Mesha Rashi and it will be considered as Vargottama planet for the respective horoscope. And, because the daily average movement of the Sun is around one degree; this position (Sun being Vargottama) may remain operational for around two days. The following table will be helpful for the readers to identify the position of a planet in Navamsha division.
Let’s try to understand this with the aid of one example horoscope because it is very important to have the grass root understanding of these terms; else one may be quick, prone and/or vulnerable to conclude superficial results of the respective planetary disposition of a planet. We can take the vedic horoscope of Steve Jobs for this purpose, which is containing two Vargottma planets. As per available birth details (24 February 1955 @ 19:15 hours i.e. 07:15 PM at San Francisco, California, USA), his natal/Lagna Chart, Navamsha Division and the table containing the degrees of the planets are given below.
As we can see in the vedic horoscope of Steve Jobs that Venus (lord of third and tenth houses) is placed in Sagittarius/Dhanu rashi at 28:05°; and, therefore, its Navamsha position is same as its placement in Lagna/natal chart. Similarly, the disposition of Jupiter (positioned at 27:14° in Gemini/Mithuna rashi) is also same in both Lagna and Navamsha Charts. Therefore, technically both these planets are Vargottama; and, are supposed to generate strong results for their respective significations. And, because Steve Job was co-founder, CEO and chairman of Apple Inc; he is considered as one of the top most entrepreneurs of the world.
But, wait and just hold for a second. Is this the only reason (Vargottama disposition of tenth lord Venus) which is to be accounted for such a strong and successful professional career of Steve Jobs? What do you think and how much credit can be assigned to Venus’s Vargottama disposition for such successful professional career of Steve Jobs?
Actually, this is here where most of the amateur astrologers (sometimes even professional astrologers) are prone to conclude wrongly. And, doing the post-event analysis (done after the event has already taken place), is also one of the primary reasons (in addition to the lack of mathematical concepts of vedic astrology) behind this. We get the birth details of some famous person via internet or some other resources; grab or download some vedic astrology software; fill in the birth details; find that the lord of tenth house (Venus) as well as fifth house (Jupiter) are Vargottama; and, – voila – we have the concept working perfectly. Steve Jobs has got two Vargottama planets in his horoscope; and, one of these planets is the lord of tenth house. Not only we considered his Lagna/natal chart; but, we have also been able to include the most important divisional chart i.e. Navamsha. And, now since we have appropriately understood the principle/concept of Vargottama planets; we try to find any such position in our horoscopes. Tell me, isn’t this much obvious to get tempted for finding any such position in our horoscope. But, this is only the half-truth; or, what if I may say that the on ground applicability of this principle is very limited. I have seen people making such conclusions very enthusiastically; and, sometimes, the fluke (yes, I do consider such approach fluke) hits right on the target due to luck or by chance. I know, it will be very difficult for you to accept this now; but after I will be done explaining it, things are likely to become more clear.
Okay, now consider this. When we say that a planet is Vargottama; it is related with the disposition of the respective planet in the same zodiac sign/rashi in both Lagna and Navamsha Charts – correct. But, how much role such Vargottama position actually play in defining the actual course of events in one’s life. Like, apparently (as mentioned above), the Vargottama position of Venus appears to be the primary reason behind the professional success of Steve Jobs. However, if we consider this concept (Vargottama position of tenth lord generates strong and favorable results in professional matters of the native) logical and rational; then, this should apply every time (or at least most of the times) for a horoscope. And, here is the real trouble because such planetary position may remain applicable for a significant time frame (like for two or more days); and, because we do not have the required information about all such natives born during the specific time frame (when the Vargottama concept was operational and active in the zodiac), it is really difficult to observe and understand the reality behind this. Getting confused ! Okay, don’t worry; let me explain it with a good example. We have already seen the Lagna and Navamsha Charts of Steve Jobs containing Vargottama disposition of Venus and Jupiter. Now, let me tell you that all people born during the following time frames will be having the exact disposition of Venus and Jupiter in their horoscope.
Venus crossed 26-40 degrees of Sagittarius/Dhanu rashi at 13:45 PM on 23 February 1955 and kept its position in the same Navamsha till 11:34 AM on 26 February 1955. That is, anyone born during this time frame (between 13:45 PM dated 23 February 1955 to 11:34 AM on 26 February 1955) will be having Vargottama Venus in their horoscopes. Similarly, every person born between 22:44 PM dated 27 January 1955 to 6:43 AM dated 15 March 1955 will have Vargottama Jupiter in his horoscope. Some minor difference of few hours could be there in this due to different birth places; but, more or less you may find a substantial number of people having Vargottama Jupiter in their horoscope if they are born during the specified time frame.
You can easily check this by filling different birth date and times (between 22:44 PM dated 27 January 1955 to 6:43 AM dated 15 March 1955 or between 13:45 PM dated 23 February 1955 to 11:34 AM on 26 February 1955 ) in the vedic astrology software; and, you will find that Jupiter and/or Venus remains Vargottama for all horoscopes. So, this has given you some idea as to how common these dispositions are!
On the other side, we have got only one Steve Jobs, which means that there should be something else to be considered while delineating the results of a planetary disposition (even if it is Vargottama); otherwise, all people born between 13:45 PM dated 23 February 1955 to 11:34 AM on 26 February 1955 should be enjoying good results of Vargottama disposition of Venus and Jupiter. Yes, I know that the Lagna Chart would be different; and, not all people born between 13:45 PM dated 23 February 1955 to 11:34 AM on 26 February 1955 be having the Leo Ascendant/Simha Lagna. But, just consider this:
Time between 04:56 PM to 07:23 PM on 23 February 1955 i.e. around 2 hours and 33 minutes – Leo Ascendant was operational at San Francisco, California, USA; and, with some difference of time (due to different coordinates), the Leo Ascendant/Simha Lagna would have been operational for around 2 hours and 33 minutes in the whole world on 23 February 1955.
On 24 February 1955, Leo Ascendant was operational for around between 4:52 PM to 07:19 PM i.e. for around 2 hours and 27 minutes; and, every person born during this period will be having Leo Ascendant/Simha Lagna with Vargottama position of Jupiter and Venus.
And, what’s more – the position of the other planets is also quite similar during these two time frames of around 5 hours; and, considering the growth rate of population in the whole world, there would have been many more people with such successful career. However, in reality, there is only one Steve Jobs, who was blessed to enjoy such good and strong professional career. Had there been any other person experiencing the same or equivalent positive results as experienced by Steve Jobs; there would have been some mention or information about any such person. On rational basis too, this doesn’t look possible that all people born during those hours will be sharing the same or similar fate; specifically, on the basis of having one or two Vargottama planets in their respective horoscopes.
Therefore, my point is that making concrete or strong conclusions on the basis of such common phenomenon is not wise. This doesn’t mean that such Vargottama dispositions are absolutely useless; and, make no difference. But, the quantum of difference or influence being made by Vargottama disposition of planets is very moderate; and, there are some other aspects working in a horoscope to generate strong and credible events in the life of a native.
Now, coming to another aspect of Vargottama. People generally consider this as a supportive or positive factor for their nativity; while, this is not the case. The Vargottama disposition of a planet does make it stronger to some extent; however, this doesn’t mean that such additional strength acquired by the respective planet (due to its Vargottama disposition) will necessarily be acting in your favor. That is, if the planet is not friendly for your nativity, it may use the additional strength (achieved due to its Vargottama disposition) to cause more harm than it would have done without being Vargottama. Confusion again! Okay, let’s understand this aspect with the aid of another example.
Suppose, one person is having some friends and some enemies. Now, the friends are supposed to support and help the person; while, the enemies are supposed to cause harm. And, the level/potency of these friends and enemies is another aspect. That is, if the friend is strong, he will be able to help significantly; while, if the enemy is strong, he will be able to cause more harm. Similarly, if a planet (which is not friendly for a specific nativity) becomes stronger due to being Vargottama, it may become more vicious and harmful.
It took me some extra time and effort but I was able to find some horoscopes with birth dates falling nearby to the birth date of Steve Jobs; and, wherein, the Vargottama planets didn’t generate expected or positive results.
The above horoscope belongs to a mass murderer. Lagna lord Saturn is exalted and joined by the Moon in tenth house of Lagna Chart; and, the first house is occupied by Yogakaraka Venus. Despite these apparently auspicious influences, the person committed murder; and, one of the primary reasons is Vargottama disposition of Jupiter. Due to its lordship over third and twelfth houses, the basic nature of Jupiter is not friendly for Capricorn Ascendant (Makar Lagna); and, its union with Ketu in sixth house is not desirable. Jupiter’s Vargottama disposition (positioned in Gemini/Mithuna rashi in both Lagna and Navamsha Charts) added to its strength; and, despite being exalted, the Lagna lord Saturn became severely afflicted.
This is another horoscope belonging to a criminal. In the above example horoscope number two – the Lagna lord Venus is badly placed in eighth house along with Rahu; while, the Yogakaraka Saturn has become exalted in sixth house of his Lagna chart. Jupiter is Vargottama; but, its basic nature is not friendly for Taurus Ascendant/Vrishabha Lagna. And, therefore, the aspectual influence of Jupiter on Saturn and Venus cannot be considered auspicious.
This is another interesting horoscope; wherein the first house is ruled by Jupiter which is joined by Ketu in seventh house and having its aspectual influence on the first house. The general rule is that when the Lagna/Ascendant is aspected by Lagna/Ascendant lord, it becomes quite potent and powerful. Here, the Ascendant/Lagna lord is Jupiter, which is the most auspicious and divine planet in the planetary cabinet. Jupiter is Vargottama too; and, therefore, it should have been able to protect and promote the significations of first house. However, this is not the actual case. The Lagna is occupied by the union of Venus + Rahu; and, exalted Saturn (which is also not a supportive planet for Dhanu/Sagittarius Lagna) is having its aspect on the first house of Lagna chart. And, the potency of Jupiter (despite being Vargottama) could not counter the negative influences generated by the union of Venus with Rahu in the first house coming under aspectual influence of exalted Saturn. The native killed his wife and then committed suicide. At the time of incident, he was under Mahadasa of Jupiter; Antardasa of the Sun; the transit Saturn was passing through Capricorn/Makar rashi (i.e. over natal position of the Sun); transit Jupiter was passing through tenth house (Virgo/Kanya rashi); and, the nodes (Rahu and Ketu) were passing over their natal positions (i.e. Rahu was in Dhanu/Sagittarius and Ketu was in Mithuna/Gemini rashi).
I hope that these three examples would have been helpful in understanding that mere Vargottama disposition of planets is not sufficient to expect strong and positive results; and, it depends upon a lot of other factors as to how and to what extent, the Vargottama planets can deliver their results.
Now, coming to the primary query once again:
” Do rahu and ketu act as vargottama planets? “
Yes, Rahu and Ketu also become Vargottama; and, you just need to see if they are occupying the same zodiac sign in Lagna and Navamsha Charts. However, as explained above, you may have to reconsider and rethink over the general perception of a Vargottama planet. In real terms, Vargottama means having additional potency to influence the horoscope (due to being placed in the same zodiac sign in both Lagna and Navamsha Charts). But, this will also depend on the other planetary influences taking place in the horoscope; and, the nature of the planet becoming Vargottama is also required to be taken into consideration.
Regarding Rahu and Ketu, the sloka/verse 16 and 17 of Yogakaraka Adhyay (Brihad Parashar Hora Shashtra) provides a good idea.
As per sloka 16 – The shadowy planets Rahu and Ketu give predominantly the effects of the lord of the house with whom they are conjunct with; or of the house in which Rahu and/or Ketu are placed.
As per sloka 17 – If Rahu and Ketu are placed in an angle or trine; and, are in conjunction with or are aspected by the Angular or Trine lord, then they act as Yogakaraka planets.
The first, fourth, seventh and tenth houses are angles or angular houses; and, the fifth and ninth houses are called Trines. Some people also consider first house as both Angle and Trine. Therefore, following are the guidelines for evaluating the results of Rahu and Ketu:
Identify if Rahu or Ketu are having any union with other planet; and, if yes, the basic nature of Rahu and/or Ketu may get influenced accordingly.
In case, there is no union and the Nodes (Rahu and Ketu) are placed alone; then, the results will be according to the nature of the planet in whose sign they are placed. For example, if Rahu is placed alone in Aries/Mesha Rashi, its results/influence may be related/resembling with Mars (as per its overall disposition).
*The basic nature of Rahu has been identified as being similar to that of Saturn; and Ketu has been told to act as Mars. And, therefore, this aspect should also be given due consideration while ascertaining the nature of Rahu or Ketu for specific horoscope.
Then, we can see if Rahu or Ketu are placed in Angles or Trines (first, fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth or tenth houses); and, then, we can look if there are any influences (via union or aspect) of the lords of Angle or Trine on such Rahu or Ketu.
In other words, if Rahu and Ketu are placed in good houses (Angles or Trines); and, having influence of auspicious planets (via union or aspect) – then their being Vargottama will be supportive. On the other side, if Rahu/Ketu are not well placed; and/or having inauspicious planetary influences upon them (via union or aspect) – in that case, their being Vargottama may not be much useful and, they (Rahu/Ketu) may create more harm on the horoscope.
I do hope that this article will be helpful for the avid readers in understanding the concept of Vargottama planets as well as the role of Rahu and Ketu.