The concept of karma and reincarnation is entrenched in Indian ethos. It may have emanated from the notion of 8.4 million yonis ( species) through which a soul is believed to pass before he can enter maanav yoni ( human species ),the highest stage of biological evolution. But even after entering human form a soul is believed to pass through an indefinitely long cycle of death and rebirth according to his karma. In Jyotish the horoscope is believed to be a balance sheet of one’s past karma. However , when a child is born we seldom think what karma he(she) might have done in the past life except when the child is seen to be far below normal ( say physically/mentally deficient at birth) or turns to be highly deficient/gifted in due course. We sometimes hear about normal and average children who remembered and narrated their past life incidents which were found to be true on investigation.
Some research has been done from time to time to study amazing stories of such children . The pioneer in such study was Ian Stevenson ( 1918–2007) who studied many cases of such children. Late Dr P.V.Vartak MBBS PhD(Litt), a famous siddhayogi, scholar and researcher of Pune has also given many examples in a book on reincarnation authored by him. In the recent past Dr Walter Semkiw , Member of the ‘ Board of Directors of International Association for Regression, Research and Therapies ’ has authored a book titled ‘Born Again’, containing past life details of not ordinary children but international celebrities. The spiritual classic ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ authored by Paramhamsa Yogananda (1893-1952) mentions that his Param Guru (Guru’s Guru) Mahayogi Lahiri Mahasaya (1828—1895) was a sannyasi (celibate) yogi named Gangadhar in his previous birth. In this article examples of three celebrities from Dr Semkiw’s book and that of Lahiri Mahasaya are presented with astrological analysis of their charts..
Example 1. Jawahar Lal Nehru : (14 Nov 1889 11.21 PM Allahabad.)
According Dr Semkiw, Jawahar Lal Nehru was the reincarnation of Bahadur Shah Zafar (1775-1862), the last Mughal Emperor. The Birth and Shastyamsa charts of Nehru are given below followed by their analysis and the relevant history.
In the rasi chart , ascendant lord and Atmakarak Moon is placed in the ascendant, hemmed between Saturn and Rahu ,the former indicating people’s aspiration for independence and the latter , British rule. The ascendant , Moon and Sun are in sarpa dreshkan . In the shastyamsa chart , Atmakarak Moon is vargottam and under the influence of Rahu and Saturn which confirms Jawahar Lal Nehru’s karma inherited from the previous birth . In the rasi chart the lord of Arudh Lagna is Mars (power) whereas that of Ghati– Lagna is Venus conjunct with Mercury–prominent position in the field of literature.
The ninth lord is Jupiter conjunct with Ketu implying a soft but tactful Dharma (policy) and their placements in the sixth house indicate a non-violent form of protest (freedom struggle) as preached by his mentor Mahatma Gandhi. He followed the same policy as the Prime Minister of India , particularly the foreign policy in maintaining good relations with neighboring countries as well as both superpowers USA and USSR , who were very inimical in those days. During his tenure (1947-1964) Five Year Plans for India’s economic growth were launched and a number of new projects for India’s development viz Steel Plants , large dams like Bhakra, Hirakud, Nagarjuna Sagar etc. for irrigation and power, new engineering/medical colleges were taken up.
As mentioned earlier he looked at neighboring countries as friends and believed that they too would look at India as a friend. The slogan “ Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai” (Indians and Chinese are like brothers) was very popular in those days. But this belief was shattered by the most unexpected Chinese aggression in October 1962 . India’s defense forces were unprepared for that surprise attack and faced a humiliating defeat . Nehru and his cabinet colleagues had to face the ire of the public and politicians. V K. Krishna Menon, then Defense Minister, bore the brunt and resigned. All this had a debilitating effect on Nehru .
His health deteriorated and he passed away on May 27, 1964. Nevertheless, the debacle of 1962 did serve as a wake–up call for India’s defense preparedness. The defense sector was strengthened as a top priority. This was proved with India’s victory in the wars with Pakistan in 1965 and again in1971.
In the Shastyamsa (which shows past karma) the ascendant is Pisces( Kubera shastyamsa) aspected by Rahu ( Aardra shastyamsa) . Atmakarak Moon is in ( Maheswara shastyamsa –great lord) but conjoined with Rahu ( British rule) placed in the house of power , indicating the plight of Bahadur Shah Zafar ( 1775-1862) , the namesake Mughal Emperor whose rule did not extend beyond the Red Fort ! . The placement of Arudh Lagna and its lord Jupiter in the fourth house is fine but Ghati Lagna (power and authority) in the 12th house shows that he wielded hardly any power . However , GL is aspected by Mercury and Venus being in trine with Mercury , made Zafar a poet of high standing. Atmakarak Moon has the aspect of Saturn ( Brahma shastyamsa) and argala of Mars (Vish–dagdha shastyamsa ) indicating . people’s aspiration for freedom from British rule , even if violence becomes unavoidable . The Badshah himself must have nurtured a longing to become a sovereign Emperor but was unable to fulfill it with his limited might. So , when the mutineers of 1857 requested him to give his leadership to the struggle, he might have been tempted to give his consent in that hope though he was 82 at that time.
At the mutineers’ request he issued a Shahi Firman (Emperor’s decree) on 12 May 1857 exhorting Hindus and Muslims to join the revolt against British. During the initial few months, the mutineers had upper hand but in due course the tables were turned. When the victory of British became certain, Zafar and his close relations hid themselves at the Humayun Tomb. But they were compelled to surrender on 20th Sept1857.
The next day his both sons were executed at the Khooni Darwaja near Delhi Gate. Later on , after a show of trial Zafar was exiled to Rangoon , Burma ( now Yangoon , Myanmar) in 1858 with his wife and some family members. He died there on 7th Sept 1862. His wish to see India liberated from British rule and become her sovereign Emperor remained unfulfilled in his lifetime.
That is why Nehru was very eager to become and did manage to become Prime Minister despite Congress Working Committee’s full support to Sardar Patel Zafar was a person of sober temperament and a scholar. He was a noted poet and wrote many ghazals. His court was a home to Urdu writers of high standing like Ghalib, Dagh, Mumin and Zauq. Nehru too, was a soft natured person and a gifted writer. Whenever one thinks of him as a writer , his masterpiece work ‘Discovery of India’ comes to one’s mind.
In Rasi the lagna is occupied By Saturn . hemmed between Mars and Ketu , both being lords of fifth house of emotion / intelligence. Mars is yogakarak and the lord of both Arudh Lagna and Ghati Lagna ( placed the house of karma) and occupies the second house whereas Sun & Mercury are posited in the fifth house of emotion/ intelligence whose co-lord is Ketu. The fifth house has the aspect of the ninth lord Jupiter. The placement of Rahu in the sixth house indicates the tendency to deal with the opponents firmly without hesitation.
These features gave Indira Gandhi great courage in the discharge of duty and the reputation of being “the only man in the Cabinet !“ In the Birth chart lagna lord Moon is posited in the sign of Atmakarak Saturn , who in turn, is placed in the lagna . In the Shastyamsa chart Sagittarius (Bhrashta shastyamsa ) rises with Moon (Chandramukhi shastyamsa) in lagna whereas Atmakarak Saturn ( Amrit shastyamsa ) is placed in the third house of valour and the fifth house is owned and occupied by Mars ( Daavaagni shastyamsa).
These astrological features indicate that she had carried these qualities from her previous birth. She demonstrated her courage during the 1971 war with Pakistan which led to the creation of Bangladesh and again in 1984 during Operation Blue star, which was unavoidable for the integrity of India .But it infuriated Sikh hardliners and, unfortunately, she had to pay for this with her life when she was assassinated by her own bodyguards on Oct 31, 1984. In the Rasi third house from AL (which shows the circumstances of death) is occupied by Ketu and aspected by Venus (fourth lord in sixth house ) and Rahu clearly indicating death by treacherous act of her bodyguards posted at the residence. The sixth house contains Sagittarius sign owned by Jupiter ( Guru) implying that the assassins were Sikh – followers of Guru.
According to Dr Semkiw Nanasaheb Peshwa had reincarnated as Indira Gandhi. Nana Peshwa (born in 1824) was a prominent leader of the 1857 war of independence. Nana had succeeded in defeating British forces and taking control of Cawnpore (now Kanpur) for a short period. But in the end, the British regained control of their Indian territories and they were very brutal in seeking revenge for British deaths. However, Nana escaped death and was routed from Cawnpore. It is said that he had escaped to Nepal .
However , it is not known for certain when and where he died. Prof ( late) K. V .Belsare , a noted Marathi author of spiritual literature, has authored a book on Shri Gondavalekar Maharaj ( 1845-1913) of Maharashtra in which he states that Nana had taken to a spiritual way of life as advised by that saint and that Nana died in 1906 . Dr Semkiw states, analysis of facial features reveals that the facial architecture between Nana and Indira Gandhi is consistent. A review of their personalities indicates some common character traits. In particular, both Nana and Indira demonstrated a tendency to be authoritarian and to use military force. When Nana took control of Cawnpore he placed his foes behind bars , just as when Indira Gandhi called a state of Emergency in 1975, she had her adversaries arrested !
However, notwithstanding all this the fact remains that India had a great Prime Minister in her. But for the bold actions taken by her in 1971 and 1984 India would have suffered great miseries and probably Khalistan would have been carved out of Punjab as a separate nation .
In this way , two leaders of the First War of Independence reincarnated, as father and daughter, to be part of the attainment of Indian Independence in 1947, nine decades after the Sepoys initiated the process in 1857. This reminds the author of an incident in the life of Vasudev Balawant Phadke ( 1845 -1883) a firebrand revolutionary of 19th century who fought against the British in Maharashtra in the post 1857 period. He had gone to Akkalkot ( a town in Maharashtra) to seek the blessings of Shri Swami Samarth Maharaj, a great sage of that time, for success in his mission . But the Sage did not bless him .
The Sage, who had attained the state of timelessness ,must have known that India was not destined to get Independence in near future. Some admirers of Veer Savarkar believe that Phadke had reincarnated as Savarkar to complete the mission of his life .
Example 3: Amitabh Bachchan (11 October 1942 3.50 PM Allahabad).
Amitabh Bachchan is regarded as the greatest actor Bollywood ever had. He has been dominating Bollywood since 1969 i.e., for over five decades. He has acted in over a hundred movies, many of which have proved super hits. He is still active in Bollywood, has been hosting a popular TV show “ Kaun Banega Crorepati” and has endorsed many consumer goods. One wonders whether there will be another actor like him just as whether there will be another Lata Mangeshkar !. In his Rasi chart, Aquarius rises with Ketu in it, aspected by Saturn to give a slim but well built figure. The second lord is exalted Jupiter aspecting ( rashi drishti) Arudh Lagna (AL) in Taurus and the ascendant. The Atmakarak is Sun conjunct Mercury, Venus & Mars. All these planets, particularly exalted Mercury, have the argala of Moon from the ninth house (fortune) indicating that his voice will be a great asset in his career as actor .
The lord of AL and GL is debilitated Venus indicating many difficulties before marriage ( Venus) and fortune ( Venus as ninth lord) smile at him. Venus is conjunct Mars (courage to face competitions and be successful ) , Sun ( fame and recognition) and exalted Mercury ( acting/ dancing talent) .The neechbhanga of Venus can be done either by Jupiter or Mercury if they are in quadrants from lagna or Moon or are exalted. Both are exalted but posited in dusthanas ; Jupiter being in quadrant from Moon.
The Moon in Libra has rashi aspect on Lagna, lagnesh Saturn and AL ensuring fame and a large fan following. The Shastyamsa chart also has Aquarius ascendant ( Sudhaa shastyamsa) making it vargottam . The Atmakarak Sun (Pureeksha shastyamsa) is also vargottam. Sun is the dispositor of Mercury (apaamti shastyamsa ) and Jupiter ( Brhamana shastyamsa ) both aspecting lagna and GL.
Arudh Lagna is in Sagittarius aspected by tenth lord Mars implying competition/obstacles in the profession and the capacity to overcome them. The lord of AL is Jupiter conjunct Mercury aspecting lagna and GL. Jupiter is also the dispositor of exalted ninth lord Venus .The lord of lagna and Ghati Lagna (GL) is Saturn conjunct Moon and tenth co-lord Ketu, having exalted Venus in trine ensuring a powerful position in the field of acting. These features indicate that Amitabh Bachchan has inherited his acting skill from his previous birth. According to Dr Semkiw that person was Edwin Thomas Booth ( 1833-1893) a famous American stage actor of 1860s. Besides acting skill Booth had a deep and rich voice which Amitabh has inherited.
Booth toured throughout USA and major capitals of Europe, performing Shakespearean plays. In 1869 he founded the Booth’s Theatre in New York , a spectacular theatre of that time. Edwin Booth was married to Mary Devlin in 1860 but she died in1863. Later on, he married Mc Vickers in 1869 but became a widower again in 1881. His brother John Wikes Booth was the assassin of then US President Abraham Lincoln. But Edwin Booth had saved Robert, son of Lincoln , from a train accident and possible death .
According to Dr Semkiw Booth’s both wives have also reincarnated; Mary Devlin as Bollywood star Rekha and Mc Vickers as Jaya Bhaduri Bachchan. Amitabh and Rekha together have done twenty movies but during the making of ‘Silsila’( 1980-1981) they were reported to have come rather too close which could be due to their previous birth affinity as husband and wife.
The vimsottari dasa at that time was Saturn-Venus; Saturn being the owner of Pardara saham and Venus being the lord of Upapada Lagna( UL) in Shastyamsa chart representing Mary Devlin reborn as Rekha. At that time Saturn was transiting natal Venus of the Rasi chart, posing a threat to stability of marriage.
Fortunately, Jupiter was also transiting natal Venus at that time which saved the situation. When Amitabh was critically injured on 26 July 1982 in the intestines while filming a fight sequence of “Coolie” which almost cost him his life , it was Rekha who had organized a special pooja for his recovery at the Mahakaleshwar temple (one of the 12 jyotirlingas—Shiva temples) of Ujjain. These events corroborate a popular belief that souls closely attached in one lifetime tend to come close in another lifetime to settle their give and take accounts , good or bad.
Example 4: Lahiri Mahasaya ( 30 Sept. 1828 . 9:27:55 A. M. 88E30 23N24 , 5.54 Hrs East of GMT )
Lahiri Mahasaya( 1828-1895) was a Mahayogi of 19thcentury and a contemporary of Shri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa. His original name was Shyam Charan Lahiri . Until the age of 33 years he was a normal worldly man , being a householder and employed in Govt service. In1861, he came in contact with Mahavatar Babaji, the deathless Guru who is believed to have initiated eminent masters of the past viz. Adi Shankaracharya and Tukaram. During their meeting Babaji remarked that Lahiri was his ( Babaji’s) sannyasi-disciple named Gangadhar in the previous birth. With Babaji’s grace Lahiri went into a deep samadhi and realized that indeed he had been Babaji’s disciple in the previous birth. That experience was a turning point in Lahiri’s life . He took to kriya yoga again, made fast progress and became a Great Master himself. He did not renounce worldly life but lived as a householder , brought up five children and did Govt service till the age of superannuation. Unlike Shri Ramakrishna he did not condemn ‘women and gold ‘ but advocated the path of moderation and duty without attachment. Trailanga Swami (1607-1887) , a contemporary sannyasi- mahayogi was full of praise for Lahiri Mahasaya as he had reached the pinnacle in spirituality without renouncing worldly life. He was the Guru of Swami Sri Yukteswar (1855-1936) a great yogi , astronomer and astrologer, who in turn, was the Guru of Parahamsa Yogananda.
Astrologically, the big change that occurred in Lahiri Mahasaya’s life can be attributed to charkarak replacement involving Atmakarak (Mars) and Amatyakarak (Venus) as they are at the same degree. Venus replaces Mars as Atmakarak and the slot of Amatyakarak gets occupied by sthirkarak Jupiter. This replacement also signifies Lahiri’s Venusian spiritual ( pursuit of spirituality within the comforts of a household ) as against the Mars-like path (full of struggle and hardships) followed by him in the previous birth as sanyasi Gangadhar.
In the Rasi ascendant lord Mars is also Atmakarak placed in the second house aspected by ninth lord Moon. Jupiter is the dispositor of Mars and Ketu and occupies twelfth house of salvation with eighth lord Mercury. Mokshakarak Ketu occupies fifth house of emotion . The placement of Jupiter ( representing Guru ) conjunct Mercury (representing shishya ) in the twelfth house ensures the highest attainments in spirituality. Arudh Lagna is in Capricorn aspected by Saturn & Venus signifying a good position in the society. Ghati lagna’s placement in the eighth house conjunct Moon with dispositor Mercury in twelfth house of moksha signifies exalted stage as a Mahayogi . Venus , Saturn and Ketu form tapaswi yoga which comes as no surprise in the chart of a Great Master.
In the Shastyamsa chart, lagna ( Saumya shastyamsa) is occupied by lagnesh Venus ( Raakshas shastyamsa) hemmed between spiritual Ketu (Garal shastyamsa) and rigorous Saturn ( Poorna Chandra shastyamsa). Atmakarakark Mars (Bhramana shastyamsa) occupies the sixth house of struggle in the sign of lagnesh ‘Venus. The ninth lord Moon ( Kaala shastyamsa) of Rasi chart is conjunct Jupiter( Seetal shastyamsa) in the fourth house with dispositor Sun ( Garal shastyamsa) in the eleventh house indicating evils/dangers in the path of spiritual progress. These astrological features confirm that Lahiri Mahasaya must have been an advanced yogi named Gangadhar in his previous birth as remarked by his Guru Mahavatar Babaji. However , no details of Gangadhar’s life are available.
It seems Lahiri had a latent wish in his mind to enjoy the beauty and comfort of a palace but was unable to overcome it. Babaji was aware of Lahiri’s predicament and in order to free him from the last bond of karma he ( Babaji) created a magnificent palace in the Himalayas with his yogic power and asked Lahiri to enjoy it’s beauty and comfort for some time. After Lahiri’s wish had been satisfied he was given kriya yoga initiation by Babaji in that very palace. Paramhamsa Yogananda has given a vivid description of this miraculous incident in his autobiography.
Dr Semkiw has given past life details of many other celebrities in the book . Some of these celebrities , with their past birth names shown in bracket, are as follows :, Dr Vikram Sarabhai (Haider Ali –father of Tipu Sultan) and J K Rowling—author of Harry Potter comics ( Charles Dickens). Paramhamsa Yogananda’s autobiography contains a fascinating story of the rebirth of his disciple named Kashi. Swami Vivekananda was the reincarnation of one of the Saptarishis (seven great sages of ancient time) as remarked by his Guru Shri Ramakrishna. Dr. P V Vartak ‘s book on rebirth contains the story of a child prodigy named Sanjiv Sharma who could recite any verse from the Geeta and also explain its meaning when he was just five years old ! According to Dr Vartak that boy had studied Geeta in his past birth as one of the disciples of Shri Gondavalekar Maharaj ( 1845–1913) of Maharashtra.
The examples discussed in this paper clearly brings out that one’s skills, temperament, unfulfilled desires etc– in short one’s karma — gets carried from lifetime to lifetime . In each life a person tries to fulfill them but in the process he acquires new desires, making his karmic burden heavier instead of lighter. Jyotish can help one in understanding one’s karma and how best to lighten karmic burden in life and move a little closer to God. The Bhagvatgeeta’s doctrine of performing one’s duty without selfish motive aims at this very goal.The author feels understanding one’s karma ought to be the primary purpose of Jyotish, the timing of materialistic events like marriage, childbirth , professional gains etc being secondary.
References (1)’ Born Again ‘ by Dr. Walter Semkiw ( Ritana Books )
(2 ) ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Paramhamsa Yogananda
(3) ’ Puran Purush — Lahiri Mahasaya ‘
(4) Astrology books
(5) Information gathered from the Net