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The Fascinating Dashamamsha – 1 By Dr K. S. Charak

Indicator of Inherent Nature and Inclinations


Dr K. S. Charak, India

Readership Level: Intermediate to Advanced

One of the most fascinating of the sixteen vargas, or divisions of a rashi of thirty degrees, is the Dashamamsha. This particular varga, which indicates one-tenth of a rashi or an arc of three degrees, in our opinion, has not received the significant attention that it deserves. While dealing with the relative numerical worth of the different vargas, sage Parashara himself does not give a lot of importance to this varga. He is, however, careful to mention that specific and significant aspects of the life of a native must be judged from the Dashamamsha. Says he:

That is: “Highly significant results (must be judged) from the Dashamamsha.”

The Dashamamsha is often used to predict about the profession of a native. In the olden times, the vocation of the native, at least in India, depended upon the vocation followed by his father. Modern times have seen more and more new professions  coming up, and they do not normally happen to be specific to families. This, in today’s circumstances, increases the significance of the Dashamamsha manifold. The Dashamamsha has really become an important divisional chart that should not be ignored by any serious student of astrology.

It has been said, and rightly too, that the navamsha is one of the most important amongst the various vargas. Authorities have gone so far as to say that the navamsha even takes precedence over the rashi chart. This emphasizes the significance of the navamsha which indicates one-ninth of a rashi. Unfortunately, the Dashamamsha has not been granted similar eminence. While it is not our intention to belittle the relevance of the navamsha in any way, it is certainly suggested that any serious study of a horoscopic chart must include not just the rashi and the navamsha charts but also the Dashamamsha chart.

Constructing a Dashamamsha chart

Each rashi or sign is an arc of 30 degrees. A Dashamamsha is one-tenth of a rashi or an arc of 3 degrees. Each rashi thus has ten Dashamamshas. For an odd rashi, the first Dashamamsha starts from the same rashi. For an even rashi, the first Dashamamsha starts from the rashi that falls in the ninth house from the rashi in question. Table-1 may be used to construct as Dashamamsha chart.

Chart 1: Bill Gates

Chart 100

Let us consider the chart of Bill Gates (Chart 1: born on October 28, 1955; at 21:05 hours; at Seattle, Washington, 47°N36’33”, 122°W19’57”, TZ 8 hours; Daylight Saving 0) with Mithuna (Gemini) lagna and Makara (Capricorn) Dashamamsha. The eighth house of the rashi chart becomes the lagna of the Dashamamsha, signifying the sudden, the unexpected and the enigmatic in his work and achievements. Much earlier, in these very pages, we have highlighted the significance of the eighth house pertaining to significant and enigmatic earnings. The eighth lord Sun in the lagna of this chart does not damage the tenth house as,     according to Parashara, the Sun as the tenth lord does not suffer the blemish of the eighth lordship.

That is: The blemish of the eighth lordship does not apply to the Sun and the Moon.

The natal chart shows very significant Dhana yogas or yogas for wealth. All the planets here have something to do with the eleventh house or eleventh lord (by association or aspect). This signifies the income and the consequent financial status of the individual. A special Dhana yoga is formed when all the planets are located in houses 10, 3, 4 and 5. The native attained eminence particularly during the dasha of Venus (from December 15, 1982 to December 15, 2002), the fifth lord in the fifth house. As the lord of the twelfth house, associated with Saturn, the ninth (as well as the eighth) lord in the fifth house, Venus also indicates spiritual inclinations and a charitable disposition.

Chart 101

These facts are also confirmed in the navamsha and the Dashamamsha charts. In the navamsha, a prominent Dhana yoga forms in the third house by the conjunction of the lagna (and eighth) lord Mars, the second lord Venus and (the tenth and) the eleventh lord Saturn, while the ninth and twelfth lord Jupiter occupies the second house to confer on the native a tendency to spend his wealth in charitable activities. In the Dashamamsha, the eighth lord Sun in the lagna is aspected by the lagna lord, the second lord and the eleventh lord, as well as by Jupiter, the twelfth lord. Jupiter as the twelfth lord in the ninth, in exchange with the ninth lord Mercury, aspected by the lagna and the second lord Saturn further signifies that the native would have plenty of wealth and a spiritual/charitable disposition. Venus is the yogakaraka planet whose dasha proved to be the most significant to the native. This Venus occupies the sixth house and is aspected by the ninth (and sixth) lord from the twelfth house. The Sun dasha (from December 15, 2002 to December 15, 2008) does not see any reduction in his benevolent disposition.

A very significant feature of this chart is that both in the navamsha as well as the Dashamamsha, the two luminaries, the Sun and the Moon, are aspected by Jupiter. This feature in any chart raises the status of the native immensely.

The Ruling Deities

While the Dashamamsha chart needs to be studied like any varga chart as we have done above, the important point that we intend to highlight here is the significance of the ruling deities of the ten Dashamamshas in any given sign. These have been indicated by Parashara thus:

That is: The ten lords of the east, etc., directions, viz., Indra, Agni, Yama, Rakshasa, Varuna, Maruta, Kubera, Ishana, Padmaja and Ananta, in this order for odd signs and in reverse order for even signs (happen to be the lords of the ten Dashamamshas).

Thus, the lords of the ten directions have been allotted the rulership of the ten Dashamamshas. This is the real significance of the Dashamamsha. It emphasizes the direction that the native takes in his life or at different times in his life. The ten ruling deities of the Dashamamsha are as under:

  1. Indra :         Lord of the east. He is king of the gods.
  2. Agni           :         The Fire-god. He rules over the south-east.
  3. Yama :         The lord of Death; the upholder of Dharma. Ruler of the south.
  4. Rakshasa :         The demon; Nirriti, the demon. Rules over the south-west.
  5. Varuna :         The lord of waters; ruler of the west.
  6. Maruta :         Vaayu, the Wind-god. Rules over the north-west.
  7. Kubera :         The god of Wealth. Rules over the north.
  8. Ishaana :         Lord Shiva. Rules over the most auspicious north-east.
  9. Brahma :         The Creator. Rules over the heavens above, the upward direction.
  10. Ananta :         Shesha, the Serpent-king. Rules over the nether world, the downward direction.

In this above-mentioned order, the ten Dashamamshas in the odd signs are ruled over by the ten deities starting from Indra and ending at Ananta. In case of even signs, the order is reversed so that the first Dashamamsha is ruled by Ananta and the last by Indra. The implied meanings of these ten deities are indicated in Table-2.

Sage Parashara emphasizes that highly significant results must be judged from the Dashamamsha. This means that professional rise (and fall), social status, lifetime achievements and governmental recognition are all to be judged from the Dashamamsha. An understanding of the nature of the ruling deities throws light on the inclinations of the native and the direction in which his life tends to move. This may not only indicate the inclination that in inherent in the chart and, therefore, something fixed and unchangeable. It must also indicate dynamicity and the change in attitude and inclinations at different times in life, as we shall see presently.

The most elementary method of ascertaining a native’s inclinations would be to see the nature of the ruling deity of the Dashamamsha in which his lagna falls. This may give a reasonably accurate clue about the nature of the individual. The other important factor that appears relevant to us is the lord of the tenth house since the Dashamamsha chart is specifically relevant to the tenth house. Thus the nature of the deity that rules over the Dashmamsha in which the lord of the tenth house resides could also throw a lot of light on the nature of activities that a person is inclined to undertake during his lifetime. These factors need to be given the importance that they have not so far received.

Table 1: Dashamamsha chart

     Signs/                           1         2          3          4          5          6           7          8          9        10       11   12

  1. 0°- 3°                  1       10          3       12          5          2           7          4          9          6       11      8
  2. 3°- 6°                  2       11          4          1          6          3           8          5        10          7       12      9
  3. 6°- 9°                  3       12          5          2          7          4           9          6        11          8          1   10
  4. 9°-12°                 4         1          6          3          8          5        10          7        12          9          2   11
  5. 12°-15°               5         2          7          4          9          6        11          8          1        10          3   12
  6. 15°-18°               6         3          8          5        10          7        12          9          2        11          4      1
  7. 18°-21°               7         4          9          6        11          8           1        10          3        12          5      2
  8. 21°-24°               8         5        10          7        12          9           2        11          4          1          6      3
  9. 24°-27°               9         6        11          8          1       10           3        12          5          2          7      4
  10. 27°-30°             10         7        12          9          2       11           4          1          6          3          8      5

Table 2: Ruling Deities of the Dashamamsha

  1. Indra(#NÔ)            : Power, lust for power, physical pleasures, wealth, recognition, learning, overlordship, arrogance, dominance, ability to take measures to attain one’s ends without always caring for the means.
  2. Agni(Ai¶)                 : Energy, capacity to perform and consume, limitless appetite, inclination toward virtuous and sacred deeds, excessive sexual energy, fearful when provoked.
  3. Yama(ym)   : Capacity to inflict punishment or death, impartiality, justice, limitless power without loss of discrimination, spirituality.
  4. Rakshasa(ra]s) : Raw energy, inclination toward wickedness, great physical strength and determination, vengefulness, capacity to wreak havoc, ‘Tamasic’ nature.
  5.     Varuna(vé[)      : Expanse, all-encompassing, great learning, hidden strength, ability to pacify tempers.
  6. Vaayu(vay)             : Instability; capacity to permeate and to destabilize, interest in a wide range of things, immense strength and energy.
  7. Kubera(k…ber)     : Wealth, prosperity, arrogance because of riches.
  8. Ishaana($zan)  : Overlordship, prominence, sacredness, benevolence, auspiciousness, the first amongst the lot.
  9. Brahma(äüa)    : Creativity, procreation, freshness, power to materialize, great learning and wisdom, sagacity, ability to disseminate knowledge.
  10. Ananta (AnNt)  : Limitlessness; very limited (‘zero’); strength, benevolence, virtue, perseverance, power to sustain; outside the realm of imagination in a positive or a negative sense.

Note: Odd signs: Direct order; Even signs: Reverse order.

Chart 102

Looking back at the above chart (birth chart of Bill Gates, Chart 1, discussed in the preceding issue), we find that the lagna Mithuna (Gemini) at 22º59′ falls in the eighth Dashamamsha of this odd sign. The ruling deity of this Dashamamsha is Ishaana or lord Shiva. This is the most auspicious and the most benevolent of the Dashamamsha lords. It is no secret that the native has been devoting himself to numerous benevolent and charitable activities. Renowned all over the world, the native stands out prominently amongst his contemporaries.

His tenth lord Jupiter in Simha (Leo) at 4º32′ falls in the second Dashamamsha ruled by Agni, the Fire-god. This indicates energy, zeal and capacity for achievement. Agni destroys evil and anything else that obstructs his way. He is supposed to have a great appetite, including sexual appetite. The tenth lord signifies the Karma that the native is inclined to indulge in. The ruling deity indicates the manner of its accomplishment. The fire-element is supposed to control all significant activities that concern a native. It is highly desirable to have the lagna or the tenth lord in a Dashamamsha ruled by the Fire-god.

The Moon could be another graha of significance to the native. In the chart in question, the Moon occupies the tenth house at 14º28′ in Meena (Pisces). This is the fifth Dashamamsha. For an even sign, counting in the reverse manner, the fifth Dashamamsha is ruled by Vaayu, the Wind-god. This indicates ‘capacity to permeate’ and wide ranging interests. This could also indicate communication and transmission. The Moon indicates the mental inclinations of an individual, and its Dashamamsha ruler could throw light on the natural mental inclinations and interests of a native.

As we have observed, the Venus dasha (December 15, 1982 to December 15, 2002) proved highly significant to the native. Venus in Tula (Libra) at 26º56′ falls in the ninth. 

Dashamamsha of an odd sign, ruled by Brahma the Creator. Creativity is a prominent feature of this Dashamamsha. Lord Brahma created the whole manifest universe from    virtually nothing. Creation, materialization, new ideas and the like are important aspects of this Dashamamsha. The native displayed these qualities quite remarkably during this dasha. So, the application of the concepts of ruling deities of the Dashamamsha is not just a ‘static’ concept. It has its appropriate dynamicity when applied to the dasha system.

Presently, the native runs the dasha of the Sun, from December 15, 2002 to December 15, 2008. The Sun at 11º45′ in the odd sign Tula (Libra) falls in the fourth Dashamamsha ruled by Raakshasa. This indicates excess of physical energy and an untiring disposition, though not all activities may appear to be, or really be, above board. The native is certainly not sitting idle. The next dasha, that of the Moon which we have mentioned of above, promises enhancement and widening of his interests as the Dashamamsha rulership of the dasha lords changes from Raakshasa to Vaayu.

Chart 2: Indira Gandhi

Chart 103

The chart of the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (Chart 2) is an interesting example of the relevance of the ruling deities of the Dashamamshas. She was born on November 19, 1917 at 23:11 hours IST, at Allahabad 25ºN27′, 81ºE51′. The natal chart shows three Parivartana yogas or yogas of planetary exchange. It is a remarkable chart for studying the application of astrological principles.

The Dashamamsha chart is also remarkable. Two planets, Mars and Saturn, are exalted, one (the Sun) occupies its own house, while there is an exchange of the Moon and Venus, lords respectively of the eighth and the eleventh houses. The lagna lord Jupiter aspects the lagna.

The deities ruling over her various Dashamamsha are also significant. The lagna Karka (Cancer) at 27º22′ falls in the last Dashamamsha of an even sign, its ruling deity being Indra the king of gods. True to the nature of Indra, she remained powerful most of her life, to the extent that she was labeled as ‘the only man’ in her cabinet of ministers. She of course made mistakes, the worst of them being the imposition of emergency in India in the year 1975. This action of hers remains the most criticized till date, and she suffered for it in the subsequent general elections in 1977. She, however, sprang back with a vengeance and thereafter remained in power till her very end. Her name and her charm persist to this day, decades after her departure from this world. Even like Indra, she wielded excessive power in Indian politics, enjoyed her life, suffered at the hands of her detractors, reprimanded several of them, committed follies, performed acts of courage, and was extensively revered as well as criticised at the same time.

Her tenth lord Mars at 16º23′ in Simha (Leo) an odd sign, falls in the sixth Dashamamsha ruled by Vaayu which signifies strength as well as interest in a wide variety of things. Vaayu, the Wind-god, has the capacity to permeate. She was a popular leader of the masses. Her Moon in Makara (Capricorn) at 5º35′ is located in the second Dashamamsha of an even sign, ruled by Brahma the Creator. It indicates a fertile mind and a highly creative disposition.

The dashas of Jupiter and Saturn were of particular significance in her career. Jupiter dasha (November 15, 1954 to November 15, 1970) saw her grooming as a politician and eventually becoming the Prime Minister of India during the Jupiter-Sun (May 25, 1965 to March 13, 1966) dasha. Jupiter as the ninth lord in the eleventh, and as the Dashamamsha lagna lord aspecting the lagna, is significant for her career. In the sixth Dashamamsha, of an even sign, ruled by Varuna the lord of waters, the dasha of Jupiter indicates her being widely accepted as a leader. In fact, there were doubts in the beginning about whether a frail-looking woman could really, and effectively, rule over the vast and diverse India. But once she came to power, she left no one in doubt about her capability and efficiency. The AD lord Sun, in Vrishchika, an even sign, at 4º08′ falls in the second Dashamamsha ruled by lord Brahma. The Sun also owns and occupies the ninth house of the Dashamamsha chart. Later on, during the Jupiter-Rahu (from May 19, 1968 to November 15, 1970) dasha, she removed most of her detractors from within the ruling party and gave the ruling party a new name. Rahu, at 9º12′ in Dhanu (Sagittarius), an odd sign, falls in the fourth Dashamamsha ruled by Raakshasa. Obviously, propriety and ethics had to be sacrificed to achieve the desired end. But then that was the necessity of the times.

It was the MD of Saturn (November 15, 1970 to November 15, 1989) that had to prove more eventful for her. Saturn in the lagna in the eighth Dashamamsha, ruled by Yama, gave her immense power to enforce her rule, and justice as well as punishment as she thought fit. Right at the commencement of her Saturn dasha, in Saturn-Saturn (from November 15, 1970 to November 18, 1973) itself, she handed over a comprehensive defeat to Pakistan in the 1971 war, creating Bangladesh, a new country, out of the trouble-making neighbor. It was Saturn the malefic, the eighth lord, in the Dashamamsha ruled by Yama, the fierce lord of death and justice, in full swing. In the Dashamamsha chart, Saturn is exalted in the eleventh house, under the benevolent aspect of Jupiter, but also associated with the eighth lord Moon.

The dasha of Saturn saw her take wide-ranging decisions, several of them highly controversial. The most criticized and politically incorrect decision of hers was the imposition of the state of emergency in India in March 1975 in the Saturn-Mercury (November 18, 1973 to July 27, 1976) dasha. She had sensed instability in her career as the Prime Minister and feared losing at the hustings. The imposition of emergency was a desperate move by her to keep her opponents at bay. Mercury in the fifth Dashamamsha of an even sign is ruled here by Vaayu which has the characteristic of instability. As a consequence, after the lifting off of the emergency rule and the subsequent general elections in 1977 in her Saturn-Ketu (July 27, 1966 to September 6, 1977) dasha, she lost and faced ignominy. She was even briefly arrested during the new regime. Ketu is in the Dashamamsha ruled by Raakshasa or the demon, and occupies the twelfth house (of imprisonment, losses, ignominy) in the natal chart.

In the subsequent dasha of Saturn-Venus (September 6, 1977 to November 5, 1980), she regained her lost power and her glory, and became the Prime Minister of India again. Political pundits had earlier written her off as of no significant consequence in future. She proved them all wrong. Venus, the AD lord, as the eleventh lord exchanging signs with the ninth lord, in the sixth house gave her the capacity and the skill to fight back. Venus occupies the eighth Dashamamsha of the odd sign Dhanu (Sagittarius) which is ruled by the most auspicious Ishaana.

It was at the peak of her popularity that she suffered a violent death, at the hands of her own Sikh body guards, supposedly as a retaliation against some of her actions that seemed to have hurt the religious sentiments of a section of the people of north India, on October 31, 1984. The dasha running was that of Saturn-Rahu (June 27, 1984 to May 3 1987). Rahu, as we have mentioned above, occupies her sixth house and its Dashamamsha lord is Raakshasa.

Chart 3: Jacques Chirac

We may have a look at the chart of the erstwhile President of France, Jacques Chirac,
who was born on November 29, 1932, at 12:00 hours in Paris, France, at 48ºN52′ and 2ºE20′ (Chart 3). He has been a very popular President of France. His popular and enduring image with the French people has been considered to be due to his legendary appetite, his heartiness, his past reputation with ladies, and his penchant for Sumo wrestling. He has been variously charged with absurd political beliefs, questionable judgment and allegations of corruption. Inspired by General de Gaulle to enter public life, he became a junior minister       in 1969. He remained the mayor of Paris for several years between 1977 and 1995, interrupted in 1986-88 when he was the Prime Minister.

Having stood and lost in 1981 and 1988 elections, he was finally elected as the President in May 1995. In 1997, he dissolved the assembly while still in majority, and lost re-election. He then had to wait till 2002 to be back as the President which post he held till May 16, 2007. One of his major political reforms was to reduce the presidential term of office from seven years to five years, bringing it in line with that of the Parliament, though it meant a shorter second presidency for himself. He opposed the US invasion of Iraq in the year 2003.

In his birth chart, the lagna lord occupies the lagna while the tenth lord Venus occupies the tenth house. There is an exchange between the eighth lord Sun and the eleventh lord Mars. The ruling deity of his lagna is Indra, even like the preceding chart. This expectedly makes the native popular, powerful, controversial, prone to physical enjoyments, sometimes arrogant, and going through fluctuations in his fortune because of his tendency to get into politically incorrect situations. The tenth lord Venus in the tenth is aspected by Saturn, and its ruling deity in the Dashamamsha is Raakshasa, the demon. The Moon, the lord of the seventh house in the twelfth, in Dhanu at 5º02′ is ruled in the Dashamamsha by Agni or Fire. The rulers of Dashamamshas in case of the above three nodal points (the lagna, the tenth lord and the Moon) indicate most of the natural inclinations of the individual.

The important dashas for him have been those of the Moon (April 8, 1963 to April 8, 1973), Mars (April 8, 1973 to April 8, 1980), Rahu (April 8, 1980 to April 8, 1998), and Jupiter (April 8, 1998 to April 8, 2014). The Moon, as stated above, is under the influence of Agni, the Fire. Mars, in the fifth Dashamamsha of Simha (Leo) is governed by Varuna which indicates
expansion and generally a tendency to contain the ‘Fire’. During this dasha, he remained the mayor of Paris or held the posts of junior minister.

His Rahu dasha became particularly significant for his career. Rahu in the seventh Dashamamsha of the odd sign Kumbha (Aquarius) is ruled by Kubera, the god of wealth. This generally indicates prosperity and riches, more so for this native since his Rahu occupies the second house (wealth) aspected by Jupiter (the Karaka for wealth) and the eleventh lord (income) Mars. It is a different matter that Rahu has its own demoniac nature and is aspected by Jupiter and Mars from the eighth house, hence the charges of corruption against him. He fought elections in 1981 and 1988, and lost on both occasions. He finally won in May 1995 during the dasha of Rahu-Sun. The Sun in the fifth Dashamamsha of Vrishchika (Scorpio) is ruled by Vaayu, the god of ‘Wind’. This was followed by Rahu-Moon (September 1995 to March 1997); the Moon, as already mentioned, is ruled by the powerful Agni, the Fire. The subsequent dasha of Rahu-Mars (March 20, 1997 to April 8, 1998) saw him taking the unwise decision of dissolving the assembly and losing in the re-election. Mars, in the eighth house with the twelfth lord Jupiter and in RKA, is in the fifth Dashamamsha of Simha (Leo) ruled by Varuna. He had to wait till the year 2002 to be re-elected as the President, in the dasha of Jupiter-Saturn (May 26, 2000 to December 7, 2002). Jupiter, the MD lord, is in the last Dashamamsha of the odd sign Simha, ruled by Ananta while Saturn in the Makara (Capricorn) lagna is in the third Dashamamsha ruled by the all-auspicious Ishaana.

Jupiter as the twelfth lord also indicates retirement. He quit as President on May 16, 2007, in the dasha of Jupiter-Venus. Venus ruled by the Dashamamsha lord Raakshasa indicates the element of ‘Tamas’ which indicates lethargy and inactivity. He had himself reduced the term of Parliament by two years (from seven years to five) and thus quit office two years earlier than he could have. This he did despite the AD lord being the tenth lord in the tenth house which, looked at superficially, must indicate active professional life.


Indra: Ruler of the East

Indra is the king of the gods. Highly revered and excessively feared, this eldest son of Aditi, the mother of the gods, also lords over rain and thunder. These latter he sometimes uses as his weapons in his not-so-infrequent skirmishes with his rival cousins, the sons of Diti, the mother of demons. He is endowed with great physical strength and charm. A terror to his enemies, he protects the gods and their interests with the immense prowess that he has earned through austerities. The gods, the sages, the beautiful heavenly maidens and a host of celestial beings stand in attendance in his court. It is only natural that power and plenty sometimes go to his head, and he lands himself in peculiarly unenviable situations. From there he comes out again and again to start afresh and the cycle goes on.

Indra conducted to completion a hundred yajnas and attained the overlordship of all the gods. His renown increased progressively as a result of his austerities. Sage Brihaspati; the preceptor of the gods, gave him spiritual initiation which increased his wealth and fame manifold. Over a period of time, Indra and the gods became all-powerful and prosperous. This eventually made Indra fall a prey to arrogance, to the extent that he lost all his sobriety and discrimination. As a consequence, he even failed to get up from his seat and render due respects to sage Brihaspati, his guru, who happened to visit his court. The guru was pained but uttered no word of reproach. He merely walked out of the assembly of the gods, wishing all the while that Indra should lose his riches.

It was some time before Indra realized that he had unwittingly slighted sage Brihaspati and this could have ominous forebodings for him. He got up and rushed straight to Brihaspati’s residence but the guru was nowhere to be seen. While Indra returned, he halted at the bank of the river Mandakini for a bath. There he happened to see Ahalyaa, the lovely young wife of the sage Gautama, wrapped in thin wet cloth, emerging from the river after a bath and proceeding toward the hermitage close by. Her half a smile, slanting glances, prominent curves and perfect limbs enchanted the lustful Indra so much that he followed the lady to the hermitage and the two of them indulged in sexual activity. It was here that the sage Gautama also arrived.

Indra sensed trouble, disengaged himself from Ahalyaa, and fell at the feet of the infuriated sage, seeking forgiveness. “Despite your glorious lineage,” thundered the sage, “being the son of the sage Kashyapa, the great grandson of the Creator Brahma, and related to Daksha, the Progenitor, how could you stoop to this wretchedness? Where has your wisdom and the knowledge of the Vedas gone? Your lofty preceptor, sage Brihaspati, is a dear friend of Mine and for his sake alone I spare your life. But suffer for your sin you must. May then a thousand female organs, the apparent cause of your way-wardness, grow upon your skin.”

The mortified Indra implored for forgiveness. The sage then agreed to mollify his curse. “Go and offer worship to the Sun-god for a year, and your blemish will change into a thousand eyes on you body.”

Indra performed the penance as directed, and in due course became the thousand-eyed lord. It was not infrequent for Indra to deceive others to fulfill his own selfish motives. At many an occasion Indra deceived the trusting demons, the principal rivals of the gods, to get better of them. He obstructed many a sage in his penance so that none could acquire a status higher than his. Many a woman did he violate to satiate his lust. He developed friendship with the great and benevolent king Prahalada, a descendant of the demons, who ruled over the heaven. By sheer deceit, Indra robbed the benevolent king of his benevolence, virtue and character and ultimately displaced him to re-acquire the kingship of heaven.

Agni: Ruler of the South-East

Agni, the Fire-god, represents the fire-element in everything that exists. Through this element, the Fire-god performs several benevolent functions that ensure the survival of not only the earthlings but the entire universe. For the living beings, the Fire-god provides the necessary heat to ensure survival, and to enable several metabolic functions in the body to proceed without hindrance. In the human body, the Fire-god acts through seven different ‘fires’ or ‘energies’ which perform varied functions. The first of these ‘fires’ helps in digestion of food and its absorption in a liquid form. The second converts the absorbed liquid food into blood. The third ‘fire’ converts blood into flesh. The fourth, acting on the flesh, creates lipid (fat). From the fat, the fifth ‘fire’ creates the skeleton. The sixth ‘fire’ produces the marrow inside the skeleton. And the seventh ‘fire’ generates from the marrow the highly precious seminal fluid. The same ‘fire’ in different forms thus conducts different body functions to help life go on and to propagate.

Agni was born out of the Ksheera-Saagara, the Celestial Ocean of Milk. This happened as a result of Lord Brahma depositing. His seminal fluid in the ‘Ocean’. Soon after the incident, a child come out of the Ocean and sat in the lap of lord Brahma who accepted him as His son, Almost immediately, lord Varuna, the god of ‘Waters’ reached there and claimed the child to be his, since the child had emerged from the Ocean waters. There was thus an argument between Lord Brahma and Lord Varuna about who the real father of this child was. Lord Vishnu commented that Brahma was no doubt the father of the child but the right of fatherhood could not be denied to Varuna as well since the child had emerged from the body of the Ocean. Lord Shiva finally settled the dispute. “Brahma is no doubt the father of this child Agni,” said He. “Let Varuna grant this child learning and knowledge of the Mantras and thus accept the child as his disciple. Scriptures declare that a disciple is equivalent to the son too. May lord Vishnu grant him brilliance and incendivity. This Agni will be able to burn anything and everything, and lord Varuna will be able to pacify him.”

Sage Bhrigu once cursed Agni thus: “May you become all-devouring.”

This annoyed Agni because he happens to be the mouth of the gods and the Pitras and carries to them the nutrients from the sacrificial rituals. So he retracted himself from all yajnas, fire rituals and earthly functions. As a result, the three worlds went into chaos and misery. Lord Brahma finally pacified Lord Agni and persuaded him to resume his usual functions.

Agni-deva is supposed to have been instrumental in the birth of Skanda, the six headed son of lord Shiva. The mighty Skanda killed the dreaded demon Taraka even while he was just seven days old. Agni-deva himself carries the essence of lord Shiva, and the consequent benevolence.

Yama: Ruler of the South

Lord Yama is the lord of Death. He enforces the rule of Dharma, law and justice, and grants the individual the fruits of his Karmas. He is stern and powerful and is not affected by attachments and allurements. Impartial in His disposition, He operates in both His forms, as Dharma and as Death. It is in His nature thus to ensure the implementation of discipline on the one hand and inflict punishment for any lapses on the other. None can escape His vigilant eye and His functionaries operate ceaselessly to carry out His command. Every living being has to proceed to the abode of Yama at the expiry of his term on earth and reap the fruits of his actions. Only the Creator can afford to mollify Him in His fury.

The wicked Raavana had become virtually invincible through his austerities. In his Pushpaka Vimaana, he could fly from the world of mortals to that of the gods with the speed of the mind. It was his desire to conquer the three worlds and rule over them. With this aim in mind, he set out to first conquer the earthlings.

Once upon a time, while flying by the Pushpaka through the clouds, Raavana met sage Naarada, the Rishi of heavenly encyclopedic knowledge. The demon king saluted the sage and offered him the due courtesy. Naarada exhorted Raavana to give up his desire to overcome the earthlings by making him understand that the feeble-bodied earthlings were afflicted by miseries, ailments and old age. There was no greatness in destroying or subjugating those who were already proceeding to the world of Yama. Real strength would be to conquer Yama, the lord of Death, himself.

Raavana was amused. “I shall conquer Yama. The god who bestows death upon others would himself be afflicted with death.”

Indra, the king of gods, and all the movable and immovable creatures on the earth, meet their death at the hands of Yama as their longevity expires. Yama is witness to the good and bad deeds of all living beings, and bestows justice upon them on the basis of their Karmas. He instills fear in the minds of all beings. The very thought of someone daring to face Death itself to conquer Him intrigued Naarada.

Naarada went to the kingdom of Yama to warn the lord of Death about the intentions of the ten-headed Raavana. While Naarada was apprising Yama of the impending arrival of the demon king, the two of them spotted the glittering aircraft of Raavana approaching them from a distance. As he reached the Yama-loka, Raavana witnessed countless creatures receiving the fruits of their good and sinful Karmas at the hands of Yama’s men. Raavana had a close view of the numerous hells there and the creatures who suffered the torments in those hells. The mighty Raavana forcibly released all those suffering the torments of hell. This annoyed Yama’s men who attacked Raavana in great numbers and broke the doors, the seats and the couches, etc., of his aircraft. The self-repairing aircraft, however, regained its original shape soon after being broken.

In the fierce fight that ensued, Raavana and his men were severely wounded but they continued their fight. Raavana was greatly harassed. His armor was broken and he had to use the never-failing Paashupata missile, acquired with the grace of lord Shiva, to overcome Yama’s men.

Yama, the son of the Sun-god, was incensed at the prospect of Raavana’s success and proceeded to the battlefield. Seeing Yama in person, the forces of Raavana lost heart and ran helter-skelter leaving the fearless Raavana virtually alone. Raavana received a good beating at the hands of Yama so that at one stage he even appeared to have lost much desire to continue battle. But continue he did, for he still longed for victory. The fierce battle between the two of them wrought a lot of damage and destruction around. 

As Yama decided to kill Raavana, He lifted His fierce and never-failing Kaala-Danda to strike him. Just then, the Creator Brahma intervened.

“O’ mighty son of Surya! Pray do not slay this demon with the Kaala-Danda. I have given this Raakshasa a boon that he would not be slain by any god. Do not, therefore, falsify my word. In earlier times, I alone constructed this formidable weapon of yours. With My strength behind it, it never fails, and causes certain death. Raavana too would not survive its blow. I have made the Kaala-Danda an unfailing weapon. If Raavana dies as a result of your strike, or if he survives your blow, in either case My word, the word of the Creator, would be falsified. Withhold your weapon and let my word remain True.”

“O’ Lord of the world,” said Yama, the lord of Dharma, to Lord Brahma, the Creator, “may your word prevail. See, here, I withdraw my weapon. Besides, if I am not supposed to kill this demon, there is no sense in my continuing this fight with him.”

Saying this, Yama retreated and disappeared along with His chariot and His horses. Raavana shouted in triumph.

Rakshasa: Ruler of the South-West

Rakshasas are a class of demons, the anti-gods. They represent all that is against benevolence and virtue. The ruler of the South-West is the Rakshasa. This particular corner is called as the ‘Nirritya Kona’, ruled by the demon Nirriti. It is considered as the most inauspicious direction.

Puranas mention of the eleven Rudras who were born to Brahma’s son Sthanu. Nirriti was one of them, hence revered like all other Rudras, and ruler of the south-west. It is the evil Nirriti, that represents the demoniacal principle, however, that is of concern to us here.

Puranas refer to Nirriti as both male as well as female. During the early phases of creation, there came a time when there was not enough for the earthlings to eat and to satisfy their hunger. Starvation aroused in them cruelty towards each other so that they started killing each other for food. This gave birth to Adharma, the unrighteousness or anti-Dharma, the certain annihilator of living beings. Adharma married Nirriti (a demoness). From Adharma and Nirriti were born the ferocious sinners Bhaya (fear), Mahabhaya (intense fear) and Mrityu (death). It is said that Mrityu engulfs all living beings. He has no wife and no progeny because he does not spare any one.

The Vedas mention of Nirriti as the elder sister of the goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi’s elder sister, also known as Daridra or Alakshmi, is also supposed to have come out of the process of churning of the Ocean for Amrita. The churning of the ocean was a grand event in which both the gods and the demons participated. The purpose was to extract Amrita, the Elixir of Life, from the ocean. In the process, however, several other things came out. Some of these were very precious while others, like the all-consuming poison, were quite fearsome. One of the undesirable things that came out of the ocean was the goddess Daridra (Nirriti), the elder sister of the goddess Lakshmi. Daridra, the impoverishing one, dressed in red garments, asked the weary gods, “What may I do?”

The gods replied, “Pray go and reside where there is discord. Take along with you inauspiciousness to the abodes of those who use harsh language at home, those who speak the untruth and those who are mentally unclean, the sinners who sleep at sunset. May you spread suffering and poverty in those homes. May you continue to torment those with malicious intent and those who are evil-doers.”

In one of the Pauranic stories, Yami, the sister of the law-enforcing Yama, tells her brother, ‘Doesn’t the demon Nirriti sexually associate with his own sister regularly?”

The south-west is considered inauspicious. Place of worship is not constructed in this direction while designing a house. In general, this corner of the house is reserved for undesirable or unclean purposes.

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