Indicator of Inherent Nature and Inclinations
Dr K S Charak, India.
An interesting study of the Dashamamsha would be to compare the charts of the two prominent French leaders, Segolene Royal (Chart 4: born on September 22, 1953, at 16:10 hours, at Dakar, Senegal, 14ºN40′, 17ºW26′) and Nicolas Sarkozy (Chart 5: born on January 28, 1955, at 22:00 hours, at Paris, 48ºN52′, 02ºE20′). There are some interesting similarities and some interesting differences in the charts of the two politicians which are indicated by the ruling deities of the Dashamamshas of the key points/planets in their charts.
Segolene Royal is a powerful politician and the first female presidential candidate in France. An exalted vargottama Saturn in the tenth, aspected by Jupiter, ensures for her a certain support amongst the masses. In the navamsha chart, the Sun occupies the tenth house, and both the Moon and the Sun receive the aspect of Jupiter, a powerful yoga for rise in status. The Dashamamsha chart too is strong, with five grahas, including the lagna lord and the tenth lord, occupying the tenth house, and Jupiter from the fifth aspecting the lagna. In any chart,
A combination of the lagna lord with the tenth lord, especially in the tenth house, forms a powerful Raja-Yoga. She is considered an exceptionally sharp, intelligent and stylish woman without political stains or emotional hang-ups. A strong Buddha-Aditya (Mercury-Sun) yoga in the ninth house, the influence of Jupiter and Mars on the Moon, the placement of Jupiter in the fifth from the Moon, and an exalted Mercury which retains much of its strength in the navamsha as well, all ensure a sharp and intelligent native who can keep her head in balance.
The Buddha-Aditya yoga, however, gets a little tainted by the eighth lordship of the Sun, a Paapa-Kartari to this yoga in the ninth house, and the occurrence of this yoga in the eighth house from the Moon. There is also a combination of Mars and Venus, the 4th/11th and 5th/10th lords, constituting a Raja-yoga which again falls in the eighth house (from the lagna), and in Paapa-Kartari. There is thus an element of nonconformism in her approach. Her own male party colleagues opposed her race for presidency. She has been a rebel from the age of twelve, who questioned why women should have fewer rights than men. In 1972, she sued her own father for refusing to provide for the family and education of the children after his separation from his wife. She eventually won the case in 1981, just a year before her estranged father‘s death from cancer.
She lost presidential elections in April 2007 when she was running the dasha of Venus-Moon (May 15, 2006 to January 13, 2008). Venus is the yoga-karaka afflicted in the eighth house in the rashi chart, and debilitated in the eighth house in the Dashamamsha chart. The Moon too is debilitated in the Dashamamsha, heavily afflicted in the tenth house therein.
The lagna is Makara (Capricorn), in the sixth Dashamamsha. The ruler of this Dashamamsha is Varuna which ensures learning, intelligence and hidden strength. She grew up as one of eight children of an authoritarian former artillery officer who believed women did not need education. However, she graduated in economics from Paris Institute of Political Studies. The tenth lord and yoga karaka Venus, as well as the exalted and vargottama lagna lord Saturn in the tenth house, both have Agni as the ruler of their Dashamamshas, conferring on her great energy, inherent strength and ability to overcome opposition.
She has been running the MD of Venus since January 2001. Its ruling deity Agni confers on her the fiery energy. Venus is debilitated in the Dashamamsha, with a Neecha-Bhanga (cancellation of debilitation). While she lost in elections during Venus-Moon (both debilitated in the Dashamamsha; both with Neecha-Bhanga; in Agni and Ananta respectively), she also apparently split from her partner of twenty-five years. Venus is in the eighth from the lagna, in association with Mars (ruling deity Rakshasa), both in the seventh from the Moon. Also, the seventh lord from the Moon, the Sun, occupies the eighth house with the eighth lord Mercury (ruling deity Rakshasa). The influence of Rakshasa (or ‘demon’) on the Moon, Venus, the seventh from the Moon, and the seventh lord from the Moon, does not augur well for marital relationship and for a balanced emotional approach. Venus-Moon is followed by Venus-Mars (January 3, 2008 to March 14, 2009). Things can only improve from Venus-Rahu (March 14, 2009 to March 14, 2012) onwards as Rahu is ruled by the most auspicious Ishaana.
It may be of interest to consider the significations of different grahas along with ruling deities of their Dashamamshas. Thus, for example, in Chart 4, Mercury, the planet of logic and discrimination, is ruled by Rakshasa, the demon. This makes one erratic in logic, a non-conformist and a rebel. The Moon, the graha for the mind, in Ananta indicates an attitude of strength, benevolence and perseverance as well as detachment. This Moon, also the seventh lord, is under the aspectual influence of Venus (Agni) and Mars (Rakshasa) and its nature thus gets modified by these aspects.
Nicolas Sarkozy (Chart 5), has certain similarities with the native of Chart 4, and some subtle differences. The lagna here is Kanya (Virgo), an earthy sign like that of Segolene Royal. Kanya, however, is the most intellectual sign of the zodiac. The lagna is ruled by Ananta, signifying strength, benevolence, perseverance, liking for the rule of law, abhorrence for injustice, and an attitude of support and protection. The native is known for his strong stance on law and order issues. He did not favour war in Iraq. He has a protectionist attitude toward business. Like in the preceding chart, the tenth lord is ruled by Agni. Here, however, it is Mercury that is the tenth lord. That brings in fiery logic and strong views, some of which may become controversial. The native has a tough stand on immigration. His call for state help for Muslims to build mosques was criticized by his detractors.
A vargottama Jupiter in the tenth house gives him an ethical and benevolent approach to his actions, tainted somewhat by the RKA. He intends to encourage social mobility, better schools, and cuts in public sector staff. Jupiter in the tenth too is ruled by Ananta, the benevolent and the sustaining. The RKA along the 4/10 axis confers on the native the raw energy necessary to accomplish whatever be decides, irrespective of the views of others. His biographer Anita Hausser writes about him thus: “He’s hyperactive, he’s ambitious, he’s a heavy worker, a workaholic, he never rests.” Rahu and Ketu are ruled by Rakshasa.
The seventh house is occupied by the Moon and Mars, the eleventh and the eighth lords respectively. He has had multiple marriages, along with breaks and divorces. The eighth lord, that too Mars, in the seventh house tends to disrupt any relationship, and the eleventh lord there brings in multiplicity. His latest marriage to the model-turned-singer Carla Bruni on February 2, 2008 is his third. Besides the marriages, there have been a few relationships too. The Moon is ruled by the strong and powerful Vaayu while Mars by the sometimes wayward Varuna. The seventh lord Jupiter in the tenth is associated with Ketu which imposes on Jupiter its deviant nature. Ketu is a demon in its own right. Its ruling deity too is Rakshasa or demon. Venus, the planet for sexuality and relationships, is exalted in the navamsha. The ruling deity of Venus here is Indra, which further signifies prominence, enjoyments, sexual indulgence and varied physical pleasures.
Sarkozy too has his Saturn exalted, aspected by Jupiter. However, here this Saturn occupies the second house and is ruled by the benevolent Ananta. Thus three important points in the horoscope. Jupiter, Saturn and the lagna, are ruled by Ananta here. In addition, his two luminaries, the Sun and the Moon, are ruled by the all powerful Vaayu.
His Venus dasha, which extended from December 1981 to December 2001, was significant for him. Venus is the yoga karaka for his rashi and navamsha charts, and is exalted in the latter. It is the lagna lord in the Dashamamsha chart. Ruled by Indra, Venus ensured for him recognition in public life. In early life he had suffered many insecurities. His father had abandoned his brothers and their mother. He attributes to his father’s injustice to him as the cause of what he is today. The lagna lord and tenth lord Mercury ruled by Agni ensures that the native has enough energy to weather the difficulties of life. Between 1983 and 2002, i.e., most of the MD of Venus, he served as Mayor of the affluent Paris subrub of Neuilly. Thereafter, he became interior minister. He also had a brief spell as finance minister in 2004 (MD of Sun). Venus dasha also ensured for him two marriages, the first one in September 1982, and the second one in October 1996.
It was in April 2007 that the native won the French presidential election. He assumed office as French President on May 16, 2007. The operating dasha was that of Sun-Venus (December 24, 2006 to December 25, 2007). Venus, as we have already pointed out, is the yoga karaka in the rashi and navamsha charts, and the lagna lord in the Dashamamsha chart. In the latter, it forms a special yoga with the seventh (and twelfth) lord Mars in the twelfth house, aspected by the ninth and tenth lord Saturn. His election as President of France received special attention outside France (12th house: overseas) and he also enjoys a special position of eminence outside his country. His married life too has attracted special attention both in and out of France. The ruling deity of the Sun is the all powerful Vaayu and that of Venus is the ruler of the gods, lord Indra. This dasha also exposed him to his latest lady love, Carla Bruni, whom he met at a dinner party in November 2007 (and subsequently married her in February 2008).
He runs the dasha of the Moon from December 2007 to December 2017. Moon-Moon is over on October 24, 2008, followed by Moon-Mars (ending on May 25, 2009). The Moon, like the Sun, is ruled by the powerful Vaayu. Mars is ruled by Varuna, the lord of Waters which has a lot of hidden strength and a capacity to pacify tempers. This will then be followed by Moon-Rahu. As we have already pointed out, Rahu is ruled by Rakshasa. He might have to be careful about his actions during this dasha as the RKA falls in the 4/10 axis of his rashi chart (affecting his Karma), the lagna/7 axis of navamsha (affecting his marital life) and the 5/11 axis of his Dashamsha (affecting his professional judgement).
We have seen that the Dashamamsha is an interesting varga or division of the horoscope and provides fascinating insight into the nature and inclinations of the native. While the Dashamamsha chart must be studied and analyzed in the usual manner of horoscopic analysis and examined along with the rashi and the navamsha charts as well as the other varga charts, its study in an independent manner considering its relevant ruling deities, is also called for. Sage Parashara emphasizes that highly significant results must be deciphered from the Dashamamsha. The fact that the ten Dashamamshas are ruled by the lords of the ten directions gives us a clue to the way this information may be used. The Puranas provide highly fascinating insight into the nature of the ruling deities of the Dashamamsha. We have found how amazingly the characters of the ruling deities of the Dashamamshas match with the nature and character of our natives.
What is also important is that the concept of Dashamamsha is not simply a static concept. It does not just give indication about the nature and inclinations of a native which remain fixed for his whole life. When we integrate this concept with the deities that rule the dasha lords at different times of life, we get the dynamic aspect of it. We can then discern the various changes that occur in the activities and thought processes of the native with changing times. The inclinations and reactions of the native change as the dasha order changes. It is, therefore, suggested that the concept of the ruling deities of the Dashamamshas may be fruitfully applied to the following:
• Lagna: This is the most important as it indicates the inherent nature of the individual. All other factors operate within the broad indications provided by the lagna.
• Lagna lord: As expected, this is the next most important factor.
• Tenth lord: The Dashamamsha is in reality the tenth house magnified. The ruling deity of the tenth lord too has a significant role to play in determining the nature of activities that would suit and interest an individual.
• Various house lords: Each house lord needs to be considered in order to get a clear indication about how an individual would react to specific areas and specific circumstances in life.
• MD and AD lords: Here is the dynamic aspect of the concept of the ruling deities of Dashmamshas. As the dashas change, the nature, inclinations and reactions of the native change according to the character of the ruling deities of the Dashamamshas in which the dasha lords fall.
• Grahas and their Karkatvas (significations): It is important to consider this often ignored aspect of chart analysis. Each graha has a specific nature. When it is ruled by a particular deity, its nature gets affected by that ruling deity. Thus Mercury under the influence of Rakshasa or demon indicates an un-orthodox logic, and Venus under the influence of Indra indicates pleasures and enjoyments, often irrespective of all costs.
We finally conclude that the study of Dashamamsha along with it ruling deities is a very interesting and fascinating aspect of astrology. The Dashamamsha chart must always be studied in every horoscopic analysis. It sheds tremendous light on the nature of an individual. In selected and limited number of cases, where we happened to know the real nature of the individual, we have used this knowledge in the rectification of the time of birth of the native. This aspect, however, needs further study before we recommend it for general use.
Varuna: Ruler of the West
Varuna is the son of sage Kashyapa and the goddess Aditi, the mother of the gods. He is thus one of the twelve Adityas, so named because they were born to Aditi.
Early in the cycle of manifestation, in the earliest Krita-yuga, all the gods together went to Varuna and said to him:
“May you accept the lordship of all waters on the earth and protect us, even as our king Indra protects us all. May you ever dwell in the ocean, the refuge of the aquatic creatures. The great ocean, the husband to all the rivers and streams, would thus remain subservient to you. You would swell and shrink along with the Moon.”
Varuna accepted the lordship of the waters. With appropriate ceremonies, the gods installed him as the king of waters. Thus lord Varuna took under his protection all rivers, streams, lakes, oceans and other reservoirs of water. Varuna also happens to be the lord of the western direction.
Sage Kashyapa once prepared to perform a great sacrifice but could not procure a suitable cow for the purpose. He stole the cow from the cowshed of Varuna while his two wives, Aditi and Surasaa, concealed the cow. Varuna came to know of it and demanded his cow, but sage Kashyapa was reluctant to return the cow to Varuna. The annoyed Varuna cursed his own father thus:
“May you be born as a human being on the earth and tend the cows, you who have stolen my lovely cow. Both your wives would be born there too. The calves of my cow are in distress without their mother. As a consequence, Aditi would suffer confinement as well as loss of her children.”
Hearing this story, lord Brahma too chastised sage Kashyapa, “Learned one, you have succumbed to greed and thus lost your piety. Be, therefore, born, through a fraction of your being, as an earthling along with your two wives, and serve there as a cowherd.”
Sage Kashyapa incarnated on the earth, through a fraction of his celestial existence, as Vasudeva. His wives Aditi and Surasaa were born as Devaki and Rohini, respectively the mothers of Krishna and Balarama.
Varuna was of help to lord Krishna and Arjuna in their venture to destroy the Khandava forest where they intended to construct a capital city for the Pandavas. This forest was protected by the powerful Indra, the king of the gods, and lord Krishna and Arjuna had to confront Indra to burn the forest to ashes with the help of Agni, the Fire-god. Lord Varuna had been given a celestial bow and two quivers with unceasing supply of arrows by Soma, the Moon-god. This bow, the Gandiva, was matchless in that it was unbreakable and endowed with supernatural sturdiness. This bow had been designed by Lord Brahma. Varuna also gave a resplendent chariot that had been designed by the heavenly architect Vishwakarma as a result of prolonged penance. The white steeds that drove it matched the speed of the Wind-god. It was provided with all that was essential in battle. The flag on the top of the chariot carried a ferocious monkey that appeared to be able to destroy hordes of enemies. Other creatures of varying ferocity appeared to dwell in that flag. In much earlier times, the Moon-god had used this chariot to overcome the demons. Agni-deva gave a Chakra to lord Krishna for use during the inevitable combat that lay in the offing. It was thus that the resourceful Varuna helped lord Krishna who eventually subjugated Indra and destroyed the forest where the Pandavas were able to construct a city. The Pandavas returned the famous Gandiva and the ever full quivers to lord Varuna at the time of their relinquishing the kingdom and proceeding to the Himalayas.
Varuna was fascinated by Bhadra, the daughter of the Moon-god and the wife of sage Utathya. He abducted her and enjoyed with her in his abode in the ocean. Sage Utathya was infuriated. He gathered all his spiritual merit, immobilized all the bodies of water, and started drinking water out of them. As reservoirs of water got emptied one after the other, the well-wishers of lord Varuna requested him to release the wife of the sage. But Varuna was so infatuated of Bhadra that he could not give her up.
Seeing the obstinacy of lord Varuna, sage Utathya drank the ocean dry and the whole earth became arid. Lord Varuna, the ruler of the Waters, had no escape now. He came to sage Utathya, returned Bhadra to the sage, and sought his forgiveness.
The sage was magnanimous. He forgave lord Varuna and relieved him, as well as the rest of the world, of the suffering by restoring the bodies of water to their original state.
Maruta or Vaayu: Ruler of the North-West Maruta or Vaayu is the Wind-God. Immensely powerful and virtually invincible, Maruta has the capacity to permeate everywhere. Lord Hanumana of the Ramayana fame and, later, the mighty Bhima of the Mahabharata fame, with their unmatched prowess, were the sons of the Wind-god only. Hanumana accomplished several extraordinary feats. Fire could not burn him nor the unfailing Vajra of Indra hurt him. He was instrumental in bringing to an end the evil rule of the demon king Ravana.
The story goes that Indra, the king of the gods, once had to direct his Vajra at Hanumana out of fear. The unfailing weapon hit the chin (‘Hanu’) of Hanumana and he fell unconscious, to all appearance dead. This agitated the Wind-god, his father, so much that he stopped all movement. With the stoppage of all movement, the bodily functions of the earthlings came to a halt. The flow of wind (Prana) stopped through their bodies, their bladder and bowel functions stopped as did their circulation. They all felt suffocated and near death. It was only after the intervention of Lord Brahma that the Wind-god came around and all flow of energy was restored. Hanumana was revived by Brahma’s touch and given the boon by Indra that his (Indra’s) Vajra would no longer be able to hurt him.
Vaayu in the Body Vaayu does not mean ‘Wind’ in the ordinary sense. The word ‘Vaayu’ indicates a current or energy that flows through everything in the universe. The word ‘Praana-Vaayu’ indicates the current of life-force which is the immanent energy permeating and sustaining the whole universe. The Praana that operates in the universe also operates inside the human body to provide sustenance to various bodily functions. The Praana links the matter with spirit.
A constant supply of food and oxygen reinforces the bodily Praana under ordinary circumstances. While the yogi can draw upon the universal Praana for his survival, an ordinary individual needs food and air to keep himself alive. In the body, the Praana-Vaayu performs different functions and has been given different names accordingly. Thus the one omnipresent Praana manifests inside the body as several Vaayus or energy currents. These are briefly mentioned below:
1. Praana: It controls the actions of the head, brain, chest, throat, tongue, mouth, nose, heart and lungs. Spitting, sneezing, belching, respiratory disease and conveying of food to the stomach are the functions that fall under this Vaayu. The activities of Praana are directed upwards; it also brings other functions into manifestation.
2. Apaana: This category of ‘Praana’ is directed downwards. It has the power of excretion and expulsion. It is located in the large bowel, rectum and anal canal, testes, urinary bladder, urethra, umbilicus, hypogastrium and thighs. It causes the expulsion of urine, stool, semen, menstrual fluid and the products of conception. Its area of operation is the pelvis and the pelvic floor.
3. Samaana: The Samaana-Vaayu causes the assimilation of what is eaten, drunk or smelt. It has a regulatory control over homeostasis. It controls the various metabolic activities. It operates in the region just below the navel.
4. Udaana: It is located in the nose, throat, chest and navel. Speech and singing are the activities governed by it. It controls uttering of words, putting in effort, courage and physical strength.
5. Vyaana: The Vyaana-Vaayu permeates the whole body. It moves through the body at a rapid pace. The activities that fall under this Vaayu are those of blood circulation, blinking of eyes, and movement of various body parts. This Vaayu is in operation when making fire from wood by attrition. That is why Fire is considered the son of Vaayu-deva.
Some Minor Praanas Besides the above-mentioned Praanas, there are some minor Praanas which can be considered as smaller units or parts of the major Praanas. They regulate and control some specific functions in the body. They are:
1. Naaga : Controls belching.
2. Koorma : Allows the eyes to open.
3. Krikara : Regulates eating and swallowing.
4. Devadutta : Controls yawning.
5. Dhananjaya : Resides in sound.
Vaayu-deva thus controls all the life functions making it possible for the individual to survive. The Maruta Dashmamsha indicates instability, movement, circulation, great strength, permeability and penetrability. At the time of death, Praana is said to have deserted the body.
Kubera: Ruler of the North
Kubera is the God of Wealth. This status he earned as the result of thousands of years of intense austerities. At first he performed penance for ten thousand years with his head submerged in water. He continued his yogic discipline further by standing on one foot in the centre of fire for several more years. Seeing his devotion and perseverance, Lord Brahma, the Creator, appeared before him and asked him to seek any boon. Kubera requested that he be made a ‘lokapala’ (a protector or sustainer of the universe) and also the custodian of wealth. Lord Brahma bestowed on Kubera all the treasures of the world. He also gave Kubera the ‘Pushpaka Vimana’, the famous aerial vehicle which earned him the envy of many, including Kubera’s step brother Ravana’s. Kubera settled in the beautiful city of Lanka which was constructed by Maya on top of the Trikuta mountain in the middle of the sea in the south. He was also granted the rulership of the northern direction.
Ravana, the Rakshasa king, was born of the step mother of Kubera. He earned immense powers as a result of rigorous austerities. He got from Brahma the boon to conquer the earth. At the first opportunity, Ravana displaced Kubera from Lanka and snatched from him his Pushpaka as well. In the ill-matched fight, he looted the wealth of Kubera and destroyed his palace. Kubera thus cursed Ravana: “Never shall the Pushpaka remain your vehicle for long. It will come to belong to the one who kills you.”
The misdemeanors of Ravana earned him the wrath of gods and men alike. When Ravana was killed by Lord Rama in the famous encounter narrated in the Ramayana, the Pushpaka Vimana was acquired by the conqueror. Lord Rama and his associates returned to Ayodhya, after fourteen years of exile and destruction of the cruel rule of Ravana, by the Pushpaka.
Kubera thereafter resided in Alkapuri. He once came to know that the gods and sages had approached Lord Vishnu to somehow destroy Ravana whose sinful deeds were tormenting the earthlings. He sent a messenger to Ravana warning him about the impending danger. This well-intended act of Kubera so enraged Ravana that he cut Kubera’s messenger into pieces and fed him to the Rakshasas. Not content with this, he mounted an attack on Kubera and killed many of the Yakshas, the subjects of Kubera. He plundered Kubera’s palace and looted his wealth.
Lord Shiva is generally kind to Kubera. Lord Shiva Himself granted to Kubera the rulership of the Yakshas. However, on one occasion Kubera cast an evil eye on the goddess Parvati seated on the left thigh of Lord Shiva. This sin caused Kubera to become blind in one eye.
Ishaana (Shiva): Ruler of the North-East
Ruled by lord Shiva, the north-east is the most auspicious direction. The cycles of manifestation and annihilation are regulated by Maha-Vishnu, the eternal Lord Vishnu. When the phase of manifestation commences, Maha-Vishnu takes up three forms, each concerned with an important function. These three forms are: (a) Brahma, the Creator, concerned with the creation of the universe as well as all the life forms, including humans, animals and plants; (b) Vishnu, the Preserver, concerned with the preservation as well as sustenance of the created universe; and (c) Shiva, the Destroyer, concerned with bringing to an end whatever is created. All the three are important functions concerned with the varied activities that take place in the manifest universe.
Lord Shiva is the all-powerful god, who is easily pleased by devotion and is the ultimate in benevolence. Enraged, he can destroy the three worlds. The Puranas contain countless stories about Lord Shiva. Generous in granting boons, He is one of the most extensively worshipped deity who, when pleased, is known to fulfil all the desires of his devotees. His famous weapon is a Trishula, the trident, which He uses with unfailing effect. His famous bow is called Pinaka. He wears a leopard skin for loin cloth, and uses the skin of an elephant to cover himself. Snakes He wears as ornaments on His limbs and body.
When the gods and the demons churned the Ocean for Amrita, the elixir of life, several objects emerged from there during the process of churning. One of the most fearful things that came out was the deadly poison, the Kalakuta. This noxious poison threatened to destroy the whole creation. Its fumes had a benumbing effect and everyone was scared to death. Lord Shiva in all His benevolence came forward, swallowed the poison and saved the world. He established the poison in His throat which became blue in colour and earned Him the name “Neela-Kantha”, the blue-throated.
Lord Shiva possesses immense knowledge of the scriptures. He is the original surgeon (and physician) who transplanted the head of a goat on the body of his father-in-law, and that of an elephant on His own son, Lord Ganesha. Those desirous of acquiring surgical skills and proficiency in martial arts need to worship Him. He is also the original dancer.
Kaama-Deva, the god of Love, became arrogant and thought that he could sway the minds of the mightiest. He committed the folly of shooting his love-inspiring arrows at lord Shiva. Momentarily disbalanced, Lord Shiva regained composure and understood the mischief of Kaama-Deva. Enraged, He opened His third eye and with His glance of fury He burned Kaama-Deva to ashes. The lord of Love thus became bodyless.
Many are Shiva’s conquests described in the Puranas. He destroyed countless demons. He showered His blessings on countless devotees, granting them boons that they ever sought. Such acts of apparent benevolence and simplicity sometimes landed Lord Shiva Himself in trouble. The story goes that a demon, Bhasmasura by name, pleased Lord Shiva by his devotion and extracted from the Lord the boon that he would reduce anyone to ashes on whose head he would place his hand. Once the boon was granted, the demon ran after Lord Shiva so as to place his hand on Lord Shiva’s head and turn Him to ashes. Lord Shiva ran for dear life. It was here that Lord Vishnu came to Shiva’s rescue. Lord Vishnu changed Himself into a beautiful enchantress and started dancing in front of Bhasmasura. The demon forgot about Lord Shiva and became so enamored of the beautiful damsel dancing in front of him that he too began dancing like the enchantress, aping all her moves. It was during this process that the enchantress put her hand on her own head, and the demon did likewise. Immediately, he was reduced to ashes as a result of lord Shiva’s ‘boon’.
Brahma: Ruler of the Upward Direction
At the conclusion of the cycle of annihilation, Lord Vishnu emerged from His long slumber and thought of resorting to activity, with the aim of bringing into manifestation the new universe. The essence of His activity emerged from His navel in the form of a stalk with a lotus flower at its end. This lotus flower of eternal dimensions spread its luminescence in all directions and the Lord, the all-knowing Vishnu, Himself entered the lotus in a subtle form. Soon, within the lotus flower, there appeared Lord Brahma the Creator, the manifest essence of the Vedas.
Seated on the lotus flower, Lord Brahma controlled His Prana and resorted to intense meditation. He felt the urge to effect the creation of the manifest world. He could see the l tus, the water, the Aakaasha (empty space), the wind and His own body. He had to create the world out of these five only. So He meditated on Lord Vishnu, His source, and offered Him salutations.
“You alone in the form of Vishnu, Shiva and Myself cause the preservation, the annihilation and the creation of this universe,” said Brahma. “I salute You.”
Repository of the Vedas, Lord Brahma possesses all possible knowledge and wisdom. He took up the work of creation as ordained by the Wheel of Time. He created the Vedas and related spiritual disciplines after long meditation. This resulted in the creation of all knowledge. He then desired for sons and created His ten ‘conceptual’ sons, produced by mental concentration. They were the rishis by the names Mareechi, Atri, Angiraa, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Prachetaa, Vasishtha, Bhrigu and Naarada. From His own body parts, Brahma created ten more children. From his right thumb arose Daksha, the Progenitor. Dharma arose from His heart. Krodha (‘Anger’) took origin from the area between the eyebrows while Lobha (‘Greed’) arose from the lower lip. Moha (‘Perplexity’) originated from Brahma’s intellect while His ego gave birth to Mada (‘Insanity’). Pramoda (‘Mirth’) came from Brahma’s throat, Mrityu (‘Death’) from His eyes while the sage Bharata came out of His palm. In addition to these motherless sons, Lord Brahma also had a daughter by the name Angajaa.
Lord Brahma Gets His Heads
Lord Brahma continued with His meditation in order to carry on with the work of creation. During this process, it so happened that His body got bisected into two: one part took a masculine appearance while the other took a feminine form. Lord Brahma accepted this feminine form as His daughter Saraswati, also known as Shataroopaa. However, soon after looking at Saraswati, Lord Brahma lost His mental balance and said to Himself, “O’ what a lovely form! What a beauty!”
The Lord found it difficult to take His eyes off the charming figure of Saraswati. He looked at her longingly as she bent down to touch His feet. As she circumambulated her father, He still could not help looking at her. In this process, as she went around the Lord, new heads sprouted from the body of Brahma. Thus, Lord Brahma came to possess four heads so that He could effortlessly see Saraswati in whichever direction she moved.
Seeing that their father Lord Brahma was indulging in a sinful activity, His sagacious sons persuaded Him to desist from it.
“Father dear,” they said, “You are wise and learned. Still you have succumbed to lust and intend to indulge in a sin that none of Your predecessor Brahmas ever indulged in, nor would any of Your successor Brahmas dare to. Pray desist from it and set an example of Dharma for all Your creation.”
Confronted thus with His sons, the Lord gave up His misdemeanor. However, criticized by His own sons, Lord Brahma felt humiliated. He cursed Kaama-deva, the God of Love, thus: “You shot your amatory arrows at Me and disturbed My balance of mind; for this sin of yours, at a later date, lord Shiva would reduce your body to ashes.”
Brahma’s misconduct destroyed most of the merit of His austerities. As a result of this, a fifth head with matted locks made its appearance on top of His other four. Lord Brahma accepted this head also as His own. In course of time, Lord Brahma developed arrogance because He had five heads (while Lord Shiva had only four). Lord Shiva sensed this and, with His finger nail, He snipped the extra head off. Brahma again became four-headed.
Through a long process, Lord Brahma created this manifest universe and all the animal and plant species that inhabit the earth. His sagacious sons were not able to produce the life forms at the required pace. So creation through a process of sexual union was introduced. This led to rapid procreation. By procreation, human beings fulfil their duty towards Lord Brahma.
Ananta: Ruler of the Downward Direction
Kadru, the mother of the serpents and the wife of sage Kashyapa, was displeased with some of her children. Upon them she showered her curse: “May you be consumed in the fire of the yajna to be conducted by Janamejaya, the saintly successor of the Pandavas.”
“How can a mother curse her own children?” Thus pondered Ananta, the eldest and the noblest of the serpents. He felt so dejected with this incident that he parted ways with his mother, as well as his brothers, and resorted to rigorous penance. He gave up food and drink and survived only on thin air. He mastered his senses and carried out his austerities at sacred places of pilgrimage, all the time following a strict discipline of solitude and renunciation.
Lord Brahma, the Creator, noticed with concern that Shesha Naga (another name of Ananta) was engaged in intense austerities, and his skin and muscles had shrivelled from his severe yogic practices. Lord Brahma came to him and thus spake to him:
“O sinless one! Your austerities do but torment the world. Why don’t you do something for the welfare of the living beings? Pray mention to me the object of your desire and I shall grant that to you.”
“My siblings are short sighted,” said Ananta. “Mutually hostile, they also harbour ill-will toward the benevolent and mighty sons of my mother’s sister, and my father’s other wife, Vinata. Mother’s curse will also prove to be their undoing. I no longer intend to live in their company. I would give up my life in austerities so that I do not have their proximity even at death.”
Lord Brahma consoled the noble serpent king. Said He, “There is no doubt that your brethren would die as a result of the mother’s curse. But I am aware of your noble intentions and have special affection for you. Seek, therefore, any boon that I would happily grant you.”
“Lord,” said Ananta, “I only seek that my mind remains fixed in Dharma, and my senses remain under my control.”
“So be it,” granted the Lord. “But,” continued He, “I have also something special to ask of you, for the well-being of the earthlings. And that is, that this earth with all its mountains, forests, oceans, continents and habitations, continues to wobble. You may hold it such that it becomes stable. May you slither under it. The earth would automatically make way for you.”
Ananta did as he was directed to. He held the earth from all sides and placed it on his head to support and sustain it.
The Paataala-Loka or the nether world is ruled by Ananta. This is supposed to be an exquisitely beautiful place, no less in beauty and grandeur than Swarga, the heaven of the gods. Lord Ananta, with his thousand hoods, rules here and spreads his glow in all directions. His radiance robs the demons of their vitality and thus protects the earthlings. When he yawns, the earth with its mountains and oceans trembles. Toward the end of the cycle of manifestation, a glowing Rudra emerges from his several mouths and annihilates the universe. Gods too find it difficult to comprehend his strength, his appearance and his essence. The celestial beings cannot understand the Anta’ (limits!) of his qualities; that is why he is called ‘Ananta’ (beyond limits!). By offering worship to him in the ancient times, sage Garga acquired the knowledge of the grahas, the nakshatras, the Shakunas (omens) and the like. That is the noble Ananta who continues to support this world on his head, without rest.
Ruling deities of the Dashamamsha
Indra Lord of the east. He is king of the gods.
Agni The Fire-god. He rules over the south-east.
Yama The lord of Death; the upholder of Dharma. Ruler of the south.
Rakshasa The demon; Nirriti, the demon. Rules over the south-west.
Varuna The lord of waters; ruler of the west.
Maruta Vaayu, the Wind-god. Rules over the north-west.
Kubera The god of Wealth. Rules over the north.
Ishaana Lord Shiva. Rules over the most auspicious north-east.
Brahma The Creator. Rules over the heavens above, the upward direction.
Ananta Shesha, the Serpent-king. Rules over the nether world, the downward direction.
*For ready reference; from the Vedic Astrology, vol. 11, no. 4, July-August 2007 issue.
Table 2: Ruling Deities of the Dashamamsha – Implied Meaning
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.
Agni अग्नि Energy, capacity to perform and consume, limitless appetite, inclination toward virtuous and sacred deeds, excessive sexual energy, fearful when provoked.
Yama यम Capacity to inflict punishment or death, impartiality, justice, limitless power without loss of discrimination, spirituality.
Rakshasa राक्षस Raw energy, inclination toward wickedness, great physical strength and determination, vengefulness, capacity to wreak havoc, ‘Tamasic’ nature.
Varuna वरुण Expanse, all-encompassing, great learning, hidden strength, ability to pacify tempers.
Vaayu वायु Instability; capacity to permeate and to destabilize, interest in a wide range of things, immense strength and energy.
Kubera कुबेर Wealth, prosperity, arrogance because of riches.
Ishaana ईशान Overlordship, prominence, sacredness, benevolence, auspiciousness, the first amongst the lot.
Brahma ब्रह्म Creativity, procreation, freshness, power to materialize, great learning and wisdom, sagacity, ability to disseminate knowledge.
Ananta अनन्त 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.
*For ready reference; from the Vedic Astrology, vol. 11, no. 4, July-August 2007 issue.
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