For the Students of Hindu Vedic Astrology by Dr. A. Shanker

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Encyclopedia of Vedic Astrology: Yogas: Introduction, Chapter I, Part – 3

Dr. Shanker Adawal

Evaluation of Strength of Planets
5.1 Shadbala: This is the natural and most accurate assessment of strength of planets for seven planets from Sun to Saturn. The nodes are not considered. There are six kinds of strength for planets. The sum total of all the six goes under the name of Shadbala. The details of each of these are as under:

1. Naisargika (Natural) Strength: This signifies the inherent constitutional strength of a planet. The human body undergoes physical changes from time to time but the individual qualities born with or the inherent strength of a planet, which always remain constant. The strengths in ascending order in Saturn, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Moon and the Sun (Sun has the maximum strength).

2. Chesta (Motional) Strength: This governs the native’s conduct in life. Sun & Moon always have normal direct motion; the other five planets have different types of movements- direct or retrograde, slow, fast or too fast. Normal motion is not risky; too fast a motion may lead to disaster & catastrophe; too slow a motion is also not desirable. Retrograde motion i.e. when a planet is nearest to the earth, implies interrupted sequence and stoppage of continuity just as a direct planet and its direct motion show continuity & sequence. Retrogression weakens the power & strength of a planet and makes it worse for evil, if it is a natural malefic like Mars or Saturn; but a natural benefic like Jupiter or Venus is deprived of its power to do good. This is an apparent backward movement which is unusual & abnormal and hence is not likely to prove beneficial. While a planet is in Stabhaman i.e. remaining apparently stationary or at a standstill, leads nowhere or might land one into difficulty, danger or even disaster. In this state, a natural malefic is certainly stronger for evil, rather than for good; while a natural benefic is supposed to be stronger for good rather than for evil.

3. Sthan (Positional) Strength: This has five sub-divisions governing (a) high/ low birth or riches/ poverty, (b) environmental affinity (c) achievements by the native, (d) assistance/ opposition, and (e) advantages of birth. This corresponds to five types of strengths i.e. (a) Position of the planet in the sign of exaltation, Mooltrikone, own, friend’s, neutral or enemy; (b) Strength accruing out of position in Sapt-Vargas (Rasi, Hora, Drekkana, Saptamsha, Navamsha, Dwadasamsha & Trimashma); (c) Ojha- Yugma-rasiamsha strength (Strength accrued by placement in odd/ even Rasi & Navamsha); (d) Kendradi Bala (Strength due to placement in Kendra, panphara or apoklim house); and (e) Drekkana bala (Due to placement in 1st, 2nd or 3rd Drekkana).

4. Kala (Temporal) Strength: This consists of six fold strengths-
(a) Nathonnata (Diurnal & Nocturnal) strength; (b) Paksh (fort-night) strength; (c) Tribhaga (three parts of day-night period) strength; (d) Varsha-Masa- Dina- and Hora (astrological year, month, weekday & planetary hour) strength; (e) Ayana (equinoctial) strength; and (f) Yudhha (Planetary war) strength.

This is important for determining the results of the planets during the course of their dasha period. This shows the time when position & status can be achieved or the native may have a fall during the dasha/ Antardasha of that particular planet. A planet weak in Sthan bala does not indicate much wealth, even though it is strong in Kala bala, because it has no inherent strength.

5. Dik (directional) Strength: The planet are supposed to be strong in the four directions, namely Mercury & Jupiter are strong in East i.e. while occupying 1st house; The Moon & Venus are strong in North i.e. while occupying 4th house; Saturn is strong in the West in 7th house; while Sun & Mars are strong in South in the 10th house; and is the weakest in the house opposite the house of their strength. Every planet represents various persons in the family and the society, so their strength helps the astrologer whether individual is likely to receive the benefic or to suffer evil from the person or the direction concerned.

6. Drik (Aspectual) Strength: Aspects from benefics are good. Such natives as a rule are held in high esteem and are generally popular. If the aspects are from malefic, the native is subject to criticism and abuse, perhaps he may be the victim of a scandal also. Aspects of planets weak by sign or house position mean little influence, while aspects of planets strongly placed show marked influence. Aspects of friends are helpful while of enemies are harmful. Evil aspects from malefic on the natural malefic and the enemies only go to intensify the evil. Benefic aspects from benefics on the natural benefics and friends go to intensify the good. Evil aspects from malefic upon the natural friends though evil, indeed do not work havoc. Good aspects from benefics on natural enemies do not produce much good. The houses which has the following three divisions are also strong- (a) Strength of the house lord, (b) Dik Bala, and (c) Drik bala.

5.2 Ashtak Varga
1. It means eight sources of energy. The fundamental principle is the assertion that no planet or its placing in a house is eternally good or bad. Planets have their own mutual relationships, which gets modified by mutual natal placement with reference to Moon/lagna. The system takes into account lagna and all seven planets excluding Rahu & Ketu. The system has an added advantage in that it does away with the minor mistakes in birth time since it does not bother about longitudes of lagna and planets. Each planet has some benefic places and throws an influence on different signs or houses and each influence is called a dot or bindu. Thus influences from seven planets and lagna are obtained giving eight different Prastaar-chakra (one for each planet/ lagna). If we add benefic dots in Prastaar-chakra, sign wise (one point for each benefic dot), one gets the Bhinnastak-varga for each planet. If one adds the benefic points sign-wise in Bhinnastak-varga of all planets, one gets Sarvastak-varga.

2. In Ashtak-varga, the primary importance is that of the sign/house occupied by the planet. Its lordship is of secondary importance. A planet influences a house as much as it has contributed to that house in own Bhinnastak-varga. The planet generates both static & dynamic results. The static results are given by the Sarvastak-varga, whereas Bhinnastaki Varga gives more minute details. The dynamic results are those which are offered by dasha-lords and the planet in transit. Thus it gives general strength of planets and sign/house. For close timing of any event, the principle of “Kakshya” can be applied. Hence Ashtak-varga can be effectively used in measuring strength of yogas present in a horoscope and their timing of fructification.

3. There are 337 points comprising of all 12 signs/ houses in Sarvastak-varga. Thus the average per sign comes to 28. If a house has more than say 32 or more points, its significations will fructify well; but if it has less than 25, it tends to give negative results. Similarly the maximum points, a planet can have in a sign, are eight and the minimum is zero. Therefore when a planet transits over a sign having following number of benefic points in its own Bhinnastak-varga, the results in general are:

8 points: All round prosperity & happiness, alike a king.
7 points: Extremely good fortune, great honour/awards.
6 points: Wealth, vehicles and fame.
5 points: Birth of a child, good clothes, good company.
4 points: Status quo, mixed results.
3 points: Mental and physical discomforts.
2 points: Loss of wealth, troubles from authorities, fruitless wandering, and misunderstandings.
1 point: Disease, sorrow, hardships, and misery.
0 point: Fatality, humiliation, serious illness.

Shanker Adawal
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