Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Vedic Astrology: The Charakaraka Replacement and Its Impact
At its deepest core Jyotiṣa is at the driving centre of all Karma. Just like life, if properly appreciated as it must, it has the status of a full-scale on-going project of immense magnitude.
Karma and Soul:
The Lagna and the Bhavas reckoned from the Lagna in the Rāśi Chakra indicate the physical manifestation of life. In the Varga Chakra the Lagna and the Bhāvas indicate the personality and realities of that specific environment. When we speak of Karma we inevitably speak of the soul as it is the soul which must carry and exhaust the Karma through rebirth.
Matters pertaining to the soul are studied and deciphered through the Charakāraka in Vedic Astrology. The Charakāraka are the temporal significators (Naisargika Kāraka) for various matters at the level of the soul and the Karma. The Charakāraka are decided on the basis of longitude of arc traversed by the planets including minutes and seconds of arc, and sometimes fractions of seconds of arc.
The Eight Charakārakas-
The Ātmakāraka (Atmakaraka) is the planet farthest advanced by degrees in any Rāśi (Rashi). According to Parāśara in the Bṛhaṭ Pārāśara Horā Śāstra (Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra) the Ātmakāraka is the King of the horoscope and indicates the soul of the person. Whatever the King deems fit shall and must come to pass and whatever he does not suppose cannot happen no matter what else is happening in the horoscope.
[During undergraduate days in college and other similarly nondescript and aimless ventures in life, the candidate scoffs and mutters- ‘Yes, sure, only the soul is real. What about these grades!]
But the fact remains that with spiritual advancement it becomes increasingly apparent that the soul is indeed running the show and the mundane realities of naive realism are but phantasms, changing shape at will, without any sort of decent advance notice. The soul decides the contours of this life as it knows what Karma has to be undergone for the spiritual progress of the person. This is its agenda.
The Amātyakāraka (Amatyakaraka) is the next and indicates the soul level Karma relating to the work and career of the native. He is akin to a minister in the King’s cabinet. The journey map of the soul in the career is held by the Amātyakāraka and its relations in the horoscope, most importantly with the 10th House and lord from the Lagna.
The Bhrātṛkāraka (Bhratrikaraka) follows and stands for siblings, the teachers and one’s own guiding intelligence.
The Mātṛkāraka (Matrikaraka) then indicates the soul level Karma relating to the mother and the Pitṛkāraka (Pitrikaraka) does so for the father and the elder figures in life.
The Putrakāraka (Putrakaraka) signifies the Karma relating to the progeny. The Jñātikāraka (Gnatikaraka) signifies the relatives and the support groups and the Dārākāraka (Darakaraka) signifies the spouse and wealth, which are both Śrī.
Living and Non-Living Beings and Charakāraka-
In Śloka 34.1-2 of the Bṛhaṭ Pārāśara Horā Śāstra Maharṣi Parāśara speaks of two Charakāraka schemes for the Jīvātman (living beings) and the Jaḍātman (non-living beings). The eight Charakāraka scheme applies to the living beings while the seven Charakāraka scheme applies to the non-living beings. The Śloka also renders it clear that while Rāhu (Rahu) is excluded from the seven Charakāraka scheme he can make an appearance there and as we shall learn, quite a telling one at that.
[Ketu has no place in either scheme because it is the Naisargika Kāraka for Mokṣa (Moksha) or final emancipation and cannot stand for the soul in any matter pertaining to an extant being.]
This view is buttressed by other classical Jyotiṣa writers as well, notably by Mahādeva in his Jātaka Tattwa.
Planets as Ātmakāraka-
The various Grahas show different hues as far as the Karma being carried by the soul goes.
The Sun being the Naisargika Kāraka for the soul shows a profound soul experience relating to power, prowess, ego, pride and self-respect. People with Sūrya (Surya) as the Ātmakāraka tend to be natural leaders but they need to curb the streak of authoritarianism and egotism because the birth has occurred only to quell these Kārmic blemishes. If these persist then the person tends to suffer a lot. The native is usually an advanced soul at the spiritual level.
The Moon will show the need for greater compassion and caring than is usually the case for this is the area which was less than sufficiently developed in the previous lives. If there are lapses in this then social or emotional punishment is swift and damaging in order to bring correction at the soul-level.
Mars shows the need to eschew anger and action without thought for consequences as this can be scarring. This is also for the reason that all natural malefics indicate an advanced soul and this correlates with greater challenges at the mundane level in life to shed more dross.
Natural malefics as the Ātmakāraka are associated with speedier advancement of the soul as the malefics are the ones which make the native otherwise take the detour to paths less desirable and if these very planets have taken up the cudgels to take the soul to its rightful destination then there is little wrong that the native can do in life.
Rāhu for this reason sometimes shows the most spiritual people when it is the Ātmakāraka in the chart. Besieged by deceit and shattered by shocks the native cannot repay in the same coin for if he should do so the reprisals from the Ātmakāraka are very damning indeed.
Mercury as the Ātmakāraka in any nativity will show the need to watch the speech and communications in general. Attention is to be paid to what one learns in life especially in this age of easy access as Budha is the archetypal student.
Jupiter as the Ātmakāraka shows the need to have faith in the Gurū and the learned man, in the scripture and in Veda and Vedāṅga. People should not be fashionably agnostic and worse with this feature in the chart else Gurū will be compelled to bring them to realisation which is not always an easy process.
When Venus becomes the Ātmakāraka the person is required to be pure in relationships and marriage.
[In marriage, it appears from fragments in popular culture, that the wife tends to ensure purity in the husband in any case, through various efficacious devices and methods, periodic checks and surprise tests which are reliably reported to catch the unwary totally off guard.]
The greatest malefic Saturn becoming the Ātmakāraka indicates taking on considerable sorrow and treading the path of life conservatively and with astute adherence to orthodox wisdom. If the latter is followed, the trials can be faced more readily.
The agenda of the Ātmakāraka-
The Ātmakāraka is the significator of the soul and the soul is not essentially an empirically rooted entity. Likewise the Ātmakāraka also works inwardly and its agenda is to bring the Jīvātman to Mokṣa and merge with the Paramātman. It will not rest until it does so.
Charakāraka and Bhāvas from the Lagna-
Though an unjustified divergence often comes from some modern astrologers, Parāśara is quite clear about the Charakāraka and the Bhāva significations from the Lagna. The following is the list of Charakāraka mapped to the various houses from the Lagna-
Ātmakāraka- Lagna and the 8th House
Amātyakāraka- 10th House
Bhrātṛkāraka- 3rd and 9th House; 11th House
Mātṛkāraka- 4th House
Pitṛkāraka- 9th House
Putrakāraka- 5th House
Jñātikāraka- 6th House
Dārākāraka- 2nd and 7th House
[The 12th House being Mokṣa Sthāna does not map to any Charakāraka.]
Charakāraka replacement or disappearance-
When any two planets are at the same degrees of longitude of arc (or minutes or seconds thereof as the case may be) then the one which is ahead by a margin of minutes or seconds or fraction of second is ultimately replaced from its perch of Charakāraka and disappears. This process is called Lopa. [Bṛhaṭ Pārāśara Horā Śāstra Śloka 16 ½- 17]
The planet originally ahead is called Agrakāraka, the one vying for the status is called the Madhyakhetaḥ and the planet which finally takes over the Charakāraka slot replaced is called the Aṅtyakāraka.
Charakāraka replacement and Jīvātman (Living Beings)-
In case of living beings, which we are, irrespective of vociferous and insistent suggestions to the contrary by the near and dear from time to time, the Charakāraka replacement reflects a flaw in the quality of time at birth. There is propensity for upheaval brought about by the phenomenon of replacement and the empty slot is to be filled by the Sthira Kāraka or the fixed significator.
Say, the Ātmakāraka and Amātyakāraka in any horoscope are at the same degrees of arc traversed, and the difference is in minutes or seconds, then the Amātyakāraka at some point will become the Ātmakāraka for many functional Kārmic purposes and the original Ātmakāraka disappears. The essential soul remains the same but life as a matrix of Karma changes completely. The slot of the Amātyakāraka falls vacant and is filled by the Sthira Kāraka for work and career, which is Jupiter. So, if Jupiter is not strong then there can be a great deal of suffering in matters indicated by Jupiter in the horoscope. This applies to any number of Charakārakas in the same degree.
The replacement of the Ātmakāraka by the Amātyakāraka completely shifts the focus in life and the events are such that the person will lose his sense of self and will focus only on what he has to do in this lifetime. He will throw away the notions which defined him and take on a totally new life path. If the original Amātyakāraka is the 5th Lord of children or the 7th Lord of marriage then these changes can happen with childbirth or marriage as the case may be and Gurū will hold the key as to what happens in life.
Timing this replacement is not always easy. Sometimes this can happen at the natural ages of fructification of the planets involved or at the time of activity associated with the planet (s).
What happens in life is not so much a subject of Satya or the Bhāvas from the Lagna, but those from the Ārūḍha Lagna which is the reference for events that transpire in life.
[Eg. Mahatma Gandhi who changed from a lawyer to a unique Satyagrahi politician becoming the Father of the Nation- it was a total change in life owing to the Charakāraka replacement of the Ātmakāraka by the Amātyakāraka and he became a Karmayogi. Results will depend on the study of each horoscope as to what these radical changes portend and they will span the entire spectrum of possibility.]
Or if the Bhratrikaraka is being replaced by the Mātṛkāraka then the entire way of thinking and the intelligence is going through a transformation and this will happen in accordance with the nature of the planet being replaced and the planet replacing. The slot of the Mātṛkāraka falls vacant and the strength of the Sthira Kārakas Cañdra and Maṅgala (yes, Mars) will decide the new Mātṛkāraka. The change in the nature and well-being of the mother depends on this.
Charakāraka replacement and Jaḍātman (Non-Living Beings)-
The simple truth about this is that Rāhu comes in when the Charakāraka replacement happens, even though he is originally out of reckoning in the seven Charakāraka scheme and the result is completely undesirable as cheating and machinations come in where they should have no place. [There should be no Charakāraka replacement in Muhūrta charts or electional astrology.]
Note- It is the Ātmakāraka which will decide the level of fortune and Dharma that the soul carries for any lifetime and is crucial for this reason as well.
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