Different Strengths


When judging the results given by houses and planets, we have to judge their strength. Sometimes we have to compare the strength of two planets and see which one will dominate. For example, when finding the arudha pada of a house falling in Scorpio, we learnt that we have to take the stronger of Mars and Ketu as the lord of Scorpio. In several rasi dasas, dasas start from the stronger of lagna and the 7th house. We need to be able to compare them and judge which is stronger. A house may be influenced by several planets and they may suggest contradictory results. In such a case, we need to decide which influence dominates.

There are different ways of measuring the strengths of planets and rasis for different purposes. We will learn some of them in this section.

Why Different Strengths

Why do we need different strengths for different purposes? Why can’t we use the same strength? To understand this, let us consider an analogy.

Suppose X is an engineer. Suppose Y is another engineer with exactly the same background and suppose Y comes to the house of X for a few days. Suppose Y sleeps in the afternoon and X doesn’t. Suppose it is 1 pm and Y is ready for his afternoon nap. Suppose the two engineers have promised a charity in town that they would give a big donation together and suppose someone from the charity comes to X’s house. Because it is not his house and because he is sleepy, Y is probably not going to play a prominent role and X is probably going to talk pleasantries and then give a check on behalf of Y and himself. The money is both his and Y’s, but X is in a better position to handle it. Shadbalas are similar to this. When two or more planets take part in a yoga, the one that is stronger as per shadbala ends up giving the results.

Both X and Y may have to deal with contractors, workers and vendors for their professional work. If Y has better relations with the people he deals with, he will be more productive at his work as an engineer. Similarly, strength as per ashtakavarga shows the ability of planets to deliver their goods in harmony with other planetary forces at work in a chart. Even if a planet has good shadbala, it will be unable to deliver its goods if it is at odds with other planets in the chart, i.e. has a low ashtakavarga strength.

An engineer who has good relations with workers, vendors and contractors related to one project may not go along well with people involved in another project. In that case, he will produce excellent results in the former project and he may not be effective in the latter. Similarly, a planet may have good ashtakavarga strength in one divisional chart and poor ashtakavarga strength in another divisional chart. Then it will give its results more effectively in the area of life related to the first chart.

Despite good capabilities and potential to get work done, Y may be unable to get his work done if he is depressed about something or if he is absent-minded for some reason. If he is in a cheerful state, he may get his work done well. Thus the state one is in decides one’s final output. Similarly, a planet must be in a good “avastha” (state) to give good results. There are different kinds of states – states related to age, states related to alertness, states related to mood and states related to activity.

When one hires an engineer as an employee or when one assigns a project to an engineer, one is concerned about how effective he will be in the project. But suppose one is considering the same engineer as a partner in business. Then his effectiveness in a particular project does not matter much. What matters now is how well rounded he is. He should have good overall knowledge of various projects. Vimsopaka bala is analogous to this. When we consider the overall effectiveness of a planet in one’s life, we no longer look at its effectiveness to give results in a specific area of life. Instead, we look at Vimsopaka bala. It shows the overall strength of a planet and its ability to play an important role in one’s life (rather than a specific area of life).

If X and Y have to decide who eats a cake first or who gets to drink the only can of soft drink left in the refrigerator, they are probably not going to argue about it. Their qualifications or productivity at work or mental state or overall ability are not going to matter. For something so trivial, they will probably toss a coin or have a friendly arm-wrestling or simply do what their friends present in the room suggest. If Y has more friends in the room and they say “let Y have it”, then Y is going to have it. Similarly, for trivial things like determining who initiates dasas, antardasas etc, we have very simple rules that are different from shadbala, ashtakavarga bala, avastha bala, Vimsopaka bala etc.

As it has been emphasized many times in this book, Vedic astrology has a rich variety of parameters, tools and techniques. Attempting to use various techniques in an interchangable manner only leads to confusion. One should strive to understand the meanings of various parameters and tools and use the right set of parameters and tools for the occasion. Though we have different ways of measuring a planet’s strength, their meanings are different and accordingly they are used for different purposes. We will learn the most common ones in this chapter.

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