An Introduction to the Yogini Dasha

Once upon a time, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were strolling in the forests of the Himalayas. Puzzled by the applicability of various dashas in astrology, Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva, “There are innumerable dasha systems in astrology, but in the Kaliyuga, which dasha would tell us in a flash the results of a person’s Karma?”

Lord Shiva said, “It is the Yogini dasha.” And thus Lord Shiva revealed this dasha to Goddess Parvati. In the Kaliyuga, after careful examination of this dasha on a chart, the results do not go wrong. By knowing the mere name of the Yogini operating for a person, the things happening in the life of that person during the period of Yogini can be known. According the Rudrayamal, the Yogini dasha gives excellent results in Kaliyuga:

क्रितादिकालत्रितये वरिष्ठं दशागणं यद्गदितं पुराणैः।

The dashas propounded by various ancient masters were excellent for the three yugas – Satyayuga, Tretayuga and Dwaparayuga – but for Kaliyuga, dasha calculatation based on Yogini dasha is great for giving all types of results.

In view of the above statement, it is surprising why this dasha is not more universally employed.

The conditions of applicability of three dashas – Vimshottari, Ashtottari and Yogini – are given thus:

Out of the three dashas applicable at the time of birth, Vimshottari dasha should be applied for the births at night during Shukla Paksha and Ashtottari dasha for births during day in Krishna Paksha. In all other cases Yogini dasha gives results.

It is generally observed that Yogini dasha, like Vimshottari dasha, gives results even if applied unconditionally.

The Basics

There are eight types of Yoginis: Mangala, Pingala, Dhanya, Bhramari, Bhadrika, Ulka, Siddha and Sankata. It is believed that the planets Moon, Sun, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn, Venus and Rahu have evolved respectively from the Yoginis Mangala, Pingala, etc. The sequence of these Yoginis, their lords and operative periods are given in Table 1.

Table 1

Order of Yoginis, their lords and dasha periods

Yogini Lord Period
Mangala Moon 1 year
Pingala Sun 2 years
Dhanya Jupiter 3 years
Bhramari Mars 4 years
Bhadrika Mercury 5 years
Ulka Saturn 6 years
Siddha Venus 7 years
Sankata Rahu 8 years
Total Period : 36 years

Please observe that the sequence of Yoginis is alternatively benefic and malefic and their periods are progressively increasing by one year.

Calculation of Yogini Dasha

Yogini dasha is a nakshatrika dasha based on the nakshatra of the Moon at the time of birth. Note down the nakshatra number of the Moon, taking Ashwini as nakshatra number 1. Add 3 to it. Divide by 8. The remainder represents the Yogini dasha operative at the time of birth. It should be restricted to whole numbers and remainder be noted down.

Dasha at Birth = (Moon’s nakshatra + 3) / 8

If the remainer is 1 the dasha operative at the time of birth is Mangala, if 2, Pingla, and so on.









8 or 0



Dasha operating at the time of birth

Suppose a person is born when the Moon was at 7s10°0′ (Scorpio 10 degrees). To calculate Yogini dasha operative at the time of birth, note down the nakshatra of the Moon which is Anuradha, nakshatra number 17. To this figure add 3. The result is 20. Now divide by 8. The quotient is 2 and the remainder is 4.

Dasha at Birth = (Nak # of Moon + 3) / 8 = (17+3)/8 = 20/8

Quotient = 2, Remainer = 4

Remainer 4 indicates that Bhramari dasha was running at the time of birth.

Calculation of Balance of dasha

To calculate the balance of dasha –

1. The balance of dasha is dependent on the degrees remaining to be traversed by the Moon in its nakshatra. Note down the extent of Moon’s nakshatra. In the above case the nakshatra is Anuradha which spans the arc 7s3°20′ to 7s16°40′.

2. Subtract the longitude of the Moon from the nakshatra ending degree.

End of Anuradha nak. = 7s16°40′

Longitude of the Moon (–) = 7s10°00′

Difference (say ‘A’) = 7s16°40′

3. Convert the difference ‘A’ into minutes by multiplying its degrees with 60 and adding the remaining minutes. The result is 400′.

4. Multiply the full period of Yogini operating at the time of birth with difference ‘A’ and divide by the full extent of nakshatra 13°20′ (or 800′).

Dasha balance = (Period of Yogini x difference ‘A’) / 800′

The Yogini operating at the time of birth was Bhramari whose full extent is 4 years or 48 months.

Dasha balance = (48 months x 400′) / 800′ = 24 months (2 years).

Calculation Sub periods of Yogini Dasha

In the major period of each Yogini, sub-periods of all Yoginis operate according to the propotional periods in the natural order starting from its own sub period. For example in the major period of Dhanya, sub-periods of all Yoginis will operate starting from Dhanya. The sub periods of all Yoginis operating under their major periods are given in Table 2.

Table 2 : Yogini Dasha Major and Sub Periods
Yogini -> Mangala(1 year) Pingala(2 years) Dhanya(3 years) Bhramari(4 years) Bhadrika(5 years) Ulka(6 years) Siddha(7 years) Sankata(8 years)
Sub periods y-m-d y-m-d y-m-d y-m-d y-m-d y-m-d y-m-d y-m-d
Mangala 0-1-10
Pingala 0-0-20 0-1-10
Dhanya 0-1-00 0-2-00 0-3-0
Bhramari 0-1-10 0-2-20 0-4-0 0-5-10
Bhadrika 0-1-20 0-3-10 0-5-0 0-6-20 0-8-10
Ulka 0-2-00 0-4-00 0-6-0 0-8-00 0-10-00 1-0-0
Siddha 0-2-10 0-4-20 0-7-0 0-9-10 0-11-20 1-2-0 1-4-10
Sankata 0-2-20 0-5-10 0-8-0 0-10-20 1-1-10 1-4-0 1-6-20 1-9-10
Mangala 0-2-00 0-1-0 0-1-10 0-1-20 0-2-0 0-2-10 0-2-20
Pingala 0-2-0 0-2-20 0-3-10 0-4-0 0-4-20 0-5-10
Dhanya 0-4-00 0-5-00 0-6-0 0-7-00 0-8-00
Bhramari 0-6-20 0-8-0 0-9-10 0-10-20
Bhadrika 0-10-0 0-11-20 1-1-10
Ulka 1-2-00 1-4-00
Siddha 1-6-20

The Benefic-Malefic Rulership of Yoginis

The eight Yoginis Mangala, Pingala, Dhanya, Bhramari, Bhadrika, Ulka, Siddha and Sankata are governed respectively by the Moon, the Sun, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn, Venus and Rahu. Some have the opinion that the first half of Sankata is ruled by Rahu while the second half is ruled by Ketu.

We see an imbalance of benefic and malefic periods operating through Yogini dasha in the life of an individual. The rulership of these Yoginis is alternatively benefic and malefic. Out of a total period of 36 years of Yogini dasha, 16 years are ruled by benefic planets – Mangala (Moon 1 year), Dhanya (Jupiter 3 years), Bhadrika (Mercury 5 years) and Siddha (Venus 7 years). The remaining 20 years are ruled by malefic planets Pingala (2 years), Bhramari (Mars 4 years), Ulka (Saturn 6 years) and Sankata (Rahu 8 years).

The Naamakshara

The Naamakshara is the first letter of the alphabet in an individual’s name. It is a common practice in India to name a new born child according to the Naamakshara indicated by the pada of the nakshatra of birth of the child. The nakshatra of birth is that nakshatra in which the natal Moon is located. Each nakshatra has four padas or quarters, and each pada indicates certain letters of the alphabet. All these alphabets are unique. At the time of birth, the placement of Moon in a particular nakshatra pada decides the first alphabet of the name of the child. If this system is followed, as has been the practice in India, by merely knowing the name of a person, we can know the nakshatra of his Moon.

There are many advantages of this system. For all the dashas based on the nakshatra of the Moon, the dasha operating at the time of birth and its approximate balance can be calculated. By adding various periods of dashas, the present operative dasha of a person can be found out. Since the operative Yogini dasha reveals a lot about the likely things happening in the life of a person, even in the absence of a proper horoscope, we can know a lot about the person. The marital compatibility of two persons is also based on the Moon’s nakshatra. The operative period of sadhe-saati can be known since it is based on the placement of Moon in a sign and the transit of Saturn in or around that sign.

The table on the facing page reveals the meanings of Yoginis and the results of Yogini dasha major periods as given in the classics. It is generally observed that irrespective of the disbursement of planets in the horoscope of individuals, Yogini dasha periods do give results according to thier meanings as explained in the table.

Analysis of Individual Houses

The key to interpretation of a horoscopic chart lies in the assessment of the strength and weakness of different houses of a horoscope. The twelve houses of a horoscope encompass all the areas in the life of an individual. The strength or weakness of a house will influence the results attributed to that particular house. The quality, quantity and nature of results of individual houses are dependent upon the combined indications of the disposition of the three factors, namely: the house, the house lord, and the karaka or significator.

House: The house is influenced either by placement or by aspect of planets. Influence by the lords of malefic houses or by natural malefics will adversely influence the results ascribed to that house. Similarly placement or aspect of benefics or lords of benefic houses enhances the results of the house concerned. Placement of the house lord in its own house protects the house and it will always improve the results of the house.

House Lord: Disposition of the house lord in one of the trines or kendras gives positive results while placement in Trika (6th, 8th or 12th) houses is a negative factor for the house.

Significator: Ill disposed, weak or afflicted significator gives trouble in respect of the areas indicated by significator.

A deep analysis of these three factors – the house, the house lord and the significator – will indicate whether the results attributed to the house will be negative or positive and also the extent to which they will be adverse or favourable. Relevant divisional charts play a pivotal role in the final outcome of the results.

Significator Planets for the Twelve Houses

House Significator Planet
First House Sun.
Second House Jupiter for wealth, Mercury for speech.
Third House Mars for co-borns and valour, Saturn for servants and subordinates.
Fourth House Moon for mother, Venus for conveyances, Mars for lands and properties.
Fifth House Jupiter for children, Mercury for education.
Sixth House Mars for accidents, Saturn for sickness, Mercury for maternal relations.
Seventh House Venus for spouse.
Eighth House Saturn for longevity.
Ninth House Sun for father, Jupiter for guru, teacher or religion.
Tenth House Sun for profession.
Eleventh House Jupiter for elder brothers-sisters, and gains.
Twelfth House Saturn for separation or renunciation, Venus for bed pleasures, Ketu for emancipation.

Houses to be considered for different significations

Relation Significator Planet and House
Father The Sun and the ninth house from the Sun.
Mother The Moon and the fourth house from the Moon.
Younger brothers and sisters Mars and the third house from Mars.
Elder brothers and sisters Jupiter and the eleventh house from Jupiter.
Spouse Venus and the seventh house from Venus. Some are of the opinion that for female horoscopes, Jupiter should be considered for spouse.
Children Jupiter and the fifth house from Jupiter.
Maternal Uncle Mercury and the sixth house from Mercury.
Lands and properties Mars and the fourth house from Mars.
Luxuries and conveyances Venus and the fourth house from Venus.
Education Mercury and the fifth house from Mercury.
Longevity Saturn and the eighth house from Saturn.

Maraka Houses and Planets

The eighth house from the lagna is the house of longevity. The eighth from the eighth house is the third house, an alternative house of longevity. Twelfth from any house causes loss to that house. In this case twelfth from third and eighth houses are second and seventh houses respectively, which cause loss of longevity and as such are called death inflicting houses or maraka houses. The seventh and the second lords also become the killer or maraka planets. The planets posited in the maraka houses, with the killer planets, and the planets aspected by the killer planets also gain death inflicting powers and become maraka or killer planets. The lord of the twelfth house is also considered a maraka. Saturn is the unconditional maraka for any lagna. Rahu, if placed in sixth, eighth or twelfth house also becomes maraka.

Application of Yogini Dasha on Horoscopic Charts

Before applying dasha system to a horoscope in order to time events, a general assessment of the horoscope is essential. Each house needs to be examined from the lagna, as well as its Karaka. In addition, while examining a particular house, that house needs to be treated as lagna and all other houses considered in relation to that house. For example, in matters of progeny, one needs to consider the fifth house from the lagna, the fifth house from the Karaka Jupiter and also the fifth house from the fifth (i.e., the ninth house from the lagna). In addition, the appropriate divisional chart should also be considered. While considering the appropriate divisional chart, however, it needs to be remembered that the lagna of the divisional chart is additionally significant in respect of the appropriate aspect of life signified by that chart.

In case of the Yogini Dasha, the lords of the different Yoginis are to be considered as the operative dasha lords. To apply Yogini dasha on the horoscope of an individual, first of all take note of the Yogini dasha-antara (major and sub-periods) operating for the period under consideration. Next, find the lords of the relevant Yoginis (major and sub-periods). These dasha lords need to be assessed from the following points:

1. Rashi chart :

(a) from the house under consideration; and

(b) from the significator.

2. Divisional chart :

(a) from the lagna;

(b) from the house under consideration; and

(c) from the significator.

An attempt will be made here to explain the method of application of Yogini dasha through some example horoscopes related to varying areas of life of different natives. For constraints of space only the birth charts and the dwadshamsha charts are being given in the present article; the navamsha charts are not being included in this discussion.


The Sun is considered the significator for the father of a native. If the Sun and the ninth lord are weak or placed in malefic houses, along with affliction of the ninth house, the ninth lord or the Sun by the Trika lords (6th, 8th or 12th lords), it could be a combination for ill-health or even fatality to the father of the native. In order to judge the events pertaining to one’s father, the following factors need to be considered:

(a) Rashi chart: the Sun, the ninth from the lagna and ninth from the Sun

(b) Dwadashamsha chart: the lagna, the Sun, the ninth from the lagna and the ninth from the Sun.

Example One

The native belonging to Chart 1 (born April 24, 1985; 17:39 hrs IST; 28°N39′, 77°E13′) lost his father at an early age. The ninth house is occu-pied by the eighth lord Mars and aspected by a retrograde sixth lord Saturn from the third house. The placement of an exalted eleventh lord Moon also in the ninth house aspected by a debilitated Jupiter from the fifth are relatively ineffective factors for mitigating the affliction to the ninth house. The ninth lord in the seventh, though exalted, is retrograde and associated with a debilitated Mercury.

The Sun, the significator for father, is placed in the adverse eighth house associated with Rahu, without any releiving factor. The ninth house from the Sun receives the aspect of the eighth lord Mars while the ninth lord Jupiter is debilitated and aspected by a retrograde Saturn.

In the dwadashamsha chart, the lagna is heavily afflicted, being occupied by a debilitated Mars, the malignant Ketu and a retrograde Venus. There is no benefic aspect on the lagna or the lagna lord. The ninth lord Jupiter, which also happens to be the sixth lord, is aspected by a retrograde eighth lord Saturn from the sixth house. The ninth lord from the Sun is also heavily afflicted.

Yogini Dasha

The native lost his father on October 1, 1989 when he was running the Yogini dasha of Sankata-Siddha, equivalent to Rahu-Venus.

In the birth chart the major-period lord Rahu is placed in the eighth house with the Sun, the significator for father. Rahu represents Saturn, which occupies the eighth house from the Sun and the seventh (a maraka house) from the ninth house. By its placement in Mesha, it also represents Mars which occupies the ninth house and owns eighth house from the Sun. Venus, the sub-period lord is the owner of the ninth house from the lagna. It is a maraka (lord of the second as well as the seventh) from the Sun and occupies the twelfth from it.

In the dwadashamsha chart, Venus as well as the Rahu-Ketu axis involve the lagna. From the Sun both of them fall in the adverse six-twelve axis. From the ninth house, Venus happens to be the retrograde lord of the eighth house associated with Mars and Ketu.

Example Two

Chart 2 (born September 1, 1989; 9:17 hrs IST; 28°N39′, 77°E13′) belongs to the younger brother of native of Chart 1. He was only a month old when he lost his father.

In the rashi chart the ninth lord is debilitated in the lagna and aspected by a retrograde sixth lord Saturn. The Sun is afflicted in the twelfth house by its association with the eighth lord Mars and with Ketu. The ninth from the Sun is owned by Mars which is afflicted by the Sun and Ketu. The Moon joins this combination of Mars, Sun and Ketu in the twelfth house without providing any relief; it is a weak Moon which is debilitated in the Navamsha (Prepare the navamsha chart to see this!).

In the dwadashamsha the lagna is occupied by Ketu and aspected by Mars. The Sun, the significator as well as the lagna lord, occupies the adverse sixth house. The ninth house from the lagna receives the aspect of the eighth lord Jupiter and the ninth lord associates with a highly malefic retrograde sixth lord Saturn.

Yogini Dasha

The yogini dasha operating at the time of his father’s death was Ulka-Bhadrika ruled respectively by Saturn and Mercury.

In the Birth Chart, the major-period lord Saturn is the sixth lord aspecting the ninth lord Venus. Saturn also happens to be a maraka, being the lord of the sixth and the seventh houses, from the Sun. The sub-period lord Mercury is conjoined with the ninth lord Venus and aspected by a retrograde sixth lord Saturn. From the Sun, Mercury occupies the maraka second house.

In the dwadashamsha chart Saturn is a maraka being the lord of the sixth and the seventh houses from the lagna. From the ninth, it occupies the second house. Its association with Mars, the ninth lord, further confirms the affliction to the father during the dasha of Saturn. Mercury occupies the sixth house from the lagna and owns the sixth as well as the ninth from the Sun.

To further elucidate the above mentioned principles, two more charts of siblings are being given here.

Example Three

Chart 3 (born on August 5, 1981; 7:20 hrs IST; 28°N39′, 77°E13′) belongs to a female native who lost her father in a road side accident at the tender age of seven. Mars, the lord of the ninth from the lagna, occupies an inimical sign and is aspected by the sixth lord Saturn. The Sun occupies the adverse twelfth house and falls in the Rahu-Ketu axis. The ninth from the Sun is aspected by the seventh and the eight lord Saturn. Jupiter, the lord of the ninth from the Sun, is under a dual malefic influence of Saturn and Mars.

In the dwadashamsha, the ninth lord occupies the sixth house in association with Ketu and the twelfth lord Venus and is aspected by the sixth lord Mars. The ninth house receives the aspect of Mars and Saturn. From the Sun the ninth house is occupied by Rahu, aspected by the sixth lord Moon and the twelfth lord Saturn. Venus, the ninth lord from the Sun is associated with Ketu and the sixth lord, the Moon and aspected by Mars. The association of the fourth lord Saturn with the sixth lord Mars in the third house, aspecting the ninth house, without any relief from benefic association or aspect indicates a vehicular accident to the father of the native.

Yogini Dasha

The native lost her father in November 1988 when she was running the Yogini dasha Dhanya-Ulka owned by Jupiter and Saturn respectively.

Jupiter is the lord of the sixth as well as the ninth from the Sun, is associated with the sixth and the seventh lord Saturn and aspected by Mars. From the Sun, Saturn owns the highly malefic seventh and eighth houses. Both Jupiter and Saturn occupy the second house which falls in the sixth from the ninth.

In the dwadashamsha chart, Jupiter as the second lord from the lagna as well as the Sun associates with the Sun in the eighth from the ninth house. Saturn in association with the sixth lord aspects the ninth from the third, the twelfth from the Sun. Both Saturn and Jupiter aspect the ninth house from the Sun.

Example Four

Chart 4 (born on December 26, 1985; 7:00 hrs IST; 28°N39′, 77°E13′) belongs the the younger brother of the above native. The Sun, the Karaka for the father as well as the ninth lord, occupies the lagna in association with the sixth lord. The ninth house from the lagna as well as the Sun receives the aspect of Saturn.

In the dwadashamsha, the lagna lord is associated with the malefics Mars, Ketu and the sixth lord Moon. The ninth lord from the lagna occupies the twelfth house, aspected by the eighth lord Mercury. The ninth house receives the aspect of Mars. From the Sun, the ninth lord Jupiter in the seventh is aspected by the eighth lord Mars while the ninth house itself is aspected by Saturn. Considering the ninth house of the dwadashamsha as the lagna, a highly malefic combination consisting of Moon, Mars, Saturn and Ketu forms in the sixth house. From the ninth house, the fourth lord falls in the sixth house; from the Sun too, the sixth lord falls in the fourth house; both these confirm the promise of an accident in the dwadashamsha chart.

Yogini Dasha

The Yogini dasha operating at the time of the adverse event was Sankata-Bhadrika equivalent to Rahu-Mercury. Rahu represents Saturn which latter falls in the twelfth from the lagna as well as the Sun, the Karaka as well as the ninth lord. Rahu by its position in Mesha also represents Mars which owns the twelfth house from the lagna as well as the Sun and is joined by Ketu. Mercury, in association with Saturn and under the aspect of the eighth lord Moon, falls in the twelfth house from the lagna as well as the Sun. In the dwadashamsha, Rahu occupies the eighth from the lagna and the sixth from the Sun. Mercury owns the eight house from the lagna and the sixth house from the Sun. As the lord of the sixth from the Sun, Mercury occupies the fourth house and is aspected by the Maraka Venus.


The Yogini dasha should be applied not only from the lagnas of the birth chart and the divisional chart but also from the house under consideration and the significator for that house. The position of the significator and the appropriate house thus function as alternative lagnas. These principles will be further elucidated by appropriate examples in subsequent articles.

Astrology Primer Astronomy Basic Concepts

The Vedic System of Calculating the Ascendant

The most important point in the construction of a horoscope is the Ascendant. The ascendant is the point of cutting of the ecliptic by the eastern horizon of a place.

The earth spinning on its axis in a linear movement takes 24 hours to complete one rotation. But what exactly is the duration of a day? There are many types of days prevalent.

Sidereal day: The time taken by earth to spin one complete rotation of 360 degrees on its axis. Average duration of one sidereal day is 23 hrs, 56 min, 4.091 sec.

Savana day: The duration of time between one sunrise to another sunrise is a Savana day. For people living in northern hemisphere, from winter solstice day onwards, the sunshine hours (dinamana) increases and night hours (ratrimana) decreases. As the sunrise every day is earlier than the previous day, the duration of the savana day is less than 24 hours till the Sun reaches its maximum declination at summer solstice. After that the dinamana reduces and the ratrimana increases. Since the sunrise of every day is later than the previous day, the duration of the savana day is more than 24 hours till it reaches the winter solstice again.

Mean Solar Day: The average of all the days of a year. It’s duration is equal to 24 hours.

The Vedic system recognises a day as the duration of time from one sunrise to the next sunrise. This span, known as a Savana day, is measured in units of ghatis. One Savana day is equal to 60 ghatis and each ghati is divisible into 60 palas or vighatis.

The earth continuously spins on its axis in a west to east direction. For a person situated on the surface of the earth, different signs of the zodiac appear to rise in the eastern horizon and set in the western horizon. With the completion of one rotation of the earth, all the twelve signs of the zodiac rise and set during one sidereal day.

Rashimana (Oblique Ascension)

Rashimana is the rising periods of signs of the zodiac. As there are twelve equally divided signs of the zodiac and it takes approximately 24 hours for all the signs to rise, therefore, one sign should take about two hours to rise in the eastern horizon. But it’s not so. As the plane of the ecliptic is inclined at an angle of 23.5 degrees to the plane of the celestial equator, the rising time of different signs is not uniform. The time taken by different groups of signs at the equator is given in Table 1.

Table 1.

Time taken by different group of signs to rise at the Equator

Group Signs Rashimana in
I Aries Virgo Libra Pisces 1674 asus 1h51m36s
II Taurus Leo Scorpio Aquarius 1795 asus 1h59m40s
III Gemini Cancer Sagittarius Capricorn 1931 asus 2h08m44s

Rashimana values are calculated for Sayana signs and are measured in units of Asus. One unit of Asu is equivalent to 4 seconds of sidereal time. Rashimana values vary from one latitude to another. These values once calculated for any place do not change from year to year.

Charakhandas (Ascensional Differences)

Variations in the rising of different signs at different latitudes can be calculated with the help of Charakhandas or ascensional differences for those latitudes.

To know the Charakhandas of a particular place with the help of ‘Hindu Dial’, measure the length of the mid-day shadow, on the day of the equinox, of a shanku of 12 units length (please refer to Astrology Primer # 5, Vol.1, No.5). Put this figure at three places and multiply the first figure with 10; second with 8 and; third with 10 divided by 3. This gives the Charakhandas for I, II, and III groups of signs respectively. These Charakhanda values are in palas or vighaties. To convert these values to asus, multiply the charakhandas by six.

Signs of Long Ascension and Short Ascension

For people living in the northern hemisphere of the earth, on the day of winter solstice, when the Sun is at zero degrees Sayana Capricorn, the sunshine hours are the shortest. With the rising of the Sun, sign Capricorn rises in the eastern horizon followed by other signs in sequence. At the time of sunset, the point rising at the eastern horizon would be 180° opposite the Sun’s longitude (thus zero degrees Cancer). Therefore, during the daytime signs Capricorn to Gemini rise in the shortest duration of time, while at night the signs Cancer to Sagittarius take the longest duration of time.

Table 2.

Signs of Short and Long Ascension for Northern Hemisphere*

Signs of Short Ascension* Signs of Long Ascension*
10 – Capricorn

11 – Aquarius

12 – Pisces

1 – Aries

2 – Taurus

3 – Gemini

4 – Cancer

5 – Leo

6 – Virgo

7 – Libra

8 – Scorpio

9 – Sagittarius

* For southern hemisphere short and long ascension rashis are reversed.

When the Sun is at summer solstice (zero degrees Sayana Cancer) during the daytime signs Cancer to Sagittarius spend the longest duration of time to rise and during night signs Capricorn to Gemini take the shortest duration of time.

Sign which takes longer time in rising than the time taken by same sign at the equator, is the sign of long ascension and the sign which takes shorter time in rising is the sign of short ascension. Signs Capricorn to Gemini are short ascension signs while Cancer to Sagittarius are long ascension signs for norther latitudes. Reverse is the case for people living in the southern latitudes.

As the latitude of the observer increases, the duration of signs of long ascension become much longer while the duration of signs of short ascension become much shorter.

Calculation of rising times of different signs (Rashimana) for a particular place

After knowing the Charakhandas of a particular place, we can calculate the rashimana of different signs. Add the Charakanda values, in asus, to the rashimana values at the equator in their respective groups for signs of long ascension and subtract the Charakhandas from their respective groups for signs of short ascension.

Correlation of the earth with the Zodiac

Calculation of ascendant for any given moment is an effort to establish a relationship between the horizon of the observer on the earth with the zodiac.

The earth is spinning continuously on its axis. To an observer, being located on the surface of the earth, it appears that the earth is stationary and the sky with all the stars and heavenly bodies is drifting towards the west after rising in the east.

To establish a relationship of the earth with the zodiac, we have to refer to some identifiable point on the zodiac. The rising, setting or the meridian passage of this point is to be observed to find out the actual position of this point at any given moment of time for the place of location of the observer. Once we know the position of one point of the zodiac, we can relate the other points of the zodiac with respect to this identifiable point.

This identifiable point could be a star or a planet or the vernal equinox (zero degrees Sayana Aries point) of the zodiac. When we observe the passing of the Vernal Equinox on the meridian of a place, it is zero hours Sidereal time for that place. Sidereal time at any given moment indicates the time elapsed since the vernal equinox crossed the meridian of that place.

The Indian system makes use of the position of the Sun in the zodiac to establish a link between the earth and the zodiac. At the time of sunrise, the centre of the Sun is touching the eastern horizon. Sunrise is considered to be the beginning to the day and that day remains in force till the next sunrise. The duration of this day is considered to be equal to sixty ghatis. One ghati is roughly equal to 24 minues of time.

The longitude of the Sun is identical with the cusp of the sign rising at the time of sunrise. A track of the number of ghatis and palas passed since sunrise is kept and is called Ishtakaala.

Since the rashimana values are for Sayana signs, the longitude of the Sun is also considered in Sayana values.

Inputs to calculate the Ascendant

In order to calculate the cusp of the ascendant, we need the following:

1. The time of sunrise at the required place on the relevant day.

2. The Sayana position of the Sun at the time of sunrise at the place in question. In case the available ephe-meris provides the nirayana position of the Sun, the Sayana position may be obtained by adding to it the appropriate ayanamsha.

3. The ishtakala or the duration of time elapsed from the time of sunrise.

4. Rashimana or the duration of the rising of different signs at the particular latitude of the place.

Steps to Calculate the Ascendant

The following steps describe the method of calculation of the ascendant for a given place at a given date and time. For example, let’s calculate the ascendant rising at Gurdaspur, India (latitude 32°N02′ longitude 75°E31′) on April 1, 1997 at 12.00 hours IST.

Step 1. Calculate the Charakhandas

On the ‘Hindu Dial’, measure the length of the mid-day shadow, on the day of the equinox, of a shanku of 12 units length.

Table 3:
Length of the equinoctial shadow of a Shanku of 12 units at different latitudes
Lat. Length Lat. Length Lat. Length Lat. Length
01° 0.21 16° 3.44 31° 7.21 46° 12.42
02° 0.42 17° 3.66 32° 7.50 47° 12.87
03° 0.63 18° 3.90 33° 7.79 48° 13.33
04° 0.84 19° 4.13 34° 8.09 49° 13.80
05° 1.05 20° 4.37 35° 8.40 50° 14.30
06° 1.26 21° 4.60 36° 8.71 51° 14.82
07° 1.47 22° 4.85 37° 9.04 52° 15.35
08° 1.69 23° 5.09 38° 9.37 53° 15.92
09° 1.90 24° 5.34 39° 9.72 54° 16.52
10° 2.11 25° 5.59 40° 10.06 55° 17.13
11° 2.33 26° 5.85 41° 10.43 56° 17.79
12° 2.55 27° 6.11 42° 10.80 57° 18.46
13° 2.70 28° 6.38 43° 11.19 58° 19.20
14° 2.99 29° 6.65 44° 11.58 59° 19.97
15° 3.21 30° 6.93 45° 12.00 60° 20.78

The length of the shadow at Gurdaspur (32 degrees latitude) from the above table is 7.5 units. Now multiply this figure with 10, 8, and 10/3 respectively to get the Charakhanda values in palas or vighatis.

Group Shanku length x value Charakhanda in palas
I 7.5 x 10 = 75 palas
II 7.5 x 8 = 60 palas
III 7.5 x 10/3 = 25 palas

Multiply each with 6 to convert the values in asus.

Group Charakhanda x 6 Charakhanda in asus
I 75 palas x 6 = 450 asus
II 60 palas x 6 = 360 asus
III 25 palas x 6 = 150 asus

The derived values of 450, 360 and 150 are the charakhandas for I, II and III groups of signs respectively.

Step 2. Calculate the Rashimana

The Rashimana for different groups of signs at the equator are:

Group Signs Rashimana
I 1, 6, 7, 12 1674 asus
II 2, 5, 8, 11 1795 asus
III 3, 4, 9, 10 1931 asus

To the above rashimanas we apply the Charakhanda corrections as worked out above to obtain the rashimana for different signs at the latitude in question. Add the Charakandas to their respective groups for signs of long ascension and subtract the Charakhandas from their respective groups for signs of short ascension.

Group Signs Rashimana in
Short Ascension Asus hr-mn-sc
I 1, 12 1674 – 450 = 1224 1:21:36
II 2, 11 1795 – 360 = 1435 1:35:40
III 3, 10 1931 – 150 = 1781 1:58:44
Long Ascension
I 4, 9 1931 + 150 = 2081 2:18:44
II 5, 8 1795 + 360 = 2155 2:23:40
III 6, 7 1674 + 450 = 2124 2:21:36

Step 3. Find out the Sunrise time

From the ephemeris, calculate the sunrise time on the given date for the place of birth. For Gurdaspur the sunrise time is 6h:20m:40s (IST).

Step 4. Find out the Sayana Sun

Again from the ephemeris, calculate the position of Sayan Sun at the time of sunrise. If the available ephemeris provides the longitudes of planets in nirayana values, add the ayanamsha to the Sun’s longitude to get the Sayana value. The nirayana longitude of the sun at the time of sunrise on April 1, 1997 is 11s17°31’16”. Adding to this the ayanamsha value on the given date, i.e., 23°49’06”, we get the Sayana longitude of the Sun at the time of sunrise as 0s11°20’22”. This also indicates the longitude of the ascendant at the time of sunrise.

Step 5. Find out the Ishtakala

Ishtakala is the time elapsed since the time of sunrise to the time of birth. Traditionally the time of birth is recorded in ishtakala only. Since in our example the time of birth is in hours-minutes, etc., it can be converted to ishtakala by subtracting the time of sunrise from the time of birth.

Time of birth : 12h:00m:00s

Sunrise time : 06h:20m:40s

Ishtakala in hrs. : 05h:39m:20s

Step 6. Cusp of the Ascendant

From Step 4 above, we know the sign that the sun is in at sunrise and, therefore, the cusp of the sign rising at the time of sunrise. The duration of this sign being known (Step 2), it is possible to work out how much of this sign has yet to rise above horizon and how much time it will take to do so.

Long. of Sun (Cusp at sunrise): = 0s11°20’22”
Bal. of sign Aries yet to rise: (30°00’00” – 11°20’22”) = 18°39’38”
Time taken by 30 degrees of Aries to rise: = 1h:21m:36s (Step 2)
Time taken by 18°39’38” of Aries to rise: (1:21:36 / 30°) x 18°39’38” = 0h:50m:45s

After 50m:45s of sunrise (i.e. from 7h:11m:25s onwards), the sign Taurus will start and last for 1h:35m:40s (i.e., upto 8h:47m:05s). The next sign Gemini (with a duration of 1h:58m:44s) lasts until 10h:45m:49s. Cancer (duration of 2h:18m:44s) lasts until 13h:04m:33s which includes our time of birth (12 noon). Thus we have Cancer rising at 12 noon.

Time elapsed from the onset of Cancer lagna upto the time of birth (12:00:00 – 10:45:49) = 1h:14m:11s
Arc of Cancer rising in 2h:18m:44s = 30°
Arc of Cancer rising in 1h:14m:11s = (30° / 2:18:44) x 1:14:11 = 16°02’30”

Thus we get the cusp of ascendant at 12 noon as Cancer 16°02’30”. This is the Sayana value. Reduce the ayanamsha from this value to obtain the cusp of the ascendant in nirayana value. Thus the nirayana ascendant would be: 3s16°02’30” – 23°49’06” = 2s22°13’24” or Gemini rising at 22°13’24”.

Astrology Primer Astronomy Basic Concepts

How to Create and Use Vedic Sundial

This article explores the ingenuity of ancient Vedic scholars in extracting the vast astronomical information with the help of very simple instruments.

Here we propose to explain the method of erecting a ‘Vedic Sundial’ as described in the Narada Purana (II.50.125-131), believed to be one of the ancient classics compiled around 1700 BC, and the Surya Siddhanta, one of the most important Indian astronomical classics.

The erection of the ‘Vedic Sundial’

Select a flat smooth stone or prepare a cemented surface, and level it with water. Draw an even circle having a radius of 12 units of any measurement. In the centre of this circle fix a cylindrical shaft, called ‘Shanku’. The Shanku is divided in twelve equal parts and has a height equal to the radius of the circle.

The classics refer to the unit of measurement as angula or ‘a finger’s-breadth’. The Shanku should be two angulas in diameter, uniformly circular (cylindrical), twelve angulas in height and made of strong wood. If according to this measurement a Shanku of twelve angula is formed, it will have a height of about nine inches.

Knowing the directions

Mark the two points on the circle where the extremity of the Shanku’s shadow touches the circle, once in the forenoon and again in the afternoon. Please refer to the diagram below. Points A and B represent the forenoon and the afternoon points respectively.

Considering these two points as the centre, draw two bisecting arcs a and b, forming the shape of a ‘fish’. Draw a line passing through the ‘mouth’ and ‘tail’ of this fish. This line is the north-south direction line. The line will pass through the centre of the circle O and touch the circle at two points N and S, indicating the north and south points. This line also indicates the meridian of the place.

Again form a ‘fish-figure’ on the north-south line by drawing two bisecting arcs n and s keeping the north and south points as their centres. A line formed by joining the ‘mouth’ and ‘tail’ will be perpendicular to the north-south line and is known as the east-west line. The east-west line passes through the centre of the circle and cuts the circle at two points E and W indicating the east and west points. The east-west line, is also called the prime vertical. The point O, the point of intersection of the north-south and east-west lines, which is also the centre point of the circle where the base of the Shanku lies, is the zenith point.

Thus, after knowing the four directions, by forming similar ‘fish-figures’ (bisecting arcs) between the two points of the directions, find out the four intermediate directions and mark them appropriately.

Draw a circumscribing square, having its sides equal to the diameter of the circle and the four corners of the square touching the four cardinal direction lines NE, SE, SW, NW. The east and west sides of this square are each divided into twenty four parts to form a linear scale. Its use is to aid in ascertaining the length of any given shadow.

Find the position of the Sun

The Indian system of astronomy primarily does the calculations in the Sayana (tropical) system. To convert the planetary longitudes to Nirayana (sidereal), subtract ayanamsha for the given moment from the Sayana position.

Mid-day shadow: When the shadow of the Shanku coincides with the north-south line, the Sun is exactly on the meridian of the place. At that time it is local noon or mid-day of that place. The shadow thus formed is referred to as the mid-day shadow.

Equinoctial shadow: When the Sun is either on the vernal equinox or on the autumnal equinox, the shadow of the Shanku thus formed on the mid-day is termed as Palabha or equinoctial shadow.

Equinoctial line: Mark the extremity of the mid-day shadow on the day when the Sun is at the equinox. Draw a line parallel to the east-west line, touching this point. The line is called the equinoctial line. Refer to the diagram on the right.

North declination line: On the day of the summer solstice, when the Sun is at its maximum declination north, mark the extremity of the midday shadow and draw a line touching this point, parallel to the east-west line and mark it summer solstice line or north declination line.

South declination line: Again on the day of the winter solstice, when the Sun is at its maximum declination south, mark the extremity of the midday shadow. Draw a line parallel to the east-west line passing through this point and mark the line as the winter solstice line or south declination line.

In the above paragraphs we have referred to summer and winter solstice as applicable to persons in the earth’s northern hemisphere. For people in the southern hemisphere, for example Australia, Sun’s maximum northern declination is referred to as winter solstice and Sun’s maximum southern declination as summer solstice.

Now we have got three lines: north declination line, equinoctial line and south declination line. The equinoctial line will be in between the two maximum declination lines of the Sun. On the north-south line, divide the distance between the north declination line and the equinoctial line in three parts, and the distance between the equinoctial line and south declination line also in three parts. On the left side of these six divisions mark vertically from top to bottom 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 4. On the right side of these six divisions again mark from top to bottom 10, 11, 12, 1, 2 and 3. These numbers represent the rashis. If the person is located near the equator, these divisions will be uniformally spaced out. But if the person is located far north of the equator, the divisions for signs Libra to Pisces would be more spaced out compared to the divisions for Aries to Virgo. Reverse would be the case for a person located far south from the equator. For persons located at higher latitudes, north or south, it is best to mark the extremity of shadows on the days of Sayana Sankranti (entrance of Sun in Sayana rashis) either of the six rashis of Uttarayana (Capricorn to Gemini) or Dakshinayana (Cancer to Sagittarius).

Observe the extremity of the midday shadow of the Shanku on any day of the year on the scale. When the Sun is in its southward course, the shadow point on the scale indicates the position of the Sun among six rashis from Karka (Cancer) to Dhanu (Sagittarius). When the Sun is in its northward course, the midday shadow point on the scale indicates the position of the Sun among six rashis from Makara (Capricorn) to Mithuna (Gemini).

Astrology Primer Astronomy Basic Concepts

The Basic Concepts of Astronomy Relevant to Astrology

The Branches of Vedic Astrology

Jyotish is considered to be one of the Vedangas (part of Vedas) propounded by lord Brahma by the scientific study of which human beings can accomplish virtue. Jyotish shastra or the science of Vedic astrology, is a compilation of 4,00,000 verses (vide Narada Purana, II.50.2). Vedic astrology has mainly three branches – Siddhanta (the principle), Jataka or Hora (astrology for individuals) and Samhita (astrology for masses).

Siddhanta, also known as Ganita, deals with the mathematical calculations, the methodology of calculating planetary positions, knowledge about time, place, direction, lunar and solar eclipses, their rising and setting, planetary movements, conjunctions, retrogression, etc.

Jataka (Hora) deals with the techniques of interpretation of horoscopes of individuals. It describes signs, planets, their qualities, family situations/ circumstances at the time of birth, arishta (mishaps), longevity of the native, different dasha systems and their results, profession (sources of livelihood), ashtakavarga, varied types of yogas, results of planetary positions in different houses, signs, nakshatras, aspects of planets, planetary combinations, female horoscopy, circumstances at the time of death, cases of unknown birth time, etc. The term ‘Hora’ has been applied to ‘Jataka’ or natal astrology, as well as to the ‘Muhurta’ or electional astrology (i.e., selecting the appropriate moment to commence an undertaking).

Samhita is that branch of astrology which is related to masses and is a compilation of varied subjects like the results of rising and setting of planets, appearance of different types of comets, varied types of chakras, predicting about rainfalls, earthquakes, natural disasters and epidemics, results of planetary movements on kingdoms, nations, masses and commodities, etc.

The Geocentric System

It is a human tendency to refer to other things in relation to oneself. Sitting in a moving train, we see things passing by the train – trees, farms, hutments, etc. A common question arises in our mind – which is the station coming next? At the back of our mind we do know that it is not the station which is going to come, it is the train which will reach the next station. Similarly we refer to the rising and setting of the Sun. But we do know that it is not the Sun which is rising or setting, it is the spin of the earth which makes it appear so.

Because we feel stationary on the solid earth, the sky seems to spin around us in complicated ways. In our quest to understand what we see, our ancients had evolved a most innovative and powerful tool.

As nothing is stationary in the universe, whether it is a satellite or a planet or even a star, it is convenient to imagine our position in the universe – the earth – as its centre and the whole of the universe moving around us in constant motion. Thus considering the relative positions and movements of all heavenly bodies with respect to the earth is the Geo-centric system. On the other hand, when we consider the relative position of planets (including the earth) in respect of the Sun, it forms the basis of the Helio-centric system. Vedic astronomy and astrology are essentially geo-centric in their concept.

The Earth

The earth is spherical and rotates from west to east around its axis. The axis of the earth is an imaginary line which, passing through its centre, connects its two poles, the north pole and the south pole. Another imaginary line running across the largest circumference of the earth, equidistant from its poles and running in an east-west direction, is called the equator.

The Celestial Sphere

Think of the sky as a great, hollow, crystalline sphere surrounding the earth. Imagine the stars to be attached to the inside of the sphere like thumbnails stuck in the ceiling. The sphere takes one day to rotate, carrying the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the stars from east to west. We know that the sky is not a great, hollow, crystalline sphere. The stars are scattered through space at different distances, and it isn’t the sky that rotates once a day. It is rather the earth that rotates once in a day around its axis. It is convenient as a model of the sky. This model of the sky, the Celestial sphere, is an imaginary hollow sphere of very large radius (infinity) surrounding the earth and to which the stars seem to be attached. On this imaginary sphere the celestial equator, the celestial poles, and other reference points are marked as they are done on the earth; these represent the extensions of the equator and the poles, etc., of the earth into infinity.


The earth takes one year to complete its rotation around the Sun. From the earth, it appears that the Sun moves around the earth. This apparent path of the Sun is known as ecliptic. An imaginary belt of 18 degrees width with ecliptic in its centre is known as the zodiac. Many groups of stars appear to have been studded on this imaginary belt. Vedic astrology recognizes 27 such groups of stars called nakshatras.

The zodiac encircles the earth like a circle consisting of 360 degrees. If this circle is divided into 27 equal parts, each part will be of 13 degrees and 20 minutes arc, known as a nakshatra. Each nakshatra is further divided into 4 quarters (padas or charanas), of 3 degrees and 20 minutes arc each.

Twelve divisions of the zodiac will have an arc of 30 degrees each, known as rashis (or signs).

The above figure shows rising of the Sun in the eastern horizon. The line passing through the centre of the Sun is the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun created by its ‘revolution’ around the earth during its annual journey. The group of stars, referred to as the nakshatras, are the fixed reference points in the zodiac used to locate the position of the Sun, the Moon and other heavenly bodies. All the planets considered in Vedic astrology for the purpose of interpretation, do not decline beyond the belt of the zodiac. They may be on the ecliptic or towards the north or sourth of the ecliptic depending on their latitude with reference to the ecliptic.

For example, the orbit of the Moon is inclined at an angle of 5 degrees to the ecliptic. The Moon does not go beyond 5 degrees on either side of the ecliptic. The orbit of the Moon cuts the ecliptic at two point. In its orbit, when the Moon is on the ecliptic while moving from south of ecliptic to north, this point is known as Rahu or the ascending node of the Moon and when the Moon is on the ecliptic while moving from north of ecliptic to south of ecliptic, this point of intersection is known as Ketu or the descending node of the Moon.

The point of sunrise with respect to the observer keeps changing during the year. If A is the point of sunrise when the Sun is at vernal equinox (around March 21 every year), the point of sunrise will appear to move northwards till it reaches the summer solstice (B) on or around June 21. from this point it will start its southernly journey (Dakshinayana) during which it reaches the autumnal equinox (again A) around September 23 and further until it reaches winter solstice (C) around December 22. At this stage it starts its northward journey (Uttarayana).

Tropical Zodiac

The most crucial point in the division of a circle is to know the starting point of the circle. The point where the ecliptic cuts the celestial equator is known as equinox. There are two such equinoxes – the vernal equinox and the autumnal equinox. When the Sun is passing from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere, it cuts the equator at vernal equinox. When the division of the circle of the zodiac is with reference to vernal equinox as its starting point, the zodiac is referred to as the Sayana (or tropical) zodiac, the divisions of this zodiac into twelve equal parts are the Sayana rashis, and the positions of planets in this zodiac represent the Sayana longitudes of the planets.

The Precession of Equinoxes

If we could watch the sky for a few hundred years, we would discover that the north celestial pole is moving slowly with respect to Dhruva (Polaris) star. The celestial poles and the celestial equator, supposed to be the fixed reference marks, are moving very slowly because of the slow change in the direction of Earth’s axis of rotation. This slow top-like motion is called precession. Earth’s axis sweeps around in a cone, taking almost 26,000 years for each sweep.

Precession is caused by the gravitational pull of the Sun and the Moon. Because earth is not a perfect sphere – it has a slight bulge around its equator – Sun and Moon pull on it, trying to make it spin upright in its orbit. This forces earth’s axis to precess.

The result of this precession is that vernal equinox, the cutting point of the ecliptic and the celestial equator, drifts westward on the ecliptic by an approximate angle of 51 seconds of an arc each year. So we have a new vernal equinox every year and hence a new staring point of the Sayana zodiac. This results in the shifting of the Sayana signs.

Sidereal Zodiac

The Vedic system does not depend on this shifting zodiac and relies on a fixed point on the zodiac as its starting point. There is no clear cut demarcation of this starting point in the zodiac. Some consider this point to be 180 degrees opposite to the Chitra nakshatra. Some consider it to be slightly to the east of the Revati nakshatra, while still others opine differently.

When the division of the circle of the zodiac is with reference to the Vedic starting point, the zodiac is referred to as the Nirayana (or Sidereal) zodiac, the twelve equal parts are the Nirayana rashis, and the positions of planets in this zodiac represent the Nirayana longitudes of the planets.

The angular difference between the vernal equinox and the Vedic starting point of the zodiac is known as the Ayanamsha. When the Vedic starting point is with reference to Chitra nakshatra, the Ayanamsha is refered to as the Chitrapaksha Ayanamsha. According to this system the first point of Sayana zodiac and Nirayana zodiac coincided in the year 285 A.D. The corresponding value of this Ayanamsha on January 1997 is 23°48’56”.