Basic properties of the Grahas / Planets in Vedic Astrology

There is a basic set of significations for the Grahas that reveals their core relevance. These are the primary significations of the grahas, as stated in Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra.


The Sun - The Soul


The Moon - The Mind


Mars - Strength


Mercury  - Speech


Jupiter - Knowledge and Happiness


Venus - Potency


Saturn - Grief


All the numerous secondary planetary significations can be derived from these essential meanings:   


  Surya (Sun) represents the soul. This can be read in the most flexible and general sense of the word. The word soul is used for the deepest and truest nature, for the ultimate sense of identity, inspiration, and aspiration. Surya signifies one's essential attributes - the sense of self, ego, self esteem, sense of purpose, and so on. Energies and conditions that arise from the Sun's placement in a horoscope, along with the influences that the Sun receives, will be experienced in life as deep, long-term trends and processes, that impact one's life as a whole.     


Chandra (Moon) represents the mind.  It signifies the thoughts and emotions, and the complex psychological faculty that takes input from the senses and tells the body how to respond.  The Moon is the single most important planet in Jyotish because the state of mind is responsible for all the emotional responses to life, and therefore defines the subjective perception of life. Conditions affecting the Moon in the chart influence the thinking and feeling processes, mental skills and attitudes, and also responses to the world at large.     


Mangal (Mars) represents energy, assertiveness, and the ability to take action.   It represents the way one uses energy on many different levels. It manifests in the mind as the ability to analyze situations; it may also measure the force of ambition.  It manifests in the body as physical energy and strength.  In the social sphere, Mars represents those relationships that test one's strength, such as one's competitors and enemies.  The condition of Mars in an individual horoscope will indicate the level of one's energy and ambition.    


Budha (Mercury) represents speech. It, also, governs the logical and intellectual side of the mind, the thinking process that precedes speech and ability to communicate, as well as anything related to a language, use of symbols, logic, information processing, and connecting with people or things. The influences on Mercury in the chart will determine the clarity of one's intellect and speech, and the ability to communicate.    


Guru (Jupiter) represents knowledge. Jupiter signifies higher education, wisdom embodied in spiritual traditions, and religion.  As gaining knowledge is essential for evolution and spiritual growth, Jupiter also indicates the general principle of growth in life.   Physically, Jupiter relates to the growth of the body; mentally, to the increase of happiness and sense of fullness; and socially, to the growth of the family in the form of progeny.  Guru signifies prosperity and fortune in life.     


Shukra (Venus) represents reproduction (literally semen). Venus indicates everything that is directly and indirectly related to human reproduction: marriage, sex, harmony, comforts, luxury, pleasures, and beauty. The condition of Venus in the horoscope will define one's ability to experience harmonious and romantic relationships, and the level on which one deals with sensory experiences.     


Shani (Saturn) represents grief, although this rather harsh description must be understood in more depth, for Saturn is a very important and sometimes deeply spiritual influence in the horoscope.  Saturn symbolizes everything that is deep, profound, thorough, long lasting, and serious in life.  It is associated with all the aspects of life that teach one how to be more thoughtful and practical, as well as deep and profound.  The condition of Saturn in the birth chart will indicate whether these values are put to good use by adding depth and a sense of meaning to life, or whether one refuses to "get serious" and therefore experiences the "grief" of being forced to comply with Saturn's demands.     


Rahu is a very unsteady and erratic force ruled by obsessive passions and

unconcerned with ethical notions of right and wrong.  Because of this, Rahu can bring great material progress, though any success gained under its influence is likely to be short-lived.  Rahu is tricky and sneaky, and creates illusions of all kinds.  It especially manifests in one's compulsions or uncontrollable passions.     


Ketu is also an unsteady and sometimes treacherous force, but its qualities are more of an abstract, inward nature, in contrast to Rahu who is more concerned with outward, worldly matters.  Ketu can bring hindrance and obstacles in the physical realm of life, but indicates sparks of intelligence and brilliance of the mind.     


The above significations are extremely important to know by heart. You should memorize them, and use them often to remind yourself of the essential nature of the Grahas.     


There are two ways to use these planetary portfolios, as an object or as a quality. As object, the Grahas represent some part of life, and their position in the chart will reveal how that part of life is unique. For example, Chandra represents the person's mindset, and the influences on Chandra in the chart will show the particular kind of mindset the person has. Mercury represents speech, and the influences on Mercury will reveal the particular way one speaks.The other way of using the planetary significations is as qualities. For example, if Chandra is prominently placed in the chart, the person will have overall qualities of being mindfull and emotional. An influence from Budha (Mercury) will make the person talkative.     


Almost all elements in Jyotish can be applied in this dual manner, and later on in this tutorial we will show you many examples of how it is done.  For example, if in your chart, Jupiter and Venus are most prominent, so you should recognize their qualities as particularly meaningful in your life.


Gender of Planets


   The Grahas are also classified by gender. Chandra and Shukra are female. Surya, Mangal, and Guru are male. Budha and Shani are neuter. The gender of the Graha can be used in almost all types of predictions where gender is involved. An obvious example is the gender of a child or a sibling.    


 If a man has male planets predominant in his chart, he will look very masculine. If he has female Grahas predominant, he will look more refined and feminine. If a woman has female Grahas predominant, she will look very feminine. If she has male Grahas predominant, she will look less refined, and more masculine. The predominance of neuter planets in a male chart makes the man less masculine, and in case of a female she will be less feminine. In both cases, the person will be rather boyish (if it is Budha) or without a dominant gender (if it is Shani).

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