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Fallacy of the trans-Saturnian Planets

Friday, 15 September 2006 / Published in Articles, Shyamasundara Dasa / 5,239 views

copyright © 1997 by Shyamasundara Dasa

Dear Maharajas, Prabhus and Matajis;

Please accept my humble obeisance. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Bhakti-vijna-vinasa Narasimhadeva ki jaya!

In recent weeks there has been a lot of media discussion of the fate of Pluto, is it or is it not a planet. It was finally demoted to a dwarf planet. The following article The Fallacy of the trans-Saturnian Planets discusses why we followers of Vedic culture are not concerned about this because Pluto is and never was important to us from the perspective of Jyotish, that is, Vedic astronomy and astrology.

The following article is an excerpt from a work in progress.

Abstract: Now that Vedic astrology has become popular in the West many Western trained astrologers are attempting to fuse the two systems or introduce Western concepts such as the trans-Saturnian planets into the Vedic system. Over the years some Indian astrologers have also attempted to introduce these planets into Vedic astrology. Such attemps are destructive to the internal philosophical consistency and logical structure of Vedic astrology. In addition it undermines the effectiveness of Jyotisha while revealing a lack of understanding of the philosophical foundations of Vedic astrology, and the history of how trans- Saturnian planets were introduced. And finally this practice demonstrates a general disrespect for the guru-parampara. If this erosion of Vedic astrology were to continue, then Jyotisha would find itself in the same confused state that Western Astrology is in today, culminating in loss of accuracy, loss of respectability and ultimately the destruction of Jyotisha as a Vedic discipline.

Graha Versus Planet

There is a fundamental difference between the Vedic concept of graha and the Western use of Planets in astrology. Graha, by definition, is anything which has the power to seize, grasp or influence. In this case “seizing or influencing the
1 destinies of men in a supernatural manner.” The word for planet on the other hand is translated as loka in Sanskrit. Not all grahas are lokas, nor are all lokas grahas. In English, this means that the class of entities or objects which have divinatory significance includes planets, but not all planets have divinatory significance. (We are reminded however that while certain planets may be grahas, in a divinatory sense, they are not causal agents. They do not cause anything to happen. But as mantic grahas they do have the power to be used in a divinatory language to explain the will of God. Just as omens do not cause anything but are divine signs.)
In Vedic Astrology the ten major grahas are: The Ascendant, Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu (North Node of the Moon) and Ketu
(South Node of the Moon). Of these ten grahas the Ascendant, Rahu and Ketu are not lokas or planets but rather mathematical points calculated by the astrologer. Though not planets they are of great significance. Vedic astrology also has numerous upa-grahas (minor grahas) and kala-velas (sensitive points in time). Of these up-grahas and kala-velas, Mandi is considered most important and is especially used in Kerala. Mandi is definitely not a planet in the Western sense, but it is a graha.
Vedic Astrology is a limb of the Vedas and was revealed to Rishis from a higher source. Ultimately, Jyotisha is revealed knowledge coming from Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus, the traditional assignments of grahas is not trivial, meaningless or haphazard. We also note the Vedic distinction between the classification of graha (divinatory agent) and loka (planet).

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4 Responses to “Fallacy of the trans-Saturnian Planets”

  1. mark says :

    Dear Shyamsundara dasa,

    Please accept my humble obeisances.

    All Glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

    I appreciate your exacting standards for the unfoldment of the education of humanity regarding astrology. I read the first few paragraphs, and then skimmed the first half of your article “Fallacy of the trans- Saturnian Planets”. From some of your comments, I could tell your position on certain points, and that nothing written further along would reveal new information unless you were to contradict yourself. So I will read the rest later for enjoyment, but I wanted to make a couple comments to you.

    Before I came to Parashara’s Light, I studied “Western” Astrology under Dane Rudhyar, Steven Arroyo, and Dean Price.

    First, Sri Parashara Muni said that he limited the information given in the Jyotish section of the Veda because it was all he thought required for Jyotish Astrologers in the Dark Age of Kali Yuga. Of course we know that some of us are experiencing and are to manifest outwardly the signs of a mini golden age in the midst of Kali yuga.

    Second, before the speculators got carried away, there was a great deal of emperic scientific data which corroborated the effects ascribed to the influence of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

    Of course scientific observation is one of the ascending methods (aroha-pantha) of gaining knowledge and is supposed to be used to support avaroha-pantha or knowledge gained in descent from authority in the ideal situation. Nevertheless, when used diligently by a sober person intent on discovering the truth for the benefit of others, it is often used successfully to understand mechanisms of the material nature.

    I have had my own intuitive realizations as to which exalted personalities the trans-saturnians represent. However, without the blessing of the Lord himself confirming those realizations, they technically remain speculation, even if I am spot on.

    Now of course it is true that largely, the researchers observed the lower personality aspects of westerners behavior to pin their understanding of what the trans-saturnians represent. Still, we can often get indications of what occurs in the spiritual plane by viewing the perverted reflection.

    In any case, I was just hoping that you might consider that there is more to be revealed, we do not know exactly how the Lord or one of his devoteesmay one day elucidate and perhaps corroborate both; my intuitions that the trans-sats represent the guna-avatars influence on humanity, and the large body of empiric evidence which suggests the movement of those Grahas through a persons chart DO correspond to obvious Psycho-physical manifestations.

    Love to hear your thoughts.

    Hari Bol

    Y.s.

    Bh. Mark

  2. Shyamasundara Dasa says :

    Dear Bhakta Mark,

    Please accept my best wishes. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Bhakti-vijna-vinasa Narasimhadeva ki jaya!

    First I should say that there was supposed to be an introductory paragraph to the article referencing the recent demotion of Pluto from planetary status. It was supposed to read:

    Dear Maharajas, Prabhus and Matajis;

    Please accept my humble obeisance. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Bhakti-vijna-vinasa Narasimhadeva ki jaya!

    In recent weeks there has been a lot of media discussion of the fate of Pluto — is it or is it not a planet? It was finally demoted to a dwarf planet. The following article “The Fallacy of the trans-Saturnian Planets” discusses why we followers of Vedic culture are not concerned about this because Pluto is and never was important to us from the perspective of Jyotish, that is, Vedic astronomy and astrology.

    Your humble servant

    Shyamasundara Dasa

    www.ShyamasundaraDasa.com

    Without the inclusion of this introductory paragraph readers may wonder what motivated me to send in such an article. Now they know.

    This article first appeared in the January, 1998 edition of “The Astrological Magazine,” Bangalore, India. It is aimed at the more advanced student and discusses some of the foundational topics of Vedic Astrology. After receiving this article Gayatri Devi, the daughter of Dr. B.V. Raman and present editor of the Astrological Magazine, wrote me and commented:

    “Father [B.V. Raman] liked this article very much, it is exactly in keeping with his own opinions.”

    Now back to your comments, first I suggest that you read the article more thoroughly after which you would find many of your questions already answered. Still I will hazard a few comments.

    You write:

    “First, Sri Parashara Muni said that he limited the information given in the Jyotish section of the Veda because it was all he thought required for Jyotish Astrologers in the Dark Age of Kali Yuga. Of course we know that some of us are experiencing and are to manifest outwardly the signs of a mini golden age in the midst of Kali yuga.”

    Parasara Muni said that he was condensing jyotish for the people of Kali Yuga, and even this simplified form they are having great difficulty with.

    If I am reading between the lines correctly it seems that you are implying that we denizens of the “golden age” in Kali would be able to use these planets. I disagree, in the “golden age” we would adhere more to Krsna’s Vedic culture not diverge from it. Again, I have gone to pains to explicate why that is in the whole article.

    It would seem to me that because you already have an attachment to using these planets, as do so many who first studied Western Astrology, then it is almost impossible to give up their use. Hence, your respectful defense of their use on your part.

    You write:

    “Second, before the speculators got carried away, there was a great deal of emperic scientific data which corroborated the effects ascribed to the influence of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.”

    Where is that empiric evidence? New-agers are notorious for being long on speculation and short on evidence. Scholarship is not their forte.

    In any case astrology is not an empiric science, it is revealed knowledge. Gargamuni the family astrologer of the Yadus got his power as an astrologer not by empiric observation but as a blessing from Anantasesanaga. The Visnu Purana tells us he was blessed to understand the secret meanings of the planets. No empiric study required.

    If you read the article in detail I also point of that what ever “empiric” study was done on these planets was done relative to a tropical zodiac and has no relevance to a sidereal one.

    You write:

    “Of course scientific observation is one of the ascending methods (aroha-pantha) of gaining knowledge and is supposed to be used to support avaroha-pantha or knowledge gained in descent from authority in the ideal situation. Nevertheless, when used diligently by a sober person intent on discovering the truth for the benefit of others, it is often used successfully to understand mechanisms of the material nature.”

    The second half of the paragraph suggests to me that a person who depending on pratyaksa and anumana will get greater understanding than one will get via sabdha brahma. This is just the opposite of our process for understanding things beyond our senses. A sober person will accept sabdha brahma and not the others.

    You write:

    “In any case, I was just hoping that you might consider that there is more to be revealed, we do not know exactly how the Lord or one of his devotees may one day elucidate and perhaps corroborate both;”

    Hope is a virtue, not a strategy.

    Again your statement suggests that you have developed an attachment to a concept that is contradictory to the axiomatic system of Jyotish and want it to be accommodated into that system because now you have an interest in Vedic culture and want to bring your former concepts along with you. This is simply impossible. For those who never came into the study with any preconceived ideas or attachments it is easy to accept the Vedic conclusions as is, but as has been seen time an again those previously into Western astrology simply have a tough time giving it up. Most never do.

    Certainly there is “more to be revealed” but not in the way that you are implying: more planets. By practice of his sadhana the astrologer attains sadhana siddhi and thus develops intuition.

    To predict accurately on a consistent basis requires inspiration from paramatma. I call that intuition. It is not that logic and reason are not required, they absolutely are required, but it is not enough when you get to such massively complicated situations. That is where intuition is required, inspiration from paramatma, which guides you how and where to apply your logic and reason. For more on the philosophy of jyotish see the following article:

    http://tinyurl.com/hl9op

    It discusses the role of intuition, the need for inspiration from Krsna, in greater detail.

    Again, please read the article “Fallacy of the trans-Saturnian Planets” fully and try to understand it in a detached mood. If Western Astrologers want to burden themselves with trans-Saturnian planets that is their choice and I will not interfere. But the introduction of trans-Saturnian planets and other concepts that contradict the axioms of Vedic astrology into Vedic astrology will not be tolerated and will be vigorously defended against. If a person wants to follow Vedic astrology they should do so in a proper mood of humility not thinking they know everything and leave prior conceptions behind. That is the etiquette (see Gita 4.34). Otherwise they will just do violence to the system and those who uphold that system will be called upon to vigorously defend it.

    So by using their free will a person should decide which system they want to follow and then do the needful without doing violence to others. However, if a person does decide to do violence then they should not be surprised if there is a strong reaction.

    Yours in the service of my eternal master Srila Prabhupada

    Shyamasundara Dasa

    www.ShyamasundaraDasa.com

  3. mark says :

    Dear Shyamasundara Dasa,

    Thank you for the well wishes. Please accept mine as well. And thank you for your consideration. May Lord Narasimhadeva bless us with divine wisdom.

    You are a very serious student. Please forgive me for being casual. I made an assumption that you had perhaps seen the same vast body of evidence that there is some connection to human behavior and the movements of the Trans-Sats. Admittedly based on the Tropical or Solar Zodiac, and admittedly only taking into consideration the most shallow of external personality traits typical of “western” civilization.

    So I am unprepared with the exact references to the compilations of these observations which have formed the basis for the speculations on those planets and their influence.

    I also feel inadequate to provide the exact quote from Parashara Muni where the implication was that in the act of condensation, there was also a witholding of that which was not relevant to the adhikari of those of an Iron age.

    While I am open to the suggestion that my intuition is clouded by attachment, as is always the possibility when it does not match what we have written in stone by transcendental authority, I cannot deny the volumes of data I have seen, and my own observations that there is SOME connection, the nature of which has not yet been dictated by Pure transcendental authority.

    Eventually all relative truths regarding the machinations of the material energy discovered through using the lesser means of aquiring knowledge, are reconciled by what is revealed by authority, for those approaching from the bottom up.

    Please forgive me for still speculating on the mental platform here, but as you can see I am trying to give it transcendental color according to my desire to gratify my senses.

    Thank you for being a staunch defender of the truth as you know it.

    All Glories to HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

    y.s.

    Bh Mark

  4. Shyamasundara Dasa says :

    Dear Bhakta Mark,

    Please accept my best wishes. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Bhakti-vijna-vinasa Narasimhadeva Bhagavan ki jaya!

    As I pointed out in my article modern Western astrologers whether tropical or sidereal who use the trans-Saturnian planets are not better and in fact are worse astrologers than their ancient and medieval European forebears. What to speak of being better than an equivalently trained Vedic astrologer. Basically speaking whatever they can do we can do better.

    And, as I point out in different writings modern Western astrologers simply do not understand astrology very well because they have a broken tradition, no philosophical basis, spiritual training, etc. Hence despite their addition of extra planets they can not do as well as a Vedic astrologer or even their own ancestors.

    So what have they gained by the addition of trans-Saturnian planets? Nothing but the labor.

    Now if it could be shown that by their using these extras they were significantly better then there would be a strong argument in favor of using trans-Saturnians but just the opposite is true. Those astrologers who do not use them are the better astrologers whether in the realm of prediction or psychological analysis. And, it is because Vedic astrology is the more accurate tool that we have seen such massive growth of interest in it in the West in recent years.

    And, as I mention in the article I have done readings for Western astrologers and they acknowledged that I was more accurate and without using trans-Saturnians.

    To conclude I repeat that there is nothing to be gained by introducing trans-Saturnians into Vedic astrology but the labor. But there is a lot to be lost including philosophical integrity (it is based on Sankhya and Vedanta), axiomatic consistency, simplicity, elegance, understanding of the original system and accuracy.

    Yours in the service of my eternal master Srila Prabhupada

    Shyamasundara Dasa
    www.ShyamasundaraDasa.com

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