By Patita Pavana das Adhikary and Abhaya Mudra Dasi
âThus in the year 1407 of the Ăaka Era [A.D. 1486], in the month of PhĂ€lguna [February-March], in the evening of the full-moon day, the desired auspicious moment arrived.â (CC Adi.13.89)
Discussions regarding astrology, that is jyotish shastra, are found in many places in the writings of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. But in only one place is a full horoscope recorded in some detail, and that is the chart of the Supreme Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhuâs birth details are given in the Bhaktivedanta Purport to Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi-lila, 13.89-90. Our beloved Guru Maharaja gives the source of these details as Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, the great Gaudiya Vaishnava scholar, linguist, author, religious reformer and astrologer. Here then are those details from our great-grand Guru Maharajaâs AmĂ„ta-pravĂ€ha-bhĂ€Ă±ya:
1. Ravi (the Sun) was in Kumbha (Aquarius), Purvabhadra nakshatra
2. Chandra (the Moon) was in Simha (Leo), Purvaphalguni nakshatra
3. Mangal (Mars) was in Makara (Capricorn), Shravana nakshatra
4. Budha (Mercury) was in Mina (Pisces), Uttarabhadra nakshatra
5. Brihaspati (Jupiter) was in Dhanush (Sagittarius), Purvashadha
6. Shukra (Venus) was in Mesha (Aries), Ashwini nakshatra.
7. Shani (Saturn) was in Vrishcika (Scorpio), Jyeshta nakshatra.
8. Rahu (North Node) was in Kumbha (Aquarius), Purvabhadra.
9. Ketu (South Node) was in Simha (Leo), Uttaraphalguni.
10. The lagna (ascendant or first house) was in Simha (Leo). Shrila Prabhupada does not list the ascendantâs nakshatra in the Purport, but we have heard from reliable sources that the nakshatra is Uttaraphalguni.
For readers who are unfamiliar with the nakshatras, these twenty-seven âlunar mansionsâ are described in the Puranas as representing the wives of Lord Chandra, the demi-god of the Moon. Just as each of Somaâs wives has a different personal relationship with her husband, so those who are born under various nakshatras, reflect and develop different unique propensities and traits. The nakshatra conjoined the Moon is of prime importance in astrology as this one determines the nativeâs life cycles measured in dasha and bhukti cycles. Personality is natural and common to all entities since the soul is eternally an individual. Even in the embodied state individuality is expressed, though in a reflected sense, through the individual material personality. Even when appearing in this material world, the Supreme Lord accepts a horoscope–though an exceptional one–as part of His Divine Pastimes.
The nakshatras are known in Western astronomy by their Greek names. For example, the nakshatra of Mahaprabhuâs Ravi or Sun is Purva Bhadra. In Western astronomy these are the stars called Alpha and Beta Pegasi. Although nakshatra-vidya is the foundation to understanding Vedic astrology, the value has been forgotten in the scienceâs Western counterpart rendering that perverted reflection of astrology essentially useless. Nakshatras are divided into three types of nine each, rakshasa-gana, manush-gana and deva-gana.
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur summarizes the birth of Mahaprabhu with the following words: âChaitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Mayapur in the town of Nadia, just after sunset on the evening of the 23rd Falgun, 1407 Advent of Sakabda answering to the 18th February, 1486 of the Christian era. The moon was eclipsed at the time of His birth and people of Nadia were then engaged, as usual on such occasions, in bathing in the Bhagirathi with loud cheers of “Hari Bol”. His father Jagannath Misra was a poor Brahmin of the Vedic order, and His mother Sachi Devi was a model good woman, both descended from Brahmin stock originally residing in Sylhet. Mahaprabhu was a beautiful Child and the ladies of the town came to see Him with presents. His mother’s father Pandit Nilambar Chakravarti, a renowned astrologer, foretold that the Child would be a great Personage in time; and he therefore, gave Him the name Vishvambhar. The ladies of the neighborhood styled Him Gaur Hari on account of His golden complexion, and His mother called Him Nimai on account of the nim tree near which He was born. Beautiful as the lad was every one heartily loved to see Him everyday.â
Lord Chaitanya remained in the womb of Sachi Mata for thirteen months. Chaitanya Charitamrita mentions that Nilambhar Chakravarti had correctly foretold that an auspicious moment was approaching that the child would take advantage of. In a lecture from 1967, Shrila Prabhupada announced that when the anticipated event arrived, Nilambhar Chakravarti, examined the planets and declared, âThe child who has just appeared is God.â
The Lord is called Triyuga, meaning that He appears in Satya, Treta and Dwapara yugas. When the Lord does advent Himself in a special Kali Yuga, He comes as a âcovered incarnationâ. Because the Golden Avatar is very difficult to understand, Nilambhar Chakravarti would have to be the most exalted of Vaishnavas and one of historyâs greatest astrologers to have understood His advent in advance. Since the Lord appears in Kali Yuga as a covered incarnation, therefore his horoscope must also be covered. Only the greatest of pandits could see through that covering. Shri Prahlada Maharaja states (SB 7.9.38):
âIn this way, my Lord, You appear in various incarnations as a human being, an animal, a great saint, a demigod, a fish or a tortoise, thus maintaining the entire creation in different planetary systems and killing the demoniac principles. According to the age, O my Lord, You protect the principles of religion. In the age of Kali, however, You do not assert Yourself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore You are known as Triyuga, or the Lord who appears in three yugas.â
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: âAs the Lord appeared just to maintain Lord BrahmÄ from the attack of Madhu and Kaiáčabha, He also appeared to protect the great devotee PrahlÄda MahÄrÄja. Similarly, Lord Caitanya appeared in order to protect the fallen souls of Kali-yuga. There are four yugas, or millenniumsâSatya, TretÄ, DvÄpara and Kali. In all the yugas but Kali-yuga, the Lord appears in various incarnations and asserts Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but although Lord ĆrÄ« Caitanya MahÄprabhu, who appears in Kali-yuga, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He never asserted Himself as such. On the contrary, whenever ĆrÄ« Caitanya MahÄprabhu was addressed as being as good as KáčáčŁáča, He blocked His ears with His hands, denying His identity with KáčáčŁáča, because He was playing the part of a devotee. Lord Caitanya knew that in Kali-yuga there would be many bogus incarnations pretending to be God, and therefore He avoided asserting Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.â
In the janma kundali or birth chart of Mahaprabhu, the astrologerâs eye is first drawn to the fact that nearly all the nakshatras are from the world of man, manushya-gana. In the great charts of astrological loreâthose of the Supreme Lord, His incarnation and His eternal stalwartsâwe find exalted planets galore profusely sprinkled with deva-gana nakshatras. But in the chart of Mahaprabhu, only one planet (Mars in Capricorn) is exalted and one planet (Mercury in Pisces) is debilitated. And the manush-gana nakshatras, not the demi-godly variety, prevail. In astrology the three âUttaraâ and the three âPurvaâ nakshatras all belong to the manushya-gana. Amazingly, out of these six, Mahaprabhuâs chart has planets in five of them.
From an astrological point of view, we see in the stars of Shri Chaitanya the âhuman elementâ of the Supreme Lord. He has appeared among the denizens of Earth as an adorable child, as a pandit householder, and then as a sannyasi displaying often symptoms of spiritual trance. That the Lord of the Universe comes to earth during Kali Yuga for our deliverance of is astonishing in itself. But through astrology we see just a little more about His magnificent appearance as a brahmana of Nadia. Even His stars tell of His divine ecstasy flavored with a certain human element that is unmatched in any other Form of the Lord. And that is the reason so many of the Lordâs nakshatras belong to the manush-gana. Only rarely in this avatar did He reveal His Divine Form as Shri Krishna.
What Pandit Nilambhar Chakravarti must have noticed in the chart of the Supreme Lord, among many other hidden elements, is that Saturn, Jupiter and Mars all exert their unique aspects or drishti (lit., âvisionâ) upon the lagna. Astrology is based upon the lagna; which is known variously as the atmastan, ascendant, rising sign or first house. Aside from these planetsâ aspects to the house of self, Sun and Rahu also aspect the lagna, while Ketu and Moon are positioned in the lagna itself. Hence, seven of the nine planets place their full power upon the house of self, indicating a Personality that is a mix of innumerable elements (as a study of Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita proves). At once stern and austere (Saturn), He is also deeply compassionate (Jupiter) and exceedingly brave (Mars). To His opponents He was a lion (Sun, lord of Leo aspects Leo rising). Yet he accepted each person on his or her own merit, not birth, even the so-called outcastes (Rahu). Above all else, He offered a quick and efficient means of liberation (Ketu) through hari nama and loving reciprocal service unto the Lordâs lotus feet. He was most beautiful to behold (full Moon in ascendant).
The Chaitanya Charitamrita confirms (Adi. 13.89.90):
siĂ ha-rĂ€Ă§i, siĂ ha-lagna, ucca graha-gaĂ«a
Ă±aĂČ-varga, aĂ±Ă¶a-varga, sarva sulakĂ±aĂ«a
âAccording to the Jyotir-veda, or Vedic astrology, the auspicious birth moment is described as follows: The moon was in Leo (the figure of the lion in the zodiac), Leo was the ascendant, several planets were strongly positioned, and the Ă±aĂČ-varga and aĂ±Ă¶a-varga showed all-auspicious influences.â
The Lordâs rashi was Simha, meaning that the eclipsing full Moon was in Leo. Since Moon was in the rising sign at birth, which is why we always wait for the Full Moon to rise in the East to break our fast on Gaur Purnima, the Lordâs lagna or ascendant is also Leo.
Uccha graha gana: Shri Krishna das Kaviraja Goswami notes that all the planets (grahas) were elevated or exalted (uccha). The English concept of âplanetâ does not do justice to the more correct Vedic model of graha since âplanetâ merely implies a dead stone shorn of personality. Graha indicates a âforce fieldâ of specific energy, and alludes to the individual personalities possessed by the various demi-gods as empowered parts and parcels of Shri Krishna. The planets–or rather the great demi-gods who control material Natureâalso have personalities. It is this mixture of the personalities of the great Surya, Chandra, etc. as read in a horoscope, that yields clues as to the personality of each jataki or âindividual who takes birthâ. By various planetary permutations, the King of Vaishnava Poets points out, each of the planets became exalted in a hidden sort of way.
Regarding shad-vargas as mentioned here, Vedic astrology employs a system of understanding various hidden strengths of each of the planets according to their respective degrees. From each degree of the circle of the zodiac, various subtle effects of the planets are understood. From the subtle degree point, six modifying sub-divisional charts, the shad-vatgas, are constructed for a more fine-tuned view of the horoscope. Shrila Prabhupada explains that according to the Brihat Jataka of Varaha Mihiraâthese shad-vargas or sub-divisional charts demonstrate the hidden portfolios of a horoscope. Shrila Krishnadas Goswami also mentions ashtakavarga or ashtavarga, another system unique to Vedic astrological science that serves as a means of measuring each planetâs individual strengths and effectiveness in creating practical foreseeable results.
In the Bhaktivedanta Purport to the above verse, Shrila Prabhupada quotes his own Guru Maharaja, who was not only the greatest spiritual force of the force half of the Twentieth Century but also the greatest astrologer. One of the six shad-vargas is the drekkana or âthird divisionâ chart. It is said that through this chart, an astrologer can make a determination from where the native has appeared before his birth. The technique is to first determine which is stronger, the Sun or Moon, and then to determine in which drekkana that planet sits. If that planet is in the drekkana of Jupiter, then the native has come, according to one opinion, from plane that is âhigher than swargaâ. In the chart of Mahaprabhu, His Moon (being full and aspected by the Sun, lord of Leo ascendant) is stronger than the Sun. His Moon is in the drekkana of Jupiter with Jupiter and Ketu, indicating His descent from a very high place. This is merely one significance of the volumes of meaning in the words uccha graha gana. We can only marvel at the stupendous intellect of Shri Nilambhar Chakravarti who could calculate in his mind thousands of fleeting moments before ascertaining in advance the destined appearance of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The parivartana yoga between exalted Mars, the most powerful planet of Leo rising, and Saturn is another noteworthy feature. Parivartana means âexchangeâ and it is caused by Mars in the house of Saturn and Saturn in the house of Mars. Mars is the yogakaraka or raja yoga planet and thus he pulls Saturn into exaltation as well. This is a rare and most potent combination whose power is hard to describe.
According to planetary avasthas or âplanetary moodsâ, four of Mahaprabhuâs planets (Ketu, Saturn, Venus and Mars) are in the mood of nritya-lipsa or âdesirous of dancingâ. There is also a rare veena yoga, the seven planets (excluding Rahu and Ketu) in seven signs indicating expertise in all things including singing and dancing.
Another fascinating aspect of Mahaprabhuâs chart is that Mercuryâplanet of communication, learning, literature, etc.âis debilitated in the house of death (the eighth). Shrila Prabhupada, who refused his college diploma, demonstrated that learning without Krishna consciousness is useless. And Mahaprabhu, after His meeting His spiritual master, went from the âwrangling Pandit Nimaiâ to an ecstatic bhakta who was simply absorbed in calling upon the sacred names of His Lord Shri Krishna, the mahamantra. This was a great shock to some pandits of Nabadwip who responded by ridiculing the Lordâs devotion (until one by one they fell under His sankirtan spell). Furthermore, whereas His followers have produced tens of thousands of volumes of sacred literature, Shriman Mahaprabhu produced only eight shlokas, the Sikshastaka verses. Technically, in Mahaprabhuâs chart, Mercury attains exaltation by the yoga called neecha-bhanga because Mercury is in an angle in relationship to the house lord Jupiter. As an example to us, the Lord demonstrated that learning is useless (as seen by a debilitated or neecha Mercury in the eighth) when it is not dovetailed into Krishna consciousness. And even one who is not learned by material standards must be considered the most intelligent and educated if he understands the science of devotional service (hence neecha-bhanga raja yoga).
**In order to serve the devotees of during this time of celebrating the Lordâs advent, our office is offering free of charge one-on-one astrological consultations to nice devotees who chant sixteen rounds daily. Please contact Mithuna Twiins Astrological Services at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.