Brihaspati in the Horoscopes of Devotees
By Abhaya Mudra Dasi
Brihaspati, the priest of the demi-gods is called Jupiter in Western astronomy. His name has been translated as “lord of prayer and devotion”, and as such he is strong in the birth charts of devotees. Brihaspati earned his position as one of the nava-grahas, or nine planetary deities, through performing rigorous penance at Somnath Patan. Somnath is the abode of Lord Shiva, the “lord of the demigod of the Moon” and one of his twelve jyotir lingas is there. Somnath, in southern Gujarat, is also famous as the place from where Shri Krishna left this world for His abode in Goloka Vrindavan.
Brihaspati Praised Throughout the Shastras
In Bhagavad Gita As It Is (10.24), Lord Shri Krishna tells Arjuna,
purodhasam cha mukhyam mam
viddhi partha brihaspatim
“Of priests, O Arjuna, know Me to be the chief, Brihaspati, the lord of devotion.”
In Vedic astrology, the nava-grahas are understood to have different personalities. They are living entities who have been promoted to their position as controllers of personal fate by their performance of penance and past piety. Upon completion of his penance, Brihaspati was granted his post by Shiva. Being a grandson of Lord Brahma, he is often accepted qualitatively as non-different from the creator of this Universe. He is mentioned many times in Shrimad Bhagavatam as the best of living entities and his wisdom is praised in SB 4.18.14:
“All the great sages transformed Brihaspati into a calf, and making the senses into a pot, they milked all kinds of Vedic knowledge to purify words, mind and hearing.”
The incarnation of the Supreme Lord, King Prithu, is described as equaling Brihaspati in spiritual knowledge (SB 4.22.62). He is called the best of sages, and is respected by both the demigods and demons alike. (SB 6.7.9) A supreme mystic, it is said that he knew everything that would happen in the future. (SB 6.7.12) So exalted is Brihaspati, that it was he who gave the sacred thread to Lord Vamandeva (SB 8.18.14). In the astrological text Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, the father of Shrila Vyasadeva says that Brihaspati is a partial manifestation of Lord Vamandeva. In his Bhaktivedanta Purport to SB 3.1.25 Shrila Prabhupada explains that the disciple of Brihaspati, Uddhava, was a great master of logic and one of the dearest associates of Lord Shri Krishna. So elevated is Brihaspati, that when the Lord Indra offended him, the king of heaven was forced to suffer defeat at the hands of Bali Maharaja. Therefore, Lord Brahma tells Indra, “Because of your misbehavior toward Brihaspati, you have been defeated by the demons.” (SB 6.7.22)
Just as Brihaspati is the guru of the demi-gods, so Shukracharya–or planet Venus–is the guru of the demons. Shrimad Bhagavatam explains the enmity between the deva-guru and the asura-guru: “O Maharaja Parikshit, suppressor of enemies (Arindama), Lord Shiva fought with Jambha, and Vibhavasu fought with Mahishasura. Ilvala, along with his brother Vatapi, fought the sons of Lord Brahmā. Durmarsha fought with Cupid, the demon Utkala with the Matrika demigoddesses, Brihaspati with Shukracharya…” (8.10.32)
Brihaspati is even mentioned in Chaitanya Charitamrita. Mahaprabhu tells the great pandit of Puri, “My dear Bhattacharya, you are exactly like Brihaspati, the priest of the heavenly kingdom. Indeed, no one within this world has the power to explain the scriptures in such a way.” (Madhya 6.191) Elsewhere, Shri Krishna das Kaviraja compares Shri Swarupa Damodara Goswami to Brihaspati for his ability in shastric discourse. (Madhya 10.116). And on another occasion Kaviraja, the king of poets, compares Sanatan Goswami to Brihaspati for his high intelligence (Madhya 20.350). Gaur Ganodesha Dipika describes that Brihaspati appeared in Gaur-lila as Shri Sarvabhouma Bhattacharya.
Brihaspati in Vedanga Jyotish
Brihaspati is the son of Angira Muni who to this day chants the holy names of the Lord along the banks of mother Ganga. According to the Rig Veda, Shri Brihaspati is very handsome. The color of Shri Brihaspati’s aura is yellow, and his dress is also bright yellow. He sits upon a lotus flower and upon his head rests a golden crown, beautiful ornaments circle his neck. Shri Brihaspati travels on a golden rath driven by eight speedy yellow-colored horses. According to Rig Veda, the weapon of Shri Brihaspati is a golden stick or danda. The priest of the demigods has three wives: Shubha, Tara and Mamata.
Brihaspati is the lord of Dhanush rashi or Sagittarius and Meena rashi or Pisces. According to the system called vimshottari dasha, which divides a native’s life into planetary periods, the Guru dasha or period of Jupiter lasts for sixteen years. His influence becomes mature at the age of sixteen. His element is ether. Brihaspati represents dharma or religion, philosophy, knowledge, issues relating to offspring and the balance of past karma. His concern is education, teaching and the dispensation of knowledge. The season associated with him is deep winter (shishir) and his direction is north-east.
In the horoscopes of devotees of Shri Krishna, Brihaspati–the best of beneficial personalities–is located in positions signifying dharma. There are three gunas of material nature: tamas, rajas and sattva. There are four goals of material life: dharma, artha, kama and moksha. Dharma is read through three of the twelve houses in the zodiac, the 1st, 5th and 9th. Artha is read through three houses: the 2nd, 6th and 10th. Karma is seen through three houses: the 3rd, 7th and 11th. Moksha is read through three houses: the 4th, 8th and 12th. Every first house in these groups is ruled by tama; every second by raja and every third by sattva. In this way the 9th house is dharma in sattva guna. The 12th is moksha in sattva guna. Both 9th and 12th houses are ruled by Brihaspati or Jupiter. Those houses are held dear to the devotees and if Jupiter is positioned there it is considered superexcellent, but if Jupiter aspects these houses that also amplifies the path of devotion.
Nonetheless, in the charts of an overwhelming number of devotees, we find that the 9th house of religion is prominently associated with Jupiter. One explanation is that the natural 9th house, Sagittarius, has only one planet prominently associated with it, and that is Jupiter. As the natural 12th, Pisces, has the involvement of three planets, thus making this house more complex. Here in Pisces: Jupiter is in his own sign, Venus (remember, the enemy of Jupiter) is in exaltation and Mercury is in debility. The 9th is called variously the house of good fortune, which implies working for a better future. It is also the house of travel. Hence in the charts of devotees we find that Jupiter here makes active preachers, book distributors, those who are active in festivals and street sankirtan. It is the house of the parivrajacharya, the spiritual preceptor who offers his compassion to the suffering world. In contrast to the 9th, the 12th house rules loss, solitude, isolation and liberation. Here planets are “other-worldly”, and they do not function well in a practical sense, in other words, they are in one sense “lost”. Until we are in the material world there cannot be a total liberation and in this sense the 12th house is also a house of illusion. From a spiritual point of view, the ultimate “loss” is going back to Godhead.
The three houses of dharma in a devotee chart give different kinds of spiritual understanding, the 1st is the domain of sat, the 5th is the domain of chit and the 9th is the domain of ananda. But no matter in which of these houses Jupiter is located, he always gives his aspect to the other houses of dharma. Remember that Lord Shiva blessed Brihaspati, and one of his blessings was to give him vision over every house located in the 5th and 9th positions from his own. We find that Jupiter is strategically positioned in those houses in the charts of those devotees whose main objective in Krishna consciousness is realization of sat-chit-ananda vigraha.
The other prominent position of Jupiter may be 7th house, in which case the devotee usually comes to Krishna consciousness by the association of another person. Since from his 7th house position, Jupiter also gives a 1st house aspect, here he is also considered well-placed. Jupiter in the 10th house has a strong influence of artha, so this position may also be prominent in the chart of devotee who may seek some remuneration for their devotion in this world. Jupiter in the 8th house, or moksha in rajas-guna, is prominent in the charts of devotees who hanker after mystic powers. The 6th house position of Brihaspati may show a person who is excellent servant, but is lacking the philosophical position, and so on. All other positions, except the 9th house aspect, will strongly depend on the sign where Jupiter is located for their results.
In many charts of prominent acharyas in the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya, we find Jupiter aspects the 9th house from strategic signs. The strategic positions include Sagittarius, Pisces, which are ruled by Jupiter, or Leo and Aries, which are the other houses of dharma. For example, in the chart of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Jupiter is found in the 5th house in Sagittarius (the natural 9th sign) and aspects the 9th. He is none other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead Who came to disseminate the knowledge of bhakti. Therefore the position of Jupiter in His chart is significant. In the known charts of the later Gaudiya acharyas, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, Jupiter is also positioned in the 1st and 3rd house respectively casting aspect to the 9th house. Shrila Prabhupada has been accepted by many leading astrologers as having Jupiter in the 9th house as well. In the charts of an overwhelming number of the ISKCON devotees, Jupiter is positioned in or aspects the 9th house. Thus the disciplic succession continues.
Jupiter is called the greater benefic. He gives profuse blessings to the devotees. But there are certain generations who have Jupiter’s blessings. If we could have estimated the charts of every person on Earth in regard to his or her position of Jupiter, we might have been more effective in preaching to individuals who already have inclination to worship God. This summer at Woodstock, it was surprising to find out that 90% of Russian and Polish devotees have this position of Jupiter. Krishna Consciousness has been spreading in Russia and Eastern Europe lately in a very nice way. Let Brihaspati, the lord of devotion and celestial priest, bless us. For an astrologer, a strong Jupiter is an indication of Krishna Consciousness, and a weak Jupiter may indicate the lack of it. He, who in the array of sages is the only one who has the ability to influence our fate as one of the grahas, is worshipped along with Lord Shri Krishna “just as the planets are worshipped as satellites of the Sun”. In the Krishna Book (vol. 2, ch. 31) it is stated:
“Lord Krishna was accompanied by the great sages Narada, Vamandeva, Atri, Vyasadeva, Parashurama, Asita, Aruni, Brihsapati, Kanva, Maitreya, Cyavana and others. Lord Krishna and the sages were passing through many villages and towns, and everywhere the citizens would receive them with great respect and offer them articles in worship.”
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