Friday, May 8, 2009

Rama’s Coronation – was it a failure of astrology?

One of the curious questions in Ramayana is whether astrology failed in the coronation for Rama.

On one fine day, King Dasharatha suddenly spoke about coronation for his son and said that it will be done the very next day itself!
The day he announced it was the day of Rama's janma nakshathra (punar vasu)!
Dasharatha proposed the coronation on the next day (Pushya).
He said that his astrologers said that Pushya was good for coronation.
This post deals with the issues on why that day backfired besides analyzing if it was a failed case of astrology.

Coronation was planned on the day after janma nakshathra of Sri rama which is regarded as 'Sampat tara' having good tara balam. The preliminary rituals (poorvanga) were started on the previous day (janma nakshathra).
The do's and don'ts to be done on the day of birth star are already detailed in this post:-

Starting the poorvanga for that on the previous day does not attract any dosha or problem for coronation. The poorvanga must have been initiated at an auspicious hora. Hora balam is enough for starting the poorvanga in the absence of fulfillment of other criteria.

The decision for coronation was sudden. It was prompted by certain developments which Dasharatha had discussed with astrologers. In chapter 2-4-21 of Valmiki Ramayana, he does say that it was at the advice of astrologers that he had fixed the coronation on the next day in Pushya.

The causes for the sudden development can be traced to the importance given in those times to nimittha sastra, swapna sastra and the gochara position of planets.
These three are repeatedly seen in many places in Ramayana.

Prime importance was given to tara balam - the strength of the star counted from janma naskhathra. The 2nd, 4th, 6th , 8th and 9th tara (star) from one's janma namskahthra are favourable. This is to be counted in 3 rounds of 9 stars each starting from one's janma nakshathra. The 27the star (9th in last round) is not favoured. This concept of tara balam has a dominative role, in fixing muhurtha in Rama's times and in today's world too. The origins of this tara balam is traced to Atharvana Veda.

In many places in Ramayana we do come across decisions being taken on the basis of tara balam.
On hearing the news about Sita from Hanuman, Rama lost no time to start the journey to Lanka.
But the starting time must be astrologically good. He justified the start in the basis of tara balam only. 6th star from his birth star was running on that day. 6th star is 'saadhaka tara' (helpful star). Rama mentions this as a good time for starting the journey.

Based on Tara balam, Dasharatha opted for Pushya, the 2nd tara for Rama for coronation.
But his decision for coronation was sudden.

The real reason for going for coronation is explained by him in 2-4 of Ramayana wherein he tells about the bad dreams he had and the maraka combination in his horoscope. The impending end to his life (mruthyu) as indicated by the bad dream and the movement of malefic in his janma nakshathra made him take a sudden decision of coronation for Rama. He was warned about a danger to his life by his astrologers. He says this in chapter 2-4 of Valmiki Ramayana.

The immediate impetus was the bad dream he had. Nimitthas through dreams were seriously taken by people in those days. Not less than 7 maharishis had written in detail about the immediate danger as foretold by dreams. The bad dream that Dasharatha saw, made him fix the coronation by fulfilling minimum muhurtha criteria.

The impending danger to his life made him and his astrologers ignore quite a few important issues of muhurtha rules.

Foremost is the bad gochara of Jupiter in Rama's janma rasi at that time.
When Jupiter is traversing the janma rasi, one incurs severe troubles to the extent of an exile or an imprisonment.
'Janmatthil vana vaasam' - is the example from Ramayana which we remember as a rule of astrology even today.

Since Jupiter was in Rama's janma rasi at that time, Dasharatha and others would not have contemplated on coronation of Rama in that year. That is why Dasharatha's expression of his desire for coronation was something unexpected. People were taken by surprise. But the prospect of Rama taking the reigns was too overwhelming that people hardly thought about the nature of the time.

Another issue is the choice of the month.
The choice of Chaitra maasam also is an issue of debate in astrological circles.
Chithra masam (both solar and lunar) is not recommended for any auspicious event, that being the time when the sun moves through Bharani (lorded by Yama) and krittika (lorded by Agni).
Ancient writers of astrology discount Chithra on this basis. However they do add a note that since Rama was born in that month and his coronation was planned in that month, this month is acceptable for auspicious functions.

The month is not a favourable one - yet dasharatha opted for it.
The main planet, Jupiter was not favourable, though the Sun, an important planet for ruler ship was in exaltation in 10th house.

There is also a probability that Rama was in the last leg of saade saath, the 7 and a half year sojourn of sani!

At birth Saturn was in Libra.
At the time of proposed coronation, Rama was 25 years of age. There is a strong probability that Saturn was in cancer or Leo at that time.

From another angle we can say, the 4th house of Libra (for Rama) was also afflicted at that time.
Dasharatha says that his birth star was afflicted by the sun, Mars and Rahu at that time.
Counting rahu's position in Rama's horoscope for the 25 th year, we say that it was in Libra at the time of proposed coronation.
Dasharatha's birth star must either be in Libra or Aries, for he says about affliction by Sun also.
Either by conjunction or opposition, the sun must be affecting his birth star.
Rahu in gochara must be afflicting his star from Libra.

Rahu in Libra means Rama's domestic comforts were lost.
His mother was put into extreme distress.
Thus we find that the gochara of Jupiter, saturn and Rahu were not at all good for Rama at that time.

His dasa- antar dasa also was not favourable.
He must have been running mercury antar dasa in mercury maha dasa at that time.
Mercury as lord of 12th and 3rd was more inclined to send him on exile!

All these must have been known to Dasharatha and others.
That is the reason why there was hardly any talk of coronation for Rama for sometime then.

The 7 and a half year sani itself would have deterred them from thinking of coronation for Rama since his 18th year.

The change of Maha dasa into Mercury could not have brought any cheer to them.
At birth, Guru dasa was there till a maximum time of his 4th year. Till 23 rd year sani dasa must have run. Saturn must be in retrogression in the natal horoscope of Rama, for, Saturn was between 5th and 9th house from the Sun. This means that though Saturn was exalted, it must have behaved like a debilitated planet! Such a Saturn aspecting the Karmasthan of 10th - for taking reigns of country - does not augur well for Rama to take up reigns of governance any time in Sani dasa, that is, till his 23rd year.

They had to wait for the Mercury maha dasa to come and then also for mercury and ketu antar dasa to pass. The only good time in sight was Venus antardasa in Mercury maha dasa. Due to the adverse dasa and gochara like this, Dasharatha and others had remained silent on coronation.

But when Dasharatha was cautioned about maraka to his own self, which was reinforced by dreams and other nimitthas, he and his band of astrologers must have decided to 'act' - in spite of all the astrological constraints.

They ignored the maasam (chaithra) and they were ready to ignore the gochara etc.
The only viable rule that can be adhered to was the power of the star (tara balam).
They stuck to it.
But the inter-mingling destiny of so many people is very powerful, that even before the Sampat tara (Pushya) could see the light of the sun the next morning, the janma tara struck the blow!

Even if we choose to say that it is the way the avatara had to function, nay.
God never trespasses the rules he has laid.
He plans His avatars in tune with the nature of times.

When something bad were to happen, the entire universe would conspire to make it happen.
Such conspiracy can be seen as nimitta or sakuna.
Whether one knows how to read the nimitthas and shakunas does not matter.
The Time will strike anyway as planned.

If such nimitthas are known or identified,
even then Time will strike.
In such cases, the knowledge of the nimitthas itself acts as a trigger to make things happen!

It happened so with Dasharatha and his astrologers!


Raghavendra said...

One more thing mrs jayasree. In the post you have used dasa-antardasa of various planets for explaining the points.

I'm not sure that this is accurate, for the below reasons.

1. The current rules of astrology that we use was finalized by parashara at the end of dwapara yuga for the people of kali yuga. So i'm of the opinion that these rules may not have held good back in tretha yuga.

2. The main reason for my above point is that Rama ruled the earth for around 11,000 years, so if his life span was 11,000 odd years, they we cannot apply the current dasha system as according to that the poorna aayu of a person in kali yuga is 120 years.

jayasree said...

About longevity in 1000s of years. We know that it is impossible for a human being to live in physical form for so much time. The rationale for such description of very long life will be written in the proposed post. It is too long to explain here.

But I will pick out some info from my articles and give here.

The strong indicators for believing that the life span in those days could not have been in thousands but within or around a hundred are as follows:

# Brahma devan is said to live for 100 years in his time scale. Therefore 100 is the standard year duration for longevity. Since man is at a micro cosmic scale of the Cosmic god Brahma, and though man’s life is shaped by the influence of each of the nine planets which runs into a total period of 120 years, this span is roughly around 100 years only.

# The blessings given by elders when one prostrates is of Vedic origin (of satya yuga). It is (“Shatamaanam bhavathi shataayu: purusha:…”) to invoke 100 years of life for the one so blessed. This blessing is repeated in several places in the Upanishads too.

# When one performs the daily midday supplication (noon part of Sandhyavndana), the individual prays to the sun when he is in full bloom that he may be blessed to see him for a full life of nearly 100 years. (“PashyEma sharada: shatham… jIvEma sharada: shatham.. etc ) The prayer is for 100 years and this prayer also has its origin in Vedic yuga.

# We can quote an example from Ramayana itself. In Sundhara khandam (sargam 34) On seeing that Raama dhoothan (Hanuman) has come to redeem her distress, Sita says, “ yethi jivantha aanandham naram varshashathadhabhi.” (If only a person were to live for a 100 years, he would sure have ‘aanandham’ sometime even after a 100 years.) Here ‘if only a person lives for a 100 years ‘ make it clear that the average life span of a person in Thretha yuga (Sita's times) had not been in 1000s of years- but only to a maximum of 100 years!

In Ramayana, narada tells Valmilki
"raamo raajyam upaasitvaa " - Rama rajyam for 11,000 years.
What does this mean?

“ dasha varSa sahasraaNi dasha varSa shataani ca |
raamo raajyam upaasitvaa brahma lokam prayaasyati || “ (1-1-97)

97. dasha+varSa+sahasraaNi= ten, years, thousand; dasa+varsha+sataani+ca= ten, years, hundred, also; raamaH= Rama; raajyam+upaasitvaa= kingdom, on reverencing; brahma+ lokam+gamishhyati= Brahma's abode, voyages.

"On reverencing the kingdom for ten thousand years plus another one thousand years, [i.e. for a total of eleven thousand years,] Rama voyages to the abode of Brahma... [1-1-97]

Comment: In rama raajyam upaasitvaa... the word used is upaasana is not ruling by sceptre but 'reverentially idolised the kingdom...' as one would regard or treat his personal god with reverence. Rama thus reverenced his kingdom as a devotee of his subjects and this is the concept of raama raajya.

The commentary above puts the entire issue in a different perspective!!

Raama established Raama rajyam for 10,000 + 1000 years after which He left for His Abode. Raama rajyam stands for Raama’s ideals in different spheres of life and governance. Even at the time of Vali vadam it is said that since the entire earth was under Ikshvahu hold, Raama was bound to establish its dharma by slaying Vaali. It is well known that the entire land mass was not under Ikshvahu dynasty. The implication was that the dharma, the ideals and values systems which the dynasty stood for , was followed throughout the land mass. That Rama rajya dharma will live for 11,000 years is the import.

It is said at many places in the texts that Raama’s story will live as long as Himalayas and the Ganga live. Rama rajyam or Rama's memory will be there till Ganga flows. Perhaps Ganga will flow for 11,000 years after Rama's birth!!

Raghavendra said...

Hmm.. this may need more research.

Because if you go through Srimad Bhagavatam there are numerous instances wherein it mentions that such and such a person did tapas for 10,000 years, 36,000 years etc. The authenticity of bhagavatam and the explanations written on it by great gurus like madhwacharya are beyond doubt.

so you will have much more digging to do in your post :-)

Another point, some researches have pointed out that the skymap mentioned in ramayan occurs 7000 years ago, that may be true.. but they also have to dig deeper :-)

Ramayana occured not in this 28th yuga cycle, nor in 27th,26th or 25th, but in 24th yuga cycle. Its the enduring personality of Rama that makes him remembered even today. probably Valmiki Ramayana was composed in this yuga cycle

I dont think its possible to use the astronomy softwares to go back to such deep past . so science has to come up with some other way to touch ramayana :-)

jayasree said...

Dear Mr Raghavendra,

This is a vast topic which I will anyway write someday soon. Due to preoccupations, I am not writing a coordinated essay on this, but only giving some info every now and then.

First of all, the yuga calculation. It is the most misused concept today. There are 10 types of calculation of time of which the Chathur yuga calculation is one.

If you delve into Jyothisha you will know that there are certain padhathi (tradition or practice) to use the yuga.

Any Siddhanthic text will start by referring to Chathur yugas starting from Kalpa. The author of a Siddhantha will have to mention the time of his text in the broader concept of Time starting from Kalpa. This is to say that if you happen to read a text referring to Chathur yuga classification, then know that what you are reading is a Siddhnathic grantha.

Similarly any grantha on Tantra will have references to the Epoch in which it was written or about which (the epoch), the principles are given. Aryabhateeyam is a Tantra grantha, because it starts from the current Epoch, Kali yuga.

Similarly any Karana grantha will talk only about Saka varusham.

So it is all about the context in which the yugas are discussed.

Again the very term Yuga is used in various ways.

In any vedic rirual, the term yuga refers to the 5-year duration of Pancha varshathmaka yuga and not the chathur yuga. Each year of this yuga is given a name based on several principles. (the names are Sam vatsara, Pari vatsara, Ida vatsara, Anu vatsara and Id vatsara.) This is the basic classification used in daily life. Having this as the basis, further branching out is there until Chathur maha yugas.

12 rounds of this yuga make 60 years starting from Prabhava, Vibhava.

Any classification has a twin - an ascending and descending. So 60 + 60 = 120 years, the maximum longevity of man. This is the basic classification used for human life.

120 X 120 makes 14,400.
14,400 with a twin makes 28,800 years which is the time taken by the Sun to complete one round around the Zodiac (in backward movement which we call precession)

15 rounds of this makes 1 unit of Chathuryuga and 150 rounds of it makes 1 chathur maha yuga.

That means 28,800 X 15 = 4,32,000 years (Kailiyuga duration)

28,800 X 150 = 43,20,000 years ( Chathur mmaha yuga)

This is how the classification goes.


jayasree said...

The very word Yuga means twin. Remember the name Yugma rasi for even rasis. Yugma is derived from Yuga which means two sided.

Anything two sided is a yuga.
The day and night - Ahoratra is a yuga.

The Ayanas constitute a yuga.

The panchavarshathmaka yuga (5 years) make a yuga (2-1/2 years twice with an adhik masa)

In this context, there is a padhathi "Ahoreva samvatsar" It means the first one I said - the day-night (Ahoratra) forming a yuga.

Every day a person is born anew with the sunrise. Coming to live to see the next sunrise is like having finished one yuga and starting another yuga. That is the import.

If we consider the most basic classification of Ahoreva samvatsar, each day is a samvatsar or a year. If we say that Rama lived for 11,000 years, according to this calculation, he had lived for 31 years!!

Look at Rama's life. From Sita's version in Sundhara kanda we know that Rama went on Vanavas in his 25th year. 25+ 14= 39. He ascended the throne on his 39th year. If he is to have ruled for 11,000 years, then add 31 years to this. That means he ruled till his 70th year!
(Here again the year is not what we think as 365 days. The solar year has 360 days. The sun travels a degree a day and completes one round of the zodiac of 360 degrees in 360 days. You will find basics all these when you do Shad bala calculations of Sripathi padhathi.)

This is how we have to interpret.

While interpreting the past we have to bear in mind the age of earth and age of life for which we have surya siddhantha guidance. If we are to take the meaning as we know it on face value in our limited perception, then we will be in for wrong conclusions. Not only that, we will be also making this vast body of knowledge of Veadnta and vedanga put into ridicule.

Hope this suffices for the present. i want to say much more. I started this blog only for sharing views like these. Hope God gives me time, health and mind to express more on this soon.

jayasree said...

My 4-part articles on Yuga were posted recently. That would give a better picture of how to reconcile the mention of yugas in ancient texts.