A short post for you to appreciate the planetary forces in your life.
Let’s first see how to handle these much used words, ‘malefic’ and ‘benefic’. These are used so very often so that it seems that the planets will give either positive or negative results and that’s it. This is incorrect.
In Sanskrit the corresponding words are saumya and kroor.
- Benefic is saumya सौम्य – pleasant, shining, happy, gentle, cool, cheerful, auspicious, agreeable, placid, mild, lovely, likeable, benevolent, beautiful, etc. You get results with this sort of flavour from ‘benefic’ planets.
- Malefic is kroor क्रूर – cruel, brutal, hurt, wound, sore, sharp, pitiless, inauspicious, harsh, strong, formidable, fierce, disagreeable, frightful, evil, terrible, mischievous, etc. the ‘malefic’ planets give results with this kroor note.
Now planets will also give Shubh शुभ and Ashubh अशुभ results, ie the auspicious, good, fortunate, helpful, beautiful, agreeable, pleasant, clean शुभ etc or not अशुभ results, this is more important during analysis than simple ‘malefic’ or ‘benefic’. And another common confusion regarding ‘malefic’ and ‘benefic’ is when you mix up the natural and functional roles and the inherent nature of the planet. So let’s decipher all these terms.
सौम्य Saumya Graha
Jupiter, Venus and Moon (with high Paksha bala) are the natural Saumya graha, loosely translated to have a ‘benefic nature’, but better would be to think of them as forces which give results in a gentle, mild, non-shocking, non-turbulent etc manner.
If they are going to be functionally beneficial for your chart they will give their positive results with a lot of kindness, gentleness, and also keep you hopeful and happy during the process.
Even if they are responsible for the Dushamsthan in your chart, ie are functional malefics, they will bring in turbulence with their characteristic ‘Saumya’ nature. In my personal opinion, Venus is the best benefic by nature and if he is going to behave as a functional malefic in the chart, he gives devastating results in very mild, gentle and almost unperceptible manner. And I have written on Jupiter being an over-rated benefic in this post here. These saumya graha in charge of the turmoil of the 6th 8th 12th give deceptively hopeful results which mask their core of inauspiciousness. Seemingly manageable troubles in the initial phases but later their functional inauspiciousness becomes evident and drains you of all hope and positivity. A planet who is a functional malefic for a chart will give his undesirable results in some way or the other, even if he is a natural saumya graha. Eg you might think that you can go ahead with your lifestyle of eating fats and sugars till one fine day you realise that you have developed very high diabetes thanks to Jupiter who rules the 6th house in your chart.
क्रूर Kroor graha
Mars, Sun, Saturn and Moon (with low Paksha bala) are Kroor graha, ie they give their results with force, are dispassionate even to the point of being cruel, often work with turbulence causing trauma to the mind/body etc. They should not to be thought as ‘malefic’ or ‘evil’ in that sense.
Even if they bring favourable results, ie Mars and Saturn are yogkaraks for certain ascendants, they will do so with their characteristic ‘kroor’ nature, ie the events which propel you upwards will be kroor in nature. eg You are due for promotion, it happens suddenly when you are least prepared for it, you get posted in an unexpected location, this causes upheaval in your life but soon you get very highly appreciated for some typical work you do there. They will propel you upwards, the path will be tumultuous but the end result will be auspicious.
And if they are in charge of the 6th 8th 12th houses they will give trouble. This will work in two ways. Either give you so many troubles and also remove hope from your life, you will be swamped. Or give you trouble but also the hope that things will slowly improve and the strength to do so.
Mercury is a neutral force and the nature of his results will depend on the planets who are influencing him. He can be Saumya or Kroor depending on the individual chart.
So when we use the words benefic and malefic in English, it is a sharp classification of the planets activities, this does not work in real life. The same planet can give saumya and kroor results depending on so many factors, so you start using the several techniques available in Jyotish, to be able to really analyse them.
Next let’s analyse the seven graha subjectively to see how they cooperate with each other, combine their strengths and help each other. The seven graha can be broadly divided into three groups.
(I am excluding Rahu and Ketu as they are the astral graha who work indirectly through the planets and signs they influence. They are the desire for the individual soul to either immerse itself deeply in the Game or to resolve to quit the game and go Home. They work on another level altogether.)
Sun, Mercury and Jupiter make up the first natural group together. If you analyse the attributes that are governed by these three planets, they are more about the individual person. How you identify with your self, your life philosophy, your resources, self-image, self-confidence and self-assurance. Also the outgoing part of you, how you project yourself, communication skills, people skills, actions, behaviour in public etc. Faith in your own personality, the inner power which comes when you know that you are right. Finally all this is linked to what people think about you and the image you are projecting. If all these three planets are strong in the chart then you are highly motivated, logical, confident, hopeful about things, have the necessary resources and also the ability to use them.
(‘Strength’ here is any of the following measures, Shadbala, the Vimshopaka bala (use the figure derived from the Dasha-varga) or the Ashtakvarga points they have in the sign they occupy at birth etc.)
In case one of these three is weak then the other two can make up so that the overall personality does not suffer much.
- A weak Mercury may not be able to grant logic, mental intelligence, practical skills etc. But if the Sun and Jupiter are strong, they will be able to make up for this lack by their own typical qualities of hope, benevolence, kindness, luck, confidence, creative genius, etc.
- A weak Sun may create a crisis with the self-confidence or lack of creativity, but if there is a strong Jupiter to give his support, philosophy, peers, patrons, teachers and foundations with a strong Mercury with his articulate skills and communication, will help partly ally the Sun’s weakness.
- If a weak Jupiter denies his support, then a strong Mercury with his skill to create options and choosing the correct one with boldness and courage will help a powerful Sun to make the most of the personality as an integrated whole.
However of these three planets, if two are weak then the third may not able able to compensate so well. Eg if the Sun and Mercury both are weak then the Jupiter alone cannot compensate for this group’s combined attributes. Or if Jupiter and Sun both are weak then Mercury cannot do anything much. And if Mercury and Jupiter both are weak, the Sun alone can’t carry the personality along.
And finally if all three are weak then this first group of attributes will be hit badly and the personality will be weak, non-confident, confused, unlucky, etc all together.
Moon and Venus together are the second group of attributes. These two planets are more receptive in nature. Essentially Moon and Venus are the nourishing forces in your life. One nourishes your physical/emotional/astral bodies and the other nourishes your spirit. Both govern love, albeit of different types, one is need based love and the other is equitable love.
If both of them are auspicious and have strength then you feel secure in several ways. Emotional fulfilled, physically fit and spiritually at ease with your self. There is love in your life, in one way or the other. Self-love, needy love, equal love all exist. There is a sense of worth, belonging, value and validation. This is a powerful feeling, knowing that someone wants you to be there in his/her life. Knowing that someone fulfils your needs with their love. And the power of self-love is a spiritual thing. You are aware that you love your own self and are not dependant on the vagaries of someone else for this essential feeling.
Even if one of these two is weak then the other can compensate in some way so that the personality does not suffer much.
- Ie if Moon is weak but Venus is strong, then you may not get the love you need. Or may be denied the nurture that you crave. But you will be able to love your own self deeply. This self love will compensate so that you do not miss this other sort of love in your life very much. You will grow to be a self reliant personality who remains satisfied with himself.
- Or if it is the other way round, a weak Venus but a strong Moon. Here even if you feel non-confident about your personal ‘loveableness’, there will be someone who will want you in their life. Or someone will be able to give you the love you need and you will be able to accept it. This will help you become emotionally secure comfortable and stable. Your need for ‘love’ will be satisfied, so you will not miss the self-love component much in your life.
But if both are weak then your life will be bereft of love. And the aftereffects of this will be insecurity, instability, lack of support or comfort etc on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels.
Mars and Saturn are the third group of attributes – their theme is conflict of various types, things which can make you upset. But they also grant you the ability to handle this trauma. They indicate the adversities in life, but these adversities bring out hidden qualities within yourself. If auspiciously placed they will help you find solutions, resources and manage these issues.
Mars indicates those problems which are sudden, catastrophic, dangerous, risky, fast to come and if addressed in time, fast to go. With Mars the human element is more significant, most of his troubles are linked to unnecessary risk-taking. Saturn indicates those problems about which you cannot do anything much, its more a systems generated problem. You are required to endure through eg issues created by someone dying or suffering a protracted disease, you are in a situation beyond your control. So when you need energy to tolerate the sufferings you need Saturn’s help.
If both Mars and Saturn are supportive in your chart then you have the ability to deal with all sorts of problems in your life in all sorts of ways, you might fight back or suffer but you will be able to manage the issue well enough.
If Mars is strong but Saturn is weak it means that you prefer to resolve your issues in a direct manner, you cannot tolerate long standing and lingering disputes. So you will not let the issues turn into the lingering ones in the first place, ie act proactively to finish them off as soon as they rear their heads. A strong Mars will make you face the situation head on, fight for what is yours. You will face up to the oppression in an aggressive and defensive manner. If you facing problems which can be solved or need to be resolved, you need Mars.
If Saturn is strong and Mars is weak, you will prefer to go the slow way. You will be more meticulous and study the problem before attempting the solution. You will endure through the initial minor issues and then eventually systematically decimate your troubles. A stronger Saturn capable of giving auspicious results means that the troubles will be slow to arise, there will be several options for course correction and a capacity to endure.
If Mars and Saturn are weak in your chart, then the overall ability to weather the storms in life is low. You have neither the power to fight back nor do you have the reserves to endure.
Jyotish is objective as well as subjective. Today we are all so focussed on the objective that the subjective is ignored. Eg suppose a particular avastha’s result says ‘laziness’. But its quite possible that the planet is in Sushupti avastha, deep sleep, he is content at very high levels, so the person is simply not going to be motivated to perform in matters related to this planet. So calling him ‘lazy’ is not appropriate. Obviously you cannot do this sort of in-depth personality analysis for your clients but you can try doing it for your own planets at least.
‘Malefic’, ‘benefic’ and similar stuff, do not think of it as a sharp black and white, there are several grey areas and the planets do work together to support you as an integrated personality. So do try to observe yourself through your planets, your possible strengths and weaknesses. How you manage issues in life, the tactics you use to resolve issues. There are always going to be some pluses and some minuses, so try to compensate using Jyotish as a tool. ‘