In reading through the ‘Seth’ material which was channeled during the last millennium by Jane Roberts, the ‘consciousness’ that Seth talks about appears strikingly similar to the concept of soul. “That which is not born, never dies, cannot be burnt or cut ¼”, as some Hindu scriptures such as Bhagwat describe. Seth also hints at a minor form or unit of consciousness, that is present in the atoms, and in the particles within and around us unitarily separate from the human-soul-consciousness I am referring to.
In astrology, and more specifically in Jyotish the Indian system of astrology, we lean heavily towards the central theme of karma, attributed to be the primary impetus behind births and rebirths, and responsible for our destiny and the shaping of it. One property of consciousness would seem to be in its being constantly aware of its surroundings. In other words it is interacting and communicating with its milieu all the time. Consciousness is dynamic and restless. It cannot remain resting and unperturbed for any length of time. It must rise to action; it must act and interact constantly merely to continue to exist! The moment when status quo (brahma-nidra when the creation and creative process sleep) and equilibrium is disrupted, the birth of consciousness occurs, the soul stirs and this initiates karma or action; a seed is sown for a future effect, for a future fruit, be that a sweet apple or one that is poisoned.
The soul is often thought of as an entity that is bigger than (mortal) experiential life, something that lies between the earthly (tangible) human being and the Divine (conceptual) God – I have often called this “human experience” with its highs and lows. On the other hand, perhaps it is no more than a potentially restless but now quiescent conglomeration of consciousness that extends into, pervades through and interlinks realms of perception (and ‘dimensions of reality’ as some would prefer to call these) that far exceed the specific focus of awareness of the ‘witness being’, the here and now point of consciousness that we think of as ‘I’. Aware (earth-bound) consciousness as in ‘I’ then is the result of the soul-sense, or consciousness perturbed strongly enough into making its existence discernible.
We have almost been conditioned to take it for granted that our experiences in this lifetime, are all illusory and that some exalted state of heightened awareness and a burst of insight awaits us as soon as we shake off our mortal coils with or without medical attention. That, we suddenly grow wiser or regain, as some say, our inherent and true wisdom and awareness as soul-entities soon after death and then sit down, with our Glowing Angelic Companion, to judge our performance during this recent lifetime to prepare a plan for yet another return to the school of life and work to diffuse our karma, without any memory (in most cases) of past experiences or lessons learned as a conceptual construct has always made me very uncomfortable. Since we are returned back to the amphitheater of life without any recollection of the past mistakes or lessons; the point of going back to school begins to look less like a win-win situation. There is also the issue of coming to terms with the ‘maya’ or illusion that life is supposed to be against the uncannily real and concrete experiences that most of us ‘worldly’ creatures face during our wakeful hours.
We have clearly two phases of existence during our lifetime: the wakeful period and the hours spent in slumber and in dreaming. We have the analogous phases of the lifetime in this worldly reality and the phase of death in between lifetimes. What if, the hours of wakefulness with the many more vivid activities and sense of immediacy, and of things happening within circumscribed laws is the tangible reality, while the period of death between two lifetimes were analogous to the state of sleep and dreams – presumably of recuperation and rest! This means that the time we spent during our wakeful life is what is more important and although we seemingly have less control during such reality, we end up learning more, are more awake and in which we can exercise our inherent potential better, try out different things and quite frankly, live more vividly as souls! Somewhat similar to our sleep and dreams, the pause after death and prior to the next birth allows us some quiet time for recuperation, for reflection and restructuring our strategies for the next ‘academic’ year. I am sure most of us will feel more comfortable and at ease with this conceptual framework, that gives more importance to our wakeful life, the consequences wherein are more palpable and real. It is a difficult switch of ones mind-set, because wise ones from time immemorial have told us otherwise and it is attractive to escape from the reality of the consequences of our decisions and action in the here and now and wait for some time of greater understanding and insight that awaits us at the other end of the ‘lighted’ tunnel. But, karma, the tenacious thread of continuity that plagues our existence from one lifetime to another is very real and snares us back into consequences and repercussions, whether we like it or not despite our momentary escapades into the ambrosia of spiritual loftiness or other forms of denial. Like it or not, we must keep returning to this realm of duty, of responsibilities and of wakeful REALITY!
But, how can we utilize all this in astrology? Astrology deals with the tasks and growth of the incarnate consciousness, a subset, a fraction of the larger consciousness. The ‘I’ in the horoscope primarily relates to the ascendant or first house. This is where the primary focus lies in the current incarnation, the ‘nerve’ center of our awareness and existence. Astrology reminds us of our freedom at the same time as it nudges us to recognize our responsibilities and the utility of engaging in wise action.
In Jyotish many indicators of ‘I’ (self) are described; these personal indicators include the ascendants not only in the rashi or radix chart but also in the divisional charts, fifteen of which come from traditional Parashari astrology. Actually, the rashi or lagna kundali (radix) is also considered as one of the divisional charts and so there are in all sixteen viewfinders into human experience according to Parashara. As indicated by jyotishi Sanjay Rath, the swamsha or lagnamsha, the sign that rises in the navamsha chart is particularly significant in indicating all that which fructifies and is attainable in life, easily, the path of least resistance. Additionally, there are indicators such as the moon, sun (in the sudarshan composite chakra which is examined by superimposing three circular charts with the corresponding first houses formed by the ascendant, moon and sun), as well, the lord of the asterism rising at birth and that in which the moon is placed (defining the starting point of the vimshottari dasha progression in life) and the atmakaraka or the planet that is the most advanced in longitude in any sign in a chart. Confusing as this multifactorial mélange must sound, it does make sense because in order to capture all of the essence of the carnate consciousness (facets of personality and the rest of nine yards; the human experience) in a given chart, one would surely need more than one planet or sign to cover all of the different facets of experience and existence.
Jaimini paddhati as the subset of Parashari jyotish has been called, describes in addition to the lagna, two other personal indicators, swamsha and karakamsha. Swamsha is the navamsha of lagna (or navamsha lagna – the sign placed in the 1st house of the navamsha division chart) while karakamsha is the sign in which the atmakaraka is placed in navamsha. As mentioned earlier, the contemporary jyotishi, Sanjay Rath in his translation of the sutras of Jaimini indicates that swamsha indicates that which is readily attainable in life (to the self) while karakamsha indicates that which the soul desires. From a practical consideration, this raises some interesting possibilities, astrologically speaking: the mutual disposition of the swamsha and karakamsha would indicate whether current lifetime would be full of unfulfilled desires and unattainable dreams or would it be one of purpose and fulfilment? The lords of swamsha and karakamsha would also have a say in this matter. Another way to look at this could be that the karakamsha indicates ones goals and tasks in this life for which one chose to be born. Swamsha, then would represent the lessons already learned and that one is comfortable with (having crossed the bridge once or perhaps several times during previous incarnations) and that can in some cases merely represent security blankets or even escapes from the rigours of learning (for this lifetime). Mutual relationships between the swamsha and karakamsha would indicate if the lessons are connected and continue from the past or are new ones entirely. There are at least two contemporary recommendations for karakamsha: the first one recommends using the navamsha sign in the rashi chart as the karakamsha lagna, all planets are in same rashis as the birth chart, only the lagna is the sign occupied in navamsha by the atmakaraka; the other method utilizes the navamsha chart itself, reoriented from the karakamsha lagna. for Mahatma Gandhi’s chart the two arrangements will be as shown in the figure that follows.
Gandhiji’s atmakaraka was moon which is in Karka rashi and Meena navamsha. The karakamsha chart will have Meena as the lagna. Notice that if we use the karakamsha-navamsha chart then the atmakaraka will always be in the first house, whereas, in the other arrangement, namely, the karakamsha-rashi chart, the atmakaraka can be in any of the 12 houses making more variations possible. Swamsha in Gandhiji’s chart is in Scorpio. Karakamsha Meena is in a trikona from swamsha. This is good for one to realize life’s goals and to fulfil the task one came to this world for. The means for this will be dharmic (duty-bound) and adhyatmic (spiritually oriented), both of which make sense if one follows his life story. His sense of duty, extreme sensitivity towards his Muslim ‘children’ for whose well-being he was prepared to lay down his life, literally, as history is witness, shows beautifully through the moon (mother) with Rahu in fifth in karakamsha-rashi. Rahu represents cultures and religions different from ones own, while moon also represents Muslims due to its symbolic and pragmatic importance in that religion and its highest expression that some souls born into Islam have gifted the world with, in terms of poetry of Rumi, Khalil Gibran, Ghalib, Zafar (etc.) and the emotional intensity (bhakti) that is there for human beings to embrace and put into practice for good.
In the same chart, in the ninth house is Saturn the fifth karaka. It represents the path of austerity and hardship that Gandhiji took upon himself and also expected his close ones to follow. The beautiful blend of gentleness, caring and stern discipline, shown through example and not mere words shows clearly. Here comes an illustration of fate creating all the opportunities. Not everyone with Rahu and moon in fifth and Saturn in ninth in karakamsha would exploit the combination and bring it to its glory obviously. It helps to have Scorpio as the swamsha in this chart, which would indicate the natural flow of things. Austerity and a consuming sense of duty that came to Gandhiji so naturally and which he put to effective, earthy use has at times been misjudged as a shrewd political sense. We must not lose sight of the fact that he did not have a personal agenda or stake in all this and easily walked away from it all when the political drama became after satyagraha showered its fruits upon its harvesters. The kemadruma in karakamsha again, fulfils the promise through the harsh life the saint had, in British jails and in the home of his own choosing, with destiny not forcing any of that on him. Or was it all a leela of destiny?
I keep returning to the fact that I feel in my guts that tells me that what we see around us is not some dream, some mayavini leela no matter what the ancient sage tells us|!
THIS is the reality and HERE in our awakened state, we are provided a chance to really execute our freedom of choice, our ability to embrace the divinity which enables us to choose and decide upon our true path. This lifetime, this state of awakening is where we shine at our best, and where we can exercise and express our divine self; this reality is where the heaven and hell is, all of our choosing. Sure, there is maya, there is illusion, but again all of that is created through our filters and shields of denials that we chose to hide behind!
We also have the power to remove every single one of those misperceptions and to emerge and express our-Selves as the best that humanity is capable of: D-I-V-I-N-I-T-Y!
Astrology can guide us there, and in many cases just common sense and purity of intent can be enough.