Drs. Frans Langenkamp, Netherlands
Since 1985 Drs. Frans Langenkamp Ph.D. studied Vedic astrology under the supervision of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, at MERU, Maharishi European Research University. In 1992 he received a doctor’s degree in Vedic science. Since 1997 he is a full time Vedic astrologer based in the Netherlands. He integrates into the body of ancient Vedic astrology everything that works from modern western astrology. In a sense, his system is a synthesis of eastern and western astrology. Life purpose readings are his speciality, in which he does not so much focus on predicting the future, as on helping his client see his/her life in a cosmic perspective, whereby an integration of the personality with the soul is promoted (jivatma integration). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or via his website: http://www.selfrealisation.net.
yotish is one of the six limbs (Angas) of Rig Veda. In fact, Jyotish is considered the most important of all the six Vedangas. Just as Vedanta is the most important of the six Upangas, containing within its fold all the knowledge contained in the other five Upangas, so Jyotish is the culmination of the other five Vedangas. The term Jyotish consists of two words namely “Jyoti” and “sha.” “Jyoti” means “light” while “sha” means “the best, the most excellent, eternal.” Thus, Jyotish refers to the most excellent of all lights.
Which light is the best of all lights? Is there any eternal light? The Upanishads declare that the light of the Self, the light of the consciousness of man is the light of all lights, the source of all visible lights. It is identified with the eternal light of Brahman, the essence and source of the entire creation.
In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Maharishi Yajnavalkya declares that when all visible lights have gone, the inner light of the Self still remains, guiding man in all his thoughts, speech and actions (Br. Up. 4.3.6.). Thus, Jyotish refers to the light of all lights, the light of pure consciousness, the Self of all beings. Jyotish is therefore really a limb of the Veda, since the Veda is the encyclopaedia of the structuring dynamics of consciousness, which are responsible for the creation and evolution of all that exists in the universe.
Traditionally, Jyotish has been regarded as the eyes of the Veda, the eyes of pure knowledge. Thanks to the eyes of the Vedas, the structure of the Veda itself can be known and understood. Since Jyotish is such an important limb of the body of Rig Veda, we should be able to locate the basic ingredients of Jyotish in Rig Veda. Let us, therefore take a closer look at the structure of the Veda, as revealed by the Apaurusheya Bhasya – impersonal Commentary – of Rig Veda, brought to light by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
The Apaurusheya Bhasya on Rig Veda
The Rig Veda consists of ten Chapters called Mandalas. Maharishi’s Apaurusheya Bhasya on the Rig Veda points out that all the knowledge of the ten Mandalas of Rig Veda is concentratedly available in the first Mandala, consisting of 192 Suktas (hymns). Furthermore, it shows that all knowledge of the first Mandala is contained in concentrated form in the first Sukta, consisting of nine Richas (verses). Then it goes on to show that the knowledge of the first Sukta is contained in the first Richa, consisting of nine words. And that the knowledge of the first Richa is contained in the first word. And that the knowledge of the first word is contained in the first syllable “Ak.” And finally, that the knowledge of the first syllable is contained in the first letter “A.” This implies that the entirety of the knowledge of the Rig Veda is contained in its first letter, “A”! Likewise, it holds that the entirety of knowledge is contained in the first Richa (verse)!
Maharishi is the first commentator of the Rig Veda, who pointed out that the Vedas are completely self-explanatory, in the sense that each following word is an elaboration and a commentary on the previous words. Each elaborated version of the Vedas in terms of Richas, Suktas and Mandalas are more elaborated versions of the knowledge that is contained in the preceding versions. In this way, Maharishi emphasises the perfect orderly, sequential and self-explanatory structure of the Rig Veda.
The 9 Grahas associated with the first 9 Words of the Rig Veda
ccording to ancient understanding, the Vedas are the textbooks that reveal the structuring dynamics of Consciousness, which are responsible for the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the Universe. In other words, we can say that the Vedas are the encyclopaedia of all the Laws of Nature. If we turn our attention to Jyotish, the eyes of the Veda, we see that the nine Planets (Navagraha) also represent all the Laws of Nature. Planets can be seen as the point values of the nine basic universal Laws of Nature, which are responsible for creating, maintaining and dissolving the entire universe. Please note that the Planets as such, are not identical with the abstract and eternal Laws of Nature; they are the physical expressions of the Laws of Nature. (In the case of Rahu and Ketu, they are just mathematical points, invisible but calculable as the intersection of the Moon’s orbital plane with the ecliptic.) The nine Grahas taken together, represent all the forces of nature, responsible for the creation and evolution of everything in the universe. Since both Rig Veda and the Nine Planets, each in their own way, relate to the entirety of all the laws of nature, the qualities and characteristics of the nine planets must somehow be found in Rig Veda!
If it is true that Rig Veda is the expression of the totality of the Laws of Nature, and if the nine Grahas represent all the Laws of Nature, then certainly the knowledge of the nine Grahas must somehow be contained in Rig Veda. Furthermore, there is the Apaurusheya Bhasya of the Rig Veda, which maintains that the entire knowledge of Rig Veda is available in the first letter, the first syllable, the first word, the first Richa (verse), the first Sukta (hymn) and the first Mandala (book of hymns) of Rig Veda.
If this is so, it should be possible to demonstrate that the knowledge of the nine Grahas is completely available on each of the levels of elaboration of the Vedic text. In order to test this hypothesis, we could turn our attention to a commentary on the first Richa (verse) of Rig Veda, written by Maharishi.
Is it a coincidence that this first Richa of Rig Veda, comprising the totality of Rig Veda, consists of exactly nine words? Jyotish teaches us that there are no coincidences in the universe. Could it be that there exists a correspondence between the first nine words of the Rig Veda and the nine Grahas? It seems only logical to expect this!
Maharishi’s translation and commentary on the first Richa of Rig Veda can be found in a book, issued in 1976, under the title “Creating an Ideal Society – a Global Undertaking”. In this book, Maharishi elaborates on the inherent meaning of each of the first nine words of Rig Veda. The first Richa of Rig Veda reads as follows:
“Agnim ile purohitam yagyasya devam ritvijam hotaram ratna dhatamam.”
Let us take a look at Maharishi’s descriptions of these first nine words of Rig Veda, and see whether they can be related to the basic qualities, the essential nature of the nine Grahas. The definition of each of the nine words, given below in red text, was taken from Maharishis book (page 128 a.f.).
“…contains within its structure, in seed form, the full knowledge of all Laws of Nature, all evolutionary processes, and all forms and actions in the universe.
A such it represents the whole value of Supreme intelligence…”
Clearly this relates to Surya, the Sun, who in Jyotish represents pure consciousness, Creative Intelligence, the Self, the source of all knowledge and action. The superficial word meaning of Agni is “fire,” and the Sun is the only Graha that consists of fire and is illuminating with its light all the other Grahas of the solar system. Just as Agni is the source of the whole Veda and the Vedic Literature, the Sun can be seen as the source of all activity and life forms in the solar system. Clearly, Agnim can only related to the Surya principle.
“…displays the Mechanics of Creation, contained within the word Agnim. … It expresses the first awakening of the Laws of Nature as they initiate activity within the field of consciousness.”
This relates to Chandra, the Moon, because in Jyotish the Moon represents the mind, which is just another expression for “activity within the field of consciousness.”
“By virtue of being awareness, transparent to itself, consciousness emerges from within its pure potentiality (Agnim) and, curving back on to itself (Ile) establishes an “observer-observed” relationship within its own structure.”
It is activity in consciousness that structures the subject-object relationship within the indivisible wholeness of consciousness. Here, we have the description of how the mind relates to pure consciousness, or in terms of Jyotish, how the Moon interacts with the Sun and how it reflects the values of the Sun.
“Ile,” Maharishi states, “is the first sprouting of the supreme intelligence to become the first expression of Creative Intelligence.”
This passage describes how the mind arises out of pure consciousness. Maharishi says that “Ile” means “to repeat over and over again“. In terms of Jyotish, repetition and cyclical activity typically refers to the Moon, since the Moon represents anything that has a cyclical nature. During the process of effortless meditation, the mind “curves back onto the self,” like the Moon is merging into the Sun every month again. This illustrates the fact that Ile relates to the qualities and characteristics of Chandra, the Moon as described by Jyotish.
“…is pure potentiality in motion … it is the wholeness of consciousness enlivened by self-knowledge and capable of initiating action within its own unmanifest structure… the silent initiator and inner controller of all action, the fountainhead of all authority, law and power…”
In Jyotish, Mangal (Mars) is described as the army general, the initiator of action, the archetype of power and authority. Maharishi emphasises that the power and authority exhibited by Purohitam, is derived from Agnim – this is precisely the case with Mangal, the army general, whose power and authority are based upon the strength of the King Surya (the Sun). These points establish the fact that Purohitam relates to the Mangal principle.
“…expresses the code of action by which any desired goal can be achieved. The mechanics of achievement are that consciousness, simply by following its own nature, puts its infinite potential to use in the field of action.”
Consciousness expresses its nature through desiring. Desiring is the ultimate means of achieving anything. This principle relates to Rahu (the Northern lunar moon node), since its very nature is to desire, and to achieve one goal after another. By following the nature of Rahu in our Horoscope, we attain our life purpose, and reach our desired goal in the field of relative creation.
Rahu is the locomotive of life, the locomotive of desire, by which creatures follow their own nature. It is interesting to note that the Shrimad Bhagavatam, one of the two Mahapuranas, makes mention of a boar incarnation of God. According to the Shrimad Bhagavatam, this boar is the embodiment of all Yagyas. Yagyas are subtle technologies of Vedic engineering, by which any desired goal can be achieved. In the second chapter of the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, Maharshi Parashara, the founding father of Vedic astrology, enumerates the ten incarnations of God, and classifies them with reference to the Navagraha (the nine planets). In this classification the boar incarnation relates to Rahu. From these points, it is evident that there is a cosmic correspondence between yagyasya and the nature of Rahu.
“…is the impulse of Creative Intelligence that spontaneously leads all activity in an evolutionary direction.”
Clearly, this is the function of Guru (Jupiter), who is the guide, the teacher, the spiritual preceptor of the Devas, (impulses of Creative Intelligence, personified as gods). Of all the Grahas it is mainly Guru that makes us go for evolution, expansion, enlightenment, etc. Guru shows us the way toward the realisation of evolutionary goals and aspirations. From this consideration it is clear that devam is an exact expression of the Guru principle.
“…is the absolute, non-active value of Creative Intelligence. The supreme intelligence is so unlimited that it can function without functioning – its very presence regulates activity so that it is spontaneously right” … it is … “the element which maintains wholeness of consciousness and witnesses all activity.”
These attributes of consciousness remind us of the characteristics of Shani (Saturn). Shani represents the Absolute, the silence, meditation, introspection, the state of yoga, the witnessing aspect of our consciousness, the gate to perfection in life. It represents our conscience, the inner guiding light for all our thought, speech and action. Thus it is clear that ritvijam represents the Shani principle.
“…is Creative Intelligence in action. Whereas Ritvijam faces himself, Hotaram faces activity“… by which … “the whole range of activity can be endowed with the infinite potential of Creative Intelligence, so that every action yields the greatest results. Its goal is lively fulfilment in the waves of living.”
This description clearly relates to the Budha principle, represented by the Graha Budha (Mercury), who is the fast moving planet of Creative Intelligence in action. Budha infuses intelligence, creativity, liveliness and joy into all phases of our daily life and even in our professional sphere.
On the level of the superficial meaning, hotaram refers to the actual performer of a yagya (vedic performance) – the person who is reciting the appropriate mantras, while dextrously pouring oblations into the fire. This is exactly the characteristic of Budha, who in Jyotish parlance, knows all the four Vedas by heart, and is the dextrous, skilled performer of intelligent actions. All these points clearly establish a connection between hotaram and Budha (Mercury).
“…the pure brilliance of Creative Intelligence shining in its most concentrated form between silence and action, Absolute and relative”… it is “the grace of life in its highest form, the culmination of all processes of evolution.”
Clearly, this description relates to Ketu (the Southern lunar node), since Ketu is known as the “moksha karaka“- the bestower of moksha, liberation, which Vedic science declares to be the culmination of all processes of evolution. Ketu stands for total knowledge, total enlightenment, which is shining in its most concentrated form between silence and action, between Absolute and relative. Abstract consciousness is found in the gap between all opposite values. Ketu, as such, is nothing – it is only a mathematical point, defined by the interaction between the Sun and the Moon – between the Absolute (the Sun) and the relative (the Moon), between silence and dynamism. On the superficial level of the word-meaning, ratna means “jewel“, and, as such, it also relates to Ketu, since Ketu stands for brilliance, sparks of fire, and any unusual or striking phenomenon catching the attention. All these points establish a clear correspondence between ratna and the Ketu principle.
“…shows consciousness as having grown to such a degree of concentrated fullness and purity that it overflows to radiate its value in the environment.” In Dhatamam, Maharishi writes, “consciousness is shown as the giver of the supreme value of life, as bestowing enlightenment and making it universally available.”
On the level of the word-meaning dhatamam means giver. Giving is an expression of love. Giving is the spontaneous result of the overflowing of the fullness of consciousness. The values represented by dhatamam, can therefore directly be related to the nature of Shukra (Venus), who stands for the principle of love and sharing, spontaneously radiating its value to the environment.
Maharishi says that the value of overflowing, contained in dhatamam, is the spontaneous result of the fullness and purity of consciousness. It is interesting to note that the word-meaning of Shukra is “purity.” The love that Shukra (Venus) stands for in Jyotish parlance is the spontaneous result of the fullness of consciousness. Only when the Self is experienced in its purity and fullness, then love spontaneously emanates from it. These points confirm that dhatamam is related to the Shukra principle, the principle of love and sharing.
Having established a one to one relationship between the nine first words of Rig Veda and the nine Planets (Navagraha), we can take a step back and study the sequence in which the nine planets appear: Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus.
That seems a very arbitrary sequence, is it not? No it isn’t, as any student of Vedic astrology can tell!!! It is the sequence in which the planets appear in the Vimshottary Dasha system! This is a system which helps us analyse a birth horoscope, and which tells us which periods in life are dominated by which Planet (Graha). According to Parashara, it is the King of all Dasha systems. The Vimshottary Dasha system reveals to us how each individual develops himself in time. It shows how all individuals go through nine stages of development, and that these stages always and everywhere have the same sequence: the sequence shown above, which is based on the sequence of the first nine words of Rig Veda!
If is true that Rig Veda is the encyclopaedia of all the laws of nature, and if it is true that the words of Rig Veda are arranged in an absolute, evolutionary, and self explanatory sequence, then it is only logical that the sequence of the first nine words corresponds exactly with the sequence of the nine Planets in the Vimshottary Dasha system! This suggests that the Vimshottary Dasha system has a very solid basis indeed! It is based on the primordial evolutionary sequence of Nature. Maybe this explains the astounding correctness of the Vimshottary Dasha system, which impresses every student of Vedic astrology, in the east and in the west! In the 25 years of my study of Vedic astrology, I never came across an explanation of why the planets in the Vimshottary Dasha system are arranged in that particular sequence. Not even an attempt to explain it ever appeared on the Jyotish horizon, as far as I know. I felt that the correspondence is rather striking, and it kept sticking in my mind. Therefore, I thought I should share it with all my colleague Jyotish students.