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In Vedic astrology there are methods which especially in this age of

computers can give a quick insight in the state of planets and houses.
One such method is treated here. This is the method of Shadbala. It
gives a value to each planet. The more points a planet gets in
Shadbala the stronger it is.

It is important to have some insight in how the Shadbala value is


calculated. Only if you know the method followed by this system of
calculation you can have an opinion about the value of it.

When you started the first course you were given a printout of your
chart. In this printout you see an overview of the Shadbala
calculations. Now I will explain these. There are slight variances on
how Shadbala is calculated. In this course I will follow the method of
the late B.V. Raman as explained in his book ‘graha and bhava balas’.
If you use Haydn’s Jyotish and you want to follow B.V. Raman’s
method go to the options menu and select ‘B.V.Raman’ under
Shadbala style.

It is possible that other astrologers in the future will develop their own
version of Shadbala. Personally I welcome new and innovative
approaches. However, before we can develop something new we
should exactly know how the traditional system works. I would
suggest you have the printout of the Shadbala calculation of your
personal chart in front of you while I explain the calculations. This
makes it much easier to follow the explanations.

1. STHANA BALA

We start with calculating the sthana bala of a planet. This is the


positional strength of a planet. Sthana Bala consists of five
components:

1. The first one is called Ocha Bala. In the first course you learned
that in Vedic Astrology all planets have exact degrees of
exaltation. Like the Moon is exalted at 3 degrees Taurus. When a
planet occupies it exact degree of exaltation the planet gets 60
Shashtiamsas (Shashtiamsas are points). When it occupies the
opposite point, its exact point of fall, it does not get any
Shashtiamsas. Of course most of the time a planet will occupy a
position somewhere in between these points. In that case the
points that it will get will be calculated according to its position
from the point of exaltation and fall. Example: The Moon at 3
degrees Scorpio will get 0 Shashtiamsas. The Moon at 3 degrees
Leo will get 30 Shashtiamsas (this is exactly between 3 degrees
Scorpio and 3 degrees Taurus).
2. The second one is called Saptavargaja Bala. To calculate this we
will have to look at the following seven harmonic charts: Rasi,
Hora, Drekkana, Saptamsa, Navamsa, Dwadasamsa and
Trimsamsa. In all these charts we look at what kind of sign a
certain planet is located. If a planet occupies in the rashichart its
Moolatrikona sign it gets 45 Shashtiamsas (this is a special rule
for the rashi chart only), if it is in its own sign (of whatever
varga) it gets 30 Shashtiamsas, in the sign of a great friend 22.5
Shashtiamsas, in the sign of a friend 15 Shashtiamsas, in a
neutral sign 7.5 Shashtiamsas, in the sign of an enemy 3.75
Shashtiamsas and in the sign of a great enemy 1.875
Shashtiamsas. The concept of friends and enemies has been
explained in the first course. This is one of the most important
parts of Shadbala because Saptavargaja bala can give a lot of
Shashtiamsas.
3. Ojayyugma Bala The idea behind this concept is that a planet
gains strength because it is in an even or uneven sign or
navamsa. The Moon and Venus get 15 Shashtiamsas when they
are in an even sign. These planets also get 15 Shastiamsas when
they are in an even navamsa. In totality the Moon or Venus may
gain 30 Shashtiamsas if they are located in an even sign AND
even navamsa. The reason behind this is that the Moon and
Venus are female planets and are strong when they are in
female (even) signs or navamsas. Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury
and Saturn get 15 Shastiamsas when they are in an uneven
sign. They also can get 15 Shashtiamsas when they are in an
uneven navamsa. These planets are male or neutral and are
strong in male (uneven) signs.
4. Kendra Bala A planet in a kendra house (1,4,7 and 10) gets 60
Shashtiamsas, a planet in the house 2,5,8 or 11 gets 30
Shashtiamsas, a planet in the house 3,6,9 or 12 gets 15
Shashtiamsas. The reasoning is that planets in kendrahouses can
easily express themselves and are therefore strong.
5. Drekkena Bala To calculate this the planets are divided into
masculine planets (Sun, Jupiter and Mars), neutral planets
(Saturn and Mercury) and female planets (Venus and the Moon).
If a male planet is in the first drekkana (0-10 degrees) of
whatever sign it gets 15 Shashtiamsas. If a neutral planet is in
the middle drekkana of whatever sign (that means it is located
between 10-20 degrees of whatever sign) it gets 15
Shashtiamsas. If a female planet is located in the last drekkana
(the last 10 degrees) of whatever sign it gets 15 Shashtiamsas.
The reasoning is that the first drekkana of each sign is good for
male planets, the middle drekkana for neutral planets and the
last drekkana for female planets.

Now we have to add up all the Shashtiamsa values. The result is the
total Sthana Bala. You are in the priviliged position that you do not
have to calculate all this by hand. You can see it on the computer
printout. When you know what the different strengths and weaknesses
mean you can easily assess the strengths and weaknesses of your
chart just by looking at the Shadbala printout.

2. DIG BALA

This principle has similarities with the principle of Ocha Bala. Only now
the decisive factor is not the location of the planet in a certain sign,
but in a certain house.

Each planet is powerful when it is located in a certain direction. Dig


Bala means directional strength. The Sun and Mars are powerful in the
South. These are planets which function especially well in the tenth
house (the tenth house is the Southern part of the sky). Saturn is
given maximum Dig Bala when it is in the West, the seventh house.
Moon and Venus get maximum Dig Bala when the are in the North
(fourth house). Mercury and Jupiter function well in the first house
(the East).

A reason for this is that the morning is a great time for studying and
learning. That is why Mercury and Jupiter, planets which have to do
with studying and learning, are strong during that time of day (at that
time the Sun is near the ascendant).

The Sun and Mars are energetic planets which need the energy that is
available around noon (at that time the Sun is in the tenth house).

Saturn is the planet of shades, which are at its maximum during the
evening (when the Sun is opposite the ascendant).

Moon and Venus are soft planets which function good during the time
that is meaned for sleeping and making love (at midnight the Sun is in
the fourth house).

A planet gets maximum Dig Bala when it is in middle of the bhava


(house) where it functions especially well. If for example the Moon is
located right in het middle of the fourth house he gets maximum Dig
Bala and is given 60 Shashtiamsas. If the Moon is in the middle of the
tenth house it is given 0 Shashtiamsas.

A slight complication is that for determining this BV Raman works with


the bhava chart and not with the rashi chart. The midpoint of the
houses in the bhava chart may differ from the midpoint of the houses
in the rashi chart (which is always 15 degrees of a certain sign).

The Bhava Chart is a chart which has unequal houses. It is comparable


to the way we work with houses in Western Astrology (and in
particular the Porphyry house system). The Bhava Chart is explained
later.

Dig bala gives a good indication for how strong a planet is in its house.

3. KALA BALA

This has to do with the strength which a planet has because of the
time of the day. It is strength of time.

It consists of different factors:

1. Divaratri Bala According to this system the Moon, Saturn and


Mars are powerful during midnight. At noon they are powerless.
These are the natural malefics + the Moon. The Sun, Jupiter and
Venus are powerful during noon and are powerless during
midnight. These are the natural benefics + the Sun. Adaptable
Mercury is considered to be always powerful. This means that in
every chart Mercury gets the maximum of 60 Shashtiamsas
which can be gained by this factor. The Moon, Saturn and Mars
are given 60 Shashtiamsas only if the person is born at midnight
and 0 if the person is born at noon. Sun, Jupiter and Venus get
60 Shastiamsas if the person is born at noon and zero if he is
born at midnight. Of course if the person is born at a time
somewhere in between the value is interpolated.
2. Paksha Bala A Paksha is equal to 15 lunar days. When the Moon
is increasing it is Sukla Paksha. When the Moon is decreasing it
is Krishna Paksha .The benefics are Jupiter, Venus, Moon (from
the 8th day of the bright half of the lunar month to the 8th day
of the dark half of the lunar month) and good influenced
Mercury. These beneficial planets are powerful during Sukla
Paksha. The malefics are Sun, Mars, Saturn, badly influenced
Mercury and the Moon (from the 8th day of the dark half of the
lunar month to the 8th day of the bright half of the lunar
month). They are powerful during Krishna Paksha. The benefics
get more Shastiamsas if a person is born on Sukla Paksha and
the malefics less. If a person is born during Krishna Paksha the
malefics get more points. The maximum amount of
Shashtiamsas to be gained is 60. The value of the Shastiamsas
of the malefics + the value of the Shastiamsas of the benefics is
always 60. The Shastiamsas of the Moon are always doubled.
3. Thribhaga Bala Sometimes in Shadbala you see things which
look a bit curious. This is an example. The day (that means the
period of daylight) is divided into three equal parts and the night
(the period without daylight) is divided into three equal parts. In
this system Jupiter is always given 60 Shastiamsas. In addition,
if someone is born during the first part of the day Mercury gets
60 Shashtiamsas. If someone is born during the second part of
the day the Sun gets 60 Shashtiamsas. If born during the last
part of the day Saturn gets 60 Shashtiamsas. If born during the
first part of the night the Moon is given 60 Shashtiamsas. If born
during the second part of the night Venus gets 60 Shashtiamsas.
If born during the last part of the night Mars gets 60
Shashtiamsas. I see some connection between this system and
the system of Dig Bala. In the reasoning behind Dig Bala the first
part of the day is seen as particularly good for Mercurial
activities. Noon is seen as good for activities which have to do
with the Sun. Saturn is strong when he is opposite the ascendant
(at the place of the evening Sun). Also the Moon and Venus are
strong during nighttime. However, the value attached to the late
night Mars is something which cannot be found in Dig Bala.
4. Abda Bala The planet which is the lord of the year will get 15
Shahtiamsas. The lord of the year is the planet which belongs to
the first day of the year. For example if the first day of a certain
year is Sunday the year is ruled by the Sun, which receives 15
Shashtiamsas according to this method. However, because Mr.
Raman does not look at the calender but tries to find this planet
by making a calculation (in which he uses the 360 day year) it is
very well possible that the year began on another day then is
seen on the Abda Bala printout.
5. Masa Bala The planet which is the lord of the first day of the
month in which a person is born receives 30 Shashtiamsas. In
finding this planet more or less the same problems appear as
when calculating Abda Bala. Mr. Raman uses a duration of the
month of 30 days.
6. Vara Bala The planet which rules the day at which the person is
born receives 45 Shashtiamsas. This planet is found without
calculations.
7. Hora Bala A day is divided into 24 hours or horas. Each hora is
ruled by a planet. The first hora is ruled by the planet which
rules the day. For example at Monday the first hora is ruled by
the Moon. Then the order is according to the days of the week
(next hora will be of Mars then of Mercury and so on). If you are
born at some distance from the equator the horas are not of
equal length. The period of daylight contains 12 horas and the
period without daylight contains 12 horas. The ruler of the hora
when you were born gets 60 Shashtiamsas.
8. Ayana Bala This is a somewhat exotic concept in Shadbala. To
really explain it would take a lot of space. The value a planet
gets according to Ayana Bala has to do with the declination it
has from the equator. If a planet has 0 declination the ayana
bala is 30. For Venus, the Sun, Mars and Jupiter the Northern
declinations are added to his value and the Southern declinations
subtracted (the consequence of this is that a planet has a low
ayana bala if the planet has a Southern declination and a high
ayana bala if the planet has a Northern declination). For Saturn
and the Moon it is the other way around. For Mercury
declinations are always added. The maximum amount of
Shashtiamsas to be gained is 60. The ayana bala of the Sun is
always doubled. I have not succeeded in finding an explanation
why these rules are the way they are.
9. Yuddha Bala This concept has to do with planets which are in
war. Therefore we only encounter Yuddha bala values if there
are planets at war in the chart. First we have to calculate the
total Sthana bala value + Dig Bala + Kala Bala till Hora Bala of
the two fighting planets. Then we must calculate the difference
between these two values. This difference must be divided by
the difference between the diameters of the two planets as seen
in the sky. The result of this calculation is the Yuddhabala. This
must be added to the Kala Bala total of the winning planet and
subtracted to the Kala Bala of the loosing planet. Maybe you
experience this to be a difficult concept. You can also look at it
simply from the point of view that a planet which wins a war
gets some bonus Shashtiamsas, while the planet which looses
the war looses some Shashtiamsas.

After everything has been calculated we add it all up and get the total
Kala Bala.

4. CHESTA BALA
Again we encounter a concept which is not easy to explain without a
lengthy introduction about astronomy. I suggest we take a shortcut.
Planets which are relatively slow (among them retrograde planets) get
a high Chesta Bala value. Planets which are relatively fast get a low
chesta bala value. The reasoning is that slow moving planets are able
to focus their energy more because they stay in one place. The
maximum amount of Shashtiamsas to be earned is 60. I would like to
stress that it is the relative speed I am talking about here: relative to
the average speed of a planet. Therefore it is possible that a relatively
fast moving Saturn gets a low Chesta Bala, while a relatively slow
moving Mercury gets a high Chesta Bala. On the computer outprint of
Haydn’s Jyotish you see the average speed (at the top of the printout).
When you see a 1 behind a planet it is moving at its average speed.
When you see a value higher than 1 it moves faster than its average
speed, when you see a value lower than 1 it moves slower.

The Sun and Moon do not get Chesta Bala values. They move in a
fairly regular pattern and do not go retrograde ever.

5. NAISARGIKA BALA

Each planet gets a certain amount of Shashtiamsas according to the


luminosity it has. Because the Sun is the brightest planet it is given 60
Shashtiamsas. Saturn is the faintest and gets 8.57 Shashtiamsas. This
means that the amount of Shashtiamsas a planet receives according to
Naisargika Bala is in every chart the same.

6. DRIK BALA

Drik Bala is called aspect strength. If a planet is aspected by benefics


the planet receives a positive Shashtiamsa value. If a planet is
aspected by malefics than it gets negative Drik Bala points. See
paragraph 3.2 for which planets are considered benefics and malefics.

The calculation of the Drik Bala value is a bit complicated because we


also take partial aspects in account.

I will give one example of this. We know that the Sun, Moon, Venus
and Mercury aspect the planet in the seventh sign from it. Now for this
purpose we say that these planet aspect the zodiacal degree in
opposition (180 degrees from it). The point which is 120 degrees from
these planets get a partial aspect of 50%, the point which is 90
degrees from the planet gets a 75% aspect, the point which is 60
degrees gets a 25% aspect and the point which is 30 or 150 degrees
from the planet gets no aspect at all.

Most Jyotishis only work with full (100%) aspects, but for this purpose
we work with partial aspects (that means aspects which are weaker
than full aspects). This makes the calculation of Drik Bala quite
cumbersome. Thank God we have computers.

What is important to know is that if a certain planet has a negative


Drig Bala value than it is mainly under the influence of malefics and if
it has a positive Drig Bala value it is under the influence of benefics.
Therefore I think the Drig Bala value is very interesting. By looking at
the Shadbala printout we can immediately see if a planet is mainly
under the influence of benefics or malefics and how strong this
influence is.

7. TOTAL SHADBALA

Finally, the Shashtiamsas are added up. We get the Shadbala value in
Shashtiamsas. Next they are divided by 60. Then we get the Shadbala
values in Rupas. At the printout you can see the Shadbala value in
Rupas.

It is important to realize that the influence of certain Shadbala factors


is much greater than others. Simply because the amount of
Shashtiamsas to be gained by certain Shadbala factors is much greater
than by others. As an example: the amount of Shashtiamsas which
can be gained by the factor Sthana Bala is a lot more than what can be
gained by Dig Bala. Therefore the six Shadbala factors are not equally
important.

Something else happens. According to the Shadbala rules every planet


needs a certain amount of Rupas to be strong. According to these rules
Mercury needs 7 Rupas, Jupiter needs 6 ½ Rupas, The Moon needs 6
Rupas, Venus needs 5 ½ Rupas, Saturn, the Sun and Mars need 5
Rupas. These values are seen as the minimum requirement for a
certain planet to be strong. I have never seen an explanation of why
this is so.

The total Shad Bala in Rupas is divided by this minimum requirement


and then we get the Shad Bala ratio. The most interesting about this
Shad Bala ratio is to see whether a planet has more or less than the
minimum requirement and how much that is.
In general most astrologers attach more value to the total Shad Bala.
Because I have some difficulties in seeing the logic behind the
minimum requirements I also attach more value to the total Shadbala.

8. EXAMPLE: BILL CLINTON

As an example let us take a quick look at the Shadbala printout of Bill


Clinton (chart is shown in the section about the Nakshatras). The
strongest planet according to Shadbala is the Sun, which has a total
Shadbala of 8.66. This is something to be expected from a person who
is president of the USA. Next comes Mercury, which is also fairly
strong and indeed he always seems to talk his way out of problems.

If we look at the planets which have a low Shadbala value we see


Venus and especially Saturn. Indeed, a lot of his problems have to do
with sexuality, lovemaking and financial deals (Venus). It also seems
that he has a difficulty in keeping limits (Saturn).

+--------------------------------- Shad Bala ----------------------------------+

FULL SHADBALA PRINTOUT IS GIVEN IN THE COURSE MATERIAL

SUN MOON MERC.VENUS MARS JUP. SATURN

Total Shad Bala : 8.66 6.17 7.47 5.62 6.51 6.53 3.25

Shad Bala Ratios : 1.73 1.03 1.07 1.02 1.30 1.00 0.65

9. ISHTA PHALA AND KASHTA PHALA

On the printout you see some other factors mentioned. It is good to


know what they mean.

The Ishta Phala value of a certain planet is calculated as follows: the


Ocha Bala (see paragraph 1.1) is multiplied by the Chesta Bala (see
paragraph 4). Then the square root of the product is extracted. We get
a value between 0 and 60.

The Sun and the Moon do not have a Chesta Bala. Yet we need to have
a Chesta Bala value for these planets otherwise we cannot calculate
the Ishta Phala. To get a Chesta Bala value for the Sun and Moon we
make the following calculation: we add 90 degrees to the Sun’s
longitude. If the value we get is more than 180 degrees it will be
subtracted from 360. The result is the Sun’s Chesta Bala value (at
least the Chesta Bala value for this purpose). This value is divided by
three. Then we get the Chesta Bala value in Shashtiamsas.

To calculate the Chesta Bala value of the Moon we make another


calculation. The Sun’s longitude is subtracted from that of the Moon.
Again if the value we get is more than 180 degrees it will be
subtracted from 360. The result is the Moon’s Chesta Bala value for
this purpose. Again to get the value in Shastiamsas the value is
divided by three.

I hope by this time you are not overwhelmed by calculations.


Personally I feel Ishta Phala/Kashta Phala is perhaps not one of the
most interesting points of Shadbala but you should have some idea of
way it is calculated.

Anyway, we have to explain the Kashta Phala. We calculate 60-Ocha


bala and 60-Chesta Bala. Next we calculate the product of this and
then the square root of this product will be the Kashta Phala value.

The idea is that if a planet has a higher Ishta Phala than Kashta Phala
value it is inclined to do good in its dasa and bhukti and if it has a
higher Kashta Phala than Ishta Phala value it is inclined to do evil in its
dasa and bhukti. The logic of this may be clear. Of course it is good if
a planet has a big Ocha Bala and Chesta Bala value. Then the value of
Ishta Phala will also be large and the amount of Kashta Phala value will
be small.

However, as the Shadbala system shows there are more factors to be


considered how a planet performs. It may be wiser to evaluate the
functioning of the planet in its dasa and bhukti by looking at the Total
Shadbala value.

10. RESIDENTIAL STRENGTH

This is the last factor we have to consider. For this we have to


calculate the Bhava Chakra (House Chart) which is dealt with in
another tutorial.

The Bhava Chart is a Chart which works with unequal houses which
are comparable to the housesystem of Porphyry.
The reasoning is that if a planet is close to the midpoint of a certain
Bhava (house) it is given a high Residential Strength and if it is located
at the edge of a Bhava (house) it gets a low Residential Strength. A
planet with a high Residential Strength is powerful while a planet with
a low Residential Strength is weak.

Ishta/Kashta Phala values and Residential Strength are values which


stand on their own and are not used to calculate the total Shadbala.

11. CONCLUSION

It is my opinion that Shadbala is a useful and interesting system. All


kinds of different strenghts are summarized in a single figure. We can
look at the total strength of a planet and analyze from which factors
this strength comes from.

However I consider some factors of Shadbala to be more useful than


others. Factors which I consider to be especially interesting are Ocha
Bala (1.1.), Saptavargaja Bala (1.2), Kendra Bala (1.4), Dig Bala (2),
Chesta Bala (4), Drik Bala (6).

If I would be so bold as to redesign the system I would skip some


factors (like Naisargika Bala, which is the same in all charts and
probably Thribhaga Bala) and probably add one or two new factors.
For example: there is no Shadbala factor which considers whether a
planet is in a dushtana house (houses 6,8 or 12) or not, while it is
generally known that this is important for a planet. I would also like to
modernize the way factors like Abda Bala and Masa Bala are
calculated. As far as Ishta/Kashta Phala and Residential Strength is
concerned I would skip Ishta/Kashta Phala and integrate Residential
Strength in the calculations of the Shadbala ratio.

Vedic Astrology is traditional. Of course this has its advantages, but we


should always evaluate whether a system could be improved. Indeed I
am aware of some astrologers (like Ranjan Bose) who have come up
with other systems to measure the strength of planets. These other
systems can also be found in Tajika Astrology (which will be dealt with
later in this course). In that system of Indian astrology we find
systems which have the same goal that Shadbala has (to measure the
strength of planets) but are quite different. Also there are authors
which have developed slight variances of Shadbala.
However, the alternatives are not necessarily better. Most systems
that can be an alternative to Shadbala are simpler, therefore easier to
calculate, but also have characteristics, which can be criticized.

In fact, untill this day Shadbala is the most complete and sophisticated
system to measure the strength of planets and therefore highly useful.

12. EXERCISE

1. Look at the Total Shadbala values of the planets in your chart.


Put them in an order of strength. The weakest planet first and
the strongest planet last and the others in between. Are the
results surprising or do you recognize the results in the way you
experience the planets.
2. Look at the Shadbala ratios and again put them in order of
strength. Look especially at which planets have a value bigger
than one and which planets have a value which is less than one.
3. We are going to look at some particular interesting factors of the
Shadbala factors. Look at the following factors: ocha bala (1.1.),
Saptavargaja Bala (1.2), Kendra Bala (1.4), Dig Bala (2), Chesta
Bala (4), Drik Bala (6). For each of these factors look at which
planet has the strongest value and which planet has the weakest
value. Do not do this exercise by ‘automatic pilot’, but when you
analyze a certain factor try to realize what this factor means.
4. Take a look a the total Kala Bala value (3) of the planets.
Sometimes I wonder whether this factor does not weigh to
heavily in the system as the amount of Shashtiamsas to be
gained by this factor are sometimes very high indeed. Again
make an overview which planet has the highest Kala Bala and
which planet has the least. Try to realize that if the differences
are extreme this may have a big influence on the endresult (the
total Shadbala ratio).
5. Look also at the Residential Strength. Put the planets in order of
Residential Strength (9). We will deal with the Bhava Chart later,
but untill now you have to realize that planets which have a high
Residential Strength can disperse their energy better in the
houses then planets which do not have much Residential
Strength (it is possible that planets are located in a different
house in the Bhava Chart than in the Rashi, this will be explained
in a later tutorial).