Astrology

Graha and Dhātu

In the traditional system of Āyurveda, the sapta dhātu (seven support) model describes the structural constituents of the body.

Symbol Graha Type Taste Dhātu Endocrine Gland
Sun (Sūrya) Hot Pungent Bone Tissue (Asthi) Pineal
Moon (Čandra) Cold Salty Blood (Rakta) Thymus
Mars (Maṅgala) Light Bitter Marrow (Majjā) Adrenals (& Pancreas)
Mercury (Budha) Hetero-geneous Savoury Lymph Tissue (Rasa) Pituitary
Jupiter (Bṛhaspati) Heavy Sweet Adipose Tissue (Meda) Gonads
Venus (Śukra) Oily Sour Reproductive Tissue Thyroid
Saturn (Śani) Dry Astringent Muscle (Māṃsa) Prostate/Cervix
La Reproduction Interdite (René Magritte, 1937)
Channel (Srota)
Digestive System (Anna-vāha)
Water (Ambu-vāha)
Respiratory System (Prāṇa-vāha)
Lymphatic System (Rasa-vāha)
Haematopoietic System (Rakta-vāha)
Muscular System (Māṃsa-vāha)
Adipose System (Medo-vāha)
Skeletal System (Asthi-vāha)
Nervous System (Majjā-vāha)
Reproductive System (Śukra-vāha/Artava-vāha)
Excretory System (Purīṣa-vāha)
Urinary System (Mūtra-vāha)
Sweat System (Sveda-vāha)
Mind (Mano-vāha)
Lactation System (Stanya-vāha)

Dedication to T Krishnamacharya

The following śloka is an original composition by T Krishnamacharya dedicated to himself. There is a line of verse that requires a working knowledge of Vedic astrology (Vedāṅga Jyotiṣ). I include my revised translation and interpretation for the purpose of study.

śrī kṛṣṇa vāgīśa yatīśvarābhyāṃ
(Fearless master of language and king of ascetics)

samprāpta čakrāṇkaṇa bhāṣya sāram
(In the tradition may you as a devout vaiṣṇavaite attain wheel and conch)

śrī nūtna-rangendra yātau samarpita-svaṃ
(May you remain eternally young on your passing)

śrī kṛṣṇa-māryaṃ guru-varya-mīde

virodhe kārtike māse śatatārā kṛtodayāṃ
(May you confront the auspicious entry of the Sun into Scorpio and Moon into Aquarius by showing compassion)

yoga-čaryāṃ kṛṣṇa-māryam

guru-varya-mahaṃ bhaje
(We pray to the cosmic mind to guide your journey)

śrī gurubhyo namaḥ
(We pay tribute to the lineage of gurus)

T Krishnamacharya

vāgīśa: master of language
yatīśvara: king of ascetics
abhayām: fearlessness

samprāpta: completely attained
čakrāṇkaṇa: wheel and conch
bhāṣya: commentary or exposition
sāram: the essence

nūtna: young
rangendra: lord of kings

yātau: gone
samarpita: offered or placed
svaḥ: sky or heaven

virodhe: in opposing

kārtike māse: In the solar religious calendar used in Tamil Nadu, Kartikai begins with the Sun’s entry into Scorpio (October–November)

śatatārā: the nákṣatra (lunar mansion) śata-bhiṣaj (6°40′ Aquarius to 20°00′ Aquarius, Sadachbia: gamma Aquarii,  “hundred healers”); an auspicious nákṣatra sign for yoga, healing and rejuvenation

kṛto: having done
dayām: mercy

yoga-čaryām: performance of yoga

bhaje: worship or engage in devotional service

śrī gurubhyo namaḥ: tribute to the lineage of gurus

gurave namaḥ: my salutation to one guru (singular)
gurubhyo namaḥ: my salutation to many gurus (plural)

Five Limbs of the Vedic Calendar

Vāsara (Day of the Week)

Vāsara Graha Symbol Guna
Sunday Sun (Sūrya) Sattva
Monday Moon (Čandra) Sattva
Tuesday Mars (Maṅgala) Tamas
Wednesday Mercury (Budha) Rajas
Thursday Jupiter (Bṛhaspati) Sattva
Friday Venus (Śukra) Rajas
Saturday Saturn (Śani) Tamas

Tithi (Lunar Day)

Tithi Meaning
Nanda Joy
Bhadra Good
Jaya Conquest
Rikta Empty
Pūrṇa Complete

Nakṣatra (Asterism)

The Atharva-Veda-Saṃhitā: Śaunaka recension lists 28 asterisms (nakṣatra).

The 27 asterisms (nakṣatra), each with 4 pada, give 108, which is the number of beads in a japa mala.

Nakṣatra Associated Stars Graha
Aśvinī β and γ Arietis Ketu
Bharaṇī 35, 39, and 41 Arietis Śukra
Kṛttikā Pleiades Sūrya
Rohiṇī Aldebaran Čandra
Mṛgaśiras λ, φ Orionis Maṅgala
Ārdrā Betelgeuse Rahu
Punarvasu Castor and Pollux Bṛhaspati
Puṣya γ, δ and θ Cancri Śani
Aśleṣā δ, ε, η, ρ, and σ Hydrae Budha
Maghā Regulus Ketu
Pūrva Phalguṇī δ and θ Leonis Śukra
Uttara Phalguṇī Denebola Sūrya
Hasta α, β, γ, δ and ε Corvi Čandra
Citrā Spica Maṅgala
Svāti Arcturus Rahu
Viśākha α, β, γ and ι Librae Bṛhaspati
Anurādhā β, δ and π Scorpionis Śani
Jyeṣṭha α, σ, and τ Scorpionis Budha
Mūla ε, ζ, η, θ, ι, κ, λ, μ and ν Scorpionis Ketu
Pūrvāṣāḍha δ and ε Sagittarii Śukra
Uttarāṣāḍha ζ and σ Sagittarii Sūrya
Śravaṇa α, β and γ Aquilae Čandra
Śraviṣṭhā (or Dhaniṣṭha) α to δ Delphinus Maṅgala
Śatabhiṣak (or Śatatārakā) γ Aquarii Rahu
Pūrva Bhādrapadā α and β Pegasi Bṛhaspati
Uttara Bhādrapadā γ Pegasi and α Andromedae Śani
Revatī ζ Piscium Budha

Rahu & Ketu
Yoga

The pañčāñgam lists 27 divisions, yogas, based on the ecliptic longitude of the sun and moon.

  1. Viṣkambha
  2. Prīti
  3. Āyuśmān
  4. Saubhāgya
  5. Śobhana
  6. Atigaṇḍa
  7. Sukarma
  8. Dhṛti
  9. Śūla
  10. Gaṇḍa
  11. Vṛddhi
  12. Dhruva
  13. Vyāghatā
  14. Harṣaṇa
  15. Vajra
  16. Siddhi
  17. Vyatipāta
  18. Variyas
  19. Parigha
  20. Śiva
  21. Siddha
  22. Sādhya
  23. Śubha
  24. Śukla
  25. Brahma
  26. Māhendra
  27. Vaidhṛti

Karaṇa

Karaṇa is the time required for the angular distance between the sun and the moon to increase in steps of 6° starting from 0°.

The Turning of the Hare

Moon Phase (New Moon) New Moon (Amāvāsyā)
Moon Phase (Waxing Crescent) Waxing Crescent – Light Fortnight
Moon Phase (First Quarter) First Quarter (Aṣṭamī) – Light Fortnight
Moon Phase (Waxing Gibbous) Waxing Gibbous – Light Fortnight
Moon Phase (Full Moon) Full Moon (Pūrṇimā) = Mark of Hare (Śaśāńka)
Moon Phase (Waning Gibbous) Disseminating Moon – Dark Fortnight
Moon Phase (Last Quarter) Last Quarter (Aṣṭamī) – Dark Fortnight
Moon Phase (Waning Crescent) Balsamic Moon – Dark Fortnight
Moon Phase (New Moon) New Moon (Amāvāsyā)

In Search of Hanumān

You do not have far to look for iconography of Hanumān, whose bare footprints leave deep traces across wide stretches of cultures, bridging them as one unity. This is a dedication to the supernatural vānara and folk hero named Hanumān, son of Āñjana and the wind.

Footprint of Hanuman at Lepakshi Temple, India

Hanumān Gāyatrī

Āñjaneyāya vidhmahe (May we realise the son of Āñjana)
Vāyu-putrāya dhīmahi (Let us meditate on the son of the wind)
Tanno hanumat pračodayāt (Through that, may Hanumān illumine us)

Hanuman

Hanumān wields a mace (gada) in an āsana of devotional servitude (dasya-rasa) to Lord Rama and the kingdom of Ayodhyā.

Hanumān (a.k.a. the “monkey”) represents the discipline of taming the mind (čitta-vritti).

Have you seen the venerated hirsute post-war veteran? Please report sightings of Śrī Hanumān to the Yoga community. You may earn +1,000 karma points.

Namaste to this unidentified distant relative:

Bigfoot

The Hanumān Festival is celebrated on April 25, 2013.

On April 25, 2015 the lunar eclipse (čandra grahan) occurs in the bright half of the čaitra month on full moon day (pūrṇimā), in the svati constellation (Libra).

Viniyoga Hanuman Vyayam

The following series of Hanumān postures may be used as part of a full practice with twists and lateral bends to bring vitality to the back, knees, piriformis, hamstrings and hips. Collectively, I label my system of progressions “viniyoga-hanumān vyāyam”, which forms part of the foundation of my own regular personal practice.

Arthurian Pose

Use this preparatory pose to stabilize the core (Pilates method). Find the neutral spine by tucking in the pelvis and sucking in the abdomen.

Half Frog Pose (Ardha bhekāsana)

Ardha Bhekāsana

Stretches the piriformis. A safer alternative to the Hero Pose.

Reclining Hero Pose (Supta virāsana)

Supta Virāsana

Stretches the piriformis from a supine position. Cushions assist relaxation.

Hero Pose (Virāsana)

Virāsana

Stretches the piriformis. Kneeling is a pose of noble servitude, and only one fighter in Hindu mythology bears this association: Hanumān.

Lizard Pose Variation A (Utthan priśthāsana)

Lizard

Press hands on the mat, lift the back heel but keep the back leg straight. Hold. Use the supports to allow the back hamstring to stretch.

Crescent Moon Lunge (Añjeyarāsana)

Añjaneyāsana

Rest your back knee on the mat (or cushion). Square the hips towards the front of the mat. Lean forward slightly to open the hips. Inhale, engage the core and bend backwards.

Lizard Pose Variation B (Utthan priśthāsana)

Utthan priśthāsana

Bring both of your elbows to rest on the mat. Hold. Lift the back knee off the mat and straighten the back leg. Use this preparatory pose to loosen the hips before taking kauṇḍinyāsana and/or ekapada bakāsana.

Pistol Pose

Keep the foot slightly flexed and gently straighten the leg like a pistol. This step (sthiti) follows a crescent moon lunge to loosen the hamstring, preparing for seated splits. Use tracking to test the stability of the patellofemoral joint.

Psoas Stretch

Rest your back knee on the mat (or cushion). Keeping that knee on the mat, raise the foot. Reach the opposite hand behind and hold onto your raised foot.

Lizard Pose Variation C (Godha-pīṭham)

Godha pīṭham

Stretches the iliotibial band and the piriformis, and opens the hips. Bend your front knee and rest the leg on its side. Square the hips towards the front of the mat, and extend the back leg as far back as possible. Extend your back and walk your hands forward. The pose that brings the crown of the head to the back of the foot is called ekapada rajakāpotāsana.

Seated Splits (Hanumānāsana)

Hanumānāsana

Mark of Hare Pose (Śaśankāsana)

Balāsana

The moon signifies healing and rejuvenation. On April 25, 2015 the lunar eclipse (čandra grahan) occurs in the bright half of the čaitra month on full moon day (pūrṇimā), in the svati constellation (Libra).

The Mark of Hare signifies the auspicious full moon. The birthday of Hanumān falls on the full moon at the March Equinox. Thus, the Mark of Hare Pose (Śaśankāsana) is often called Baby Pose (Bālāsana) or Child Pose.

Flying Knee Strike

The flying knee strike (hanuman thayam) in Muay Thai is performed by rotating the body so that the side of the knee strikes the opponent.