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Determining Ayurvedic Prakruti with Jyotish

By Richelle Jarrell, Vedic Astrologer and Student of Ayurveda

"I am the light of the sun and the moon....I am the healing herb..."
- Bhagavad-gita

Richelle JarrellThe sciences of Ayurveda and Jyotish both have an important relationship to the pancha-mahabhutas, or five great elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether. In Ayurveda, the body types of Vata dosha, Pitta dosha and Kapha dosha are formed by different combinations of these elements. Vata is comprised of air and ether. Pitta is formed by water and fire, and Kapha is formed by earth and water. Similarly, in Jyotish, we work with fire signs, water signs, earth signs and air signs, which each have a planetary ruler. This correspondence links the two sciences together, and by natural extension, one’s Ayurvedic constitution, or prakruti, can be determined from their Jyotish chart.

The Grahas' individual nature will first influence the prakruti. They are the deliverers of our karma, and the first place this is seen is in the body we receive at birth. Grahas placed in the Lagna have a significant impact. For example, Mars and the Sun are both fiery Grahas, and a chart with Mars or the Sun placed in the Lagna can have a healthy dose of Pitta dosha. Saturn or Rahu in the Lagna can have a significant Vata influence. Jupiter or Venus in the Lagna can influence the constitution towards Kapha dosha. Any aspects the Grahas make to the Lagna will also influence the prakruti, and need to be taken into account, along with aspects they make to the Lagna's Ruler.

The rashi on the First House also needs to be considered, since this house represents the body. An air sign rising, such as Gemini or Aquarius, indicates a Vata influence on the prakruti. Aries or Leo in the Lagna will indicate a Pitta influence, and so on. Cher’s chart is a good example of these principles: her dominant dosha is Vata, with Saturn and Venus placed in her Gemini Lagna, aspecting her Moon. The Lagna lord’s placement is also significant. In Cher’s chart, her Lagna lord Mercury is placed in Aries, lending a Pitta influence and giving her easily observed Pitta characteristics.

There are some charts where the prakruti is fairly straightforward and easily determined, but you will often see combined planetary influences that make such a determination more challenging. When combinations of planetary energies are observed, dual-doshas are produced. Charts with a combination of strong air and fire sign placements can produce a Vata-Pitta prakruti. Strong water and fire placements can indicate a Kapha-Pitta prakruti, and so on.

As with anything in Jyotish, a cursory examination of the chart will not suffice for determining the client’s constitution unless one has a lot of experience in determining the Ayurvedic prakruti. There are multiple factors that need to be taken into account, and there are always exceptions to the rules. Accuracy of birth time is of primary importance. Without an accurate birth time, the influences to the first house cannot be determined with any confidence. You may have a chart where the Lagna has primarily Kapha influences by Rashi and Graha dristhi, but Mars in Aries will be placed with the Moon or the Sun, lending a Pitta influence. Grahas hemming the Lagna can be significant. George W. Bush’s chart is a good example of this, where his Pitta dominant prakruti is produced by the 12th/2nd placement of the Sun and a vargottama Mars in Leo, even though he has a Cancer Lagna occupied by Saturn, Mercury and Venus. Fine tuning using the navamsha chart and Nakshatra influence can be very significant in helping to determine prakruti.

The correspondence between the Grahas, the signs they rule, and their doshas are as follows:
Vata – Saturn, Mercury, Rahu; along with Gemini, Virgo, Capricorn and Aquarius
Pitta – Sun, Mars, Ketu; along with Aries, Scorpio, Leo
Kapha – Moon, Venus, Jupiter; along with Taurus, Cancer, Libra, Sagittarius, Pisces

Analysis of the birth chart along with current transits and the dasha period can also help determine vikruti, or the imbalances observed in the constitution. Planetary dignity, along with the condition of the Moon indicate the mental constitution of a person. How well they handle pressure and the stresses of life, along with sattvic, rajasic or tamasic tendencies will determine their predisposition to imbalance. Predicting disease processes is a delicate area and as a rule, Vedic astrologers will avoid outright doing so. However, using the chart to identify certain biological patterns can assist the client to choose lifestyle and dietary habits that can help prevent illness from developing. Likewise, knowing a client’s Ayurvedic prakruti can assist a jyotishi in how they counsel their clients, and even in predicting how the client will receive the information shared with them.

In this way, Jyotish can serve as an important diagnostic tool to help both Vedic Astrologers and Ayurvedic practitioners determine and confirm a client’s Ayurvedic prakruti, current state of health and treatment protocols.

Richelle Jarrell is an author, Reiki teacher, Herbalist and Vedic Astrologer. She first learned about the connections between Jyotish and the Ayurvedic body types while studying with Vedic scholar Jeffrey Armstrong. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Ayurveda at Mount Madonna Institute in California.

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