In Vedic astrology associations the planets form or variations of how they are placed in the chart are referred to as Yogas. Yoga means union, or that which joins or yokes. Most yogas are composed of more than one planet. The idea behind most yogas is to equate the planet’s strength in a chart, and how and when it will produce its effects in the person’s life. This is generally determined through the dashas of the planets. If a planet is involved in many good, strength producing yogas it will give it’s beneficial results at the time the person enters the dasha of that planet. There are auspicious yogas for wealth, success, and happiness as well as inauspicious yogas for downfall, poverty and ill health. The yogas outlined here are the most basic yogas, there are hundreds of yogas to be memorized. But it is more important to understand the concept behind these names.
There are three major yogas based on house rulership. They are Raja Yoga, Dhana Yoga, and Arista Yoga.
The first mentioned here is a Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga means “royal union”, it is formed by the association of planets and the houses they rule. Raja Yoga is formed by a planet of a kendra house together with a planet of a triconal house. The kendra houses (1,4,7,10) are the houses of manifestation and the triconal houses (1,5,9) are the houses of purpose or dharma. The first house serves as both. When planets are combined with both action and purpose great things manifest.
A Yoga karaka is when one single planet forms Raja Yoga by itself. It rules two different houses, one is a triconal and one is a kendra. The first house can serve as either in the combination. In both Taurus and Libra ascendants Saturn is the Yoga Karaka. In Taurus ascendant Saturn rules the 9th (trinal) house, and the 10th (kendra) house. For Libra ascendants Saturn rules both the 4th(kendra) and the 5th (trinal). Other ascendants that have a Yoga Karaka are Capricorn and Aquarius. They both have Venus as the Yoga Karaka. With Capricorn Ascendant Venus rules the5th and the 10th. Aquarius ascendant Venus rules the 4th and 9th. For Cancer and Leo ascendants Mars is the Yoga Karaka. Cancer ascendant will have Mars rule the 5th and the 10th. Leo ascendants will have Mars rule the 4th and the 9th. No other ascendants will have a single planet rule both a kendra and a trine. These are the only ascendants to have a Yoga Karaka. A Yoga Karaka planet will be a planet that brings great benefit to the chart, even though it may be a natural malefic planet.
These are called the five Yogas of great people. Pancha means “five”, Maha means “great” and purusha means “man”. The Mahapurusha Yoga is a planet (excluding the Sun and Moon) in it’s own sign or exalted in a kendra (angle). When a planet is a Mahapurusha Yoga will indicate an extremely strong planet barring it’s stamp of representations of that planetary energy, it will be accentuated in the individual’s life.
The second major yoga defined by house rulership is Dhana Yoga. This yoga brings material wealth and money, because it links the money houses 1, 2, 11 5, 9. The combination of any one of these houses combined with the 1st house ruler would bring wealth to the individual. Actually any combination of these houses would create Dhana Yoga, but the1st house combination is the strongest.
The third major yoga formed by house rulership is the Arista Yoga. This is the yoga of suffering and spirituality. Usually the suffering is from illness. The combination of the rulers of the most difficult houses (trik or dusthana) (6,8,12) are combined, but again when these houses are combined with the ruler of the 1st this brings the suffering to the individual. Again as in the Dhana Yoga, any combination of these house rulers would constitute Arista Yoga. Generally it is through our suffering that spirituality is sought. Therefore this yoga will produce both suffering and spiritual opportunities.
A planetary combination of two or more planets can form all three of these yogas, indicating the joy and pain combined in one’s life. For example if the combination of 2 planets create an Arista Yoga and a Dhana Yoga. The planets rule 2 houses (except the Sun and Moon) each, so you would be merging 4 houses together. Therefore 2 planets can be both a Raja Yoga, and a Arista Yoga.
Another way in which planets can be connected is through parivartana yoga. This is called mutual reception in western astrology. The planets receive connection through being in each other’s sign of rulership. For example: Mars in Cancer, and Moon in Scorpio, Mars is in the sign ruled by Cancer, and the Moon is in the sign ruled by Mars. Their rulerships exchange signs.
A special note if you have a planet that is in aspect, and in parivartana then you have 2 planets in a Sambandha, this means they are completely connected. This makes these planets connect and operate together. They work in unison.
When entering a dasha of a planet involved in parivartana yoga it would simultaneously activate the other planet through this connection. An example of sambandha is the Sun in Aquarius and Saturn in Leo. The Sun and Saturn mutually aspect each other plus they are in each other’s sign of rulership.
Kartari means “scissors”, and papa means “sin”. This is also called “hemmed in”. It is when malefic planets surround a house and the planets within that house. There must be a malefic in both the house before, and after (surrounding) the house hemmed in. The malefic planets are Saturn, Mars, Rahu, and Ketu and Sun. Example: Saturn in the 12th house and Mars in the 2nd house, the 1st house is hemmed in by malefics, constituting papa katari yoga for the 1st house. Interpretation: The 1st house would be robbed of protection. The matters the 1st house rules would be harmed. The 1st house rules physical health, and the body. Here the body is harmed.
Shubha means auspicious. Here the benefic planets surround a house. The benefic planets are Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury. The benefic planets give protection and grace to the house they surround. Example: Venus in the 1st house and Jupiter in the 3rd house, the 2nd house is hemmed in by benefics. Interpretation: The 2nd house and the matters it rules will be blessed with empowerment. The 2nd house rules money matters, and childhood, therefore these matters prove prosperous, and good for the individual.
The Moon as well as most planets does not like to be alone. The Moon thrives on support from other planets. The Moon rules the mind and the emotional body. The joy of life comes from the sharing of experiences and ideas. This is how the Moon works. It needs to share, and feel supported. If it is not connected to any planets it will feel alienated, and disconnected with the world. The mind will be disturbed.
These Yogas are always counted from the Moon, not the Ascendant. Making the Moon the 1st house.
Any planet excluding the Sun, Rahu and Ketu in the house second from the Moon creates Sunapha Yoga. This indicates acquisition, and the planet itself will describe the manner in which things will be acquired. For example, Mars in the 2nd house from the Moon, is Sunapha Yoga indicating an aggressive manner in acquiring money, or possessions. This Yoga is about receiving.
Any planet excluding the Sun, Rahu or Ketu in the house 12th from the Moon creates Anapha Yoga. This yoga deals with giving. The 12th house is about giving, and expenditures. This is about generosity. For example, Jupiter 12th house from the Moon is someone who is very generous.
It is noted that the planets Sun, Rahu and Ketu do not constitute either a Sunapha or Anapha Yoga. As a matter of fact, if they are with other planets 2nd or 12th from the Moon they will drastically weaken or cancel these yogas. This is because when the Sun is close to the Moon, the Moon is weak or dark. There is little awareness or consciousness. The Moon emits little light. Some believe the Moon becomes malefic when dark. The full Moon is considered very auspicious because it reflects more light indicating more awareness. The nodes of the Moon (Rahu and Ketu) when situated close to the Moon will definitely change the Moon’s effects. The receptive qualities of the Moon are disrupted. Rahu will indicate addictive, obsessive destructive qualities. Ketu will indicate internalized emotions controlled by our past lives, current external factors are less influential. Rahu and Ketu will distort the qualities of the planets they conjoin.
This when you have both the Sunapha, and the Anapha Yogas. Planets on both sides surround the Moon. This totally supports the Moon, this person is happy and feels supported in life. They will receive as well as give back to the world.
Adhi means “first”, indicating these individuals will be pioneers or the first to do something. This is when the 3 benefics Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury are in houses 6th, 7th or 8th from the Moon. These planets can be in any combination in these houses. These planets are in the opposing houses or opposition from the Moon. Examples: Jupiter in the 6th house from the Moon, and Venus and Mercury in the 8th from the Moon, or all the 3 are in one of these houses, or Venus in the 8th, Mercury in the 7th and Jupiter in the 6th houses from the Moon.
Some believe each benefic must be alone in each of these houses (6,7,8). I think they can be in any combination in three of these houses because the Moon is still shining its reflective energy on these planets across the horizon. Likewise the benefics are mutually opposing and influencing the Moon.
Interpretation: It is good for leadership, authority and financial prosperity. They are pioneers who are first to do something. There is strong interest and attraction in marriage and relationships since the 7th and 8th houses are involved here.
Vasumati means “rich”, indicating the acquisition of wealth, from the fruits of their labor. It represents the drive to improve life’s circumstances. This is when the 3 benefics occupy the upachaya houses (3, 6, 10, 11) from the Moon. Again it can be any combination. Example: Venus is in the 11th from the Moon, Jupiter is 6th from the Moon, and Mercury is 3rd from the Moon is Vasumati Yoga.
Interpretation: This yoga gives wealth, and life becomes very prosperous improving with age.
Any benefics in upachaya houses will produce the effect of wealth, only in varying degrees. Two benefics will be good and one will be moderately good.
Some look at the benefics in upachaya houses from the Ascendant as well as the Moon. From the Moon it is definitely more powerful since the Moon represents growth.
This is when Jupiter is in the 6th, 8th, or 12th house from the Moon. Shakata means “cart”, or wheel. The fortunes of this person will rise and fall. It means fluctuating fortunes. If there is either the Adhi or Vasumati Yogas, then the Shakata Yoga is cancelled.
This means the Elephant-Lion Yoga. These are animals with great presence, and rule the jungle, and so it is with those with this Yoga.
Geja Kesari Yoga is when Jupiter is in a kendra (1, 4, 7, 10) from the Moon. This Yoga gives wealth, intelligence, and virtues.
Chandra Mangala Yoga is when Mars is conjunct, or opposed the Moon. This gives great financial prosperity, and great business sense. In a man’s chart it can bring gain through women.
Amala means “stainless”. A benefic in the 10th house from the Moon or the ascendant is Amala Yoga. It means that the person is virtuous and pious actions in worldly affairs. The 10th placement of planets from each other is a powerful placement that confers success.
This Yoga exits when the Moon has no connection to any planets excluding the Sun, Rahu and Ketu. This means it has none of the previous Yogas or any other aspects or associations. Here is a person who feels isolated, alienated, with no support. This is a person with a dark mind, lacking intelligence, feeling completely disconnected. It is extremely rare.
These yogas are similar to the Moon’s Sunapha and Anapha yogas in that they involve planets being placed in houses either before (2nd) or after (12th) the Sun. These planets are considered morning stars (rising before the Sun, 12th) or evening stars (rising after the Sun, 2nd). This empowers these planets for greater success. The indications for these planets will strongly influence the person’s character and personality. They influence the will and power of a person. Any other yogas these planets participate in is strengthened. They do not directly influence the dashas instead only the general power and personality throughout life. If the planets are in combustion (too close) with the Sun these Yogas will not be valid.
A planet, not including Moon, Rahu or Ketu in the 12th house from the Sun creates Vosi Yoga. This planet becomes the morning star indicating the nature of this planet will give the initial impression an individual will make. Since this planet rises before the Sun the person initiates experiences according to what the planetary energy represents. For example Venus is in the 12th house from the Sun (morning star) the person will be more spontaneous and initiate relationships by giving off a charming beautiful appearance.
A planet not including Moon, Rahu and Ketu in the second house from the Sun creates Vesi Yoga. Because this planet is an evening star the effects or traits of this planet are not as noticeable. They will more reserved and conservative concerning the matters the planet rules. In this case Venus 2nd from the Sun (evening star) this person would be more careful and deliberate in matters concerning love. Additionally planets 2nd from the Sun seem to be attributes we possess but need to learn how to use.
Planets excluding the Moon, Rahu and Ketu surrounding the Sun in the 2nd and 12th house from the Sun form Ubhayachari Yoga, or having both Vosi and Vesi Yogas. This yoga simply empowers these planets that surround the Sun. It is like the king is supported. This yoga gives prominence, power and wealth.
When the planets that surround the Sun are benefics it is far more beneficial whereas malefics give effects in a more stressful manner.
When the Sun and Mercury are in the same sign is Budhaditya Yoga. This is a very common yoga since Mercury can never be more than on sign away from the Sun. The sign and house the yoga occurs in will be important and will indicate skills in these areas. If Mercury is combust the Sun it will be a bit harder to realize these skills or talents.
But if Mercury and the Sun are less than a half of degree of each other it will give a brilliant genius mind. This is actually an Arabian astronomical term called “Cazimi”. Some may think any planet this close to the Sun to be terribly ruined by combustion, but I have found it will make the planet brilliant in effects and areas the planet rules. This applies to any planet not only Mercury.
Amara means “imperishable”. This yoga is formed when all the malefics excluding Rahu and Ketu are in the kendras. This is the real estate yoga, giving wealth through ownership of land and real estate (fixed assets). Both Mars and Saturn are indicators of real estate, property and land. The benefics in the angles will denote wealth in moveable assets, like money or possessions.
There are many yogas named after the Gods and Goddesses named for manifesting that which the they represent.
Lakshmi is the goddess of fortune bestowing opulent wealth and material riches. Therefore this yoga is known to confer wealth, riches and prosperity in life.
The requirements for Lakshmi yoga basically needs the 9th and 1st house ruler strong but when Venus is in it’s own sign of rulership or exalted it really accentuates this yoga. Venus rules extreme wealth and fixed assets. There are different versions for this yoga, one with Venus and one without Venus included. I believe Venus is crucial to the extremes this yoga creates.
Lakshmi yoga is when the ruler of the 9th is exalted or in it’s sign of rulership in a triconal or kendra house and the ruler of the 1st is house strong, but additionally if Venus is in it’s own sign or exalted.
Saraswati is the goddess of learning. This yoga denotes intelligence, and talents with music, speaking and writing.
The requirements for this yoga are the three benefics (Mercury, Venus and Jupiter) in kendras, triconals or the 2nd house and all three are strong.
Viparita means ‘inverted, contrary, reversed’. Vipareeta Raja Yoga is formed when the planet ruling a dusthana (6,8,12) house is placed in another dusthana house. This yoga tends to cause an unexpected rise in life due to an unfortunate event or problem.
Kala means “time” and Sarpa means “serpent”, alluding to a fated destiny. This yoga is formed when all the planets (excluding the outer planets) are on one side of Rahu and Ketu. Many astrologers contend that this yoga gives a fated life of misery. It will denote a life that seems fated by events, but this is not necessarily bad. Kala Sarpa Yoga will intensify all the other yogas in a chart, good or bad giving the life a sense of destiny.
A debilitated planet is in its most weakened state, these are merely ways the planet is strengthened therefore lessening the effects of the debilitated planet. A weak planet will cause problems pertaining to indications for that planet, also the dasha cycles of that planet can produce problems. Neecha means debilitated and bhanga means reversal. Here are the main ways in which debility can be modified, or cancelled. This may not be considered a yoga per say, but it is very important to consider in chart interpretation.
Raja yoga is only when the debilitated planet occupies a kendra, otherwise it’s debility is merely removed.
Wilhelm, Ernst. Core Yogas. Kala Occult Publishers, 2002
Defouw, Hart and Svoboda, Robert. Light on Life, Akana Penguin Books, 1996
Charak, K.S. Dr. Elements of Vedic Astrology, Systems Vision, 1995