All about Debilitation
Prelude: I'm using abbreviations for the sake of brevity. Signs are abbreviated as S, Houses as H, Lords of Houses as L and Vargas as D. So for instance, "Saturn as the lord of the 5th House, debilitated in Aries in Namasha", is stated as "5L Saturn debilitated in 1S in D9". Also, Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra by Maharishi Parashara is referred to as BPHS.
When I started writing this blog, almost a year ago, Mercury was about to debilitate in Pisces as per Vedic Sidereal Astrology. And this got me thinking what debilitation actually means? Does it mean the planet is at its lowest capacity to deliver results? Or that the planet is not at ease, and therefore unable to function? Or that the planet is in its opposing sign, and will give malefic results? Is the planet "bad" or just "weak"?
I usually take a month or two to research and write my blogs.. but this particular one has taken me well over a year.. Maybe that is what 'debilitation' does - stretches out things, make them take longer than expected, makes it heavy and like a burden, and pushes you to the breaking point. How all of this manifests depends on the planet that is debilitated, and where it is debilitating.
But first things first.
Signs of debilitation
In the course of its revolution around the Sun, different constellations appear behind the planet when viewed from Earth. These constellations appear as the backdrop for the Planet, and referred to as the Sign that the Planet is "placed in". According to one theory of Astrology, the planet acts as a filter for the energy emanating from the distant Stars. Some of these Stars complement the energies of the Planet, while some others do not. Each Planet is said to "exalt" in one of these Signs, and "debilitate" in the Sign directly opposite. In BPHS 3:49-50, Maharishi Parashara states
"For the seven Grahas, from Sūrya on, the exaltation Rāśis are, respectively, Mesh, Vrishabh, Makar, Kanya, Kark, Meen and Tula. The deepest exaltation degrees are, respectively, 10, 3, 28, 15, 5, 27 and 20 in those Rāśis. And in the seventh Rāśi from the said exaltation Rāśi each Grah has its own debilitation. The same degrees of deep exaltation apply to deep fall"
From here, we get the Signs that each planet debilitates in, namely Sun in Libra, Moon in Scorpio, Mars in Cancer, Mercury in Pisces, Jupiter in Capricorn, Venus in Virgo and Saturn in Aries. This is the same as Varahamihira's Brihat Jataka, and Matreshwara's Phaladeepika. The exaltation signs of the Nodes are mentioned in BPHS 47:34
In order to clarify the effects of the Dasha of Rahu I shall first mention the exaltation and debilitation Rāśis of Rahu and Ketu. The exaltation Rāśi of Rahu is Vrishabh. The exaltation Rāśi of Ketu is Vrischik.
Hence, we learn that Rahu exalts in Taurus, and Ketu in Scorpio, and therefore, they will debilitate in the Signs directly opposite, i.e. Rahu in Scorpio, and Ketu in Taurus. The reasons why a planet exalts or debilitates in a particular Sign has been a matter of speculation, as this is not found in any of the classical works. For now, let's focus more on how exaltation and debilitation are used in chart interpretation.
References in Brihat Parasha Hora Shastra
Maharishi Prashara refers to debilitated planets in 71 shlokas, as follows: Dasha effects (39 shlokas), Graha and Bhava characteristics (10 shlokas), Yogas (5 shlokas), curses from previous birth (4 shlokas), Shadbala (3 shlokas), Upapada (3 shlokas), Rays & Avasthas (3 shlokas), Elements, Longevity, Evils at Birth and Sudarshan Chakra (1 shloka each). More than half of all the shlokas mentioning debilitated planets are concerned with effects in different Dashas and Antar Dashas (primarily Vimshottari Dasha and Char Dasha). It is clear that the effects of Dashas are of primary focus while working with debilitated planets in a chart. This in turn stems from correctly delineating the Graha and Bhava effects of the debilitated planet.
General effects of debilitated planets
As the planets move around the Zodiac, their strength (Ucchha Bala) increases as they approach their point of exaltation, and decreases as they approach their debilitation point, along with their capacity to indicate any good effects. The elemental effects get more and more adverse, positive yogas get cancelled, and they contribute a lower length of life. The shlokas from BPHS, paraphrased, are as below.
The effects of the Grahas, moving from their debilitation point to exaltation, are full. The effects of the Grahas, moving from their exaltation point to debilitation, will be lesser than described above (Ch.73:21). If a Graha is in an inimical Sign or debilitated, it is said to be sleeping (Ch.45:5) and the good effects of a debilitated Graha is nil (Ch.3:59-60). If a Graha is debilitated, or in an inauspicious House, the elemental effects will be adverse (Ch.76:17). Uchcha Bala (Ch.27:1-2) as well as the rays of a Graha decrease as it approaches debilitation, and becomes 0 at the point of deep debilitation (Ch.73:1-2). While analyzing the Sudarshan Chakra, malefic, inimical Signs and Signs with debilitated Grahas are considered inauspicious (Ch.74:15-16). Gajakesari Yoga gets cancelled if Jupiter is combust, conjoined or aspected by a debilitated Graha or in an inimical sign (Ch.36:3-4). The number of years contributed by a Graha to longevity gets lower as it approaches debilitation (Ch.43:4-8).
Maharishi Parashara speaks 12 sutras on the lords of different houses getting debilitated, the effects being primarily negative and adverse in nature. 1L being debilitated leads to ill health, if 2L is debilitated, then family faces poverty. If 3L is debilitated, then one is the youngest in the family (or co-born will pass away sooner than the native), if 9L is debilitated then one's father passes away early or is is poor, if 10L is debilitated, then one does no good deed. If the 12L is debilitated in D9, one is generally unhappy in life (from BPHS, Ch 12:1, 18:35-39, 42:5, 14:7-11, 83:95-105, 20:4, 83:71-78,48:1, 21:16, 20:13-25 and 23:5-6)
The Maharishi also uses debilitated planets to throw light on one's "children" viz. A debilitated planet associated with Jupiter and/or 5H has a malefic impact on one's children. These are found in the 16th and 83rd chapter as follows
Among other factors, if the Sun is debilitated and is in Capricorn or Aquarius in D9, helmed between malefics in 5H, there will be no male children (Ch.83:20-30). If Jupiter is debilitated, Rahu in 5H and 5L is with a malefic, then the native’s child will die at the age of 32 (Ch.16:21). Among other factors, if Jupiter is debilitated in 3H, Saturn in 5H and Moon and Mars are in 8H, then there will be no male children (Ch.83:51-61).
Debilitated Planets seen from Upa Pada
Debilitated planets also change the way Upapada is interpreted. Note that the Upa Pada is the arudha lagna of the 12H, which speaks about the spouse of the person. It is the Sign that is as many signs away from the 12L, as the 12L is from the 12H. In case the 12L is in the 12H itself, or 7 signs from the 12H, then Upa Pada will be 10 signs from the 12L (BPHS, 29:1-5).
If the lord of the Upa Pada is debilitated, then the native is said to have higher social status than the spouse. And if 2H from Upa Pada has any debilitated planet either in D1 or in D9, then it indicates adverse effects for the spouse, especially in the periods of the said planets. These are found in BPHS Ch 30, paraphrased below
If Upa Pada has a benefic, or is aspected by a malefic, one will not have happiness from one’s wife and children, and could also become an ascetic. In this case, Sun should be considered as a malefic if he is debilitated (Ch.30:1-6). If the lord of Upa Pada is debilitated, then one’s wife will be from a low caste family (Ch.30:13-15). If any Graha in 2H from Upa Pada is debilitated in D1 or D9, or is posited with a Graha that is debilitated in D1 or D9, then one’s wife will be destroyed (Ch.30:7-12).
Results in Dasas and Antar Dashas
As shared earlier, more than half of all shlokas on debilitated planets on debilitated planets speak about the effects in the respective planetary periods. It must be noted that Dasha periods must be interpreted taking the age, culture and era of the client into account. A common point amongst most of these shlokas is that the debilitated planet is said to give similar results as a combust planet or a planet placed in the dushthanas (6H, 8H, 12H). Also, if the lord of the Dasha is debilitated, it indicates trouble to health, wealth and at times, to life itself. Results of specific debilitated Dasha lords are as follows:
Debilitated Sun: anxieties, loss of wealth, punishment from Government, defamation, opposition by kinsmen, distress to father, inauspicious events at home, distress to paternal and maternal uncles, anxiety and inimical relations with other people for no reason whatsoever (47:12-15).
Debilitated Jupiter: association with menials, great distress, slander by joint heirs, wrath of the employer, danger of premature death, separation from wife and children and loss of wealth and grains (56:4-5).
Debilitated Saturn: effects of poison, injury from weapons, separation from father, distress to wife and children, disasters as a result of displeasure of Government, imprisonment etc. (47:57-60).
Debilitated Mercury: loss of wealth and cattle, antagonism with relations, diseases like stomach pain, piety in discharging duties as a government official (58:1-3).
Debilitated Ketu: heart disease, defamation, destruction of wealth and cattle, distress to wife and children, instability of mind etc. (59:3-4).
The Maha Dasha results of the other planets being debilitated are not found in the present edition of BPHS. Either the Maharishi did not speak these sutras (unlikely) or, the sutras have been lost over time. He has, however, provided the antar dasha results of debilitated planets as follows:
Sun-debilitated Mars: loss of wealth by government
Sun-debilitated Saturn: separation from parents, wandering about
debilitated Moon-debilitated Moon: loss of wealth and position, lethargy, agony, antagonistic towards the government, distress to mother, imprisonment and loss of relatives
Moon-debilitated Jupiter: destruction of preceptor, father or children, loss of position, mental agony, quarrels, destruction of one’s house, conveyances and agricultural land
Moon-debilitated Mercury: pains in the body, loss in agricultural ventures, imprisonment, distress to wife and children
Moon-debilitated Venus: loss of land and property, children, wife and cattle and opposition from government
Mars-debilitated Jupiter: danger from thieves, snakes, wrath of the government, bilious diseases, oppression by goblins, loss of servants and co-born
Mars-debilitated Mercury: heart diseases, imprisonment, loss of kinsmen, distress to wife and children, destruction of wealth and cattle
Mars-debilitated Moon: death, distress to wife and children, loss of land, wealth and cattle and danger of war etc.
Rahu-debilitated Jupiter: loss of wealth, obstacles at work, defamation, distress to wife and children, heart disease, entrustment to governmental authority
Rahu-debilitated Venus: diseases, quarrels, separation from one’s son, or father, distress to kinsmen, disputes with joint heirs, danger of death to oneself or one’s employer, unhappiness for one’s wife and children, pain in the stomach etc.
Jupiter-debilitated Venus: quarrels, antagonism with kinsmen, distress to wife and children
Jupiter-debilitated Mars: adverse events at the commencement of the Antar Dasha
Saturn-debilitated Venus: distress to one’s wife, loss of position, mental agony, quarrels with close relations etc.
Saturn-debilitated Moon: great distress, wrath, separation from one’s parents, ill health of children, losses in business and irregular meals. Good results at the commencement of the Antar Dasha
Saturn-debilitated Jupiter: death of near relations, loss of wealth, antagonism with government officials, failure in projects, journeys to foreign lands, diseases like leprosy etc.
Mercury-debilitated Moon: physical distress
Mercury-debilitated Jupiter: discord with the government and relatives, danger from thieves, death of parents, disgrace, punishment from government, loss of wealth, danger from snakes and poison, fever, losses in agricultural production, loss of lands etc.
Ketu-debilitated Moon: unhappiness and mental agony, obstacles in ventures, separation from parents, losses in business, destruction of cattle etc.
Ketu-debilitated Jupiter: danger from thieves, snakes and wounds, destruction of wealth, separation from wife and children, physical distress etc.
Venus-debilitated Sun: agony, wrath of the king, quarrels with joint heir, etc.
Venus-debilitated Moon: loss of wealth, fears, physical distress, agony, wrath of the king, journeys to foreign lands or pilgrimage, distress to wife and children and separation from relative
Venus-debilitated Saturn: lethargy and higher expenditure than income
Venus-debilitated Jupiter: number of children will be limited
The above 'rules' need to be applied to the chart as a whole, after considering all other supporting, and non-supporting factors. Parashara has stated this in Ch 41:17 as follows:
The Yogas should be delineated after knowing favorable, or unfavorable dispositions of the participant Grahas and their strength and weakness.
For instance, Sun-debilitated Mars dasha period indicates a loss of wealth due to the government; but if, Venus lord of a Kendra, Trikona or the 11th house transits Taurus or Libra, then it could counter the effects of debilitated Mars. The chart will need to be studied as a whole taking the positions of all planets and the influences upon them.
A brief conclusion
Debilitated planets are an important component in chart delineation as they can greatly influence an individual's life. They represent the areas where we may experience challenges, difficulties, or obstacles, and work harder to achieve our goals. For instance, it is interesting to note that it has taken me over a year to complete a blog that I thought I would finish in 2 months. That is an indication of how debilitated planets work - they make one reach the depths of one's psyche, in order overcome challenges in life. They are not placements that give easy and quick success. They are not always negative in influence and offer valuable lessons and opportunities for growth. By understanding their placement and influence, we learn a lot of our strengths and weaknesses, areas of challenges and growth, that allow us to navigate life's currents with greater insight and wisdom.
Exalted planets are a whole new ballgame, but understanding debilitated planets will give you the keys to understanding Exalted planets and vice versa. If there is an interest, I can take that up in another blog post. Let me know in the comments section below. If you enjoyed this post, consider subscribing to my mailing list, so you get these articles delivered to your email. You can subscribe by clicking here: https://www.allthingsvedic.in/blog.
I write occasionally on my learnings and experiences in Vedic Astrology, and my blog has been selected as the Top 15 Vedic Astrology Blogs on the web by Feedspot. You can also follow me on Instagram and Facebook which I update occasionally with my own artwork: