Badhaka signs and planets

I had an interesting exchange with an old friend and fellow astrologer this week. Actually I didn't know he knew so much about astrology, but when he called me out of the blue to understand more about the workshop I'm offering (read about that here), he proceeded to read my chart then and there over the phone. And over the course of the next half hour or so, he spoke about my life and all the events that have happened to an amazing degree of accuracy. I hardly ever ask another astrologer to read my chart, but I made an exception this time when he asked for my birth details, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Not only did I learn that he knew astrologer way more than what he publicly claims, but also a few techniques that I have not been incorporated thus far in my readings.

For instance, there is this concept of Badhaka in Vedic Astrology. It is said that it was originally expounded by Varahamihira, and the concept is not found in Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra. The actual meaning of the word in Sanskrit is "that which sublates or sets aside", while the meaning in Pali is "that which prevents, harasses and obstructs" (Source). Each sign of the Zodiac has a Badhaka sign (the sign that opposes it, harasses and obstructs), as well as a Badhaka planet (viz. The ruler of the Badhaka sign). So knowing which sign is influencing you at the moment, will allow you to determine the Badhaka influences on your life, viz. The influences that are obstructing you in achieving the qualities expounded by that sign. Note that Badhaka does not necessarily mean 'denial', but only 'obstruction'. Also, it obstructs the sign, and not the entire horoscope.

In order to determine the Badhaka sign and planet of each zodiacal sign, we need to know the qualities of the signs. You'll recall that there are 3 kinds viz. Cardinal, Fixed and Movable. The Cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn; the Fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius; and the Movable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. The Cardinal signs are the ones that mark the start of each season (Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter). Hence, by nature, these signs are associated with initiating new action, and are active, motivated and ambitious. The Fixed signs occur in the middle of each season, and hence they represent a steady, consistent, and a persevering energy that maintains the status quo. Lastly, the Mutable signs mark the end of each season and the transition to the next. They represent the quality of change and transformation, and the ability to effortlessly adapt to new situations.

Now coming back to the concept of Badhaka. It is said that the ruler of the 11th sign is a Badaka for the Cardinal signs, the ruler of the 9th is the Badhaka for the Fixed signs and the ruler of the 7th is the Badhaka for the Mutable signs. Remember that counting is done in the clockwise direction (i.e. Aries, Taurus, Gemini and so on). The sign that you count from will be one, the next sign is two and so on. Applying the rule of 11-9-7 to each sign, we get the Badhaka signs for each sign of the Zodiac is given below. Note that for individual horoscopy, Vedic Astrology uses planets only up until Saturn, and does not consider Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Hence, the rulers of Scorpio, Aquarius and Pisces are Mars, Saturn and Jupiter respectively (and not Pluto, Uranus and Neptune as in Western Astrology).

Aries - Aquarius (Mars - Saturn)

Taurus - Capricorn (Venus - Saturn)

Gemini - Sagittarius (Mercury - Jupiter)

Cancer - Taurus (Moon - Venus)

Leo - Aries (Sun - Mars)

Virgo - Pisces (Mercury - Jupiter)

Libra - Leo (Venus - Sun)

Scorpio - Cancer (Mars - Moon)

Sagittarius - Gemini (Jupiter - Mercury)

Capricorn - Scorpio (Saturn - Mars)

Aquarius - Libra (Saturn - Venus)

Pisces - Virgo (Jupiter - Mercury)

Examining the above listing reveals that for certain signs, the Badhaka sign and ruler tallies with the natural relationships. For instance, Mars and Saturn are naturally inimical to each other, and it seems to make sense that for Aries, the Badhaka is Aquarius. The same can be said for Mercury-Jupiter and Moon-Venus pairs.

However, the listing appears to defy logic when we see the Badhakasthana for the Fixed signs. The 9th is traditionally considered to be an auspicious house, as it is the trine and indicates wisdom, higher knowledge, the teacher, father, morals, ethics, religion and so on. The elements of these signs are also the same, viz. the element of the 9th of any sign is the same as itself, and yet they are said to be the Badhaka for the sign. The 9th also plays a role in determining the Yogakaraka for certain signs. For instance, the Yogakaraka for Leo is Mars as it becomes the 4th and 9th lords (lord of a Kendhra and a Trikona), and yet Mars is considered as Badhaka as per the above listing. The Venus Saturn pair (for Taurus, and for Aquarius) also goes against the natural relationships between the two planets. So out of the 12 pairs, we have 4 that cannot be explained using the natural friendship between the planets.

My friend used the rules of Badhaka for interpreting the planetary periods in my life, and that could be one instance where this applies. We found a high degree of correspondence between challenges and difficulties I have experienced in my life, and the Dashas and Bhuktis (periods and sub periods) of the Badhaka planet. It also applied to events in his life, viz. as Virgo ascendant, the sub periods of Jupiter have been the most trying. It may play a more defining role in some cases than others, especially if the Badhaka planet is inimical to the karakathwa being studied, due to natural and functional relationships, and if there are other malefic aspects and yogas. The effect is likely to be minimized if there are benefic influences on the Badhaka planet.

Every house, planet and sign in the natal chart has a Badhaka, and this Badhaka will obstruct only that particular house, sign and planet. "Badhaka" is a term given to a planet based on which house you start counting from, and it need not be from the Ascendant. So for instance, if the question pertains to career and profession, and if the Ascendant is Cancer, then the 10th falls in Aries (using the Whole Sign House system). The Badhaka for Aries is Aquarius (and Saturn). Hence, check to see if Saturn obstructs the career and professional growth of the individual, especially in Saturn's Dashas and Bhuktis, and provided there are no benefic influences on Saturn.

See if you can apply this to your chart, and leave your comments below