Kaal Sarpa Yoga

Kaal Sarp Yoga is said to be formed when all seven planets are between the nodes of the Moon i.e. Between Rahu and Ketu, in the anti clockwise direction. ‘Kaal’ refers to time, death and transformation, and ‘Sarpa’ refers to the serpent. There are several versions of this, depending on whether the ascendant is included or not, the side on which the planets lie (between Rahu and Ketu, or between Ketu and Rahu), and the House in which Rahu and Ketu lie (one of the 12 Houses).

What this implies for an individual, or for a nation is a constant source of debate. There is a group of astrologers that don't give this combination any weight, since this is not mentioned in any of the classical works of Astrology, such as Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, Brihat Jataka, Saravali and so on. At the same time, there is another group of astrologers that vouch for the impact of this Yoga, and cite effects related to health, wealth and longevity of the individual. Then there is a 'third' group of astrologers who claim that this Yoga affects only the mundane chart i.e. World affairs and events, and not the individual. Personally, I approach a chart with this combination with caution, checking and rechecking what I see, before sharing the results.

The reason for this blog at this time is because we are heading into a Kaalasarpa season. All planets will lie between the nodes of the Moon for a total of 6 weeks over the next 3 months. This includes the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. We usually don't consider Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in Vedic Astrology, but interestingly enough, even if we considered these outer planets, they too will be between Rahu and Ketu in this time. In addition, the nodes are in their signs of exaltation, making them quite strongly placed in the mundane chart. The Yoga will form repeatedly till the end of March 2021 when Mars transits Rahu (as per the Sidereal Zodiac with Lahiri Ayanamsha), as follows:

Monday, 11 Jan to Monday, 25 Jan 2021

Sunday, 7 Feb to Sunday, 21 Feb 2021

Saturday, 6 Mar to Sunday, 21 Mar 2021

On the remaining dates, the Moon breaks the Kaal Sarpa Yoga by moving to the other side of the Rahu-Ketu axis, but ends up being isolated with no planet in the 2nd or the 12th from itself i.e. it forms the Kemadruma Yoga.

So what does all this mean?

If we go back to the Vedic mythological story of the Churning of the Ocean, one of the asuras (a.k.a. Demon, dragon) tries to deceive Vishnu to get some of the Amrut (or the nectar of everlasting life). In some versions, this Asura is depicted as a serpent. When Vishnu realizes this deception, He uses His Sudarshan Chakra to chop the head off. The head flies in one direction, and the body in the other. The head represents Rahu (the Dragons Head), and the body represents Ketu (or the Dragons Tail).

Notice how the head contains all the sense organs (the eyes, the ears, nose, tongue and skin), all of which want to experience life to the fullest. And whatever the senses take in, needs to be released by the body as waste, else the body will suffer. Hence, Rahu generally represents the sensual pleasures and the materialistic life, while Ketu represents the act of letting go, of staying detached, or the spiritual life. These traits get modified from chart to chart, depending on the Signs and the Nakshatras they are placed in, as well as the positions of the other planets. I consider the serpent to represent the transformative forces of Life, and that is what is activated when Rahu and Ketu get involved. Now in Kaal Sarpa Yoga (some call it a Dosha) all the planets are hemmed between (or restricted by) Rahu and Ketu - between the head that is seeking to experience life, and the body that is seeking to 'let go'. What is it that the individual (or nation) is seeking to experience, and has difficulty in letting go? This will differ from chart to chart, and will need a case by case delineation.

Kaal Sarp

One way to verify if this Yoga is worth considering or not, is to check for yourself what will happen in our lives, and in world affairs in particular, around the dates when the Yoga is in effect. Check how you feel, how you react, how Life takes a turn, and observe what happens around the world as well. And let me know. And in case you experience any difficulties, then read on.


Going back to the story, it is Vishnu that chops off the head of the Asura and prevents him from attaining everlasting life. Hence, I consider Vishnu as the antidote to the misadventures of Rahu and Ketu, and remedies will inevitably involve Vishnu, or any of His attributes. One would be to chant the Vishnu Sahasranama (or the '1000 Names of Vishnu'). A great write-up on it's history and meaning can be found here, and a lovely rendition by MS Subbalakshmi is here.

Also, several astrologers claim that since Lord Shiva has tamed the serpent, and so propitiating Him, and imbibing His qualities in ourselves, will strengthen us to withstand the effects of this Yoga. The Maha Mrityunjay Mantra from the Rgveda (7.59.12) for healing and rejuvenation is used for this purpose. It goes like this:


tryambakam yajaamahe

sugandhim pushti vardhanam

urvaa rukamiva bandha naan

mrtyoor mukshiiya maamr ta-at

This has been translated by Sadhguru as “We worship the three-eyed One, who is fragrant and who nourishes all. Like the fruit falls off from the bondage of the stem, may we be liberated from death, from mortality” A beautiful rendition of the Maha Mrityunjay by Pandit Ravi Shankar is here.

The Yoga cuts the chart in half, with all planets on one side of the chart, implying an imbalance in life. Hence, we need to find ways to balance our lives, giving equal emphasis to all areas. You may find this especially the case in world affairs and politics. At the individual level, try to be as grounded and practical as possible, by checking and rechecking your plans before putting them into action. Pause before you start anything, and rethink before giving in to your impulses, i.e. try and manifest Vishnu in your day to day life. You can also reflect on what areas are no longer serving their purpose, and need to be changed to allow you to move on. Where do you need the energies of Shiva to transform and remake your Life? We don't want the head 'up in the clouds', or to be 'building castles in the air' which is what Rahu is known for. To address Kemadruma Yoga, we need to pay special attention on how we go about implementing our plans or manifesting our desires.

If you have a Kaal Sarp Yoga in your chart, mention it in the comments section below. How has this affected you? Is there a particular year in your life, when there was a complete reversal of fortune? Have you tried any remedial measures that I have cited above, and what was your experience with them? Or what did you experience around the dates mentioned above?

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