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Vedic Astrology: Dharma Marga

Updated: Sep 7, 2020

How much do you know about Vedic Astrology or Jyotish? And about Tantric Numerology? We figured that the answer to these questions would be 'not that much!' so this will be entry number one of two covering some of the most accessible aspects of such an elaborate topic.

According to the Vedas, our lives are determined to a large extent by the constellation of energies, planets and forces laid out at the time of our birth. When a person is born, when a soul is given a body, planets and stars, but also specific energies, are in particular positions. Vedic Astrology is the science of the observation and study of such constellations ––including things such as the twelve Zodiac signs and the Nakshatras or twenty-seven possible 'mansions of the Moon,' for example–– according to specific mathematical calculations. The idea is to assess the ways in which the arrangements of these types of elements will determine both traits in the personality of a given individual, as well as key formative moments and experiences in his or her life.

To many of us nowadays, things like this sound a bit like palm reading: something with little to no 'scientific' hold. But the truth is that, whether one believes in these sorts of 'sciences' or not, both where we are born in(to) and when have the ability to determine the course our lives will take to a large extent. To put an easy example: it's not the same to be born a female in the North of Europe in the twenty-first century, as being born female in Africa in the 1600s. The differences are clear. Opportunities for growth, change, education, or even life's duration depend a great deal on our specific cultural and temporal locations.

It is for this reason that the yogis of old used to resort to the study of their Vedic Astrological charts (the science known as Jyotish) so as to better understand how karma would play out in their lives at all levels ––including the analysis of things like their Kama (or predominant worldly desires they'd be prone to), Artha (predetermined means of making a living), Dharma (their soul's main purpose) and Moksha (their specific path towards spiritual liberation).

In the yogic spiritual tradition, our soul comes into the world with an imprinted blueprint, a certain karmic load. As mentioned in earlier entries, this karmic legacy is based upon patterns and forces set into motion in current (and previous) lives, habits and influences both individual and collective that Yoga calls samskaras and that determine what happens to a particular individual over the course of her life. These patterns work at conscious and unconscious levels affecting the actual fabric of our lives. And so, by analysing one's birth chart, Jyotish tries to understand the way in which the laws of both time and karma will come to materialize throughout our lifespan.

The Science of Yantra: the Dharma Marga

Following from that, Vedic thought argues that each person is born to fulfil a specific 'duty' or 'purpose.' To that end, we are born with a specific calibration of energies or chakras to assist us in the fulfilment of our soul's truest yearning ––what yogis call our Mahad. The analysis of our astrological birth chart is then geared at helping us understand and realise the actual nature of our Mahad and, though such analyses are quite elaborate and need an expert in the field for real accuracy, there are a few beginner-friendly tools we can resort to for the calculation of certain aspects of a person's chart. The calculation of our Dharma Marga as per the sub-science of Yantra is one of them.

Yantra is the name given to one of the sub-branches of Jyotish, to the mystical science exploring the importance of number, name, and form. Yantra explains that everything in life is ruled by numerology, by numbers, and that numbers are not merely 'cold facts' but doors to metaphorical and spiritual qualities inherent within everything 'that is,' information that can help us learn to live in tune with the cycles of life. Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri, one of Yantra's great exponents, argued that everything in life goes through cycles of 9 phases before a new cycle, a new chapter, a new journey of change and growth can begin. This applies to animate and inanimate objects, and thus, also to us. We will soon write an entry on each of these 9 phase Yantra cycles, but for the time being, let's focus our attention on a slightly more approachable aspect: the so-called Dharma Marga.

The Dharma Marga, or 'path of righteousness,' is the specific dominant energy that directs the course of a person's life. As mentioned earlier, each person is born with a certain constellation of energies meant to better enable him in fulfilling his soul's deepest longing. So the Dharma Marga is essentially the name given to the dominant energy or force meant to leave the deepest and strongest imprint in our lives.

The Dharma Marga is calculated by adding up all the numbers of one's complete date of birth. So, not that complicated! Let's use Alba's birthdate as an example: 15.09.1983. To calculate her Dharma Marga, we must add all of the numbers of her birthdate until we arrive at a number comprehended between 1 and 9 –as per the law of the nine recurrent cycles of Yantra.

We can first add each category separately (first day, then month, then year) as follows: 0+9. 1+5. 1+9+8+3. Simplified, adding up these three groups of numbers separately would result in something like: 9+6+3. These first three numbers are already important. These three numbers (9.6.3) reflect the secondary influences (and chakras) that will be activated at three different points of her live: from age 0 to 27; from 27 to 54; and from 54 to old age. So in Alba's case, though her dharma marga or dominant energy is a different number, the 9th chakra will be more active until she's 27, the 6th chakra until she's 54, and the 3rd chakra until old age ––this is, of course, according to Yantra!

The next step, then, is to add those three numbers together till we arrive at a number comprehended between 1 and 9. Their total sum would add up to 9. So Alba's life's dominant energy, or what Jyotish calls dharma marga, is the dominant 9.

Dharma Marga Explained

As noted before, each of the numbers comprehended from 1 to 9 represent one of the 9 the possible dharma marga paths or dominant energies and frequencies in one's life. They determine such things as the presence of given psychological and spiritual tendencies or traits in our personality, as well as the potentiality for expansion/contraction of a tendency throughout the life course.

Each of the possible dharma marga paths, then, are meant to provide some sort of developmental understanding of a soul's journey ––the path our soul follows–– on the way to spiritual transformation and ultimate liberation (Moksha). Hence, each of the 9 possible dharma marga 'types' will exhibit different traits and potentials, be subject to different positive and negative forces, and therefore face a variety of challenges too.

For example, type 1 individuals are natural-born leaders who seek independence but must learn to control their ego, as well as tension in the area of the head. Type 2 people are natural harmonizers able to create balance wherever they go, but also prone to procrastination and kidney conditions. Type 3 individuals are extroverted and expressive and must find suitable outlets for self-expression while learning to keep their volatile behaviour in check. Dominant 4 people are naturally compassionate and sensitive, capable of great perseverance and refinement, but prone to dissatisfaction and frustration and with weak intestinal systems. Type 5 individuals are all about freedom of movement and exploration, being adaptative and vital, yet prone to stomach issues and a certain self-indulgence. Dominant 6 individuals are innate teachers and great at counselling, thus suited for positions requiring reliability, but as a counter they struggle with worry and anxiety and hence with psychosomatic ailments. Type 7 people are normally skilled philosophers, poets, and sensitive types, able to understand the inner dimension of life, though prone to introversion and to heart and lung conditions. Dominant 8 individuals are great at manifesting and organising, often drawn to business and law as fields of endeavor, and so, prone to over-materialism and ailments related to the reproductive organs. And finally, type 9 individuals are drawn to positions of spiritual and humanitarian service being both emotionally and psychically aware, though also prone to emotional imbalance and nervous system conditions. For a more detailed analysis of each of the 9 specific charts, feel free to check out this link.

In essence, what the dharma marga paths try to convey is the idea of our lives being more than mere chance, and chakras being more than mere 'metaphors.' What these 'numbers' refer to is the interplay of energies and forces most inherently present in our lives and, thus, to our capacity to use these forces for self-actualisation and transformation. Hence, one can consider Jyotish as a sort of spiritual life chart: a map with a variety of tools meant to help us outline our whereabouts in the course of our soul's journey towards liberation and the particular kind of wavelengths we will be using to navigate a specific lifetime.