Upaya Remedial Measures

Remedial measures are a cornerstone of Vedic astrology. The very first words of the most widely recognized classical work on Indian astrology, Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, are an invocation to Lord Ganesha, the deity for removal of obstacles. This places upaya at the focal point of the Vedic astrology tradition. Scattered through the text, and indeed the texts of most of the classical works of Jyotish, are verses giving methods for relieving the obstructions and suffering caused by various astrological combinations.

The notion that a natal chart is a blueprint for this life that can be improved upon through remedial measures necessitates an understanding of the concept of karma. Jyotisha is not exclusively oriented either to fate or to free will and the resolution of this often hotly debated dichotomy lies in a proper understanding of the different categories of karma and how they integrate into the reality of an indivisible whole.

The Sanskrit word karma means "action" or "activity" and by implication refers to the effects that are inherent in any activity or action. Most Westerners have a narrower notion of karma as accrued past actions rather than seeing it as an ongoing process.

The total of karma garnered over many incarnations is known as Sanchita (amassed) karma. This is not knowable or readable in the birth chart of any specific incarnation. The portion of karma that is to be dealt with in a particular lifetime is known as Prarabdha (fructifying) karma. Prarabdha karma is linked to the concept of fate. However, human beings have volition, which is known as Kriyamana (initiated) karma. Humans also have the ability to plan and contemplate actions in the future, known as Agama (impending) karma.

When an astrologer looks at a natal chart only, it is Prarabdha karma that is being assessed. Chart patterns should be understood not only in terms of the areas of life and timing that may be involved but also their intensity. We can understand Prarabdha karma on three levels. If the chart pattern shows a particular area of life to be obstructed in a way that is repeated using multiple techniques of analysis, this is a form of Prarabdha karma known as Dridha (firm) karma. If there are obstructions but also some influences that are helpful, the situation can be described as Dridha-Adrid-ha (firm-unfirm) karma. Chart patterns that do not show any clear pattern or direction for a particular area of life can be described as Adridha (unfirm) karma.

The astrologer should accurately assess the karmic patterns to understand whether the karma is very firm with respect to an issue. In this way proper remediation counseling and recommendations can be set forth commensurate with the intensity of the obstruction indicated.

There is an unending array of upayas, both traditional and contemporary. The most widespread traditional approaches to remediation involve rituals to connect with the Divine, the giving of charity in prescribed ways and service (seva) that is usually specific to the issues in the chart situation.

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