Decoding Vipareeta Rāj Yoga

Vipareeta Rāj Yoga

The much talked about, and many a time much-misunderstood yoga in Vedic astrology is the Vipareeta Rāj Yoga. Let us first understand the meaning of Vipareeta, in the astrological context.

The word Vipareeta has many meanings in the Sanskrit language, and in astrological context, it would mean:

1) Inverse or reverse motion.
2) Being the reverse of anything, acting in a contrary manner, opposite, contrary to, in the matter of results.

Therefore any type of planetary combination that can give results that are contrary to expectation can fall under the definition of Vipareeta Yoga. Will it convert into a Vipareeta Rāj Yoga is something about which different Āchāryas (learned astrologers) have different opinions. It is only if we understand the underlying principles behind what is being stated by the sages, that we can apply the yogas to live charts and assess the probable results.

In case of the first meaning, Kālidāsa the author of “Uttara Kālāmrita” says:
२ ६

vakrī svoccabalaḥ savakrasahite madhyaṁ balaṁ tuṅgabhe
vakrī nīcabalaḥ svanīcabhavane vakrībalaṁ tuṅgajam |
uccasthena yuto’rdhavīryamiti cennīce tu śunyaṁ balaṁ
mitraiḥ pāpakhagaiḥ śubhai ripukhagairyukto’pi cārdhaṁ balaṁ ||

uttara kālāmṛta |2|6||

Meaning: A retrograde planet is equal in strength to an exalted planet. The planet conjunct a retrograde planet gets medium strength. A retrograde planet if also, simultaneously, in its rāshi of exaltation loses its strength (is weak as if in debility), while if in its rāshi of debility its strength is equal to being exalted. A planet conjunct an exalted planet gets half the strength (of exaltation) while if conjunct a planet in debility it loses all is strength (strength is zero).

Here, in the first part of the shloka, the learned Kālidāsa is using the Vipareeta principle for retrograde planets. He seems to suggest that since the retrograde planet is strong, being placed in its rāshi of exaltation, it should become stronger but the Vipareeta (opposite) results will ensue. Again, by same logic he says that a retrograde planet in its debility, where logically it should be weak, will gain strength due to Vipareeta principle.

The second meaning of Vipareeta is brought out, when the learned Kālidāsa says: ४ २२

randhreśo vyayaṣaṣṭhago ripupatau randhre vyaye vā sthite |
riḥpheśo’pi tathaiva randhraripubhe yasyāsti tasminvadet |

anyonyarkṣagatā nirīkṣaṇayutāścānyairayuktekṣitā jāto’sau nṛpati praśastavibhavo rājādhirājeśvaraḥ


Meaning: If the lord of the 8th bhāva occupies the 12th or the 6th bhāva or should the 6th lord occupy the 8th or the 12th bhāva or should the 12th bhāva lord occupies the 8th or the 6th bhāva and should these lord be connected to each other by aspect, conjunction or exchange of house but be unaspected by other planets, the Jātaka becomes a very wealthy king of kings.

Here the Vipareeta yoga principle is applied in a different manner by the learned Kālidāsa. The basis of this yoga is two basic principles of astrology:

1) Any planet placed in the 6th, the 8th or the 12th bhāva loses its strength.
2) The lords of the 6th, the 8th or the 12th bhāva harm/weaken the bhāva occupied.

Thus logically there should be an extreme loss of strength for the lords of the 6th, the 8th or the 12th bhāvas and harm to the 6th, the 8th, or the 12th bhāva when they occupy bhāva other than their own bhāva. This would mean that problems like disease, litigations, health issues or high expenditure etcetera that trouble the Jātaka should become more severe. However learned Kālidāsa opines that these results are reversed and cause the Jātaka to become a king, especially if these lords are also connected to each other, by aspect or exchange and themselves be unaspected by other planets.

Somewhat similar principle for planets in debility is enunciated by Sage Pārāshara in the 39th chapter of his astrological magnum opus “Pārāshari”, popularly known as “Brihat Pārāshara Horāshāstra”, is now being given in the shloka below:

ṣaṣṭhe’ṣṭame tṛtīye vā sva svanīcagatā grahāḥ |
lagnaṁ paśyet svabhoccastho lagnapo rājyayogadaḥ ||


Meaning: When planets in debility occupy the 6th, the 8th, the 2nd or the 3rd bhāva while the lagna lord occupies its rāshi of exaltation or own rāshi and aspects the lagna, such yoga is capable of bestowing kingdom upon the Jātaka.
Sage Pārāshara gives us a different application of the Vipareeta principle when he tells that planets in debility placed in dusthāna (negative houses) give rise to Rāj yoga, with a rider that the lord of the ascendant should simultaneously aspect the ascendant. So here two different set of principles are being used.

First is the Vipareeta principle in operation:

1) It is said that planets in debility harm the indications of the houses occupied, generally giving negative results.
2) Similar are the results when planets occupy the 6th and 8th bhāvas as the planets become weak due to their placement in these most malefic of trika bhāvas, and in turn render the bhāvas owned by the planets in those bhāvas, weak.
3) The bhāvas 3rd and 2nd, when occupied by planets in debility, should, normally, reduce valour and accumulated wealth.
However due to the Vipareeta (contrary) principle, Sage Pārāshara opines these planets shall not give negative results, but on the contrary, give good results.

The second principle used is of a bhāva lord aspecting own bhāva strengthening the bhāva:

1) Here we can observe that it is the lagna lord in strength, by virtue of occupying own or exaltation rāshi, which aspects lagna making it strong.
2) The lagna bhāva, also being representative of Ātmabala, thus fortified on getting aspected by own lord gives confidence in own capability to the Jātaka.

Thus these two principles, operating in tandem, resulting in such combination of planets and bhāvas (yoga) being capable of granting a kingdom to the Jātaka.

The sage makes the principle of very weak lords of dusthāna giving good results when occupying certain bhāvas; amply clear in the next shloka that reads:

ṣaṣṭhā’ṣṭamavyayādhīśā nīcasthā ripubhe‘stagāḥ |
svoccasvabhagalagneśo lagnaṁ paśyaṁśca rājyadaḥ ||

39|20pārāśarī ||

Meaning: If lord of the lagna in own or exaltation rāshi aspects the lagna while the lord of 6th, the 8th or the 12th bhāva are placed in their rāshi of debility or enemy, or are combust the yoga grants kingdom to the Jātaka.

Again, Sage Pārāshara tells that if the lords of 6th, the 8th or the 12th are placed in their rāshi of debility, enemy or if they are combust, they confer a kingdom on the Jātaka. Here the principle is more clear as the lords of 6th, 8th or 12th would be either placed in good bhāvas or in another trika bhāva, or be otherwise very weak. This weakness will in turn reverse the ill effects of the trika bhāva lord’s occupation of good bhāvas.

The yoga is further fortified by lagna lord himself being strong and aspecting lagna resulting in the grant of the kingdom, to the Jātaka.

dusthāneśo’pi nīcastho yadi lagnaṁ prapaśyati |
tadā’pi rājyayogaḥ syāditi jñeyaṁ dvijottama ||


Meaning: Oh great amongst Brahmins know that a planet in debility, even if it be a lord of dusthāna (3, 6, 8, 11, 12th), aspecting the ascendant results in a Rāj yoga.

We find Sage Pārāshara further elaborating the principle of a lord of dusthāna in debility, placed in an auspicious bhāva, causing contrary auspicious results instead of harming the bhāva occupied, by reiterating that even a lord of trika bhāva aspecting the Lagna, when in debility, shall grant kingdom to the Jātaka.

Now let us see what the venerated Satyāchārya, who is acknowledged as the final arbiter of astrological principle by even Āchārya Varāha Mihira in his “Brihat Jātaka”, tells about results given by the trika (6th, 8th and 12th) bhāvas:

॥ व्ययाष्टषष्ठभावेषु वैपरीत्यमाह सत्याचायय॥
|| vyayāṣṭaṣaṣṭhabhāveṣu vaiparītyamāha satyācārya ||

Meaning: Sage Satyāchārya told about contrary results of the 12th, 6th and 8th bhāvas, in this manner:

सौम्ााः पुष्ष्टिं पापााः ष्वपयययिं सिंष्ितााः ग्रहााः कुयुयाः।
मूत्यायष्िषु ष्िधिान्त्याष्रषु भावेषूत्क्रमात्फलिं िद्युष्रष्त॥३॥

saumyāḥ puṣṭiṁ pāpāḥ viparyayaṁ saṁśritāḥ grahāḥ kuryuḥ|

mūrtyādiṣu nidhanāntyāriṣu bhāveṣūtkramātphalaṁ dadyuriti||3||

Meaning: Benefic planets strengthen the bhāvas occupied whereas the malefic planets harm the bhāvas occupied in case of lagna and other bhāvas. However in case of planets occupying the 8th, the 12th and the 6th bhāvas contrary results are obtained.

Here Sage Satyāchārya is making the basic principle behind why planets in debility can give good results in trika bhāvas absolutely clear, by stating that malefic planets occupying the trika bhāvas shall give contrary results. This means auspicious results shall ensue.

Having so far understood the support in the astrological classics to Vipareeta principles, let us now once again try to understand the reasons for the results of these yogas. Let us also try to understand the correct interpretation of the liberally used phrase “Vipareeta Rāj Yoga”, used to describe such yogas and their variations.

When the word Rāj yoga occurs in astrological texts, the tendency of astrologers is always to assume someone being extremely wealthy, as “Rājā” does mean a king. However, we must also understand that being a king is not only about wealth. Primarily it is about being accepted as being a leader by a group of people and voluntarily being given authority to adjudicate over matters of that group, including, but not only, imposing of taxes to sustain the system, administration and so on. So, in short, a Rāj yoga should be understood to be a yoga indicative of the Jātaka rising in life to a stage of financial level, or wielding power over a group of people, much above what was expected on account the financial or another status of his family, at the time of his birth.
In case of Vipareeta Rāj yoga it is observed that many a time, the Jātaka is propelled to a higher level of recognition either unexpectedly, or for some inexplicable reason. Sometimes,

the person who was in line to get that recognition does not get it due to sudden setbacks like loss of reputation, health issues, death etc., and the Jātaka gets the recognition, in his stead. It is also possible that he changes his career unexpectedly which contributes to his rise.

We must also remember that the extent of rising will also be influenced by other strengths of the chart of the Jātaka. It may not be out of place to mention here that “Chandrakalā-Nādi” aka “Deva-Keralam” tells that in Kaliyuga (present times) in a chart with 3 or 4 planets in exaltation, it is desirable if there is also a planet in debility for the full good results attributed to the exalted planets to come through. I would also like to bring it to the notice of the learned astrologers the basic principle that if a planet is in debility in navāmsha, the results of its debility only will obtain, even if it is in exaltation in the rāshi chart. Similarly, a planet in exaltation in navāmsha shall give results of exaltation even when placed in debility in the rāshi chart.

Having seen the different ways Vipareeta yoga can operate, an inquiring mind must ask if results of all of them can be similar and can all of them give extremely positive good results? In my opinion, the placement of one trika lord in another trika bhāva, while being of a milder form of beneficial yoga may not qualify as a powerful Rāj yoga by itself. The final results will have much to do with the bhāva owned by that planet and the bhāva occupied by it, as also other strength of the chart, especially the lagna. An example would be when 6th lord occupies the 8th bhāva. While this placement, of one trika lord in another trika bhāva, can give good financial prosperity to the Jātaka, it could also indicate some acute health issue becoming chronic through neglect on the part of Jātaka. In respect of planets in debility acting as exalted, if retrograde, this seems to be right on account of the planet at such time being away from Sun and the “vakra bala” (strength of retrogression) is said to be almost equal to that of a planet in exaltation.

However, I am not very convinced if an exalted planet in retrogression will give results of being in debility. I would think it will become extremely powerful and, if a malefic, cause much harm while if a benefic give good results. The exception here is Saturn, who is said to give results that are Vipareeta (reverse) to those given by malefic planets. Even here, while fortifying the bhāva occupied, Saturn is more than likely to cause severe harm to the bhāvas aspected.

So does this mean the Vipareeta principle is wrong? No, this in my opinion means one has to apply it with prudence and the most powerful Vipareeta yoga which can rightly be called a Vipareeta Rāj yoga will occur and show its results in real life, when lord of a trika sthāna (bhāva) will occupy an auspicious bhāva in debility/being rendered weak (generally by conjunction with a node) or when a debilitated/ weakened lord of an auspicious bhāva shall occupy any one of the trika sthānas. The effect would be heightened when the auspicious bhāva involved are the trines, squares and the 2nd or 3rd bhāvas and their lords.

Having thus understood the underlying principles of the Vipareeta Rāj yoga, let us see the charts of some well-known personalities in whose charts it occurs, and whose charts and lives are out there on the net for anyone to verify.

As befits our subject of astrology, let us begin with the horoscope of William John Warner AKA Count Louis Hamon or Cheiro.

He was known for his mind-boggling palmistry predictions and has also written books on palmistry, numerology and astrology. Below is the chart.

It can be seen that the lord of the 6th bhāva (a trika bhāva), in debility is placed in the 9th bhāva an auspicious bhāva which is a trine, resulting in a powerful Vipareeta Rāj yoga.

I am sure that most of the astrologers, both budding and veterans would have studied a bit of palmistry, or more when young if not for knowledge, then at least to impress their friends and would instantly connect Cheiro with palmistry.

Cheiro is said to have been born in an impoverished family in Dublin, Ireland and not have received much parental affection. There is a story that he was kidnapped by Gypsies when young, though it is possible he fled home as a stowaway on some ship as, he has himself said that he worked on a Bombay port in India where he met his Indian guru, who is said to have taught him astrology, palmistry and numerology. He claimed he had access to ancient Indian books written in gold and learnt much of the art of prediction from it.

It appears that the powerful Vipareeta Rāj yoga in his chart which rises due to the 6th lord in debility occupying the 9th bhava, and another Vipareeta Rāj yoga caused by lord of the 10th, Sun in 12th bhava in debility, made him rise from being a noniety to the most famous Palmist in the western world who had a wide following of famous European and American clients during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He read palms and told the fortunes of famous celebrities like Mark Twain, W. T. Stead, Sarah Bernhardt, Mata Hari, Oscar Wilde, Grover Cleveland, Thomas Edison, the Prince of Wales, General Kitchener, William Ewart Gladstone, and Joseph Chamberlain. Even if he never became a king he did assume the name and title Count Lois Hamon.

Next chart to draw our interest must be that of “Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz”, known to most part of the world as Fidel Castro the Prime Minister and then President (virtual) dictator of Cuba who has ruled over the country since, and is still its de-facto head.

Fidel Castro was an illegitimate 3rd child of Angel Castro and his servant “Lina Ruiz”. His father married “Lina” only after birth of her 7th child, after divorcing his wife Maria. Thus it is apparent that none could have even dreamt that he would one day become the dictator of Cuba, who could not be dislodged even by the mighty U.S.A. and shall serve his country in that capacity till he decided to step down due to ill health and handed over reigns to his brother Raul Castro.

We can see, here, that the lord of the 8th bhāva Jupiter is in debility and occupies the auspicious 9th bhāva, giving rise to a powerful Vipareeta Rāj yoga which gets fortified as Jupiter aspects both the Lagna and the Lagna lord giving immense strength to the lagna of Jātaka (Castro), and granting him kingdom of Cuba. His journey to becoming the dictator of Cuba makes interesting reading, and does seem to support my theory of unexpected developments propelling the Jātaka of Vipareeta Rāj yoga, to a position of eminence.

On 3/10/1952, Batista seized power in Cuba when Castro formed an insurrection group. He led a small group in a revolution on 7/26/1953. Arrested, he was found guilty and jailed. While in prison, he read and studied history, philosophy and politics up to his release on 5/15/1955. On 7/07/1955, Castro left Cuba for Mexico City, where he met “Che Guevara”.

On 12/05/1956 they began the revolutionary invasion. After defeat, he fled on 12/31/1957. It is interesting that his Jupiter Mahādashā (period) began in 1955, when he had to flee Cuba which led to his meeting with “Che Guevara” and that he was able to overthrow Batista regime in 1959, becoming Prime minister the when his Jupiter-Saturn-Mars-Ketu-Jupiter period on 16th of February 1959

From those who were kings or were almost like kings in their own field of expertise, we shall move to the field of acting to round up charts illustrating the powerful Vipareeta yoga. This later chart will indicate the difference in strength of the Vipareeta Rāj Yoga when the lagna does not get further fortified (a bhāva gets fortified when aspected by own lord, Jupiter or Mercury).

Let us now see the chart of “George Clooney”, the heartthrob of many young girls, especially in the western part of the world and who was voted the sexiest man alive in a survey conducted by People magazine. I am including this chart for one dear student of mine who is enamoured of George Clooney and also since it does help illustrate the difference in degrees in various Vipareeta Rāj Yogas, in the intensity of their results.


We observe in this chart that lord of auspicious kendra (10th bhāva) and the 3rd bhāva, is placed in its rāshi of debility in the 6th bhāva ( a trika bhāva), giving rise to a Vipareeta Rāj Yoga, though the lagna or lagna lord does not receive aspect of its lord, Jupiter or Mercury, thus denying actual kingdom. Add to this the 2nd lord placed in the 12th bhāva in debility giving further strength to Vipareeta Rāj yoga. He also has two planets in exaltation, Sun and Venus which also helps in strengthening the chart. George, though son of a TV personality, only got a chance to work in a small role in a film on horse racing that his uncle wanted to make, though the film never made it to the screen. He took off for Hollywood with only a paltry sum in pocket to stay with his aunt who gave him lodging and job as chauffer. Later he worked as construction worker and worked in some commercials. He began getting bit parts and was part of 15 failed TV pilots. It is interesting that he was voted the sexiest man alive in 1997 when he was running Rāhu-Mars period. Later becoming extremely successful, he went on to win Academy award in 2006.

I trust these charts will help the learned astrologers to understand the finer difference between the Vipareeta Rāj yoga and Vipareeta Yoga. Though the difference is fine we can see that the results, differ in their scale and there is certainly much importance needs to be given when the lagna also gets strength along with a strong Vipareeta Rāj yoga. It is well to remember that the lagna will gain strength when aspected by its lord, Jupiter or Mercury. A strong lagna lord shall also contribute to the strength of the lagna.



Chandrashekhar Sharma
copyright © 2015 Chandrashekhar Sharma

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