Ashtamangala Deva Prashna
The number of leaves were now used to determine the Tambula Lagna which is arrived at by the following formula (T x 10 + 1)/7 where T is the number of Tambulas. Since T=3 when we substitute we get a remainder of three which represents Mars in the normal order of planets. (Western astrologers should note that in Vedic astrology the order of planets is Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu, Ketu. This is the same as the days of the week.) Since Mars is in Libra this becomes the Tambula Lagna. Mars itself indicates that there have been strife and conflicts, and because it is Mars in Libra they deduced that the deity of the temple was the goddess Kali. Now that the preliminaries were over the readings and predictions based on the planetary positions started.
Predictions Based on the Planetary Positions
Since Rahu ruled over the first Ashtamangala number and he was in the 10th with Venus one astrologer declared that the temple must have been towards the East of the present place in a location occupied by a Naga (special race of serpent gods endowed with mystical powers and often irritable). This was admitted by the temple mangers.
Since Mars had only just transited into Libra one astrologer dared to say that in the past there must have been an accidental fire in the temple. Affirmative was the response. They were now on a roll.
Another astrologer pointed out that Rahu and Venus in the 10th also indicated that someone must have died from poison nearby and the ghost was still lingering in the vicinity. We were told that in the past a child had taken poison and died in the compound.
The Original Question is Revealed
It should be noted that up to this time we were not informed why the ADP was taking place, of course we could surmise there was trouble but had no details. But as the ADP proceeded the details started to come out. At this point the original question of the querist is finally revealed by the astrologers. One astrologer said that because Saturn is in the Arudha Lagna they want to know why has Durga devi (goddess of the material world) left the temple? The people agreed that indeed, this is their question. The reason she has left, the astrologers say, is because the rules of conduct were not properly observed--entry into the temple of impure people such as person's who had a recent death in their family or women during their period, etc.
Since the Arudha Lagna is Virgo it was deduced that the land is owned by the ladies of the family by special arrangement. This was also confirmed to be true.
The astrologers agree that since Mars is the maha-badaka and Jupiter is the samanya-badaka for Virgo (Raman, 1980 pp. 545-547) (badaka means doer of harm, the two different prefixes refer to the great and general doer of harm respectively) are in the 2nd house and since Ketu is in Virgo navamsa, this same Virgo being the Arudha Lagna, then some other person must have also died. This dead person (along with poisoned child) having no shelter came to this temple and have contaminated the place. The temple managers admit that indeed another person did die, a family member died nearby by a fall from a tree.
Bhadrakali the Dark Side of Durga
The astrologers continue that since Jupiter is the bhadaka conjoined with Mars significator of land, and this same Jupiter is aspecting Venus then the land the temple is on was previously owned and that now a ghost of a fallen brahmana is haunting the place. They also claim that from the symptoms they conclude that Bhadrakali, the ferocious, dark side of Durga, has also manifested and is covering over Durga. The temple managers have to remove Bhadrakali and leave only Durga.
In the 5th canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam it describes how once some rogues kidnapped the pure devotee and avadhuta Jada Bharata for the purpose of sacrificing him to the demi-goddess Kali. However, because Jada Bharata was a pure devotee of the Supreme Lord Krsna, Kali would not tolerate that such a devotee of the Lord should be killed. Instead she and her yakshini associates took choppers and killed those who harm the devotee of Lord Krsna Who is also the Supreme worshippable object of Srimati Kali devi and her consort Lord Siva.
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After examining all the houses of the Deva Prashna the astrologers concluded that because of Ketu in the 4th and 4th lord Jupiter afflicted, the temple should be reconstructed. They conclude that some theft has taken place. And that the decorations in the temple are non-existent. And that the affliction to 10th and 12th house indicate much improvement necessary in regards to the priestly functioning in the temple. They also recommend on the basis of the condition of the 8th house that they should make special offering and worship to pacify the deity.
Several questions are asked regarding what exactly should be done to pacify the deity and remove Bhadrakali. Suggestions for remedies were proposed. To determine if a proposed suggestion would work the astrologers would consult the cowries for an answer. After posing the question and the proposed solution Krishnan Potti would meditate and then take a handful of cowries to determine the answer - technically called daivahitam - finding out the divine will. In this way for several hours various strategies were tried to find a solution to the temple's problems. This is a very important point. Nowadays people are pushing various methods of remedial measures such as wearing of jewels or performing various sacrifices, but how do you know if it will work? Many of the remedial measures touted these days are quite expensive and usually only benefit the astrologer who sells the jewel or gets commissions on sales, etc. Before embarking on a remedial measure you must find out via Prasna if it will actually work.
Read more about more about remedial measures.
As we have seen from this one example the system of Vedic Prasna as preserved in Kerala is a very powerful method. To master it requires a lot of hard work, training and above all faith in Sri Krsna. Great faith is necessary because we are conditioned to think in a mechanistic way, we must go beyond that and understand that from a spiritual perspective everything in conscious and is being controlled by Krsna. The process of divination allows us to carry on a dialog with Krsna through animate or apparently inanimate objects or chance occurrences. This dialog can only be accomplished if we train and purify our intelligence, mind and senses, through study of appropriate texts; as well as a sattvika (mode of goodness), brahminical and pure lifestyle based on the teachings of the Vedas.
Bhat, Ramakrishna, M., 1992, Essentials of Horary Astrology or Prasnapadavi, Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.
Raman, Bangalore, Venkata, 1980, 1st Edition, translation, Prasna Marga , vol 1, Bangalore, India: IBH Prakashana.
Raman, Bangalore, Venkata, 1985, 1st Edition, translation, Prasna Marga , vol. 2, Bangalore, India: IBH Prakashana.