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Kannan:

Kindly tell me about the procedure of Prasna, how it is done in Kerala. Kindly also tell
me about the use of Kavadi (shells) in Prasna and also about the concept of Blocking of
Arudha.

Concept of Arudha as per Kerala tradition


Sreenadh:
Quote
Kindly tell me about the procedure of Prasna, how it is done in Kerala.
Unquote
What kind of Prasna you mean? If in Kerala style - Normal Prasna, Tamboola Prasna,
Ashtamangala Prasna etc. Several types of Prasna are there. About which one you are
asking? Please clarify.
Quote
Kindly also tell me about the use of Kavadi (shells) in Prasna
Unquote
Kavadi is one of the main tools used by Kerala astrologers from ancient period. Yes, it is
still used by most of the Kerala astrologers. It is used for two purposes.
1) For getting the Arudha (It is different from the BPHS-Jaimini Arudha concept)
2) For doing the mathematical calculations.

I will describe the first. As per Krishneeyam 2 types of Zodiacs are considered.
1) The Chara Chakra (Moving Zodiac) that is there in the sky.
2) The Sthira Chakra (Fixed Zodiac) that is imagined to be present around the
astrologer.

A super imposition of the two is used in Prasna. The sign (in the zodiac around the
astrologer) in which the qurrent is standing (or sitting) is considered as the Arudha.
[Aaroodhatwal prischakena rasiraroodhamuchyate. Meaning it is because the qurrent is
standing on that sign it is called Arudha]. It is known as "Sthityarudha". If the
"Sthityarudha" is not known then, the astrologer will ask the qurrent to place a coin (In
Ashtamangala Prasna, golden coin) on any of the signs of the Rasi Chakra that is drawn
in front of the astrologer.

Usually this (golden) coin is mixed with flowers and rice and is given in the hand of the
qurrent and the astrologer asks him to place it any of the signs in Rasi Chakra. If
"Sthityarudha" is not known, then this sign is taken as "Arudha". This is the usual
procedure followed. This usually known as "Swarnarudha", the Arudha got with placing
of gold. If multiple questions are there, or if the astrologer need to answer temporary
questions, then he puts his hand over the 108 shells he used to keep along with, recites
'namaH sivaya' (usually for 108 times), recites the other usual mantras he recites, and
takes a handful of Kavadi (shells). Then he divides it will 12 and the reminder no, would
be taken to indicate a sign, and that sign is considered as Arudha. For example if the
astrologer happened to take 58 shells in his hand, then 61/12 gives 1 as the remainder and
then Aries is taken as the Arudha. This is one use of Kavadi (shells). Arudha is given
more importance than Prasna, since it is said in Prasnamarga that, "Tasmin samyag
parijchate sarvam tenaiva chintyatam". Meaning, if the astrologer knows the Arudha then
everything can be predicted with it. This statement is applicable to Sthityarudha,
Swarnarudha, or Arudha.
Quote
Also about the concept of Blocking of Arudha
Unquote
Blocking of Arudha is a concept that is used to validate the relationship between Arudha
and Lagna at the time of Prasna. If the Lagna is in the 2-4-6-8-10-12 houses from Arudha,
then it is said that 'Arudha is blocked' (Arudha Vedha). It is said that if the Arudha is
blocked (by Lagna) then the Prasna will not indicate the clear and correct remedies that
should be undertaken, and the Prasna will not give fruitful results and that the exact
reason for the troubles and turbulences encountered by the qurrent in life won't be
revealed by that Prasna. If the Arudha is blocked in a Prasna, then the astrologer
immediately used to suggest some remedies, before proceeding with Prasna. It is believed
that, Arudha is blocked –
For 2nd house - Due to Anger of Deities (Deva Kopa)
For 4th house - Due to Anger of Family god (Dharma Deva)
For 6th house - Due to the activities of Enemies (Satru Badha)
For 8th house - Due to Anger of Ancestors (Pitr Kopa)
For 12th house - Due to Anger of bad spirits (Preta kopa)
These are the views given in texts like 'Deva prasna muktavali'. Even if Arudha is
blocked Prasna would continue, but it would be informed to the qurrent that all his
troubles wouldn’t be cured completely, since the Prasna itself indicates that locating the
exact reason for problems and remedies would be difficult in such situation.

Madhu Nair:
The cowries also known "Kavadis” are 108 in number. Firstly, the cowries are cleansed in
pure water. Then it is immersed in "Cow's urine" for a day. Then it is kept in
"Panchagavya" (An Ayurvedic preparation available in all Ayurvedic medical outlets of
Kerala, made out from five products, obtained from cow) for couple of days.
Subsequently, it is kept in tender coconut water for a day. Again in rose water for another
day. Then touching these Cowries, Ganesha Gayatri is chanted minimum of 1008 (In
earlier times, 24,000) in the early hours of the day. After that, touching the cowries,
Dakshinamurthy Mantra (some go for Divine Panchakshari) is chanted 1008 times. On an
auspicious Muhurta, when Jupiter is powerful and well placed from the Ascendant, this is
handed over to the disciple by the preceptor.

The method of analysis


When a qurrent approach the astrologer, after praying to Lord Ganesha and Ishta Devata,
and prayer to Almighty citing the name Nakshatra and age of the qurrent, is made with a
request to grant the correct Ascendant that will reflect the qurrent past, present and future.
A handful of cowries are taken. Expunging the multiples of 12, the remaining is taken as
the "Arudha”. The rising sign is technically called "Udaya Lagna". A comparison is made
between the Arudha and the rising sign. While conducting the Prasna, the Astrologer will
carefully notice the Omens technically called "Nimittas". If the Arudha is in 6-8-12 from
rising sign, it is generally believed, the Prasna is hindered (Blocked). Exceptions are
there. Say, if rising is Taurus and Arudha is Libra, there is no hindrance to Prasna; reason
is both these signs are owned by one and the same planet, that is, Venus.
Between - All these cawri purifying, and allied affairs are things of the past. It is now
Westerners, who are showing real interest in such things.

Blocking of Arudha

Kannan:
Many thanks for your explanations. One more query, Is Jupiter’s position from Arudha
also consider for Blocking/hindrance to Arudha. Also what if the Arudha is blocked?
How to proceed next?

Sreenadh:
Jupiter has nothing to do with this 'Not the popular' concept of 'Blocking of Aroodha'. If
Mo is 6-8-12 from Ju, then it is a popular yoga in astrology known as 'Sakata Yoga'. Is it
that, the one that is confusing you?
Quote
Also what if the Arudha is blocked? How to proceed next?
Unquote
Answer already given. "Suggest the remedies and proceed with the Prasna".

Kannan:
I was asking about Jupiter basis my talks with an astrologer some time back. That day I
was sitting with the astrologer for 2-3 hours, during that time he was conducting Prashna
for many clients (at his place of work). I felt Jupiter's position much important in Prashna
as I heard during that time, statements like 'Jupiter is hiding', 'God's grace is not there' etc
basis Jupiter's positioning from Arudha. May be I misunderstood that with blocking.
Sreenadh:
Quote
Statements like 'Jupiter is hiding', 'God's grace is not there' etc basis Jupiter's positioning
from Arudha.
Unquote
Yes, while considering "Daivanukoolya" (God's grace) Jupiter is considered and the
astrologer was right on that regard.
Quote
May be I misunderstood that with blocking.
Unquote
Yes, you did.
Madhu Nair (to Kannan):
No matter where Jupiter is, blocking is considered with respect to Arudha and Rising
Sign relation (2/12, 6/8) only. Earlier, the astrologers use to abandon the Prasna
altogether. The qurrent is asked to meet the Astrologer on another day. If Prasna is
blocked, the remedial measures fails to work. It is also an indication of adverse time
ahead for the qurrent. Personally, based on real life experience, I feel such a directive is
quite unwarranted. I will explain. Often the Arudha reflects the current situation of the
person posing the question. The rising sign or Udaya Lagna (Asc) apparently indicates
the future. A Shashtashtama (6/ 8) indicates, Disease, Debts, Litigation, Mental Anguish,
Insult / loss of reputation, scandals etc and Dwir-dwadasa (2/12) between these two is a
pointer towards Change of residence/station, foreign travel, expenses, trouble from secret
enemies, problems to ones children, in relevant cases imprisonment, raid in ones business
establishment/ residence etc. As I mentioned in my previous message, these are general
statements, and should not be taken literally without considering the Prasna chart as a
whole. Always remember the entire Kerala Prasna branch revolves around two things
1) Gulika (Note: should be calculated as per Uttara Kalamrita directive and not
BPHS) There exist a difference of about 20* between these two.
2) Badha Sthanas (Houses of harm): Two meanings are accorded to Badha Sthanas
viz
(a) Obstruction (b) To be possessed
The second meaning is widely applied (And often abused or misused) by professional
Keralite astrologers.

[Editor: The discussion sidetracked here with Sreenadh disagreeing to arguments related
to Gulika and Badhaka Sthana presented by Madhu Nair]

Use of Gulika and Bahadaka Sthana in Kerala astrology

Sreenadh:
Quote
Always remember the entire Kerala Prasna branch revolves around two things
1) Gulika (Note: should be calculated as per Uttara Kalamrita directive and not BPHS)
There exist a difference of about 20* between these two.
2) Badha Sthanas (Houses of harm): Two meanings are accorded to Badha Sthanas viz
(a) Obstruction (b) To be possessed
Unquote
I would differ with both the points with pleasure – since they can direct the research in
new directions.

[I] Gulika
Gulika and Mandi are widely confused concepts. Though later they become synonyms, as
per ancient astrology they are different. BPHS, Uttarakalamrita, Phaladeepika,
Madhaveeyam Prasnasaram etc supports this argument. Uttara kalamrita "separately
gives" the methods to calculate them, and calls them as "two sons of" Saturn. We should
understand this point clearly. So as per ancient terminology –

Gulika – The beginning point of Yama assigned to Saturn (BPHS, Gulikolpatti)


Mandi – The end point of complete Muhurta within the Yama assigned to Saturn. (Uttara
kalamrita, Phaladeepika etc)
As you said, there is about 20* difference between the two, and the one with the ancient
name `Mandi' is popular in Kerala, especially in Prasna. In horoscope Gulika is more
important and should be considered since it helps birth time rectification! Use of Gulika
for BT rectification is supported by many acharyas, but Mandi cannot be and should not
be used for this purpose. Prasna Ratna, Prasna Sangraha, Jataka Parijata and Prasna sara
unanimously
states that –
"The Lagna would be in the trines of Gulika or Gulika Navamsa"! But the same or
similar opinion is not available concerning Mandi.
I was totally confused the unanimity the books are showing in this regard, and is of the
opinion that "it should be tested/validated". If it proved to be true we can accept it, or
discard it. But yes this necessitates that we should treat Gulika and Mandi separately. Yes,
I agree that after the period of Phaladeepika, especially in and after the period of
Prasnamarga, considering these 2 words as synonyms is present. Again, I stated all these
because –

1) To initiate some research in use of Gulika in BT rectification.


2) "Calculation of Gulika as per Uttara Kalamrita" – But in Uttara kalamrita both
Gulika and Mandi are mentioned, but yes it gives only the calculation method for Mandi.
[It might be that the use of the word `Mandaja' (Son of Sa) to mention both of them, that
started causing the confusion to all]. Yes, I know that you know this difference, and was
just following the Prasnamarga style of using these names as synonyms, but I just took it
as a chance to present the 1st point.

[II] Badhakastana
Prasnamarga mentions it as the last step only, while considering the divine obstacles only.
Problems could be caused by two reasons – Worldly or Devine. (Yes, `divine' could mean
`caused by bad spirits' or caused by `gods' in this context)

In the first part Prasnamarga does not use the concept of Badhaka Sthana while
considering the first but only on the second! Also except in Prasna, the ancient classics on
astrology, Varaha Hora or Rishi Horas before that DOES NOT mention Badhaka Sthana.
We do not have much evidence to support the use of Badhaka Sthana in Jataka
(horoscope). There are many statements that say that the rules for Jataka () can be used in
Prasna as well, but there is "no statement" which says that the rules of Prasna can be used
in Jataka! So, Even though I would agree with your views on to an extend as far as
Prasna is concerned, would like to differ while talking about Jataka.
Madhu Nair:
What I have written to Kannan is what we really see or experience in Keralite
astrological parlance. Almost all astrologers of repute in Kerala are one way or the other
found to be following this. You see, the modern techniques like KP etc have very few
followers in Kerala, and most of the astrologers still rely on the Cowries. Recently in a
public forum (Kerala) when I tried to make a case with Gulika, calculated as per BPHS,
in Parasara’s light ultimate software, the elderly astrologers raised a big hue and cry.
They won't accept or agree with BPHS calculations. What you say might be the Truth but
in Kerala it will certainly cause stiff opposition from Traditional astrologers who are used
only to UK calculation, and will never accept that they are erroneously considering
Mandi as Gulika
Sreenadh:
Quote
Recently in a public forum (Kerala) when I tried to make a case with Gulika, calculated
as per BPHS, in Parasara light ultimate software, the elderly astrologers raised a big hue
and cry. They won't accept or agree with BPHS calculations. What you say might be the
Truth but in Kerala it will certainly cause stiff opposition from Traditional astrologers
who are used only to UK calculation, and will never accept that they are erroneously
considering Mandi as Gulika.
Unquote
I am not talking of any change in practices - it is not necessary. The point I am trying to
make is -
1) Use of Gulika (as per BPHS) is the one supported by classics for BT rectification
issues.
2) Use of Mandi (as per Phaladeepika etc) is the one supported for Prasna predictions
in Karla astrology.
3) Let others confuse the 2 terms if they want. But let us be, systematic and sincere in
following the words of ancient Rishis.
4) Traditional Kerala astrologers won't accept many ideas we talk about. Remember
the recent Panchanga controversy. Modern efforts to correlate it with science or holistic
approach, modern techniques used by individuals like you, the circadian rhythm etc
Chandrahari is interested in, the Ayanamsa issue, what ever you take, they are not going
to accept many things. Let us forget the astrologers (Let it be of south or north, eastern or
western) but rather depend on the oldest available books at one end - and systematic
logical holistic approach in the middle - scientific and mathematical tools and systems
(experiments) at the other end; that is the better path I feel. I was pointing to the ancient
view of the same in astrological classics. Shouldn't we more concerned about the truth
rather than currently followed practices? I hope you would agree.
5) It would be worth remembering that we are all considered almost as 'Rebels' by
almost all the steams of astrology - let it be south or north. We are not supposed to
support or uphold anybodies (here normal Kerala astrologers) views - if not we are
finding them as correct and supported by ancient astro classics - that is my opinion.

[Editor: Kannan brought back the discussion to the main thread with the following
comment]

Kannan (to Madhu Nair):


Thanks for the clarifications. You wrote
Quote
Badha Sthanas - Two meanings are accorded to Badha Sthanas viz
(a) Obstruction (b) To be possessed
Unquote
I am not clear on option (b). If you have time, kindly elaborate. Also importance of
Gulika in Prashna.

Madhu Nair:
The first meaning is self-explanatory. But countable few alone pursue that one. The vast
majority of Keralite astrologers follow the other meaning, that is, to be possessed. It
could be any thing, evil spirits, goblins, curses of preceptors, enemies etc. Say for
example, if Sat, the 6L of enemies occupies Pisces (Badhaka place for Virgo Ascendant),
in a Prasna, with Virgo rising, Astrologers say the qurrent suffers from Sathru Badha;
means, he will have trouble from enemies.
If Rahu occupies Badha Sthana - predict trouble from Snakes/ members of other religion,
fungal infection between thighs, viral disease etc
If Jupiter - troubles on account of curse of pious Brahmins/preceptor, Hepatitis, intestinal
problems, legal complication, disease connected with vocal chord etc
Venus - troubles due to females, Yakshi, venereal disease etc
Gulika - Troubles due to Manes, ghost etc
Saturn - problems from low type people, Deities such as Sastha, Demigods of the Jungle,
Lord Shiva etc
Mars - Due to angst of Lord Subramanya, trouble from owns own blood relatives,
siblings, cops, arms and ammunition etc

NB: In a real case study, the Astrologer told the qurrent he has incurred the wrath of Lord
Subramanya, and strangely the qurrent admitted that contrary to the vow taken, he failed
to perform tonsuring of head in a famous temple of Lord Subramanya in Tamilnadu, for
some favors received.

Mercury - Trouble from Lord Vishnu and HIS devotees, Maternal uncle/aunt, nephew,
niece, friends, youngsters, media etc
Sun - Trouble from Government, Fatherly figure, excessive heat of body, sunstroke, eye
disease cardiac disease, curse of Lord Shiva etc
Moon - Problems to or on account of Mom, Mother Goddess, troubles in mammary
gland, eyesight, etc
Ketu - Severe back pain, angst of Lord Ganesha, sodalities, inviting the wrath of
members of other religion etc
Mutual Aspect/Conjunction between 7L and Badha lord or If Badha lord aspects the
ascendant lord or the ascendant, problems to qurrent on account of "evil eye" (Very
Correct in actual experience)
According to textbooks 27 varieties of spirits possess human beings.

Use of Kavadi prevalent in Prashna

Kannan:
Thanks, one more query. Do you use Kavadis? If not then how you are conducting
Prashna. I am asking this because I heard that use of Kavadis require many
pooja's/fast/devotion etc. before getting started. If a learner wants to try a Prashna how
can he do that, without using Kavadis? Like in a situation where I want to do a Prashna
for myself (assuming that I know some theories). In this case the Astrologer and qurrent
both are same and he cannot use Kavadi. Kindly reply.
Madhu Nair:
If it is a self-query, go for a Time chart or a horary based on KP, by selecting a number in
random between 0 & 250. Always remember, in the query Moon should clearly reflect
the mental status of the qurrent and Ascendant the query itself. If it is not clearly reflected
in the chart, query should be deemed to be frivolous.
Sreenadh:
I do use Kavadi while doing normal Prasna; or while participating in Tamboola Prasna,
Ashtamangala Prasna etc. It is normally an usual tool with any Keralite astrologer. But
Kavadi is not always a must for conducting Prasna. You can ask the qurrent to –
1) Tell a number and cast Arudha find Arudha and think of chart thereupon.
2) Based on the first letter of the query you can find Arudha and think of chart there
upon.
3) As told earlier you can use the "Sthityarudha"
4) You can use Lagna and cast Prasna based on that.
There are many more methods as well, well supported by the Kerala style, and astrology
Prasna classics.

Sreekumar:
Thanks a lot for the info. Being in Kerala I have seen Kavadi is indispensable thing
among Kerala astrologers. This even made me believe that Kavadi has some special
powers like crystal that can make the astrologers mind for mood of Prashna.

As I can see, the uniqueness of Kerala is its Prashna. It stands out in every form and it is
very powerful. Prashna with Kavadi makes it unique. Moreover, the few astrologers that I
have interacted has revealed that they keep Kavadi for Pooja in temples for 21 days etc ,
once a year etc , and that time they wont cast any Prasna or horoscope.

Sreenadh:
Any thing can become divine, it you treat it that way. Kavadi is divine for a Kerala
astrologer since he is treating it that way. This is mainly due to 3 factors.
1) Calculations were/are done with Kavadi. In Kerala even today who do
mathematical calculations using Kavadi faster than calculators at times.
2) It symbolizes the Guru-Sishya relation, the tradition. It is almost essential and
useful in many instances like taking 'Arudha'.
3) The system of Prasna described in Prasnamarga (i.e. Ashtamangala Prasna)
demands he use of Kavadi, since in Ashtamangala Prasna the 108 Kavadi (shells) are
divided into three, and a lot of predictions are done (especially in temples) based on that.
It is an elaborate system of prediction, and Prasnamarga well depicts that. So if one wants
to conduct an Ashtamangala Prasna then, Kavadi becomes essential.
4) When you use something for long, when it is important to you, when your guru
gives it to, divinity gets attached to it naturally.
Quote
Moreover, the few astrologers that I have interacted has revealed that they keep Kavadi
for Pooja in temples for 21 days etc, once a year etc, and that time they wont cast any
Prashna or horoscope
Unquote
Yes, we do.
[The thread ended there. The discussion was informative. All the 3 items such as - 1)
Arudha concept 2) Use of Kavadi in Prasna and 3) Arudha Blocking - is clearly dealt with
in the discussion and satisfactory answers given]

Kannan:
Kindly tell me about the procedure of Prasna, how it is done in Kerala. Kindly also tell
me about the use of Kavadi (shells) in Prasna and also about the concept of Blocking of
Arudha.

Concept of Arudha as per Kerala tradition


Sreenadh:
Quote
Kindly tell me about the procedure of Prasna, how it is done in Kerala.
Unquote
What kind of Prasna you mean? If in Kerala style - Normal Prasna, Tamboola Prasna,
Ashtamangala Prasna etc. Several types of Prasna are there. About which one you are
asking? Please clarify.
Quote
Kindly also tell me about the use of Kavadi (shells) in Prasna
Unquote
Kavadi is one of the main tools used by Kerala astrologers from ancient period. Yes, it is
still used by most of the Kerala astrologers. It is used for two purposes.
1) For getting the Arudha (It is different from the BPHS-Jaimini Arudha concept)
2) For doing the mathematical calculations.

I will describe the first. As per Krishneeyam 2 types of Zodiacs are considered.
1) The Chara Chakra (Moving Zodiac) that is there in the sky.
2) The Sthira Chakra (Fixed Zodiac) that is imagined to be present around the
astrologer.

A super imposition of the two is used in Prasna. The sign (in the zodiac around the
astrologer) in which the qurrent is standing (or sitting) is considered as the Arudha.
[Aaroodhatwal prischakena rasiraroodhamuchyate. Meaning it is because the qurrent is
standing on that sign it is called Arudha]. It is known as "Sthityarudha". If the
"Sthityarudha" is not known then, the astrologer will ask the qurrent to place a coin (In
Ashtamangala Prasna, golden coin) on any of the signs of the Rasi Chakra that is drawn
in front of the astrologer.

Usually this (golden) coin is mixed with flowers and rice and is given in the hand of the
qurrent and the astrologer asks him to place it any of the signs in Rasi Chakra. If
"Sthityarudha" is not known, then this sign is taken as "Arudha". This is the usual
procedure followed. This usually known as "Swarnarudha", the Arudha got with placing
of gold. If multiple questions are there, or if the astrologer need to answer temporary
questions, then he puts his hand over the 108 shells he used to keep along with, recites
'namaH sivaya' (usually for 108 times), recites the other usual mantras he recites, and
takes a handful of Kavadi (shells). Then he divides it will 12 and the reminder no, would
be taken to indicate a sign, and that sign is considered as Arudha. For example if the
astrologer happened to take 58 shells in his hand, then 61/12 gives 1 as the remainder and
then Aries is taken as the Arudha. This is one use of Kavadi (shells). Arudha is given
more importance than Prasna, since it is said in Prasnamarga that, "Tasmin samyag
parijchate sarvam tenaiva chintyatam". Meaning, if the astrologer knows the Arudha then
everything can be predicted with it. This statement is applicable to Sthityarudha,
Swarnarudha, or Arudha.
Quote
Also about the concept of Blocking of Arudha
Unquote
Blocking of Arudha is a concept that is used to validate the relationship between Arudha
and Lagna at the time of Prasna. If the Lagna is in the 2-4-6-8-10-12 houses from Arudha,
then it is said that 'Arudha is blocked' (Arudha Vedha). It is said that if the Arudha is
blocked (by Lagna) then the Prasna will not indicate the clear and correct remedies that
should be undertaken, and the Prasna will not give fruitful results and that the exact
reason for the troubles and turbulences encountered by the qurrent in life won't be
revealed by that Prasna. If the Arudha is blocked in a Prasna, then the astrologer
immediately used to suggest some remedies, before proceeding with Prasna. It is believed
that, Arudha is blocked –
For 2nd house - Due to Anger of Deities (Deva Kopa)
For 4th house - Due to Anger of Family god (Dharma Deva)
For 6th house - Due to the activities of Enemies (Satru Badha)
For 8th house - Due to Anger of Ancestors (Pitr Kopa)
For 12th house - Due to Anger of bad spirits (Preta kopa)
These are the views given in texts like 'Deva prasna muktavali'. Even if Arudha is
blocked Prasna would continue, but it would be informed to the qurrent that all his
troubles wouldn’t be cured completely, since the Prasna itself indicates that locating the
exact reason for problems and remedies would be difficult in such situation.

Madhu Nair:
The cowries also known "Kavadis” are 108 in number. Firstly, the cowries are cleansed in
pure water. Then it is immersed in "Cow's urine" for a day. Then it is kept in
"Panchagavya" (An Ayurvedic preparation available in all Ayurvedic medical outlets of
Kerala, made out from five products, obtained from cow) for couple of days.
Subsequently, it is kept in tender coconut water for a day. Again in rose water for another
day. Then touching these Cowries, Ganesha Gayatri is chanted minimum of 1008 (In
earlier times, 24,000) in the early hours of the day. After that, touching the cowries,
Dakshinamurthy Mantra (some go for Divine Panchakshari) is chanted 1008 times. On an
auspicious Muhurta, when Jupiter is powerful and well placed from the Ascendant, this is
handed over to the disciple by the preceptor.

The method of analysis


When a qurrent approach the astrologer, after praying to Lord Ganesha and Ishta Devata,
and prayer to Almighty citing the name Nakshatra and age of the qurrent, is made with a
request to grant the correct Ascendant that will reflect the qurrent past, present and future.
A handful of cowries are taken. Expunging the multiples of 12, the remaining is taken as
the "Arudha”. The rising sign is technically called "Udaya Lagna". A comparison is made
between the Arudha and the rising sign. While conducting the Prasna, the Astrologer will
carefully notice the Omens technically called "Nimittas". If the Arudha is in 6-8-12 from
rising sign, it is generally believed, the Prasna is hindered (Blocked). Exceptions are
there. Say, if rising is Taurus and Arudha is Libra, there is no hindrance to Prasna; reason
is both these signs are owned by one and the same planet, that is, Venus.
Between - All these cawri purifying, and allied affairs are things of the past. It is now
Westerners, who are showing real interest in such things.

Blocking of Arudha

Kannan:
Many thanks for your explanations. One more query, Is Jupiter’s position from Arudha
also consider for Blocking/hindrance to Arudha. Also what if the Arudha is blocked?
How to proceed next?

Sreenadh:
Jupiter has nothing to do with this 'Not the popular' concept of 'Blocking of Aroodha'. If
Mo is 6-8-12 from Ju, then it is a popular yoga in astrology known as 'Sakata Yoga'. Is it
that, the one that is confusing you?
Quote
Also what if the Arudha is blocked? How to proceed next?
Unquote
Answer already given. "Suggest the remedies and proceed with the Prasna".

Kannan:
I was asking about Jupiter basis my talks with an astrologer some time back. That day I
was sitting with the astrologer for 2-3 hours, during that time he was conducting Prashna
for many clients (at his place of work). I felt Jupiter's position much important in Prashna
as I heard during that time, statements like 'Jupiter is hiding', 'God's grace is not there' etc
basis Jupiter's positioning from Arudha. May be I misunderstood that with blocking.
Sreenadh:
Quote
Statements like 'Jupiter is hiding', 'God's grace is not there' etc basis Jupiter's positioning
from Arudha.
Unquote
Yes, while considering "Daivanukoolya" (God's grace) Jupiter is considered and the
astrologer was right on that regard.
Quote
May be I misunderstood that with blocking.
Unquote
Yes, you did.

Madhu Nair (to Kannan):


No matter where Jupiter is, blocking is considered with respect to Arudha and Rising
Sign relation (2/12, 6/8) only. Earlier, the astrologers use to abandon the Prasna
altogether. The qurrent is asked to meet the Astrologer on another day. If Prasna is
blocked, the remedial measures fails to work. It is also an indication of adverse time
ahead for the qurrent. Personally, based on real life experience, I feel such a directive is
quite unwarranted. I will explain. Often the Arudha reflects the current situation of the
person posing the question. The rising sign or Udaya Lagna (Asc) apparently indicates
the future. A Shashtashtama (6/ 8) indicates, Disease, Debts, Litigation, Mental Anguish,
Insult / loss of reputation, scandals etc and Dwir-dwadasa (2/12) between these two is a
pointer towards Change of residence/station, foreign travel, expenses, trouble from secret
enemies, problems to ones children, in relevant cases imprisonment, raid in ones business
establishment/ residence etc. As I mentioned in my previous message, these are general
statements, and should not be taken literally without considering the Prasna chart as a
whole. Always remember the entire Kerala Prasna branch revolves around two things
1) Gulika (Note: should be calculated as per Uttara Kalamrita directive and not
BPHS) There exist a difference of about 20* between these two.
2) Badha Sthanas (Houses of harm): Two meanings are accorded to Badha Sthanas
viz
(a) Obstruction (b) To be possessed
The second meaning is widely applied (And often abused or misused) by professional
Keralite astrologers.

[Editor: The discussion sidetracked here with Sreenadh disagreeing to arguments related
to Gulika and Badhaka Sthana presented by Madhu Nair]

Use of Gulika and Bahadaka Sthana in Kerala astrology

Sreenadh:
Quote
Always remember the entire Kerala Prasna branch revolves around two things
1) Gulika (Note: should be calculated as per Uttara Kalamrita directive and not BPHS)
There exist a difference of about 20* between these two.
2) Badha Sthanas (Houses of harm): Two meanings are accorded to Badha Sthanas viz
(a) Obstruction (b) To be possessed
Unquote
I would differ with both the points with pleasure – since they can direct the research in
new directions.

[I] Gulika
Gulika and Mandi are widely confused concepts. Though later they become synonyms, as
per ancient astrology they are different. BPHS, Uttarakalamrita, Phaladeepika,
Madhaveeyam Prasnasaram etc supports this argument. Uttara kalamrita "separately
gives" the methods to calculate them, and calls them as "two sons of" Saturn. We should
understand this point clearly. So as per ancient terminology –
Gulika – The beginning point of Yama assigned to Saturn (BPHS, Gulikolpatti)
Mandi – The end point of complete Muhurta within the Yama assigned to Saturn. (Uttara
kalamrita, Phaladeepika etc)
As you said, there is about 20* difference between the two, and the one with the ancient
name `Mandi' is popular in Kerala, especially in Prasna. In horoscope Gulika is more
important and should be considered since it helps birth time rectification! Use of Gulika
for BT rectification is supported by many acharyas, but Mandi cannot be and should not
be used for this purpose. Prasna Ratna, Prasna Sangraha, Jataka Parijata and Prasna sara
unanimously
states that –
"The Lagna would be in the trines of Gulika or Gulika Navamsa"! But the same or
similar opinion is not available concerning Mandi.
I was totally confused the unanimity the books are showing in this regard, and is of the
opinion that "it should be tested/validated". If it proved to be true we can accept it, or
discard it. But yes this necessitates that we should treat Gulika and Mandi separately. Yes,
I agree that after the period of Phaladeepika, especially in and after the period of
Prasnamarga, considering these 2 words as synonyms is present. Again, I stated all these
because –

1) To initiate some research in use of Gulika in BT rectification.


2) "Calculation of Gulika as per Uttara Kalamrita" – But in Uttara kalamrita both
Gulika and Mandi are mentioned, but yes it gives only the calculation method for Mandi.
[It might be that the use of the word `Mandaja' (Son of Sa) to mention both of them, that
started causing the confusion to all]. Yes, I know that you know this difference, and was
just following the Prasnamarga style of using these names as synonyms, but I just took it
as a chance to present the 1st point.

[II] Badhakastana
Prasnamarga mentions it as the last step only, while considering the divine obstacles only.
Problems could be caused by two reasons – Worldly or Devine. (Yes, `divine' could mean
`caused by bad spirits' or caused by `gods' in this context)

In the first part Prasnamarga does not use the concept of Badhaka Sthana while
considering the first but only on the second! Also except in Prasna, the ancient classics on
astrology, Varaha Hora or Rishi Horas before that DOES NOT mention Badhaka Sthana.
We do not have much evidence to support the use of Badhaka Sthana in Jataka
(horoscope). There are many statements that say that the rules for Jataka () can be used in
Prasna as well, but there is "no statement" which says that the rules of Prasna can be used
in Jataka! So, Even though I would agree with your views on to an extend as far as
Prasna is concerned, would like to differ while talking about Jataka.
Madhu Nair:
What I have written to Kannan is what we really see or experience in Keralite
astrological parlance. Almost all astrologers of repute in Kerala are one way or the other
found to be following this. You see, the modern techniques like KP etc have very few
followers in Kerala, and most of the astrologers still rely on the Cowries. Recently in a
public forum (Kerala) when I tried to make a case with Gulika, calculated as per BPHS,
in Parasara’s light ultimate software, the elderly astrologers raised a big hue and cry.
They won't accept or agree with BPHS calculations. What you say might be the Truth but
in Kerala it will certainly cause stiff opposition from Traditional astrologers who are used
only to UK calculation, and will never accept that they are erroneously considering
Mandi as Gulika
Sreenadh:
Quote
Recently in a public forum (Kerala) when I tried to make a case with Gulika, calculated
as per BPHS, in Parasara light ultimate software, the elderly astrologers raised a big hue
and cry. They won't accept or agree with BPHS calculations. What you say might be the
Truth but in Kerala it will certainly cause stiff opposition from Traditional astrologers
who are used only to UK calculation, and will never accept that they are erroneously
considering Mandi as Gulika.
Unquote
I am not talking of any change in practices - it is not necessary. The point I am trying to
make is -
1) Use of Gulika (as per BPHS) is the one supported by classics for BT rectification
issues.
2) Use of Mandi (as per Phaladeepika etc) is the one supported for Prasna predictions
in Karla astrology.
3) Let others confuse the 2 terms if they want. But let us be, systematic and sincere in
following the words of ancient Rishis.
4) Traditional Kerala astrologers won't accept many ideas we talk about. Remember
the recent Panchanga controversy. Modern efforts to correlate it with science or holistic
approach, modern techniques used by individuals like you, the circadian rhythm etc
Chandrahari is interested in, the Ayanamsa issue, what ever you take, they are not going
to accept many things. Let us forget the astrologers (Let it be of south or north, eastern or
western) but rather depend on the oldest available books at one end - and systematic
logical holistic approach in the middle - scientific and mathematical tools and systems
(experiments) at the other end; that is the better path I feel. I was pointing to the ancient
view of the same in astrological classics. Shouldn't we more concerned about the truth
rather than currently followed practices? I hope you would agree.
5) It would be worth remembering that we are all considered almost as 'Rebels' by
almost all the steams of astrology - let it be south or north. We are not supposed to
support or uphold anybodies (here normal Kerala astrologers) views - if not we are
finding them as correct and supported by ancient astro classics - that is my opinion.

[Editor: Kannan brought back the discussion to the main thread with the following
comment]

Kannan (to Madhu Nair):


Thanks for the clarifications. You wrote
Quote
Badha Sthanas - Two meanings are accorded to Badha Sthanas viz
(a) Obstruction (b) To be possessed
Unquote
I am not clear on option (b). If you have time, kindly elaborate. Also importance of
Gulika in Prashna.

Madhu Nair:
The first meaning is self-explanatory. But countable few alone pursue that one. The vast
majority of Keralite astrologers follow the other meaning, that is, to be possessed. It
could be any thing, evil spirits, goblins, curses of preceptors, enemies etc. Say for
example, if Sat, the 6L of enemies occupies Pisces (Badhaka place for Virgo Ascendant),
in a Prasna, with Virgo rising, Astrologers say the qurrent suffers from Sathru Badha;
means, he will have trouble from enemies.
If Rahu occupies Badha Sthana - predict trouble from Snakes/ members of other religion,
fungal infection between thighs, viral disease etc
If Jupiter - troubles on account of curse of pious Brahmins/preceptor, Hepatitis, intestinal
problems, legal complication, disease connected with vocal chord etc
Venus - troubles due to females, Yakshi, venereal disease etc
Gulika - Troubles due to Manes, ghost etc
Saturn - problems from low type people, Deities such as Sastha, Demigods of the Jungle,
Lord Shiva etc
Mars - Due to angst of Lord Subramanya, trouble from owns own blood relatives,
siblings, cops, arms and ammunition etc

NB: In a real case study, the Astrologer told the qurrent he has incurred the wrath of Lord
Subramanya, and strangely the qurrent admitted that contrary to the vow taken, he failed
to perform tonsuring of head in a famous temple of Lord Subramanya in Tamilnadu, for
some favors received.

Mercury - Trouble from Lord Vishnu and HIS devotees, Maternal uncle/aunt, nephew,
niece, friends, youngsters, media etc
Sun - Trouble from Government, Fatherly figure, excessive heat of body, sunstroke, eye
disease cardiac disease, curse of Lord Shiva etc
Moon - Problems to or on account of Mom, Mother Goddess, troubles in mammary
gland, eyesight, etc
Ketu - Severe back pain, angst of Lord Ganesha, sodalities, inviting the wrath of
members of other religion etc
Mutual Aspect/Conjunction between 7L and Badha lord or If Badha lord aspects the
ascendant lord or the ascendant, problems to qurrent on account of "evil eye" (Very
Correct in actual experience)
According to textbooks 27 varieties of spirits possess human beings.

Use of Kavadi prevalent in Prashna

Kannan:
Thanks, one more query. Do you use Kavadis? If not then how you are conducting
Prashna. I am asking this because I heard that use of Kavadis require many
pooja's/fast/devotion etc. before getting started. If a learner wants to try a Prashna how
can he do that, without using Kavadis? Like in a situation where I want to do a Prashna
for myself (assuming that I know some theories). In this case the Astrologer and qurrent
both are same and he cannot use Kavadi. Kindly reply.
Madhu Nair:
If it is a self-query, go for a Time chart or a horary based on KP, by selecting a number in
random between 0 & 250. Always remember, in the query Moon should clearly reflect
the mental status of the qurrent and Ascendant the query itself. If it is not clearly reflected
in the chart, query should be deemed to be frivolous.
Sreenadh:
I do use Kavadi while doing normal Prasna; or while participating in Tamboola Prasna,
Ashtamangala Prasna etc. It is normally an usual tool with any Keralite astrologer. But
Kavadi is not always a must for conducting Prasna. You can ask the qurrent to –
1) Tell a number and cast Arudha find Arudha and think of chart thereupon.
2) Based on the first letter of the query you can find Arudha and think of chart there
upon.
3) As told earlier you can use the "Sthityarudha"
4) You can use Lagna and cast Prasna based on that.
There are many more methods as well, well supported by the Kerala style, and astrology
Prasna classics.

Sreekumar:
Thanks a lot for the info. Being in Kerala I have seen Kavadi is indispensable thing
among Kerala astrologers. This even made me believe that Kavadi has some special
powers like crystal that can make the astrologers mind for mood of Prashna.

As I can see, the uniqueness of Kerala is its Prashna. It stands out in every form and it is
very powerful. Prashna with Kavadi makes it unique. Moreover, the few astrologers that I
have interacted has revealed that they keep Kavadi for Pooja in temples for 21 days etc ,
once a year etc , and that time they wont cast any Prasna or horoscope.

Sreenadh:
Any thing can become divine, it you treat it that way. Kavadi is divine for a Kerala
astrologer since he is treating it that way. This is mainly due to 3 factors.
1) Calculations were/are done with Kavadi. In Kerala even today who do
mathematical calculations using Kavadi faster than calculators at times.
2) It symbolizes the Guru-Sishya relation, the tradition. It is almost essential and
useful in many instances like taking 'Arudha'.
3) The system of Prasna described in Prasnamarga (i.e. Ashtamangala Prasna)
demands he use of Kavadi, since in Ashtamangala Prasna the 108 Kavadi (shells) are
divided into three, and a lot of predictions are done (especially in temples) based on that.
It is an elaborate system of prediction, and Prasnamarga well depicts that. So if one wants
to conduct an Ashtamangala Prasna then, Kavadi becomes essential.
4) When you use something for long, when it is important to you, when your guru
gives it to, divinity gets attached to it naturally.
Quote
Moreover, the few astrologers that I have interacted has revealed that they keep Kavadi
for Pooja in temples for 21 days etc, once a year etc, and that time they wont cast any
Prashna or horoscope
Unquote
Yes, we do.

[The thread ended there. The discussion was informative. All the 3 items such as - 1)
Arudha concept 2) Use of Kavadi in Prasna and 3) Arudha Blocking - is clearly dealt with
in the discussion and satisfactory answers given