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There were many other fall outs – astrologically. Sun and Moon, the snitches, became Swarbhanu’s hated enemies. The names were changed – the head was called Rahu and the tail Ketu. Rahu swallows the luminaries on particular stellar configurations (the eclipse) but since it has no body, the Sun and the Moon soon emerge through the hole in the neck. Thank God!

To distinguish this from the other planets, their motion was also different from the planets. While all planets move anti–clockwise, Rahu and Ketu move clockwise through the skies. Further, the fact that they are closely related has been authenticated by the relative placement – one is always in the 7th house from the other i.e.: 180 degrees apart or in other words, in perfect opposition. They always move in synchronism to keep the 180 degrees difference between them.

In Rigveda, Rahu and Ketu are mentioned – not as planets but as demons. On a new Moon day the luminaries becoming conjunct leads to solar eclipse and Rahu is at work. So, Rahu is spiritually dark while Ketu creates the eclipse on a full Moon day (Lunar eclipse), which makes it the spiritual planet.

In the Vedic tradition, Lord Vishnu is the Sun and his discuss is the elliptic. Rahu and Ketu are the lunar nodes, which intersects the elliptic.

In astrology, when the two nodes have all the planets within their semicircle, kaal–Sarp yoga is said to be in operation. It is considered to be the main factor for a man’s downfall.

The subject is not free from controversies. Some say that the Yoga should take in all planets including Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. But then the Yoga will become very rare indeed. It is therefore more meaningful if we take the other point of view where only the 7 main planets are considered for the Yoga. Even then the following points should be kept in mind.

  • Planets must be between Rahu and Ketu and not between Ketu and Rahu. How do we ensure this? If we find Rahu first as we move anti-clockwise from the Ascendant and all the planets (not counting Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) are between Rahu and Ketu, then the Yoga exists.

  • Care should be taken to ensure that no planet is outside the semicircle by even 1 degree. For example, if Rahu is in 15 degrees of Cancer and Moon is in 16 degrees of the same sign, there is no kaal–Sarp. Rahu moves clockwise. It will go to Cancer 16 degrees soon, but right now, at the time of birth, Moon is outside the Rahu–Ketu bracket. Hence there is no kaal–Sarp.

It is debatable whether kaal–Sarp is an unmitigated evil. Many great men had this Yoga in their horoscopes. Some have been Presidents and Prime Ministers and others have been conquerors. It is said that Genghis Khan had it. One thing is clear. With kaal–Sarp, you may climb very high. But one day there will be a downfall. And the higher you climb, the harder you fall.

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