The following is a very, very effective method for making predictions that is relatively simple and only uses planets as karakas (indicators) without taking into consideration lordships and planets in Signs or Houses.
The nine grahas (planets) are the pure forces that yoke human beings to their karmas. They are points on a cosmic scorecard showing the merit or lack thereof of every jiva (living being) in creation. These planets have gods and myths behind them and above all, they control the energy centers in every human body. These centers are called the chakras. The Signs they rule are the masculine and feminine energies of each chakra.
Karaka means producer. Every planet produces several things. A list can only begin to name all of the things a planet produces. However, everything you see around you is ruled by one of the nine grahas. Upon recognizing the producing effects of each planet, it stands to be noticed that in each particular chart the states of the planets vary immensely. Some horoscopes have particularly strong karakas and others have weak ones. One horoscope may produce beautiful, luxurious vehicles and another may deny the person a car or give many wallet shrinking trips to the mechanic.
What makes a Karaka strong or weak?
Is it because it is placed in its own or moolatrikona sign? Is it because it is ruling good houses?
In answer to these questions, it must be stated here that while evaluating planets as karakas, one does NOT take into consideration the Signs or the Houses. The planets are sattvic, meaning they precede the Signs and the Houses. The Signs serve to bring the planets into psychological and physical modalities and the Houses bring the karmas indicated by the planets and the signs down to the Earth. From our home here upon Earth we look into the sky and draw lines from where we are into the four directions. These create the Houses. Planets in Houses and House Rulerships give the most concrete effects as experienced here on Earth.
Look at it this way. The karaka (planet) produces the thing. The Signs give it color, direction, size, shape and so on. The Houses will show where we will find that thing and in what physical context we will experience that thing.
The Math (I know, I know, its boring but absolutely necessary)
Please note that most Vedic astrological software do these calculations.
As you can see, the planets come first. So how do you measure the strength of your planets as karakas (producers)? There are two components of this equation: Occha bala and Chesta Bala. Occha bala means strength based upon the position of the planet in relation to its point of exaltation. Every planet has a degree in the Zodiac where it is exalted. The closer this planet is to its degree of exaltation, the stronger the planet is in its Occha Bala. At the furthest point from exaltation is the point of debilitation. A planet obtains points related to how close it is to the point of exaltation. Since the points of exaltation and debilitation are 180 degrees apart and the most points a planet can obtain are 60, then every degree from the point of exaltation a planet loses .333 points. For example, Venus is posited at 27 degrees Gemini. This is exactly midway between the point of exaltation of Venus (27 degrees Pisces) and debilitation of Venus (27 degrees Virgo). Venus at 27 degrees Gemini would get 30 points of Occha bala.
Chesta bala is measured by the relative speed of a planet. The slower the planet is moving in relation to its average speed, the higher the Chesta bala. The planets are usually slowest when they are stationed, or about to go retrograde, when they are retrograde and when they are about to turn direct. This is the point when they are closest to the Earth. Again, 60 is the number for the highest Chesta Bala and 0 being the lowest.
The Sun and the Moon do not have Chesta Bala. For the calculation, the Ayana bala (the declination from the equator) of the Sun is used and the Paksha bala (strength due to Moonphases) for the Moon is used.
After all of these calculations, to get the beneficial points (ishta phala) of a planet, the Ocha bala is multiplied by the Chesta Bala and the square root of the product is extracted. Et voila!… you have the Ishta Phala. The number will be somewhere between 0 and 60. The remainder is the Kashta Phala which are the malefic points. The good points plus the bad points always add up to 60. The idea is that it is better for the natural indications of a planet if it has higher good points (above 30) and lower bad points (below 30).
Karakas Are Never Malefic
What a karaka produces is never malefic. This is a very important concept and should be repeated for emphasis. WHAT A KARAKA PRODUCES IS NEVER MALEFIC. Saturn and Mars are producers of longevity and courage, just to name a few. Saturn produces immunity to disease and the ability to overcome obstacles (perseverance). It does not produce those obstacles. Obstacles, misery, delays and setbacks can be produced by any planet and have to do with their condition in houses and as house lords, but do NOT have to do with their karakaship. When Saturn is afflicted as a karaka, in other words, when its malefic points outweigh its beneficial points, then it gives a low tolerance for delays and setbacks. It gives a low tolerance for misery, so misery and depression overcome the person. If Mars has low strength as a karaka, it gives a low tolerance for anger and no courage. When a person has low courage, they are fearful, and when they are fearful, they lash out to protect themselves even when it is unwarranted. This is a volatile temper and indicative of a weak Mars.
The Difference between Malefics and Benefics as Karakas
The difference is this: A malefic will keep its goodness for itself, producing those good qualities but it will give away its malefic tendencies to other planets through association. A benefic will give away its ishta (good points) to other planets but keep its kashta (bad points) to itself. The malefics give away their maleficness through association and harm the planets they associate with. What is meant by harm is when a malefic is aspecting a planet with full aspect, it will take away from that planet’s ishta (good points) to the degree of the malefic’s kashta (bad points). For example, if Saturn has 48 points of kashta and is aspecting Mars fully, and Mars has only 36 points of ishta (good points), then Saturn will destroy the beneficial qualities of Mars during Saturn/Mars or Mars/Saturn periods. During these periods, the person will be fearful, angry and accident prone. Benefics give away their goodness and help the planets they associate with. Let us say that Venus in someone’s chart has 42 good points and 18 bad points. Whatever planet it aspects, it will help that planet to 42 points which is extremely beneficial during Venus periods.
Karakas in Prediction
With the exception of a few character yogas, planetary events are always dasa dependent. This means the planets will only give their effects when they are running their periods and sub-periods. Saturn and Mars will give those things indigenous to Saturn and Mars. If they are low in strength, then they will not give their beneficial energies, they will only give low tolerance for the negative qualities associated with these malefics.
A Note About Rahu and Ketu
Rahu and Ketu have the ishta and kashta of Saturn and Mars, respectively.