Due to a strong interest and demand in Karmic Astrology we are re-publishing an article on The Four Aims of Life as explained in Vedic Astrology. There are four basic motivations or aims of human nature. Including:
*Dharma or the execution of duty or law through meaningful work.
*Artha or the acquisition of wealth and material security.
*Kama or desire for emotional and sensual enjoyment.
*Moksha or the culmination of spiritual endeavour and the transcendence of the cycle of karma and transmigration.
All four aims of life are accepted synergistically as a means of securing fulfilment and peace. The fourth, Moksha, is given priority in the scheme of human endeavour and infuses spirituality to the other three ‘material’ activities of man ( by sublimating and directing these other activities to an ultimately spiritual goal, the other three become spiritualised ).
These three attributes and four aims can also be used to categorise and define more clearly the 12 signs of the zodiac. In this manner, each sign is seen as a successive stage in our process of evolution to the final state of perfect Self knowledge.
Our focus and path may also be experienced more fully by gaining a greater knowledge of our birth sign. The Sattvic or harmonious planets are Mercury and Jupiter. Rajasic or mobile planets are, Sun, Moon and Venus and the Tamasic or inert planets being Mars, Saturn, Rahu (Moon’s North Mode) and Ketu (Moon’s South Mode).
According to this scheme therefore, the twelve signs of the zodiac, each ruled by the planets, are categorised as follows by their attribute and also their motivation. Aries Tamasic Dharma Taurus Rajasic Artha Gemini Sattvic Kama Cancer Rajasic Moksha Leo Rajasic Dharma Virgo Sattvic Artha Libra Rajasic Kama Scorpio Tamasic Moksha Sagittarius Sattvic Dharma Capricorn Tamasic Artha Aquarius Tamasic Kama Pisces Sattvic Moksha The Zodiac is therefore divided motivationally by the elements. The fire signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius constitute the Dharma or duty impulse. The earth signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn represent the Artha or wealth impulse. Gemini, Libra and Aquarius indicate the kama or pleasure principle and Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces, Moksha or occult and spiritual pathways.
The process of re-incarnation and karma may be evaluated by scrutinising the geniture (horoscope) of an individual. The predominance of planets in, for example, Kama signs would indicate a current incarnation tending towards desire and fulfilment of a passionate nature. Depending on the strength and other dignities of the planets in question, the use of these energies, and whether or not spiritual growth would result, is then ascertained.
The categorisation of human beings is not exactly a cut and dry process, as is generally being presented. Each zodiac sign in unique and the myriads of combinations need to be carefully balanced to assess the karmic grade of the present life. Of course, current high grades may not necessarily ensure high grades in future births. The resultant karmas and their exhaustion need to be analysed to see what benefits or lapses will accrue at the end of this incarnation. As we successively evolve through series of lives, we associate with the star signs under which we are born. In fact we express those very qualities inherent in the cosmic patterns.
Each of the signs of the zodiac is represented by a symbol or glyph, depicting the evolution of the soul through twelve different stages. The glyphs express the deeper more esoteric aspects of astrology and reveal inner evolutionary trends, as individuals and as parts of a vaster network of universal energies.
Aries The glyph represents the horns of the Ram and is an Egyptian symbol. On a more esoteric level, the symbol stands for the upward flow of spirit – as in a fountain, the Universal consciousness in its creative aspect. It can also be said to represent the sprouting of a seed, from which germination results in the tree and fruit. In its seed form it represents potentiality. As the symbol appears to move upward, outward, then downward it signifies the ultimate sacrifice of spirit in its descent into the realms of matter.
Taurus The Taurean glyph on the purely material level of representation, appears to look like the head of a bull, for which Taurus stands. The esoteric view however, is that the circle represents the divine spirit, and the crescent above the flowering, or blossoming of spirit in that materialisation process. Taurus is earthy, fixed and stubborn like the bull. Its action in the world is decisive and energy isn’t frivolously diffused without purpose.
Gemini At this stage of manifestation the spirit enters the phase of duality. As thought reflects the subject – object expression of spirit, the twins become an apt symbol for the “division” of spirit, representing polarity. Within the material world or manifested state, all things oscillate between positive – negative, up – down, right – wrong, in – out etc. Gemini therefore symbolises this polarity. The two vertical lines represent male and female – as division. In a sense, the act of reproduction is governed first by Gemini.
Cancer The glyph of Cancer represents the breasts of a woman. The symbolism depicts the nurturing caring qualities of motherhood. In the same way, spiritually, all the creative and loving qualities are inculcated by the symbol – which signifies the womb of time, in which all manifestation takes place.
Leo, the 5th sign, represents creativity and childbirth too. The glyph looks somewhat like a sperm cell – the beginning of life. Within the seed is the creative power of life. The early writings depicted the glyph as representing the tail of a lion, which is the emblem of the constellation.
Virgo The Virgin represents Virgo. Its glyph is comprised of three vertical lines and another crossing and joining the uppermost portions. In early mythology the goddess of grain and food, Nidaba (Egypt) was represented by Virgo, but the spiritual symbolism is much deeper. These three lines represent the powers of nature acting within the media of time and space – they are action, inertia and harmony. The additional line crossing and joining creates tension – which is the struggle of the spirit in its natural evolution. Virgo is one of the most sensitive and delicate of the Signs.
Libra At the point of Libra, Spirit is established in its material expression and ready to ascend back to its original pristine state. The symbol of Libra is balance, indicative of the equation of matter versus spirit. It is the junction point of the world and that which is beyond.
Scorpio Though similar in shape to Virgo, the icon for Scorpio differs in that it has an arrow as an extension which points upwards. This upward energy describes the upward movement of the soul in its journey homeward, after the tremendous struggle in Libra. The sign of Scorpio is misunderstood if it is only regarded as death – for Scorpio signifies more the rebirth or regeneration of the being after the death of the ego. Scorpio is therefore the sign of spiritual initiation and mystery.
Sagittarius The arrow at the end of Scorpio’s glyph is now airborne and flying towards its destination is Sagittarius. The arrow points upwards, towards spiritual horizons. This ties in well with the meaning of Jupiter who is the ruler of this sign. All the spiritual and higher faculties of man become fully activated at this stage of evolution. The movement of an arrow is direct and Sagittarius too is a powerfully vital and spiritually directed energy. Capricorn The glyph of.
Capricorn is a complicated one and reveals the complexity of those born under its influence. Though Capricorn is a material sign, the emblem represents the influx of spiritual energy directed to material pursuits. The “V” shape is the inversion of spiritual force and the downward and inward tucking of the arc reveals the introverted nature of that power. It is through self sacrifice, especially in work and money, that Capricornians excel. This can be transformed into spiritual benefits too.
Aquarius Though being an air sign – Aquarius has as its glyph the waters of life. The fluid design reveals the spiritual nature of Aquarius. It is often shown as a person pouring water from a pot. This indicates the brotherly, humane manifestation of spirit at this point. Water is cleansing and purifying and at the Aquarian stage, represents the larger human family and a desire for group awareness and healing. Pisces The two semi circles are joined in the centre together and represent the incoming and outgoing stages of evolution. Both are actually one and the same – being found to be the case only in the centre – the Self.
Pisces is the final stage of Spirit’s evolution and requires complete self abnegation if the two seemingly unrelated facets of creation are to be unified. All twelve signs possess a ruling planet which is either friendly or inimical to the others. Though Sidereal astrology is lunar based we can infer some important information from the Sun’s position too – both natally and by transit.
For those who wish to compare their own Western and Vedic personality traits, the approximate Sun sign dates are as follows. The Sun positions vary only one day per 72 years and so these dates are more or less valid for those born after the 2nd quarter of this century.
Aries Apr 14th to May 14th
Taurus May 15h to Jun 14th
Gemini Jun 15th to Jul 15th
Cancer Jul 16th to Aug 17th
Leo Aug 17th to Sep 16th
Virgo Sep 17th to Oct 17th
Libra Oct 18th to Nov 16th
Scorpio Nov 17th to Dec 15th
Sagittarius Dec 16th to Jan 14th
Capricorn Jan 15th to Feb 12th
Aquarius Feb 13th to Mar 14th
Pisces Mar 15th to Apr 13th
Please note that the dates for entry of the Sun into signs varies year by year due to precessional values and should be verified by a sidereal astrologer for your specific year of birth. It should be noted that Vedic astrologers primarily emphasise the Moon’s rather than the Sun’s position. The Moon is the principle of innate desire giving rise to action, and therefore karma.