“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. That is the way great spiritual giants are produced.”
– Swami Vivekananda
Author: D.D. – astrological apprenticeship student.
In this essay, I will be exploring the horoscope of Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest and most influential spiritual leaders of India. I will be examining specific planets within the horoscope and analyzing their individual energies and qualities by applying the principles we have learned through the Grahas and Planets Class.
Swami Vivekananda, the great Indian Hindu monk admired and revered all across the globe, was born at 6:48, just a few minutes after sunrise on January 12, 1863. This was the day of the great Hindu festival Makarasamkranti, where millions of devotees gather at the Ganges to perform rituals and worship. It is said that as he took his first breath, “…the air above the sacred river not far from the house was reverberating with the prayers, worship, and religious music of thousands of Hindu men and women” – Swami Nikhilananda, Vivekananda: A Biography.
In his pre-monastic life, he was known as Narendranath Datta or Naren for short. He showed interest in spirituality at a young age and his imagination was captivated by the life of Sri Rama, a Hindu deity believed to be an incarnation of God. He even purchased a clay image of Sita-Rama (a figurine consisting of Rama and his wife Sita) and would consistently offer it flowers as a devotional practice, at a young age. Naren also had a fascination for the wandering monks around his neighborhood. Whenever a sadhu came to the door, Naren would be delighted and give him anything from the house as an offering. Why did this young boy show such immense promise towards religion and spirituality? This is because the lord of the 9th house, Sun, is posited on his 1st house of self – right on his ascendant at exactly 29 degrees. This is an unusually tight conjunction of Sun on the ascendant sign. We see a double signification of Sattva (energetic element associated with purity, light, wholesomeness and virtue) qualities on the person, as the Sun is a Sattvic planet and it is positioned in another Sattvic rasi, Sagittarius.
The 9th is a house of grace and ease. It represents wisdom, higher knowledge, our culture and beliefs, virtue, luck and fortune. Characteristics of the Sun (leadership, authority figures, royalty) as well as the characteristics of Leo (personal sacrifice for the greater good) with the combination of 9th house activities will greatly shape Naren’s image, his personality and his path in life. This is further detailed in the Parashara Bhava Yogas, found in Chapter 12 of The Art and Science of Vedic Astrology:
Ruler of the 9th in the 1st – “The lord of Fortune abiding in the Lagna – the one born is fortunate, praised by the king, of good conduct, of beautiful form, learned and honored by the people.”
Positive Influences – Easy birth. Philosophical, ethical and religious nature. Intent on one’s own dharma. Lucky. Interested in justice. Very broad-minded. Is comfortable within the culture in which one is born. Rises to high levels of success easy and naturally. Influential. Gets good guidance. Teachers are good and lead the native correctly. Charitable, virtuous and kind. Seen as a counselor or minister. Has a spiritual mind. Interested in enriching one’s culture.
The Sun, being in good dignity (Great Friend) allows for a prosperous 9th house environment. The 9th is also getting plenty of support by rasi aspect from 3 benefics, Venus, Mercury and Jupiter. Though a generally considered a malefic, Mars in the 5th for this individual is actually functioning as a benefic. Mars is a friend to Sun and Sun is a friend to Mars. They are both Kshatriya (warrior) planets, are hot and dry in nature, and their directional sights are both looking up. The 5th house of Aries is also a prosperous environment with an exceptionally strong house lord in Mulatrikona dignity, situated comfortably in its own house. Therefore, the energetic fiery field of Aries being shared through rasi aspect is supportive to the environment of Leo and vice versa.
At first glance the high Kashta of Sun at 45.3 points out of 60 may seem alarming, but as we have learned in the Grahas and Planets class, planetary Ishta and Kashta conditions must be assessed in consideration with the planet’s avasthas. Sun being in Mrita Baladi avastha indicates it is carrying karmas that are dead or in a static state. Its Jagradadi avastha is Svapna, meaning it is partially conscious. Therefore, we cannot assume that the Sun is spreading 100% of its 45.3 points Kashta because it is being mitigated by its avastha conditions. It will share a partial amount, but not all. A planet in Kumara (young/lively) or Yuva (adult/fully-functioning) that is Jagrat (fully awake/conscious) is much more capable of spreading its Ishta and Kashta than a planet in a dead, sleepy state.
After calculation we can see that Jupiter is sharing approximately 20% of its Ishta to Sun. Its shared beneficence is lessened, however, due to Jupiter being in Bala (infant) avastha as well as being in a deep sleep (Sushupti) avastha. The Kashta damage is primarily seen from planets Mars, Saturn, and the waning Moon. The strength of Mars being in powerful Mulatrikona dignity causes the planet to be fully awake (Jagrat) and to be young and lively in age (Kumara). After calculation, Mars is giving approximately 8% of its Kashta to Sun, Saturn is giving approximately 11%, and the waning Moon is giving approximately 23% inauspicious points to Sun. It should be noted though that the amount for Saturn and the waning Moon are partially lessened due to the planets being in Svapna avastha (semi-conscious/partially awake). Altogether the Sun is receiving nearly 42% extra Kashta on top of its existing Kashta (though, again, this amount is likely to be less due to the Svapna avastha status of Saturn and waning Moon). The damaged Sun being so closely placed near the ascendant degree may have contributed to Vivekananda’s health conditions and his early death at the age of 39.
Despite being short-lived, Vivekananda left a massive legacy spanning both ends of the world. On July 30, 1893, he became the first Hindu monk to cross the ocean to the West. At first, he was humiliated and ridiculed by Americans for his strange looks and attire, and even suffered homelessness for some time during his earliest days in America. He went door to door begging for food, asking for a place to stay, only to be met with harsh insults. The humiliation may have been due to Sun’s affliction on the 1st house, affecting his ego, image and status. Additionally, the homelessness may have been triggered by the Mars antardasha (sub-period), triggering Rahu in Scorpio in the 12th, given that Mars is a karaka for home/land and the 12th represents loss and isolation. The hardest and most unexpected blow was when he received a rejection from the office of the Parliament of World Religions, where he had hoped to participate as a delegate to represent Hinduism and India. He failed to meet Parliament requirements as he did not have adequate credentials from a valid organization. Despite the overwhelming odds and countless setbacks, Vivekananda’s determination and resiliency (powerful Mars in the 5th) compelled him to push through the difficulties.
Vivekananda contacted Professor John Henry Wright of Harvard University, who invited him to speak at Harvard. Blown away by Vivekananda’s supreme intelligence, Wright granted him credentials to the Parliament and even wrote to the Chairman of the Committee, advocating for Vivekananda saying, “Here is a man who is more learned than all our learned professors put together.” He further presented him with a ticket to Chicago, and also gave him letters of introduction to the Committee. Vivekananda rejoiced at this literal manifestation of Divine Providence. This is all due to the presence of ascendant lord Jupiter in the 11th house. Even though Jupiter is in Bala (infant) avastha, as well as being Sushupti (asleep), we cannot underestimate the boons of a well-situated Jupiter in the 11th. 11th house represents gains, accomplishment of desires and one’s larger professional social circles. All of these blessings occurred during Jupiter dasha.
Vivekananda spoke at the Parliament of World Religions on September 11, 1893. On this day, he nervously took the stage to present a brief speech on India. After uttering just a few simple opening words “Sisters and Brothers of America!”, hundreds rose to their feet with deafening shouts of applause. Vivekananda was astonished by the audience’s two-minute standing ovation. After giving a brief speech, he was presented with the highest accolades from some of the greatest minds at the time, one of whom was the father of electricity – Nikola Tesla. Vivekananda wrote,
“I have myself been told by some of the best scientific minds of the day how wonderfully rational the conclusions of Vedanta are. I know one of them personally, who scarcely has time to eat his meal or go out his laboratory but who would stand by the hour to attend my lectures on the Vedanta; for as he expresses it, they are so scientific, they so exactly harmonize with the aspirations of the age and with the conclusions to which modern science is coming at the present time.” – Swami Vivekananda on Nikola Tesla
All in all, the legacy of Swami Vivekananda lives on in the hearts of many. He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India and contributed to the concept of nationalism in colonial India. Since then he has been honored and admired as a patriotic saint in India and his day of birth is celebrated as National Youth Day.
- A Short Life of Swami Vivekananda, Swami Tejasananda, 1995
- The Art and Science of Vedic Astrology Volume 1, Richard Fish & Ryan Kurczak, 2012
- The Art and Science of Vedic Astrology Volume 2, Ryan Kurczak & Richard Fish, 2014
- Vivekananda – A Biography, Swami Nikhilananda, 1953
- Grahas and Planets Apprenticeship Course, Ryan Kurczak, Fall 2019
- Swami Vivekananda – Life Story, A Film by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) USA, 2013