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In Vedic Astrology Jyotiṣa, the Lagna (Sanskrit लग्न) or Ascendant, is the first moment of contact between the soul and its new life on earth in Jyotiṣa. Lagna's Rashi and Nakshatra represents the "Atman" (Soul) of an Individual Person while the Lagna Lord represents the Ruler of the Horoscope and therefore the Rashi & Nakshatra where the Lagna Lord is positioned is equally very important as the Lagna Lord also absorbs the traits and qualities of that specific Rashi & Nakshatra.
One's Ascendant, or Lagna, is the degree of the rāśi (or sign) and nakshatra (or constellation) specifically the nakshatra pada (also known as the division of a constellation into 4 different parts) which is rising on the eastern horizon at the time of one's birth.
The Most Effective Point (MEP) of the Ascendant - Lagna, is that point of the zodiacal belt that coincides with the position of the horizon at the time of birth, for a given place of birth.
This is more specifically called the Udaya Lagna to differentiate it from charts in which other points are used to determine the first house of the horoscope (see below.) The Udaya Lagna is the most important factor that plays an influential role within the natal chart.
This Udaya Lagna also frequently referred to as Lagna will show what is the reality that will happen to a person in his real life and also the characteristics of that Lagna's Rasi and Nakshatra will be impressed upon the person or event being born affecting his character, behaviour, personality and also individuality in a very influential way.
This sign known as the Udaya Lagna will be considered the first house of the horoscope, and the enumeration of the other houses follows in sequence through the rest of the signs of the zodiac. In this way, the Lagna does not only delineate the rising sign, but also all the other houses in the chart.
Let us explain the concept of lagnam. The division of lagnam is same as raasi (1 raasi has 9 nakshatra padas). It is the same twelve division of a complete day each of duration two hours. However, the deﬁnition of lagnam is related to an individual time and place of birth. This is to diﬀerentiate between two persons born on the same day but at diﬀerent places (or diﬀerent longitudinal divisions) or two persons born on same day, same place but at diﬀerent time of the day.
In modern terms this is to diﬀerentiate people born on the same day but at diﬀerent time zones. Thus, a person born on same day but in diﬀerent longitudinal division is born while Earth is facing diﬀerent raasi and nakshatra. Thus, lagnam of a person is the raasi and nakshatra faced by the part of the Earth surface on which he is born. Fix a point on the surface of earth.
Note that the point will face all the 12 segments (raasis) of celestial sky, and also the 27 different nakshatra's while the earth spins on its axis. Since the raasis are 30 degree segment, the point will take 2 hours (or 5 nazhigais or 2.5 muhurtam) to move from one raasi to other. A day is divided in to 12 lagnams or ascendant with each lagnam of two hour duration. A person’s lagnam is the lagnam on which he is born on a given day of the given place.
Next, another Lagna used in astrology, which is the rāśi (or sign) and nakshatra (constellation) in which the moon is found at birth. Usually the Moon's rasi and nakshatra are used to see marriage compatibility between a boy and a girl because it's easy to locate the position of the moon based on the Panchanga but each and every individual must know the following:
Please do take a note, that the matching based on the Moon's Rasi and Nakshatra will not be very accurate. That's because the accuracy is not more than 10% and so it is advised to always look at the Lagna's (Rasi & Nakshatra) for Marriage Matchmaking (which increases the accuracy to about 50%).
The other 40% of marriage matchmaking is known as Jathagam Porutham (Matching of the Birth Chart and also the Navamsa Chart of both boy and girl) which is equally important together with reference to the Lagna and that will include all the planetary positions, Naga Dosham and Kala Sarpa Dosham (Position of Rahu-Ketu), Kalathra Dosham or Mangalya Dosham [Position of (Mars-for both), (Venus-for boy) and (Jupiter-for girl)] and etc that needs to be taken into account to fulfill the other 40% requirement.
The Candra Lagna chart, which is also another way used to analyze the horoscope, is a chart in which the Moon's house is treated as the first house of the horoscope and the enumeration of the other houses are made starting from that rāśi and continuing in sequence throughout the rest of the zodiac signs.
The astrologer will use the Candra Lagna only to see from the perspective of what one desires from his or her mind (Another note has to be taken here, ones desires will always remain as desires and not always fulfilled in real life) since the Moon's position is the reflection of the mind among planets.
One more important aspect of the Lagna must be taken into account, the Lagna of a person always changes in about an average of 2 hours which makes the Lagna the fastest in movement and the second position goes to the Moon.
From here we should notice that 1 day is equal to 24 hours and the Lagna successfully completes a rotation around the 12 rashis within the 24 hours (an average of 2 hours for each rashi) which also means that the Lagna completes the 27 nakshatras and 108 nakshatra padas in a day.
The calculation of the Lagna is usually based on the time and place of birth when the child that the doctor has delivered begins to show signs of life (crying) and might be difficult to calculate for those who never recorded their Birth Time and therefore most astrologers end up using the Moon's rashi and nakshatra which is always termed and generally taken as the Janma Rashi and Janma Nakshatra.
One should strictly take a note that the Moon's rashi and nakshatra does not give an accurate and acute reading of a person's character and so it is to be taken as third importance only after Lagna's and Lagnathipathi/Lagna Lord's (Rashi & Nakshatra) because:
1. As mentioned above the Moon represents the Mind and also the Moon's Rasi and Nakshatra represents a mirror image of an individual person whereby you can never judge a person just by their appearance as you never know what they are from the bottom of their heart (only Lagna's Rasi and Nakshatra can define a person in this case). This is also akin to the quality and characteristics of the moon that only reflects and imitates the light of the sun during the night.
2. Its importance only arises when you want to calculate the Mahadasha and Vimshottari Dasha of an individuals chart. The results obtained from each of the Mahadasha and Vimshottari Dasha are to be taken from the Lagna respectively.
3.The Moon takes about 2 1/4 days to 2 1/2 days to complete 1 Rashi and almost 1 day to complete 1 Nakshatra so it will be very common to see many people being born in the same nakshatra but when you come across these people in real life (twins as an example) you'll be surprised to notice that they're not the same in character even though they're born in the same Nakshatra.
As you can see this differences will arise when their Lagna's positions (Rashi, Nakshatra and Nakshatra padas) changes. Therefore the purpose of the whole birth chart of the individual person also changes.
[It's important to note that the situations and challenges (The Results) that arises during the Mahadasha and Vimshottari Dasha and also the way the individual person faces this situations and challenges irrespective of being easy or hard only depends on the Lagna's Rashi and Lagna's Nakshatra]
This is also why the first importance will go to the Lagna's (Rashi & Nakshatra) and Lagna Lord's (Rasi & Nakshatra) which represents the true Janma Rashi and Janma Nakshatra of a person that defines the person from the perspective of their soul and a whole person overall as Sage Parashara have mentioned that the Lagna is the Kalapurusha.
Kalapurusha's Head to Feet (Exterior Body Parts) represents the 12 zodiacs that begin with:
1. Aries stands for his head
2. Taurus for His face
3. Gemini for the Neck and shoulders
4. Cancer for chest and heart
5. Leo for his stomach and its organs
6. Virgo for his Hips
7. Libra represents the lower abdominal and spinal region
8. Scorpio for the reproductive organs and kidney etc
9. Sagittarius is the thigh
10. Capricorn is the Knees
11. Aquarius is the calf
12. Pisces is the feet.
While the nine planets resembles The Kalapurusha's (Inner Body Parts) that begins with:-
- Body Parts It Denotes: Soul, Stomach, bone, right eye, heart, skin, belly, head constitution of body.
- Body Parts It Denotes: Mind, heart, lungs, eye, brain, blood, breast, body fluids, intestines, renal ducts, lymphatic duct and artery.
- Body Parts It Denotes: Blood, marrow, energy, neck, veins, genitals, neck, red blood cells, anal, female organs and body energy.
- Body Parts It Denotes: Brain, hair, face, chest, nervous system, skin, nose, gallbladder, lungs, tongue and arms.
- Body Parts It Denotes: Jupiter is the karaka of thighs, fat, brain, liver, kidneys, lungs, ears, tongue, memory, spleen etc.
- Body Parts It Denotes: Overall physical appearance, face, facial expressions, eyes, genitals, urine, reproductive organs, throat and glands.
- Body Parts It Denotes: Lower body parts, legs, bones, knee, bone-joints, muscles, teeth, skin, hair and ears.
- Body Parts It Denotes: Legs, neck, lungs and breathing.
- Body Parts It Denotes: Belly (stomach), feet and claws.
All of these are included in and as a single entity known as the Kalapurusha. As stated earlier, Sage Parashara have mentioned that the Lagna and the Lagna Lord resembles the Kalapurusha. Therefore, Sage Parashara had given a strong emphasis on the prime importance of the Lagna and also the Lagna Lord. So it is important for an Individual not to ignore the position of their Lagna's (Rasi & Nakshatra) because it represents your individuality, character, behavior, attitude, intelligence, personality, etc. To sum up the Lagna (Lagna's Rasi & Nakshatra) is the Atman (Soul) of the individual person whereas the Lagna Lord and its (Rashi & Nakshatra) represents the single most important planet in the horoscope and also how and where are you going to utilize all of the aforementioned qualities obtained from the Lagna to focus and succeed your ambition and motive in your life.
The Lagna Lord's Rashi and Nakshatra are also equally important and must be taken into account. This is because together with the Lagna's Rasi and Nakshatra it will give a very much acute and crystal clear picture about whom you are.
In other words the Rashi and Nakshatra of the Lagna Lord will show how you'll behave towards each and every people that you will come across in your life while also maintaining and exhibiting your Lagna's (Rasi & Nakshatra) qualities altogether. Not only that, the Lagna Lord is also significant in knowing how will each major or minor planetary transits act upon an individual person.
The Rāśi Cakra [that is, the horoscope where the first house is the house in which the rising sign (The Lagna) is found] is the still the most important natal chart, but charts can be cast for different analytical purposes. The primary Lagnas (that is, houses designated as the First House, from which the rest of the houses are enumerated) used to analyze the horoscope are:
- Udaya lagna (rising sign, or Ascendant as first house) which represents the self, the soul, the Kalapurusha and every physical aspects, characteristics and behavior of the specific individual, career, progresses made in his/her life and etc.
- Candra Lagna (first house counted from the sign of the natal Moon, used to analyze mind, memory and mental activity, and also used to help determine how fertile a woman will be.)
- Sūrya Lagna (ascendant counted from sign where the natal Sun is located)
- Kāraka Lagna (significator taken as ascendant for all grahas)
- Varṇaḍā Lagna (for social company)
- Śrī Lagna (for prosperity and marriage)
- Indu Lagna (for wealth)
- Horā Lagna (for financial prosperity)
- Gati Lagna (for name and fame)
Lastly, there are some Lagnas which are determined by factors outside the chart, and are used for electional and horary charts. These are:
- Dig Lagna (first house is determined by compass direction)
- Śabda Lagna (first house is determined by the "words a client utters")
- Sparṣa Lagna (first house is determined by a part of the body which is touched)
- Nāma Lagna (first house is determined by the numerology of the person's name)
The term Ārūḍha Pada is also known as "Pada". Ārūḍha literally means "mount" and refers to the IMAGE of a sign falling on another due to "reflection of the rays emanating from it and being reflected by its lord.
Keeping the reflection in view, the Kāraka (Significator) can be taken to be the Moon. Count from a sign to its lord. Then count as many signs from the lord to arrive at the ĀRŪḌHA PADA. For example, if the Lagna Lord (Lagneśa) is in the fifth house, then count five signs from the Lagneśa to arrive at the ninth house. This ninth house becomes the Ārūḍha Pada for the Lagna.
Exception: The Ārūḍha Pada cannot be in the same sign or the seventh from it. In case this happens, then choose the tenth house therefrom. For example, if the Lagneśa is in the 4th house, then the Ārūḍha Lagna should be in the 4th from the 4th house i.e. the 7th house. But since this is not allowed, the tenth therefrom should be chosen. The tenth from the 7th house is the 4th house and the 4th house becomes the Ārūḍha Lagna.
Ārūḍha of 1st house is also called PADA LAGNA or ĀRŪḌHA LAGNA. Ārūḍha Lagna stands for "manifestation of self, in this Māyā (illusory) world". In this manner Ārūḍha Pada can be computed for all the houses. They are called Dhana Pada (2nd), Bhrātṛpada (3rd), Mātṛ Pada (4th), Mantrapada (5th), Śatrupada (6th), Dāra Pada (7th), Roga pada (8th), Bhāgyapada (9th), Rājyapada (10th), Lābhapada (11th) and Upapada (12th). Jaimini discussed Ārūḍha Lagna (AL) and Upapada (UL) extensively in his classical treatise.
- The Essentials of Vedic and thantrik Astrology, by Komilla Sutton, The Wessex Astrologer Ltd, England, 1999, p.96.
- "Sri Ramana Maharshi's Moksha", by Sri Sankara Bhagavadpada, Yogi Impressions, India, 2008, p.49 http://hinduworldastrology.net/index.php?module=book&action=samples#
- Vedic Astrology: A Guide to the Fundamentals of Jyotish, by Ronnie Gale Dreyer, Samuel Weiser, York Beach ME, 1997, pp. 47–49.
- Light on Life: An Introduction to the Astrology of India, by Hart deFouw and Robert Svoboda, Penguin, 1996, pp.45–46.