Rasis (signs) in Vedic Astrology

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Signs or Rasis  in Vedic Astrology

The positions of all these planets, upagrahas, lagna and special lagnas in the zodiac are measured in degrees, minutes and seconds from the start of the zodiac (which is a fixed point in the sky). These positions are measured as seen from earth and they are called “geocentric positions”. For the positions (calculated in degrees, minutes and seconds) of planets, lagna, special lagnas and upagrahas, we also use the words longitude and sphuta. When watched from earth, the longitude of any planet in the skies can be from 0°0’0” (0 degrees 0 minutes 0 seconds) to 359°59’59”. It should be noted that 0°0’0” corresponds to the beginning of the zodiac. Many western astrologers consider Sayana or tropical (moving) zodiac, whereas Nirayana or sidereal (fixed) zodiac is considered in Vedic astrology.

The zodiac (sky) lasts 360° as mentioned above and it is divided into 12 equal parts. They are called “rasis” (signs). English names, Sanskrit names, two-letter symbols and values of the start longitude and the end longitude (in degrees, minutes and seconds) of all twelve rasis are given in Table 1.

Table 1: Definition of Rasis

Rasi name
Sanskrit name
Symbol
Start
End
Aries
Mesha
Ar
0°0’0”
29°59’59”
Taurus
Vrishabha/Vrisha
Ta
30°0’0”
59°59’59”
Gemini
Mithuna
Ge
60°0’0”
89°59’59”
Cancer
Karkataka/Karka
Cn
90°0’0”
119°59’59”
Leo
Simha
Le
120°0’0”
149°59’59”
Virgo
Kanya
Vi
150°0’0”
179°59’59”
Libra
Thula
Li
180°0’0”
209°59’59”
Scorpio
Vrischika
Sc
210°0’0”
239°59’59”
Sagittarius
Dhanus
Sg
240°0’0”
269°59’59”
Capricorn
Makara
Cp
270°0’0”
299°59’59”
Aquarius
Kumbha
Aq
300°0’0”
329°59’59”
Pisces
Meena
Pi
330°0’0”
359°59’59”

Notation: If a planet is at 221°37′, then you can find from Table 1 that it is between 210°0’0” and 239°59’59”. So, that planet is in Scorpio (or Vrischika). Its advancement from the start of the rasi occupied by is 11°37′. Its position in the zodiac (221°37′) is shown by some people by the notation 11°37′ in Sc or simply 11 Sc 37. This means “advanced by 11°37′ from the start of Sc (Scorpio)”. Some people show it as 7s 11° 37′. This means “after completing 7 signs, advanced by 11°37′ in the 8th sign (which is Scorpio)”.

Exercise 1:
Jupiter is at 94°19′. Mercury is at 5s 17° 45′. Venus is at 25 Li 31. For each of these planets, find (a) the rasi occupied and (b) the advancement from the start of the rasi occupied.

Each rasi again has many kinds of divisions and they are called “vargas”. They will be defined in detail later.

 

By P.V.R. Narasimha Rao

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