An Introduction to Prasna
by Hank Friedman
(Insights that I received from the latest 7 day course taught by my incredible Vedic teacher, Hart de Fouw)
The word Prasna means question. Prasna is a distinctive branch of astrology that is based upon an astrologer's responding to a client's query by drawing up a chart of the moment, in order to find the answer. Prasna is usually done during the day.
Two of the initial issues that arise when one wants to create a Prasna chart involve what time to draw the chart for, and what location to use. The recommendation is to draw the chart for the time and place the astrologer receives the question. In the case of predicting the outcome of sports events, Hart uses the time of the beginning of the game, and the location of the stadium.
Another issue concerns what makes the process work. It is necessary for the questioner to have strong intent in asking the question, and to ask it when "the energy fueling the question" has reached a peak. The astrologer must be particularly careful to have the right energy if asking the question for themselves. (Sit on the question until you are moved to ask it.) Don't do a prasna if you are unfocused.
Finally, what is most crucial to the success of a prasna is to operate within the context of the question, i.e. to be sure to select the correct significators.
When one is working with a prasna chart to ascertain the answer to the question, there are the following factors to evaluate:
1. Determining the significators.
For most Prasnas, there are two significators, as a pair called the karyesas:
A. What planet signifies the questioner (or the person about whom the question is being asked, e.g. "Will my brother get a job" – the Prasna chart should be rotated in this case).
The Questioner – called the Lagnesa - is usually signified by:
I. The ruler of the first house.
II. The Moon (often used if the ruler of the first is also the ruler of the other house involved in the question).
III. Occupants of the first house (used less often).
IV. Lagna itself.
B. What planet signifies the subject of the question (a job, outcome, spouse, etc.) It is important to be specific about which house represents the subject. One can use the 11th house, however, to represent the fulfillment of a wish.
The Subject – called the Bhavesa – is usually signified by:
I. The ruler of the house that signifies the subject of the question.
II. Occupants of the house that signifies the subject of the question.
III. The significator (karaka) of that subject (e.g. Venus for spouse).
IV. The ruler of the cusp of the house that signifies the subject of the question.
Important Notes: When – as is most often – the ruler of the house that is the subject of the question – i.e. the Bhavesa – is to be evaluated as the significator of the subject, use the rulership based upon the sign placement of Shri Pati house cusp. In other words, if a person with Capricorn rising has their 10th house cusp at 9 degrees Scorpio in the 11th rasi, then the bhavesa would be Mars not Venus.
If a lagnesa aspects the exact degree position of lagna (using Tajika aspects and within its orb) or a bhavesa its bhava madhya (i.e. the Shri Pati cusp of the house), the result is more likely to occur.
2. Evaluating the state of the significators.
Avasthas (the Vedic term for planetary states) are used to see how strong or weak both the Lagnese and Bhavesa are. If they are both in weak avasthas, the outcome of the question may be negative, while if they are both strong by avastha, the outcome of the question may be positive.
The avasthas to be evaluated are listed in Table 2. Most of them are obvious, with the exception of the Adhivirya.
A planet has adhivirya avastha when:
1. It is in its own sign or exalted in the drekkana, navamsa, and/or hadda – hadda is determined by the table at the top of Table 2.
2. Or it is ruled by a planet (in the drekkana, navamsa, and/or hadda) that is in its own sign or exalted in the prasna chart.
3. Or it is in the drekkana, navamsa, and hadda of natural benefics (Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury).
It is very important to assess the avastha of the lagnesa early in the examination of the prasna.
3. Determining the type of aspect relationship between the significators.
In Tajika, the aspects used are:
A. The positive aspects (Mitra Dristi):
I. Planets that are in a 5/9 relationship to each other by sign are open (pratyaksa) friends.
II. Planets that are in a 3/11 relationship to each other by sign are secret (gupta) friends.
B. The negative aspects(Satru Dristi.
I. Planets that are in the same sign or opposite signs (1/7) are open enemies.
II. Planets that are in a 4/10 relationship to each other by sign are secret enemies.
C. The neutral aspects (these are not used, i.e. the planets are not seen as having a relationship):
I. Planets in 6/8 or 2/12 to each other.
Important note: an outcome can be realized with either a positive or negative aspect between the lagnesa and the bhavesa. A negative aspect may imply struggle or challenges along the way to realizing the outcome.
4. Determining whether two planets are in orb (diptamsa).
Using the table on the top right of Table 2, add the diptamsas of the two planets, divide by two, and see if they are within that number of degrees from each other.
For yogas (see below) involving a third planet, see if that planet is within diptamsa to the other two (or at least one of the two) using the same method.
Note: to evaluate whether planets are applying to each other, Hart recommends using their mean speed (as indicated in the same table) as opposed to their actual daily motion on the day of the question. Obviously, the faster planet determines whether the Lagnesa and Bhavesa are converging (provided it is not of lesser degree and retrograde).
5. Examining the Prasna to see which Tajika Yogas are operating in the chart. See Table One
There are twelve Tajika yogas. Most are based upon the core yoga, called the Itthasala yoga. In order to evaluate these yogas, you need to determine first if the two planets involved (the Lagnesa and the Bhavesa) are converging, in aspect, and within orb, and without harmful effects of a third party (e.g the void-of-course Moon, Saturn or Mars aspects, bad placements by avastha, house, or retrogradation).
Note: in some yogas, a planet is in a bad house if in a trikasthana (6, 8, or 12), in other yogas, it's bad if in an apoklima (3, 6, 9, or 12).
A. Evaluate the house placement of planets, and only the house placement, using the bhava chalit (Shri Pati house) positions of planets. The Shri Pati placements are used to evaluate the presence or absence of the Ikkavala, Induvara, Radda, and Durapha yogas.
B. Evaluate aspects, avasthas, and all other planetary conditions based upon the Rasi chart.
C. Retrogradation is only a negative factor if it causes the two planets to separate from one another.
D. If a question is only about success or failure (or yes/no), then a strong lagna and lagna lord may indicate success.
E. The Kuttha yoga is as important as Itthasala with yoga.
F. The Moon is key in any prasna, whether it is lagnesa or bhavesa or not.
G. If you are asking a question requiring " turning the chart ", e.g. "Will my brother get married", then the 3rd house becomes the lagna, and the 9th house represents his marital prospects (7th from the 3rd),
H. In evaluating Nakta Yoga and Yamaya Yoga, the third planet can be between the other two in degrees and still give results. If so, then the third party has already interacted with the person represented by the earlier (Nakta) or later (Yamaya) degree planet. If the Nakta/faster planet is past both, or the Yamaya/slower planet is an earlier degree than both of the others, then whatever influence the third party had already happened.
I. In evaluating Manayu Yoga, the malefic Mars or Saturn should be later in degrees than at least one of the (faster) planets. And, of course, neither Mars nor Saturn can be the Lagnesa or Bhavesa. Note: if the faster planet is strong (e.g. swastha), the obstacle represented by the malefic may be surmounted in the end.
J. The Duttha-Uttha-Divira is so weakly helpful that there must be other indicators of success to support it.
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