Levels of Analysis -- How to approach a Vedic chart

by Hank Friedman

[I am eternally grateful to my Jyotish guru Hart de Fouw for his priceless tutelage in Vedic astrology, without which I couldn't have written any Vedic articles.]

As I explore in depth in my major article, Paramount Considerations in Chart Interpretation, my Vedic guru Hart de Fouw taught that when one examines a Vedic chart, one must be systematic -- exploring each level one at a time -- in order to understand what factors will predominate over others.

The levels of analysis are Lagna Vicara, Yoga Vicara, Bhava Vicara, Varga Vicara, Dasa Vicara, and Gochara Vicara. [Vicara means analysis]

Lagna Vicara (analysis of the Ascendant). The Lagna has a preeminent influence upon the life of the individual. The Lagna (Ascendant) represents the person and their ability to function in life. A strong Lagna goes a long way to helping a person navigate life, while a person with a weak Lagna can have a hard time manifesting the positive features of their chart.

I will never forget the time a man came for a session with a Vedic chart that was full of yogas formed by strong planets. He had become very disenchanted with Jyotish because all of the Vedic astrologers that he had visited (even famous ones) had predicted a glorious life for him, and his life was anything but. I immediately noticed the weakness of his Lagna and Lagna lord, and how none of his yogas connected with either. That's why he couldn't embody the configurations that dazzled his astrologers.

Donald Trump's Chart

Lagna Vicara of Donald Trump's chart shows that the Lagna is in a Shubha Kartari yoga (strong benefics* on either side of the Lagna) which is quite supportive, and the Lagna is occupied by a natural malefic who happens to be not only a temporal benefic but in fact the Raja Yoga Karaka for Leo Lagna, and therefore again a positive influence.

The Lagnesa (Lord of Lagna) is strong (Dig Bala) and forms a Nodal Raja Yoga (the North Node is in a Kendra with the Lord of a Trikona). Therefore, it's no mystery why Trump, who is the oldest person to ever be elected president, has the vitality to effortlessly travel the world (Lagna is the body and resilience), and why he has the charisma that he does.

Yoga Vicara (analysis of the yogas) examines all of the yogas (good and bad) in the chart. Yoga are combinations of planets (primarily as house rulers) and placement. E.g. If the 9th house lord and the 10th house lord are in mutual relationship, then they form a Raja Yoga, indicating great success if one or both of the planets is strong.

Yogas govern the degree to which a person rises above (or sinks below) the average person's life. No matter what any of the other Vicaras indicate (except Lagna Vicara above), a person won't greatly distinguish themselves without some significant yogas in their chart.

(However, sometimes the reasons for a person's success can be elusive. E.g. In George Harrison's chart, it's the strength of Venus in so many Vargas that shows his gifts.)

Besides the aforementioned yogas in Donald Trump's chart which represent his rise to power, he also has a powerful Neecha Bhanga Raja Yoga, where his debilitated 4th house Moon is in an angle (with Dig Bala) and is aspected by its dispositor Mars, who is also angular. No wonder he has the power to sway so many people.

Bhava Vicara is the kind of astrology that most people focus upon. It is an examination of the houses and their karakas and their lords, i.e. influences upon them, strength, etc.

Bhava Vicara (analysis of the houses) is everyday astrology, i.e. what is life going to be like in each area of endeavor.

If a house and its lord only have benefic influences upon them, the themes of the house go well (and vice versa with malefic influences).

E.g. A person with two malefics in the 9th house (that also aspect the weak ruler of the 9th) had a very difficult relationship with their father, didn't travel much (even though they'd like to), didn't earn much (9th is a prosperity house), and has had no religious or spiritual activities.

Bhava Vicara of Donald Trump's chart is a very extensive task, but for a start, having the Sun and Rahu both in the 10th house indicates both an exaggerated, inflated ego and secrecy and back room dealings in his role as an authority. The Eclipsed 4th house Moon conjunct Ketu, on the other hand, points to a mother who was very beleaguered in significant ways.

Varga Vicara (analysis of the divisional/Amsha charts). This usually begins with an examination of the Navamsha chart, the most important Amsha. Not only does the Navamsha give insights into marriage, but also into the quality of the second half of life, and importantly, whether planets have deeper strengths or weaknesses.

For example, a planet in a weak sign in the birth chart but in a strong sign (e.g. its own sign or exalted) in the Navamsha will have greater strength than one would assume just looking at the birth chart.

Dasa Vicara (analysis of the Dasas and Bhuktis) is, of course, the primary predictive method in Jyotish. Understanding the unfolding Dasas is incredibly important and valuable because the effects of many configurations in the birth chart will only fully "ripen" if and when activated by the Dasa (and Bhukti) of the planet(s) involved.

With my Venus in Taurus in the 10th house, my career truly blossomed during my Venus Dasa.

An example of Varga and Dasa Vicara would be an analysis of Donald Trump's marital history:

Donald Trump married Ivana in 1977 during the Sun Dasa, and in the Navamsha chart, his Sun is in a Papa Sankhya Yoga, i.e. he married her at a very challenging time, indicating that it was unlikely that the marriage would last.

He wedded his second wife Marla in 1993 during his Mars Dasa, and again his Mars is in a Papa Sankhya Yoga and so the timing was poor for marrying.

When Donald Trump married Melanie, wife #3, he was in the Rahu Dasa, and Rahu is in a Mishra Sankhya Yoga in the D-9 (on the wrong side of the mixed yoga) and while it is not as badly placed as the Dasa Lords during his previous marriages, it was still not a great time for wedded bliss and happily ever after.

[Note: to understand the Sankhya Yoga approach, read my introduction to Iyer's predictive methods.]

Gochara Vicara is the examination of transits. Transits are said to indicate when specific events are likely to take place (of course, within the context of the current Dasa).

Perhaps the most challenging transit in Donald Trump's life lately is Saturn opposite to Saturn. Note that Saturn in his chart is in the 12th house of loss, foreign influences, and expenditures, and the transiting Saturn in the house of illness is certainly activating all of these as issues.


In this brief overview of the different levels of analysis of a Vedic chart, I hoped to get across the idea that each level of analysis is important, and both to be examined separately (from the other levels of analysis) and yet also to note how each influences the other levels of analysis.


* Venus is Vargottama and Jupiter is Retrograde.

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