(An Excerpt from In Search of Jyotish, Book#16)

Determining the Ātmakāraka is a crucial step in deciphering the results of Svāñśa. I have explained the approach to determine this in the Kārakatva volume of the Book (ISJ Book2); however, I am explaining it again for further elucidation. This is in the form of a dialogue between Jayanta and his Guru, Ācārya Saurajit.

Jayanta: Guruji, kindly explain to me the Ātmakāraka and why we must know about it.

Guruji: Ātmakāraka is the Kāraka for self since Ātma is self. Knowledge of Ātmakāraka reveals your true nature. Therefore, you must learn about it.

Jayanta: But don’t we know about one’s True nature from the Lagna? Why must we need Ātmakāraka?

Ācārya: That depends on how to conceive one’s True self. One’s identity in this life is based on the Udayalagna. But how about one’s True self, which is beyond this birth? For instance, Bhagavan Śrī Kṛṣṇa is an Avatāra of Bhagavan Viṣṇu. We can learn about Bhagavan Śrī Kṛṣṇa from his birth in Dvapara Yuga, and similarly, about Bhagavan Rāma from his birth in Treta yuga. But how would you see who they are beyond their births in the different Yugas?

How would you know that they are different forms of Bhagavan Viṣṇu in different lives? Like Bhagavan takes different Avatāra, each Jīvātmā takes several births. We can learn about them in individual births from the Udaya Lagna. But if we wish to learn about their “self” that is beyond the births, we must consider the Ātmakāraka. The Ātmakāraka indicates the person (Ātma/Soul) who incarnates as different creatures (human or others) through different births.

Jayanta: Thanks for clarifying Guruji, but why are there so much confusion about determining the Ātmakāraka?

Ācārya: There is no confusion. People fight among themselves because of an incorrect interpretation of the ślokas of Maharṣi Parāśara and Jaimini.

Jayanta: What is the incorrect interpretation, and what is the correct one?

Ācārya: Maharṣi Parāśara states in Bṛhatparāśara “ātmākāraka bhāgebhyo nyūnāṃśo’mātyakārakaḥ। tasmānnyūnāṃśako bhrātā tannyūnomātṛ saṃjñakaḥ ॥13॥ tannyūnāṃśaḥ pitātasmādalpāṃśaḥ putra kārakaḥ। putrānnyūnāṃśako jñatirjñāternyūnāṃśako hi yaḥ ॥14॥ sa dāra kārako jñeyo nirviśaṃke dvijottama। carākhyakāralā ete brāhmaṇā kathitāḥ purā॥15॥ mātṛ kāraka mevā’nye vadanti suta kārakam। dvau grahau bhāga tulyau cejjāyetāṃ yasya janmani॥16॥ tadagra kāraka syaivaṃ lopo jñeyo dvijottama। sthirakārakavaśāttasya phalaṃ jñeyaṃ śubhā’śubham॥17॥”

This means the Graha next to Ātmakāraka is the Amātyakāraka. Likewise, the Kārakas in the sequence are Bhrātrikāraka, Mātṛkāraka, Pitṛkāraka, Putrakāraka, Jñātikāraka and Dārākāraka. These are Carakārakas. Some consider Mātṛkāraka and Putrakāraka as identical. If two Grahas have the same Sphuṭa, both become the same Kāraka, in which case there shall be a deficit of one Kāraka. In that circumstance, the Sthirakāraka takes the place of the Carakāraka, from which the relative’s good and bad things should be divined.

Jayanta: So, there are eight Carakārakas?

Ācārya: Yes, indeed, there are eight Carakārakas.

Jayanta: Then why do some people believe that there are seven?

Ācārya: Because they confuse the statement “Some consider Mātṛkāraka and Putrakāraka as identical.”

Jayanta: Kindly explain further. If the two Kārakas are the same, then aren’t there seven Carakārakas?

Ācārya: That is indeed the confusion. The Carakārakas are “always” eight. It is like eight buckets, filled by either seven or eight Grahas.

Usually, seven Grahas fill the positions of the eight Carakārakas, but in rare circumstances, they are filled by eight Grahas. In both cases, the number of Carakārakas is the same; only the number of Grahas filling those positions is seven or eight.

Usually, only one Graha fills two positions, but when there is Añśasāmya, the eighth Graha comes into the picture.

Jayanta: Kindly explain what Añśasāmya is.

Ācārya: Añśasāmya is when the Añśa (degrees) of the two Grahas are the same.

Jayanta: Should we not consider the minutes and seconds? Or should it be only a degree?

Ācārya: It should only be degrees, and not minutes and seconds. Minutes are called Kāla and seconds, Vikalā and they are disregarded. For instance, if the Sphuṭa of a Graha is 11:25:36, it should be considered as 12°, or 12 Añśa, since its always rounded up. So, if another Graha is in 11:00:12, they are both in Añśasāmya, as their Añśa will be 12°.

Jayanta: But is it not reasonable to consider the Kāla and Vikalā also?

Ācārya: No, if we consider Kāla and Vikalā, then we will hardly have Añśasāmya; besides, the classical texts specifically state equality of the Añśa.

Jayanta: So, what happens when the Grahas are in Añśasāmya?

Ācārya: Then, Rāhu is inserted into the picture, and therefore, the Grahas participating in the scheme become eight. When that happens, Mātṛkāraka/Putrakāraka is split into two separate Kārakas, which is done by placing the Putrakāraka after the Pitṛkāraka.

In Añśasāmya, the foremost among the Graha having Añśasāmya (considering Kāla and Vikalā) is called the Agrakāraka, the immediately following it is the Upakheṭa, the last one Antyakāraka, and anyone between the Upakheṭa and Antyakāraka is called Madhyakheṭa.

The Agrakāraka and Antyakāraka are considered to resolve a tie of Añśasāmya. We can call the Madhyakheṭa Upakheṭa or Upakheṭa Madhyakheṭa, which is of no consequence because they are both placed in between the Agrakāraka and Antyakāraka.

Jayanta: What is the disappearance of Kāraka?

Ācārya: In Añśasāmya, the Agrakāraka becomes the concerned Kāraka, only to disappear eventually and its position filled by the Antyakāraka.

The Antyakāraka disappears when there is Añśasāmya but eventually appears to displace the Agrakāraka from his portfolio.

Before Antyakāraka, the Upakheṭa and Madhyakheṭa take their turn to displace the Agrakāraka and each other progressively before Antyakāraka takes over.

If we accept that the Antyakāraka displaces the Agrakāraka, this need not be limited to only Amātya. This should apply to all Kārakas from Ātmakāraka to Jñātikāraka.

Regarding Dārākāraka, more than one Graha do not vie for the portfolio, as that is the last portfolio. If at all, there shall be only one Graha available for it to become a Kāraka.

Jayanta: When a Graha leaves its portfolio as Antyakāraka and becomes Agrakāraka, does it not leave its portfolio vacant?

Ācārya: In Añśasāmya, the lower portfolios are left vacant because more than one Grahas vie for the higher portfolio.

The concerned Sthirakāraka fills the portfolios for which a Graha cannot be assigned.

For this purpose, there must be a Carakāraka-Sthirakāraka correspondence. This is Amātya-Bṛhaspati, Bhrātṛ-Maṅgala*, Mātṛ- Candra/Maṅgala, Pitṛ- Sūrya/Śukra, Putra- Śani (Parāśara), Bṛhaspati (Jaimini), Jñāti- Budha, Dārā- Śukra.

Regarding Bhrātṛ- for younger siblings, Maṅgala must be considered, whereas Śani (Jaimini) should be considered for elder siblings.

Bṛhaspati should be considered regarding Putra and Śani as Sthira Putrakāraka appears to be corrupted Sanskṛt śloka. This is clarified in the edition of Ganesh Dutt Pathak.

There is no Sthirakāraka defined for the Amātyakāraka. But based on the association of Amātya either to 5th (advisor) or 9th (Guru), Bṛhaspati should be the Kāraka.

The Ātmakāraka does not remain without a Kāraka Graha, and therefore, there is no Sthirakāraka defined for this Kāraka. Besides, we consider Sūrya as the Naisargika Ātmakāraka. But for Carakāraka determination, we do not need a Sthirakāraka for Ātma.

Jayanta: But some scholars consider 8 Carakāraka for living beings and 7 for non-living. That appears logical to me since non-living beings do not have children. They do not produce off-springs.

Ācārya: The proposition that in the 7 Graha Carakāraka scheme, the Putrakāraka does not appear is flawed.

This is because of two reasons, (1) it is illogical to associate the Kārakas to all relations but leave out a crucial relation — the child, and (2) if Putrakāraka is not required to be present in the Carakāraka scheme, why is that the Sthirakāraka is defined for it.

An essential need of Sthirakāraka is that it fills the vacuum created by Añśasāmya. Therefore, the Sthirakārakas are defined immediately after Carakārakas.

The sequence of eight Carakārakas are Ātmakāraka, Amātyakāraka, Bhrātrikāraka, Mātṛkāraka, Pitṛkāraka, Putrakāraka, Jñātikāraka and Dārākāraka. Normally, the same Graha is assigned to Mātṛ and Putra, as it does not need to be of lesser sphuṭa than Pitṛ. When the Grahas are ranked about their Añśas, the sequence of the Grahas is Ātma, Amātya, Bhrātṛ, Mātṛ/Putra, Pitṛ, Jñāti and Dārā. But when there is Añśasāmya, the sequence becomes Ātma, Amātya, Bhrātṛ, Mātṛ, Pitṛ, Putra, Jñāti and Dārā. This means that, in Añśasāmya, the Graha representing Putra comes after Pitṛ since Mātṛ and Putra are no longer the same Graha.

We think that the Saptakāraka must be assigned to Jaḍātmā and Aṣṭakāraka to the Jīvātmā is flawed because the Maharṣis nowhere mention it.

The Saptakāraka is the default assignment, and only when there is an Añśasāmya the Aṣṭa-Kāraka scheme is followed; that is because the Sthirakārakas of both Mātṛkāraka and Putrakāraka cannot be assigned to the same Kāraka slot.

In both schemes, there are 8 Kārakas. The only difference between them is that, in the default scheme, only 7 Grahas are assigned, whereas, in the Añśasāmya scheme, 8 Grahas are assigned.

Jayanta: When is Rāhu included as a Kāraka in Carakāraka?

Ācārya: Only when there is an Añśasāmya.

Jayanta: Why is Ketu not included?

Ācārya: Because it does not matter since Rāhu and Ketu have precisely the same Sphuṭa. Consider it as Rāhu or Ketu; it is the same.

Jayanta: How are they related to the Bhāvas?

Ācārya: The Viśeṣa Bhāvakārakas for the 12 Bhāvas are (1) Ātmakāraka, (2) Dārākāraka, (3) Bhrātrikāraka, (4) Mātṛkāraka, (5) Putrakāraka/ a Graha in the 5th/ Amātyakāraka (6) Jñātikāraka, (7) Dārākāraka, (8) Ātmakāraka, (9) Amātyakāraka, (10) Ātmakāraka, (11) Bhrātrikāraka, and (12) Ātmakāraka.

Among these Kārakas, the Maharṣi only states about the Kārakas of only 6 Bhāvas, viz., (1) Ātmakāraka, (2) Dārākāraka, (3) Bhrātrikāraka, (5) Putrakāraka, (7) Dārākāraka and (11) Bhrātrikāraka. Besides, a Graha in the 5th is also assigned as Putrakāraka.

The remaining were left to the judgement of the earnest seeker. The assignment of Mātṛkāraka to the 4th and Pitṛkāraka to the 9th is well understood.

The Amātyakāraka should be assigned to the house of Ministers (Mantri), which is 5th. The Amātya could also mean one’s spiritual guide, seen from the 9th house. Therefore, both 5th and 9th should be assigned the Amātyakāraka.

6th is known as the Jñātibhāva, so it is intuitive to assign the Jñātikāraka to the 6th.

The 10th is the house of the King, and the Ātmakāraka is the King of the Kuṇḍalī; therefore must be assigned to this Bhāva.

The remaining Bhāvas are 8th and 12th and appear without any Kārakas. Now, since the King is the governor of all portfolios which are not assigned a minister, these two Bhāvas must be governed by the Ātmakāraka.

The 8th also stands for our shadow self (chāyā puruṣa), which is why the Lagneśa also governs the 8th in the Kālapuruṣa Kuṇḍalī.

The 12th is the house of liberation, and it is the Ātmakāraka who can govern liberation. Therefore, it is natural to assign Ātmakāraka to this Bhāva of Mokṣa.

The reason for assigning these Viśeṣa Kāraka to a Bhāva is that, when a Bhāva is judged, in addition to the Sthira Bhāvakāraka, these Viśeṣa Kārakas must also be assessed.

Those who still think the 2nd should be assigned to Amātyakāraka instead of Dārākāraka, merely because the Amātyakāraka is the 2nd Kāraka in the order of Kārakas, should benefit from this śloka of Maharṣi Parāśara.

This is extracted from Śrī Ganesh Dutt Pathak’s version, which states, “atha bhāvakārakamāha adhunā saṃpravakṣyāmi viśeṣa bhāvakārakān। januralagnaṃ ca vidyādvai ātmā kārakameva ca॥34॥ dhanabhāvaṃ vijānīyāddārakārakameva ca॥ ekādaśe jyeṣṭhabhrātustṛtīye tu kaniṣṭhakaḥ॥35॥ sute sutaṃ vijānīyāttathā saptamabhāvataḥ॥ sutasthāne pahastiṣṭhetso’pi kāraka ucyate॥36॥”.

This means, regarding the Bhāvakārakas, I am now narrating the Viśeṣa Bhāvakārakas. The Kāraka for Janmalagna is the Ātmakāraka. That of Dhanabhāva is the Dārākāraka, Ekādaśa is elder brother (jyeṣṭhabhrātu) and Tṛtīya younger brother (kaniṣṭhakaḥ).

Now, there are no Carakārakas for Jyeṣṭhā and Kaniṣṭha Bhrātā; therefore, the Bhrātrikāraka is implied for both.

The Sutabhāva is accorded a unique place because not only does it have a Sthira Bhāvakāraka, which is Bṛhaspati, and a Carakāraka, which is Putrakāraka, there is another Kāraka, which is the Graha in the 5th.

A deviation of these Ślokas from that of Śrī Sānthānām’s is that Saptamabhāva is missing in śloka “sute sutaṃ vijānīyāttathā saptama bhāvataḥ॥”.

Śrī Sānthānām’s edition reads this as “sute sutaṃ vijānīyāt patnīṃ saptama bhāvataḥ।”, which is logical because Patni (wife) should be seen from the Saptamabhāva, instead of children, as per Śrī Ganesh Dutt Pathak.

Jayanta: Kindly explain the significance of the Carakārakas again.

Ācārya: Why is Ātmakāraka so important? To answer this, Maharṣi Parāśara states in Bṛhatparāśara 32.8 that out of these Carakārakas, Ātmakāraka has the prime say on the native, just as the king is the head of all affairs and is entitled to arrest (bandhana) and release (mokṣa) men.

Maharṣi Jaimini states in sūtra 1.11 that the Ātmakāraka is the master of either bandhana or mokṣa.

The Bandhana and Mokṣa can be translated as getting imprisoned or released from imprisonment, or they can be translated as getting bound or released from the shackles of this world.

In a spiritual sense, whether one is on the path of Bandhana or Mokṣa should be studied from the Ātmakāraka.

Śrī Acyutānanda Jha and Śrī BS Rao write in their commentary that when the Ātmakāraka is dignified in his Ucca etc., is subject to Saumya yutidṛṣṭi fortifies the Rāśi and the native is on the path of Mokṣa.

On the other hand, when the Ātmakāraka is in his Nīca/Śatru Rāśi and afflicted by Krūra yutidṛṣṭi, the native is on the path to bondage, i.e., does not attain liberation easily.

Jayanta: Kindly explain with an example Guruji.

Guruji: Let us consider the Kuṇḍalī of Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa. Let us first ascertain the eight Carakārakas. The Añśa of the Grahas are Sūrya 7° (6:47)), Candra 23° (22:09), Maṅgala 23° (22:10), Budha 15° (15:00), Guru 15° (14:27), Śukra 9° (8:59), Śani 14° (13:35), Rāhu/Ketu 3° (2:47).

There are two Añśasāmyas in this case because Candra and Maṅgala are in the same Añśa, whereas Budha and Guru are in the same Añśa. We must include Rāhu in the picture. But Rāhu’s Añśa should be considered from the end of the Rāśi, which makes it 27°.

Arranging them in the order of highest to lowest, we have:

Rāhu 27°, Maṅgala/Candra 23°, Budha/Guru 15°, Śani 14°, Śukra 9°, Sūrya 7°.

The Carakārakas are Ātma Rāhu, Amātya Maṅgala/Candra, Bhrātṛ ___, Mātṛ Budha/Guru, Pitṛ___, Putra Śani, Jñāti Śukra and Dārā Sūrya.

Substituting the Sthirakārakas for the empty spaces, for Bhrātṛ and Pitṛ, we have

Ātma Rāhu, Amātya Maṅgala/Candra, Bhrātṛ Maṅgala (y) / Śani (e), Mātṛ Budha/Guru, Pitṛ Sūrya/Śukra; Putra Śani, Jñāti Śukra and Dārā Sūrya. Sūrya with more Grahas is stronger than Śukra, who is alone. So, the final ranking is

Ātma Rāhu, Amātya Maṅgala/Candra, Bhrātṛ Maṅgala (y) / Śani (e), Mātṛ Budha/Guru, Pitṛ Sūrya; Putra Śani, Jñāti Śukra and Dārā Sūrya. For the Bhrātṛ, Maṅgala is for younger (y), and Śani is for elder (e) siblings.

There are two Amātya and Mātṛ Kārakas. Among them Maṅgala and Budha are the Agrakārakas, and Candra/Guru are the Antyakārakas.

Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa Paramahaṁsa

To learn about the real self of Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa Paramahamsa, focus on Rāhu. Rāhu is a highly mystical Graha and is in Uccarāśi and Makara Navāñśa. Rāhu is in high dignity, indicating that Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa is a highly evolved soul. Rāhu is in the 4th house of mother, and he worshipped Devi Kali intensely. His life’s goal was to worship the mother. Rāhu is in Vṛṣabha Rāśi, the Uccarāśi of Śukra and Mūlatrikoṇa of Candra. They indicate a highly compassionate soul whose birth was to spread the mother’s name, love and compassion.

Let us also take the Kuṇḍalī of Svāmi Vivekānanda.

Svāmi Vivekānanda

The Sphuṭa of the Grahas are Sūrya: 30° (29:19), Candra 18° (17:12), Maṅgala 7° (6:12), Budha 12° (11:40), Guru 4° (3:55), Śukra 7° (7:00), Śani 14° (13:28), Rāhu/Ketu 7° (6:21). There is Añśasāmya between Maṅgala and Śukra; therefore, we must include Rāhu in the scheme.

Arranging them in descending order, we have:

Sūrya: 30°, Candra 18°, Śani 14°, Budha 12°, Śukra 7°, Rāhu 7°, Maṅgala 7°, Guru 4°

Ātma Sūrya, Amātya Candra, Bhrātṛ Śani, Mātṛ Budha, Pitṛ Śukra/Rāhu/Maṅgala; Putra ___, Jñāti ___ and Dārā Guru.

Substituting the Sthirakārakas for Putra and Jñāti we have:

Ātma Sūrya, Amātya Candra, Bhrātṛ Śani, Mātṛ Budha, Pitṛ Śukra/Rāhu/Maṅgala; Putra Guru/Śani, Jñāti Budha, and Dārā Guru. Regarding the Sthirakāraka for Putra, Maharṣi Parāśara and Jaimini have differences in opinion. While Maharṣi Parāśara considers Guru as the Kāraka, Maharṣi Jaimini considers Śani.

Sūrya is the Ātmakāraka and denotes his true self. Sūrya is in Dhanu Rāśi and Kanyā Navāñśa. Sūrya indicates a Jñānī, more so in Dhanu Rāśi. Kanyā Navāñśa also indicates a Jñānī (scholar) with wide knowledge. Sūrya is in the Lagna, indicating a self-realized soul. His conjunction with Budha and Śukra indicates his sharp intellect and extraordinary speech (eloquence).

The characteristics of the self beyond current birth are known from examining the Cara Ātmakāraka in the Rāśi and Navāñśa. This should be learnt from this chapter of Svāñśa Lagna.

Om Tat Sat



I am a Jyotish enthusiast and have been researching on this subject for more than 30 years. My mission in life is to bring Jyotish to its glorious state.

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Varaha Mihira

I am a Jyotish enthusiast and have been researching on this subject for more than 30 years. My mission in life is to bring Jyotish to its glorious state.