The Fallacy of the
trans-Saturnian Planets

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Octave Fallacy

As an explanation, Western astrologers claim that Neptune represents a higher octave of Venus, Uranus a higher octave of Mercury, and Pluto a higher octave of Mars. After doing this they then assign to the three planets the co-rulership of the signs Pisces, Aquarius and Scorpio respectfully. All signs are ruled by planets, by adding these three planets as co-rulers they again disturb the inner consistency of astrology. This idea of "higher octave" is fallacious. All the planets, not just Venus, Mercury and Mars, have their own higher octaves and if the astrologer actually knows the subject he can determine this. It is superfluous and clumsy to assign the higher octave of one planet to another body. Their assignments of Neptune and Uranus as co-rulers of Pisces and Aquarius is also inconsistent. If Neptune and Uranus are higher octaves of Venus and Mercury as Tropicalists insist, then it would be more reasonable and consistent to assume that these two planets would be the co-rulers of signs owned by Venus (Taurus and Libra) and Mercury (Gemini and Virgo). Rather Pisces is ruled by Jupiter and Aquarius is ruled by Saturn, only Pluto is assigned a share with Mars, who is the actual ruler of Scorpio.

Grammar and Syntax

Astrology is sometimes compared to a language, a divinatory language. And like any language there are rules of grammar, syntax, diction, etc., which are codified. Sanskrit, literally means purified language. Its grammatical structure was analyzed and codified by Panini. Sanskrit is the oldest language in the world and is still used today in India and its study is increasing world wide. Some have thought it to be the perfect choice for a computer language because of the mathematical precision of its grammar. Sanskrit is the most sophisticated language ever devised and it is capable of expressing both the simple and the sublime in a beautiful and elegant way. This pre-eminent position of Sanskrit did not come about by haphazardly adding new grammatical rules and letters. Sanskrit has survived to this day precisely because of the fact that its rules cannot be violated. In a similar way the language of astrology has its basic building blocks and it cannot be tampered with.

Some may say that this is a rigid view, that languages grow and change. This may be true of spoken languages, but who speaks Chaucerian English now? It is dead. Few English speaking persons consult ancient English books to help them speak modern English. But that is exactly what is done in astrology. Though modern texts and courses may be devised it is always advised to go back to original texts, they are the fundamental references in Jyotish. Nor is it true that this leads to rigidity in the language of Astrology. Sanskrit with its precise rules (which have become the model for the modern science of linguistics) has long been recognized as possessing the most abundant literature on the planet, much of which has yet to be cataloged. There is Sanskrit literature on every possible field of human endeavor. Thus sticking within the Paninian framework has not stifled the creativity of Sanskrit authors. And though Sanskrit is not as widespread as before it is still a living language whose popularity is growing.

We have compared Sanskrit to mathematics. Mathematics also has a certain axiomatic structure and rules of syntax which are actually quite simple. But from these very basic and simple rules great mathematical theories, beautiful in their elegance, can be constructed.

Benefit of Self-Restraint

Vedic astrology is not made rigid by having set rules of grammar but, like Sanskrit, it is made perfect. Like Sanskrit and Mathematics there is plenty of room for innovation and creativity within the framework of Vedic astrology. Rather than being destructive or inhibiting growth, limitations such as we are now discussing regarding trans-Saturnian planets is actually quite desirable and healthy. (These limitations can also be applied to other areas of astrology as well, not just trans-Saturnian planets. Western house systems, and aspects come to mind and should also be eschewed.) The benefits of such self-restraint are described in hexagram 60, of the I-Ching, called Chieh or Limitations.

i ching heagram

After discussing the nature of the component trigrams (Lake and Water) the judgement and commentary state:

"Limitation. Success.
Galling limitation must not be persevered in.

"Limitations are troublesome, but they are effective. If we live economically in normal times, we are prepared for times of want. To be sparing saves us from humiliation. Limitations are also indispensable in the regulation of world conditions. In nature there are fixed limits for summer and winter, day and night, and these limits give the year its meaning. In the same way, economy, by setting fixed limits on expenditures, acts to preserve property and prevent injury to people.

". . . A lake is something limited. Water is inexhaustible. A lake can contain only a definite amount of the infinite quantity of water; this is its peculiarity. In human life too the individual achieves significance through discrimination and the setting of limits. Therefore what concerns us here is the problem of clearly defining these discriminations, which are so to speak, the backbone of morality. Unlimited possibilities are not suited to man; if they existed, his life would only dissolve in the boundless. To become strong, a man’s life needs the limitations ordained by duty and voluntarily accepted. The individual attains significance as a free spirit only by surrounding himself with these limitations and by determining for himself what his duty is."

The principles elucidated above are as equally applicable to Vedic astrology as they are to an individual. By adhering to the principle of limitation, in this case the defining axioms of Vedic Astrology, as given to us by Lord Sri Krsna via the Rsis, Vedic Astrology will remain a strong discipline. Otherwise Vedic Astrology will go the way of Western Astrology. It will become a hodge-podge. Anything goes, everyone makes their own rules. In such a condition there are no rules, no laws, only anarchy. It will be deviod of discipline and standards. No astrologer will be able to communicate with another because they will speak a different language.

It should also be noted that not all Western astrologers are enamored by the trans-Saturnian planets. Michel Gauquilin, the famous researcher in Western Astrology, claimed that he found no astrological effects arising out of the placement of the trans-Saturnian planets in a person’s horoscope.

The Argument of "Results"

It may be argued by some, that they get "results" by using ersatz planets. So why not use them? For the sake of argument we will accept the possibility that this can happen. But it is not Vedic astrology. You can use other languages to describe a phenomena but by doing this you interfere with the process of gaining mastery of Vedic astrology which doesn’t depend on the needs of another language. If you contaminate the system by adding planets you will never really understand or master the original Vedic system. And by adulterating the system you offend the previous gurus, thus blocking your perfection in the art and science of Jyotish. No one has ever mastered a Vedic science by disobeying the previous acaryas. The devotees of Lord Krsna regularly recite the list of offenses against the Holy Name of the Lord, enumerated in the Padma Purana. The third offense against the Name of God is to disobey the order of the spiritual master. This applies equally well to the Vedic science of astrology. It is offensive to the previous acaryas to tamper with and pervert thier original teachings.

On the other hand, it may also be argued that the addition of extra planets not only does not give results but, may cause mistakes. Also, it would be difficult to attribute a specific result to utilization of the extra planets without taking into account the true divinatory grahas. Thus, so-called successful results based on the extra planets may actually be attributed to factoring in effects from the divinatory grahas. I have yet to see true results which could not be as easily or usually more easily arrived at by using the standard Vedic planets.

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