Puruṣārtha – The Four Pillars

Shree Yantra

The term classical astrology is often used in a rather narrow way. The fact is that we are really discovering the convergence of different cultures, from the Hellenist to Persian and both to Indian. Babylonian and Egyptian. There is no absolute boundary between one and another. This is not to say that there are no significant differences., but on many occasions, the commonalities are hiding in plain sight Zodiacal Releasing, Firdaria and Dashas are Time Lord systems with very similar intent and comparable methodology and indeed expression.

This is part of a series on Jyotish in relation to western traditional astrology. It has long been my contention that we understand best when we understand how things came to be and how wisdom was transmitted through what was then the known world. Indian, Persian and Hellenistic astrology clearly have common roots. It is my view that by studying elements of Indian or other schools of astrology and philosophies that we enrich our understanding of our own.

Puruṣārtha is an element of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) that can easily be applied in Traditional Western astrology as well as to Jyotish. Puruṣārtha might be profitably employed by a range of systems, certainly even beyond astrology itself. At the core of all traditional astrology, there are various forms of creation myths, which are quite similar. To understand that is to get to the root of authentic astrology.

The number four is referred to extensively in astrology, as in innumerable other contexts and most. cultures. The most obvious of these are the four seasons, the four elements, the four directions, the four winds and the four humours.

Hinduism created or recognized a four-part guide to live, including all dimensions of life in the Puruṣārtha. These have both personal and universal dimensions and can be expressed quite well by reference to the divisions of the horoscope.

As in many elements of Santana Dharma, there is no consensus about whether these pillars should be considered hierarchically, but they do constitute a complete system. They give us four elements of the circle of life, existing in four sets of trigons. This is the same as the Western House System to that extent. Both Hellenistic Astrology and Jyotish both use the Whole Sign system, bring us closer together.

However, the progressive element is not so widely understood in the West. We see how the fourth house of Moksha Houses proceeds to Death in the 8th and to Moksha. in the 12th. All three phases are required and work with the other Puruṣārtha. They also impart significance to the houses of the horoscope. In Hellenistic Astrology, there are two fortunate houses, the 11th and. the 5th along with two evil houses. 12 and 6. This is a simplification but serves to se5t the scene. The Second House is the Gates to Hades and the House at the other end of the axis, is the House of Death. Indian astrology is similar but not identical. I believe the origin of assigning such caution to the 2nd house is due to a concern for materialism that is rarely seen in most parts of the modern West but is still central to Indian thought. Asceticism is celebrated in the lives of Saints. Clearly, from this point of view, attachment to the material world is considered deleterious.

Houses 1, 5 & 9  are the Dharma Houses and the element of fire, marked in red.. The Artha houses, 2,, 6 & 10 are Earth and marked in saffron. 3,11 & 7 are air and the Moksha houses are 4.8 and 12, and associated with the water signs..


For Hindus and Buddhists, dharma is the moral order of the universe and a code of living ethically that embodies the fundamental principles of law, religion, and duty that governs the social structure and indeed all rares of human life. The Hindu worldview asserts that by following one’s dharma, a person can eventually achieve liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth (samsara) Difficulties grasping an exact definition of what dharma means in Hinduism because there are so many uses of the word in stories and scriptures. Bot the essence of living an ethical life us shared by all. Hinduism is the religion of one god with a million faces. There are dualistic schools and non-dualistic schools. In the final analysis, understanding is very much the same.

But mostly it’s equated with principles such as duty, honour, justice, good works, character, and virtue. In many stories of Hinduism, when a person is in trouble, they turn to dharma to find their way out of a difficult situation.


The astrological houses of Artha are 2, 6 & 10, as you might expect. These are concerned with what one possesses, of work and the hope of recognized achievement or eminence. Artha (Sanskrit: अर्थ) is one of the four aims of human life in Indian philosophy. The word is translated as “meaning, sense, goal, purpose or essence” depending on the context in which it is used. This includes aspirations and attainment.

Plucking Tea in Assam, India.


Best understood as aesthetics, the definition of Kama involves sensual gratification, sexual fulfilment, the pleasure of the senses, love, and the ordinary enjoyments of life regarded as one of the four ends of man (purusharthas). This would naturally be closely related to the associations we have of Venus in Traditional Western astrology. Kāma (Sanskrit, Pali) means desire, wish, longing, but it would be a great mistake to think of this as trivial. I(n Hinduism, it is understood that without desire there would be nothing at all. In the time before time and creation, Vishnu dreams the Universe reclining on the coils of the serpent Shesha, accompanied by his consort Lakshmi, as he “dreams the universe into reality” It is Lakshmi who stimulates the Universal dream by her touch.

page from the kama sutra

So, in fact, the Universe was born of desire. The astrological houses are 2, 5 & 9.  This will seem somewhat alien to the western astrologer, but that is because we tend to want to separate pleasure from wisdom. The pleasures of Kama include the pleasures of the higher mind. If our pleasures lead us astray, then Dharma is there to reset the balance.


Moksha is understood as liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth known as samsara.

Vivekachudamani, a popular text on Moksha, defines it as the following:

Beyond caste, creed, family or lineage,
That which is without name and form, beyond merit and demerit,
That which is beyond space, time and sense-objects,
You are that, God himself; Meditate this within yourself.

-Vivekachudamani, 8th Century AD

The first house in the natal chart is always the ‘Udaya Lagna’ or the Ascendant, the sign that is rising on the eastern horizon at the time of birth.  his is the same in Hellenistic astrology. The other houses follow the zodiacal sequence and the trigons each deal with an aspect of human life. Here we have the water trigon – the three stages of enlightenment. It is crucial to remember that the entire system is required and that difficulties in one house can easily affect the other signs in the trigons.

The fourth house in Jyotish is about roots, including Ancestry. Everything that refers to strong ties to your native place comes under the dominion of this house. But chiefly, it’s about roots. Without roots, there can be no blossoms.

It will be seen that Indian concepts and techniques may be gainfully introduced into virtually any form of astrology, without detracting from the form currently being used. This actually has intriguing similarities to Hellenistic astrology Both systems have at their root the will to be better and to further the good. The works of Plotinus and Philo remind one of Hindu metaphysics. In other words, they are both centred in an ethical framework.

Shri Vishnu Lakshmi

A twisted case of Horary Astrology.

A few weeks ago I worked on a horary consultation that had a curious outcome, a result that I share here to propose a reflection on the scope of our art. I think what happened illustrates quite well the strange ways destiny has to manifest itself in our lives. The story may seem somewhat fiddling, but looking more in depth we can discover an interesting dimension regarding the inevitable. A young woman contacted me because of an aesthetic intervention that she wanted to have. It was a subtle tattoo to simulate eyebrows, since she thought she had very few. I received the consultation through a video call on Monday, July 15 2019 at 9:34 p.m. in Reñaca, Viña del Mar, Chile. The specific question was: Will my eyebrows intervention have a good result? I publish this consultation and its outcome under the express authorization of the consultant, but keeping her identity in complete reserve as required by the ethics of the craft.

According to considerations before judgment we have a radical chart before us, so it can be interpreted with the certainty that it speaks about the consulted subject. We observe the ascendant at 09°17′ Pisces, being Jupiter, and secondarily the Moon, the significators of the consultant and her eyebrows. Since it is a question of aesthetics, that is, a matter related to physical appearance and not surgery for health reasons, we will be concerned with zodiacal state and local determination of the ascendant ruler and the Moon, regardless of 6th house or associated significators. It will be ideal to find a 1st house regent and a nocturne luminary in good condition, associated by a good aspect to Venus, natural signifier of beauty. It would also be promising to find Venus angular and well dignified.

What do we find at the analysis of this astral figure? Unfortunately Venus is not as we would have expected, finding her peregrine in the middle of Cancer, moving fast, oriental and having dominion over the ascending degree as almuten domus. It is also under combustion, so its light is being severely impeded by solar fire. Sadly, it does not have essential dignity to resist such burning since it travels through a degree in which she feels like being strayed. On the other hand we have Jupiter, regent of the ascending sign, being very well dignified and positioned, having strength by domicile and nocturne triplicity in the middle of Sagittarius, as well as being inside an angular house with elevation over midheaven, while applying by trine to Mars, natural signifier of surgeries, cuts and incisions. Unfortunately, that strengthened Jupiter is retrograde and separating from a contrantiscion with the relevant Venus. The Moon is waxing and applying by antiscion to Jupiter, being in hayz and succedent, but mixing night triplicity with a severe detriment, and moving slowly through Capricorn, where it is being afflicted by applicative conjunction with retrograde Saturn. Nonetheless, the reception of Venus by the Moon through opposition stands out.

What could we conclude from all of the above? The consultant will have a well-performed aesthetic procedure that will leave her satisfied with good results (reception of Venus by the Moon, high essential dignity of Jupiter) but will suffer from an acute and intense pain that will make her regret the moment (combustion of Venus, retrogradation of Jupiter in contrantiscion with Venus, detriment of the Moon in conjunction with retrograde Saturn). Although she will be happy when looking herself in the mirror, the experience will leave her with a bad memory. The prediction result was completely fulfilled but in a mysterious way, which we might even consider twisted. On the intervention’s day everything developed normally. The procedure was carried out impeccably, without problems or delays. The consultant confessed to me that, while receiving small cuts and punctures in her eyebrows, she remembered my words wondering at what point would feel the pain that I had predicted. “Pablo was wrong!” she thought. The intervention concluded successfully, with minimal physical discomfort and almost no bleeding. But fate had not finished yet its own work.

After the process, the esthetician asked the consultant for authorization to take a picture of her newly intervened eyebrows, in order to record the visual effect achieved. The cell phone with which she intended to take the picture was huge, almost as big as a tablet. Its large size surprised our client, who had not seen before an artifact of those dimensions. Behold, in an inexplicable awkwardness, the beautician approached the device to the client’s face and dropped the heavy smartphone directly on the nasal septum and the girl’s eyebrows, giving her an accurate and brutal strike. The pain was so powerful that our protagonist cried for half an hour without being able to stop, while the beautician, desperate and not knowing what to do, fell apart in apologies. She swore to the girl that she had never made a mistake like this in all his years working, even though she took pictures of all his clients, both before and after the proceedings. Once the facts were completed, the consultant called to tell me that the pain was of such magnitude that she deeply regretted, but more by having doubted my oracle than by the intervention itself.

What happened should make us reflect on how fragmentary and reduced is our ability to understand the ten thousand paths that becoming can travel to realize its own plans. In astrology it is common to know the end of matters, to the point of being able to predict the outcome of all kinds of issues, from the smallest to the largest, from the most pedestrian concerns of individuals to the most thorny issues of a republic. However, the path that destiny will travel to manifest the judgment of the stars always remains arcane and inaccessible. The wisdom of King Solomon makes sense when in Ecclesiastes 11: 5-6 he tells us that: “As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good”. But, we add here, something will germinate as promised by the seed, perhaps not in the field but in the garden; perhaps not in the garden but in the mast; maybe not in the mastic but even under your bed.