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Ashtakvarga

There are many different ways in which one can assess the strength and patterns that are present in a birth chart. One of the very useful tools in reading a chart is Ashtakvarga. The Ashtakvarga or Ashtakavarga is a numerical quantification or score of each planet placed in the chart with reference to the other 7 planets and the Lagna. Rahu and Ketu are not factored into this system as they are shadow planets. 

The classics state that in this age when the intelligence of man is not at its best, the Ashtakvarga gives an easy way to assess the planets. Every planet in the chart is a reference point and it is also important to see how the planets interact with each other. Ashtakvarga is basically a scoring system by which we study this

Calculation Of Ashtakvarga

The ways in which many factors are calculated are most often tedious but easy to do with practice. This is why the astrologer of yore had to also be a good mathematician. Today, Vedic astrology software does the job for us and different astrological calculations are just a click away. 

So, to calculate the Ashtakvarga we look at the position of all the other planets with reference to the planet that is being studied. A good placement gets a 1 and a bad placement gets a 0. The traditional Parashara method is to give a Bindu or dot for a bad placement and a small line called a Rekha for good placement. Other systems interchange the use of the Bindu and the Rekha but the concept is the same. Each sign gets a total of eight such markings.  This is not house based. It is Rashi based and each Rashi can get a maximum of eight Rekhas or favourable points.

Rekha And Bindu
Rekha And Bindu

Bhinna Ashtak Varga (BAV)

This is the individual scoring of each planet and the Lagna. It is represented by a tabulation or a chart. The tables have a number against each Rashi. This is also presented in a chart form with the numbers on each Rashi. 

Sample Sun BAV

Planet/ ZodiacSunMoonMarsMercuryJupiterVenusSaturnLagnaTotal
Aries101110105
Taurus100111004
Gemini011100014
Cancer100000113
Leo100010114
Virgo001100103
Libra111010105
Scorpio011101116
Sagittarius001101014
Capricorn101000103
Aquarius100000113
Pisces111100004
North Indian Format BAV Chart For Sample Table

South Indian Format BAV Chart For Sample Table

Sarva Ashtaka Varga / Samudaya Ashtak Varga (SAV)

The total scores of all the BAVs are overlaid and then totalled. This makes the SAV of the chart. The total of all the scores should be 337. If they are either less or more, there has been an error in computation. With computerised reports however this is not an issue. SAV is also called Samudaya Ashtak Varga.

Interpretation Of The Ashtaka Varga Numbers

When one analyses the SAV table or chart, a Rashi that has more than 30 points is very strong. As the points lower the strength also is lesser. While 25 to 30 is average, less than 25 is an indication of weakness. Generally, one looks for may indications in a chart that indicate a weakness or strength in the chart. When one finds that there is a recurrent issue with one particular house and its significator, it can also be double-checked in the SAV chart. Some astrologers also go in the opposite order and check the SAV to find the areas that are likely to be weaker and then study the birth chart to know more about it.

Sample SAV Table
Sample SAV North Indian Format Chart
Sample SAV North Indian Format Chart

Using The Ashtaka Varga Table And Charts

Some software programs present the Ashtakvarga in the form of a tabulation whereas others present it as a chart. Both are a way of indicating how many points each Sign gets. 

Ashtakvarga is most commonly used to interpret transits. Usually, transits are assessed only from the planet’s position from the Moon. But in each chart, the planet is also at a different placement with reference to the other planets. So, the Ashtakvarga becomes a ready reckoner to assess the planet’s transit with regard to all the other planets and Lagna as well.  When interpreting the transit of a particular planet over a Rashi, check the BAV of that planet in the birth chart. If the BAV score is comparatively low, it means the planet will not give the best results. Transit over the house with a hight BAV score then gives better results. This can also be checked in the SAV. Transit of planets in a Sign that has very low points is unfavourable. 

Another way of using the SAV table is also to check the different aspects of a person’s life. For example, the seventh and eighth house points for married life, fifth for progeny and so on. Some astrologers check how many points a planet gives the different houses of the chart and then interpret that. 

Though the Astakvarga cannot replace a thorough study of a birth chart it is certainly a handy tool to study the planetary strengths and transit effects.