Kaala Sarpa Dosha: Does it exist?

Kaala Sarpa Dosha is a modern concept, and in my knowledge in accordance with the ancient traditional texts it does not exist. The translation of Kaala Sarpa dosha means the ‘snake’s head’. Rahu and Ketu were once one, two parts of a whole as a malicious demon whose head was separated from its body by Lord Vishnu. It is claimed to be in a chart when all the planets are within the Rahu and Ketu axis, it’s valid even if there are planets conjunct with Rahu and Ketu. The so called hypothesized effect of this Dosha is that a person will live a life of suffering, will struggle to make ends meet and will find difficulties in all areas of life. This person is also claimed to suffer in affairs that are related to marriage, or the denial of marriage, as well as problems in having children. Kaala Sarpa dosha has a partial effect when one planet is outside of the axis, usually we see that planet is the Moon as it has the fastest transit speed out of all the planets. If it is more than one planet then these pseudo-intellectual astrologers claim that Kaal  Sarpa Dosha does not exist.


The post-modern astrologists supporting the claim that this Dosha exists have founded their own interpretation of this phenomenon. They claim that this Dosha makes an individual live a life of extremes, extreme downfalls and greater highs than ever before. The reasoning given is that the all the other yoga’s formed within the chart, even the Raj Yoga’s, give amplified effects to the native. When it depicts the mind of a native an individual is perpetually confused to the direction of their life, and many face depression to the extremes of suicide. Many famous people have this yoga – Paul McCartney, President George W. Bush, Sylvester Stallone etc. Yet they have lived successful lives, not the life claimed by this Kaal Sarp Dosha, this is the greatest proof of its failure. Further post-modern studies show that the planets that are conjunct the nodes are instrumental in how one will overcome the Kaala Sarpa Yoga, they decide the direction in which they will change and transformation will occur. Yet traditional texts say that planets conjunct with Rahu and Ketu do not give good results, not even the Sun.

Yes there are many eminent astrologers that claim the validity of Kaal Sarp Dosha, these astrologers appear on T.V., YouTube channels and have written at lengths about this abhorrent yuti of planets, but this is a baseless claim. Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, Jaiminisutram, Brihat Jatakam, Uttar Kalamrita, Phaladeepika, Jatak Parijat, Sarbartha Chintamani, Bhabartharatnakar, Jatakabharanam, Sanketnidhi, Bhabakutuhalam, Manasagari Paddhati, even the modern Astro books like, jataktatwa etc. don’t write anything about this Kal Sarpa Yoga. Kal Sarpa Yoga has no reference in classical texts, it is not supported by any astrological texts its existence isn’t even mentioned by eminent, scholarly and famous astrologers like Maharshi Parasar, Jaimini, Varahamihira, Ramanujacharya, Kalidas, Baidyanath Dixit, Benkateswar Daivajna, Mantreswar, Chuntiraj.

In the extremely vast and detailed Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra the Vedic Astrologer Maharshi Parasara only teaches us about how we should analyse the results of Rahu & Ketu-“yad yad bhävagato rähuù ketuçca janane nåëäm yad yad bhäbeçasaàyuktastat falaà pradiçedalam.” The aforementioned Sanskrit quote means that Rahu & ketu will give results according to the houses they are placed & according to the conditions the lord of those houses have. Rahu and Ketu do not have any power of their own, they are only shadow planets, so any Raj Yoga’s within their axis cannot be amplified or decreased. In BPHS we find many yogas, even those of malefic like Saturn and Mars, but the natural malefic Rahu and Ketu do not form any yogas individually, therefore showing that the Kaal Sarp Yoga cannot come to fruition. Rahu and Ketu don’t have sole ownership of any house, they  have joint ownership but are not the primary lords or indicators of that house or its elements of earth, fire, water, air and space. If Rahu and Ketu are in a benefic house and posited with a benefic then to a great extent it will give benefic results, but if they are with malefics and in a malefic house they are sure to give great negative effects related to the position of that house.

In Laghu Parasari’s 2nd Chapter – 8th shloka, it is clearly said that if Rahu or Ketu are posited in Kendras or Trikonas and related to the lords of Kendras or Trikonas, then they become Raj Yoga Karakas. If malefics occupy Upachayas (6th ,10th ,11th houses from Lagna and sometimes the 3rd) then they give good results. This is because the planets posited in the upachaya houses keep improving with time. Rahu and Ketu even if posited in a malefic house will start giving better results with time, the extent depends on other aspects and divisional charts. In a shloka of Manasagari Paddhati we see that the presence of Rahu in Taurus, Cancer and Virgo makes it behave like a Raj Yoga Karaka. The result are witnessed in the lives of many natives and is not left to ‘chance’, unlike during the prediction when we are studying the Kaal Sarp Dosha, which is probabilistic. In Bhavarthratnakar by Shree Ramanujacharya, we find that the presence of Rahu in 4th, 5th, 10th, 11th, & in Kendras & konas & presence of ketu in 3rd bhava is considered to be auspicious. There it is said that Rahu & ketu in their Dashas and Antardashas will give results similar to that of a Raj Yoga (9th Chapter, Sloka-3-4). He further states that Rahu is a Raj Yoga Karak, even if he occupies the 7th House.

As there is no written form of Kaala Sarpa Dosha in any of the traditional texts, according to me and with a general consensus we can conclude that it does not exist. Through the study of various charts of people famous and in poor conditions the Kaala Sarpa Dosha does not have a role to play in the determination of a person’s life.


The Mythology of Demon Serpent Rahu and Ketu

The Devatas and Asuras got together to churn Amrit from the water. They tied a serpent to a rock and the Devatas took the place in front of the snake’s head and allowed the Asuras to pull from the snake’s tail. But the asuras being doubtful in nature said they wanted to take the place of the Deva’s and assumed position yanking at the snake’s head. During the churning process the Asuras were sprayed with the snake’s poison and many had died, and when the Amrit was extracted Vishnu took the form of Mohini, a mesmerizing female heavenly angel while the Deva’s were drinking the nectar of immortality. The demon of Rahu and Ketu was smart enough to notice this trickery and got in line with the Devas. Before Vishnu could take notice they had drank the nectar, and Vishnu with his chakra cut the demon in two severing the head from the body. Thus the head is known as Rahu and the tail as Ketu.

Effects of Rahu and Ketu

The infamous and dreaded malefic shadow planets Rahu and Ketu have no form, they are mere shadows and take the shape of the planets and houses they are with. Remember Rahu and Ketu always move retrograde, or the clockwise direction. As said before in the same content viz., Laghu Parasari it is said that Rahu and ketu if involves the kendras and konas and regardless of the possibility that they are not identified with kendra or trikona rulers, still in their own antar dasas will give results like Raj Yogas (section 4, sloka 8).


While examining about Rahu bhukti under Rahu dasa, Maharshi Parasar says in his book that it is constantly promising to have Rahu in Kark, Dhanush, Kanya or Brischik (part 41 sloka 1) and in Shani Dasa Rahu Bhukti, he says that it is favorable to have Rahu in Mesh, Brishabh, Karka, Simha, Kanya, Dhanush or in Meen (section 43 sloka 67).

  • Rahu: is the serpants head. It is an obsessive planet, an expansive planet, a malefic planet, a planet which makes one use their mind endlessly. As it is a head without a body it focuses on ‘eating’ everything without digesting anything, craving for more and more. It is the planet that is the cause of our rebirth, it takes us away from Moksha by taking us towards our material desires. When with the Sun it makes an eclipse over it, shadowing over it, blocking the Sun rays from reaching the earth. Every solar eclipse is due to the shadow planet Rahu ‘swallowing’ the sun. It can give sudden ups and downs to a person, giving punishments and karma faster than Saturn, and benefic results faster than Jupiter. If beneficially placed Rahu can fulfill all the material and hidden desires of your soul. The house that it sits in shows the new lessons that we have to learn in this lifetime. Maharshi Parasara in the Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra states that to foresee riches we should look at the position of Rahu (part 14 sloka 19). It is generally seen that during the Rahu Mahadasha one is bestowed with wealth. As indicated by Phaladeepika the Dasha of Rahu is great when it is posted in signs like Virgo, Scorpio and Pisces (part 19, sloka 16).


  • Ketu: this is the serpent’s tail. It is the body with no mind, it is action with no forethought. It is the planet that takes us towards Moksha, towards spirituality, towards religion, towards liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth. It is the planet that makes us isolate or leave the house or planets that it resides with. It is what humankind aims for when they reach a higher spiritual planet. Every lunar eclipse is due to the shadow of Ketu. The house that it sits in shows the lessons that we had learnt in our past lifetime and are not keen on taking forward in our present lifetime. Both Parasara & Jaimini opine that when Ketu is auspiciously placed it might result into Moksha.


The Axis and Aspect of Rahu and Ketu

  • Rahu and Ketu Axis: Rahu and Ketu never aspect each other, they only have an aspect. They are always exactly opposite to one another in a birth chart, they are 7 houses apart. They do have a slight aspect or effect to where the other planet is sitting, but the effect is quite mild. They are not two separate bodies, they are one body divided into two and have the ability to telepathically link to each other. In the higher divisional charts they are together, because they both hare malefic. They have the same power and energy even if they are polar opposites.


  • Rahu Aspect: It has the 5th and 9th The reason for this is because Jupiiter is the only planet that can control Rahu, which has the same 5 and 9 aspect. The 5th aspect of Rahu causes obsession, including the house it occupies. It causes a person to constantly attempt to control and master that house. The 9th aspect makes a person attempt to become number 1 in what that house signifies, and become an advisor or guru in those fields with an all-knowing persona. The 9th aspect is more about mastering those topics but with great ego the belief that Rahu knows everything about that house and attempt to have the Jupiter quality of being a Guru in that field.


  • Ketu Aspect: As the liberation and separation Chaayagraha from our obsessions and attachments, it has the same power as Rahu but in the opposite effect. Like Rahu, Ketu also has the 5th and 9th aspects taken from Jupiter. Wherever Ketu sits it shows dissatisfaction with that house as that has been thoroughly felt and experienced in the past life. The 5th and 9th aspect is the education we eare here to learn, the 9th aspect is of higher learning and dharmic philosophy which it wants to learn to the core. The 5th aspect is a bit lighter, it shows curiosity, there might not be an obsessive nature from it but there will be an interest in learning more. Both these aspects show that one is attracted towards researching that part of life, but not so interested in the house that it’s residing in. This is why Ketu also represents research and higher learning.

Rahu and Ketu are not to be feared, and the mess of modern inferences of their doshas and yogas should be ignored. The planets and Chayagrahas at their core are representatives of what you desire at your core, what your soul desires, what has been left behind in your past life and what you need to overcome based on the karma of the past 50 lives you have lived. The faster we understand their value the sooner we will be able to use our ‘free will’ and overcome every obstacle, and see our problems for what they are, the misfortunes or gains that we have accumulated based on our actions, thoughts and words.

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