All planets have direct motion i.e. clockwise motion round
the zodiac. Sometimes planets appear to have backward motion due to the relative
position and motion of the earth. When a planet instead of having a direct forward
motion appears to recede in the zodiac i.e., has a backward motion, it is called
retrograde. This state is indicated by the letter 'R' in the ephemeris. Retrogra or
vakra may be termed an affliction.
A planet when retrograde, if not combust, is
deemed to be strong. He is considered strong though he be in his debilitation or
in an enemy's sign. Retrogression or vakrabala makes a planet unusual or
perverse in results, however well disposed or otherwise.
The Sun and Moon are never retrograde. The Sun and Mars get chestabala
(extremely powerful) when posited in the signs from Capricorn to Gemini which constitutes Uttarayan (North). Venus and the Moon are powerful in
the Dakhinayan (South) i.e. from Cancer to Sagittarius. Planets in the 5th,
6th, 7th and 8th from the Sun are retrograde. Again all planets become
retrograde when they are in the 5th place from the Sun and become directly
retrograde when they move into 9th place.
Mercury is retrograde three times in a year: Saturn and Jupiter every year
for some months: Mars and Venus once in about two years. Rahu and Ketu are
always retrograde i.e. they always move in backward direction (left-hand side
of the zodiac). It is said that from Aquarius to Taurus, Mercury moves along
with the Sun, from Gemini to Virgo before the Sun and from Libra to Capricorn after the Sun. There are, therefore, three occasions during a year when Mercury crosses and re-crosses the path of the Sun causing retrogression. Mars, Saturn and Jupiter become retrograde when posited in the 6th, 7th and 8th from the Sun. Mercury and Venus are retrograde anywhere within 15th from the Sun their Maximum
distance away from the Sun is only 29th and 47th respectively.
It is said that malefic planets in retrogression will always give bad and
unfavourable results. Benefic planets when retrograte always provide good
and auspicious results.
A planet in retrogression, it is said, gives the effect of its position
in the previous house i.e., the house from which it recedes. Opinion is
divided on this point. Some astrologers opine that it gives the results
of the house into which it recedes back and not of the previous house.
It is also said that saturn when retrograde gives the results of the
previous house. Up to first 5 months (from the date of retrogression).
Mars for 15 days Mercury for 10 days, Jupiter 45 days, Venus thereafter
they usually produce the results of the they recede back. Some
astrologers opine that the jupiter and mercury only give the result
of the previous house all along during retrogression.
Their periods of stay while in retrogression are not always the same. Saturn remains retrograde for about 5 month, Mercury and Venus for
2 months, Jupiter for 4 months and Mars for 8 Months. Rahu and Ketu remain always retrograde. The Sun and Moon never become retrograde.
During retrogression planets become extremely strong, beneficially
they usually produce notable results like elevation in rank, and
position, financial success. Name and fame etc.
Mantreswara in his Phaladeepika has at several places extolled the
virtues of a retrograde planet and has equated a retrograde Planet
with an exalted planet in strength and effects even though he be in
an enemy's sign or in debilitating sign. But Saravali, hand, has stated
that benefics are greatly powerful and when retrograte ad cause Raj Yoga
but malefics when retrograde cause fruitless journeys, wanderings
and misery. Mahadeva in his Jataka-Tattava.has also stated that benefics
when retrograde give wealth and splendour while malefics in retrogression
cause many troubles and misery. The dictum of Sanketa-Nidhi is that in
retrogression, Mars gives the effects of the 3rd house from his position, Mercury of the 4th, Jupiter of the 5th, Venus of the 7th and Saturn of
Some astrologers opine that retrogression of a planet is deemed to be
a source of strength and is possessed of bright rays in the state of
retrogression. Further, it has been stated in all classical texts that
one of the sources of strength of a planet is its chestabala
(motional strength) which is maximum when a planet is retrograde.
Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn in retrogression or in
conjuncion with the full Moon gets chestabala i.e. they become
extremely powerful during retrogression. If Jupiter, Venus,
Mercury and Saturn are conjoined with Mars at any house,
they are said to be defeated in the planetary fight, and
Saturn and Mars when retrograde would not only cause
miseries and physical disabilities but also they would sometimes
give notably good results. Saturn when retrograde would appear to
be a great Yogakaraka and give notably good results.
Saturn becomes extremely powerful if posited in the western side of the zodiac. Usually he gets digbala (directional strength) if posited in the West. Retrograde Saturn if posited in the ascendant (especially in the Eastern side), at a birth-chart, causes havoc. It is a great danger to the longevity of the native. It is because of the fact that malefic planets in retrogression will always give bad results. Saturn becomes too weak and utterly powerless if oriental or eastern. The first house represents health and body and so retrograde Saturn if posited in the lagna causes premature death.
Jupiter and Mercury are powerful in the East. They get digbala (directional strength) when Oriental or Eastern. Jupiter when retrograde in the eastern side of the zodiac gives notably good results.
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