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Glossary of Astrology & other terms   



Speech. The subjective creative impulse, which emanating from the Supreme Creative deity, Prajapati (q.v.), became manifest as Word the beginning of cosmic ideation. It has been variously described in religious scriptures. In the Rig Veda, Vach appears as the personification of speech by which knowledge was communicated to man. Vach is described as the melodious cow "which milked forth sustenance and water," which yields us nourishment and sustenance. She has been described as the mother of the Vedas, the wife of Indra, the one which contains within herself all worlds. In the Atharva Veda she is identified with Viraj, and is the daughter of Kama (desire). The Mahabharata says, "A voice derived from Brahma entered into the ears of them all: the celestial Saraswati was then produced from the heavens." The Bhagavad Purana, describes Brahma dividing himself into Brahma-Viraj and Vach-Viraj, or Sat Rupa. In Padma Purana, she is described as a daughter of Daksha, the wife of Kashyapa, and the mother of Gandharvas and Apsaras. Blavatsky calls her 'the female logos'.

Astrologically, the 2nd house in a natal chart represents the house of Vach.


A stead, a vehicle, a chariot, an animal which can be ridden. Most of the gods are represented as having animals as their vahanas. Brahma has a hamsa, swan; Vishnu has Garuda, half-eagle, half-man; Shiva has Nandi, a bull; Indra has Airavata, an elephant; Yama, a buffalo; Kartikeya, a peacock; Kamadeva, Makara, or a parrot; Agni, a ram; Varuna, a fish or Makara; Ganesha, a rat; Vayu, an antelope; Saturn (or Sani), a vulture; and Durga, a tiger. In the Hindu scriptures, Vahan represents the nature of the manifesting impulse of the deity who is supposed to possess that stead.


Speech in its fourth stage of articulation, the first being the stirring of air or breath, second, articulation or utterance, the third is utterance of sound or words, and the fourth, or Vaikhari, is the articulation of intelligible sentences. Vaikhari represents the goddess of speech.


Heaven of gods like Vishnu, Krishna and others. In Puranic literature, it is described as the eastern peak of the (mythical) Meru mountain.


The trading and agricultural class in ancient India comprising one of the four categories of Varnashram (q.v.).


Seventh and the present Manu (q.v.). He is said to be the son of Surya (q.v.) and the father of Ikshavaku, the founder of the solar race of kings, to which Rama (q.v.) the king of Ayodhya, belonged.


Retrogression (q.v.)


Retrograde motion.


The celebrated sage who authored the Ramayana, which he in Vedic phrase is said to have "seen". He himself is represented as taking part in some of the scenes he describes. According to the legends, he was abandoned by his parents at birth and was found by some wild mountaineers who taught him the art of robbery. He became a highwayman but later turned to spiritualism. He had his hermitage at Chitrakuta where he received the banished Sita (q.v.) and educated her twin sons, Kusa and Lava.


A beggar; a mendicant.


A planetary combination formed by all planets either in Panaphara (q.v.) or in Apoklima (q.v.) houses. It makes the individual born under it find buried treasure which he does not share with others.


[Varaha = a boar; superiority]. The boar avatara (q.v.) of Vishnu (q.v.) when he raised Earth from the bottom of the sea with his tusk.


An astronomer who was one of the nine gems in the court of Vikramaditya of Ujjain. He authored Brihat Samhita, Brihat Jataka and various treatises on predictive astrology which are still considered valuable guides. He died around A.D. 587.


[Division] Classification of planets in a natal chart under their six kinds of strength. (See Shad-Bala)


A planet occupying the same zodiacal sign in the Navamsa (q.v.) as in the natal chart. Such a planet becomes very powerful in bestowing its auspicious results.


Class or caste. The four castes established under the code of Manu are Brahman (sacerdotal and learned class), Kshatriya (regal and warrior caste), Vaishya (trading and agricultural caste), and Sudra (service caste).


The Vedic society enjoines each individual, specially the Brahmins to pass through four stages in life, viz., Brahmacharya, the celibate studentship; Grihastha, the life of a householder; Vanaprastha, the dweller in the woods, when he passes his time as an anchorite, and Sanyasa, a recluse.


Annual horoscopy. Astrological prognostication pertaining to any special year.


The universal encompasser, the allembracer. One of the oldest Vedic deities, a personification of the allinvesting sky, the maker and upholder of heaven and earth. He is often mentioned along with Mitra who was related with day while Varuna ruled over the night. In later times, he was the chief among the lower celestial deities, often identified with Adityas. He is the god of the seas and rivers, and rides a Makara (q.v.). His symbol is a fish. He is the regent of the western quarter and presides over Shatabhisag asterism (q.v.). He is said to be the son of Kardam and the father of Pushkara. In a way, he is said to be the father of Sage Vashishtha (q.v.) whom he taught the mysteries. He is gracious even to those who have committed sins and bestows them forgiveness and blesses them with spiritual guidance.


Vernal equinox.


See Vesi Yoga.


[Vashishtha = most wealthy]. A patronymic. A celebrated Vedic sage, one of the 7 great Rishis, Saptarishis (q.v.), and one of the 10 Prajapatis (q.v.). The sage was the possessor of a 'cow of plenty,' Nandini, who had the power of granting him all things (Vasu) he desired, hence his name. He is said to have arisen in many ways. According to one version, he was a mind-born son of Brahma. The Rig Veda represents him and Sage Agastya to have sprung from Mitra and Varuna, respectively. The hymn says, "Thou, 0 Vashishtha, art a son of Mitra and Varuna, born a Brahman from the soul of Urvashi." Vashishtha. had been a family priest of King Sudas, of Harishchandra, and of the line of Ikshavakus. He was also a preceptor of Rama. The Vishnu Purana states Urja, one of the daughters of Daksha, as his wife, while the Bhagavad Purana gives him Arundhati as his wife. A law-book and another on yoga are attributed to him.


A class of Vedic deities, 8 in number, chiefly known as the attendants upon Indra. They seem to have been personifications of natural phenomena. They are Aap (Water), Dhruva (Pole Star), Soma (Moon), Dhara/Dhava (Earth), Anil (Wind), Anal (Fire), Pratyusha (Light) and Prabhas (Dawn). Sometimes Aha (the deity presiding over day) is substituted for Aap. According to the Ramayana, they are the children of Aditi (q.v.). Vasus also stand for the number eight. As gods of light, Vasus preside over Dhanistha (q.v.), the 23rd asterism.


Sovereign of the Nagas, of serpents, who live in Patala (q.v.). He is used by the gods and demons as the churning cord to be tied around the mountain Mandara which served as the central rod for the Churning of the Ocean (q.v.) allegory.


A planetary combination constituted by Venus, Jupiter and Mercury, provided Mercury is not associated with any malefic, in Upachaya house (q.v.) from ascendant or with Moon. It produces possibilities for the individual to become a billionaire-


Air, wind. The god of wind. One of the Vedic Trinity. He is associated with Indra and rides the chariot with him, Indra being the charioteer. Vayu is said to have sprung from the breath of Purusha, the Supreme Being. In another hymn, he is called the son-in-law of Tvastra. He is the regent of the north-western quarter where he dwells. Vayu is described as the father of Hanuman and Bhishma. He presides over Swati (q.v.), the 15th asterism. In Ayurveda, Vayu (or Prana) is one of the three humours of the physical system of the human body, the other two being kapha (phlegm) and pitta (bile).


[Root: vid, to know or Divine knowledge]. Divine knowledge. The four ancient scriptures of the Hindus, whose antiquity has not yet been decidedly affirmed, -are probably the oldest records of human thought.

They are known as Srutis, i.e., what is heard or revealed as distinguished from Smritis, i.e., what is memorised and considered as the composition of human origin. Each hymn of the Vedas bears the name of a Rishi to whom the hymn is supposed to have been revealed. The compilation of the Vedas is attributed to Krishna Dwaipayana, or Vedavyasa, but he regards himself merely as "the compiler" and not the composer. The Vedas are said to have emanated like breath from Brahma, who is regarded as the soul of the universe.

All the Vedic writings are classified in two great divisions, viz., exoteric and esoteric: the Karma-Kanda, 'the department of actioní the ceremonials, and the Jnana-Kanda, 'the department of wisdom." The hymns and prayers come under the first, and the philosophical speculations of the Brahmans, especially of the Upanishads, under the second division. All are alike Srutis or revelations. Mantras, or Samhitas, and the Brahmanas are two distinct parts of the Vedas. To the Brahmanas are added the Aranyakas and Upanishads, mystical treasures which speculate upon the nature of Spirit and of God, and exhibit a freedom of thought and ;peculation which give rise to various systems of Indian philosophy.

According to traditional belief, the Vedas are Apaurushaya, 'not of human origin,' so these are considered Srutis in their entirety, and the Rishis whose names are associated with different hymns are those seers to whom the hymns and mantras were revealed.

The Vedas are four in number, viz., Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. The first three, according to Manu, have been "'milked out as it were from fire, air, and Sun." The Rig Veda is the oldest one; chief among the deities invoked are Agni, Indra or Vayu, and Surya. Among others Pitras, the heavenly fathers, Aditi (q.v.), Varuna (q.v.), Ushas (q.v.), Ashwinaus (q.v.), Marutas (q.y.), and Rudras (q.v.) can be included.

Aurobindo has suggested that the Vedic presentation of divine wisdom needs a fresh look. He states: "The hypothesis I propose is that the Rig Veda is itself the one considerable document that remains to us from the early period of human thought of which the historic Eleusinian and Orphic mysteries were the failing remnants, when the spiritual and psychological knowledge of the race was concealed, for reasons now difficult to determine, in a veil of concrete and material figures and symbols which protected the sense from the profane and revealed it to the initiated. One of the leading principles of the mystics was the sacredness and secrecy of self-knowledge and the true knowledge of the Gods. This wisdom was, they thought, unfit, perhaps even dangerous to the ordinary human mind or in any case liable to perversion and misuse and loss of virtue if revealed to vulgar and unpurified spirits. Hence they favoured the existence of an outer worship, effective but imperfect, for the profane, an inner discipline for the initiate, and clothed their language in words and images which had, equally, a spiritual sense for the elect, a concrete sense for the mass of ordinary worshippers. The Vedic hymns were conceived and constructed on this principle. Their formulas and ceremonies are, overtly, the details of an outward ritual devised for the Pantheistic Nature Worship which was then the common religion, covertly the sacred words, the effective symbols of a spiritual experience and knowledge and a psychological discipline of self-culture which were then the highest achievement of the human race." (Cf. The Secret of the Veda, pp. 5-6)


[Veda + Angas = the members of the main body]. Constituents of the Vedas. Six in number, necessary for understanding and proper sacrificial employment of the Vedas are (i) Sikshas, the science of pronunciation, (ii) Chandas, the science of prosody, (iii) Vyakarana, the grammar, (iv) Nirukta, etymology or glossary, (v) Jyotisha, astronomy and astrology, and (vi) Kalpa, the rituals.


Esoteric and deeper teachings of the Vedas as propounded in the Upanishads and such other systems of thought. Uttara Mimarnsa, an important compilation attributed to Vedavyasa himself, constitutes an important source material for it. Sankara popularized the Vedantic thought and founded the Advaita philosophy as an outcome of this understanding. (See Sankar, Darshan)


An opposition, an impediment or an obstruction. In astrology, it refers to impediments to favorable transit effects of a planet.


A diagram which indicates if the transit effect of a planet is nullified by the presence of any other planet in any specific house.


Same as Chhadaka (q.v.).


See Shukra.


A planet other than Moon occupying the 2nd house from Sun sign produces Vesi Yoga; a similar occupation in the 12th house leads to Vasi Yoga. When Sun sign is flanked by planets other than Moon on both sides, it produces Obhayachari Yoga.

Persons born under Vesi Yoga are truthful, lazy, unbiased and rich. Vasi Yoga produces individuals skilled in many arts; they are charitable, strong, learned, renowned and glorious. These results get modified according to the planets, their nature, the houses they own, and the houses in which the yoga is formed. In Obhayachari Yoga, the individual becomes an eloquent speaker, well proportioned in body, and delightful in temperament. He is popular, well received, wealthy and renowned.


Third chapter of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Therein the seer speaks of the accomplishments possible by acquiring yogic faculties. Patanjali describes the method of acquiring knowledge about the solar system and the various planets; he also indicates the method of deciphering the significance of different omens as well as the language of birds and animals.


A planetary combination formed by Mars either exalted or placed in the 10th house, exalted Sun in the 2nd house, and Moon along with Jupiter in the 9th house. It enables the individual born under the combination to get an adorable wife and lead a happy personal life. He will be rich and will occupy a high status in life.


The 2nd year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.). It is ruled by Brahma. Persons born during this year are always agitated; they become smugglers but acquire much wealth and are helpful to others.


Wisdom, learning. Ancient religious scriptures speak of Vidya and Avidya (q.v.). The latter is caused by a special attribute of nature (See Prakriti) which produces illusion and the individual fails to recognize his real nature. Vidya refers to self-awareness, understanding of the real nature of Atman (q.v.), the esoteric laws of manifestation. Vidya itself is classified as Para Vidya and Apara Vidya, the former signifying inner, or esoteric, knowledge, and the latter, the outer, or exoteric, knowledge of things around oneself.


A planetary combination formed by the lord of 11th house in exaltation along with Venus occupying a cardinal house in relation with the house occupied by the ascendant lord. It makes the individual charitable, affluent, and enables him to occupy a high status in life.


See Bija.


IVijaya = victory]. The 27th year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.). It is ruled by Vishnu. During this auspicious year, famous persons are born who are successful in different walks of life.


One of the finer sheaths of human personality. It receives vibrations from subtler planes, under whose impulse the feeling of egotism is aroused and developed.


The 33rd year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.) ruled by Vishnu. Persons born during this year suffer from blood diseases. They are afflicted with bilious irregularities, are fond of forests and are devoid of any respectable financial status.


[Vi-krit = to cut into parts, or to divide]. 'Shorn of his rags.' A name given to Sun because his radiance was shorn by Vishwakarma (q.v.) to make him adaptable to his wife, Sanjna, who could not bear Sun's inherent effulgence. Vikaratana is actually an initiatory rite performed under special conjuncture for special inner enfoldment.


The 24th year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.) ruled by Vishnu. The individual born during the year is humorous, skilled in dance and music, is charitable, self-respecting, and luxurious in living style.


The 14th year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.). It is ruled by Brahma. Persons born during this year are contended, renowned, self-controlled, courageous, and religious.


Celestial latitude.


The 32nd year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.). It is ruled by Vishnu. Persons born during this year are lazy, afflicted with maladies, and burdened with family responsibilities.


See Anuloma.


The system of planetary direction (q.v.) with a 120-year span and the planetary ruler ship determined on the basis of Moon's position in an asterism at the time of birth. Ashwini gives the ruler ship of Ketu; the order of subsequent ruler ships and the period of their ruler ships are as follows:

Ketu-7 years; Venus-20 years; Sun-6 years; Moon-10 years; Mars-7 years; Rahu-18 years; Jupiter-16 years; Saturn-19 years; and Mercury-17 years.


See Sankhya Yoga. This combination makes an individual fond of music and dance, and skilled in several fine arts.


Prayer. In Buddhism, it refers to the canons of monastic discipline.


A daughter of Daksha, the wife of Kashyapa, and the mother of Aruna, the charioteer of Sun and Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu.


Radiant; belonging to the royal or the military class. First progeny of Brahma. His birth is described in different ways. The Rig Veda states that Viraj sprang from Purusha (q.v.), and from Viraj sprang the Purusha. Manu claims that Brahma created Viraj, from one half of his body from whorij Manu himself arose and created the world. According to Puranic stories, having become male and female, Brahma produced from the female, the male power-Viraj, who then produced the first Manu Viraj, the male half of Brahma is supposed to typify all male creatures, and Sat-Rupa, the female half, all female forms.


A name of Brahma (q.v.).


The 23rd year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.) ruled by Vishnu. The individual born during the year is fearless, rebellious, fond of flesh-foods, yet he is ethical, respectful, and respected in his society.


The 45th year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.) ruled by Rudra. Persons born during the year are unstable, unpredictable, and defiant of authority.


Unnatural, deformed; a demon.


The 16th asterism extending from 2000 00' to 2130 20' of the zodiac. It is ruled by Jupiter, and its presiding deity is Agni, fire. It is classified as service class, a male by sex, a tiger by species, a demon by temperament, a cow by animal type, and is related with the eastern direction. Its basic motivation comes from Dharma, righteousness or religious duties, and its primary attribute, guna, is Tamas, stagnation. A potter's wheel is the symbol assigned to it.

Vishakha prepares the individual for the impending changes and reorients him psychologically in a radical manner.


[Root: Vish, to pervade]. That which has expanded. The second god of the Hindu Trinity. His primary task is the preservation of the universe. In the Rig Veda, Vishnu is considered a manifestation of solar energy, described as "striding through the seven regions of the universe in three steps and enveloping all things with the dust of his beams." The three steps stand for fire, lightning, and Sun; or the three phases of Sun in its rising, culmination and setting state. Vishnu is the embodiment of Sattwa Guna (q.v.). As a preserving and restoring power, he manifested himself to the world in a variety of forms, called avataras (q.v.). These avataras are 10 in number, but the Bhagavad Purana mentions them as 22 and adds that in reality they are innumerable. Rama and Krishna were his seventh and eighth avataras, respectively.

Vishnu is represented as a comely youth of dark-blue colour. He has four arms, beating a conch, a discus called Sudarshana, a club, and a sword. On his breast is a peculiar mark called Sri Vatsa and the jewel Kaustubha, and on his wrist is the jewel called Syamantaka. He is sometimes represented seated on a lotus with his consort Lakshmi, or is depicted reclining on a leaf of that plant. On another occasion, he is described reclining on the serpent Seshanag, and at other times he is shown riding on his vehicle, Garuda.

He is called Narayana, meaning one who floats on water. He is associated with the watery element. His devotees have given him one thousand names, compiled as Vishnu Sahasranama, a religious scripture of great merit. Vishnu, in the form of Krishna, proclaimed: "Having created the universe and unsoiled it, I remain."


A combination formed by the lords of the 9th and 10th houses as well as the lord of the Navamsa (q.v.) sign lord of the 9th (all three) posited in the 2nd house. It makes the individual favored in an important way by the state. By nature, he is patient, is erudite, skilled in debating and is an engaging conversationalist. He becomes rich and lives for long.


'The school of Hindu philosophy emphasizing qualified monism as preached by Ramanujacharya.


An inauspicious Muhurtham (q.v.) represented as an ugly female demon born out of the wrath of Mahadeva. Vishti is represented as a repulsive figure with seven necks, seven arms, three legs, and a tail, riding a ghost. As a destructive apparition, she appears as Jwalanana, whose breath is fiery, Karali, formidable, Ghora Rudri, frightfully angry Maha Jihwa, long-tongued, Badavamukhi, tormenting face, Maari, devastating plague, and Yamajihwa, deadly-tongued.

Her malefic face adversely affects certain lunar days. In election astrology (muhurtam), it is ' advised to avoid the time sensitive to Vishti. In Horary astrology also, Vishti plays an important role.




The manifested universe; Earth.


One-twentieth part of a zodiacal sign, each equal to 10 30'. The ruler ship of these portions is assigned according to a special rule. The first Vishwamsa of all cardinal signs begins with Aries, of all fixed signs with Sagittarius, and of all common signs with Leo. The rest are counted off seriatim from these signs.


The universe personified as a god; the presiding deity over Uttara Ashadha (q.v.). A particular group of ten deities supposed to be the sons of Vishwakarman (q.v.).


[Vishwa = universe; Karman = creator] Omnificent. Originally, an epithet of any powerful god, as of Indra and Surya, but subsequently, represented as a personification of the cosmic creative power. The Rig Veda described him as the one "all-seeing god, who has on every side eyes, faces, arms, and feet, who when creating heaven and earth, shapes them with his arms and wings; the father, generator, disposer, who knows all worlds, gives the gods their names, and is beyond the comprehension of mortals." In the Vedic hymns, he is said to sacrifice himself or to himself, which the commentators, the Nirukta, explained to imply that Vishwakarman first of all offered up all worlds in a general sacrifice (Sarvamedha) and ended by sacrificing himself. He is the artificer of the gods as well as the maker of their weapons. He revealed the science of architecture and mechanics (Sthapatya-veda).

According to Puranic descriptions, Vishwakarma was the son of Prabhasa, the eighth Vasu, by his wife Yoga-Siddha. His daughter Sanjna (q.v.) was married to Sun. As Sanjna was unable to bear the effulgence of Sun in his primeval radiance, Vishwakarman sheared his rays, from which he formed the discus of Vishnu, the trident of Shiva, the weapons of Kubera, the lance of Kartikeya, and the weapons of several other gods. Vishwakarman is also represented as having made the great idol of Jagannatha.

In his creative capacity, he is also designated as a Prajapati, and is said to be a mind-born son of Brahma. He is identified as Tvastra (q.v.). The name Vishwakarman also refers to Sun's ray which is said to provide light and heat to Mercury.


A Vedic sage who was born a Kshatriya in a royal family but by his severe austerities raised himself to the Brahmin caste and became one of the Saptrishis (q.v.). According to the Rig Veda, he was a son of king Rusika, but later authorities make him the son of Gadhi, the king of Kanyakubja. He tasted his first great humiliation when sage Vashistha refused to part with his cow, Kamadhenu (also known as Nandini) and all efforts to take it forcibly were thwarted. Vishwamitra felt that Vashishtha's supremacy and power ensued from his Brahmanic origin so he engaged himself in severe penance, tapas, and finally succeeded in his efforts.

His austerities made Indra nervous lest he usurp Indra's throne. Menaka, a celestial nymph, was sent to distract Vishwamitra from his tapas, in which she succeeded. Their amour resulted in the birth of Shakuntala (immortalised by Kalidasa in an epic of same name) who gave birth to Bharata who lent his name to India and made it known as Bharatvarsha. Vishwamitra finally attained so much of spiritual power that he sent Trishanku alive to the heavenly world. Vishwamitra was an early teacher of Rama (q.v.) whom he took away at an' early age to his hermitage to get rid of Rakshasas (and to impart to Rama valuable lessons in arms). He was a priest of the solar dynasty of kings yet he put Harishchandra, who belonged to this lineage and had taken a vow of absolute truthfulness, to immense hardships to test his will to uphold his vow. Vishwamitra is also associated with several hymns in Rig Veda, including those which contain the Gayantri Mantra (q.v.).


An epithet of Vishnu in the form of universe, wearing, all forms; omnipresent and universal.


A ray of solar light which is said to irradiate Mercury.


Also known as Vrishabha. The second zodiacal sign, Taurus (q.v.). It also refers to the 15th year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.) ruled by Brahma. Persons born during this year are stocky in build with coarse hair and small palms. They bring disrepute to their family, yet they earn much money.


Scorpio, the 8th zodiacal sign. It extends from 2100 to 2400 of the zodiac. It is ruled by Mars, and Moon is debilitated here. It is classified as a fixed sign, female by sex, watery by element, and related with the northern direction. It is connected with the generative organs. It is a highly mystic sign leading both to intense selfishness as well as to great occult attainments.


Vritta, as mentioned in the Vedas, is a demon of drought and uncongenial weather with whom Indra is constantly at war and forcing him to release the rains.

Vritta represents obstructers, opponents, who cover the truth, and does not let the clarity of an illumined mined mind penetrate it. Indra, as the illumined mind, has to destroy it before attaining heavenly bliss of perfect clarity of the primeval truth.


One of the vital airs circulating or diffusing in the body.


[Vyasa = to amplify, arrange, compile]. One who expands or amplifies; an interpreter, rather than a revealer, because what he reveals, interprets, explains or amplifies is a mystery to the profane. Vyasa, a generic term for great authors, originally referred to the seer who revealed the Vedas, composed the Mahabharata and compiled the Puranas.

There are said to be 28 Vyasas, the last one being the author of Uttara Mimamsa (q.v.).


An evil combination of importance in muhurtham (q.v.) consideration. Any undertaking commenced during this period meets certain failure. It is also the name of an Upagraha (q.v.).


Expenditure. The 12th house in a natal chart is related with it. It is known as the house of Vyaya, Vyayasthanam, or the house of expenditure. It is also the name of the 20th year in the cycle of 60 Samvatsaras (q.v.) ruled by Brahma. Persons born during this year are charitable, luxurious, respectful and very amiable.