Malefic and Benefic
According to their basic qualities, the planets are categorized into two groups. Natural malefics and natural benefics.
Moon, Jupiter, Mercury and Venus are Natural Benefics.
Sun, Mars, Saturn, Rahu, and Ketu are Natural Malefics.
However this is a highly broad general division and gets vastly modified based on the planets placement, house ownership etc.
Vakra or Retrograde planets:
As explained earlier, except the Sun and the Moon the rest of the planets, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn change their proper motion through the Zodiac periodically and appear to move backwards. After some time they resume their direct motion. When a planet is retrograde it is marked in the horoscope with the mark ‘R’. A retrograde planet becomes more powerful. It also gives some unusual results and sometimes in the reverse order in the timing of effects etc.
Dagdha or Combust Planets
When a planet comes close to the Sun it engulfed by the Sun’s rays. This is called combustion. A combust planet loses its power. This does not apply to Rahu & Ketu. The degree of proximity at which planets become combust varies from planet to planet. The following are the planetary combustion details as per the Soorya Siddhanta.
Mars within 17 Degrees
Mercury within 12 Degrees while retrograde and 14 degrees while in normal motion.
Jupiter within 11 Degrees
Venus within 8 Degrees
Saturn within 15 Degrees
It is normally agreed that the planetary combustion effects are effective when they are in the same nakshatra pada with the sun. After that the effects are not severe.
Drishti or Aspects
All planets have drishti or aspects. Or to put it in simpler terms they “look” at other planets and signs. All planets aspect the sign or planet placed exactly opposite to them, i.e., in the 7th house from them. This is normally called the 7th house aspect, or the full aspect. Apart from this 7th aspect, some planets have “special” aspects.
Mars aspects the 4th and the 8th houses from its position.
Jupiter aspects the 5th and the 9th houses from its position.
Saturn aspects the 3rd and the 10th houses from its position.
Rahu and Ketu aspect the 5th and the 9th houses from their position though this is somewhat controversial.
The houses and the planets aspected by a planet get influenced by the planet. The effect will be good or bad depending on the nature, condition, lordship etc of the aspecting planet and also on the relation between the two planets.
The Avasthas or condition of Planets
Depending on their position in the chart and the other conditions, Indian astrology classifies the condition of the planets into 5 different sets of avasthas. they are:
1. Jagradadi Avasthas – set of 3 avasthas
2. Baladi Avasthas – set of 5 avasthas
3. Lajjitadi Avasthas – set of 6 avasthas
4. Deeptadi Avasthas – set of 9 avasthas
5. Shayanadi Avasthas -set of 12 avasthas
It is a very detailed and complicated study. How a planet is placed in each of the 5 types of sets of avasthas is studied. Based on that the results given by each planet for each type of the sets of avasthas is taken into consideration while giving predictions.
The Shadbala or Six fold strength of Planets
This is a very important study of the planetary strengths and weaknesses. It is not the study of any one condition of the planets, but a summarized study of its several conditions – both separately and in totality. The six fold strengths and weaknesses evaluated are:
1. Sthana bala
2. Dik bala
3. Kala bala
4. Chestha bala
5. Naisargika bala
6. Drik bala
It must be noted that in each of these six types of sources of strengths, there are several sub divisional aspects included. For example sthana bala is calculated after studying 6 different balas!!
Once again the strengths and weakness of all 9 planets in all the 6 fold strengths, and their sub divisional balas are studied to see their effects!!