Published: 5 July 2008 | Written by Swami Veda Bharati
Mantras may be practiced with motives or without motives. With motives are sa-kama, lit. “with desire” for fruit and result. Without motives are nish-kama, “without desire,” only to gain the purification leading to liberation.
Sa-kama is of two kinds (1) to fulfill a personal desire, such as: may my husband’s nature change; may I grow rich, (2) a subtler kind is, I want to live a life of prayer, worship [or service], but practical obstacles come in the way. “I cannot pray or serve because my husband won’t let me as he becomes jealous.” To correct such situations, the practice is the same as the first, but with an ultimate desire which is nish-kama. There the sa-kama desire is to pave the way for the nish-kama goal. Even the desire for liberation may be dropped, and the mantra may be practised guru-prity-artham, for guru’s satisfaction, to receive grace.
Those that are done sa-kama may be for specific purposes, such as to ward off or heal an illness, to prevent accidents foretold, to prolong life, to alleviate financial problems, to achieve a specific goal such as to be able to buy a house, or capture power, or improve an organization, or regain friendship, or eliminate someone’s animosity towards oneself, and so forth.
Another subtle differentiation may be understood here. One may do such undertakings (a) for the purpose of self-purification and liberation only, or (b) to obtain a desired result, or (3) to attain the siddhi(s) of that mantra. The formula of “number of syllables multiplied by hundred thousand plus twenty per cent” is definitely efficacious to achieve the siddhi, that is to say, that one then has the powers inherent in the mantra and is able to use the mantra with just one or three or such other minimum number of remembrances to attain a desired result for oneself or for one’s students or seekers.
Quite often a Guru in his Grace passes on the power of the mantra to a disciple without the latter having to do all these recitations. I recall one day in 1972 driving my Gurudeva along Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis. I complained, “You have great disciples sitting in the Himalayas doing all that tapasya, and here I am running around American cities? How will I make any progress?” He said, ever so compassionately, “Why do you need to do that when I have done it all. I have already passed on to you the benefits of 10,000,000 gayatris. Have you not felt it?” “Yes, indeed I have felt it, so gratefully”– I replied.
I have heard similar stories from other brother disciples.
In our tradition we have been advising people to undertake special anu-shthanas (observances) of so many repetitions of special mantras from time to time and for specific periods. Normally, these have been in units of 125,000 plus twenty per cent. Actually, these are for beginners. To determine a full purash-charana, the principle to be observed is: count the number of syllables in a given mantra (for example, the gayatri has twenty-four syllables), and do that many hundred thousand. So that a real complete observance of gayatri will be 2,400,000 mental recitations, plus ten or twenty per cent, the reason for which will become clear below.
How long would that take? Let us first check into the amount of time needed for 125,000 recitations plus twenty per cent. That is 1500 malas. Calculate how long it takes one to complete one mala of the given mantra. Some beginners manage only, say, one mala per ten minutes. Allowing for distractions let it be an average of five malas per hour. How many hours a day can one sit, dividing the time into several sessions? Thus one can arrive at the number of days required. Let us say that one sits twice a day for one hour each; so,
ten malas per day,
for 150 days.
Total: five months.
In ancient times, and for those today who manage to lead the life of sadhana full time, a purash-charana of 125,000 might be completed in the shortest possible time, normally never more than three months– for the lazy full-time sadhaka. For the likes of us who have households or ashrams to think about, it is best not to set a time limit. In my present circumstances, it takes two months to complete 125,000 fire offerings. Setting a time limit causes unnecessary stress and anxiety because external circumstances intervene: a child gets sick, a wedding has to be attended, an unexpected visitor from somewhere near the North Pole drops in at the ashram with a dire spiritual need and then one wants to rush through the japa to complete it on time. That is a distraction. One may simply express to oneself the desire that “I would like to complete it in such and such time; God and Guru, please bless me” and then do one’s best.
Well, if one has a lot of time, and inclination, can one complete it in a very short time? Unless you are a really very highly accomplished sadhaka, try not to do it this way. The ‘deities’, conscious powers inherent in the mantras, do not wish to be rushed. Too many adjustments all at once in the subtle world may bring intense results that you are not ready for. Therefore, the middle path is the best.
If one is serious with one’s spiritual life, or to obtain any other result, one should cut out some other distractions, like social parties, videos, reading stories and so forth. As the japa proceeds the need for sleep is naturally reduced. It can be further reduced through the practice of yoga-nidra. One can, with such adjustments in life, find time to sit three and a half hours per day. Somewhat as follows:
One hour in the morning,
half hour after coming from work,
two hours (with break in between) at night.
Few aspirants have undertaken the full 2,400,000 gayatris or 3,200,000 mrityunjayas (which has 32 syllables) plus the twenty per cent. These are individuals who have no special worldly responsibilities, or are retired and have made their five-year spiritual plans with care. They are people with a determination. Those few who have undertaken such an observance are continuing with varying degrees of diligence under guidance. The preceptor prays for their successful conclusion. Those who have completed such an observance have become charismatic to many seekers and draw students to themselves without effort.
By keeping to the same kind of calculations as above, one may complete such an ambitious purash-charana of gayatri or mrityunjaya, or of any such long mantra, in three to five years. Instead of going to a business office, one goes to God’s office and keeps the requisite hours. That is all.
If one feels too overwhelmed by the idea of so many millions (because it is not currency notes but mantras!) one may do it piecemeal. Do 125,000 at a time, pause a while, start the same number again, and thus keep repeating the same short observance till you are a multimillionaire. It’s perhaps easier on the mind that way.
It is quite normal that during the course of a purash-charana you will experience unexpected upheavals, obstacles, unwelcome changes. This is like homeopathic medicine. Some karmas and samskaras that would fructify slowly over a lifetime, or even over the next five years, come to the surface in a short time. Do not give up right there in the middle, saying – uh oh, this mantra is very harmful; my teacher does not know his science and has put me in trouble. No, do not abandon the undertaking. It is the phase of dissolution before creation, a readjustment. When the crisis has passed, you will see a fresh and more beautiful start; the karma has been paid off.
This whole process is based on the principle of prayash-chitta, expiation. A voluntary paying off of the karma. In fact, whenever one realizes that one has transgressed a universal law, committed a “sin”, such as hurting someone, and so forth, one may undertake an expiation which has the effect of self-purification. Some expiate such transgressions by giving an anonymous donation, or by serving some elder for a time, or by going on a pilgrimage, or fast, or a period of silence. In the Sikh tradition one may be ordered to clean the shoes of all those who enter the Temple, or to sweep the floors of the Temple, for a specific number of days. But the most purifying is japa.
Now, in the course of the performance of such an observance one’s mind will pass through many different stages, moods, and feelings. Ennui, boredom, fatigue, great bursts of energy and enthusiasm, moments of unprecedented peace, then again an urge to quit. The samskaras (on whose workings listen to some of this writer’s lectures on the Yoga-sutras given in Calgary) appear on the surface and subside. Do not struggle. Do not abandon. Take to the middle path. Forgive yourself. Accept yourself. Remain determined to complete it, even if on some days your tiredness tells you to do no more than one mala that day– keep doing. The mood will pass and you will be happy. When one is tired, the going is always slower. When one is rested, the progress is faster. Allow yourself deftly periods of rest. It all requires arranging things. Gently does it.
Nourishing sattvic food is often important. The priests who undertake such performances for others often require a special allowance for extra milk and some (cow’s) ghee daily.
To replenish themselves the people in India often take hot milk, boiled with ground almonds. Five almonds are soaked overnight, skinned in the morning, ground, cooked with a glass of milk. Some add a little ghee to the hot milk. For those in the West half a teaspoon (for the hardy Punjabis it is a tablespoon!) of melted ghee in the milk will do (but not if you have a heart problem or are overweight), together with two or three round black peppers. It is a very wise balancing act. At night one may take a glass of milk with saffron cooked in it. Ask any Indian woman how exactly to do that. It is the gentlest soporific.
Now, back to the application of the practice of mantra.
A Master may be able to use a mantra once, thereby make the necessary adjustments in the subtle world, and thus achieve a desired goal for his mission or for the benefit of his disciples and seekers. He will do so only if thereby the recipients of such grace will receive short term or long term spiritual benefits or will be enabled to give service to others. Not everyone walking down the street can be helped unless s/he is somehow going to serve or achieve a spiritual goal.
A teacher priest, initiated in the yoga tradition, who is not yet a master, may have to do the mantra a certain number of times to achieve the desired goal. A householder leading a worldly life may have to do it even longer. His/her mantra will be more effective if s/he gets initiated into it by a yoga-qualified initiator before starting the long japa practice. One may also employ a priest of a sattvic temperament to sit daily and do the japa for the officiant (yajamana’s) benefit. But the yajamana needs to take care of such a priest who is sitting practically full time. I have employed such priests in the last one year to achieve certain purposes when I did not have time to do the japa myself, as I am trying to accomplish a number of projects for the mission as well as for beloved disciples. The cost has run to a minimum of eight thousand rupees (one may calculate the equivalent in dollars) for a purash-charana of 125,000 repetitions. It can cost more if one decides that the japa is to be done with fire offerings, or that the priest should come and either live in one’s own ashram or house, or at least come for a certain number of hours, because there is no shortage of those who would promise, but not actually undertake, the practice in full, and with diligence.
If one wants it done in this way, it is still advisable to do some malas by oneself at the same time, at least ten per cent.
If you do 125,000 japa without the fire offerings, do ten per cent more with fire-offerings, or twenty per cent more without any fire offerings. In other words, a 125,000 purash-charana ends up consisting of 150,000 repetitions.
As we have said earlier, one needs to calculate how long it takes to do one round of the mala, how many hours a day one can sit, and thereby calculate how long it would take to complete the practice. 150,000 of japa means 1,500 malas.
There is always a concern among beginners as to the amount of time it takes to do long mantras. As time passes, and one learns the special art of being able to do the mantra faster, the time taken gets less and less. It has nothing to do with moving the tongue, but with going into higher frequency layers of the mind. As one dives deeper, the speed automatically improves. I have given some instructions on the topic in a cassette titled How to do long mantras faster (available from the Meditation Centre). One may choose to sit with a qualified preceptor to learn this art fully.
It is advisable that one sets at least one fixed time of the day to sit. One may have other sessions in the day at flexible times. One may, of course, have as many brief or extended sessions as one desires, but not between 12 and 3 in the day or at night.
Even if one is ill, or traveling, or busy with sick children, one should sit at the fixed time at least for one mala. The daily link must be maintained. If the mind was unsettled during that one mala, it is best not to count it in the final calculations. Better to do more than to lose some. Be greedy as you would with money due to you from a tax refund. Try to become a millionaire in mantra.
Special purash-charana practice counts only done sitting down. One does not, unlike one’s guru-mantra (mula-mantra) do the special ones while walking about, etc.
The special practice begins with a sankalpa, a special resolve as to the place time, person, motive. There are set formulas recited for the sankalpa, a copy of which, in brief English paraphrase from Sanskrit, is appended here with.
In the sankalpa come the subtleties of the motives and purpose. I may give someone the same maha-mrityunjaya mantra as a prayer for health, or as prayer for spiritual liberation. Or the two purposes may be combined with the thought that if the practicant (sadhaka) completes this practice and is freed of his illness he will dedicate himself to liberation. Or it may be that I want him to have more time of life to be able to complete his spiritual work for liberation. Or, that because he is giving up other desires in favour of seeking liberation, the effects of his past selfish karmas will be reduced and he will, incidentally, be cured of the disease while achieving liberation. To someone else I give a mantra which combines the effect of (a) curing a chronic illness and (b) giving oneself to service of others with the life span thus enhanced. In that case the enhancement of life span will not occur unless one discovers such dedication in oneself.
One needs to decide by what mode one wants to solve a problem. Take the situation of a court case going on for years, brought about by some very vindictive people against someone innocent. The victim needs to decide (a) does s/he want to win the case, or (b) does s/he want to win the person over by bringing character changes in the perpetrator. The later will take a longer time than the former but the change will be more deep-rooted. On the other hand, if one wants to win over someone who is temporarily upset or angry, the change will be quicker.
Again, I have found that if you wish to solve the problem by bringing a change in the character of the other person, such a change is often a temporary one. It will solve your immediate problem by evoking that person’s saumanasyata, good mindedness, eupsychea. But the force of samskaras is strong and the people revert to their nature in other relationships. Then I have to keep repeating the same experiment –do the same japa again next year, and so on until the samskara is completely wiped out. This is what the Gurus do to change us. But, then, the Gurus have astras, missiles, we have only the mantra at vaikhari, or verbal level, or at most at madhyama, the mental thought, and cannot take full responsibility for all our students. There are not enough months in the year to accomplish everything.
When you are doing the japa to change a person or a situation, do not say anything to him. Be indifferent to all his external acts. Meet politely. Make no special overtures at this time. It is best to tell no one else either. Mantra means secret. Keep it a secret. Do not even inquire: Is there any change in that person? Do not hold on to anxiety. Surrender.
only japa will not do. Your own acts should match the purification you desire in the other. You are trying to change an “enemy” into a friend by making him a more saumya person, one with moonlike characteristics. Then, you must be perfect in your own maitri bhavana (Yoga-sutra I.33). Do not pray for a change in him while your mind recounts all the injustices he has done to you. Without such pure japa you will not accomplish your purpose. For this maitri bhavana, not only do you need to keep your mind pure but also do some positive acts secretly, like (a) doing things beneficial to the other person secretly, and (b) describing that person’s virtues to others and meaning it. Slowly you will learn to refine the art of making your japa more and more effective.
In one case I gave someone a mantra to practice to help them win in a difficult situation. The practicant had a lot of anger at someone else – and the thoughts of that constantly intervened in the japa. The adverse effects began to tell not on the situation that was meant to be corrected but rather on the person for whom there was anger in the practicant’s mind. I had to tell the practicant to stop doing the mantra, then have it completed through priests (and to cover the expense) and the situation was remedied. So, a preceptor has to watch for such situations constantly, otherwise you could be committing murder. Do you still want to be a Guru?
Do not try to remedy irremediable situations. There is no point in trying to do mrityunjaya if one knows that the illness is terminal. Yes, do it, have it done, but as a prayer for liberation and for the dying person’s peace of mind, and not for a cure. In the case of irremediable illnesses, I give the shatakshara gayatri for the person’s peace of mind. If the person cannot do japa, I simply let them listen to the cassette with earphones. When the Master once taught me a healing method and mantra, he warned me not to use it for terminal cases. He said, “At one time I used it in a terminal case, and it took me seven years to overcome my resultant illness.”
Also, do not grant such boons to those who will not give of their life to a spiritual pursuit or to serve others.
I have found in my experiments that if one keeps on doing the same practice beyond the requisite amount needed for a specific purpose, it often becomes self-defeating and nothing gets accomplished. It is like saying, “Mother give me food.” She says, “I am serving it now.” You still keep on saying, “Mother give me food.” It is of no use.
How do I know how much japa is needed for a given purpose? It is written in the works on mantra-shastra but, again, in my experience, it is all a matter of learning by experimentation and refining the “skill”. One may also ask the Guru within, but it is tricky to discern whether it was the Guru who answered or one’s own silly and confused unconscious.
When you do a mantra with ulterior motive, for instance, the maha-lakshmi-mantra, let the sankalpa be
guru-pritya maha-lakshmi-prity-artham through the guru’s pleasure, for the pleasing of maha-lakshmi
That should suffice. Do not set other conditions, like, “Gimme a million dollar cheque.” But, do set this condition for yourself, “If the Great Lady is pleased with me, I shall give away at least ten per cent of her gift. And thus being freed of some burdens, I shall be able to fulfil my totally unselfish desire to serve others, for which I shall give ten per cent of my time and energy to serve God, guru, deities and fellow beings.” Otherwise you are asking the deities to do things for you without giving them anything in return and they do not like that; then you will have to pay a price. So, look into the motive with great subtlety, purify and refine it as much as possible, and serve the deity with your japa.
Another question often asked is what is the best time of the day to do the purash-charana? Whatever time is convenient to you, preferably in the morning is best for the fixed time, flexible for the rest.
There are certain days on which a practice may be started. A good astrologer will be able to guide one on that. For yogis the dates are not that important and I do not consult astrologers for the ones I practice myself for the benefit of others. Also it is said : mumukshunam sada kalah strinam kalash cha sarvada, For those seeking liberation (moksha) any time is permissible; for women also any time is appropriate. But, then there needs to be a certain level of purity within in order to benefit from such freedom.
The best is to perform a yajna, fire sacrifice. It is the most effective way of japa. But it is costly in time and finances. A 125,000-ahuti yajna may cost up to one thousand dollars in the cost of ghee, samagree (mixture of aromatic, curative, depollutant herbs and parts of plants and trees, available ready-made) and kindling, if done by oneself. If done through a priest, add the priest’s offerings of not less than two hundred dollars, but perhaps much more, because they will add all sorts of pujas.
While still a householder in 1990, I had a personal debt of $40,000 and no way to pay it as I had been financing the family and the mission, including the heavy cost of children’s schooling, plus my own travels. 125000 Lakshmi-gayatri japa was done by very highly qualified priests, plus ten per cent additional havana or homa (fire offerings) at our residence. Three to six months later an unexpected kind donation took care to pay off the debt, and some small additional amount started the Rishikesh Foundation. Also from the same donation, at the time of taking sanyasa (vow of renunciation), I was able to place another remaining sum at my master’s feet to help with the hospital project.
One needs to set a special seat for the performance of the purash-charana, and resolve to sit there at least once a day for the duration of the observance. For the purpose of intense practice, one may set aside a room that should be darkened as much as possible, leaving, perhaps the light of a candle or one- or two- candle-power bulb. The curtain should be dark, and if one is prone to being disturbed by exterior noises, one may soundproof the location as much as possible.
However, if one wants something accomplished for a specific home, or for an ashram, or an institution, then it is advantageous to perform the observance at that location. For example, if there is strife among the members of an institution, a qualified preceptor may choose to perform the observance at that location and it will create a pacified collective mindfield. The same effect can be obtained hundredfold if a hundred members undertake the practice at the same time.
On the other hand one may withdraw to one’s Guru’s Ashram to complete such an anu-shthana (observance). This has the added advantage that if any problems arise, one has the ready guidance from one’s preceptor. The preceptor’s presence is often also conducive to discipline.
There are also special sacred places where one may do the purash-charanas of particular mantras. For example, the mani-karnika ghat cremation ground in Varanasi for mrityujnjaya mantra; the temple of Anasuya near Gopeshwar in the Garhwal Himalayas to ask for a desired offspring; the kanya–kumari temple at the southern land’s end of India for doing a special version of mrityunjaya to obtain a desired husband; Nainadevi temple to pray for curing eye disease, or one may recite Vishnu-sahasra-nama (thousand names of Vishnu) at Badrinath for the same purpose; to practise the special mantra of the Guru-chakra, go to Tarakeshwar in the Garhwal Himalayas; and so forth.
Here, a point that I have not often emphasized, or even stated, for fear that it would be misinterpreted. No yajna, sacramental act is complete without a dakshina, a gift offering. It is a normal tradition in India, as also in other spiritual traditions, to make an offering to the priest and the preceptor. The ideal is to put aside ten per cent (tithing), or even 1 per cent of one’s income for the duration of the purash–charana. We often give such an offering coupled with cloth, fruits, or whatever else. It is not a business deal just as the japa is not. If one prefers, one may even make a donation to one’s favourite charity. Let it not be done with a feeling of burden but as an expression of helpless love. This is also one of the secrets of becoming prosperous; give away one per cent, better ten per cent, of all your energies as an unselfish anonymous donation. The rider is, do not expect a return, and it will return to you tenfold. However, in the case of priests specially employed, an extra offering to them or to the preceptor is optional. The blessing comes from within oneself.
There are very strong traditions of coupling the mantra practice with other ascetic observances such as silence, fasting, refraining from certain foods, a period of celibacy and so forth in varying degrees. Some non-vegetarians may become vegetarian for that duration, or may refrain from rajasic and tamasic foods like, onions and garlic. Or they may refrain from salt, or eat only boiled food without spices. In fact the people in India and in some other countries like Thailand invariably ask as to what other disciplines they need to follow for the duration of the observance. Teaching in the West, we do not emphasize these disciplines of sadhana but deep inside every preceptor longs to find students and disciples who would ask to undertake such disciplines. For the details of five such components of discipline, please see this writer’s paper titled Five Pillars of Sadhana, and his cassettes on the practice of silence and celibacy.
Even if one does not intentionally undertake such associative disciplines, quite often one finds a natural change of inclinations during the mantra-observance. One may:
simply want to sleep, eat, speak, indulge in sexual relations less, without any prompting. Then these changed inclinations become pleasant experiences and cease to be enforced disciplines. As a result, this enhances the
intensity of the mantra-observance and increases its fruit.
The word purash-charana means a step forward. When one undertakes such observances one takes a quantum leap on one’s spiritual journey.
Swamiji, our Baba, Swami Rama of the Himalayas used to say, “Six months before anything happens in the exterior world, some changes occur in the subtle world.” I have often found that the results of a special purash–charana may take up to six months to filter up into the exterior world. So, do not finish the japa today and expect a jump in the Dow-Jones tonight. Surrender, carry on as though you had done nothing. That is important.
Lay claim to nothing.
If, for example, the author’s close friend, the late Dr. Usharbudh Arya were performing a Vedic ceremony or undertaking an observance (anu–shthana) in Rishikesh on December 25, 1993 at noon, he would recite a sankalpa, of which this is a summerised paraphrase:
All creation being in his imagination and knowledge, who is the substratum of all–
The very Self comprising the essences of existence, consciousness and bliss
Playing forth with his supreme shakti, his original Lady Nature
Endowed with unthinkable, immeasurable, infinite potencies and powers
The great Lord, Narayana, the Spirit meditating upon the waters,
He of infinite power,
Among His many trillions of universes spinning in the vast ocean of forces,
In this sector of the universe, veiled in unmanifest matter and its manifestations:
Cosmic intelligence, cosmic ego, earth, waters, lights, airs, spaces, and many more;
Upholds a thousand galaxies: the hoods of Shesha, King of Serpents,
Among those thousand snake-hood galaxies, on one of those hoods
Is a tiny mustard seed: the Earth, situated between the seven worlds above and the seven layers that are the worlds below
Supported by eight guardian forces in each of the eight directions
Held firm by the axis-mountain Sumeru and others,
Constituted of seven great continents which are surrounded by seven seas all joined by the latitudes and longitudes.
On this particular continent (Jambu–dvipa by name) are nine subcontinents,
Among them, Bharata1, unique and most favored by the gods,
Comprising forty-six provinces, numerous forests with nine major ones and twenty-four major rivers,
Above the equator, to the west of the holy land of Kurukshetra, between the rivers Yamuna and Ganga,
In the precincts of such ashrams as Badri-nath, at the ashram of Swami Rama in the holy city of Rishikesh;
Calculated according to the systems established by sages such as Garga and Varaha,
In Brahma’s day in the forenoon2
In the cycle of creation known as the kalpa of the White Boar,
In the seventh of fourteen Manu Intervals, known as Vaivasvatha,
In the first quarter of the twenty-eighth KaliYuga,
During the Buddha incarnation, in the year called ,
1955885093 years of the current creation era having elapsed, 5093 of the Kali era having elapsed, 2049 years of the era of emperor Vikramaditya having elapsed (and you may choose to add any other national or local era,
In the year named Parthiva (1993-94)
During the northern passage of the sun above the equator,
In the month of the eighth lunar mansion
On the fourth day of the month of the constellation Pushya (Aldabaran) in the solar calendar,
On the twelfth day of the bright fortnight of the month whose constellation is Mrga–shiras, on Saturday,
In the Krittikas (Pleiades) constellation in the Scorpio sign of the Zodiac (and some finer calculations of yoga and karana are being omitted here),
The sun being in Sagittarius, the moon in Aries, Mars in Sagitarrius, Mercury in Sagittarius, Guru (Jupiter) in Libra, Venus in Sagittarius, Saturn in Aquarius, Rahu3 in Scorpio, and Ketu in Taurus,
At the seventh of thirty divisions of day and night, the muhurta named Vishve–deva.
Born in the lineage of sage Bharadvaja,
In the tradition of Yajur-veda, of the Vajasaneya recension,
Great-grandson of NN, grandson of NN, son of NN,
To confer sacred karma to ten past and ten future and thus twenty-one generations,
Holding the deities, sacred fires, priests and gurus as my witnesses,
For the pleasure of my guru-lineage and to please my ishta-devata,4
For the fulfillment of dharma, artha, kama and moksha,5
I make this resolve, I undertake this sacred observance.
May it be my surrendered offering to Brahman.
1 The official name of the country in the Indian constitution is “India, that is Bharata”. One may name one’s own country here, instead of Bharata.
2 Some of the finer divisions of the day (beyond the morning, forenoon, afternoon, evening divisions) cannot be translated into English.
3Rahu and Ketu are the north and south nodes of the moon and constitute the eighth and ninth planets in the Vedic astrological system which doesn’t recognize Uranus, Neptune or Pluto.
4 Chosen deity.
5 The four purusharthas, end purposes of human existence, respectively, the pursuit of virtue, material means thereof, desire, and final liberation.