Karaka means indicator, to make or do, to produce or create, and also that which is instrumental in bringing about an action. The Atma Karaka planet, or soul planet, is the one that you have the most karma to work with in this life. It is the most important karaka. This AK planet is the key that controls all other factors, elements and significations of the chart, as a king influences the affairs of its subjects and its lands.
The natural significations of the planet will share a lot about what you are working on in this life time, what is most alive in your personal mythology, and what karmas are an intimate part of your work. The work of the Atma Karaka planet is work that is being done on the soul level of life, the Atma. How the AK planet interacts with the rest of the chart will also share how your soul responds to life, your environment, and ultimately others.
The AK planet is calculated from the highest degree planet of the chart. Ketu is not used because he is not connected to a form, he is formless, and represents our moksha; he is no longer earth bound. Rahu always moves backwards and therefore his degrees are calculated backwards as well. Take Rahu’s degrees and subtract them from 30 (there are 30 degrees in each sign) so you can see how far backwards he has moved through the sign. Then see which planet has the highest degree in your chart to determine your AK planet.
Your Atma Karaka planet is Saturn or Sani in Sanskrit. This is the planet that your soul, inner nature and karmas are connected to and represented by. Saturn is the planet of grief, suffering, sadness, hard work, cycles, rhythms and slow progress. When one’s AK is Saturn, it indicates that the person will experience sorrow and sadness in life and will be connected to that sadness and the sadness of others.
You have a deep understanding of human suffering, and see it as the transformational tool. We all suffer and you understand this with great compassion and self-knowledge. Your dharma should be focused on helping to relieve suffering, since you are so closely connected to it. You can help others with tools and practices that can ease their grief and hardships. Saturn is also connected to ancient lineages like the Vedic tradition as well as hard, disciplined practices like yoga asanas and meditation, as well as physical movement like dance. Saturn likes to sweat. Routine is good for you, sadhana is essential. Study the various meanings of Saturn, how he operates, what he expects of you and how to be in harmony with him in order to reduce health issues and mental/emotional burdens.
Saturn is a great friend to have on your side, as long as you know how to harmonize with him. He does things slowly and represents old age. So these people tend to ripen later in life. You need life and its process for your growth and with it you gain deep and lasting knowledge, the kind that can only come with time.
Your AK planet is Rahu. Rahu is a shadow planet (the North Node) and brings us strong desires and cravings. He wants and creates desires for us on this material plane of existence. He has a strong drive and can be obsessive about his desires. He can take us off the spiritual path and keeps us from the true meaning of life- which is why the moksha planet, Ketu, always sits seven houses away from him. (Ketu snips the ties that bind us to the material realm). Rahu as AK indicates that the person is under the influence of the shadow and has to work hard at unveiling him/herself. You may be cheated by others, feel cheated, or cheat. Ultimately you are cheating your Self if you use deception so be aware of your actions and where they come from.
These individuals may accidentally fall into difficult situations because of lack of judgment. They need to be very clear about discerning between what is for their highest good and the good of others. Learning to trust your Self above all else is a very important for you.
The cause of creation is our desire which is represented by Rahu. Without Rahu and his appetite, his desire, we would not have incarnated and our innate ability to create our lives would not be possible. Rahu expresses our souls desire to incarnate, to be alive in this form on the earth plane. There are strong pulls here to grow, learn, change and deepen one’s understanding of life.
You can use your Rahu instincts for harnessing great power and material expansion because he is so worldly wise. Just don’t lose sight of your inner spiritual goals and the work that it takes to really advance in this life- which ultimately has nothing to do with worldly treasures. Rahu also represents foreign affairs (that which seems foreign to you) and you can use this fascination with the foreign to learn about ancient knowledge. (Your interest in Vedic astrology is an example of this craving for the foreign yet spiritual).
Your Atma Karaka planet is Mercury or Budha in Sanskrit. When one’s Atma Karaka is Mercury, there is a great connection to communications of all sorts. Mercury represents the mind, the mental functions. It also has to do with computers, communicating through computers (email, websites, social media etc.) and is also an indicator of cell phones, lecturing and talking. Mercury is known as Saumyagraha, the friendly planet. These people are helpful and like to connect, need to connect and create a life based on their connections. There is also a propensity for gaining knowledge- reading books, growing mentally, seeking wisdom etc.
The key things to remember as a Mercury AK are to be truthful in your thoughts, purify your thoughts and mind through meditation and pure knowledge. Watch your speech and what you say, be truthful. Remember that not everything is a debate nor a verbal competition. Avoid mind games. Don’t dominate conversations. Since Mercury is very mutable, and adapts to the environment that it is in, it is essential to be careful of the company you keep and the environments that you are in.
Having an AK Moon (Chandra in Sanskrit) indicates that an individual is connected deeply to the emotional body and must learn to surf these inner tides in this life. The primary work is to learn the emotions and work with them, not against them, to use them, not fight them. Moon AK also indicates a person who is very much connected to the things that moon represents: mother, intuition, land, home, heart, nurturing and compassion. These are very caring people and need comfort and support in their life in order to feel safe and grounded. Family and social life is a central part of their lives and they may become overly attached to family and friends. Realizing that the whole world is here to support and nurture is a good reminder and focus.
Moon (Chandra) is also related to soma, the nectar of life. The moon is wise and strongly intuitive, has sweet speech and gentle manners but is fickle minded and a hopeless romantic. The moon is merely a reflection of the Sun, so the family dynamics between father and mother are particularly important for these individuals. Likely, though, a moon AK will be more attached to the mother if the chart supports this. If the Sun is not a strong support for the Moon, the Moon cannot thrive. The Sun shows the dharma passed to an individual from the father, while the Moon shows the emotional and psychological health of the child passed through the mother- in the womb during gestation, at the time of birth and throughout early childhood.
The Moon is friendly towards all the planets and doesn’t make enemies- Moon people are the same. Conflict is extremely uncomfortable for these individuals. Moon is very social and loves community, neighbors and social interactions. However, Moon people are mutable and change to sync up with their surroundings. It is very important that Moon people keep very good sattvic (pure) company so that they do not become overburdened with dark energy. Being in water, near water and cleansing in water daily is helpful for Moon people to clear any energy they may have picked up during the day that is not their own.
Moon Atma Karaka need to feel comfort and a sense of security in order to thrive. These people are sensitive and feel vulnerable, are easily hurt and damaged. Home, mother, security, land and the emotional/psychological aspects of life are very important to their sense of well being. Bhakti yoga and devotional practices will help the heart expand and be soothed. Following the phases of the moon and making adjustments with these cosmic tides can be helpful as well. Art and creativity are excellent tools (especially singing) for Moon people to move the emotional tides they are so connected to. Somatic and Expressive Art therapies are essential for these individuals. Moon AK individuals are here to learn to nurture and be nurtured, to work with the emotional realms and to expand their compassion and devotional abilities.
Your Atma Karaka planet is Venus or Shukra in Sanskrit. Venus is the planet of beauty, romance, love, passion, creativity, pro-creation, creative life force, relationships, femininity, art and artistry, music. Physically, Venus relates to the reproductive tissues of the body (semen and ovaries) hence the correlation to procreation as well as the hormones that regulate sexuality. Venus also correlates to the immune system and it is well known that love boost immunity and gives a new propensity for life. Art and creativity are just another expression of the act of creation. Venus is also water, which has a life-giving quality to it. Water literally gives life- to all expressions of Nature. Venus can give rejuvenation and health as a result and is responsible for the life-giving qualities that sustain us.
In Vedic lore, it is said that Venus can bring the dead back to life- metaphoric on many different levels. On the physical level, when a person is sick or near death, it is the power of Venus that can cure them and bring health back. (Recitation of the Mrtyunjaya Mantra can be used for this purpose). It is also only through procreation that a soul can be reborn into a human body, thus Venus give us an opportunity at life. Venus is also a guru (teacher) to the demons (asuras), literally to those who don’t see the light. Jupiter is the guru of the devas (gods). Venus is considered our “lower nature” because it represents our base desires, instincts. It can be connected to overindulgences as a result. Because Venus is an expression of Rajas (guna), at its worst it can create overindulgence and cravings for intoxicants- especially alcohol and sugar- as well as lust and strong desires for “love”. Pure love is a deva emotion, while jealousy, greed and hatred are asura (demon) emotions.
Because Venus is naturally associate with art and creativity, including music and singing, Venus Atma Karaka indicates that the soul is here to learn the elements of creative acts and creative process. Beauty is important to you as well as being involved with the act of creating and being creative- art is naturally an essential tool for learning and growing in this awareness. Venus AK also means you will be navigating sexual impulses and relationships as well. Part of your work will include navigating and controlling your sexual energy, refraining from lust and illegitimate sex. Working on relationships and being in relation are key concepts for you.
Lakshmi is the deity associated with Venus. She is the embodiment of wealth, prosperity and the abundant flow of energy. She is good for you to be connected to.
Your Atma Karaka is Jupiter, or Guru in Sanskrit. Jupiter is just that, a guru, a teacher, the planet that gives us expansion and knowledge, assistance and support. He is kapha in nature (somagenic), but relates to akasha (space) because of his all pervasiveness. Jupiter, like the sanskrit meaning of guru, is the glue that holds the universe together, creating harmony, health, wisdom and understanding. He is a nonviolent force and rather than fighting a battle, he will win the opposition over to his side. Since he rules the devas (gods), he likes to transform the asuras (demons) within us. (We can think of this metaphor as good thoughts over bad thoughts, our shadow self vs. our enlightened self).
In jyotish, Jupiter is considered the most benefic planet and he brings us our blessings, graces, knowledge, expansion, wealth and wisdom wherever he is placed. He gives support and nourishment to the houses he looks at (his drishti) and helps us overcome the obstacles that come to us. He can also give luck and wealth. Jupiter shows us our values, where our “expansion of self” is directed and what we put importance on. Jupiter gives life, contentment and joy which arises from sattva (purity). Jupiter is literally the manifestation of the Divine and gives us our knowledge, truth and understanding.
When the Atma Karaka is Jupiter, the soul purpose is expansion. There is a strong affinity for knowledge, growth, increased awareness and personal expansion. You will need to learn to be open to other people’s needs, opinions and thoughts, while always respecting the teacher, guru, and those that give knowledge and wisdom. Respect the husband/spouse, father and children as these are big teachers for you and help expand your awareness and enlightenment. Follow a guru that is connected to an ancient lineage and has strong knowledge sources, only pure, sattvic knowledge will suffice.
Your Atma Karaka is Sun, or Surya in Sanskrit. The Sun is responsible for giving light energy so that all things can grow and prosper, however, too much light and the Sun burns and scorches. Sun represents resources and the things we need to survive as well as the soul. It is the light within us that guides our lives. The soul is what insures there is life- if the soul is not happy, the body grows sick and dies. In Jyotish, the Sun represents father, king, rank and position, power and authority, respect and rulership. The Sun will give us dharma (the proper path to follow). Traditionally, the father is supposed to help guide the child on their path of dharma. Father is responsible for instilling self-esteem, and ultimately gives the spark of life via his sperm. The Sun is also responsible for illuminating the Moon through his reflection. Together Sun and Moon represent God and Goddess who create life and our experienced reality. The Sun represents spirituality and will show us our relationship to spirituality in this life. Sun brings the light, showing us truth, sattya. The Sun is the most regular planet and the one that sets the pace of time through days, seasons and bio-rhythms.
When Sun is the the Atma Karaka, power and authority are important. There is a value and deep respect for those who hold high-level positions as well as for masculine energy. These people need to learn the lessons about power and authority- that power is not everything. With great power, comes great responsibility. The lessons in this life are highly influenced by ego, overcoming karmas associated with ego and working with humility and compassion are paramount.
Mars (also Mangal or Kuja) is a warrior planet (Kshatriya) by nature. He is cruel, aggressive, forces things, is inconsiderate, hasty, Pitta (fire) constitution, easily angered and hot. He carries forward actions of the King (Sun) and has a soldier mentality. Mars is a Tamas planet, does not think, he just carries out the orders he has been given. His job is to protect and thus he is naturally related to people like soldiers, policeman and guards. Since Mars is connected to the element of fire, on the internal level, he is connected to agni- or stomach fire and digestion. Health of the body is maintained when food is properly digested and toxins are eliminated; Mars is essential for strong health, but can also bring problems with excess fire and heat. He regulates energy levels of the body (digestion transforms food into life giving resources) as well as the regulation of body tissues (dhatus) and nerve tissues and nervous system. Excess heat in the physical body can bring a myriad of disorders, however, mentally, this creates a need to control outcomes and situations. Faith and trust are a huge part of taming this forceful fire nature.
Mars, or Kuja, is considered “of the earth” and is thus a personification of the Earth as Ma, the Great Mother (think Kali Ma). As a result Mars relates to land, earth, property as well as the protector of these significators. However, Mars is associated with the Rudras (storm gods) as well as violence and violent acts that bring harm- through fire, cutting, bleeding, tearing and killing. However, this Mars behavior can be positive for actions that require penetrating thoughts, skills with cutting, physical prowess, mechanical tendencies, depth and research. Surgeries, occult knowledge, martial arts, things and situations that require cutting or force can be aided with the help of Mars. He deals with matters of the earth plane (bhumi loka).
Mars Atma Karaka individuals need to manage their temper, aggression and anger. They are here to learn more about ahimsa (non-harming) and need to create a life for themselves free of killing and competition. Learning to be playful and spontaneous is helpful. Keeping life light and carefree is essential, a lifestyle that smooths out the harsh rigidity of the Mars tendencies.