The Pancha Mahapurusha’s defining principle is straightforward: the five classical planets, excluding the stars Sun & Moon and shadow planets Rahu & Ketu, when placed in their own sign or exaltation and also in an angular house (1,4,7,10) create a noble personality, a Maha Purusha or Great Soul. Classical Rishis do not include trinal houses in this status, though the fifth and ninth houses are also excellent placements for uccha or swakshetra planets. The Pancha Mahapurushas give results according to their nature, though Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra in particular describes extra qualities that add unexpected insight.
Parashara does not list the PMP among Raja or miscellaneous planetary Yogas, but rather gives them as ‘Characteristic Features of Mahapurushas’, in the context of the five planetary elements, the pancha tattvas. Yet Mantreshwara, Sarvali and Varahamihira each give PMP the status of Yogas, with Mantreshwara in particular stating that they can, and should, also be read from the Moon (Chandra lagna). Yogas in Vedic astrology typically involve combinations of more than one planet, but rather than combinations of house lords, the PMP are in effect yogas involving planet, sign and house. Mercury (Bhadra Yog) is learned and eloquent, Venus (Malavya Yog) artistic and luxury loving, Mars (Ruchaka Yog) powerful and warlike, Jupiter (Hamsa Yog) generous and regal, and Saturn (Sasha Yog) fearful yet wise and disciplined.
Each of the five planets qualifies for PMP yoga in three signs, except Mercury which both owns and exalts in Virgo. So with an approximately 25% chance of having a planet either exalted or at home, and a further 33% chance that those one-in-four planets are also angular, altogether 8% of charts have a PMP yoga - one in twelve: apt. Are one-in-twelve people really Great Souls? The 'actuarial' approach to astrology demands more stringent analysis for the PMP, as one would with any planet or yoga, to see if they deliver on their promise. These five planets are strong by definition, though there are many variables: rather than say the PMP are not present in charts which otherwise conform, we recognize certain combinations deliver greater power than others. Varahamihira says of this: ‘Men with mixed characteristics [specifically, when the natal Sun and Moon are weak] do not become kings, but they become happy in the Dasha periods of the planets concerned’.
These features give additional strength:
Yogakaraka planets – ie, Venus, Saturn, Mars – get extra strength for certain ascendants.
Planets with digbala, or directional strength – Saturn in the West, Jupiter in the East, Mars in the South, Venus in the North, Mercury in the East – become extra strong in their particular quadrant.
Other aspects and associations with the PMP planet, good or bad, Shadbala strength.
Planets in Bala or Mrita Avastha do not deliver their full strength.
Does the PMP planet remain angular by Bhava Chalit?
Repeat from Chandra lagna (Mantreshwara)
Strength of Sun & Moon (Varahamihira).
Also, the Marana Karaka Sthan, whereby Saturn in the first and Mars and Mercury in the seventh house are weak. And Kendra Dipathi Dosha, which states benefics are badly placed when ruling angles. This plays into the very definition of MPM yogas, but as always, it does not do to take classical Jyotish readings too literally. Every case should be reviewed on its merits, but a MPM yoga which makes additional Raja Yoga produces especially outstanding results. This is simple commonsense.
Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra Chapter 75:
3-7 The Ruchaka native possesses a long face, he is very enthusiastic, has spotless lustre, is powerful, has attractive brows, black hair and is fond of all things. He loves to fight wars, is of dark-red complexion, is victorious over enemies, is discriminating, is protector of thieves and has cruel temperament and slender thighs. He is a devotee of Brahmins, has marks of Veena, Varg, Dhanus, Pasha and Vrasha Rāśis in his hands along with Chakr Rekha. He is well versed in occult sciences. He is 100 Anguls in height, his waist has the circumference, equal to the length of his face and is 1000 Karshas in weight. He, as ruler of Sahyachala and Vindhya Pradesh, dies, after attaining the age of 70, by fire or weapons.
Snoop Dogg 20 10 1971, 18:20, Los Angeles
Snoop Dogg isn’t an obvious Great Soul, but his two MPYs, Ruchaka and Malvya tell the rapper’s signature rags-to-riches tale. Chart lord Mars is stronger for having digbala in the 10th house and for being precisely on its degree of exaltation, 28° Capricorn. Despite his lawless public image (Rahu also in the 10th), Snoop’s personal charm and worldly wisdom defy easy preconceptions. He exemplifies Ruchaka Yoga’s association with thieves, and Snoop has maintained his high profile through his many arrests and deportations. No less an eminence than dream-team lawyer Johnny Cochran defended Snoop successfully on his 1993 murder trial.
Supermodel Kate Moss has a powerful Mars in Aries in the 10th house, and some of her past relationships may have made her the ‘protector of thieves’. Muhammad Ali’s Mars is his defining planet, and is yogakaraka for Cancer ascendant, in mooltrikona (Aries). It is also angular from his Moon. Set against this is Mars’s conjunction with debilitated Saturn in the 10th – Ali faced many setbacks in his career before emerging as the universally beloved Champion, while his 'love of fighting wars' was a large factor in his later declining health. He did not know when to stop.
Adolf Hitler with Mars in Aries in the seventh is another classic Ruchaka Yoga. Cruel and warmongering, he was also fascinated with occult studies. While we do not have Joseph Stalin’s birthtime, Mars rising in Scorpio would seem an apt signature.
BPHS 8-12: The Bhadra native is splendorous, like a lion, has very developed chest (or chest with well developed muscles), has the gait of an elephant, has long and thick arms, is learned in all respects. He is well versed in Yog performance, is Sattva-Guni and has beautiful feet, moustaches and head. He is fond of luxuries and comforts and has marks of Sankha (conch), Chakr, Gada, arrow, elephant, Dhwaja (flag) and Hala (plough) in his hands and feet. He is well versed in Shastras, has black and curly hair, possesses independent nature and is protector of his family. His friends share in the enjoyment of his wealth. He is 20 tulas in weight. He lives happily with his wife and children and, as ruler of Madhya Desha, lives for one hundred years.
Bhadra means 'gentleman', and this placement confers intellect and refinement. Leonard Cohen’s Mercury in Virgo has digbala in the first house, with no malefic aspects. He exemplified the wit and wisdom of Bhadra Yoga –he was an ordained Buddhist monk - and his musical career began at age 33, a year before Mercury reached its full power. Surprisingly perhaps, he has always remained clean-shaven.
Cat Stevens 21/7/1947, 12pm, London
Cat Stevens has Mercury in Gemini in the tenth house making Raja Yoga with Venus, and Bhadra Yoga is signalled by his black curly hair and ever-present moustache. Stevens was one of the defining songwriters of his generation, and like Leonard Cohen, fulfils Bhadra Yoga’s promise of being well-versed in Shastras (scripture), to the extent that he gave up music for radical Islam in 1979. His attitude eventually softened and he returned to performing at the end of his doctrinaire Jupiter dasha in 1998.
The Dalai Lama has the twinkling Mercury rising in Gemini personality, is well-versed in shastras, and his activism on behalf of Tibet may be said to ‘protect his family’. Bhadra Yoga is not always so urbane, however: Kiss frontman Gene Simmons embodies the salesman and self-publicizing side of Mercury rising in Virgo. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sean Connery.
BPHS: 13-16. The Hamsa native has voice like a Hamsa (Swan), has a handsome appearance and well developed nose. He is a king with phlegmatic temperament, honey-like tawny-coloured eyes, red-coloured nails, sharp intelligence, sturdy cheeks, round forehead and beautiful feet. He has marks of Matsya (fish), Ankush (the iron hook, with which elephants are driven), Dhanus (bow), Sankh, Kamal (lotus) in his hands and feet. He is very passionate and his lust remains unfulfilled. He is 96 Anguls in height. He is fond of swimming and playing games in watery places. He enjoys life fully and, as ruler of a land, situated between the Ganges and Yamuna, dies after attaining the age of 100 years.
Hamsa is a swan, and refers to the carrier of Ma Saraswati, Devata of Wisdom. Mythologist Joseph Campbell had Jupiter as part of a seventh house Pisces stellium, and his Upanishads-inspired saying, 'Follow your bliss' has become a defining New Age mantra. Jupiter is aspected by all the malefics, is heavily combust and in proximity to its enemy, debilitated Mercury, and Campbell received criticism for his supposedly loose scholarship and sloganeering. Yet his chart is an apt signature for the proponent of the Archetypal Hero.
Joseph Campbell, 26/3/1904, 19:24pm, New York
Fantasy writer Neil Gaiman has Jupiter in Sagittarius in his seventh house, with Venus and Saturn. He has three children with his first wife, and since 2011 has been married to his second wife Amanda Palmer, who is LGBT. She has spoken openly about how she and Gaiman negotiate their non-monogamous relationship: "Our relationship is open, and the openness is grounded in total honesty with one another. We both like things this way.” Whether this is a way for Gaiman to address Hamsa Yoga’s ambiguous promise of ‘unfulfilled lust’ or simply a modern and convenient arrangement, is unclear.
Rock'n'Roll sisters Stevie Nicks (Jupiter in Sagittarius in the 10th) and Chrissie Hynde (Jupiter in Pisces in the 7th) both have Hamsa Yoga. Stevie Nicks' ruling planet Jupiter also makes a powerful Gaja Kasari Yoga, and though she has no children of her own, "My mission maybe wasn't to be a mom and a wife; maybe my particular mission was to write songs to make moms and wives feel better." Moon in the 10th is Mother to the World.
George VI - Known equally for stammer and his accession to the throne after the abdication crisis of 1936, the former Prince Albert had Jupiter in Cancer in the 10th plus Venus rising with Saturn in Libra. Mantreshwara says a man with three Mahapurusha Yogas ‘will become a king’. George VI’s great-grandson Prince Harry has Jupiter rising in Sagittarius, and seems entirely comfortable in his role as the modern face of the British Monarchy.
BPHS: 17-19. The Malavya native has beautiful lips and a slender waist. He is lustrous, like Candr, and has fragrance in his body. He is of ordinary red complexion, has a medium stature and clean and beautiful teeth. His voice is like that of an elephant and his arms are long enough to reach up to his knees. His face is thirteen Anguls in length and ten Anguls in breadth. He lives happily for seventy years, as ruler of Sindhu and Malwa, and then leaves for his heavenly abode.
Keith Richards, 18/12/1943, 06:00am, Dartford UK
Keith Richards has Venus rising in Libra, which defines his debauched lifestyle and personal charm – Mr Elegantly Wasted is increasingly like a camp theatre luvvie, with his Art School cockney, while his Hollywood dental work fits Malavya Yoga’s description of ‘clean and beautiful teeth’. A strong lagna lord also gives essential good health which, ironically, has been a life-saver through all Richards’ years of excess.
William Lilly’s Venus in Taurus is yogakaraka and also gets digbala in the fourth house, and ‘England’s Merlin’ fulfils the patriotic side of Malavya Yoga. Yet Venus is both heavily combust and under an exact glance from Saturn, which give a clue to Lilly’s mixed fortunes in marriage. This same Venus-Saturn opposition makes a powerful Lakshmi Yoga, however, and Lilly made a good living during the English Civil War, consulting dozens of clients every day, both Royalist and Parliamentarian.
Apostle of Peace Mahatma Gandhi had Venus rising in Libra. Soccer superstars David Beckham (Venus rising in Taurus) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Venus in Pisces in the 4th) share Malavya yoga. Both have good teeth!
BPHS: 20-22. The Sasa native has small sized teeth and face, but his body is not small. He is valorous. He has a slender waist and beautiful thighs. He is wise and enjoys wandering in forests and mountains. He is well versed in the loopholes of the enemy. He is lively, virile and fond of women. He usurps other people’s wealth. He has marks of Mala (garland), Veena, Mridanga (musical instruments) and weapons in his hands and feet. He rules happily over several parts of the earth and then leaves for his heavenly abode at the age of 70.
‘Sasa’ is a rabbit, and the yoga refers to this creature’s timid nature. A powerful, angular Saturn has a fearful, security-first approach to life, at very least before the Saturn return. These natives get good value for their efforts, however, and go on to become great successes or authorities in their field: ‘Be nice to geeks, because you’ll probably end up working for one’.
Katy Perry: 25/10/1984, 07:58, Santa Barbara
Katy Perry has Saturn rising as part of a stellium in Libra. The pop princess had a humble, strictly Christian upbringing, and honed her singing, acting and dancing skills during her Saturn mahadasha – coincidentally up to age 29! Saturn is very close to its enemy the Moon (vishyoga), which describes the disciplined way Perry has approached her career, though it makes relationship happiness harder to come by.
Leading Bollywood actor Salman Khan has Sasha Yoga, with Saturn rising in Aquarius. He has just been sentenced to five years in prison for a twenty-year old conviction for big-game poaching. Saturn rules his twelfth house of confinement, with transiting Saturn due to cross his Capricorn stellium including the Moon over the next three years. He is currently in his difficult Saturn-Rahu dasha, and may be looking for freedom come Saturn-Jupiter in 2020.
Barack Obama, Jane Fonda, Woody Allen, Quincy Jones.