The word rāśi refers to a quantity of something, and is a measure of this quantity implying something tangible. It means a heap, mass or pile of anything. For example, dhana (wealth) rāśi can mean the quantum of wealth. It also means a group or multitude of beings like animals or men. It is a quantity indicated by a number. For example Vṛṣabha (bull) rāśi can mean a herd of bulls or cattle thereby referring to such a group of animals.
In jyotiṣa, it specifically refers to a sign of the zodiac which represents all of men, material and money that is measured by the quantum of degrees of longitude. As such the ecliptic is 360° and is composed of twelve rāśi each measuring 30° longitude. Now, when we divide 360° by 30°, we get 12 rāśi. Thus, if each rāśi is a measure of exactly 30°, then there can only be 12 such signs mathematically and any modern revision is not going to fit into this ancient fundamental jyotiṣa paradigm.
How did we get 30° for each sign? The Sun and Moon were observed to conjoin in the sky every 30 days. And it was observed that the average motion of the Sun is about 1° per day. Therefore, in 30 days the Sun would have moved ahead by 30°. This measure by which the Sun moved ahead between two conjunctions with the Moon is called a rāśi. It is a measure or quantity of degrees of solar motion between subsequent conjunctions with the Moon. Therefore these rāśi of 30° are called ‘Sun signs’ as they measure out the solar motion. The day the Sun enters a sign is called Saṅkrānti.
Most of these signs look like the creatures they represent. When a sign represents one creature, it is blessed not to have a flaw whereas when a sign represents two or more, it is said to have built in flaws. Seven of these twelve signs have flaws as taught in PJC Year-1.
Sūrya the Sun god, has manifested in twelve forms and these are the dvādasa (twelve) Āditya. The name Āditya is from their mother Aditi who gave birth to these Āditya who govern the twelve signs. Of these the greatest is Viṣṇu Āditya for He grants mokṣa and forgiveness from sins, good sleep and rejuvenation etc. The twelve āditya are Dhātṛ (Savitṛ), Aryaman, Mitra, Varuṇa, Indra, Vivasvat, Pūṣan, Parjanya, Aṅśumān, Bhaga, Tvaṣṭṛ and Viṣṇu in the order of the twelve signs.
- Kendra: The Cross - The word kendra (Sanskrit. केन्द्र) means that which is the center of something like a focus. As explained earlier, the concept of kendra was derived from the lunar tides and extended to the other planets. It was applied to the equinoxes at Aries-Libra and solstices at Cancer-Capricorn, which form the grand cross of the zodiac.
- Kṣetra - Etymology
The Sanskrit word क्षेत्र (kṣetra) means
landed property, land, soil as in kṣetrasya-pati meaning “lord of the land” and can refer to a kind of tutelary deity protecting the land. This can also be feminine as in kṣetrasya-patnī meaning “mistress of the soil” where the protector is feminine.
- Śloka 5 ½ - Whichever rāśi a particular division is in, the lord of the said division shall be the same as the rāśi it is mapped to.
This is the first fundamental principle taught by Parāśara.
Every rāśi of 30° can be divided into various divisions. These divisions of the sign are mapped into other signs based on certain criteria which was used for their creation. Normally there are equal divisions of a sign while at other times the divisions are of unequal size.
Consider the one-twelfth division of a sign.
- Kendra: Lotus Pond - Introduction
The chart is visualized as a pond of water which is the center of life for the city/village. It gives water that sustains life and irrigates the fields for food. It gives fishes which the village folk eat. Sometimes the pond has a huge bloom of beautiful lotus flowers which are offered to Lakshmi (goddess of Venus) as this goddess of good fortune loves the lotus. There is another deity who loves the lotus flower and that is Sūrya, the sun god. These planets Sun and Venus are the significators of the first and seventh house respectively.