Vedic Astrology & Palmistry

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Karma: dridha vs adridha

April 4th, 2016 · 3 Comments · Astrology, Instruction, Karma

karma cafeKarma: dridha vs adridha 

As astrologers we often grapple with notions of fate versus free will. The very premise of astrological prediction implies we’re capable of reading something in a client’s chart that says: this will happen, this won’t. Whether we call that fate, destiny or karma is just semantics. The tacit understanding of Jyotish is that your life is to some degree predestined and, if a seer is capable of reading your chart, then you too can know your future.

In the West, we’re less inclined to say que sera sera and blithely accept the cards we’re dealt. Rather we think, if I want it badly and work hard enough, my dream will come true – not because it’s written in the stars, but because I shaped my life according to my will.

The truth for most people lies somewhere in between, but probably closer to the notion of fate than the strong-willed would like to believe.

Karma is complicated, which is why Gandhi said, “After God created karma, He retired.” In fact, karma comes in several forms.

Sanchita karma is the accumulated store of all actions, good and bad, performed by your reincarnating soul through all of its multiple lifetimes. Prarabdha karma is that which has matured and is now ready to be experienced in this individual life. Agama karma is merely thinking about doing something. Kriyamana karma is actually doing something.

Individual charts are incredibly diverse. Where one person’s chart may say they will never experience a happy relationship, no matter how beautiful, wealthy or smart they might be, another’s chart may promise undying love in this lifetime, never mind how unattractive or poor they might be.

karma 14When all signs in the chart point to success in a matter, the person is buoyed along by a current that carries him to its natural destination. When all signs point to failure, the person swims against a current that will never allow him to reach his destination.

Consider three men of equal physique standing on the bank of a wide river. On the other side lies a jetty giving access to a town where all of life’s prizes are available for the taking – relationship, career, wealth, fame, and so on.

One man steps into the water. For him, the current is negligible, and he swims straight across the river, mounts the jetty and enters the village in casual triumph to take his choice of the available prizes.

The second man dives into the river. For him, the current is brisk, but he aims for a point on the opposite shore well upstream of the jetty. Despite the river’s downstream pull, his steady efforts transport him as well to the jetty on the opposite shore. Exhausted but dogged, he staggers into town to claim what prizes remain.

The third man plunges into the river. For him, the current is a tidal force, and it’s all he can do to keep his head above water, never mind keep the jetty in sight. Between his unplanned trajectory and the river’s powerful drag, his violent thrashing only succeeds in helping him reach the safety of the opposite bank, but a mile downstream of the town. There are no prizes for him.

We are all destined to be swimmers, but we all face different rivers. In fact, we all face multiple rivers. For one, the river of relationship is calm, that of career is strong, that of children is dry, that of health conceals a whirlpool. For another person, river conditions could be all good, all bad, or haphazard.

Our physical body (including its mental and spiritual attributes) and the river we face is our prarabdha karma. Our plan on how to cross the river is agama karma. Our execution of that crossing is kriyamana karma.

When the bias is strong for success or failure, we call that dridha (fixed) karma. So if you have a robust physique and the river is calm, crossing it is a sure thing; if you’re weak and the river is raging, you’ll drown.

When there is no bias for either success or failure, we call that adridha (un-fixed) karma. So if you have a robust physique and the river is wild, the bookies give you even odds; likewise, if you’re weak and the river is calm.

karma-tipsEvery house in every chart has a pro-forma test for success or failure. Is the lord of that house strong, well-placed and supported by benefics, or is it weak, poorly-placed and afflicted by malefics? Is the house itself occupied or aspected by its own lord, by benefics or malefics? Is the karaka for that house strong or weak, well- or poorly-placed, influenced by benefics or malefics?

Some charts have everything going for them; some have nothing. More often than not, there’s a mix, and then we call it dridha/adridha, or fixed/unfixed karma. In some rivers, things go swimmingly without much thought or effort. In other rivers, you need to think before you jump in, which, incidentally, even includes the option of not jumping in at all.

Now that’s real free will.



Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. His New Age Noir crime novels (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00006]He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1 & 2, offer a wealth of time-tested techniques in the form of biographical profiles, analyses of world events, and technical essays. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.


You can find his books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Ben Craib

    I loved this and thought it was one the best and clearest expositions on the perennially misunderstood theme of karma.

  • c

    If the most part of our lives, our challenges that we faced are written, how can we condemn suicide for the people who experience tragedies after tragedies? For the people who have some heavily afflicted natal chart?

    • Alan

      To condemn another person implies judgement. Yet without walking in their shoes, how can we know how we might have responded in the same circumstances?