The detailed version of this article is featured in the book ‘Pitra Dosh – Ancestors are Calling (Revised Edition 2020).
What is Pitra Dosh / Pitra Dosham?
The literal meaning of Pitra is ancestor or ancestors and the literal meaning of dosh is defect. By combining these two terms; we can reach an idea that the name Pitra Dosh suggests some type of defect which has some kind of relationship with the ancestors. Once we reach this conclusion, the process of finding such relationship begins and different finders come up with different definitions. In some cases, this process gives us the proper definition of defects like Pitra Dosh at early stages whereas in some other cases; this process gives us confusing or completely inappropriate definitions of such terms.
Karmic Debt of the Lineage
We all inherit a number of good as well as bad things from our family lines, in different percentages. Speaking about such things, we may inherit in different percentages from our family lines; our faces, our body structures, the tendency to be lean or fat, short or tall, specific types of immunities, vulnerabilities to certain specific diseases as well as immunity towards certain specific diseases; blood groups, residences, wealth; properties, debts, good name, bad name and so many other such things. Likewise, we may inherit habits or personality traits like creativity, anger, kindness, cruelty, patience, impulsiveness, being spiritual or material in approach; and many other good and bad things, qualities and traits.
In the same way, we inherit from our family lines, in different percentages, a carry forward of their good or bad karmas performed in certain specific domains. For instance, if your father and grandfather have repeatedly engaged in bad Karmas related to women in your family as well as those related to women in general, they carry the debt formed by these bad karmas which fall in the domain of Venus; since women in general are ruled by Venus. As you are born in this family line, you may carry a part of this debt formed by their bad karmas; and this debt reflects as Pitra Dosh in your horoscope. To be precise, it reflects as Pitra Dosh formed by Venus in your horoscope.
Nine Types of Pitra Dosh
Similarly, there are eight other types of Pitra Doshas and nine in total; formed by each one of the nine planets or Navagraha. Based on what type of karmic debt your ancestors have created, if they have done so to start with; Pitra Dosh may be formed in your horoscope by one, two or even more than two planets. Such Pitra Dosh can trouble you in many different ways which we will discover later on; and the root cause of such troubles is likely to be the significances of the planet which causes such Pitra Dosh. Now that we have achieved clarity on this topic, let’s try to look at the actual meaning of Pitra Dosh; which may originally have been mentioned in our ancient Vedic scriptures.
Angry Pitras or Cursed Pitras?
If Pitra Dosh is formed in your horoscope, it does not mean that your Pitras are cursing you; it means that your Pitras are themselves cursed; and a part of this curse or karmic debt has been forwarded to you through inheritance. Yes, Pitra Dosh is an inheritance of karmic debt of the family line and you have to accept it, whether or not you want to. It means that Pitra Dosh is not the kind of inheritance like money or wealth which you may refuse to accept. Pitra Dosh is the kind of inheritance like the good or bad name of your ancestors or like their genetic strengths and weaknesses; which you simply can’t choose to reject. If your father was awarded with a badge for bravery as he served his country selflessly; this is what you receive as inheritance whether or not you want to. It means people may treat you with respect because you are the son of this father who did so much good for his country. Likewise, the son of a traitor may be disrespected by people in general; and such son has no say in it.
Karmic Debt of the Ancestors
Hence Pitra Dosh indicates the karmic debt accumulated by your ancestors; and a part of this accumulation has been forwarded to you. Moving on, just like the son of a martyr can end up losing all the respect by virtue of his own bad karmas; the son of a traitor can also end up earning respect; by virtue of his own good karmas. It means that even if Pitra Dosh is formed in a horoscope; it can be cleared with good as well as specifically guided karmas, which need to be performed by the native. When he does that, not only the native is relieved, but his ancestors are also relieved of their debts, in the proportion of the good karmas done by the native. If people hate your father for being a traitor; you serve great value to your country, and people start respecting you a lot; is it now possible for these people to hate your father with same quantum? The answer as we understand is no.
This karmic transfer of good or bad deeds in not one way and it is a two way process. It means that if good or bad karmas done by your ancestors will affect you through good or bad yogas like Pitra Dosh; the good or bad karmas done by you will influence them also; in whichever worlds they may be living. If you have served your country extremely well and you have earned the greatest formal honor as well as the love of the people of your country; the people simply can’t hate your father or grandfather for their bad deeds, the same way as they did before. This is because you are born in the same family; you have done so much good; and you have earned so much love as well as respect, which means so much positive energy. A part of this positive energy will be transferred to your ancestors also and it will now become difficult for the people to hate them with the same intensity; like they did before. Looking at a simple one, your father broke something that belonged to someone; and you fixed that thing or did even more good than merely fixing that thing. The other party simply can’t stay offended with your father in the same way now. The same theory holds good for Pitra Dosh and for two way transfer of good or bad energy between us and our ancestors.
Therefore, if Pitra Dosh is formed in your horoscope, it means that your ancestors are under some type of karmic debt and you are also carrying a part of that karmic debt. It further means that your ancestors are not cursing you but they are themselves cursed due to their karmic debt. Hence the remedial approach in this case is not to pray to them or offer them things; but to understand the specific type of karmic debt by knowing the type of Pitra Dosh you have; and then try to clear it as much as you can. It’s like the bad name earned by your traitor father won’t be reduced in quantum; even if you go to his grave and offer flowers every day. In order to relieve him of such bad name; you will need to create more good than the bad he did; and then you may feel him relieved.
How to Break the Chain of Pitra Dosh?
This is why in Vedic cultures; good children are considered as the best blessings whereas bad children are considered as the worst punishments; since they can change the flow of your entire family line. It means a bad son born in a family line can train his son to be bad; such son may train his son or daughter to be bad and this process may continue for many generations; forming more and more karmic debt on the family line. Such karmic debt further creates stronger and stronger Pitra Doshas of various types with each passing generation until this chain is broken in some generation and the rectification process is started by a good son or daughter born in such family line. Likewise, a good son born in a family line can educate his children to be good, who can educate their children to be good and this chain continues; earning more and more karmic rewards for the family line. Such karmic rewards may spell into good or very good yogas in the horoscopes of the members of this family line; and they may bless them with beautiful things.
How is Pitra Dosh Formed in Horoscope?
Now that we have attained clarity about Pitra Dosh and its relevance in our lives; let’s see how Pitra Dosh is formed in a horoscope. The Sun among planets is the giver of all forms of life, it is considered as the seed of a child and it represents the entire lineage of ancestors; as its general significance. It means that Sun will generally signify the ancestors; in each and every horoscope. When it comes to specific significances for the ancestors; the ninth house of every horoscope deals with father; forefathers and ancestors. Knowing this much; it can be guessed that any type of malefic influence on these factors signifying the ancestors will form Pitra Dosh. Let’s now look at the formal definition of Pitra Dosh.
If in a horoscope; the Sun, the ninth house or the Lord of the ninth house is afflicted by one or more than one malefic planet; Pitra Dosh is formed in such horoscope. For example, if Aries is rising as ascendant in a horoscope, Sun is placed in fourth house of this horoscope in Cancer and malefic Ketu is placed in ninth house in Sagittarius; Pitra Dosh is formed in this horoscope by Ketu. Malefic Ketu placed in ninth house will afflict it and hence it will form Pitra Dosh in the horoscope. Like this, each one of the nine planets including Sun; can be malefic in a horoscope; afflict the ninth house and form Pitra Dosh. Considering another formation; if Aries is the ascendant rising and Sun is placed in fourth house in Cancer along with malefic Mercury; Pitra Dosh is formed in the horoscope; since Sun has been afflicted by Mercury. Looking at another possibility; if Aries is the ascendant rising in a horoscope; Jupiter being the Lord of the ninth house is placed in the fifth house in Leo along with malefic Saturn; Pitra Dosh is formed by Saturn; due to its affliction to Jupiter.
Three Methods of Formation of Pitra Dosh
- Direct affliction to ninth house
- Affliction to the Sun
- Affliction to the lord of the ninth house
These are the three methods by which Pitra Dosh can be formed in a horoscope. Among these three methods; Pitra Dosh formed by direct affliction to the ninth house is the most troublesome one in general; whereas Pitra Doshas formed due to affliction to Sun and to the Lord of the ninth house are relatively less troublesome in general.
Calculating the Strength of Pitra Dosh
Once the formation of Pitra Dosh in a horoscope is confirmed, the next step is to calculate its strength. The strength of Pitra Dosh is calculated through the placement of the planets involved in the formation of this defect; in various houses, signs, nakshatras and navamshas; as well as through the influences of other benefic and malefic planets on Pitra Dosh. After that, the field of impact of Pitra Dosh is calculated through the placement of this defect in various houses of horoscope. Then the overall theme of the horoscope is assessed. Apart from this, the timing of activation as well as the timing of impact of Pitra Dosh is calculated. The timing of impact is calculated with the help of planetary periods of the planets involved in the formation of Pitra Dosh. Once we have done all this, we know what type of Pitra Dosh is formed in the horoscope, what its net strength is, which areas of the life it is going to attack and what the timing of impact of such Pitra Dosh is going to be.
How Does Pitra Dosh Work in a Horoscope?
Let’s now try to understand the working of Pitra Dosh in a horoscope, with the help of an example. Suppose, benefic retrograde Jupiter is placed in the first house of a horoscope in Pisces along with Sun, malefic Saturn is placed in ninth house in Scorpio, forming Pitra Dosh; benefic Mars is placed in sixth house in Leo and the rest of the horoscope varies. The basic setup of this horoscope suggests that Pitra Dosh formed in this horoscope can primarily trouble the native with problems related to his father’s health and life, the profession of this native and the health of the native himself. Let’s further suppose that the strength of such Pitra Dosh is about 70%. This Pitra Dosh is formed by Saturn and it will try to cause damage to the already mentioned spheres. Whichever of these spheres have grace saving factors, they will suffer less damage; whichever have no grace saving and no aggravating factors; they will receive due damage; and whichever have no grace saving factors but they have aggravating factors; they will receive maximum damage through this Pitra Dosh.
For instance, if benefic Moon is placed in the tenth house of this horoscope in Sagittarius, malefic Ketu is placed in sixth house with Mars, forming Pitra Dosh; and a malefic combination of Rahu and Mercury is placed in twelfth house in Aquarius, here is what may happen. Considering the profession of this native first; tenth house of the horoscope primarily deals with profession; and the presence of benefic Moon in this house will boost its significances. Apart from this, benefic Jupiter being the Lord of the tenth house as well as being the Lord of the first house is placed in first house in Pisces, which means it is strong. Since these two factors are serving as grace saving factors for the profession of this native; Pitra Dosh formed in this horoscope may not cause much damage to his profession. It is the time to note that any planet which reduces the impact of a malefic planet or a malefic defect like Pitra Dosh, is called grace saving factor for that horoscope. Since this horoscope has two grace saving factors for profession; the profession of this native is in a safer zone.
Moving on, as far as the health of this native is concerned, the presence of benefic Jupiter in first house in Pisces will serve as a grace saving factor. Though the presence of benefic Mars in sixth house in Leo should also serve as a grace saving factor; since sixth house deals with diseases among other things; it may not be of much help in reality. This is because the presence of malefic Ketu in the same house will cause affliction to the sixth house as well as to Mars, forming Pitra Dosh; since Mars is the Lord of the ninth house in this horoscope. Hence we have one grace saving factor and one aggravating factor when it comes to the health of this native. It is the time to know that any planet which tries to increase the impact of a malefic planet or defect like Pitra Dosh, is called an aggravating factor for that horoscope. Based on this analysis; the native should face problems related to his health though such problems should not become serious till late in his life; as Jupiter is present as a grace saving factor.
When it comes to the father of this native, it is the primary target of such Pitra Dosh since it is formed in the ninth house. On top of that, another Pitra Dosh is being formed in sixth house where Ketu afflicts the Lord of ninth house, which is Mars. Looking at a grace saving factor, benefic Jupiter may try to provide strength to Sun present along with it; but this may not provide much help. This is because Sun is placed in Pisces which doesn’t give it extra strength like Aries, Leo or Sagittarius. At the same time; Mars is in a troublesome situation as well as in a difficult to handle house; the sixth house. Based on this analysis; it can be said that the Pitra Dosh formed by Saturn and Ketu in this horoscope is going to attack the father of this native; since there is not much defence against it. Hence this native may lose his father in different ways; depending on the time of activation of Pitra Dosh as well as on the horoscope of his father.
Remedies for Pitra Dosh
After understanding Pitra Dosh, let’s now look at the remedies which can be used to reduce the strength of this defect in a horoscope. Vedic astrology uses remedies like Poojas, gemstones, donations and yantras to reduce the malefic impact of defects like Pitra Dosh. In general, Pitra Dosh Nivaran Pooja is performed to rectify this defect in a horoscope.
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