JOURNAL
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by Nalini Kanta Das

On Selecting a Travel Muhurtha

Frequently astrologers select or are asked about favorable times to depart on a journey. Below are two options I could consider for my recent trip out West – one being Virgo rising and the other Libra rising. It is somewhat of a simple choice, but involved enough that I also consulted the chapter in B. V. Raman’s Muhurtha book on travel, beginning on p. 164. 

Virgo lagna, North chart
Virgo lagna, South chart

OR THIS CHART?

Libra lagna, North chart
Libra lagna, South chart

With the Virgo-rising chart, Mercury, the ruler of the chart or Ascendant (which I always give prime consideration to) goes to the second house of family, wealth, food, and visuals (including darshan).  The purpose of the trip was to see clients, speak to them in person, and deal with some family business, as well as to visit Temples.


Mercury is with the lords of the 8th and the 12th, however, which is far from perfect.  Plus, Rahu and debilitated Jupiter aspect the Ascendant.  Yet Venus, the best lord for Virgo lagna, is in the fourth house of association, housing, and the mental state. According to page 170 in Muhurtha, Venus in the fourth house can help make a journey easy and peaceful.

The other alternative, Libra rising, has in its favor the fact that an air sign rises, and we flew cross-country; the lord of the ninth house of long journeys is in the Ascendant (albeit afflicted), and Jupiter is in a quadrant.

But the first house is the house of the body, and the debilitated Sun, an enemy when Libra rises, is therein and with Mars, the ruler of houses of disease, namely 2 and 7. And to a degree, the Ascendant lord, Venus, is in a somewhat hidden house.


I take as the chart of the journey the time that I leave from the front door and say, “Hare Krishna, I’m leaving on my journey now.” It’s important not to then reenter the house; otherwise, it can affect the journey in a backward way.


Panchang factors are important for any muhurtha. In this case, it was a Mars day, a Tuesday (before sunrise on Wednesday). It was the seventh tithi of the waxing Moon under gara-karana and gandha-yoga, and the star with Libra rising could have been Shravan instead of Uttarashada.  Consider all the factors; research what the 7th tithi means, what Mars’ influence signifies, etc. But the essential chart at the time is most important, for any activity, be it travel, investing, marriage, etc. 

I chose Virgo rising because I wanted a good Venus in the fourth house with a waxing Moon in five, which would yield better company and better states of mind on the journey.  Chanting and reading (5th house and Mercury) were important to me on this week away from my office.  Also, Venus and Jupiter would both be in quadrants and trines. The fifth house would be stronger. Venus was aspecting the tenth, and it’s said with many muhurtha choices, that a good fourth house can lead to a better conclusion or “feeling” about the whole project. 


Plus, with my health and age issues, I didn’t want the Sun and Mars tenanting the lagna. Instead, they went to the second house which can cause illness but is not as serious as house 1.  Malefics in 2 were unavoidable as it was an expensive trip, with flights, hotels, rental cars, time away from work, etc. 


In the end we got all our purposes and work done, met clients and friends, saw a great show by Sting, ate at Samosa House, had four different divine darshans, and returned home safely.  It was one of the better trips out of the thousands I have taken in life.


It was a choice between leaving just before 5 a.m., with Jupiter rising in the navamsa and a vargottama lagna, or leaving at 5:10 a.m. with a better nakshatra and air sign. I liked the way it all turned out. 


Perhaps the main lessons are to consider different charts and factors, in order of relevance to the specific purpose and desires of the client; and put the benefics in benefic places. B.V. Raman comments that if there are no especially good choices for any muhurtha, try to get a good Jupiter and/or Venus influencing the Ascendant, and in this case, with Virgo rising, Jupiter aspected the lagna, and the lagna lord, Mercury, was in the sign of Venus. 
 

Naturally, the direction you’re going should also be considered, and with Virgo rising, the planets of the west and southwest, Saturn and Rahu, were both favorable (svavarga and exalted) in houses 5 and 9. The trip was to Los Angeles, so that was another important consideration I didn’t overlook.

 
Try to apply benefic, strong planets related to the main house in question. For a long journey, the ruler of the 9th house (Venus in this case) should be well-positioned to bring success.  If no time of the necessary day for a muhurtha appeals to you, select NOON (a time of victory) as the inauguration time.  Or try to do important things under great stars like Ashvini or Pushya (excepting marriage), or on especially powerful days like Akshaya Trittiya or on a Thursday morning under Guru-pushyamrta yoga, or on an auspicious holy, full Moon day like Gaura Purnima. 

I hope this brief lesson is useful to you. 

Nalini Kantha Das (aka Tom Hopke) is a Vedic astrologer who has practiced actively since the 1970’s. He has produced two extremely well-received books, How to Read Your Horoscope and The Divine Path of Prediction. Nalini is a highly regarded teacher, noted for the clarity of his workshops and his personal humility. His experience in this field is vast and he is considered one of the foremost Vedic Astrologers in the West.