Before we venture into describing the six sources of strengths, we need to know why there are six strengths, and why not more or less. The answer is simple – that’s because we have six weaknesses called ṣaḍripu. ṣaḍ means six and bala means strength while ripu means weakness.
The ṣaḍripu are kāma (lust), krodha (anger), mada (pride, conceit, intoxication), moha (delusion), lobha (greed) and matsara (envy, jealousy). Further, Saturn is the governor of weakness and also the significator of the duṣthāna (6th, 8th and 12th houses). Of these, the 6th house specifically deals with ṣaḍripu. Brahma, the devatā of Saturn is known from the strongest of the lords of the duṣthāna. Therefore the one deity who knows our weaknesses and the extent to which each of these exist is none other than our creator Brahma. And the one who is responsible for the manifestation of these weakness or for exposing them is Saturn in the form of a graha Śani (Sanskrit for Saturn).
Maharṣi Parāśara speaks of ṣaḍbala, six-fold strength which is composed of the following components:
- Sthāna Bala: Position Strength
- Dig Bala: Direction Strength
- Kāla Bala: Time Strength
- Cheṣṭā Bala: Effort (or Exertion) Strength
- Naisargika Bala: Natural strength
- Drik Bala: Aspect (or Vision) Strength
Is there a direct map between the six ṣaḍripu and the six ṣaḍbala? If so, then we need to know what this mapping between ṣaḍripu and ṣaḍbala is, and the manner in which it functions.
Just as we have Brahma, the deity of Saturn as the knower (or giver) of the ṣaḍripu, we have Śiva, the devatā of the Sun as the knower (or giver) of ṣaḍbala. In fact the auspicious name ‘Śiva’ means bala (strength). A study of ṣaḍbala is a study of the six aspects of Śiva as the giver of the six sources of strength to overcome our weaknesses.
Spiritual life is all about overcoming these six weaknesses that are present in the six chakra also called ṣaḍ-ādhāra chakra or the six manifestations. We need to study kuṇḍalini śaktī and the six forms of Śiva-Śaktī who are the essence of horā śāstra.
All mantra śaktī manifests through six seasons called ṣaḍṛtu which means six seasons but in reality, six spiritual seasons. These six spiritual seasons have different energy (śaktī) at different times of the day and year.
A study of the teachings of Parāśara must be done properly where each of the strengths are examined individually and then in totality. Most astrologers simply work through the math and then after the sum called ṣaḍbala is available, they merely state that a planet is strong or weak. Some even go a step further by prescribing gemstones for all weak planets and we find some poor souls walking around with six or seven gemstones of the graha in their fingers! Honestly, I don’t call them astrologers – they are gemstone dealers, who may have the best intention, but lack the fine judgment that comes with knowledge.