American Institute of Vedic Studies



Lord Vishnu and Vedic Astrology

Vishnu is the primary Devata for the Sun in Vedic thought, notably in the form of Surya-Narayana.  Narayana is the cosmic form of Vishnu who rules over the entire universe. The mantra – OM Namo Narayanaya! – is a mantra of sadhus and connects us with the supreme Consciousness. It can be used to draw in the Vishnu energy overall and harmonize all astrological and karmic influences.


The Sun is Vishnu as the supreme Purusha, which is said to dwell in the Sun in the Upanishads (Aditye Purusha). Yet Vishnu and Narayana are also related to the planet Mercury (Budha), particularly in its role as governing the Buddhi or higher intelligence and Dharma in general. Mercury is often regarded as the intelligence of the Sun or as his personal manifestation.


In this regard some Vedic astrologers may remember that the supreme Devata for the Sun in the traditional Jyotish list (Pratyadhi Devata) is Shiva. We have discussed Shiva and Vedic astrology in another article. Yet in terms of broader Jyotish texts and Puranic symbolism, Vishnu is more commonly related to the Sun, while Shiva also has connections with the Moon. This is because such universal Devatas have many levels of influence according to their different qualities and expressions.


Rigveda speaks of the seven half-embryos that move according to the laws of Vishnu, suggesting Vishnu as ruling the seven visible planets (RV I.164.36). To Vishnu is attributed the supreme abode in the highest Heaven (Paramam Padam), which is the source of all bliss that all the seers aspire to. In addition, Vishnu as Dhruva relates to the Pole Star which is the central unmoving point beyond the celestial sphere ruling all cosmic movements. Rigveda speaks of the four times ninety or 360 Names of Vishnu (RV I.155.6) as a revolving wheel or chakra, indicating one name of Vishnu for every degree of the Zodiac. This means that Vishnu is not only the Sun but the guiding intelligence of the universe as a whole, responsible for the structure of the cosmos.


Many Jyotish texts are Vaishnava in orientation, like the key foundation text Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra which emphasizes him. Many Vedic astrologers recommend chanting the Thousand Names of Vishnu (Vishnu Sahasranama from the Mahabharata) for countering planetary afflictions and to develop skill in chart interpretation.


Avatars of Vishnu


Vishnu is famous for his ten incarnations or avatars, the stories of which are described in different Puranas. These have planetary equivalents as outlined in the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra. Rama and Krishna as the Sun and the Moon are the prime Vishnu avatars. The tenth avatar Kalki, yet to come, is not part of the list.


Each avatar has its own special day during the year which is honored as its manifestation day (Jayanti). These are determined by the Hindu Panchanga, its months and tithis, which as lunar based vary slightly every year. We have listed these below according to the Hindu lunar month, waxing (shukla) or waning (krishna), and tithi or phase of the Moon at that time.


Sun——–Rama: Ram Navami, Chaitra Shukla Navami

Moon——Krishna: Krishna Janmashtami, Shravana Krishna Ashtami

Mars——-Narasimha (Man Lion): Vaishakha Shukla Chaturdashi

Mercury—–Buddha: Vaishakha Purnima (full Moon)

Jupiter——Vamana (Dwarf): Trivikrama, Bhadrapada Shukla Dwadashi

Venus——Parashurama: Vaishakha Shukla Tritiya 

Saturn——Kurma (Tortoise): Vaishakha Purnima (same as Buddha Purnima)

Rahu——-Varaha (Boar): Bhadrapada Shukla Tritiya (day before Ganesh Chaturthi)

Ketu——-Matsya (Fish): Chaitra Shukla Tritiya


Nakshatras and Vishnu


Many Nakshatras are associated with Vishnu, notably:


Shravana (10 00 – 23 20 Capricorn), his Trivikrama or Vamana form that is most prominent in Rigveda and noted in Puranic stories of Bali and Prahlad. Shravana is specifically ruled by Vishnu and gives inner wisdom and experience.

Rohini (10 00 – 23 20 Taurus) with Sri Krishna born on the waning eighth tithi in Rohini (Krishna Janmashtami), grants Krishna’s grace and guidance.

Purnarvasu (20 00 Gemini – 03 20 Cancer) with Sri Rama, notably the last quarter of the Nakshatra in Cancer that marked his Moon at his birth at the ninth tithi of the month of Chaitra (Ram Navami). Otherwise is the Nakshatra of the Mother (Aditi) who governs over all the Sun Gods (Adityas).

Purva Phagluni (13 20 – 26 40 Leo) and his Bhaga/Bhagavan form as a form of the Sun (Aditya), highlights devotion.

Uttarashadha (26 40 Sagittarius – 10 00 Capricorn), the place of the Vishve Devas or Universal Deities, the powers of light of which Vishnu is foremost as ruling the celestial sphere.


All Nakshatras in the sphere of the Sun have connections with Vishnu as the prime solar deity and often the supreme Aditya. These include Purva Phalguni (Bhaga), Uttara Phalguni (Aryaman), Hasta (Savita), Anuradha (Mitra), Shravana (Vishnu), Shatabhishak (Varuna), Revati (Pushan).


Additional Factors of Interpretation


Determining the influence of Vishnu in the birth chart is central to finding one’s Dharma, yogic path, and inner Light. Vishnu energy is connected to houses of Dharma as 1,5,9, as Self, intelligence (buddhi) and Atman/Dharma. It gives Sattva guna, the quality of light and harmony. This is also indicated by astrological Yogas between the Sun and Mercury (Budhaditya Yogas).


As related to the Sun, Vishnu is a lion and connects to the sign Leo, particularly as a ruler or king as Vishnu was often the patron deity of kings. As related to Mercury, the signs Gemini and Virgo ruled by Mercury help develop the Vishnu energy in the mind.


Besides Sun and Mercury, Vishnu has connections with Jupiter as the guru in the chart, particularly when it associates with the Sun and Mercury. This includes affinities to the signs Pisces and Sagittarius.


Relative to Ayurveda and medical astrology, we should remember the Dhanvantari form of Vishnu, who is the ideal doctor and the special avatar of Vishnu born from the original churning of the cosmic ocean, to help us deal with afflictions of body and mind. In this regard the planet Mercury is often a doctor or healer and the Sun rules over Prana.


Yet Vishnu cannot be limited to a few astrological parameters. Vishnu is the guiding Consciousness that structures the universe as a whole from the central point of cosmic origins that is our true Self. The consorts or Shaktis of Vishnu are also important as Sri, Lakshmi, Narayani, Bhu Devi, Sita and Radha, but we will cover these relative to another article on Vedic astrology and the Goddesses.


Vamadeva Shastri



Latest Articles
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Embodied Mind and Transcendent Consciousness

American Institute of Vedic Studies
American Institute of Vedic Studies
Embodied Mind and Transcendent Consciousness

We human beings are embodied creatures defined by our birth in a particular physical body as indicating our real identity and the focus of our lives. Our minds are not only located in the body but ruled by an entire set of bodily needs, imperatives, appearances and actions and their

Read More »
Articles by Yogini Shambhavi

Kali as the Yuga Shakti: the Power to Create a New World Age

By Yogini Shambhavi   As the great power of time, Kali’s Shakti creates the different Yugas or world ages that humanity passes through during the long cycles of cosmic evolution. Kali is the Goddess of eternity watching over all our temporal changes and facilitating those which promote our inner growth.

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Comparison and the Incomparable Self

Your inner Self (Atman) and true nature cannot be compared to anything. It has no name, form or action, no shape, size or color. It is beyond all elements and qualities of nature. It is beyond body and mind, time and appearance altogether. It dwells within everything yet is not

Read More »
Articles on Ayurveda

Shiva Ayurveda – The Yogic Power of Healing and Transformation

Most Ayurvedic practitioners look upon Lord Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, as the deity of Ayurveda and ideal doctor. Certainly that is an important tradition worthy of following based on profound Puranic stories and symbolism. Yet in the Rigveda, the oldest Vedic text, and Shruti or book of mantric

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Astrology

Winter Solstice, Galactic Center and New Time of Troubles

I have been writing for some years about 2020 as indicating the beginning of a “New Time of Troubles” for humanity, dangerous from 2020-2028, but continuing long beyond that. This relates astronomically to the Winter Solstice point transiting the Galactic Center in the constellation of Sagittarius. It is difficult to

Read More »
Articles on Yoga

The Ancient Yoga of the Sun

For the Winter Solstice December 21, which marks the rebirth of the Sun and Agni What if the most powerful force for energizing all Yoga practices were as obvious and visible as the Sun? The fact is that it is. The Sun, properly understood not merely as an outer but

Read More »
Articles on Yoga

Yoga as Samadhi

Yoga is defined as Samadhi in the Yoga Sutras. Yet few Yoga practitioners know what Samadhi is or how to approach it. But without understanding Samadhi one cannot understand Yoga in the true sense of the term. Samadhi is complete coherence and composure of mind, the mind fully united with

Read More »
Articles on Yoga

Yoga Nidra according to Adi Shankara

Yoga Nidra is a popular topic today but seldom taken to the depth that it is presented with in the Vedantic teachings. Here we will examine it according to the views of the great teacher, Shankara.   Adi Shankara or Shankaracharya is the most lauded exponent of Advaita or non-dualistic

Read More »
Articles on Yoga

Why Sri Krishna is the Avatar of Yoga

Sri Krishna is the only human guru and incarnation of Vishnu called Yogavatara or the Avatar of Yoga, and Yogeshvara or the Lord of Yoga. The Bhagavad Gita remains the most important and foundational Yoga Shastra or definitive Yoga text. To understand Yoga one must understand Sri Krishna, his life,

Read More »
Layer 1