by Steve Hubball PhD
It is a sad fact of life in Western countries that there exists a high failure rate in relationships. Statistics reveal that about one in three marriages, or worse, will end in divorce. There are, of course, many reasons why couples ultimately break up, but they usually have their basis in a lack of compatibility. How can ‘relationship compatibility’ be measured?
There are various astrological (and psychological) methods for assessing the compatibility between two people, for marriage, friendship and for business partnerships.
Traditionally Vedic Astrology uses a system involving matching the Moons to determine if the charts of the two people planning to marry are in general agreement with each other. This is known as The Kuta System, and its details can be found in the book Muhurta or Electional Astrology by B. V. Raman, and in the excellent article Relationship Compatibility: Matching the Moon by Ernst Wilhelm. Here is a very brief summary.
The Kuta System
Most modern Vedic Astrology software has this feature for comparing two charts, in which a score out of 36 points is given, based on matching the Moons in the two charts, although in practice I think the maximum possible score is 35. Essentially, it relies on comparing how well the Moon Nakshatra (and Moon rashi) of one partner aligns with the Moon Nakshatra (and Moon rashi) of the other partner, and if the final score is 18 or more the match is said to be favourable. A score of 25 or higher is said to indicate a very good match.
The Kuta System examines 12 factors based on the Moon’s relative position in the two charts. Briefly, these are:
Varna Kuta (1 point), which compares the castes of the Moon rashis (not Nakshatras): Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra. It is said to be an indicator of the spiritual development of the couple.
Vashya Kuta (2 points), which measures magnetic attraction, is based again on the Moon sign compatibility, not Nakshatras.
Dina (or Tara) Kuta (3 points) is based on the relative position of the two Moon Nakshatras, and is said to give good fortune and longevity.
Yoni Kuta (4 points) measures sexual compatibility, and is based on matching the various animals that are represented by the 27 Nakshatras.
Graha Maitram (5 points) simply compares the natural planetary friendship between the lords of the Moon rashis (not Nakshatras), and this is said to measure psychological compatibility.
Gana Kuta (6 points) compares the psychological temperament of the couple by comparing the agreement of the Nakshatra ‘temperaments’: Deva (divine), Manusha (Human) and Rakshasa (Demon).
Rashi Kuta (7 points) is based on the relative Moon rashi positions, indicating various auspicious and inauspicious factors such as longevity, happiness/sorrow, wealth/poverty, children, health and prosperity.
Nadi Kuta (8 points) compares the ayurvedic temperaments (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) of the couple’s Moon Nakshatras, which indicates how their psycho-physiological energies resonate with each other. This is also said to indicate spiritual compatibility, and this Kuta is obviously very important due to the large number of points awarded.
Mahendra (no points given) is an indicator of progeny and longevity of the relationship, and is measured by the relative position of the two Moon Nakshatras.
Stree-Dirgha (no points given) also is an indicator of longevity and general auspiciousness, and again is based on the relative position of the two Moon Nakshatras.
Rajju (no points given) is an indicator of longevity of the marriage, and is also based on the relative position of the two Nakshatras.
Vedha (no points given) is based on the fact that some pairs of Nakshatras are mutually incompatible, and a marriage is not recommended between two people who have their Moons in these mutually afflicting Nakshatras.
It can be seen that 4 of the Kutas do not contribute to the overall score (of 36 points), but one should not overlook these. According to Ernst Wilhelm, Vedha is a very serious affliction which can ruin a relationship.
The Importance of Astrological Counselling
Since it is based on the Moon entirely, the Kuta system is predominantly a measure of the flow of consciousness, the vital life force between the couple, and how this energy harmonises in the relationship. It is not meant to be an indicator of karmic compatibility, but rather an opportunity for love to flow between the couple. If the Moons do not match favourably, then there may well be other astrological indicators in their charts which support their compatibility, but they may have to face the fact, consciously or subconsciously, that there is a lack of harmony on this fundamental level of consciousness.
It is very easy, with modern computers and advanced astrological software, to click a few buttons and produce a compatibility score based on this system, without appreciating the meaning and implications of the various Kuta factors, and then rush to the conclusion that the couple are, or are not, suited for marriage.
Actually, a deficiency in the score of certain Kutas can help identify where the energy blocks exist in the relationship. Most Vedic Astrologers in the West can, however, probably relate stories of happy marriages where the Kuta score is low, and give examples of divorces where the Kuta score was high.
It may be, with those divorced couples scoring highly on the Kuta rating, that one incompatible area has become a major issue in the relationship, which, with proper astrological counselling, could have been worked through. On the other hand, couples with a low Kuta score may choose to focus and build on the few really good factors in the marriage, while accepting their differences in other areas. I think the most important point here is good counselling from the astrologer (see Dennis Harness’s article), since there can sometimes be a fine line between staying together to resolve a difficult issue and breaking up the relationship.
What does the astrologer do when, as happened to me recently, he/she is approached by a couple for a suitable Muhurta for marriage, only to discover that the Kuta score is extremely low? In this case it was 5.5 points out of 36 (see Case Study below).
It seems that there are times when the traditional systems of Vedic Astrology need to be suitably adapted to deal with the current situation in Western society. For instance, this couple wishing to get married have been together for 6 years, so there must be some good compatibility! Also, they are a mature couple and have no desire for a family – he is 61 with grown-up children from a previous marriage, and she is 47. The traditional Kuta system probably did not evolve to deal with such circumstances, but was more focused on younger couples, their longevity and the longevity of the marriage, and their suitability for having children.
It seems that the primary role of the astrologer in this type of situation is to act as a counsellor in giving support to the couple, in helping them to understand the difficulties they may be experiencing and, hopefully, to give them a better understanding of themselves and their relationship with the Cosmos. In addition to the Kuta system, there are many other indicators of compatibility to look for in the charts of the couple.
Other Indicators of Compatibility
This is a huge field of study because there are so many different factors to look at, and of course not all astrologers agree on the relative importance of the different techniques. One of the techniques which is most important, however, is the reading of the two charts together, by matching the rashis and overlaying one chart on top of the other (Synastry). This can give a very detailed picture of how the energies of the different grahas resonate with each other, by determining planetary aspects and other influences.
For example, if Mars in the female chart and Venus in the man’s chart are in the same sign, then there is likely to be a strong sexual attraction and a happy married life. Likewise, if the 7th lords of each partner are favourably disposed to each other, such as 5/9 or 3/11, or even conjoined, then this could be an indicator of marital harmony.
In addition, one can look at the relative positions of all the grahas and Ascendant to see if these influences are mutually compatible (e.g. 5/9) or ‘challenging’ (such as the 6/8 relationship). One should also compare friendliness of the Ascendant lords in the couple’s rashi chart, Chandra Lagna and Venus Lagna charts, and Navamsha charts.
When studying the individual’s chart, essentially one must look at the chart as a whole for supporting a marriage or relationship. Naturally, one looks at the status of the 7th house and for any beneficial or malefic aspects, or hemming in by malefics (Papa Kartari Yoga) or benefics (Subha Kartari Yoga). For a successful relationship, the main planets that should be strong by placement and aspect are the lagna lord, 7th lord and 7th house karaka, Venus; the 7th lord in a dusthana house could bring many problems. The presence of good yogas will also contribute to a good marriage, such as the lagna lord and 7th lord being in a mutual 5/9 relationship; a 6/8 relationship here could also be very challenging as could malefics 7th from Venus. In addition, the karaka for husband in a lady’s chart (Jupiter) and for wife in a man’s chart (Venus) should also be strong by placement and aspect.
Mars placed in houses 1, 2, 4, 7, 8 and 12 (Kuja Dosha) is said to bring many problems to marital relationships (unless the other person has the same affliction), since in this position it afflicts the houses of home, happiness, marriage, sex and family life. Some astrologers regard any malefic (particularly Saturn) in these positions as causing disturbance to marriage, while others also look at Kuja Dosha from the Moon and from Venus. Clearly, it is a very common problem, and a wonder that any marriages survive at all!
One must not overlook the Navamsha chart. It is said to be the chart of ‘the spouse’ because the 9th divisional chart relates to the 9th house, and hence to our soul or ‘inner person’, our divine purpose. In fact, as one matures, both in age and spiritually, the Navamsha chart is said to become more and more evident in the life of the person, and for this reason it is sometimes known as the ‘fruit of the tree’. A close examination of the whole chart is thus important, but in particular the 1st and 7th houses and their lords. The techniques of synastry can then be applied to both Navamsha charts of the couple, and also to one person’s rashi with the other’s Navamsha. However, an accurate birth time is important here.
Finally, choosing a good Muhurta for the marriage date is essential to give the couple the great support of Nature, while studying the charts for dasha and gochara compatibility can indicate times of potential conflicting interest.
An alternative system for measuring compatibility has been recently described by Arastu Prabhakar in The Times of Astrology, in which 6 factors are considered, each scoring 6 points, giving a maximum total of 36 points.
The 6 factors are:
- Matching of the Ascendant, Lagna lords and Rajayogakaraka planets in the two charts.
- Matching of the 7th house and 7th house lords.
- Matching of the natural significators for marriage.
- Matching of the 7th houses from the Moon, and their lords.
- Matching of the 7th houses from Venus.
- Overall influence on the 7th houses in each chart.
The partners in this mature couple have been together for 6 years and are now planning to get married. Their Kuta score is 5.5 out of 36, so one has to ask the question: where are the good indicators of compatibility in their charts? While all of the above techniques have their value, I find that combining the two charts together, and then looking at the various aspects that the planets make to each other, to be the most useful. In this way, one can evaluate how one partner experiences the planetary energies of the other.
Birth Details: Male, 24 April 1938, 5.15 am BST, 3W35, 54N33 UK
Lady, 4 May 1952, 6.30 pm, Darjeeling, India
There are many, many factors to consider, but some of the more important ones are:
- Planets supported by the great beneficial influence of Jupiter, especially the Moon.
- A connection between the Ascendants and/or Luminaries in the two charts.
- Benefic influences on the Moon in general.
- Support for the planet of love and comfort, Venus, particularly from Moon, Jupiter or Venus.
- A mutual influence between the sexual planets Mars and Venus.
- The influence of the nodes, particularly with the Sun, Moon or Ascendant. suggesting possible karmic bonding.
Firstly, the man’s Jupiter in Aquarius aspects both the lady’s Ascendant and Moon, so she will feel very supported in the relationship, and his Sun is in a favourable 5/9 relationship with her Moon, while his strong exalted Sun (at 10 degrees, its maximum point of exaltation), Venus and Mercury (in Aries) all aspect her Ascendant.
From discussions with the female client, her personal experience is indeed one of feeling supported and cared for in the relationship. It is interesting that she describes her partner as being a wise and ‘old soul’, for her natal Jupiter (in Aries) aspects both his Ascendant and Moon in his Navamsha.
When the two Navamsha charts are compared together, her Jupiter (in Gemini) aspects his Ascendant (and his Venus) and his Jupiter (in Scorpio) aspects her Ascendant. In addition, her Sun in Navamsha (in Libra) connects with his Navamsha Ascendant (Libra) and there are favourable 3/11 relationships between each person’s Sun and the other’s Moon, and each person’s Jupiter and the other’s Moon.
When there is a connection between the couple’s Lagna, Sun and Moon, either by conjunction or opposition, there is usually good rapport and a warm connection between the partners. This is indeed the case with this couple. However, this principle does not apply to a conjunction of two Suns, because this would suggest a conflict of two egos.
Interestingly, the lady does describe her partner as being somewhat competitive, and we only have to look to the sign of Aries to see the presence of two exalted Suns in competition. This naturally gives a very intense interaction, but if we look to the Navamsha chart of the lady, we see that her Sun is debilitated. While appearing self-confident to others, she relates that on the ‘inside’ she does not feel self-confident. It is possible, therefore, that his strong Sun may give support to her weakened Sun in the Navamsha chart.
The 7th lords in both rashi charts are associated by mutual aspect. There also appears to be an intense romantic attraction due to the association between each Venus in Aries in the natal charts. In the Navamsha charts, where Venus is lagna lord of both charts, the two planets are also associated by aspect, indicating a strong mutual attraction. The Mars-Venus opposition in the combined natal charts will also give strong sexual attraction, and the Mars-Mars aspect suggests a passionate encounter.
There are also some challenging influences which should not be overlooked. In particular, the Ascendants and Moons have a 6/8 relationship in the rashi charts, while there is a 4th (square) aspect of Mars onto each other’s Moon in the rashi chart, and a mutual Mars-Moon opposition in the Navamsha charts, indicating the presence of some conflict. Furthermore there is a difficult Saturn-Saturn opposition while the lady’s Rahu is very closely conjoined with the man’s Jupiter in Aquarius (8 minute orb of influence).
The Vedic Astrologer, therefore, has an enormous responsibility when judging the suitability of two people for marriage, and I feel that one should always try to focus on the positive influences, while at the same time suggesting possible areas of disagreement and conflict that can be worked on. In this particular case, the lady feels deeply supported in the relationship by a mature man who is able to support her humanitarian work as a healer, therapist and teacher.
In addition to providing a ‘compatibility score’, the Kuta System can be used to identify where there is a blockage in the energy flow between two individuals in a relationship. When this is integrated with an overall assessment of the combined planetary influences, taken by reading the two charts as one, together with appropriate and supportive astrological counselling, an effective appraisal of the planetary dynamics existing within the relationship can hopefully be realised.
Harness, Dennis (1999) Vedic Astrology and Transpersonal Counselling Gochara Volume 1, Issue 1.
Prabhakar, Arastu (1999) A New Approach to Matching of Charts The Times of Astrology Volume 15, Issue 10.
Raman, B. V. (1986) Muhurta or Electional Astrology IBHP Astrology Series.
Wilhelm, Ernst (1999) Relationship Compatibility: Matching the Moon Vedic Astrology Volume 3, Issues 2 and 3.