Writings & Articles

Research on Vargotamma, Numbers & Panchamahabhuta
by Komilla Sutton & Connie Achilles

To unfold the story of Jyotish requires long and deep study. Each aspect of knowledge has deep and obscure roots and often as students of Jyotish we find it difficult to understand why theSages have given us patterns of knowledge such as the assignment of the Pancha Maha bhutas, (the five great elements) to the 9 planets, the 12 signs, the 27 nakshatras and the 108 padas.

It takes time to decode the knowledge and Connie Achilles, a Jyotish student of mine 'has spent many years devoted to research on number and thus Jyotish as it relates to number. She has made every effort to look at and contemplate number as the rishis did and she has found numeric reasons why the planets and their elements, the signs and their elements, and the nakshatras and their elements were assigned in the way they were. The signs and padas have rhythms of 9 and 12, both factors of 108. The nakshatras have a rhythm of 4 and 27 which are also factors of 108, but distinctly different and will be dealt with fully in further research articles to follow.

This article explores her research on vargottama, navamsha, nakshatra, numbers and the five great elements. Vargottama is a special position in the chart that gives extra strength to the planets placed within. There is one vargottama within each rashi. There are deep rooted secrets hidden within each vargottama which are revealed by the digital root and the five great elements of the rashi, navamsha, nakshatra and their rulers.

There are twelve rashis or signs of the Zodiac, and the most important division of the rashi is the navamsha which divides each sign into 9 padas of 3º20’. There are 12 rashi of 30º each, 27 nakshatras of 13º20’ each, and 108 navamsha padas of 3º20’ each. (Navamsha and Pada are interchangeable terms. They link rashi and nakshatra). Each rashi has one vargottama navamsha pada while only 12 nakshatras have them.

Vargottama Basics

Varga means division and Uttama is supreme. Planets placed in the same sign in the Rashi and Navamsha chart are called Vargottama It shows an integrated quality of the planet, the outer energy of the rashi and the inner of Navamsha are the same.

Vargotamma is linked to the modalities- cardinal, fixed and mutable. The planets are vargottama in the 1st navamsha of cardinal signs, the 5th navamsha of the fixed signs and the 9th navamsha of the mutable signs. The vargottama planets are in tune with their energy, good or bad. They learn to cope with it and come out victorious. They feel at one with their soul’s purpose.

Vargottama Table

Signs Modality Vargottama Degrees
Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn Chara, Cardinal 0:00 to 3:20
Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius Sthira, Fixed 13:20 to 16:40
Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces Dwisvabhava, Mutable 26:40 to 30:00

Navamsha and Vargotamma Numbers

There are 108 navamsha and the vargottama navamshas are 1, 14, 27, 28, 41, 54, 55, 68, 81, 82, 95, and 108. Each vargottama navamsha manifests a digital root of 1, 5, or 9. The digital root is found by adding the two numbers together and the final number is one of the digits from 1 to 9.

ADigital roots of 1, 5 and 9 are linked to dharma as the 1st, 5th and 9th houses and signs belong to dharma, the ethical way of living. The vargotamma navamsha make the planets dharmic and pure regardless of what the natural energy may be. It makes their energy whole again, despite being placed in enemy signs or difficult positions.

There are 4 vargottama each reflecting digital root 1, 5, and 9.

Digital Root 1 - 1, 28, 55, 82 navamsha have digital root 1. They are all in cardinal signs. Lagna or planets placed within will be active, in charge of their life, want to act on their desire for dharma. They are never a spectator – always a willing participant in life.

No and Root Rashi Navamsha
1 Aries Aries
28 (2+8=10; 1+0) = 1 Cancer Cancer
55 (5+5=10; 1+0) = 1 Libra Libra
82 (8+2=10; 1+0) = 1 Capricorn Capricorn

Digital Root 5 – 14, 41, 68, 95 navamsha have digital root 5. These are all in fixed signs. Lagna or planets placed here are in there for the long term, steady and reliable. They can be strict with their dharmic tendencies but can also be rigid or unable to change their energy.

DIGITAL ROOT 5 - Fixed Signs
No and Root Rashi Navamsha
14 (1+4=5) Taurus Taurus
41 (4+1=5) Leo Leo
68 (6+8=14; 4+1) = 5 Scorpio Scorpio
94 (9+5=14=5) Aquarius Aquarius

Digital Root 9 – 27, 54, 81, 108 navamshas have digital root 9. They are all in mutable signs. They can be aspiring towards higher vibrations, needing to acquire knowledge, be good at giving advice to others yet not always able to make up their mind. Even in their strength they can indecisive changeable and unsure.

DIGITAL ROOT 9 - Mutable Signs
No and Root Rashi Navamsha
27 (2+7) = 9 Gemini Gemini
54 (5+4) = 9 Virgo Virgo
81 (8+1) = 9 Sagitarius Sagitarius
108 (1+8) = 9 Pisces Pisces

1 and 108 Navamsha – Aries and Pisces Vargottama

The first navamsha (1) begins in Aries with Aries Navamsha, it is vargottama and the last navamsha (108) ends with Pisces in the Sign of Pisces – also Vargottama. Therefore the start of the first sign of the Rashi and end of the last Rashi of the Zodiac are vargottama and therefore powerful positions for planets to be placed in. Planets placed in 1 and 108 navamsha are the only vargottama positions that can also be Gandanta. Gand means a knot, anta means the end, so gandanta is the knot at the end. Gandanta represents a knot within, a complex spiritual issue to which we are trying to become reconciled.

When analysing planets within these vargottama, we must be aware that if they are placed within the Gandanta zone, then the emphasis of the analysis needs to be modified. Vargotamma and Gandanta, strength and weakness go hand in hand.


Pancha means five, Maha is great and Bhuta is element. Bhuta comes from the word Bhu which means the earth. Bhuta is what is formed from the earth or experienced during the earthly birth.

Analysing the Panchamahabhuta of the vargottama truly reveals their nature.

The five great elements are:

Aakash Ether
Vayu Air
Agni Fire
Apas Water
Prithvi Earth

The consciousness manifested into five different elements - Ether, air, fire, water and earth. Ether was the primary element, which was created from the vibrations of the sound of Aum. When this ethereal element began to move, it created Air, which is ether in action. This movement created friction from which heat was created. The heat created light and from light came the fire element. The Fire dissolved some of ether’s elements, which liquefied and became water. Water solidified to form earth. Ether created the four elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Earth is matter and in matter exist all organic bodies (vegetable, animal and human) and inorganic (the minerals). The final element of earth is born by the combination of all elements, and all these elements exist within us.

Pancha Maha Bhuta and the Planets

Maharishi Parashara writes in Chapter 78 Ath Panchamahabhuta Adhyaya, in Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra that

The planets Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn rule Fire, Earth, Ether, Water and Air.

The Moon has the secondary rulership of the water element and Sun of Fire. Rahu’s element is air and Ketu is fire so they influence their respective bhuta in a more shadowy way.

Bhuta-Element Planet Secondary Influences
Aakash - Ether Jupiter  
Vavu - Air Saturn Rahu
Agni - Fire Mars Sun, Ketu
Apas - Water Venus Moon
Prithvi - Earth Mercury  

Rashi Panchamahabhuta

If we take the element of the sign rulers into account, we find an added element. In Jyotish we study the four elements and their connection with the 12 signs. The fifth element ether resides in all signs. However, if we take the rulership of the rashis into account, the rashi will also reflect the element of its ruler and the fifth element comes into play e.g. Scorpio’s ruler Mars reflects fire. Scorpio is a water sign . Hence Scorpio expresses both water and fire. Sagittarius is a fire sign; its ruler is ether, so Sagittarius will be fire- ether.

Signs Ruling Planet Elements
from Sign
Elements from
it's Ruler
Elements from
Rashi & it's Ruler
Aries Mars Fire fire Fire-Fire
Taurus Venus Earth Water Earth-Water
Gemini Mercury Air Earth Air-Earth
Cancer Moon Water Water Water-Water
Leo Sun Fire Fire Fire-Fire
Virgo Mercury Earth Earth Earth-Earth
Libra Venus Air Water Air-Water
Libra Venus Air Water Air-Water
Scorpio Mars Water Fire Water-Fire
Sagitarius Jupiter Fire Ether Fire-Ether
Capricorn Saturn Earth Air Earth-Air
Aquarius Saturn Air Air Air-Air
Pisces Jupiter Water Ether Water-Ether

Rashi and their Rulers Reflecting Similar Elements on Both Levels

Vayu - Aquarius (Saturn and Rahu)
Agni - Aries (Mars), Leo (Sun)
Apas - Cancer (Moon)
Prithvi - Virgo (Mercury)

These signs become concentrated expressions of these bhuta. Planets placed within them become strongly influenced by their bhuta.

Vargottama, Rashi and Panchamahabhuta

When we classify the Vargottama planets according to their elements, it reveals some interesting energies. To analyse we should take into account the elements of:

  • Rashi
  • Rashi Ruler
  • Pada Rashi
  • Pada Ruler

There are five vargottama positions with pure elements whereas seven vargottama reflect two elements.

DOWNLOAD 1-108 by Element sign and Element Ruler

Vargottama Ruling Planet Elements
from Sign
Elements from
it's Ruler
Elements from
Rashi & it's Ruler
Aries Mars Fire fire Fire-Fire
Cancer Moon Water Water Water-Water
Leo Sun Fire Fire Fire-Fire
Virgo Mercury Earth Earth Earth-Air
Aquarius Saturn Air Air Air-Air

Vargottama Ruling Planet Elements
from Sign
Elements from
it's Ruler
Elements from
Rashi & it's Ruler
Taurus Venus Earth Water Earth-Water
Gemini Mercury Air Earth Air-Earth
Libra Venus Air Water Air-Water
Scorpio mars Water Fire Water-Fire
Sagitarius Jupiter Fire Ether Fire-Ether
Capricorn Saturn Earth Air Earth-Air
Pisces Jupiter Water Ether Water-Ether

The inimical elements are:

  • Fire and Water
  • Air and Water

Fire and water are the most challenging to each other. Water and fire reside only in the Scorpio vargottama. As vargottama is essentially a strong position, there is integration of fire and water for planets placed there. However – there has to be underlying impact for planets placed there. Saturn, Venus, Mercury, Rahu can suffer despite being in these vargottama positions – there is stress and power simultaneously.

Air and Water- Air will churn up the water- emotions. Water does not affect the Vayu, so it can be one way experience. Libra has Air and Water influence. Planets placed here will have to learn to handle these opposing elements. Saturn is exalted and is nurtured by the waters of Venus whereas Mars fire may suffer from its fires being exaggerated while water is putting them out – complex!

The Natural Harmony of the Elements
While classically in Vedic Astrology we study the inimical nature of the elements, we must understand that the elements need each other and are responsible for the natural cycles presented to us through the interaction of the signs, planets, and nakshatras. While Water and Fire may be inimical, they can also be the most amiable if we understand their higher need to co-exist. The Sun is causing the water of the oceans to evaporate, forming clouds which bring rain – the most beautiful basic cycle.

DOWNLOAD for 5 Element Water Cycles

The Added Nakshatra Influence on Elements and Vargottama

Nakshatras have their own elements and these add to the information of the vargottamma analysis. The Nakshatra elements are:

Prithvi Apas Agni Vayu Aakash
Ashwini Ardra U Phalguni Anuradha Dhanishta
Bharani Punarvasu Hasta Jyeshta Shatabhishak
Krittika Pushya Chitra Mula P Bhadra
Rohini Ashlesha Swati P Ashada U Bhadra
Mrigasira Magha Vishakha U Ashada Revati
  P Phalguni   Shravana  

If we add the elements of the Nakshatras and their rulers, then we find that there is no purity of element in any vargottama, but an interesting selection of elements co-existing in these vargottama positions. The mind represented by the nakshatras adds an added dimension to the analysis.

Note – in any vargottama, the ruling planet and the navamsha pada planet are the same, so will give a double influence. There are six influences in all on each rashi. Aries Vargottama is 2 fire rashi and two fire rulers, plus Ashwini nakshatra which is Earth and Ashwini’s ruler Ketu which is fire. Hence Aries has 5 Fire and 1 earth elemental influence.

DOWNLOAD 1-108 by Element Sign and Element Ruler with Nakshatra

Vargottama, Panchamahabhuta, Rashi, Nakshatra, Navamsha
Rashi and Navamsha Pada
Signs Ruling Planet Element's Sign Element's Ruler Nakshatra Element
Nak Ruler
Aries Mars Fire Fire Ashwini Earth Fire 5 Fire + 1 Earth
Taurus Venus Earth Water Rohini Earth Water 3 Earth + 3 Water
Gemini Mercury Air Earth Punarvasu Water Ether 2 Air, 2 Earth, 1 Water, 1 Ether, No Fire
Cancer Moon Water Water Punarvasu Water Ether 5 Water + 1 Ether
Leo Sun Fire Fire Purva Phalguni Water Water 4 Fire + 2 Water
Virgo Mercury Earth Earth Chitra Fire Fire 2 Air, 2 Water, 2 Fire
Libra Venus Air Water Chitra Fire Fire 2 Air, 2 Water, 2 Fire
Scorpio Mars Water Fire Anuradha Air Air 2 Water, 2 Fire, 2 Air
Sagitarius Jupiter Fire Ether U Ashadha Air Fire 3 Fire, 2 Ether, 1 Air
Capricor Saturn Earth Air U Ashadha Air Fire 3 Air, 2 Earth, 1 Fire
Aquarius Saturn Air Air Shatabhishak Ether Air 5 Air, 1 Ether
Pisces Jupiter water Ether Revati Ether Ether 5 Ether, 1 Water

In lagna vargottama we have to study the prominent element, whereas for planet planets being placed in these vargottama can emphasise the element they bring to the vargottama position.

Gemini is the most interesting vargottama as it has four of the five elements within - only the fire element is not present. Mercury has two influences each from earth and air elements each plus one from water and ether. Gemini becomes the standout nakshatra for analysis. How is the lack of fire expressed – do they lack initiative and leadership qualities?

Barack Obama has Saturn Vargottama in Capricorn. So the element of Air will get emphasised as Saturn’s element is Air. Ability to communicate. Air will ventilate the earth , make his Capricorn quality more productive and prolific.

Warren Buffet has Venus in Virgo Chitra Vargottama in Virgo which has 4 Earth and two Fire influences. Venus itself has water element and is debilitated. Water can mix with earth and create mud while fire can dry up the waters of Venus – therefore it is not an easy one. Warren buffet has immersed himself in earth or practical expression – again the strength is there in vargottama so Venus will struggle but find its place of truth.

© 1995-2019 Komila Sutton, All Rights Reserved


by Komila Sutton

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