Astrological Compatibility: Hopes and Horrors

Srila Prabhupada explains that, “The custom in Vedic society is to examine the horoscopes of a girl and boy being considered for marriage to see whether their combination is suitable.” (SB 6.2.26, purport) Therefore it’s traditional – and it’s also fashionable in ISKCON – to check the compatibility of the couple by astrology.

The problem is that Vedic astrological calculations are complex and can’t be just left to a computer program or an untrained astrologer. Too many devotees have experienced the anguish and chaos caused by living with someone deeply incompatible emotionally, intellectually, psychologically, etc. Often these mismatched matches were finalized by the approval of unqualified astrologers. These “astrologers” might have meant well, they might have been dabbling in astrology for many years, they might have been serious, senior devotees (even Srila Prabhupada’s disciples); they might have even checked the charts for free…but they didn’t fully know what they were doing and made serious technical mistakes.

When to Trust an Astrologer with Your Marriage Decision?

This is not a course on astrology and therefore we will keep explanations to a minimum, just enough to guide you on how not to fall into incompetent hands. Here we go: There are eight units (ashta-kutas) or compatibility areas: Companionship (griha-maitri kuta), intimacy (yoni kuta), nature or temperament (gana kuta), and so on. Each of the eight areas count from one to eight points for a total of thirty-six maximum points. Many astrologers stop at this calculation. A couple might score thirty-six points, or hundred percent, but this “100%” – which might sound like a great match – doesn’t even include the super-basic elements of compatibility known as stri-dirgha (the strength of the connection of the woman with the man), vedha (the lack of karmic syntony) and rajju (the indications of misfortune).

Also keep in mind that the kutas don’t have the same weight: For instance the gana match (both boy and girl being of deva, raksasa or manusya temperament) is more important than, say, the nadi kuta (their physical set-up; connected with kapha, vata and pitta). Although the nadi kuta gives eight points out of thirty-six and gana kuta only gives six (or three according to some system), matching the temperament is more crucial than matching the physical constitution. (Just like “three-hundred rupees” may sound more than “thirty dollars” – but actually thirty dollars is worth much more.)

Therefore – for your own good – don’t trust any astrologer who, when asked about compatibility, gives you only a percentage (75%, 32%, 94%, 18% or whatever). Actually an 18% match could be a better match than, say, an 81% match if other, more essential aspects are matching.

We personally know a couple who scored 100% by the kuta calculation, but which ended in a bitter divorce because some foundational elements were missing, along with other issues with the individual charts. On the other hand, we know of another couple who only scored 19% by kuta considerations but who are married for three decades and have four children. Finding a kuta percentage is quick and easy, but it’s always incomplete and often misleading.

There is More Than Meets the Eye

Horoscope matching also requires thorough analysis of the two individual charts to find out about their character, capacity for relating to the prospective spouse, karma with marriage, personality and disposition. Renowned astrologer, late B.V. Raman, wrote “The kutas or the units of agreement should be considered only when there is general sympathy between the horoscopes of the parties to be brought together. The existing practice almost all over India and particularly in the South is highly defective and dangerous as horoscopes are rejected simply because they do not conform to certain kutas, while the most important factors such as longevity, widowhood, etc., are completely ignored.”

This is an excerpt from the Bhakti Marriages Course “Get Ready for Married Life for Women” from ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry, prepared by Sri Radha Govinda Dasi.