Positional Strength

Exaltation Strength is always important and should be considered even when Shadbala is not calculated. Planets are always stronger at exaltation and weakest at their fall.This is similar to the Moon being stronger full than when new. The determination of Exaltation Strength is simple.

A planet is given 60 points of value when at the degree of exaltation and 0 points of value when at the degree of fall. For every three degrees away from exaltation, it loses one point and for every three degrees away from fall it increases one point.

This again consists of five factors:

Exaltation Strength (Ucha Bala)

Divisional Strength (Saptavargaja Bala)

Odd-Even Sign Strength (Ojayugmarasyamsa Bala)

Angular Strength (Kendra Bala)

Decanate Strength (Drekkana Bala)

Exaltation Strength does have its limitations. First, it does not consider how much the fall of a planet may be canceled. Second, it does not consider the sign location of planets. Planets do not lose their strength in a uniform manner between exaltation and fall, as they gain strength in the signs they rule.

For example, the Sun in Leo has a low exaltation strength as it is nearer to its fall in Libra than its exaltation in Aries, but it is still strong being in its own sign.

Divisional Strength

This is calculated relative to the seven divisional charts of the divisional first, second, third, seventh, ninth, twelfth and thirtieth charts. It follows the same rules of friendship and enmity as that of the birth-chart, giving each a certain point total.

Divisional Strength of Planets

Own sign
30 points
Great friend
22.5 points
15 points
Neutral sign
7.5 points
Inimical sign
3.75 points
Great enemy
1.875 points

It is necessary to determine the planetary friendships and enmities for all seven divisional charts to do this. There is the special consideration that a planet in its Mulatrikona division in the basic birth or divisional first (rashi) chart would get 45 points. Otherwise, Mulatrikona is not considered.

This is an important consideration. We do find some anomalies, however. Saturn reaches its maximum debility at 20° of Aries, yet this would be in the Navamsha of Libra where it would be exalted. The Moon similarly reaches its maximum debility at 3°of Scorpio, also in its own Navamsha of Cancer. According to my thinking, the maximum debility gained should cancel out other positional strengths most of the time.

Odd or Even Sign Strength

Planets gain strength whether in odd or even signs in the Rashi (divisional first) and Navamsha (divisional ninth).

Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury and Saturn do better in odd-numbered signs

Moon and Venus do better in even-numbered signs

Hence, most planets gain strength in odd signs and lose it in even signs.

Planets get 15 points for being in their appropriate odd or even sign in both the Rashi and Navamsha, giving them a maximum of 30 points in this regard.

This is a minor point and it is not given a lot of weight. However, it can be canceled by other factors. Mercury, for example, has no odd and even strength by sign in Virgo, though exalted.

Angular Strength

Planets in angular houses
60 points
Planets in succedent houses
30 points
Planets those in cadent houses
15 points

This is an important factor because planets are usually stronger in angles. House qualities are important factors in all delineations and must always be considered even if we are not figuring Shadbala.

Yet this naturally depends upon the house system we use. If we use a mid-heaven system like the Placidian or Indian Sripati system, we will get different results than using the equal house systems. But even though some computer programs for Vedic Astrology allow for different house systems, they may calculate the Shadbala only by the house-sign system.

This type of strength has two limitations. First, it does not consider the meaning of the houses adequately. For example, the ninth, though a cadent house, is still good by its being the best trine, and is an excellent position for most planets, particularly benefics. We could not consider Jupiter to be weak here though it would suffer by angular strength according to Shadbala. Second, it may be canceled somewhat by directional strength. For example, the Moon though in an angle in the tenth house, suffers from being in its weakest place (the south) in terms of direction.

Another problem is that malefics in angles can be strong to do evil and may harm the person. Saturn in the Ascendant where it has angular strength may harm the person or render them weak.

Decanate Strength

Planets are divided into masculine, feminine and neuter.

Masculine planets
Sun, Mars and Jupiter
Feminine planets
Moon and Venus
Neuter planets
Mercury and Saturn

They gain strength if located in the appropriate decanate or ten degree division of a sign. The rule of determining Decanate Strength is as follows:

Masculine planets gain 15 points if they are located in the first decanate of a sign (00 00–09 60).

Neutral planets gain 15 points if located in the second decanate of a sign (10 00–19 60).

Feminine planets gain strength if located in the third decanate of a sign (20 00–29 60).

This is a minor consideration that does not count for more than 15 points. It can also cancel other factors. For example, Jupiter is at its fall at 5° Capricorn but would still gain back 15 points by Decanate Strength.

Summary of Positional Strength

Divisional Strength is certainly very important and Shadbala is a significant means of determining it. I believe it is the most important part of Shadbala and that it carries most weight in the system. But its methodology is overly complex and can contradict itself.

We should ascertain whether planets are strong, average or weak in Divisional Strength but we cannot simply just average all these factors. We should combine both Exaltation and Divisional Strengths together into one factor and not allow them to cancel each other out. Angular strength should consider the Midheaven and not just the signs. Decanate and Odd-Even Sign Strength could possibly be eliminated or modified so as to not contradict stronger indications.