Various classics indicate different signs for the lordship, exaltation, and debilitation of Rahu and Ketu, and this still remains a bone of contention. However, I came across references for Rahu and Ketu in Saptarishi Nadi and Pulippani Jothidam, and they both seem to agree. Certainly, Saptarishis unequivocally declare the exaltation of both Rahu and Ketu in Scorpio and their debilitation in Taurus.
On the other hand, according to some versions, Brihat Parashara Hora Sashtra (BHPS) mentions that Taurus is the exaltation sign for Rahu and the debilitation sign for Ketu. But this has not been universally accepted, and Pt Sanjay Rath believed that Gemini is the exaltation sign for Rahu and Sagittarius is its debilitation sign, and vice versa for Ketu. Saptarishis in Saptarishi Nadi differ from both these versions.
Saptarishi Nadi is a collection of books containing discussions of horoscopes by the seven sages (saptarishis) and the consort of Lord Siva, Devi Parvati, herself. It is written in poetic form in the Tamil language. These books were compiled from palm manuscripts found in various parts of Tamilnadu, India, and published by the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, Madras. Most importantly, they are a treasure house for those who want to analyze the predictions of the horoscopes by the ancient sages. I have discussed at length about this collection in the Saptarishi Nadi section. I have compiled the portions where the saptarishis put forth their arguments in favor of/against some of their predictions in the form of an eBook titled, “Elucidation of astrological predictions by saptarishis: Saptarishi Nadi, Aries ascendant collection.”
Debilitation of Rahu
In Saptarishi Nadi (Aries lagna collection), horoscope 18, the sage describes the position of the planets. He says:
மந்திரி சீயமாக மதிரவி புகருமேடம்
புந்திமீன் மூடவன்மானில் பூமகன் தூக்கதாக
பந்தமாய் ராகுநீச்சம் பரப்பினில் கேதுதங்க
முந்திய சென்மமேடம் மொழிகுவீர் பலனைத்தானே
Jupiter in Leo; the Moon, Sun, and Venus in Aries;
Mercury in Pisces; Saturn in Capricorn; Mars in Libra;
Rahu in debilitation; ketu in expansion; and the
Ascendant is Aries. Kindly tell the results.
To clarify, the verse says that Rahu is in its debilitation sign (நீச்சம்), but doesn’t explicitly mention the sign. In a similar vein, the location of Ketu also is not obvious — the sages locate it in பரப்பு. The meaning of பரப்பு is expand, spread, extend. Maybe, the sages say that Ketu is exalted. But, as the classics don’t agree on their exaltation/debilitation signs, we have to look for clues elsewhere in the verses.
Luckily, in verse 17, we have an indication for the location of Rahu.
மன்னிய குடும்பராகு மங்கலன் பார்த்துமேதான்
Rahu is in the 2nd house (family), which is aspected by Mars.
In other words, the sage says that Rahu is in Taurus (the second house of family for this lagna) and Mars (8th lord) aspects the 2nd house from Libra (8th aspect). Hence, the sages clearly confirm that Taurus is the debilitation sign for Rahu.
In addition, we learn that the exaltation and debilitation signs for Rahu and Ketu are one and the same. This becomes obvious if we remember that Rahu and Ketu are always located in the opposite signs. So, if Rahu is in Taurus, Ketu must be in Scorpio. And, as the sages mentioned already, Ketu is in exaltation. Therefore, Scorpio is the exaltation sign for Ketu.
Sages reiterate the exaltation of Ketu
But, did the sages directly mention the exaltation of Ketu anywhere else? In Saptarishi Nadi (Virgo ascendant collection), horoscope 61, the sages describe the planetary position thus:
Here, we see that the Moon and Mercury are exalted for sure. But, we are not sure of Ketu. Luckily for us again, in this horoscope, when the sage predicts good results for the jataka, Parvati Devi questions the rationale.
The sage reasons thus in verse 13:
மைப்புடன் கேது புந்தி வெண்மதி உச்சமாக
Ketu, Mercury, and the Moon are exalted.
That is to say, the sages declare that three planets — Mercury in Virgo, the Moon in Taurus, and Ketu in Scorpio — are in exaltation; therefore, this is one of the rationale for predicting good results for the jataka.
Here, the sages explicitly mention that Ketu is in exaltation. Hence, the sages once again confirm that Scorpio is the exaltation sign for Ketu.
Further, let’s see what Sage Pulippani has to say on this.
பாரப்பா ராகுடனே கேதுவுக்கும்
பாங்கான வீடதுவே கும்பம் ஆட்சி
வீரப்பா விருச்சிகமும் கடகம் உச்சம்
வீருடைய ரிஷபமது நீசம் சிம்மம்
காரப்பா பகையாகும் மற்றேழ் நட்பாம்
காண்பதுவும் மூன்று பதினொன்றாம் சொல்வார்
ஆரப்பா போகருட கடாக்ஷத்தாலே
அப்பனே புலிப்பாணி அறிவித்தேனே
Rahu and Ketu rule Aquarius.sage pulippani
They are exalted in Cancer and Scorpio, but debilitated in Taurus.
Leo is the inimical sign and the other seven are friendly ones.
They aspect the third and eleventh signs.
Certainly, sage Pulippani concurs with the saptarishis. This confirms without doubt that both Rahu and Ketu are exalted in Scorpio and debilitated in Taurus.
Summing it up
The confusion regarding the exaltation and debilitation signs for Rahu and Ketu has been cleared once and for all. Saptarishis are the definitive authority on astrology, and they themselves have clearly defined the exaltation and debilitation signs more than once. Above all, they have declared that both Rahu and Ketu are exalted in the same sign — Scorpio — in contrast to the contemporary belief that they are exalted in opposite signs.
|Planets||Exaltation sign||Debilitation sign|
|Rahu & Ketu||Scorpio||Taurus|
Please note that the saptarishis used a tropical zodiac with sidereal nakshatras — which I have established conclusively in another article — and the rules discussed in Saptarishi Nadi were intended for interpretation of a chart computed with tropical zodiac, as opposed to sidereal zodiac.