Budha (Mercury)

Budha. Artwork courtesy: Drdha Vrata Gorrick.

Dealings & Movement

Budha (बुध) as Key to Duality


Budha. Artwork courtesy: Drdha Vrata Gorrick.

Just as Budha represents the rational mind as a source of mokṣa blockage, so can/do other Grahas. Sūrya, for example, is a source of egotism. I remember learning about three spiritual Grahas, which I believe were Śani, Brihaspati, and maybe Ketu. These grahas represent discipline and modesty, knowledge (jñāna), and removal from the material. Just as Budha is often two-sided, Budha can both facilitate the acquiring of Truth and knowledge as well as serve as a source of criticism and worldly analyzing that can result in the chaining of oneself to the material realm. If we break Budha up into multiple facets/parts, perhaps we can discover how best to use the Budha within us for either purpose. Sarasvātī, being one facet of Budha, appears to be instrumental in pursuing the truth when isolated.

[Need to mention that the acknowledgement of duality is a direct result of the rational mind. Re: The serpent of the Garden of Eden.]

Budha is said to be two-sided, can be benefic, can be malefic, can go either way in so many cases. I think that Budha is key to understanding dualities and especially key to understanding the difference between the ultimate manifestation of dualities: the material and spiritual realms. In a way, Budha is the duality. Budha, I think, is much more important in a chart than I have previously been led to believe.

Mercury [is] the celestial link between materialism and spiritualism. – The Lunar Nodes – Crisis and Redemption, Komilla Sutton.

The true son of Candra (emotion) and Tara, Bṛhaspati (knowledge) believed him to be his son. Just as Budha is torn between being the son of emotion and of knowledge, he is also the key to understanding both. Knowledge is key to understanding Truth and reaching mokṣa, while emotion is “energy in motion” and is more tied to the energies of this Maya and how we can materially experience the divine. Although the mind is ultimately subject to emotion, it can be used to obtain knowledge, jnana, and also help us reach liberation. So it plays a dramatic role. On one hand it can be the foot in the door that can lead to mokṣa; on the other, however, it ties you down to the material world – and even tighter the more you try to engage the spiritual using your mental capacities.

I wonder, depending on the position of and/or influence on Budha, whether or not you can determine in which realm Budha most gravitates, or naturally exists for a person. In addition, Budha’s two rāśis, Kanyā (Virgo) and Mithuna (Gemini) are also representative of the difference in these dualities. They both work in a world that focuses on dualism and polarities.

Kanyā (“virgin” or “girl”) brings disparate things together, organizes, and joins, representing the singular, while Mithuna (“paired”) represents a distinction between two opposites and is more responsible for division and separation. Kanyā/Virgo is “divine discontent and integration,” while Mithuna/Gemini is “changing polarity and duality.”((Mehtab Benton. Yoga Astrology.))


Budha. Artwork courtesy: Drdha Vrata Gorrick.

Now back to the story of baby Budha. Tara was once the student of Bṛhaspati (knowledge), representative of the Truth, but one day Candra (emotion) enters the picture and everyone is thrown for a ride. A child was born to Tara, which Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) believed to be his own, but Tara admits that baby Budha (the rational mind) is actually the son of Candra (emotion), permanently linking our manifested minds, our brains, with the physical world. Although Budha is not the true son of knowledge, he is the son of Tara, who was the student of Bṛhaspati. The knowledge is passed on to Budha through the teachings to his mother, not through heavenly genetics. This is how knowledge is best gained. You need not be the son of a teacher to understand his teachings.

While some believe that Budha was accepted by Bṛhaspati as his son, others believe that Budha was given to Rohinī and Kṛttikā to be raised. Both Nakṣatras, Rohinī and Kṛttikā, reside within the constellations/rāśis of Vṛṣabha (Taurus), which is ruled by/an aspect of Śukra… and Śukra was Candra’s only ally during the great war that ensued between Candra and Bṛhaspati. In fact, Brahma believed that the world would be abolished (permanent severance), if the battle continued, so he ended it and returned Tara to Bṛhaspati (knowledge), thus retaining the link with the spiritual. This tearing clearly being representative of the division between the material and spiritual realms.

If Kanyā/Virgo yearns to reunite the two worlds, and Mithuna/Gemini instrumental in keeping the division, the condition and situations of these two signs in a birth chart can certainly determine in which direction an individual may lean in. Is Kanyā/Virgo key to integration, to yoga? Does Budha exist differently in Rohinī and Kṛttikā, those being the asterisms who raised him?

Just as there are two aspects to each planet, Sūrya and Candra represent the two sides of the Self. Rohinī and Kṛttikā are like two sides of the self (ruled by Candra and Sūrya) that reflect upon Budha (the rational mind), giving Budha two methods in function. Rohinī is expressive and feeling, with its primary motivation being mokṣa. You would assume that Kṛttikā, on the other hand, being ruled by Sūrya, would be stubborn, aggressive, and determined, with its primary motivation being truth. Rohinī achieves liberation through feeling and emotion, while Krittika gets there through pure bull-headedness, arriving via satya. But Kṛttikā is also home to the group of seven Mothers who had controlled the preparation of the Soma of Candra. These mothers were the Mātṛkās and were originally believed to be a personification of the seven stars of the star cluster the Pleiades constellation in the Nakṣatra Kṛttikā. There’s no wonder that Budha was given, basically, to Candra’s godmothers.

Kṛttikā and Rohinī are two of about a third of the Nakṣatras which are “propitious for producing highly evolved individuals with integrated self-functioning at different levels of their existence.”1

As Candra (i.e., through Rohinī) allows us to experience the divine in the material world (through emotion), Sūrya (i.e., through Kṛttikā) allows us to assertively pursue and contain the knowledge (jñāna) needed to ascertain truth, which in turn opens the door to liberation. Tara fell for both emotion (Candra) and knowledge (Bṛhaspati), indicating two distinct paths of the mind. In the end, Brahma returned Tara to Bṛhaspati (knowledge). Emotion is easy to fall for, is fed by the senses, and appears to be a set of instruments, meters, and gauges to experience this Maya. Emotion and psychology may a complete manifestation of this realm, but it is a gift that allows us to explore and discover the divine truth. Tara’s distraction from Bṛhaspati’s teachings was undeniable and gave birth to the rational mind, a tool which we can also use to understand knowledge (jñāna) and truth (satya). However, using Budha to communicate learned truth itself, whether through teaching or emotion, is like a Chinese finger trap. It is something felt and self-realized, not communicated.

Perhaps seeing both worlds as one, feeling joined between them, is more likely when there is a strong presence in Kanyā/Virgo. And, of course, it depends on the planet. For me, my ascendant lord (Candra, the true father of Budha) is in Kanyā. Emotion taking sides with what joins the two realms together. (As well, those realms represented in a chart as being 6th and 12th houses). At present, Sūrya, Rāhu, and Budha are all transiting Kanyā, with Budha in retrograde (disabled from its norm, allowing for more mental freedom). Mercury retrograde through Kanyā (Virgo) sounds like a wonderful period for everyone interested in connecting with the Truth.

In fact, the last three padas of Naksatra Uttara Phalguni in the rasi of Kanyā padas help reveal yogic powers and encourage exploration of life’s deep mysteries.

Budha’s Mate and His Progeny

It’s also important to note that Budha’s wife is Ilā, the truth-vision/revelation of the truth. She is the granddaughter of Sūrya (Vivasvan) by her father, Vaivasvata Manu. Vaivasvata’s wife, Shraddha (“faith”) wanted a girl, but Vaivasvata wanted a boy, so Shraddha hijacked the mantra. After she was born, Vaivasvata asked Rishi Vasistha to change her into a boy, who was named Sudyumna (or Ila). However, by Shiva’s will to avoid his own sexual embarrassment, Sudyumna became subject to his will and turned him back into a woman (Ilā). In that same forest, which was under Shiva’s “you will become female if you enter this forest” spell, Ila found Budha and fell in love. So, our question is this: Was Budha, then, also feminine, or perhaps even a woman himself, if he was in that same forest? From Ilā and Budha was born a son, Pururavas.

So, our question is this: Was Budha, then, also feminine, or perhaps even a woman himself, as he was in that same forest? Despite the love Ilā had found, she wanted to become a man again, so she asked Vasistha to do his magic again. His will could not trump Shiva’s, however, so ultimately Ilā/Ila simply alternated genders every month under the name Sudyumna. I guess Budha didn’t seem to mind this?

  1. Bepin Behari. Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology. p. 208