Sign Techniques of S.K. Mehta By Veno, U.K

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Veno has worked in the Jyotish field for two decades. She is co author of “Sun, the Cosmic Power house”(Sagar Publications) and illustrator of “The Rahu Ketu Experience” & “The 27 Celestial Portals” by Prash Trivedi. She has a keen interest in Vedic sciences and esoteric practices generally. Her personal experiences have helped her realize the role kundalini plays in refining one’s knowledge in sciences like jyotish. She specializes in natal astrology and runs her own website

I was introduced to S.K. Metha[1], a great astrologer, by another great astrologer and also a great teacher, Prash Trivedi, author of “The Rahu Ketu Experience” and “The 27 Celestial Portals.”   He recognised the merits of S.K. Metha’s work who at the time (more than a decade ago) was still largely unknown to the wider astrological community.

S.K. Mehta had through his observations of thousands of charts, adopted his own unique way of determining strengths of planets in signs.  This principle was explained to me by Prash Trivedi before meeting Mr. Metha in person.  In my personal meeting with S.K. Metha we discussed other aspects of Jyotish but it is worth mentioning this particular technique, as it was fundamental to his interpretative approach.  

It is a very simple and logical method which

gives importance to the element of the sign the planet is placed in i.e. fire, air, earth, water. I have seen tropical astrologers utilise this type of principle in similar ways, more so than Vedic astrologers who have many other techniques for determining strengths and weaknesses of planets.  However Prash Trivedi really extolled this perspective of S. K. Mehta and it exemplifies the directness and simplicity of his approach.

The basic approach is that if a planet is exalted in a particular sign belonging to a particular element like water for example, then it can be treated as exalted in all water signs. If it is debilitated in a water sign, then it can be said to be debilitated in any other water sign.

For example if  Jupiter is exalted in Cancer a water sign, it would make sense that Jupiter is happiest in the other water signs Scorpio and Pisces, which can easily bring out its fluid and expansive qualities.

If Jupiter is debilitated in Capricorn an earth sign, it makes sense that Jupiter is least happy in other earth signs Taurus and Virgo whose practical earthiness does not vibe with Jupiter’s uplifting qualities. 

A planet like Venus which is harmed in Virgo (an earth sign) will not like earth signs much, but this rule is cancelled when in its own sign Taurus, so it can be seen as somewhat neutral in Taurus. 

Similarly Moon is neutral in Cancer and Mars is neutral in Scorpio. Even though a certain neutrality happens, it could be said that because Mars gets debilitated in water, Scorpio can bring out some very troubling results for Mars. This is because Mars is a fiery sharp force and it loses its power and focus in water. In Scorpio this could make it highly destructive in some very negative aspects.  Mars in Scorpio can act more troubled than brave and fearless.  Even though Cancer is Moon’s own sign, it can be considered a weakened placement for Moon because it tends to cause too much instability.

Prash Trivedi went on to explain that a planet occupying an incompatible sign element can act with less refinement. Thus Jupiter in Taurus or Virgo can gravitate towards more base or denser mediums of expression.  It can indicate a person who is more materialistic or closed rather than seeking higher expressions of wisdom, evolution and openness. Venus in Taurus could indicate more pleasure seeking rather than higher expressions of love and compassion.  From a refined perspective Venus would function better in Cancer than Taurus, Venus being exalted in water signs. 

It is seen that S.K. Mehta was utilizing this method not necessarily from Prash Trivedi’s psychological/spiritual perspective but in determining positive and negative results in charts on a very material and practical level. 

I am not sure if S.K. Mehta created this table originally or if Prash Trivedi refined S. K. Mehta’s technique by creating this table, but nevertheless here is a table showing the planet’s best, 2nd best, 3rd best, and worst placements in the different signs (which are represented by their numbers).


Best Signs

2nd Best Signs

3rd Best Signs

Worst Signs


(Fire) 1, 5, 9

(Earth) 2, 6, 10

(Water) 4, 8,12

(Air) 3, 7,11


(Earth) 2, 6, 10

(Fire) 1, 5, 9

(Air) 3, 7, 11



(Earth) 2, 6, 10

(Fire) 1, 5, 9

(Air) 3, 7, 11

(Water) 4, 12


(Earth) 2, 6, 10

(Air) 3, 7, 11

(Fire) 1, 5, 9



(Water)4, 8, 12

(Air) 3, 7, 11

(Fire) 1, 5, 9

(Earth) 6, 10


(Water)4, 8, 12

(Fire) 1, 5, 9

(Air) 3, 7, 11



(Air) 3, 7, 11

(Earth) 2, 6, 10

(Water)4,8, 12

(Fire) 1, 5, 9

Here is just a small example where Mr Mehta employs this technique in one of his books:-

chart 290

” The lone reason of this native in getting married too late is the VII lord Jupiter which is

in XII that too in its fall.(crossing the same stars which it crosses while crossing the 10th sign)

You will see that Venus is also afflicted by the Sun and Saturn.”

Chart 89, page 164 from “New Dimensions in Hindu Astrology” (Prakash Books)

Jupiter in this chart occupies Taurus which using Mr. Mehta’s technique makes it debilitated. In traditional astrology we would put emphasis on the 7th lord/karaka for husband occupying the 12th house in an enemy’s sign rather than a fallen sign making it difficult to find a suitable partner, plus the other factors Mehta mentions.

In general observation I have not always seen the planet to give bad results in an incompatible sign element for the non-live issues, but it can cause harm for some of the live issues.

Here is the chart of American actor Patrick Swayze, who died in 2009 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

chart 291

In his chart both his Ascendant lord Mercury and Moon occupy the 11th house in the sign of Cancer conjunct Ketu.

Mercury in this case would be considered debilitated and Moon would be suffering not only because of its conjunction with a node and a debilitated planet, but because it does not function well in a water sign even if its own sign.  Moon would give rise to psychological problems and Mercury will harm the physical wellbeing.  It does not however seem to have harmed Patrick Swayze’s wealth and fortune or his career success, although it did cause fluctuations in the steadiness of his career. 10th and 11th lord together in the 11th is a strong combination for success.  Also from what I have read he was greatly admired by his peers and social circle, an 11th house matter.  Mercury in this case is also retrograde and retrograde planets in their fall can also bring some exceptionally positive results. Mercury is also exalted in navamsa occupying an earth sign but S.K. Mehta did not rely on navamsa.

Swayze suffered a serious accident in the late 90’s when he fell from a horse and hit a tree during filming. This caused him to break both his legs and suffer four detached tendons in his shoulder.  Here Mercury is having its fallen influence in regards to the 10th and 11th house of legs, two malefics Saturn and Mars aspecting the 10th.

This was not the first time he suffered problems with his legs.  He suffered chronic knee injuries from a young age and had to endure multiple surgeries in his life.  11th house also represents older siblings, and his older sister committed suicide, again illustrating the adverse side of Moon and Mercury occupying water signs with the nodes.  Venus was also pretty problematic in all these affairs. S.K. Metha gave a lot of credence to the impact of malefics. In the chart waning Moon, Mercury and Ketu become malefic, so the 10th and 11th house have a lot of malefic influence with Saturn and Mars also aspecting 10th.

If we took a traditional approach, weight would be given to the inimical relationships happening in the chart, planetary aspects and results using Chandra Lagna and Navamsa. There is a distinction between the “nature of enmity” and the “nature of debilitation” in traditional astrology.  Enmity can give mixed results equally strong depending on the nature of lordships etc, where as debility shows more weakness in the manifestation of the planet’s natural potential. Patrick Swayze could not be said to have been born with weak legs or flexibility, but the relationship he had with his legs doing all kinds of athletics, gymnastics and dancing brought harm due to the inimical relationships of the Cancer planets.   It is worth taking into account that Mehta’s definition of what debilitation “encompassed” was probably a fairly broad one. 

Shoulders are ruled by the 3rd house and as we have already established Mars in the 3rd house in the sign of Scorpio will face some problems. It is also aspected by Saturn. His Mars rules both the 3rd and 8th house so can indicate accidents whilst riding. Mars is also debilitated in the navamsa making Mars quite potent in its negative expression. Jupiter rules the 4th house of vehicles and occupies the 8th house.

He suffered a lot of battles with alcohol and addiction.  With a troubled Mars in the third house ruling one’s motivation and will and the emphasis on negative water in the chart, we could see how these inclinations could arise. His drinking brought out a side to him which was very destructive and harmful for his marriage life, Mars being debilitated in its traditional debilitation sign in the navamsa 7th house.

Mars debilitated means it is aspecting its exalted sign on the 9th house giving many noble qualities and a genuine interest in higher philosophical knowledge.

Mercury and Moon are both aspecting their exalted signs on the 5th house which boosted his potential for fame, Rahu also being placed there.

He was a very talented dancer and in that respect his Mars and Mercury were powerful contributions to this talent and the debilitation sign placements did not detract from that, dancing being related to the third house of bodily movement, 11th house of legs and also 12th house of feet.  In his chart Venus and Sun are powerful in the 12th house.  

He had a heavy smoking addiction showing some harm to the respiratory system, again  illustrating the negative aspect of the Cancer placements.

As an additional commentary on his chart even though slightly off the subject, his need to seek release through smoking, said to be a three pack a day habit,  was very powerful  because of his 2nd lord Venus being conjunct Sun in Sun’s fiery sign of Leo in the 12th house, 12th house being the place where we seek release.  It is also the place of self undoing and intoxication. Even though he did practise transcendental meditation and other spiritual practices because of Sun occupying its own sign in this house, smoking was also very much part of this need to find release. Venus was not working harmoniously with his Sun, Sun and Venus being mutual enemies. In the navamsa Venus occupies its fallen sign and is conjunct Rahu[1], a highly addictive impulse.  Venus in the earthy sign of Virgo shows the addiction connected to the Vata humour in the body.  This is happening in the 9th house in the navamsa indicating that he must have pondered on many deeper subjects during this activity, 9th house being the house of higher thought and religion, Venus also ruling 9th in the rasi.

Pancreas are related to the sign of Leo. Having the conflicting Venus with Sun in the 12th house, there was a strong connection between his smoking and the damage to his pancreatic system.

In afterthought, this additional commentary seems apt to include in an essay on S.K. Mehta.  At the time I met him, he mainly discussed his innumerable insights on medical astrology and diagnosis. It seemed to be one of his favourite subjects. 

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