Sign Techniques of S. K. Mehta
I met S.K. Mehta at his home in India in 2002.
S.K. Mehta had through his observations of thousands of charts, adopted his own unique way of determining strengths of planets in signs.
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 rely on many different Shad Bala evaluations. Prashant Trivedi really extolled this perspective of S. K. Mehta's and it exemplifies the directness and simplicity of S.K. Mehta's 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 has potential to 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.
It is seen that S.K. Mehta was utilizing his method to determine positive and negative results in charts on a very material and practical level. 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).
Here is just a small example where Mr Mehta employs this technique in one of his books:
" 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.”
"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 7th lord/karaka for husband occupying the 12th house in an enemy's sign, 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.
In his chart both his Ascendant lord Mercury and Moon occupy the 11th house in the sign of Cancer conjunct Ketu.
Using S.K. Mehta's technique 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 instability and Mercury will harm the physical wellbeing. It does not 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. It should be noted that Mercury (according to S K Metha's principle) would be exalted in navamsa because it occupies an earth sign but S.K. Mehta did not rely on navamsa.
Patrick 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, and there are also 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.
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 take a traditional approach, weight would be given to the inimical relationships happening in the chart + planetary aspects + 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 Mars in the 3rd house in the sign of Scorpio will face some problems. It is also aspected by 6th lord Saturn. Mars co-rules 3rd and 8th house so can indicate accidents whilst riding. It should be mentioned that 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.
Patrick Swayze suffered a lot of battles with alcohol and addiction. With the emphasis on negative water in the chart, we could see how these inclinations could arise.
Mars debilitated in the 3rd house means it is aspecting its exalted sign on the opposite 9th house giving many noble qualities and a genuine interest in higher philosophical knowledge.
Mercury and Moon would also be aspecting their exalted signs (an earth sign) on the 5th house which boosted the potential for fame, Rahu also being placed there is important in that regard.
Patrick Swayze was a very talented dancer. Mars and Mercury were powerful contributions to this talent and the debilitation sign placements (using Sk Metha's technique) 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. It is noted that Venus and Sun are powerful in the 12th house.
Patrick Swayze 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 was very powerful because of 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.Whilst a strong Sun gave Transcendental meditation, smoking was also very much part of this need to find 12th house release. Venus was not working harmoniously with Sun, Sun and Venus being mutual enemies. In the navamsa Venus occupies its fallen sign and is conjunct Rahu, a highly addictive impulse. Venus in the earthy sign of Virgo shows the addiction connected to the Vata humour in the body. Pancreas are related to the sign of Leo. Having the Venus and Sun in the 12th house, there was a strong connection between smoking and damage to the pancreatic system.
During my brief time with S. K. Mehta he mainly discussed his innumerable insights on medical astrology and diagnosis. This was an aspect of astrological research he had devoted much of his life to.