People in the West often wonder how and why there are arranged marriages in India. It seems oppressive for our parents or society to choose whom we marry. We should be able to marry who we want. But actually, arranged marriages have been a successful part of Indian culture for thousands of years.
One of the main reasons arranged marriages work has to do with the accuracy of relationship astrology. It allows us to see the person we are getting involved with before all of the drama and mistakes start. It is customary for families to consult astrologers before deciding whether or not a suitable marriage partner has been found.
Traditional Vedic relationship astrology mainly revolves around the couple's Moons. The Moon shows our feelings and what we are most comfortable with. This is more important in a relationship than the Sun, which refers to our actions and goals in life.
In Vedic relationship astrology, the Moon is assessed relative to the birth Nakshatra (star). Nakshatras are important points along the ecliptic (the orbital path of the planets around the Sun) that often correspond to distant stars. For instance, the star Regulus (in the constellation Leo) is one of the Nakshatra's, called Magha.
There are 27 Nakshatras and each of them has unique characteristics - just like the 12 Zodiac Signs in Western astrology. So, in Vedic astrology, planets are not only in a sign, they are also in a Nakshatra. Each of these Nakshatras has many characteristics.
Through careful analysis, a Vedic astrologer can see the psychological and emotional affinity that exists in the couple. All planets are in a Nakshatra and must be compared.
For example, a positive Mercury will show good communication in the couple, and a positive Saturn will show the couple can face hardship together in a harmonious way.
The different Nakshatra factors were codified into a "point system" to determine overall strength. If a couple has more than 20 points, marriage may be recommended. Unfortunately, many Vedic astrologers use the points system as an "end-all be-all" system, without learning what each Kuta mean (see below).
In addition to the Kutas, there are "conditioning factors" which can make or break the association, regardless of how many points are earned. One of the most important conditioning factors is called "Strii Deergha" (distance to the woman). It literally assesses the masculine/feminine flow of energy.
The best flow of relationship energy is from the man to the woman, not the reverse. This is because women bond emotionally in relationships when they receive; men bond in relationships when their energy is well received. When the opposite is true and the woman is in the initiating role, she feels drained and unappreciated, while he feels nagged and "mommied."
I will attest that after thousands of relationship astrology readings, this is the most important factor in any relationship interaction. When couples have a harmonious masculine/feminine flow, it is much easier to work out their differences. When they do not, little situations escalate into major blowups because neither individual's "gender identity" is being supported.
Vedha - Obstruction: A terrible blemish – mutually repellent Nakshatras.
Rajju - Rope: Binds a couple to misfortune based on similar body part/lesson.
Strii Deergha: Shows the distance between the planets. The shortest distance should be from the man's to the woman's planets. This ensures the proper masculine/feminine flow.
The Ashta (Eight) Kutas are:
Nadi - Dosha: Balance in emotional element. There is windy, fiery, and watery nadi. If a couple has the same nadi, there will be an excess of that element. (Air = Intellect; Fire = Anger; Water = Emotion) 8 points
Bhava - Sign: Friendliness of Moon Sign Aspect. Whether there is similar/supportive mental outlook. 7 points
Gana - Temperament: God, Devil, or Human temperament. Best when the woman has the higher temperament. 6 points
Graha Maitram - Friendliness of Moon Sign Lord: Shows a similarity of interests and an ease of personal styles. 5 points
Yoni - Sexual and deeper urge compatibility: Shows the capacity to bond through intense experiences, like sex or after arguments – or sex after arguments! - 4 points
Tara – Day matching: Important for the woman to feel cherished. 3 points
Vasya - Dutiful: Special inner connection. 2 points
Varna - Caste: Relates to the station in life. 1 point
Mahendra - another special connection. Means "great lord."
After carefully assessing each of these factors, the partner is either seen as suitable or not. Of course, these days many Indians prefer a "love marriage," not an arranged one. Also these days, divorce rates are soaring in India, just like in the West.