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One such method found here is given by Rishi Parasara & is as follows:

Atma Karaka is the planet that has the highest longitude in one’s natal Chart. Atma Karaka in Navamsa is called the “Karakamsa”. The 12th from the Karakamsa determines the “Istha Devata”. The 12th house from the karakamsa is called the “Jivanmuktamsa”. This is the house signifying the emancipation of the soul and we have to examine this house in order to find one’s Ishta Devata. If there is a graha in the Jivanmuktamsa, it signifies the Devata. If there are more grahas than one, we choose the strongest. If there is no graha in the Jivanmuktamsa, we can see whether any Grahas are aspecting the 12th. If no Grahas aspect it, we can take the 12th Lord as Ishta Devata.

Below are the presiding deities for each planet who will be your Ishta Devata as per your Horoscope.

Sun– Vishnu/Rama/Shiva Moon– Krishna/Shiva/Parvati Mars– Hanuman/Subramanya/Sri Narasimha Mer– Vishnu Jup– Vishnu/Sri Vamana/Dattatreya/Sai Baba Ven– Maha Lakshmi/Parashurama/Maa Gouri Sat– Shani Dev/Hanuman/Kurma/Shiva/Vishnu Rahu—Maa Durga/Varaha Ketu– Ganesh/Matasya Ascendent– Kalki

My question-Is this the only authentic & generally accepted method for determining one's Istha or more such methods are available in scriptures?

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  • 1
    As per Hinduism there is only one ishta deva for all people. That is Shiva/Allh/GOD. They are one only. And Parvatimata and her various incarnations are mother to all people around world. That is why she is called Jagadamba.
    – prem30488
    Feb 18 '16 at 10:31
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The fundamental work of Ishta Devata is to guide the native towards the path of moksha.

While rigorously, the method finding of Ishta is the same as above, several other methods have been described in traditions of Jyotish to find devatas that guide the native towards liberation.

Jyotisha Shastra

As 12th house refers to moksha, see the position of the 12th lord with respect to the 12th house. For example, if 12th lord is in the 8th house, Vishnu or Krishna Bhakti is prescribed, as 8th is 9th from 12th. Similarly, 12th lord in 3rd can show Devi Bhakti, as it is 4th from the 12th.

  • The above technique is to be applied on Rashi Chakra.

As Ketu is the planet that ultimately grants liberation, planets conjuct Ketu in the Navamsa can show the devata that guides the native towards liberation. If no planet is conjunct, the lord of the rasi of Ketu is considered.

  • Clearly this can be applied only on Navamsa chart. Further elaboration can be found here.

The most well defined method is finding the planet 12th to the rasi occupied by Atmakaraka in the Navamsa, which is clearly described in the question.


Tantra Shastra

One must keep in mind that Ishta in Jyotish is a very well defined and narrow concept. If one explores further in Tantra Shastras, we find a reference to Ishta Devi in the form of Mahavidya. Here, the meaning of Ishta should be understood as 'Ishwara who protects from kashta', which is a much wider and meaningful translation.

  • The shloka elaborating the same is given below:

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Translation: The Dasa Mahävidyä are the ista devatä of the graha: Mätangi for Diväkara (Sun); Bhuvanesvari for Candra (Moon); Bagalä devi for Kuja (Mars); Parasundari (Tripurä sundari) for Budha (Mercury); Tärä for Brhaspati (Jupiter); Kamalätmikä for Sukra (Venus); Daksinä Käli for Sani (Saturn); Chinnamastä for Rähu and Dhümävati for Ketu. [In another tantra, Bhairavi is the Mahävidyä for lagna.]

If any signification of the above planets is damaged, corresponding Mahavidya has to be propitiated within the strict guidance of a Guru.

  • Source: Jyotish Digest, Pt. Sanjay Rath (2006).
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  • What I have read is Bhuvaneswari presides over Shukra and Kamala over Chandra.
    – Rickross
    Jan 31 at 8:33
  • Hmm, I'll relook and tell.
    – Swapnil
    Jan 31 at 9:05
  • The verses you have quoted clearly say for Shukra its Kamala and for Chandra its Bhuvaneswari. So it must be the correct rulership. May be some other Tantra have a slight different opinion and which I have read.
    – Rickross
    Jan 31 at 9:08
  • Yeah. What I meant is I'll look at other Tantra texts if possible, and tell.
    – Swapnil
    Jan 31 at 9:09
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    Yes, thanks for that.
    – Rickross
    Jan 31 at 9:10

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