What is Lal Kitab?

Lal Kitab is the name of five books, published between 1939 and 1952, which explain an absolutely unique system of Indian astrology now known as the Lal Kitab system of astrology. These books, each carrying the title Lal Kitab, were authored by the originator of this system, Pandit Rup Chand Joshi (1898 to 1982). These days, Lal Kitab (though presently available in imitated form) is the biggest seller of all astrology books. The Lal Kitab books were written in Urdu with a sprinkling of Punjabi throughout. Admittedly, at times, these books become somewhat challenging for a non-Punjabi to follow.
This system presents astrology based on palmistry. In general, the books discuss the basics of the Lal Kitab system, characteristics of the twelve houses and the nine planets, characteristics of each planet as a benefic and malefic in each house. Most important aspect of Lal Kitab is the identification of malefic planets and easy, inexpensive and extremely effective remedial measures for calming of their ill effects. Lal Kitab is an extension of the existing Indian astrological system.
1. Ascendant or Lagna (the first house in a horoscope) is always considered to be having Aries sign in it. A traditional Indian horoscope is converted to the Lal Kitab system by changing the Lagna sign to Aries and the sign of the second house to Taurus and so on. The planets that are in these houses are not changed, only the Rashis (signs) are changed. This removes the need for having to consider the 'Lord of the first' (Lagnesh) or Dhanesh, Shashtesh etc. Each house in a horoscope has been assigned a fixed lordship of a Rashi, which is Aries for the first house, Taurus for the second house and so on.
2. Rahu and Ketu, (the lunar nodes) which are always seven houses (180 degrees) apart from each other in the traditional Indian astrology do not have to be bound by this condition. Especially, while making an annual progressed horoscope using Lal Kitab's Varshphala chart, these two may or may not be seven houses apart. These two can even occupy adjoining houses. Rahu and Ketu can even be together, when a horoscope is made based on one's palm or house.
3. In the traditional Indian astrology, Sun, Mercury and Venus are always positioned close by. Lal Kitab removes this condition also. These planets can be spread all over the horoscope, distant from each other (again, either during the varshphala or if the horoscope is cast using palmistry.)
4. Multiple planets that are together in the natal chart in a particular house remain grouped together for the rest of one's life. While preparing the annual horoscope, these planets move together as a group. For example, if one has Jupiter, Sun and Saturn together in the first house in the natal chart, these planets will move together to the fourth house in one's 25th year of life (See the Varshphala chart in the Lal Kitab.)
5. In order to judge a horoscope, one need not consider the Nakshatra (constellation) or Rashi. Also Lal Kitab does not consider the effect of transition of planets (gochar) thus eliminating the need for an almanac. The only time one needs an almanac, is when one is preparing the natal birth chart. After that, an almanac is not needed at all, ever.
'Rashi chhor nakshatra bhoola, naa hee koi panchaang liya,
Mekh raashi khud lagna ko gin kar, barah pakke ghar maan gayaa'
Roughly translated: (He) disregarded the constellations and the birth sign and got rid of the almanac (where one considers current planetary transitions) He fixed Aries as the sign in the first house and similarly the twelve signs in the twelve houses of the horoscope.
6. All the things around us have been fixed as representatives of or belonging to planets. Relatives, professions, things placed in a dwelling including cattle, pets, trees, plants etc. establish good or evil effect of a planet.
7. Need for Navansh and other charts, such as Saptansh etc. have been completely eliminated from Lal Kitab consideration. Only the basic natal chart is required. Lal Kitab has its own way of making the Chandra Kundli.
8. Lal Kitab neither has Vinshottari Maha dasha nor the Sadhe Sati consideration of Saturn. It does have its own thirty-five year cycle of planets.
9. Mangaleek dosh has been eliminated from consideration. However, since Mars has been assigned two mounts on the hand (Upper and Lower mounts: Nek or Bad) Lal Kitab considers Mars as giving dual effect – good and bad.
10. For timing of events, Lal Kitab provides a methodology that goes into as much detail as hours, minutes and seconds. Again, this facility neither requires complex calculations, nor the use of an almanac.
11. Lal Kitab upayas do not prescribe fasts on certain days. However, it does not prohibit them either.
12. Lal Kitab is neither a Tantrik book nor does it have anything to do with witchcraft. The whole idea behind the upayas is to take advantage of the 'doubtful' position of certain planets and minimize their evil effects. Ordinary mortal beings cannot completely eliminate the evil effect of a planet; however the evil effect can, generally, be reduced. The Lal Kitab system does not claim to be 'God's promise'
'Duniyaavi hisaab kitab hai, koi daawaa-e-khudaai nahin'
13. Lal Kitab system cannot be used to harm others; there is no provision in it to do that. This system tries to defend one against evil planetary effects.
14. Lal Kitab system is secular in nature. In order to perform an upaya, one can go to one's religious place of choice, which could be a temple, a gurudwara or, a mosque or church. If one feels that one cannot perform an upaya in one of these religious places, or in case one is an atheist, the upayas can be performed at an intersection where two roads intersect at a right angle.
15. As stated before, this system does not consider itself superior to other prevalent systems of astrology.
16. The Lal Kitab should be used to help others:
'Kar Bhalaa hoga bhalaa, Jab tak naa ho, buray ka bhalaa'
17. And finally:
'Khush Raho Aabaad Duniya, Maal-o-zar Badhtey raho,
Madad Maalik apni dega, Neki khud kartey chalo'