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Jyotish Star's 2017 recipient for the title Jyotish Vashista

Vedic Astrologer of the Year Chakrapani Ullal

Edited by Christina Collins

Chakrapani Ullal from the Kerala region of India, now residing in Los Angeles California receives the 2017 Jyotish Vashista title from the Jyotish Star for the accomplishment of founding Vedic astrology in the West. Several Vedic astrologers who have had the privilege to know and study with Chakrapani choose to share a few of their experiences knowing Chakrapani as friends, students and protégées.

Chakrapani was born to a traditional Hindu family of astrologers in the South of India. He, thus, began to receive training in astrology from his parents at a very
early age. He has also spent a great deal of time in the company of saints and sages.

Chakrapani holds a degree in business studies and law and has traveled widely throughout the world in his capacity as a financial and legal advisor to the companies he represented.

In 1979, he was invited to come to the United States as an advisor and consultant. Today, Chakrapani has a busy private practice in Los Angeles, where he is consulted by people from all over the world and from all walks of life.

Chakrapani can be reached at


Charlotte (Jyoti Devi) Benson

Amidst the turbulence and technological advancement in the early 1990’s, Vedic Astrology appeared in an appealing way, in America. The American College of Vedic Astrology gave a conference in San Rafael, California, and that is where I first saw many of the luminaries of Jyotish, including Mr. Chakrapani Ullal.

I saw him, but I didn’t meet him until the next conference. To me, these brilliant icons of Jyotish, were unapproachable heroes. I didn’t know a navamsa from a navagraha at that point. But I did instinctively know that these great ACVA
scholars could teach me what I needed to know, to become useful.

Over the course of the next couple of decades, through my service as a humble servant of ACVA, I was regularly able to gain knowledge from Chakrapani-ji, both in, and out, of the classroom. One of my delightful tasks, during this time, was to act as a concierge for the visiting Jyotish dignitaries at ACVA conferences and symposia. In due course, Chakrapani-ji gave me much very practical, and also very cosmic, advice, as I was driving him around various towns.

I remember distinctly his answer to what I supposed was a very deep and thoughtful question. Intending to make the best use of a quiet moment with him, I asked: “During these strange and disturbing times, isn’t another avatar due to emerge, to make things right? When do you suppose the next incarnation of Vishnu will appear?” He quickly replied, in his dead-pan way: “They have already come, and gone.” That was a typical exchange with “The Grandfather of Vedic Astrology in America.” He gives the short version of his concept of the honest truth – and we just have to deal with it.

He is also a good sport. Once, in the course of some
elaborate errand, I had to deposit him for a short period of time in the resort hotel bar. He managed this unusual situation bravely, telling me that he had never been in a bar before! The conference organizer was horrified, but Chakrapani was unfazed.

Chakrapani-ji is very generous, and has commented on my chart for me, several times. Of course, he was brilliant and accurate about many specific details of my life. I learned a lot about dasas from him. Many of his predictions about my life have come true, and I am hoping that his prediction for my demise – far in the distant future – is accurate, too!

While we were in India, Chakrapani-ji, along with Dayananda, and Vamadeva Shastri, gave me my spiritual name. That is still a wonderful memory of my dear teachers- they are so generous to me!

When I needed the ultimate authority on mundane events – Chakrapani-ji was the source. His mundane predictions of world events are pretty much the gold-standard in terms of both long-term, and specific accuracy.

Chakrapani is so spiritually well-developed that one can count on him to be True in every situation. He is an example to all, of how to live a moral life, and how to practice Jyotisha. I think of him as being the living embodiment of the Jyotir Vidya. I may be exaggerating a bit out of my extreme esteem for him – but probably not.

Even though I don’t see him as often as I used to – I still think of him with appreciation and love, every day. He is a great example - my ideal - of how to be an authentic Jyotishi, and how to serve humanity. If we were living in Japan, he would be considered a “National Treasure”! He certainly is to me.

Heartfelt Tribute to Chakrapani Ullal

Christina Collins (Jyotish Vachaspati)

I give initial thanks to my maternal Grandfather for introducing and tutoring me in sidereal astrology when I was a child. But, because I was fortunate enough and blessed enough to meet Chakrapani, I have the dharma and career of a professional Vedic astrologer, and your Jyotish Star e-magazine exists because of my introduction to Jyotish or Vedic astrology (Chakrapani established the name “Vedic astrology” by dear selfless Chakrapani.

I remember Bill Levacy asking me if I wanted to go to an astrology class with him in West Hollywood (California) in the early 80’s (I think it was around 1982
or 83). I explained to him, that I studied astrology all my life, but that I am a sidereal astrologer, not a western tropical astrologer. Bill explained that the class was about Jyotish and Vedic astrology which is based on sidereal mathematics.

I thought to myself “cool!” I’ll be right at home. Ha! That first class was so full of wondrous new knowledge, that I thought “I’ll just keep quiet, keep my mouth shut, and then no one will know that I don’t know anything (I kept pretty quiet my first year of study).

Well, when we got there, people would take a small piece of white paper, then write down a square chart (I was still using circles) enter the planets in it (of a friend or client), with no degrees, just the name of the planet, hand the paper to Chakrapani, while someone put it up on the green chalkboard behind him. Chakrapani would look at it for about 1 or 2 minutes. Put the paper down, then begin a 30-minute discourse about the chart. Saying things like this person has spent at least 3 to 4 years in jail. (and be correct) He was AMAZING and I was hooked. That began 4 years of study, once a week, often with Chakrapani as our guest teacher. Many of the people who were in those classes state their testimonies in this tribute. Most of us have become the astrologers we are today because of the tremendous knowledge we received from this humble man who joined us as a volunteer guest teacher.

Chakrapani gave me my first Jyotish reading and introduced me to the concept of yogas. He explained to me that my Hamsa yoga (Jupiter in Sag, Moon in Pisces) would protect me. that I would feel “squeezed” sometimes, but I would always squeeze out the top, not the bottom. This one statement has impressed and carried me through life. When tough things happen to me, and I am feeling “squeezed,” I remember Chakrapani’s words, and tell myself, I’ll be okay, I’ll still come out on top of this.

Thank you Chakrapani – I hope these comments from your students, colleagues and friends express a small glimmer of the appreciation and gratitude we all hold in our hearts for you.


Testimony for Chakrapani

Dennis Flaherty (Jyotish Vachaspati)

I first became acquainted with Chakrapani Ullal when I attended his lectures in Seattle where he traveled in the late eighties. I became more personally acquainted when he became the Honorary Chairman of the American Council of Vedic Astrology (CVA), of which I was a founding board member in 1993. The Council featured Chakrapani as our first principal keynote speaker to disseminate Vedic astrology in the west through the first International Symposiums on Vedic Astrology. Our professional and personal relationship deepened when I began to sponsor several of his visits from the early nineties
to Seattle. I interviewed Chakrapani in 2006, and again in 2012 for the Council’s journal where he narrated his extraordinary journey and the many challenges he successfully overcame in bringing Vedic astrology to western audiences. It was a profound honor to present Chakrapani Ullal with CVA’s two highest awards on behalf our community. The first was the Lifetime Achievement Award, for outstanding achievement in the field of Vedic astrology, which was presented to Chakrapani in 2012.

The second was the Founding Father Award, recognizing the recipient’s outstanding contribution to the founding of the Council of Vedic Astrology, presented at CVA’s 20th anniversary conference in 2014. I have been privileged to know Chakrapani in his role as the Honorary Chairman of the CVA these last twenty plus years, as well as a colleague; but most importantly as a stalwart friend of sagacious council born of experience. Thank you Chakrapani for your many and on-going contributions to our community of Vedic astrologers.

Dennis Flaherty

Chakrapani Ullal

Pandit Vamadeva Shastri (Dr. David Frawley)

David Frawley (Vamadeva Sastri)Chakrapani Ullal can accurately be called “the father of Vedic astrology in the western world,” much like I once described Paramahansa Yogananda as “the father of Yoga in the western world.”

Chakrapani has had the greatest influence of any single person on the development and propagation of Vedic astrology in the United States over the past nearly fifty years. He has selflessly given the largest number of readings probably of any astrologer in the West, including with many of the most famous, talented, educated and spiritual personalities in the world, doing numerous consultations every day on a wide variety of important life issues in a tireless manner.

Chakrapani has been at the forefront of major Vedic astrological organizations in the West and continues to guide the Council of Vedic Astrology (CVA). He is highly regarded in India as well, starting with his close relationship with noted astrologer Dr. BV Raman, founder of the Indian Council of Astrological Sciences (ICAS). He has been the astrological guide for many of the greatest gurus of India since Swami Muktananda, who first brought him to the West.

Chakrapani carries many spiritual and yogic secrets of astrology both relative to chart interpretation and the use of remedial measures. These reflect his many years of study from his childhood in Kerala and the experiential knowledge gained from his extensive chart readings.

I consider Chakrapani Ullal to be the most insightful Vedic astrologer relative to chart reading that I have ever met or studied with. The directness and clarity with which he understands a person’s chart is almost unparalleled and his advice is always helpful, considerate and profound. I regularly seek his counsel and guidance in my own spiritual and astrological pursuits. He has been one of the most important influences in my life over many years. It has been a great honor to be connected with him at both personal and professional levels.

Anyone who comes into contact with Chakrapani Ullal is bound to be immensely benefited and in an enduring manner. Such greater teachers are rare and there are very few who can follow even in his shadow.

Dr. David Frawley D.Litt
(Pandit Vamadeva Shastri)
Padma Bhushan Recipient, President of India

Tribute to Chakrapani

Dennis Harness, PhD (Jyotish Vachaspati)

My first experience with Vedic Astrology occurred in August of 1980 through an astrological consultation with Chakrapani. I met with Chakrapani at the Swami Muktananda Ashram in Santa Monica, California. During our initial session, he made many predictions about my life that have come to fruition. At one point during our session he looked deeply into my eyes and said "I know your mind very well.... perhaps better than you." By the end of the consultation he had convinced me of this truth. He has since that time been like a spiritual father to me over the years as well as a great friend and colleague.

I have deep gratitude for Chakrapani for sharing his vast knowledge of astrology and his philosophy of life with so many truth-thirsty souls. He remains an ever-flowing fountain of divine wisdom!

Blessings from Sedona,

Chakrapani Ullal

Edith Hathaway, (Jyotish Brihaspati) Dec. 2016

In late spring 1988 I was a consulting astrologer in professional practice for 8 years and a student of the subject for 12 years when a returning client came to me and insisted that I find in Western tropical astrology how this Vedic astrologer had successfully predicted a specific event – an accident while she was riding a horse. When I couldn’t find the answer using all my various Western methods, including complex Uranian techniques and AstroCartography, I promptly booked an appointment with that astrologer – Chakrapani Ullal.

Our first meeting was by phone. He was in Los Angeles and I in Santa Fe, New
Mexico, where I lived from Feb. 1983 for 21 years before moving to the West coast. My next appointment with him was in late summer 1990, when we first met in person; but he had sparked my resolve to study Vedic astrology from late spring 1988. My Vedic studies began informally from that time as well, including with David Frawley, who – fortuitously – also lived in Santa Fe and whom I knew socially for a few years previously. From fall 1988 to spring 1989 I was writing my first book on astrology, Navigating by the Stars (commissioned by a foreign publisher and published in 1991 by Llewellyn). The book was based on Western tropical techniques; thus, Vedic astrology was initially more of an adjunct to my Western techniques until the early 1990s.

From fall 1992 onward I attended Chakrapani’s lectures and intensives at conferences at least once a year or more, and where I had the opportunity to be on the same faculty. By 1995 we were also both board members of the same Vedic astrology organizations. Also by 1995 Chakrapani became more and more of a mentor, in addition to being a friend and colleague. This was indeed both an honor and a privilege, as talking with him often and on a one-to-one basis deepened my grounding in the subject and provided the oral transmission Vedic astrology so famously touts. We discussed many matters that astrologers grapple with, both technical and philosophical, and often through specific charts.

I found the Vedic classics poetic but full of conundrums and at times blatant inconsistencies. This was especially true with Graha Yuddha (Planetary War). When I mentioned this to Chakrapani in the mid-1990s, he began to share with me his methods for assessing Graha Yuddha, which his father had also used and possibly his grandfather before him. This is true parampara – knowledge used and passed on by a family of traditional Vedic astrologers, while in conformity with the classical rules. I began extensive research on the subject, initially under Chakrapani’s guidance. This developed into numerous lectures and articles from 2000 onward. My most recent article on the subject was published in 2010 (28 pp.) and is available at my website. Chakrapani provided a great sounding board with solid advice at crucial points, including on my 2012 book on Vedic astrology, In Search of Destiny. He also encouraged me to look into Nadi Jyotisha, on which I gave several lectures based on his teachings. What especially resonated for me was the significance he gives to the nakshatra lord, assessing it vis-à-vis the Ascendant chart and whether it is a friend to the Ascendant lord. He also notes the exchange of nakshatra lords (Nadi yoga). Meanwhile, Graha Yuddha was a topic to which I returned increasingly, especially since I saw it had such important implications for the pivotal Jupiter-Saturn conjunction cycles.

Chakrapani’s emphasis is always on chart study, with an insistence on looking at the whole chart. He would say: “Keep going back to the Rashi Lagna [birth chart Ascendant] as control point. Chart analysis is all.” This was so helpful, because a set of rules and principles can only come to life when you see them at work in an astrological chart. His example of teaching by charts, and the fundamentals of understanding the chart from the Ascendant (Rashi Lagna) and the Navamsha come from South Indian methods and traditions, some specifically from his home state of Kerala. This, in turn impacted my own astrological methods, whether consulting with clients, teaching, lecturing or writing. My 2002 Audio course follows this approach, and after some initial material on mundane astrology, my book In Search of Destiny (2012) does as well. Chapters 3 to 9 are organized around that principle, and Volume two of this book will continue with Scorpio through Pisces Ascendant charts.

From his many decades of experience with clients, Chakrapani has a firm conviction that his methods work. I see it working together with his formidable intuition! This has given me confidence to continue in that tradition while also developing my own original material, which he has generously reviewed in many cases. Chakrapani’s gifts to me and to all those with whom he is associated include not only his breadth of knowledge but his clarity, his depth and subtlety of perception, and the precision with which he is able to instantly grasp the meaning of the planets and make accurate predictions and assessments. I am most fortunate to have learned and continue learning from him and to call him my good friend, colleague, and mentor.

On Meeting Chakrapani

Bill Levacy (Jyotish Vachaspati)

I first started learning Vedic astrology in 1983. A friend of mine invited me to attend a weekly astrology class held at Phyllis Kneip’s Sidereal School of Astrology. Phyllis had a studio in West Hollywood where she invited astrologers who had a background in Vedic astrology or Jyotish, as it is called in India. It was here in the Los Angeles area, in the mid 80’s, that I first met Chakrapani. He was invited to speak in a monthly series at Phyllis’s school.

What I took away the most from these sessions with Chakrapani was his ability to look at the chart as a comprehensive whole and not fragment the reading
with the introduction of too many rules of interpretation (many of which conflict). When Chakrapani would read a chart, he would glance at it silently for a few seconds, then begin to bring out the most salient parts embedded in that chart. He would validate our questions, stimulated by his reading, but would not descend into a stream of disjointed statements. It was as if he was a filter for what was important to be disclosed. Jyotish can be defined as the “mastery of insight (light) and Chakrapani set a good example of how to approach a chart and speak comprehensively from a state silence.

Chakrapani Tribute

Steve Stuckey (Jyotish Vachaspati)

I first met Chakrapani Ullal when he started teaching classes in the mid-eighties at the Sidereal School of Astrology in Hollywood. He had been living in the States for some years previous to that, having moved to America at the request of his god-brother, Swami Muktananda, in 1979. At that time, the students in the class were completely in the dark when it came to understanding even the most rudimentary principles of Jyotish. The classes were tremendously instructive, as Chakrapani gradually brought us into the light of Jyotish over many years. Through his expertise of the subject, along with his patience, diligence, and wry sense of humor, we all eventually began to grasp the complex intricacies of the subject.

Chakrapani was born in the Kerala region of southern India and learned Prashna/Horary astrology from his father and grandfather. Beginning at the age of seven, he was required to memorize twelve verses of four lines each, one for each month, which allowed him to determine what sign was rising at any time of the day or night throughout the year. This knowledge, along with a few minutes study of an ephemeris upon waking in the early morning hours, in order to memorize the nakshatra of the Moon and placements of the planets, allowed his mind to freely assess the various omens that are an integral part of Prashna. He could then consult with clients throughout the day without having to go through the preliminaries of constructing a chart or even referring to an ephemeris. While living in India, Chakrapani practiced Prashna astrology exclusively for predictive work and to answer all other client questions.

I believe most Vedic astrologers would agree that Chakrapani was the main force behind the formal establishment of Jyotish in the West, through his classes and lectures, and his advice and encouragement to the many astrologers who were aspiring to learn this great science. His wisdom and intuitive council has reached into the lives of many thousands who were his clients and friends, and helped to change them for the better. In my own life, Chakrapani has acted as teacher, mentor and friend for over thirty years. I have had the great good fortune to discuss hundreds of charts with him and to question him at length about many of the subtleties of Jyotish principles. Through his generous guidance in the many fine points of chart interpretation, I have gleaned insights that would have otherwise been inaccessible to me through the ordinary study of classical texts.

His personal life has always set a shining example for me to follow, regarding correct conduct and the proper mental and emotional attitude of an astrologer and I am very grateful to have imbibed some of these qualities by association with him over the years.

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