I am going to attempt to demonstrate some of what Ernst is saying by looking at the spashta bala of planets in Obama's birth chart. The chart I am working with is: August 4th, 1961 @ 19:24, Honolulu, HI. This is the data from the birth certificate that Obama's campaign released to the press. It's possible the time is not correct, but the nice thing about spashta bala is it is not very sensitive to time change (excepting sthana bala, which is). The good thing about using celebrity charts is that most people have some familiarity with celebrities. The downside is it's hard to know what's really going on within the personality of a celebrity. So I will just present the interpretation and let readers decide on its accuracy.
The first bala to consider is sthana bala. Sthana means stance and sthana means positional strength. This bala includes many different factors, all of which pertain to a planet's placement by sign and house. These are astronomically significant features, especially if you are using the tropical zodiac for signs. The tropical zodiac relates specifically to the orientation of the Sun to the Earth's poles. House placement is similarly astronomical, as it pertains to the planets orientation to specific locations on the Earth's surface. A planet gains strength, for example, by being placed in angular houses, which astrologers agree are points of prominence.
Because sthana bala is based on a planet's position or stance, it shows a person's innate ability to make proper use of that planet. It shows where and how the planet is "positioned" within a person's psyche and in their life. Because there are so many factors involved in sthana bala, it is harder to automatically see the astronomical reasoning behind it. In Obama's chart, the strongest planet by sthana bala the Moon. The Moon is very important for politicians as it puts you in touch with the public. Moon strong in sthana bala shows that Obama can tune into his environment and understand what adjustments he needs to make. It also shows the ability to envision where he wants to go and what he wants to experience. The second strongest planet in sthana bala is Saturn. Saturn is the planet of democracy because it represents power in the hands of everyday people. Saturn strong in sthana bala shows somebody who is very resourceful and able to survive life's difficulties. All the other planets are also strong in sthana bala, with the exception of Jupiter. Jupiter low in sthana bala shows somebody who may lack faith and feel unsupported at times. Oftentimes people with Jupiter low in sthana bala need a cause they can believe in, because they do not have a feeling of purpose without that cause. Jupiter also represents religious affiliation, something that has been damaging to Obama.
Dig bala only has one factor and so it is easier to see the connection with astronomy. Different planets prefer different directions. Mercury & Jupiter prefer the East (1st house), Mars & the Sun prefer the South (10th house), Saturn prefers the West (7th house), and Venus & the Moon prefer the North (4th house). The closer a planet gets to its favorite angle, the stronger its dig bala. Dig bala or directional strength shows whether a person is going in the direction of a planet. It shows the tendency different people have towards different activities, represented by the planets. The strongest planet by dig bala in Obama's chart is Jupiter, as Jupiter is in the 1st house. This shows that Obama has gone in the direction of Jupiter and spent a lot of time educating himself. The fact that Jupiter is low in sthana bala means that this was probably difficult for him to some extent, and yet Jupiter's dig bala ensures that he will continue to put energy towards his education. He will spend time accumulating knowledge. The next highest planet in dig bala is Mars. This shows that Obama is quick to take action when a problem arises. He is pro-active about solving crises in his life. Planets low in dig bala are the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Saturn. The Sun & Venus are only slightly low. Saturn is very low, showing that Obama is not quick to let go of things that are no longer working for him. This is reflected in the fact that he was slow to disassociate himself with certain persons that might harm his campaign for presidency. Mercury is also very slow, showing that he does not spend enough time on personal self-care and the daily minutia of his material world. Now as president he probably has a lot of people helping him with the details!
Kala bala is based on the Vedic calendar and so its arguable that parts of kala bala are not based on astronomy. It has many different factors like sthana bala, and so it is harder to see the connection with astronomy anyway. Kala means time and kala bala shows how planets impact on a person over time, and therefor what planets a person thinks are most important. Obama has Saturn and Mars highest in kala bala, which is very common. This shows that his top priority is survival. It shows that difficult life experiences have impressed upon him the need to be resourceful, resilient, and courageous. Also noteworthy is the Sun and Moon, also strong in kala bala. This shows that he wants to be the best at what he does and be a good example for others, and that he feels his own perceptions and viewpoints are important and worthy of expression. Sun, Moon, & Saturn strong in kala bala fits with the life of a politician and president.
Ayana bala shows the strength of planets by declination (north/south orientation). Planets that prefer to be north of the celestial equator are the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus. Planets that prefer to be south are the Moon and Saturn. Mercury prefers to be in either extreme. Vedic astrology provides mythology about the two hemispheres of the Earth that provides explanation for these preferences. The hemispheres represent two diametrically opposed qualities of our human nature, and so ayana bala is about a planet's ability to help us overcome conflict and adversity. Obama's Saturn is very high in ayana bala, showing that he recovers quickly from defeat and does not let failure bring him down. Also strong is the Sun, Mars, Mercury, and Venus. This allows him to stay true to his principles during conflict, stay focused on the problem rather than getting upset about it, use negotiation and different points of view to solve problems, and choose his battles wisely, respectively. The fact that so many planets are high in ayana bala means that he is a good problem-solver and deals well with conflict. The two planets that are low in ayana bala are the Moon and Jupiter. The Moon low in ayana bala means that he does not like chaotic environments. He has thin skin and needs a peaceful environment. This is reflected in his very calm and controlled manner. Jupiter low in ayana bala means he does not learn well from his own mistakes. He resents the lessons he is forced to learn in life, and he may have trouble truly understanding and accepting opposing points of view.
Cheshta bala measures the speed of a planet. Planets gain strength by moving slower. Cheshta bala is directly related to a planet's retrograde/combustion cycle. Outer planets are highest in cheshta bala when they are retrograde and opposite the Sun in the chart. Inner planets like Mercury & Venus are similarly highest in cheshta bala when retrograde, but they are conjunct the Sun (between the Sun & the Earth) when retrograde. All planets are lowest in cheshta bala when they are conjunct the Sun and direct (on the far side of the Sun from the Earth). The Sun's own cheshta bala is the same as its ayana bala, with the summer solstice Sun having the highest cheshta bala. Cheshta bala is related to the Sun and shows a person's confidence in their use of that planet's energy. Obama has the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn high in cheshta bala. The Sun's cheshta shows that he is comfortable in a leadership position. Jupiter's cheshta shows that he is confident in his ability to learn new things. Saturn's cheshta bala shows that he is confident in his ability to overcome loss. The other planets are lacking in cheshta bala. Especially low is Mercury's cheshta bala, which shows a lack of confidence in asking for what he wants. This means he may not be direct with people, and may circle around an issue rather than dealing with it head-on, for fear that others will reject his requests.
Lastly, drig bala is aspectual strength, and shows whether planets are getting gentle or cruel aspects from other planets. This reveals how well a person's environment and relationships have encouraged them to make use of a planet's energy. In this way, it is like the inverse of cheshta bala. Most of Obama's planets have very high drig bala, showing that he has received a lot of encouragement in his life. Venus is the one planet that is low in drig bala. This means that relatively speaking, he has not been as encouraged to pursue his own personal happiness and to develop his relationships and social status as he has to develop other things.
The technique of spashta bala is much more detailed than this, and it's worth deeper investigation. I don't know Obama personally, but I have found this technique to be one of the most accurate techniques I have used in analyzing my clients' personalities. I hope that this post reveals some of insight inherent in spashta bala.