BPHS Chapter 97:
WHAT IS VEDIC ASTROLOGY?
Vedic Astrology is an ancient Indian science which explains planetary motions and positions with respect to time and their effect on humans and other entities on earth. Vedic astrology can be traced thousands of years back. Early Vedic astrology was only based on the movement of planets with respect to stars, but later on it started including zodiac signs as well. According to Vedic astrology there are 27 constellations made up of 12 zodiac signs, 9 planets and 12 houses with each house and planet representing some aspect of human life. Depending on when a person is born, the 12 signs are distributed among the 12 houses and 9 planets are placed in various houses. This visual representation of the snapshot of the signs and planets is called a horoscope chart. Vedic astrology is nothing but interpreting the meaning of these arrangements as it applies to humans and other entities.
TYPES OF VEDIC ASTROLOGY
Vedic astrology (Jyotisha) has three main branches:
Siddhanta (Astronomy): Astronomy & its application to astrology
· Samhita (Mundane astrology): Covers Mundane astrology, predicting important events related to countries such as war, earth quakes, political events, astro - meteorology, financial positions, electional astrology; house & construction related matters (Vaastu Shaastra), animals, portents & omens etc.
· Hora (Predictive astrology):
This branch has the following different styles / sub branches:-
o Jaatak Shaastra / Hora Shaastra (Natal Astrology / horoscopy): Prediction based on individual horoscope.
o Muhurt or Muhurtha (Electional astrology): Selection of beneficial time to initiate an activity to get maximum fruition from the life activities.
o Swar Shaastra (Phonetical astrology): Predictions based on name & sounds.
o Prashna (Horary astrology): Predictions based on time when a question is asked by querent / querist.
o Ankjyotisha / Kabala (Numerology): A branch of astrology based on numbers.
An ancient treatise having detailed predictions for individuals.
o Tajik Shaastra / Varsha Phal (Annual Horoscope): Astrology based on annual solar returns.
o Tajik Shaastra / Varsha Phal (Annual Horoscope): Astrology based on annual solar returns.
o Jaimini Sutras: A non-conventional method of timing of events based on Famous Indian astrologer, Acharya Jaimini.
o Nastjaatakam (Lost Horoscope):
Art of tracing / construction of lost horoscope.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEEN VEDIC AND WESTERN ASTROLOGY
The most easily referred to difference between the two lies in the method of measurement of the Zodiac. Vedic astrology uses primarily the sidereal zodiac (in which stars are considered to be the fixed background against which the motion of the planets is measured), whereas most Western astrology uses the tropical zodiac (the motion of the planets is measured against the position of the Sun on the Spring equinox). This difference becomes only noticeable over time, after the course of several centuries, as a result of the precession of the equinoxes. Synchronically, the two systems are identical, with just a shift of the origin of the ecliptic longitude by about 22 degrees or days, resulting on the placement of planets in the previous sign in Western charts about 80% of the time.
SCEINTIFIC BASIS OF VEDIC ASTROLOGY
Ancient Hindu literature is full of mythology related to zodiac signs, constellations (also known as Nakshatras) and planets, which explain a lot of astrological rules. However the popular opinion is that the mythology was just a method that our ancient seers used to explain some very complex physical laws, which were beyond the comprehension of common people. Unfortunately even today's modern science has not been able to fully understand those physical laws behind this ancient method although it's getting there very fast. Our current understanding of the science of astrology lies in statistics and probability. Statistics is the branch of mathematics, which can deal with correlation between two or more seemingly independent events without knowing the cause of that correlation. If in a chart of 1000 people have the same astrological chart then it can be seen that certain astrological rules hold true in 70%-80% of them. In statistical terms we may say that the occurrence of a specific event in one's life when certain planetary combination exists is "statistically significant". Let's say that you flip a coin 1000 times then the probability of "heads" is always near 50%. Now let's say that you observe the results of flipping a coin during the sun set and sun rise. If you find, after an year long test, that probability of "heads " coming up during sunrise is not actually 50%, as expected, but its 70%, then you can actually construct a rule that if you flip a coin during sun rise, the chances of you getting a "heads" will always be more. Vedic astrology can be explained in a similar way. Certain combinations in one's chart actually result in a prediction, which turns out to be correct in 70-80% of the charts having that combination. We may not explain it yet as to why it happens but the evidence is pretty strong that events can be predicted with very reasonable statistical significance.
There are sixteen varga (meaning varga, 'part, division'), or divisional, charts used in Hindu astrology:
Morals, ethics, spiritual values
Quality of life
(From here on out,the birth time must be absolutely precise or the divisional chart is incorrect!!)
Used to differentiate between twins, etc., etc.
There are three chart styles used in
Jyotiṣha, which are depicted below:
Legend: Ra - Rahu, Sa - Saturn, Ve - Venus, Su -Sun, Ma - Mars, Me - Mercury, As - Lagna, Mo - Moon, Ke - Kethu, Ju - Jupiter.
Grahas – the planets
Graha ( ग्रह, graha, 'seizing, laying hold of, holding'.
Nine grahas, or navagrahas, are used
Planets in maximum exaltation, mooltrikona (own sign), and debilitation, are
The natural planetary relationships are:
Moon, Mars, Jupiter
Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn
Mercury, Venus, Saturn
Sun, Moon, Jupiter
Mars, Jupiter, Saturn
Sun, Moon, Mars
Sun, Moon, Mars
Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn
Moon, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn
Rāśi – the zodiac signs
The sidereal zodiac is an imaginary belt of 360 degrees (like the tropical zodiac), divided into 12 equal parts. Each twelfth part (of 30 degrees) is called a sign or rāśi (Sanskrit: rāśi, 'part'). Jyotiṣha and Western zodiacs differ in the method of measurement. While synchronically, the two systems are identical, Jyotiṣha uses primarily the sidereal zodiac (in which stars are considered to be the fixed background against which the motion of the planets is measured), whereas most Western astrology uses the tropical zodiac (the motion of the planets is measured against the position of the Sun on the Spring equinox). This difference becomes noticeable over time. After two millennia, as a result of the precession of the equinoxes, the origin of the ecliptic longitude has shifted by about 22 degrees. As a result the placement of planets in the Jyotiṣha system is consistent with the actual zodiac, while in western astrology the planets fall into the following sign, as compared to their placement in the sidereal zodiac, about two thirds of the time.
International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration
The zodiac signs in Hindu astrology correspond to parts of the body:
Part of Body
Lower part of legs
Bhāvas – the houses
Bhāva (Sanskrit: bhāva, 'division'.) In Hindu astrology, the natal chart is the bhava chakra (Sanskrit: chakra, 'wheel'.) The bhava chakra is the complete 360° circle of life, divided into houses, and represents our way of enacting the influences in the wheel. Each house has associated karaka (Sanskrit: karaka, 'significator') planets that can alter the interpretation of a particular house.
outer personality, physique, health/well-being, hair, appearance
Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Moon
wealth, family relationships, eating habits, speech, eyesight, death
natural state, innate temperament, courage, valor, virility, younger siblings
inner life, emotions, home, property, education, mother
creativity, children, spiritual practices, punya
acute illness, injury, openly known enemies, litigation, daily work, foreigners, service
business and personal relationships, marriage, spouse, war, fighting
length of life, physical death, mokṣa, chronic illness, deep and ancient traditions
luck, fortune, spirituality, dharma, guru, father
Mercury, Jupiter, Sun, Saturn
dream fulfillment, knees and spine, current karmas, career, sky themes (being 12am/mid heavens
gains, profits from work, ability to earn money, social contexts and organizations
loss, intuition, imprisonment, foreign travel, moksha
One of the 27 divisions of the sky, identified by the prominent star(s) in them, used in Hindu astrology.
Historical (medieval) Hindu astrology had various systems of enumerating either 27 or 28 nakshatras. Today, popular usage favours a rigid system of 27 nakshatras covering 13°20’ of the ecliptic each. Each nakshatra is divided into quarters or padas of 3°20’:
0 – 13°20' Aries
13°20' – 26°40' Aries
26°40' Aries – 10°00' Taurus
10°00' – 23°20' Taurus
23°20' Taurus – 6°40' Gemini
6°40' – 20°00' Gemini
20°00' Gemini – 3°20' Cancer
3°20' – 16°40' Cancer
16°40' Cancer – 0°00' Leo
0°00' – 13°20' Leo
Pūrva or Pūrva Phalgunī (पूर्व फाल्गुनी)
13°20' – 26°40' Leo
Uttara or Uttara Phalgunī (उत्तर फाल्गुनी)
26°40' Leo – 10°00' Virgo
10°00' – 23°20' Virgo
23°20' Virgo – 6°40' Libra
6°40' – 20°00 Libra
20°00' Libra – 3°20' Scorpio
3°20' – 16°40' Scorpio
16°40' Scorpio – 0°00' Sagittarius
0°00' – 13°20' Sagittarius
Pūrva Ashādhā (पूर्वाषाढ़ा)
13°20' – 26°40' Sagittarius
Uttara Ashadha (उत्तराषाढ़ा)
26°40' Sagittarius – 10°00' Capricorn
10°00' – 23°20' Capricorn
Shravishthā (धनिष्ठा) or Dhanistā
23°20' Capricorn – 6°40' Aquarius
Shatabhishā (शतभिषा)or Shatataraka
6°40' – 20°00' Aquarius
Pūrva Bhādrapadā (पूर्वभाद्रपदा)
20°00' Aquarius – 3°20' Pisces
Uttara Bhādrapadā (उत्तरभाद्रपदा)
3°20' – 16°40' Pisces
16°40' – 30°00' Pisces
Daśhā-s – the planetary periods
Dasha (Devanagari: दशा, Sanskrit,daśā, 'planetary period'.) The dasha system shows which planets will be ruling at particular times in Hindu astrology. There are several dasha systems; however, the primary system used by astrologers is the Vimshottari dasha system. The first maha dasha is determined by the position of the natal Moon. Each maha dasha is divided into subperiods called bhuktis. Vimshottari dasha lengths are
Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury
Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu
Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus
Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus, Sun
Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon
Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars
Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu
Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter
Mercury, Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn
Drishtis – the planetary aspects
Drishti (Sanskrit: drishti, 'sight'.) In Hindu astrology, the aspect is to an entire sign, and grahas only cast forward aspects:
4th, 7th, 8th
5th, 7th, 9th
3rd, 7th, 10th
5th, 7th, 9th
No planetary aspect
Gocharas – the transits
Gochara (Sanskrit: gochara, 'transit'.) In Hindu astrology, a natal chart shows the actual positions of the grahas at the moment of birth. Since that moment, the grahas have continued to move around the zodiac, interacting with the natal chart grahas. This period of interaction is called gochara.
Yogas – the planetary combinations
Yoga (Sanskrit: yoga, 'union'.) In Hindu astrology, yogas are planetary combinations placed in specific relationships to each other
"There are many yogas in Hindu system, but predominantly in today's age the positive and negative yogas have to be seen in different context as far as situations are concerned. Some yogas like Kaal Sarp are referred to as bad, but there are many famous people and billionaires with Kaal Sarp yoga."
Dig bala – the directional strength
Dig bala (Sanskrit: dig bala, 'directional strength'.) Graha-s gain strength when they are placed in specific cardinal houses
Lagna – the ascendant
Lagna (Sanskrit: lagna, 'ascendant'.) Lagna is the first moment of contact between the soul and its new life on earth in Hindu astrology
Atmakaraka – the soul significator
Atmakaraka (Sanskrit: atmakaraka, from atma, 'soul', and karaka, 'significator' .) Atmakaraka is the significator of the soul's desire in Hindu astrology
Gandanta – the karmic knot
Gandanta (Sanskrit: gandanta, from gand, 'knot', and anta, 'end'.) Gandanta is a spiritual or karmic knot in Hindu astrology. Gandanta describes the junction points in the natal chart where the solar and lunar zodiacs meet, and are directly associated with times of soul growth.
Ayanamsa – the zodiac conversion
Ayanamsa (Sanskrit: ayanāṃsa, from ayana, 'movement', and aṃsa, 'component') is the longitudinal difference between the Tropical (Sayana) and Sidereal (Nirayana) zodiacs
Moudhya – the combustion
Moudhya (Sanskrit: moudhya, 'combustion') is a planet that is in conjunction with the Sun. The degrees the planets are considered combust are