What is Vedic Astrology

Jyotish Shastra or Hindu Astrology

Vedic astrology is the study of celestial light and it’s commonly referred to as Jyotish Shastra. The word Jyoti means light and shastra means study. This ancient form of astrology comes from the Vedas – a collection of hymns and the oldest classical Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Jyotish is mainly used to predict important events and provide guidance to individuals who feel lost or confused on their life’s path. This is why it is called the “eyes of the Vedas.”

In earlier days, astrology was not only utilized as a tool for predictions but was used in the daily lives of the people during that time. The kings used astrology to decide important events, the farmers used astrology to predict the outcomes of crops, and even the date of war was predicted – everything was decided through astrology. Even today, Vedic astrology is widely practiced around the globe and is used to make all kinds of predictions in an individual’s life.

This ancient form of astrology comes largely from a document written by Rishi Parashara known as Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra. Rishi Parashara is the father of Vedic astrology, and his work was said to be put together between 1000 and 200 BCE. By the time of Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic influx, this document had disappeared but its influence never died. There are three main branches of Vedic astrology; Hora, Ganitha / Siddhanta, and Samhita. The Hora deals with the predictive part of Jyotish, the Ganitha or Siddhanta deals with the astronomy part of Jyotish, and Samhita deals with the cultural and societal part of Jyotish. In ancient times, these three branches of Vedic astrology were an integral part of each other and were always studied together. Later on, these branches were separated from each other. The Hora which is the predictive part of astrology went on to become popular day by day. While the two others were not practiced as widely as the predictive part of the Jyotish.

There is a fundamental distinction between Vedic and western astrology in their approach to the constellations. The zodiac is the elliptical path that the planets traverse as they pass in front of the twelve zodiac signs. About 2000 years ago both Vedic and western astrology followed this path but the elliptical plane has changed enough that the position of the Sun and the planetary relationships to the zodiac signs no longer correspond to the original elliptical plane. Precession is taken into account in Vedic astrology and the horoscopes are calculated using the modified elliptical path. Western astrology, on the other hand, follows the traditional path, which is more symbolic than astronomically precise.

Vedic astrology has remained popular throughout history and is widely practiced in different parts of the world. This is mostly because of its complex yet efficient way of using prediction. Vedic astrology is based on two main concepts. The concept of time and the concept of time measurement. Time exists due to the cyclic nature of existence. Time is felt and measured due to the cycles of nature. It was seen that these cyclic patterns in our nature cause and influence certain specific events in our lives.

Three main cyclic events affect us on a physical, as well as cosmic level. These cycles are the Earth’s rotation on its axis, the Moon’s revolution around the Earth, and the revolution of the Earth around the Sun. We should understand how these three cycles affect us physically by causing day and night, changing seasons, etc. Although, according to Vedic astrology these cycles combined can affect us on a deeper mental, emotional, subconscious, and cosmic level.

Vedic astrology is not just based on these three planetary movements of the Earth, Moon, and Sun but it also includes the other planets of our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. In addition to these planets, there are two mathematical points known as the shadow planets, Rahu and Ketu – the North and South Nodes of the Moon, respectively. These two mathematical points are calculated from the distance between the Sun and the Moon. Vedic astrology also includes the 27 Nakshatras or lunar constellations in our solar system. It is based on the belief that the stars have a powerful impact on our lives. And lastly, the zodiac signs are divided into four elements; Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. And the houses are divided into the following categories; Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.

Vedic astrologers make their predictions mainly through the birth chart of an individual. The birth chart is calculated based on the date, time, and place of birth of that person. An astrological birth chart is 360 degrees and consists of 12 houses. Each of these houses is 30 degrees and corresponds to each one of the zodiac signs. The planets are distributed in these houses at specific degrees. Vedic astrology is much more complex than other forms of astrology. Aside from the birth chart, it utilizes several charts known as “divisional charts,” and they increase its complexity and efficiency.

Our present life and circumstances are thought to be the consequence of our Karma. It is believed that the form we have taken, the place we are born, the time we are born and the surroundings where we are born are a consequence of our past actions. Vedic astrology shows what they are and why. It is based on the law of Karma, and the law of Karma states that all our actions have an equivalent consequence. Hinduism supports the concept of death and rebirth and there are three main types of karmas; Sanchita karma, Prarabdha karma, and Kriyamana karma. Sanchita karma is what we have done in the past, Prarabdha Karma is the portion of the past that is responsible for the present and Kriyamana karma is what we are creating right at this moment. A person’s astrological birth chart is a snapshot of the sky when they are born and it’s based on these forms of karma, which is unique for everyone.