Thinking in Astrology
Astrology? Talking of Jyotisha The History of Jyotisha Vedanga Jyotisha, a Science, an Art and a Craft Summation of Jyotisha Conclusion
Questions might arise in minds of people as to What is Astrology?
My view to astrology before knowing the Subject were:
“People make several predictions and some people are right while others are not. Its like if I say that a certain thing will happen. The Chances of happening that event is 50%. So I can say that I am 50% correct and I can be a good predictor. So what is Astrology about? ”.
During my studies in Astrology, I was very patient for I being a scientific person needs a proof for everything. Thinking of my childhood in mathematics, physics, chemistry or take any subject, the left side is always equal to the right side. And I remember saying Quod Erad Demo stratum (Q.O.D.). The basic law of conservation of energy also came to my thought. I was thinking in so many directions as to how I will think of “Astrology as a Science”. Several questions were coming to our head as we started to know more and more about Astrology like:
Do I know about Sun, Moon, and other planets?
My answer was yes for that’s what my teachers had taught me in the school. We have a Solar System with Planets moving round the Sun. And our Solar System is a part of a Universe. Then pops up second question.
Have I heard of tides?
Well, everyone knows about tides. It’s because of the Moon’s gravitational pull. And the tides are high in the night and low in the day. And that’s because the moon’s gravitational force is stronger at the nearest side of the earth as compared to the moon. Ooh! That’s all I know bout it.
Now what else I know about other planets?
I know something about Planets like the movement of Sun causes seasons and also they control the movement of winds, the rain, the water cycle, etc.
I had heard that scientist found that lunatic people are also affected by the phases of Moon.
I also got to know later that the movement of Jupiter causes Sunspots, which have indirect effect on earth for those Sunspots have high magnetic field.
After some questions like those, we learnt about How scientific Astrology can be?
Scientifically it has been found that almost all the planets have their magnetic field. So the key factor lies in the existence of a magnetic field associated with most of the bodies in the solar system, and the presence of plasma of charged particles permeating inter-planetary space. Discussing about magnetic field will be more a topic of astronomy. And as we know the magnetic influence is everywhere and so it has its effect on the earth. As we know that the electromagnetic attraction of the moon causes the tides. Now if you consider the cell, which is made up of 70% of the water must be affected by the tide of the moon for we know that moon’s electromagnetic force causes tides.
So when a child is born the cells formed, which make up the child are formed under the influence of electromagnetic forces of different planets (I mean to say is different intensity of force from different planets). And that means is that the cell will have the effect of various forces in some way or the other throughout their lives and so every individual shall have. This gives us the direction that if we can study the effects of various planets on our life here, on earth we might attempt to predict the individual’s behavior with respect to Time. Time means the movement of planets with respect to time.
In short Astrology "is the Study of stars and their effect on the terrestrial life".
Talking of Jyotisha
Jyotisha is different from Astrology in the respect that it portrays everything in a philosophical way as mentioned in the Vedas. In other words,
Astrology + Philosophy = Jyotisha
Jyotisha in Sanskrit is derived from “Jyoti”, which mean “light” and “Ish”, which mean “God’. Thus, Jyotisha means 'Light of God’. It is a science, which studies the affairs of terrestrial living, which are influenced by the movements of the planets, in a philosophical and institutive way. It is also called the “Eye of the Veda Purusha”.According to Narada Samhita I-4:
The excellent science of Jyotisha comprising of Siddhanta, Samhita and Hora as its three branches) is the clear eye of the Vedas.
The History of Jyotisha
The Vedas are the collections of sages. They proclaim the transcendental truth, which is not changed by time or place. Veda is derived from the root "Vid", which means, "to know". The Veda teaches how to achieve purity of heart, getting rid of impurities. The Vedas, believed to have been written down over a period of about 10 centuries, from about the 15th to the 5th century BC. The earliest textual source is the Rig Veda.
There are the four Samhita (collections) that we call the “Vedas”.
Rigveda The earliest of these, is composed of about 1,000 hymns addressed to various deities, and mostly arranged to serve the needs of the priestly families who were the custodians of this sacred literature. Yajurveda it contains prose formulas applicable to various cultic rites, along with verses intended for a similar purpose. Samaveda is made up of a selection of verses (drawn almost wholly from the Rigveda) that are provided with musical notation and are intended as an aid to the performance of sacred songs. Atharvaveda It deals chiefly with the practical side of life, with man, his protection and security.
Each Veda consists of four sections to suit the four stages of a man's life.
Mantra Samhita (containing the hymns) .
Brahmana (Significance of the hymns and mantra found in Samhita)
Aranyakas (Philosophical interpretations of rituals (meditations or Upasanas))
Upanishad (which are metaphysical dialogues. It is divided into Karma Khanda, Jnana Khanda, and Upasana-Kanda. Jnana Khanda appears at the end of each Veda and so it is called as Vedanga (which means “the End portion”). Karma Khanda - the portion dealing with different prayers, rituals and meditations to gain a specific result in this life or after life.
Upasana-Kanda - (Upasana means worship) deals with various kinds of worship or meditation.
Jnana Khanda - the section revealing the true nature of ourselves.
Each Vedanga ('Six Angas' or 'explanatory limbs of the Vedas') is divided into 6 broad divisions:
Siksha (Instruction): This explains the proper articulation and pronunciation of the Vedic texts.
Chandas (Metre): It deals with Prosody.
Vyakarana (Analysis and Derivation): In which the language is grammatically described--Panini's famous grammar (c. 400 BC) is the oldest examples of this discipline;
Nirukta (Lexicon or Etymology or Philosophy): which discusses and gives meanings for difficult words, represented by the Nirukta of Yaska (c. 600 BC).
Kalpa (Mode of Performance/ Ritual): It studies the correct ways of performing the ritual.
Jyotisha (Luminaries): A system of astronomy and astrology used to determine the right times for rituals. It is a Vedanga based on an intimate understanding of the correlations between planetary movements and terrestrial happenings.
Each Vedas has a separate Vedanga-Jyotisha, which tells about various aspects of Vedic Astrology like Muhurta, Omens, etc.
Jyotisha, a Science, an Art and a Craft
I would say that Astrology is a Science, an Art and a Craft.
Why is it a Science?
Jyotisha is a science because it is based on the movements of the planets. For example, we find out the planets position at a particular time to study the correlations between planetary movements and terrestrial happenings. In short we need the Astronomical knowledge to find out the positions of the planets. Apart from that we need to prepare the horoscope of the individual. For which we need to do a lot of mathematical calculations. Thus, Jyotisha is a Science.
Why is it called an Art?
It’s an art because the astrologer uses the rules written in various shastras to predict the events of the individuals. Like the Astrologer might use the ‘Dasa’ system to give the predictions or the ‘Astakavarga’ system along with dasa’s to predict the event. The astrologer also uses his/her experience in predicting the events bearing the rules in his/her mind.
Why is it a Craft?
The astrologer uses his knowledge of shastras to interpret the horoscope and then decipher the various aspects of the individual like his nature, character, psychology, etc.
Summation of Jyotisha
Jyotisha is a Sum of :
Siddhanta (It relate to the Astronomical treatise like “Surya Siddhanta”).
Samhita (Samhitas relate to Mundane astrology, etc. like “Brihat Samhita”).
Hora (also called as “Phalitha Jyotisha” like “Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra”).
Phalita Jyotisha deals with the art of predictions. And it is further divided into:
Jataka (Predictive astrology or Natal Astrology)
Gola (Astronomy related to spherical movements)
Prashna (Queries at a given time or “Horary Astrology”)
Nimitta (Omens and their interpretation)
Muhurta (Electional Astrology/selecting an auspicious time)
Ganita (Astronomical calculations)
Above terms further explained:
Jataka It relates to the delieanating the Natal horoscope and relating it to the events of the native’s life. Gola In Vedic Astrology we take nine planets that is Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Rahu and Ketu. So Gola deals with the Astronomical aspects of these planets like Rahu and Ketu, which are nothing but the intersection points and are formed by the intersection of the plane of moon’s orbit with the plane of the ecliptic (it is the plane of earth’s orbit around the Sun). The ascending node or the northern node is called the “Rahu” and the descending node (or the southern node) is called the “Ketu”. Prashna It deals with the queries asked at a particular time relating them to the planetary positions at that time. It is also called as the “Horary Astrology”. “Shadpanchasika” of Prithuyashas and “Prashna Tantra” of Neelakantha (translated version by Dr. B.V. Raman is really good) are famous books in this subject. Nimmitta: It deals with the interpretation of the natural happenings, which foretells some events. Some omens are like the appearance of the meteors, movements of the birds, etc. Muhurta: This has been discussed in our Vedas a lot of times. It deals with selecting a time when initiating an event. Its like if actions are done under favourable influences of planets it gives good results and vice versa. Ganita: It also means Mathematics. So all the mathematical aspect of a horoscope is dealt in Ganita like making of a horoscope, calculating the rising/setting of the stars, computing eclipses, etc.
This was just the beginning I knew in my mind. The Shastras have an enormous knowledge. It’s like the horizon where you cannot reach. It’s a point, which we see from far and when we reach there its still further. I mean to say that how much we learn in this science its less.