Astrology : An introduction

Dr. Arun Bansal | 01-Apr-2015

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"Astrology is an empirical science of probabilities & experiences wherein we study the effect of planets on human beings. Happenings on this earth are not random but fully controlled & planets play an important role by virtue of their gravitational & unknown cosmic forces." - Arun Bansal

Scholars of astrology believe that good present and auspicious future events are the fruits of auspicious deeds (Karma) of past, similarly the primary cause of bad present and inauspicious future events is dependent entirely on the inauspicious Karmas of past. In nutshell the present and future events are the results of unalterable past.

“A child is born on that day and at that hour when the celestial rays are in mathematical harmony with his individual karma. His horoscope is a challenging portrait, revealing his unalterable past and its probable future results." - Yogananda

The astrological principles help us to study all this however, at times an astrologer makes a prediction with the help of his power of intuition without analyzing the horoscope. This power of intuition is respected very highly in the community of astrologers. The renowned astrologer of India Mr. K.N. Rao has said following golden words in appreciation of this power of intuition-

"Sometimes the prediction comes in a flash of intuition. A formal analysis~synthesis exercise is done later only to confirm the intuitive prediction. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras tell us that there exists a Jyotishmati Nadi (or a predictive intuitive channel) within us, which when activated one can see past, present and future. Here one needs no horoscope or knowledge of astrology." - K.N. Rao

Astrology primarily is the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world. Astrology is also known as Hindu astrology, Indian astrology, and more recently Vedic astrology. The term Hindu astrology has been in use as the English equivalent of Jyotiṣa since the early 19th century, whereas Vedic astrology is a relatively recent term, entering common usage in the 1980s. Vedanga Jyotisha are one of the earliest writings about astrology and astronomy within Vedas. Our great ancient sages created astrology to get more clear idea about future events so that the plans of designing and shaping future become more practical & effective. The eighteen sages namely i. e. Surya, Pitamah, Vyasa, Vashishtha, Atree, Parashara, Kashyapa, Narada, Garga, Marichi, Manu, Angira, Lomasha, Paulisha, Chyavan, Yavana, Bhrigu and Saunaka have been recognized as the creators of astrology.

In astrological consultation people get predictions about their future through horoscope (Birth Chart) which is popularly known as Teva or Janamkunali in Indian Astrology. This horoscope is a magical mirror in which the astrologer can read the past, present and future of a person.

This practice is known as natal astrology too and involves the analysis of this “birth chart” or “natal chart” of the native which is a diagram that depicts where the planets were at the exact moment of their birth. Consultations involving a native’s birth chart are useful for determining wide-ranging information about different areas of life.

The premise of natal astrology is that the nature and course of a person’s life is reflected in the alignment of the planets at the moment of their birth. Natal astrology assumes, or implies, that our lives are largely predetermined or mapped out ahead of time, to a greater or lesser extent. The main goal of this form of astrology, then, is to study what may be referred to as an individual’s fate.

The primary tool (horoscope) used in order to accomplish this is divided into 12 houses. The 12 Rashi and 9 planets are placed in these houses. These 12 houses contain the significant, precise and comprehensive information about the future of the native in coded language. Each of the 12 houses of this horoscope holds a different portfolio as depicted in the image given below-

Philosophically, Vedic astrology reflects the law of Karma, which includes both the aspect of fate and that of free will. Fate in Karma means that our present condition is the result of our past actions from previous lives. The outer events of our present life are ruled by past Karma and can be difficult to change. Free will in Karma means that we shape our future by our present actions.

Vedic astrology does not leave us helpless before the onslaughts of fate. It provides ways of dealing with our Karma. Vedic astrology holds that spiritual practices, like Yoga, prayer and meditation neutralize the effects of a bad astrological chart. Vedic astrology helps us to realize our true self, and helps us to know the divinity of the soul. It provides a clarification of your Karma. Vedic astrology alleviates what is perhaps the greatest fear for human beings i.e. uncertainty and anxiety about the future. It helps us navigate confidently through the confusing waves of Karma, aware of our outer destiny and our inner timeless self as well.

Astrology has been divided into three main Skandhas:

Siddhānta: Indian Astronomy (Mathematics of Astrology)

Saṁhitā: Mundane Astrology, predicting important events related to countries such as war, earthquakes, political events, financial positions, Electional Astrology, house and construction related matters (Vastu Shastra), animals, portents, omens, and so on.

Horā: Science of Time ( Predictive Astrology):

This branch has the following different styles / sub branches:-

  • Jaatak Shaastra / Hora Shaastra (Natal Astrology / horoscopy): Prediction based on individual horoscope.
  • Muhurt or Muhurtha (Electional astrology): Selection of beneficial time to initiate an activity to get maximum fruition from the life activities.
  • Swar Shaastra (Phonetical astrology): Predictions based on name & sounds.
  • Prashna (Horary astrology): Predictions based on time when a question is asked by querent / querist.
  • Ankjyotisha / Kabala (Numerology): A branch of astrology based on numbers.
  • Nadi Astrology: An ancient treatise having detailed predictions for individuals.
  • Tajik Shaastra / Varsha Phal (Annual Horoscopy): Astrology based on annual solar returns.
  • Tajik Shaastra / Varsha Phal (Annual Horoscopy): Astrology based on annual solar returns.
  • Jaimini Sutras: A non-conventional method of timing of events based on Famous Indian astrologer, Acharya Jaimini.
  • Nastjaatakam (Lost Horoscopy): Art of tracing / construction of lost horoscopes.
  • Streejaatak (female astrology): A special branch of astrology dealing with female nativities.

The primary function of any form of astrology should be to help the person tune in to his own soul. The soul by nature is a field of infinite wisdom and bliss.. According to vedic science the soul consists of three qualities, namely sat, chit and ananda or truth, self-referral consciousness and bliss. Vedic science asserts that the sole cause of human suffering lies in forgetting one's own soul, which equates with one's full potential as a human being.

The soul or the atma is a field of pure potentiality, a field of all possibilities, free from ignorance and a fountainhead of energy, courage and joy. The goal of everyone's life, the goal of every human being, born on this planet, whether he or she knows it or not, is to realize his soul's potential. All branches of Vedic science are geared towards this goal. Vedic astrology is no exception to the rule. The primary duty so to speak of every (Vedic) astrologer is to help his client tune in to his soul, because only by realizing one's soul one realizes one's full potential and hence one's life-purpose.

'Jyotish should never be taken on any other level than the level of vedanta'. Vedanta is the science of the soul. Vedanta teaches that there is only one soul, the soul of the universe, which all of us embody. By interpreting a chart on the level of vedanta astrologer automatically helps the client to realize his true identity, as an infinite eternal blissful soul, free from the consequences of ignorance and suffering.

In modern age lot of people are working for the revival of lost glory of Vedic Sciences like Astrology, Palmistry, Vastu, Numerology, Lal Kitab, Physiognomy, Phrenology or other systems of divination i.e. Tarot, Ramal, Pakshi Shastra, Nadi Astrology, etc. The great knowledge contributed by forefathers of these sciences lost its originality as our civilization was attacked several times in last so many centuries especially by Mughals and Britishers. The originality of the Sanskrit text was also affected in the process of its translation into other languages. Lot of efforts has to be done to restore this knowledge so that it regains its old dignity and utility. In nutshell, Research in the field of these esoteric subjects is the need of the hour. There are several scholars who are striving to achieve this objective and make it reach to the common man in modern context.