Category Archives: Jyotish Key Concepts

Key concepts needed to understand the methodology and principles of Vedic Astrology – Jyotish.

Planetary Antidotes in Jyotish

Summary: Covering Remedial Measures or Planetary Antidotes (Upayes) in Jyotish. Detailed discussion of: Wearing gem stones associated with a particular planet: Chanting planetary related mantras: Performing specific acts of charity: Conducting Vedic rituals to balance planetary energies

Remedial Measures or Planetary Antidotes (Upayes) in Jyotish

Vedic astrology is essentially karmic in nature. It predicts the type and duration of both positive and negative returning karmas. It tells us what we are likely to experience in all areas of our lives and, most importantly, when these experiences are likely to occur. The great thing about Jyotish is that it comes from a tradition that believes suffering in life is unnecessary! So it is no surprise Jyotish offers a range of practical techniques to deflect, or at least greatly reduce, our returning negative karmas. These techniques are often referred to as ‘remedial measures’ or ‘planetary antidotes’ (Upayes).

A Vedic astrologer can identify imbalances in a person’s birth chart (based on the code read from the planetary positions at birth). The astrologer can then offer the individual practical strategies to ‘avert the danger that has not yet arisen’. So, they can actually prescribe a number of strategies to lessen the individual’s karmic burden. These strategies may not remove the karmas entirely, but they will certainly modify them.

These planetary remedies, or antidotes, are things that can balance out planets ‘negative energies’ and restore balance and harmony in our lives. They can also really enhance the energies from positive planets too – maximising positive returning karmas.

The antidotes to problematic planets that are prescribed by Jyotish generally fall into four categories:

These strategies are not based on superstition. They have withstood the long test of time from generation to generation. They work because the Vedic tradition sees everything in the universe as an interconnected whole. This Vedic model of reality is increasingly supported from the perspective of modern science. It is also reflected in the Vedic (and Buddhist) concept of ‘Indra’s Net’ [1].

There was a song by Joni Mitchell (released 1970) – the lyrics went: ‘We are stardust, we are golden’. Very true, as from the point of modern astrophysics we are actually mainly stardust! All the elements in our body (other than hydrogen), were forged in stellar furnaces billions of miles away (and billions of years ago). So we have a very real connection to the stars in that most of the stuff that makes us was made there. Many people report that wearing a quality Jyotish gemstone reminds them on a very deep level of this connection.

Although not specifically mentioned in the Jyotish texts, many astrologers also agree that performing spiritual practices can greatly modify returning karmas. In particular, mantra based Vedic meditation techniques have a big effect. When they examined the birth-charts of numerous long term meditators they found their actual life experiences much better than they would have otherwise predicted!

For those with a personal Guru, the ‘Grace of the Guru’ can remove major obstacles! Such individuals should consider themselves extremely fortunate!

Wearing Gemstones as Planetary Antidotes

In Vedic astrology, each planet is associated with a particular gemstone. For example, the Sun is associated with ruby, Venus with diamond, Saturn with blue sapphire, etc.  If an auspicious planet in a birth chart needs strengthening (note: usually ‘strong’ = ‘good’ in Jyotish), then this can be facilitated by wearing the gemstone for that particular planet.

The key word in the above sentence is ‘auspicious’. Only auspicious planets can be strengthened by wearing the appropriate gemstone for the planet  (‘auspicious’ in this context means ‘functional benefic’). Other mitigating strategies (such as mantras) are needed if the planet is not auspicious. A number of modern books on Jyotish fail to make this vital point clear. A serious and misleading error!

Because many of the planets simultaneously rule two houses, the rules for determining whether a planet is ‘good’ or ‘not  good’ for a particular ascendant are a bit more complex. As the ascendant (in the Sidereal Zodiac) changes sign, the ‘functional benefic’ or ‘functional malefic’ nature of a planet also changes. This is dealt with in detail in a separate article. However, as a general rule (and Jyotish just loves ‘exceptions’ to rules) any planet ruling the first, or fifth, or ninth house is considered auspicious regardless of what other house it ‘owns’.

The table below shows the gems associated with each of the nine planets:

Gemstones associated with particular planets in Jyotish.Planet and Gemstone Associations in Jyotish

Note: In the above chart, ‘Gomed ‘ is also known as ‘Hessonite Garnet’, and ‘Cat’s Eye’ is also known as ‘Chrysoberyl’

It is worth noting that the weight and quality of the gemstone are also specified by Vedic Astrology – as are the metals in which it is set and even the fingers on which it is worn [2]. For remedial purposes precious stones should also be natural and not synthetic or man-made gems [3].

In order to be effective stones must touch the skin – this can be achieved with special settings for rings, or the stones can be set as a pendant.

I have heard some Jyotish experts saying that even the gold (must be 22 carat) that is in a chain or ring removes quite a bit (maybe up to 70%) of planetary negativity. Interesting, if this is correct!

The concept, of wearing a gemstone to balance planetary energies, is therefore much more finely tuned to an individual’s birth chart in Jyotish, than in the Western Astrological system. Western Astrology just uses the relatively simple concept of a ‘birthstone’ or gem appropriate to the ‘sun sign’ of a person – rather than the detailed analysis and remedial prescriptions of Vedic astrology.

There is a lot of detailed and quality information about Jyotish gems on the Astrological Gem website (Vedicplanet has no commercial links with this site).

Semi-Precious Gemstone Equivalents

If we can’t afford a particular quality precious stone, then there are a few semi-precious equivalents. However, the general understanding is that semi-precious stones do not confer as much protection on the wearer as precious stones. In India, people sometimes wear the following semi-precious stones for Jyotish purposes:

    • Red Spinel for the Sun
    • Green Tourmaline for Mercury
    • Yellow Topaz (better than Citrine) or Yellow Citrine (Yellow Quartz) for Jupiter
    • White Sapphire (a good substitute for diamond) or Phenakite for Venus
    • Blue Spinel for Saturn

Wearing Gemstones Based on our Ascendant

If we know our ascendant (our ascending sign in the Sidereal zodiac) we can always safely wear the gemstone that is associated with the planet that rules or ‘owns’ our ascending sign. This will bring only positive results to our lives. This is something we can all do to reap the benefits.

Sign Ownership or Rulership by Planets in Jyotish

Wearing this gem will also give some help (but not as much as specifically targeted planetary relief) with any problems indicated in other areas of our chart by strengthening the ‘Lord of the Ascendant’ (planet that ‘owns’ or ‘rules’ our ascending sign). Strengthening the ascendant lord can only bring positive effects to an individual.  (Note: some astrologers say the only exception to this rule is for a Scorpio ascendant – where Mars simultaneously rules both the first and the sixth houses).

If we already have a Western style birth-chart giving our ascending sign in the Tropical Zodiac we can easily convert to Sidereal by subtracting the angle stated for the ‘Ayanamsha’ for our birth date. This is easier than it sounds [4]. We can then wear the appropriate gem stone.

An alternative to this is to use a free online service (based on the sidereal zodiac) for getting a gemstone recommendation. This link is the best I have seen and is driven by a very well respected piece of Jyotish software that produces great recommendations – only bettered by a very experienced Vedic Astrologer. But be aware that accurate birth-times are needed. If you do not have these try and generate two separate reports using your earliest and latest birth-time estimates. If the recommendations differ then seek out a professional astrologer.

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Chanting Planetary Related Mantras to Remove Negative Karma

While wearing gemstones for auspicious planets (i.e. auspicious for a particular ascendant) is good, wearing the gemstone associated with a ‘malefic’ planet (i.e. malefic for a particular ascendant) would not be good at all! In this case we can chant mantras to alleviate the negative effects of a weakened or badly afflicted malefic.

Mantras are always said or chanted in Sanskrit. This ‘upwardly manages’ the force of nature (the Devas). Specific mantras can be repeated to balance the negative energies associated with a particular planet. Mantras are like passwords that enable us to connect to the higher realms.  They are the vehicle that helps us transcend or ‘cross over’ to higher states of consciousness. A Jyotish astrologer can identify problematic malefic planets in a birth-chart and suggest mantras to remove their negativity.

At their most basic level, the planetary mantras can be fairly simple and follow the general pattern:

‘Om – [planets name in Sanskrit] – Namah’

These can be repeated daily 108 times (the number 108 is derived from the nine planets multiplied by the twelve astrological signs: 9 x 12 = 108) – usually done with a ‘mala’ or rosary. So, for example, the mantra for Venus would be ‘Om Shukraya Namah’. This  takes only a few minutes to do.

Basic Planetary Mantras to Chant

Some planets have multiple names, so the names given below are only one suggestion out of a number of possibilities – but they are all very effective.

Getting the correct pronunciation is very important! Typing the mantra in the list below into ‘YouTube Search’ usually works well (although this sometimes gives a slightly more complicated version of the mantra – for example by adding ‘Shri’ or a ‘seed mantra’ in front of the planet’s name; but the basic pronunciation remains the same).

Sun: ‘Om Suryaya Namah’

Moon: ‘Om Somaya Namah’

Mars: ‘Om Mangalaya Namah’

Mercury: ‘Om Budhaya Namah’

Jupiter:  ‘Om Brihaspataye Namah’

Venus: ‘Om Shukraya Namah’

Saturn: ‘Om Shanaye Namah’

Rahu: ‘Om Rahave Namah’

Ketu: ‘Om Ketave Namah’

A Jyotish astrologer would fine tune this process even more – by determining when in a person’s life the planet’s effects will be felt most and advising chanting during this time period (the Maha Dasha of the planet concerned). An analogy would be like putting on more clothes in the winter to protect us from the cold – we only need to do it for a limited period and not for life.

Mantra for Harmony between the Nine Planets

Another possibility is to chant a simple mantra that ‘takes care’ of the energies from all the nine planets and creates harmony between them. This will modify our returning karmas in a positive way. This is the great ‘Nav Graha’ mantra:

adityaaya cha somaaya mangalaaya budhaaya cha |

guru shukra shanibhyash cha raahave ketave namah ||

It is surprisingly easy to learn by repetition, and there is a good version and explanation on YouTube:   ‘Mantra to balance effects of the Nine Planets (Navagrahas); By Swami Purnachaitanya’

General Mantras for Removing Negativity and Suffering

Another option would be to chant something like:

‘Auṁ Namaḥ Śivāya’ (Om Namah  Shivaya)

This simple mantra is very powerful at removing negativity. There are lots of videos on YouTube giving the pronunciation of this mantra in chant format.

Even more powerful would be chanting the great Mrityunjaya mantra – but this takes a bit of learning.

Why are these mantras so powerful? It is said: ‘Shiva sits on top of all the planets’ [5] , which really means ‘That Shiva Consciousness’ (i.e. ‘Shiva Tattva’[6]) has the ability to overwrite the planetary influences that are shown in our birth-charts. Chanting Shiva mantras enlivens this in our awareness! Wow.

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Acts of Charity to  Balance Planetary Energies

Because the Vedic tradition sees the universe as an interconnected whole, then specific acts of charity help negate the karmas associated with a particular planet. Even if this is not true, it is still good to give away a small fraction of our income to ‘good causes’!  A living enlightened Vedic Saint  encourages everyone to do this – he says that giving a few percent of our income to the charity of our choice means there is less likelihood of disputes, court cases and associated problems in our lives.

Some remedies are very simple – just feeding the crows on a Saturday is said to relieve some of the karmic burdens we might experience due to a problematic Saturn in our birth-chart.

Different planets are linked to different days of the week, so it is best to carry out certain specific acts of charity on the appropriate day for each planet.

This may all seem just superstitious, but these practices have withstood the long test of time; generation after generation. The interconnectedness of all things is increasingly being considered from a scientific perspective too (see article:  Vedic Model of Reality from a Scientific Perspective), giving additional weight to the perceptions of the ancient enlightened sages.

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Conducting Vedic Rituals to Remove Negativity

 Since ancient times, Vedic rituals have been performed to upwardly manage the forces of nature. When certain Vedic ceremonies (called ‘yagnas’ or ‘yajnas’ or ‘yagyas’) were performed, rain came on time, crops grew well and there was abundance on the earth.

In a similar way, serious problems due to out of balance planetary energies in a person’s birth-chart, can be resolved using these rituals.  People might view this is as ‘worshipping the planets’ – but it is far more subtle and profound. This is actually ‘karmic engineering’! The procedures for conducting these ancient ceremonies were actually given to mankind by the Divine to ease suffering.

The yagnas have to be performed very precisely using appropriate Vedic mantras and they really do give ‘peace from the planets (grahas)’ or ‘Graha Shanti’. They are best performed by pundits with a high level of consciousness. They are most effective when done in an Ashram or Temple according to the ancient tradition with all the specified ingredients (these are not easy to obtain in the West). Even better when they are supervised by an enlightened Guru. The only organisation I can recommend for this (based on my first-hand experience of their pujas) is that founded by the living saint ‘Mata Amritanandamayi’

The rituals can specifically target the problems associated in a birth-chart due to a single planet. They enliven the forces of nature associated with that particular planetary energy and modify returning karmas. Or, if there are a number of planets causing problems, then all nine of the planets can be targeted simultaneously so that there is peace and harmony between them and their energies do not conflict.

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Footnotes

[1] ‘The Net of Indra is a profound and subtle metaphor for the structure of reality. Imagine a vast net; at each crossing point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly clear and reflects all the other jewels in the net, the way two mirrors placed opposite each other will reflect an image ad infinitum. The jewel in this metaphor stands for an individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a cell or an atom. Every jewel is intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight, in every other jewel.’Stephen Mitchell, The Enlightened Mind, (HarperPerennial; Reprint edition: April 1993, ISBN -10: 0060923202)

[2] Jyotish is very precise about the metals in which a stone is set e.g. gold for ruby, silver for pearl etc. It is also very clear about the need for really high quality gems – preferably with no internal cracks or black spots (inclusions). In fact, the quality is often more important than the size of a stone for remedial purposes. For example, diamonds should be grade IF or VVS1, with colour grade H or better, with weight between 0.25 and 1.25 carat. These are expensive stones!

[3] Although synthetic gems are not suitable for Jyotish purposes, I have heard a world leading Ayurvedic doctor say they give 80% health benefits (compared with natural stones) for ayurvedic purposes. For Jyotish use there are also arguments about the benefits of heat treated stones compared with unheated ones. Certainly I believe it is better to completely avoid artificially irradiated stones.

[4] The difference in planetary positions between the zodiacs is now around 24 degrees. If our sun was, say 14 degrees in Virgo in Western Astrology, it will be at 14 – 24 = – 10 degrees Virgo in the Vedic system! So it will be 10 degrees before the start (or zero position) of Virgo. This simply means it has has moved backwards and changed sign into the position of 20 degrees in Leo in the Vedic system (as -10 + 30 = 20). However if our sun was at 28 degrees Virgo in the Tropical zodiacit will now be at 28 – 24 = 4 degrees Virgo in the sidereal zodiac. It has still moved backwards, but in this case it has not changed sign

[5] Quoted by By Swami Purnachaitanya’ of the Art of Living Foundation

[6] Quoted by the enlightened Vedic Master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: “Shiva doesn’t have a body, he was never a person at all. To symbolize the unfathomable, the infinite divinity, and to make it comprehensible for young people, for children and others, they made a form. In fact, there is no form to Shiva.

Shiva is a principle (Tattva) from where everything has come, everything is sustained in it, and everything dissolves into it. Shiva is the space, it is the consciousness. There is no way that you can even step out of Shiva at any time because Shiva is the summum bonum of the whole creation. That is why Shiva’s body is depicted in blue because blue signifies the sky; the all-pervading infinity which has no limits, and no shape.

The consciousness which is bliss and innocence, the consciousness which is the bestower of dispassion – is Shiva. The whole world is moving in an auspicious rhythm of innocence and intelligence – that is Shiva. The permanent and eternal source of energy, the eternal state of being, the one and only one – is Shiva.”

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Additional Information on Vedic Astrology

Jyotish and Karma

Summary: This article examines the concepts of karma and reincarnation which are central to the understanding of Jyotish Astrology. It also explains how returning karmas can be predicted then modified through Vedic Astrology’s remedial measures.

Vedic Astrology, Karma and Reincarnation

In the West we tend to confuse, and often mispronounce, the words ‘kama’ and ‘karma’. ‘Kama’ means desire and in the West many are familiar with the Kama Sutra. ‘Karma’ literally means action, so the world is full of karma as actions are going on all the time.

There are subtle meanings attached to the concept of karma. On an individual basis we usually understand karma to mean the returning consequences of our past actions (‘as you sow, so shall you reap’). Karma is also linked with the concept of samskara (or sanskara) – the deep seated desires, or latent impressions in our mind that drive us to perform specific actions [1].

In Jyotish, the planets are seen as representing the ‘Cosmic Postman’. They ‘deliver’, in this lifetime, some of the consequences of our actions carried over from past lifetimes. We tend to regard these karmas as ‘positive’ when they are life enhancing or ‘negative’ when they create problems and obstacles for us [2]. However, that is merely our subjective interpretation. From a higher state of consciousness the terms ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ karmas simply do not apply – stuff just is!

In Vedic astrology, the soul (for want of a better word in the English language) does not incarnate at random. Vedic Masters tell us that it incarnates into a human body with certain physical characteristics according to past karmas. The specific family, its position in society and country of birth are also determined by past karmas.

Vedic astrology tells us that we are not the victims of our birth-chart and the planetary arrangements contained therein. We cannot blame the planets for our current condition and difficulties. What we are currently experiencing, either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, is merely the result of our returning karmas. The planets indicate this, but are not responsible for it.

A self-realized Vedic Master was asked about free will and pre-destiny. He said that we experience a mixture of both in real life. He gave the example that our height was pre-determined, but our weight depended on our free will. Everyone in the audience laughed!

On a day to day basis most of our actions are neutral in terms of the karma they incur. A reasonably vegetarian diet helps in this respect!

It is not just our actions that matters, but also our intentions behind them. Again, regular meditation and spiritual practices mean our intentions are more likely to be life enhancing rather than us just acting on the impulses of previous impressions carried over from past lifetimes.

Prediction and ‘Prevention’ in Jyotish

Major karmic consequences for an individual’s present incarnation can be predicted with Jyotish – simply by deciphering the ‘code’ contained in the planetary arrangements at the time of our birth. Just as DNA contains the code that structures our human physiology, so the planetary arrangement at the time of our birth is the code that structures our returning karmas [3].

When these karmic influences are likely to take place in our lifetime can also be predicted through Vedic Astrology’s unique Maha Dasa system [4]. This is based on the position of the moon in the constellations or Nakshatras at the time of our birth.

The Vedic tradition believes that people should live healthy, happy and fulfilled lives. So Vedic Astrology contains a whole range of remedial measures that are designed to greatly reduce the influence of our returning negative karmas. These measures help restore balance and harmony in our lives. Because we are part of an integrated whole, then by participating in certain vedic ceremonies (yagnas or yagyas), performing prescribed acts of charity, reciting specific sanskrit mantras  or wearing appropriate gemstones we can modify or deflect (to a large extent) returning karmas so that we do not have to suffer the consequences in this lifetime. So, Jyotish enables us to both detect and ‘deflect’ returning karmas!

Jyotish techniques can also enhance the benefits of our returning positive karmas. So Jyotish really is the ultimate ‘Karmic Engineering System’!

Our returning karmas can also be greatly influenced by our spiritual practices in this lifetime. Ask any Jyotish astrologer and they will agree that regular meditation and sadhana (spiritual practices) really reduce the predicted effects of negative returning karmas. Paramahansa Yogananda [5] confirmed this by saying that as a person moves ‘into the orbit of the Divine, they move out of the orbit of planetary influences’. When Self-realization occurs, all karmas from a previous life are transcended.

Three type of Karma – Sanchita, Prarabdha and Agami

The Vedas clearly identify three major categories of karma: Sanchita, Prarabdha and Agami. Jyotish astrology only deals with the Prarabdha aspect of karma [6]. I have no doubt about the effectiveness of the ‘remedial measures’ in Jyotish to lessen our suffering in this lifetime. However, this leaves some unanswered questions. Are we actually lessening karmas, or are we just kicking them into a future lifetime? Can we really modify karma? Or, has someone got sufficiently good karma somewhere in their ‘stock’ to be able to consult a Jyotish astrologer in the first place and learn of the remedial measures? These are questions to ask an enlightened Master!

Footnotes

[1] Samskaras are deep seated desires and impressions left in the ‘mind’ by past actions, including those from previous lifetimes.  Note that in the Vedic sense ‘our mind’ is not localised in our brain, in fact the ‘mind’ surrounds the body! One Vedic pandit described the latent impressions as ‘post-it notes stuck to the soul!

Karma is often described as a wheel: latent impressions in the mind give rise to actions. These actions then produce new impressions. Future actions are then influenced by these new impressions. The process is cyclical. But the cycle can be broken by meditation and spiritual practices. So karma and samskara are inextricably linked.

[2] What produces negative karma? A vedic scholar said ‘simply doing to others that which we would not like done to ourselves’! Perhaps this includes actions towards all living beings and the environment too?

[3] Karmic influences in all areas of our lives are decoded by Vedic Astrology from the position of the nine planets in the twelve astrological signs, twelve houses and twenty-seven constellations – as shown in a person’s birth-chart drawn in the sidereal zodiac.

[4] The time when certain karmic influences are likely to ‘take centre stage’ in our lives is calculated via the Vimsottari Maha Dasa system using the natal position of the moon in one of the 27 constellation or Nakshatras

[5] Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) was a Self-realised sage who spent a considerable part of his life in the West teaching yoga and Vedic philosophy. His most well-read and highly recommended work: Autobiography of a Yogi, published by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India; 2013 edition ISBN-10: 818953551X,   ISBN-13: 978-8189535513

[6] Categories of karma.  Sanchita – the store of all karmas from previous births. Prarabdhathat part of the Sanchita that must be worked through in this lifetime. It is said Prarabdha karma is most suited for our optimum evolutionary path in this lifetime. Agami – new karma accumulated in this lifetime which is carried forward into future incarnations.


Additional Information on Vedic Astrology

Jyotish – Forecasting Analogies

Summary: This article examines a few of the analogies used to describe the probabilistic nature of prediction in Vedic Astrology.  It helps our understanding of how planetary arrangements can be used to predict the chances of future events occurring.

Forecasting Analogies in Vedic Astrology

Weather Forecasting Analogy

Vedic Astrology is essentially probabilistic. It is therefore similar to a long-range weather forecasting system. It attempts to predict when and how the actions we have performed in the past (our past karmas) return to us in the form of present and future influences on our lives.  If ‘potential storms’ are seen on the horizon we can take appropriate action to avert any potential problems that have not yet manifested.  We can also make maximum progress and fulfil our desires most easily when ‘fine weather’ is forecast. Just as weather forecasters cannot be 100% accurate all of the time, Jyotish is not an exact science. Skilled and experienced Vedic Astrologers are said to achieve around the 70% probability mark. However, if there are many different factors in an individual’s birth chart all pointing to either benefits, or issues, in a specific life area, then a Jyotish astrologer can be much more confident in his or her predictions.

Seed Development Analogy

 Different seeds produce different trees.  A Botanist can look at two seeds.  He predicts one will grow into a silver birch; the other into a red wood.  We find nothing surprising in his prediction. He cannot say exactly how many branches each specific tree will have, or even what height they will reach as this depends on the soil conditions, climate and local environment.  He cannot say how long each tree will live either. But he can make general predictions about their overall characteristics.  A birth chart is like the seed – we should not be surprised that Vedic  Astrologers can predict general trends.

We know that the structure and characteristic growth of the tree is encoded in the DNA within its seed. Similarly the probable effects of our returning karmas (which are also governed by the sequential unfoldment of the laws of nature) are reflected in the ‘code’ contained within the planetary arrangements in our birth-chart. This implies we were not born at a random time by chance and reflects the Vedic view of the interconnectedness of all life and matter in the universe.

Road Map Analogy

Vedic Astrology gives a vantage point which transcends space and time. Instead of driving along an unknown road we can take a perspective ‘from a helicopter’ and see the future turns, terrain, and road surface. It is a bit like navigating with a map rather than trying to navigate without one. In some areas of life the road is straight and the going easy. In other areas we need to take more care. These benefits and difficulties also change with time as we progress along the journey. Life simply becomes easier and more fulfilling as a result of having a perspective from the viewpoint of Vedic astrology.

Relationship Between the Cosmos and the Individual

Jyotish astrology shows the relationship between the cosmic totality and the individual reality. The whole of sidereal astrology was cognized by an ancient sage called Maharishi Parashara who is said to have discovered mathematical and astronomical rules to predict the future and remedial measures needed to avoid any potential problems. To him, the cosmos was an intelligently organised and inter-connected whole; so that one event led into another event and that this unfoldment of life could be predicted from the code contained within the arrangement of the planets at the time of birth.


Additional Information on Vedic Astrology

Jyotish – Planetary Forces

Summary: Vedic Astrology, unlike Western Astrology, takes the view that planets do not emit forces that influence people. Rather, the planetary arrangements at birth and subsequent transits merely represent information in a codified form. This can then be decoded by a skilled Jyotish astrologer to make predictions. Vedic Astrology comes from a tradition that views the cosmos and all the beings in it as part of an integrated whole.

Planetary Forces in Vedic Astrology

Many Western Astrologers believe that each of the planets emit some type of force, however subtle, which influences our lives.  They therefore feel that Jyotish Astrology is limited as it does not use the very slow moving outer planets Neptune, Uranus and Pluto (and other celestial objects such as Chiron) as it fails to take into account the ‘forces’ emitted by these planets.

Vedic Astrology however deals with a field of information and not physical forces.

The planetary arrangements present at the time of birth are simply a type of code that can be ‘read’ by skilled Vedic Astrologers and translated into predictions about returning karmas. Thus the arrangement of the seven ‘planets’ and the two nodes of the moon [1] between the twelve signs, twelve houses and twenty-seven stellar constellations (Nakshatras) is in effect, just highly coded information. The transit of planets, as they appear to move through signs and ‘houses’, is also seen as codified information.

The lack of a physical force and the acceptance that planetary arrangement merely represents information is supported by the Jyotish axiom that the ‘effects’ of planets vary markedly with the individuals’ rising sign or ascendant [2]There is no such parallel in Western Astrology.

In addition, Jyotish pays considerable attention to the moon’s nodes; Rahu and Ketu. These have no material existence whatsoever! They are just calculated points where the orbit of the moon around the earth crosses the ecliptic [3]. But they signal significant and very tangible karmic effects.

Jyotish Astrologers Interpret the ‘Cosmic Codes’

In order to fully understand Jyotish we need to transcend our current mechanistic models of reality. We have to abandon our Newtonian mechanistic view and replace it with one in which ‘consciousness’ is the primary ingredient of the universe.  At a fundamental level, the mechanics of Vedic Astrology depend on the Vedic Model of Reality.

Jyotish Astrology comes from a tradition which sees the Universe as one perfectly integrated whole. At the basis of this whole is an all pervading field of Cosmic Intelligence. We, in our essential nature are part of that Cosmic Intelligence and it is therefore not surprising that the Intelligence which created us in the first place should be able to provide some information regarding our past, present and possible future.

In many ways a birth-chart can be likened to a strand of DNA in a sperm or egg cell in that it stores information in a highly condensed form!  As time progresses that information in the DNA gets translated into more of a concrete and observable reality until tissues and organs are built up, structures emerge, and finally the living being is recognised. It is exactly the same with us as our major life events unfold – for better or worse.

Jyotish Astrology consists of a number of axioms and mathematical rules of transformation for enabling the Astrologer to predict how the highly encoded information present in a birth chart will transform itself into possible physical situations.  The process is analogous to that of modern bio-chemistry which can ‘translate’ sections of the DNA code in our genes into recognisable physical features.

Jyotish simply does not need to invent forces being emitted by planetary bodies – it deals directly with a field of information.

Footnotes

[1] Jyotish uses only nine ‘Grahas’  or celestial objects (roughly translated as ‘planets’): the Sun and Moon (although from an astronomical viewpoint these are not planets), Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. It also uses two calculated points called ‘Rahu’ and ‘Ketu’; these are the Moon’s nodes and linked to the position of eclipses.

[2] In Jyotish the planet Mars is (generally) a very positive influence in the birth chart of someone with a Leo ascendant (sign rising on the horizon at birth).  It is also (generally) an extremely negative influence for a person with a Virgo ascendant.  So the same planet signals both positive effects for some individuals and negative for others. Clearly this is not due to any physical force emanating from the planet! This gives evidence to the fact that we are really dealing with an integrated field of information (or intelligence) where the individual is linked to the Cosmic Totality.

[3] Wiki says: ‘The lunar nodes are the orbital nodes of the Moon, that is, the two points at which the orbit of the Moon crosses the ecliptic. The ascending (or north) node is where the Moon moves into the northern ecliptic hemisphere, while the descending (or south) node is where the Moon enters the southern ecliptic hemisphere. Eclipses involving the Moon occur only near the lunar nodes. A solar eclipse occurs when the passage of the Moon through a node coincides with the new moon, while a lunar eclipse occurs when the passage coincides with the full moon’.


Additional Information on Vedic Astrology

 

Jyotish – Origins of Vedic Astrology

Summary: This article discusses the origins of Vedic Astrology (Jyotish) and the process of Vedic cognition. It identifies the great Vedic Seer Maharishi Parashara as the ‘father of Jyotish Astrology’ and  his classical text on Jyotish: the ‘Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra’.

Origins of Vedic Astrology and the Process of Vedic Cognition

Ask any Western Astrologer about the origins of their subject and they will give you a chronological account of how Astrology passed from country to country and from culture to culture. Western thought modes find this comfortable because it agrees with our sense of history. We enjoy quantifying the past with names, dates, timelines and places.

Ask any Jyotish Astrologer about the origins of their subject and they will tell you itcame from God[1]. This is a very important point and a fundamental difference between Jyotish and Western Astrology. According to tradition, the knowledge of Jyotish Astrology, just like the knowledge of how to maintain perfect health – Ayurveda, and all the rest of the vast Vedic Science knowledge, was ‘revealed’ or ‘cognized’. It was not discovered – neither was it invented by mankind, nor developed experimentally over many centuries.

We have no clear parallels in Western thought to the mechanics of Vedic cognition. The closest we can get is perhaps to consider flashes of artistic or creative genius, or scientific insight, where all the ‘information’ for a great work of art or theorem came into someone’s mind ‘in an instant’.

Modern ‘Download’ Analogy to Vedic Cognition Process

All the great Vedic Science works involved ‘revealed knowledge’ or ‘cognition’ in the consciousness of highly evolved sages, seers and rishis in a bygone age. They spent lifetimes practising yoga and meditation to facilitate this.

A modern day analogy would be like using the Internet to connect our personal computer to a remote server (or even ‘The Cloud’) and downloading into our PC all the information we required. Of course, we must know how to operate our local PC correctly and have the right password (maybe the ‘right mantras’) to access the data on the remote server! This whole process relies on a ‘Vedic Model of Reality’, where the whole universe and the beings in it are seen as part of an interconnected whole.

If we examine this analogy further, it is obvious that the information on the server exists whether or not it can be accessed by our remote device (PC, tablet, phone, etc.). The situation is exactly the same with the knowledge of Vedic Astrology. The information in the ‘Cosmic Computer’ is there all the time waiting to be accessed. In certain ages it may available to a few enlightened individuals.

In the present ‘Dark Age’ of Kali Yuga [2] it is totally unavailable by direct cognition. So we have to rely on the cognition of saints from past ages.

Maharishi Parashara – ‘Father’ of Vedic Astrology

The Vedic Sage (or seer) who is regarded as the ‘father of Jyotish Astrology’ is Maharishi Parashara (Maha meaning ‘great’: rishi meaning ‘seer’) [3]. His Sanskrit text ‘Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra [4] is a key work in Vedic Astrology. When or where he lived does not matter. If his knowledge became lost over the long passage of time, that would not matter either, simply because it was not ‘his’ knowledge in the first place! Other rishis would be born in future Ages and the whole of the Jyotish Shastra (teachings) could be re-cognised for the benefit of mankind.

Footnotes

[1] The Vedic concept of God is very different from that of the remote, judgemental God of the Abrahamic religions. The Vedic tradition perceives the all-pervading ‘GOD’  as a three letter acronym representing key principles of nature: G – Generator (personified as Brahma), O – Operator (personified as Vishnu), D – Destroyer (personified as Maheshwara or Shiva).

[2] The Vedic literature identifies four major ages or great time periods, each of which has a predominant characteristic. Currently most (but not all) scholars say we are in the age of Kali Yuga, although exactly when it started (some estimate around 5000 years ago around 3102 BCE when Krishna left His incarnation on earth) and how long it will last (some say another 19,000 years) is a matter for debate. Some have also proposed there are minor cycles, each with their own characteristics, even within the major time periods.

[3] Further information on Maharishi Parashara can be found on Wikipedia – although the article would benefit from additional scholarly review.

[4] There is debate amongst scholars as to exactly which chapters in the currently available printed versions of the ‘Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra’ are actually attributable to Parashara  and which to the sage Jaimini. Although these systems appear to conflict, it is generally agreed that Parashara’s systems are suited to the current age of Kali Yuga and those of Jaimini to a different age.


Additional Information on Vedic Astrology