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Introduction to Vedic Astrology – Jyotish

Summary: This article is a brief introduction to Vedic Astrology. It covers the links with yoga, and the basic aims and applications of the predictive and preventive Vedic Astrological System – also known as Jyotish or Yogic Astrology.

Links with Yoga

Jyotish is asister’ subject of Yoga and originated from the same ancient Vedic Tradition. Jyotish is also often referred to as ‘Yogic Astrology‘ or ‘Vedic Astrology’.

Jyotish is closely related to the other Yoga related sciences –  Ayurveda (a holistic Vedic Healthcare system) and Vastu (Vedic design of life-enhancing buildings and living spaces).

Jyotish Astrology, just like Ayurveda, was ‘revealed’ or ‘cognized’. It was not discovered – neither was it invented by mankind, nor developed by trial and error over a period of time.

Vedic Astrology’s Predictive Capabilities

The most widely used area of Vedic Astrology is called ‘Hora’ and deals with predicting an individual’s returning karmas, as decoded from the planetary arrangements in a person’s birth-chart. So, Jyotish is very much  ‘karmic astrology’.

Jyotish attempts to predict both the benefits and the obstacles we might experience in all areas of our lives [1] and, most importantly, when in our life [2] we might encounter those benefits or problems.

Vedic Astrology’s Preventive Capabilities

Apart from being just predictive, Jyotish aims to be ‘preventive’ too. It offers practical techniques to modify a person’s returning karmas. These are known as ‘Planetary Antidotes’ or ‘Remedial Measures’.  So Vedic Astrology provides the ultimate form of ‘karmic re-balancing’.

The capabilities of Jyotish enable the effects of potential problems in the future, caused by returning karmas (decoded from planetary positions in our birth-chart and expressed as ‘planetary imbalances’), to be first identified and then minimized, or even avoided completely. Similarly, very good periods in our lives can be predicted and the time used to full advantage.

Jyotish gives a whole range of ‘remedial measures’ in order to correct any planetary imbalances that occur in a horoscope.  This enables us to avert potential problems that might otherwise have arisen in the future. Remedial measures might involve the wearing of an appropriate gemstone in a prescribed manner, acts of charity, use of specific mantras, vedic ceremonies such as yagna or yajna.

Best Time for Every Action

The second area of Vedic Astrology is called ‘Muhurta’. It suggests the best possible times to begin an important action such as getting married, building a new house or starting a business. There is a phrase ‘well begun is half done’. Actions started at the times suggested by Muhurta have all the laws of nature supporting their successful outcome.


[1]  Jyotish deals with predictions involving the four key areas of life: Artha, Dharma, Kama and Moksha.

Artha covers ‘wealth’ (money and prosperity, ‘wealth’ of children, ‘wealth’ of knowledge, ‘wealth’ of food, ‘wealth’ of health, etc.). Dharma covers duty, character, actions that will be evolutionary and follow natural law (e.g. type of career), etc. Kama means desire, so it covers relationships, all types of desires, pleasures of the senses, etc. Moksha covers spiritual and personal growth towards Self-realization.

[2]   Jyotish identifies key periods called the ‘Maha Dasha Periods’ where returning Karmas, for better or worse, are delivered by the ‘Cosmic Postman’ via the nine planets. A planet’s inherent nature, where it is placed in a birth-chart, the houses it ‘rules’ and in which it is placed, and other planets nearby and aspecting it all affect the outcome.

Additional Information on Vedic Astrology


Vedic Astrology FAQs 2

Summary:  Vedic Astrology (Jyotish) basic FAQs – including its origins, use of the sidereal zodiac and only nine planets, and remedial measures to modify returning karmas

Q. What are the origins of Vedic Astrology?

A. Vedic Astrology was cognised over 5000 years ago by an ancient, fully enlightened sage called ‘Maharishi Parashara’ [1]. He is said to have ‘discovered’ mathematical and astronomical rules to predict the future and so avoid potential problems. This ancient but eternal wisdom has withstood the test of time. Long experience over many generations has proved the validity of its techniques.

Maharishi Parashara‘s work forms the central reference for to-days Vedic Astrologers.

Parashara was a highly evolved soul whose elevated consciousness was fully awake within itself, aware of its own structure and at the same time the dynamics of evolution.  To him, the cosmos was an intelligently organised, inter-connected whole; so that one event led into another event and that this unfoldment of life could be predicted.  Vedic Astrology therefore demonstrates the relationship between the individual and the cosmic totality, man and the universe.

Q. As Vedic astrology comes from India is it linked to the Hindu religion?

A. We could ask a similar question about yoga, which originated in India. However, we all realize we don’t have to have Hindu beliefs in order to experience the benefits of doing Yoga! The situation is exactly the same with any of the Vedic ‘Sciences’ (e.g. Jyotish, Ayurveda and Vastu). The Vedic Sciences exist for the benefit of everyone, regardless of race, religion, belief system or country of origin. This ancient wisdom is for everyone in this modern age.

Q. Is Vedic astrology a science?

A. It is certainly highly mathematical, logical and systematic in its application of the rules and axioms of Jyotish as applied to chart interpretation and prediction.

Because Jyotish sees the universe as a field of energy and information it is quite in keeping with modern scientific thought about the nature of reality. Although many thousands of years old, its concepts about the nature of reality have close parallels with modern neuroscience, cosmology and particle physics.

Vedic Astrology acts like a long-range weather forecasting system, so is essentially probabilistic.  It attempts to predict when and how the actions we have performed in the past 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.

Vedic astrology is however, not experimentally derived knowledge. Rather, it is cognized and revealed wisdom, said to be given to us for the benefit of all mankind. However, Vedic astrology is based on wisdom that was revealed to a great Sage over 5000 years ago.  The ancient Sanskrit texts form part of the Vedic tradition of India which also includes the ‘sciences’ of Yoga and Ayurveda. A revival of interest in this eternal wisdom is currently taking place.

Q. When I had my Jyotish chart drawn up I noticed that both my sun and ascendant are in different astrological signs compared with my Western Astrological chart. How can this be possible?

A. Vedic astrology divides the celestial sphere into the same thirty degree segments used by Western astrology and the segments are given the same names e.g. Aries, Taurus, etc. But there is one major difference that accounts for the change in planetary positions between the two systems. The difference is in the starting points of each zodiac .

The Sidereal Zodiac used by Vedic Astrologers never moves with respect to the distant or ‘fixed’ background stars. So the segment called ‘Aries’ always remains in the same place relative to the fixed stars and the constellations (groups of stars).The starting point of Aries is always towards a fixed star in Jyotish.

However, Western Astrology uses the Tropical Zodiac whose starting point is based on the position of the spring equinox. This equinox point moves slightly each year relative to the fixed background stars. Over many years this slight movement makes a big difference. The starting point of both zodiacs coincided about 1700 years ago, but now differs (because of an astronomical phenomenon called ‘the precession of the equinoxes’) by about 24 degrees. It is this difference of 24 degrees that causes many planetary positions to be in different signs in the two systems [2]. Of course, if you were born around 300 AD there would have been no difference!

Q. Why does Vedic Astrology only use the nine ‘planets’ up to and including Saturn? Surely the other planets beyond Saturn affect our lives?

A. In Vedic Astrology, all the information needed for prediction in all life areas is encoded in the arrangements of the nine  ‘planets’ [3] at the time of birth. In Jyotish the planets do not emit some type of ‘force’ that affects individuals. It is more a matter of coded information. It is not a mechanistic ‘Newtonian force’ type of concept. Rather, Vedic Astrology sees the universe and the beings in it as part of an interconnected whole: a field of energy, order and ‘intelligence’. The celestial arrangement of the nine planets amongst the twelve zodiacal signs, the twelve houses and the 27 constellations (Nakshatras) at our birth reflects how our lives will unfold in time as a result of our past deeds. So we are dealing with ‘coded karmic information’ (which gives us all the information we need) and not ‘planetary forces’.


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

[2] The difference in planetary positions between the zodiacs is now around 24 degrees. If your sun was, say 14 degrees in Virgo in Western Astrology, it will now be at 14 – 24 = – 10 degrees Virgo in the Vedic or sidereal system! The negative sign 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 your sun was at 28 degrees Virgo in Western astrology (tropical or moveable zodiac) it will now be at 28 – 24 = 4 degrees Virgo in Jyotish (fixed or sidereal system). In this case it has not changed sign

[3] 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. It does not use any planets (or sub-planets such as Chiron) which cannot be observed with the unaided eye (e.g. planets beyond Saturn)

Additional Information on Jyotish