Tag Archives: vedic astrology

Vedic Astrology – A Paradigm Shift

Summary: This article examines the paradigm shift needed by Western Astrologers if they are going to stand any chance of understanding the fundamental concepts involved in the predictive and preventive Vedic Astrological system.

Jyotish – A Major Paradigm Shift for Western Astologers

A fully Self–realized Vedic Master said this about Vedic astrology:‘The purpose of astrology is to take you to the ultimate truth that the entire universe is one organism. It’s one Being, one consciousness, one Self, that manifests itself into this varied universe’. [1]

For many centuries man thought that the Sun and planets revolved around the earth and that the earth was at the centre of the universe. These ideas were very deeply ingrained in our thinking and formed a conceptual framework which affected our whole outlook on life.  The learned scholars and establishment of the time (the Church) supported these ideas.

Irrefutable scientific evidence later emerged to suggest that what had previously been taken as ‘self-evident fact’ was merely a result of an earth-centred perspective and that, contrary to what we observe, the earth and planets do indeed revolve in orbits around the Sun.

Looking back from our present time it is hard to imagine the upset this change in perspective caused and why those who supported the new theories were branded as heretics.  It is also difficult to imagine why the established ideas had so much inertia.

The above is an example of what is known as a ‘paradigm shift’.  There have been other examples.  More recently the concept of ‘evolution of the species’ had to overthrow the entrenched ideas that God, at some time in the past, created life exactly as we see it now – and that there was no room in the divine plan for changes.

Yet another paradigm-shift occurred in the field of physics when the rules of motion as laid down by Isaac Newton were found to be inadequate at explaining all observed phenomena (e.g. those occurring close to the speed of light or at the minute atomic scale).  Einstein’s’ theory of relativity and the whole of quantum physics then emerged. However, the shift from one view point to another is never easy and takes considerable time to get established in the consciousness of the general public.

Now Western Astrologers are often considered as being reasonably flexible and adaptable to ‘new ideas’. One problem with Jyotish Astrology is that it is not a ‘new idea’ – it has been in existence for thousands of years.  Another problem is that in order to be able to fully grasp ‘where it is coming from’ a major paradigm shift is going to be needed by Astrologers born and bred into Western Astrological thinking patterns.

Here are some key concepts:

1. Planets Do Not Affect People

The Jyotish Astrologer realises that planets do not affect people – it is people which affect people!  In the West it is very easy to take on an ‘Astrological Victim Consciousness’ mode of thought e.g. ‘I’m having a bad time at the moment because of my Saturn transit’ i.e. Saturn is the agent responsible for my condition.  Jyotish Astrology says this is nonsense.  Any condition or situation we find ourselves in at the present is solely due to our past thoughts, words or deeds.  Of course we could argue as follows, ‘I can’t remember doing anything which would give rise to what I am now experiencing.’

The answer to this, from a Jyotish viewpoint, is very simple.  It says that our memory does not extend far enough back.  In order to understand the present we might require a memory stretching back many lifetimes.  So Jyotish has built into its structure the concepts of re-incarnation and the fruits of past actions returning to the individual.

The mechanics of Jyotish, at a fundamental level, rely on the Vedic Model of Reality: the universe and all the beings in it is an interconnected single entity!

2. We Were Not Born at a Particular Time Merely by Chance

We were not born at some particular time on a specific day when the planets were arranged in a particular way, merely by chance.  Jyotish Astrology comes from a tradition which does not believe that the Creator plays dice!  It would be grossly unfair if some people were born into very rich families and others into families of beggars just by accident.

Jyotish implies that we were born at a particular time and place due to our past karmas and latent impressions (samskaras). The celestial arrangement of the 9 planets amongst the twelve houses and 27 constellations (Nakshatras) at our birth simply reflects how our lives will unfold as a result of our past deeds. The moment of our incarnation on this planet therefore reflects the karmic lessons we needed to learn to maximise our evolution – and Jyotish Astrology can detect the nature and timing of the benefits we receive and challenges we face.

3. Planets Don’t Emit a Physical ‘Force’ that Affects People

Many Western Astrologers believe that the planets emit some type of force which, as yet, has not been discovered by science, and which influences our lives.  They therefore feel that Jyotish Astrology is in some way limited as it does not use the very slow moving planets Neptune, Uranus and Pluto and thus fails to take into account the ‘forces’ emitted by these planets.

The Western Astrological concept of a planet emitting a ‘force’ that affects human beings is very mechanistic and ‘Newtonian’. Vedic Astrology realises that it is just dealing with a field of information, not a physical, or even esoteric hidden force. The planetary arrangements present at the time of birth are a type of code that can be ‘read’ by skilled Vedic Astrologers and translated into predictions.

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

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.

 4. Jyotish Provides Remedial Measures to Modify Returning Karmas

Because we are part of an integrated whole, then by participating in certain vedic procedures , performing prescribed acts of charity, reciting certain 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. These methods are referred to as ‘Planetary Antidotes’ or ‘Remedial Measures’. So, Jyotish enables us to both detect and ‘deflect’ returning karmas! [2]

Footnotes:

 [1] HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘The Daily Sutra’, 20 May 2003

[2] Vedic ceremonies such as yagnas, when performed correctly by enlightened pandits are said to modify returning karmas. Also, as the universe and the beings in it are viewed as an interconnected whole, then the wearing of certain gemstones associated with  specific planets in a birthchart are said to modify returning karmas associated with those planets. The sanskrit mantras are also seen as a  means of ‘upwardly managing’ the laws of nature to modify returning karmas!


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

 

Vedic and Western Astrology: Key Differences

Summary:  This article examines the key differences between Vedic Astrology and Western Astrology. The Vedic Astrological system differs dramatically from the Western Astrological system in its origins, paradigms and methodology.

Vedic Astrology’s Concepts and Paradigms

Jyotish is predictive. It is fundamentally involved with ‘karmic engineering’. It identifies possible obstacles in life and predicts both positive and more difficult periods in the future. It attempts to detect a person’s returning karmas and predicts when they are likely to manifest.

Jyotish is preventive. It uses a wide range of remedial measures deigned to influence an individual’s returning karma.

Jyotish astrology also employs techniques for predicting the optimum time to commence major undertakings e.g. starting a business, getting married, building a house, etc.

Vedic Astrology comes from the same traditions as yoga.

Unlike Western Astrology, which was developed by people over centuries, Jyotish was cognized. In Vedic cognition a great seer or rishi (in this case Maharishi Parashara) connected his individual consciousness to the ‘cosmic computer’ and ‘downloaded’ the whole of Vedic Astrology’s knowledge and techniques.

Because Vedic Astrology sees the universe and all the beings in it as part of an interconnected whole – a field of energy, order and ‘intelligence’, it deals with coded information.

Western astrology is more ‘Newtonian’ and mechanistic in that it suggests all planets emit some type of, as yet undiscovered, force that affects humans on Earth. So every time astronomers discover a new celestial object in our solar system Western Astrology adapts and devises astrological properties for the object. Jyotish regards this as unnecessary. It simply has no need of ‘Planetary Forces’ which affect people.

Vedic Astrology’s Methods

Jyotish Astrology uses only nine Grahas – roughly translated as the nine ‘planets’ – the seven visible ‘planets’ up to and including Saturn, plus the two nodes of the Moon. Unlike Western Astrology, it does not use the planets beyond Saturn.

In Vedic Astrology, all the information needed for prediction is encoded in the arrangements of the nine planets at the time of birth.

The arrangement of the seven ‘planets’ (and the two nodes of the moon) 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

Jyotish uses the totally unique mahadasha system of prediction to delineate time periods of major karmic influence. In common with Western Astrology it also uses transits, but their effect is usually of much less importance than the mahadashas.

In Vedic Astrology an individual’s ascendant (the sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the time of birth) is of fundamental importance. The ‘sun sign’ used by Western Astrology is of relatively little importance.

Although Jyotish uses the same twelve signs of the zodiac that the Western system uses, the zodiac used is permanently referenced to the fixed stars. Jyotish uses the fixed or sidereal zodiac.

The starting point of the Western Astrologer’s zodiac is referenced to the movable equinox points, not the fixed stars. This Tropical zodiac moves slowly through the sky against the background of the fixed stars. This means that the part of the zodiac called ‘Aries’ in the Western system is not actually linked to a particular constellation and changes over a period of time.

Traditional Jyotish astrology always involves the ‘equal house concept’ – every house occupies 30 degrees of the sky and houses correspond exactly with signs in the sidereal zodiac. The Western system often uses unequal angular house divisions.


Additional Information on Vedic Astrology