Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Outer Planets & Vedic Astrology

One of the main differences between Indian astrology and western astrology is in the number of planets they use. Consider this:

Western Astrology uses: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. (Total of 10)

Vedic Astrology uses: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu & Ketu. (Total of 9)

Now which one of the above is correct and scientific? Give it a little thought and you can arrive at the conclusion yourself! 9 planets would be my contention. We need not use any more than 9 planets.

How many numbers does the base ten system of numbering have? Nine numbers (1 to 9). Can something go beyond nine? Do this simple test: Take any number and multiply it by 9. Add each of the digits of the product until it is reduced to a single digit. The result will be 9 always.

Example 1: Take 392, multiply by 9, the answer is 3528. Add all the digits until it is reduced to a single number. 3+5+2+8 = 18 = 1+8 = 9.

Example 2: Take 7396, multiply by 9 = 66564 = 6+6+5+6+4 = 27 = 2+7=9.

Only the number 9 has this unique property. Try this with any other digit and it will not work. 9 signifies the limit. You can’t go beyond 9. You do not need anything more than 9.

If you are still not convinced, how many colors does white light have? Seven. Each color for one planet. Vedic astrology uses these 7 for the inner planets and it adds two more, Rahu (moons north node) and Ketu (Moons south node) bringing the total to 9.

The outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are too distant to influence mankind. That is why they were left out of Jyotish. Already Jyotish has had one victory with the down grading of Pluto which is no longer considered a planet.

Western astrology has also given ruler ship of some signs to these outer planets. For example Pluto rules Scorpio according to western astrology. The noted astrologer Linda Goodman of yesteryears had said that 2 more planets are due to be discovered and they will rule Virgo and Taurus! Eventually it will be 12 signs and 12 planets according to western astrology. In Vedic astrology 2 zodiac sign are ruled by 1 planet. Mars for example rules Aries and Scorpio. In western astrology Mars rules only Aries and Scorpio is ruled by the now down graded Pluto.

It is not known if the sages of the past knew about the existence of outer planets but it is said that Maharishi Vyasa knew about the existence of Pluto. But nowhere are outer planets given sanction in India’s astrological texts. They are just not mentioned. Probably they are too far to influence man and that is why the sages ignored them. Even if vedic astrologers use these outer planets for prediction (a few vedic astrologers do) they will never ever give them lordship. Uranus can never rule Aquarius. Aquarius is ruled by Saturn in Jyotish. Neptune can never be given lordship of Pisces. Pisces is ruled by Jupiter in vedic astrology. Giving them lordship will destroy the fine way in which planets are ascribed lordships in hindu classical astrology. Vedic astrology on the other hands includes many other factors like the 27 Nakshatras (Fixed stars) and subsidiary planets like Maandi, Gulika, Dhuma, Vyatipati, Parivesha, Indra Chapa, Upaketu and Kala which are unheard of in western astrology.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Classification of Bhavas / Houses in Astrology

Classification of the Houses:

Houses 1-4-7 are Kendra or Angular houses
Houses 1-5-9 are Trikona or Trinal houses
Houses 3-6-10-11 are Upachaya or Trishadaya houses
Houses 6-8-12 are Dustana or Evil Houses
Houses 2-7 are Maraka or Killer houses

Kendra or Angular Houses:
The Kendra houses are the angles of the chart. These houses are One, Four, Seven, and Ten. These are considered the most powerful houses of all. They create the most action in a chart. They relate to the qualities of the signs, which are cardinal. The cardinal signs are the signs of change and action. They are 1-Aries, 4-Cancer, 7-Libra, and 10-Capricorn in the natural zodiac. These houses bring results. This is why when planets that rule a Kendra and a Trikona come together it creates the fulfillment of purpose. This is called a Raja Yoga.

Planets in the Kendra houses are very strong and active. When malefic planets rule the angles they are said to loose their power to cause harm, and when benefic planets rule the angles they lose their power to give blessings.

Trikona or Trinal Houses:
The Trikona houses are one, five and nine from the lagna (ascendant). In the natural zodiac they refer to Aries (1st house), Leo (5th house) and Sagittarius (9th house). These are the most auspicious houses of all. They give fortune and luck. They are five houses away from each other. They form a triangle from each other. The four elements fire, earth, air, and water all form a trine from one another. The fire element is our Dharma. Dharma is our sense of purpose. When we understand our purpose, we are connected to our spirit and guided by inspiration. The spirit is what fuels our life. The Trikona houses are the houses that are related to the fire element, our spirit and inspiration. The trinal bhavas indicate unconscious actions.

The 1st house of a horoscope is considered as both a Kendra and a Kona and is hence very important house.

Upachaya Houses:
Upachaya means "improvement". The Upachaya houses are three, six, ten, and eleven. They create a certain amount of tension that drives one to improve life’s situations. These houses have a competitive edge to them. Life improves and gets better over time with these houses. Certain astrological conditions involving these houses can improve one’s condition in life.

Dustana Houses:
The Dustana houses are six, eight and twelve. These houses primarily deal with suffering, and mainly ill health. They are the most difficult of all, ruling disease, death, loss and sorrow. The rulers of these houses will inflict this type of suffering. Dustanas are difficult points because they are places of transition. Both the sixth and the eighth are on either side of the seventh house, which is the point of sunset (endings), and the twelfth is the end before the new dawn, the ascendant. These houses are sometimes referred to as the Trik houses (the Three). However the 3rd and 6th can be simultaneously houses of both suffering and growth.

Maraka Houses:
The Maraka houses are two and seven. Maraka in Sanskrit means "killer". These houses and the planets that rule them are considered the killer houses or planets. These planets and houses are prominent when death or injury occurs. Death or injury does not occur every time these planets become prominent through the dashas or transits. There must be other determining influences indicating such an event. Planets occupying these houses, planets associated with them, and the lords of these houses can become maracas. Marakas indicate problems in health. For example, the lord of one maraka house occupying the other maraka house can reduce one’s life span.

The 4 Aims or Goals of Life:

Dharma – represented by 1-5-9, the Fire Houses
Artha – represented by 2-6-10, the Earth Houses
Kama – represented by 3-7-11, the Air Houses
Moksha – represented by 4-8-12, Water Houses

Each house is related to one of the four elements: Fire, Earth, Air, Water. These also correspond to one of the four aims of life: Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha. There are 3 houses for each element/aim of life. The elements directly relate to one's motivation in life. We must look at the distribution of planets and the predominance of planets in any particular group. This gives an understanding of the motivations of the native. For example; if there are majority of the planets in the 3-7-11 houses then the focus is mainly on desires, social interactions.

Dharma – represented by 1-5-9, the Fire Houses:
These are the houses of motivation, inspiration and spiritualism. They relate to the fire signs Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius in the natural zodiac. These houses tell us that we ought to do. It is doing what best fits our inclinations and talents. Dharma is part of destiny and cannot be ignored. These houses tell us of the blessings that we are born with. They relate to luck and wealth; and are therefore called Lakshmi Sthanas (the Goddess of wealth). When there are a lot of planets in these houses then it shows the person to show these qualities more than the others. The person gives importance to personal growth, inspiration, creative expression, and ethics. Rulers of these houses are always benefics or favorable planets.

Artha – represented by 2-6-10, the Earth Houses:
Houses 2-6-10 relate to the wealth or the resources available at our disposal. They deal with the material and physical things like possessions, luxuries, money etc. Thye are th houses of work, earning, material security. These houses are easier to understand since they deal with the tangible things of life. If there is a predominance of planets in these houses then the person is focused on the material side of life. This leads to practicality and good use of resources to gain more for the material things. These people can be good with money.

Kama – represented by 3-7-11, the Air Houses:
The air element relates to the social and of those things that we desire to do or want to do. These houses relate to relationships with other living beings. It deals with communication. Kama is often translated as lust; but in this context it relates to relationships in general. Many grahas in these houses show the person will value relationships and social interaction. The person could also be a care free being, not very material, lack purpose or inspiration, and be distracted by many desires.

Moksha – represented by 4-8-12, the Water Houses:
These are the houses of dissolution and relate to the mind or to our deepest self. They relate to emotions that cannot be seen by others. It is being able to free one self of dharma, artha or kama. For example several planets placed in the 8th house of a horoscope will tend to increase the moksha qualities in that person. Such a person may develop a philosophical outlook. Planets in these bhavas help in liberating the person and take him to a higher realm.

All the four goals are important for a balanced life. However a person may pursue one of the goals with more enthusiasm than the does the others. This nay be due to the activation of these areas due to planetary placements.

Indian / Sidereal Astrology vs Western / Tropical Astrology

The differences arise in the way the zodiac is configured. Vedic astrology uses a sidereal (star-based) perspective and tropical astrology uses a seasonal focus.

In the Tropical system, the first degree of Aries is designated as the time of the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. The first degree of Aries is considered the beginning of the zodiac in both systems. However, the time that this degree actually coincided with the vernal equinox (some two thousand years ago) has long passed, due to a cosmic phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes. Equinox refers to the twice yearly times when the lengths of day and night are equal. At equinox, the sun is directly over the Earth's Equator. The vernal equinox, when spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere, occurs about March 21, when the Sun moves north across the celestial equator. The earth because of its oblate shape has a slight tilt and this causes a slight wobble leading to very minor backward movement. The precession of the equinoxes means that the four equinoctial points (spring, summer, autumn, and winter equinoxes) are constantly moving. They will rotate (backwards) through all 360 degrees and return to their starting point every 25,920 [solar] years. The precession rate is 50.2719 seconds /year rate of precession, from year 285. Ayanamsha is defined as the angle by which the sidereal ecliptic longitude of a celestial body is lesser than its tropical ecliptic longitude.

Tropical astrology is based on the idea that early astrologers defined the star signs according to the seasons in which the sun rose in them; it wishes to preserve the seasonal associations of those star signs by laying out new horoscopes against a first-millennium sky. For tropical astrologers therefore it is irrelevant that the solsticial points (tropics) have drifted from one constellation to another over the millennia, due to the precession of the equinoxes. The underlying philosophy remains unchanged in spite of precession, because it is based on the earth's (and therefore our) relationship to the sun, not to the stars.

  • The sidereal ecliptic longitude of a celestial body is its longitude on the ecliptic defined with respect to the "fixed" stars
  • The tropical ecliptic longitude of a celestial body is its longitude on the ecliptic defined with respect to the vernal equinox point.

Vedic Astrology is frequently called predictive astrology because of its ability to predict events in life. This ability is due to the refinement in the various systems of the science, and requires significant subtlety of understanding and perception on the part of the practitioner.

Vedic Astrology is based on the Sidereal Zodiac as opposed to the Vernal Zodiac of Western Astrology. Vedic/Sidereal Astrology uses the fixed observable stars in the sky whereas Western Astrology is more time based, determining the beginning of the zodiac as corresponding to the start of the Vernal Equinox. In the year 2002, the difference between the two systems is considered to be between 22 and 24 degrees and indicates the difference between the point of the vernal equinox and the first point of the constellation Aries.

We could say the consequence of this difference is a Vedic system which does not give the sun the same prominence that is has in the Western system. While acknowledging the Sun as a significator of the essence, or soul, Vedic Astrology, by following the Sidereal Zodiac gives more relative importance to the influence of the other planets as opposed to making the Sun the focal point.

In Vedic Astrology, the rising sign or ascendant is represented by the sign which is on the eastern horizon at the time of birth and considered to be the most important factor in prediction since it is the most frequently changing aspect of the chart – changing every two hours. It is the most pivotal point from which one considers everything, the context from which all of the planets are evaluated.

In Vedic Astrology more emphasis is placed on the Moon than on the Sun. The moon represents the mind which is seen as a very important factor and consequently is a major determining factor in how one interacts with the world.

Vedic Astrology is also sometimes called constellation astrology because it takes into account fixed stars called constellations. As a result, one considers not only the influence of the planets in a sign but also the subtle influences exercised by the constellations. This means that when a planet passes through a sign, it expresses the influence of the sign and is also tempered by the influence of the constellations of the sign. To practice predictive astrology, one must be able to go deep into the subtle influences of the constellations.

Vedic Astrology also employs mathematical divisions called Shadbalas and Shadvargas. They give the precise strength of each planet in a mathematical figure which enables one to understand the real potency of the planets.

Another system of delineation in Vedic Astrology is aspects known as “yogas”. This is a unique system for understanding the power of the associations between the planets in their placement from one another. When the planets have formed yogas, they create specific results which are powerful.

The Dasa System (the planetary cycles) is another feature of the Vedic system which indicates a period during which a planet’s influence becomes fully operative. This enables one to give precise predictions during a particular period.

Lastly, the great sages, in their compassionate nature, wanted to help mankind to reduce their miseries, and thus introduced a system of remedies or Upayas, for overcoming suffering from planetary afflictions. These remedies vary depending on the affliction and include japas, meditation, chanting of suitable mantras, fasting and worship.

So which is superior, Western or Indian Astrology? My personal answer is overwhelmingly the Indian or Vedic system of astrology. While western astrology has it merits; like for example it is slightly superior in delineating the character or the psychological make up of a person. If; for example; only the Sun Sign were to be taken to determine which astrology is superior; then western astrology will win. My Sun sign by western tropical zodiac is Virgo and I do show many of the Virgo qualities. According to vedic astrology my sun sign is Leo (because of precession of zodiac) which does not correctly reflect Leo or the lion like traits. However from a predictive point of view Hindu astrology is far superior. There is nothing of the equivalent of this in western astrology. Western astrology uses some transits of inner and outer planets to predict which is very inferior and incapable of giving correct predictions. If dasas (planetary periods) have to be used then we cannot use a tropical zodiac. Only a sidereal zodiac which takes into consideration the precession of the equinoxes (called Ayanamsha) will give superior results. No Indian astrologer will use a tropical zodiac for predictions. A few Indian astrologers at best use the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. This is also unnecessary and is not sanctioned in our astrological texts. The vexed question of which ayanamsha to use is subject for another article which will be dealt with in a subsequent article.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Karma in Vedic Astrology

Newton’s third law of motion ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’ forms the core of the theory of Karma in Vedic Astrology. As you sow so, you reap is the essence of the principle of Karma in Jyotish. This principle is inherent in the very structure of the universe. According to astrology events in a person’s life happens according to a sequence which is scheduled by the law of Karma on the calendar called time.

The moment of birth starts the Law of Karma. Every action causes some effect. With hundreds of actions that we perform this has a complex and intricate effect entangling us in a web of cause and effect which most human minds cannot fathom. The Law of Karma is a self governing and a kind of auto mechanism that forever controls our destiny. Mahatma Gandhi once said that ‘After inventing the Law of Karma God was able to retire’. The birth chart is blue print of the kind of Karma that we are likely to face and the challenges that lay ahead of us. Humans are reborn at the moment the planets move into a particular configuration. That configuration can then be studied to discover whether a person’s past activities were pious or impious, and what events are most likely to occur in a person’s future as a result. The planetary positions at the time of birth can thus reveal the events of a person’s present life as well as his or her past and future lives. The quality of a birth chart can be judged by the planetary positions in the zodiac, in the different signs and constellations. Thus a person takes a position in this birth according to the karma accrued in past births.

Vedic Astrology classifies Karmas as under:

Sanchita Karma (The sum total of all Karmas)
Prarabdha Karma - the Karmas we ought to be ready to experience.
Kriyamana Karma – The current Karmas
Agama Karma – The approaching Karmas

Quite often one kind of karma overlaps the other due to the complex & incomprehensible nature of Karma. Let’s very briefly look into each one of them:

Sanchita Karma:

This as already mentioned is the entirety of all karmas of this life and past lives. Reincarnation assumes that one’s past actions performed in previous lives are the causes of the effects being experienced in this life time. The doctrine of reincarnation has been an accepted philosophy since times immemorial in the Indian culture. According to the Bhagvat Gita, one of India’s famous and treasured scriptures ‘just as a person casts off worn out clothes and puts on others that are new, even so does the embodied soul cast off worn out bodies and take to others that are new’

A man who wonders why he was able to acquire such high academic qualifications so easily, earn a fortune so easily, have ill health despite the best medical care, suffer loss of near and dear ones prematurely must realize that it is the eternal law of karma that is in operation. The mind has forgotten the karmas that he performed in his previous lives that are causing effects beyond this control in this life.

Prarabdha Karma:

Prarabdha is that portion of the past karma which is responsible for the present body and state of affairs in a man’s life. That portion of the sanchita karma which influences human life in the present incarnation is called prarabdha. It is ripe for reaping. It cannot be avoided or changed. It is only exhausted by being experienced. You pay your past debts. prarabdha karma is that which has begun and is actually bearing fruit. It is selected out of the mass of the sanchita karma." It is what appears as fate or destiny. An entity does not experience all of the Sanchita Karma at once. Only that portion which is ripe will surface at any time.

Kriyamana Karma:

This is what we do in the present with our free will. While Sanchita Karma & Prarabhda Karma are destined or fated , Kriyamana Karma represents our current actions by the us of our will. People are not mechanical devices merely controlled by our past actions. We can by exerting and struggling create new favorable situations. This is Kriyamana Karma.

Agama Karma:

New actions that we plan to execute are a measure of our capacity to envision future actions, whether or not we implement them. To set an intention to be more careful in the future would be our agama karma. Without kriyamana and agama karma our life would be entirely predestined upon birth. We would, in effect, be completely at the mercy of our past karma. Let’s say we go on a joy ride and get into an accident. The accident would be considered our prarabdha karma – our allotted karma for this life out of entire sanchita karma. To dress the wound in order to lessen the suffering would be our kriyamana karma. To plan or to set our intentions to be more careful in the future would be our agama karma.

The Three Levels of Magnitudes of Karma:

In addition to the four kinds of karma, there are three levels of magnitude to any given karma. Karma can be fixed/strong or non-fixed/weak, or a combination of the two. If the karma is strong then the predetermined event will almost certainly happen. If the karma is weak then it may be relatively easy to avert it. The three levels of magnitude are:

1. Dridha karma - Fixed Karma – This is karma that cannot be changed by any effort on our part. Only the grace of God can alter fixed karma (Dridha). These are destined to be experienced because for the intensity of the causes. Many times we experience that an event simply happens despite all efforts to avoid it. In vedic astrology Dridha Karmas happen when there a confluence of factors.

2. Dridha/Adridha - Mixed karma – This is karma that can be changed but only with substantial effort. This can be changed with concentrated mental application. Will power is necessary.

3. Adridha Karma - Non-Fixed karma – This is karma that can be easily changed with some effort. It’s like having a clean paper on which you can write what you want.

It is possible from astrology to determine the magnitude of the Karma.

Possible Remedies for Difficult Karmas:

Jyotish / Vedic Astrology is an excellent method for delineating one's Karmic pattern - the good times, the bad times, the lessons that need to be learned, etc. However, many people are not so happy with the bad times and would like to improve the bad times if possible.

Yagyas (ancient Vedic ceremonies) are among the strongest remedial measures. Yagyas should only be undertaken under the advisement or direction of a competent guru, Hindu priest or Vedic astrologer.

Fasting is an art and there are many other structures to fasting that are too intricate to go into here. No one should undertake fasting without medical clearance and specific instructions.

Here is an example of a fast directed to specific planets: Fast Sunday for the Sun, Monday for the Moon, Tuesday for Mars, Wednesday for Mercury, Thursday for Jupiter, Friday for Venus, or Saturday for Saturn and Rahu.

Mantras, generally, should only be used under the direction of a competent spiritual advisor or Vedic astrologer. They can have negative effects when done improperly.

Some mantras are very strong and should absolutely not be used by the general public. Do not pick a mantra out of a book and start using it. That is like going into a drug store and choosing a medicine at random. It can be ok at best, dangerous at worst.

However, there is a small number of widely known, "public" mantras that are generally safe for any adult.

Charity is *always* a good thing. If you engage in enough charitable giving, you can probably offset almost any bad Karma seen in your chart.

However, there are ways to maximize your charitable giving, according to the Vedic tradition. If you want spiritual benefits, probably Thursday is the best day to donate. If you want to grow in power and status, Sunday is the best day to give money or articles away. If you want more love, and physical enjoyment and creativity, most likely Friday is the best day.

The Vedic tradition also delineates classes of people and classes of animals who are the ideal recipient of your charity. This maximizes the effects of your charitable giving.

Gems are said to be powerful although it is not stated in the astrological texts as remedies. Gems are supposed to work. However, gems are probably not as powerful as mantras and yagyas. Ideally, if you are going to use a gem for Jyotish purposes, it should touch your skin for maximum effect. The gem should also be blessed, have a yagya, and be worn for the first time on a certain day. Gems chosen improperly that are not suitable for the individual horoscope can wreak havoc. One must be especially careful of blue sapphires and diamonds.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Predictive Styles of Vedic Astrology

The main styles of vedic astrology are:

  1. Parashari Jyotish
  2. Jaimini Jyotish
  3. Nadi Jyotish
  4. Tajika Jyotish
  5. Tantric Jyotish
  6. Krishnamurthi Paddhati


Parashari Jyotish refers to the style or tradition of jyotish as elaborated by Maharishi Parashara in his classical work called the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra. Maharishi Parashara is often referred to as the father of jyotish or vedic astrology. BPHS contains 97 chapters and a total of 2,000 verses dealing with natal astrology. There are several other classical works that are elaborations of the Parashara system of astrology. Some of them are Brihad Jataka, Phaladipika, Saravali, Jataka Parijata. These contributions came after the BPHS and are important additions to the BPHS. The Parashari system of astrology is the most common and most popular form of natal astrology practiced by a majority of the Indian astrologers.

Varahamihira was another very respectable contributor whose chief contributions were the Brihat Jataka and Brihat Samita. It is said that Varahmihira lived around the 4th century AD in the court of the Emperor Chandragupta II and happened to be the court astrologer. He was renowned for his accurate predictions, knowledge and learning. Brihad Jataka is his most widely read book which deals with birth or natal astrology.


Maharishi Jaimini was a great vedic seer and is believed by some authorities to have written the Jaimini Sutras, a work which forms the foundation of this system. Jaimini Sutras are cryptic and complex verses whose meanings and interpretations are subject to a lot of debate and confusion. A small minority of people practice this system of jyotish. There is little resemblance between the Parashari system and the Jaimini system. Jaimini system seems to have been developed as an alternative or a parallel to the Parashara system. There are a few astrologers who believe that both the systems can be used together and complement Parashara astrology with the Jaimini system to improve their predictive skills. However common sense tells that they both are very different systems and it is doubtful if they can be merged. It is wise to not club the Jaimini system with the Parsahara brand of astrology. Jaimini aspects are different (it uses rashi aspects), Jaimini dashas are rashi dashas as opposed to Parashara dashas which are nakshatra dashas, jaimini calculation of strengths of houses is different, calculation of longevity is different etc. According to me there exists a wall between the two types of astrology although many learned astrologers differ in their views and believe both styles can co-exist.


It is said that the Rishis of India became so masterly at astrology that they began generating horoscopes of people who were not yet born, and predict the major events in their lives. The Rishis were superhuman. They did horoscopes with thousands of birth charts. Fragments of the Nadis have survived and are handed over from parent to child in certain families of vedic Indian astrologers who act like guardians or custodians of the horoscopes. These remains are identified by their authors or schools and the horoscopes are found in “Nadi Granthas”. A Nadi Grantha, is a compilation of already calculated horoscopes with predictions given. You go to the reader, he calculates your chart and then finds a matching one in his collection and reads out the predictions. The reader does not necessarily know astrology. Each Nadi is unique in style depending on the Rishi who wrote it.

There are many Nadi Granthas mainly in South India. In the North there is Bhrigu Samitha in Punjab. In the south the popular ones are Kala Chandra Nadi, Vashista Nadi, Suka Nadi, Dhruva Nadi, Buddha Nadi, Brghu-Nandi Nadi, Bhargava Nadi etc.

When a complete reading is available ina Nadi Grantha it usually includes four parts: A bhava Phala, Yoga Khanda, Karma Khanda and Shanti Khanda. Just like everything else in the world, in the world of astrology also there are counterfeit Nadi Granthas who are out to cheat you. For this reason one must be careful in getting a reading through a Nadi Grantha.


The Tajika system is a late development and is a cross between the Vedic and Arabic astrology introduced into India by the Turks. Tajika is a Sanskrit term for an “Arab”. Tajika is somewhat popular in Northern India (which was ravaged by the Muslims) amongst the eclectic astrologers who don't strictly follow Vedic tradition.

In the Middle Ages (around 1587 AD) a Hindu astrologer, Nilakanta, wrote a text and commentary on this system called Tajika-Nilakanti. There have been a couple of translations into English of the Tajika system of Prasna Tantra and their method of "yearly horoscope" called Varshaphala. This Varshaphala is nothing but the "solar return" that is used in western astrology with a few Vedic twists added. To better understand Tajika system one should study the works of William Lilly (17th century English astrologer) for Prasna, and other Western texts on Solar returns.

Tajika system is hardly known in East India and practically unheard of in South India where Vedic traditions are more carefully preserved from impurities such as Tajika. It is unfortunate, that without finding out its antecedents, at least one well known astrologer has introduced Tajika into ISKCON. This is the danger of mimicking what ever Hindus do and assuming it is Vedic. You have to research and dig for the truth.

Tajika system’ highlight is its generally above average method of doing yearly readings. However; I believe that the Tithi Pravesha or the luni-solar year chart is a far superior method of seeing the yearly drift of a chart since it bases not only on the Sun’s position but the moons position as well. Vedic astrology is also capable of doing yearly readings, or readings for any length of time. But the "yearly reading" is a Tajika specialty. If you are not certain whether the yearly reading is Vedic or Tajika find out how the astrologer bases the reading. If he answers that it is based on the sun returning to the same position as it was at the time of your birth, then that is a clear indication of Tajika. Generally speaking whatever Tajika system of astrology can do; Parashara system can do it better.


The origins and roots of tantric jyotish are most unclear or unknown. In an astrological context the word Tantric means a mystical and intuitive attitude towards jyotish. Tantra calls for sacrificial rites and a person who practices this school of astrology relies on his internal information over his observation of the external sources. Often times he gives amazingly correct readings using magical and psychic techniques. Techniques might include observation and interpretation of omens, observation of breathing patterns at the moment of the question, speech patterns of the client, mannerisms, clairvoyance, astral travel, the use of information received from spirits and the use of other shamanic techniques. These methods are generally performed within the parameters of the jyotish model. A tantric jyotish interprets omens according to when and where such omens happen.


In very recent years an astrologer from Tamil Nadu, the late KS Krishnamurti, attempted to formulate his own system which he called the Krsnamurti Paddhati. This system is based primarily on the Parasara method with a lot of focus on the Nakshatras and their lordships. It gives more importance to the Nakshatra lord and sub lord rather than the house lord. The Vimshottari mahadasha is the foundation for this system. Then on the basis of the rulerships of the nakshatras based on the Vimshottari method he created his system. He also adopted the Placidius house system from the West. This is an uneven house system, and the first house begins from the lagna point.

The KP system is definitely not as popular as the Parashara system. Many astrologers reject it outright. It has defects such as assuming the nakshatras are ruled by certain planets. This rulership only applies in the vimshottari mahadasha scheme, not others. For example, astrologers in East India-Bengal, Assam etc., prefer ashtottari dasha, a cycle of 108 years. In Ashtottari Mahadasha the stars are ruled differently and none are assigned to Ketu. Very few books have been written on this system by other astrologer’s other than the originator.

The KP system has some following in South India. It would be better to avoid this system although it is interesting and logical in its own way.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Branches of Vedic / Hindu Astrology

Vedic astrology (Aagam Shaastra / Jyotisha- futurity sciences) has three main branches or Skandas:

Siddhanta or Ganita Skanda (Astronomy): Astronomy & its application to astrology.

Samhita Skanda (Mundane astrology): Covers Mundane astrology, predicting important events related to countries such as war, earth quakes, economic cycles, political events, astro - meteorology, financial positions, electional astrology; house & construction related matters (Vaastu Shaastra), animals, portents & omens etc.

Hora Skandha : Predictive astrology, which is interpretation of horoscopes:

This branch has the following different sub sets or branches:-

Jaatak Shaastra / Hora Shaastra (Natal Astrology / horoscopy): Prediction based on individual horoscope.

Muhurtha (Electional astrology): Selection of beneficial time to initiate an activity to get maximum fruition from the life activities. Actions tend to produce results accoreding to the planetary configurations under which they are initiated. One muhurta is 48 minutes.

Swar Shaastra (Phonetical astrology): Predictions based on name & sounds.

Prashna (Horary astrology): Predictions based on time when a question is asked by querent / querist. Almost all questions are answerable from a horoscope calculated at the time of the question. A few famous classical works in this genre are Varahamihira’s Daivajna Vallabha, the Shatpanchasika of Prithyshas (Varahamihira’s son), Prashna Marga which is a complex work authored by an unknown jyotishi and Neeelakantha’s Prashna Tantra.

Nimitta: It is the interpretation of omens. This requires ones intuitions to be in full flow. It is very difficult to do this without direct instruction from a skilled ominologist. This is learnt only by oral tradition.

Ankjyotisha / Kabala (Numerology): A branch of astrology based on numbers.

Nastjaatakam (Lost Horoscopy): Art of tracing / construction of lost horoscopes.

StreeJaatak (female astrology): A special branch of astrology dealing with female nativities.

It is said that one conversant with all the above branches will never err in preditions. An almost impossible feat to achieve! Such an astrologer is a true daivajna (knower of Gods intention).

In our next post let's look at the styles of Jyotish.

The Origins of Jyotish or Vedic Astrology

The beginnings of Jyotish or Vedic astrology are indeed lost in time. It is a science and art whose origins are difficult to fathom. It is estimated that Jyotish; or the science if light is at least 4000-5000 years old. The roots of Jyotish can be traced to what is the present day India. It is thought of to be a divine science passed on by Sages of the past orally. These Sages were Micro Gods who understood the secrets of the cosmos, of time and of light. In the first chapter of the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra (BPHS) which is one of the classics of Jyotish, Maharishi Parashara says that Jyotisha was taught by Brahma to Narada, who passed on the knowledge to Shaunaka. Parashara heard this from Shaunaka and then passed on the knowledge to Maitreya; his disciple. Maitreya; for the first time put it down in the form of a book called the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra. BPHS is a masterpiece; a classic and a treasure trove of the vast ocean of Indian Astrology or Vedic Astrology. Sage Parashara was the father of Sage Vyasa. Maharishi Vyasa was the one who compiled the Vedas. Parashara was the grandson of Sage Vasishta and son of Sage Shaktya.

Jyotisha is the Hindu system of astrology and one of the six limbs of the Veda and regarded as one of the oldest schools of ancient astrology to have had an independent origin. Vedas are sacred books of the Aryan people. The Vedas were fully comprehensible only to the rishis. The Vedas have by and large remained unchanged for thousands of years. Jyotisha is one of parts of the Vedas and is therefore a part of the Vedanga. Jyotish deals with the planets called "grahas", and “Nakshatras” which are Fixed stars. These are which are thought to seize or act upon created beings and influence their actions and life. Hindus believe that mankind has fortune and misfortune in life because of karma; many use Jyotish to understand the vicissitudes of life due to the influence of planets. While in past centuries, Brahmins were the primary practitioners of Jyotish, since the last century, a renaissance of study of Jyotish and other Vedic sciences emerged in India and the west. The term "Vedic astrology" has been recently introduced by American and Western astrologers in the 1980s and 1990s. The purpose of Jyotish is to use it as an aid in for making important decisions in life.

Jyotish uses a total of 9 grahas or seizures. These are the Sun, Moon, the five planets and Rahu (North node of the moon) and Ketu (south node of the moon). Jyotish does not employ the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The Sun is considered the Soul of the solar system in Jyotish. The light energies coming from the Sun, Moon and the planets and the stars all influence the mental and physical planes of all beings. Jyotish uses accurate mathematical calculations to determine the positions of the planets in order to foretell the future of individuals. According to Jyotish man is a creation of the cosmos. Jyotish believes that each one has a unique planetary combination. This unique combination depends on the exact time, place and date of birth.

In my short experience Jyotish is a reliable model of the human experience. There is nothing that can come close to Jyotish in delineating the life path of an individual in advance. The power of vedic astrology lies in its predictive ability; for which there is no equal. Jyotish is a universally applicable model and can easily adapt to any environment; eastern or western; provided its general principles are properly understood. Jyotish takes years of study, discipline & experience to completely master it and use its full potential. It is said that Jyotish is the Jyotir Vidya (the lore of light), a vidya that can be had only from jyotishis.

Long Live the Divine Science of Jyotish!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

About Myself

A mid 30's banker based in Dubai - A place that is going berserk with rapid development! I've been in this part of the world for a while now.

With blogging becoming the new fad for self expression, I decided; like the millions to jump into the fray.....

Keep checking my posts. Shall try to make 'em as interesting as can be. And please do keep your comments on my posts coming.

Best regards...
Vinay Kumar