Thursday, October 26, 2006

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!!

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