Astrology

Hindu astrology (also known as Indian astrology, more recently Vedic astrology Kannada: ವೇದ ಜ್ಯೋತಿಶಾಸ್ರ), also Jyotish or Jyotisha, from Sanskrit jyotiṣa, from jyótis- “light, heavenly body”) is the ancient Indian system of astronomy and astrology. It has three branches:[citation needed]

The foundation of Hindu astrology is the notion of bandhu of the Vedas, (scriptures), which is the connection between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Practice relies primarily on the sidereal zodiac, which is different from the tropical zodiac used in Western (Hellenistic) astrology in that an ayanamsaadjustment is made for the gradual precession of the vernal equinox. Hindu astrology includes several nuanced sub-systems of interpretation and prediction with elements not found in Hellenistic astrology, such as its system of lunar mansions (nakshatras).

Astrology remains an important facet in the lives of many Hindus. In Hindu culture, newborns are traditionally named based on their jyotish charts, and astrological concepts are pervasive in the organization of the calendar and holidays as well as in many areas of life, such as in making decisions made about marriage, opening a new business, and moving into a new home. To some extent, astrology even manages to retain a position among the sciences in modernIndia.[1] Following a controversial judgement of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2001, some Indian universities even offer advanced degrees in astrology.

English name

Hindu astrology had been in use as the English equivalent of Jyotisha since the early 19th century. Vedic astrology is a relatively recent term, entering common usage in the 1980s withself-help publications on Ayurveda or Yoga. The qualifier “Vedic” is however a something of a misnomer,[3][4][5] as there is no mention of Jyotisha in the Vedas, and historical documentation suggests horoscopic astrology in the Indian subcontinent was a Hellenic influence post-dating the Vedic period.[6]

History

The term jyotiṣa in the sense of one of the Vedanga, the six auxiliary disciplines of Vedic religion, is used in the Mundaka Upanishad and thus likely dates to Mauryan times. TheVedanga Jyotisha redacted by Lagadha dates to the Mauryan period, with rules for tracking the motions of the sun and the moon.

The documented history of Hindu astrology begins with the interaction of Indian and Hellenistic cultures in the Indo-Greek period. The oldest surviving treatises, such as the Yavanajatakaor the Brihat-Samhita, date to the early centuries CE. The Yavanajataka (“Sayings of the Greeks”) was translated from Greek to Sanskrit by Yavanesvara during the 2nd century CE, under the patronage of the Western Satrap Saka king Rudradaman I, and is considered the first Indian astrological treatise in the Sanskrit language.[7]

The first named authors writing treatises on astronomy are from the 5th century CE, the date when the classical period of Indian astronomy can be said to begin. Besides the theories ofAryabhata in the Aryabhatiya and the lost Arya-siddhānta, there is the Pancha-Siddhāntika of Varahamihira.

The main texts upon which classical Indian astrology is based are early medieval compilations, notably the Bṛhat Parāśara Horāśāstra, and Sārāvalī by Kalyāṇavarman. TheHorashastra is a composite work of 71 chapters, of which the first part (chapters 1–51) dates to the 7th to early 8th centuries and the second part (chapters 52–71) to the later 8th century. The Sārāvalī likewise dates to around 800 CE.[8] English translations of these texts were published by N.N. Krishna Rau and V.B. Choudhari in 1963 and 1961, respectively. Historically, the study of astrology in India was an important factor in the development of astronomy in the Early Middle Ages.Ganaka is a caste in Kerala, India famous for doing traditional Hindu or vedic astrology as there traditional career.

Vargas

There are sixteen varga (Sanskrit: varga, ‘part, division’), or divisional, charts used in Hindu astrology:[9]

Varga Divisor Chart Purpose
Rasi 1 D-1 Natal chart
Hora 2 D-2 Overall wealth
Drekkana 3 D-3 Siblings
Chaturtamsha 4 D-4 Properties
Trimshamsha 5 D-5 Morals, ethics, spiritual values
Saptamsha 7 D-7 Children
Navamsha 9 D-9 Spouse, Etc.
Dashamsha 10 D-10 Earning Career
Dwadashamsha 12 D-12 Parents, Grandparents
Shodhashamsha 16 D-16 Vehicles
Vimshamsha 20 D-20 Upasana-s, Sādhana-s
Chaturvimsha 24 D-24 Education (higher)
Saptavimshamsha 27 D-27 Vitality
Khavedamsha 40 D-40 Quality of life
Akshavedamsha 45 D-45 (From here on out,the birth time must be absolutely precise or the divisional chart is incorrect!!)
Shastiamsha 60 D-60 Used to differentiate between twins, etc., etc.

Chart styles

There are three chart styles used in Jyotiṣa, two of which are depicted below:

Grahas – the planets

Graha (Devanagari: ग्रह, Sanskritgraha, ‘seizing, laying hold of, holding’.)[10]

Nine grahas, or navagrahas, are used:[11]

Sanskrit Name English Name Abbreviation Gender Guna
Surya (सूर्य) Sun Sy or Su M Sattva
Chandra (चंद्र) Moon Ch or Mo F Sattva
Mangala (मंगल) Mars Ma M Tamas
Budha (बुध) Mercury Bu or Me N Rajas
Brihaspati (बृहस्पति) Jupiter Gu or Ju M Sattva
Shukra (शुक्र) Venus Sk or Ve F Rajas
Shani (शनि) Saturn Sa M Tamas
Rahu (राहु) North Lunar Node Ra M Tamas
Ketu (केतु) South Lunar Node Ke M Tamas

Planets in maximum exaltation, mooltrikona (own sign), and debilitation, are:[12]

Graha Exaltation Mooltrikona Debilitation Sign Rulership
Sun 10° Aries 4°-20° Leo 10° Libra Leo
Moon 3° Taurus 4°-20° Cancer 3° Scorpio Cancer
Mars 28° Capricorn 0°-12° Aries 28° Cancer Aries, Scorpio
Mercury 15° Virgo 16°-20° Virgo 15° Pisces Gemini, Virgo
Jupiter 5° Cancer 0°-10° Sagittarius 5° Capricorn Sagittarius, Pisces
Venus 27° Pisces 0°-15° Libra 27° Virgo Taurus, Libra
Saturn 20° Libra 0°-20° Aquarius 20° Aries Capricorn, Aquarius

Rahu and Ketu are exalted in Taurus/Scorpio and are also exalted in Gemini and Virgo.

The natural planetary relationships are:[13]

Graha Friends Neutral Enemies
Sun Moon, Mars, Jupiter Mercury Venus, Saturn
Moon Sun, Mercury Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn Mercury, Venus, Saturn
Mars Sun, Moon, Jupiter Venus,Saturn Mercury
Mercury Sun, Venus Mars, Jupiter, Saturn Moon
Jupiter Sun, Moon, Mars Saturn Mercury, Venus
Venus Mercury, Saturn Mars, Jupiter Sun, Moon
Saturn Venus, Mercury Jupiter Sun, Moon, Mars
RahuKetu Mercury, Venus, Saturn Mars Sun, Moon, Jupiter

Rāśi – the zodiac signs

The sidereal zodiac is an imaginary belt of 360 degrees (like the tropical zodiac), divided into 12 equal parts. Each twelfth part (of 30 degrees) is called a sign or rāśi (Sanskritrāśi, ‘part’). Jyotiṣa and Western zodiacs differ in the method of measurement. While synchronically, the two systems are identical, Jyotiṣa uses primarily the sidereal zodiac (in which stars are considered to be the fixed background against which the motion of the planets is measured), whereas most Western astrology uses the tropical zodiac (the motion of the planets is measured against the position of the Sun on the Spring equinox). This difference becomes noticeable over time. After two millennia, as a result of the precession of the equinoxes, the origin of the ecliptic longitude has shifted by about 22 degrees. As a result the placement of planets in the Jyotiṣa system is consistent with the actual zodiac, while in western astrology the planets fall into the following sign, as compared to their placement in the sidereal zodiac, about two thirds of the time.

Number Sanskrit Name Western/Greek Name Tattva (Element) Quality Ruling Planet
1 Meṣa (मेष) “ram” Aries (Κριός ”ram”) Tejas (Fire) Cara (Movable) Mars
2 Vṛṣabha (वृषभ) “bull” Taurus (Ταῦρος ”bull”) Prithivi (Earth) Sthira (Fixed) Venus
3 Mithuna (मिथुन) “twins” Gemini (Δίδυμοι ”twins”) Vayu (Air) Dvisvabhava (Dual) Mercury
4 Karkaṭa (कर्कट) “crab” Cancer (Καρκίνος ”crab”) Jala (Water) Cara (Movable) Moon
5 Siṃha (सिंह) “lion” Leo (Λέων ”lion”) Tejas (Fire) Sthira (Fixed) Sun
6 Kanyā (कन्या) “girl” Virgo (Παρθένος ”virgin”) Prithivi (Earth) Dvisvabhava (Dual) Mercury
7 Tulā (तुला) “balance” Libra (Ζυγός ”balance”) Vayu (Air) Cara (Movable) Venus
8 Vṛścika (वृश्चिक) “scorpion” Scorpio (Σκoρπιός ”scorpion”) Jala (Water) Sthira (Fixed) Mars
9 Dhanus (धनुष) “bow” Sagittarius (Τοξότης ”archer”) Tejas (Fire) Dvisvabhava (Dual) Jupiter
10 Makara (मकर) “sea-monster” Capricorn (Αἰγόκερως ”goat-horned”) Prithivi (Earth) Cara (Movable) Saturn
11 Kumbha (कुम्भ) “pitcher” Aquarius (Ὑδροχόος ”water-pourer”) Vayu (Air) Sthira (Fixed) Saturn
12 Mīna (मीन) “fish” Pisces (Ἰχθεῖς ”fish”) Jala (Water) Dvisvabhava (Dual) Jupiter

The zodiac signs in Hindu astrology correspond to parts of the body:[14]

Sign Part of Body
Meṣa (Aries) head
Vṛṣabha (Taurus) mouth
Mithuna (Gemini) arms
Karka (Cancer) two sides
Siṃha (Leo) heart
Kanyā (Virgo) digestive system
Tula (Libra) umbilical area
Vṛścika (Scorpio) generative organs
Dhanus (Sagittarius) thighs
Makara (Capricorn) knees
Kumbha (Aquarius) Lower part of legs
Mīna (Pisces) feet

Bhāvas – the houses

Bhāva (Sanskritbhāva, ‘division’.) In Hindu astrology, the natal chart is the bhava chakra (Sanskritchakra, ‘wheel’.) The bhava chakra is the complete 360° circle of life, divided into houses, and represents our way of enacting the influences in the wheel. Each house has associated karaka (Sanskritkaraka, ‘significator’) planets that can alter the interpretation of a particular house.[15]

House Name Karakas Meanings
1 Lagna Sun outer personality, physique, health/well-being, hair, appearance
2 Dhana Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Moon wealth, family relationships, eating habits, speech, eyesight, death
3 Sahaja Mars natural state, innate temperament, courage, valor, virility, younger siblings
4 Sukha Moon inner life, emotions, home, property, education, mother
5 Putra Jupiter creativity, children, spiritual practices, punya
6 Ari Mars, Saturn acute illness, injury, openly known enemies, litigation, daily work, foreigners, service
7 Yuvati Venus, Jupiter business and personal relationships, marriage, spouse, war, fighting
8 Randhara Saturn length of life, physical death, mokṣa, chronic illness, deep and ancient traditions
9 Dharma Jupiter, Sun luck, fortune, spirituality, dharmaguru, father
10 Karma Mercury, Jupiter, Sun, Saturn dream fulfillment, knees and spine, current karmas, career, sky themes (being 12am/mid heavens
11 Labha Jupiter gains, profits from work, ability to earn money, social contexts and organizations
12 Vyaya Saturn loss, intuition, imprisonment, feet, foreign travel, moksha

Nakshatras

nakshatra or lunar mansion is one of the 27 divisions of the sky, identified by the prominent star(s) in them, used in Hindu astrology.[16]

Historical (medieval) Hindu astrology had various systems of enumerating either 27 or 28 nakshatras. Today, popular usage[clarification needed] favours a rigid system of 27 nakshatras covering 13°20’ of the ecliptic each. Each nakshatra is divided into quarters or padas of 3°20’:

# Name Location Ruler Pada 1 Pada 2 Pada 3 Pada 4
1 Ashvinī (अश्विनी) 0 – 13°20′ Aries Ketu चु Chu चे Che चो Cho ला La
2 Bharanī (भरणी) 13°20′ – 26°40′ Aries Venus ली Li लू Lu ले Le पो Lo
3 Krittikā (कृत्तिका) 26°40′ Aries – 10°00′ Taurus Sun अ A ई I उ U ए E
4 Rohini (रोहिणी) 10°00′ – 23°20′ Taurus Moon ओ O वा Va/Ba वी Vi/Bi वु Vu/Bu
5 Mrigashīrsha (म्रृगशीर्षा) 23°20′ Taurus – 6°40′ Gemini Mars वे Ve/Be वो Vo/Bo का Ka की Ke
6 Ārdrā (आर्द्रा) 6°40′ – 20°00′ Gemini Rahu कु Ku घ Gha ङ Ng/Na छ Chha
7 Punarvasu (पुनर्वसु) 20°00′ Gemini – 3°20′ Cancer Jupiter के Ke को Ko हा Ha ही Hi
8 Pushya (पुष्य) 3°20′ – 16°20′ Cancer Saturn हु Hu हे He हो Ho ड Da
9 Āshleshā (आश्लेषा) 16°40′ Cancer – 0°00′ Leo Mercury डी Di डू Du डे De डो Do
10 Maghā (मघा) 0°00′ – 13°20′ Leo Ketu मा Ma मी Mi मू Mu मे Me
11 Pūrva or Pūrva Phalgunī (पूर्व फाल्गुनी) 13°20′ – 26°40′ Leo Venus नो Mo टा Ta टी Ti टू Tu
12 Uttara or Uttara Phalgunī (उत्तर फाल्गुनी) 26°40′ Leo – 10°00′ Virgo Sun टे Te टो To पा Pa पी Pi
13 Hasta (हस्त) 10°00′ – 23°20′ Virgo Moon पू Pu ष Sha ण Na ठ Tha
14 Chitrā (चित्रा) 23°20′ Virgo – 6°40′ Libra Mars पे Pe पो Po रा Ra री Ri
15 Svātī (स्वाती) 6°40′ – 20°00 Libra Rahu रू Ru रे Re रो Ro ता Ta
16 Vishākhā (विशाखा) 20°00′ Libra – 3°20′ Scorpio Jupiter ती Ti तू Tu ते Te तो To
17 Anurādhā (अनुराधा) 3°20′ – 16°40′ Scorpio Saturn ना Na नी Ni नू Nu ने Ne
18 Jyeshtha (ज्येष्ठा) 16°40′ Scorpio – 0°00′ Sagittarius Mercury नो No या Ya यी Yi यू Yu
19 Mūla (मूल) 0°00′ – 13°20′ Sagittarius Ketu ये Ye यो Yo भा Bha भी Bhi
20 Pūrva Ashādhā (पूर्वाषाढ़ा) 13°20′ – 26°40′ Sagittarius Venus भू Bhu धा Dha फा Bha/Pha ढा Dha
21 Uttara Ashādhā (उत्तराषाढ़ा) 26°40′ Sagittarius – 10°00′ Capricorn Sun भे Bhe भो Bho जा Ja जी Ji
22 Shravana (श्रवण) 10°00′ – 23°20′ Capricorn Moon खी Ju/Khi खू Je/Khu खे Jo/Khe खो Gha/Kho
23 Shravishthā (धनिष्ठा) or Dhanistā 23°20′ Capricorn – 6°40′ Aquarius Mars गा Ga गी Gi गु Gu गे Ge
24 Shatabhishā (शतभिषा)or Shatataraka 6°40′ – 20°00′ Aquarius Rahu गो Go सा Sa सी Si सू Su
25 Pūrva Bhādrapadā (पूर्वभाद्रपदा) 20°00′ Aquarius – 3°20′ Pisces Jupiter से Se सो So दा Da दी Di
26 Uttara Bhādrapadā (उत्तरभाद्रपदा) 3°20′ – 16°40′ Pisces Saturn दू Du थ Tha झ Jha ञ Da/Tra
27 Revatī (रेवती) 16°40′ – 30°00′ Pisces Mercury दे De दो Do च Cha ची Chi

Daśā-s – the planetary periods

Dasha (Devanagari: दशा, Sanskrit,daśā, ‘planetary period’.) The dasha system shows which planets will be ruling at particular times in Hindu astrology. There are several dasha systems; however, the primary system used by astrologers is the Vimshottari dasha system. The first maha dasha is determined by the position of the natal Moon. Each maha dasha is divided into subperiods called bhuktis. Vimshottari dasha lengths are:[17]

Maha Dasha Length Bhuktis
Ketu 7 Years Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury
Venus 20 Years Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu
Sun 6 Years Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus
Moon 10 Years Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus, Sun
Mars 7 Years Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon
Rahu 18 Years Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars
Jupiter 16 Years Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu
Saturn 19 Years Saturn, Mercury, Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter
Mercury 17 Years Mercury, Ketu, Venus, Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu, Jupiter, Saturn

Drishtis – the planetary aspects

Drishti (Sanskritdrishti, ‘sight’.) In Hindu astrology, the aspect is to an entire sign, and grahas only cast forward aspects:[18]

Graha Houses
Sun 7th
Moon 7th
Mercury 7th
Venus 7th
Mars 4th, 7th, 8th
Jupiter 5th, 7th, 9th
Saturn 3rd, 7th, 10th
Rahu 5th,7th,9th
Ketu No aspect

Gocharas – the transits

Gochara (Sanskritgochara, ‘transit’.) In Hindu astrology, a natal chart shows the actual positions of the grahas at the moment of birth. Since that moment, the grahas have continued to move around the zodiac, interacting with the natal chart grahas. This period of interaction is called gochara.[19]

Yogas – the planetary combinations

Yoga (Sanskrityoga, ‘union’.) In Hindu astrology, yogas are planetary combinations placed in specific relationships to each other.[20]

Kalasarpa Yoga is a dangerous yoga. If all planets (excepting Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) are 1-side of Rahu & Ketu, it becomes Kala-Sarpa Yoga.

Dig bala – the directional strength

Dig bala (Sanskritdig bala, ‘directional strength’.) Graha-s gain strength when they are placed in specific cardinal houses:[21]

House Grahas Direction
1st Jupiter, Mercury East
4th Venus, Moon North
7th Saturn West
10th Sun, Mars South

Horoscopy

Lagna – the ascendant

Lagna (Sanskritlagna, ‘ascendant’.) Lagna is the first moment of contact between the soul and its new life on earth in Hindu astrology.[22]

Atmakaraka – the soul significator

Atmakaraka (Sanskritatmakaraka, from atma, ‘soul’, and karaka, ‘significator’ .) Atmakaraka is the significator of the soul’s desire in Hindu astrology.[23]

Gandanta – the karmic knot

Gandanta (Sanskritgandanta, from gand, ‘knot’, and anta, ‘end’.) Gandanta is a spiritual or karmic knot in Hindu astrology. Gandanta describes the junction points in the natal chart where the solar and lunar zodiacs meet, and are directly associated with times of soul growth.[24]

Ayanamsa – the zodiac conversion

Ayanamsa (Sanskritayanāṃsa, from ayana, ‘movement’, and aṃsa, ‘component’) is the longitudinal difference between the Tropical (Sayana) and Sidereal (Nirayana) zodiacs.[25]

Moudhya – the combustion

Moudhya (Sanskritmoudhya, ‘combustion’) is a planet that is in conjunction with the Sun. The degrees the planets are considered combust are:[26]

Graha Degree
Moon 12
Mercury 13
Venus 9
Mars 17
Jupiter 11
Saturn 15

Saade saati – the critical transit

Saade saati, the transit of Saturn over the natal Moon, is the most important transit in a birth chart and takes approximately 7.5 years to complete. The transit begins when Saturn enters the house before the Moon, and ends when Saturn departs the house after the Moon. The most intense phase is when Saturn is 2–3° on either side of the Moon. The beginning of the transit will give an indication of the issues to be addressed. Saade saati results in a complete transformation, usually with a change in career or life direction.[27]

Panchangam

Panchanga (Sanskritpañcāṅga, from panch, ‘five’ and anga, ‘limbs’.) The panchanga is a Hindu astrological almanac that follows traditional Indian cosmology, and presents important astronomical data in tabulated form. Panchanga means five limbs, or five lights that influence every day.[28]

In modern India

David Pingree notes that astrology and traditional medicine are the two traditional sciences that have survived best in modern India, although both have been much transformed by their western counterparts.[29]

Astrology remains an important facet of Hindu folk belief in contemporary India. Many Hindus believe that heavenly bodies, including the planets, have an influence throughout the life of a human being, and these planetary influences are the “fruit of karma.”[30] The Navagraha, planetary deities, are considered subordinate to Ishvara, i.e., the Supreme Being) in Hindu belief assist in the administration of justice.[31] Thus, these planets can influence earthly life.[32]

Controversy

In the early 2000s, under the Bharatiya Janata Party led government, astrology became a topic of political contention between the religious right and academic establishment, comparable to the “Creation science” debate in US education.

The University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government decided to introduce “Jyotir Vigyan” (i.e. jyotir vijñāna) or “Vedic astrology” as a discipline of study in Indian universities, backed up by a decision by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, despite widespread protests from the scientific community in India and Indian scientists working abroad.[33] In September of the same year, the Supreme Court of India issued a notice to the Ministry of Human Resource Development in reaction to a petition, stating that the introduction of astrology to university curricula is “a giant leap backwards, undermining whatever scientific credibility the country has achieved so far”.[34]

In 2004, the Supreme Court dismissed a further petition, judging that the teaching of astrology does not qualify as promotion of religion