Veda, Vedic Astrology and Modern Science
I . Veda and its relation with Vedic Astrology:
1. Veda means knowledge. The word comes from the Sanskrit language and is derived from the verb root, vid, ‘to know’.
2. There are four Vedas – namely the Rig-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sama-Veda, and Atharva-Veda – all are emanations from the breathing of Brahma, the Creator of universe – one of the Trinity Gods.
3. The Upanishads – also belong to the Vedas, in fact, they are taken to be the actual explanations of the Vedas. Each Veda has a set of Upanishads associated with it.
4. The Puranas are traditionally called the ‘Fifth Veda’ and this too will be established by authoritative quotes from the Vedic literature.
5. Each Veda has two distinct portions, known as Mantra and Brahman. The mantra section contains hymns to the fire, the sun, the air, the sky and the wind or to the respective deities who personify these elements. The Brahman section contains descriptions of the rituals and ceremonies in which the mantras were supposed to be used.
II . Vedas – oldest knowledge:
Vedic literature provides us with more original ancient teachings than what we have from all the rest of the world put together. Even by the most conservative estimates the four Vedas date around 5000 BC. (Ancient Greek the works of Homer (c. 700 BC); in the Middle East, the oldest books are the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament are much older, as a whole redone after 500 BC; The Gathas of Zoroaster are also old, dating from before the founding of the ancient Persian empire (525 BC); in China the oldest book is the I Ching, though only its core portions date to 1000 BC or earlier; the Egyptian Book of the Dead is much older than these (to 3000 BC), no living tradition or record of its interpretation has survived for us.)
III . Vedas and Astronomy:
The Rig-Veda contains astronomical references that are based on knowledge of the phenomenon of precession. The Vedic culture expressed through the Rig-Veda employed sidereal time. Thus the points of vernal equinox or winter solstice would be mentioned as having occurred or occurring in particular lunar constellations, called nakshatras.
IV. Vedanga –Limbs of Veda:
1. Besides the scriptures mentioned above there are also the six Vedangas, literally ‘limbs of the Vedas’. These are auxiliary works, the study of which is considered to be essential for the proper understanding of the Vedas. These six limbs are:
Ø Siksa- the science of pronunciation;
ØKalpa- the process of performing sacrifice;
Ø Vyakarana- the rules of grammar;
ØNirukta- the meanings and derivations of difficult words used in the Vedas;
Ø Jyotisha- astronomy and astrology; and
ØChhandas- Vedic meters.
2 . Each of these limbs is extensive and requires serious study.
V. Vedic Astrology & Guru-parampara: Astrology as part of the Vedic literature has been preserved and handed down in the guru-parampara, the chain of apostolic succession, since time immemorial. Vedic Astrology is the original form of astrology that existed thousands of years ago in what is now known as the Indian subcontinent. It gradually spread by diffusion into other cultures such as the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Chinese, etc.
VI . Vedic Astrology and Vedic Astrologer:
1. The Vedas are the oldest scriptures known to exist, being well over 5,000 years old. The vast ocean of Vedic knowledge encompasses both material and spiritual knowledge. Vedic Astrology, being an appendix to the Vedas, is thoroughly steeped in Vedic thought and philosophy. This means that the practitioner of the science must have earnestly assimilated the Vedic philosophy and lived the life of a Vedic Brahman, with all its attendant spiritual practices. 2 . The combined effect of genuine philosophical knowledge coupled with an authentic spiritual lifestyle cannot be overestimated when it comes to developing the divine vision and ability, that is so necessary for enabling an astrologer to properly guide others. Thus it is by divine grace that one is able to take up Vedic astrology. In order to obtain divine grace and vision consultations should starts with an invocation to Lord Ganesha (or any other Divinity as per faith and belief of the astrologer) – propitiation of which is done before any auspicious act.
VII. Theory of Karma:
1. Sanchit (accumulated karma of all previous lives),
2. Prarabdha (given fate in this life as reflected in the horoscope and
3. Kriyamaan (free will in the hand of native) is built within the Vedic Astrology. One can improve adverse aspect of fate or negate good fate by his Kriyamaan – Free will. Consultations include advice on Kriyamaan-free will to deal with life problems and ward off malefic influences in the horoscope.
VIII . Philosophy of cycle of Birth & Re-birth: Philosophy of cycle of Birth & Re-birth is built-in the above Theory of Karma.
IX. Subdivisions of Vedic Astrology: There are three main sub-divisions of astrology:
1. Samhita: This deals with collectivity or multitudes. It encompasses such varied areas as weather forecasts, agricultural produce, natural disasters, floods, famines, ward, earthquakes, cyclones, market trends, changes in government, national and international events, and virtually anything that influences the masses.
2. Siddhanta or Tantra or Ganita: This deals with the mathematical aspects of astrology. This includes knowledge of astronomy and calculation of latitudes, longitudes or planets ascendant, houses etc. A proficiency in mathematical aspect of astrology is considered as a prerequisite for a good astrologer.
3. Hora: It deals with:
Ø Individual horoscopes or Jataka, or natal charts.
Ø Muhurta or electional astrology, which concerns itself with the election of favorable planetary dispositions to achieve specific accomplishments in day-to-day life.
X . Astronomical Basis of Vedic Astrology Vedic astrologers follow a rational procedure based on the following factors: 1. The solar system: Our solar system is centered around the Sun. Nine planets viz. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus (or Herschel), Neptune and Pluto along with a belt of asteroids revolve in elliptical orbits around the Sun. In Vedic astrology, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto find no place. On the other hard, the classics recognize the Moon and the two shadowy points known as Rahu and Ketu, which are the Moon’s nodes as equivalent to planets. They are not physical bodies but are mathematically calculated sensitive points of intersection of the orbits of the Moon and the Sun. The planets Mercury and Venus orbit in the vicinity of sun.
2. Zodiac: The Sun’s annual path is known as ecliptic. The belt of Heavens extending 8 degrees on either side of he ecliptic is known as the Zodiac. In this belt the Moon and the planets appear to move. The Zodiac is divided into twelve equal parts of 30 degrees each, which are called the Signs, or the Rashis of the Zodiac. These have been named as Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. A planet rules each sign. Different signs have different characteristics, which play an important role in the delineation of astrological charts.
3. Stars or Nakshatra: The entire zodiac has been divided into 27 equal parts of 13 degrees and 20 minutes each known as Nakshatra or asterism or a constellation (Moon mansion). Every constellation has been assigned a planetary ruler. 4. Time: The various measures of the time are local mean time, standard time for any country or Zone and the Greenwich Mean Time. There is another system/ measure of time known as Sidereal Time. The Sidereal time is zero hour when the beginning of Aries (in Sayana system) crosses the observer’s meridian.
5. In astrology, the first hours is reckoned from Lagna point. The Lagna or the ascendant is the rising sign in the eastern horizon at a particular epoch. It is the point intersection of the ecliptic at a given time with the horizon of a place. The Lagna is dependent on the rotation of the Earth on its axis and so it is dependent on the Sidereal Time of a place at a given moment or epoch.
6. The houses: There are 12 houses. The sign where the Lagna point falls is known as the first house or Lagna. The next sign is second house, next the third and so on. In Vedic system the sign and the house are deemed synonymous. Zodiac is constantly moving and all the 12 signs get an opportunity to become Lagna in the 24 hours comprising a day. Janama Rashi (birth sign) means the sign-containing Moon at the time of birth and this sign is called Chandra Lagna (Moon ascendant) and is as important as the Lagna itself.
7. Aspects: An aspect means a certain distance between two planets or zodiacal positions, at which these exert some influence over each other.
8. Ayanamsha: The projections the earth’s equator on the celestial sphere is known as celestial equator. When the Sun moves off celestial equator towards the north, the point where it cuts the celestial equator is called vernal equinox and the point of intersection during Sun’s motion from north to south is called autumnal equinox. Each year when Sun reaches the vernal equinox, the position of earth with respect to a fixed star known as Revati is found to be nearly 50.3 seconds of arc of space farther west than the earth was at the same equinoctial moment of the previous year. Thus the equinoxes recede back along the ecliptic. The angular distance between the first point from where the fixed zodiac commences and the vernal equinox point is known as Ayanamsha. The Hindu system of astrology observes the fixed zodiac also known as Niryana zodiac that is the first degree of Aries is reckoned from a particular star in Revati group of stars that is fixed. However, the Western system of astrology observes movable zodiac also known as Sayana, a zodiac that reckons the first degree of Aries from the vernal equinox. It is estimated that both these zodiacs coincided in the year 285 AD.
XI. Scientific Basis of Astrology:
1. Science means knowledge ascertained by observation and experiment, critically tested, systematized and brought under general principles. Astrology strictly fulfils all these criteria. Two aspects of astrology deserve a special mention:
ØThe cause and effect phenomenon: In physical sciences, there may be a gross cause or a subtle cause, producing a physically visible or gross effect. Gravitation, which is a subtle cause, produces a gross effect of attracting a physical body towards the earth. In the case of astrology, the cause is always subtle while the effect is appreciable and predictable according to rules that have been developed and refined over the centuries. The subtle cause in case of astrology is the cosmic force represented by the disposition of the various heavenly bodies or ‘planets’.
ØThe phenomenon of replication: It may be pointed out here that every correct astrological prediction, in fact, underscores the principle of replication is astrology. Since astrology is a complex science, its every known principle has to be applied carefully, considering the numerous parameters and weighing the various pros and cons. In the ancient Indian scriptures, for example, numerous astrological dicta lie hidden. Unfolded and carefully applied today, they prove their eternal applicability and give dazzling results.
2. The Vedas describe an ultimate reality, which they call Brahman. The awareness of this reality is attained through the practice of yoga and meditation. “Aham Brahmasmi” (I am Brahman) is the statement of this realization and identification, which is synonymous with the concept of nirvana. Conceptions of Brahman and nirvana are integral to the different schools of Indian and Buddhist Philosophy. However until, recently, they had not been subject to scientific scrutiny. Physicists have discovered that the various quantum fields, which underline all physical reality, arise from one common source, namely the unified field. There is an over all connection between two primary realities-the unified field and consciousness.
3. John Wheeler and Roger Penrose, the foremost theorists about space and time believe that the mysteries of consciousness and quantum physics are linked. Penrose insists that a universe whose laws do not take consciousness into account is not much of a universe. The theory that consciousness emerged as a natural consequence of the unique features of our universe has become a topic of much scientific discussion. It is called the “Anthropic Cosmological Principle.
4. In quantum physics consciousness could scarcely play a more pivotal role. No quantum phenomenon is a phenomenon until is observed in a communicable form by a conscious observer. For example, a photon exists both as a wave and as a particle, but the individual property of a wave or a particle becomes manifest only hen it is observed.
5. According to Vedic and Buddhist spiritual traditions, consciousness is not something that comes about merely though the functioning of neural connections in the brain but is a basic characteristics of all reality, a spirit pervading all manifestations. The role of the human nervous system is to provide an appropriate material structure to individualize consciousness. In other words, we are the tuners of the all-pervading field of cosmic awareness. The discoveries of modern quantum physics seem, therefore, to parallel Vedic and Buddhist conjectures about the nature of reality.
XII. Vedic Astrology and Welfare of mankind:
1. There is an intimate relationship between the movements of those ‘mysterious intelligences’ – planets in the heavens and the fortunes and misfortunes of men, rise and fall of empires, ebb and flow of human passions and the regeneration and degeneration of arts, sciences, literature and philosophy.
2. A certain subtle power, derived from nature, pervades the entire universe, and the earth we inhabit is also subject to this mysterious and subtle power is evident to all. The motions of this ethereal power alter the various elements encompassing all matter. The acts of creations (sristhi), protection (sthiti) and destruction (pralaya) are embedded in the womb of the all-powerful Time and these variations are brought about as a consequence of this subtle power.
3 . The Sun by his daily movements and the changes of seasons brings to perfection the embryo in plants and animals and brings about various changes on the earth. The Moon being nearest to the earth exercises much influence on it and as she wanes and waxes – rivers swell, the tides of the sea are ruled and the plants and animals affected. The Sun as the central figure predominates over the entire arrangement of the celestial system.
4. Thus, it invariable follows, that all bodies in nature, whether animate or inanimate, are subject to the motions of the celestial bodies. Astrologer interprets what it conceives to be the future of man as molded by his previous ‘Karma’ and indicated by the planetary positions at the time of birth.
5. The greatest men of the world believed in and practiced astrology. Dante declared it to be the highest, the noblest and without defect. Kepler, Bacon, Pythagoras and Democritus were masters in astrology. The ancient Hebrews called the astrologer ‘Asphe’ meaning ‘the mouthpiece of the star’. It is recorded that Newton was attracted to the study of mathematics and astronomy by the contemplation of an astrological figure of the heavens.
6. When one has acquired a through knowledge of the everlasting and ever changing influences of the stars, he will be able to prognosticate correctly the mental and physical qualities of any man and the fortunes and misfortunes that await his and his progress in the world thus by knowing the future correctly, man can so create an environment that: he can cope with the adverse periods of his life and alleviate the evils, indicated by the planets to a great extent. The human will is free to a certain extent and advance knowledge of the future can enable one to mitigate many evils. There is a proverb: ‘Fools obey planets while wise men control them’.
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