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Vedic Astrology

Jyotisha (or Jyotish from Sanskrit jyotisha - "light, heavenly body") is the traditional Hindu system of astrology, also known as Hindu astrology, Indian astrology, and more recently Vedic astrology. The term Hindu astrology has been in use as the English equivalent of Jyotisha since the early 19th century, whereas Vedic astrology is a relatively recent term, entering common usage in the 1980s with self-help publications on Ayurveda or Yoga. Vedanta Jyotisha is one of the earliest texts about astronomy within the Vedas. However, historical documentation shows that horoscopic astrology in the Indian subcontinent came from Hellenistic influences, post-dating the Vedic period.

Jyotisha has been divided into three main branches:

  • Siddhanta: Indian astronomy, calculating the position of the planets and other heavenly bodies. Hindu calendar (Panchanga) is created from that calculation. 'Siddhanta Siromani' and 'Surya Siddhanta' are two main books on Hindu astronomy. According to this theory, the earth is motionless and it is not considered as a planet. Seven planets (Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) revolve around the earth.
  • Samhita: Mundane astrology, predicting important events related to countries such as war, earthquakes, political events, financial positions, house and construction related matters (Vastu Sastra), animals, portents, omens, and so on. It is also concerned with the calculation of Subha Muhurta for Brata, parba and Sanskara.
  • Hora or 'Jataka': Predictive astrology where the astrologer makes predicions about future events in a person's life based on a birth chart (Janma kundali) which records the exact time of birth and the positions of the planets at the time.

Dasa’s – planetary periods

The word Dasha (Devanagari, Sanskrit, dasa, 'planetary period') means 'state of being' and therefore the Dasa governs to a large extent the state of being of a person. The Dasa system shows which planets may be said to have become particularly active during the period of the Dasa. The ruling planet (the Dasanatha or 'lord of the Dasa') eclipses the mind of the native, compelling him or her to act as per the nature of the planet.

There are several dasha systems, each with its own utility and area of application. There are Dasas of Grahas (planets) as well as Dasas of the Rasis (signs). The primary system used by astrologers is the Vimsottari Dasa system, which has been considered universally applicable in the Kaliyuga to all horoscopes.

The first Maha-Dasa is determined by the position of the natal Moon in a given Naksatra. The lord of the Naksatra governs the Dasa. Each Maha-Dasa is divided into sub-periods called bhuktis, or antar-dasas, which are proportional divisions of the maha-dasa. Further proportional sub-divisions can be made (but error margin based on accuracy of the birth-time grows exponentially). The next sub-division is called pratyantar-dasa, which can in turn be divided into sookshma-antardasa, which can in turn be divided into praana-antardasa, which can be sub-divided into deha-antardasa. Such sub-divisions also exist in all other Dasa systems, some of which have been named above.

Grahas – planets

Nine grahas (Navagrahas) are used from Graha (Devanagari, Sanskrit: graha, 'seizing, laying hold of, holding')

The Nine Planets of Vedic Astrology or Jyoti?a are the forces that capture or eclipse the mind and the decision making of the human being-thus the term 'Graha'. When the Grahas are active in their Dasas or periodicities they are particularly empowered to direct the affairs of the person or the inanimate being as the case may be. Even otherwise, Grahas are always busy capturing us in some way or other, for better or for worse.

Gocharas – transits

The natal chart shows the position 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 (Sanskrit: gochara, 'transit').

The study of transits is based not only on the transit of the Moon/ Candra, which spans roughly two days, but also the movement of the slightly faster planets such as Mercury/Budha and Venus/ Sukra. The movement of the slower planets Guru, Sani and Rahu-Ketu is always of considerable importance. Astrologers must study the transit of the Dasa lord and must also study transits from various reference points in the horoscope.

Yogas – planetary combinations

Yoga (Sanskrit: yoga, 'union') is a combination of planets placed in a specific relationship to each other.

It is usually advisable to study the underlying theme behind the Yogas rather than attempt to memorize them. Raja Yogas are givers of fame, status and authority and are formed typically by the association of the Lord of Kendras/ quadrants, when reckoned from the Lagna/ ascendant, and the Lords of the T?ko?a/ trines. The Raja Yogas are culminations of the blessings of Vi??u and Lak?mi. Some planets, such as Mars for Leo Lagna, do not need another Graha to create Rajayoga, but are capable of giving Rajayoga suo-moto due to their own lordship of the 4th Bhava and the 9th Bhava from the Lagna, the two being a Kendra and T?ko?a Bhava respectively.

Dhana Yogas are formed by the association of wealth-giving planets such as the Dhanesa or the 2nd Lord and the Labhesa or the 11th Lord from the Lagna. Dhana Yogas are also formed due to the auspicious placement of the Darapada/ A7, when reckoned from the Aru?ha Lagna (AL). The combination of the Lagnesa and the Bhagyesa also leads to wealth through the Lak?mi Yoga.

Sanyasa Yogas are formed due to the placement of four or more Grahas, excluding the Sun, in a Kendra Bhava from the Lagna.

There are some overarching Yogas in Jyoti?a such as Amavasya Do?a, Kala Sarpa Yoga-Kala Am?ta Yoga and Graha Malika Yoga that can take precedence oveYamaha yogar planetary placements in the horoscope.

Bhavas – houses

The Hindu Jataka, or Birth Chart, is the Bhava (Sanskrit: 'division') Cakra (Sanskrit: 'wheel'), 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 (Sanskrit: 'significator') planets that can alter the interpretation of a particular house. Each Bhava spans an arc of 30 degrees and therefore there are twelve Bhavas in any chart of the horoscope. These are a crucial part of any horoscopic study since the Bhavas, understood as 'state of being' personalize the Rasis/ Rashis to the native and each Rasi/ Rashi apart from indicating its true nature reveals its impact on the person based on the Bhava occupied. The best way to study the various facets of Jyotisa is to see their role in chart evaluation of actual persons and how these are construed.

Dristis – aspects

Drishti (Sanskrit: Drsti, 'sight') is an aspect to an entire house. Grahas cast only forward aspects, with the furthest aspect being considered the strongest. For example, Mars aspects the 4th, 7th, and 8th houses from its position, and its 8th house aspect is considered more powerful than its 7th aspect, which is in turn more powerful than its 4th aspect.

The principle of Dristi (aspect) was devised on the basis of the aspect of an army of planets as deity and demon in a war field. Thus the Sun, a Deity King with only one full aspect, is more powerful than the Demon King Saturn, which has three full aspects.

Aspects can be cast both by the planets (Graha Drsti) and by the signs (Rasi Drsti). Planetary aspects are a function of desire, while sign aspects are a function of awareness and cognizance.

There are some higher aspects of Graha Drs?i (planetary aspects) that are not limited to the Vise?a Drs?i or the special aspects. Rasi Drsti works based on the following formulaic structure: all movable signs aspect fixed signs except the one adjacent, and all dual and mutable signs aspect each other without exception.