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Hindu Vedic Astrology

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To understand the meaning of Vedic Astrology we first need to understand what Veda's are.
Encarta® Concise Encyclopedia defines Veda (Sanskrit for "knowledge") are Hindu sacred text and are any or all of the collections of Aryan hymns, originally transmitted orally but written down in sacred books from the 6th century B.C. The most ancient sacred literature of Hinduism, or individual books belonging to that literature. This body of ancient literature consists primarily of four collections of hymns, detached poetical portions, and ceremonial formulas. The collections are called

the Rig-Veda,
the Sama-Veda,
the Yajur-Veda, and
the Atharva-Veda.

They are known also as the Samhitas (roughly "collection").So it is an undisputed fact that Veda's are several thousand years old. Since they were earlier passed on by word of mouth, till 6th centure B.C (as mentioned in the Encarta® Concise Encyclopedia), the exact age of the Veda's is hard to determine.

Jyotish (Astrology) is one of the 6 limbs of Vedas. Naturally the qyestion then crops up what was so special during the Vedic period that Jyotish (Astrology) found a place in the Vedas as one of the 6 limbs of Vedas. In brief and easy terms, the Saints and Sages (Rishis and Munis) had knowledge of theNakshatras (constellation) and planets. Learned scholars of the time knew in great detail about eclipse of Sun and moon, the starting point of Uttarayana and Daksinayana (Summer and Winter solcite). The learned scholars fixed the exact time fo the six seasons, which still are prevalent in India.

In simple words, ever important helpful and harmful events of future, were judged, decided and predicted on the basis of the Nakshatras (constellations) vis-a-vis the seven planets crossing over these constellations, by forward and retrograde (except Sun and Moon which are always in forward motion) motions of the planets with influence to Solar and Lunar Eclipses.

This is the ancient science of Jyotish (astrology), which is now called the Vedic Astrology.

Vedic Astrology is firstly different than Western Astrology in that Vedic Astrologers use a different Zodiac. There are two Zodiacs, called the Tropical Zodiac and the Sidereal Zodiac. While Western Astrology uses the Spring Equinox as the fixed point of Aries, in the month of March, to start the Tropical Zodiac; Vedic Astrology uses the actual precessed constellation point of Aries, currently in the month of April, to start the Sidereal Zodiac. The difference between the two Zodiacs is currently 22 to 24 degrees. So, if you were born up to 22 to 24 degrees into a particular sign in the Tropical Zodiac, say the sign of Aries, you will now become recognized by the previous sign, in this case Pisces. In this manner all the planets in your astrological chart will move backward into the previous degrees of the same or earlier sign.

This major difference between the two systems shocks many new and old comers to astrology alike. They often ask: How can there be two Zodiacs? Which one is correct? The answer, of course, depends on our perspective. Relative to your point in the universe, the world reveals itself to you. For instance, viewed from the earth the heavens have a particular order and appear to be moving through zodiacal signs that are very different than if viewed from the Sun. This is the difference between geocentric astrology, from the Greek words meaning earth-centered, and heliocentric astrology, from the Greek words meaning Sun-centered. Your vantage point can be said to determine your perceptual reality. This is true also of the two Zodiacs, depending on the vantage point of the seasonal equinoxes, or the vantage point of the fixed stars. Reality is indeed a relative construct that can best be described in the adage: What you see is what you get! It all depends on your vantage point.

Another vantage point that Vedic Astrology has, is the cosmological, spiritual viewpoint of the ancient Hindu, or Vedic culture. The sacred writings of ancient India are embodied in the Vedas, Brahmanas, Puranas and Upannishads. Their spiritual and philosophical precepts are deeply ingrained in the concepts of Jyotish. The value system of ancient India is part and parcel of Vedic astrology. It is very different in its vaules and conceptual view of life than our modern western cultural viewpoint. For example, the four pursuits of life, as outlined in the ancient,sacred writings are: Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. The Sanskrit word Dharma, means our purpose in life. The word Artha, reflects our attitude toward the accumulation of money and resources. The word Kama, reflects the desires of the individual. Lastly, the word Moksha, reflects the desire of every soul to enlighten itself from the confinement of this world. These pursuits are qualified and reflected upon in reading the Vedic astrological chart. Frameworks, such as this, and the Hindu concept of Karma, the influence of past actions, lend a different perspective to a Vedic astrology reading, that is not to be found in current western practice.

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