Vedanga Jyotish

Vedic Astrology

In the simplest of terms, Vedic Astrology is the field of study which deals with cause and effect. It tries to identify patterns and flows in all events of life and basis those, makes forecast for what is likely to happen. The most common application of this is to use the motion of planets and astronomical phenomenon to make predictions based on a person's horoscope. However, astrology is much more vast and deals with numerous different subjects. It deals with identifying the happiness, success and growth of people living in a house (Vaastu) or the impact particular mathematical patterns can have on a person (Numerology) or how the person's body language, face and other physical features reflect the events of person's life (Physiognomy), etc.

Some of the most common applications of Vedic Astrology are
NUMEROLOGY
PRASHNA / QUERY
VAASTU
MUHURAT
COMPATIBILITY
HOROSCOPE

The Origin of Astrology

Astrology or Jyotish is a Vedanga or one of the limbs of the Vedas. The word 'Veda', coined from the root 'vid' (coming to know) means Knowledge. Almost all of the ancient knowledge developed in India over a period of thousands of years has been recorded in documents which were later compiled into the four Vedas we know of today. The Vedas thus, are the sum of all knowledge developed throughout the Indian past.

The Vedas are said to hold the ultimate wisdom of life, death and the beyond. But the Vedas themselves are too complex because of the subject they deal with. Hence, to understand the Vedas, some other fields of study had to come first knowing which would make a person qualified to read and understand the Vedas. Hence came the Vedanga or the six limbs of the Vedas which are areas one needs to qualify to be worthy of reading the Vedas.

Jyotish is the last of the six Vedanga. It is the perfection of all social and spiritual knowledge which can then be extended in a manner that it sees through the past, present and future. It is after being accomplished in the first five Vedanga that one is qualified to study Jyotish or Astrology. And it is after being accomplished in Jyotish, along with the other five Vedanga, that one becomes qualified for the study of Vedas.

Shiksha

The first of the Vedanga, Shiksha deals with the understanding of phonetics, pronunciation, alphabets, etc. Understanding these is the first step to ensure that the person reads/hears exactly what is written/spoken so as to distinguish what actually matters and what doesn't.

Chhanda

Chhanda stands for composition. There are several compositions in Sankrit and each has a particular rhythm and flow to it. Unless one is aware of construction of Chhanda, it is very easy to misunderstand what is written.

Vyakarana

Along with understanding of letters, sounds, composition and structure; the understanding of grammar is also of utmost important. It is grammar that helps understand the concept being discussed and helps understand the mood of the author/speaker.

Nirukta

In any language we often talk in metaphors, onomatopoeias, similes, proverbs and absurd examples which often don't make sense to a foreigner. Nirukta, the fourth Vedanga, is the wisdom of deciphering the context and proverbs to get to the authentic meaning.

Kalpa

Kalpa literally means 'correct'. It is the Vedanga that deals with social practice, daily life, laws, rituals, etc. that a person needs to live in a society. Kalpa deals with everything from geometry to law and intimacy to prayer.

Jyotish

Jyotish, literally meaning 'divide sight' is the field of study that deals with the past, present and future. It looks at knowledge through years and generations, beyond geography and time. It is the last of six Vedangas.

Branches of Astrology

Are there really different types of Astrology? Actually... there are NOT!

The most widely propagated misconception is that there are several different types of Astrology all through the world and even within India. However, this is not the case. It is a misconception that arises out of sheer ignorance on part of most enthusiasts in the subject.

As you would expect, each subject or field of study has several experts. Each of these has their students and each of these experts write their own texts so as to ensure that the knowledge is not lost with time. In a very similar manner, astrology too has had numerous writers who have all focused on parts of the subject of Astrology and have shared their learning on the subject. Just as you cannot say Einstein's physics is different from that of Newton or Max Planck, you cannot say that the astrological work of one author/text is different from the other. Any subject can be divided into several branches and each branch can be studied out separately. But unless they're seen together as a whole, the subject cannot be master.

Below are some of the Branches of Astrology as perceived and propagated in today's day and age which are actually part of the same broader subject and follow the same principles.

Fields of Vedic Astrology

We often think of Astrology as being limited to horoscopes, however that is far from the truth. In fact horoscope are just a very small fraction of astrology and learning horoscopes is actually learning just 1% of the entire course of astrology!
One of the major gaps in the understanding of astrology is that especially frustrating to us as astrologers because we often see people trying to decipher the result of a planet with another in their own horoscopes and then trying to find the same result in someone else's horoscope.

Astrology is a vast field of study in itself and based on all our experience in different subjects of astrology, we can say that its syllabus is probably more than any other subject on earth! What one sees in the horoscope, is just fraction of the actual expanse of astrology and it is important to know the expanse because unless you know addition, adding two numbers for one math problem is not possible. Even if you memorize the result somehow, you won't be able to add the next sum of numbers.

Astrology primarily begins with mathematics because it heavily relies on calculations. Once you're through with the math, you would need to move on to astronomy to decipher the planetary motions. It is after perfecting this, that you would be able to make sense of astronomical phenomenon that are used for predictions.

Thereafter, you would venture into the actual vastness of astrology wherein you study everything under the sun to understand how they're connected to the astrological principles. Basically if you're predicting that someone is getting married to a doctor, the predictions needs to come from your knowledge of a doctor's profession, your understanding of matrimony and human behavior.

It is only when you're through with all of this, that you can study the principles of interpreting a horoscope and apply them to a birth chart. Which basically is 1% of the syllabus and also 1% of the actual utility of astrology.