Hindu astrology is one of the six body parts of the Vedas (Vedang). It is called Jyotish (jyoti+ish) – the light of God.
Vedic Jyotish has three main branches :
Siddhanta: It deals with the mathematical aspect of astrology and its application. There are five important treatises on Siddhanta astrology:
- Siddhant (Astronomy);
- Samhita (Mundane Astrology)
- Hora (Predictive Astrology).
Samhita: This sub-branch has a wide spectrum. It covers the predicting of important events related to countries – such as war, earthquake, political events, astro meteorology, economic affairs, electional astrology, Vaastu matters (relating to construction of dwellings, temples), animals, vehicles etc.
Hora: It is part of the day and night circle. Hora has several sub branches:
Hora/Jatak Shashtra (Natal Astrology/Horoscopy): Predictions are made from the study of the horoscope of an individual.
Muhurt Astrology: It deals with predicting the most beneficial time to launch an activity/operation – to derive maximum advantage in daily life.
Swar Shashtra (Phonetical Astrology): This branch deals with predictions based on name and sound.
Prashna Kundali (Horary Astrology): Predictions are based on interpretation of a horoscope drawn from Ishtkal – the time and place a question
Anka Jyotish (Numerology): It is a sub-branch, based on predictions made from numbers.
Nadi Astrology: An ancient treatise, providing detailed descriptions for individuals.
Tahjik Shashtra (Varshphal): An annual prediction based on the date of birth. A horoscope is drawn on the basis of birth details and solar returns.
Jaimini Sutras: It is a non-conventional method of timing of events, based on theories propounded by Acharya Jaimini – the famous Indian astrologer.
Nashta Jatak (Lost Horoscopy): It is an art of tracing/reconstructing lost horoscopes.
Streejatak( Astrology for female): It is a special branch of astrology for female natives.
Bhrigu Jyotish: Propounded by Maharshi Bhrigu . He drew horoscopes for all (so claim Bhrigu Shashtris).They ran into countless numbers. Some horoscopes are still available across the country.The horoscope, if found (in the collection of retrieved patris/horoscopes), spells out the past, present and the future of the native.
The earliest Hindu astrology originates from the Vedas. It is the scientific study and application of language of heavenly bodies. With the help of astronomy and mathematics, heavenly bodies are mapped in the form of a horoscope. Variation in their dispositions determines the variations in the events on Earth.
Vedic Astrologists knew that in the Universe nothing is static; therefore our astronomy and astrology considered the earth as the centre, and all other heavenly bodies as moving around it. Indian astronomy is geo-centric. Heliocentric astronomy considers the Sun as the centre. Indian astronomy acknowledges that the Earth is the centre of the solar system. But it also appreciates that the Sun, the Solar system and stars are all moving. Therefore Indian astronomy considers Dhruv (Polar star) as the point of relative fixity, in the galaxy of stars.
Indian astronomers defined an imaginary arc/belt, 18 degrees in width, running around the Earth, in an East to West direction. The groups of stars, appearing fixed, are studded along this imaginary arc/belt. 27 such groups of stars are identified in Vedic astrology. They are called Nakshatras.
The imaginary belt is called the Zodiac. The Zodiac forms a reference point for fixing the position of any planet or star in the sky. Since it encircles the Earth, it comprises 360 degrees. So, 27 Nakshatras, placed evenly, have a span of
Krishna Yajur Veda, called the Vedanga Jyotisha, is the earliest formal Indian astrology. This document discusses the Nakshatras – the distant stars used in Hindu astrology.
After confirming Ishtakal (exact time of event), the position of the Nakshatras and its value is worked out.
Some astrologers also coin a 28th Nakshatra-Abhijit.
In contrast to Nakshatras, there are moving heavenly bodies – called Planets or Grahas. They move along the Zodiac, from West to East. They are called Grahas, because they appear to get hold of one Nakshatra. Vedic Astrology considers 9 Grahas. They are:
1. Surya (Sun)
2. Chandrama (Moon)
3. Mangal (Mars)
4. Buddha (Mercury)
5. Guru/Brahaspati (Jupiter)
6. Shukra (Venus)
7. Shani (Saturn)
The first 7 are Planets. Rahu and Ketu are mathematical points on the Zodiac. Other known planets do not form a part of Vedic Astrology. The path of the Sun, along the Zodiac, is known as ecliptic.The ecliptic passes through the centre of the Zodiac, at an inclined angle of 23’28 to the plane of the Equator.
The Zodiac is divided into 12 equal parts, each measuring 30 degrees of the arc. Such a division is called a Rashi. A Rashi consists of two and a quarter Nakshatras. A particular group is taken as the starting point of the Zodiac.
The Planets have been allotted the ownership of Rashis. Rahu and Ketu are not assigned specific Rashis. Sun and Moon have one
Rashi each; whereas other planets have two Rashis each. (see box under Lord)
A horoscope contains 12 houses. Rashis are fixed from Ishtkal. It is most unlikely that two persons will have a similar horoscope.
The birth Nakshatra, Rashi, Graha, Yog, and their combinations are evaluated - based on their strength, the House they occupy, and the mutual influence of other planets
These aspects will be discussed in subsequent write-ups.
Mesh Aries Mars 0-30
Vrish Taurus Venus 0-60
Mithun Gemini Mercury 60-90
Kark Cancer Moon 90-120
Simha Leo Sun 120-150
Kanya Virgo Mercury 150-180
Tula Libra Venus 180-210
Vrishchika Scorpio Mars 210-240
Dhanu Saggitarius Jupiter 240-270
Makar Capricorn Saturn 270-300
Kumbh Aquarius Saturn 300-330
Meen Pisces Jupiter 330-360
The 27 Nakshatras
11. P. Phalguni
12. U. Phalguni
25. Poorv Bhadrapad
26. Uttara bhadrapad