Where astrology comes from? How is it possible to know the influence of the stars and planets on our life? Were the ancient people spending centuries watching the skies and connecting the positions of the stars with the events occurring in the world in their personal life?
Anyone who had a glimpse at the vast ocean of knowledge of Vedic astrology will be convinced that it is not humanly possible to postulate all these rules and techniques by mere observation and research. The subject of astrology is very vast. There are dashas, yogas, divisional charts, unique charts, nakshatras, muhurtas, etc.
It is impossible to even study all the aspects of Vedic astrology in one lifetime, not to speak of starting from zero and researching all this with incredible accuracy, as the Vedic texts do.
Vedic astrology, specifically, and Vedic knowledge in general, cannot originate from the research of any human being.
There are two ways of gathering knowledge. One is ascending; one is descending. In the ascending path, we are trying by the power of our senses and mind to unravel the mysteries of the universe. In the descending path, we do not rely on our own merit but depend on authorities.
The knowledge of modern science is following the ascending path. Vedic knowledge and Vedic astrology is part of it, is following the descending path.
It is easy for us to understand the ascending path because it is in our daily experience. We use our eyes to see and our ears to hear, and from what we see and hear, we draw conclusions which we accept as truth.
But what is the descending path? What is descending from where to where? Descent always involves something higher and something lower, and it will descend from the higher to the lower. Who is the higher and who is the lower in the case of Vedic Astrology? We can understand this in terms of water. The river’s source is mountain ice, which flows to the lower regions. But here we are talking about knowledge. So what is the source of knowledge? In other words, who is the highest from which this knowledge emanates? The Vaishnava philosophy of The Vedas is very clear about this. We are all eternal conscious beings, and among innumerable eternal conscious beings, there is one supreme eternal conscious being, Krishna. He is the embodiment of eternity, full cognition and pleasure. In the descending path, he is the source of knowledge.
The descending path demands a non-atheistic worldview. There must be a supreme person who is the source of perfect knowledge.
Okay, now we have established the source, but how this knowledge comes to us? It comes down through disciplic succession. The source of knowledge, the supreme Lord, empowers someone in this world to receive pure understanding.
It was the case with lord Brahma, the first created being who received the Vedic knowledge from Lord Krishna in his heart and thus understood how to populate and manage the whole universe. It was also the case in the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna imparted the most confidential knowledge to his surrendered disciple Arjuna.
Maharishi Bhrigu, the first of The Vedic sages, who postulated astrology rules and techniques, is Lord Brahma’s direct son. Brighu patiently and humbly listened to his father and received in this way the Vedic wisdom. Later Brighu gave it in the same way to his sons and disciples. This is called disciplic succession, and the descending knowledge is received this way.
When the teacher, the guru, is pure and perfect, and at the same time, the disciple is pure and perfect, the transmission of knowledge is pure and perfect. In this way, from true guru to true disciple, the knowledge from the supreme Lord descends to us through the millennials. Krishna declares in the Bhagavad-gītā that whenever this discipline succession is broken, and the true Vedic understanding is lost, he will appear again and reinstate the Vedic wisdom within the human society.
He did so 5000 years ago in his incarnation as Krishna and 500 years ago as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The process of receiving Vedic knowledge is to listen to the one who has already heard. Yes, many scriptures contain the knowledge, and if someone knows Sanskrit, he may read them, but Vedic knowledge is such that it cannot be understood by mere reading. It must be learned from a living person in whose heart the conclusion is alive. Can you become a doctor by merely studying books? Can you become a doctor without being personally trained by an experienced physician? There are so many subtleties, even in any material field of knowledge, what to speak of the spiritual subjects treated in the Vedas. Vedic knowledge has to be understood and received through disciplic succession, and astrology is not any different.
There will always be a difference between the knowledge we have read and researched and the knowledge we have received from an experienced expert. Most astrologers I have met are very talented, no doubt, but they base their astrological practice on books they have read and their own experiences.
Even officially, there is no disciplic succession in Vedic astrology. Most of the Vedic astrologers base their knowledge on books like the Parashara Hora Shastra and then Jaimini Sutras but not the direct teachings of a guru in an unbroken chain of masters and disciples, which is imperative for the correct reception of Vedic knowledge. Furthermore, the authenticity of these books is doubtful. These books have been lost for many years, then recompiled, and then again, much might have been lost in translation. By and large authentic Vedic astrology is lost.
Without an uninterrupted succession of experienced masters, the knowledge cannot be pure. It’s a sad state of affairs.
However, we do not want to belittle the contribution of many great astrologers and the help that they are giving to many. In this regard, we can take the example of an elephant.
While alive, an elephant is of great value. It can do much useful labour. However, even if the elephant is dead, his bones are of great value. Similarly, though the original Vedic Astrology must be considered lost in this modern age, the leftovers are still so valuable. As long the intention of the Astrologer is genuine, as well as the intention of the one who is seeking help from an astrologer is truthful, by the mercy of the Lord and by the guidance of the super soul, the exchange of the Astrologer and the questioner will be meaningful and can bring about auspiciousness.
We have been very fortunate to come in contact with our astrology teacher Arya Brighu, who is part of a genuine disciplic succession in the line of Maharishi Brighu.
We were blessed to have the opportunity to study for four years, with weekly classes under him. It is our humble desire that through this website, vedicspirituality.com, we can share the knowledge received by guruji to the best of our abilities. We are mere human beings and are always subjected to imperfection; we want to apologise to the reader if we are not perfect in our endeavours. We pray that by the grace of the supreme, the sincere reader or client will be spiritually benefited from this humble work.
You will find that the Vedic astrology presented in this blog and our services differ from most of the Vedic Astrology presented on the internet. That is because the techniques I am learning from my teacher Arya Brighu, are outside the public domain. Here I name some differences that you can expect from vedicspirituality.com:
Holistic analysis not only from the ascendant but also from the moon and the Lord of the hour (Hora)
Let us discuss two examples of the difference between the understanding received from the parampara (disciplic succession) and the understanding derived from the independent study of the scriptures.
The Vedas describe the zodiac as having a certain amount of legs. Aries, Taurus, Leo, the second half of Sagittarius, and the first half of Capricorn, are the four-legged signs. Cancer and Scorpio are many-legged. The two-legged signs are Gemini, Virgo, Libra, the first half of Sagittarius, and Aquarius. The second half of Capricorn and Pisces do not have legs.
What might be the meaning of this?
An astrologer that reads Sanskrit but is not following any teacher, and just bases his understanding on his imagination, gives the following interpretation about the legs of the zodiac. The four-legged signs are like animals used for carrying heavy loads, like horses or bulls and elephants, so his interpretation is that these zodiac signs can bear more burden. The two-legged signs are like human beings, and these signs are more creative. The many-legged signs are like insects and are more attached, like insects clinging to the wall. Sounds great, right?
When I brought this understanding to my astrology teacher, he said the meaning of this is that the four legs signs they prefer transportation with four legs like horses, or in modern times cars. Also, they like to work in pairs. The two-legged signs like to walk or go by bicycle or motorbike, and they want to work alone. The many-legged signs prefer public transport with many wheels, like buses or trains, and they like to work in larger groups. The signs, without any legs, like to be carried or fly.
So which interpretation is accurate? Well, decide for yourself, you can look at the zodiacs your ascendant, moon, and the Lord of your hour are placed in and consider what it says about you in terms of the number of legs of the zodiac. For me, and my practice, the latter one is appropriate.
In this example, the difference is very subtle. In the second example, the difference is much heavier. Some Vedic astrologers advocate the use of the tropical zodiac. The tropical zodiac is the zodiac system used by Western astrologers; they’re the same 12 zodiac signs, but the degrees differ by nearly 22 and a half degrees. This zodiac is called tropical because its definition is based on the son’s position at the equinoxes and solstice. The sun’s position on the 21st of march at the exact point where the night is equal marks 0° of Aries. The sidereal zodiac, used generally in Vedic astrology, is based on the six stars. For example, the middle of Rohini Nakshatra is marked by Aldebaran, the bright star within the Taurus sign.
There is something called precision. This describes how, within 25.920 years, the tropical zodiac and the sidereal zodiac change relative to each other. Every 72 years, these two systems move away from each other by one degree. Currently, the sun at the 21st of march, the Spring equinox, which marks 0° of areas in the tropical zodiac, is at seven and a half degrees of Pisces. In 72 years, this point will be at six and a half degrees Pisces.
Vedic astrologers who advocate using the tropical zodiac base their argument on the Sanskrit text of The Vedas. The srimad bhagavatam says,
yadā meṣa-tulayor vartate tadāho-rātrāṇi samānāni bhavanti yadā vṛṣabhādiṣu pañcasu ca rāśiṣu carati tadāhāny eva vardhante hrasati ca māsi māsy ekaikā ghaṭikā rātriṣu.
“When the sun passes through Meṣa [Aries] and Tulā [Libra], the durations of day and night are equal. When it passes through the five signs headed by Vṛṣabha [Taurus], the duration of the days increases [until Cancer], and then it gradually decreases by half an hour each month, until day and night again become equal [in Libra].”
And indeed, it appears that this description is the very definition of the tropical zodiac. At the same time, they are perplexed that precision is not mentioned within The Vedas. And this is based on their understanding of the Sanskrit text without consulting with a discipline succession.
I have approached my teacher about this matter and asked for the interpretation of this verse quoted above.
My teacher pointed out that in verse before, the following is said.
yan-madhya-gato bhagavāṁs tapatāṁ patis tapana ātapena tri-lokīṁ pratapaty avabhāsayaty ātma-bhāsā sa eṣa udagayana-dakṣiṇāyana-vaiṣuvata-saṁjñābhir māndya-śaighrya-samānābhir gatibhir ārohaṇāvarohaṇa-samāna-sthāneṣu yathā-savanam abhipadyamāno makarādiṣu rāśiṣv aho-rātrāṇi dīrgha-hrasva-samānāni vidhatte.
“In the midst of that region of outer space [antarikṣa] is the most opulent sun, the king of all the planets that emanate heat, such as the moon. By the influence of its radiation, the sun heats the universe and maintains its proper order. It also gives light to help all living entities see. While passing toward the north, toward the south or through the equator, in accordance with the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is said to move slowly, swiftly or moderately. According to its movements in rising above, going beneath or passing through the equator — and correspondingly coming in touch with various signs of the zodiac, headed by Makara [Capricorn] — days and nights are short, long or equal to one another.”
And this states that the day can be long, short and equal in all the zodiac signs. This not only resolves the issue with the use of tropical versus sidereal zodiac but also perfectly describes the precision.
The following verse, allegedly proving the use of the tropical zodiac, only gives an example. That means. If the days are equal in Aries, they will be long in Cancer, equal again in Libra and shorter in Capricorn. Similarly, it can be said if the days are equal in Pisces, they will be long in Gemini, and equal again in Virgo, and shorter in Sagittarius, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not condemn the use of tropical zodiacs, I believe they’re doing great astrology. The difference between the tropical and cereal zodiac is the subject of another article.
This is the way of Vedic knowledge; we have to follow authority, and then we will get the proper understanding. If the authority is not available, it means if the disciplic succession is broken, the proper understanding is lost.
At vedicspirituality.com, we are striving, as much as possible, to present the Vedic knowledge in the line of the disciplic succession. For all the matters concerning astrology, we are following Arya Brighu, and in other spiritual matters, we are following the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya. Our primary sources are the translations and commentaries on the Bhagavad-gītā and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam given by his divine grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the international society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and the further explanations given in countless lectures by his very dear grand disciple, Sripad Chaitanya Chandra Das, my revered spiritual master.