Jyotisha, aka: Jyotiṣa; 9 Definition(s)


Jyotisha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Jyotiṣa can be transliterated into English as Jyotisa or Jyotisha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Arthashastra (politics and welfare)

Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, “astrologer”) is an official title designating one of the seventy-two officers (niyoga) of the Bāhattaraniyogādhipati circle, according to the Inscriptional glossary of Andhra Pradesh (Śāsana-śabdakośāmu). The bāhattaraniyoga-adhipati is the highest executive officer of this circle (including a Jyotiṣa). For example: During the reign of Gaṇapatideva, the area extending between Pānagal to Mārjavāḍi was entrusted to Gaṇḍapeṇḍāru Gangayasāhiṇi as Bāhattaraniyogādhipati. Later on, this office was entrusted to Kāyastha Jannigadeva.

(Source): Shodhganga: Kakati Ganapatideva and his times (artha)
Arthashastra book cover
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Arthashastra (अर्थशास्त्र, arthaśāstra) literature concerns itself with the teachings (shastra) of economic prosperity (artha) statecraft, politics and military tactics. The term arthashastra refers to both the name of these scientific teachings, as well as the name of a Sanskrit work included in such literature. This book was written (3rd century BCE) by by Kautilya, who flourished in the 4th century BCE.

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Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष).—(Astronomy and astrology). Jyotiṣa is the science about the stars and heavenly bodies. The heavenly bodies are the sun, the moon, the other planets and the stars etc. From the very ancient days men believed that these planets and stars in the sky played an important part in controlling the growth and activities of all the living and non-living things in the world.

Astrology has been a recognized science in Egypt, China and India from very ancient days. History tells us that 3000 years before Christ there were astronomers in Babylon. But even before that time astronomy had fully expanded and grown in Bhārata. (See full article at Story of Jyotiṣa from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष).—The science of Astronomy begins in Dvāpara;1 a part of Viṣṇu;2 attributed to Garga who learnt it from Śeṣa.3

  • 1) Matsya-purāṇa 144. 22; Vāyu-purāṇa 66. 52.
  • 2) Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 1. 37.
  • 3) Bhāgavata-purāṇa X. 8. 5; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 21. 36; 22. 3; III. 5. 80; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 5. 26.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

Jyotisha (astronomy and astrology)

Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष).—Astronomy and astrology. One of the six Vedāṅgas. Note: Jyotiṣa is a Sanskrit technical term used in ancient Indian sciences such as Astronomy, Mathematics and Geometry.

(Source): Wikibooks (hi): Sanskrit Technical Terms
Jyotisha book cover
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Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, jyotisha or jyotish) basically refers to ‘astronomy’ or “Vedic astrology” and represents one of the six additional sciences to be studied along with the Vedas. Jyotiṣa concerns itself with the study and prediction of the movements of celestial bodies, in order to calculate the auspicious time for rituals and ceremonies.

Dharmashastra (religious law)

Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष, “astronomy”) refers to one of the six divisions of the Vedāṅga texts, a type of Śāstra categorised as Apaurūṣeya; all part of the ancient Indian education system, which aimed at both the inner and the outer dimension of a person.

(Source): Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Education: Systems & Practices
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

The Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa (वेदाङ्ग ज्योतिष) is an Indian text on Jyotisha, redacted by Lagadha. The text describes rules for tracking the motions of the sun and the moon

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष) refers to “knowledge of astronomy”, having its roots in the four Vedas, according Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter IV). Accordingly, at the time of the Buddha, the knowledge of astronomy (jyotiṣa) was commonly exchanged between Brahmins and cow-herders.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष).—a. (-ṣī f.) [ज्योतिः सूर्यादिगत्यादिकं प्रतिपाद्यतयाऽ स्त्यस्य अच् (jyotiḥ sūryādigatyādikaṃ pratipādyatayā' styasya ac)]

1) Astronomical or astrological.

-ṣaḥ An astronomer or astrologer.

-ṣam 1 Astronomy, astrology, the science of the course of the heavenly bodies and divisions of time resting thereon; कलामात्रा- विशेषज्ञाञ् ज्योतिषे च परं गतान् (kalāmātrā- viśeṣajñāñ jyotiṣe ca paraṃ gatān) Rām.7.94.7.

2) One of the six Vedāṅgas (being a short tract on astronomy).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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