Encyclopaedia of Indian Astrology

author: Prof. N.E. Muthuswamy
edition: 2006, MPS Trust Thiruvananthapuram (CBH)
pages: 1,147
Topic: Jyotisha

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Introduction

 A probe into the genesis of Indian astrological thoughts convince us that our seers of yore must have keenly observed the human experiences over thousands of years. They must have analyzed them incisively to unearth the laws of nature shaping them. that effort could have enabled them to find some common factors influencing those human experiences. It was easy for them to conclude, then, that such underling forces influencing and determining human experiences could not be due to some terrestrial factors alone. They could infer that forces acting from somewhere beyond had a definite say on matters and manners of the earth. They concluded that the forces that regulate the movements and cycles of heavenly bodies must have much influence over these terrestrial affairs. The planets were the catalysts of this extra earthly principle. They codified these causes and effects. Astrological science is the sum total of these codified causes and effects. It is the result of meditative intelligence and extra sensorial experience of great seers, unattainable and unimaginable to the contemporary elite, advocating a materialistic base for the study of this science and treating astrology as a system of mere fortune telling. Any intelligent person can undoubtedly come to this conclusion when he or she makes a dispassionate study of the basic principles of astrology. Human beings are only one of the media through which one can observe and realize these planetary vibrations working. Astrology is the study of human behaviour and experiences, on the backdrop of time and space.

Time has no conceivable beginning and end, like space. It is the space which regulates the idea of time. Though the space envelopes the whole universe, as far as astrology is concerned, space is confined to the zodiacal path of planets demarcated by the nakshathra zones or constellation. All living beings on earth particularly human beings are the miniature or microcosmic editions of the zodiacal or macrocosmic universe. So naturally every bit of human being should possess all the qualities either conceivable or inconceivable, possessed by the zodiacal universe. We can term this as Brahmaanda and the Brahma contained therein. The great seers with their intuition have been able to comprehend the mysteries of this mysterious universe and present it to the world as the wisdom of astrology. They based the tenets of astrology on Raasis and Nakshathras representing space and bhaava representing the human experience. They also found out that the human experiences are the results of their deeds in past and they are indicated by the planets occupying the different positions in the raasi chart of the individual which is called horoscope or jaathaka in the astrological parlance. Astrology is the study of human experiences indicated by the celestial bodies on the backdrop of time and space. Astrology, it has been rightly said, is the most systematic attempt to explain natural phenomena.

The first principle upon which the science of Astrology rests is that of Vaedanta, that the whole Universe is actually what the term implies – a unity. A law, which is found in manifestation in one portion of the Universe, must also be equally operative throughout the whole. While the Heavens form the macrocosm, man is the microcosm. Each man is a little world exactly representing the Universe. While all seem quiet without, there is an active world within. Such a world is visible only to the inner sight of a Yoagi. Those laws, which are operative among the planetary bodies, are also in force amongst us. The second principle is that, by a study of the motions and relative positions of the planets, the operations of these laws may be observed, measured and determined.

Taking entire human life into consideration, the true view is that a man is both a slave of the effects of his previous karma in his past incarnations and is a free agent as regards fresh independent deeds, deeds which are in no way directed to thwart, to arrest, to alter; or in any way to modify or remould the effects of his past Karma. Astrology gives us the knowledge of our past Karma, how to gift it as well as how to work out our fresh deeds, so that we can get rid of this wheel of Karma and be free. But if one wishes to move along with the natural course of things he may do so and the course would become easier and smooth. This view can explain three points – (1) the apparent and unaccountable failures of attempts, even when the individual tries his best (2) the cakewalk success on many occasions, even when the individual does not try his best (3) the success that attends on proportionate labour. In the first case, the attempt was one aimed at moving against the current of fate; in the second case, it was one of moving down with the current and in the third case, it would be an attempt where free human agency can display itself.

In India, nakshathra Vidya, the science of the stars, has been thought of as an intellectual attainment even in the Vaedic literature. The Vaedic as well as pre-Vaedic literature including Puraanaas contain innumerable references which show that astrology was held in high esteem and referred to as the ‘eye of knowledge’. It is an important limb of Hindu religion and philosophy, handed down from great seers.

Astrology is the oldest of all sciences. It has exercised a fascination for humanity and the romance associated with the stars has inspired the poets of all ages. Its history is traced back to the Vaedas of the wise Rishis. By the expansion of their consciousness, they could reach the shining ones. Modern research tends to show that it had its origin in stellar worship, for; in ancient times the stars were believed to be the abode of the gods. Astrology, as in the case of other ancient arts which possessed the gems of truth, has gradually freed itself from the penumbra of superstitions to emerge as the true science of the heaven. From India the belief in Astrology spread to China, Babylon and Chaldea; whence it spread to Egypt, Greece, Rome, and throughout the whole world. Once it taught the people to lift their aspirations by faith, hope and reverence, through the stars and the planetary spirits to the One and Universal Self.

The literature of astrology is as vast as the history of man. No one scholar can possibly hope to untangle all of its intrinsically woven strands in the course of his life. None could read the extant works on the subject, let along resolve its intrinsic patterns of thought. Astrology has been described as both a “science” intrinsic patterns of thought. Astrology has been described as both a “science” and an “Art.” In short casting and interpreting horoscopes have been, for more than two thousand years, the focus of the science of astrology. Through widely discredited, by the so-called scientific stream, it is an exacting art demanding considerable expertise of its techniques.

The famous astronomer cum astrologer Varaahamihira also characterized a bad astrologer, as a sinner and as one who defiles society. However, he pays extraordinary compliments to a worthy astrologer who, in his view, should know practically all branches of knowledge under the Sun and be a guide, philosopher and teacher to the society. “No sinner will creep into a place that is sanctified by the presence of a true astrologer. No person who studies and divines the course of destiny will ever be found in hell, but will reside permanently in the world of Brahman.”

This hoary lore, according to Prof. Bhatt, is to be practiced not for selfish ends but to guide the needy and the distressed, to remove the cause of their suffering and to turn their attention towards God. Though an astrologer cannot control the powers of the stars, he an harness it through “Elections” and so enhance the prospects of success in any undertaking or for any individual.

The development of astrology at a popular level owes considerably to the intellectual vitality of the applied sciences. Indian Astrology is a mine of inexhaustible information and knowledge useful for mankind irrespective of geographical, linguistic and cultural barrier. In astrology every aspect of life is studied in depth, their causes and effects analyzed and common underlying principles arrived at. The whole universe including man is the subject of study of astrology. It encompasses the whole day to day experiences of human beings. Today there is no area of human experience which is not touched upon in some way or the other by astrology. Historical evidence supports the claim that astrology is a valid discipline with vast potential for enriching and understanding of all the phases of life. There is no topic under the Sun which does not come under the fold and purview of astrology. Astrology is also a science where human experiences and behaviour have been analyzed threadbare and dicta propounded which can be verified and substantiated the core.

It is true that today this branch of study is not able to explain ad prove its dicta by laboratory methods as is being practiced in other materialistic sciences. But materialistic sciences also have their own limitations when they confront with human experiences, abstract in nature. Modern science has invented that when the male sperm and female ovum meet in the womb the living embryo comes into being. This is really a great find as far as the medical science is concerned. But it has no explanation for the simple query that why some couples healthy in all respects remain childless in spite of undergoing all the fertility treatment. In such cases of limitations, astrology has got valid explanation. It doles out reasons and remedies to overcome the problem. The numerous dicta propounded are being experienced in day to day life. Can any modern science say by any laboratory experimental methods as at what date the marriage of a person could take place, at what time someone could build a house or when one can get a job or go abroad. But astrology can pinpoint them in unequivocal terms and answer these queries with almost complete accuracy. Of course, the person making the prediction may not be able to explain the rationale of the cause and effect of such results in a manner, to convince the inquisitive intelligence.

The rationalists cannot and need not dispute the existence of such a force beyond the earth. In such a situation, their underestimation of this force cannot be said to be scientific. The argument that only those principles are acceptable to them which can be experienced through senses, does not hold water. For example the theory of Shadaadhaara or Panchakoasa, in body cannot be proved by senses. The Yoga Saasthra has established that there are Shadaadhaara that are invisible but inferable in the six nerve centers of the body. If a neurologist contends that these are not visible on dissecting a body and so he is not in a position to accept their existence, it would be sheer lack o common sense. But the Yoagadarsana propounded by Maharishi Patanjali has been accepted as a science and is being taught as a science in many international universities. So there is no reason why astrology should not be given this status.

The more the rationalists attempted to discourage and malign astrology, the more people flock to astrologers. This has resulted in the creation of many quack astrologers. A man wearing yellow glasses feels the whole universal yellowish. A man wearing a leather shoe feels the whole earth leathery. So also a man knowing a few principles of astrology develops the false notion that the whole world is after Indian Astrology. But the stunning reality is that even though one does not know the basic astrology, 50% of the population believe in Astrology.

Unfortunately to astrology the significations and indications of planets were personified by the authors of astrological texts. It is the personification that is being questioned by rationalists. There is no convincing answer to the poser of the rationalists that how the planet can have hands, legs and human shape. Such unanswerable posers create problem for the astrologers. Because of this personification and allegories, on finds it impossible to have a concept of astrological tenets without a human face. People at present are prepared to accept astronomy and not astrology, because the former is verifiable through visual observations while the latter is not. Actually astrology starts where astronomy ends. As far as human experiences are concerned both these studies are complementary to each other. Astrological findings are based on astronomical, mathematical and biological principles. It is a sad fact that their connecting links could not be established. It is quite unfortunate that astrology is relegated to the background in spite of its usefulness to humanity.

Even lifestyle of adivasis in India is designed and patterned on the lines sanctioned by astrology. It cannot be and should not be separated from the life of Indians. Its literature is precious and pregnant with the treasure of wisdom. It is to be explored, studied, assimilated, substantiated and propagated. Those who question this wonderful result of ancient wisdom are advised to understand it fully, apply it to their own life and if it proves fallacious then only try to question. It is the duty of Astrologers particularly Indian Astrologers to do everything at their command to take it in its pristine form to the people.