What is Vedic Astrology?
By Albert Arul Prakash Rajendran
Vedic Astrology is the study of positions of heavenly bodies like the Sun, Moon, Mars etc. with respect to the zodiac and the interpretation of the effect of such heavenly bodies on the events in earth in the life of an individual or a country or the whole world. It is called Vedic Astrology, because the principles on which the study and interpretations are made were first enumerated in the 'Vedas' - the first treatise of ancient Hindu philosophy.
What is Zodiac?
What is Zodiac? If we imagine a path in the sky at approximately 18 degrees arc in the width encircling the earth in an east west direction, groups of stars will appear to be apparently fixed with respect to earth along this imaginary path.
There are 27 groups of stars in the path which are recognized by Vedic Astrology. These groups of stars in the imaginary path are called zodiac. This zodiac forms the reference for fixing the position of any planet or star in the sky. Since this zodiac is encircling the earth it can be measured as 360 degrees, where these 27 groups of stars are evenly placed, hence each of them have a span of 360 degrees/27 = 13 degrees 20' arc.
What are Zodiac Signs or Rashis?
When the zodiac is divided into 12 equal parts each having a span of 30 degrees arc, then each of this arc is called a zodiac sign. A sign, therefore, will consist of 2 ? groups of stars. A particular group of stars called Ashwini, in the zodiac is considered the starting point of the zodiac and is called the star no.1. Similarly, there are individual name for the 26 group of stars. Ashwini(1), Bharini(2), Krittika(3) are the first three stars in the zodiac. As stated earlier, the first span of 30 degrees arc in the zodiac will consist of Ashwini, Bharini and ? of Krittika constitute the first zodiac sign called 'Aries'. The name of the remaining 11 zodiac signs after 'Aries' are : Taurus(2), Gemini(3), Cancer(4), Leo(5), Virgo(6), Libra(7), Scorpio(8), Sagittarius(9), Capricorn(10), Aquarius(11) and Pisces(12).
What are Heavenly Bodies?
Influencing the events on earth Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu, and Ketu all loosely termed as planets, appear to revolve around the earth continuously while always staying within the limits of zodiac. Vedic astrology in the ancient text had recognized these 9 entities. Out of which, the Sun is a star. Moon is the satellite of earth. Rahu and Ketu are two mathematical points on the zodiac and the rest are planets. Modern Vedic Astrologers also consider the effect of distant planets like Neptune, Uranus and Pluto.
What is an Ecliptic?
The apparent movement or path of the Sun along the zodiac is called the Ecliptic. The ecliptic passes through the center of zodiac and is inclined at an angle of 23 degrees and 28 minutes to the center of zodiac.
What are Rahu and Ketu?
Moon's apparent path around the earth intersects the ecliptic obliquely at two points called the 'Nodes'. The point where the Moon crosses the ecliptic from south to north is called the ascending node or 'Rahu' when it crosses the ecliptic from north to south is called the descending node or 'Ketu'. These 2 points are 6 zodiac signs or 180 degrees apart. The position of these two points with respect to zodiac signs are of equal importance to position of other planets with respect to zodiac sign in Vedic astrology.
What is Ascendant/Rising Sign?
The ecliptic passes through the center of the zodiacal belt which extends 9 degrees on its either(north or south) side. The planets remain within the limits of the zodiac. The earth rotates around its axis once in twenty four hours from west to east. As a consequence, all planets appear to revolve around the earth from east to west once in twenty four hours. The zodiac with its stars and signs fixed upon it also appears to revolve around the earth from east to west once in every 24 hours. Thus, all points on signs and stars on the zodiac will appear to successfully rise in the eastern horizon and set at the western horizon once in 24 hours. Thus, for every point and time on earth there will be a unique point on a particular zodiac sign which will be rising at the eastern horizon.
When an individual is born, the point in the particular zodiac sign, expressed in longitude, which is rising at the eastern horizon at the exact time of his/her birth for the exact latitude/longitude of the place where he/she is born is the unique space time coordinate for the individual. This is called the individual's Ascendant(Lagna) or the Rising Sign.
What is Janma Rashi/Moon Sign/Moon Ascendant?
In Vedic Astrology, the exact position of the Moon at the exact time of birth with respect to the zodiac sign and the point in the zodiac sign expressed in longitudes will be Janma Rashi/ Moon Sign/ Moon Ascendant.
What is Sun Sign/Sun Ascendant?
Like the Moon sign, the longitude of Sun with respect to zodiac at the exact time of birth is the Sun Sign of the individual. Western astrology lays great importance on Sun signs and ALL YOUR ZODIAC SIGNS are your Sun signs as per Vedic astrology. The Sun sign on the basis of Western astrology and Vedic Astrology, will differ by one sign many a times. This is because as per Western astrology the zodiac is also moving, whereas, the Vedic astrologers considers the zodiacs to be fixed. The reason why this difference comes will be explained on the web page at a later date. Meanwhile, we are just mentioning this so that you do not get alarmed to see the difference in the zodiac sun signs when computed by the Vedic astrology.
This will be an on going page which will be updated regularly. You are most welcome to contribute your views and your questions for the benefit of all visitors on our site. Click for e-mail option to F & Q. Acknowledgment : In compiling this edition of FAQ extensive use has been made from Dr. K. S. Charak, book of Vedic Astrology, Volume-1, Published by Systems Vision.
Relevance of Astrology?
As per Vedic astrology, what will happen to us in this life is predetermined and based on the 'Karma' of our past lives. What is the relevance of 'free will' is a matter of screens philosophical debate. But, we believe that 75% of what will happen to us is what we can possibly know through astrology, but the balance 25% is critical, which we create through our own efforts and it is we with our efforts control our day to day destiny and that is our 'Karma' in this life. vedic Astrology provides us with an insight in our quest to shape our destiny.