Comprehensive Blog on Vedic Astrology (Jyotish)

 




Archive for August, 2005

August 31st, 2005

The story of your life

Your birth chart is the story of your life. Each house in this birth chart describes a portion of this story. It tells about your own self, family, spouse, work/vocation, children and most importantly – artha, dharma, kama, and moksha.Houses in a horoscopes are areas of influence. To take examples from a typical Indian movie – these are like plot and sub-plots with planets acting like good guys and planets acting like bad guys. Good guys make thing happen, bad guys bring despair.
Though very very easily said than done, the entire trick in astrology is:
  1. Understanding the plot well,
  2. Finding out which planets play a part in this plot,
  3. Deciding who is a good guy and who is a bad guy,
  4. Finding out how strongly these planets influence the plot and
  5. Most importantly, when each of the characters would come into play – i.e. exert their influence. This is nothing but predicting the future.
Benefic planets (e.g. Venus, Jupiter) are good guys by default. Similarly planets like Saturn, Rahu are always inclined to do bad. Some planets like Moon, Mercury are gullible. Mars and Sun make for heros with an angry young man attitude. The lord of a house is the hero of the plot. It would always do good, even if it is a bad guy for the rest of the story. Somewhat like a villain who does good comedy, but is evil nonetheless. Planets which are friendly to the lord are naturally on its side. Planets which are lord of 6th, 8th or 12th house from the house in question are no good.
The strength of these characters matters. Our hero, who we expect to do good, may be in distress. It may be surrounded by, overpowered by evil. It may not deliver when its chance comes. In other situation, a bad guy reformed by angels like Jupiter may do much less harm than if it were acting alone.
Sometimes, these planets team up and create yogas. Their combined energy is at times so powerful that it pretty much takes the plot away from the rest of the players. The individual, with such combination, is said to be under influence of such a yoga. Good planets give power – raj yoga, wealth – dhana yoga, name/fame – mahapurusha yoga. Bad guys can also gang up and hijack the plot causing daridra yoga, daruna yoga (combinations for poverty) etc.
Where is differs from a movie is that we, as individuals, are not captive audiences. We can take part in this play and influence it. That we are masters of our own destiny is not empty talk. If we feel that there is a problem, we can act to rectify it, or control it. We may not be able to change the plot altogether, but we can definitely give a direction to it.
I could have gone on and on and on, but I have run out of smilies and metaphors :-) I will leave you at this point with your thoughts and hope you will get back to me if you can think of something else to add here. Till then, take very good care of yourself.

August 31st, 2005

Fortune Telling

I was talking to an American friend of mine and the topic of conversation was why Indians spend so much more time in office compared to their other colleagues. He said that it is because Indians do not have anything else to do in life. They do not have other interests. All they think about and care about is work.While he was not entirely wrong :-) , I corrected him and told him about my interest – astrology and how I have a small site, a chart generation applet, how people like to match charts before marriage etc.
His remark was kinda weird, even tilting towards derogatory – “Oh, so you are into fortune telling…” Now anyone who has watched informercials on some of the American TV channels must remember the lady from Psychic Hotline, with a strong Jamaican accent and her way of fortune telling with Tarot cards. Lady, if you are reading this blog, please do not get offended, but that is not the image most of the astrologers in India, even students like me, would like to be associated with.
For astrologers, astrology with its prescribed formulae is nothing less than science, very intricately linked with the other precise science – astronomy. For me, astrology is definitely science, but come to think of it, it is much more than that. It is like an art. It is art the same way designing a building is an art, while building construction is a science, like designing the next Apple computer is an art while the underlying electronics and software is science, the same way a computer language is science but good code, that reads like Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry is an art…
Although very easily said then done, the art of deciphering a birth chart is all that is to astrology. And with the wisdom of great sages like Varahamihira, Vyasa, Parashara behind us, it is definitely better than fortune telling

August 27th, 2005

Western and Vedic Astrology

In this article, I would like to point out certain differences that exist between the two systems – Vedic and Western Astrology. I will not comment on Chinese system of Astrology, because there is nothing to compare. It is so different from others that any attempt would be futile.
Zodiac Signs: Both Vedic and Western Astrology systems work on 12 signs from Aries to Pisces.
Nakshatras: Western Astrology does not recognize any nakshatra. In Vedic Astrology, nakshatras have gained almost as much importance as the zodiac signs themselves.
Planets: Vedic Astrology works on Sun through Saturn and pair of shadowy planets Rahu/Ketu. Western Astrology works on Uranus, Neptune and Pluto along with the usual suspects Sun through Saturn. This system does not recognize Rahu and Ketu. Since these three planets were discovered recently, there is no historical (rather statistical, if you can appreciate the number of years Vedic astrology has gained over Western Systems. Naturally the number of charts being interpreted correctly by the Vedic system is way high) basis of associating properties with these planets.
Uranus is supposed to behave like Jupiter, Neptune like Saturn and Pluto has been given properties like Mars. It would be interesting to know what these astrologers would do once NASA withdraws planet status from Pluto :-)
Sun vs Moon and Ascendant: In Western Astrology, Sun is the main player. People are characterized as Leo, Scorpio types based on their Sun sign. In Vedic system, Sun does play a major role, but it comes behind Moon and Ascendant in importance. The Sun is the slowest among the three in its orbit around Earth (remember? we are still working on a geocentric system…) .
Ascendant changes sign once every two hours, Moon once in 2.5 days and Sun in approx 30 days. Giving more importance to Ascendant increases granularity and therefore accuracy. Otherwise, are all Scorpio men same?
Aspects: In Vedic astrology, it is called drishti. This means that a planet influences another planets or house through an angle. In Western Astrology, the aspects are conjunction, sextile, square, trine and opposition – i.e. 0, 60, 90, 120 and 180 degrees and this is the same for all planets. This does not fit exactly with the Vedic system. Individual planets have their own drishtis. e.g. Moon and Sun have only 7th house ( i.e. opposition ) drishi. Jupiter is capable of 120, 180 and 240 degree dristi. At this note, I would like to point out that dristis in Vedic Astrology are always forward looking unlike in Western astrology where both 120 and 240 are the same aspect which is called trine. Also, in Western Astrology, opposition is not considered a good aspect. It has separating influence. Planets in opposition are supposed to reduce each others strengths. In Vedic Astrology, opposition is considered good – opposition between Jupiter and Moon, Jupiter and Mercury is considered very auspicious.
Harmonic Charts: Western astrology does not have this concept at all.
Precession of Equinoxes: This is the biggest and most potent ammunition that the critics of Western Astrology have against the system. 2000 years ago when the sun was supposed to be in Aries, it was in Aries. Not any more… The earth keeps wobbling on its axis and this meant that in 2000 years, something drastic happened. Now when we say that the Sun is in Aries according to the western system, it may not be in Aries at all. It may very well be found within Pisces. Western astrology totally missed out on this concept. Naturally, the proponents of Western Astrology now discount the real zodiac and have build their system around an imaginary one – where first point of Aries is still around 21st March, called vernal Equinox, the first day of spring.
Merriam-Webster online dictionary describes precession as http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=precession Etymology: New Latin praecession-, praecessio, from Medieval Latin, act of preceding, from Latin praecedere to precede : a comparatively slow gyration of the rotation axis of a spinning body about another line intersecting it so as to describe a cone.
 
Look at this figure. Ok, there is a mistake here – the direcion of rotation of Earth is wrong – but that is besides the point. The Earth’s axis gyrates as well, which makes the earth wobble. This changes the point of view – although only by about 50″ a year. At the face of it, it is not a lot. But it makes a huge difference in a period of 2000 years. The underlying formulae change completely and a lot of them would not be valid anymore. That is why, to bring in continuity, we need the Ayanamsha Correction.
The western astrology follows tropical zodiac – which the Vedic system follows a sidereal one. Throughout the history of astrology in India and other countries of Indian subcontinent, the capabilities of the sages in terms of observation made them realize that there is a slip, or a wobble in the earth’s axis. There was a need of introduction of a factor in calculations called Ayanamsha Correction. This mathematical correction, which amounts to the slip in zodiac over a period of time converts the system from tropical to sidereal. After application of this factor, things fall in place. Sun, according to the sidereal system can really be observed within the zodiac sign that the calculations point to.
The two zodiacs last coincided in about 285 A.D. Assuming that the slip is about 50″ a year, these two systems would be apart by 180 degrees approx in 285 + 180*60*60/50 = 13245 years. i.e. when the Western System would say that Sun is in Aries, we would actually see it in constellation of Libra ! That would actually be quite funny.
Precession of Equinox means that the equinoxes are moving backwards – the vernal equinox lies no longer in Aries, it has moved to the constellation of Pisces. It is not as if western system is totally unaware of this precession. They have introduced a concept of “World Ages” and we now live in the age of Pisces. We would be entering the age of Aquarius in a few centuries. Hence precession is important only in terms of world ages for the western system, but is at the center of all calculations in Vedic Astrology.
In my site http://www.planetarypositions.com/, I have used Chitrapaksha Ayanamsha which has a sound basis in Purans, i.e. Vedic historical texts.
Predictive Systems: Vedic astrology attempts prediction via dashas and gochara. Broadly, dasha systems assign a period where a particular planet or set of planets exerts its influence. The most well known of these – Vimshottari (cycle of 120 years) dasha is calculated using the longitude of moon. There are other systems – as explained in Brihat Parashara Hora Shashtra. The other system Vedic Astrology uses is based on the current position of planets as compared to the positions at the time of birth of an individual. This system is called Gochara. Western system lacks the concept of dashas. The only predictive system they have in place is similar to Gochara.
All in all, I personally believe the western system of astrology is in a way crude and more ad hoc. Vedic astrology takes a more disciplined approach – with enough room for creativity and research. Modern pundits like Shri B. V. Raman, Sanjay Rath, J. N. Bhasin and Dr. David Frawley have done a lot of work and proposed theories which are very imaginative but well within the confines of the Vedic system at the same time.

August 26th, 2005

Copyright? What the heck?

Last week, I was browsing through various astrology sites to see what kind of services they offer. I came across a a website owned by a leading astrologer of India. He has published a lot of books and writes daily columns in leading Indian newspapers. While describing birth charts and chart matching, the web designers had basically copy-pasted definitions from my website. I sent a polite email asking the webmaster of the website to modify the content. They responded positively. The content was changed within a week. This incident made me think. I had a copyright statement prepared, which is now applicable to the website. The copyright statement essentially says:
  1. You may not use the textual material on the website and this blog without permission of the publisher.
  2. You may generate and distribute the birth charts, i.e. the applet, image generated and the html chart, without any charge or fee, provided the copyright of the author is acknowleged.
  3. Any astrologer may also use these charts and provide them to his/her clients, as per conditions in (2) and charge them appropriately if there is a genuine value addition in form of chart reading, preditions, remedial actions etc.

Here is the conversation I had with the webmaster.

From: [edited]
Date: Aug 25, 2005 12:09 PM
Subject: Re: Copyright violation of my site
To: Kshitij Sharma

Dear kshitij Sharma,
This site is not directly owned by us but by our reseller.
However your point is valid and we will ensure that they change
the content on this site.
We thank you for drawing our attention to this.
Regards,
[edited]

Kshitij Sharma wrote:

> Hello Mr [edited]
>
> I am the owner of site http://www.geocities.com/sharma_jyotish
> and have been operating this site from 2001 onwards. I observed
> your other website - [edited] and the descriptions for Kundali Milan
> and Birth Charts have been copied from my web page.
>
> I have proof to support my claim. Please look at the webarchive site :
> http://www.archive.org which is a non profit internet library.
> It maintains web pages archives from 1996 onwards. If you enter my site
> details in the web site, you can get archives for June-July 2001 where I
> have used these descriptions for Kundali Milan and Birth Charts.
>
> In good faith, I ask you to change the description on your web site.
> I do not ask for anything else at this point in time.
>
> Thanks and regards
>
> kshitij sharma
> --
> Kshitij Sharma
> http://kshitijs.blogspot.com/

It was good to know that a site like http://www.archive.org exists which maintains versions of webpages from 1996 onwards. I was plesently surprised to see old versions of my webpage. You may want to check it out…

August 17th, 2005

Astrology Chart instead of Resume?

Six months back, there was one opening in my group and I interviewed at least 10 people for the same. I did not find even one suitable for the position. Problem… the same old problem of people not being able to defend their resumes. I was thinking, what if I ask people for their astrology chart details instead of their resume :-) . I could ask for their date/place/time of birth and then make the chart at my website.Well, I have heard of some companies taking sample of handwriting of the candidates to analyse… but I do not know how much weightage they give to such an analysis.
Pros:
  1. I would immediately know if the people should be working in software field in the first place. I mean, Mercury should have some relationship with 10th house or lord in Rashi or Dashasmsha chart.
  2. Looking at the lagna, I would know about general disposition of the candidate.
  3. Ability to learn, again should be looked at from Mercury.
  4. Initiative, some aggression, should be looked at from Mars.
Cons:
  1. No one else in my group would be able to judge the candidate — essentially there would be no room for a second opinion.
  2. Astrology chart would show everything about the candidate, which is not what I want. I mean, who am I to know about the candidates’ personal problems, or anthing other than job for that matter.
  3. What if the candidate lies about his/her date of birth? I will have no way of knowing that, isn’t it?
  4. And what if I am wrong in my interpretations? That is also a huge possibility, for no one but the Creator can say for sure what is going to happen !
At least when a resume is in front of me, I can take a look at it, formulate questions and then put the candidate on the spot. Yeah, I think this is the right way, not just the right way, the only way of interviewing candidates.

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