April 13th, 2008
Over the years, I have collected these books on astrology that I would like to share with you. I would also like to share my experiences that I have gathered along the way and hope that some of you can benefit from them. Everyone has his/her own style of learning a new subject and I do not want to impose my style on anyone else. Therefore, I will not be telling you “how” I read a book, I will be telling you “why” I read it.
Books on astrology or any other subject for that matter are not supposed to undermine the importance of or replace gurus. If that were to be true, why would anyone of us go to school? Just glancing through books would have been sufficient to pass an examination. A teacher guiding through a course sets up a pace of learning, clarifies our doubts and teaches us to distinguish unimportant and irrelevant from important and relevant. These are some questions only a guru can answer.
To begin with, pick up any good book that tells you about the basics, e.g. mathematics and calculations behind astrology can be learnt from “Astronomy and Mathematical Astrology”. To learn the characteristics and influences of houses, signs and planets in a horoscope, “Astro Sutras” and “The Astrology of the Seers” are good books. Be sure about the language of you want to follow. Since Astrology is closely linked to Indian culture, you may be better off learning astrology in your mother tongue. With due respect to the authors of astrology books published in English language in India, the language sometimes is difficult to follow and is not what you are I are used to. It is hard to understand the concepts of astrology if the language is not good and astrology by itself is not a simple subject to learn.
Once you are familiar with basic concepts of astrology, i.e. when you are through with the initial phase of learning where a horoscope starts making sense, move on to books that are more involved. “Notable Horoscopes”, “Three Hundred Important Combinations” and good books at this stage. Such books are based on an assumption that the reader has basic background on horoscopes and astrology and some maturity to learn the yogas well and not apply them at face value. At this stage, always try to pick up a book with examples, either within the text or in a separate chapter. For each example, work it out independently and see if your line of reasoning matches that of the author’s. Unless the author is trying to introduce a totally new concept through the chart, your analysis should not be that far behind. Even if it is, do not lost heart. Only practice makes a man perfect.
You should avoid books on Western Astrology or the ones that are influenced by it, unless it is your purpose to compare the two systems. Always remember, there are move than enough avenues of learning and exploration in Vedic Astrology.
There are quite a few astrologers in India in recent times who have published books on their own original research. It is always a good idea to familiarize with teachings of such modern day gurus. Along with originality and freshness of ideas, they bring to the fore theories that are culturally more relevant in our times – e.g. they take into account the facts that medical procedures are far more advanced than even what Emperor Shaj Jahan had access to and they are readily available to the masses, marriageable age is more than 18 years etc.
Planetary combinations or yogas for astrologers are those that bestow qualities of patience, passion towards learning and self motivation on a person. If you have read through my entire article and have reached this last paragraph, chances are that you do have these qualities. Read on for my opinion on other books and if you are planning to take up this subject seriously, my best wishes are with you.