Vedic Astrology
Vedic Astrology is a branch (anga) of the Veda, called Jyothish, meaning ‘the science of (spiritual) light’. It is considered part of the matriarchal spiritual tradition. It must have been as old as the earliest Veda Sakhas.

The Vedic Astrology was initially Lunar Astrology. The lunar zodiac is considered composed of 27 Nakshatras or Lunar Mansions. The days are named after each of the Nakshatras in a serial order, repeating without end. The Moon is considered the most important astrological ‘planet’ and the Nakshatra is the most important sign.

The Moon is considered to rule over the mind and emotions, those parts of the self which are experienced, and change continuously. The Moon is, therefore, considered to have a more consistent and profound effect on a person or a society than the other astrological ‘planets’.

After the advent of Alexander’s invasion of India, there was an exchange of ideas between the Vedic Scholars of India and the Greek Astrologers. This resulted eventually in the adoption by the Vedic Astrology of the Sun signs the Greeks had inherited from the ancient Babylonians.

As a result, the Vedic Astrology, Jyothish, has developed into a synthesis of Lunar and Solar Astrology, based upon the Sidereal zodiac. This is different from the Western Astrology which incorporates only the Tropical Zodiac and is exclusively solar-based.

The impact of the synthesis evolved by the Vedic Astrology is that, in India, the astrologers take the Solar as well as Lunar signs for determination of auspiciousness or otherwise of the events that follow in one’s life or the evolution of a society.

The Sidereal Zodiac adopted by the Vedic Astrology is a static one in contrast to the Tropical Zodiac followed in Western Astrology which is variable. In Western Astrology, all the signs move a little every year in such a way that the first point of Aries will always coincide with the Spring Equinox on March 21. In Vedic Astrology, on the other hand, the signs are fixed. According to the Sidereal Zodiac, on March 21, the Sun is near the beginning of the sign Pisces, and heading into the sign of Aquarius.

In Vedic Astrology, the Nakshatras are the astrological signs of the Lunar Zodiac, which are 27. According to the Zodiac, the Moon is in a different one each day of the Lunar month. The signs are repeated the same way the next Lunar month, and so on. In Vedic Astrology, the Nakshatra the Moon is in, at the time of the birth of a person, is the most important sign to read his future life, more important than the Sun sign.

Vedic Astrology is a scientific tool for predicting and understanding the destiny of an individual or even a society. As for an individual, if the date, the correct time and the exact location, with reference to meridian co-ordinates, of birth are known, it is possible to give a very accurate predication of his way of life and the important events therein. This is mainly for the reason of synthesis of the lunar and the solar signs, developed in Vedic Astrology.

The Rasi-chakra, the natal chart, along with the Vargas and the Dasas, the planetary cycles, gives a complete picture as to how one’s life will unfold. The Rasi-chakra means literally ‘the circle of (astrological) signs’. But, in fact, the chart is drawn up in a square format. It has twelve Houses related to the Sun and the Planets. The chart contains the Sun signs.

Each of the twelve Houses of a Rasi-chakra has its own chart of twelve Houses. These sub-divisions of each House are called its Vargas. These are also known as ‘harmonic’ charts. The Varga provides subtle information regarding the particular House. For instance, the Turyamsa, the Varga of the fourth House, will provide more information about one’s home and family than the fourth House alone can furnish.

The Dasas are the planetary cycles. They divide a person’s life into a series of cycles. The period a Dasa appears in one’s life is determined by one’s Nakshatra. It may happen that several Dasas of planets may arise concurrently, or overlap. How a Dasa will unfold is determined by the position of the ruling planet in the Rasi-chakra.

Two important planets of the Vedic Astrology are Rahu and Ketu which are known as the North and the South Nodes of the Western Astrology. Rahu and Ketu are the northern and the southern nodal points of the ecliptic path of the Sun (as visually perceived) intersected by the path of the Moon. They are the points where the Sun and the Moon converge to form solar and lunar eclipses. Mythlogically, Rahu and Ketu are the two halves of the Dragon which swallows the Sun at the time of an eclipse. They are termed the Dragon’s Head and Tail.

Rahu is the Dragon’s materialistic nature. Whichever House Rahu occupies in one’s Rasi-chakra, it gives material benefit to one during that Dasa. In contrast, Ketu is the Dragon’s spiritual nature. During the Dasa of the House it occupies, it provides spiritual experience. Ketu is, therefore, known as the ‘Moksha and Jnana Karaka’, the indicator of enlightenment and intuitive spiritual wisdom. It may bless the individual with tremendous psychic and spiritual endowments. During its Dasa, the individual may experience spiritual uplift, psychic powers (siddhis) and even enlightenment.

Vedic Astrologers had used Astrology, in the past, primarily to predict the most auspicious times for Vedic rituals; or they had used their observations of the stars and planets to make general predictions concerning large groups of people, kingdoms, results of wars among kings, the impendency of disasters natural or man-made, etc. Over a period of time, they began to chart individual horoscopes. Later it has become customary to draw up the chart of a new born baby. This has helped several parents in naming the children after the Nakshatras of their birth, and also raising them according to the rightful path or dharma as indicated in the astrological charts.

The Vedic Astrology, based on the Rasi-chakra consisting of 12 Sun signs and the sub-divisional or harmonic charts numbering 12 based on each of the signs in the Rasi-chakra, predicts, in a scientific way, all facets of one’s life experience. The sub-divisional Houses, the Vargas, are the Houses of Dharma, Moksha, Kama, Artha, etc. An experienced, learned and intuitive scholar can integrate the information emerging from the charts, and give predictions which can be exactly true.