Astrology - THE HINDU PORTAL - Spiritual heritage Rituals and Practices

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Astrology is one of the most important and widely used Vedic sciences. It is largely derived from one of the six Vedangas (see The Four Vedas) and is intimately related to the notions of reincarnation and karma (see Reincarnation and Samsara and The Law of Karma).

Attitudes towards this science reflect notable differences between the predominant Eastern and Western world-views. Whereas most people in the West treat astrology with some scepticism, in India it is considered a respectable science, and texts eulogise authentic astrologers as the most learned brahmanas. The West generally equates belief in subtle phenomena with superstition, whereas the East frames it within the context of "subtle science."

There are different schools of astrology, but Rishi Parashara is generally considered the foremost authority. Indians often claim that Western astrology, coming via the Greeks, was originally from India. Most Indian families still request a local brahmana to cast a chart for the new-born baby.

The Uses of Vedic Astrology
 Choosing a baby's name. The first syllable is determined by the position of the moon at birth.
 Predicting important events in a person's life and assessing the person's areas of potential
   (from the birth chart).
 Choosing auspicious times to perform rites of passage and other important ceremonies or to start
   new projects.
 Assessing marriage compatibility between prospective partners.
 Answering specific queries as an aid to personal counselling (by constructing a chart for the time
   of the query).

Kala - Kala or time is defined in many ways. Kala helps us to perceive change of state in an object. Taking the time to blink the eyelid is one unit(nimisha). The following table describes the time or Kala: 18 nimesas = 1 Kastha 30 kashthas = 1 Kala 30 Kalas = 1 Kshna 12 Kshanas = 1 Muhurta 30 Muhurtas = 1 Ahoratra (1 day + 1 night) 30 Ahoratras = 1 Masa (month) 12 Masas = 1 Samvatsara (year) Kala has been considered as a Dravya, a fundamental substance of the universe, by some philosophies like that of Jainism. The Sankhyakarika(50) considers Kala as a form of Tusti(contentment), the satisfaction that comes as a result of thinking that in course of time, mukti or liberation will definitely come. Kala is also one of the names of the Yama, the god of death. Bhagavathgitaequate Kala with God himself.

The science of astrology originated in Bharat, also known as "India," and has  been practiced continuously for more than 8,000 years. Records of astrological  knowledge are to be found in the history of all nations and among the relics of  all civilizations, past and present.

CHINA  Aside from the Vedic records, perhaps the oldest records of astrological  practice are to be found in China. The Chinese have been as scrupulous in  preserving their records as the Hindus of Bharat.

CHALDEA  Although mention is made by later writers of famous astrologers in  Chaldea, particularly Berosus, who lived about 3,000 BCE, no actual manuscripts  of Berosus are available if indeed such writings were ever made. But,  undoubtedly the science of astrology was practiced at a very remote period in  the history of the Chaldeans and the astrology of the Greeks and Romans was  directly derived from this source.

BABYLON  The first mention of astrology as it was practiced by the Babylonians  appears to place the period at about 2,500 BCE, but no actual records of  literature concerning the Babylonian contribution to the science have been  discovered to date.

EGYPT  It is evident that the Egyptian knew and used astrology many thousands of  years before the time of Christ, and the earliest Egyptian astrologer mentioned  is Petosiris, a priest who lived during the reign of Nicepsos about 800 BCE. If  Petosiris wrote any books on astrology, however, they have not been found. The  earliest Egyptian authority on astrology whose works are available today and  actually form the basis on which modern astrology is practiced in the Western  world was Claudius Ptolemy. Ptolemy was born at Pelusium in Egypt, about 70 CE,  and attended the school of Alexandria. His Tetrabilos is the source of many of  the errors which have been perpetuated in the modern systems.

PERSIA  The earliest Persian astrologer of whom any record exists was Al Hakim.  This famous astrologer lived and practiced his science during the reign of  Darius. Al Hakim is reputed to have written many books, th most widely mentioned  by later historians being the Judicia Gimaspia. If this work or any other  writings of Al Hakim exist today, they have not been made available for general  inspection. However, Al Hakim achieved fame because of some amazing predictions,  not the least popular of them being the birth of Jesus.

ARABIA  Astrology is and always was held in great veneration by the Arabs. This  region is the birthplace of many learned astrologers and wise men. They traveled  extensively and brought their knowledge with them into Greece and Rome. Some of  their writings have come down to the West through the Greeks and Romans, but in  such fragmentary form that they are of little practical use today. Such  fragments as have been preserved, however, furnish indubitable proof that the  technique of the Arabian astrologers was of a very high order, indeed. Records  of a nomadic people, though, are difficult to obtain.

BHARAT (India)  In Bharat records exist today which point clearly to a highly  developed knowledge of astrology as far back as about 6,500 BCE and actual  manuscripts are still extant which were written about 3,700 BCE. SOme of the  originals have been destroyed or lost but actual copies of these originals were  made by alter astrologers.

These are to be found in the libraries of Maharajas  and in the libraries of certain states in Bharat. Actual, detailed records of  astrological science are continuous from about 6,500 BCE. One of the earliest  authors of Vedic astrology, copies of whose work are still to be found, is Pita  Maha who wrote a treatise on astrology called Pita Maha Siddhant(a).

He lived  and wrote this book about 3,000 BCE. Five hundred years later, another  author-astrologer named Vashishtth(a) wrote several books on astrology,  astronomy and philosophy. His most important work, and one which was used as an  authority by all subsequent writers on the subject, is Vashishtth(a)  Siddhant(a), but he wrote may other equally erudite and authoritative texts such  as the Panch Siddhant(a) Kosh(a), Soory(a) Siddhant(a), Nityanand(a), Brhat  Jatak(a), Aryabhat, Mansagari, Ranveer, and the Laghu Parashar. E. M. Plunkett  writes in his book Ancient Calendars and Constellations: "The opinion of the  Greek writers at the beginning of the Christian era may be quoted as showing the  high estimation in which Indian astronomy was held. In the Life of Appollonius  of Tyana, the Greek philosopher and astrologer, written by Philostratus about  210 CE, the wisdom and learning of Appollonius are set high above his  contemporaries because he had studied astronomy and astrology with the sages of  India."

In a book called You and Your Hand by the late Count Louis Hamon, known  better as Cheiro, this statement is found: "People who in their ignorance  disdain the wisdom of ancient races forget that the great past of India  contained secrets of life and philosophy that following civilizations could not  controvert, but were forced to accept. For instance, it has been demonstrated  that the ancient Hindus understood the precession of the equinoxes and made the  calculation that it [a complete cycle] took place once in every 25,870 years.

The observation and mathematical precision necessary to establish such a theory  has been the wonder and admiration of modern astronomers. They, with their  modern knowledge and up-to-date instruments, are still quarrelling among  themselves as to whether the precession, the most important feature in  astronomy, takes place every 25,870 years or every 24,500 years. The majority  believe that the Hindus made no mistakes, but how they arrived at such a  calculation is as great a mystery as the origin of life itself."

Also See:
 Vedic Astrological tables and Muhurtas Timing - Good Yogas for good activities
 12 types Kaal Sarp ( Dosh )
 108 - The number of Auspicious for Hindus
 Hindu Calendar

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