Friday, August 15, 2008

What is Jyotish, Vedic Astrology?

Jyotish is the most time-tested system of astrology in the world. The Sanskrit word is rooted in "jyoti" which means light, as the light of knowledge. Jyotish signifies the "science of light". In western countries, Jyotish is often referred to as Vedic, Indian, or Hindu astrology. Jyotish knowledge can be traced back to the Vedic civilization in northern Bharat (also known as India). Indeed, Jyotish is a part of the vedic sciptures -- many manuscripts and translations of which are available.
We use the sidereal (according to the stars) positions of the planets against the backdrop of the relatively-fixed stars in Jyotish -- just as one "sees them in the sky", as astronomers do, and as do more than 90 per cent of astrologers in the world.
This is the most important difference between Vedic and tropical astrology. Tropical astrologers base their zodiac on the equinoxes instead. The result is that the positions of the planets they calculate continues to change with respect to the stars.
The arithmetical difference between planetary positions calculated sidereally and tropically is a value for what is called the precession of the equinoxes, or the Ayanaunsh. Today, this difference is 23 degrees 49 minutes and 17 seconds according to the official government calculation.
Planetary positions in the sidereal and tropical systems coincide approximately every 26,000 years, the last such occasion being about the beginning of the Christian era.
In Jyotish, the positions of the planets and other significant points are calculated with respect to a person's, or event's, birth data. Essentially, these are the time, date and place of birth. The results are then used to calculate numerous charts and tables -- about a hundred in all. It is the job of the astrologer to study them simultaneously and derive useful information based on the rules of interpretation created by our ancient sage-scientists. This study of the charts, a synthesis of information, can typically take about 10-15 hours and includes a decision about what remedial actions can be taken to enhance the person's life -- spiritually and materially.

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