One of the most debated topics among the people of science and others is the validity of Astrology. I have dealt with some of relevant intricacies in my article 8) Astrology and Karma Theory. Debates are un-ending. But to a student who wants to learn and apply, the only proof needed is “self-check”. To do that one needs to know the language of the science/art of astrology. In this series of “Astrology Basics”, I will be expounding on the subject as revealed to humanity by the earlier explorers and truth seekers (whom we call seers or sages). So, those who wish to “learn” the subject are welcome to enjoy this series.
The subject of astrology is very intimately connected with the world scriptures. The Babylonians, Greeks, Egyptians, Indians, etc., have all explored the astrological mysteries in their works. The story of Hercules, for example, is grand exploration of astrological science (ref: The Labours of Hercules by Alice A. Bailey). But among those civilizations that are presently surviving, the vēdic system of astrology is in its complete and coherent form. But the same secrets have been propounded by the modern western seers like “Alan Leo”, “Rafael”, etc., in their astrological treatises. Most people think that western astrology and vēdic system of astrology are different. But it is not so. We will see in the following sections how it is so! But to what level the present westerners and Indians have brought down the divine art of astrology, is very saddening to speak about. So, let us once again go to the roots and immerse in the glorious science of LIGHTS as propounded by the ancient seers.
In the modern times, the system of astrology followed in India is named “Vēdic Astrology”. But the astrology expounded by vēdās themselves is in bits and pieces. Unless we know the “key”, we can not unlock the astrological mysteries in vēdās. But, over the time, vēdic seers have developed a systematic compendium of all the astrological marvels into one single key by the name “Vēdāṃga Jyautiṣa”. This is one of the most important keys to unlock any branch of wisdom in this world. That is why it is called as the “Eye of the Vēda” i.e., it is as important to a truth seeker as our eye is to us. But in the name of “Vēdic Astrology” there is a lot of stupidity that is being publicized by the pseudo spiritualists. The only way to check is to go to the roots of the vēda and validate for coherence. When ever possible I will also give such hints. Without this check, the speculations will just remain our fantacies!
Why to Learn Astrology?:
What is the first thought that you get when you hear or see the name “Astrology” ? I really bet that it is “to predict future”. Almost every person knows astrology for its association with predictions. Is astrology really a subject related to predictions? Let us see:
- Q: Why should we predict?
- A: To know an outcome of a future event.
- Q: If you know the outcome, can you change it?
- A: Well, we will at least try to.
- Q: If you can change the outcome, then is not the prediction wrong? And, if you can not change it, what is the use of predicting?
- A: -_- dude! please don’t eat my brain by asking such tough questions. Just tell me can we or can we not predict!!!!
See, the last question is very important to understand properly. If astrology were related to predictions, then what is the use of it unless we can do something with the predictions? And if not, then what actually is astrology all about?
Vrāhamihira, one of the great expounders of astrological science, says in his treatise that the the science of astrology is like a boat that is helping him to cross the unfathomable life of Cosmos! To keep it simple, imagine there is a dark room with lot of stuff in it. You need to go from one end to another. There are two ways you can do this. Either be a hero and just walk through by stumbling upon the many obstacles. Or, you can borrow a torch and walk safely. In the both scenarios, the room and the obstacles remain same. The only thing changed is the way you reached the other end. When you have a torch, you could easily pass through compared to the situation where you do not have the torch.
The usage of Astrology is also in exact same lines. The events of life are unknown to us. But, there is a way to know the way the events would unfold. That way or as it is called, “The language of the GODS” is nothing but the science of astrology. When you know the way events are unfolding, you can make a conscious effort and be ready to embrace them. When you are ready, you won’t be much effected by a speed breaker (say when you are in a car). But when you are NOT ready, your tongue might get in between your teeth or your neck may sprain! Such is the difference between a conscious living and an unconscious living! So, the science of astrology lets you be ready and in most cases suggests solutions to reduce the magnitude of the effect of a future event. Say for example, if the karma is in such a way that one is to be bitten by a snake, the knowledge and “conscious effort to nullify the so called negativity by prescribed solutions” will leave them with just a bite of scorpion or an ant! The bite is inevitable, but the magnitude can be varied!
The above example is in relation to a personal mundane life. I call it “Mundane Astrology”, that which shed light on our mundane life. It is very important to live a happy mundane life because only when we are happy, can our soul evolve without disturbances. When you are hungry, does the name of the lord pleases you? But when your hunger is satisfied, we will be ready to listen to any amount of glory of the lord!
Another reason to learn astrology is to understand the wisdom branches and unlock your own self into the LIGHT of the wisdom. By having the torch of astrology, we can shed light into our own spiritual evolution. We can also understand the evolution of species, planets, solar systems, stars, galaxies, etc. All this is already hinted to us in form of stories and allegories. For example, refer the stories of “Dhruva” in Bhagavatam or the stories of Hercules in Greek mythology! They are not stories of one person, but stories of Cosmic order! Such a branch of astrology which helps for spiritual evolution, by linking with cosmic order, is called by the seers as “Spiritual Astrology”.
How does Astrology Work?
Before answering this, we need to first know how LIFE is being formed. Do we know where the “self” exists before it is physically manifested? Is it in the ova or sperm? As I understood from scriptures, it is in neither. It exists in a different “domain of existence or Plane of existence” wandering about in its own dimension. But, when the karma is ripe for the “self” to manifest, the impulse in necessary couple will come to copulate. This impulse can not be reasoned by anyone. Ask any person who spends a night with their spouse “Why did you copulate”. The only answer will be, “Because I had an urge or impulse”. Even if one wants to say “I chose to do so!”, we can ask on “Why did you choose to do so?” and loop it back to answer-less question. That is because, the impulse in its un-manifest state is not ours, but HIS!
Anyways, coming back to our topic, when the time is ripe, the necessary sperm will get vitalized by what is called as “OJAS” in the vēdās. This vitalization happens only when “time is ripe”. Such a sperm which is vitalized, takes the OVA as the ground in which it sprouts. This fusion is what causes the attraction of a “SOUL or SELF” into the act of fusion. That wandering “SELF” is brought to the physical domains at that moment into the EGG of creation. So, now the sperm acted as a seed and ova as a ground and the self as the LIFE-element. What is the role of the CONFIGURATION? It acts as the environment in which the seed sprouts. This is imprinted on the layers of its psychic SHELL. Of course a human is born to human but, the way a human evolves in the EGG from the single cell to the human of 120 years (complete LIFE) is described by the “IMPRINT of CONFIGURATION” on the EGG SHELL. This in summary is the way of occurrence of LIFE as per my understanding of the scriptures.
Now, there are two ways to look at How astrology works.
- Direct: Imagine the globe of space with many stars and planets around you at the time you are fertilized in the womb. This “CONFIGURATION” of planets, stars, galaxies, etc., as we described above have a “FORCE” or “FIELD” that gives a nourishing and rearing effect to the SOUL that evolves in the likliness of the configuration. So, knowing the CONFIGURATION will help us to know the way of evolution.
- Indirect: “Everything is because of KARMA”, a very widely used statement. It is true. But that does not imply that we are bound to chain of actions and reactions. There is an element of Free-WILL always. What KARMA does is to give a “Tendency” to the nature of the soul. What the Free-WILL does is to attune/modify that tendency in accordance with our own understanding of GOOD and BAD. This friction between our NATURE and Free-WILL is the struggle of LIFE. But, what the planets, stars, etc., do is to let us “know” our own evolving nature. Thus, our free-WILL can be molded. The “CONFIGURATION” described above, acts as a CLOCK in space. Just like knowing the time on our wall clock lets us carry out our daily routine, knowing the cosmic clock (configuration of planets,stars, etc) will help us manage our life routine.
In the first view, the cosmic entities, like sun, planets, etc., are part takers in shaping our life whereas in the second view, the cosmic entities are just “indicators or hands of clock” that lets us know about the already destined evolution of the soul. Both views are great! I personally prefer the first one because there are ample examples in the Vēdās as to how planets are conscious deities (Like we associate MOTHER to EARTH or Sage SHUKRA to Venus, etc.). I will leave the choice to the reader though. Because, the end result is same in both the views – i.e., we will understand the “Dark Room” with the torch of astrology and we will be able to pass the obstacles of life carefully!
In this introductory part, we have touched upon the various fundamentals of astrology. In the next article let us go into the basic elements of astrology like sidereal concepts, precision of equinoxes, division of constellations, etc. Stay tuned!