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Institute of Vedic Science

Day 1




The first texts to be taught, heard and learnt in India were the Vedas, the sacred books of the Aryan peoples. The four Vedas, which are generally acknowledged to the source texts of what is usually known as Hinduism, are collections of hymns, or sacred songs, whose deep significance lies less in the literal meaning of their words than in their symbolic meaning, their rhythm and melody, and personal power of their reciter. The Vedas themselves may be considered living beings. Those who open themselves to these entities, by being initiated into their study by a guru who has served as their receptacle for many years, become filled with this deep knowledge. Unfortunately, even though a few Vedic traditions survive in India, there is substantial doubt that anyone living today fully knows the deep knowledge contained within the Vedas, for the keys to understanding their esoteric import started being lost well before the Christian era. Because even at their birth the Vedas were fully comprehensible only to the Rishis, the Seers who divinely cognized them developed six auxiliary disciplines called Vedangas (Limbs of the Veda). These Six Vedangas must study before one can attempt to comprehend the Vedas themselves; they are Vyakarana (Grammar), Chandas (Meter), Shiksha (Intonation), Nirukta (Etymology), Kalpa (Ritual) and Jyotish (Astronomy / Astrology). When the Veda is personified as a living being, Vyakarana is regarded as the face, Chandas the legs, Shiksha the breath, Nirukta the ears, Kalpa the hands, and Jyotish the eyes. Each Vedanga is a living being who can be obtained only through a guru. These beings, and others like them, which have sprouted from the Vedic corpus, are often generically termed Vidyas, a word that is derived from the same root as the word Veda. Jyotish is the Jyotir Vidya (the Lore of Light), a Vidya that can be had only from jyotishis, because Jyotish is the study of all facets of the lords of light: the Sun, Moon, planets and stars. One way in which deep knowledge is imparted to students of Jyotish is through observations and interpretations like these, which are stored in planetary stories and myths. Part


Basic Course Day 1

of the sadhana (spiritual path) of Jyotish is to learn these myths and stories help to integrate Jyotishs tenets into the pupils consciousness, which makes the model of reality, which is Jyotish become vividly real and solid. There is no doubt that the best way to learn Jyotish it to hear teaching stories at the doubt that of your guru. But because the tales themselves are also alive, they can speak softly to those who listen to them mindfully, even if they have no guru handy to amplify them. CLASSIFICATION OF ASTROLOGY There are Six Limbs to Astrology, just as there are Six Vedangas for the Vedas. Prashna Marga, a text on horary astrology, lists them as shown in Table below. Prashna Marga states that one conversant with all six branches of astrology will never err in predictions a tall order! Such an astrologer is a true daivajna (roughly, a knower of Gods intention). Jyotishis of this quality still exist but are very rare, even in India.

The Six Limbs of Astrology: Gola Ganita Jataka Prashna Muhurta Nimitta Spherical astronomy and direct observations; observational Astronomy Astronomical and astrological calculations Birth or natal astrology Answering questions without the use of a natal horoscope; horary Astrology Choosing astrologically auspicious beginnings for any endeavor; electional astrology Interpretation of omens

A thorough understanding and interpretation of omens requires ones intuition to be in full bloom. It is nearly impossible to do this without direct instruction from a skilled omenologist, thus making Nimitta the Jyotish limb most dependent on the oral tradition.


Institute of Vedic Science

MAIN BRANCHES OF ASTROLOGY The main branches of Astrology are: 1. Nadi Jyotish, 2. Parashari Jyotish, 3. Jaimini Jyotish, 4. Tantrik Jyotish and 5. Tajika Jyotish. 1. NADI JYOTISH No one knows when Nadi Jyotish originated? Legend has it that Indias rishis became so adept at Jyotish that they were able to generate the horoscopes of people who were not yet born, and to predict salient patterns in their lives. After these, rishis had produced a river of such birthcharts, the Gods, alarmed at this challenge to their omniscience, sent a great fire, which destroyed most of the collection. Those fragments of the Nadis that survived are handed down from parent to child in certain families of Indian astrologers who act as their custodians. These Nadi remnants are identified by their purported authors; among the best known are the Bhrigu Nadi, Parashara Nadi, Shuka Nadi and Chandra Nadi. 2. PARASHARI JYOTISH Parashari refers to the tradition of Jyotish enunciated by Parashara in his great work Brihat Parashara Hora Sara. In its current form this treatise contains in its 97 chapters a total of over 2,000 verses dealing with natal astrology. Other famous classical works, including Saravali, Jataka Parijata and Phaladipika, are elaborations of the Parashara system, which is the form of Jyotish that is most widely practiced today. 3. JAIMINI JYOTISH Maharishi Jaimini, a great Vedic Seer, is believed by some to have written the Jaimini Suttras, a work, which forms the foundation for this system. Today a relatively small minority of jyotishis in India practice the Jaimini style of Jyotish, though this fascinating style of interpretation is held in high esteem by many others who, knowingly or unknowingly, utilize some of its principle to augment Parashari Jyotish. While some of the fundamental principle of Jaimini Jyotish seem to have been adopted from the Parashari system, Jaimini Jyotish is also filled with interpretational principles which appear nowhere in Parasharas work. 4. TANTRIC JYOTISH If the origins of the Parashari and Jaimini system are unclear, them Tantric Jyotishs roots are utterly unknown. In fact, neither Tantric Jyotish nor Tantra, its parent, can be readily defined. Like Ayurveda, Tantra is said to be an offshoot of the Atharva Veda, the fourth of the four Vedas; but as yet no has a clear idea of the origins of the Atharva Veda, a hymnal filled with occult chants and charms. In an astrological context the word Tantric implies a mystical and intuitive attitude toward Jyotish. 5. TAJIKA JYOTISH Probably the most famous contribution of the Tajika School to the other styles of Jyotish is the technique of the solar return, which Indian Jyotishis have named Varsha Phala (the result of the year). Though Varsha Phala is not part of the Parashari tradition, it may one day succeed in becoming so if it sends its roots sufficiently deep into the Jyotir Vidya.


Basic Course Day 1

PRINCIPLES OF JYOTISH The Jyotish Vidya actually draws to herself those people she wants to possess her, by attracting them to a guru who already possesses her. The aspirant first tests the guru for knowledge and teaching ability, then the guru tests the aspirant for fitness to study the science. Once satisfied that the aspirant is worthy to be possessed by the Jyotir Vidya, the guru initiates the long years of oral training, which prepare the student for possession. The Jyotir Vidya herself directs the disciples studies through the guru until the aspirant becomes thoroughly fit to be possessed. Then, after the mentor ignites the Jyotir Vidya within the student, the spirit of Jyotish is brought to life within that students consciousness. The Jyotir Vidya then slowly settles into the disciples mind, and thereafter personally guides the fledgeling through the path of divination. Disciples who follow that path sufficiently far become able to comprehend the spirit of the astrological rules on their own. Then their every use of the rules becomes a way to honor Jyotishs spirit. Only after the student is filled with the Jyotir Vidya does he or she become ready to practice Jyotish. An eminent Jyotishi used to say, When you can see the jyoti [light], then you become a Jyotish, by which he meant both the external light of the stars and the planets and the internal light of the Jyotir Vidya. KARMA AND JYOTISH Though the Law of Karma is simply stated as you sow, so shall you reap it is no simplistic, tit-for-tat theory, nor is it an arbitrary human creation. The Law of Karma is another name for Newtons Third Law of Motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. As such, it is inherent in the universes structure: The doctrine of karman and phala, act and fruit, is less a product of mans sense of justice, that one shall be punished for what one has done, than a necessary consequence of the doctrine of the inherent efficacy of the acts. Everything does not happen all at once in our world, thanks to the inherent limitations of time, space and causation. A tree and the seed from which it sprang cannot exist simultaneously; the former must develop from the latter. Events occur in our universe according to a sequence, which is scheduled by the Law of Karma on the great calendar known as time. In living individual beings the Law of Karma acts primarily at the level of ahamkara. Humans, who have much more self-awareness than do animals or plants, have a proportionately greater ability to self-identify with their actions. What they sow and reap depends on the relative balance of the Three Gunas in their personalities. When Sattva predominates, a person performs altruistic karmas, unattached to their results, while a predomination of Rajas causes one to act from passion, blinded by desires. Those who act without thinking act from a predominance of Tamas. Only those whose minds are fixed solely on the Absolute remain untouched by the Three Gunas. Karmas are divided into four categories: 1. Sanchita (a collection of all karmas) 2. Prarbdha (the ready-to-be-experienced karmas) 3. Kriyamana (current karmas) 4. Agama (approaching karmas). All four types of karmas overlap one another.


Institute of Vedic Science



Sanchita (heaped together) Karma is the sum total of all past actions, known and unknown, that a being has performed and that are saved in his or her karmic account. Known karma is karma you are aware of having performed, while unknown karma is karma you are not conscious of having done. Unknown karma is a sort of cause-and-effect relationship, which is not easily known, is exponentially increased when the notion of the transmigration of souls, commonly called reincarnation, is factored into the karmic equation. Reincarnation assumes that actions performed in previous lives may well be the causes of effects experienced in this lifetime. Although it is not enunciated very clearly in the Vedas themselves, the doctrine of reincarnation has been an integral part of almost all Indian philosophies since Vedic times. 2. PRARABDHA KARMA Prarabdha Karma, that portion of Sanchita Karma, which is ready to be experienced by an individual during his her lifetime, represents the current effect of past actions which appear as fate or destiny. A woman who is simultaneously a daughter, a wife, a mother and a doctor does not at any particular moment experience all the results of the previous actions, which created these roles. She is instead predominantly a daughter only when with her parents, a wife only when with her husband, a mother only when with her children, and a doctor in her professional life alone. Similarly, an entity does not experience all of its Sanchita Karma at once; only that portion which has become ripe for experiencing will surface at any one time. 3. KRIYAMANA KARMA Kriyamana Karmas consist of the total potential effect created by current actions. People are not mere puppets, mechanically manipulated by the effects of their past actions; we can by exerting our will, create new actions in the present. Sanchita and Prarabdha Karmas are in a sense destined, or fated, because they are the product of past actions, which have matured. Our Kriyamana Karma is what we do, at any moment, with our capacity to will and to create; it is our free will. 4. AGAMA KARMA Agama Karmas, new actions that you contemplate as a result of insight, represent your capacity to envision future actions, whether or not you choose to implement them. In the above example, Agama Karmas are being performed once the doctor dreams of or plans for surgical correction of her infertility. It is said that for success you must plan your work and work your plan; the former is an Agama Karma, the latter a Kriyamana Karma,


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KARMIC INTRICACIES Jyotishis attempt in their analyses to interpret the varieties and intensities of a persons karmas in particular domains of life. Sanchita Karmas are assumed to form a constant karmic background that is not totally comprehensible by ordinary means, Jyotish included. It is Sanchita Karma that prompts Indians to claim that the ways of karma are unfathomable. Prarabdha, Kriyamana and Agama Karmas are, however, knowable through Jyotish. Jyotish assumes that the human condition always arises from a dynamic interaction between fate and free will. Fate is fundamentally an expression of the Sanchita and Prarabdha Karmas, and free will the result of Kriyamana and Agama Karmas. Agama and Kriyamana Karmas eternally evolve into Sanchita and Prarabdha Karmas with the passage of time, the axle that turns the great wheel of karma. What was done by free will today acts as the cause of what is experienced as fate tomorrow. Though no one is ruled by fate alone, it may seem so until true free will emerges. Only when free will emerges can the quantity and qualities of effort invested in modifying a situation equal or exceed the quantity and quality of effort that created the situation; only then can transformation, as opposed to simple change in life, be achieved. The quantity and quality of effort required to after previous karmas depends on the intensity of the Prarabdha Karma. The three degrees of karmic intensity which may apply to one, many, or all areas of a persons life are: 1. Dridha (fixed) Karma 2. Dridha Adridha (fixed/non-fixed) Karma 3. Adridha (non-fixed) Karma 1. DRIDHA KARMA Dridha Karmas give fixed results because they are so difficult to change that are practically non-changeable. These karmas, pleasurable or painful, are destined to be experienced because of the intensity of their causes. Most people have noticed that from time to time an experience simply happens, despite all efforts to avoid its occurrence. If, for example, a pregnant woman who has enjoyed perfect health before and during her pregnancy and who has had the best of medical care delivers a child with a congenital deformity, a Jyotishi might well find that she was experiencing Dridha Prarabdha Karma concerning children, and that her child was experiencing Dridha Prarabdha Karma concerning its body. Remember that this kind of karma may be pleasurable as well as painful; as we all know, those who seem the least deserving are often those who get ahead in life. Dridha Karmas appear in a horoscope where confluence exists. Confluence occurs wherever many astrological factors converge in their indications. The greater the number of indications for good OR for bad in a particular area of a horoscope, the more obvious its results will become. 2. DRIDHA- ADRIDHA KARMA Dridha-Adridha Karmas occur wherever some (but not most) horoscopic factors relating to a particular area converge in their indications. These karmas, good OR bad, can be changed through the concentrated application of creative will, though considerable effort is required. They give fixed or non-fixed results according to the quantum of effort employed. If the congenital deformity in the child mentioned above is corrected or substantially alleviated through surgery, prolonged diet, intensive exercise, or some other corrective, then its Prarabdha Karma was of the Dridha-Adridha variety.


Institute of Vedic Science

3. ADRIDHA KARMA Adridha Karmas are said to give non-fixed results because they are easily altered. Wherever no confluence exists in a horoscope, Adridha Karmas are present. This state is skin to having a clean slate on which you may write what you please. When a child of normal physical exercises and her body responds with increased strength so that the gain is directly proportionate to the effort made, and no unforeseen hindrances or other unanticipated variances occur, it is a case of Adridha Prarabdha Karma in the area of her physique.


Basic Course Day 1

ASTROLOGY AND REMEDIES Jyotish can often diagnose the good and bad times one will encounter in life, but it is upaya, which can help to augment the good and mitigate the bad. The existence of upaya shows that Jyotish is anything but fatalistic, for, if everything were totally predestined, how could remedies exists? A well-motivated person who is given a method by which to neutralize some undesirable karmas will implement that method for whatever time and with whatever intensity is necessary, but a poorly motivated person will either lack the discipline to follow through or will find obstacles cropping up regularly to interrupt the process. Obstacles to an upaya occur particularly for Dridha Karmas, since the force of the karma strongly discourages a change in direction in that area of life; the karmas will themselves interfere with the persons motivation to implement the remedy. When the karma is non-fixed, the Jyotishi will expect immediate change on commencement of an upaya. If the karmas are fixed/non-fixed, results are anticipated after some concentrated efforts, often after a period of forty days. But even for those who do persevere, transformation of fixed karmas may not necessarily be expected during this lifetime, though a slight modifying of results will perhaps be secretly anticipated. The methods of upaya are almost endless, but a partial list includes: mantras (sacred syllables, hymns, or prayers) which flow from the heart, devoid of elaborate ritual; recitation of ritually elaborate private and/or public mantras that may go on foe days, months or years; the wearing of specific gemstones or other objects; the consumption of particular foods or other elaborately prepared substances; the observance of fasts and other vows; worship of the fire, the planets, and certain deities; and specific acts of charity. PLANETS AND KARMA Planet is the best of a poor crop of English synonyms for the Sanskrit word graha. A graha is literally a Seizer, one of a group of astral forces, which can enter your organism and take control of your being. Like vidyas, the grahas grasp and possess you, but they do so in ways, which are usually less pleasant and productive than are possessions by vidyas. A graha grabs hold of your being with its emanations and directs you, for better or worse, to perform particular actions that you might not otherwise perform, in pursuit of goals, which may not agree with your personal dharma. The grahas, who are the agents of the Law of Karma, direct you to experience at specific moments the reactions to the actions you have previously performed. Your horoscope is a map of your karmas, drawn to the specifications of the Nine Seizers.


Institute of Vedic Science

JYOTISH IN ACTION Natal astrology gauges Prarabdha Karma by constructing a snapshot of the heavens at the time and place of a birth, which is then interpreted to predict the course of that life, a life which should evolve along a totally predictable pattern if fate is in fact immutable. But this is rarely true in practice. A good Jyotishi makes predictions about configurations in the natal horoscope, which indicate the presence of fixed karmas in one or many areas of life. One fundamental error that fledgeling jyotishis commonly make is to predict dire or wonderful results from a single bad or good influence in a horoscope. Fixed karmas exist only in those areas of life in which the several different astrological factors, which signify those areas all confluently, suggest the same sorts of results. Since Dridha Karma is very difficult to transform, such predictions will usually be correct. Natal astrology can also indicate how long such Dridha Karma will last, when it will be most and when least active, and whether it will yield pleasurable or painful results. Predictions in those areas of life in which the natal horoscope shows Dridha-Adridha or Adridha Karma become progressively more tenuous as life progresses, because all the actions that have been performed after birth are transforming, positively or negatively, the potential results. In these areas the Jyotishi employs prashna (horary astrology) to gauge the potential effects inherent in the Kriyamana and Agama Karmas by casting a horoscope for the moment at which a question is asked or an event occurs. A horary horoscope thus gauges the accumulated influence of free will in ones life up to the point of the reading. The information garnered in both horoscopes, natal and horary, is then blended for the reading. If, for example, the question is about marriage, and the natal horoscope indicates DridhaAdridha Karma, then the horoscope calculated for the moment the question is put to the astrologer will reveal what energies have been activated by the individual with regard to marriage in the time between his or her birth and the asking of the question. As it happens, when a natal horoscope shows fixed karma in one area of life, the same sort of confluence of indications will usually be present when the same area in investigated via the horary horoscope. Once a conclusion is drawn about the nature of the karmas in the area of life under investigation, Muhurta (electional astrology) is used to maximize the effectiveness of the Kriyamana and Agama Karmas selected for use as remedies, since Muhurta is an astrological method for optimizing free will. Nimitta (menology) spontaneously enhances natal, horary and electional astrology when they, due to karmic complexities, cannot provide the detail necessary for making effective decisions. Consideration of omens permits a Jyotishi to take the factor of grace (or its lack) into account when making an astrological interpretation of a life.