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What Is Vedic Astrology?

Vedic astrology comes from the Vedas, a system of knowledge invented by Indian Hindus around 1500 BCE. It relates objects in space and their movements to time, and studies their effect on humans and other creatures on Earth. In the beginning, Vedic astrology only referred to the motion of planets with respect to stars, but later on it started taking into account zodiac signs too. Zodiac signs are formed by the spherical path taken by planets as they move before the twelve astrological signs, which are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. These signs are formed by different patterns of stars, or constellations.

Vedic Astrology states that there are 27 distinct constellations consisting of 12 different zodiac signs, 9 planets, and 12 houses. Each house and planet makes up some facet of human life. When a human life begins, the 12 signs are placed among the 12 houses in some way and the 9 planets are placed in different houses. The course of a person’s life can be determined by this positioning. A pictorial representation of all this is called a horoscope chart, which is analyzed by Vedic Astrology. So a one line answer to the question “What Is Vedic Astrology?” is “Vedic Astrology is the science of studying the arrangements of the various matters in space in a horoscope chart and relating them to human and animal lives.”

Types of Vedic Astrology

There are 3 main branches of Vedic astrology, or Jyothisha

  • Siddhanta  also known as Astronomy : This branch takes Astronomy and its uses in Astrology into consideration. It has several rules used to compute the motions of planets and moons relative to different constellations, and also calculates the orbits taken by various astronomical bodies.
  • Samhita also known as Mundane Astrology : This branch covers a broad range of subjects. It predicts important affairs in the world such as war, natural disasters, political events, economics, and even elections. It also covers matters related to construction and the correct way to build a house (VaastuShaastra), animals, portents (warnings that something calamitous is about to happen, and omens.
  • Hora also known as Predictive Astrology, has 11 different sub-branches:
    • JaatakShaastra: This branch has also been termed ‘natal astrology’. It predicts the outcome of an individual’s life based on their personal horoscope.
    • Muhurt or Muhurtha: This branch is also known as electional astrology. It involves the determining of the perfect time to carry out an auspicious event (like a wedding), so as to reap the maximum benefits from it.
    • SwarShaastra: Also called phonetical astrology, it predicts the outcome of a day or life through a person’s breathing patterns. This is useful for people who don’t know their date, time, or place of birth. An example of this paradigm is that breathing through your left nose is ideal on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
    • Prashna: Also known as Horay astrology, this predicts outcomes based on the time and formulation of a question.
    • Ankjyotisha: Kabala, or Numerology, is a branch of astrology that studies numbers to calculate your life path and destiny.
    • Nasi Astrology: It’s an ancient branch of Astrology that gives precise details of one’s past, but tends to be inaccurate in terms of their future.
    • Tajik Shaastra: This branch is also known as VarshaPhal, or Annual Horoscopy. It looks into the aspects of your life based solely on your annual solar returns. This refers to the time the Sun returns to your exact natal position, with the signs in their original places.
    • Jaimini Sutras: This is an unconventional method of timing events derived from famous Indian astrologer, AcharyaJaimini. It is used by many around the world to predict major life events.
    • Nastjaatakam: This branch, also called Lost Horoscopy, is the practice of retracing and reconstructing lost horoscopes.
    • Streejaatak: Also known as female astrology, this is a branch of astrology that deals with the origins of a female’s life.

The Science of Vedic Astrology

The understanding we now have of Vedic Astrology lies in statistics and probability. Statistics deals with the correlation of two seemingly mutually exclusive events without knowing the cause of their interaction. This holds true for Vedic Astrology, where certain charts with combinations leading to a prediction turn out to be correct in 70 to 80% of charts having that combination. It’s not clear why this happens but statistics show that the events that are predicted hold a reasonable level of significance.

It’s a common notion that ancient Hindu scriptures and beliefs are based completely on mythologies with no scientific basis to them. This is not the case, even though we still haven’t been able to fully comprehend the physical laws behind these ancient methods. We are, however, fast approaching a better understanding of them.

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