Jyotisha – Vedic Astrology
Astrology and Astronomy of India
Jyotish, the astrology and astronomy of India, has a huge history as a grand, living tradition of divination passed from teacher to student orally for 5000+ years.A sacred art and science cognized by sages and saints, Jyotish has been used throughout millennia by Jyotishis and yogis, gurus and priests, as a premier tool for mapping the ebb and flow of karma and the movement of time.
The Sanskrit term Jyotiṣa (Jyotish) can be broken down and translated as “knowledge of light” , or “the lore of light”. This is a reference to the lights of the heavens, but is also, as Hart deFouw wrote in Light On Life, a reference to the light within us. It is through this light within that we gain the ”sight” with which to see the adṛṣṭa, or unseen realms of our lives, our karma. It is the job of the Jyotishi to develop both the knowledge of the outer lights through a lifetime of study of the movements of the heavens and the vigorous technical precepts of Jyotiṣa Ṣāstra. However it is also necessary to cultivate an inner mind-set through which divinity can flow and illuminate, vivify and inform the practical and outer side.Jyotish is as much a part of everyday living in India as is television in the west.
There is never a ritual, a rite or a commencement that is not done in accord with the principles of Jyotish. Most westerners are unaware of how prevalent this is in India and beyond, as it’s principles and applications are not easily understood to the uninitiated. Why is Jyotish so much a part of the fabric of sacred India?Jyotish is as old as time itself. In fact, our western methods of time keeping and calendar making find their origins in Jyotish, which is the astrology and astronomy of the Vedic culture.
While we in the West congratulate ourselves on having made scientific “discoveries” such as, the earth is not flat and that the earth revolves around the Sun, and not vice-versa, these notions were already written down at least 1000 years earlier in India and were understood as a rich and vibrant oral tradition probably 1000’s of years before that.
Another name for Jyotish is Kāla Śāstra, or the deep knowledge of Time. To understand consciousness we must understand the movements of consciousness and there exists no better tool than Jyotish to chart the oceans of time. Jyotish gives “sight” to what has been, what will be, and therefore gives us insight into what is.
Vedāṅga: A Limb of the Veda
It is for this reason that Jyotish is part of the Veda itself and will therefore always be used as a means of deep inquiry into Self. It is one of the six Vedāṅga, or limbs of the Veda, which are tools used to access the deep knowledge of the Veda itself. Each limb is anthropomorphized as a part of the body of the Veda and Jyotish is seen as the eyes of the Veda for its ability to navigate the oceans of time and space with great clarity. Therefore all those interested in Veda will have at least some knowledge of Jyotish.
Practically speaking Jyotish is, for Indians or westerners, a fantastic device for mapping our everyday lives and finding our direction for a lifetime. I have never encountered another form of divination in all my years of searching the world of esoteric or scientific inquiry that measure up to Jyotish’s capacity to see into a person with such swift and precise vision. I have seen people access inner mechanisms and blocks in one hour that might have taken months, or even years, to access through other means.
Understanding the unfolding of Karma is not a simple matter, but when we move in the slip-stream of a tradition we have less resistance and we can stand on the shoulders of the giants who have come before us to reach our goal.
Jyotiṣa Śāstra is a profound subject that can change your life! It can change how you see yourself and others and the world around you. Proper study requires time, but every step of the journey is eye-opening and life enriching.
Look at my Classes/Tutoring page for ways you can learn Jyotish!