Purpose of Vedic Astrology
Vedas are the oldest literature known to human beings and the history of Astrology traces back to Vedic times, lakhs of years ago from now. Astrology is ‘VedaChakshu’, the guiding eye for molding the future and attaining self- realization. The fundamentals of Vedic Astrology were believed to have been instituted by Brahma, the creator. This knowledge was then passed down to various Rishis and to man. Jyotisha Shastra, Vedic Astrology, in its current form, is thought to have been written several thousand years ago by Maharishi Parashara, although, the work have even have existed several thousand years more prior to that in oral form. Parashara’s book, “Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra” is the primer on Vedic Astrology and most scholars view Parashara today as the father of mainstream Vedic Astrology.
Planets are called ‘Grahas’ in vedic Astrology. Graha means that which catches. Grahas are those which catch the human beings and shed their influence on them. Grahas affect all inanimate and animate objects in this world.
The purpose of Jyotisha Shastra is to avoid problems before they arise. The aphorism, “Pull weeds early” describes a major purpose of astrology. Another quote states, “If you want to get rid of a snake, get rid of it when it is really small”. In fact, Patanjali, a famous Indian philosopher who wrote the “Yoga Sutras”, stated that it was important to know how to “avoid the danger which has not yet come”. A good astrologer uses the tools of Vedic Astrology to forecast the times to promote events in one’s life or to pull back, recognizing the indications point to some obvious serious risk.
Another greatness of Jyotisha Shastra, Vedic Astrology lies in providing remedial measures for various problems faced by human beings. The remedies are mentioned by sages in various works and also in Vedas. But the suitability of a remedy for a case is to be judged by a competent astrologer.
The Introductory slokas of the Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, the great classic of Vedic astrology authored by Maharishi Parasara starts as below,
“Once upon a time, offering his obeisances to all knowing sage Parsara and with folded hands, Maitreya asked him: O venerable, Astrology which is the supreme limb of the Vedas, has three divisions, viz. Hora, Ganita and Samhita. Even amongst the said three divisions, Hora is still far excellent. I desire to know of its glorious aspects from you. Kindly relate them to me.”
The Shisya (student) of the Maharishi, Mitreya rishi describes Jyotisha or Vedic astrology as the supreme limb of the Vedas. Originally there is one Veda, which is said to have emanated from the breath of Lord Mahavishu, and was later divided into four branches by Maharshi Vedavyasa for easier comprehension. The four branches are the Rik, Sama, Yajur and Atharva Vedas, which contain the hyms or mantras recited by the four priests preforming a Yajna (vedic sacrifice).
The auxiliary knowledge necessary for the proper performance of the Vedic rituals is given in the six corollaries of the Vedas called Vedangas. They are mentioned by Parijata Harihara in hisPrasna Marga as follows:
“ The Vedas have six limbs, viz. Jyotisha, Kalpa, Nirukta, Siksha, Vyakarana and Chanda. For the Vedas, the six important limbs, viz. the feet, the face, the hands, the eyes, the nose, and the ears are represented by Chanda, Vyakarana, Kalpa, Jyotisha, Siksha and Nirukta respectively. As astrology is the eye of the Vedas, it is given the pride of place. No person possessing all the organs intact but without eyesight can have individuality.”
Therefore, although astrology is a subordinate part of Vedic knowledge, it still ocuppies a very preeminent position, because with its help one can foresee the results of his actions.