Vedic Astrology & its divisions
Sage Maitreya mentions the three branches of astrology, namely Hora, Ganita and Samhita,which are elaborated upon by Harihara as follows:
“Ancient astrological science is divided into three Skandhas or six Vedangas. The three Skandhas are Ganita, Samhita and Hora. Sages have classified the great science of astrology into six Vedangas, viz. Jataka, Gola, Nimitta, Prasna, Muhurta and Ganita. Ganita Skandha deals with Gola and Ganita. Hora Skandha deals with horoscopy, Prasna, Muh¡rta and a part of Nimitta. Samhita Skandha deals elaborately with Nimitta. Samhita also deals with the varying fortunes of the people, changes in weather and progress of the animal kingdom. It sketches also the nature and shape of meteors, shooting stars and all the wonderful natural phenomena.”
The six Angas of Vedic astrology are the following:
- Ganita: Mathematical calculations connected with the movement and positions of the planets within the zodiac.
- Gola: Spherical astronomy, resulting from the spherical shape of the planets and their movements around their axes and orbits
- Jataka: Radical astrology, or analysis of the birth chart, which includes all the general rules of horoscope reading.
- Pras na: Query astrology, or analysis of charts erected for the time and place of putting a question before the astrologer.
- Muhurta: Analysis of favorable and unfavorable moments to begin any activity.
- Nimitta: Reading of omens, bodily signs, behavior or humans, animals and natural phenomena.
Harihara also mentions that Vedic astrology can be divided into Pramana and Phala. Astronomical calculations come under Pramana (proof) as they deal basically with astrophysical characteristics of the planets. This is still important for a Jyotisha, because these calculations will lie in the foundation of the astrological interpretations. The astronomical interpretations themselves come under Phala (fruits) as they actually delineate the fruits of the native’s karma, or activities performed in his previous lifetime.
The oldest available book on Astrology is ‘Rigjyothisha’, written by Lagadha.
There are 18 pioneers in Astrology, who contributed for its development. They are: 1. Surya, 2. Pitamaha, 3. Vyasa, 4. Vasishta, 5. Atri, 6.Arasara, 7. Kasyapa, 8. Narada, 9. Garga, 10. Mareechi, 11.Manu, 12. Angeerasa, 13. Lomasa, 14. Poulisa, 15. Chyavana, 16. Yavana, 17. Bhrigu, and 18.Saunaka.
Varahamihira (123 AD) wrote ‘Brihat Samhita’, a great work on Astronomy and Astrology. There are 105 chapters and 4000 verses in this book. He has shown how Astrology can be applied for the welfare of public.
Aryabhatta-I (476 AD) wrote ‘Aryabhateeya’, which comprise a great deal of Astronomy, Mathematics and Astrology. Even Astronomy of this book is spread to Arab countries. Aryabhatta-II (950 AD) wrote ‘Mahasiddhanta’, where he explained more clearly about calculation part of Astrology.
Bhaskara-I (629 AD) wrote ‘Mahabhaskareeya’, a book on astro-mathematics. Bhaskara-II (1114 AD) gave ‘Siddhanta Siromani’ where a lot of Mathematics can be found. Details of square, square root, cube, cube root, factorial values, and factors of a number are explained. Details of planets, calculation of radius of earth , eclipses, and atmospheric layers (7 zones) above earth are discussed clearly..
A lot of other authors like Kalyana Varma, Kalidasa, Venkatesa, Neelakantha, Mantreswara, etc. have published books on Astrology.
It is also important to know that good Vedic astrologers are not fatalistic, but point to useful and actionable indications or probabilities that certain behaviors might emerge or that specific events could take place over time. In spite of the debate about whether we have free will or not, it is important to know that the effects seen in an astrological chart are not required to happen as they stand. A motivated, sincere person, under the competent guidance of an experienced Vedic astrologer, can make effective changes in their lives. Nature is basically benevolent and changes can be made for the better.
Vedic astrology is linked to other Vedic systems, such as Ayurveda for health, Vastu for dwellings and other philosophies. Vedic Astrology is part of a holistic, integrated knowledge system and its effects can be bolstered by interoperating with its “sister” sciences. The Vedic Astrology system is kind in that not only is a person told what might happen, but they are presented a list of potential remedies or corrective actions to offset the quantity and quality of karmas that are returning to them, as seen in the birth chart. After all, it is held that the natal chart is a list of the karmas or previous actions that we have brought into this life.