Introduction about Astrology
Astrology is a branch of science that deals with the study of the stars and the planets, their alignment at the time of the birth of an individual and the art of prediction of future of humans based on the position of stars at the time they were born. Prediction of future course of events through astrology is a scientific technique and is based on science and logic. It is not based on some arbitrary reasoning. Over the years, astrology has attracted a lot of attention even in the West as we can find many Western people aspiring to read astrology and the art of fortune telling. Astrology is also popularly referred to as Vedic astrology. This is not because it there is Vedas in astrology. There is no mention of astrology in the Vedas. However, Vedangas, a branch of Vedas which dates back to the Vedic period, is there in astrology and hence it also called as Vedic Astrolgy. Several Poojas and religious functions that are practiced in Nepal and India are done as per the Vedic system. Hence, it is also called Vedic astrology.
The Vedangas are categorized into six different categories. They are: Siksha or phonetics, Kalpa or ritual, Vyakarana or grammar, Nirukta or etymology, Chhandas or metrics and Jyotishya or astronomy and astrology. These things are mentioned in Upanishad too. Upanishad is a religious Hindu scripture.
Vedic astrology is one of the oldest forms of astrology. It is widely believed that it evolved more than 5,000 years ago and is based on a body of knowledge known as the ‘Vedas,’ which roughly translates into ‘knowledge’ or ‘wisdom,’ and is also referred to as Jyotish, — the ‘light of the heavenly bodies’. Today, Vedic astrology is acknowledged as one of the most powerful forms of astrology in practice and is followed by millions of people from across the world.
While Western system of astrology is known for its emphasis on the psychological nature and personality of an individual, the Vedic astrology’s primary focus is on predicting cycles and events of the future, hence putting more emphasis on understanding the future course of events when certain events are likely to take place. Vedic astrology gives a better view of a person’s karmic tendencies and when such tendencies are likely to manifest for that person through a unique system of planetary time cycles, called ‘dashas,’ for which there is no exact corresponding method in the Western astrology. Hence, the Vedic astrology practiced in the East has its own uniqueness and thrives on centuries old practice and tradition of astro and fortune telling.
The planets in Vedic astrology are uniquely referred to as ‘grahas’ and ancient scriptures refer to them as the lords of karma and destiny. It is believed that the birth chart of an individual is based on their past karma, which is bestowed upon them by the nine planets based on their previous life. The role of Vedic astrology is to make one aware of the presence or absence of certain tendencies, and should be used as a tool for making them better prepared for taking better decisions. Ultimately, the purpose of astrology is self-knowledge, self-awareness and improvement, rather than just predicting the future events.
Vedic astrology follows the combinations of the houses, signs and planets as those in Western astrology. But for those of us familiar with the Western birth chart, there will be many differences. The Vedic birth chart is square, instead of the round chart wheel of Western astrology. The houses, signs and planets also take on different meaning under Vedic astrology. The more recently discovered outer planets — Neptune, Pluto and Uranus are not considered in Vedic astrology for the purposes of interpreting a chart, however, the Lunar Nodes are. The North Node is known as Rahu and the South Node as Ketu.
Each planet is also given ruler ship over a particular sign of the zodiac and it is referred to as its lord. The ruling planet transfers a large part of its influence upon the sign it rules and planet ruler ships play a very important part in Vedic science.
Each of the 12 astrological signs belongs to a certain element in one of its states. This gives us twelve quite different basic types. These varying qualities provide the “backdrop” to the planetary positions. As each horoscope has different planets in different signs, there can never be a “pure” Aries or a “pure” Gemini. Each horoscope is a highly individual, very complex and usually also very varied combination of parts.
In order to understand the signs, we must take into account the typical expressions of the elements, as well as the characteristics belonging to the planets associated with the signs.
Planets in astrology have a different meaning than the traditional understanding of the planets. Before the advent of telescopes, the night sky was believed to consist of two very similar components: fixed stars, which remained motionless in the sky, and the “wandering stars” which moved relative to the fixed stars over the course of the time.
To the Greeks and the other earlier astronomers, this group comprised the five planets visible to the naked eye, and excluded the Earth. Although strictly the term “planet” applied only to those five objects, the term was later broadened, particularly in the Middle Ages, to include the Sun and the Moon (sometimes referred to as ‘Lights’, making a total of seven planets. Astrologers have retained this definition even at today’s date.
To ancient astrologers, the planets, however, represented the will of the gods and their direct influence upon human affairs. To modern astrologers, the planets represent basic drives or urges in the unconscious or energy flow regulators representing dimensions of experience. They express themselves with different qualities in the twelve signs of the zodiac and in the twelve houses. The planets are also related to each other in the form of aspects.
Modern astrologers differ on the source of the planets’ influence. Some believe that the planets exert it directly through gravitation or another, unknown influence. Others hold that the planets have no direct influence in themselves, but are mirrors of basic organizing principles in the universe. In other words, the basic patterns of the universe repeat themselves everywhere, in fractal-like fashion, and “as above so below”. Therefore, the patterns that the planets make in the sky reflect the ebb and flow of basic human impulses. The planets are also associated, especially in the Chinese tradition, with the basic forces of nature.
Listed below are the specific meanings and domains associated with the astrological planets since ancient times, with the main focus on the Western astrological tradition. The planets in Hindu astrology are known as the Navagraha or “nine realms”. In Chinese astrology, the planets are associated with the life forces of yin and yang and the five elements, which play an important role in the Chinese form of geomancy known as Feng Shui.
The Sun represents the self, one’s way of being in the world. It can represent, on different levels, both the ego and the higher Self or soul purpose. It rules Leo and is exalted in Aries.
The Sun is the most important ‘planet’ in the chart and symbolizes one’s will and sense of vitality. When the Sun is afflicted (poorly placed or poorly aspected) it could indicate problems with the father, or male role model.
The Moon represents the personal self, the feelings and the unconscious. It is a reflection of the true self, represented by the Sun. The Moon also stands for security and instinctual or habitual patterns, as well as the ability to relate to others, and to be nurturing to others. The Moon rules Cancer and is exalted in Taurus. It is often contrasted with the Sun as the female receptive principle versus the masculine or positive principle. The Moon represents the feminine and nurturing part of oneself. In a male chart, the Moon represents the feminine within, or the anima and also indicates the type of partner you will attract. The Moon also represents an attunement from the past, which operates at an instinctive or habitual level in your present life.
Tiny Mercury is the innermost and smallest planet in the solar system and can only be seen at morning and evening twilight. Because of this, the ancient Greek astronomers believed the planet to be two separate parts – one visible only in the morning which they called Apollo, and one visible in the evening, which they called Hermes. Later, the Romans named the planet after the God Mercury, a messenger and God of trade, profit and commerce. The astrological symbol for the planet Mercury is taken from this God’s wand or caduceus, which is typically depicted as a short herald’s staff entwined by two serpentine creatures, and which in later antiquity became the astrological symbol for commerce. A variation of this caduceus has come to symbolize medicine in modern times.
Lovely Venus is the second-closest planet to the Sun, and is the brightest natural object in the night sky, except for the Moon. Venus reaches its maximum brightness shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset, for which reason it is often called the Morning Star or the Evening Star. She is also sometimes called Earth’s “sister planet”, for the two are similar in size, gravity, and bulk composition. Her dense atmosphere creates a greenhouse affect, consequently raising temperatures hot enough to melt lead! At one time Venus had voluptuous amounts of water on her surface, but that has long since boiled away, and has been replaced with steamy hot lava flows and gently rolling plains. Venus is the only planet in the Solar System named after a female figure, since Ceres and Eris are dwarf planets.
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun, and is named after the Roman God of War. It is also referred to as the Red Planet because of its reddish appearance as seen from Earth. It is the site of Olympus Mons, the highest known mountain in the solar system, and of Valles Marineris, the largest canyon.
In astrology, Mars is the planet of outward activity and animal passion including our sexual drive, aggression, and anger. Mars rules Aries and is exalted in Capricorn. This fiery planet is masculine in action, versus the softer more receptive and romantic Venus. When strong in the chart it can indicate a volatile temper, and also great courage. Its position indicates how your personality will assert itself, and what modes of activity will stimulate your physical energies, or your anger. By house, Mars represents where you will assert yourself, and where you will take action in the most positive sense.
Turbulent Jupiter is a gas giant – meaning that it is not composed of rock or other solid matter. It is the third brightest object in the night sky after the Moon and sparkling Venus, and is the largest planet within the solar system. Jupiter’s outer atmosphere is home to a massive storm called the “Great Red Spot” that has existed since at least the seventeenth century! Jupiter was named after the Roman God, and served as the patron deity of the Roman State. In other words, Jupiter ruled over laws and social order much like Zeus for the Greek State.
The beautiful and severely wind beaten Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the seventh and last planet of ancient astrology. The celebrated day Saturday gets its name from the planet, and it is known for it’s prominent and stunning ring system, consisting mostly of ice particles, rocky debris, and dust. Although the ancient order had no telescopes to see Saturn’s famous rings, Saturn still became known as the planet of boundaries, which is symbolized by the ring. Saturn is the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. It was named after the Roman god Saturnus, equated to the Greek Kronos, the Titan father of Jupiter (Zeus). Saturn’s astrological symbol represents this god’s sickle, as well as the elevation of the cross of Matter above the semi-circle and openness of Spirit.
Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun, is known as one of the Ice Giants, along with Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune. This is because its atmosphere contains a high proportion of ices such as water, ammonia, and methane, and partly because it is the coldest planetary atmosphere in the Solar System, with a minimum temperature of around negative 371 degrees Fahrenheit. It is named after the ancient Greek deity of the sky, the father of Kronos (Saturn) and grandfather of Zues (Jupiter). However, it has been argued that Uranus finds more mythological relevance in Prometheus.
Neptune is the eighth planet from the Sun in the Solar System, and is seventeen times the mass of Earth. While Neptune boasts the strongest winds of any other planet in the solar system, it also has an intense bright blue appearance that is attributed to trace amounts of methane in its atmosphere. The planet is named after the Greek God of the Sea Poseidon, and its astrological symbol is a stylized version of Poseidon’s mighty three pronged trident.
Pluto has recently been termed a dwarf planet by a convening of the International Astronomical Union in Prague. Of course, this does not diminish its importance for astrologers. Since there is a well-established body of research on the very distinctive effects of Pluto in natal charts, by transit, and in combination with other transiting outer planets, we will go on just as always. It does mean that newly designated dwarf planets such as Eris and Ceres will be given a seat at the table, and are likely to become better understood as astrological symbols before much more time has passed.
Horoscope matching also called as Kundli Milan is very popular in the Hindu tradition before the marriage ceremony. As per the Vedic traditions, the horoscopes of the bride and the groom are matched before the marriage ceremony. If the horoscopes match or say there is Kundli Milan, then only the couples cab go ahead and marry. If not, the tradition will restrict and not allow the prospective groom and the bride for the marriage.
Kundli Milan is performed by a priest as per the Hindu vedic tradition. He needs to have the details of the bride, like his exact date and place of birth, the time when he was born, etc. Similarly, he needs to have similar information about the groom. Then he performs his permutation and combination calculations based on some Holy Scriptures. If the priest finds that the horoscopes of the two people have matched, then it gives the permission ahead for the family of both the side to ahead with the marriage preparations. If not, unfortunately the families will have to understand and there will be no marriage between the boy and the girl. It is part of our tradition and holds special significance in our culture, though it might sound funny and strange to people from West.
Kundli Milan is widely practiced before marriage in Nepal, India, Pakistan and several other South Asian nations. Horoscope matching or Kundli Matching can be taken as a gift from ancient Indian astrology that helps the people to find their right partner. It almost ensures that the bride and the bridegroom are perfectly made for each other even before they tie the knot. Thiscompatibility augurs well for the partners when they enter into a new path of life that blinds them blissfully for a lifetime of happiness. It is believed that the success of the marriage hinges on Kundli matching which outlines the influence of different factors on an individual based on one’s birth-star.
Horoscope matching that complies with the rules proposed by the ancient vedic saints is a must in the modern context since most of the marriages turn into disaster in no time. If the different elements mentioned in the scriptures match, it guarantees a successful marital life. Thereforehoroscope matching or Kundli Milan is of prime importance to the people from this part of the world.
Griha Pravesh Pooja
Griha Pravesh Pooja is an important ritual when Pooja is performed before entering a newly constructed house. Ancient Hindu Vedic tradition has its own significance and its own ritual. For people who live in the West, it might as well sound funny to them that people in the East, especially from South Asia, perform some ritual or Pooja before entering a new house. But, this very thing is our tradition and we have followed this for many years now, almost centuries.
While entering a new house, as per the Vedic tradition, a Navagrahahanti and Vastushanti homam is performed. This act as a remedy for whatever malefic influences are present in the house and removes the ‘vastu doshas’. A Hindu priest is hired for the Pooja, and he performs Pooja, Hawan, utters vedic incantations and after hours of Pooja, he deems that it is now appropriate to enter the house and start living there.
The Navagraha Pooja is performed in the prescribed manner with the Nava Dravyas of the 9 planets. Navagraha Sooktam is recited and 108 Namavalis of all the 9 planets are recited. Then Vastu Shanti Pooja is performed plus recital of Sri Rudram and the pancha suktas followed by homam with the prescribed materials. This Pooja is performed by 2 pundits.
Griha Pravesh Pooja, hence, becomes an important part of our tradition and culture. It is almost necessary to perform before anybody from Nepal or India wants to shift to a new house. It important because it is believed that such Pooja performed before shifting to the new house will bring all the good fortunes and clear all the bad and negative influences.