BASICS OF VEDIC ASTROLOGY – PART 1
I have been receiving many questions about most of the basics of astrology on my facebook Page. So I though it will be good to share these stuff in the form of an article.
Out of the many luminous bodies in the sky, there are ones that are fixed and ones that move. The background of the fixed stars is called the zodiac and is divided in separate, distinct spaces, called nakshatras. Based on this division in the sky there are 12 Zodiacs and 27 Nakshatras.
The heavenly bodies that move are called Grahas (for the lack of a better word translated as “Planets”). For predictive purposes Jyotish / Astrplogers looks at the positions of the planets in relation to the stars in the Zodiac at the time of one’s birth. These positions reveal how the universe was functioning at that instance. In a way, planets are like 9 special measuring points from which the entire subtle state of natural law can be measured.
At the time of birth, when the body enters the world, this state of the universe gets projected into the structure of the life of an individual. Therefore, the conditions of these nine measuring points, the nine planets, define the entire life span of events and circumstances for an individual. The 9 Grahas.
We just mentioned nine planets, even though not all of them are actual planets. Only five of them are planets, one is a star, one is a moon, and the remaining two (Rahu and Ketu also known as the North Node and South Node of the Moon) are special mathematical points. Everyone is familiar with the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. The other two elements included into the group are Rahu and Ketu, known as the North and South Lunar nodes.
Rahu and Ketu do not have physical substance, they are two mathematical points that mark the point of intersection of the plane of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth with the ecliptic plane. Lunar or solar eclipses occur when the Sun and the Moon are close to one of the nodes. From now on, we shall refer to this group of “planets” with a proper Sanskrit term Grahas. Each graha (planet) represents certain facets of human life.
Traditional Vedic astrology does not consider the influences of Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto. Here are the names of the grahas in Sanskrit:
• SUN is SURYA
• MOON is CHANDRA
• MARS is MANGALA
• MERCURY is BUDHA
• JUPITER is GURU
• VENUS is SHUKRA
• SATURN is SHANI
• The NORTH NODE is RAHU
• THE SOUTH NODE is KETU
Grahas have primary and secondary significations. Here is the list of the primary graha significations assigned by the sage Parashara (the author of Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra):
• SURYA (Sun) signifies the soul.
• CHANDRA (Moon) signifies the mind.
• MANGALA (Mars) signifies energy.
• BUDHA (Mercury) signifies speech.
• GURU (Jupiter) signifies knowledge.
• SHUKRA (Venus) signifies reproduction.
• SHANI (Saturn) signifies grief.
Now, it is the time to explain Nakshatras; which I will discuss in the next part of this blog.