The positions of the planets in the real star-based zodiac are taken and your "dashas" predictive timeline are arranged. Your Vedic chart will most likely reflect your real life, and your dashas are probably operating the way they should.
The Vedic astrologer looks at these planets, signs and house placements in your chart and can "see" your personality, as well as life events and possibilities—both the good and the bad times in your life. The dashas are then used to determine "when" the events will unfold in the life. Dashas give a greater predictive accuracy to Vedic astrology than is possible with Western astrology. These "planetary ruling periods," which are unique to this system, give Vedic astrologers a tool for quite accurately predicting the trends, changes, and events in your life with amazing precision.
Therefore, Vedic astrologers are less limited to talking about your general overall self and can get more deeply into what's going to happen in your life. Vedic astrology differs from Western or Tropical astrology mainly in that it uses the fixed zodiac as opposed to the moving zodiac. Currently, the relative or movable zodiac is off out of alignment with from the fixed or real star-based zodiac by roughly 23 degrees, which is almost one whole sign of the zodiac. Because the two systems are skewed from each other by nearly one whole sign, most people's " Sun Sign "—that which you can get from the newspaper each day, is usually one sign back when the chart is refigured using Vedic astrology.
So, the first surprise of using the Vedic system is that you no longer belong to the Sun Sign you always thought you were. However, if you were born in the last five days or so of the Western sign month, then you will probably still be the same sign in the Vedic system. Share Flipboard Email.
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A brief passage about precession seems to be an interpolation. It was only around the year CE that Indian sky watchers began to notice the precession of the equinoxes. In fact, we find in this text the first timid attempt to untie the zodiac from the cardinal points of the year. Did he not know how to treat it? However, it seems that he was unable to decide whether the zodiac had to be regarded as a tropical or a sidereal thing. Such a motion of the fixed stars only exists if the tropical zodiac is taken as the fixed reference system.
A proper discussion of the problem does not appear in his texts either, and the reason for this may lie in the fact that the time was not ripe, because the exact value of the precession was not known yet or astronomers of his time did not know how to treat the problem. The solution for this difficult problem was not too urgent either in that time, because the two zodiacs roughly coincided. Also later, when Indian astronomy had progressed further and the speed of precession was roughly known, astrologers did not discuss the question whether a sidereal or the tropical zodiac should be used.
They decided to use sidereal zodiacs, but did not give a reason for it. However, the question concerning the sidereal and the tropical zodiac did not have the same urgency in India as it had in Europe. Astronomically, the sidereal Aries point has nothing special about it. Ancient Indian astronomy, however, believed that this point in the sky was extremely prominent in that it played an important part in the history of the universe.
For, at the end of every great age or yugam , it was believed, all planets would come together to this point and form an exact conjunction. Moreover, the precession cycle according to an ancient theory begins on the same date and at the sidereal zero point of Aries. In the Kaliyuga year BC, the vernal point would have been in conjunction with the Sun, the Moon and all planets at the sidereal Aries point.
Then it would have entered into Aries, after a period of years, in AD, again returned to the zero point and then entered Pisces. Now, according to modern astronomy, these ideas based on the trepidation model of precession are wrong. They considered the motion of the equinoxes as a cycle of minor importance in the great age.
Hence the idea of a sidereal zodiac must have been more convincing to ancient astrologers than a tropical zodiac. From the above follows: The sidereal zero point makes sense only on the basis of ancient Indian astronomical theories that are erroneous according to modern astronomy:. After modern astronomy has shown that these two traditional teachings are not correct, the validity of the sidereal zodiac is seriously challenged. The sidereal zodiac has no sensible definition anymore. This question is of central importance because without a well-founded zero point there can be no correct positions of the planets in zodiac signs, lunar mansions, and other subdivisions of the ecliptic.
And without these there can be no correct astrological chart interpretations and predictions. The sidereal zodiac can be defined by its difference to the tropical zodiac, i. It is named after the Calcuttan astronomer and astrologer Nirmala Chandra Lahiri, who was a member of the Reform Committee.
This standard is mandatory not only for astrology but also for astronomical ephemerides and almanacs and calendars published in India. The calendar is affected because the months of the Hindu calendar are bound to the sign ingresses of the sun in the sidereal zodiac. Before the reform, India had more than 30 different local calendars that used different methods to calculate the dates of important religious holidays.
The new standard ensures that these holidays are celebrated on the same day in all regions of India. Where did this sidereal zodiac that was fixed at the star Spica originate? In ancient Indian sources, unfortunately, it is not clearly attested. In other words, the sidereal positions of the planets in a natal chart have an uncertainty of several degrees. Hence, it is not without reason that the introduction of the Lahiri standard has led to bitter quarrels.
So when and by whom was the Lahiri zodiac invented?
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It seems that Lahiri was inspired by the astronomy historian S. Dikshit, who in the late 19th century wrote an important book on the history of Indian astronomy. Dikshit came to the conclusion that, given the prominence that Vedic religion gave to the cardinal points of the tropical year, the Indian calendar should be reformed and no longer be based on the sidereal, but on the tropical zodiac. Nevertheless, it is conceivable that the Lahiri zodiac was brought to India by the Greeks and that it was known there at least for some time. History shows however that both sidereal zodiacs mentioned above are chosen completely at random.
As has been stated, all astrological and astronomical works of late antiquity state that the initial points of the cardinal signs of the zodiac coincide with the cardinal points of the year. Now, as these works were not all written in the same year, it follows that, relative to sphere of the fixed stars, all these works chose the inital points of their zodiacs at different places.
This work was probably written in the 2nd century CE. Now, if the sidereal zero point is defined by the position of the vernal equinox in an ancient epoch, it becomes clear how arbitrary its definition is. How could it be a reliable fundament for astrology?
Also, it should have become clear that the idea of some romantics that Indian astrology as we know it is based on millennia-old scientific experience is completely mistaken. Let us close the article with a few considerations from the point of view of a western astrologer! As has been shown, there are strong arguments against the claim of Vedic astrologers that the validity of the sidereal zodiac has been corroborated over thousands of years of practice in India: The sidereal zodiac has been use in India for less than years. Its exact starting point, which is controversial, was not chosen based on astrological experience, but due to the position of the vernal equinox at some point in late antiquity.
Besides, I have not mentioned yet that the ephemeris calculation of ancient and medieval India contained massive errors, depending on the epoch and local tradition. Moreover, the correct calculation of the ascendant for a birth chart was anything but trivial. Considering all these facts it is hard to explain how a particular sidereal zodiac could have been corroborated by experience.
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And it is out of question that it could have proved to be better than the tropical zodiac, because the tropical-sidereal issue was never even discussed in India. The tropical-sidereal problem becomes even more complicated by the fact that the sidereal zodiac is used in a quite different way in Indian astrology than the tropical zodiac in western astrology.
Traditional Indian astrology is extremely focused on fate prediction and character compatibility for weddings and not so much on psychological character interpretation, as taught in the West. Unlike Europeans and Americans, Indians do not ask each other about their Sun sign, but rather about the lunar mansion of their natal moon. Here, a western astrologer may suspect that the lack of psychological interpretation of the Sun sign in India could be caused by the fact that it just does not work with the sidereal zodiac; or that the relevance of the tropical zodiac was not discovered in India because Hindu astrology is not particularly interested in character interpretation.
In any case, the particular way of using the zodiac cannot be ignored in deciding which of the two zodiacs is correct. Western solar astrology, which is based on the tropical zodiac, is in no way challenged by eastern sidereal lunar astrology. Gil Brand opts for the sidereal zodiac, and his argumentation seems somehow stringent. However, I notice that he does not have his focus on the interpretation of the zodiacal signs, but rather the astrological dignities. For the father of psychoanalysis, I would clearly prefer an ascendant in tropical Scorpio and the Sun in tropical Taurus over a sidereal Libra ascendant and Aries sun.
With Hitler the tropical Taurus Sun territorial thinking, nationalism holds at least as good as a sidereal Aries Sun. He is not really interested in the signs, but rather in the rulers of the ascendant and the houses as well as the dignities of the various factors of interpretation. However, one may well argue that this approach to the question of the zodicacs is very indirect. In my opinion, the interpretation of zodiac signs would be a more straight-forward method to examine the correctness of a zodiac.
Does the interpretation of zodiac signs only work with the tropical, not with the sidereal, zodiac? In some modern Indian textbooks the interpretation of zodiac signs is not treated at all, obviously because it is not given any importance. However, where it is treated, we will find that it massively differs from western interpretation.
A little guessing game may illustrate this difference: I quote the description of a zodiac sign from a modern Indian textbook, and the reader may try to guess to which sign it is.
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I choose the book Fundamentals of Astrology by Ramakrishna Bhat 20th century , a very distinguished Indian astrologer and scholar. The description reads:. The briefness and disorder in the text are symptomatic of the low importance that is given to the interpretation of zodiac signs in India. Also, it is striking how much such descriptions differ from the Western understanding of the tropical Cancer. Other descriptions of zodiac signs which are closer western ones can be found, e.
Raman, one of the most important Indian astrologers of the 20th century. Here, the sign of Cancer is recognisable to western astrologers:. They will be much attached to their children and family. This description may have been influenced by ancient Indian texts or by modern Western astrology.
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However, even with Raman we find glaring differences from western descriptions of the signs. They can become expert musicians if they care to practise that art. They are proficient in fine arts, dancing and the like and no doubt they have a philosophic disposition. They set at naught conventional habits and customs. They vehemently uphold their own views but nevertheless will not clash with those holding opposite ones.
Does this not rather sound like Sagittarius? Now, knowing that sidereal Scorpio in our days is largely in the area of tropical Sagittarius, a western astrologer will not be very surprised. Most probably, he will draw the conclusion that Raman could not avoid the effects of the tropical zodiac signs and that the qualities of the tropical zodiac signs shine through even in sidereal astrology, as soon as it endeavours to describe them. Or can it be explained by the fact that Raman was familiar with Western tropical astrology and was influenced by it?
In any case, this phenomenon seems to appear with several other zodiac signs, too. To Sagittarius Raman attributes qualities that in Western astrology are attributed to Capricorn:. They are prompt and uphold conservative views. They hate all external show. They are God-fearing, honest, humble and free from hypocrisy.
They generally exercise control over their food and drinks but in regard to their relationship with the opposite sex restraint is called for. Depending upon the disposition of the 9th house they can become philosophically minded or develop social consciousness. It becomes apparent that the descriptions given by Raman of the zodiac signs partly agree with western descriptions, but partly contain qualities of the subsequent signs. The same phenomenon can also be found with other western representatives of Vedic astrology, e.
From all this it should have become obvious that if modern astrologers read a natal chart with a Western understanding of the zodiac signs but with a Hindu sidereal zodiac, this is not an old tradition but a fairly recent invention, and also a European-American one rather than an Indian one. Astrologers are a very practical people. They insist blindly on the venerable age of the astrological tradition, on their personal practical experience, and on the authority of their gurus. I would strongly advise against it.
But such claims do not stand a serious test. Unfortunately, astrologers and astrology schools — not only the Vedic — tend to such sect-like behaviour. Narayana Iyengar, and Avinash Sathaye.
Hindu Astrology - Understanding the Vedic Zodiac
The discussion was forwarded to many Indian forums in English that deal with issues of Indian astrology, astronomy, calendar, archeology etc. Despite all that, I have to confess that I actually sympathise, to some degree, with the Hindutva movement because today's globalization of American culture seriously threatens traditional cultures of all continents. However, my opponents were behaving just as chauvinistic and arrogant as British colonialists behaved and American world policy behaves today.
They held the view that the Vedic culture was older and higher-developed than all other world cultures, and they even believed that all human culture and spirituality originally came from India. Christianity and Western culture they treated with scorn. Moreover, they insinuated that Western scholars had completely twisted the history of mankind and tampered with it, allegedly for the sole purpose of proving the superiority of Western Christian culture and justifing the colonial leadership and domination of Europeans.
These people make enormous efforts to rewrite the history of India and even the Western world in order to make India appear as the cradle of human culture. Towards Western scholars they often choose an extremely loud and aggressive tone. On the other hand, their volume however stands in stunning contrast to the weakness of their factual arguments. What makes the situation very difficult is the fact that in a traditional teaching in the guru-disciple relationship an objective discussion of facts is not admitted.
Studying the authoritative texts does not mean that they be read, discussed, and their meaning discovered with a simple, unprejudiced mind. In this process, considerable violence is often done to the texts, and it happens that their meaning is turned into the exact opposite. If a student discovers that the teaching of the guru is in contradiction to the Vedas he is expected to believe that this contradiction is only due to his own limited understanding of things. Different traditions that rely on the same authoritative works do not discuss with each other, but each one do their own thing.
They live in the unshakable certainty of being in possession of the true spiritual path. However, should their paths cross, they often treat each other without respect, become aggressive, suspicious, condescending or mocking. At the same time, it must be stated that some Indian gurus live in parallel universes, within which even the most obvious philological, historical and astronomical facts have no validity. Debates with them or their followers are often so irrational that outsiders can not imagine it. The phenomenon can be studied in depth in the Indian forums mentioned above.
Kaul writes:. Similarly, till about early eighties of the previous century nobody, including the late Dr. B V Raman, called predictive astrology as Vedic astrology! It was all of a sudden that everything started being called as Vedic! Everybody greeted his statement with a sort of standing ovation! However, this text obviously belongs to the late Vedic period.
Planetary deities do not play a part in the old Vedic religion. None of these references is convincing. Let us first look at the last one, which, at a first glance, is most striking:. Those who apply this verse to the constellation or zodiac sign of Taurus, are obviously not aware of the signification of the bull metaphor in ancient Indian warriorhood. Waradpande also refers to the following verse taken from a hymn to the rain god Parjanya:.
From afar the roars of the lion arise declare, when Parjanya makes the rain clouds. The verse is just comparing the thundering rain god with a roaring lion. This explanation also holds for the following verse from a hymn to Soma:. The foremost hero in battles looks after the cows, the bull guards them with his eye. The cows are probably the Pleiades or some other stars. The twelve subdivisions of the year mentioned there allegedly prove that the zodiac was known.
Upon it, o Agni, stand in pairs sons. In this wheel there are three hundred and sixty "spokes" are set, as it were, both movable and immovable. However, never do we find a name list of the twelve zodiac signs in Vedic texts, and not even one clear mentioning of a single zodiac sign.
What we do find, though, are name lists of the twelve months. They consist of 12 months of 30 Tithis each, where one Tithi roughly corresponds to one day. This text also uses an ideal year of days 12 months of 30 days each and lists the ideal dates on which different stars or constellations had their heliacal risings. The correlation of heliacal risings with calendar dates served the purpose of timely insertion of leap months. In the Vedic calendar the positions of the full moons in the lunar mansions could have been used for this purpose.
It is interesting that Epinnu does not correlate months and zodiac signs, and that it lists 17, not 12, ecliptic constellations. Menon believes that the 12 Adityas, a class of solar deities, also refer to the 12 zodiac signs. However, these statements do not take us any further than the above-mentioned celestial twelve-spoke wheel. However, this statement, which is quoted by some older authors e. The wording of the text is as follows:.
MaiUp 6. Each month of it has nine parts according to the progression of the lunar mansions. The text states that the year consists of two parts and twelve months. The two parts are defined by the two solstices. During the one part, the Sun moves north, and during the other to the south. Zodiac signs are not mentioned. The author could just as well have said that the one half of the year lasted from the beginning of Leo until the end of Capricorn, and that the other half lasted from the beginning of Aquarius to the end of Cancer.
But instead he chooses the cumbersome definition of half-years via the lunar mansions. Therefore, he who knows this science of the arrangement of times, i. Moreover, it must be noted that the whole theory of this text is based on the lunar mansions, not on the zodiac signs. And while it gives a list of all lunar mansions and a list of their ruling deities, it completely ignores the zodiac signs and their rulers and exaltations. Therefore, A.
Weber and TS Kuppanna Sastry, who both published a critical edition of the text, reasonably suppose that this verse is spurious, i. One of my opponents, Jayasree Saranathan, defended the verse as genuine by linking it to the year cycle of Jupiter, which allegedly was indispensable to this work. However, this argument is not compelling. Is it plausible that this topic has been dealt with in only one verse? Besides, I do not see in this verse any reference to the year cycle, which is not mentioned in other places either. Nor does Ms Saranathan provide a translation of the verse that would support her interpretation.
However, translation and comments by Weber p. Where the term appears in astronomical or astrological context, it most probably denotes a cluster of stars or a constellation. Let us consider some instances I discussed with Indians:. Given the fact that the epic otherwise does not know of zodiac signs, despite the many passages that describe positions of the Moon and the planets in lunar mansions, this would most probably be incorrect. Astronomically, this solution is not convincing, though. But such a long time span of observation is not likely for the omens that take place immediately before the great war.
This is not likely either. First of all, the word is otherwise not attested as referring to Capricorn. And to my knowledge none of the ancient authors or commentators ever thought of it. He writes:. Moreover, if we look into the apparatus of the critical edition, we find the following variants of the text:. Collected Papers on Jyotisha, p. Stars that are far away from the ecliptic were also used to mark the ecliptic lunar mansions. A planet was located e.
The word occurs in the description of a comet of the name of Calaketu :. But then, why does Parasara mention both names? His words are as follows:. However, this star is far away from the other constellations touched by Calaketu. In any case, it is clear that Garga did not think of a zodiac sign either, but of a star or constellation. Now let's get back to the verse MBh 6. The question arises whether MBh 6. Comets also sometimes have a reddish dust tail, and comets are also mentioned in other places in the epic. They run over the whole sky when a slaughter of people takes place.
But this is only a possibility. The translation of the verse I gave in the beginning works perfectly for a planet, too. Abhijit or Lyra. In the original text, however, the zodiac is never mentioned. One of these instances is the following:. First, the word is plural. Second, there are texts in which the word refers to the divinatory interpretation of animal behaviour. And fifth, as has been said already, the signs of the zodiac are conspicuous by absence in the epic, whereas lunar mansions are mentioned countless times. Trenckner , S. In these passages is reported 1 where the planets were located in the lunar mansions not the zodiac signs are and that eclipses occurred.
Both types of phenomena, i. This is a sign of victory for them. All animals make a circumambulation to the left about Duryodhana, and there are incorporeal voices. This is a sign of defeat. One walks around a person or an object of respect in such a way that the same is located to the right of circumambulator. A circumambulation in the opposite direction obviously expresses disrespect. I would interpret the text as follows: Animals are afraid of troops and try to avoid them in a circular movement.
This movement can go to the right or to the left, and this is interpreted as an omen. In MBh 1. One verse also talks about spokes, which can be explained by the number of days and nights in an ideal day year. It is interesting, that it is the Asvins who act as the creators of the year. However, no sign of the zodiac, let alone the zodiac itself, is mentioned.
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There is no proof that these were already known to the author. There is talk only of the twelve months. Seekers of truth following different routes, draw the milk of true knowledge with its help. Ye Aswins, ye are the creators of that calf! G: The year is but the nave of a wheel to which is attached seven hundred and twenty spokes representing as many days and nights.