History and Meaning
Vedic Astrology is known as “Jyotish”; an ancient form of astrology originating in India 5000 years ago. Jyotish is a Sanskrit word; Jyoti meaning “Light” and Isha meaning “Lord”, translating to Lord of Light.
“Light” is the “divine spark”, animator of all things, including the celestial bodies. The Sun, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, all radiate light. The Moon reflects the light of the Sun. Rahu and Ketu are referred to as “shadow planets”, not real planets, they are points where the moon crosses the ecliptic. The motion of all these celestial bodies influence life on earth. Jyotish is the study of man and the cosmos.
The word Veda means “pure knowledge”. The Vedas are the oldest literature in Sanskrit. They were handed down orally from generation to generation for thousands of years. This technique is referred to as sruti meaning “heard” and smriti meaning “remembered”.
Vedic Knowledge was transcribed into four sacred books, and is considered the well of India’s spiritual traditions: Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda.
There are 3 divisions in Jyotish; Siddhanta, Samhita and Hora. These three divisions are seperated into distinct limbs which make-up our fundamental understanding of Jyotisha:
Siddhanta: The study of astronomy and related mathematical calculations.
Gola: Observational astronomy and understanding the
movements of the planets and stars.
Ganita: Mathematical calculations determining the exact positions of
planets and stars.
Samhita: The study of the global environment.
Mundane: Predictive astrology focusing on mass trends and
Nimitta: Interpreting omens. Understanding nature’s messages.
Hora: Birth Chart Study.
Jataka: Interpreting the natal horoscope based on the time, place, date
and location of birth.
Prashna: Answering specific questions based on the time and place a
question is asked.
Muhurta: Timing of an event by choosing an auspicious date and time.
There are many systems of Jyotish, the most common is Parasara. Maharishi Parasara has provided the primary authoritative text on Jyotish “Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra”. Its important to know there are many more sacred texts and each system provides incredible insights into the chart.
As you can see, Jyotish is a deep and wide body of ancient knowledge.