|by Das Goravani
Posted with Permission
Overview of the Vedic Astrological Process
So far we've talked about some philosophical issues, looked deeply into a couple of the Nakshatras, and briefly gone over the signs and nakshatras in table formats.
Now I want to give you an overview of how Vedic astrology works- explaining what are it's key ingrediants and how most Vedic astrologers approach reading a chart.
The main book from which Jyotish (Vedic Astrology - "the science of light") comes is the "Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra". Translated that means "the great scripture of astrology by Parasara Muni". Parasara was a great sage who lived roughly around 5,000 years ago. His great son, Veda Vyasadeva, wrote down most of the Vedic scriptures for the first time, bringing them from oral to written tradition. In any case, Parasara wrote down the astrological science, which prior to 5000 years ago was an orally passed science given by Brahma to the first created beings of this universal cycle.
You can purchase English translations of the Parasara Hora Sastra from JDR Ventures 918 Douglas Dr., Wooster, OH 44691, 216-263-1308. Tell them Das Goravani referred you please if you call or write.
The Parasara Hora Sastra is a large book- 2 volumes each roughly 2 inches thick. However, it is undoubtedly the most exhaustive compendium of the science of Jyotish. From this book comes the main directives on how to practice Jyotish. In this volume Parasara states what I have repeated, namely that this science comes from Vishnu to Brahma, and then down from there- it was therefore not created or discovered or found while meditating. It was handed down through disciplic succession. In this scripture, we are advised to be pure and godly in order to receive this science properly, and to not pass it on to those who are not such. Of course, these days we are freely distributing this more as a tool to help direct the Western culture towards the Vedic direction. We trust our guardians seen and unseen will be pleased with our efforts due to the motive behind them.
The Parasara Hora Scripture teaches us how to construct the main chart and the divisional or harmonic charts. There are a total of 16 charts for a person, the main one being called the "Rashi Chart" which means the basic chart of the planets and signs they are in with the rising sign noted. Of great importance also is the primary harmonic chart which is called the "Navamsha Chart" which simply means the "chart made by dividing each sign into 9 parts". There is a certain way to construct the divisional charts and this method is revealed in the book. All Jyotish software programs, including the one I've created, construct these charts for you.
Of also great importance is the Bhava Chakra, also known as Chalit Chakra, and these names mean "chart of houses". In Vedic astrology, we generally use the whole signs as the houses. Whatever sign was rising, that whole sign becomes the first house, no matter where in the sign the rising angle actually falls. The next sign becomes the 2nd house, and so on up to 12 houses. It's amazing how well this works despite it's simplistic sounding nature.
In Jyotish we use the real zodiac, known to Western astrologers often as the "siderial zodiac". In other words, the actual stars in the zodiac are used, not the tropical zodiac which is now roughly 23 degrees off from the actual stars that make the signs.
So the main chart we use is the actual signs, where the rising sign becomes the first house, the next sign becomes the second house, and therefore whatever signs the planets were actually in at the time of the nativity determines therefore what house they are in.
For example, at the time of my birth Aries was rising at about 7 degrees. Therefore, all of Aries becomes my first house in the main chart, known as my "Rashi Chart". Therefore Taurus is my second house, Gemini my third, and so on. Since the Sun and Mercury were in Taurus, they are automatically in my second house. So, this is very simple and straightforward.
The harmonic charts, the other 15 charts that is, are constructed following various divinely revealed patters of dividing the signs into small parts, finding where the planets sit in these divisions, and thereby reassigning them to other signs. Thus, these additional charts take shape through specified patters. Thus, a planet might be in Sagittarius in the 9th house in your main chart, but in Gemini in the first house in the Navamsa, or 9-fold divisional chart. The Vedic astrologer takes that additional placement into consideration before pronouncing judgement on the planet in the main chart. So, there is some blending of placements which goes on in the mind of the astrologer before he speaks.
After constructing the charts according to Parasara's instructions, the Vedic astrologer, or his computer program, constructs the "Dashas". These are a fundamental part of Vedic astrology which is immediately attractive to Western astrologers because it is the first and primary ingrediant of the predictive power of Vedic astrology.
By the way, when pronouncing Sanskrit words, never say the "a" as we do in the word "sat". There is no such sound in Indian languages. Always say the "a" as in "saw". Therefore, the Dashas, which refers to a list of ruling planetary periods governing distinct periods of our lives, is pronounced "daw-shaws", though don't make it too extreme in pronunciation. Just don't make the "a" sound midwestern or twangy.
There are a number of dasha systems taught in the Parasara Scripture as well as in other major works. However, by far and away the leading system both in accuracy and widespread use is the Vimshottari Dasha system, which simply means "the one that adds up to 120 years".
This dasha system is what most astrologers use. The way a dasha system works is that it tells you how to construct a list of dated life periods and know which planets in a particular horoscope will govern each period. Thus, you know if you are currently being ruled primarily by your Jupiter, or Saturn, etc. And beyond that, the dashas have levels. Thus, you always know that you are in "Sun-Jupiter-Mercury", or you might be in the period of "South Node-Mars-Venus". All combinations are possible, but the science of calculating these periods is divinely given, to be exactly followed, and produces wonderful results.
After constructing the charts and dashas, most astrologers have what they need. There are many other things and parts of Vedic astrology, but these 2, charts and dashas, are the predominant parts. A good astrologer always knows the current transits of the planets and thus can take such into consideration at any time while reading charts. Additionally, there are complex strength calculations and other various charts and diagrams which help the Vedic astrologer to understand the subtleties of a chart. But here we will stick to focusing on the main charts and dashas.
With the Rasi, Navamsa, Bhava Charts and the Dashas listing of dates and periods in front of them, the Vedic astrologer is ready to study and read the chart. In Vedic astrology, the first directive is to never forget the nature of a persons rising sign, or in other words, their first house, all influences upon that house and it's lord, and similarly never forget the moon- it's house, it's sign, and all influences upon it. These two sensitive points- the Ascendent (known as the Lagna- pronounced like "lug-nut" without the 't' on the end), and the Moon must be though of as filters for everything in the chart. These two points are the essential shapers of the personality, the final filters of everything else in the chart. So, before reading the results of another one of the planets, the astrologer should try to consider how the particular rising and moon sign combo in the chart would choose to express the effects that the other planet is indicating.
Of course, the Sun is also an important sensitive point, but actually it comes third. The Moon rules the mind, and the mind is the guide in life. So, we tend to reflect our Moon signs more than our Sun signs. The ascendent shapes the body and the karma, and the Sun represents the inner self on a very sublte level, and also the life force or tendencies of the body. But when dealing with a person, you deal more with their mind than these other things.
So, the Vedic astrologer studies the chart and arrives at a mental overview of the person. Then, in order to predict current, future, or past events in the life, he or she looks at the dasha listing. Here's a small part of the dasha listing for the current period from my chart:
Looking at the list, here's what you're being shown:
Maj: This stands for "major period". It is the primary ruling planet at the time. The major periods are long. For the 9 planets used in Jyotish the combined major periods add up to 120 years. I'm in Saturn major, which lasts for 19 years. The major period is known as the "maha dasha pati" or "lord of the major period".
For now I'm going to skip the math of constructing dashas. If you think I should give it, send me a note. If I get a couple or so such notes, I'll post it next. Otherwise, it's given already in so many books and all programs do it for you as well, including mine, from which I snipped the above text.
Anyway, I'm in "Saturn-Venus-Saturn". These are the planets ruling the few months of my life in which I cam currently living. Then comes Saturn-Venus-Mercury, and so on. The Bhukti, or second level Lord, switches from Venus to Sun on July 20, 1996. Up until then Venus is the 2nd level lord, known as the "bhukti". An indian astrologer would refer to my current period as "Sani maha dasha, Shukra bhukti, Sani antar dasha". That simply means the same thing as saying "you're in the period of Saturn-Venus-Saturn".
So what does this do to me- what does it indicate? Well, to answer that, you look to these planets in my chart. Whatever they indicate is what is going to happen. It's that simple really. But, it's a real good idea to take into consideration what dashas, at least the major dashas, the person has gone through so far in life. This is important because the current effects are going to happen ON TOP OF who the person already has become. Also, look at current transits of the slow planets- they are important.
In my chart, I have Saturn in the 9th in Sagittarius with it's lord Jupiter there also, and Venus is alone in the ascendent sign Aries. Saturn and Venus are in an EXACT trine from each other (within seconds).
So, what would you predict for Venus in Aries in the first, and Saturn in Sagittarius in the ninth, knowing that I began life and lived through about 10 years of Rahu (North Node) major dasha, then the entire Jupiter Major Period, and now am about halfway through Saturn Major? You have to take into consideration what I've been through before speaking about my present.
Forgetting Rahu and my childhood for now, look at Jupiter, knowing that I went through that major period from 9 years old to 25 years old and that I'm now 35. So, all of my teens and early 20's were spent in Jupiter major, and Jupiter is in it's own sign Sagittarius in the 9th house.
You must look at the houses that a planet lords over, the sign it is in, the aspects upon it, it's placement in at least the Navamsa harmonic chart, the star or nakshatra it is under, the lord and sub lord of that nakshatra (not yet explained I realize), and some other things, before actually pronouncing predictions. But of course, we have to start simply to learn anything. So, to finish this lesson, let us SIMPLY examine my situation. I am going to stick to just a couple things per planet and sign and house to keep it really simple.
OK, to talk about the present, lets put it in past context. I've gone through Jupiter major- Jupiter is in the 9th house of religion and it's the religious leader planet. Jupiter is very strong being in a sign it owns, and in a house it really likes (according to Vedic astrology, Jupiter has a natural affinity for the 9th house). So, during Jupiter major we would expect this person (me that is) to be very religious in a formal way (because Jupiter is rather a conservative or formal personality). Well, is this true?
Yes. I joined the Catholic seminary while in High School and halfway through college became a Hindu convert and monk. I ran temples, travelled all over the world working on behalf of my religious beliefs and gave up virtually everything else in my life in favor of this one part of my life. It was total, very austere, and very intense.
OK, then comes 1985 and Saturn Major begins. It is also in the 9th house, and it is said in the Jyotish classics that Saturn in the 9th house as lord of the 10th and 11th houses in my case (Aries Ascendent) somewhat spoils one's religion and turns it instead to mysticism.
Well, is this true? Yes. In 1985 I finally left living in temples once and for all, moved back to America, got a job, began raising children and got quite re-absorbed back into normal family American life. I never have to this day given up my faith, but it has sure changed and become much less formal and external. I am not connected to any group, have no living spiritual master, as I did through Jupiter major, and in terms of mysticism, well, astrology would fall into that category, and that has come during Saturn major.
So, this is a brief overview of how my life has tended to follow my Dasha periods. When you go into the 2nd and 3rd level periods you can nail down events to specific months rather easily.
This is an exciting part of Vedic astrology. I hope you're now excited to study this aspect further. We shall continue with it in the next lessons.
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