The essence of Astrology
Brahmasree M.N.Sreejith Nampoothiri
(Managing Trustee & Chief Priest, Astro Tantrik Research Centre)
Astrology is one of the primitive sciences that existed in the world. The science of Astrology is a reliable source and it reveals the different kinds of relationship between man and nature. The basis of Astrology is that the planets and the stars influence the life of man in all fields. Astronomy deals with the study of origination of nature, its physical structure, the movement of the planets, its magnetic power and the gravitational properties. The great scientific and technical achievements of man led him to the moon. Edmund Hubble discovered that nature is expanding minute by minute. The Big Bang Theory which discusses the genesis of nature has become a revolutionary discovery in the field of Astronomy.
How so ever we study on nature, it may not be sufficient to prove the relation nature has with man. For this cause, one cannot call this science of Astronomy as an integral one without finding out how nature is linked with the life of man. The enormous discoveries in the field of Astronomy are inadequate to manifest the influence of the planets and the stars on the life of man. Astronomy may prove to be imperfect and sterile without the existence of Astrology. Astronomy which is not inclusive of Astrology is like a soul-less body. The meaningful words of the famous American Vedic scholar, David Froli has to be mentioned here;
“Our forefathers have turned the sacred powers of the cosmos into mere numbers and chemical reactions. Such an attitude does not show any real sensitivity to life. It is like reducing a human being to measurements of height and weight, or like looking at a great painting according to the chemistry of its pigments.”(The Astrology of the Seers) The modern doctrines of Astronomy are not apt to elucidate one’s personality and one’s organic relation to Nature. The relevance of Indian Astrology lies here. Our preceptors had a sharp knowledge on the structure of nature. Along with this, the physical, mental, and spiritual levels of man and their relation with the powers of nature has become a matter of investigation. Thereby, Indian Astrology has become an integral part which throws light on the various fields of human life.
The Vedas and the Nature The Vedas which are the cornerstones of Indian learning prove to be the foundation for Astrology also. One can find several strong concepts on planets, stars, and nature in Vedas and Puranas. The Indian Rishis had strived to build a vast amount of knowledge on the existence and the movement of planets and stars, without the usage of telescope and other equipments. One can find several references on months, seasons, and years in Vedas. There are certain sharp facets in Vedas which deal with the basis of Astrology. They are `Devayana’ or `Utharayana’ (the Sun’s progress to the North of the Equator or the summer solstice), Solar Eclipse, the twenty-seven stars, the twelve signs of the Zodiac, and lunar months. In Vedas, it is clearly mentioned that, the first half of the Yaga (religious sacrifice) called `Satra’, should be done before the day of Vishu or Vishudina (the day on which day and night have equal duration or the period when the Sun comes directly above the Equator) and the second half of the Yaga should be done after the day of Vishu. From the study of these Vedas, our Rishis have concluded that the earth revolves around the Sun. But the modern science rewarded Copernicus for finding out a theory which proved earth’s revolution around the sun.
Many scholars have commented that the acclaimed `Purushasooktha’ (Sooktha which includes the details of the birth of the cosmos) in Rig Veda symbolically signify the nature which includes the several crores of stars and planets. In Bhagavad-Gita it is said;
The exploration of the order of construction of the temples may help one in arriving at certain inferences. The major parts of the temple like `Prakara’ (outer wall), `Bahyahaara’ or `Sheevelippura’, ‘Madhyahara’ (the middle room of the temple where the holy lamp is lighted), `Anthahara’ (the room for offering sacrifices), and `Antharmandala’ are the five ramparts (prakaras) of the temple which depict the Sthulasharira of the deity. The sanctum, the idol consecrated in the temple and the ‘Shadadhara Prathishta’ placed beneath the idol symbolizes the Sukhshmasharira of the deity. The essential and the amazing part of the temple is the idol of the deity which symbolize the ‘Parabrahmachaitanya’ (the Supreme Soul) which resides in the body of every human being.
“Anekha vakthranayanam anekaathbhuthadarshanam, Anekha divyabharanam divyaanekodhyathayudham, Divisooryasahasrasya bhaved yugapadutdhitha, Yadhibha: sadrishee saa syathu bhaasasthanasya mahatmana:”
The six fundamental parts of the Shadadhara Prathishta are Adharashila (foundation stone), Nidikumbha (pot of gems), Ashtadalapadma (a lotus with eight petals), Kurma (stone of tortoise), Yoganala, Napumsakashila (stone of eunuch) and they simultaneously represent the Muladhara, Swadhinishtana, Manipuraka, Anahatha, Vishudhichakra, Aajnachakra of the Sukshmasharira in the human body. Before constructing the sanctum of the temple, a big square shaped pit is dug and its bottom is cleansed and a few religious rites are done to please Vasthupurusha, the god of land and fertility. This is followed by the consecration of Shadadhara Prathishta.
(XI: 10, 11)
“A figure with innumerable faces and eyes, with mighty bewildering visions, with various divine jewels and holding a number of divine weapons, wearing holy garlands and divine dresses, with a divine fragrance, evoking wonder and astonishment, and whose end cannot be seen. The glory and divinity of this figure can be equated with the glory of one thousand suns shining in the sky at a time.” (Saint Chinmayananda) Can it be seen as another wonderful picture of our mighty cosmos? The Indian theory on the creation of nature is very powerful and knowledgeable when compared to the other doctrines on creation. The foundational concepts of Astrology can be derived from the Indian theory of creation. For example, `Nasadiya Sooktha’ (Rig Veda 10:129) details the order of natural creation.
The earth is evolved from Sound or` Shabhda’. In the beginning there was no substance (essence) and non-substance, no heavenly bodies (Sun, Moon, and stars) any day and night, no life and death. Such a condition prevailed in the beginning of creation. In the beginning, only a life-force (chaitanya) existed without any attributes or distinguishing property and the notion of the world resided in Him and it evolved from Him. The mighty Life-force (chaitanya) longed to compose a wonderful creation and it led to the creation of nature. The initial movement and power which was generated from the mighty God evolved as `Nadavisphodana’. From the command of God, the sky evolved and from the sky, the wind evolved and from the wind, the fire evolved and from the fire, water evolved and from water, the nature was generated. Moreover, through the process of `Pancheekarana’ (breaking apart of five components), the Panchabhutas (air, water, earth, fire, space) got transformed into nature. When observed intelligibly one can arrive at a conclusion that the Indian doctrinal theory of creation is unbeatable and powerful and it cannot be compared with any other theories of creation existing in the world.
The Swadishtana Chakra lies at the base of the penis. Brahma, the Lord of Creation is the deity associated with Swadishtana chakra. This chakra is made of grains since it depicts the beginning of new life. Swadishtana Chakra also symbolizes growth and fertility. Both Muladhara and Swadishtana represent the same stone.
A comparative study of the Indian theory of creation and the Big Bang Theory of Edwin Hubble is a matter of interest and wonder. The Big Bang Theory signifies that the nature starts expanding after the huge eruption and in course of time, it will shrivel and contract again and become a small mass. This theory is analysed by Frijoff Kapra from an Indian point of view. He says, “This idea of a periodically expanding and contracting Universe, which involves a scale of time and space of vast proportions, has arisen not only in modern cosmology, but in ancient Indian mythology. Experiencing the universe as an organic and rhythmically moving cosmos, the Hindus were able to develop evolutionary cosmologies which come very close to our modern scientific models. One of these cosmologies is based on the Hindu myth of Lila – the divine play in which Brahman transforms him into the world. Lila is a rhythmic play which goes on in endless cycles, the one becoming the many and the many returning into the one. (The Tao of Physics)
The holy book, the Bhagavad-Gita speaks about the expansion and contraction of nature. “Sarvabhuthani kaundeya prakrithim yanthee mamikam, Kalpakshaye punasthani kalpaadau vrisrijaamyaham”
(IX, p .7)
These words from the Bhagavad-Gita are spoken by Sri Krishna to Arjuna. Sri Krishna asks Arjuna to be bold and courageous when he was in a stage of despair. Krishna says that when the world comes to an end all the living creatures will merge or unite with the Almighty God or the Paramatma. Another universe will arise from Him at another period of time i.e. after the destruction of the existing universe. This view is very powerful and free from the influence of atheism. The Indian preceptors had been successful in imparting a clear-cut and logical knowledge on the concepts of nature, creation, life and death. The scientific discoveries made in this field have been enthusiastic and exciting. The Puranic Rishis attained this divine wisdom and insight through the revelation of Vedas and the study of holy books. A review of the relentless theories of the Vedas helps one to unfold the hidden mysteries of Nature. The six parts of the Vedas are Shiksha (instruction), Kalpa (sastra), Niruktha (etymology of words in Vedas), Vyakarana (grammar), Jyothisha (astrology), and Chandassu (prosody).
Shiksha – It deals with utterance, voice, pronunciation, and the time taken for uttering a short syllable of a Mantra. Kalpa – It speaks about religious rites (yagas) and the order of ceremonies.
Niruktha – This is a theory which deals with the etymology and grammar of words. It helps in analysing the sound and the meaning of words in the Vedas. Vyakarana – It helps in the analysis of meaning, the knowledge of sound and the utterance of words in Vedas.
Chandassu – This theory describes the grammar of Vedic rites.
Jyothisha – The theory which helps one in commencing the religious rites and sacrifices at the most auspicious time.
The major books which tackle with Astrology are `Rigjyothisha’, `Yajurjyothisha’, and `Adharvajyothisha’. Astrology has several consequent branches. The words of Vedic Pundit Panini on the six parts of the Vedas are significant;
“Chanda: paadau thu vedasya Hasthau kalpofdha padyathe Jyothishamayanam chakshur Hiruktam shrothamuchyathe Shikshaa khranam thu vedasya Mukham vyakaranam smrudham Thasmath sangama dheethye va Brahmalokhe maheeyathe.”
Chandassu of the Vedas is compared to legs, Kalpa to hands, Jyothisha to eyes, Niruktha to ears, Shiksha to nose, Vyakarana to face. Here Jyothisha is regarded as the eyes of the Vedas and so its significance can be easily understood.
Man and the Nature
A slight deviation from the theory of creation to the foundation theory of Astrology is desirable here. The views of the renowned scholar, Sreedanandaswami on the creation of Nature is evident in his book, `A Slight Observation of Hindu Religion’. Here each object multiplies independently. Different forms of creation arise from the Paramatma (the Supreme Soul) independently. A magician performs magic. What makes Hinduism distinct from other religions is its order of Creation. Other religions teach that God created the world from vacuum. According to Hindu mythology, God is distinct from Creation. The creation and the creator are the same. This illusion is totally logical and reasonable. Because of His own power, God becomes many.
An observation of the creation of Nature leads one to the illusion of the whole Universe (brahmanda) and the matter contained in the body or mass (pindanda). This theory proves that the Microcosm (human body) is a short replica of the Macrocosm. Nature which is the Macrocosm and human body which is the Microcosm are the short impressions of the same force or power. The matter of Nature is present in the human body in an invisible form. The form of human body can be viewed in Nature in a bigger dimension. Thereby, the energy vibrations of Nature are reflected in the human body also. Man has three parts. They are the visible Sthulasharira, the invisible Sukshmasharira and the Karanasharira. Sukshmasharira is a reservoir of thoughts and emotions. Karanasharira reveals itself as a dark strange figure which appears in the form of dreams at the time of sleep. In short, they can be called as the body, mind and the soul. The body of nature can also be classified into three. The Sthulasharira of Nature consists of the stars, the solar system, and the planets. The divinity of god and the life-force (chaitanya) of Sukshmasharira is present in every atom of the Sthulasharira. All these things correspond to the Sthula-Karanasharira of Nature. The Sthulasharira, Sukshmasharira and the Karanasharira of the human body are compared to Vishwa (the Universal power), Thaijasa (the Supreme glory), and Prajna (scholar) respectively. The Puranic Rishis named them as Viradu (the source of all creation), Hiranyagarbha (the source of glory) and Ishwara (the Supreme Soul). The microcosm of human body is a short impression of the all-inclusive macrocosm made of the five elements like earth, water, air, fire, and sky. This is one of the most glorious and significant theories existing in India. The behaviour of macrocosm and the changes which take place there highly influence the microcosm of human body. This is actually the essence of Astrology.