Astronomy and Indian Astrology
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Astronomy and Indian Astrology



Comparison of Astrology with Astronomy and exposing the Astrology

Comparison of Astrology with Astronomy and exposing the Astrology



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  • A good, informative and thought provoking article !! .
    But the author must remember that , even modern science today has limitations and unable to explains some phenomenon. Similarly astrology, vedic or otherwise, also may not have answers to every query. Marginalising astrology merely on this basis looks prejudised!!
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  • its a good effort
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  • It is a deliberate attempt to defile the Vedic Astrology. Egyptians/Europeans were barbarians and it is Bharat/India who taught all these things to the rest of the world.
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  • Astrology is one of the oldest cultures of human civilization. Vedic astrology is an ancient culture of India, south-east Asia or Asian sub-continent as a whole. Vedas means knowledge in Sanskrit and was initiated by the Aryans. Astrology is called 'Jyotisha Shastra' in Sanskrit. 'Jyotisha' means divine light or luster of heaven and 'Shastra' means subject of diversity i.e. subject of study which deals with celestial entities

    indian astrology
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  • Hi Jayaprakashramanan Firstly you have mixed Yoga, Ayurveda with Astrology. Yoga is a meditation. Ayurveda is medicine. Astrology is predicting the future. Please be clear about it.
    Secondly it is not the colour of spectacles which decides the truth. Whether you wear spectacle of truth or believe is important.
    Thirdly, you have mentioned little bit scientific data and logic is used to undermine astrology. Sorry, I think it is not the quantity of data but the quality which is used to find out the truth and decide. If you think otherwise, please try to think again and decide.
    Fourthly,’ If somebody believes let them believe’ attitude like ’If somebody gets fooled or robbed let them get fooled or robbed’. I feel it is not right.
    Fifthly, whatever Veda or Bible or Quran says is always right is not an healthy view. As far as my knowledge goes Veda never mentioned about Astrology. If you know, please mention where it is. Please don’t mention Ayurveda and Yoga as Astrology.
    - Srinivas Natekar
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Astronomy and Indian Astrology Astronomy and Indian Astrology Presentation Transcript

  • Astronomy & Indian Astrology
  • Topics
    • Basics of Indian astrology
    • Astronomical assumption in Indian astrology
    • Scientific arguments against astrology
    • How Astrology came into Indian scene
  • Basics of Indian astrology
    • What is zodiac
    • What is janma nakshatra
    • What is panchang
    • What is Shani dasha/ dosha?
  • The star that appears to be above head at 8 pm one day will be above head at 7:56 pm next day. That is stellar sphere will appear to rotate eastward by 1 o . Now we know that actually Earth that is rotating about its own axis at the rate of 1 o in every 4 min., and also going round the sun about 1 o in one day.
  • From the point of view of Earth, thus sun will appear to rotate once a year in the sky and come to same star after one year. Or one can say, Sun ‘moves’ in the background of stars once a year.
    • As seen from Earth, Sun in the sky moves in a path – called ecliptic.
    12 constellations are almost evenly placed on this ecliptic ring. These are called Zodiac signs or Rashis
  • What is Rasi
    • The concept of Zodiac originated in Mesopotamia and spread to India via Greek.
    • Similarity of the names/ figures attest to the same.
    Taurus Scorpio Leo Bull Scorpion Lion Rishab Vrichikam Simham
  • Apparent position of Sun against a particular constellation is the Rasi.. Meenum Measm Rishabam
  • Number Sanskrit Name Western Name 1 Mesha Aries 2 Vrishabha Taurus 3 Mithuna Gemini 4 Karka Cancer 5 Simha Leo 6 Kanya Virgo 7 Tula Libra 8 Vrishchika Scorpio 9 Dhanus Sagittarius 10 Makara Capricorn 11 Kumbha Aquarius 12 Meena Pisces
  • Panchang
    • Panch (five) – Ang (elements)
      • Thithi- waxing and waning of moon (~ 29/30 days- a month)
      • Nakshartra – position of moon in the background of stars (either 27 or 28 such Nakshatras are chosen in Indian tradition) – 1/4 part of a Nakshatra is called a Padam ( feet) making 108 padams or divisions of the ecliptic
      • Yogam – total of angle of sun & moon
      • Karnam- one half of Thithi
      • Vaara- 7 day week
  • TITHI The total time of rotation of moon around the earth (30 days) is divided into 30 parts or Tithis. Thus, Tithi is 12° rotation around the earth, but the time taken for 1 tithi is not uniform (because of moon’s elliptical orbit) and may vary from 19 to 26 hours. Tithis begin at varying times of the day. There are 30 tithis in each lunar month. Because the duration of Tithi keeps changing, one sun day ( 24 hours), may contain 1,2 or 3 tithis. Thus, at times, it is difficult to give a Tithi name to a sun-day, and there are differences amongst experts. Celebration of festivals according to tithis also is often contested.
  • Ashwini NAKSHTRA The position of moon each day in its orbit against a prominent star - called the nakshatra or lunar mansion . There are 27 nakshtras Moon takes about 27.3 days to go around Earth once and come back to the same star. Bharani Krittika
  • The first Nakshatra is Aswini (Aswathi), a group of 3 stars in the shape of ‘Aswamukha’ or horse head. If a child is born when moon is near Aswini, its birth star is said to be Aswini. Janama Nakshtra Aswin Barani Karthika Rohini
    • The next day Moon will be in Bharani, Then it will go to Kritika (Karthika), the seven sisters, then to Rohini (the Hyades) in the shape of letter V, and so on.
    Since the Moon’s path and Sun’s path are nearly the same, the nakshatras and rashis fall on the same ecliptic ring. Thus, all the 27 Nakshatras are included in the 12 rashis, so that each has 2 1 / 4 Nakshathra. Moon spends one day and Sun 13-14 days in each Nakshathra.
  • Nakshtra as day count
    • 27 1 / 3 Days is the length of a sidereal Lunar month ( from starting Nakshatra back to the same nakshatra).
    • The Nakshtras were very useful in counting days, eg. if a child was born in Aswini and today is Magha then evidently it is 10 days old.
    • In olden days Indians had no 7 day week !
  • Nakshtra and their imaginary shape
  • Shani, Guru, Mangal, Ravi, Shukra, Budha, Chandra…. Is in order of the speed at which they appear to move… VAR- WEEKDAYS In like manner, weekday order: Sun, Mon, Tue… flows 1Shani 2Guru 3Mangal 4Ravi 5Shukra 6Budha 7Chandra 8Shani 9Guru 10Mangal 11Ravi 12Shukra 13Budha 14Chandra 15Shani 16Guru 17Mangal 18Ravi 19Shukra 20Budha 21Chandra 22Shani 23Guru 24Mangal 25Ravi
      • Shani, Guru, Kuja (Mangal), Ravi, Shukra, Budha, Chandra is the order in which they appear to move around Earth. Shani is the slowest. Chandra is fastest. This is because Shani takes 30 years to come back to the same Nakshtra, Guru 12 years, and so on.. Chandra is fastest with 27 days.
    Every day is 24 parts called “hours” (hora). The successive hours are considered to be governed by the celestial bodies in the above given order. The celestial body governing the first hour of the day lent its name to that day. For example, if you start from Shani as the planet governing the first hour, that day is Shanivaara (Saturday). The fourth planet from Shani in the given order is Ravi (the Sun) whose name is lent to the next day as Ravivaara (Sunday). Then, the fourth planet from Ravi is Chandra and hence the next day is named after Chandra (the Moon) as Somavaara (Monday), Soma being a synonym for Chandra.
  • KARNAM Karnam is half of a Tithi. Like day and night of solar day, Karnam is one half of a lunar day. Later it was accepted that, one Karanam equals 6 degree movement around earth. .
  • YOGAM Fictitious angular relationship between Sun and Moon. It is the total of the two solar and lunar angles swept on the ecliptic. One Yoga equals 13 degrees:20 minutes. There are 27 Yogas in all. This has no real ‘physical meaning’… This has only astrological significance.
  • Moon in Pisces Mars in Pisces Saturn in Libra This is the basis of Kundali… it records the position of celestial objects at the time of Birth Position of heavenly objects can be recorded against zodiac Jupiter in Taurus Sun in Aquarius Venus in Gemini
  • Rising Rashi- Kanya- Lagna Budha in Thula Mangal in Kanya Sun in Vrichika Shukra in Dhanus Chandra in Meena Guru in Mithina Shani in Karkataka Position of Planets, Moon and Sun as seen from Earth
  • Position of Planets, Moon and Sun as seen from Earth.. Birds eye view
  • Position of Planets, Moon and Sun as seen from Earth.. In Kundali format
  • The Kundali
  • Jathagam… South Indian style Mars Shani Jupiter Moon Venus Sun Mercury Lagna
  • What does this Kundali mean… Kumbam is the ascending rasi Jupiter in Simham Ketu in Kanni Sun, Mars and Mercury in Rishab Venus in Mesham Ragu and Saturn in Meenam Moon in Danush
  • Shani Dasha/ Dosha Saturn takes about 30 years to complete one revolution and thus it will be in each Rasi for about 2.5 years. The ‘effect’ of ‘dasa’ of Shani is supposed to be affecting for the 2.5 years before it is in a rasi, during and subsequently. Thus 2.5 x 3 = 7.5 years. Shani affects these three rasis
  • Saturn has completed one full circle ie. 30 yrs. So, he is about 30 yrs old. But need not be exact, since we don’t know its exact position at the time of birth and also now. (Each constellation consists of 30 0 and Saturn could be anywhere between 0 and 30). So we consider Jupiter now, it is clear that Jupiter has completed two full circles and moved 7 more constellations. So his age is 2x12+7=31 yrs (since Jupiter takes 12 year for one full circle) Again considering other planets an accuracy of 1 day can be achieved. If we consider other factors like Lagna etc we can be little more accurate. Birth chart Me Ke Ve Ru Sa Sun Ju Ma Mo La Ru Ju Sa Ma Ke, Me, Su, Mo Today’s postion
  • Night Side Planets like Jupiter and Saturn are visible in the night Sun is about 2 house above Lagna, therefore the time is morning Mars Shani Jupiter Moon Venus Sun Mercury Lagna
  • Astronomical assumptions of Indian Astrology
  • In ancient Indian traditions: (similar to Greek, Roman, Arabic, Persian etc)
    • astronomy AND astrology (Aster=star + logos=logic) are called Hora (Time) Shastra or Jyotisha (Light) : Aryabhatiya (c. 474) deals only with astronomy, uses jyotisha only in this sense, makes no astrological predictions or statement.
    • Panchang and Kundali thus have a astronomical basis but were hijacked by astrology ~ c. 600.
    • dominant astrological tradition is Parasari (others being Jaimini and Tajaka) followed by Varahamihira, Bhattotpala, Venkatesa etc
    • astronomical basis is the Suryasiddhanta (c.700)
  • Astronomical assumptions in “Hindu” Astrology
    • along with almost ALL astrology:
      • a zodiac or band of 9 º either side of the ecliptic
      • set of planets: (including Sun and Moon)
      • 12 Constellations or Signs (  solar months) (Indian  Greek)
    Actually the path of all planets including Neptune and Uranus passes through 13 constellations! The 13 th zodiac constellation is actually Ophiuchus .
  • Geocentrism
    • Ancient astrology & astronomy was founded on geocentrism , that the Earth is the center around which the heavenly bodies move.
    • Copernicus (~1540) showed a great simplification was possible if the sun were in the center instead- his heliocentric theory proved to be a step in right direction.
    • Newton’s physics provided theoretical foundation and Sun centered Solar system is accepted in modern science
    • Modern astronomy is distinct from astrology in this count.
    • movements of planets explained by geo-centric observation (eg. “retrogression” of Mercury etc:
    • also from Ptolemy’s epicycles forms the solar system model and not accounting for Copernicus-Kepler-Newton laws
  • Indian Astrology is Earth centered , epicycle based astrology. Ucha and Neecha(m) is the high and low point of the planets as they go in epicycle.
  • Other uncorrected assumptions…
    • all planets rotate around their axes once/day W-E!
    • However, Venus rotates from E-W. Saturn rotates in 10 hrs.
    • Planets are (in order of distance from Earth):
    • Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Sun, Jupiter, Saturn
    • do not recognise Uranus, Neptune, Pluto
    • include “phantom planets” Rahu and Ketu (missing in Aryabhatiya which explains eclipses by shadows)
    Furthermore Puran like Vishnu Puran claims that actually moon is above that of sun and hence this implies moon cannot cause solar eclipse! In fact Aryabhata was criticized on this count !
  • Precession Movement of the earth’s axis (with a period of 24,000 years) has gradually shifted which sign of the Zodiac the sun is in each month. Not all traditions of astrology take this into account.
  • Shift of the Zodiac
    • Due to precession the position of the zodiac has shifted in actual reality.
    • Today the sun is in Pisces from March 11 to April 18.
    • But modern western astrology columns still give its location 2000 years ago, February 19 to March 20.
    • Indian astrology (Sayana system) give Meenam to be Feb 21 to March 20
  • Shift of the Zodiac
    • Thus modern newspaper astrology columns are about one sign (a month) off from where the sun actually is!
    • So you have been reading the wrong sign for years!
    • Astrologers who adjust for this seem to have no better success than those who do not!
    • In Indian astrology…
    • winter/summer solstices coincide with beginning of Makara (=Capricorn) (uttarayana) and Kataka (=Cancer) (dakshinayana)
    • Actual Utarayana is ~ December 22 but in Indian astrology it is January 14
    • And Dakshinayana is ~ June 22 but is actually July 16th
  • Astrology claims to be:
    • the most ancient science, almost perfected in India thousands of years ago, for “foretelling of the regular movements of the planets”
    • based on the “mysterious and subtle power” of planetary and stellar conjunctions which influence humans and all animates/inanimates on Earth.
    • a rigorous discipline, with mathematical foundations and proven predictive capabilities.
    • unlike witchcraft, palmistry, reading of cards or omens and other “occult” beliefs able to interpret the future in the light of past karma AND enable coping through human will.
    • (from B.V.Raman, “Hindu Predictive Astrology”)
  • Astrology ..predictions Who does not need? Obviously, going abroad means lots of paper work and one should be indeed careful with documents. Life of course requires a mature approach
  • Astrology as a discipline
    • has no theory for influences of cosmic bodies, only axiomatic assertions: eg. “no sane brain could ever deny the influence of planets upon man”
    • Predictions
      • are mostly vague, with have many qualifiers (ifs and buts)
      • have multiple causative factors and interpretations
    • anecdotal successes; failures unexplained
      • “ Nature” mag. studied >4,500 persons born within 1 hr. over 25 years: found no correlations for >25 parameters!
      • Explanation: “not a science like… physics… requiring strict adherence to… reasoning and… logic”!
      • [AND] “cannot be simply based on strict… principles… but a certain amount of intuitive capacity [called for]…”
    • non-falsifiable in ultimate analysis
    • (Quotes from B.V.Raman, “Hindu Predictive Astrology”)
  • Scientific investigation of astrology
    • Around 1950s French psychologist and statistician Michel Gauquelin devoted much of his life trying to determine whether astrology has any scientific validity. He found little or no evidence of the zodiac signs being of importance , especially between family members. He found that very few people showed the typical traits associated with their Sun sign and rather that they lacked in them.
    • In the mid-1980s, an American physicist Shawn Carlson of the University of California, Berkeley, USA did a double blind test to find out the scientific validity of astrology. Astrologers claims that ‘natal charts’ could be used to describe personality traits of subjects accurately. This study examined this claims of astrologers. The results, published in the journal Nature (5 December 1985) emphatically concluded that astrology failed the test.
  • Those with same Kundali…
    • For about 2 hrs same Lagna is on the horizon. Even if one takes every thing into account, those born within about 20 mts will have same Kundali. Such ‘time twin’s were studied to see if they have same Bavishya- future.
    • The study looked into 100 different characteristics, including occupation, anxiety levels, marital status, aggressiveness, sociability, IQ levels and ability in art, sport, mathematics and reading—all of which astrologers claim can be gauged from birth charts.
    • The results of the study, reported in the Journal of Consciousness Studies (Vol. 10, No. 6-7, June-July 2003).
    • The study also proved to be negative. There appeared to be no correlation!
  • Properties of Planets
    • Jupiter, Venus, Full Moon, Mercury: Good
    • Saturn, Mars, New Moon, Rahu, Ketu: Bad
    • Jupiter, Mars, Sun: Male } used for
    • Venus, Rahu, Moon: Female } gender
    • Saturn, Mercury, Ketu: Neuter } determination
    • Jupiter, Venus: Brahmin } Varna
    • Sun, Mars: Kshatriya } based on
    • Moon: Vaisya } guna & karma
    • Mercury: Sudra }
    • Saturn: Antyaja }
    • (from B.V.Raman, “Hindu Predictive Astrology”)
  • What are Astronomical Objects?
    • Ancient astrology had planets as gods or angels.
    • Telescopes & space travel show they are worlds like our Earth.
    • Nothing to indicate they are living beings like gods or angels.
  • What are Astronomical Objects?
    • Similarly, stars are burning gas balls like our sun.
    • Comets are large, dirty snowballs.
    • These discoveries require (at least) a large adjustment in astrology.
  • Stars & Constellations
    • Using parallax, we now realize that the stars are very distant.
    • Using telescopes, that the stars are very numerous.
    • The constellations disappear when dimmer stars are taken into account.
    • The constellations are also just the result of local perspective. Hence Rashi’s are imaginary pictures, rather than actual ‘shapes’. The stars in a Rashi are not at all connected with each other, neither close to each other, nor of the same age.
  • What is visible is history
    • Now we know that stars are so distant that light from them reaching us may have started hundreds, thousands or millions of years back. How can images made of such entities (like rashis/nakshatras) predict / influence our miniscule human existence, less than a hundred years? In stellar terms, we are just momentary, insignificant sparks!
  • New Planets
    • Discovery of Uranus, Neptune & Pluto since 1700s
    • How are these taken into account by astrologers?
      • Most ignore them
      • A few include them
      • No evidence the latter have better results
  • Stellar Influence
    • We do not claim that the sun and moon have no effect on earth:
      • Light, heat, tides
    • But planets & stars exert nil influences at a person’s birth:
      • Compared to gravity of mother, doctor, hospital
      • Compared to radiation from room lamps
    • Astrological successes are probably a combination of luck, fraud, and vague pep-talk.
    • There appears to be no scientific basis for astrology!
  • How astrology came into Indian scene
    • At the outset, a historical-societal PSM (rather than “rationalist”) perspective :
    • Origins of astrology lie in ideas about and the role of the Moon and Sun in early human cultures, the Sun gaining importance with start of annual agricultural operations
    • Regularity of motions of planets and stars then drew attention and systematic observation
  • Origins of Astrology
    • As human being gathered capacity to wonder at, and indulge in certain amount of speculation …...
    • The regularity of appearance and disappearance of these objects should have impressed them.
      • the sequence of day and night, and the obvious connection of the sun
      • the periodic waxing and waning of the moon
      • the unchanging character of the stellar vault
    • No wonder that all ancient civilisations possess proto-astronomy in one form or other.
  • Origins…
    • Primitive societies noticed that the hunting seasons changed along with the periodic change in the night sky. Animals and birds migrated with seasons
    • Soon primitive agriculture settlements emerged
    • In agricultural societies sowing and other operations depended on climatic changes or the seasons.
    • The seasons arrived with appearance of certain groups of stars and changed with the arrival of others.
  • As civilizations developed, trade between distant countries also developed. Since there were no roads, they had to travel knowing the direction of their destination. The Babylonians, had to cross deserts to go anywhere outside their country. So they could travel only during night. They found that certain stars could tell the directions better than the sun. No wonder Babylonians became the best astronomers of ancient times
  • Babylonians developed the solar calendar in detail. They noticed that sun shifts its position 1 o eastward everyday with respect to the background stars- that is about 360 ~ 365 days for a full cycle.
  • Origins….
    • In lower Egypt the periodical overflowing of the Nile was noticed to have some connection with the heliacal rising of Sirius.
  • Origins…
    • Naturally, a little amount of superstition could be expected at this stage because many phenomena lacked physical explanations; eg. a very small circular disc like the sun shines and heats the whole world; another small disc, the moon causes tides; planets usually moving from west to east through the star field, stops motion one day and reverse the direction, [called the retrograde motion or Vikara Gathi].
    • Do these heavenly bodies have will of their own. All these heavenly bodies must have supernatural powers, they thought. Yet, nobody thought in those days that a person’s future could be predicted from planetary positions.
  • Vedic period ~ 2000 BC
    • In fact it is interesting to note that Vedic literature is largely devoid of astrology as we know today.
    • There is no reference to Rasi which is most essential feature of astrology.
    The ancient Indian Astronomy used concepts like Nakshatra, Tithi and so on but not Rasi chakra. Even the ‘Vedanga Jyothisha’ of Lagadha, of around ~10th C. BC, does not give any such indication.
  • Omens…
    • However there are references to omens and prophecies in the Vedic literature- Adhbuta, Utpaata or nimitta. (Eg: Tik-Tik by lizard implies what is stated is Satya Vakku)
    • Certain rare and specified natural occurrences were expected to foretell future events, good or bad.
    • Rigveda and Atharaveda is replete with reference to Shakuna a ominous bird. Vedic literature also talks of auspicious time – muhurta.
  • Magic & natural world
    • On the other hand such beliefs in portents and omens are not to be confused with predictive ‘astrology’.
    • Just before rain one could foretell by sensing the gathering of black cloud or perceive the smell of the soil.
    • The naïve beliefs towards omens are based upon naive realism.
    • Nevertheless many of such correlations drawn by the early civilisations have actually proved to be incorrect.
  • Nakshtra Vidya…
    • Nakshtra Vidya developed and practiced during the Vedic times essentially consisted of omens and predictions based upon the nakshtra occupied by the Moon (Janma Nakshtra) at the time of one’s birth (eg; those who are born in Bharani will rule the world etc)
  • Birth of predictive astrology
    • The prediction business started with the Chaldians of Mesopotamia during the 7th C. BC. Babylonian Civilization was in decline, people’s life became miserable and the priests could easily exploit them by divining things from planetary positions.
    Thus, astrology, which began as an observational science, gradually turned into a pseudo science and by the 4th C.BC, when Alexander conquered Babylonia, the superstitions had reached its zenith. Predictive Astrology gradually spread to Greece and Rome. It was Baroses, a Chaldian priest, who first started a school of astrology in Athens.
  • Astrology reaches India …
    • Perhaps around 150 AD in the court of Western Kshatapa Rudadaaman in Ujjayini, a Greek manuscript of an astrological text composed in Egypt around 100 AD was translated into Sanskrit. The text refereed to as Yavaneshwara, the names and concepts related to predictive astrology were sanskritised. Though the original work in its entirety is not available portions of it incorporated in Sphujidhavaja composed around 270 AD is available. This Yavana Jataka incorporated Egyptio-Greek astrology into Indian astronomy/astrology.
  • Greek roots of Indian Astrology
    • The famous Brihit Jaatakam of Varahamihira ( 6 C AD) is candid in acknowledging the Greeks influence on Indian Astrology. Brihat Samhita (II.14) notes that though Greeks (Yavana) are melechas the astrology is well established among them. Even they are honoured as sages.
    Brihat Jaatakam lists the twelve signs of Zodiac (Rasi). The names are very similar to that of Greek name. Even technical terms like declination (aapoklima) horizon (harija) diameter (Jaamitra) Angle (Kona). Further scholars identify the author of Paulisha Siddhanta, an astrological text with that of Paulus Alexandrinus.
  • Vedic Astrology is bunk!
    • The weekdays (Monday to Sunday) that we are so familiar, was not Indian in origin. Earliest inscriptional evidence so far available for the week days is Eran Stone Pillar of Budhagupta (~484 AD)
    • Historians say that the practice of naming days after the seven heavenly objects (5 visible planets, Sun and the moon) was commenced by Chaldeans. Name of week days are nowhere found in Vedas. It is clear that the predictive astrology is not at all ‘Vedic Astrology’ as some make it to be.
  • Why Astrology took root in India
    • Aryabhata, tallest personality in ancient Indian astronomy (~ 450 AD) has no reference to Astrology in his work. He seeks no supernatural powers to explain natural (celestial) events like Eclipse.
    In his work he explains how Solar eclipse occur due to obstruction by moon. He does not even refer to the Puranic myth of Ragu and Ketu. ..But then why India is plagued by astrology?
  • Aryabhatiya
    • His work Aryabhatiya, completed in 421 Saka or 499 A.D., included, among others: (1) Aryabhata's advocacy of the diurnal motion of the earth (rather than the apparent rotation of the sun around it), (2) a corresponding theory of gravity to explain why objects are not thrown out as the earth churns, (3) recognition of the parametric variability of the concept of ``up'' and ``down'' depending on where one is located on the globe, and (4) explanation of lunar and solar eclipses in terms respectively of the earth's shadow on the moon and the moon's obscuring of the sun.
  • Aryabhat’s time
    • Gupta period in which Aryabhata and his followers lived was one that saw the building of not only Hindu temples but also Buddhist monuments such as Sanchi and universities such as Nalanda and Nagarjundakhonda.
    • It was a period of openness to global ideas, that it was characterised by magnificent achievements in religious-philosophical debates among Jains, Buddhists and Hindus
  • Emergence of Hindu orthodoxy
    • Soon many parts of India came under the influence of Hindu orthodoxy- esp Manu Smrithi- which had strict injunction against heretical thinking.
    • Caste rules, rules of high and low, rules of untouchability and inequality all were made more and more strict. All knowledge and science was made more secret, secluded, hidden and concealed, and every new thought and invention was opposed. Even Auyrveda Vaidyas were considered ‘polluted’ and down graded
  • Astronomy and science attacked
    • Scientists like Aryabhatta became the subject of attacks. For example, Aryabhatta's work was attacked by Brahmagupta, Bhaskaracharya and Varahmihira.
    • Astronomers, or so-called 'jyotirvids' were denounced ; were declared ‘polluted’. Manu Smrithi condemned and prohibited them from being called to yadnyas, mahadanas and shraadhas.
    • Further, the Brahmins changed the meaning of the word jyotirvidya, which now meant those who study the 'effects' of stars on human beings contrary to the original meaning of study of stars, and themselves became 'daivaidnyas', -- the knower of fate
  • Puranic myths were upheld
    • Brahmasiddhanta says “Some people think that the eclipse is not caused by the Head( which is Rahu, the head of the mythological Asura). This, however, is a foolish idea, for it is he in fact who eclipses, and the generality of the inhabitants of the world say that it is the Head that eclipses. The Veda, which is the word of God from the mouth of Brahman, says that the Head eclipses... On the contrary. Varahamihira, Shrishena, Aryabhata and Vishnuchandra maintain that the eclipse is not caused by the Head, but by the moon and the shadow of the earth, in direct opposition to all (to the generality of men), and from the enmity against the just-mentioned dogma”
  • New role for Astronomy
    • On one hand Astronomy in India was constrained by the new emerging social order
    • On the other astronomers had to seek legitimacy for their profession
    • Astronomers began to parade themselves as astrologers…
    • Even famous astronomers like Varahamihira, Bhramagupta, Baskara –II were astrologers as well as astronomers
    • Even in West astronomers like Kepler were astrologers…
  • Driver of Astronomy
    • Initially time reckoning was the drive for Astronomy
    • Agriculture required better calendar based upon solar movement
    • Once a reasonable calendar is made Astronomy had to look for new areas of application…
    • Astrology became one such ‘application’.
  • Navigation and birth of modern astronomy
    • After Galileo, modern astronomy found a new role- in navigation.
    • Astronomical events like eclipse of Galilean moons, Moon’s occultation and so on were proposed to be used to ‘solve the question of longitude’.
    • If you know the precise time of eclipse of Jupiter, then you comparing it with local time you can find the longitude. Astronomers now had a new role…
    • The caste system and exploitation has been simply explained on the basis of karma and birth charts. Astrology provides the justification for these by showing them to be ordained by the heavens. This ‘divine destiny’ for inequality still rules the Indian mind.
    • astrology thus remained intimately related to astronomy till c. 15 th Cent .
    • astrology was perhaps the major driver for accurate astronomical
    • Observations in the ancient and medieval periods though Church, sects
    • like Sikhism shunned astrology, decline in importance of astrology (in
    • West esp.) began with the birth of modern Science
    Birth of modern science and demise of astrology..
  • Uncertain world and astrology
    • Astrology serves a sociological need in the modern world. The new era of globalisation, social life is beset with uncertainty/ insecurity. Astrology, with its façade of planets, stars and so on, appears to provide a certain view into a person’s future, thus giving him/her hope and certainty.
    • Scientific study indicates that astrology fails all statistical tests miserably. Nevertheless, many people believe in astrology largely fooled due to the vague nature of the so called ‘predictions’.
    • Astrology would weaken only in a world wherein such sociological ‘opium’ becomes unnecessary.