| tadyatha om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
Some suggestions for the aspiring Western Jyotishi
"If you're going to have a complicated story, you must work to a map, otherwise you can never make a map of it afterwards."
~~Lord of the Rings 1892-1973 J.R.R. Tolkien speaking in 1971, commenting on his 12-year writing plan for The Lord of the Rings
painted by Raja Ravi Varma, c. 1896
"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven;
|Topics related to Practice, client behaviors, belief systems, etc.|
I want to learn Vedic Astrology - where should I begin?
Getting started - first-step essentials
Most Authoritative Jyotisha Books? according to B.V. Raman
I have trouble with foreign religious cults. Is Jyotisha a part of Hinduism? [Jyotisha history]
See also: Annotated Bibliography of Jyotisha Texts
Jyotisha vs Tropical Astrological Systems : some key differences
Vocabulary:from the Koeln Digital Sanskrit Lexicon
light (of the sun, dawn, fire, lightning)
light appearing in the 3 worlds,
Also personified as
fire, sun and moon
eye-light; he eye
The heavenly bodies, planets and stars
The light of heaven, celestial world
light as the divine principle of life or source of intelligence, intelligence
light as the type of freedom or bliss or victory
of certain formularies containing the word
science of the movements of the heavenly bodies
What are the best Jyotisha Beginner books in English?
|See the Annotated Bibliography|
Q: I want to learn Vedic Astrology.
Where should I begin? |
A: There are many fine English-language Jyotisha beginner books. Both of Bepin Behari's books entitled Fundamentals of Vedic Astrology and Planets in Signs and Houses are recommended starter books.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, the Sanskrit shloka collections such as Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra are rather opaque (even for a capable Sanskritist) and laden with medieval medical-sexual concepts.
Therefore it is generally easier and more accessible to begin with a modern text that was written for modern audiences, such as Shri Behari has written.
However the most essential learning material will be the collection of nativities of well-known public-figures, your friends, and your family members. Also recommended to purchase a robust Jyotisha software such as Shri Jyoti Star or other top-quality s/w.
Traditionally, Vedic astrology is a family business.
Secret formulae, the family Ayanamsha, and other protected techniques, have been passed over the generations from astrologer elders to their apprentice children.
Also, the practice of Jyotisha has been taught by Guru to Sishya from a religious scholar-authority to devotee-student. In both cases, the absolute authority of the teacher is unquestioned.
For millennia, uncritical acceptance of the teacher's personal interpretation of the ancient astrological scriptures and their proprietary calculations has been central to the transmission of Jyotisha in the Eastern hemisphere.
In the late 20th century, as computers became widely available, the first tentative systematic testing of various ayanamsha settings, astronomical formulae, and other calculations became possible.
The Lahiri Committee was formed in India to establish a standardized government-approved Ayanamsha .
Also as the paternalistic Age of Pisces started to dwindle, the absolute authority of father-figures and guru-figures began to be challenged worldwide.
Attention to the master-teacher is still as important in learning the Vidya of Jyotisha -- as it is in learning any other craft.Jyotisha relies very heavily on the practitioner's intuition. Access to a guide who can consistently role-model a successful application of intuitive judgment remains an extremely helpful and perhaps critically necessary asset forthe student who hopes to make successful Jyotisha divinations.
However, for the conscious individual, an external flesh-figure instructor-guide might not be necessary. The Guru Within can also fill this essential guidance role.
Using networked computers, a beginning student may now access the opportunity to learn and practice Jyotisha in a much more objectively validated, data-tested way. However it is important to acknowledge that the samayavidya of Jyotisha is a very complicated body of knowledge and the professional software is not yet perfect.
Nevertheless, the availability of high-quality, affordable beginner Jyotisha tutorials written in modern vernacular language (primarily English) makes it possible to "skip" the traditional devotee/apprentice step and get straight to the vidya itself.
In order to make consistently accurate Jyotisha judgments, a student *will* need to develop communicative link with the Inner Teachers through meditation. However, the principles of the vidya and introductory, standard astronomical calculations -- previously available only to the initiated -- can now be accessed by anyone with a personal computer.
The best way to begin Jyotisha education is to calculate the charts of your friends, family, and perhaps a few admired public figures.
Start matching the milestone dates of your parents, siblings, spouse, and friends to their Vimshottari Dasha periods. Look for acorrespondence between their kundali-varga and their personal histories and character, which you already know -- or, in the case of public figures, which biographical data can be easily researched in encyclopedia formats such as Wikipedia.
A group of well-known biographies will provide some reliable data to work with. To flow the instructor from the Inner Teachers, simply live in a balanced way, and open the radio-transmitter that lives in the corpus callosum called the pineal gland (i.e., meditate). After assembling a group of nativities for rational study, learning to clearly hear the voice of intuition is the most important step toward making accurate divinatory predictions.
|~~ Memories Dreams Reflections 1875-1961 Carl Jung||"It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves."|
Q:Hi Barbara, I really love your site. It is one of the most thorough and rich resources I have come across. I've really been getting into Jyotish for the past 3 months, and have read through a number of books: Light on Life; The Greatness of Saturn-- both Svoboda, William Levacy's introduction to Vedic Astrology, and James Braha's Hindu Astrology for the Western Astrologer. I've come to understand that it is a very complex field very capable of helping someone spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. I just purchased the Das Goravani Program--Goravani Jyotish and started entering in birth information of some of my friends. In the program it provides a score for different charts, and I was surprised and now bummed out that my chart--which I was somewhat pleased with--received a rather low score (29). I then entered in my ex-girlfriend's info and she received a 99. This is higher than almost every person who's birth info was provided with the program--which I then started to look up. From my understanding, jyotish is a very vast and deep practice--one that defies being condensed into a single score. But my understanding of jyotish is also very limited. And this little blip is throwing a wrench into my whole spiritual practice--not just of jyotish, but of meditation, yoga--all things of spiritual exploration. I know that jyotish is part of the vedas, connected to ayurveda and a significant part of a spiritual tradition that I've really been getting into. It's been opening new doors, and I've been learning a lot about myself. I'm a recovering alcoholic and since I've become sober about 8 months ago have been trying to create or rekindle a spiritual connection. Anyway, this score really bummed me out and threw into question all that I have been studying--and ultimately threw into question a lot of my spiritual beliefs. It seems foolish--to get this upset something like this, and I've been able to let it go to some extent. But I would like your input on this, if you are familiar with that program, etc. I apologize if I went on too long. I'm sure you get a lot of people telling you a lot about their lives. Thank you so much.
I really love your site. It is one of the most thorough and rich resources I have come across. I've really been getting into Jyotish for the past 3 months, and have read through a number of books: Light on Life; The Greatness of Saturn-- both Svoboda, William Levacy's introduction to Vedic Astrology, and James Braha's Hindu Astrology for the Western Astrologer. I've come to understand that it is a very complex field very capable of helping someone spiritually, emotionally and psychologically.
I just purchased the Das Goravani Program--Goravani Jyotish and started entering in birth information of some of my friends. In the program it provides a score for different charts, and I was surprised and now bummed out that my chart--which I was somewhat pleased with--received a rather low score (29). I then entered in my ex-girlfriend's info and she received a 99. This is higher than almost every person who's birth info was provided with the program--which I then started to look up.
From my understanding, jyotish is a very vast and deep practice--one that defies being condensed into a single score. But my understanding of jyotish is also very limited. And this little blip is throwing a wrench into my whole spiritual practice--not just of jyotish, but of meditation, yoga--all things of spiritual exploration. I know that jyotish is part of the vedas, connected to ayurveda and a significant part of a spiritual tradition that I've really been getting into. It's been opening new doors, and I've been learning a lot about myself. I'm a recovering alcoholic and since I've become sober about 8 months ago have been trying to create or rekindle a spiritual connection.
Anyway, this score really bummed me out and threw into question all that I have been studying--and ultimately threw into question a lot of my spiritual beliefs. It seems foolish--to get this upset something like this, and I've been able to let it go to some extent. But I would like your input on this, if you are familiar with that program, etc.
I apologize if I went on too long. I'm sure you get a lot of people telling you a lot about their lives. Thank you so much.
You are right; I do get a lot of people telling me about their lives and problems ....; karmesha-10 profession = Chandra in bhava-6 of service-ministry.
About the sudden self-doubt or even self-contempt at the moment, here are 3 observations which might be helpful :
1- When the programmer wrote that little scoring module, I suspect he was just playing around with some value-weighting systems.
2- In his professional autobiography"My Experiences in Astrology," the famous literary Jyotishi B.V. Raman(1912-1998) tells some sweetly funny stories about becoming obsessed with all the negative potential in his own nativity.
3- Cardinal rule in Jyotisha = don't keep looking at your own charts. I know it's fascinating but it's very misleading until you know the Jyotisha rule-base.
Unfortunately humans live in terror of self-judgment (because we know, intuitively, about the concluding self-judgment at the end of every incarnation).
Being caught in a maelstrom of self-judgment, you run the risk of losing what little objectivity a beginner has anyway, and coming up with half-baked, irrational"outcomes " that can hurt your self-esteem just when you are trying to heal. You need faith right now not criticism or self-doubt!
As doctors, when they get sick, go to another doctor for diagnosis, so astrologers know that there can be far too much anxiety and subjectivity in the mind when a beginner reads one's own Jyotisha nativity. When an astrologer wants a reading, a sensible Jyotishi consults another astrologer for perspective.
Take my advice: do not speculate about your own chart. In regard to your own life, have complete unshakable faith in Divine Providence, ground your existence in the light of Divine Intelligence, and live to serve. Forget using Jyotisha to understand yourself spiritually, at least forget that until you know 20-50 charts backwards and forwards enough that you can identify the main principles in action, on the spot, when you walk through a nativity.
This study takes years not days not months but years and years. Yet if you keep at it, remaining fascinated and diligent and scientific in mentality and method, eventually you'll earn some sharp pattern-recognition skills and you'll make some accurate predictions.
Forget about karma. Indeed, karma is NOT a system of punishment but karma (which is simply an Earth-game duality rule) has been so grossly misrepresented as a type of cosmic vengeance that it is generally not helpful for the misindoctrinated to work with the concept of karma.
Ground your knowledge of Self in Faith and faith alone. Don't analyze yourself yet. When people get emotionally isolated, through grief, guilt, or fear, they assume that "self" is a towering reality, but the reality is that Self is a mental formality created via boundaried energy interactions with other beings. Avoid navel-gazing self-obsessions. Don't try to evaluate yourself in a spiritual vacuum as if you are the only person alive.
However, do examine other people's karma - which is to say, the dualistic ping-pong psychic interactions that other people are demonstrating. Look closely. It will become increasingly obvious that every action is paired with its reaction, and that every relationship has two roles. Karma meaning "rule of action" (kri) says that if one plays any role, then one must also play the paired role.
Intuitively, everyone knows where their karmic process is leading. Current actions are the result of which paired action is presently being matched. Look carefully at the expectations of those around you. Notice that expectations produce outcomes.Expectations are the seeds of karma, and each Jyotisha configuration defines an expectation. A study of dozens maybe hundreds of karma-dharma/debit-credit ledgers will give you some neutral, educated objective knowledge about the bookkeeping system of karma.
Then and only then -- after maybe five years -- it can be OK to start looking at one's own nativity with genuine numerical objectivity and a gentle smile of karmic amusement.
As a beginner, exactly as you report, an aspiring student of the vidya can get attacked by an onslaught of negative value judgments (a "score") which feels like criticism and hurts much more than it helps. The whole reason to undertake Jyotisha studies is to help guide others to more clearly see their own chosen paths. It is never helpful to criticize or blame. (In fact lower astral actions such as bullying and inducing fear will trigger another karmic dual-pair outcome for the astrologer). Therefore, offer advice only when asked and only when positive guidance can be delivered.
Years ago, I knew a very spiritual guy who threw a beautiful and precious book of ancient divinations - the I Ching - right into a burning trash heap one night because he was so upset. He could have served as a valuable guide for others if he had first objectively studied the readings contained in the I Ching * Book of Changes in reference to world events or to more impersonal questions like his job.
Unfortunately, instead, he kept obsessively asking about "himself" as if a little book could provide the core soul validation that he was seeking. Being so vulnerable to doubt at that time in his life, he was wounded by the judgmental, negative readings that he was generating about himself. At a critical moment in his life, this intuitively gifted man dumped "the whole spiritual guidance thing." He then slipped into a terrible reactive materialism which delayed his spiritual progress for decades.
He should have sought core validation ONLY via his trust in divine love from Source, and not gone looking for any type of valuation (pro or con) from human texts until he was free of core doubt and core-secure emotionally.
The sad thing is that this guy (now in his eighties) is tremendously sensitive, intelligent, and intuitive. Yet he hurt himself so badly with premature self-divination that he remained balled up in self-defensive materialism for decades and he never helped anyone else to clarify their own spiritual identity.
It was a tragic mistake. However it is one that you can avoid if you WAIT until you have a good solid collection of objective real-world examples in your repertoire before making any value judgments about yourself.
The Divine loves everyone equally from criminals to saints. So do not worry whether you will be good or bad, rich or poor, handsome or ugly, healthy or sick. Those are human social judgments and they pale in comparison to the all-healing love of Source.
What matters is that you believe unshakably in the fundamental rightness and goodness of your being here on Earth. You can and should PRESUME that everything you are doing is good and correct so that language about error and failure is not allowed when talking about the self. No I don't mean clinical narcissistic anxiety: ) I mean having that unshakable abhaya faith in your own unquestionable goodness securely in place BEFORE dabbling in any sort of value judgments, weightings, predictions, scores, etc.
Stabilize your core in absolute trust of the universal beneficence and make sure that you are completely protected from self-doubt before taking even a tiny peek at your own Jyotisha nativity!
Even starting to comprehend the scripts embedded in the Jyotisha nativity is like looking into Shiva's mouth - it can be terrifying. Study the charts of others. Compare and contrast.
Also, read the great world literature, study human nature, see how human character traits assemble into complexes (e.g., greed pairs with fear; tolerance pairs with gratitude).
So... maybe your ex-girlfriend is going to be a rich old lady. Nifty. And maybe you will have a smaller bank account, along with a bigger treasury of wit and wisdom.
Human material social moral and aesthetic value judgments are psychically charged and they can be used either to hurt people or to encourage them. Whatever the Jyotisha prediction is, make sure it gets used to encourage always, never to hurt.
Indeed the only values worth cultivating are those that are portable across incarnations, such as wisdom and compassion. As the Christian gospels say, 'it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to pass through the gates of heaven." Predictions of financial well-being , beauty, glamour, etcetera are fun but those values are fleeting. Encourage the values that really count.
Wishing you very best success in Jyotisha studies,
Barbara Pijan Lama, Jyotisha
I have a background in tropical, western astrology . I've started reading books in Indian astrology (English language) but I find some of the explanations confusing and contradictory.
Is knowledge of the European astrological tradition an advantage in learning Jyotisha?
A: Learning Jyotisha from books is a little bit challenging because of the Indian cultural concepts, but not impossible if your divinatory intuition is strong.
There are more and more good learner books in English entering the literary market, every year. (See recommended list at the top of this page.)
Background in tropical/European astrology (since Ptolemy) can be a help or a hindrance. It's a help for familiarity with the 12 zodiacal signs and the seven classical planets * graha. The characteristics of the graha have many similarities across the two traditions.
Also, people have commented that they resist or resent losing their tropical-astrology"psychological profile". Having become accustomed to a certain validation, e.g.,"I am a Gemini so I am very social"a person may feel their profiling skills are invalidated in Jyotisha.
If you're ready to make the leap into another worldview, Jyotisha is fascinating.
I have read your astrology website and am really impressed with your depth of understanding and insight into this complex science. I am a student of vedic astrology myself and own Goravani's software. I have also done the correspondence course by Dr. David Frawley of American Institute of Vedic Studies.
Although I have studied astrology and have the basic knowledge of independent situations of houses, lords, aspects, varga charts and vimshottari dashas, I have not yet developed the art of putting it all together and intuitively arriving at a whole picture.
I am interested in getting a reading done by you. With all due respect, I would like to know if the tape you create is like the interpretation that is available in Goravani software or do you put it all together and intuit a reading out of the effects of all houses, lords, aspects and vargas together?
Please let me know? Looking forward to your reply. Thanks
Thanks for your inquiry.
As to whether there is a difference between noting the individual effects of graha, bhava, rashi, varga placement, Nakshatra effect, etc. versus weaving all the items together (and eliminating many factors which are not relevant to the question at hand) - as you might suspect, the answer is yes. There is a big difference.
The difference is, as you suggest, a matter of personal intuition. Intuitive selection directs you as the diviner to select the dominant"themes " in a chart by coordinating the principal effects of the current dasha and relevant transits with the basic components (graha, bhava, drishti) of the chart. This intuition comes directly from the soul. It is only"turned on" when the spirit of compassion is running strong.
A successful reading combines knowledge of the vidya of Jyotisha, with deep personal intuition developed in meditation, caring for others, and prayer.
Knowledge-wise, I find that reading a Jyotisha chart is very similar to critically analyzing a theatrical play. (Perhaps my viewpoint is skewed by years of reading Shakespeare!) My style is to identify the theme, the historical setting, the protagonists and antagonists, and the potential outcome. Of course we never *really* know the outcome until we get to the last line, but human nature is fairly predictable, and the broad themes of karma and dharma, sin and redemption, life and death, are eternal.
As you can probably tell, my style is profoundly humanistic, notably Western, and very much influenced by my academic training in philosophy, religion, and languages. I am profoundly aware that most people are sleep-walking in this life and therefore most people will"act out" their astrological charts in perfect goose-step. (These people are very easy to read for. I simply remark on the nature of the bars in their cage, and they say Oh! Astrology is so accurate! Yes, it is.)
On the other hand, even a little drop of consciousness permits some people to begin making active changes in the way they respond to the karmic reality around them. These intentional changes signal the end of the"default" karma and the beginning of very positive potential outcomes. I always pitch my readings to this potential higher consciousness, noting where an individual might adjust their attitude toward an impending event or longer-term condition.
In this way I try to accommodate the"fatalistic" component which says that the conditions of our lives are fixed (and, for sleepwalkers, they definitely are!) -- while opening the possibility of a fresh viewpoint, free of resentment, which might allow the person to *own* their karma in a neutral state of awareness.
A healthy by-product of having been introduced to a Jyotisha explanation of the forces currently structuring our material and psycho-emotional lives, is that by owning, accepting, even embracing one's own obligations and limitations, one may easily develop compassion for people in worse conditions than oneself.
As Socrates said, the unexamined life is not worth living. Jyotisha is a wonderful tool for self-examination. That's mainly how I use it - in the reflective, psychological, western tradition of self-inquiry.
Traditional Jyotisha also provides fairly robust predictive tools, and these are fascinating. However, the ultimate purpose of knowing (some aspects of) the future is to adjust one's reactions to the inevitable, as karma unfolds.
Everyone has easy periods and difficult periods. Everyone enjoys a degree of social approval, and a degree of marginalization. Everyone carries some type of stigma; everyone receives some element of praise. Everyone experiences birth and death, gain and loss, health and sickness. We can look for timing of marriage, children, periods of illness, deaths etc. - it's all in there, on schedule. Stage left, stage right.
Naturally, people have plenty of anxiety about the future. Although this anxiety clouds their judgment and prevents much compassion, it is often possible to allay fears about "negative" future events by pointing out that these are, after all, the completely mechanical roll-out of past-life karma. Of course people clamor to know when they will receive praise, sense-gratification, money, etcetera - and we can certainly find the periods of favorable bhava-lords to suggest the arrival-time of these blessings. But in general my style is to emphasis the recurring patterns in the person's life, the ups AND the downs, so that the native may take whatever steps they can to appreciate the outlines of their"fate". I believe that Acceptance is fully necessary. Acceptance is the required first step toward Change!
If you have completed the Frawley correspondence course, you already own a considerable knowledge base in Jyotisha. I haven't seen that course myself but I have heard many people praise it; and Dr. Frawley himself has such an excellent reputation. Consider yourself lucky!
Your next step toward practicing Jyotisha is to let your intuition guide your choice of what to focus on. There are hundreds - really thousands - of factors inter-operating in any chart. In real life, I select fewer than ten to use in any given reading. My choice is guided by my intuition. My intuition arises through meditation, prayer, and most importantly, through caring for others. With a beautiful name like Scholastica, you are no doubt a very loving and careful person. Use that love - in the sense of compassion - to guide your intuition (your"inner teacher"). External gurus are very helpful of course but in the end, it is the inner teacher who prevails.
I would be happy to do a reading for you if you would like. However, I would also encourage you to use the Goravani software to construct charts for all your friends and relatives. Look at their Vimshottari dasha timelines and compare to the known events in their lives.
In the beginning, Jyotisha study is similar to homeopathy study. The unique requirement to combine intellectual analysis with spiritual intuition means that you will learn much faster using sample subjects that you can read BOTH intuitively AND analytically. I.e., you have a solid psycho-emotional impression of close friends and relatives; you can sort out quickly what their main motives and behaviors are; you know alot about"how they are". Then add in the analysis, which is everything you learned from the Frawley correspondence course, and the little mini-readings that are included in the Goravani software.
I actually kept Excel spreadsheets for several years, comparing column-to-column the hard-core real events (marriages, illnesses, promotions, children etc.) against the current lines of their Vimshottari Dasha. (I don't use other dasha in normal practice but I have"general family practice" - other dasha can be excellent tools for specific purposes. ) I found this practical template to be a very effective"proving" method. Importantly, it helped me weed out some historic Jyotisha claims that don't seem to work in real life.
There is a huge volume of poorly understood traditional Jyotisha literature, most of it from the medieval period 600CE-1600CE, that circulates in Sanskrit, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Hindi, and - these days - English. There is a plethora of modern Jyotisha literature in Hindi and English. It is not feasible to read all or even most of it. Frankly, I read very few books.
For most of us in the west, it is also not feasible to sit at the feet of the guru. Although, truth to tell, the guru's job is to say"weed out all the unnecessary stuff and focus on the ten things that work for me." I feel that vigorous testing of basic principles - using charts of people you know well! -- combined with a grounded meditation practice -- is a perfectly fine way to learn Jyotisha in the modern world.
Good luck to you, Scholastica. I hope this viewpoint on"the difference" between knowledge-base and intuition, and how they must be combined to achieve a successful reading, is helpful to you.
Sincerely, Barbara Pijan Lama
I've been studying Jyotisha on my own for about 2 years. I have to get out there and start doing readings... but I'm afraid to make a mistake and hurt someone.
A:Building a knowledge base
As with all Jyotisha practice, looking at a variety of charts is the best path to understanding of varga significance. Be sure not to fixate on one or two emotionally charged nativities.
There is too much anxiety associated with the nativities of persons regarding who one has powerful expectations (positive or negative).
Rather, study a variety of nativities of persons well-known to you such as parents and grandparents, siblings and cousins, co-workers and neighbors, in order to establish a neutral and data-driven knowledge base.
The vidya of Jyotisha is not a strictly rational empirical science. Jyotisha vidya engages both lunar intuition and solar reasoning. However t it is important to see a substantial database of charts showing wide variety of Jyotisha nativities in order to validate the teachings of the classics. Otherwise, unfortunately, the whole enterprise falls into lineage interpretive conflict and village superstition.
|Getting started - first-step essentials|| |
Read lots of charts!
Read lots of charts!
Read lots of charts!
It is not necessary to be an"expert". When one is just beginning to offer readings and one can only say a few things for certain, the spiritual validation in herent in recognition of the unique qualities of each incarnations is still helpful to the client. Even the minimum acknowledgement will be appreciated so long as your language is positive and constructive.
At the level of simple soul validation, something is always better than nothing! Many people wander through life never receiving recognition that they are a soul and they have a purpose. Even if your reading is a bit off about the details of their path, simply validating the truth that there *is* a unique path for this individual is indeed a spiritual service!
At the beginning when you are building your collection of nativities in order to validate the effect of vargas, dasha timelines, graha character, etc.
I recommend to accept a very small fee, and to *donate this fee to your favorite charity*. When you are established in the practice, it will be OK to start earning personal income as the fruit of your dedicated Jyotisha studies. However, in the beginning, the best psychic protection against inadvertently harming someone's peace of mind is to ask for the indulgence of the spirits - and give the money to a compassionate cause.
Also - this is REALLY important - do not give any negative predictions.
Make it that your sole objectives are
Be sure to advise your earliest clients that:
Be sure to give ALL of your profits (except to cover the cost of materials) to a worthy cause.
Q: Which ayanamsha should I use? The different ayanamsha choices seem to produce very different charts?
A : Most practitioners use Lahiri Ayanamsha. That is by far the most common, probably more than 90% of astrologers use Lahiri.
The other specialty ayanamsha choices are rather esoteric and the beginner student should wait until one has some expertise before experimenting with them.
|Q: - Can I base predictions upon my navamsha? I think my navamsha is a stronger chart.|| |
A :Material-social Predictions should be made from the D-1 kundali. Emotional-spiritual predictions can be made from the D-9 chart. The two charts can never be separated. They are absolutely interactive. Predictions made on the basis of one without the other will not hold up.
A few material predictions related to marriage are based on the navamsha - for example, the timing of marriage ceremonies can be predicted via the D-9 lagna and its axis. Similarly, a highly accurate yet somewhat broad prediction of the course and special knowledge involved in the native 's professional career is indeed derived from the 10th navamsha.
Nevertheless career predictions must coordinate with the grosser functions of the karma-bhava of the D-1 and marriage predictions from D-9 must coordinate and mutually confirm with the general patterns of the 7th from Chandra and the yuvati bhava.
Most material outcomes such as finance, health, education, children etc. are predicted directly from the radix chart. Once a graha's effect has reached the Bottom, grossest level of manifestation which is the D-1 radix root chart, then it is wuite unlikely to reverse itself. It has already entered the"chute" en-route to the material plane and it would take a great deal of effort to reverse that natural impetus toward manifestation.
Yet the more conscious the person has become -- the more your client is aware that our thoughts and the emotional charge upon each thought are the machine which generates our reality -- the more meaningful the D-9 navamsha chart becomes. If one comes to understand and appreciate that everything in the navamsha chart is the direct precursor and immediate active cause of the outcomes which will manifest via the D-1, then one can gain a tremendous understanding of the mechanics of our incarnational process.
What Shri Raman probably means is that occasionally a graha which is very weak in radix gains major strength in navamsha. In that case don't expect the graha to act weak because it has a sort of secret strength that will emerge during its periods. In fact if its only strength is in navamsha then a partner is required to help realize the outcome of the period. The partner's being-ness (their thoughts, actions, etc) not the native 's will control this particular manifestation.
But he would not be saying to predict directly from the navamsha. For example if a graha is the rogesha-6 in radix but karmesha-10 in navamsha, predict it to behave like an rogesha-6 (health), not an karmesha-10 (career).
Usually predicting the effects of a graha during its period is a multi-leveled assessment. Most of the behaviors of a graha in the D-1 will relate directly to the native 's personal, material or emotional experience. Most of the behaviors of a graha in the D-9 will either reflect the native 's much higher spiritual perceptions or (more commonly) will predict the behavior of the spouse, partner, adviser, Other.
Be careful in using adjectives like"strong" to describe a chart. If what you mean is "flattering" or"materially productive" say so. Remember NOT to try to learn Jyotisha from studying one's own chart. No one is objective about one's own personal nativity. The human fear of self-judgment is just too deeply embedded and it prevents humans from seeing themselves as neutral objects. = Study the charts of people you know well, such as family members, and also the nativities of public figures whom one admires.
Is Vedic astrology part of Hinduism? Very little of your reading referred to Hindu gods or concepts, but once or twice you did talk about Hindu gods.
That bothers me. I really don't like cults, especially foreign religious cults. Is Jyotisha tied to missionary Hinduism or"airport" cults?
Ancient Vaidik roots of Jyotisha
Yes, you're right about Vedic Astrology (called"Jyotisha" in Sanskrit) being related to Hinduism. However, Jyotisha is much older than Hinduism as we know it today. The canonical Veda pre-date"Hinduism" by several thousand years.
"Veda" means "knowledge". * especially knowledge via seeing and hearing.
The ancient roots of Jyotisha are actually found in"Vaidik" culture. Jyotisha is called a"limb" or"branch" of the Vedas (vedanga). In pre-literate times, Jyotisha was mainly a system of describing omens found in in acts of nature. Movements of the Moon formed certain omens, and a system was developed to predict what the Moon would do (omen-wise) over the period of a lunar year.
Vedic times historically are somewhere approximately around 3000 BCE-600CE, although dating of the era is *extremely* contentious! It's a fairly big jump from the Moon-omen-system (Nakshatra ) to the medieval/modern Jyotisha that we use today, but the roots of Jyotisha definitely go back that far. Best book on the Vaidik origins of Jyotisha is >Valerie Roebuck, The Circle of Stars.
The knowledge preserved in the"Vedaa" (including the Moon-omens), was passed down by memorized chanting. From ancient origins in the mists of pre-literate time, the stanzas were kept significantly intact by strictly regulated meter which guaranteed purity of sound transmission.
Jyotisha is a huge and ancient branch of the vaidik transmissions which has little direct relationship with the curious modern developments of evangelical Hinduism including the"airport cults "and other syncretic missionary movements.
Unfortunately, in a passion of patriotism, some of the more recent Bharati Jyotisha commentators, writing in international English, have asserted that Jyotisha is an expression of modern Hinduism.
300 Combinations 1912-1998 Jyotishi BV Raman especially liked the terminology of"Hindu Astrology". However Jyotisha is a 'vidya' = 'knowledge-base'. Jyotisha not a religion, nor is it intimately connected to nor encompassed by any modern religion.
One way to mentally segregate these two cultural activities - Jyotisha vs. missionary religion - is to watch for the occurrence of 'deontic modal verbs' in the discourse. The English-language preaching discourse of the modern evangelical cults is peppered with words like'should', 'have to', 'must'. (or the Germanic equivalents of these terms in Dutch, German, Scandinavian etc.)"Should"and similar terms are guilt-driven socialization directives and have little to do with truth.
What is the relationship of Vedic Jyotisha to modern Hinduism?
The patchwork-quilt collection of many different Indian religions that we currently call by the umbrella-name idea of"Hinduism" was an"umbrella concept" created by British colonial scholars in India in the 1700's. In practical terms, however, most of the multiple religions which are grouped together as "Hinduism"also trace their roots to the ancient Vaidik cultures. Therefore Jyotisha, as a"branch" of the sacred Vedaa, is completely accepted in all the religions called"Hinduism" - as well as Jainism, and most schools of Buddhism.
From a certain perspective, the role of the Veda in Hinduism could possibly be compared to the role of the Hebrew Bible in Christianity. Within the Christian sacred scriptures, Hebrew Bible is often called"Old Testament".
Hebrew Bible is a document (actually, many documents knitted together) which originated in the religion of Judaism. Judaism is ritually and theologically different from Christianity, and also MUCH older. Hebrew Bible is at least 1000 years older than Christianity itself. Yet, Christians universally respect the Hebrew Bible, and they take many of their core teachings from that holy scripture.
Just as Christians venerate the canonical teachings (scripture) of the ancient Jewish religion, Hindus venerate the canonical teachings of the ancient Vedic religions. traditional Hindus treat the Veda as their respected teacher, and try to follow its guidance. However, just as Christians are clearly not pure Jews, so Hindus are clearly not pure Vaidik.
Unfortunately in recent years, a wave of patriotic Hindu chauvinism in India has caused some Bharati astrologers to call Jyotisha by the name of"Hindu Astrology."
But, we who seek the truth of Jyotisha need not be concerned with the linguistic politics. Jyotisha is an ancient"vidya" or body of knowledge, accessible to all sincere seekers regardless of current politics or religious dogma. Bottom line: there is no need to be Hindu in order to understand or practice Jyotisha.
This is of course entirely my personal opinion. Hope this perspective is helpful to you.
I browsed through your website and found the material extremely useful. I am keen to learn vedic astrology and was wondering if you had any tips or advice that could help me develop building blocks of Astrology.
If you know of any websites or books that will help me develop structured understanding of astrology and am also curious about how you managed to enrich yourself with the knowledge.
Thanks so much for your compliments on my Jyotisha website. It is very much a work in progress! I am always happy to know that students of Jyotisha like myself find the information and perspective on the site to be useful in studies.
TThe best books in English are very simple ones by Bepin Behari: Planets in Signs and Planets in Houses. These might be more helpful for western-minded folk. Behari also wrote more esoteric stuff but that is confusing in the beginning of studies. David Frawley's early books are also well organized for the intermediate-beginner.
I think the most important components are (1) to have a passion for the Vidya (become a little bit obsessed with it!) and (2) to trust one's intuition. Without firm confidence in intuition, one will drown in a sea of conflicting instructions.
The second most important tool is good software. Getting one's own Jyotisha software and reading the nativities of one's own friends, family, and celebrities is the best possible study. The best packages are expensive (300-400 USD) but they are worth it. There are less expensive s/w packages in India and a quite good free one, from Pandit Narasimha Rao, downloadable from Boston.
Eventually, it helps to start reading the Jyotisha classics. However, the old method of memorizing shloka is not very effective since the shloka are very cryptic, only a skeleton. The skeleton-keys must be supplemented by explanations from a teacher. In the old days a living talking teacher was essential. In modern times the skeleton can be fleshed out with teachings from internet and books. However all praises - the chanting-memorizing method did preserve the Vidya in skeletal form during centuries of worldwide darkness.
Nor is it necessary, I believe, for the sincere and reflective practitioner to have a guru in the traditional arrangement. That custom too had obvious historical validity, but software and books have considerably replaced the master's knowledge base. It will help (hugely) to have willing spirit guides, but one need not have a physical master.
Luckily we spend almost no time on computations these days, so we can spend the greater effort on interpretation. This is where meditation and compassion are essential. Examining a nativity, one can see right away the good and evil in any lifetime.
The question is, having seen that, what to say about it? If astrologers are going to be useful members of society and not just dilettantes, we ought to be able to help people live better, more conscious lives through the insights of the Vidya. Therefore compassion is key!
Wishing you all the best in your studies,
Barbara Pijan Lama, Jyotisha -
I admit to intellectual difficulty with some concepts like reincarnation and karma, especially those relating to fatalism. I do not want to be a negative person, and those concepts seem very negative to me.
I don't accept escapism or passing the buck. I believe we have one life and our job is to live that life with full moral responsibility. I also believe we have a choice as to how we live, at every step along the way.
Isn't Karma a fatalistic concept? Won't thinking like that, believing that this life is sort of"disposable" because we have infinitely more chances to clean up the hurt we inflict on others, won't this prevent people from taking responsibility in their lives?
There are multiple unmistakable elements of truth in your reading, relating to past events, present realities and future visions. I really didn't want to get involved in this type of speculative thinking since I am deeply committed to a moral path of life.
So now I am fascinated and would like to know more. However, I don't want to get involved in negative thinking. I was raised to believe that we are given only One Life - make or break - and I want to make this life as good as possible.
With sincere confusion,
Excellent questions! You are clearly a reflective moral thinker. We need more astrologers like you!
Your worries about the negative moral effects of believing in reincarnation are very old indeed. In fact, at the Council of Nicea in 325CE, the bishops of what had recently become the Holy Catholic Church denounced reincarnation as heretical. They didn't say exactly why, but their decision stuck, and many people think it's because of the moral complications you note.
However, looking more closely, we can see that subscribing to the concept of reincarnation can have some powerful moral advantages. If we have multiple incarnations that accumulate karma as we go, it is very much in our interest to work diligently to reduce that karmic"heap"as much as possible in each.
My own view is that there is no absolute fatalism in Jyotisha.
The basic concept of karma is that a thought or action put in motion in a"previous " life, will cause a re-action in a"future" life.
Western culture is comfortable with the idea that a thought or action put in motion in one's childhood will affect one's adulthood. It takes only a slight expansion of that concept to entertain the possibility that if there were parallel lives , they probably would affect current and future lives.
Albrecht Durer woodcut circa 1497
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation
There is however a principle of relative fatalism in Jyotisha.
It only applies to low-consciousness people.
It works like this:
Folks who live without reflection, addicted to one sensual experience after the next - or one fear to the next - (but either way trapped into thinking only about themselves) will be spending all their attention on food, money, sex, entertainment, getting status, etc. etc.
They are always in the grip of fearing something or desiring something. they never pull their head out of the sand to get the"big picture" of how their actions are affecting self and others.
This sort of person is essentially on auto-pilot. their choices at every juncture are dictated by fear - especially fear of death - or desire for short-term sensual experience. We see them playing the game of"The who dies with the most toys, wins " or obsessing about their health or finances, overrun by one wave of anxiety after the next. they have no peace.
However, they are very easy to predict because the Jyotisha chart shows where the past-life fears and desires are stored, and when those ancient seeds will sprout.
I'll bet you know people like this. They actually form the majority of our global population. These people's lives are *very* easy to predict with their Jyotisha charts, because these low-consciousness folks are essentially sleep-walking through a maze of experiences. that maze is constructed unfortunately from nothing but the sprouting seeds of fear and desire. these folks simply do not have the conscious awareness that their minute-to-minute choices regarding *how to respond* to the sprouting seeds, are directly affecting future unfoldment of their lives. they are not yet mature enough to even be aware that they are making choices! they simply experience things happening *to* them from the outside. Mentally these folks live in a victim state throughout life. It's not very pleasant but it is very easy to predict!
Luckily, there are some higher-consciousness on our planet as well. You, are likely in this higher group.
Higher consciousness folks can, occasionally, pull their head out of the sand. they are blessed with the capacity for reflection. they enter this life with a higher level of spiritual and emotional maturity. Interestingly, higher consciousness folks often have a very difficult first half of life. their lives improve dramatically after the gochara Saturn opposition, approx age 42-45.
Higher consciousness folks sometimes "wake up" from the victim state, and become aware that their decision on *how to respond* to their current pressures is completely under their control.
True, the sprouting seeds of parallel life fear and desire will sprout on their own natural timeline. they're sprouting all around us, in 3-D, 24/7, real-time reality. that we can't so much control. But our mental, emotional, and often physical experience does not depend so much on what is objectively happening. Our happiness comes from how we respond to what is happening. the more a person"wakes up"and seizes the moment, making a conscious decision to respond not with anger but with neutrality and compassion - the more that person starts to"outgrow" the defaults in his or her Jyotisha chart.
Each time the outside happening is greeted with aware, accepting responsibility (not guilt!) of knowing that this circumstance, whatever it is, is simply the natural karmic reaction to whatever seed was planted -- the cycle if action-reaction is broken. It is not necessary to know anything about the seed. It is only necessary to train one's awareness to respond with neutrality - with higher love - so as not to get stuck in the action-reaction that binds us to the "world." I believe this is what Jesus was saying.
If you are curious, you can find out about the seeds through Jyotisha, or past-life regression, or meditations on parallel lives . But, as 14th Dalai Lama 1935- Policy of Kindness Tenzing Gyatsoso often says, there is no need to waste time exploring parallel lives . Our work lies here, in the current tangible third-density life.
|The nature of that work is to stop the all the cycles of constant anxiety, constant fear, constant reaction -- and replace those cycles with a deep, trusting peace.|| |
The higher-consciousness person actually wants opportunities to"practice" their maturity. that is why more spiritual people often have much more difficult lives, especially in the first half of life. Eventually, the spiritual person gains the strength through practice, to expand their attitude of aware, accepting responsibility (not guilt!) into every area of their life. Eventually, they replace every victim experience with the experience of being in complete control. By controlling their reactions to the cycle of outside experiences which was put in motion long before, they make themselves completely free. As we move toward spiritual freedom through responsibility for our actions are reactions, our Jyotisha chart has increasingly less predictive power. Eventually, it will mean nothing. Yet, for you and I who are"on the path" but not quite there, the Jyotisha chart is a valuable document, which can assist our spiritual awareness and inspire us to deeper moral commitment. One of my favorite examples of a person who was seen"growing out" of his Jyotisha chart, is Satyagraha 1869-1948 Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi . Mahatma Gandhi's Chandra-yuti-Rahuin the 10th bhava of leadership signals a lifetime of urgent ambition to be seen at the elite top levels of governance (Rahu), along with an emotional connection to the vast numbers of beings who reside in the layers of the hierarchy positioned below him (Chandra). Chandra in bhava-10 connotes super high levels of publc recognition"a familiar face"as one becomes a"household (Chandra) name". Chandra is also Gandiji's atmakaraka which adds a spiritual purpose to the parenting, sheltering, Old Ways, habitual, rhythmic (spinning) behaviors which caused this great but humble leader to become an international icon of peace. Rahu + Chandra indicates sympathetic affection for polluted outcastes, and expedient utilization of that recognizable familiarity to assuage one's own leadership desires. Yogakaraka bandesha-4 + vidyapathi-5 Shani in bhava-2 can a workhorse attitude toward study. Shani induces a fear of scarcity wherever He is placed. Shani in the bhava of Treasuries of Knowledge makes one to feel ignorant of some precious truth. It is always the sign of a lifelong diligent student when yogakaraka Shani occupies the dhanasthana. Generally there is never enough money due to the native constantly investing whatever funds are available into knowledge-obtainment such as time for study, travel for study, books for study etc. (and not much in funds either due to Shani-2). Vriddhipathi-11
Surya-Kanya in classroom-12 indicates low earnings. Surya the karaka for confidence and entitlements who is also indicator of income is plunged into iniquity in vyaya bhava, effectively ensuring a life of penury. Albeit
Professor Shani could, as the diligent yogakaraka, produce capability in languages which would ultimately bring the knowledge-treasure so much sought. But money? Very little. And his affinity (Chandra) for foreigners (Rahu) looked to produce a grand notoriety - perhaps a famous criminal! At the birth of Satyagraha 1869-1948 Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi,
Eventually, they replace every victim experience with the experience of being in complete control. By controlling their reactions to the cycle of outside experiences which was put in motion long before, they make themselves completely free. As we move toward spiritual freedom through responsibility for our actions are reactions, our Jyotisha chart has increasingly less predictive power. Eventually, it will mean nothing.
Yet, for you and I who are"on the path" but not quite there, the Jyotisha chart is a valuable document, which can assist our spiritual awareness and inspire us to deeper moral commitment.
One of my favorite examples of a person who was seen"growing out" of his Jyotisha chart, is Satyagraha 1869-1948 Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi .
Mahatma Gandhi's Chandra-yuti-Rahuin the 10th bhava of leadership signals a lifetime of urgent ambition to be seen at the elite top levels of governance (Rahu), along with an emotional connection to the vast numbers of beings who reside in the layers of the hierarchy positioned below him (Chandra).
Chandra in bhava-10 connotes super high levels of publc recognition"a familiar face"as one becomes a"household (Chandra) name". Chandra is also Gandiji's atmakaraka which adds a spiritual purpose to the parenting, sheltering, Old Ways, habitual, rhythmic (spinning) behaviors which caused this great but humble leader to become an international icon of peace.
Rahu + Chandra indicates sympathetic affection for polluted outcastes, and expedient utilization of that recognizable familiarity to assuage one's own leadership desires.
Yogakaraka bandesha-4 + vidyapathi-5 Shani in bhava-2 can a workhorse attitude toward study. Shani induces a fear of scarcity wherever He is placed. Shani in the bhava of Treasuries of Knowledge makes one to feel ignorant of some precious truth. It is always the sign of a lifelong diligent student when yogakaraka Shani occupies the dhanasthana.
Generally there is never enough money due to the native constantly investing whatever funds are available into knowledge-obtainment such as time for study, travel for study, books for study etc. (and not much in funds either due to Shani-2).
Vriddhipathi-11 Surya-Kanya in classroom-12 indicates low earnings. Surya the karaka for confidence and entitlements who is also indicator of income is plunged into iniquity in vyaya bhava, effectively ensuring a life of penury. Albeit Professor Shani could, as the diligent yogakaraka, produce capability in languages which would ultimately bring the knowledge-treasure so much sought. But money? Very little. And his affinity (Chandra) for foreigners (Rahu) looked to produce a grand notoriety - perhaps a famous criminal!
At the birth of Satyagraha 1869-1948 Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi,the local astrologers issued his fair-skinned financially privileged merchant parents a dire warning for their older son: tightly control him, else he will end up imprisoned through criminal association with dark, oily foreigners (Rahu) - and die in penniless disgrace...
Although he is now revered as a great saint and the moral father of modern India, Gandhi was in and out of nasty prisons his whole life due to L-12 sanctuary-including-prisons in the Thula lagna. However, he had increasingly high consciousness from boyhood.
Every time he was beaten, spit on, or imprisoned, he did not take it personally. He remained focused upon the obtainment of that Pearl of Great Price; he gained strength each time another ego-obstacle to that obtainment was removed. He did consort with the polluted outcastes of India (Rahu) - but he did not revile in horror (as his parents surely would have.) Rather, he reacted with neutrality to their filthy reality, saw their integrity (Surya) beneath their squalor, and gained strength.
Becoming emotionally identified * Chandra * with the isolated, marginalized, despised Indians of South Africa, he abandoned his parents' anxious-for-status lifestyle in favor of the activist's poverty. But he met poverty with neutrality (not fear or judgment) because Shani-2 occupies the favorable 5/9 angle from Chandra-10. Ultimately, accepting the harshness of his circumstances allowed Gandhi to stop wasting energy in trying to change reality -- and this essential decision gave him more strength!
Eventually he had enough strength to overthrow the British in India!! He did suffer imprisonment, squalor, mixing with low people and casteless foreigners, and he did die penniless. In widowhood he was not able to remarry due to Shani-2. So his middle-class parents certainly had reason to worry :)
Did Satyagraha 1869-1948 Mahatma Mohandas Gandhisuffer unresolvable personal agony from these sprouted seeds? No! He lived and died a centered, prayerful man. He used loss as fuel to energize his highest goal: returning consciously to the heart of God. Many of us believe he arrived.
|The Exploding Backpack: a tale of Inner Narrative|| |
A few years ago I picked up my young son from kindergarten. I witnessed a scene that reminded me about consciousness and karma!
But he surely felt like a victim. Many things had happened *to* him, in a very short time!
|Belief in reincarnation is not absolutely necessary for appreciating a Jyotisha chart.|| |
We can see the micro-version of the action-reaction-repercussions-on-other people cycle quite clearly in the current life alone. that little boy probably has a strong Mars - running, getting hit, explosions, etc. If the boy wants to avoid future "explosions," angry hitting moms, etc. he will need to be aware that his desire to run out first must be counterbalanced by attention to shoelaces and backpack zippers. He will need eventually to take responsibility for his desire-nature and how he chooses to act it out.
In Jyotisha readings, I never suggest that folks restrain their desire-nature. Desire-complexes are natural "sprouting seeds " that must run their course. Life will always be complicated! But, we don't need to hyper-explain the mystical roots of that desire nature, unless we are naturally interested in those ancestral complexities. On a practical level, we just need to be aware of the effect our actions and thoughts are having on us and the people around us.
It is true that the Jyotisha chart is an effective spiritual tool for seeing the complexity of one's desire-nature, and thereby being prepared for the moral work when it arises. Blessedly, it is also true that the essence of that work -- applying the Golden Rule -- is extremely simple. (Not easy, but simple!)
It is quite possible to use the Jyotisha chart in real-time of the current lifetime, without any reference to reincarnation, and still have full benefit of being forewarned, and forearmed!
14th Dalai Lama 1935- Policy of Kindness Tenzing Gyatso says often, that our decision to treat each person (especially ourselves!) with kindness, while simultaneously resisting the urge toward anger and blaming, is a moment-to-moment moral commitment which does not require any complex philosophical explanation. Clearly our true purpose here on earth is to apply that higher-love rulenot in any parallel life or future life, but right now!
However I personally find that at the level of technical Jyotisha, reincarnation is essential for my understanding. I am by education and by trade, a philosopher. On the tapes, I talk about parallel life seeds sprouting in the current life as a way of historically explaining things.
Also, I find that the reincarnation idea therapeutically helps folks to gain a little emotional buffer against their lifelong guilt. Many people subtly believe that bad things only happen to bad people. the old western morality (esp. Calvinism) has made a lot of folks doubt that they will ever be accepted by a loving God. Fearing rejection from God if they can't fix all their problems in one lifetime, they often reject God entirely.
Reincarnation is a nice buffer for these victims because it allows multiple lifetimes to fix all the problems, and therefore releases fear of rejection. the concept of reincarnation may help them rebuild their trust that they too will someday be mature enough to accept guilt-free responsibility for their actions/reactions, and thereby ultimately be free enough to merge into the heart of a loving God. So, I think reincarnation can be a very therapeutic teaching when intelligently and lovingly applied.
But for folks who do not need the concept, it remains true that to stop the endless cycle of reaction, one needs only to control one's response to the current event. It is not necessary to know anything about the seed.
I think we can have it both ways, according to taste!
"à chacun son goût"
Regarding Tibetan traditional astrology :
Philippe Cornu' s Tibetan Astrology book is (at the time of this writing) the only substantial English instructional text (translated from the French) currently available in the USA in the broad field of Tibetan Astrology . (There are plenty of descriptive texts written by non-astrologers, but unfortunately few instructional manuals available in English.)
Therefore first let me say that the very existence of this book is a service to the scholarly astrological community, and I am grateful to the author and translator for their attempt.
Now: the difficulties.
I too have trouble understanding the presentations in this book. Since Tibetan astrology is about 50% Indian astrology and 50% Chinese astrology, it seems critically important that any author of Tibetan astrology books for the Western audience be educated in both Jyotisha and classical Chinese systems.
Unfortunately, the examples and references in Cornu' s book are from tropical European astrology. This is a show-stopper for me. Also, I agree with you, there seem to be some calculation errors in the book, which is also a show-stopper for beginners. Nevertheless I' m sure it was a huge undertaking to write it, and the author/translator deserve congratulations for getting the first major western (French/English) offering to market.
IMO, it helps tremendously to read classical Tibetan in order to access the (literary part of) Tibetan astrology. If you are deeply interested in Tibetan Astrology it seems necessary to make this language commitment (and to spend lots of research time in Dharamshala, where the partially restored Tibetan classical libraries are now located).
However, even with literary skills, sorting through the many and contradictory classical Tibetan"astro-medical" texts would take several lifetimes. I can read rudimentary classical Tibetan. Because of my family connections, I have access to certain texts.
evertheless, the texts themselves do not make too much sense without a guru to filter out the nonsense (to an English-accustomed reader) of the loopy, off-topic descriptions that are meant to display the writer's erudition and test the reader's preparedness to enter into a practice where denotational meanings can shift levels (material-emotional-social-mental-spiritual) suddenly.
Tibetan texts are very playful, but it is hard to be allowed to enter this play until one is quite familiar with the context. The writers lived in medieval times when it really was possible for a lifelong monk-scholar to know"everything" thus the texts often bring in as references examples that do not make sense to the modern positivistic mind.
Tibetan astrology has a medieval viewpoint absolutely and is almost entirely dedicated to finding auspicious times for events. It is a Nakshatra -paksha system. The Nakshatra part of the legacy is represented by a vocabulary which draws heavily upon the IE (Sanskrit-Prakrit) vocabulary of the Kashmiri missionary monks who brought Buddhism into Tibet. The paksha or magical diagram part of the legacy is from Chinese geomancy and its terminology is Chinese in origin.
The Nakshatra part of the Tibetan tradition is accessible for the thinking Jyotishi. For example, a particular Nakshatra might give auspicious timing for dropping animal dung into the fields for fertilizing; the same Nakshatra is good for combing and cutting a nun's long hair before she enters the convent. Why? If you can follow along
with what modern people would call"symbolism", the reason is their association with the hole or hollow place. In Sanskrit, 'Kumbha' = a hollow place (drum, pot) which can be beaten to make a signal from the effect of the impacted air.
In the Celtic language Welsh, still spoken today, the same root 'Kumb' makes "cym"a hollow place between steep mountainsides. And of the few Celtic word-roots surviving in modern English, 'cym' matches "comb" the tool with spikes and hollows that humans worldwide use as a hair management device.
Traditionally in subsistence farming, the plow digs a hollow furrow in the field into which the dung is dropped then mixed with top soil. Also in the close-to-the-earth language of old Tibet, there is nothing wrong with implying"closing the hole" of impregnation that is part of the nun's celibacy vow. The English word"cun*" which was once a word in non-stigmatized usage but is now considered vulgar, represents the female's hollow 'cym'.
Also importantly, the lamas I know who practice what they call astrology actually rely much more heavily on intuitive divination than on the application of rational astrological principles. They don't use manuals and they don't all agree on which rules should guide a planetary reading.
This cultural diversity of opinion (depending on the lama's lineage and tutors) is perfectly fine in the end, since the proof of the pudding is the divinatory result. Despite the apparent chaos and conflict in scripture, the system produces accurate readings - more so if the lama is gifted.
However, since intuition cannot be learned from a book. Intuition requires diligent meditative awareness, constant conscious practice of interior vision. This defining skill is unlikely to be learnt from a book! (Mr. Cornu' s or anyone else' s!).
Vedic Jyotisha has a different practice style and apparently no cultural contact with Chinese divinatory systems. The Sanskrit written tradition is long, consistent, rational, and not broken into warring sects. (Jyotisha traditional features variations on interpretation over the past 5000 years, but never ideological conflict.)
Anyone with a basic reading knowledge of Sanskrit, a good memory, and a strong personal intuition can get started independently. Jyotisha traditional scripture is stored in several languages however and eventually one will want to develop Jyotisha literacy in Telugu, Tamil, Mayalam, and Kannada as well.
It is of course immensely helpful to have a master teacher for any esoteric subject. However, because the Jyotisha is (generally) internally consistent, the rules can indeed be learnt from books. Of course, the rules gives us the science but successful practice of Jyotisha rules forces creation of an art . To master the art, one generally needs an artful master teacher.
Intuition is undeniably a vital and irreplaceable component of Jyotisha readings, but the rational framework of Jyotisha is very straightforwardly intellectual.
If you are interested in learning Tibetan astrology, I would recommend pursuing the Sanskrit or Chinese literature first. Or, undertake to apprentice directly with a skilled translator lama.
Wishing you every happiness and success in your study of the samayavidya,
Respected Madam, Namaskar.
I read about the Jamini aspect of astrology. There happens to be several astrological studies, eg. Hindu, Vedic, Chinese, Arabic, Jaimini etc. Do all reveal the same results? Which system of astrology should one follow, or can all be used together at a time.
I find Shri Sanjay Rath, using completely Jaimine, Is it more accurate than the Vedic. Jaimine is based mainly on the soul aspect (Karkas) of native. Best Regards
These are all very good questions. IMO: all world systems are complementary, but each system is immersed in its own local culture.
Within the Vedic tradition, Jaimini system and Parashara system are compatible and not contradictory, but the student should master one system first, before starting the other one.
All world traditions of astrology can give accurate results according to the sincerity and intuition of the astrologer. All respond to the seven graha, fundamentally, then some systems add more pieces such as Rahu-Ketu, or Uranos/Neptune/Pluto. I myself prefer to stick with the seven classical planets.
Any opportunity for Divine Intelligence to penetrate the darkness of human mind is a good thing. All of these systems are channels for Divine Intelligence to manifest along pathways that match the planets in the sky.
Unfortunately during the long dark centuries of the Kali Yuga there was much accrual of fear and superstition upon the bright and truthful knowledge of astrology. Even today many societies and individuals have not climbed out of this pit and do not see even the first rays of the brilliant sun. So, it is necessary to remove the junk of superstitious claims and practices from all world astrology systems in order to find the truth underneath.
It does seem like some of the systems have become nothing more than false religion, warding off evil spirits and wearing amulets and talismans. Actually, there is nothing to ward off, All reality originates in one's own thoughts ! But digging out the truth from some of these legacy systems can be a huge task.
If you like the Jaimini approach then that is a fine place to begin training. I myself use the Jaimini karaka assignments as a tool in my toolkit of Parashari techniques, but I do not use Jaimini rashi drishti because it complicates my view of the nativity.
However Jaimini drishti is quite legitimate. Indeed, every item in the chart will eventually"see" every other item, so whether one draws in the Jaimini drishti first and overlays Parashara, or the reverse, the full picture is very rich and authentic.
In consulting practice, I don't want my view point to be overly complex. If the nativity begins to look too complicated, I won't be able to pick out the salient points which I need to mention to the client, the answers to their immediate questions. I like Parashari techniques because they are simple.. However, I fully appreciate that Jaimini techniques give valid results. And Mr. Sanjay Rath has done a great service in explicating these texts for a modern audience.
I personally have some familiarity with western tropical astrology and Tibetan classical astrology. I personally think these two systems are flawed due to internal contradictions in the tradition (the damage of time, syncretism, and text transmission errors) yet I have known extremely skilled practitioners of these systems who can give correct predictions because their intuition is so finely tuned. In the end, each astrologer works within the system which appeals to one's personality - logically, culturally, and intuitively.
All astrologies use the same sky-screen, viewed from earth, as their map of as above, so below; as within, so without. They all address the same human conditions: birth, marriage, children, parents, social approval, wealth, illness, loss, and death. IMO all the historic systems are rationally legitimate, but the accuracy of their predictions depends on the interpretive skill and meditative intuition of the practitioner.
Wishing you every happiness and success in your study of the samayavidya,
Sincerely, Barbara Pijan Lama, Jyotisha
I have been looking for a qualified Jyotish Guru for years... have no luck in finding the right teacher. I feel so frustrated and grumpy about this blockage on my path. What is stuck? Can you help me find a teacher here in my area?
Personally I don't know of any guru-guide to whom I might refer Jyotisha students, but as always I can recommend the method of offering a bit of service to those who are students needing teachers.
The seva method involves giving first, to those immediately below oneself, that which one wants to get. The Seva method will usually release any blockage and show you the easy path toward getting a good teacher.
Are you friends of Anmarie of England................Who wrote Circle of Stars??????
Thanks for your note."The Circle of Stars " was written by Valerie J. Roebuck Ph.D., published by Vega Books (orig. 1992, republished 2002). Currently out of print, but worth looking for in used-book shops.
I am not a personal friend of the author, but I admire her scholarly work.
Thanks for your interest, and best wishes for success in your Jyotisha studies.
|Q: Hi Barbara, ... I'm interested in learning jyotish and wanted to start by looking at my own chart. ...|| |
A : Namaste,
...In regards to starting the study of Jyotisha with one's own nativity, I would strongly recommend against doing that.
It is almost impossible to take an objective view regarding one's own nativity. The emotional ego-membrane usually wants to romanticize one's personal nativity. In the first wave of study, before the student has a sense of the normal range of applications for the Jyotisha principles, beginning students can attribute all sorts of extreme results to the natal geometry. Nervous anticipation about terrible mysteries being"discovered" can disrupt the rational assessment process, and the anxious beginner can lapse into superstition or despair.
To avoid being misled about what knowledge Jyotisha can and cannot provide, begin your study upon the nativities of your family relatives. Also, utilize the nativities of celebrity leadership figures whose life events and character are well known. Only after obtaining Objective confirmation of the core principles of Jyotisha, through observing the"range of normal" results of the various yoga, can one's own nativity be apprehended with a cool and scientific view.
Wishing you every happiness and success in your study of the samayavidya,
Sincerely, Barbara Pijan Lama, Jyotisha
|Q: OMG, there is so much to learn and I am getting fixated into little yoga meanings and going around in loops and loops! I want to know EVERYTHING about my chart so that I can map out my future. Can you answer these 25 questions? (below)|| |
A: Sorry, although I wish I did have time to answer all your questions. They appear to be very well formulated, and it looks like you have just the right kind of analytical mind to learn the principles of the vidya and start applying those principles to individual nativities.
In particular, examine the Jyotisha nativities of historical and celebrity figures who have demonstrated success in the behaviors that interest you.
Studying successful examples from history and contemporary life is the best way to avoid subjectivity and to see how the principles manifest in the lives of real people.
Also remember to keep it simple: always consider the karaka graha before getting into the logic of fancy planetary yoga-combinations.
Wishing you every happiness and success in your study of the samayavidya,
Q: I've been studying Jyotisha and offering readings to friends and family for a few years. Yes, I still have a lifetime of learning ahead of me but I know the basic principles. Also there are Jyotishi in my family tree, going back several generations to the old country. My readings for family have been spot-on.
Here is my problem: I did a very time-consuming (free of course) reading for a demanding friend-of-a-friend and that person, who received my free reading, said evil things about the reading and about me. According to her I got everything wrong and I am a shrew. I wonder if she faked her birth time or some other stupid thing ... just to trap me? Anyway, want to know if I should quit readings now, since this experience was just nasty and I feel really bad about it. Maybe Jyotish is the wrong path for me.
A: Thanks for your lovely, reflective observations. All practicing Jyotishi will recognize your self-doubt. We all struggle with it. Luckily there are some useful techniques that can smooth the communication channels and transform apparent failures (like your off-target divination ) into win-win spiritual success.
Astrologer's Faith in Vocation
Money-Price and Establishing Material Value
Tithe = an Essential Component of Successful Practice
|Free Readings - useful or not?|| |
Sorrows of the Victim Hell, and requests for Free Readings
Often people who ask for readings are living in a moment of being crushed by their own karma : they are suffering awful diseases or otherwise severely out of balance physically, mentally, financially and emotionally.
For the truly indigent it is generally true that: those stuck in severe victim state cannot utilize a full reading because their severe temporary imbalance-seeking-a-remedy makes it impossible to absorb new information. Therefore they do not need a free, full reading even though they assert so.
Those who are psychologically trapped in a victim state often believe that the only possible solution to their problems is of a material nature (free services, more money, miracle disease cures etc). Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Those enslaved into a materialistic victim mind often chronically confuse
The victim-minded are trapped in 'super-stition' which means literally 'standing outside'. Superstition is a horribly debilitating mentality that asserts a (fantasized) outside agent and places this agent in control of one's own creative intelligence. Victims of superstition positively and accurately know intensely acutely urgently FEEL that they must have"more".
Sadly, the fact of being in a victim state indicates that this population is not yet ready to appreciate the fact that they are minute-to-minute creating their own reality.
Compassion and Skillful Limits
If Divination is not useful or appropriate, what can be done?
I do offer this type of brief (2-3 short paragraphs) validation to dozens of incoming email queries from victim-minded folk every month.
The requests usually begin with a request for sympathy followed by a statement of the querent's certainty that these readings are surely quite easy for me to do and that my reasoning process can't possibly take much time. In other words, the person requesting a free reading usually starts the request by saying how little value the reading possesses.
Naturally when I read this sort of language, I register that this person is not aware of their own inner value. Such a person has what moderns call 'low self-esteem' on the inside. Sadly, then, nothing coming from outside sources will be able to take root in their consciousness because there is no interior 'matching picture ' of self-value to anchor the outside information in place. There must be matching values for outer information to 'stick'.
At this point in the victim's life, there is nothing that any outsider can do to alleviate their suffering. Mechanically speaking, the native must begin to alleviate this condition on one's own volition, from the inside.
Luckily, this is quite easy to do! There is an absolutely FREE and always-available process which helps people dig out of their own narrative of disempowerment, unworthiness, unattractiveness, and fear. It is Seva.
The"seva" method of empowerment = selfless service to others. The recipient Others must specifically match the type or class of persons who are suffering from precisely one's own troubles, however the beneficiary of one's charitable help should have the condition in a slightly worse degree.
For the victim-minded, I will not deliver a complex and at the moment useless divinatory reading. Rather, I strongly recommend Seva as a powerful destroyer of ignorance and voluntary force of personal upliftment.
Dear one, if you are called to the vidya, then you are on the right path! Brihaspati the Preacher-Teacher -- so strong and generous !! -- will protect you.
Keep studying, keep meditating, keep validating yourself and others. We are all here for a reason and indeed there are no mistakes.
Although criticism of your early efforts may be embarrassing and hurtful, it is also not a mistake.
Consider the 90-10 rule, consider the benefits of consciously choosing a gracious vocabulary, and above all please consider charging a fee!
All of these techniques will help to clean your delivery channels so that the divine can work more effectively through your divinatory genius.
Wishing you every success in life and in Jyotisha practice,
Sincerely, BP Lama, Jyotisha
Q.Hi Barbara |
...I have been studying jyotish for some time now and have come to recognize your page as an place of a lot of knowledge. I believe my birth to be very auspicious for an astrologer. Or another words I was put on this earth by God to do astrology and heal others. I am still learning, however, ....There is just a lot of odd things I see in my chart. I do have past live memories and I also believe that I am close to Moksha. Living up to the Dahrma of my chart is not a easy task..... I have never been able to afford training from any astrologer. I really think I am supposed to be some kind of guru at least that is what my chart says. It has been hard for me to find someone I feel can teach me. ... I have started to cast a website and see a lot of things on your sight that would be helpful for me to create mine. Is it alright to use some of your Content. I am trying to follow .... you talk about and it also corresponds to the darhma of my chart if I have read it correctly. ...Had dream of Ganasha (Jupiter was closest to the earth at this time). Well I have 1 year in western astrology and one year into vedic astrology. This learning is all on a part time basis. I am creating the page to train my self because I will have to research it then regurgitate it to make the page. I will also be doing reading of people I know to help me in my research.... My chart shows me as rich but is more rich in knowledge then material goods....
I believe my birth to be very auspicious for an astrologer. Or another words I was put on this earth by God to do astrology and heal others.
I am still learning, however, ....There is just a lot of odd things I see in my chart. I do have past live memories and I also believe that I am close to Moksha. Living up to the Dahrma of my chart is not a easy task.....
I have never been able to afford training from any astrologer. I really think I am supposed to be some kind of guru at least that is what my chart says. It has been hard for me to find someone I feel can teach me. ...
I have started to cast a website and see a lot of things on your sight that would be helpful for me to create mine. Is it alright to use some of your Content. I am trying to follow .... you talk about and it also corresponds to the darhma of my chart if I have read it correctly.
...Had dream of Ganasha (Jupiter was closest to the earth at this time). Well I have 1 year in western astrology and one year into vedic astrology. This learning is all on a part time basis. I am creating the page to train my self because I will have to research it then regurgitate it to make the page. I will also be doing reading of people I know to help me in my research.... My chart shows me as rich but is more rich in knowledge then material goods....
A.Namaste , |
First: allow me to wish you best success in your Jyotisha studies. True service, really helping others, is a beautiful spiritual path.
Second: if you wish to copy text from my website, that is OK with me. However, if you quote from me, please put any text that you might copy from me into quotation marks ""and please provide attribution. For example you could write"this text was written by Barbara Pijan" or just add a link to my page at the end of the quotation. OK? My website is copyrighted but small quotations or paraphrases for educational purposes are completely OK .
Third: please be careful: you are a beginner. In your narrative, religious beliefs (moksha, dharma) are mixed with facts (Jupiter was close to Earth), and facts are mixed with predictions (that you will be a teacher). Be very careful to avoid this type of category mixing and strive for clear thought. Otherwise the Jyotisha narrative deteriorates into a mish-mosh of hope and random events (which is the way most people live anyway).
Remember, Jyotisha is the science of calendars. Our job is to cite the Grand Calendar as accurately as possible. We are not poets, parents, or psychologists. We are calendar-readers.
When studying Jyotisha: go slow, don't jump to conclusions, be careful to use many examples , and (very important) ignore your own nativity until you have at least five years of experience.
For mental health, please remember that beliefs cannot be measured. Facts can be measured. Try to use precise definitions of terms. Focus on the rules and the data .
Remember that one single indicator is never enough. Before drawing any conclusion, there should be at least three indicators pointing in the same direction. If you get three, you can make a tentative prediction based on the rules.
Wishing you every happiness and success in your study of the samayavidya,
Sincerely, BP Lama Jyotisha
Q.Dear Barbara I consider myself fortunate to go
through your astrological research on various topics
and this is by no means flattery i find your insight
on certain aspects so precise at the same time
descriptive as if Devine himself is guiding you the
concept of navamsa is very confusing for instance
surya in mesh rashi for dhanu lagna in the 3rd pada
at 20. 24 degrees in navamsa of venus is losing its
potency or it shall as explained by you acquire
traits of venus in alliance making, your opinion
will be really valuable to a student struggling in
all walks of life |
Thanks and regards
Thanks very much for your nice compliments on the materials available at barbarapijan.com I'm very happy to know that you are finding the case-studies and interpretive articles to be useful in your research. As always, it is recommended to study the nativities of public figures and those well-known to you such as family and community members.
Obsessive focus upon individual elements of one's own nativity is never a productive method of Jyotisha study and indeed this unhealthy approach may produce mental ailment. Therefore it is recommended to study empirical data and the outcomes in public record while observing how the particular chart element (such as the particular nakshatra-pada location of a graha or a lagna).
Importantly, in study, please resist the temptation to apply moral judgment of "good” or "bad” behavior to the actions of the graha. The graha are not bound by human morality.
In the meantime, please know that Seva is a universal corrective to all ignorance and disturbances. Serve others who are in a worse condition than yourself. You may quickly discern how they are creating their own situation via their repeating thoughts and beliefs. This mirror-image provided by the Seva beneficiary may show clearly the ways in which one's own thoughts and beliefs are creating the present situation.
Wishing you every happiness, healing from sorrow, guidance by inner light, and success in all of life's endeavors,
Barbara Pijan Lama, Jyotisha
Q.Hi Barbara, |
In the past you've written
"... wouldn't it be great if some smart person would start an organized, properly cited, reputable Jyotisha-pedia? Wikipedia has some Jyotisha articles in the Hinduism section, but Jyotisha-vidya really deserves its own hub."
Have you ever thought of asking for help with the website, perhaps from students or other scholars of Jyotish-vidya, to help you run and update it, so that it becomes more like a community effort?
Thanks for your insight. I wasn't hoping to covert my personal website, which is rather complex and opinionated, into a bona fide community resource.
Rather, the vision was to generate a one-stop-shop for historical resources in the Jyotisha traditions. There are so many iterations and syncretic lores of worldwide Jyotisha, including Tibetan, Cambodian, Tajiki-Persian, Lal Kitab, Arabic, and dozens more... how glorious to have copies of their scriptures or links to reputable pages in some network-linked arrangement.
At the outset, I'd like to see the mainstream rulebooks and commentaries (BPHS, Jaimini etc) plus clear, scholarly explanations of the plethora of predictive techniques that have accrued over the centuries. A section on traditional remedies would be fabulous - and huge.
The central knowledge-base development enterprise would need to be conducted in an intellectual culture of civil dialogue. Reporting on phenomena of Jyotisha would need to be free of rhetorical punditry, boasting, and self-righteous overstatement.
However, modern civil discourse is increasingly well understood by the educated classes. Now that the New Age is truly upon us, and many forms of shared resource are occurring, it seems that a civil, shared Jyotisha-vidya resource could realistically be produced within the Anglosphere.
I've been watching the developments of Wikipedia's excellent religion sections. Most of the Wikipedia religion pages I've seen recently do a great job. They simply report on the doctrines, rituals, and sacred cultures of religions without making a thesis for theological debate. They also report on the history of doctrinal debates, but without arguing. They simply report.
At university, I teach research writing to international students who are often not familiar with the process of critical thinking. Often, first lesson for first-time research writers is the distinction between a"thesis argument"and a"report". A report simply states the facts of what happened, such as a newspaper report. However a thesis argument must firstly state the *cited* facts, and secondly draw an evidence-based conclusion.
The envisioned Jyotisha-pedia type hub would have all reports, and no final conclusions. The hub pages could report on commentaries of notable Jyotishi who have developed coherent arguments for using their preferred techniques. However, opinions and final conclusions should stay on various personal websites, like mine.
In a nutshell, I'm dreaming of an objective collection of media resources contributed by student-scholars of Jyotisha, free of sectarian rhetoric, providing a clearly-marked gateway into the samayavidya for the next generation of Jyotishi.
wishing you every happiness and continuing success in studies,
Sincerely, Barbara Pijan Lama, Jyotisha
file update: 14-Jan-2017
Barbara Pijan Lama Jyotisha Vedic Astrology Surya Sun Chandra Moon Mangala Mars Budha Mercury Guru Jupiter Shukra Venus Shani Saturn Rahu Ketu Graha Planets Dasha Timeline Nakshatra Navamsha Marriage Children Wealth Career Spiritual Wisdom Cycles of Death and Rebirth
The information on barbarapijan.com , including all readings and reports, is provided for educational purposes only. Wishing you every happiness and continuing success in studies!
| "And now my friends, |
all that is true, all that is noble,
all that is just and pure,
all that is loveable and gracious,
whatever is excellent and admirable -
fill all your thoughts with these things."
~~ Epistle to the Philippians 4:8