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Jyotisha Practice

The Vidya of Jyotisha

Part art; Part science


As within, so without; As above, so below.

~~ Hermes Trismegistus

Samaya-vidya Jyotisha is the science of calendars. As Jyotishi, our job is to cite the Grand Calendar as accurately as possible.

We are not poets, parents, preachers, priests, professors, popes, presbyters, propagandists, or psychologists.

We are calendar-readers.

The art part :

  • Way of Knowing

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Représentation miniature de l'étude de la lune et des étoiles au 17e siècle . Bibliothèque universitaire d'Istanbul

... requires wisdom and knowledge of human nature. And, to be honest, a good dose of psychic intuition.

The Jyotishi must be psychically grounded in some type of regular spiritual practice in order to guarantee the flow of intuition.

Most Jyotishi enjoy regular communication with intelligent and beneficent spiritual guides.

I find that, in practice, I have to think of myself not as an ego-hoard of esoteric knowledge who can speak on all topics (pandita) nor as a conventional authority figure in a scientific field (expert, professeur).

Yes, it is possible to know the sequence of future events via an extremely close and skillful study of the samayavidya.

However, the way of knowing requires the ego-membrane to almost disappear, so that the vidya (view) itself gains permission to articulate.

Posing as a conventional"expert" with lots of ego-inflated authority energy is quite impossible!

IMO, the ego thing

Can be problematic in India, where some flamboyant Jyotishi try to achieve fame by making giant, sweeping predictions that nearly always go wrong.

  • Grandiosity is inappropriate and embarrassing in a field where humility is the absolute prerequisite for having any knowledge at all

Rather, the humble Jyotishi is like a human crystal-set, picking up radio signals from the universe. The transmissions do come in, but sometimes they're fuzzy. Sometimes they're remarkably clear. Sometimes they're contradictory, or mixed.

My responsibility = to keep tuning my crystals, getting better and better reception over time. I am certainly a better astrologer now than when I was 20, 30, 40 or 50. The best astrologers should probably be over 60, committed meditators, or both.

The science part

is not conventional modern"bench" science.

  • Jyotisha is very far from modern positivism.

  • Rather, Jyotisha is Scientia in the sense of structured knowledge.

An ancient tradition, passed along from guru to student over the millennia, Jyotisha traces its lineage to the Rishis - illumined seers who spoke within the Vedic cultures. The rules of Jyotisha are well-tested. They still work, even having been somewhat damaged through passage of the Kali Yuga. And that is why we continue to practice Jyotisha today.

Note on cultural value of the English "science"

Many westerners familiar with Vedic cultures prefer to avoid a pedestrian controversy about the English word "science" via the practice of labeling Jyotisha knowledge as a Vidya .

Vidya = a body of knowledge which can be "seen" (vid, video, evidence) either through books or by a teacher. This better label Vidya will be quite workable when the Sanskrit word Vidya -- like other Sanskrit terms Karma, Dharma, Yoga,etc. -- makes its way into English.

However, for now, when saying "science" one must specify the more classical meaning of that English word.

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updated:21 December 2016

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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