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Jyotishavidya Practice * Amsha

The Vexed Question of


Choosing the Rate of Equinoctial Precession

BP Lama Jyotishavidya uses Chitrapaksha Ayanamsha



Zubdet Ut Tevarih by Lokman, circa 1583

Topkapi Palace Museum - Bridgeman Art Library

"This celestial map or macrocosm is the opening miniature in the Turkish Zubdat al-Tawarikh, or"History of the World", showing the seven heavens above the Earth, the signs of the zodiac and the 28 lunar mansions."

What is Ayanamsha?

Table of mainstream precession rates , as listed by Jyotisha software programmer Das Goravani


Precession rate

Start year



285 CE



291 CE

B.V. Raman


397 CE

Fagan-Bradley [western sidereal]


221 CE



499 CE

Ayanamsha = precession rate

= precessional distance regarding the precession of the equinoxes.

Aya = period of time (cognate to English era, year)

  • Ayana = progress
  • = forward movement along a pathway = yana
  • Amsha = portion = section

The precession of the equinoxes means that the four equinoctial points (spring, summer, autumn, and winter equinoxes) are constantly moving. They will rotate (backwards) through all 360 degrees and return to their starting point every 25920 [solar] years.

There are several viable choices available regarding precessional

(1) start year

(2) rate of movement

The discussion about these choices makes the question of correct ayanamsha a thorny professional issue for practitioners of Jyotishavidya.

BP Lama uses Chitra-Paksha Ayanamsha

Mr. Lahiri. the Lahiri Committee, Lahiri Ayanamsha

Lahiri ayanamsha is sanctioned by the Government of India and is a very popular metric.

However, keep in mind that Lahiri Ayanamsha was determined by the Lahiri Calendar Committee, of which Shri Lahiri was the chairman.

As the saying goes, the camel is a horse that was designed by a committee :)

Generally, Lahiri Ayanamsha works fairly well in practice.

However, many Jyotishi use Lahiri because it is popular - not because they have rigorously tested it against other options.

Also, consider that one may find several different versions of "Lahiri".

Some Jyotisha software sets a conventional Lahiri ayanamsha at 50.2719 seconds/year rate of precession, starting from the year 285 CE.

Other practicing Jyotishi use numbers both higher and lower than 50.2719, and/or different start years. It may nevertheless be claimed that they use a standard Lahiri ayanamsha.

Shri B.V. Raman's Ayanamsha

Of the numerous non-Lahiri ayanamsha options, most are very esoteric and used only by special lineages or research interests.

Krishnamurti ayanamsha and Raman ayanamsha are probably the two most popular non-Lahiri choices.

A unique ayanamsha that was developed by 300 Combinations 1912-1998 Jyotiṣika B. V. Raman. This aya-amsha was published by Shri Raman during his lifelong research into the scriptural and technical foundations of the knowledge tradition of Jyotishavidya. Shri Raman published his research extensively in English. His primary vehicle for dissemination of research and opinion was the famed Jyotisha periodical magazine Astrological Monthly. Raman wrote and published both case-studies and interpretations of classic texts over a period of fifty plus years.

Dr. Raman wrote dozens of clearly argued English-language books that articulated the principles of Jyotishavidya. Many Jyotishi who had been educated in English-medium schools were influenced by his scientific attitude. Respect was inspired by his grasp of the ancient Sanskrit, Tamil, Malayalam, and other historic sacred literatures.

Most importantly, BVR devoted many years of his life to researching the astronomical and mathematical foundations of Jyotisha calculations.

Dr. Raman's reputation for thoroughness in his research convinced many readers of the validity of his ayanamsha and they expected superior results.

Second to the mainstream Lahiri ayanamsha(s), it could be said that overall, the second most popular ayanamsha is use is BV Raman's uniquely calculated ayanamsha.

Ayanamsha mentioned by Holy Science 1855-1936 Shri Yukteswara Giri

Followers of Autobiography of a Yogi 1893-1952 Swami Yogananda in the West often request the ayanamsha of Swami Yogananda' s highly respected guru Shri Yukteshwar .

Shri Yukteshwar's ayanamsha is significantly out of the range of conventional precession rates, and is used by only a very small minority of working astrologers. This unique navamsha may be more useful for the study of larger cosmic patterns and perhaps less applicable to individual human life events.

I myself was attracted to Shri Yukteshwar's ayanamsha after reading the very inspiring account of Vedic time cycles as explained by by Swami Shri Yukteswar in The Holy Science = Kaivalya Darshanam .

For BP Lama Jyotishavidya practice with real people's lives in mundane earth time, Shri Yukteshwar's ayanamsha does not test successfully compared with Raman or Lahiri or the ayanamasha of choice = chitrapaksha.

For BP Lama Jyotishavidya could be open to using the ayanamsha favored by the person's spiritual lineage. If you have a psychic connection to Shri Y or another jyotish-guru, For BP Lama Jyotishavidya may be able to use Shri Y's ayanamsha for your reading.

Additional ayanamsha options

Other ayanamsha options include Krishnamurti, the proposals of American Rick Houck (who pioneered intensive Jyotisha research using computers), and various western" sidereal" positions.

Practical considerations : discussion and application

In the end, most Jyotisha practitioners don't worry about ayanamsha.

The scope of Jyotisha practice may consider individual lives, the fate of nations, or historical time cycles. After the practitioner has decided which ayanamsha produces the most satisfactory results within the scope of one's own practice, there is no need to keep shopping.

there is no one single fixed view on correct ayanamsha. Nor does there need to be.

Special research purposes may require special aya-amza.

Standard Lahiri

  • precession rate = 50.27

  • start year = CE 285


I'm learning Astrology both Vedic and Western. I'm reading the Vedic Astrological Books of One of the Great Astrologer of present time Late Dr. B.V.Ramanji for 4-5 years.

I've a great respect for him. I've a problem Barbara regarding Ayanamsha- when I searched the web for"which Ayanamsha to use"-I got your Article there-written about all the hindu/vedic Ayanamsha-It was very informative-Thank you!

Though I'm a follower of Ramanji and I should use his Ayanamsha without any doubt but since I'm a North Indian and we use Lahiri's Ayanamsha (by Default Software also selects it.) I was using Lahiri's Ayanamsha for preparing any Chart for a long time. For me it's Dasha -Pratayantar Dasha all were seem to be correct.....But now I'm in a doubt. When I use Raman's Ayanamsha-The Navamansha Chart-I got-I think is very Correct. And Dashamansha Chart is also right I think. and This Navamansha explains my Nature very correctly.

You said that you use Lahiri's Ayanamsha-Since you're a professionaI Astrologer and you're practicing it for quite a long time so I want to know from you-Don't you think The Chart prepared by using Raman's Navamansha gives right Reading than Lahiri's? As we know that we're handicapped without Navamansha Chart-and without seeing it we can't give any prediction very correctly. It is the most important Sub-Chart.

(and please tell me For Rahu-Ketu-Which Value do you use-True or Mean ?) Thanks.

A : Namaste,

Like you, I am a grateful student of Shri Raman.

I met Shri B.V. Raman in 1993 when he was already quite elderly, and I was impressed with his sharp mind as well as his deep humility. In respect for Sri Raman as a writer, practitioner, and teacher, I applied Raman's ayanamsha to a variety of Jyotishavidya calculations for several years.

To test and prove, I compared the Vimshottari dasha periods emerging from the lunar degree which would be obtained by Raman's ayanamsha against the known life events of family members and historical figures.

The Vimshottari Dasha sequence produced by calculations made from the Raman Ayanamsha do not match normal biographical event narratives in most cases.

Therefore despite my great respect for Shri B.V. Raman, the more conventional Lahiri ayanamsha for making predictions about the unfoldment of experience within the context of individual lives.

It seems wise to leave open the possibility that Raman's ayanamsha, along with the ayanamsha proposed by Holy Science 1855-1936 Shri Yukteswara Giri and several other notable ayanamsha (precession) rates proposed by other luminaries of Jyotisha vidya, can be used successfully to predict larger-scale matters of the fate of nations, big time cycles = yuga, and other greater-than-individual paths.

Raman Ayanamsha tends to produce poor coordination between the real-life events and Vimshottari periods of the expected bhava-pati.

The Lahiri Ayanamsha results with correct birth data

  1. Birth of the first child nearly always occurs in the mother's Vimshottari period of (1) Guru or (2) radix vidya-pati-5 or Dharmesha-9 from radical lagna or Chandra lagna

  2. Educational diploma obtained in periods of (1) Budha or (2) bandesha-4 + yuvati-pati-7 (4th-from-4th)

  3. Dematerialization during bhukti of (1) natural maraka Mangala - Shani (2) Rahu-Ketu giving effect of dhanapati-2+ yuvati-pati-7 (3) dhanapati-2+ yuvati-pati-7 from radical lagna (4) yuti-graha giving the effect of the maraka

  4. dematerialization of father in bhukti of ruler of either 2nd-from-Surya or 7th-from-Surya.

  5. dematerialization of mother during bhukti of either 2nd-from-Soma -- 7th-from-Soma -- 2nd-from-bandhustana -- 7th-from-bandusthana

    Broken yoke (un-yoga) = health, relationship, social, financial crisis = periods of rogesha-6 + vriddhi-pati-11 , or Shani.

Other associations stated by Parashara = work properly the great majority of the time using Lahiri ayanamsha.

Marriage timing offers a useful test of ayanamsha , because timing of marriage comes not from radix but rather from navamsha.

Using Raman's ayanamsha produces very poor event-timing results in practice.

However, when using Lahiri, marriage occurs reliably in the bhukti of the lords of the first or seventh * navamsha*, or any of the graha-karaka: Shukra, Shani, or Rahu-Ketu.

Also, with timing of marriage, a second condition must be fulfilled: samchara Rahu-Ketu must be transiting through one of five axes: lagna of radix or navamsha, natal nodal axis in either radix or navamsha, or the axis of Janma-Chandra.

With Lahiri ayanamsha, if the radix chart does not offer a lagna, Moon, or nodal axis to satisfy the condition, then the navamsha nodes or lagna will be found to be in the right place to support the timing of marriage.

With Raman's ayanamsha, if the radix chart does not supply the necessary nodal axes, Raman's rendering of Svamsha and navamsha Moon will not always supply it either - which leaves us unable to predict timing of marriage, or confirm timing of a marriage which has already occurred.

I appreciate how emotionally attracted people are to the poetry of their navamsha patterns, when they think - as you say -"this explains my nature very correctly".

Navamsha is the field of one's true dharma more fully articulated; D-9 shows our secret strengths, subconscious expectations, and inherent wisdom - our"better self". So, if Raman's ayanamsha creates a more intriguing or flattering navamsha, it might be tempting to honor the poetic image of nicer planets.

My own Jyotisha practice is focused on the tasks of (1) making sense of the order of past events while (2) attempting to offer reliable predictions of future events.

I am less inclined to the typically western psychological or poetic style, and more inclined to predictive accuracy.

I am sure that there are some legitimate uses for the western poetic-psychological-archetype approach to astrology (such as in Jungian psychotherapy), but my personality is more research-oriented.

Therefore my own test results have cemented my decision to stick with Lahiri ayanamsha into the foreseeable future.

However, another Jyotishi who might be researching other types of events - perhaps political or economic events, or other non-personal/national/global level phenomena - might use different tests and get different results. I can only report on the research I have done myself.

I look forward to the day when Jyotishi worldwide can contribute peer-reviewed research to scholarly journals and present their results at (electronic?) conferences, so that a wider basis of understanding can be established in the international Jyotisha practice community.

BTW: mean positions for Rahu-Ketu

wishing you every success in your study of the samayavidya,

BP Lama Jyotisha

Hi. Do you ever use the Tropical Zodiac in any way? I'm (still) having difficulty in determining which fits my own experiences. Regards, M Namaste,

No, the tropical zodiac is not used in any way.

Theories should be empirically tested with as much data as possible. Testing a theory against the subjective, unclear personal experience of one's own perceptions will not produce a definitive proof or disproof.

The internet provides abundant biographical data for complete lifetimes of notable persons.

If you have an affinity for the tropical zodiac, it would be recommended to test the nativities of public figures such as military leaders, politicians, royalty, famous authors, celebrities.

Does the tropical zodiac accurately predict the events of their lives which have been recorded, verified, and known to the public?

People believe all sorts of foolishness that has nothing to do with consensus reality. Consensus reality includes definitions of events based on Earth-time and physical locations in space.

Humans generally agree on matters of clock time when something happened and where it occurred (...except lawyers of course).

Test your beliefs. Do the interpretative modalities of tropical style succeed in accurately predicting the consensus reality results?

wishing you every success in your study of the samayavidya,

BP Lama Jyotisha

Q:Hello Barbara Pijan,

I have a question for you about the information you have on your website about vedic astrology.

Particularly about the Chandra in (Nakshatra) pages. Are they written according to South Indian astrology or to North Indian, because I notice that when using South Indian astrology the degrees change and Therefore, the Chandra changes, when I calculate my chart.

So I don't know whether to read Purvabhadrapada Chandra or Uttarabhadrapada.

Hopefully you will clear this up. Thank you for your time.

A: Oops, it looks like several separate concepts have become conflated.

North and South Indian Jyotisha traditions share the same core scriptures and use identical astronomical calculations.

An individual practitioner may vary in accuracy or choice of ayanamsha.

North Indian and South Indian Jyotisha traditions differ in several style traits which do not alter the core logic of the samayavidya. For example, there is regional variation in traditional graphic representations.

  • Northern traditions show the Persian aesthetic influence in the diamond pattern graphic of the kundali.
  • Southern traditions favor a rectangular graphic.

There is also considerable diversity in prescriptive remedies, the great majority of which arise from the local folk traditions and natural pharmacology.

For example

  • Lal Kitab (the red book) represents a north-western bharati tradition much influenced by old Persian worldview. Lal Kitab remedies for astrological disfavor remain quite popular in in the northern cultures and their worldwide diaspora, including the north American Caribbean region where many families of northern Indian descent have settled.
  • Many of the Tamil Jyotisha texts of the south are uniquely Dravidian in cultural orientation. Southern remedies tend to call upon local folk deities and utilize herbs which grow naturally in the region.

The nativities which appear on this website are calculated via the Chitra-Paksha Lahiri Ayanamsha

  • start year = 285 CE
  • precession rate = 50.2719

"Lahiri" = the surname of the man who served as head of the calendar committee. This commitee determined the official ayanamsha for the Government of India to be used for purpose of calculating festivals, panchanga, etc..

The mainstream ayanamsha in both the South Indian and North Indian traditions is Lahiri, but various lineage teachers have their own research ayanamsha; and several alternatives for example Krishnamurti ayanamsha are quite popular around the world.

The question you are asking appears to address not a distinction of north vs. south, but rather a distinction of ayanamsha. It might be helpful to check your software settings and find out if what you are calling North Indian result is being calculated with different ayanamsha from what you are calling South Indian.

wishing you every success in your study of the samayavidya,

BP Lama Jyotisha

Subject: Query

How useful is the Fagan Bradley ayanamsa?

I was born on 18 September 1960 at 1355 hours in India Delhi.

As per Lahari calculation Jupiter is in Dhanus 1'48'14 but as per Fagan Bradley at 0 degree. Similarly Moon is in Leo but as per Fagan Bradley it is 0 degree and the dates of dasha and Mahadasa change?

What is your advice?


Thanks for your note. No opinion available on the Fagan Bradley ayanamsha.

It might be a great contribution to the worldwide Jyotishavidya community if you were to complete a replicable test.

For example, a useful test might consist of 50 public-figure nativities assessed via Chitra-Paksha Lahiri Ayanamsha compared to 50 public-figure nativities assessed via Fagan Bradley ayanamsha.

Wishing you and your family every happiness, healing from sorrow, guidance by inner light, and success in all of life's endeavors,

Barbara Pijan Lama, Jyotishavidya


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