For the Students of Hindu Vedic Astrology by Dr. A. Shanker

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Chapter 1, - I


Introduction to Vedic Astrology - Veda and relationship with Vedic Astrology
  
  1. Veda and its relation with Vedic Astrology:
 i.)      Veda means knowledge. The word comes from the Sanskrit language and is derived from the verb root, vid, ‘to know’.

ii.)      There are four Vedas- namely the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda- all are emanations from the breathing of Brahma, the Creator of universe- one of the Trinity Gods.

iii.)     The Upanishads- also belong to the Vedas; in fact, they are taken to be the actual explanations of the Vedas. Each Veda has a set of Upanishads associated with it.

iv.)     The Puranas are traditionally called the ‘Fifth Veda’ and this too will be established by authoritative quotes from the Vedic literature.
v.)     Each Vedas has two distinct portions, known as Mantra and Brahman. The mantra sections contain hymns to the fire, the sun, the air, the sky and the wind or to the respective deities who personify these elements. The Brahman section contains description of the rituals and ceremonies in which the mantras were supposed to be used.

  1. Vedas - oldest knowledge:
i.)      Vedic literature provides us with more original ancient teachings than what we have from all the rest of the world put together. Even by the most conservative estimates the four Vedas date around 5000 BC; (Ancient Greek the works of Homer (c. 700 ); in the Middle East, the oldest books are the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament are much older, as a whole redone after 500 BC; The Gathas of Zoroaster are also old, dating from before the founding of the ancient Persian empire (525 BC); in China the oldest book is the I Ching, though only its core portions date to 1000 BC or earlier; the Egyptian Book of the Dead is much oldest than these (to 300 BC), no living trading or record of its interpretation has survived for us.)

  1. Vedas and Astronomy:
 i.) The Rig- Veda contains astronomical references that are based on knowledge of the phenomenon of precession. The Vedic culture expressed through the Rig- Veda employed sidereal time. Thus the points of vernal equinox or winter solstice would be mentioned as having occurred or occurring in particular lunar constellations, called nakshatras. 

  1. Vedanga- Limbs of Veda:
 i.)      Besides the scriptures mentioned above there are also the six Vedangas, literally ‘limbs of the Vedas’. These are auxiliary works, the study of which is considered to be essential for the proper understanding of the Vedas. These six limbs are:

Ø      Siksa- the science of pronunciation;
Ø      Kalpa- the process of performing sacrifice;
Ø      Vyakarana- the rules of grammar;
Ø      Nirukta- the meanings and derivations of difficult words used in the          Vedas;
Ø      Jyotisha- astronomy and astrology; and
Ø      Chhandas- Vedic meters.

ii.)                 Each of these limbs is extensive and requires serious study.

  1. Vedic Astrology & Guru- parampara:
Astrology as part of the Vedic literature has been preserved and handed down in the guru- parampara, the chain of apostolic succession, since time immemorial. Vedic Astrology is the original form of astrology that existed thousands of years ago in what is now known as the Indian subcontinent. It gradually spread by diffusion into the cultures such as the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Chinese, etc.

  1. Vedic Astrology and Vedic Astrologer:

i.)      The Vedas are the oldest scriptures known to exist, being well over 5,000 years old. The vast ocean of Vedic knowledge encompasses both material and spiritual knowledge. Vedic Astrology, being an appendix to the Vedas, is thoroughly steeped in Vedic thought and philosophy. This means that the practitioner of the science must have earnestly assimilated the Vedic philosophy and lived the life of a Vedic Brahman, with all its attendant spiritual practices.

ii.)      The combined effect of genuine philosophical knowledge coupled with an authentic spiritual lifestyle cannot be overestimates when it comes to developing the divine vision and ability that is so necessary for enabling an astrologer to properly guide others. Thus it is by divine grace that one is able to take up Vedic astrology. In order to obtain divine grace and vision consultations should starts with an invocation to Lord Ganesha (or any other divinity as per faith and belief of the astrology)- propitiation of which is done before any auspicious act.

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