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see also     Ayanaansh;    Jyotish-2;    Jyotish in Ved;    Nakshatra;    Ratn in Astrolgy;

Jyotish or astrology is the part of Ved, Ultimate Truth, not of Maayaa. It is one of the six Ang (parts) of Ved =  (1) Shikshaa - concerned with phonetics,  (2) Kalp - the procedures for the performance of religious ceremonies,  (3) Vyaakaran - grammar,  (4) Nirukt - the etymological explanation of words,  (5) Jyotish - the science of astronomy, and  (6) Chhand Shaastra - concerning the meters or science of poetry.

Jyotish is called the Eye of Ved, because it gives us direct and tangible proofs of the Reality which are merely described by other Ang of the Ved. Jyotish gives us proofs of Karm of past lives resulting into the shape of our horoscope, it proves rebirths, existence of Soul (which carries our Karm from one life to another), etc. Jyotish Shaastra has three divisions : the Siddhaant, the Sanhitaa and and the Horaa. Varaah Mihir has written on all the three. In Kali Yug, Jyotish loses these qualities and becomes merely a money-making profession, nothing to do with Ved or its Ang.

Astrology. The term is applied as Ganit (mathematical) Jyotish to astronomy, and as Phalit (result) Jyotish to astrology. While Ganit Jyotish is a science, Phalit Jyotish is a belief. Astronomy was largely developed by Hindu, and astrology by Greeks. Indian works, such as Gaargee Sanhitaa acknowledge the contribution of Greeks in the field of Astrology. Some of the early works on Astrology were Gaargee Sanhitaa (c 230 AD), which incorporates a chapter called Yug Puraan written at a much later date; and the work of Aarya Bhatt (c 500 AD) who came with the cause of eclipses. Both borrowed material from "Siddhaant" which were treatises on Astronomy written during BC years.

Work in the field of Astronomy continued continuously. In c 540 AD, Varaahmitra wrote a book on Astronomy calling it "Panch Siddhaantikaa"; and in c 1100 AD, the astronomer Prince Jaya Sinh, the founder of Jayapur city, built five astronomical observatories - one each at Dehlee, Mathuraa, Ujjayinee, Jayapur and Vaaraanasee. They are popularly known as Jantar-Mantar.
[Aangiras, p 152-153]

Phalit Jyotish
Astrology, invented by Greeks and accepted by Hindoo. According to Astrology Heavenly Bodies a great role in human lives and one can ascertain when these Bodies are in a favorable position for an individual to perform certain action to get desired result. That is why Hindoo first consult astrologers for finding the suitable date and time to undertake a certain action, especially a religious ceremony, laying foundation of the new house, entering the new house etc. Hindoo astrologers base their predictions on the movements of 9 planets.
[Aangiras, p 240]

Raashi (Zodiac Signs)
The Sun passes through 12 signs in one year, thus he stays in one sign for one month. These signs are -

Sign's Hindi Name Sign's English Name Sankraanti Month
1. Mesh  Aries April On Amaavasyaa day, while Sun is in Aries Sign, Chaitra month ends.
2. Vrish Taurus May On Amaavasyaa day, while Sun is in Taurus Sign, Vaishaakh month ends.
3. Mithun Gemini June On Amaavasyaa day, while Sun is in Gemini Sign, Jyeshth month ends.
4. Kark Cancer July On Amaavasyaa day, while Sun is in Cancer Sign, Aashaadh month ends.
5. Sinh Leo August On Amaavasyaa day, while Sun is in Leo Sign, Shraavan month ends.
6. Kanyaa Virgo September On Amaavasyaa day, while Sun is in Virgo Sign, Bhaadrapad month ends.
7. Tulaa Libra October On Amaavasyaa day, while Sun is in Libra Sign, Aashwin (Kwaar) month ends.
8. Vrishchik Scorpio November On Amaavasyaa day, while Sun is in Scorpio Sign, Kaartik month ends.
9. Dhanu Sagittarius December On Amaavasyaa day, while Sun is in Sagittarius Sign, Maargsheersh (Agahan) month ends.
10. Makar Capricorn January 14 On Amaavasyaa day, while Sun is in Capricorn Sign, Paush month ends.
11. Kumbh Aquarius February 13 On Amaavasyaa day, while Sun is in Aquarius Sign, Maagh month ends.
12. Meen Pisces March On Amaavasyaa day, while Sun is in Pisces Sign, Phaalgun month ends.

Surprisingly enough our Ved, especially Rig Ved, describes these Raashi in it. See the article "Raashi in Rig Ved" here.

Graha and Upagraha
Planets. According to Hindu astrology, there are nine planets - (1) Soorya (the Sun - red in color), (2) Chandra (the Moon - white in color), (3) Mangal or Kujaa (Mars - tawny in color), (4) Budh (Mercury - pale in color), (5) Brihaspati or Guru (Jupiter - yellow in color), (6) Shukra (Venus - white in color), (7) Shani (Saturn - black in color), (8) Raahu (variegated in color), and (9) Ketu Raahu (variegated in color). Our Prithvi (the Earth) is also a planet, but it is not counted as planet while seeing other planets' affect on Prithvi or its people. In astrology while making the birth chart for a person, the position of these Graha at his birth time is calculated and written in the 12 Houses (one house belongs to one Sign). Then their effects are calculated according to the Jyotish science.
Read about Ratn or gems according to Graha  at Ratn.
All Graha have their own Devtaa, read about them at Graha Devtaa.

Along with these 9 main Graha (Planets), there are 10 Upagraha or shadowy planets in Jyotish, like Dhoom, Vyatipaat, Paridhi, Indrachaap, Upaketu, Mandee, Gulikaa, Kaal, Yamaghantakaa, Arth prahaar, and Mrityu. There is a methods for their calculation.

Nakshatra (Constellations)
There are 27 Nakshatra (Constellations) divided among these 12 Signs, and every constellation is made up of four Charan (feet). So each Sign is made up of 2 1/4 constellations - or 9 feet of constellations. They come in a specific sequence. The names of these Nakshatra are -

1. Ashwinee,                2. Bharanee,                  3. Krittikaa,               4. Rohinee,           5. Mrigshiraa                       6. Aardraa,            
7. Punarvasu                8. Pushya,                      9. Aashleshaa,            10. Maghaa,          11. Poorvaa Phaalgunee           12. Uttaraa Phaalgunee    
13. Hast,                   14. Chitraa                      15. Swaati                  16. Vishaakhaa      17. Anuraadhaa                    18. Jyeshthaa   
19. Mool                    20. Poorv Aashaadh        21. Uttar Aashaadh     22. Abhijit,          23. Shravan,                        24. Dhanishthaa, 
25. Shatbhishaa         26. Poorv Bhadraa,         27. Uttar Bhadraa,      28. Revatee

It is interesting to note that the starting Nakshatra is different in our different scriptures.
(1) Rudra Yaamal Tantra begins it's list of Nakshatra from Bharanee, thus, we now get complete cycle of precession - Vaidik age with Krittikaa as first Nakshatra,
(2) Taantrik age of Jyotish starts with Bharanee as first Nakshatra and
(3) The current age of Jyotish starts with Ashwinee as first Nakshatra.

What is Abhijit Nakshtra?
In fact Abhijit, the 22nd one, is not a Nakshatra, but a certain time period. Some people consider Abhijit as Nakshatra, thus making 28 Nakshatra. This time period, Abhijit, is very auspicious Muhoort and it falls in day time - one Ghadee (24 minutes) before and one Ghadee after 12.00 pm. Even if the whole Panchaang is not auspicious, even then to travel during this period is very auspicious.

No Nakshatra is less than 56 Ghatee (28 Muhoort, or 22.4 hours) and more than 66 Ghatee (33 Muhoort or 26.4 hours). One Muhoort is of 48 minutes.
(Naarad Puraan, p 331)

Pushya Nakshatra is a very powerful Nakshatra, even if it is in Paap Graha. Leave alone marriage, this Nakshatra gives desired fruit in all auspicious Karm.

Ayan Time
The day Soorya (Sun) changes his direction, from south to North or North to south, is called Ayan time. They normally fall on Makar (Capricorn) Sankraanti on January 14 when Soorya turn toward North, called Uttaraayan (Uttar + Ayan); and on Kark (Cancer) Sankraanti on July 13 or 14 when Soorya turns toward South, called Dakshinaayan (Dakshin + Ayan). Thus there are two Ayan times.

In Indian astrology, Yog is a part of Panchaang. There are 26 Yog in number and come through out the month in a specific sequence. They are like Nakshatra which also come throughout the month in a specific sequence. Their names are - (1) Shubh, (2) Shukla, (3) Brahm, (4) Indra, (5) Vaidhritti, (6) Vishkumbh, (7) Preeti, (8) Aayushmaan, (9) Saubhaagya, (10) Shobhanaa, (11) Atigand, (12) Sukarmaa, (13) Dhriti, (14) Shool, (15) Gand, (16) Vriddhi, (17) Dhruv, (18) Vyaghat, (19) Vajra, (20) Siddhi, (21) Vyatipaat, (22) Vareeyaan, (23) Prigh, (24) Shiv, (26) Siddh.

Vishuv Yog
The other two Sankraanti, Tulaa (Libra) and Mesh (Aries), when Soorya is on Equator, while going to south and coming to North, on October 13 or 14 and April 13 or 14, are called Vishuv Yog as on those days the day and night are equal. Thus there are two Vishuv Yog.

Other Yog
(1) Hastichchhaayaa Yog - This Yog falls at the time of Solar Eclipse - all Daan, Shraaddh and Dharm Karm done at this time are auspicious and eternal.
(2) Hastichchhaayaa Yog - When Moon is in Maghaa or Hast Nakshatra, it is called Vaivaswatee Tithi. This is also Hastichchhaayaa Yog and all Daan, Shraaddh and Dharm Karm done at this time are auspicious and eternal.

Hindu Lunar Calendar
12 months of present Hindu Lunar Calendar - (1) Chaitra, (2) Vaishaakh, (3) Jyeshth, (4) Aashaadh, (5) Shraavan, (6) Bhaadrapad, (7) Aashwin, (8) Kaarttik, (9) Maargsheersh or Agahan or Agrahan, (10) Paush, (11) Maagh and (12) Phaalgun.

The names of Vaidik months of Hindu Calendar are - (1) Madhu/Chaitra, (2) Maadhav/Vaishaakh, (3) Shukra/Jyeshth, (4) Shuchih/Aashaadh, (5) Nabhas/Shraavan, (6) Nabhasya/Bhaadrapad, (7) Ishaa/Ashvayuja or Aashwin, (8) Urja/Kaartik, (9) Sahas/Agrahayana or Maargsheersh, (10) Sahasya/Paush, (11) Tapah/Maagh, (12) Tapasyaa/Phaalgun. These names get interchanged with solar as well as Lunar months in our Shaastra.

30 Days (Tithi) of Hindu Lunar Month - (1) Padavaa (Pratipadaa), (2) Doyaj (Dwiteeyaa), (3) Teej (Triteeyaa), (4) Chauth (Chaturthee), (5) Paanch (Panchamee), (6) Chhat (Shashthee), (7) Saatai (Saptamee), (8) Aathai (Ashtamee), (9) Naumee (Navamee), (10) Dashamee, (11) Gyaaras (Ekaadashee), (12) Baaras (Dwaadashee), (13) Teras (Trayodashee), (14) Chaudas (Chaturdashee), (15) Maavas (Amaavasyaa), (16) Poornimaa, or Poonam (Poornmaasee)

In ancient times the basic unit of calendar time was not the Solar day, it was the Lunar day, or Tithi. The approximately 30 Tithi formed a Lunar month of approximately 29.5 solar days. Thus one full Moon to the next full Moon is approximately 29.5 Solar days which is equal to 30 Tithi or Lunar days. Thus the Tithi is a little less than a solar day. Probably the Tithi was invented to avoid the complications of having to deal with the extra half day in the 29.5 solar day month. It however created other complications. The Tithi could begin at any time of a solar day so it was decided that the Tithi that prevailed at sunrise would be the Tithi for the whole current day.

The year normally consisted of 12 months, of 30 Tithi each and was 360 Tithi long. It usually began with the Chaitra (March-April) month, but in some systems the it began with the Kaarttik (October-November). 360 Tithi is only 354 solar days and the Solar year is 365.25 Solar days thus every second or third year an extra month was added. It is interesting to note that a 360 Tithi long year makes use of the very convenient number 360. Ancient Babylonians and ancient Maya people also used a 360 day year for their calendars, but they used Solar days rather than Lunar days.

The Solar calendar was imported to India in the time of Gupta (300 AD) with months named for the signs of the zodiac. The names of the months are a close translation of the Greek originals. Thus the months are Mesh (Aries), Vrishabh (Taurus). Mithun (Gemini), Karaataa (Cancer), Sinh (Leo), Kanyaa (Virgo), Tulaa (Libra), Vrishchik (Scorpio), Dhanu (Sagittarius), Makar (Capricorn), Kumbh (Aquarius) and Meen (Pisces.) The 7-day week was also introduced with the name of the day being the name of the planet which presides over the days as in the Greco-Roman system. In fact the order of the planets is the same as in the Greco-Roman system, a vestige of the ordering by ancient Babylonians.

Today in India all religious festivals are determined by their Lunar calendar date except Sankraanti which normally falls on 13th or 14th of the solar calender. For example Deepaavalee, the new year festival, celebrated all over India, occurs on the New Moon which begins the lunar month Kaarttik (usually occurring in October or November).

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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 05/14/13