Astrology, (henceforth referred to as Nakshatra Jyotisa, Jyotisha or Vedic Jyotisha Shastra, meaning the study of light and time), is absolute science while astrological interpretation is art. The first rule of understanding Jyotisha thoroughly: the learner must experience it, apply it and experiment with it. Jyotisha is about acknowledging and understanding the universal automation and recognizing that everything is on its definite path. The purpose of Jyotisha is not to predict the future, but to facilitate it, by providing a deeper understanding of ‘the real show’ that goes on backstage.
This article aims at providing the reader with at least one simple tool to feel the precision of Nakshatra Jyotisa system of Vedic astrology based on 27 Nakshatras (lunar mansions; 4 phases of each = total 108 unique zones). Most people that discard astrology do not have the appropriate apparatuses to experiment with or they have little experience learning it systematically, under supervision. Hence, they typically end up confusing a wrong set of interpretations with the system itself. Here are a few basic questions to begin with. First, would it not be logical to assume that everything has a correlation of some kind, known or unknown, to what that thing surrounds and is surrounded with? If yes, then likelihood of understanding such correlation with time, practice and experimentation should only be scientific. Second, what other event imaginable might have a higher possibility of occurrence than this one, “the Sun will rise from the east direction in the morning, precisely at the time that could very well be calculated and predicted for any given day in the future”. Third, in both scale and rationale, the interaction of human brain with cosmic nervous system is no different from the neurons inside the brain interacting with each other, across synaptic cleft. The point is that planets serve as concrete benchmarks for in-depth study of time and variation. Jyotisha Shastra, hence, is not groundless but only scientific.
To have a bird’s eye view of Vedic Jyotisha Shastra, one may imagine an endlessly large clockwork with complex and sophisticated wind-up mechanism and a perfect series of pulleys, cogwheels, and coils and gears. In this clockwork, every pulley has its unique function, all cogwheels are interconnected and every gear is indispensable. To appreciate this model wholly one must assign all things imaginable to these gears, preferably in the order of their physical or metaphysical mass, significance or size. Such cosmic clockwork would include every being and thing, both living and so-called non-living; and all forces, feelings, phenomena and events, so on and so forth. Although the configuration of such a setup would be highly dynamic but it would totally be possible to correlate the movement of bigger gears with the smaller ones and vice-versa, as well as the events associated with them. Nakshatra Jyotisa is the sophisticated science of analyzing the universe with such a perspective. The gears are virtual, yet mechanical, and their movement is scientific; but a large part of what they represent is abstract and hence interpretation is a skill that requires practice and experience to master.
Two key characteristics that set Nakshatra Jyotisa apart from the western astrological systems are; first, the precision and rectification of equinoxes (Ayanamsa), and second, a high number of divisions, sub-division, cycles and sub-cycles. Critics often attack astrology with the claim that it relies on the archaic locations of heavenly bodies that are different today from what they used to be 2000 years ago. Though they are true about the western astrology over this fact, it does not apply to Nakshatra Jyotisa. Calculations of Nakshatra Jyotisa and Vedic Jyotisha Shastra take in consideration this rectification part with an astonishing precision. A simple test any nonprofessional could perform today is by locating the true, real-time position of a constellation or a planet using Mobile Apps like Sky Map. When validated with the positions mentioned in Vedic Planetary Ephemeris for that particular date and time, these positions match precisely to the degree, minutes and seconds. The intricacy of astrological calculations in Vedic Jyotisha Shastra is far more exquisite compared to all other similar systems. For example, Nakshatra Jyotisa uses 27 Nakshatras or lunar mansions, each consisting of four phases, totaling 108 zones as compared to 12 zodiac signs of western astrology. While evaluating timing of events, there are numerous sub-divisions within divisions and sub-sub-divisions within sub-divisions of Dashas (planetary periods or categorized time fragments). In western astrology, there is no corresponding or even functionally comparable system. Similarly, western astrology uses only one birth chart while Vedic Jyotisha Shastra employs 60 Divisional Charts and numerous other aspects and sub-systems. Essentially, the idea is to divide 360 degrees of sky among all 27 lunar mansions, which have four phases (pada) each. A single phase consists of three degrees and twenty minutes (3°20′); degrees, minutes and seconds are the units used to measure planetary movements.
With this approach, an individual zodiac sign now has nine unique shades, to begin with, that will provide incredible information when used with rectified true sidereal ecliptic coordinates (real size and location of the constellations in the sky, same as the one used by astronomers worldwide today). Softwares such as Jagannath Hora (download free from http://www.vedicastrologer.org/jh/) can provide several relevant insights.
To get first-hand experience, here is the method to easily calculate the Nakshatra (lunar mansion) of a native (meaning the person in question whose birth chart is being cast), and some resources through which to find out the meaning behind that Nakshatra. Natives can ascertain their respective Nakshatras and the corresponding Phase (a number between 1 and 4) by entering their exact date, time and place of birth on Prokerela Nakshatra Finder: http://www.prokerala.com/astrology/nakshatra-finder/. Suppose, the Nakshatra that shows up is Uttra Bhadrapada (Pada 4 or Phase 4), natives can then find further information (as follows) regarding this Nakshatra by querying www.BarbaraPijan.com with the name and phase of their Nakshatra. They can also get the relevant keywords by visiting the table of Nakshatra attributes on the following link: http://www.barbarapijan.com/bpa/Nakshatra_radical/nakshatra_attributes_table.htm.
Uttra Bhadrapada (Phase 4): Reigning between three degrees and 20 minutes to 16 degrees 40 minutes in Pisces zodiac (Jupiter’s domain), Uttra Bhadrapada is the 26th Nakshatra that is ruled by Saturn. It represents dualistic imagery because Jupiter is all about expansion, superiority, excellence, wisdom, knowledge while Saturn denotes boundaries, depth, restriction and spiritual discipline. Uttra Bhadrapada natives may be tempted to gossip but they always answer to the point without beating around the bush. Their conscience is firm and cannot easily be swayed. Divine, healing sciences fascinate them and they are endowed with poetic, literary skills, love of family, happiness from children, good spouse, several travels, special resources, gift of gab, good heart, deep insights, and righteous, generous and joyous nature. The fourth phase of this Nakshatra falls under the purview of Mars ruled Scorpio sub-division. The Martian energy provides the native a mysterious power to go to extremes of concealed knowledge and fetch the pearls of untapped wisdom, especially pertaining to healing.
Jyotisha is one of the oldest subjects of study in the history of humanity. It deals with both the singularity and duality. Art provides meaning to science. Science provides survival to art. By answering ‘how’, science empowers humanity as by answering ‘why’, spirituality makes man wise. Jyotisha Shastra has elements of both art and science. It would be non-scientific to reject the sophisticated and rational study of association between some of the biggest moving objects in the universe with all that surrounds them and vice-versa. From author’s extensive experience in various branches of ancient predictive systems including Nakshatra Jyotisa, when all rules are applied properly and the raw data is accurate the direction shown by Jyotisha Shastra can be bewildering. Critics must take time to first study the subject under supervision and experiment with it before deriving conclusions.