Inner cosmos, outer cosmos: Vedic astrology and our relationship with Nature through the planets
by Swami Sitaramananda
What is our relationship between our lives and the distant planets? When we look up at the sky and see the vast sky with stars and moon at night, we wonder about the mystery of these bodies of light and their influence on us. We know the influence of the Sun on our health and mood. We admire the Sun when it is visible, at sunrise and sunset, when the Sun seems to be closer to the Earth. We wonder about the eclipses, Moon (lunar) eclipse and Sun (solar) eclipse.
Vedic Science of Knowledge
Vedic Astrology is a Vedic science of knowledge of the relationship between the cosmic bodies and our life. We wrongly think that nature is just something pertaining to the earth, but nature is prakriti, the sum total of all the forces seen and unseen. The planets as much as the wind, storm, hurricane, or earthquake are phenomenon of nature and learning to understand them and connect with their energy will help a great deal to bring us to Self knowledge and Self realization.
Famous vedic scholar and author, Acharya David Frawley said in his book Astrology of the Seers, a Guide to Vedic Hindu Astrology, [Lotus Press, 2000]
“The planets are alive for us on an astral level even though they are dead for us on a material level. Our culture is proud of the technology that has allowed us to land a man on the moon, yet we fail to understand that we go to the moon regularly, though on an astral rather than physical level. The souls of human beings have been traveling to different worlds and solar systems on an astral level since the beginning of time and largely unconsciously every night… we absorb and emit the light of the stars daily, they are the creative lights of our being through which we move back and forth naturally and spontaneously in the souls dances between the finite and infinite. The planets merely cast energy. We make that energy positive or negative by our use of it. Therefore, vedic astrology is a spiritual science in which we learn to harmonize and integrate the planets so that we will be able to liberate the energy within us. Our astral body, the light of which we can see in the aura is formed of stellar and planetary influences. Our birth chart is something like a photograph of our astral body. Our physical body is a grosser replica of an outer form of it astral counterpart. So astrology is naturally the astral science, the science of the astral body. This astral body is the mind, including memory, imagination, intellect and reason. Astrology allows us to read the wider scope of the mind both instinctual and intuitive including past life influences.”
Acharya David Frawley has written many books on Yoga, Ayurveda, Vedic Astrology, and more.
The ancient seers from the Vedic tradition learned astrology by watching the movement of the planets and stars.
Vedanta tells us the outer world is a projection of our mind
From the teachings of Jnana Yoga, or Vedanta, we learn that actually, there is no real outer world at all. The outer world is just a combination of the sensory perceptions of our own mind. The planets and the stars are not distant objects so far away that besides our awe towards them, we seem to ignore them because we do not know astronomy and these cosmic bodies are momentously huge, beyond the grasp of our intellect. That is why the world of Nature for us is reduced to the Earth, the trees, and occasionally the cosmic phenomenon like a hurricane or earthquake.
If you would like to learn more about Jnana Yoga you can ready this article on How to Practice Silence and Introspection.
Eventually we learn that our health and well being depend on how we take care of our astral body and mind. From that understanding, it is possible to grasp the idea that our mind is a projection of a cosmic mind and these cosmic bodies have everything to do with us. Vedic astrology is far from being just a science of prediction to justify our worldly existence and our personality.
Dr. Frawley declares that –
“The ultimate goal of astrology is to be free from desire and to discover our true Self in all beings, not the acceptance of stars and planets as influences that we must blindly follow. Astrology shows us the manner in which these influence dwell within us so that through the awareness we may gain mastery over the entire universe.”
Vedic Astrology, also called Jyotish, is the Science of Light
Vedic astrology, like the science of yoga, arose from the vision of the ancient seers of India. It is considered to be the Science of Light (Jyotish) of the Vedas. It helps us to navigate through the doors of heaven. It is our Mapquest in life. Astrology shows us our karma, and helps us not to be bound to our karma. The Vedic approach of spiritual astrology helps us to reflect our higher Self that is divine, universal, reflected in the entire cosmos.
To learn more about tools to help us find our higher self you can read our Ultimate Guide to Positive Thinking.
“The ancient seers used the movement of the sun to understand the movement of the life force in the body. This becomes the basis for the practice of yoga. Yet by meditating on the life force they also came to understand the movement of the sun in the heavens. In this way, we can read the mysteries of the universe in our own body. Vedic culture was based upon an elaborate ritual attuned to the cycle of time, following the cycles of the day, month and year as revealed by the movement of the sun, moon, and planets. The usefulness of Vedic Astrology is becoming more and more known. Astronomically and historically the sidereal zodiac is probably the original one as it is the observable zodiac and has existed for many thousands of years.
Vedic Astrology or Jyotish is called the science of light. By studying the movement of the stars, the outer manifestation of light, we can understand our own inner path and how to awaken the inner light.
Difference between Western astrology and Vedic Astrology
The science of the tropical zodiac of western astrology is based upon the equinoxes, not upon the fixed stars. The orientation of the equinoxes to the stars changes over time according to the precession of the Earth on its axis. This phenomena, the change in the tilt of the earth, causes the point of the earth relative to the fixed stars to move backwards in the zodiac.
Over a period of around 25,000 years, the orientation of Earth relative to the fixed stars makes a full circuit of the zodiac. Vedic astrology uses the sidereal zodiac, the zodiac that corresponds to the actual constellations or the fixed stars. The two systems of astrology have different kinds of calculations therefore beware of controversy that naturally arises between the two systems.
Yet, the usefulness of Vedic Astrology is becoming more and more known. Astronomically and historically the sidereal zodiac is probably the original one as it is the observable zodiac and has existed for many thousands of years.
“Astrology can be used to examine all domains of life, reflecting the universe itself. From it, we can learn about our health, our wealth, career and relationships, our material, mental, and spiritual manifestation. It shows the entire structure of energies through which we must act in life. Astrology should be part of Yoga, the science of the spirit. It’s purpose is guide us beyond the net of these outer forces to their source, this source is what we really are, when our minds are free of the bias of the separate self. The planets show the energies that we need to master in order to calm our minds. All the lower indications of the planets are simply the higher powers struggling in a state of limitation. Understanding Astrology, our consciousness can soar through the planets and the stars to the central Sun of Truth in the inner heart of all. All worlds, planets, stars and galaxies and whatever else lies beyond them are a manifestation of the 7 rays of creation. These same rays of creation are the lights of our own soul. All nature is nothing but various combinations of the causal astral light on different levels. Our solar system is designed to manifest these creative energies in their dual power as the sun and the moon and in their 5 fold diversification as the 5 major planets of Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. Each planet represents a particular kind of yoga. The planets are different gifts of light to guide us back to our spiritual home. In this return root, the energies gradually come together. Different souls fall under different rays belonging to different planets. They are working for the development of the creative ray belonging to that planet. Different countries races and religions also fall under different planetary rays. We are all parts of the play of the Gods, which is a play of the planets. Inwardly we are the masters of this play, its guiding intelligence. All the intelligence inherent in the stars produce by eons of cosmic evolution is present within us as our own natural intuition and spontaneous insight. In our material world, like the Earth, where limitations and ignorance are greatest, we face the greatest challenge and yet the truth can reveal its most powerful force by the way of contrast and the greatest inner growth can occur”.
Group photo after a homa ceremony to start one of the annual Vedic Astrology Conferences.
Ganesha is the God of Astrology. We pray to him for Knowledge and Wisdom.
The 9 planets shrine during puja ceremony with offerings of Flowers, Fruits, Light, and Mantras.
Make use of the planets and stars in our minds as our guiding lights
Sun – Surya
To remember that we are governed in reality by an intelligence higher than ourselves, the light of Truth, or Atman, within us – is to honor the sun. Avoid self-doubt, self deprecation, lack of self confidence, feeling of being superior or inferior, attitude of authoritarianism, despotism, cruelty, and egoism.
Moon – Chandra
To remember that the moon is our mind, dependent and influence able, constantly changing, visible because of reflected light. The mind is just our subjective perception of reality and depends on the Sun, like our vision of ourselves and others depend on our true real oneness with each other.
Mars – Mangala
To remember that our action has reaction, to slow down and contemplate the motivation of our action, and align ourselves with the Cosmic Actor, i.e. we need to not act selfishly but selflessly. Thus, we understand that we are only instruments, that all forces within us that push us to action in this world has the ultimate mission and purpose of removing our illusions and veils to liberate us from egoism and unite us with our true purpose.
Mercury – Budha
To remember to use our intellect not for gaining and expressing ourselves in this world but for Self-enquiry about the meaning of life and for discriminating about what is Self and what is not Self. To communicate higher truth rather than all other selfish worldly communications.
Jupiter – Guru
To remember to be wise, tolerant, generous, righteous, learned, and respectful towards teachers, elders, wise people, scriptures, and traditions. Learn to trust, have faith, be optimistic, and teach others what you know that are elevating and inspiring for you. Stay away from doubt, materialism, cynicism, meanness, and stinginess.
Venus – Shukra
To remember that enjoyment of the pleasant and beautiful things in life must come with gratefulness, moderation, devotion, and remembrance of the Divine Mother. To be aware of binding and blind sensual indulgence and attachment that is hiding the source of true happiness.
Saturn – Shani
To remember that self-discipline and self-restriction are stepping stones to experience something greater and truer within us. Learn to bear difficulties and miseries in life as necessary lessons to learn detachment. To be patient, cautious, careful, not hasty, not frivolous, not superficial, and not wasteful in life. Learn to practice the 5 points of yoga in daily life.
North node of the moon, even though not a planet, it is considered in Vedic Astrology as equivalent to a planet because of its influence over our psyche. It represents our shadow issues, our desires, our fears and obsessions. We need to remember that we already have everything we could wish for, and learn contentment instead of giving in to our desires and the distorted vision of our needs and attachments.
The South node of the moon, also shadowy and pertained to our subconscious, Ketu works always paralleled to Rahu, its illusory counterpart. It represents our past karmas, our areas of rejection, the portion of ourselves we are in denial of, or the deep past life issues yet to be worked out. Ketu is a moksha karaka, indicator of spiritual release. Both Rahu and Ketu are spiritual in nature, working by contrast, showing us the irreconcilable aspects of our life, thus pushing us to seek transcendence.
Now we should understand our relationship between our lives and the distant planets. When we look up at the sky we should understand that these bodies of light are within us and are influencing us. To learn more check out our Vedic Astrology courses that are upcoming at the ashram. We also have courses in other Vedic sciences such as Ayurveda and Vastu. Here you can read about 6 Tips from Vastu.