Hindu astrology |
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Astrology remains an important facet in the lives of many Hindus. In Hindu culture, newborns are traditionally named based on their jyotiṣa charts, and astrological concepts are pervasive in the organization of the calendar and holidays as well as in many areas of life, such as in making decisions made about marriage, opening a new business, and moving into a new home. Astrology retains a position among the sciences in modern India. Following a judgement of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2001, some Indian universities offer advanced degrees in astrology.
The term Hindu astrology had been in use as the English equivalent of Jyotiṣa since the early 19th century. Vedic astrology is a relatively recent term, entering common usage in the 1980s with self-help publications on Āyurveda or Yoga. The qualifier "Vedic" is however something of a misnomer, as there is no mention of Jyotiṣa in the Vedas, and historical documentation suggests horoscopic astrology in the Indian subcontinent was a Hellenic influence post-dating the Vedic period.
 HistoryJyotiṣa is one of the Vedāṅga, the six auxiliary disciplines used to support Vedic rituals.:376 Early jyotiṣa is concerned with the preparation of a calendar to fix the date of sacrificial rituals.:377 Nothing is written on planets.:377 There are mentions of eclipse causing "demons" in the Atharvaveda and Chāndogya Upaniṣad, the Chāndogya mentioning Rāhu.:382 In fact the term graha, which is now taken to mean planet, originally meant demon.:381 The Ṛgveda also mentions an eclipse causing demon, Svarbhānu, however the specific term of "graha" becomes applied to Svarbhānu in the later Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa..:382
It is only after the Greek settlement in Bactria (third century BC) that explicit references to planets are attested in Sanskrit texts.:382 It was only after the transmission of Hellenistic astrology that the order of planets in India was fixed in that of the seven-day week.:383 Hellenstic astrology and astronomy also transmitted the twelve zodiacal signs beginning with Aries and the twelve astrological places beginning with the ascendant.:384 The first evidence of the introduction of Greek astrology to India is the Yavanajātaka which dates to the early centuries CE.:383 The Yavanajātaka ("Sayings of the Greeks") was translated from Greek to Sanskrit by Yavaneśvara during the 2nd century CE, under the patronage of the Western Satrap Saka king Rudradaman I, and is considered the first Indian astrological treatise in the Sanskrit language. However the only version that survives is the later verse version of Sphujidhvaja which dates to AD 270.:383 The first Indian astronomical text to define the weekday was the Āryabhaṭīya of Āryabhaṭa (born AD 476).:383 According to Michio Yano, Indian astronomers must have been occupied with the task of Indianizing and Sanskritizing Greek astronomy during the 300 or so years between the first Yavanajataka and the Āryabhaṭīya.:388 The astronomical texts of these 300 years are lost.:388 The later Pañcasiddhāntikā of Varāhamihira summarizes the five known Indian astronomical schools of the sixth century.:388 It is interesting to note that Indian astronomy preserved some of the older pre-Ptolemaic elements of Greek astronomy.:389
The main texts upon which classical Indian astrology is based are early medieval compilations, notably the Bṛhat Parāśara Horāśāstra, and Sārāvalī by Kalyāṇavarma. The Horāshastra is a composite work of 71 chapters, of which the first part (chapters 1–51) dates to the 7th to early 8th centuries and the second part (chapters 52–71) to the later 8th century. The Sārāvalī likewise dates to around 800 CE. English translations of these texts were published by N.N. Krishna Rau and V.B. Choudhari in 1963 and 1961, respectively.
 VargasThere are sixteen varga (Sanskrit: varga, 'part, division'), or divisional, charts used in Hindu astrology::61–64
 Chart stylesThere are three chart styles used in Jyotiṣa, which are depicted below:
 Grahas – the planetsGrah (Devanāgarī: ग्रह, Sanskrit: graha, 'seizing, laying hold of, holding'.)
Nine grahas, or navagrahas, are used::38–51
 Rāśi – the zodiac signsThe Nirayana - sidereal or fixed zodiac is an imaginary belt of 360 degrees (like the Sāyana - tropical zodiac), divided into 12 equal parts. Each twelfth part (of 30 degrees) is called a sign or rāśi (Sanskrit: 'part'). Vedic (Jyotiṣa) and Western zodiacs differ in the method of measurement. While synchronically, the two systems are identical, Jyotiṣa uses primarily the sidereal zodiac (in which stars are considered to be the fixed background against which the motion of the planets is measured), whereas most Western astrology uses the tropical zodiac (the motion of the planets is measured against the position of the Sun on the Spring equinox). This difference becomes noticeable over time. After two millennia, as a result of the precession of the equinoxes, the origin of the ecliptic longitude has shifted by about 22 degrees. As a result the placement of planets in the Jyotiṣa system is consistent with the actual zodiac, while in western astrology the planets fall into the following sign, as compared to their placement in the sidereal zodiac, about two thirds of the time.
Template:Rāśi table The zodiac signs in Hindu astrology correspond to parts of the body:
 Bhāvas – the housesBhāva (Sanskrit: 'division'.) In Hindu astrology, the Jātaka - Birth Chart is the Bhāva Cakra (Sanskrit: 'wheel'.) The Bhāva Cakra is the complete 360° circle of life, divided into houses, and represents our way of enacting the influences in the wheel. Each house has associated kāraka (Sanskrit: 'significator') planets that can alter the interpretation of a particular house.:93–167
 NakṣatrasA Nakṣatra or lunar mansion is one of the 27 divisions of the sky, identified by the prominent star(s) in them, used in Hindu astrology.:168
Historical (medieval) Hindu astrology enumerated either 27 or 28 nakṣatras. Today, popular usage[clarification needed] favours a rigid system of 27 nakṣatras covering 13°20’ of the ecliptic each. The missing 28th nakshatra is Abhijeeta. Each nakṣatra is divided into quarters or padas of 3°20’:
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