Jyotish, India’s Ancient Science of the Stars
Vedic astrology is also called Jyotish, or the Science of Light. Just as astronomy studies the stars and planets through analyzing their light to discover their position and nature, Vedic astrology tries to understand the relationships between cosmic light and the unfolding of cause and effect both in Nature and ourselves. My new VEDIC ASTROLOGY DECK organizes some of the basic knowledge of Vedic astrology to make it useful and approachable to anyone. By using this deck, you can develop the intuition and basic ability to identify some of the core components that make up the Vedic astrological system, as well as begin to read your own horoscope and those of others.
Vedic astrology is similar to and yet different from Western astrology. Two of the biggest differences are that Vedic astrology does not use the three outer planets—Uranus, Neptune and Pluto—and the Vedic chart is calculated using the actual star positions at birth. This difference between the Vedic and Western chart may change some or all the signs of your Western chart, moving them 23 degrees or so backwards. This may change your Sun sign and the signs of some or all of the planets in your chart. You can refer to this chart to see your actual sun sign.
Now let’s talk about KARMA. The word karma is a much-misunderstood word. According to the Vedas, there are three kinds of karma that we carry with us at any time. The first is bearing fruit now, that is called Prarabda or already ripe fruit. Who your parents are, your country of birth, brothers and sisters, your marriage partner and children, your body-type, gender, genetics, blood type. None of these can be changed significantly. These are already decided at birth. To fight against them is almost impossible because they are already the ripe fruit of your past action. There are other karmas coming toward you at the present moment that are unstoppable. That is your destiny. Nothing you do can prevent their arrival. Only an act of God could stop them. I call these the pizzas you have ordered and their delivery is the Cosmic Domino effect.
God is the creator of the system so at any point Divine Intervention is the wild card in the deck. Failing that, they will arrive. Many times those karmas are visible in the horoscope and can be seen in advance by an astrologer. Some karma that is in the fruit stage can be modified through knowledge and new action but usually only within certain narrow boundaries.
The second kind of karma is in the seedling stage. It is called Sanchitta. Those karmic seeds are stored or contained in our mind as the tendencies accumulated from past experiences. Unaltered they will grow into actions and resultant reactions. For this reason, yoga and many processes of self-improvement focus upon changing the mind. Imagine the mind is a mirror covered with dust. The color and nature of the dust depends on where you have been. That covering of dust is your karmic seeds planted from past actions. That dust colors your view of reality. It tints all your perceptions. Eventually those tints will lead you to certain conclusions and actions, which will finally give certain results (karma).
If you could remove that dust from your mind, your mind would become clear and the tendencies to certain kinds of karma would be removed. In other words you can burn karma off your mind or soul through certain processes of purification. You can actually remove and exhaust the supply of past karma. In that case, the suitcases of karma would eventually be empty. That liberated state where no karma remains is one of the goals of yogic practice.
That leads us to the third type of karma, which is called Kriyamana or action without generating reaction. Have you noticed that a war hero is given a medal for killing hundreds of people whereas someone who does the same thing for selfish reasons is put in jail? The action is the same, killing. The result is very different. Souls acting for their own selfish purposes are subject to the reactions of their deeds, good or bad. However, if a soul becomes sufficiently evolved to act completely in the service of God, they would no longer generate or be controlled by karma. In other words, at a certain level of growth, we escape cause and effect and enter directly into Divine service. At that time, no more karma is created by our actions.
There is a story that a yogi once sat on a rock for ten years praying to God to appear before him. Finally God appeared in the form of Vishnu. God spoke to the yogi and offered him any boon he would like. The yogi replied that he would like justice. Vishnu answered that he had many better things to offer that would be much more enjoyable. The yogi was adamant that he wanted only justice. Finally, in frustration Vishnu said: “All right, may the rock now sit on you for ten years.”
This raises the next question: “Who or what in Nature is giving us the reactions of our karma from day to day and life to life?” Every answer to such an ultimate question comes to us as a description of something we cannot completely see. We are surrounded by a mysterious universe, which feeds and cares for us in ways that cannot be understood by scientific explanations of the outward processes. The ultimate questions of life are about its purpose not merely its process. Again, Vedic astrology is a bridge between the realms of visible and invisible reality.
GOD the CEO
You might say light is the external manifestation of an unseen internal reality. Just as our eyes only see the visible spectrum of light, so we as residents within matter, see only the visible part of the universe. It is only a partial view. According to Vedas, at least three quarters of the true process of life is invisible. The question of cause and effect is actually the question of whether or not the Cosmos is pervaded by Divine Intelligence. If you were the president of a large and powerful corporation, would you personally sweep the floors, ship the products and type the letters or would you delegate that work to thousands of employees in your hire?
In the Vedic view the universe is just such a cooperative venture. In a way you could say God is the CEO who creates directives of Divine Intelligence by which creation, maintenance and destruction are made possible. That process is conducted by a group of angelic souls known in Sanskrit as Devas, (those who work in the light) who work directly for God in the execution of the Divine processes which sustain life. Life is an arrangement of energetic potential that provides an opportunity for countless souls to experience their individuality in the context of the actions and reactions of matter. The planets and stars represent the distributed authority of God. Thus, it is that the planets and stars, who are also Devas, give us our karma acting on behalf of God.
The Law of Karma ensures that we get more of what we invest in, so why not invest in Ecstasy, Bliss, Fun, and Joy! Jeffrey Armstrong
Founder of VASA Vedic Academy of Sciences & Arts: Author |Speaker |Poet| Relationship Consultant| Vedic Scholar| Jyotish Visharada |Jyotish Kovid CVA |AyurVedic Astrologer with 45 years experience consulting with people from all walks of life. He is a professional speaker, award winning author and frequent guest on TV and talk radio. For 15 years, he was a corporate executive in Silicon Valley, and speaker for Fortune 500 companies. He has degrees in Psychology,History & Comparative Religions, and Literature.
Some of the books by Jeffrey Armstrong
- Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar— Ancient Wisdom for a Modern World. Karma —The Ancient Science of Cause & Effect.
- God/Goddess the Astrologer—Soul, Karma and Reincarnation,
- How We Continually Create Our Own Destiny.
- The Vedic Astrology Learning Deck.