What is Vedic Astrology?

A single tree in a field with beautiful space background

Vedic astrology is known by many names. Some call it Jyotishya, Jyotisha, Hindu astrology, or Indian astrology. In essence, Vedic astrology involves examining the layout of the stars, planets, and other cosmic entities to interpret their influence on our lives. In that sense, Vedic Astrology is similar to Western Astrology and Asian Astrology. Where Vedic Astrology differs is how it interprets those signals.

The Roots of Vedic Astrology

The word Jyotishya comes from a Sanskrit word describing the light of a heavenly body. One of the earliest documents in the Vedas, the sacred texts of Hinduism, is the Vedanga Jyotisha, about astronomy. The traditions are thought to date back to 700 BCE. The documents explored the roles of the solstice and equinox, the power of an eclipse, and other key astronomical events.

When the Hindu culture came in contact with the Greek culture, the two groups shared ideas with each other and learned from each other’s research. For example, they both compared notes on what planets were in the sky. The Hindus drew in the idea that there were twelve key signs represented by specific constellations. That is why the signs represented in Vedic astrology match those presented in Western astrology. That being said, the way Vedic astrology interprets data in a different way. Due to shifts over the intervening two thousand years since both systems were designed, that means the way Vedic astrology and Western astrology create charts comes up with different results. They are not interchangeable.

What was Vedic Astrology Used For

In the initial centuries of Vedic astrology, the practice, along with astronomy and other techniques, was used for community-based planning. Dates for important events, rituals, and sacrifices would be determined to be on an auspicious day. Over time, astrologers were asked more and more by their community members to choose an auspicious day for weddings and funerals. It came to be accepted that each person’s life could benefit by understanding the ebb and flow of Vedic astrology around their daily activities.

In modern times, many practitioners of Vedic astrology use the knowledge to plan special events, map out their projects for a week, and balance their energies. Vedic astrology is one aspect of a healthy life, along with yoga, meditation, and other practices.

What are the Twelve Vedic Astrology Signs

Because of the initial cross-pollination with the Greek astronomers over two thousand years ago, the names of the twelve constellations closely align in both cases. These are:

English NameSanskrit NameImage
AriesMesa / MeshaRam
TaurusVrsabha / VrishabaBull
CancerKarka / KarkataCrab
ScorpioVrscika / VrishchikaScorpion
SagittariusDhanusa / DhanusArcher
AquariusKumbhaWater bearer
PiscesMina / MeenaTwo fish

You’ll note that there are a few differences here between Vedic astrology and Western astrology. In Western astrology, the symbol for Sagittarius is more specifically a hybrid centaur (half human, half horse) with a bow and arrow. Also, the symbol for Capricorn is traditionally a hybrid water creature (half goat, half fish). So in Vedic astrology, both of the mythological hybrid animals were replaced with more realistic representations.

Like Western astrology, Vedic astrology categorizes their twelve signs into four elemental categories – fire, earth, water, and air. 

How are Vedic Astrology and Western Astrology Different?

On first glance it might appear that Vedic Astrology and Western Astrology are fairly similar. After all, they use the same constellations in the sky. However, that is only the starting point for working with astrology.

A key difference is how Vedic astrology and Western astrology look at objects in the sky. Western astrology uses what is known as a “tropical calendar”. In comparison, Vedic astrology uses sidereal calculations. This distinction can be fairly technical, but to summarize in a simple way, the tropical calendar uses an Earth-centric view of where planets fall within constellations. The sidereal calculations instead look at the solar system from a more comprehensive point of view and determine where the planets “actually are” in the sense of how the planets, solar objects, and stars are placed. Many people feel the Vedic astrology system, while more complicated to determine, is therefore more accurate. Especially as all objects have moved significantly over the past 2,000 years, this means that the Vedic system continues to remain accurate while the Western Astrology system is sliding out of phase.

Also, the entire approach of Vedic astrology is different from that of Western astrology. Again to greatly oversimplify, Western astrology tends to be about external factors afflicting the person in question. You will have luck. You will have financial opportunities. You will face challenges in love. In comparison, Vedic astrology, like yoga, meditation, and other practices, tends to be a more inward, core-based approach which is in tune with the person’s innate karma and dharma. It is much more about exploring your own inner strengths and challenges. It’s about guiding yourself to strengthen the areas you’re weak in and making best use of your strengths.

For all of these reasons, it is very worthwhile to study your Vedic astrology sign and to learn more about your personal chart. See what the world of Vedic astrology has to offer you!

About Author

Rajul Kaushik

As a result of my journey that spans continents and results in resilience and self-belief, I have navigated my way from self-doubt and social rejection to a senior executive role internationally.

It has been an unconventional path, guided by life’s lessons and invaluable mentors, that has led to key roles at Asian Paints and Ballarpur Industries Limited, and expanded my horizons in international business.

My greatest source of pride? My accomplished children, who embody the values I cherish. My approach is holistic, drawing on a range of methodologies such as Ikigai, Yoga, Mindfulness, Sanskrit Mantra Chanting and Vedic Astrology.

It extends beyond mere problem-solving, emphasizing introspection and forging an authentic path.

Success, I believe, is rooted in attitude, decisions, and meaningful relationships.

I am open to connecting with those seeking personal enrichment, especially within the global Indian diaspora.

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