Last night glimpse of the crescent of the Moon reminded me of the formidable Sun eclipse to happen tomorrow.
Day will turn to night this week for millions of people, as the moon passes directly in front of the sun causing a total solar eclipse. For Hindus, it is heavy with meanings and predictions. They draw complex charts based on calculations derived from the Vedas.
How can the stars and planets influence events on Earth?
Obviously the Sun is the basis of all life. According to the Vedas, it also projects a force of intelligence and spirituality. The Moon is important to all creatures and governs the fertility cycles of animals. In the Hindu Vedic system it rules the emotional nature. It is well known that the large magnetic and gravitational fields of the planets affect the Earth physically. That they would have subtler influences as well is not illogical.
Jyotisha is a system of understanding how our lives and our karmas relate to the movements of the cosmos, which is cognized as a single greater organism. New discoveries in quantum physics demonstrate the interrelatedness of the universe, showing subtle levels of immediate interaction even at great distances of time and space. Jyotisha is an integral aspect of the traditional Vedic sciences, along with ayurveda, vastu and yoga, all of which are usually used together.
The caste system in Hinduism prevailing since Vedic times ensured that there was no arguing against what the priestly class had prophesied using the charade of astrology. It is worthwhile to mention here that the uppermost class (the Brahmin) was the sole keeper and propagator of education; none of the others was privy to the same knowledge. The others were left with no option but to accept and believe with reverence all the trash that the priestly class heaped on them in the name of destiny. In other words, the power of the priestly class among the Brahmins (although not all Brahmins took up the priestly duties, only the privileged and more cunning did) was awesome.
Although belief in astrology seems to prevail universally, cutting across all social and religious strata, a major difference between the astrological practices of other religions and Hinduism is that astrology gained religious sanctification in Hinduism whereas it has been either a parallel stream or a totally unconnected belief in other religions.
Hindus believe that everyone is born with a predetermined fate that is a permanent feature of one’s life, and that the position of heavenly bodies at the time of one’s birth can tell us about the course one’s life will take at a given point in time. Since the time of one’s birth could not be chosen, Hindus believe that a person having a particular destiny will be born at a time when the heavenly bodies lie in a position complimentary to that sort of fate. Casting of horoscope, matchmaking, and performance of the expiatory rites are the three major thrust areas of astrology for a Hindu believer.
The second most important astrological application in one’s life comes at the time of seeking a life partner. Who wouldn’t like to have a married life full of happiness and conjugal bliss? And the astrologer is always there to ensure it.
One example is the malefic positioning of the planet Mars in either of the horoscopes. This Mars effect is dealt with differently in different parts of India. While the north Indian astrologer is very strict with its interpretation, his south Indian counterpart is rather liberal. But both systems agree on one thing: that the ill effect could be done away with, that there certainly are ways to deal with it.