Astrological Predictions - Western Vs Vedic System
As mentioned in another article, Astrological calculations for planetary longitudes differ in both
Western and Vedic astrology. The Western system uses the moving Zodiac also known as the coordinate system or Sayana. The Vedic system on the other hand uses fixed or the Nirayana system. Although these two systems might not seem very different, the information used in both creates a gulf of difference between the Western and Vedic styles of predictions.The Western system lacks the intricacies held by the Vedic system and the interpretations of the planetary interactions are minimal. The Vedic Systems however, is only limited by an indiviudla;s knowledge and interest in the subject.
In the Western system all the planets including those discovered in the 19th century – such as Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are generally used. In a mixed system, some Indian astrologers use Sayana and some extra Saturn planets with the names of Indra, Varuna and Yama. The Vedic system mainly uses the two noted luminaries, five other planets, and two “Chaya” (shadow) planets known as Rahu and Ketu. The importance of these shadow planets can be represented with the physics terms of umbra and penumbra points when two luminaries interact. The importance of these is proven evident by the fact that an eclipse occurs whenever luminaries and these fall in a straight line.
To interpret horoscopes, the Western system only uses the angular distances between the intended planets. The angles 120 and 60 are noted to be good while the angles of 90 and 45 are thought of negatively. The others like 180, 72, 30, 0 etc are also considered. The timing used is also very static – only progressions are taken as 1 degree = I year of life, 1 day = I year of life and so on. Example, when a planet is in 14 degrees of a house and another at 24 of the same house, at the age of 10 both are conjunct. Thus by these progressions the timing is calculated and the type of angular distance determines the event. The houses are of equal duration, which does not take the latitude effect of place. The Gochara or effect of current planetary positions, is accounted for by the angles they form with the birth planets. Thus one can see that the methods of interpretations held by the Western system is nothing but simple arithmetic and can be characterized as static.
In contrast, the Vedic system introduces a unique frame of reference called Lagna or known as the ascendant, which can be identified as the point on the Eastern horizon at the time of birth. Thus, the spatial coordinates of the place of birth are taken in each individual. Lagna is seen as the starting point and is followed by Bhavas which account for the different aspects of our life. The planetary relations are also classified as benefic/ evil, naturally friendly/ foe and dynamically friendly/ foe. The Bhavas are also classified as good and bad. Similar to how synthesis and analysis are basic tools in any scientific study, they are equally important in Vedic Astrology. Each one of the Bhavas (houses) are not present for an equal duration of time but astronomical effects are accounted for by the Sripathi method of Bhava Sphutam. The strength of Planets is also calculated by many methods including Graha Balas, which take into account their absolute positions relative positions. Because of this,Planets have many complex properties like naturally good/bad, positionally good / bad and different strengths that can be categorized as good or bad. Rules in Vedic Astrology can be described as dynamic, in the sense that they can be overridden by others. Whenever a gross examination does not answer a complex question in a scientific field, one goes to microscopic examination. The same principle can be applied in Astrology. Amsa charts often have houses that are divided into microscopic units which allows in depth analysis.
Thus, one can devise charts where a house is divided to 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/7,1/8 1/9,1/10, 1/11, 1/12, 1/16, 1/20, 1/27, 1/30 an 1/60 – each representing a different aspect of life. The timing is also followed by what is called a Dasa system. Many different Dasa systems like Vimsottari and Ashtottari exist and the Astrologer often has to discern and apply the correct one accordingly. The Gochara is also very finely tuned by different methods like present-day movements of planets vis a vis birth position of moon. There also exists a far more complex system which employs the use of a 12 by 8 matrix. This method is called Ashtakavarga and uses the position of 7 planets and lagna in 12 houses at birth which interact with the present day planetary positions of a 12 by 8 matrix. The mathematical tools used in the evaluation of these is mind boggling. If we note that the evaluation rules of Matrix are hardly 3 centuries old – the evaluation rules of ashtakavarga are comparatively over a thousand years old. The Gochara is not limited to these and has other methods like Nilakhanthas, solar return horoscope, or Tajaka system to give accurate yearly results. All of these methods fall under the Parasara system. Once again there is another system known as the Jaimini system which hosts a multitude of complex rules. Thus Vedic Astrology is an ocean of nectar and any one of us can enjoy only a drop of the same as per our luck and karma. It is a holistic approach to satisfy the achievement of all Purusharthas - of dharma, ardha, kama and Moksha. Finally, if one is predicting based on divine intuition, it is unimportant if one is following the eastern or western method and even what race one is born as. . Astrology is a divine science and only needs divine blessing. All calculations and interpretations are simply road signs to follow- a means but not the ends.
From caveman to modern man, the cycle or calendar in the year has a great effect on our daily life. The differences caused by astronomical complexities are often adjusted in different methods depending on the calendar being used. In the popularly used Gregorian or English calendar, this is adjusted by the leap year. Irrespective of religious beliefs or civilizations, the calendar reforms were and still are necessary, as many social, religious, and festival activities (including agricultural activities) are dependent on seasons. Again, it is due to the ingenuity of Hindu Sages that gave a permanent, everlasting, and self rectifying calendar. The sages used a set of complex functions called the “Panchangas” to adjust the calendar. These are extensively used for seasonal, religious, festival, and astrological purposes. Panchangas are the derived functions of the movement and properties of celestial bodies and will be discussed at length in another article. The Panchangas revolve around the positions of the Sun and Moon and therefore are subdivided into two categories: Solar based and Lunar passed Panchangas.
Irrespective of the method used for calculation, the Zodiac is divided into 12 Rasis or Signs - each occupying 30 degrees. The Zodiac is also divided into 27 stars each covering 13.333 degrees
The Nirayana or Sayana system is used for determining the position of Planets as explained above.
Normally, the Western system of prediction is based on Sun Signs. The sun sign of an individual is determined by the Date of Birth. Each Sun Sign corresponds with a month/day
Table 1 below can be used to determine one's Sun Sign. The names in brackets indicate the equivalent Indian Name.
Table 1. Birth dates and sayana sun position.
(Mesham) or Aries: 21-3 to 20-4
(Vrushabham) or Taurus: 21-4 to 20-5
(Mithunam) or Gemini: 21-5 to 20-6
(Karkatakam) or Cancer: 21-6 to 20-7
(Simham) or Leo: 21-7 to 20-8
(Kanya) or Virgo: 21-8 to 20-9
(Tula) or Libra: 21-9 to 20-10
(Vruschikam) or Scorpio: 21-10 to 20-11
(Dhanus) or Sagittarius: 21-11 to 20-12
(Makaram) or Capricorn: 21-12 to 20-1
(Kumbham) or Aquarius: 21-1 to 20-2
(Meenam) or Pisces: 21-2 to 20-3
Most papers, magazines, and web sites give general daily, weekly, and monthly predictions based on the Sun Signs and the above chart is used. This table can be used irrespective of the year in which the individual is born.
Some Indian systems use predictions based on Sun Sign in Nirayana position. Table 2 below could be used to determine the sun sign. However, this is rarely used and the Indian System usually employs the Moon Signs for predictions.
Table 2. Birth dates and Nirayana Sun position.
(Mesham) or Aries: 15-4 to 15-5
(Vrushabham) or Taurus: 16-5 to 15-6
(Mithunam) or Gemini: 16-6 to 15-7
(Karkatakam) or Cancer: 16-7 to 15-8
(Simham) or Leo: 16-8 to 15-9
(Kanya) or Virgo: 16-9 to 15-10
(Tula) or Libra: 16-10 to 15-11
(Vruschikam) or Scorpio: 16-11 to 15-12
(Dhanus) or Sagittarius: 16-12 to 14-1
(Makaram) or Capricorn: 15-1 to 14-2
(Kumbham) or Aquarius: 15-2 to 14-3
(Meenam) or Pisces: 15-3 to 14-4
Determining the moon signs or signs in which the moon’s longitude lies, is complicated. It cannot be found directly from the date of birth. To determine an individual's Moon sign various resources are needed such as a Panchanga or astronomical tables.
The data required for determining the Moon sign follow:
For ex. if the birth is at early morning 01:30 hrs of 08 May and place is Singapore- the birthdate is given as night of May 07 / May 08, time 01 hour 30 minutes, place -Singapore.
The moon sign can be calculated based on these criteria.
To reduce the scope for errors, computers are used to calculate the Moon sign. However, figuring this out needs extensive knowledge about astronomy and cannot be accomplished by a layman.
VII.COMPARISON OF VARIOUS SYSTEMS
In contrast to the generic predictions detailed by the above charts, Vedic astrology uses many complex tools to elicit accurate predictions for specific inquiries. For example, another very important astronomical guideline called "LAGNA" is also calculated. This is specific to the Indian Astrological system and is also called "Ascendant''. Astronomically, Lagna is defined as the longitude of the Eastern horizon at the time and place of an individual’s birth. The Lagna is the focal point of all predictions in Vedic Astrology. Lagna is also determined by complex calculations that require a comprehensive understanding of Vedic Astrology. To calculate the Lagna many critical points are used to achieve particular results such as the shadow planets of Rahu and Ketu. Many varied, complex, and advanced mathematical tools are used in Vedic astrology to give accurate answers as predictions for specific questions.
VIII. SUMMARY - MOON SIGNS VERSUS SUN SIGNS
The Sayana system of generic predictions is based on Sun signs. The Sun sign is closely related with the date of birth of an individual. In contrast, the calculation of moon signs are far more intricate and cannot be determined with the overt dates provided in the Gregorian calendar.
The Vedic Indian Astrological system uses many more complex calculations. The Lagna, Birth Star, and several other parameters relating to each individual is determined by processing the horoscope for the distinct date and place of birth. The system is highly complex and has several tools and subsystems (like Vimsottari, gochara etc.) For instance, the branch of Vedic Indian Astrology dealing with only Muhurtams or determining auspicious time for performing important activity, is followed chiefly. Likewise, marriage compatibility is a separate branch in Indian Astrology and many parameters dealing with compatibility of the prospective groom and bride are analyzed. All these subsystems in Indian Astrology are based on complex calculations from birth particulars.
Predictions based on Vedic astrology are more accurate and specific than those based on the Sun sign or Moon sign, which are far more generic. For example,using the Nirayana Sun Signs, all persons born between 15/2 to 14/3 fall under the Sun sign of Aquarius. Hence, each individual would have a certain set of traits or characteristics. However, while using Moon signs two people born on the same day but slightly different times could have varying birth stars. Predictions based on Vedic astrology are accurate. The initial step is to identify the Lagna, which changes every 2 hours and is also unique based on the location of birth. This gives very different traits/personalities and unlike Sun signs makes it possible to categorize the traits of every individual in depth.
The personality traits for a person born between 21/3 and 20/4 using SUN SIGNS predictions is given below for one sign as a typical example.
A typical example for Sun Sign- ARIES
Physical Appearance: You can mostly be characterized as having a strong, muscular physique with largish bones. Your features are usually regular and your teeth tend to be even and symmetrical. Of medium height and stocky, you tend to develop a paunch easily.
Personality: You possess strong pioneering instincts and are generally enterprising and industrious. In crunch situations, you are forceful and courageous and refuse to give up until you have achieved your targets or at the least put in your best effort. Like a true sports person, you like to play for the challenge and enjoyment and, winning or losing is not so important. What matters more to you is giving a good account of yourself.
Curiously, you often prefer to prove yourself to yourself instead of to others. In your speech and approach, you are direct and forthright and abhor dissembling in any form. However, calling a spade a spade doesn't always make you popular and even though you're fully aware of this, you couldn't careless. You don't like it when there is high pressure on you, as you value an easy-going lifestyle. You're generally easy to get along with but you can be very self-assertive when the situation demands.
More Information on names of stars is provided in appendices.
APPENDIX 1- 12 signs with Indian and western astronomical names.
1.Mesham or Aries 2.Vrushabham or Taurus
3.Mithunam or Gemini 4.Karkatakam or Cancer
5.Simham or Leo 6.Kanya or Virgo
7.Tula or Libra 8.Vruschikam or Scorpio
9.Dhanus or Sagitarius 10.Makaram or Capricorn
11.Kumbham or Aquaris 12.Meenam or Pisces
APPENDIX 2 -Names of Stars
Sl No Sanskrit Name Astronomical Name
APPENDIX 3 -Average Time Taken for Movement of Planets through One Rasi
Planet Average Time in one Rasi
Sun One Month
Moon 2.25 Days
Mars 45 Days
Budha (Mercury) 30 Days
Sukra (Venus) 30 Days
Guru (Jupiter) 12 Months
Sani (Saturn) 30 Months
Rahu (Dragons Head) 18 Months
Ketu(Dragons Tail) 18 Months
APPENDIX 4 - ASTRONOMICAL DATA ABOUT PLANETS
One tropical (civil) year equals 365.242 mean solar days
One sideral year is equal to 365.265 solar days
Sun - Sideral period of rotation 25.38 days
Sun - Period of rotation w.r.t earth 27.28 days Latitude 16 degrees
Moon - Mean synodical or lunar month 29.531 mean solar days
Moon - Sideral period of moon about earth 27.32 mean solar days
Distance from Sun 1.496 x 10^11 m
Mercury - Siderial period (SP) 87.97 days
Mercury - Rotational period (RP) 58.7 days
Distance from Sun 5.791 x 10 ^ 10 m
Venus - SP 224.7 d
Venus - RP 243 days
Distance from Sun 1.082 x 10 ^ 11 m
Earth - SP 365.3 d
Earth - RP 23.93 hrs
Distance from Sun 1.496 x 10 ^ 11 m
Mars - SP 687 d
RP 24.6 hrs. (Satelites 2)
Distance from Sun 2.279 x 10 ^ 11 m
Jupiter - SP 11.86 years
RP 9.9 hrs. (12 satelites)
Distance from Sun 7.78 x 10 ^ 11 m
Saturn - SP 29.46 Years
RP 10.2 hrs. (Satelites 10)
Distance from Sun 1.427 x 10 ^ 12 m
Uranus - SP 84.02 years
RP 10.7 hrs. (Satelites 5)
Distance from Sun 2.869 x 10 ^ 12 m
Neptune - SP 164.8 years
RP 15.8 hrs. (2 satelites)
Distance from Sun 4.498 x 10 ^ 12 m
Pluto - SP 248 years
RP 6.3 days
Distance from Sun 5.900 x 10 ^ 12
The Nirayana calculations are based on a zero Ayanamsa year – when the Ayanamsa is taken to be zero. For Lahiri ayanamsa this can be identified as 285 A.D. The annual precision rate is 50.3 seconds of angel. This means that the fixed Nirayana longitudes and moving Sayana longitudes, which coincided at around 285 A.D, will coincide once more in 26000 years. This Zero Ayanamsa year, which as for Lahiri's ayanamsa is 285 A.D, has the longitude of Chitha Nakshatra or Spica equal to 180 degrees. In the year of Zero Ayanamsa, the equinox occurred on Sunday the March 2nd at 21hrs 27mts in the IST zone. This also happened to be a new Moon day making the longitude of the sun 360 degree in both the Nirayana and Sayana systems.