Vedic Astrology and Self-knowledge
Vedic astrology or Jyotish is an integral part of all Vedic teachings as it is one of the most important aspects of Vedic knowledge. Yet we approach Vedic astrology in a way that may be different from what many groups do, which is to use Jyotish to simply tell a person’s fortune or predict events in their outer lives. We approach Vedic astrology as a way of Self-knowledge, Self-healing and Self-realization through Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedanta – providing insight on how to understand our karmas, work with them and transcend them. Vedic astrology is an important, if not essential tool of Vedic counseling ,as it helps us understand our karmas in life and how to best address and transcend them.
We have been critical of the superficial fortune telling that can go on under the name of astrology, East or West. That is not the authentic Vedic approach, and often creates fear or false expectations in the mind of clients. Vedic knowledge teaches that our inner being and higher Self transcends time and karma, but to reach it we must properly harmonize our manifestation in body and mind – learning how to understand our karmas, not just pursue personal happiness. Buying expensive gems or even performing expenses yajnas cannot take us beyond our karmas, but may only get us more trapped in the material world, unless we have a deeper introspection to know our true nature, and to use such remedial measures according to an inner knowing.
Predictive and Counseling Models of Vedic Astrology
Vedic astrology today is dominated by two main lines of interpretation; the first is predictive, while the second is counseling based. We embrace the second line primarily and have qualifications about the predictive model, though it has its value.
Some people, particularly in India, think that Vedic astrology can provide accurate dates for all events in life from birth to death, including marriage, children, education, assumption of new jobs, moving, and so on. They consult the astrologer for dates as if everything in their lives was predetermined and they only need follow their destiny blindly. While Vedic astrology can help us understand important trends in our lives, it does not embrace fatalism, nor make a correct timing of our outer events the most significant factor in how we live. As immortal souls we are not slaves of any outer destiny and can learn to adjust our karmic energies and engagements for a greater creativity and awareness.
We all come under certain karmic influences, both individual and collective that affect our lives, sometimes in dramatic manner, some of which may be unavoidable. Yet we also have an ability to adapt to these influences – and through a higher consciousness utilize them in a spiritually transformational direction. Human life is a creative and spiritual unfoldment; it is not simply a working out of mechanical forces, like a ball rolling down a hill that cannot chose which way to go. If we develop a higher awareness through meditation our well-being will not be determined by mere transient outer events.
The Vedic counseling approach to Vedic astrology helps us understand the planetary influences operating in our lives and the various times at which they will likely predominate. This is not to blindly accept them as fate but to learn how to adjust to their energies in an optimal manner, like adjusting to the seasons in our outer lives. Our bodies reflect our doshas of Vata, Pitta and Kapha as explained in Ayurvedic medicine. Our minds reflect the gunas of sattva, rajas and tamas as explained in Yoga philosophy. Our lives reflect our karmas as explained in Vedic astrology. Yet our true Self or Atman transcends body, mind and karma.
Scope of Vedic Astrological Counseling
Vedic astrology forms an important counseling model because it is the only Vedic discipline that has tools for examining all the main goals of life as Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha, as well as the underlying Arogya or physical and mental health necessary to pursue them. That is why astrology is said to be the eye of the Vedas and the guide for all Vedic practices.
- Ayurveda focuses on Arogya; it deals with it in a more immediate and effective manner than Vedic astrology, but Vedic astrology may better reveal long term health trends or disease potentials than an Ayurvedic examination.
- Yoga and Vedanta orient us to Moksha or the liberation of consciousness in a direct manner, but Vedic astrology also helps us understand our readiness or timing for its pursuit, which may not be suitable for everyone.
- Vedic management deals more appropriately with Artha as the goals and wealth that we wish to achieve, but Vedic astrology shows important trends and timing issues here also.
- Vedic teachings on Dharma address our life purpose and action in a primary way, but Vedic astrology shows our potentials, hidden capacities and possible changes in this area as well.
In short, Vedic astrology as the eye of the Vedas helps us understand the different aspects of our lives and provides us a good overview of their development. It can help us understand which Vedic disciplines may be most needed for us at any particular period of time.
Vedic astrology provides a comprehensive overview that supports any type of Vedic counseling, Vedic educational approaches, or Vedic treatment measures. That is why it is important for every individual to have his or her Vedic chart examined by an astrologer trained in deeper Vedic values and insights through Yoga and Vedanta, practicing Jyotish as a sadhana, not merely as a business.
It is wrong to look at Vedic astrology purely in a predictive light, or to judge the efficacy of a Vedic astrologer by their ability merely to provide accurate dates for the outer events of our lives. The true role of a Vedic astrologer is that of a life counselor, helping us understand not only the outer movement of our lives, but the more important inner movement and spiritual development behind it. For this we need a deeper level of guidance, inspiration and motivation. The true Jyotishi aids us in Self-knowledge and can guide us on the spiritual path.
There can be no lasting positive changes in life unless we develop Self-knowledge – a knowledge of who we truly are at the level of inner consciousness, not simply as outer personalities. Vedic astrology interpreted rightly helps us connect with our inner being or higher Self – that is its true purpose as is the case with all Vedic disciplines. It directs us to rituals, mantras and meditation practices to help us address the karmic limitations in our birth chart and unfold our higher aspiration. Vedic astrology has as its true goal the higher knowledge, not simply making us more successful as an ego in the material world.
By Dr. David Frawley