Astrology in India

Seminar Paper, 2001

19 Pages, Grade: 2+ (B)


Table of Contents

1) Introduction
1.1 My Topic in the Context of the Seminar
1.2 Structure of the Homework

2) Western and Eastern Astrology
2.1 The two Zodiacs
2.1.1 The Tropical Zodiac
2.1.2 The Sidereal Zodiac
2.2 The difference
2.2.1 Ayanamsha

3) Determining the Hindu Chart
3.1 Theory
3.1.1 Sripatibhatta
3.1.2 Other methods
3.2 Practice

4) Interpretation of the Hindu Chart
4.1 The Planets and their Signs
4.1.1 The Planets The Major Planets The Lunar Nodes Distant Planets
4.1.2 The Signs
4.2 The Houses
4.3 Lunar Constellations

5) Astrology in India Today
5.1 General
5.2 Examples
5.2.1 Babu Lal
5.2.2 Heerar Lal
5.2.3 Kanehya Lal
5.2.4 Guruji
5.2.5 Tipu
5.2.6 Anji Maharaj

6) Conclusion

7) Bibliography

1) Introduction

1.1 My Topic in the Context of the Seminar

Our Seminar aimed at giving us a primary understanding of religious beliefs and practices in Hindu India. Hans Küng´s defines religion as

the in a tradition and a community practised ([...]) social-inidividually realised relation to something which is beyond or encompasses man and his world: to a – however to understand - very latest true reality ([...]).“ (Küng, 1984:19)[1].

Hinduism can thus be categorised as religion, the problem is, though, that it was not originally one religion. Rather, as Monika and Udo Tworuschka point out, it is a conglomeration of religious traditions, the way of life of the Indians (those who do not belong to a different religion). There are some common guidelines, though: The world is sustained by an order or harmony which is called dharma and all Hindus do - at least formally – agree on the religious importance of the Vedas. (Tworuschka, 1992: 257). Most Indian Astrologers today base their calculations at least ideologically on the Vedas or the Vedanga Jyotish, an addition to the original Vedas which deals with Astrology and Astronomy, although, according to Karrer and his sources, the information given in this scripture is too rare to explain the complexity of astrological calculations and interpretations used today. (Karrer, 1991: 145) Every planet is seen as a deity, is described as a god and worshipped. (Frawley, 1990: 23;26) Also the 27 lunar constellations are mythogically the 27 wives of the moon. (Euringer, 1989: 93) It would be a paper in itself to describe the mythological background of Hindu Astronomy and Astrology. In these days Astrology still plays a vital part in the Indian way of life. All important events in life - and even many minor ones - are accompanied by an astrologer´s advice. (Karrer, 1990:141) Astrology, according to the practicers, gives an insight into the individual`s karma and can thus help to find the right decisions. The astrologer acts in many ways also as a keeper of traditional values and is consulted for personal, family and business affairs alike. How important he is for each person is stated in two verses from the Brhat Samhita II, 8 and 9, written by an Astrologer named Varaha Mihira of the late Gupta-period, who is a recognized authority in the field, as translated by H.Kern:

„Even those who, free from egotism and without anything to care for, lead a hermit´s life in the wilderness, consult the man that knows the

motion of the stars.

As the night without a light, as the sky without the sun, so is a king without an astrologer, like a blind man he erreth on the road.“

(Türstig, 1980:134)

It might thus be revealing to look at Indian Astrology and see what part it plays in Indian society today.

1.2 Structure of the Homework

My homework aims at giving an elementary Introduction into Hindu Astrology and its place in India today. At first I will just briefly outline the differences between Western and Eastern Astrology, and will then proceed to explain the determination and interpretation of the Hindu Chart. Afterwards I will give examples of applied astrology in India.

2) Western and Eastern Astrology

2.1 The two Zodiacs

2.1.1 The Tropical zodiac

The zodiac used in western Astrology is an abstract construction, it is called the „Tropical zodiac“. It does not correspond to observable constellations of stars, meaning: if a Western astrologer says: Jupiter is in Sagittarius, if we look up to the sky, we will not find it there. The reason for this is that the Tropical zodiac is based on the equinoxes, not the fixed stars. The vernal equinox in the Tropical system always marks the beginning of the sign Aries. Thus, because of the stars' precession, what we call Aries corresponds today to the fixed stars of Pisces and will correspond to the fixed stars of Libra in about 10,000 years. Until the same fixed stars correspond again to the vernal equinoxes, namely the point of Earth relative to the fixed stars makes a full circuit of the zodiac, a period of about 25,000 years will have passed. Around 2,000 years ago, when Western astrology was at its start, the Tropical zodiac corresponded to what was also observable in the sky, but since then, the stars have ever been in precession. Western Astrology is not ignorant of this, they do consider it relative to world ages (in the present age of Aquarius, the vernal equinox is in the fixed stars of Aquarius), but they hold it is not important for the short lifetime of an individual. Thus western Astrology does not orientate by the fixed stars, but mainly by the sun-earth relationship. (Frawley, 1990:44-5, Euringer, 1989: 87-8)

As such, Frawley states, its concern is with psychology, personality and character types (Frawley, 1990:50).

2.1.2 The Sidereal zodiac

The Sidereal zodiac corresponds to the actual positions of the fixed stars and takes their precession into account. Hindu Astrology orientates by this zodiac. In their system a sign always corresponds to a certain degree to the fixed stars in the sky. - There are many different systems of marking the houses, in some every house is 30°, in others this size varies; in practice this calculation is based on extensive tables. (Türstig, 1980:3) - Karrer in his book doubts, though, that contemporary Indian astrology takes the precession into consideration. Rather, he states, most base their calculations also on old star constellations (Karrer, 1991:8). According to Frawleys interpretation Vedic astrology is orientated to the galactic centre, which is located in early Sagittarius. This galactic center is called Brahma or Vishnunabhi – the navel of Vishnu. In Sanskrit the word for the lunar constellation located in Sagittarius „Mula“ means root or source. The last lunar constellation, located in Scorpio is called „Jyeshta“; which translates into „the eldest“. In India a system of 27 lunar constellations is used more commonly than that of 12, because it makes for a more detailed differentiation and corresponds to the daily movement of the moon. (Frawley, 1990: 44-6, Euringer, 1989: 92).

2.2 The difference

Even though astrologers of both systems use the same terms to describe a person's birth sign, they mean different things: when a Tropical astrologer says the sun is in Aquarius (and thus the person’s sign is Aquarius), he means that it is in the eleventh of a twelvefold division of the zodiac based upon the position of the sun at the vernal equinoxes. (Frawley, 1990: 46) If a Hindu Astrologer uses that same term he means the sun is within certain degrees of the fixed stars of Aquarius. Thus what is one's sign differs according to the zodiac used. Correspondingly, though, the interpretations of the signs also vary. (Euringer, 1989: 89)

2.2.1 Ayanamsha

This term refers to the difference between the current point of the vernal equinox among the fixed stars and that of the beginning of the constellation Aries. (Frawley, 1990:51) It thus describes the mathematical difference between the two zodiacs, which move more apart each year (until, about 25,000 years after their correspondence, they correspond again). For the year 1950, Western sidereal astrologers placed the Ayanamsha at 24°02´, most Vedic astrologer placed it between 21°40´ and 23°10´. The latter number was made standard by the government of India. (Frawley, 1990: 51) Another point of discussion is the yearly rate of movement, which differs from 48“ (Lahiri, government of India) to 54“ by Paramahansa Yogananda (Sri Yukteswar). One can turn a Tropical chart into a Hindu one by simply substracting the Ayanamsha. For ordinary planetary positions, Frawley states, the number used seldom makes a difference. (Frawley, 1990: 51-3)

3) Determining the Chart

3.1 Theory

The sky in the Hindu and also in the western Astrology is divided into twelve houses, whose size and locality depend on the place on earth for which the horoscope is cast. The twelve signs can then be allocated in the houses, whereas one sign does by no means always correspond to one house. There is a variety of different house-systems and the one which is most widely used in India is called sripatibhatta.

3.1.1 sripatibhatta

The first house marks the Ascendant. It is determinded as follows: From the point on earth for which the horoscope is cast, is drawn a line to the centre of the earth. Perpendicular to it, one draws a circle around the centre of the earth. This is called the true horizon, which is then projected onto the sky over the locality on earth, so that it is parallel to the original „true horizon“.


[1] Im Original: „Religion ist die in einer Tradition und Gemeinschaft sich lebendig vollziehende (in Lehre, Ethos, und meist auch Ritus) sozial-individuell realisierte Beziehung zu etwas, was den Menschen und seine Welt übersteigt oder umgreift: zu einer wie immer zu verstehenden allerletzten wahren Wirklichkeit (das Absolute, Gott Nirvana)“ (Kursiv im Original, eigene Übersetzung)

Excerpt out of 19 pages


Astrology in India
University of Hamburg  (Institute for Religion. Ecumenism, and Mission Science)
Introduction to Hinduism
2+ (B)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
493 KB
Astrology, India, Introduction, Hinduism
Quote paper
M.A. Mira Fels (Author), 2001, Astrology in India, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Astrology in India

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free