Branches Of Indian Astrology



For hundreds and thousands of years mankind is curious to know how future events will unfold! Man's efforts to know the outcome of the future has continued unabated from ancient times. Even today scientists are formulating methods for predicting floods, earthquakes, droughts etc. But perhaps astrology is the only science which is capable of doing long term forecast. So let us try to understand what is astrology? The basis of this science, the different branches of astrology, benefits of studying astrology and how to study it.
'Jyotish' which means Astrology in sanskrit is one of the science developed by our ancestors. The Hindus gave so much importance to Jyotish that they considered it as 'vedanga' which means, 'limb of vedas'. In India, astrology was and is used so extensively that it ranges from electing 'good' time for journey, undertaking new assignments, construction of building, sowing seeds etc. to selecting bride or bridegroom, seeking astrological advice etc. In fact, during ancient times 'vaidyas' (Ayurvedic Doctors) used to study the horoscope of the patient before giving any medical treatment. It is also called as 'Grahachikitsa' or diagnosis through horoscope.

Branches of Astrology
Astrology is divided into 3 major parts viz.
(a)Hora -- It is further divided into Jataka (Horoscopy), Prashna (Horary Astrology), Muhurta (Election Astrology) and Nimitta (Omens)
1.  Jataka -- It deals with the horoscopes of individuals. Events like marriage change in profession, acquiring property etc. can be predicted with the help of this branch. Most of the authors try to classify jataka in 3 different schools of thoughts viz.,
i) Parashari -- This is the most widely used system. In this system the karakas or signifying planets are fixed. For instance Sun is the karaka of father. The planetary aspects are considered. The methods of planetary strength involves huge mathematical calculations. There is no doubt about the accuracy of this system. In our course we are covering this system only.
ii) Jaimini -- This is most difficult system because it is not only explained in 'sutras' or short aphorisms which are capable of giving different meanings but also difficult to understand. The other reason which makes the sutras more difficult to understand is the difference of opinions among various commentators.
In this system the karakas are variable. For instance, in one horoscope the karaka of father may be jupiter while in the other horoscope it may be some other planet say Moon. This system considers sign aspect rather than planetary aspect. The method casting subsidiary charts is totally different from Parashari.
iii) Tajik -- This system is used for predicting annual results.
1.      Prashna -- It is off shoot of the jataka. The main difference is that in jataka predictions are made by using the horoscope of individuals while in prashna an horoscope is cast at the time which an individual asks a particular question. The question may be related to any matter like loss of article, theft, acquisition of property, selecting proper site for digging a well etc.
2.      Muhurta -- It deals electing auspicious time for undertaking new ventures.
3.      Nimitta -- It takes into consideration the omen occurring at a particular time. However there is another school of thought which classifies it as a part of Samhita.
(b) Sidhanta or Ganita -- Literally it means mathematics. This branch refers to Mathematical Astronomy and its use in astrology. It also includes Gola or spherical astronomy. For instance, calculating the declination of the planet for its effect on terrestrial activity or considering the apogee and perigee of planets for its effect on weather.
(c) Samhita -- It deals with the effects of different planets and its effects on mundane affairs, formation of clouds, effect of mock sun and mock moon, effect of comets on mundane affairs, vastu (Construction of palaces and temples.), etc.

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