[INDOLOGY] 'Vedic' astrology (was: bhakti)

Robert Zydenbos zydenbos at uni-muenchen.de
Sun Nov 13 19:11:23 UTC 2016

patrick mccartney wrote:

> I guess the question for me specifically regarding Vedic astrology is exactly the point Valerie and Luis raise. It could be called by the astrologers 'Indian Astrology', and perhaps it is a better representation, however they have settled on the use of Vedic to qualify their predictive system. Although, it's possible that someone out there might think that 'South Asian astrology' is a better term because all this knowledge developed prior to the birth of the Indian nation.

If we ask such questions, there is the real danger that we enter the field of endless 'politically correct' quarrels. (E.g., is it not Western hybris to use the word 'Indian' for ancient Bhāratīya knowledge systems? etc. etc.)

As for 'Vedic' astrology vis-à-vis other systems of astrology: there are also plenty of Jaina astrological practitioners (one of them has / had a regular program on a commercial South Indian TV station), there is a long and serious tradition of writing on astrological subjects by Jaina authors, and systemically I do not see any major differences with 'Vedic' astrology.

The only significant difference I have come across concerns methods of prāyaścitta. I once heard a Jaina astrologer in Karnataka advise a person to pray to 'Infant Jesus' to counteract a certain planet's influence. The next person happened to have the same difficult, and she said "he should pray to Infant Jesus, but since you re a Jaina, you should do japa of this mantra to Munisuvratasvāmi". Brahmins, so she said, would have to do a pūjā to Viṣṇu.

Intrigued by these bits of advice, I asked the astrologer more about how this works. She said that ultimately the worship of all those beings (Infant Jesus, Munisuvrata, Viṣṇu) produced the same effect, but only if the worshipper had real faith in what s/he was doing. Hence the object of worship needed to be chosen accordingly.

Such experiences only strengthen my belief that there is nothing 'Vedic' at all about 'Vedic astrology' except the conventional religious window dressing by certain brahmin astrologers.


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