What is Jyotisha?

  • May 15, 2016
  • Amit Talwar

The Sanskrit word according to Wikipedia, the term "Jyotisha" derives from Jyoti meaning "Light". Jyotisha is a vidya: a body of partly mystical, partly mathematical knowledge. This body of knowledge contains principles which regulate the interpretation of effects of the planetary "lights" upon human perceptions and human behavior. The lights include Sun, Moon, planets and stars predominantly within Earth's solar system, but also beyond.

Jyotisha, as it is practiced worldwide today, is an ancient prediction system rooted in the scriptures of brilliant Indo-Aryan astronomer and astrologer Vahara Mihira (505-587 CE, Avantikapuri).

Jyotisha is often called "Vedic" astrology, although the name may be a misnomer since "vaidik" priests of ancient India actually used a a particular lunar astrology in their rituals which is quite different from the solar Jyotisha that is widely used today.

Nevertheless in my pages one may read the term "Vedic" used as a blanket term for "scripturally traditional Indian" and referring to a large and extremely diverse lore of ancient = starting circa 1500 BC and medieval Indian = including south-Asian, Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, and Mediterranean = astrological literature that far extends beyond the original portfolio of the "vaidik" priesthood.

Skilled Vedic astrologers, or Jyotishi (daivajna), can evaluate health, wealth, love, marriage, children, career, art, and death by using a series of astrological techniques developed within the ancient Vedic traditions, over the course of the last 25 centuries (at least).