What is Vedic Astrology ?

Vedic astrology called Jyotish, the "Science of Light" has flourished in India for thousands of years. As one of the true ancient systems of astrology, Vedic or Hindu astrology is renowned for its spiritual depth and accuracy in predicting future events. Based on the sidereal zodiac, it reflects an astrologer's perception of the placement of the planets in the constellations. Through its practical application to daily life, Vedic astrology has made tremendous inroads into the Western astrological community in recent years.

What is a Horoscope or a birth chart (Janma Kundali / Patrika or Handahana) ?

A Horoscope is the symbolic interpretation in form of a chart for the placement of planets in the zodiac for a particular place at a given time and day. (format changes from country to country as well as from culture to culture.) Popular format is the North Indian chart and the others are the South Indian and the Western wheel chart.
Its equivalent would be a picture of the planetary positions in the sky at the same specified time of birth and place.
Since the system of Indian Astrology recognizes the heavenly bodies in our solar system while taking the rest of the constellations and galaxies as reference points in relation to the planets, we judge the strength of the planets based on the constellation they are moving against. For the purpose of uniformity we fix the point rising on the Eastern Horizon (called the Ascendant) so as to read the charts with constant values for judgement.

A horoscope would be exclusive to you hence an individual character and destiny for all living beings.

How does Vedic Astrology or Indian Astrology (Jyotish) predict ?

An expert in Jyotish can derive full knowledge about a person's potential and trends in life just from the place and time of birth. Even though Jyotish and Western Astrology have many similarities, there are also important differences that make each a unique approach.
The knowledge of Jyotish has been passed on in Sankrit and many of the basic terms in Vedic Astrology are still used in Sanskrit. The basis for a Jyotish analysis of a person's life is the calculation of the Birthchart, or Janma Kundali. In this chart the "Grahas" (translated as planets) are positioned in their respective Rashis (Signs of the zodiac). Each Rashi (sign) falls in exactly one Bhava (house).The planets aspect each other, and the planets have lordships over the "Bhavas", or houses.
The effects of the planets, signs and houses influencing each other, described by a vast number of rules, reveal a stunning amount of detail about a person's personality, education, profession, social life, health, relationships, spiritual development, and so on. The birth chart only shows WHAT a person can expect in life, but not WHEN.
For the precise timing of when the many tendencies found in the birth chart will manifest, Jyotish has the unique system of Dashas, completely unknown in Western astrology. Dashas are planetary periods that rule very precisely defined periods of one’s life. The main periods (Maha dashas) last anywhere between 6 and 20 years, and in its period, a planet will have a dominating influence in the life of a person. Each main period itself is subdivided in 9 sub-periods, each ruled by a different planet. Just like the main periods each sub-period is characterized by the articular qualities and significations of the ruling planets. The dasha system is so accurate, that it can explain changes in life from day to day with an amazing precision.

How can a horoscope reading help me?

The horoscope can assess a person’s basic character and can also serve to highlight some of the forces at play that can or have influenced a person during different periods in life. In truth, most people do not understand themselves, and in fact are quite confused about who they are, how their mind works, why it works that way, etc. The vast majority of people don't really know who or what they are, on either the psychological or spiritual plane. Therefore, the first thing the Vedic astrologer does is analyze the general configuration of the chart.
This analysis will give a good indication of the person's psychology, character, and life potential. The astrologer will discuss the person's qualities, intellectual abilities, and aptitude; people skills and relationships with family, friends, and loved ones; financial acumen and status; education; travel; health; etc. Life potential indicates a person's predisposition and predilection in certain areas. For example, a certain combination of planets may indicate a person with acute intelligence and love of knowledge; this would give a strong potential for academic achievement or a career in research, teaching, scholarship, etc.

How can I get a horoscope and a reading?

The first step towards making accurate readings of any individual is to cast his or her horoscope using the correct time, date and the place of birth of that person. If the time is unknown or not given in the birth certificate one can get the time from the archives of the hospital. Even if the exact time is not known, the astrologer can work out the correct birth time by analysing the positive and negative events that an individual has experienced (known as birth time rectification).

How long will it take for a reading?

You should be prepared to spend from one to two hours with your astrologer for the initial reading. The length of time will be determined by the subjects covered, questions asked, and the intricacy of the case, described are for a general first reading. Sometimes a person has a specific problem he wants to deal with, such as career, marriage, health, etc. The astrologer should adjust to fit the needs of the seeker.
If the birth time is not accurate or is unknown, the astrologer may have to rectify it by asking certain questions and adjusting the time according to the answers. This requires extra time. Another factor that will vary the length of the reading is the particular kind of reading the seeker wants: predictive, spiritual-educational, or a combination of both.

Predictive Reading

In this kind of reading the emphasis is solely on prediction, without any explanation as to underlying spiritual or psychological causes that may exist. This is most useful to people who just need to plan for the future.

Spiritual - Educational Reading

In this type of reading we try to understand more about the mentality of the individual, why he is the way he is, and also the deeper, esoteric meaning of why he has taken his present birth and what he is meant to learn in this life. Each element of the horoscope--sign, planet, house, etc.--has a deep spiritual significance. By analyzing these elements the astrologer can help the seeker to understand what it is he should learn in this lifetime, and how he must act to accomplish that mission. During this reading the astrologer will educate his client to understand how he came to these conclusions in his reading. This kind of reading is most useful for those who are on a spiritual quest, trying to find a deeper meaning to their life, seeking self-understanding, etc.

What is Mangal Dosha or Kuja Dosha ? (The evil effects of Planet Mars)

Mangal Dosha is an astrological term for planets placed in certain positions as well as combinations which hamper the married as well as romantic life of a person (mangal means marriage). Mangal Dosha also contributes to a person’s personality and usually makes a person with such affliction in their birth chart, not very adjusting in life and with some character defects which usually causes adversities between partners.

The planets involved are MARS (At the head of the list called Mangal in Hindi, the common language of India,hence named after him ), SATURN, RAHU and KETU ( Dragon’s name ). These planets when they affect any of the following areas: Family, Happiness, Longevity of spouse, Fulfillment in sexual matters they are generically put up as Manglik Dosha.

The effects of this dosha could vary as follows:

Dissatisfaction in married life, inability to find a person suitable for marriage, incompatible sexual preference, inadequate longevity of spouse, low adjustment potential, lack of satisfaction with own spouse and hence looking for other avenues, frequent quarrels, fights in domestic life and delay in marriage are a few of the effects of this dosha.

A word of caution through, just having Manglik dosha will not give all these bad effects and even the intensity will differ from person to person and the positive nature of other planets. So we would advise that such judgement is left to the experts and you do not fall prey to any conclusions.

What is Sade Sati or Senasuru Irashtaka? (Seven and a half years of Saturn)

The period is caused in Indian Astrology when Saturn transits 12th, 1st and 2nd houses from Moon sign or form the Ascendant or Lugna. This period is called Sade Sati:

Sade Sati is a very dreadful word for the common masses. It occurs after every 27-30 years in life. People go by mere traditional convention and general belief that Sade Sati period brings dissatisfaction, disappointments, depression, differences, disputes, disharmony and undesirable results, but actually this is not the case. Sade Sati consists of 3 cycles of 2 ½ to 3 years when Saturn transits in 12th, 1st and 2nd houses from Moon sign or Ascendant . The three cycles are explained below. Since it is a very general guideline one should not be accepted as such, subject to other conditions laid down below:
IST CYCLE: - In the first cycle, when Saturn transits 12th house from Moon or Ascendant for approx. 2-3 years, the evil results are felt by the parents and near relations of the native. The health of grand mother will be affected and may result in her death. The eyesight of the native can be affected necessitating the use of spectacles .Saturn here puts an era of expenditure. Journey to distant places. The position of Saturn may affect the financial position as Saturn aspects 2ndhouse, it may retard environmental activities. If in a birth chart Saturn is passing through the last phase of life may force native to go much into spiritual practise and to be detached from his or her family, wealth, home etc.

2ND CYCLE: - During this cycle Saturn transits the Moon or the Ascendant sign for 2 -3 years. During this period, it affects the native himself in domestic and professional fields. Also denotes ill health and death of some relations, fear from enemies, journey to distant places and separation from relations like brothers, sisters, wife or family (relationship issues). May cause imprisonment, miseries, loss of wealth, fatigue and general debility, loss of friends, obstructions and delay in undertakings, failure in attempts and increased expenditure.

3RD CYCLE: - Saturn when transits in 2nd house from Moon or Ascendant, third cycle of Sadi Sati starts. It affects one’s health, children and may even cause death if it comes in late life. During this transit, loss of health, accidents and injuries, litigation, unhappiness, loss of position, increased expenditure, financial stress and physical weakness might be felt. Gain of wealth from others, which will be lost, deception through wicked men.
These are the effects of the sade sati of Saturn.

What is Kalsarpa Yoga?

Kalasarpa Yoga is formed by the placement of all planets within Rahu and Ketu or bordered by Rahu and Ketu. Here Rahu must be considered as moving in clockwise direction.
The effects of this combination is a general weakness of the birth chart with the good effects of favourable planets curtailed while the bad effects of evil planets are magnified.
The combination works on a lifelong basis however the majority of the effects are felt by 36 years of age and thereafter the person progresses well in life.

Do gems really have an effect? How do they work?

Vedic astrologers have been prescribing gemstones to counteract the effects of negative planetary influences since ancient times.
The practice of wearing gems for strengthening certain weak planets in the horoscope, is still being practiced today, not only in Vedic cultures, but in certain western ones as well. In practice, it is found that dramatic and positive effects come to a person by wearing the gem(s) that encourage strengthening of planetary imbalances in the horoscope. It is also found that one can bring negative energies to him or herself by wearing the wrong gems.
A proper use of gems will also help the native in favourable situations or enterprises. The gems pertaining to a particular planet concentrates the positive energies as well as the specific colour of the planet and funnels the effects in the body of the person wearing it by using the system of a filter to allow that particular energy & colour to get absorbed in the body.

What is Yoga?

Literally means 'link' or 'combination'. This word has broad implications and is used in many ways throughout the Vedas and within astrology. Primarily, the word yoga refers to the processes employed for reconnecting the soul with its divine origins. For example, bhakti-yoga means to unite with God through devotion or bhakti. In astrology, yoga refers to various planetary combinations such as: saraswati-yoga- a yoga of planetary positions which indicate that one has the blessings of Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning. Yoga in this sense is also one of the five angas or divisions of the Panchanga (the five divisions included within the Indian calendar).

What are the principles involved when mass tragedies like war, earth quakes take place?

When a country is subjected to evil rays the individual has no separate independent existence. He becomes a part of the whole and an astrologer is expected to keep a vigilant eye on the directions in the national chart as well as the effects of other celestial phenomena with the help of mundane astrology upon the fate of nations, countries and peoples.
(Mundane astrologer is the one who studies the influence of natural catastrophes, political changes and environmental changes)

Can we really reduce the negative effects of planets?

Yes negative effects can be reduced although not fully reversed (since we cannot change destiny) by various remedies prescribed in our ancient Indian texts.These include recitation / chanting of esoteric words in harmony with the god governing the malefic planet. This is called a Mantra.

Then we have ancient symbols which are imprinted or embossed on metal or other material plaques and then meditated upon to give them the power to ward of the adverse planetary effects. This method is used for peculiar planetary combinations and usually is used at place of work or at home. This is called a Yantra.

Of course the most popular remedy has been the wearing of gems & metals to give strength to the planet causing troubles and hardships.

Leading a spiritual life with meditation etc can help a lot to get relief from various planetary adversities. These spiritual practices have provided relief to mankind provided the person does not forget that there is no alternative to action and honesty in intentions to overcome adverse periods in life.

Why is it important to match horoscopes for marriage?

Marriage is one of the most important aspects of life and it is with the help of astrology that we are able to check various issues like the chances of the relationship continuing without a break, harmony in life, whether one person is causing hurdles or pressure on the life of the other partner. Also it is advisable to know the nature and talents of the partner as it will help to understand the short coming in the marriage. With these cleared the marriage can be performed with much more ease in the mind.

Since we all know a bad relationship can put a person back by a few years so getting the horoscope matched is like buying insurance for a happy and peaceful life.

Are planetary effects predominant? What is the human effort in this whole process?

It is true that astrology is a science of indication. Provided there is a strong will and requisite effort is brought into play, certain indications in the horoscope can be overcome. Of course, the strong influence in such a case will be indicated in the nativity itself. Just as unfavourable indications can be overcome. In the above manner, the promise of good effects can also be spoiled in various ways. A weak and vacillating mind will not be able to take advantage of the planetary vibrations and bring them to fruit. For example if the man acts perversely, he can prevent a good alliance of marriage.