Jyotish Shastro

An Essay  on Indian Astrology


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Bharat-Barsho, by Bharat-Barsho, we mean subcontinent; which consist of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Srilanka, is very rich for her cultural diversities.

Bharat is the surname of India, which was more often used for British ruled region before 1947. In ancient Indian epic, Moha-Bharat (titanic- India), the poet wrote in the preface that: What is not in Moha-Bharat is not in Moha-Bharat. And to accommodate the vast and rich ancient Indian history and wars, Poet wrote verse after verge and hence compiled the greatest Epic ever in human history.

Through out the history this part of world has nourished uniq cultural fragrance and its colorfulness has enchanted innumerable scholars. Bharat is not only about Hinduism, it’s about history of mankind. Bharat has been touched by Islam since 7th Century. In this writing, I’ll emphasis on Astrology of India only, which governs mass people of India.


Jyotish is the word for Astrology in India. We call it Jyotish-Shastro. Bit clumsy to pronounce, if your tongue is not Indian: D A good Introduction to learn about Indian Astrology is to go through the link above. It’s huge, still gives a sound introduction to Jyotish-Shastro or Indian Astrology.

There are 12 signs, which have unique similarity with Western or Greek Astrology. Namely, Meena (which stands for Fishes in Shanskit) is just like Pisces. To surprise you with this much cultural similarities between India and Greek, scholars have proclaimed some arcane knowledge transferring process in between these two ancient civilizations. It’s really interesting.  Any way, Sign of a person astrologically can be of twelve different kinds. Here, males are called as Jatok, whereas Females are called Jatika.

Indian Astrology’s basis Idea is as follow.  God/goddess dwells  in the sky, in the stars. They called is Debta-aloy ( Debtaà god and alloy à dwelling place). And they marked that there are some stars in the sky which moves while most of them are fixed. There are few terms you need to grasps before further (superficial!!!) in-depth introductionJ. I’m quoting form various source ;)


Nakshatra or Lunar Mansion, one of the 27 or 28 divisions of the sky, identified by the prominent star(s) in them, that the Moon passes through during its monthly cycle. Each nakshatra represents a division of the ecliptic (of 13 degree 20 minutes) similar to the zodiac signs. The mansion associated with a given date corresponds to the constellation which the Moon is passing through at that time. Traditionally the nakshatra position of Moon is computed for native's mental make-up, and calculations of planetary periods or dasha. Each nakshatra is further partitioned into four equal segments known as charan or pad. Nakshatra contains an important place in Astrological match making, Muhurta, Panchanga and Praśana affairs. In ancient India, nakshatra was more important than rāśi.

Graha – the planets

There are 9 Grahas (planets) in Indian Astrology. Graha literally means any heavenly body or point that can cast an impact on human affairs. It may be translated as planet for ease. Graha also includes lunar nodes (Rahu and Ketu) and sub-planets (upgrahas) which are not planets but no less effective than planets. Here is the table of Grahas with English counterparts.

Sanskrit Name                                     English Name

Surya                                                   Sun

Chandra                                              Moon

Mangala                                              Mars

Budha                                                             Mercury

Brihaspati                                            Jupiter

Shukra                                                 Venus

Shani                                                   Saturn

Rahu Head of Demon Snake              Ascending/North Lunar Node

Ketu Tail of Demon Snake                 Descending/South Lunar Node

Each Graha as corresponding Yantra (a diagram representing the astronomical position of the planets over a given date and time) and Guna (Virtues or Characteristics).  There are three guas (based upon the three "tendencies"), tamas gua, sattva gua, and rajas gua. These guna-s are related to five-elements.

Just to inform you, in Vedic/Indian mythology, everything emanated from the one basic vibration of "Om" or "Aum" of the Omkara. From "Om" the five elemental vibrations emerged representing the five different tattvas (or elements), the panchatattva or mahabhuta. The five planets represent these five vibrations – Jupiter for Ether, Saturn for Air, Mars for Fire, Mercury for Earth, and Venus for Water. Everything is made up of these five different elements in different proportions.

Rāshi – the signs

The Indian zodiac is also an imaginary belt of 360 degrees (like the western zodiac), divided into 12 equal parts. Each twelfth part (of 30 degrees) is called a sign or rāshi. These are:

Sanskrit Name             Western Name

Mesha                          Aries

Vrishabha                    Taurus

Mithuna                       Gemini

Karka                          Cancer

Simha                          Leo

Kanya                          Virgo

Tula                             Libra

Vrischika                     Scorpio

Dhanus                        Sagittarius

Makara                        Capricorn

Kumbha                      Aquarius

Meena                                     Pisces


One's ascendant, or lagna, the rāshi which is rising on the eastern horizon at the time of one's birth, is the most influential and important one. Of lesser importance but still some impact is the Janma Rāshi, the rāshi in which the moon lay while one was born.


Bhāva – the houses

Also there are 12 different houses, each correlated to distinct significance. Like 7th house which is called kama represents Spouse, Business Partner, Death, Trade, Agreement, Honour and Reputation”, giving implication that Jatok with this house will have good spouse (happy family life), will excel in business etc.

Lagna – the ascendant

One's ascendant, or lagna, the rāshi which is rising on the eastern horizon at the time of one's birth, is the most influential and important one. ome important special lagnas are follows.

  • Chandra Lagna (ascendant counted from natal Moon sign - very important lagna)
  • Surya Lagna (ascendant counted from natal Sun sign)
  • Karak Lagna (significator taken as ascendant for all grahas)
  • Varnada Lagna (for social company)
  • Shri Lagna (for prosperity and marriage)
  • Indu Lagna (for wealth)
  • Hora Lagna (for financial prosperity)
  • Gati Lagna (for name and fame)

Drishti – the aspect

Aspect is one of the most important phenomena that not only interlinks the planets with each other but also playing a role of bridge between signs. In Jyotish the word Drishti is tantamount to Aspect, means glance or sight. It is the transfer of influences to another graha or rāshi as a result of their situation in relation to each other.


Now we are familiar with jargons. Now come to basic interpretation. I was born in 24th april, which means I’m of Vrishabha Rashi Jatok, or we call it, my zodiac sign is Taurus. My girl’s birthday is 18th july, which means she is Jatika of Karka  or her sign is Cancer. With my birthday along with exact year, astrologer can reproduce the places of Grahas in different house. Same can be done for my girl friend. Now they went though some arcane, esoteric and enigmatic mantra ( verses) and undocumented process to find out my Shuva (good) lagna and bad ones if any. They can evaluate the position of Grahas at my birthday time which they believe have profound influence in my life. This is quite interesting and I was, some how fascinated to it once.

Not all Indians, believe astrology but it has very influential impact in the daily life of Indians. Only aristocrat or rich people  appoint personal astrologer and get suggestion on daily basis. A vast majority of Hindus and some Muslims even respect the apocryphal  prophecies of astrologers. I can remember, when I was young, in our home there was some Hindu people, appointed in our business. They were well in actuarial and accounting stuffs. I saw some astrological book, booklets in fact, in their belongings. Even, Muslim people get suggestion from astrologer in various personal, family or business relation occasions.

Mohammad Qutaishat (My very good Friend), asked me to write a short notes, but the subject matter is vast. My understanding is not very detail. I'm tried to explain it in a lucid way. I'm not sure whether I'm successful or not. But , I think I’ve given you introductory information to start with Indian Astrology, which can amuse you with it's sagacious way of interpreting common phenomena in extraordinary style.