# Why are the astrological phases (dasa) based on sidereal stars (Nakshatra)?

Nakshatras are not the basis of all dasa systems. There are several dasa systems that have nothing to do with nakshatras. However, the most popular systems are nakshatra based. And the most popular of all, vimshottari dasa, is among the nakshatra systems.

The reason nakshatras are essential in calculating the flow of time can be known by knowing the first part of the first chapter of Surya Siddhanta. There it explains:

There are two types of time: philosophical and practical. The Surya Siddhanta concerns itself with practical time. There are four types of practical time systems: sidereal, tropical, lunar, and civil.

Civil time is counted by sunrises. Each sunrise is a day. 30 sunrises is a month, and 12 such months is a civil year. It is the most simple way of reckoning practical time.

Lunar time is measured by the relative distance between the Sun and Moon. So it is a type of sidereal time (that is, it has no reference to the earth, only to the heavenly bodies). Each day of lunar time is a certain angle of distance between the Sun and Moon, called a “tithi.” 30 tithis is a month, and 12 such months is a lunar year.

Tropical time is measured by the relationship between the Sun and the Earth, specifically between the Sun and the Earth’s equator. This relationship defines the equinoxes, solstices and seasons. 1 degree of motion relative to the spring equinox constitutes one tropical day. Again 30 of them is a tropical month, and 12 of those is a tropical year.

Sidereal time in the Surya Siddhanta is not the same as modern sidereal time. Modern sidereal time is based on a sidereal year. Surya Siddhanta’s sidereal time is based on a sidereal day. A sidereal day is the amount of time elapsed between the rising of a given star (a star, not the Sun) in the east. Like always, 30 such days is a sidereal month, and 360 of them is a sidereal year by Surya Siddhanta’s calculations.

After giving these definitions, the Surya Siddhanta goes on to define three of the four as having specific limited application. Tropical time is specifically for determining rashis (the 12 “signs”) and seasons – which is most relevant to farming and other practical deeds. Lunar time is specifically for determine sacred events. Civil time is specifically meant for cases when long term accuracy is not important.

Sidereal time is therefore the primary way for counting the unfolding of practical time. “Philosophical time” is the conceptual force which causes creation and destruction. “Practical time” is the changing of one moment into the next so that events can unfold. So the Surya Siddhanta defines sidereal time as the primary measure for normal time – the unfolding of events.

“Sidereal” in sanskrit is “Nakshatra.” Nakshatra dasa in English literally means “sidereal phase.” A nakshatra dasa is a phase of sidereal time. Therefore the nakshatra (27 stars) of the sidereal zodiac are the main milestones measuring the pace of this type of time.

The most popular astrological timing systems in India are based on sidereal nakshatra because the whole purpose of a timing system is to understand how events will unfold in due course, and the correct way of measuring that is nakshatra-based time.

It begs mentioning that surya-siddhanta’s nakshatra year is the equivalent of 359.017 of our modern calendar days. So this is the length of the year that should be used when calculating the duration of nakshatra dasas.

- Vic DiCara

www.vicdicara.com

# What is the Ultimate Spiritual Benefit of Studying Astrology?

If a spiritualist is already perfect there is no fruit in studying astrology or doing anything besides constantly dancing, singing and discussing the All-Attractive Divine Beloved. The vast majority of spiritualists, however, are not perfect. They are human beings on the path towards perfection. Therefore the benefit of astrology for a spiritualist is quite similar to the benefit of astrology for any human being.

The benefit of studying astrology is that you will have a direct vision of the Hand of God. You attain this vision by understanding the clockwork within the mystical operation of the universe, and how the unfolding of time, measured by the motion of universal bodies such as planets, generates the conditions to fulfill the fates acquired by living beings as a result of accountability for their freewill. The more deeply one comprehends astrology, in theory and practice, the more vividly this vision of divine clockwork appears within the trees and clouds and cars and dogs and people of humdrum daily life. Eventually this vision intensifies into direct perception of the Hand of Godhead. It is a form of Godhead called “kAla” in Sanskrit: Fateful Divine Time.

Thereafter the spiritualist is left to use this vision as a catalyst for whatever particular spiritual proclivity or aspiration he or she may have. A karmi, for example uses this vision to perfect the selflessness in their dutiful responsibilities. A jnani uses it to better see the world through philosophical and objective eyes. A yogi uses it to better control the energies and powers in the world and the mind. A bhakta uses it to more deeply fall in love with the All-Attractive.

Since there is a gradation of perfection in selflessness among the above which culminates in the bhakta – the selfless lover of the Divine, we can therefore conclude that the ultimate spiritual benefit of studying astrology is Divine Love, although it is by no means assured that astrology will lead to this pinnacle. It can support it.

# The Origin of Karma and Illusion

1.7.1

Śaunaka asked: After Bādarāyaṇa heard godly Nārada speak and then leave, what did he do, O Sūta?

Bādarāyaṇa is a name of Vyāsa, whose main headquarters is at Badarīk Ashram in the Himalayas.

2

Sūta answered: On the western shore of the sacred river Sarasvatī, in a place called Śamyāprāsa, is an ashram reputed to be ideal for spiritual research.

Read more… 860 more words

This is a post from my study of Bhagavata-Purana, which should be of interest to astrologers as it makes a reference to the origin and function of Karma (fate).

# More Questions about the Tropical Signs in Vedic Astrology

After I published my paper: Reconciliation of the Tropical and Sidereal Zodiacs I received many sincere questions. Here is one example:

Q: Do you find tropical signs more reliable in your practice?

Yes, I find tropical signs give a simpler, clearer picture more readily, if used with whole sign houses and sidereal nakshatras.

Q: Do you believe that Jyotish classics as ParasaraBHS, BrighuS and others are meant for tropical signs?

The classic textbooks on Indian Astrology (Jyotish) were written in different time periods. I believe that India has been using sidereal zodiac signs for a very long time – probably about 1800 or so years. Classics written after this time (c. 200 AD) were probably written in reference to the sidereal zodiac. But it is most important to note that about 500 years before and after that key point in history (c. 300 BC – 700 AD) there was practically no difference between tropical and sidereal zodiacs. And even for another 500 years or so on either side (800 BC – 1200 AD) the difference was not very dramatic. Most of the classics were written in this time frame. Therefore even if they were written by authors who had adopted sidereal zodiac signs, the practical difference between tropical and sidereal signs contemporary for those authors was negligible.

The fact that there are no significant “classics” much after this time frame is another evidence that Indian astrology began to lose it’s original potency as the sidereal zodiac became more and more out of phase with the true zodiac signs.

Q: Do the methods given in Jyotish classics work with tropical signs?

Yes, the methods defined in classics work best with tropial signs. In fact some of the methods defined in the classics cannot work at all without tropical signs. A case in point is the shad-bala system for calculating the potency of a planet. One component of this calculation is declination, which cannot be determined outside of tropical system (“declination” means the distance north or south of the equator).

Q: Do the classics not say simply what zodiac we should use?

Most of what we consider classic “astrology” textbooks do not, no. I address this in my paper. Calculation and interpretation are separate branches of Indian astrology. The Surya Siddhanta is the authoritative text on calculations. It does indicate that tropical planetary coordinates should be used. It instructs us to use ayanamsha is a means of converting sidereal calculations to tropical, and not visa versa as is now the fashion. The Srimad Bhagavatam also contains several chapters on astronomical phenomena and unequivocally defines the zodiac signs as tropical, and the nakshatras distinctly as sidereal.

I have addressed this much more completely in my paper.

Q: Are there not any old examples of charts indicating what zodiac system they use?

Classic Indian literature sometimes gives example charts, but not the birth data. For example they describe the planetary configurations for Rama and Krishna – but they do not say what birth data creates those charts. This is because the planetary configurations are themselves the most universal and reliable method of determining a point in time – so the ancient scriptures express the time of an important event such as the birth of an incarnation of God, by describing the planetary configurations.

However, since there is no second reference it is not possible to verify if the classics are describing the configurations in a sidereal or tropical reference. It is also particularly confusing because these configurations refer to points in time that are – by our pygmy modern conceptions and methods – extremely distant in the past and therefore very hard to verify by calculations – since over vast periods of time the speeds and motions of planets and the earth are not at all constant.