Tropical and Sidereal Zodiac in Vedic Astrology, Part 2


Learn why there are 12 signs (rāśi) and 27 stars (nakshatra), why the nakṣatra are not permanently aligned to specific rāśi, and how Bṛhat Parāśara Hora describes all of this. I also address misconceptions about the tropical zodiac promoted by prominent Vedic astrologers like Sanjay Rath Jī: that it is seasonal, hemisphere specific, and not meant for natal astrology, and more.

Stars and Signs are DIFFERENT spheres.

BPHS 3.2-5

śṛṇu vipra pavakṣyāmi, bha-grahānāṁ paristhitim

Listen, scholar, I will explain the positions of the stars and planets.

ākāśe yāni dṛśyante, jyotir-bimbāny anekaśaḥ

In the sky we see many dots of light.

teṣu nakṣatra-saṁjñāni graha-saṁjñāni kānicit

Some of them are known as “stars” (nakṣatra), others as “planets” (graha).

tani nakṣatra-nāmāni sthira-sthānāni yāni vai

Those which stay fixed in their places are called “stars” (nakṣatra).

gacchanto bhāni gṛhlanti, satataṁ ye tu te grahāḥ

But, those stars which always move, as if they had will and consciousness, are called “planets” (graha).

rāśī not mentioned, rāśī are not dots of light

bha-cakrasya nagāśvy aṁśa, aśvinyādi-samāhvayāḥ

The celestial wheel has integral portions called āśvini and so on. It is like a wheel being turned by a horse.

nakṣatras are portions of the star field

(“aśvinī first” is an observation fitting the time)

“pulled by a horse” – the whole nakshatra wheel moves!

tad dvādaśā-vibhāgas tu, tūlya meṣādi-saṁjñakāḥ

But that same space can also be divided into twelve, known as Aries (meṣa) and so on.

tu – but

tūlya – similar / like (not same)

vibhāga (for rāśī) – differentiated division

aṁśa (for nakṣatra) integral portion

S.Rath (etc)

“we have to map the tropical zodiac to the nakshatras.”

That map is called ayanaṁśa, a measurement of the relation between 0º Aries and the fixed stars (nakṣatra).

Positions of the nakṣatra are mapped to the equniox by ayanāṁśa, not visa versa.

Sidereal rāśī is not a “map” of the zodiac, it is an obliteration of them, subsuming them into the nakṣatra.

“The Tropical Zodiac is for predicting weather and scheduling agricultural affairs, not for personal interpretation.”

BPHS 3.6 says the opposite: “predictive astrology is founded upon the udaya-lagna-rāśī .”

“Seasonal zodiac – Hemisphere specific”

“Vernal” etc

are hemisphere specific seasonal names.

That’s all.

It doesn’t matter if you are in the northern or southern hemisphere, the Sun rises above the equator, comes to its most northern point, falls again to the equator, and then reaches its most southern point.

Tropical zodiac not defined by weather or seasons, but by sign ruler, element, and mode.

Element and Mode result from the solstices and equinoxes, cannot be explained sidereally. COURSE 102

A lot of bad explanations of nakshatra explanationss out there – based on the mistake that they are permanently integrated with rāśī.


“tropical sucks, I can’t be a Leo.”

“sidereal sucks, there’s no way I could be a Cancer.”

so…. either

astrology sucks, or

uneducated opinions of amateurs are not important for deciding fundamental principles of astrology.

Before you can evaluate you must

(a) clearly understand what you are evaluating (101, 102, 103) and

(b) have a well defined system of evaluation that you will apply uniformly to a reasonably large sample of people (200, 300 series, and my reading).