Astrology in Vedas and Puranas
Vedas: The Vedas are one of the earliest literary sources available to us. The period during which they were written is known as the Age of the Vedas.
The word ‘Veda’ means knowledge. There are four Vedas- Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. They contain hymns in praise of various gods and goddesses. These hymns were recited and passed from one generation to the next until many centuries later, they were finally written down. Since the Vedas are our main source of information, the period from 1500- 600 BCE is called the Vedic Age.
The Rig Veda is the oldest Veda. It was composed about 3500 years ago. It is divided into 10 ‘mandals’ or books and contains 1028 hymns. These hymns are in praise of different gods such as Indra, the god of rain, storm and war; Agni, the fire-god; Varun, the sky-god and many others. The hymns were composed in Vedica Sanskrit. Priests recited these hymns and students were expected to memorize them.
Astrology and Vedas: Astrology i.e. Jyotisha is part of Vedas. In Rig- Veda there are about thirty Slokas on astrology. In Yajura Veda forty- four and in Atharva Veda one hundred and sixty two Slokas on Astrology.
Division of Time:
Rig Veda gives us reference to division of year into 12 lunar months. To adjust the lunar year with the solar year, the Hindu sagas added one llunar month known as Adhika Masa or Mala Masa every third year. Rigveda says that a year consists of 12 months or 360 days or 720 days and nights or 360 days plus 360 nights:
द्वादवश प्रधयश्चक्रमेक॑ त्रीणि नभ्यानि कउ तच्चिकेत।
तस्मिन्त्साकं द्विशता न शंकवोउर्पिता: षष्टिनं चलाचलास:॥
In Atharva Veda for appeasement of blemishes on account of child’s birth in Ganda Moola Nakshatra, Agni Deva and other Devatas are prayed to grant the child long life. They are requested to ward off the evils and give only beneficial results, vide:
ज्येष्टधयां जातो विचृतोर्यमस्यमूलवर्णात् परिपालयेनम्।
अत्येनं नेषद्दुरितानि विश्वा दीर्घायुत्वाय शतशारदाय॥
Astrology and Puranas: Our Sagas developed another immortal classic known as Puranas, which also contains seeds of astrology.
Lord Vishnu in form of monthly Aaditya is worshipped by respective sages. Gandharvas sing the song in praise of Aasitya. Apsaras dance before AAdityas, Rakshas follows the chariots of Aaditya. Sarpas or Nag decorate the chariots of Aadityas. Yakshas act as charioteers of Aadityas.
मासेष्वेतेषु मैत्रेय. वसन््येते तु सप्तका:।
सवितुर्मण्डले बहान्विष्णुशक्त्युपबृहिंता: ॥
स्तुवन्तिमुनय: सूर्य गन्धवैगीयते. पुरः।
नृत्यन्त्यप्ससो यान्ति सूर्यस्थानु निशाचरा:॥
वहन्ति पन्नगा यक्षै क्रियते3भीषुसड ग्रह: ॥
Chapter 10 second part, Vishnu puran
In another part Parashar says The Sun soaks water from earth for 8 months and pours it for remaining 4 months.
पुच्छेग्निश"्व. महेन्द्रश्य॒ कश्यपोउथ ततो.. श्रुव:॥
तारका शिशुमारस्थ नास्तमेति चतुष्टयम्॥"”
Chapter 12 Second part,Vishnu Puran
According to Vishnu Purana, Jaimini was disciple of Veda Vyasa and Parasar was the father of Veda Vyas. Vishnu Purana prescribe a code of conduct. It says that Chaturdasi, Ashtami, Amavasya, Purnima and Surya Sankranti are pious days. Use of oil, woman and meat on such days was forbidden.
““चतुर्दश्यष्टमी चैब तथा मा चाथ पूर्णिमा।
पर्वाण्येतानि राजेन्द्र रविसंक्रान्तरिव च॥
तैलस्त्रीमांससंभोगी सर्ेष्वेतेषु वै पुमान्।
विण्मूत्रभोजनं॑ नाम प्रयाति नरक॑ मृतः॥”!
chapter 11, 3rd Part of Vishnu Purana