About Hinduism and India

Astrology is part of Vedanga, the study of which required constant practice. It is scientific that Planets of our solar system affect the body and mind of all living beings. Our thoughts and actions reflect the state of our body and mind. Our actions and consequent reactions sum up our life. All are inter-related.

From time immemorial humans have been trying to study the effect of planetary positions on life.  Our sages analyzed the positions and effect of planets and related the same to occurrences in real life. Their experimentation led to the development of Astrology to the extent that they could forecast future events like weather forecasts. With passage of time the predictive use of Astrology was professionalized by Brahmans.

Like people carry rain coats and umbrellas to prepare for anticipated showers, astrological rituals were devised to minimize sufferings and enhancing happiness in life. The popularity of this science can be gauged from the fact that even today our daily routines start with TV channels and news-papers giving tip for the day to avoid misfortunes. Every country has beliefs in one or more branches of Astrology ranging from mathematical calculations, Palmistry, Gemology, Occult, Witch craft, Black magic and whatever else one could imagine.

The Science of Astrology

Indian Astrology, called Jyotish Vigyana, is universal and timeless. It originated from Vedic Scriptures. The Rig Veda lists a number of stars and mentions twelve divisions of the Sun’s yearly circular path. A circle can be divided into 360 degrees from the center. Thus, the path of 360 degrees has been divided into twelve sectors. Each sector is called a Rashi.  A name and identification sign is allotted to every Rashi matching to the shape of the cluster of stars identified on the path of Sun. Using mythology as a training aid, the Sun’s annual course was artistically explained as a wheel with twelve spokes that correspond to the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Planetary Effect

According to Indian Astrologers, the planetary effect is not similar on all living beings at any one time. It is dynamic according to the time and place of birth and position of different planets in the sky. Every planet has its distinct positive or negative effect on body and mind, but it is the accumulated effect of all planets that is finally considered for making forecast. Negative effects can be minimized by enhancing positive effects and vice versa, like changing diet of a person having unstable blood pressure.

In the Vedic system Moon rules the emotional nature of a person. It is well-known that the planets with their large magnetic fields and gravitational interaction with the Earth, affect it physically. The Indian astrology defines the actual traits of an individual, marital compatibility, and the future based on the position of planets at the time and place of birth.

Indian astrology is the study of the subtle energies, which make up our world. While evaluating a horoscope under Indian astrology, nothing more is looked beyond the blending of energies, which can combine in an infinite variety of ways. As energetic beings, each one of us is composed of a combination of energies, which makes up the sum total of our being. Each individual is created by a particular combination of planetary gravitational pulls exerted in different degrees, from different angles, and in different quantities. The multitude of possible combinations accounts for the variety of personalities, mentalities, physiques, as well as emotional and intellectual constitutions.

Bhrigu Samhita

On the basis of all possible planetary combinations, Sage Bhrigu made several calculations to cover astrological effect on humans born during that period.  Those birth charts (Kundalies) were compiled in Bhrigu Samhita, and interpretations of each birth chart could reveal the traits of persons born at the specific time and place.  Over the period, the original treatise disappeared.  However few pages of the same are reported to be in the possession of certain families. If the birth chart of any person matches with Kundali held by the family, his life can be predicted accurately. The practicing families claim that even previous and future births of the person can also be predicted on the basis of Kundali. However the possibility of fake birth charts and fake forecasters cannot be ruled out in this business.

Applied Astrology

There is an interesting instance.  Once, Emperor Shahjahan wanted to test a Hindu astrologer who had come to visit him from Kashi.  As directed, the astrologer made his calculations and wrote his prediction. On orders from the Emperor, without reading, the written prediction was locked in a box, with keys securely held by the Emperor himself. Thereafter Shahjahan moved around in Delhi, the capital city for some time as he used to do. He pretended to enter the outer city wall through one after another several gates but every time he changed his plans. Finally, he ordered the outer wall to be demolished at one place and made his entry to the city. On his return the sealed box was opened and the prediction was read out. To Shahjahan’s surprise it had been predicted that the Emperor would re-enter the city through a new passage!

Importance of Activism

However, Hinduism does not breed fatalistic approach, but emphasizes activism. Hinduism lays more stress on doctrine of Karma.

It is to be remembered that Astrology predicts traits inherited by a person, but the traits can be altered with effort, will power, and through the effect of environment. Traits create mental make-up of a person to initiates action resulting that produce conducive effects in life. Thus, Astrological predictions are to be taken as a cautionary warning before the catastrophe surprised the individual. A fore warned person can prepare in advance and minimize the impending damage by counter actions. One is required neither to be over optimistic, nor to be sullied by future predictions.

Science of Palmistry

Parallel to Astrology, another science in predictions is Palmistry that also had its origin in India. Devarishi Narda is attributed to have founded this art. Many other Rishies were also contributors to the development of Palmistry, such as Sages Gautama, Bhrigu, Kashyapa, Atreya and Garga. Maharishi Valmiki also composed 567 verses on the art of Palmistry. Astronomer Varahmihir has also elaborated on Palmistry in his treatise on Astronomy.

From the ancient texts on Palmistry, Samudrik Shastra, Ravna Samihta and Hasta Sanjivini are available today. During third century BC, the knowledge of Palmistry was exported to China, Tibet, Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Iran. It spread further to Greece and further to other European countries. In all the countries, the identification of lines on human palms is matching to the original Indian interpretations. Expectantly, there are minor differences in predictions however.

Arun Samhita

This original ancient text in Sanskrit is also known as Lal Kitab (Red Book) and it has been translated in to many languages. It is believed that knowledge of Palmistry was given to Demon King Ravana by Aruna, the mythological charioteer of Sun God. This combined the practical aspects of Birth Chart (Kundali), Palm reading and Samudrik Shastra. Those who disbelieve birth charts could rely on Arun samhita to solve their problems in life. Obviously this book has been more popular in the countries that did not follow the system of birth charts.

Rationale behind Palmistry

The rationale behind Palmistry is that marking of lines on each human palm is different to the palm of the other according to the time and place of every person. This fact has now been accepted by the modern science that no two persons on globe have identical finger prints. This knowledge is being used in forensic science not only for crime detection but for establishing conviction also. Bio-metric identity cards are being relied as sure sign to establish identification of persons. Same way predictions made on the basis of Palmistry are not of general nature but case specific. Nature imprints the feelings and traits on the hands of every person at the time of his birth in accordance with planetary effect of stars. Based on traits, capabilities and achievements are formed, but in accordance to the efforts of the individual.

Science of Phrenology

Related to this is the science of Phrenology. Nature has designed several variations in facial features and every person has a different personality from the other. Thus face is regarded as index of a person. Through experimentation (Anaga Vishleshna) several deductions were made by ancient Rishies. We can see the practical application of this science in films, TV productions and Theaters. Some prominent examples can be found in the make-up given to a proud person. Person shall have a very prominent nose. Small fore head is used to depict a person slow on up-take, while broad fore head is sign of intellect. Villainous characters and corrupt have crookedness written on their face.

The effect of this science is so powerful that people can judge the inner make-up of theatrical characters from watching them outwardly without having them perform any action or dialogue. All body parts have been assigned specific characteristics. Body Language and Hand Writing analysis are forward extensions of the same science.


Indian astrology and Gemology came to be studied and applied together in India. Diamonds were first mined in India. Maharshi Shounaka had classified diamonds into four classes, such as – Khanija, Kulaja, Shilaja and Kritaka. This is a subject of Physics.

Ratna Pradeepika dealt with diamonds, precious stones and pearls. It also mentioned the manufacturing of artificial diamonds with the help of borax, salts of alum, and Oshawa.

Kautiliya described diamond in Arthashastra as a big and heavy object that is capable of scratching, bearing blows with symmetrical points, and revolving like a spindle with brilliantly excellent shine. Today this kind of knowledge is being used in computerized satellites.

Besides diamonds, Indians were well conversant with the properties of other precious stones that were used in ornaments, medicine and as cures for certain psychological disorders. Gems and Precious Stones were worn on different body parts to attract effect of heavenly bodies for various purposes. In Mahabharata there is reference that Pandvas extracted a blue sapphire from the fore head of Ashwathama, who had slaughtered siblings of Pandavas in cold blood.

Prior to the advent of scientific knowledge, different gems were associated with gods and goddesses to cure disorders and at the same time for enhancing the suitable effect. The properties of gems and other precious stone are a subject matter of science as well as faith. Hinduism has blended Science and Faith, and has supported both side by side.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 37/ 72 – Founders of Medicine and Longevity)



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