Astrology, Ayurveda and Science seem like three terms that would not go together. However, it would surprise most people to know that all three have deep, intricate ties with each other. Vedic beliefs talked deeply about the importance of nature and balance. Ayurveda and Astrology, or Jyotishya, are prevalent beliefs that shaped the lives of our ancestors that lived by the Vedas. While one may claim that Astrology and Ayurveda may have some overlapping areas, how could one attribute Science to either, especially considering how Modern Science places very little importance on the two practices? Simply put, Science acts as the basis for the functioning of both Ayurveda and Astrology.
The first discipline that will be discussed in this article is described as one of the limbs of the Vedas or a Vedanga. There are a total of six Vedangas which serve to preserve and better understand the knowledge stored within the Vedas. Two ancient texts, the Rigveda and Yajurveda, talk about Jyotishya (Astrology). Ancient sages described Jyotishya as the Vedanga of sight/foresight. The six Vedangas that supported the Vedas are briefly discussed below:
- Shiksha – The discipline that deals with pronunciation and phonetics.
- Kalpa – The discipline that deals with the ceremonial rituals and traditions.
- Vyakarna – Refers to the discipline that deals with the grammatical aspect of things. This Vedanga is also referred to as the mouth of the Veda Purusha (The primordial being from which the universe was created).
- Nirukta – This Vedanga provides meaning to the text within the Vedas and is also referred to as the ears of the Veda Purusha.
- Chhanda – The word translates to meters, and is the discipline that helps in properly reading the chants or the text. The Chhanda is described as the feet of the Veda Purusha.
- Jyotishya – The discipline that deals with setting auspicious dates and times to different Vedic rituals depending on the position of the various luminous bodies in our sky. The last Vedanga is referred to as the eye of the Veda Purusha.
Jyotishya operates on the principle that “What goes around, comes around”. Our actions or our Karma eventually comes back to us. Based on how we carry ourselves, the universe gives or takes away from us and shapes the course of life. Based on Vedic teachings and Jyotishya one can track or predict how the karma we have sowed comes back to us. The positions of various heavenly bodies and their path of movements greatly affect and influence the final predictions. It was believed that the energy transmitted or reflected by the Planets and other Heavenly bodies played a great role in influencing the fates and actions of everything.
Unlike western astrological beliefs, Jyotishya incorporates the sidereal Zodiac system while its western counterpart makes use of the tropical Zodiac. Additionally, western astrology places greater importance on the effects of the sun and the inner planets (from Mars to Saturn) while Jyotishya places greater importance on the two lunar nodes, Rahu and Ketu. Jyotishya uses the Grahas (The Planets) and Rashis (Zodiac Constellations) to foretell the significant events in a person’s life. Jyotishs describe the Rashi that is present on the eastern horizon during the birth of an individual as their Primary Rashi. The primary Rashi of an individual is also known as their Lagna. The next Rashi in the Zodiac order becomes their second “State of existence” or Bhava and this carries on till the last Rashi.
While Ayurveda aims to cure diseases of the mind and body, Jyotishya is concerned with nurturing and protecting the spiritual counter part of a person. Our ancient seers perfected the science of Jyotishya in such a way that people were made conscious of their strengths and weaknesses so that they could actively try to live out a fulfilling life.
Our country proudly claims heritage to a variety of schools and disciplines, one of which is Ayurveda. The term is derived from two Sanskrit words, Ayur meaning life and Veda meaning knowledge, making Ayurveda “The knowledge of Life”. Ayurvedic healing systems places great importance on the usage of naturally occurring herbs and plants for the various human ailments.
Vedic Astrology and Ayurveda have several significant overlapping fields. Ayurvedic treatment regimens take into account the observations of Jyotishya to maximize healing potential and efficiency. Individuals involved in the study and practice of the two fields sometimes use the term “Ayurvedic Astrology” to refer to the combined approach. For a more detailed article about the combined field of Jyotishya and Ayurveda check out this article.
Our ancestors (one may even call them ancient scientists!) claimed that the influence of various heavenly bodies affected the course of diseases and the spiritual events in a person’s life. Our ancestors believed that by eliminating certain malefic planetary influences, individuals could be cured of their afflictions. The negative influence of each planet on the human body is mentioned below.
Sun – Blood Stream conditions, Digestive Disorders, Anemia, Physical Weakness
Moon – Cough, Cold, Respiratory Issues, Lunacy
Mercury – Ulcers, Nervous Disorders, Acidity, Restlessness
Venus – Asthma, Sexual Diseases, Reproductive Problems, Obsession
Mars – Gastrointestinal Problems, Liver Issues, Skin Diseases
Jupiter – Tooth Ache, Insomnia, Hepatitis
Saturn – Mental Disorders, Neurosis, Rheumatism
Ayurveda suggests the use of various herbs and plants to counter the harmful planetary influences. Herbs like Ashwagandha (for ketu), Chirata (for Jupiter), Brahmi (for Mars and Moon), etc. are commonly recommended treatment. Astral predictions served dual purposes. It helped in identifying which herbs to use for treatment and also identifying the auspicious time for important events and functions.
As an individual branch of knowledge, professionals describe as a medical system that focuses on healing through self-awareness. One must understand the nature and importance of every action, the effects it may have on you and others, the necessity and benefits of it, and so on. If an individual follows an Ayurvedic schedule without really understanding the science behind it all, the process will have been for naught. Only by understanding the importance of our actions and the reasons behind it, will we truly be able to achieve an enlightened and healthy state of being.
One might be of the thought that Science as a discipline denies the knowledge and practices incorporated in Ayurveda and Jyotishya. This is however not entirely true. Thousands of years of refining and adjustment have gone into molding Ayurvedic practices to the state it exists in today. Scientific studies are slowly obtaining hard proof that herbal treatment techniques appear to be a more holistic and efficient treatment approach. Research into the herbs and plants recommended by Ayurveda reveals that most of them contain appreciable levels of active constituents that help in remedying diseases.
Science, Ayurveda and Astrology might seem like unrelated concepts, but each serves as a support structure for the other. Ayurveda and Jyotishya are ancient belief systems derived from scientific concepts. On the other hand, Science benefits and conducts further research based on the findings of the other disciplines. The positive interaction of these three disciplines will result in the progression of human health and medical practices, while also providing a more holistic approach to life.
Reference 2: Averting The Danger That Has Not Yet Come