The sensible origins of astrology
I have been theorizing about this for years now. After looking at Parasara’s Astrology for Agriculture., this is what struck my mind…
- How do you determine a good time to plant seeds etc? It is dependent on weather.. sun, rain and so on. And these are dependent on seasons. Seasons can be predicted using a calendar and the fundamental calendar is the sidereal or stellar calendar., ie The sun covers 108 padas of 27 nakshatras in one year and then you are back to spring except for that miniscule error due to precession of equinoxes.
- Who keeps track of the calendar in days when only only rishis had all the instruments, time and techinical know how? The Jyotisha or the guy who studied the lights in the sky. There were no printed calendars and cell phones with google sky maps in them. Ordinary people relied on the jyotishas the way we might rely on a weather channel in the western world.
- It was the Jyotisha who reckoned the days for you and told you about when to plant seeds, breed cattle and so on.
- It was the Jyotisha who could tell you good seasons to travel and get married without the rains ruining your outdoor celebrations.
- It was also perhaps the jyotisha who extended his knowledge of the seasons as applied to plants and animals to human and social affairs.
- If something planted in x month under y nakshatram is likely to grow, then may be that’s a good day to conceive a child? Maybe someone who is crowned a king on that day will prosper? Today we might not find such connections logical.. but 5000-6000 years ago.. they might have considered it worth researching.
Parasara was the grandson of Vasishta who gave us our method of fixing muhurtas or auspicious times for events. Astronomy was a *family affair for them with Parasara’s son, Vyasa also authoring an Astronomical Siddhanta. But both Vyasa and Parasara were very clear that people had to make their efforts and not rely on fate. Fate was to be used to understand situations, which did not fructify after the best human efforts.
(* I have not found any astronomical work of Vasishtas’s son Sakthi (Parasara’s father) or Vyasa’s son Suka so far.. and all indications are that Vyasa’s grandson Duryodhana was rather weak at astronomy.)
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