Volume 15

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”

Edith Wharton

It’s the Venus Show

I have gotten good feedback from some of you who are enjoying relating to the natural sky so let's check some great opportunities to see Venus. VEnus is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the bright Moon. No wonder Venus is associated with such meanings as charisma and allure.

On December 26th at around an hour after sunset, there will be a lovely sky with a very bright Venus in the southwest just to the left of a crescent Moon. Up and to the right of the Moon is Altair which is the marker star for the nakshatra of Shravana. It is located just shy of 18 degrees Capricorn and is the furthest north of all the nakshatra marker stars at 17 degrees 55 north of the ecliptic.

All through January and February 2012, Venus will be beautiful to behold as it blazes in the southwest sky. A particularly striking combination will take place on February 26th around two hours after sunset when Venus, Jupiter and a first quarter Moon will be very close together in the southwest . Above and to the left of this gorgeous combination is the bright reddish star Aldebaran, one of the brightest of the zodiacal stars. It is called Rohini in the Jyotisha tradition and marks the nakshatra of that name.

Brilliant Venus and Jupiter will continuing closing the gap between them culminating on March 13th when they will be within the same degree forming what is known as a planetary war (graha yuddha). Venus will be the brighter of the two as they try to share the same piece of celestial real estate.

Bundle up and enjoy the show!

The Limbs of Jyotisha

The thorough study of Jyotisha involves immersion in six fundamental areas. These limbs of Jyotisha share essential concepts and principles but also contribute unique viewpoints and techniques for understanding the otherwise veiled currents of karma in our lives.

The six limbs are Gola, Ganita, Hora, Prashna, Muhurta and Nimitta. I will write about each one of these in the next few newsletters.

The first limb is Gola which is essentially the geometry of the cosmic sphere. All of the relationships between the “lords of light” fall into this category. Observations of the stars, grahas and astronomical phenomenon form the basis of the key principles of Jyotisha.

Based on these observations, certain inferences were made by the great seers who further developed the body of precepts that would be passed along through the generations. For example, the cycles of when the five true planets were bright and visible in the sky and when they were lost in the corona of the Sun and therefore not so visible led to critically important understandings of when those planets would be strong or weak in a person's karmic pattern as seen by the chart.

An astrological chart is a symbolic representation of the natural sky as observed at a particular moment in time. Modern day Western astrologers and Jyotishis tend to study their computer print outs of charts rather than the sky. There are some legitimate reasons for this in our contemporary world but there is also something precious lost. We need to marry the convenience of the computer with a commitment on the part of the astrologer to deeply understand that the chart diagram is a real map of how the heavens looked at the time of a birth. Much richer unfoldment of the cosmic pattern can come if the Jyotishi envisions how the natural sky looks based on the symbolical representations in the chart and how that impacts the observer.

For example, what if someone has a pattern where all the planets are above the horizon and therefore able to be seen rather than below the horizon where their positions are inferred rather than directly observed. It is not a great leap to imagine that such charts could result in a life pattern where these people are literally visible. They seem to be in situations in life where they are out in front of the public in some way.

This process of formulating the basic tenants of Jyotisha based on the direct experience of the sky is the most powerful and primary tool of this beautiful tradition. The patterns of the cosmic kaleidoscope are infinite and the great limb of Gola is our vehicle for starting to interpret the magical songs of the heavenly bodies.

The Media Corner

Bhagavad Gita

Translated by Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Lovers of the Indian tradition consider the Bhagavad Gita to be the jewel of their libraries. It has often been referred to as the fifth Veda. The Gita distills the wisdom of the Upanishads in the form of a timeless dialog between the ideal student, Arjuna who in his despair surrenders to his divine guru Lord Krishna and receives the blessing of the highest truth.

Swami-ji has created a beautiful edition that is full of clarity and light. It is ideal for ready reference, chanting and daily reading. Great care was taken to render the verses succinctly while preserving the essential meaning. The devanagari and transliteration are beautifully printed and the volume is compact and light enough to travel easily.

It is available at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam bookstore and available to purchase online. ISBN: 978 81-903636-8-6