Here is the collection of excerpts from Swami Vivekananda’s speeches and letters, mentioning his opinion on Astrology.
[…] There was a very powerful dynasty in Southern India. They made it a rule to take the horoscope of all the prominent men living from time to time, calculated from the time of their birth. In this way they got a record of leading facts predicted, and compared them afterwards with events as they happened. This was done for a thousand years, until they found certain agreements; these were generalised and recorded and made into a huge book. The dynasty died out, but the family of astrologers lived and had the book in their possession. It seems possible that this is how astrology came into existence. Excessive attention to the minutiae of astrology is one of the superstitions which has hurt the Hindus very much.
I think the Greeks first took astrology to India and took from the Hindus the science of astronomy and carried it back with them from Europe. Because in India you will find old altars made according to a certain geometrical plan, and certain things had to be done when the stars were in certain positions, therefore I think the Greeks gave the Hindus astrology, and the Hindus gave them astronomy.
I have seen some astrologers who predicted wonderful things; but I have no reason to believe they predicted them only from the stars, or anything of the sort. In many cases it is simply mind reading. Sometimes wonderful predictions are made, but in many cases it is arrant trash.
In London, a young man used to come to me and ask me, “What will become of me next year?” I asked him why he asked me so. “I have lost all my money and have become very, very poor.” Money is the only God of many beings. Weak men, when they lose everything and feel themselves weak, try all sorts of uncanny methods of making money, and come to astrology and all these things. “It is the coward and the fool who says, ‘This is fate’” – so says the Sanskrit proverb. But it is the strong man who stands up and says, “I will make my fate.” It is people who are getting old who talk of fate. Young men generally do not come to astrology. We may be under planetary influence, but it should not matter much to us. Buddha says, “Those that get a living by calculation of the stars by such art and other lying tricks are to be avoided”; and he ought to know, because he was the greatest Hindu ever born. Let stars come, what harm is there? If a star disturbs my life, it would not be worth a cent. You will find that astrology and all these mystical things are generally signs of a weak mind; therefore as soon as they are becoming prominent in our minds, we should see a physician, take good food and rest.
If you can get an explanation of a phenomenon from within its nature, it is nonsense to look for an explanation from outside. If the world explains itself, it is nonsense to go outside for an explanation. Have you found any phenomena in the life of a man that you have ever seen which cannot be explained by the power of the man himself? So what is the use of going to the stars or anything else in the world? My own Karma is sufficient explanation of my present state. So in the case of Jesus himself. We know that his father was only a carpenter. We need not go to anybody else to find an explanation of his power. He was the outcome of his own past, all of which was a preparation for that Jesus. Buddha goes back and back to animal bodies and tells us how he ultimately became Buddha. So what is the use of going to stars for explanation? They may have a little influence; but it is our duty to ignore them rather than hearken to them and make ourselves nervous. This I lay down as the first essential in all I teach: anything that brings spiritual, mental, or physical weakness, touch it not with the toes of your feet. Religion is the manifestation of the natural strength that is in man. A spring of infinite power is coiled up and is inside this little body, and that spring is spreading itself. And as it goes on spreading, body after body is found insufficient; it throws them off and takes higher bodies. This is the history of man, of religion, civilization, or progress. That giant Prometheus, who is bound, is getting himself unbound. It is always a manifestation of strength, and all these ideas such as astrology, although there may be a grain of truth in them, should be avoided.
There is an old story of an astrologer who came to a king and said, “You are going to die in six months.” The king was frightened out of his wits and was almost about to die then and there from fear. But his minister was a clever man, and this man told the king that these astrologers were fools. The king would not believe him. So the minister saw no other way to make the king see that they were fools but to invite the astrologer to the palace again. There he asked him if his calculations were correct. The astrologer said that there could not be a mistake, but to satisfy him he went through the whole of the calculations again and then said that they were perfectly correct. The king’s face became livid. The minister said to the astrologer, “And when do you think that you will die?” “In twelve years”, was the reply. The minister quickly drew his sword and separated the astrologer’s head from the body and said to the king, “Do you see this liar? He is dead this moment.”
If you want your nation to live, keep away from all these things. The only test of good things is that they make us strong. Good is life, evil is death. These superstitious ideas are springing like mushrooms in your country, and women wanting in logical analysis of things are ready to believe them. It is because women are striving for liberation, and women have not yet established themselves intellectually. One gets by heart a few lines of poetry from the top of a novel and says she knows the whole of Browning. Another attends a course of three lectures and then thinks she knows everything in the world. The difficulty is that they are unable to throw off the natural superstition of women. They have a lot of money and some intellectual learning, but when they have passed through this transition stage and get on firm ground, they will be all right. But they are played upon by charlatans. Do not be sorry; I do not mean to hurt anyone, but I have to tell the truth. Do you not see how open you are to these things? Do you not see how sincere these women are, how that divinity latent in all never dies? It is only to know how to appeal to the Divine.The more I live, the more I become convinced every day that every human being is divine. In no man or woman, however vile, does that divinity die. Only he or she does not know how to reach it and is waiting for the Truth. And wicked people are trying to deceive him or her with all sorts of fooleries. If one man cheats another for money, you say he is a fool and a blackguard. How much greater is the iniquity of one who wants to fool others spiritually! This is too bad. It is the one test, that truth must make you strong and put you above superstition. The duty of the philosopher is to raise you above superstition. Even this world, this body and mind are superstitions; what infinite souls you are! And to be tricked by twinkling stars! It is a shameful condition. You are divinities; the twinkling stars owe their existence to you.
I was once travelling in the Himalayas, and the long road stretched before us. We poor monks cannot get any one to carry us, so we had to make all the way on foot. There was an old man with us. The way goes up and down for hundreds of miles, and when that old monk saw what was before him, he said, “Oh sir, how to cross it; I cannot walk any more; my chest will break.” I said to him, “Look down at your feet.” He did so, and I said, “The road that is under your feet is the road that you have passed over and is the same road that you see before you; it will soon be under your feet.” The highest things are under your feet, because you are Divine Stars; all these things are under your feet. You can swallow the stars by the handful if you want; such is your real nature. Be strong, get beyond all superstitions, and be free. […]
super !!! my pranams to swamiji’s lotus feet.
thanks for this site.Very nice and enjoying reading all these and hearing the talks as well.
Many scholars and thinkers have expressed their views on Vedic Astrolgy particularly with respect to the concept of fate. It is amazing how all of these great thinkers without fail have ignored to find out what vedic astrology actually says about the events that transpires in ones life.
Vedic astrology declares that the events in a person’s life is related to Vithi (Blueprint), Mathi (decison making) and Gathi (harnessing spiritual resources).
It is the integrated workings of Vithi, Mathi and Gathi that shapes the events of ones life. The belief that life is shaped by Vithi alone is held only by those ignorant of the fundamentals of Vedic Astrolgy.
I bring this out because great rishis like Agastya are linked to Vedic Astrology and to say that we must move away from Vedic Astrolgy to pursue spirituality needs rethinking. For sure, we have to move away from the popular understanding of astrology which is restricted to only Vithi . We have to understand what the rishis are saying to us in terms of Mathi and Gathi.
Let us not forget that Jyotisha is the eye of the Vedas. When Jyotisha is removed from the Vedas, nothing will remain. It is only Jyotisha that can reveal the seven forms of Agni, the twelve Adityas, the 49 Maruts, the 11 Rudras and the 27 Ghandharvas.
If one undertakes the study of the Rig Veda paying attention to its empirical description of Agni, Indra, Surya, savitar, Mitra, Varuna, Aryaman, Earth and Heaven the truth of the statement ‘Jyotisha is the Eye of the Vedas’ will become apparent.
Let us just talk about things that we have read and understood and leave out the rest. Great rishis of yore have bequeath to us a treasure in the form of jyotisha. Can we take the challenge to unravel its real significance in the midst of the abuses that it has been subjected to.
“Om Sahanavavathu Sahanaubhunakthu………..”
could please let me know the origin of this veda mantra. i mean which veda/upanishid this mantra belong to
Swamiji’s words are full of strength. He made people aware of who they are- children of immortality. What can stars or planets do to them? The universe is their servant. They are the rulers. So everybody should think positive, be pure and unselfish and ascend to the truth. May Swamiji bless one and all! many pranams at his feet……
Swamiji’s elucidation gave me a lot of strength in myself. I am also indebted to Krishian who explained Vithi, Mathi and Gathi. I guess lot of people like me believe Vithi to determine Mathi and Gathi also which is not the case, if I understood properly. Pranams to Swamiji for this great enlightenment and showing the way.
My pranamam to Swamiji
I am a mathematics teacher. My knowledge of Sanskrit is limited to a few keywords related to the Vedas, Vedic Astronomy and Vedic Astrology. I am not a vedic astrologer. However, I have read English translations of the Vedas and the classical works on Vedic Astrology. I am writing this article as a student of Vedic Literature and Vedic Astrology, not as an expert on these subjects.
Vedas, Vedic Astronomy and Vedic Astrology
The heart of my faith is the Rigveda.
The Rigveda deals with both the gross and the subtle. The gross and the subtle are an inseparable pair. The one does not exist without the other! I have carried out my responsibility to understand the descriptions of the gross in the Vedas in the light of modern astronomy. The accuracy of the Vedas, with respect to its description of the gross, gives me the faith to accept its description of the subtle.
The heart of the Rigveda is Vedic Astronomy and Vedic Astrology. Vedic Astronomy deals with the Sun and the ecliptic. Vedic Astrology deals with the Sun and the Rasi Cakra
References for the Sun and the Ecliptic in the Vedas
[Atharva Veda, Book 10]
[ Essence of Vedas, Page 436, Dr B.R. Kishore]
Wherein does the Sun rise, and wherein does he go to rest (ecliptic?), that same I think to be the Supreme. There is nothing whatever that goes beyond.
References for the Rasi Cakra in the Vedas
[Transliteration of Rigveda, Keith Briggs]
1.116.16a satam mesan vrkye caksadanam rjrasvam tam pitandham cakara
1.033.10c yujam vajram vrsabhas cakra indro nir jyotisa tamaso ga aduksat
8.033.18a sapti cid gha madacyuta mithuna vahota ratham
1.064.07c mrga iva hastinah khadatha vana yad arunisu tavisir ayugdhvam
9.089.03a simham nasanta madhvo ayasam harim arusam divo asya patim
6.049.07a paviravi kanya citrayuh sarasvathi virapatni dhiyam dhat
8.003.15c satrajito dhanasa aksitotayo vajayanto ratha iva
1.117.06c saphad asvasya vajino janaya satam kumbham asincatam madhunam
1.121.02c anu svajam mahisas caksata vram menam asvasya pari mataram goh
Vidhi, Mathi and Ghati
The heart of the Rasi Cakra is ‘Viddhi’, ‘Mathi’ and ‘Ghati’
‘Viddhi’, ‘Mathi’ and ‘Ghati’ can only be discussed with reference to Vedic Astrology. These three have precise meaning only in the context of Vedic Astrology. Academic discussions of ‘Vithi’ or ‘Mathi’ are devoid of content or substance.
‘Vithi’ is the blueprint which is based on the planetary positions with respect to the ‘Lagna’ at the time of birth of an individual. The blueprint shows the strengths and weaknesses of the native with respect to health, behaviour and circumstances. This much of Vedic Astrology is understood by ‘modern Vedic Astrologers’ and the masses.
‘Mathi’ is ‘Chandra Balam’, ‘Surya Balam’ and ‘Guru Balam’ which is based on the transit positions of the Moon, Sun and Jupiter with respect to ones ‘Birth Rasi’. These periods of time operate regularly in our lives. ‘Chandra Balam’ operates 6 times each month. ‘Surya Balam’ operates 4 times each year. ‘Guru Balam’ operates 5 times each 12 years. The healing powers of an individual increases during such times. Treatments started at such times will be appropriate and work optimally. Surgery done at such times will be ‘clean’ and heal faster. The opportunities to acquire appropriate career, start a successful business or purchase good property will be optimal during these periods of time as the native will come by accurate information which will enable him to make good decisions. The role of the Vedic Astrologer is to point out such periods of time. His work stops here. Anything beyond this is just trash to earn extra money. It is the responsibility of the individual to take advantage of these ‘auspicious’ periods. There is a saying in Tamil : ‘Good time can do what even the greatest and most powerful person cannot do’. This is understood by a few ‘modern Vedic Astrologers’.
‘Gathi’ is harnessing spiritual resources (soma and prana) that are associated with the Rasi Cakra. This has reference to the transit position of the Sun in the Rasi Cakra. The Vedas talk about the ‘Yagya’ performed in accordance with the seasons. A handful of ‘modern Vedic Astrologers’ know that ‘Gathi’ has reference to the position of the Sun in the Rasi Cakra. That’s is the closest they get. This aspect is very profound as it penetrates into the very depths of the Vedas. I better leave it here!
Opportunities, Obstacles and Experiences
‘Vithi’, ‘Mathi’ and ‘Ghati’ operate independently but concurrently. The signals of ‘Vithi’ start from the centre and move outwards to produce opportunities or obstacles for the individual. As the signals of ‘Vithi’ move outwards, the workings of ‘Mathi’ and ‘Ghati’ augments the opportunities and lessens the obstacles. This point must be observed very carefully. The operation of ‘Vithi’ produces opportunities or obstacles. The operation of ‘Mathi’(auspicious times) and ‘Ghati’ (seasons) modifies the level of opportunities or obstacles. It is the interactions of the individual with these circumstances of opportunities and obstacles that translate into favourable or unfavourable experiences. Thus, two things are of importance here, that is, the timing of the interactions and the level of interactions. The role of the Vedic Astrologer is to indicate the periods of ‘Chandra Balam’, ‘Surya Balam’ and ‘Guru Balam’. His work stops here! It is the responsibility of the individual to take advantage of these favourable periods of time.
Did the rishis of yore, adepts in spirituality, make use of Vedic Astrology (Rasi Cakra) ?
[Rig Veda, Book 2, Sookta 42-43]
[ Rigveda; Dr Rajbali Pandey]
The Kapinjala bird, capable of predicting future events, inspire beings the same way as the boat-man goads his boat. O Bird! Be auspicious to all. May you ever speak sweetly. May Kapinjala bird speak so auspiciously as the Saamgaam hymner chants both the meters: Gayatri and Tritushtup. Like a robust and virile horse neighs to titillate the mare, may you also utter similar beneficial words. O bird! Give advance information about the onset of our welfare. When we have had blessed sons and grandsons we shall again chant hymns in your praise.
From what I decipher of Swamiji, he lays emphasis on hard work, sincerity and zero laziness. We Indians have this tendency on blaming our stars, fate and the like, relegating our efforts in reaching our goal. So swamiji wanted to invigorate us and make us realise the futility of wasting time on such things, sans working hard. We must also observe that when he is talking of such things, he is really transported to a different realm, talking from the ‘soul’ point of view. So from that level, all look trivial. He was the last one to lampoon our scriptures or veda.
Swamiji spoke from the core of his keen observations and rightly condemned the current practices of Vedic Astrology which is deplorable, degrading and destructive. I am an admirer of Swamiji’s frankness, penetrating insight and deep passion to uplift the Indian society. There was an urgency to save the deluded masses from the debilitating beliefs and practices and Swamiji took the lead in this direction.
I would like to apologise unreservedly if there was room in my arcticle to suggest that Swamiji lampooned the vedas. Swamiji is the champion of Vedic Literature.
However, the Rasi Cakra is anchored in the Vedas and whatever is in the vedas is purifying. Our rishis of yore have bequeath to us the knowledge of the Rasi Cakra to serve as a guidance in our lives. Keeping away from the erroneous beliefs pilliard upon ‘vithi’ will save us from many dangers. Keeping away from the truth pilliard upon ‘vithi’ , ‘mathi’ and ‘gathi’ will harm us in many ways.
Jai sree krishna
where is atma or me dwelling in this human body…
jai shree krishna
as i ve read in Garuda puranam… when a soul is given a human birth by the almighty he promises to god he will reallise him in this birth….. then why he forgets his past birth during birth… And agian moves in to samsara loka… why this maya ….
jai sree krishna
lord brahma …… which is come out of lord padmanabha’s navel in the form of lotus… dear swamiji.. why this great power ( lord brahma) is represented as a lotus…….. And why from the navel of the lord…. really confused… if any one can enligten me …. how is brahma , vishnu and maheshwara , interpretted with this reprepesentation…
Many thinkers express their views on Vedic Astrology from time to time. The supporters and revilers alike assume that Vedic Astrology is founded on the following premises:
1. The stars are divine beings who with their supernatural powers rule human
2. The planets are divine beings who with their supernatural powers rule
The above premises are inconsistent with the fact that Vedic Astrology has formulated rules and prepared tables to determine the positions of stars and planets with mathematical precision. The claim that the Vedic Astrologers considered the planets to be divine beings because they were ‘wanderers’ in the spacious sky is laughable when we awaken to truth that these very vedic seers had developed mathematical techniques to determine the position of planets spanning over the entire Maha Yuga. Certainly, this cannot be done for ‘wanderers’! The inescapable conclusion is that the vedic seers never conceived the stars and planets to be supernatural beings with erratic and whimsical behaviour.
Revelation of the Vedas
Atharva Veda, Book 1, Hymn 1, Ralph T.H. Griffith
Now may Vachaspati (producer of sound?) assign to me the strength and power of those who wearing every shape and form (moving in the zodiac?), the triple(A, U and M components of each musical note?) seven (planets?), are wandering round.
Atharva Veda, Book 1, Hymn 2, Ralph T.H. Griffith
Come thou again (cyclic movement?), Vachaspati (sound producing planets?), come with divine intelligence (moving in well defined paths?).
Model of Vedic Astrology
The Rasi Cakra is the space that is centred on the earth and pervades the ecliptic plane. The seven ‘planets’ transit and strum this space thereby producing a complex matrix of sound vibrations that pervades the entire solar system. This matrix of sound is the domain of Vedic Astrology. The constellations along the ecliptic are mere markers for the twelve variegated spaces of the Rasi Cakra and have no significance beyond this.
Thus, the planets are strummers, the stars are markers and the matrix of sound in the Rasi Cakra is the blueprint of ‘Vithi’, ‘Mathi’ and ‘Ghati’.
The source of all the 18 Puranas is said to be Purana Samhita.
How can the Puranas be a record of History when they are based upon Purana Samhita?
What is Purana Samhita? Could it be the starry sky? What are the Puranas?
Could the stories in the Puranas be the greatest work of creativity drawing upon the starry sky?
CHAPTER EIGHT ORDER OF THE SUN, STARS AND CONSTELLATIONS
Towards the north of Saptarishi constellation, where polestar is situated, there is an abode of Lord Vishnu. Only those sages can reach there who are free from faults and whose sins and pious deeds have been attenuated. Supremely brilliant Dhruva stays in the abode of Vishnu. Every other thing is dependent upon Dhruva. All the Nakshatras also depend on Dhruva. On Nakshatras depend the clouds and on the clouds depends the rain and on the rains depend the nourishment of entire world. Thus, all the other things come to depend upon Dhruva.
The sacred Ganges which is the destroyer of every sin also rises from the abode of Lord Vishnu. Dhruva bears the Ganges on his head. Flowing through the sphere of the Moon, the Ganges falls on Mount Meru and flows in every direction to sanctify the entire world.
Starry, chameleon-like appearance of Lord Vishnu can be seen in the night sky. A polestar is present in its tail. All the other stars, the Sun, the Moon and other planets are present on different parts of this chameleon and go round the polestar. Uttanpad’s son Dhruva had pleased this chameleon-like appearance of Lord Vishnu with his penance and sought a fixed position in His tail. Even the Sun is dependent on Dhruva.
PDF 18 Major Puranas – International Gita Society