Graha from the Suryasiddhant

Vedic philosophy is not theoretical, it is completely practical. Prime importance is given to the one who Experiences. Obviously things have to be in motion to be observed and experienced. This motion is either in time or in space or in both.

First we intend. The intention is first created in the mind, then powered with various mantra, other energy rituals and their practice. Often these will result in events/creation which are perceived in real life, e.g. financial benefits, getting a child, a job, or spiritual progress. Then we have the inner Universe where we can never get physical proofs, subjects like the soul, birth, death and rebirth, karma, etc, so we use the science of Illumination to learn about these hidden truths.iu.jpgMost modern astrologers have this opinion that the Vedic system was unaware of the trans-Saturn planets thus did not use them. This is faulty thinking, as ‘graha’, the forces in astrology are erroneously translated to mean ‘planets’. The trans-Saturnian planets were quite well known to the ancient astronomers as Shwet/ Uranus, Shyam/ Neptune and Teevra/ Pluto but were never used in Jyotish because they are not ‘graha’.

The basis of all Jyotish mathematics is the Suryasiddhant written by Mayadanav in Sanskrit. This is the oldest book on astronomy and everything related to the movement of the earth and heavenly bodies. We still use this as the basis of all our calculations. There is no estimation on when it was written. This book is not correctly and completely understood even today. If you are interested it is available as a pdf on Just an example, it mentions the avg length of the tropical year to be 365.2421756 days and the modern value is accepted at 365.2421904 days!

So Suryasiddhant gives the Jyotish definition of ‘graha’. A small maths,

  • As per the Suryasiddhant the motion of the Sun in time is called the kaksh/zone of the Sun. This is generally understood to be one Solar year long, and the Sun moves within this Kaksh/zone.
  • The zone of Saturn is 29.47 times the Sun’s zone. This can be simply understood as 29.47 solar years, which is also the time he takes to complete one revolution around the Sun.
  • After that the next planet is Uranus, he occupies a zone 84 times that of the Sun’s zone. For simple understanding this is the 84 solar years that it takes to make one complete revolution around the Sun.
  • Now the Lunar mansions/Nakshatra also have a similar zone in time (Bhakaksh). This zone is 60 times of the zone of the Sun. i.e. 60 solar years. The belt of the Nakshatra/the zodiac has a ‘orbital’ motion around the Sun which is 60 solar years long. A point to understand here, we are talking in terms of time not ‘outer space‘.

Now ‘graha’ is not a planet, it is defined by its astrological influences perceptible on Earth. As per Suryasiddhant, the outermost limit of astrological influence is the Bhakaksh, the zone of the Nakshatra/Lunar mansions who make up the Zodiac belt. No heavenly body beyond this zone has astrological impact on us on the Earth. Thus Saturn is the farthermost graha which is within the Bhakaksh boundary.

One point to be noted, we are talking in ‘time’. The Nakshatras are linked to the stars which are much beyond the solar system, but we are not talking about the physical stars/constellations here. We are analysing the effects of the energies of the belt of the Zodiac/the Nakshatra belt. There is no physical object between the zone of Saturn and the zone of Uranus. We are discussing the time it takes for these heavenly bodies to move and their movement in relation to the movement of the Sun.

This movement of the Bhakaksh is very important and mundane astrologers find events repeating themselves with each cycle of the Bhakaksh. The cycle is of 60 solar years (one solar year is 365 days 6 hours 12 minutes and 36 seconds ) These 60 solar years, which constitute the zone/Bhakaksh of the Nakshatra belt, have names (From ‘Prabhava’ to Akshara’ there are 60 names) and are used in predictions. There is a separate section in astrology called Medini Jyotish which deals with the land and the people both in time and space on a much larger scale. What we are using at present is Hora Jyotish or Phalit-Jyotish which gives predictions of individuals.

If you are interested do search on a phenomenon called ‘Teleconnections’ in global events. There is a cycle of 60 solar years in weather etc phenomena of the earth which are a part of Medini Jyotish. However we do not have experts on Medini Jyotish anymore, as after the Hindu empires collapsed about a thousand years ago there was no one left who knew how to use these concepts. No one was really interested in long term astrological calculations of nations and thus we stopped using the yamala tantras and the chakras and other tools of Medini astrology.

So to answer the question, in Vedic astrology we do not use the trans-Saturnine planets as they are not ‘graha’.


sun(This was a reply to a question on trans-Saturnine planets not being used in Vedic astrology, I hope it was of some help.)

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