Astrology and Ayurveda have gone hand-in-hand since the beginning of time, and the ancient Hindu system of Jyotish (astrology) is much older and complex than the West.
Here, Durgadas explains Vedic Astrology and Ayurveda
Ayurveda and Astrology
If we are to admit to karma and samsara (reincarnation), then we have to look at the sauksmikapariksha or subtle examination of such factors by way of Vedic astrology!
We first have to realise that while astronomy is the physical science, astrology is the subtle science. It relates to the existence of the saukshma sharira (subtle body) and the karana sharira (causal body) through the accumulation of karma. The birth-chart and chart in Vedic astrology is basically a "karmic map" of our subtle and causal bodies and reveals the various karmas and like-works that, in any one given lifetime, we have to work out, especially relative to the subtle aspects such as the mind and causative factors behind physical disease (often congenital and life-threatening or incurable).
In this system, there is no fate or destiny. We are bound by our own actions and their own various reactions as a result of such - hence, even congenital diseases and our constitutional nature are born from subtle factors arising from past-actions that are revealed through the charts. Vedic astrology has many vargas or harmonic charts, which also reveal the complex combinations or "karmic significators" of the past, just as physical examination of a patient reveals physical symptoms, their manifestation and origin biologically.
Ayurvedic classics state that the cause of these effects or disorders, is karmic and due to negative karmic actions in the past (Charaka Samhita, Nidanasthana, VII.10, VII.19-20).
Likewise, while Ayurveda recognises that atmaja (genetic) disorders derive from the ovum or sperm or mother or father, the primal or karana (causal) form of this is also karmic, and causes afflictions as a result in the embryo, as also to the psyche:
“All foetuses have four elements (all except ether – viz. wind, fire, water and earth) which are fourfold also as maternal, paternal, nutritional and self-borne. Because of them the dominant factors arise from past-life deeds of the parents and resemble the physical appearance. Likewise the mental state is also determined by the past lives or species.”
-Charaka Samhita, Shaririasthana, II.23-27
“According to past karmas (actions), form arises from form and mind from mind. Whatever difference is seen in the physique and psyche is caused by rajas (passion) and tamas (darkness, ignorance) as well as the past karmas.”
-Charaka Samhita, Sharirasthana, II.36
“The gross body is formed from ones past-life activities (purva-karmas) out of the gross elements (bhutas) formed by the union of the subtle elements with each other and is the medium of experience for the Soul. That is the waking state in which it perceives gross objects.”
Charaka Samhita (Vimanasthana, VIII.95) also confirms that by the constitution of the sperm and ovum, food and behaviour of the Mother and of the products of the five elements, the dosha or the Prakriti, the biological constitutional nature of the individual becomes manifest as such – either Vata, Pitta, Kapha or a combination thereof. Our present state of constitution or biology, psyche and health then, all derives according to Ayurveda (as modern medicine) from our parents, but ultimately, from past-life actions.
Diseases (Vikriti) however are another issues and also come out as a result of past karmas or seeds and actions that one does and affects us also:
“Deeds in previous lives are known as ‘Daiva’ (divine) and those from the present life as ‘Paurusha’ (pertaining to man). These in an unbalanced manner cause diseases, which in balance they avoid them.”
-Charaka Samhita, Sharirasthana, II.44
The Vedic system believes that the cosmos is formed of five elements (ether, air, fire, water and gross matter) and underlying these is the concept of anutva (atoms) which are composed of paramanus (sub-atomic particles). Within these most subtle aspects also exist life or consciousness beyond the physical state.
Ancient Hindu Yogis Hindus understood the finer properties of substances by samyana (yogic concentration) and practical examinations and experimentation. As such, atomic structures of various organic and non-organic matter was first understood by them in the science of Vaisheshika or atomism by which Yogis could penetrate into the ethers and perceive the unseen (Vaisheshika Sutras, IX.1.13). Various compositions here of various classes of matter hence have their own unique properties, which include gemstones and also Solar-rays and heat.
The great author Sushruta (Sushruta Samhita, Sutrasthana XLVI. 329-330) states of gemstones as pearl, coral, diamond, cats eye, quartz crystal etc. that they are good for the eyes, have a cold (shita) potency, are scraping (lekhana) in action, destroy poisons (visha - here meaning airborne bacteria, astral entities and diseases and by cooling the body help in their effect) and negate the effects of negative karmas (papa-karmas) and ward off inauspiciousness (alakshmi) and malas (impurities or wastes of the body).
The effects of gemstones hence have such subtle properties also and effects on the doshas, especially when against the skin and producing heat (of the body and sun / light), but also why they are worn for long periods or decades, not simply short-periods of time. We can also compare these to how Ayurveda also notes the effects of such things as moonlight, directions of the wind blowing, various seasons and climates etc. upon the doshas in the body also, relating to their aggravation and alleviation (depending on one's age, digestive strength, biological constitution, sex, disease etc.).
The Bhagavata Purana states that two "Paramanus" constitute an "Anu" or an Atom and three Anus (Atoms) make a Trasarenu (Six atoms). (III.11.5). Behind these is consciousness (chetana, chid), described as Agni or Fire.
Agni, the concept of fire in all things and as primal consciousness thus enters all things, starting at the subatomic level (paramanus) and forming the elements, down to all creation itself as consciousness. Two paramanus come together and are said to form an anu or a molecule. Three anus or molecules (thus, six paramanus) constitute a trasarenu (tri-molecule) and thus from the beginning of this, through heat and friction, agni begins entering into creation as we know it:
"Present in the celestial realm, in earth, all-present Agni,-all plants that grow on ground has he pervaded. "
As such, this force of agni behind all as consciousness, is also the force that can burn, consume and negate the most subtle forces and energies that exist behind disease, as both Ayurvedic and Vedic texts note. The Vedic people did not simply look up to the sky and envision an old man on a throne who magically destroys diseases, but understands how they are manifested from their most subtle aspects, behind even the subatomic level!
The planetary devatas or deities however, are a reality along one level. They are not simply imaginary nor mythological, but represent the higher conscious-collections beyond the physical manifestation, just as we have noted the subtle and causal origin of disease from past-lives. The celestial bodies of planets in Vedic astrology relate to the more antara (inner) forms of the physical planets, just as our own jivatman (soul) does of our own physical body or as we have astral and causal bodies that are not quite the same as the physical in terms of qualities and size, but influence it nonetheless.
Astrological or inner (not astronomical, outer) planets themselves are hence much like the rays of the Sun giving us heat and light compared to these more subtle cosmic energies, which are like the Sun - the source of light and heat, but more subtle. We can compare them also to smell or wind - smell and wind cannot be seen, but is sensed and is real.
So, too, are the devatas or illuminated forces are personified as "deities" behind these as guiding-forces on a more supra-cosmic level. They represent the consciousness within the most subtle matter or subatomic particles (paramanus) as their subtle form that comprise the gross manifestation of elements (bhutas) they relate to and the bhutas themselves and how to access their potentials.
In older ages, they were perceptible, as humanity was more sattvic (had purity and clarity of the senses and perception) in the Satya-Yuga or age of truth and was more reliant on subtle methods as Yoga than physical methods and more in-tune with nature than processed or artificial goods and cultures. As human intellect became less aware and more physical in nature, they were no longer sensed as humans had replaced their subtle Yogic sensory-perceptions with more gross perceptions and dulling substances (at first garlic, onions, mushrooms and later meats, alcohols and even later chemical substances, processed foods etc.).
These subtle factors hence have to be taken into consideration in the healing process, especially in disorders such as cancer that have a more subtle causative origin beyond their physical manifestation in the body, often owing from past karmas or actions. As karmic significators and symbols, planetary deities are called grahas since they seize or grab hold of the individual. Graha also implies that one is possessed or seized by a their own karmas (sometimes personified), of which there are numerous classes in the Ayurvedic texts, that first produce mental and emotional disorders by attacking themanasika ojas or mental vitality and impairing the sattvic buddhi or our pure perception of intellect or mental metabolism and gives rise to physical diseases as a result of this.
For this reason, the ancient Vedic texts, composed in a more subtle age when humanity was more in-tune with nature, employed more subtle techniques for physical diseases, understanding theirmulakaranas or causal root-causes and used techniques as mantras, pujas (offerings), havanas (fire ceremonies), gemstones and sacred chants, charms and amulets to ward off these negative subtle forces behind the physical disease (i.e. purgation of karmas), as also with herbs. As time went on however, the need for emphasis on herbs, then complex formulas and finally, surgery arose with Sri Dhanwantari of Kashi (Varanasi), who taught it to his student Sushruta and from there progressed to the rest of the world.
Rituals such as poojas (devotional offerings), seva (selfless service or volunteer work), dhana (charity), havanas (fire-offerings), which cultivate detachment, bring in the idea of sattvas (purity) and dharma (righteousness) to the person by such psychotherapy techniques that are employed in Ayurveda. Note these were more psycho-karmic in nature alone and did not work directly upon the physical body, which was seen as manifesting the results of subtle karmic afflictions.
The Havana or fire-ceremony itself is more of a physical technique, also known to destroy airborne bacteria, viruses and also impart nice smells etc. which are pleasing to the psyche, as also by the fire itself, awakens vivekagni or discrimination and mental metabolism in people, which is not properly functioning when there is psychological unrest or the mind has become tainted by outside forces or entities.
Various medications and reciting hymns (music therapy) are also noted in the texts, as well as specific herbs and formulas for the mind to help clear the manovahasrotas or mental channels of impurities or chemical imbalances and impart proper cognitive functions to the mind.
These rituals also help to reduce the karana-nidanas or causal factors that have caused them - the karmic factors as "karmic reduction methods" by accruing punya karmas (good karmas) and positive vasanas or mental traits as a result and forcing out the papa-karmas or bad actions that have caused these (before the genetic and other stages - i.e. why we are fated with such diseases or issues).
By doing so and imparting sattvas or clarity and truth to the mind physically, this acts subtly also on our chitta or mind-stuff that stores all past vasanas or samskaras (karmic mental traits and impressions of past-lives) and transforms them, as it were, thus altering the (physical) outcome of the disease as a result (rectifying the root-cause of these), especially in the case of cancer, where negative entities become like parasites and live off our ojas, our vitality and our prana or life-force itself.
Charaka (Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana, XI.46, 54) states of these therapies, that they are there to keep the mind freed of unwholesome objects (or from performing bad actions, further complicating the disease) and hence their employment in treatment (mano-nigraha - attempts to subdue the mind), which constitutes the threefold approach of (i) Sattvavajaya or psychological therapies - of which (ii)Daivavyapashraya, the "divine therapies" or spiritual therapies hence form an integral part of and are done along with (iii) Yuktivyapashraya, that is, rational therapies as dietary therapies, clinical methods, detoxification including surgery, rejuvenation (where required) as well as herbs and formulas for the mind (that may include alchemical or rasa formulas - forerunners to modern chemical preparations). Shock-therapies were also given in various cases according to the specific mental derangement also.
Charaka thus states that opposite therapies according to the mental disorder (Sutrasthana, XI.46) should be adopted, which proves such "spiritual therapies" were mental distractions and psychological tools for also providing detachment of the mind, mental disorder etc. Charaka (Chikitsasthana, IX.96) also states that insanity can be avoided if one abstains from eating meats and wines or impure diets etc. and hence are seen as causative factors (nidanas) of various kinds of mental afflictions, especially those caused by bhutas or natural forces of nature as well as inner subtle elements (comprising the doshas or vitiating humours) that plague our health as a result.
Like diets and lifestyles as also herbs, such therapies given karmically have to be employed in a specific and tailored manner as per the individual, their own karmas and issues respectively and not upon a generic model usually given by most astrologers!
Various meats and also alcohol are given various factors or qualities (gunas) in Ayurveda, according to their chemical reactions upon the mind, which are described as aggravating rajas and tamas in the mental channels, blurring our perceptions. As such, they are to be avoided in such conditions. Various dosha-aggravating factors are also listed in the classical texts according to their variations of disorder as well.
Vedic Astrology helps us to understand these karmic causes of disease behind the genetic factors that we are born with and how best to work with them as a paraphysical level, complimenting, but not as a replacement, more or a supplement for assisting in disease of which Ayurveda again considers physical methods such as herbal, dietary and even surgical intervention as methods of the physical body which still must be carried out and not completed supplemented by such subtle therapies as some are lead to believe!
Vivekachudamani - Swami Madhavananda Translation
Charaka Samhita - P.V. Sharma Translation
Sushruta Samhita - K.R. Srikantha Murthy Translation
Durgadas (Rodney) Lingham: Karmic in Yoga and Ayurveda: Academy of Traditional Ayurveda, 2013
Durgadas (Rodney) Lingham: Ayurvedic Astrology: History and Insights from the Most Ancient Periods to the Modern Day: Lulu Publications, 2011
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