Today there is a resurgence of interest in the West towards the spiritual sciences, of which vedic, or Indian, astrology is most prominent. Unfortunately, astrology is mostly misunderstood in the West, viewed as a purely esoteric science, without a basis of scientific understanding. This is a grave misconception, yet it is understandable considering the degradation to which it has been subjected.
Many people have little, or no, true knowledge of this great and holy science, thinking it to be, for the most part, in the realm of fantasy. Even those who have attempted to delve into it have been frustrated by the unfamiliar terminology and concepts on the subject. This is because most such books are written for those that wish to learn how to actually cast horoscopes, rather than simply as an aid to understanding a chart.
I am writing this book to hopefully fill such a gap for those that wish a simple and concise text to help them understand the purpose of the astrological science, as well as a handbook to understanding your own horoscope. There will be no instructions on how to cast a horoscope. There are many texts delineating the mathematics for doing so and a selection can be found at any bookstore, although in this modern age the vast majority of astrologers use computers to cast the horoscopic charts. This book is meant for those that have their chart done by a vedic astrologer and wish to further understand it, as well as those that want to learn the usefulness of astrology in general.
The main reason that many have little respect for astrology in the West is simply due to lack of knowledge. It is thought of as simply a means of fortune telling, which is far from the truth. There are many unscrupulous people who have but a little knowledge of this science, yet profess to be bona-fide astrologers, taking advantage of the ignorance of the general populace in this regard. The type of astrology based on Western sun signs, as found in most newspapers and many magazines, is, for the most part, useless. It is considered to be for entertainment purposes only and is not taken seriously due to the extremely general nature of it's supposed predictions for those born during the time the sun is in a particular sign. It has given a "black-eye" to the science, in the minds of many. This is a great shame for the true bona-fide science of astrology is meant to enlighten human society.
Vedic astrology is not only extremely accurate in helping an individual to understand what his or her future will be during this lifetime, but gives an under standing as to the true nature of matter and spirit, allowing knowledge to be gained of who we are and how to achieve success on all levels..physical, mental or emotional and spiritual. A correct horoscope may be likened to a good road map for travelling between two distant cities. Using a detailed map, proper care can be taken to avoid danger. If the map shows a narrow road through mountains with dangerous curves and embankments, then any sane person will go slowly, keeping their eyes fixed carefully on the road and hands tightly on the wheel. If it shows the road to be wide and straight, with little in the way of obstacles, it is possible to go faster and be more relaxed on the journey. An accurate horoscope may be used as a road map on life's journey. At times of difficulty, or when negative karma is destined to manifest itself, you should take care. To take risks at such times, physically, financially, or otherwise is like speeding around mountain passes at night, where it is easy to have a major accident, incurring major losses in one way or another. At times, when you know the cards are "stacked in your favour", that is the time to pull out the stops and go all out to achieve success.
To begin with we need to understand what the science of astrology is. An astrologer does a horoscope which shows a map of the heavens at the time of birth. The different planets are shown at the exact place they were situated, in a particular zodiacal sign, at the moment you were born. Many people are familiar with the sun's movements, as when you look in your newspaper at the astrology column it shows the dates of the sun's passing through the various signs of the zodiac. The sun takes one full year to pass through all the signs. That is what it means when a person in the West says, "I'm a Taurus", or "I'm a Leo". It means that at the time they were born the sun was in Taurus, or Leo.
The zodiac is an imaginary sphere including the heavens. Within this sphere, all of the planets, including the sun and moon, are travelling in their respective orbits. It is divided into twelve equal parts of thirty degrees each which are the signs of the zodiac. Originally these signs corresponded to fixed constellations of stars, but due to the procession of the equinox (moving at approximately 50.25 seconds a year) this correlation is non-existent at present. Therefore, after many years of this discrepancy there is about a twenty three degree difference between the constellations and signs of the same names. That is why someone who had always thought their sun was at fifteen degrees Leo would discover that, according to the eastern system, the sun would have been at 22 degrees Cancer. The Eastern system is called the sidereal zodiac and the Western called the tropical zodiac. Although the Western system is quite useful, having proved itself to be such for personality traits, especially the Eastern system is far more accurate for predictive astrology. The Eastern system also teaches the uses of remedial measures to strengthen a horoscope, as in gem therapy, whereas the Western system has no such system of self- help to strengthen weaknesses or to counteract negative influences in the horoscope.
To only consider the sun sign is a very incomplete picture as all the planets are in signs of the zodiac, and their positions at the time of birth are just as important as the position of the sun. Since the planets represent different things we must know where they all were, to gain a complete picture. There are twelve "signs", illustrating different natures or qualities of the energies represented by the planets. Then there are the twelve "houses", which represent the different applications or categories of life. For instance the moon represents the mind and an individual, with the moon in Leo, will have a powerful mind, as the qualities of Leo are strong and fiery. Depending on which house it is situated in will determine different attributes relating to different areas of life, such as health, wealth, career, happiness, relationships with others, nature of the personality, etc.
The way we know which sign goes in which house is according to the rising sign, or ascendant. Whatever sign was due east on the horizon at the time of birth is the rising sign. This sign is placed in the first house and all the other eleven signs follow in their natural order. Therefore, if Leo is rising at the time of birth, then it is put in the first house, Virgo in the second, Libra in the third, Scorpio in the fourth, Sagittarius in the fifth and so on.
Gaining an understanding of the effects of having a particular planet in a certain sign in a certain house will help you to understand this life and beyond. I say beyond, because this science is not meant simply for understanding this present lifetime but for understanding the bigger picture. We are not these bodies, rather our eternal nature is "spirit", unending, and unchanging in nature. It is only due to the covering of the body that we identify so much with this world and it is only our bodies which are subject to birth, death, old age and disease. At the time of death, or leaving the body, the spirit soul leaves and goes on to another situation determined by the "karma" (results of actions performed) created while in the present body.
The science of astrology is based on the science of "transmigration of the soul". This is the journey of the spirit soul from body to body, in lifetime after life time, due to karma, or the reactions to the actions performed in life. Therefore, when we read a chart, we are understanding the quality of the activities performed in the former life. According to our actions we are awarded a particular type of body in which to enjoy, or suffer, within this world. Anyone that has had their horoscope done by a qualified astrologer must accept this principle. How else are we able to reveal a life, past, present and future, including the nature and machinations of the mind and innermost feelings? It is not due to being psychic, although a developed "sixth sense" is necessary, hut a very real and scientific method of "reading" the chart.
Since proper practice of this science requires great intellect, as well as "clarity of perception," take care to find an astrologer who lives by the "superior" principles of life. "Superior" principles means spiritual principles, for an astrologer who has not attained a level of greater physical, mental, and spiritual health cannot help others to do so. A person should not take the title astrologer after only reading a few books and learning the mechanics of the science. It takes adherence to higher spiritual principles of life to gain the necessary intuition to be able to help others. You wouldn't choose an attorney who is lazy and therefore unwilling to do the proper research on behalf of your case, nor choose a doctor who is 150 pounds overweight and chain-smokes cigarettes, nor an accountant whose clients are often called upon for a financial audit by the taxation department. lake just as much care in choosing an astrologer. A qualified vedic astrologer is also qualified as a spiritual guide, career counsellor, psychologist, marriage or relationship counsellor and capable of diagnosing likely physical weakness.. and ailments in the body. To illustrate this last category, up until a few hundred years or so ago, doctors were required to also study astrology to become qualified. Furthermore, an astrologer must be engaged on the spiritual path of self-realisation, for this is the real goal of life. An astrologer who does have this clarity of perception can help a person by guiding them in what actions to perform to be successful in various areas of life and the best times to effect them.
Having your horoscope done should help you to make the right choices in life to gain success in all you desire. Action shapes destiny and our actions will determine the actual manifestation of karma, good and bad. The more knowledge gained, the more self -direction of destiny for true fulfilment in life, materially and spiritually. It is said in the vedic scriptures, which contain all sciences of life, including the astrological science, that knowledge is likened to a torchlight and fear and ignorance to darkness. The torchlight of knowledge illuminates the darkness of ignorance, thereby dissipating fear. When a person is in knowledge there is no fear, even at the point of death, or leaving the body. For those in true knowledge death is no more than another step on the path of life. Therefore human beings must gain knowledge in order to have happiness and peace of mind, in any and all circumstances.
I have divided this book into three parts. Part one is concerned with the practical applications of this science in different areas of life. Part two gives descriptions of the characteristics and representations of the planets, signs, houses and stars. This can be used to understand your own chart as well as in gaining basic knowledge of their meanings. Part three is concerned with remedial measures to help balance disharmonic influences within the horoscope. It is my sincere hope that this book may be of value in helping to throw some light on the practical uses for having an astrological horoscope done and for further understandings of its meaning. Hopefully, one day this great science will again be given the respect it justly deserves and be utilised to the benefit of all humanity, as it formerly was and still is, in much of the Eastern world.
"This is an amazingly detailed publication, written by a man who devotes his life to teaching, lecturing and writing about the Vedic sciences, the oldest known and most prominent of the Indian astrological beliefs. He knows and believes in his work, and while this book will not tell how to cast a horoscope, it will enable the reader to gain a much greater understanding of the science and its keys to open many doors and minds. Written in three parts, the book is interestingly presented; the detailed explanations make many things clear while not being overly wordy and complicated. Some of the suggestions made may not be to everyone's taste but, for instance, the reasons given for many illnesses nowadays are based on sound common sense relating to the way in which our diet has changed and the whole book is full of this thoughtful reasoning."
"Knowledge is power, and Mr Beckman offers knowledge of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health along with the effects of the planets, their signs, houses and aspects, on the human life, with a view to extending the mainly limited perceptions of us all and so lead to a new self-realization and achievement of our birthright."
"Highly acclaimed in the USA, this is the first book in the English language to bring the mysteries purpose and healing secrets within the science of Vedic astrology to the public. Easy to read, it is written for those wishing to understand and benefit from this ancient science."
"All the difficult symbols and jargon usually found in books on astrology yet a scholarly work also intended for those who have had horoscopes done to comprehend them in greater depth. Astrologers and laymen alike find this book an invaluable tool to gaining the keys to realisation of not just Vedic astrology but it's inherent spiritual philosophy passed down by saints and sages of the ancient Indian civilisation. For those having attended Howard's lectures or workshops it is a long awaited anthology of this timeless spiritual wisdom."