A poster depicting murtis of the nine planets, at a temple in North London.

Astrology is one of the most important and widely used Vedic sciences. It is largely derived from one of the six Vedangas (see The Four Vedas) and is intimately related to the notions of reincarnation and karma (see Reincarnation and Samsara and The Law of Karma).

Attitudes towards this science reflect notable differences between the predominant Eastern and Western world-views. Whereas most people in the West treat astrology with some scepticism, in India it is considered a respectable science, and texts eulogise authentic astrologers as the most learned brahmanas. The West generally equates belief in subtle phenomena with superstition, whereas the East frames it within the context of “subtle science.”

There are different schools of astrology, but Rishi Parashara is generally considered the foremost authority. Indians often claim that Western astrology, coming via the Greeks, was originally from India. Most Indian families still request a local brahmana to cast a chart for the new-born baby.

The Uses of Vedic Astrology

  • Choosing a baby’s name. The first syllable is determined by the position of the moon at birth.
  • Predicting important events in a person’s life and assessing the person’s areas of

    An astrological chart (Northern style). The first house (ascendant), in this case Libra, is centre top and the other eleven houses proceed in an anti-clockwise direction. Each house is a complete sign. The nine planets are represented by their respective symbols.

    potential (from the birth chart).

  • Choosing auspicious times to perform rites of passage and other important ceremonies or to start new projects.
  • Assessing marriage compatibility between prospective partners.
  • Answering specific queries as an aid to personal counselling (by constructing a chart for the time of the query).

Meaning and Purpose

  • Freewill and fate (pre-determination)
  • Inequalities at birth


“The law of nature is so subtle that every part of our body is influenced by the respective stars, and a living being obtains his working body to fulfil his terms of imprisonment by the manipulation of such astronomical influence. A man’s destiny is therefore ascertained by the birthtime constellation of stars, and a factual horoscope is made by a learned astrologer. It is a great science, and misuse of a science does not make it useless.”

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Personal Reflection

  • What influences of the moon do we know of?
  • How do the phases influence the ocean, people’s moods, crops, crime figures, and so forth?