Essays & Facts on Vedic Astrology

The Veda as the instruction manual of the universe The three in one structure of consciousness Jyotish in Rigveda The holographic structure of the universe Free will and predestination Qualities and characteristics of the 27 nakshatras
in terms of personality traits Keywords for rashis: the twelve signs of the zodiac Keywords for grahas: the nine planets Keywords for bhavas: the twelve houses Keywords for the nakshatras - the 27 lunar mansions A model description of our solar system/universe home

The Holographic Structure of the Universe

A cosmic perspective

Vedic Science is a holistic science, it comprises everything within its fold. This is so because the Vedas and the Vedic Literature are the expression of cosmic consciousness. The only "problem" with this cosmic science is that one has to have higher states of consciousness, in order to deal with it effectively. The non-availability of the experience of higher states of consciousness has led to the decline of this integrated science.

But no longer does the term "cosmic consciousness" have to be a horror to the intelligentsia of the world. With the availability of Transcendental Meditation, it has become easy for anyone to experience the source of his own thinking. With regular practice of this effortless meditation the field of pure consciousness starts to be recognised more and more to be not only the source of one's own thoughts and feelings, but of all activity in the universe as well! Transcendental consciousness, the simplest form of human awareness, is the direct experience of a field of existence, that lies beyond change. Transcendental consciousness is the experience of the absolute level of existence. It is the direct experience of the basis of existence, defined by modern science as the Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature. Pure consciousness is that level of reality which the ancient Vedic Science describes as "anoranyan, mahato mahiyan" -  that which is smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest. It is the omnipresent field of cosmic intelligence - the field of Jyotish.

Jyotish, being the science of cosmic consciousness, is also a holistic science. It claims to have an answer to all questions. It claims to be the science of everything! It claims to be able to explain every possible life-experience that any living soul can have in the universe. The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the background of this cosmic claim. How can a science ever claim to deliver omniscience at the door of the student? The answer of the Vedas to this valid question is very simple - you can know anything because you are everything.

Furthermore, the Vedas suggest that the entire universe has been created by our own mind. They say there is only one mind, the one and only cosmic mind and that is the mind of each one of us! Each one of us is said to be in possession of a cosmic mind. There is only one mind, according to Vedanta, since there is only one consciousness. The consciousness of each one of us is a reflection of the one and only cosmic consciousness, which is the creator, maintainer and dissolver of everything in the universe. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the celebrated philosopher of 19th century America used to say: "The universe is the externalisation of the soul".

This viewpoint is corroborated by the 40 aspects of Vedic Science. According to Rik Veda the knowledge of the "soul," or the Self of all beings is the prerequisite to the understanding of anything else. The Upanishads say:"Know that, by which everything is known."

Furthermore, they say that if you can handle your self, you can handle everything. Why is this so? Because you are everything. The great emphasise on self knowledge is expressed nicely in the famous upanishadic verse:  "Shantam shivam advaitam chaturtham manyate, sa atma, sa vigyeyah" ["That eternal peaceful state, which is always auspicious, free from duality, and which the wise describe as the fourth state of consciousness, that is the Self, that is to be known thoroughly, scientifically."--(Mandukya Upanishad 1.7)]

The ancient, almost forgotten knowledge of the Greek civilisation, which forms the root of the European culture was aware of the holistic and fundamental nature of consciousness. The ancient Greek philosophy recommended the same thing as Vedic Science does: "Gnothi Seauton"--"Know yourself", and all will be well with you. The same teaching is contained in the Christian advice: "Seek you first the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness and all else will be added unto you."

Good Christians are ever ready to explain that the Kingdom of Heaven is within each one of us. Obviously the reference is to the unified field of natural law,  the source of all knowledge and organizing power of the universe.

Levels of knowledge

Once we have a glimpse of the omnipresent nature of our consciousness, once we have a glimpse of a field of existence that is indeed the omnipresent source of all that exists, we naturally start to be aware of the interconnectedness of all levels of creation. Once we have seen the whole, we start to recognise the parts as expressions of the whole. Since the whole is holistic in its nature, its expressions are holistic representations of the whole. Wherever is the body, there are the limbs, wherever are the limbs, there is the body, as Maharishi once phrased it. 

The purpose of this chapter then, is to create a feeling for the interconnectedness of all levels of creation. It is only on this basis that we can start to understand why Jyotish can claim to be the science of everything. Insight into the connectedness of all levels of creation lies at the basis of the entire science of Jyotish, and indeed it lies at the basis of all other branches of Vedic Science as well.

We have seen before that the Vedas themselves declare that the whole creation is the expression of the Veda - "from Veda comes Vishva." Veda just means knowledge, pure knowledge, true knowledge of reality. If the creation is the product of the knowledge of the Veda, contained in the soul or Self of everyone, it is only natural that there should exist certain parallels between the "Veda" and the "Vishva."

In the previous chapter we saw already how Maharishi's Apaurusheya Bhasya of the Veda analyses the eternal structure of the Veda. We saw how every level of Vedic expressions is an elaborated version and a commentary on the preceding set of expressions. It is important to point out here that Maharishi emphasises that every level of elaboration of the Veda is a complete Veda in itself. This means that every level of the expression of the Veda is in itself a complete description of the structure of the universe, with all its structuring dynamics, with all the Mechanics of Creation compactly contained in it.

In other words, every preceding expression is a more compactified version of the Veda, the entire knowledge of the Mechanics of Creation. Ultimately this means that the total knowledge of the universe with all its structuring dynamics is contained in the first Vedic expression "A."

The totality of knowledge, symbolised in "A," is expressed in a more elaborated form by the first syllable "AK." Thus "K" is a commentary on the nature of "A." It says that  everything ("A") is nothing ("K"), and that the total structure of reality comprises both fulness ("A") and  emptiness ("K"). When we pronounce "A" the whole channel of speech is fully opened, while in the pronouncation of "K" the whole structure is choked. On another level of interpretation we can say that AK symbolises the consciousness and matter aspects of creation, the spiritual and the material values of life.

The next elaborated version of the totality of knowledge is contained in the first word of Rik "Aknim" (which for grammatical reasons becomes "Agnim"). And so on and so forth; the same totality of knowledge is expressed in the first pada, first richa, first sukta and first mandala. Thus, each successive stage of expression contains within its fold all the preceding levels of expression, while each level of expression refers to the whole of creation.This means that the structure of the Vedic text can be compared to an onion. Since every layer of Vedic Knowledge basically brings out the same knowledge, we can say that all levels of Vedic Knowledge are analogous to each other. 

Since the wholeness is expressed in every part, and since the wholeness is contained in every part we can also speak of a holographic structure of the Vedic text, that has given rise to a holographic structure of creation. Since every segment of Rik Veda is related to the entire range of creation, the text of the Veda can be interpreted in terms of all levels of creation.

Modern science distinguishes many levels of creation which are relatively autonomous with respect to each other. Since each level of creation has certain distinct features of its own, different branches of science have come up, in order to study the characteristic values of each of these levels of creation. Thus we find the absolute level of existence studied by metaphysics. The level of the mind is studied by psychology. The atomic level of creation is studied by physics. The living cell is studied by biology. The body as a whole is studied by anatomy and physiology. The level of the family and society is catered for by sociology. The level of the solar system is studied by astronomy. Since 1930 we are aware of the structure of our galaxy, which is studied by radio astronomy. The level of the clusters of galaxies and the universe as a whole is studied by cosmology.

It is very interesting indeed to study the Vedas in the light of these different branches of modern science. And conversely, it is very interesting indeed to see how the text of the Veda relates to all these levels simultaneously!

This being the case, it is only logical to find that the Veda and the Vedic Literature is mainly composed of what we can recognise as analogies, comparisons, allegorical stories, metaphors, symbolic expressions and more such poetic expressions. From this viewpoint it is clear why the Vedas are traditionally considered to be a kind of poetry. The Rishis or seers of the Veda are designated as "Kavi" or poets. This in no way depreciates the eternal and impersonal nature of their cognitions. Rather the contrary is the case. Their title as poets refers to the fact that their cognitions are full of symbolic expressions and analogies. The essence of poetry, as we know, is to describe one level of creation, while simultaneously referring to other levels of creation.

The speciality of "Vedic poetry," or Vedic cognition is that every expression is applicable on all levels of creation, studied by all branches of modern science.
This is the pinnacle of poetry. Does not the very essence of poetry lie in its ability to give us a feeling, a glimpse of the underlying unity amidst all diversity? Throughout the ages, analogies, metaphors and symbolic expressions have always been regarded as a powerful means to reveal the hidden structure of things. They have always been used as a powerful tool with which to expand the horizon of our awareness. Even in modern science analogies are widely used. They are regarded as a valid means of gaining knowledge, and an instrument of cognition, with which underlying similarities can be revealed to the human mind.

In the light of what was said above regarding the analogous structure of the Veda and the consequent analogous structure of creation, it becomes obvious why analogies are of such basic importance in the field of knowledge. They are so basic, simply because nature is structured that way.

Any knower of reality, any exponent of true and universal knowledge, who is naturally aware of the unity underlying all diversity, can only express himself with the help of analogies, symbolic expressions, comparisons, parables etc., simply because the reality is structured in analogous layers!

The teaching of Sage Vasishtha to Lord Rama for instance, as recorded in the "Yoga Vasishtha," is almost completely composed of allegorical stories, legends, metaphors and analogies. Likewise, Veda Vyasa, the celebrated author of the Puranas and several other Vedic texts, describes all kinds of dynamics, forms and phenomena, seen in the three-dimensional or "classical" world, when he actually wants to convey to us all about the eternal dynamics of the quantum mechanical level of existence. Maharishi, in his commentary on the first six chapters of the Bhagavad uses not less than 80 different analogies in order to explain the compact expressions of pure knowledge uttered by Lord Krishna.

Levels of Creation

Whereas the Veda is structured in analogous layers, and whereas creation - its product - is also structured in analogous layers, it might be interesting to see whether we can draw a parallel between the successively elaborated levels of Rik Veda, and the successively elaborated, more expanded layers of creation. The following table shows an arbitrary example of how this parallel can be seen.

Pure consciousness, transcendental silence from where all sounds and activities, all names and forms arise Unified field of natural law, from where all matter and force fields arise. Smaller than the smallest - beyond the Planck scale (10-33 cm)
First Letter Elementary particle
First Syllable Atom
First Word Cell
First pada Individual
First richa Family
First sukta Society
First mandala World
Ten mandalas of Rik Veda Solar system
The four Vedas, Upavedas and Vedangas Milky Way galaxy
10  All the above plus the six Upangas Local group of about 30 galaxies
11  All the above plus Puranas, Itihasa, Smritis Local supercluster of about 6000 galaxies
12  All the above plus the Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads and the Pratishakhyas. The whole Veda and the Vedic Literature which are structured in the infinite unbounded ocean of consciousness. Universe as a whole - an infinite number of galaxies in the  ever expanding universe. All structured in the infinite and unbounded continuum of space - greater than the greatest.

Regarding the layers of creation we can say that one common structure is present in them all: "Something is turning around something else." This principle runs parallel to the fact that all expressions of the Veda are centred around "A," or "Agni." "A," or "Agni," stands for Brahman, the cosmic Creative Intelligence. As we have seen, the Veda and the Vedic Literature is just the explanation of all that is contained in its first word "Agni." 

Thus, the Veda and the Vedic Literature may be saying anything but actually they speak about Agni, actually they refer to Agni, actually they mean to say Agni, which is a synonym for Brahman, pure consciousness. Brahman is the consciousness, the Self of all beings. Agni or Brahman is the sole motivating force of every creature, and of every structure in the universe. Agni or cosmic intelligence is the central theme of every expression of the Veda.

Likewise, Agni or cosmic intelligence is the central pivot around which every material expression of the unified field revolves and evolves. Agni, whose superficial meaning is fire, is concentratedly available in the nucleus of every single atom. Again, it is represented in the nucleus of every living of our body, as the life force  that operates the DNA. In the individual as a whole, Agni is concentratedly available in the heart, which is the centre of all life-giving processes in the individual. In the family Agni is mainly represented by the father, the life giver of the children that orbit around him. On the level of a society or nation Agni, the organising power of Creative Intelligence is represented mainly by the government. 

In the world at large we can say that it is taking the form of a world government, the embodiment of the collective consciousness of the world family. In the solar system Agni or Brahman is concentratedly available in the Sun. Our Sun, in its turn, is only one of about 200 billion stars which revolve around the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way, making a full circle in about 200 million years. And like the electrons orbit the nucleus of the atom, and the planets orbit the Sun, so our galaxy is surrounded by about 15 satellite galaxies, revolving around the Milky Way galaxy in elliptical orbits. Galaxies are usually found in pairs or groups, revolving around each other.

Our galaxy for instance has a kind of "buddy" galaxy, the well known Andromeda galaxy, consisting of about 300 billion stars. The Andromeda, like the Milky Way, is surrounded by a dozen or so satellite galaxies. These two large galaxies and about 30 small galaxies is called the "local group." The local group in its turn, is part of a greater cluster consisting of about 6000 galaxies. In the centre of this so called "local supercluster" we find galaxies that are about 200 times larger than our own. This supercluster, slowly rotating around its gravitational axis, is found to be moving around a hitherto not clearly defined giant mass, called the "Great Attractor."

When we consider the complexity and orderliness displayed by all these levels of creation we can only marvel at the all embracing, cosmic intelligence that structures and runs the entire universe, from the smallest of the atoms to the largest supercluster of galaxies.
The infinite dynamism of creation is conducted by an infinite number of Laws of Nature, which are all contained within the "home of all the Laws of Nature," the unified field of Natural Law. And like the human body is run by the intelligence contained in DNA, and like a nation is run by all the laws that are contained in its constitution, the universe is run by totality of all the Laws of Nature. Since as we saw before, all the Laws of Nature are available in Rik Veda, Maharishi in 1991 announced the Rik Veda to be the Constitution of the universe, the source of all order and harmony displayed throughout creation.

The universal hologram

The remarkable thing about the home of all the Laws of Nature, the Constitution of the Universe, is that it is independent of space and time. As a matter of fact, this Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature is the source of all force and matter fields and as such, it is a transcendental reality. No one has ever seen a Law of Nature. We can only see the effect of a Law of Nature. No one has ever seen gravity, we can only deduce its omnipresent and universal presence by the effects that it create, like apples falling, galaxies moving around each other etc. 

The fact that the unified field is completely abstract means further that it is present everywhere, in all of space and time. At every point of creation the total value of the unified field is ever present. Every point of creation contains the infinity. This is a quantum mechanical truth, and we as human beings, living in a three-dimensional , classical world, will have to get used to this way of thinking. On the quantum mechanical level, infinity can be present at every point. The source of creation is present in every point of creation!

This makes the unified field a perfect example of a holographic reality. A hologram is a photographic picture that is composed of a great number of small parts, all of which contain the picture as a whole. When we break up the hologram in many pieces, we end up with as many small but complete pictures of the whole. Poetically speaking, we can take the ocean as another good example of a holographic reality: Since the ocean is nothing but water we can say that the ocean is contained in every drop.

A similar situation we find in a seed: the entire structure of the tree is contained in it. Stronger even: all future generations of the tree are contained in a single seed. An equally striking example of a holographic reality we find in our own case: every cell of our body contains the complete information about the entire mind-body system. Each of the 100 billion cells that make up the body contains the complete version of the original DNA, that was the source of the entire body!

The same holographic principle holds good on the level of our subjectivity as well. According to the Upanishads, as we saw before, the individual soul or Jiva, is nothing but a kind of mirror of the universal soul, Brahman - each individual soul contains the cosmos as a whole.

The fact regarding the holographic structure of the unified field, discovered by modern quantum physics, and confirmed by ancient Vedic Science, forms the ultimate explanation of the fact that all the layers of creation are analogous to each other. Knowing about the holographic structure of the ultimate cause of creation, it is only logical to find that all layers of creation are analogous to each other. We could also phrase it in a slightly different way: all levels of creation are analogous to each other, simply because each level of creation is an expression of the whole of creation.

Every part contains the whole

The holographic structure of reality has some remarkable consequences for the way in which we can gain knowledge of creation, and of all its different expressions.

Once, Maharishi is the early eighties, was commenting on some findings in quantum physics. Confirming their insights from the level of Vedic Science, he said: "This shows that the totality is found in every fibre of creation. The totality of the unbounded universe is contained in every single elementary particle."

This means that if we would be able to know any aspect of creation thoroughly, we would have an insight into the totality of creation. 

Ayurveda says:  "Purusho'yam loka sannidah"--"Man is an epitome of the universe." When you know man, you know the universe. Yajurveda reveals the same truth:  "Yatha pinde tatha brahmande, yatha brahmande tatha pinde"--"As is the individual, so is the universe, as is the universe, so is the individual."

This holographic principle is applicable throughout creation, simply because it is embodied in the very nature of the unified field, in the very nature of pure consciousness, the omnipresent source of creation. Thus it will not be wrong to say that if we really understand what the tiny lines on the palm of our hand have to say, we would understand our past, our present and our future. If we really are able to know what the tiny impulses in our radial pulse have to say, we would know the entire story of our mind-body system. If we really know what these tiny spots in the iris of our eyes have to say, we would know the whole condition of our mind, body and soul.

If we really know what these tarot cards, placed spontaneously on the table, have to say, we would know the past, present and future, regarding every question asked. If we really would know what every little event in our life has to say, we would know the past, present and future of our life, and of creation as a whole. If we really would know what the tiny sparks of lights in the sky have to say, we would understand the past, present, and future, of our life, and of the creation as a whole. Here Jyotish appears as one of the many branches of gaining knowledge, available to man.

Here we see that the ancient astrological dictum "As above, so below" is just a special application of a more general Vedic principle, a more general holographic principle, that could be formulated as "As it is anywhere, so it is everywhere." The only thing needed to gain complete knowledge out of every branch of study is, like it was said in the beginning of this chapter, that we must have a cosmic kind of awareness. Only a 360° openness of awareness will sponsor the refined perception that is needed to see "the tree in the seed," or the future in the present, the ocean in a drop,  etc. Thus it is seen how the holographic structure of reality sponsors many different approaches to gaining knowledge, many branches of science, each focusing on their own specific field of creation. It will not be out of place however, to mention here a few characteristics for the science of Jyotish, that make it a more powerful tool for gaining knowledge than many of the other approaches of gaining knowledge, hinted at above.

Advantage of Jyotish

Jyotish deals with the movement of heavenly bodies, whose movements are so orderly and systematic, that their positions can be determined with mathematical precision.

The laws of their movements being known to man further implies that we can calculate their position in any given point in time, be it the past, present or future. This renders the range of the application of Jyotish very large indeed. It also means that the predictive value of Jyotish is more powerful than that of the other systems of gaining knowledge.

The planetary movements are so orderly and precise, that they lend themselves to be programmed on a computer. The alliance of the ancient science of the stars, with the modern science of computers, adds a great power to its application, widening its range of possibilities enormously, and removing the cumbersome and time-consuming calculations that our forefathers had to go through.

Another kind of advantage of Jyotish over many other systems of gaining knowledge, is that it is not confined to persons only. Companies, nations and important events also have a kind of birth time, a starting time, so that Jyotish applies to them as well. Finally, Jyotish uses a frame of reference that which is the largest thing that the eyes can see, the planetary and the starry world. This means that all human experiences are directly and explicitly related to the universe at large, and the earthly events are described in terms of cosmic forces. This factor expands the awareness of the student to cosmic dimensions. We start to comprehend ourselves and our fellowmen as expressions of cosmic forces, and as composed of the same universal elements. In this way Jyotish gives a practical demonstration of the abstract truths contained in Vedanta, saying that the Jiva is Brahman and nothing else.

Analogy versus causality

In the light of the holographic structure of reality, we are able to see that Jyotish is not thinking in term of causal relationships between one event and another, or between one area of life and another. Jyotish is aware of the all-round holistic structure of reality and as such it is concerned with understanding the cosmic correspondence that exists between the level of creation that is formed by the stars and planets, and the level of creation that is formed by human beings.

Thus, when a Jyotishi uses a phrase that suggests some kind of influence or causal relationship between planets and human beings, we should know that this expression is used only in a figurative sense. For instance: does Mangal (Mars) in the 10th house of a birthchart make the native a good manager, pioneering in some field? Does Shukra (Venus) in the first house of a birthchart make the native good looking and well behaved? The answer to these questions is: no, not literally. These planetary positions only indicate the characteristics of the person concerned. The enlightened astrologer, who is an exponent of reality, is aware of the fact that all layers of creation are structured along analogous lines. He knows that not only a few planets here or there are related to a certain event or phenomenon, but that the entire universe is involved in every single event.

Quantum mechanics describes the source of creation, the Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature, as a field of infinite correlation. All levels of creation are connected to each other on the level of infinite correlation. In fact, all levels of creation are the expression of the field of infinite correlation. The unified field expresses itself simultaneously, yet sequentially, on all levels of creation. In the ultimate analysis - and that is what the study of Jyotish is all about - the self-interacting dynamics of the Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature alone can be held responsible for all activities in the universe!

This insight has a profound effect of expanding our "normal waking state" to a state of cosmic awareness. This insight that ultimately all actions are done by nature, and by nature alone, is indeed the spontaneous experience in higher states of consciousness. The Yoga Vasishtha, a classical textbook on Vedanta says: "When thus one realises the supreme (reality) which is the only essence beyond this ocean of Samsara (relative existence), one realises 'I am not the doer but cosmic intelligence alone is the doer; not even in the past did I do anything'." (Yoga Vasishtha 6.1.32)

Thus the ancient Vedic Science corroborates what modern science has discovered, namely that this omnipresent field of pure Creative Intelligence, which is transcendental in its nature, beyond the level of the Planck scale of 10-33cm, is the ultimate cause, the unmoved mover of everything in creation. Expressions of this field like stars and planes may seem to have some effect here or there, but in reality they themselves are not the ultimate cause of these effects. Stars and planets are just the faithful indicators of the quality and structure of Natural law, at any given time, at any given place. They are to be regarded as the perfect mirror of what is happening here on earth.

The cosmic clock

Stars, planets, Sun and Moon, being the focal points, or concentrated point values of universal and omnipresent Laws of Nature, are the indicators of the structure of natural law, at any given moment in time. They can be compared to the hands of a clock. When the little hand is near the one, and the long hand is near the six (when it is about 0:30 PM) we can safely predict that most human beings will betake themselves to their lunch tables and replenish their bodies with food and drink. Are the hands of the clock the cause of this event? No, they just indicate the quality of time, for any given place.

The same is the case with the planets and the stars, as we can understand on the basis of our insight into the analogous, holographic structure of reality. The planets can be understood as the nine hands on the cosmic clock of our solar system. The twelve constellations are the twelve hours on the circumference of the clock. The eternally changing pattern of arrangement of the dynamisms of the planets (Devata value) against the background of the silently witnessing stars (Rishi value) informs us of the mode of functioning of the in itself invisible natural law at any given time, for any given place. Learning to read this clock is gaining efficiency in the science of Jyotish. Having understood and experienced the cosmic correspondence that exists between the different levels of creation, we gain the ability to interpret the information provided by one level of nature, to the context of another level of nature. We learn to translate the language of the stars into the language of human affairs.

Seeing how everything in the universe happens in time, sequentially, and according to a cosmic plan, we may start to wonder what the role is of our cherished free will! So far, in this essay on the Mechanics of Creation, seen in the light of Vedic Science, and with special reference to Jyotish, we have described nature and the universe as an all comprehensive, holographic production line, where everything functions according to the cosmic plan, conducted by the eternally fixed Laws of Nature, whose workings can be calculated with mathematical precision. This picture that Jyotish suggests is pretty deterministic! The question may well arise "what happens to our free will?" Is there any place for free will in this teleologic picture of reality?

This is a very basic and important question. In the context of an essay on Jyotish, and indeed, in the context of any science or any system that is concerned with predicting the future this question is extremely valid. How can we be free if everything is fixed? Or is the future alterable? Can we as human beings do something to improve our destiny? This is a fundamental issue, lying at the very heart of the science of Jyotish. An essay that claims to speak on the Mechanics of Creation cannot avoid taking up this basic philosophical question. Let us therefore see how Maharishi's Vedic Science is able to solve the eternal paradox of free will and predestination.


Copyright © 1998. Drs. Frans Langenkamp, Ph.D. All rights reserved.