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

Jyotish in Rik Veda

We have now seen that Jyotish is one of the limbs (Angas) of Rik Veda. In fact, Jyotish is considered the most important of all the six Vedangas. Just as Vedanta, the most important of the six Upangas, contains within its fold all the knowledge and principles enumerated in the other five Upangas, so Jyotish forms both the synopsis as well as the culmination of the other five Vedangas.

The term Jyotish consists of two words namely "Jyoti" and "sha."  "Jyoti" means "light" while "sha" means "the best, the most excellent, eternal." 

Thus, Jyotish refers to the most excellent of all lights. 

What actually is the best of all lights? Is there any eternal light? All the Upanishads are there to declare that the light of the Self, the light of the consciousness of man is the light of all lights, the source of all visible lights. It is identified with the eternal light of Brahman,  the essence of the entire creation. 

Yajnavalkya in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad declares that when all visible lights have gone, the inner light of the Self still remains, guiding man in all his thoughts, speech and actions (See Br. Up. 4.3.6.). Thus, Jyotish refers to the light of all lights, the light of pure consciousness, the Self of all beings. Jyotish is therefore really a limb of the Veda, since the Veda is nothing but, if not the encyclopaedia of the structuring dynamics of consciousness, which are responsible for the creation and evolution of all that exists in the universe.

Traditionally, Jyotish has been regarded as the eyes of the Veda, the eyes of pure knowledge, by which the structure of the Veda itself can be known and understood - indeed, by which the entire creation can be known and understood. Because Jyotish is such an important limb of the body of Rik Veda, we should be able to locate the basic ingredients of Jyotish in Rik Veda. Let us, therefore take a closer look at the structure of the Veda, as revealed by Maharishi's Apaurusheya Bhasya.

The Apaurusheya Bhasya on Rik Veda

The Rik Veda consists of ten Chapters called mandalas. Maharishi's Apaurusheya Bhasya (uncreated commentary) on the Rik Veda has made clear that all the knowledge of the ten mandalas of Rik Veda is concentratedly available in the first mandala,  consisting of 192 suktas (hymns).

Furthermore, the commentary indicates that all knowledge of the first mandala is contained in the first sukta, consisting of nine richas (verses). And that all knowledge of the first sukta is contained in the first richa, consisting of nine words. And that all the knowledge contained in the first richa is contained in the first pada (a group of eight syllables). And that the knowledge contained in first pada is contained in the first word. And that the knowledge of the first word is contained in the first syllable "Ak."  And that the knowledge of the first syllable is contained in the first letter "A." 

Maharishi is the first commentator of the Rik Veda throughout the long corridor of time, who is aware of this perfect orderly and sequential structure of Rik Veda. Furthermore, Maharishi is the first commentator to give importance to the gaps between the syllables, words, padas, richas, suktas, and mandalas.

The 9 grahas associated with the 9 words of Rik Veda

 We have seen earlier that the nine grahas are the point values of the nine basic universal Laws of Nature, which are responsible for creating, maintaining and dissolving the entire universe. Please note that the grahas are not identical with the Laws of Nature; they are the physical representation of the Laws of Nature. (In the case of Rahu and Ketu, they are just mathematical points, invisible but calculable as the intersection of the Moon's orbital plane with the ecliptic.) The nine grahas taken together represent all the forces of nature, responsible for the creation and evolution of everything in the universe. This being the case, as is taught to us by the ancient Maharshi's, all qualities and characteristics of the nine planets must be considered part and parcel of the whole text of Rik Veda. 

Thanks to Maharishi's Apaurusheya Bhasya, we know that the entire Veda is contained in all its levels of elaboration. If the Veda is the expression of all the Laws of Nature, and if the nine grahas represent all the Laws of Nature, then certainly the knowledge of the nine grahas must be contained in all levels of expression of Rik Veda. As we learned earlier, the entire knowledge of the Veda is in compact form available in the first letter, the first syllable, the first word, first pada, first sukta and first mandala. 

It should be possible to demonstrate that the knowledge of the nine grahas is completely available on each of these levels of elaboration of the Vedic text. Preliminary research has shown that this is indeed very well possible. We are in the happy circumstance that we are in the possession of Maharishi's written commentary on one of these levels of elaboration, i.e., the first richa of Rik Veda. 

Is it a coincidence that this first richa of Rik Veda, comprising the totality of Rik Veda, consists of nine words? Jyotish informs us that their are no coincidences in this universe. Could it be that there exists a correspondence between these nine words and the nine grahas? 

Maharishi's written translation and commentary on this first richa of Rik Veda can be found in a publication, issued in 1976, under the title Creating an Ideal Society - a Global Undertaking. In this book, Maharishi elaborates on the inherent meaning of each of the first nine words of Rik Veda, in the context of describing the 16 versions of the Constitution of the World Government of the Age of Enlightenment. The first richa of Rik Veda reads as follows: "Agnim ile purohitam yagyasya devam ritvijam hotaram ratna dhatamam." (Rik Veda 1.1.1)

Let us take up Maharishi's in-depth descriptions of these first nine words of Rik Veda, and see whether they can be related to the basic qualities, the essential nature of each of the nine grahas. The definition of each of the nine words, given below between quotation marks, has been taken beginning with page 128 of this publication.


"...contains within its structure, in seed form, the full knowledge of all Laws of Nature, all evolutionary processes, and all forms and actions in the universe. A such it represents the whole value of Supreme intelligence..."

Clearly this relates to Surya, who in Jyotish represents pure consciousness, Creative Intelligence, the Self, the source of all knowledge and action. The superficial word meaning of Agni is "fire," and the Sun is the only graha that consists of fire and is illuminating with its light all the other grahas of the solar system. Just as Agni is the source of the whole Veda and the Vedic Literature, the Sun can be seen as the source of all activity and life forms in the solar system.

For a more complete description of the significations of Surya as traditionally available in Jyotish click on the Sun


"...displays the Mechanics of Creation, contained within the word Agnim. ... It expresses the first awakening of the Laws of Nature as they initiate activity within the field of consciousness." This relates to Chandra, the Moon, because in Jyotish the Moon represents the mind, which is just another expression for "activity within the field of consciousness."

"By virtue of being awareness, transparent to itself, consciousness emerges from within its pure potentiality (Agnim) and, curving back on to itself (Ile) establishes an "observer-observed" relationship within its own structure." It is activity in consciousness that structures the subject-object relationship within the indivisible wholeness of consciousness. Here, we have the description of how the mind relates to pure consciousness, or in terms of Jyotish how the Moon interacts with the Sun and further how it reflects the values of the Sun. 

"Ile," Maharishi states, "is the first sprouting of the supreme intelligence to become the first expression of Creative Intelligence." This passage describes how the mind arises out of pure consciousness. Maharishi has stated that Ile means "to repeat over and over again" - in terms of Jyotish, this mainly refers to the Moon, since the Moon represents anything of a cyclical nature. During the process of Transcendental Meditation, the mind "curves back onto the self," like the Moon is merging into Sun every month again. This illustrates the fact that Ile relates to the qualities and characteristics of the Moon as described by Jyotish. 

For a more detailed description of the qualities of Chandra in Jyotish, click on the Moon.


" pure potentiality in motion ... it is the wholeness of consciousness enlivened by self-knowledge and capable of initiating action within its own unmanifest structure... the silent initiator and inner controller of all action, the fountainhead of all authority, law and power..."

In Jyotish, Mangala (Mars) is described as the army general, the initiator of action, the archetype of power and authority. Maharishi emphasises that the power and authority exhibited by Purohitam, is derived from Agnim - this is precisely the case with Mangala, the army general, whose power and authority are based upon the strength of the king Surya (the Sun).

These points establish the fact that Purohitam relates to Mangala. For a detailed list of key-words describing the qualities of Mangala, click on Mars


"...expresses the code of action by which any desired goal can be achieved. The mechanics of achievement are that consciousness, simply by following its own nature, puts its infinite potential to use in the field of action."

Consciousness expresses its nature through desiring. Desiring is the ultimate means of achieving anything. This principle relates perfectly to Rahu (the Northern lunar moon node), since its very nature is to desire, and to achieve one goal after another. 

Rahu is the locomotive of life, the locomotive of desire, by which creatures follow their own nature. It is interesting to note that the Shrimad Bhagavatam, one of the two Mahapuranas, makes mention of a boar incarnation of God. This boar is the embodiment of all Yagyas. Yagyas are subtle technologies of Vedic engineering, by which any desired goal can be achieved.

In the Second Chapter of the  Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, Parashara enumerates the ten incarnations of God, and classifies them with reference to a certain graha. In this classification the boar incarnation relates to Rahu.. From these points it is evident that there is a cosmic correspondence between yagyasya and the qualities of Rahu. For more information on the nature and characteristics of Rahu, click on the lunar eclips


" the impulse of Creative Intelligence that spontaneously leads all activity in an evolutionary direction."

Clearly, this is the function of Guru (Jupiter), who is the guide, the teacher, the spiritual preceptor of the Devas, (impulses of Creative Intelligence, personified as gods). Of all the grahas it is mainly the quality of Guru that makes us go for evolution, expansion, enlightenment, etc. Guru shows us the way toward the realisation of evolutionary goals and aspirations. From this consideration it is clear that devam is an exact expression of the Guru principle. For more insight into the nature of Guru see the elaborated list of key-words by clicking on Jupiter


" the absolute, non-active value of Creative Intelligence. The supreme intelligence is so unlimited that it can function without functioning - its very presence regulates activity so that it is spontaneously right" ... it is ... "the element which maintains wholeness of consciousness and witnesses all activity."

These attributes of consciousness [remember: we are speaking of different qualities of one and the same consciousness] remind us of the characteristics of Shani (Saturn). Shani represents the Absolute, the silence, meditation, introspection, the state of yoga, the witnessing aspect of our consciousness, the gate to perfection in life. It represents our conscience, the inner guiding light for all our thought, speech and action. Thus it is clear that ritvijam represents the essence of the Shani principle. 

Click on Saturn for a more expanded list of key-words on the Shani principle. 


" Creative Intelligence in action. Whereas ritvijam faces himself, Hotaram faces activity"... by which ... "the whole range of activity can be endowed with the infinite potential of Creative Intelligence, so that every action yields the greatest results. Its goal is lively fulfilment in the waves of living."

This description clearly relates to the Budha principle represented by the graha Budha (Mercury), who is the fast moving graha of Creative Intelligence in action. Budha infuses intelligence, creativity, liveliness and joy into all phases of our daily life and even in our professional sphere. 

On the level of the superficial meaning of this first richa of Rik Veda, hotaram refers to the  actual performer of a yagya (Vedic performance) - the person who is reciting the appropriate mantras of the Vedas, while dextrously pouring prescribed oblations into the fire. This is exactly the characteristic of Budha, who in Jyotish parlance, is said to know all the four Vedas by heart, and is the dextrous, skilled performer of intelligent actions. All these points clearly establish a connection between hotaram and Budha. For a more complete overview of the Budha qualities of consciousness click on Mercury


"...the pure brilliance of Creative Intelligence shining in its most concentrated form between silence and action, Absolute and relative"... it is "the grace of life in its highest form, the culmination of all processes of evolution."

Clearly, this description can only relate to Ketu (the Southern lunar node), since Ketu is known as the "mokshakaraka" the bestower of moksha, liberation, which Vedic Science declares to be the culmination of all processes of evolution. Ketu stands for total knowledge, total enlightenment, which is shining in its most concentrated form between silence and action, between Absolute and relative. Consciousness is found in the gap between all opposite values. Ketu, as such, is nothing - it is only a mathematical point, defined by the interaction between the Sun and the Moon - between the Absolute (the Sun) and the relative (the Moon), between silence and dynamism. Ketu in Jyotish symbology is related to the Sun, as the pure brilliance of Creative Intelligence. 

It is interesting to note that Rahu relates to the Moon, which in Jyotish symbology represents the mind. According to Vedic psychology, every activity of the mind is intrinsically an expression of desire, thus relating the Rahu principle both to the Moon as well as to the performance of yagyas as we have seen earlier.

On the superficial level of the word-meaning, ratna means "jewel", and, as such, it also relates to Ketu, since Ketu stands for brilliance, sparks of fire, and any unusual or striking phenomenon catching the attention. In the description of the next word "dhatamam," Maharishi refers back to ratna, as symbolising enlightened people. All these points establish a relationship between ratna and the Ketu principle. 

For more light on the qualities of Ketu click on the solar eclips


"...shows consciousness as having grown to such a degree of concentrated fullness and purity that it overflows to radiate its value in the environment." In dhatamam, Maharishi writes, "consciousness is shown as the giver of the supreme value of life, as bestowing enlightenment and making it universally available."

On the level of the word-meaning "dhatamam" means giver. Giving is an expression of love. Giving is the spontaneous result of the overflowing of the fullness of consciousness. The values represented by "dhatamam", can therefore be related to the nature of Shukra (Venus), who stands for the principle of love and sharing, spontaneously radiating its value to the environment. 

Maharishi implies that the value of overflowing, contained in dhatamam, is the spontaneous result of the  concentrated fullness and purity of consciousness. It is interesting to note that the word-meaning of Shukra is "pure." The love that Shukra stands for in Jyotish parlance is the spontaneous result of the fullness of consciousness. Only when the Self is experienced in all its purity and fullness then love can then spontaneously emanate from this experience of Self-awareness. All these points confirm that dhatamam is related to the essence of the Shukra principle, the principle of love and sharing.  For an elaborated list of key-words on Shukra click on Venus.



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