Consciousness is that element in nature that is aware of itself. It has three aspects to it - it is the perceiving subject, it is its own object of perception, and it is itself the relationship between subject and object, or in other words, it is itself the process of observation.
Since everything in creation is the expression of consciousness, everything must have these three aspects of consciousness inherent in it. As we know from our case, our identity consists of pure subjectivity, the witnessing aspect of our consciousness. As an expression of that, we have the mind, containing all thoughts, feelings, desires, emotions and perceptions, etc., and thirdly, we have a body, the outer expression of our personality. We can relate these three aspects of the wholeness of our nature - soul, mind and body - to the three aspects of the wholeness of our consciousness, Rishi, Devata and Chandas.
Like that, the essence, the ultimate identity of every creature is pure consciousness. Furthermore, every creature has a mind, which forms a lively link between its inner pure subjectivity and its outer objectivity, the body. Since the whole universe is the expression of consciousness, we can attribute these three values to the whole of creation. And although we are aware that every item in creation has these three aspects in it, we can still distinguish different aspects of creation, which are mainly representing the Rishi value of existence, or mainly representing the Devata value of existence, or mainly representing the Chandas value of existence.
The stars, grouped in the form of the twelve rashis, indicate the innermost nature of a person, one's temperament, one's specific mode of consciousness that one will display throughout life. The Rashi that is rising on the eastern horizon, as seen from the time and place of birth, forms the main indicator of the inborn nature, the character, the basic personality traits that the individual will exhibit in life. Also seen from this angle, it is clear that the rashis relate to the Rishi value of life.
It is interesting to see that, in Vedic Astrology rashis are possessed of a "Drishti" (look) in a certain direction. Maharshi Parashara, one of the founding fathers of Vedic Astrology, mentions this Drishti, or looking nature of the rashis in his Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra long before he mentions the more commonly known Drishti values that the planets possess.
The stars form the "silent witnesses" of all the dynamism that takes place within the cosmic arena that they constitute. As such, they can be compared to the all-witnessing nature of our unbounded and eternal soul. Our soul is the silent witness of everything that goes on inside our mind, body and environment.
Cosmologically speaking, the stars are known to be the origin of all life forms. All the atoms that form our human body, and also those of the air that we breathe, and the food that we eat, have been produced inside the centre of giant stars that constituted a previous generation of stars, the parents of the present stars. Without the large scale production of all the 103 elements of nature, no "gross" material life form could ever have developed in the universe.
Similarly, in Maharishi's Veda Lila - a kind of Vedic opera which illustrates, through theatre, the self-interacting dynamics of consciousness in a dramatised form - the Rishi value is shown to be the origin of the dynamic values of Devata and of all the objective values of Chandas. The above parallels between the rashis and the Rishi value of consciousness, make clear that the stars represent the Rishi value of creation.
The nine grahas taken together represent all the Laws of Nature contained in the Constitution of the Universe, the Rik Veda. Each Graha represents a particular set of Laws of Nature, responsible for the evolution of certain aspects of life. These nine categories of Laws of Nature conduct the evolution of all life forms in this universe. The grahas themselves are localised in time and space, but their essential value, their Rishi value, constitutes eternal, omnipresent, and universal Laws of Nature which all together form the nine basic structuring dynamics of the Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature - the Unified Field of consciousness.
In Jyotish, Chandra or the Moon is considered the most important of the Navagrahas (nine grahas). In an individual's kundali or birth chart, Chandra represents the mind of the native. The position of the Moon at birth determines the starting point of the sequential evolutionary process that makes up the dynamism in the life of the individual. From these, and similar considerations, it is clear that the grahas predominantly represent the Devata aspect of consciousness.
Thanks to this classification that the Vedic Rishis have bestowed on mankind, we are in a position to discover the relationship between one experience and another, and in general, we can begin to see the cosmic order existing amidst the infinite diversity of life experiences.
It is in the bhavas, that the evolutionary dynamism of the grahas is displayed. Technically speaking, the bhavas are fixed to the earth as directions in space seen from our place of birth. They form the fixed framework for the kaleidoscopic, ever-changing arrangement of the Sun, Moon, and the planets, and the silently revolving background of the stars.
The bhavas relate to the relative, or, in other words, the objective values of life, such as our body, our finances, our homes, our spouse, our children, our parents, our profession, etc. The specific nature of these areas of life are determined by the nature of both the planets and the stars that occupy them. And, as the nature of the mind and the nature of the soul determine the experiences that the body undergoes, so the planets and the stars determine the nature of the activity that takes place in each of the twelve bhavas, the concrete areas of life.
The subjective values of mind and soul can only express themselves in the concrete areas of life - the field of all relative life experiences - e.g., the body, the field of our profession, the field of our relationships, our financial situation, etc. Likewise, the qualities of the rashis and grahas in a person's birth chart can only express themselves in the context provided by the twelve bhavas.
Just as the Chandas value relates to the objective aspect of consciousness, the bhavas relate to the objective side of our existence. The word "Chandas" is derived from the Sanskrit root "chhand" which means "to hide, to cover." This term refers to the special effect that the objective values of existence have in hiding the mental and spiritual values of existence, the Devata and Rishi qualities of consciousness.
In a similar way, the twelve concrete areas of life have the effect of overshadowing and hiding the nature of our subjectivity, namely the mental values and especially the unbounded and eternal nature of our soul. This makes it clear that the bhavas represent predominantly the Chandas aspect of consciousness.
Looking at these three aspects of consciousness together, we see how the Devata value forms the connecting link between pure subjectivity (Rishi) and the objective values of existence (Chandas). In the field of Jyotish, the grahas provide a connection between the rashis with the bhavas. Each of the nine grahas is the owner of one or two rashis. As such, each Graha represents one or two rashis. The evolutionary dynamism of the grahas can only manifest itself in the context of the fixed bhavas. Thus, the grahas create a lively connection between the rashis and the bhavas.
So it is in the grahas, that the rashis and the bhavas find a common meeting ground. In a similar way, the soul and the body find a common meeting ground in the mind. It is the mind that creates a lively connection between the soul and the body. The mind is able to do so because of its ability to reflect both subjective and objective values of existence.
This division of the reality in these three aspects of creation, provided by Rik Veda, has its parallel in another Vedic triad, commonly referred to in the Upanishads as Adhyatma, Adhidaiva, Adhibhuta.
And finally, while these three basic ingredients keep on interacting with themselves all over the ever expanding universe, they are integratedly available in our individual lives.
This fact is beautifully demonstrated by Jyotish. Jyotish is not geocentric in its orientation nor is it heliocentric in its orientation but "Jiva-centric" (Jiva=individual soul). Therefore here the universe is viewed from the time and place of birth of any Jiva or individualised consciousness. In Jyotish every single individual is regarded as the centre of the universe! This "Jiva-centric" nature of Jyotish is clearly illustrated in an individual's birth chart. The Janma Kundali, or horoscope, represents an actual picture of the structure of the universe at the time of birth of a person, seen through the eyes of that new-born person. It shows - in a schematic way - the arrangement of Sun, Moon and planets, including the two lunar nodes, set against the background of the constellations forming the Kalapurusha.
The Jyotishi, or expert in Vedic Astrology, knows that this structure of the universe, this arrangement of Sun, Moon, stars and planets indicates the structure of the cosmic, all-comprehensive nature of the Jiva. Jyotish demonstrates that every single individual born on this planet is actually of a cosmic nature. In reading an individual's birth chart, the Jyotishi actually demonstrates that the individual is made up out of these cosmic forces. Thus, Jyotish provides a practical demonstration of the abstract principle propounded by the Upanishads and the Vedanta philosophy that says: "Jivo Brahmaiva naparah" - "The individual soul is Brahman, the Totality, and nothing else."
The individual's birth chart is constructed out of three basic ingredients. These three ingredients are formed by the stars, the planets, and the houses, and are blended harmoniously into the all-comprehensive structure of the birth chart. In Vedic Astrology, the horoscope is designed in a square form. The square and triangular boxes of the chart represent the twelve bhavas, which are an expression of the Chandas value of existence and as stated above, they refer to the concrete areas of life and living. The letters in the boxes of the chart represent the nine grahas, the nine basic impulses of Creative Intelligence that give rise to the sequential developments in our life, which thus are an expression of the Devata value of existence. The numbers inside the boxes represent the twelve groups of stars, the rashis, representing the twelve basic modes of consciousness and thus are an expression of the Rishi value of existence.
All these twelve, nine and twelve ingredients
are blended together in an integrated fashion, and the collectedness of them
all forms what we can call "the constitution of the individual." Just
as the Constitution of the Universe contains all the ingredients and Laws of
Nature that structure the dynamics of the universe, so the individual's birth
chart contains all the ingredients and Laws of Nature that structure the dynamics
of the individual's life.
The beauty of this overview is, that all the ingredients that are shown to structure the life of the individual, are derived from the visible universe (Vishva), while all the ingredients that form the visible universe, are shown to be derived from the Veda, the Samhita of Rishi, Devata and Chandas.
This consciousness-centred perspective demonstrates that the individual is indeed an expression of all the Laws of Nature, or as Maharishi puts it: "The the human being is the embodiment of all the Laws of Nature." In other words, the human being is the embodiment of the Veda, the home of all the Laws of Nature, the Constitution of the Universe. Thus the chart illustrates the ultimate Vedic principle which the Upanishads recommend every individual to directly experience: "Aham Brahmasmi" - "I am Brahman, I am the totality, really I am everything."
This cosmic perspective on the individual, this cosmic perspective on our own life can be said to be the essence of all Vedic Knowledge. It is the central theme of all 40 branches of Vedic Science. All 40 aspects of Vedic Science have only one common purpose: to bring home to each and every individual born on earth, that we are in essence one with the universe. The Vedas and Vedic Literature indicate that it is the birthright of every human being to live this experience through all the thick and thin of life.
The entire structure of the human nervous system is designed to give rise to this cosmic experience. The absence of this experience is defined as dis-ease. In other words, the absence of this experience is responsible for the all-round suffering that human life has gone through so far. This simply demonstrates that mankind has not lived up to its individual and collective potential.
This intimate relationship between the human
body and the universe forms a major topic of the most holistic system of health
care, Ayurveda. Summarized in one of its textbooks: "All material and
spiritual phenomena of the universe are present in the individual. Similarly,
all those present in the individual are also contained in the universe. This
is how the wise desire to perceive." (Charaka Samhita IV). A few paragraphs
earlier, in this same passage Charaka in the words of Lord Atreya states:
"Purushyo'yam loka sannidah"
"Man is a miniature universe"
(Charaka Samhita IV).
This quote from Charaka Samhita
illustrates how beautifully Ayurveda and Jyotish supplement and support each
other. Indeed, all the branches of Vedic Science support and supplement each
other. They constitute the different aspects of one holistic science, the science
of consciousness, Brahma vidya, the science of the Totality. Every individual
branch of Vedic Science is simply an elaboration as well as a further explanation
and a commentary on the basic truths of life as contained in Rik Veda, the encyclopaedia
of all knowledge, the Constitution of the Universe.
Copyright © 1998. Drs. Frans Langenkamp, Ph.D. All rights reserved.