We live on Earth. During daytime we see the Sun gradually crossing over the sky; and at nighttime, the Moon does so. The Earth is a 'Planet' of the Solar system - whereas Astronomically Sun is a 'Star' and Moon is a 'Satellite'. But in Astrological parlance, the two Luminaries (Sun and Moon), five other planets (Mars to Saturn), the two Lunar Nodes (Rahu Ketu) have been classified together as 'Grahas' - which literally means the fast-moving large massive bodies hovering in space. As the nearest term available in the widely known language English is 'Planet', we habitually term the 'Grahas' as "Planets" - without making any distinction whether each of these is a star, planet, satellite, or node. Thus, it must not be construed that our ancient seers were not aware of the distinction; they were even very well aware of the fact that the SUN also moves round the center of the Galaxy (Milky Way), and it takes about 25, 777 years to make a complete round. Nothing in space can ever remain in a static condition.
There are innumerable galaxies in the Universe, and our Milky Way galaxy is just one of these. The center of our 'Milky Way' Galaxy is situated in sign Sagittarius at about 242* Longitude and about 6* South Latitude - at a distance of about 26, 000 Light years away (from Earth/ Sun). The Sun's orbit lies at about half the distance from the center of the Galaxy to its edge. The position of the center of the Galaxy falls in 'Moola' Nakshatra - from where the new stars are said to evolve, and start moving apart. As the galaxy is not situated on the same plane where we are stationed, we can observe it from one side only (from above); for this reason, what happens in the other part will always remain unexplored. … Thermodynamics postulates that the 'entropy' (or the measure of disorder) has been increasing; and Astronomy claims that the Universe is expanding. Well, is it? Although it appears to be so, most possibly it is not; what is actually happening might be just the opposite.
Let us imagine that we take a big spherical balloon and hold two diametrically opposite points on its periphery, then compress the two points towards inside vertically, and bring the two points together coinciding with the center of the balloon; thus we get two equal conjoined haves - of 3-dimensional figure of annular shape, having no internal diameter. When seen from one side, if any particle evolves from its center and moves apart up to the periphery of one half, then (and till then) it will appear to be moving apart, but on further continuation of its sojourn, instead of diverging, it will start converging; upon reaching the other side, it will proceed towards the same center. Although a bit overly imaginative concept, yet it appears to be a fairly reasonable model. … In our ancient sacred scriptures also, indications have been given along similar lines - after expanding for some time, there comes a time-period of equal duration for contraction for 'regeneration' (which is termed as 'pralaya' or dissolution - which is neither disintegration nor dissipation). … Thus it appears entirely possible that the Universe is not at all expanding, rather it is in a steady state; the things contained in it will appear to move apart for some time, and - although these will still continue their motion apparently in the 'same' direction, yet after some duration of time - these will in fact turn back, and proceed towards the very same point from where these had begun their sojourn.
The physical forms of materials are destructible or perishable, but the core 'elements' are not; the 'elements' undergo transformation only, and in the long run always return back to the same source from where these had originally evolved.
However, persons engaged in the pursuit of Astrology should not and must not be bogged down by the mirage of too much of Astronomy - which is a materialistic 'science' (while Astrology being termed as a half-science and half-art - which conforms to the precise definition of an 'applied science' or technology). The observable or roughly/ vaguely 'measurable' properties like distance, mass, gravitation, luminosity, electro-magnetic radiation, x-ray emanation, etc either in isolation or in any simple- or complex- combination (with various other reasonable or doubtful factors) do in no way help us to estimate the nature of effects of the planets; the significations of the planets are essentially 'esoteric' .
Regarding the newly discovered trans-Saturnine planets (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto), it deserves to be mentioned here that not much of dependable information is available about the effects of these planets so far. It may be noted that it is neither essential nor even necessary to take these planets into account - as their so-called effects can be ascertained by considering the main 7 planets and 2 nodes. But as many practicing Astrologers habitually note the positions of these trans-Saturnine planets, we have kept the provisions for determining the positions of these planets (including the position of the recently discovered planet Chiron).
The positions of the Lunar nodes (Rahu and Ketu) are measured in two different ways: one is as per their 'mean' motion - which is uniform and always retrograde - while the other is their 'true' motion - which is not uniform, and can be retrograde, static, or even direct. At times, the positions as per these two systems may and can differ from each other by up to about 1*45' . Although we have kept the provision for finding the positions as per either of the methods as chosen, we wish to mention here that for astrological predictive purposes, the 'mean' positions offer more reliable results - while for astronomical purposes like finding the exact moments and durations of eclipses, etc the 'true' positions offer accurate results.
Another important thing is to note that as we are stationed on the Earth, we are concerned with the 'apparent' motions of the planets. At times when the non-luminous planets (Mars to Saturn) arrive at certain angular distances from the Sun, they become stationary for a brief duration, and then they appear to move in opposite direction that continues for a number of days; this is called "retrogression" of planets. Thereafter, they become stationary again, and after that resume their direct motion; the process goes on in a cyclic order. Not only the direction of motion, but also the rate of motion of the individual planets at a particular moment of time is important, and deserve to be noted - since these are also indicative of certain characteristic effects.
Time is the property of motion, and motion is the quality of the hovering bodies having some mass (however immense or insignificant those might be). Mass is the condensed form of Energy resulting from curvature of Space - while Energy is the released form of Mass resulting from contraction of curvature of Space. When a mass is moving through a region of the space, the two are influencing each other; the mass is trying to bend a part of the space around it by trying to create a curvature (but is only capable of causing ripples - which gradually subside), and in turn the space is trying to resist it by inducing great stress on the mass (which has to endure the resultant strain). Thus, owing to such mass-space interaction, some sort of 'effect' is generated. At the time of birth or formation, a person, creature, or a thing had been under a set of such effects - which has ever since then being slowly, steadily, and continuously being modified by the ever-changing transitory effects leading to gradual transformation that will go on till its existence reaches the respective ending moment.
According to our traditional belief, life is not considered to be an isolated existence between birth and the 'great escape' ; rather, it is considered to be a continuation between the past existence of the previous birth and the future existence of the next birth. The non-escapable law of 'Karma' holds us all in its firm grip. The horoscope is thus considered to be a 'balance-sheet' of the fruits of meritorious and otherwise deeds one has committed in his/ her past existence, and cumulative effect of those will determine what lies in the store of the native in the present existence. Then again, he/ she will continue doing some more deeds in the present existence - good, or bad, or probably both; thereby his/ her prospect of enjoying the 'results' would most possibly become further complicated! This is why it is being said that through such sacred subjects (like Astrology), we have been trying to comprehend the incomprehensible!
Now let us concentrate on the more practical aspects. The Moon moves round the Earth (and its orbit is nearly circular), and the planets from Mars to Saturn are eternally in motion in elliptical orbits around the Sun. From the Earth (our station of observation), they appear to move around the Earth. The Lunar Nodes (Rahu and Ketu) are not visible - as they have no mass; nevertheless, as they are intersection points of the apparent orbits of the Sun (of the Earth actually) and the Moon, they are capable of exerting tremendous influences.
The cycle of the 30 phases of the Moon (= 29. 5306 days) might have given rise to the concept of 'month' , and annual phenomena of re-appearance of the seasons (= 365. 25 days) might have given rise to the concept of the 'year' . As the Lunar year falls a bit short of 360 days (29. 5306 * 12 = about 354) and the Annual Solar return is a bit more than 360 days, probably the mean figure of 360 was taken from Luni-Solar Calendar, to be the measure of the zodiac; and its one-twelfth division (360 / 12 = 30) was taken to be the measure of a sign. Lunar movement through the fixed constellations (= 27. 3217 days) gave rise to the concept of 28 Nakshatras (including tiny tot Abhijit) - which was later being taken as 27 Nakshatras for the sake of ease and convenience of calculating, and the measure of a nakshatra was fixed as 13*20' (= 360* / 27) .
One thing appears quite queer that the 12 equal segments of the zodiac have been termed as 'Rashis' in Sanskrit; in English, these are called signs. It does not really matter what the term is used in a developing language like English - since they use the names for the purpose of identification only. But it is entirely different when it comes to Sanskrit. The name 'Rama' consists of two letters 'R(a)' and 'M(a)' with a monosyllable 'a' placed in-between. The brevity of Sanskrit is such that not only the letters used but also their relative placements are full of significations. The term 'Rashi' as such cannot really mean 'a segment of zodiac' ; what it actually means is that it is an assimilation of various constituent parts - which are reasonably termed as 'Amshas' (that means 'divisions' ). … As such, it will be well understandable to the interested readers that the 'Rashis' are in fact not mere astronomical segments only; a Rashi contains as many divisions of the corresponding divisional charts - like 2 Horas, 3 Drekkanas, 9 Navamshas, 10 Dashamamshas, etc. The divisional charts are in fact 'symbolic' ones, and they are of limited significations and usefulness; what is more important is the corresponding divisional positions of planets when it is in a 'Rashi' - regardless of whether the positions have reference to natal-, progressed-, or transit- charts.
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