Both Indian and Western countries follow the study of Astrology. Astrology is a study that mainly imparts insights into the influence of planetary movements and movements of other celestial objects upon human lives. But there’s a lot of difference between Vedic Astrology and Western Astrology. So, it is important to have knowledge on what are the factors that actually differ both Astrology from each other. Let’s check out all the dissimilarities one by one. Firstly, to understand the dissimilarities, we will have to check out the origin of both systems of Astrology.
- Difference based on origin and working principle:
As Vedic Astrology is a part of the Vedas, we can conclude that it is originated from the Vedas. In specific terms, it has also been called the eye of Vedas in the verse that is given in Narada Samhita. Let’s see the verse of Narada Samhita.
“वेदस्य निर्मलं चक्षुर्ज्योतिः शास्त्रमनुत्तमम्।”
– नारद संहिता
Not only this, but Vedic Astrology also believes in the previous birth, karma, and the results of karma. Now the question is what work does Astrology do? The verse that is given in ‘Bruhaspati Samhita’ and ‘Laghu Jatak’ clearly states the work of Astrology.
यदुपचितं अन्यजन्मनि शुभाशुभम् तस्य कर्मणः पक्तिम्।
वयन्जयति शास्त्रमेतत् तमसि द्रव्याणि दीप इव।।
– लघु जातक, बृहस्पति संहिता
“Astrology does the work of showing any of the auspicious and inauspicious deeds of human beings done by them in their previous birth. Besides that, it also imparts information about the period of time when one can get the results according to one’s own karma. So, similar to a lamp that does a work of enlightening the darkroom, Astrology works to enlighten the life of human beings based on their previous birth.”
Contrary to the belief of Vedic Astrology, Western Astrology has no belief in the concept of previous birth. There are only a few western astrology scholars who believe in the concept of a former life. Many people who have faith in the Astrology of the western world don’t believe in the notion of previous birth. So, there is no room for karma in their astrology study.
Western Astrology works on the principle that when a person is born, a kind of impression is developed on his psyche on the basis of unique planetary positions present at that time. By that impression, a kind of planetary imprint gets created in that person’s subconscious and conscious mind. And then the created imprint results in the development of his psychology which leads him to make choices in life. Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist has given an insightful statement based on his deep research in the fields of Western Astrology and Psychology.
“ Astrology is assured of recognition from psychology, without further restrictions, because astrology represents the summation of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity. “
– Carl Jung
Thus one thing is clear, Indian Astrology is based on karma or fate while the Astrology of the Western world is based on psychology.
- Difference based on Astrological Calculation:
Western Astrology follows the tropical calculation whereas Vedic Astrology follows the sidereal calculation. People who don’t know about these terms might be wondering what is the meaning of tropical calculation or sidereal calculation. Let’s understand the meaning of both terms in detail.
The calendar we use and the seasons we follow are based on the correlation between the Earth and the Sun. In western astrology, each tropical calculation is done on the basis of the earth’s rotation on its axis and its rotation around the sun. It means the tropical calculation that is followed by westbound astrology considers the earth’s rotation on its axis. And that’s why the astrology of tropical calculation is also called ‘Sayan Paddhati’. The term Sayan comprises two words ‘Sa + Ayan’. For explaining this term, a verse has been given in Mimansa Granth.
अयनांश सहितम् सायनम्।
– मिमान्सा ग्रन्थ
Here, the word Ayan means to move or to rotate. And it basically means that the movement of the earth on its axis is called Ayan.
On the basis of the Ayan of earth i.e. movement of earth, westbound astrology has taken into consideration four different seasons summer solstice, winter solstice, and equinox, which are created from the sun. And this consideration that gives rise to a fixed zodiac counts as tropical Astrology. The tropical zodiac is called the fixed zodiac as it is said that every year sun enters a zodiac of Aries on the fixed date either 20th or 21st March. The tropical zodiac signs are fixed as a result of the motion of the earth and the sun. So, the westbound astrology that follows the tropical calculation is a fixed type of astrology.
Whereas the astrology following sidereal calculation is called ‘Niryan Paddhati’. And in Mimansa Granth, a verse depicting the term Niryan has also been mentioned.
अयनांश रहितं निरयनम्।
– मिमान्सा ग्रन्थ
“Ayanamsa is not counted in Vedic Astrology following the sidereal calculation i.e. Niryan Paddhati.”
There are certain fixed stars in our sky that we call Nakshatras. According to sidereal Astrology, it is said that when a planet passes through any fixed star or nakshatra, then the planet inherits the qualities of that particular nakshatra. So, in an explicit context when a planet passes through any nakshatra, we can say that the planet is passing through a specific zodiac of that nakshatra. And that’s how the zodiac signs are decided. For example; when a Sun passes through Ashwini nakshatra, it can be said that the sun is in Aries according to the Vedic astrology and this incident takes place on April 14th or April 15th depending on where you live on the earth. So, the sidereal calculation is not static and that’s why some corrective mathematical measures are done.
As the sidereal astrology is movable and the tropical astrology is fixed, they both are not in sync with each other. And it has been concluded by many experts and scientists that the Vedic sidereal sign moves backward by about 1 degree every 72 years. As of this year 2022, it is believed and confirmed that there is a difference of 24 degrees between the Vedic sidereal sign and the Western tropical sign. We know that 30 degrees make one zodiac. Many a time, we come across various sites or source of zodiac information that shows the difference in transit of planets through zodiac signs. It’s because the information on the internet is based on two different astrology, i.e. Vedic sidereal astrology and Western tropical astrology and they both are having a difference of 24 degrees as of 2022.
Now, you will be surprised to know that at the time when the Satya Yuga was about to end and the Kali Yuga was about the began, both the sidereal astrology based on Niryan Paddhati and the tropical astrology based on Sayan Paddhati were the same. And as a substantiate for this, a verse has even been specifically had been given in ‘Madhyamadhikar’ of Surya Siddhanta.
“अस्मिन् कृतयुगस्यान्ते सर्वेमध्यगता ग्रहाः।”
– सूर्य सिद्धान्त
We generally take into consideration the tropical sign system in our day-to-day life because of the seasons we follow but the great astronomers don’t consider the tropical sign system for their research. Astronomers tend to follow the sidereal method of calculation and even NASA follows the same method for the study of Astrological signs and events. A sidereal method is used because it is based on the movements that are seen in the sky. And Vedic Sidereal signs are also called Astronomical perfect signs as it represents the true cosmos. Many years back, Maharishi Vashishth has given a verse depicting the same in his Granth named ‘Piyush Dhara’.
प्रत्यक्षं ज्योतिषं शास्त्रम्।
“Vedang Astrology only follows what is visible in the sky or the actual happenings.”
For example; Vedang Astrology will only provide information that Sun is transiting in the zodiac Scorpio if it is visible in the sky that the sun is passing through the nakshatra representing the zodiac Scorpio. Now, it is clear that Vedang Astrology is not based on assumptions but it is based on what actually is happening in the cosmos. And for this reason, many expert astronomers believe that Vedang Astrology is nearer to the truth compared to westbound Astrology.
- Differences based on the existence of zodiac signs:
The total number of zodiac signs in both the type of astrology is the same i.e. 12 zodiac signs and also the sequence of all these 12 zodiac signs – Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces are the same in both Vedang Astrology and Western Astrology. But the difference present is in the calculation of the existence of the zodiac. The western system of astrology believes that each zodiac has its own independent existence whereas Vedang astrology believes that the existence of the zodiac has taken place through constellations. Vedang Astrology even believes that one cannot understand Vedic Rashi without the understanding of Nakshatra. While in the Westbound system of Astrology, there is no mention of Nakshatra.
According to our Vedang Astrology, it is clearly mentioned that each nakshatra consists of 4 phases and each zodiac is created by a total of 9 phases of nakshatra. For example; four phases of Ashwini nakshatra, the zodiac of Aries is created by combining four phases of Bharani and the first phase of Krutika nakshatra. To clarify this theory of zodiac signs and nakshatra, a clear verse has been given in Vaman Purana.
“यत्राश्विनि च भरणी कृतिकायास्तथांशकः मेषो राशिः।”
– वामन पुराण
So, the basic distinction is that in Vedang Astrology, the existence of zodiac signs is considered on the basis of nakshatra, and in the Western system of Astrology, the existence of zodiac signs is considered independent.
- Difference based on Consideration of planets and Sign Rulership:
In Western Astrology, many asteroids and planets such as Neptune, Pluto, and Uranus that are not visible are considered along with the visible planets. The astrologers following the western system give calculations even on the basis of asteroids. Although there is no mention of Rahu and Ketu in Western methods, very few astrologers use Rahu and Ketu in the name of North Nord and South Nord. Whereas in Vedang Astrology, non-visible planets such as Harshal, Pluto, and Neptune are not considered and only the visible planets that we can see are considered along with shadow planets Rahu and Ketu. So in Vedang Astrology, there are a total of nine planets that are considered – Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu, and Ketu.
Now, when we talk about the rulership of planets, the western astrologers consider the non-visible planets other than visible planets as the lord of zodiac signs whereas the Vedang astrologers don’t even consider the shadow planets Rahu and Ketu as the lord planets. Western astrologers consider Pluto as the lord planet of Scorpio, Uranus as the lord planet of Aquarius, and Neptune as the lord planet of Pisces while Vedang astrologers only consider the seven visible planets as the lord planets for the zodiac signs. In Vedang astrology, Sun is considered as the Lord planet of Leo, the Moon as the lord planet of Cancer, Mars as the lord planet of Aries and Scorpio, Mercury as the lord planet of Gemini and Virgo, Jupiter as the lord planet of Sagittarius and Pisces, Venus as the lord planet of Taurus and Libra & Saturn as the lord planet of Capricorn and Aquarius.
- Differences based on Aspects of the Planets:
Aspects of the planets can be defined as the influence of planets on other signs other than the sign it’s inhabited in. There is no mention of any specific planetary aspects in Western Astrology. Each planet will aspects its own house and the opposite house. But there is a unique consideration of five major aspects – Conjunction, Sextile, Square, Trine, and Opposition in Western Astrology. The primary principle on which westbound astrology is based is that whenever there is an equality in degrees between two planets irrespective of the signs, then we can say that the planets are sharing tight conjunction. For example, let’s assume that the planet Jupiter is at 10 degrees in Aquarius and the planet Saturn is at 11 degrees in Aries. As we can see that the difference of degree between both the planets is only 1 degree, so irrespective of the signs the planets can be said to be in tight conjunction.
On the other side, Vedang Astrology has no faith in such aspects. Vedang Astrology only gives importance to Yuti and Pratiyuti of planets. Each planet has an aspect of its own house and its opposite house. Special aspects have been given to Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. According to Vedang Astrology, Mars aspects the fourth and eighth house from its position, Jupiter aspects the fifth and ninth house from its position, and Saturn aspects the third and tenth house from its position. In westbound astrology, there is no mention of such important aspects.
- Difference based on strength of planets:
Western Astrology believes that whenever a planet is retrograde, its strength either decreases or ends. Whereas Vedang Astrology believes that whenever a planet is retrograde, its strength increases and the planet becomes powerful. Western Astrology considers that when a planet occupies the position of the other sign that lies opposite to its own sign, then the planet becomes weak and debilitated. Whereas Vedic Astrology sees the planet as weak but not debilitated when that planet occupies the position of the other sign that lies opposite to its own sign.
- Difference based on Birth Charts / Kundli:
It can be figured out from the diagram of the birth chart that the method of making a birth chart is different in both Astrology. The birth chart in Western Astrology is circular whereas, in Vedang Astrology, it is square in shape. Both systems of Astrology use date, time, and place of birth to make a birth chart but the style of making a birth chart in both types of Astrology is different. In Western Astrology, not every house of a birth chart is 30 degrees whereas, in Vedang Astrology, each house of a birth chart is considered 30 degrees. Western Astrology has a specific method for the calculation of degrees of each house and on the basis of that, each house consists of a positive or negative degree.
In Vedic Astrology, the directional strength of the planets is evaluated on the basis of planetary positions in the birth chart. However, there is no such concept in Western Astrology. Westbound Astrology only considers the concept of transit of planets while studying or predicting the time of particular events. For instance, a particular event will only take place in your life when the specific planet will occur in the transit of that event. Whereas in Vedang Astrology, Mahadasha and Antardasha of the planets are also seen along with considering the transits. There is no such Mahadasha and Antardasha in another type of Astrology.
Other than that, there is no concept of Karak or Marak in Western Astrology. It doesn’t even include the concept of natural benefic planets or sin planets. Not only that but the ideology of having some positions in the birth chart as auspicious and some as inauspicious also doesn’t exist in Western Astrology. Vedang Astrology includes the making of birth charts based on Varga such as Navamsa, Saptamsa, Trimsamsa, and others. It also includes the formation of Yoga such as Laxmi Yoga, Gajkesari Yoga, Kalsarpa Yoga, etc. on the basis of analyzing the planetary position at the time of birth. On the contrary, there are no such concepts of making a birth chart based on Varga or the formation of Yoga in Western Astrology.
- The conclusion from the above discussion:
Concisely, if we look at the differences between Vedic and Western Astrology, we can comprehend that Vedang Astrology includes more in-depth knowledge and analysis compared to other Astrology. But that doesn’t mean that Western Astrology holds less importance or it doesn’t work. There are many western astrologers who are experts in providing precise predictions. So, it’s upon you which method you believe in and by which method you feel like to get more precise predictions.
If you are following western astrology, then it’s my recommendation that you should also take some time out to study Vedic Astrology. I strongly believe that while studying Vedic Astrology, you will get more accurate and in-depth knowledge of astrology. But no matter what method of astrology you follow, you will definitely attain expected results as both methods provide detailed predictions.