Astrology is an ancient school of thought, which believes in a correlation of the movement of celestial bodies with events on earth. It is considered to be a sort of divine knowledge of nature which consists of the study of positions of the stars and the movements of the planets which affect all the events of the world. The Sanskrit term for astrology is Jyotish. The word Jyotish literally means the ‘knowledge of light’. The derivation of this word from its syllables is also interesting to know. The different syllables of the word Jyotish stand for the following:-
Ja +Ya - Water or Birth
O – And
Ta – Earth or Stars
Ish – Knowledgeable
Hence, the entire word Jyotish could sum up as ‘knowledge of the water and birth in relation to the earth or stars’. In other words, it means the influence of light over all things and occurrences on the earth.
In the Indian scriptures, Jyotish Shastra is one of the six disciplines required for the proper understanding of the Vedas, which are known as the Vedangas. The other five Vedangas are:- Shiksha – Study of Phonetics, Chanda – Study of Meter, Vyakarana – Study of Grammar,Nirukta – Study of Etymology, Kalpa – Study of the Rituals
Thus it can be seen how astrology has been given a prime position along with the other disciplines in order to get a proper understanding of the scriptures.
The study of astrology was not done by one man. It is the fruit of millennia of observation and study of how celestial changes show their effects on the earthly lives. Several great rishis and munis have contributed to the volume of Jyotish knowledge available to the world today. Bhrigu, Jaimini, Satyacharya, Narada, Garga, Parashara, Kalyana Verma, Mantreshwara, Vaidya Nath are some of the important figures in the development of Jyotish as it is known to man today. The very great Kalidasa, who is remembered even today for his great literary works Shakuntala and Vikrama-Urvashi, was a staunch believer of Jyotish Shastra.