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Explore the world of astrology and its significance in Bengal

In West Bengal, Hinduism is the biggest religious tradition, with almost 68% of the state identifying themselves as Hindus. The majority of Hindus in West Bengal belong to the Shakta/Kalikula tradition, with a minority belonging to the Vaishnavite tradition. Other small communities belong to the Shaivite tradition and other religious sects. Due to its overwhelming dominance over the state, Bengal has cultivated many religious and spiritual practices from Hinduism. One such tradition is Astrology. 

Jyotisha or Jyotishya has been derived from Jyót, which means "light, heavenly body," and 'ish' is derived from Isvara, which means God. It is the traditional Hindu astrological system, also referred to as Hindu astrology, Indian astrology, as well as, in recent times, Vedic astrology. Ever since the early 19th century, the phrase Hindu astrology has been used as the English analogous term of Jyotia, whilst Vedic astrology is a fairly recent form of nomenclature. Vedic astrology describes celestial motions and positions in relation to time and space, as well as their impact on humans and all other entities on the planet Earth. Moreover, Vedic astrology has a subsidiary category called Muhurat astrology that can be used to assess the most advantageous dates to do something (like a major life event) in order to get affirmative outcomes.

The framework of Hindu astrology originates from the Vedic concept of bandhu, which is the link between the microcosm and the macrocosm. The sidereal zodiac is used in practice, as opposed to the tropical zodiac that is in use in Western or Hellenistic astrology. Hindu astrology contains several refined sub-systems of analysis and forecasting, including elements not discovered in Hellenistic astrology, like its lunar mansions (Nakshatra) structure. 

The different kinds of Vedic Astrology: 

  • Siddhanta (Astronomy): The study of astronomy and its implementation in astrology.

  • Samhita (Prosaic astrology): Encompasses Prosaic astrology, such as the foretelling of key milestones linked to nations such as war, earthquakes, political events, Astro meteorology, financial situations, electoral astrology; house & building-related issues (Vastu Shastra), animals, portents & omens, and so on.

  • Hora (Predictive astrology): This division contains the following approaches / sub-branches: - 

  • Jaatak Shaastra / Natal Astrology: This branch involves foretellings according to one’s individual horoscope

  • Muhurt/Muhurta/Electional Astrology: This corresponds to the predictions of auspicious times with respect to important life events

  • Swar Shastra/ Phonetic Astrology: These include predictions that related to names and sounds

  • Prashna/Horary Astrology: These predictions are dependent on the time when the query was presented

  • Ank Jyotish/Numerology: This form of astrology, as the name, suggests deals with numbers 

  • Indian Palmistry: This form of astrology is one of the most famous astrological traditions, wherein, predictions are made through palm reading. 


Q1. What is the foundation of Hindu (Vedic) Astrology? 

Vedic astrology is founded on the conviction that the heavenly bodies have a strong effect on life. This belief stems from the teachings of the Vedas, India's earliest source of knowledge. According to Hindu teachings, the main purpose of life is spiritual development. 

Q2. How does Hindu Astrology differ from Western Astrology? 

The manner in which the zodiac system is studied is one of the main distinctions between the two systems. Western astrology utilizes a seasonal zodiac, whereas Vedic astrology utilizes the Sidereal Zodiac, which refers to the actual constellations in the sky.