I. Origins

This is the first in a series of articles on the ancient science of astrology. In pre-Christian times astronomy and astrology were a one body of knowledge, a one science. A good astronomer was a good astrologer. Understanding how the heavens related to life on Earth was an integral part of our culture in those days, whether we lived as a Sumerian, Egyptian, Cretian, Mayan or as one of the peoples of the Indus Valley. Each of these great civilizations that lived between 4,000 to 5,000 years ago held closely to several common beliefs:

1. Belief in the Gods and communication with them at specific locations on the Earth.

2. Belief in the law of karma and reincarnation.

3. Belief in the inter-relationship between the stars, planets and the human soul.

Fortunately, there is still one of our above ancient family lineages around today with an unbroken continuity, having survived countless invasions of alien peoples with hostile motives and alien beliefs (which destroyed the others), and these are the people of the Indus Valley. The knowledge they preserved of the true astrology is embodied in the sixth limb of the Vedas, known as Jyotisha, "the knowledge of the celestial lights," which forms the basis for what is known today as Hindu astrology.

It is commonly called Hindu astrology because it is based on the principles of karma and reincarnation of the individual soul. If the other civilizations had survived through the ages we might have a system called Egyptian astrology, Persiastrology, or Mayastrology. It is interesting to note that the Mayans may have been the most astute in the science of the stars. They recorded hundreds of books containing invaluable knowledge for mankind. In 1560 of the Christian calendar Bishop Diego de Landa ordered all such books to be destroyed in huge bonfires, believing that they contained "nothing in which there was not to be seen superstitions and lies of the devil." Three books survived which sit passively today in a museum showcase; the 'Dresden Codex,' a book of astronomy and divination; the 'Madrid Codex,' a bood of horoscopes; and the 'Paris Codex," a record of Deities and ceremonies.

In the surviving records of the Mayans there are intricate calculations of time and the movement of the celestial bodies. Contained in the Mayan calendar is a description of a particular cycle of our Earth that is also spoken of by both the Sumerians and the Hindus. The Mayan scriptures describe a Great Cataclysm that occurred approximately 5,100 years ago. According to the Hindu calendar, 5,089 years ago marked the beginning of the Dark Age, or Kali Yuga. The Sumerians describe a Great Deluge that occurred 5,087 years ago. This account of a new beginning for Mother Earth and its inhabitants is mirrored almost exactly in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible in the tale of the Garden of Eden and the Deluge. Unbiased historians are certain the Hebrews borrowed their traditional tales of the Old Testament from the 'Land Between the Rivers,' the Mesopotamian paradise of the Sumerians. The Mayan priest-astronomers not only confirm the cataclysm, but note that it is a natural cycle of the Earth to go through one every 5,200 years! How many Western astronomers have this foresight today?

It was most likely these profound revelations (and the inseparable philosophy of reincarnation and karma) that led the early Roman officials and Christian priests to remove from their own scriptures everything concerning the true knowledge of Jyotisha, and to save the world from the "superstitions" contained in writings other than their own. Lacking fundamental principles. Western astrologers then evolved a system entirely based on mathematics and the physical celestial bodies, devoid of any concepts related to a previous existence or transcendental metaphysics. What remained was a mere skeleton of the wisdom of the ancients, which evolved into what most of the Christian/Judiac world knows as astrology today. Little did they know that in the "backward" villages of India the true science of the stars was still being passed from Guru to disciple.

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.