By Swami Harshananda
Jyautiṣa or astronomy is Vedāṅga and a subsidiary science that helps in determining suitable times for the performance of Vedic sacrifices. Gradually Jyautiṣa evolved into a much larger and complicated science embodying in itself. It not only included astronomy, but also astrology, the science that predicts the influence of the planets and other heavenly bodies on human affairs.
One of the basic works on Astrology is the Bṛhatsamhitā of Varāha-mihira (6th century A.D.). It mainly deals with astrology but is quite encyclopaedic in its scope and includes several other branches of knowledge such as:
All the subjects has been treated while keeping in view its significance as an augury or its astrological effects. For instance, the section on rubies not only describes how one can know the quality of a gem, but also gives the effects of wearing a good ruby. Another interesting feature of this work is its 104th chapter. The various stanzas dealing with the astrological effects of the planets are composed in different meters. In this section the name of the meter is ingeniously included in the verse itself.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore