Ayanamsa is a term used in Vedic astrology to refer to the difference between the tropical and sidereal zodiacs. The word “ayanamsa” is made up of the Sanskrit words “ayana,” which means movement, and “amsa,” which means component. Therefore, ayanamsa literally means the “movement component” or the difference in movement between the two zodiacs. This difference is caused because the earth’s axis is tilted and its orbit around the sun is not a perfect circle. This leads to slight shifts in the positions of planets over time.
The Lahiri ayanamsa system
The Lahiri ayanamsa system is a widely used method for calculating the ayanamsa value. It was developed by N.C. Lahiri in the early 20th century. He improved and updated existing methods for calculating ayanamsa and created a more accurate and reliable system for determining planetary positions in Vedic astrology.
The epoch used in the Lahiri ayanamsa system is the year 285 CE. This year was chosen because the vernal equinox (the start of spring) occurred at the same point as the sidereal zodiac at that time.
By choosing this year as the epoch, Lahiri was able to use this alignment as a reference point for his calculations. This helped him to more accurately determine the positions of planets at any given time.
A vernal equinox is an astrological event that marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It occurs when the sun appears to cross the celestial equator (an imaginary line in the sky that is perpendicular to the earth’s axis) from south to north.
The ayanamsa value for the epoch being used is a key component of the calculations used to determine planetary positions using an ayanamsa system. The ayanamsa value represents the difference between the tropical and sidereal zodiacs at a specific point in time (the epoch). It is used to adjust the positions of planets to account for the slight shifts that occur due to the tilt of the earth’s axis and its elliptical orbit around the sun.
The ayanamsa value is used as a reference point in the calculations. By using the ayanamsa value for a specific epoch, astrologers can adjust the positions of planets to account for the changes that have occurred since that epoch. This allows them to more accurately determine the positions of planets at any given time.
Using Ayanamsa Systems to Determine Planetary Positions
The zodiac is divided into twelve segments known as houses, and each house is associated with a particular zodiac sign.
When astrologers refer to the houses of the zodiac, they are referring to the twelve segments into which the celestial sphere is divided. The celestial sphere is an imaginary sphere with the earth at its center, upon which the positions of celestial objects appear to be fixed. Astrologers use the houses of the zodiac as a way to organize and interpret the positions of planets in the sky.
The first house is associated with the sign of Aries, the second house is associated with the sign of Taurus, and so on. The twelfth and final house is associated with the sign of Pisces.
To demonstrate how to use an ayanamsa system to determine celestial positions, let’s use a simple example.
Let’s say we want to find the celestial longitude of the planet Mars on January 1st, 2021 at 8:00 AM local time in Kathmandu, Nepal using the Lahiri ayanamsa system.
Here’s how we would do it:
First, we would need to gather the necessary information, such as the date and time of the observation, the geographic location of the observer (Kathmandu), and the ayanamsa value for the epoch being used (285 CE).
Next, we would use mathematical formulas to calculate the celestial longitude of Mars based on this information. These formulas take into account the movement of Mars in its orbit around the sun, as well as the tilt of the earth’s axis and the location of the observer.
Once we have the celestial longitude of Mars, we can plot it on a chart using the zodiac as a reference. The celestial longitude is marked along the segmented line of the zodiac, with 0 degrees being the starting point (the vernal equinox).
Finally, we can use this information to interpret the position of Mars in the birth chart of an individual or to predict astrological events.
In summary, ayanamsa is a concept used in Vedic astrology to account for the difference in movement between the tropical and sidereal zodiacs. The Lahiri ayanamsa system is a widely used method for calculating ayanamsa, and it involves using the ayanamsa value for a specific epoch as a reference point in calculations.
By taking into account the movement of planets and the tilt of the earth’s axis, astrologers can use ayanamsa systems to accurately determine the positions of planets at any given time. Based on the position of the planets, a Vedic astrologer can provide analysis and answers to many questions.