கர்ம வினை - chain of causation

पुनरपि जननं पुनरपि मरणं
पुनरपि जननीजठरे शयनम् - Adi Shankaracharya
(born again, dead again,
sleep in the mother’s womb, one more time!)

Karma - by definition has neither negative nor positive shade to it. It literally translates to "action". Every action triggers a chain of responses. This action-reaction(s) is commonly termed as law of causation. When this reaction is favorable, we classify the action as good karma. What is favorable keeps changing with time, place and surroundings. Igniting a log (action) expels heat (reaction). It is a pleasant reaction during sunset in Anchorage, but cringeworthy on a midday in Maui.

Like in the story of Adam and Eve, every being is enlightened in the beginning, garden of eden. One small action of eating the fruit from forbidden tree triggered the reaction of craving for sensual pleasure. Consequently, We react again and so on. All the cultures that stood the test of time, believe this chain of causation to be the reason for the repeated birth and death cycle. Also the reason for the changing seasons of joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, good and evil within every individual.

Question; If everyone was enlightened, what triggered the first action and why? Answer to this is much debated for aeons, i don't think our pitching in is going to make any difference. Lets leave it for every individual to discover in their own. Whatever the reason is, it is indeed a cosmic play, like throwing a boomerang in sky. Boomerang can swing around and eventually ends up where it started. The distance it travels depends on the initial thrust and intermediate amplifications.

As long as one rejoices the flight, its best to keep flying. Hell and Heaven are the objectification of the reactions. All deeds will boost the flight, contrary to the beliefs that good deeds will take you to salvation. There is nothing called a good-deed, its just deed.

Once one realizes it is nothing but recurring patterns of same things in different shades and decide to roost, stop triggering any more actions. All the past actions and their reactions has to be endured without triggering more reactions, This is not an easy feat. Years and years of conditioning will provoke one to respond. Once it is all settled, it'll eventually lead one back into the paradise.

Ayurveda: Life Knowledge

மருந்தென வேண்டாவாம் யாக்கைக்கு அருந்தியது 
அற்றது போற்றி உணின். -திருவள்ளுவர்

(No medicine is necessary for them who eat after assuring that already eaten is fully digested)

Matter is made of 5 elements. Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space. Earth under and Space above is persistent. Air, Fire and Water are the transient elements that causes the fluctuations in health. Ayurveda classified it as Vaatha (Air), Pitha (Fire) and Kapha (Water) Doshas (imbalances). Restoring this balance is the main motive of a real ayurvedic treatment. The symptom could be migraine or cancer, only the body can cure itself. Role of a real medicine (औषडि - herbs) is just to eliminate these hurdles (doshas).

Ideal Vatha, Pitha, Kapha ratio in a human body is 1:2:4. This is always a pursuit and all of us will have one of two doshas overpowering other. When this balance is shaken beyond threshold, it is called a dis-ease.

When Vatha (air) increases in a body, it results in involuntary movements, spasms like Parkinsons, epilepsy. When it decreases it results in seizure of movements like ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. In general, vayu (air) related problems like gastic problems.

When Pitha (fire) is in excess; weight loss, malnutrition, fever, vomiting, diarrhea all such increased temperature related problems occur.

When Kapha (water) is in excess; weight gains, lethargy, mucous related diseases like sinus, cold, bronchitis, congestion occur commonly.

In general, Vatha prominent people prefer sweet tasting food, light-sleepers - don't prefer mid day naps. Pitha people body temperature are always few degrees warmer, easy to throw-up, mid-day nappers. Kapha people have thicker tongues, cooler body temperature, excess sweating, easy to catch cold. These doshas are not permanent identities. It changes with age, location and change in life-style. It is often seen in combination as vatha-pitta, vatha-kapha, but not pitha and kabha as they are mutually exclusive.

When any source blindly suggests eat this, avoid that, do this, don't be too soon to follow. Analyze at the root level, what change would it bring. A pitha prominent person doesn't need any more cardio routine and you'll see them naturally repel it. Kapha prominent person don't need the hydration routine commonly suggested.

Right Breathing (Air), Activities (Fire) and Intake (Water) can always stabilize the elemental balance in the body. There is no general blanket formula to know what is that right for your body. Every individual is unique and hence their breathing, activities and intake has to be so too. Healthy person can find what suits and not by trial-n-error. For others, investing time and learning more about it is the better alternative before seeking any expert advice.

swarodaya śāstra II - math of breathing

ஏற்றி இறக்கி இருகாலும் பூரிக்குங்
காற்றைப் பிடிக்கும் கணக்கறிவாரில்லை
காற்றைப் பிடிக்குங் கணக்கறிவாளர்க்குக்
கூற்றை உதைக்குங் குறியதுவாமே

காற்றைப் பிடிக்கும் கணக்கென்ன? 
(குரு மண்டலத்தின் அருளால் என் சிற்றறிவுக்கு எட்டிய பொழிப்புரை)

புவி சூரியனை சுற்ற ஒரு ஆண்டாக
சத்ய யுகத்தில் தொடங்கி
5184 சுழற்சிகள் சுழன்று
த்ரேத  யுகத்தில் 3888 சுழற்சிகள்
த்வாபர  யுகத்தில் 2592 சுழற்சிகள்
கலி  யுகத்தில் 1296 சுழற்சிகள்
மீண்டும் மேல் நோக்கி
கலி  யுகத்தில் 1296 சுழற்சிகள்
த்வாபர  யுகத்தில் 2592 சுழற்சிகள்
த்ரேத  யுகத்தில் 3888 சுழற்சிகள்
சத்ய யுகத்தில் 5184 சுழற்சிகள் சுழன்று
1 கல்பம் 25920 சுழற்சிக்கு பின் பூரணம்.

புவியின் ஆயுள் 100 கல்பங்கள்,
அதுவே 2592000 ஆண்டுகள்.

1 புவி சுழற்சி 360 புவன சுழற்சிகளாக
இப்புவனத்தின் ஆயுள் 933120000 நாட்கள்.

பூலோக வாசிகளின் ஆயுளும் 933120000 மூச்சு சுழற்சிகள்.
நிமிடம் 15 மூச்சு, ஒரு நாளைக்கு 21600 மூச்சு என,
விம்ஷத்தோரி என்னும் 120 ஆண்டுகள் பூரண ஆயுள்.
நிமிடம் 1 மூச்சு மிகினும் ஆயுளில் 71/2 ஆண்டுகள் குறையும்.
நிமிடம் 18 ஆக, 100 ஆண்டுகள் ஆயுள் நிர்ணயம்.

அமர்ந்தாசனத்தில் 12 அங்குல மூச்சு,
சுழுமுனைக்கும் நுரை-ஈரலுக்கும் ஓட,
நடக்கும் போது 18 அங்குல மூச்சு,
சுழுமுனைக்கும் இதயத்திற்கும்,
ஒடும்போது 24 அங்குல மூச்சு,
சுழுமுனைக்கும் நாபிக்கும்,
தூங்கும் போது 32 அங்குல மூச்சு,
சுழுமுனைக்கும் குதத்திற்கும்,
உணர்வு கிளர்ச்சியின் போது,
64 அங்குலம் வரை உடலெங்கும் பரவ,
மனிதனின் ஆயுள் சுவாசத்தின் சாசனம்.

வாசி யோக சித்தி பெற்ற மாணாக்கன்,
முஹூர்த்தமென்னும் 48 நிமிடத்திற்கு 1 முச்சு என,
நாள் 21600 மூச்சுக்கு பதிலாக,
30 மூச்சுகளே சுழற்றி,
மீதம் உள்ள ஆயுளை,
720 மடங்கு பெருக்கி,
பண்ணாயிரம் ஆண்டுகள் ஆயுள் நீட்டித்து
தவம் இயற்றும் வல்லபம் சித்தம்.

சித்தர் மண்டலம் அடைந்த பின்,
அவ்வொரு மூச்சும் அவசியமற்று போக,
ஜீவா சமாதியில் உடலை காத்து,
பிரகாய பிரவேசம் சித்தம்.

(Disclaimer: This may not be understood without some background on yugas, yoga, prana. None of this can neither be proved nor disproved. Provided the reader has some bits and pieces of related information, this can help connect the pieces to a certain level)

What the math behind breathing?

A year being one rotation of earth around sun,
starting with satya yuga of 5184 years
treta yuga follows and lasts 3888 years
then dwapara yuga for 2592 years
kali yuga for 1296 years

then reversing the cycle,
One more kali yuga of 1296 years
dwapara yuga of 2592 years,
treta yuga of 3888 years
and satya yuga of 5184 years

All this constitute 1 kalpa, 25920 years.

100 kalpas is the earth lifetime, i.e., 2592000 years.
1 year being 360 earth rotation around its own axis,
earth lifetime is 933120000 rotations, i.e, days.

Human lifespan is also 933120000 rotations, i.e, breaths.
15 breaths a minute, translates to 21600 breaths a day,
denotes a vimshottari (120) years lifetime.
If the breath average increases even by 1 breath,
71/2 years is wiped out of lifespan.
18 breaths a minute is 100 years of living.

In a calm seated pose, breaths flows 12 inchs, between eyebrow-center and lungs
while walking, 18 inches, eyebrow-center to heart
running, 24 inches, eyebrow-center to navel
sleeping, 36 inches, eyebrow-center to perineum
emotional state, 64 inches, throughout the body.
Longer the length higher the frequency, when it is happening autonomously.

An attained yogi's breaths reduces to,
one breath every 48 minutes (முஹூர்த்தம்).
Hence, instead of 21600 breaths,
yogi breaths just 30 breaths.
Consequently, remaining lifetime,
increases 720 times.
This is the literal meaning of pranayama (extension of life force).
Such extension is done to meditate,
burn all the karmic records
in this lifetime and attain the state of perfect being, siddhahood.

Once attained, even that 1 breath becomes unnecessary.
Such beings preserve the body which is infinitely
circulating the breath and leave the shell at will to different realms.

swarodaya śāstra - science of breathing

swarodaya śāstra

We were breathing all our life and are going to do so for the rest. Since it is an autonomous process, we take it for granted. It gives to take some time understanding the underlying science of breathing.

On a physical level, lungs are the pumps that expand inhaling the air from outside, filter and circulate it through the blood and exhale the remaining air out.

A healthy human body temperature is 37*C (98.6*F). Irrespective of the surrounding, the body tries to remain in this temperature. Breath is one of the major tools the body uses to maintain the optimum temperature.

At any given time, this inhalation happens through either left, right or both nostrils. When we are breathing through left, the body is cooling down. Through right, it is heating up. When the body is at optimum temperature and several other variables are ideal and also when breath transitions between left to right and vice versa, breath flows through both the nostrils.

Left breath demands rest, tamo guna (intert, dark, cold, silence, moon nature). This is the ideal time to sleep, rest, do some simple tasks that doesn't demand much physical or mental effort. When someone goes to bed and their breath is already flowing through left nostril, they fall asleep immediately.

Right breath demands activity, rajo guna (passion, light, heat, sound, sun nature). Best suited for physically and mentally demanding tasks. This right breath is the reason, some of our workout sessions are effortlessly intensive and when sluggish, unmotivated in gym, check your breath, it'll be through the left nostril.

Balanced breath through both nostrils is the sattva guna, i.e., transition state, neither dark nor light, neither hot nor cold, both sun and moon influence are at its minimum, if not absolutely nil. During this time, it won't be easy to make a decision, hence it is also considered time of confusion and not ideal to do prominent tasks involving business, relationship and authority. On the other hand, this is the best time to be introspective and meditative, a conscious sleep becomes naturally possible.

Breath is the thread that stitches body and mind. Every emotion changes the amplitude, frequency and the depth it travels in the body.

While amplitude is directly proportional to amount of air inhaled and frequency can be seen as number of breaths per second. The depth of the breath is the not a common knowledge.

The breath of relief is the deepest breath possible as the inhaled air hits the mooladhara (perineum), the base of the spine. When we eat something sweet (இனிப்பு), it triggers this deep breath as well.

A feeling of passion like lust, deep desire thrusts the vital breath to hit the swadishtana (reproductive region). The taste of astringent (துவர்ப்பு) triggers it as well.

When we taste sourness (புளிப்பு) or go through the emotion of love, care and compassion vital breath hits manipura (navel region).

Breath makes a u-turn at the anahata (heart region) during the taste of bitterness (கசப்பு) and the emotion of anger.

Fear and salt (உப்பு) makes the vital breath not to go past the vishuddhi (throat region).

spicy hot (காரம்) and emotion of sadness makes vital breath stay above the trunk. The air circulates around the ajna (center of the eyebrows) region.

To ensure the breath vitalizes all these 6 regions (ஆறு படை வீடு), food with all 6 six tastes (அருண்சுவை) was insisted in older civilizations. These 6 regions contain very prominent endocrine glands (நாளமில்லா சுரபி) and as long as they are taken care, they take good care of the whole body. Hence, a person who goes through and exerts all these emotions spontaneously are very healthy physically and psychologically.

Yoga practitioners, sportsmen, adventurers, children, happy people knowingly or unknowingly keep these 6 regions well ventilated and supplied with abundant blood filled with necessary minerals.

Disturbance in the breath flow pattern has been a reliable indicator of existing and approaching health concerns and impact on living standards. To know this, the base pattern has to be established for the individual. In general, cold days begin (at sunrise) with left nostril dominant and hot days with right. Moon, Mercury Saturn are cool planets while Sun, Mars and Venus are hot. Jupiter is cool in waxing phase and hot in waning phase. In an healthy body, the breathing pattern aligns with the horas ruled by these planets, i.e., during moon hora, left nostril is dominant, mars hora right and so on. When it not so, it is an indicator of either present or approaching illness or anxiety. The length of the disturbance denotes the severity of the impact.

This is a much deeper subject and like all the shastras, if your embark on journey to attain mastery over it, it would be an endless pursuit. In current times, neither people have patience not time in knowing about these horas and observing the breath pattern. Hence, a simple technique. When you wake up, check which nostril is dominant, say left, then rub the face with the left palm on the left side to get more blood flow and take your first step out of bed with left leg. The happenings of the day will fall in your favor.

Pradoṣam - Transition from Light to Darkness

Pradoṣa(m) means Transition from Light to Darkness. You read it right, it is from the transient (light) to eternal (darkness). Light always needs an external source, darkness doesn't center on any source, it is prevalent all over by default. This transition from light to dark is happening all the time at various levels in and around us.

In a day, during sunset it is pradoṣa kalam.

In a week, saturday sunset is pradoṣa time.

In a month, sunset of the 13th waning lunar day (trayodashi) of waning phase (தேய்பிறை) is pradoṣa kaal. This is what is commonly referred as pradoṣa and special rituals are performed during sunset (the daily Pradoṣa time) on this day. When the weekly pradoṣa (saturday) coincides with this (சனி ப்ரதோஷம்), it gains more significance.

In a year, Maha Shivaratri, 13th night from full-moon in the lunar month of Phalguni/Magha/மாசி by the end of winter. Usually occurs in february, it is day before no moon day. Again, when the weekly pradoṣam of saturday coincides with this (சனி மஹாப்ரதோஷம்), it gains more significance.

Within the day, every time the dominant breath shifts from right to left nostril, it is a pradosha time for that individual. During all saturday, monday and thursdays-of-waxing-phase-of-moon (வளர் பிறை), the left nostril will be naturally dominant in a healthy person. Hence, when a monthly pradoṣa happens on monday or saturday, it is given more significance.

Within every breath cycle, begin of the exhalation cycle is the pradoṣa time. With sealed lips, try to generate any sound while exhaling, it unanimously ends up as "om" (ૐ). This sound is considered the most sacred of all universal sounds (நாத ப்ரம்ம).

We've seen the 6 levels of pradoṣam happening here, this is the time scale experientially perceivable to the common human mind. This kind of conjunction keeps happening in many micro and macro levels as well.

So, every exhalation, everytime the dominant breath just shifts to left nostril, everyday sunset, every saturday (if coincides), the 13th night from full-moon day, maha sivaratri day (தேய்பிறை மாசி பிரதோஷம்) are the most significant times to be meditative.

What to do during pradoṣam?

In east, pradoṣam is translated to time-to-burn-sins. So people go to sacred places and do the form of worship they are aware of. In the name of worship, a vast majority follow what some of the enlightened beings used to do. Though they might be doing the same, they are not actually doing the same. It is analogous to a musical genius playing a violin, and an amateur attempting to impersonate the genius. The music produced is not the same. To generate the similar (though and better if not the same) soulful music, the amateur has to rise to the level of genius. Once risen, there is no need to impersonate and any music produced is divine. Same applies to the worship.

For seasoned meditators,there is not much to be said here, they might be spontaneously getting into meditative states during these times.

Practitioners, can choose these times to practice meditation (or) dharana, pranayama bascially everything that leads towards meditation. Depending on the expertise level, state of mind, situation, determination, ability, the practitioner can choose to meditate for a nādī (24 minutes), muhūrta (48 minutes), hōra (~1 hour), 1 yāma (~3 hours).

Art lovers can choose these times to indulge in giving form to their creativity. This is their meditation.

Devotees, I mean adherent ones who are soulfully surrendered to the object-of-devotion can recite their prayers during these hours. Their chances of getting to the higher spiritual state is highly likely during these times.

Tantric practitioners choose this time for their form of worship.


(once a year) People who are very busy with worldly affairs and can only do a bare minimum for spiritual evolution can attempt their form of worship on the maha sivaratri night. the day before no-moon day in the month of february.

(once a month) Others who can afford a little more time can do it during sunset on the pradoṣam of the waning-moon (தேய்பிறை பிரதோஷம்), i.e, the day before no-moon day.

(once a fortnight) sunset of every 13rd night from both no moon and full moon day.

(once a week) every Saturday during sunset

(once a day) everyday during sunset.

(once every few hours) every time breaths shifts from right to left nostril.

(all the time) every exhalation.

Pūjā - Purpose of Ceremonies

Athithi Devo Bavo (guests are equivalent to god).

Living is a continuous process of cell generation and cell decay. When any one of these stop, it is not healthy anymore.

When the cell generation impedes, it is decomposition.
When the cell decay impedes, it is cancer.

When a cell decay, replenishes the cells in other beings, this is called creation.

A musician burns few cells and creates pleasant tones. When a receptive person is pleased with this music, his/her cell lifetime increases 2x to 10x. As mentioned by one of the wise sages, Tirumular, extending the lifetime of a single cell, is equivalent to saving a life. Demise of a single cell with unpleasantness is equivalent to killing a life.

There is also an uncommon phenomenon where both cell generation and decay stops. In east, it is called as Jeeva samadhi (self-preserved being). Yoganandha's body exhibited this phenomenon in Los Angeles (USA), but this is quite common in himalayas and several hills in south india.

The purpose of the Pūjā (ceremonies) is to direct the energies towards creation. Rituals are devised to accomplish this by blocking certain virtues in people, referred as shatripus (6 virtues). This is not just a philosophical innuendo. Physically, the cells in the body decay at faster pace when the breath rate increases. All of these virtues demand increased oxygen and faster blood flow, killing a lot more cells without any physical exhaustion.

Godliness is being devoid of these six menial obstacles (shatripus);
1. Kama(m)  - Desire ( often referred to lust, but also includes desire for wealth and fame)
2. Krodha(m) - Wrath (outbursts of anger, destruction)
3. Lobha(m) - Greed (resulting in hoarding, manipulating resources, over-consumption)
4. Moha(m) - Delusion (resulting in traits like attachment)
5. Mada(m) - Arrogance (resulting in traits like pride)
6. Matsarya(m) - Cunningness (resulting in traits like envy)

This is similar to seven-sins discussed in western countries, except that they branch out the Lobha (Greed) and call Gluttony as yet another sin.

One can get rid of these in themselves with self-realization and effort (sadhana). But there is no direct way to impart it on others. Pleasing the five outward senses is an attempt to trigger the godliness in them.

1.) Fragnance (Dhupam): Incense sticks are lighted to ensure the sense  of smell is pleased. When the pleasant smell from a naturally occurring substance is spread, it makes the person either meditative or compassionate, based on their nature. In general, this bereaves Kama (desire, மண்-பொன்-பெண்-புகழ் ஆசை). In yogic terms, it pleases the moladhara and swadistana chakras.

2.) Food (Naivedyam):  The sense of taste is pleased with good food. Sattvic food is served, which predominantly wanes the Lobha (Greed) nature of a person. Manipura chakra is pleased.

3.) Dress Code (Vastram): We adopt a certain dress code naturally, this is to obtain the right sense of touch. Materials that are still close to nature like cotton, wool, silk that are neither over-processed nor synthesized,  diminishes the Moha (Delusion) nature in a person. Anahata chakra is pleased here.

Often a lot of fragrant flowers are used to please the sense of sight, smell and touch.

4.) Portraits and Statues (Vigraham): The portraits and statues of gods are depicted as accomplished and super evolved beings to please our sense of sight and at the same time it destroys the Mada (Arrogance) in us. The songs, stories and enactment on the extraordinary achievements (parakramas) of divine beings are exhibited to constantly keep a check on our arrogance.  This relates to Vishudhu chakra.

5.) Music (Mantram): Incantations, certain musical instruments and vocals are to please sense of hearing and at the same time dissolve the Matsarya (Cunningness) nature in us. Matsarya is the result of the mind, mantras are life-forming sound energies, which are repeated to bore the mind to stillness. Agna Chakra is the immediate benefactor of this.

Krodha (Wrath) needs all these 5 senses to be in pleased state to stay dormant. When any one sense is disturbed, it erupts.

When all these 6 virtues are dissolved, it is called the dissolution of ego. This is not a permanent attainment, but an experience like joy, sorrow, fear and anger. Everyone can get the glimpse of it, get to experience it in momentary lapses. The wiser ones keep extending the duration of the experience every time. When someone is undergoing this experience, they are in par with what is commonly perceived as god.

Call it celebration, get-together, party, wedding, baby shower, house warming, ceremonies, ritual, Pūjā and also going to religious places of worship, all this is done to defer these shatripus in us. If the ritual successfully deter these obstacles, it is the rise of godliness, at least for that time being, and the verse Athithi Devo Bavo is indeed a prophecy fulfilled.

Education (கல்வி)

கல்வி -> அறிவு -> ஒழுக்கம் -> அன்பு -> அருள் (நிபந்தனை அற்ற அன்பு) -> துறவு (பற்று அற்ற நிலை) -> வீடு (இறையடி)
- (வள்ளுவன்)

Education -> Intelligence -> Discipline -> Love -> Compassion -> Spirituality 
கல்வி பயன் (வள்ளுவன் வாக்கு)
கல்வி அறிவாக வேண்டும்
அறிவு ஒழுக்கமாக வேண்டும்
ஒழுக்கம் அன்பாக வேண்டும்
அன்பு அருளாக வேண்டும்
அருள் துறவாக வேண்டும்
துறவு வீடாக வேண்டும்

1.) இங்கு "அருள்" என்றால் "நிபந்தனை அற்ற அன்பு" என்று பொருள்
2.) இங்கு "துறவு" என்றால் "பற்று அற்ற நிலை" என்று பொருள்
3.) இங்கு "வீடு" என்றால் "இறையடி" என்று பொருள்

Purpose of Education (Thiruvalluvar)
Education should lead to intelligence,
Intelligence to discipline,
Discipline to love,
Love to compassion,
Compassion to spirituality,
Spirituality to our ultimate destiny.

1.) "compassion" is "unconditional love towards everyone"
2.) "spirituality" means "impartial attitude towards everything and everyone"
3.) "destination" is same as where we hailed from, i.e., the origin of the soul

In the current times, We often try to derive "happiness", rather sensual gratification from any form of education.

i.e., Expectation: Education -> Ability -> Earning -> Wealth -> Happiness 

It is highly influenced by the circumstances of the individual. When my parents were trying to get me educated, they had this joy oriented attitude towards education. They were neither fortunate nor wealthy enough to chew such words of enlightened beings. According to them, they got me what they thought was right and they were satisfied. Period.

Its up to you and your circumstances to decide why are you educating your children. Whatever it is, be honest with yourself and your children. Preaching the ideals, but living for inferior expectations is hypocrisy and will only lead to more regrets.

Jyotiṣa Vijñāna - The Cosmos

அண்டத்தில் உள்ளது பிண்டத்தில் உள்ளது 
(There is a micro-cosmos in every body)

Its not 6 a.m. because the clock is showing 6 a.m., but the clock is showing 6 a.m. because it is 6 a.m. The cosmos is just like this clock. It is merely an indicator, but not the instigator of the happenings. These celestial objects neither know nor care about our existence. They keep revolving around and transiting the skies as per the law of causation. We, humans, with our innate narcissistic nature, imagine their purpose is to serve us. We merely derive our personalized dosage of attributes like morality, courage, intelligence, allure, wisdom, emotional stability, patience, etc. handed over to us in this life, from the celestial snapshot at the time of our birth, popularly knows as birth chart. These birth charts are like the railway/airline timetables, you need to know some basics before you can start inferring what it is trying to say.

There are two fundamental layers in a birth chart, namely, zodiac signs and placement of planets. These are like the X and Y axis of a birth chart. Understanding these two layers lay the foundation before someone can venture into other advanced layers like Aspects (drishti), Transits (gochara(m)), Constellations (nákṣatras) , Dashas (calendar of planetary influences), Yogas (Conjunction of planets), Argalas (interference), Karakas (reason for a cause) and so on.

About planets, there is much less left to imagination as these are physically existential and perceptible objects in the skies, so we'll start with the planets.

On a full moon day, ocean is roaring and on no moon day, it is absolutely placid. Our bodies constitute more than 72% water, the exact same kind of water found in ocean. Obviously, this water will respond to the full moon in the same way. People with inclined sensitivity can feel it. Hence, the mentally inclined people are often referred as lunatics (lunar - moon), intoxication (soma - moon) is also related to moon. Since moon is very close (1 light-second away from earth surface), the impact is conspicuously felt. Moon's influence is tightly related to our emotional self, how we feel within ourselves.

Next such strong impact is from sun. Sun is the significant source of light in our solar system. All the life forms on earth depend on sun. We cannot see air as it lets light pass through without any resistance. We see an opaque or translucent object, because it blocks light and reflects it. Hence sun drives our personalities, meaning, how we project ourselves and how other see us. Sun drives our confidence and morality. Two key things to adapt and co-exist in a society.

Whole earth wobbles every year by 11 degrees left and right due to gravitational pull of venus and jupiter, which results in summer and winter solstice. When a 1024 kilograms of earth can wobble, we are a spec with no power to resist the influence of venus and jupiter. Venus pulls us towards indulgence while jupiter pulls you towards wisdom. This wobble doesn't need much explanation, as we've all gone through the debate of good or evil within ourselves numerous times. Jyotiṣa personifies Venus as teacher (acharya) of demons (shukracharya - shukran). Jupiter is called the guru of angels (devas).

Similarly, mercury is responsible for our intelligence, street-smartness, quick wit, eloquence, sharpness. Mercury is small, quick and bright and it imparts the same qualities with its influence. In Sanskrit, bōdhi (budhi) means intelligence, mercury is called Budha(n). The famous word, 'Buddha' means an intelligent one, again derived from the same planet name.

Mars is called mangal, meaning, masculine, auspicious, aggressive, brave, red (sevvai), hot and considered to be a commander (while Sun is considered a king). It imparts the same qualities with its influence. When you see a person with abundant courage, people who are very assertive and stand-up for themselves and others often, consider their mars is pretty strongly placed in their birth chart.

Saturn, the largest and slowest and farther planet to have a significant influence on earth induces large impact, slows things down, resists change and pulls us toward conservativeness. This is also the planet responsible for our patience and discipline.

These seven planets Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn serve equally well in the evolution of an individual but the nature and dosage of their characteristics they impart on an individual depends on their current position and their position at the time of person's birth. Other objects like Neptune, Uranus, Pluto and even the moons like Titan of Saturn, called Gulikan (or) Maandi have an influence on everything on earth.

There are two other celestial objects called north lunar node (Rahu) and south lunar node (Ketu). These are not physical planets but two points in the sky, where the moon's orbit (around earth) and earth's orbit (around sun) intersect. These two are pretty much the salt and pepper of the vedic astrology. While the influence of physical planets are pretty well defined, these two objects disrupt the status quo. Rahu is the bringer of sudden surprises, crazy swings, ups and downs, like a rollercoaster ride. Ketu inflicts renunciation, leads one towards eternal search, breaking cycles of repetitive patterns of life. If not for these two, the so called evolution might be super slow that we will complete miss to notice it.

The seven planets along with these two pixels, a total of 9 grahas in the space drives the abilities and life-events of the living beings.

To understand zodiac signs, visualize a 12 spoked stationary wheel as shown in the below diagram. These 12 sectors are the zodiac signs. At the time of birth, the zodiac sign peeking at the east horizon is called the raising sign, ascendant or lagna of the birth chart. That sign becomes the starting point of the birth chart and it is referred as the first house of the birth chart. Since earth revolves around itself every 24 hrs, each rising sign stays the same for two hours. Example, at 2 a.m. the sign on east horizon was Pisces, at 4 a.m. it'll be Aquarius and at 6 a.m. it'll be Capricorn and so on.
In the above diagram, earth (center part) is revolving anti-clockwise, so it would look like Aries (1st house) is raising on the east, while Libra is setting on the west (7th house). So Aries becomes the ascendent for anyone born under this situation. As long as one understand the planets and zodiac signs, they begin to understand the birth charts. Unlike earth the planets revolve slower than 24 hrs. Hence the planets will sit clinging to a zodiac sign for a while. Moon stays in same sign for 21/4  days, Sun stays in same sign for a month, Jupiter stays in same sign for a year, saturn stays in same sign for 21/2 years.

Then to venture deeper, influence of 27 constellations, called nákṣatras, is like doing the masters in vedic astrology and is for more dedicated learners. The pyramids of egypt is aligned pointing towards the stars of Orionis (Mrigashīra) constellation, because it is believed to be the portal for higher realms. Meaning, when the soul, leaving the body is directed towards stars of Orion, it goes to the higher realms, commonly known in the east as liberation (mukthi) of the soul. Hence, the soul doesn't have to take another earthly form again. These stars, though far away from earth, due to their sheer size, they influence on the solar system is commendable. Hence these nákṣatras were given a sacred place and great importance in vedic astrology.

Millionaires don't care about astrology. Billionaires do! - JP Morgan

As soon as we start understanding these, our immediate curiosity is to jump towards prediction. Its not that easy. When you see someone visually challenged, you can assume, they cannot drive a car. Similarly, when you see someone with weak mars, you can infer they are going to be timid. a weak mercury meaning, not very street-smart. Apart from this, its not easy to infer much. Prediction is more of an art, than just science. Its the ability of the person to ingest multiple reasons from several layers of a birth chart, and put things together. It is not for everyone. I myself am curious about the science behind it, but not much interested in prediction.

This love for prediction and people running behind everyone who claims they can predict is the reason why the whole art and science of Jyotiṣa Vijñāna has been deteriorated. People pay abundant wealth chasing the desire to know what is going to happen to them, without due diligence in validating the authenticity of the person claiming to do so. By doing so, they produced more posturers and ruined it for the future generations. A word of advice, such rich science and knowledge is never for sale. Anyone who is an absolute master of such ancient sciences, will never sell it for meager worldly things. The moment someone claims such worldly things, be aware, he/she is not an absolute master but an incomplete or worse a posturer.

Use this basic knowledge of customized cosmic plan for you to work towards where your desires lead you. At the same time they reveal your unexplored potentials and also the limitations. Accept both humbly and it'll slowly lead to acceptance of diverse people of varied potential equally.

manasaiva pure devaḥ, pūrva-rūpaṁ vipaśyati,
anumīmāṁsate 'pūrvaṁ, manasā bhagavān ajaḥ - Bhṛgu-saṁhitā
(One receives an inferior or superior body at the discretion of the Paramātmā (Supreme Personality of Godhead).