Ayanamsha

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The difference between the Tropical and Sidereal zodiacs is called the "Ayanamsha". It is a term now used by Western astrologers as well. In Sanskrit "ayana" means solstice and "amsha" means portion. It refers to the difference between the point of the vernal equinox in the fixed stars from that of the first point of the constellation Aries.

The main controversy among sidereal astrologers is as to the exact degrees and minutes of the location of the Ayanamsha. Some western astrologers consider that the vernal equinox is already in Aquarius. This would be an Ayanamsha of over thirty degrees. Such a view is hard to validate astronomically, as the equinox is now still in early Pisces far from the actual stars of Aquarius. Western sidereal astrologers place the Ayanamsha around 24 02 as of 1950. Most Vedic astrologers place it between 21 40 and 23 10 for that era. The latter which is the more official "Lahiri" Ayanamsha, now standard by the government of India but still not accepted by all. While it is easy to determine the exact point in the heavens to which the vernal equinox corresponds today, it is hard to measure what should actually be the first point of the constellation of Aries. The identity of the Vedic star Revati, said to mark this position, is a matter of dispute. Nor is it easy to determine the point in time in which the vernal equinox was there.

AYANAMSHA FOR 1950 (Degrees and Minutes)

Lahiri (govt, of India): 23 10

Shri Yukteswar: 21 46

Fagan-Bradley (American Sidereal Astrology): 24 02 RATE OF MOVEMENT OF AYANAMSHA

The rate of movement of the precession per year is also a matter of some difference of opinion and appears to vary slightly over time. Hence the date of coincidence for the two zodiacs is calculated differently. Vedic astrologers start their calculations from 200-550 A.D. as the point of the coincidence of the two zodiacs. Some western astrologers want to use the birth of Christ for this purpose.

Lahiri: 48"

Raman: 50.3"

Shri Yukteswar: 54"

Personally I prefer the system of Shri Yukteswar, the guru of Paramahansa Yogananda, from his book, THE HOLY SCIENCE, as he was both an astrologer and a Self-realized soul. He begins the cycle with 499 A.D. and makes it a 24,000 year cycle, according to the Vedic theory of the four yugas. B.V. Raman's calculations are very close to this and J.N. Bhasin's are not far either. Astronomy places the cycle at 25,800 years (and a rate of movement around 50.3") but admits fluctuations that make the period a matter of speculation. One can choose the Ayanamsha one finds best. The rationales of the different systems can be studied on their own. For ordinary planetary positions it seldom makes a difference. It is mainly in terms of harmonic charts and planetary periods that it can become significant. Only time will tell which is right and each group has its reasons for the validity of its calculations, which there is not the space to examine here. As in all things in life, there are a number of way of looking at things. In the end it is the practice rather than the theory that reveals the truth.

A modern tropical ephemeris may give the Western sidereal Ayanamsha by the month, which we can then subtract from all planetary positions. An ephemeris with the positions of the planets according to the Lahiri or Raman Ayanamshas can be purchased from India. Options for calculating the standard Ayanamshas or for adding one's own can be found on most Vedic astrology computer programs. Extensive Vedic or Hindu astrology programs are now available through many astrological computer services today and they are likely to become common for most astrologers to have at least for reference. Vedic astrology has made it in the West, at least on computer! Now, hopefully, we can give some sense to those apparently strange calculations.

AYANAMSHA TABLE 1900-1990

YEAR

LAHIRI

YUKTESWAR

1900

22

27

59

21

00

54

1910

22

35

51

21

09

54

1920

22

44

43

21

18

54

1930

22

52

40

21

27

54

1940

23

01

21

21

36

54

1950

23

09

34

21

45

54

1960

23

17

54

21

54

54

1970

23

26

21

22

03

54

1980

23

34

31

22

12

54

1990

23

42

56

22

21

54

This simple table is for general reference. For intermediate years the difference can be averaged according to the yearly rate. For all practical purposes it can be corrected to the nearest minute. As the rates are about 9 minutes for ten years, one can add .9 minutes per year.

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