Introduction To Science of Light Vol.1 (from the book)
Vedic Astrology is a beautiful, ancient science of self-discovery which teaches us how life works, how we fit into the bigger picture, our purpose for being here, and the goal of our lives. This study and practice enriches our own life and enables us to help other people enrich theirs, giving guidance in all matters of life, from career to love to health. As a teacher of Yoga and Ayurveda, I am amazed at the profound perspectives offered by understanding this often complex, yet always inspiring science.
I traveled all over to study with many Western and Indian teachers before meeting an Indian Guru who was able to answer any question I asked about this science. Sitting in classes with his advanced students literally made my head spin; sometimes I had to hold onto the seat of my chair. The way my brain processed information or viewed reality shifted -- it was a change in my own consciousness from knowing that everything in the universe is connected to understanding how it is all connected.
This book lays a firm foundation to expand the awareness toward the higher teachings of Vedic astrology. Many books aim to help a person read their chart and the charts of others; that important component is also taught in this book, but a deeper layer of astrological information is also presented here. It is by setting a proper foundation that the fully empowered flower of intuition will bloom. A technical understanding forms the roots, and it is the strength of the roots that show the might of the tree.
I have spent the last few years researching more advanced topics in Vedic Astrology, but have felt the lack of the proper foundations limiting the audience of such research. This book attempts to create an honest, well-rounded understanding of Vedic astrological principles. I plan to follow this up with two more books, completing the full set of tools a person will need to have a holistic approach and comprehension as a qualified Vedic Astrologer. This book is Vedic Astrology 101. Each chapter here could be a whole book in and of itself, but my goal is to make sure a person has the overall view of the field of this science.
I offer this book for students of Vedic Astrology to find the gems without wandering around for years looking for the mines. I have used the ancient text of Maharshi Parashara, the grandfather of Indian astrology, as a basis for this book. His text is a gold mine with endless gems, and this book elucidates the secrets found therein. The systematic study of the present text will open the doorway to the ancient science of light.
Notes on Diacritical Marks
Chapter 1- The Overview
Chapter 2- Vedic Foundations
Chapter 3- Grahas: Planets
Chapter 4- Devata: Deities
Chapter 5- Rashi: Signs
Chapter 6- Bhava: Houses
Chapter 7- Strengths and Status
Chapter 8- Bhavapadas: Perception
Chapter 9- Argala: Interaction
Chapter 10- Sambandha and Yogas: Association and Combination
Chapter 11- Nakshatras: Stars
Chapter 12- Dasha: Timing
Chapter 13- Varga Chakra: Divisional Charts
Chapter 14- Upaya: Introduction to Remedies
Chapter 15- Panchanga : The Five Limbs of Time
Chapter 16- Interpretation
Appendix I: Sanskrit Lessons
About the Author
This book is written according to the astrology of Parāśara (which is supplemented by Jaimini). I divide Indian astrology into three schools of practice:  Parāśara-Jamini,  Varāhamihira, and  Nāḍī jyotiṣa.
In the west, the CVA and Hart Defouw schools of astrology fall into the Varāhamira school of practice. They may use concepts and quotes from Parāśara but the application is clearly according to Bṛhat Jātaka, Sārāvalī, Phaladīpikā, Jātaka Pārijāta, etc. which are texts in the Varāhamihira school of practice (see here for a comparison of the contents of these classics). Some people from this school of thought have tried to say that verses in Bṛhat Parāśara Horā Śāstra have been added because they aren’t in the Varāhamihira texts.
Science of light follows along the teachings of Bṛhat Parāśara Horā Śāstra as they are given and as they agree with the commentary (upadeśa) of Jaimini. I have published a comparison of Parāśara and Jaimini for those interested in understanding the differences and similarities. Parāśara and Jaimini utilize the same techniques, the difference is in application; I discuss the difference on my blog. Below, I have given an outline of texts/reading for those who wish to deepen their understanding of the Parāśara according to the Rath lineage of Orissa.
The third school of Nāḍī jyotiṣa is very complex. For those wanting to understand what it is, I recommend the text called Candra Kala Nāḍī to see how they look at a chart. Presently, I do not know anyone teaching this tradition in the west. There are two authors that have spoken about a tāntric astrology. The famous Tantra translator, Mark Dyczkowski, asked me what is Tāntrik astrology as everything he had seen in the Tantras was the same as what was being practiced in standard texts. I told him that was my understanding as well. Unfortunately, I think the term Tāntrik astrology is referring to the use of magic and such in the practice of fortune-telling and so I do not consider it a school of Indian astrology.
My advice for reading and the order of reading within this lineage of Parāśara and Jaimini.
Science of Light volume 1, by Freedom Cole
This book gives basic terminology and structure. Freedom has a strong Mercury and is able to compartmentalize the various parts of Vedic astrology so that they have clear distinctions in the mind, and a structure within which to learn new practices. This book will set one up to get the most out of the following material.
Jyotiṣa Fundamentals: My Masters Words, by Visti Larsen
This book goes much more in depth into particular astrological topics and has many examples of the techniques being utilized. Visti has a powerful Sun and Mars, and his writings reveal the precision and detail that Vedic astrology offers.
Science of Light Volume 2, by Freedom Cole
This first half of this book goes through conceptual foundations needed to understand the philosophical framework and thinking of Vedic astrology. The second half of the book teaches more advanced concepts and techniques used in this system of astrology.
Brush Up on Vedic Astrology Basics, Volume 1 and 2, by Zoran Radosavljevic
This book is called ‘Brush Up’, but I think it would be better to call it ‘Fine Tuning’. It takes all the concepts presented in the previous books, and clarifies exactly how they are used and not used. Zoran has a strong Jupiter and he is able to shine clarity on the usage of all these techniques in a way that makes them more effective.
Jaimini Upadeśa Sutras, by Paramguru Pandit Sanjay Rath
This is a translation of Jaimini and gives practical techniques for one who has a foundation in Vedic astrology.
Crux of Vedic Astrology, by Paramguru Pandit Sanjay Rath
This book can be difficult to read, but it a favorite of many. Pandit Sanjay Rath wrote this in his early years as he was being introduced to the international astrology community. He speaks exactly what’s on his mind as he sees it. More recent writings/articles are catered for a less educated audience, and lose the raw power of his thinking in order to be more understandable for the average astrologer.
Vedic Remedies in Astrology, by Paramguru Pandit Sanjay Rath
This book is also difficult to read, but it was written in a few weeks as a response to someone stating that Vedic astrology didn’t have remedies. It gives a peek inside the realm of remedial measures in Vedic astrology.
In Search of Jyotish, by Sarajit Podder
These books have been published since this original list was made (though taking decades to produce). Sarajit's books are focused on specific topics and will all be of benefit when studying their respective topic.
There are also many articles on various topic available online by these authors which will add to this material.
For classical texts that I recommend a serious student have:
Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra
Varahamihira’s Brihat Jataka
Varahamihira’s Brihat Samhita
Additional books for our tradition:
Sarada Tilaka Tantra
[There are lots more, but these are core texts.]