HISTORY OF ASTROLOGY
There are different opinions where the birth of astrology took place. Astrology was practiced in ancient times in Babylonian, Chinese, Indian and Mayan cultures. But every culture developed its own relatively independent methods. Some of the ideas in one branch are found to be in other methods also.
In ancient Israel and Egypt the predictions were given by inspecting the liver of a sacrificed animal, as it was believed that the animal body represents the whole creation and the liver would be having some symbolic representations of future. The other methods employed were omens, examining the dropping of oil on the floor, birds flying etc., The predictions (prophecies) were given to Kings and also general public using the 'visions' priests experienced. Oracle at Delphi was very famous in those times. Most of the old testaments like Book of Isaiah, Amos, and Zephaniah contain prophecies. Actually, the birth of Jesus is linked to the prophecy, 'This was to fulfill the passage in Prophet Isaiah.' - Mathew 4:14. They conceived astrology as deterministic.
Greeks were not willing to accept such fatalistic viewpoint and they coined the phrase - "astra inclinant, non necessitant " (star incline, do not determine). This is also Hindu way of looking at the future. Just like school children who have certain restrictions yet are free within the school compound, we are free and also governed by the situation, environment indicated by the planets. Remedial measures help us to improvise on the given birth but will not altogether change the life. (5, atma samyama yoga)
Oracles and visions were not much resorted in India, but occasionally we come across 'ashareera vani'. You may recall the sound from the heavens (ashareera vani) when King Kamsa was about to kill the child born to his sister. The method of making horoscopes was well developed in India. All the kings in India were having royal astrologers and extended patronage to them .There are ancient books which have contributed to astrology in India. Maharshi Garga's Garga Samhita, Parashara's Brihat Parashara Hora, Varahamihira's Brihat jakata, Kalidasa's Uttarakalamrita, Mantreshwara's Phaladeepika, Kalyana Varma's Saravali, Vidyanatha's Jataka Parijata, Ramadayalu's Sanketa Nidhi are some of the major classical works on astrology. Due to imperial rule many of Indian arts, skills and cultural specialties are uprooted and astrology is not an exception to this.
The very first proof the archeologists say is the tablet containing 6 years position of Venus done in 7th century BC in Babylon. Depending on the references, they have concluded that astrology was practiced from 17th century BC. This has led them to believe that Greeks were the authors of astrology. Mahabharata war (3137 - 3138 BC) was fought even much earlier than the Assyrians, Babylonians and Greeks. The dates on which the war began and ended have been recorded. Oriental Experts say, Krishna was born on 19.7.3228, when the planetary positions recorded in Hindu calendar are converted to the present day Gregorian calendar. You may recall that Lord Krishna's birthday is celebrated on Krishna paksha astama in the month of Sravana every year. If
mere mention of position of Venus for 6 years led the archaeologists to believe that Greeks were the forefathers of astrology, then can they postulate any other reason for recording the birth details of Lord Krishna - other than astrological one? It is also true that except Harappa, Mohenjadaro which are spread in present day Pakistan and Gujarat in India (very little scripts are found and archeologists are not able to decipher) and Pataliputra (dates to Mouryan Dynasty) no other archeological site is found in India. Regarding Dwaraka, the excavations are still going on
at snail's pace. When they relied on the tablet dating to 7th century BC but found its practice since 17th century BC what 'material proof' did
the experts get? Why the expert cannot relay on the Vedas and Upanishads, epics, many monumental literary works of ancient Indian poets? Our fellow Indians believe whatever our western scholars say - without giving any second thought!
Astrology as of now was NOT practices in the vedic times. Vedic astrology is
a meaningless term. Astrology rather its sister astronomy was used to
monitor ritus (ritu / rita -truth; anrita- false) so that the rituals can be
conducted. But the origin of predictive astrology is found in puranas.
So, the astrology that is practices in India should be rightly called,
puranic astrology or Indian astrology but not vedic! Even if we consider the
practice of astrology in puranic times (that begins from the time 10th
mandala of rigveda was constructed), that itself is aged compared to all
Harappans, Mayans, Aztecs put together!
Astrology traces the planetary positions as if the planets go around the earth. Ptolemy's theory was abandoned in 1500 when Keplar postulated that all the planets rotate around sun. The skeptics question as to why astrology did not follow Keplar model of heavens. Actually, if some presence of mind is
used, we will know that Keplar's discovery did not change our day to day life even today at all. After 1500 also we use the same north-south and east-west direction (we did not change the directions with reference to sun). The eclipse and such phenomenon are recorded in the earth time (because the observer is on earth!). Astrology needed an observing platform and naturally earth was selected for the same. So, there is no substance in skeptics' argument.
In the event US (sympathies to our former colonial rulers - they can not conquer the world in their present condition!) starts a colony on Mars and Indians immigrate for sake of few dollars, forsaking their mother land and still remain believers in their respective religion and astrology, then we have to devise new set of rules taking Mars as the center
of the universe!