Yoga, meditation and Jyotish

Author: Krishna Darshan - Alan Wiuker
This article is intended for public sharing and free dissemination of Vedic knowledge. But in the past people have misused our articles for their own personal and commercial benefits. So, if you are interested in sharing the content of our articles totally or partially, please share the direct link to this page, or write to us to to ask permission for other uses.

There is a very close link between Jyotish (Vedic Astrology) and Yoga. Both come from the same origin: the Rishis. These wisemen or seers of ancient India were not the creators of Yoga and Jyotish. That knowledge was attained by divine revelation to the Rishis in their profound meditative and mystical super-conscious states.
If we study the origins of Jyotish, we find that its main use is for spiritual evolution. Jyotish is a helpful tool used by one who is working toward self-knowledge and understanding of the divine laws, not merely a means by which to satisfy curiosity about future events or to confirm or justify a personality. These concepts are erroneously linked to astrology in general, and more so in the West.
Jyotish is a tool used to comprehend personal karma and the “samskaras”, which are the tendencies of thought and behavior deep- rooted in the subconscious mind. Samskaras create conditioning thought patterns, acting as some sort of mental program. This mental program tends to continually repeat the same attitudes. The total of these attitudes and samskaras form what we call personality, and that is what creates our karma and destiny.
Samskaras can be seen by the astrologer in the birth chart, and can also be known by the Yogis in meditation.
Understanding and recognition of the samskaras is the key to understand past, present and predict the future.
This knowledge by itself is not of much use if we do not have a way of changing its effects on our life.
Samskaras can be changed. This is the essence of Yoga. Yoga is considered by the Rishis themselves as the method for transcending and liberating one from the effects of karma.
“Prarabda” is that part of the karma that we cannot change. It is like an arrow that has been released and it is too late to change its direction. It is the karma which is flourishing in this life, even if part of it has not yet shown itself. Therefore, we need to understand, accept, and work out that situation in the best possible way. What we are able to change, is the way we react to this karma; and this is what generates the future karma.
In Sanskrit, the word for planet is “graha” which means, “that which grabs” or “that which traps”. The grahas act like forces that condition the mind and energy patterns in the astral or subtle body, keeping them fixed and difficult to change.
The discipline that allows mental patterns to be modified, overcoming the strong hold of the “grahas”, is Yoga.
Spiritual life can be explained with the analogy of an inner battle between the higher and lower mind, the good and bad samskaras, the instinctive and spiritual nature.
We can say that Jyotish can show us the “battle field”, our allies and foes, but Yoga gives the tools or weapons by which you can fight and win the war defeating the enemies of ignorance, ego and bondage, and attain the victory of freedom.
There are various Yoga methods within the Yoga tradition. These methods work differently and have different effects, and are suited for different humman temperaments.
Finally, they reach the same result, which is God and Self-realization, and liberation from the weel of Karma.
Some of the clasical Yoga methods are:

Raja Yoga
Raja Yoga is defined as the suspension of all mental fluctuations or “vrittis”. This can be achieved through rigorous, self-imposed thought discipline that gradually develops into a state of deep concentration until complete mental silence is obtained.
Restlessness of mind or distraction is believed to be the source of all human suffering.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras states:
“Mental pain, depression, physical nervousness, and irregular breathing are the symptoms of a distracted state of mind.”
Concentration raises the energetic level of the mind and takes one to inner silence.
Within this inner mental silence, the Self’s true nature is perceived, destroying the illusion of ignorance and bringing the experience of perfect peace and knowledge.
While the mind is active and agitated, the individual identifies with his thoughts, acquiring a false sense of himself. He identifies himself as separate from the universe. This creates a feeling of dissatisfaction and unhappiness that, in turn, creates desires and future karma.
How can one control and silence that turbulent mind?
Without a doubt, the mind is difficult to control. However, control can be obtained through a constant and steady practice, accompanied with indifference toward enjoyment of sensory experiences.
Just as an athlete gradually trains his body and muscles, the mind must also be trained. The mind must be observed at all times in order to recognize its tendencies or samskaras. Upon recognition, these thoughts must be substituted by their opposites.
For example, if we observe in the mind a tendency towards selfishness, we can concentrate on humility. If we see greed, then we can focus to develop generosity. Each time we see the selfishness vritti manifesting, we can cultivate the opposite in our mind. Through this process we cultivate the mind until the selfishness samskara is substituted and cancelled by the positive samskaras of humility and generosity.

Each time negative thoughts appear in the mind, they must be consciously substituted by their opposites. This type of mental discipline requires perseverance and a strong will.
It is through this method that negative samskaras are substituted and eventually eliminated. This purification of the mind along with restrictions and ethical and moral observances constitutes the foundation for meditation.
The main practice in Raja Yoga is meditation. The mind has a tendency or samskara to go toward the outside, toward senses and external world experience. Meditation begins by taking the mind away from the senses and bringing it within (pratyahara). Later on, concentration on a single thought or idea (dharana) is developed until it flows without interruption (dhyana). When this practice is kept long enough, samskaras are defeated and a super-conscious state arises (Samadhi), a state in which separation between the individual and the whole, subject and object, disappears.
Meditation allows the meditator to find or percieve his inner Self, that refuge where the effect of the planets and karmas cannot reach or affect.
Adverse planetary positions though, can indicate that the process may be more difficult or may take longer time.
One of the most powerful and efficient concentration techniques for controlling the mind, changing the samskaras and destroying astrological adverse effects, is Japa, mental repetition of Mantras. The entire universe is made up of sound or the “Word”. Mind is nothing more than sound in a higher and subtler frequency. Grahas (planets) influence the mind and prana with their own sounds and vibratory frequencies. Mantras are combinations of syllables that correspond to specific vibrations or sounds from the nadis (energy channels) and chakras (psychic energy centers) of the astral body. They act as keys or access codes to a latent superior energy and spiritual power that lies dormant in each human being.
The “frequency” or vibratory level of our mind determines what we attract in our life. Dark and pessimistic thoughts attract other similar thoughts and disgrace or suffering situations. Angry thoughts attract anger from others, creating violent and destructive situations. Enlightened, loving, peaceful and optimistic thoughts attract blessings and well-being.
Through mantras, the vibratory frequencies of the mind can be changed and elevated, thus, changing what we attract to our life.
There are various types of Mantras used to obtain different kinds of benefits. Each planet has its own mantra and specific purposes that can be used to harmonize their energy in our astral body and invoke their positive influence. But the most powerful mantras are called “Moksha Mantras” (the names of God). They work on the very root of the mind, awakening the Divine (God’s) consciousness. All planetary energies act as servants or instruments of God. Invoking the divine energy is like going directly to the source, the king or master of the planets, the creator of the law of karma and source of all light.

Hatha Yoga / Kundalini Yoga
Nowadays, there is great misunderstanding about Hatha Yoga. It is commonly associated with body discipline and flexibility development. Erroneously called physical yoga, the physical discipline is only a small portion of what it really is.
The word “Hatha” means the union of “Ha” (solar energy) with “Tha” (lunar energy), the two poles of the universal cosmic energy. Hatha Yoga relates basically with mastering and controlling the subtle energy or prana with the purpose of mind control in order to reach Raja Yoga or mental silence and the super-conscious state.
In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, an authoritative traditional scripture about Hatha Yoga, the author, Yogi Swatmarama, declares that teaching and practice of Hatha Yoga is done with the objective of attaining Raja Yoga or control and silencing of the mind. He says, “Hatha Yoga is like a monastery where those that are afflicted by the three classes of tapas (sufferings) take refuge.” These sufferings are “adhiatmica”, physical or mental suffering, “adhidaivika”, suffering caused by planetary influences and “adhibhautika”, suffering caused by natural elements like tigers, serpents, earthquakes, floods, etc.

In Hatha Yoga, the psychic energy is controlled from its more dense manifestation, physical body movement, on a subtler level, the movement of the breath and followed yet by subtler levels, energy movement in the astral body, nadis and chakras. In essence, all the elements of nature (earth, water, fire, etc.) are controlled which in a subtle way they constitute the mind itself.

Hatha Yoga practices begin with Yamas and Niyamas (moral and ethical norms), purification, detoxification and body control, achieved through a proper diet, Kriyas and Asanas. Postures, maintained steadily and firm for a length of time, are the asanas. They render health and strength necessary to maintain a quiet, relaxed and controlled body. Techniques that follow are Pranayamas, Bandas and Mudras. Through breath control, the prana is directed toward the central channel or Sushuma nadi (energy channel corresponding to the spinal cord) and the Kundalini Shakti is awakened. The power or creative energy of the universe that lies dormant at the base Chakra (Kundalini) is then directed toward the higher Chakras. When this potential reaches the Sahasrara Chakra (the center of divine consciousness), Samadhi or super-conscience is attained. This is accompanied by the annihilation of all samskaras, illumination and liberation from karma.

A very close relationship exists between Hatha/Kundalini Yoga and astrology.
Yoga is based upon the knowledge that the entire universe or macrocosm is present within each individual in his astral body or microcosm.
The energies from the sun and moon are manifested in each individual as the two prana poles or vital energy. They manifest in the process of inhalation and exhalation as well as in the two main energy channels or nadis. These nadis are Ida (moon), located in the left side of the body and connected with the left nostril, and Pingala (sun) located in the right side of the body and linked with its corresponding nostril. It is from the interaction of these two energies that all mental and physical activity happens. Planetary imbalances on each individual’s natal chart produce a disturbance in the energy flow. As one of them is predominant over the other, physical health and mental equilibrium are affected.
Through breath control, balance and regulation of inhalation and exhalation energies, the Hatha yogis are capable of unblocking the nadis, thus, neutralization of the afflictions takes place.
Malefic planetary influences, like the one from Saturn, produce prana blockage and constriction, restricting its flow. Another example is Mars; when afflicted it generates excitement, restlessness and prana agitation. These effects can be overcome through the various pranayamas.
Another very interesting aspect is meditation on Rahu and Ketu (the moon nodes) in relationship with the Sushuma Nadi and the Kundalini Shakti. Mythology describes Rahu and Ketu as a snake demon who went to drink the nectar of immortality, only allowed to be consumed by divine beings or Devas. The sun and the moon witnessed this and announced it to Vishnu who then cut him in half. However, since the snake had already drunk some nectar, it was transformed to an immortal being. As a concession, a place with the planets in the heavenly function was granted, provoking the solar and moon eclipses. Their function is to make every being face his shadows and unresolved past karma conflicts.
The snake represents the Kundalini Shakti or latent spiritual power. When this energy is inactive or disconnected, as consequence of previous karmas, it flows down, closing the entrance of the Sushuma nadi. It manifests as desire, that which creates duality in the mind and the attraction and repulsion forces.
The placement of Rahu and Ketu in the birth chart will indicate the areas of life in which the atraction and repulsion (raga-dwesha) will take place as a result of unresolved previous karmas.
However, when this duality is overcome, through working out the previous karmic debts and acting without attachment to desires, and by the Yogic practices, Rahu and Ketu are reunited or connected. In turn, they transform into the power that drives conscience and creative energy back to its source or God.
In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, we read:

   “Kundalini Shakti gives liberation to the Yogis and bondage to the fools. He who knows her, knows Yoga” (3/107)

The same force, when it is dormant or active only in the lower chakras, is a source of darkness, dissatisfaction, conflicts and diseases. It binds us to karma. When it is directed toward the superior chakras, through purification of the nadis, and mind control, through Yoga techniques, illumination and liberation from karma is achieved.
The Kundalini shakti and it’s negative or positive spiritual potential can be seen in astrology in the 8th house and it’s strength, and by the placement and influence of Rahu and Ketu.
The mythological snake’s search for the nectar of immortality brings out the final motivation of this energy.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, says:

   “When the sushuma becomes the royal road for Prana, the mind remains suspended and the yogi cheats death”. (3/3)

   “When the prana moves in the sushuma and the mind is absorbed in the void, the intelligent yogi, he who can stop mind fluctuations, uproots all karmas” (4/12)

   “The sun and the moon create the division between night and day. Sushuma consumes the time; this is a secret”. (4/17)

Whilst all the planets move in one direction (direct movement), Rahu and Ketu move in the opposite direction (retrograde). Planetary direct or forward movement can be seen as the manifestation process of individual experiences in the objective world. The retrograde movement of Rahu and Ketu gives us an idea that they move in the opposite sense, from the objective and material manifestation back to its source, the pure consciousness or God. This is what the Kundalini Shakti does. First, it manifests the universe from the original pure conscience to the objective manifestation, remaining static there in a latent form until the moment it is reactivated by Yoga and starts its way back, chakra by chakra, from the material and objective manifestation to the absolute consciousness or God.
Another aspect that challenges the intellect is death itself. Astrologically, the moment of death is determined at birth time and is part of our prarabda karma. Nevertheless, death can only happen when prana moves in ida or pingala. This generates the time in the mind and allows astrological forces to act. However, when prana is retained in the sushuma, it “cheats death”. This is considered the only way to prolong longevity beyond what has been established by the prarabda karma. This explains the millenary longevity of some yogis or siddhas. However, that’s not the objective of Hatha Yoga. Longevity is interesting only until past karma has been work out completely and not as an end by itself.
It’s important to point out that real Hatha Yoga techniques must be learned from a qualified teacher alone, not merely through books.

Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti means devotion and love to God.
Bhakti Yoga means a total surrender to God and his will.
A personal relationship with God is established through prayer, chants, worship ceremonies or rituals and a constant memory or thought of him.
This is the most characteristic path in the majority of the traditional world religions.
Yogis understand that God is one, beyond all duality and form limitation but he manifests himself in infinite names and forms. Each individual can relate, perceive, experiment or conceive God in different ways. In the way that one searches for God, in such a way will God manifest.
That is why Bhakti Yoga is neither a religion nor a dogma. It recognizes all religions and faith forms as valid, as long as they are practiced with sincerity and for the purpose to unite with the divine. Each person has a different approach towards God. We cannot impose one name or form to be accepted by all.
The essence of Bhakti, beyond any external form in which it is practiced, is about the opening of the heart, feeling of cosmic love, renouncing the ego or individual will and acceptance and surrender to the divine will.
There are different levels of progress in Bhakti.
Beginners are ussually only capable of relating to God with a certain name, in a specific temple and through prayers and rituals pre-established by their religious system.
As the progress continues in Bhakti, God is perceived in all forms, in all beings, inside and outside ourselves and at every moment.
The most important elements in Bhakti are love and self-surrender. A beginner is only capable of loving a few persons, generally associated to the idea of the “I” and “mine”. One says, “I love my God, my religion, my parents, my wife or my husband, my children, my friends, my dog, my cat, etc.”
Bhakti focuses on expanding this love toward all beings, realizing God and the soul’s manifestation in all beings and in all creation. It is not an emotional, romantic, or theoretical state. It is an experience that develops gradually through purification of the mind and the ego, an experience that leads to the mystic ecstasies.
The attitude of the devotee or Bhakta toward life and karma is about acceptance and surrender. The Bhakta does not try to change a life situation or its karma, as in other Yoga paths, but he accepts it as God’s will. The devotee prays, “God, may thy will, not mine, be done.”
Only God knows what is good for each individual. Sometimes what we don’t want or like in our lives is precisely what we need to experience for spiritual progress. Many times, life’s adversities are what awaken the Soul to search for an answer and to understand life’s higher purpose.
Many people discover the true love and the value of inner peace, after they have passed difficult tests, lost dear ones or suffered through a disease.
God is really our Soul and everything that happens is his will and his divine play. Human intellect is finite and incapable of understanding the divine plan and the cosmic intelligence behind all events.
The mind is under the influence of the principle called “raga and dwesha”, meaning attraction and repulsion.
We desire pleasant things and reject unpleasant ones. Sometimes what begins as pleasure ends up in suffering and vice versa.
God is the master or king of creation and is beyond nature laws, even the law of karma.
That is why true devotion is capable of producing so-called “miracles”, meaning the change of something that seems impossible of understanding due to the limited intellect.
Planetary forces or Grahas are under the control of God’s will. It is said that God always protects those who seek refuge in him (even if his help comes in a way that one does not expect).
Therefore, the true devotee does not fear karma or the planets.

“My God, give me the serenity
to accept the things I can not change,
the strength to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to recognize the difference.”

Saint Francis of Assisi

Jnana Yoga
Jnana is the way of knowledge or wisdom and it is considered a difficult, advanced one. It requires great previous progress in other types of Yoga and a high degree of spiritual awakening, obtained through many lives.
Jnana means knowledge, not a knowledge of objects, but knowledge of the Self or true nature of the soul.
This Yoga is based in Vedanta philosophy, contained in the last part of the Vedas, called the Upanishads. It teaches that the cause of all suffering is ignorance and erroneous identification with the ego, mind and body.
All experiences of duality, suffering and separation between the individual and the happiness, the absolute, God or Brahman, is an illusion created by the mind itself in the state of ignorance.
The Upanishads say, “you are perfect happiness.” you are the Soul (Atman), the immortal Being, one with God, infinite and luminous. Nevertheless, mental illusion makes us identify with the body and thoughts, which create a personality or ego that is erroneously identified as the “I”. This illusion is called “Maya” and is very difficult to overcome.
Mind disturbance creates a veil that does not allow us to perceive reality.
Just as the sun always shines even when concealed by the clouds, so does the Self. Heavy fog, created by the mind, does not allow perception.
The individual, physically and mentally, is in constant change and transformation. However, there is a reality behind it that does not change, a conscious, eternal, silent witness.
Atman or Self is always the same, even if the body and mind change. The Self is eternal. It existed before birth and it will continue to exist after the body’s death. We can see how personality can change completely in one person. Simply put, the personality of a person as a child is different than in youth or when old, nevertheless we know the Self or “Atman” is the same.
All processes of birth, growth, change, decay and death affect only to the body, not the Atman. All suffering is generated when what is changeable and transient is erroneously confused with the Self.
We have an intuition that happiness exists; it is our essential nature.
But due to ignorance and illusion, we search for happiness in the exterior, in whatever can be perceived with our senses; that happiness never arrives. We think that if we had everything we wished for, we would be happy. However, when we obtain these things, happiness does not arrive and there is always a feeling that something is missing. This is the cause of desire and karma, and then, the tangling of the soul in the material world and its suffering.

Jñana yoga consists in recognizing this play of the illusion and meditation in the inner Self or Atman. The main practices to do it are called “Viveka” and “Vairagya”.
Viveka means discernment or discrimination between real and unreal or illusory, between the Self or Atman and the ego, between permanent and transient. There is an involvement of the intellect that is in constant attention recognizing the ego and Maya plays.
Vayragya means dettachment or dispassion and consists of recognizing the ephemeral existence of all that is perceived through the senses, renouncement of all desires and intention of obtaining true happiness.
A Jñani is someone who, through this discrimination and dettachment, has reached a state of perfect mental peace. His mind is no longer disturbed by the pairs of opposites, such as, heat and cold, attraction and repulsion, pleasant and unpleasant, gain and loss, praise and criticism, etc.

A Jñani is always satisfied in the inner Self and happiness, drinking the soul’s nectar enjoying its divine nature. He does not have desires. For him, karma generation ceases and he is liberated from the birth and death cycles.
A Jñani is like an actor that performs his role in life’s play, but always remains aware that it is a temporary one and does not identify with the character he is playing.
Jñana Yoga is a constant meditation in the Atman and its peaceful, eternal and luminous nature.

The soul or Atman is not affected by karmic law or the planets.
They only operate in the physical, astral and causal bodies, but not in the Atman. The Self does not act. It is always the silent witness. It is the ego, the one that feels the doer and tangles himself up within karma.
This is a description from the Bhagavad-Gita:

   “The Self is never born, nor does it ever dies. After having been, it again ceases not to be; unborn, eternal, changeless and ancient, it does not die when the body is killed.”

   “Just as a man casts off worn out clothes and puts on new ones, so does the embodied Self casts off worn out bodies and enters others which are new”.

   “Weapons cut it not, fire burns it not, water wets it not, wind dries it not.
This Self cannot be cut, burnt, wetted, nor dried up. It is eternal, all pervading, stable, immovable and ancient.

   “This Self is said to be unmanifested, unthinkable and unchangeable. Therefore, knowing thus to be such, thou shouldst not grief” (2/ 20-25)

Karma Yoga
Karma yoga is the yoga of action.
In the Bhagavad-Gita Gita, Yoga is defined as “skill in action”.
All action generates a reaction. The reaction or Karma generated by the action depends on the intention that motivates it. Two persons can externally be performing the same action with different intentions. For example, two persons will assist a third person. The first one does it simply to help and diminish suffering, while the second does it to obtain a favor in exchange or for others to see him as good. Obviously, the reaction generated will be different.
Karma Yoga consists in selfless action and service.
Each action performed with an expectation harvests a reaction that in turn generates new actions. This tangles the vicious, karmic cycle.
We must all act. Without performing any action, survival of the physical body is not possible.
What can we do to liberate ourselves from the bond of the karmic circle?
The key is to perform the action as a duty to accomplish, but without expectation of its results.
Each person, according to his previous karma, has a Swadharma, a duty to perform (this can be seen in the astrological birth chart). It is a service to give to the world and a sacrifice to do for others. A duty exists for everyone, according to his or her work. There is a duty for a father, a son, a citizen, etc., to act with justice and straightness when faced with unexpected situations.
Performing duties properly, with the best capacity and without expecting a reward or result, is how past karma is exhausted and ended without generating future karma. This form of action automatically brings mental peace.
The great obstacle for spiritual self-realization is the ego or egoism. We are always acting with the thought of a reward or gain that will be received in exchange. The ego always wants to take instead of give. This unconscious attitude generates the feeling of separation from others and the entire universe, leaving a sense of dissatisfaction, contraction, mental limitation, loneliness, fear and a feeling of emptiness. Egoism is like a great veil that, with its dense energy, covers and hides the inner light of the Soul.
When service for others and the universe is performed without hoping to gain anything, the mind expands and the ego dissipates, unveiling the inner light.
The soul or Atman is present in all beings and the entire creation. When assisting others, we recognize our presence and the presence of God in all beings, expanding our consciousness and realizing God.
A moment comes when servicing or giving brings more satisfaction than receiving.
Service without interest is one of the more effective ways to overcome limitations and ego impurities and is a necessary factor for all spiritual progress.
Karma Yoga is efficiently combined with Bhakti Yoga when action is performed as a service to God and its results are offered to him, recognizing him in all beings. Also with Jñana Yoga, when actions are taken without personal desires, one feels as an instrument and not as the doer.
The Atman never acts; it always remains as the silent witness.

The role and service of Jyotish for spiritual seekers
Jyotish can be a very helpful tool for yogis and spiritual seekers to understand their karma, what can be changed and what can’t, how to recognize and work out the personal karma and dharma.
Even though the universal laws apply for every person, every one has a different path to walk acording to their previous karmas. Different lessons are needed to be learnt. What is the best path for one person may not be the best for another.
The capacity and natural tendency or talent for a particular type of yoga path, type of mantra or Ishta Devata, type of Guru or spiritual teacher, can be seen in the birth chart, as well as the obstacles in the path and the areas of life were there will be a need to focus and purify .
Some people will be naturally fitted for a life of renunciation or Sannyasa, monkhood life, while others will have to develop their spiritual progress while remaining involved in the world or as householders.
It is important to point out that for spiritual advice and counselling, the astrologer should be himself or herself a spiritual Sadhaka or practitioner, and have the experience and the proper training in that field, and not just an intellectual knowledge of Jyotish techniques.


Copyright © by Jyotish9graha, all rights reserved.

Contact us at

Content, graphics, and HTML code are protected and may not be copied, reprinted, published, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without explicit permission.