The Vexed Question of
Choosing the Rate of Equinoctial Precession
Zubdet Ut Tevarih by Lokman, circa 1583
Topkapi Palace Museum - Bridgeman Art Library
"This celestial map or macrocosm is the opening miniature in the Turkish Zubdat al-Tawarikh, or "History of the World", showing the seven heavens above the Earth, the signs of the zodiac and the 28 lunar mansions. " http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/201005/arabic.in.the.sky.htm
"Ayanamsha" means "precession rate" or "precessional distance" regarding the precession of the equinoxes.
Ayana= "progress or "forward movement";
Amsha= "portion" or "section".
The precession of the equinoxes means that the four equinoctial points (spring, summer, autumn, and winter equinoxes) are constantly moving. They will rotate (backwards) through all 360 degrees and return to their starting point every 25920 [solar] years.
The re are several viable choices available regarding precessional (1) start year and (2) rate of movement. The discussion about these choices makes the question of correct " Ayanamsha" a thorny professional issue for practitioners of Jyotisha vidya.
Lahiri ayanamsha is sanctioned by the Government of India and is very popular. However, keep in mind that Lahiri ayanamsha was determined by a committee (of which Lahiri was the chair). You know how they say, a camel is a horse designed by a committee? :)
Lahiri works generally fairly well in practice. However, many Jyotishi use Lahiri because it is popular - not because they have rigorously tested it against other options.
Also, consider that one may find several different versions of "Lahiri".
Some Jyotisha software sets a conventional Lahiri ayanamsha at 50.2719 seconds/year rate of precession, starting from the year 285 CE.
However there are practicing Jyotishi who use numbers both higher and lower than 50.2719, and/or different start years, who still claim that they use "Lahiri ayanamsha".
|B.V. Raman Ayanamsha||
Of the numerous non-Lahiri ayanamsha options, most are very esoteric and used only by special lineages or research interests.
Krishnamurti ayanamsha and Raman ayanamsha are probably the two most popular non-Lahiri choices.
Dr. B. V. Raman's ayanamsha was published by him, during his lifelong research into the scriptural and technical foundations of the Vidya of Jyotisha. Shri Raman published his research extensively in English, in the famed Jyotisha periodical "Astrological Monthly" over a period of fifty plus years.
Dr. Raman wrote dozens of clear books in English. Many English-educated Jyotishi were influenced by his scientific attitude; his grasp of the ancient Sanskrit, Tamil, Malayalam, and other historic sacred literatures; and most importantly his research into astronomical and mathematical foundations of Jyotisha calculations.
Dr. Raman's reputation for thoroughness in his research convinced many readers of the validity of his ayanamsha and its superior results. Raman's ayanamsha is by far the most used after Lahiri.
|Ayanamsha mentioned by Shri Yukteshwara Giri||
Followers of Paramahamsha Yoganandain the West often request the ayanamsha of Paramahamsha Yogananda' s highly respected guru Shri Yukteshwar.
Shri Yukteshwar's ayanamsha is significantly out of the range of conventional precession rates, and is used by only a very small minority of working astrologers.
I myself was attracted to Shri Yukteshwar' s ayanamsha after reading the very inspiring account of Vedic time cycles as explained by by Swami Shri Yukteswar in his wonderful book, The Holy Science = Kaivalya Darshanam .
Unfortunately, in my practice with real people's lives in mundane earth time, I have found that Shri Yukteshwar's ayanamsha does not test out too well compared with Raman or Lahiri.
Although I normally use Lahiri ayanamsha, I am always open to using the ayanamsha favored by the person's spiritual lineage. If you have a psychic connection to Shri Y or another jyotish guru, I will happily use Shri Y's ayanamsha for your reading.
|Additional ayanamsha options||
Other ayanamsha options include Krishnamurti, the proposals of American Rick Houck (who pioneered intensive Jyotisha research using computers), and various western " sidereal" positions.
In the end, most Jyotisha practitioners don't worry about ayanamsha.
After the practitioner has decided which ayanamsha produces the most satisfactory results within the scope of one's own practice = individual lives, the fate of nations, or historical time cycles= there is no need to "keep shopping". IMO there is no one single fixed view on "correct" ayanamsha. Nor does there need to be.
Having said that, I recommend the conventional "Lahiri" calculations because, in my practice with individual nativities, I have (so far) obtained most satisfactory results from this combination:
I'm learning Astrology both Vedic and Western. I'm reading the Vedic Astrological Books of One of the Great Astrologer of present time Late Dr. B.V.Ramanji for 4-5 years.
I've a great respect for him. I've a problem Barbara regarding Ayanamsha- when I searched the web for "which Ayanamsha to use "-I got your Article there-written about all the hindu/vedic Ayanamsha-It was very informative-Thank you!
Though I'm a follower of Ramanji and I should use his Ayanamsha without any doubt but since I'm a North Indian and we use Lahiri's Ayanamsha (by Default Software also selects it.) I was using Lahiri's Ayanamsha for preparing any Chart for a long time. For me it's Dasha -Pratayantar Dasha all were seem to be correct.....But now I'm in a doubt. When I use Raman's Ayanamsha-The Navamansha Chart-I got-I think is very Correct. And Dashamansha Chart is also right I think. and This Navamansha explains my Nature very correctly.
You said that you use Lahiri's Ayanamsha-Since you're a professionaI Astrologer and you're practicing it for quite a long time so I want to know from you-Don't you think The Chart prepared by using Raman's Navamansha gives right Reading than Lahiri's?
(and please tell me For Rahu-Ketu-Which Value do you use-True or Mean?) Thanks.
I too am a grateful student of Shri Raman.
I met Shri B.V. Raman in 1993 when he was already quite elderly, and I was impressed with his sharp mind as well as his deep humility. Arising from my respect for Shri Raman as a writer, practitioner, and teacher, I applied Raman's ayanamsha to a variety of nativity calculations for several years.
To test and prove, I compared the Vimshottari dasha periods emerging from the lunar degree which would be obtained by "Raman's ayanamsha" against the known life events of family members and historical figures.
In my experience, the Vimshottari dasha sequence produced by calculations made from the Raman Ayanamsha do not match the social-material life events in my (naturally limited) database of nativity. Therefore despite my great respect for Shri Raman, I recommend the more conventional Lahiri ayanamsha for making predictions about individual lives.
However I would leave open the possibility that Raman's ayanamsha, along with the ayanamsha proposed by Swami Shri Yukteshwara Giri and several other notable ayanamsha (precession) rates proposed by other luminaries of Jyotisha vidya, can be used successfully to predict larger-scale matters of the fate of nations, big time cycles = yuga, and other greater-than-individual paths.
The timing of events which I have researched are:
|I find that using Raman ayanamsha I get poor coordination between the real-life events and Vimshottari periods of the expected bhava-pati.||
However, when I use the Lahiri ayanamsha, the events which Parashara predicts will occur, do occur, in the period of the expected house lord.
For example, with correct birth data and Lahiri ayanamsha, I find that:
Other associations stated by Parashara = work properly the great majority of the time using Lahiri ayanamsha.
Marriage timing is, in my view, a good test of ayanamsha- because timing of marriage comes not from radix but rather from navamsha.
Using Raman's ayanamsha, I get very poor event-timing results.
However, when using Lahiri I find that marriage occurs reliably in the bhukti of the lords of the first or seventh *navamsha*, or any of the karakas: Shukra, Shani, or Rahu-Ketu.
Also, with timing of marriage, a second condition must be fulfilled: gochara Rahu-Ketu must be transiting through one of five axes: lagna of radix or navamsha, natal nodal axis in either radix or navamsha, or the axis of radix Moon.
With Lahiri ayanamsha, if the radix chart does not offer a lagna, Moon, or nodal axis to satisfy the condition, then the navamsha nodes or lagna will be found to be in the right place to support the timing of marriage.
With Raman's ayanamsha, if the radix chart does not supply the necessary nodal axes, Raman's rendering of navamsha lagna and navamsha Moon will not always supply it either - which leaves us unable to predict timing of marriage, or confirm timing of a marriage which has already occurred.
I appreciate how emotionally attracted people are to the poetry of their navamsha patterns, when they think - as you say - "this explains my nature very correctly".
Navamsha is the field of one's true dharma more fully articulated; D-9 shows our secret strengths, subconscious expectations, and inherent wisdom - our "better self". So, if Raman's ayanamsha creates a more intriguing or flattering navamsha, it might be tempting to honor the poetic image of nicer planets.
My own Jyotisha practice is focused on the tasks of (1) making sense of the order of past events while (2) attempting to offer reliable predictions of future events.
I am less inclined to the typically western psychological or poetic style, and more inclined to predictive accuracy.
I am sure that there are some legitimate uses for the western poetic-psychological-archetype approach to astrology (such as in Jungian psychotherapy), but my personality is more research-oriented.
Therefore my own test results have cemented my decision to stick with Lahiri ayanamsha into the foreseeable future.
However another Jyotishi who might be researching other types of events - perhaps political or economic events, or other non-personal/national/global level phenomena - might use different tests and get different results. I can only report on the research I have done myself.
I look forward to the day when Jyotishis worldwide can contribute peer-reviewed research to scholarly journals and present their results at (electronic?) conferences, so that a wider basis of understanding can be established in the international Jyotisha practice community.
(BTW: I use "mean" positions for Rahu-Ketu.)
Hope this is helpful,
Barbara Pijan Lama
Q: Hello Barbara Pijan,
I have a question for you about the information you have on your website about vedic astrology.
Particularly about the Chandra in (Nakshatra) pages. Are they written according to South Indian astrology or to North Indian, because I notice that when using South Indian astrology the degrees change and therefore the Chandra changes, when I calculate my chart.
So I don't know whether to read Purvabhadrapada Chandra or Uttarabhadrapada.
Hopefully you will clear this up. Thank you for your time.
A: Oops, it looks like
several separate concepts have become conflated.
North and South Indian Jyotisha traditions share the same core scriptures and use identical astronomical calculations.
However, an individual practitioner may vary in accuracy or choice of ayanamsha.
North and South Indian Jyotisha traditions differ in several "style" traits which do not alter the core logic of the vidya. For example, there is regional variation in traditional graphic representations.
There is also considerable diversity in prescriptive remedies, the great majority of which arise from the local folk traditions.
The nativities which appear on this website are calculated via the Lahiri Ayanamsha
"Lahiri" = the surname of the man who served as head of the committee which determined the official ayanamsha for the government of India for purpose of calculating festivals, panchanga, etc..
The mainstream ayanamsha in both the South Indian and North Indian traditions is Lahiri, but various lineage teachers have their own research ayanamsha; and several alternatives for example Krishnamurti ayanamsha are quite popular around the world.
The question you are asking appears to address not a distinction between north vs. south, but rather a distinction of ayanamsha. It might be helpful to check your software settings and find out if what you are calling "north Indian" result is being calculated with different ayanamsha from what you are calling "south Indian".
Best wishes, BP Lama Jyotisha
updated:23 April 2013
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