The Sage Bhrigu
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- based on the Taittiriyaka Upanishad, chap. 3.
Bhrigu was as learned in the Vedas as his father, the sage Varuna. Varuna said to him,
"Get centralised and tell me what you find to be Brahman (God)."
Bhrigu first saw that food is God. Then it dawned on him that the vital breath, prana, mind, and supreme intelligence and understanding are God, and truth, knowledge and great, deep joy, ananda.
"Bliss is Brahman . . . from bliss . . . beings are born . . ." [Extracts from the Upanishad]
The ancient chapter contains more food for thought too, such as:
Never abuse food. Acquire much food. The Self, which consists of food, breath, mind, understanding and bliss, sings: "I am food! I am the eater of food (subject), I am the poet (who joins the two together). He who gives me away, he alone preserves me. I overcome the whole world."
The Bhrigu Samhita
The Awakened Bhrigu in time came to reflect on human affairs and how to guide future generations of mankind on a path of rightousness (dharma) and bliss (moksha, freedom). He had now got deep and penetrating insight into the past, present and future too, both of collective and individual existence. Perhaps he mulled: "In the material world, time is relatively divided into past, present and future. But on a essential level it is all the same." At any rate, key ideas were put into a system and handed out with compassion for mankind, so that many could cope with major problems and pressures of their lives and move towards Being as well.
Bhrigu then wrote predictions for those persons that he could foresee would come to his system and consult him that way in ages to come.
Bhrigu's output was collected in the form of the Bhrigu Samhita. (Samhita is Sanskrit for 'collection'). Everything in the very ancient work is written as dialogue(s) between Bhrigu and his son Shukra. Both are engaged in discussing the welfare of those who would seek them. Bhrigu prescribes prayers and remedies to surmount specific problems in what is now a synthesis of astrology and ancient Indian systems of Mantra, Tantra, and meditation. In certain cases the Bhrigu Samhita also provides diagnoses of diseases along with remedies. One aim is to liberate the individual concerned from some effects of sins in past lives. But the over-arching aim was and is to maintain righteous dealings in the human world on earth.
The Bhrigu Samhita is popular still. It contains horoscopes of individuals who consult the great collection, tells from the past, present and future, and reflects the consultation day, time and date of the individual, and what remedial measures he or she had better take, and offers a boost to rectify his fare "under the stars", so to speak.
Bhrigu's horoscopes are based on the positions of the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu (North Node) and Ketu (South Node) [Caveats should be added], and points are made on the past, present and future of people.
Bhrigu in Hindu Mythology
The seer Bhrigu is one of seven great sages of ancient India. He offers a pleasantly different view of how mankind manage to survive on earth, than gloomy Bible tales and sinister Mesopotamian myths do. This what we are told:
In the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, Creator-God, Brahma, is often referred to as the progenitor or great grandsire of all human beings. He wished Bhrigu into existence to help in the process of creation. Hence, Bhrigu is called one of the caretaking deities of created beings. His name means "radiant".
Also, from his own body the Creator fathered a man and a woman, Manu and Shatarupa. From them all human beings are descended, says the old and venerated ◦Brahma Purana. Its extant text consists of 246 chapters. The caretaking divine beings have many to look after, accordingly, for they preside over life protection and procreation, and are called fathers of the human race along with Manu, too. Ten caretaking lords are named in Manu Samhita 1.34. In addition to Bhrigu they are Marici, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratuj, Vashishta, Pracetas or Daksha, and Narada.
There are mentions of yet other caretaking beings in other old works, as the Mahabharata, so we end up with fifteen named, divine caretakers in all, according to the scriptures just referred to. In addition to the fifteen comes the Rigvedic deity of all craftsmen and architects, the excellent worker Vishvakarman, 'all-accomplishing; all-creator'. (s.v.)
God Creator is also said to have created seven great sages to help him order the universe. These sages were born out of his mind, and are therefore called mind-sons, spirits, manas putras.
Bhrigu lived in the Vedic age, at a time when the oldest extant scriptures of Hinduism were composed. The time span of the period is uncertain, but somewhere between 1800 BCE and 200 BCE has been suggested.
It is maintained among Hindus that Bhrigu is the author of the Bhrigu Samhita, which is an age-old text of Vedic astrology, jyotish. The Bhrigu Samhita is from what is called the late Vedic Period, and contains recorded horoscopes that predict a person's future, and tell from his or her past and present. That is what we are told. Yet it has also been suggested that the work was compiled over a period of time by various students in the Bhrigu lineage.
The ancient Bhrigu Samhita contains recorded horoscopes that predict a person's future, and tell from his or her past and present. However, there is a possibility of forgeries also.
If you come across a genuine Bhrigu Samhita, a Sanskrit transliteration of your name will be in the book, and also the time and date of your consultation, along with described, remedial measures designed to correct your life and fare.
Vedic astrology (also known as Indian astrology, and Hindu astrology, and Jyotish or Jyotisha, is the ancient Hindu system of astronomy and astrology. Practice relies mainly on the sidereal zodiac, which relate an individual to the stars in that its heavenly mansions or "quarters" are related to selected stars and form constellations. However, the constellations are of unequal length; they are not thirty degrees of arc each. This plain astronomical fact poses some problems to surmount in a nice way, if that can be had.
To get an idea of how different the siderial zodiac is from the Western tropical system, that is based on the astronomical point of spring - the vernal equinox - suppose the systems are 24 degrees apart in this way: Subtract about 24 degrees from the placements in the Western, tropical horoscope and see what you end up with. The gap between the sideral and tropical zodiac is widening - it takes about 72 years for it to glide one degree backwards through the zodiac, according to astronomical calculations. Thus, in 100 years there is a difference of nearly 1.4 degrees.
To get the signs, moon, and planets, subtract about 24 degrees and check how wide the constellations involved are, to get an inkling of which constellation (of unequal lenghts" your sun, moon, planets and moon-node are in. You may get approximations this way, but nobody seems able to tell just where one constellation of the zodiac starts and another begins. This is because they are irregularly shaped polygons of unequal length - all thirteen of them. Yes, there are thirteen constellations, not twelve. The thirteenth is called Ophiuchus, the Serpent Holder.
To cut matters short: many assumptions are detected at the base of sidereal astrology too, and very different ways of coping with the not-so-often debated unequal lengths of the thirteen constellations.
Bhrigu's Hindu calculations and Buddha teachings against astrology
Now you may wonder where I have got all this from.
The first time I heard about Bhrigu's astrology compilation, was when an aquantanice in Hollywood talked about Kriyananda's experiences with it. This guy was a friend of Kriyananda. Later I got Kriyananda's book on star signs as a spiritual guide - not that I recommend the book - where he talks about sidereal signs in a hopeful way.
I have more information about teachings hailed in the fellowship that kicked Kriyananda out many years ago. One of the gurus in it, Yukteswar, was an astrologer, and he was also the guru of Paramahansa Yogananda. Parts of Yukteswar's astronomy are clearly unfounded - I prefer to stick to reality rather than errors of calculations.
As for books, the one by Sutton below does not affect me in a bad way . . . The other two are more for giving you a taste of two Hindu literature genres that I've been recoursing to above.
I should mention that Buddha hardly advocates astrology - his Gentle Middle Way manages to transcend very much of it, I consider. Still, and speaking for myself, the most essential parts of astrology I would not have been without. Parts of some readings are fun - More seriously considered, must a pragmatist on the look-out for genial help give up the practice of essential, intrinsically very helpful, soundly founded and over-all splendid astrology? I understand a Buddhist dilemma: On the one hand Buddha denounces astrology in some ancient texts, and on the other hand Buddhist traditions make use of astrology for whatever reasons.
Much depends on skills. Both on the skilfulness or artfulness that goes into the matter at hand (ways of astrology), and also on our own skills in not deceiving ourselves and proceed masterfully - Much astrology in the West is not of that kind. In short: Guru Dev's Transcendental Meditation, TM, is excellent help, Buddha's brilliant observations and Middle Way can help a great deal too.
And as for astrology, much depends on so many things, and many more than one's personal skilfulness in handling abstruse subjects and erroneous notions abounding.
[Wikipeda, s.v. "Sidereal and tropical astrology" and "Hindu astrology"]
Debroy, Bibek, and Dipavali Debroy. The Brahma Purana. Paperback ed. Books for all, 1996. Abridged.
Rao, T. M. Bhrigu Samhita. Pustak Mahal, 2009. A treatise of predictive astrology. A concise version of the original collection.
Shastri, J. P. and G. P. Bhatt, eds. Brahma Purana. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Vols 1 and 2: 1985; Vols 3 and 4: 1986.
Sutton, Komilla. The Essentials of Vedic Astrology: The Basics. Bournemouth: The Wessex Astrologer, 1999.
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