The most important basis for this phala jyotisa or Hindu astrology is the belief that the stars and planets at the time of birth of a child, have a profound influence on its life, determining the duration of its life, general condition of its body and psyche, important events in its life and so on.
This is determined by mapping the janmarashi (the rashi or zodiacal sign) based on the nakshatra or asterism at the time of birth) and the janmalagna (the rashi in the eastern horizon at the time of sunrise, on the day of birth).
The zodiac comprises the 12 rashis (from Mesha, or Aries to Mina or Pisces) in which the 27 nakshatras or asterisms (from Ashvini to Revati) are distributed.
Each one of the seven planets, the two nodal points (designated as Rahu and Ketu) and the twenty-seven asterisms, has its own effect—good or bad—on the human being, depending upon the janmarashi and the janmakundali. The problem, however, is in interpreting their combined effect at a given point of time, which depends not only on the astrological calculations, but also on a certain degree of intuition.
Hence, determining and predicting the future is the most difficult part of Hindu astrology. About 40 methods have been projected out of which the one known as ‘Vimsottaripaddhati’ has been more widely accepted, mostly in South India. The Astottaripaddhati is more common in the North.
Based on the Vedanga Jyotisa, the ‘siddhantas,’ secondary works on Hindu astronomy and astrology, came into being in the later period. Works of Aryabhata, Varahamihira and Bhaskaracarya belong to this group. These works have their commentaries—generally known as ‘karikas’—further amplifying the subject.
Another interesting aspect of Hindu astrology is the prasna sastra or the science of answering questions. Here, a horoscope is cast for the time the question is asked and the results predicted, based on it.
The five major treatises on Hindu Predictive Astrology are Brihat Jatakam of Vrahamira, Saravali of Kalyanverma, Sarvartha Chintamani of Venkatesh, Jataka Parijata of Vaidyanatha and Phaladeepika of Mantreswara.
Vastu is the layout of a building site. Before constructing a building there, the land has to be reclaimed from the gods and goblins who might be living there for aeons. This ritual of pacification is known as vastusamana. Generally a mandala (geometrical drawing), a square divided into 9x9 (= 81) or 8x8 (= 64) smaller squares is used for this purpose. This is called vastumandala.
There is an interesting legend connected with this mandala. When Shiva fought with the demon Andhaka, a drop of sweat fell from his forehead on the earth. It assumed the form of a fierce demon who attempted to devour the worlds. Then all the gods and spirits rushed towards him, felled him to the ground (face downwards) and pinned him there, all of them being stationed on him. The vastumandala contains him with his head in the direction north-east, and, with his hands and legs folded. He is now called Vastupurusa.
If he, as also the gods on him are propitiated, the building will be firm and safe.