20 Dec Review – Ayurvedic Astrology: History and Insights from the Ancient Vedic Periods to the Modern Day
Durgadas (Rodney Lingham)
Review: Gwendolyn Taunton
This is an intriguing gem of a book which is suitable for anyone interested in its signature topics; Ayurveda and Astrology. A fascinating aspect for prospective readers is the fact that unlike many books on Ayurvedic material, this is not a ‘New Age’ book written for hippies by fake gurus – it is a book which deals with the subjects from a traditional perspective. It is also important for readers who have a broader interest in topics relating to Hinduism because astrology has a huge overlap with a number of other areas of Hindu esotericism. That being said, having read both Western and Indian texts on astrology, despite them both being based on the same astrological phenomenon, the Indian system (Jyotiṣa) is significantly more complex because of the way in which natal charts are calculated. Both systems clearly have the same basis and much in common, but Jyotiṣa adds a few extra dimensions which aren’t found in Western astrology. Furthermore, a basic knowledge of Jyotiṣa is also necessary for an understanding of Hinduism, as many rituals and texts have an astronomical or astrological perspective.
This book is a good solid primer for people who wish to explore these areas without having to wade through New Age material, and those who already have an understanding of health and astrology from a Western perspective will be quick to note the similarities and differences betwixt the two.
The book covers topics such as the Eight Limbs or divisions of Ayurveda, Tridoshas (Three Humours), the Guṇas, the integration of spiritual aspects with the material/biological, and other aspects of health. The book also highlights how astrology is connected with astronomy and the Rig Veda.
One particularly pleasant surprise was a section on the Mahavidya (Aspects of the Devī mentioned in Śākta Tantrism and how this is integrated with Ayurveda and astrological factors. Some seed (Bīja) mantras are also included for those who have a bit more advanced knowledge.
Recommended for people who are familiar with alternative medicine or astrology in the West, and who wish to further their knowledge by exploring these topics in the Hindu context, or people who are interested in how these are integrated within Śākta Tantrism.