A summary of the East Coast Conference
One part of studying Vedic astrology is knowing how to network in the current
Vedic Astrology circles which are forming at a rapid pace around the country.
This article will focus on this topic using the just finished conference on
the East Coast as an example. Roughly 70 attendees were present to hear 4
main teachers, all of whom were Indians.
Held June 7-14th, 1995, at the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam Ashram
The conference was organized mainly by Rakesh Sharma and Beth Field. Ads
were placed in various periodicals such as Hinduism Today and the Mountain
Astrologer. This conference, unlike it's predecessors held primarily on the
West Coast, was held at a place which supported the "Vedic" theme- namely, a
temple/ashram compound under the direction of Dayananda Swami, an Indian
monk. His various students and associates run the complex, which has a range
of cabins, meeting and dining halls, a large temple room, regular worship
ceremonies, etc. Everyone had a pleasant stay in the well kept compound
which resembles a country retreat or resort.
A number of qualified teachers gave classes, including Chakrapani Ullal, K.N.
Rao, Nandan Churmulay, and Dr. Charak. Except for Nandan Churmulay, the
other teachers are well known to attendees of previous conferences.
Classes were given in different rooms on different subjects. Nandan
Churmulay taught techniques on how to rectify charts. Dr. Charak taught
basics and "Varshaphal" which means "annual horoscopy" or "solar return"
techniques. Chakrapani Ullal taught about human behavior and the planets,
and Mr. Rao gave the dominant courses, the main one of which covered Jaimini
Astrology, which is an important sub-branch of Vedic astrology.
There was a special atmosphere at this conference. After a few days,
everyone seemed to be very happy. Perhaps it was the spiritualized
atmosphere. The temple has a few South Indian priests performing the very
authentic South Indian style Siva worship daily in the temple room. Perhaps
seeing the priests in their traditional dress and chanting of Sanskrit
mantras transported the attendees to a higher place. All in all, there was a
very nice mood amongst one and all it seemed.
As usual, everyone made new friends and got together with old friends. There
is somewhat of a regular crowd of us who attend all the main conferences, and
we're always happy to see each other once again, catch up on our life
stories, share new insights, teach each other what we've learned, and have a
Four vendors were present at this conference. One was the temple book store,
which stocks and was selling Vedic astrology books, mostly from India. The
other three vendors were the three main Vedic astrology programs sold in the
West, which includes myself showing my Goravani Jyotish program for Mac and
Windows, and the creators of Parasara's Light and Visual Jyotish were also
demonstrating and selling their Vedic Astrology software programs on various
computer platforms such as Mac, Windows and DOS. The vendors who normally
show at the larger West Coast conferences were absent including the other
booksellers, gem sellers, and so on. Their presence was missed by many.
These conferences are an excellent way to learn Vedic astrology in more
detail and in more reality because of the presence of such a diversity of
experience. On the one hand you have the teachers, but on the other hand you
have a number of practicing Vedic astrologers who live in and deal with
Western clients daily. Their experiences are invaluable to a student
considering this profession. Most of the attendees are Western astrologers
or students of Western astrology who are adding to their knowledge or even
fully converting over to Vedic astrology. The smaller group are those who
have only studied Vedic astrology.
To attend these conferences usually costs at least $1,000 and sometimes as
much as $1,500. There is your airfare or travel expenses, then the cost of
the conference itself, then the cost of accommodations to house and feed your
body while it's there. Most conferences cost around $300 to $500 for the
tuition, and accommodations for the 4 to 7 days they normally run can range
from $300 to $600 dollars, depending on the hotel or other location's fees,
and then your travel entirely depends on where you live verse where it's
held. In any case, it's a good idea to watch the trade journals for the
earliest ads for these conferences, then plan ahead so that you can afford
In any case, there's no question about their value. If you are serious about
astrology, you really must attend at least one convention per year in order
to feed the growth of your knowledge. You will undoubtedly meet and learn
many interesting things.
Next subject: Books. There are a number of sellers of books on Vedic
astrology. My favorite is JDR Ventures of Ohio. If you call them, tell 'em
I sent you. I don't get anything out of it except maybe a hug next time I
see Deepak, the owner. In any case, here's their address:
If you have not a clue as to which books to get, here's some clues. To start
with, if you new to all of this, either because you've always done Western,
or you're just new completely, either way you could start with a few of the
books aimed at beginners, such as David Frawleys "Astrology of the Seers", or
James Brahas "Ancient Astrology for the Modern Western Astrologer", or "Learn
Astrology the Easy Way", by GS Kapoor.
918 Douglas Dr.
Wooster, OH 44691
Then, if you're ready for deeper study, try the cornerstone classic of the
entire Vedic system, "Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra", a 5,000 year old classic
which is available in a very nicely translated English version (2 volumes).
The books by Sumeet Chugh and KN Rao are well written and understandable.
They are the new trend setters in modern Vedic teaching. The classics
Jataka Tattva and Phala Dipika are also very good.
Normally, most of us end up spending $500 to $1,000 on books- those of us
that are totally and utterly into this pursuit. We want them all- one of
each. I have about 60 books now myself- a mix of classics and modern works.
Another good vendor whose catalog you might want because it contains not only
astrology books but many other items from India which are very useful and aid
in your spiritual practice (ask for their catalog):
They also have the complete works of Bhaktivedanta Swami. For example, you
can get the Bhagavat Purana from them, which is the cornerstone classic of
Vedic spiritual truths, which really form the basis of all Vedic sciences. I
highly suggest you read it in conjunction with all other aspects of your life
so that you can gradually develop a really strong spirituality (a process
that takes years at least).
P.O. Box 12380
Philadelphia PA 19119
So, in conclusion, it is in reading books, using a computer program or
manually constructing charts of yourself and friends, or getting printouts of
charts AND READINGS from somewhere, and by attending conferences or classes-
by all of these methods most of us who are serious about developing our
astrological knowledge and abilities are moving forward. The amount of
discussion you can have on the Internet and other email systems, and even by
voice phone calls, cannot ever compare to that which you get at conferences.
Hour long meals together with 10 strong astrological minds around you take
place at least twice a day at these conferences. What to speak of the
hallway chats, classroom lectures, and so on.
However, there are some, such as myself to be honest, who can learn
everything, or nearly everything, from books. Others need a more social and
hands on approach with teachers and fellow students around.
In the end, it is the Supreme Lord, or Supreme Divinity controlling both the
granting and removal of all our abilities who decides what we will and will
not be able to accomplish in this life. Therefore, in the end, we have to
take seriously our prayer life, our life of "sadhana" or spiritual practice.
If we are not consciously asking the planets and their Lord to grant us
entrance into the realm of real knowledge and truth, we probably won't get
it. This is actually a great subject, not to be actually covered in a quick
paragraph here. In the next lesson I will talk about one amazing astrologer
who was present at the last conference. Hearing about him and his abilities
will shed a vast amount of light on the importance of connecting with the
May your days be filled with the happiness created by remembering your
eternal position and may you have only divinely connected thoughts in all