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Featured Jyotish Andrew Foss, Ph. D.

By Angela Pennington

Andrew Foss, Ph. D.1) You helped start BAVA, what are your thoughts about working internationally (across cultures) with Jyotish?

Jyotish is a global science. The Vedic science has never belonged to any one place, indeed we see traces of it or its influence in every ancient culture. I hope and pray that Jyotishis everywhere will work together to give good guidance to mankind at this time when we face the most difficult transformation of human life in the long history of mankind.

2) As creator of Sri Jyoti Star Vedic Astrology Software, what do you think is important for astrologers to know about astronomy and about the mechanics of chart calculation?

Personally I feel it is vital that a Jyotishi understands what they are doing. It is important to watch the sky and put ourselves in the place of the ancients who derived their knowledge from observation as well as calculation. As far as we can, we should try to grasp the basics of those calculations. Everyone should know how to derive the chart, vargas and dashas from a table of houses and an ephemeris.

3) Having earned your PhD in Computing Science, could you share with us what your doctoral journey meant to you and how it has influenced your role as a Vedic astrologer, practitioner and teacher?

Doing a doctorate is not for everyone but I was blessed by that opportunity. I feel the academic approach has a great value in learning Jyotish. One can easily get misled if one draws conclusions from just a few examples. I hope those with academic research experience will join the group of Jyotish students and practitioners who are working to develop a basis of our knowledge which can enjoy the respect of the academic community. Please contact me if you are interested

4) What role does one's personal spiritual practice play in the work of an astrologer? Do you have to meditate and study the Shastras to be a good astrologer? Do you need a personal Jyotish guru to be successful as an astrologer?

For years I was like most of my friends and colleagues, trying to find my way based on studying the published texts, some knowledge of Sanskrit, years of meditation and sporadic contact and training with Jyotish pandits and other experts. When I finally got a real guru, I can only say I felt quite embarrassed by the extent of my ignorance even if I had had the luck or Grace to make many correct predictions. Until one knows the correct methods, one can't imagine what one does not know. It is a great fortune to join a Jyotish lineage. Such lineages will normally require certain spiritual practices. I do firmly believe that these spiritual practices are essential to fully grasp the knowledge. I have written a short article in this newsletter describing what I have learnt of the traditional training of Jyotishis in India including their spiritual practices.

5) What do you feel is the most important piece of advice you could you offer to folks beginning their journey in Jyotish?

One needs to study one's own chart and humbly try to rectify the weaknesses. Without humility, there is no hope of helping others. In the process, the heart will get cleansed and one's words will gain power. The more power we gain, the more humbleness is needed. If we believe that the rishis are watching what we do in their name, it helps.


Andrew Foss has a PhD in Computing Science and is also an Oxford physics graduate with publications in Nature and other leading scientific journals. He is the author of the book High-Dimensional Data Mining and a forthcoming book on the mantras of the grahas. He enjoys a deep love of music, art and poetry and has more than 30 years experience studying and teaching the Vedic wisdom around the world. He is the Founding President of the British Association of Vedic Astrology, Editor of the BAVA Journal Gochara and is a Certified Jaimini Scholar. He was given the Jyotish Ratna for contributions to Jyotish. He has developed the unique, easy and powerful software Shri Jyoti Star that has become the first choice amongst the leading Vedic Astrologers around the world. Andrew is married and lives with his family in Virginia, USA.

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