Jyotish Star of the Month
By Vachaspati Christina Collins
Interview Date: 03/19/2017
|Christina Collins: Thank you for interviewing with the Jyotish Star, you came highly recommended!|
|Adam Smith: My pleasure, thank you.|
Christina: Adam, what brought you to the field of Vedic astrology?
Adam: I was aware of Jyotish early on through Transcendental Meditation (TM), which I have practiced since 1985, but at that time there weren’t many places to study it. If you’re naturally inclined you’ll find your way in whatever is at hand, so I gravitated to Western astrology - even though I’m not Greek or Persian – and this proved to be a good primer. I’m an omnivorous astrologer inasmuch as I still use the outer planets and check clients’ progressions and directions, which are good techniques.
Christina: Yes, I understand, I started out Western sidereal myself. You began your studies and got a degree in Comparative Religion, how has that been of assistance to you in your astrological work?
Adam: I think education doesn’t always happen at school. For practical astrology my degree has been fairly peripheral, though the academic side occasionally comes in handy when I’m teaching. There’s been a movement in the UK to get astrology back in the universities, which is great, but the authorities aren’t ready to accept the craft aspect of it yet.
Christina: I hope we will see that trend change over time. So, Adam do you have other family members in the field?
Adam: Many astrologers are probably black sheep! Some relatives on my dad’s side were early Krishnamurti followers, and I have one cousin who is an astrologer, though there’s no-one in my immediate family.
Christina: like asking that question probably because my grandfather was a sidereal astrologer, though the interest jumped a generation, and I can identify with your “black sheep” comment. Adam, who were your Jyotish teachers along the way?
Adam: I started studying astrology at a local London evening class in 1990, and once I had the basics down pretty much taught myself. In around 1998 two Indian Jyotish pandits came to my local TM centre, and that lecture made a big impression on me. I was inspired to read further, starting with James Braha’s book, Ancient Hindu Astrologer for the Western Astrologer then Komilla Sutton’s introduction to Jyotish (Komilla started BAVA in the UK) and de Fouw & Svoboda’s Light on Life (excellent), and some BV Raman. This was long before I read Parashara or any of the classics.
|I didn’t have a proper teacher until 2009 when I had the great fortune to meet Pandit Lakshmi Shankar Shukla, a highly experienced Jyotish acharya based in Varanasi, India. This coincided with a breakthrough in my meditation practice and I was ready for a change of direction. I now work with Pt. Shukla on our website to offer consultations, teaching and traditional yagyas and services.|
Christina: What spiritual path or teaching do you follow? Is there some special teacher or books that influenced you?
Adam: Vedic philosophy can’t be understood without experience of transcendence. For several years I have done a fairly intensive meditation routine - for a city-living Westerner anyway – and by 2009 some of the promise we are given when we learn TM started to be fulfilled. I was also growing increasingly jaded with Western astrology by this time, and Jyotish impressed me to the point where I felt I couldn’t call myself an astrologer and not know it better. So it was a full-circle experience where my yoga and astrology came together.
From working with Pt. Shukla, I have also learnt a lot about devotional mantra chanting, which treats the planets as living entities to be pleased and pacified. Pandit ji encourages me to read and study as much as possible, and in conjunction with meditation, to rely on my own experience, which is the way through the sometimes-conflicting testimonies found in Jyotish from different rishis.
Christina: You are so blessed to have an ongoing personal teacher. So, tell us, what is your attitude towards upayes, or planetary remedies?
Adam: When I was in India, I was asked by one pandit, “What do Western astrologers use to remove obstacles?”, and I didn’t really know how to answer. The point of astrology is to ‘remove the dangers that have not yet arisen’, and upayes are essential if astrology wants to live up to the implications of what it predicts. Altogether they make the knowledge a closed loop, otherwise it’s just diagnosis without remedy. Millions of people are doing yoga now, which is mostly just a keep-fit thing, but I expect the lifestyle aspects of the yogic path soon to become better-known, which includes Jyotish, gemstone prescription and yagya performance. This is really the place where astrology belongs
Christina: What is it in your own chart that would indicate you would not only follow the path of astrology but also become so famous and well known doing it?
Adam: I’ve done okay, but my chart doesn’t really scream ‘fame’. You need a lot of luck, and if you’re truly determined to do something like astrology, you can surprise yourself. I have an adequate-strength Mercury as lagna lord, an angular Saturn, plus my dashamasa lord Mars is also exalted in my 8th house, which gives a certain amount of support to metaphysical studies.
Christina: You also wrote for many prestigious publications worldwide, correct?
Adam: I edited a few specialist journals and wrote weekly and monthly columns and articles, which altogether kept me employed for about twelve years. I also gave talks and consultations during this time, and wrote a book - Saturn’s maha dasha can be very rewarding, but you earn it. The best thing about being a journalist was the time it allowed me to meditate! Writing gigs used to be a staple for working astrologers, but we have to rely on our own resources more today, which ultimately is a good thing if it means astrologers becoming more creative and defining their own niche.
Christina: What advice would you give aspiring students who want to learn Vedic astrology?
Adam: First off, I do recommend people learn it. Western astrologers I have taught, especially those who actually work with clients, realize straightaway that Jyotish adds another dimension. Western astrology, for example, tells you if somebody will become an artist, whereas Jyotish tells you if they will become a successful artist. This is crucial. There is this fated stereotype to Vedic astrology, but it’s a technical rather than a philosophical or cultural issue. Dashas and yogas give a fuller and more textured picture of where we are at any point in life than we get from just reading intermittent planetary transits. And despite its cultural baggage, Jyotish insights into human nature are universal.
On one level practice makes perfect; you study the classics, draw charts and soon become very learned. But those very predictive layers make demands on the astrologer’s discretion. Jyotish is a virtual 50-50 split between technique and intuition, so learning your slokas needs to rest on a strong spiritual practice.
Christina: Yes, such good advice. We know you wrote your first book, Saturn, Fatal Attraction, published in 2007. Are you planning another book any time soon?
Adam: Probably. In astrology your ideas evolve, and ten years is a long time between books. Publishing has also changed and writers have more options now. So whether I produce something in print, an eBook or a series of podcasts, there will be material coming out before long.
Christina: Excellent! Will you be teaching any classes, or online webinars that people could attend?
Adam: Yes, with Pt. Shukla we are offering both Jyotish and Vedic mantra chanting classes that will be available online and in person in the UK and elsewhere. Skype classes will start in April 2017, and everyone, of all levels of knowledge and experience is welcome, with guidelines on practice and pronunciation from a master. It will be possible through these classes to learn all aspects of Vedic knowledge, in theory and in practice. Go to our website and subscribe for details! www.astrovedas.com
Christina: Thank you so much for meeting with us, I am sure our readers will enjoy your interview!
Adam: Thanks very much for inviting me.
|Adam Smith Biography:|
Adam Smith is a London-based Jyotish astrologer with a background in yoga meditation. He has studied both Western and Vedic astrology for over 25 years and is available for consultations and teaching, in person, by phone and via Skype. His website also offers live yagyas and traditional services through Vedic pandits based in Varanasi, India.
Phone: 650-851-2431 Adam can be reached at www.astrovedas.com
|Christina Collins Biography:|
Sanskrit, Vac = speech and Brihaspati is a name of Jupiter the planet of wisdom and truth. Her most recent honor from India, the Jyotish Medha Pragya title, means that consciousness has merged with Jyotish.
|Christina Collins, Jyotish Visharada, CVA, Jyotish Kovid, ICAS and CVA, Jyotish Vachaspati, ICAS, Jyotish Medha Pragya, ICAS and Jyotish Mahasagara from Raman and Rajeshwari Foundation 2013, is a third generation Astrologer specializing in the Vedic system. She received her honorary titles from the late Dr. B.V. Raman, former President of the ICAS (Indian Council for Astrological Sciences) in New Delhi and Bangalore, India, from CVA (Council for Vedic Astrology, USA), from the ICAS in Bangalore, from the Raman and Rajeshwari Foundation in 2013 and the Jyotish Navaratna from ACVA (American College for Vedic Astrology) in 2014.|
From1997 to 2012, she was the first and sole American woman to be honored by the highly held title of Jyotish Vachaspati (Jyotish - the light bearer and Vachaspati - the one who speaks the truth and whose predictions come true. (In
As a founding member, she currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American College of Vedic Astrology (ACVA online), and was former Editor of the ACVA News. President of Celestial Resource (The Timing Coach) she serves corporate and private clients from students to celebrities. For the Jyotish Star you can reach her in Boulder CO at firstname.lastname@example.org, and for consultations: email@example.com:
Christina's Consultation Contact information:
Christina Collins, J.K., J.V.
Editor in Chief The Jyotish Star
Lafayette, (Boulder County) CO, USA
web site: http://www.christinacollinsastrology.com
See my interview on YouTube by Lissa Coffey
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