Astrology, an empirical science, is conditioned by astronomical calculations. Music, a fine art, is qualified by the imposition of rhythmic limitations. Each science has an inherent artistic or aesthetic element and every art has a scientific or mathematical base. Arts and sciences are mutually complementary. Where do astrology and music interface?

Earthly occurrences are predicted by planetary movements. Observation of movements of terrestrial luminaries and their effects on the cosmos is Jyotisha or astrology. The cosmos comprises combinations of basic natural elements. Music is sound-based and rhythm oriented. Sound  emanates from a fusion of two elements - wind and heat. The common factor between astrology and music is that they trace their origins to the basic elements.

Rhythm is the superimposition-cum-measurement medium of sound. Ancient texts say that the rhythmic element in music can lead to self-realization and liberation - "Talagnyascha prayaasena moksha maargamniyacchati". Sound is cosmos-oriented and rhythm time-based. Astrology and music also interface in the measurement of time.

The Vedic concept of supra-earthly atmosphere is seen in the concept of "bhoor-bhuva-suvaha", which we call biosphere, ionosphere and stratosphere. Carnatic music is constructed on a three-octave range - mandra (lower), madhya (medium) and tara (upper). Anything beyond the tara-range is called atitara and anything below mandra is called anu-mandra, duly reflective of terms like ultra and infra. The three-tier structure is another common feature.

The Krishna Yajur-Veda has dwelled at length on time-division - from Samvatsara (year) to maasa (month), paksha (fortnight), dina (day), gati and vigati. Indian classical music also has a similar feature on time-division, based on aksharas or fractions thereof.

Astrology charters ethereal regions into twelve zodiac signs. Carnatic music has also twelve swaras (notes). The sun and the moon always move at a constant speed, untarnished by acceleration and deceleration. Hence, their zodiac signs denote steadfast levels. Similarly, only two swaras, Shadja and Panchama, are at constant sruti levels. Recent research has identified the signs of Simha (Leo) and Kataka (Cancer) to represent Shadja and Panchama respectively. The remaining ten zodiac signs are assigned to five planets - two houses each.

Similarly, the remaining ten swaras are classified in five groups of two each. These swaras are identified with zodiac signs by what is known as the Savya - Apasavya method. The findings are as follows:

Kanya Rasi (Virgo) symbolizes Suddha Rishabha
Tula (Libra), Chatusruti Rishabha
Vrischika (Scorpio), Sadharana Gandhara
Dhanus (Sagittarius), Antara Gandhara
Mithuna (Gemini), Kakali Nishada
Vrishaba (Taurus), Kaisika Nishada
Mesha (Aries), Chatusruti Daivata
Meena (Pisces), Suddha Daivata
The Saturnine signs of Makara (Capricorn) and Kumbha (Aquarius) stand respectively for Suddha Madhyama and Prati Madhyama, duly accentuating the dual nature of Saturn.

We discern, from the above-stated linkage of swaras and rasis (zodiac signs), that five planets with Vikruta-gati (varying speeds) get two swaras each, one of which is dominant and the other docile.

Kuja (Mars) Sadharana Gandhara, Chatusruti Daivata 
Budha (Mercury) Suddha Rishabha, Kakali Nishada 
Guru (Jupiter) Antara Gandhara, Suddha Daivata 
Sukra (Venus) Chatusruti Rishabha, Kaisika Nishada 
Sani (Saturn) Suddha Madhyama and Prati Madhyama 

This grouping satisfies several criteria of Samvaditva, Anuvaditva and Vivaditva, though a few criteria are not conformed to. Research is in progress.

The next step, axiomatic corollary, will be the astrological portrayal of  Ragas. The jeeva swara represents the eighth house, the raga-chhaya swaras, the 5th and the 9th houses, the nyasa swara, 11th or 12th house. The graha swara is the indicator of the laghna. Each raga can be cast as a horoscope.

Dikshitar’s kritis have references to several astrological details like Swakshetra, Uccha, Mitratva, Shatrutva and so on. The composition in raga Paras, Srisukra, makes copious references to astrological calculations of Amsas and their results

If the faithful and cognoscenti prescribe rendition of the kritis on the planets as a palliative, it evidently, is a substitute for Vedic or mantric recitation. Many have vouched for the efficacy of rendition of the kriti "Divakara Tanujam" in Yadukulakambhoji.

The extent of cognizance of the inter-relation of astrology and music, currently, is limited. It is a matter of gratification that there is some on-going research on this subject, albeit to a limited extent. Perhaps, generations to come will know much more than what has been revealed to us.

Dr. V V Srivatsa

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