Nrsihma Purana describes in detail the conditions of the Kali Yuga age, the current age of the civilization, which started with the departure of Lord Krsna. In this age, Shani has already broken the three legs of the bull Nandi symbolizing dharma, and the bull stands only on one leg, namely artha. Due to this, Vedic knowledge suffers a considerable decay, and a jyotisha being Vedanga or the eye of the Veda, undergoes this process as well. As understood through the yuga cycles, the knowledge of dharma, and moksha is lost first, and that is why jyotish level in Kali yuga is mostly limited to mathematical calculations, and astrology principles. Most of spiritual and higher level of understanding of jyotish is bound to be lost from the eye of the public, and perhaps, some sampradayas have still strength to maintain and preserve its original level. To be able to understand this, I will explain how the jyotish functions. This physical universe consists of three planes or lokas:
1.Earth plane or Bhur loka
2.Solar systems and universe or Bhuva loka
3.Fixed stars, which are very far away, or Svarga loka
Above these three planes there are four spiritual planes which do not have this form of physical existence. Therefore, karma operates on all these levels, and jyotish must be able to understand all these lokas, its creation, the Creator, origin, sustenance and their dissolution. What we see in this yuga is only a birth chart, signs or rasis, naksatras, vargas, dasas etc. Let us scrutinize this more:
1.Rasis are reflection of much higher concepts such as Naksatras, which are very high above, on Svarga loka. This is the level of devatas
2.Rasis belong to bhuva loka, where planets or grahas up to Shani dweepa or orbit are examined. Therefore, what we mosty study is the level of bhur and bhuva loka, and much of the knowledge coming from Naksatras or svarga loka is lost.
Let me rephrase it this way. In jyotish, we can study the whole life, completely independently from the level of naksatras. We can see a marriage, children, profession, and all segments of naksatras only, where graha positions in a bhava will be given a secondary role. In this way, we study higher level of karmas, roots of various karmas, which are otherwise totally invisible, if we use only graha and bhava positions. For a student of jytoish this sounds discouraging, however, even ancient sages used to say that for “drinking this ocean of knowledge”, one has to be like Rishi Agastya (incarnation of Lord Shiva). If we remember the life Adi Shankara, we will understand that he debated all Vedic subjects with other scholars , but did not do so with a jyotish. It is mentioned that he omitted a jyotish having in mind that one needs one life time only to study the major scriptures on the subject. Therefore, keep in mind that astrology, astrological rules and Shastra as a such, is just a small piece of much higher and deeper knowledge, which involves the knowledge of higher lokas, devatas, spiritual sadhanas and mantras, so that “Brahmana having this knowledge will surely cross this ocean of maya” as stated by the greatest among the rishi, Parashara Muni. That is why, before you decide to study the subject, you should make your own mind of what you want. Do you want to study Vedanga Jyotish, or do you want to study scriptural rules? If you wish to study vedanga jyotish, you must go and find a Guru, because jyotish cannot be studied without a Guru. Then you have to follow the rules of Guru-SHishya parampara the way they function for thousands of years. Only under these circumstances, and finding a Guru who can teach you old or Vridha Knowledge of Garga, Parashara and Jaimini, you can come close to the knowledge of Jyotish. If you are not interested in that segment, then you can pursue astrology. Again you have two schools here. One is traditional astrology school based on the model of Varahamihira and its teachings, and another is modern schools, based on mixture of traditional school, modern western astrology, and invention and research of modern astrologers. These methods of studies are not sadhana nor can develop your spiritual path, nor consciousness, nor deeper spiritual segments of Vedas, which is a part of Vedanga Jyotish or old Vedic Astrology. Modern astrology is particularly strange, with no system and many approaches, where a lot of astrologers give their own researches. To be honest, I am neither interested in that, nor can understand the concepts of this modern astrology. Be that as it may, you may adopt whatever you wish, however, the oldest Vedic System of Jyotish (Parashara, Jaimini) is not only the highest spiritual path, but it is the most correct in analyzing horoscopes and giving accurately stunning predictions. I have not seen the modern astrology match a 10% of accuracy in comparison to using the old traditional techniques and methods of Parashara and Jamini.