Thursday, July 30, 2009

#23. My Dalliance with Astrology- Why I gave up

My Dalliance with Astrology
1. If you ask me whether I believe in astrology, I would not be able to give a clear reply. I will probably hem and haw, and say that astrology is certainly not a science, and that the art of astrology needs a lot of practice and intuition. And patience. Also there are many more fake astrologers than the genuine, and those who are genuine do not trumpet their knowledge. I have heard strange stories of predictions coming out true years after at the time when it was predicted to happen. Simultaneously I was also told of the devastation the Jatak forebore in the intervening years. I frankly don’t know whether it is a good idea to know about your future, especially when the astrologers take sadistic delight to mention the bad things in future as read by them and not mention or make only a passing reference to the happy events and time that are also slated.
2. It was in 1987 that I thought that I should know something of Hindu astrology, and I went about it in a serious way. I purchased scores of books from the shops and those that were not available there I ordered by post. Courier was a thing of the future, and so were e-mails, multi-city cheques and online payment, so one had to be patient after ordering the books. Things are easy now when you can order books on line and make payment also that way. Some on-line booksellers give delivery within 3 working days.
3. To come back to the main story, I started reading the books, and spent most of my working hours with them. I don’t remember how I got this free time to stay at home. Probably I had taken leave or it was the fag-end of a medical leave for a road accident I suffered.
4. I learnt how to draw a horoscope with the help of birth data and Lahiri’s book of charts. This thing also has become easy now as there are any number of softwares available on the net by which you can draw anybody’s horoscope and take a print-out of that. Gradually I reached a point where I coud venture some predictions. I do not remember but my sister-in-law says that I correctly predicted that she would be married to an air force officer. I might have made several other predictions about others also, but I always hesitated in telling the truth when it came to bad things in the horoscope. My reasoning was this: astrology is an inexact science, I am not a professional,and so the chances of a prediction being incorrect is significant, and therefore, it is not advisable to be forthright about bad things in life. So I saw horoscope very selectively and tried to tell the Jataka bad things in as roundabout fashion as I could. The last straw on camel’s back was in Mumbai. My wife told a few of her friends about my being able to read horoscopes, and I suddenly got a number of horoscopes for viewing, mostly of unmarried girls or of married ladies who were not pulling on well with their spouses.
5. One friend of my wife was keen to know as to when her daughter would be married. I saw the horoscope and (correctly) predicted that she should be married latest by November next, and told my wife accordingly. I don’t know what my wife heard, but she seems to have told her friend that the her daughter would not be married by November next.. As it happened, she got married a few months later, and after that the mother stopped talking to my wife. My wife told me about it, and I replied that she had asked for it.
6. Another of my friends wanted to know something about the future of his daughter who was not pulling on well with her husband’s relatives. I saw her horoscope, found nothing wrong in it, and told my friend accordingly. To my surprise, instead of being relieved, he was not very happy to hear this. This must have come from previous encounters with astrologers who tell bad things and then try to extract money for some puja purportedly performed to pacify the malefic grahas.
7. My wife once brought the chart of a young unmarried girl. What I could read was nothing happy, and told my wife that I will have to study the chart further to arrive at some definite conclusion. After a few days when she asked again, I told her that presently what I could read was not very happy, and I needed to confirm it before telling it to the parents. I procrastinated once more, and in disgust she took back the horoscope.
8. Another incident was about a rich lady. I saw her horoscope and thought that some bad traits in her personality which I was seeing should be told to her personally. So I rang her up and started telling her what I had to. After hearing me for some time she rudely asked me that she would ring up after some time. Needless to sayshe never called back. I felt thoroughly humiliated.
9. A good friend of mine who is a chartered accountant once told me that some astrologer had told him that his son has Kala Sarpa Yog (KSY), and requested me to check up. Just a short background. KSY is not mentioned in classical Hindu Astrological treatises, and it has probably come from the tantrics. Second, two types of KSY are distinguished. One, Anuloma where all the planets move towards Rahu. This type is less likely to give trouble than the other, and Second, viloma where all planets move towards Ketu which can give prosperity but will give trouble side by side.
10. The other important point to note is that the Yoga is formed even if there are planets in the same house with Rahu or Ketu or both, so long as these planets are within the nodal axis by degree position. (The two paras above are based on ‘Light on Life, an Introduction to the Astrology of India’ by Defouw and Svoboda).
11. I found that the KSY in the chart of my good friend’s son is of the Anuloma type and therefore, not harmful. I told him so, and also told him that the erlier astrologer was either mistaken in the details, or he deliberately created a scare when it was not there. Similar thing happened very recently. My sister-in-law is very fond of going to astrologers, and she had obtained from my wife the birth details of my entire family. Place, date and time suffice to make a horoscope on the computer. She also has the habit of immediately passing on any bad news to her sister. One afternoon she informed my wife that my son has KSY, and it needs some remedy, in other words, elaborate puja costing a few thousand rupees. I had never seen my son’s horoscope carefully, at least for the presence of KSY. Prima facie it appeared that the astrologer from Allahabad was correct. Then I checked more thoroughly, took a print-out of the horoscope myself, and discovered that both Rahu and Ketu were not alone in their houses, but had the company of one graha each. When I checked the degrees of all four, I found that the two grahas conjoint with Rahu and Ketu are well outside the nodal axis by degree positions. Therefore, no KSY.
12. Then there is Kuja (Manga/Mars) Dosh. Considered bad for the girl, and it is said that she should marry a mangalik boy only. The real problem is that in a girl’s chart, Kuja dosh exists if Mars is in any of the 7 houses out of 12. To me, this looks absurd. Of course, there are ifs and buts, but I do not believe that God is so unkind as to make the odds for a girl being Mangali more than 50%.
13. To that friend of mine whose son was or was not having KSY, I once told of some minor blemish either in his or his son’s chart. His prompt query was:’What is the remedy then?’ Meaning what puja or other rituals could be performed to mitigate the malefic effect of the graha. I flatly told him that I had not studied that branch of astrology. That also made clear to me what other astrologers generally do.
14. This leads to the larger question of the utility of astrology to the Jataka. If something is going to happen to a person, and that is what astrology has indicated, then he should probably be equipped by the same ‘’science’ to deal with it. The solutions suggested by Jyotish are vey routine and basic, like offering oil and other indicated things to some tree, or some mantra chanted everyday for a number of weeks or months. But are they enough to avert or mitigate the effects of of the crisis? One colleague of mine dabbled in astrology and died a premature death of cardiac arrest. I don’t think he had any inkling of the impending death. A couple of years before, he had made a switch from the government to a pubic sector undertaking (PSU). Had he known of this important event, he probably would have stuck to the government.
15. And so Sri Anand K. decided to say good-bye to astrology, horoscopes, grahas and houses. Unfortunately, practising astrology is not like cycling or swimming that you remember throughout your life. If astrology is not practised for a long time, you tend to forget even the basics.


Chaullee Chaulker said...

enjoyed ur reading.
you being an ex IAS officer, i was keen to learn more about you, your writing style etc..,
and then i tumbled on your astrology article...
a thought came ..why nt show my son's horoscope to you to know if he cd be an IAS officer which he is interested in..
and then the final climax in which i am at the moment, of whether, you would be keen to go through his horoscope ?

Anand Kumar Bhatt said...

Thank you Mr. Chaulker for showing so much trust in me. As I mentioned in the blog, astrology is not something which you remember for life like swimming or cycling. As I have given it up for years, I dont know whether I will be able to do justice to it, or whether I am the right person for this job. good luck to your son for a bright career. My only caution is that after the reservation was increased, the no. of posts available to general candidates in the civil services has gone down substantially.