You are on page 1of 4

Interview K. N.

Rao March 2013 by Juliana Swanson | Jyotish Star of the Month


Home | Vedic Venue | eMagazine | Current | FAQs | Contact Us | Links

Jyotish Star of the Month

A Conversation with Kotamraju Narayana Rao
By Juliana Swanson
Interview Date: February 14th 2013

Juliana Swanson: Welcome, Rao-ji, and thank you so much for granting
this interview and taking the time to talk with me. Can you start by telling how and when astrology entered your life?

K. N. Rao: I was initiated into astrology by my late mother, K. Saraswani

Devi, at the age of twelve in 1943. To this day, I regard her as the best astrologer I have known in the area of 1) marriage and children and 2) prashna.

Juliana: Have you been an astrologer since that young age? K. N. Rao: I am not a professional astrologer in the sense that I have
never earned a living from doing astrological consultations. When I travel abroad, many consultations are arranged by the organizers who charge money to cover my expenses, but in India, I accept no fees.

Juliana: Well then, when did you first begin consulting as an astrologer? K. N. Rao: I did begin to see some horoscopes of friends around the age of
seventeen and eighteen. I predicted for them sometimes, and sometimes kept my readings to myself and watched events. My friends and those known to them started coming to consult me more regularly after I joined government service. In the evening hours, they would spend some time to consult with me. For more than fifty years now, it has been so.

Juliana: Didnt you have a career in the government as well? K. N. Rao: I had a long 33-year career in the government, having competed in
the all-India competitive examination in 1955, competing along with twentythousand others all over India, after which I was selected for the Indian Audit and Accounts Service from where I retired as Director General in 1990.

Juliana: That is a remarkable accomplishment! In addition, I understand that you were a chess and
bridge champion and played many other strategy games as well.

K. N. Rao: Thank you, and yes, I was a chess player and twice won brilliancy prizes for beating Indiaranked players but never won a single championship and then later, I lost my matches to very ordinary players. In chess, I could never perform with consistent brilliance as I was busy preparing for all-India competitive examination. Later, after joining government service, I formed my own bridge team and won UP [Uttara Pradesh] and Delhi state championships. But I could not continue as I was transferred to other stations. I was asked to join a famous national team of Bombay in 1967 but by that time, I had given up most of the games. I played many games in addition to bridge and chess, including cricket, hockey, football, table tennis, billiards, and snooker. I also did ice skating and mountain climbing.

Juliana: That is yet another remarkable set of interests and accomplishments! What is it in your
janma kundali that indicates such a predilection and obvious strategic mindset along with athletic skill? This must also tie into your gifts in astrology.

K. N. Rao: In any horoscope when the third lord gets connected with the tenth house, what one 1/4

Interview K. N. Rao March 2013 by Juliana Swanson | Jyotish Star of the Month


pursues as a hobby generally gives him opportunities to distinguish himself. In my case it became multifarious. First it was journalism, then 12 indoor and outdoor games, and finally astrology and book writing. My third lord, Jupiter, is exalted in the tenth house, and the fifth lord Saturn is in the third house. This combination has given me distinction, fame, and name in fields outside my profession in government service.

Juliana: I read somewhere that the strain of doing astrology as a mission, not charging any fee,
almost made you give up astrology many times, but after you attended a conference in 1981 you broke out of your shell and began sharing your research with the world. Please explain.

K. N. Rao: The truth is that in India, some astrologers have created the impression that astrologers
are capable of changing fate, which is a big fraud. People who trusted me, consulted with me, and took guidance from me expected me to offer remedies to change their fate. This irritated me as I never wanted or want even now to play God. Astrologers are ordinary human beings who cannot change anyones fate. But the over emphasis on remedies resorted to by many fraudulent astrologers has created the impression that astrologers know the tricks of changing fate. It created so much disgust in me that I tried to give up astrology at least thrice. But three great saints told me not to give up astrology, and each gave a different reason at different times in my life.

Juliana: Please go on. K. N. Rao: First, my Jyotish guru Bhaskaranandji told me that I would teach
and spread the knowledge of astrology both in India and abroad, and because of this he said I should not give up astrology.

Juliana: And the second time? K. N. Rao: My spiritual guru, Swami Paramanand Saraswati, told me that
through astrology I would benefit spiritually myself doing my sadhana and persuading others to do Vishnu Sahastranaama, the Gita, going on pilgrimages, etc. That continues even now when we have our group of people doing it regularly and going on pilgrimages .

Juliana: And the third? K. N. Rao: In 1980, a great saint came into my life, named Moorkhanandji
(actual name Vidyaranya). He told me that I would build the worlds largest institute of astrology and would become instrumental in teaching astrology and in this way, become an architect of an astrological renaissance.

Juliana: And did Moorkhanandjis prediction come true? K. N. Rao: The Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan in New Delhi, of which I am an
advisor and founding member, has become the worlds largest institute of astrology with more than twelve hundred students and thirty one teachers.

Juliana: Most clearly then, all three predictions of these three great saints have been fulfilled. K. N. Rao: That is what I can say. Juliana: I have heard that you have in your possession more than 50,000 horoscopes with notes on
ten important life events for each one, and apparently this is the largest data collection of any astrologer in the world. Is this true?

K. N. Rao: Yes it is true. However, during my transfers from station to station in my government career
and then later because of drenching rains, some of my records were lost or damaged and thus became irretrievable, so many of those horoscopes are lost now.

Juliana: Have you ever thought of having these records put into a computer database and sharing it
with the world?

K. N. Rao: Whatever I have, I share with my students regularly in my classes in India and abroad in the
US, Russia and Japan and of course in our regular weekend classes in the Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan. Some students have offered to computerize all these. It may happen soon, God willing.

Juliana: Besides doing all your research and delving into the mysteries of life through Jyotish, what is
your favorite aspect of being an astrologer?

K. N. Rao: Let me tell you that I am perhaps the only living astrologer in India who has lived and
interacted with astrologers in all Indian provinces except in Goa and Kashmir. As a result, I know of, 2/4

Interview K. N. Rao March 2013 by Juliana Swanson | Jyotish Star of the Month


have seen, and am familiar with the vast range of techniques and various methods of astrologers of India. I tried some of them, some partly, some fully, and encourage my students to do research in them to shape them into effective astrological techniques of prediction. For example you can see K. K. Joshis Kota Chakra, Shalini Dhasmanas Pataki Rista Chakra, Akhila Kumars Jaimini Sthira Dasha, etc. It is a continuing process and we have some students who have been doing it. There is a limitation in all these as they have their jobs and families to look after first, and only then they can squeeze out some time for astrology. Yet, even with all these limitations, we can say that our progress is very good.

Juliana: Who are your greatest spiritual mentors and how have they influenced your work as a

K. N. Rao: My mantra guru Swami Paramananda Saraswati and my mother

taught me the need to be helpful in predictions with an emphasis on spiritual life and spiritual remedies, not the costly and fraudulent ones which some astrologers prescribe in order to grow rich. My Jyotish guru asked me to see the direction life will take and see the entire horoscope keeping that in the mind. In response to a very wide variety of individuals who have consulted me, from famous politicians and bureaucrats to ordinary householders, I have evolved my own approach.

Juliana: Do you see much difference between the needs of your clients and
students from the East versus those from the West?

K. N. Rao: People who come from the West ask mostly about their own personal problems and not
much about their parents and siblings. Indians are difficult in this matter as they have a whole range of questions which sometimes demand greater concentration on various divisional horoscopes. Their concerns are not only for themselves but also parents, spouses, children and siblings.

Juliana: What are some more of the challenges you have faced? K. N. Rao: As an astrologer, writer, organizer and advocate of astrology, it has been an unending
story of challenges since 1982 to the present. Let me narrate them briefly as it would take a full book to write about it.

1. In 1982 after the great success of an astrology seminar which was the first one in which I ever
participated, there was terrible attack on astrology in some English newspapers by journalists as well as Indian scientists who ape western scientists, so-called rationalists. Dr. B. V. Raman wrote to me to ask me to help defend astrology, and in turn I wrote to him suggesting that articles be published on astrological predictions with evidence given for public figures. No one came forward and I had to do it myself with a series in the Astrological Magazine. This series continued for two years, month after month. Some of these are compiled in my book Ups and Downs in a Career. It had the desired effect, but those who were coming to consult with me stopped coming for at least six months, after which some of them came back but requested that I not mention their names. I agreed on the condition that they would never speak out against astrology. That continued and we arrived at something like a truce. It is a long story.

2. A bigger challenge was to organize an institution of astrology in which teaching was to be done in
modern university style where students were not to learn anything by rote. As mentioned, this undertaking began at Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan in 1987 July, and to date it is flourishing with more than twelve hundred students and thirty one teachers.

3. As astrologers making predictions, we face many unending challenges. In June 1984, I told the late
[Indian politician] Raja Dinesh Singh that Indira Gandhi, the prime minister, would not live to celebrate her birthday on 19 November that year. He asked me to predict the time and date of her fatal end. I gave him the time as between 28 October and 4 November that year. Indira Gandhi was shot dead on 31 October, and this became my most famous prediction. Raja Dinesh Singh referred to it later in a speech he gave at one of our astrological functions. Like all astrologers, I have had my share of such challenges and continue to have them even now.

4. In the year 2000, astrology was introduced as a topic of study in the Indian universities, though in
Sanskrit universities it has always been taught. This move to teach astrology in the Indian universities was opposed by some rationalists who filed cases in courts of law. Some of these reached the highest court of India, the Supreme Court, where I intervened as a petitioner. I was the only astrologer fighting this greatest battle for astrology. Other astrologers stayed out of the fight totally. I defended the case for astrology on 4 November 2003 and the judgment came out, with me winning it, in May 2004. It is the greatest triumph to date in my astrological career.

Juliana: Rao-ji, thank you so much for illuminating us with the wisdom of your great experience. It has
truly been an honor and privilege to share this exchange with you.


Interview K. N. Rao March 2013 by Juliana Swanson | Jyotish Star of the Month


K. N. Rao's Biography
Kotamraju Narayana (K. N.) Rao is the second of four sons of the famous journalist of the pre-independence era, K. Rama Rao, the founder-editor of the National Herald and editor of more than thirty journals in his illustrious journalistic career. Rao was initiated into astrology by his late mother, K. Saraswani Devi, at the age of twelve in 1943. He regards her as the best astrologer he has known in two areas, (1) marriage and children and (2) prashna (horary). His interactions with foreigners have been both on professional and astrological levels for more than two decades, which explains why he has such a large international network of friends. Rao continued his fundamental research in astrology during his service career, during which time he systematically collected thousands of horoscopes. Between 1993 and 1995, Rao visited the US on five lecture tours including the Second Conference of the American Council of Vedic Astrology in 1993, where he appeared as a key guest speaker. Rao is the Advisor of Astrology Courses in the Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi, where he and the other faculty have never charged fees for teaching, but instead offer their services in an honorary capacity. What impelled Rao is well explained in his own horoscope where the lagna lord and the 10th lord conjoin in the lagna, while an exalted Jupiter resides in the 10th house. Single handedly, Rao has encouraged and produced more writers and researchers than any late or contemporary astrologer. He edits the Journal of Astrology and has written nearly thirty books, some of which have been translated into Russian and Japanese. He has taught astrology to thousands of students in India, the US and Russia over a period of nineteen years since the founding the Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan. You can reach, read more about him, and order his books at his website:

Juliana Swanson Biography:

Juliana Swanson qualifies as an ACVA and CVA Level II certified Vedic Astrologer, receiving two titles of excellence, the Jyotish Visharada, CVA; and the Jyotish Kovid, CVA. In 2012 she was awarded the Jyotish Kovid from the ICAS, Bangalore, India. Additionally, she brings depth to her work as a Registered Nurse (RN), Polarity Therapist (RPP) and Rebirthing-Breathwork Facilitator. Juliana runs her holistic healing and astrological consulting practice from her home office on the Big Island of Hawaii. In addition, she tutors Vedic astrology students both individually and as an online instructor for both the American College of Vedic Astrology and the International Academy of Astrology. Juliana holds memberships in the Council of Vedic Astrology (CVA); the British Association of Vedic Astrology (BAVA); the American Federation of Astrologers (AFA); the International Society for Astrological Research; the American Polarity Therapy Association (APTA); and, Rebirthing-Breathwork International (RBI). You may reach Juliana at her Hawaii office at 808-430-5989. Juliana may be reached by email at: Her web site is

Join Our Email List

Email: Join

For Email Marketing you can trust Jyotish Star Copyright 2013 C. C. Collins - All Rights Reserved