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Astrology – the most intriguing and challenging ‘science’

There is an interesting allegory alluded to astrology, of which I cannot
vouchsafe, about Indrajit’s birth. Indrajit is one of the most valiant warrior sons
of Ravana, an important character in Indian epic Ramayana. Ravana had asked
all the seers for the most auspicious placement of the planets in the celestial
zodiac at the time 0f birth of Indrajit. After having been told, Ravana ordered all
the planets to be stationed at the exact positions in the celestial zodiac as
suggested by the seers. Ravana thus wanted to play God. God Almighty destined
otherwise. So at the exact moment, Sani just stretched his leg imperceptibly a wee
bit and changed the planets’ configuration to that extent. Ravana with his mighty
mace hit at Sani’s leg and Sani became a limping planet from that time. But the
damage has been done.

There are any number of such parables in almost any culture only to re-
emphasise the unalterable nature of destiny and God’s prevailing Will. What the
subject of astrology does is to provide only certain direction and probability but
not subscribe to any certainty in its analysis.

There is yet another ‘story’ which is often quoted to emphasise the futility
of banking on astrology for fixing any auspicious moment. Let me verbatim
reproduce that ‘story’, which was posted as a comment.

“I am reminded of a "story" or was it true?

The great mathematician and an astrologer, Bhaskaracharya had a
daughter, Leelavathi. Once she reached the marriageable age he looked for a
suitable boy and fixed the date for wedding based on the horoscopes of the boy
and Leelavathi. On that day the wedding was celebrated but very soon the new
bridegroom died of snakebite.

The Great Bhaskaracharya was stunned and tried to look for the DOSHA
either in the horoscopes or the wedding date. He could not get any clue. He
recalculated and recalculated and found that the wedding date was the most
auspicious one. However he could not change the destiny of his only daughter.

One day he was observing the hourglass set up in the house for the
Calculation of time. There he found the nose stud of baby Leelavathi, which she
accidentally lost in her childhood while looking into the hourglass. Then he
realised the DESTINY decided by HIM cannot be changed inspite of having
excellent knowledge of Astrology.”
Let me recount the above ‘story’ in a slightly different fashion.
Bhaskaracharya was indeed a venerable sage and great mathematician and
astrologer. He surely knew what destiny was.

‘At the time of Leelavathi’s birth, the venerable sage cast her birth chart
and to his utter dismay the sage could clearly presage the untimely widowhood
for his daughter. Now what could the sage do but to accept the destiny? His
parental instincts or urge made the sage to look for the most auspicious time for
Leelavathi’s marriage so that the Acharya might have felt that the auspicious time
would avert the widowhood for his lovely child. The Acharya also, for a moment
was blinded by the parental love and played God.’

Now append the original ‘story’ making rounds, to the above paragraph.
The continuity and the logic of the story become more meaningful. It is indeed
illogical to believe that the Acharya looked only for the most auspicious time for
the daughter’s marriage and might not have cast the birth chart.

When we try to understand the science of astrology, I strongly feel we are
all like those blind men touching the various parts of an elephant and trying to
give each individual’s version of the elephant. We may come out trumps with
respect to a moment or only a particular aspect of the subject. But to master the
science, we have to become “MASTER”.

There are two interesting passages in the book ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo
Coelho. One camel driver used to consult seers about his future. One of the seers
says: “when people consult me, it’s not that I’m reading the future; I am guessing
at the future. The future belongs to God, and it is only He who reveals it, under
extraordinary circumstances. How do I guess at the future? Based on the omens
of the present. The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the
present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what
comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day
according to the teachings, confident that God loves His children. Each day, in
itself, brings with it an eternity.”

The camel driver had asked what the circumstances were under which God would
allow him to see the future.

“Only when He, Himself, reveals it. And God only rarely reveals the future. When
He does so, it is only one reason: it’s a future that was written so as to be altered.”

And, my dear friends, is Astrology.

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