Several months ago, I wrote about myths regarding Jyotish that float around mostly western astrological forums. Those were benign and innocent myths or even misunderstandings really, as I look back. There was not much reaction to that article from western astrologers (actually the theme was dealt with in more than one article, if I recall). But, to what I am writing today, there could be some reaction, but again I expected such reaction to my article on astro-treasures in which I questioned what was written in Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra. That would be almost akin to questioning the Bible in a Church and perhaps the Talmud in a Synagogue. I better stop with my analogies and examples before patience runs out in some sectors.
Getting back to Jyotish, which I just happen to think got enveloped and enshrined in the skeins of an ancient religion and cultural milieu that Hinduism is because of its geographical and temporal surroundings, there are some questions that bubble up but not asked out of fear, deference etc. Now, Hinduism is ONE religion and culture that will tolerate a lot of questions and while it will vibrate dangerously or rather its bearers would, there is an underlying stream of cool rationality and pragmatism that runs deep that will make its people think more than react. The fact that Jyotish is now a worldwide phenomenon, capable of deciphering and helping people of all religions, races, nationalities, cultural differences speaks to the universal applicability of Jyotish.
Jyotish is increasingly being embraced by and carried forward by people who are rational, have real lives for the most part as opposed to living in some spiritual stratosphere and meting out pronouncements to householders and housewives how to improve their love life while cocking an eye at the Dharma so that all levels of reality are respected and cared for.
Let us begin! Is Jyotish something to be assumed by the saintly and holy alone or even by the normal men and women? I am talking about the practitioners and not the nativities that seek the aid of Jyotish! If a rational and sane man or woman reads Jyotish classics, really – much of what is covered is plain and simple building blocks dealing with planets, signs and activities done and supposed to be done by ordinary people. Being born, studying, finding work, marrying, making children, acquiring position, fame, accomplishments, feeling accomplished, passing wealth on to children, leaving worldliness and to more detachment and peace and finally looking towards final peace and leaving this world in hands that belong to one’s loved ones and hoping that what lies ahead would be at least as fulfilling as the journey this far!
Now every life-story is not all that Disney-like and hence the stock of astrology can only rise! Perhaps being born in the image of God, we all desire for perfect lives. But most of us do not have those expectations! Most of us, therefore, look for worldly solutions. Some win the race. Others give up. A few neither win, nor give up but instead turn to magic. The magic could be divinations or what has been somewhat cruelly termed as “chicken feet!”. This comes from the realm of voodoo black magic but really in this era of fear with the avian virus and chicken flu, and the PANDEMIC, even chicken feet are anything but kosher! But now I am mixing religions and metaphors thereof!
As one wades through Jyotish classics and other pertinent writings, one continues to remain appreciative of the beautiful sense of aesthetics displayed by ancient writers. Nearly the entire classical body of Jyotish is presented in the form of disciplined verse and not unruly prose! It is indeed a big feat to not only present factual and logical information but to also to do so beautifully and in rhyme! A further boundary is imposed on the Jaimini sutras which are presented in the katapayadi ‘encoding/style’ in which the words must not be taken literally but after transliteration! Given these additional considerations, when someone applies mindlessly the same rigor to some of these mystic writings as one would to a scientific research paper, the road is fraught with danger. Imagine the entire body of science having to be written in poetry? The additional challenge is simply unimaginable for modern man!
Jyotish writings that have trickled down the centuries to us must be given the benefit of a degree of poetic license. While enjoying their beauty and veracity in general, one should not get hung up too rigidly on a figurative statement such as: Jupiter in lagna removes hundred doshas or blemishes! If a jyotishi then accepts this statement too literally and begins to justify and force logic on to something that was figuratively and perhaps a tad hyperbolically stated by an ancient poet-jyotishi, this creates problems. All one needs is to view a few charts and soon the reality dawns upon one that the statement should be accompanied with qualifications and not taken too literally and by itself. Jupiter is not an unsullied, benefic and if that were the case there would be no reason for its shades of expression. Jupiter in lagna in the 12 signs would have differences, where the dispositor (lord of the sign hosting Jupiter) is placed would modify the Jovian expression, planets aspecting Jupiter would exert their own modifying effects. The same story as is applicable with other planets and so on.
It is incredible how beautiful and elegant the writing prowess of the ancient jyotishi-poets was. This was not some stream of consciousness, non-rhyming, free-form poetry but rigidly constructed poetry with its own grammar which expects one to be highly creative and capable. Very saturnine, in my opinion – the ancient expressions of Jyotish truths were, one would have to agree. But Saturn of very high purity and refined tastes, the Saturn that brings with it a heightened sense of responsibility and seriousness. Very obviously reflected in these ancient classical writings on Jyotish.
Let us also turn our attention to a highly volatile, somewhat emotion-charged aspect of Jyotish. Remedies! It is true that remedies have been described in many classical texts but in an extremely matter of fact and somewhat secondary way, usually at the end of a book. The modern writers have glorified the remedies to a varying degree and practicing jyotishis often present the remedies as if it is a rigid and definite system, almost like reading the course of treatment of some illness from some pharmacopeia or formulary of medication. If you have this disease, take this medication, if that symptom, then apply that ointment, etc. If this were the case then everyone, or at least most jyotishis would agree on the remedy for a certain chart and nativity. Even in medical sciences there are variations, but few and far in between, in general. Most doctors would agree on the diagnosis and treatment of a given ordinary illness. However, jyotishis tend to come up with differences in interpretation, or the use of factors to reach a conclusion, and certainly vary a lot when it comes to prescribing remedies for the same chart/nativity/condition. This is troublesome and very confusing to the student and the suffering nativity/consumer who runs from astrologer to astrologer, forum to forum asking for answers and then getting bombarded by very different solutions. One recommends fasting on Wednesdays, the other five name other weekdays, one recommends a mantra or certain pooja, another recommends a certain gemstone and just when ready to buy, an email comes telling him that in the opinion of another Shri Shri 1008, that if he wears that gemstone, great harm would befall upon his daughter and so on. What is the poor astro-consumer to do? Other than start studying astrology him/herself and to hell with all these other astrologers! Maybe Brahma wants exactly that to happen (Or Lord Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, … insert your favorite deity’s name here!). The platform modern Practical Jyotish stands on is full of planks of different kinds and in big need for attentive repair or maybe even reconstruction!
I find it very curious that obviously very intelligent people and quite pragmatic too who demonstrate fairly sharp wits and an ability to critically think through things and even display a healthy skeptic side of theirs suddenly break out in rapturous accounts about horoscopes of Rama and Krishna and other Gods and Avatars. They make references to the way ancient people lived and their way and framework of thinking. Based on what? There are no historical accounts of those times available really! There are no diaries and personal journals of those times available to us or whatever forefathers used to have akin to our newspapers. Based on scriptures – which at best were recommendations for the best possible way of living as the prevailing religion recommended! If our religion were to be wiped out in a flash and all that remained to be found was a copy of the Bible, ten thousand years later, would the finder be right in making the assumption that in 2006 humanity lived in general in the spiritual purity that the Bible represents? Bible is only 2000 years old, so I use it as an example, but it could be some other book. On the other hand if all that remained after the apocalypse was a copy of Rajneesh’s ‘From sex to super-consciousness (sambhog se Samadhi tak)’ then the impression about us on the finder of the book 10000 years down the road would be different, but equally wrong and faulty as a generalization as to how humans lived 10000 years ago! Let me not belabor my point with more examples!
There seems to be a very strong devotional aura that surrounds Jyotish. When this ‘devotional’ mode is activated, suddenly it becomes difficult if not impossible to challenge and debate about anything. Generally speaking, questioning so called classics is taboo, although there is really no definitive way of timing these texts written in beautiful verse, and the statements therein are taken by some as gospel and beyond questioning. This creates problems because some of the proponents who display such a ‘hands-off’ demeanor in the next breath claim that Jyotish is the absolute truth and even call it science. The primary requirement of science is that it must be constantly questioned and refined. Such luxury is not afforded to Jyotish because of the mind-sets of people. Into this mix is also tossed in spirituality and morality. The pressure on the poor Jyotish student is mammoth. He or she is expected to be highly spiritual, moral and with a superior intellect. Any professional must be of a high moral fiber be they a jyotishi, dentist, lawyer, engineer, doctor or car mechanic! But technical prowess does not go hand in hand with moral superiority. Likewise, having a fine intellect is great but if one examines the framework of Jyotish, much of it is really not very demanding on one’s cerebral faculties. Be it ashtakavarga, or chakras, or dashas, or jaimini principles. The intellectual challenge is overplayed in Jyotish. Sure Jyotish is difficult but its difficulty arises more from its fragmentary and in some ways obfuscative nature and not so much on it being very intricate. The tendency on the parts of some on holding on to information and appearing mysterious is more responsible for it appearing confusing and more complicated than the framework really is. So, with all due respects I think Parashara was underestimating the intellectual prowess of modern human being for whom he designed the ‘simple’ ashtakavarga method. This for the human being who successfully went into space several times, demonstrably managed to decipher so many secrets of nature and created the complex economies and ‘markets’. Compared to some of the surgical procedures being carried out routinely, Jyotish seems to be almost a child’s play. And about as predictable in its outcome in most hands! And don’t forget ‘NANOTECHNOLOGY’! Let us leave it at that!
“Nose-thumbers” would say that in order to be proficient in Jyotish is not easy and would give examples of few truly magnificent savants with their accurate predictions. This is where the situation gets a bit tricky to explore. To be absolutely candid, astrology in general is not just logic but perhaps requires a fair amount of intuitiveness and experience teaches some of that and the rest is inherent. While one would get the impression that much of the Jyotish is logical and technical and sometimes such claims are made in all honest innocence because even jyotishis immersed in charts and planetary symbols would not be fully aware of all the parts of their mind that are in commission when delineating a chart. Sure, the jyotishi will find some logical links to explain a reading but like the iceberg, perhaps that represents only a tithe of the entire formulative process. It is as hard to prove as to disprove this tenet. But it must be brought out and aired.
If astrology seems so very difficult, it must be because it is not attracting a lot of bright people. Compared to other fields, that is. Also, let us not forget that most who are attracted to it and are its spokespersons have otherwise full careers and other engagements and responsibilities. Unlike science which attracted many times more individuals who made careers out of science. All Jyotish has is volunteers, though some are super-dedicated, but volunteers after all. Research is done in a sketchy manner and in volumes and quality that is no match for research in other fields. This is not a reflection on the people who are involved and engaged but the times. Jyotish or any form of astrology really does not have the serious approval or endorsement of society in general. It arouses disbelief, ridicule and is misunderstood for the most part. Misunderstood even by those who are close to it and think of it as some magical procedure for supersensory knowledge that can predict life in utmost details.
It is not even definitely known if life is predictable and to what degree. However, you will readily run into individuals who will regurgitate passages on karma and the meaning of human life. Who are easily irked when questioned or mildly challenged. Who are still wondering about it all. Sometimes one feels as if the heavy cross of Jyotish is on their frail shoulders and it is difficult if impossible to talk about ‘light’ with these beacons and saviors. Perhaps with more years true maturity shall come to Jyotish discussion groups and discussants and with maturity, better communication may emerge. Until then, I am afraid, you dear readers, you are on your own or at least for the time being, under the protection of your school and personal teacher!
You do have one, right? Maybe two would be even better – just in case …!
To reiterate, the ‘difficulty’ around or within Jyotish really does not have anything to do with complexity, but rather, it is produced by the gaps in information, half-baked and at times garbled combinations, lack of familiarity with the original verses (Sanskrit, for instance) and translations that are anything but clear (pick almost any translation of classics and you will find many examples). And where modern books are concerned, often the interpretation could be very personal, sometimes with a smattering of proof and at other times, just bold statements which do anything but attract the rational jyotishi (no – that is NOT an oxymoron!). As far as spiritual purity and strength of moral fiber is concerned, the same rules of conduct apply to jyotishis as do ideally to any other service professionals be they doctors, engineers, lawyers, businessmen.
In recent times, there has been an explosion of very exciting ‘new’ material in terms of techniques that were there but not used a lot due to problems with calculations and fragmentary explanations given in classics. A real problem for the average jyotishphile is the problem that a child faces in a fancy candy store. Which one to pick and which one tastes better? So, from time to time, others generally from older generations (pre-computer era) remind and insist that they only use barebones charts and get by quite well. It is a conundrum that each of us would have to personally come to terms with! Interestingly that ‘approach’ has remained the same for decades and decades that I know of! We still hear about ayanamsha differences, and what one would consider basics such as which bhava division (or if?) to use, also confusions or variations around the issues of drishti – it is almost as if we have been in an armchair all this time! Lots of activity and swinging but we remain in the same place!
FACTORS IN PLAY: Getting back to what we were discussing, one of the things that most beginners find mind-boggling in jyotish is the array of indicators and ways of determining a given result. This situation has escalated recently with the release of many new books which have expounded the relatively less known and inadequately researched areas of Jyotish, particularly, the vargas, chakras, ashtakavarga system, the Jaimini system. There may be some resistance on the part of some astrologers, however, the consensus seems to be one of joy with all of these "new" introduction of tools and techniques. The relentless work of Mr. K.N. Rao and others from his school as well as other independent researchers has been and will continue to be very important in the field. There have also been attempts at presenting jyotish in a simplified and easily transferable/learnable format by authors such as Mr. V.K. Choudhry. There never has been a better time to learn and appreciate the beauty and power of jyotish, than now. No single teacher or school is enough and one must try out and incorporate some or all of the large variety of information that is available out there.
Hopefully, only very few individuals still continue to believe that there is a flawless, magical system of astrology that exists just beyond the common grasp. Until this is clearly established and demonstrated, it is prudent to view astrology as a craft of probabilities. The trends that we see in horoscopes are strengthened by our finding more consonances in a chart. This is why it is important to learn to view a horoscope from many angles, using as many indicators as possible. It is a dangerous or at least frustrating practice to spot a single indication or yoga and lean too heavily against it for supporting a prediction. Most indications would work most but not all the time and this margin of error can be reduced if we begin to develop a habit of looking at more than a few indicators when studying a house.
Jyotish has described the role of the lord of a house, the bhavat-bhavam house, arudha or pada (which is in a remote or loose way related to the bhavat bhavam principle), and there are the natural, chara and sthira karakas or significators. There are the sookshma and sthula, jeeva and sharira indicators for a house. Then there are specific vargas that are assigned to study the attributes of a house in greater details, and some of these considerations are also to be studied from the moon and even the sun, in addition to the ascendant. The purpose of having so many of these is very clear. They must be utilized together and the resultant would probably be a better indicator of what the trends are likely to be. But some of these indicators come from different systems and experts state that one must try and not mix the rules, casually. For instance, it can be quite confusing if one begins to use Parashari aspects or relationships (friendly, inimical) with Jaimini chara karakas, or begins to use these with Jaimini dashas. Likewise, the charakaraka system if used with Parashari awasthas can cause problems, since these have different implications based on the longitude of a planet. A Jaimini atmakaraka could be a 'dead' planet in the Parashari vimshottari dasha. Chara karakas such as atma, amatyakaraka etc., should be very cautiously (and only secondarily) used with the Parashari vimshottari dasha system.
Hotchpotch cuisine may create an exotic and very delectable flavor to a reading but can also cause severe predictive indigestion! Experiment wisely and with discrimination.
Essentially, jyotish is built on a 'simple' premise. How to represent all that can happen in a human life through astrological symbols and their modes and ways of interconnecting (sambandha or dignity, for instance). Given the very meager number of basic factors, namely, the 12 signs and nine planets, it is obvious that one would have to consider derivatives in order to even get close to the rich complexity of the human experience! And, this is what is represented in the many different and effective ways of utilizing the basic building blocks through many layers of interaction and attributes. Many uncanny predictions have been given by jyotishis by utilizing only a few of these indicators, and indeed for many of you, after a little bit of experience and familiarity develops, you might find yourself focusing on some indicators primarily and utilizing others for confirming a reading or indication or as tie-breakers. There is much about astrology and how it works that none of us know completely and it is important to remind ourselves of that from time to time. That astro-symbolism works must immediately indicate that there exists in this Universe a correlation amidst chaos. That within this noise of disparate bodies and movements, there exists a symphony, perhaps many symphonies, into which we tune into as astrologers, reading bits and pieces of the entire score. People have successfully read horoscopes using different ayanamshas, different dashas, different year durations and even with no ayanamshas and what this impresses upon me is the incredible magnitude of redundancy of patterns in the universe that creates and lends to the plethora and to the richness of existing divinatory crafts. It is unwise to waste energy in feeding the arrogance that leads the ego to believe, "Only my method is right, everyone else is sadly mistaken!".
So begin in a simple way, look at the rashi chart, note down what you see in the house under scrutiny, say the fifth house and children is what you wish to examine. Look at the fifth lord. Where is it placed, how strong it is, what are its qualitative attributes, who else is it related to, what is its relationship with the ascendant and its lord (the personal experiencing of the 5th house!). Then look at Jupiter the natural significator of children and 5th house. Is it aspecting the house, its lord and ascendant? Look at the fifth house from Jupiter. Next look at the 9th house which is a secondary bhavat-bhavam house for the 5th. Look at the arudha or pada of the fifth house, at the Jaimini putrakaraka (and always examine the atmakaraka). Look at the varga chart that deals with the fifth house, the saptamamsha. Look at the placement and influences of the fifth lord from the natal chart in the saptamamsha chart. Examine the first and fifth house in the saptamamsha. Build these into your interpretation as layers. If the net influence is positive, then the final bottom line regarding the house should be too. Note the periods where planets strongly connected with the house and indicators are ruling in nakshatra dasha (e.g., vimshottari or yogini) or when the relevant signs are ruling the rashi dashas (chara, sthira or kalachakra). The planetary indicators that denoted strong negativity (even though the net result was positive) would be the ones which can cause minor problems and must be watched out for or remedied.
Now to put the pudding where the spoon is PERHAPS our collective karma, jyotishis!
DIFFERENT STROKES (Another Perspective): What I like most about jyotish, in fact astrology in general is its pliability. I know, I know ... skeptics and those married to the rigid elitist path, the only right way by their reckoning, unproven for its worth or any lasting boost to the ego for the most part, can have a field day with that statement. What I mean is that astrology does not alone bring illumination to us, but that we as individuals bring a lot to it, as well. To the open-minded student and observer of divination in general; astrology in particular, this will become very evident in months or maybe a several years. Through ages and eons, different groups of individuals with diverse backgrounds have felt drawn to this wonderful language of the soul that describes so well and fluently, the human experience, of all times, places and leanings in such a timeless, amoral and *value*-less way!
Mystics have always been attracted to astrology, so we have the esoteric astrology of Alice Bailey, so rich in mystical terminology and concepts something that is almost lacking in Indian scriptural writings on astrology. Indian writing styles, old and new tend to be concise even terse, and at times cryptic even secretive! In relatively modern times, we find psychologists of all cloths drawn to the universal language of astrology and their cognitive flavors and influence particularly on western tropical astrology is hard to miss. It has even created the modern myth that western astrology is better capable of delineating the persona of the nativity, while Indian astrology serves more aptly as a tool for timing of events and for predictive purposes. Almost smacks of trying to keep lines and boundaries respectfully clean yet distinct! Purveyors of such myths miss out on the essential point that astrology is a mirror that reflects to some extent the image and background of the reader, the astrologer. This statement should not result in dropped jaws, dear readers. All of us come to a discipline such as this language of astrology with our unique and different backgrounds which includes personal biases and leanings. The essentially value-neutral and amoral (not to be confused with immoral!) nature of astrology lends very well to and perhaps actively promotes such attitudes. It serves equally well the religious fundamentalist as well as the scientist, both looking for a raison d’etre against the backdrop and medium of astrology.
They say, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!” Now, that is very cynical and reeks of reductionism, if you ask me, but like in everything else that is terse and provoking, therein lies a grain of truth. So what does that have to do with jyotish? Everything! Jyotish and astrology of all kinds for that matter have shown this ‘background-related’ bias through all times. Depending on the cohort of individuals that were called to it and became its voice for the time being, shaped the expression of the horoscope in boundaries determined by where they came from, their line of thinking and bias (a negative and non-useful thing unless you are an electronics engineer making radios!) and when they were brilliant, shaped the contemporary thinking in astrology.
A group of mystics got drawn to astrology and all sorts of symbolisms soon embraced the divinatory craft. Some of these individuals were poets and romantics – hence they described astrology along those lines. Then came the era when astrology ‘belonged’ to the priestly class and sure enough, a bevy of rituals and interpretations based on the framework of mythology, religion and theology became the garb in which the prevailing astrology proudly paraded before us for centuries, or some would say, remained veiled under, its true beauty remaining victim to the quality of our imagination and cognitive/perceptive boundaries.
A group of psychologists saw the richly symbolic ancient descriptor and as their curiosity turned into real passion, astrology became garnished by the language of the mind and soul and thus came to become the neo-astrology of west and later on, the humanistic variant thereof, all with the best possible and sincere minds feeding life into it and added to its rich color and taste in the process.
In recent decades, astrology, particularly jyotish has drawn to its fold, managers and applied scientists, so we see a reorganization and revelation in this field of astrology as the practical and concrete aspects and applications of it surfaced with increasing lack of tolerance for philosophical and esoteric aspects and viewpoints of astrology. But, note the beauty and flexibility of astrology. Like water, astrology can take up the shape of the vessel that holds it, at any given moment.
Is it any surprise that astrology has been symbolized, off and on, by mercury truly befitting its mercurial, all encompassing fiber, its core that will accommodate all ways of explaining it, of describing it in a meaningful rational way. Other planets have also been implicated and perhaps indicate the flavor of astrology that is current, at any given time.
For many, particularly starting anew, sadly this leads to confusion. How can the same technique, the same approach lead to such diverse interpretations, and what then is the utility of such a ‘vague’ language or mode of describing something, that describes just about everything mostly in hindsight? These questioners miss the point, yet again, that, essentially all languages are neither precise nor vague. The user is at the helm, in full power. And, vagueness or its converse has nothing to do with the utility of the language, either. We, as individuals and certainly as a group possess different tolerances and needs for different levels of precision, clarity and outright vagueness. Hence, the most anal linguist and the diffuse mystic are required at the same time to impart the appropriate clarity or the opposite to those whose needs match the different modes of expression. I have seen chatrooms empty as soon as the anal professor goes through the first 3% of the discourse and interestingly, the same happened when the poetical mystic began distributing his flowery wares. And yet, I rejoice in the variety and the Grand Intellect that makes it all possible for so many different styles of expression and comprehension to coexist and to be simultaneously available and useful!
I confess. I am a bit of both and this is not a blessing, but a curse, because, I get frustrated by both! When things go too left brained, it worries me and when they swing to the other half that gives me no solace either.
Oh sure, strive for the middle path, the wizened wise advise – which leads us to, what? Perhaps a realization that the ladder is not the roof! Astrology will not get us closer to the goal of understanding the human experience but will not be the final tool or replace the very act of understanding! That must come through astrology, but not just by it. Astrology is like those help-books, the cheat-sheet that short-circuits our path to learning, but does not replace learning itself. The student must still burn the midnight oil, and absorb all the texts and cheat-sheets and learning aids.
OVERREPRESENTATION IN ASTROLOGY—JUST AN OBSESSION OR WORSE?: It is very human to dream, to want the best, and to get the most mileage out of very little effort. It is quite commonly seen in astrology, where individuals begin to get obsessively fixated on a given factor in a horoscope in their practice of astrology. Sometimes, this is based on what they see in their own charts where they tune into a particularly beneficial or malefic combination and then try to explain a LOT based on that single factor and risk ignoring nearly everything else in their charts, including ultimately – the reality! There are many astrologers, even good ones, who feel this Subjective need to see it all happen in their charts before they are convinced of the significance of any given factor or combination under consideration. There may be nothing wrong with that approach, but unfortunately, over a long period of time, it does begin to cloud one’s judgment – at least some of those times, when the astrologer is vulnerable, and things are not going exactly the way he had wished them to or –worse– had so ‘foreseen’!
For a long time, or so it seemed, jyotish as discussed in books, articles and internet seemed to be undergoing a reexamination, a separation was unfolding -- moving away from its religious underpinnings, most of which dealt with curses, magical karmic premises and a line of thinking that would not quite be in consonance with modern thinking. Sadly, the tides seem to be turning and I presume partly due to the growing fundamentalism and a disturbing and escalating sense of chaos in our daily lives, more and more of us are increasingly finding peace in more archaic and puritanical but fixed forms of astrological ‘reasoning’. Hence, an increase in the use of amulets, magical incantations, worship, remedies; particularly remedies that do not need personal involvement and can be carried on by someone else, hopefully an expert, on one’s behalf, thousands of miles away, in some *pure* land and realm! Such is the innovative bent of the modern entrepreneurial human mind that as the modern saying goes, the Mountain will be made to come to ‘Mahomet’ since the seeker is too busy in leading a stress-riddled modern life which has no room for himself, let alone remedial procedures to be carried out by the very sufferer of one’s own doings!
The *b*a*d* in all this is that while individual convenience is increasing as proxy-based fast-kiosks of McKarma, McWorship and McRemedies are opening up all over the world, the misery counter does not seem to settle down and the wails of souls-in-despair seems to mount increasingly, even though ‘billions of SOULS get served’ over a very short time (like the fast-food operations such as McDonald in some countries)! Is all of this, an essential part of evolution of modern jyotish? Must individuals go through this surge of superficial spirituality until purged from its influence, they can finally settle down and see if a balanced approach is at all possible and sustainable in jyotish and that there is some role for personal choice, personal decisions, and human creativity in this MAYA-riddled paradigm of divine puppetry, conjured up or perceived so by some humans with questionable motives and abilities?
It is not as if the world has not experienced similar chaos before, it is not as if we have en masse gotten rid of our reasoning abilities (though it sure seems that way, at times!), but the SOUL has become restless as IT drowns into the sea of uncertainties and unpredictability. The stock of divination will continue to climb, but so will the short-cuts that get picked up by Its (its) flowing robe as it sweeps along! It is essential to remind our-selves where the robe ends and the dirt, that soils it masking its true colors and texture, begins!
Leaving aside the very few who have managed to convince themselves that one’s chart (or even charts, the whole gamut) can capture one’s complete life-experience as a human being, most of us continue to observe the gaps in the astrological cloth. Particularly those who are not very devotional or totally accepting of puritanical beliefs keep coming to this question of personal responsibility, karma, and fate vs free will. Often has it been stated and repeated by many: If fate is supreme, unalterable and insurmountable for most mortals, then astrological framework is absolute, must not fail and must at the same time be useless because knowing that which is fixed and unalterable cannot change it. At this point, even the staunch believer of jyotish begins to weasel out and mumbles excuses such as astrology prepares one to face eventuality and so on. In this weak argument itself lies some truth, that there is some room for change, modification, shifting. Even if this is as simple as a mental shift, a mental preparedness against some shocking but unalterable event. If not knowing the event or fate can somehow make the pain more unbearable as opposed to pre-knowledge and being prepared ahead of the event, does that not show that there is room for attitudinal and even behavioral adjustment? Where there is such room, a crack, a wedge of questioning and truth can perhaps widen the gap further and let more life energy flow into the stagnant corner of soul that decrees such helplessness as total destiny to run our lives.
And without such room for growth, for one’s ability to influence and modify karma – not through worshipping some magical symbol or shape, but through changing karma or effort itself – the human experience kind of loses its chart and even its purpose in this grand and divine scheme of things. Mind you, this does not throw light on why or how karma started, or some simple statement of original sin, if any, etc. When one is in the middle of a dirty and unclear room, the best strategy is to start at where we are and to go back and forward from there or even go in circles cleaning up the dust and gradually see what is hidden beneath the dust of timeless amnesia. Then and perhaps only then shall it all fit in the big cosmic picture and the latter would begin to make cohesive sense.
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