Predictive Sciences - Date with fate
by Ambica Gulati
On the cards
Tarot has 22 major cards and 56 minor cards. Major ones speak of the 'why' of things and minor ones tell you what is
Dicey answerIn ancient Egypt, Greece and the Far-East, cubes of wood, metal, ivory or glass, with their sides numbered from 1 to 6, were popular for prophesying. You need three dice. Consult the dice after
Leaves in a cupThe art of reading tea-leaves is probably the simplest means of divination. There is a specific ritual to be followed. Use a cup with a wide mouth with white inside devoid of any pattern. It's best
lines, visionswhat do they predict? Can we use them to look into
the future, shape it as we will or are we merely acting out a script written
by somebody else? Enter the world of myriad predictive sciences
Often, the capricious turns of time put you in circumstances where you are forced to wonder if you can really control your destiny. Perhaps it never hit me as strong as it did when I woke up, suffocated by a world of darkness, writhing in pain. I was the victim of an accident, somebody told me. Legs, arms and face smashed. I may lose my right arm, diagnosed the doctors. Maimed for life. "WHY ME?" my heart cried out. Silence. Six months later, I walked out on crutches, stumbling, trying to maintain my balance with my left hand, right arm still encased in plaster. Leaning against the pillar I looked at the books on the pavement store. A-Z of Astrology by Mahavir Tuli. Maybe this would tell me why this accident had to happen to me.
In times of need, astrology indeed. Or perhaps numbers. Each of us has a personal number, which creates harmony or disharmony, claim experts. Or you could study the lines on your palm and try to foresee your future, all with the help of a book on palmistry. You could even opt for tea-leaves, tarot cards, handwriting, or even the ubiquitous dice.
But is time a straight chain of events with everything predestined? If not, then how much is fated and how much depends on the choices we make? And to what extent do predictive sciences really predict the future?
Why do people turn to astrology in the first place? Trauma or simply curiosity? "For a number of reasons," explains K.N. Rao, well-known astrologer and director of the Institute of Astrology at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Delhi. "It could be the excitement or fatality of the present, uncertainty about the future and even a memory of the past."
But do these timeworn systems actually work? "Our predic foretelltions come true, so we can say that they work. But, yes, they are based on desh (place), kaal (time) and patra (individual)." Each individual has to be given separate counsel.
However, Professor Yash Pal, renowned Indian scientist, disagrees. "Astrology is known to be as old as astronomy. The panchang (almanac) records the planetary positions but human beings have a habit of reading more than what actually exists. Probably that is why astrology works more for those who believe in it," he says. Even Mukul Sharma, futurist and columnist, calls these systems cold-reading. "It's poppycock. Where is the rational or scientific basis?"
But, both Rao and Gayatri Devi Vasudev, editor of Bangalore-based The Astrological Magazine and daughter of the famous Indian astrologer B.V. Raman, claim that all men of science or even skeptics should study the principles and application of astrology before they opinionate on it. "So, I decided to start this institute of astrology. We are not manufacturing seers but we want to spread awareness about this science and remove the stigma attached to it," elucidates Rao. And Gayatri has compiled essays illustrating the scientific basis in her book Astrology and The Hoax of Scientific Temper. Supports Nirmala Sewani, Jaipur-based astrologer: "If we can believe in all that is written in the Vedas, then why do we shun astrology?"
BACK IN TIME
Let's travel back thousands of yearsto the Vedas. There we find traces of Jyotish (divine) Vidya (knowledge). In other civilizations too, stargazing was a human pastime, so old that we can't fathom its origins. As civilizations advanced, they added philosophy and mathematics to the earlier forms. Thus creating astrology. "It was developed to find peace through an inner awareness," says Rao. Ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese and Mayans all contributed to its development. Notes Jai Maharaj: "Researches from Dr Percy Seymour, UK-based astronomer and astrologer, uses the cause/effect chain to explain astrology in his book Astrology: The Evidence of Science. Some material forces and/or arrangement of matter (gravity, electromagnetism, nuclear energies, planets, orbital relations) cause a specific and predictable type of personality and life pattern."
The birth horoscope is a basic tool of astrology. It is a map of the solar system at the exact time of birth. Astrology explores ways in which we share traits with cosmological patterns and regularities through our ascendant and moon signs. Ascendant is the zodiac sign arising at the time of birth and moon sign is the sign in which the moon is placed at the time of birth. These two form the basis of all Vedic astrological predictions.
In different parts of India, different systems are used. "Despite certain differences, there are similar trends of analyzing the horoscopes," acknowledge both Rao and Gayatri who work with Vedic astrology. But western astrology takes into account the sun sign, the placement of sun in the birth horoscope. Differences arise here. However, Mohinder Chopra, USA-based astrologer, has combined certain western techniques with Vedic astrology to "improve accuracy". But both Nirmala and Chopra claim Vedic astrology to be superior to any system. According to Rao and Gayatri, we also need to modify the classical interpretations to suit the needs of today.
But Joseph Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalists Association and bureau chief of Kerala Sabdam newspapers, repudiates all these arguments. "The Vedas were written thousands of years back. Technology wasn't as advanced as it is today. Even astrologers acknowledge that Rahu and Ketu, two of the navgrahas (nine planets) central to astrology, are not planets. So, how can they treat them as having any influence on our lives?" He adds: "It has been proved that earth is not the center of the universe whereas astrology is earth centric. Where does this lead us?"
Western astrology even takes into account the three newly discovered planetsNeptune, Uranus and Pluto. But Rao believes that more research is needed before we can acknowledge their influence on our lives. Mukul Sharma is unimpressed but sporty: "All these systems merely placate us. Even I read palms. But it's all for fun. We all have some major illness in childhood, so what's so unique about a palmist telling you that? You put across a common question, quietly observe the attitude, look for visible body signs and you arrive at a diplomatic answer."
According to die-hard believers in destiny, astrology has it all. But Rao cautions: "As in everything else, there is room for error in astrology too. After all even science has to try numerous times before it arrives at any conclusion."
Rao condemns irrational beliefs. "As astrology is an unlicensed profession, it is an invitation to many frauds. Incomplete knowledge can be harmful." Agrees Nirmala: "This is an enlightened science and we should be extremely cautious in its use or abuse. The common man is unaware of the fact that the predictor has to bear the load of the client's karma." She suggests that astrology be included in university curriculum "so that people can utilize it to lead better lives".
Yet again, Edamaruku flays these institutes and their claim to scientific basis: "Pure charlatans. I have studied astrology, but all to no avail." His organization has been trying to eradicate superstitions since 1949 and all these "predictive systems are only superstitions".
The karma theory is central to Hindu philosophy. Writes Rao in Karma and Rebirth in Hindu Astrology: "Karmas are of four typessanchita (accumulated from the past), prarabdha (those allotted for present birth), kriyaman (those we do in the present life) and aagami (stock for future lives)." Yet again, Edamaruku takes a different stance. "There is no life after death. Life is like a candle, burning slowly. Once the wick finishes, the candle burns out. Similarly, once the breath ceases, life ends. We are influenced by the cosmos purely by the environmental factor," he avers.
Now what is the scope of free will. Astrologers broadly define it as the area of existence where we are free to perform actions. But these actions too are within the limits set by destiny, which again is determined by our karmas. "Astrology is like a video we choose to put in the cosmic tape deck of our karmic psyche patterns for the present life," says Jai Maharaj. Back to square one.
If our karmas bear fruit inviolably, then why do we need remedies rituals , gems, giving of almsto remove the negative effects? As K.K. Pathak writes in one issue of The Astrological Magazine: "These remedies can cure only minor problems. The major ones are inevitable and you just have to endure them." He even mentions different mantras for different problems. Says Rao: "Only good deeds and prayers have their effect."
Edamaruku will have none of it. He says: "We are responsible for our actions. If you sit idle and expect to get results, it's not going to work." Here, at least, some astrologers agree. Says Guneeta Dhingra, tarot reader: "Tarot guides you. But as a client once asked me whether he would be able catch a bus, that's nonsense."
Visions bright and beautiful. What do they foretell? We're talking about tarot, an ancient art traced to the gypsies. "These cards are a means of divination and a tool for understanding yourself," explains Guneeta. It is an attempt to forecast the future through the interpretation of messages from God, other spiritual beings or perhaps from future itself. "It is a language of the soul. It is more a psychological tool than a mysterious fortune telling game," she adds. "It gives us an uncanny ability to see into ourselves." However, Maria Weber, a Polish tarot enthusiast, says that she picks up whatever she predicts from the client.
Many more systems crop up as we move on this road. The lines on the palm, too, have it all. "These lines hold a key to our future. But they keep changing with time as we keep evolving," says Nalin Jain, management teacher and astrologer. "This is a readily available method for seeing into the life patterns."
Numerology is believed to go back to the times of Pythagoras, the famous mathematician. Ravinder Kumar, numerologist, who claims to be a disciple of Pythagoras in his past life, adds: "Vedas too mention the significance of numbers." But how does it work? "We all are attuned to a particular number. This will be a sum of our name, date of birth and then a difference of the two."
Besides these, nadi or nerves in our body too speak volumes about our lives. Not only is it part of the nervous system, it also sends out vibrations, claims R. Mani, nadi expert and mantra healer. Mani has developed this art with siddhi, regular recitation of a mantra to please a particular deity. Sitting with his hand on your pulse, he concentrates on the vibrations and voila! all the answers are there. Then Mani recommends mantras and gives vibhuti to remove all negativity.
Rational or irrational, these systems remain as popular as ever, scientific temperament of the times notwithstanding. What has changed is the use of hi-tech: computerized horoscopes, astrology websites, readings and consultations on the phone.
WEEK AFTER WEEK
Wrote Mukul Sharma in a daily newspaper: "The forecasts are a staple diet of newspapers and magazines. I myself have recycled and shuffled them many times. And amazingly, neither the readers nor the forecaster complained." So, why all these weekly and monthly columns on zodiac sign forecasts. Because they are so popular and help to increase readership.
On this issue, for a change most astrologers and rationalists share the same opinion. Rao, Guneeta and Nirmala dismiss zodiac sign forecasts. Each one of us is an individual, so how can the destinies of millions be matched or grouped as the forecasts claim? That is their argument.
But Sunita Chabbra, science graduate and numerologist who writes a column in a daily newspaper, disagrees. "I accept that these forecast columns give more general trends. But even scientists agree that planetary rays have their influence on us. And all these are visible."
Edamaruku and Sharma have their reservations. Says Edamaruku: "All influences are environment and society based." Sharma has another explanation. "Moon causes tides as earth is 80 per cent water and since our body is also 80 per cent water, it affects our brain similarly. But have they ever looked into the fact that we are mere microcosms compared to the oceans which are thousands of miles long?"
What are we seeking here? Waiting for the good and moping for the baddoesn't that hamper progress? Rao has this to say: "There is nothing wrong with astrology. But it's grossly misused." Comments Mohinder Chopra: "Astrology shows you the path. Once you know your weak points you can find means to resolve them."
Saroj Datt, graphologist, claims that by handwriting analysis she has prevented many mishaps. "Handwriting is an expression of your inner self." She cites the case of a girl whose symptoms of depression were visible in her handwriting: "I could see she was on the verge of committing suicide. So I talked to her and sorted out the problem." Isn't this what many of us are all looking for? Somebody to share our grief with. Then do we need a soothsayer or a soothing touch? For Mukul Sharma, intuitive abilities are valid but "when they incorporate it with the mumbo-jumbo of any system, then I disbelieve in it".
Is life so cut and dried that it can be controlled by either astrology or technology? Or do we still need more sages or scientists to unravel the mystery of life and its vicissitudes?
Subject: request for r.mani contact no - 17 February 2012
I request for request r.mani contact address who is an expert in nadi astrology and mantra healer
|HOME | SUBSCRIBE | WALLPAPERS | ADVERTISING | POLICY | PRACTITIONERS | WRITERS | PEOPLE | ABOUT | CONTACT|