About Hindu Astrology, Chapter II of Astro-Logos
Hindu Astrology; The Missing Half
There is a story about the founder of the Hare Krishna
movement, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. One day while sitting on a New York park bench he was approached by a subway conductor. This occured during his early days in America when he was yet unknown and
extremely poor. The conductor inquired as to who he was and what he was doing. Prabhupada, as the swami is called, explained that he was very wealthy and had temples all over teh world filled with
spiritual disciples. The man looked puzzled at what appeared and obvious fib whereupon Prabhupada replied, "It is only separated by time!"
In accord with the Indian Bengali
tradition, Prabhupada's parents had consulted an Hindu astrologer immediately after the child's birth. They were especially pleased at one rather spectacular prediction. This boy, they were told,
would cross the ocean at the age of seventy as a proponent of a particular religion. He would minister to followers worldwide and construct 108 temples. The way it happened Prabhupada left India at
the age of sixty-nine and the rest, as they say, is history.
Although such a specific and accurate astrological prediction is extraordinary and would certainly amaze anyone, it would be less
startling to one familair with the 6,000-year-old Hindu system. For, Hindu astrology is simply an event-oriented practice. Unlike its Western counterpart, which excels in character analysis,
personality, and the individual's psychology of experience, Hindu astrology focuses almost exclusively on events destined to occur. As mentioned in the Introduction, creation always expresses its
intention for the life of its progeny. It does so through its own language-- the planets and stars and their interrelationships. But methods of interpretation differ dramatically.
for the difference of approach is obviously a debatable point. But logic strongly suggests the matter is a function of cultural philosophies and their resultant lifestyles. Put simply, Western
culture is steeped in the philosophy of free will which dictates that man can accomplish anything with effort, drive, and ingenuity. Therefore, a Western approach to decoding nature's language would
quite naturally assume the expression to be a directive of internal psychology and behavior rather than actual occurences. If not so in the beginning, certainly over time interpretive methods would
have developed in this direction. For in a culture where society experiences such free will, where a peanut farmer can grow up to be president, what would be the impetus or rationale to consider
nature's communication one of preordained circumstances'
Hindu culture, however, is another matter. Its philosophy of karma and reincarnation teaches that every action produces a
reaction and, therefore, one's current existsence is largely a result of actions from previous lifetimes. Thus, a degree of absolutely fated circumstances is a certainty. And even if Eastern
interpretive techniques were not fate-oriented from teh start they would naturally have developed that way in order to fulfill society's requirements. The fact that it is, for all intents and
purposes, impossible for an Indian to raise his or her station in life creates the need for such a system. India has for so long lived under a caste system, which determines that the offspring of
one line shall remain in that line. Children of merchants remain merchants and descendants of servents remain servants and so forth. Further, the country itself is so impoverished that unless one is
born wealthy, there is, as perhaps only one who has seen India firsthand knows, almost no way to rise above the circumstances one is born under, unless, that is, destiny as revealed through the
stars determines otherwise.
And so it is that Hindu astrology is perhaps ninety-five perecent concerned with a person's wealth, fame, and fortune and five percent with personality,
psychology, and motivation. It is typical for the Hindu astrologer to predict, for example, how many children a person will have, what sex they will be, and even the years when conception may take place.
The person visiting the astrologer expects to be told in no-nonsense terms how great or limited are his or her possibilities for success, happy married life, longevity, obtaining land, etc., etc.
And expects to be told what type of career or careers to choose. This is, therefore, the reason traditional Indians consult an astrologer immediately following the births of their children.
However, it should be understood that while the Hindu system, having evolved over 6,000 years, is generally remarkablely accurate, it is not a simplistic, all magical, crystal ball. It may
have a reputation as such to the novice due to the commonplace accounts of authentic and dramatic experiences many have had with the subject (the likes of which appear in this book). But the work of
interpretation cannot be one iota less complex than life itself. The number of subtlties and intricacies involved in astrological analysis are as varied as the number of positive and negative
possibilities to any concern in life. Few people are either so blessed or so cursed in any one area that theor experience of that issue does not include a significant range of highs and lows. Naturally
such a scope and variety appear in their blueprints. As a result certain communications in nearly every birthchart fall somewhere gray, rather than balck or white, area. And so the information
given, though proclaimed freely and openly through the heavenly language, is at times difficult to pinpoint in the way most desirable. It is actually when the astrological indications for an issue are
either extremely favorable or unfavorable that startling predictions are made. In such instances the predictive process is, not simple but, as only one practicing the system could know, almost
child's play. In summation, Hindu astrology excels in delineating events and circumstances in a person's life. It does this exceedinly well but not always simply, clearly, and dramatically. And
like anything else the system is neither a panacea nor, as practiced thus far, an absolute full-proof means without error.
My First Taste of the Predictive Astrology of the Ancients
first encounter with Hindu astrology came in 1982 and was humorously brief but still enough to whet my appetite. It was not an actual appointment with a Jyotishi (Hindu astrologer). In fact I do
not know the extent of the man's experience or whether he was a practcing professional. The meeting came about through and Indian gentleman I met during my travels in India, who upon hearing of
my astrological inbterests, insisted that I see his friedn Rakesh. I accepted the offer and eventually found myself in a casual discussion with a man who shared the same love for ehavenly language.
Eventuallys he asked for my birthchart and I explained taht I had one drawn in the Western method but not the Hindu method. He said there was no problem and began transposing my round Western chart into
the square-shaped Indian chakra as it is called. The main difference in the blueprints lies in the fact that the Hindus use a real zodiac (called sidereal) while Westernners use a somewhat symbolic
zodiac (called tropical).
Without belaboring technicalities, a brief explanation may be given. A zodiac is an imaginary sphere encircling the heavens, inside which the Sun, Moon, and planets
travel in their orbits. The sphere is 360 degrees in circumference and is divided into twelve equal parts called zodiac signs. When people speak of these zodiac signs (i.e., Libra, Gemini, Leo,
etc.) what they really mean is a particular cluster of stars. The cluster is stationary and forms a kind of backdrop to the orbiting planets, the Sun, the Moon. Each sign or group of stars encompasses
thirty degrees of the zodia. Thus, statements such as "my Sun is in Taurus" or "my Sun sign is in Taurus" means that the group of stars called Taurus formed the backdrop of the
Sun on the day of that person's birth. When one says "my Moon is in Pisces" it means trhat the group of stars named Pisces formed the backdrop of the Moon on the day of that pewrson's
birth. Such statements are, however, unspecifif since each sign comprises thirty degrees of space while the planet or luminary ooccupies only a particulkar degree of a sign. In other words, a
heavenly body may be anywhere in the beginning, middle, or end of a sign. The Sun, for example, moves approximately one degree per day. Therefore, a person born on October first may have his or her Sun
in the beginning of Libra, say the seventh degree, while someone born on October twenty-second may have the Sun in the thirtieth degree just preceeding Scorpio, the following sign.
differnce between the sidereal and the tropical zodiacs is that one takes into account what is known as the precession of the equinox while the other does not. The "precession of the equinox"
is a slight movement of teh earths's axis. The movement is so small that it amounts to only one dgree every sevety-two years. However, over hundreds of thousands of years the figure adds up and
significantly affects the zodiac. Specifically what is affected is the determinbation of the beginning point of the zodiac-- the first degree of Aries. In other words, the point in space called one
degree of Aries say 500 years ago is not to be located in the exact same place today because of the gradual precession taking place. That starting point would not actually be found in a different
constelation. Of the two zodiacs it is the sidereal that considers the precession crucial and takes the calculations of the movement into account. The sidereal zodiac is tehrefore a more accurate, or
scientifically correct, or "real" zodiac. The Western system, on the other hand, employs the tropical zodiac which ignores the movement of precession as if it did not exist. The tropical
zodiac is therefore considered more symbolic in nature .
Though many wonder how two astrological methods could be so different and still produce accurate results, the problem is not complex. The
answer is the sidereal of real zodiac reveals the actual events and circumstances of one's destiony while teh Western symbolic method represents the psychology, potantials and bahavior patterns
of the person. To be fair it must be acknowledges thta both systams are capable of delineating both event and psychology. But the Hindu system so greatly exceeds the Western one in predictive accuracy
and the Western method so excels in revealing the internal stste of the person that, realistically, the two systems fulfill two differnet purposes.
Having transposed my Western birthchart
to the Hindu chakra by a few simple calculations Rakesh spoke to me. He saw that my life had gone through great changes just a few years earlier. he said that between 1973 and 1980 I had bee extremely
spiritually oriented, and yet quite absorbed in married life. But since 1980 my direction had been different. he explained that from then on I was more concerned with career, which he said was
dedicated to dealing with society and influencing the public. These years would also bring a great deal of accomplishment in owrldly activities but no so much peace of mind. Indeed, the years bewteen
1980 and 1998 he said would be characterized by "insaitible worldly desires." And that the first and last few years of the period were likely to be painful due to the loss of loved ones
and general hardships.
Now Rakesh was getting somewhere. He was certainly describing the dynamic of this part of my life. It was a fact that my spiritual activities and relationship with my wife
began in 1973 as he noted. His simplke analysis of the immediate past few years was right on target. Not only was iy true that the beginning of the period mentioned brought on great changes and
divorce. But those events were followed, only a few months later, by my father's death-- a very painful affair. Further it was during that same year that I awoke to a sense of destiny about my life
as a teacher. Since that time I had left Boston and my retail business in search of a spirituall-directed career that could affect society in a more menaingful way. So Hindu atrology was clearly a
body of knowledge to be reckoned with. Nowhere in my studies of the Western system had I come across a way of uncovering the specific focus of a person's life for such long periods of time. Rakesh
had dissected my life into about six or seven distinctly different periods, although he only told me about two of them, the ones relevant for now. I was intrigued.