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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.

The reason 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

My 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.

Now  the 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.