Astrology? Really? Why (not)?

हरि सर्वोत्तम । वायु जीवोत्तम | श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः

Just after watching the wondrous astronomical phenomenon of a total solar eclipse (8 Apr ’24), a popular debate came back to mind: Is Astrology real or a hack? Is it founded on analytic basis or is it a pseudo-science? More importantly, is it useful?

Consider the following:

  • Our weather system is NOT random since it follows the laws of the universe – therefore theoretically predictable
    • Note: In general, “random” only means WE cannot understand or model things well enough
  • However, weather IS chaotic in nature so even the best predictions will have errors
  • The system is very complex with large number of variables and inter-dependencies so difficult to model
  • Modeling is largely based on observed data and heuristics as we learn more about this system
  • The accuracy of prediction depends on expertise and experience of the weather-person – even their intuition and frame of mind as they are human
  • So predictions, even though much improved over time, are still only guidances and not guarantees.
  • Forecasts are intentionally pessimistic to help prepare the audience for the worst-case, e.g. tornado, hail etc.
  • Overall, NOTHING any of us can do can change the weather – what will be will be!
  • But  given guidance ahead of time, depending on our own preferences and priorities, we can choose to carry an umbrella, wear warm clothes, time our travel, etc. – or not.

Just re-reading the above points replacing Weather/Weather-person with  Astrology/Astrologer gives us a useful analogy to build on.

An additional complexity Astrology deals with is that while the weather is substantially the same for all in a particular region, Astrologers have to account for each individual being affected very differently by the same phenomenon.

In fact for important predictions, the time of the analysis and even the horoscope of the Astrologer would have to be taken into account. This is why weekly horoscopes and even computers/website predictions which are generalized are rudimentary and should not be taken seriously.

In re: the use of horoscope matching for marriage alliances, again this could be useful in a general guidance sense but for the same reasons mentioned above should not become blockers for rejecting otherwise good matches. In fact, this was arguably more useful in yesteryears when alliances were finalized between families when their children were young with potential problems and uncertainties looming. This aspect is not as relevant today given alliances are between mature adults who know their interests and likes clearly and are usually financially independent with active careers. While guidance from astrology – and inputs from experienced elders and wellwishers – can help, they want to, and will, decide for themselves.

It is important to acknowledge the universe moves on under the unseen hand of our Lord the Maker – the only real Independent entity. While we are dependents we have also been given some limited freedom of choice (दत्त स्वातन्त्र्य) which we should use wisely.

So, with Astrology as an input – just as with any other – if taken as guidance and motivation with proper context and introspection for positive purposes, we can make good personal choices based on our preferences and priorities – all feeding back to Karma accounting of course.

An underlying assumption is that the Astrologer is objective and not motivated by making money via so-called “Parihaara” or Redemption-from-Sin rituals – something that is in-grained in many cultures and traditions. The reality is that such con men in the guise of wellwishers have been around for millenia in every culture, and in many professions. In any case, even if recommended by a genuine Astrologer, performing rituals based only fear or “to be safe” has no benefit because such Karma does not accrue positively.

Instead, consider the many genuine ways of overcoming Astrological difficulties prescribed by Shaastra-s, i.e. chanting Vishnu Sahasranaama, Hari Vayu Stuti and other traditional stotra-s, doing Japa/Homa, giving Daana/Charity etc. All these are anyway सत्कर्म for us to further our self-development – so why not  just be motivated do these good deeds? In fact, do them all the time, in which case there is no cause to worry anyway!

So in conclusion, as with weather, que sera serawhat will be will be in life also. Taken properly, Astrological guidance can help us be prepared for challenges and reduce the impact on us by pointing us in a good Kaarmic direction. After all, irrespective of one’s tradition or religious beliefs the Karma accounting system is the fundamental operational basis of the Universe – and we can optimize our balance sheet by maximizing performance of good deeds.

On this auspicious day of Yugaadi 2024, may क्रोधि नाम सम्वत्सर bring in peace and prosperity with Lord क्रोधहा क्रोधकृत्कर्ता Veera Venkatesha/Narasimha helping us defeat all evils, within and without!

/Raghunath Rao/ “Do your Best … and leave the Rest … “

(All mistakes mine – all credit to Gurus and Acharyas )

|| sarvaṁ śrī kṛṣṇārpanamastu ||