Horoscopes and Predictive Astrology
Bala N. Aiyer

Namaskaram. A mail was recently forwarded to me that was questioning the various stands taken by Navyasashtra in referrence to the actions taken by families of Sri Amitabh Bhachan and Miss Aishwarya Roy, and news of a marriage to a Banana Tree based of Horoscope predictions of Mangalik problems. The main question that was in all our thoughts was "Is it a correct stand for Navyashastra to give any opinion about the traditions and customs practised by Hindus in their own family, especially is it correct for a Hindu organization to oppose a traditional Hindu Religious practice based on the so-called "Vedic Astrology".


There are two ways of looking at it.


1. As an individual, one may express and will be able express any opinion. But, in this, a proper opinion should be that we must accept and honor the customs and traditions of individual and families according their own family traditions and norms they follow according to their own Hindu Dharma belief system they follow. So long as such a belief, faith or practice if followed in their family without affecting the life or honor of another individual or life form and without affecting another person's personal rights and beliefs, we are open to follow the faith and traditional practice in any way we feel comfortable. We must honor and accept all traditions and customs practised based on the teachings of the Hindu religious texts including the Vedas, Agamas and other such religious books. Hindu Dharma, is different from Western religious belief systems in that there is no set Dogma or a directive for every faith and belief and it allows several ways and beliefs of faith to be practiced - from Vedantha of Gnyanis, Nirguna Brahma worship in Sathvika Bhakthi of learned ones and Smartha, Saiva and Vaishnava traditions with worship of various forms of manifestations of the Supreme as Ishta Devatha of Rajasika Bhakthi to the blind faiths in village Devathas by Tamasika worshippers. We should honor, accept and allow these variations with equal respect. It is very important to tolerate and accept the variations in our traditions as Hindus and allow each one to practice according to one's own spiritual development and belief, so long as it does not affect others. This is the greatness of Hindu Dharma as compared to the dogmatic teachings of Western Faiths.


2. As an organization, school of thinking or as a Religious movement to reform or reeducate the true forms of Hindu Dharma to gain the greater welfare of the communities at large we may need to think beyond these individual rights and opinions. We need to express opinion to correct the wrong traditions and habits as weeds to be removed for a better yield of the natural faith in the community. Here we need to analyze what is truly part of the Hindu Dharma and its teachings, including the Vedas, Agamas and other such religious texts and their proper interpretations. Then, there are the social and traditional rules and certain customs of society added later which are bound to change or need to be changed as the customs and traditions of the society changes according to the time. There are many social practices and traditions followed by various segments of the Hindu communities which are not really of a Religious tradition according to the teachings in the Vedas, Agamas or any true religious texts, but added on leter but conveniently given a religious name as Vedic Tradition. This is exactly the way Navya Sashtra is organized and is working for - to uphold the traditions of true Hindu Dharma as given in the Vedas and Agamas and religious texts and accept only those traditions and rules of laws as in Shastras which are properly interpreted and followed according to the time and place of the community, so as to uphold the dignity of the individual and give equal rights and privileges for all Hindus to follow and practice all their traditions and teachings.


In this, various rules were introduced by social leaders and kings over the years, giving preferential treatments for some segments of the society and thus depriving the other community in their legitimate aspirations to knowledge and benefits of the practice of Hindu Dharma. This has caused lot of harm to the Dharma itself rather than the individuals and has given benefits to the spread of alternate faiths and beliefs. In this, we need to get the proper interpretations of the teachings of Vedas and Agamas, especially the rules based on in-born abilities, individual aspirations and birth based rights, working in such a way, as not to rock the boat that sails but correct the course. This will, in fact, strengthen the followings of true Hindu Dharma, benfit every one as it will uphold the true Dharma.


Now, we have a question if the present mind set on reading of horoscopes and predictive astrology as in Jyothisha as practiced today itself is correct, and if it has any sanctions in the ancient teachings of Vedas and Agamas. People who believe in them may still say yes, blindly. One may have to allow them to their belief. But, if community leaders, role-models and other such leaders say that, swinging the general opinions on such customs in their favor, it becomes important for our organizations like Navyashastra, RSS, VHP, LDSFT and such organization should raise the objections. Many blind rituals and traditions, including prayer services to village deities, animal sacrifices and such other traditions among the illiterate villagers and tribal communities could be left alone as Tamasika Bhakthi practices and try to teach proper Hindu dharma to such villagers to gain true spiritual realization. But, such strange traditions as practiced by educated and spiritually realized individuals must be questioned. We need to always analyze what are the traditions of such practices that affect the society.


If such a practice affects the society or other members of the community, then we need to question them and fight against them. Such is our fight against Sati, treatment of widows, birth based denial of privileges for training and practice of the Vedic teachings and rights to perform rituals based on gender and jaathi need to be corrected. Practices which involve only their family and individual can be left alone so long as such practices do not harm or insult the communities or future generations. Certain practices which has come into our society from outside which is causing a social havoc, and assumes the name of Vedic acceptance by the orthodox community as part of Hindu tradition must be objected to by all. One such thing is predictive astrology in the name of Jyothisha based on nine planets, reading of the individual's future.


If we see the Vedas, there is mention of Jyothisha as a Vedanga. But, in a true sense according to many well versed pandits in Vedas, Jyothisha is a study of Astronomy, explaining the position of Sun, Moon, and Stars and it is not astrology. Thithis are the 14 faces of the moon; we calculate years and months by Solar position or Lunar face or the 27 stars or special stars in Puranas. There has been no special mention of any PLANETS - nine or twelve nor any mention of the twelve raasis like Caprocorn or Gemini, or Mithunam, Katakam anywhere. It looks like, the horoscope reading of the past or the future predictions based on the planets' position at birth or current has been a long standing custom of the Greeks or Yavanas who were mentioned in our Puranas as Mlechhas.


So, even for those who swear by accuracy the predictive Astrology of by such Jyothishis or astrologers like BV Raman or such predictions told and followed by their own grandfather, we need to mention that Horoscope reading is from the Greek and are not Vedic Hindu Dharma. Then, again, with powers of pooja and meditation, a Hindu may get certain amount of yogic powers of their words in that they can mention some past and future without any reference to the horoscope of the nine planets [this is called power of words - the words they mention often materialize and has nothing to do with the planets in horoscope - I am always afraid of asking them] - but usually they do not give any Parihara or solution to avoid the effects - which is a fraud on our intelligence. Then they will say, it depends on Janya time and not the time of birth. - Who knows that!! If any of us mediate regularly, we can also make accurate predictions. I know several people who can do that. This has nothing to do with horoscope, raasi, birth star or mangalik.


To read into Aishwarya's horoscope for Mangalik and doing a marriage to a Banana by an intelligent and educated individual is**............ Navyashastra took the right stand of objecting, in a way educating people, criticizing a well known family of role models performing acts like milechas or Tamasikaas stting up a wrong precedent for the ignorant and innocent public.


Often, in the past centuries, when child marriage was common, for a 7 year old girl and a 12 year old boy when people who did not know the compatibility or the future, people went to this route. In modern times, for bride and groom past the age of consent that is often past the age of 21 years, they all know about their personal likes, dislikes and compatibility, the very fact that the boy and girl like each other shows that there is divine agreement on compatibility. There is no need for a Horoscope or a soothsayer.


There is also a similar craze about the Vasthu Saashtra for house, offices, and buildings; people are predicting too many things - which is again a Chinese habit that people are holding on - that is a different topic. Horoscope, Planetary Jyothisha and Vasthu, though very popular and some are very attached to the beliefs, are not of Hindu Vedas in origin.


For topics on Hindu Dharma, especially about various forms of Bhakthi or devotion that I have quoted here, please visit my website and see related articles in: http://www.us-hindus.com .


For the benefit of people questioning my conclusion, I am including a part of mails I got from a Kashmiri Pandit - Avtar Krishen Kaul - as it appeared in "Hindu Civilization"- and in yahoo group mails. There are 62 pages of articles if any one is interested.


With best regards and Namaskaram,
Bala N. Aiyer


Letter forwarded to me on: 16 Feb 2007


"Natu M. Patel" <natupatel2@netzero.net> wrote:

Thank you for the directive to press release. I have already read it and read it in local newspaper publications too. What I am seeking is the premise on which you base the objections. This will go long way in my effort to support your stand and explaining to Hindu devotees of Santana Dharma Temple in Southern California, why they should not get involved in astrological predictions etc. Please do not dance around this issue. Just simply send me your rational and the premise on which it is based. It is important to support the rhetoric's with substance. Please oblige.

Best Wishes, Always.
Natu Patel

From: Natu M. Patel,
Redondo Beach. CA 90278


Response to my explanation


From: Natu M. Patel, 20Feb 2007

Respected Aiyer ji,


Thank you very much for he response to my query.
It is important explanation and as we all struggle for righting the
understanding of Hinduism information like what you provide is very
useful. I appreciate your time and devotion in helping me on this matter.
Best Wishes, Always.

Natu Patel

Please see below: attached excerpts from articles by Pandit Avtar Kishen Kaul.

Excerpts: Article Submitted by jyotirved on Sat, 2006-04-22 12:54. -->
"Vedic Astrology" - the greatest fraud on the Vedas!
Avtar Krishen Kaul


Kashmiri Pandits are as addicted to Patri Melapak (Tekini milnavuni) as anybody else! Besides, there is hardly anyone, even if he does not know ABC of jyotish, who does not want to know as to when his "badsharwar" (sade-sati) will start or end etc. etc. I have gone through all those pangs myself and made a thorough study of all the astrological works besides a lot of astronomical books! I even studied Western system of astrology and had become a "famous" astrologer, though my predictions were as correct as anybody else's i.e. hardly 50%. However, this is a secret that no other "jyotishi" shares with anybody - which his /her predictions are hardly more correct than fifty per cent, whatever logic or Ayanamsha he may use! When I analyzed the reasons for such a dismal rate of success/failure, the conclusions were startling! And I am keeping those very conclusions before you! I have been asked very often whether I would prefer Western system of predictions to the Indian system or vice-versa! To arrive at any conclusions about such a discussion, we have to bear the following facts in our minds:


1. Whether Indian or Western, no system of predictions has any sanction either from the Vedas or even Puranas least of all our dharmashastras etc.


2. All our shastras admonish us from consulting "nakshatra jeevis" so much so that the Manusmriti calls these nakshatrajeevis as outcastes and not fit to sit in any sabha of learned people.


3. The Manusmriti advises that "The king must keep a watch on his kingdom like a heron and act with prowess like a lion" --- nowhere has he advised to consult some soothsayer before undertaking any activity!


4. All the Ramayanas, whether Valmiki or Adhyatma or Ramacharitamanasa etc. etc. say that before deciding about the coronation of Bhagwan Rama, Dashratha wanted his guru Vasishtha to find some suitable muhurtas for that function. It was on the advice of Bhagwan Vasishtha that Dasharatha decided to anoint the Yuvraja the very next day, as it was "Tishya" then. It is clear that either Vasishtha Muni did not know as to what was going to happen to Dasharatha by declaring Bhagwan Rama as crown-prince or he kept quiet deliberately since he did not want to interfere in the divine dispensation! Obviously, being the son of Brahmaji and being a highly exalted yogi as well as jnyani, Vasishtha-muni could peep into past as well as future. It means that even if some exalted souls can foresee as to what is going to happen, they do not reveal our "bhavishya" before hand, unlike the breed of astrologers of today, who masquerade as "Paasharas" and "Vamadevas" to tell us even our past and future janmas just by glancing at our birth-charts, even if those charts are fundamentally incorrect.

5. Almost all the jyotishis suggest one or the other remedial measure to their clients, and mostly these are in the form of various gems. What is surprising is that we have become so dimwitted that we forget our entire itihasa of our past!
(i) Why was Dasharatha not suggested some "ruby" or "coral" to ward off the evil Dasha that was going to kill him when Rama would leave for the forests? Because our Rishis were not greedy to have claimed to cheat deaths by just making him buy some gems!
(ii) Bhagwan Krishna was born in a prison --- I wonder why He could not use some "sapphire" to take birth in a palace!
(iii) Vasudeva and Devaki---the parents of Bhagwan Krishna--- were in chains when He was born! It is said that Lord Krishna was a complete - 16 kala sampoorna --- divine incarnation of Vishnu and was thus really Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient!

He could loosen the chains of His mother as well as father while taking birth in a prison! He could make all the guards of Kansa's prison fall asleep while being taken out of prison by Vasudeva! He demonstrated His Omnipotence by making Yamuna recede while Vasudeva was carrying Him to Gokul from Mathura! He guided Vasudeva on his way back from Gokul to Mathura in a dark night full of torrential rains and storms! The guards remained asleep till Vasudeva entered the prison after bringing Yogamaya from Mathura with him! It all shows that Krishna was really Omnipotent! But then the moment Vasudeva was back in prison, his fetters were again gridlocked automatically! Same was the case with Devaki! Both Devaki and Vasudeva remained in fetters till Kansa was killed by Krishna! What does it demonstrate?


Just the fact that if the Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnipotent Krishna could not ameliorate the miseries of His own father or mother before the appointed time, how can a ruby or a sapphire---or some Mangala or Shani yagya--- remove all our miseries or give us a Union Minister's seat! Obviously, we are being taken for a ride by such Jyotishis!


Then not in the distant past, Smt. Indira Gandhi would run after astrologers for knowing her future. She had a rare and original ekamukhi rudraksha, which only either the Maharaja of Nepal had or she was wearing! It is said that some top-notch jyotishis had suggested that rudraksha to her! Ironically, both the King of Nepal as well Mrs. Indira Gandhi were assassinated "by the people" they "had trusted" ekamukhi rudraksha not withstanding! What does it prove? That we should not be hoodwinked by soothsayers! Then again a well known Tantrik of yore---highly respected by the then PM--- is out on bail, not by dint of his "Tantra-Kriya" but because of some legal loopholes in FERA! Dhirendra Brahmachari, another high profile "Tantrik", met with an accident in the plane he was flying himself! If he could not see his own death looming large how could he forewarn others!


6. The Gita is said to be the gist of all our shastras. When Arjuna expressed his doubt about whether Pandavas would win or lose the battle, Bhagwan Krishna neither asked him to consult some soothsayer nor did He tell him to wear some ruby! On the other hand, He just advised him to fight and either get killed on the battlefield and go to heavens or win the battle to be the ruler of the entire earth! What does that prove? Obviously, it warns us against relying on any soothsayers, especially if they call themselves "Vedic Jyotishis" since they are taking us for a ride literally.


7. Yes, Bhagwan Ram did worship Shiva at the time of going to war at Rameshwaram but that was not to please Mangal or Shani, but to show respect to the divine trinity -- Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh---in this case Vishnu worshipping Shiva! Similarly, at the time of the Mahabharata war Arjuna was asked to worship Maha-Shakti but not to please Rahu or Ketu but to gain strength from his own ATMA-Shakti, in the form of Divine Shakti! The Gita is very clear "ye yatha mam prapadyante tanstathaiva bajameaham" -------- "I will 'worship' you in whatever way you worship Me".


8. There is no mention of any Rishi like Vasishtha or Garga or Brighu ever having written any works of predictive astrology in any of the Puranas. The Vishnu Purana by Parasharis is full of astronomical references ---and that also sayana i.e. the seasonal year when Mesha sankranti is another name of Spring Equinox and so on, but we do not find any mention of any Brihat Parasharis Hora Shastra there! Obviously, it is the worst concoction that can ever be had, and that is why it is the bible of "Vedic astrologers".


9. In India, we have started going downhill ever since our rulers started running after Jyotishis. In ancient days, during the time of Mahabharata, it was a dharma yudha that we had to fight against our own Duryodhanas but ever since the advent of astrology before the invasion of Alexander the Great, and with him the "Yavana Jatakam" of Sphujidwaja and the Surya Sidhanta of Maya the Yavana (mlechha!), we had to fight outsiders! The more the outsiders invaded us the more our rulers started consulting soothsayers whom they called Rajyajyotishis! (In those days jyotishis did not dare to call themselves Vedic Jyotishis since the general public then were not that illiterate about the Vedic principles as they are these days, thanks to Vedic Jyotishis!).


10. These monarchs wanted to know if at all their horoscopes indicated whether they would win or lose and for winning the battles, instead of making military preparations they just started wearing rubies and diamonds to ward off evil spirits!

For the benefit of additional discussion in this matter, I will write about the concept of the Supreme Paramthma, Avatharas,
the various Devathas and the beliefs in Angels, planets and raasis and their powers as a seperate article at a later time.
-- Thank you; -- Bala N. Aiyer