SET UP A SUB-CENTRE
UNDER THE AUSPICES
THE DHARAM HINDUJA INTERNATIONAL CENTRE OF INDIC RESEARCH, DELHI (INDIA)
The purpose of this project Report is to present a case for setting up a sub-Centre of Astrological Research under the auspicies of the Dharam Hinduja International Centre of Indic Research, Delhi, in order to promote research in predictive sciences, with special reference to Astrology. In doing so, the scope of the report will cover general information about the work being done in the field of Astrology in the country as also a number of the important areas in which research needs to be conducted as soon as possible. The report will also refer to various predictive sciences other than Astrology. In addition, information will be furnished in respect of the status of Bhrigu Samhita and other Samhitas and Nadis in the country. A case will be presented for the promotion of research in these Samhitas and Nadis, considering their astrological value.
Since Astrology is also applied to the problems of health, agriculture, weather, natural calamities, etc., reference will be made to these applications and it will be shown that the proposed sub-Centre should also deal with these applications.
Finally, the report will suggest the minimum manpower needed for a small but effective pioneering sub-research Centre and will also suggest practical ways for the development of the sub-Centre. Financial estimates of the capital expenditure and recurring expenditure that will be needed at the initial stages will also be spelt out.
It is to be noted that Astrology has remained throughout the long history of India a living science and people have always consulted Astrologers for various purposes. It may also be mentioned that although there are marked differences between Indian Astrology and Western Astrology, it cannot be denied that the Western Astrology has been greatly influenced by the Indian Astrology. In recent times, the advances made in Western Astrology have influenced Indian Astrological thought also. Recent Astrological research in India has also made an impact upon Western Astrology.
It is worthwhile to note that the famous psychoanalyst Dr. Carl Jung declared that modern civilisation by ignoring astrology gains little and may be losing much by the contemptible treatment of an ancient art which defied a reasonable explanation.
Today, barring a few, most of our astrologers are engaged in other professions for their livelihood. If only we have an adequate number of scholars and financial resources to match, we can unravel some of those mysteries which still remain unexplained in the field of astrology.
During the last hundred years, a good deal of astrological literature has been published in different languages of the country. Most of these books contain copious references to the original texts such as Brihat Parasara, Hora, Jataka Chandrika, Brihat Jataka, Uttar Kalamrita (Kalidasa), Jaimini Sutram, Bhavarth Ratnakar and such other works. We may also refer to such important works as history of Indian Astrology by S.B. Dixit and some of the great works of Someshwar Shastri of Gujarat as also the works of Katwe of Maharastra. In addition, the vast literature produced by Dr. B.V. Raman on various aspects of Astrology has produced profound influence on the contemporary Indian Astrology, and his works have also been received warmly in the West.
In the West, too, a number of publications have come out during the last hundred years. Some of these works include: The case of Astrology by John West and John Toonder, Astrology and Science by Michel Ganquelin, Cosmic Cybernetics by Dr.Theodore Landschedit and Jupiter Effect by John Gribin and Stephen Plagemann.
Today, Astrology is being reassessed in Western scientific circles, but in India where Astrology is used widely, no serious attempts are made to restore the subject to its rightful place.
An important aspect of Indian life is that it celebrates a number of important days as special religious and spiritual significance. This significance is historically associated with astronomical and astrological considerations. As a result, Almanac plays a great role, and almost every Hindu family in India tries to possess a copy of an Almanac, which is consulted from time to time in various contexts. Unfortunately, Almanacs are not uniform in our country, and this causes a very serious problem to which our report will address itself in the course of its recommendations.
Astrology claims to derive its predictive value from the positions and relative movements of the Sun, the Moon and the Planets. The influences of these movements and positions are physical, biological and mental, individual and collective.
Observations extending over thousands of years of observers have gone to the making of Astrology as a science and art of prediction without parallel. It is, therefore, necessary that scientists should look upon Astrology with some degree of seriousness instead of rejecting the claims of Astrology without sufficient examination. Science claims to be rational in method. It collects facts and verifies them. It traces relations between facts, forms hypotheses of their togetherness and interaction. Then it draws conclusions tentatively. The critics of Astrology need to follow all these aspects of scientific methods before condemning Astrology. It is to be hoped that our Western oriented scientists will come to assess the scientific value and utility of this great national heritage. A fresh effort of astrological research is needed to create a favourable climate for re-assessment and re-establishment of astrology as a great science.
Astrology is a highly misunderstood subject. Some people associate Astrology with that class of subjects which goes under the name of occult, and it is believed to have been discredited by modern "enlightenment." And yet, if one asks the question as to on what grounds it has been discredited, one finds that one does not know these grounds at all. It can even be said that as a matter of fact, astrology has never been scientifically disproved. We may even go farther and say that no rational and valid ground has ever been advanced in rejecting it as a science or in treating it as a pseudo-science. There are, of course, several arguments being advanced which can be summarised as follows:
1. It is argued that astrologers are charlatans. This argument is a sweeping generalisation, and while it may be conceded that some or many astrologers may happen to be charlatans, it does not logically follow that astrology is a product of charalatans or that it is a mere matter of superstition.
2. The second argument is that many or most predictions have gone wrong. This statement, too, is an unscientific and unverified statement; it is too sweeping to merit serious consideration. Is it truly a fact that many or most predictions made by good astrologers have gone wrong? Is there a book or a well - documented statement where one can find authentic statements or predictions made by good astrologers, well recorded and duly verified which would substantiate the argument that they have gone wrong? The question is whether scientific inquiry has been conducted in this regard, and whether authentic documentation is available on this subject.
3. According to the third argument, the nature of things, the nature of the Universe, nature of planets is such that they cannot have any influence on our characters, lives and actions. Here, again, one would like to ask as to whether anybody has made a serious study of correlation of things in the Universe, and based upon any scientific study and verification of data, one has come to the conclusion that things in the world cannot have correlationship. It may be even said that there is nothing essentially irrational in the idea that the world is a system, that things in the world behave according to certain laws and that different laws have different kinds of correlations. What is irrational in postulating a hypothesis that in our solar system, which is closely linked together, there may be mutual influences of all the planets upon each other, or that the beings of a particular planet are powerfully influenced or even dominated by the influences from the others?. There is a view that reality is rational and rational is real. This would mean that totality of the Universe has within it rationality, and therefore, inter-connection of things in the Universe can legitimately be looked upon as a rational system. In what way and how far inter-relationship of things in the world affect each other is a matter of inquiry and investigation, and it would be irrational to announce in advance any kind of conclusion.
Those who have studied astrology thoroughly will affirm that the Universe and Planets not only affect our bodies but also our psychological being, or else they have some kind of parallelism. If matter and mind were entirely independent of each other, then such an affirmation cannot be sustained. But that is not the case. Even materialism maintains that mind is itself a product of matter and all its states and movements are determined by matter. Logically, therefore, there is nothing impossible in material bodies producing or indicating psychical conditions on the earth. Astrology, of course, goes farther to maintain that there is a reality of space and time or that there is space-time which determines the course of our lives and the state of our being.
Here, too, it would be irrational to reject this affirmation without due enquiry or investigation. Modern science has come to regard the whole Universe as space-time continuum, and relationship between matter and consciousness is now beginning to be considered as a subject of great significance. It is quite plausible that the Universe may be a psycho-physical field, and therefore, there may be some symbolic or real connections between the physical and the psychological.
All this, however, does not mean that we have established astrology as a science. What all this means is that there is as yet no scientific proof that astrology is not a science. In order that astrology is established as a science, we have, first of all, to ask whether there is sufficient prima- facie empirical case for inquiring into the actual truth of astrology.
It can be said that such a case exists. A number of empirical facts can be cited which indicate that 'Astrology is a worthy field of inquiry and that it is also essential and beneficial to humanity. At the same time, it may be admitted that empirical data have not yet been sufficiently documented in a scientific manner and it is high time that this task should be undertaken urgently. In this connection, we may refer to a statement from the writings of Sri Aurobindo where he has given a few data from his own experience. He writes as under:
"I may state my own experience in the matter in the belief, justified by many instances, that it is only typical of the experience of hundreds of others. My first accidental contact with an Indian astrologer was not encouraging. This gentleman was the most accomplished thought-reader I have ever seen; for he asked me to think my question without speaking it and not only successfully named the unspoken question I had fixed on, but three others which had crossed my mind, one of them only in the merest flash and without leaving any impression behind : this he pretended to do by mathematical calculation, an operation which I took leave to regard as humbug or professional parade. For when it came to his answers, I found that he was still doing thought-reading and not astrology; he simply echoed the hopes or thoughts in my mind and his predictions did not come within one hundred miles of the truth. Other practitioners I have found to belong, a few plainly to the class of mere flattering charlatans, but most to the inefficient who read by rule of thumb and have made no profound study of their science.
On the other hand, with capable astrologers the results have been often of such a remarkable accuracy as to put quite aside any possibility of chance hit, mere coincidence, intelligent prevision or any of the current explanations. I may instance the father of a friend of mine, a deep student of the science but not a professional, who predicted accurately the exact year, month, day, hour and even minute of his own death. In my own case accuracy was hampered by the inability to fix the precise moment of my birth; still some of the results were 'extraordinary. Two may be mentioned, from one and the same astrologer, which related to my public career. One, given when I had not yet plunged into the political vortex and my then obscure personality was quite unknown to the astrologer, predicted as an inevitable certitude of the future a political struggle with powerful non-Indian adversaries during which for a time even my life would fall under the shadow of danger. The other, given at the time of my first prosecution in the Bande Mataram case, predicted three successive criminal trials in each of which the prosecution would fail. I may instance also two predictions by the book in which Slokas from Sanskrit astrological writings indicating the result of certain conjunctions or planetary positions were shown to be applicable to my horoscope. One foretold specific chronic illnesses for the body of which there was no sign at the time, but long afterwards they put in their unexpected appearance and persisted. Another indicated very precisely that one of my future activities would be to found a new spiritual philosophy and its discipline; at that time I had no knowledge of philosophy or Yoga and no turn or inclination in my mind which could make the realisation of this prediction at all probable. These are only the most precise examples out of a number. Supposing all well- authenticated evidence of the kind to be collected, I am convinced there would be an overwhelmingly strong prima facie case and even a body of sufficiently strong empirical proof to establish at least a nucleus of truth in astrology."
Sri Aurobindo also adds as follows:
"An acceptance of the truth of astrology would not necessarily carry with it a complete determinism of Fate or mechanical law of Karma. In the Indian theory at least there is room for a determination by human will and endeavour, for Fate is mainly a determination by past action and a new will and action can cancel it; only a very strong Karma is imperative and irreducible. Even that may possibly be cancelled if one can enter into the freedom of spiritual consciousness. One instance at any rate came to my knowledge in which the life had corresponded exactly with the pre-indications of the horoscope so long as the subject remained in the world but, as soon as he left it for a spiritual life, there was no longer any correspondence."
Fortunately, some of the Western Astrologers have already started collecting thousands of horoscopes and analysed them according to their own system and declare results dispassionately. A similar effort has to be made in India too. Recently, Indian Council of Astrological sciences has been established under the inspiration of Dr. B.V.Raman, and one of the objects of his Council will be to collect empirical data and to develop programmes of training and research in Astrology. But the work is so gigantic that it should be shared by a number of research centres and a number of astrologers should be invited to work for the promotion of research in this field. We find that a few astrologers in India have their own small bank of documentation in respect of empirical data, but there is no coordination among them, and therefore, they remain scattered. It is also necessary to lay down certain uniform formats for collection of data and for their classification. Great care should be taken to indicate precisely the evidence in support of the data so that their authenticity cannot be questioned. Not only positive but also negative instances should be enlisted. What is needed is a true scientific attitude and rigorous adherence to scientific methods.
There exists in India a considerable literature which is called Samhita or Nadi literature. The word Samhita is applied to the collection of the mantras of the Vedas, and Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda constitute the Vedic Samhitas. But apart from the Vedic Samhitas there are many samhitas connected with Vedangas and Upavedas. Among the Vedangas, Jyotisha, and among the Upavedas, Ayurveda are considered to be prominently important. For this reason, we find that the works of Charak and Sushruta are called Charak Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, respectively, and in regard to Astrology or Jyotisha, that literature which was supposed to have been written or composed by means of Divine Vision came to be called Samhitas. This is why the literature written by Bhrigu and others came to be known as Samhitas. Some of the famous names for Samhitas which are connected with Jyotisha are : Bhrigu Samhita, Kapila Samhita, Nadi Samhita, Parashara Samhita, Kashyap Samhita, Kuber Samhita, Karaka Bhujander-Nadi, Dhruva Nadi, Sparsh Nadi, Nandi Nadi, Kaushik Nadi, Shukra Nadi, Agastya Nadi, Bhim Nadi, Kumar Nadi, Devkeraliam and Kaushik Chintamani. Many of these Samhitas or Nadis are no more available. Nadi literature is often in Tamil or Telugu scripts; many Samhitas such as Bhrigu Samhitas are in Devnagari scripti in regard to many Samhitas, the language is Sanskrit, most of the Nadi literature is written on palm leaves, whereas many of the Samhitas are written on hand-made paper of ancient type. The methods of consulting Bhrigu Samhita and some other Samhitas or Nadi works are of different kinds. Each Samhita or Nadi consists of thousands of pages, and they contain innumerable horoscopes which have been arranged according to some kind of system, and the system of each Samhita or Nadi seems to be quite different.
One has to identify by some method as to which particular horoscope in the Samhita refers to which particular client who wants to know about himself or herself. In some of the Samhitas, horoscopes are listed and described in appropriate figures with some kind of chronological sequence. On one side, a horoscope is described; on the other side, the reading of the horoscope is described. The client has to bring his/her own horoscope so that that horoscope is to be compared with the horoscope which is given in the Samhita or Nadi. On arriving at identification of the two, the reading is made available to client. In some of these volumes, each page has a specific number. Some times, these numbers go beyond fifty digits. On which page the client's horoscope will be found is a difficult task, but the identification is done by asking the client to name any god, river, fruit or flower on the spot, and depending on the answers given by the client, the letters which make the names of the concerned god, river, etc. are calculated by giving to each letter of the words a specific number according to a system. The sum total of the numbers indicated by the letters of the words of the god, river, etc. gives the number of the page on which the client's horoscope or the horoscope of the moment of the question put by the client is to be found along with the reading of the same. This is a surprising method, but there is no doubt that this method is applicable with successful results. In regard to some other books, the client is asked to stand in sunshine and then his shadow is measured.
The measurement of the shadow is then interpreted according to arithmetical system, and in the light of the results obtained the page connected with the client is identified. In regard to many Nadi volumes, there are some other methods. Very often, they do not refer to the natal horoscope or the horary horoscope, but to the Yogas or "Amshas" which are referred to and identified.
In the Samhita literature, reading is in the form of a dialogue between two important personages. In Bhrigu Samhita, we have dialogues between Bhrigu and Shukra, in Ravana Samhita, the dialogue is between Ravana and Meghanada, in Arun Samhita, the dialogue is between Surya and Aruna, in Kapalani Samhita, the dialogue is between Shiva and Parvarti, in Satya Samhita, the dialogue is between Satya and Manittha, in Kaushik Samhita, the dialogue is between Kaushik and Vishwamitra.
There is a Vedic tradition that a chief characteristic of a Rishi is that he is able to stand above the phenomenal world of Space and Time, and even while transcending Space-Time, and because of that, he is able to comprehend the entire Time-Space sequences, as a result of which he is able to see directly what ordinary human beings call past, present and future. The Rishis, therefore, were called Trikalajnas. It appears that some of these Rishis who wanted to help the future generations happened to perceive long time-sequences in certain moments of their exalted condition of Divine Vision and described to their disciples the past, present and the future of a number of individuals and gave out specific guidelines for them which they would need at critical points of their lives. These records constitute the Samhitas or Nadi literature.
It is notable that Varahamihira, the greatest author after Veda Vyasa has not mentioned anything about the Jyotish Samhita literature. There are many speculations as to why Varahamihira has not referred to this literature in his great works. It is argued by some that Varahamihira has mentioned the names of many after whom Samhitas are known, like Atri, Bhrigu, Kashyap, Manittha, etc. Secondly, it is argued by some that while pure Astrology demands of the astrologer a good deal of mathematical knowledge, the reading of the Samhita or Nadi Shastra does not require of the concerned astrologer any such knowledge. That would mean that resort to Samhita literature would encourage people to give up arduous labour that is involved in acquiring mathematical knowledge. It is, therefore, contended that Varahamihira in order to prevent this kind of tendency, refrained from referring to Nadi Shastra or Samhita Shastra of which he seems to have been very much knowledgeable. It is also argued that there was advocacy of secrecy in respect of Samhita Shastra or Nadi Shastra, and efforts were continuously made to keep these Shastras secret so that the knowledge contained therein would be made available only to those who were in real need. This was to prevent vulgarisation of this precious literature. This could also be one of the reasons why Varahamihira did not refer to Samhita Shastra or Nadi Shastra. Finally, it is argued that because this literature was not publicised by Varahamihira, the foreign conquerors, who often indulged in burning or destroying huge literatures connected with India and Indian knowledge did not try to locate Samhita literature because it was not generally known. Thus, this literature remained unhurt at the hands of the foreign conquerors. It is argued that Varahamihira must have felt that his not mentioning Samhita literature in his books would help the protection and preservation of the Samhita literature.
The above arguments may be convincing or may not be convincing, but the fact remains that considerable literature on Samhita and Nadi is even today available in India, and although all the volumes are not of equal value, there are certainly some which are surprisingly revealing and which are extremely helpful.
The Samhita/Nadi literature consists of three main points : useful or relevant information about the past births of the client, the intensity of perplexity of the client of the moment at which the client is seeking knowledge from the Samhita/Nadi; and prediction of the future. Not all predictions come true; but many of them come true. There are even surprising pieces of information which are reportedly found to be correct. Information regarding missing individuals, diagnosis of diseases, means of cure, names of medicines, etc. are often found in those Samhitas, and there are reports that information on all these matters has to be found to be useful. Accounts of the past births and connections of past births with the present birth have also been found useful.
The following statements made by Dr. B.V. Raman in one of his addresses, which refer to Samhita/Nadi Granthas are very important:
"My first experience with the Nadis began in the year 1935, when I met Mudaliar gentleman at Madras, who possessed the Markandeya Nadi. I have subsequently seen and examined Agastya Nadi, Vashishtha Nadi, Vishwamitra Nadi, Budha Nadi, Jaimini Nadi, Sukra Nadi, Guru Nadi, Suka Nadi and scores of others. I have seen very few Samhitas the notable ones being Bhrigu Samhita and Aruna Samhita...
"In the last days of his life, the well-known astrologer and astronomer C.G. Rajan who was in financial distress gave me three hand- written volumes of Satya Nadi suggesting the availability of the remaining ones in a library. They have been acquired by me and I am engaged in the process of translating them into English. The peculiarity of this work is that in regard to each horoscope discussed, the conception Lagna (Adhana), Lagna at the time of the appearance of the head (Sirodaya) and the lagna when the child and mother become independant entities ( Bhupatana) are all to be considered for prediction.
"In actual practice only the Bhupatana Lagna is considered. The Grantha also says that Sage Vashishtha reveals the future, the past by Garga, and the present by Jayamuni. The hints thrown are also valuable.
"In the years 1950-54 the late Mr. Gunjur Narayan Sastry used to visit me or I would visit him frequently as it seems the Nadi in his possession had directed him to reveal the "secrets of Mantra Nadi" to me. The notes I have taken from Guru Nadi readings run to about 16 note-books of 200 pages each. But none of the future predictions was ever fulfilled. The gist of my notes relevant to the present occasion was the correctness of the forecasts depended upon the intensity of the rituals performed and recitation of the Kshudra mantra, propitiating the Khusdra Devatha.
"On a particular day in 1954, and this was the day of our last meeting, Mr. Sastry gave a blank palm leaf to me from the Nadi bundle, and asked to close my eyes for a while. When I opened my eyes, an amazing thing had happened. The leaf was full giving a reading in Kannada script. The same process was repeated, and the Kannada script was changed in a split second to Tamil script! It was surprising. Mr. Sastry read : 'This is the mystery of Nadis. This truth should be revealed only after 25 years.'
"As regards Samhitas, I have seen only two viz., Bhrigu Samhita and Aruna Samhita. The first Samhita astrologer I met was in Varanasi in the year 1938. I had an exhilarating experience. He revealed everything of my past till the time of consultation. The astrologer was aged about 80 years and his eye-sight was not so good. He gratified my curiosity by taking me to a dimly lighted room measuring about 10 x 12 feet and it was full of note books, which he said dealt with different lagnas. The Samhita said that I had a bright future and that I must consult the Samhita again in my 28th year. This was of course I could not do. About this time one Mr. Lall who was editing a monthly called 'Celestial Messenger' wrote to me that the Samhita astrologer was dead and that the manuscripts had been stolen.
"My experience with Aruna Samhita was not rewarding. In the 70's I used to visit Delhi two or three times in a year and stay each time for four or five days at the residence of Mr. Gulzarilal Nanda who was a good friend. The Samhita astrologer would meet us at Mr. Nanda's house and would read the latest political developments and also give brief forecasts of the country in the coming two or three months, hedged in with the instruction that some special remedial measures should be performed. The future predictions were not at all correct.
"Much research work has to be done in Tantra Nadis. They contain valuable information about Yogas, Dasa-Bhukti results and delineation of Bhavas, generally in conformity with classical cannons, but sometimes giving novel interpretations with examples.
"Even the Mantra nadis become important because of the wealth of information they provide on Ayurveda and Mantra Sastra."
The following statement from an address delivered by Shri Justice Rangnath Mishra, the then Chief Justice of India, is also very relevant:
"I know one gentleman who has in his possession text of the Bhrigu Samhita. On one occasion, during a personal meeting, he looked at my face and forehead. He asked for my date of birth. I remembered my ascendant, I remembered my Nakshatra (constellation). He wanted, however, the exact time of my birth. I said that I did not know. But after a few exercises, he fixed up the exact timing. And all that he said about me came true. By then, I was married. He indicated my wife's name, my mother's name, my father's name, and my two brothers' names; he indicated the horoscopes of my two sons who were yet to be born. He also indicated how the other things would happen, and indicated even that when I would give up my practice, my income would fall. He spoke of change of profession; he did not say that I would become a judge. He wrote many things. Then when I asked for further indications, he said he had predicted for the next 20 years and that after 20 years I should see him again. I never could go back to him. But I am a judge for the last 22 years."
Considering that this Samhita literature has been useful, and beneficial to many people in India, the possibility of multiplying and distributing this to benefit large sections of humanity can also be considered plausible, if the nature, extent and limitations of the knowledge contained in these Samhitas are studied and determined by adopting scientific methods. This task deserves urgent attention.
Search of the knowledge of the future has always been a prominent feature of human beings. Even scientific knowledge and natural sciences have been greatly inspired by the need of human beings to know in advance the likely course of future events. One of the hallmarks of scientific knowledge is its capacity to forecast the future and to guide the course of human life with the help of the knowledge that can be determined in regard to the future.
The Vedic tradition of knowledge affirms that the material universe is only an aspect of the totality of the phenomenal existence. The Veda distinguishes between seven layers of phenomenal existence at the top of which is the Transcendent Reality which has been described as "ekam sat" or as "ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti". The seven layers of phenomenal existence consist of "(i) prithvi, the physical principle, (ii) antariksha, the vital principle, (iii) dyau, the mental principle, (iv) swar, the truth principle, (v) ananda, the principle of bliss, (vi) chit, the principle of consciousness-force, (vii) sat, the principle of Being."
When we study Veda in depth, we find a detailed knowledge of these seven principles of existence and their relationship with the Transcendent One.
Astrology is derived from the Veda; it is, therefore, not confined merely to the study of principle of physicality, but attempts to go beyond into the study of principle of vitality, the principle of mentality, and many other principles which lie beyond the mind. But the focal point of astrology is the study of the human beings and the relationship of the human beings with the totality of the Universe with a view to guide human development towards its highest possible fulfilment. Astrology is basically an occult spiritual science; it has got its own axioms or postulates, its own theorems, its own methods of proof and its unique system of application. It has a great relationship with numerous disciplines of knowledge. Astrology requires expertise in material sciences and knowledge of ethics, religion, philosophy and profound acquaintance of human dealings with the world and various arts and crafts which have grown in the course of civilisation. Above all, since astrology is directly related to astronomy, the knowledge of astronomy is indispensable. Finally, since astronomy and astrology are closely connected with mathematical calculation of very complex character, knowledge of mathematics is also indispensable.
The assumption of astrology is that there is a surprising parallelism between the movements of heavenly bodies and the movements of human life on the earth. It is further observed that by calculating the past, the present and future movements of planets, the past, present and future development of specific human individuals can be ascertained. This may seem surprising, but if the world is a holistic system, and if the whole world is a world of harmonious interconnections, the mystery regarding astrology can to a great extent be reduced.
The interesting question that can be raised is whether there is parallelism only between the heavenly bodies and human life or whether there are such other parallelisms also in the world. And it would be natural to think that there can be many kinds of parallelism and that there should be continuous search on the part of the human beings to discover various kinds of parallelism, determine their inter-relationships and derive the maximum possible benefit that can be made available from this study.
In India, as elsewhere, there have been various such studies of parallelism, and, on the basis of these studies, apart from astrology, various other predictive sciences have also developed.
One such science which is prominently known both in India and the West is that of Palmistry. The assumption behind palmistry is that the shape of palm, specific marks on the fingers and the palm, the nature of the nails, and the characteristics of elevated or depressed points on the palm are all significant, and they have direct parallelism with the nature, temperament and events that are or that were or will be connected with the concerned individual.
The argument of palmistry is that lines and marks on the palm are not accidental and fortuitous, since they are formed by the living vibrations of the physical and psychological complex of the individual. Palmistry has tried to determine the symbolism of lines and marks and other signs contained on the entirety of the palm.
Indian palmistry appears to have had a very long history, and it is considered to be a part of Samudrika Shastra. The Samudrika Shastra is a study of symbolism of the entire human body in an effort to read as fully as possible the character of the individual, as also latent potentialities of the individual. Physiognomy has been studied in detail. The characteristics of the hair on the skull, the elevation and depression of the skull, the size and shape of the forehead as also the lines on the forehead, the shape and thickness of the eyebrows, the quality and length of eyelashes, the colour of the eyeballs, the shape and size of the nose, the distance between the nose and the mouth, between shape, size and thickness or thinness of lips, and the length, breadth and sharpness of the chin as also the shape of the entire face, all these have been studied in minutest details and the language of these details have been studied and scientifically explained. "Man's fate is written on the forehead"; "man's the mirror of the soul"; "man's face is his character" these are some of the ripe adages of Samudrika Shastra. This Shastra makes a very special study of the moles on the body. The number of moles, the size of moles, the colour of moles, as also specific locations of these moles on different parts of the body seem to indicate a number of important features of individual character and destiny. The amount of hair on the human body is also considered an important criterion in the judgment of individual character. The size and length of the hands also seem to indicate the character and longevity of the individual. An important part of this study includes symbolism of marks and lines on the soles of the feet. Another important aspect of this Shastra covers details of the gait of walking, mode of sitting and various other characteristics of secret parts of the body. In the tradition of spiritual initiation, gurus are reported to be making use of Samudrika Shastra quite extensively while selecting disciples.
Study of palmistry and all other aspects of Samudrika Shastra have gained currency in the West also. The famous works of Cheiro and Benham have been widely studied in different parts of the world. In his works, Cheiro expounded his study of various palms and explained his interpretations and predictions, many of which were astonishingly sharp and correct.
There are many astrologers and palmists who combine horoscope reading and palm reading, although there is difference of opinion as to whether it would be right to combine both the methods. This controversy requires to be studied in detail and there is a need of a separate and specialised case study. It is argued by some palmists that in some respects palmistry is more precise than astrology; it is claimed that palmistry can give some more details which are specific for a given individual which do not come out sharply with the aid of the general principles of astrology. On the other hand, there are astrologers who maintain that while palmistry can be useful in corroborating the results of astrology, astrology being a mathematical science has the capacity to give mathematical precision in revealing character and events in lives of individuals.
In any case, it is clear that the scope and sweep of astrology is much wider. There are many aspects of astrology which can never be covered by palmistry or Samudrika Shastra. Destiny of nations, for example, can rightly be studied only by astrology. Predictions regarding floods, earthquakes, droughts, etc. can also be made by means of astrology. A detailed study on this subject needs to be undertaken, and massive data need to be collected in this regard.
Another prevalent system of predictions is that of numerology. There seems to be parallelism between numbers and events, numbers and qualities, numbers and quantities of one domain and the numbers and quantities of another domain. The Veda looks upon the Universe as a system of measurements manifested by an omnipotent power of the immeasurable. The Universe which is a spatio-temporal system is a well-knit system of measures which has mathematical precision and accuracy. Motions have fixed measures of speed or rates of speed, and from a certain point of view the pulsation of the Universe is rhythmic. The rhythms of the Universe were claimed to have been captured by the Vedic poets in terms of the measures of Chhandas. The Universe in this sense has been conceived as a creative power of the Supreme Consciousness which has metrical symmetry.
In the Greek thought, too, there was a prevalent belief that the Universe can be explained in terms of numbers. Pythagoras dealt with this subject in detail and attempted to give mathematical formulations for the understanding of the Universe. Plato also was greatly influenced by Pythagoras and he too conceived of intimate relationship of numbers with Ideas which he considered to be the archetype Forms of universal manifestation.
There is also an occult tradition according to which there is a plane between the Mind and the Supermind, which can be called the plane of the Overmind, where one can see directly the correspondences between the numbers and potentialities and actualities of the world movement. According to one interpretation, numbers 1-9 signify the following:
These basic interpretations can then be variously applied with various permutations and combinations of numbers 1-9.
There are, of course, variations among interpretations of numbers, and the rationale of these variations is not sufficiently understood. Various numerologists employ one or the other system of numerology in reading the character of individuals and predicting the events. Because of variations in the systems, there seems to be much confusion in this field, and it seems necessary to investigate original treatises of numerology and compare them with the contemporary systems which are in currency today. This is a very interesting and important susbject which deserves to be studied.
Another important parallelism, which has been studied, particularly in India, pertains to Omens. If the world is a system, occurrence of events cannot be a matter of chance there must be a design and pattern in happenings of the world. Perception of a falling star, tides and ebbs of ocean, fire and winds on plains and mountains, storm or hurricane, all these and similar phenomena may give indication of coming events.
Sounds and words have a very special significance in the science of Omens. The system of "mantrocchara" which is a part of Indian tradition is closely connected with the system of sound. Words of blessings have also a significance. Unexpected words of blessings indicate a very auspicious turning. Words spoken by the holy people have effect of truth-consciousness. There are astrologers and saints whose words happen to come true — they are "Satyavaks". Hearing the sound of a whistle during meditation is considered to be a sign that spiritual realisation is very near. In spiritual practices, if one hears various kinds of musical tunes or one smells various kinds of fragrances, all these make very interesting and instructive indications.
Encounters of individuals at various times of the day or of the night are also considered to be significant. Even animals, birds, insects are symbolic, and their encounters also have interpretative value.
Throbs of various parts of the body at several specific moments are also supposed to be indicators of coming events. In Shakuntalam, Dushyanta speaks of the throb of his right arm at the moment when he sees Sarvadaman, his son, about whom he did not know anything at that time. Dushyanta remarks that the throb in his right arm indicated to him that a very happy event was to occur just at that time. It is easy to see that if the study of omens is not made with great scientific rigour, people can fall into various kinds of superstitions and false beliefs. In India, many superstitious beliefs are in currency and they need to be exploded by making a true scientific study of these omens
There are other disciplines of knowledge connected with parallelism. In some parts of India, we find the practice of Ramal where a certain number of dices are thrown at random and depending upon the position of these dices, indications of the present or the future are attempted to be divined. There are some other systems where by shuffling the cards certain combinations indicate the present or future happenings. Some people make use of systems of calling spirits, through stoves or planchettes and predictions about the future are obtained which are found to have certain interesting results, sometimes valid, and sometimes invalid.
It is said that one could even devise new systems of parallelism, and by determining meanings of symbols and by correlating symbols with certain other things, predictions can be made.
This is a field which deserves to be studied scientifically, and since a good deal of mixture of truth and falsehood appears to be in this field, there is a need to explore the whole thing scientifically so that a correct appraisal of these disciplines of parallelism can be instituted.
It may not be out of place to mention a famous system of parallelism which is to be found in 1-Ching, book of changes. There are said to be five Confucian Classics, namely, 1-Ching, Shoo-Ching or Book of History, the Shi-Ching or the book of Odes, the Li-Chi, book of rituals and the Chung Chi, book of spring and autumn annals. These works have traditionally been accepted by the Chinese as a cultural heritage of ancient times. Among these five books I-Ching or the book of changes is considered the most important. The original corpus of I-Ching is made up of eight Trigrams consisting of various combinations of straight lines and arranged in a circle. These lines consist of two primary forms : of continuous undivided lines, the symbol of the male or positive principle; and a divided line, the symbol of the female or negative principle. Various combinations are made by putting together Trigrams; as a result they form sixty four hexagrams, all known as Kua. The Kua are arranged in I-Ching in accordance with a definite order; each Kua is given a brief statement which is known as judgment or decision. Then there is a commentary on each of the six lines and on hexagrams.
To find one's fortune and fate in the I-Ching, one must find one's hexagram. The method of finding one's hexagram consists of throwing down together three pennies six times. Each throw determines one line of the hexagram. The six lines are drawn from the bottom up. Heads has a value of two, tails has a value of three. By adding the value of pennies, the character of the line is derived. Three heads equal six, three tails equal nine, two heads plus one tail equal seven, two tails plus one head equals eight. After determining the hexagrams, the book of changes is consulted, where for the concerned hexagram judgment or decision is given and a commentary also is furnished.
The science of divination is complex and multi-sided. In nooks and corners of India, one comes across some surprising system, and one is astonished to see the variety in the field of divination.
This field deserves to be studied scientifically.
Among the predictive sciences, astrology may be regarded as a most important science. It has a long history and vast literature, it is based on astronomy and its major tool is mathematics. It is, therefore, suggested that while other predictive sciences need to be nurtured and developed, highest priority should be given to astrology. The following areas in respect of astrology which need urgent attention:
1. Since astronomy is the basis of astrology and the calculation of movement of planets is indispensable in casting and interpreting horoscopes, it is very important to have correct data which are normally to be found in Almanacs. Indian Almanacs have certain special characteristics. These are: tithi, vara, nakshatra, yoga and karana, — date, day, constellation, combination and part of combination. The beginning of the day is measured from one sunrise to another sunrise, and since at different points in a country the moments of sunrise is not uniform, one needs to provide for this variation. Besides, certain religious events and festivals are associated with definite beginnings of the days; the exact timings for these religious ceremonies need to be specified clearly, keeping in mind the variations obtained in different parts of the country.
Again, in India,this are determined by calculating the distance between the Sun and the Moon and since Moon's movement is not constant, variations occur. As a result, some tithis are longer, while others are shorter. This creates a good deal of complication in the Indian almanacs. On account of this complication, there is no uniformity among the Indian almanacs. This complication is further aggravated by the fact that some of the almanacs follow Western astronomical data while others do not. There is also the question of ayanamsha which arises from the fact that the earth's motion recedes backward every year. This has given rise to nirayana and sayana systems. Some almanacs follow one and some others follow the other. This also disturbs the uniformity of Indian almanacs. It is evident that where there are variations in almanacs, there are bound to be controversies regarding accuracy of astronomical data and also consequently controversies regarding predictions which are based upon accuracy of astronomical data. The situation that obtains today may be regarded as highly unsatisfactory. Attempts have been made in recent times to arrive at one uniform almanac for the whole nation. Even the Government of India had set up a Committee for Calendar Reform, but although a national calendar has come into existence, it is not followed by the almanac makers. As a result, the situation has not improved. Even the authenticity of national calendar is not acknowledged by everybody. In this situation, efforts have to be initiated at a national level for one uniform almanac for the whole country. This is a matter of highest importance as far as astrology is concerned.
2. Astrological literature is very vast, and since there are number of schools of astrology, there is also a variation in complexity and richness in the terminology of its use in astrological books. There is also a need to correlate different terms used in different systems of astrology. There is also a need to formulate precise definitions of various terms used in astrology. For research purposes, a uniform glossary of astrological terms is extremely necessary for this purpose and an expert body needs to be constituted, and facilities for consultations of all concerned books and astrologers should be created. But the aim should be that within five years a glossary of astrological terms should be finalised and published.
3. A major complexity in regard to situation that obtains in the field of astrology is the fact that there are different schools of astrology which differ from each other in regard to postulates and in regard to methods and interpretations. Some are claimed to be more accurate than others, and there are controversies in regard to these claims. Major differences are to be found between Parashara system and Jaimini system of astrology. There are also different kinds of dasas and this is another field where research is required.
4. There are three principal systems of dasas, namely, vimshottari, ashtottari and yogini.
There are several other systems of dasas also, and in all, these systems amount to 42.
The areas of research here should address to the following questions:
5. A major area of research should be connected with various methods which are employed for the assessment of the strength of planets and their relative places in different houses. There are, of course, general rules in regard to the nature of the planets, friendships, neutrality and enmities among the planets and the digbala, chestabala, navamsabala as also the results of positions of exaltation and debilitation, etc. There is also the system of ashtavargaka. But in regard to all these matters, there are several intricacies and only the great experts are familiar with these intricacies. Again, there are a number of exceptions to general rules pertaining to the strength of planets when they are in a certain position, but aspected favourably or unfavourably. This knowledge also is very important which needs to be collected and articulated properly along with rational justification.
6. An important question which needs to be answered is as to why astrological predictions go wrong.
A ready answer that is quite often advanced is that the soundness of the astrological predictions depends upon the soundness of the scholarship and proficiency of the astrologer. It is also affirmed that apart from scholarship and proficiency, a good deal depends also upon intuitive power of the astrologer, and that intuition is as much a gift as the poetic ability in the poet. That is why it is said that astrologers like poets are born and not made.
It is maintained that while astrology is a science, many astrologers are not scientists, and that much of the disrepute of astrology has arisen because bad astrologers are utilising a great science inefficiently and even falsely. It is no wonder, therefore, that astrological predictions very often go wrong. There are astrologers and astrologers, and during the present period there are frequent cases where astrologers predict not according to what they see in the horoscopes but according to what they think will please the clients. It is contended that the soundness of the science of astrology should not be judged by the unsoundness of the predictions made by incompetent or fake astrologers.
At a deeper level, however, we must ask whether predictions of good and honest astrologers ever go wrong or not. The honest answer to this question is that even here it is not difficult to demonstrate that the astrological predictions do go wrong. It is, however, argued that it is not the fault either of astrology or of a good astrologer if astrological predictions go wrong. A counter-question posed is as to why astrological predictions should not go wrong. Is it not a fact that even though medicine is a science, diagnosis made by even honest and good doctors are very often found to be wrong? Scientific knowledge, it is argued, gives you probabilities; and even so-called certainties are not fool-proof certainties but are only high-powered probabilities. There is no reason, it is held, that astrology should be discounted simply because its predictions indicate probabilities rather then certainties. The prerogative of error is not confined only to astrology, — it is shared by all sciences. In fact, it can even be argued that the element of uncertainty increases as we rise from scale to scale from physical sciences to biological sciences, and from biological sciences to psychological sciences. We find that physical laws have a greater rigidity and uniformity, but as we rise in scale to subtler planes, rigidities and uniformities begin to thin down. What is true at the gross physical level is less true at the atomic level, and what is true at the atomic level is less true at the sub-atomic level. At the gross physical level, there is gross determinacy, even inexorable determinacy; but as modern physics has pointed out, there is overwhelming indeterminacy at the level of minute particles. We find the same principle when we move away from the realm of generalities and universals to the realm of individuals and individual- differentiations. What is true in general is less true in particular cases; what is true of genus is less true of species; and what is true of species is less true of certain specific individuals, even if they belong to the same species. The laws of biology are less rigid than the laws of physics; and the laws of psychology are less rigid than the laws of biology. Even in the field of psychology, what is true of group psychology is less true of individual psychology, and when we study individual psychology in depth we find that even in a single individual there are varieties of individualities, and each of them has its own specific mode of action and being; and this variation is so complex that it is almost impossible to determine or to predict the behaviour of an individual under the umbrella of any general law or principle. The best psychologists, therefore, advocate the view that every individual is specific, that nature never repeats itself at the individual level, and that, therefore, one should avoid generalities.
Now it is not a matter of debate that astrology is basically a psychological science, or that it deals mainly with psychological concepts. It is also not debatable that astrology deals with individuals in their higher complex individualised situations. It is, therefore, not surprising that applications of general principles of astrology could be highly misleading if individual differentiations are not sufficiently understood and appreciated. To arrive at sound judgments in astrology requires sound knowledge not only of general principles of astrology, not only sound knowledge of laws of complex combinations, but also sound knowledge of specific individual differentiations.
That astrological predictions regarding the psychological nature are quite accurate can be easily acknowledged. But difficulties come when astrologers are required to make predictions about certain likely or unlikely specific events. A still further difficulty arises when the astrologer is required to predict the exact timing of the likely or unlikely events. Very often astrologers are able to explain why a certain event took place retrospectively, but before the occurrence of the event not many astrologers are able to make a forecast. If we study some of the astonishing predictions made by eminent astrologers ─ although their number is rather very limited, ─ we can safely say that if many predictions do go wrong, it is not because of the fault of astrology as a science but because astrology is an extremely difficult and complex science which requires a very high level of knowledge and insight on the part of the astrologers.
But even then the question remains as to why even the most competent astrologers differ among themselves and why their predictions go wrong from time to time. Or let us put the question differently; can it be said that the best astrologers are able to make correct predictions all the time? Or let us put the question still differently. Are events in their very nature predictable? Or are events so pre-determined that they will inexorably occur? In fact, this is the real issue. If events are in their very nature probable, we should not expect anything more than probability in regard to their predictions. It is only if events are already pre-determined that we can expect legitimately complete accuracy from the best astrologers.
Against this background, the question requires to be examined from three points of view: (a) pragmatic causes that may cause wrong predictions; (b) fundamental reasons which cause wrong predictions, such as the present status of astrological research; (c) ontological reasons which cause wrong predictions; here the question would be relating to the role of determinism and freewill as also the operation of the law of Karma, and intervention of the Divine Grace.
7. As emphasised elsewhere, it is very necessary to collect empirical data of astrology with scrupulous care and objectivity. The data collected should be both positive and negative, and inquiry should be made into the reasons for both negative and positive data.
It is well known that a number of astrologers claim that their predictions have come true. But not many are ready to confess when their predictions have gone wrong. And also there seems a meager supporting material for proving or disproving the predictions.
It is necessary to create an agency where relevant claims and supporting materials are collected systematically, examined objectively, evaluated with proper criteria, and classified under various categories. It is only then that proper analysis and assessment can be set on a sound footing.
8. An important question in regard to astrology is whether predicted circumstances or events can be altered. Can events be redesigned? If so, what are the means and what is their rationale? Various astrological means of preventing undesirable circumstances or events, are well known such as wearing certain kinds of stones, or other means of askesis. All these methods should be examined properly and their rationale brought out very clearly. Empirical data in regard to these things should also be brought out.
9. Application of astrology to the following five important areas should also be made and important subject of research :
10. Another important area of research is connected with the Samhitas/Nadi literature. In this connection the following issues need to be taken up for research:
11. Horary astrology is an important aspect of astrology which is widely utilised in our country. The principles of this branch of astrology differ in some respects from the principles of Natal astrology. These differences should be studied and the rationale of these differences should also be brought out. There are also many important issues of scientific and pragmatic nature in regard to this branch of astrology, and there are also differences of interpretation. All these should be investigated properly for the advancesment of Horary astrology.
12. Annual reading of horoscopes (Varsha Phal) is also an important aspect of astrology. It is well known that the preparation of annual charts for individuals is quite a difficult task, and the complexity involved here is not sufficiently realised. Also, the assessment of the annual chart has certain special characteristics which differ, to some extent, from the normal methods of assessment of the Natal chart. This aspect should also be investigated. Theoretical and practical questions connected with annual reading should be properly listed and research in regard to controversial aspects should be instituted.
13. The relationship between astrology and other predictive sciences also needs to be clearly understood and utilised. For this purpose, research to be undertaken, particularly, is as to how astrology and palmistry can or should supplement each other. An inquiry should also be instituted as to how various other predictive sciences or predictive arts should be developed and how various superstitions which have cropped up in regard to the practises of these predictive sciences can be dealt with and eliminated.
If the tasks which have been outlined in the foregoing pages are to be
seriously undertaken, a full-fledged Centre of Astrological Research will need to be established. Or else, a number of small centres each of which specialising in research in respect of one or two areas could also be envisaged. A third alternative would be to propose a setting up of a small but viable Centre of Astrological Research which would, at the initial stages, limit itself in certain important areas which deserve priority. It is this third alternative which is recommended, and some details are presented which might help in actual implementation.
As the Dharam Hinduja International Centre of Indic Research is concerned, inter alia, with the promotion of living sciences of India and their utility for the contemporary times, it could suggested that astrology is one of living sciences and that it has been always relevant and continues to be relevant even today. The Dharam Hinduja International Centre of Indic Research may, therefore, propose to set up a Centre of Astrological Research as its sub-Centre.
This sub-Centre should address itself, at the initial stages, to the following priority areas of research :
i) Establishment of Astrology as a science and its contemporary relevance.
Here the tasks are both theoretical and experimental. The theoretical aspects can be promoted by collecting relevant empirical data and by pooling information which already exists in the country and elsewhere.
This literature can also be published after scientific editing and proper verification.
The experimental aspect can be promoted by : (a) framing hypotheses in respect of number of issues; (b) developing new data, both positive and negative; (c) organising discussions on the collected data after their proper classification and authentication; (d) deriving conclusions with scientific rigour and accuracy.
Results of these efforts should be brought out in the form of monographs or papers or books.
(ii) Collection of data connected with Samhita/Nadi literature.
This task will require the following steps:
(iii) Horary Astrology should also receive immediate attention.
Not only existing data be collected together, but experimental effort should be undertaken so that authentic data can be created with supporting evidence. Results of investigations and experiments should be brought out after subjecting the concerned material to scientific data.
(iv) Predictive sciences like Palmistry also should be studied. In particular, the interrelationship between astrology and palmistry should be examined so as to determine how far Palmistry can be a useful supplement to astrology and vice versa.
The question whether the astrological sub-Centre that is being proposed should allow the members of the research staff to be engaged in consultation also needs to be considered with sufficient care. Our recommendation is that while consultation should not officially be prohibited, certain regulations should be prescribed. These regulations should be similar to those which are now being prescribed for management consultants and medical professionals