Veda Dharma

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Astrology and Advaita - The divine connection

In this post, I will throw some light on the relation between astrology and advaita. This should possibly clear some of the doubts related to astrology especially Vedic astrology. Astrology is based heavily on the principles of karma theory and non-duality( "advaita" loosely translated). Let me just define what I mean by karma theory and advaita before venturing into the discussion. Karma theory says that any action that an animate being does leaves an impression on the soul and these impressions are carried over from one birth to another. As a result, the sum total of impressions from past lives decide a being's psychology, actions and experiences. For example, a person who donated lot of wealth in his previous birth will be born rich. On the other hand, advaita says that the whole universe including animate and inanimate beings is only a manifestation of Supreme consciousness, that is SadaShiva. This literally means that this whole universe is completely interconnected with a string i.e "consciousness". Now let us proceed to understand the basis of astrology, a spiritual science.

When a stone is thrown into a lake, ripples get created in the lake. The stone is the cause and the ripples are the effect. When an intelligent person standing at the shore of the lake sees ripples coming, he can safely infer that a disturbance was caused ( a stone thrown etc.) to the lake. Similarly, to understand the state of an element in a completely interconnected system, it is sufficient if one has enough information about few other components of the system. The amount of information needed about other components is dependent on 1) what information we seek from the component under analysis and 2) the nature of interconnections between the various components of the system. For a system like this universe ( which is completely connected through consciousness), it is sufficient if we have enough information about few components to understand any other component. This is applicable to all the elements of this universe. And this is the very basis of spiritual powers, which are exhibited by great siddhas and others. So what has this got to do with astrology?

What does one need to predict a person's future? The sum total of all the past impressions on his/her soul. If these impressions can be found somehow, then any one can predict the future of a person based on these. But getting the spectrum of impressions is beyond a normal human being's mental powers! But the theory about an interconnected system mentioned in the previous paragraph comes to our rescue. One can get the spectrum of impressions of a new born, by taking enough information from some of the other components of this system, the universe. Astrology is based on getting this spectrum by observing the planetary positions at a person's birth ( please note that planets are just another component of this interconnected system). The tough problem of getting impressions of a person is solved now. Now the next step is to use the planetary positions as a proxy for the impression spectrum and just decipher this based on the nature of the interconnection between these two components of the system (planetary positions and impression spectrum). An example for this is like if z=2cos(x)+3sin(y), where x, y and z are longitude of Sun, longitude of Moon and sum total of impressions, one can easily find out z if x and y are known. But knowing this relation is dependent on the nature of interconnections between various components of the system. Thanks to the ancient rishis, who understood the nature of interconnections and formulated the rules of astrology. Thus a combination of advaita, karma theory and theory of interconnected systems resulted in the discovery of a divine science "Astrology". Understanding this basis of astrology, solves many questions that are posed by researchers about Vedic astrology. Let us try to answer some of these questions, right now!

One question that people generally ask is that why does not vedic astrology use planets like pluto, uranus etc? Is it because they were not discovered during vedic times? Can we do any better if we use them? The answer is too obvious once we understand the basic theory of astrology. The answer is that they are not needed. To say this mathematically, if it is sufficient to use variables x1 to xn to describe a system completely why should one use more variables? They are just redundant i.e they do not give any extra information. Even if one tries to use lets say pluto's longitude (call it 'u') we will end up getting a relation like z = 2cos(x)+3sin(y)-0tan(u). As the coefficient is zero, one does not need 'u' to find the value of 'z'!

Another question that people often ask is that why do vedic astrology use something called Rahu and Ketu (the lunar nodes) though they are not real bodies? The answer is again obvious. Vedic astrology's aim is not to use only planets for getting the spectrum of impressions. It's real aim is to rather get information from other components of the system(the universe) so that the impression spectrum can be derived completely or almost completely. Hence it became mathematically necessary to use positions of lunar nodes to describe the impression spectrum completely. The reasons are purely mathematical than anything else!

Now comes the tough question, if astrology is based on this theory of interconnected system, karma and advaita why not use information from other components of the universe to predict a person's future? If you had asked this question, I bow to your feet sir. You are a vedic sage in making. One can indeed use information from other components of the universe and accurately get the impression spectrum provided one deciphers the relation between these components and the impression spectrum. One can see proof of this point in vedic literature. There are other branches of vedic astrology which use other components like time of a query, a person's face, a person's thumb impression (nadi astrology), lines in a person's palm or random happenings( seemingly random as nothing is random in this universe) like omens etc. What all these sciences do is to use information from 0ther components of the system to decipher the same information as long as the information is sufficient enough to describe the unknown variable completely.

But what about the branch of astrology that gives remedies like mantras, worshipping dieties etc for solving problems? How is this justified? Are these not illogical and unscientific? Astrology gives remedies so that the impression spectrum of a person gets modified so that favourable results are achieved by him. It is only for the purpose of remembering easily, sages have said things like saturn can be propitiated using the mantra "Om xxxxx namah" etc. What they are essentially trying to do is to correct a particular portion of the impression spectrum using an appropriate mantra so that a given aspect of life governed by those impressions can be improved (Read my other article on mantras to understand how mantras can solve problems). The concept of planetary dieties used in vedic astrology is also closely related to this. One can see proof of this in other remedial measures like giving the gift of gold etc which are meant to cleanse a negative impression that was accumulated due to stealing gold in the previous birth.

Now that we understand the basis of astrology, let us see what it takes to become a great astrologer? Historically, we have seen that all the best astrologers were highly spiritual without exceptions. One cannot find an astrologer who is not at all spiritual. The reason for this is that when one is dealing with a complex system with multitude of components which are connected through "Consciousness", it is important to understand "that" consciousness well. And how can a non-spiritual person who doesnt understand "Consciousness" i.e "Sadashiva" analyse this complex system using astrology? By all means, do follow the directions of ancient seers even if you do not understand the science behind them. There is a very high probability that the sages are right. We will realise it some day.

narayana smaranam.


  • At 3:07 PM , Blogger jayasree said...

    Very well explained. Very good clarity in analysis. Hope you won't object to my giving the link of this page along with excerpts in my blog


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