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Friday, February 01, 2013

Vedic Astrology:-Karma, Destiny and Free will - Is Life destined? What do Astronomy and Ancient Hindu Scriptures unfold?

Vedic Astrology:-Karma, Destiny and Free will - Is Life destined?
What do Astronomy and Ancient Hindu Scriptures unfold?

Vedic Astrology , an ever green subject:-

Destiny and free will are perhaps two of the most talked about phenomenon in spiritualism and Philosophy. Many an  author had  talked about her own perceptions about those  two opposite drivers of life   , that were varied and multi dimensional in approach. Albert Einstein had once stated  “ I do not know what this free will is, that people talk about” There are many modern scientists that agree with Mr. Einstein in this poser!! However as pure  mortals of this planet, we always want to convince ourselves  that life is not  a dictated play from some higher being/s and humans do have an active role to play here. While, my perception about this phenomenon,   is  ever evolving,  the following post would explain to  you about ,my  stand  on this aspect . (Readers have every right to agree , disagree or despise the rationale behind this write up; and  it would be revealed to you in due course,  as you read on this  post., that  it ( your perception) might not have any effect on either the philosophy itself, or on the author . )

 Brihat Jathaka by Varaha Mihira,  A Gem among the Vedic Astrology Classics:-

Recently I had the occasion to read the commentary on  Brihat Jathaka  by late Shri Chidambara iyer, an accomplished astrologer, scholar, author and the then fellow of the Theosophical Society of India , originally published by the  society   and now digitalized by Google.. Though I had read and bye hearted  this Classic text, considered to be one of the    gems of Vedic Astrology  , earlier, it was the first time that I was reading the commentary by Shri Chidambara iyer . What appealed to me most was not the commentary of the learned authour , but the Introduction, written by him. Since I had the occasions to read commentaries and translations of this classic sanskrit text of India by many a  renowned astrologer from Kerala  who were great scholars of  Sanskrit language, I had no particular  fascination towards this commentary by Mr IYER.  Mr Iyer in his introduction had dealt-in many aspects of astrology in defense of this divine science. Commenting about the lack of knowledge in this branch of science and also of the use of the paranormal phenomenon like intuition and Clairvoyance etc., the commentator explained the reason,  lack of knowledge in  astrology, as the sole and whole reason for inaccurate  prediction that lead  to the   dependency  on other paranormal tools for accurate predictions. Talking about Karma, Mr Iyer clarified that life cannot be a vicious circle of Karma and it's results. He was of opinion that such a phenomenon was beyond reasoning and the Karma and its result cannot go into an infinite loop. Defending the divine science  of astrology, Mr Iyer argued  that  the use of  wrong local meantime and/or  incorrect latitude and longitude are the major  reasons for the failure in predictions( This reason might not be valid in the present day of,  computer regime). Remember that  the book was first published in the late 1800 s.

The Role of Planets in Human Life:-

 Explaining the role of the planets and the effect of free will and Karma, Mr Iyer became very vociferous in putting his point that planets were not mere agents of punishment and reward, but on the other hand conscious decision makers to suit the requirements of the situation. it would be interesting to read the explanation  in Mr Iyer's own  words.
"Most of the eminent astronomers of the east and West believed in a double Sun, a double Moon, Mars and other planets the one is the Sthula or the physical one and the other is the Sukshma or the astral one. The difficulty in conceiving active agency as possessed by the planets when viewed in the light of huge inert balls, will be removed when we suppose that each planet possesses a soul. Besides, there is nothing repugnant to our mind in the idea that the planets together form a body of executive officers charged with the duty of rewarding and punishing humanity for their past karma by the command of the Most High, who at the same time allows each man the chance to improve his own condition by making him a free agent in many matters. A man is whipped for theft by the order of the Magistrate. He suffers for his karma the deed of theft. But the whipping officer is an active agent. Take another instance : A man does apiece of valuable service to the state ; the sovereign commands a local officer to invest the person with the order of knighthood ; the officer obeys ; the officer no doubt is an active agent though the honor was the immediate effect of the person's services. The world is a mixed field of honor, of punishment and of probation. And the planets are the rewarding and chastising officers, and meddle in no way when man exercises his free will within its own sphere."

Moving from the reasons for the pitfalls in the predictive astrology and also of  the role of Karma and the role of the planets,  Mr Iyer defended  his viewpoint about the role of free will in life. He was of opinion that there  of course existed a great amount of scope for application of one’s  free will. Citing examples from the legends and the Hindu scriptures , Mr Iyer tries to prove his point that life is not a pre-defined  story. He cites the example of the choice of time by the great sage and astrologer  Parasara for copulating  with a fisher woman, for begetting a good offspring in Ved Vyas, as a valid example for proving the effectiveness of free will.

The Fallacy of Infinite number of Horoscopes and Time Horizon :-

Mr iyer also comments on the horary astrology, the branch of astrology that predicts the immediate future by means of the position of planets at the time of the query and also based on omens. He further moves to speak a few words on the mysterious branch of astrology, called Nadi astrology. Challenging the doubts of many a rationalist about the capacity of the Nadi makers to cast millions of horoscopes, the number being infinite, Mr Iyer present before us an illuminating theory based on  astronomical arithmetic, that the number of horoscopes that could be cast ever, is not infinite but is factually finite only.
It would be revealing for you to read the reasoning behind the above argument by Mr Iyer. It goes as follows.
“The planets occupy particular places on the ecliptic at particular points of time. Every moment their positions are changing. The question then is in what period of time the planets return to their former positions. This is a question of Arithmetic, a question of the Least Common Multiple of 7 or 8 numbers. These numbers are the siderial periods of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn and of the Moon, m'z.,
Mercury ... 87-9693 days.
Tenus ... 224-7008
Earth ... 365-2564
Mars ... 686-9795
Jupiter ... 4332-5848
Saturn 10759-22000
Moon ... 27 days. 7 hrs. 45 m. 11* 5 s.
Now the L- C. M. of the above numbers is the Kalpa of the Hindu Astronomy which is 4,320,000,000 siderial years. After which the planets all return to the first point of Aries at the horizon of Lanka a place on the equator whose longitude is 76 E. from Greenwich. A Kalpa consists of 1000 Chaturyugas. A Chaturyuga consists of 4320000
siderial years, of which Kaliyuga consists of 432000 siderial years.
Dwapara yuga 432000 x 2 = 80- 1-000 years.
Tretayuga ... 432000 x 3 = 1296000
Krita yuga ... 432000 x 4 = 1728000

A Kalpa forms Brahma's day, at the end of which the Mahapralaya commences. Again, the number of Rasi Chakrams or the Zodiacal representations of the positions of the planets is also limited. How ? Suppose there was only one planet, say, the Sun. He might occupy any one of the 12 houses ; so might Mars and each of the other planets. The 12 places of the Sun combined with the 12 places of Mars will give us 12 2 or 144 different places for the Sun and Mars. These combined with the 12 places of Jupiter will give 12 3 xl2 or 12 s or 1728 places for the three planets, the Sun, Mars and Jupiter. Similarly 4 planets will give 124 positions and 5 planets
will give 12 to the power of  5 positions, and so on. Now horoscopy deals with the positions of the five planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, as well as the Sun, the Moon and Rahu (Moon's ascending node). * Of these 8 planets, all, excepting the inferior planets, Mercury and Venus, will give us 12 positions. Now the greatest elongation of Mercury from the sun is about 29, and that of Venus is about 47 ; so that when the Sun occupies a particular sign, Mercury will occupy either that sign or the sign next after it or next before it ; similarly Venus will be either in the house occupied by the Sun or in one of the two signs next after it or next before it- In other words,the number already obtained will have to be increased threefold on account of Mercury and fivefold on account of Venus. The number then is 12 6 x3x5. Combine with this the 12Lagnas. The total number of Rasi Chakrams therefore is 12* x 3 x 5 x 12 = 12 ^ x 15 = 537477120. So that while the limit of time is 4320000000 siderial years, the limit of Rasi Chakrams during that period is 537477120.These figures have been stated simply with the object of dispelling certain wrong notions that the number of horoscopic Rasi Chakrams is infinite."

Moving from the reasoning behind the possibility of making all the horoscopes of human birth s, that could ever materialise on earth ,the author tries to explain the reason for the failure of Nadi leaves in predicting the future, unlike in the case of  past events,  the major criticism against the system. He was of opinion that the reason for such a phenomenon is not the inaccuracy of the predictions in the Nadi leaves written by sages, instead it was because of the wrong selection of one's leaf from a bundle of hundreds of horoscopes. He further suggests that if one could make use of a horoscope correctly cast by a learned  astrologer (presently by any good software),  he could pick up his original leaf and the future predictions written for the particular individual could be located. Although it is not my endeavor to either prove or disprove the system of Nadi astrology, I have  stated the above facts to prove that the number of horoscopes that could be cast during the entire time horizon of the solar system is indeed possible and is finite.

The logic Behind the Destiny, Unalterable:-

If we accepts  the above calculations, one interesting phenomenon that  goes unnoticed  is, should the number of horoscopes is finite , there is  the need to have a beginning and an end to the system of life cycles of all creatures including the  human beings on earth and  any other higher beings elsewhere in the  solar system. As such once one cycle completes, another cycle has necessarily to begin. Since the next cycle could not be different from the present cycle assuming the position, structure and number of the planets remaining the same, the number and the nature of horoscopes also cannot be different??!!
One line of argument against the above philosophy could be that, how could we assume that the position and the number of planets need to be the same in every  such cycle ? I have no conclusive answer for this point for the time being . However going by the rules of nature  a logical derivation would be that it cannot be  different. We all know that earth does not move clockwise one day and anticlockwise the next day. Similarly planets also do not make  erratic movements during the course of their orbit. All these points out to the fact that,  there needs to be  an order for every phenomenon.  Such being the case  it could  well  be expected  that,  the number and position of the planets can also be not different in every cycle. That means the total number of 0.53 billion horoscopes could only repeat in every cycle. The cycle of 4.3 billion years  referred to above  ( making it possible for 0.53 billion charts)  as  Kalpa in the Hindu Scriptures  is also being considered as one day in the life of Brahma, the creator. Brahma does  the creation on all days, in the same way every day,   and which explains the above cycle and the very concept of Brahma itself.

I have  yet to lead you to my point. If you go by the above theory, one needs to admit that horoscopes and lives repeat exactly the same way in  every 4.3 billion years. This leads us to the funny or surprising fact that  we had materialized on this same earth before 4.3 billion years with the same name , in the same circumstances, with the same technology, with the same surroundings, and with the same consciousness. If that is the case were is the role of freewill in a  larger time horizon? The question of free will arises  only if there is an infinite number of situations, lives, horoscopes etc . In the absence of such a system it is illusionary to expect an all together different life and events by making  the freewill work, when  in reality your freewill itself is not really free.( Or as somebody has put it.." You have free will, but not the will to make that free will")

What I have put forward is only some random thoughts that came to my mind while reading the introduction to   Brihat Jathaka,  by Sri Chidambaram iyer. The above theory though could be true might be criticized by the  'rationalist' and 'scientists' terming it as negative and contrary to the accepted  believes. Although I have no intention to cross sword with any progressive and logical mind, it would be interesting if not  fruitful to give a thought to the above line of argument and present their views.(We have nothing to lose or to gain by agreeing or disagreeing with the above philosophy since the philosophy itself is fatalistic and  as such the reactions cannot be different from the predestined...... funny is not it?)


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