The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, December 16, 2001

Towards a new vision of astrology

ASTROLOGY has been in the eye of a storm, especially after the UGC directive to the universities to introduce a course in astrology. Chandigarh-based astrologer Naveen Mishra, the recipient of the Maharishi Parashar Gold Medal in 1999 at the World Astrologers Conference held at Jamshedpur, Tata Nagar, answers questions pertaining to the significance of astrology, its role and function and the relevance of astrology in the modern world in an exclusive interview with TNS.

What is astrology?

Naveen Mishra: Astrology is a good point of dialogue and interchange between the East and the West.
Naveen Mishra: “Astrology is a good point of dialogue and interchange between the East and the West.”

Astrology is without doubt the original science, the oldest of the systems of knowledge devised by human beings. Astrology is not only the foremost of the outer sciences which deal with the nature of the physical universe, it is one of the most important of the inner or spiritual sciences which deal with the mind and soul.

Astrology shows the cosmic source and background for the working of forces in any field of endeavour. As it shows the basic language of cosmic energy, it can be used to understand all spheres of life. For example, ancient systems of medicine, like ayurveda in India or ancient Greek medicine, considered astrological influences. Astronomy without astrology, is a body without a soul. Through our physical sciences, we have turned the sacred powers of the cosmos into mere numbers and chemical reactions. Such an attitude does not show sensitivity towards life. It is like merely reducing a human being into measurements of height and weight, or like looking at a great painting according to the chemistry of its pigments.


Science and technology have provided us energy which certainly can be useful, but what has it really done for our sensitivity to the divine presence in all things? To what extent has it given us a consciousness not limited by time, space, numbers or appearances...? Astrology sees spirit in the things, not just the form. There can be no higher age for humanity if we do not connect with our greater cosmic being through the stars. Where astrology does not flourish, the culture must be lacking in higher knowledge or in any real communication with the universe itself.

Which areas of life can be focussed on by astrology?

Astrology is a basic cosmic science, which can be applied to understand almost every sphere of life, including answering the queries regarding kama (desire), artha (finance and economic spheres), dharma (the righteousness or the purpose of life) and moksha (i.e., spiritual advancement and salvation).

What methods do you follow to help people who approach you?

For a proper diagnosis, I apply all techniques — astrology, palmistry, numerology, vaastu shastra, prashna kundali (question technique), face reading— all at the time when a person approaches me. Of course, intuition, sixth sense and the third eye also helps in solving the complexity... (I know it’s not that simple for every second person... because you need a healthy body, mind and happy soul to develop all this). I try to guide a person on physical and astral levels. Because, until the balance is not created on both planes, success in life in the real sense will not be possible.

As we know, according to the karma theory, we get everything in our lives as per our past karmas, so how does then vedic astrology fit in?

Karma is the sum total of one’s physical, mental and spiritual functions. The world goes on because there is a role of free will assigned to human beings.

Astrology and free will are not conflicting, rather they are conducive for creating right kind of efforts to achieve desired results in the future. Actually, astrology is based on one’s karmas and the relationship of cause and effect. If there is an effect, there must be a cause preceding it.

There has to be a reason for finding something overwhelmingly attractive, desirable and useful. In life, there are unexpected antipathies as well as attractions; and all the freewill in the world will not gain for you something that fate wishes to deny you. The arc of destiny alone can contrive that. So an individual invariably falls into situations, while blissfully believing he is doing so of his own freewill and choice, whereas the real truth is that he is being granted his wishes solely because the call of his destiny (which is as per one’s own past karmas) requires that very play of events.

Thus, if an event, good or bad, happens today, there must be a cause for it, whether or not that cause is appreciable. Certain functions or karmas produce an immediate result. Still others, obtain fruition after a longer time period. Still others may take several years or decades (or even longer) to materialise.

If one believes in the law of cause and effect, then the ambience of one’s birth and the subsequent opportunities of their lack cannot be a matter of mere chance. This takes us to a belief in birth and rebirth. Karma done in one birth must manifest sometime in a later birth.

The past karmas produce limitations for us because they yield certain results which influence our future karmas. We do have a free will, but within the limitations prescribed by the results of our past actions (karmas), which are shown by the pattern of planetary positions in the astrological charts. Karmas, in fact, manufacture destiny. And astrology tells and guides us to mould our karmas in a way, so as to achieve desired results in the future and make a more evolved destiny.

An astrologer can point out which of the results from the past karmas can be overcome and which cannot be overcome and, therefore, have to be suffered or enjoyed. A karma done is like a missile fired; it may or may not be neutralised by a counter-missile, depending upon the relative strength of the two.

Astrology is, therefore, a valuable guide to look upto, in order to have insight into one’s own life, here as well as hereafter.

In this context, I would quote Cheiro’s remarks as he very rightly said, "It becomes a study not contrary to the dictates of reason, but in accordance with those natural laws that we observe in the shaping of the even inanimate objects, which, by demonstrating the effect of a heretofore cause, are in themselves the cause of a hereafter effect".

Thus astrology is not only a good guide but warns the wary about the "weak and broken bridges" on the way.

The aim of this ancient discipline, therefore, is to correct man’s angularities, make him lead his life in conformity with the accepted laws of conduct, evolve psychologically and spiritually and ultimately merge in his source.

How does the Indian vedic astrology differ from western astrology?

Astrology has existed all over the world and at all times. It was most prevalent in ancient religious cultures like those of Egypt and Babylonia. In Europe and the Middle East, these ritualistic cultures came to an end and were replaced by medieval cultures of Christian and Islamic varieties. These medieval cultures continued to use astrology, which they adapted from the earlier cultures, but it became a secondary pursuit. The religion of the One God would not admit the powers of the gods.

Astrology is a good point of dialogue and interchange between the East and the West, the ancient vedic system and the modern system. It links together the greatest diversity of cultures in the most common perceptions and aspirations of humanity.

The two different methods of determining the signs of zodiac exist. Each is based on a different kind of calculation. Neither is necessarily wrong. Both are using different measurements, though they employ the same language to speak of them.

The signs of the tropical zodiac are not really star signs, though they follow the analogy of the 12 constellations or star groups. They measure the heavens according to the Sun-Earth relationship, not that between the solar system and the fixed stars. The signs of the sidereal zodiac, however, are identical with those of the fixed stars (or, more properly, of a thirty degree section of the sky in which they are located). There are also a few people today who try to relate the signs to the actual stars only, rather than to a thirty degree division in which they are located. For example, they would see Aries as only equivalent to the stars of that small constellation, not to the greater band around it.

Vedic astrology does not agree with this. It sees in the twelve-fold division of the zodiac a harmonic division of the light coming from the centre of the galaxy. It is this harmonic division of the light coming from the centre of the galaxy that is most important, and not the individual stars within the division, though these have their significance as well.

Vedic astrology has existed for over many thousands of years. A number of changes of equinoctial positions similar to our age of Aquarius and similar shifts in the calendar have been recorded in it. The vedic system and its zodiac are based upon a continuity of culture that goes back to the age of the gods, when human beings still had communication with the intelligence of the cosmos.

Western civilisations, however, did not have these ancient roots. They changed too quickly for such shifts of stellar positions to be noted. Knowledge of the precession was lost altogether in the Dark Ages.

Yet, though the forms of vedic astrology have been influenced by Hindu culture and remain so, the basic system transcends any cultural identification. Another name of vedic astrology is jyotish, which means literally "the science of light". This is the most accurate traditional name.

Vedic astrology tells us, by the law of karma, we are responsible for our state in life, even the condition of our birth and childhood. We have created these situations, and we can transcend them as well.

Vedic astrology does not consider that emotion can bring us to truth either. It regards emotion, like intellectual thought, as a reaction of the surface mind, which must be stilled for the perception of the truth.It is the feeling of oneness that should guide us, not our emotional needs and compulsions.