Separating Astrology from the Astrologers
Astrology in general evokes mixed reactions. On one hand it sounds metaphysical especially to those who BELIEVE in a higher super conscious power. While to most of us at large its nothing but a whole bag of mumbo jumbo.
Before addressing the question of Astrology (and specifically Jyotish or Vedic Astrology) which is my area of study, let us examine the types of people and the reactions we get.
Category One: Tactical and needs instant ready made sugar coated solutions
This is by far the biggest category of people. Having issues at work, consult a “World Famous” Astrologer who can say good things and provide instant remedies. Need relationship advice, ditto the same.
The sad part is that a large majority of us have been in this category directly or indirectly. There is a plethora of Websites and YouTube channels on Monthly horoscopes, Transits and what have you to give us our daily dose of gratification and placebo effect. The key word is GENERIC.
Some of them genuinely do good work, however most do not.
I was in this group too, till i started to study the subject myself.
Category Two: One step further, believes paying money on remedies can solve all the problems
I have to admit i have not personally gone down this road, so have little idea about how this works. However, i have heard of instances where common people like us have done this.
It all starts with the Astrologer saying the challenging time can be overcome or alternately good times can begin if one performs remedies to change his or her birth karma. I have zero idea whether remedies like gemstones etc. work. They very well could be.
However, what happens in the process is that quite many people end up being taken for a ride. There are no instant off the shelf solutions.
Remedies or Upayas in Jyotish are a sophisticated and detailed branch of study in themselves. They, however need devotion from the individual. My teacher says at best they can help alleviate the negative effects of Karma or enhance positive ones.
Category Three: Its all mumbo jumbo and not scientific
This group is on the other end of the extreme. Its interesting to note that in ancient times there was no separation of astronomy from astrology. It began with observing the cosmos, planets, stars. Astronomy is the study of the universe, Astrology is the study of how they affect each soul in its physical form in this life.
Personally, I have no issues with this group. Its better to question the validity of something and test it for oneself than to believe it blindly. This perception also gets reinforced when one hears cases of disappointment from the above categories. However, till the time one does not test it and gets convinced, it would help to keep an open mind about it.
Category Four: Free Will is all that matters
This is a modern western way of looking at the world. The famous lines of Descartes, ” Cogito, ergo sum” or “I think, therefore I am”, encapsulates the notion that the only thing that matters is how one thinks and will power.
Our ancients (East and West civilizations) had a place for Man as a part of a conscious whole and not separate.
What Jyotish in theory offers is that there is room for both Free Will and Destiny/Karma (based on past lives). I say in theory because i myself dont have a definite answer to this.
Category Five: The students
This is a very small group of people which does take up the study of the subject seriously and then form its own conclusions.
Why it is important to empirically test it
Jyotish or Vedic Astrology provides ancient wisdom, frameworks and tools to assess ones karma and also to predict timings of future probable scenarios. Its not a question of believing or not believing.
If one sees the principles being applied coming true, then scientifically there must be some validity to it. If one sees it repeating consistently then empirically it must make sense. The focus then is to learn, apply it and see if it works.
Assuming the principles hold true in most cases, then is it the fault of the subject that it is used or exploited by certain sections misusing people’s emotions (hopes, fears etc.)
So before anything else, see for yourself whether it works. That is the question i want to end this article with.
Disclaimer: Please note these are just my views, at this stage in my life, and hence subjective and shaped by my experiences. Everyone is entitled to have their own. In case it doesn’t match with yours lets be happy to disagree respectfully.
Thank you for patiently reading and for your constructive feedback and insights.