Shri NaMo’s horoscope AND his chances of becoming India’s Prime Minister
A good friend had sent me the analysis of the horoscope of the Gujarat Chief Minister, Shri. Narendra Modi (NaMo). The analysis has been done by an astrologer cum a big fan of Shri. NaMo. My friend felt that the astrologer has not been able to make a convincing case for Shri. NaMo to become the PM of India, based on his horoscope.
That email triggered some thoughts on astrology, on horoscopes and on the implications for the ‘weak astrological case’ for NaMo to become India’s PM.
I am not an astrologer but was born into a family, which relied on astrology for a living. That is, my mother’s father (my maternal grandfather) was an astrologer and he was a very pious man. So, I have faith in the science of astrology. The problem is that it is not a physical science. The interpretation of what the natal chart means is as much, if not more, art as it is mathematical calculation based.
That is why astrological predictions get the broad trend right but they fall well short on specifics. It is hard to distinguish accurate forecast from chance even in cases where specific predictions are borne out later. That does not discredit astrology nor does it credit astrologers. It is inherent in the science of astrology.
The reasons vary from the practical to the philosophical. The practical reason is that it is hard to know with reasonably high degree of accuracy the birth date and time of the person. That can make a big difference in the casting of the horoscope and the final predictions, especially their timing.
Today, software programmes exist that make it easy to cast the horoscope accurately once the time and place of birth are known with accuracy. Hence, one cannot go wrong.
But, the interpretations of what the planetary positions at the time of birth foretell, in conjunction with where they are placed now are entirely subjective. It is not uncommon for astrologers to disagree. Again, that does not discredit either astrology or the astrologers. It happens in many other areas where human interpretation (and the inevitable judgement that is part of it) is involved.
Presented with the same financial statements, different analysts can reach entirely different conclusions about the underlying health of the company. They need to take into account information on the health of the competitors, on the personality of the CEOs, their experience, history, the company’s values, integrity, its attitude to consumers. The final assessment would thus rest on quantitative, quantifiable and qualitative factors.
The analogy with doctors, patients and diagnosis is closer. A given set of symptoms can flag a wide range of possible underlying ailments and diseases. To zero in on the ailment that his patient is possibly suffering from, a skilled doctor has to rely as much on his judgement as he does on his theoretical knowledge. His judgement would have to factor in, but not limited to, the patient’s overall health, his appearance, his face, his eyes, his nails, his eating habits, his physical activity, patient’s history of illnesses and health and finally the doctor’s intuition.
The situation is similar with a horoscope. For certain configurations and the current positions of the planet, a wide range of predictions may be possible or even plausible. However, which one is more likely to occur in the case of the person whose horoscope is being examined is a matter of judgement. It would involve studying the subject’s horoscope, that of his parents, his children’s horoscope, the past experience of the subject during previous phases (how far they conformed (or, not) to what theory would predict, etc.
The intuition of an astrologer is to be honed through sadhana. It does not come easily. It takes years. It is not easy in the world of astrology or jyotisha as commerce. To a degree, commercialisation is inevitable and it may not often signal greed and avarice. One has to make a living. But, it is a fact that it detracts from prediction accuracy.
The sheer fact that astrologers are mortals on this earth implies that there is a natural, inherent limitation as to how much, how far and how reliably they can predict. This observation by Shri.M, made in a different context is apt:
The Avadhoot Gita – it’s a beautiful book and very interesting. The Avadhoot Dattatreya had twenty four teachers in his life and one of them was the honey–bee. The Avadhoot says ‘I learnt the lesson from the honey–bee – collecting and keeping something for a rainy day; and also how it goes from flower to flower, sucks the honey and gathers it all together’ – which means there is nobody on this earth who knows everything. As long as you have a physical body, there is nobody who knows everything. So we need to learn. At any time, one should be prepared to learn. And for learning – especially deep things like the Upanishads – one needs to have the humility to think that, ‘perhaps I am learning something new – let me listen and learn’. If I say ‘I know’ then I cannot learn; and in this field sometimes, all that we have studied also might act as an obstacle.
From my personal experience, I can cite several examples where astrological predictions were closer to the mark or were off-target. When I contemplated starting my own hedge fund in 2004, a well-known astrologer warned me not to do so. He was proven right. I closed down the Fund within eighteen months of my starting it. However, during the same phase, another astrologer was almost certain that the period would also entail health problems for me. My health held up well during that phase.
Fast forward, the period from late 2009 to early 2013 was tipped to be a difficult period for me – more at the level of the mind than through physical or real setbacks. It was broadly right. There was at least one big health alarm which turned out to be false eventually. Otherwise, I would not be around to write this blog post. However, during that phase, one astrologer said that I would not give up on my corporate career and that the stress I was expected to face during that period would arise from that. In reality, I gave up my corporate job in mid-2011. Another astrologer had, however, said that the phase I was going through entailed that. So, it was no surprise for him!
Then, in 2010, as we purchased an independent house in Singapore and were planning to move in, one astrologer felt that the period entailed serious health risk for my father with the inevitable fate that befalls all human beings being one of the possibilities. My father was already past 80. But, in the end, he was fine and the planned purchase and move went through smoothly.
Actually, the astrologer, who said that the phase I was going through entailed the loss of a job, gave a good analogy to describe the usefulness of astrology and of consulting astrologers. I had asked him about the role of karma (acts of omission and commission) or vasanas from previous births influencing one’s fortunes and outcomes in this birth. My subtext was that since karma was deemed the sole determining factor, what was there to be gained from consulting charts and astrologers?
He responded well. He said that if one’s karma was like the darkness of the night on the road (you cannot help it), astrological consultation could be like a lamp that helps to light up the path to enable you to walk through the darkness better. I think his analogy is right. It could light up a part of it and there would still be darkness – hiding dangers or opportunities (both are possible). Further, even if it lights up the path, it might not help us avoid all dangers – the smallest nail or thorn might still prick us. There are no guarantees with astrology. Of course, neither astrology nor its practitioners of yore ever spoke in those terms.
Since the planetary positions at the time of one’s birth are something that cannot be changed, it is often felt that one’s future is pre-determined at the time of birth. We will not delve too much into the philosophical aspects of this eternal question. But, a philosophical detour is inevitable. Before that, a modern analogy is in order.
In modern parlance, the horoscope is equivalent to inheriting a balance sheet. A balance sheet is a snapshot of one’s assets and liabilities – consequences of past performance of the firm. The same is the case with a horoscope. It is a snapshot of past karma.
But, once someone inherits a balance sheet, his actions of commission and omission are like the annual income statements. It is true that the balance sheet influences the evolution of the income statement in the years ahead but it is also true that the income statement can change the composition of the balance sheet.
How does one make the evolution of the income statement influence the balance sheet for the better? This is where freewill comes into play. Not in the way one might guess, of course, because there is no free will, in the highest state of human evolution. We are getting ahead of ourselves.
A learned Hindu scholar told us in one of his recent lectures that between karma (actions in the past and in the present) and karta (the doer), there is God. In other words, there is no mechanical transference between past karma and their consequences. God intermediates.
Let us look at a more practical illustration. Just as past crimes might land someone in a jail but subsequent exemplary behaviour can get the sentence commuted, the consequences of karma can be mitigated by good behaviour. In fact, in a conversation with a seeker, the Sankaracharya of Sringeri has said that if YOUR past actions determined your present fate, then YOUR actions today can help to enhance their good effects or attenuate their bad consequences. Of course, as I wrote before, highly evolved souls do not think that free will exists at all.
What is that good behaviour that can mitigate the punishment for the past bad behaviour (bad karma) and how does it square with this notion of ‘no freewill’?
If, in the present birth, one acted with the total and ever-present realisation that one is but an instrument of God and performs one’s duties and actions in that spirit, then the imaginary conflict between fate and free-will disappears. There is neither fate nor free will. There is only divine will. Where the ego disappears, there is only divinity left. Once such a ‘divine will’ confronts fate, there is no scope for fate to exist or play out. The horoscope becomes meaningless.
Therefore, in the final analysis, it does not matter whether Shri.Narendra Modi’s horoscope foretells if he would become the Prime Minister of India. If he is performing his duties in the spirit of being an instrument of god, then his horoscope cannot stop him from being the Prime Minister of India, if god has chosen him to play that role.
On the other hand, if he does not carry the spirit of surrender, then his horoscope may come into play. Or, more pertinently, it may well be India’s fate (or its bad horoscope) if he did not get to become India’s Prime Minister for the other choices available to India do not bode well for the country.
In the final analysis, predicting his chances of becoming the Prime Minister of India based on his horoscope does not leave us any wiser about his chances or that of India’s.
(The link given at the beginning is from the article written by Shri. Utpal Pathak in December 2012. He has posted a few more analyses of Shri. Narendra Modi’s chart subsequently. You can find them here. He appears to have become more confident of Mr. Modi becoming the PM, based on a reading of his birth chart juxtaposed with actual developments in 2013 )