Is everything fated?
Updated: Dec 28, 2020
The problem is not that people are Astrology ignorant in general, it is that they are Karma ignorant. The extreme reaction that comes from people when talking about Astrology makes it a difficult conversation to make.
(Past Karma i.e. the dormant energy takes the person in a direction similar to that of an engine which takes the bogies of the train forward)
As soon as I start a discussion on Astrology with someone, the chat soon goes into why planets ‘predict’. There is always one person in the group, the Integrator of Sciences and Astrology, who tries to prove that the laws of physics can explain how a massive body like Saturn can influence lives of individuals here on Earth using some Electromagnetic fields.
When I usually talk Astrology with someone in a party setting, the tension in the room rises when few of us start debating on how distant planets can impact lives of humans here on Earth. I observe that there are two elements to this question: (a) Is our life in our hands as much as we’d like to think?, (b) How the heck these distant and gigantic planets are predicting the randomness into our own lives here on Earth?
I will address both of these questions in subsequent posts. For now, I am bringing a concept that has become foreign to the busy-and-unaware lives of today’s people – the ‘karmic fabric’.
Krisna says to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 4, Verse 17.
कर्मणो ह्यपि बोद्धव्यं बोद्धव्यं च विकर्मण: | अकर्मणश्च बोद्धव्यं गहना कर्मणो गति: ||
(Krisna says) Understand properly the complete nature of all three - action arising out of volition and dharma, forbidden action arising out of ignorance, and inaction of beings. The truth about the direction of karmic trail is profound and difficult to comprehend.
I cannot push anyone to either believe in a Karmic Fabric. I believe myself and so it is easier for me to dive deep into the whole enchilada. I also happen to personally know some rare breed of individuals who claim they have ‘witnessed’ the functioning of law of karma working underneath all. In meditation, one can see the mind linking more subtle chains of causations that is difficult to comprehend in the normal life of a hustle bustle. If you don’t believe in such a law then possibly Astrology isn’t for you. A day may come when something happens and you start believing. This can even be done when an astrologer gives a snapshot prediction to you about your life and that happens so precisely that you end up wondering what just happened.
Some people are open enough to admit that a life map helps but they wonder if they can trust ‘these planets’ to give them a map. Their question is “Why isn't my opinion asked when giving me a map”, and this is a very reasonable question. And I think either only a deep rooted belief in Astrology or a snapshot prediction that comes just right can make them fall in line for Astrology.
Choices and Life
We have choices, but not in the way we think. This I learnt after study and practice of Astrology.
There are three kinds of karma that a person ends up collecting in her life - (i) (दृढ कर्मा ) Karma that is so strong to manifest that it is almost impossible to alter, (ii) (दृढ़ा-ढृढ़ कर्मा) Karma that has weight but it can be altered by heavyduty willpower or remedies, (iii) (अदृढ़ कर्मा) Karma done is miniscule and can be altered using self's effort easily. The life that flows from birth to death is a collection of these three kinds of karmas.
A vipassana meditation Guru named Mr. S.N. Goenka refers to these same categories of karma as impressions on a rock, impressions on sand, and impressions on water. Rock impressions take huge time to be altered, sand impressions get altered after little time, and water impressions are no big deal and nature ensures that these are cleared in day-to-day life relaxing activities like sleep, hobbies, and a general good living.
Astrology predictions do not advocate fatalism
A common misconception that people have about birth chart predictions is that they don't want to trust a map that was laid down at birth. This makes them feel helpless and slaves of their destiny. All true spiritual teachings make the man master of his own destiny and it must be so to live a life of honour and totality. Herein, the doubt about predictions from any birth chart comes from two facets of karma not clearly known in communities:
We are not as independent as we'd like to think we are - Even though most of us feel that we do things out of pure volition, we actually are a slave to our whims and moods. That rationality exists is a good idea and we must embrace it as far as possible. However, most of us here on the planet (myself included) are more irrational beings than rational. Whenever there is an irrational aspect of us leading us to actions, there is an old karmic seed operating beneath. Rational life is about we taking a pause at any moment and clearly thinking the best way for us to move forward, it involves standing at a ground zero where everything is possible. This seldom happens. Most of the times, when something happens, there is already a perception force that gives rise to a thought perspective or an action about something has to be unleashed. This force is nothing but karmic energy operating in the life mechanics. This underlying karmic energy is so hidden and yet strong that wise men do years of meditation (or practicing conscious living) to come at nothingness aka the zero state. They do the labour so that the mind can be liberated from the push/pull karmic energies that are operating unconsciously. When people are undertaking lesser choices in their lives, the unwinding of the birth horoscope is happening as per the design and hence birth chart predictions end up giving good results for most of the people.
Astrology honours present life karma - One can alter past force by a strong opposite force of the present moment. All three karmas mentioned a few paragraphs above are captured in a birth chart that have the potential to ripen in due course of time. Then as life moves forward, person does all kinds of positive karma (benevolent to self or other) and negative karma (destructing to self or other) - these fresh karmic seeds are also captured in Astrology via a method known as Prashna or Horary Astrology. Any good astrologer hence must be able to diagnose what is expected to come due to karmic seeds of birth and also what karmic flow has been altered due to the present life karma done by the individual. Tools available in Astrology are thus decently thorough on this differentiation. Let me give an example. Suppose I killed someone in a prior life and due to which I'm supposed to meet with an accident at around 26 years of age. Now let's suppose at age 19, I saw three school kids drowning in the river and I saved them at the supreme risk of my own life. It could be hence possible that my prior karma of meeting with an accident (birth chart prediction) is altered by the Universal-hyper-intelligence (say, God for simplicity) and so at age 26 I end up either bypassing any accident karma or just get minor leg injuries while working out at a gym. This net effect of the true karmic fruition at any point in time is captured very well by casting two more astrological charts along with the birth chart of any person. I have been trained in my Jyotish Paramparaa to be careful about this, it uses extra efforts but that's how careful the process of finding karma is about.
My point is that Astrology has some valid and time-tested tools to measure karmic force in very decent manner. So while hearing 'predictions by an astrologer' sound outlandish, it is actually not so. Half of the shock coming from a prediction well made is actually about the breaking of our cherished belief that life is fully free and that we are not moving in a template. We actually are moving in templates of our own. Almost all of us.