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  1. How can we be responsible for our deeds when the planets influence our minds? Discourse Podcast Shri Parikshit, a lawyer from Delhi asked (on the phone): Are the planets not influencing our minds to do good or bad deeds? The planets have Lordships of houses like wealth, house, issues, wife, job etc., and also have natures (Kaaraka) like knowledge, work, wife, children etc., when their periods come it is said that they influence these aspects. Then, our works are destined by the planets and we shall not receive punishments for our sins done by us due their influence, which is the destiny. Swami replied: We are doing good deeds or bad deeds based on our own inherent nature. This is stated repeatedly in the Gita as “prakrutim yaanti bhuutaani..., prakrutistvaam niyokshyati..., Prakruteh kriyamanaani, gunaih karmaani..., kaaranam gunasangosya...” and so on. God and the planets are neither the doers of our deeds nor do they influence our deeds. They also never give any fruit to us unless we perform the corresponding deed (Na kartrutvam na karmaani…—Gita). Our nature depends on our qualities which we have picked up from our surroundings in this birth or carried forward from our previous births. The planets are only giving us the fruits of our own deeds. The fruits have been arranged in a regular cyclic fashion by God so that we receive some good fruit followed by some bad fruit of our own actions alternately. This alternate arrangement is done so that we can get maximum enjoyment from life. Enjoying only good fruits i.e. pleasant experiences; one after the other, will lead to boredom. Similarly, experiencing the bad fruits of our actions i.e. difficulties in life; one after the other, will lead to depression. The alternate arrangement provides maximum enjoyment like enjoying a full meal in which one eats sweet and hot dishes alternately. As per our acquired natures, we are born in zodiac signs, whose Lords have a similar nature. Note that we are not referring to the inert planet. We are referring to the nature of its Lord or presiding deity, who is known by the same name as the planet. For example, the Lord of the inert planet, Mars, has a hot and angry nature. So, souls of a similar nature are born in the zodiac signs, Aries or Scorpio, which are ruled by Mars. It is very important to understand that Mars does not induce anger into the soul but the angry soul is born in the zodiac sign ruled by Mars. Hence, our natures are not influenced by the planets. We are merely born in the zodiac signs ruled by the planets having a similar nature. The different astrological periods (dashaas) are the times when we are supposed to receive the fruits of our deeds as arranged by God in our life. Destiny means that you must receive the fruit of your deed at the appropriate time as decided by God. You can never escape it. You are destined to receive the fruits as per the constitution of God. But the concept of destiny is confined to enjoying the fruits of your deeds. It does not extend to your performing the deeds. You perform the deeds only as per your qualities, which make up your nature. If you kill some person and state in the court that you have killed him due to the influence of certain planets on you, will the judge be satisfied? The judge will say that you are receiving the punishment for your crime based on the influence of the same planets! People often exploit spiritual concepts. For example, some say that every incident happening in this world is destined since it happens only by the will of God. Then the judge will say that he too is giving you the punishment for your crime based on the same will of God! God is responsible for every deed in the sense of supplying the energy required for the deed. He is not responsible for the direction of the deed, which alone decides the fruit. Electrical energy is supplied to your house by the government expecting that you will use it for good purposes like putting on lights and fans. If you misuse the electricity or if you put your fingers in the plug point, you will receive a shock. The government is not responsible for the electric shock, and will not compensate you for the damage! God is like to horse that carries you from one place to the other. But the direction of your journey is decided only by you, and the fruit, which depends on the direction taken, shall also be enjoyed by you alone. If you go to the forest, robbers will rob your money. If you go to another city where your relatives and friends live, you will be received by them with pleasure. The horse that takes you either to the forest or the city as per your direction, is not responsible for the fruits that you receive. The meaning of the Vedic statement “Abadhnan purusham pashum” is that the souls have bound God to their deeds, as a horse is bound to a cart for a journey. Binding the horse to the cart does not mean that the horse is responsible for the direction taken by the cart. The driver of the cart, which is the soul, alone is responsible for the direction. Swami Vivekananda said that you can change your destiny and that destiny is in your hands alone. This means that you can stop the chain of punishments for your sins provided you put forth the effort to undergo reformation. Reformation has three steps. The first is intellectual and it involves gaining spiritual knowledge and digesting it fully. It naturally leads to the second emotional step which is the repentance for one’s wrong deeds in the past. Finally, the third and final practical step is the non-repetition of the sinful deeds throughout one’s life. The third practical step proves that one has actually reformed. If the spiritual knowledge is gained and properly digested, repentance and non-repetition of the sin are natural consequences. The digestion of spiritual knowledge does not take place simply by gaining it. After gaining it, you have to propagate it in the world. This repeated propagation confirms and strengthens the concepts in your mind resulting in their digestion and assimilation by your soul. i.e. they become part of your inherent nature. Swami Vivekananda made this statement from his own experience. He was involved in the propagation of the true spiritual knowledge preached by Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa throughout His life!
  2. SATSANGA ON SHRI RAMA NAVAMI - PART-1 Part-1 of spiritual meeting (Satsanga) that took place between Swami and several devotees on the day of Shri Rama Navami: Shri Veena Datta: What is the difference between astrology and devotion to God? Swami: Astrology gives a list of bad effects during a period governed by a bad planet (Dashaa). From this list, which specific effect will be faced by a specific person, can only be told by God’s grace, which is obtained through devotion. For example, astrology gives a list of bad effects that a person might face during the period of Saturn, which include, theft, paralysis, accidents and so on. Suppose two persons approach you and both are passing through the period of Saturn. As an astrologer, you may predict that one person may become the victim of theft but the person may instead suffer from an attack of paralysis. The person will say that you have failed in your prediction. To the other person, during his period of Saturn, you may predict that he may suffer from a paralytic attack. But he might not get a paralytic attack. Instead, a theft might occur in his house. He too will say that you have failed in your prediction. Both these affected persons might even say that astrology itself is false. So, you need to understand that based on your knowledge of astrology, you can never predict which specific effect will be faced by a specific person. Astrology only enables you to predict that some good or bad effect will be faced by the person during a certain time. It is even possible for you to be able to predict the specific effect, provided you have the grace of God. The grace comes through devotion. The ability to predict the specific effect for a specific person is called as the ‘purity of word’ or Vaakshuddhi. It can only be obtained by the grace of God. Hence, the practice of astrology should be associated with the worship of God. The medical degree, MBBS, means the study of medicine as well as surgery side-by-side. If you have a headache, it can be cured by a simple painkiller tablet prescribed by the doctor who is an expert in medicine. But if you go to a surgeon, the surgeon will say that your head must be operated upon to find out the reason for the headache! If you get the grace of God through your devotion, there is no need of studying the astrological scriptures. As per Vedic astrology, a human being, in his or her life, passes through the periods (Dashaas) of each of the nine planets, one after the other. Each planet may be good or bad for a person based on the nature of the planet as described in astrology, its placement in the person’s birth-chart and the person’s zodiac sign. Therefore, the period of each planet is also good or bad for the person. The so-called good planets deliver the results of the person’s good deeds while the so-called bad planets deliver the results of the person’s bad deeds. The period of each planet is further sub-divided into the sub-periods (antar dashaas) belonging to each of the nine planets. Each of the sub-divisions are further sub-divided into even smaller sub-divisions (vidashaas) of the nine planets. In this manner, there are several levels of sub-division of these planetary periods. The long span of the period of a good planet is generally good for the person. During this period, the person generally receives the fruits of his or her good deeds done in the past. But even during this generally good period, the person also experiences both good and bad results corresponding to all the nine planets, during their respective sub-periods. Similarly, in the generally bad period of a bad planet, the person also experiences both good and bad results from all the nine planets during their respective sub-periods. This sophisticated arrangement of planetary periods and their sub-periods made by God, ensures that the person never experiences continuous happiness or continuous pain. Continuous happiness for a long time invariably leads to boredom. Continuous misery for a long time becomes unbearable. Frequent change prevents boredom and provides maximum entertainment to the soul. The sub-periods of all nine planets within any planetary period ensure that the person enjoys both good and bad fruits of his or her own deeds in an alternating manner. It is like enjoying sweet and spicy dishes alternately in a meal. If the meal contained only sweet dishes or only spicy dishes, the meal would not be enjoyable. The combination of the two alone gives maximum enjoyment. The Divine Father has made this wonderful alternating arrangement of delivering the good and bad fruits of the deeds of souls for the sake of their maximum enjoyment. He wishes that His children always remain happy. This alternating cyclic arrangement of the fruit of the soul’s deeds is called the karma chakra. God rearranges the good and bad fruits in this alternating manner. A soul might have committed a number of bad deeds, one after the other and a number of good deeds, one after the other. But the fruits are not delivered to the soul in the sequence in which the deeds were done. If all the bad fruits were to be given to the soul, one after the other, the long continuous misery would become unbearable for the soul. Similarly, the long continuous span of enjoying the all the good fruits, one after the other, would become boring. Hence, God rearranges them in an alternating manner in the form of the planetary periods and sub-periods. Thus, every bad fruit is followed by a good fruit and vice versa. But when we face miseries, we do not want to bear them. The miseries are actually the results of our own bad deeds. On the order of God, the so-called bad planet is merely delivering the results of our own bad deed to us. But we, somehow, want to escape from the bad results. So, we worship God and force Him to remove the miseries and grant us happiness. Our demand is a violation of justice, which God never permits. But the kind Father also wants to satisfy the praying souls who are His own children. So, He postpones the present miseries to the future and prepones some future happiness bringing it into the present. The praying soul experiences immediate relief from the miseries and the enjoyment of some happiness. But there is big disadvantage in disturbing the original arrangement of the fruits of deeds in this manner. The postponed miseries grow in value due to interest, while the preponed happiness reduces in value; similar to the premature withdrawal of an investment. Even though such interference provides temporary relief to the soul, it is not in the soul’s long term interest. But God allows such interference in the cycle of deeds only to help the soul in developing some devotion to God. Upon developing devotion, God expects the soul to work towards permanent reformation. Otherwise, by such repeated postponement of misery and preponement of happiness, the soul may face a life full of continuous misery in the future. We sometimes find such people whose life is full of misery and not even a bit of happiness, in spite of their devotion to God. The sum of the periods of the nine planets is 120 years since the average life in older generations was 120 years. This human lifespan is called Purushaayusham. Whatever may be the actual lifespan, the cyclic arrangement of the planetary periods, each consisting of several levels of sub-periods, is never affected. What I mean is that even if the average lifespan of a human being were to become as short as one hour in the future, the arrangement of the planetary periods and sub-periods would not change. In fact, this arrangement applies even to the souls present in the bodies of worms that might actually live only for an hour. Astrology is only an associated part of the spiritual knowledge since the nine planets are the executive forces of God. God is the author of the divine constitution which stands as the basis for the divine administration. To be Continuued.... Click here for Part-2 Click here for Part-3
  3. Relation Between Astrology And Vaastu Dr. Nikhil asked: People generally treat astrology to be the subject related to reading horoscopes prepared based on the date and time of a person’s birth. Vāstu Śāstra is treated to be the subject dealing with architecture. Is there a relationship between astrology and Vāstu Śāstra? Swami replied: Astrology (Jyautisha Shaastra) is the subject dealing with bright planets and stars since jyotiḥ means a bright light. Astrology is said to be a subject consisting of five parts (panchaanga). As per one classification, the five parts of astrology are tithi, vaara, nakshatra, yoga, karana. Tithi is the date as per the lunar calendar. Vaara is the day of the week. Nakshatra is the constellation (star). Yoga is a calculation related to the positions of the sun and the moon and karana is the duration of half a lunar day. These five aspects can be seen in the astrological calendar called panchaanga. As per another important classification, the five parts of astrology are jaataka, gochara, muhuurta, vaastu, and parihaara. Jaataka means the horoscope prepared based on the date of birth, the time of birth and the place of birth of an individual. Gochara is the horoscope built from the name of the individual applied to the running planetary transits. Muhuurta is an auspicious time calculated. Vaastu is the principles of architecture. Parihaara is the worship of God and doing charity to the poor for pacifying the bad effects rising from the first four parts. Astrology partly involves astronomy, which is related to the imaginable domain. It is also partly the subject involving the deities of the planets and stars, which is related to the unimaginable domain. Thus, astrology is a mixture of the study of the imaginable and the unimaginable domains. The eclipse of the sun and the moon is an imaginable astronomical event. The points in space where the eclipse occurs are associated with the deities Rahu and Ketu, who deliver the fruits of the bad deeds of souls. The delivery of the fruits of the good and bad deeds of souls is a matter related to the unimaginable domain. Similarly, Vaastu is also a mixture of architecture, which is related to the imaginable domain and the effects of the stars and planets, which is related to the unimaginable domain. Vaastu says that there should be a beam after a span of twelve feet (Dvaadashapade parighaa). This is an aspect of civil engineering to ensure the strength of the structure. Vaastu says that for any room, the star calculated by Navavarga Ganita should be good. This calculation involves multiplying the carpet area of the room in square yards by eight and then dividing it by twenty-seven (Bham ashta bhaiah). The remainder is noted. Out of the twenty-seven constellations (stars), the one corresponding to the remainder is the relevant star. Vaastu also says that the door of the house should be fixed in the position of a good planet. These points are related to the deities of the stars and planets (jyotih) and are based on the unimaginable domain. Thus, we see that Vaastu is indeed a part of astrology. Paaraasharii, Jaimini Sutraas, Kaalaamrutam etc., are the scriptures of astrology. A climax devotee of God need not bother about these stars and planets since God is the ultimate controller of the deities of the planets and stars. Even spiritual knowledge, which is the subject of God can be called as astrology (Jyotisha Shaastram). This is because in the Veda, it is said that God is the ultimate brightest light that illuminates these stars and planets and gives power to their deities (Param jyotirupasampadya…, tasya bhaasaa sarvamidam vibhaati).
  4. DESTINY CHANGES WITH TRUE KNOWLEDGE FROM SATGURU This world of humanity is based on full freedom and absence of any forcible destiny. Here, you are free to do any type of work and no destiny forces you to do any specific work as said in the Gita (Na kartrutvam...). The concept of destiny exists only in the link of the specific work and the specific fruit. You have full freedom to put your finger in fire or water. No destiny forces you to put your finger in fire or water. The destiny lies only in the link between a specific work and corresponding specific fruit. It is destined that the fire burns your finger and the water keeps your finger cool. The destiny is not in the selection of the work. You have put your finger in the fire due to ignorance or ego. After burning the finger, you may say that you have put the finger in the fire due to the destiny. God has destined the specific system, which links every action with a specific fruit. After putting your finger, God is not ordering the fire to burn it. The subsequent fruit for a specific work is already destined. God or the destiny does not interfere with the choice of your selection of a specific work. Even the so called past destiny does not interfere with your works. The composition of your psychology is fixed based on your past deeds. Thus, work is responsible for the will and the will is the generator of the work. Since the composition of your psychology is already based on your past deeds and is fixed, you can treat that as destiny and in such case, destiny is guiding everything. The psychology is a specific pattern of ideas generated by the past deeds and it is called as ‘Samskara’. An idea can be changed by knowledge. Samskara is a fixed concept and the right knowledge is a group of right concepts. You have the opportunity of hearing the right knowledge since God comes to this world quite often in human form. You have the freedom to hear such divine knowledge or not to hear. You have also freedom to practice the knowledge or leave it without practice. At every step, the basic freedom is given. This human world is also the right place for testing the devotees and here also, the full freedom is protected. You are totally free to sacrifice anything or not to sacrifice anything even if God desires for it. God does not force you or threaten you or wash your brain in your sacrifice since such sacrifice is not real. God is pleased only with the real sacrifice done by the soul in the atmosphere of total freedom. In the examination hall, you are totally free to answer the question paper to any extent or even to return the white paper without writing even a word. God preaches the total concept and in the stage of implementation of it, God does not influence your mind in any way. After teaching all the right knowledge through the Gita, Krishna said that the decision to fight or not is totally left to Arjuna (yathechchasi…). The basic reason is that God is not in need of anything from anybody. The sacrifice is not to satisfy God but only to uplift you. The sacrifice proves your real attachment to God and such real attachment is not in the benefit of God but it is only in your benefit. Krishna asked for the special gem from Satrajit, the father of Satyabhama. Krishna is not in need of that gem. He is the creator of that gem. Even without the help of that gem, He can create wealth. He can even stop the power of the gem to create the wealth. Krishna asked the gem from Satrajit because Satrajit cannot maintain it and will fall in trouble. Only for the welfare of Satrajit, He asked him for that gem. But, Satrajit thought that Krishna asked that gem for His personal benefit and thereby, for His personal satisfaction. Such misunderstanding made Satrajit to refuse the gem. Astrology says that the happening of good or bad incidents is due to the planets. This misunderstanding again leads the people to think that their actions are destined by the planets. Here, your actions are not destined by the planets. Your actions are only destined by your psychological set up, which is destined by your past deeds. The planet links the specific fruit for the specific action. You do something based on your Samskara. The planet gives its correspondent fruit immediately. You blame the planet for guiding you to do a specific work and this is totally wrong. A planet is only destined to give the specific result linked with your specific action. The specific work is based on your specific psychological pattern only. The horoscope gives the composition of your specific psychological pattern. Since your future actions also depend on the same pattern, future prediction can be easily given. A specific psychological pattern is always linked with a specific composition of planets representing your qualities or ideas. Therefore, there is no external destiny here other than yourself regarding your future. If the samskara is modified with the help of the divine knowledge, the whole destiny is changed, which means your horoscope totally disappears. Every period is divided into sub-periods, every sub-period is again divided into further sub-periods and every division involves the revolution of all the nine planets again and again. This means that human being is a mixture of both good and bad always in every step of the time. Astrology is an Introduction to Philosophy Actually, the basic concept of astrology indicates that there is the existence of some unimaginable supernatural force that guides this world. Hence, astrology is an introduction for the philosophy. Without taking this basic reality, you misuse astrology to justify yourself by linking your wrong actions to the planets. The worship of the supernatural and unimaginable planets introduces the worship of unimaginable God. But, this is again misused as the worship of the planet for not giving the bad result for the bad action done by you. If you worship God, He will preach you the right knowledge, which changes the total destiny. By your worship, God will not protect you from your sins. Therefore, in this world, the destiny is also in your hands only. There is full freedom for you to change your destiny through the right knowledge. Hence, this world of humanity is called as ‘Karma Loka’, which means that your actions decide everything and that your action is based on your psychological pattern only and not by any pre-determined external destiny. The upper worlds are called as ‘Bhoga Lokas’ because there is no freedom to perform any new action and you have no freedom at all, but for enjoying the destined results for your already recorded actions. ‘Pravrutti’ means attachment to worldly bonds. ‘Nivrutti’ is detachment of your worldly bonds for the sake of God. This world is the stage for both pravrutti and nivrutti. Full freedom up to the level of changing your destiny exists here. Your destiny is only your fixed psychological pattern generated from the past deeds and not any other external force. This pattern can be changed by the right knowledge received from God in the form of preacher. Therefore, there is every chance for changing your destiny in this world. Generally, people blame the reason for their bad actions to be some external force called as destiny in which there is no trace of their personal psychological involvement. People say, ‘People say so’. The people cannot be the authority unless the whole subject is perfectly analyzed. Even there are several misinterpretations in books written by ancestral scholars. You should not blindly take the people or the ancient books as authority without analyzing them perfectly. The Gita says that you will laugh at such authorities if you analyze the subject with sharp scientific intelligence (Buddhyaayukto…). Even if the implementation is impossible, it is better to have the right knowledge, which follows the soul to the next birth so that the practical implementation can be done sometime in the future. This point looks quite good, but there is the practical danger. Just like the cooked food can be attacked by the bacteria in the atmosphere, the right knowledge is also attacked by the worldly attractions and sometimes, the right knowledge may become weaker and weaker and even may finally disappear even in the later part of this life. Therefore, it is better to implement the realized concept as early as possible like eating the cooked food immediately.
  5. How important is it to match the horoscopes of the bride and the groom before getting married? Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: Is kuṇḍali or horoscope-matching very important for marriages? In some marriages, even though the horoscope has been matched, the couples seem to be having a lot of inter-personal problems and they do not get along well. Should people still match the horoscopes anyway, just to err on the safe side? It is also said that the cutting of hair and nails should only be done on specific days and not at night time. Do such rules apply even today? Swami replied: The subject of astrology as written by ancient sages is correct. However, the astrologer must interpret the horoscope in the correct way. The astrological planets are not the inert planets, but the deities of the inert planets. They are nothing but the various forces of the unimaginable power of God. They deliver the fruits of the deeds of souls, as per the schedule of life cycles, which are arranged by God. The inert planets, which exist in space, are made of inert matter and energy. But the astrological planets are the deities that rule the respective inert planets and are known by the same name as the inert planets. These deities are souls existing in energetic forms (bodies) and they are associated with the required unimaginable power given by God to them for carrying out their respective duties. Astronomy deals with the study of the inert planets, while astrology deals with the living deities of the planets. An eclipse is an astronomical fact, whereas, the matching of horoscopes is an astrological concept. However, if you are bonded firmly to God, He will take care of you in all these problems. =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: www.universal-spirituality.org) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
  6. Vastu and Astrology in Modern Times Smt. Priyanka Sethepalli (USA) asked: I have a question that has been bothering me for a while now. It is advised that one should never buy a south-facing home as it is believed to lead to some problems. But it is also said that, depending on one's birth star (janma nakṣatram), a south-facing home is especially beneficial for certain people. To such people, the main door of the house facing south is more beneficial than a door facing any other direction. How true is this? Also, some business-owners particularly look for south-facing main entrances which they believe are lucky for them. There are so many variations in people’s beliefs and the Vāstu texts, all over India. I would love to have some clarity on this relation between the birth star of a person and the main door of the house facing different directions. Also, why does this matter seem to be so important in South India (especially for Telugu people) and not so important for people from other states of India? Expanding this further, do the same Vāstu rules apply everywhere, irrespective of the country you live in and the weather in that region? Thank you. Regards, Priyanka. South-Facing House Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! Vāstu Śāstram is the ancient Indian science of architecture. It is part of Vedic astrology or Jyautiṣa Śāstram. According to Vāstu, the main door of the house should not face the south because Lord Yama, the deity of hell, is situated on the south side. It also says that you should not sleep with your feet towards the south and that instead, your head should be towards the south. The residents in a south-facing house receive bad results, which are having a second marriage, financial loss, lack of issues and sometimes even the death of the house-owner (Tasya bhāryādvayaṃ dhananāśaḥ, putrābhāvaḥ, kvacit kartṛnāśaḥ). It is also said that a south-facing property is beneficial for people who regularly kill animals and are involved in the meat business (Kirātānāṃ dakṣiṇā). If a person has already received one of the negative results, then the person might not get any other negative results. This means that a person who has already married twice or who already has no issues might not undergo a financial loss, in spite of having a south-facing property. The person faces the said bad results because of some sin committed in the past. But when the person has already faced one punishment for the sin committed, other types of punishments will not apply to the person. This is because one crime committed by him cannot have two punishments! Gaps in Understanding People misunderstand the very basis of astrology by thinking that they are perfect people who have never committed any sin. They feel that it is the bad planets that are unnecessarily giving them bad results during the respective planetary periods (daśas) or during the transits of the planets through different zodiac signs (gocāra). The fact is that the past sinful deeds and the past meritorious deeds done by the soul cause the planets to give bad and good results respectively, in the prescribed periods, as per the judgment of God. Note that in astrology, when we say planets, we mean the deities corresponding to the inert planets. These deities are angels who are God’s executives. The astrological scriptures were written by sages, so, it is better to follow astrology. The sages were highly devoted to God and were interested in the well-being of mankind. So, in following their instructions, you are not being cheated or exploited. If someone is trying to cheat or exploit you through some false tradition, you should certainly analyze it using perfect scientific logic. You should reject the false tradition through which the person is trying to cheat you for his own benefit. Modern people trying to interpret Vāstu do not perfectly understand the heart of the astrological scripture. It is said that one should select such a plot for constructing a house which has its south-west side at a higher level than the north-east side (Īśat paścima dakṣiṇonnata mahī…). This instruction was relevant to olden days when there was no common drainage system. As per Vāstu, the tradition was that elder issue should live on south-west side and younger issue should live on north-east side. This is assuming that the constructed house is divided between two issues. Only when this instruction is followed, will the water flow from the side of the elder issue to the side of the younger issue. But now, houses have a proper drainage system. So, this matter is not relevant and this instruction can be neglected. Some Vāstu principles are scientific and are based on principles of civil engineering. For instance Vāstu says that a beam should be put after a length of 12 feet (Dvādaśa pade parighā). Another example is that it is said that a well must be located in the northeast corner and that staircases to the upper floor should not be located in the northeast corner (Īśānyāṃ kūpaḥ na nisśreṇiḥ). This is to ensure that a person climbing down the staircase does not slip and fall into the well! It is also said that a road should not run straight into the the main door of your house (Vīdhiśūlā mukhadvāre). This is to ensure that when you are going out through the main door, a vehicle coming from the opposite side does not hit you accidentally. Astrology deals with the deities of planets, while astronomy deals with the inert planets. The deities are energetic beings or angels who have been blessed by God with divine powers. They deliver the fruits of both the past sins and the past meritorious deeds to souls, as per the prescribed schedule. They follow the judgment pronounced by God, the Supreme Judge. The deities of the nine planets are the executive powers of God. These planetary deities are ruled by higher deities. Whether you worship the planetary deities or you worship the deities who are above the planetary deities, you are ultimately worshipping God alone. There is no difference between the power and its possessor. The deities are God’s powers and God is their possessor. Astrology applies to the entire universe and it does not differ from one region to the other region on earth. But if you are a very strong devotee of God, you need not worry about Vāstu or astrology. Five Parts of Astrology Astrology is said to have five parts (pañcāṅga😞 (1) The first is jātakam, which is the horoscope prepared on the basis of the date and time of birth of a person. (2) The second is gocāra, which is the current or running chart of the planets, as applied to the zodiac sign based on the person’s name. (3) The third is vāstu, which is the plan of the person’s own house. (4) The fourth is muhūrtam, which is the time at which you start a certain task. (5) The fifth is mantra ārādhanam, which is the prayers to the planetary deities, to the deities above the planetary deities or to God Himself. When a person undergoes some form of suffering, the person should look for a defect in all these five parts. This is just like a disease, which could be caused by a defect in the blood, kidneys, lungs, heart or the digestive system. You have to try to diagnose where the defect lies before you attempt to remedy it through different forms of worship. There could be defects in one or more of the five parts listed above. For instance, your vāstu might be good, but the defect in your horoscope might be the cause for your present suffering. It is just like saying that your heart is fine, but your lungs might have a problem. There is also a special theory called Tājaka Siddhānta of Paṇḍita Nīlakaṇṭha Dīkṣita, which involves the direct application of the gocāra on the horoscope itself. One important point must be noted because some say that the horoscope of the wife supports the husband. This is correct if the wife is unemployed and is dependent on the husband. But if the wife pursues her own profession, her horoscope is limited to herself alone. Similarly, the horoscope of a newborn child affects the parents. But as the child grows and develops its own life path, its horoscope ceases to have an effect on the parents. Among the five parts of astrology, the fifth part, which is devotion to God, is very strong, provided the person’s devotion is also very strong. My father was a great astrologer. He would often tell Me to concentrate on astrology because this subject is of great interest to everybody. Jyautiṣa Śāstram is the subject dealing with the jyoti or light (luminous planets). I would tell him that My focus is on the root light or Paraṃjyoti, who is none other than God (Paraṃ jyotirupa-sampadya…—Veda). He is the ultimate source that illuminates all the nine lights (planets). Finally, I revealed the correlation between astrology and spiritual knowledge. If the astrologer is helping society to believe in the unimaginable God through the unimaginable powers of the planets (deities), such an astrologer is basically a philosopher. A very strong devotee of God could indeed be very well off in all aspects, even though the first four parts are very unfavorable in his case. His well-being is the result of his devotion to God, which is related to the fifth part of astrology. Just because the bad effects of the defects in the other four parts are not seen in that specific person, one should not mistake astrology to be false. The aim of the sages in writing the astrological scriptures was only to help an ordinary human being. The first step in helping the person is to create belief in the unimaginable power of God through the unimaginable powers of the planets. If this first step is well-established, the second step of developing the devotion to God becomes very easy. Misunderstanding Leads to Blame for Astrology Neither astrologers nor the people consulting astrologers fully realize the fact that astrology consists of five parts. This fact should be kept in mind before unnecessarily blaming an astrologer or astrology as a whole for a failed prediction. I will explain this with an example. Suppose an astrologer suggested a good muhūrtam (time) for a marriage. The muhūrtam might actually be good. The astrologer might have also rectified some vāstu-related defects in the house of the newly-married couple. With this, only two parts, namely muhūrtam and vāstu out of the five parts have become favorable. What about the other three parts, namely jātakam, gocāra and mantra ārādhanam? The horoscope (jātakam) and the planetary transits (gocāra) might still be defective. Hence, the couple might face bad effects from the bad planets, which, of course, is the result of their own sins. Basically, the couple faces bad effects due to unresolved defects in the other parts of astrology. But people thoughtlessly blame the astrologer by saying that even though they performed the marriage as per the prescribed muhūrtam and after rectifying the vāstu defects of the house, the couple faced the bad effects. They either say that the astrologer is good-for-nothing or that the field of astrology itself is false. Before the marriage, if the elders in the family of the bride and the groom consult a good astrologer with the horoscopes of the couple, the astrologer can identify the defects in the horoscope. To rectify those defects he can suggest the couple to pray to the deities of the bad planets and to God. Note that the so-called bad planets (deities) are not bad. They are loyal servants of God. They only deliver the fruits of the soul’s bad deeds to the soul. Along with the prayers to the deities, the astrologer might prescribe some specific forms of charity to be done to beggars. The prescribed charity is related to the specific planets. This worship of the deities and the related charity comes under the fifth part of astrology called mantra ārādhanam. If the couple sincerely performs the prayers and also properly does the charity as prescribed, the problems will disappear. This is because the defects related to the horoscope (jātakam) and transits (gocāra) have been rectified and devotion to God or the deities (mantra ārādhanam) has also been developed. A good muhūrtam had already been chosen and the defects related to vāstu had already been rectified by the astrologer. Thus, all five parts become good and so, the problems of the couple disappear. Of course, it should be noted that the problems only disappear temporarily. They disappear permanently only when the souls attain complete reformation. But if the couple fails to do all the prescribed remedial procedures as suggested by the astrologer, they will face problems. Then they will again blame the astrologer saying that the astrologer is false or that astrology itself is false! The above concept can be more clearly understood by taking the example of the diagnosis and treatment of a patient. The patient is similar to the human being suffering from worldly miseries. The doctor is like God and the assisting compounder is like the astrologer. The disease to be cured is like the worldly misery. The five main clinical tests can be assumed to be a blood test, an ECG for the heart, a test of the kidneys, a test of the lungs and a test of the digestive system. They are like the five parts of astrology. Suppose the patient is suffering from a fever, which represents worldly misery. Let us say that the blood test and the ECG tests show no defect. Do the family members of the patient blame the doctor asking him how come the patient still has a fever even though the two tests came out normal? Do they say that either the doctor is good-for-nothing or that medical science itself is false? The doctor asked the patient to undergo the other three tests as well. On getting those reports, the doctor even prescribed the corresponding medicines. If the patient properly takes the medicines related to the other three tests too, the fever will subside. But the patient does not take the prescribed medicines and simply blames the doctor that even though the blood and ECG reports were normal, his fever is not subsiding! Astrology is a systematic science developed by sages for the temporary welfare of humanity. Even if a doctor fails in properly diagnosing and treating a certain patient, it does not mean that medical science itself is false. Since the public does not understand the overall framework of astrology as consisting of five parts (pañcāṅga), even a good astrologer gets misunderstood and blamed by the public. The remedies suggested by the astrologer involve prayers and the worship of God along with charity to beggars. Both worship and charity are good and they lead to an improvement in the person’s devotion to God. The devotion, in turn, leads to the reformation of the soul (Kṣipraṃ bhavati dharmātmā—Gita). =============== -By Shri Datta Swami (Visit our website: www.universal-spirituality.org) Universal Spirituality for World Peace
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