Vedic astrology influences a very broad spectrum of life in Indian society. It endeavors to correlate the inner spirit of a person with the higher cosmic spirit. In this way, Vedic astrology happened to be a tool of exploring the state of evolution of the spirit. This is the reason that it is regarded as ‘an eye of the Vedas’. With the passage of time, Vedic astrology has been attuned to physical temporal objectives of life.
During my studies of various facets of astrology for many years, I have observed that the ancient Indian literature on astrology needs logical scrutiny and lucid explanation. While I have a deep sense of respect for Indian or Vedic astrology, I believe it is my privilege to differ on the things where I don’t find enough logical support.
The reasons for the short comings have been various and they are largely attributable to the state of development in the time of origin and tendency of people in the present era. The lack of publications and duplicating tools and technology on one hand and the intention of the seers to safe guard the knowledge from unworthy persons, on the other, were the main reasons for the formation of literature in condensed form called sutras. The seers for sure created the scripture keeping in view the caliber of their worthy disciples. This characteristic of the literature made it most susceptible to misinterpretation.
With the passage of time, the caliber of the average person has degraded to a great extent. Sanskrit has no longer remained a language understood in its depth and gravity. The few who know the language of the scriptures are not pure at heart and intent. Thus, the ancient astrological works are now at the mercy of the interpretation of greedy pandits.
On the one hand, there are many who are ignorant about the essence and principles of the subject but have a need to take benefit of astrology. On the other hand, there are people who know something, just something about the subject and are ready to en-cash their little knowledge. This combination has created opportunities for thriving cheats in the market.
There are many schools of thoughts and equally numerous are the systems and sub-systems of astrological knowledge. And yet, there is not a single authentic and standard syllabus for recognition of its education. As a result of this, there are a number of institutes working in their own fashion. They are good enough to hold a few ceremonial gatherings and conferences on astrology. Needless to say, they do not serve any other purpose but to artificially inflate the market value of their associates by way of awarding titles and certificates of honour.
There is a genuine and urgent need of a regulating agency to coordinate the activities of such associations and institutes who promote professional astrologers.
There should be institutes to promote research in Vedic astrological works so that the knowledge scattered in different books can be assimilated into a systematic course of study. I feel, with the availability of computerized support, each and every astrological combination can be verified. This way, it can be testified how the ‘yogas’ so uniquely described by Vedic astrology are true or under what assumptions they can be true.
There is a great need to study on various principles and schools of Vedic astrology, e.g. validity and correct use of different vargas, padas and arudhas; different types of Dasha systems; concepts of depositors, etc.
While undertaking this, let us show moral courage to keep the statisticians in the team. Let them verify that the astrological combinations are something beyond the game of permutation-combination and probability. Let us admit the more lagnas, padas, vargas, arudhas, etc., we include and apply, we are more susceptible to lose ground in favour of statistics. In absence of this clarity, we give a free hand to the clever astrologers to justify their claims and in turn, exploit the needy in the name of Vedic astrology.
Today, when I look around; I hardly find astrologers who can be called Vedic astrologers. Persons of the stature of Sh. S.K. Rath, Sh. K.N. Rao and the late Dr. B.V. Raman are the very few whom I respect for the noble service they have rendered to the subject. Ironically, the persons who have mastered the art of presenting astrological TV shows are increasing day by day. I am afraid, they do not differentiate a Vedic mantra and a totka.
This leads me to think, at times, that perhaps this is the call of the day. People with shallow interest deserve just shallow treatment! The vedic society has given way to the present era and the same way Vedic astrology might have to give way to the present form of astrology.
Is Vedic astrology under evolutionary pressure? Or can it be taken ahead on its genuine track with the enhanced scientific tools? I am optimistic. I can see that we as a nation are evolving into a developed society. In the time to come, the priorities of life would shift upward. An average Indian would be beyond the worries about fulfilling his basic life needs of ‘Roti, Kapda and Makan’. In the same way, astrologers would also progress and can afford to do something more than just for the sake of earning. This is the stage where research can be undertaken in a pure way. Let us not forget, during the good old days, when the scriptures were created, ours was the most affluent society.
Before that, some of us have to be vigil that the multinational corporates do not put our scriptures under their ‘copyright’!