It was all in our stars
Today, because of the vulgarisation of astrology, people tend to think that it is not a science and that the planets are so far away that they cannot have a definite influence on human life. But it is not so, contends Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Bangalore-based Art of Living, an International Foundation which cuts across all barriers of nationality and religion and brings enlightenment to millions of people all over the world.
He points out, for instance, the strong influence which the moon has on the huge oceans, whose tides rise and fall according to the lunar cycles. “In the same way,” he continues, “the moon has a sway on the human body, which is made-up of 60 per cent of fluids.” The moon has also a power on the mind: This is why on full moon days, mental hospitals receive the maximum number of patients. People, in the past, knew this but it has been dismissedtoday as just another superstition.
What about the sun? It definitely also has an impact on people’s minds. Lookat those who live in the Arctic Circle, where in winter the sun is so scarce that people tend to get depressed. The maximum number of suicides, in this region, takes place during the months of February and March.
The theory of relativity has proved that everything affects everything: A small atom exploding somewhere, has an impact for thousands of miles around — and the effects of radiation continue for years. So the smaller the particle, the more powerful the effect. “In the same manner,” interjects the seer from Bangalore, “planetary positions affect us very closely, because of the cosmic rays coming out of certain planets and the particular position of the earth at a given moment, just as a small dose of a homeoepathic drug can have a repercussion on a body weighting 80 kg, or a drop of poison kill a huge animal.”
Jupiter, for instance, affects the intellect, Saturn the heart, and so on. Each part of the human anatomy is connected to the cosmos: the nose is linked to Jupiter, eyes to Saturn, Mars to the lower body…This science, known as Samudrika Shastra, is almost lost today.
“The ancient sages,” declares Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, “knew these facts. This is why they devised the mala (necklace) with 108 beads, which stand for the 12 constellations and the nine planets and the 108 different permutations which affect one’s life.” Everything is interconnected in this universe, like a radio transistor, which can catch certain stations or relay messages, or a computer chip, which is the pathway for the movement of electrical and magnetic energy. And it is the same electric and magnetic energy which is linked to different planetary positions.
But how can the malefic influence that the planets sometimes have on us, be countered? Replies Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: “If the mind-body complex is affected by the planets, the Self, or êiAtmanêr, remains untouched. And if you practice meditation, by going to the core of your existence, you can escape the damaging influence of planets.” He continues, “When you are on a spiritual path, all the good luck that you gather through yogic practices will counterbalance your bad karma.”
What is the difference between Chinese/Western astrology and Indian astrology? According to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, “Indian astrology is more moon-oriented, because in a tropical country the impact of the sun doesn’t vary greatly throughout the year. However, in the West and China, the role of the sun is much more important.”
This is why, he says, a horoscope devised in India becomes invalid once you cross an ocean. Indian astrology stresses that for every effect there is a cause and that blaming the cause can trigger more stress and bring in negative emotions like anger and greed. He believes that one way to make them disappear, is to realise that these negative emotions may arise because of certain planetary positions. And, as you cannot get angry with lanets, you stop blaming the person or situation.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar explains that Hindu astrology has a very ancient lineage. Ten thousand years ago the Rig Veda saw the earth as round. Untilrecently, the West had believed that all the planets gravitate around the earth but the ancient rishis, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar reminds us, knew that the sun was at the centre and that all the planets revolved around it.
The West is thus committing an injustice by not giving Indian astronomy and astrology due credit. “Indian astronomers had calculated that life started 1 billion, 955 million, 818 thousand and 501 years ago and that 28 cycles of yugas have already happened,” smiles Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The present `kaliyug’, which is said to have begun the day Krishna left his body, has a length of 25,000 years and we are in the 5101st year. Hence we need to consider the science which gave the concept of zero to the world and which, without telescopes, had calculated long before Copernicus, the occurrence of solar eclipses and the number of moons around Jupiter — facts that were discovered only 256 years ago in the West!