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Does astrology really work?

Does astrology really work?

For some, astrology is a life-long guide, while for some it is nothing more than science fiction or new age theory for dummies at best. Actually, even those who consider it to be the topic for dummies secretly hold interest for astrology. Living with an astrologer is quite eye-opening when it comes to seeing different side of people. Many people who have interest in astrology are afraid to openly admit it – probably because of the image astrology holds today. It has unfortunately became people’s excuse for doing or not doing something that they should otherwise do. Apart from that, for many astrologers this sacred science is nothing more than money making opportunity. So, we should actually not question astrology itself, but people who teach it or practice it.

To answer the question does astrology really work is very easy. Three letters combined into one word are perfectly enough. But far more important question is how does it work, to which extent and what we can learn from it? Being the science that was practiced and researched since time immemorial there is a lot of wisdom that can be extracted from it.

Science of time
Shreemad Bhagavatam states that God’s manifestation into this world is two-fold. Firstly, he manifests as the soul of every living being; and secondly – as time.

“The influence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is felt in the time factor, which causes fear of death due to the false ego of the deluded soul who has contacted material nature. (…)”

– S.B. 3.26.16-18

Jyotish, or Vedic astrology, is the science which observes influence of time (as a form of God) in our lives. “But astrology is all about planets, what it has to do with time?” – you may think. Well, there is a deep connection between planets and time. Rishi Parashara, who was the father of renowned sage Veda Vyasa explained in his famous treatise Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra that each of the planets is direct manifestation of Lord Narayana (each of Dashavatars is assigned to one of the planets).

During the process of creation, each planetary body, including the Moon and the Sun, was given rulership over certain aspect of creation and our lives. In that way, they serve as a perfect tool for manifestation of our karma and lessons we need to learn in order to advance. Knowledge of Jyotish gives us deep insights into our karmic lessons and provides solutions for our spiritual growth.

Planets and physical me
I guess there are many people out there who asked themselves the same question I asked myself when I firstly heard about astrology: “Why would some Jupiter or Saturn out there have the power to influence my life? I never agreed to that. Who decided?!” Well, apparently Lord Narayana decided and he thought it’s a cool idea to create some system that will make us surrender to his will.

Again, same like me, there are surely many people out there who think: “Nooo, I am more powerful than influence of some planet that I can barely see with my eyes. I am spiritual. This stuff doesn’t work on me.” As I grew older and wiser, I realised that if planet Earth is influenced by tiny little Moon, how would I be more powerful than whole planet and reject Moon’s influence on my life. If this tiny Moon can impact movements of the oceans, how could it not affect me? After all, my body is made of 60-70% of water and we all know that everybody gets a bit crazy during full Moon. Influence is evident.

After you accept the fact that Moon, which is several times smaller than Earth can impact whole planet and everybody living on it – just think what kind of influence Saturn which is 764 times bigger than Earth, or Jupiter which is 1300 times bigger than Earth can have. Not mentioning the Sun. Things will start getting a new perspective.

Photo credits: Stefano Tiozzo
Planets and spiritual me
Even though influence of planets on physical level is undeniable, human mind still finds many excuses for why astrology should not be applicable to us. This phenomenon is specifically popular amongst spiritual people. And I was no different.

When we are spiritual we think that we are special. We think that rules of this material reality are not applicable to us. Well, that is partially true, but in slightly different context. It has something to do with our surrender, but again, new age philosophies are teaching us wrong approach to surrender. New age approach to surrender is overly passive. It could be easily summarised as an idea that some higher force is doing everything and we just need to sit back and chill out. In reality, real surrender is quite active. We need to do our duties in life, we need to serve and contribute to society, but we should not be attached to the fruits of our actions.

I was present during several satsangs when Guruji Paramahamsa Vishwananda was asked the question does astrology really works. As always, his answer was very simple and elegant. He said:

“If you are surrendered to Guru and God, you don’t need to worry about astrology.”

– Paramahamsa Vishwananda

His statement is very true. However, who can really say for himself/herself that one is surrendered? In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says that out of millions, maybe one will get to know his name. Out of millions who knows his name, maybe one will get to know him. And out of millions who get to know him, only one will get to know him truly. This ‘one’ forgets about oneself and does everything solely for God. That is the level of surrender one must have in order to fully transcend influence of astrology. Only when we break free from karmic cycle of birth and death astrology doesn’t have any influence on us.
Planets and our chakras
In his Holy Science, Sri Yukteshwar introduced ingenious concept that connects planets, chakras and wheel of time.

According to him, our root chakra is connected to Saturn; sacral chakra is connected to Jupiter; solar plexus chakra is connected to Mars; heart chakra is connected to Venus; throat chakra is connected to Mercury and third eye chakra is connected to Sun and Moon at the same time.

The same concept was in depth explained in Discovering Youniverse, book written by my wife Achala.

Now, if we look at our Solar system, we will notice something intriguing. Sequence of planets in connection to our chakras is directly corresponding to planetary distance from the Sun. Saturn (root chakra) being farthest from the Sun and Mercury (throat chakra) being closest to the Sun. In his concept, Sun represents light of our consciousness which gets awakened in third eye chakra.

Originally designed for Discovering Youniverse.
Similarly, as our consciousness rises we move from very mundane reality (root chakra – Saturn) towards more Divine reality (third eye chakra – Sun). Apart from being the farthest planet from the Sun, Saturn is also the slowest moving planet. This is why his lessons in our life always take the longest time to manifest. As we move closer to the Sun (third eye chakra), planets are moving faster and faster and their lessons in our life are changing with higher speeds, until we reach the Moon – planet (as considered in Vedic astrology) which changes its nature every single day.

As long as our consciousness dwells in a range of first six chakras, we are bound by karma and cycle of birth and death. It is only when we reach beyond third eye chakra and tap into Divine consciousness of crown ‘chakra’ that we break free of karmic bondage. When our consciousness reaches Divine state we experience something called (by modern science) uptime state of mind. It is the state in which our consciousness starts moving faster than time itself and we can perceive the future.

Astrology and God
Planetary influence on normal humans is undoubtedly precise. But how does astrology influences Divine incarnations; how does their chart look like?

To get the exact chart of any Divine incarnation, like Krishna or Rama, it is impossible. However, scriptures speak of some specific planetary placements during time of their birth. With this information it is possible to learn quite a lot about them, even without knowing their life.

There is one very prominent incident that happened in life or Rama before he got married to Sita. As it was tradition then, before wedding would happen families would always consult astrologers to see if partners would be suitable for each other and have a happy life. By looking at charts or Sita and Rama, astrologers saw and warned them that they will have very hard life and that they will need to spend years in exile, living in forest. For a king, as Rama was supposed to become, such life would be unimaginable. Yet, it happened exactly as astrologers predicted.

We could ask ourselves as to why they agreed to such marriage in the first place? Or, was Rama bound by karmic consequences – hence being subdued to planetary influences even though he was direct incarnation of Lord Narayana?

The fact that his chart would reveal certain things from his life doesn’t mean that he is not above it. It doesn’t mean that he is bound by karma. Rama was first incarnation of Lord Narayana who led normal human life. His mission was to show us how to lead righteous life. Compared to Krishna, Rama was not displaying his Divine nature (at least not publicly).

Whenever avatar incarnates into this world, he comes with specific mission. Life of Lord Rama was perfect example of surrender to the Divine. Being God himself, he had a Guru and he showed us that true goal of life is surrender. In later incarnation, Lord Narayana as Krishna showed us the same thing, but in a (quite) different way.

Amongst Guruji’s devotees there are many people who are interested in spirituality or even studied and practiced astrology earlier in life. I specifically remember words of one elderly devotee who said that through astrology he fully realised one thing in life – there is no free will. There is only God’s will. This realisation brought him to Guruji’s feet later on in life.

Astrology works. It just works in different way than people would like it to work. Until we have found our Satguru and fully surrendered to his feet, astrology is next best thing that can guide us on our spiritual path. Only when we are fully surrendered, Satguru can lift us beyond the reach of astrology and free us from karmic bondage.

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