The science of astrology
Swami Mukundananda unravels the secrets of 7 mindsets—seven techniques of training the mind and intellect and unlocking the immense potential within...
In both the Eastern and Western worlds, the science of, astrology is extremely popular, for it claims to predict our destiny. Hence, many people approach astrologers to know their future. Predictions according to zodiac signs are popular columns in many magazines as well. But is it authentic, and should we spend time showing our horoscope to astrologers?
The first thing to bear in mind regarding astrology is that the predictions are only partially accurate. In Kaliyug, the present age, there are practically no expert astrologers. With their rudimentary knowledge, they make guesses. A small portion of their predictions turns out right and keeps them in business.
I remember a confession about this:
In the 1970s, Khushwant Singh was the editor of Illustrated Weekly, which was at that time India's number one news magazine. His astrologer who wrote the zodiac predictions of the week, had left the job. Thence onwards, for the next three years, Khushwant Singh did not hire another astrologer. He would write the predictions himself. Unaware of this, people would often pay compliments about the accuracy of the astrological forecasts in his magazine. Only much later did Khushwant Singh confess that the zodiac predictions used to be concocted by him.
The second point regarding astrology is that even if the predictions happen to be accurate, they are usually disadvantageous to know. Let us suppose an astrologer informs you that after two years your business will increase manifold.
On hearing this, your natural response will be, 'Oh, is that so? Then I do not need to work hard. I am going to succeed in any case.' In other words, when you come to know your future is promising, you will reduce your efforts to achieve success.
Now, consider what will happen if the astrologer tells you, 'Your business will crash after ten years.' On hearing it, you will think, 'Really, my business is going to crash? Oh God, what will I do? What will I do? ...' Whether the business crashes or not, excessive worrying will make your heart crash!
In this way, when a rosy future is predicted, we become lazy, and when the prediction is negative, we become worried.
Therefore, there is no advantage in knowing our destiny. Whatever is written in our fate, we will get it by itself. Only the present is in our hands, and we must put in our best efforts in the here and now. Let us focus on making our destiny rather than knowing it!
We possess the free will to change our future with our purusharth. The problem with studying astrology is that it makes us fatalistic. We lose focus on our efforts. Hence, Chanakya, the legendary political advisor of the great King Chandragupta Maurya, said:
'If you are lazy in your endeavour, despite the best of destiny, you will fail.'
Utsahavatam shatravopi vashibhavanti
'If you strive earnestly, you can transform. even bad destiny into success.'
Therefore, a good policy is to take the predictions of astrologers with a pinch of salt and focus on our efforts. The famous Urdu poet, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, put it very aptly:
khudi ko karbuland itana ki har takadir se pahale
khuda khud bande se puchhe bata teri raza kya hai
'Make your exertions so strong, that before giving you the results of your fate, God Himself asks, "What do you want?"'
The Time to Act Is Now!
If destiny is also not to blame, then what is? Time! Many believe time is all-powerful. They are of the view that the passage of time will bring us to perfection automatically, hence we can simply relax and wait for that time to come. They say:
purusha bali nahin hota hui, samaya hota balavan
bhilain lutin gopika, sai arjun soi ban
'Humans are not powerful; time is omnipotent. Look at Arjun. He had the same weapons with which he fought the Mahabharat, and yet, when the time came, ordinary tribal thieves stole the gopis from his custody.'
Is this understanding correct? Will the time come when we will improve our thinking? Wrong again! The time will not come when our mind and thoughts will automatically become pure; rather, time is passing by. No moment that goes by will ever return. Before we know it, the time we have to live on this planet will have slipped through our fingers like grains of sand.
We must fully utilise the moments at our disposal by exerting our every sinew. Thus, the scriptures state:
alasyam hi manushyanam sharirastho mahan ripuh
'The biggest affliction in the human body is the disease of laziness.' We shroud it in various robes.
1. There is a breed of people who say, 'I am getting ready.' A year later, you ask them, and they are still getting ready. They do not realise it, but they are suffering from a disease called 'procrastination'.
2. There are those who say they will do it one of these days. You can be sure they will do it none of these days.
3. Another type waits for all the traffic lights to turn green before they start from home. They suffer from the disease of 'excusitis'.
4. And yet another group, on being urged to take action, pronounces, 'I am analysing.' The problem is that six months later, they are still analysing. They are afflicted by the phenomenon of 'paralysis by analysis'.
The secret of success lies in rejecting all such unproductive thoughts and using the present moment to the best of our ability. That is the way to build a successful future.
- Extracted with permission from Westland from '7 Mindsets For Success, Happiness and Fulfilment' by Swami Mukundananda