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A mere intrigue or science?

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A mere intrigue or science?, Gollapudi Maruti Rao, Pidaparthi family , Indian Vedic calendar. And there was a legend which is worth remembering at this point. His name was Pidaparthi Dakshinamurthy Shastri.

Pidaparthi family is very popular for their Panchangam (Indian Vedic calendar) for several generations and even today there are many families who are adept in preparing very authentic calculations about the planetary movements. For instance, it will be astounding even to comprehend that the exact time – to the nearest second is calculated - when the rays of Sun exactly touches the feet of Lord Suryanarayana’s idol in Arasavilli temple, near Srikakulam. It is a great feat of architectural and astronomic marvel! Whoever planned the temple centuries back must have had the precise data with them to have this happening recur with unfailing precision each year.

And there was a legend which is worth remembering at this point. His name was Pidaparthi Dakshinamurthy Shastri. He had to attend the local court for litigation once. Those were the days of old British rulers. When he entered the court hall, all the lawyers - including the prosecutors stood up in respect to this doyen. The presiding magistrate - a Briton - was surprised. He was told that here is a great astrologer par excellence. A non-believer in such matters, he was intrigued and wanted to test his acumen. He asked the lawyers whether he can predict the riddle given by him. The lawyers were not surprised at all. He gave a question asking him to give a reply making astrological calculations. The question was “How will I enter this court hall tomorrow?’’ The lawyers were piqued by the bad taste of the magistrate, but Dakshinamurthy was amused. He made mental calculation and gave the answer in a sealed cover. It was duly kept in a drawer and the court was adjourned. Everybody was intrigued to know the answer. The court was packed to capacity the next day. The judge, being a person with sanguine sense of humor, entered the court hall, not through the main door as he normally would do but entered through a broken window. He then opened the cover given by the learned astrologer. Dakshinamurthy had predicted that “the magistrate will enter the hall today through a crooked door, which is normally not meant for it!’’ However this is a weird application of the great science.

Years back, I did a role in a film called “Murari’’. A gentleman whose beard resembles that of Rabindanath Tagore was invited to do the role of a ‘seer’ in it. He is C V B Subrahmanyam, the present Head of the Department of Astrology of Potti Sreeramulu University. He said to me that the essential purpose of astrology is not to gamble about the election of a politician or to predict the result in an examination or a promotion. It essentially enquires into the ‘karma’ of a subject when he is required to be attended for any sickness. It elicits the past ‘karmas’ (meaning his past actions) to judge the chances of his revival and the nature of the treatment etc. In short, astrology is an ancillary science among many things to assess the health of the man before he is treated - a pointer for a human being to keep his body and mind clean through meditation, yoga, medicine and last but not the least benevolence. It foretells and prepares the ‘subject’ for emotional and subjective cleansing. A lofty prescription surely.

Unfortunately, it has been reduced to the mundane levels submitting it to self-serving purposes. Human nature surely can sink to a new low to decorate his tomorrow and it is the greedy and the rich who are normally anxious to know about tomorrow because of their insecurity.

Two names immediately come to mind-Indian seer Pothuluri Veerabrahmendra Swami and the French seer Nostradamus who made the world watch in wonder at their predictions. And we have any number of examples of the world history. The European astrologer Louis Gaurie predicted that Pope Leo X will succeed to pontificate as the Chief. Nostradamus correctly predicted the death of Henry I. And Napoleon was assured by another astrologer Pierre Le Clerc that he would be an Emperor. The leaders in exalted positions are more interested in these predictions as they are on slippery grounds. A pragmatic military man and a realist to the core, even Hitler used to consult this astrologer time and again when he was mentally at crossroads. German astrologer Hanussen assured Hitler in a rhymed prediction that Hitler’s rise to power will start from January30, 1933.

To the ground falls what was rotten and withered

It already creaks in the beams...

And the rest was history! But didn’t Hanussen know about his eventual denouement and the ultimate calamity? One never knew.

The human nature gropes for answers in the dark alleys when one’s innate avarices rule the mind. As can be seen all these men are either dictators or men who were at the turning curve of the destiny of millions.

Finally, an amazing incident comes to mind. My good friend and writer Bhamidipati Radhakrishna invented an interesting science of numbers that can yield interesting results. He was head over heels on the subject to his last days. He wrote in his book that “on 4th September 2007 I will kick the bucket”; these were exactly his words. And it did happen on that fateful day!

A philosophy becomes science when it converges into truth. It becomes mere opportunism when the science is adapted to unworthy goals. Skepticism of human mind –surely, is the child of the misplaced priorities.

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