Astrology, Ethics, Destiny and God...Ram Ramakrishnan explores the essential structure underlying the practice of astrology, including the roles of ethics, destiny and God. Logically, a given placement of a planet or a combination of them should produce similar effects – physical or emotional, everywhere in its sphere of influence. The physical manifestations of a given emotion may vary from one geographic location to another depending upon the culture, traditions and the community to which the effected person is a part of. But all underlying emotions that drive thought processes should be the same and should be identically effected everywhere by astrological influences. Similarly, I guess, astrological practices too should follow comparable patterns in every country and community. I have been seeing these patterns in my land since my childhood. India is among one of the few countries where astrology is still respected by a wide section of its people. As it is with everything else in this world, astrologers too are of many hues. Having been a student of astrology for about a decade now, I can now envisage how they operate by imagining myself in their shoes (not always, because some of them come barefoot! But I adjust accordingly!!) Each hue has its own code of ethics for carrying on their practice, trade, profession, service or research of astrology as they see this pursuit. And I have my own. It is not for me to judge other's views. I do not consider myself (nor anyone else) existentially qualified enough to do so and even if I were to be, I would consider it unethical to do so. But it is indeed fascinating to picture myself in their place and look at the world. Let me share with you a few such scenarios in the Indian context.
- Scenario 1:
- I come from a pious and tradition bound family and am also pious and tradition bound. I consider that God's will is supreme and that if He is propitiated He would in His mercifulness, grant what we ask for. I consider it my duty to help others with my knowledge of astrology, because that is what my father, and his father, and his father did.
A man in misery approaches me. I look at his horoscope, identify the planets that according to me cause this misery and ask him to propitiate a god personifying the planet by a ritual in some specific temple, for a certain number of days. He believes me and with complete faith follows my instructions. For whatever reason, he is relieved of his misery after this exercise. I do not ask anything of the man for my service but he offers me a bag of fruits as a token of his thankfulness that I accept.
There are many situations when my prescriptions do not work. I take it as HIS will.
- Scenario 2:
- I come from a-not-so-pious and a-not-so-tradition-bound family and reflect these characteristics. I started learning astrology as a hobby but having attained a certain level of proficiency, see in it an opportunity to make an extra buck. I continue my present occupation but indulge in fortune-telling once in a way and charge my clients a small fee. My
operation is akin to that of an insurance agent. Even if one of my predictions were to come true, I know that I have the person for whom this prediction was made, hooked to me for life. And I would keep getting my percentage of the insurance premium.
God is to me somebody very distant, who has created this world and left it to fend for itself. He perhaps makes friendly appearances once in a while when things go beyond tolerable limits as I have read in stories. Tolerable limits for whom, well I do not know, and am not so very concerned either.
- Scenario 3:
- I strongly believe in my superiority over others. I have acquired a fair knowledge of the subject of astrology. I look at astrological practice as a great business opportunity. It is not my intention to deceive or defraud others, but if others in their ignorance or inanity are led to seek advice for inconsequential or non-existent problems, I have no qualms
about supporting them in this exercise and charging them a good sum for it. If this were to be my norms for servicing people who could have done without any advice, god save those who may really need some!
I advertise myself widely in the media, globe trot, rub shoulders with the high and mighty. I believe that God has created me to be superior and perhaps I am one of His direct descendants.