The Gospel of Grandpa [part nine]
Ram Ramakrishnan visits Grandpa and the children to explore and unfold the mysteries of life once more, as this time they look at political realities and how they fit in with our experience. Grandpa argues that the celestials play a role in the nature and timing of political events, contrary to what is commonly believed.
The muffled sound of subdued wailing brought out grandpa and the children from their respective rooms to the back yard. Grandma was patiently listening to the outpourings of a lady who had worked as a maid at their house a few years ago. She was unmarried then, but now had two young ones and a long sob story in tow. Her husband was a drunkard. Initially when she was married, he would eat well and wash all his food down his alimentary canal with liquor. Now the canal seemed to be ever flowing and overflowing with it. Food appeared occasionally as wee little boats floundering about. This transformation naturally had its inevitable adverse consequence on his disposition, resulting in the lady being driven out of her house and being asked to fend for herself and her children.
Munni and Chotu were moved. So were the elders, but their longer experience with life had taught them life's unchangeable ways and made them more buoyant in facing and understanding such situations. Grandma suggested that the lady look for a job in a state managed industry that would provide her with long-term job security and retirement benefits. To this the lady replied that with the changing political scenario, the availability of such jobs had become very limited and there was severe competition for the few that were available. With her inadequate qualifications, she stood no chance. There was no option but to settle for lowly paid impermanent menial jobs until something better came along.
The children asked grandpa what had political scenarios to do with jobs? Grandpa explained that in general political thought and its social repercussions can be broadly categorized into three sections. On one extreme is capitalism that emphasizes upon and encourages entrepreneurship, hard work and the resulting 'winner-take-all' attitude. Social dimensions of caring and sharing take a back seat. On the other extreme is communism that stresses upon equitable distribution of everything—a doctrine that discourages free enterprise but ensures that all have at least enough to cover their basic needs. Between the two is the 'centre path' that attempts to ride the political river with a leg each on these two opposing tenets—and often finds itself neck-deep in water, unable to bridge the contradictions.
He also went on to explain that in a democratic polity, these opposing political thoughts and processes are represented by political parties of different shades. When one comes to power and implements its thoughts the presence of the other provides a balance ensuring that the negative factors inherent in each are in check. But there is always a discernable shift in the social patterns that reflect the political thought that holds sway during the time. And
this is what the lady had been referring to when she said that finding a secure job was difficult in these times.
Grandpa knew what was coming next, as the children asked almost in unison: "How do you explain this astrologically?"
Grandpa stroked his beard contemplatively and began his little dissertation: "Every land is associated with some dominant trait of thought that influences the people of that land. As celestials are also associated with certain characteristics, it can be said that the land is subject to a particular celestial's influence to a large measure. This is of an enduring nature."
"In addition to this, there are temporal dominances of certain celestial characteristics. These swell for a while and then wane. Saturn can be associated with communism as it is identified with the working classes, equitable and just distribution, lethargy, hard work and suffering. Jupiter on the other hand can be related to capitalism, as it is allied with all wealth-generation activities. That these two celestials are the largest planetary bodies in the solar system appears to gel with the idea of two dominant political ideologies."
"What about the role of the other planets?" asked the children.
"These influence the dominant ideologies and impart different flavours," said grandpa. "Mercury for instance gives thought processes and intellectual, calculative and reasoning slant. Venus bestows pleasure-seeking inclinations. Mars confers energetic and active dispositions. The Moon's north node bequeaths base tendencies. Moon's south node prods thought towards an energetically destructive and fanatic tilt."
"But what happens to the poor lady's plight amongst all this powerplay between the celestials and the collective thought processes that they influence in society?" asked the children.
Grandpa said that neither the poor lady nor any of us is removed from the fabric of life. The movement and position of a celestial can be related to the tear of a sufferer, the smile of a happy person, the budding of a lotus, the withering of a rose, the downfall of a sycophant and the birth of a sage. It is the same celestial happening that is identified with all these happenings. If any one weren't to be there, then none of them would. The lady, as well as all of us, are subject to the influence of the dominant thought process of the current polity and have to bear its effects and outcome, whether or not we like it. This of course does not mean that we accept everything silently. Jupiter, Saturn and the rest of the celestials will not let us be. They will make us react to every situation is accordance with our own respective destinies. This is the reality of life.
The children were lost in their reflections for a while and then asked: "What would happen upon a planet in a system where there are four or five dominant celestial bodies like Jupiter and Saturn? Or in a system that has two Suns? Or on a planet that has all these and additionally five moons orbiting it?"
Grandpa said that he was as naïve about the effects of such a possibility as they were, but said that he was certainly glad that he was not born and living on such a planet. Grappling and dealing with two dominant and opposing thought streams was complicated enough!!