For the Students of Hindu Vedic Astrology by Dr. A. Shanker

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Encyclopedia of Vedic Astrology: Remedies: Introduction, Chapter I, Part – 2

Dr. Shanker Adawal


Part 2

Modern practitioners and students of astrology generally toy an uneasy relationship with remedial astrology. Although many individuals think of astrology as being a science, none of us are really oblivious to the empirical nature of the craft of astrology. Most of us worldly beings must, of necessity, live in a reality that is deeply grounded in the physical/material where cause is followed by effect and where symbols of rational thinking and scientific progress surround us and form much of our perceived daily reality. It is, therefore, difficult not to feel uneasy when we move away `afar’ from a very earthy and rational way of looking at things that are a part of our `human experience’. When the links between the cause and effect regarding anything or any phenomenon seem tenuous and weak, we understandably become dubious and anxious. This  has nothing to do with what is indeed true in the universe or what works, but just the different natures of the `perceived’ reality that we live in and the other much larger one which is home to the astrological phenomena and spiritual reality.

Astrology – if we take a step away from the usual beaten path, falls into a domain that many skeptics would consider as being one infused with superstitious `magical’ thinking. Most of these people are grossly misinformed, if not totally ignorant, and convincing them by using their rules of understanding becomes even more difficult because truth be told, we astrologers ourselves do not fully know the detailed modus operandi of astrology. We take for granted many primary assumptions or axioms. Some examples would be: why does Jupiter signify as a karaka for children? Why is Aries ruled by Mars?? How do different orientations of the zodiac work – simultaneously??? How do planets affect us or how do they indicate certain effects?? When does fate reign supreme and when does free-will take the reins? Despite the lack of concrete and rational explanations, we continue to practice and believe in astrology because we and those who came before us have empirically observed that it works! This in itself is not something that we should feel tiny about! Many of the modern pharmaceutical preparations that we use, started out as folk remedies, were used for centuries because someone serendipitously happened to try those out, and the blessed weeds worked! The path from `superstition’ to science may to the open mind, would seem to extend from the willow bark to the wonder drug aspirin! Such may also be true for astrology, in an analogous manner.

It is a general belief that open-minded astrologers as a daring breed of pioneers willingly exploring uncharted waters! But, many of us modern astrologers draw the line when it comes to the use of astro-remedies. Remedies such as gemstones, which are believed to resonate with or against certain planetary vibrations or qualities, one must admit, assume a lot and do require a strong modicum of belief. One asks: What are these planetary vibrations? Why can we not measure these with our marvelous scopes and gauges? Are these energies akin to light, magnetism, sound, or do they represent a subtle form of energy that lies tantalizingly just beyond our boundaries of physical perception? On somewhat similar principles rests the basis for using natural essences (flower essences), herbs, which are utilized in rectifying ill effects caused by or relating to planetary afflictions. The long line-up extends at least upto the horizons of our perception and conceptualization.

Vedic astrology, despite its very strong ties with the Karmic hypothesis and its implied `fatalistic’ misconception, has a very well developed and detailed remedial system. Ironically, this also underscores the fact that Vedic astrology supports the view that destiny can be changed by our willful actions and certain procedures, and hence really advocates the supremacy of individual choice and free-will! The remedial medicine bag of the Jyotishi (Vedic astrologer) includes tools such as penance, fasting, special spiritually-endowed sound vibrations (Mantras), glyphs and devices (Yantras) and religious ceremonies (Pooja) with charity (the concept of tithe may sound more familiar to some readers of this article!). Some of these measures undoubtedly sound fantastic, perhaps even voodooishly magical to the `modern’ mind, and even to some who have otherwise an unshakable faith in the veracity of astrology! In matters of `belief’ such as these, there is always a degree of personal decision involved. We alone can ultimately decide how far we would be willing to let our circle of acceptance stretch, regardless of the perceived or actual truth in the phenomenon under scrutiny! It must be noted that even within science, many scientific phenomena may sound magical and fantastic – despite detailed and satisfactory explanations – to those who are not specialists in the specific area. Medicine is probably privileged to have a lion’s share of these over the years that it has ruled the roost of healing crafts.

Dr. Shanker Adawal
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