The article consists of three parts. The views, as expressed in PART I, do not presume any knowledge of Astrology in part of the readers. A few of the initial paragraphs, however, are interspersed with a few unavoidable Astrological lingos for presentation’s sake and also to discuss the mystery of origin of life, but those(Italicized parts) can be easily ignored without getting distracted from the issue intended. PART II is devoted to astronomical part of astrology as required in the context of Calendar System. PART III is devoted to certain views on astrology which are a little unconventional and are exclusively mine.
At the outset, it would be apt to remind that the word ‘Religion’ has been derived from Latin word ‘Religare’. The word ‘Religare’ stands for a set of thoughts or beliefs which is something exclusive or esoteric in nature. The Hindi (Indian) equivalent of the same is ‘Dharma’. But the word Dharma stands for ‘That which holds everything’. Meaning thereby Dharma is an all- inclusive concept. Religion is a concept consisting of overall beliefs towards life, one’s attitude towards fellow beings and the way to salvation, whereas Dharma is an all encompassing and all permeating concept which defines one’s relational & social role as per the phases of life, moral codes of social order, the essence of being in term of correlation between Nature and Soul and finally the way to salvation. In due course this served as the basis for evolvement of ‘Law&Justice’. In the initial part of this article my thrust is on the oriental concepts but finally in PART I-2 it transits through the essence of almost all the schools of philosophy. However, so far as
analytical and comparative study of the issues involved is concerned, there could not be an exact line of demarcation as such among the same.
As I have mentioned in the beginning that this article is interspersed with astrological lingos (italicized part). But basically I am trying to dwell on the correlation between Astrology and Philosophy. It is a presentation on philosophical aspect of being, existence and evolution, not on Astrology. I simply want to establish a correlation between the two branches of learning. More emphatically I think that we have reached to the stage & level of Philosophy where it is essential to lay it on scientific footing. Mathematical part of Astrology is already on scientific footing. However the readers need not feel disturbed on account of not having any idea of Astrology. It is just about the philosophical aspect of existence as tackled through astrology. This article is not concerned about chart drawing or prediction or any other gibberish of astrology. Here below my advocacy for Astrology as being an appendage to Philosophy is confined to a few initial paragraphs. Some of the views expressed in that course are exclusively mine and are demarcated within angle brackets. However in the later stage of the discourses I have outlined the history of Indian Astrology and Indian calendar system. There are brief discussions, in appropriate context, on all Calendar systems followed by the respective religions. In last paragraph of PART II, I have also tried to dwell on the metaphysical significance of certain astronomical events as believed to be part of Western/Greek astrology.
Though I firmly believe that Astrology does qualify for being reckoned as an Art based on Science or Astronomy, but still I disapprove of any idea to introduce it as a subject in Universities, up to graduation level courses at least. This is so especially because contrary to the views hold by most of the Astrologers it has still miles to go. Astrology germinated out of initial stage beliefs that star in the sky above control one’s life and happiness through the cyclic phases of Astronomical events. Later on, it evolved into a search for an answer into mystery of origin of life and the order behind diversity of being. But due to infinite & immeasurable nature of the same this could not have been hundred percent methodical. No mind can be ready to accept only intuitive aspect of learning, as perceived by others, without any methodical approach. But gradually as human mind evolved and mastered over astronomy, the correlation between two started to become evident. I hold the view that one’s birth chart is complete graphical or pictorial representation of one’s being in seed form. Before we understand astrology, a spiritual realization that all inanimate things have an involved life viz.
consciousness (Hindi equivalent is ‘Chetna’) into it is essential. Well, that is easy to explain. Now all of us know that plants have no brain hence no thought. But still plants have life. In animal kingdom we can at least try to visualize the place of life gripping somewhere around brain in hyperspace- a space where there is no concept of distance as elaborated in a paragraph below. But there is nothing like that in plants. Similarly the life in inanimate is of more sublime form than that in plants. Such a life is termed as consciousness. Some sane minded people dub Astrology as a fleecing gibberish as to how such distant inanimate stars and planets can affect our lives and destiny. The answer lies in another question ” Though every individual has a limited aura of personality yet how do the things like ill-wishes(ABHISHAP-), well-wishes(VARDAN) and clairvoyance operate in space-time independent manner, so for as propagation of those influence is concerned?.” This happens through Hyperspace. Basically Astrology deals with the origin of life and its evolution into various forms and permutation/ combinations of “will power”, which will always remain an enigma to mankind engaged in normal or average pursuits. It is fit to be perceived only by seers but without any certainty. Regarding prediction part which is the only comprehensible utility it is yet to be completed, but perhaps can never be because no astrological configuration is going to repeat itself ever. So it just cannot be wholly methodical. Moreover Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (a principle of physics as per which the very instrument employed to ascertain an event or location of something would itself introduce an element of uncertainty) becomes applicable as a stumbling block. Then no astrology can predict procedure. Further all astrological perceptions materialize through law of karma, not as any miracle as such. Actually the moment one comes to know about one’s future it no longer remains “will” symbolizing future tense as well!
To sum up, Astrology, up to the present phase of its evolvement, is an instrument to facilitate the art of psychology reading in a scientific manner. Further it is also an all time relevant science to suggest prescription for careful actions & decisions, but this may not necessarily connote for prediction thing. Unfortunately predictive astrology, the only comprehensible utility of it for ordinary mortals, occupies the uppermost echelon of relevance in the staircase of this science. I think that if astrology has to rise above the doubtful or suspicious glances of rationalist, certain implicit issues have to be sorted out in a scientific manner. Till now Astrology has been wandering in a heathen of mysticism which I disliked
right from the beginning. You see in animal world every species is ruled by only one sign and one planet. Once the species come into existence it’s relation with the cosmos is broken because there is no internal or latent world inside them, which is the prime distinction between animal and human being. The role of cosmos comes back when a sufficient force for mutation by the environmental factors has been generated and then a new species comes into existence. The different species are nothing but the different forms of intelligence devoid of any utility and concept of Karma because there is no concept of society or the internal world with them. But things changed with the advent of human body and mind. The concept of mutation was replaced with Astrophysical mutation. Our Astrology is caught somewhere between reality of cosmos and the limitation of animals. We need to rise above it. In this non technical article I cannot dwell on the resolution of those intricacies. I would, however, like to call the present phase of Astrology as Human Astrology which needs to evolve much before it becomes fit for prediction.
Astrology may also be defined as a cognitive science of destiny, where sum total of good luck or bad luck is born out of evolutionary force and karma, with myriad dimensions. However, the term bad luck is misnomer. There is nothing like bad luck. If one harbors a complaint against one’s destiny it gives rise to bad luck. But then if one harbors complaint against one’s destiny it is also a part of destiny. Whatever is preordained through any philosophy has to be firstly translated into law of Karma, i.e. right or wrong decisions followed by right or wrong actions. Every destiny has a personal and social dimension with a purpose, depending upon space and time, which may span across thousands of years in sinusoidal fashion. As I mentioned in a paragraph above that one’s birth chart is complete graphical or pictorial representation of one’s being in seed form, as determined by evolutionary journey of Super consciousness or Universal mind through its different faces and strands of life.
Then there is issue of evolution. All of us know it starts with origin of matter through what we call Big Bang as if space exploded followed by firewall explosion. This system of infinite numbers of stars is the first stage of evolution. Each of the stars is like a creature on earth in the first stage of evolution. A question that has been nagging me around since my childhood as to what for god created those billion of stars to remain burning from time immemorial uselessly and doling out this small size Sun for we mortals crying for each watt of energy. In fact this is like
animals in a jungle wandering aimlessly for thousands of years and preying each other uselessly. So the stars are not burning uselessly but it is the first mode of the expression & enjoyment of God. Out of the infinite no. of stars a group of stars, what we call Asterism (Nakchattra) now represents the Brahmin or Priestly face of God. Then there came in the second stage of evolution. This was creation of our solar system where on the earth, for certain astronomical reasons, the situation became ripe for origin & evolution of life.
Our solar system is not only an assembly of inanimate planets tied together by law of Gravitation but is, in fact, an intermediate stage in the evolution of life. This world begins with Super Consciousness. The very concept is misleading because the term ‘begins with’ does not apply to Super Consciousness. From Super Consciousness (Param Chetna) emanates material consciousness (Dravya Chetna). From material consciousness emanates life consciousness (Jeevan Chetna) under a scheme of planetary arrangement (in interaction with Rahu(Dragon’s head) and Ketu(Dragon’s tail)) known as Kaal Chakra(Time Cycle). In Hindu scriptures the different fragments of important material consciousness were conceived to be representing different God and Goddesses. All subsequently developed mythological stories surround around and symbolize the psychology involved into the consciousness of the same as perceived by seers from time to time.
<<Personally I feel that the physical concept of Rahu and Ketu is yet to be divulged but associated psychologies are well known. As per my personal perception Dragon’s head is basically the point of origin of matter or Big Bang, not the moon’s ascending node as per the prevailing concepts. The word Rahu seems to have been derived from the word ‘Rah’ which means path. So Rahu stands for being conscious of the path in which one is moving, that is to say path consciousness. This fostered thought in various material consciousnesses in the course of their motion through or in line with the point of origin of matter. Evidently there is some axial arrangement in the origin of universe.>>
Planets have a particular but different form of consciousness to be further modulated by zodiac signs, which are constellation of stars the joint life of which determines the physical form & proclivity of the planetary life. The planets represent the phenomenal world. It is like a drop having been separated from ocean. The part in between ocean and drop is space. Further this leads to thought
and time. When, on death, finally the drop merges with ocean there is no drop, no space, hence no thought and no time. The remaining thoughtless space, with no concept of time, can be termed as Hyperspace. Rest the story from amino acid (the building block of Protein as having first appeared in water) to human being is well known.
Generally modern day intellectuals cast a glance of disdain on Astrology under the snobbery of being action oriented and hence not believing in superstition of stars. But I think that Philosophy without Astrology is simply a heathen of mysticism based on conceited speculations. Astrology is basically all about creation, evolution and being. At the individual level there are two parts of being. First is the self evolving seed part conceived at birth point, and the other is interaction of the seed part with its external sources under transit or motion leading to composite effect in behavior and result. Because both the parts are predetermined, there is inherent tendency among astrologers for developing science of prediction out of it. Predictive astrology is simply an act in exultation derived out of the extension of insight into the metaphysical significance of spiritual interaction among various elements of consciousness as deposited into the psyche of individual by birth. The issue of God, Nature, Soul, Karma (good or bad action), Yoga and Salvation through successive evolution goes to constitute the essence of all school of philosophies. Further there is issue of macrocosmic and microcosmic evolution. Macrocosmic refers to evolution of individual on lineage basis and microcosmic refers to evolution of creation as a whole. The two are intertwined. Astrology encompasses all these issues into a single set. Astrology lays philosophy on scientific footing whereby we can give appropriate name to all elements of it or to all the dimension of existence and to the various shades of human psychology and behavior. There is no branch of philosophy, existing or prospective, which cannot be explained through astrological insights. Like any branch of science it is extended into technology. Technology part is reflected through astrophysical mutations and prediction. But even without prediction it is world unto itself which helps one to have insight into the order behind evolution, creation and the diversities of existence which at the face level appears to be without any basis because of our focus on transient issues of incoherent worldly achievements and failures. Now it does not carry any meaning to say how many of us would follow it. This is true with all science. So here my thrust is not on Astrology as a science of prediction but just an effort to explain that we have reached to stage where to comprehend philosophy we need to follow the essence of Astrology, which stands for philosophy of Zodiacs and transit of planets through those and its composite effect on the soul of being. It is the science which explains the seed part of all being that is soul and philosophies behind those. It incorporates the essence of all those philosophies as well which cinema people try to highlight through portrayal of stories or fiction. Even after having read hundreds of books on Gita and Bible one may not be able to arrive at what one can do by having just one glance at the horoscope of Krishna and Christ, and this may lead to complete insight into all aspect of their being.
In this context, before I switch over to the hardcore issues pertaining to Hinduism as a religion, a little insight into the concept of MahaShunya (The Great Zero), as a definition of God is essential. The term was coined by Lord Buddha. For a layman God is infinite. Now when we say ‘infinite’ what the maximum one can think of is a wide unending sky. Is it God? No it is the apparent manifestation of real infinity in the realm of space and time born out of thought. I would start with one indeterminate term of calculus.
“If you have 4 mangoes and 2 man how many mangoes each man will get.
If you have 1 mangoes and 1 man how many mangoes each man will get
If you have 1 mango and no man how many mangoes each man will get
Meaning there by when there is no man there is no mango. It is all infinite. Here mango symbolizes nature. Meaning there by if a person or thoughts does not exist everything is part of infinite nothing else. So is it God? No, because the concept still exists in our thought hence lies within the periphery of time. Moreover it is real state. That is why 0 is regarded as real number, meaning there by 1/0 can exist physically. Our seers under meditation, in quest of knowledge, used to attain this state. They use to go beyond thought but still remain alive and enjoy the ecstasy of timeless infinite, well as good as orgasm as explained in a discourse ‘Sambhog se Samadhi kee aor OR From Intercourse to Super Consciousness’ of Rajneesh, a philosopher from India. But God is beyond thought, beyond time.
Now if you have no man and no mango how many mangoes each man will get.
No answer. It is a meaningless concept, or a concept beyond thought. It can be termed as Great Zero which can’t be symbolized. That is God
No answer. It is a meaningless concept, or a concept beyond thought. It can be termed as Great Zero which can’t be symbolized. That is God.
A question that often nags us all as to where God was before creation of the universe, why it took so long to create the universe and where the need was at all in its part to create the universe. Well the terms like why, where and when is not applicable on God because these terms originated after creation, through evolutionary force as involved in Super Consciousness, because of thoughts and hence space & time. Initially it was just super consciousness which cannot be visualized so long as we are in the realm of space and time. Actually this issue is inextricably linked with the concept of hyperspace which is, as I have discussed in one of the previous paragraphs, an all pervading space without the concept of distance. Using imagery it is something like this. If you ask yourself or to the ocean itself as to what the distance between two of its drops is it cannot tell you because there is no concept of distance so long as drops are part of the ocean. The concept of space & distance comes into existence when drop is separated from the ocean. This separation gives birth to our space and thought followed by time. One can have and feel either the world of space or world of hyperspace but not the two at the same time. Here God (the Sun of timeless infinite Super consciousness) is like a Sun which is reflecting itself into every drop of water (that is soul) separated from oceanic consciousness of nature which itself emerged from God (Qualified Monoism). This was in contrast to Monoism, as later on propounded by Aadi Shankracharya, according to which God, Nature and Soul are one and the same entity, like the Sun and its rays. Each of the rays represents one chain of evolution. The concept of Qualifies Monoism was preceded by Polytheism (worshipping the elements of nature as God and Goddess) and Dualism (worshiping a real life God). Anyway the measure of time in thoughtless life of nature, that is consciousness, may be entropy (a process by which something goes from ordered to disordered state) which we use to our advantage in physics through mathematical tools. In our space our clock is simply a standardization of convenience. Though there are mathematical standardization of space & time and relativity of the two as proposed through Special theory of Relativity, as per the relative motion of matter, yet conceptually there are two types of time- Individual time and Universal time. Individual time may be regarded as born out of the velocity of individual mind, an indirect measure of which may be reverse entropy of mind. Entropy of mind is responsible for aging process. Greater the velocity of mind smaller appears to be the span of time elapsed for the same clock span. Universal time is a Super conscious concept encompassing past and present of the entire creation into itself. The smaller the gap between two times for an individual, achieved through concentration, which may be natural or meditational, the more happy &long one’s life is going to be. Through meditation one can increase the velocity of mind and can thereby narrow the gap between Individual time and Universal time to the extent that one can come in touch with Universal mind and know everything about one’s past. Future knowing can be achieved only through suitable mix of instruments like Astrology and Yoga or Meditation. The concept of someone coming from future, as is generally shown in movies, is a phantasm. This basically symbolizes the ‘Son’ concept of the Christian Trinity, being much ahead of the time or prevailing culture of a society or to say great men born from time to time.
There is one fundamental difference between Hinduism and other religions of the world is that but for a few later stage reformers nobody established or founded Hinduism. It was accepted by masses in its natural wake. It is the most resilient religion growing from truth to truth. So many reformer and reformations, such as Jainism and Araya Samaaj, came in that wake but all of those were basically fresh realization of Hinduism minus the vices such as idol worship and caste system introduced over time. In the name of present day Hinduism what we are having in hand is a caste system and a set of real life people posthumously anointed as God by the devotional authors. Additionally, like in other religions too, it has scriptures derived from the oldest scriptures Vedas & Puranas but authored by later stage seers & priestly class to perform a set of sacraments called Sanskara. Those are –Janam(birth), Yagyopavit (Mundan that is clean shaving of head, and wearing sacred thread ), Vivah(marriage) and Mrityu(death). Certain sub castes of Priestly class are in charge of performing these rituals. The caste system in Hinduism is discussed somewhere below.
This is a well known fact the word ‘Hindu’ is a Persian rendering of the word ‘Sindhu’, a river near Pakistan-Afghanistan border flowing through what is called Indus Valley. Gradually the people living to the other side of the river came to be known as Hindus as a perversion in pronunciation by the Persian invaders. So there is nothing mystical about it. On the bank of this river in around 6000 BC Vedas, the mainstay of Hinduism, were started to be written by unknown seers (though the work continued up to the time of Indus valley Civilization which came into being in around 2500 BC. It was also the period around 3000 BC that Ramayana was composed). The word ‘Veda’ has been derived from Sanskrit word ‘Vid’ which stands for ‘knowing’. Sanskrit is to Hindi what Latin is to English. ‘Sanskrit’ has been derived from word ‘Sanskar’ which stands for religious derivative of a lineage. It was hence originally devised as a language for performing religious rituals and sacraments. There are lots of controversies regarding the origin of the Sanskrit but as per a scholar Dr Ramchandra Shukal this goes to the credit of Tamil, a south Indian language. Therein surrounds the story of Sanskrit Grammer having been developed by Panini Muni, again a south Indian. Almost all of the Indian scriptures and mythologies are written in Sanskrit. Tulsidas, the author of RamCharit Manas(Hindi translation of Ramayna as originally written in Sanskrit by Valmiki- a dacoit converted into saint), was the first one to resort to another vernacular ‘Avadhi’ of Northern India. There started the journey of modern day Hindi literature and Hinduism in around 1620 AD. Use of pure Hindi started and became prevalent with a drama ‘Raja HarishChander written by a dramatist Bhartendu Harishchandra in around 1880 AD.
Though Astrology is primarily of Greek origin but in India Prashar Muni, father of Ved Vyasa, who composed Mahabharata as a longest epic of the world in around 1890 BC within three years of end of Mahabharta war, is regarded to be father of Vedic Astrology, as a science of prediction, though Vedas are full of astronomical references. The aim of Mahabharta war was to establish a system based on justice. So far as Reincarnation and law of Karma of Vedic tradition is concerned all these are determined by evolutionary course. In Vedic tradition ‘Action’ translates to two words- Kama and Karma. But there exists confusion about the two. All Kamas are not Karmas. Only those Kamas turns out to be Karmas which are predetermined. Only Karma can bear fruit. Basically Karma stands for the act of establishing good or bad relation but not all of those are Karma, but only those which are predetermined. So both Karmas and fruits are predetermined. Kamas may be anything. So the question whether we can change our destiny through Kamas is meaningless. If it is to be there, it is also predetermined. There is nothing like freewill. Will is itself bondage. By free will what we mean generally is the microcosmic evolution of life. But we don’t know and cannot know exactly what are Kamas are Karmas for us .Therein lies the zest of life. This is the message of Gita as well as per which one has control, as opposed to right, over actions but no control over fruit because the latter is predetermined. Astrology and self realization seeks to help us in this direction.
Predetermined Karmas determine happiness, fulfillment and salvation whereas instinct of Kamas determines the evolution (freewill) in the form of Astrophysical mutation which may be translated into next generation or through rebirth. (In Astrology Rahu(Dragon’s head) is regarded to be the prime force behind such karmic evolution and also serves as a carrier of the impressions of previous birth on psyche in the form of its changing position in natal chart and as reflected into moon.) Gita emphasize upon keeping check over the instinct of Kamas so that it may not interfere with Karmas and waste the limited quota of energy meant for Karma. The Gita reiterates that when the mind is free from impulses and flaws, the mind becomes stable and the person becomes neutral when the impulses of the mind and the other senses are in control, then only the mind is freed from instability and perturbations. Often Gita is described as a paradigm of
Bhkati Yoga (worship and devotional state of knowledge),
Gyan Yoga (complete knowledge of God, nature and soul)
Karma Yoga (knowledge based actions leading to happiness, fulfillment and salvation).
In this context it would be worthwhile to mention a few words about Lord Krishna’s life story. Lord Krishna is the only great person in the history of mankind who was never subjected to any kind of tragedy or persecution. He led a complete life of all around satisfaction. He was a miracle man right from his childhood. But it was all incidental or accidental. He was never required to seek anybody’s help even if it was an onslaught kind of thing by any of his adversary. Lord Krishna’s birth story is somewhat akin to that of Greek God Zeus. His parents were imprisoned by his Maternal Uncle Kans, an autocratic King. So he was born in jail premises. His all brothers & sisters were killed by his Maternal Uncle, under the fear of prophecy that one of her (Krishna’s mother Devki ) child would kill Kans on being grown up. But Krishna as the 7th son managed to escape and was brought up in secret by another landlord in a nearby village where a dead child was born at the same night. Krishna never saw his parents. This may be said to be a mark for the height of his sense of detachment as discussed somewhere in the ensuing paragraphs. They say that the locks of jail were automatically broken but basically the keepers might have opened the gate at his birth cry. Finally at the end of Mahabharata War he managed to assassinate Kans. Lord Krishna’s story, while he was only 13 years old, around a village girl named Radha, 7 years older than him, is the most popular and is venerated around among Hindus. They say that it is by the grace of Radha that he derived the divine strength for defeating an enemy more powerful than him. In India Radha and Krishna are always worshiped together, though he married with another princess named Rukmani. Rest all of his stories of flirtations surround around his divine power to mesmerize others. He left his village Mathura at the age of only 16 to be anointed as a local chieftain in some other area. All the stories of his flirtation are confined to the village. He was the chief architect of War even before it started under the conviction that it was unavoidable, though at face level he tried his level best to avert it. Mahavarta war grew out of feud for power among two set of cousins. Krishna never said that he was on this (Pandva) or that side (Kaurava)- the two standing for two clans. He always said that he was on the side of Dharma. He has left the option open as to whom he would join. They say that basically both the sides were equally thriving at the divine grace of Lord Krishna. There is hearsay that Kauravas were 100 brothers. But basically out of affection all the children near around in the clan used to call the queen Gandhari as mother. Pandvas suffered from perverse sense of familial attachment among the five brothers, as if five bodies one soul, due to which perhaps they under a series of events got married with one woman named Drupadi, though originally Arjuna had won her in a contest. Arjuna had to accept it being a choice of all the brothers under the cover of some religious wrapper, though he never reconciled with it. But Draupadi herself never demurred, even once. Much later Krishna having noted Arjuna’s anguish got his sister married with him. Drupadi was in one sided love with Lord Krishna before getting married to the extent of being infatuated. Krishna made her sister or friend with the word to save her in time of any need in life that she just needed to remember him under any such situation. Krishna never interfered in their familial issue before Mahabharata war though Pandvas suffered from lots of persecution in the hand of Kaurvas. But Pandvas were having relatively greater sense of justice and religion. Pandva literally used to worship Lord Krishna whereas Kaurva used to take him as only a clever handsome flirt with some power to show miracle. So finally through a clever trick without hurting the other side Krishna went to Arjuna side. Drupadi, Pandvas’ wife, was a pivotal factor of Mahabharata war. They also say that Krishna derived his phenomenal strength from Draupadi’s divine grace. Pandvas lost their wife in a game of gambling with Kaurvas. Krishna rescued Drupadi from a consequent rape attempt by Kaurvas in their personal court through some miraculous power which is yet to be divulged or to be explained. (She could not be unclothed fully in spite of all efforts for hours together by the person. It is symbolically shown in wall calendars as Krishna releasing Sari from his palm at her from a corner in the sky above. Unbelievable but they say that it happened.). Druapdi took a vow not to do her hairdo until it is soaked in the blood of the rapist. After that Pandvas were sent to exile for 7 years. But on return from exile Kaurvas said that Pandvas were not going to be given an inch of land without war. They were subjected to various kinds of persecutions. There entered Lord Krishna in scene. He tried to strike an understanding that the Pandvas should be given one village each. But Kauravs did not budge. Finally war was declared. But Krishna promised not to take any weapon in his hand. He just drove Arjuna chariot serving as guide cum counselor. Initially Arjuna refused to fight the war against his kith and kin and mentors. But Krishna stay managed pursues him. This persuasion in the battle field itself is summed up as Gita, summarizing the gist of all religions. This issue has been discussed in greater detail somewhere in the ensuing paragraph. At the end of war when the last gem warrior of Kaurava was fighting with Arjuna the wheel of the chariot of the Kaurav’s warrior was broken. (The gem warrior Karn was step brother of the Arjuna. Pandva’s mother Kunti under a premarital mistake had given birth to child but disowned him just after birth. He was brought up by a ferryman. Later Karuva’s chief Duryodhana accorded him a due status in his court) . The warrior disembarked from the chariot. Arjuna stopped to throw arrows. Krishna wondered why. Arjuna said it was against the rule of game or war that is against Dharma, to fight with an empty handed person. Krishna wondered as to which Dharma. Had there been Dharma why would have they been fighting the war. Moreover they were fighting for the sake of Dharma but wars are not won through Dharma. At the end of war Kauravs realized that they committed a great mistake by underestimating Krishna. But by the time it was all over. Though Pandvas won the war, and the eldest brother Yudhisthar was anointed as King, but it was complete ruin to both the sides. Krishna said that it was all prearranged play. That he did not do anything. Though Arjuna won the war but it was a one-man show of Krishna. Lord Krishna can be said to be symbolizing Whale consciousness, a Gyan Yogi, or seer, in Karma Yoga and Action. But to ordinary mortals he always left the impression of being an ordinary mortal like them. (Astrologically he has the additional grace of Sun being in Leo sign, the lord sign.)
As it is well known Yoga stands for unification of the different incoherent thoughts and desires through concentration for which a sound health is the first prerequisite. But this is relevant only in Raj Yoga (Kundali Jagran). Basically Yoga is a commentary on one’s Horoscopic mindset( I am not referring to Indian almanac) , which actually Gita refers to. All of us are subjected to the laws of Karma which includes Karmas of previous births, if there was any. Accordingly a person may be born in any of the three kind of Yoga as mentioned above. Lord Krishna has all the three concepts of Yoga implied in his Horoscope. In that light there is a metaphorical interpretation of Mahabharta war as a whole that the Chariot represents the physical aspect of one’s being. The five horses stand for five senses. Krishna stands for sixth sense or intuition, called Vivek, which keeps the five senses under control. Arjuna represents the action part of one’s being at the dictates of intuition. Kurushetra( the battle field where the war was fought) is this world of desires and relations. The more all of those are in unison and under mutual command of each other the more are the chance of winning this war of life.
As per a present day concept in Vedic Astrology (enunciator of this concept is Sri Yoganand but I am going to upgrade it a little) there are three types of Karmas in anyone’s life. Those are
- Sanchit Karma(Accumulated actions of all of the Previous births) -Super conscious or unconscious mind represented by different Astrological Yogas also standing for right or wrong decisions in part of Satavaguna viz. at intuitive plane)
- Prabdha Karma(Conscious actions as a matter of the fore aspect of persona and innate character) — Previous birth actions ready to bear the fruit- conscious mind represented by transit of planets relative to the natal positions, also standing for right or wrong decisions & actions in part of Rajogun-The trait of field actions )
- Kriyamann Karma (Subconscious action born out of worldly reactions or desires)–Subconscious actions represented by “mahadasha & dashas”(periods & sub periods) of different planets also standing for right or wrong actions in part of Tamogun-the trait born out of instinct for violence or worldly desires. This is properly what is called Astrological luck of average person (No, not common man. Because the word ‘common’ stands for intersection , which is most important from social point of view culminating into joint consciousness. )
But I think the three can’t be segregated completely in this way. Then if a birth is the first birth of an individual what would happen to Super conscious and conscious mind because they are not present there, so does it mean a person in one’s first birth is fated to lead the life of drudgery? I think it is not. The Karmas of the forefathers are also transferred through an evolutionary scheme of the Journey of Mind or what can be said to be Genetic thoughts. A child begins at the point where parents end in life; regarding the realization of truths of life which itself subconsciously shapes parents predetermined future actions, provided procreation of the child is not simple science. All laws of genetics and heredity (like that of Mendel and linkage of genes) are subservient to the issue. In fact in the cyclic process of evolution there comes a stage when we, ourselves, may be forefathers of ourselves through rebirth. Evidently after such a stage the distinction between forefather’s Karma and previous birth Karma is almost blurred. Meaning thereby after that the term forefather’s karma remains of interpretational significance only. Basically it is all individual’s own Karma accumulated over successive rebirths responsible for one’s fate. But, of course, in case of newly created souls this distinction matters.
Buddhism was developed around 536 BC by the seer son, Siddahrth Gautam born 563 BC, of a chieftain of Sakya dynasty near valley of Nepal. It was a later stage non orthodox school of Vedic religion deriving from Gita only. Lord Buddha father used to keep a tight watch over Buddha because as per a prophecy by an astrologer he was likely to be either a great king or a great a monk. Buddha’s father got him married hastily when he grew up. Buddha procreated a son named Rahul (derived from the word Rahu that is dragon’s head representing illusion stage of Buddha) but one night he stealthily left the palace in quest of knowledge & truth. He used to remain perturbed by the disparity in human stature & human status and the sufferings of mankind around him, right from his childhood as to what the order behind all those was. He wandered a lot for 6 years and left taking food and sleep to realize truths. His condition became precarious. Finally a lady named Sujata noted it. She served him a dish called ‘kheer-milk porridge’ after making him realize that mere asceticism was not the way to truth. She advised him to meditate. It is said that it is by her divine grace that Buddha attained the state of awakened one. Finally he sat below a tree in a place called Gaya (Bodh Gaya in honor of Buddha), in a state called Bihar now, to remain in meditational trance for years together. In that course a few people in retort tried to dissuade him from his chosen path by sending their daughters. But his meditation persisted amidst all such odds. Finally he got the illumination. There onward he came to be known as Buddha (the Enlightened one). Then he went to Sarnath , Varnasi where he preached his first sermon to a group of five persons. After that he went to his father and converted him to Buddhism. Then he started to travel and to propagate around his realizations & faith allover India and China. The area around Bodh Gaya is full of Buddh monasteries called Viharas established by wandering missionaries. Incidentally Buddha did not use to accept women in his fold in his lifetime. On being questioned whether he was still being perturbed by sexual urge, he said that it was not like that. But that the being of woman is inherently not fit for meditational way of salvation, so it was of no use to initiate them into any such thing. Buddhism has Four Noble truths and Mid Path philosophy, as being best path out of all other modes of action, at its core. The fourth truth is the eightfold path to nirvana; right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right means, right effort, recollection and meditation. This liberates a man from the three truths- desire, pleasure and suffering leading to Nirvana. It also lays thrust on rebirth theory on the model discussed above that is Hindu model. The oldest collection of Buddhist scripture is Dharmpada written in a vernacular Pali. Buddhist observe a festival called Vesak or Buddh Purnima to celebrate Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death at a time , a festival conducted on full moon in the month of Vaishak of Hindu calendar, generally falling on 8th April. Presently there are around 340 million Buddhist worldwide.(Lord Buddha has 5 planets(Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars) in Aries sign(sidereal) as 10the house which is a sure sign for going ascetic .it is said that in the beginning of creation all planets were lying in Aries sign and started their journey at a time. So Buddha horoscope also symbolize for not knowing anything but capable to know everything. )
Buddhism has developed several branches since the time of its acceptance in China. Those are Mahayana, Hinayana , Zen and Theravada. Though in essence those all are same but Mahayana, in China, lays thrust on staying in this world for the enlightenment of others also, not only for that of one’s own. Further worship of the statue of Buddha is also practiced in Hinayana branch (in Sri Lanka). This branch lays thrust on only one’s own nirvana through personal effort. This was later replaced by much simpler form called Theravada in Indochina. Zen branch is practiced in China and Japan. Zen Buddhists believe in meditation amidst activity and thereby to see beyond preconceived ideas. But there exists a branch, an orthodox form of Mahayana, in Tibet developed by a yoga expert named Padamsambhava IN 747 AD from area in present day Pakistan. Basically this branch follows Buddhism in its original form. Presently Dalai Lama (spiritual and political leader) tradition of Tibet is carrying ahead this branch of Buddhism though its present incarnation has been exiled since Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959. Buddhism was never widely accepted in India because of Hindu stronghold. The credit for spreading Buddhism, however, in India goes to Ashoka the great, a great warrior as well, in around 250 BC. He was the grandson of Chandargupta Maurya, founder of Maurya dynasty in around 320 BC,the first modern Indian empire in true sense of the term spreading across almost the entire breadth & spread of India up to Afghanistan. He picked it up from the time Alexander the Great went back from India. Ashoka was the grandson of Chandragupta. During Kalinga war he was moved by the sight of massacre and took a resolve not to fight war again. He converted to Buddhism and spent his entire life in promoting Buddhism and its cause. But Buddhism is predominant in Northern Asia (China and Japan) and South Asia (Sri Lanka) without much effort in part of any of the King. Later on it spread to Indochina region by the efforts of Sri Lankans. It was readily accepted all around. Chinese follow the Astrology introduced by Lord Buddha and later on developed during Han dynasty in 207BC by Ying Yang. Chinese horoscopes are based on cycle of moon and consists of 12 animals Corresponding to 12 houses and each animal is said to be presiding a year in succession.
In this context, I would like to emphasize that Karma yoga is rarely attained in the first life. The birth of Karm Yogi is based upon the knowledge accumulated in previous births so that each and every action itself turns out to be right for oneself as well as for the society even if it appears to be sometimes wrong at the face level or in the contemporary context. Our seers used to take Samadhi (willingly leaving the physique and staying hooked in hyperspace until proper time and space comes for reincarnation) in quest of Karma Yoga and salvation in next birth. No one can attain salvation through Gyan Yoga. A person ,however, may be born in Karma Yoga in the first birth only, that is hundred percent planned creation, but still this rarely leads to salvation because the proportion in which a procreator, in such cases, thinks about all the happiness is inevitably followed by equivalent amount of unhappiness so that sum total remains zero. But no one plans for associated unhappiness in advance. If someone does it then it invites some great soul for reincarnation with suitable Astrophysical mutation.
As the Indian seer Late Swami Vivekanand has said that conclusively God can be put across as being an infinite circle with circumference nowhere and center everywhere. Out of each of such centers there emerge three concentric circles of finite dimensions, constituting the apparent manifestation of the part of Brahma within everyone. This system is like the wave front of rays emerging from the soul at the center. Those are Satyam (Absolute truth), Shivam (Absolute knowledge) and Sundram (Absolute bliss). Satya represents the creation in which everything is a face of God or Brahma and in which God wish is Supreme. The two halves of the circle are what is dubbed as right and wrong, but are equivalent from Brahma point of view. The middle circle Shiva is said to represent the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent entity which divides itself into two parts for the play of world. Those are Pursha (Manhood) and Shakti (Female Energy). Pursha establishes its relation with the apparent or latent manifestation of the whole Brahma through Shakti. But as a whole, in that process, Shiva stands for having a complete realization of the external circle that is Satya. The dawning of this realization of Satya creates an inflow of illumination towards the third circle what is called Sundram or state of absolute bliss when the consciousness is concentrated or starts to reside fully at the center and is in full command of oneself. Until the realization dawns the different system of the three concentric circles are likely to clash. Lord Shiva is said to have attained this state of realization. Shiva is a philosophy whereas Lord Shiva was a person. There is tradition called ‘ling worship’ associated with Lord Shiva. ‘Linga’ stands for male secret organ. Lord Shiva got married with a girl named Parvati who propitiated him for 18 years to get married with him. As per mythological hearsays and a book by great Sanskrit poet Kalidasa (during the reign of KumarGupta in Gupta empire in around 430 AD), Shiva had an intercourse of 1 year without orgasm, in keeping with Tantric tradition of Indian seers. Then the custom of ‘ling worship’ was started by women as a mark of respect for his manhood which eventually became a symbol for Shiva worship by masses in general. All temples of Shiva contain a symbolic ‘ling’ of Shiva. The devout give it an interpretation of being a symbol for cyclic process of creation, conduction and destruction.
In this context I am reminded of movie Satyam Shivam Sundram by the renowned Indian Film director Late Raj Kapoor. The message did not appear to have reached to the masses. It was simple. This may be correlated with a elementary fact of physics in which two atoms attract each other so long as they remain within the range of prescribed distance because of the attraction between electrons and nucleus of the two atoms. Electron represents the trappings part and nucleus represent the ego part. So long as the two maintains the distance the ego part is not visible. If they come closer the repulsion starts because of the nucleus of ego starts to repel each other and overpowers the attraction part. There ensues the rift. That is why too much of intimacy leads to aversion. That is why the dictum of detachment is required for happy life. The male lead character was initially ensnared by the sonorous quality of voice of female lead but he did not take notice of her half burnt face throughout the course of flirtation. This represented the unseen problem of egoism. But the solution lies in accepting the two face of beauty or nature as it is. In nature all fancy for enjoyments have two inherent faces. You can’t separate the two. In fact in any extremist sense of liking beauty and ugliness are two sides of the same coin. All of our mythological stories are like that. Any law of nature, in relation to animates, cannot be a law to be arbitrarily manipulated by any individual for self aggrandizement or just to trouble others. It is always implicitly guarded by divine checks. Otherwise law of Karma would be redundant. It is a different thing that we all may take some time to realize the fallouts.
In the previous paragraphs I had been often referring to the issue of reincarnation as a reality of life. Lots of people believe in it and lots don’t. Evidently such an apparently superstitious thing cannot be allowed to be part of religion because there cannot be direct proof of it, though there are so many hearsays around the same regarding its different occurrences. It is, however, a deliberate later stage introduction known as ‘transmigration of soul’ as a fundamental pillar of Hinduism, in addition to law of Karma and immortality of soul as having no relation with any mortal. The Hinduism, or properly speaking Vedic religion, starts with Vedas(four in number-Rig, Sam, Atharva , Yajur) followed by commentary on Vedas(known as Puranas) and commentary on various type of religious beliefs(known as Upanishads said to be more than 200 in number). These all culminate into ‘Gita’ as the last Upanishad. Different schools of Philosophy in India emerged at later stages but all of those were interpretation and acceptance of Vedas in the light of their evolved perceptions of truth. As per ‘Gita’, a part of epic Mahabharata, attachment with human beings and worldly enjoyment, is the source of all troubles. The desire-less & disinterested action is the solution. But to ordinary mortals all worldly attachment is understandable and can be overcome but not the parental attachment. Reincarnation theory is an axiom in that direction because detachment is last prescription of truth and cannot be questioned. It gives a death blow to the final thread of attachment and establishes belief in isolation of soul as an independent entity garnering the fruit of one’s action from one birth to another until no more desires are created or exists and thereby salvation is attained. This also helped in overcoming the confusion born out of desires as to why everybody does not apparently appear to be subjected to the law of karma. But there is a difference between reincarnation and rebirth. Reincarnation relates to only great soul in Karm Yoga. As a matter of fact Rebirth is not a certainty but it happens. Ordinary soul, after death, may just wither away in course of time. It depends upon the power of soul. Remaining things of social importance were tackled by Buddhism as a new sect in line with Hinduism as discussed above. This is in contrast to Ramayna which deals with only character and life story of Rama with a detail of the mores of contemporary society. Ramayana tries to highlight the equanimity of mind and sense of social justice through the character of Rama, though it also tries to highlight the complementation aspect of sense of knowledge and sense of enjoyment and the trouble caused by the attachment with any of the two. It is also said that Krishna was a reincarnation of Rama, as being second incarnation of Vishnu.
Now here the essence of Ramcharit Manas deserves a place. It is centered on the story of king lineage in which Rama is the central figure. It leaves the impression of assuming Rama to be incarnation of God right from the beginning and finally establishing it. So it is very devotional in nature. Rama was given to all emotional impracticability for the sake of pleasing his soul mates and subjects. He used to accept every event as a natural God’s wish for the sake of pleasing others. He used to maintain calm amidst all adversities yet at the face level used to emote like any ordinary mortals as per traditional expectations. He did all sacrifice for the sake of preserving familial and social traditions. He was said to be capable for instantly reading others mind but still behaving like ordinary person for the sake of worldly play to take its natural shape. He, in spite of having super human qualities, was given to the sense of all worldly enjoyments like that of any ordinary mortal. Tulsidas tried his level best to show the reconciliation of the conflicting interests & contrasting psychology of the characters involved in the light of Rama’s character and preordained god’s wish for sake of developing right social traditions, what is called reestablishing Hinduism through ‘Tulsi ka SamanvaiBaad’. They say Rama is a Mantra hence name of Rama signifies more than Rama himself. As I have mentioned that Ramayna basically highlights the equanimity of mind and sense of practical justice in part of Rama. It also establishes the fact that attachments with both sense of knowledge and sense of enjoyment .is the source of all trouble. But for the unusual influence of his divine grace to others, Rama’s character is also free from any mysticism. He represents Jupiterian consciousness like Greek God Zeus, though Krishna also represents the same in slightly modulated and better form.
Perhaps in the light of above mentioned facts around Rama’s character, Rama came to marry a princess named Sita, a ‘nut’ of very pious character. Further his younger brother Laxman was also a ‘nut’ character (Astrologically Mars+Rahu ). Laxaman used to behave like having been born just to protect Rama. Just after having got married, all the hell started to lose upon Rama. Rama’s father has got four queens, each of them having one son. Rama was the eldest. One of the queens started to demand kingship for his son, Bharat, by reminding the king about his promise, to ask for anything once in life, which he had made under some moment of ecstasy much ago. Rama was exiled for 14 years along with his wife. Laxamna insisted for accompanying them. Finally the three left. The King died out of shock. Bharat unwillingly occupied or say presided the chair but physically he never sat on the throne meant for King, keeping it reserved for Rama on return.
They migrated barefooted towards South India. After a year around once, under the divine influence of Sita, Laxaman happened to meet a girl named Surpnakha who tried to ensnare him for copulation in the jungle. Laxman got incensed and chopped off her nose. The girl turned out to be sister of Ravna, king of Sri Lanka. Ravna was also a giant nut of very exalted character (Astrologically Piscean Saturn+Rahu in 10the house). When Ravna came to know about it, he thought of teaching a lesson to the white complexioned barefooted north Indians. That the people around in history had sacrificed their kingdoms for the sake of women and here the man had chopped off the nose of her sister just for a simple request of flirtation. He stole Sita through a trap. Laxman had drawn a line of defense, made of some explosive, around their house while leaving for somewhere having forbidden Sita from crossing the line in their absence. .But Sita crossed it at Ravna’s hollo who came there disguising as beggar cum monk. In Lanka Sita was kept under due comfort near the mansion of Ravna. They say that it all happened under the sublime wish of Sita herself. It is also mentioned that Ravna carried Sita to Lanka on an aircraft like arrangement (called Pushpak Viman). Though Ravna went on insisting others to make her ready for getting married with him but he never resorted to any kind of coercion. In fact it is said that he did it deliberately to save both Sita and himself from any character blemish. In fact Ravna was said to be a great spiritualist or Tantrik , a devotee of Lord Shiva. Ravna put forward the condition that they would have to tender apology by touching his feet and to serve under him otherwise let it be a war. Ravna’s wife tried her level best to make him understand that it was a folly. That Rama was no ordinary person but an incarnation of Vishnu. But Ravna, as per the usual characters of ‘nuts’, developed a fad and refused to send Sita back. There ensued the war. There emerged another character in the scene by the sheer divine strength of Rama. That was Hanuman. He was the leader of tribe/race called ‘Banar’ which in Hindi stands for ‘monkey’. Actually they had the looks of monkey, not monkey itself, as has been mistakenly presented to in the scripture. (Astrologically Hanuman was a highly placed Mars in Capricorn sign in 10the house). Hanuman was literally one man army of Rama. Further under the divine grace of Rama he used to appear like flying, like traversing hundreds of km in an hour. He is worshipped in India as being next to Rama. Tuesday is said to be day of Hanuman worship. (Hanuman named is worshipped to ward off the evil spirits). Hanuman went on a secret mission to Lanka to enquire about the plight of Sita but on return was caught by guards. Hanuman said that nobody arrested him, that actually he was interested to see who that man Ravna was. On being a little disgraced in the court of Ravna he turned everything around into ashes and came back safely. Ravana went on losing all of his warriors one by one. But he persisted amidst all resistance of his own kith & kin even. One of the giant brother of Ravna, waken up from his 6 months long sleep to fight the war, advised him to send back the woman first, that then he was willing to fight the war to avenge his sister’s disgrace. But of no avail. Ravna’s younger brother Bibhishan, a man of very pious character, left his side and went to join the camp of Rama. Naturally he knew all the secrets of Ravna. Thereby after a series of events and prolonged war of decade Ravna was killed. It is said that Ravna used to display 10 heads during the war all being reunited even after being chopped off. Basically it is a symbolism to highlight his satanic supernatural qualities to create one after another similar problems as if by miracle. On the battlefield Rama saluted Ravna for being a brave man of super human qualities and asked others to cremate him with due honor. In India Ravna’s death is celebrated as Dashara or VijayDashmi festival and return of Rama after 20 days or so to his kingdom is celebrated as Diwali. Bhivashana was anointed as king of Lanka. After a few years Rama disowned Sita under the so called wish of his subjects. Sita started to live in the hermit of a saint, earlier guru or mentor of Rama. There she gave birth to twin. In the name of accepting her back Sita was subjected to ordeal. They say that Sita passed the ordeal but she herself committed suicide for her fidelity being suspected around. In this context it is to be noted that the Sri Lanka of Ramayana time might not be the Lanka of today. It was just as apart from India as the width of big river. But gradually the size of island went on decreasing creating around 20 miles of sea water gap between India and Lanka. This would explain all anomalies unsolved so far.
In this context it would be worthwhile to mention that a great deal of work has been done regarding the exact time of Veda’s composition. The well known western scholar Max Muller (In lighter vein he used to interpret his name as ‘Mool(summary or origin) of Moksha(Salvation) has suggested around 2500 BC for the same. But several references in Rig Veda regarding Vernal Equinox position in relation to Asterism point out that it was written around 6000 BC. But the composition work continued till around 2500 BC as the various successive related texts suggest through references to the changing position of Vernal Equinox in relation to asterism. Vedas were never passed as written text but as oral tradition from one generation to other till the time of the Mauryan Empire. Though here in India Vedas are as good as Torah (Jewish Scripture) to Christians yet a brief detail deserves mention.
- Rig Veda- The Rig Veda accounts in detail the social, religious, political and economic background of the Rig-Vedic civilization. It is the mainstay of Polytheism and Qualified Monotheism. The hymns are devoted to different elements of nature recognized as God and Goddesses.
- Sam Veda-It is said to be wife of Rig Veda presented in song form. Sam Veda reflects the structuring dynamics of Rig Veda. It highlights the quality of flowing wakefulness involved in structuring Rig Veda. With reference to consciousness, Sama Veda comprises of the specific sets of laws of Nature that are engaged in promoting the quality of Rishi — the observer, the witnessing quality — in composing Samhita part.
- Yajur Veda- The Yajur Veda is also a liturgical collection and was made to meet the demands of a ceremonial religion. The Yajur Veda practically served as a guidebook for the priests who executed sacrificial acts muttering simultaneously the prose prayers and the sacrificial formulae. It is similar to ancient Egypt’s “’Book of the Dead’
- Atharva Veda- The last of the Vedas, this is completely different from the other three Vedas and is next in importance to Rig-Veda with regard to history and sociology. The Atharva Veda consists of spells and charms prevalent at its time, and portrays a clearer picture of the Vedic society. Atharvaveda speaks more about Yoga, the human physiology, different ailments, social structure, spirituality, appreciation of natural beauty, national religion etc. This knowledge is practical and is worth bringing in use. Indian system of Medicine called AyurVeda draws mostly from Atharvaveda.
All Vedas consists of 4 components – Samhita, Aranyakas Brahmna and Upnishads. Traditionally Samhitas are called to be real Vedas. Remaining are later stage introductions as extensions, interpretation, interpolation and criticism of Vedas. Samhitas of different Vedas are collections of mantras or hymns written in meter form. The Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads are a mix of poetry and prose. Among other things those interpret and discuss the Samhitas in philosophical and metaphorical ways to explore abstract concepts such as the Absolute (Brahman), and the soul or the self (Atman), introducing Vedanta(Puranas and Upnishads) philosophy of Qualified Monoism, one of the major trends of later stage Hinduism. In other parts, they show evolution of ideas, such as from actual sacrifice to symbolic sacrifice, and of spirituality in the Upanishads. This has inspired later Hindu scholars such as Adi ShankaraCharya to classify each Veda into karma-kanda (part relating to action/ritual-related sections) and jnana-kanda (part relating to knowledge/spirituality-related sections).
Now follows a few words about Hindu Caste system. Caste system, also known as Varana system, goes to constitute the core of Hindu culture since the time of Vedas, though there is no direct reference of it in Vedas. It is well known that initially it was designed to assign the job or occupation to individual in accordance with one’s psychological and physical worth as determined by seers. There were semi astrological criteria as well. Late on it became a lineage or hereditary issue with surname affixed as a pointer towards one’s caste or sub-caste. There were four castes-Brahmin (Priest), Kchhtriya (Warrior), Vaishya( Business), Shudra(Menial). Additionally each caste consisted of several sub castes to be expanded over time as per requirement. Shudra were said to be untouchables not being allowed to enter into the premises of others class people and also were not allowed to enter any shrine or even to take water from a common well. The society has been totally endogamous, marriage being allowed only among the member of same caste but different Gotra(Sub caste). There developed a system of exploitation for thousands of years. Haves and have-nots were fated to be what they were by inheritance or by birth. They say that that up to time of British advent it was in a fluid state but British strengthened it to use it to their advantage for rule. Presently it remains there but Industrialization and, Reservation in job, Institutions and Parliament has reduced it to be more an issue of power and money less of caste. The Shudras and correlated backward classes are popularly known as Schedule caste with reference to a Schedule of Constitution. Gandhi fought vehemently to get the caste system abolished in favor of backward classes. Incidentally the Chairman of the Constitutional draft committee Dr B.R.Ambedkar, one of the finest intellectuals of India in 20th century, turned out to someone from so called Schedule caste, later on embracing Buddhism. In fact India is developing a system of reverse exploitation now. It is a heterogeneous & heterogamous society now. But caste system is basically a cultural state of affair. Modern day Hinduism consists of the message behind Ramayna and Mahabharta though Vedas lie at the core of it.
However as I have discussed the part of Hinduism before Gita serves primarily as a source of holy entertainment. Entertainment lies at the core of Indian culture in all forms as a means of getting focused on one’s duties and obligations. So Religion and Entertainment the two together go to constitute the soul of the Organic Entity that is India or Bharat Varsha. In this context I am reminded of Bharat Muni on the name of which India derives its name Bharat. He was the chief exponent of Indian classical dances and music. Though it may be an interpolation, not etymology as such, but they say that the essence of Indian classical dance consists of -Bha standing for Bhava(Expression) , Ra for Raga(Tune) and Ta for Tala(Rhthym).
In this context it would be worthwhile to mention that in India unlike in Greek and Roman world astrology(the stage after Vedang Jyotish written in around 1400 BC) came to regarded as an integral part of religion, not only as an esoteric science based on astronomy for the purpose of psychology or future reading. All Hindu sacraments, rituals, inaugurations and festival are observed after due consultation of Panchang(Indian almanac) which are astronomical/astrological publications, published on yearly basis to serve as ready reference or ready reckoner of astronomical events . It consists of five elements so known as Panchang( five elements-Tithi, Vasar, Karan, Nakshtra and Yogas).(In addition there are two prominent ephemeris, Lahiri and Rao, for broad consultation on astronomical matters pertaining to astrology for whole of the past century.)Further composition of Siddhantas which are treatise on Astronomy played an important role in streamlining religious procedures. So a brief history of Indian astronomy/astrology deserves a place. Basically everywhere the astronomical things like constellations and movement of moon through those were started to be noted down by wandering shepherds of ancient time sleeping below the open sky in night. The history of the origin of Astrology or Jyotish may be traced back to city of Babylonia in around 2500 BC. From there Egyptian assimilated it and there from it became an integral part of Greek culture. But Indian or Vedic astrology is of indigenous origin conceived almost around the same time. Founder of Vedic astrology is Parashar Muni. He was the father of the author of Mahabharta which was composed around 1890 BC. Parashar wrote two books namely- Laghu Parashari and Parshari Hora. But those are of very primitive nature. In ‘Mahabharta’ there is no mention of any astrological matter. This is because at that time concept of Rashi or Sign has not come into existence, though concept of Asterism and placement of moon in Asterism was prevalent since the time of composition of Vedas spanning between 6000 BC-2500BC. During the time of Vedas, Vernal equinox was regarded to be beginning of year and time for sacrificial rituals or for civil & religious rites. . So its position with reference to asterism was mentioned, which went on shifting as per time. Though rudimentary concept of Zodiac as twelve lunar stations or 12 spokes in the wheel of time had been already conceived around the time of Rig Veda yet practically the concept of Zodiac consisting of 12 Rashis was not prevalent. In fact the modern form of asterism as a set of 27 constellations with well demarcated names was also conceived around 2600 BC in the time of Taitrya Brahmana. Then a disciple of Ved Vyas named Jamini wrote a book called Jamini Sutram which is nothing but a more elaborate presentation of Parshari Hora. After that in the beginning of 1600 BC Atharva Jyotish based on Atharva veda was written. In around 1200 BC there came in first authentic presentation of astrology through Vedang Jyotish as compiled by a scholar named Lagdh. According to Calendar reform committee of India it was composed around 1400 BC. After that there started the composition of Siddhants which are treatise on Astronomy. In around 500 BC the use of Rashi became prevalent. After Alexander’s invasion (325 BC) the influence of Greek scholars called Yavnas(aliens) started to influence the evolvement of Astronomy and Astrology in India. However Astrology could not evolve much in the period after Vedang jyotish until the time of Arybhatta in around 475 AD. Aryabhatta is said to be an Indian Newton. He developed the philosophy behind the concept of zero, calculus and mean speed of planets in ecliptic round . After him there came a sort of flood in the work related to astronomy and astrology extending up to 12 century AD. The greatest of all time Indian Astrologer named Varahmihir. compiled and developed the five Siddhantas (Theorems or Principle ) in his book Panch Siddhantika in around 505 AD- There are five major Siddhantas(though there are many), ascribed to classical gods as per tradition that is to say author not mentioned, developed over thousands of years since the time of Atharva Jyotish, namely-
- Pitamah Siddhanta(around 1500 BC)
- Vahishtha Siddhantas(1400BC)
- Romak Siddhnata
- Paulish Siddhanta
- Surya Siddhanta(285 AD).
Romak and Paulish were primarily Greek in origin and were written in the beginning of 1st century AD. Surya Siddhanta written around the time when Indian system of Sidereal zodiac coincided with Western system of tropical zodiac, that is to say vernal equinox lying in asterism Ashwini(arieti) which is beginning point of Aries sign. ‘Surya Siddhantas’ is the final word on Indian astronomy. There are two versions of ‘Surya Siddhanta’. Presently the modern version of ‘Surya Siddhnata’ as fixed around 17 century AD is followed. At the same time a Greek philosopher Ptolemy came into being. Surya Siddhnatas is also said to be influenced by his work. Varahamihir wrote his magnum opus on astrology as a full-fledged science of prediction called Vrihad Jatika. Varhamir writings are highly influenced by Greek scholars and he admitted it wherever required. In around 628 AD Brahma Gupta authored two important work namely-‘Brahma Siddhantas’ and ‘Khand Khadya’. These were used by Arabian Muslims to take Indian astronomy to unprecedented height. In around 1166 AD there came in a major work named ‘Sidhhant Shiromani’ by Bhaskracharya. After that it was a dark period for until around 16 century AD a scholar named Vaidynath wrote a book ‘Jatak Prijat’ which also serves as a major base for astrology as a science of prediction. Then in 1536 AD Dhundraj authored Jatakbharan interpreting the significance of different category of astrological charts of Greek origin. There are several other names like Bhrigu Samhita and Nadi Shashtra. But those were purely concerned with interpretative astrology and the exact time is not known. But Indian astronomy could not go much ahead of Astrological and Calendar requirements. By 17th century both astronomy and astrology had lost its study base due to influence of Muslim rule for 500 years. At the end of 17the century AD French, British and Germans made serious effort for reviving such traditional Indian knowledge. Theodor Aufrecht of German oriental society published a catalogue of all Indian manuscripts known as ‘Catalogues Catalogorum’. British scholars did a deep study of all Indian manuscript and published it in ‘Epigraphia Indica’. Some of the leading works of western scholars were published in ‘Philosophical transactions’ . Presently Lal Kitab is the most popular ready reference for astrological consultations.
In chorological order the above mentioned detail can be presented as
- Parashar Muni-Parahari Hora and Laghu Parashari
- Jamini- Jamini Sutram
- Atharva Jyotish
- Lagdh-Vedang Jyotish
- Varahmihir-Vrihadjatika, Vrihad Samhita and Panch siddhantika
- Brahma Gupta-Brahmaya Siddhant and Khand Khadya
- Bhaskracharya- Siddhant Shiromani
- Vaidynath-Jatak Prijat
In this context it has to be mentioned that Arabian Muslims has a great deal of contribution in the field of Astronomy and Astrology. By late 8th century AD almost all of the works by Indian scholars had been translated into Arabic and Persian. Brahma Gupta’s Brahma Siddhant was renamed as SindHind. It happened much before Ptolemy influence started to permeate through the Arabian world. Abul Hasan used Aryabhatt’s work, took it to Baghdad and contributed a lot.
Though it may seem out of context but to remind, the ecliptic plane ( the apparent path of sun around earth) and celestial equatorial plane( projection of earth’s equatorial plane in space) are inclined at 23 degree 27 minute with respect to each other. The points where ecliptic cuts cross the celestial equator are called day of equinoxes. During equinoxes Day and Night are of equal length, the sun being directly overhead at the equator. There are two equinoxes corresponding to Uttarayana(northward journey of sun from roughly speaking Aquarius to Cancer) and Dakshinayana (Southward journey of sun from roughly Leo to Capricorn) in geocentric view. Vernal equinox (spring equinox in northern hemisphere) is the day when sun crosses the point of intersection of celestial equator and ecliptic, which is sun’s apparent path around earth in geocentric view in the course of its northward journey. This refers to the one happening on 21rd March as per Gregorian calendar (The calendar is briefly discussed in section on Christianity). The other Autumnal equinox falls on 22 September during the southward journey. The line joining the two nodes, corresponding to spring and autumnal equinox, is called vernal axis or equinoctial axis.
In astronomical parlance three types of year, month and day are in use. Those are -Lunar, Solar(Sidereal and Tropical) and Luni-Solar(Luni-Sidereal and Luni-Tropical. (See PART II for detail)
In India the position of Vernal equinox that is vernal point, with reference to asterism is basically a matter of calendar system. This is regarded to be beginning point of tropical Zodiac also known as ‘Office of Christ’. It is regarded to be beginning of tropical year as accepted by Indian Govt. also for calendar purpose. This is presently 21-22 March in India which follows luni-tropical system of calendar for festival and holiday’s purpose.
But for astrological purpose sidereal beginning of zodiac is considered. Sidereal zodiac is a fixed system of Rashi starting with Mesha(Aries) which starts with asterism Ashwini (Arieti). But in western or tropical system, ever changing Zodiac beginning starts with asterism where vernal equinox points to, that is relative position of sun in the zodiac during vernal equinox day as seen from earth. In 285 AD it coincided with Ashwini but presently it is lying in around 5 degree Pisces Rashi in the asterism called Uttar Bhadra( Gamma Pegasi). Tropical Zodiac moves in clockwise direction with the average (though varies over period of time) speed of 1 degree in 72 years due to precessional motion of earth caused by changing gravitational pull of sun on earth, perhaps due to motion of sun itself in an orbit around another sun (suggested as binary star model) which lies in line with the direction of two equinoxes called vernal axis. So presently this point that is around 5 degree Pisces of sidereal zodiac is regarded as beginning of tropical zodiac that is Aries sign. So Rashi in tropical system is called Sign. Signs have no definite composition regarding the stars falling into those. But Rashis has fixed composition. This difference of degree in longitude of Aries Rashi and Aries Sign is called Ayanmasha (Fagon-Bradley) presently being around 24 degree 44 minutes. This phenomenon of clockwise shifting of equinox, in geocentric view, is called precession of equinoxes and said to have been discovered by Greek philosopher
Hipparchus in around 2nd century BC. However in India this was in existence since the time of Vedas. There is a ‘theory of trepidation’ in this regard as per which vernal equinox do not shift in clockwise direction continuously over 360 degree of Zodiac but oscillates around some mean position. The last time Aries Rashi and Aries sign were coinciding in 285 AD. If average speed of 1 degree shift per 72 year is considered then the prior to this, it should have been happened in 360*72=25920 years ago. But as per record it happened around 9000 BC. Newton disproved theory of trepidation by his law of gravitational dynamics. So a final word is yet to come.
The fixed oriental system of fixed Zodiac is said to be concerned with macrocosmic evolution of life and is regarded to be representing the real science of destiny whereas the moving occidental system of zodiac, originated in Greek and Roman culture, is said to be representing microcosmic evolution of life that is also termed as free will standing for evolutionary unfoldment of human consciousness, evolving into world consciousness.
Though scores of era system came into being in the wake of cultural history of India but among Hindus the era followed in general is Shaka era. There are two types of Shaka era now in practice- Customary and Official.
Customary Shaka was started by King Kanishka of Kushan dynasty in 78 AD. It was luni-Sidereal. As per customary Shaka, month of Chaitra starts on 14th march that is sun entering into it. The Chaitra is 12th month of sidereal year consisting of 365 days. But officially Shaka era is used as luni-tropical started on 22 March 1957 AD as Shaka 1879 in advance of 23 days from customary Shaka( that is 13-14th April called Baishak 1). So as per official Shaka 22nd March is Chaitra 1. But Customary Shaka as luni-sidereal year starts on 14th April(called Baishak 1) as sun entering into Aries is still in practice among astrologers. The official tropical year consists of 365 days and 366 days in leap year beginning on the day following vernal equinox on 21 March(7th Chaitra of customary Shaka) in leap year and 22 march(8th Chaitra) in normal years. The luni tropical official Shaka year begins anytime between 1st March and 1st April. The years added by 2 and then divisible by 4 are leap years. The months are named after asterism and their length varies from 30-32 days. Solar Days are counted from Sunrise to Sunrise. The lunar date or Tithi may start any time in the solar day due to variation in speed of moon in each rotation round the earth. So, of course the official and almanac date for festival varies. Lunar month consists of 15 days each in the two fortnights due to variation in speed of moon and sun along their path and is around 29.54 days as an average of solar day. One lunar year consists of 360 rotation of moon round the sun(earth) consisting of 354.5 days as an average. To adjust lunar year with solar year at the end of 32 and 33 months alternately one intercalary month is added, that is to say two months with same name follows. In an intercalary month two new moons fall in one solar month. The first such month stands as decayed called as Malmas and the other as pure or Shuddha . Sometimes no new moon falls in a month. Then the month itself stands as decayed. Then two intercalary months one before and one after the decayed month are required. Then which one is intercalary month depends upon convention. Sometimes lunar day or Tithi stands decayed when the lunar day spans between one solar day (that is between ‘after previous sunrise’ to’ before next sunrise’) because same solar day falls on the two consecutive tithi. The term ‘Shaka’ has two interpretations. As per one view it was originally started by a ruler of Shaka dynasty while as per others Shaka is a Sanskrit word standing for ‘year’.
Another era prevalent is Vikarmi Samvat started in 57 BC. This is credited to VikramaAditya (Chandergupta II of Gupta Empire 375 AD). But as per a few scholars it has nothing to do with Vikramaditya. Indian almanacs are primarily based on this era system. This is lunar. The year begins at the first lunar day of lighted fortnight in the month of Chaitra generally falling around 14the march to 14 the April because of all luni things as mentioned in the context of Shaka era.
In this context it would be worthwhile to mention a few words about the most predominant religion of the world that is Islam, an Arabic word which stands for submission to the will of God. It appeared in the 7th century as a new faith as revealed to Mohammad the Prophet, a merchant from Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is well known that he got married with a rich widow, Khadija, and after that started his realization of truth and prescription for social happiness. He is reported to have received the message of god through Angel Gabriel in a vision while having gone to Mount Hira near Mecca for meditation soon after marriage. Islam affects the whole of the Muslim’s, the followers of Islam, life in conduct, art, ethics, law and Govt. Its holy book ‘Quran’ is written in Arabic, though composed later on in 677 AD after the death of the Prophet in 632 AD as words of Allah as revealed to the Prophet. Muslims follow Heigree Era starting in 622 AD. Heigra stands for ‘flight’ marking the journey of the Prophet, along with his followers, from his hometown Mecca to Medina in search of better recognition. While remaining in Medina, Mohammad created an Islamic empire in Arabian region after conquering Mecca. After his death he was succeeded by his father- in- law Abu Baker and then his three sons-in-law in succession. At the time of the fourth Calipha, Ali, it was divided into two wings, Sunni and Shia, but it was a matter of preference for being led by Prophet’s inheritors as chosen at the discretion of predecessor or direct blood descendents of Ali respectively, not a difference in the faith as such at that time. In due course, however, the two segments developed their own theology and system of rituals. Initial two dynasties, Umayyad and Abbasid, were Sunni but finally Shia dynasty Fatimid came in power. However amidst all these the two wings of religion continued. Presently Shia Muslims are a minority found mainly in Iraq and Iran. Onward 670 AD Islam gave way to imperialistic tendencies to spread the religion all over world through sword and to rule through it. Soon afterward they captured Middle East, North Africa and Persia. Muslims invaded India around 711 AD near Baluchistan. During the same time they attacked Spain and Central American region too, to carve a vast religious empire out of the two. In 1453 AD its followers from Ottoman Turk Empire brought an end of the Byzantine Empire. The latter was the Greece based eastern part of the old Roman Empire named after its capital in Byzantium, a port city in Greece, to be renamed as Constantinople. Islam lays thrust on ‘faith in God’ amidst all pleasures as per one’s choice except eating the meat of carnivorous animals but including pig, called as Haram as opposed to Halal for remaining everything. Evidently this is on medical ground. It’s the most liberal religion of the world so far as food habits and marital issues are concerned. Islam believes in forced religious conversion through armed struggle called ‘Jihad’.
Though Quran does not make any provision for caste system, also known as ‘quam’ system, but conversion issue in India or South Asia has brought forth a set of castes among Muslims as well. The primary hierarchical stratum of castes consists of Ashraf, Ajlaf and Arzal. This is in line with Hindu castes system. Converts from upper caste Hindus are called Ashraf, from middle class Hindus are called Ailaf and those from lower and backward classes are called Arzal. They practice endogamy, hyper gamy and hereditary occupations. In south India they classify caste system as consisting of ‘Pak’ and ‘Paleed’ standing for pure and impure respectively. The Muslims of Arabic origin, fair complexioned, are called ‘Pak’ and of south Indian origin are called ‘Paleed’. Muslims don’t follow any sacrament but they are five duties which Muslims must obey. Those are called Shahadah, Salat, Zakah and Sawm. Shadah stands for faith is one God that is Allah, incarnated as Mohammad the Prophet. Salat stands for preying five times a day. Zakah stands for occasional gifting of money to poor. Swam stands for observing fast during Ramadan which is 9th month of Islamic year. The other religious obligation is to visit Mecca once in lifetime. This is called Hajj. Muslims are supposed to prey Allah facing towards Mecca direction wherever they are. The direction is pointed by Mehrab in every local mosque. The major festivals of Muslims are Id al-Fitar and Id al-Adha. The first one is celebrated as the end of Ramjan followed by exchange of sweets. Id al-Adah is also called Bakrid. This is in commemoration of a historical event as per which Abraham(founder of Judaism) was willing to sacrificing his son Issac to please God but later on was asked to sacrifice a ram instead. It stands for sacrificing an animal at the altar of Mohammad the prophet .They say that basically Quran dictates for sacrificing one evil of the heart, not necessarily animal like goat, on this occasion at the altar of the Prophet.
Muslims follow Higri era. This started on 16th July 622 AD said to be the date of migration of Prophet from Mecca to Medina. This 1-1-1- of higri era(the month of Muharram).The day part is a little controversial. As per a few scholars the day might be September 20 or March 19. It was Friday. The year is lunar. The day begins at Sunset. The year consists of 354 lunar days. There are leap years as the years divided by 30 leaving remainder 2 to 29 in arithmetical progression of common difference 3(2,5,8….29). Month begins with the first visible crescent of moon after sunset generally falling on second lunar day of lighted fortnight. The odd months have 30 days and even months have 29 days except the last month in leap year. It is said that prior to Higri, a luni-solar calendar was in use but the intercalary month introduced to adjust with solar year used to cause inconvenience to the foreign pilgrims on Haj so prophet decide to go for pure lunar calendar of 354 days , hence the start of month Muharram , first month of year, varies from year to year.
I would like to remind that in our country there seems to be generic antipathy or prejudicial resistance towards the very word “Philosophy”. It is regarded to be simply blurbs of a berserk mind suffering from illusion factor. This all pervading in vein prejudice, even among the modern day pseudo philosophers in relation to others, owe its origin to the traditional Hindu orthodoxy and undue emphasis on adhering to biblical dictates of scriptures up to the beginning phase of Kal Yug, connoting Machine age which as per an Indian scripture Vishnu Puran starts at1855 B.C marking the death of Lord Krishna. (As per traditional division of aeons in India Kal Yug starts at around 3500 BC but the traditional division does not stand to common sense even. As per this concept one cycle of creation consists of 4.32 million years beginning with Sat Yug having human being whereas we have only 1/10 million years when the first true ancestor of human being, Homo Sapiens, appeared) Then what exactly the “Karmic cycle of birth & rebirth and salvation stands for was an enigma to ordinary mortals. This was genuine too because our seers did not use to realize that their perceptions and prescriptions were either their own truth or could maximum serve as guiding principles to the society which may not result into immediate gain or bliss for average person in keeping with their requirements . Salvation was treated as only a post demise concept, not as a culmination point of lifelong happiness, elixir and bliss. Society was full of sexual & culinary taboos leading to rampant corruption or incest. Further religion was of not much help to business class and their interest often used to come into conflict with the altruistic religious dictates. The associated anguishes led to aversion towards Hindu “Philosophers and Philosophy”.
This was also primary reason for smooth influx of Muslims and Muslim rulers into India, followed by 800+300 years (750 AD to 1850 AD) of Muslim rule, including the one of Mughal Empire (1526-1850 AD). Properly Muslim era started around 1200 AD as one Sultan Mohammad Gori ruling over entire Northern India. During reign of Akbar empire expanded all over India. This is said to be Golden age of culture and religious tolerance in India. What Augustus (27 BC) was to Roman Empire, Akbar as third king in 1556 AD, was to Mughal Dynasty. Akbar married with a Hindu woman named Jodhabai. He used to visit the shrines of all the religions and often enjoyed Sikh’s langar. Akbar has great interest in Astronomy and started an era named as Fazli era. He is the first person to have conceived the concept of bureaucracy in India after the extinction of old empires. But the emperors that occupied throne after him were die-hard Muslims. Islam associates no religious dictates with cuisine habits and sexual/marital mores. Sex and marriage among closest relative is permissible and polygamy too. This came as a great relief to the backward and business classes leading to en masse proselytation(religious conversion). After that realization of business sense and silent revolt of women against male chauvinism, as an outburst of latent cry for adultery requirement too, led to the advent of British disguising as businessmen and finally to British rule of 300 years(though properly from 1857 to 1950). All these combined together has fostered such a deep aversion into Hindu psyche against heathen of philosophy that still 90 percent of Hindu internally profess Islam.
It seems that Pt. Nehru closed the chapter of the divine reason behind British advent & tyranny through his much touted Lady Mountbatten affair, though Gandhi justifiable never approved of it. (It is no exaggeration with the intention of hurting anyone. It was an unfortunate torrid affair to the extent of two being virtually wedded with each other. Of course Nehru’s wife was no more by then. When the lady Mountbatten expired 20 years hence leaving India, a bunch of love letters by Nehru were found under her pillow. It is agreed that there cannot be any element of deliberate religious intention behind any such thing in part of anyone but it is a fact that it was an event of religious and historical relevance. Some of us say that it was an act of practicability and some regard it as an act of indirect revenge. But practical fact is that it was the greatest folly of Nehru’ life out of frustration with Indian-ism. It is a different thing to enjoy as a king. Practically it was a folly to cross the limit in such a case. Whatever Nehru had to give to India in legacy, he had given it in the form of her daughter Indira Gandhi. Bur Nehru spoiled the preordained order through such an act of indirect revenge. On closer scrutiny this amounted to jumping directly to the next preordained link that was his grandson Rajiv Gandhi. Consequently the very Dynasty came to end. Both Indira and Rajiv were assassinated. However Nehru was taller than history.) Though he was Buddhist in approach but appeared to be an agnostic at the face level. But for Nehru British were not going to yield in next 50 years. He was a perfect example of Karma Yoga.
But amidst this heat and dust of convenient evolutionary course one thing is forgotten as to how any seer could have spoken those things which cannot be, in spite of all realizations, by any lexicon. Even in case of Lord Krishana, Ved Vyas has to deliberately introduce Gita to make Krishna personality felt and understood around, though undoubtedly Lord Krishna was equally conversant of scriptures as he revealed it to Arjuna, the Hero or Champion of Mahabharata war, in the battlefield to help him in overcoming the dilemmas regarding fighting a war against one’s own kith & kin and mentors. But he might be equally in touch with Ved Vysa on these issues. So the seers used to enunciate only those principles which were essential for democratic statecraft from the point of view of smooth conduction, integrating the interest of past, present and future of society and holding the gains of civilization. Those were interspersed with the required practical tips as well in story form. Philosophy or religion, depending upon the caliber of seer, is a particular stage of statecraft or justice in liquid form.
It is a matter of common sense that in the initial stage of civilization mind power, physical power and sword power combined together formed the basis for willingly or unwillingly accepting the supremacy of someone or for the mobilization of masses by someone. Later on it became an institution for exploitation of masses on hereditary basis which gave birth to the concept of justice. Keeping a check over one’s violence is a very ticklish issue. The trouble is that instinct for violence itself is the perennial source of all the joys as well. But an imbalance leads to trouble or sorrows for the self or for the world. From this perspective all the religions of the world focus on three aspects of justice. In the order of genesis & relevance of the same those are Divine Justice, Restorative justice and Retributive justice. The three combined together goes to constitute what is called Relative justice. Before anything is said in that regard it should be born in mind that the concept of justice is also dependent on the model of statecraft under deliberation, developed and accepted in the course of evolution. Effort for evolvement of the same is a different thing but any absolutism in that regard is impractical. In relation to any model of justice there are three faces of justice-Justice for the sake of statecraft, Justice for the sake of social order and Justice for the sake of individual interest. Except adjudicator all of us are subject to all the three faces of justice.
The concept of inexorable laws of Divine justice encompasses the law of karma into it. Divine justice is a little relative in nature meaning thereby also depends on the power of soul of the individual. It is matter of self realization, keeping one’s action in consonance with the reality & cause of one’s own being and trying to accept moral codes of social order. It partially depends upon the law of survival of fittest as well. Amidst all these it expects the subject to realize the voice of the evolutionary aspect of all pervading omnipresent God or to say to serve as the vector of God’s wish. This model of justice is also dependent on the bonds of affection and enmity that one creates with one’s fellow beings in the course of enjoyment. These bonds give rise to bipolar desires causing the soul to pass through successive cycle of rebirths. As per a few religions Divine justice is retributive in nature but basically it is compositely oriented towards the salvation of everyone born on the earth. So ‘law of karma’ has both individual and social dimension, taking into account the ‘law of soul- as being part of Braham’ and being subservient to the dictates of evolutionary force. In statecraft this model of justice cannot be transcribed but a realization of the same imparts capability & insight into the adjudicator to be able to dispense right justice.
The restorative aspect of justice is truly the subject of all religions in practice. All religions lay thrust on improvement of self and society through acts of piety compassion, healing and forgiveness. In practice this aspect is very difficult to transcribe and to exercise, but goes to constitute the basis of all willingly accepted codes of social order. This kind of justice elevates a person to the level of God. As per a few religions restorative justice may demand the use of sword when the other side crosses the limit of tolerance. But basically all these fall in the realm of retributive justice because Restorative justice cannot be thrust upon anyone.
Retributive justice has also two dimension-Individual and Social. Individual retribution may also be called vengeance because this may arise out of personal perception of truth. Sometimes, however, the ill quirk of destiny demands it because they say that ‘Shriro dharmasay khalu sadhanam(To save one’s physical aspect of being is the first and prime duty of every individual)’. Social aspect of retributive justice goes to constitute the basis of all present day concepts of democratic justice. An essential ingredient of the same is ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Violence for the sake of non violence can be said to lying at the core of retributive justice. However because of the factors of globalization and industrialization Retributive justice demands the approach of Relative justice which stands for taking into account the circumstantial realities, role model & potentialities of individual in relation to social interest. Sometimes it is also interpreted as who deserves greater quota of justice under a given situation. But in any case this does not necessarily amount to favoring or opposing one’s financial status. In fact nowadays social concept of retributive justice is regarded to be an index of the overall implementation of the three concepts of justice.
In 13 century BC there emerged a religion named Judaism, its founder named Abraham Issac lived in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. The followers came to be known as Jews. But they were slaved by Egyptians, to be later led to freedom by Prophet Moses. Moses wrote the bible of Judaism called Tenkah (consisting of first five books, called Torah, out of total 24 books).The Jewish god is known as Yahweh. Christianity may be said to be tracing its ancestry to Judaism. Jews have been always subjected to prosecution, called anti Semitism, because of their orthodox view on religion and having faith in God rather than in human endeavor & human enterprise. Right from the time of the emergence of Judaism, Jews had been talking about the coming of Messiah to usher in an era of god’s kingdom which was perhaps realized with the birth of Jesus Christ in 4BC. Further perhaps the physicists Einstein and Lise Meitner, both hailing from Jewish community in Germany in the time of Nazian Persecution, was their reply to the world. Jews suffered from the worst tragedy in the history of mankind called Holocaust in the hand of German chancellor Adolf Hitler. Around 6 million Jews were put to death by various means. Today there are around 15 million Jews worldwide. Israel that came into being in 1948, under a worldwide movement called Zionist movement, is a Jewish state but the original Arabian inhabitants called Palestinians still don’t feel like admitting it.
There comes the turn of present day most widespread religion of the world, with 1.6 billion followers all over globe. It is Christianity. It took birth in 30 AD in the area around Palestine that is present day Israel. Jesus Christ, born 4BC, was a Jew by birth. Christianity stands on its holy book ‘Bible’ consisting of two parts-Old and New Testament. Old Testament is group of books of Jewish origin where the religion took birth as a part of Roman Empire after crucifixion of Christ by a Roman emperor. This goes to represent the religious part of Bible as a message of Christ to the world. New Testament consists of four parts-Gospels, Acts, Epistles and Book of Revelation. Those are written by various later stage adherents. These primarily surround around the story of life of Christ, spread of Christianity and Prophecies for the future. In 404 AD the Latin version of Bible was completed by Jerome.
The initial stage followers of Christianity were called Catholics. Catholics were subjected to a prolonged period of persecution in the hand of Romans, for around 400 years. Finally in 313 AD King Constantine accepted and converted to Christianity. Romans were still finding it hard to digest it. In 330 AD Constantine redesigned the city called Byzantium in Greece and renamed it as Constantinople to serve as the new capital of Roman Empire. In 394 AD Christianity was declared to be official religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine. On the issue of moving the capital to Byzantium there came a split in Roman Empire. Old Roman Empire spanned between 27 BC- 476BC (or say 50BC-476 BC if Julius Cesar is also taken into account). The eastern part known as Byzantine Empire that came into being in 398 AD after a split up from a Latin speaking Roman Empire was named after its capital Byzantium in Greece. Though row over accepting Christianity was one of the major causes of split up but Christianity started to find its acceptance all over Empire and finally emerged as a major power center through Rome based Churches. Greek speaking Eastern part, that is Byzantine Empire, continued to exist even after the fall of Rome based Roman Empire (Western) in 476 AD and still existed at the time of Holy Roman Empire. Holy Roman empire was a revival of old Roman Empire(Western) by the backing of Church in Rome spanning between 962 AD-1806 AD ,starting with Charlemagne(a French King) in 773 AD but Otto, a German King conquering entire northern Italy, was crowned to be the first Emperor in 962 AD. Actually Charlemagne saved the Pope of Rome from a threat by the king of Lombardy in Italy. In Holy Roman Empire the role of the Church’s Pope was central to power politics. All emperors have to be crowned by the consent of Pope in Rome. In 1074 AD the Popes of Byzantine Empire and Roman Empire excommunicated each other and another school of Christianity called Eastern Orthodox Church of Greece came into being. In 1076 Pope Gregory VII in the capacity of supreme spiritual leader deposed Henry IV from kingship of Roman Empire. Pope’s supremacy prevailed followed by a series of 8 Crusades under their command and sponsorship. In 1095 Pope Urban II called for a holy war, first crusade, to win back Jerusalem, the birth place of Christ, from Palestinian Muslims for Christians and finally won it. They built a church on Mount Calvary in Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified. In second crusade in 1149 Muslims captured Damascus but could not win back Jerusalem. In third crusade, 1182, Christians again lost Jerusalem. In fourth crusade, 1206, Romans reached and ransacked Constantinople, the capital of Byzantine Empire, and installed their own king but they could not reach Palestine. So this continued until in 1273 AD Rudolf I of Habsburg family of Austria won the throne and became emperor. But Papal supremacy continued until it was finally challenged under the Reformation movement, subsequently leading to division of Roman Christianity into Catholicism and Protestantism.
St Paul’s name is prominent among those who tried to spread Christianity beyond its birthplace in keeping with Christ’s request during last supper. He spread it to the region like Greece and Asia Minor. Ii spread quickly through the Roman Empire after of conversion of King Constantine. European colonist spread it further to Africa, America and Australia in the wake colonialism. Though England being part of Roman Empire since the time of Claudius, 43 AD, has accepted Christianity in the wake of conversion of Constantine but with decline of Roman Empire in around 410 AD, when Rome was sacked by Visigoths, it became almost defunct. A missionary called St. Augustine from Canterbury again took Christianity to England during the time of first phase of Anglo Saxon rule in around 600 AD. He had to face tough opposition because Anglo Saxons had their own Gods.
Christ had come with a better solution with his “Love ethics” which, irrespective of interpretation or presentation by any sect, or offshoot, sums up the requirement of individual & social happiness. Nirvana or salvation is not a religious issue but is the requirement and aim of day to day life which can be attained through a harmonious & romantic balance of individual & social interest and realization of the truths of nature. Christ had realized that the greatest impediment in the way of social growth & happiness is all prevailing feudal attitudes of the society of the time (that is want of mutuality in familial and social affairs and disregard for each other’s ego and interest). All the gospels of Christianity are targeted towards this problem in story form. Rest let one pursue one’s own path as per one’s own realization and one’s own choice. The Biblical dictates, on the issues such as mortal & venial sins, are meant for putting religious lock on the things or issues of social relevance which an average person may not comprehend or appreciate in right perspective. But the essence is same as it is with almost all organized religions of the world. Though metaphysically it is okay that Christ willingly invited Crucifix to wean away or to absorb the sins of society but this is really odd that the Godhood of Christ thrives upon his so dubbed resurrection. In Christianity It is regarded to be sin to don’t believe in resurrection of Christ. But if resurrection stands for appearing in flesh & bone even after death then question arises where he went after that. Ascending to heaven in flesh and bone does not carry any meaning, though in Mahabharta too such an imaginative allegory has been used in relation to Pandvas going to heaven. Either it was a dream or it was a hallucination kind of thing or Christ did not die at that time. St Paul’s sudden acceptance of Christianity from a non believer, on having realized the presence of Christ around even after the death is a pointer in that direction. (As per a few Indian scholars Christ did not die in crucifixion. But his well wishers forced him to flee away or to migrate to Central Asia, after wishing good luck to his closest follower & confidant named Mary. That later on he was reported to have been seen in Kashmir Valley also.) The Trinity is very much akin to Vedic’s concept of Brahma (Creator-the evolutionary force implied in super consciousness), Vishnu(conductor), Mahesh(destroyer the Shiva) as three forces of nature, as an integral unit, responsible for conceiving(Father the all pervading source) ,conducting(Son, a Saint like Jesus ,Rama, Krishna, Buddha ) and destroying or enjoying(The Holy spirit or Holy ghost). The Holy Spirit enigma is nothing but a pointer towards the purity of soul which passes through several incarnations of enjoyment in quest of salvation. The concept of salvation and its achievement is also not much different from the traditional oriental concept of the same, but for the issue of sale of salvation by clergy and indulgences in return of financial gratification. By 16 century Roman Catholics Church guided the European through their lives from Earth to Heaven. The officials had become rich and corrupt. After the initial protest against the same by a few scholars the things were finally tackled by Martin Luther, a German reformer in 1517 AD (under a Reformation movement as an aftermath of Renaissance from Italy, revival of the old literary & spiritual glory of Roman empire, starting in the beginning of 15th century) through Protestantism, as a modified and simplified form of the original Roman Catholicism. This branch lays stress on the authority of scriptures itself, rather than in clergy’s or Church’s interpretation of the Bible in Catholicism. The superstitious thing like doctrine of transubstantiation of Catholics, as per which the bread and wine used in Mass is converted into body and blood of Christ, was discarded. ‘Mass’ also known as Eucharist stands for a festival to commemorate the last supper of Christ with his disciples before Crucifixion. The issue of indulgence is simply a message that piety, compassion and forgiveness are the qualities which elevates a person to level of God’s son that is Jesus. Hence a contrite must be given a chance to improvise so that world may have faith on noble things of life essential for upward march of civilization. No matter whether it paves the way for salvation of the contrite or not, it does certainly ensure the same for the forgiver. The concept of Satan is there to forewarn the society about the destructive aspect of ghostly forces as a residual of initial stage of evolution the comeback of which, in new role model to enjoy the fruits of civilization, may pose threat to existence of mankind. Or it may be like a predator, our real forefathers, from jungle incidentally venturing into a city. Basically through such processes a saint is always trying, in addition to the realization of eternal truths, to learn and to overcome wrong tendencies within oneself as deposited in one’s psyche by one’s forefathers. I don’t think the holy cross can help a Satan from the menace of another Satan, though I don’t deny the metaphysical significance of the cross itself like that of fish. The controversy of literal and allegorical significance of preaching, gospels and dictates is ubiquitous vis-a-vis all religions. It is only the part of and the faith in Christ that can help us. Still the myth and the faith prevail for the sake of sanity.
As it was mentioned that before Roman Christianity split up into Catholicism and Protestantism another form of Christianity known as Eastern Orthodox Church came into being after a split, known as Great Schism, between Roman Popes and Popes of Byzantine Empire, in around 1054 AD. This is practiced in Eastern Europe with center in Greece as a recognized official religion. This is somewhere in between Roman Catholics and Protestant. Like Catholics they lay stress on sacraments of Christianity but like Protestant they don’t recognize the authority of Pope or intervention of Pope in interpreting Bible. The highest authority of Eastern Orthodox Church is Church’s Ecumenical Council. Christianity, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, has an elaborate set of sacraments, sacred rites, which may be required to be followed by all Christians. Out of the seven sacraments the first two are essential. Those in order are Baptism (the naming ceremony and a right to entry into Church), Confirmation (Initiation into Christianity), Eucharist (observing Mass), Penance (turning to priest to confess any sins), Ordination (becoming a priest), Extreme Unction (Administering a balm in religious Ceremony) and Marriage (symbolizing a sacred relation like that of Christ with church). Protestants recognize only baptism and Mass. There are three festivals associated with Christianity. Those are Mass,Easter and Christmas. Easter is in memory of Christ’s sacrifice & resurrection and Christmas is observed as the birth anniversary of Christ.
Christians follow Gregorian era and calendar. It was originally known as Christian era starting on 25the December of Julian year 45 assumed to be birthday of Christ. It was introduced in 530AD. Christian era was almost same as Julian era as introduced in 44BC in the name of the Ruler of Roman Republic named Julius Cesar. (Later on some excavations revealed that Christ birth date falls on 4BC.) The year adopted was tropical beginning on midnight January 1. But the length of year was taken to be 365.25 tropical days of Julian calendar. This was erroneous. The actual tropical year was shorter by .0078 days. So it was losing relation with Christmas and Easter date. Pope John Paul Gregory IV corrected it by advancing the calendar by 10 days on 5th October 1582. A solar year is generally 365.25 days long. Practically it is taken to be 365 days. To compensate for ¼ years at the end of 4th year 1 day is added which is called leap year as part of month Feb. He also proposed to omit the year being as leap year (366 days) after every 400 years, so that century years divisible by 400 ceased to be counted as leap year. Still there is error of 1 day in 3300 years. Since then Christian calendar came to be known as Gregorian Calendar.
In this context a brief detail of the much disputed holy land of historical & religious importance called Palestine with center at Jerusalem, also capital of present day Israel lying in Mediterranean sea regions on the western outskirt of Dead Sea and Jordan, is unavoidable. Jerusalem has been center of three religions-Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Regarding Judaism its founder Abraham settled in this city in around 1900 BC. Descendants of Abraham came to be known Israelites. The prophet Moses, who liberated Israelites from the slavery of Egyptians in 1250 BC the event being known as great Exodus, also belonged to this city. Further in 1100 BC their existence was threatened by the invasion of Philistines, sea plunderers. After 200 years a Jew named David again took over to be followed by his son Solomon. Solomon built a temple in Jerusalem said to be first shrine of Jews which was later destroyed by Babylonians in 587 BC. It was again erected in 37 BC but was again destroyed by Romans in 70 AD. Onwards 500 BC this area came to be known as Palestine. Jesus Christ was born and was executed in Jerusalem. All attempts were made by Popes of Holy Roman Empire and Roman kings to win back this land through the series of 8 crusades but Muslim fought back to don’t allow it to happen. Romans continued to make effort for wining back Jerusalem until the Holy Roman Empire was sacked by Francis II in 1806. Then it was also center of the activities of Muhammad the prophet of Islam during initial days of his realizations and propagation of the faith. The prophet is said to have risen to heaven after death from a Dome of Rock in Jerusalem. At the same time Quran records the event of Jew’s father Abraham willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac from this place.
Then comes the turn of the fifth largest religion of the world with 30 million followers all over world, but predominant in Punjab and Haryana in India. The word Sikh stands for ‘disciple learning the words or wisdom of guru that is ‘Gurumat’’. It is Gurmukhi transliteration of Hindi word ‘Seekh’, that is to learn. Sikhism is monotheist religion propounded by a prophet named Guru Nanak (born of a Hindu parent in Nankana Sahib, a city falling in present day Pakistan) in the year around 1500 AD when the Sultans period was on wane. He travelled far and wide in India then up to Mecca to spread his realizations regarding God being one timeless entity above all worldly definitions. But it took around 200 years for the religion to take its present day shape when the last prophet, or successor, Guru Gobind Singh died. There is a series of 9 anointed Gurus in that course. Sikhism was born out of the tyranny of vices present in both Hinduism and Islam and the often ensuing conflicts between the two. Guru Nank’s first declaration coming out of his mouth in that regard was ‘No one is Hindu, no one is Muslim. All are children of one ‘akal pursh’.” Except rebirth theory part, it was a fresh realization of the message as implied in Upanishads and Gita of Hinduism. The central teaching, however, in Sikhism is the belief in the concept of the oneness of an omnipresent God called ’ik onkar’ which is timeless and formless. It is same as ‘Om- pronounced as Auam’ of Vedas as a synonym for God, also serving as a mantra to develop communion with all pervading consciousness. Sikhism considers spiritual (Piri) life and temporal (Miri) life to be complementary to each other or mutually coexistent. The aim of life is salvation that is spiritual union with ‘Akal Pursh’ through righteous actions in keeping with Dharma that is Divine order. Righteous actions stand for living an “active, creative, and practical life” of “truthfulness, fidelity, self-control and purity by rising above egotism” as opposed to leading a purely contemplative life. Its definition of Maya, illusory world, does not stand for unreality of the world but the unreality of its values. Meaning thereby this is illusion but there is no other reality. Guru Nanak stressed kirat karō: that a Sikh should balance work, worship, and charity, and should defend the rights of all human beings. Guru Nanak established the system of the Langar, or communal kitchen, in order to demonstrate the need to share and have equality between all people. Initial gurus of Sikhism primarily tried to overcome the vices like Polytheism, dualism, caste system, elaborate set of rituals and discrimination against women( such as Parda(veil) and Sati(burning of wife along with the dead body of husband) system), as prevalent in Hinduism. Its scripture is interspersed with name of Ram and Krishna. But Sikhism does not support idol worship and ascetic life. Later on a very light form of caste system and sacraments came into being as introduced by successive Gurus. Presently over 60% of Sikhs belong to the Jat caste, the cultivators. Then there are the mercantile Khatri and Arora. Other Sikhs castes include the Ramgarhias (artisans), the Ahluwalias (brewers) and the two lower classes called Dalit castes- the Mazhabis (the Chuhras) and the Ramdasias (the Chamars). Dalits have been incorporated in the list of scheduled caste since 1953 at the initiative of its leader Master Tara Singh.
Sikhism regards “Restorative Justice” and “Divine justice” as triumphing over any subjective codes of moral order. The Gurmukhi equivalent of justice is “Niau”. Further the root cause of one’s separation from God and one’s fellow beings is ‘Haumai’ which stands for self centeredness serving as main obstacle in the cultivation of the virtue of forgiveness. According to Nanak pain is the poison that kills the self and the suffering is healed by Nam Simran (Reciting the name of God).But Guru Gobind Singh proclaimed that “when all efforts to restore peace prove useless and no words avail, lawful is the flash of steel, it is right to draw the sword”.
The name of the Gurus in order are- Nanak , Angad, Amardas, Ramdas , Arjandev, Har Gobind, Har Rai, Har krishan,Teg Bhadur, Gobind Singh- Their life spanned between 469AD (Nanak’s birth) to709AD ( Gobind Singh’s death).
The disciple of Nanak, Guru Angad the first Sikh, chosen by him as his successor to carry ahead his work developed a script called ‘Gurmukhi’ which was used ahead by following gurus to write Sikh scriptures. Guru Amar Das as third Guru built a community of followers with initiatives such as sanctioning distinctive ceremonies for birth, marriage, and death. Guru Amar Das also established the manji( diocese) system of clerical supervision. Guru Amar Das‘s successor and son-in-law Guru Ram Das founded the city of Amritsar. Fifth Guru Arjan got the holy shrine of Sikhs built called Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar. Guru Arjan wrote or compiled the scripture of Sikhs called ‘Adi Granth’ . This contains the teaching and message of all the gurus before him to the world. In its latest form with a few additions by Guru Teg Bahadur and Gobind Singh this is known as ‘Guru Granth sahib’. ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ draws from various Hindu and Muslim scriptures & devotional seers, such as Kabirdas, as well. Finally last Guru Gobind Singh declared ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ itself to be the last and final guru of Sikhs.
Since the time of Guru Arjan, Sikhism has passed through a tumultuous journey of persecution in the hand of Muslims and Christians. Guru Arjan was tortured to death by Muslims Ruler Jahangir. During the period of ninth Guru Teg Bahdur movement in rural areas caught the attention of Mughal rulers. Teg Bahadur was summoned to Delhi and was executed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in Chandni Chowk for refusing to accept Islam. At the behest of Guru Gobind Singh one of his commanders Banda Bahdur avenged the atrocities of Mughals against a Sufi saint. After the Guru Gobind Singh death, Banda Bahadur became the commander-in-chief of the Khalsa. He organized the civilian rebellion and abolished or halted the Zamindari system and gave the farmers proprietorship of their own land. Banda Singh too was executed by the emperor Farrukh Siyar on refusing to be converted to Islam. So Sikhism took a valiant shape because of the tyranny of Mughal emperors, almost all of the gurus after Arjan dev being put to death in some or other way, though there were reasons of internal politicization as well for the chair of Guru. But undoubtedly unlike Islam its valiancy is defensive in nature. Due to element of militancy introduced by circumstances in due course it can be said to have become a compromise between Hinduism and Islam. The tenth guru of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh, inaugurated the Khalsa (the collective body of all initiated Sikhs as Pure & Sovereign) as the Sikh temporal authority in the year 1699. The Khalsa is a disciplined community that combines its spiritual purpose and goals with political and military duties. The tradition of growing hair came into being with Khalsa as a resolve to fight against the evils of self and enemies of Sikhism. Further surname Singh (lion) for male and Kaur for female was designated by Guru Gobind Singh for those who were baptized or were initiated into Khalsa, also called taking Amrit. Presently only those people are supposed to perform Amrit ceremony who wants to remain exclusively devoted to the cause of Sikh religion.
Guru Gobind Singh has also authored another scripture called Dasham Grath meant for prayers. There is no priestly class meaning thereby all are entitled to be Granthi, including women. The sixth guru, Guru HarGobind, was responsible for the creation of the concept of Akal Takht (throne of the timeless one), which serves as the supreme decision-making centre of Sikhism and sits opposite the Harmandir Sahib. Later on the band of militant successors of Guru Gobind Singh known as Misisi created a vast Sikh empire under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1799AD-1839AD) spreading across entire Western India up to Afghanistan. After Ranjeet Singh it was again weakened and finally through Second Anglo Sikh war with British it came to end, to be annexed by British Empire.
Sikhs observe four festivals-
- GuruPurb-To celebrate birthday of GuruNanak(15th April) and Guru Gobind Singh(22 Dec). Also observed on the day of martyrdom of other gurus.
- Vaishakhi- On 13 April to celebrate inauguration of Khalsa and establishing Guru Granth Sahib as last guru. This is associated with Nagar Kirtan.
- Bandi Chor–To celebrate Guru Hargobind’s release from the Gwalior Fort who was imprisoned by Jahangir, on 26 October 1619. This day usually falls around Hindu festival of Diwali
- Hola Mohalla-It occurs the day next to Holi festival of Hindus.
Sikhs follows a calendar called NanakShahi introduced by Guru Nanak.
Before the issue is summed up it would be unfair not to mention a few words about another religion called Zoroastrianism founded by a prophet named Zoroaster, in around 650 BC in Persia (Modern day Ian/Iraq). Alexander invaded and conquered Persia in 333 BC but the religion and empire survived Alexander’s death through Selucus Empire and Parthian empire, the latter set up in 239 BC. The scope of religion has become very weak by then. The religion was revived by another prophet Mani in around 216 AD. Zoraster wrote a book named ‘Zend Avesta’ which again presents a saga of fight between white and dark forces symbolizing good and evil spirit within every individual. The name of the God of this religion was Ahura Mazda but it symbolized only goodness. Later on the Persian Empire, called Sassianian, was invaded by Arab Muslims in 651 AD and most of Persians converted to Islam. A group of them fled towards India where they still practice this religion. They are called Parsis, found around mostly in Maharashtra.
Before the issue is concluded i would like to sum up the concept of good and bad as implied within almost all of religions. The scheme of evolution or God is divided in two parts what may be called positive and negative force, the two being complementary to each other. This scheme resides as integral part of being in everyone. Irrespective of what goes to constitute positive or negative forces the one whose apparent face represents the positive/negative part is called positive/negative force. There comes a time in the phase of civilization when the tyranny of wisdom thrust upon for thousands of years on the negative force goes to make negative forces relatively more strong. In the process the positive forces become emotionally weak and often become the cause of the promotion of the interest of the negative forces. But one thing is often overlooked that in the scheme of things there is no place for positive forces in the corridor of negative forces. The end point of ego-incarnate is mid path state of mind but ego has infinite width & dimension. Negative forces think that as per the scheme of god positive forces are there only to be subservient to their negative or ever expanding inhuman self destructive interests. Thereby again starts the accretion of positive force and finally it overthrows the negative force. The phase of the domination of positive force is called utopia or Dharma and phase of the domination of negative force is called Adharma. In fact implied within action concept of negative forces there is a scheme of self destruction which eventually paves the path for positive forces and when positive force in its pursuit of only knowledge goes to make life insipid it paves the way for negative forces. Brahma concept is free from any conflict. But often Shiva concept tries to dominate over Vishnu concept. Basically these two concepts represent positive and negative forces.
Having said and done all, personally I think that in practical terms Protestant form Christianity is the most practical religion of the world. Here in India it is an irony that in spite of Swami Vivekanand’s effort to establish religion, specifically Hinduism, on scientific footing and Rajneesh’s effort to bring a reconciliation between the sex and religion, we still regard only those issues as a matter of religion which are conceited or abstract in nature to the extent of being an impossible intellectualism for an ordinary mortal. In fact in India Religion is still a subject of mythology and philosophical speculations which are the hallmark of entertainment.
Irrespective of era system it is a fact that there is a cycle of creation and destruction. It is well known that earth spins on its own axis, called diurnal motion causing day and night, and also around the sun in around 365 days called annual rotation responsible for change in season. The earth rotates on its axis in 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 second. The axis of earth is presently inclined to the axis normal to path of its annual rotation by 23degree and 27 minutes. The north pole of the axis of earth presently points towards a star called Polaris. The tilt is the reason for difference in day and night period and is also the cause of seasons. But for this factor day and night would have been always of equal length and there would not be any change in the season throughout year. This tilt is also decreasing slowly. There is another motion associated with earth called precessional motion. The term precession refers to a change in the direction of the axis of a rotating object like the one in case of spinning top. The era system may be regarded to be starting with creation of solar system and further precessional motion of earth around an axis normal to ecliptic, taking around 25000 years for one revolution also called earth’s great year. The speed of movement of sun hence speed of earth’s wobble in precession of earth’s axis varies over period of time. Presently it is around 1 degree in 71.8 years. The orbital period goes on decreasing(26000 years per revolution) as the sun moves towards apoapsis (furthest point on the path) and goes on increasing(22000 years per revolution) as it moves towards periapsis( closest point on the path). In the process the earth inscribes an arc called processional arc in the space towards North Pole. The precession happens due to movement of sun itself in an orbit around another sun (suggested as binary star model, the two suns driving each other) in line with equinoctial axis. This pulls the earth as well towards the sun causing precession. Due to this precession the vernal axis also moves clockwise. This is called precession of equinoxes said to have been discovered by Hippachrus in 150 BC. Presently vernal point falls at around 5 degree Pisces. In geocentric view sun is assumed to be moving around earth in a path called ecliptic. Other planets move in orbits which fall within the range of 9degree on either side to ecliptic. This zone as seen from the earth pointing towards the asterism (belt of stars called Nakshatra) is called Zodiac. This precession and changing earth’s tilt may be associated with the concept of cyclic fashion of creation, evolution and destruction due to natural factors. Anthropologically the period of creation has been divided into four eras namely- PreCambrian(4000 mya-million years ago), Paleozoic(570 mya), Mesozoic(245 mya) and Cenozoic era(65 mya) This phase of creation is passing through Cenozoic era. But astrologically we have the concept of astrological eras.
In this context a discussion on the year system is warranted. In india right from the beginning time of Rig veda vernal equinox was regarded to be beginning of year consisting of 365 days. At that time they did not have any notion of present day astrology. Later on with introduction of astrology use of sidereal year came into being, starting with entry of sun into Aries Rashi. According to calendar reform committee of India sidereal year was introduced by the authors of Siddhantas in around 4th century AD. As it has been discussed, Surya siddhanta is the final word on Indian astronomy. But now people prefer to go by modern astronomy which differs slightly from Surya Siddhanta. We would go by modern astronomy as has been done by Calendar reform committee, though orthodox school still go by Surya SIddhanata.
Four types of units of time as measured in days, month and years are in usages in astronomical part of astrology namely Lunar , solar-sidereal and tropical and luni-solar-luni sidereal and luni tropical. However for a calendar purpose those have been standardized and are simplified.
Lunar- Lunar day is the period taken by moon to travel by 12 degree each starting from the day of new moon or full moon in the zodiacal belt. It is called a ‘tithi’ in Hindu calendar. The year consists of the number of days required for 360 rotation of moon around earth or say 360 rotation of moon in the zodiac belt starting with any new moon(sun combust with moon that is falling at same degree and same sign) or full moon(sun and moon being at 180 degree from each other). The speed of moon is not constant. So the length of day varies. Tithi may start any time in 24 hours. But Var, days corresponding to Gregorian calendar, starts at sunrise. Lunar month consists of 29.53 days, or 30 tithi, required for completing one rotation of moon around sun. Sometimes tithi decays with respect to Gregorian calendar when tithi starts after sunrise and finishes before next sunrise. As an average a lunar year consists of 354 days 8 hours and 48.55 minutes. The beginning point of lunar year varies from system to system depending upon convention. Only Islamic calendar is purely Lunar. Islamic day starts at sunset.
Solar- The period taken by earth to complete one rotation around its axis is called sidereal day and is 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds. The period taken by earth for two successive rising of sun on eastern horizon is called a tropical day or solar day and is 24 hours. This is because while the next day comes earth has travelled along its path by 1 degree or saying it otherwise in geo centric view sun has overtaken by 1 degree in ecliptic. Solar year consists of the number of days required for earth to complete one rotation round sun or say number of days required by sun to complete one rotation round the zodiac belt. There are two type of solar things-sidereal and tropical. Tropical year starts with vernal equinox on 22 March. Sidereal year starts with sun entry’s into Aries Rashi or asterism Arieti falling on 13th April. The length of sidereal year is 365 days 6 hours and 9.16 minutes. The tropical year consists of 365 days 5 hours and 48.76 minutes. The period taken by sun to travel through one sidereal sign is called sidereal month (30.438days as an average) and the period taken by sun to travel through one tropical sign is tropical month (30.437 days as an average). In Gregorian tropical calendar (as derived from Roman, Julian and Christian calendar in order) months are taken as 30 days and 31days in alternate order except August. There goes a story that earlier in Roman calendar February, July and August consisted of 30 days each. Further July and Augustus were assigned 1 day extra, 31days each, in honor of Julius Ceaser and Augustus (the two being founder of Roman Empire). So the two days were deducted from February, now consisting of 28 days in normal years. At the end of four years in the sidereal/ tropical year 1 day is added to make it 366 days in round figure known as leap year so that normal years are taken simply as 365 days. In Indian system days span across sunrise to sunset. In Christian calendar day starts at midnight 12am.
Luni-solar- In lunar calendar year consists of 354 days. So each year beginning of lunar year goes on receding behind by 11-12 days. After every 32 or 33 months alternately it happens that no new moon falls in a month. But one new moon and one full moon is essential to complete a lunar month. To adjust the lunar year with solar year one extra month is added after every 32 or 33 months alternately called intercalary month. So in such lunar years there are two months with the same name. The first one stands as decayed in lunar year. Lunar year starts within the span of 1 month, around the month which is regarded to be beginning of calendar system. Luni-solar year is sidereal or tropical depending upon adherence to the type of solar year. India’s official calendar, based on Sidereal or Customary Shaka, is luni-tropical. In customary Shaka, Vaishak month starting on 13th April is the beginning of sidereal year. In customary Shaka, Chaitra month is the 12th month starting on 14TH March. But in official tropical Shaka, Chaitra 1 is assigned to day next to vernal equinox day i.e. 22nd March. India’s Vikrmi Samvat is also luni-solar starting any time between 14th march to 14th April.
It has to be mentioned that Sidereal Zodiac is the real Zodiac envisioned by both Greek (Babylonians) and Indian Astrologer. But after the discovery of precession of equinoxes by Hipparchus (150 BC), Ptolemy, 2nd century AD, suggested the use of Tropical Zodiac and its religious significance. Actually the division of the ecliptic into tropical astrological signs was derived from Euctemon’s tropical Calendar of Seasons as given around 432 B.C. This was started by the dominating influence of Alexander the Great who catalyzed an amalgamation of Egyptian, Babylonian, and Greco-Roman thought into a new cultural expression in the 4th century BC. Tropical zodiac is not referenced to any star but only Seasons as determined by moving vernal point as the beginning point of Aries sign in the clockwise shifting of zodiac in geocentric view. Sidereal astrology is reckoned with reference to star Spica (Chitra) at the end of Virgo sign. The beginning point of sidereal system, that is fixed Aries Rashi, is reckoned as being exactly 180 degree opposite to Chitra that is 0 degree Arieti. In Babylonian sidereal astrology star Aldebaran, at 15° sidereal Taurus, and 180 degree opposite star Antares at 15° sidereal Scorpio is taken as reference point.( This along with other axis being between Regulus 5° at Leo and Fomalhaut at 5° Aqaurius go to create a set of four royal cardinals points in heaven)The positions of all these stars are likely to change over time. In tropical system thereby westerners suggest galactic equatorial axis (where the equatorial plane of our galaxy cuts across the ecliptic plane, inclined at 60degree to each other) which is always fixed to be taken as reference point.(Please see the diagram below) Then Ayanmasha calculated comes to be slightly more than the previously mentioned Fagan-Bradley Ayanmasha(24 degree 44 minute). It is called Galactic Ayanmasha being 25 degree presently. The metaphysical significance assigned is that vernal axis/nodes goes on moving with reference to fixed galactic equatorial axis( which has its north node pointing to 5degree Sagittarius serving as primary reference point OR galactic equatorial node, GEN, known as Gate of God and south node as 5 degree Gemini called Gate of man ,anti-GEN) in a circular or harmonic fashion creating astrological ages of civilization at every shift of 90 degree from the initial position coinciding with galactic equatorial axis) In the year 1998 AD the vernal axis was at 90 degree from the galactic axis, actual at 270 degree from the start of its present cycle of drifting. This position of vernal axis is known as Erect Holy cross symbolizing a shift in world consciousness of paramount importance.
(Diagram courtesy : Nick Anthony Fiorenza)
Now coming to astrology I am going to express a few quiet unconventional views in the subsequent paragraphs. But in any case the fact is that in the memory of mankind no planetary configuration is going to repeat itself ever.( This may also be said to be a face of infinity, even though it can be questioned mathematically ) . So that is why no two individual, and hence no two horoscope, can ever be exactly identical (yes for the exactly same birth moments even) and no human science can be 100% methodical. It’s bound to be further constrained and colored by seer’s perception. Astronomy alone usually is not sufficient for prediction. This remind us of the age old Heisenberg uncertainty principle? In fact it appears to me that if we apply all the rules of astrology on to any horoscope on the earth the sum total of prediction will remain same, just as the sum total of all the thoughts and desires, good or bad, on the earth remains zero in self adjusting manner! Does not this suggest that there must be something else behind this all simple permutations, combinations and interference effects of planetary consciousness?
The lots of confusion about predictive astrology prevail because there are lots of unwritten truths about astrology. The planetary system and its various configurations are like an ocean and its tides, which of course are predetermined and coincide with a thoughts pattern of procreating mother or parents as determined by evolutionary course. Each individual is moment plucked out of the current of time. At the face level each individual represent complete universe in itself as is evident from anyone’s birth chart. Then why is this difference in the stature and life pattern?
1) Firstly because some of planetary consciousness rule over our fore aspect of existence which may be termed as ‘Native Planets’ and others represent the latent aspect which may be termed as ‘Relative Planets’. These may be different from person to person even if their birth time is same. Native planets represent the personal appearance, traits or qualities of the native. Relative planets stand for the native’s significant associates and the physical, psychological, financial or interaction benefits derived from them. But, of course, the things will be determined by overall configuration of native’s natal chart and time factors in which Rahu plays a dominant role in the name of outer world and conceptual desires.
2) Secondly the point of view of creation is represented by Lagna or Ascendant aspect which may also be different.
3) Thirdly, and the most important of all, is that all planetary consciousness can’t be activated by all mothers. Only those planetary consciousness are activated which is ingrained into the life philosophy of mother or parents. Remaining one will though appear to be there but will not affect the existence. In that case the aspecting, transit or dashas(periods/subperiods) of the planets does not carry any meaning. Whenever a particular planet comes back in the same zodiac sign in which it was posited at the time of birth and was activated a resonance is established. (We often tend to equate this resonance with our electromagnetic resonance. But the two are different things like space and hyperspace. ) This strengthens that particular aspect of personality and may lead to good or bad action, behavior or decision and the consequent fruits. But I don’t know whether or not astrologically it is possible to ascertain which planetary consciousness has been activated. May be some day we can find a key for the same. The positioning of the planet at a particular longitude in natal position and the resulting dispositions may appear to represent it but this does not seem to work always. For example on the one hand we say that if a planet lies in first 1/3rd part of odd rashi or last 1/3rd part of even rashi then it is in awakening state. If it is reversed it signifies dreaming state of the planet. But, on the other hand, moon is exalted in 0-3degree (first 1/3rd part) of Tarus which is an even rashi. So it should be in dreaming state which is malefic. Then in the middle 1/3rd part all planets are in sleeping state which is equivalent to inactive state. But there are exceptions to this rule as well. Meaning thereby the rules regarding dispositions at different longitude in a house or rashi have to be planet dependent. We need to resolve these contradictions and inconsistencies. Here there is another factor which counts. A relative and active planet may be represented by the entry of a person in anyone’s life during a particular, good or bad, transit or dasha. Now the issue is whether that planet will signify male or female, depending upon which the effect may be quite different. For example a planet or planetary conjunction posited in sixth house signifies enemies. But it may also stand for a romantic interlude if the planet is to be represented by a member of opposite sex. After all enemies are destroyer, and male female attraction and romance is the instinct for constructive destruction of each other. This is just like saying that a malefic planet is benefic in retrograde motion (though it is not the right analogy). In Lord Krishna Horoscope Saturn+Venus conjunction in Scorpio (lord of war and secret organs) as sixth house was represented by Radha, his beloved, who was much older than him. That affair lent him cosmic and energy strength to defeat, in due course, his enemies, Kauravas , who were much more senior and powerful than him and his associates were . That is why Radha Krishna affair is held to be sacred and venerated .
Assuming that we have arrived at a definite rule for ‘activation’ if we try to delve deep into the issue of Native and Relative planets, we can realize that Sun, Moon, Mercury, Rahu and Ketu may always be treated as Native planets. Remaining planets may be identified & isolated through interaction, depending upon the genius and acumen of Astrologer, because they have direct bearing on the look and physical aspect of being. I think this is somewhat akin to the relation between medical science and medical profession. However it has to be emphasized that the influence of any planet on the native is always there in a sublime way no matter whether it is Native or Relative. The only difference it will make is in interpretation. For example Rahu in conjunction with native female planets leads the native to sadistic or ignominious tendencies. In case of Native male planets it lends the native self destructive or masochistic tendencies. If the planets are Relative the effect is just reversed on the native. (I have a personal observation that Rahu in Pisces has almost no influence whatever may be the planet.) So Mercury, Rahu and Ketu are Relative planets only if they are in rapt conjunction with a Relative planet otherwise they are always Native. It is next to impossible that in a rapt conjunction one of the planets is Relative and other is Native, except in the case of Sun and Moon which, as mentioned above, are always Native. So Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and Venus should be called Primary Native or Primary Relative. Mercury, Rahu and Ketu are Secondary Native or Secondary Relative depending upon conjunction. Sun and Moon are Absolute Native. In case of Primary if there is a conjunction; care has to be taken whether it is rapt or wide. In case of rapt it is all Native or all Relative. In case of wide a careful discretion has to be applied after studying the visage and temperament of the native but the chances are that one is Native and the other is Relative. The general criteria for rapt and wide conjunction should be that the planets should fall in different constellation (asterism) with minimum 10 degree separation. For conjunction we should rely upon tropical signs or sidereal rashis because house is a man made criteria. The significance of wide conjunction of Native and Relative planet will be that they will become associated with each other from the very teenage till the end of life whether as spouse or friend having deep influence on each other persona and life course. I would deliberately avoid quoting a live case. An inactive Primary Native planet in lordship or exaltation will not have influence after teenage. I would also like to mention that a Relative planet may not necessarily stand for a replica shadow outside. For example if say in any natal chart in 7th house there is Tarus Venus as Relative planet then the native will apparently be shy ,innocent and handsome or beautiful looking with latent liking for amorous activity under the influence of the same but its external image may not be necessarily someone with Venus in Tarus. It may be Piscean or Scorpion Venus because it is shadow house of Tarus for spouse or some other factors may determine it. So Relative planets speak primarily for the likings, disliking and preferences of the person(native) as opposed to native’s own traits. The traits of the native will be determined by Native planet with a mix of the disposition of the Relative planet consciousness. The astrological influence of extrovert traits of someone always goes to make the other side introvert. Further criteria may be developed on empirical basis.
(There is one problematic issue very difficult to be identified. This is that when a person is having more than one native planet but those are not in conjunction, that is to say falls in different houses or signs. In that case i do agree that it is difficult to go for any prediction before the age of 16.)
In fact the entire story of construction and destruction, including origin of life to death, revolves round the mysterious Rahu and Ketu (Dragon’s head and tail) which has no physical existence in cosmos. In Geocentric view all planets appear like moving in anticlockwise direction whereas Rahu and Ketu move in clockwise direction. This suggests some relativity like the trees receding behind when a train moves ahead. The constant speed of receding of Rahu (retrograde movement) in relation to all planets is there because the relativity is due to speed of revolution of zodiac belt in anticlockwise direction, inductively w.r.t. some point in universe which may represent the point of origin of matter. Now this amounts to saying that Zodiac belt is revolving with the speed of Rahu, which is around 18 years, in clockwise direction. This is really very absurd conclusion. Firstly the speed required would have to cross velocity of light. I wonder whether we can ever have any scientific means to ascertain this proposition or not. But in any case whenever a planet is in line with this point as seen from earth it is said to be in conjunction with Rahu. It is at this point that life and thought originated. In my personal opinion the word Rahu has been derived from the word Rah which stands for path in Hindi and Sanskrit. Meaning thereby Rahu may also stand for path consciousness. Associated psychology for such conjunctions is well known. For example Rahu in conjunction with Saturn may lead to Electra or Oedipus complex which can be said to be the tendency to go backward towards origin. So far Ketu is concerned obviously it represents some kind of shadow in opposite direction (or say antinodes). But now shadow of what exactly is this? My reasoning fails to explain it on material plane. But philosophically it represents the physical aspect of being. Well all of us know that our body is shadow of our being. Snake’s physique consists of only head and tail. So I think the interpretation of Rahu and Ketu as nodes and antinodes, respectively, of moon are not sufficient. Either it is a superfluous concept or two concepts have to be somehow reconciled. It is true that there is a motion associated with the clockwise precession of the lunar orbital plane itself about an axis normal to the ecliptic. The points where the lunar orbit intersects the ecliptic ,the nodes, also precess with time, completing one revolution in about 18.6 years which is , of course, almost equal to Dragon’s head time for one complete revolution around the zodiac. .But there is nothing like celestial equator, ecliptic, or moon’s physical orbit. Those are merely imaginary lines drawn in imaginary celestial sphere. So where is the issue of intersection? Gravitational pulls have no direct role in Astrology. Rahu’s nature may like that of black whole (Of course not as physical as black whole created by death of star). Then for that matter in the solar system only hundreds of such nodes can be detected corresponding to 136 moons of 7 planets. Lunar orbit is not a fixed kind of thing. Moon is gradually receding from the Earth into a higher orbit. In about fifty billion years hence now Moon will circle the Earth in about 47 days which is currently 29 days. So its nodal position is also likely to change. Then, even if the existing theory regarding Dragon’s head is assumed to be true, the question remains what is so special about the nodes of our moon and moon doesn’t stay at nodal positions always so that the issue of celestial interference may arise.(In Indian mythology Dragon’s head is also associated with occultation or eclipses.) Further we can easily surmise that in such a case life is possible only on the planet having one and only one moon. It should be neither less nor more. We can’t accommodate two dragon’s head in one horoscope and there can’t originate life without reason. Astrologically Dragon’s head is a major factor of the origin of life on earth. In such a scenario precession of orbital plane and the associated nodes of the moon becomes an essential condition for life to originate. This may imply that a planet-moon system must conform to Cassini state (a law established by Giovanni Domenico Cassini, a prominent French astronomer) for the life to originate on such a system. But the question still remains why?
I am thankful to Dr Ramkrishna Shashtri(President Astrological Research Society of India),Sri N.N.Ojha(a retired Civil servant) and several other authors on the subject such as Astrology and History for valuable information as derived from their books in the context of developing this article.
Thanking you all.