Astrology & Astronomy : Two Views

Astrology & Astronomy : And Destiny Varying Views 1) C V Subbaraman Whatever happens IS THE DESTINY. Sahadeva is considered as a great astrologer. He was approached by Duryodhana to tell on what day Duryodhana should start the war so that he would win. Sahadeva could not be prevented by Krishna from telling the truth; on learning that if Duryodhana started war on an Amavasya day, he would win, he proclaimed in advance that the war would be started on New Moon Day. But Krishna announced that Amaavaasya fell on the previous day to the actual amaavaasya day. There arose a dispute. Krishna called all the Devaas. Among them were Surya and Chandra. Krishna asked the congregation, "what is Amaavaasya" day? The day on which Sun and Moon will be together: rise and fall together. He then pointed out that in the sadass, both these were there. Others could not dispute this. So it was said that the war was started one day in advance of Amaavaasya in reality and so Duryodhana could not win. This is said to be one among the many tricks played Krishna to help Paandavaas. IS THEN THIS ALSO NOT DESTINY? Is "destiny" scientific or just a belief? Whether there is impact of distant planets and of waves from them on the Earth and earthly beings, one does not know. Astrology believes that there is impact and hence astrology as the subject of study. Many decades back there were reports of experiments being conducted in the erstwhile Soviet Union about the impact of sunspots on the lines on the palms of human beings. Whether the reports were true or fake, I do not know. If true, I also do not know what is the result of the study. The rise and fall of moon have indeed effect on the ocean waves, because of gravitational force. The Moon is said to similarly affect the mind of human beings and persons afflicted with mental illnesses show definte correlation wih waxing and waning phases of the moon. Who knows if there are effects of other planets in the solar system on human beings? We shall not naturally accept a theory or faith unless we have "scientific" proof. This is as it should be too. If there are waves from other planets which affect our life and conduct on Earth, there should be some way of finding them out. Then not only there be some astrological truth, but also ways of preventing ill effects (by avoiding or escaping from such impacts), or what is commonly known as "parihaara". Subbaraman 2) Vathsala Jayaraman's views We have heard of 'GuruPalan' (Good influence of Jupiter) and marriages are likely to materialise when Jupiter is in a favourable zodiac. Even in astrology they say that Jupiter takes 12 years to pass through all zodiacs, one year in each Zodiac or Rasi. But Zodiacs have no connection with the elliptical path of the planets. Scientifically these zodiacs are stated to be many thousands of light years away compared to all the planets which are comparatively nearer. I used to wonder how the planets which are moving around the sun in an elliptical path swerve away and occupy each zodiac for a year.( Each planet has its own period of stay in a zodiac. What will happen to their movement around the Sun ? Is it a simultaneous rotation? How is it technically possible? Astrologers on their part say that Astrology is a science. But we are unable to correlate the two movements ( Astronomy and Astrology) even while analysing it with common sense. I am not talking about predictions or faith in Astrology. It is entirely a different aspect concerning human psychology in essence. We just want to know that the movements assigned to planets as per astrology can be proved scientifically. I happened to read a book comparing Astronomy and Astrology in Tamil by one Shri Subramanya Sarma. Unfortunately the book was damaged in Chennai floods. I am giving in brief the explanation given by the author. Whenever we look at clouds sometimes we see images. We think there is a dog or a face or a tree or elephant. Our brain likes to conjure patterns. When our ancestors looked up at the millions of stars in the night sky they began connecting some stars with imaginary lines to create a picture or figure. These group of stars that formed the pictures are called constellations. The pictures are all imaginary. Constellations were very useful for our ancient travellers and before calendars were created farmers did not know when to sow and when to harvest. They depended entirely on the constellations. Constellations also were good reference points for astronomers. A number of mythological stories and personal experiences also were centered on these constellations. As more stars were being discovered and more constellations were being introduced, in 1922 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) decided to create an official set. Most of the original constellations (Ptolemy and other earlier European astronomers) were retained and some new ones were introduced. From earth's perspective, stars in a constellation appear to be close to each other because we lose the sense of depth and it appears to be two dimensional. Of the 88 constellations, thirteen constellations move along the ecliptic path of the Earth. Actually that moves and it appears that the sun and stars are moving. Of these thirteen, astrologers use twelve (omitting Ophiuchus) to make predictions. Astrology is not a science. In ancient times Astronomy and Astrology were sister sciences, developing side by side, at one point Astrology was more important. Astrology ceases to be a science in modern times as it has been proved that the future predictions and personality analysis based on star/planetary position have no scientific validation. The planets always keep to their elliptical path. They do not swerve away from their orbits. There is no question of Guru or Shani moving from one Rasi to the other. The term“occupying” a zodiac/constellation is really a misnomer (if that is the right word). It is actually an illusion that Jupiter is occupying a zodiac. Jupiter is relatively closer to us than the stars. As Jupiter orbits the sun, we, from Earth, see the different constellations along with it though they are in the background. The two-dimension effect makes it appear as if Jupiter occupies that particular constellation (zodiac in astrology) Period of stay is determined by the fact that Jupiter’s “path” or orbit is far away from the Sun and it takes 12 years for to complete one orbit. Therefore it appears to us as if Jupiter stays in one constellation, which is one year. Similarly Saturn, which is farther away from the Sun, takes 29 years to orbit around the sun, taking about 2.4 years to move from one constellation zone to the next. The mathematical calculations in astrology, whether it is science or not, are simply captivating , especially the calculation of timings, sub division, sub-sub division etc.The prediction part, which is of significance to common man is a slip-shod one. We have definitely come to a conclusion that the prediction part is not essentially based on science but on what is known as 'Anumaana Sastra', the theory of Probability. I am eagerly expecting some text book from authors who affirm that astrology is 100% Science and that the mistakes lie with astrologers with limited knowledge and not on astrology itself. As on date it is an unrealisable imagination. Even great astrologers of the past were talking about movement of the planets around various zodiacs. It may be due to the assumption of a geocentric and later heliocentric universe. Early civilizations thought that the Earth was the center of the entire Universe, up until the 16th century. Later Copernicus formulated the model that it was the sun that was the center of the Universe. (Though this theory was proposed in the 3rd Century by Aristarchus). It was in 1923 that Edwin Hubble proved that there were multiple galaxies. That changed the way we looked at the skies. Now they say there is not just Universe but "multiverses" or parallel universes. The documentation of the timings and celestial occurrences would be correct because nature never failed to deliver. That's why the facts always remain the same. The precision in which nature behaves (be it on Earth or out in space) is mind numbing and is a source of constant awe and marvel! Astrologers have interpreted these facts differently to justify their beliefs. Predictions and analyses on any individual or his/her life based on planetary positions have not been proven scientifically. Our Earth is so tiny in the grand scheme of things and you and I are insignificant. No star or planet is going to focus on a single person and change his/her destiny. Better be relaxed, whichever zodiac Guru is stated to occupy. It can never change the destiny. Think of good things and accept whatever happens as good. Vathsala Jayaraman

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