So why does Vedic Astrology get Bad Press & Reasons for a Lack of Acceptance/ Understanding?

A multitude of reasons. Some well-founded than others.

Firstly as I mentioned earlier, the intricacies of astrology are many. The study itself requires thousands of hours of study and experimentation before an individual can usually reach consistently high levels of accurate predictions. Now here comes in the constraints which show up in terms of time limitations, lack of patience for learning/ research, monetary focus which can supersede real knowledge and understanding of the subject, etc. Another reason is the frequent claims by astrologers, wherein they predict in a deterministic tone, almost always. The predictions are always along the lines of “this will happen..” which removes the probability factor in them.

Secondly as astrology requires high level of computational analysis, in order to be more accurate, its deficiencies were more pronounced with the lack of heavier computational skills – a shortcoming which has been recently removed with the advent of computer softwares that take care of a large amount of these complications.

Thirdly, being critical of something that is not deterministic is not necessarily a negative trait for an individual. As an stock analyst on wall street, I know well enough how even the most complex financial models can sometimes fail to predict the direction an equity takes in short, medium or long term basis. This can, and does, cause losses of millions of dollars of capital for investors. This does not undermine the financial thesis and analysis. Pertinent point is that even though having the detailed financial analysis and tools Does Not guarantee correct predictions, it is undoubtedly better than a scenario where no analysis was done and all outcomes are fair game.

What are some other reasons for a lack of acceptance/ understanding?

The ‘Sun sign’ astrology that you read in the newspapers and tabloids has a big, if not the largest contribution in discrediting astrology.

Ever wondered how the seemingly generic predictions can be valid for everyone with a particular sign? Rationally speaking there are 7 billion people in the world and so 1/12th share a ‘sun sign’. So if Taurus is predicted to have a headache one day, do you think 584 million people will have the same?

Astrology is a highly specific mathematical art. Even at a highly simplified approach, there are 12 houses, 12 signs and 9 ‘planets’ considered within a horoscope. All of these permutations and combinations have different significations and meanings of interaction with each other. Prima facie, these 1296 combinations just form the most basic initial outlook of a person’s horoscope. At the second level, which is still top level analysis, 108 divisions are for the signs themselves and soon the potential combinations reach into millions. In other words the snapshot of the heavenly bodies at the exact time and place of birth of an individual is the horoscope. This will be highly specific once you start to peel the layers. Also these individual bodies interact with each other to produce the final effect.

So now you don’t have just sun in say Taurus, but actually at a particular degree within Taurus and this is itself at a specific location in your entire horoscope which will have 12 ‘houses’ which engulf the 360 degree orb of space. Also the other planetary bodies are interacting with this sun in very specific ways to modify the effect of the sun at that degree in Taurus. Not meaning to get too technical (or boring) the same sun at say 13.5 degrees in Taurus will give markedly different results for different individuals born with a similar sun placement in their horoscope.

Only a holistic comprehensive study of this snapshot (horoscope chart) of an individual can successfully predict both the attributes of an individual and various positive and negative events in their life, all within a probability framework and not in a deterministic fashion. Thus, the ‘Sun sign’ predictions we all saw growing up tend to publicize astrology as a generic hoopla in the average person’s mind and it gets a negative image due to the same.

Then there are the ‘men of science’, no pun intended. These highly educated individuals claim to reject astrology as a potential study as they have studied science and hence can theorize that astrology is a pseudo-science. Importantly they have not read, studied or practiced anything related to astrology at any level and yet they are sure of its non-existence. From my vantage point, nothing can be more un-scientific than to reject a hypothesis without knowing its underlying premises, testing the theory or making an effort to realize its parameters/ strengths & weaknesses. Unfortunately these men of science might be the doctors, lawyers, engineers et al. of contemporary society who have done well in their chosen fields and hence their word has a predisposition to carry a certain authority over their friends and family and society in general. If they reject something, must be so. Interestingly the books these men of science read to get their diplomas contained material which was more than likely pseudo-science upto a few decades back. Scientific progress relies on open minds. Rejecting something in a hurry is as wrong as accepting something without the necessary understanding of a subject.

Finally, within the scriptures of Vedic astrology or “Jyotish” in Sanskrit implies a theme of being an art to help guide individuals. Jyotish itself loosely translates into the Light or guiding light. Guidance towards the potentials in a person in terms of their abilities, the potential time periods for occurrence of events and perhaps the light at the end of the tunnel for someone suffering in any financial, physical or mental way. Hence the initial intention was not to have a glamorized study and/ or monetize it, but for the astrologer to help others as a guru/ teacher. In that regards the original intention was definitely benign and altruistic, although very much like other fields in life, those willing to quickly pocket gains from it couldnt be far away at any stage. These individuals helped to bring disrepute to astrology over the passage of time which led to a further lack of understanding and research into the field.

Empirical observations can sometimes be made by regular people (as opposed to only researchers) in their day to day lives. For instance crime escalating on full moon days is something many of us have heard of. The law enforcement authorities will admit that based on statistics, it is true. So in Vedic astrology moon is the significator of intelligence, imagination and emotions among other things and its placement and dignity in an individual’s horoscope has a strong bearing on a person’s mentality and emotions and thus actions on a day to day level. Something along the same lines were the observations made by some observant individuals who related events in day to day lives of people with the movement of heavenly bodies and deciphered repetitive patterns over time.

Important discrimination here is the cause and effect. These planetary movements are not causing the events. However in this art, their movement (relative to the snapshot at birth) has been correlated with the timings of various events in an individual’s life. Thus even though future events are unknown, the relative planetary movement is known via astronomy/ physics and hence the correlation rules aim at predicting the events that are yet to unfold – the underlying synopsis of astrology.

 

2 Responses to So why does Vedic Astrology get Bad Press & Reasons for a Lack of Acceptance/ Understanding?

  1. Rohiniranjan says:

    Three myths in the realm of Jyotish!

    1) One has to sit at the feet of Masters in order to learn this craft of Vedic astrology.
    2) Destiny is supreme in everything in life, and uniformly so in all that is good or bad!
    3) Jyotish cannot rid itself of religious epithets and is constrained by theological boundaries.

    There are more, but the above three are agonizing enough to many, so I will stop!

  2. Sudha Ramaswami says:

    Excellent article. Totally agree with every single point made!

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