Without eyesight, a man cannot find his way.
Prashna Marga, 1.12
It was in 1941 that my mother had taught me astrology. But in 1969 a Yogi had explained to me that astrology was the 'eye of wisdom.'
Passing through narrow streets of a fort like locality on the scooter of Natu Bhai I had my first darshan (glimpse) of my astrology guru, Yogi Bhaskarananda.
I neither knew that he was an astrologer nor that he wrote and spoke extremely beautiful English. I had gone to have a darshan of a Yogi about whom Natu Bhai had given an entire description: "It was as though Jesus Christ had reappeared on this earth of ours," he said, "A Christian bishop had once suddenly stopped on the road once after seeing him."
Natu Bhai had not told me that his locks of hairs were golden, soft like butter, and curly. I remembered the reaction of Bernard Shaw who after seeing the hair of Rabindranath Tagore had wished if only he too had such hair. My eyes instead of getting riveted on his lustrous face were invariably above it. Physical beauty has rarely attracted me. But it was a divine sight.
My name being Rao (not a name from the Hindi speaking area) it was natural that he began conversation in English. Being a Gujarati himself he spoke haltingly in Hindi. But like a torrential flow was his literary and beautiful English. Using difficult words had become natural with him for two reasons: he had done a B.A. (Hons) in English literature and was so steeped in the writings of Sri Aurobindo that long sentences had become a habit with him.
What was it in him that left an impression on me? His exquisite conversational ability or mature spiritual wisdom? For 40 years he had done sadhana, scriptural studies and astrology in the caves of the Himalayas. He hailed from a prosperous family and was a baal brahmchari (a celibate from childhood).
Once, when during the course of conversation in our small group, he started his discussion of a horoscope. I, as though, was irritated. My mother was my first Jyotisha guru but when I saw other astrologers I found them dogmatic, half-educated, uncouth and fear-arousing cheats. Even today that is my impression. Descending from metaphysical heights, he came to discussing astrology, which he described as para vidya (divine knowledge). I was surprised and my reaction did not remain unnoticed by him.
One day he gave me a manuscript and asked me to take it home, open it and edit it. Back home, I opened it and found that it was a book on astrology!
I hesitated but when I started reading it, I found subjects like "Jyotisha and Karma," "Jyotish and the Flow of Llife Force," Jyotish and Yogic Psychology." Then there were many aphorisms of predictive astrology based on his own experience.
My mother had not taught me spiritual astrology. And now I began to learn that "Jyotish is para vidya, the eye of wisdom, demonstrable knowledge, not a bread winning subject."
My book, "Karma and Rebirth in Hindu Astrology" is based on his analysis and discussion. He had given up astrology in the last years of his life and someone stole that manuscript also. I had to, therefore, write on this subject as I have acknowledged in the preface to that book.
One day he predicted, after discussing my own horoscope, that after doing astrology on international stages, I will renounce life.
His was the physical frame of a Yogi, the diet of a Yogi, the sleep of a Yogi and the self-control of a Yogi. He never fell sick. Once he had said, "Whatever may be the ailment, do fasting and drink the water of the Ganga. Everything will be cured."
And then when I was transferred to Patna he had said, "in eastern India, particularly in Bihar, there will be a revolutionary agitation. I will make such a muhurta for you that amidst raging fires all round you, you will not be hurt." It was a blending of mundane and muhurta astrology. Things happened as he had predicted. Between 1972 and 1975 there was the agitation of Jaya Prakash Narayan and I witnessed violent incidents every day.
"These fellows cannot even grasp the horoscope of Indira Gandhi." He had said once. "She will trample on everyone and become a powerful leader, an immortal leader of history." Those days almost every astrologer had written that Indira Gandhi could become M.P. (Member of Parliament) but never P.M. (Prime Minister).
reprinted with permission