K.N. Rao Interview: The Value of Research
This interview appeared in Journal of Astrology - July/Aug 2010
Sri K.N. Rao, is widely considered to be one of the foremost Vedic astrologers in the world today. He is the founder of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s school of astrology in New Delhi, India, which is a two year course of study with about 1200 students and 25 teachers. He is also the founder of the bi-monthly magazine, Journal of Astrology, and author of more than twenty-five books. His academic and research-based approach combines both classic and innovative methods like his PAC-DARES and Composite Approach, which are used by students worldwide. Over the past forty years his record of accurate predictions has earned him wide spread recognition. His website is: www.JournalofAstrology.com.
Vaughn Paul Manley (VP): Thank you very much K.N. Raoji for taking time out of your busy day to conduct this interview. For the benefit of those who don’t know about your work could you tell us about your background and your process of developing predictive skill as an astrologer.
K.N. Rao (KNR): Well it’s a very long story but I’ll try to put it briefly. I fell ill when I was 11 years old and I was nearly dying. That was during the Second World War. Anyway, when I came back home my mother, who was an astrologer, initiated me into astrology, numerology, palmistry and graphology to divert my attention from my own physical weakness. I learned those things but I did not pursue them, because I was more interested in sports and playing games outside. But some time later I developed some astrology, after getting into government service. So starting from 1942 I have been doing astrology.
In the 1960’s when I met my spiritual guru, Swami Paramananda Saraswati, my interest in astrology intensified because he was always interested in astrology. He would say that it is a great eternal tradition of the country. People must take interest in it; it is a vedanga, meaning part of the Vedas. At that point I was doing astrology but not very methodically. Later, when I met my Jyotish guru, Yogi Bhaskaranandji, everything got systematized because he told me that the answers I was seeking to many spiritual questions were available through astrology. He wrote an excellent book on astrology whose initial five chapters dealt with astrology, religion and psychology. They were the most brilliant chapters that I’d ever read. But after his death, some of his disciples stole that book and it has not yet been published so far. It is a big tragedy. I cannot imagine anyone else in the world writing a book with so much experience and rich insight. But that is lost. I tried my best to track it down in Ahmedabad, but it was not available.
What happened in the course of time was that I got fed up with astrology. It was not my source of earning and I never turned it into a source of profit. I was only doing it to help people, my friends. My mantra guru, Swami Paramananda Saraswati, told me not to give up astrology. He said that, “Through astrology many people will come to you and do Vishnu Sahasranam and Bhagavad Gita, etc. It becomes an attraction for them to do this as a remedial measure. They wil come onto the spiritual path through your astrology.” That has proved tremendously correct. In the city of Delhi alone north Indians who were never doing stotra recitation or chanting, are now doing it. There are at least 10,000 people who do Vishnu Sahasranam in the city of Delhi. It has spread among north Indians, while south Indians have always been doing it.
YOGI MOORKHANANDJI’S VISION
KNR: In 1980 my guruji took samadhi, and I thought that I would finally stop doing astrology. Then I met Yogi Moorkhanandji while he was in Delhi, in Ghaziabad. He told me to never give up astrology. I asked him, “Why?” He said that, “You have a big mission to fulfill. Through you this science of astrology will be revived, and you will build up the world’s best and biggest institution.” I jocularly told him, “But Swamiji, I don’t have gadi, badi, or sari.” ‘Gadi’ means I don’t have a car. I never had a desire to have a car, which I could have easily afforded, because I wanted to live with the minimum of things. ‘Badi’ means house. I never even had a house. I bought this small house only because paying rents in Delhi would have made my living uneconomical. There are very heavy rents here. So it has proved a blessing in disquise for fifteen years now. ‘Sari’ means what a woman wears, which means I never got married. So I said, “No gadi, no badi, no sari, how can I build up an institution?” He said, “When God wills it, it will come, and everything will get created. You will see that it will happen.” It was a very fantastic vision of his in 1980. It was unbelievable.
Yogi Morrkhanandaji (Vidyaranya) and K.N. Rao in 1981
Then, in 1982 Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan wrote to me a letter saying that they wanted me to start astrology classes. They had known from some sources that I was teaching astrology to small groups in the office and at home. I met them and told them that if I start up an institution that it would have to be with a team of teachers and not single handedly. That way it will last even after I die or retire. So I waited for some time. In 1987, I was ready with a small team of teachers, but they were not very good. Anyway, each one could teach something, but they were not thorough. Anyway, we started with only 30 students. Today, in 2009, we have 1200 students and 27 teachers. We have 80 research publications and a quarterly journal running for more than 12 years. So it has been a very substantial achievement in that sense, and every prediction made by Moorkhanandji has come out correct.
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Astrology School Faculty
FRONT ROW: Shiv Raj Sharma, R G Pandey, Dr Shri Rama Mishra, C B Prasad, G N Saxena, M S Mehta, K N Rao, Col A K Gour, N N Sharma, V P Goel. BACK ROW: A Radhika Rao, Padma Raghavan, Akhila Kumar, Naval Singh, Shalini Dasmana, Manoj Pathak, Dr S B Goel, E S Isaac, S Ganesh, Karnail Singh, Manoj Kaushik, Deepak Kapoor, R S Pawar, K K Joshi. NOT SHOWN: Deepak Bisaria, Vinay Gupta, Rajesh Dadwal.
KNR: Incidentally, in 1987 when I was starting the institute, orthodox pandits asked me, “Are you going to teach everyone?” I said,“Yes, everyone.” There had been a prejudice against women, non-Brahmins, and non-Hindus. I said, “Nothing doing. Anyone can attend: Hindu, Muslim, Christian, men, women, or any caste.” They said, ”Why?” I said, “Because astrology is not forbidden to be taught to women, non Hindu, or to people of another caste. Where is it written? It is what you imported in the Middle Ages, creating a prejudice, and a nonsensical halo above yourselves.” They could not show me. But they went on abusing me. I said, “I will not stop.” So now you see how many women are there at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. It’s now 30 or 40% women. You must have seen in the research class of Manoj Pathak, that many of those women have MBA’s and are highly well placed with good jobs. They’re earning about 50 lakhs per year (about $110,000) and they’re studying astrology. They have the right attitude, and they’re very intelligent, so they can immediately grasp it and produce. So I jocularly tell these women, “If I had not been there you would never have learned an element of astrology.” Anyway, so many pandits are deciding to now keep quiet. So, you have to understand in America you don’t have to fight these prejudices.
Manoj Pathak teaching a research class
VP: No, we don’t have to do that.
KNR: In India I had to fight it. I got all the abuses. Now I get the praises also.
DEFENDING ASTROLOGY IN THE SUPREME COURT
KNR: More important during this period was the Supreme Court case against astrology. A judicial case first started in Madras, and no astrologer went there as a petitioner in person, which the Indian law allows. Fortunately, it was dismissed on initial grounds. There was another case in the Andhra high court and it was also dismissed on initial grounds. South Indians who are said to be proud of their Indian culture never took even the slightest interest in defending astrology. That was the most disgraceful part.
Then, K. Padmanabhaiah, a scientist and a rich man who lost the case in Andhra Pradesh, decided to appeal to the Supreme Court. I personally appealed to astrologers from all over India to file petitions as petitioners in person. They promised they would come and file petitions. This number was 60-80 astrologers. But, when the case was finally admitted, I was the only one. There was no one else from the country. When the case was being called on the merits, again I was the only one. There was not even another astrologer in the audience at the court hearing the case, other than two of my teachers from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. You can understand the level of hypocrisy. These people talk about the great rishi tradition of India, but when it actually comes to showing solidarity to fight for astrology not one man came.
I fought this case despite my sickness, since I had not been well after the year 2000. But anyway, by God’s grace, I went and fought it and today astrology is legally protected in the country. Now for the first time in the history of India, astrology is being taught as a regular subject in the university. Over 20 universities are now teaching astrology classes. That is a big achievement. In that sense I have completed my mission. There is nothing left now. At Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan we have a tradition of teaching, a tradition of producing research, a tradition of writing books and publishing them. And all this we have been able to achieve with only a two-day weekend course of maximum three hours per day. That is the most remarkable part. The universities have five-day per week courses at five hours a day and they hardly achieve anything. We have achieved so much. That is God’s will, that is the vision of Moorkhanandji.
A FRAGMENTED JYOTISH TRADITION
VP: So this is a cornerstone of your teaching of astrology, this research-based, academic approach. Can you explain more about that?
KNR: What you must know is that in the year 1834, when the English rule began to introduce English education, they totally destroyed the Sanskrit legacy and tradition in the process. That has not been resurrected till this day. There is no Sanskrit tradition, there is no Sanskrit parampara, there is no astrology tradition, and there is no astrology parampara. The only small rudimentary parampara that still exists is the karmakanda parampara where they do rituals for marriage and other events, etc. Nothing more. Everything the Englishman systematically destroyed by introducing English education. That was the mischief, that was the intention. This can be best understood by what Thomas Babington Macaulay stated in his speech of February 02, 1835, in the British Parliament. Please see this quote:
“I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such high caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”
So what happened was that the educated class, the Brahmins, had taken to western English education quickly, they distinguished themselves, but the Sanskrit tradition, which astrology was traditionally a part of, got destroyed totally. Brahmins who remained in the countryside, and did not have the benefit of an English education, became neglected. They eked out a living out of the fragments of their knowledge of karmakanda and some rudimentary astrology. In both of the National Commissions for Backwards Classes of India (Kaka Kalelkar’s in 1955 and B. P. Mandal’s in 1978), astrologers have been classified as a backward class.
So those of us who are now doing astrology have inherited a fragmented tradition. In the year 1901 we had 10% male literacy and ½% female literacy. Such was the miserable condition. There was never any question of any Jyotish tradition. People make all kinds of claims about Jyotish paramparas, but don’t believe them. It all got destroyed basically. Then, slowly it got revived. Dr. Raman’s grandfather B. Suryanarayan Rao and some others revived it in South India. In Andhra Pradesh, people brought out small booklets in Telegu, the local language. In northern India it was revived in Varanasi, Lucknow, and Bombay. In Lahore they brought out books in Urdu. Slowly they brought them out, but there was no tradition. It was all in fragments. Whatever book I got I read.
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Institute, New Delhi chapter
THE NECESSITY FOR ASTROLOGICAL RESEARCH
KNR: Now, this gradually leads us to the concept of astrological research and why research is necessary. Try to understand that all the classical astrological books that we read were written in the Middle Ages. It was a feudal society: male dominated, pre-industrial caste-reliant society, with none of the variety available to us today. Today we live in the world where there is a lot of confusion, a lot of variety, a lot of industrial and technological progress. So the concepts have undergone a change. It is still male dominated but the female is challenging the superiority of the male everywhere now. It is that way in the West, so also in India. Females are employed; they have economical independence and are not dependent on the male anymore for their living. They believe in a very limited, planned family and so the whole concept has undergone a change. If you look at those astrology books you will find that none of them help you to understand modern society, the modern male and female. So how do you modernize those concepts? The principles of astrology are eternally valid, but their contextual meaning has to undergo a change in modern times.
A student giving a research presentation
For example, the trimshamsha, or 1/30th division of the Parashari system, is traditionally made use of for the female and her character, her sexual chastity and reliability, etc. Why do we do that? In a male dominant society it was the female who was always suppressed, therefore we looked at her trimshamsha and made use of it. If the lagna or the Moon in the birth horoscope is in a benefic rasi of Jupiter, Mercury, or Venus, and in the trimshamsha they go to Saturn’s rasi then the female is characterless as per old astrological theories. I’ve taken it up and proven that in the cases of a woman very highly placed in society that they often have the Moon or lagna in Saturn’s rasi in the trimshamsha. So the whole concept is undergoing a change. The word we use is ‘dasi,’ which means a ‘servant.’ If the Moon or lagna is in Saturn’s rasi she becomes a dasi, which means she’s employed, that’s all. Female employment was unknown in the Middle Ages, except for the lower classes. But today, 35-45% of females are seeking employment. Many of the well-educated women are no longer only housewives, they will go out and seek employment. So the trimshamsha and the vargas will have to be interpreted in a different way.
Similarly, the books will say that the 11th lord in the 12th house means that the man will be fined by the government, and go to jail. I put it like this: the 11th house is the house of profit and also elder siblings, and the 12th is foreign country. Therefore, siblings will go and settle down in a foreign country or the person can do business with a foreign country from where he can earn money. This is a totally new interpretation not given in any of the old books. Like that it goes on and goes on, it is endless!
The modern astrologer has to face manifold changes, and no single astrologer can answer all questions put to them. It is impossible. Why? Generally, what are the questions put to an astrologer? I call it ECMCDIP. E is for education, C career, M marriage, C children, D death, I illness, P property. These are the common questions put to astrologers in India and out of all these a variety of problems arise. So it is endless. The research has to go on endlessly. It cannot stop. Buying a house in a housing society, applying for bank loans, this was unknown in this country just 50 years ago. So how do you answer these questions? Where is it given in any classic book? You have to take principles from these books and apply them in modern situations.
MODERNIZING VEDIC ASTROLOGY
VP: So research in this sense is the process of modernizing ancient Vedic astrology.
KNR: Totally modernizing it. If you do not modernize then astrology has no utility for the person of the 21st century. The world has undergone such a big change. The whole world is a global village now. What is happening in USA is affecting India, and vice versa. Cultural crosscurrents have become very common. They come as a craze, as a fad, if they stay longer they become a trend, if they stay longer then they become part of civilization. That is what is happening. There are many Indians leading an American style of life, there are many Americans leading an Indian style of life. This is a result of global influence.
K.N. Rao teaching an advanced research class
How do you understand this? I look at the horoscope of an American, and see why he became attracted to a spiritual sadhana of a foreign country. This is a totally new idea. I have done a lot of research on this and found some very fine answers. I look at the horoscope of an Indian and I see him going abroad for study, pursuing foreign degrees. American universities are full of Indian’s now studying for higher degrees. So these are all modern trends that you will not find mentioned anywhere in any of the old astrology books.
To do this you have to have a wide variety of techniques. You have to see the dasha systems and see the different divisional charts in order to understand it. And then synthesize. Then go into Jaimini and in Jaimini come out with new researches. Forget the obscurantist pandit who puts a very narrow meaning of the sutra. He does this terrible sutra chopping and confuses you. I call them ‘sutra-chopping’ pandits. They put one meaning of the sutra stupidly, and then they say, “No, it cannot be anything else!” I say to them, “Apply it and show me the results.” They just cannot show the results. They don’t know how to interpret the sutras, apply it and produce a research. They’ll only quote texts. If anyone else is doing it they will criticize him. That is a trend in India. Even today they are our critics. So I tell everyone to ignore those pandits and continue with your research, and you’ll find extraordinary results.
THE USE OF SEVEN KARAKAS IN JAIMINI
KNR: I’ll give you one instance. In modern times B. Suryanarayan Rao, Dr. B.V. Raman, Iranganti Rangacharya, Dr P.S. Shastri, all used only 7 karakas (not 8 karakas) in the Jaimini system. And three of them were very good Sanskrit scholars: B. Suryanarayan Rao and P.S. Shastri who are no more, and Iranganti Rangacharya who is alive. Dr. Raman was a very practical man. Unlike other people, unless Dr. Raman got a correct result he would never write a book. The only mistake Dr. Raman committed was to land in a wrong ayanamsha. I use what we have consistently found to give good results, the lahiri ayanamsha, and I’m also very practical. I will never write about anything, or teach anything if it is not result yielding. It must show you the results straight away.
Now, getting back to 7 karakas. Surprisingly, all the famous commentators on Jaimini, like Neelakantha, Krishna Mishra etc., never mentioned why these karakas are used and what their meaning is. And all these people also: B. Suryanarayan Rao, Dr. Raman, Iranganti Rangacharya, P.S. Shastri never bothered to know why the karakas were used. I found out in the course of time that the karakas represented the real soul of the Jaimini system. If you do not know how to make use of the karakas then Jaimini is useless for you. And if you know how to make use of them then you can give fine predictions about career, marriage, children and so many things. I spent 20 years working on Jaimini’s chara dasha and in the process I had to make some modifications. When I started predicting through Jaimini I found that the chara dasha, as recommended by others, was giving the wrong timing. Then I corrected it and now the chara dasha that I use gives the results of karakas exactly, and also gives the timely very closely.
Naval Singh conducting a research class in Jaimini methods
VP: So in your composite approach you recommend using vimshottari dasha and Jaimini’s chara dasha?
KNR: The term ‘Composite Approach’ is what I have coined, but it has existed as a sound astrological technique in India as will be clear to anyone who has read the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra. I have read more than ten versions in my life and found all them containing many interpolations, absurd principles and dogmatic observations (i.e. the disastrous consequences of planets in the eighth house of any woman). The art of reading most of the Hindu astrological books is the art of picking up gems from undeclared dung heaps.
Now try to understand what are the components of the Composite Approach:
1) The first is PACDARES, which is the analysis of the birth horoscope. If you do not have a sound technique of interpreting a bare birth horoscope your astrology will remain stagnant. Apply PACDARES to the birth horoscope and draw your conclusions. Call it intra-horoscopic analysis.
2) Now come to the use of divisional horoscopes, six, seven, ten or sixteen as has been done traditionally and call it inter-horoscopic analysis.
3) Synthesize (1) and (2).
4) Now use the vimshottari dasha. In June 1995, during my fourth tour of USA, I taught it at San Rafael. But I had developed some sickness and a kindly Indian lady doctor who had examined me advised me to avoid US tours, which I did after December 1995.
5) At this stage comes in the finest and subtlest use of ashtakavarga applied to transits. My sickness prevented me from teaching it in the USA, which I had wanted to do.
6) Now comes in the most complex and baffling technique of Indian astrology. Combine a conditional nakshatra dasha of Parashara like dwisaptati, chatursheeti, shodashottari, etc. wherever applicable. If you can do it, your predictions can maintain an average of eighty five percent success rate. However, it takes skill to see that the results of two dashas do not clash. They give the same results but they have to be seen intelligently.
7) I skipped stages (5) and (6) in my US tours and taught the seventh stage in part, which is the use of Jaimini’s chara dasha. Marc Boney picked it up well and made a great prediction with the most convincing logic, about the victory of Bush over Gore in US presidential election in 2000.
(8) There are other conditional Jaimini dashas, which I have taught. However, different versions of Parashara texts, have given wrong versions of Mandook dasha, and the so-called nine navamsha dashas. What I picked up from the readings of Vemuri Ramamurthy Sastry alone works brilliantly and almost infallibly.
(9) And finally the tajak or annual horoscope can be used to clinch the prediction within the framework of the pratyantara dasha of Vimshottari dasha.
THE USE OF THE KARAKAMSHA
KNR: Let me explain a second controversy in Jaimini, which has been about the karakamsha. Everyone except me puts the karakamsha exclusively in the navamsha, and takes the navamsha of the atmakaraka as the karakamsha lagna. But in Darbhanga and Rajasthan I found that the old astrologers took the karakamsha and put it in the birth horoscope. I found that more logical. The reason is very simple. One of the sutras of Jaimini says that if Saturn is in the karakamsha the man will become famous in his line. In the first week of September 2009 Saturn was in very late degrees of Leo making it the atmakaraka. Therefore, anyone born anywhere in the world had Saturn in the karakamsha. That means that all the people born in early September 2009 would become world famous. That’s a very stupid generalization. How can that be correct?
On the other hand, if you take what they recommend in Darbhanga and Rajasthan and take the birth horoscope and put the karakamsha there, then you’ll get extraordinarily correct results. The other is wrong. Second, a Jaimini sutra says that if Venus is in the karakamsha then the man will be sexually virile and live up to 100 years. Now, Venus at 29 degrees and 58 minutes in Virgo will be in debilitation and it will also be vargottama and it will also be the atmakaraka. If you put it in the navamsha and treat it as being placed in the karakamsha then all those people with Venus in that condition will live to be 100 years. That again becomes a stupid interpretation. I found this all going wrong. So I said nothing doing. I’ll follow the Darbhanga and Rajasthan people who put the karakamsha in the birth horoscope and interpret it, and I got extraordinarily correct results. I gave brilliant predictions on that basis, and many of my students have been doing that for 22 years. So I don’t bother with the sutra-chopping pandits. They will confuse you totally and they can produce no results.
M.S. Mehta illustrating a point
INTERPRETING CLASSIC TEXTS
KNR: Be careful when you read the various English translations of the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra, also in Hindi there are versions by Sitaram Jha, Acyutananda Jha, Ganesh Driptapati, Pathak etc. We read all those translations and believe that these people have done a great service by making this information easily available to us. But the meaning that they give is sometimes very wrong. They give a meaning that they could not illustrate because they never understood it themselves. They were generally very poor predictors.
For example, all of them have given a method of doing pre-natal horoscopy, which is creating a horoscope for the child before its birth when the soul entered the womb of the mother. The method that has been given for the calculation never comes out accurately. Sometimes it gives you 10 months, sometimes 9 months and 20 or 25 days, and sometimes only 7 months! How have they understood how to interpret it? Similarly, they say that if the Sun is in the 12th house for Libra ascendant the man will live for 100 years. It is stupid. How can you say that? Everyone born in the month of September or October (while Sun is in Virgo) with Libra ascendant cannot live for 100 years. So you have to understand that we are grateful to these people for giving these translations, but what they’ve written does not come out correct sometimes. You have to intelligently reinterpret the whole thing.
Another example is a combination given for death caused by a vulture. However, there are no vultures in the city of Delhi anymore. So what does it mean when I see horoscopes with this combination? Death through vulture means that a wild man will get an order to shoot you to death. I found this combination and worked on it and on this basis I predicted that Indira Gandhi would be assassinated – killed by a vulture. I modernized it and made it a flexible interpretation and interpreted it that way. So this reinterpretation has to go on constantly.
These days we have been doing a very beautiful research. We’re looking at the horoscope of the male or female who want to get married and determining the profession of the spouse. In India, it is an immensely useful research because we are still a tradition bound conservative society. The parents will come and show the horoscope of a girl and ask what type of husband she will get. What will be his profession? That is a primary question that they ask. In ancient times profession meant a traditional occupation. You are a farmer, you are an ironsmith, you are a warrior, or you are a priest. That’s all. Shudra, Vaishya, Kshatriya, Brahman. Today you are a computer engineer, you are a fashion designer, you are cinema actor, you work in TV, you are a journalist, you are a salesman, etc. So this all has to be reinterpreted.
GROUP RESEARCH PROJECTS
VP: For the benefit of people who don’t know about the research projects at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan could you tell us how many charts you are using, etc.
KNR: Okay, see what happens is we have two types of astrology researches going on simultaneously. The first is researching various divisional horoscopes and dashas that have been neglected for centuries. The second is researching a subject that is chosen according to the socio-economic demand of the times we are living in. As I told you, if you read all those books, on the basis of one single planet, they give all the results, which is stupid, totally stupid. You have to make use of the PACDARES approach and synthesize the whole thing.
K.N. Rao commenting on a student’s research presentation
For example, in 1986 a girl came to me who was a daughter of a colleague of mine. I was in government service in those days. She was a south Indian Brahmin, and she said that all the south Indian astrologers said her horoscope was useless for marriage because there was Rahu in the 7th house. South Indian astrologers are very narrow minded and stupid sometimes. I made a total composite approach and I told her look here, you will get a very prosperous and very good husband. He’ll have an accounting background, he’ll be doing a private job, not a government job, and you will lead a very happy married life. She got married in 1988, and is still happily married. She got a son and her husband is a chartered accountant and very prosperous. She herself is in a good job, they own their own house in Madras, and they have a good bank balance. Now if you were to go only on the basis of Rahu in the 7th house you’d condemn the whole damn thing! That is how they are doing astrology.
THE USE OF REMEDIAL MEASURES
KNR: Then these astrologers will say, “Come to me for remedial measures. I’ll do graha shanti for you, and change your fate.” This is nonsense. How can one man change another man’s fate? There are stupid fellows in the country who fall into that trap. Indian astrologers go on and spread this fraud in other countries also. In the USA you’ll find people wearing stones and going for these remedial measures. This is all nonsense. Parashara has not prescribed these remedial measures. He has prescribed only mantras like the Vishnu Sahasranam, Mrityunjaya, Durga Saptasati etc., and some charity, which is called ‘dhan.’ In the 17th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, dhan is described properly. It says that sattvic dhan means to give money to a really needy person and it should be unconditional, without expecting to get anything in return. That is real true sattvic dhan or donation. So those are the remedial measures prescribed.
Now all types of new remedial measures come out. Why? The reason is because people want to make money. There is one fellow in Delhi who makes yantras and sells them to Americans for $100-500 dollars and foolish Americans are buying them. They think they can take this yantra and their fate will change. That is what is happening. So along with the astrology that has spread to America a lot of superstitions have also become attached to it. And the Americans think by wearing stones or doing yantra puja their problems will be solved. That never happens. Whatever is fated is bound to happen. But do some worship, because it can be mitigated to some extent through sincere, honest worship.
VP: Which you recommend to be done by the person himself or herself?
KNR: He has to do it himself! You feel an appetite, so you have to eat food. It is your problem therefore it is your worship. It is not anyone whom you hire doing the worship and changing your fate. Nothing happens like that. Not one single case. I have seen case after case to prove this. But anyway this cheating is going on in the name of kala sarpa yoga, pitri dosha, etc. All this cheating has spread all over the world now through fraudulent Indian astrologers. And in these days of web site astrology, the danger is much greater.
THE PACDARES METHOD
VP: You mentioned just a moment ago about PACDARES. Can you talk about this approach that you developed?
KNR: I’ll tell you. All the old astrologers that I used to see in my childhood made use of a brilliant approach. I saw my mother also doing this. They never coined any expressions to explain it, but over the course of time I thought about it. When I was teaching, the demand from students was to have a clear cut, systematic approach. They were reading books and getting confused. They would say Saturn in the 7th house means destruction, Rahu in the 7th house means bad marriage. I would tell them this is all nonsense, don’t go by that. Instead take a total synthesis. How do you make a total synthesis? I said ‘P’ is for a where a planet is placed or posited. ‘A’ is for how it is aspected. ‘C’ is for conjunctions. Therefore it is called PAC. Out of these some yogas emerge. ‘D’ is for dhana yoga, money. ‘A’ is for arishta yoga, arishta is mishaps, illness, etc. ‘R’ is for raja yoga, getting high positions in life. ‘E’ is for exchanges, like the lord of the 2nd in the 4th, and lord of the 4th in the 2nd, etc. ‘S’ is for special features, which every horoscope has. Now look at this and synthesize the whole thing by doing PAC. Out of this emerges DARES. This framework you keep in your mind.
Now look at the dasha system and you see when a particular event is to take place according to these yogas. Hindu astrology is a dasha and yoga approach. The moment you forget that the system is destroyed. You must know how to make use of the dashas, because the dashas are the dynamic fructification of a promised event. The yogas show the promised event, while the dashas show when it is going to be fulfilled. So unless you do PACDARES you cannot develop any astrological skill at all.
Dr. Shri Rama Mishra explaining a student’s example chart
So I evolved this tabulation because I saw all the experienced astrologers taking these steps, even though they never expressed it. But I knew they had it, so I systematized the whole thing. When I was teaching students they found it very easy to understand. They had come from a good educational background, so they wanted to understand everything systematically. They also wanted to interlink different things in a horoscope. So I said to do PACDARES, then you are able to interlink.
There is a second stupid controversy that was created by some Indian astrologers here. They say to not see aspects in vargas. That is wrong. The entire book Jataka Bharanam is based only on the interpretation of vargas, particularly the navamsha and aspects in the navamsha. Brilliant predictions come out of that. So see aspects also in varga charts. You’ll get very good results.
VP: Both Parashari and Jaimini aspects?
KNR: Yes, but don’t mix the two systems. See aspects separately within their own systems.
JYOTISH AND SPIRITUAL SADHANA
VP: You often stress to your students to practice astrology as part of spiritual sadhana, as a service.
KNR: You see it is like this. People will do it according to their background. Some are very greedy and want to make money. They do make money and for some years they prosper. Then after that, they and their family suffer very badly. I warn them to be careful. I say, “Today you are cheating someone, so your karma will boomerang, and you will also suffer. You will not escape your karma.” So, if you become professional at all, become an honest professional. Do it honestly, charge honestly, that’s all. Stop there. There’s nothing wrong in that. But the temptation to earn a lot of money and therefore charge the heavy fees and charge for remedial measures is not astrology. It is cheating, downright cheating. But that is what is happening.
Yesterday one girl was here from London whom I had known since 1978. I had given her a prediction that she would marry and go abroad. She’s now married and lives in London. She said Indian astrologers are appearing on TV channels in London now, and doing the same thing that we are doing in India – cheating. So like an infection this cheating is spreading. So, those who do astrology as a spiritual sadhana benefit immensely, tremendously, because their sadhana begins to have a strong spiritual base. Then they don’t get easily shaken up.
VP: So you’re saying for the astrologers themselves to practice a spiritual sadhana?
KNR: Astrologers, if they do spiritual sadhana it is excellent for them! Traditional astrologers were doing it. And, at a later stage they reduced their astrological activities to very little. For example, I see only about 7 horoscopes per week now. Earlier I was seeing 10 horoscopes per day and so I have a huge collection of horoscopes. I have reduced it, because one ought to devote more time to one’s japam, sadhana, and meditation. Some of the astrologers will do that as they grow old. Others will be greedy. But many of these greedy astrologers don’t live very long, they die prematurely, leaving a lot of suffering for their families.
VP: Are there any specific practices that you recommend astrologers to follow?
KNR: Well in modern hectic times you cannot follow the old system. When I was a child I used to see astrologers getting up early in the morning and doing their worship. Then one or two hours after sunrise they would sit down to do astrology while people came to them. This was from about 7 o’clock until 10 or 11 o’clock. Then, they would take their lunch and again come at 2 o’clock and do it up to 4 or 5 o’clock, until sunset. They would not be doing it before sunrise, and they would not be doing it after sunset. Now these days, I do most of astrology only after sunset. This is because during my service career I was busy in the office in the daytime, so I could do it only after sunset. That choice had to be made. So, if you can follow that old discipline that is excellent. Sit down do your worship then do your astrology. Your moral excellence increases, and your concentration is very good then. Your predictive success is also much greater. If you do astrology after worship your predictions qualitatively improve. Then as far as possible, if a needy man comes, do astrology free for him even if you are a professional charging heavily. That ideal should be there. But in the mercenary culture of our times that ideal has vanished.
MISCONCEPTIONS AND THE VALUE OF STATISTICS
VP:What is left for you to accomplish in your work?
KNR: My mission is over, there is nothing left. There is an excellent teaching institute that has come up, the teachers are there, the tradition of research is going on, book writing is continuing. The journal is already getting handed over to a group now, and I’m not looking after the journal anymore. They will be able to publish the books that they write whether I am there or not. We have won that classic case at the Supreme Court in favor of astrology. So all that I’m continuing to do is consolidate this tradition of students writing and doing research. That is the last thing that I’m doing. We have now three other teachers, other than myself, conducting research, Manoj Pathak, Naval Singh, and Deepak Bisaria. They have their own classes. We have reached a fantastic number of 230 students in research classes alone now.
Deepak Bisaria discussing a chart with a research student
VP: So they must collect a huge body of examples?
KNR: We collect lots of examples and get them examined, but when we publish a book we take only 50-100 horoscopes, because we can’t take 1,000. We may have examined 1,000, but we give as a specimen 50-100 examples and prove the point. We are doing it through sound replicable techniques, with a sound methodology. We decide upon the parameters and these become the replicable techniques.
VP: And then you show the statistics of the results.
KNR: Absolutely, we always show the statistics. For example; the last book we produced was on Saturn’s transit in Hindi. It covers sade-sati, that is the 7 ½ year cycle of Saturn around the Moon; kantak shani, that is Saturn in the 4th house from the Moon; and ashtam shani, that is Saturn in the 8th house from the Moon. So we take the totality of the picture. All the fright that astrologers create through their newspaper predictions, and TV shows is wrong. 70% of the time these transits are highly favorable, but you must see it along with the dasha. Only 30% of the time it creates problems. This book will destroy many of the misconceptions that people have.
Similarly, I wrote a book on kala sarpa yoga, giving examples of famous people. In the Rahu dasha, these people with the so-called kala sarpa yoga, have prospered and risen high. So all this fright, which Hindu astrologers create to make money and prescribe remedies must be stopped. Future generations should think of legal action against them. That remains to be done. Unless strong legal action is taken against these malpractices, you can do nothing about it. One of the well-known frauds of the country even told one man that there is a kala sarpa yoga in Jaimini, which other astrologers do not know about. He cheated this man out of 25,000 rupees. So, future generations of astrologers must wake up and take legal action to stop these malpractices.
VP: With all the research that is available through your publications and the journal, students now have the big advantage of being able to see statistics that disprove many of these common misconceptions.
KNR: Why this statistical research is necessary is because no one in modern times will be convinced that astrology is a science unless they see the technique replicated. They are not going to be impressed by your quoting Sanskrit shlokas or talking about the great tradition of parampara. He’s a downright practical man, and he says, “Show me the technique, show me the methodology, show me the results.” That scientific culture has come to stay now. Students at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan come and say, “Please show us how it works.”
Col. A.K. Gour analyzing an example chart
Two years ago we published a book, Timing of Marriage. Students examined nearly 500 horoscopes, but in the book we gave about 60 examples showing a nine-fold approach to the timing of marriage. And they got 99% results, which is even better than physics. In physics if you get 90% results you call it great. In mathematics perhaps you need 100%, I don’t know. In medicine, if you get 60% results you approve the medicine. But here we are getting 99% results using statistical research, and replicable techniques applied to hundreds of horoscopes. In the book we show so many examples, and everything is crystal clear. We don’t care about boasting of parampara or tradition. We just want results to be shown through a workable methodology and through replication. We are succeeding in doing that.
I single-handedly did the first such book that we produced, called,Planets and Children.The methods in this book have been tested in the USA and Russia when I went there to teach. It has been tested all over the world and by many thousands of my students here at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. It is the largest and most widely tested statistical research in the world. Like that, this modernizing of astrology and this meeting of current challenges will go on. For example, a year ago we faced the problem of recession in America, creating a terrible job crisis for many people. In all the cases I have seen that it is clearly explainable through the dashas and antardashas. I’ll give you one instance.
Natal ChartKNR: Now see, this man is running Saturn-Saturn-Mars. Saturn is debilitated in the 12th house and Mars is debilitated in the 3rd house, and is the 12th lord and 7th lord. In October 2009, during Saturn-Saturn-Mars, he is in a foreign country, in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and he lost his job. In Saturn-Saturn-Rahu, starting from November 8th, 2009, he will get a good job by moving out of UAE to a new place. Rahu is in the 11th house. How well it works you see. A recession in America, is affecting an Indian working in the UAE. His horoscope shows this effect. That is the astrology we do. Like this we collect hundreds of horoscopes and show results. When he will get employment next can also be seen here.
VP: And then if we had time you’d go into chara dasha, etc.
KNR: I can go into all that, but just at a glance here it is clear. He wrote to me a desperate letter. The moment I opened it I said yes, this is going to happen. Here read this:
VP:“I’ve had sudden misfortune. On Oct. 6th, I was fired from my current job, and I’m actively looking for a job now…”
KNR: Okay, he was fired from his job. On 6th October 2009, Saturn-Saturn-Mars was running and he lost his job. Saturn is in the 12th house, Mars is the 12th lord, and he is in a foreign country. So it is so precise, astrology is so scientific. The moment I saw that letter, I opened the horoscope and said it is clear, crystal clear. This is our Hindu astrology. If you don’t use the dasha system, astrology will be ruined.
VP: I’ve also seen myself just in the days that I’ve spent at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on this trip, that it’s very exciting to see students talking with one another, they’ll be pointing out a chart and they’ll say, “Oh it’s this, it’s this and this.” They may ask one another, “What about this?” It’s a very dynamic learning environment and they’re all using this composite approach and PACDARES method and getting excellent results.
KNR: This has now crystallized into a tradition at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and the institution will keep on prospering. We teach you a method, but it is for you to develop your predictive skill through that method. We cannot give you predictive skill.
There was a great musicologist in the country by the name of Bhatkhande. He had a five-year musical course in Lucknow, a beautiful course. At the end of the five years he used to say, “In these five years what we have taught you is ‘nayaki,’ that is a method, not ‘gayaki,’ not the skill of singing. This you have to develop yourself.” Similarly, what we are doing at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is teaching you ‘nayaki’, a method. ‘Gayaki’ you develop yourself by working more and more. And students now are developing very fast. This is because these days student who come here have the great advantage of reading these books and researches. They buy all the books and read them. By the time they complete the second year course they develop good skill.
VP: And if they have questions there are so many teachers and other competent students to get the answers very readily.
KNR: So it’s at a very high level, a very high level now. The teachers themselves will have to keep on upgrading their skill. After some time the teacher will find it difficult to meet the challenges of the students. It is becoming so difficult now.
The faculty on break between classes
KEY FACTORS FOR SUCCESS
VP: So what do you consider the secret behind Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s success?
KNR: You know, any organization, anywhere in the world, can only develop if the cause of an organization is kept above self-interests. All the organizations get shattered and vanish into limbo when self-interest predominates and the real cause is forgotten. At Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan we face similar problems.
We started in 1987, but in 1989, when we started reaching the number of 200 students, people became greedy. One person wanted to impose his books and his ayanamsha. You can understand whom. I said, “No, we use only Lahiri ayanamsha.”There was an initial quarrel about this. Someone in Delhi who was bringing out a monthly journal told me, “You prescribe it for the students.” I said, “No, students are at liberty to buy whichever astrological journal that they want.” But in 1997, when Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan decided to start its own journal, the Journal of Astrology, it was made part of the curriculum because it was our home journal. Students contribute articles, and we develop new writers. We don’t ask writers outside to contribute because we have produced enough writers. Getting back to what I was saying, some of our teachers became greedy. They started all types of gimmicks and trapping students. There were one or two scandals. We had to get rid of them.
Students working on a research article at K.N. Rao’s house
In 1994, there was a major trouble because a majority of the teachers were not producing any research. I said, “You can’t go on like that. A decent institution is to have a reputation as a research center. You just cannot come and teach like a school master and go away.” So that created a big crisis and more than half of our teachers left. That was a blessing in disguise because we’ve got well-trained students, and we could train them as teachers. After 1994 we jumped to 600 students because the quality of teaching improved, and the reputation spread.
In 1997, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan announced that they were starting a journal with me as the editor. At the same time three teachers started a parallel magazine of their own without informing us. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan took a decision straight away to terminate their services. So these problems came up. When the cause is forgotten and people want to promote their own self-interest, the organization must suffer. So three times this weeding out had to be done: in 1989, 1994, and 1997. Then recently, about two years ago, two teachers manipulated marks on examinations to favor their favorite students. So we had to get rid of them. Then one year ago there were two other teachers that we had to ask to leave because they became incompetent, and produced no research.
VP: So it’s just like in the West where professors of major universities are expected to ‘publish or perish’ as they say.
KNR: It is the same thing here. I made it very strict. I said,“Do some research, produce here, otherwise you’ll be dismissed.”
VP: So the research is really the primary cause other than the teaching.
KNR: Every teacher must keep on doing that, because the teacher must show that he is providing intellectual stimulation to the students. After all, we have high quality students, and they’re giving brilliant predictions. I have to concede that particularly some of our female students are very brilliant. So unless our teachers also develop well, we can’t keep them. These problems come up but you must keep the cause always above your self-interest while in an organization. Then the organization develops. It has gone on well for twenty-two years only because of this: collectively and individually, we have kept the cause above our self-interest. Without that it cannot go on.
A. Radhika Rao after teaching a class
The second important thing is that in 1994, when we decided to split, the one major decision I took was to hand over the entire financial administration to Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. That way there is no temptation for any teacher to make any money out of it. Money is a big temptation always. Keep that out. So there is no teacher, who handles any finance, or earns anything. It is all on a volunteer basis. But Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (which teaches other subjects like language, management, film, etc.) makes a large profit out of it. It has prospered so well. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan annually earns fifty lakhs. And it will go on increasing because we are attracting more and more students.
Vaughn Paul: And I understand that even students that have completed the two-year course will stay on and do the research classes indefinitely.
K.N. Rao: They do research. They have the stimulus to do research because they find the strain of doing research is less when there’s a group class. Everyone brings the data and they work together on it. If a student does the research alone, with his family to look after and a job to look after, it becomes difficult. So I suggest working collectively. The strain is less, the statistical testing becomes very vast, and the replication is brilliant. Research students benefit quite a lot, and they also become valuable contributors of articles to the Journal of Astrology.
A moment of laughter in Manoj Pathak’s research class
The best way to develop skill is to keep on collecting the horoscopes of people whom you know intimately, whose life details are known to you well. Then ponder over the horoscope. Keep on seeing why something happened at a particular time. You will develop your skill. There is no other method. This is what helps you to develop beautifully and solidly. And if you think someone will give you some small tidbits and then you’ll be able to work magic, then that is wrong. You cannot. You have to learn the subject properly, and you have to develop your skill properly. And the best way of developing skill is to keep on working on horoscopes and go into the depth of the horoscope. By ‘depth of the horoscope’ I mean go into the divisional horoscopes, and go into the composite approach. Then you will get the full grasp of the horoscope.
THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF GROWING POPULARITY
VP: Do you see any negative effects of the growing popularity of Vedic Astrology?
KNR: You see, when a subject becomes very popular, it loses the sheen, the brilliance of an academic study. It becomes a part of pop culture and gets defiled, vulgarized. It’s like classical music versus pop music. You see the difference? Similarly, there is no comparison between classical, brilliant, academic astrology versus pop astrology, which you see on TV and in newspapers. Pop astrology is totally vulgar. It has no meaning. So the danger of academic astrology becoming associated with pop astrology is always there. To prevent this danger it is necessary to come out, at some stage, with strong legislation all over the world. Otherwise, this will become a terribly corrupting influence, and academic astrology will suffer as a result. Ordinary people will think that this vulgar astrology is equated with real astrology, which it is not.
VP: So, nowadays, anyone can develop a web site and make any claims.
KNR: Yes. A lot of stupid and wrong claims have been made. So-called paramparas have been promoted. Jaimini has been distorted. Stupid theories have been floated. Kala sarpa yoga has been bloated beyond proportion and made into a big money earner. All these type of things have happened. So that is the danger of pop astrology spreading in America, in Russia, and everywhere. Now you see stones are being prescribed as a remedy measure. It is nonsense. it is not given in any classical book of astrology. So this pop astrology has to be controlled.
VP: What do you envision as the best-case scenario of how the study and practice of Vedic astrology can develop from this point forward?
KNR: You see once there is a global linkage of serious astrological centers, where good research is being done, they can collectively persuade their respective governments to come out with proper legislation to regulate and control malpractices.
The beautiful thing that happened in the USA in the 19th century was that the moral practices of doctors was controlled and regulated when the American Medical Association was formed. Medical treatment can be expensive, but medical malpractices are very, very controlled due to strong organization and legislation. So the same thing should happen with astrology. International astrological centers should link up and persuade governments to come out with proper legislation. There should be a good organization. So that is bound to happen, but it will take some time to get the proper regulation. After 30-60 years astrology will get recognized all over the world as the science of sciences, as the science of counseling primarily, and prediction secondarily.
In India, prediction is primary and counseling is secondary. In America, counseling is primary, and prediction is secondary. The West’s concept is, “Man makes his own destiny.” In the East, we believe in preordained destiny. So the approach to astrology will be basically different in the East and the West. In India, if you say life is predestined, people will easily accept it. In America or England, if you say the same thing they will not accept it. In India and the USA, during the days of British Imperialism it used to be said, “Character is destiny.” A man can affect his destiny according to his character. In India we don’t say, “Character is destiny.” We say, “There is a destiny that you’re born with.” Part of destiny is totally unalterable, part of destiny is alterable, and part of destiny is half alterable and half unalterable. Therefore, we use three terms: dridha karma, adridha karma, and dridha-adridha karma. This means that which is unchangeable, that which is changeable, and that which is half changeable. So our approach is that we believe in destiny. Therefore, here in India prediction will be primary, and counseling will be secondary. In the West, it will be the opposite.
REGAINING DIGNITY IN JYOTISH
VP: In America, I feel like I’m constantly faced with prejudices against astrology being an undignified study.
KNR: Yes, they think it is undignified. But once you begin to establish and show the replication, then the same study will become highly dignified. That is what ACVA (the American College of Vedic Astrology) should have done. That should have been their aim. In any case, if you produce an internationally replicable research in one, two, or three areas, then you can attack the scientific establishment. You can tell them, “You have closed your mind. You have not studied this. Come on disprove it!”
In India, I had to fight this alone. As soon as scientists came to the court of law to fight astrology I destroyed all their arguments in 22 minutes. They could not argue with me. So you can plan it for the next 6-10 years and you’ll see that astrology will get the dignity, rest assured. If you do your work honestly, it will become highly dignified. Now in Delhi people are learning astrology and respecting astrology. Why are these students coming to our classes from other subjects? It is because they respect it. They want to learn it. You must create the same condition in the USA.
A student presenting his research
In Russia, scientists come to my classes. There were fifty-four students in the first class in Russia, and fifty-two had Ph.D.s! Half of those Ph.D.s were people with a scientific background. When I demonstrated the replication I said, “Now take your own horoscopes and apply this.” They said, “Yes, it is working.” They became convinced. Immediately they translated my book, Planets and Children, into Russian. In USA, the advantage is that you don’t have to translate it into English. You only need to replicate and show it to them. There is a cause and effect. That is stage number one. Stage number two: there is a methodology. Number three: there is replication. You’re finished. Three stages.
CHALLENGING SCIENTIFIC CIRCLES
KNR: The so-called scientists will oppose astrology. In the USA, you have an entire scientific establishment and they are Christian supported. Right? So the acceptance by a majority is never possible in the USA. But acceptance of 30 or 40% is enough. But other people will come secretly and consult you. They will not share it openly, because there is a long history of church opposition to astrology right from the Middle Ages, and today scientists are also opposing. So the church and scientists will combine to oppose astrology. Therefore, unless a sound replicable research comes out, they will not accept it. Then you can tell them, “Astrology has nothing to do with religion. It is a subject for study like any other.” What should be their difficulty in accepting it? Is the church opposed to the study of sociology? No. Then why are they opposing astrology?
VP: They don’t even oppose astronomy, a subject so closely linked to astrology. I think the reason is what you said earlier, that if the church didn’t oppose astrology, then more people would go to astrologers than to the ministers for advice.
KNR: Yes. In the Middle Ages in Europe, there was terrible opposition to astrology. It’s a very bad history with a lot of prejudice.
When I was in the USA I gave a lecture to scientists in Boston. They came quietly, and other people came. The program was not publicized, but it spread ‘word of mouth.’ One American lady put up her chart on the board. I said, “Look here, you have studied philosophy, then your studies were interrupted, and then you resumed your studies and you’re in an educational career.” She said, “Yes. Everything is correct.” I continued, “And these days you should be planning to go abroad.” She said, “Yes, I’m going to Germany.” I said, “That is our astrology. You can see that unless you apply the dasha system, you cannot know. That is our progression, not Western astrology’s progression based on transits.”
Then many of them enlisted to study Vedic astrology. They said,“We want to study. You can see so clearly about us from the horoscope. It is worth studying. We’ll study it.” So scientists can study this astrology. There is no difficulty, except maybe there is difficulty with Christians. However, if the USA accepts it, Europe will accept it. USA leads and the rest of the world follows. The 10% of the population in India who are opposed will keep quiet. 90% in India are not opposed.
THE UNIVERSAL SUBJECT OF ASTROLOGY
VP: Is that because it is associated with the Hindu religion?
KNR: Absolutely! In the Supreme Court, when I was arguing the case for astrology, I said, “The Mahabharata, Ramayana, or show me a single Purana where astrology is not mentioned?” How can you dissociate astrology from the Hindu religion? You cannot.
VP: So to deny astrology would be to deny your sacred tradition.
KNR: Yes. It is not so in Christianity. It is not so in Islam. But it is so in the Hindu religion. We have the birth horoscope of Rama. We have the birth horoscope of Krishna. From where they got it, I do not know. But we have it from historical records. Astrology is an integral part of the Hindu religion. Nowhere else in the world is it an integral part.
VP: Does that make it a requirement, for someone who is studying Hindu astrology, to be receptive towards Hinduism?
KNR: No. Do you mean they have to convert to Hinduism? No. This study is an apara subject. ‘Apara’ means a non-spiritual subject. In the Mundaka Upanishad, educational subjects are divided into two parts: ‘para’ and ‘apara.’ ‘Para’ is what takes you towards God, spirituality. ‘Apara’ is simply sociology, medicine, anything. So astrology is also an apara subject.
VP: So, in fact, Vedic astrology or Hindu astrology is really just astrology.To put a name before it is to limit it to a particular culture.
KNR: Yes. I argued in the Supreme Court that a Hindu Brahmin goes and studies allopathy. Allopathy has come from the USA. Does he become a Christian after studying it? I went to America, I went to Russia and taught them astrology. Did I convert them into Hindus? They studied the subject and went away. They retained their faith. I have my faith. There are so many Christians who came to my classes in America. There are so many Russian Orthodox Church members in my classes in Russia. So what happened? There is no question of conversion here. It is just a wrong political argument. Some Indians gave me that argument. I said, “This is nonsense.” It does not belong to any religion, it is a universal subject which anyone can study anywhere.
VP: Thank you very much K.N. Raoji for so generously sharing your wisdom and insights in this interview. It has been incredibly informative and I’m sure it will be very useful for students of this great study of Jyotish. Namaste.