March 26, 2009

Mirror mirror on the wall...

From time immemorial the common folk have been obsessed with seeing the future... what it holds for them, what they can expect and if they need to be prepared for adversities. Hailing from India, the land in which astrology still flourishes, I have seen a very large variety of means by which one's future is told. There are the traditional horoscopes of course, which are to this day a deciding factor in wedding matches. Then there are face-reading, palm-reading, sole-reading, tarot cards, parrot fortune (kili josiyam - for the unfamiliar, this is where a parrot picks a card from many which holds the key to your future), vaasthu, tantriks, psychics, and God-men just to name a few other. In a land with over a billion people, with faith factor from a very large chunk of the population it is not surprising that the "industry" is a flourishing one. But it's not restricted to India, of course. Astrology (zodiac, sunsigns, blah) has it's roots in so many cultures that there are billions of believers across the world.

What is it about unlocking the future that is so fascinating to billions? Sure if it were a proven Science, many would jump the bandwagon. But that's what baffling. There is absolutely no foolproof technique to tell anything in the future from any of the above-mentioned means. The stars... your face, the lines on your palm... they are not text that is read the same way by everyone. And there is not a single proven Clairvoyant person to date. Take Nostrodamus for example. He was revered... but he wasn't as right as many believe. Also, take horoscope-matching in India, for example. Before a potential wedding, the horoscopes (birth charts - positions of stars during the birth of the person) of the bride and groom are "matched" by astrologers. I would be inclined to "believe" in all of this the least bit if any 2 astrologers came up with the same level/ percentage of matching. But guess what? Every astrologer you go to gives you a different picture. Indeed so many matches have been skirted past because either the bride's side astrologer or the groom's side has words of caution for them regarding the catastrophe ahead should the match go through (In India, a potential match maybe predicted to not just wreck the marriage, but sometimes adversely affect the health of someone in the family, all the way to death, even). Some say the couple will live happily ever after, some others say that the match is doomed. So, who are you to believe? And even if you "believed" one and went on with the match/or not and things didn't happen as predicted (big surprise), does that make the other astrologer right? I bet he would have had failings of his own. People should at the most stick to horoscope-matching as a means to filter out the many many proposals that they are likely to get for their son/daughter. It cannot be mistaken to be a "sure" thing. Which is why as a person of Science, I choose not to believe. I am sure all of these factors, the stars, the lines, blah, control some small/vague/undefined strings in the grand scheme of things as we Marionette our way through our lives... but till we know how much or how little, there is little solace in believing in a pseudoscience. Astrology doesn't stop with predicting your life together with your partner... it can tell you the kind of wealth/health you can expect, how many kids you'll have and practically everything you care to know. Surely, out of sheer chance, some of these "predictions" turn out true, sort of akin to "vibes" that even non-psychic people may have... but none of this proves anything.

I guess if it was just a prediction you'd hear and still go by your life with not too many changes, it's still okay. It's shocking to see that the most educated of the lot are also sometimes the most stupid. Take the Mumbai businessman-Tantrik story (read it here) - how twisted would one have to be to want prosperity (as if!) at such a cost? While one can be absolved for using astrological predictions as a guideline to maybe change some things in their lifestyle for the better, it should not be misconstrued to be a sureshot thing. It cannot be mistaken to be a Science. Many things in life are unpredictable... which is what makes it exciting and worth living. Imagine if everything were laid out for you in the form of "sure" predictions. How boring would it be to fulfill such a life? Some things are best left unknown. Period.

13 comments:

Gandalf said...

Really liked this one. It's concise (though it looks long, it reads like a fabulous piece) and very true of the Indian sentiment at least. However in the western world too, I think, little differs... instead of parrots, you have a crystal ball or something alike. I'm gonna forward this post to my parents. Thanks.

Krish said...

I wonder what the prev generation thinks of this post. But who cares, coz I am totally with you on this one. What's the point in matching horoscopes if you are in love with someone for example? Even if you don't believe in it.. you don't want to hear that they don't match if you are going to marry someone anyways. Fabulous post, Ms. J!

Anonymous said...

"Sole-reading"? Really?

Jaya said...

Gandalf, Krish -> Thanks a bunch, dudes. Glad we're all on the same page. And krish - totally with you on the whole don't-check-horoscopes-in-a-love-marriage thing. Makes little sense.

Anon -> Yup... it exists!

Tipsybetsy said...

I LOVE your blog!!!! Become a big fan!!!! Muah!

Jaya said...

Tipsybetsy -> Thanks a bunch :) Keep visiting!

Parasuraman said...

great post and speciall what u posted about horoscopes in marrioage is reall true keep it up i am surprised at the subjects that ou pick up to post keep going ood luck

Jaya said...

Appa -> Thanks :D. After all, yaroda ponnu :)

Ram said...

At the end of the day, it is the extent to which you choose to believe the science of astrology.

For me, I certainly trust some aspects of the science, coming from some expert practitioners of the science.

For one thing, I do believe on the celestial influence that control our actions, determine our personality, etc. Turns out that this can be told from your time, date and place of birth, quite accurately, as I have verified in multiple cases from people that have absolutely no idea on who I am. I did not even speak to them for them to be able to figure out anything, so no cheating here.

If some information about your past, even beyond this birth, can help your progeny and your future, why not? For instance, I came to know that there was some kind of dosham on our family that involved one of our forefathers doing wrong to a woman and that paavam is hurting us. So, we have to do some bhukthi, i.e. typically some kind of a regular prayer or vrath for a certain period of time. Although I could not find any reliable means to proving this, I felt nothing wrong if it can appease a hurt soul or alleviate some wrong doing from our forefather knowingly or unknowingly.

Typically, the best persons are true to their knowledge, have no financial or personal inclination whatsoever. I did find value in it. I know in these days, we can just as easily ignore this and move on. It is an individual choice and extent of belief we carry.

These revelations sometimes bring goose bumps! It is unbelievable how accurate they are. It is sad that this science has been tarnished by greedy and corrupt people behind financial or other material gains!

The Muse ... said...

I wish people would use even something like this to turn people to constructive and positive influences - simple things like this day is going to bring you good luck may even turn people's moods positive and spread some goodness around. Something that was not exactly the theme but a message in the movie Bhool Bhulaiya - not exactly a stellar example. But I guess blind beliefs are fostered with the sole motivation of obtaining power and control over such people.

Ram uncle said...

Perhaps it depends on individual experiences. My encounters with a Palmist and two astrologers were simply astonishing. When things happened exactly what they predicted, of course on different periods, I could not help wondering their knowledge and scopes available in this science. The permutations and combinations of different planet positions are thousands and to interpret them one needs vast knowledge. To begin with the time/date/place of birth must be accurate in order to generate proper horoscope for right predictions while with a wrong data the predictions go awry.

Like any other profession, you find mediocres for which we can not blame the science altogeher.

Monsal Varga said...

Very good post, on one of the oldest "misteries" of humankind.

And that's precisely what it is: human nature, no great logic, just emotions (mostly fear for the unknown, I would presume).

Jaya said...

Bala, The Muse, Ramu uncle and Monsal - > Thank you all for your comments. I deeply appreciate it.. And all of you had such great insights. I didn't reply to them firstly coz I was a bit caught up and secondly... everyon's entitled to their opinions and I am grateful that you all shared your experiences out here on MindBlogging. Thanks a bunch, keep visiting & commenting!

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