Fate, Free will, astrology and remedies

Modern-day neuroscience has made some compelling discoveries in the area of human psychology. However, the progress has not yet taken a giant leap to understand the human mind nor the idea of intuition. Please refer to this article below which gives a brief overview of the controversial Libet’s free-will experiment.

The illusion of free-will

Please refer to the below excerpt from the Bhagavad Gita, God talks with Arjuna by Paramahamsa Yogananda in order to understand the spiritual and astrological take on the same topic.

“As commonly calculated today, an astrological chart is drawn for a person according to the time and place of birth; even a slight inaccuracy in this data affects the accuracy of the chart. Further, one is actually ‘born’ at the moment of conception, when the soul enters the first cell of its new body. One’s karmic pattern has already begun to unfold in that instant. The intuition of wise men, such as my guru Sri Yukteswarji, who was masterful in astrology as the divine science it was intended to be, knows how to factor this “birth at conception” into calculating a horoscope.”

“In any case, it is not the stars themselves that control the happening in man’s life but rather his individual karma that, when ripe for fruition, is affected beneficially or adversely by the electromagnetic vibrations of the heavenly bodies. The reaction of the stars to the human body and mind is very subtle. The astral forces radiating to the earth from the heavens interact with those in the spinal centers that sustain man’s body. Ignorant man does not realize how body and mind are changed though his good and bad actions, and how his actions affect – positively or negatively – the centers of the spine. Persons whose bodies and minds and material environment are out of order, the result of transgressions of spiritual law, have in harmony between the energies of the spinal centers and those radiating from the twelve signs of the zodiac.”

“The true science of astrology, therefore, is mathematics of one’s own actions, not the mathematics of the brainless stars. Karma governs the stars and one’s destiny, but karma is governed by one’s willpower. What is to be does not necessarily have to be.”

“Man’s free will and divine determination can change the course of events in his life, or at least mitigate adverse aspects. One whose body and mind are very strong is impervious to adverse astrological influences: there may be no outwardly observable reaction at all, even when evil vibrations may be radiating from negative configuration of the stars. But if body and mind have been weakened by wrong eating, wrong thinking, bad character, and bad company, then the stellar rays have the power to activate latent harmful effects of past karma. On a cosmic scale, the combined karma of groups of individuals – social or racial groups, or nations, for example – or of the world at large, constitute the mass karma of the earth or portions thereof. This mass karma responds to the electromagnetic vibrations of the earth’s cosmic neighbors according to the same laws that affect each individual, thereby inducing beneficial or malevolent changes in the course of world or natural events. A store of good mass karma from living in harmony with divine laws and forces blessed man’s earthly environment with peace, health prosperity. Accumulated bad mass karma precipitates wars, diseases, poverty, devastating earthquakes, and other such calamities. During times of prevalent negative vibratory influences, the individual must thus contend not only with his personal karma, but also with the mass karma affecting the planet on which he lives.”

“Horoscopes tend to influence and paralyze the free choice of man’s inherent divine will-to-conquer. Further, intuition is needed to read correctly the messages of the heavens and to interpret their significance in relation to one’s individual karma. For guidance and support it is far better to appeal to God and His angelic agents. Why look to the mute stars? From them man can receive neither sympathetic response to his plight, nor personal succor in the form of divine grace.”

“When one is following God’s path, to give too much thought to such lesser sciences as astrology is a hindrance. The highest way to create the right influences in one’s life, the yogi’s way is to commune with God. All stars bow down before the presence of God. By meditation the yogi reinforced the positive spiritual power in the cerebrospinal centers that are acted upon by the planetary influences. In this way, the yogi harmonizes body and mind with the universal laws and God’s divine cosmic agents who govern them.”

Please refer to another excerpt below from ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, Ch. 16, Outwitting the stars by Paramahamsa Yogananda to further understand the role of remedies and astrology.

‘It is only when a traveler has reached his goal that he is justified in discarding his maps. During the journey, he takes advantage of any convenient short cut. The ancient rishis discovered many ways to curtail the period of man’s exile in delusion. There are certain mechanical features in the law of karma which can be skillfully adjusted by the fingers of wisdom.’- Sri Yukteshwar Giri Maharaj

‘All human ills arise from some transgression of universal law. The scriptures point out that man must satisfy the laws of nature, while not discrediting the divine omnipotence. He should say: ‘Lord, I trust in Thee and know Thou canst help me, but I too will do my best to undo any wrong I have done.’ By a number of means – by prayer, by will power, by yoga meditation, by consultation with saints, by use of astrological bangles – the adverse effects of past wrongs can be minimized or nullified.’

‘Just as a house can be fitted with a copper rod to absorb the shock of lightning, so the bodily temple can be benefited by various protective measures. Ages ago our yogis discovered that pure metals emit an astral light which is powerfully counteractive to negative pulls of the planets. Subtle electrical and magnetic radiations are constantly circulating in the universe; when a man’s body is being aided, he does not know it; when it is being disintegrated, he is still in ignorance. Can he do anything about it?’

‘This problem received attention from our rishis; they found helpful not only a combination of metals, but also of plants and – most effective of all – faultless jewels of not less than two carats. The preventive uses of astrology have seldom been seriously studied outside of India. One little-known fact is that the proper jewels, metals, or plant preparations are valueless unless the required weight is secured, and unless these remedial agents are worn next to the skin.’

I am a firm believer in using our will to circumvent the many troubles in life. The chart can indicate many different events but it will only act via us taking action. Say for instance a chart shows a period of depression due to loss of someone dear to the person, which in many ways is terrible news for anyone to hear. I don’t think we can avoid it. There is nothing we can do about it. Death and disease is something that is guaranteed. The moment we took our place in this world, we also signed a contract with Yama, the GOD of death and our hourglass has started ticking. It applies to all the people in our life and also the materialistic manifestations in our life. Whether we like it or not that loss will take place. What instead we can do is accept it, adapt to that change and spend time contemplating it, which will reveal the grand perspective of things. In order to avoid being severely depressed, one may even resort to mantra recitation and Kriya yoga. Mantras operate on ethereal level and hence it is extremely powerful.  However, it demands sacrifice and devotion. By now you may also be wondering why should one take action to a certain event? what is the right action to be taken? why is one forced to take action?

Irrespective of whether you believe in astrology or not or you believe in spirit/God or not, the universe will operate with or without your consent. It is our duty to perform an action and we can’t prevent ourselves from acting in accordance with our inherent imprinted nature. But even our action unfolds in accordance with the divine plan. As part of the action is preparing for the action that is certainly a matter of choice and here is where free will comes into play. Every day and every moment of life we make a choice – whether to exercise or watch TV; whether to eat healthily or junk food; even while I write this document I had a choice of getting few extra hours of sleep or finishing this article. I chose the latter. So was there was an astrological indication or not for me to write a document, I don’t really know because I don’t look into my chart to analyze every single event but what I do know is when I felt sleepy I didn’t hit the bed but instead chose to work. That is what exercising free will means. Of course, this is a simple example but you can apply the same to any circumstance in your life.

Further related to this topic I have noted that a big part about having success in life just comes down to confidence. So I advise people to always keep their hopes high and be more optimistic. A well-placed Jupiter goes a long way in this aspect of life as he rules divine law, purposefulness, faith and also the ether element. Consider an example where Jupiter is not well situated in many Varga charts (divisional charts) and also suffers debilitation in a native’s birth horoscope. Such a native may find it hard to be optimistic and joyful in life. But that is just one part of the jigsaw puzzle revealed through astrology. The native still has free will, a conscious choice that he can make to cultivate Jupiter in his life. Nobody is stopping the native from developing that Jupiter’s positive energy except the native himself – it is very essential to keep this mind. So if such an individual were to use his will power and engage in mantra recitation or pranayama practice on a regular basis, he will begin to slowly manifest more ether element in his life. Thus optimism, hope, wealth, wisdom that gives joy will begin to sprout. If this practice becomes part and parcel of their life, it will eventually grow to be a tree leading to a successful worthwhile life of virtues.

Something amazing happens once this process begins (The primordial five elements). As the ether element begins to spread and grow, it feeds the air element ruled by Saturn. Thus native at this stage gains confidence to tackle the harsh realities of life; perseverance and ability to bear burdens of life ruled by Saturn is strengthened. Once air element of Saturn is balanced, it feeds the fire element of Mars. Now the native has the drive (the fire) of Mars to tackle the big challenges of life with rational thinking and discipline. Once the fire element is balanced, it feeds the water element of Venus. The native having developed the hope, joy and optimism (ether), confidence to persevere (air) and ability to fight for bigger sattvic goals (fire) will evaluate and make best choices. Thus their net self-worth increases and emotional needs will be easily met. When water element of Venus is balanced, it feeds the earth element of Mercury. A native who now has high self-esteem and emotionally content is ready to make an impact on the world in a grand fashion. This will thus help the native manifest the concrete (earth) material manifestations in his life in a smooth and harmonious manner. The above rational can be applied to understand any remedies to pacify a planet. They all are interconnected and entwined together.

Balancing Jupiter’s ether element via mantra and japa means bringing all elements under control.

If Saturn’s air element is imbalanced it can he brought under control through sadhana (spiritual development to attain moksha through vairagya ie. detachment), fasting, aroma therapy, charity, being of service to needy people, spending time in nature, Kriya yoga as it involves breath control and leading a natural life style.

If Mars’s fire element is imbalanced, then it can be balanced through hatha yoga, exercise, acupuncture, color therapy, martial arts, gem stones and disciplined activities, which will also balance all the other planets energy.

If Venus’s water element is imbalanced pampering oneself with a good massage, marma chikitsa, Reiki, sujok therapy, involving in artistic ventures like creative writing (poems), dancing, painting etc., taking vacations at regular intervals, can bring it to harmony and in the process balance the other elements too.

If Mercury’s earth element is not proportionate, such natives should look into ayurvedic medicine, having balanced nutritious diet, learning new languages, skills, mantra recitation and to some degree may benefit from psychiatric counseling (astrology included). In the process of balancing the earth element of mercury, they will also balance the other planetary energies.

In addition to this there are the luminaries Sun and Moon who don’t rule any element but are responsible for all life on planet earth. The Sun is the KING of the zodiac. He represents the soul and is the natural Aatmakaraka (soul planet) for all natives. The Moon is the QUEEN of the zodiac. In the words of Sri Yukteshwar Giri Maharaj, the moon is the manas (mind) in which resides the jiva (life) along with ahamkara (ego). It is the ego that is responsible for separate existence from GOD consciousness. Ego should not be mistaken as to something that is bad or good. Ego (aham) is neutral and it is indifferent. Jiva is what makes us who we are as an individual human being. Aham means who we imagine ourselves as against atma, who we really are. The important word in the context of aham is “imagine” which is indicating that it is an illusion or not the truth. If it weren’t for aham, then we would be one with the atma or the soul or GOD consciousness. So ahamkara is what separates us from GOD consciousness or in simple words ahamkara is what separates a person’s higher self from their lower self.

Sun is a very noble planet. A well disposed of Sun indicates a truly inspired intelligent personality capable of creating his/her kingdom. If the Sun is weak in the birth chart a person may lack consistency, confidence, and intelligence. A weak sun shows a weak bone structure, low immunity and even have many bodily ailments. Such a person will be unable to make any impact on the world on accounts of these setbacks. In order to strengthen a weak sun, the person can resort to homeopathic medicine, Kriya yoga, and gemstones.

Moon, on the other hand, is a planet whose intelligence is more on the emotional level. The Rig Veda states – Chandrama manaso jatha! This means that moon was born of the mind of the Brahman, the supreme consciousness. This can also be interpreted in a different manner as to that the moon represents the mind of the kala purusha and thus the intelligence of the moon is his “all knowing” nature. Perhaps, the best planet to have in great dignity and strength in the chart is the moon. A well-positioned moon goes a long way in handling most of the difficulties life throws at a native. Moon is responsible for the person’s emotional well-being and needs being met. If moon is afflicted a person has many fluctuations in their moods, prone to depression, difficulty adapting to changes life throws at them (both good and bad) and suicidal tendencies. In order to balance the moon’s energy, the best remedies are consulting a psychologist, Bach flower remedies, hypnosis and pranic healing. Astrological counseling also works to an extent in understanding their innate tendencies but will only be effective if the person consciously makes an effort to change the birth imprints.

It is best to have both Sun and Moon in decent status in the chart. If not at least the Sun should at least be in good dignity in a man’s chart while in a woman’s chart the moon should at least be in good dignity. If both the Sun and Moon are afflicted then it calls for immediate attention as all other planets are under their control. If the Sun and Moon are afflicted then it is as if the King and the Queen who are responsible for managing the kingdom and the other members in their council are sleeping or are away on vacation or addicted to narcotics and turned crazy. The other planets cannot do their best if the Sun and Moon are afflicted so it is always good to do remedies for these two planets.

Any planet that is imbalanced requires attention and it is best advised to start with balancing its energy to bring other planets to harmony. A good astrologer should be able to pinpoint which element is out of balance and recommend the suitable remedies.