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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Parents must have all answers

Article moved to Guru Raj blog

In the long run, for the children to trust their parents, the parents must first win the confidence of the children. One of the important steps in that is to have all the answers for their children's questions. There will be tough questions, embarrassing questions, questions in areas that we are not exposed to, new progresses in science, economics, geography, civics, etc.

Irrespective of our knowledge in the area, we should have an answer that will continue to keep the bond with children. If we are not familiar with the area, we can always look it up in the world wide web and respond to the children. If it is embarrassing questions we should have the clear thinking on whether it is time for the child to learn the truth behind certain areas - is he/she of appropriate age to start learning these things.

A sure way of losing children's confidence is dismissing their questions with any kinds of answers like "Don't ask me all this, ask your teacher", "I don't know these things", "Ask Maths to your mother" or "Ask Science to your father", etc. Since the parents are the main support for the children long into the future, it is important that they be seen as role models.

For that, build confidence by giving as many answers as possible and keep the candle of creativity in the child burning bright. And for the rest "Please wait, while I look it up in the internet, so that I can also learn" would be a good way of reinforcing the feeling that they can come to the parents for any items / issues.


Monday, 29 August 2011

Education at home - with an anecdote

Article moved to Guru Raj blog

What is the role of education at home?

Now-a-days, many people think that education is done only in schools and colleges. Parents would love to just dispatch the children for this grand purpose of education at schools. Can the teachers / professors really complete the education of children? I think not.

Education starts at home, even before the child reaches age of attending school (which varies from 2.5 to 6 years, depending on the country in which the child is growing up). Children are mostly learning every minute that they are awake. Hence, education starts at home and continues with relatives (second most influence), friends, schools & colleges.

Recently during a discussion a parent was complaining that the school was not teaching maths properly because the boy could not do the specific portions as part of home-work. When asked whether the parent could not have taught him themselves, the retort was "Then the school will take credit for what I teach the child." Whoa! It is your child that needs to learn - if the specific method of teaching this particular aspect of Maths has not been grasped by child, don't you think the parent needs to add to it? For the sake of own child? God save the child! Or maybe the child will automatically at some point, by not depending on parents for learning!

Such episodes open our eyes as to how parents are viewing schools and education of their own children. In Tamil we could say "இப்படியும் சிலர்" (such people too exist).


Sunday, 28 August 2011

But the Neo Temples...

With the views of temples in the previous post, a natural question that arises is what do I think of the new age temples. What are these new age temples?

Well, for one, temples where the garba griha is more like a stage of a play / music performance - flood lit or enough light that the idol is easily visible from 100s of metres from the temple.

Another is that fully air-conditioned sanctum sanctorum are seen more often - no longer conforming to "garba" conditions (warmth of the womb). I wonder - shouldn't a little sweat not be good for us?

Deepa Aradhanai now performed from well outside the inner sanctum-sanctorum - now that the idol is well lit, the deepa aradhanai has become like a useless ritual. The priests also do it with as much involvement as reading newspaper while drinking coffee.

So, now there is no search for God within or outside. He is presented on a platter for a fee. And you will be as cool as a cucumber while going through all this.

Finally, the attention given to the devotee is dependent on the money that is placed on the deepa plate. One may call it "human nature" of the priest, but I would rather the priest show equal respect to everyone. And I hope the priests and administrators put the money to good use in the temple upkeep and the necessary requirements to retain the energy centre that the temples are for us all.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Temple helps search for...

There are many reasons for temples, and the rituals followed there. Some are documented well, while others are interpreted for us by many learned people. Here are some views, borrowed / synthesized, copied / plagiarized - just something to churn in our mind.

The idol is in the dark Garba griha and maintained in similar temperature to the womb. It symbolizes the God/Goddess within us. It has got the few lamps lit and that adds to the warm temperature. The idol symbolizing the God / Goddess is also dark - cannot be easily viewed. This teaches us that God cannot be seen easily. He has to be searched with dedication and alertness in seeking within us.

Secondly even with the lamps he is not easily visible. The priest performs different abhishekams and tries to show the God in different forms using the Deepam Araadhanai after each. This teaches us that we see the God in the form that we decorate him/her. We see the truth in the way we decorate the truth. Like viewing with tinted glasses, we see every information with our own prejudice and decorations. Hence we need to understand that to really see the truth or God within we have to remove our own prejudices and decorations.

Thirdly the bell that is rung either at entrance of some temples (devotees can ring it) or during Deepam Araadhanai, is to wake up the God within us. It is not to call out to God & ask for money, status, promotions, etc.

Fourthly we tap our cheeks also to improve our alertness and wake up to the truth that is tried to be displayed within the Garba Griha by the priest using the deepam aradhanai.

Hence, every action is to help us seek and wake up the God within us. It helps us understand what is truth, how we look at truth and how we should look for truth in everything around us. It is not a place for negotiating deals with the God as some seem to do at temples.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Uncles of Boy born in Rohini star will get ill effect is it?

Article moved to Guru Raj blog

One of the superstitions with respect to boy born in Rohini star is that the mother's brothers would have ill effects. Also the mitigation of ill-effect is supposed to be, by not looking at the boy directly. They see the son in a reflection of oil.

Now, let us get to the reason for this superstition. Kanha / Krishna killed his own uncle Kamsa for his bad deeds.

Can't we look at the moral of this story, rather than come to superstitious conclusions? In our culture the maternal uncles are placed in high pedestal and given lot of importance. The relationship is special. The moral to be learnt here is that any person should be willing to punish a person doing ill deeds against self or family, even if the person happens to be own maternal uncle. That is the moral that people should learn from the story of Krishna & Kamsa. Hope the superstition dies out some day... and sons born in Rohini star are boldly looked at by their maternal uncles...

And anyone born in any star be bold enough to punish even revered persons if the mistake is grave and against the self or family.


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Out of reach - increases curiosity... kills the cat?

Article moved to Guru Raj blog

A small experiment we have done with our child has worked out well. We never took anything from their normal places & placed them higher, as the child grew. The child could reach all the items and curiosity is usually immediately satisfied. A careful eye on the child to ensure that things are not broken, etc., was always there & a firm loving disapproval in case of wrong actions (like hitting things with the item in hand) was enough for the child to learn what not to do.

Our computer, printer & wires were all strewn at ground level. After the first venture received a firm "No", the child did not go near that area at all. A glass top tea-table was our choice knowing we had a 1 and 1/2 year old - nothing hit on it or broken at all. Luckily this kind of treatment left a level of "satisfaction" for the child's curiosity. There is less urge to get somethings at all costs - as the child is assured that if required it will be provided. Needs will be provided - wants may or may not be provided.

Overall it has left our home like, just our home, instead of some homes where we see things go higher and higher as the child grows and is able to grab things...

Like I said in the beginning - it just worked out well in this case. We believe the character of the child and the models around them are also important on how such actions are taken forward as lessons, learning, experiences, prejudices, etc... But if curiosity is increased, does it change the character to increased wants, rebellious nature, etc? We don't have the answer... others should comment, I guess...


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

29 of 29 - Revathi

27.                 Then why astrology for beginning any event, function or process?

Answer: A job well begun is job half done.  If the influential objects are going to be in beneficial positions, the job “takes off” like a rocket.  If the influential objects are not so, then it may have problems. 

We should also keep in mind, that there is no guarantee of “high, higher and highest” achievements.  There will be ups and downs.  By starting at good time, we are setting a positive frame of mind for all & positive environment for increased probability of success.

(29 of 29 - Revathi)

28 of 29 - Utthirattadi (Uttara Badrapada)

26.                 Does progeny predictions come out correct?

Answer: The progeny predictions depend on the combined horoscopes of the parents.  Hence, early predictions before marriage may have to be modified with the combined view of the spouse who enters the house.

(28 of 29 - Utthirattadi - Uttara Badrapada)

27 of 29 - Poorattaadhi (Purva Bhadrapada)

25.                 With so many caveats, is it worth matching horoscopes?

Answer: There is no other system of prediction, which is scientifically based on “effects of the influential objects” (big heavy celestial objects’ effect, just like gravity) & “effects of people around you” (marriage, brings a strong force close to you, which modifies the effects of own horoscope). 

Yes, it is worth checking horoscopes for the purpose of mitigating big ill-effects by horoscopes that are magnified (something like resonance of same effects at same time).

(27 of 29 - Poorattaadhi / Purva Bhadrapada)

Monday, 22 August 2011

26 of 29 - Sathayam (Shatabisha)

24.    Then why is not every matched married life happy?

Answer:    Many caveats here – (a) Happiness differs from person to person – one may want many children, another may want more money, a third may want powerful position in job, another may want a powerful position in society, etc.

(b) Birth times may not have been accurately noted (see earlier answers where great people have said that don’t let horoscope “dictate” life)

(c) Some half-baked astrologers being bad apples and

(d) Human nature of astrologer (as described at earlier point of this q & a).

and many more have been discussed in previous posts...

(26 of 29 - Sathayam / Shatabisha)

25 of 29 - Avittam (Shravishta)

23.                 Will that married life be happy?
Answer: Every marriage, every life is full of ups and downs.  If the horoscopes of the two people are complementary, then they are likely to balance out the negative effects in one with the strength in the other.  If the horoscopes have similar ups & downs, the effect may be magnified and lead to severe problems.  Hence, the matching of horoscopes is to help that the two together have a better life.

(25 of 29 - Avittam / Shravishta)

24 of 29 - Tiruvonam (Shravana)

22.                 Should we use Astrology for matching horoscopes?  How does it matter?

Answer: The idea for checking horoscope is to see if there are drastic negative effects, like early death, health disorders, scope for progeny, etc.  This is to just try to ensure that the spouse together with the son/daughter of the person seeing the horoscope will have a long married life.

(24 of 29 - Tiruvonam / Shravana)

23 of 29 - Utthiradam (Uttara Ashada)

21.                 In that case, when does the effect of the celestial objects start for a human being?

Answer: For our calculations, we say that it is at birth.  When the child comes out of the womb, it starts to directly get affected by changing temperatures, heat, rain, cold, bacteria, virus, etc!  Hence, then on, it has become independent & has to be reactive to the environment, including the (a) gravity, light & heat of sun, (b) gravity, light of moon, (c) gravity of the bigger planets and (d) azimuth position of moon with respect to the place (Rahu and Ketu), etc.

In fact, the “protective” shield of parents is said to be there for a longer duration.  Some astrologers say up to 27 years the negative effects are protected – that is, for example, the first 7 ½ year “Saturn” effect is supposed to be less due to this protection (heresay only please - don't quote me).  The true effects are expected to be in the second cycle when Saturn is in the same zodiac as the birth zodiac! 

Hence, the effects are not simple as x is here, y is there – so this is good, or that is bad. All factors have to be taken into account, which comes only from experienced astrologers who have learnt all the facets of Astrology.

(23 of 29 - Uthiradam / Uttara Ashada)

22 of 29 - Pooradam (Purva Ashada)

20.                 Since the time a baby is conceived there are events happening.  Why are they not taken into account upto time of birth?

Answer: This is a good point to think about.  When the baby is tiny, the items that affect the baby the most are the food, chemicals that are around it.  Hence, we have the view that the mother should have good thoughts & good food.  If the mother has tension / depression during pregnancy, then baby is going to get some chemicals that are going to give a different effect during those growth stages.  Now, that is why the “mother’s” horoscope “affects the child”!  If the mother is going through tough period in pregnancy, it does show in the growth, development, genes, organs and limbs of the child.

Then why is not the “sun” and “moon” at time of conceiving not considered.  The effects of the sun and moon are less compared to the two huge bodies within which the two parts join to get conceived.  The mother’s womb protects the child from sun, rain, cloud, heat, cold, bacteria, virus, whatever!  Hence there is no change to affect it, in my opinion!

(22 of 29 - Pooradam / Purva Ashada)

Sunday, 21 August 2011

21 of 29 - Moolam

19.                 Are you again trying to twist words to favour your arguments?

Answer: This is not an attempt to hide or let astrologers hide behind the “words” – but people have to objectively analyze “science”.  Whenever science includes “itself” the problem starts for itself!  Since “astrology” can be used to predict & change the “future” such predictions have to include the “possibility” that such a reading itself is included in the end results predicted!

Yes, I don’t have an answer as of now, but hope rest of the questions help us arrive at a good approximation to the reality of Astrology as Science!

(21 of 29 - Moolam)

20 of 29 - Kettai (Jyesta)

18.                 Can we control destiny just by birth date & time – by Caesarean section at particular time?

Answer: This is difficult to answer.  I will try to give the generalities and hope everyone can work it out from these points.

First we are already a small individual in the magnitude of universe, whose “specific events” cannot be predicted (see uncertainty principle).  If we can predict that, then world becomes “deterministic” – no free will!

Second fact is that any “self-referencing” system has a problem (see Godel’s theorem or related points).  The question is, if astrology is a valid system which is fairly accurate, then can it include the fact that astrology will be used to “change the happenings” based on a study of astrology. 

Then, if for a moment a “blind spot” is created in the astrologer, he makes wrong calculations / predictions, which leads to a different outcome – which may have been the “correct destiny” (actual destiny of the child)! This is later confirmed by a different astrologer on reworking the correct horoscope.

It is also possible that one person is told, due to astrology, that he is expecting a certain problem, which makes the person plan well accordingly.  The person reduces / avoids the problem.  Now, this could be construed as a failure of astrology itself.  It is also possible that other aspects point to a longevity in that activity – which in itself says that “finally successfully tackling."

Another usual occurrence is that the person worries about the problem, works hard and solves it – hence the worries & headaches were the negative & not the “end result”.

(20 of 29 - Kettai / Jyesta)

19 of 29 - Anusham (Anuradha)

17.                 Is there any other possibility for wrong predictions?

Answer: There are many along the lines of “human angle”.  Let us move on to other possibilities, like science’s limitations!  As mentioned before, science itself uses approximations.  Science itself keeps changing as and when we see observations different from “known system”!

Over and above the scientific progress, there is the proven Godel’s theorem.  In any complete system there will be statements that cannot be proven true or false!  Hence, even if we were to find “a system” that is accurate, some aspect of the system will not be provable one way or other!

(19 of 29 - Anusham / Anuradha)

18 of 29 - Visakam

Here is a long one on the human aspect...

16.                 Then what is the reason for wrong prediction from reasonably ‘good’ astrologers?

Answer: There are many aspects to look at. One aspect of astrologer is that he is also human, which means that there are possibilities of mistakes.  For example, let us say the astrologer’s father-in-law is coming to town and astrologer has to pick him up in 30 minutes (father-in-law is bringing 40 gram gold necklace for the astrologer’s daughter).  The appointments are running late & you enter.  The mind is now a “little hurried”.  A small detail is overlooked in the hurry – don’t we all make small mistakes.

8x8 is 16, yes, I reviewed it, and again at end of the exam also – totally 3 times! When the paper comes back we bang our head & know that during the exam “our mind” was elsewhere and kept calculating 8x8 was 16!  It happens to astrolgers too!  We can call this a “temporary blind spot”!  In thamizh we say “kannai maraichudum”! (It is also used in context that the truth is shown in chart, but temporarily the astrologer misses it - like car's blind spot in rear view mirror)

If we look at even great people, they make blunders.  Experts in sports fail in some crucial situations!  How?  Sometimes “over confidence” or even “arrogance”, sometimes called EGO, takes more control than the “reasoning” leading the individual away from the “reality” or “truth”.  This leads to errors / mistakes.  This leads to the downfall of a specific event or even a series of steps down leading to a permanent fall from grace.  The same “blind spot” due to ANY number of reasons can happen to astrologers as well!

Second aspect is that astrologer is also human in that he/she “holds on” to earlier words (Jalpa vada - I said so, and hence I will hold on to it for ever)!  For example, if you visit an astrologer and he says be careful in October.  When you visit in November, he will try to “project” (from memory) that October “would have been” bad!  Astrologer already knows what has been said earlier!  So, astrologer is holding on to same line of thinking – instead of looking afresh (in some cases intentionally hides the fact that he calculated 8x8 as 16, maybe)!

Astrologer also by now knows more about what is happening in your life (office, parents, spouse, children) – and this influences predictions.  So, have to guard against that aspect of “human touch” of attachment to clients – trying to “go along” with past predictions OR known flow of your own life!
This is not “escapism” – it is just “explanation” after the fact.  It is NOT an excuse for the astrologer – it is an explanation of events that arises due to the human nature of the astrologer!

(18 of 29 - Visakam)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

17 of 29 - Swathi

15.                 Some astrologers are able to specify your past, but routinely give wrong predictions. How is that?

Answer:  Astrology can be used to plan for “good beginnings”, including time of marriage, time of starting a venture, time & direction of change in life, etc. 

At the same time, most people go to an astrologer when there is a problem / difficulty in their life.  They would like a “quick fix” to their problems.  This is being taken advantage of by some bad apples.  There are half-baked astrologers, who have a knack of finding your difficulty in either their sweet talking or by just reading non-verbal signs (what you dress, who you go with when meeting astrologer, your face which is the window to your mind), etc. 

They usually come up with “all-encompassing” sweeping statements like “you are now going through a rough period”!  If you fall for it, then “Astrology” cannot be blamed – it is both “half-baked astrologer” and the individual who has gone for guidance who are to be blamed! Pariharams are prescribed, certain good periods in future are prescribed, fees paid, everyone somehow is satisfied for the time-being.... Isn't it so?

(17 of 29 - Swathi)

16 of 29 - Chiththirai (Chitra)

Now let us come to the "human" element of Astrology.

14.                 Doctor / Nurse notes down a wrong time – does that not make it Astrology totally wrong?

Answer: Yes, if the time is noted incorrectly, then the “paper horoscope” is wrong.  The margin of tolerance in Navamsa chart is 4 minutes, I think (experts can contribute here).  But the “actual” horoscope (your destiny) cannot be wrong!  Hence, whatever “we think is right from the noted horoscope” is now wrong.  That does not mean the event, which is unknown, is not going to happen.

The predictions based on the wrong horoscope will be incorrect.  That is why great leaders say "do not be bogged down by horoscopes", let it not become "horror-scopes".  For example, if the horoscope says you will be a crorepati & you put feet on table and expect the money to drop into your account, it may not – why?  Because, it is possible that the time noted is wrong – and hence you have wasted time.  So, do not take the prediction literally and face disaster. 

In fact, it is quite possible that the horoscope says that you will while-away a lot of time, but the “wrong” horoscope guided you into doing the thing that you were destined for. In similar vein, do not foresee an accident during a “bad” period & live your life in worry!  It is possible that the horoscope is wrong due to wrong time noted in it – and you may not have that accident at all, but end up wasting lot of time.  That is the message from learned people. But it is not against astrology / horoscopes.

(16 of 29 - Chiththirai / Chitra)

15 of 29 - Hastham

13.                 So, is there a complete theory?

Answer: Yes, scientists are looking for a “grand unifiend theory” (that they are still searching for).  The issue is that such a thing is in contrast to Godel’s theorem.  Godel’s theorem has been proven that in “any complete” system, there will be “statements” that “cannot” be found to be either true or false!  This theorem is proven, especially when there is “self-reference” (observer being part of the system). 

For example, the statement “Patel, the Indian, says that all Indians are liars”!  This is neither true nor false – if it is true, then him being an Indian is also a liar – hence this statement is false, which leads to the fact that Indians tell the truth.  A paradoxical statement can be found in any system.

With such a proof of “incompleteness” of a complete system, there cannot be a scientific system that can define everything / predict everything.  We have to live with approximations in science too & definitely with Astrology too!

(15 of 29 - Hastham)

PS: Brahmam Okatae, Dwaitamum Sukham / Adwaitamum Sukham, Aham Brahmasmi are closer to truth than science... Well, that is just a personal view... inserted here without any rhyme or reason except sudden whim...

14 of 29 - Uthiram (Uttara Palguni)

12.                 How come there are so many scientists who don’t believe in astrology (and even God)?

Answer: History has been replete with scientists who have agreed in their deathbed that there are unknowns & that their “high-headed” arguments are all incomplete.  There is an external “unexplained” influence that science is not able to explain, they agree!  And this perfectly fits into both science’s theory of uncertainty principle & the fact that everything is approximation, including Astrology. Everything is extrapolations and interpolations based on observed facts & figures.

(14 of 29 - Uthiram / Uttara Palguni)

Friday, 19 August 2011

13 of 29 - Pooram (Purva Palguni)

11.                 The uncertainty principle is in the order of 10-34.  That is very small.  Surely then Astrology must be able to predict better if it is considered a science.

Answer: The size of man in the universe must be then measured with respect to the size of universe itself. The Milky way galaxy is approximately 1 x 1021 metres.  Man is 2 metres (let us say).  The diameter of “observable” universe is about 8.8 x 1026 metres.  This does not take into account the “unknown”!  So, we are approaching the situation where we are like 1 “error unit” in the universe in magnitude comparison for Uncertainty principle.

So, our astrological predictions for a single individual will have errors to a certain extent – that is we cannot say whether a person will have an accident here, or there or further after!  If we can predict that, then there could be some other error (say accident by nature, or by human or by vehicle or by own carelessness).

The order of uncertainty principle seems to be quite applicable to Astrology too and affects predictions in some scenarios.
(13 of 29 - Pooram / Purva Palguni)

12 of 29 - Makham

10.                 So, you agree that Astrology is a prediction & not accurate?

Answer: Yes, it is not difficult to agree that.  Let us look at science. Newton’s theories were thought to be perfect, until they found some problems in “predictions”.  Later Einstein came up with “Theory of Relativitiy” that seems to have better predictions (still it is not 100% accurate – there are some gaps and scientists are trying to find a better approximation)!  Hence, science is for predictions as well! If scientific theories are not able to predict behaviours they are dropped. And still there is no Grand Unified Theory that people are searching for...

With the Schroedinger’s wave equations, “probability” functions are used & they are able to predict only the simplest of atoms – Hydrogen.  Probably Helium atom has been modeled too, but nothing more complex than that, leave alone molecules and then groups of them, then moles of them (6.023 x 10 power 23), etc.!  That is science’s accuracy for you.

Astrology's prediction is closest you can get for the future and to even read the past by someone who is not aware of the events. We will get to other points related to accuracy in later questions.
(12 of 29 - Makham)

11 of 29 - Aayilyam (Ashlesha)

9.                You say science is an approximation – how can that be? Isn't it blashphemous?

Answer: People who have studied “modern physics”, “Schroedinger’s wave equation” and “Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle” will agree that if we go into minute details of any item, we have only “probability” and not “certainty”!  The uncertainty principle states that we cannot have the details of position & velocity accurate beyond a limit – one or the other will be having bigger error in value, if the other is closer in accuracy!

In schools, we first learn the Rutherford atomic model – then it is also taught that this theory is wrong. Then we learn Bohr’s atomic model & later find that is also wrong.  Now we have “Schroedinger’s wave equations”.  By now, we have already learnt from our mistakes and don't take things for certainty.  We have started using “probability” functions, instead of exact equations, in Schroedinger's wave equations, Psi functions, etc!  We have fine-tuned our science based on observations.

That is all – science is as good as Astrology (or as bad; depending on how you want to see it).

(11 of 29 - Aayilyam / Ashlesha)

10 of 29 - Poosam (Pusya)

8.                 Is “Astrology” a science?

Answer: Yes, “astrology” is a science in the hands of the expert / master astrologer.  At the same time, in the hands of a half-baked practitioner, there can be incorrect calculations / predictions.

A knife is a useful instrument in the kitchen, but if you are not careful it can cut your own hands.  An expert will be able to use Astrology very efficiently and at the same time correctly.  If an amateur tries to handle it at same speed there can be mistakes and problems.

Please also note that “Science” itself is approximation based on our observations! All through life of science the equations have been "fit" to the data. Not much has been derived from "first principles". What is the first principle?

Hence, Astrology is a science and fits within parameters of how science is and has been.

(10 of 29 - Poosam / Pusya)

Thursday, 18 August 2011

9 of 29 - Punarpoosam (Punarvasu)

7.                 Then what are these “Rahu & Ketu”? Are they planets?

Answer: Rahu and Ketu are the “chaya Grahas” – that is the “shadow objects” in direct meaning.  They are the node and anti-node of the moon’s revolution around the earth (people who know exact terms can help here).  They do play an important role on us just because the moon is so near!

From a physical standpoint, the revolution of moon is not on the “same” plane of the earth-Sun revolution plane.  It is at an angle.  Hence the effect changes when the moon is northward or southward with respect to earth-sun plane.  This effect is taken care of by Rahu & Ketu calculations in astrology, because the effect / pull does change a bit in direction.

Moreover, the same calculations using Rahu and Ketu are so simple & useful in calculating “eclipses”! Rahu & Ketu when they are in the specific positions then actually that means the moon is between earth & sun (solar eclipse) or earth is between sun & moon (lunar eclipse).  Because of the different plane of revolution we do not have eclipses on every full moon and every new moon day.  This variation, which also has an effect on the happenings, is included by using the Rahu & Ketu calculations!

(9 of 29 Punarpoosam / Purnarvasu)

8 of 29 - Thiruvathirai (Ardra)

6.                 Why do we have “Lunar” calendar when Jupiter and Saturn are bigger than moon?

Answer: With a simple view of Newton’s theory of Gravity, the force of pull is directly proportion to the sizes, but it is also inversely proportional to the square of the distance between two objects.  Hence the farther objects like Jupiter & Saturn, even though they are heavier have lot less influence due to their distance.

As mentioned to an earlier question, a father, a mother, a teacher or a role model (friend) who is close by has a big effect compared to others who are not nearby (like the effect of an officer of a ministry or some arbitrary company’s project's manager)!

Let us consider another aspect.  The moon is approximately at a distance of 108 times its diameter.  The sun is approximately at a distance of 108 times its diameter.  That is the reason that we have total solar eclipse most of the times.  At times, when sun is nearer (earth is at perihelion and sun appears a bit bigger) & moon is farther than average (moon is at apogee and appears a bit smaller), then we have “annular” eclipse (ring of sun seen around moon).

Jupiter is at a distance much more than 108 times its diameter – hence it looks so small (otherwise it would also look the size of the sun / moon).  Obviously this leads to the conclusion that it has less effect compared to sun / moon!  Hence, a “Jupiter” based calendar makes less sense (at least to me).

(8 of 29 Thirvathirai / Ardra)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

7 of 29 - Mrugaseerisham

5.                 How do you say result is the same?

Answer: Our Astronomical calculations using Earth centered observations have been as accurate as the scientific calculations by computers. That is proof enough. Eclipses are calculated accurately using the chaya gruhas Rahu and Ketu. This is different from the problems faced by astronomers of the west when they initially adopted geocentric theory.

When the astronomers of the west from BC to 1500 AD had calculations based on “geocentric” theory, the astronomers of later years found it had errors.  Then they came up with heliocentric theory.  In our systems the actual observations & data have always been based on “over thousands of years” (probably more)!  The equations were from the beginning pretty complex & were always “with reference to earth” – and not “with absolute reference”!

Hence, the result of such complex calculations with earth as frame of reference is correct even though the solar system moves in Heliocentric orbit control.
(7 of 29 - Mrugaseerisham)

6 of 29 - Rohini

4.                 We know “Helio centric” theory of the movement of planets is correct.  Why do we use “earth” centric calculations in Astrology?

Answer: Scientists know that “Theory of Relativity” is the best approximation (as of now).  In this model there is no “absolute” frame of reference.  Every frame of reference is equally valid & observer can be in any frame of reference.  Hence, if we are able to calculate “every position” relative to us (from earth), such calculation is as equally valid when you calculate them with respect to Sun. 

Please note that the equations will be different because frame of reference changes, but result is same.

If I say that Ram is  4 KM to North East of me, while you see Ram is 4 KM South West of yourself, then it is both valid, assuming you are 8 KM to North east of me. So, every frame of reference is good as long as the correct equations are used with correct transformations.

(6 of 29 - Rohini)

5 of 29 - Krittikai

3.                 Why do we not include Uranus, Neptune and Pluto?
Answer: The observations of the ancient civilizations were based on what they were able to see.  The correlations between the events in life, with the “major” celestial objects were noted & then used for predictions to a reasonable accuracy.

Even in science, when you have sequences, we always approximate “by ignoring the terms with higher power”. For example in Binomial theorem based calculations, we use only first 3 or 4 terms and drop the rest as “negligible”.  The reason is those “terms” do not have any “significant difference” in the end result!

Why should “Astrology” need to be a science that is more accurate than “Science” itself? So, we do not need the effects of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto - and still get a reasonable prediction of people's lives.

(5 of 29 - Krittikai)

4 of 29 - Bharani

2.                 Why do we include “Moon” and “Sun” as "gruhams"?

Answer: The Moon and Sun are very close to us.  They are very heavy objects.  Hence they are directly affecting us in a “significant” manner.

Even in life, “father” and “mother” are very close to us and “influential” beings.  We are molded by their behaviour, values, day-to-day moods, etc.  They affect us (let us say in Chennai) more than, say a Kolkata clerk’s actions.  Similarly, the heavier objects and objects in proximity have a higher effect on us.

Newton's law of Gravity is one simple example of the effect of objects on us. And as per that law, the Sun and Moon have a much bigger effect than Mercury or Venus.

(4 of 29 - Bharani)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

3 of 29 - Ashwini

1.                 Why do we call “Moon”, “Sun” as “Gruhams”?

Answer: We should not mix-up “English” terminology with our terminology.  Gruham's root is from Sanskrit which means "that captures”. Sun has captured the planets and Moon is captured by Earth.

In another view we can considered the 9 "gruhams" as “Celestial objects” in this context.  Hence, Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter are all celestial objects.

Now for some trivia related to Sun & Moon. The mean distance of the sun from earth is approximately 108 times the size of the sun. The mean distance of the moon from earth is approximately 108 times the size of the moon. Using law of similar triangles and the slight variations of aphelion-perhelion with apogee-perigee, we can easily see the total eclipse, annular eclipse, etc. 108 is an important number in astrology for various reasons too!

(3 of 29 - Ashwini)

Samples of the non-stop Tirade

An elderly invited speaker, who does not believe in astrology, asked a simple question "Why the Sun and the Moon are included as planets, when we all know that they are not planets." Then he did not allow the other invited astrologer to respond. He kept asking "Why are they planets? They are not planets."

In another episode about astrology there came a young doctor who went on a sequence of negative statements, which were very forceful and without gaps for any retorts. His arguments were:
(a) Sun and Moon are not planets, but they are taken in astrology - that is the first lie.
(b) Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are planets but are not taken into consideration - this is second lie.
(c) The child is conceived long before birth, but we use the time of birth - this is a third lie.
(d) The operation theater clock may be wrong. Hence the time of birth is a fourth lie.
(e) If there is complication, then doctors and nurses may note the time much later, this is a fifth lie with respect to time of birth.
(f) Earth is a planet - it is not even taken into consideration - this is a sixth lie.
(g) People are not able to predict the future with more than 50% accuracy - this is seventh lie.

We will address these and more questions over the next 27 posts, which will be artificially named after the 27 stars of astrology.

We will start with basic terminology - what is "Gruham", etc., which is itself not understood properly. Enough of a teaser for now.... more tomorrow.

(2 of 29)

Tirade against Astrology on Vijay TV few months ago

I witnessed this programme from Vijay TV on "Neeya Naana" (You or Me). In this the skeptics took on a tirade against astrology & did not allow the other side to give their points. There was so much ignorance in their statements & their supposed points of Astrology's fallacies.

Though the astrologer who was brought on program predicted lot of things accurately about past life (including divorce), I would like to address the half baked arguments of some, including learned doctors and social activists. Of course, mine is also half-researched, but based on some simple learning from old relatives, friends, seniors and others.

This is going to be addressed in the form of 27 questions (coincidental to the 27 stars in our astrology) and answers to the same over the coming days.

In the next post, I will first give a glimpse of the tirade... also I would like to iterate that I believe astrology when it is done right... I believe Astrology is a science in all aspects (will be addressed too in the Q&A format posts).... Signing off for now...


Monday, 15 August 2011

Hype of schools by the schools and parents

Article moved to Guru Raj blog

Here is the next attempt on one of our favorite subjects - ", the role of parents to children in first 5 years…" (discussed threadbare from my wife's ideas and experiences)
Parents pamper children during those first 5 years. Then they expect the school teachers and principal to introduce discipline, responsibility, respect, etc., while the kids already have prejudiced learning from parents, relatives and friends in their most amenable age – 0-5 years.

Next comes boasting on which school the children study in – it is X, Y or Z highly touted schools. They are hyped by parents and the school all the time.  Many of these schools pick the best of the lot and then do nothing much to improve them – they are already pretty good. Then they take the laurels of the students and attach it to themselves.

I think the creed should be “Ask not what the school’s name can do to help you, but ask what you can do to put your school’s name on the Education Map.”

We should encourage those schools that take any one - below average, average or above average and make them better students, better humans. That is more important for the future of India. Forget school name tags. Let teachers boost the creativity and dreams of the children rather than cut them by forcing them to do rote learning... India will automatically improve quickly in leaps and bounds.


Interdependence day

I wonder the concept of celebrating independence day... yes, it was independence from British Rule, but Gandhi himself was skeptical saying that Indian Babus will rule us.... It has come true...

Next comes the fact that every country has become interdependent on a few others... we depend on oil from many countries, including Iran.... but someone does not want Iran to supply oil to India easily.... arms are twisted at various positions in various countries. It is big brother or local goonda countries - whichever suits your view....

And with globalization it is definitely interdependent day....

Finally we are totally dependent and at the mercy of people with connections. That has not changed in 64 years as we celebrate the 65th Indepdendence day...

Still India will be great, it's time will come and we will proudly say Jai Hind....


Sunday, 14 August 2011

First Post . . .

Advice comes easy... So, here goes the first one...

The storehouse of wisdom is stocked with proverbs.
- Persian proverb.

Love to stock proverbs and quotations that suits my view of life... and then review them repeatedly to improve myself...

So, that ends the first post... Sunday night with droopy eyes....