Any fancier and admirer of ancient wisdom dreams of visiting India. Those who study astrology will tell you that India, with its legendary astrologers and wise men, miraculous fortune telling and incredibly accurate predictions is a paradise for a real astrologer.
Indian astrology has a multitude of various traditions, systems, schools and doctrines. Not all of them are widely known and popular. Some are known only to a very limited number of people in particular areas, and their adepts are reluctant to popularize their knowledge, passing it on strictly within their families – from grandfather to grandson or from father to son. One of the most prominent and acclaimed astrological systems is Parashara, named after a semi-mythical ancient astrologer. In fact, all Indian astrological systems were named after their founders. The second most known and widespread system is Jaimini (with significantly fewer true specialists and practically unknown and completely unavailable outside India). Finally, there are two other large traditional astrological systems with practically no followers left – Bhrigu and Garga. Remarkable legends are told about a small group of remaining, still practicing followers of these traditions. Their work is more like a miracle than an astrologer’s work in the usual sense.
So, we were in Delhi, and our expedition was coming to an end. Only two and a half days were left till our flight back to Moscow. Before our departure, we paid a visit to our Jyotish Guru Sri K. N. Rao, and he unexpectedly suggested going to see Bhrigu Shastri. In two days we had to make a trip that usually took four days. “Are you ready?” he asked. Of course, we were. From that moment, events unfolded with rapid speed. During two days we had to cover almost two thousand kilometers. We could not get plane or train tickets and had to take a seven-hour bus ride to Jaipur. It was night, and though complete darkness reigned outside the bus windows, we could not sleep. To pass the time we listened to astrological stories.
Story One. Foretold Marriage
This happened around 1956. A girl from a Brahman family came to Mr. Rao. She asked whether she would ever get married. K.N. Rao studied her horoscope and said she would get married and would have a good life but there were circumstances, which could interfere with her wedding.
The girl was happy. She had a fiancé, a fine young man, and no obstacles were seen on the way to their marriage. The wedding had already been announced, and the date had been set. Both families were getting ready for this significant event in the life of every Indian.
The groom however had different plans. He was a noble and spiritual young man who also came from a Brahman family. He was indeed engaged to get married but when the wedding became an inevitable reality he announced to his parents that he did not intend to become a househusband. Instead, he decided to be a yogi and would go to the Himalayas for yogic training and practice. Neither tears, nor persuasion could change his mind. The young man was adamant. The wedding was off, and the couple broke up. The prophesy obviously did not come true.
Three years went by, and the girl did not get married. No one was willing to take her “karma”. Her age was getting farther and farther away from the “bride’s age”. She came back to K.N. Rao and asked him again whether she would ever get married. She again received a positive answer, which reassured her. Five years went by. The Brahman’s daughter was still single and her hopes for a marriage were vanishing. Everyone seemed to have forgotten that the wedding did not take place. It was just that her age was far from the marrying age in India.
A few more years went by. The sister of the single girl came to see Mr. Rao to find out whether her sister would ever get married. She was no longer young and had no children, which was considered a grave misfortune and punishment in India. K.N. Rao’s response was positive again. She would get married. “You are very kind to my sister. I understand that you do not want to upset her”, said the woman. “I’ll let her know what you said. I only want to know the truth. Is there any hope for her to get married?” “Yes”, said Mr. Rao. “She will get married and very soon”.
Eighteen years had passed since that ill-fated day of the Brahman’s daughter cancelled wedding. The young man returned home after a period of reclusion. He was shocked to know that his former bride never got married and his aspiration to spiritual life ruined her happiness.
Without going into details of their meeting, we will just say that the now older man decided that he had to keep the promise his parents had given to her parents. The wedding took place almost twenty years after the engagement. “See, Saturn is in her fifth house which delayed her wedding for so long but could not prevent it entirely”, said Raoji showing us the horoscope of the girl who once came to know her future.
At dawn, we arrived at Jaipur, a beautiful city with pink filigree walls reminiscent of the Muslim reign. We only had time to drink tea and take a short break before we had to get back on the road. An old Ambassador was merrily going along the highway. Another four seven hundred kilometers lay ahead of us, and we had time to discuss the problems of astrology. This time we talked about mundane astrology. This is the story Sri Raoji told us.
Story Two. About India’s Horoscope
“The name of pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is well known to you. He was independent India’s first Prime Minister. It is a well-known fact that he had a western style education, an acute mind and a science-based intellect. In public he never showed any interest in astrology and always dissociated himself from “this anachronism”.
When India and Pakistan gained their independence from Britain, it was suggested that they should announce it on August 14, 1947. However, “suggested” is not quite the right word. They had no other choice for the Independence Day. Indian astrologers were disturbed saying that this day was not favorable. What did pandit Jawaharlal Nehru do? He listened to the astrologers and found a compromise. The day has twenty-four hours, and it was probably possible to find the most favorable moment of these twenty-four hours. Astrologers found just the right time. It was on the night between the fourteenth to the fifteenth, the moment (Abhijit Muhurtha) considered most favorable for any beginnings. The Moon at that time was also in a favorable Nakshatra. But independence could not be officially proclaimed at night! An ingenious solution was found. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru convened the Constitutional Assembly at midday on August 14 and kept it going till midnight. India’s independence was announced only after the meeting was over, at midnight sharp. Pakistani politicians were not concerned about announcing independence on an unfavorable day. You can clearly see a significant difference in the development of these two countries. India is far more successful than Pakistan.”
Figure 1. India independence. Tropical chart
…Meanwhile we were reaching our destination.
Bhrigu astrology is a miracle that we were anxiously awaiting. Unlike other astrological traditions in India, Bhrigu astrology does not deal with horoscope interpretation but is the reading of a text presumably written by wiseman Bhrigu fifteen hundred years ago. Any person that comes to see Bhrigu Shastri at any time in any century will see their destiny written on palm leaves. You just have to be able to find this particular horoscope and read it off a palm leaf. Can you imagine your destiny being outlined hundreds of years ago? We wanted to see with our own eyes the text describing our destiny and hear the prophesies by Bhrigu Shastri.
At Bhrigu Shastri
Our Ambassador came to a small house at the outskirts of a village. This was the “office” of Bhrigu Shastri. It was half past five, and dusk had enveloped the village. The office was closed.
“It is too late. Bhrigu Shastri reads horoscopes only in the daylight before sunset”, said Mr Rao. “That’s the tradition”.
“Okay”, he said after a short pause. “I’ll try to persuade him”.
In a minute, an elderly lean man with a dark complexion and a long lock of silver hair on his shaven head dressed in traditional white attire came out of the house. It was Bhrigu Shastri, pandit Nathu Lal. “He has agreed though he is breaking the tradition”, said Raoji.
Bhrigu Shastri’s assistant opened the office. It was a small room without furniture, with mats on the floor. In a minute five huge coffers were brought into the room. Shastri asked to see the palms of the first of us. He carefully studied the lines and bumps, peered into the face and made notes on a small slate, then continued studying the palms. Finally, he concluded that the time of birth stated for this person had to be adjusted by ten minutes. This adjustment would change the ascending sign and the Mansion, alongside with many horoscope features. A few more manipulations followed, which took over thirty minutes, and the right horoscope was found in one of the five coffers. It was a thin piece of paper with text on both sides. It was not a palm leaf, but they explained to us that because of age, palm leaves were replaced with paper.
Bhrigu Shastri brought the paper to his eyes, triumphantly looked around the room and said: “This horoscope is one in a billion! This is an outstanding yogi who has achieved spiritual heights!”
This was followed by a description of his parents, the early death of his father, the interests and education of that person, a change in his occupation, number of children, description of his wife, her education and hobbies, his health condition and some of his illnesses, difficulties and challenges in the past, relations with seniors and colleagues… Oh my God! Everything including the smallest details of life was true. Bhrigu Shastri read in Sanskrit and Hindi, and Mr. Rao translated into English.
The reading was recorded with a tape recorder and two people were writing it down – in Russian and English and in Hindi. The reading also included the description of the person’s previous reincarnation, the place of his past life, his marital status and matrimonial relations in his past life.
From time to time, Bhrigu Shastri showed the paper to K.N. Rao to prove that he was actually reading the written text.
He then continued with forecasts. Many things we thought of as our plans seemed to have been fulfilled in this reading. He warned of certain dangers and recommended following certain rules. Sometimes we asked him whether it was going to happen or had already happened. The response was that those were the things to come but they sounded like they had already happened, as the text had no past, present or future. Everything was already outlined. To determine what was the future and what was the past was only possible by the ages mentioned by Bhrigu Shastri. “At the age of forty he did this and that, and the age of fifty – this and that…”
The reading continued for about an hour. Shastri was almost singing the lines of the text as an ancient hymn: he was performing a religious rite uncovering the will of Heaven to people. This sensation is impossible to describe. You feel like you are witnessing an outstanding moment in life, looking down on the endless stream of Time…
Finally he read: “This person will come to listen to Bhrigu Shastri not out of need, but out of curiosity to learn about the art of Bhrigu. He will come on the seventh day of the waning moon, two hours after the sunset, and an exception will be made for him. He will come with his astrology teacher Jiotish guru and five other people” (our group including two students of K.N. Rao and the driver consisted of six people!)
Even writing these lines gives us goosebumps. It is all outlined in the text created fifteen hundred years ago. Do you understand anything about time and space, dear friends?
At Bhrigu Shastri: from left to right Boris Boiko (for whom the reading after sunset was done), Manoj Pathak, Bhrigu Sastri Pandit Nathu Lal, Sri K.N.Rao
At Bhrigu Shastri: from left to right Karine Dilanian, Pandit Nathu Lal, Sri K.N. Rao