There are two very powerful theories in Indian culture that people use in their daily life for the results that they obtain for every life event. One is KARMA theory and the other is ASTROLOGY. If one says “Ah! it is written in my horoscope that this was inevitable and hence it had to come to me“, the other would say that “Some where in past life or early in this life, I might have done some thing wrong to some one and hence the reaction is reflecting like this right now“. Then who is right? If every thing is due to a KARMA we did, then is ASTROLOGY wrong? If every thing is according to stars, planets and their transits, then is KARMA theory wrong? If both are right, how to reconcile between them? This forms the subject of this article.
Before we proceed any further, let us lay a sound foundation in both the theories. Else, the solution(s) that we would derive will not be logically consistent at the end. Also, a premise needs to be stated first without any delay i.e. “Origin of this Universe is cyclic and so the life in it. So we have had many life times before this life and will be having many after this — unless merged in the ONE universal self called by the name GOD“. With this premise of past life acceptance, one can clearly get to the heart of each theory easily.
What is karma? It is a dynamic state of existence — physical or mental. So, whether we do a physical act or an act of thinking and analysis, any kind of dynamism is called a karma. Every act that we do is accompanied with a result. The subtle impressions that the result makes on each of us, determines if a karma is a ‘good karma’ or a ‘bad karma’. Example, those acts that kindle love, kindness, peace, etc. are good karmas — like social service, listening to a music etc., where as those acts that kindle hatred, frustration, agony etc., are bad karmas — like theft, fighting with others, cheating etc. Though few of the acts may kindle one kind of impressions at first hand, over the long run of life, will shift to the other kind. For example, a robber might be enjoying and deriving JOY from a robbery, but over the time he will repent for his past actions and a sense of redemption comes in his heart. Hence though at first sight robbing may seem good karma for a robber with our given definition, but with the extra note also taken into consideration, we can conclude that robbing is a bad karma. Another example would be to attack in defense – like soldiers of a nation does. Though at first sight killing another human may seem to be a bad karma, but killing for the sake of protecting GOOD from EVIL (as told by Krishna to Arjuna in GITA) is highest of the good karmas. Thus, when deciding the goodness or badness, one need to consider a cumulative and time averaged effect (extra note).
Any kind of karma, karma is inevitable. If one observes closely, one can not be called alive, unless he does a KARMA — at the least, even his breath is a karma, right? and the way he breaths defines his present mind set (when in tension, a rapid breath etc.). So, every one of us inevitably does karma. Then are we eternally entangled in this web of our acts?
Sri Krishna, the lord almighty hints in his treatise – GITA – that when we are not attached (with the mind) to the karma we do i.e. if we do not identify ourselves with the karma, then the result of the karma will not affect us. This is a ticky principle — one may fall into the pit thinking “I will attribute what ever I do to god and let me steal this gold ring”. But, then even the result is to be attributed to god because, stealing the ring inevitably attracts law enforcement. If one truly was detached from the act, he wouldn’t mind the law enforcement on him — i.e. he will not be the DOER, but the act is done through him. So, what Krishna hints is that, the act when done selflessly, though results in a result, will not affect the state of our being. But one might question then what is the use if result is inevitable? This is where one needs to bring the premise that I stated in introduction. As the life is a continuous flow with its specific junctions of birth and death, we can safely state that we have a savings account and a currents account in the Bank of KARMA i.e. a Bag full of accumulated “effects of karma” done in past lives and a piling up of “present life’s karmic effects” in our state of existence. It is some thing like the following picture where one can compare these karmas with a water tumbler having an input and output. Symbolically also, the input is huge compared to out put as you can see — i.e. bagged karma is most of the times (for common man) is heavy than the present one.
Thus, the events and results of present life are due to the complex nexus of these two kinds of karmas that interact over the lifetime(s). And after a certain number of life times (huge, unless we find a path that hastens this – like yoga or tantra or Devotion etc.) we will learn to be only the vessel of karma an don’t the owner of karma and thus attaining the GOD-hood or salvation or Moksha. Though it is easy to attribute every reaction to an action, it is hard to attribute to a specific karma (many a times). Any way, this is the over view of Karma Theory. Let us go into Astrology.
What is astrology? For a modern astrologer, it is that which can predict events of this life. But for a person who knows the true wisdom — be it a VEDIC or EGYPTIAN or KABBALISTIC –any kind of ancient path of true wisdom, he knows that astrology is that part of that wisdom which sheds light on every aspect of this COSMOS. Specially, Vedic people have a thorough quantification of science and art of astrology. They say that Astrology alias Jyotisha Shastra is one among the 6 keys to unlock the wisdom contained in the Vedas and it is like an EYE to the VEDA. So, bringing it down to a level of mere prediction of mundane life shows the limitation of modern mindset. At any rate, let us briefly see what this astrology consists of.
When we look at outside world, we form the center and the horizon (plane of observation) forms the circle. The radius is that which connects us to this plane of observation. The horizon that we see is actually an illusion to our senses, i.e. a particular form of perception to our senses, but in its reality it is the background itself. But, this relative truth is what we should take and proceed further so as to reach the absolute truth, for we can’t yet comprehend the absolute truth (Oneness / unified consciousness of this whole universe). [This truth is hinted by Pythagoras when he was commenting up on the symbol “Pi”. We all know Pi is half times the ratio of circumference of a circle to the radius of the same circle. This is nothing but the relation between the horizon and observer connected through radius]
So, in summary, all that we perceive effects us in one way or the other. It should be noted that this perception includes not only the conscious perception but also the unconscious perception — i.e. even when we do not acknowledge the existence of X-Rays and Gamma rays by our natural senses, are we not affected by them? In similar lines is the effect of the stars and planets that surround our Earth. The principle is that “The rays of stars, sun and planets contain not only the physical electromagnetic rays that we know of, but also contain a special form of RAYS that affect the life and matter upon which they fall. So a combination of each set of these rays has a specific effect obviously”. If this premise is taken to be true, rest of the astrology can be easily understood. Thus it is easy to see that as Sun and its planets are always in constant motion in milky way galaxy, the set or combination of stars as seen from Earth keeps changing and also the planets are dynamic and hence every second or every minutest of time division gives you a specific set of combination of RAYS that reaches Earth. This is the reason for diversity of life forms or matter on this Earth. But also, as the solar system’s speed around the Milky way’s center is slow in comparison to that of planets around the Earth, the Zodiac apparently seems constant for many thousands of Years and hence we see many species of life forms and others to be constant on this Earth over a very long time periods.
From the reference frame of Earth, stars seem to form into a particular groups or shapes called by the name ZODIAC (Aries, Taurus, etc). Remember that Zodiac formed by present day astronomers with the help of imaginary lines which apparently seem to form animal shapes is a modern day fallacy. Zodiac is named after the influence that the group of stars or constellations that render to our Earth. More will be dealt in a subject by the name “Spiritual Astrology” and hence for now it is enough to know that the constellations that surround the equatorial belt of our Earth in the sky have a peculiar influence on the life and matter of this Earth.(Just to let you know that in Vedas, the zodiac is not only divided into 12 signs as in modern astrology, but also was divided in the form of 1, 2, 3 ….. 360 …720 divisions. Each division has a particular purpose and reveals a particular TRUTH). Similarly we have Planets which reflect Sun’s light onto Earth, unlike stars which are self luminous. They also have their specific speeds of rotations and revolutions around the Earth as seen from Earth’s reference frame. Though our ancestors knew the time periods of these planets around SUN, they used for all practical purposes the periods in relation to Earth. This is called a substitute truth to the absolute which is necessary for our life’s evolution on this earth.
Let us condense our discussion to humans. When a sperm and ova meet to form an egg, the life form which we call as an individual “I AM” is formed due to Sun’s RAY, the mind is formed due to the Moon’s RAY (moon, mind and manas all have same root etymology) and in similar way, each and every aspect of the body and spirit is formed due to the RAYS of planets and stars and their combination that exist at the time of fertilization right around the Earth at the exact moment. This forms as a seed for the new life that enters the fusion process and will grow into a tree over the life time. Depending on his discriminative WILL and Guru’s guidance one can shape the tree and reap the fruits of the tree. An astrologer might not know this mechanism, but he knows the end result of such a combination of set of stars and planets (like people say I am Gemini and hence I behave so etc.). Thus in a way, astrology sheds light on every aspect of your life. It doesn’t remove the obstacles, but just sheds light and its up to us how to cross the obstacles. Just because we have a torch, there is no guarantee that we won’t tumble upon a stone. Similar is the case with astrology. So, one needs to know the ways of escaping the danger and getting into a fast track for evolution along with this light in their life.
Comparison and Contrast:
Now we are ready to compare and contrast the two theories. Karma theory offers a satisfying attribution for events of life but fails to give right attribution to a source of a result i.e. it doesn’t say which of the karma’s we did lead to the following result. Also, if only karma theory is to be trusted upon, then we are doomed for, we can;t remember our past lives and karma theory heavily rests on past life events too. So, this is where Astrology comes in handy. Let us see how.
Imagine a soul (our ‘i am’ consciousness) has had a certain number of lives and a set of karmas with it. Treat the karmas’ sum total as a magnitude with a sign (+ for good and – fo rbad). So, basically it is like a charged entity with a type of charge (good or bad karma) and magnitude of charge (heaviness of the result anticipated by karma). This Karmic Charge (KC) is taken as an address for next life. In next life, ideally all the KC is to be nullified — but due to accumulation of that life’s karma and our ignorance leads to another set of karmic charge say “KC-#”. So, after acquiring ‘KC’, the rays of SUN, Planets and Stars form a routing path for this Charged entity. i.e. unless the combination of these cosmic bodies is right (say threshold) the KC entity will not be pulled by them and routed to the EARTH’s sperm-ova fusion. So, depending on past lives only KC is formed and due to KC only our next life is defined. But the mediators are these heavenly bodies and their combination (of rays). So, in a way, if we know the combination, we can know what would have been the KC and thus its past life events. Also, the combination dictates KC to become ‘KC-#’ as we already saw (i.e. seed principles) and hence we can also know the future trend of the life entity that is born. Basically it is just like how routing mechanism works in computer networks. The packets are souls and wires are RAYS of combination and source and destinations are different life times. And this cycle keeps repeating endlessly unless one finds a way to break and merge his individual consciousness into GOD consciousness.
Now one can see that potentially Karma Theory and Astrology have same theme. If Karma theory forms the Theoretical aspect, then Astrology forms the practical aspect of learning about our life and uplifting ourselves. Like in case of gravity, one can say that due to gravity a stone falls or else one can throw the stone first and after falling they can attribute it to gravity. Similarly is the case with Karma theory and Astrology. Both are inseparable and shouldn’t be seen as rivals. They supplement each other. When one properly decodes their horoscope, sees their pitfalls and tags that they brought from past lives, they can start using karma theory to rectify and shape the present so as to reduce the magnitude of KC-# and thus either in this life or few more life times, one can attain salvation.