The following is a compilation of frequently asked questions regarding my New Years predictions:
Chakrapani, isn’t the idea of New Year’s predictions rather like fortune telling?
Unlike reading tea leaves, the Tarot, or other psychic undertakings that rely on free-form intuition or special sensitivities of the practitioner, Vedic Astrology is a science that follows established mandates and requires that the practitioner learn many rules and formulas, and combinations of formulas. The practice of interpreting a horoscope involves an evaluation of these energetic formulas. It is a science because it is based on precise mathematical criteria which can be tested, repeated and verified. However, to practice Vedic Astrology beyond a superficial level, the interpretation of the horoscope requires that the practitioner make subtle energetic distinctions, bringing the practice into the realm of an art form. For this reason we refer to Vedic Astrology as both a science and an art.
As far as making predictions, a Vedic astrologer compiles a forecast in a manner similar to that of a weather forecaster. A forecaster considers all the various elements at play, and then as an expert in that field, makes an estimate of what will be the probable future outcome. It is the same principle that is operating with an economist who makes an assessment regarding the financial markets, or other experts in their respective field who use their knowledge of the conditions and variables at play to anticipate a probable outcome regarding future events.
The difference in Vedic Astrology is that anticipating probable outcomes is a core function of its practice. However, predictions are not intended to be taken in a passive spirit like a fortune teller delivering an edict; rather the contrary. Vedic Astrology holds paramount the notion of free will such that the individual, on being given astrological guidance has the opportunity to reflect on their innate tendencies, strengths and weaknesses and the general issues in their life. Armed with greater awareness the aspirant can better consider their choices and the implications of their actions. Certainly astrology is intended to aid us in taking advantage of our inherent strengths or personal resources to be in the best position to maximize opportunities with regards to the timing of events, as well as how to best cope with obstacles and challenges. If one knows that it may rain, one can then choose to take out an umbrella, after all. There are countless ways in which afore-knowledge can be useful and practical, and the deeper our knowledge of self and the ways of the world, the better. Vedic Astrology aids the aspirant in becoming more self-aware so as to be more conscious of the choices of action at hand. Anyone who is looking to an astrologer to be an “authority” of their life – or to usurp their responsibility for their own life decisions, would be misusing astrology at its essence. Vedic astrology is meant to be a tool for self-empowerment, a means of becoming more pro-active in approaching the issues of their life.
Vedic Astrology is known as the “Science of Indications” because essentially, it evaluates the energetic influences and considers what future outcome is indicated. It never says that something “has” to be so, as you have doubtless heard me say. Rather, it indicates what will probably be without intervening influence.
So when we talk about making predictions for the Vedic New Year, we are looking to any number of factors pointing to the conditions in this upcoming period. This forecast is based on my expertise in the field of astrology; I hope that you will find these thoughts worthy of your consideration, and that they may stimulate you to reflect on your own life in the context of what is going on in the world around you.
In the end, we seek out specialists so that we may benefit from the insights of those who have studied any given subject in depth. But just as we may seek a doctor for their medical expertise, or a lawyer for their legal opinion, in the end we must use our own common sense and inner knowing to guide our way to our own personal truth.
What determines the beginning of the Vedic calendar year, since it is different each year, rather than the calendar year which always begins January 1st?
The Vedic calendar is organized around concentric time cycles; the largest measuring in thousands of years, the smallest founded on a 60 year cycle. The Vedic New Year follows a lunar calendar beginning on the first day of spring when the Moon and the Sun are together, (of equal degrees) in Pisces, the particular day varying from year to year. This year, New Year's Day, or Shukla Paksha Pratipada fell on March 20. Shukla PakshaPratipada, or a few days thereafter is considered the most auspicious time to commence new projects or undertakings. Any new venture begun at this time will be in harmony with the rhythm of nature and will benefit from the thrust of energy ushering forth the new year. It is also considered a good time to "clean house", both literally and figuratively.
What is the significance of the Sanskrit name assigned to each Vedic lunar year?
Traditionally each year is given a Sanskrit name to describe an over-riding theme or purpose of the year. The Vedic calendar year, March 2015 to March 2016 is called Manmatha which roughly translated means something akin to the ability to be liked or the fulfillment of desire. It is associated with the 29th year of the 60 year Jupiter cycle. In the context of this year I would interpret Manmatha to mean that some of the desires will be fulfilled this year which in previous years was not possible. Manmatha has the potential to bring some satisfaction.
How do you determine the major astrological influences for the coming year?
When calculating predictions, we must start with a horoscope that represents the entity from whence we are focusing our perspective. In this case, the entity is the United States; we will be looking at the U. S. natal chart, July 4, 1776, (including the Dasha and Bhukti cycles), as well as the yearly Manmatha chart, March 20, 2015. We will also look to the principal leader or representative of the country, President Obama (August 4, 1961, 7:24pm Honolulu, HI) whose chart will provide added insight to the portrait of America during this period. Our intention is to evaluate current issues and trends in America. As an astrological analysis the study requires a horoscope, ours is based on the seat of power for the government, which is Washington DC.
The study of any given horoscope will reveal certain themes, because if it is a salient feature it will be restated in a number of different ways. Likewise, when we are assessing a horoscope or horoscopes representing a composite entity, the sum of several relevant charts will create a certain portrait. Regarding the case of the United States and Obama, there is a certain symmetry created, as each of the charts restate and underscore particular themes. By this process, we gain insight and conviction as to the agenda of the United States during any given period.
Thus, our analysis is centered on the Manmatha yearly chart, as well as the natal charts of the U.S. and President Obama’s chart, the current Dasha and Bhukti operating, and the planetary transits of this period.
What is the role of your yearly predictions relative to my personal horoscope?
A horoscope of the country is about a group destiny – it’s about the time and place that we share together - it’s about the issues that bind us despite our apparent differences. Regardless of our individual destiny we are on this earthly sojourn, sharing the same life purpose in terms of honing our character, growing always towards ever-greater perfection. However our paths may twist and turn, it is inevitably for our greater good and our continued growth in the knowledge of life. Developing self-acceptance, expanding in our knowledge of self and achieving greater wisdom and understanding of the nature and purpose of life – this continuous unfolding is the whole point, after all.
One truth of life: to attain greater knowledge, inevitably we have to step out of our comfort zone, otherwise the tendency is to cling to what is safe and familiar. Meaningful steps forward in our evolution do not come easily because it is human nature to resist change in favor of what is easy and comfortable. For continued insights and ever greater understanding we have to be nudged out of comfortable complacency; we need to be pushed a little to reconsider values and belief systems that no longer serve us. Thus...through the myriad of experiences that we are presented with in life, we learn...and we grow. This is God's grace. The expression, "the gift of life" refers not to just the breath of life, but to the myriad of circumstances that are always being presented to us; each offers us opportunities to learn more such that life is a dynamic process of self-discovery. Our choices reflect who we are and are emblematic of our underlying character.
The unfolding of life's circumstances is unique to each of us as dictated by our own personal karmas. These circumstances, the fund of our resources, strengths and weakness and the timing of opportunities and challenges are revealed in our horoscope and can be interpreted by a skilled astrologer. However, there are karma's, or life lessons that we share with others who are a part of the global community in which we live. The character of the times at hand dictate certain issues that we all must come to terms with and suggest certain truths from which we can all benefit an understanding.
For example, this year, America begins a shift from the Mars cycle to the Rahu cycle, an energetic influence which will become more and more familiar to us as the years progress. Also this year, Venus is very prominent; as a community, these influences, amongst others will be in evidence. My yearly predictions consider the broader influences that define our times.
For several decades I have been talking about the influence of Saturn which I believe has been a defining presence on a global scale. As such, I encourage you to read or re-read my article on Saturn (click here to be directed to the article) as it considers the issues of our time relative to Saturn. It can be helpful to reflect on the present in the context of larger time cycles, and what are the underlying themes of these different larger periods. Generally, these days represent a time of enormous upheaval; this upheaval is facilitating a momentous shift throughout the world. In a manner of speaking, Saturn is the host of these changes.
Considering the general trends of our time help us to better understand the problems that we face as a global society. Certain challenges will be there, this we cannot alter. Resistance, complaining or blaming anyone or anything is not productive. Only greater understanding can help us face our challenges with fortitude and with faith in the higher purpose. Understanding that penetrates deep within us can yield true insights and acceptance. That is different than superficial, intellectual understanding which does not bring real wisdom because the knowing has not yet become truly a part of us. There is no substitute for life experience that brings knowing to the deepest, farthest reaches of our being. This process is facilitated by experience and the blessing of being challenged. It allows us to know and to demonstrate what we are.
Chakrapani, can you explain a little about how you read a horoscope and how looking at just two charts like the United States and President Obama could give you so much information about the world ? It looks like you have just a few symbols and numbers on those few pieces of paper!
You would be surprised by the scope and depth of information that is reflected in one horoscope! I can study and analyze one chart for hours…or days, depending. In fact, it says so much, that for me, it is like a living, breathing person! I confess that when I run into a client on the street, I may recognize their face, but really, I remember people mostly by their horoscope. When I look at a chart, I am immediately reacquainted. The person is an expression of the horoscope, not the other way around. For me, their features, gestures, and manner are all expressions of planetary energies. Whereas a handsome man or a lovely woman may create, for you, an enduring memory, I remember more the confidence of Mars, the brightness of the Moon, or the pleasantness of Venus. That is how I perceive people and the world around me!
Perhaps because I grew up in a family of astrologers where astrology was embedded within the day-to-day routines and customs of my upbringing, I became habituated to thinking in astrological terms. Of course, I have been a practicing astrologer for over 60 years, so looking at charts everyday keeps astrology at the forefront of my mind.
Basically, astrology is the lens through which I view the world; it is my life’s study and my passion. I am grateful to have work that is endlessly fascinating to me, and that doing what I love also allows me to be of some service.
A comprehensive evaluation of a horoscope will reflect all of the complexities and nuances of that entity. Vedic Astrology is comprised of many systems and methodologies that allow the astrologer to go into great depth regarding any given issue. For example, the Moon is divided into 27 divisional charts called Lunar Mansions, or Nakshatras. If I want to understand the Moon better, or if there is some question as to how much emphasis to give a particular lunar influence, I will look to the Nakshatra for more insight and understanding of that question.
Deep analysis of a chart requires patience and reflection. At some point, one becomes so intimately connected with the energies that insights flow…one hardly knows from where. Perhaps it is similar to the way that a musician can lose themselves in their music; it’s a kind of merging of the person with the focus of their attention. In such instances there is a sense of becoming a kind of “vehicle” for expressing something that comes from somewhere beyond one’s self, as though one has tapped into some primal source.
In any case, just as continued immersion into any field of study yields certain sensitivity to that subject; likewise, with time, an astrologer develops a keen sensitivity to the planetary energies.
Anyone can benefit a great deal from gaining some basic understanding of astrological principles, especially if they study their own chart and observe, over time, how the energies are expressed in their daily lives. This is the best way to learn.
However, to function as an astrologer, one must undertake focused study and meet with many, many hundreds of people to even begin to understand the complexities and subtleties involved in an in-depth analysis of a horoscope. There is no shortcut to the understanding that comes from this experience.
That is the process that comes to mind when you ask about reading a horoscope. I hope that answers your question!
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