Thursday, May 18, 2006

Jyotish, Jurisprudence and Culture

JYOTISH, JURISPRUDENCE & CULTURE

Students in India are required to read, over and over again, that India is predominantly an agricultural economy. Agriculture, agriculturists, agricultural produce and agricultural land are all within the domain of Shani Dev (Lord Saturn). One looks on in amazement as field upon field of agricultural occupation passes by as one drives on the highways in North India. Shani is Vyapak (extensive), lording over the formerly untouchable (prior to the passing of the Untouchability Act), casteless, Shudras (the lowest caste according to the four-fold caste structure of Ancient India; again no longer applicable to anyone in India due to legislative enactments and the like) and all sorts of homeless, deprived and vagrant people.

It is not that merely because legislative enactments have been brought about to wipe out the discrimination that existed due to the practice of Untouchability and the caste system, the concept of caste has ceased to exist. Law relating to the masses (Shani) has ensured that the much needed respect and dignity be afforded to all human beings belonging to every strata of society. This is wonderful and ranks right up there with removing Apartheid in South Africa. But this is not the end of the story, rather the beginning of another inverse tale. Affirmative action in the USA to safeguard and promote the interests and rights of the black community (Shani), Civil Rights Movement (Shani-Rahu), policies of heavy reservation (50% and more!) in all government jobs in India, abolition of Apartheid are all works of Shani to bring to equality those who were treated unequally. However, this has spilled over into excess. Natural benefics denoting elitism (Guru [Jupiter] and Shukra [Venus], Brahmin ministers of the cosmos) protested against this doing away with merit altogether in India. This took the form of self-immolation, riots, protests, processions, marches and sacrifice of life by people of the formerly high castes (Guru, Shukra, Budh [Mercury], Surya [Sun], Chandra [Moon] and Mangal [Mars]), against the recommendations of the Mandal Commission calling for enormously high levels of reservation. One wonders if Rahu denoting mass movements, riots and uprisings would be actually interested in helping out the elitist and magnificent Brahmin ministers of Extant Life. This doubt has already been proved to be valid since loss of Brahmin life in self-immolation and loss of Savarna (with caste, formerly, before related legislation) life through shame, humiliation and failure at not getting what was due to one if considered solely on merit, has come to naught. There is a situation; in India which operates on the principle that using caste as a dominant or even sole criterion is the most adequate way to do away with the evils of the caste system as its operated in ancient India and beyond! That this appears to involve a mild paradox, if not a humongous contradiction, is a hopeless side-observation. The formerly underprivileged and discriminated-against benefit from reservation if they fall in any of the classes of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Castes (OBCs): a magnificently up and coming category with various caste groups clamoring madly to be somehow included in it; if anybody is still left they can plead that they are Socially and Economically Backward, for the judgment of which it has been deemed that caste can be the dominant or even sole criterion, of course only with a view to do away with the evils of the formerly prevalent caste system and its inequities.

It is wonderful to strive for the equality of all human beings irrespective of caste, colour, class, race, creed etc. This is what fought racism, colonialism, imperialism, discrimination and abuse. It is great to have mass movements to free people of suppression. The author would happily include the Indian National Movement in this category. But is Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe striving for real equality when they burn down white farms and kill the landowner for good measure? Are Dalit (former lower castes, before legislative changes) leaders who live in gross opulence, having come to power stepping on the back of the poor and famished, really bothered about elevating the stinking, starved, charred-black people of historic low social stock?

Is it a Brahmin youth’s fault that some ancient ancestors lived by a different set of rules? Would his conscience accept the inverse discrimination against his intellect, hard work and merit? It must be noted that the so-called elitist, right-wing Hindu Nationalist parties are nothing but a fake, parallel universe pandering to a Shani-Rahu continuum, by claiming to safeguard the interests of the former Savarnas while in fact striving to increase reservation against the meritorious, to augment their vote base. This could never have been Shani’s genuine intent, to invert the former caste system, while having his signification-people claim they were doing away with it altogether. It is just being turned on its head, that’s all, in this Kaliyug while Shani’s pets take the chance to go on the rampage, abusing the limiting, contracting, severely structured domain of Saturn. This will not do. There will be a reaction from the natural benefics, Guru and Shukra though not through mass movements or taking to the streets, this being a domain of Rahu [North Node] who will swallow lives only to deceive, being true of the dictum Shanivad Rahu (Rahu is like Shani). Why would he compulsorily help Guru and Shukra, even though the latter is Daitya Guru (Preceptor of the Demons)? The Devatas (Gods) enforce their decree through Mangal, their Commander-in-Chief. Attributes of Mangal can be looked up in any standard or substandard work of Jyotish, the latter category being more plenteous. Injustice and disgusting prejudice is the same whether exercised by old-time elites or the new usurpers. It cannot last for very long just as the old abuse by the former higher-castes did not. People should understand this well.

Are the self-proclaimed saviours of the deprived doing anything to bring the illiterate to literacy or is this just going to snowball into a situation where those falling under reservation just need to be already at a graduate level in formal education where they are almost assured material security in some way or the other, no matter what happens to the lives of those possessing real merit? These advocates write Dalit columns, spewing hate at the former Savarnas. Are they actually embracing the dying, starving labour on the road or are they just cashing in while the going is good?

Few points emerge thus far:
Ø Shani would have intended fair treatment of the underprivileged, a doing away with discrimination of any sort, even in the mind of the former Savarna. Everyone must cultivate genuine respect and equality for all unless it is already cultivated, irrespective of what their caste is or their names are etc. This is Shani’s neutral equality.
Ø The law of the land as laid down ought to be respected and followed by all Indians.
Ø Social change must be brought about through constitutional means though at the present moment it appears difficult in a parliamentary democracy ruled by vote-bank politics.

A mere corrupted inversion of the old caste system will not do. Though Shani rules perversion, He is also a God, or God Himself, not a pervert. One cannot enact a farce in His Name. He also rules Karma, Kaal (Time) and Truth. Shani cannot be hoodwinked or denied.

It is felt that though the 6th House (H) indicates law and legal work, this will be related to litigation if linked to Shani, Rahu and Mangal, the last bringing in argumentation and adversarial relationships. This might also show up the dilapidated light (Shani) the legal profession is viewed in especially away from the cosmopolitan cities in India. The black robes, gowns and coats have traditionally been linked with Shani. Guru is also mentioned as a Karaka (significator) for law. Which is which and who is who? A potent Guru might link up with the 9th H of law and relates primarily to law firms; those of repute and standing having quite lavish offices and work environs. This is in tune with the fact that the 6th H is a Dusthana (evil house) and predisposed to trouble including debts, pointing to the penury of the small-town court lawyer, while the 9th H is a Lakshmi Sthana (Abode of Goddess Lakshmi) and so Guru-oriented law firms can be operating under preeminently benefic influences of prosperity. Since Guru is a Brahmin minister and not really a judge, a very large number of law firms undertake work related primarily to legal consultancy, solicitors’ work and not much adversarial litigation. Guru owning matters pertaining to finance and banking also indicates the opulence of corporate law firms. If combined with the other Brahmin counselor, Shukra, lording over luxury in any case, Guru and the 9th H might make for a robust and prosperous career in a law firm if the chart supports it otherwise. This specific professional dimension may be studied with inclusion of Budh in particular and the Navagrahas (Nine Grahas) in general.

It could not be that Shani wishes a die-hard communism upon the world. Shani is neutral to Guru, the latter denoting Sanatan (eternal) truth and a natural elitism. Guru too is neutral to Shani, mutual neutrality not automatically guaranteed in Jyotish. This is important. Equal human respect in terms of rights and opportunities does not offend against a meritorious, naturally functional structure (Guru) and vice versa. Thus, former Savarnas ought not confuse their current plight with the abuse of Guru’s somewhat Platonic Theory of State in Ancient India. That time was not necessarily better. Nobody deserves to be told to walk at a certain distance from a Brahmin for fear the latter’s purity would be violated. Conversely, those benefiting from reservation and abuse of Shani’s neutral equality and humanism ought not rest content by thinking these times are better and that the former abusers have been put in their place. Those who abused and were abused are dead. Each human being is special and divine. Archetypes are constructs evolved through the human being and not the other way around, a fact Adolf Hitler failed to appreciate.

The present situation in India is leading to a sort of inverse Hitlerism with undeserving people gradually and automatically scaling governmental pinnacles, even promotion in governmental jobs being ruled by reservation, and adopting a hostile and perverted attitude to candidates and interviewees appearing to belong to a specific racial and /or caste stock. This is terrible for the bureaucracy, known as the steel frame devised by the British. This has turned to rusted, poor quality and adulterated iron. Already people automatically turn away from the traumatic prospect of appearing for the civil service, again and yet again, and opt instead for other liberalization-oriented avenues. The very term liberalization suggests an antithesis of Shani’s contraction (Nehruvian socialism) and must be a counter by the natural benefics against this horrible tainting of what was once glorious steel of real merit. But truth be told. It is very doubtful if the liberalization of natural benefics is actually filtering down to the poor (Shani), blatantly excluding them just as their people are being excluded elsewhere. A Graha tit-for-tat in Kaliyug?

Perversion of Shani’s domain can be seen in the psychotic insistence on agriculture as the sole means of livelihood by a departed gentleman called Pol Pot. The number of human heads found in the rice fields in Cambodia could not be Lord Shani’s Will as God, or some karmic retribution only, though this may be a fraction of the truth of what happened. Shani is only inimical to Surya and Chandra is the sense that royal command be exercised keeping the disadvantaged and the temporally unfortunate in mind. Shani also wills that force and bloodshed (Mangal) ought not hurt a poor, innocent and defenseless subject. In this sense Shani is opposed to Mangal checking his rage, power and weaponry. Mangal is neutral to Shani, oblivious to social status. The Commander cares not whether the enemy or guilty are rich or poor. Mangal enforces the Cosmic Will, period. Is Shani absent in the life of the fabulously well heeled and an otherwise good human being? No. Shani is form and structure, the very matter that gives reality to the soul. Shani has no necessary connection with mere disparate evil. Shani manifests as evil and loss and negativity in a connected manner to arrive at a logical life-conclusion for the native. Surya and Chandra are inimical to Shani only in the sense that the less-evolved commoner ought not steal in and usurp power, originally divine in origin, to the detriment of culture, morality, growth and the well being of the kingdom or state in general. It is true that right to rule ought not arise merely by birth but then it ought not necessarily fall upon the clearly unqualified and undeserving either.

It is tempting to say: Thus ends the brief note on Jyotish, Jurisprudence and related matters, a bit like the old Hindu astrology texts. But there is a danger that some penny-dreadful might read that literally and squeal: So, you think you are a classic, are you? You are free to laugh, discerning reader, but it is a matter of great discomfort that intolerant and nit-picking types also people the contemplative world. Most conspicuous of these is the Self Proclaimed Moksha Aspirant (SPMA)-cum-guide. Such a person discards civility at the outset since in order to achieve Moksha he must prepare his soul for ejection at a particular angle and at that particular angle only. If he were to miss this angle, 84 Lac and more Yonis (types of birth) beckon yet again. What is mere dignity compared to such an enterprise. Geometry must be more important than we thought it was at school, angles and all.

Even though the British are apt to overstay their welcome, once you let them in, despite their pretence of full-on civility, evidently having no idea at all of Moksha, one is rather pained to find them automatically disqualified for Moksha, being chronic beef-eaters etc. Not even Mad Cow can alter their set tastes, let alone Holy Cow. Does that mean Hindu India is insane? No. Just as people come in all shapes, sizes, colours, religions, languages and regions, can’t religious sanctity be quite genuinely attached to different objects, animals, places as it indeed is? What is holy for one can have compulsory and undeniable holiness even though another, an equally or even more spiritual being, might attach no value to it whatsoever. Another religion permits beef eating but forbids pork. Does it make that religion evil? The author does not think so. Would Moksha by any other name still be Moksha? Why not. Could it just be that far from involving hate, bigotry and being generally unpleasant, liberation could mean trying to be a full, fullest possible person, just living, forever peeking behind appearances into Reality or trying to do so, embracing who one can embrace with the limitations that exist in this world? (Particular caution being exercised while suddenly attempting to embrace attractive ladies without prior notice lest less than affectionate responses result.)

Did one just mention the ladies! And attractive ones at that! Haw! Tch! Tch! Tch! (A peculiar Indian expression, phonetic in nature, intended to express moral disapproval of something just said, while at times expressing a delicious interest in the subject matter, through an astonishingly explicit half-smile.) Now, while one has not investigated the astrological combinations behind Haw! Tch! Tch! Tch! it is possible that Shukra and a playful Budh are at root. This may vaguely interest some people but a SPMA will not touch it. One wonders how evolved ladies feel about being labeled so morally dangerous that a mere mention of their name, let alone any truck with them, makes the SPMA cry blue murder. Fall, road to hell, sham, sin, devil, no good, no chance of Moksha while virility exists etc are some of the weapons the SPMA is likely to hurl, tickling a genuine Brahmin (metaphysical researcher) increasingly with each squealing feather till what the SPMA gets is what he detests most: laughter.

The spiritual life, according to such people must never be combined with women even if it is with children and young boys, scarring them for life, preferably at a place of worship. Readers would recall this happened quite recently in the Land of Opportunity, where highly evolved and religious people, functionaries of organized religion, grabbed the chance to fondle the privates of unsuspecting children and teenagers, all in the pursuit of Holiness, guiding the seeker to God. Homosexual assault on mellow hearts (anyone with even a mildly adequate Guru in the chart can hopefully feel the sheer disgust that comes from hearing of such abuse) and pedophilia might be precipitates in some cases, of an unnatural and thus unspiritual (as Nature is manifest Spirit) rejection of the female who might actually be in the highest bracket of spiritual creation. This was the axiom of Mother Goddess religious cults where the woman was worshipped as Earth itself, the fecund, nourishing life force.

That things are relative is old news. To view women, wine, flesh, luxury, full participation as the final ends of life might defeat the spiritual purpose but if one can lift the veil, much as the British courts did in Solomon vs. Solomon, lifting there the corporate veil, to expose the truth, and then participate, what could be the possible objection? It all depends on the Patra, the individual in question. Renunciation and surrender are divine modes of surrender, like vegetarianism, celibacy and whatever else but they are not necessary conditions for spiritual advance let alone sufficient ones, these terms used as they are in Logic. Tantra comes closest to exploring divine triggers of God in All Existence. They turn the current inside out, so to speak. It is possible to do so and it is possible to glimpse its possibility in one’s own life without being a formal initiate at a school. It depends.

This dependent contingency is a message for us to be open about mystic truths, religion, beliefs and cultures. The Sun was never supposed to set on the British Empire. Now they push the curtains aside furtively to see if the Sun is out at all or if it is the usual gloomy day. From ruling the world to following someone who says stuff like: Wanted- Dead or Alive! Our Sholay is better. (A Hindi movie with a populist longevity that simply boggles the mind. Actually, it might only be an imitation Western.) A copy better than the original? No wonder we find the times confusing.

Things change. Things are different in different places. There are loose ends. There is no clear conception of God/ Godhead/ Divinity. Everybody who has had an experience thinks his truth is the Real Truth. Let us look around, relax, and ask others how they communicate with the basis of existence.

Although it is quite true that conversions of less-well placed people in India have been and are happening through promises of blinding luxuries like rice, some sort of clothing to cover parched, soot- coloured bodies, installments of cash etc and all this despite a specific prohibition in the Constitution of India, the Grundnorm of Indian Law, namely that conversions through force, fraud and allurement is not allowed, one cannot remain totally free of some vicarious blame on one’s collective part.

This blame attaches through the Hare Rama Hare Krishna (HRHKs) people at all possible airports abroad. To an Indian who has not traveled abroad, especially to the Land of Opportunity, it is life altering to see the undiluted vigour with which HRHK pamphlets are hurled, thrust and inflicted on all comers, in Hollywood films etc. Vigour and strength of purpose have been virtually absent in Hinduism and thus Hindus have failed completely to employ their minds to terrorism and allied religious activities. The average Hindu can only mutter Ram Ram weakly at the thought of having to even taxi a plane into a hanger let alone fly it into a more unlikely enclosure or structure. But the HRHKs are torchbearers. Their zeal is exemplary in that they do not appear to even offer rice as allurement.

In a Woody Allen movie, the name of which one cannot recall (but then who can!), Allen, usually quite prominent in his own films, is having a religious crisis and rejects Hinduism as a possible alternate religious choice purely because of visions of becoming a HRHK, watching Arrivals and Departures with a hawk eye and singularity of purpose. In another movie Alec Baldwin’s character resorts to a simpler method when confronted with a HRHK, shaven head and all. He just breaks the latter’s index finger. The latter dies of shock. This puts Fred Ward’s cop character on his tail. Karma catching up? In real life too some of Baldwin’s character choices have cost him, some of the benefits having gone to Harrison Ford.

A know-all, dead-serious, only-my-beliefs-are-true mode of thinking about the Unmanifest-in-Itself might be best avoided. By all means contemplate release, afterlife and possibilities of other Lokas (worlds) but also look at this world of opposites, though this is admittedly a quite difficult thing to do.

ANURAG SHARMA.
DEHRADUN.INDIA.

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