Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Vedic Astrology and the Ethical Question in 'Faust' and 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'

The theme in Faust and Dorian Gray is literary, while a study of the quest for knowledge and experience can be existential.

The point for consideration would then be - Is karma ethical, or capable of having consistent quality. It is like asking if Life itself is ethical. It is quite different from examining whether a given life (the life of person) is ethical or not.

Karma is a-ethical.  Life is a-ethical. But different Karmic and life experiences result ‘only’ from ethical difference in past action. So difference in experience results only from difference in action.

Can action be controlled to the extent of deciding its ethics categorically, given the heavy component of determinism in Karma, and given the nature of human existence.

'Selling your soul' in literature might equate to abandoning the Ātmakāraka (AK) in the chart. Can the Atmakaraka be abandoned, or is it the texture of the Atmakaraka itself which is leading to categorization by human beings.

The literary premise in Faust and the Picture of Dorian Gray may be existentially flawed to that extent, though artistically attractive. It gives all energy to individual choice and further posits that a particular inflexion of existence is necessarily tainted.

One feels that greatness as understood in common parlance, cannot but be tainted from this perspective. Existence is taint. Moksha (Mokṣa) is freedom from taint.

There is a false pretence in all ethical recrimination, for it comes from human beings. It can truly come only from God, perhaps through human beings, and does.

Existence is action. Moksha must be a variant, or summation of inaction. Unbridled and overpowering spirituality therefore comes with conventional tests.  Spirituality will then be to exist with awareness of the taint of existence. This will pressure but spirituality is not turning away from the taint, or only the distant ascetic will be spiritual.

Spiritual and great = Torn to shreds by knowledge

Great and non-spiritual = Condemned to ignorance

Not great and spiritual = Moving Towards release (Sattwa)

Not great and not spiritual = Nothing (Tamas)

The subject can also be studied from a perspective of corruption of the Rajas Guna.

Restraint comes from the fear of the stick (of God) or reluctance stemming from knowledge, without fear of the type discussed in the preceding proposition, but with awareness of consequent Karmic experience.
This must be construed with respect to the grand design qualified by the temporal hue of Yugas, and Kalpas.  

The core factor is the major difference between the thought of the East, with its focus on destiny, and that of the West with its focus on free-will.

Some stalwarts of greatness are Ashoka (Aśoka) the Great, Alexander the Great, Chenghiz Khan. This is virtually undisputed. Can we say that greatness carries, at least on occasion, a measure of terribleness.

A conscious deliberation on the subject must be cognizant of the distinction in focus and perspective in thought that emanates from the East and the West respectively. 

Another important point is that the immediate, albeit simplistic and troublesome ethical polarity of the West in the opposites of God and Satan, is absent in Indian mysticism. There is no Satan here. The Hindu is at peace because of this absence of diametric tension in the personality.

But he is also at risk, because now, social structuring having become very different, he is not curtailed from any amount of width in individual action. In other words, while he is not required to sell his soul to attain magnificence and greatness at any velocity whatsoever, owing to a fundamental absence of a purchaser of the soul, he is virtually free and unbridled, subject only to the restraints of a knowledgeable consciousness, as noted above in this paper.

With or without a purchaser, can the soul be bought and sold. Parashara (Parāśara) teaches that the Atmakaraka (Ātmakāraka)  is the King of the horoscope, being the temporal significator of the soul in any incarnation. Whatever the king decides shall happen, and he cannot be made subject to such whims. He can dictate such whims, and in a scenario where he associates with the Upachaya Bhavas (Upacaya Bhāvas) it will appear as if the individual has either decided, or refrained from doing something, in respect of what is being discussed.

Conceptually, the Atmakaraka being the planet farthest advanced by degrees in the horoscope, is not associated with empirical action. The Ātmakāraka is the soul, and the soul is not empirical but metaphysical.

Therefore, the literary premise of Faust and The Picture of Dorian Gray, does not hold existential validity in the traditional matrix of Vedic Astrology.

Ethics of action will be decided from benefices and malefics. Benefices are ethically good while some malefics are definitely ethically bad.

The Sun is a malefic but is a Sattwa Guna (Guṇa) Graha, that which sustains with light. It stands both for the Universal Soul and the Individual soul. Its flaw is of burning and cruelty when afflicted, a callous royalty that crushes the oppressed. But the crushed oppressed are themselves represented by the great malefic, Saturn. This is how they get to be the crushed oppressed in the first place. While poverty is an evil for those who suffer it, it cannot be considered an ethical evil for those who do not suffer it. It is thought to promote an urge for crime, owing to want and deprivation. It is for this reason that 'neighbourhoods' are classified and also the reason for addresses being such a major thing. Insofar as exclusion, lowliness, want and deprivation lead to criminality (afflicted Saturn), this position is an ethical negative.

There is, however, nothing to suggest that nobility and greatness cannot emerge out of lack and poverty; on the contrary they often do. The motivation for striving and effort comes from wanting to have that which one does not have. Even otherwise, setbacks, problems and conventional negatives, foster spiritual positives which are desirable in the grand scheme of things. Saturn can being asceticism and adherence to orthodox philosophy.

We find then that a Sattwa Guna malefic like Sun and a Tamas Guna malefic like Saturn can occupy altering locations on the ethical prism based on strength and dignity in the horoscope.

Both the Sun and Saturn can beget cruelty and the highest spiritual detachment. It is very much a matter for sustained examination from the various charts in the horoscope, not least the Shashthyamsha (Śaṣṭhyāmśa) (D-60).

Other notable points are that good and bad in ethics are often contingent on the Desha, Kala, Patra (Deśa, Kāla, Pātra) continuum.

Could an ethical construct be social or must it be metaphysical, especially in a spiritual reference like that of Vedic astrology. Afflicted benefics appear to be far worse than malefics on this score as it involves an unpalatable transformation of something good into bad, the Moon and Mercury under affliction being a case in point. A Śrāpa or curse combination, or a severe Tithi Doṣa (Dosha) can turn everything into a living hell though there are secrets and intricacies and flip sides here as well.

In all this where is the scope of the wilderness of the free will, which might go on and partake hugely of the sentiment of buying and selling, of the literary and perhaps philosophical West.

We also should note at this junction that natural malefics as the Atmakaraka usually show a high level of spiritual advancement – this is a rule of thumb. Peculiarities abound, such as in a scenario of the hedonistic Rahu becoming Ātmakāraka, showing shocks at the hands of the populace at large and yet carrying on like a babe in the woods- an unyielding directive of the soul.

Even if Rahu (Rāhu) is not the Ātmakāraka, where it should aspect the Ārūḍha Lagna (Arudha Lagna), especially from the 12th House from Ārūḍha Lagna, it will force spirituality on the human being because detests the shining, social, moneyed Ārūḍha Pada. Interaction in the created world is quite likely to being deceit, shock, lying and cheating. One is then compelled to probe beneath the veneer.

In summation then, one can say that such simplistic and reductive ethical propositions may be used as a literary device but do not necessarily have existential import. Action is to be judged on the touchstone of Karma and even its culminating result is found in the Punya Chakra, and not in a table of empirical debit and credit.

Anurag Sharma
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Draft proof-read and prepared for web-publishing  by Mr. Abhinav Sharma. 

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Disclaimer: For those who have glimpsed the magic of Jyotish, magnificent treasures await in the vast ocean of this knowledge. Hindu Astrology Analyses offered by the Consultant are not empirical pronouncements of the type made in the realm of the physical sciences. The Analyses are not in the true or false format but delve into the horoscope to derive insights about the life of the native in a spiritual reference frame. These insights should be used by those availing them at their sole discretion and responsibility.

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