I am conscious of a great debt of gratitude to America and Americans. When I came to America over two years ago, 1 had no presentiment that before I returned to India, I would have written and published, not only a series of articles, but also a book on Astrology.
I came to America to study and to take back with me to India, what knowledge I could absorb of those strictly modern and material sciences for which this country is famous. My ambitions in this direction have been more than realized. Difficulties of language and expression, which might otherwise have presented serious handicaps, have been minimized by the kind assistance and the patience of everyone with whom I came in contact. I am therefore more than grateful that the opportunity has been given to me, to contribute, in return, something of my own, concerning the culture and philosophy of my country.
For Astrology is definitely a part of Hindu culture and philosophy. In India, Astrology is held in highest reverence. The daily lives of a majority of the people of India, partlcularly those of culture and refinement, are patterned and guided by the precepts and formulae of Astrology. To Hindus, as individuals, Astrology is the science of right living, or rather discriminative living-that living, which is ruled by choice rather than by necessity. It is a science, which in essence and motive is philosophical and religious, rather than material.
For it has its roots in the very oldest of all philosophical systems-that which is contained in the ancient Vedic teachings and writings, the antiquity of which stretches further and further hack in time, with each new archeological discovery.
Even today, in India. the genuine astrologer is usually a very wise and learned man, a scholar of Sanskrit, with a profound knowledge of the ancient philosophies and quite familiar with modern scientific thought. He and his disciples and assistants are wards of the State and are supported by endowment from the ruling Princes-from public funds-from voluntary contributions. The genuine astrologer in India, never advertises and never accepts a fee.
The literature on Astrology in India, is almost limitless in its quantity and its scope. Many manuscripts still exist which are of incredible age. A continuous record of Astrological knowledge may be found, which goes back almost without a break to 4,500 B.C.
I know of one amazing manuscript on Astrology which is at present in the palace of one of the Maharajas of Southern India. No one knows how old it is, but it was undoubtedly written several hundred years before the Christian era. It is written on several leaves of the Tad-padra tree and contains numerous astrological charts, together with diagrams of hand and palms of nearly every type. So accurately are these charts constructed that they can be applied to any time, day, month year and place of birth. Directions and delineations in conjunction with the charts are given in the manuscript, which enable the astrologer to give a detailed account of the life of any individual with an amazing degree of accuracy. When it is understood that, at the exact time of birth, the exact positions of each of eleven planets and certain fixed stars, in relation to a particular location on the surface of the Earth, (the place of birth,) must be known, before such delineation can be made, the mathematical precision and scientific knowledge of the heavenly bodies, possessed by the writers of this ancient manuscript, is little short of miraculous.
One of these ancient sages and astrologers, Parashara by name, lived about 1,500 B. C. Copies of his manuscripts are still in existence. He made a specialized study of Astrology in relation to health, disease and death. His works contain such detailed information regarding the human body and the ills, to which it is subject, that modern medical science must advance considerably, before many of these facts will become known and accepted.
Another astrologer, who lived about the same time, was named Ranavira. He specialised in female astrology in relationships between the sexes from an astrological, philosophical and psychological standpoint. His manuscripts on marriage, childbirth and kindred subjects were numerous and copies of them are still to be found in various parts of India. It is my intention, during the next few years, to make at least a portion of this knowledge, available to Western readers and students of Astrology.
I have been encouraged in this undertaking, by the intense interest in Astrology, which I have encountered in America. During my stay here, I have received so many requests for information on the subject, that I finally decided to give instruction to earnest and serious students. As an outcome of these classes. I was persuaded to write a series of articles, I wish to express, my sincere thanks to Mr. Paul Clancy, editor of American Astrology Magazine for the opportunity to place these articles before the public. The response to their, and the number of requests received for books could not be ignored.
The writing of the articles and the book, has been made possible through the help and encouragement of my friend and collaborator, Mr. William Bonyun. My gratitude to him cannot be adequately expressed. The difficulties in expressing the ideas contained in the Sanskrit texts and of transposing these ideas into their equivalent English meanings, have been enormous. There will no doubt be something lost in this transposition. If so, I crave the indulgence of my readers and will welcome any suggestions or criticisms or questions regarding any part of the text which may not be entirely clear and understandable.
Since the beginning of the Christian Era, the question of the scientific origins of Astrological knowledge, as bequeathed to us by the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Babylon, and Greece, has been the subject of controversy. Modern scientists have not hesitated to brand Astrology as a superstition, and even its kindest critics refer to it as a pseudo-science.
Nevertheless, Astrology is without question the oldest science in the history of man. It is the real Science of the Stars. Modern scientists will assert that Astronomy is the Science of the Stars, but such a statement is only partially correct. Astronomy is, and always was, only a part and a very small part of Astrology. It was used only as a means to an end.
In any standard dictionary, the definition of Science will be found to be similar to the following, taken from Funk & Wagnalls' Standard Dictionary :
"A knowledge of facts, laws and proximate causes, gained and verified by exact observation and correct thinking-also, the sum of universal Knowledge-an exact and systematic statement or classification of Knowledge concerning some subject or group of subjects, or any department of Knowledge in which the results of investigation have been systematized."
If this be a correct definition of Science, then indeed is Astrology the greatest of all Sciences, since its precepts and formulae were accumulated and established over a period of thousands of years of observation by men who--as we shall discover, when ancient records, long inaccessible, gradually become available to Western civilization-employed orthodox and strictly modern scientific methods in arriving at these formulae. They systematized the results of their research as few scientists of today are capable of doing. For today is an era of specialization and few, if any, serious attempts have been made to synthesize the various branches of scientific inquiry and knowledge into one comprehensive whole.
The ancient Star Scientists were adepts at synthesis. Astrology is indeed a synthesis of all branches of knowledge. It includes in its various ramifications such modern sciences as Astronomy-Medicine-Biology-Chemistry-Physics and many others. It also includes still another branch of knowledge, one which is today highly controversial and which only recently has been accorded the dignity of scientific analysis. This branch of knowledge is that which has to do with the operation of the mind and emotions of man and is broadly termed -Psychology.
That Psychology, as a science, is claiming the attention of investigators the world over, has been evidenced in more or less recent years, by the published results of scientific research conducted by such men as Jung-- F. W. Myers-Van Schrenk-Notzing, and many others. Wide publicity has been given in this country to such books as "Man the Unknown" by Dr. Alexis Carrell, and experiments are being conducted in the Psychology Laboratories of many of our leading Universities, some of the amazing results of which have recently been published.
Perhaps the most outstanding of such experiments are those being conducted at Duke University under the direction of Dr. J. B. Rhine. The results of these experiments appear to have proved the existence of some method by which facts may be communicated from one person to another, independently of, or at least extraneously to the five known senses.
Supplementing and enlarging on Dr. Rhine's experiments are those being conducted on a nationwide basis by the Zenith Radio Corporation, the results of which, as proof of extra sensory preception, are already extending beyond the bounds of mathematical possibilities.
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