Wednesday, April 15, 2020

A Pandemic and Prayers


It’s been over 3 weeks since I visited a temple. The longest in the last few years that I haven’t ever been to one for any reason. My love for visiting temples have at times preceded my devotion to the Deity. Rather, I would undertake trips to simply visit a temple rather than praying at that place. Such is the love and devotion that I have for a temple precinct. I get a sort of vibration when I visit temples, many of them. For Ex. When I am inside the Sanctum Sanctorum of our family deity at Parikkal – Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy; inside the Tirumala Tirupati shrine; atop the holy Ahobilam Hills; closer home when I see Lord Sri. Parthasarathy or Goddess Karpagambal on close proximity and many such instances. I undergo a certain chemical reaction inside my brain and body which cannot be explained. And I am not the only one, for I know many who feel so when they visit their favourite temple. 



Due to the ongoing Corona Virus lockdown, most of the temples have shut down for devotees and visitors across the world and India are no exception. Note, that the temples are closed for visitors and not to the Priests who perform their duties daily. It came as a shock when the most populated Hindu Temple on the basis of number of visitors everyday decided to close the doors – Tirumala Tirupati. An estimated 70,000 devotees throng the hill temple on an average day which peaks to 300,000 during festival periods such as Brahmotsavam. So, when the TTD authorities informed that the temple doors would be locked in tune with the nationwide 21-lockdown announced by the Union Government of India in March, many devotees were disturbed if the pandemic has reached disproportionate proportions. On 14 April, the PM extended the lockdown until 3 May 2020.

Most non-believers and many from other faiths mocked at Hindu temples, the culture ordained in our Sanathana Dharma and the very concept of “Idol Worship” calling it as “Idle Worship” since we devotees cannot even visit a temple, the most holy place for Hindus and purportedly the Lord within the confines of His & Her Sanctum Santorum is insecure to the extent that He / She cannot handle this pandemic and stop the spread. While there has been enough war of words on the social media and the internet space on this, I have personally refrained from explaining even once why our temples would remain important to us, during and after this Crisis.


Let me explain briefly here, my own limited understanding of why we visit Temples.

The Lord created this world and manifested Himself into various incarnations and forms. The first form is that of the Para-Rupa which can be seen at his eternal celestial abode – Sri Vaikuntam. He is seated there on the Adisesha, the snake along with his consort Mahalakshmi, Bhoo Devi & Neela Devi. Then He manifests in the Vyuha Rupa – on the Ksheerabdi where He is seen reclining on Adisesha on the divine Viraja River. Next is the Vibhava Rupa during which He manifests Himself in the form of various incarnations. Contrary to popular belief, the Lord doesn’t restrict himself to a mere 10 incarnations; rather his forms or manifestations are uncountable. Next, He resides inside every being which has been created by him in the form of Antaryaami, where the Paramatma resides next to the Jeevatma and guides the soul.

Lastly, in this Kali Yuga, the Lord manifests himself in a scripture – on stone or on the wood from a tree bark and is mostly seen in Temples which have been built over 1,000s of years ago by various people, mostly Kings and Emperors due to their wealth and largesse. At the end this Yuga, a Pralaya is expected, after which all creations would be wiped away – as per calculations, we are now 5,120 years young and we have another 426,000 years to complete this Kali Yuga. The Hindu Vedic Calendar doesn’t consist of 365 days, rather it differs based on movement of the Moon around the Sun.  


Since we mortals cannot see how Lord Narasimha or Rama or Krishna existed in their respective Yugas of Krita, Treta or Dwapara, the Lord has manifested Himself in a particular form in this Yuga. Devotees throng to see the Lord in the respective temples in that particular form and not just to enjoy the beauty of the architecture, something that the Western World has pushed as an agenda even on believers of Sanathana Dharma. The external features are merely to showcase the artisanship of the artists and not necessarily to make the Lord or the Deity feel more superior. The Big Temple at Tanjore or the Bhooloka Vaikuntam at Srirangam are edifices to this aspect. 

Therefore, we Hindus visit Temples not just to pray but to see the Lord (and the Goddesses) in various forms that He has manifested in. Each form has a reason and a meaning; they also accord blessings to devotees with a certain purpose. So, no form of the Lord is inferior to another which many devotees keep scrambling with their ideologies all the time claiming which Deity is more powerful or superior.

So, the Temples closing during the lockdown is not to protect Him, rather protect ourselves from spreading the viral infection to each other. As humans, we have withered away from following basic cleanliness measures which have been the basis of our Dharma. A bath before performing austerities, not touching one another’s food while eating and practicing highest levels of self-hygiene, more commonly known as “Madi-Acharam” in today’s times have become a joke during the past 100 years. 


However, the West, WHO, all and sundry are imparting the public to follow the same steps that have been mentioned in our holy texts such as the Vedas and Upanishads on personal hygiene. What was once considered a taboo – washing one’s hands after touching another and a necessity such as washing hands before consuming food, have now become the most fashionable norm. A warm hug or a peck on the cheek are finally accepted as the fastest ways of transmitting viral infections, which has been the very basis of following isolation more popularly known as “staying Madi”. Once a son has been ordained “Yagnopaveetham”, even his mother is not allowed to feed him – the optimal age for this is 7 years, which is when medically it has been proven that kids start building their own immunity and bacteria. Many such things which have been well explained in our scriptures have been side-lined, thanks to the advent of various faiths which have unfortunately derogated our practices while eulogising theirs. Sad.

This lockdown period and self-quarantine is a blessing in disguise for us to look back at even some of our healthy practices which was followed by our grandparents, as late as the 1950s or 60s in India. Apart from praying at home – where many of our households adorn photos of deities of various forms, we also get time to chant our favourite slokas and mantras which we may know or would like to learn. A simple rendition of Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam which is said to encompass a thousand names of the Lord is good enough if at all one can spend 29 odd-minutes for ourselves once a day. This particular sloka is said to have various health benefits, including streamlining blood pressure to increasing memory. For me, personally this one sloka is an all-time favourite and one stop remedy, whether I am undergoing severe Migraine or sleeplessness, invariable stress or just to simply while away time. 


Goddess Parvati asks during the rendition of the Sahasranamam, what is a faster way to finish saying a thousand names to which Lord Shiva replies – a mere chanting of “Sri Rama” is good enough. 

So, this lockdown period, fret not that we are unable to visit temples or perform rituals. At least for another 4 lakh years, the Temples will remain and so would we. Yes, we will eventually die this birth only to be reborn again. And Again and again, something that has been very aptly propounded in Bhaja Govindam sloka by Sri Adi Sankaracharya – Punarapi Maranam, Punarapi Jananam. We are born to die to be born yet again. So, fret not for we shall visit our favourite temples again, soon. The Lord is eagerly awaiting for us to return so we can once again get ecstatic looking at His form on stone and wood. 

This too shall pass by. Let’s pray for the Corona Crisis to end soon. My prayers are more so, that I can drive down to a Temple thereafter. Actually, I need a short vacation of a few weeks to visit some of my favourite temples across the Southern States. With the guidance of our beloved Gurus without whom we cannot reach the Almighty, we are eagerly awaiting the Lord’s grace to visit Him soon. 


Thursday, March 26, 2020

COVID 19 - A Vedic Astrology Perspective

Summary:
  • -  The COVID episode actually began in September 2019. Infection began in Nov, Spread in Dec.
  • -  The Dec 26th solar eclipse and alignment of planets around Sagittarius aggravated the situation and caused the spread of the pandemic.
  • -  By March 2019 the virus had spread like wild fire across the globe.
  • -  Jupiter transit to Capricorn around Mar 30th may provide some initial relief.
  • -  Some recovery would be seen between Mar 30th to May 24th.
  • -  Better conditions would prevail post July and only after September will things stabilise.
  • -  The economy will improve based on the stimulus packages given by the government
  • -  There will be high collaborative efforts between the public and the government
  • -  Immediate cure will happen in April and May, but only post September would there be a
    stable medicine and vaccination for the virus.
    Note: Though, this article uses some information in hindsight, it attempts to connect the dots and predict both the past and the future.
    Any lapses or misinterpretations are that of the author and does not tantamount to any disservice or disrespect to the great Vedanga of Jyotish.

    The location for calculation of the charts is considered to be Bangalore.

The recent Corona Virus outbreak has gripped the world in its paws. There are many theories to its origination, but none can pinpoint the break out and its spread. Scientists world over are figuring out a break through in its cure, but till that time, one has to grapple with ‘Social Distancing’ as the only remedy for this deadly disease. From a Vedic astrology perspective COVID is a fantastic case study to analyse.

For this we need to go back to the beginning of 2019 - Not the Gregorian calendar but the advent of ‘Vikāri’ Samvatsara. Below is the chart of this New Year based on Moon cycle followed per the Vedic Traditions. This New Year is called Ugadi. (A New Age).

Below is the chart (also can be considered as the Chart for that moment) of planets when Vikāri year started. VIKĀRI means Pathological, Disease prone, Disoriented etc. No wonder we are observing the current crisis.

Let’s analyse this chart:


The Vaara lord (weekday) Venus and the Nakshatra lord Mercury (also the hora lord) are

placed in the 8th house of death and disease.


Ascendant or Lagna is Cancer i.e. fast moving sign. So things will happen fast. The

Lagna Lord is Moon well placed in Pisces. A good sign and good house 9th.  



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Hence, there is strong mental will and strong cooperation among the people to fight odds.
Spirituality will play a big role considering the 9th and Pisces (the house of Moksha).
  • -  Sitting with the 2nd lord Sun in Pisces, the Moon-Sun combination indicates good
    engagement between the public and the governments. (which we are seeing for now)

  • -  The 6th house is heavily afflicting the Jupiter. Jupiter in 2019 is actually in Scorpio but moved with breakneck speed to Sagittarius during this period. Indicative of the fact that there is a curse of Jupiter, because of Saturn (sorrow), Rahu (insects, virus, shock) and Mars (anger). Because Jupiter is well placed in its own house is indicative that a high scholar is involved in this. (In hindsight, this is true considering the arrest of the HOD of Harvard Chemistry department working clandestinely with the Chinese)

  • -  Rahu-Ketu axis is indicative of some secretive work done along the lines of insects, virus, micro-life forms etc. Rahu in the 12th may not help much for Cancer ascendant even though well placed in Gemini. Rahu the creator of the Virus is in Punarvasu Nakshatra indicating that there is a RESURGENCE of the deadly virus, based on tremendous research.

  • -  Now let’s use the Prashna Chalana Paddhati TM developed at Pushyarka.
    • -  The way PCP works involves moving through each house as one month.
    • -  From April 5th to May 5th 2019, the first house of Ascendant comes into play. Since
      the Moon is well placed there is not much of an issue here.
    • -  From May 5th to June 5th, the 2nd house comes into play. Since the Sun is also
      kinda well placed, it Indicates that the Governments will succeed. (Modi got
      reelected during this period)
    • -  From June 5th to July 5th, the third house of Virgo whose lord Mercury goes to the
      8th house of Aquarius. The third house is an interesting house indicating efforts put in by Mercury. Since A6 (The Arudha of diseases) sits there, hence the effort would be towards some disease. Mercury is the dispositor of Gemini where Rahu sits. This shows the initial efforts or initiative taken up during this period.
    • -  From July 5th to August 5th, the 4th house of Libra whose Lord Venus goes to the 8th house. Now this house has A8 (the Arudha of death). Seated with Mercury in the 8th is a clear indication that some heavy efforts have been put to use in developing this FATAL disease.
    • -  From Aug 5th to September 5th, the 5th house of Scorpio comes into play. The lord of this Mars is in the 11th in Taurus and looks at it. Also A5 is in Capricorn the 7th house. This period has been fairly event free due to the protection of Mars, though Scorpio indicates that the clandestine activity has continued unabated.
  • -  From September 5th to October 5th, the 6th house of Sagittarius comes into play. This axis of 6th to 12th is where the trouble begins. As it houses Saturn, it indicates death (8th lord), Ketu the 5th lord - clueless citizens and Jupiter the curse of the intellectual (misuse of knowledge). With Rahu in 12th aspecting this sign, this phase indicates the use of Nightly animals and birds or imprisoned humans. This could possibly have been the period of testing or the initial leakage of this virus. 
    Jupiter in Gandanta at 0o Sagittarius is not helping things and certainly indicates the manifestation of the curse. Mars comes out as a major force as its 8th aspect is the deadliest of all planets aspects. So the killing intention or energy comes directly from Mars. Mars is red in colour and we are aware of which country represents that colour.
  • -  From Oct 5th to Nov 5th, the 7th house of Capricorn comes into play. Saturn its lord is seated in the 6th, still supporting the cause. A5 indicates citizens of a country hence its still impacting them.

  • -  From Nov 5th to Dec 5th the 8th house of Aquarius comes into play. This is where the impact started. (Remember the first case was registered
    on Nov 17th and considering the gestation period of 10 days
    we can very well suggest that this started in this period).

    Mercury is the 3rd and 12th lord with Venus the 4th and 11th lord in 8th house. Mercury the third lord also shows hands and touch being also the cause of the spread. It has exchange of houses with Rahu in Gemini, So there is a strong connect between Mercury and Rahu. Rahu also has the reverse 5th aspect on Aquarius, showing that the spread or leakage started during this period.
    In the Chakra System, Venus governs the Anahata Chakra which owns the chest area and heart. 4th house also shows the chest area. Gemini where the infection emanates, is an airy sign. All this indicates some kind of illness to the chest area and specifically to the Lungs.
    Aquarius is represented as The Cornucopia. This falling in the 8th house is a sure sign of deprivation and struggle. This is clearly seen as the shortage of food and supplies across the globe.
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  • -  Now comes the interesting phase of Dec 5th to Jan 5th. Though it’s the 9th house of Pisces indicating a good house, but this phase got hijacked by the strange alignment of planets on Dec 26th with the Solar eclipse happening. See how the axis of Gemini-Sagittarius comes up again. The chart is the Sunrise on Dec 26th when
    the Lagna rising is Sagittarius. All planets are completely influencing this house. 


    A clear indication of something major happening in this period. Additionally the solar eclipse begins its journey from Middle East and extends its path towards the Eastern part of Asia. The origin of the Solar eclipse has always indicated the advent of a calamity in that area or a calamity caused by that area. In hindsight, we can always connect the dots to the similar disease of MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Disease).

  • -  From Jan 5th to Feb 5th the 10th house of Aries comes in to play, whose lord Mars is located in the 2nd house from it. Mars (you know which country by now) tries to protect its house, though the damage has been done. With Mandi and Gulika seated there, its a clear indication that the poison is spreading well and far. Aries also shows Europe and UK, as the most celebrated and longest lasting monarchies are still prevalent there. This indicates that the spread was happening there because of Mandi and Gulika but Aries being the headstrong ‘Ràm’ ignored the signs of danger, just like the mountain goat ignores the perils of climbing steep slopes.

  • -  From Feb 5th to Mar 5th, The 11th house of Taurus comes into play. 11th house is the house of Friends, Community etc. This is where the Stage 3 of many countries started. This is also where India got infected, because Independent India has its ascendant as Taurus. But the presence of Mars in it indicates a strong leader (Modi’s ascendant lord is Mars) who would take the necessary actions. But world over the spread had come into the Stage 3 of Community spread.

  • -  From March 5th to March 24th (The new year begins on this day), the 12th house of Gemini comes into play which houses the ever expanding Rahu. Rahu at this point had moved into Ardra the star of Rudra indicative of great destruction. Rahu is also expansive in nature and hidden. Hence making the fight against the invisible enemy the Corona Virus that much more difficult. Rahu also indicates a mutant strain. Hence there is no medicine for it. Only Sun and Moon in the 9th house offer some solace. Hence the Public-Government collaboration becomes key to defeating this malice.

So how does the future look like? For this we need to see the new year’s chart of “Sharvari” Samvatsara on March 24th 2020.


SHARVARI means Twilight, also means the duration between sunset and sunrise, the queen of night, another name for Goddess Parvati or Shakti.

Let’s analyse the chart of this New year.
  • -  The Vaara lord (weekday) is Mars placed exalted in 7th house of Capricorn. Indicates there will be tremendous energy shown in this year.

  • -  The Nakshatra lord Saturn is well placed in its own house of Capricorn and Digbala (Directional Strength) being placed in 7th house. Also indicates that efforts from the West will bear fruits.

  • -  The Hora Lord being Sun placed in the 9th again indicates strong presence of Government to help throughout the year. Being the 2nd lord there would be good amount of fiscal stimulus to help out the Citizens Moon.

  • -  You can see the similarities to some extent as compared to the 2019 chart but of course with some differences. The immediate similarities are the Cancer Lagna, Sun and Moon in 9th in Pisces, Jupiter and Ketu in 6th in Sagittarius, Mercury in 8th and Rahu in 12th.

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Let’s apply the PCP method here. From March 24th to April 24th, the first house Cancer comes into play. This is an important sign as the lord Moon goes to the 9th house. With Sun it shows the public-government participation.
Here we do need to account for the transits to some extent. Jupiter will move out

from the 6th house of Sagittarius and to Capricorn on March 30th. This will break the Jupiter’s curse, which had formed the genesis of this pandemic. Though Jupiter is debilitated in Capricorn, but both its friends Saturn and Mars will pull it out. Saturn is the 7th lord which indicates partnerships and collaborations and Mars is the Yogakaraka I.e. 5th and 10th lord. Which indicates strong desire, energy and will power to overcome all hurdles. With the advent of the intelligent Jupiter to this combination, New breakthroughs will happen in getting some cure. Though there will be some respite, still it would be a long march to complete elimination of the spread.
  • -  From April 24th to May 24th, the 2nd house of Leo will come into play. Here again the Sun going to the 9th house of Pisces indicates some important strides towards Government measures, Stimulus packages and recovery of the economy.
  • -  From May 24th to June 24th, the 3rd house of Virgo comes into play. The A6 is still placed here and the lord Mercury goes to the 8th house. This is a similar condition as before but now it sits alone. It still indicates challenges in overcoming the hurdles caused by the Virus.
  • -  From June 24th to July 24th, the 4th house of Libra comes into play. Venus the lord is seated in the 10th house and aspects it, indicating that the shadow of this Virus will move away and the world will be back on its feet to find happiness. Shopping will resume with great vigour. This will in turn push the economy back to a recovery.
  • -  Periods in August, September will be good for recovery. October will need some further medical attention. Later on it would be better.
    Rahu’s transit to Taurus in September will help reduce this tension as it moves away from the destructive Ardra nakshatra and will be in a good position in Taurus for the next 18 months.

So where would the remedy come from or what would it be?

The most powerful combination in this chart is that of the Saturn-Mars combination in the
7th house of Capricorn.


Though Mars is exalted, Saturn placed in its own house, gaining directional strength and being the dispositor of Mars will indicate more from west but with a combination of Mars. So the cure should be coming with a combination of China and the West - especially US.


In our body, per Medical Astrology, Saturn indicates phlegm and Mars indicates blood. Both are a part of the Lung processing system. Excess phlegm covers up the lungs and impure blood or poor absorption of oxygen in our blood causes deprivation of oxygen to various other organs.

Hence it’s important to improve this condition. When Jupiter joins this combination, then it gets the Aakasha tattva or the ethereal energy to this combination. Jupiter rules the liver in the body and helps produces glycogen in the liver. This glycogen is then used by the power muscles of Mars which in turn eliminates the uric acid created by Saturn. Foods and medicines containing Jupiter elements like - Vitamins: B-6, biotin, Cholin, inositol and pangamic acid (vitamin B-15). Minerals: Chromium, manganese and zinc - should be given to the patients to aid the recovery.

When Rahu moves out of Ardra and the Sun-Moon-Pisces month begins in September there is hope of a vaccination being developed. By the end of September, Jupiter will move back to Sagittarius and regain control of his territory and fortify the remaining part of the year.

Saturn is earth and Mars is fire. So a combination of this would help resolve the issue. Saturn indicates separation and in the 7th house indicates separation between members of the society. A strong Mars indicates that this Social Distancing will have to be administered by force. But with Moon the public and Sun the government together in the 9th, it will be a peaceful collaboration to achieve the desired results.

The current crisis has already jeopardised the economies across the globe and will hurt
badly till June. Post that things will improve and by September economies will improve 9
eventually. Government interventions by way of stimulus packages will be the norm as Sun the 2nd lord sits in the 9th with the Moon, the public.

Saturn and Mars combination indicates a lot of initial strife but will later produce a new paradigm across the globe. This combination will change the way work and life happens. It will set the foundation for a new world order!

Sharvari being the year of the Shakti, mantras of Ma Durga will be very potent to overcome the disease.


Another remedy is to move your energised hands (after rubbing the palms rapidly) across the body from head to toe (for self and others) while reciting the following Narayana Kavacha mantra - at least 5 times. Do this everyday in the morning and before leaving home.



‘Vanamali Gadi Shāngi, Shanki, Chakri ca Nandaki. Srimān Narayano, Vishnur, Vasudevo abhi rakshatu’


Finally for those infected the Mrityunjay Mantra is the best remedy for protection and early 
cure.

God Speed!

Authored by Shri. Prahlad Karnam