Friday, November 03, 2006

Civlizations Part I - Astrology

Well, we are 6 years down into the new millennium – but some things will never change. One I could never understand is the ever growing interest of people in sentiments, beliefs and other similar stuff which they believe can bring them good fortune or bad omen. Astrology, auspicious days and times, animals, gold and precious stones – the list never ends.

The not so surprising element is the people from so called developed West are not exception. In fact, they believe more in this stuff than the ‘uncivilized/under-civilized’ and under-developed African and Asian tribes.

Even the rockets and space shuttles are being launched only after huge calculations and debates to decide the so-called auspicious date and time, sometimes even putting aside the weather and geographical conditions. I still remember the spam of forwards I got explaining the bad time the exploded ‘Columbus’ space shuttle had entered the earth’s atmosphere and several reasons trying to prove that it was a bad time for the US when WTC was attacked.

These mails gave me a lot of fun as I know the truth and many of us know, thought not willing to accept.

If one realizes what actually happens in this world and what affects one’s success or failure, then that person can really enjoy all these stuff – whether it is astrology, lucky stones or something else.

Let’s start with the science of “astrology” (Yes, Indian government claims “Astrology” as a science and tried to introduce a diploma course on this in all universities).

Astrology is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs in which knowledge of the relative positions of celestial bodies and related information is held to be useful in understanding, interpreting, and organizing knowledge about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial events

As said, generally people try to get a glimpse of their future by doing different calculations using one or more of these factors –

1. Date and Time of Birth – Not sure of the exact rate, but it can be assumed at least 1000 births take place at the same time in the world –
a. Is the fate of all these 1000 persons same throughout their lives?
b. At least, can twins (with same birth date, parents and equal atmosphere, climate, opportunities, economic conditions, etc.) be guaranteed with same future? (I can recall so many Bollywood, Hollywood movies involiving separation of twins – one grows in a police house, one grown by a thief – Ha ha ha)
c. Even, if the birth happens at the same time, the exact date-time differ from time zone to time zone and country to country. Babies born in New Zealand and Pacific Islands have a difference of one day in their birth days – though their birth places differ by 5-10 kilometers.
d. This reminds me Dec 31st 1999 when lot of pregnant ladies in UK pleaded with doctors to time their delivery to 1/1/2000 to get the distinction of their baby to be the first to born in the new millennium, forgetting/ignoring/not aware that the new millennium would start only on 1/1/2001 and secondly, the sun would have already set in Australia and Japan and thousands of babies would have already born in the new millennium.
e. The current Gregorian calendar practiced all over the world was proposed only in 16th Century.
f. So, since the Date and Time of birth cannot exactly affect the future of a person, the sun signs, zodiac signs, birth stars can be struck off. But let’s see what is in them.
2. Sun signs – The names and the member stars might be different, but almost all types of astrology based on solar calendar believe that there are 12 sun signs – identified by 12 constellations (group of stars) in which the sun reside for 12 months of a year –
a. Well, any person with basic primary school education must have learnt in their science academics that the universe is vast and the stars which seem to appear closer to each other and make so called constellations are, in real, separated by thousands and millions of kilometers. The ancient and medieval astronomers identified some patterns in the way the starts had appeared when seen from the earth, grouped them and named them in the shape the group resembled – for example, Polar Bear that when seen from the Europe appeared in the extreme North (hence Polar) and the shape was like the animal, bear. Similarly, Orion, the Hunter and his two dogs, Cannis Major and Cannis Minor.
b. They named the path the Sun appeared to take when watched from the Earth as Zodiac and selected 12 big constellations which appeared to fall on or nearer to this path and named them as Zodiac signs. Luckily for them, bulk of these constellations shaped up in animals (Aries – goat, Taurus – bull, Pisces – fish, etc.)
c. They termed that the sun stays moves from one zodiac sign to another every 30 days, generally every 14th of a month to 15th of next month.
d. Depending on the date of birth of a person, the zodiac sign in which the sun is believed to reside is assumed as the Sun sign of that person – The bulk of the western astrology is based on these sun signs! – Even I get a junk of forwards on different types of foretelling based on these sun signs - if you are a Sagittarian, you will get a huge amount of free money this month, blah blah!
e. Some firm believers may impart science to this sighting the seasonal changes that take place when the sun ‘moves’ into Capricorn on Jan 14th and similar stuff.
f. But, in first place, how can a group of stars separated by thousands and millions of kilometers affect a living being staying in a small village on Earth, one of the planets revolving around a small dwarf star called Sun, which is no way comparable to huge stars in the Milky Way (again conceptualized by man) and unexplored areas of the universe.
g. The basic truth – Sun is a star and immovable object. Only Earth moves around the sun and obviously, that gives the impression that the sun moves from one zodiac constellation to other.
3. The above logic holds good even for the Lunar signs – According to some civilizations, including India, the moon affects the lives of people – Moon resides in 27 stars for each day (some times less than a day and some times more than that) in a month and this repeats for 12 lunar months – the period for which a moon stays in a lunar sign.
a. To add, moon is a satellite of earth – So the Earth should affect the living things on moon (if any), if the logic of Sun affecting the people on Earth is applied.
4. Solar Eclipse (total or partial), Lunar Eclipse are not exceptions to this. In India, the temples of Hindu gods are closed on the day of Eclipse and some special pujas (act of praising the god) are performed after the close of eclipse. So, even Gods are affected by the eclipses!!
5. I don’t want to talk much about the other types of foretelling like – using Cards (Western, African), Parrots and other birds, etc.

To be continued...