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Pilgrimages and saints do bless and some such incidents as recorded, take place. I have enough first hand evidence and many instances collected over a period of time, written down, and now many students and friends have also given me written account of their experiences.

But India the land of saints is also the land of terrible stuperstitions. In the spread of superstitions in recent times, the role of astrologers has been dangerously wide and notorious.

astrologer has an anti-biotic remedy for every problem except for himself or his own family. It is through, mantra, yantra or gem stones mostly.

Follow these cases closely and see how
much fraud is associated with all this. In south India, it is called pariharams and we see astrologers make money knowing very little astrology but earning through fraudulent remedies. Without meaning to hurt anyone I want to seek answers to three questions?

1)Are there more superstitious people in
the world than Indians, particularly Hindus?

2)Are women more superstitious than

3)To what extent is astrology linked to
superstitions which unscrupulous astrologers exploit?

I cannot answer the first question as only
some anthropologists and sociologists should address themselves to this question and provide an answer which , I presume, will never happen. Without meaning to hurt women, perhaps it is correct to say that women are more supersttious than men. At any rate that is my experience.

For some years I for example, did
not understand why my late mother collected all the hair that fell off her head and making a small bunch of them, wrapping them up in a cloth asked us to immerse them in river. In later years, I came to know that one’s hair could be used against the persons whose hair it is it for some tantrik kriyas. But she gave it up later, I noticed, when I grew up. I do not remember any such other belief of my mother which could be called a superstition, if it was a superstition at all.

Cat crossing the path
Opposite our house in Lucknow lived an uneducated woman, mother of many children, many of whom died in their infancy. She was an extremely courageous woman having chased a thief with a child in her arms and got him caught. But the number of superstitions she had would have given to Thurber of USA stuff for many good humorous stories.

Almost all her children would not cross a path if a cat passed on it till another man crossed it first! Her husband was equally superstitious. He returned home, if he had moved out of the house, if he saw a widow on his way. What would he have done these days, if he was alive, when I find many widows dressed ever better than married women and are not recognizable now as those days when widows had to wear only white dress compulsorily under social customs prevalent then ?

Imported ones
Then I had myself developed a superstition in the early years of my tenth rate cricket career when I was the best read cricketer, better read in cricket literature than many well established cricket journalists.

I read about the superstition associated with number 13 and when in my unimpressive cricket batting records, I reached 13 runs, I got nervous. I then decided one day that I would play better after reaching this “inauspicious” figure. I did overcome it but a vestige of this survives as in numbering the pages of my astrological records I write 12 A after reaching page 12 and then jump on to page 14 as I am afraid that some of some friends would feel hurt if I told them that their reference was page 13 in records!

Another superstition I had was graphalogical. If I saw any man having a slanting handwriting, I thought that he was in a pessimistic mood which I found wrong in
actual life. But I had a personal secretary in an office who invariably studied my handwriting when I scribbled notes on an office file and once told me about it!

The occasion to say this is the belief of many educated mothers in Delhi and of course businessmen, in the superstition of upayas or remedies prescribed by many astrologers who know little astrology but know how to exploit the fears of women and businessmen. Let me narrate some of these experiences.

1) A woman went to an astrologer to show the horoscope of her son who was not studying well. She was told that the Venus of her son was debilitated and that he would perform a Sharada yagna to render this Venus harmless! This incident was narrated to me by a women astrologer student of mine who told the mother that all this was unnecessary. I do not know what happened later.

2)But I know that in the name of Kal Sarpa Yoga many are exploited all over India and even the world where Hindu astrology has spread. One man working in the intelligence wing of the police of a state government told me that he had spent fifty thousand rupees in Tyambakeshwar on the shanti of KSY and nothing happened as he had no relief !

3)In the television programmes astrologers were prescribing all remedies to be got done by karmakandi pandits till I said in my programme that if any relief is ever got it is through one’s own efforts and worship.

It involves devotion, sincere devotion, not money.

There is no contract given by Lord Brahma to those who have learnt some element of karmakanda and know less astrology to reduce others miseries on payment basis. It had desired effect and now many of them are prescribing all types of difficult mantras which they know women and businessmen will never be able to do and will approach then finally and make handsome payment. This is a trap created by astrologers who themselves know nothing and can not lessen the miseries of their own family members and their own.

How can the results of karmas be avoided by householders who have no tapasya ? These mantra prescribing astrologers are the worst hypocrites and dangerous cheats.

A very great Mahatma used to tell people to do only Radhe Radhe for all problems and particularly for their spiritual bliss. When it came to prescribing specific mantra only one mahatma who had spent fifty years over this and had personal experience prescribed them , I had seen so often, and they gave needed relief but did not wipe out karmas.

These dangerous hypocrites of astrologers are doing more damage to the great tradition of rishis and claiming what they should not. But who can prevent it ?

There are any number of stupid women, even educated ones, and many businessmen who want profit at any cost, are prepared to fall into their trap, women out of their fear and business hoping that it may work and there is no harm in throwing away some money on it.

Then there have always been politicians who get so many yagnas done. Knowing this weakness, one such fellow in Delhi told a politician that he if he did a specific yagna he would become a minister. It would cost five lakh rupees or more. “ If I want to become the prime minister “ asked the politician. It would cost around fifty lakh rupees was the answer. See some of the reported cases.

Gowdas vs girls: Cong plays superstition card
Priyanjana Dutta / CNN-IBN
Updated at Sun, Apr 27, 2008
FAIR DEAL? The stars say that the Gowda clan cannot defeat a woman opponent.
The electrifying presence of former chief minister and Deve Gowda's arch rival
Ramakrishna Hegde's daughter, Mamatha Nichani, has certainly creased the brow of the patron saint of the JD(S). And it's not just Mamatha alone who is pitted against Gowda's younger son H D Kumaraswamy in Ramanagara constituency.
Kumaraswamy's elder brother and former power minister H D Revanna will have a
faceoff with S G Anupama in Holenarsipur in It is believed that Congress’ electoral
strategy can be blamed on the superstitions of the Gowda family. The stars say that the Gowda clan cannot defeat a woman opponent, and history testifies this theory. After all, Deve Gowda lost the 2004 Lok Sabha poll to Tejaswini Sri Ramesh of the Congress. (With inputs from D P Satish)

Incredible India! Infants thrown off roofs to thank God
Siddharth Godam / CNN-IBN
Updated at Sun, Apr 27, 2008 in Nation section
OH BABY! The infants are thrown off the roof of the Baba Sheikh Umar Saheb
Dargah in Solapur. Solapur (Maharashtra): ....A village in Solapur, Maharashtra, has a dangerous tradition of throwing newborns from a height of 50 feet onto a sheet, which is held by devotees. The infants are thrown off the roof of the
Baba Sheikh Umar Saheb Dargah in Musti village in Solapur. This is an age-old tradition practiced by couples who are blessed with a child after taking a vow at the dargah. The  devotees also believe that this ritual is good for the health of the child.

This is eternal India which as an astrologer I know will never vanish. It is because we are religious and believe in astrology! That is the irony.

(28 April 2008)

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