“The message boldly blazoned across the heavens at the moment of birth is not meant to emphasize fate—the result of past good and evil—but to arouse man’s will to escape from his universal thralldom.”
As you can see, these lines talk about astrological prediction, birthtime, fate, and Karma. These lines are from the 16th Chapter ‘Outwitting the stars’ from the book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Paramhansa Yogananda.
A bit about how I came to read this beautiful and powerful book. I read “An Autobiography of a Yogi” quite late in my life, somewhere in 2012. Or it came to me around that time when an astrologer suggested this book.
I have been a nonbeliever for most of my early life regarding Astrology. I thought of it as some superstitious vicious school of thought. So we chucked the mandatory kundali/horoscope matching when we got married, as my husband’s family did not believe in it. And my parents also did not feel the need, I suppose. Life then went on… In those early years of our marriage, we (me and my husband) never consulted any astrologer for any kind of advice or for solutions to counter life’s complicated/complex challenges. Primarily because we felt that everything was in our control and we could maneuver this river of our lives the way we wanted it. It was as simple as that.
But, this simple and powerful belief was shattered to bits after we encountered a few overwhelming adverse life situations. And from then on started my journey of what, why, and how…This led me to Astrology (even numerology and palmistry) as I went on an Astro consultation spree. Of course, struggling with the unavoidable doctors’ visits for my son all along.
We humans, as such, are inquisitive about our future. Many of us Indians probably would have consulted an astrologer at least once or would at least read monthly predictions in magazines. Astrology is a succor for any human who faces a problematic present. No doubt, it gave me great relief and hope for the future. I was pretty impressed by the accuracy of most of the astrologers’ readings and probable predictions. I started consulting more and more astrologers and following all they prescribed like a possessed woman. Slowly, I learned about all the 9 planets (Astrologically, haha.) Sun and Moon signs, the ascendant, the Nakshatras, the 10 directions, and all that consist of a horoscope. I did not realize when my questioning curiosity had changed into a passionate interest. So much so that I could fairly read a horoscope and make simple predictions.
As I see it, there are two types of people in our society, one who blindly believes in every kind of remedy provided by any astrologer and gets trapped in the never-ending vicious circle of consultations and wrong remedies. And another one, who also quite blindly, scoff at Astrology without experiencing it, just because one wants to look cool. Both these sets of people end up tarnishing the essence of Astrology and the image of a good Astrologer. I say, “A Good Astrologer!” because quite a few scamsters take advantage of gullible Janata. Here is the excerpt from the conversation between Yogananda and his master Sri Yukteswar explaining the importance of Astrology and a good Astrologer.
Yukteswar explains astrology to Mukunda, who has avoided it since he declined three arranged marriages based on astrological readings. Master tells him that only charlatans have brought ancient disciplines into ill repute, explaining that a child is born “under celestial rays in certain mathematical harmony with his individual karma.” Metals and jewels emit astral light that can counteract the negative pulls of the planets.” Yukteswar is concerned about Mukunda’s liver and wants him to wear an astrological bangle. Astrology is only another way the universe tries to encourage us to overcome our limitations, and we need all of the tools along the way as we work toward our goal of eliminating the effects of past wrongs.
So coming back to my own journey, I changed from an overzealous rational scientific nonbeliever to an obsessed superstitious woman. Without realizing I had jumped from one extreme end to the other. Slowly and clearly, all this started changing after reading this beautiful book. Of course, the change has been more due to my own experiences and observations. But this book ‘ Autobiography of a Yogi’ has opened my eyes and a few beautiful spiritual doors. So, now I can say I am much more balanced in my approach towards astrology or any other aspect of life. I no longer question the effect of the planetary positions, nor do I fret over it.
Because now, I clearly understand the planets themselves cannot have any effect. It’s not like they do not have any other work, and each day they conspire and scheme amongst themselves to trouble a chosen earthling. It is up to us how we will act and react to these cosmic astral happenings. It is like holding their hands for support and guidance whenever needed and walking our own chosen path of Karma.
Most importantly, I am in total peace as I understand that there is a much bigger force in the universe that creates, sustains, and destroys as per the laws of Karma. So, I absolutely follow the advice of Swami Yogaganada “The wise man defeats his planets—which is to say, his past−by transferring his allegiance from the creation to the Creator.
Here, I have only taken quotable lines from the 16th chapter, ‘Outwitting the stars,’ as Astrology was the one that introduced me to this fabulous book. I can go on a quoting spree from all the other chapters as well, as I can relate to many things, phenomenal and straightforward knowledge shared by Swamiji. Maybe I can do separate write-ups on different sections. There is so much to learn from this book. No wonder many famous people always have some great things to say about this book, especially in the west. If I have to give an example of how this book touched people, there can be no better example than Steve Jobs. Such was the influence of this great book on Jobs that he read it once every year after reading it in 1974 for the first time. Jobs gifted a copy of “An Autobiography of a Yogi” to all those who attended his memorial service.
As in the case of any book, there are still a few folks who find “Autobiography of a Yogi” absolutely rubbish. My take on this is…It would be sheer ignorance and highhanded snobbery to falsify the powerful knowledge shared in the book if one cannot comprehend it. Time and again, it has been proven that all our scriptures and traditions have a scientific basis. One needs to have deep faith and scientific ways to acknowledge it. Based on your Karma, guidance and grace will be bestowed upon you at the right place and time.
Closing this write-up with two of my favorite quotes from the same chapter, which beautifully summarize the essence of “An Autobiography of a Yogi.”
“The deeper the self−realization of a man, the more he influences the whole universe by his subtle spiritual vibrations, and the less he himself is affected by the phenomenal flux.”
“The more he realizes his unity with Spirit, the less he can be dominated by matter.”
I am sure so many of you must have read “An Autobiography of a Yogi”. Would love to know your thoughts about this book and also astrology.
Have a great weekend, dear all 💕
Kalyani S Kakade
06, Jyeshtha Krishna Paksha, Shashthi, 2079 Rakshasa, Vikrama Samvata Singapore, 21 May 2022 Saturday