XV . IV . XXIII
ASTROLOGY IS SCIENCE & ART: SANDEEP CHOPRA
By Ravi V. Chhabra/fnbworld
Ravi V. Chhabra: What mainstream profession did you move from into the mesmerizing world of vedic astrology and why?
Chopra: I am a trained textile engineer with an MBA degree, having spent two decades in that industry, specialized in international marketing and roaming around the globe whetted global brands. I joined engineering in 1990 and the same year at the college, I met a classmate whose father was an astrologer. From there on my interest began in this somewhat arduous journey! Slowly it turned into passion. Soon I was reading astrology books and practicing horoscopes. However, after about 2 decades, I felt to go deeper into this subject and to research this really occult (mysterious) area, the best way would be to spread knowledge and thereby keep studying it.
RVC: Why this choice by you to make it a profession at such early age, were your parents supportive. Is it well paying?
Chopra: My parents had taught me that anything comes out best if done in a professional way. Since I had a primary profession of textile job, I never thought of considering astrology in monetary terms. It was a passion, and even today when I am earning well through it, I consider it as my major passion. If I find any student desiring to gain knowledge on this subject, I feel like sharing the knowledge with the person. I always believe, the more you spread the knowledge of astrology, the more you learn yourself. So, I founded the 'School of Occult Science'. It has other wings of occult sciences such as Numerology, Vastu, Tarot etc. We plan to add more subjects such as Reiki.
RVC: Is astrology an art or science?
Chopra: Nice question. Both indeed! Yes and I would love to explain this. We all know astrology is basically analyzing a horoscope. So what is a horoscope? It is the position of planets at the time of your birth expressed in terms of angles subtended by the planets at the place of your birth, at birth time. Now how can you measure the angles (position of planets). Obviously, through science. You need to measure the angles of the planets, their speed, and their strength mathematically (we call it 'Shadbal' in astrology), all this is measured scientifically. Hence, this is a purely science. Vedic astrology knowledge has been given to us by Maharishi Parashar (also known as Father of Vedic Astrology). He gave us the rules to be applied and followed, once we have the position of planets at the time of birth. Understanding these rules, the inferences they make, and applying them to a horoscope is really an art. All this becomes more complex since Maharishi Parashar gave all these Vedic astrology rules in an era thousands of years back and to relate these rules with the present era is an art that one has to master in order to give good predictions.
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RVC: Do you offer correctives to improve planetary positions for removing the malefic effects?
Chopra: Yes of course, these are called remedies. Here, I would like to mention that remedies never remove completely the ill effects of malefic planets. Remedies can only reduce the malefic effects to some extent. However, here remedies need lot of validation. Today, on social media, you see lot many people giving remedies that have no reasoning or link to Vedic knowledge. They are more popularly known as 'Totkas'. Sorry to say but we do not advocate such remedies. At 'School of Occult Science', we advocate only Vedic remedies. These remedies are Yagya, Yantra, Mantra, Gems, Rudraksha, Donations/Charities, and Fasting. The remedies are not directly related to events like marriage, promotion, job, etc but the remedies are related to planets. An astrologer has to diagnose why a native (whose horoscope is being considered) is facing problems, which planet is causing it, and then offer remedies related to that planet. This diagnosis depends on the expertise of the astrologer just like a doctor. Remedies are akin to medicines! If the diagnose is not correct, remedies will not do any good.
RVC: How is normal or western astrology different than vedic astrology?
Chopra: The difference between Vedic and Western astrology arises from the very foundation of astronomy. On the day of the spring equinox (when day and night are equal – around 21st March every year), Sun is over the equator moving from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere. Both Vedic and Western astrology agree on this point. Western astrology considers the position of Sun on the day of equinox, as starting point of the zodiac Aries. Hence, Aries sign is defined from 21st March to 20th April. However, Vedic astrology says, that after a year when Sun comes back to the same point on equator, it is not exactly the same point but the point gets drifted apart by 50” angle (50 seconds – here seconds is the sub-sub unit of angle and not time). It is technical and mathematical and I can go on and on....
RVC: Is astrology growing as a profession?
Chopra: When do you say a profession is growing? When number of people engaged in the profession increase or when the cost that can be for consultation in that profession increases? While the former indicates supply, the latter indicates demand. In the case of astrology, demand is increasing but real supply is not increasing. By real supply I mean there are a lot of people who want to learn astrology but they think it must be an easy thing since a normal pundit in a temple is able to read a horoscope. Do not consider astrology easy, even if it is difficult, all that you need to learn is your passion. Many times, people ask me if there is a minimum requirement to enrol in our school, I say “Yes you need to have passion for this subject else you can’t learn it”.
RVC: How many forms of astrology exist today?
Chopra: Broadly, Western and Vedic Astrology are the two types. Vedic Astrology is also known as Indian or Parashari Astrology. However, there are other Astrological systems in India such as Nadi Astrology, Jaimini Astrology, and most recently K.P. Astrology. Nadi Astrology originated in South India. You might have heard about manuscripts on leaves read by renowned astrologers from South India. It is said that these manuscripts were written by Sage Agastya and are considered very unique and different from Parashari Astrology. Maharishi Jaimini is consideredtobea discipleof Maharishi Parashar. Maharishi Jaimini gave some different perspectives for predictions and these came to be known as Jaimini Astrology. Most recent one is KP Astrology. KP stands for Krishnamurthy Paddhiti, an Astrological System developed by Late K.S. Krishnamurthy. He is from our present era, born in 1908 and died in 1972.
RVC: Did you have any mentor/formal education in astrology?
Chopra: I started learning astrology when I was in engineering college. I met the father of one of my classmates, who was a great astrologer. He was from South India, I learned my first lesson in astrology on the South Indian format of horoscope. Later I tried to develop it through self-study. At some point, I could not take it further by self-studying and then I joined AIFAS (All India Federation of Astrologer’s Society) where I did my formal course.
RVC: What are the main texts to study and what relevance does ' Brighu Shastra' and ' Lal Kitab' have towards the study?
Chopra: As I said there exist various systems of astrology. However, if we go to basics, then Vedic Astrological principles are given by Maharishi Parashar who is considered the father of Vedic Astrology. His teachings are compiled in a text: Brihat Parashar Hora Shastra (BPHS). Anyone wishing to learn Astrology should refer to BPHS along with some other classical texts such as “Phaldeepika” by Mantreswar; “Uttara Kalamrita” by Kalidasa. These are classical books having original Sanskrit slokas which have been translated into English, Hindi, and other local languages by various astrologer-writers. Bhrigu Shastra is from Bhrigu Samhita, supposed to be the first compilation of predictive astrology by Sage Bhrigu who was one of the Saptarishis created by Brahma. Lal Kitab, the author of the original verses is unknown. I tried to study Lal Kitab but found its principles differed from the principles of Parashar, hence I did not study or ascribe to it.
RVC: Is there any chance of someone in your family carrying further this profession?
Chopra: Sorry to say, I don’t see that happening. My son is currently studying business administration and does not show much inclination toward this subject.
RVC: Computers are versatile. Can vedic astrology be replicated and predicted by machines?
Chopra: Never! Computers have already done their part in astrology. As I said in the beginning, Astrology is both a science and an art. Computers have helped on the scientific part by doing all the calculations that earlier Astrologers were supposed to do. The 'Art' of applying the principles of Astrology will remain the expertise area of astrologers.
RVC: Could you give our readers an idea about the fee charged by you?
Chopra: I charge Rs 1,100 for a horoscope for an Indian client and USD 25 for the foreign client. I don’t just look at charts and start talking about it. I need time to analyze. I take questions from my clients, analyze their charts and then talk to them.
RVC: Also gives us an idea of the fee at your School of Occult Science in case someone is interested to learn this divine subject...
Chopra: I highly recommend anyone with little interest in the subject to explore this subject and learn astrology so that they are neither dependent on any astrologer nor taken for a ride by anyone, especially the fly-by-night ioperators in every nook and cranny...learn the subject yourself and know the divine secrets behind your life. I love to help you with this study. At our school we have two levels in the Astrology course. Basic level costs USD 250 while advance level costs USD 300. Both the levels takes 4 months each to complete. This makes total period to be 8 months.
RVC: What segment do you consider is your specialty in prediction and remedies?
Chopra: Predictions related to marriage timing, problems in marital life, issues of progeny, and health problems in life are some of the areas I have done a lot of research on. Remedies go hand in hand. Once a problem is correctly diagnosed, I refer remedies for the planet causing the problem.
RVC: Which country has the finest astrologers and why do you say so?
Chopra: But of course India! India gave the world Vedic Astrology and obviously most astrologers are from India. India is also the mother of number zero or 'shunya' without that no mathematical calculation is possible.
RVC: What all do you cover as occult. Do you have remedies to fight against ' jadu' or black magic and what is the procedure to ward off the threats if at all they are real?
Chopra: Let me make it clear. To me occult is mysterious science. If you may note, I have suffixed the word science after mysterious. Occult means mysterious. All subjects such as Astrology, Vaastu, Numerology, Palmistry, Tarot, etc are mysterious, hence occult. If you talk of other areas we often hear such as Jadu, Black Magic etc then let me tell you, my approach is absolutely scientific. I don’t believe in Jadu (Magic) or Black magic, hence do not attribute the occult with these phenomena.
RVC: Is there a connection between Ayurveda and Astrology?
Chopra: Ayurveda and Astrology, both originate from the Vedas. Ayurveda believes that our body gets ailments due to three dosha – Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. Ayurveda gives medicines as remedies for these doshas. Astrology believes that planets cause these doshas. Sun and Mars are considered to be hot planets that could give Pitta-related diseases; Saturn and Rahu are supposed to give Vata-related diseases while Moon, Venus, and Jupiter are supposed to give Kapha-related diseases. That’s the correlation. Ayurveda gives remedies for these doshas while we give remedies for the planets causing these doshas.
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