Astrology-to Be Believed Or Not


HRD minister Smriti Irani on 23 th  Nov 2014 visited an astrologer in Rajasthan to know what the future held for her. The visit sparked a debate on whether the Union minister for premier institutions like IITs and IIMs should be promoting scientific thinking or superstition.  BJP state spokesperson Kailash Nath Bhatt said, "People should read astrophysics; it is a science. How the movement of nine planets influences our lives is scientifically analyzed." He stressed, "People who do not understand India and its culture, indulge in such criticism." "Almost every Indian has visited an astrologer at some point or other in her personal life. Why such a fuss on the minister visiting one? Judge her by her work, not by her personal faith." 
Astrology is part of the ancient tradition of every society in one form or the other. It continues to have a following across the world, sometimes numbering amongst its adherents celebrities or political leaders in positions of power and influence. 'Jyotish', the ancient Sanskrit coinage, entails both astronomy and astrology and is a multidisciplinary branch of study and research, which modern day scientists misinterpreted for so many years together. Jyotish is a three-fold discipline that are, respectively, (1) Sidhhanta, which comprises Mathematics and Astronomy, (2) Sanhita and (3) Hora. Sidhhanta is a pure science. Sanhita concerns the impacts of planetary movements on weather conditions, epidemics, earth-quakes, political and economic turmoil, agricultural production and consumer goods. Hora, the third part, is the most popular part as it is concerned with the fortune of individuals, their well-beings, their ups and downs in their lives and their achievements and failures. Newspapers publish astrology columns. It finds a place on television. These are well-known facts.
Belief in astrology amongst scientists is so rare that most working scientists have never met a colleague (India and some other Third World countries may perhaps be exceptions to this) who believe astrology to be true or believes that it could in any way be considered a science. This rejection of astrology as a science or as a subject fit for serious study of any kind (except perhaps in the context of cultural anthropology or the history of science) has been true now for several centuries. In India during 15th century, Guru Nanak, the prophet of Sikh religion, rejected the Vedic astrology by his scientific argument 4 : 'Units of Indian time, viz. ghari, pahar, thiti, var, mah (month), and change of seasons are related with the motion of one Sun. By God's grace, all days and months are beneficial for human kind'. UGC Chairperson who says, 'Every one is interested in knowing about what the future holds for them and there are plenty of jyotishis in the country. So we want to produce professionals to secure the confidence and faith of people' (Indian Express, Bhubaneswar edn, 30 March 2001).
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has prepared guidelines for setting up of departments of vedic astrology in 2001. The objectives of the academic programme are described as follows:
'Vedic astrology is not only one of the main subjects of our traditional and classical knowledge but this is the discipline which lets us know the events happening in human life and in the universe on time scale.
Starting of the courses in Vedic astrology in the universities will not only impart the knowledge of this subject to the people but will also add a new dimension for research in the fields of Hindu-Mathematics, Vastushastra, Meteorological Studies, Agriculture Science, Space Science, etc'.Research journals have reported how controlled experiments were performed but failed to prove anything in favour of astrology or horoscope
Dr. C.N.R. Rao, said that astrology was not a science and did not conform to the established practices of science.
Source: Guru Nanak, in Ad Guru Granth, SGPC, Amritsar, pp. 12 and 136. 
Ganeshaiah, K. N., Curr. Sci., 2001, 80, 719–720. 
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