Saturday, 24 November 2012

Belief in Astrology and Failure in Life

The same Swami Sivananda who said, "An elementary knowledge of astrology is of great value..." (pg. 247, Science of Yoga, Vol. 7), hastened to add, "Do not believe in the evil influence of stars and planets..." (pg. 188, revelation) and "Do not pin your faith in astrological predictions..." (pg. 247, Revelation).

Life is hard, formidable and arduous, there is no denying. No one---who has succeeded in life--- would deny this incontrovertible truism. Every person, who is now a celebrity, has had his share, taste and moments of failure. Bitter failures at that, sometimes. What, however, starkly distinguishes us from them is their indomitable vengeance to succeed, the resoluteness to deny failure its success, to strip the stars of their congenital powers over our lives: they demonstrated these through working hard, fighting hard, struggling hard against all odds. Odds that spelt death to hopes!

When the world said that Louisa May Alcott was a failure, and when she was turned down not by one but by countless publishers, she fought hard to prove them all wrong --- finally, she became a published author of famous books.

Wilma Rudolph became a cripple after a polio attack---she did not suffer her debility to scupper her efforts to embrace success. Didn’t she become the world's fastest runner!

Walt Disney became a bankrupt several times; lost his job; became a wastrel, some biographers say. But we know how he struggled hard to ascend the heights of fame.

The authors of “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hensen, faced the worst and insurmountable embarrassment and humiliation when their book was rejected by over 140 publishers, who found their work not worth anyone’s reading time. Of course, we now know that the same book has sold 100 million copies.

The author of “Harry Potter”, J.K. Rowling’s, original Harry Potter was rejected by a innumerable publishers like Penguin and Harper Collins. The single parent was, by all these, severely depressed, and was finally poverty-stricken: her situation was so bad that she had to depend on welfare. And, of course, you know what has happened to her now.

A lot people like Winston Churchill cheated bad luck, and CREATED their brand of miracle(s): Churchill, for instance, after failing his Pr.6, and trounced at several public offices, became the prime minister when he was 62, the age, for most people, that is synonymous with retirement. (Most of us would have resigned to bad luck after our first experience with failure at 20).

More than 1000 restaurants rejected Sanders’ recipe; he didn’t wait for miracles---in faith, he created miracle. And, it is a miracle that that rejected recipe is popular in all KFCs in the world.

The father of Macy department stores, which are now the fashion icon in all major cities, had had the reputation of successive failures. He explored everything that was unimaginable.He did NOT wait for miracle to knock at his door. Contrarily, he knocked and banged the doors of every suspected miracle. Finally, he created miracles all through his determination and doggedness.

S.Hondo had no luck with miracles. He had even been passed over when it came to choosing an engineer. But, he engineered his life without any reliance on miracle, and created a miraculous multi-million dollar car company.

If only Vera Wang had made it in all her attempts, the world would not now have owned a billionaire designer: thank God that she failed as an Olympic skater; failed as an editor; failed as a sub-editor! She refused to kowtow to fate’s bludgeons---worked even harder and has become what she is now.

Bald Fred Astaire was ugly, not a dancer, not a singer, not an actor: he was not fit for the silver screen. But he became a miracle when he transformed into one of the greatest dancers on planet earth. Sheer industry.

If Sidney Poitier had listened to the advice and had gone to do dishwashing, he would not have come by the much-coveted Academy Award. He created miracles. He did not wait for anyone to create an  award for him. He earned the award.

A friend I know latterly griped: “When an astrologer predicts that I will go through a rough patch, it comes to pass; when he, however, at another time, says that I would materially gain, nothing happens.”

Of course, bad things, in his case, will happen the way that the astrologer predicts. Do you know why? It is because when the astrologer says that he will have a bad time, my friend resolutely believes in his ill-fate, and makes it happen just the way he has imagines his life. When good times comes, in his congenital pessimism, he gingerly and half-heartedly approaches it; or worse, without faith --- therefore, everything falls through.

The Sri Yukteswar Maharaj, who told his disciple, Paramahansa Yogananda, to wear an amulet to protect himself from the malefic effect of the stars, also said: "Astrology is the study of man's RESPONSE to planetary stimuli. The stars have NO conscious benevolence or animosity; they MERELY send forth positive and negative radiations. Of themselves, these do not help or harm humanity, but offer a lawful channel for the outward operation of cause-effect equilibriums which EACH man HAS set into motion in the past... (pg. 162, Autobiography of a Yogi)
In the name of being spiritual, many of us have become superstitious, fatalistic, parochial and cowardly. That is why Sri Yukteswar maharaj said, “Superstitious awe of astrology makes one an automaton, SLAVISHLY dependent on mechanical guidance. The wise man DEFEATS his planets--which is to say, his past by transferring his allegiance FROM the creation TO the Creator. ..." (pg. 162, Autobiography of a Yogi)

And, for the same reason, Yogananda Paramahansa has said, “Seeds of past karma cannot germinate if they are roasted in the divine fires of wisdom" (pg. 165, Autobiography of a Yogi)

He adds --- "Occasionally I told astrologers to select my worst periods, according to planetary indications, and I would still accomplish whatever task I set myself. It is true that my success at such times has been accompanied by extraordinary difficulties. But my conviction has always been justified: faith in the divine protection, and the right use of man's God-given will, are forces formidable beyond any the 'inverted bowl' can muster. The starry inscription at one's birth, I came to understand, is not that man is a puppet of his past. Its message is rather a prod to pride; the very heavens seek to arouse man's determination to be free from every limitation. God created each man as a soul, dowered with individuality, hence essential to the universal structure, whether in the temporary role of pillar or parasite. His freedom is final and immediate, if he so wills; it depends not on outer but inner victories." (pg. 166, Autobiography of a Yogi)

Even Mata Amirtanandamayi, dilating on about hard work and fate, says: "A horoscope can be altered by God's resolve. " (Talks by Swami Paramatmananda)

The die-hard pessimist, who reads all these, has a ready reply (I know): “I am not Yogananda, okay. I am so-and-so, the man who is struggling with a family. Don’t tell me what all these swamijis and successful people have achieved. I am not they; and they are not I.”

But these self-same swamijis and super people are not from Krypton. Or, are they? In fact, all of them, just like you the reader and me the writer, have had to go through the same gestation period, have had suffered the same ignominy of Nature's wrongful confinement in our mothers' wombs, and have had been delivered in the same manner. All these soi-disant super humans did not emerge out of their mothers as luminous lights and grew out or up in a flask to become humans.

They did not come with the warranty that they would succeed. In many cases, copious tears drenched their faces; desolation, hopelessness and dejection seemed permanent features of their lives; in some cases, friends, family and society ostracised them.

The same stars that mar our lives and hopes marred theirs too. But, they succeeded---succeeded not by wishful thinking, sheer hope, belief in astrology, dreams and anger, but by assiduity, perseverance and their signature indomitable spirit. The never-give-up attitude made the difference between them and us. They are where they are because they lack what we have; we are where we are because we lack what they have.

Nature destined them to be human beings. But they selected success as their life's choice.

From conception, these swamijis and these successful people have been like anyone like us. BUT the point of forked diversion comes when they defiantly say “NO” to failure and fight on, struggle on, plod on till they are lavishly bathed in the warm light of success.

Unless we have their pizzazz, their confidence, optimism, spirit, single-mindedness, lust for achievement, we have doomed ourselves as failures.

My friend, who took issue with the astrological reading, cited examples of people, in the film industry, who seemingly succeeded just on "miracles". I wonder how much they had put in to create those miracles. Even if the citations were purely miracles, they paled in comparison to the millions of others in the film industry who have no miracle or fate to help them.

Forget about miracles that happen without reason. Trust the miracles that we purposefully (not purposely) create: make miracles, challenge miracles, show miracles, become the miracle that elude the pessimist.

Success and peace will be light years away from one who does not believe in this spirit.

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