We turn to astrology because it gives us hope amidst an uncertain world. It also affirms our identity and increases our self-esteem (“This is my sun-sign and that is why I am good at that“). Unfortunately, it also reinforces our defeatist tendencies (“I am always going to have this problem according to my sun-sign“). This raises the question “Do stars rule our destiny?” According to Sri Aurobindo & The Mother, the stars are merely indicators of our future; they do not control our destiny. Furthermore, those who take up the practice of Yoga (and by that, I mean more than just breathing and postures) begin to actively shape their own destiny. The practice of Yoga can alter our nature and change our Karma. In such cases, the horoscope no longer remains a guide to the future. The following are observations of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother on the general topic of astrology.
The Mother Mira Alfassa on astrology
The stars have no decisive influence. It is only if one does not believe in the Divine that one unnecessarily suffers by believing that they determine one’s life.
I have known many astrologers both in Europe and India. So far, nobody has been able to read the future correctly. There are three reasons for the failure.
- First, the astrologers do not know how to read the future properly.
- Secondly, the horoscope is always incorrectly made − unless a man is a mathematical genius. And even for such a person it is very difficult to make a correct horoscope.
- Thirdly, when people say that the stars in this or that house at the time of birth rule your life, they are quite wrong. The stars under which you are born are only “tape-recorders” of physical conditions. They do not rule the future of the soul. There is something beyond, which rules the stars themselves and everything else. The soul belongs to this Supreme Being. And if it is doing Yoga, then all the more it should never believe in the power of the stars or in any other power.
An astrologer who predicts a catastrophe for you is like a joker. Many jokers say things like, “Today you will break your neck!” But in spite of the joke nothing happens.
Only a great Yogi can tell you your future correctly. But even then there is the Supreme Will which alone controls and decides everything.
The most important factor in a horoscope is the intuitive faculty of the astrologer.
Why do you believe in what the astrologers say? It is the belief that brings the trouble. (i.e. The astrologer may be right or wrong. The prediction need not be ignored but one must not get obsessed by it either.)
Sri Aurobindo says that a man becomes what he thinks he is.
Horoscopes have no importance for those who take up yoga, because the influence that works through yoga is much more powerful than the influence of the stars.
Palmistry is a very interesting art, but it depends for its exactitude and truthfulness almost entirely upon the real ability of the one who practises it. Moreover, it relates only to the material destiny and this destiny can be altered by the intervention of the higher forces.
(Collected Works of the Mother, Vol 15, Astrology)
There is a fairly widespread belief that stars have a special influence on the destiny of men, to the extent that an entire system of knowledge is founded on this and, according to the different positions of the stars in the sky, it makes quite complete predictions about what will happen in your lifetime. At an elementary stage of thought, this is expressed by saying that the stars have an influence on our lives. It seems more logical and true to think that it is a sort of notation or recording of the destiny of an individual, for, in the universal unity, everything is interrelated and, if you know how to read the relations between the individual and the universal, you may find in the universal positions of the stars a kind of diagram representing symbolically the life of one individual or another.
Experience proves that this notation which is called in astrology a horoscope is not something absolute and that this destiny is not inevitable, for by taking up yoga and developing spiritually, one escapes from the absolute law of these horoscopes. This would be a kind of notation on the material plane of the relations between universal and individual life, and these relations can be altered by the introduction of a higher plane of consciousness into the material plane of consciousness. All this is what might be called a half-knowledge, which is a kind of very primitive attempt to grasp the links of interdependence between universal and individual existence. And all these things are much more like languages which enable us to fix a certain half-elaborated knowledge rather than absolute rules or the notation of indisputable facts. They are attempts, endeavours to understand things as they are, but very incomplete attempts – which have a certain attraction for some minds but which are after all only very rough approximations to the truth of things.
If we go deep enough into mental human knowledge, we realise that all this knowledge as we have it externally in the mental consciousness is scarcely anything more than a language – a fairly complicated one – making it possible for us to understand each other but corresponding only very remotely to the truth of things.
There is a direct approach by identity which is much more effective and, so to say, gives you the concrete key to the whole machinery of things, a direct key that needs no complicated science to express itself – something that corresponds to movements of consciousness and will, which would not need all the mental complications to express themselves. Then the universal reality in its totality becomes a symbol and can be directly perceived in its essence.
(Collected Works of the Mother, Vol 9, 5 February 1958)
Sri Aurobindo on astrology
“Astrology? Many astrological predictions come true, quite a mass of them, if one takes all together. But it does not follow that the stars rule our destiny; the stars merely record a destiny that has been formed, they are a hieroglyph, not a Force, – or if their action constitutes a force, it is a transmitting energy, not an originating Power. Someone is there who has determined or something is there which is Fate, let us say; the stars are only indications. The astrologers themselves say that there are two forces, daiva and purusakara, fate and individual energy, and the individual energy can modify and even frustrate fate. Moreover, the stars often indicate several fate-possibilities; for example that one may die in mid-age, but that if that determination can be overcome, one can live to a predictable old age. Finally, cases are seen in which the predictions of the horoscope fulfil themselves with great accuracy up to a certain age, then apply no more. This often happens when the subject turns away from the ordinary to the spiritual life. If the turn is very radical, the cessation of predictability may be immediate; otherwise certain results may still last on for some time, but there is no longer the same inevitability. This would seem to show that there is or can be a higher power or higher plane or higher source of spiritual destiny which can, if its hour has come, override the lower power, lower plane or lower source of vital and material fate of which the stars are indicators. I say vital because character can also be indicated from the horoscope much more completely and satisfactorily than the events of the life
(Rishabchand, Sri Aurobindo His Life Unique, p 62)
“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.” These words of Master’s often returned inspiringly to my mind.
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.
(Paramahansa Yogananda. Autobiography of a Yogi. Chapter 16 Outwitting the stars)
- How to make the right choice when faced with a serious decision?
- Karma can be changed. Your destiny is in your hands
- Gita Chapter 18 Verse 60-61 : The illusion of free-will