Why Indian Vedic Astrology is Still in High Demand After 5,000 Years?
16:46 21.03.2023 (Updated: 17:01 21.03.2023)
© AFP 2023 SANJAY KANOJIAThe 'Blood Moon' is seen during a total lunar eclipse in Prayagraj on November 8, 2022.
© AFP 2023 SANJAY KANOJIA
International Astrology Day is celebrated on 20 or 21 March annually to mark the beginning of the new astrological year and the first day of the first zodiac sign – Aries.
Astrology is an ancient science and a part of Vedas, the oldest Sanskrit scriptures, that dates back more than 5,000 years.
"Anyone can be a millionaire but to become a billionaire you need a good astrologer,” celebrity Indian astrologer Dr. Sundeep Kochar quoted eminent industrialist and banker J.P Morgan as he cites the significance of having an astrologer in one’s life.
On International Astrology Day, Dr. Kochar talks to Sputnik about the origin of astrology, its significance in India, and what makes people across the world follow Indian Vedic astrology so widely and religiously.
From gemology, vastu shastra, numerology, tarot card reading, and reiki to palmistry, face reading, and jyotish shastra (horoscope reading), people worldwide follow astrology in different ways.
Some follow it to find out about one’s life journey or predicting one’s future or naming a child, find a suitable life partner, decide on one’s career path or buy something big like a house or car, while politicians even use it to make big decisions.
Dr. Kochar, who is also a motivational speaker and a life coach, talks of his journey and experience in the art of making predictions as per Indian Vedic astrology and having huge followers on his website and mobile app - 'Astro App'.
Astrology as Roadmap for Life
Sputnik: How would you define astrology?
Dr. Kochar: Astrology is a roadmap for your life. The moment you are born, the date, time, and place of birth are very important as it helps in predicting the set of planets which leaves a great impact on life.
What makes a person different from another is not determined by one’s DNA or genes. It’s the horoscope that defines one’s personality and tells you who you really are, what your present and future time going to be like and this is where you need to bring a change in your life.
Sputnik: How is Indian astrology different from western astrology?
Dr. Kochar: The calculation, which we do in India, is quite deep as compared to the sun sign or the 12 zodiac-based astrology which westerners follow.
Indian astrology comprises 108 types of personalities that are derived from 27 nakshatras (constellations) which are further divided into four padas (sections or quarters).
Not only that, in an Indian horoscope, the combination of nine planets placed in 12 different houses at the moment of your birth is crucial to predict one’s horoscope and tell various things about your life.
Sputnik: It has been 23 years of your astrology career. Did you always want to be an astrologer?
Dr. Kochar: No! It is all destiny. I was a cricketer and wanted to play for India. That was my only dream in life. I was always inquisitive about my future and whether I will be able to play at the international level. So, I used to meet lots of astrologers who were famous at that time and they used to tell me that I will become famous someday.
However, due to some circumstances, I couldn't pursue my career in cricket. But eventually, I found another area to play -- astrology.
I started exploring about my life and from early on, I had a philosophical bent of mind. There was a quest to know about people who continue to struggle despite putting their heart and soul to fulfil their dreams, while others become famous, successful, and powerful. This created an interest in me to learn astrology.
But I never realized that someday I will become an astrologer myself and read the horoscopes of others. God has been kind and I feel I'm blessed to do something, which can really help a person to plan their life and lead to a better life.
Sputnik: You broke the image of traditional Indian astrologers with your looks, approach, and more. How difficult was it to carve a niche for yourself in this field?
Dr. Kochar: Astrology is an ancient science and a part of Vedas - the oldest Sanskrit scriptures that date back more than 5,000 years.
It was supposed to be the profession of only Brahmin community members.
Earlier, there were many traditional astrologers who were referred to as Panditji wearing tika (mark) on their forehead, beaded necklaces, and traditional attire like kurta, dhoti, or payjama.
But when I started learning astrology, back then, it was not considered a career option. Second, I decided to pursue it my way, as I wanted to make it look more natural instead of changing my attire to look like traditional panditji (Hindu priest).
When I started my journey on television way back in 2005, a lot of people took me as an anchor who is reading out horoscope. It took them a few months actually to realize that I'm also an astrologer.
Since then, there was no looking back. My show became the longest-running on television as it went on for nine long years and was also awarded the Limca Book of Records.
I'm doing astrology on my MacBook. So from Vedas to MacBook, it has evolved so much.
So, it was quite a challenge at that time. But I think, I motivated a lot of people with my approach to astrology. Now a lot of youth are inquisitive about astrology science and consider it as a career option.
Sputnik: Apart from being an astrologer, you have donned many hats of a life coach and motivational speaker. What prompted you to branch out?
Dr. Kochar: Over the period of time, I realized that being an astrologer is not enough as astrology is not just about being a philosopher and making predictions on the basis of one’s date, time, and place of birth. It also requires one to be a life coach, a counselor, and a guide who can make people aware of their life journey and give hope for a better tomorrow.
Hence, I expanded to being a life coach and a motivational speaker.
The Many Branches of Astrology
Sputnik: Astrology is a vast subject that has several branches. Can you briefly explain each one of them?
Dr. Kochar: We have Indian astrology, also known as Vedic Astrology, which is a part of ancient Vedas or scriptures and is quite a deep science.
There is Jyotish shastra or horoscope making which is the science of reading the placement of planets when you were born and how it is going to impact your life in the future.
Then there is the Tarot card reading which is just a description of the card that gives you an answer momentarily for that particular situation. It is more intuitive and hence psyche abilities are needed. It is a different ball game altogether.
Numerology is based on numbers. But we are following the Gregorian calendar which existed for the last 466 years. Before that, it was a different calendar. There is also a placebo effect. If somebody will tell you that your lucky number is nine, you start relating everything to the number nine. So that's another thing.
I believe in gemology and the power of gemstones. But stones can’t bring miracles. It can strengthen and enhance the planet which is good for you. But one must consult an astrologer and then wear a gemstone on the right finger and right hand.
But wearing a gemstone will not create magic. There is a logic to it because it is the color of the gemstone through which the light enters your finger and through your body, and boosts elements in your body which you are made of. That is how it works.
Palmistry plays a great role in the prediction about one’s life. You know the lines on your palm, you can't manipulate with it.
Face-reading also plays a great role as it helps one determine one’s nature.
Sputnik: Which aspects of astrology do you specialize in?
Dr. Kochar: I incorporate jyotish shastra (horoscope reading), palmistry, and face reading into my practice as it gives me a complete picture of my predictions.
I have been following the ancient sage Parashar, the Father of Vedic astrology or Jyotish shastra, and his follower sage Jaimini who made his own sutras known as Jaimini sutra.
In my practice, I also strongly believe that taking the right decision at the right time is what we call luck. And this is where astrologers can help you and this is why the new era and today’s generation have embraced this ancient science in a modern way.
Sputnik: What is your opinion on the present COVID-19 situation?
Dr. Kochar: I can say that it might last till November this year and that means it is not the time to go overboard and stop following appropriate measures for prevention.
Sputnik: Who are the popular celebrities you have predicted for?
Dr. Kochar: I don't want to drop names, but because this is all about the secrecy of their own. I have counseled most of the A-listers in Bollywood, a lot of cricketers, politicians, and many others.
Most of the people who believe in astrology, they're not very comfortable coming out in public and saying that they believe in astrology. It's an irony because whenever they're in a situation, they turn to astrology and look for hope, motivation, and guidance. But openly, they always shy away.
There is some kind of notion against astrology that makes some people disbelieve and consider it a superstition.
Sputnik: We have seen so many celebs change the spelling of their names as per astrological predictions. What’s your take on this?
Dr. Kochar: The most happening people are those from the film industry. But I find them most insecure and anxious. They reach out to astrologers to know when they will get their next movie, how good will it be, and whether they will get success or more opportunities.
For them, their name, fame, and recognition are always at stake and depend on their work and success. So, they follow several astrological measures.
But changing the spelling of their names is one of them. But if you ask me, it has no meaning. Changing the name can change nothing. It is happening only in India and no other country follows it.
When I travel overseas, people asked me if India uses a different kind of grammar because the spellings of the names are never correct.
So, I think we need to introspect whether it is actually changing anything at all.