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Chapter 2

Freewill VS. Predestiny

Free Will Versus  Predestiny

In light of people being  significantly influenced by others around them, this is perhaps as good a time  as any to finally address the issue of free will. It should first be understood,  though, that the view presented is only for the reader's reflection and  consideration. Unfortunately like Hindu astrology the matter is simple but not  easy. However it can be grasped if one has great curiosity, patience, and  humility. I might add that because many people are unwilling to rigorously  confront the question it is only the opinion relating to astrology about which I  am stingy in my lectures. Quite simply, people are often too threatened by the  subject to truly hear the concepts, traditional though they are. Furthermore the  issue is, from the point of an astrologer who practices Hindu and Western  astrology and thus daily sees the workings of both fate and free will, clearly  meant for prolonged thought, not for spur-of-the-moment speculation. The  question of free will is far and away the most important matter to be handled by  any astrologer for its absolutely at the heart of all astrological  counseling.

Proper understanding of free will  nearly always determines whether an astrologer will benefit or harm his or her  clients. People who are in distress and thus visit and astrologer to "see what  the stars say" do so in order to address a discrepancy in their experience of  their own power, their own free will. As such the astrologer deals with  essentially two kinds of trouble. Either the client is not taking enough  responsibility and doing what is necessary to solve the problem or they are  neurotically anguishing over an interest that is simply not in their power to  control. Aiding the person through an objective analysis of the situation is not  terribly difficult. But it does require open-mindedness and a deep, rigorous  understanding of free will versus predestiny.

The foremost reason for my journey  to the East was to "cool out" from the loss of my father. Since I was, at the  time, unaware that Hindu astrology could ever be accessible to a Westerner,  learning the subject was not my second priority. Coming to grips with the issue  of free will was. It had been on my mind ever since I began to study Western  astrology. It was there daily, upon awakening and upon retiring. I assumed that  in my travels to India and Israel there would be enough priests, saints, and  gurus to confer with after which I might finally draw my own conclusions. There  were and I did. While I had no mind-altering or highly mystical experiences  regarding the matter, everyone, regardless of religious or spiritual background,  said the same things. Though superficial teachers did not draw the identical  conclusions to those of profound thinkers, all acknowledged the same basic  tenets. And well they should for the principles are as traditional and  conventional as knowledge ever gets.

Quite simply, nearly every religion,  every doctrine attempting to "bind man back to God" (for that is the meaning of  religion: "re" meaning again, "ligio" from "logos" meaning the word or source,  literally "again source") appeals to man to behave in certain ways. In doing so,  in requesting man to perform certain actions while avoiding others, religion  implies the existence free will in no uncertain terms. And since free will fully  matches our experience, the philosophy needs no clarification. The other maxim  given out in nearly every belief system is that God is the "source" is  omniscient, be it past, present, or future. Now this premise, which implies  predestiny (or as the mystics teach that in the same way a seed contains the  entire finished product of the tree all of creation was completed at the instant  it was created) is, at least seemingly, diametrically opposed to free will. What  is present then is a giant paradox (a statement that seems contradictory or  opposed to common sense an yet may be true): a paradox most people easily ignore  because the first premise, free will, lives in their experience while the  second, predestiny, lives in their belief system, which therefore need not have  any basis in reality. Not so simple, however, for an astrologer, especially an  Hindu one who witnesses predestiny regularly in the course of his  work.

What religions and philosophies say  regarding free will does not, of course, make that information true. But since  paradigms and thought systems are not created by fools, even if they are  followed and corrupted by fools, it does make them worth considering. Here I  might add that the original meaning of the word consider was to "confer with the  stars" ("con" meaning with and "sider" from "sidus" meaning star; literally  "with stars"). If one confers with the stars (and not through the horoscope  section of the daily news or the local gypsy) one does indeed find, quite  openly, the element of fate. So do consider, that is confer with the stars, if  you would understand free will versus destiny.

Now, according to what has been  presented, the astute reader will conclude that free will versus predestiny is  not the issue; free will and predestiny is. Free will exists, absolutely  (without reservation and free from imperfection). Predestiny exists, absolutely  and unconditionally. Everything was already determined in the instant creation  began. The combination of the two realities does not mean that certain events  are predetermined while others are, somehow, not. The truth is closer to: we  choose with our free will and that choice, once made is predestined even though  our free will is indeed real! If this does not seem to make sense, it is not  necessarily meant to. That is the nature of the issue. Paradox is not easy for  the human mind to grapple with. It is nearly as difficult for those who have  practiced mysticism and meditation for twenty, thirty, forty years or even  entire lifetimes. In the Far East there exist two fierce stone lions at the  front of every temple, as if guarding the entrance. Tourists marvel at their  elegance. The wise know what the lions represent. They stand for the two  greatest obstacles on the path to God. One is doubt, or lack of faith; a problem  certainly, but one which many manage to overcome, The other is paradox. It is  rarely conquered.

Astrologers wrestle with the paradox  daily. For interpreters of the heavenly language experience the same free choice  as everyone else and at the same time go about predicting the design, purpose,  and life schedule of people's lives. Often, as I have tried to show through the  accounts in this book, the "magic" works and predictions occur like clockwork.  At times, for generally no rhyme or reason they fall flat. Regarding predictive  failures I feel obliged to address those who quite naturally believe that if  astrology works so much of the time then it must in fact work all of the time,  the fault then lying in the astrologer's lack of experience and/or the  complexity of the subject. In one sense I would agree. SInce predestiny is  absolute, all is predictable. And where, of course, better to find  prognostication than through the heavenly language which has survived,  incredibly the test of time, charlatans, gypsies, and newspaper columns. Yes,  ultimately the stars, if they are generally and routinely correct in their  revelations, must be always exact. Logically it would seem so. And as I began my  work with the Hindu system, which so often proved wonderfully simple and  precise, the assumption made perfect sense.

In practice, however, I think it all  is not predictable. For example, while John Lennon's violent death and Richard  Nixon's political downfall appear with such blatantness in their Hindu charts  other major occurrence such as the sudden death of James Dean and Ricky Nelson  are nowhere to be found (at least not in their Hindu charts). It seems, at least  from experience, that there always, regardless of the astrologer's abilities, be  predictions that flop and occurrences that happen and cannot be found in the  blueprint. The reason for this lies not in the simple fact that no one has ever  experienced total accuracy from astrology but in the paradoxical existence of  free will and predestiny. For from the free will reality all, obviously, cannot  be predicted. And it never will. From the reality astrology can neither be nor  even evolve to absolute perfection.

Free will is the counterpart reality  to predestiny. And though it is not one iota greater or more real than  predestiny, it must be given equal weight or consideration or we will never even  approach, let alone understand, the truth of the matter. At this point I feel  especially inadequate, more so then in expressing the authenticity of the  heavenly language to non believer, to argue the imperfect or shall I say non  absolute nature of astrology. For when I assert that there are plenty of cases  of blueprints not mirroring, in completeness, individual's lives one can always  assume the fault is in the astrologer's analysis and judgment. Worse, one can  assert that our understanding of astrological technique is lacking. I have, to  be sure , no way to prove that such is not the case. In fact I have even no great  argument against such intelligent logic. In the reality of predestiny such  assertions are absolutely correct. What I do offer are three premises. The first  is that in the actuality of absolute free will astrology must, on some level,  fail. Secondly, no one has ever been completely accurate in his or her work with  the heavenly language. And thirdly I would offer my own brief experience with  its influence and contact with mentors and peers is quite ample. At least ample  enough for rational speculation.

When astrological analysis works, it  really works, it does so simply, easily, and openly. It works with integrity and  without great complication and tedious technicality. Therefore, on those  occasions when predictions and delineations fail, after all the blueprint  factors have been noted and properly analyzed, and the basic fundamentals have  been found to be in place, astrology has indeed failed. At least it has failed  within "practical reality." There is, of course, another reality and viewpoint,  which we may call "ultimate reality," which presupposes that astrology is  perfect and in time will be practiced as such. But this reality has less impact  since we live in relative existence where the practical always takes precedence  over the absolutes and the ultimates. To attempt some sort of summary to the  issue of predictive failure let us say that astrology will never work completely  unless there is a way for it to work completely and not at all.

The issue of free will and  predestiny is difficult and paradoxical. For many, unwilling to rigorously  confront an issue, paradox invokes anger. At any rate, as a final personal note:  while I am fully aware that within one reality predictive perfection is  impossible yet I intent to use my free will to regularly return to India to  study with as many experienced astrologers as possible. This I will do in quest  for predictive perfection, which absolutely exists in the reality of predestiny.  This way of living is the same one which every astrologer is hopefully aware:  that all is possible and at the same time predetermined but the only sane way to  live is in the reality of free will, with an understanding and acknowledgment of  predestiny. A humorous quote by Issac Bashevis Singer expresses the matter: "We  must believe in free will, we have no choice!"