Astrology is useless as a science if it can be of no real help to people. Simple foreknowledge of events just isn’t enough to actually help a person through life. If we know a catastrophe is going to happen and we prepare for it, it doesn’t change the fact that we will be impacted negatively by such an event. And even worse, if the astrologer is inaccurate in his prediction then he has caused great harm and anxiety to his client. So this kind of foreknowledge is not enough for astrology to be a relevant science worth investing years and years of study into. Instead every astrologer should consider themselves as a kind of therapist and a healer. Many people don’t need to know what will happen and in fact shouldn’t know what will happen. What they do need to know is how to handle what has happened more than what will happen.
Human psychology is vast and incomprehensible, but something universal in it is that we are comforted by a sense of purpose and reason. If the hardships that have befallen us are illuminated and given reason then we can handle them easier, and more than this the astrologer has the ability to look at a chart and motivate the native to use their natural skills and talents and help them find a safe and positive route to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and continue forward in their life path. This, in my humble opinion, is a real gift that astrologers can give to people who come to them looking for help. Thus it is vital that any astrologer desirous of really helping his clients should be able to understand the horoscope psychologically to better help the person find their strengths and know their weaknesses, and to encourage them along the best course of action for their overall health and personal development.
On the other hand, many astrologers of today focus too much on the past of the native and the character/personality/psychology of the client and thus lack the skills necessary to make accurate predictions. How can we as astrologers possibly encourage which course of actions our clients, friends and family should take if we are incapable of seeing the future results of such a course? Aside from this, how can we possibly determine what is best for a person if we have no idea what they should prepare for in the future? Thus the astrologer needs knowledge of the three times; the past, present and future of the native to be of any real help at all. And all advice has to be given with an understanding of the psychology of the person and how they have reacted and will react to life events. In this way we can really begin to be of some use to our fellow human beings.
Astrological Remedies, A Jewel of Jyotish
Aside from counseling a person, vedic astrology is filled with a rather unique concept to help those who need it; that certain mantras, actions and items can ward off negative influences and increase the positive influences of the planets in our natal chart. Because of this, vedic astrology has become rather famous for its use of astrological remedies to help alleviate negative karmas. And humorously, it has perhaps become equally infamous for its misuse and ineffective use of remedies. This being said, let us examine the matter a little critically and see where such methods have value and where they may not have any value at all.
Mantra Shastra is an incredibly vast and noble science, and it is for this very reason that many astrologers have tarnished its name and reputation, and that of the astrological science along with it. Like all things, mantras can be arranged into three broad groups; sattva, tama and raja. Sattvic mantras are those which lead to spiritual realization and liberation such as nama japas and puja mantras, while rajasic mantras imitate magical powers and cause various changes through the power they build up and tamasic mantras are used for black magic and selfish purposes. Many astrologers are ignorant even of this very fact and don’t realize that as astrologers we should be ultimately trying to help our clients attain spiritual realization and fulfillment, and thus we should always prefer to recommend sattvic mantras. In some special cases rajasic mantras may be needed but tamasic mantras should never be prescribed.
In mantra shastra it is not enough to simply know if a mantra is sattvic or not for it to be suitable as a remedy. Mantras are realized manifestations of bija mantras or “seed sounds” brought into existence by the contemplation of the rishis and revealed to mankind and the gods. Thus these seed sounds and their vibrations are the heart of mantra shastra, and as not all types of music are amicable to all listeners, so too not all mantras resonate well with the mantrika. In the least of cases, an improper mantra will take twice as long to give its results. In the worse of cases a mantra may actually ruin the life and livelihood of the reciter, even if the mantra is sattvic in nature and especially if it is rajasic or tamasic. Thus the various mantra encyclopedias available both online and in book stores today are actually counterproductive to spiritual evolution if not out right dangerous. For these reasons many astrologers are wrongfully and ignorantly prescribing mantras which will give no results for the client and which occasionally may even bring about similar problems to what the client was trying to avoid in the first place! If an astrologer is not willing to instruct his clients in mantra purification and rectification rites, or to do them for his clients, then he should at least be versed in the various classes of mantras that are said to be perfect (such as rig veda mantras) and safe for everyone to practice (such as some krishna mantras, pranava, panchakshara, etc.)
All of this aside, how can we understand the effects of mantra? While a rather lengthy esoteric explanation could be given I will try to keep things simple and pragmatic on a more mundane level. We understand that sound is essentially vibration, and all things exist in a state of vibration. Vibration/motion is the basis of life itself. Thus it should follow that the vibrations we interact with regularly will effect our life, and our own peculiar vibration will respond to other vibrations differently. Some vibrations will repel each other or even damage each other, while others will promote and strengthen each other. Thus we all have different preferences in our friends, relationships, foods, drinks, music, etc. Likewise a mantra will effect us the same way, but due to the regular repetition of it the effect will be frequent and thus more powerful than many other vibrations in our lives. You will most likely recite the mantra more regularly than you spend time with friends, or eat the same food, or listen to the same kind of music. Thus the mantra will have a definite effect on you, and the astrologer or whoever prescribes the mantra should go through the proper steps to make sure this effect is positive, nourishing and supports spiritual growth. From an astrological perspective the mantra shouldn’t just generate any positive vibration, but rather it should generate a vibration that resonates or imitates the vibration from the light of a given planet, so that by reciting the mantra you are able to reproduce the effects of that planet to some extent. This is the basis of how we can understand mantras practically and their good or bad or even null effects as remedies. So to summarize, the learned astrologer should prescribe a mantra that is sattvic, attuned to the reciter, and resonates with a a given planet in the horoscope, or he should prescribe those mantras which have been determined by the rishis to be safe for general practice.
One of the most popular remedies in vedic astrology is the use of precious gemstone rings to imitate the vibrations and powers of the planets. In doing so the ring is able to produce effects, so long as it is worn, as though the appropriate planet was stronger or weaker in the native’s horoscope. One of the reasons for the popularity is its definite success as a remedy. The effects are instant and in many cases they can be quite drastic. I have personally witnessed issues from health to finances and relationships all be remedied effectively and quickly with many of my clients, while at the same time I have had some clients who had much milder results and over a longer period of time. Some of the difference could be complications in prescribing the remedy or diagnosing the need, and some of it could be that some people simply don’t respond well to such a remedy. The astrologer should try to ascertain carefully the exact need for a remedy before advising a client to buy a very expensive precious gemstone ring (for obvious reasons). The basic premise for explaining how such rings can work seems to be along the lines of color therapy. When light, especially sunlight, hits a high-quality gemstone it resonates a certain wavelength of light that the ancient rishis could tell imitated the wavelengths of the planets. Thus certain gemstones will resonate their light frequency into the magnetic field of the person, potentially creating a condition wherein the aura acts as though it has always had that light in it and thus the karma unfolds accordingly.
An ancient method of remedy in many cultures across time has been the use of various magical instruments and images to alleviate karmic conditions or to create new karmic conditions. The vedic science of yantra is one such tradition, and many of the astrological scriptures recommend the establishment of sacred yantras and their worship or adoration to alleviate negative astrological influences or activate positive ones. The method of activation is primarily esoteric in nature, but we can perhaps understand their basis if we study sound and the forms that sound impresses upon things. The study of cymatics has revealed that many distinctly geometric shapes can be impressed upon layers of sand or water or even cellular structures by playing different sounds and pitches. Many of these images are strikingly similar and sometimes even identical with traditional vedic yantras, and this to me means that the ancient rishis were able to perceive sound with their spiritual vision and see the forms it impresses upon nature. Thus by presenting these images to the mind in the form of yantras, perhaps the subconscious mind is able to then interact with the frequencies represented by the image, or perhaps maybe even just the image itself attracts like to like and naturally resonates or creates some manner of effect similar to that of the sound it represents. This would at least apply to the many geometric yantras of vedic lore, whereas the explanations for many other yantras across various cultures would have to be more esoteric. Talismans, just like gemstone rings and mantras, need to be ritually charged to be of any real effect for the patient they are applied to.